Russiagate Has Jumped The Bulbasaur

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readOct 12, 2017

Okay, I know I’ve probably said this like ten times before, but surely this is as stupid and pathetic as Russiagate can possibly get. Surely this is as empty-headed a manipulation as America’s unelected power establishment could possibly dare to test the public IQ with. It cannot possibly get any more moronic than this.

Dear God, please tell me this is as stupid as it gets.

How could it possibly get any more idiotic? How?

“Hello I’m Chris Cuomo here with a breaking CNN exclusive: Did the seemingly innocent fidget spinner play a role in the Russian hacking of DNC emails last year? Anonymous sources in the FBI say yes.”

JUST IN: Animation crew of Dora the Explorer to be questioned by Senate Intelligence Committee regarding Kremlin-sponsored propaganda campaign.

Does that honestly sound outside the realm of possibility at this point? Hell, I’m already hoping it doesn’t get any dumber than that.

The term “jumping the shark” refers to an episode in the fifth season of Happy Days when, in a manner uncharacteristic of the general spirit of the show, the character Fonzie went water skiing in his leather jacket and jumped over a shark. The phrase has come to refer to any desperate ploy in the entertainment industry to generate ratings with some goofy gimmick at the expense of the original thrust of the program.

This is far more ridiculous than that. This is like if Happy Days had had the Fonz jump over a shark, tongue kiss Ron Howard, then get sucked into a UFO piloted by Elvis and abducted into the Marvel superheroes universe. The latest ratings stunt of the US establishment’s anti-Russia campaign requires a new term all unto itself:

Russiagate has jumped the bulbasaur.

Sometimes it feels like they’re experimenting on us at this point. Like they’re testing the limits of how ridiculous they can make this thing and still get mainstream Americans to swallow it. Like the establishment propagandists are all sitting around in a room smoking blunts and making bets with each other all,
“I’m telling you, we can sell a Pokémon Go Kremlin conspiracy.”
“Do it!”
“No way. There’s no way they’ll go for it.”
“Yeah well you said that about the Kremlin puppy dogs story!”

And then they release their latest experiment in social manipulation and place bets on how many disgruntled Hillary voters they can get retweeting it saying “God dammit, I knew that jigglypuff looked suspicious!”

And of course, as always, when we read beyond the clickbait “Russia propagandized your children with viral video game apps!” headline we find that when CNN says that Pokémon Go was used to interfere in the 2016 election what they really mean is that there is no evidence whatsoever that Pokémon Go was used to interfere in the 2016 election. We learn that some scarcely-viewed media was used to direct attention to police brutality against African Americans (a subject which should get more attention anyway) by a “Kremlin-linked troll farm” whose Tumblr account now posts about Palestine.

CNN’s source on this matter? Literally cited only as “A source familiar with the matter”.

This is the same outlet, need I remind you, that knowingly staged a fake, scripted interview with a seven year-old girl who can’t speak English for the purpose of promoting pro-regime change war propaganda earlier this year, and sold it to its audience as a real interview. To this day CNN has never addressed this.

So we’re clearly being lied to about all of this, but even if the Russian government did sow leftist and populist ideas online for the purpose of affecting the US election, the most important question remains so fucking what? The US government’s own data shows that it deliberately meddled in the elections of 81 foreign governments between 1946 and 2000 (including Russia), and that isn’t even counting the coups and regime changes it facilitated.

More importantly, who asked the US government to limit and control the information that Americans consume? As we discussed recently, this notion that there needs to be some authority protecting Americans from harmful ideas is exactly the same as the mentality which allows government book burning. So fucking what if Russians used Pokémon Go to direct attention to Black Lives Matter protests with subversive intentions? So fucking what if another government is circulating ideas which don’t benefit US power structures?

The response shouldn’t be to freak out and scare Americans into consenting to having such information restricted, the response should be for the US to advance better ideas. If spreading information about an increasingly militarized police force killing unarmed black men is all it takes for Russia to sway a US election, then the problem isn’t Russia.

Russiagate’s jumping of the proverbial grass-type pokémon occurs in the wake of an increasing number of skillful new eviscerations of the entire establishment Russia narrative, like this one by Consortium News and this one by The Nation. These solid takes dismantle Russiagate from the bottom up, pointing to the fact that we still haven’t seen any solid evidence for the alleged Russian hacking beyond the authoritative say-so of the known liars in the US intelligence community, and take it all the way up to the innate absurdity in the claims about Twitter bots and Facebook ads. With such solid knockout punches landing with increasing frequency, it’s no wonder the deep state propagandists are flailing desperately like an MMA fighter eating leather in full mount trying to convince the referee he’s defending himself intelligently.

They’re lying to us about Russia, and it’s got nothing to do with puppies or Pokémon Go. Russia has been buying up gold like no one’s business and collaborating with China to move away from the US dollar. If you need a reminder, the lies about weapons of mass destruction were dialed up in panic after Saddam Hussein broke with OPEC convention and began selling Iraqi oil in euros instead of dollars in 2000, a practice which was ended weeks after the US invaded in 2003. This, along with Russia’s unapologetic defiance in areas like Crimea and Syria, is why they are lying to us about that country just like they lied to us about Iraq.

Believing the US intelligence community wouldn’t lie about Russia is as stupid as believing that Harvey Weinstein honestly just wanted his shoulders rubbed. Walk away from the stupid now, America. Please. This has gone far enough.

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