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Unfiled November 13, 2002
Quaker Cuts Off Our Johnson
By Mark Ames Browse author Email
Page 2 of 3
"The CDI Russia Weekly is a project of the Washington-based Center for Defense Information (CDI) and receives funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the MacArthur Foundation. To subscribe, please e-mail David Johnson at:" Noam Chomsky

David Johnson has been bought. Carnegie now owns the JRL. Michael McFaul is Carnegie's senior Russia man. Michael McFaul hates the eXile and wants it censored. The last issue of the eXile that I'd sent along to Johnson featured a savage critique of McFaul's most recent evil Beigeist rambling. It wasn't only the eXile which was punished for criticizing McFaul. Johnson even refused to post the Russia Journal's press review of the same McFaul article.

In a sick inverse of Remington razor braggart Victor Kiam's philosophy, McFaul hated us so much...he bought (with donor money) the JRL and censored us!

This isn't the first McFaul-led lynching party we've run into on the JRL. Back in 1998, when Johnson's List was at its peak of influence, a movement to ban the eXile from the list erupted just as the free-market reforms were crumbling. At the time the eXile was the only English-language paper arguing that the Yeltsin regime was savagely corrupt and that Russia was doomed to collapse. McFaul, a Stanford associate professor and Carnegie Endowment analyst, was the Clinton Administration's leading academic apologist for the Yeltsin regime. He quietly led the ban-the-eXile-on-the-JRL movement. He wanted us shut out of the debate because it made his sponsors -- and his relentlessly optimistic op-ed articles -- look bad.

Johnson didn't want to censor us from the list in 1998 because he was still a left-wing idealist and Russophile appalled by the reforms' consequences and the media lies that masked them. He found us to be a convenient attack dog whom he'd let out of the cage to rip apart the establishment. When McFaul started his censorship drive, also using a proxy "anonymous female victim of the eXile" to call for our censorship, Johnson, rather than slamming it, canvassed his readers' opinions. It was his passive-aggressive way of taking a stand through others' courage. As expected, a few dozen Big Names from newspapers and universities demanded that Johnson not censor the eXile. McFaul's censorship drive failed. The eXile was more popular than ever. And the Russian economy -- and the myth about its reforms -- collapsed.

As Russia slipped off America's map over the past three years, the Johnson List withered. Up until 1998, Russia was the yardstick by which America judged its mission in the world. After their collapse, America decided to ignore Russia's woes and blame them on Russia itself.

Now that Russia is less important, McFaul and Johnson have found themselves in bed together out of material necessity. The overstaffed Russia-watching industry in America has collapsed like a provincial Russian city. McFaul's last editorial was a naked plea to the Bush Administration not to forget about the former Soviet Union. McFaul has become so desperate that he even played the "regime change" scare card as a way to attract hardline Republican attention. He failed, but he did stir up a small hornet's nest among Russians who saw McFaul's use of the term "regime change" in Russia as an open military threat.

And now David Johnson -- one time left-wing idealist and Quaker -- has been reduced to playing the hatchet man for the increasingly schizophrenic McFaul just to get his check and pay his bills.

It reminds me of a scene I saw when I was a freshman in college. I roomed with a Mexican named Ricky Ramirez. He was loud, confident and bright. His parents wanted to pay his way through college -- which was relatively cheap since Berkeley then only cost about 700 dollars per semester. But every month Ricky had to drive down to San Jose for his check. That meant enduring fresh humiliation from his father. Once Ricky and his family were in a restaurant with friends. He needed his check. His father said he'd give it to him at the restaurant, if he behaved. The restaurant was full. His father told him that he was sick of giving checks to Ricky, that he was spoiled and arrogant. So he made Ricky beg for the check. Literally beg. In front of the whole restaurant, Ricky had to get on his knees to beg, with his hands up. Ricky's dad laughed loudly and dangled the check above his nose. The other patrons looked away or down at their food as Ricky's dad loudly taunted him. Then he made his son lie on the restaurant floor and roll around like their dog. Ricky did it. His dad laughed loudly and gave him the check.

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The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

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Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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