I had to stop because something Peter Lavelle says, starting about 16:50 and ending at 18:30, compelled me to post something about it. Beyond that, it got me doing some serious thinking.
Lavelle, an American academic and journalist, hosts Crosstalk at RT International. He considers himself a conservative. Not every middle-aged guy with short hair, specs, and a bowtie is conservative, but he's basically George Will with an open mind. Like George Will, he is no fan of our alleged president or our alleged president's cronies.
What Lavelle says about RT, and why it is the target of such McCarthyite vitriol, is that the network challenges narratives propagated by Western mainstream news sources, in some instances exploding those narratives. Left unspoken is that, as Dr. George Lakoff might put it, people in general hate having their narratives challenged.
Then comes his mini-rant at the 16:50 mark about Russiagate, in which he manages to challenge a different narrative about the events in Ukraine a few years ago.
...and I'd like to point out to our viewers here, because it almost never gets any airtime: Paul Manafort was working for the Yanukovych government before it was overthrown illegally in February 2014. Yanukovych was trying to get into a European association agreement, something the Russians didn't particularly like, okay?
So you have this—you know, they always say—"pro-Russian" president. Well, no he wasn't pro-Russian, he was defending his oligarchic clan behind him. Because his clan—mostly in the east and the Donbass, that is under siege right now by the Kyiv government—these oligarchs, they wanted to clean their money, and they said to Yanukovych, "You run our clan, now make a deal with the Europeans cuz we want to clean our money." That is the origins of what Paul Manafort was doing in Ukraine, okay: selling a deal so the oligarchs could clean their filthy money from the eastern part of Ukraine.
So next time you hear someone say, "Yanukovych, the pro-Russian president," it's garbage! It has no basis in truth in it whatsoever. And I know Ukrainian politics pretty damn well.
This ouster, of course, led to Russia's invasion of the Crimea and Donbass regions, making it look as if Russia were responding to a coup against its ally as well as protecting ethnic Russians there. This, in turn, led to Abby Martin's criticizing the invasion on her RT America program Breaking the Set, for which she was not fired or even pressured to leave.
The invasion made relations between Obama's and Putin's governments abruptly tense, after years of mostly friendly interchange between the two powers.
Mind, As They Say, Blown
What blew my mind about Lavelle's explosion of the Yanukovych narrative was the way it got me thinking about my Green voting habits. I had never thought about it in quite these terms, but I have been voting for Green presidential candidates every four years since 1996, knowing that my chosen candidates would lose, and damn, that's liberating.
Friends of mine have become what I call "principled abstentionists" when it comes to voting. If you don't vote for anybody, especially at the federal level, you absolve yourself of any responsibility for the damage those elected will inevitably do to people and the environment. It's not a matter of voting for the Blue Team to stop the Red Team from hurting us; the Blue Team can and does inflict just as much hurt. They do this harm because their big donors insist on it.
My own approach has been to cast votes against the whole rotten system, not just against the Red Team, and to point out at every opportunity that the system is in fact rotten.
Yanukovych, Putin, and Trump are all symptoms of that broken system, but they are also beneficiaries of it, partly because the levers of power are in their hands. They are far from the only elected officials in our era who have used that power to enrich themselves and their already obscenely wealthy friends.
Opposing these crony capitalists is not the same as supporting the mainstream opposition, especially when the mainstream opposition embraces or embodies neo-liberalism. One year into this administration, I am not pining for President Obama's reassuring voice at the top of the hour on All Things Considered. I'm certainly not gonna jump on the Oprah Train, and sure as shit not ready to mend fences with the Clinton and Bush crime families (not that they're shedding any tears over that).
That's all I've got to say on this topic, believe it or not. Now to see what else Mr. Lavell has to say to us Dore Mice.