From Russia With Lessons

Sid Schwab
4 min readMar 9, 2022


One result of Putin’s criminal war is that it’s conceivable — if unlikely — that devotees of America’s rightwing misinformation mills posing as “news” organizations might notice the lies flowing from Russia’s state-controlled media, and draw comparisons. Putin sycophants, doing his bidding, denying the obvious, reinforcing his lies. Somewhere, deep in disused parts of their brains, the Foxotrumpified might sense certain similarities and look elsewhere for information. It could save America, if not Ukraine.

Facing worldwide outrage, Putin doesn’t care. As his lies are documented, he lies more. His only supporters among leaders are the world’s worst dictators. Sound familiar? Trump still defends him, while insulting America. And he continues to envy Kim Jong Un’s “total control.” Fair warning.

Speaking of the world’s worst, we’ve just seen Lauren Bobert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, about whom “world’s worst” understates, screaming at President Biden during his State of the Union address to Congress. Belligerently. Proudly. Fund-raisingly. Not-reprimanded-by-Republicansly. Owning-the-libs-but-never-legislatingly. The more blowback they get from liberals, the more pleased with themselves they and their ilks, Tucker, Laura, Jeanine, et al., are.

Creating destructive outrage is their horrors d’oeuvre. It’s their most reliable vote-getter/money-maker, because it’s what keeps their misinformed voters/audience coming back. That, and the hypocrisy, never more apparent than when those truckers were blockading Ottawa. Having decried BLM and almost-imaginary Antifa whenever they blocked a road for a while, as if it were America-crumbling revolution against all that’s good, they treated those truckers like the heroes they weren’t. “Law and order” Hannity all but encouraged violence against the Canadian police who were arresting them.

During Canada’s convoy, there were still rules in place to protect citizens from Covid-19; deserving, therefore, protest because freedom. America’s freedom-saving “people’s convoy,” on the other hand, came to D.C. to protest that which was already going away. Possibly realizing their tardy ridiculousness, they didn’t actually blockade. Circling the Beltway for a while, meeting with world’s worsers Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson, confirming everything you’ve thought about that pair. Heading next to Atlanta, maybe, to protest the New Coke.

Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson reached a new low (or high, for those who love his lowness) when he demanded to see President Biden’s SCOTUS nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s LSAT scores. Golly: he never asked about Amy Coney Barrett’s or Brett Kavanaugh’s or Neil Gorsuch’s. Can anyone spot the difference? That was even worse than his fawning defense of Putin because he, Putin, has never harmed him, Tucker, personally; and Tucker is what matters to Tucker. It’s not in spite of such spewage that people watch him; it’s because of it. Truth-seeking people would have abandoned him long since.

But Tucker isn’t the only one disparaging Judge Jackson, whose judicial record is one of excellence, her professional background broad and unique. Because she was once a public defender, though, she’s “soft on crime,” Republican senators claim, unfurling a favorite rightwing shibboleth. And Mitch “Dark Money Poster-boy” McConnel is VERY concerned there’s “dark money” behind her nomination; whereas the dark money behind the aforementioned Trump appointees could pay for an unseized Russian oligarch’s yacht.

For some reason, McConnell forgot to mention Judge Jackson’s endorsements by police. But, having rushed Ms. Coney Barrett through in a minute, he and his obediences remembered to accuse Democrats of rushing Judge Jackson, whose nomination is following a typical schedule. Why wasn’t Mitch turned to stone after his “dark money” and “rushed” twofer? Are there no gods?

Everything is upside down. Climate change is fake, Q is real. Masks don’t work, vaccines kill. Refusing them is patriotic freedom-stuff. Putin’s war is President Biden’s fault. (John Bolton says Putin delayed invading because he was waiting for Trump to withdraw from NATO in his second term.)

Consider the sacrifices made by Americans during WWII; ponder how and why so much has changed. Women turned in their nylon stockings to be made into ropes and parachutes. Pots and pans, too: metal for manufacturing war machines. People accepted, without complaint, rationing of milk, gas, coal, butter, sugar, firewood. And shoes. Planted victory gardens. “Freedom isn’t free,” bray anti-mask whiners, while refusing the minor sacrifice of protecting America by masking up.

Joining hands against actual Nazis, that generation were unreservedly willing to endure hardship, to defend actually-threatened freedom. Now, the Trumpofoxified mistake Dr. Fauci for a Nazi, and themselves for patriots defending not-at-all threatened freedom. What happened? Newt Gingrich happened. Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, Mitch McConnell. Rupert Murdoch. And finally, cherry on the cheeseburger, Donald Trump.

Those Foxified and Fox-loved trucking convoyeurs have it all: selfishness, arrogance, delusion, misdirected anger. Which exposes another thing we’re learning from Putin’s atrocities: what real heroism and patriotism look like.



Sid Schwab

Retired surgeon. Published author. Blogger. Columnist. Losing hope that American democracy can survive Republican attempts to end it.