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The Blame Thread

This topic was continued by The Blame Thread II.

Pro and Con

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1timspalding
Edited: Nov 9, 2016, 7:00am Top

Here's an open thread for people who opposed Trump to air their recriminations. Taking the long view, or, if you like, the short one, what caused this? What or whom do you blame?

Request: No blogging. Talk and get out of the way for a few, so others can talk.

2margd
Edited: Nov 10, 2016, 7:25am Top

What or whom do you blame?

Emotional voters. They weren't thinking about how their own interests would be served by policies of candidates. And some let the perfect be the enemy of the good (enough).

Other than the blow my retirement savings took this AM, I think my family is most likely to be hurt in near term by repeal of Affordable Care Act, but US withdrawal from Paris Agreement and cancellation of executive orders to protect climate came first to mind when I heard about President Elect Trump...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-09/trump-victory-seen-undermining...

ETA http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/11/09/world/africa/ap-election-trump-climat...

ETA (Trump) plans to end all funding on the issue ― for scientific research, developing emission-cutting technology and for helping places that are already dealing with climate impacts. He named prominent climate change denier Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute to lead his transition work at the Environmental Protection Agency and fossil fuel lobbyist Mike McKenna for the Department of Energy. He has said he wants to produce more coal, more oil, and more natural gas. He’ll throw out the Obama administration’s regulations on emissions from power plants. He would likely try to withdraw the country from the global agreement to limit emissions reached in Paris last year. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-climate-change_us_5822b97fe4b0aac62488...

ETA http://www.vox.com/2016/11/9/13571318/donald-trump-disaster-climate

3barney67
Nov 9, 2016, 7:26am Top

Don't call Americans stupid and uneducated simply because they won't vote for you.

4margd
Nov 9, 2016, 7:45am Top

What or whom do you blame?

The Republican Party, which in recent years has nominated Bush-Cheney, Sarah Palin, and now Trump.

5barney67
Edited: Nov 9, 2016, 7:49am Top

Don't send a woman as corrupt as Lady Macbeth to the top of your party and expect people to embrace her.

6gilroy
Nov 9, 2016, 8:01am Top

Blame? I blame the two party system. The fact that people felt that they had no choice but to select one or the other of the failed candidates, without any consideration for other options.

7lriley
Edited: Nov 9, 2016, 8:13am Top

Clinton was always a deeply flawed candidate. Perception can mean a lot. And the perception of her by lots of people who might have been okay voting for Obama (maybe even would have stood hours in line for him--but not her) was that she and her husband are corrupt and Machiavellian. She is done as far as presidential aspirations as of last night. The Clinton and Bush brands are now finis. She lost Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. She lost fucking Wisconsin FFS. She lost a race that the Democrats had no business losing to a political charlatan PT Barnum like figure. So the Democrats need to do a bit of soul searching. Do they embrace the populist wing of the party that was led in the first several months of this year by Sanders or do they continue to hitch their wagon with the corporatist donors and the center center/right. Effectively they have no leader now--someone is going to have to emerge and that someone is going to have to have some fight in them. (And I'll let this out of the bag--there are plenty of democratic politicians who are full of hot air and don't have any fight). Maybe that will be Warren. I don't know.

I will reiterate--the Sanders campaign was the template for where the Democrats need to go. They had the biggest rallies. They had the most enthusiasm. They drew millions and millions of potential new voters towards the democratic party (not all of whom I imagine stuck around) --particularly younger voters who were extremely enthusiastic. They were progressive and they were populist. They weren't friends of the banks or the corporations. They had the better poll numbers against Trump. Sanders was a clean candidate---not a bought and sold one. Unlike Hillary's his was a clean campaign with a clear message from the beginning. He wasn't changing his mind on shit as he went along.

The DNC--nice job Wasserman Schultz/Brazile. The Washington Post, the NYTIMES, CNN, MSNBC-- corporate media mouthpieces all got it wrong. 538 got it wrong too.

8LolaWalser
Nov 9, 2016, 8:52am Top

I blame every single person who voted for Trump.

9klarusu
Nov 9, 2016, 9:05am Top

From a British perspective (and we're still living with our own fair share of idiocy here):

(a) Every person who felt it was acceptable to give their vote to Trump, without exception
(b) The Republican party for fielding a candidate like him in the first place
(c) The Democrats for giving people simply a lesser of two evils candidate
(d) Humanity for creating a safe-space where it's OK to advocate grabbing women by the pussy or branding people by their race or religion as lesser or other - everyone who fails to make any of this hate speech unacceptable by quietly accepting casual sexism and racism in conversations, in the workplace, wherever ...

I could keep going.

10margd
Nov 9, 2016, 9:17am Top

>5 barney67: a woman as corrupt as Lady MacBeth

Unlike HRC, Trump may not be investigated by Republican Congress intent on impeachment, unless of course establishment types prefer a President Pence. Trump may yet give lots of reason and ammunition to promote the VP, e.g.,

How 75 pending lawsuits could distract a Donald Trump presidency: two weeks before Election Day, dozens of the 4,000-plus lawsuits involving Trump and his businesses remain open.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/10/25/pending-lawsuit...

11margd
Nov 9, 2016, 9:40am Top

>3 barney67: Don't call Americans stupid and uneducated simply because they won't vote for you.

I didn't, but you seem to be doing so.

In persuasion, emotional arguments are said to "trump" logic of case and credibility of source. The American voters are fed much to inflame emotions and cloud thinking.

12ABVR
Nov 9, 2016, 9:50am Top

Blame? In no particular order:

The Democratic Party leadership, HRC included, for utterly failing to grasp that "it's (still) the economy, stupid" . . . and respond meaningfully to that.

The Republican Party leadership, for carefully cultivating and feeding the sexist-racist-nativist-xenophobic segment of their base since 1968.

The media, for covering Trump extravagantly in the early going because he was "good copy" . . . and thus giving him an air of political legitimacy neither his experience nor his ideas entitled him to.

HRC herself, for self-inflicted wounds like "basket of deplorables" and "we're going to put a lot of coal miners out of business" . . . high-risk/high-reward cleverness she lacks the rhetorical skills to pull off (and should have known better than to try).

13rastaphrog
Nov 9, 2016, 9:52am Top

Besides any lawsuits etc pending against him, now the question of how he'll "disconnect" himself from his businesses to avoid any possible conflict of interest arising. It seems he may think just not making any actual decisions for his companies is enough.

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/trump-may-have-to-dissolve-conglomerate-to-avoid...

14BruceCoulson
Nov 9, 2016, 11:49am Top

The leadership (of both parties) who promoted fear and anger as a proper response for Americans...never thinking that someone might come along and use those emotions against them.

15margd
Nov 9, 2016, 12:41pm Top

I hate to think it, but polls were so off that I'm thinking female version of the Bradley Effect was in play. Misogyny.

16LolaWalser
Nov 9, 2016, 12:58pm Top

>15 margd:

Misogyny was in play always, and for Hillary Clinton's entire career.

I arrived in the US in time to see how Bush campaigned against Bill Clinton and still remember the unbelievable sexist hounding and hate directed at her. That never went away, it only grew, no matter how insane the lies about her wrongdoings. Just look at what Trump spewed, just look at what was posted in this group... There's literally nothing someone could have accused of that the pigs wouldn't immediately agree, oh yeah, she did it!

The polls were wrong because people lied about how they were going to vote.

On the upside, I expect we don't have to worry about any sleazebag concealing their own leanings for a good while now.

17lorannen
Nov 9, 2016, 12:59pm Top

>15 margd: I'm absolutely certain that was a factor, as well.

18margd
Edited: Nov 9, 2016, 1:03pm Top

Who/what to blame?

The electoral system, which, again, has given us a President Elect supported by less than 50% of voters...

19citygirl
Nov 9, 2016, 1:03pm Top

1. Donald Trump, for his entitled narcissistic hubris and demagoguery.
2. People who mistake fear for political conviction.
3. Men and women, especially in the media, who held the two candidates to shockingly different standards.
4. Men and women who value women, immigrants, people of color, etc. so little that Trump could act and will act with impunity.
5. Fox News for creating an environment where facts are meaningless.
6. Misogynists, especially those who won't admit that they get very nervous when a woman moves out of her lane.

You know who I don't blame: The imperfect woman who was introduced to social activism by her pastor in high school, spent a career on public service, and threaded the needle from humiliated First Lady to Senator to primary loser to indefatigable Cabinet member for her rival to just-this-close to the presidency while being accused of all manner of unproven high, low and petty crimes and never ONCE losing her shit. And she knows more about policy than the entire Republican primary field combined.

We would have been so fortunate to have a person of nearly-inhuman fortitude, determination and discipline as our leader. Now we have a daughter-fantasizing, grudge-holding, ignorant clown who had to have his Twitter privileges taken away.

Good job, real people.

20LolaWalser
Nov 9, 2016, 1:06pm Top

>19 citygirl:

Have a million thumbs up. And the internet.

21citygirl
Nov 9, 2016, 1:13pm Top

20 Lola. I might just take it.

22LolaWalser
Nov 9, 2016, 1:20pm Top

>21 citygirl:

If only you'd stay. If not here, somewhere.

23krazy4katz
Nov 9, 2016, 3:26pm Top

>19 citygirl: Thank you. Very well said.

24Tid
Nov 9, 2016, 5:41pm Top

As a Brit woman, the ones I DON'T blame are women, blacks, a majority of the young, Hispanics, Native Americans.

Who does that leave? Hmmm. Let me see. The Archie Bunker vote? Most of whom (in the form of Alf Garnett) were responsible for Brexit over here. :-(

25sturlington
Edited: Nov 9, 2016, 5:55pm Top

Trump got 29% of Hispanic vote and 53% of white women voters. So yeah, you can blame some of them too.

Personally, I blame the apathetics who stayed home. Also the media, complicit Republicans, weak-kneed democrats, third-party voters, entitled baby boomers, and myself for being too complacent and believing polls. Plenty of blame to go around. Too bad it's our children, who are absolutely not to blame, who will pay the price.

26barney67
Nov 9, 2016, 6:50pm Top

Don't underestimate just how disastrous Obama has been. Mrs Clinton promised more of the same, and Americans listened.

27barney67
Nov 9, 2016, 6:51pm Top

I blame everyone but myself.

28davidgn
Edited: Nov 9, 2016, 8:46pm Top

I don't have much to add beyond what I've posted or approved in the other relevant threads.

As for the polls, the better ones did get it right.
e.g. http://cesrusc.org/election/
But they didn't get reported, except in the alternative media that I read (and sometimes attempt to share here, to widespread indifference). There was, you see, a narrative to maintain at all costs -- above all, at the cost of credibility.

I still didn't expect Trump to come out ahead in the official results. That speaks to a landslide victory -- for which those so inclined may, of course, blame Russia rather than systemic domestic issues, as well as Russia's fifth column of quislings such as myself (who, while holding a rather dim view of Putin's regime, nonetheless have the audacity to grudgingly respect it, and who have the sheer gall to suggest that when you poke a bear over and over again with a stick, it may react angrily -- regardless of which zookeeper is in charge).

29stellarexplorer
Nov 9, 2016, 8:42pm Top

Desperate ignorant voters who are doomed to further disappointment when nothing improves under the authoritarian they put their trust in. David Souter is looking mighty good right now.

30timspalding
Edited: Nov 9, 2016, 9:16pm Top

I don't blame it first, but it hasn't been mentioned and I think it was a major factor: Social Media.

Echo chambers, slactivism and virtue signaling instead of action, sharing of bogus information, low attention spans, decline of more accountable and responsible media, arguments reduced to empty bite-size gestures, the cover numbers and anonymity provide to racists and antisemites, etc.

Don't underestimate just how disastrous Obama has been. Mrs Clinton promised more of the same, and Americans listened.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But if this were really an adequate explanation for the behavior of the electorate, we'd expect Obama's favorability ratings would not be so high now.

I would, however, like to blame Obama for expanding federal power in various ways, such as warrantless snooping. People like me have gone hoarse warning the left that tools created by the "good" guys won't always remain in those hands. We now face a massive, unaccountable security state in the hands of a malign, paranoiac with no respect for the legal and social norms. For both technological and norm reasons it was bad under Bush, but it got much worse under Obama. It's only getting worse under Trump.

31prosfilaes
Nov 9, 2016, 9:14pm Top

>28 davidgn: who have the sheer gall to suggest that when you poke a bear over and over again with a stick, it may react angrily

What happens when you poke an eagle with a stick, like Russia has? Are you going to accept an animalistic response on our part?

32prosfilaes
Nov 9, 2016, 9:26pm Top

>28 davidgn: As for the polls, the better ones did get it right. e.g. http://cesrusc.org/election/

That poll has Trump ahead by 3.2%. Trump lost the popular vote by 0.2%. That's an error of 3.4%. Google Customer Surveys put her up 2.3%; that's an error of 2.1%. the IPOS poll conducted for Reuters put her up 3%; that's an error of 3%. Your "better polls" mispredicted who would win the popular vote, and were only about average in the degree of error.

33davidgn
Nov 9, 2016, 9:32pm Top

>31 prosfilaes: I'd rather address that over on the nuke thread. Not here. The answer fundamentally boils down to a pattern of hubris on our side. The antecedents of aggressive Russian responses are mendaciously denied or minimized, the Russian responses are characterized as unchecked aggression (poking the eagle with a stick), and this in turn justifies new provocations that in turn result in new responses. This pattern does not, in the end, serve anyone's broad national interests. It does, however, suit the purposes of a number of special interests.

If you want to see where this all started, you might refer back to when the US openly intervened -- indeed, bragged about doing so -- in the Russian election of 1996, when we helped cement the re-installation of Yeltsin, the iron privatizer who had ordered the shelling of his own parliament in 1993 and presided over the ruthless looting of Russia by the West and assorted compradors.
http://exiledonline.com/how-the-west-helped-invent-russias-election-fraud-osce-w...

Once more I'll post the Congressional testimony of Anne Williamson in 1999:
http://www.thebirdman.org/Index/Others/Others-Doc-Economics&Finance/+Doc-Eco...

One of this country's most important Catholic weeklies took interest in such things, once upon a time.
https://web.archive.org/web/20010203234700/http://www.thewandererpress.com/will.html

But how quickly we forget.

Whatever else you think of Putin, he stopped the bleeding and gave the Russians some semblance of a country back. And for that, we can never forgive him.

34prosfilaes
Nov 9, 2016, 10:15pm Top

>33 davidgn: unchecked aggression (poking the eagle with a stick),

Yes, hacking into systems controlled by American political parties and distributing them in an attempt to mess with the election is "poking the eagle with a stick". I don't care who started it. I'm not sure how you imagine that there was a clear start to it, at least not before the October Revolution.

indeed, bragged about doing so

Of course. Not that you can provide a single solid mainstream source for this brag.

35LolaWalser
Nov 9, 2016, 10:35pm Top

>33 davidgn:

Whatever else you think of Putin, he stopped the bleeding and gave the Russians some semblance of a country back. And for that, we can never forgive him.

What else do you think of Putin, for example of the way he treats political opponents and critics? Does the murder of Anna Politkovskaya mean anything? And Putin's Russia, as oppressive as, if not worse than the USSR, with the cynical encouragement of the worst church this side of Rome, legislated, institutional misogyny and homophobia, and a police force whose racism and brutality make the US counterparts look like plushy toys--a country worth having?

What is it with white dudes and stern daddies? Get some steam off like normal people, in a leatherman carnival or a nice dungeon with an understanding lady with a whip.

36davidgn
Edited: Nov 9, 2016, 10:39pm Top

>34 prosfilaes:
Of course. Not that you can provide a single solid mainstream source for this brag.
This is the best I can do on short order.

You'll carp, of course. But at the end of the day, either you decide to believe the guy who headed up the 1996 OSCE monitoring effort, or you don't.

Yes, hacking into systems controlled by American political parties and distributing them in an attempt to mess with the election is "poking the eagle with a stick".

Assuming you buy that attribution. I've posted numerous reasons why I don't, and I'm not going to go back and repost them all here and now. Russia is a political scapegoat in this election, seized upon by a liberal establishment eager to cover its sins beneath the cloak of a well-established cultural paranoia. But in the final analysis, the DNC hanged themselves.

37davidgn
Edited: Nov 10, 2016, 5:38am Top

>33 davidgn: See also this Wanderer follow-up: https://web.archive.org/web/20000815215741/http://www.thewandererpress.com/e1.html
And this one: https://web.archive.org/web/20000815215741/http://www.thewandererpress.com/e2.html

Cringey Austrian economics aside, it's really heady stuff.
And note that somehow, all promises to the contrary, the book never did see the light of day...
(Maybe now, finally?)

>35 LolaWalser: I'll get to that. It's a big question.

38margd
Edited: Nov 10, 2016, 5:03am Top

The election was so close that FBI Director Comey's letter to Congress 11 days before the election can't be discounted as the determining thumb on the scale.

39proximity1
Nov 10, 2016, 5:16am Top


>36 davidgn:

"Russia is a political scapegoat in this election, seized upon by a liberal establishment eager to cover its sins beneath the cloak of a well-established cultural paranoia. But in the final analysis, the DNC hanged themselves."

(With emphasis added as above) I very much agree with that.

One of the things I most dislike about Trump is his penchant to blame anything and anyone other than himself for what are clearly his own faults--as so many fake liberals and democrats are now doing.

The White House is the worst place for someone who is congenitally incapable of genuinely assuming responsibility for his words and deeds. But this election's main parties' candidates _both_ had and have that deeply ingrained in their characters.

40proximity1
Nov 10, 2016, 5:43am Top

>1 timspalding:

" Here's an open thread open for people who opposed Trump to air their recriminations. Taking the long view, or, if you like, the short one, what caused this?"


FIFY. Make sure Never to listen to or learn from those with whom you disagree. Just what this place needs.

41timspalding
Edited: Nov 10, 2016, 7:35am Top

The election was so close that FBI Director Comey's letter to Congress 11 days before the election can't be discounted as the determining thumb on the scale.

I don't buy that it convinced enough people. Trump had an x-factor going on--he won Wisconsin, which nobody thought was in play, and almost won Minnesota, which is insane. I see no reason to believe the rust-belt midwest cared more about the Comey letter.

Also, the alternative wasn't really "Comey matter doesn't exist." The alternative was really "Reopened Comey investigation leaked four days before election." I think that would have been a much heavier finger. What is Comey hiding? Why did he promise to inform Congress and then neglect to do so? Is Comey a secret Clinton stooge? Etc.

But, yeah, it was close in various key states. Flip Pennsylvania and Wisconsin back and she wins.

That said, it did feed into the overall situation of focusing the election on Clinton for a while, while Trump wasn't in focus and--finally listening to his staff--he didn't thrust himself into the limelight with something outrageous. As 538 noted, the two candidates were both so disliked that they almost always declined in proportion to their media coverage.

42margd
Edited: Nov 10, 2016, 12:20pm Top

Trump took Michigan by ~13,225 votes. MICHIGAN! Republicans even maintained majority in State Legislature, in spite of widespread disgust over Flint water scandal. I am sure that in last few days, Comey energized Trump voters and discouraged Dems--the last, though not the only, downdraft.

43margd
Nov 10, 2016, 12:23pm Top

Russia? Trump's tax returns might shed light--maybe Congress will ask for them? Nah!

Moscow had contacts with Trump team during campaign, Russian diplomat says

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/moscow-had-contacts-with-trump-team-during-campaign-russian-diplomat-says/2016/11/10/28fb82fa-a73d-11e6-9bd6-184ab22d218e_story.html

44davidgn
Nov 10, 2016, 3:20pm Top

>43 margd: Mildly concerning, but mostly in light of other dubious accusations. How many other countries' representatives did members of each campaign team meet with? In all honesty, it seems more noteworthy to me that Clinton's camp outright refused meetings.

This is the same WaPo that was all too happy to suggest, when Clinton had pneumonia, that someone Putin might be poisoning her. That's called commitment.

45St._Troy
Nov 11, 2016, 12:50pm Top

>3 barney67: "Don't call Americans stupid and uneducated simply because they won't vote for you."

Sounds like a start.

The funny thing is, even the articles I've seen in which the left purports to take responsibility for having missed something, they still paint it as ultimately boiling down to "dumb righties" with statements along the lines of "we failed to understand just how upset conservatives must have been in order to have voted as stupidly as they did."

>8 LolaWalser: "I blame every single person who voted for Trump."

As one of them, I'm happy to accept responsibility for my actions.

>18 margd: "The electoral system, which, again, has given us a President Elect supported by less than 50% of voters..."

This was the only possible outcome this time; neither candidate received 50%.

46LolaWalser
Nov 11, 2016, 1:01pm Top

>45 St._Troy:

As one of them, I'm happy to accept responsibility for my actions.

LOL, look at you, coming all brave all of a sudden! No more hiding, eh? Going out guns blazing, eh? You'll be looking for another rock to hide under fast enough, camerata.

47cpg
Nov 11, 2016, 1:05pm Top

>45 St._Troy:

Is this the first President-Elect who was declared to be "unfit to be President" by such a high percentage of poll-respondents?

48barney67
Nov 11, 2016, 3:27pm Top

Not accusing anyone. This is called the Blame Thread and the OP asks what caused this and who is to blame. I began presenting a list that was directed at campaigns.

1) Don't call Americans stupid and uneducated simply because they won't vote for you.

2) Don't send a woman as corrupt as Lady Macbeth to the top of your party and expect people to embrace her.

3) Don't underestimate how disastrous the Obama presidency has been.

49margd
Nov 11, 2016, 4:07pm Top

David Plouffe: What I Got Wrong About the Election

DEMOCRATIC TURNOUT WAS VERY WEAK
MR. TRUMP’S MARGINS IN RURAL AND EXURBAN COUNTIES WERE OFF THE CHARTS
IT REALLY WAS A CHANGE ELECTION
STRONG AND WEAK CURRENTS BEAT DATA AND ANALYTICS
THE THIRD PARTIES
MESSAGE MUDDLE
THE TRUMP CAMPAIGNERS WERE SMART
JAMES COMEY

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/11/opinion/what-i-got-wrong-about-the-election.ht...

50proximity1
Nov 12, 2016, 2:41am Top

"Jonathan Pie" (actor Tom Walker) explains the election results to you.

Think you have an open mind? Really?

Then I dare you to pretend that long enough to watch _and_ listen to his latest : (You Tube)

"Donald Trump: How and Why"

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GLG9g7BcjKs

51davidgn
Edited: Nov 12, 2016, 5:36am Top

>50 proximity1: Absolutely on-target.
All those protestors in the streets of cities across the country need to start converging on the DNC. There is only one thing that could possibly be worse than the election of Donald Trump: a Democratic Party that learns nothing from it. And that's precisely what we'll have unless the torches and pitchforks start coming out for them at least as much as for President Trump.

Nothing above detracts from my feelings about the rest of the posts in this thread: there is very little there with which I disagree. At this point, though, either what passes for the left in this country starts some deep soul-searching, or we're well and truly screwed -- far beyond what happens in the next four years of hell.

ETA:
"The War Nerd" a.k.a. "Gary Brecher" a.k.a. John Dolan caught this one too:

52davidgn
Edited: Nov 12, 2016, 4:23am Top

I posted this in another thread, but it's so damn good I have to post it here as well. And I say this to give the credit due to one of the very few human beings on this planet I truly despise.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/11/11/the-establishments-massive-intelligence-failure/

53Tid
Nov 12, 2016, 5:37am Top

>50 proximity1:

I saw that - someone posted on Facebook where the recriminations about Trump are briefer, more cartoonish, more humorous, than here at Library Thing, but of a similar sentiment.

I can only add that the demise of New Labour (who actually weren't as mind-numbingly ineffective as all the revisionists now maintain) almost exactly parallels the US scenario:

A Conservative dynasty comes to an end and is replaced by a liberal administration that manages the startling feat of reversing some of the dynasty's main pieces of legislation while at the same time employing its methods. Meanwhile the 'ordinary working person' feels little improvement in their lifestyle while the poor and destitute struggle even more and become even angrier. The liberal administration collapses in a heap. The 'angry and poor' rise up in protest... result? Brexit and Trump.

If the liberals / socialists don't learn from this, they are doomed. In the UK Jeremy Corbyn offers some glint of light, while in the US ... seeds of leftism as planted by Bernie Sanders and brought to fruition by...?

54Tid
Nov 12, 2016, 5:55am Top

>52 davidgn:

Yes, a very good analysis even though we kind of already knew it already. Or at least - we did in retrospect.

55sturlington
Nov 12, 2016, 7:46am Top

I think the Democrats failed massively this election. This is worth reading to help understand the psychology behind the voters for Trump: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/us-election/the-real-reason-donald-tru...

56prosfilaes
Nov 12, 2016, 8:09am Top

Nate Silver pointed out that if 1 in 100 voters changed their votes, it would have put Clinton into office. Drawing deep conclusions that you wouldn't have if that 1% had gone the other way simply isn't backed by evidence.

57proximity1
Nov 12, 2016, 8:38am Top


>56 prosfilaes:

" Drawing deep conclusions that you wouldn't have if that 1% had gone the other way simply isn't backed by evidence."

Speaking of drawing conclusions not backed by evidence, I know of zero empirical evidence that polls are reliably shown to reflect subsequent voting behavior.

58hailelib
Nov 12, 2016, 9:15am Top

>55 sturlington:

Thanks for the link. Something to think about.

59proximity1
Edited: Nov 12, 2016, 10:12am Top

>55 sturlington:

You have to do better than dump an article full of unsubstantiated allegations about a necessary relationship between voting for Tump and actually subscribing to some or all of his most outlandish policy recommendations and campaign promises. --Unless your objective is simply to feed the now rampant so-called liberal hysteria and panic over what hasn't happened and quite possibly never shall happen.

What's your reasoned basis for taking Edison's claimed exit-poll data as valid on its face?

What do you actually know about the data-collection methods and their interpretation that leads you to take them at face-value?

That is, why should a skeptic trust, accept, these data as valid without further explanation?

Are exit-polls reliablein general? How do we know this? Why should we grant that they are?

In an election where it has been repeatedly suggested that the avowal of support for Trump carries an distinct stigma and in which "liberals" have alleged that poll respondants have dissumulated their real views out of reluctance to admit what has been heavily stigmatized by every single conventional social authority, why should we suppose that somehow, as though magically, that stigma does not skew exit-poll data?

I'd like straight, clear, non-evasive answers to these questions from those who cite and rely on Edison's exit poll data to supposedly support claims such as this :



... " His election was the work, almost entirely, of white people. More than 90 per cent of Americans who voted for Mr. Trump were white, and most white U.S. voters, both men and women, cast a ballot for him (even though his opponent got more votes over all). And at least 90 per cent of non-white Americans did not vote for him. This was a white riot – an angry, rejectionist turn by a deeply pessimistic majority within the white population against the far more hopeful and inclusive politics of the rest of the country."

... "But these white people have developed a set of beliefs that have led them to see a sort of strongman nationalist politics of ethnic exclusion as being perfectly acceptable, only two generations after their country fought a global war against that very thing. They see it as acceptable, even welcome, that a president-to-be has promised to ban all Muslims from entering the country (“temporarily”), to mass-deport millions of Latino American families who have been living in the United States for decades, to describe those immigrants as “rapists,” to question the citizenship and loyalty of minority Americans. 1"



-------------------------
1 : Presupposes as true an unsubstantiated assertion: that all those who voted for Trump necessarily agree with and approve these policy position (as yet unenacted) :

■ "ban all Muslims from entering the country"

■ " to mass-deport millions of Latino American families"

■ "to question the citizenship and loyalty of minority Americans"

______________________________________

ETA :



(From "Project Syndicate")

NOV 11, 2016 12

The Taming of Trump

Nouriel Roubini


NEW YORK – Now that Donald Trump has unexpectedly won the US presidency, it is an open question whether he will govern in accordance with his campaign’s radical populism, or adopt a pragmatic, centrist approach.

If Trump governs in accordance with the campaign that got him elected, we can expect market scares in the United States and around the world, as well as potentially significant economic damage. But there is good reason to expect that he will govern very differently.
You can help trump extremism Learn more

A radical populist Trump would scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), repeal the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and impose high tariffs on Chinese imports. He would also build his promised US-Mexico border wall; deport millions of undocumented workers; restrict H1B visas for the skilled workers needed in the tech sector; and fully repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which would leave millions of people without health insurance.

Overall, a radical Trump would significantly increase the US budget deficit. He would sharply reduce income taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals. And while he would broaden the tax base, increase the carried-interest tax, and encourage companies to repatriate foreign profits, his plan would not be revenue-neutral. He would increase military and public-sector spending in areas such as infrastructure, and his tax cuts for the rich would reduce government revenue by $9 trillion over a decade.

A radical Trump would also drastically change the current monetary-policy approach – first by replacing US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen with a monetarist hawk, and then by filling current and upcoming Fed Board vacancies with more of the same. Moreover, he would repeal what he could of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms; gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; cut alternative-energy subsidies and environmental regulations; and slash any other regulations that supposedly hurt big business.

Finally, a radical Trump’s foreign policy would destabilize America’s alliances and escalate tensions with rivals. His protectionist stance could incite a global trade war, and his insistence that allies pay for their own defense could lead to dangerous nuclear proliferation, while diminishing American leadership on the world stage.

But it is actually more likely that Trump will pursue pragmatic, centrist policies. For starters, Trump is a businessman who relishes the “art of the deal,” so he is by definition more of a pragmatist than a blinkered ideologue. His choice to run as a populist was tactical, and does not necessarily reflect deep-seated beliefs.

Indeed, Trump is a wealthy real-estate mogul who has lived his entire life among other rich businessmen. He is a savvy marketer who tapped into the political zeitgeist by pandering to working-class Republicans and “Reagan Democrats,” some of whom may have supported Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. This allowed him to stand out in a crowded field of traditional pro-business, pro-Wall Street, and pro-globalization politicians.

Once in office, Trump will throw symbolic red meat to his supporters while reverting to the traditional supply-side, trickle-down economic policies that Republicans have favored for decades. Trump’s vice-presidential choice, Mike Pence, is an establishment GOP politician, and his campaign’s economic advisers were wealthy businessmen, financiers, real-estate developers, and supply-side economists. What’s more, he is reportedly already considering mainstream Republicans for his cabinet, including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, Alabama Senator Jess Sessions, and former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin (who also advised his campaign).

... ...


https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/donald-trump-pragmatic-policies-by-nouriel-roubini-2016-11

60Tid
Nov 12, 2016, 10:08am Top

>59 proximity1:

... " His election was the work, almost entirely, of white people. More than 90 per cent of Americans who voted for Mr. Trump were white, and most white U.S. voters, both men and women, cast a ballot for him (even though his opponent got more votes over all). And at least 90 per cent of non-white Americans did not vote for him.

When that writer says "white", I'm having to assume that they really mean "Anglo-Saxon"? Last time I looked, the population of Spain was considered to be white. Yes, and Hispanic too of course. So a very high proportion of US Hispanics are also white, despite what the KKK would like us to believe?

61cpg
Nov 12, 2016, 10:37am Top

>57 proximity1:

prosfilaes' point doesn't seem to have anything to do with (survey) polls. It appears to be an empirical fact that the difference between winning and losing this election was a relative handful of votes. The last count I saw was 100,000 out of 120,000,000 (i.e., less than one-tenth of one percent).

62southernbooklady
Nov 12, 2016, 10:57am Top

>60 Tid: When that writer says "white", I'm having to assume that they really mean "Anglo-Saxon"? Last time I looked, the population of Spain was considered to be white. Yes, and Hispanic too of course.

Demographically, Hispanics are treated as a distinct group separate from Caucasians in the United States, so statics that describe "white voters" are not including Hispanics.

63proximity1
Nov 12, 2016, 10:58am Top


I thought that Trump's election reiterated the importance not just of aggregate votes but also of _where_ they're located. An extra one hundred thousand or two hundred thousand votes for Clinton in California or Illinois would _not_ have changed the election's outcome, would they?

64cpg
Nov 12, 2016, 11:09am Top

>63 proximity1:

The importance of location seems to weigh against drawing sweeping conclusions about the opinion of Americans based on the outcome of this election.

65proximity1
Nov 12, 2016, 11:42am Top


We were dealing with the validity of Silver's polling analysis as useful predictors of actual balloting--I thought.

>56 prosfilaes: alludes vaguely to "drawing deep conclusions"
while >64 cpg: alludes vaguely to "sweeping conclusions."

And I can't tell any more in one case than in the other exactly what you two are referring to. What are the "deep conclusions" and what the "sweeping conclusions"? It would help if each answered for _himself_.

66Tid
Nov 12, 2016, 3:20pm Top

>62 southernbooklady:

That's my point. Hispanics ARE Caucasian (as are Indians, Pakistanis, etc) but not only that, are of European ancestry. They should refer to "Anglo-Saxons" rather than "whites", as white supremacists presumably don't include Hispanics among their 'preferred race'. It might not make a huge difference, but it would exclude the emotive term "white".

67southernbooklady
Nov 12, 2016, 3:30pm Top

>66 Tid: You'll have to inform the US Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service

68LolaWalser
Nov 12, 2016, 3:33pm Top

I think you lost the plot somewhere, Tid. "Anglo-Saxons" aren't the only white people in the US, there are white Euro-Americans of every ethnicity.

And if you're objecting to "white" in "white supremacy", I don't even know where to start.

69LolaWalser
Nov 12, 2016, 3:34pm Top

Well, here, maybe: those white Spaniards are included in white-supremacist conquest and domination of the Americas.

70JaneAustenNut
Nov 12, 2016, 6:32pm Top

Whose fault? Start with the undemocratic DNC, super delegate schemes should be abandoned now! Then the person that the people nominate, should represent the party. Finally, fault has to be laid at the feet of the Clinton machine. Their own untrustworthiness stands out from many sources. The American people just couldn't cope with another Clinton president. The party needs to be refreshed from the top down.

71LolaWalser
Nov 12, 2016, 6:56pm Top

The American people just couldn't cope with another Clinton president.

Trump lost the popular vote. A MAJORITY of the "American people" voted for Clinton.

72BruceCoulson
Nov 12, 2016, 7:20pm Top

>71 LolaWalser:

Not according to this: http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/national.php

Yes, Hillary Clinton got slightly more of the popular vote...but neither candidate got a majority.

73JaneAustenNut
Nov 12, 2016, 7:46pm Top

Still, everyone I know was able to identify the flawed canidate;HRC. Most people selected the least flawed person. Also, cheating from the DNC chair and then cheating from the interim chair. In my opinion this was a vote against the establishment in both parties! No more super delegate silliness... not the Democratic Party of Kennedy that was actually for the working class people.

74HectorSwell
Nov 12, 2016, 9:54pm Top

George Washington
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
Alexander Hamilton
John Jay
Thomas Paine
Button Gwinnett
et.al.

75margd
Nov 13, 2016, 8:53am Top

Reasons Trump won the presidential election

1. Hillary Clinton now has a wider popular vote lead than Al Gore in 2000, but the Electoral College picks presidents.

2. Overall turnout will be about the same as 2012.

3. A significant chunk of voters were dissatisfied with their choice of candidates.

4. Clinton did not fire up the Obama Coalition.

5. Whites without college degrees have fled to the GOP.

6. And that leads to what might be the biggest story of the election — Democrats' cratering with blue-collar white voters.

7. Clinton forgot how she campaigned in 2000.

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/12/501848636/7-reasons-donald-trump-won-the-president...

76proximity1
Edited: Nov 13, 2016, 9:01am Top

Note:

"White", "Black", "Latino", "Women", men", "gays", "lesbians", are not "voting blocs" in U.S."politics.

77LolaWalser
Nov 13, 2016, 12:58pm Top

They are to blame:

In the end, it’s his white base that most benefited Trump. His most enthusiastic supporters were white men across the board, with 54% of college educated white men and 72% non-college educated white men backing him. These white men and women voted like a minority group, according to one electoral analyst, coalescing on a mission to put him in the White House.


Fuck you with a knotty stick.

78LolaWalser
Nov 13, 2016, 1:27pm Top

But don't anyone stop blathering about the class war and how Clinton is just, hmmm, somehow, for some reason, "unlikeable", "untrustworthy"...

Yep, race really did Trump economics: A data dive on his supporters reveals deep racial animosity

Racist misogynist know-nothing and/or selfish bastard mofos won this shit for a shit!

79Tid
Nov 13, 2016, 1:57pm Top

>69 LolaWalser:

I do take your point Lola. French, Italians, Spanish, Greeks, Portuguese, Romanians etc aren't "Anglo-Saxon", so perhaps that's the wrong word to use. But neither is it correct to label Hispanics as "non white" - you might as well label any of those European nationalities I just listed as "non white". And yes, it was white Hispanics who were the brutal conquistadors of Central and S America.

Also, I take your point that there are people of African and Asiatic ethnicity in every European nation - but on migration to the States they would probably self-identify as "African American" or "Asian American", so those are pre-existing convenient labels.

But since you couldn't go to a line-up and pick out a Spaniard separately from a Mexican based solely on appearance, the term "white" vs "non white" as used in all those voting stats is somewhat meaningless.

Personally I'd like to see all references to colour or race outlawed as 'contributing towards prejudice', but I'd be stomped on for political correctness. And sadly it's still a tragic reality that people who aren't perceived as "white" suffer from the forces of law and order, white supremacists, and unthinking "stupid white men" in offices, bars, etc.

80LolaWalser
Nov 13, 2016, 3:37pm Top

>79 Tid:

You misunderstand what "Hispanic" means in the US, which is by and large people of more or less mixed racial heritage, Spanish and Native South American.

The history, reasons and current labelling of various ethnicities in the US is very complicated, I can't really do it justice. If you can find the relatively recent The history of white people, it explains it very well.

I'll only note that the labels can be empowering or limiting, depending on who is using them for what.

81southernbooklady
Nov 13, 2016, 4:15pm Top

It's pointless to talk about words like "Hispanic" (or, as it another thread, "misandry") as if their dictionary definitions are independent of the context in which they are used. "Hispanic" in the US describes a distinct ethnic group that displays cultural cohesiveness, in the same say that, say "Christian" or "homosexual" (also not things you can pick out in a line up) have cultural cohesiveness in a certain context.

When I fill out my census forms, or my driver's license application, or my health insurance interview questions, my options for ethnicity are usually:

African American
Native American
Asian American
Caucsian (Non Hispanic)
Hispanic
Other

82LolaWalser
Edited: Nov 13, 2016, 4:25pm Top

>81 southernbooklady:

The US system does take some explaining to the outsiders. The first few times I encountered the race question on the forms, I refused to answer, appalled that I was suddenly expected to have a "race" (and by implication everybody, of course). Then in one instance an exasperated clerk told me that it's actually important for them to know how many white/non-white/Native etc. students etc. there were for many reasons, not least because it means visibility, accountability, programming etc.

But it still rings sinister to me.

Otoh, sweeping it all under the rug as most Europeans do seems to be useful mostly in denying certain people exist.

83southernbooklady
Nov 13, 2016, 5:01pm Top

Since the country was founded on the right to own slaves as much as it was on the right to be free, all such questions of ethnicity are a stew of both sinister and well meaning intentions.

84SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 13, 2016, 9:32pm Top

I blame the democratic party for ignoring middle class working families.

85jjwilson61
Nov 14, 2016, 12:08am Top

>81 southernbooklady: "Hispanic" in the US describes a distinct ethnic group that displays cultural cohesiveness...

Actually, the cultural cohesiveness is mostly in the eyes of white people. Hispanic refers to people with ancestry from Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and many others each of which has a different culture with the main thing in common that they speak Spanish.

86StormRaven
Nov 14, 2016, 12:35am Top

Start with the undemocratic DNC, super delegate schemes should be abandoned now!

Clinton won the nomination by 350 delegates even if you don't count any super delegates.

87barney67
Nov 14, 2016, 1:02am Top

"A MAJORITY of the "American people" voted for Clinton."

That makes me so sad.

88barney67
Nov 14, 2016, 1:05am Top

"54% of college educated white men"

It's not a white thing if only 4 percent over 50 voted for him. That means college educated men are split.

If over 70% of non-college educated voted for him, there were good reasons. See the blame thread

89barney67
Nov 14, 2016, 1:13am Top

"Since the country was founded on the right to own slaves as much as it was on the right to be free"

This is the 21st century and people are still taking about slavery. Pathetic. Talk about stuck in the past.

American was not "founded on" slavery. It was one freedom allowed, indirectly, via the three-fifths law. It was debated so much that there almost wasn't a Constitution. Slaves were being freed in 1775. Probably earlier. Many of the delegates set their slaves free after the Constitution was signed.

90StormRaven
Nov 14, 2016, 1:15am Top

Many of the delegates set their slaves free after the Constitution was signed.

How many? Name them.

91proximity1
Nov 14, 2016, 2:14am Top

>86 StormRaven:

Get real.

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2016-delegate-tracker/

Needed to win nomination: 2,383

Hillary Clinton: 2,814
(includes 609 superdelegates)

Bernie Sanders: 1,893 (includes 47 superdelegates)

Not yet allocated: 58*

* : unless these NYAs amounted to _more_ than the number of HRC's super-delegates--which is obviously not the case--there is no way that she could have been the nominee without significant super-delegate support.

92proximity1
Nov 14, 2016, 2:21am Top


>87 barney67:

Rather, it has appeared that Clinton won a plurality of the ballots cast. That's not a "majority."-- but, under democratic principles, it's what ought to be determinative in giving her the election--but we don't _have_ such a system.

Too bad.

93Tid
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 5:19am Top

>82 LolaWalser:

Otoh, sweeping it all under the rug as most Europeans do seems to be useful mostly in denying certain people exist.

Oh, but we don't! (And thank you for enlarging on what the term "Hispanic" actually means in the US). In Europe our application forms are also sub-divided into racial questionnaires, but they're different from the US list. Admittedly the census list is more detailed, but most forms divide into broader subsets of this:

https://britologywatch.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/030711_2347_whiteandeng2.png

"White, mixed, Asian*, Black, and other" is fairly standard.

*note that in Britain "Asian" largely means Indian or Pakistani, with Chinese coming under that heading comparatively recently.

94lriley
Nov 14, 2016, 9:05am Top

#86--the superdelegate deal is undemocratic and the loads of superdelegates fed into the idea that Hillary's democratic nomination was inevitable and fed into the myth that she would inevitably be elected president. But keep it by all means--change nothing, see where that gets you.

It's interesting to me that the states where the biggest issues with voter suppression by the Democratic Party--Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, Nevada and California---Hillary won them all. As a NYS resident I would have had to change my party affiliation (from Green to Democratic) almost an entire year before to be able to vote in the primary. It's ridiculous that I'd have to change and that I'd have to do that 10 months or so before the primary. Between the long lines in Arizona, to the three tiered caucus in Nevada, to thousands upon thousands of voters purged in New York and California--the Democratic Party would do well to streamline and open up their primaries and caucuses across the country. They might even think about not front loading all the southern states which is a terrible idea and benefits whoever is the most conservative (safest?--in this case losing) candidate. The fix was in and the fix didn't work and now we've got about the craziest fuckhead possible as our next POTUS. This is on the Democratic party--not on the voters and it's time for the Democratic Party to face up to that truth. Certain Senators are pushing Keith Ellison to be the head of the DNC--including Sanders, Warren and even Schumer and the outgoing Harry Reid. That seems like a very good idea. If they want to win in 2020--they need to start doing smart stuff and stop trying to manipulate outcomes.

95proximity1
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 9:19am Top

>94 lriley:

..."
(in reference to >86 StormRaven: )


#86--the superdelegate deal is undemocratic and the loads of superdelegates fed into the idea that Hillary's democratic nomination was inevitable and fed into the myth that she would inevitably be elected president. But keep it by all means--change nothing, see where that gets you.


Touché!

----------------------------



Game of Inches

Seven Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Lost and Donald Trump Won

Talk radio. Jobs. Sexism. As the fallout over Trump’s presidential victory rages, here’s a deeper look at what made it happen.

Jonathan Alter

11.14.16 7:00 AM ET

... ...

" About 6 million fewer voters turned out this year than in 2012, with around two-thirds of the no-shows being Democrats. (!) Millions of other Democrats voted only in down-ballot races (!)/b>. In Michigan, where Clinton lost by around 13,000 votes, some analysts estimate that 90,000 Democrats left the top line blank.

Like most other journalists, I missed the depth of Clinton’s weakness with older white Democrats who don’t eat brunch.

So did “Ada,” the Clinton algorithm named for Ada Lovelace, the 19th century British noblewoman who did some of the early thinking behind computers. Every day, Ada spit out not just the status of the race in every state but which candidates and surrogates should be dispatched to which counties. Ada—and the aides slavishly devoted to her—was at least partly responsible for Clinton not visiting Wisconsin even once during the fall campaign. Both Ada and Clinton lost there.

Ada didn’t ignore the Keystone State, but it didn’t matter. Clinton traveled 10 times this fall to Pennsylvania—where Democrats enjoy a 700,000-voter advantage in party registration—and still fell short. I was in Pennsylvania with Joe Biden the weekend before the election and could tell he was having trouble dragging Clinton over the finish line with the working-class voters he grew up with. The enthusiasm you need to win just wasn’t there. Clinton’s often-confused ground game felt obligatory. But I wrongly trusted polls over my instincts.

------------------

Full article: (The Daily Beast) http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/14/seven-reasons-why-hillary-clint...

96margd
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 10:38am Top

>94 lriley: No doubt DNC should rethink super delegates--esp lobbyists--but wasn't the intent of DNC to discourage nomination of crazies? ETA; e.g., George Wallace

On related theme, would be great if Electoral College went with popular vote, but at least Electoral College somewhat reflects it. As with executive orders, should always consider what other side will do. Gerrymanderers and Ted Cruz types would find SOME way to muck with freed electoral college votes. Unless maybe there's a multi-state compact?

Clinton "will have won (popular vote) by a wider percentage margin than not only Al Gore in 2000 but also Richard Nixon in 1968 and John F. Kennedy in 1960." http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/11/opinion/clintons-substantial-popular-vote-win....

97LolaWalser
Nov 14, 2016, 9:28am Top

Rebecca Solnit: Don't call Clinton a weak candidate: it took decades of scheming to beat her

Defeating Clinton in the electoral college took the 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act by Republican appointees to the supreme court. It took vast Republican voter suppression laws and tactics set in place over many years. It took voter intimidation at many polling places. It took the long Republican campaign to blow up the boring bureaucratic irregularity of Clinton’s use of a private email server into a scandal that the media obediently picked up and reheated.

It took James Comey, the director of the FBI, using that faux-scandal and his power to stage a misleading smear attack on Clinton 11 days before the election in flagrant violation of the custom of avoiding such intervention for sixty days before an election. It took a compliant mainstream media running after his sabotage like a golden retriever chasing a tennis ball. It took decades of conservative attacks on the Clintons. Comey, incidentally, served as deputy GOP counsel to the Senate Whitewater committee, that fishing expedition that began with an investigation in a messy real estate deal in Arkansas before Bill Clinton’s presidency and ended with a campaign to impeach him on charges related to completely unrelated sexual activities during his second term.

It took a nearly decade-long reality TV show, The Apprentice, that deified Trump’s cruelty, sexism, racism, and narcissism as essential to success and power. ...

It’s impossible to disconnect the seething, irrational emotionality from misogyny, and the misogyny continues. Since election night, I’ve been hearing too many men of the left go on and on about how Clinton was a weak candidate. I’ve wondered about that word weak, not only because it is so often associated with women, but because what they’re calling her weakness was their refusal to support her. It’s as if they’re saying, “They sent a pink lifeboat and we sent it back, because we wanted a blue lifeboat, and now we are very upset that people are drowning.”

Or, as my brilliant friend Aruna d’Souza put it Wednesday: “At some point soon we need to discuss whether Sanders would have been able to win, but helpful hint: today, it just sounds like you’re saying: ‘The Democrats should have cut into Trump’s lead in the misogynist vote and the whitelash vote by running a white man.’ Let’s come to terms with the racism and the misogyny first, before analyzing the what-ifs – because otherwise we’re just going to replicate it forever. And if you think that the angry anti-establishment vote won (hence Sanders would have fared better), let me remind you that patriarchy and white supremacy are the cornerstones of the Establishment.”


98southernbooklady
Nov 14, 2016, 9:40am Top

>97 LolaWalser: . I’ve wondered about that word weak, not only because it is so often associated with women, but because what they’re calling her weakness was their refusal to support her. It’s as if they’re saying, “They sent a pink lifeboat and we sent it back, because we wanted a blue lifeboat, and now we are very upset that people are drowning.”

Good god do I love Solnit.

99davidgn
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 9:47am Top

>96 margd: wasn't the intent of DNC to discourage nomination of crazies?
If by "crazies" you mean "anyone who might seriously threaten the status quo," then yes. That was precisely its intention.

Or so say I. Ironically, if you want a less cynical view, In These Times (of all outlets) did a document dive for you and is happy to oblige:
http://inthesetimes.com/features/superdelegates_bernie_sanders_hillary_clinton.h...

100proximity1
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 10:37am Top

>97 LolaWalser: & >98 southernbooklady:

••• → "Let’s come to terms with the racism and the misogyny first, before analyzing the what-ifs – because otherwise we’re just going to replicate it forever. And if you think that the angry anti-establishment vote won (hence Sanders would have fared better), let me remind you that patriarchy and white supremacy are the cornerstones of the Establishment.”

That is priceless brain-dead denial speaking.

As Riley wrote (>94 lriley:) : "But keep it by all means--change nothing, see where that gets you." You have four years to mull it over!

In that interim you can also wonder why 8 million fewer Democratic voters turned out (J. Alter, above) Were they all racists and misogynists?--because, you see, they apparently did turn out to elect the First Black president.®

••• "what they’re calling her weakness was their refusal to support her"

Yes! When all was said and done, on election day, in the privacy* of the voting booth, where they were alone with their (racist, misogynist consciences) they "refused" to support her! Of all the fucking nerve!

Readers, see also :

Maybe American Men Should Sit This Election Out

and, to observe adults in full infantile panic-stricken horror at reality's intrusion on their (previous) smug self-satisfied complacency, see the same thread's record of their reactions as polls close and returns are reported, @ post one hundred and ten and after.
----------

* Some booths may have been subject to NSA, Russian and other state surveillance.

101southernbooklady
Nov 14, 2016, 10:25am Top

>100 proximity1: In that interim you can also wonder why 8 million fewer Democratic voters turned out

If we value voting our conscience, then not voting for a candidate you don't support is a moral choice I understand. I could argue with your assessment of the candidate, but I wouldn't argue with your right not to vote. Everyone has a right to abstain, to refuse to participate in what they consider a corrupt system.

It follows, then, that voting for a candidate is an active moral statement. And thus, if you voted for Trump, even as the "lesser of two evils" because you just didn't want Clinton to win, then in effect you voted for racism, for mysogyny. Your vote was an acknowledgement that your distaste, or even outright hatred, of Clinton was more valuable to you than the racist rhetoric of the candidate you chose. That a candidate's outspoken anti-Muslim opinions and proposed policies, were an acceptable thing to live with, that his general assessment of women as things to have sex with is an acceptable price to keep Clinton out of office.

If you vote for a racist, you've committed a racist act.

102StormRaven
Nov 14, 2016, 10:27am Top

the superdelegate deal is undemocratic and the loads of superdelegates fed into the idea that Hillary's democratic nomination was inevitable and fed into the myth that she would inevitably be elected president. But keep it by all means--change nothing, see where that gets you.

The goal of superdelegates is to prevent the Tea Party equivalent on the Left from forcing the Democratic Party to an extreme that would make them unelectable. I'm just going to say this bluntly: Sanders would have been unelecatable. A Jewish socialist would have lost every state in the Rust Belt by wide margins. Michigan wouldn't have even been close.

It's interesting to me that the states where the biggest issues with voter suppression by the Democratic Party--Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, Nevada and California---Hillary won them all. As a NYS resident I would have had to change my party affiliation (from Green to Democratic) almost an entire year before to be able to vote in the primary. It's ridiculous that I'd have to change and that I'd have to do that 10 months or so before the primary.

I'm not sure how it is shocking, or even "voter suppression" that the Democratic Party wanted people who are actually Democrats to determine who their party nominee was.

103cpg
Nov 14, 2016, 10:28am Top

>101 southernbooklady:

If I vote for a dishonest person, have I committed a dishonest act?

104southernbooklady
Nov 14, 2016, 10:31am Top

>103 cpg: If you know they are dishonest going in, you've accepted that dishonesty is not something that matters to you. Or at least, matters enough to outweigh whatever else it is that is making you pick that candidate.

105cpg
Nov 14, 2016, 10:33am Top

>104 southernbooklady:

Frederick Douglass endorsed Abraham Lincoln, and Abraham Lincoln--great man that he was--said things that we would consider to be racist. Was Douglass's endorsement of Lincoln a racist act?

106southernbooklady
Nov 14, 2016, 10:34am Top

>105 cpg: Shall we compare Lincoln and Trump? Would that make any sense at all?

107cpg
Nov 14, 2016, 10:36am Top

>106 southernbooklady:

I think Trump and Lincoln are light-years apart, by many measures. But you made a blanket statement. Do you stand by it, or don't you?

108davidgn
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 11:09am Top

>102 StormRaven: I'm just going to say this bluntly: Sanders would have been unelecatable. A Jewish socialist would have lost every state in the Rust Belt by wide margins. Michigan wouldn't have even been close. If you had written this a couple election cycles ago, I might have agreed with you. Millennials didn't turn out for Clinton in 2016 like they did for Obama in 2008, or even 2012. They would have done so for Sanders. And there were a lot more Millennials of voting age in 2016 than in 2008 or 2012. For Bernie, you would have seen a tidal wave from us.

109southernbooklady
Nov 14, 2016, 10:39am Top

>107 cpg: Trump ran on a specific anti-immigrant, racist message -- deport Muslims. Put up a wall between America and all those Mexican rapists. He also ran on his "outsider" status (laughable, really). So anyone who voted for the latter was also condoning the former. It's not like he has ever hid the kind of man he is. On the contrary, he wallows in it.

110cpg
Nov 14, 2016, 10:43am Top

>102 StormRaven:

I don't think the case against Sanders' electability is open-and-shut:

http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-general-election-trump-vs-sand...

Disclaimer #1: Polls aren't perfect.
Disclaimer #2: I'm not a socialist.

111lriley
Nov 14, 2016, 10:56am Top

#102--no I don't suppose you would but OTOH--you drive people away by excluding them--you don't bring them in. Another interesting fact in 2008 51% of millennials voted and voted overwhelmingly for Obama. In 2016 only 19% voted and it was 55-37 for Clinton. All the millennials that came out for Sanders in massive rallies where were they on election day? A lot of them went away from primaries and caucuses thinking they'd been jobbed. The air went out of that tire. I don't know--opening up primaries and caucuses for independents or those interested at least I would think would give you a better read on a real election. Again you exclude people and bitch later.

And those complaining about the Electoral College--that Hillary got more votes--but just like the two major parties deciding who to exclude from their primaries or what candidates can take part in the debates that's the way it is too. All that shit is fucked up but some would pick and choose the shit that only works for them.

112proximity1
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 11:38am Top

>101 southernbooklady:

In this election--as you know--I'd have voted in the Democratic primary for Sanders and, in the general election, for Trump--yes, expressly in an effort to teach Clinton/Obama Democrats a lesson in what their foul play merits and earns them.

In my sincere opinion, between the two--Clinton and Trump--Clinton's is by far the greater and more civicly dangerous sexism, racism and general bigotry.

I'd have voted readily for any other Democrat candidate who closely resembled or was even further to the left of Sanders--regardless of his or her race or sex--in the general election because such a Democrat, unlike Jill Stein, should have had a good prospect of actually winning. But, as there was no such candidate, a vote for Trump was obviously the only reasonable course given my views of them. (Hence, I would not have written in Sanders' name even if I'd been able to. When I make a protest vote, I want it to be heard.) One of them was clearly going to win. I wanted Trump for the benefits of sending people like the Clintons, the Obamas, you, Walser, Sturlington and others who fall for identity-politics a message : never again expect to take Leftists' support for granted in such schemes. You got exactly what you deserve and in my view, yours were the inexcusably immoral choices.

You and party seniors and of course millions like you miscalculated disastrously and now you're going to live with the consequences.

-----------

>111 lriley: also speaks for me.

113StormRaven
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 11:45am Top

I don't think the case against Sanders' electability is open-and-shut

Polls like that are almost as meaningless as the polls that run someone against a hypothetical "generic Democrat" or "generic Republican". Sanders was not targeted by his opponent, and many of his policy positions are still opaque to voters, which means that once the glare of the general election had been on him, things would have likely changed a lot, and not in his favor.

If I vote for a dishonest person, have I committed a dishonest act?

First you have to explain who you are talking about. Trump has been evaluated and found to be among the most dishonest candidates in modern history, while Clinton was found to be among the most honest.

114StormRaven
Nov 14, 2016, 11:36am Top

In my sincere opinion, between the two--Clinton and Trump--Clinton's is by far the greater and more civicly dangerous sexism, racism and general bigotry.

This is why no one takes you, or anything you say, seriously.

115margd
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 11:39am Top

One difference is that Electoral College, unlike primaries, is rooted in the Constitution--so public.
http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_elec.html
Thus we can ask for more, if it no longer serves our needs.

A political party is private--a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government.

(Above: the "crazy" candidate I was thinking of was George Wallace.)

116sturlington
Nov 14, 2016, 11:40am Top

Those who say "burn it all down" to teach others a lesson forget that they are also in the building that is burning. The fire does not know how you voted; it burns indiscriminately.

117LolaWalser
Nov 14, 2016, 11:40am Top

The majority of Democratic voters rejected Sanders' nomination. If the possibility of this outcome was intolerable to his supporters, he shouldn't have ran as a Democrat.

118proximity1
Nov 14, 2016, 11:42am Top


>113 StormRaven:

Tell it to "president" Hillary Clinton.

119LolaWalser
Nov 14, 2016, 11:45am Top

>116 sturlington:

A good chunk of Trump's supporters won't make it through the next four years anyway.

120StormRaven
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 11:49am Top

no I don't suppose you would but OTOH--you drive people away by excluding them--you don't bring them in. Another interesting fact in 2008 51% of millennials voted and voted overwhelmingly for Obama. In 2016 only 19% voted and it was 55-37 for Clinton.

You're confusing two different numbers, and it is revealing.

In 2008, 51% of millennials voted, and increased their total share of the electorate from 17% to 18%.

In 2016, a similar percentage of millennials voted, and their total share of the electorate was 19%.

Millennials voted overwhelmingly in favor of Clinton, in numbers almost as high as those for Obama. In 2008, Obama got 60% of the millennial vote to McCain's 32%. In 2016, Clinton got 55% while Trump only earned 37% of the millennial vote.

121StormRaven
Nov 14, 2016, 11:48am Top

Tell it to "president" Hillary Clinton.

Still not a reason to take you seriously. Your track record of spouting bullshit is quite unblemished.

122proximity1
Nov 14, 2016, 11:51am Top


>117 LolaWalser:

Again, such a view tells me you'll offer apologetics for lying, cheating and fraud on the DNC's part apparently because it happens that this time that seemed to have served _your_ preferred candidate.

Proof, if needed, that we are not political allies.

123BruceCoulson
Nov 14, 2016, 12:08pm Top

>101 southernbooklady:

Pro election tip - You don't get people to vote for your candidate by saying they are racist if they don't.

If they are racist, they won't care. If they're NOT racist (and yes , it's very likely that many Trump voters are not racist), then they're going to stop listening to you, and most likely not support the candidates you want to win in the next elections.

But by your statement, the millions of Americans who voted for Trump are all racist, misogynistic, (fill in the blank epithets), and so aren't listening to you anyway; their votes are lost to you.

I personally don't think it's a wise policy for a political party to just abandon millions of votes as being beyond reach, and hope they can sway enough 'non-racists' to vote for them.

124StormRaven
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 12:41pm Top

If they are racist, they won't care. If they're NOT racist (and yes , it's very likely that many Trump voters are not racist), then they're going to stop listening to you, and most likely not support the candidates you want to win in the next elections.

The Republican party got essentially the same voter turnout they have gotten for the last three previous elections. They aren't going to turn around and become Democratic voters no matter how much one coddles their racism.

Also, almost no racists ever think of themselves as racist. In their mind, they just have realist views. Or rational views. Or they have a basis for their prejudices. Or an excuse. No one really ever thinks of themselves as the villain - even the worst figures in history saw themselves as heroically defending their country, their people, their cause, or whatever else drove them to their villainy.

Trump voters don't think of themselves as being racists. The trouble is, they are. Voting for Trump, a candidate who campaigned on an explicitly racist platform, and one of whose earliest acts once elected has been to install a White nationalist as his chief strategist in the White House, is a racist act. That doesn't mean they can't change, after all, even George Wallace renounced racism and sought forgiveness. But he owned up to his racist past before he tried to reconcile.

125southernbooklady
Nov 14, 2016, 1:00pm Top

>124 StormRaven: Trump voters don't think of themselves as being racists. The trouble is, they are.

I'm reminded of conversations on these fora several years ago when people would try to make the case that being against same-sex marriage was not being homophobic.

126JaneAustenNut
Nov 14, 2016, 1:26pm Top

As a voter who try's to look at the individual instead of mainly just party affiliation, I personally voted for people no straight party voting for me. Enough of this bad language etc. How about trying to be a part of solutions and not a part of problems. It is time Americans were returned to hard working good paying jobs. Let's help to rebuild the middle class in this country.

127cpg
Nov 14, 2016, 1:27pm Top

>113 StormRaven: "Clinton was found to be among the most honest."

If it's the DailyKos article you're referring to, the chart there shows her "Percent Mostly False or worse" as 28%. By voting for her, would I necessarily have been endorsing those 28% mostly false or worse statements? I don't think so. Similarly, I don't think everyone who voted for Trump endorsed everything he said.

128cpg
Nov 14, 2016, 1:28pm Top

>125 southernbooklady:

Was Secretary Clinton homophobic when she was against same-sex marriage?

129cpg
Nov 14, 2016, 1:33pm Top

Barack Obama: Non-homophobic since 2012 (and for some period of time before 2004).

130southernbooklady
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 1:36pm Top

>128 cpg: Absolutely.

ETA >129 cpg: one of the things I do fault Obama for is his relatively better-safe-than-sorry approach to same sex marriage. He could have been a leader, but he chose not to take a stand until it was clear that the majority of Americans supported same-sex marriage. So instead of leading on the issue, he was just a pragmatist. A position that has its benefits, but is not exactly firm position in support of human rights.

131sturlington
Nov 14, 2016, 1:40pm Top

I have been following Kurt Eichenwald for months: http://www.newsweek.com/myths-cost-democrats-presidential-election-521044

Read it with an open mind. He elucidates why the primaries were not rigged and why Sanders couldn't have won against Trump.

If you oppose Trump because you think his policies and worldview are dangerous, now is the time to come together with other people who oppose him. Let's stop playing the blame game. We've had our mourning period.

132cpg
Nov 14, 2016, 1:50pm Top

>130 southernbooklady:

Okay, so, Clinton: homophobic, but Obama: just a pragmatist. Got it.

133southernbooklady
Nov 14, 2016, 1:58pm Top

>132 cpg: neither's opposition to same sex marriage was not caving to homophobic opposition. But this doesn't undercut the reality that voting for someone's racist policies is a racist action.

135cpg
Nov 14, 2016, 2:15pm Top

>133 southernbooklady: "neither's opposition to same sex marriage was not caving to homophobic opposition."

But in Clinton's case, it reflected her own homophobia, right?

"voting for someone's racist policies is a racist action."

In 101, you talked about "vot(ing) for a racist", and now you're talking about "voting for someone's racist policies". Do you consider these to be identical?

137southernbooklady
Nov 14, 2016, 2:33pm Top

>135 cpg: "vot(ing) for a racist", and now you're talking about "voting for someone's racist policies". Do you consider these to be identical?

I think you are being pedantic. A person is not a policy. A policy is what a person does. An opinion is a position a person holds. If a man campaigns on a promise to evict all the Muslims from the US that is clearly a racist, bigoted policy. You can vote for him anyway, but a vote is an indication that you can tolerate that policy. Racism is something you are willing to live with. You might as well own it.

138jjwilson61
Nov 14, 2016, 2:50pm Top

I heard this morning a report where someone who had written a book on police violence and the black lives matter movement where there's a disconnect between a lot of conservatives sincerely believing that they do not personally hold any disparaging views of any minorities and progressives who feel that supporting policies that lead to racist outcomes is racist.

139Tid
Nov 14, 2016, 4:36pm Top

>112 proximity1:

In my sincere opinion, between the two--Clinton and Trump--Clinton's is by far the greater and more civicly dangerous sexism, racism and general bigotry.

Eh?

140barney67
Nov 14, 2016, 4:50pm Top

" it took decades of scheming to beat her"

Hah! A mind unmoored. I'll leave it to the Kinks to explain this one.

"Met a girl called Lola and I took her back to my place
Feelin' guilty, feelin' scared, hidden cameras everywhere
Stop! hold on. stay in control"

Paranoia, need destroyer. Paranoia, they destroy ya"

141barney67
Nov 14, 2016, 4:52pm Top

"It took VAST Republican voter suppression laws and tactics set in place over many years."

Proof? Documentation?

142cpg
Nov 14, 2016, 5:42pm Top

>137 southernbooklady: "If a man campaigns on a promise to evict all the Muslims from the US that is clearly a racist, bigoted policy."

I never even considered voting for Trump, so I didn't pay real close attention to his campaign, but I don't think Trump campaigned on a policy of evicting all Muslims. It's not pedantic to ask you to confine your scolding of his voters to the terrible things Trump actually did rather than the terrible things he didn't.

143Arctic-Stranger
Nov 14, 2016, 5:45pm Top

I don't think what I am going to say is the MAJOR problem, but one of many.

Trump asked us to make America Great Again (Whatever that means).
Bernie asked us to join a revolution.
Obama asked us to open up to hope and change.

Hillary just asked us to be with her. No higher call to a greater good, no revolution, no appeal to higher virtues. "I'm with her." Apparently people could get on board with making America great, but to ask us to just stand with her... meh. AND, given the fact that so many people were just mildly supportive of her, given the fact that she was not Trump, what she was asking us to do was almost insulting.

Ask me to change America. Invite me to a Revolution. But don't make the slogan of your campaign a requirement to be with someone I feel only worth being with because the other person is just so much worse.

And apparently many people felt that way, given the low turnout.

144LolaWalser
Nov 14, 2016, 5:49pm Top

>143 Arctic-Stranger:

Are you happy now?

145Arctic-Stranger
Nov 14, 2016, 6:23pm Top

No, I am definitely NOT happy. But being happy with this election was never in the cards for me.

I was not happy with Hillary, but felt that Trump was a disaster. I voted for her, I guess I was with her, and no, I am not happy. I am very unhappy about how things turned out, and I wish she had run a better campaign, or that we had run a better candidate. We chose the only person in the Democratic Party who had enough baggage that Trump could beat her. The Redhead and I have been saying this privately since last summer, which was why we supported Bernie. And yes, we supported her when she got the nomination, but it was hard.

146LolaWalser
Nov 14, 2016, 6:31pm Top

>145 Arctic-Stranger:

What was Clinton's baggage and how does it tally next to this racist sexist global-catastrophe-on-legs that shits-for-brains & offal-for-morals voted for?

There's more than enough bullshit pouring in from the troll fuckwits.

we supported Bernie

Start a party. Democrats clearly aren't your ticket anymore.

147southernbooklady
Nov 14, 2016, 6:36pm Top

>142 cpg: You're right. I shouldn't have said "evict all Muslims." He just said:

"I'm putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, if I win, they're going back."


And floated the idea of requiring American Muslims to register in a database

http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/11/20/donald-trump-says-hed-abs...

148KAzevedo
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 6:59pm Top

146 LolaWalser

So there it is in a nutshell...

Clinton had no baggage, and get out of MY party if you dare to think there was a better choice.

This was the prevalent attitude of the establishment majority of the party and explains a good part of the outcome.

149LolaWalser
Nov 14, 2016, 6:59pm Top

>148 KAzevedo:

Again:

What was Clinton's baggage and how does it tally next to this racist sexist global-catastrophe-on-legs that shits-for-brains & offal-for-morals voted for?

150southernbooklady
Nov 14, 2016, 7:02pm Top

Part of Clinton's baggage was her husband.

151abbottthomas
Nov 14, 2016, 7:03pm Top

From the point of view of an elderly Englishman still smarting after the Brexit debacle, I think it is difficult to lay blame at the feet of voters of either camp. There seem to be many Americans who clearly have missed out big-time on the increasing prosperity enjoyed by a large number of their countrymen who, by chance or design, made their lives in the prosperous West and East coast areas where 'liberal democracy' prevails - or at least can be admitted to without embarrassment - and in which globalisation has been beneficial.

In the UK we have seen just how depressing life can be in de-industrialised areas where the heart of a community is torn out when the jobs of miners, steel-workers, shipbuilders, etc. have gone. Perhaps the small size of the country makes us more aware - these areas are about the same distance from London as Las Vegas is from L.A.. I think if I were a male eking out a living on a zero-hours contract in a service industry in Tyneside or the Welsh valleys, or worse, living on benefit, I would have voted for Brexit without much hesitation. It must be worth at least trying something different. UKIP tapped into this feeling and many who would have automatically voted Labour in every other election in their lives didn't toe the party line and voted to leave Europe. My guess is that the same sort of feelings got Trump through.

I fear that liberal democracy is reaching its sell-by date: it is fear that I feel because liberal democracy has given me a peaceful and relatively prosperous life for 70-odd years even if I was born when bombs were still falling on the UK. I can only hope my children and grandchildren can do as well.

FWIW I think the great upheaval here will be a move to the far Left. Jeremy Corbyn has been derided and dismissed by many, including most of his MPs, but many voters are enthused by his ideas. If you are going to throw your toys out of the pram, it doesn't seem to matter too much which side you choose.

One final thing: Roger Scruton, a British philosopher and broadcaster said last week that he had travelled in the US mid-West just before the election and was struck by the absence of posters supporting either candidate on houses. He also said that after voting, instead of the usual "I voted Trump" or "I voted Clinton" stickers, most people had stickers saying simply "I voted". I have no idea whether these opinions are widely applicable, or even true, but, if so, it is an interesting reflection on voter feelings.

152southernbooklady
Edited: Nov 14, 2016, 7:06pm Top

>151 abbottthomas: He also said that after voting, instead of the usual "I voted Trump" or "I voted Clinton" stickers, most people had stickers saying simply "I voted". I have no idea whether these opinions are widely applicable, or even true, but, if so, it is an interesting reflection on voter feelings.

Those stickers are usually handed out by the election officials, and hence non-partisan. It's been like that in the last four national elections I've voted in.

153LolaWalser
Nov 14, 2016, 7:17pm Top

I think it is difficult to lay blame at the feet of voters of either camp.

One can't blame people who voted for Clinton, and there's nothing difficult about blaming people who voted for and positively support Trump.

The abstainers and "strategists" are a more difficult case, depending on their reasons for doing or not doing something. I'm sure a lot of people too were seriously misled by the polls and might have acted differently with different information.

Those who want to crucify Clinton as the main "culprit", who blame her for not being somebody else, be it a radical or a man, are perpetuating the hateful smearing campaign that started with her husband's nomination (or earlier--I speak of the moment when I became aware of her).

And if there's one thing we can usefully gain from this fiasco, it's recognition of the role misogyny played in sabotaging her for decades.

154abbottthomas
Nov 14, 2016, 7:18pm Top

>152 southernbooklady: Ah, well, I suppose most philosophers are a few years behind reality ;-)

155LolaWalser
Nov 14, 2016, 7:18pm Top

>150 southernbooklady:

Part of Clinton's baggage was her husband.

Of course. If only she had dumped him long ago and picked a fine looking stud from Monte Carlo.

156prosfilaes
Nov 14, 2016, 8:33pm Top

>110 cpg: >113 StormRaven: To quote some of the stuff in that Newsweek article:

Here are a few tastes of what was in store for Sanders, straight out of the Republican playbook: He thinks rape is A-OK. In 1972, when he was 31, Sanders wrote a fictitious essay in which he described a woman enjoying being raped by three men. Yes, there is an explanation for it—a long, complicated one, just like the one that would make clear why the Clinton emails story was nonsense. And we all know how well that worked out.

Then there’s the fact that Sanders was on unemployment until his mid-30s, and that he stole electricity from a neighbor after failing to pay his bills, and that he co-sponsored a bill to ship Vermont’s nuclear waste to a poor Hispanic community in Texas, where it could be dumped. You can just see the words “environmental racist” on Republican billboards. And if you can’t, I already did. They were in the Republican opposition research book as a proposal on how to frame the nuclear waste issue.

Also on the list: Sanders violated campaign finance laws, criticized Clinton for supporting the 1994 crime bill that he voted for, and he voted against the Amber Alert system. His pitch for universal health care would have been used against him too, since it was tried in his home state of Vermont and collapsed due to excessive costs. Worst of all, the Republicans also had video of Sanders at a 1985 rally thrown by the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua where half a million people chanted, “Here, there, everywhere/the Yankee will die,’’ while President Daniel Ortega condemned “state terrorism” by America. Sanders said, on camera, supporting the Sandinistas was “patriotic.”


That nuclear waste thing would have lost him Nevada, 100%, given how important the Hispanic vote was and how long and hard Nevada has fought Yucca Mountain. None of this stuff is stuff I've ever heard, except for the 1994 crime bill.

157StormRaven
Nov 14, 2016, 9:54pm Top

156: Yup.

158Tid
Nov 15, 2016, 5:06am Top

>151 abbottthomas:

FWIW I think the great upheaval here will be a move to the far Left. Jeremy Corbyn has been derided and dismissed by many, including most of his MPs, but many voters are enthused by his ideas. If you are going to throw your toys out of the pram, it doesn't seem to matter too much which side you choose.

Well said, but I still have my worries even about Jeremy. Is his stubborn control of the party and weeding out of 'unsuitable' members a total invention of the press who see Stalinists under every bed, or is there some truth in it? I personally think Jeremy would make a great #2 - "the soul of the party" - with a #1 (John McDonnell?) who was clearly a more able leader and one who knows how to play the political game to the advantage of electoral success.

159citygirl
Nov 15, 2016, 10:04am Top

Lola, you're awesome. Thank you for consistently poking holes in arguments based on sexism.

abbotthomas: thank you for the different perspective.

160St._Troy
Nov 15, 2016, 12:59pm Top

>46 LolaWalser: "...look at you, coming all brave all of a sudden! No more hiding, eh? Going out guns blazing, eh? You'll be looking for another rock to hide under fast enough, camerata."

What does "coming all brave" mean? Expressing one's opinions on the internet requires no bravery.
What does "no more hiding" mean? Although I don't post as often as others here, I haven't exactly hidden my positions.
What does "going out" mean? I'm not about to die as a result of what I'm saying here (that I know of, anyway).
Why would I "be looking for another rock to hide under"? Again, I'm not interested in hiding the fact that I am a conservative, a Republican, and have voted for Trump.

161St._Troy
Nov 15, 2016, 1:02pm Top

>47 cpg: "Is this the first President-Elect who was declared to be "unfit to be President" by such a high percentage of poll-respondents?"

I'm no pollster and hence not the person to ask, but I do wonder if that question had ever been asked before this campaign season (the "unfit" narrative feels new to me).

162citygirl
Edited: Nov 15, 2016, 2:55pm Top

St. Troy, why did you vote for Trump? (An honest question.)

164Arctic-Stranger
Nov 15, 2016, 6:30pm Top

Hillary’s baggage:
Her ties to Wal-mart, including a 353,000 donation from Alice Walton to the Democratic National Committee Victory Fund. Oh, and the fact that she was on the board of Wal-mart.
In most cases where it was possible, she supported a regime change for the governments of sovereign states. And we see how well THAT worked out.
Her friendship with Henry Kissenger, and reliance on him as a personal advisor.
Saying that Nancy Reagan was a woman who spoke out against AIDS when “before nobody talked about it.” That was just plain wrong. Yes, she walked it back, but even as she did that she praised the Reagans for their support of stem cell research, which in fact did not happen until Reagan’s Alzheimer’s became public.
Supporting TPP and calling it the gold standard, then backing off. Maybe that was a true conversation, but part of her baggage is that it appears that even when she is unscripted, it all looks planned. (Like Podestra’s early comment on “Planned spontaneity.”
In short, as I see it her baggage is, she is a hawk when it comes to foreign policy, she is soft on bank reform, she is too cosy with corporate interests and she is a rotten campaigner personally (Although she had a very organized ground game. She could not inspire people to vote for her, and as a life long Democrat, it was not like I could feel wonderful pulling the lever for her. I would have loved an Elizabeth Warren, or one of the Castro brothers (great politicians, unfortunate names). So yes I voted for her. My son worked on her campaign. But in the end she left me, and a lot of other people uninspired. At least I got out and voted for her. Many others didn’t.

165LolaWalser
Nov 15, 2016, 8:21pm Top

>164 Arctic-Stranger:

Her ties to Wal-mart, including a 353,000 donation from Alice Walton to the Democratic National Committee Victory Fund. Oh, and the fact that she was on the board of Wal-mart.
In most cases where it was possible, she supported a regime change for the governments of sovereign states. And we see how well THAT worked out.
Her friendship with Henry Kissenger, and reliance on him as a personal advisor.
Saying that Nancy Reagan was a woman who spoke out against AIDS when “before nobody talked about it.” That was just plain wrong. Yes, she walked it back, but even as she did that she praised the Reagans for their support of stem cell research, which in fact did not happen until Reagan’s Alzheimer’s became public.
Supporting TPP and calling it the gold standard, then backing off.


Nothing in that that makes her worse than any of your past Presidents. Bog-ordinary garden-variety actual centrist politician dealings and maneuverings.

part of her baggage is that it appears that even when she is unscripted, it all looks planned.

Subjective impression. YOUR baggage, not hers.

In short, as I see it her baggage is, she is a hawk when it comes to foreign policy, she is soft on bank reform, she is too cosy with corporate interests

Right--as "you see it". So, again, this is YOUR problem. She was on the political scene a long time; her connections, positions and voting record were out there for all to see; she didn't pretend to be anything other than what she was. You're still blaming the girl who doesn't attract you for not being pretty enough, do you get that?

She could not inspire people to vote for her, and as a life long Democrat, it was not like I could feel wonderful pulling the lever for her.

You people weren't fucking invited on a date, you were asked to choose between Clinton and DONALD TRUMP.

THIS is all that mattered. You weren't asked to pick Clinton out of a million, or hundred, or ten.

It was her--or this humongous pile of shit oozing now all over your "democracy".

And she did win something, she did prevail in sheer numbers, and in any other (I think, too tired to check--you people are "unique" in this way too, no?) democracy that win would have been respected.

So don't go on peddling this misogynistic crap. A man with Clinton's qualifications and every bit of what you called "her baggage" would not have met with opposition this despicable, we all know that. To hear it from her own side only proves the point.

166prosfilaes
Nov 15, 2016, 11:37pm Top

>165 LolaWalser: And she did win something, she did prevail in sheer numbers, and in any other (I think, too tired to check--you people are "unique" in this way too, no?) democracy that win would have been respected.

Actually, in many other democracies, the executive leader, the Prime Minister is not elected at all, and for the exact same reasons, the majority party in Parliament may not reflect who would actually win a nationwide popular vote.

167Tid
Nov 16, 2016, 4:45am Top

>166 prosfilaes:

Unfortunately that is very true, especially here in the UK where a Party can win a General Election not only on less than 50% of the vote, but actually not even the biggest numbers in the popular vote. To give a striking example: UKIP had 4m votes in the last election and ended up with 1 seat in Parliament; the Scottish Nationalists had 2.5m votes and won well over 50 seats. I personally am happy with that particular stat, but it just shows that 'Parliamentary democracy' does not rely on absolute voter numbers.

168timspalding
Edited: Nov 16, 2016, 7:03am Top

What was Clinton's baggage and how does it tally next to this racist sexist global-catastrophe-on-legs that shits-for-brains & offal-for-morals voted for?

What's the problem with the 'flu and how does it tally next to cholera?

Most of us are agreed that Trump is a monster and disaster. It's clear that many of his supporters were motivated by ugly stuff. It doesn't follow that Clinton was the perfect candidate, generally or for the moment, ran a good campaign, etc.

It doesn't take a genius to see she had real problems closing the deal with many voters--including millions who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Good grief, Trump is a racist and bigot, but he managed to win more blacks and hispanics than Romney. He's a misogynist and sexual harasser, and yet women went for him only one point less than for Obama.

As for Bernie, he was never tested. I have no idea if he'd have done better. I suspect he'd have leveraged the "throw the bums out" mood of the election in a way Clinton could not, but Trump might have been able to paint him as a dangerous leftist. In either case, the various leaks demonstrating collusion between the DNC and Clinton's campaign did not help her leverage all those passionate Bernie-ites.

169LolaWalser
Nov 16, 2016, 10:24am Top

>168 timspalding:

It doesn't follow that Clinton was the perfect candidate, generally or for the moment, ran a good campaign, etc.

Which is something I haven't seen anyone claim anywhere, as it's too stupid even for the calibre of the average moron on the internet.

What the fuck is a "perfect" candidate anyway? And what other criterion for a "good" or "bad" campaign is there except winning or losing? Did Gore run a bad campaign by virtue of anything other than the fact that he lost? (Hey, was HE "untrustworthy", "unlikeable", "uninspiring" "witch" with "baggage"?)

The only thing that mattered is that your election, for hundred, thousand or million reasons, boiled down to Clinton, and that giant pile of shit.

Good grief, Trump is a racist and bigot, but he managed to win more blacks and hispanics than Romney. He's a misogynist and sexual harasser, and yet women went for him only one point less than for Obama.

Which is a reflection on people who voted FOR him--not on those who opposed him. That Hitler had diehard fans wasn't the fault of the Jews.

Blame Clinton for things she did or didn't do (but ought to have), she said or didn't say (but ought to have), but don't blame her for what she is, for not being someone else. To argue that she failed in Florida or Pennsylvania or on this or that policy, promise, gesture for a given reason is one thing; to argue "she's unlikeable", "didn't light my fire", "baggage", is disingenuous tautological bollocks.

As for Sanders--and how far we've come from the day when you derided the very mention of the man!--he clearly didn't believe he could do it outside your two-party game, or he wouldn't have joined the Dems. But did this mean he should have been "anointed" and chosen without contest, as, ironically, the critics now say Clinton was? Rules do oblige those whose platform includes justice and fairness.

As enthusiastic as I was about Sanders when he appeared on the scene, two things convinced me he could not have won the Presidency--the fact that he ran on the Democratic ticket--meaning that he was relying on THAT base, that he didn't rouse enough of a movement on his own--and then the fact that he didn't win the nomination--yes, yes, obvious technicality apart--what that loss meant was that even the mass of the "vaguely left" in America wasn't ready to support him. Even scrubbed and dressed up as a Democrat he was too scary a novelty for your thoroughly Red-Scared nation.

But in the end, all that mattered was to stop Trump.

170SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 16, 2016, 11:04am Top

>151 abbottthomas: Thanks at, that was brilliantly stated.

171proximity1
Edited: Nov 16, 2016, 11:13am Top

>169 LolaWalser:

{RE : "he's a misogynist and sexual harasser, and yet women went for him only one point less than for Obama."}

Which is a reflection on people who voted FOR him--not on those who opposed him.

That Hitler had diehard fans wasn't the fault of the Jews.


Right. It's not Clinton's fault if, given a choice between voting for her or for a man you describe as "that giant pile of shit" her plurality was so razor thin that she didn't muster an electoral college victory.

Like all Jews, Hillary is morally spotless, beyond reproach. The idea that she could bear even the slightest part of responsibility for the widespread distrust in which a clear majority viewed her--more even than the total number who actually voted for her!--is as blasphemous and outrageous as the suggestion that Jews bear some part in responsibility if they don't have a reputation which is one of universal and categorical admiration.

The fault, the blame, is entirely on these inexplicable "haters" who hate for no reason other than that Hillary is a woman or that Jews are Jews, each minding his and her own business, never doing anyone any harm when, Bam!, totally unprovoked hate just comes their way for absolutely no reason at all.

That people don't warm to others is of course always the fault of those who fail to warm up to these others. Deplorable! Let's put the blame where it belongs: on the voters for their failing to respond to the opportunity to appreciate Hillary Clinton, their failure to recognize their own good fortune in having this multi-millionaire darling of Wall Street and Icon of Washington insider power to carry their electoral hopes.

------------

Are you so fucking deaf and blind that you can't even hear yourself?

"Blame Clinton for things she did or didn't do (but ought to have), she said or didn't say (but ought to have), " •••

That's what the people you're denouncing as ingrates are doing.

172davidgn
Nov 16, 2016, 11:08am Top

Wow. That deteriorated quickly.

173timspalding
Edited: Nov 16, 2016, 1:58pm Top

The only thing that mattered is that your election, for hundred, thousand or million reasons, boiled down to Clinton, and that giant pile of shit.

So, *I* agree with you, but that's not how the thing works. In a democracy, you've got to convince people of something, not just find it really obvious yourself. Clinton failed to do that.

Which is a reflection on people who voted FOR him--not on those who opposed him. That Hitler had diehard fans wasn't the fault of the Jews.

Okay, but, again, Trump won millions of Obama supporters, and more Hispanics and blacks than Romney. The giant "gender gap" people expected, when a sexual predator was pitted against a woman, failed to materialize. I find that amazing--fucking crazy! But my amazement is a phenomenon of my head, not a fact of electoral politics in a democracy. So long as liberals insist their right-thinking opinions are above electoral politics, the more of these elections they will lose.

to argue "she's unlikeable", "didn't light my fire", "baggage", is disingenuous tautological bollocks.

No, it's what voters felt. It's pre-election polls. It's exit polls. Sure, this is not happening in your head. But your head gets only one vote. The rest need to be convinced. And if they aren't convinced, you'd do well to listen to when they say.

The statistical fact is that Trump and Clinton were the two most disliked candidates in many decades--with Trump slightly more disliked than Clinton. You can put this all on sexism, if you like--and assert, presumably, that sexism is much stronger in America than racism, since Obama trounced his challengers. I am certainly willing to concede that sexism was a factor. But there are concrete non-bigoted reasons Clinton was disliked--reasons that can be listed and, when polled about it, actual people list. Of course, I didn't care--I'd have voted for almost anyone in order to defeat Trump--but not enough voters thought like me to give Clinton the victory.

174LolaWalser
Nov 16, 2016, 3:54pm Top

>173 timspalding:

The way the dislike of her was fed--for two decades plus--has everything to do with misogyny. Parallels to Gore are instructive.

assert, presumably, that sexism is much stronger in America than racism, since Obama trounced his challengers.

Yes, misogyny is more intractable than racism. Not surprising. It's the only total, global discriminatory phenomenon.

I am certainly willing to concede that sexism was a factor.

This is a good point to quit this exchange, because it's the most we can agree on.

175LolaWalser
Nov 16, 2016, 4:32pm Top

Why misogyny won

If women have few good options for independent success, this is a pretty good deal — which explains why in more overtly sexist societies where women have fewer opportunities, cross-national studies show that women endorse benevolent sexism at even higher rates than men do.

This may also help explain why Trump maintained high levels of support among white women voters who don’t have a college degree — a group Trump won 62 percent to 34, and a group whose career opportunities are probably more limited. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton totally reversed 2012’s partisan gender gap among college-educated white women. (A demographic Clinton won by 51 to 45 percent, and Romney won 52 to 46 against Obama.)


177LolaWalser
Nov 16, 2016, 4:50pm Top

>176 sturlington:

Darling!!! I'm framing that. :)

178LolaWalser
Nov 16, 2016, 4:51pm Top

Hump that rump in 2020!

179sturlington
Nov 16, 2016, 4:53pm Top

"A conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect" NSA chief on WikiLeaks http://on.wsj.com/2geEat1 #WSJCEOCouncil

180sturlington
Nov 16, 2016, 5:56pm Top

That Republicans handily beat Democrats is a lie. They just have the advantage of geographical distribution. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/11/16/republicans-are-now-a-minority-party-wielding-near-absolute-power/

181abbottthomas
Nov 16, 2016, 6:33pm Top

>180 sturlington: I've been learning a lot about the US electoral system in recent weeks and it does make me wonder what your Founding Fathers were intending. One thing not mentioned in your link is the presidential right to appoint the Supreme Court justices - for LIFE! It seems that your president, provided he has the support of Congress can influence much of US life for years after he retires. Doesn't sound good to me.

At least you have state legislatures which can act, to some extent, independently of Washington and the CIA and FBI are not quite as pervasive as similar institutions in some other countries (I think?) but I guess that you guys will need to watch your backs for some time. I hope you can for the sake of the 'Free World' - whatever that dated cold war term means now.

182southernbooklady
Nov 16, 2016, 6:50pm Top

>181 abbottthomas: I've been learning a lot about the US electoral system in recent weeks and it does make me wonder what your Founding Fathers were intending.

It was a check against the tyranny of the mob. Also, it ensured that less populated states would not as easily be overruled by more populated ones. At the time it was created, the rule was whomever won the most electoral votes became President. Whomever came in second, became Vice President. It took something like 30+ votes to establish Jefferson as President, because the contest between him and Aaron Burr kept ending in a tie. They changed the rules after that.

One thing not mentioned in your link is the presidential right to appoint the Supreme Court justices - for LIFE!

Designed to keep the Justices from being beholden to the wishes or pressures from any single administration. Not a few justices have ended up being a thorn in the sides of the presidents that appointed them.

183Tid
Nov 17, 2016, 5:09am Top

>180 sturlington:

This is an exact replica of the situation in the UK, where the Tories are busy re-drawing electoral boundaries (what defines a 'constituency') using the excuse of "equalising populations within constituencies" without any consideration given to the natural difference between urban and rural communities. The effect of this is that we could end up with Tory governments for a long long time, on minority tickets.

184timspalding
Nov 17, 2016, 10:23am Top

Parallels to Gore are instructive.

Gore had basically no scandals--his big mistake was sighing dramatically during a debate, and distancing himself from Clinton. They both won the popular vote and lost the electoral. What's the big difference here that proves Clinton's loss was about sexism and Gore's wasn't, exactly?

185LolaWalser
Nov 17, 2016, 10:57am Top

>184 timspalding:

Clinton's loss was about sexism and Gore's wasn't, exactly?

Gore, as any man in politics, was never attacked for his gender, in the sign of his gender--Clinton, as any woman in politics, was, consistently, from the start. This is standard, this is traditional, and it's due to misogyny--depreciation of women running the whole spectrum from "dislike" to outright hatred. It affected how Clinton was treated her whole political career, it affected how people spoke and thought of her, how her faults and missteps were seen and interpreted, how intensely they were blamed. It affected--horribly, demonstrably--the campaign against Trump. White misogynists, mostly men, but also a good chunk of women, got back at the "bitch", even if they didn't manage exactly to "burn the witch". But this was yelled out to her, over and over.

For what? Clinton's "scandals"? You're not an insane person--do you not see how absurd, how scandalous this is?

Let's not waste time; I don't think you understand or care much the first thing regarding misogyny (or sexism, which you seem to think is some kind of "neutral" term) and I, in return, really don't care especially to persuade you of anything. You can find on your own plenty of material to explain this stuff, if you don't go out of your way to avoid the analyses of the election's misogyny. If you voted for Clinton, you did what was right, and I appreciate you did that despite her party not being your party. I respect your vote and share your concern.

186proximity1
Edited: Nov 17, 2016, 12:10pm Top

>184 timspalding:

? : " Gore had basically no scandals--his big mistake was sighing dramatically during a debate, and distancing himself from Clinton. They both won the popular vote and lost the electoral. What's the big difference here that proves Clinton's loss was about sexism and Gore's wasn't, exactly?"

While I dispute that "sexism"* or "misogyny" had any significant part in the outcome of the election, there _is_ of course a key difference related to gender in Gore v. Bush and Clinton v. Trump. The latter had a woman running as the D. party nominee.

--------------

* Other than Clinton's own.

187timspalding
Edited: Nov 17, 2016, 2:51pm Top

Gore, as any man in politics, was never attacked for his gender, in the sign of his gender--Clinton, as any woman in politics, was, consistently, from the start.

Certainly so. But if you're going to argue about results, you don't get very far comparing Clinton and Gore. Both lost, and in parallel ways. This makes Gore a poor way to demonstrate that sexism was the key to Clinton's loss.

Did sexism affect the election? I suspect so. But Gore's loss is a super-bad way to make that case.

White misogynists, mostly men, but also a good chunk of women, got back at the "bitch"

Trump's victory among whites was 63% men and 53% women. He won "most" of both. If indeed most of the men were misogynists, and only some of the women, something must have motivated those white women who voted for him other than misogyny. What was it?

Now, I don't doubt that sexism, or misogyny if you like, affected the vote. I don't know how much, but the election was so close that anything that mattered was determinative. When the camel's back breaks, it's not only the last straw that matters, but every other straw too. In such a situation, however, it isn't rational to identify sexism as the one explanation, and everything else as "bullshit," and particularly not when polls show convincingly that voters had many reasons for voting as they did.

For example, your "it's all sexism" explanation ignores the dreadful but real pull of Trump's message. Some people ate it up, and most of it wasn't focused on women, but on immigrants, especially Mexicans, and Muslims. It's "scandalous" indeed, but more men and women supported Trump's proposals to ban Muslims, and have "extra patrols of Muslim neighborhoods," than opposed them. Positions like this helped Trump, and not holding them hurt Clinton. Heck, 37% of her primary voters agreed with Trump on that. Horrible, but true.

For what? Clinton's "scandals"? You're not an insane person--do you not see how absurd, how scandalous this is?

I do. For my part, no amount of scandals would have changed my vote. Clinton could have been indicted—no, even convicted and serving time in jail—and I'd still have voted for her over Trump. No normal disagreement on policy would have changed my mind either. In sum, I could care less about Clinton's positives and negatives as a candidate. Her opponent is a disaster and a monster; there's no choice there.

But my feelings are only mine. We know from polls that other people cared about Clinton's strengths and weaknesses as a candidate, and found the weaknesses kept them from voting for her. And, no, they aren't all just misogyny. Clinton was a politician, with pluses and minuses, and they mattered. It's hardly a reasonable feminism to argue as if people had no rational reasons to dislike a female politician other than sexism.

188margd
Nov 17, 2016, 2:01pm Top

>185 LolaWalser: White misogynists, mostly men, but also a good chunk of women, got back at the "bitch"

"UGLY bitch" according to someone who "graces" these threads.

189LolaWalser
Nov 17, 2016, 3:08pm Top

>187 timspalding:

to argue as if people had no rational reasons to dislike a female politician other than sexism.

I never argued this, it's offensive to imply I did, and it shows you continue to dismiss misogyny. Same as with racism, you seem incapable of understanding that some people, NOT white men like you, are hobbled through no fault of their own by others' prejudice 24/7--not only the few seconds you charitably decide to bestow your attention on some sexist or racist incident. Gender and race never go away--when they are female gender and non-white race.

The reason I'm talking about this certainly isn't because it's the "only" or most important factor (there is no "most important" factor in a situation where thousands of particulars could have changed a precarious balance on their own), the reason I'm talking about is because it is the most shameful, most unjust, most fundamental. All the other things where Clinton failed or was failed, all the other reasons that she was opposed and disliked, that could have happened equally to a man, are valid criticisms to consider--insofar they are not entangled with misogyny. And the question of how to disentangle misogyny from "fair" dislike in a misogynistic society that teaches all of us to despise women from the day we are born is hard to answer. I'm not proposing to answer it. The most I can do is point out these things--that women are constantly, matter-of-factly, in vivid contrast to men, subjected to sexist attacks in every field they dare enter.

Electing the man who boasted about "grabbing pussy" is a misogynistic, sexist attack. Millions of American women will live with that insult ringing in their ears for the next four years. Not a random idiot on the subway, not the nutter in the street, not a drunk at a party, not a pimply teenage ass--their President.

>188 margd:

"Ignore" is a GREAT function!

190cpg
Nov 17, 2016, 4:21pm Top

>184 timspalding: "his big mistake was sighing dramatically during a debate"

I don't remember the sighing. I do remember him getting in Bush's face during the debate; that may have been a mistake, too.

191sturlington
Nov 17, 2016, 4:57pm Top

http://electionado.com/canvas/1479415234891

The Comey effect -- may have also kept a lot of voters at home as well as swinging undecideds toward Trump

192SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 17, 2016, 5:03pm Top

>190 cpg: It wasn't just the sighing, it was the eye rolling and the paper tearing. It was a little...eepy-cray.

193citygirl
Nov 17, 2016, 6:23pm Top

*banging head against the wall*

Aaargh! When smart, rational guys can't see sexism...I don't know how to finish this sentence.

194proximity1
Edited: Nov 18, 2016, 4:21am Top

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)
>189 LolaWalser:

"Electing the man who boasted about "grabbing pussy" is a misogynistic, sexist attack."

Seriously, get professional psychiatric help. And move to North Korea. ( I recommend following that order of the two but in any order you please.)

A botched, dysfunctional, pseudo-democracy which, once-in-a-Blue-Moon, throws up a genuine unexpected semi-populist sad-excuse for an electoral "choice" is no place for you to live (next door to.)

195Tid
Nov 18, 2016, 4:55am Top

>194 proximity1:

Lola certainly doesn't need my help defending her - she does a perfectly adequate job herself. However, your responding to a perfectly rational comment in relation to one of the most offensive remarks ever made by a person running for public office, that she should "get professional psychiatric help", is almost as offensive as Trump's original remark.

196proximity1
Edited: Nov 18, 2016, 5:36am Top

Tid--

I am routinely & daily among the homeless, unemployed, and destitute. The milieu is, I assure you, rife with chronic drug-abuse and addiction, alcoholism and just about every kind of mental and other physical illness you can think of. Crime and violence are never more than a temper-flash away.

Most of the men and women rarely see more than a few Euros together at a time. I see _real_ cases of genuine paranoia. It would shock the uninitiated observer --just as it shocked me when I first encountered it. ( Only last month, on learning that I came from Britain, a man explained to me with the most complete seriousness that the Queen was in fact a member of a disguised reptilian extra-terrestrial species and asked if I was aware of that. )

Though not professionally trained in this and while I don't claim my layman's impression substitutes for a competent professional assessment, it could not be more evident from her comments here that Walser's is a fanatic's delusional view of social relations and she resembles closely cult-group members' reasoning--including marked paranoid conceptions of real-world people and events.

It's not a pleasant thing to face but there are real cases of such things in our midst. The usual and natural response is to dismiss, ignore, put out of mind such anecdotal indications.

Well, I no longer have that luxury. Having seen it face to face, it now strikes me when indications are evident.

You deal with it as you can.

197Tid
Nov 18, 2016, 5:34am Top

>196 proximity1:

I respect your daily (professional?) activities. But Lola - and any woman here - has a right to decry the prevalent sexism (she calls it misogyny) AND racism in society, without being labelled a basket case ... which is, of course, one of the manifestations of exactly what she's getting at.

198proximity1
Edited: Nov 18, 2016, 5:53am Top

But she isn't a "basket case" --nor did I describe her as such. That's a slang term which distracts us from the fact that only a small part of sufferers are so effected that they're unable to function in society. Walser, like probably most paranoid people, is quite capable of meeting most of the demands of this now extremely complex and stressful world. The problems may only manifest within a narrow set of social circumstances, outside of which, most casual observers would never suspect a thing.

199stellarexplorer
Edited: Nov 18, 2016, 11:12am Top

>198 proximity1: That's a lovely, compassionate explanation. Clearly your advice for her to seek psychiatric help is motivated by your heartfelt concern that she receive needed medical attention. And do you always follow such well-intentioned counsel to the mentally ill people you regularly encounter with the recommendation that they move to North Korea? I'm sure this approach enhances their trust in you.

200proximity1
Nov 18, 2016, 11:48am Top


as with you and your sarcasm--win over many adversaries?

There's no trust between us to be lost -- but you already know that.

201LolaWalser
Nov 18, 2016, 12:29pm Top

>193 citygirl:

I can, but it's your sentence. :)

202barney67
Nov 18, 2016, 1:00pm Top

1> Although I agree that the person you are criticizing has alot coming, I would like to see this kind of thing —"get professional psychiatric help"—eliminated from everyone's vocabulary. It might shock you to know exactly how many people around the world have gotten psychiatric help. It's hard to measure because they usually lie about it.

203proximity1
Nov 18, 2016, 1:09pm Top



" I would like to see this kind of thing —"get professional psychiatric help"—eliminated from everyone's vocabulary."

& I'd like to see the good cause for recommending it eliminated.

"It might shock you to know exactly how many people around the world have gotten psychiatric help."

I don't think it would. The best practitioners are usually booked to capacity by the very wealthy people who are fortunate enough to be able to afford their fees.

204Tid
Nov 18, 2016, 1:38pm Top

>203 proximity1:

Let us suppose, just for a moment, that your advice to (and concern for?) Lola was motivated by genuine altruism for the alleged state of her mental health. What is the professional basis for your recommendation, and when was the face-to-face consultation that prompted it?

205LolaWalser
Edited: Nov 18, 2016, 1:55pm Top

>204 Tid:

Tid, I appreciate that you mean to stand up for me, and I thank you for the kindness, but there's really no need. I've had that troll on Ignore for a long time now (I don't know whether you know, but there's an option on members' Profiles to Block them, which hides their posts). You don't have to feel awkward about it, "proximity" is used to worse, routinely getting banned from websites with comment sections and chat forums.

He certainly makes a good case for the importance of mental health.

206Tid
Nov 18, 2016, 2:03pm Top

>205 LolaWalser:

Understood. And I did say (above) that you were more than capable of defending yourself!

He certainly makes a good case for the importance of mental health

Absolutely.

207SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 18, 2016, 2:08pm Top

Can I just get professional psychiatric drugs instead?

208Tid
Nov 18, 2016, 2:19pm Top

Diazepam? :-)

209LolaWalser
Nov 18, 2016, 2:22pm Top

Nurse, quickly! Twinkies for SomeGuy!

210Tid
Nov 18, 2016, 2:28pm Top

:D

211SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 18, 2016, 2:54pm Top

BWAHAHA! Yes, Twinkies! And a xanax as big as the Ritz!

212proximity1
Nov 19, 2016, 2:34am Top


>204 Tid:

The answers to your questions are already contained in >196 proximity1:

213timspalding
Edited: Nov 19, 2016, 4:31am Top

Members are strongly reminded not to violate the Terms of Service. Personal attacks are violations of the Terms of Service. And members who've been around for years, and been warned before, on the exact same topic, have even less excuse for the violations they engage in.

It's not that hard: you can state your views as strongly as you like, but personal attacks on members are against the rules. (For what it's worth, personal attacks are also pathetic as arguments.)

It being the weekend, nothing else is going to happen than this statement. But on Monday Loranne, Kristi or I are going to look into this further.

214LolaWalser
Nov 19, 2016, 12:20pm Top


The Creation of "Hillary Clinton" and the Deconstruction of Hillary Clinton

... Hillary’s gender crimes may be as significant as partisan politics in the creation of the powerfully media version of who she is. These go back to her time as first lady, perhaps even before. She wanted an office in the West Wing! She tried to put through a plan for universal health care! She only had one child! She sneered (or so the public was led to believe) at those who stayed home to bake cookies and serve tea. She didn’t seem to care enough about fashion. Unlike her more feminine predecessors Jackie Kennedy and Nancy Reagan, she didn’t know what to do with her hair. These transgressions made her "The Lady Macbeth of Arkansas" and "The Yuppie Wife from Hell"; a New York Post cartoon pictured Bill Clinton as a marionette, with a ferocious Hillary pulling the strings. ...

But then she decided to run for the presidency, and the "hellish housewife" (as Leon Wieseltier called her) was reincarnated. Hillary was "Satan" (Don Imus), "Mommie Dearest", "the debate dominatrix" and "Mistress Hillary" (Maureen Dowd.) And it wasn’t just the right wing. Chris Matthews of MSNBC saw her as a creature from the bowels of hell: "witchy" and a "she-devil." When she lost to Barack Obama, the correct order of things was temporarily restored. Just prior to declaring her current run for the presidency she had a 66% approval rating, was virtually uniformly trusted by colleagues on both sides of the aisle and considered one of the most admired women in the world. In fact, when Hillary is actually serving our country — as senator, as secretary of state, and even as first lady (when she wasn’t making provocative comments about cookies and tea) — her approval ratings have been sky-high. ...

...she had made concessions of this sort to the citizens of Arkansas, giving up the Rodham in her name, straightening her hair, abandoning her owlish glasses and wearing make-up. But each one of these make-overs, even as they resulted in a more acceptable first-lady persona, increased the perception that she was an ambitious politician who would craft her public self as required. It may come as a surprise to those more familiar only with the "untrustworthy," "corrupt" Hillary of the 2016 campaign, but earlier attacks on Hillary, besides those focused on her feminism and headbands, centered around what was seen as her ostentatious virtue and moral superiority. Rather than a tool of Wall Street, she was seen as overly zealous in her quest for moral justice and reform. Whether in a "masculine" or a "feminine" mode, whenever she "leaned in" too much, she paid a price. ...

There was no particular policy reason for feminists to find Hillary so cringe-worthy. It seemed, rather, that she had begun to remind them of their mothers. As I discovered when I looked up the ages of these writers, Hillary could well have been the mother of Roiphe or Levy, born in 1968 and 1974 respectively. (Wilentz in 1959.) Strikingly, the most sympathetic pieces in the volume come from Katha Pollitt and Deborah Tannen, both born in the 1940s. Pollitt and Tannen undoubtedly had been faced with similar dilemmas to those that faced Hillary; I know I have. When I was about to go on the market for my first job, I was advised how to style my hair so it would look less counter-cultural. When I was interviewed for graduate school, the chair of the department asked if I considered myself an "aggressive woman." At tenure time, the fact that I wore a tattered, Flashdance-style skirt was actually raised as an argument against my promotion. A bit later, I lost a prestigious job because, as I was told by a confidante, I "waved my hands around too much" and was too intense when I gave my job talk. ...

With my own experiences in mind, I find it incredible that Clinton was so berated for the notion that one's public position often must diverge from one's private ideas. Evidence of duplicity? What? If all of us, all the time, publicly expressed what we are privately thinking, there would be few friends or colleagues left standing. And little progress would be made on anything we care about. Clinton points to Abraham Lincoln’s careful strategizing for the 13th amendment, but all of us, even in much less formidable positions, often find ourselves in situations where saying exactly what we think would sacrifice the goals we are fighting for. ...

It’s important to recognize, too, that although younger generations of feminists hardly share the politics of the right-wingers — who have called Hillary a witch, a devil, a consorter with Satan, worthy of being jailed or burned at the stake — they have nonetheless, as Savannah Barker points out, come to know Hillary Clinton, to form their ideas of who she is, in the shadow of 20 years of relentless personal and political attacks. Unfortunately, although they are daily bombarded by the results of those attacks, few of them are aware of the "living history" (to borrow Hillary’s phrase) that produced them. When "millennials look at Hillary Clinton," Barker writes, "we don’t see her years of being beaten down by an unfair press serving a misogynistic public, but rather we see a polished politician without the people-pleasing charisma or the energizing fervor of Bernie Sanders." ...

As those of Clinton's and my generation know, the Sanders generation wasn’t the first mass-movement of young people filled with anti-establishment fervor. A lot of us were "socialist" (or some version of it) in those days. But some of us, too, were women. Women who were charged with making coffee while the male politicos speechified. Women who were shouted down and humiliated for daring to bring up the issue of gender inequality during rallies and leftist gatherings. Women whose protests were seen as trivial, hormonally inspired and "counter-revolutionary." Women who were told over and over that in the interests of progressive change, we had to subordinate our demands to "larger" causes. Some of us could see that those "larger" issues were thoroughly entangled with gender; we would ultimately develop ways of understanding the world that couldn’t be reduced to a single "message" but demanded complex analyses (and action) that looked at the intersections of race, gender and class. In those days, though — before the women’s movement — we often found ourselves simmering and stewing as our boyfriends and husbands defined what was revolutionary, what was worthy and what was "progressive." ...

So it was like déjà vu for me to see a charismatic male politician once again telling women what issues are and aren’t "progressive." Ironically, the women’s movement, alongside the struggle for racial justice, is one of the true revolutions of the 20th century — a revolution, as the catastrophe of the general election showed, that is far from complete. Yet, until revelations of Donald Trump’s misogynistic groping emerged, press coverage of the 2016 campaigns had virtually nothing to say about gender. During the democratic primary, Bernie Sanders discussed the "working class" as a neutered (but implicitly male) category, as though neither black nor white women counted. (It was probably his biggest mistake, particularly among black women voters.) Among Republicans, Trump’s ugly comments about women’s bodies were largely ignored, and those who tried to warn about him were accused of "playing the woman card." And all the while, the mass media was seizing on Hillary Clinton’s emails and "trust problem" as the only "scandals" worth reporting. ...

Hillary’s "trust problem" is what Daniel Boorstin, back in the 1960s, called a "pseudo-event." A pseudo-event is something that acquires its reality not because it is accurate, but because the media has reported it, repeated it, exaggerated it, replayed it and made an indelible mantra of it. In the process, like a piece of trashy gossip that has made the rounds of the high school cafeteria, the pseudo-event becomes stamped in viewers' or readers' minds as true. ...


If only we could also concoct a pseudo-reality that only pseudo-bites.

215Tid
Edited: Nov 19, 2016, 1:23pm Top

>214 LolaWalser:

"Hillary’s "trust problem" is what Daniel Boorstin, back in the 1960s, called a "pseudo-event." A pseudo-event is something that acquires its reality not because it is accurate, but because the media has reported it, repeated it, exaggerated it, replayed it and made an indelible mantra of it. In the process, like a piece of trashy gossip that has made the rounds of the high school cafeteria, the pseudo-event becomes stamped in viewers' or readers' minds as true. ..."

never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it. (Adolf Hitler)

216barney67
Nov 20, 2016, 11:17am Top

It says something when a person has to fall back on cut and pasting an entire editorial so often rather than to think for oneself.

It's a good habit to read the news first and more often than an editorial; to think about the topic second; and then to read an editorial, if at all, third or later.

217Tid
Edited: Nov 20, 2016, 12:12pm Top

>216 barney67:

I find that a posted link is made so often (here, and Facebook, and Twitter, and everywhere..), that I can feel overloaded and often do not chase the link up. Copy/paste forces me to read the actual content, and - as you say - think about it. In this instance I'm grateful for the paste.

BTW I think it is naïve to think that 'news' is by definition always more objective than an editorial.

218barney67
Edited: Nov 20, 2016, 11:21pm Top

Wait, wait, wait.

You think it naive to say that news is more objective than an editorial? I assume you know that an editorial is an opinion piece, analysis, and an article is written by a reporter attempting to convey that facts of a situation. This ought to be obvious.

If you are trying to make the point that news is not 100% objective, as objective as, say, a robot could be, then I agree because all humans have assumptions, presuppositions, biases that are difficult to transcend completely. It's like trying to see through the back of your own head. Even if we assume that 100% objectivity is impossible, it is still possible to attain some degree of objectivity and report the facts. It's done every day.

To suggest that there is no difference between fact and opinion is a position I doubt any reasonable person has ever held.

When I worked for a newspaper, an editor told me he would be happy if the editorial section were removed. He had a point, but he conceded that people like to read the editorial section and if readers want it, it will probably remain. He didn't have much use for the entertainment section either, the food section, and all the fluff which has emerged over recent decades. His preference was for what journalists call hard news, versus soft news. I should also add that this editor's politics were so far left that he could probably be called a revolutionary. No great love for America from this man, or love for much of anything.

219Tid
Nov 21, 2016, 5:31am Top

>218 barney67:

" If you are trying to make the point that news is not 100% objective, as objective as, say, a robot could be, then I agree because all humans have assumptions, presuppositions, biases that are difficult to transcend completely. It's like trying to see through the back of your own head. Even if we assume that 100% objectivity is impossible, it is still possible to attain some degree of objectivity and report the facts. It's done every day."

I do agree ... partly. But consider this (it may be more a reality in Britain? On the other hand, "Citizen Kane"...):

- who asks journalists to research and investigate their pieces on (whatever)? A: the editorial staff
- who asks journalists to make 'necessary' amendments? A: the editorial staff
- who makes the final decisions about what to include and what not to include? A: the editorial staff
- who decides on what makes the front page and what is relegated to the inner? A: the editorial staff
- who appoints the editorial staff? A: the owners of the organ in question
- who decides on the political slant and targeted readership of said organ? A: the owners

That is really what I meant about 'news' not being necessarily less biased than editorials - merely that the bias is usually more subtle, less overt, but the end result is the same.

220citygirl
Nov 21, 2016, 5:19pm Top

Excellent, Lola. Whaddaya say we stop trying to convince these guys that the sky is blue and get to work making real change?

221LolaWalser
Nov 21, 2016, 5:52pm Top

I do what I can where I am. But if possible, I'll visit your capital in January for this little event:

http://www.librarything.com/topic/240517

222citygirl
Nov 21, 2016, 6:44pm Top

Me, too. It's where I live.

223sturlington
Nov 23, 2016, 8:46am Top

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/11/activists-urge-hillary-clinton-to-c...

If Clinton doesn't call for a recount for the sake of stability, I suspect historians will be one day discover that this election was tampered with. Trump always accused the other side of what he himself was guilty of.

224timspalding
Edited: Nov 23, 2016, 10:25am Top

>223 sturlington:

The recent surge in leftists claiming the vote was rigged proves definitively that nutty conspiracy theories today are not a function of one side being crazy, but of either side thinking they are, or might be, losing. What's next—attacking the media for favoring the other side? Just kidding; that's already happening.

225proximity1
Edited: Nov 23, 2016, 10:41am Top

>224 timspalding:

" What's next—attacking the media for favoring the other side? Just kidding; that's already happening."

It should be hilariously funny to see Clinton-fanatics claim that biased news media helped Trump and sabotaged the Clinton campaign-- even as they claim the popular-vote victory.

"Clinton campaign fails to cheat effectively enough; loses vote-rigging race to Trump"

LOL.

226southernbooklady
Nov 23, 2016, 10:39am Top

>223 sturlington: It's not going to happen. There are a hundred more productive ways to deal with the reality of a Trump presidency than insisting it is all rigged. Right now my state is without a governor because McCrory won't concede and is charging massive election fraud, which even his own GOP dominated election boards insist is not happening.

Of course, I said there was no way Trump could win the GOP nomination, much less the election, so what the hell do I know?

227sturlington
Edited: Nov 23, 2016, 10:46am Top

>224 timspalding: Have you actually read the report? Are computer scientists and election lawyers "leftists"? Would a risk limiting audit hurt? Don't we want transparency in our elections?

There is absolutely an unwillingness on this forum and in our country in general to look at anything political from an objective evidence-based viewpoint. Everyone is more invested in calling the other side wrong on everything.

>226 southernbooklady: Trump's administration will not have legitimacy in the eyes of millions of voters. If there is no fraud, then an audit will clear the air. I don't see what the problem is.

Any audit of North Carolina's election results will show that mccrory definitively lost.

228proximity1
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 11:01am Top


>227 sturlington:

"There is absolutely an unwillingness on this forum and in our country in general to look at anything political from an objective evidence-based viewpoint. Everyone is more invested in calling the other side wrong on everything."

Essentially correct. As far as I'm concerned, every close state's returns could be audited. No argument.

I want every vote to count-- but then, I believe in democracy in fact rather than just paying lip service to the theory and I recognize that we don't have one--whichever candidate had won.

Who here believes you'd be arguing in favor of recounts had this outcome been the mirror-opposite? We know the answer since Clinton fanatics, so certain of victory, were already accusing Trump of being a sore loser even before the voting.

---------------

ETA : We ought to end the use of computers which are subject to hacking--whether it's remotely done or otherwise--and return to the use of machine-readable marked paper-ballots. Otherwise this is going to happen at every important election.

229timspalding
Edited: Nov 23, 2016, 11:00am Top

>227 sturlington:

I don't know the authors personally. I know who's sharing it everywhere online today. This is catnip to defeated Democrats. It's the first stage of grief.

230timspalding
Edited: Nov 23, 2016, 11:12am Top

Nate Silver crunched the numbers. The "issues" don't exist for Michigan—which has paper ballots everywhere—and disappear in the other two states when controlled for race and education. That is, electronic voting systems are not evenly distributed across districts, but vary by the demographic profile. That's the kind of thing you look at before you make this kind of claim.

https://twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/801221907609579520

231southernbooklady
Nov 23, 2016, 11:41am Top

>227 sturlington: Trump's administration will not have legitimacy in the eyes of millions of voters.

I'm extremely skeptical of any accusation of large scale fraud in the voting process. It's a tried and true GOP tactic for passing unnecessary and obstructive voter ID laws. But if there were an audit and fraud was found, what then? Clinton steps back into the fray? In those circumstances her presidency wouldn't have legitimacy in the eyes of millions of voters either. In fact, I think it would be extremely unlikely that such a scenario would result in anything but a protracted court battle and I doubt the Supreme Court would unseat Trump.

A vital part of how democracy functions is in the smooth and peaceful transition from one term to the next. During the campaign Trump made noises about not accepting election results and everyone blasted him for challenging the legitimacy of the transition process. We're really in for it over the next four years -- they are going to absolutely suck. But you don't work for reform by staking your position on "this never should have happened." We all know it never should have happened. But time moves forward, not backward.

232sturlington
Edited: Nov 23, 2016, 11:43am Top

Whatever. I think an audit should regularly be done for all elections. I don't understand why it's not. It's inexpensive (not talking a full recount here) and it provides transparency. Nate Silver is not an auditor. If the audit showed that Trump legitimately won the electoral college, that would actually be a relief to me, because then I could still have faith in our elections and our democratic institutions. As it stands, there will always be questions, and that is not good for our democracy.

233SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 23, 2016, 12:05pm Top

I imagine that if the story had any credibility whatsoever Clinton would insist that the votes be reviewed, even if she didn't have strong DNC support.

234southernbooklady
Nov 23, 2016, 12:59pm Top

>232 sturlington: I think an audit should regularly be done for all elections.

I'm not against that, but there would need to be some kind of procedure in place for what happens if an election fails an audit. It's the kind of reform best implemented NOT in the middle of a highly contested and emotional election.

235southernbooklady
Nov 23, 2016, 3:31pm Top

Speaking of Wisconsin and election reform, this is running through all my social network feeds at the moment:

Federal Judges rule Wisconsin's GOP-drawn redistricting maps unconstitutional:
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/federal-court-says-wisconsin-s-gop-redistric...

"There is no question," said the 2-1 ruling, that the map drawn by Wisconsin's legislature "was designed to make it more difficult for Democrats, compared to Republicans, to translate their votes into seats."

The judges added, "It is clear that the drafters got what they intended to get."

The court said both the First Amendment and the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection prohibit redistricting plans that make it harder for members of a disfavored political party to elect their candidates and that cannot be justified on legitimate grounds.

236margd
Nov 23, 2016, 4:58pm Top

Jill Stein is calling for a recount in MI, PA, and WI, and collecting to pay the fees:

"We hope to do recounts in all three states. If we only raise sufficient money for two, we will demand recounts in two states. If we only raise enough money for one, we will demand a recount in one state. If we do not raise enough for any recount (which is highly unlikely) we pledge to use the money for election integrity efforts and to promote systemic voting system reform."

https://jillstein.nationbuilder.com/recount

237davidgn
Nov 23, 2016, 5:09pm Top

Unlike other technologically advanced countries such as Germany, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, and 53 other countries, election ballots in the United States are not counted by hand and in public. The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (the German version of the US Supreme Court), in 2009, effectively banned the use of computers to count Germany’s ballots. In order to be able to verify the results of their elections, Germany reverted to the hand counting of all ballots in front of citizen observers.


That's the crux of the matter. Do you care about the integrity and credibility of elections? Push for the US to follow the example of more credible democracies.

238SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 23, 2016, 6:12pm Top

If the elections were rigged, and if there were automatic recounts, you'd just have to put the fix in the recount. Eventually you're going to have to accept the outcome or embrace the suck, as the case may be.

You know, I think it just can't get weirder. And then it does. These are truly remarkable times.

239davidgn
Edited: Nov 24, 2016, 1:32am Top

Anyone who's seen my other posts on the subject (I rounded up a few of them here) knows that while I place blame in a number of locations, at the end of the day I blame neoliberalism and its predictable consequences. Stupidly, I've only recently thought to see out commentary on the election from Zygmunt Bauman -- who, despite being older than dirt, remains one of the world's most important and relevant sociologists. (Or perhaps it's essential that he's older than dirt. Sometimes I joke about my rule of thumb when it comes to political and social theorists: "Don't trust anyone younger than 70.") He weighs in with far more subtlety and eloquence than I could pretend to.

Trump: A Quick Fix For Existential Anxiety (11/14) ("This is an edited version of an interview with Giuliano Battiston published in l’Espresso on November 11")
https://www.socialeurope.eu/2016/11/46978/#
...
Trump represented a splendid and unique occasion for... a wholesale condemnation of an entire political system – just as in the British referendum, where all major political parties (Conservatives, Labour and Liberals) united in their call to remain in the EU and so one could use his/her single vote to record his/her distaste for the political system in its entirety.
....
To those whom civilization has failed, barbarians are the saviours. Or this is what they lean over backwards to convince the gullible of being. Or this is what the abandoned and neglected in the distribution of the civilized gifts ardently desire to believe. Some establishments might be eager to grasp that opportunity, just as some believers in posthumous life are sometimes eager to commit suicide.


How Neoliberalism Prepared The Way For Donald Trump (11/16)
https://www.socialeurope.eu/2016/11/how-neoliberalism-prepared-the-way-for-donald-trump/#
I still vividly remember what fewer and fewer people, as time goes by, can and do: the names that Nikita Khrushchev, having decided to expose and publicly decry and condemn the crimes of the Soviet regime to prevent their repetition, gave to the moral blindness and inhumanity which was until then its mark: he called them “mistakes and deformations”, committed by Joseph Stalin in the course of successful implementation of essentially healthy, correct and deeply ethical policy.
...
I am not recalling all those (and after all, distant) events just because old people like me tend to be fond of, and addicted to, reminiscences – but also due to their eerie similarity to the reactions of the defeated and their sympathisers to the resounding drubbing administered to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party she represented, and the neoliberal policies they mistakenly conducted and promised to continue after their electoral victory. Even terms like “mistakes” or “deformation”, with the names of the culprits duly attached, are assigned in both compared reactions the role of paramount – sufficient and satisfactory – explanation.
....
But to cut the long story short: neo-liberalism, now the hegemonic philosophy shared by almost the whole of the political spectrum (and most certainly the entire part classified by Trump and his ilk as the “establishment” earmarked for annihilation by the popular wrath and rebellion) distanced itself from its predecessor and indeed set itself in stark opposition by doing precisely what the classic liberalism fought valiantly to prevent while leaning over backward to reverse in case it was already done: and that by exiling the precept of Egalité – for all practical intents and purposes, from the three-partite compact of the Enlightenment’s principles and postulates – even if not always from its entitlement to lip service.

After thirty/forty years of undivided and not seriously challenged hegemony of neo-liberal philosophy in a country of great expectations and yet, courtesy of its neo-liberal rulers, also of their no lesser frustrations, the electoral victory of Trump has become all but pre-determined. Given the circumstances, to the mistakes and deformations eagerly searched or construed and so hotly debated by most of the opinion-makers were at utmost left the role of icing the fully baked (over-baked?) cake.

For the self-appointed carriers of great expectations and conquerors of great frustration, demagogues and haranguers of all brands, in short: personages proclaiming themselves and believed to be strong (wo)men whose strength is measured by their capability of breaking rather than observing the rules of games foisted and cherished by the “establishment”, their common enemy – those circumstances amount to a field day. We (I mean here and refer to people worried by their actions and yet more by their not-yet-fully revealed potential), are advised, however, to be sceptical about quick fixes and instant exits from trouble. All the more so for the options we confront under those circumstances having been drawn from the category of choices between a devil and a deep blue sea.
....
The most popular choice among the actual or aspiring strong (wo)men when it comes to the casting the enemy’s role (that is, as spelled out by Eco, to the processes of self-defining, integration and self-asserting) – indeed a fully and truly meta-choice, determining all other choices by association or derivation – is currently establishment: un-packable as a foggy and (felicitously for their choosers and would-be foot soldiers) under-defined collection of have-beens who outlived their time and are grossly overdue to be relegated to history and recorded there in its annals as an aggregate of selfish hypocrites and inept failures. In a simplified rendition: establishment stands for the repulsive, off-putting and unprepossessing past, and the strong (wo)men, ready to send it to the rubbish tip where it belongs, stand for the guides to a new beginning, after which (s)he who has been naught shall be all.


Please read in full. You won't find better.

240davidgn
Edited: Nov 23, 2016, 10:57pm Top

241margd
Edited: Nov 24, 2016, 2:17am Top

>229 timspalding: catnip to defeated Democrats

Holy hanging chad!! What's a defeated Democrat (or thinking American, for that matter) to think? I very much doubt Republicans would be good sports if

TWO MILLION more people voted for Trump than HRC, but she won electoral vote.

In three narrowly won states, electronically counted ballots were ~7% fewer for Rs than optically scanned or hand-counted ones.

Russia or Iran meddled in election in ways that favored HRC.

Democrats made multiple efforts to depress R vote.

An Obama Administration official made calculatedly damaging, ultimately baseless announcement about Trump in last days of campaign.

ETA: Looks like Jill Stein will have collected the money she needs for a recount. https://www.buzzfeed.com/claudiakoerner/jill-stein-has-raised-more-than-15-million-to-fund-recounts?utm_term=.bhMmRNQOd#.ng91ABwgr

242davidgn
Edited: Nov 24, 2016, 4:03am Top

>241 margd: See >237 davidgn:.

That's my standing reply, universally applicable.
As long as electronic voting machines and tallying are part of the election loop, the required assurance is simply not there. Period.

Read this:
https://medium.com/message/everything-is-broken-81e5f33a24e1#.10d71kjg8

And before you try to argue that we can design the assurance into a technological solution (theoretically true, but fraught with difficulties and caveats, as any honest and competent security researcher will tell you), read this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KISS_principle
Then this:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/15/germany-typewriters-espionage-nsa-spying-surveillance

As long as after every election people take to carrying on about just this last election, this situation will continue to destabilize.

243Tid
Nov 24, 2016, 5:12am Top

>239 davidgn:

"Trump represented a splendid and unique occasion for... a wholesale condemnation of an entire political system – just as in the British referendum, where all major political parties (Conservatives, Labour and Liberals) united in their call to remain in the EU and so one could use his/her single vote to record his/her distaste for the political system in its entirety."

While there is an element of truth in his analysis, the British reference is a gross over-simplification, which may also apply to the US situation?

In summary:
- the UK Conservative Party has always had a strong core of Eurosceptics, and they formed the biggest element of the Leave campaign. Ted Heath and John Major had massive problems with their Eurosceptics, and Maggie Thatcher became one at heart if not in actual de facto political policy.
- the Labour Party were naturally Eurosceptic in the early days (70s) but accepted the situation and it was only the emergence of New Labour under Tony Blair that they fully embraced Europe, with the exception of the far left rump of the Party. By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn is deeply distrustful of the multinational / big business aspect of the Single Market, and took a long time to come out on the Remain side during the campaign, and only then with all the enthusiasm of a tranquilised rhino.
- the Liberals, it is true, have always been enthusiastic Europeans, but have never been a large enough party to properly influence events, with the exception of their joining a Coalition with the Tories from 2010 to 2015 ... but even there, they were unable to prevent David Cameron promising the electorate an In/Out referendum on the EU.

So yes - there was a core of voters who decided to vote 'Leave' because they wanted to proverbially 'thumb their noses' at the Westminster elite, but nevertheless that elite was manifestly divided on the issue, and split on non-Party lines during the referendum campaign. The majority for Brexit - just under 52% vs just over 48% to Remain - was sufficiently small that those protest votes might have made all the difference.

Could it be the same in the US? A small core of angry voters making the difference, especially in those States where Clinton lost by a very small number of votes? At any rate, I would dispute the phrase "wholesale condemnation of an entire political system". I'd sooner call it "a small angry vocal minority...".

244lriley
Edited: Nov 24, 2016, 11:31am Top

The banks/governments creating huge debts bail themselves out by dumping their debt on the public--the public then getting an austerity prognosis to pay for it. The EU is run by unelected technocrats whose one inflexible solution to anything remotely a financial concern (debt/inflation) is to cut social programs. They leverage the have nots against the have somethings while the privileged few walk away with more.

Austerity in the hands of the neo/liberal/conservative globalists just doesn't work.

245timspalding
Nov 24, 2016, 1:23pm Top

I very much doubt Republicans would be good sports if…

No, they wouldn't. They'd come up with conspiracy theories, complete with bad statistics, and so forth. Trump would be at the front of them, making wild accusations. No question.

What's sad is to see democrats, who so recently accused Trump of being conspiracy theorists, fall victim to the same nonsense.

246Tid
Nov 24, 2016, 2:07pm Top

>244 lriley:

"The EU is run by unelected technocrats whose one inflexible solution to anything remotely a financial concern (debt/inflation) is to cut social programs."

I'm afraid that's simply not true, and you appear to have swallowed wholesale the core emotive refrain of the Leave campaign. In the UK for example, as with any other EU nation, the Govt sets its own budget for its term, and how much austerity (aka 'stamp on the poor') it will deliver, and how, and what welfare spending there will be. The EU has very little input into individual governments' policy, and what there is is usually benign, i.e. protecting workers' rights, disability rights, presiding over certain definitions of health and safety, and so on. There is a common agricultural policy but as some farmers are against it and some for, it's difficult to determine just how much of good or bad thing that is.

247lriley
Nov 24, 2016, 11:15pm Top

#246--as in they can decide which social programs they can make cuts in? And why should they be stamping on the poor at all? Anyway it has not worked well for Greece and several other EU countries.

FWIW I don't live in an EU country and am not sure how I would have voted on Brexit given the choice. I could see positives for both staying and leaving. As far as the United States is concerned--the housing bubble and the bailout of the banks and the dumping of that debt on the American public is in part why we have a tea party movement on the right an Occupy movement that got squashed on the left and a Trump presidency about to happen. Yeah, there is plenty of racism and gender profiling involved in Trump's win but just looking at the rust belt states a lot of why Trump won those states were people hung out to dry by the neo-liberal/neo-conservative economic policy making (take your pick) of the two major political parties, living in busted up cities and with not a lot of hope and quite a lot of them fell for Donald's bullshitty lies--even a lot of Obama voters voted for Trump. There may have been some election fraud as well--personally I think there was.

7 years after being bailed out in 2015 Wall St. executives brought in $28.4 billion dollars in bonuses (not their regular compensation or salaries). We're talking maybe a few thousand people. All the minimum wage employees combined for the entire country in 2015 made $14 billion. We're talking millions and millions of people. Which pretty much is telling insofar as the wealth is all going to the top fraction of a percent of the already wealthiest. I suspect that's the way it is in most countries. It's not the right and it's not going to get fixed by Trump or a republican house and senate. It's going to get worse--how much worse we're going to find out.

248prosfilaes
Nov 25, 2016, 2:02am Top

>242 davidgn: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/15/germany-typewriters-espionage-nsa-spying-surveillance

I'm betting a mechanical typewriter can have each key tracked by the sound it makes, and the documents it produces aren't immune to being photocopied or photographed. And it's much easier to securely send an electronic message to a group of people than to securely transmit the document and then trust that the document is secured at the other end.

When the Iranians seized the US embassy, paper documents and a shredder was such a secure solution; e.g. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Espionage_den03_76.png

And before you try to argue that we can design the assurance into a technological solution

Technology does not necessarily involve electrons; a voting box is technology as well. And it can be tampered with, and has frequently been tampered with. If you can't think of several ways that vote counting in front of observers could be rigged, you aren't trying hard enough.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." Computers or no, a secret ballot is hard to administer and requires significant trust. Computers are pretty much the only way to correctly and quickly count large amounts of things without bias. Are the inaccuracies of the hand ballot, the ease of losing or adding ballots worth the problems making computers trustworthy? Maybe, maybe not, but it's not a magical fix.

249davidgn
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 4:43am Top

>248 prosfilaes: "I'm betting a mechanical typewriter can have each key tracked by the sound it makes" Oh, of course. But that requires actually being present within acoustic range (or line of sight). (And with a mechanical typewriter, at least you close off a bunch/ of/ EMSEC/ vectors.) Likewise the photocopying or photographing. The attack vectors are reduced to physical penetration and insider threats. (And water pipes/air ducts).

And if you're electronically transmitting anything, you have to worry not only about properly configured crypto, but also about endpoint security on both ends. (Did you read about the ANT catalogue when that came out? If not, you missed some mind-opening stuff!) In any case, that's more of a general consideration than domain-specific to election machinery. But if you've ever listened to actual subject-matter experts evaluate the security of many of the election machines currently in the field, you know that you need a drink afterwards.

"Technology does not necessarily involve electrons" -- You don't have to get pedantic. The question is, what is the most appropriate technology to maximize assurance and credibility? Hand-counts of paper ballots, distributed at the precinct level, with citizen observers allowed full access to observe is about as good as it gets. By most accounts I've seen, it's quite fast done this way, and even cost-competitive. It does, however, require a commitment of the citizenry to involve themselves in the process.

250timspalding
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 3:25am Top

When it comes to "rigged" elections, where you stand is where you sit.

Compare, if you will, the reaction of Democrats on LibraryThing in two races.

Clinton, a Democrat, lost Michigan by 10k votes, Wisconsin by 25k and Pennsylvania by 70k. All three (105k) would have to flip for her to be the winner.(1)

McCrory, a Republican, lost by 8.5k votes.

You've seen some of the conspiracy-mongering around Clinton's losses. Now compare that with:

SBL: Right now my state is without a governor because McCrory won't concede and is charging massive election fraud, which even his own GOP dominated election boards insist is not happening.

sturlington: Which makes governor McCrory's loss particularly sweet. He is screaming voter fraud now, based on no evidence whatsoever...

SBL: It's ridiculous how long he's dragging it out. Salon.com is raising warning flags about legislative appointment.


Personally, I think both claims are unlikely, or even ridiculous.


1. Presumably Republicans would also want recounts in their close states—Minnesota and New Hampshire, where 3k votes separate the candidates.

251proximity1
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 4:26am Top

>244 lriley:



The banks/governments creating huge debts bail themselves out by dumping their debt on the public--the public then getting an austerity prognosis to pay for it. The EU is run by unelected technocrats whose one inflexible solution to anything remotely a financial concern (debt/inflation) is to cut social programs. They leverage the have nots against the have somethings while the privileged few walk away with more.

Austerity in the hands of the neo/liberal/conservative globalists just doesn't work.



Correct.

And nothing argued here as rebuttal answers that :



>246 Tid:

------
"The EU is run by unelected technocrats whose one inflexible solution to anything remotely a financial concern (debt/inflation) is to cut social programs."
-------

→ "I'm afraid that's simply not true, and you appear to have swallowed wholesale the core emotive refrain of the Leave campaign. In the UK for example, as with any other EU nation, the Govt sets its own budget for its term, and how much austerity (aka 'stamp on the poor') it will deliver, and how, and what welfare spending there will be. The EU has very little input into individual governments' policy, and what there is is usually benign, i.e. protecting workers' rights, disability rights, presiding over certain definitions of health and safety, and so on."



because the simple fact is that none of that alters the validity of Riley's description-- which concerns the E.U.'s officials' comportment regardless of the merits or demerits of the U.K. government.

To reinforce the point, just consider : if "Brussels" had really wanted to, it could have long ago mandated far more humane base-line treatment of poor and needy people throughout the E.U. member states --always leaving them free to go beyond those minimum requirements wherever a government so chose. That way, just as with fishing regulations and agricultural laws, through good times and bad, whether Tory party or Labour, these now and still rather defenceless people should find themselves much better off because the E.U.'s norms require it everywhere.

By that, there'd be a reason to expect that the social dumping now going on in the E.U. should fail and fall flat. One's basic needs would be assured no matter where in the member union one lived.

Instead, Britons--to say nothing of others, E.U. nationals or not, migrating legally or illegally to Britain--can be and are treated like shit by "their" governments and Brussels doesn't say "Boo!" about it.

It's really this disgraceful state of affairs which underscores the validity of Riley's critique. If the E.U. wasn't the neo-liberal disgrace he described, it would look and act very differently.

252sturlington
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 6:44am Top

>250 timspalding: Why would Democrats have rigged the NC election against mccrory but not against Burr and Trump? It doesn't hold up to logic. But as I said, I welcome an audit or recount here. I think it would make McCrory's loss decisive. Please tell me now how that is hypocritical.

We live in a post-truth reality. We've elected proven liars. We are awash in fake news. And any effort to get at the truth is maligned as a conspiracy theory. By the way, SBL has absolutely not been advocating any conspiracies against Clinton, so it's particularly unfair to cite her words as an example of the hypocrisy you're so fond of pointing out.

I was recently watching a documentary miniseries on the 60s. One episode was about the Bay of Pigs, and there were a lot of man/woman on the street interviews. I was impressed with how well informed the average person seemed to be, and how calm. Then I realized that they all probably read a newspaper every day, a newspaper with solid, unbiased reporting. They all agreed on what reality was.

I would like to see America be made great in that way again, but I'm not holding my breath.

253margd
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 7:40am Top

>250 timspalding: Given this season's hacking of DNC and HRC and the energetic, imaginative, ever-increasing efforts of operatives to mess with vote in past (including gerrymandering), I have no doubt that some will go too far, and have. Only recourse is to challenge the vote, in order to discourage the most egregious behavior--even if recount is occasionally ill-advised. "Trust, but verify" as a President once said about the Soviets.

Hopefully, Jill Stein can use her funds to not only ensure this election was not stolen, but future ones. Dirty tricks of past will seem quaint by comparison, I'm afraid...

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/11/election-dirty-tricks
10 Dirty Ways to Swing an Election
Politicians and their henchmen have lots of ways of messing with voters. Here are their favorites.
1. Voter Caging
2. Lying Flyers
3. Reprehensible Robocalls
4. Felon Disenfranchisement
5. Voter ID Laws
6. Voter Purges
7. The Menacing Billboard
8. Poll Watchers
9. Messing With Early Voting
10. Making Voter Registration More Difficult
In-Person Voter Fraud--just kidding!

(Mother Jones will want to update article, e.g., hack/Wikileaks, FBI announcement just before 2016 election, ________.)

ETA: If they could mess with election results do you think Russians would refrain?

Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/russian-propaganda-effort-helped-spread-fake-news-during-election-experts-say/2016/11/24/793903b6-8a40-4ca9-b712-716af66098fe_story.html

254Tid
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 7:27am Top

>247 lriley:

No, Brussels can't decide individual nations' budgets or social programmes. As >251 proximity1: points out, the EU could and should have been more proactive in overseeing things like minimum levels of income, but instead has promoted a policy of handing out grants to 'needy regions' of individual member states.

By the way, just to be pedantic, people here are using the phrase neo-liberalism incorrectly. Neo-liberalism is the laissez-faire economics so readily espoused by conservatives and neo-conservatives. 'Liberalism' is the social programmes of - e.g. - your Democrats and our Liberal and Labour parties. Economic liberalism and social liberalism are two entirely different entities. 'Neo-liberalism' refers to the former, and is a right wing tendency, not left.

255southernbooklady
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 7:25am Top

>250 timspalding: Personally, I think both claims are unlikely, or even ridiculous.

McCrory's initial challenge was prompted by the sudden late tally of 94,000 votes from Durham county, most of which ended up being for Cooper. They came in late because of mechanical failures by the voting machines, and had to be hand counted -- something the county board of elections insists it did under proper procedures and witnessed by citizen representatives from all parties.

http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/2016/11/14/durham-defends-handling-ballo...

I get why he called for a recount, since those late votes gave Cooper the 11th hour win. If the shoe had been on the other foot I hope Cooper would have called for a recount. But McCrory has gone on to file complaints against election boards in numerous other counties where no irregularities occurred, charging malfeasance against the county election boards, most of which are GOP controlled, as the state government itself has been GOP controlled since McCrory took office.

But McCrory is an idiot. He's been an idiot since he took office. He was a popular mayor of Charlotte because he had the backing (and followed the advice) of the big banking interests centered there. He sucked as a governor because he's as easily led astray by bad advice as he is led by good advice. Even Republicans don't like him. But he's not Donald Trump, he can't make all his stupidity disappear with a slogan on a red baseball cap.

I feel the same way about Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvannia. If there were clear irregularities (something besides "whoah, that's not the result we expected") then it should be looked into. But a close vote is not a de facto irregularity, and I don't think fostering distrust of the electoral process should be the price we are willing to pay to "win" an election.


>252 sturlington: SBL has absolutely not been advocating any conspiracies against Clinton, so it's particularly unfair to cite her words as an example of the hypocrisy

True. In the full conversation between me and sturlington I was actually arguing against conspiracy theories.

256sturlington
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 7:45am Top

>255 southernbooklady: But a close vote is not a de facto irregularity, and I don't think fostering distrust of the electoral process should be the price we are willing to pay to "win" an election.

I think people feel desperate and are grasping at straws. I understand it. Personally, I don't think a recount would overturn the results. And like you said (and my husband made the same point), there would probably be very negative consequences if it did.

On the other hand, this election has been bizarre in a number of ways. I doubt we'll ever come to a clear resolution as to who to blame. I am always going to come down on the side of letting in as much sunlight as possible. Where there's not openness and transparency, conspiracy theories tend to take root. And if Jill Stein's efforts lead to more transparency in our elections, I'm all for that.

I'm glad it's not Clinton calling for a recount. She did the right thing and stood by her words to honor the result, as she should.

PS Around our house, we refer to McCrory as the dumbest man in America. Leave it to him to embarrass our state one last time.

257proximity1
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 7:56am Top

Al Gore, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump--whoever the candidate, he or she--not to mention the voters and the public generally-- deserves a full and fair accounting of all the votes. If that takes more time than people have become accustomed to waiting in order to know the result, so be it.

Conceding when there are still enough untallied votes to change the outcome of the election is not a service to the public's, the voters' rights to a fair election.

Yes, I'd eliminate the Electoral College--or advocate its elimination--in favor of a full, straight decision by popular vote with the winner being determined by a majority or plurality of the total votes cast, whichever is greater. BUT, that change alone would constitute only one of the essential changes needed. By itself, it would not make what is a flagrantly undemocratic process suddenly democratic.

258southernbooklady
Nov 25, 2016, 8:12am Top

The Electoral College ensures that who ever runs for president can't settle for winning New York City, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles. It gives rural votes significance.

259LolaWalser
Nov 25, 2016, 9:07am Top

>258 southernbooklady:

It gives rural votes significance.

What's the point if it rubbishes millions of other votes? You can't dignify a vote as "significant" if you proclaim other votes insignificant.

It's a terrible system, ludicrously unfair. The states may not be equal, but voters for the President, a federal office held by an individual, certainly ought to be.

Otherwise why not get rid of it and install a 50-rep presidential committee.

260lriley
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 9:25am Top

#254--there are comparables to be made between Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. Clinton comes to power after Reagan and Bush1. Blair comes to power after Thatcher and Major. Both keep intact much if not most of the policy decisions of their right wing predecessors. There's not all that much change or scaling back. Both chose the third way. Just to be more clear on that I'll use wikipedia's definition of the third way for you---it's a decision to take centrist path--'to reconcile right wing and left wing politics by advocating a synthesis of right wing economic and left wing social policies.' Politics being politics almost always skews towards economics policy over social policy.

Personally I'm not comfortable with the kind of capitalism we have in the United States today or what I see of capitalism in other countries and particularly those in the EU. Personally a 50/50 balance between economic and social policy would be more to my taste. Currently I'd say it's about 90/10 the wrong way. Practically every major political decision that pits large corporations/banks vs. a broader public interest comes down on the side of the corporate/banking cabals. Standing Rock is a case in point today. Problems with the EU or major international entities likes the World Bank or WTO or even the trade policies of the United States is they're made by elite interests and indemnify those interests against the problems or situations they create dumping all the bad shit on their respective publics at large. Clinton and Blair are both centrists and corporatists. Obama ran for president as a left wing populist and unfortunately turned out to be another centrist/corporatist. Now we have a moron who ran as a right wing populist (though he's nothing of the kind) and won and it's obvious neither the right or the left are altogether comfortable with the direction the established politicians of either democrat or republican parties have taken them.

261southernbooklady
Nov 25, 2016, 9:58am Top

>259 LolaWalser: What's the point if it rubbishes millions of other votes? You can't dignify a vote as "significant" if you proclaim other votes insignificant.


Despite the language in the Declaration of Independence, that "all men (sic) are created equal" the founding fathers all, with the possible exception of Jefferson, had a horror of "the popular vote." Hence, the electoral college. I think it was meant to be a check against mob populist movements. Of course, I suspect it did not occur to them that it could be coopted by the same.

I'm on the fence about it, personally, although as a rule I think the bicameral legislature is more important in making sure less populated areas have real representation.

262margd
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 11:46am Top

>261 southernbooklady: the bicameral legislature is more important in making sure less populated areas have real representation.

If we are to keep the bicameral legislature, even more reason for President to be elected by popular vote:

cold, hard reality that voters turned out in large numbers to reject Trump’s vision.

Clinton’s margin will grow significantly, as it is estimated that several million votes have yet to be counted in western states (particularly California) that encourage high turnouts, that are meticulous about the process of counting absentee and provisional ballots, and that have strongly favored Clinton in this election. Clinton has also picked up tens of thousands of votes as local and state election officials in Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and other states continue standard reviews of vote tabulations. Wasserman and others now estimate that the Democratic ticket is likely to finish with a popular-vote advantage over Trump of roughly 2.5 million.

Clinton’s popular-vote lead (more than 2 million and growing) is now so substantial that it can be compared not merely with losers of the presidency but with winners. The former secretary of state enjoys a popular-vote advantage that is now 15 times greater than that of John Kennedy over Richard Nixon in 1960. Her lead is now more than three times greater than that of Richard Nixon over Hubert Humphrey in 1968. It has even surpassed that of Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford in 1976.

As Clinton’s advantage grows, her percentage of the popular vote increases; she’s now around 48 percent. At the same time, Trump’s percentage declines; he’s now around 46.5 percent.

“Trump’s Electoral College majority (306) is actually similar to John F. Kennedy’s 303 in 1960 and Jimmy Carter’s 297 in 1976. Has either of those victories ever been called a landslide? Of course not—and JFK and Carter actually won the popular vote narrowly.”

It now appears that more Americans cast ballots in 2016 than in any presidential election in American history.

Preliminary results suggest that Democratic led in the overall popular vote ... for Senate seats by almost six million votes.

https://www.thenation.com/article/republicans-cannot-claim-a-mandate-when-hillary-clinton-has-a-two-million-vote-lead/

263proximity1
Edited: Nov 26, 2016, 5:43am Top

>258 southernbooklady:

And to "ensure" those "Rural votes' " "significance" the Electoral college overvalues them, giving each and every one more influence on the outcome of the election. This inevitably produces an undemocratic result--every time that the "winner's" margin of victory is anything less that the total of these over-valued votes cast.

Now, you can say lots of things about that. You can say, "I don't give a fuck about fair and equally valued votes--I want the rural votes to count more--just because, in aggregate, there are relatively fewer of them," or because "rural people know better than 'city-dwellers'," or whatever goddamed rationale you please except this one : "it's fairer that way!"

Because it's less fair that way.

RE : "Despite the language in the Declaration of Independence, that "all men (sic) are created equal" the founding fathers all, with the possible exception of Jefferson, had a horror of "the popular vote."

ETA : They also saw no compelling reason to afford adult women the franchise. Should we "honor that" today, too? This appeal to the authority of dead, elite White male establishment figures is quite striking in such a committed feminist as yourself. By the way, it was a commonplace of linguistic of construction of their day that, in the phrase you cite, ("All men are created equal"...) and in general usage, unless the context was clearly specifically aimed at exclusively at males, the term "men" also included women and was understood that way. Your assertion that, here, "men" meant--whatever today we think it does or ought to "mean"-- is anachronistic. "All men," in this phrase meant and should be understoood today to mean human kind.

______________________________

Many Americans simply do not really favor democracy. And a hell of a lot of them don't even really understand what the fuck the word and the principle is all about. That ought to be a huge shame.

RE : "I think it was meant to be a check against mob populist movements."

Our political and electoral systems have no "check" whatsoever on rule by "rich-people"-mob movements." And yet, you lose no sleep over that-- I'd bet on it. If you did, you'd have written about it: "I can't sleep for worrying about the dangerous things that cabals of rich people do to corrupt our politics"--or words to that effect. I don't think a search would find them.

264proximity1
Nov 25, 2016, 10:58am Top


>259 LolaWalser:

I agree.

Indeed! Why not that? Or, for those who won't defend real democratic principles, why not just install a heredity monarchy? Dispense with voting altogether.

265jjwilson61
Nov 25, 2016, 11:10am Top

>261 southernbooklady: You have to remember that the people who wrote the constitution really thought of the US as a collection of states, in fact they were all at the constitutional convention as representatives of their states.

Also the uneven representation isn't necessarily a consequence of the electoral college. They could have given each state as many electoral votes as they had representatives instead of reps plus senators. I wonder how the last election would have turned out under those rules.

266LolaWalser
Nov 25, 2016, 11:21am Top

>262 margd:

The former secretary of state enjoys a popular-vote advantage that is now 15 times greater than that of John Kennedy over Richard Nixon in 1960. Her lead is now more than three times greater than that of Richard Nixon over Hubert Humphrey in 1968. It has even surpassed that of Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford in 1976.

Wow. This should not be forgotten. Your rapist-in-chief has no mandate.

267proximity1
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 11:29am Top

>265 jjwilson61:

RE : "They could have given each state as many electoral votes as they had representatives instead of reps plus senators. I wonder how the last election would have turned out under those rules."

The same--since the states' electors equal the total of their senators (2 per state) + their representatives in the House of Representatives.(*)

CORRECTION & My apologies: I failed to note your "instead of"... and read, instead, "They could have given each state as many electoral votes as they had representatives plus senators."

Your point is right. That should have produced a different outcome.



WikipediA® :

"There are currently a total of 538 electors, corresponding to the 435 Representatives, the 100 Senators, (*)plus three electors for the District of Columbia as provided for in the Twenty-third Amendment. Each state chooses electors amounting to the combined total of its Senators and Representatives."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_%28United_States%29

___________________________

Distribution of Electoral Votes

Electoral votes are allocated based on the Census.
The allocations below are based on the 2010 Census.
They are effective for the 2012, 2016, and 2020 presidential elections.

Total Electoral Votes: 538; Majority Needed to Elect: 270

https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/allocation.html

268proximity1
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 11:33am Top

>266 LolaWalser::

Note to myself :

It's a shame. Instead of an unqualified, rich, lying, self-serving, elite corporatist man, we could have had an unqualified, rich, lying, self-serving, elite corporatist woman.

Maybe one day, if we ever find the sense to insist on democratic rule.

269lriley
Nov 25, 2016, 4:20pm Top

The 'mob' at any given time could be any one of us. Any of the founding fathers that worried overmuch about the 'mob' can fuck off into the dustbin of history. We should dump the electoral college and go strictly on the popular vote. Who gets the most votes wins. We need to standardize a system of voting that can't be hijacked or hacked into. I would offer a ranking system as well that would allow someone to vote for who they like best and if their candidate is not in the top two--have an option where their vote can switch to a second choice. You would actually have more people actually voting for someone then--than voting against someone.

270Tid
Nov 25, 2016, 4:50pm Top

>260 lriley:

Yes, that's where we agree - Reaganomics and Thatcherism changed the face of mainstream politics for more than a generation, and is only now beginning to unravel, starting with the 2008 crash. Clinton and Blair had to deal with a changed world, and it meant moderating left wing politics in such a way that the centre has shifted right-wards considerably. It now means that the Bernie Sanders's and Jeremy Corbyns of the new world look (1) extremists compared to the centrist compromise since 1980, but also (2) attractive to the radical young, and other older left wingers who had felt left far behind.

I'm with you in being wholly dissatisfied with the capitalism we have now in the West. It's a far cry from the 'consensus politics' we grew up with in the 50s and 60s. Heck, Eisenhower and Macmillan - both conservatives - were far to the left of today's centrist politicians.

(However, I stick with my definition of neo-liberalism - Clinton, Blair and Obama tried to water it down somewhat but with very limited success.)

271timspalding
Edited: Nov 25, 2016, 6:56pm Top

But McCrory has gone on to file complaints against election boards in numerous other counties where no irregularities occurred, charging malfeasance against the county election boards, most of which are GOP controlled, as the state government itself has been GOP controlled since McCrory took office.

I don't know the specifics, and therefore shall make no argument, but, as a general principle, if you question the vote some places, you should question it in other places. This was part of the problem with Gore's effort--initially questioning the vote in counties that were likely to give him votes, but no elsewhere. And, as mentioned, it's a potential problem in the three-state recounts. You cannot say "let's recount the states we almost won" but ignore the states you almost lost.

I don't think fostering distrust of the electoral process should be the price we are willing to pay to "win" an election.

Yeah. I suppose it goes to an overall need for election reform—preferably at the national level.

True. In the full conversation between me and sturlington I was actually arguing against conspiracy theories.

Fake news!

On the other hand, this election has been bizarre in a number of ways

This tweet has been nominated for the understatement of the millennium. :)

It gives rural votes significance.

What's the point if it rubbishes millions of other votes? You can't dignify a vote as "significant" if you proclaim other votes insignificant.


Lola has a point. The better argument is states.

A friend of mine on Facebook opined that it was a stupid system. If your company is ordering pizza, you hold a vote and the winner wins.

I replied that, when a company decides on a strategy, it doesn't necessarily consider the raw majority, but gives marketing one vote, sales one vote, engineering one vote, HR one vote, etc.

That's the American notion. The president is president of the United States, not merely of its people irrespective of their states.

I have some sympathy with a change--probably by the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. But the current system is not stupid or irrational. It's the expression of the Founder's understanding of the country as a compact of states, who retain significant power and identity.

he founding fathers all, with the possible exception of Jefferson, had a horror of "the popular vote." Hence, the electoral college. I think it was meant to be a check against mob populist movements.

There are three issues here:

1. That States vote, not people.
2. That states get votes equal to their senators and representatives, which preferences small states, and is part of the Connecticut Compromise.
3. That states vote for people, who then cast their votes separately.

#3 is check on the mob. #1 and #2 are about Federalism, and specifically the Connecticut Compromise.

272southernbooklady
Nov 25, 2016, 7:19pm Top

>271 timspalding: I don't know the specifics, and therefore shall make no argument, but, as a general principle, if you question the vote some places, you should question it in other places.

Only if you are questioning the voting process as a whole. If you think the process itself is flawed. Accusations of malfeasance don't go there, they are accusations of specific manipulation by specific people in specific circumstances, based on suspicious activity or evidence of wrong doing. McCrory is not claiming that voting machines don't work, or that mechanical error systematically miscounted votes. He's charging state-wide conspiracy at the polling stations.

If you were going to apply the idea to Wisonsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, you'd have to have plausible evidence that, I dunno, Russians hacked the voting machines or evil GOP election officials deleted DEmocrat votes or something. In which case it would make sense to investigate the specific case of malfeasance. You'd also probably want to confirm a crime had been committed before you start questioning the ballots in other places.

But yeah, I think we are in dire need of election reform.

273prosfilaes
Nov 25, 2016, 7:26pm Top

>249 davidgn: The attack vectors are reduced to physical penetration and insider threats.

Which have made up most of the espionage of classified material, even in the modern day.

And if you're electronically transmitting anything, you have to worry ... about endpoint security on both ends.

You always have to worry about endpoint security on both ends, so long as both ends have a permanent copy.

You don't have to get pedantic.

But it's in my nature. You'll continue to post links to sites that scream crank to me, and I'll continue to be pedantic.

Hand-counts of paper ballots, distributed at the precinct level, with citizen observers allowed full access to observe is about as good as it gets.

A technology that has no protection against people voting twice, or simply shoving a pile of ballots into the box. It might be more secure for a federal election, where that's going to level out, but when you mix all sorts of levels of elections onto one ballot, you're exposing local elections to more risk.

274davidgn
Nov 25, 2016, 8:35pm Top

>273 prosfilaes: Well, it seems we'll continue to agree to disagree.

How about the cranks at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice?
https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/americas-voting-machines-risk

And the cranks at the Bundesverfassungsgericht?
http://electiondefensealliance.org/germanys_federal_constitutional_court_rules_e...

There are a number of proposed protocols that aim to remedy various procedural shortcomings, some of which do include electronic solutions, but what they all seem to have in common is provision for an auditable paper trail that is actually audited. I'm not an election integrity expert or activist, so I'm only peripherally aware of the various proposals. Considering the state of affairs, though, it's about time I started reading up.

275prosfilaes
Nov 25, 2016, 11:25pm Top

>274 davidgn: provision for an auditable paper trail that is actually audited.

Um, yeah. Whenever I vote, I may select everything on the computer, but there's a printed copy on the side of the computer that keeps a copy of the ballot, and that paper copy could be used to check the computers, and I would agree that there should be random audits of the paper tape versus the computer record.

276jjwilson61
Nov 25, 2016, 11:42pm Top

>271 timspalding: And, as mentioned, it's a potential problem in the three-state recounts. You cannot say "let's recount the states we almost won" but ignore the states you almost lost.

You sure as hell can if you're paying for it. Let the other guy pay to recount the other states if he wants to.

277timspalding
Nov 26, 2016, 7:04am Top

If you were going to apply the idea to Wisonsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, you'd have to have plausible evidence that, I dunno, Russians hacked the voting machines or evil GOP election officials deleted DEmocrat votes or something.

Right. But there is no credible evidence of this. So we're left with a vague rumor, and a desire to "roll the dice" on our notoriously imprecise voting systems—maybe the count will come out differently the second time. No doubt the numbers will change somewhat. By picking states that Clinton narrowly lost, change could only help Clinton. A more honest process would examine all the close states—even the ones Clinton won.

You sure as hell can if you're paying for it. Let the other guy pay to recount the other states if he wants to.

I don't for a moment imagine this will change things. But it seems a little strange for me to be arguing to Democrats that money shouldn't buy elections. Panta rhei, I suppose.

278southernbooklady
Nov 26, 2016, 8:14am Top

>277 timspalding: A more honest process would examine all the close states—even the ones Clinton won.

"close" by percentages? Or by difference in the tally?

According to this chart:
http://www.usnews.com/news/the-run-2016/articles/2016-11-14/the-10-closest-state...

The five states with the narrowest margins are Michigan, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Only one of those went to Clinton. So if people wanting recounts threw in New Hampshire and Florida in their recount demands, that would make it more credible?

Just to be clear on my position here, I'm not arguing that there has been malfeasance, and while I think the electoral process is in dire need of reform, I don't think questioning an election that has run as it was supposed to is the way to get that reform. But I do question the statement that if you are questioning the results of one place you should be questioning all of them. That was the comment re the NC Governor's race. There was a reason to question the results of Durham county's tally, because 90,000 votes "showed up" after the polls had closed. (This has since been explained as a the result of mechanical failure that caused election officials to have to count the ballots by hand.) There was absolutely no reason to question the results from other counties, where no irregularities occurred, and no evidence whatsoever of any kind of systemic abuse by election officials or Democrats in general.

279timspalding
Nov 26, 2016, 8:18am Top

>278 southernbooklady:

Well, obviously, I think it's ridiculous from every angle. But for Clinton to win she needs to pick up Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and NOT lose New Hampshire. So it matters. It's like rolling dice and the only rerolling the ones you don't like.

280RickHarsch
Nov 26, 2016, 8:48am Top

>279 timspalding: What absolute tripe. A candidate is following the rules established for obtaining a recount/re-evaluation of an election result. What's the problem? The lame metaphor--rolling the dice--is utterly inapt, calling into question for no reason the motives of those who raised the money to pay for the process. And the process itself is being treated as something abnormal, when questioning election results is rather common in the world. Stein and cohorts are not going to question--and pay for--the results in New Hampshire, as Spalding implies would only be fair, but they have been led to believe that the possibility of there having been successful cheating does exist and they are doing their best to pursue the matter.
>277 timspalding: Statistical anomalies can be so odd that in and of themselves they are cause for doubt.

Finally, given the cast of characters, would it be surprising if there was rigging? We are not dealing with the moral toppings of humanity.

281lriley
Nov 26, 2016, 8:56am Top

On the subject of a vote recount--Obama doesn't want to do it. So Donald Trump may have stolen Hillary Clinton's lunch and Jill Stein wants to get it back for her but Barack says leave it be. Jill Stein is what democracy looks like.

Overturning an election would be a very divisive thing to do, even so. There would be riots and probably some violence. A lot of people don't have the stomach for that and I think Barack is one of them.

When mentioning the subject Barack talks about the Russians. Maybe. Myself I have doubts about that. He's been playing the Russian card ever since Guccifer. The Russians this, the Russians that repeated over and over ad nauseam. We need to recreate a Cold War situation so we can put more money in the pockets of the security state and defense contractors. In any case our voting processes are neither streamlined or standardized and anyone who's paid any attention to this knows vote counts can be and have been hacked and manipulated and that goes back at least several election cycles. And truthfully I can say (I don't know about how the rest of you feel) whenever I hear or see Donald Trump I don't think scrupulous. Diebold. Diebold. Diebold. Not Putin. Diebold. That's where I'd look first because IMO the other is going to be a waste of time.

282timspalding
Nov 26, 2016, 9:13am Top

Jill Stein is what democracy looks like.

Jill Stein's vote tally in Michigan and Wisconsin would have put Clinton over the top there.

This is what left-wing suicide looks like.

283proximity1
Nov 26, 2016, 9:43am Top



Published: New York Evening Mail (July 10, 1910)

These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double-
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."

"Baseball's Sad Lexicon"
by Franklin Pierce Adams

284lriley
Edited: Nov 26, 2016, 12:12pm Top

#282--you're reaching if you believe that Stein's voters would have voted for Clinton. I would have stayed home.

Clinton underperformed Obama in Detroit and Milwaukee by a lot. You want to blame someone, blame those who voted for Obama the last 2 times and didn't show up at all and even some of those Obama voters who did---voted for Trump.

This is more of the crap of taking alternatives away.

285timspalding
Nov 26, 2016, 12:20pm Top

286SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 26, 2016, 1:29pm Top

Eh, reading that story it sounds like the Clinton campaign is just inserting itself into an action that is already going to happen so that it can have some control over the narrative. That's just a good legal team at work.

287timspalding
Nov 26, 2016, 1:40pm Top

It's odd that they're promising to get involved in MI and PA, if and when Stein does. That's putting a lot of power in some very unreliable hands.

288RickHarsch
Nov 26, 2016, 2:01pm Top

>287 timspalding: The power is in the hands of those doing the recount, which don't change based on who pays for it. Stein does not gain power from the result.

289timspalding
Nov 26, 2016, 2:09pm Top

>288 RickHarsch:

Indeed, but the recounts won't happen without her say-so. That's a very odd position for Clinton to be in, and it gives Stein an opportunity for mischief.

290RickHarsch
Nov 26, 2016, 2:12pm Top

Mischief? What horror!

291lriley
Edited: Nov 26, 2016, 2:44pm Top

Better to have possibly had a rigged election (that is: criminality) than mischief. Better to have Trump as well, I suppose.

FWIW I seriously doubt the election is going to be overturned. At the same time I have grave doubts that it wasn't rigged so that the Donald would win. It's almost funny that the Donald seemed to think in the days leading up to Nov. 8 that it would be rigged against him. So apparently he (at least then) didn't/doesn't have much faith in the integrity of the voting process either.

What Stein could personally gain from this is something around 0. That's a goose egg. The mischief really comes from the public getting to see that the electoral process isn't exactly on the up and up. Rather than face that--most all of the establishment jerk offs from both major parties prefer to lie and act as it is on the up and up. They'd rather give us Trump than the truth.

292southernbooklady
Nov 26, 2016, 2:48pm Top

>291 lriley: So apparently he (at least then) didn't/doesn't have much faith in the integrity of the voting process either.

Trump doesn't have any faith in anything except his own self-constructed image.

293timspalding
Edited: Nov 26, 2016, 3:57pm Top

What Stein could personally gain from this is something around 0. That's a goose egg.

Then why is she doing it?

I think she's doing it because it distracts people from her crucial role in defeating Hillary, and makes her a weird post-hoc champion of Hillary instead. She looks good. She stays on the national stage--indeed, more than during the campaign. It's all gain.

294RickHarsch
Nov 26, 2016, 4:19pm Top

Couldn't possibly be that she believes it necessary.

295RickHarsch
Nov 26, 2016, 4:22pm Top

The view of the incomparable Eduardo Galeano

Balance
by Eduardo Galeano

Fidel

His enemies say he was an uncrowned king who confused unity with unanimity.

And in that his enemies are right.

His enemies say that if Napoleon had a newspaper like Granma, no Frenchman would have learned of the disaster at Waterloo.

And in that his enemies are right.

His enemies say that he exercised power by talking a lot and listening little, because he was more used to hearing echoes than voices.

And in that his enemies are right.

But some things his enemies do not say: it was not to pose for the history books that he bared his breast to the invaders' bullets,

he faced hurricanes as an equal, hurricane to hurricane,

he survived 637 attempts on his life,

his contagious energy was decisive in making a country out of a colony,

and it was not by Lucifer's curse or God's miracle that the new country managed to outlive 10 US presidents, their napkins spread in their laps, ready to eat it with knife and fork.

And his enemies never mention that Cuba is one rare country that does not compete for the World Doormat Cup.

And they do not say that the revolution, punished for the crime of dignity, is what it managed to be and not what it wished to become.

Nor do they say that the wall separating desire from reality grew ever higher and wider thanks to the imperial blockade, which suffocated a Cuban-style democracy, militarized society, and gave the bureaucracy, always ready with a problem for every solution, the alibis it needed to justify and perpetuate itself.

And they do not say that in spite of all the sorrow, in spite of the external aggression and the internal high-handedness, this distressed and obstinate island has spawned the least unjust society in Latin America.

And his enemies do not say that this feat was the outcome of the sacrifice of its people, and also of the stubborn will and old-fashioned sense of honor of the knight who always fought on the side of the losers, like his famous colleague in the fields of Castile.

296lriley
Nov 26, 2016, 4:51pm Top

#293--Really? You think it's guilt? LOL. You think she won't run again?--because she might. What of this theory of yours if that happens? Ain't no guilt on her part IMO. More like you've shut yourself off from any alternative that a 24-7 news channels doesn't give you.

297SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 27, 2016, 9:33am Top

>287 timspalding: I imagine Team Hillary is less than pleased with Jill Stein's recount efforts.

298timspalding
Nov 27, 2016, 3:45pm Top

Trump on Twitter 14 minutes ago:

"In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally"

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/802972944532209664

Oh boy.

299Tid
Nov 27, 2016, 4:20pm Top

>298 timspalding:

"I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally"

True. If you deduct all women and Hispanics from the total, he must have won the popular vote by the mother of all landslides.

300SomeGuyInVirginia
Nov 27, 2016, 5:28pm Top

"In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won California if you deduct the millions of people who voted for Hillary."

The man is a teetotaler. Can you imagine the messed up stuff he'd tweet if he drank?

301lriley
Nov 27, 2016, 5:38pm Top

FWIW--and this is just my opinion there's far more credibility of the possibility that this election was hacked at least in places than most all if not all the claims that Donald Trump made about the current (soon to be ex) president. If nothing else it's worth recounting just as a good bit of quid pro quo.

302sturlington
Nov 27, 2016, 6:08pm Top

Sone speculate that Trump tweets outrageously to distract from more critical news. The NY Times has a deep investigation of his global conflicts of interest today.

Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President http://nyti.ms/2gsCW9H

303StormRaven
Nov 28, 2016, 12:58am Top

Jill Stein is what democracy looks like.

Jill Stein is what pointless grandstanding looks like.

304lriley
Nov 28, 2016, 8:09am Top

#303---Let's see: pointlessly grandstand vs. do nothing at all. I think I prefer pointless grandstanding.

While for instance Barack does nothing about hundreds of unarmed protesters being brutalized by police----because he's afraid white people will never vote for democrats again?---or is it Wall St. and oil barons and the investor class won't like it? I'm thinking it's that.

305StormRaven
Edited: Nov 28, 2016, 5:04pm Top

#303---Let's see: pointlessly grandstand vs. do nothing at all. I think I prefer pointless grandstanding.

There are a myriad of things that could be done rather than pointless grandstanding. There is a senate run-off race in Louisiana that one could put their efforts towards. Stein could aim for running for an office she might actually win, and try to put her policies into actual action. One could do what Clinton has turned her attention to, and started working to advocate for political causes she believes in. Or one could start laying the groundwork for success in the 2018 elections.

Instead Stein is determined to wastes millions of dollars on recounts that are almost certain to not actually change the outcome of the election. But it will get her lots of publicity, which appears to be the entire point of the exercise. As usual, Stein is all show and no substance.

306RickHarsch
Nov 28, 2016, 3:56pm Top

>305 StormRaven: A lot of gas wasted on Jill Stein, one of the inevitably third party candidates in a year when with all the excitement generated by Sanders one was bound to run on something like his platform. Harmlessly, it seems to me. I guess I was mistaken about Democrats--I thought that they were drifting right on the Reagan Tide, like an algal bloom: not as ugly as it looks...But I was wrong, it seems, else why the bitterness over the few who voted for Stein and not Clinton? The only reason would be that these stalwart Demos like StormRaven are exactly what they seem: Obama Neocons, favoring Wall Street greed, Pharma greed, Drone Strikes, mass deportation, even weakness before pipeline goon squads brutalising Native Americans. (Obama the Nobel winner can't step in and do even THAT right thing?). Whatever one thinks of a vote for Stein, a vote for Clinton may as well be a vote for Mitt Romney or John McCain. Better than Trump sure, but not by enough that I would convince my ethical self to pull that lever.

307lriley
Nov 28, 2016, 5:30pm Top

The classroom bully comes along, steals and then eats the democrats lunch and they're okay with it. Here was Donald questioning Barack's legitimacy for 8+ long years and here is Barack having a polite discussion with him about handing over the keys to the white house--giving him advice even on how to transition from one lifestyle to another. A primer in presidential politesse, so to speak. What a nice guy! You know if it were me--I'd be like Fuck that!--the keys are somewhere on the bottom of the pond (guess which one?)--go fuck yourself. It basically gives me the idea that all those centrists who call themselves liberals are going to fold like deck chairs when push truly comes to shove.

You know what recounting this shit probably ain't going to change a thing but why make it so easy for this fat fucker of a con artist with the douchebag haircut? Let him deal with the idea of illegitimacy for however long his term in office is. You would think that democratic politicians would be going to bed every night thinking of ways to fuck with him. Apparently not all or maybe not even very many democrats are going to think that way. Anyway people have expressly donated that money to Stein for the recount(s) something that Mr. Stormraven is still trying to figure out---so why would Stein use it for something else? To me using that money for something other than what was intended would be a bit nefarious on her part, don't you think? Listen to the Donald complain about all the illegal votes that Hillary got. How fucked up is he?--or any of his voters if they actually believe that? What the democratic party needs to do is resist--not bow down.

308sturlington
Nov 28, 2016, 6:00pm Top

>307 lriley: Wish the Democrats were listening. Based on past performance, I don't have a lot of faith.

309sturlington
Nov 28, 2016, 6:07pm Top

Here is my anger at Democrats expressed in coherent word form, which I am still incapable of doing: http://crooksandliars.com/2016/11/if-dems-ever-want-win-again-they-need-find

310StormRaven
Nov 28, 2016, 7:15pm Top

Anyway people have expressly donated that money to Stein for the recount(s) something that Mr. Stormraven is still trying to figure out---so why would Stein use it for something else? To me using that money for something other than what was intended would be a bit nefarious on her part, don't you think?

Stein has already said she's likely to use a portion of the money for other things.

The issue here is that Stein could have raised money for something useful - helping a Democrat win a seat in the Senate, or helping herself into an actual office so she can show just what Green policies in practice would look like, or advocating for causes like the ACLU that will oppose Trump in a meaningful way. Instead, she chose something that is almost guaranteed to do nothing.

What the democratic party needs to do is resist--not bow down.

Recounting votes isn't "resisting", its engaging in meaningless political theater. If you are cheering on Stein's recount effort while actual Democrats are doing things to actually oppose Trump and the Republicans like trying to get Foster Campbell elected, you don't get to complain about those "centrists who call themselves liberals are going to fold like deck chairs when push truly comes to shove".

Supporting Stein's recount effort and ignoring substantive measures is folding like a deck chair. You, lriley, have rolled over for Trump and are showing him your belly right now.

311lriley
Nov 28, 2016, 9:18pm Top

#311--really Stormraven? That's laughable. Only in a mind like yours does everything political come down to one choice or the other. Even if what I say hurts you I'm not interested in trading insults with you. I didn't like your candidate and she ran a shitty campaign and lost to what amounts to the biggest goofball that's been ever nominated by a major party and of course you are stunned and depressed at the result and still clinging to all your illusions as well. Good for you. But she wasn't my candidate and neither was the jerk off that won--so it shouldn't be hard to fathom that I'm not happy with the result but I don't feel like I'm lying at the bottom of a hole either. I expected I wasn't going to be happy and I expected 4 long hard and fucked up years were on their way whether I liked it or not. What I don't have is a lot of faith in your party to learn a lesson from this and judging by your commentary, well...it ain't making me feel better. I think a good % of your elected heroes don't have a lot of fight in them and have no idea where to go from here and you know as well as I know for instance that quite a lot more democratic Senators are up for election in 2018 and a goodly amount of them in states that Trump won. Will they fight or will they appease? I guess we're going to see. You understand why a centrist like Schumer is allying with Sanders now? Because he knows it's put up or shut up time.

312StormRaven
Edited: Nov 28, 2016, 10:22pm Top

Only in a mind like yours does everything political come down to one choice or the other.

It's not "in a mind like mine". Its in reality. There were only two choices who had a chance to be President. By voting for Stein, you rolled over and showed Trump your belly. You cast your vote like a silly child would.

I didn't like your candidate and she ran a shitty campaign and lost to what amounts to the biggest goofball that's been ever nominated by a major party and of course you are stunned and depressed at the result and still clinging to all your illusions as well.

She ran such a "shitty" campaign that she will end up with more votes than any Presidential candidate not named "Obama". You can keep claiming she ran a "shitty" campaign, but you will get laughed at when you do.

Stein ran such a shitty campaign that despite the wind at her back, she was only able to garner 1% of the popular vote. How shitty a campaign is that?

I'm not "clinging to illusions". I'm dealing with the facts on the ground. The facts on the ground are that Stein's recount is a useless waste of money that would be better spent on any number of other efforts to advance the Democratic or Green agenda.

I expected I wasn't going to be happy and I expected 4 long hard and fucked up years were on their way whether I liked it or not.

You had a choice between American politics continuing as normal with a chance for things to get better incrementally, or a veer into kleptocratic fascism. You acquiesced in favor of fascism. You don't get to lecture Democrats who actually behaved like adults when you threw a childish temper tantrum instead.

Now you can sit down, shut up, and let the grown-ups talk. You've proven yourself to be too juvenile for anyone to care about your opinions.

What I don't have is a lot of faith in your party to learn a lesson from this and judging by your commentary, well...it ain't making me feel better.

When Stein actually holds office and actually implements some policies, then people like you can offer "lessons". Until then, everything you say is just meaningless bullshit.

You understand why a centrist like Schumer is allying with Sanders now?

Sanders behaved like a grown-up and backed Clinton. If you wanted to make it easier for Sanders to have an impact, you'd be pushing for Foster Campbell to get elected, trying to figure out how to make some headway in the next few election cycles, and pushing organizations that actually defend the values that Trump threatens. But the truth is you don't give a shit about Sanders, because that would mean actually getting into the actual fight instead of grandstanding.

313Tid
Nov 29, 2016, 4:36am Top

I find it very difficult to understand that where 2 posts (despite the expressed "wish" of one) have actually traded insults, >311 lriley: has attracted no flags, where >312 StormRaven: has attracted two? Perhaps the 'flaggers' would come forward and explain?

314lriley
Edited: Nov 29, 2016, 9:42am Top

#313--I believe you're free to throw flags around if you feel like it. Don't ask me how. I'm a virgin in the flag throwing department, but I think it's pretty simple. So even up the score if you must. But for whatever it's worth personally I think both he and I would get along much better by ignoring each other. And by the way we could do the same too.

Anyway the democrats had the best ship with the best captain and crew (though some of those in the engine were a mutinous lot) and like the Titanic they found an iceberg to run into and afterwards--it's the people in the engine room, it's who puts icebergs in the middle of the ocean?, it's why aren't there enough lifeboats and the water so cold? that's to blame, certainly not the captain and not the shipbuilders. Along comes a tugboat with Jill Stein at the helm willing to at least at least try to tow it into the port---yeah, it's not likely but even so and she gets the middle finger. The question to me is when are they going to stop the denial, do a bit of self critique and stop blaming others?--because IMO until they do it's just going to be more of this poor, poor, pitiful me that is about as useless as it gets.

Meanwhile in North Dakota we have a country sherif's dept. (aka as a government entity) with unlimited supply of rubber bullets and concussion grenades. Military halftracks and unlimited amounts of cash to employ hundreds if not thousands of military contractors, known in other times as soldiers of fortune. Where do they get all the wherewithal from? Who supplies with all the rubber bullets? It's true that they haven't murdered anyone yet (that we know of). And OTOH we have a president who pledged to have the backs of the indigenous peoples of this country who has kind of forgot about that in the last few months. The Sioux believe the will win with love and I have to tell you I have some serious doubts about that strategy. The only way they're going to win right now is Obama.

315RickHarsch
Nov 29, 2016, 1:55pm Top

>313 Tid: I think the flagged feller in in more of a tantrum mode and he also called his antagonist juvenile. That's where you get your flag.

I would insult neither with a flag--there's a lot to be frustrated about. But Iriley is right that throwing down the black/white as StormRaven does is as 'juvenile' as any means of arguing. I don't know anyone who is prepared to argue that Jill Stein is a great politician, but Sanders was, and while he was right to honor his commitment to the Democratic party by supporting Clinton, it's not fair to say that those who saw him as the first tolerable Democratic candidate in years should have voted for Clinton. Had Obama stood up to the health insurance industry, for one example, and Clinton pledged to follow suit, maybe she would have been inspiring; if Clinton expressed some clear and believable means of reducing the income gap AND reversing the tendency...But in the end, there was nothing to vote for.

316proximity1
Edited: Nov 29, 2016, 3:42pm Top

>313 Tid:

"I find it very difficult to understand that where 2 posts (despite the expressed "wish" of one) have actually traded insults, >311 lriley: lriley: has attracted no flags, where >312 StormRaven: StormRaven: has attracted two? Perhaps the 'flaggers' would come forward and explain?"

Don't mind if I do:

Had he stuck with this reasoned complaint,

"When Stein actually holds office and actually implements some policies, then people like you can offer "lessons". Until then, everything you say is just meaningless bullshit."

I'd have seen nothing "flag-able."

But, presuming to instruct another member here in these terms,

"Now you can sit down, shut up, and let the grown-ups talk,"

is not only laughably self-incriminating, it's completely out of bounds to write, "you can sit down, shut up, and let the grown-ups talk," •••

Yeah, he could. But it's no other member's rightful place to tell him that in that way. Obviously someone else thought something similar.

Now, maybe you can tell me: Where's the offense in >311 lriley:?

_______________

BTW RE: " You can keep claiming she ran a "shitty" campaign, but you will get laughed at when you do."

I think saying that Clinton ran a "shitty campaign" (in more than one sense) is not only true and not a laughable criticism, it's about the _nicest_ thing I can think to say honestly about her campaign.

317Tid
Edited: Nov 30, 2016, 1:59pm Top

>316 proximity1:

Perhaps it's just me, but I'd say that "Only in a mind like yours does everything political come down to one choice or the other" is just as insulting as "you can sit down, shut up, and let the grown-ups talk".

In fact, the first is clear ad hominem where the second is just plain insulting. Which is worse? We each decide, I guess.

318RickHarsch
Nov 30, 2016, 2:38pm Top

We also treat this like a horse race: we want the other horse to get flagged, not ours.

319prosfilaes
Nov 30, 2016, 3:25pm Top

>307 lriley: The classroom bully comes along, steals and then eats the democrats lunch and they're okay with it. Here was Donald questioning Barack's legitimacy for 8+ long years and here is Barack having a polite discussion with him about handing over the keys to the white house--giving him advice even on how to transition from one lifestyle to another. A primer in presidential politesse, so to speak. What a nice guy! You know if it were me--I'd be like Fuck that!--the keys are somewhere on the bottom of the pond (guess which one?)--go fuck yourself. It basically gives me the idea that all those centrists who call themselves liberals are going to fold like deck chairs when push truly comes to shove.

One issue is that's he's black. He's been the picture of the model president, something we haven't really seen since George H. W. Bush. Him acting in a way that will get stereotyped as black hooligan could tear up years of that image and permanently damage the image of the first black president.

Another is the fact that he's POTUS. He got there not by telling people to go fuck themselves, he got there by impressing people by his civilized diplomatic manner, by his graciousness. He's not going to become a different person because he runs into Trump.

Lastly, "the keys are somewhere on the bottom of the pond (guess which one?)"? Trump probably hardly touched the keys as it was; he's not going to be troubled by searching for the keys, he's got other people to do that for him. This would just give Trump more stuff to bitch about, and stuff that's harder to dismiss.

320RickHarsch
Nov 30, 2016, 4:12pm Top

You're taking it too literally. Obama played above it all--he should have been all over the birther bullshit to the extent that a Trump run would have been impossible, using phrases like 'beyond the pale'...But the real Obama is a man of suavity and drones, a cool smoke and a smoking crisis left behind while he sleeps away his final month.

321lriley
Dec 3, 2016, 9:55am Top

For those with issues about the vote recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin they might take a look at Greg Palast's website or look at one of his recent interviews with Thom Hartmann on RT television.

Palast explains numerous discrepancies in the voting process in those 3 states---the thousands of minority votes that were disqualified for any number of reasons, the voting machines that do not accurately tabulate the count. How the early exit polls did not square with the final counts. We had the same shit by the way in democratic party primaries numerous times and that supposedly should have triggered an investigation and/or recount.

To go further in the state of Wisconsin early vote ballots were all put into absentee voter envelopes.

Anyway according to him thousands and thousands were set aside and not counted and that minority voters were particularly targeted. It may explain why Detroit and Milwaukee's vote counts were particularly low.

He cites the US civil rights commission stats that black voters chances of being disqualified are 900% higher than for white voters which has been (according to him again) confirmed by a Harvard Law School study. I don't think that's all that shocking to hear by the way.

He goes on to explain that if a state is overturned then the democratic electors would be recertified. The window of course for all this to happen is very small--and there's resistance and not just from republicans.

On the question of the money needed--Palast explains that the states are jacking up the costs as they go, adding extra charges for this that and the next thing and that Stein despite what some people think is not going to see a penny out of it.

322Tid
Dec 3, 2016, 10:18am Top

>321 lriley:

Any burglaries at the hotel used by the Democrats at their Convention?

323barney67
Dec 3, 2016, 11:16am Top

Democrats will never make any progress until they have the courage to do some hard, honest soul searching and look at themselves squarely in the mirror, somehow learn the ability to be introspective and acquire some self-knowledge. Then they have to find the tolerance and open-mindedness that's required to change. Then they have to find the will to change.

No one ever said that truth is easy.

324sturlington
Dec 3, 2016, 1:37pm Top

The governor un-elect of North Carolina is organizing a coup right now. In emergency session, he will have the Republican legislature appoint two unnecessary seats to the state supreme Court, thus overriding the Democratic majority, as chosen by the voters. Then, despite being 10,000+ votes behind his Democratic challenger, McCrory will ask the legislature to appoint him governor because the recount wasn't completed in time, and the stacked supreme Court will uphold it.

This is after the same legislature and governor passed blatantly racist voter suppression laws.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/12/02/mccrory_calls_for_special_legisl...

325davidgn
Edited: Dec 3, 2016, 8:08pm Top

>324 sturlington: I'm sorry to hear this. Ordinarily this sort of thing would merit my full attention. Sadly, though, I don't think North Carolina's is the only constitutional crisis brewing in this country. Or the biggest.

326proximity1
Edited: Dec 4, 2016, 12:42pm Top

>324 sturlington:

There's a reason to uphold democratic principles generally -- and not merely when it happens that they serve narrow partisan interests.

Maybe Rahm and Barack, Hillary and Bill, the Two David's--Axelrod and Plouffe-- and John Podesta will help you.

327southernbooklady
Dec 5, 2016, 1:21pm Top

>324 sturlington: You'll be glad to hear that McCrory has conceded.

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article118942758.h...

No suspect fly by night secret legislative session steals. No idea about whether or not he'll try to appoint extra justices but I doubt it.

328sturlington
Dec 5, 2016, 2:24pm Top

>327 southernbooklady: Yes! Already heard. Special session has been called--we'll see what happens with that. We have to remember that both HB2 and stringent antiabortion regulations were passed in "emergency" special sessions." However, I am feeling optimistic because I know that many people are continuing to monitor and report on the situation.

329sturlington
Dec 5, 2016, 7:54pm Top

>328 sturlington: My understanding is that Durham County recounters worked long hours to meet unreasonable recount deadlines, providing no basis for McCrory's camp to dispute.

330southernbooklady
Dec 5, 2016, 9:45pm Top

>329 sturlington: Once the count was solidly over the 10K figure for Cooper, McCrory lost a lot of the justification for continuing to challenge the results. I did find it funny that up until today, a google search for "nc governor race" would return results that were topped by an ad from NC Civitas that said something like "McCrory in the lead." That's not showing up anymore.

I would be surprised if he hijacks that special session on the 15th -- supposedly dedicated to addressing hurricane relief issues -- to appoint two more judges to the NC Supreme Court. It would a pretty blatant "fuck you" move to the voters. In a sane world I'd say no, that won't happen. And I'm anti-conspiracy theory as a rule, so I'm inclined to think that kind of speculation far-fetched.

But we aren't living in a sane world, and McCrory has done some outrageous bone-headed crap during his term, so it's not absolutely beyond the bounds of possibility.

331davidgn
Edited: Dec 5, 2016, 9:52pm Top

Just finished training to be a poll challenger in the Michigan recount. This will be interesting. (Less time for LT this week, but I think I've given enough z39.50 love to last for a while...)

332krolik
Dec 6, 2016, 1:45pm Top

Being a free speech sentimentalist, I've never flagged anyone on LT except myself, after getting carried away in an argument...

But if Tim changed the TOS to penalize prolixity and monopolizing of talk thread space, I'd reconsider my position.

There's a difference between using LT talk for argument and using it as one's personal blog.

333RickHarsch
Dec 6, 2016, 2:09pm Top

>332 krolik: I understand quite well your point, but when such as what you refer to irritates me I remind myself that, after all, I just have to scroll a bit longer.

334proximity1
Edited: Dec 7, 2016, 4:17am Top

It astonishes me how much energy gets wasted by posters going apeshit about what some stranger said on an internet forum. *

* a borrowed observation.

335RickHarsch
Dec 7, 2016, 4:50am Top

>334 proximity1: There is no need to borrow such a sentiment while you are blogging on LT.

336timspalding
Dec 7, 2016, 12:00pm Top

There's a difference between using LT talk for argument and using it as one's personal blog.

Indeed.

337proximity1
Edited: Dec 7, 2016, 12:22pm Top

>336 timspalding:

Oh fucking brother!

What? ! Again!?

Look, since that's your view and since I've already once actually been run out of participation in a group at this site, maybe you should make this distinction clear in some appropriate place or indicate where I can find this if it's already explained because again: this comes as news to me --not so much that the site isn't Intended to serve as one's own personal blog but, rather: that "someone" --unnamed-- is now being alluded to* as doing this.

* That is called "innuendo" and it's shitty practice.

338RickHarsch
Dec 7, 2016, 12:52pm Top

Dear Proximity, I believe the problem is that most people here are respectful of the TOS. I probably should be, as they are quite liberal, but I am not and therefore have directly told you repeatedly that you are a windbag. It isn't innnuendo (especially if you NEVER ACTUALLY DO ENDO) when what people are doing is all but saying your name.

That being said, I support your right to windbloggery. It works agin ya here, but I think, as I said recently, that it isn't so hard to scroll away.

339margd
Dec 7, 2016, 1:13pm Top

>331 davidgn: poll challenger in the Michigan recount

Looking forward to anything you can share about your experiences. News reports are getting weirder with every day--from AG Schuette challenge to possibility that Wayne Co. (Detroit) vote may be disqualified because ballots don't square with count, and seal had been broken??

340jjwilson61
Dec 7, 2016, 2:30pm Top

>339 margd: From what I'm seeing the problems with the ballots means that those precincts are ineligible for a recount, meaning the original results will stand.

341davidgn
Edited: Dec 7, 2016, 2:40pm Top

>339 margd: Not a lot interesting going on in my neck of the woods, at least so far. Any disqualification is done precinct by precinct: precincts can be deemed un-recountable if the container is not properly sealed so that no ballot can be added or removed without being tamper-evident, if the number of the seal on the ballot container does not match the official records, or if the number of ballots in the container does not match the official records. In the event a precinct is deemed unrecountable, the original results (normally) stand -- ETA: or at least that's what the state canvassers' representative said this morning. The training via the Stein campaign did make it sound like results from those precincts would simply not be included in the recount totals, but that was an ambiguous message.

The location I'm observing at, one of 19 statewide last I checked, is recounting 15 precincts simultaneously at 15 tables crammed into a tiny little township board hall. I did hear a few precincts get disqualified, including a large urban precinct, though I didn't catch the details. I'll try to catch up with legal representative later for a broader overview.

Apparently the game plan for the Trump observers going in was to object to everything on all grounds and try to run out the clock, but that changed at the last minute. The Trump guys did try to challenge the seal for one of the precincts I was observing based on a handwritten correction on handwritten tag attached to the seal, but I don't think that went anywhere: the seal number itself was correct.

It's just one data point, but I watched the count for a larger rural precinct this morning. With 1436 ballots, the net result was +2 Trump and +1 Clinton, with all discrepancies the result of stray ballot marks the DS100 machines read as overvotes and discarded. A couple of other people I talked to had similar experiences. But I'm not in the southeast part of the state, which is where the real action would be.

And yes, there are multiple lawsuits proceeding simultaneously that could throw a wrench in the works at any minute.

342davidgn
Edited: Dec 7, 2016, 3:48pm Top

A bit of local coverage. I'll link to a relevant comment:

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2016/12/michigan_presidential_elect...

So far I'd guesstimate that about 10% of precincts in my neck of the woods are being disqualified from recounting. But as the commenter notes, in Detroit it may be up to half.

http://patch.com/michigan/detroit/michigan-vote-recount-half-detroit-ballots-may...

ETA:
Most states would recount Michigan's mismatched ballots despite flaws
http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/12/07/michigan-recount-ballo...

Oh well.

343Tid
Dec 7, 2016, 5:32pm Top

Over here in Blighty we see the rumours of the Electoral College, with only 37 votes required to declare Trump unfit to be sworn. What is this?

344timspalding
Dec 7, 2016, 5:53pm Top

>337 proximity1:

There is obviously nothing against the TOS in going on at length.

345sturlington
Dec 7, 2016, 6:03pm Top

>343 Tid: It is a pipe dream that people are desperately clinging to in the hopes that a deus ex machina will save us from our self-imposed disaster. In other words, ain't gonna happen.

346prosfilaes
Dec 7, 2016, 6:46pm Top

>345 sturlington: It's like the conservative alternative to Trump; if it was to work, it had to coalesce quickly. The Washington Post argues that Clinton should throw her EVs to a Republican who could tear 38 Republican electoral voters from Trump, but it's probably too late to get that working.

347davidgn
Edited: Dec 7, 2016, 11:29pm Top

Well, so much for that little exercise:

Federal judge kills recount effort in Michigan
http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/309358-federal-judge-kills-recount-effort-i...

The ground-level post-mortems (including my own) will be filtering in here:
http://www.jill2016.com/mireports

More time in my week, I guess.

348davidgn
Edited: Dec 8, 2016, 4:01pm Top

>343 Tid: Reading the tea leaves, I'm pretty sure that Obama put the kibosh on that little joke behind closed doors. Still, 7 of the 8 Dems on the Senate Intelligence Committee (minus Diane Feinstein) were game.


And I do know that I just lost whatever respect I may once have had for Robert Reich.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/02/a-bare-knuckle-fight-over-recounts/
....
At an event at Harvard University on Thursday, Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, repeatedly blamed Russia for hacking and tampering with the election. “Congress has got to investigate what happened with Russia here,” said Mook. “It is outrageous that a foreign aggressor got involved in our election.”

Robert Reich, labor secretary under President Bill Clinton and a Hillary supporter, argued that one reason the electors should flip to Clinton is to “stop foreign interference in an election.”

Quoting on article, he wrote on Facebook: “The Framers were extremely concerned about infiltration by rivals including Great Britain. In Federalist No. 68, Hamilton wrote that one major purpose of the Electoral College was to stop the ‘desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.’ He said that the college would, ‘Guard against all danger of this sort … with the most provident and judicious attention’ from the electors.”

Reich continued: “There’s incontrovertible evidence Russia interfered in the campaign by hacking the email accounts of top Democratic officials and cooperating with WikiLeaks’ parallel campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton campaign.” If such incontrovertible evidence exists, the Obama administration’s intelligence community has not shared it with the public.
....


https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/03/clintons-russia-did-it-cop-out/
The Clinton machine – running on fumes after Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential bid – is pulling out all remaining stops to block Donald Trump’s inauguration, even sinking into a new McCarthyism.

In joining a recount effort with slim hopes of reversing the election results, Clinton campaign counsel Marc Elias cited a scurrilous Washington Post article that relied on a shadowy anonymous group, called PropOrNot, that issued a “black list” against 200 or so Internet sites, including some of the most respected sources of independent journalism, claiming they are part of some Russian propaganda network.

In classic McCarthyistic fashion, no evidence was supplied, simply an anonymous smear. But The Washington Post, which itself has devolved into a neoconservative propaganda conveyor belt, published the attack apparently without contacting any of the targeted groups.

Despite the obvious journalistic problems with this article, the desperate Clinton campaign treated it like a lifeline to its drowning hopes for reversing the outcome of the Nov. 8 election.
....


On the phenomenon of the WaPo's new Index Nuntiorum Prohibitorum, The Intercept did some excellent work. I imagine they're going to be added to the blacklist soon.

Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group
https://theintercept.com/2016/11/26/washington-post-disgracefully-promotes-a-mccarthyite-blacklist-from-a-new-hidden-and-very-shady-group/
....The group’s list of Russian disinformation outlets includes WikiLeaks and the Drudge Report, as well as Clinton-critical left-wing websites such as Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig, and Naked Capitalism, as well as libertarian venues such as Antiwar.com and the Ron Paul Institute.

This Post report was one of the most widely circulated political news articles on social media over the last 48 hours, with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of U.S. journalists and pundits with large platforms hailing it as an earth-shattering exposé. It was the most-read piece on the entire Post website on Friday after it was published.

Yet the article is rife with obviously reckless and unproven allegations, and fundamentally shaped by shoddy, slothful journalistic tactics. It was not surprising to learn that, as BuzzFeed’s Sheera Frenkel noted, “a lot of reporters passed on this story.” Its huge flaws are self-evident. But the Post gleefully ran with it and then promoted it aggressively, led by its Executive Editor Marty Baron....


Fun and games all around, really:
Russia Today Plagiarizes Moon of Alabama - Which Is The "Russian Propaganda Outlet"?
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/12/falsely-defamed-russian-propaganda-outlet-g...

Finally:
For what I consider a definitive examination of the topic of alleged Russian hacking vis-à-vis the election, I refer all comers to this interview with William Binney, one of the best technical minds the NSA ever had (the architect of ThinThread -- a system abandoned for a far more intrusive one because it was not nearly expensive enough -- and an honorable whistleblower in my book), who goes over what the intelligence community has actually said about this and what it means. (The operative quote on the media coverage: "Hearsay by idiots!")
https://www.peterbcollins.com/2016/10/25/in-depth-interview-former-nsa-official-bill-binney-challenges-claims-that-russia-hacked-dnc/

Thomas Theodore Postol's opinions on the subject also hold weight with me, though I'd always defer to Binney on computer networking technical details.

Pairs well with reading in >242 davidgn: and >249 davidgn: .

349margd
Dec 8, 2016, 3:25am Top

>347 davidgn: The ground-level post-mortems (including my own) will be filtering in here:
http://www.jill2016.com/mireports

Thanks for that! Notes aren't a quantitative assessment, of course, but interesting to me that "Trump rep object(ion) to opening of ballots, counting of votes, and challenged the seal matching" happened in city in my county with largest population of African Americans.

Ultimately successful opposition to recount certainly leave ME queasy about our democracy, and lack of confidence in system was supposedly a Russian objective? Certainly I'm rethinking my use of absentee ballot.

350davidgn
Edited: Dec 11, 2016, 12:18am Top

Two updates.

Michigan Supreme Court Slams The Door On Jill Stein’s Recount Case
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/michigan-supreme-court-jill-stein-recount_us...

7 Election Integrity and Cyber Security Experts Say Stopping Michigan Recount Is a Corrupt Exercise of Power
“Americans will never know the truth about what happened.”
http://www.alternet.org/7-election-integrity-and-cyber-security-experts-say-stop...

cf. The header of the HuffPo today:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/



We may have one hell of a roller-coaster ride ahead.

I refuse to take sides, but I will call a spade a spade should it come down to that.

God help us all.

351proximity1
Edited: Dec 11, 2016, 3:23am Top

>349 margd: "Ultimately successful opposition to recount certainly leave ME queasy about our democracy, and lack of confidence in system was supposedly a Russian objective? Certainly I'm rethinking my use of absentee ballot."

This strikes me as a rather strange concern. Russia' s (I.e.Putin's) interference or not, we have nothing even remotely like a free, fair or transparent electoral system. In this election it is obvious that with or without some hidden foreign intervention, the outcome turned on a difference of a few hundred thousand votes--that's due to the working of the electoral college system.

Thus, even if Putin wished to see Trump elected, the fact remains that so did very nearly half of those who bothered to go to the polls. Add to that the fact that millions more than the margin which separated Trump's and Clinton's tallies didn't bother to vote and we can see that both these candidates left millions of former voters too unmotivated to go and vote.

There's your electoral system's glaring defect. It "offered" what was an insulting joke for a choice.

You might as well imagine the Russians today under Putin complaining that the "hidden hand of 'the West'" was interferring with their state elections.

352margd
Dec 11, 2016, 3:01pm Top

Imagine that we live in an alternative universe in which Hillary Clinton won the presidential election after having asked Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to hack her opponent. Imagine, further, that it emerged after the vote that not only had the Iranians hacked the Republican high command and released a batch of embarrassing emails, but they also had hacked Clinton and kept the results confidential.

Now imagine that Clinton, while publicly pondering the possibility of lifting all sanctions on Iran, had appointed as her national security adviser a retired general who had recently been seen dining with the ayatollah in Tehran and as her secretary of State an executive who had received an Order of Friendship from the ayatollah.

Republicans would be sputtering in outrage, and with good reason. The test for Republicans is how they will react given that it is Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton who is guilty of all the transgressions described above — only with Russian President Vladimir Putin rather than Khamenei.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/12/11/trump-russia-gop-faces-kremling...

353davidgn
Edited: Dec 11, 2016, 5:03pm Top

>352 margd: Byline Max Boot (of the Project for the New American Century). That's all I need to know.

As a general principle: in a functioning democracy, if you think there might be a problem with the vote count in an election, you recount the votes. By hand. You don't launch a coup attempt.
If you think Russia influenced this election... well, I addressed that here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/239430#5828775

**ETA: Max Boot sure does like his hypothetical thought experiments. They've always ended up rather badly, though, in application.
Remember When Torture Was Only Going to Be Used to Stop Ticking Nukes?
That fantastical scenario never materialized, but the stigma around prisoner abuse was weakened. That doesn't bother Max Boot.
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/04/remember-when-torture-was-on...

354sturlington
Dec 11, 2016, 3:46pm Top

>353 davidgn: If Republicans can investigate Benghazi 33 times, they can investigate this. The allegations are credible and throw the legitimacy of the electoral process in doubt.

355davidgn
Edited: Dec 11, 2016, 5:04pm Top

>354 sturlington: I'm all for impartial investigation. And I'm not sanguine about the prospect of a President Trump either. But frankly, it's shortcomings in the electoral process that knowledgeable people have been screaming their heads off about for years (to no avail) that have now thrown the legitimacy of the electoral process into general doubt. Again: if the vote count is wrong, recount it. By hand. (In such locations as our "enlightened" election officials have seen fit to make that possible). ETA: And if the legal system stops that recount, you're well within the realm of reasonable responses to protest like hell.

As for Russia: it's not that I'm some partisan of the Russian state, even less so of its present administration. It's that I don't reflexively hate and fear the Russians to the degree that is expected of me in this country. This, to the point that I am capable of critical distance when poorly-evidenced claims are made from shady quarters about foreign deux ex machina influence. ETA: It looks like we're going to have a full-court press from the media trying to convince us to overturn the democratic process in order to reinsert one faction of our oligarchy at the expense of another. This is the stuff coups are made of: always has been and always will be. I will defend neither faction of our oligarchy, but I will defend the democratic process, or whatever remains of it. Please recognize this for what it is: we now live in what might charitably be characterized as an unstable democracy. There are interests very keen to push that instability over the tipping point. If that happens, the results will be unpredictable.

Once I listened to something a Nobel laureate wrote:
http://bobdylan.com/songs/god-our-side/

But damn. I guess he was a Russian fifth columnist too.

ETA: And please see the update to >353 davidgn:

356sturlington
Edited: Dec 11, 2016, 5:55pm Top

The evidence doesn't seem poor to me. In fact, it's offensively blatant. Russians got their man. There will be no coup, as you put it, other than what has already occurred. I fully expect Trump to be sworn in on January 20. I doubt he will make it through 4 years--perhaps that is wishful thinking on my part.

357davidgn
Edited: Dec 11, 2016, 6:10pm Top

>356 sturlington: You should ask about our relations with Saudi Arabia, just as a start.

The media parroting a claim over and over again does not constitute evidence. And if Russia wanted to help "their man," they might have tried intervening a little earlier on behalf of Bernie Sanders, who honeymooned in the Soviet Union. That's not something you see every day!

The Russian street seems to be fond of Trump. Part of that might be because the last Clinton administration presided indirectly over the wholesale looting of their country, as I tried to remind readers earlier in this thread. Higher up in the political class there, from everything I've read, opinions and preferences were less clear-cut. My suspicion, though, is that the Russians are serving as a deeply-ingrained red herring to cover for domestic political shenanigans. Read the Greenwald article here.

I don't think anyone is seriously contemplating an outright alliance with Russia in any case. Backing off from the brink of WWIII might be advisable, though. Sadly, based on the present cabinet picks, it looks as though we may soon be seeing another major push for war with Iran instead, which would drag Russia in anyhow.

I sincerely hope you're right that there will be no major fireworks here, and I think most of a Trump presidency's agenda should be vigorously resisted from the word go. The situation, though, is a dangerous and unstable one. There's no "good" outcome in the short term, but there are a few terrible ones. I'd rather not see those.

358southernbooklady
Dec 11, 2016, 6:25pm Top

>357 davidgn: The media parroting a claim over and over again does not constitute evidence

And the willingness of the American public to swallow those claims without question is hardly the fault of Putin. That's all on us.

359lriley
Dec 11, 2016, 6:28pm Top

Anytime the vote is a percent or less there should be no problem with recounting. And it should be an automatic if the candidate who loses that close requests it.

360RickHarsch
Dec 11, 2016, 6:32pm Top

>359 lriley: 'That's all on us.' There's the rub. What more could you, personally have done?

361prosfilaes
Dec 11, 2016, 6:37pm Top

>359 lriley: The candidate who was that close didn't request it in this election.

I would argue the opposite; if the difference between the candidates is less than 2%, you don't have a strong mandate for either way. Democracy is nowhere near so precise a system that someone who won by 1% is much more likely to be the better candidate. A recount doesn't make the result any more just. I'd actually rather have a coin flip; neither candidate really won, so decide the election by coin flip so everyone will shut up about the narrowness of the thing.

362southernbooklady
Dec 11, 2016, 6:40pm Top

>360 RickHarsch: I think you are quoting me, not lriley. I did what I always do. Informed myself via sources I trusted, verified or dismissed claims using evidence that seemed credible to me. Tried to assess all sides of any given issue before making a decision based on my own priorities and ideas about what would be best for the country. And then I voted accordingly.

363davidgn
Dec 11, 2016, 6:56pm Top

>362 southernbooklady: I can't speak for anyone else, but that's all I could ever ask from my fellow citizens. From where I stood, I tried to do the same.

364lriley
Dec 11, 2016, 10:17pm Top

#361--really there should be a foolproof paper trail for every vote and systems that can be hacked are not foolproof. And back to the rank choice voting.

365prosfilaes
Dec 12, 2016, 12:17am Top

>364 lriley: No system is foolproof. Many computer systems have the advantage that it's harder to just stuff votes in the box. That's a trade-off; manually stuffing ballot box is easier in a small election than a nationwide vote. The Nevada system prints out your vote on a paper tape, asks you to confirm it through a clear window, and then scrolls it out of sight. Which I think is sufficient; I believe the computer record could be ignored and just the paper tape version could reconstruct the vote. If some small selection of machines was randomly chosen and completely checked, I think that would provide a lot more comfort that nothing was hacked.

What do you mean by back to the rank choice voting? It's the right thing to do, but it's never been done a broad level in the US.

Oh, and I may have been semi-serious about the coin flip in 361, but it would really screw with the Electoral College, as it would magnify the disconnect between the EC and the popular vote. Of course, the EC sucks anyway.

366proximity1
Edited: Dec 12, 2016, 2:03am Top


>356 sturlington:

"The evidence doesn't seem poor to me. In fact, it's offensively blatant."

AFAIK no competent source--that is, no credible Intelligence agency--has revealed publicly ANY data showing that there was clear evidence of any attempt by Russians to interefere with the election by hacking sensitive confidential files--none.

So I hope that by "offensively blatant" you don't seriously propose this:

"Russians got their man."

Had the Rooskies done nothing at all, they'd have had a 5ifty-5ifty chance of 'their' man" being elected if the election had been just a matter of pure chance.

Besides, whatever the agency of the hacked
information's transfer to Wikileaks from
confidential files, the accuracy and authenticity of that information was never flatly denied by any of those to whom it was attributed. You dismiss all that.

Wikileaks denied that their source was linked to Russia. You ignore that.

__________________



"Imagine that we live in an alternative universe in which Hillary Clinton won the presidential election after having asked Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to hack her opponent."



Q. : Who here actually believes that Donald Trump solicited the Russians to hack these files or more like them?

If you believe that, I challenge you to show us that in a credible citation.

367davidgn
Edited: Dec 12, 2016, 2:11am Top

>366 proximity1: They're referring to this:
http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/trump-russia-clinton-emails-treason-226303

Which started this thread here:
http://www.librarything.com/topic/227706

and which was never, in my opinion, what people wanted to make it out to have been.

368proximity1
Dec 12, 2016, 2:26am Top

367
Trump's own actual words are NOT cited there.

ONE LAST TIME : When and in what words did Trump solicit hacking ?

369davidgn
Edited: Dec 12, 2016, 2:48am Top

>368 proximity1:
They are, though they're buried in the Politico piece.
“It would be interesting to see, I will tell you this, Russia, if you're listening I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” the Republican presidential nominee said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
He later added in a tweet: "If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton's 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!"
Even as some Trump supporters insisted he was just joking, several national security experts said they could not recall another instance of a major party candidate calling on a foreign power to spy on a U.S. citizen, much less on a political opponent.


On or about 7/27/16.
Naturally, this is taken by the True Believers to indicate that Trump was a Manchurian Candidate. I still say it's the sort of bog-standard loutish bullying loudmouth drivel typical of its source. But what do I know?

370proximity1
Edited: Dec 12, 2016, 3:39am Top

>369 davidgn:

Re : “It would be interesting to see, I will tell you this, Russia, if you're listening I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” the Republican presidential nominee said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
He later added in a tweet: "If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton's 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!"

Thus, as you and I understand it, Trump never used the word "hack," never called on the Russians--or anyone else, for that matter-to hack into any files.

Just so that's very clear.

The claim that Trump solicited hacks is sheer bullshit and, from some who peddle this falsehood, it's malicious slander or libel.

_______________

ETA :...

What strikes me as fascinating and remarkable is that supposedly very intelligent people--both now and at the time--fail to grasp that Trump isn't in the process of committing a blunder there but, on the contrary, understood exactly what he was doing in making those comments.

Hillary Clinton's campaign, so utterly stricken by fatal hubris, actually had a strategy of baiting Trump even as they failed repeatedly to recognize Trump's own far more frequent and successful baiting of the "doofus" "liberals"--all of which, as Trump so well understood, earned him rich returns in appreciation from his base at the same time that it made Trump's opponents look like the idiots which in fact they were.

371davidgn
Edited: Dec 12, 2016, 3:54am Top

>370 proximity1: Not in so many words. But -- must I spell it out to you? -- how, in this scenario, would Russia have gotten the emails, even in jest? That's the connection that's being made, and not unreasonably (neglecting the context that this was red meat being thrown to a cheering crowd. You're being too pat, and it's not helping. Much more helpful would be to call attention to this:

https://www.librarything.com/topic/239430#5829190

Written -- for those who don't know the story, and to perfunctorily answer one of prosfilaes ' questions in that thread -- by Craig Murray, that former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who was recalled from his post by the Foreign Office, de facto for having had the sheer gall to call out the (now late) dictator Islam Karimov -- an important NATO partner in the New Great Game in Central Asia -- for his unfortunate habit of torturing prisoners by the thousands and boiling his political opponents alive. Unfortunately for his career, you see, he did so in terms that might have been less than polite and deferential.

Amb. Murray subsequently was appointed Rector of the University of Dundee. (Which, in turn, I was recently instrumental in releasing from the bonds of American captivity here on LibraryThing. ;-) )

His reputation for speaking his mind and telling uncomfortable truths is well earned.

372proximity1
Edited: Dec 12, 2016, 5:08am Top

>371 davidgn:

" Not in so many words. But -- must I spell it out to you? -- how, in this scenario, would Russia have gotten the emails, even in jest? That's the connection that's being made, and not unreasonably (neglecting the context that this was red meat being thrown to a cheering crowd. You're being too pat, and it's not helping. Much more helpful would be to call attention to this:" ••••

Won't take "yes, I agree" for an answer, huh?

I don't pretend to know what that incoherent gibberish I cite above from you is supposed to mean but I certainly don't dispute anything in the comments by Amb. Craig Murray which you link. I am saying virtually the same things so I wonder how this agreement is any less "helpful."

Do you simply want credit for having pointed this out earlier in the another thread? Fine, then!

Hey! Motherf------s! Look here! : Your wacko yammering about Trump soliciting hacks from the Russians has already been completely debunked in

https://www.librarything.com/topic/239430#5829190


--which I, too, had missed, or I'd have cited it!

373sturlington
Dec 12, 2016, 6:48am Top

Russia didn't need to literally alter the vote to do profound damage.

Russia’s Hand in America’s Election http://nyti.ms/2hdQvxB

374lriley
Edited: Dec 12, 2016, 7:11am Top

Russia's intrusion/non-intrusion is pretty much a non issue to me at this point with no seriously concrete evidence and no recount. And even if it were so does anyone really think that we're not continually up to something or other with regard to the functioning of their government? It's pretty much a known fact that we spy on everyone--that we inculcate ourselves into the affairs of pretty much every government on the planet. If Russia did in fact put a heavy thumb on our election result it's kind of like quid pro quo and it's up to us to fix it so it doesn't happen again--but it's not worth going to war over.

The one thing I really don't want to see is a recreation of the cold war--which pretty much benefits political hawks, the military, the spy services, the banks and the military industrial complex and no one else. No one. Our politicians and their servants in the media are always creating enemies out of thin air for us. Always peddling fear.

375margd
Dec 12, 2016, 7:24am Top

"Congress's national security committees have worked diligently to address the complex challenge of cybersecurity, but recent events show that more must be done," said Sens. Chuck Schumer, the incoming Senate Democratic leader, Sen. John McCain, the Armed Services Committee chairman, fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Sen. Jack Reed, the top Armed Services Committee Democrat, in a Sunday morning statement.

"While protecting classified material, we have an obligation to inform the public about recent cyberattacks that have cut to the heart of our free society. Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyber-attacks."

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/11/politics/russia-us-elections-2016/

376proximity1
Dec 12, 2016, 7:29am Top


>373 sturlington:

If you notice the text of this link:

"http://nyti.ms/2hdQvxB"

it looks fishy -- WTF is "nyti.ms" other than a botched "nytimes" or a link to some piece of infected internet stuff?

If you have a valid source, just cite it by title, author, date & publication-- then I can check it w/out catching something ugly.

377proximity1
Edited: Dec 12, 2016, 7:51am Top

>373 sturlington:

I read a New York Times editorial entitled.

"Russia’s Hand in America’s Election" ; it struck me as ugly innuendo and rumor-mongering and brought to mind the kind of shitty stuff Senator Joseph McCarthy used to pull. I'd have been embarrassed to have written that or to have cited it favorably.

I'm still waiting for what supports this, from you :

"The evidence doesn't seem poor to me. In fact, it's offensively blatant."

Where's this offensively blatant evidence? The Times' editorial is offensive and blatantly so--but it's not blatantly offensive evidence of Russia's interference.

And yet, I do agree with those who see Putin as very creepy and not to be trusted in many cases. Still, where's the evidence that he or others doing his bidding interfered in the election as alleged?

378sturlington
Dec 12, 2016, 7:52am Top

Just a reminder that we still have not seen Trump's tax returns. We have no idea how financially entangled with the Russians he is. Some people seem to think it's a-ok for the Russians to potentially be influencing cabinet appointments and public policy.

379proximity1
Dec 12, 2016, 7:56am Top


>378 sturlington:

Just a diversion. Ya got nuthin' but your prejudice behind your suspicions. Figures.

380sturlington
Dec 12, 2016, 7:56am Top

"Meanwhile, Donald Trump ran a campaign that sometimes seemed almost designed to please Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump lavishly praised Putin. He hired a campaign manager who had previously gained a fortune working for a Putin-backed strongman in Ukraine. The campaign then rewrote the Republican platform in ways sure to please Putin. Trump selected as his principal foreign-policy adviser a retired general previously paid by Russia’s English-language propaganda network, RT. Trump himself publicly urged the Russians to do more hacking of his opponent’s email."

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/five-questions-about-russias-election-hacking/510305/

381RickHarsch
Edited: Dec 12, 2016, 7:58am Top

Seeing that sturlington was an agent provocateur bent on infecting my computer I went right to the source and by then it had been altered to send me to a New York Times story. One must be on top of things to catch the rats!

ETA: I had to fix a typo that was engineered into LT

382sturlington
Dec 12, 2016, 8:09am Top

>381 RickHarsch: My work here is done.

383proximity1
Edited: Dec 12, 2016, 8:19am Top


>382 sturlington:

Your "work here," like the blantantly offensive evidence you could not produce when challenged, is laughable and certainly _ought_ to be "done" --I.e. finished.

384RickHarsch
Dec 12, 2016, 8:52am Top

>382 sturlington: By the looks of things it will take years for the organization to recover its balance. You are an invaluable asset to whoever it is you work for.

385davidgn
Dec 12, 2016, 7:58pm Top

The obligatory VIPS memorandum.

US Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims
As the hysteria about Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election grows, a key mystery is why U.S. intelligence would rely on “circumstantial evidence” when it has the capability for hard evidence, say U.S. intelligence veterans.
https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/12/us-intel-vets-dispute-russia-hacking-claims/

Signed:
For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA (ret.)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA (ret.)

386davidgn
Edited: Dec 13, 2016, 3:11am Top

And for the record, today we also have this nonsense:

Bolton suggests Russian election hacks were ‘false flag’ by Obama administration
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/12/12/bolton-suggests-russian-election-hacks-were-false-flag-by-obama-administration/?utm_term=.95c47407df6e

Which is best described as counter-nonsense. Makes no actual sense as stated, but red meat for the Bannon Brigade who, upon hearing the buzzword "false flag" in the vicinity of the name "Obama," will gravely nod their heads at one another.

387davidgn
Edited: Dec 13, 2016, 3:10am Top

Finally, to the NC delegation: looks like your McCrory accomplished one worthwhile thing during his time in office.

Governor McCrory finalizes boundary between North and South Carolina
http://wlos.com/news/local/governor-mccrory-finalizes-boundary-between-north-and...

Congrats on his decision to (finally) concede.

388sturlington
Edited: Dec 13, 2016, 9:02am Top

>387 davidgn: Thank you, still remains to be seen if the Republicans will stack the Supreme Court in their "special emergency session."

Meanwhile, this: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38301629?SThisFB

"The UN's humanitarian adviser on Syria, Jan Egeland, earlier spoke of "massacres of unarmed civilians, of young men, of women, children, health workers". He named a pro-government Iraqi Shia militia as being responsible for the killings, but placed overall blame for any atrocities in the hands of the Syrian and Russian governments."

I can't even express my contempt for those who think Trump's blatant pro-Russian stance, cemented by today's nomination of Putin BFF Tillerson to be Secretary of State, is just fine.

"Now that President-elect Donald J. Trump has chosen Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, to be the next secretary of state, the giant oil company stands to make some major gains as well: It has billions of dollars in deals that can go forward only if the United States lifts sanctions against Russia."

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/12/world/europe/rex-tillersons-company-exxon-has-...

I still cannot believe that we elected this fraud to our highest office. My faith in humanity has hit rock bottom.

389LolaWalser
Dec 13, 2016, 1:00pm Top

The US and the EU have nobody to blame but themselves for not pre-empting Russia's involvement in Syria. Of all the problems and sheer scandal of Trump's relationship to Putin, the situation in Syria is the least relevant. Trump is no champion of human rights but neither is American foreign policy anything other than an utterly amoral and practically immoral self-serving imperialist, capitalist machine.

I hated to see Russians cast in the role of saviours but the American fuckups not only first sparked the horror by invading Iraq on a whim, but then spent YEARS doing NOTHING to prevent carnage. There was a time when judicious support of Assad could have stopped or at least minimised the war. But no. The Americans wanted Assad removed at any cost, even that of dismemberment of Syria and protracted mass murder, because a Baathist leader of a secular Arab state too poor to steal from does not fit the profile of a dictator American kingmakers, fundie-lovers and Saudi asskissers who historically routinely plot the ruin of inconvenient rulers, even democrats, can stomach. Didn't matter what the political landscape was like, how weak and scarce the "democratic" opposition, how intense and multifarious the religious ultras, how badly the "democratised" Iraq and the "Arab Spring" bullshit crashed, how horrific the body count was bound to be.

At this point, Cthulhu is welcome to make peace in Syria. It's not like child sacrifice is an unknown to the State Department.

390timspalding
Dec 13, 2016, 3:03pm Top

The US and the EU have nobody to blame but themselves for not pre-empting Russia's involvement in Syria.

I blame those who played cheerleader to Assad. We can gripe about Bush more than a decade, but the blood today is on their hands.

a Baathist leader of a secular Arab state

And his wife is very well-dressed!

At this point, Cthulhu is welcome to make peace in Syria.

Long your policy.

391RickHarsch
Dec 13, 2016, 3:03pm Top

>389 LolaWalser: Well said.

392RickHarsch
Dec 13, 2016, 3:05pm Top

>390 timspalding: 'I blame those who played cheerleader to Assad. We can gripe about Bush more than a decade, but the blood today is on their hands. '

1. Who played cheerleader to Assad?
2. Statue of limitations on murder and war crimes all of a sudden?
3. Reset buttons in history?

393LolaWalser
Dec 13, 2016, 5:47pm Top

>390 timspalding:

Long your policy.

Unwarranted gratuitous shamefully lying and bullying personal insult, AGAIN, Mr. Collateral Damage. Stick your impotent little rages where they can do something for your digestion and try at least to pretend you abide by your own TOS.

Six years of bloodbath should have been enough for the worst Repugnant swine (that's not counting Iraq, or the fallout mayhem of the migration) To think that this obscenely stupid, wantonly disingenuous hatred of Assad cost millions of people their lives--and he may yet not only live but remain in charge!

Positively ulcerating.

394davidgn
Dec 13, 2016, 7:03pm Top

>393 LolaWalser: Amen.

>390 timspalding: I blame those who played cheerleader to Assad.

You mean every man, woman, and child in Syria who is not a Sunni Arab supportive of or acquiescent to Takfirism? Because I still harbor this sneaking suspicion that they're better off in most respects under Assad than they would be under Nusra & Co, that friendly band of local and international head-choppers whose closest subordinates we love so well.

395lriley
Dec 13, 2016, 10:19pm Top

Our middle eastern policies of regime change have been an absolute disaster going all the way back to Iran in the 50's. It's been predicated solely on greed--the stealing of the one natural resource that the region has an abundance of and it's destroyed the lives of millions. And the removal of Assad is in no way a good enough result or reason for creating the human rights catastrophe that's followed from the calamity caused by our foreign policy decision making.

396margd
Dec 14, 2016, 3:26am Top

The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.

..The F.B.I. had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes (a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government) out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks....

Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the D.N.C. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee’s old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin, with spear-phishing emails and zeros and ones....

Many of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides believe that the Russian assault had a profound impact on the election, while conceding that other factors — Mrs. Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate; her private email server; the public statements of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, about her handling of classified information — were also important.

While there’s no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command said at a postelection conference. “This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” he said. “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”...

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/politics/russia-hack-election-dnc.html?src=...

397proximity1
Edited: Dec 14, 2016, 4:32am Top

" 'Thank God ' --figuratively--that Trump and his people outsmarted that fucking moron, Clinton --and her people.

There's really no room for doubt that Beijing strongly favored Clinton's election over Trump. No doubt Goldman Sachs, and Brussels and Downing street and Tel Aviv and Riyadh did, too.

________________

Don't Assume That Russia Hacked the U.S. Election
| Elaine Ou, Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-13/don-t-assume-that-russia-hacked-the-u-s-election

_____________________

I recall that

"Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko (Ukrainian: Петро́ Олексі́йович Пороше́нко, Ukrainian pronunciation: pɛˈtrɔ oɫɛˈksʲijovɪt͡ʃ poroˈʃɛnko; born 26 September 1965) is the fifth and current President of Ukraine, in office since 2014." 1
and that

' The inauguration was attended by about 50 foreign delegations, including US Vice President Joe Biden, President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Switzerland and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Didier Burkhalter, President of Germany Joachim Gauck, President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feldman, China's Minister of Culture Cai Wu and Ambassador of Russia to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov7677 Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko was also present.7576 After the inauguration ceremony Tymoshenko said about Poroshenko "I think Ukraine has found a very powerful additional factor of stability" ' 1

and that nobody* seemed to mind very much about these facts.

* Putin's Russia excepted.

_________
1 : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petro_Poroshenko

400davidgn
Edited: Dec 14, 2016, 10:01pm Top

>396 margd: Nice photo op on that one. Props to whoever thought up that tableau. Very effective.

cf. http://edition.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/10/07/bush.transcript/

It helps to have a long memory.

Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.


This is the brainchild of same crew, with the same itchy trigger fingers.

401davidgn
Edited: Dec 15, 2016, 3:35am Top

>396 margd:
Here's the Company's old Kabul Station Chief (who just might know a thing or two about giving the Rooskies what for) addressing the issue.
I'll remark that while he still shows himself to be an institutional creature, perhaps he's trying to expiate a few things. Maybe.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/13/how-america-disgraces-itself/

Parry also chimes in.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/13/hypocrisy-behind-the-russian-election-frenzy/
Exclusive: The madness sweeping Official Washington and the mainstream media about alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election is pervaded by breathtaking hypocrisy, writes Robert Parry.

As Democrats, the Obama administration and some neocon Republicans slide deeper into conspiracy theories about how Russia somehow handed the presidency to Donald Trump, they are behaving as they accused Trump of planning to behave if he had lost, questioning the legitimacy of the electoral process and sowing doubts about American democracy.

The thinking then was that if Trump had lost, he would have cited suspicions of voter fraud – possibly claiming that illegal Mexican immigrants had snuck into the polls to tip the election to Hillary Clinton – and Trump was widely condemned for even discussing the possibility of challenging the election’s outcome.

His refusal to commit to accepting the results was front-page news for days with leading editorialists declaring that his failure to announce that he would abide by the outcome disqualified him from the presidency.

But now the defeated Democrats and some anti-Trump neoconservatives in the Republican Party are jumping up and down about how Russia supposedly tainted the election by revealing information about the Democrats and the Clinton campaign.

Though there appears to be no hard evidence that the Russians did any such thing, the Obama administration’s CIA has thrown its weight behind the suspicions, basing its conclusions on “circumstantial evidence,” according to a report in The New York Times.

The Times reported: “The C.I.A.’s conclusion does not appear to be the product of specific new intelligence obtained since the election, several American officials, including some who had read the agency’s briefing, said on Sunday. Rather, it was an analysis of what many believe is overwhelming circumstantial evidence — evidence that others feel does not support firm judgments — that the Russians put a thumb on the scale for Mr. Trump, and got their desired outcome.”
....


-------------------

Finally, Amb. Murray (see >371 davidgn:) has a few more things to say, both on Aleppo:

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/aleppo/
The Morning Star has today come under massive criticism for hailing the near total recapture of Aleppo by pro-Government forces as a “liberation.” I would agree that the situation calls for more nuance. However a feeling of relief that the fighting that has ravaged Aleppo for four years is coming to a close, must form part of any sane reaction. If we are not allowed to feel relief at that, presumably it means that we must have wanted al-Nusra and various other jihadist militias to win the hot war. What do we think Syria would look like after that?

I am no fan of the Assad regime. It is not a genuine democracy and it has a very poor human rights record. If Assad had been toppled by his own people in the Arab spring and replaced by something more akin to a liberal democracy, which kept the Assad regime’s religious toleration, protection of minorities and comparatively good record on women’s rights, and added to it political freedom, a functioning justice system and end to human rights abuse, nobody would have been happier than I. Indeed I strongly suspect I have in the past done much more to campaign against human rights abuse in Syria than the mainstream media stenographers who all decry the fall of rebel Aleppo now.

But sadly liberal democracy, human rights and women’s rights are not in any sense what the jihadist militias the West is backing are fighting for.
....


And on the "Rooskies"

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/russian-bear-uses-keyboard/
I am about twenty four hours behind on debunking the “evidence” of Russian hacking of the DNC because I have only just stopped laughing....


ETA: I'm less certain than the Ambassador seems to be that the DNC was not hacked by the Russians, but (1) that's still only a speculative attribution at best, and (2) even if it was the Russians, that's really business as usual with political espionage by major intelligence services in countries worth targeting the world over -- a notion I've brought up before, and which the NYT article reinforces. Don't think we don't do the same thing (to our allies as well as our foes), and don't think it's only the Russians (or, for that matter, only agents of foreign countries) who make a habit of targeting our politically sensitive systems. The truly pertinent question for the present kerfluffle remains: who was Wikileaks' source? And I still think Amb. Murray's contentions bear at least as much consideration as hearsay speculations based on circumstantial evidence. As usual, the VIPS memo on the issue (>385 davidgn: ) has got the crux of the matter dead to rights. And If you're still not convinced by that to step back for a moment and take a breather, read the first link in >401 davidgn:. This is not the quality of evidence you want to base a coup attempt or a military campaign upon.

402southernbooklady
Dec 14, 2016, 11:19pm Top

>388 sturlington: still remains to be seen if the Republicans will stack the Supreme Court in their "special emergency session."

Apparently not:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/us/politics/north-carolina-governor-roy-cooper...

Lots of other things going on, though.

403margd
Edited: Dec 15, 2016, 6:06am Top

396 contd. Russians have penetrated Joint Chiefs of Staff, the unclassified stuff at least, or so the NYT article says. Thanks goodness that for the moment it is not in capability and/or interest of Russians or N Koreans or _________ to take down our electricity, water... When the Donald starts planning his wall and his hu-uge infrastructure initiative, hopefully his faith in Russians won't impede some attention to cyber-security. I always thought there was capability, but didn't think until now that it was in their interest to mess up political and economic order. (Banks...)

Hasn't Russia been angling to eliminate Europe's other supplies of gas (and oil?), buying interests in s Mediterranean, supporting his pipelines or those under his influence, e.g., Iran/Syria (Shiite), rather than Sunni/Saudis? Exxon nominee to State Dept. might be pragmatic with regard to Russians, Saudis etc. and even Iran--embargo cost Exxon--but doesn't sound like he can cozy up to Russia without abandoning the Sunni/Saudis?

ETA: About the time of Sochi, President Obama dissed Russia as a "regional power". I was amazed at the time at such a throw-away comment, with no apparent objective. How could Putin not be insulted?

404sturlington
Edited: Dec 15, 2016, 8:14am Top

>402 southernbooklady: There was a lot of attention on them, which I think held them back. While I deplore their tendency to try to get things through in these "special sessions," bipartisan boards don't sound so bad. The governor won't be a Democrat forever, and I think we get better government when the parties are forced to work together.

ETA I may have spoken in haste. Looks like the bipartisan sharing of election boards mandates a Republican chair during election years.

I think the next four years will be very good for constitutional lawyers. Off to give money to the ACLU.

405lriley
Dec 15, 2016, 8:25am Top

Looking at Rick's youtube link at #398--I looked also at the up next links along the right hand margin. And one of them had a picture of former CIA director William Casey and a caption quotation of his:

'We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.'

Which is to say the CIA is not a trustworthy entity to get your information from and one should be wary of some of the other government or law enforcement branches as well. They disseminate and manipulate facts and information and propagate all kinds of misinformation for their own ends--which aren't necessarily for the public good. Case in point--the CIA also told us all kinds of lies about Saddam's WMD program. Backed up the Bush 2 to the hilt to get us into wars we haven't been able to get out of for 15 years now.

The CIA could also be rightly accused of interfering in other governments elections or planting/staging coups and replacing democratically elected or inclined governments with right wing dictators--a classic example of that was the deposing and murdering of Allende and the installing and supporting of Pinochet.

Personally I would want clean and clear evidence that the Russians fucked with our election and best if the CIA played no part in securing or delivering that evidence.

406southernbooklady
Dec 15, 2016, 8:25am Top

>404 sturlington: The governor won't be a Democrat forever, and I think we get better government when the parties are forced to work together.

I don't have anything against bipartisan election boards (am a little unclear about the implications for UNC). But I also have zero faith that these 11th hour changes are done in the spirit of reform. If there is still a GOP legislature in four years, and a new, GOP governeor, what prevents all these things from being rolled back?

Really, I'm starting to think that "governing" is what happens by accident while people are squabbling for power. It's an unimportant side effect, not the purpose, of the elected representative.

407sturlington
Dec 15, 2016, 8:46am Top

>406 southernbooklady: You are right about that. I'm just thoroughly disgusted with just about everyone right now.

408timspalding
Dec 15, 2016, 9:51am Top

Just checking in. Whose extermination are we dismissing today?

409RickHarsch
Dec 15, 2016, 10:52am Top

>408 timspalding: speaking only for myself, I'm trying to keep my head down, not wanting to witness the self-extermination of the critical faculties of intelligent folk who have the emotional control to be selectively horrified, a process that eats away, ultimately, at the capacity to experience nuance, which is properly coordinated between mind and emotion.

410LolaWalser
Dec 15, 2016, 11:31am Top

>408 timspalding:

Women, Kurds, gays, opposition? Enjoying Erdogan's Turkey to the hilt, aren't you?

411southernbooklady
Dec 15, 2016, 11:33am Top

the entire city of Aleppo.

412LolaWalser
Dec 15, 2016, 11:34am Top

I was nonplussed by that WTF jibe at Assad's wife... but then, yeah, she sure doesn't fit the Erdogan-approved profile of a proper illiterate Muslim brood mare in a coalsack with a bag over her head...

413LolaWalser
Dec 15, 2016, 11:35am Top

>411 southernbooklady:

And who is "dismissing" it?

414southernbooklady
Dec 15, 2016, 11:38am Top

>413 LolaWalser: Sorry, not making accusations, just responding about one of the more awful things front and center in my mind right now. Some of my family have good friends and deep connections there, and they are frantic.

415LolaWalser
Edited: Dec 15, 2016, 12:45pm Top

>414 southernbooklady:

Reminder that I have been arguing in desperation, fury and pain for peacemaking in Syria for more than five years now. One of the first quarrels when I joined in 2007 with Tim involved Syria, which he called a horrible country deserving destruction--to me he said that, who had lived there and grew there seven years, loving the people, the place and life, had first, closest friends, all of whom I can't account for today, and most of whom where chased out or fled. People whose people lived there since Christ.

And I'd be ashamed to bother with this at a time like this, but Tim's monstrous shamelessness
is unbearable.

416LolaWalser
Dec 15, 2016, 1:21pm Top

I've never made this request before, I'm making it now, first and last time.

Tim, you have deliberately, calculatedly, repeatedly outraged my pain, my humanity. I'm specifically not talking about the run-of-the-mill accusations of stupidity, obtuseness, "misreading", or the allowing of obscene, TOS-breaking insults by proxy.

I'm talking about this "dismissing extermination" and "my policy" stuff. I'm asking you never again to throw this shit at me. Even without further disclosure, knowing only what you posted so far (and I read), it's clear that side-by-side, at a minimum you practically contributed through your voting record to war and carnage. I've actually never voted for anyone in power, or voted anyone into power. I made financial contributions to Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross, and a number of smaller aid organisations. Privately I supported, along with my parents, four refugee families during the war in Bosnia, and now a number of Syrian refugees, some friends some strangers. Meaning providing shelter, financial support, care, references. That is all as far as actions go. It's little, as doing good goes. My point is that I hope I did nothing bad.

On the opinion front, I'm helpless to prevent anything I say getting maliciously distorted. But in light of what I said about my actions and their consequences, and in light of my life experience that led me from one conflict, war, assassination, repression to another, and inheritance that includes ancestors and relatives actually exterminated in living memory, I just want to say for the record that accusing me of supporting or "dismissing" "extermination" I feel as a crime committed upon me.

I'm asking you to take this in account, on the general principle that you would not deliberately grievously insult members on LT.

Call me stupid. Call me obtuse. Tell me I'm illiterate, can't parse text, know nothing about misogyny, racism, whatever.

Don't ever again tell me I'm for killing and extermination.

417timspalding
Edited: Dec 16, 2016, 7:29am Top

>409 RickHarsch:

We differ on a basic point. I believe collateral damage in war can be morally acceptable, but the intentional or simply heedless targeting of civilians is not. You affect not to, when convenient.

Women, Kurds, gays, opposition? Enjoying Erdogan's Turkey to the hilt, aren't you?

No, Turkey is descending rather rapidly though successive layers of despotism. It does not by any means compare to Assad, but it's no picnic at present.

You can, I suppose, take my criticism of the Assad government's brutal war as being anti-women—this seems to be the party line here—but you have no call to call me anti-gay, or anti-Kurdish for that matter. I suppose you're just throwing shit against the wall for the fun of it.

I was nonplussed by that WTF jibe at Assad's wife... but then, yeah, she sure doesn't fit the Erdogan-approved profile of a proper illiterate Muslim brood mare in a coalsack with a bag over her head...

I was referring, of course, to that Vogue profile http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/01/the-only-remaining-onli...

Secular, gorgeous, western-educated, dressed to the nines, and partners with a murderous despot. Four out of five.

>416 LolaWalser:

We obviously disagree on the merits of Assad's regime, and I think that is not without importance. But I recognize you feel insulted, and so I shall accede to your wish.

FWIW, we're both currently helping Syrian refugees, so in some sense we're on the same side, against the terrors of the war. I would hope that you recognize these terrors are caused by both the Islamists and by Assad's regime.

418RickHarsch
Dec 16, 2016, 4:28am Top

>417 timspalding: Obviously your 'when convenient' is an easy one that either of us can use as a little jab (who wants to spend ten posts straightening it out?). We DO differ in regard to that collocation I will not use as if it is not a rather horrifying euphemism; but if you think you can have that without 'the intentional or simply heedless targeting of civilians is not' then you are as naive as I am when I respond to your post first, in my thoughts: No, I believe WAR is morally unacceptable.

419margd
Dec 16, 2016, 5:41am Top

John Podesta: The more we learn about the Russian plot to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and elect Donald Trump, and the failure of the FBI to adequately respond, the more shocking it gets. The former acting director of the CIA has called the Russian cyberattack “the political equivalent of 9/11.” Just as after the real 9/11, we need a robust, independent investigation into what went wrong inside the government and how to better protect our country in the future.

As the former chair of the Clinton campaign and a direct target of Russian hacking, I understand just how serious this is. So I was surprised to read in the New York Times that when the FBI discovered the Russian attack in September 2015, it failed to send even a single agent to warn senior Democratic National Committee officials. Instead, messages were left with the DNC IT “help desk.” As a former head of the FBI cyber division told the Times, this is a baffling decision: “We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana.”

What takes this from baffling to downright infuriating is that at nearly the exact same time that no one at the FBI could be bothered to drive 10 minutes to raise the alarm at DNC headquarters, two agents accompanied by attorneys from the Justice Department were in Denver visiting a tech firm that had helped maintain Clinton’s email server....

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/john-podesta-something-is-deeply-broken-at-the-fbi/2016/12/15/51668ab4-c303-11e6-9a51-cd56ea1c2bb7_story.html?utm_term=.72a7af46bd7f

420Tid
Dec 16, 2016, 5:45am Top

>416 LolaWalser:

Very well said. Seconded.

421timspalding
Edited: Dec 16, 2016, 7:30am Top

No, I believe WAR is morally unacceptable.

Although I think this view is wrong and indeed immoral, it is at least consistent and defensible on some level. I disagree with the Amish, but I respect them.

But the Amish do not get into little battles about this or that war, let alone assert their "I'm against war" position selectively, whenever America is involved and there's a dictator to defend. An Amish person—and, if it were possible, one living in Slovenia—does not look at the Iran-Iraq war, and its horrors on both sides, as you have, and decide the real story here is America.

And, if you were against war generally, and were discussing Syria, as we are, you'd not spend all your time attacking America—who have taken a secondary role in Syria. You'd be talking about Assad, the Russians, ISIS, Al-Nusra, the Saudis and other gulf nations, Hezbollah, the Iranians, the Turks, the YPG and so forth. You don't talk about them, so, honestly, I don't think your "WAR is morally unacceptable" is very consistent or convincing.

422Tid
Edited: Dec 16, 2016, 10:12am Top

>421 timspalding:

" And, if you were against war generally, and were discussing Syria, as we are, you'd not spend all your time attacking America—who have taken a secondary role in Syria. You'd be talking about Assad, the Russians, ISIS, Al-Nusra, the Saudis and other gulf nations, Hezbollah, the Iranians, the Turks, the YPG and so forth. You don't talk about them, so, honestly, I don't think your "WAR is morally unacceptable" is very consistent or convincing. "

Sorry, Tim. Got to correct a lot of assumptions there. Syria doesn't arise from a vacuum, so where to begin? 9/11 didn't come from nowhere either (decades of Cold War/oil tensions with the West supporting Saudis, the Soviets then Russia propping up Iran and Syria), but let's go back to 9/11 for now. That was Al Qaida and was organised from Afghanistan and Pakistan. You can understand the revenge motive for going after Bin Laden, though it was ultimately pointless - Al Qaida's cell structure made a leadership nominal at best.

Then you have Iraq. That was 100% down to America and Britain. What, they suddenly noticed that Saddam Hussein was not a nice man, especially towards the Kurds? Pffft. Even so, he was a convenient ally, armed by the West, until Kuwait and the first Gulf War. That "regime change" had absolutely nothing to do with Al Qaida or 9/11, but everything to do with stabilising oil supplies using the "WMD excuse" (which as we all know, turned out to be hollow). Plan for reconstructing Iraq, negotiating peace between Shia and Sunni, and stabilising the region? None. So into the power vacuum steps the splinter Caliphate group we know as ISIS.

Then came Libya. A civil war. We never liked Gaddafi so we supported the rebels with air strikes. Then when it was nearly all over, we propped up the new government which was unable to properly stabilise the region. Result? More civil war. Result? The growth and spread of ISIS.

Meanwhile,all over N Africa and the Middle East, the "Arab Spring" is happening. This encourages the rebels in Syria, and the current civil war gets underway, only now with the complex and uneasy alliances/hostile posturings between NATO and Russia, ISIS and the Syrian rebels, Assad and the West and the rebels.

And you say this has nothing to do with America (or by extension, Britain)? Oh please. We ignored the UN over Iraq, went in, deposed Saddam, and got out, leaving behind the entire mess that has spawned ISIS and made the civil war in Syria the absolute catastrophe it is. We - the oil consuming democracies of the West - are ultimately the most to blame.

423LolaWalser
Dec 16, 2016, 11:46am Top

>417 timspalding:

First, thank you for the message. Same to you. I only want it recognised that, while I could be wrong in what I think and believe, I am guided by feeling an absolute necessity to decrease, not increase human misery. I wished the war never happened. Then I wished it had ended in 2011. Then every day since. Every single new victim makes the previous moment better than the current, makes it the moment one regrets it didn't stop then--at least.

On Syria, as on very many other things, we are never likely to agree, and frankly, although it shames me to be so weak, I can't right now bear to talk about it at length. Two things only (nothing I didn't say on previous occasions)--I am NOT "cheerleading" for or being enthusiastic about the "merits" of Baathist/Assad rule when I say realistic alternatives, to my best and sincere opinion, were worse. Everything we have seen in the Middle East since the invasion of Iraq and during the last six years only bears me out. Is the quality and nature of Assad's opposition also his fault? Fact is they couldn't organise because their long term interests are mutually opposed--to say nothing of the tribalists and fanatics with inexorable fundamental intention of destroying everyone else. Another fact--the majority are religious fundamentalists and jihadists who would replace a repressive but secular state with a religious one. What that looks like we can see in Raqqa, or the ideal that is Saudi Arabia. I for one don't think that is any sort of improvement on Baathism--rather the contrary.

Second, the points Tid brings up--it's false to discuss Syria and Assad's regime as if they came into being yesterday with the bombings of Aleppo, or in 2011. Syria's tragedy isn't reducible to the siege of Aleppo, or the last six years, or Assad's actions alone. And yes, there were and are many "outside" factors crucial to what has and is happening.

424RickHarsch
Dec 16, 2016, 2:09pm Top

>421 timspalding: Generally, in a case like Syria my focus on the US is a corrective. Same with Iran-Iraq, though I have never engaged here in a conversation that struck me as being, centrally, about the Iran-Iraq war OR the war in Syria. What I'm saying, only, is that you know far too little to fairly determine whether what I write that I believe is consistent or convincing.
Anyway, it's oddly personal of you to take the tack--and particularly as I wrote that rather self-deprecatingly. What was really on the table was collateral damage which you write that I 'affect' not to approve, 'when convenient'. You're skipping a lot of discussion and going straight for the personal.

The two matters that most often lead me to emphasize the malignant role of the US in discussions involving the Middle East are the 1953 coup in Iran, and the 2003 attack on Iraq. Both are well within long-time US foreign policy/business guidelines, both have had horrendous consequences. The US has done more to shape the Middle East than Turkey. (I actually don't know if that's hyperbole or not at the moment I type.)

426sturlington
Edited: Dec 16, 2016, 4:56pm Top

>425 southernbooklady: Yeah, of course they did. I respect the protestors, but I knew it wouldn't do any good. I'm looking forward to the redistricting next year.

I don't think it would be possible for me to feel any more cynical at this point.

427sturlington
Dec 16, 2016, 5:42pm Top

What's happening in NC is getting a lot of press coverage. What we need are Democrats with a spine and a loud voice to capitalize on this and actually fight for us.

Maybe, just maybe...* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/keith-ellison-north-carolina-gop_us_58545841...

Next year, our state has to redraw districts and hold special elections. Democrats should get out the vote like there's no tomorrow.

*Guess I haven't yet reached peak cynicalness.

429prosfilaes
Dec 16, 2016, 11:51pm Top

>422 Tid: And you say this has nothing to do with America (or by extension, Britain)?

That's not what he said; he said "you'd not spend all your time attacking America—who have taken a secondary role in Syria."

he was a convenient ally, armed by the West, until Kuwait and the first Gulf War.

That's false. The Soviet Union armed Iraq. According to the SIPRI Arms Transfers Database at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Iraq between 1978 and 1990 imported $30B of arms, with $21B coming from the Soviet Union. France is #2 at $5B, China #3 at $4B, Brazil #4 at $600M, and nobody else gave or sold them a total of more than a half a billion with the US tying Austria and South Africa at $200 million, and the UK falling behind Canada and Switzerland for a mere $70M. Well over 80% of the arms came from two Communist countries, and the one Western country that did sell billions of dollars worth of arms to Iraq you failed to mention above.*

* http://armstrade.sipri.org/armstrade/page/values.php

Even the diehard Reaganites generally didn't consider Hussein an ally, instead more of a wild cannon that happened to be pointed in a direction useful to us.

everything to do with stabilising oil supplies using the "WMD excuse" (which as we all know, turned out to be hollow). Plan for reconstructing Iraq, negotiating peace between Shia and Sunni, and stabilising the region? None.

How does that make sense? If you think he was trying to stabilize oil supplies, you have to assume that he planned to stabilize the region. The first implies the second. It's clear he did so poorly, but that had to be part of the goal.

We - the oil consuming democracies of the West - are ultimately the most to blame.

I have a continuing problem with some part of the Left that seems to think that the US is the center of the universe. This is better than most, but Tim had a point; if you condemn war, period, full stop, then you have to condemn the Syrians and the Algerians that started these civil wars.

430timspalding
Edited: Dec 17, 2016, 3:10am Top

It's all tribal and positional. To review recent Talk threads:

* Iraq, supported by US against Iran but armed by the Soviet Union—US fault.
* Syria, an thoroughgoing Soviet client state never supported by the US—US fault.
* Saddam being a murderous dictator—US fault.
* US removing Saddam—US fault.
* Assad being a murderous dictator—what? he's a secularist and a feminist!
* Getting involved in Iraq—US fault.
* Not getting involved in Syria—US fault.
* US bombing ISIS and not Aleppo—US fault, ultimately.
* Russians bombing Aleppo—US fault, ultimately.
* US supported Saddam against Iran 35 years ago, although we know Saddam had used chemical weapons—a moral outrage!
* Syrian government uses chemical weapons against its populace in current war—ho-hum and/or, ultimately, US fault.
* US acts to require Syria to get rid of chemical weapons—US manipulation.
* Syria continues to use chemical weapons—false-flag.
* Tunisian sets fire to himself to protest corrupt government, leading to popular demonstrations, toppling a dictatorship—"Arab Spring bullshit"
* US supports hated Egyptian dictator—US fault
* Egyptians cast off same hated dictator—"Arab spring bullshit"
* Dictator back in Egypt with tacit US support—US fault

One could go on and on. The central thread isn't some coherent theory of international politics, or a generally applicable moral idea. It's not reading the news and letting the chips fall. It's a theory of everything based on the perfidy of the US, blaming the US for everything, and excusing anyone who opposes the US.

That's false. The Soviet Union armed Iraq.

Yes, but that was the US's fault for not arming them.

431RickHarsch
Dec 17, 2016, 6:31am Top

>430 timspalding: There is no arguing against conflation and misrepresentation by list.

I would also hope you are capable of more nuanced thought than you suggest you are in the list. I mean, I hope your thought isn't really limited to something akin to a home vs away sport thought.

(Fucking refs, man)

432Tid
Edited: Dec 17, 2016, 7:01am Top

>429 prosfilaes:

Thanks for those stats (though I'd regard the French as being part of "The West" I mentioned).

" Even the diehard Reaganites generally didn't consider Hussein an ally, instead more of a wild cannon that happened to be pointed in a direction useful to us. "

Yes, perhaps "ally" was too strong a word, but you've nailed the fact that Iran was Public Enemy #1 and that Saddam - hostile and then at war with Iran - to be very useful to NATO in their stance against Iran.

" everything to do with stabilising oil supplies using the "WMD excuse" (which as we all know, turned out to be hollow). Plan for reconstructing Iraq, negotiating peace between Shia and Sunni, and stabilising the region? None.

How does that make sense? If you think he was trying to stabilize oil supplies, you have to assume that he planned to stabilize the region. The first implies the second. It's clear he did so poorly, but that had to be part of the goal.
"

I'm unclear about your use of "he" there? I was referring to the combined initiative dreamed up by Bush and Blair, with assistance from Colin Powell, et al. "Stabilising the oil supplies" was the real reason behind what they called "regime change". You would have thought that "stabilising the region" (i.e. Iraq, post regime change) would have been the #1 priority towards stabilising the oil supplies, but apparently not. Fat contracts to the likes of Haliburton, then get out quick when things get rough, seems to have been the order of the day. Even Blair, though he continues to justify going into Iraq in the first place because "we really thought Saddam had WMD", now also admits that there should have been a proper reconstruction plan, and the lack of it was his big mistake.

" I have a continuing problem with some part of the Left that seems to think that the US is the center of the universe. This is better than most, but Tim had a point; if you condemn war, period, full stop, then you have to condemn the Syrians and the Algerians that started these civil wars. "

See, this is half the problem - perceptions. Many in Europe - not just the Left - tend to think it's an aspect of Americans in general, NeoCons in particular, to woefully disregard the international warp and weft causing most of the tensions and conflicts in the world. LT shows this clearly isn't true, but is LT an educated microcosm that doesn't really reflect the broad sweeps of America today?
Incidentally, I differentiate clearly between governments that go into war zones or even start them, and peoples that have been oppressed, or tortured, or slaughtered, or otherwise persecuted, and eventually rise up against the powers that oppress them (and it is also true that many such groups resort to terrorism or become politicised or both) - so we are talking PLO, Hamas, Hesbollah, and the insurgents in Libya and Syria, to name some Middle East groups in particular.

433RickHarsch
Dec 17, 2016, 8:10am Top

Use the old Biblical test, the do unto others...All US apologist arguments crumble. Recall the Evo Morales plane fiasco, forced to land in Vienna. Do that to Obama's plane and you have WWIII.

Actively undermining Assad in the 2000s: Do that in the US and you have draconian laws at home and wild thrashing about abroad as in early 2000s.

I call upon the international community to send Hans Blix to the US to check US for weapons of mass destruction, draw up a timetable for their dismantling.

Trump? Cannot stand. Call for his removal a la Mossadegh to Zelaya. Ensure it happens, if necessary by exploding plane. Ideally light ass on fire, see where he runs. New regime, blueprint SAVAK.

Drone Mexican criminals within US borders, target taken out, collateral damage: militants--7, children--3, women--2, elederly--9.

Yet making these arguments leads to grotesqueries such as post #430, which uses typical Cold War patterns of thought and attack to dismiss all arguments. Oppose US intervention in Syria you are an Assad-loving opportunist. Oppose US nuclear tactics, you are naive. Oppose drones--can't hear you. Oppose coups--you are mired in history.

434davidgn
Edited: Dec 17, 2016, 10:27am Top

A black swan appears. (courtesy Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

https://medium.com/opacity/the-syrian-war-condensed-a-more-rigorous-way-to-look-at-the-conflict-f841404c3b1d#.r0kjhnpv3

....Assad father’s operatives blew up my house in Amioun when my grandfather, then MP, voted for Bashir. In Skin in the Game I discuss this as “acting against one’s interest” (the opposite of conflict of interest). So as a scientist and a humanist, I have been setting my grudge aside in considering the far, far, far, greater cancer of Salafism or Islamofascism
.....
One may ask: are all people who are mourning the defeat of the rebels in Aleppo that stupid, so gullible to the think tank operators? My answer, alas, is yes. And it takes some financial and intellectual independence and a great deal of integrity to analyze matters outside the main narrative as think tankers jump on you like flies.

In the end I never imagined seeing the “left” siding with the AlQaeda of Sept 11, mourning the fighters of Aleppo and, aside from such independent journalists as Robert Fisk, spreading all manner of concoctions.


Enough PR dollars and the people will believe anything. (Most of them.)

435lriley
Dec 17, 2016, 1:09pm Top

When I voted for Obama way back in 2008 I thought--well here is someone who is going to get us out of wars not get us into them. And here we are 8 years later bombing the shit out of practically every country on the Mediterranean coast of Africa. Trying to overthrow governments left and right. Running out of bombs to drop. Why don't we ever try to overthrow Israel or Saudi Arabia? What makes them so special? You can't trust either one of our major political parties, you can't trust the media not to tell you a carefully packaged pack of lies--tell them over and over and over until they're taken as gospel--and we're creating disasters and catastrophes wherever we go.

It's time to cut military spending particularly defense contracts to the parasitical entities that make up our military/industrial complex. It's time to start closing overseas military bases and bringing our soldiers home. It's time to stop letting bombs be our first choice in the art of diplomacy. I don't want us in Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria and I don't want another cold war with the Russians either.

436Tid
Dec 17, 2016, 2:07pm Top

>435 lriley:

" Why don't we ever try to overthrow Israel or Saudi Arabia? What makes them so special? "

I imagine that the 'Jewish lobby' which - despite the growing right wing with its anti-Semitism - still has quite a power base in American politics and prevents any moves against Israel? As for the Saudis, too many jobs in the companies making weapons, too many exports, accounts for the inter-dependent ghastly symbiotic relationship between NATO and the House of Saud.

437lriley
Dec 17, 2016, 3:03pm Top

#437--it was a bit of a smarmy remark. IMO--Israel and Saudi Arabia have done and do more to heighten tensions in the region than any other nation states and they just happen to be the regimes that we support almost unconditionally and they also happen to be two right wing regimes that even the democratic party seems to bend over backwards for. I'm quite aware of the Jewish lobby in the United States and the leverage both the Saudi's and the Israeli's seem to have on our foreign and even domestic policy making.

438prosfilaes
Dec 17, 2016, 6:37pm Top

>432 Tid: I'd regard the French as being part of "The West" I mentioned

Which is convenient to make the argument, but France was stubbornly pushing its own agenda separate of any British or American leadership. It's the kind of lumping that's problematic. The US, nor Britain, nor any NATO state that hadn't distanced itself from NATO sold any large amount of weapons to Iraq.

perhaps "ally" was too strong a word, but you've nailed the fact that Iran was Public Enemy #1

The opinion from the Reagan administration apparently was that they hoped both of them would destroy each other. However reprehensible that may be, it makes it clear that Iran was not Enemy #1.

Saddam Hussein frustrates me, because his story is about him. But no, no Arab has the right to have a story; any story about Hussein making his own choices and playing the world powers against each other gets overwritten to be all about the US.

Many in Europe - not just the Left - tend to think it's an aspect of Americans in general, NeoCons in particular, to woefully disregard the international warp and weft causing most of the tensions and conflicts in the world.

I'm not sure what you mean there. It's clear that many Americans don't pay enough attention to the international warp and weft. It's not true that that causes most of the tensions and conflicts in the world.

we are talking PLO, Hamas, Hesbollah, and the insurgents in Libya and Syria

Hezbollah is an organization founded and originally ran from Iran. The day after Israel was founded, Egypt, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq attacked it. It's a complex mess that truly defies any separation into "real oppressed groups" and "groups created and funded by governments to harass Israel". Moreover, I dismiss any argument that justifies terrorism but is happy to bind the hands of a government to protect its people. The people of Israel were being tortured and slaughtered by those groups you mentioned above; e.g. the Coastal Road massacre. That's the base reason why governments are formed; to have someone to form a common defense against anyone who would kill us. That's not a broad defense of Israel; it's an attack of the idea that governments are bad and mobs are good.

439RickHarsch
Dec 17, 2016, 7:08pm Top

>438 prosfilaes: You don't know much about the history of Israel, do you?

440timspalding
Edited: Dec 17, 2016, 7:29pm Top

I call upon the international community to send Hans Blix to the US to check US for weapons of mass destruction, draw up a timetable for their dismantling.

I call upon you to understand what a treaty is and how they work.

I mean, I hope your thought isn't really limited to something akin to a home vs away sport thought.

No, that's exactly the point. Were I called upon to give a narrative of US and other countries' actions in the middle east, or indeed generally, it would be a complex one. The US was sometimes the villain and sometimes not; sometimes we meant well and did evil, sometimes we meant evil and it came out okay. Allies and opponents of the US too--dictators in Iraq, Syria and Egypt would all be called what they are, not who's side they're on. This differs markedly from the party line here, in which every action and every leader is evaluated according to how it relates to a rather dull-witted anti-Americanism.

In the end I never imagined seeing the “left” siding with the Al-Qaeda of Sept 11, mourning the fighters of Aleppo and, aside from such independent journalists as Robert Fisk, spreading all manner of concoctions.

I think can all agree Southernbooklady is a running-dog.

441RickHarsch
Dec 17, 2016, 8:59pm Top

>440 timspalding: You virtually repeated that lame list laugher here in puerile prose.

What party do I belong to?

Am I in the same party as Tid?

Is Lola Walser in the party? Iriley? Davidgn? Does Prosfilaes get probation?

Dull-witted anti-Americanism. Right, if you don't like an argument mis-characterize, and be sure to do so in a way that proves the idiocy of the TOS. You seem like such a nice guy, Mister Spalding, shame your letters form words that suggests thoughts of a brainwashed ass licker.

Some day we will have to sit down and have a conversation you don't flee from as soon as you're proven wrong. (I think the last time had to do with drone strikes but I'm not sure. You denied something or other, I provided a list with citations, you never came back. Grace under perceived pressure.)

442krazy4katz
Edited: Dec 17, 2016, 10:29pm Top

>439 RickHarsch: Do you know much about the history of the Middle East? The inhabitants were slaughtering each other long before the UK took over the land and forced it into separate states before they abandoned any attempt at governing the area, but this seems like a separate thread.

443timspalding
Dec 18, 2016, 5:38am Top

Some day we will have to sit down and have a conversation you don't flee from as soon as you're proven wrong

Flee? I replied two messages ago, less than 12 hours ago. And, believe it or not, proof is not achieved by calling someone a "brainwashed ass licker."

444RickHarsch
Dec 18, 2016, 7:48am Top

>443 timspalding: I was, quite obviously, referring to several older half-discussions when I spoke of flight. I think you know that, but I ain't callin ya a liar. Could be you're just rushing through these and not quite getting what's written. I proved nothing recently, and neither did you. You just began seeing all arguments against yours as coming from the same source, lumped all of 'us' together and wrote some crap that has nothing to do with anything.

And, believe it or not, proof is not achieved by calling someone a rather dull-witted anti-American.

But of course, you and I know that none of these aspersion were cast. There is a TOS to be observed.

>439 RickHarsch: Yes, I know quite a bit about the history of the Middle East, enough to know that the point you are making is hardly a point at all, particularly as it seems to suggest that the UK came upon chaos and benignly chose to fix it up, could not, and sadly moved on. But yes, another thread.

And another answer: yes, I know quite a bit, but am always amazed at how much more there is to learn about every place and time I begin to feel expert in, how much I don't know. No one knows enough, so we try to detect patterns, but every pattern has its outliers, frustrating events that suggest the pattern is not going to explain everything, sometimes utterly undermines the pattern, proving it false, sometimes merely complicates the story that forms the pattern, etc.

445timspalding
Edited: Dec 18, 2016, 1:37pm Top

proof is not achieved by calling someone a rather dull-witted anti-American

Indeed. For what it's worth, I don't think you yourself are dull-witted, but merely the ideology you've embraced.

You just began seeing all arguments against yours as coming from the same source

There is some truth to this, but, also, a real issue of fellow traveling. I do not have a "side" on LT conversations—I regularly go after other posters, left and right. Indeed, some of my fiercest exchanges have been with those many would lump me with. I am rather alone in that. Even SBL, whose views I generally respect, won't stand up to the conspiracy theories and pro-Assad tripe thats killing so many in Syria today.

446krazy4katz
Edited: Dec 18, 2016, 2:05pm Top

>444 RickHarsch: "And another answer: yes, I know quite a bit, but am always amazed at how much more there is to learn about every place and time I begin to feel expert in, how much I don't know. No one knows enough, so we try to detect patterns, but every pattern has its outliers, frustrating events that suggest the pattern is not going to explain everything, sometimes utterly undermines the pattern, proving it false, sometimes merely complicates the story that forms the pattern, etc."

Yes, exactly. I think that is certainly true in the Middle East. And part of the reason I get aggravated at the "Jewish Lobby" stuff. Of course being Jewish myself could have something to do with that. There is history there that is difficult to consolidate into a simple pro/con story — at least for me. Again, that's another thread. I swore I would abandon Pro and Con as soon as the election was over but here I am.

Over and out good people!

447RickHarsch
Dec 18, 2016, 2:13pm Top

>I have embraced no ideology; you would probably not admit that you have been embraced by an ideology, though that would be a much easier case to make.

Syria? No one in their right mind wanted that horrific mess. Ipso facto, I support Assad, right? Think what you like. I object to US interference in politics of other countries for the benefit of business and that is that. I don't know anyone who can express with assurance what happened and is happening in Syria. Sometimes conspiracy theories merely signify the beginning of a break through a propaganda shroud.

'Indeed, some of my fiercest exchanges have been with those many would lump me with. I am rather alone in that.' Sorry, cowboy, but you must have missed all the rancor over who a Democrat should vote for.

448southernbooklady
Dec 18, 2016, 3:40pm Top

>445 timspalding: Even SBL, whose views I generally respect, won't stand up to the conspiracy theories and pro-Assad tripe thats killing so many in Syria today.

Sorry, not pro Assad. Also not knowledgeable enough about the situation to feel confident in making political pronouncements. Or in proclaiming this or that to be a conspiracy theory. Also, deeply skeptical of the political goals of pretty much everyone in the conflict, including"reformist" parties that aren't really interested in reform, meddling foreign governments and religiously-motivated rebel movements.

Also, I'm pretty busy with real life and not paying close attention to this thread at the moment.

I'm afraid my feelings about Syria are primarily emotional -- people I love are missing people that they love and I hate that this is so.

449Tid
Dec 19, 2016, 11:07am Top

>438 prosfilaes:

" Many in Europe - not just the Left - tend to think it's an aspect of Americans in general, NeoCons in particular, to woefully disregard the international warp and weft causing most of the tensions and conflicts in the world.

I'm not sure what you mean there. It's clear that many Americans don't pay enough attention to the international warp and weft. It's not true that that causes most of the tensions and conflicts in the world.
"

I should rephrase: "it's an aspect of Americans in general, NeoCons in particular, to woefully disregard the international warp and weft lying behind most of the tensions and conflicts in the world."

" The day after Israel was founded, Egypt, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq attacked it. It's a complex mess... "

Indeed it is. One of the complexities is that the majority of Zionists who themselves caused much of the pre-founding of Israel terrorism, were composed of inhabitants of the area, rather than international Jewry. It was the Zionists, after all, who forced the Jews who arrived on the Kastner train from Hungary, to wear yellow stars of David in a grotesque echo of Nazi anti-Semitism, branding them "cowards" for not dying like martyrs in the Holocaust.

But I wasn't talking principally about Israel (though their treatment of native Palestinians has been truly shameful at times - shameful enough to provoke the formation of pro-Palestinian Jewish groups within the State of Israel); I was speaking equally of Libyans, Iraqis, and Syrians, persecuted by Gaddafi, Saddam, and Assad. None of those governments had their "hands bound", except in the case of Western economic sanctions against Libya.

I agree with your point (which wasn't counter to anything I said) against the idea that "governments are bad and mobs are good". We have been talking specifically about certain Middle East governments, many of which are 'bad' in ways that hurt some of their own people, and therefore the reaction against them by those same people cannot be simply dismissed as "terrorism" or "mob rule".

450RickHarsch
Dec 19, 2016, 1:02pm Top

449 When you have settlers settling all over the place despite unanimous international opposition (Feeble and Wink represent the US of course), where's the difference between government and mob?

451Tid
Dec 19, 2016, 5:52pm Top

452margd
Dec 21, 2016, 7:54am Top

Numbers of anti-government extremist "patriot" groups in the US by year, including militias:

1995-2000 (Bill Clinton): 194-858

2001-2008 (George W Bush): 131-171

2009-2015 (Barack Obama): 512-1360

https://www.splcenter.org/active-antigovernment-groups-united-states

I suspect numbers would have gone through the roof had HRC won. They may not decline under Trump if he keeps goading the 'deplorables'.

453timspalding
Dec 21, 2016, 10:47am Top

>452 margd:

An interesting chart—see the chart, not the numbers above, if you're not margd. But I'm not entirely clear how it relates to anything. I think the post 2008 numbers must somehow relate to tea-party radicalization and, probably, better means of communication between individuals with bad ideas. But what of the decline under Clinton? Was it post-Oklahoma-city shame? Because the Justice Department went after them? Because disparate groups combined into larger groups, which were actually more powerful? Because it got boring? Definitional changes?

454margd
Dec 21, 2016, 11:13am Top

Yeah, I would love to see a longer timeline, and an analysis. Interesting, though.
(I'm wondering if deplorables' reaction to our first black president--instigated or not--might have created a Trump-friendly atmosphere?)

Here in Michigan, we had a couple of anti-govt types investigated and at least one convicted as part of the Oklahoma bombings--one in village just north of us. :-(

455southernbooklady
Dec 21, 2016, 11:14am Top

>453 timspalding: But what of the decline under Clinton?

That was when the Republican Party launched it's "Contract with America"

456timspalding
Dec 21, 2016, 11:21am Top

So when Gingrich launched the "Contract with America," weirdo government radicals decided to go back to bowling?

457Tid
Edited: Dec 21, 2016, 11:42am Top

What's interesting to me - as a Brit - is how many groups there are in California and Pennsylvania, and how few in Montana. There's an entirely different perception on this side of the pond: we would guess the opposite way round. Perhaps though, when you consider the relative populations, it's not as surprising as it first seems. (Perhaps too, many of the Montana "private militias" don't show up on the anti-Government radar?)

458timspalding
Dec 21, 2016, 11:43am Top

>457 Tid:

Population, I'm thinking.

459southernbooklady
Edited: Dec 21, 2016, 11:45am Top

>456 timspalding: Well, unless I am mis-remembering completely, it was the beginning surge of the Republican Party's populist conservative movement -- and whatever it's real success (or lack thereof) under Gingrich, that movement has retained a real and vocal presence in Congress ever since. If anti-government groups are defined by their opposition to government intrusion on their liberaties, then having a real, loud (rambunctious!) group in Congress voicing those same goals would, you'd think mitigate some of the inclination to form an anti-government militia. At least for all but the most radical.

460timspalding
Dec 21, 2016, 11:46am Top

>459 southernbooklady:

Well, the graph doesn't have 1994, but it falls after 1995. So if the Contract with America made it go up, it went swiftly down. I'm not sure what would explain that massive decline. Oklahoma City is my guess.

461Tid
Dec 21, 2016, 11:50am Top

>458 timspalding:

Makes sense. Our stereotype of California is: "we don't actively oppose the government, we just go ahead and do our own thing whether they like it or not".

462davidgn
Edited: Dec 22, 2016, 5:12pm Top

>461 Tid: Also, I understand coastal versus inland California is a major cultural divide, with the inland portion much closer to surrounding states culturally -- and decidedly pissed off as the coastal populations' sprawl encroaches on them. Try reading some of Yasha Levine's dispatches from Victorville at the nadir of the Great Recession. Start here, I suppose: http://exiledonline.com/yasha-levine-is-front-page-news-in-victorville-3/

But here's the first chronologically: http://exiledonline.com/dispatch-from-victorville-levine-starts-his-journey-into...

This map from Colin Woodard might also be helpful. From my perspective as a lifelong dweller in Yankeedom, it looks very accurate: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/11/08/which-of-the-11-american-nations-do-you-live-in/

463Tid
Dec 22, 2016, 5:40pm Top

>462 davidgn:

Thanks for that. I did say that what I thought was only a stereotype.

464davidgn
Dec 22, 2016, 5:50pm Top

>463 Tid: Certainly. And California's population is, indeed, concentrated on its coast. To that extent, your stereotype actually coincides well with Woodard's assessment:
THE LEFT COAST. A Chile-shaped nation wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade and Coast mountains, the Left Coast was originally colonized by two groups: New Englanders (merchants, missionaries, and woodsmen who arrived by sea and dominated the towns) and Appalachian midwesterners (farmers, prospectors, and fur traders who generally arrived by wagon and controlled the countryside). Yankee missionaries tried to make it a “New England on the Pacific,” but were only partially successful. Left Coast culture is a hybrid of Yankee utopianism and Appalachian self-expression and exploration—traits recognizable in its cultural production, from the Summer of Love to the iPad. The staunchest ally of Yankeedom, it clashes with Far Western sections in the interior of its home states. See more at: http://emerald.tufts.edu/alumni/magazine/fall2013/features/up-in-arms.html#sthas...

465RickHarsch
Dec 22, 2016, 6:41pm Top

And there is the frontier mentality. San Francisco developed before the frontier had pushed very far. And once at the foothills of the Rockies, you have mountain and desert virtually all the way to he coast south of the great forests. The state as it is bordered now is home to innumerable slaughters. Enough around the Mexican Los Angeles and then the anglifying L.A...Plenty of Indians terrorized in the region...

466jjwilson61
Dec 22, 2016, 6:55pm Top

I'm not sure I believe that so much of the culture of California came from such early settlers. A huge percentage of the population arrived during and just after WWII from all over the US. And lumping LA and south with the southern fringes of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas is just ridiculous.

467RickHarsch
Dec 22, 2016, 7:16pm Top

I mean that probably a split between coast and frontier towns shaped the present.

468southernbooklady
Dec 22, 2016, 7:17pm Top

>462 davidgn:, >464 davidgn: Woodward's book (and general thesis) is pretty attractive -- it gave a good explanation, for example of why I (raised in Yankeedom) was inclined to regard government primarily as an instrument to ensure the civic good and education as an obvious benefit and value, whereas alternately my neighbors here in the South place a high value on family duty and loyalty.

But such observations only go so far, and as convincing as they look from a distant vantage point, they tend to break down as one's focus becomes more narrow and specific. It was something I particularly noticed about the book -- that the more recent the events he discussed the more frequent the "anomolies" that would appear -- people who acted against their supposed "nation" inclinations. It made me doubt the usefulness of his analysis in any specific contemporary situation.

469davidgn
Edited: Dec 22, 2016, 10:16pm Top

>468 southernbooklady: I haven't read the book (though it's on one of my shorter lists), and in any case I wouldn't rely heavily on Woodward's analysis in making concrete predictions about how particular cultural currents would or should break in given locations. As a rough guide of certain cultural inclinations, though (many of which ring true to me even on a finer scale: for instance, from my experience passing through, Ohio really IS like three separate nations, and I'll be damned if certain towns in the north -- around Poland, OH, for example, and some others further west (I think I recall "Peru, OH" as an example, though I might be misremembering -- aren't dead ringers for New England towns architecturally and culturally. (There's a clear-cut historical reason for that, in fact: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firelands // http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/northeast-ohio-is-built-like-new-england-be...). That cozy New England feeling at 1/4 of the price, dadgummit! ;-)

In any case, for a foreigner looking for a rough guide to American cultural variations by geography, I can't think of a better model to share. It's not perfect, but it's a damn sight better than guessing. ;-)

(Straightening out my recollections: Poland also has an exceedingly nice library for a town of its size, with an astonishingly large variety of foreign language materials given the demographics (some of which they were culling at the book sale I attended there.)

470Tid
Dec 23, 2016, 5:28am Top

>464 davidgn: >465 RickHarsch: >466 jjwilson61: >467 RickHarsch: >468 southernbooklady: >469 davidgn:

Isn't there also a big Latino influence too? Or did the original Hispanics who named Los Angeles and SAn Francisco get driven out by the early Yankee settlers, and only much later replaced with Mexican immigrants?

471RickHarsch
Dec 23, 2016, 9:03am Top

I'll jump right in as I really know all this from virtually as outside as you.

A good half of California was stolen from Mexico, though most would use euphemistic language to say the same thing. But Mexicans never left in droves other than in an action in 1954 that was pretty ugly. My view of your question mainly is that the US put their stamp on the land they took, and though it may at times appear to have a different flavor, deep down it is all the same. The most influential history about all this is pretty old now, Frederick Jackson Turner's 'The Significance of the Frontier in American History', though at this point I can no longer distinguish what he wrote from what some of his ideas led to historians writing (the key notion that while Turner argues the significance of expansion, he may not have argued the NECESSITY of it, which is where the great historians of the last half of the 20th century may have differed, taking his thesis as a beginning) and what I have come to believe.

The ineradicable symbol for all this is the grid pattern, a force against organic growth on every level.

472lriley
Edited: Dec 23, 2016, 6:17pm Top

The numbers apparently are officially in and Hillary Clinton racks up almost 2.9 million more votes than Donald Trump and beats him by more than 2% points and yet....

Which just goes to show you how undemocratic our democratic system of electing candidates and what a farce the electoral college having the final say is.

The idea that some have that this election was fair and square is absurd. It certainly isn't the majority wins.

473Tid
Dec 27, 2016, 4:56am Top

>471 RickHarsch: Thanks for that.

474timspalding
Dec 27, 2016, 5:39am Top

>472 lriley:

How do you feel about the Senate? Every state gets two senators regardless of size, so the California ones represent 29 million people each, but the Vermont ones 313,000 people.

Or take the UN general assembly—Tuvalu, population 9,000, gets the same number of votes as the United States, with 318 million, or China, with 1.3 billion! And then—and THEN!—this absurdly undemocratic body elects a General Secretary!

Down with the UN!

475lriley
Dec 27, 2016, 9:20am Top

#474--if you're asking about the U.N. Tim--I'm not a big fan. And it's not a democratic institution. Never has been. Regarding the United States and Tuvalu--one has the leverage to twist arms and get the things that it wants and the other doesn't. Can you guess which? Pretending that Tuvalu is the equal of the United States within that body is patently absurd.

And Vermont has one congressperson in the House of Representatives--the other legislative body that you neglected to mention and California has over 50--and most legislation has to go through both legislative bodies. Anyone with basic civics knows that those two legislative branched were designed to be equal in the one house and proportional to population in the other. So how do you feel about California and Vermont in the House?

476prosfilaes
Dec 27, 2016, 4:38pm Top

>474 timspalding: The UN is an absurdly undemocratic body; its saving grace is that it is the first successful international body of its type. The Senate is a pain in the ass, but it would be even harder to remove than the Electoral College.

477Tid
Dec 27, 2016, 4:42pm Top

>474 timspalding: >475 lriley:

The whole point of the UN is that all nations - irrespective of size - are represented. It is not meant to be representative democracy. To have it any other way is to say that "size matters", when it is more a case that it is a talking shop where each nation has an equal voice.

However the Security Council, with power of veto, only has 5 nations represented: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States.

478lriley
Dec 27, 2016, 5:24pm Top

#477--didn't I say it wasn't a democratic institution? I could have swore I did.

479timspalding
Edited: Dec 27, 2016, 6:16pm Top

The whole point of the UN is that all nations - irrespective of size - are represented. It is not meant to be representative democracy. To have it any other way is to say that "size matters", when it is more a case that it is a talking shop where each nation has an equal voice.

Right. Nations matter, not just raw populations.

This is the American idea too. States matter, not just raw populations. You may disagree, but the United States is based on this idea and, as history shows clearly, would never have come to be if the large states had insisted on raw popular power over that of states.

So how do you feel about California and Vermont in the House?

I feel great. I think the Connecticut compromise was a great idea—an ideal balance between the people in general and the states as independent bodies. The primary upshot is a bicameral parliament. Another is the the Electoral College, with votes given according to how many representatives the state has, in both houses. It's undemocratic by design because, by design, it respects states. If this is news to you, you missed some high-school classes.

480RickHarsch
Dec 27, 2016, 6:28pm Top

>479 timspalding: Ah, now I see--it's graduating high school that you feel confers on you the status to condescend to smarter people.

481prosfilaes
Dec 27, 2016, 7:10pm Top

>479 timspalding: Right. Nations matter, not just raw populations.

Which is part of the limiting factor on how powerful the UN can be, because nobody really wants to give a bunch of tiny nations any real power

482Tid
Edited: Dec 28, 2016, 1:10pm Top

>478 lriley:

" #477--didn't I say it wasn't a democratic institution? I could have swore I did. "

Er, yes, you did. And if I may quote myself...

" >475 lriley: lriley:

The whole point of the UN is that all nations - irrespective of size - are represented. It is not meant to be representative democracy.
"

So what exactly didn't you get about your own original comment and my reply to it?

483timspalding
Edited: Dec 28, 2016, 1:52pm Top

Which is part of the limiting factor on how powerful the UN can be, because nobody really wants to give a bunch of tiny nations any real power

Amen. And another is that small and medium-sized nations don't want their laws determined by China, just because it's so huge.

See also US Federalism. Federalism and the disproportionate power of states as against their populations are an intended feature, not a bug.

It's undemocratic by design because, by design, it respects states. If this is news to you, you missed some high-school classes.

>480 RickHarsch: Well, I assume that you do understand this about the United States, and merely disagree with our concept of federalism when it differs from the raw national will. I have no idea whether American Federalism is taught in Slovenian public schools, but I don't consider you an idiot, nor have I said so here.

That said, it's tricky for a Slovenian to argue for pure numerical democracy being the important thing—not, anyway, if you think Slovenia was right to hold a purely local referendum and declare itself its own country on that basis. If good government had no concern for local divisions, but only for national majorities, Slovenians should have requested a nationwide referendum, and only withdrawn from the country if a majority of Yugoslavians agreed.

484RickHarsch
Dec 28, 2016, 3:37pm Top

>483 timspalding: Just having a little fun with 'If this is news to you, you missed some high-school classes.' I admit to my own moments of condescension.

Regarding Slovenia, well, it's a long, long topic. Germany had more to do with the timing of secession than any Slovene did. In fact, it was a pretty ugly matter as the result was known well in advance, as has been mentioned a few times at Hague trials. The bloodshed was not strictly a necessary result of a dissolution of the federation, but demagogues tend to be impatient.

As for Slovenia since independence, the most unique popular candidate was assassinated, and since then the parliamentary democracy has become a faceless, weak entity that has, as a friend puts it, 'gotten rid of all the good things we had before independence and adopted only the bad things that have been available.' That's as good a summary as I can offer of the short history of this nation.

485davidgn
Edited: Dec 28, 2016, 10:22pm Top

While we're apportioning blame, we might as well apportion a bit more with respect to Syria.

The Real US Strategic Blunder in Syria
by Gareth Porter
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/28/the-real-us-strategic-blunder-in-syria/
President Barack Obama has long been under fire from the US national security elite and the media for failing to intervene aggressively against the Assad regime.

But the real strategic blunder was not that Barack Obama didn’t launch yet another war in Syria, but that he decided to go along with the ambitions of America’s Sunni allies to create and arm a Syrian opposition army to overthrow the regime in the first place.

Now a former Obama administration official who is knowledgeable on the internal discussions on Syria policy, speaking to this writer on condition of anonymity, has shed new light on how and why that fateful decision was made.
....


Meanwhile, a couple pieces offering a better-than-average read on the present state of things:
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/12/syria-roundup-turkeys-problems-increase.htm...
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/12/syria-peace-talk-rumors-and-parameters.html

--------------------------------------------------​--------------------------------------------------​
And one more:

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/27/a-sour-holiday-season-for-neocons/

The last time I allowed my perceptions to be "managed," I became personally complicit in things I don't wish to recall. My perceptions have become very difficult to "manage."

486timspalding
Edited: Dec 29, 2016, 5:12am Top

But the real strategic blunder was not that Barack Obama didn’t launch yet another war in Syria, but that he decided to go along with the ambitions of America’s Sunni allies to create and arm a Syrian opposition army to overthrow the regime in the first place.

The US's efforts here have been minimal and abortive. We spent years trying to create an army, and failed completely. Our funding has been stymied by not wanting to fund the wrong people. Turkey and the Gulf countries have funded the main opposition players, while we mostly couldn't find people to fund, except, to a small degree the rather marginal Kurdish forces.

Of course, none of this is true in la-la-I-don't-read-real-news-land. In I-read-news-land, as the Guardian put it:
"Washington opposes the Syrian regime but has taken very limited steps to ensure its downfall and has recently signalled it may even consider a transitional role for Assad. A US programme provided small numbers of moderate rebels with ammunition and training to fight Isis on the ground but this was paused after a series of embarrassing setbacks. The US continues to head up an international coalition which is bombing targets in Syria belonging to Isis and occasionally the Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as supporting Kurdish forces fighting Isis in the north."
As far as the US creating the opposition to Assad, well, that's both ignorant and morally obscene. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2015/oct/09/who-backs-whom-in-the-syrian-conflict

487davidgn
Edited: Dec 29, 2016, 8:21pm Top

>486 timspalding: I could say a lot of things, but I don't have time. So I'll just remark on how touching I find your continued belief in the integrity and reliability of the mainstream news media. Truly, your loyalty is far better than they deserve.

You might note, just to start, the claim in this article that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are fighting ISIS. As Hillary Clinton herself stated in one of her leaked emails, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are major funders of ISIS, at the government level. (Also, one may note in passing, of the Clinton Foundation).

Also: no, the US didn't create "the" opposition to Assad. This all began with a genuine popular uprising seeking reform and redress of grievances -- which is why I initially supported the Syrian protests. It took me a few weeks to figure out the direction all this was heading: an international effort to train and equip jihadists to overthrow the Syrian regime -- substantially following the template of Gaddafi's overthrow in Libya, minus the air support. The people fighting Assad now and the people protesting Assad then are highly divergent sets of people.

I posted Stephen Kinzer's Globe editorial from last February a while back. You may want to go back and read it again. I honestly never thought things would get this bad.

ETA: The Guardian has been in decline for a very long time. One more salient example of this today. https://theintercept.com/2016/12/29/the-guardians-summary-of-julian-assanges-interview-went-viral-and-was-completely-false/

488RickHarsch
Dec 30, 2016, 7:26am Top

>487 davidgn: A former student of mine sent me that Assange link yesterday asking if it could really be accurate. I was grateful the thing was from the Intercept and written by Greenwald as it saved me the trouble of researching beyond the article itself. As usual Greenwald was clear and provided full evidence for his assertions.

Anything beyond what he wrote is up to the particular reader. For instance, we know that the CIA plants stories: is this an example?

But another point that is important is that the victory of Trump has driven many who opposed the main US political tribe out of their senses--to the point where arguments are made that seem to suggest Trump is unfairly maligned by the Obama-Clinton axis. This makes it easier to believe that an enemy of the Obama/Clinton might make a stupid claim like that which Assange was accused of. I'm glad the story included Assange's simple and correct aside that Trump is of the wealthy, not an 'outsider.'

489davidgn
Edited: Dec 30, 2016, 8:39pm Top

>486 timspalding: In fact, if you'd care to actually read Gareth Porter's article, you might find that his argument is not entirely opposed to the one you cite. It does, however, offer additional crucial context that might be new to you (and that might even -- heaven forbid! -- corroborate the reporting of dubious characters like Seymour Hersh), which makes it liable to be dismissed out of hand. Because after all, despite his Martha Gellhorn Prize, Dr. Porter is not by any means a real journalist. Otherwise he'd have gotten himself hired by one of the six or so newspapers that actually produce real news, right?

I'll say it again: when possible, trust no one under 70.

490Tid
Edited: Jan 1, 2017, 9:03am Top

>489 davidgn:

" when possible, trust no one under 70 "

... or over 11. (This obviously needs to contain a clause to except Donald Trump who is both over 70 and whose mental age is well under 11).

491margd
Edited: Jan 1, 2017, 7:57am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

492davidgn
Edited: Jan 1, 2017, 10:16pm Top

>490 Tid: Well advised.

>486 timspalding: Fortunately for the mental tranquility of certain among us, wise old Uncle Sam is making strenuous efforts to ensure that outlets which "surely must be" working for the Russians (who, in turn, "surely must be" -- invariably and at all times -- distorting reality and spreading lies) will no longer be able to compete for attention with the likes of prominent "real news" pundits such as Charles Lister, whose think tank is openly bankrolled by Qatar. (c.f.: This from the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/us/politics/foreign-powers-buy-influence-at-think-tanks.html?_r=0 ; or this from the clearly non-real news source referred to by some as The Nation, which specifically interrogates one of the corporate authors of the Guardian piece cited in #486: https://www.thenation.com/article/whos-paying-pro-war-pundits/)

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/01/the-war-against-alternative-information/
The U.S. establishment is not content simply to have domination over the media narratives on critical foreign policy issues, such as Syria, Ukraine and Russia. It wants total domination. Thus we now have the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act” that President Obama signed into law on Dec. 23 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017, setting aside $160 million to combat any “propaganda” that challenges Official Washington’s version of reality.

The new law mandates the U.S. Secretary of State to collaborate with the Secretary of Defense, Director of National Intelligence and other federal agencies to create a Global Engagement Center “to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” The law directs the Center to be formed in 180 days and to share expertise among agencies and to “coordinate with allied nations.”

The legislation was initiated in March 2016, as the demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia was already underway and was enacted amid the allegations of “Russian hacking” around the U.S. presidential election and the mainstream media’s furor over supposedly “fake news.” Defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton voiced strong support for the bill: “It’s imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy, and innocent lives.”

The new law is remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least because it merges a new McCarthyism about purported dissemination of Russian “propaganda” on the Internet with a new Orwellianism by creating a kind of Ministry of Truth – or Global Engagement Center – to protect the American people from “foreign propaganda and disinformation.”

As part of the effort to detect and defeat these unwanted narratives, the law authorizes the Center to: “Facilitate the use of a wide range of technologies and techniques by sharing expertise among Federal departments and agencies, seeking expertise from external sources, and implementing best practices.” (This section is an apparent reference to proposals that Google, Facebook and other technology companies find ways to block or brand certain Internet sites as purveyors of “Russian propaganda” or “fake news.”)
....


What a lovely plaything for our new President.

I'd quote more of this piece, which is (or ought to be) deeply informative, but it wouldn't be read. I fail to see why it is preferable that it should go unread here, rather than going unread at the link above.

493lriley
Jan 2, 2017, 9:35am Top

#492--An official version of what's correct. How nice. Not that the major news media and whatever presidential administration and their washington political opponents weren't already all in bed together. I wonder who came up with this idea originally?

494timspalding
Jan 2, 2017, 12:12pm Top

9/11 was an inside job!

495RickHarsch
Jan 2, 2017, 12:49pm Top

RE >494 timspalding: Too many substantiated points to argue, so two default modes available: a) flight mode, b) feckless dated mockery.

496davidgn
Jan 2, 2017, 2:40pm Top

>495 RickHarsch: Oh, Rick, you're just seeing patterns that don't exist. Confirmation bias!

497RickHarsch
Jan 2, 2017, 3:04pm Top

It's the sobriety--causes hallucinations.

498Molly3028
Jan 2, 2017, 9:48pm Top

Right-wing radio show hosts have been using unsuspecting middle Americans to enrich themselves and spread unrest throughout the land for at least two decades. Trump is a con man who happened to be at the right place at the right time.

I recently listened to IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE by Sinclair Lewis. It turned out SL was forecasting what would happen to America in the year 2016 forward!

499davidgn
Edited: Jan 3, 2017, 1:31am Top

>498 Molly3028: I suppose we'll be finding out.

>492 davidgn: A plea for media objectivity from Deutsche Welle. (Good luck with that!)
http://www.dw.com/en/opinion-only-good-and-bad-in-syria/a-36916146

ETA: Who now talks of the burgeoning humanitarian disaster in Mosul (except, perhaps, the occasional Canadian: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/matthew-fisher-battle-for-mosul-becomes-... )?

And who talks about the utter mess our GCC friends have made of Yemen? (except, perhaps, the occasional Canadian: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/multimedia/images-of-saida-ahmad-baghili-shines-s... ; or a (physically) defunct British daily broadsheet-turned-tabloid: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-war-saudi-arabia-world... ; or a UK-based non-real news site that prints non-real pieces like the one I cited above (as reprinted by Counterpunch), authored by non-real journalists like Gareth Porter: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/500-days-saudi-bombing-yemen-leaves-untenable-... ; or -- God help us! -- the Washington &$*#*$& Times?! http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/22/ending-a-humanitarian-crisis-in-... )

How about the fact that the water supply to Damascus was cut off just before Christmas? Who in the US even knows that?
You might hear it from some relief organizations: http://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/four-million-people-damascus-ha...
Or from some Germans: http://www.dw.com/en/damascus-faces-third-day-without-water-following-alleged-co...
Or as I first did, via another, rather peculiar German: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/al-qaeda-cut-leaves-5-million-thirsty-in-da...

(Ah, but surely the Syrian government bombed their own civil infrastructure and poisoned their own aquifers!)

Of course, none of this seems to be worthy of real news coverage! That's why I'm impelled to learn about such things by reading, for example, the obscure blog above: written by a very opinionated, often biased former Bundeswehr tank officer without benefit of editorial supervision, and featuring a motley crew of reader-commenters that ranges from the uncommonly astute, to the ideologically-zombified, to the batshit crazy, to the presumably "cray-for-pay." I'll tell you what, though: in the end, after wading through the muck and doing my best to "separate the ice cream from the bullshit," I wind up a hell of a lot better-informed than I would by limiting myself to a casual daily read of the WaPo. And that makes me a pretty lousy cheerleader.

Cheerleaders are far too dainty for such efforts.

500RickHarsch
Jan 3, 2017, 3:52am Top

9/11 was an inside job--Allende orchestrated everything.

501davidgn
Edited: Jan 3, 2017, 4:55am Top

>500 RickHarsch: Ah, but Rick: you neglect to consider that he was under the influence of Cybersyn at the time. Why, do you suppose, did they quietly dismantle Cybersyn afterwards and haul away all the evidence? Why, Rick, why?

502Tid
Jan 3, 2017, 9:50am Top

>501 davidgn:
Because of Building 7. ;) And Roswell. ;) ;) And Area 51. ;) ;) ;)

503prosfilaes
Jan 3, 2017, 8:00pm Top

>483 timspalding: See also US Federalism. Federalism and the disproportionate power of states as against their populations are an intended feature, not a bug.

But it's broken, because the Federal government has way more power than it did in the past. This is not just a fact of political decisions, but a fact of reality; when you can get from New York City to Los Angeles in under a day, in the same order of magnitude of time that you can get from Buffalo to NYC, and when most of the stuff we buy comes across national borders and then across state borders, the loyalty of citizens to their states becomes minimal, and the ability of states to regulate commerce, including the ownership of such things as guns, fireworks and alcohol, or food quality, is minimized.

Note also in 1790, Delaware had 60,000 people, and Virginia had 745,000 people. That's a factor of 12 between the smallest state and the largest state. In 2010, Wyoming had 564,000 people and California 37,253,000. That's a factor of 66.

504Tid
Jan 4, 2017, 11:11am Top

>503 prosfilaes:

" In 2010, Wyoming had 564,000 people and California 37,253,000."

Wow. So when California declares it's going to reject just about everything Trump claims to stand for, that really means something.

505timspalding
Edited: Jan 4, 2017, 11:38am Top

Note also in 1790, Delaware had 60,000 people, and Virginia had 745,000 people. That's a factor of 12 between the smallest state and the largest state. In 2010, Wyoming had 564,000 people and California 37,253,000. That's a factor of 66.

This is not a new thing, nor would it have been unexpected. In 1820 it was 25/1, in 1840 it was 31/1, in 1860 it was 71/1, in 1870 it was 103-1, and in 1890, 100 years after 1790, it was 127-1—twice as large a difference as today.

This and everything else you write is a cogent argument against the Constitution. So go campaign against the Constitution. If you like the Constitution somewhat, campaign for an amendment to reduce the power of individual states.

506prosfilaes
Jan 4, 2017, 2:14pm Top

>505 timspalding: This is not a new thing, nor would it have been unexpected.

Do you have any evidence it was expected? It may not be new, but the first date you give is after most of the signers of the Constitutional Convention had died, and 1860 was well after all of them were dead. They did not even have the first US census at hand.

So go campaign against the Constitution.

We were; we were discussing how the Electoral College needs to go. It's not an argument for the Electoral College that other problems exist or that it's written into the Constitution.

507timspalding
Jan 4, 2017, 2:58pm Top

Do you have any evidence it was expected?

It would be nice to get specific, quotable evidence. But they surely knew the differential growth rates. Between 1790 and 1800, Rhode Island, the second smallest state, had a growth rate of only 0.4%, while the three largest states racked up huge increases—17% (Virginia), 39% (Pennsylvania) and 72% (New York)! Those four and North Carolina added more citizens between 1790 and 1800 than Rhode Island had in 1800. Pennsylvania was adding another Rhode Island every 3-4 years.

508RickHarsch
Jan 4, 2017, 3:29pm Top

'RE >494 timspalding: timspalding: Too many substantiated points to argue, so two default modes available: a) flight mode, b) feckless dated mockery'

Add c) grinding monotony akin to pathologists examining sunstunned years old giant tripe with toothpicks and monocles/desert landscape, suggestion of inland salt sea origins

509prosfilaes
Jan 4, 2017, 3:40pm Top

>507 timspalding: But they surely knew the differential growth rates.

How? They didn't have even a census yet. They lived in a data-poor age, most of them had never been to Rhode Island, and even if they had been, getting an accurate judge of growth rates from eyeballing things is very hard. And some of them probably had some guess about the future--though not necessarily correct--but that doesn't mean that they as a whole were thinking about it.

510davidgn
Edited: Jan 4, 2017, 8:53pm Top

I was half-joking about blaming Assad for destroying his own capital's water supply. The stenographer corps (dateline Beirut) -- finally pressed into action after their silence grew too deafening -- wasn't. Guess I'm not cynical enough yet.

Ecce: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/usuk-paid-white-helmets-help-blocking-water...

Meanwhile, the main post on which that comment appears describes how the White Helmets are apparently signatories to what amounts to a ransom note for Damascus' water supply, demanding to be included in a ceasefire (the existing one does not include the jihadis circa Wadi Barada) in return for allowing the government access to repair the water plant. "The organizations who make an offer to lift the water blockade of Damascus obviously think they have the power to do so. They then must also be held responsible for keeping the blockade up. They must also have intimate relations with the al-Qaeda fighters who currently occupy the damaged water facilities." --b (That there's some real Right Livelihood!)

-----
In other (admittedly old) news: sometimes even a cheerleader has gotta choose between authorities:

WaPo - December 28, 2016
http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/world/2016/12/28/on-the-front-lines-of-the-figh...
At the heart of the issue is the U.S. military’s policy of sending arms to the area controlled by the main Syrian Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Units, widely known as the YPG.

The decision has paid off so far. The YPG — which constitutes the Kurdish component of the SDF — has proved to be the United States’ most effective military ally in Syria, and it has retaken vast swaths of territory.
US Embassy, Ankara - December 28, 2016
https://tr.usembassy.gov/statement-12282016/
There is considerable misinformation circulating in Turkish media concerning U.S. and Coalition operations against ISIL in Syria. For those interested in the truths, here are the truths:
...
The United States government has not provided weapons or explosives to the YPG or the PKK – period.


Pick your baldfaced liar du jour. Or, if you prefer, sit around spinning like a cat with buttered toast strapped to its back. (In extremis, for the truly committed and/or desperate, a clever dodge presents itself: "Ah! But the US didn't send arms to the YPG... they sent the arms to the area controlled by the YPG! The arms were only intended for the YPG's Arab partners in the SDF, you see!")

Speaking of which: did anyone catch that one by themselves? Actually, I didn't either. "b" did. http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/12/us-embassy-turkey-openly-lies-about-us-ypg-...
That's why I put up with "b."

ETA:
Inb4: a) {silence}, b) "Buttered-cat theories on reptilians from Atlantis!", or c) "...Federalist No. 62..."

511timspalding
Edited: Jan 5, 2017, 4:14pm Top

>59 proximity1:

Because 72% growth over a decade is massive social change! If everyone's just cramming into the old places, it means 73% more houses, or 73% more people cramming into the old houses. If they're relocating--populating western Pennsylvania, presumably--it means hearing constantly about new towns sprouting up, new churches being planted, arguments over land and water, etc. It means constant movement of people. It means that a large percentage of the citizens you know are from somewhere else.

At present no US state has had anything like this growth recently. North Dakota had about 1/3 as much growth recently, from the fracking boom, and everyone in North Dakota knew the place was booming and services weren't keeping up. People in the boom towns were paying big-city rental prices to sleep on a couch. A state like Georgia, where everyone is supposed to be moving, has a 1% yearly growth rate. For countries, only two in the world have this this kind of growth—Oman and Qatar. In both cases, they're growing because they're importing non-indigenous workers at a breakneck page, transforming their demographics in the process.

512prosfilaes
Jan 6, 2017, 1:37am Top

>511 timspalding: It means that a large percentage of the citizens you know are from somewhere else.

I barely heard anything about North Dakota, and I don't live in a time or place where news is carried on horseback. What makes you think that the people from Georgia and Massachusetts knew exactly what was happening in Pennsylvania or in Rhode Island? I think it's a long way to go from "they could have seen the signs" to "they had some clear understanding of what demographic changes were going to happen" or "they expected it".

513davidgn
Edited: Jan 7, 2017, 9:49am Top

I'll just dump a few pointers for anyone following the "Blame Russia" story.

First, Marcy Wheeler's coverage at EmptyWheel has been very good (which is to be expected -- I've been following her on and off for many years), and her work is a valuable addition to any conversation on the question. She's good at playing devil's advocate, and any reader will find something there to like -- even a cheerreader. (Try the 12/15 and 1/1 posts, for example.) Today's post on the DNI report is particularly good.
https://www.emptywheel.net/category/russian-hacks/
ETA: In particular, read this segment of her Wikipedia bio concerning Wheeler's UMich PhD dissertation topic. A very interesting piece of information I had missed (or forgotten) until today: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcy_Wheeler#Education

Second, a report from 12/29 by Robert Parry, which remains adequate as a rough proxy for my own views. https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/29/details-still-lacking-on-russian-hack/

Third, a cursory and contentious summary of today's DNI report (Wheeler's has more depth): http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/new-intelligence-report-adds-no-evidence-of... (See also comment #14 on Alperovitch, which piques my interest; I'll have to read the linked piece at some point. Comment #69 is also valuable. Likewise #85, for different reasons.)

Finally, a broadside from William Binney and Ray McGovern (as reprinted from yesterday's Baltimore Sun).
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/06/the-dubious-case-on-russian-hacking/

-----
ETA: Oh, yes: there was also that Assange interview. Transcript: http://www.foxnews.com/transcript/2017/01/03/julian-assange-our-source-is-not-ru...
-----
ETA: As a final addition: a bit tangential, but I recently stumbled upon this piece from John Pilger out last August. Until I did so, I hadn't even heard the news that Slobodan Milošević was posthumously exonerated of genocide by the ICTY earlier this year (which is apparently what I get for not having paid close enough attention to the alternative media that week; barely a peep about it out of the real news). Pilger's piece proceeds from the implications of that acquittal to more timely matters of U.S. politics and Syria.

----
ETA: And a day later...
Survey sez:
Intelligence Report On Russian Election Influence Is A Flop
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/intelligence-report-on-russian-election-inf...
Parry has a new piece, too:
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/07/us-report-still-lacks-proof-on-russia-hack/

Clearly we have a case of...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypmI-heWqF8

514davidgn
Edited: Jan 8, 2017, 6:15am Top

The usual suspects are at it again. Here's non-real journalist Gareth Porter writing for Truthdig (another proud member of the Index Nuntiorum Prohibitorum -- don't forget to get your plugin!) on that little oopsie at Deir Ezzor last September, when the US and allies "accidentally" bombed the Syrian army's long-term entrenched positions, allowing ISIS subsequently to overrun those positions. (I mean, hey, shit happens, right?)

Inquiry Points Toward a Pentagon Plot to Subvert Obama’s Syria Policy
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/report_points_to_a_pentagon_plot_to_subvert_...

Airstrikes by the United States and its allies against two Syrian army positions Sept. 17 killed at least 62 Syrian troops and wounded dozens more. The attack was quickly treated as a non-story by the U.S. news media; U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) claimed the strikes were carried out in the mistaken belief that Islamic State forces were being targeted, and the story disappeared.

The circumstances surrounding the attack, however, suggested it may have been deliberate, its purpose being to sabotage President Obama’s policy of coordinating with Russia against Islamic State and Nusra Front forces in Syria as part of a U.S.-Russian cease-fire agreement.

Normally the U.S. military can cover up illegal operations and mistakes with a pro forma military investigation that publicly clears those responsible. But the air attack on Syrian troops also involved three foreign allies in the anti-Islamic State campaign named Operation Inherent Resolve: the United Kingdom, Denmark and Australia. So, the Pentagon had to agree to bring a general from one of those allies into the investigation as a co-author of the report. Consequently, the summary of the investigation released by CENTCOM on Nov. 29 reveals far more than the Pentagon and CENTCOM brass would have desired.

Thanks to that heavily redacted report, we now have detailed evidence that the commander of CENTCOM’s Air Force component attacked the Syrian army deliberately.
...
The report contains the incriminating revelation that the authorities at CAOC had plenty of intelligence warning that its identification was flat wrong. Before the strike, the regional station of the Air Force’s Distributed Common Ground System, which is the Air Force’s primary intelligence organ for interpreting data from aerial surveillance, contested the original identification of the units, sending its own assessment that they could not possibly be Islamic State.

Another prestrike intelligence report, moreover, pointed to what appeared to be a flag at one of the two sites. And a map of the area that was available to intelligence analysts at CAOC clearly showed that the sites in question were occupied by the Syrian army. Harrigan and his command apparently claimed, implausibly, that they were unaware of any of this information.

Further evidence that Harrigan meant to strike Syrian army targets was the haste with which the strike was carried out, the day after the initial intelligence assessment was made. The investigation summary acknowledges that the decision to go ahead with a strike so soon after the target had been initially assessed was a violation of Air Force regulations.
...
The Deir Ezzor strike appears to have been timed to provoke a breakdown of the cease-fire before the JIC (i.e. the planned structure for cooperation with Russia in targeting ISIS--davidgn) could be formed, which was originally to be after seven days of effective truce — meaning Sept. 19. Obama added a requirement for the completion of humanitarian shipments from the Turkish border, but the opponents of the JIC could not count on the Syrian government continuing to hold up the truck convoys. That meant that Harrigan would need to move urgently to carry out the strike.

Perhaps the single most damaging piece of evidence that the strike was knowingly targeting Syrian army bases is the fact that Harrigan’s command sent the Russians very specific misleading information on the targets of the operation. It informed its Russian contact under the deconfliction agreement that the two targets were nine kilometers south of Deir Ezzor airfield, but in fact they were only three and six kilometers away, respectively, according to the summary. Accurate information about the locations would have set off alarm bells among the Russians, because they would have known immediately that Syrian army bases were being targeted, as the U.S. co-author of the investigation report, Gen. Richard Coe, acknowledged to reporters.
...
Gen. Harrigan’s strike worked like a charm in terms of the interests of those behind it. The hope of provoking a Syrian-Russian decision to end the cease-fire and thus the plan for the JIC was apparently based on the assumption that it would be perceived by both Russians and Syrians as evidence that Obama was not in control of U.S. policy and therefore could not be trusted as a partner in managing the conflict. That assumption proved correct. When Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, spoke to reporters at a press briefing outside a U.N. Security Council emergency meeting on the U.S. attack on Syrian troops, he asked rhetorically, “Who is in charge in Washington? The White House or the Pentagon?”
...


In retrospect, "b" seems to have done a pretty good job, wouldn't you say?
cf.:
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/09/us-launches-open-war-on-syrian-government-f...
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/09/us-allies-volunteer-to-share-blame-for-deir...
more speculatively,
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/09/deir-ezzor-attack-enables-the-salafist-prin...
and more recently,
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/12/how-the-military-excluded-the-us-from-inter...
....Four days after the investigation report was officially released the Danish government, without giving any public reason, pulled back its air contingent from any further operations under U.S. command in Iraq and Syria....
(Just to note, I previously shared at least some of the above links in the Turkey thread).

But of course, many of these details tally with Russian propaganda (and, even worse, with Stephen F. Cohen's contemporaneous assessment, as I shared in the Turkey thread). Naturally, then, all this must be some sort of Russian trickery -- otherwise the WaPo and NYT would have told us all about it! (Please, someone, 'Merkinsplain this all away for me!)

Oh, yeah: see the update to the last post, too.

515davidgn
Edited: Jan 11, 2017, 9:01pm Top

Truly remarkable.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/01/hitler-diaries-mark-ii-hope-changed-mattress/
(I'll note, pro forma, that there's some question as to whether the good Ambassador is neglecting to consider the implications of Schengen with respect to the hypothetical contents of Michael Cohen's passport in his update at the top).
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/the-deep-state-versus-donald-trump-new-smea...

So, this is the twaddle David Corn was going on about back in October. (Wait... golden showers are blackmail material now? 8-O
Or is that only when Russian prostitutes are hypothetically involved?) Couldn't they have come up with something more plausible, like "the Russians caught Trump on camera schtupping a 14-year-old"? These guys need to hire some better writers.

Of course, if the rumored attribution of the golden shower detail to 4chan turns out to have any validity, I'll nonetheless be compelled to doff my hat: "Well-trolled, 4chan, well-trolled." Truly, I'm hard-pressed to say which story is more far-fetched.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/10/4chan-claims-they-invented-the-...
"Weak stream" indeed.

ETA:
"On Wednesday, a US government source told CNN's Jake Tapper that a different Michael Cohen, not Trump's lawyer, was in Prague in August and September 2016."
Ah. Well, that explains everything... wait, what?!
http://www.businessinsider.com/michael-cohen-trump-2017-1

516davidgn
Edited: Jan 12, 2017, 11:20am Top

Greenwald.
https://theintercept.com/2017/01/11/the-deep-state-goes-to-war-with-president-elect-using-unverified-claims-as-dems-cheer/
....The serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest. There are a wide array of legitimate and effective tactics for combatting those threats: from bipartisan congressional coalitions and constitutional legal challenges to citizen uprisings and sustained and aggressive civil disobedience. All of those strategies have periodically proven themselves effective in times of political crisis or authoritarian overreach.

But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind. Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth — despite emanating from the very precincts designed to propagandize and lie — is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality. And casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.

Beyond all that, there is no bigger favor that Trump opponents can do for him than attacking him with such lowly, shabby, obvious shams, recruiting large media outlets to lead the way. When it comes time to expose actual Trump corruption and criminality, who is going to believe the people and institutions who have demonstrated they are willing to endorse any assertions no matter how factually baseless, who deploy any journalistic tactic no matter how unreliable and removed from basic means of ensuring accuracy?

All of these toxic ingredients were on full display yesterday as the Deep State unleashed its tawdriest and most aggressive assault yet on Trump: vesting credibility in and then causing the public disclosure of a completely unvetted and unverified document, compiled by a paid, anonymous operative while he was working for both GOP and Democratic opponents of Trump, accusing Trump of a wide range of crimes, corrupt acts and salacious private conduct. The reaction to all of this illustrates that while the Trump presidency poses grave dangers, so, too, do those who are increasingly unhinged in their flailing, slapdash, and destructive attempts to undermine it.
....


Meanwhile, Marcy Wheeler (bless her heart) has refused to pass prima facie judgment and commenced one of her deep dives into the document, beginning by breaking out all of the putative sources.
https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/01/11/the-democrats-newfound-love-for-russian-intelligence-product/

ETA A bit late but not to be missed: a response to the DNI report and the NYT's misleading reporting on it. This from Abby Martin, whom I've followed with interest for a good decade now (long before she gained notoriety), and who famously used the show she hosted on RT ca. 2014 to denounce Russia's annexation of Crimea -- a gutsy stance that only increased my respect for her. Abby subsequently continued to host that show for another year. To hear the NYT tell it, though, that's not what happened at all...
http://mediaroots.org/abby-martin-responds-to-exploitation-by-ny-times/

517margd
Edited: Jan 13, 2017, 11:04am Top

Justice Department inspector general to investigate pre-election actions by department and FBI:

The Justice Department inspector general will review broad allegations of misconduct involving FBI Director James B. Comey and how he handled the probe of Hillary Clinton’s email practices, the inspector general announced Thursday.

The investigation will be wide-ranging, encompassing Comey’s various letters and public statements on the matter and whether FBI or other Justice Department employees leaked nonpublic information, according to Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.

The inspector general’s announcement drew praise from those on both sides of the political aisle and again put a spotlight on Comey, who emerged as a controversial figure during the 2016 race. Democrats, including Clinton, have blamed the FBI director for the Democratic candidate’s loss, arguing that the renewed email inquiry and Comey’s public missives on the eve of the election blunted her momentum.

...Comey has notably declined to talk about any possible investigations of Trump or his campaign, as recently as this week rebuffing requests from legislators to confirm that agents were looking into any such matters.

“I don’t — especially in a public forum, we never confirm or deny a pending investigation,” Comey said this week....

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/01/12/justice-department-inspector-general-to-investigate-pre-election-actions-by-department-and-fbi/?utm_term=.c6bcfef2a7f0

ETA: How Trump could kill Comey investigation.
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-trump-could-kill-the-investigation-o...

518davidgn
Edited: Jan 14, 2017, 11:22am Top

>517 margd: Good. I would have expected no less.

And to some of your previous posts, which I did not miss but neglected to acknowledge:

>396 margd: Every intelligence service worth its salt is always hacking -- especially ours. This becomes a public issue primarily when it's politically convenient to make it a public issue. cf. http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/the-enemy-du-jour-is-always-hacking-.html

>403 margd: but doesn't sound like he can cozy up to Russia without abandoning the Sunni/Saudis? You may be right. On the other hand, it's also become increasingly difficult to ignore that Saudi power is quite fragile -- and King Salman hasn't even kicked the bucket yet! Meanwhile, Turkey seems to be preoccupied with attempting to play the US/NATO and Russia off of one another for its own broadly neo-Ottoman objectives, and at the end of the day, it seems to me the GCC statelets are really only good at making loud noises (often at one another) and throwing their money around (often in unpalatable directions). There don't seem to be a lot of good policy options, but present arrangements seem unlikely to hold up for much longer in their current form no matter what is done. What remains to be seen is whether the US will meet the approaching crises predominantly through skillful diplomatic juggling and dissembling, decisive policy shifts, or some form of open warfare. (Also to be seen, I suppose, is which national interests will primarily drive US responses: the US's own long-term interests, or those of the nominal allies that over-represent themselves among its cadre of lobbyists and bankroll its think tanks).

ETA: I don't claim to have any answers (boy, am I glad this isn't my job!), but I do think that particularly in circumstances like the present, where everything's on the verge of coming unglued anyhow, it's worth reevaluating the sclerosed conventional wisdom of the last 40 years or so and at least listening to some heretical voices. For instance: http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-myth-sunni-power-5076
Or: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/09/spy-who-loved-hamas-and-hezbollah-an... (ETA more intelligently profiled: https://www.ft.com/content/99339144-d53f-11dd-b967-000077b07658)
Right or wrong, I'm glad that back-channels like Crooke's exist. I suppose that makes me a nasty little Russo-Iranian 5th columnist, though. After all, who am I to question bedrock clandestine relationships that date at least all the way back to the Safari Club? viz.:
...
In a 2002 speech at Georgetown University, Prince Turki of the Saudi Arabian intelligence service described the situation like so:
In 1976, after the Watergate matters took place here, your intelligence community was literally tied up by Congress. It could not do anything. It could not send spies, it could not write reports, and it could not pay money. In order to compensate for that, a group of countries got together in the hope of fighting Communism and established what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Iran. The principal aim of this club was that we would share information with each other and help each other in countering Soviet influence worldwide, and especially in Africa....


ETA: Hate Crooke if you must -- but be sure to read him, too. You can't help but be stimulated somehow or other (even if that involves a lot of swearing and raging, as it no doubt will for some).
A sampling (2011-2016):
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/04/syria-iran-great-game
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/16/red-lines-syria-have-not-been-crossed
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/29/syria-brink-of-solution
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/how-isis-is-using-us_b_5877570.htm...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/america-iran-saudi-war_b_7001776.h...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/syria-iraq-fractured_b_7471540.htm...
https://consortiumnews.com/2015/11/17/lost-on-the-dark-side-in-syria/
https://consortiumnews.com/2016/05/09/americas-two-faced-policy-on-iran/
https://consortiumnews.com/2016/09/29/how-the-us-armed-up-syrian-jihadists/
(ETA: Note the progression of venues. Does that say more about Crooke or about -- in particular -- the Guardian?)

519margd
Edited: Jan 14, 2017, 11:22am Top

Giuliani, part of Trump campaign team, colluded with FBI on Comey letter, etc.?

...By September, information to the FBI began to grow in volume: Mr Steele compiled a set of his memos into one document and passed it to his contacts at the FBI. But there seemed to be little progress in a proper inquiry into Mr Trump. The Bureau, instead, seemed to be devoting their resources in the pursuit of Hillary Clinton’s email transgressions.

The New York office, in particular, appeared to be on a crusade against Ms Clinton. Some of its agents had a long working relationship with Rudy Giuliani, by then a member of the Trump campaign, since his days as public prosecutor and then Mayor of the city.

As the election approached, FBI director James Comey made public his bombshell letter saying that Ms Clinton would face another email investigation. Two days before that Mr Giuliani, then a part of the Trump team, talked about “a surprise or two you’re going to hear about in the next few days. We’ve got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn things around”.

...After the letter was published Mr Giuliani claimed he had heard from current and former agents that “there’s a kind of revolution going on inside the FBI” over the original decision not to charge Ms Clinton and that Mr Comey had been forced by some of his agents to announce the reinvestigation. Democrats demanded an investigation into how Mr Giuliani acquired this knowledge without getting an answer...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-russia-dossier-fil...

520davidgn
Edited: Jan 14, 2017, 3:18pm Top

>519 margd: So, who penetrated and subverted the FBI? In all fairness, this piece reads like MI6 being good sports.

ETA: As for the notion of a (counter?)-revolution via the FBI, that was a major meme in the alt-right during the campaign. The relevant ur-text came from a psyops shop on two legs that goes by the name of Steve Pieczenik (whom Rudy Giuliani was happy to echo).
http://regated.com/2016/11/u-s-intelligence-community-waging-coup-corrupt-clinto... -- see the videos.
The Breitbart brigade ate it up.

Which is not to say that there could not be any kernel of truth whatsoever to such a notion. Still, it's worth being circumspect when making claims along such lines.

ETA: Marcy Wheeler continues her examination of the dossier:
https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/01/12/how-did-the-ic-allegedly-remain-unaware-of-a-dossier-widely-shopping-in-dc/
https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/01/13/the-released-dossier-is-not-the-complete-dossier/
and
https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/01/14/the-dossier-alleges-dnc-insiders-were-involved-in-hack/
I still have questions about the provenance of the Trump dossier, particularly with respect to how we’ve received it. While this article (i.e., the one cited in >519 margd:) has been touted as answering a lot of questions, it actually creates new ones (plus, it would seem to violate the D Notice that formally prohibits talking about Christopher Steele and his role). (See second sentence of this post --davidgn)

But I did want to point to a passage in the dossier that seems critically important, if it can be deemed true. (Note, Cannonfire has an OCRed version of the dossier here.) According to a July report from Steele, there were DNC insiders involved in the operation.
....
The claim there were “moles” within the DNC would be perfectly consistent with something Julian Assange has long claimed: that he got the documents from a disgruntled DNC insider.

ETA: To spell out implications that should be obvious: the unspoken suggestion is that from Assange's perspective, it would be difficult or impossible to distinguish between a bona fide disgruntled DNC insider and a foreign-controlled mole inside the DNC. The fact that the dossier covers this base at all backhandedly reinforces the notion that the provenance of the documents received by Assange was via a leak by an insider, rather than via a hack by an outsider. And naturally, the dossier is at pains to suggest that any such insider must in fact have been a mole.

521davidgn
Edited: Jan 15, 2017, 11:33pm Top

Wheeler is out today with an essay attacking the concept of "fake news." This one is universally relevant and deserves to be read by all -- particularly by those among us who have tasked themselves with defending free speech. (Paging timspalding ...)

https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/01/15/on-fake-news/

....Most people who use the term “fake news” seem to be fetishizing something they call “news.” By that, they usually mean the pursuit of “the truth” within an editor-and-reporter system of “professional” news reporting. Even in 2017, they treat that term “news” as if it escapes all biases, with some still endorsing the idea that “objectivity” is the best route to “truth,” even in spite of the way “objectivity” has increasingly imposed a kind of both-sides false equivalence that the right has used to move the Overton window in recent years.

I’ve got news (heh) for you America. What we call “news” is one temporally and geographically contingent genre of what gets packaged as “news.” Much of the world doesn’t produce the kind of news we do, and for good parts of our own history, we didn’t either. Objectivity was invented as a marketing ploy. It is true that during a period of elite consensus, news that we treated as objective succeeded in creating a unifying national narrative of what most white people believed to be true, and that narrative was tremendously valuable to ensure the working of our democracy. But even there, “objectivity” had a way of enforcing centrism. It excluded most women and people of color and often excluded working class people. It excluded the “truth” of what the US did overseas. It thrived in a world of limited broadcast news outlets. In that sense, the golden age of objective news depended on a great deal of limits to the marketplace of ideas, largely chosen by the gatekeeping function of white male elitism.

And, probably starting at the moment Walter Cronkite figured out the Vietnam War was a big myth, that elite narrative started developing cracks.

....(A)t a time of crisis in the financial model of the “news,” the press catastrophically blew the Iraq War, and did so at a time when people like me were able to write “news” outside of the strictures of the reporter-and-editor arrangement.

I actually think, in an earlier era, the government would have been able to get away with its Iraq War lies, because there wouldn’t be outlets documenting the errors, and there wouldn’t have been ready alternatives to a model that proved susceptible to manipulation. There might eventually have been a Cronkite moment in the Iraq War, too, but it would have been about the conduct of the war, not also about the gaming of the “news” process to create the war. But because there was competition, we saw the Iraq War as a journalistic failure when we didn’t see earlier journalistic complicity in American foreign policy as such.
...
More importantly, the “center” of our national — indeed, global — discourse shifted from elite reporter-and-editor newspapers to social media, and various companies — almost entirely American — came to occupy dominant positions in that economy. That comes with the good and the bad. It permits the formulation of broader networks; it permits crisis on the other side of the globe to become news over here, in some but not all spaces, it permits women and people of color to engage on an equal footing with people previously deemed the elite (though very urgent digital divide issues still leave billions outside this discussion). It allows our spooks to access information that Russia needs to hack to get with a few clicks of a button. It also means the former elite narrative has to compete with other bubbles, most of which are not healthy and many of which are downright destructive. It fosters abuse.

But the really important thing is that the elite reporter-and-editor oligopoly was replaced with a marketplace driven by a perverse marriage of our human psychology and data manipulation (and often, secret algorithms). Even assuming net neutrality, most existing discourse exists in that marketplace. That reality has negative effects on everything, from financially strapped reporter-and-editor outlets increasingly chasing clicks to Macedonian teenagers inventing stories to make money to attention spans that no longer get trained for long reads and critical thinking.

The other thing to remember about this historical narrative is that there have always been stories pretending to present the real world that were not in fact the real world. Always. Always always always. Indeed, there are academic arguments that our concept of “fiction” actually arises out of a necessary legal classification for what gets published in the newspaper. “Facts” were insults of the king you could go to prison for. “Fiction” was stories about kings that weren’t true and therefore wouldn’t get you prison time (obviously, really authoritarian regimes don’t honor this distinction, which is an important lesson in their contingency). I have been told that fact/fiction moment didn’t happen in all countries, and it happened at different times in different countries (roughly tied, in my opinion, to the moment when the government had to sustain legitimacy via the press).

But even after that fact/fiction moment, you would always see factual stories intermingling with stuff so sensational that we would never regard it as true. But such sensational not-true stories definitely helped to sell newspapers. Most people don’t know this because we generally learn a story via which our fetishized objective news is the end result of a process of earlier news, but news outlets — at least in the absence of heavy state censorship — have always been very heterogeneous.

As many of you know, a big part of my dissertation covered actual fiction in newspapers. The Count of Monte-Cristo, for example, was published in France’s then equivalent of the WSJ. It wasn’t the only story about an all powerful figure with ties to Napoleon Bonaparte that delivered justice that appeared in newspapers of the day. Every newspaper offered competing versions, and those sold newspapers at a moment of increasing industrialization of the press in France. But even at a time when the “news” section of the newspaper presented largely curations of parliamentary debates, everything else ran the gamut from “fiction,” to sensational stuff (often reporting on technology or colonies), to columns to advertisements pretending to be news.
....
So to sum up this part of my argument: First, the history of journalism is about the history of certain market conditions, conditions which always get at least influenced by the state, but which in so-called capitalist countries also tend to produce bottle necks of power. In the 50s, it was the elite. Now it’s Silicon Valley. And that’s true not just here! The bottle-neck of power for much of the world is Silicon Valley. To understand what dictates the kinds of stories you get from a particular media environment, you need to understand where the bottle-necks are. Today’s bottle-neck has created both what people like to call “fake news” and a whole bunch of other toxins.

But also, there has never been a time in media where not-true stories didn’t comingle with true stories, and at many times in history the lines between them were not clear to many consumers. Plus, not-true stories, of a variety of types, can often have a more powerful influence than true ones (think about how much our national security state likes series like 24). Humans are wired for narrative, not for true or false narrative.

Which brings us to what some people are calling “fake news” — as if both “fake” and “news” aren’t just contingent terms across the span of media — and insisting it has never existed before. These people suggest the advent of deliberately false narratives, produced both by partisans, entrepreneurs gaming ad networks, as well as state actors trying to influence our politics, narratives that feed on human proclivity for sensationalism (though stories from this year showed Trump supporters had more of this than Hillary supporters) served via the Internet, are a new and unique threat, and possibly the biggest threat in our media environment right now.

Let me make clear: I do think it’s a threat, especially in an era where local trusted news is largely defunct. I think it is especially concerning because powers of the far right are using it to great effect. But I think pretending this is a unique moment in history — aside from the characteristics of the marketplace — obscures the areas (aside from funding basic education and otherwise fostering critical thinking) that can most effectively combat it. I especially encourage doing what we can to disrupt the bottle-neck — one that happens to be in Silicon Valley — that plays on human nature. Google, Facebook, and Germany have all taken initial steps which may limit the toxins that get spread via a very American bottle-neck.

I’m actually more worried about the manipulation of which stories get fed by big data. Trump claims to have used it to drive town turnout; and the first he worked with is part of a larger information management company. The far right is probably achieving more with these tailored messages than Vladimir Putin is with his paid trolls.

The thing is: the antidote to both of these problems are to fix the bottle-neck.
....
Two final points.

First, underlying most of this argument is an argument about what happens when you subject the telling of true stories to certain conditions of capitalism. There is often a tension in this process, as capitalism may make “news” (and therefore full participation in democracy) available to more people, but to popularize that news, businesses do things that taint the elite’s idealized notion of what true story telling in a democracy should be. Furthermore, at no moment in history I’m aware of has there been a true “open” market for news. It is always limited by the scarcity of outlets and bandwidth, by laws, by media ownership patterns, and by the historically contingent bottle-necks that dictate what kind of news may be delivered most profitably. One reason I loathe the term “fake news” is because its users think the answer lies in non-elite consumers or in producers and not in the marketplace itself, a marketplace created in and largely still benefitting the US. If “fake news” is a problem, then it’s a condemnation of the marketplace of ideas largely created by the US and elites in the US need to attend to that.

Finally, one reason there is such a panic about “fake news” is because the western ideology of neoliberalism has failed. It has led to increased authoritarianism, decreased qualify of life in developed countries (but not parts of Africa and other developing nations), and it has led to serial destabilizing wars along with the refugee crises that further destabilize Europe. It has failed in the same way that communism failed before it, but the elites backing it haven’t figured this out yet. I’ll write more on this (Ian Walsh has been doing good work here). All details of the media environment aside, this has disrupted the value-laden system in which “truth” exists, creating a great deal of panic and confusion among the elite that expects itself to lead the way out of this morass. Part of what we’re seeing in “fake news” panic stems from that, as well as a continued disinterest in accountability for the underlying policies — the Iraq War and the Wall Street crash and aftermath especially — enabled by failures in our elite media environment. But our media environment is likely to be contested until such time as a viable ideology forms to replace failed neoliberalism. Sadly, that ideology will be Trumpism unless the elite starts making the world a better place for average folks. Instead, the elite is policing discourse-making by claiming other things — the bad true and false narratives it, itself, doesn’t propagate — as illegitimate. (emphasis mine --davidgn)

“Fake news” is a problem. But it is a minor problem compared to our other discursive problems.

--------------------------------------------------​--------------------------------------------------​

522lriley
Jan 15, 2017, 9:37pm Top

#521--that pretty much hammers home how I feel about the news that's spoonfed to the American masses on a daily basis by corporately controlled media. It's like a lot of people have televisions where their heads are supposed to be. All this bullshit about fake news when the news before the recent fake news meme was almost always nothing but bullshit based off of carefully manipulated facts or outright lies. If the thought is to regain even an iota of credibility by pointing out the lies of others it's not working for me.

523davidgn
Edited: Jan 17, 2017, 1:31pm Top

In the interest (among others) of eating my own dog food, I've been doing some further reading of Alastair Crooke's old columns, and I've got to say, they're putting a lot of missing pieces into place. I truly wish I'd been aware of them at the time they came out. For instance, anyone looking to gain some contextual understanding of Islamic State and how it fits into the political and cultural history of the region absolutely needs to read these four:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/iraq-isis-alqaeda_b_5542575.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-wahhabism-saudi-arabia_b_5717...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-aim-saudi-arabia_b_5748744.ht...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/obama-isis-not-islamic_b_5843830.h...

It's been clear to me for some time that US/UK foreign policy in the Middle East has been massively influenced by the Saudis; after reading the middle two pieces above, though, I now have a better historical grasp of why that is (beyond oil reserves and the petrodollar --ETA And, of course, later covert entanglements branching from the Safari Club, as noted above). Anyone (besides a native of the Middle East or an Arabist) who can come away from reading those without a markedly altered and deepened understanding of the cultural phenomena in play needs to give themselves a hand. (And yes, that's a poorly-disguised challenge).

ETA: Here's another gem.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-a-cognitive-systemic_b_597748...

524davidgn
Edited: Jan 17, 2017, 1:41pm Top

Meanwhile, in current events: Deir Ezzor is now in the process of falling to ISIS.
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/how-the-us-enabled-isis-to-take-deir-ezzor....
The city of Deir Ezzor (Deir ez-Zur) in east-Syria is on the verge of falling into the hands of the Takfiris of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). More than 100,000 civilian inhabitants of Deir Ezzor and thousands of soldiers defending them are in immediate danger of being murdered by the savage ISIS forces. The current situation is a direct consequence of U.S. military action against the SAA and non-action against ISIS.
...
The U.S. has condoned and/or even actively supported the imminent ISIS taking of Deir Ezzor by (at least) three measures:
  • a massive U.S. air attack on SAA forces in September 2016 enabled ISIS to take a controlling position and to cut off SAA resupplies
  • a U.S. attack against a power station in January disabled the last electricity supplies to the city
  • U.S. non-intervention enabled ISIS reinforcements from Mosul and west Iraq to Deir Ezzor in east-Syria
...
Who will mourn for Deir Ezzor? Clearly the NYT/WaPo/WSJ axis (and all American broadcast networks) would rather not think about it. See for yourself. VOA is the only major American outlet that couldn't wangle out of covering it, apart from a couple of column-inches in the HuffPo via Reuters. https://news.google.com/news/story?cf=all&hl=en&pz=1&ned=us&q=deir+ezzor&cf=all&ncl=dMj0x38XiGx7dnMobo8FWXt068rbM&scoring=n

Brit coverage is sparse, but at least it exists. Most notably: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/17/islamic-state-deir-ez-zor-syria-world-food-programme

525timspalding
Jan 17, 2017, 1:39pm Top

The U.S. has condoned and/or even actively supported the imminent ISIS taking of Deir Ezzor

There is a very loud amusement park right in front of my present lodgings.

526davidgn
Edited: Jan 17, 2017, 4:51pm Top

>525 timspalding: It's a provocative statement. But if you look at actions rather than rhetoric, it's a supportable interpretation.

The underlying logic would be as covered here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/syria-iraq-fractured_b_7471540.htm... (ETA please note and ignore what I imagine to be a spurious editorial interpolation in the 11th paragraph conflating the Lebanese Tripoli in question with the city of the same name in Libya)
And the offending author's working speculations as to ground strategy were laid out here: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/09/deir-ezzor-attack-enables-the-salafist-prin...
(Further material highlighting alternate but not inconsistent motivations for the September attack was presented in >514 davidgn:)
If you're looking for something to refute, there you go.

ETA: I'll also quote the conclusion to "b"'s post from today, which mentions the other significant piece of Brit coverage:
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/how-the-us-enabled-isis-to-take-deir-ezzor....
...
When the Syrian government besieged al-Qaeda forces in east-Aleppo the "western" media and the various "Syrian opposition" propaganda outlets were running an all out campaign in support of the besieged Takfiris. There is no such campaign in support of the civilians and soldiers in Deir Ezzor. In their few reports about the imminent fall of Deir Ezzor "western" publications even resort to outright lying. Thus claims the Daily Telegraph:
The US-led coalition, as well as the Russians, have been bombing the jihadists in Deir Ezzor for the last 18 months but have been unable to dislodge them.
No significant U.S. air attacks have been flown against ISIS forces around Deir Ezzor at all. All attacks flown by the U.S. in the area have been against Syrian government troops or their supporting infrastructure.

The U.S. official rhetoric about fighting ISIS is not supported by observable facts on the battle field. One can only conclude that the U.S. military does not only condone but supports ISIS in gaining control over Deir Ezzor despite the extreme high risk for anyone left in the city.

This likely to further the larger long term plan of installing a "Salafist principality" in western Iraq and eastern Syria that creates a justification for the U.S. military to stay in the area to "fight ISIS" and which can be activated against the Syrian and Iraqi government whenever convenient. U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have both admitted that they earlier allowed ISIS to grow in Iraq and Syria for exactly such political purposes.
And here are the relevant quotes from the "admitted" link:
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/isis-al-qaeda-and-the-us-airforce-wage-war-...
....In an August 2014 NYT interview with Thomas Friedman President Obama said that the U.S. knew about the dangers of ISIS but did nothing to stop its expansion in Iraq because it could be used to oust then Prime Minister Maliki:
The reason, the president added, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.
In a recent talk with some U.S. paid members of the Syrian opposition Secretary of State Kerry (video - 25:50) made a similar point but with regard to Syria:
"And we know that this was growing, we were watching, we saw that DAESH was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened" Kerry told the Syrians. "(We) thought, however," he continued. "we could probably manage that Assad might then negotiate. But instead of negotiating he got Putin to support him."


One of "b"'s clear biases is that he believes the US's regional allies are fundamentally under US control. e.g.:
There are doubts that the U.S. was only watching from afar. The beginning and growth of ISIS was financed by U.S. Gulf "allies" which are subordinated to U.S. wishes. When the Obama administration had to start bombing ISIS after it killed a U.S. journalist the few bombs its airforce dropped were hitting an "ISIS fighting position" or an "ISIS excavator". That wasn't a serious campaign. Meanwhile thousands of Turkish tanker trucks were waiting in the deserts to load oil from ISIS controlled wells to sell it to Turkey. Only after the Russian President Putin showed satellite pictures of those huge truck columns to his colleagues at a G20 meeting did the U.S. start to attack this major source of ISIS finances. (emphasis mine --davidgn)
I, on the other hand, have become increasingly uncertain that the tail(s) aren't wagging the dog here. Of course, I'm not sure that's a much more palatable position for a patriotic American to have to take...

527Tid
Jan 17, 2017, 2:48pm Top

>523 davidgn:

Much food for thought there - thanks for that. One thing you can bet your life on : Donald Trump will not even have the breath of the beginnings of a grasp on any of that, nor will he care.

528davidgn
Edited: Jan 17, 2017, 4:28pm Top

>527 Tid: Thanks, and you're welcome.

On your point about Trump, I can hardly disagree. It seems clear enough that whatever Trump does -- good or bad, right or wrong -- is going to be done for the wrong reasons.

529davidgn
Edited: Jan 18, 2017, 8:50pm Top

Responding to Tim's post elsewhere:

I would never blame "the Jews" any more than I would blame "the Muslims" or "the Christians." As for certain Likudnik thinktanks that Tim may have in mind, there's no need to make any accusations as to where they stand. One need merely read their public reports. http://www.salon.com/2016/08/23/israeli-think-tank-dont-destroy-isis-its-a-usefu...
One should, of course, keep in mind that such assessments (influential as they may be) are merely unofficial opinions of ISIS's strategic utility issuing from one strain of Israeli political sentiment, and don't imply direct material support.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton herself has stated in an official email (as released by Wikileaks, and cited in >487 davidgn:) that the US-allied Saudi Arabia and Qatari governments were, in fact, covertly providing ISIS with direct financial support at least as of 2014 (notwithstanding their concomitant, overt provision of aircraft for missions ostensibly dedicated to combating it).

In this context, I attempted to highlight a fairly clear case study of the US saying one thing and doing another in the vicinity of Deir Ezzor, with the result that Deir Ezzor is now on the verge of falling to ISIS. I did not mention the obvious fact that the US has simultaneously been acting in a manner better according with its rhetoric in supporting the fight against ISIS elsewhere (e.g. in the advances on Mosul and Raqqa). I further alluded to speculation that such apparent incongruities and contradictions might be explained as the result of some sort of modus vivendi worked out between the US and its regional allies who have, in fact, been covertly supporting ISIS. And I cited one proponent of such an interpretation who assigns responsibility to the US (not entirely unreasonably) for the behavior of its allies and (quite reasonably) for its own incongruous behavior.

Given the preceding, Tim's characterization of my position is half-true.

530davidgn
Edited: Jan 17, 2017, 10:21pm Top

Essential interview out today:

Bacevich and Mearsheimer on Obama's Legacy
http://lobelog.com/bacevich-and-mearsheimer-on-obamas-legacy/

No comment necessary.

531davidgn
Edited: Jan 18, 2017, 9:39pm Top

While acknowledging the regrettable and unavoidable circumstance that our kind host must view every word I publish here as a sad testament to the transformation of his website into a propaganda outlet of some ill-defined enemy, it is out of consideration for my fellow circle-jerkers that I nonetheless proceed by calling attention to yesterday's Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity memo, which will undoubtedly be that organization's final open letter to President Obama.
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/17/a-demand-for-russian-hacking-proof/
(As signed by 23 distinguished wrongheaded and traitorous veterans of this country's intelligence and diplomatic communities).

Meanwhile, because the story needs to be told, I take the risk of presenting the work of some Swedish special forces veteran I've never heard of, writing in a venue I've never heard of, who has had the sheer unmitigated gall to report on the last-ditch defense of Deir Ezzor against Da'esh, ongoing these last several days. I do this because, frankly, I don't have a lot of options: the US media (still) can't be arsed to spare a page of print or a moment of airtime for the story. After all, if the 100,000+ civilians trapped in that city haven't left by now, they must be a bunch of goddamned Assadists anyhow, so it serves them right that we "accidentally" bombed (>514 davidgn:) the entrenched positions defending their city, allowing Da'esh to overrun them and subsequently threaten, in this latest offensive, to overrun the city itself. It's not as though either the Washington Post or New York Times has deigned to perform its magisterial function of imbuing their plight with moral significance, so realistically speaking, why would any right-thinking person care?
http://www.limacharlienews.com/mena/isis-battle-at-deir-ezzor-syria/

532Tid
Jan 19, 2017, 4:41am Top

>531 davidgn:

I'm finding it difficult to understand why NATO doesn't either overtly or covertly support Syria and Russia against the ISIS attack on Deir Ezzor? Is it simply (ha!) and purely because of the fragile nature of their relationship with Saudi Arabia who itself is divided on whether to maintain valuable diplomatic links with the West while at the same time quietly support its fellow Wahabbists: ISIS?

//I keep getting told this is a duplicate post even though it hasn't appeared, so I'm adding this footnote in the hope it is at last recognised as a 'non duplicate post'//

533timspalding
Jan 19, 2017, 6:06am Top

>523 davidgn:

So, at a glance, it would seem that the US doesn't want to start bombing into a battle which already has heavy commitment by the Syrian and the Russia military (see the Wikipedia page for a list of all various units involved). In other such situations, the US has had local allies, and indeed special forces, calling in airstrikes, not to mention keeping close track of where non-ISIS forces are, so they don't bomb them. We don't have any of that here, and, and as we are against the Syrian government, we're unlikely to get it. None of our allies are actually engaged in this fight. We can be DAMN sure that if the US hit Syrian positions by mistake, people like you would accuse the US of doing it on purpose.

Meanwhile the Syrians and Russians are mostly not fighting ISIS, because ISIS benefits them by making the choice starker, so we might as well give them this one.

Or, you know, it could be because the US is secretly behind ISIS. Or it's the lizard people. Yeah, probably the lizard people.

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