NO COMPLAINT LEFT BEHIND: Putin may be a little bit nuts!

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2022

The Washington Post plainly is: Apparently, Vladimir Putin believes in something called passionarity.  

We're prepared to make an admission; we'd never heard of passionarity until this very morning. David Brooks describes the "crackpot" concept in this part of his latest column:

BROOKS (3/18/22): “I believe in passionarity, in the theory of passionarity,” Putin declared last year. He continued: “We have an infinite genetic code.” Passionarity is a theory created by the Russian ethnologist Lev Gumilyov that holds that each nation has its own level of mental and ideological energy, its own expansionary spirit. Putin seems to believe Russia is exceptional on front after front and “on the march.” This kind of crackpot nationalism deludes people into pursuing ambitions far beyond their capacity.

In fairness to the very smart Putin, that's a somewhat slender description of "the theory of passionarity." That said, Brooks refers to the theory as a type of "crackpot nationalism," and we'll guess that it probably is.

According to Brooks, passionarity is a type of crackpot theory which is capable of deluding people. That said, if we want to be perfectly honest for once, there's a lot of crackpot ideation floating around, at the present time, within our own badly flawed, flailing tribe.

According to Brooks, Putin is currently being deluded by one type of crackpot theoretics. We know of no particular reason to doubt that claim.

That said, our own liberal / progressive tribe has been building its own structure of crackpot ideation in recent years. One iconic example surfaced again just yesterday morning, receiving high visibility on the Washington Post's web site.

The report in question hasn't yet appeared in print editions of the Post. We'll guess that it will appear in print tomorrow, or in Sunday's editions.

We say that because the lengthy report in question is the fruit of a detailed project by the Post. It's part of the peculiar posture our tribe has adopted, in the past dozen years, regarding matters of race.

In a rational world, Manual Roig-Franzia's report would be hard to fathom. Once again, he and the Post have undertaken the sacralized project of reimagining the unfortunate shooting death of Trayvon Martin, who was just 17 at the time.

You can see why we use the term "sacralized" in Roig-Franza's opening paragraphs. For today, we'll merely note a few of the deeply disordered ways Roig-Franzia has shaped this sacred tribal text.

Is Vladimir Putin "a little bit nutty?" Frighteningly, it well may be that he is.

Journalistically, though, Roig-Franzia is almost totally out of his mind. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, and our self-impressed liberal tribe is increasingly the home of crackpots when we deal with matters of race.

Roig-Franzia's account of Martin's death qualifies as borderline crazy. 

He opens with the Skittles, with played no role in the unfortunate events which occurred. He then starts sacralizing the hoodie, which played no known role in the events of that night. 

Incredibly, he misstates the reason why Martin, who lived in Miami, was in Sanford, Florida on the night in question. In doing so, he joins a parade of others, not excluding the hapless staffer who composed this copy for Oprah:

WINFREY (2/26/22): Trayvon’s story shook me. Along with the volumes of cases of police brutality and deaths of innocent Black women and men, the unjustified violence inflicted on a 17-year-old kid just walking down the street in his father’s neighborhood hit a particular chord within many of us.

Oprah was shaken by the story—but not so shaken that she was able to clearly state where Martin was that night.

As you can see below, Roif-Franzia bungles that basic fact too. Perhaps most astounding is the statement we highlight here:

ROIG-FRANZIA (3/17/22): Martin was shot to death on Feb. 26, 2012 while walking through a community called the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, a north-central Florida city where he’d gone from Miami for a few days to visit his father. He’d gone to a convenience store and was returning to a townhouse where he’d been that night with his father, Tracy Martin, and his father’s fiancee.

He was spotted by a neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman, who called 911.

“This guy looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something,” Zimmerman said.

He also made note of what Trayvon Martin was wearing: a hoodie.

Zimmerman had a gun. A Kel-Tec PF9 9mm handgun. He gave chase. Later, Zimmerman would say there’d been a struggle. There was a single gunshot. Martin was dead.

Had Martin gone to Sanford "to visit his father?" Not really, no. For the record, he only mentioned the hoodie when the dispatcher asked him what Martin was wearing. The claim that the hoodie was a key player came from the Crump legal team.

Having said that, good grief! Zimmerman said there had been a struggle? Novelization that vast is an insult to every American, but also serves as a lasting tribute to human mental disorder.

(With respect to the fact that the Post would actually publish that statement, what can a sane person say?)

As he continues, Roig-Franzia says this incident came to be seen as "another example, among far too many, of a young Black man gunned down." As he says that, he has left open the possibility that no struggle ever occurred at all—that that was just Zimmerman's claim!

We're told that Zimmerman's mother was from Peru, but we're never told that there actually was a fight, or about what seems to have been happening when Martin was "gunned down." This is crackpot tribal novelization—cracked pottery all the way down.

We didn't expect to be knocked off course this week by this astounding report. That said, the near insanity of this report is highly instructive, and should be a point of concern.

Vladimir Putin may be a bit nutty. Because he controls an array of nuclear weapons, everyone should be concerned.

Roig-Franzia may be even crazier than Putin is. He has his hands on the levers of a powerful mainstream press corps. Because our tribe devours the novels which emerge from that guild, we should be deeply concerned.

When it comes to matters of race, ours is a tribe of frightened children. Every incident must be transformed into a childish cartoon.

All the experts say the same thing—there's no point trying to lay this out. But just for the record, few complaints will be left behind—and none will be left unembellished.

There's no point trying to lay this out. Our brains are wired to function this way. Few rational animals walk the Earth. According to major disconsolate experts, it's Storyline, and novelization, pretty much all the way down!


  1. "That said, Brooks refers to the theory as a type of "crackpot nationalism," and we'll guess that it probably is."

    Oh yes, dear Bob, declaring that there are passionate people in this world can't be anything but "crackpot nationalism", no question about that.

    Ha-ha, thanks for the laughs. You're getting funnier by the day, dear Bob.

    "Is Vladimir Putin "a little bit nutty?" Frighteningly, it well may be that he is."

    Oh yes, dear Bob, we're aware of your calculus: any world leader with 70% approval rating is nuts and authoritarian, while any vegetable with 40% approval is the standard of wisdom and democracy. Once again, thanks for the laughs.

    1. It turns out the Establishment loves Putin (thanks, Mao, for letting us know). Why does that not surprise me in the least?

    2. Mao, do you accept a few for keeping tabs on Bob's site, making sure he never takes a look at any problem with right wing outlets? Thanks for coming clean however, on being a Putin fan.

  2. Media reporting that reshapes events to fit a liberal storyline is perfectly acceptable because... bigots.

    This should summarize all posts that follow.

    1. There is nothing at all rational about someone who thinks the media is liberal.

    2. Quote my saying that, chief.

    3. It seems more striking to me that Bob is once again using the sins of the left media in the Martin Case (and there are even worse examples) to justify his own bone headed stupidity in other matters, which I admit you have sometimes noted.

    4. Alright.

      Yes, I am getting a bit worn out by his stuff lately. I feel my days of reading here might be numbered. I miss the good old days, of him railing against how the media was covering Al Gore for example. Earth tones.

  3. Well, I think we have him on the record now. Bob finds Putin "very smart" and "POSSIBLY a bit nutty." The Ukrainian dead salute your honesty.
    Just some speculation.... "Passionarity" sounds much like a major problem in our discourse ..."I am angry, I have deep feeling, therefore, I am correct."
    The old, useful Bob was good as sussing some of this out. Now, he is more likely to be filled with reckless bile himself.

    1. Passionarity... reminds me of Truthiness.

    2. "That said, if we want to be perfectly honest for once, there's a lot of crackpot ideation floating around, at the present time, within our own badly flawed, flailing tribe."

      One person's crackpot ideation does not excuse another's. There is no connection whatsoever between what some people might believe on the left and what people believe on the crackpot right, much less what Putin believes.

      Further Somerby entirely ignores the degree of nuttiness involved. There is a greater extremity of crackpot ideation on the right than on the left. And that does matter.

      Someone believing that Trayvon Martin deserved better treatment, or failing to see any shift in Trump's view of Putin is not in any way equivalent to believing that Putin invaded Ukraine because Dr. Fauci has a lab there manufacturing bioweapons.

      Somerby has been repeating a false equivalence that just makes no sense at all to any sane person. And his use of words such as "possibly", his attribution of positions to made-up experts or analysts or weeping anthropologists doesn't take him off the hook for his failure to react like a normal human being to the truly deplorable things said by the right wing in this country.

      No one gives a shit what Putin believes in. His actions tell the whole story, and he cannot be excused on grounds of mental illness, as Somerby frequently tries to do with right wing malfeasance.

      As for Truthiness, that was a very clever invention of Steven Colbert, who is in no way a Republican and makes it very clear that he abhors them these days. It didn't refer to fake news at all but exemplified right wing disinformation.

      Passionarity may be a serious Russian theory (not truthy) but Russia has a history of belief in theories that wind up being way off base, coupled with a history of belief in the occult and paranormal. That too has nothing to do with right wing disinformation, also known as lies and propaganda.

    3. If you don't know what truthiness is, you probably don't know much about any kind of politics, Rationalist.

  4. And please, don't tell me Putin can be both a butcher and "very smart." Wisdom and low cunning are two different things.

  5. Many liberals, including many in the media, believe that the TRUTH is the prevailing liberal narrative. By that standard, this WaPo article is accurate.

    By this standard, truth can change. E.g., in October, 2020, it was accurate to say that the Hunter Biden laptop information was Russian disinformation. Today, it's accurate to say that the Hunter Biden laptop information was valid. E.g., the New York Times just reported

    The one bit of actual news is that Hunter Biden took out a loan to pay the federal government as much as $1 million in back taxes as part of a continuing criminal probe about his business ventures with foreign corporations and individuals.

    But that fact, which comes in the very first paragraph, is dwarfed by the Times’ bombshell acknowledgment later on. Much later on.

    It’s not until the 24th paragraph that the story mentions emails involving Hunter Biden and his associates in those deals, followed by these two sentences: “Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.”

    1. David, you like tax cheats. You want to make them President of the U.S. What's your problem, you mean the news underplayed a nothingburger story at the precise time your hero was attempting an insurrection? My, my. How unfair of the news media.

    2. Tough break that the laptops were found by Rudy G.
      It would have been a blockbuster story if they were found by someone who isn't being compromised by Russian agents.

    3. Remember recently, when John Durham filed a pleading in his indictment of Michael Sussmann, in which he gratuitously incited misleading false language implying that Hillary Clinton was spying on Donald J Chickenshit in the WH? And all of right wing Crazytowne went absolutely apeshit?

      Who was the first one who came running to these message boards to pile on and tut tut about how horrified he was to learn of such misdeeds by Clinton?

      And then it turned out to be pure Grade A right wing bullshit fed to the RightWing Media Industrial Complex and gobbled up with a shovel to the anxious rubes.

      Take a guess. Yes, David in Cal, the very person who lectures us daily about how the liberal media is so very unfair and inaccurate.

    4. You're on a roll there, this was a well composed piece and humorous. LOL @ Crazytowne and gobbling up with shovels.

      Anyway, you're disappointing David, he wants to talk about Hunter Biden.

    5. After investigation, it was shown that Hunter Biden did not do anything illegal with his taxes.

    6. 3:20,
      In David's defense, it's not Trump being a tax cheat that gives David his thrills. It's Trump's bigotry.

    7. The truth is Florida is a red state, run by Republicans that have decided to not stop throwing money at the police, and yet Florida has had a 20% increase in murders over the last 3 years.

      As Florida slowly sinks into the ocean, and more quickly sinks into fascism and a den of criminals, those of us looking for a nice place to visit or move to can cross Florida off the list, a real shithole state.

  6. Why would these folks want to be on record for opposing the suspension of normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus?

    Lauren Boebert (CO)
    Thomas Massie (KY)
    Matt Gaetz (FL)
    Andy Biggs (AZ)
    Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA)
    Dan Bishop (NC)
    Chip Roy (TX)
    Glenn Grothman (WI)

    They had to know it would pass. So they want to be on record as opposing it? Is this an attempt to gather some QAnon votes or something?

  7. Somerby is upset because Zimmerman was reported as having said he did something, not reported as actually doing it. The report made clear that it was Zimmerman's word, his story, that there had been a struggle. The reporter must describe it that way because this is a situation in which only Zimmerman is left alive and Martin cannot give his side of what happened.

    Somerby insists that Zimmerman must be believed to the point of distoring the reporting by describing something that was not witnessed -- that struggle -- in Zimmerman's terms. But no one actually saw what happened as Zimmerman shot Martin.

    When Stormy Daniels gave her side of a dispute with Donald Trump, Somerby refused to accept a single thing she said about it. He refused to believe that she had been approached by Trump's attorneys to execute an NDA, that Trump's attorney offered the payment, she didn't demand it. That she was threatened by two goons in a parking lot and told to sign it or else. The impetus for the NDA was her mention of having a date with Trump during the time when he was married to Melania, on a TV talk show. She said she never approached Trump and didn't ask him for anything. Yet Somerby describes her as a con artist and grifter who was trying to extort money from Trump. Somerby wasn't there and he didn't witness anything, but he chooses to believe Trump's story, not Daniels', even though Trump is a known liar and Daniels has not been shown to be dishonest in anything.

    So, Somerby is willing to believe stories when they accord with his own biases, but unwilling to believe them when he harbors distrust for the person speaking, as he does for Stormy Daniels (and has on other occasions involving women). That undermines Somerby's ability to claim that the media peddles narratives that accord with preconceived positions, and it undermines the ugly things he has been saying about those who support Martin and disbelieve Zimmerman's assertions (regardless of the jury verdict).

    Somerby is not an unbiased observer, and he is not a media watchdog either. He is here to advance his own narratives and they generally accord with both the political right wing and those who support the actions of bigots, such as Zimmerman and Rittenhouse, two men who have become right-wing causes in the use of lethal force by vigilantes against minorities and protesters.

    Somerby pretends that this is a media problem when he himself engages in the same practices as he accuses the media of engaging in, and in support of the right, not the left. And Somerby is no liberal.

    1. Excellent comment.

      Do you see, Somerby (and his cadre of fanboys)? Y'all have lost and I have won, and all I did was use the truth, it was y'all that stepped into a quagmire (like Putin invading Ukraine.)

      Give a right winger a little rope and eventually they will hang themselves.

    2. "The report made clear that it was Zimmerman's word, his story, that there had been a struggle."

      I believe there was physical evidence of a struggle on Zimmerman. Which kind of complicates the story

      As to Stormy Daniels, didn't she first say it was a consensual encounter? She made fun of him.

    3. "Somerby is not an unbiased observer, and he is not a media watchdog either. He is here to advance his own narratives and they generally accord with both the political right wing and those who support the actions of bigots..."

      You know, sorry, but that's just crazy. Some of you people really need to get your reading skills going.

    4. "She made fun of him."

      No wonder Trump tried to cancel culture her.

  8. Brooks is another Dowd, throwing "intellectual" words around to disguise shallowness.

  9. "When it comes to matters of race, ours is a tribe of frightened children. Every incident must be transformed into a childish cartoon."

    A black teenager left the house to go to a convenience store and he wound up dead. How on earth can Somerby call that a "childish cartoon"? The insensitivity of that remark is astonishing, even coming from Somerby, a man who demonstrates the same level of moral understanding as Cecelia.

    Somerby is unfit to discuss race.

    Clearly Somerby is obsessed with Trayvon Martin, since he keeps returning to this case over and over, always seeking to make the outcome clear-cut when it was and remains murky given the lack of witnesses to the interaction that resulted in Martin's death.

    But racism was not solely in how Martin was shot by Zimmerman. It is inherent in the way Zimmerman, behaving like a true "Karen," called 911 on a black teenager for walking down the street in a neighborhood where he had a right to be. It is inherent in Zimmerman's assumption that Martin was up to no good, based on his belief that robberies were being committed by black gangs of thieves, and his assumption that an unfamiliar kid in a neighborhood must be a thief, needed to be followed and watched (even after the cops told him to leave things to them), and ultimately led to Zimmerman getting out of his vehicle and interacting with Martin, even though he could have driven away at any point. Martin would have had a right to be fearful of a grown man following him or approaching him without any reason. Whether he reacted with bravado or fear, we don't know because there are no witnesses to Martin's actions. But Zimmerman's racism is on full display.

    It is troubling that Somerby cannot see this (or cannot admit it, if he does see it but fails to acknowledge it).

    It is no coincidence that Somerby also complains about the accounts of other "Karens" who invoke the authorities against black people for engaging in the same behavior as white people. Somerby claims he doesn't like the use of the name Karen, but given his attitudes towards women, it seems unlikely he is defending women in this instance. He is opposing the complaints about the white privilege demonstrated by white vigilantes, male and female, who interfere with black people in everyday life, defending their behavior, which sometimes leads to injury or death when police get involved, and always constitutes harassment of minorities by an entitled white bystander who fails to mind his or her own business. And that describes Zimmerman to a T. No one asked him to kill Trayvon Martin and it was wrong for him to do so, and suspicions about black crime are no excuse for taking the law into one's own hands.

    1. You have such ignorant viewpoints.

    2. Do you imagine anyone cares what you think of my comment?

    3. The comment itself employs so many ignorant tropes and such a lack of general understanding.

    4. And if you don't say something specific about which tropes you find ignorant (and why) or which understanding mistakes you think exist, your own comment is meaningless.

      Everyone who visits this site agrees with some things and disagrees with others. A remark like yours adds nothing and isn't worth posting unless you yourself have something to say on the topic. And you don't when you simply call another commenter names.

    5. It's ignorant on so many levels.

    6. "It's ignorant on so many levels."

      Maybe it will replace "Let's Go Brandon" as the go-to economic idea of the Right.

    7. The ideas expressed in the original comment above are ignorant and lack reason.

    8. It's hard to believe someone would express beliefs that ignorant.

    9. We need better trolls here...

    10. It's actually hard to believe anyone can write something that ignorant.

    11. It's so ignorant, it would wrap up the GOP's 2024 Presidential nomination, if it were more bigoted too.

    12. That's not quite what happened with Zimmerman. Most the popular narrative leaves out the details. I think that's Bob's point.

    13. "Somerby claims he doesn't like the use of the name Karen, but given his attitudes towards women,"

      I love this idea that if you don't buy everything "women" say, that means you hate women.

  10. Why does Somerby keep referring to evil-doers as nuts? Is this his way of avoiding calling them evil? It is a bad idea because (1) people who are mentally ill don't generally do evil things, they may do tragic things; and (2) putting Trump and Putin in the same category with those who suffer from mental illness both maligns the many innocent people in that category and lets Trump and Putin off the hook for their inexcusable and deliberate evil actions.

    I find myself wondering what Somerby has against the mentally ill. He keeps equating them with sociopaths and criminals.

  11. Here is what The Palmer Report thinks about Rachel Maddow:

    "This brings us to the crucial 9pm eastern time slot, which Rachel Maddow has occupied for several years. She’s the rare cable news host who delivers top level ratings and top level credibility – most hosts can deliver one or the other, or neither, but not both – which is why she gets the premier time slot and gets paid the big bucks."