SYNDICATED COLUMN: Democrats’ Obsession with Russian Election Hacking Makes Them Look Dumb

 

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They got Al Capone for tax evasion — only tax evasion. It wasn’t very satisfying for his prosecutors. But they couldn’t prove murder or racketeering. So they got him where they wanted him: behind bars. It wasn’t elegant. But they got the job done.

Congressional Democrats need some of that prohibition-era pragmatism. They want Donald Trump impeached. But unlike Capone’s tormentors, Dems are largely ignoring Trumpy crimes they can prove in favor of those they can’t — Russian “election hacking” that may not have happened at all.

Democrats seem determined to maintain their status as a political version of the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.
Day after day, Democratic leaders and their allies in corporate media have been going on and on about how “Russia hacked the election.” Exactly what they mean by “hacking” has been so frustratingly vague, and solid evidence so consistently absent, that it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that they’re making it all up or, à la Bush and the WMDs in Iraq, conflating what they suspect with what they know.

This throw-hacking-allegations-at-the-wall-and-hope-they-stick approach has fed a dark alt-right media narrative about an attempted “deep state” coup against a democratically-elected president who won despite the virtually universal contempt of the gatekeeper class.

As the Dems derp around deep in the weeds of their confused and confusing Russia hacking narrative, they’re neglecting the much tastier, low-hanging impeachment fruit they could easily use to hasten the day when D.C. Metro cops frogmarch The Donald out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: straightforward corruption.

Russian hackers may have accessed a U.S. voting machine company. But even the spooks who accuse Russia of “meddling” — whatever that means, no one seems able to articulate — say they didn’t affect the election results. Hillary would have lost anyway. So why is this even a thing? Anyway, there’s almost certainly no tie there to Team Trump. Perhaps not a nothingburger, but useless to Democrats hell-bent on impeachment.

Then there’s the DNC emails posted by WikiLeaks. As I’ve noted before, WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange said he didn’t get them from Russia. Also at WikiLeaks, Craig Murray says they were handed to him by a pro-Bernie DNC staffer. So it was a leak, not a hack. Anyway, even if Russia gave them to WikiLeaks — which looks doubtful — we should thank Team Putin for revealing just how venal and corrupt the DNC was when they decided to cheat Bernie Sanders out of the nomination.

Telling the truth about lying DNC scoundrels who belong in prison is “meddling”?

If so, I’ll take more meddling, please.

The Democrats are right about one thing: there’s lots of smoke. They’re wrong about the type of fire.

The real Trump-Russia connection to look into is about a corrupt quid pro quo. It goes something like this: Trump aides tell their Russian contacts in 2016: if our guy wins the election, we’ll drop U.S.-led economic sanctions against Russia over the annexation of Crimea. In return, you let our guy build as many ugly hotels in Russia as he wants. They might also forgive millions of dollars his businesses owe to Russian banks and oligarchs.

By declaring Trump’s election a constitutional crisis from day one, Democrats have been overreaching. Pushing the “Russia hacked the election” narrative — when there’s still no public evidence it happened at all, much less that Trump had anything to do with it if it did — is getting way ahead of the story.

If Democrats were smart, they’d focus on the corruption angle.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall) is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

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93 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Democrats’ Obsession with Russian Election Hacking Makes Them Look Dumb

  1. There is another datum that has gone unremarked in this polite & logical discussion. Putin recently stated that “patriotic” non-governmental Russian hackers may have had something to do with The Bad Thing. This is interesting for two reasons.

    One, it’s a complete turnaround from his steadfast denial that Dastardly Rooskies were involved. What happened? Did somebody in the very sad intelligence community show him strong enough proof that he can no longer deny it? Or did his own very sad people find the Dastardly yet Patriotic Rooskie Black Hats? I do not claim to know, I only note that his change of tune is definitely interesting.

    Even more interesting is his use of the word “patriotic” – whereas before we could only speculate that the Dastardly Rooskies had motive, we now *know* they had motive because the Biggest, Dastardliest, Rooskie said so.

    But as we all know from the polite & logical arguments tendered by various interlocutors that the Only Possible Reason for The Absurd Bad Thing Theory is because somebody is very sad Hillary lost. Ergo, Putin is very sad that Hillary lost, even though he helped bring it about. Wheels within wheels, feints within feints, those Dastardly Rooskies sure are an inscrutable lot.

    DISCLAIMER: Nowhere herein have I stated that the Dastardly Rooskies did The Bad Thing. Only that we how have proof of motive where before we had only speculation.

    • But what IS the “bad thing”? Did they stuff ballot boxes? Hack into vote counting machines? Manipulate hanging chads? Or is it just generalised hacking or attempted hacking? Every country worth a damn has a cyber warfare department. The US hacks our own allies, Germany, England and France (or are they our allies now?) You would need to show that Trump and Putin colluded together to alter results of an election. I just don’t think it actually happened. Maybe I’m wrong.Trump is a school yard bully who wants to win at all costs but it just seems far fetched. James Bondian.

      • «But what IS the “bad thing”? Did they stuff ballot boxes? Hack into vote counting machines? Manipulate hanging chads? Or is it just generalised hacking or attempted hacking?» As I dared to point out earlier, Meersault, the most effective – and likely, the only effective – thing Mr Putin could have done to help Mr Trump win the late US presidential election would have been for the former to have endorsed the latter’s opponent Ms Clinton, just as Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz has said he was willing to do for John Fitzgerald Kennedy in the US presidential elections of 1964, in the event that Mr Kennedy had survived to run. There are, of course, those who claim to possess «proof of motive», i e, the inner workings of other peoples’ heads, but it is difficult to take such claims seriously….

        Henri

      • @Meursault

        I hope you saw my earlier apology for insulting you, it was entirely unintentional. Calling someone a conservative is fightin’ words!

        This will be long, as you raised several valid points.

        > Every country worth a damn has a cyber warfare department. The US hacks our own allies, Germany, England and France (or are they our allies now?)

        True. I don’t like it when my country does so; neither do I like it when others do so unto my country. However it does strike closer to home in the latter case.

        > … generalised hacking or attempted hacking?

        The leaked NSA doc outlines a phishing attempt against state officials responsible for voter rolls and voting procedures. Malware was embedded in an attached Word doc that was ostensibly documentation for software used by said officials.

        When someone targets specific individuals with payloads handcrafted for those specific individuals we call it ‘spearphishing.’ It requires advance knowledge of their email addresses, who they are, and what they do. It is the very opposite of generalised phishing.

        > But what IS the “bad thing”?

        1) Collusion between a candidate for the highest office in the land and a foreign power who is our traditional enemy.

        2) Covert attempts by a foreign power to influence the US election process.

        3) The relationship between the above.

        > You would need to show that Trump and Putin colluded together to alter results of an election.

        I agree that this is the heart of the matter.

        However, I believe it would be sufficient to show that Trump’s little people colluded with Putin’s little people for mutual benefit. Either we got forked and Russia benefitted therefrom; or Russia got forked & we benefitted therefrom. I haven’t seen the contract. 😉

        > … it just seems far fetched.

        Agreed. Can you provide an alternative explanation for events which is less far fetched?

        Podesta’s leaked/hacked emails. The spearphishing attempt above. Paid shills & fake news artists. Multiple lies from multiple Trump cronies about their contacts with Russians. Trump’s son-in-law attempting to set up a back door communication channel *before* Trump was actually president. Comey’s firing. Trump’s admission that Comey’s firing had something to do with Russia. Trump’s implying he might fire the special counsel. Agreement between multiple international intelligence agencies. Agreement of Republican Senators. Agreement between multiple independent cybersecurity firms with nothing to gain and everything to lose. (Stipulated: we are partway through a discussion of the latter)

        ——————-

        I believe I have addressed all of your concerns. Will you to do the same?

        1) Why did Putin change his tune?

        2) I assert that Putin’s use of “patriot” is tantamount to admission that Russia has motive in The Bad Thing. Do you agree or disagree?

      • > I don’t see how Pootey changed his tune all that much.

        He went from “absolutely, unequivocally, nyet” to “well, maybe.”

        Why?

        > And by calling them “patriots”, he is deflecting even acknowleding the state sponsorship of them.

        Agreed, it’s called ‘plausible deniability,’ and denying state sponsorship is the whole hypothetical reason for the deflecting acknowledgement.

        But that wasn’t the point. The point was that he admitted that it was in Russia’s best interests to defame Hillary / Support Trump. That constitutes ‘motive.’ True or False?

        > you still have to show collusion with Trump or his underlings

        I agree that is the heart of the matter. I have presented an explanation for the publicly-known facts, I am still awaiting a counter-explanation.

        > Hillary was more hawkish toward Russia.

        True. Trump was less hawkish toward Russia – in which case it is in Russia’s best interests to support him. I consider that corroborative evidence for The Bad Thing.

        > Still, where are the recordings? Where is the paper trail?

        This is a fallacious argument, either ‘moving the goalposts’ or ‘setting the bar too high’ depending on what argument the opposition can mount to explain the publicly known facts (enumerated previously)

        > Anything other than innuendo and supposition?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_interference_in_the_2016_United_States_elections

      • @ CrazyH –

        I’ll admit I have some catching-up to do on the various posts, but at this point I am persuaded that your argumentation is far superior to that of those who simply rely upon discounting the “yo-mamma” faction with emotionalism devoid of analysis.

        For example:

        “However, I believe it would be sufficient to show that Trump’s little people colluded with Putin’s little people for mutual benefit.”
        *
        I agree, and that’s why I would welcome a bi-partisan independent commission’s investigation. The points you raise thusfar have not categorized you as a raving lunatic, but rather a concerned citizen who would like to have all the facts available or yet-to-be uncovered. I find no fault in that approach.

    • The whole thing feels alot like yellow cake/aluminum tubes and (if I were alive at the time) Gulf of Tonkin type stuff. I don’t see how Pootey changed his tune all that much. He can’t really deny the existence of Russian trolls and/or hackers. And by calling them “patriots”, he is deflecting even acknowleding the state sponsorship of them. He is basically calling them independent operators. Even if state sponsored Russian hackers were behind the hacks of Podesta and the DNC AND were the source for Wikileaks (and that is still a big if), you still have to show collusion with Trump or his underlings. Unless the NSA has secret recordings of phone calls of Flynn or someone else in the Trump team directly colluding with Russian agents, it is just Russia acting in their best interests, even if it is true. Hillary was more hawkish toward Russia. Obviously, they don’t want to be gone after aggressively by an incoming US administration. Now, I am not saying it is not true. For all I know, Trump is a consigliere to the head of the Russian mafia who himself reports directly to Poots. But none of this proof has been released. You would think if the deep state had something, they would/could release something. Maybe that whole Reality Winner fiasco was their attempt at it. Still, where are the recordings? Where is the paper trail? Anything other than innuendo and supposition?

      • «Anything other than innuendo and supposition?» No, not really, Meersault, – but what can one expect ? The point here is to conflate «collusion» between the Trump campaign and the Russian government prior to the late US election in order to swing the election in Mr Trump’s favour (a dodgy proposition for both Mr Trump and the Russians ; what if Ms Clinton had won ?), for which no evidence has ever been presented, with an entirely different matter, i e, a quid pro quo between a Trump administration in spe and the Russian government, in which decisions positive for Mr Trump’s interests in Russia would be exchanged for, e g, if not the complete removal, at least relaxation of US so-called «sanctions» on that country. If revealed, this latter could be a severe problem for Trump (bribery as grounds for removal from office under Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution), but less for the Russian government – surely they have the right (and the duty) to negotiate with their US counterparts for the removal of sanctions on their country ?…

        The question then becomes why would the powers that run the US prefer innuendo about a matter for which they, at least hitherto, have been unable or unwilling to present evidence to a careful investigation dealing with a matter (hardly limited to the Russians, consider China, Saudi Arabia, etc, etc) in which such evidence is very likely to be forthcoming ? As I have argued previously, it is because the former is, or at least can be framed as, a matter of far greater consequence to a majority of the people of the US – «interference in [our] elections» and thus an «attack on [our] democracy» (never mind that the US continually engages in such attacks on other countries ’round the world ; who in the US gives a tinker’s damn about that ?), while corruption in high office is merely business as usual and a can of worms which those running the country would be reluctant to see fully opened – who, for example, made large donations to the «Clinton Foundation» when Ms Clinton was US Secretary of State and what did they get in return ?…

        This is not to say that post-election negotiations with the Russians will not constitute a part of the investigations presently being carried out or that may be carried out in the future – they certainly will, as that is the only area in which concrete evidence of misdoing is likely to be found – but the emphasis in the media will be on pre-election collusion in order to subvert US «democracy» and evidence for the former will be represented as evidence for the latter….

        So it goes, dans le meilleur des mondes possibles….

        Henri

      • > for which no evidence has ever been presented

        i.e. the following page is blank and does not contain 338 footnotes documenting its blankness. Nor have I listed a half-dozed specific and documented pieces of evidence in this very column. Nor did I make the post at the top of the column after which several people hit the reply button without actually addressing the evidence I didn’t cite in the first place.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_interference_in_the_2016_United_States_elections

        > point here is to conflate «collusion» with an entirely different matter, i e, a quid pro quo

        Conflation is a logical fallacy of ambiguity wherein one tries to confuse one issue with another.

        Relation is a logical process wherein one determines similarities between various items or events. e.g. “Russia” “election” “hacking” “money”and “Trump.” If we were to draw a Venn diagram of those five areas, the area of intersection would be an area of extreme interest.

        Evidence is when we find “relationships” between items or events which may help identify guilty parties. For instance, forensics specialists ask cui bono? as part of their investigations; persons who have benefited from a crime become persons of interest. If an investigator sees a little quid pro quo going on between two persons of interest then this is “evidence” of “motive.” If those parties share other similarities (e.g. Russia, Putin, Trump, Money) then they become persons of interest in the investigation.

        Now that I have addressed your issues (again), would you yet consider answering the question I’ve been asking for the last three months, the one I’ve offered $20 for, the one for which the list of oddly-behaving players keeps growing?

        To wit: Why do Republican senators, multiple international security agencies, multiple private cyber security firms with nothing to gain and everything to lose, investigative journalists, and Vladimir Putin all support Russia-gate? So far as I can discern, the only explanation offered to date is that they are all very sad Hillary lost.

        L’inspecteur Clouseau et la Seine sont pertinents pour cette conversation pour une raison quelconque.

      • CrazyH,

        Your entire premise that all the Republican senators, intelligence agencies, media, etc etc are all staking their reputations on these assertions could have been made about the prelude to he Iraq War, as I have stated. And yet they did it back then. And yet it was based on false premises. And yet they suffered very little long term consequences because 14 yeas later, they are doing it again. Ok, now you have “cyber security agencies” also n the mix. As if they added component matters.

        I have stated in my previous posts why I think this is all happening. It is to defang Trump, make him more compliant and wounded and most importantly to maintain the encroachment and permanent war footing with Russia. That’s it. That is the reason for it. All the parties you listed have an active stake in making sure those things happen.

      • «All the parties you listed have an active stake in making sure those things happen.» Indeed….

        Henri

      • The arguments presented are

        “Congress was wrong 14 years ago, therefore they are wrong now.”

        That’s a fallacy on it’s face, they’ve also been right before – I could just as easily argue that they must be right because they were right at some point in the past.

        The AUMF was passed one week after 9/11. Congress knew for certain that there was a threat.

        “All the parties you listed have an active stake in making sure those things happen”

        But what *is* that stake? Why does the FBI care who’s president? Why would cyber security engineers go along with something they knew was a lie; why would their bosses risk losing their livelihoods over it?

        Why are the GOP senators going along on a witch hunt? The senate had absolute proof that Bush, Cheney et al were war criminals yet they did nothing. Even if all the GOP are being lied to by all the intelligence agencies, I find it very hard to believe that they would go along with the witch hunt for purely partisan reasons.

      • The Iraq War vote and lead up was not part of the AUMF that was passed right after 9/11. There was similar blanket coverage, innuendo, anonymous sources, breaking updates, “leaked info” like there is now. It all turned out to be based on nothing or at most the lucid plotting of Iraqi defector, Codename: Curve ball (that name alone should have sounded alarm bells as to the veracity of the claims).

        Why do the intelligence agencies want a president who is more forceful with the Russians? Is that even a question? Their entire reason for being for the last 100 years has been to counter the Russian threat. It is deeply ingrained in their pysche. It is their raison d’être. The build up of boogymen helps their friends in the MIC. Just as there is a revolving door for politicians to become lobbyists and vice versa, the same is true of intelligence agents and MIC contractors and consultants. It is in their own interest to keep the gravy train rolling.

        As for why cyber security firms would go along with it. I could imagine a scenario where the NSA or other intelligence services offers them a (one of your terms) quid pro quo where if they agree to some made up dossier or files that point the finger at collusion, then they continue to receive access to the backdoors and other tricks and secrets that the spooks use to spy on people. Stuff that helps them detect malware and other intrusions for their clients. We continue to give you our tricks, you go along with this collusion stuff and we will cover your butts if it hits the fan, but it won’t, so don’t worry. If quid pro quo works for motive for Trump and Russia, how does it also not apply to cyber security services and the spooks with all the secret backdoors?

      • And GOP senators don’t want a wild and unpredictable Trump. They want him contained. In power, but contained. That is why there will be no impeachment. It is only to neuter him.

      • “If quid pro quo works for motive for Trump and Russia, how does it also not apply to cyber security services and the spooks with all the secret backdoors?”

        Trump is a billionaire businessman, who already has business ties with Russia. What are the quids and quos for the IC? How do they benefit from insinuating that Russia is a bad guy?

        I’ll hit the other points later.

      • «And GOP senators don’t want a wild and unpredictable Trump. They want him contained. In power, but contained. That is why there will be no impeachment. It is only to neuter him.» I strongly suspect – pure speculation on my part, Meursault – that if GOP senators had their druthers, they’d far prefer a Christian fundamentalist like Michael Richard Pence, who is a known quantity and nothing at all disturbing to their Weltanschauungen, to the unpredictable Mr Trump, of whom they can never be quite sure. But they are constrained by visions of 2018 and 2020, and one thing is certain : Mr Pence lacks his present boss’s ability to mobilise the troops. Thus my conclusion tallies with yours ; i e, they are unlikely to permit Mr Trump to be impeached or removed from office….

        Henri

      • «RE: Russia“[O]ur traditional enemy.”» Perhaps, it’s that galloping senility, Glenn, but I seem to have a vague memory of living through a period in which the Soviet Union (Russia by another name) and the United States were allies. But of course, I may have made the whole thing up, in which case I shall no doubt be corrected by the more intellectually alert among us…. 😉

        Henri

      • @ CrazyH –
        on June 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM said:
        “The arguments presented are….”
        *
        You saved me a lot of time with your post.

        I see suppositions and false analogies that do not even come close to addressing the premise of your argument.

        The possibilities are not probabilities. That’s why an independent inquiry would be beneficial. Truth cannot be ascertained by means of speculation.

      • I certainly think so, derlehrer – and I believe that the judges in any formal debate would do so as well.

        I’m gonna address a couple points & call it good.

        > I … vague memory .. a period in which the Soviet Union … United States were allies.

        I seem to have a vague memory of being taught to hide under my desk when the USSR dropped nukes.

        > Ok, now you have “cyber security agencies” also n the mix. As if they added component matters.

        Actually, I’ve always had them in the mix. And yes, the opinion of experts the field does, indeed matter. Especially when they have nothing to gain and everything to lose. One firm could have been bribed, or interpreted the data incorrectly, but five? No way.

        Let’s take your scenario, they were all promised goodies by the NSA. The NSA wouldn’t quintuple their risk by cutting a deal with five instead of one. With five in the mix, any one of them could have a change of heart and blow the whole thing wide open. I’ve pointed this out before, Duh Donald would pay well for information leading to the arrest of the witch hunters. (and that goes for individual senators, investigate journalists and all the other players in the V3WC.)

        > Congress / Lead up to Iraq war.

        I’ve already pointed up the glaring fallacy in this argument, but let’s drill into it.

        1) The AUMF of 2002 did not pass unanimously as did the bill to sanction Russia.

        2) It was one year after 9/11. We had absolute proof that there was a threat.

        3) The International Intelligence community, the CIA, and and the experts on the ground (Has Blix) Concluded that Iraq was *not* a threat. For Russia-gate, they are all in agreement as to the culprit.

        4) 9/11 was not a partisan act. According to the Con argument, Russia-gate is 100% about Hillary. You can’t have it both ways. If it’s 100% about Hillary there is no way in Hades that the GOP would go along with it. (Let alone the CIA, Interpol, and independent experts)

        > Their entire reason for being for the last 100 years has been to counter the Russian threat.

        The CIA has been much more concerned with the ME as of late. The The Red Scare pretty much went away when the Iron Curtain fell. I’m sure they keep tabs, of course, but the Gravy Train today is all about ISIS.

        But then, if Comey is willing to lie in order to bring about Trump’s downfall, then why did he tell the truth about Hillary’s investigation? They were investigating Trump at the same time, he could have highlighted that instead.

        > Reining in Trump
        That is somewhat plausible, but I can’t see them using a tool that could get him impeached if they simply wanted to control him. Other than Russia-gate, they’ve pretty much supported him every step of the way. A much better way to control him is through the separation of powers as the founders intended. The president can’t make law and can’t fire senators. They could clip his claws and let him destroy himself with his own mouth. There’s no need for them to engage in some wild conspiracy.

        We could argue this down to individual Senators without gaining any ground. We could find individually-customized motives for each and every individual, and different far-fetched explanations for each and action and every shred of evidence. We would wind up with dozens of motives and explanations – but a far, far, simpler explanation is Russia done The Bad Thing.

      • @ CrazyH –

        Do I owe you $20.00?
        (Actually, Ted could use the funds right now.)

      • @delehrer – nope. Don’t let me stop you from helping out our host; but you can not lose unless mhd actually refuses to answer the question he yet to answer.

      • “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” – Carl Sagan

        “With five in the mix, any one of them could have a change of heart and blow the whole thing wide open. ”

        Because we all remember those Google execs doing the right thing and blowing the cover off of NSA’s PRISM program because they thought that letting the government use their system would violate their customers trust and be bad for business. Oh wait, no, it was Verizon ratting out the NSA Tempora program to collect meta-data. No, no, no, it was Yahoo who had the change of heart and couldn’t allow the NSA’s XKeyStroke program to be performed since it collects EVERYTHING anyone types. Wait, was it Sprint? Apple?

        No, it was just an idealistic contractor named Edward Snowden. One guy. All of those companies towed the government line. I would think Cyberstrike and Fidelis and all the others would suffer more greatly from disobeying the Intel services than from not being honest with the general public. After all, Google, Verizon, Sprint, et al all suffered zero long term consequences.

        I did forget your next point though……
        “I’ve pointed this out before, Duh Donald would pay well for information leading to the arrest of the witch hunters.”

        Because we all know after Snowden released the NSA docs, he ended up living the life of luxury. The dude is on a huge yacht with tons of houses…….oh wait, no, he is living in exile in Russia and is persona non grata and enemy number one of the state. And he got off the easiest of the whistleblowers. Chelsea Manning spent years in the big house, some in solidarity confinement just for releasing an embarrassing video of US soldiers laughing while shooting Reuters journalists and other embarrassing telegrams from the State Department about our allies. Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London cause he knows as soon as the Brits get him, he is being extradicted to the US under espionage charges. There are literally no happy outcomes for any of the whistleblowers in the last fifteen years. Do you think whoever is in the know at SecureWorks wants to spend their life in exile or on the run from the US, just to be idealistic and tell the truth. Oh wait, you mentioned money. Yeah, right. You think someone is willing to trust that Trump would be in any position to pay off some whistleblower AND protect them from the deep state from retaliation? You think someone is dumb enough to have that much faith in Trump? For their personal safety?

        You also mention that the Intel services have terrorists to be the boogyman and don’t need Russia. I disagree. It’s hard to justify the types of weapon systems and platforms that the MIC wants to sell based on a fight with a ragtag group of zealots. Who happen to be the proxy army of our friends(?) Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Which makes them our friends? Ok, I won’t go down that Alex Jones rabbit hole. Anyway, the Intel services and the MIC need a big, bad state actor in order to justify buying supersonic jets, advanced nukes, etc etc,etc. The terrorist threat can only get them so far.

    • To CrazyH:

      I note your description of Russia (USSR) as “our traditional enemy.”

      So the baddest, alleged “bad thing” of His Hairness was preparing to no longer consider that entity an enemy?

      And HOW did that UNpatriotic attitude come about: by their committing consensual capitalism*** with each other.

      Yes, surely, we need an investigation of the apparent defiling holy capitalism in that way!!!
      —–
      *** That is, the very capitalism the US, quite in the absence of His Hairness, in-fucking-sisted, for decades, that the then USSR adopt.

      • > So the baddest, alleged “bad thing” of His Hairness was preparing to no longer consider that entity an enemy?

        uhhh, no – that would be a good thing as I’ve mentioned on this very page.

        Making secret deals to the detriment of our nation (and quite possibly theirs as well) is an entirely different matter.

      • RE: Russia“[O]ur traditional enemy.”

        “We have always been at war with Eurasia.”

        No, we must never change; we must always conserve the status quo of our fathers.

        My country right-or-wrong conservative patriotism of the George W. Bush type is in evidence here.

      • Please note the word “traditional” – I, personally, have nothing against Russia or Russians, however our two countries have not had good relations in the past. Right or wrong, that is the reality of the situation.

      • To Crazy H,

        Changing Russia to an EX-“traditional enemy,” as you purport to desire, as distinct from the investigation you insist must happen, are mutually exclusive propositions.

        Your claim that you are concerned only with preventing detriment to BOTH the US & Russia is truly heartwarming.

        However, you seem to be too deluded to see that an investigation outcome*** most damaging to His Hairness will have HRC and her newly found neo-con allies screaming for, and likely getting, much more serious mutual detriment than any alleged, essentially standard government-issue “secret deals” could ever possibly have caused.

        Just for comic relief, do expound on the nature of one or two of aforementioned, postulated “secret deals.” You should also explain how ALL of the His Hairness administration’s (or HRC’s, for that matter ) “PUBLIC deals” (domestic and foreign) are/would be completely beneficial to the world’s “little people.”

        And also, DO cut the “well-respected company” sanctimony. The “well-respected” Amazon Inc, shortly after acquiring the Washington Post, then obtained a CIA contract††† worth double the price just paid for the newspaper.

        If the DNC legitimately wanted government backing for their hacked computer claims then they should have given their servers, as were requested, to the FBI instead of buying an “analysis” from a private entity. That antic stinks of blatant fraud.
        ———

        *** (I do NOT imply, assume or expect an outcome based in truth, NOR a motive for the investigation beyond expedient hysteria over a “traditional enemy”)

        ††† tell me that was NOT a secret deal NOR is it detrimental to both US and Russia residents.

    • “Ruddy … told PBS that Trump is considering terminating the special counsel.

      But a source close to the President told CNN’s Jim Acosta that Trump has been advised to avoid such a dramatic move.”

      No shit? They shoulda told Trumponovich that BEFORE he fired Comey for doing the job he had previously praised him for. I’m pretty sure we’ve got Trumpovsky dead-to-rights on an Obstruction charge.

      One might wonder why he is trying so hard to obstruct an investigation into something that doesn’t exist in the first place. If he knows for a fact that there is nothing to Rooskigate, then that special counsel can do no less than clear his name.

      On the other hand …

  2. The Senate voted 97-2 to impose sanctions against those Dastardly Rooskies for an absurd absurdity that absurdly never happened in the first place. Seems like the majority of the GOP Senators are very sad that Hillary lost and have joined the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. Maybe they’ll have to rename it the ‘Vast Two Wing Conspiracy.’ Oops, can’t forget the Berni Bros, ‘Vast Three Wing Conspiracy’

    • The vote in the Senate to authorize the war in Afghanistan was 98-0 with two not present. In the House, it was 420-1. Yet, Osama Bin Laden was in Pakistan the entire time.

      The vote on the Iraq War, while not as big of a runaway, was 77-23 in favor. Even after the most farcical presentation to the UN by poor Colin Powell that even a third grader would call BS on.

      The votes of our representatives don’t give validity to silly foreign policy. It only means they are a monolithic block subservient to the true power in the world ($$$) and not the people.

      • @Meursault

        You were both quicker and more accurate than I was.

        Thanks for making the point.

      • @Meursault-

        I make a lot of posts which are snarky, satirical, and downright insulting to those who support the Con position in Russiagate. Please do not interpret those comments to be directed at you, personally. Rather they are directed at those Cons whose only arguments to date have been:

        A) Hillary
        B) Absurd
        C) I already told you that but you were too stupid to understand

        You introduced me to my first new idea in this ongoing debate, i.e. “Bernie Bro may have been burned.” That’s plausible – it does raise other questions and I’ll be happy to discuss them at a later date – but it is most definitely plausible.

        > “Go Engineers!”

        Oh, heck yeah. We are trained in thinking logically and in backing our conclusions with facts & logic. To do otherwise is to invite ridicule from the only people who matter: other engineers. I could market a 100 MPG carburetor – and the rubes would absolutely buy it – but I would be mortally humiliated the first time a fellow engineer pointed out that the advertised specifications violated the laws of physics. Anyone who’s been through a design review knows what I’m talking about. Other engineers, armed with Newton’s Laws and Big O Analyses are going to poke holes in MY BABY!! If I can’t defend my designs with the same tools: I lose. Incontrovertibly, irrevocably, absolutely, undeniably lose, look silly in front of my peers, and perhaps be unable to find a job in my chosen profession ever again so long as we both shall live.

        I look forward to further interesting discussions with Meursault, and invite others to try this new totally form of discussion.

      • @ derlehrer

        “…the only people who matter….”

        😀 Ab-So-Lute-Ly!

        Or rather, those who matter in discussions of the subtle science and exact art of Engineering. I assume without rancor that you would discount my opinion on idiomatic French in the same way.

        But my underlying point had to do with *how* we discuss those differences in opinion, rather than who holds them.

        Engineers do it with precision!

        BooYa!

      • I fell victim to that elusive “Reply” button, so permit me to post again here, in the proper thread:

        @ CrazyH –

        Somehow that subtle distinction was lost on me, since the current discussion revolves around Russian involvement in the U.S. election, rather than engineering. Now, were we discussing the collapse of the Sullivan Building at the World Trade Center, I would disqualify myself as having no expertise or knowledge of the subject matter.

        Even though I don’t matter with regard to the “Russia meme,” I do have an opinion; and it remains opinion until further evidence is available.

        🙂

      • Wow!

        If only everyone knew that engineers were omniscient masters of the universe, imagine how so many great disasters could have been prevented.

        Like:

        “Following a major earthquake, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident on 11 March 2011.”

        If only these power plants had been designed and built by engineers, this disaster could have been prevented.

        I’m sure if engineers were involved in building the three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, they would not have allowed their oceanside building site to have been reduced in height and made vulnerable to a tsunami of the type that had occurred there before.

        I could provide a list of catastrophes caused by engineered designs, but I’m sure that like so many engineers I have known, one convinced of his being an inviolable font of truth can be shockingly immune to the possibility that he could be wrong.

        So I won’t waste time engaging in this discussion beyond where I find amusement in it.

      • «If only everyone knew that engineers were omniscient masters of the universe, imagine how so many great disasters could have been prevented.» Indeed. That being said, Glenn, perhaps a cadre of leaders with training in engineering, as in China, are to be preferred to a cadre of leaders with training as attorneys, as in the US. The validity of an engineering (or natural scientific) conception is, after all, subject to confirmation or refutation in the natural world, albeit it might take centuries to obtain. The «truths» peddled by lawyers, however, are rarely of such nature as to be subject to any type of confirmation or refutation….

        On the other hand, it’s amusing to see the leader of the «yo mamma …» contingent claiming that «[w]e [therewith including herself/himself !] are trained in thinking logically and in backing our conclusions with facts & logic.»

        O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
        To see oursels as others see us !…

        Henri

      • Glenn, I hope those comments about engineers is not being broadbrushed to include me. I don’t think I am infallible. I am wrong all the time and learn something new everyday. At least that is my goal: learn at least one new thing every 24 hours. “All I know is that I don’t know nothing” – Operation Ivy paraphrasing Socrates.

        CrazyH, do you think I am a conservative? Is that the implication? Wow. Not even close. However, I don’t believe in the antiquated, binary left-right spectrum. If you must categorize it, I think it has to be more of a cube. You would have individual rights, libertarians on the far right, collectivist, group power Communists on the far left. You would have statist, corporate–state facists on the top (third way politics). And anarchy on the bottom of the cube. Even with that, I don’t know where my politics would fall. Definitely more to the left and bottom than the right and top though.

      • > . CrazyH, do you think I am a conservative?

        NO! In fact, I have got no idea how you got that idea.

        Glenn & henri, you seem to have completely missed the point (as usual). No, Engineers are neither omniscient or omnipotent. However, we are able to hold polite discussions with those with whom we disagree. We operate on facts & logic, and our most heartfelt opinions can be changed by same. So far as I can tell – this is not true of many other professions.

        Sad.

      • @Meursault – I think I get it, I have been using the word Con in the sense of Pro & Con, as used in debate. The Pro side is attempting to prove the RESOLVED, while the Con side is attempting to disprove it.

        I can totally see where someone would see that as “CONservative” – so my apologies for inadvertently giving offense.

        For the record, the RESOLVED I am defending is, “There is sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation into Russia-gate”

      • @Meursault

        “Glenn, I hope those comments about engineers is not being broadbrushed to include me.”

        I never mean to intentionally broadbrush anyone or wish to be perceived as one who would myself overgeneralize and inadvertently close communications.

        I do find that engineers in general have a conservative orientation, and that many do not examine social issues outside of their profession, but hold the belief that their work itself somehow “makes the world a better place.”

        See C.P Snow:
        “A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?[5]

        “I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question — such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? — not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their Neolithic ancestors would have had.[5]”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Two_Cultures

        No, Meursault, for what it’s worth, you’ve given me no reason to think of you as anything but an intelligent and sincere person.

      • @ CrazyH –

        «For the record, the RESOLVED I am defending is, “There is sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation into Russia-gate”»
        *
        Good! Let’s begin again from that point and get away from all the taunts and belittling comments that serve no purpose other than to arouse one’s ire. Okay, Everybody? (I’m still here to learn specifics from all of you.)

        That premise is not the same as an outright statement that “Russia hacked the election,” so it appears to me to be a reasonable starting point.

      • @derlehrer.

        Works for me, in fact that’s all I’ve wanted to do since day zero.

    • Then it must be true that the Russians are responsible.

      Just as true as when they voted with similar numbers to go to war against Iraq for being an existential threat to America.

      • > Then it must be true that the Russians are responsible.

        :: Sigh ::

        I didn’t say that. Only that a great number of people seem to believe it. *IF* it’s all made up by the Democrats who have no evidence; *IF* it’s all about Hillary; *IF* it’s all a partisan witch hunt, then *WHY* did the GOP overwhelmingly support it? All our recent DC slappy-fights have been divided precisely along political lines. Clinton, Bush, Obama, Clinton…

        If you wish to bring up AUMF, you must first stipulate that Afghanistan and Iraq were directly involved in 9/11 and that demolishing their countries was ‘necessary and appropriate’ ‘cuz that’s what that legislation authorized. (And also that B. Sanders “voted for the war”)

    • @ CrazyH –

      Somehow that subtle distinction was lost on me, since the current discussion revolves around Russian involvement in the U.S. election, rather than engineering. Now, were we discussing the collapse of the Sullivan Building at the World Trade Center, I would disqualify myself as having no expertise or knowledge of the subject matter.

      Even though I don’t matter with regard to the “Russia meme,” I do have an opinion; and it remains opinion until further evidence is available.

      🙂

      • @derlehrer

        > were we discussing the collapse of the Sullivan Building at the World Trade Center …

        EXCELLENT example. I love discussing the events of that day with fellow engineers. (That’s how my first impression thereof was changed. The Official Conspiracy Theory violates the laws of physics. It doesn’t matter who said what when, Newton said it first.)

        > I do have an opinion; and it remains opinion until further evidence is available.

        Bingo. Let us continue. 🙂

  3. It took years (and his own stupidity) for the constabulary to figure out who was Dread Pirate Roberts, but they managed to conclusively identify the hackers of the DNC as Russian KGB agents in a matter of days. Simple logic says that the ‘classified evidence’ does not, in fact, exist. No matter. Every Clintonbot knows St Hillary was the very best candidate for president the US has ever had. Washington and Lincoln, both honourable men, would have stepped down and insisted St Hillary be appointed president if they’d been running against her (unlike the traitors Sanders and Trump). No decent American could possibly have voted against her, which irrefutably proves that she only lost because Trump tweeted Putin passwords to all the voting machines.

    Plus, 17, count ’em, 17 anonymous sources called the Washington Post and the New York Times and said they were senior SES Clinton and Obama appointees to intelligence agencies, and they had irrefutable proof that Russian hacking was responsible for Trump’s win (but the proof is classified, so don’t ask).

    The only ones who can see the slightest flaw in this logic are, of course, deplorable Fascists like Mr Rall (who calls himself a progressive), but who can’t see the TRVTH that St Hillary would have been the Greatest President the US of A would have ever had (and who promised she’d force regime change in Russia, which would have been easier than regime change in Iraq or Libya, since she’d learned how to do it better and cheaper, and with absolutely no risk that a single American life could possibly have been lost).

    So forget the fact that Trump is in egregious and provable violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution: he’s a traitor who helped a vicious foreign enemy of the US alter the results of a US election!

    • Not only all that, but also the fact that he’s guilty of nepotism — which I’m certain is forbidden somewhere in the U.S. Constitution.

    • «No decent American could possibly have voted against her, which irrefutably proves that she only lost because Trump tweeted Putin passwords to all the voting machines.» Not to worry, Michael. Amendment XXVIII to the US Constitution, which deprives citizens who are not «decent» and fail to vote for the right candidate (unless they can provide a notarised medical certificate attesting to their inability to vote) of their citizenship will soon remove this glaring anomaly from the corpus politicus….

      Henri

  4. Beautifully put, Ted.

    I value your tenacity in sticking to the facts.

    This article will, in my opinion, make corporate media opinion makers—and their gullible faithful—very uncomfortable, providing, of course that they retain some ability, in their rage, to analyze.

    Many plebeians claim to speak from “common sense”, a common sense informed by the same corporate media that always manages to create new Hitlers wherever it finds its path to empire obstructed (Manifest Destiny), and so demonizes journalists who might dare to question the veracity of their baseless but “patriotic” proclamations (along with liberal use of other words alluding similarly to the sacredness of their missions). Who could oppose the “Patriot Act” without being accused of being unpatriotic?

    Americanism is one many ideologies that regularly threatens actions up to and including lethal violence once a “common sense” has been manufactured (and been proven— in some cases—to be assimilated sufficiently by the plebeians through polling), despite absence of evidence, and then promises self-forgiveness and absolution, without ever needing apologies or reparations to the innocents wrongly targeted.

    Has everyone in the United States of Amnesia forgotten the “Slam Dunk”, as in, It was a “slam-dunk” that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

    And so how better to counter these opinion-based constructed convictions than to become as fanatically fervent to the other party’s project against another demonized enemy but by the same means, one might ask, because a raging populism regularly proves to exercise hegemonic control over reasoned analysis?

    So, it seems that what we get, whether from Trump or Hillary is really what we deserve for being the plebeian patsies that we as a culture have proven ourselves to be.

    Good Day.

    • «This article will, in my opinion, make corporate media opinion makers—and their gullible faithful—very uncomfortable, providing, of course that they retain some ability, in their rage, to analyze.» Alas, Glenn, that strikes me as unlikely ; Ted’s article will simply be ignored by the corporate media and thus unavailable to (most of) their gullible faithful. And rage, particularly against those dastardly Russians, is far less demanding of one’s resources than analysis….

      One can’t expect too much of the «yo mama» contingent….

      Henri

  5. Do they actually want to impeach him? I don’t know. If I were a Democratic politician and (crazy as this sounds, of course) a careerist with no significant scruples or real concern for the state of the nation, I’d probably want Trump in charge. He’s much more fun to rail and run against than Pence or Ryan would be. I’d probably think, well, he probably won’t run the country into the ground, realistically speaking, so we’d still have something to fight over. And in the meantime he can drag the Republicans down with him. Impeach? Pfft!

    • «He’s much more fun to rail and run against than Pence or Ryan would be.» Indeed he [i e, Mr Trump] is, Daniil, but on the other hand, he arouses a degree of passionate support among certain groups that Messrs Pence and Ryan could never achieve. After all, he did win the late US presidential election (which was, admittedly manipulated, not by «the Russians», but rather by the blatant disenfranchisement of people likely to vote the wrong way – interesting that unlike the former, the latter is almost never mentioned). I submit that the DNC Democrats continue to regard Mr Trump as a clear and present electoral danger, which they would like to see removed with prejudice prior to the 2020 US presidential elections….

      Henri

  6. Ted, Ted, Ted-

    Careful, your pro-Trump bias is showing.

    Enough evidence has been provided that Russia attempted to influence the election that it should be blatantly obvious to anyone who isn’t suffering from HDS; that alone should be enough to invalidate the election. (Personally, I’d favor an entirely new election, with no one who ran in 2016 allowed to run again). But put that aside for a moment. . .

    Far more evidence has been offered that Russia attempted to influence the election than has been offered that the DNC did anything illegal, let alone anything that changed the vote totals in the primary in a way that would have affected the outcome.

    Could they have been more even handed? Sure. And by the most absurdly generous of estimates Bernie might have gotten 100k more votes if they were. He lost by 4 million or so votes. The idea that the DNC changed the vote totals by that much is a fallacy unsupported by any evidence; certainly not by anywhere near the amount of evidence that Russia tried to interfere in our election.

    Yet you tout your unproven theory as fact and claim the Russia theory (again, which has more evidence) as bogus. Because you’re biased, and it shows.

    Lastly the Democrats are absolutely correct to call Trumps administration “a constitutional crisis from day one” He’s been in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution practically from the second he was inaugurated.

    If that doesn’t fit your definition of “constitutional crisis”, the problem isn’t with the Democrats. It’s with your dictionary.

    • Whimsical

      While I have little doubt the Russians try to influence our elections, who cares? Even if they were responsible for the DNC emails being published, they were real emails. So what’s the issue? We do much worse in other countries elections, hell, we violently overthrow governments we don’t like. If Trump et al were colluding with a foreign power to throw the election, that would of course be an issue, but it seems unlikely. As Ted points out, corruption is the issue, and while I think Ted is right corruption with Russia is an issue, you’re right the emoluments clause is also a corruption issue. I think Ted would agree about that. Ted wasn’t arguing Trump was good, he was arguing that liberals are approaching the whole thing completely the wrong way.

      • >While I have little doubt the Russians try to influence our elections, who cares?

        I care. And hopefully everyone who is interested in making sure elections are free and fair; i.e. not corrupted by outside influences cares. . .

        > Even if they were responsible for the DNC emails being published, they were real emails.
        Which proved nothing other then that the DNC wanted the Democrat to win the primary. *gasp* shocking, but hardly evidence of vote total altering.

        >So what’s the issue?
        The issue is those who take DNC cheating as gospel, and come up with conspiracy theories to justify ignoring Russian interference when far more evidence has been presented for the latter than the former.

        > We do much worse in other countries elections, hell, we violently overthrow governments we don’t like.
        Irrelevant. Nothing the government does in other countries (no matter how bad it is , or how much we’d like it stopped) invalidates American citizens’ rights to an election free from interference.

        > If Trump et al were colluding with a foreign power to throw the election, that would of course be an issue, but it seems unlikely.
        Disagree completely. Perhaps not Trump himself (I doubt he has the emotional/intellectual capacity for such negotiations), but far from being unlikely, it’s a virtual certainty that those in Trumps circle negotiated those deals on his behalf, which makes him just as guilty as if he had done it himself.

        Furthermore, I have no doubt that such will be proven, eventually. Oh, perhaps not to the satisfaction of the tinfoil hat, “the government is lying” crowd; but to the standards of reasonable people? Absolutely. The only question is how much damage will Trump do until then?

        >Ted wasn’t arguing Trump was good, he was arguing that liberals are approaching the whole thing completely the wrong way

        Not my takeaway. He seems highly dismissive of impeachment, when my take is the Democrats should’ve been filing impeachment from day one and using discharge petitions to force votes on them.

      • «The issue is those who take DNC cheating as gospel, and come up with conspiracy theories to justify ignoring Russian interference when far more evidence has been presented for the latter than the former.» The quality of the so-called «evidence» for the «Russians hacked the elections» meme is analysed in this article by James Carden. On the other hand, what does Mr Carden know, compared to an authority like our whimsy «Whimsical» ?…

        Henri

  7. I think everyone is missing why this Russia silliness is going on in the corporate media. I don’t think the Democrats or the deep state or globalists want to impeach Trump at all. They all were horrified when they heard Trump on the campaign trail speak almost extemporaneously “Why can’t Russia and us be friends?” This is the sin that he committed. For the last 20+ years, no matter which side of the corporatist coin is in power, the policy has been encroaching more and more into Russia’s backyard. Encircling them. Hearing Trump say “Why can’t we be friends?” was completely alternative programming. It had to be corrected. So they make any type of reproachment with Russia an impossibility for Trump by saying they helped him win the election. After all, they love almost all of his other retrograde, trickle down, corporate friendly policies. Most of his proposals are things they couldn’t even dream would come true. Tearing apart the EPA, Department of Education and on and on. Any department that helps the common rabble at all is on the chopping block in order to deliver that filthy luchre to those who don’t need it in the form of tax cuts. The other problem with Trump in the eyes of the corporatists is his unpredictability. By mortally harming him, he becomes more compliant, less independent. They can dial up or down the Russia heat as needed to make sure he fully serves their interests. So impeachment is not even on the radar, they are totally on board with 97 % of his policies.

    • @Meursault –

      Nice analysis.

      The corporatists do hate T. Rump’s unpredictability just as they fear him as a highly successful competitor. One which is currently occupying the highest office in the land.

      They totally despise Don Jon even as they are kissing his most prominent feature. It’ll be fun to watch that relationship disintegrate once he’s no longer longer ‘Mr. President.’

      • The myopic focus on supposed Russian shenanigans is even more relevatory to the entrenched long term goals of the think tanks and true policy makers when you think of recent history. When Trump was spouting these incongruously peace-seeking statements about Russia, there was a moment when the unwashed masses started to mull around the idea “Yeah! Why CAN’T we be friends?” You started to hear rumblings of it from Breitbart radio callers and in comments sections of news stories. How much of that was “Russian trolls”, who knows? Obviously Russia and Putin are not a progressive, liberty loving nation, but we are allies with Saudi Arabia and a ton of others who are way worse. The corporatists felt the zeitgeist changing and that would unravel plans that have been in the works for a long time. The MIC relies on the Russian (and Chinese) boogyman in order to maintain or increase their budgets and profits. Any change is not going to fly.

      • Great song! I think the counter refrain from the power mongers is “No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop us now!” from Rage Against the Machine. Turning a lyric that was supposedly a people vs. power statement on its head.

        I read your analysis in the comments below and while you make some cogent points, I have to address one. You mention that this level of blanket news coverage on Russia/Trump collusion would require a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. In the same vein as HRC’s Vast ring wing one. I don’t think it requires that. It only requires employees being loyal to their organization. And I think it is easier accomplished than you think. We are talking about employees of the media, Intelligence agencies, government, etc. I think employees of all stripes in all fields buy into the company line eventually and rather easily and quickly. It’s necessary to maintain employment, let alone receive promotions. It is not hard to convince yourself if you are in a profession that upholds the current world order that Russia is a threat to the western world and must be contained. They do some dastardly things, as all countries do. Holding the line and protecting the citadel against the Russians is an easy pill to swallow. It takes giant balls to buck the system like Edward Snowden did. It’s not in most folks’ human nature to sacrifice yourself for a principle. Self preservation is typically all the motivation you need. When you throw in the fact that it is financially lucrative for you to tow the party line, it makes it even easier to go with the flow.

      • Hey, Meursault –

        First, I would like to thank you for having a polite, fact-based conversation. I have no problem discussing differences, especially when those differences are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.

        The VLWC hypothesis is partially tongue-in-cheek, but not entirely. It could be pulled off, I can see the intelligence agencies lying to the public (for the public good of course 😉 but I can’t see them aligning with the dummycrats; the authoritarian police-state mentality of the repugnants is much more appealing to them.

        I have a real hard time believing that the multiple independent cybersecurity firms would do so. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose. I’m an engineer with some small amount of expertise in the subject. In order to make definitive statements like that you need hard data, data that can be shown to others who will either come to the same conclusion or disprove it; again using hard data.

      • I am an engineer as well. I guess guys like us can have level headed discussions without it devolving into instant ad hominems and logical fallacies. Go engineers!

        I guess when it comes to multiple cyber security firms having hard data that there was collusion or hacking or tampering going on, either I have to take Ted’s line of thought, “Where is it?” I know, I know, it’s classified and would reveal methods and sources. I just am unaware of what this hard data is. It’s possible it is out there and I jus have not read about it. I am a busy engineer, only so many hours in the day. Until I know what that hard data is or even the nature of it, it’s tough to speculate. It could be only the higher ups in these companies claim to have this data and the underlings just take it as truth by authority. I don’t know.

        I get the feeling that the hacking/tampering/colluding argument is strictly based on Russian trolls on news comments sections. Obviously they are on there. They are easy to spot by their diction and stilted English language skills. But alot of countries have an army of trolls online. Israel pays college kids to defend their policies online. They even have a special name for it: hasbara. I am sure there is an analogue program the CIA or some other agency runs for the US. I would bet over 50% of commenters on news stories might be some countries’ trolls.

        I see you agree that the spooks could keep a lie going pretty easily. Same with the media. Only the heads of those organizations know what is really going on. The Anderson Cooper’s and Megan Kelly’s of the world get told what to say, how to frame it and what spin to use. Being able to keep in character in real time is the skill they were hired for.

      • Yep, “gotta keep the investigation secret” could either be a True Fact or Plausible Deniability. Convenient that way.

        The leaked NSA document gets pretty specific about methods, tools, and includes signatures for binaries (but no actual binaries). All of those could be lies, of course, but if this goes to trial someone will ask to see those bins in operation and determine whether the signatures match. They’ll also want to see the original emails, server logs, etc. What’s the damn word for ‘evidence pertaining to how it was obtained, who had it, and when’? Anyway, they’ll want to see that, too.

        The only certainty at this point is that the sheer political theater will be entertaining for some time to come.

    • As a Russian, I’m not sure if I want us to be friends. I have nothing against America and Americans, but I do think that Cold War 1.2 (which is all it’ll ever be) would do us a lot of good in terms of forcing Putin to do more to bribe the population and forcing the oligarchs to invest more money back home. Can we please have some REAL sanctions, not the phony, barely noticeable Obama ones? Please! 🙂

      • I guess I don’t understand. How would more or tougher sanctions help the common Russian citizen? Getting off of a permanent war footing would (ostensibly) clear up more budget for domestic needs instead of bigger, badder weapons. Would either the power brokers in Washington or Moscow spend the peace dividend domestically? Probably not. They would probably give it to their rich crony friends, but maybe not.

      • Hi, Daniil, I’ve worked with several Russian ex-pats, some of them even became my friends. Contrary to what our elected officials would have us believe, they appear to have no fangs and are not prone to eating babies.

        So, yeah, I’d like to be friends – we can start by talking amicably here. Perhaps some day we can persuade our leaders to do the same.

      • Meursault – ostensibly is the word. I don’t think we’re getting off the permanent war footing regardless because it is profitable and because America is not the only possible enemy to arm against. (There is always “Terrorism”, if not China.) Meanwhile, freezing elite bank accounts and making it harder for them to invest in the West would make the 1990s-2010s Russian elite business model of sucking all resources out of the country and putting them somewhere else either impossible or considerably less convenient. They’d be forced to invest more here.

        Aside from that, our agriculture is already doing better due to the counter-sanctions – bans on assorted nonessential European foodstuffs. Of course, the government would not have inconvenienced itself in such ways if it had not felt that it was “provoked” by Western sanctions in the first place. Meanwhile, waving the livelihoods of entire villages is worth enduring some pathetic sabre-rattling. Import replacement is the best hope for sustained domestic economic development in any country. Don’t forget the effect of being unable to trade with Europe during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars had on the American economy. See also Latin America and the experience of import replacement in most countries there, likewise often combined with foolish political posturing.

        On the whole, OF COURSE it would be even better if we had a responsible government that was able to maintain good relationships with foreign countries while also conducting a policy of intelligent protectionism and dirigisme at home. Basically the same old anti-free trade argument that the owner of this site has made many times and that I am inclined to agree with, at least in our case. But if such a government is not available (and currently it is not – the existing opposition is miles worse than Putin, as are most of the people likely to succeed him) then I’d definitely take Putin doing the right thing for the wrong reasons again, and a Cold War 1.2 seems like the best way to get that.

    • «I don’t think the Democrats or the deep state or globalists want to impeach Trump at all. They all were horrified when they heard Trump on the campaign trail speak almost extemporaneously “Why can’t Russia and us be friends?” This is the sin that he committed. For the last 20+ years, no matter which side of the corporatist coin is in power, the policy has been encroaching more and more into Russia’s backyard. Encircling them. Hearing Trump say “Why can’t we be friends?” was completely alternative programming. It had to be corrected. So they make any type of reproachment with Russia an impossibility for Trump by saying they helped him win the election.» An excellent point (although I’d disagree that the deep state doesn’t want to impeach Trump – after all, his replacement, Michael Richard Pence would be much more malleable and much more predictable, and no risk at all). As Ted (and the undersigned) have pointed out previously, there are two distinct issues here – one the «Russians hacked the elections meme», on which many column kilometres have been expended, but for which no substantive evidence has been presented, and another the corruption question, as to whether a quid pro quo has been reached by Mr Trump and others in his administration in which certain US policy decisions would be taken in exchange for concessions favourable to his or his family’s private interests in Russia – or China (think Ivanka Trump’s trademarks), or for that matter, Saudi Arabia – for which evidence would seem to be abundant and easily obtained….

      The question is why it is the former tack, rather than the latter which has been the main thrust of those opposing Mr Trump, when one would think the other way ’round would have been the clear and obvious path to take. My speculation is the following – «the Russians hacked the election meme», especially when coupled to the notion, for which, similarly, no evidence has been presented, that this had been done in collusion with Mr Trump’s campaign, is preferable, for several reasons. For one thing, people in the US (and elsewhere) are fairly inured to corruption in their political leaders (Mr Trump is hardly unique, even if he tends to do things on a grander scale) and such a charge doesn’t quite carry the weight of «colluding with the enemy to destroy our democracy». Moreover, the lack of substantive evidence is, in some ways, a feature not a bug – since no evidence which can be examined is presented, the question in the end boils down to the trust one reposes in the (un)intelligence agencies, whose «assessments» are that it was those dastardly Russians that did it. Either one believes Mr Trump, or one believes people like James Brien Comey or James Robert Clapper (all honourable men, of course), and who could believe a word that issues from Mr Trump’s mouth (or his Twittter account) ? That the deep state prefers a situation in which these agencies become the arbiter of truth or falsehood to one in which evidence can be publicly examined is, to my mind, a given ; it further increases their already bloated power (for which , nota bene, the US Constitution does not provide and about which it has absolutely nothing to say). Besides, examining too curiously allegations of corruption by Mr Trump could open a can of worms ; after all, his predecessors and rivals do not seem to have been overly reluctant to enrich themselves in exchanges with members of foreign governments, even if the preferred means for doing so were «foundations» rather than hotels, and his successors might just possibly want to do a few deals of their own….

      Say what one will about US politics, but it leaves little to the imagination….

      Henri

      • I understand your points. And they are valid points. Your analysis tacks closely with Ted’s. However, it is predicated on the notion that impeachment is the true goal in all of this. I think most of it is political theater. There is a desire to defang Trump and make him more subservient with all of it. But you have to ask first whether they truly are aiming to impeach him.

        You are correct in your assessment that Pence is naturally more of a fellow traveler to those who shape world policy. The problem is that he is nowhere near as beloved by the working class masses than Trump. As much as the whims and wishes of the regular people of this country don’t matter, the power brokers need at least a modicum of support from some segment of the population in order to pass their agenda. They can’t have open rebellion or the threat of it out there and hope to pass their draconian policies. Trump keeps the rabble unaroused. If they impeach him within the first six months of his term, there will be violence in the streets. His base of support are militia members, nationalists, NRA membership, Ted Nugent fans. All gun toting Patriots.

        As far as the deep state wanting him gone. They don’t work through impeachment processes. They just call in the jackals and permanently remove their problems.

      • «The problem is that he [i e, Michael Richard Pence] is nowhere near as beloved by the working class masses than Trump. As much as the whims and wishes of the regular people of this country don’t matter, the power brokers need at least a modicum of support from some segment of the population in order to pass their agenda. They can’t have open rebellion or the threat of it out there and hope to pass their draconian policies. Trump keeps the rabble unaroused. If they impeach him within the first six months of his term, there will be violence in the streets. His base of support are militia members, nationalists, NRA membership, Ted Nugent fans. All gun toting Patriots.» Valid points on your part, Meersault. I quite agree that one of the objectives of the deep state’s offensive was to keep Mr Trump under control (at which they have been quite successful ; that promise to improve relations with Russia, which represented such a danger to MIC, has been effectively nullified and turned into its opposite), but whether or not the deep state would have been satisfied with attaining a so limited objective, their allies in the Democratic party do not seem to be – my judgement, looking in from abroad, is that they want Mr Trump gone at all costs, for the very reason you note above, i e, that Mr Pence is constitutionally unable to hold die Fahne hoch. I suspect that DNC strategists regard a 2020 election with Mr Pence as opponent as preferable to one in which they face Mr Trump again….

        With regards to the methods the deep state uses, I suggest that it carefully chooses among the alternatives – which are several – available to it. The «jackals» are merely one of those, impeachment and removal from office another….

        Henri

      • I’m not sure Newsweek is a credible source. Even if it is, reading all the way to the end (the end of news articles is where they try to bury the truth) you get….

        “Leading Democrats are still urging caution on open talk of impeachment, while there is no suggestion yet of Republicans getting on board.”

        In other words, this entire article is empty puffery.

      • @ Meursault –

        “In other words, this entire article is empty puffery.”
        *
        We’ll see.
        It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.
        🙂

    • But, mein verehrter Lehrer, it’s much more fun – and grabs bigger headlines in the corporate press – to blame those dastardly Russians rather than DNC manoeuvering and the incompetence of the candidate herself. And some people can be induced to believe the «Russians hacked the election» meme with a passion that Donna Brazile orDebbie Wasserman Schultz would hardly arouse….

      Henri

  8. Too Funny! Yeah, the dems are almost as obsessed with it as Ted & henri’s mom.

    It’s been my experience that it’s the deniers who try to keep things as vague and poorly defined as possible, under the mistaken belief that it will shore up their vague and poorly defined … uh … “arguments.”

    I tried to get this bunch to look at the quid-pro-quo side for months, I find it hilarious that their tune changed just as soon as Ted published something about it.

    If a Bernie Bro did leak Podesta’s emails his behavior was rather bizarre. He got them BEFORE Hillary was nominated, yet held onto them until such time as they would be most beneficial to Komrade Trumpovich. It would have made much more sense if he had made them public at a time when it would have helped Bernie, rather than Trump. Why didn’t he? (We can just add that to the growing list of questions that deniers won’t bother to answer.) Also – WHO is he? How is it that he hasn’t been identified or come forward on his own? They got Winner PDQ, and he’d be a hero to a great number of people if he stood up and said “I did it!”

    > Dems are largely ignoring Trumpy crimes

    Like the Obstruction of Justice Comey was interviewed about? Like the larger collusion investigation? Like Maryland and D.C. suing Duh Donald over violating the Emoluments clause?

    Nor is it All About Hillary And/Or Trump – *IF* the Russians did interfere or try to interfere it is much, much, bigger than a couple of second-rate politicians. Next time they could try “hacking an election” that actually mattered.

    > it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that they’re making it all up

    And if one comes to that conclusion, it’s even harder to avoid the conclusion that there is a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy comprising not only the entire legislature, but the International Intelligence Community and a half-dozen well respected cyber-security firms. That would be an even bigger & better leak to send off to Wikileaks. There are far more people ‘in the know’ than the compartmentalized, secured, and highly paranoid NSA, most of which are not spooks yet we have not had a hint of anything of the sort. Even better than sending it to Wikileaks would be *selling* it to Duh Donald. How much do you think he’d be willing to pay for that? Out of the hundreds or thousands in on the VLWC, not one, single one of them have thought of that angle.

    That’s absurd.

    • If the hordes in the VLWC are so loyal that they are willing to overlook millions of dollars, then it’s no surprise that Winner is willing to go to jail in order to make it look legit.

    • CrazyH

      It’s at least possible that the Podesta emails were leaked early, but Wikipedia didn’t publish until later. Assange hates HRC.

  9. Believing HRC & the DNC about a) the reasons for her dismal 2016 presidential loss and
    b) the proposed “way forward” thereafter is politically/logically equivalent to believing the Cheney & Bush analysis of the reasons for, and proposed response to, Sept 11, 2001.

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