Journal Entry #51
My contempt runneth over.
NORFOLK, CONN., OCT. 24—Maybe it was destined from the first to come to this. Maybe the chicanery and corruption that began in the spring of 2016 and soon enough became known as Russiagate was always going to lead us back, back, back to the 1950s, when the McCarthyites frightened the nation to its marrow. Most of us, alive in 2019, can look upon that period now as one of near-insanity. One either laughs or does the other thing. So will those who live in what we call the future look upon our time. I am certain of this. All that is required is the distance and detachment time alone affords.
Last week Hillary Clinton participated in a podcast with former president Obama and David Plouffe, a close Obama aide. During it, the failed candidate stated breezily that Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaii congresswoman, presidential aspirant, and principled critic of our wars of adventure, was a creature of the Kremlin. “She’s a favorite of the Russians,” Clinton observed. She did not name Gabbard, but hardly was this necessary: Clinton’s point was plain. Here is a CNN clip capturing the ignoble moment.
Much was made of this incident, notably after Gabbard responded in admirably forthright fashion, calling Clinton “queen of the warmongers.” Some serious comment followed. In this line I single out Matt Taibbi’s piece in Rolling Stone, headlined, “Everyone is a Russian Asset.” But at bottom Clinton’s remark and Gabbard’s riposte were treated unseriously. Most people seemed to assume seats as if they were spectators at a trifling catfight. What fun!
This will not do. The spectacle of a maladjusted political loser accusing a sitting member of Congress of being “a Russian asset” must be understood as an indication of grave decline inc our discourse and our institutions. My read is very simple: This is the bitter fruit of those irresponsible charlatans who have foisted Russiagate upon this nation with stunning, tragic success. Clinton’s outburst—more or less universally defended in the press—is a surveyor’s stake in the ground: From it we can measure the extent to which this nation, now in its late-imperial phase, has been led dangerously astray by those unable to accept the realities of our time.
Now look where we are.
I HAVE LONG HELD to a theory about the genesis of Russiagate back in July 2016, when WikiLeaks was about to begin publishing mail pilfered from the servers of the Democratic National Committee. The Clinton campaign and the D.N.C. instantly fabricated a Russian hacker to account for what turned out to be a leak executed by someone with direct access to the DNC computer system—an insider, in all likelihood. “The Rrrrrussians did it” struck me as flimsy nonsense from the first, as I wrote at the time. My theory is that this ruse was made to last only four months: It would all float away when Hillary Clinton was elected the following November. This accounts for the extraordinary sloppiness and brazen illegalities of what followed—the F.B.I’s “investigation,” the multiple breaches of CrowdStrike, the shockingly corrupt press coverage, and so on.
Everything changed when Clinton lost the election. The Democratic Party, the media, the F.B.I., and the intelligence apparatus, all of which invested heavily and incautiously in the Russiagate orthodoxy, have been stuck ever since trying to keep their conjured version of events alive and credible long after its intended shelf life. James Comey, the F.B.I. director who effectively colluded with the D.N.C. when he failed to take possession of the compromised computer servers, admitted as much in his recent memoir: I was operating under the assumption Clinton would win in November, he wrote.
There are a number of things to note about Clinton’s astonishing eruption when we consider it in this wider context. There is the open-and-shut irresponsibility of it: Russia-baiting a sitting congresswoman? Breathtaking. There is her bald assertion of disloyalty without even the pretense of supporting evidence. There is Clinton’s evident confidence that anything suggesting Russian “meddling” or subterfuge—Clinton asserted that Gabbard already enjoys the benefit of “a bunch of sites and bots and other things”—can be safely stated without risk of challenge. And there is the media’s unquestioning acceptance of Clinton’s apparent (see just below) paranoia. In this last line, MSNBC (as so often) outdid the rest of the running dogs. Here, via the ever-game Caitlin Johnstone, is the stunning video clip covering Gabbard’s response to Clinton. We find in it purportedly grown men and women falling over themselves to marvel, “… but she never denied being a Russian asset!” As if to say she must be one. So many of those one might have once called colleagues are better understood as children.
There is one last point to note here. It is difficult to accept that Clinton, troubled as she appears to be, believes Gabbard is in the Kremlin’s pocket. I do not think she believes this any more than she believed Russian hackers stole Democratic Party email three years ago. In other words, what we saw last week was ruse piled atop ruse. Which brings us to Cú Chulainn’s principal point: We witnessed last week the legacy of the Russiagate corruptions three years on. This is where it has led us—rather distant from reality. And there is no effective check on these continuing corruptions.
The damage these years of cavalier recklessness with the truth have wrought upon our body politic is to Cú Chulainn’s mind not yet calculable. He shudders at the thought we are living a moment of history. At this point he will say only that there may not be any coming back from the harm done our institutions and our public discourse. The wounds may not be treatable.
Every cake requires icing, and we have ours now. Here is a new Washington Post report explaining why Hillary Clinton is now thinking about running for president next year after all—reasoning, as ever, that she is the ne plus ultra by way of the qualifications listed in her glittering c.v.
“YOU, THE QUEEN OF WARMONGERS, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain.”
This, of course, is Gabbard’s response to Clinton in full, delivered via Twitter and circulated widely. Since then, also via Twitter, she has taken things quite a lot further. “You’re foreign policy was a disaster for our country and the world,” she wrote the other day. “It’s time for you to acknowledge the damage you have caused and step down from your throne.” Cú Chulainn is confident all this and more can be found at Gabbard’s web site, www.tulsi2020.com.
Someday the congresswoman from Hawaii will tell us what she really thinks of Hills.
The muscular Celt is refreshed. The spectacle of a presidential aspirant telling it like it is causes him to find considerable benefit in the sorry mess Clinton created this past week.
Paying attention people have been aware of Gabbard’s sin all along. She stands against America’s pursuit of global hegemony, against the illegalities rendering our conduct abroad a more or less unmitigated disgrace, against the suffering and chaos our policy elites think nothing of inflicting upon millions of others, against our coups and assassinations. Against—this gets a separate sentence—the defense industries, their clerks in Congress, our pitifully weak-kneed press. This is her sin. “From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation,” Gabbard tweeted last week. She is right to assert this.
And now Gabbard has found a platform from which to articulate her views, straight no chaser. Not since Henry Wallace has a presidential candidate of like perspective been heard so widely. Let us hope this topic, now on the table as never since the Wallace campaign in 1948, remains there. Weirdly, it is Hills Clinton who prompts Gabbard to find her voice. Maybe this is why Gabbard began her Twitter tirade last week, “Great! Thank you, Hillary Clinton.”
Cú Chulainn seconds that emotion.
We come now to Madame Clinton. The thick-maned Irishman had come to assume that our Hills had, after a lengthy interim, gotten past her loss in an election it truly took some doing to lose. This was incautious. He wonders now about her drinking. He wonders if she (still) cries herself to sleep at night. There is un dérangement now manifest.
And of a sudden this disturbed sensibility is marshaled for all to see. Frankly, my dear, Cú Chulainn does not give a damn what the Wash Post wants him to think. The grand c.v. no longer matters. It is the content of your character. Having evidenced either your paranoia or (the Celt’s vote) your bottomless bag of clunky, cynical political tricks, you, Ms. Clinton, have effectively taken yourself out of any contest for national office—next year or any other.
The New York Times and the rest of the corporate press will continue their smear campaigns against Tulsi Gabbard. To them Cú Chulainn commends Matthew 15:11. He who would defile another defiles only himself. This is what the Mick means by the cumulative damage Russiagate continues to wreak upon American institutions. A surrender of credibility this craven is difficult to recoup.
As to Ms. Gabbard, it remains to keep on keeping on. A political figure of so bold a stripe must create an audience, a following, where none is apparent. Gabbard will find hers. It is there waiting. And there is Tulsi2024.com to think about. The world is bound to be very different in six years’ time, given the pace at which it now changes. It is bound to be ready.
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