Bill Maher Leads Attack on Larry Wilkerson over Trump Meeting with Putin

Yves here. As Lambert might say, the behavior of the enforcers of Liberal Goodthinking has been wonderfully clarifying. Despite the fact that there is a catalogue-full of reasons to be deeply disturbed about the Trump presidency, prominent media figures are regularly resorting to the screeching, pearl-clutching, straw manning, and other forms of “any stick to beat a dog” strategies even faced with people like Lawrence Wilkerson, who is expressing only mild opposition to their views. That sort of behavior is usually the behavior of someone who does not have astrong case. Of course, on RussiaRussia! that is par for the course. The fact that Wilkerson was effectively silenced by Bill Maher is a disgrace. Don’t invite people on your show if you aren’t prepared to let them have their say. This Real News Network segment reviews the particulars.

Note that Wilkerson was ridiculed for making what should have been an utterly uncontroversial point: that US leaders need to, and always have, had a dialogue with our strategic opponents. Wilkerson doesn’t add, perhaps because he does not have corroborating information, or alternatively, does not want to appear to be talking Russia’s book, that Putin announced that Russia has weapon systems that the US appeared to have been unaware of, such as a nuclear-powered missile that can fly over the South Pole. If even half of them are real, they are game changers.

There’s a sour note at the very end, where Wilkerson says he expects the Democrats to impeach Trump if they win both houses of Congress in the fall. As regular readers know, Nancy Pelosi has taken that off the table.

SHARMINI PERIES: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.

It’s been almost two weeks since President Trump met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, but the fallout from the meeting continues to overshadow Washington. There seems to be a consensus across the Democratic and Republican divide that Trump sold out to Putin during the meeting. But griping over whether the meeting should even take place stretched into comedy hours and talk shows. Let’s listen to our next guest, Larry Wilkerson- and by the way, I should remind you that he was Chief of Staff to Colin Powell under the Bush administration. And here he’s being attacked for just suggesting that it is a good thing for two nuclear powers to meet and discuss doctrines and treaties and agreements that are in place. Let’s listen. This is the Bill Maher Show.

BILL MAHER: Do you think this is appeasement, when he meets with Putin?

LARRY WILKERSON: No, I think we need to have a meeting. We’re getting very, very close to developing doctrine. The Russians already have. We’re working on it. And the nuclear-tipped missiles to accompany that doctrine. And we’re getting back to a point where we could actually find ourselves contemplating nuclear war.

BILL MAHER: Why have a meeting with someone who attacked us in 2016?

LARRY WILKERSON: You need to talk to  your enemies. [Crosstalk]

BILL MAHER: But without preconditions? I mean, really? Would we have had just a friend-

LARRY WILKERSON: I wouldn’t set any preconditions at all. I’m not saying I’m in favor of this particular president talking to this particular leader in Moscow. But we need to talk.

BILL MAHER: All our intelligence agencies said that Russia attacked us in 2016. Yes, it was cyber. It wasn’t with armaments. But it was still-.

LARRY WILKERSON: Russia did no more than we have done to any number of countries since 1947 and the creation of the CIA.

BILL MAHER: But that doesn’t make it right, doesn’t make it-.

LARRY WILKERSON: It doesn’t.

BILL MAHER: I’m sorry, but I’m on our team.

LARRY WILKERSON:It doesn’t make it-. it doesn’t make it something that should stop a meeting between two leaders who own more nuclear weapons than anybody else in the world combined, and who are getting closer and closer, especially in NATO-

BILL MAHER: I can only imagine what-.

SHARMINI PERIES: Larry Wilkerson is a retired U.S. Colonel and former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell; now a distinguished professor at the College of William and Mary. Larry, as always, good to have you here.

LARRY WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Sharmini.

SHARMINI PERIES: Larry, many of our viewers on TRNN who follow you has written in complaining profusely at the way in which you were treated on the Bill Maher Show. Give us a sense of what you were discussing, what you were trying to argue in that conversation, and also what you think President Trump had managed to achieve in that meeting with Putin, and if you believe that he actually betrayed U.S. interests at the meeting with Vladimir Putin on July 16 in Helsinki.

LARRY WILKERSON: The only real substantive question I got asked was about, well, what was going to happen on 16 July at the summit in Helsinki. And I got very serious, and I talked about how this was not something to be laughed at. We needed to meet with Moscow. We needed to talk about nuclear weapons, that we were in a situation that was looking more dangerous than any time during the Cold War with regard to nuclear war and its potential to break out, and that we damn sure did need to sit down and talk. What I saw so far, what I’ve seen so far, probably supports Bill Maher and others. Michael Moore was on the show that night, and Jennifer Rubin. And their positions then mine, they kind of scoffed at me. And Bill in particular laughed at there’s no way this administration could do anything successful. It would probably be a complete failure.

To this point, I think the only positive aspect of it that I can cite is that they actually met. And it was a desperate meeting in terms of the need for it, because of the things I just talked about. Russian doctrine now officially calls for using nuclear weapons. We have countered with a trillion dollar-plus nuclear weapons modernization program to build even newer weapons that will be more susceptible to being used in what would be called in the past conventional warfare. So it’s very dangerous.

What should have happened at this summit, and what I was hoping was going to happen, was that there were enough people left- enough arms control people, enough diplomatic people and so forth, in both the Pentagon and the State Department- that the standard book would go with President Trump to the meeting, just as I know it came with Putin. That book would have everything in it, from intermediate nuclear forces, to strategic nuclear forces, to Ukraine, Crimea, NATO, Syria, all the issues that should have been talked about, particularly the nuclear issues. The SALT talks, for example, and the SALT treaties, which Putin keeps saying are going to expire, and nobody’s doing anything about. He’s right. These should have been all worked out ahead of time in terms of what is the U.S. position, and what is it we want to achieve in these talks with Russia.

As I see it, there were very few people who took these kinds of very, very carefully planned strategized books and points to the meeting. And if there were, they were all overcome by the private talks that Trump had, because Trump disdains this kind of detail, this kind of work ahead of time. This kind of diplomacy that has to be finely tuned, and is sophisticated and complex, and achieves at the end of the day what you want to achieve, or as near to it as is possible. I don’t see anything like that having happened. So what I see at this point is a squandered opportunity to deal with some of these very serious issues, which I was hoping, hoping beyond hope perhaps, would happen. It’s something that does very dramatically need to happen. That is to say, meaningful talks between the leadership in Moscow and the leadership in Washington, and some results that we can all point at that are not just in the interest of the two negotiating sides but also in the interest of the world.

SHARMINI PERIES: Now, Larry, from what I understand from this morning’s announcement that the invitation that Trump had issued to Vladimir Putin to come to Washington is now rescinded, or it’s off. Apparently there was no movement on either side to make sure this happens. Now, are you surprised by that move?

LARRY WILKERSON: Not at all, politically. Because most of everything Donald Trump has done of substance since he was elected is based on his reading of his domestic political needs. As the German foreign minister said so aptly, I think, about his withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear agreement with Iran, it was all based on domestic politics in the United States. It had nothing to do with strategy, nothing to do with security, nothing to do with NATO or the security of Western Europe. It had everything to do with Donald Trump and his political base. I think the German foreign minister was absolutely correct.

So I have to look at everything that Trump does from that perspective, because that’s his first consideration. So what he saw was what you cited at the beginning; 46 percent thought he was treasonous, and he said, ooh, John- talking to John Bolton, his national security adviser- walk this bit back about a meeting, and put it out that we’re walking it back because we want the brouhaha about the meeting to subside. We want the accusations about the meeting to subside a bit before we invite Mr. Putin to come to Washington. This is bad on two levels. One, Mr. Putin should come to Washington, and we should continue the talks, and hopefully, in the way that I describe, good meaningful talks earlier. That’s how we should continue them, particularly the nuclear issues. And two, because we do not need a war in Europe. And it’s increasingly apparent that both sides are looking very hard at the potential for that war.

And if you want a war that will pale- make all the other prospects, Iran, Syria, North Korea and everything else, pale in comparison, let’s have one break out in Europe, and let’s have one go nuclear. This is bad stuff. So I really would like to see Mr. Putin come to Washington and meaningful talks take place. But to answer your question, and to reiterate, the reason this delay or maybe even cancellation altogether has occurred is because Trump read the domestic political signals and said, oop, can’t get caught in this mess. The midterms are coming up.

These midterms, Sharmini, are going to determine the fate of the Republican Party. If the Democrats were to win both houses of the U.S. Congress in November, I think impeachment would be on the table for a majority of Republicans, and certainly Democrats, almost instantly. So Trump has got to start thinking about these midterms. And so I think that’s the reason he canceled it, or at least told John Bolton to tell the Russians that it’ll be later.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Larry, I thank you so much for joining us today.

LARRY WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Sharmini.

SHARMINI PERIES: And thank you for joining us here on The Real News Network.

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100 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    A word about that video. I couldn’t play it at first but the clip can also be on YouTube found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79oymCf_pRk
    I noticed that when Larry Wilkerson stated that the US had also interfered in countries since 1947 the audience agreed as there was a lot of clapping about that. Maybe the audience was getting jack over Maher’s obstinacy.
    I also note that it was not Maher that said in reply “But that doesn’t make it right” but Michael Moore who until then had said nothing (How the mighty have fallen). Maher’s comment was basically that it was “it’s still us” which of course made it different.
    You just wish that they had a speaker that would be more direct and say something like: “Well Bill Maher, should we attack and sink a Russian ship in the Black sea to show them who’s boss? Maybe attack that Russian airbase in Syria to show how hurt our feelings are?”. Probably find that footage like that would hit the editing floor in the same way that guest that give opinions that don’t agree with the main stream get cut off and the same happens even with their own reporters.
    There is a reason why newspapers are dying of irrelevancy over the past few decades and I would not be surprised if the same fate followed television if this performance is typical fare. The good ones on TV end up like Phil Donahue so all you get left with are the shrills or neocons like Rachel Maddow.

    Reply
    1. John Wright

      If one goes to Youtube and looks at the readers’ comments, there is little support for Bill Maher.

      An occasional “Trump should not have had secret conversation with Putin”..

      I may be naive, but I still do not understand why a private conversation with Putin was a problem.

      Even if Trump made some concession with Putin during this private talk, wouldn’t it have to be backed up with formal written agreements?

      After Bush I’s James Baker’s verbal agreement with Russia to not expand NATO was proven “inoperative”, the Russians should be very skeptical of American verbal promises/agreements, anyway.

      see https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/newly-declassified-documents-gorbachev-told-nato-wouldnt-23629

      I worked at a company that advocated for “Management by walking around”. Part of the advantage of the higher ups talking with workers well down the organization chart was that the entire organization knew there was an alternate path for information to flow outside of the hierarchy.

      I believe this improved the accuracy of information flowing in the normal management path as a consequence.

      Trump’s wandering to Russia might have the same positive effect.

      The Democrats/Republicans/MIC seem to want to control the Russia narrative by telling Trump, “trust us, you should not try to determine anything about Russia on your own, we will tell you what to do”.

      Trump, to his credit, ignored them and did not cancel the trip.

      Reply
    1. Lee

      Maher has a particularly severe case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. The condition seems to have seriously impaired that part of the brain where his sense of humor resides, not to mention perspective, at least insofar as the topic of Trump is concerned. His calling for the U.S. intelligence community to save us from Trump is particularly unfunny.

      Reply
      1. Brooklin Bridge

        That may be, but irrespective of Trump, Maher has always been sneaky, underhanded and whiney. He is at his most palatable when he covers a topic where one tends to be of the same mind, (which, of course, gets one to wonder about objectivity in general) and even then just barely. Scratch beneath superficial agreements and he is but one self indulgent spoiled brat.

        Reply
      2. Big River Bandido

        IMNSHO, Maher has never been funny, nor particularly bright. I’ve never understood the appeal, and ever since the whole anti-science anti-vax campaign nonsense (which he pushed) I’ve come to feel Maher is dangerous, every bit a part of the problem. Certainly he’s no friend of the left.

        Reply
        1. Pelham

          I have my reservations about Maher, but I’ll just put in one word in his defense: He’s not a lockstep liberal. And occasionally, though too rarely, he’s willing to entertain views differing from his own. Of course, that doesn’t apply to Trump.

          Our household still watches his HBO show, but we mute the opening monologue. That helps.

          Reply
    1. Allegorio

      The real question is what team is he on? The Entertainment industry has been an adjunct of the “Intelligence” “Community” for decades. In my opinion, the entertainment and advertising industry are vast money laundering operations of Federal Reserve money creation for the socially correct. Russia in its info wars is undermining this scam, likewise Julian Assange. This is why they both have targets on their backs.

      Reply
    2. UnhingedBecauseLucid

      Pathetic yes, but I wouldn’t have predicted it coming from him.

      The hysteria on both sides of the isle has reached a point where both ends has gotten so solidly wedged in insanity that the debilitating effects should in theory start to add up at an ever faster rate, and with ever nastier consequences.
      Such rotting from the inside is a rather fascinating thing to watch from a detached perspective. I little morbid I admit, and sometimes I really do have to pinch myself mentally to make sure I heard or read things correctly…

      Reply
  2. Katniss Everdeen

    I call bullshit on anyone who uses the word “appeasement” in any ostensibly serious “foreign policy” discussion.

    That word is a charter member of the dog whistle hall of fame, and maher damn well knows it.

    Reply
  3. EoinW

    I’m curious to know what Trump has done – which no other President has done – which merits impeachment. The fact he won the election and Democrats are sore losers is not suppose to be an impeachable offence.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Yeah especially since we have evidence of the loser fixing their primary ÀND coordinating coverage with Media, far greater interference in our election system than a few Facebook ads and doing our captured press’ job of investigating the candidate and exposing their real positions to the public if they were behind the DNC and Podesta hacks (something I have never seen any convincing evidence about.)

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Trump became President, and everyone who knows “oh, Nate Silver, polls” knew that Hillary would win was proven wrong. This is an unforgivable sin.

      I do wonder about the mental well being of the people who took the 90’s too seriously. Was an HRC Presidency simply the end of an elaborate revenge plan or an odd way to go back to their Birther friends to prove them wrong or something? Goons line Warner, Lieu, and Schiff need something to talk about besides their record, but I was in New Hampshire in 2007 and there was more Obama is a Muslim questions than I could have possibly imagined from people I wouldn’t expect it from. Did these people (Democrats mostly) actually think a Muslim candidate would get so far? Yes, he had a funny name, but I sort of wonder about the more outlandish stories about the Clinton as told by the one Arkansas state trooper with one degree of separation from everyone might have led to an irrational defense of the Clintons when those stories were obviously stupid, ignoring more problematic ones.

      Reply
      1. juliania

        Putting Hillary in charge wasn’t irrational for the oligarchs. It would have secured policies that were put in place during the first Clinton years to overthrow democracy of, by, and for the people. And Trump was going to be the ‘worse than’ candidate — only he wasn’t. She was.

        Still is, and even more so now.

        Reply
  4. Pat

    I was flipping past Maher one night and got to hear a small section of his latest stand up special. Describing people this economy has knowingly left behind to enrich ungodly rich asses like the ones still willing to fund his program as whining that life didn’t turn out like they expected it to. Made me wish everyone had fallen for the 9/11 delusion and relegated his ass back to struggling comic status fighting for a gig playing in a Comedy Club for tips and hoping a friend would let him stay on their couch forever. It isn’t like we can’t find other comedians willing to be an asset for the status qou for a lot less money. (Oh, the whining…)

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      To my mind Maher has always been an essentially smarmy figure and the premise of this show and his earlier one that he was back at the Playboy mansion jawing with Hef and the girls and a few big name guests. Indeed the infotainment model might be that of Playboy itself. Sure there are pictures but there are also articles.

      Greenwald took him to task for his anti-Muslim bigotry and the Russia stuff doesn’t sound much different. At this point I’d say Maher is hardly worth getting worked up over.

      Reply
      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Agree, other than that a lot of people go for Maher. That is what – if anything – to be concerned about.

        Reply
          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Terrific article, thanks for the link. Vanity Dem – what a great epithet for Maher! I often fumed at Stewart, and wrote clumsy attempts to describe his glossy sell out, but Ames puts his finger on one of its central themes: Liberalism today has as its highest priority not looking stupid, or at least one aspect of it. He also goes on and on about it – à la Glen Greenwald – and like Greenwald makes solid “recognizable” observations all the way.

            A great take down and a novel and well developed rant on Democrat irrelevance.

            Reply
  5. Whoa Molly!

    Maher comes across as literally unhinged. Insane.

    As James Howard Kunstler said recently, “I think that the thinking class in the United States has literally lost its mind. Donald Trump’s persona is so odious that it’s just driven them mad and he’s like a giant splinter in the eye of the thinking class.”

    I don’t get it. Either Maher is part of the thinking class that has lost it’s mind, or he’s a destructive, cynical (familyblog) who is deliberately inflaming his ‘Liberal Goodthinking’ audience and gaslighting Wilkerson.

    The LIberal Goodthinkers have gone so crazy they are making Trump look good.

    Dangerous times.

    PS: Thanks for term “Liberal Goodthinkers”. Pretty good.

    Reply
    1. juliania

      It’s the thinking class versus the deplorables. And the former is enabling the latter in no uncertain terms. This period of lunacy won’t be forgotten come voting time. Whereas, had the dems gracefully accepted defeat and concentrated on real issues that concern us all, they might have had a shot at the midterm merrygoround. Instead, they chose to keep the failed slurs of the last campaign a topic of conversation all the way through, as in fact the term ‘transition’ on these boards does as well. Transition = transitory.

      Something is making Trump a very viable stayer through these turbulent times, and the minefield that these people have turned being President into is a sad commentary on the state of our union. But like the sanctions that are unthinkingly dispersed hither and yon, the blowback can be supercharged, and I can’t think of more worthy recipients.

      Reply
      1. albert

        Julian Assange said something like ‘Hillary is blinded by her own ambition.’

        “…had the dems gracefully accepted defeat and concentrated on real issues that concern us all…”

        The ‘dems’ let Trump co-opt Sanders ‘populist’ rhetoric, when -they-should have been using it from the beginning. They let the Republicans, over the years, capture most state governorships, and gerrymander important districts. Who controls elections in the states? The governors.

        You reap what you sow. The Dems didn’t sow anything, so they got what they reaped, nothing.

        Trump and Sanders. I hate to say it, but it’s true. We’ve got a broken system, and the majority of Americans should realize now.

        Maybe Trump is exactly what we needed.

        . .. . .. — ….

        Reply
      2. Damson

        The Chattering Class is the UK term..

        ‘Thinking’ is rather too generous for the mind-drool exemplified by Maher and his ilk

        Reply
    2. athena

      Maher is part of the thinking class that has lost it’s mind, or he’s a destructive, cynical (familyblog) who is deliberately inflaming his ‘Liberal Goodthinking’ audience and gaslighting Wilkerson.

      I think he just embraces psychological denial because he lives in existential fear of being targeted for mockery by Media Matters and Maddow and Kos, et al. He might also subconsciously worry that if he strays too far from the veal pen, this might happen. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Platform

      But mostly, he’s a perpetual 15 year old “bistrategic controller” (the most popular of the popular kids in adolescent social heirarchies). https://books.google.com/books?id=onbtbA5QbbIC&pg=PA31&lpg=PA31&dq=%22bistrategic+controller%22&source=bl&ots=YwfeaqfrDf&sig=Q2mGAqdYIxx9lULD1zYFJR9fghk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiZm96Ni8PcAhXq7YMKHQJTCssQ6AEwAHoECAMQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22bistrategic%20controller%22&f=false

      https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C43&q=%22bistrategic+controllers%22&btnG=

      Reply
    3. jrs

      Since when are comedians thinking class. What a ridiculous premise. Academia well ok, maybe that is thinking class. The thing is academics often aren’t vocal with their political options because economic pressures to fit in (short of tenure maybe), just like the rest of us really.

      Reply
  6. oaf

    Mass media is about the suppression of critical thinking….Like children-…we are told what’s Right and Wrong; and we are distracted into thinking no further…Don’t consider or interpret for your self…that only confuses things!!! Give thanks for the Expert Analysis. Honor thy Media…Accept the Facts!!! : )
    (Always ask WHY you are being told what you are hearing….)
    …And, remember how much They care about you; about Whats Best For You. No one more qualified to have your trust in. Caring. Like Mom and Dad; Gram and Gramps; Auntie/Uncle…
    Whatever you do…don’t worry till you’re told to, and then worry a lot!
    Those Sock Puppets laying it down for us are the Real American Heroes!!!

    Reply
    1. dcrane

      Mass media is about the suppression of critical thinking….Like children-…we are told what’s Right and Wrong; and we are distracted into thinking no further…Don’t consider or interpret for your self…that only confuses things!!!

      Yes, and intriguingly similar to the approach in the Bible (echoing your “Honor Thy Media” comment). Adam and Eve’s great sin, after all, was to eat from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”

      Reply
  7. Louis Fyne

    The TV left coming out as “war hawks” is pathetic and farcical. No one, except his fellow cultists, would follow Bill Maher into a battle. And I doubt Bill Maher would ever lead the charge from the front.

    And shows the TV Left’s true colors—having no problem sending other people’s kids to sweat and fight and die for their pithy slogans.

    Reply
    1. Aleric

      Remember always these are TV Liberals, *not* TV Left, a rare and marginalized tribe, generally identified by being cut-off mid-sentence.

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Maher was a long time libertarian, and with the rightward shift of Team Blue and medical Marijuana (after all we still need to arrest minorities), Bill became a “liberal” type. He’s still the same POS he was in the 90’s.

      Reply
      1. Ur-Blintz

        Bingo! How he ever fooled anyone into thinking he was less than a narcissistic, libertarian. money grubbing sociopath is beyond me. First time I saw him, way back when, he was railing against Social Security and he is perhaps most responsible for making a celebrity out of Arianna Huffington, giving her a nationwide pulpit on his original show when she was repulsively right-wing.

        Reply
  8. timbers

    Haven’t you heard? It’s illegal to talk to Russians. Ask any Democrat. And if you don’t see that people accused of tax evasion or more laundering isn’t exactly the same thing as conspiring with Putin to steal Hillary’s Presidency, you’re “stupid.”

    So when John Kerry undermined a sitting President’s policy on Iran, I did not even bother to point this out to Dems friends as violating the Mickey Mouse Act or whatever the same way they told me Trump did against Obama.

    Reply
  9. Steve

    Bill Maher has become just another Hannity or O’Reilly for the Democratic Party. He used have some funny stuff but I can’t even listen to him anymore.

    Reply
  10. Brooklin Bridge

    BILL MAHER: All our intelligence agencies said that Russia attacked us in 2016. Yes, it was cyber. It wasn’t with armaments. But it was still-. -Idiot

    As far as I know, ONE: this, “Russia attacked us in 2016” claim is still only claimed by three (3) agencies, not all of them, and TWO: the claim is still simply a set of allegations regarding origin and not hard established facts.

    Because people like Wilkerson do not call Macarthyites out on such claims, the allegations have taken on the aspect of established fact to most Americans. If it’s still allegations and not facts (that is, if I haven’t missed important updates), then much as I like Wilkerson, I fault him for this kind of acquiescence to weapons of mass deception. Perhaps not so much with such a slimy shill as this particular comedic disease, who doesn’t let Larry get a word in edgewise and is brain dead enough to think he’s being clever, but the Maher episode is not the only time Wilkerson has failed to stop the discussion cold until such points can be countered and clarified.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      well he is a conservative, he was colin powell’s chief of staff when powell was lying to the u.n. about wmd’s in iraq. he tells the truth sometimes, and admits some responsibility, but i don’t really trust him.

      Reply
      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Yes, agreed…

        He has done a number of interviews for The Real News Network that were quite good where he has seemed far more impervious to spin (I think the experience with weapons of mass destruction fiasco, including Powell, represented a sea-change for him). I’m pretty sure that includes the realization that Ukraine was a US backed coup, that Syria and Assad wasn’t so cut and dry, that Putin is a remarkable strategist, our part in the horrible fiasco in Lebanon, the brutal nature of Saudia Arabia, Israel criminality and on and on. But I may well be giving him more credit than he is due (by process of projection from a given interview I saw to a topic I thought I had heard him discuss).

        And for sure, every now and then, it’s as if his military training or background kicks in and he goes into obtuse mode though still making sense.

        As to the Maher incident, I suspect he avoids (and/or gets put off balance by) cat claw scrabbles, as undignified.

        Reply
    2. blennylips

      > not the only time Wilkerson has failed to stop the discussion cold until such points can be countered and clarified

      perhaps the colonel needs to milk the system for a bit. Any company boards clamouring for his services? That’s the whole point: many returns, much clarification for as long as possible, with suitably deep yellow hip waders.

      Reply
    3. Bill Smith

      “The Russians attacked us.” Depending on what parts of the ‘attack’ you are talking about there is little doubt about who did it.. For example – you can read interviews in the Russian newspapers with people who worked in the Internet Research Agency about what they did in the US social media. I don’t really see the big deal. We have done it to many other countries. There was blow back and we got the same thing done to us. The real issue is that we where not very well prepared.

      Reply
      1. witters

        ““The Russians attacked us.” Depending on what parts of the ‘attack’ you are talking about there is little doubt about who did it.”

        Yes, it was “The Russians!” – all of them, anyone of them, some of them, and certainly (for it is their genes) the Russian State and so PUTIN.

        So no, “The real issue is” not “that we where not very well prepared.”
        Unless you mean intellectually prepared for serious analysis.

        Reply
        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Right, the attribution of agency to the Kremlin and Putin has not, and almost certainly can not, be made.

          Reply
  11. Newton Finn

    Many years ago, when I was a college freshman, there was one fraternity on campus that was looked down upon as a collection of losers. But it had at least one very sharp and enterprising brother named Jack, who was a counselor in the freshman dorm. As pledge time approached, he would talk to the most popular freshmen, one by one, and tell us that he had a proposition for us. Why, he asked, would we want to join one of the cool frats and find ourselves at the bottom of the pecking order? Why not instead join his struggling frat, en mass, take it over, and run things ourselves? If we did so, he assured us, this loser frat would become the coolest one on campus, and new students would be beating down the doors to join. Believe it or not, his scheme actually worked, and, one by one, the most popular freshmen agreed to go along with the concept. The key to his success was that he would put it to us this way: Look, I know this is a difficult choice to make, and I’m not asking you to do it on your own. But would you do it these other guys did it? If Jim and Steve and Pete and John and Bill, etc., all agreed to pledge with you, will you now give me your promise that you’d join them? That’s all I want you to promise right now, that if these other guys do this, you will too. And by God, it worked, and at pledge time he had a huge group of popular freshmen lined up to join his loser fraternity. Had his conscience not bothered him and caused him to release us from our promises right before pledge day, the greatest and most sudden transformation in my college’s frat history would have occurred. I tell this true story because I don’t see why it couldn’t apply to the Green Party, if only it had enough Jacks in its ranks, with the insight and savvy to reach out in similar fashion to progressives and minorities, one by one or group by group.

    Reply
    1. rayduray

      Having boycotted the frat system during my Viet Nam war era university stint, I can assure you that in today’s world, unless you include some Jills with your Jacks, your proposal for the Green Party is a dead letter issue. The dynamics of Left-of-Nancy Pelosi politics is now dominated by identity politics and bedroom issues. No macho fraternity types need apply. Sorry about that. I do yearn for the halcyon days of the “Father Knows Best” era myself from time to time. :)

      Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    We stopped watching his show when he let his guests talk over each other on a regular basis, and besides that, he’s slower on the uptake of what’s really going on, as opposed to any NC reader.

    Reply
  13. Quentin

    Bill Maher is just disrespectful. He’s not even qualified to shine Larry Wilkerson’s shoes. Arrogant twat, Bill Maher.

    Reply
  14. David Carl Grimes

    I watch Bill Maher’s show regularly. I normally watch just the beginning and the end. The opening monologue and the New Rules segment at the end. I normally skip the panel in the middle of the show because it’s so one-sided. Two or three liberals versus one conservative plus Bill Maher. So the conservative constantly gets drowned out and interrupted. He has little to no airtime because he can barely get a sentence in before the panel devolves to a hysterical shouting match. And this was before Trump even ran for President. Now, it’s even worse. They don’t even allow anyone else to have a contrarian opinion to the Beltway consensus.

    Reply
  15. Bill

    I find Maher odious in general. However, it does puzzle me as to why he was a strong Sanders supporter (kind of the opposite of a Libertarian) and he also clearly wasn’t thrilled about Hillary, although he supported her over Trump.

    Reply
    1. Brooklin Bridge

      What ever scruples Maher may have, they come along with a heaping helping of playing to what he thinks his perceived public wants to hear. It’s possible that he actually does have a soft spot for Sanders (though that could be influenced by shared religious tribe).

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        yeah, I love my doddering uncle, and I use him as an example to my kids of what they should not be like…/s

        Reply
  16. polecat

    Network TV is still a thing ?? Guess I’ve been missin out .. well, not really. It’s such that whenever I happen to be in proximity to a set that’s ‘on’, which is rather rare, it just seems loud, obnoxious, and stupifying .. whether it be the programmed ‘entertainment’, or the commercial klaxons whailing away. If one thinks of Corpse-rated TV as a virus, then maher et. al. are the phomites of obsfucation, psychopathy and spite !

    Reply
  17. Blue Pilgrim

    Wilkerson was in with Powell when the phony reasons for the attack on Iraq were being mounted, and was deep into the military, and MIC. Maher, and Moore are both psychopaths, which Wilkerson, for all his faults, is not. The Republicans and conservatives are insane. The Democrats and liberals are even worse now. It’s like watching two groups of insane, childish, drug-crazed, chimps flinging feces at each other as they both set the jungle on fire. The level of stupidity, ignorance, and lunacy is astounding. None of this makes sense.

    I think I understand why elves and flying saucer people are not seen: “What? You want to try to contact these creatures? Are you on drugs? They would kill you without thinking twice. Better to interact with hyenas or grizzly bears.”

    Help! I’ve fallen into this insane nightmare and can’t wake up. The best I’ve been able is to ignore some of it and hide in my ‘cave’ with the cats while I still can. It’s hard to even find a good reason for thinking or talking about it any more: pissing into the wind.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      From Terry Practhett:

      “I meant,” said Ipslore bitterly, “what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”
      Death thought about it.

      “CATS,” he said eventually. “CATS ARE NICE.”

      Reply
      1. Blue Pilgrim

        I just happened upon this and started reading it — seems relevant:

        https://journal-neo.org/2018/07/27/liberals-leap-to-defend-neo-con-henchmen-mcfaul/
        27.07.2018 Author: Tony Cartalucci
        Liberals Leap to Defend Neo-Con Henchmen McFaul
        https://journal-neo.org/2018/07/27/liberals-leap-to-defend-neo-con-henchmen-mcfaul/

        He sums it up in the last three paragraphs:

        This troubling trend of the Western public gravitating toward and supporting individuals like McFaul and Browder solely out of their perceived hatred for President Trump and Russia is pushing Western political discourse further from rational debate and deeper toward hysteria.

        That powerful special interests can easily manipulate sections of the Western public to support virtually anyone or anything, including unsavory characters like McFaul and Browder or the notion of expanding NATO or continued war abroad in nations like Syria simply by invoking “Trump” or “Russia” represents a predictable but dangerous Pavlovian phenomenon likely to leave deep scars, permanently disfiguring American politics and society much in the way the so-called “War on Terror” has.

        The increasing lack of political sophistication in America is a reflection of a much wider deterioration of American economic and geopolitical strength both at home and around the globe. While one would expect sound leadership to begin preparing America for an orderly transition from a once global hegemon to a constructive member of a more multipolar world order, history has proven the lack of grace that generally accompanies an empire’s decline.

        Reply
        1. athena

          I’ve thought since 2011 that “Tony Cartalucci” is a Kremlin writers-group operation thing, or something like that. Those writings are always group projects of some sort, not just one dude, kind of like “Tyler Durden” at zerohedge, but much, much higher quality. I’m not saying to not listen to or to disregard everything “Cartalucci” says. There’s a lot of genuinely insightful and useful information in there. But be aware of how “not exactly for America’s 99%” the bias is. “They” seem to think we should all give up on democracy and become preppers and wait on techno-utopian solutions to solve all of our problems.

          Reply
          1. Blue Pilgrim

            I see at https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Tony_Cartalucci he is
            “Tony Cartalucci is a geopolitical researcher and writer based in Bangkok, Thailand. His work covers world events from a Southeast Asian perspective and promotes self-sufficiency as one of the keys to true freedom.”

            I see no reason to doubt that right now, but I don’t care. I read things for content, and his content is often good, so I pay attention when I see something from him. Other names I recognize as rubbish and don’t wast my time or energy with it. I take no one without skepticism, fact checking, etc. Sometimes I could learn something from an idiot, but it’s generally not worth the effort to try.
            I also read some, such as Paul Craig Roberts, who has some good material and also some blind spots and obvious bias or flaws.

            It all goes into the box from which I assemble my own take on the probabilities of which models and narratives are most accurate and useful.

            Reply
            1. athena

              Yeah, “promotes self-sufficiency as one of the keys to true freedom” is code for “supports autocratic non-Western regimes and opposes even grassroots-movement democracy in the US.” It’s a very peculiar, distinctly Russian kind of authentic bias. That’s why I’ve been thinking “Kremlin” about them since 2011 when they first popped up on my radar. (Bias does not equal evil or necessarily wrong in my mind, by the way.)

              But, yeah, there’s stuff like this that’ll make you scratch your head:

              Officially announced on October 3, 2011, the “Occupy the Federal Reserve” movement called for by pro-freedom pundit Alex Jones and augmented by “End the Fed” movements nationwide, is set to begin this weekend. Despite the implications of large crowds convening upon America’s central bank, run by the very corporate-financier interests that have abused Wall Street and stirred up the “Occupy Wall Street” crowds in the first place, not a word of it has been spoken in the Western media

              http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/10/thai-media-catches-wind-of-occupy-fed.html

              OTF was mostly a libertarian, “end the fed”-chanting, gold-standard promoting sub-movement we all just sort of tolerated in the interest of free speech.

              Reply
      2. Scott1

        “Sex is Funny, but Love isn’t.” Hence it is that shopping cart traffic conflict is funny, but empty shelves isn’t. Most I’ve done as a stand-up is the pro set time of 45 minutes. I’ve heard of Maher doing 2 hours. Someone like Eddie Murphy did movie length stand-up. People pay to see Maher live. Carlin was better at being serious. There is the Lenny Bruce tradition for which few can handle, and the Will Ferrell silly genus. If you want to see fine comedy watch Kate McKinnon do Kelly Ann Conway on SNL. I understand Bill Maher as a successful producer.

        What do we mean by “BiPartisan”. What it best means is neither Left or Right. Best it means American, Eclectic, Ethical, Pragmatism. In fact this is easiest achieved when it is an issue of Defense in Foreign Policy. GOP domestic policy is essentially selfish and mean. Makes the right answer hard to get near. Philosophy of leading GOP figures like Paul Ryan who has terrific power as Speaker is Objectivism not American Pragmatism. Ayn Rand makes what would be wonderful bleak.

        You will have reasons to feel safer when you hear that the US & NATO have put 3 thousand Tanks along the Fronts where Russian Tanks would roll into Europe. It is either that or you know that Russian Tanks can all be bazooka blasted away by lots of mobile tank killing crews and their missiles. Nukes exist to kill tanks and their crews. US doctrine is still to use nukes to kill tanks.
        When Carter saw he was going to fail to “rid all nuclear weapons from the face of this earth.” -Inaugural Address) he came up with the neutron bomb. For some unfathomable reason this flipped people out. We would prefer the Neutron bomb since it would not destroy farmland.

        In the time of Trump and the open assault on Democracy characterized by failures of the TV Press distorted by profits and personalities I look at the famines that are associated with One Party Rule, and the Dictators such as Stalin and Mao. Maybe there is a way to make it funny in how I might say “Democracy & a Free Press, No Famine!. One Party Rule & a Dictator & Famine. Don’t vote for Famine Folks!”

        If I was even negotiating with Russia and China I would be pointing out they are Food Insecure and the US is not. Russia and China need to be wary and fair if they want the US to sell them food at a price the US can maintain its farmers from.

        Soybean Tariffs threaten to cause farmland in the US to be taken out of food production making the US take one turn itself towards less food insecurity. It is too much to expect that US Grants to Farmers would prevent some good high number of farmers selling their land for other uses when they are forced to fail on price competition.

        William Burroughs who gave us sci fi phrases like “Heavy Metal”, & the art he produced from heroin, Scientology’s E Meter, pills, guns, spiritually justified murder? and Methadone in Kansas, ended his life saying all he cared about were his 11 cats.

        Reply
  18. Expat

    I understand that very few Americans have any objectivity left or imagination, but let’s try a thought experiment. Substitute Hillary Clinton and Clinton Advisor for every time we hear Trump or Trump Advisor and tell me that the rabid right would not be foaming at the mouth, demanding impeachment (along with waterboarding and lynching) and threatening to round up all registered democrats as a precaution.

    Hillary Clinton is a terrible thing. She should never have been allowed to run or even held any position in anyone’s administration for a variety of reasons. But that does not absolve Trump from being everything HE is. And it does not absolve Trump from appearing to collude with Russia and be Putin’s puppet. I cannot and will not buy the 9 Dimensional Chess argument or the He’s a Business Genius Argument when both are patently false. He is admittedly incredibly ignorant and lacking any attention span. He is a narcissistic liar. A proven racist. A misogynist. A womanizer. A serial cheater. An unfaithful husband and business partner.

    How have we gotten to the point where we are defending Donald Trump? How are we giving him the benefit of the doubt in anything when every past lie and action indicates he is incompetent and merits no trust whatsoever.

    The Trump Spin Team has done an amazing job turning a megalomaniac serial liar into a victim. And America rolls over and takes it again.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      With all due respect, you have this wrong. Please tell me for starters who this “Trump spin team” is. The media is united against him, as is all of the Democratic party and big swathes of the GOP. Helsinki is a case study. Trump does something which every president has done, including the sainted Ronald Reagan, when “Russia” was not Russia but the far more threatening USSR, and no one got bent out of shape about it. All Trump did was high five Putin. He didn’t make any commitments. And even when Trump makes commitments, he reneges on them a high proportion of the time. Oh, and Saint Ronnie also got on personally with Gorbachev.

      The Republicans made clear they would impeach Hillary. They had both her server and the Clinton Foundation taking foreign cash as issues. They could get her alone on what amounted to taking kickbacks for brokering uranium to Russia.

      As for RussiaRussia, you totally misrepresent the issue. What readers and many on the left are upset about is:

      1. Disregard for facts or evidence. No one has yet to provide any solid evidence against Trump regarding his supposed dalliance with Russia. The stuff coming from Team Dem is on the order of the birther charges re Obama. Just read this discussion of the Steele dossier as an example:

      http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/07/an-updated-trump-dossier-cheat-sheet-by-publius-tacitus.html

      Or card carrying Putin opponent Masha Gessen on the famed 17 agency report:

      https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/01/09/russia-trump-election-flawed-intelligence/

      Or the evidentiary standard that RussiaRussia! theory proponents have to meet and have yet to meet:

      https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/07/22/the-burden-of-proof-is-on-the-russiagaters/

      If you don’t demand accuracy from the press, you are volunteering to be propagandized all the time.

      2. The effort to demonize Trump has moved into New McCarthyism. And you are actively promoting it. Standing up for the idea of integrity of information and accurate reporting is now being mischaracterized as defense of Trump. This is tantamount to a loyalty test and is crass authoritarianism.

      3. In case you missed it, various parties are now treating the left as a threat and using RussiaRussia to up the ante. See this telling Comey tweet as an example,

      And recall the PropOrNot witch hunt, which the Washington Post had to disavow.

      Reply
      1. athena

        Yeah.

        I’m usually more or less immune to groupthink and propaganda, at least compared to many, but even I had to take a few days away from all internet communications last week and just re-read old Orwell essays to get my mind straight again regarding Helenski.

        “One of the peculiar phenomena of our time is the renegade Liberal. Over and above the familiar Marxist claim that ‘bourgeois liberty’ is an illusion, there is now a widespread tendency to argue that one can only defend democracy by totalitarian methods. If one loves democracy, the argument runs, one must crush its enemies by no matter what means. And who are its enemies? It always appears that they are not only those who attack it openly and consciously, but those who ‘objectively’ endanger it by spreading mistaken doctrines. In other words, defending democracy involves destroying all independence of thought.”

        “These people don’t see that if you encourage totalitarian methods, the time may come when they will be used against you instead of for you. Make a habit of imprisoning Fascists without trial, and perhaps the process won’t stop at Fascists. Soon after the suppressed Daily Worker had been reinstated, I was lecturing to a workingmen’s college in South London. The audience were working-class and lower-middle class intellectuals — the same sort of audience that one used to meet at Left Book Club branches. The lecture had touched on the freedom of the press, and at the end, to my astonishment, several questioners stood up and asked me: Did I not think that the lifting of the ban on the Daily Worker was a great mistake? When asked why, they said that it was a paper of doubtful loyalty and ought not to be tolerated in war time. I found myself defending the Daily Worker, which has gone out of its way to libel me more than once. But where had these people learned this essentially totalitarian outlook?”

        http://orwell.ru/library/novels/Animal_Farm/english/efp_go

        Reply
      2. Epistrophy

        Nicely balanced article, Yves. I believe that America currenly stands at it’s most dangerous point in modern history – because the Democrats appear to be disentigrating – leaving only a single party in it’s wake.

        If the Democrats continue their current downward trajectory, they will disappear. I am very pessimistic about their prospects this November. Some might argue that this is a good thing. It is not. There must be alternatives in a healthy, functioning Republic.

        Reply
      3. mtnwoman

        “No one has yet to provide any solid evidence against Trump regarding his supposed dalliance with Russia. ” Huh?
        Mueller’s team has either indicted or gotten guilty pleas from 32 people and three companies and is still in progress. Mueller won’t “show his hand” until he’s done. Is it a “witch hunt”? Is Mueller “McCarthy”?

        “Trump does something which every president has done,….He didn’t make any commitments.” No US POTUS has ever met alone with Putin. Who knows what was discussed or committed to? Trump is a pathological liar. Is that too harsh a description? That’s demonizing Trump? It’s fact.

        “The effort to demonize Trump has moved into New McCarthyism. ” If simply reporting the facts about Trump’s words and deeds is “demonizing” perhaps he should have chosen different words and actions that aren’t so dictator-appreciating, cruel, corrupt, buffoonish, inept. And that goes for his entire Administration.

        I am a leftie, voted for BS. I come here to read the pulse of the Leftie-left that does sometimes veer -from their extreme hate of Democrats — to Trump apologism.

        Reply
  19. Unna

    What am I missing? Why does a guy like Wilkerson lower himself to appear on this show? Once maybe. More than that, why? No one is perfect including Wilkerson and he has a “past” but don’t we all?

    Reply
    1. athena

      They lower themselves to be able to communicate to people like us, I think. Kind of a media narrative wars Jujutsu move.

      Reply
  20. Chauncey Gardiner

    There is a possibility that Maher’s behavior reflects an expanded role of the BBG (Broadcasting Board of Governors), who controls it, concentration of media ownership in a few large corporate hands, and the recent modifications of the Smith-Mundt Act to allow domestic propaganda. IMO “RussiaRussia!” and “IranIran!” would not have been and continue to be relentlessly injected into our MSM diet for the past year and a half without the table having been set.

    Unfortunately, as other readers have noted, this misdirection is also damaging in the sense that it serves to divert attention away from issues of genuine public concern such as climate change, the sad state of our nation’s infrastructure, public education, erosion of civil liberties, transitioning from a war-based economy, extreme economic inequality, meaningful campaign finance reform, etc.

    Reply
  21. john c. halasz

    Where did Wilkerson pick up that it is now Russian military doctrine to use nukes? Every analysis I’ve read is that Putin’s aim in weapons development, real or imaginary, is to restore deterrence, which the U.S. has been steadily eroding.

    Reply
      1. john c. halasz

        Only the “or its allies” bit isn’t straightforward deterrence doctrine. That would be “extended deterrence”, a contradictory doctrine that the U.S. has adopted since virtually the start of the Cold War. McNamara’s “ladder of escalation” doctrine was its explicit formulation. (“Full spectrum dominance” is its lineal descendant). And the fact of the matter is that the U.S. military has never really fully accepted the straight-forward notion of deterrence, but has always been pressing further, seeking some obscure advantage or leverage. I think it’s clear from his statements over many years, that Putin is attempting to respond to the erosion of deterrence by the U.S., (while the Soviet Union itself never explicitly embraced deterrence doctrine, originally crudely understanding nukes as just high powered artillery).

        Reply
  22. Blue Pilgrim

    Here is yet another ‘liberal’ or ‘leftist’ who has fallen into Trump Derangement Syndrome, complete with hurling names and insults at any who disagree with him and spouting a host of logical and rhetorical fallacies — and another who has fallen out of list of people who I think are worth listening to.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/07/27/the-curious-case-of-pro-trump-leftism/
    July 27, 2018
    The Curious Case of Pro-Trump Leftism
    by Eric Draitser

    …”It’s true that the number of self-professed “analysts” and dementia-addled lefties spouting the Trump-as-peacenik line is relatively small…
    …Indeed, because of the Dotard’s doting on Putin, we should all sing hosannas as we erect cheaply made gold-plated monuments in his honor.

    But back on Planet Earth, even the specious notion that Trump is somehow a peacemaker cannot fake news its way into being true. In fact, if anything, Trump has been the most bellicose president in recent memory. But don’t tell those Trumpy lefties that. …”

    Counterpunch itself is teetering on the edge of that ‘worth reading’ list such that I rarely bother going there any more. Have these clowns been listening to what Clinton and the Dems have been saying and doing? — “treason” for a president to talk to Russian leaders (“doting on Putin”)? They think Clinton, who laughed when she destroyed Libya, would be better?

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether

      An inventory of verbal tics….

      Adding, I just reread the thing, and I found no examples or links to these supposed “Left Trumpists.” So it’s a smear, plain and simple, left lying about for future use.

      Reply
      1. Kurt Sperry

        Re: “Left Trumpists” If anyone from the left agrees with *any* of the hundreds, if not thousands, of policies opinions espoused by Trump. Is a “Left Trumpist”. He is evil, to give support to evil in any way is evil. It’s politics driven almost purely by ad hominem fallacy. Therefore any person of the left who is capable of independent thought will necessarily be presumptively labeled a “Left Trumpist” by the absurd definition of the #resistance. I won’t even bother pointing out to them that always disagreeing with someone puts you in their complete control. if I can make you always contradict me, I can make you think or say almost whatever I like.

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      The world is full of Trump mind readers….wish I had their extra sensory powers.

      And some of us who consider ourselves “leftists” do hope Trump makes peace with Russia and others. Since these are things he talked about before he was president it’s not impossible. If you think Trump’s main goal in life is to build his brand it’s also not illogical. Starting a war with, say, Iran would be very unpopular–one new poll says 23 percent support–and bad for brand building. The public now wants peace IMO. Most of Trump’s current mayhem is grandfathered in from Obama or at least too much under the radar to be noticed (except for those trash talking tweets of course).

      Counterpunch publishes all sorts of views. I don’t think we should condemn the site because of one article. However they do publish authors who like to say things like “dotard.” Name calling is so childish (unless it’s about Hillary).

      Reply
      1. Blue Pilgrim

        A view is one thing; this is something else: a tirade of insults is not a view. I regularly listen to Crosstalk, for example, and appreciate Lavelle and most of his guests, even if I disagree with the conservative positions, but they don’t rant and rave and insult me with phrases such as “depraved” or “dementia-addled”. This is not just unpleasant to read, but demonstrates a fundamental weakness in his analytical, and his writing, ability. If that’s the best Draitser can manage then I don’t want to take time to see what he has to say — and there is really not much more there, but a litany of complaints about Trump which most everyone not in the matrix are aware of. It’s not just name-calling which is childish, but his thinking and perception. And that’s something I find increasingly common in Counterpunch, and other western publications. I have no need or time for more crude propaganda.

        The idea of defending Trump is not defending Trump and his ogrish ways, but defending law, legitimate process, open inquiry and dialogue, sophisticated analysis, and even truth. That’s not about Trump; that’s about us.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          If it helps I agree they do accept some articles that aren’t very good. I think they may be struggling since Cockburn died. I don’t think they actually pay people to write there.

          But that site has been around a long time and it would be a shame to see it go. Too many lefty sites have bitten the dust.

          Reply
    3. witters

      For me, Counterpunch has gone over the edge.

      It started with Alexander Cockburn’s weird “Climate Science is a fraud! A man on the Nation cruise told me this!” and achieved its defining moment with Andrew Levine, who went on endlessly as to how Trump was necessarily, inevitably, “unelectable in American Democracy,” but could be a source of wry amusement to the enlightened liberal.

      I suspect an upcoming merger between Counterpunch and the Guardian.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Cockburn was a contrarian who liked to provoke. He was also a vehement opponent of nuclear power and thought the AGW warnings were a Trojan horse to restart nuclear power–which is to say even if true the proposed cure could be worse than the disease.

        And while AGW is now more widely accepted it’s hard to say that much is being done about it. It’s not so much an inconvenient truth as a problem from hell. Bandaid solutions make us feel better but may not change the outcome. Fortunately nuclear still seems to be on the skids.

        Reply
        1. Blue Pilgrim

          Whether global warming is a hoax or not, nuclear is expensive and dangerous, and can be replaced with solar, wind, hydro, etc. with some good side effects for employment and other economic factors. Beat your swords into plowshares and your soldiers into energy technicians. Just do it — make the investment (and remember MMT) — and the survival of the ecology and civilization could well be a nice side effect. There is enough with that to make a decision with. Other countries are managing it.

          The old Counterpunch was worth saving, I guess, but for the new one it isn’t so clear. Many more left sites will fade if the left doesn’t get it’s act together. The liberals are about gone already — and the conservatives are riding a temporary wave. Capitalism is dying. Everything in the empire is falling apart as contradictions of thesis and antithesis transform into some foggy synthesis, or destruction.

          Reply
          1. witters

            “Whether global warming is a hoax or not”…

            Whether we breathe oxygen is a hoax or not…Whether water is H20 is a hoax or not… Whether the earth is a spheroid is a hoax or not…

            I really can’t see how this is a reasonable place to begin anything.

            Reply
            1. Blue Pilgrim

              It’s a place to begin where there is a not a crowd of climate change deniers and proponents breaking out into avoidable fights which would derail plans and efforts to go sustainable.

              It doesn’t matter whether the sun goes around the earth and actually sets, or if the earth rotates out of the light, to decide that when it gets dark one needs to light a lamp to see and not fall down the steps. It is being in the dark which is sufficient reason for the decision to light it.

              A sufficient decision to do away with coal fired plants is that the pollution makes us sick — we don’t need to consider CO2 or albedo warming effects to not want to breath in the junk.

              Reply
          2. tegnost

            left sites will fade if the left doesn’t get it’s act together. The liberals are about gone already — and the conservatives are riding a temporary wave
            you shouldn’t ignore the belly of the beast, the working class, losing their divide…that was the big risk to the status quo from sanders, he could have bridged that divide

            and the conservatives are riding a temporary wave. Capitalism is dying. Everything in the empire is falling apart as contradictions of thesis and antithesis transform into some foggy synthesis, or destruction
            the only quibble I have with this perfect description is that many democrats are conservative, and the democrat conservatives got, well, served, and the compass is kind of spinning right now

            Reply
    4. Seamus Padraig

      Eric Draitser is a deeply, deeply meretricious commentator. In the essay you linked to, Blue, note how he tries to have it both ways. First, he criticizes us for, in effect, being the dupes of Russian propaganda:

      Left Trumpists focus their ire on the opponents of Trumpism. Ostensibly, it’s because the anti-Trump activists are hypocrites who only form political opposition against Republicans while letting Democrats eat live babies on YouTube and roll wheelchair-bound pensioners into oncoming traffic. But, seen from a more realistic perspective, it seems this chorus of silliness is based more on Trump’s words, and those of openly pro-Putin media, than on reality. [Emphasis mine]

      Next, he himself begins to spout what–only a few short months ago–would have been roundly dismissed by the MSM as Russian propaganda:

      Well, it wasn’t particularly inspiring when the Trump Administration decided to escalate Obama’s already insane policy vis-à-vis Ukraine by providing lethal weapons to the US-backed Kiev regime which continues to be partnered with, and in some ways captive to, Ukrainian Nazis and other fascist, er… um, “ultra-nationalist,” forces.

      Nazis in Ukraine! Why, that’s so very RT of you, Eric.

      So, to recap: Eric Draitser can switch sides in an argument whenever he wants, while still claiming that we are the ones who are being inconsistent.

      Draitser, along with the rest of the ‘Gang of Four’ (Louis Proyect, Yoav Litvin, Jeffrey St. Clair), is the reason I now find CounterPunch to be basically unreadable. Sad … for years it was my absolute favorite website–head and shoulders above the other alt-left sites back then. But I guess it was just Alexander Cockburn who made it what it was. Over the past two years, they’ve lost so many of their best writers that I’ve taken to calling it CounterPurge. Not to worry, though: most of their best writers have turned up at Unz.com.

      Reply
  23. Mark Ó Dochartaigh

    I’m far to the left of Bill Maher, but in a general way I agree with him more often than with Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. However on what is apparently an attempt at a show with thoughtful discussion from a variety of perspectives, the way Col. Larry Wilkerson was treated was not helpful for any side. Col. Wilkerson is one of the last republicans on the national stage who is reasonable, or even rational at this point in time. And certainly one of the very few who have the backbone to stand up even for what they personally believe is “right”. A real lost opportunity by Mr Maher. And regarding “tRump derangement syndrome” how SAD is it that we live in a world where we have to discuss whether it is worse to have a willfully ignorant and egomaniacal dotard with his finger on the nuclear button or whether the real problem is a country where forty per cent of the voters support an authoritarian party willing to steal elections so that they can pass laws to steal wages and savings at home and abroad, destroy the biosphere, and wage war for profit.

    On a related note at 51 minutes into this video by the excellent journalist Egberto Willies,Col. Larry Wilkerson, says that the military is being told that the worst case scenario (and IPCC “worst case” scenarios are routinely exceeded) is that “by the end of 2100” there will be less than enough arable land on the planet for 400 MILLION people.
    https://egbertowillies.com/2015/09/25/lawrence-wilkerson-the-travails-of-empire-lone-star-college-kingwood-video/

    Reply
    1. athena

      Oh, wow. You’re right. My god, would that be a great episode if Maher wasn’t Maher and had the courage to do it, though.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        no such thing as bad pr, it’d probably be great for both of them, must see youtube tm tv/s!
        can’t wait to watch

        Reply
  24. RBHoughton

    It looks as though the Pentagon is agreeing with the War Hawks in the Administration (Bolton) and Legislature (Graham) that nuclear war is the way ahead. They must disbelieve the Russian revelation of new weapons. That’s a bold position to take when your entire country and its population is likely to be bombed.

    I disagree with Colonel Wilkerson’s apparent expectation that the war will be restricted to Europe. The day something falls on Russia is the day something falls on the continental USA.

    The survivors will be those hundreds of thousands of US soldiers serving in Asia and Africa and South America. The recruiting offices might be able to make something of that but how will they keep the PXs supplied?

    Reply
  25. Low key fun

    Maher used to be fun but after his shilling for Clinton all he said just got a sour taste in the mouth. His point of view just became visible. If he would have been honest about his humour and analyses he would have made pure mockery of the greatest nation on earth having to choose between two fools.

    The only good thing I can say about him is that he doesn’t scream like Jon Stewart, Jim Jeffrey (in his show), Lee Camp, John Oliver etc.

    Metallic said once that ”if the riff needs to be played loud so sound great, it is not heavy enough”. How about comedians doing the same: if the joke isn’t funny at normal conversation level, then it isn’t funny at all.

    Reply
  26. JULIA WILLE

    I just wish that the US keep there domestic fights inside the US.
    And if certain fractions of the democrates or republicans want a war with russia or iran- how about fighting this war inside the US for a change.
    I definatly refuse to pick a side here, they are both not

    Reply

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