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Election Interference

2017 February 27

So, Obama put sanctions on Russia, ostensibly for interfering in American elections.

The argument has been made that keeping them under these sanctions “disincentivizes” Russia interfering in other countries’ elections.


I think this falls to the level of schoolyard ethics.

Russia should stand down when the US stands down. The US has interfered in multiple elections, and recently helped the Maidan overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government in a coup.

As for electronic spying, what is known is this: Americans were tapping the German Chancellor’s phone.

There is nothing that Americans want Russians to stop doing that they themselves do not do, with the possible exception of annexation. (And there’s a strong argument that the US still annexes what it wants, de facto, if not de jure.)

The schoolyard bully telling others, “Only I get to hit people” doesn’t go across really well.

It is simply impossible to take the US seriously on any form of “don’t spy,” “don’t fight,” or “enforce human rights.” Just impossible. Of course Russia will try to get friendly governments elected when the West has it under economic sanctions. Of course Russia will try and get friendly governments in power: Just like America does.

Two wrongs may not make a right, but people who unilaterally disarm and refuse to fight get a lot worse done to them than having their faces shoved in the dirt.

America supported a coup that overthrew a democratically elected government. There is no question about this. Then, when the Russians intervened in the Ukraine, they insisted on punishing the Russians.

Think this through a little.

At most, Russian interference in the US election involved the selective release of real, true, information.

The rest of the world wishes American interference stayed at that level.

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57 Responses
  1. nihil obstet permalink
    February 27, 2017

    The whole notion of a foreign government “interfering” in elections is bizarre, so much so that I don’t even understand the concept. Once upon a time the U.S. was proud of its “Voice of America” broadcasting the truth to the oppressed people living in commie hell behind the Iron Curtain. And now another government’s releasing truth to Americans is “interference”? The U.S. has adopted a lot of the governing principles of the old Soviet Union.

    As long as the U.S. judiciary defines money as speech and allows dark money where givers can shield their identities, stopping the influence of any entity with money is impossible. Unless we recognize the difference between the persuasive power of free speech and the coercive power of money, we allow national democracy to be compromised. Anyone should be able to speak to the issues and candidates, but only citizens should be able to participate actively in the electoral process.

  2. Gaianne permalink
    February 27, 2017



    Clear, correct, concise. Thank you!

    This essay just cracked me up. The conversations I am having these days are anything but clear, correct, or concise. Absurdity reigns.

    And it is not just in the media or on the internet. For me it is now everyday life.


  3. Peter permalink
    February 27, 2017

    There has been zero evidence produced to verify the Russians did anything during our election so why use the ‘at most’ qualifier to describe this manufactured fake news. This seems to be succumbing to the assimilation of the Borg who use repetition to embed these falsehoods into the collective.

    Obama’s sanctions on Russia were a weak petty attack on Trump and his plans for improved relations with Putin floated on the back of fake news.

  4. Hugh permalink
    February 27, 2017

    The biggest interference I saw in the US elections was having Trump and Clinton as the candidates.

    I must disagree. I think Democrats are simply channeling the great JDR. They can no longer sit back and allow the Russians to sap and impurify the precious bodily fluids of our elections. It’s incredibly obvious, isn’t it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That’s the way your hard-core Commie, like Putin, works.

    50+ years on and as timely as ever.

  5. Hugh permalink
    February 27, 2017

    Next, Peter, you’re going to tell me that fluoridation wasn’t a Russian conspiracy. You ever see a Russian drink a glass of water?

  6. Hugh permalink
    February 27, 2017

    I also think that Russia should be punished, not for anything in particular, but just on general principle. I think the likelihood of war with Russia is low, but even if it were to occur, it would be winnable. I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Depending on the breaks.

  7. Adams permalink
    February 27, 2017

    Well said. Most U. S. citizens, including especially liberals, progressives, Democrats, and especially Hillary, Obama, et al don’t get this. Most citizens of foreign countries do. We’re about making America great in our own minds. Trump didn’t invent this, he just recognized and took advantage of it.

  8. S Brennan permalink
    February 27, 2017

    A friend of mine asked a “killer question”:

    “If the Russians interfered with the US election, how come Hillary won the popular vote”

    I mean are they so sophisticated that they broadcast RT’s “secret material” only in rural, working class counties? Really? For the record, RT’s watchers are highly urbanized, middle/upper income brackets with higher educational attainment, not exactly your Trump voter.

    A look at county by county electoral map shows an inverse correlation between those who viewed Russian media and the election results.

    The “Russians stole the elections is nonsense”, we know for a fact that Hillary stole the primary and made sure through her media minions that Trump got the nod. That would imply that Hillary is the Russian mole in the “stolen election” caper.

    Far more likely Obama wanted to get a Russian to overreact to his sanctions. And much more likely Obama’s National Security Apparatus were quite perturbed when Flynn took the call and tried to “villainously” get Boris and Natasha to cool it until Trump had a chance to get settled in.

    How awful, an American General trying to avoid an escalation, thank God that “liberals”; media; DNCers; Anti-Trump Republicans joined hands and got rid of Flynn and chose a replacement from Kagan/Nuland’s stable.

  9. February 27, 2017

    The USG did not think it would matter… Bad idea. The democrats play dirty when need be.

  10. Arthur permalink
    February 27, 2017

    This is off topic (or maybe not) but I would really like to get a few opinions on a question that has bothered me. This morning I was listening to a ‘progressive’ radio host when caller brought up the issue of guns. It was in the context of Hitler banning guns. I’m not versed on the Hitler gun ban issue, but the gist of the caller’s point seemed to be that at some point violence may need to be used if Trump is as bad as progressives are making him. The host immediately jumped on the non-violence is the only way. . .if it comes to guns the people will be slaughtered. . .and so forth. He apparently is ignoring the fact that if the cops and military are with Trump they will slaughter the people whether they are carry rifles or signs. I consider myself liberal on the issues but it really is getting harder and harder to listen to the progressive wing. I don’t think they are wrong in their observation concerning Trump. He will be a uniquely bad president. But it seems when it gets right down to it they have very little in the way of realistically fighting him. Any thoughts, please? My own is that this is simply life at the end of empire and to keep my sanity I must accept that fact.

  11. February 27, 2017

    The scandal if/when it truly breaks, won’t be the hacking and the release of information, nor the false news, neither of which tipped the election. The scandal will be the foreign money funneled to Trump and his cronies. Yeah, the USA does it, too. Our hands aren’t clean at all. But Americans do prefer that their politicians be bought and owned by domestic oligarchs.

  12. Hugh permalink
    February 27, 2017

    Well, Arthur, I suppose it depends upon what you mean by “progressive”. I like to think that progressive begins somewhere beyond where the Democrats and liberals end, but the term is appropriated by pretty much anyone outside the GOP. The Democrats are intellectually and morally bankrupt, as witnessed by their Strangelovian Russian paranoia, and doubling down on no-message, no positive platform, only “resistance” to Trump.

    The real battlelines are between the rich and elites on one side and everyone else on the other. The key to class war, as practised by the rich and elites, is to get us to draw those lines is to set the rest of us against each other. Our mission is not to play their game. When we say the military and the police, we depersonalize them. In fact, they and their families live in our communities and are part of those communities. Some of them may be a little confused about their allegiances, but being confused about who is who and what is what is pretty common nowadays. In the end, we are all going to have to make the choice between standing with each other, the people, or standing with the powers that be, the rich and elites. In this struggle, guns are of little importance. And it is less about the violence that will be done than it is the violence that has already been done: the looting of hundreds of millions of Americans, their loss of hope, their jobs which have been shipped abroad, their wages and benefits which have been cut, their houses which have been foreclosed upon, and the houses which they can no longer afford, the debt they have been smothered with, and the deaths of tens and even hundreds of thousands of them each year because our rich and elites found it more profitable to let them die.

    So first, know your enemy. It isn’t just Trump, but the rich and elites in general. And know that the only power they have over us is that we give them by being unfocussed, undisciplined, unorganized, and disunited. So if you want to them, our true enemies, then reverse these things.

  13. Hugh permalink
    February 27, 2017

    Apologies, it should read “The key to class war, as practised by the rich and elites, is to get us to draw those lines to set the rest of us against each other.”


    “So if you want to fight them, our true enemies, then reverse these things.”

  14. Ian Welsh permalink*
    February 27, 2017

    This is a subject that gets a lot of people really riled up. Got hate mail on this one. 🙂

  15. S Brennan permalink
    February 27, 2017

    Who’s sending the hate Ian?

  16. Ian Welsh permalink*
    February 28, 2017

    Ah, just a couple folks who are email subscribed. Or were. Nothing horrible. A lot of people are very very upset about Trump and take the Russia hacking story very seriously.

  17. Donald permalink
    February 28, 2017

    I’m not surprised about the hate mail. People I generally respect seem outraged by the Russian hacking ( real or not–I don’t much care). The funny thing is that objectively they have to know you are right– assuming the Russians did the hacking it is utterly trivial compared to the stuff we do. And nothing they have done in Syria is worse than the crap we support in Yemen.

    I don’t completely understand people sometimes.

  18. Gaianne permalink
    February 28, 2017

    “A lot of people are very very upset about Trump and take the Russia hacking story very seriously.”


    That they do.

    “Nothing horrible.”

    It’s just everyday life. We’re in a new century now.


  19. Some Guy permalink
    February 28, 2017

    Humpty-Dumpty remains the timeless authority on this type of blatant hypocrisy:

    “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

  20. wayoutwest permalink
    February 28, 2017

    I have to wonder what will become of this too large group of people who have given up any rational thought and embraced reactionary hysteria. Ian’s post is rational and not that provocative yet I think it produced the kind of response I see at other blogs.

    I don’t think the people who have chosen this path, to desperately seek to overturn an election by any means necessary, are redeemable, they won’t change or admit any dangerous error. They must be directly confronted and not encouraged in any way intentionally or not.

  21. markfromireland permalink
    February 28, 2017


    Think this thru a little.

    At most Russian interference in the US election involved selective release of real, true, information.

    The rest of the world wishes American interference stayed at that level.

    Very concise, and very true. I’m not however even remotely surprised you’re getting hate mail. That’s the nature of the beast. Americans are so used to the idea that “peace” means everyone else submitting to them however unwillingly that any real opposition results in hysteria amongst a large proportion of them. I’ve found that this tendency of theirs is getting worse.

    Point out to them that if it was the Russian Government that hacked the DNC email server (and no actionable intelligence to that effect has ever been produced) that what they were doing is espionage an activity in which all governments engage. Point out to them moreover that the DNC is a private sector organisation and they go completely bananas.

  22. Tom permalink
    February 28, 2017

    @ Ian

    You’re doing something right if everyone hates you. Give yourself a pat on the back.

    That said, all indications are that a staffer at the DNC stupidly gave up his password to an inside leaker who gave it to wikileaks. Putin had nothing to do with it and like many thought Donald was toast.

    As you said several threads back, everything in those e-mails were true and germane to the election. It finally got the Rust Belt to drop the Democrats and exposed the undemocratic Democrat Party as crooks while the Republicans were relatively cleaner and accepted its base’s choice for nominee despite the RNC’s deep revulsion of Trump.

    In other areas:

    Syria just got interesting again. Euphrates Shield has begun offensive operations against the SDF Terrorists in the Manbij Plains and thousands of Turkish Troops are massing across the border of Tel Abyad. US Troops monitoring a cease fire line while TSK and FSA cleared al Bab were told to stay put and mark their positions so they don’t get accidentally run over.

    In addition TSK and FSA have been softening up the SDF in Afrin as well and last week pushed them back three kilometers from Azaz.

    Trump already rejected Obama’s plan to use the SDF to clear Raqqah, and now that TSK has cleared out PKK holdouts and the Gulenists, trained more FSA soldiers and a civilian police force to begin policing liberated areas so the SNC can begin administrative services, they are capable of deploying more might. So the need to use a Marxist Terrorist Organization to fight Daesh is no longer politically acceptable, especially when said terrorist organization is blowing up civilians in Turkey, a NATO member.

    Won’t shed tears for the SDF, Daesh, or the Regime Forces, they can all kill each other off.

  23. realitychecker permalink
    February 28, 2017

    @ Some Guy

    Thanks for the belly laugh–I’ve been pushing that exact set of quotes to my friends this past couple of weeks.

    Seems to really sum up where we are. 🙁

  24. realitychecker permalink
    February 28, 2017

    @ Ian

    In the kingdom of the liars, the truthteller is the real enemy.

    You are a treasure, good sir.

  25. February 28, 2017

    When I encounter the “Two wrongs don’t make a right” line from Democrats, I challenge it. None of them thought it was wrong in the first place for the US to interfere in other countries’ elections or government. Such interference has often been celebrated here. So, if Russia did interfere in our elections, that’s two rights. What do two rights make?

  26. Tom permalink
    February 28, 2017

    State of Emergency declared in Flint. Lead levels now just below a lethal dose.

    Snyder and the Emergency Manager need to go to prison. The CEOs responsible for this need to go to prison.

    This came just after Snyder said the water was safe and credits to buy drinkable water would be cut.

  27. wayoutwest permalink
    February 28, 2017


    The Flint crisis was whipped into another hysterical/political frenzy. According the the last news I read Dr Hanna-Attisha has treated two children for extreme high levels of lead from drinking Flint water from the affected area. Some of the other children, at most a thousand or so received a relatively low level of exposure for some time but most people avoided the cloudy-rusty water long before the lead discovery. About 25% of Flint homes have or had lead piping connection them to the city mains which means that 75% of Flint’s residents had lead free cloudy-rusty water.

    The three administrators who made the decision, and then tried to cover it up, that left the anti-corrosion chemicals out of the Flint River water are being prosecuted for their cover-up crimes. Leaving the chemicals out of the water is a misdemeanor.

    Snyder may be an obnoxious politician but all he did was help to break the monopoly that Detroit held over Flint’s water supply while state and local players failed to do their job. The EPA should be held responsible for allowing the water to be consumed for 6 months after they knew there was high contamination levels yet failed to put out a warning.

  28. Hugh permalink
    February 28, 2017

    wayoutwest, nice story, but it is just a story. Which governor of Michigan named a City Manager to run Flint and which governor’s state Department of Environmental Quality ignored contamination in Flint’s water supply? This is like the old political wheeze: “I didn’t do it. My sockpuppet did!” BTW, none of this is to say that the federal EPA wasn’t lax as well. But Flint is a problem created and hidden at the state level long before it came to the attention of the feds.

  29. Peter permalink
    February 28, 2017


    Snyder’s and other republican’s political careers are probably over because of this crisis and their screw ups after the contamination was discovered. There hasn’t been any evidence produced that shows any of them intentionally allowing this to happen or them directing the switching of water supplies for personal gain. The demands for jailing them are partisan political gamesmanship unrelated to any crimes that were committed. Remember if the anti-corrosion additive was used there would have been no or little lead problem beyond what already existed so the water source switch policy was sound even with the temporary use of Flint River water.

    The bogeymen City Managers were used by both democrat and republican Mich governors because the elected officials failed to perform their responsibilities. The CM system allowed the state to continue bailing out Flint and other cities while forcing the necessary cuts and restrictions. The last two CM’s are being charged with some crime so they may have done something wrong after the crisis but we may be seeing a new attempt to make normal governing decisions criminal.

    I’ve followed this story from before the lead problems when Detroit was trying to use legal force to maintain their monopoly and inflated prices supplying Flint’s water. That’s where this story started but it ended in a tinfoil hat parade led by Mikey Moore.

  30. jcapan permalink
    February 28, 2017

    Russia could meddle in US elections until the end of the century and it still wouldn’t make up for America’s horrifying record: ousting democratically elected governments, orchestrating coups, propping up butchers. Ask your run of the mill butthurt Clinton voter how concerned they are about the history of US meddling in Latin America, where their now BFFs the intelligence community empowered living, breathing fascists who brought about mini-holocausts throughout the region. I know, I know, this might distract them from cowering in bedwetting fear of the greatest evil ever, cheeto jesus.

    Or more specifically simply force them at the end of a gun to read the chapter on Russia in The Shock Doctrine, when the blood vultures raped and pillaged a fledgling democracy, all to feed their insatiable greed. You know, state sponsored financial terrorism that paved the way for the rise of a strongman like Putin in the first place.

    Their Russian obsession in its entirety is about excusing their favorite family of corporate whores for the humiliating loss last fall. Not only to save the candidate’s face but their own. Anything at all would be better than reexamining a morally bankrupt ideology or coming to terms with the fact that had they been alive from the ’30s – ’70s, they’d have voted for republicans.

  31. Pelham permalink
    February 28, 2017

    “At most Russian interference in the US election involved selective release of real, true, information.”

    Yes. And let us also note that this true information from ALLEGED Russian interference in the democratic process revealed REAL interference in the democratic process by the Democratic Party itself.

    Funny how less is made of this.

    Notable as well is Chinese and other nations’ interference in the democratic process through David Brock’s lavishly funded Shareblue operation favoring Democrats:

    Funny that this doesn’t get much attention either, especially since China on any given day does more damage to the US than Russia, Al Qaeda and Isis combined over the past decade.

  32. atcooper permalink
    February 28, 2017

    If Flints keep happening, then we’ll know for sure the US is a failed state. There are some deep problems if a sovereign cannot protect the people it obstensibly serves anymore.

  33. EverythingsJake permalink
    February 28, 2017

    This point seems so self-evidently obvious, and yet it is really a sterling example of the success of propaganda.** I guess much of this blog is that way. This just stands out to me for some reason, particularly since near as I can tell, as otherwise criminal as Putin and Lavrov may or may not be, as best I can tell, their exercise of soft diplomatic power seems to have kept us out of a potentially very bad escalation of conflict thus far. Sort of danced circles around Kerry and Clinton, though of course, the problem remains that eventually the US could just as likely make up another Gulf of Tonkin and strike anyway.

    **In, I think, metanoia films “The Power Principle” there is a lovely antidote about a brief thaw in U.S.-Soviet relations post Stalin, when Russian apparatchniks came to the US and were given more or less free license to explore the country. On return to DC, they met with the State Department, and perturbed their hosts with a single question to the following effect: “How are you so successful at getting everyone to believe the same thing. The uniformity is amazing; everywhere we go. We haven’t been able to achieve anything near like what you’ve done here.”
    On that question, for what it’s worth, I first came aware when I stopped buying things, cut the cable cord, and started to feel very disconnected. BBC’s “Century of the Self” offers interesting thoughts on that, although metanoia also has a doc on the same subject, which in both cases really seems par for the course decent University media studies stuff, but both docs present well (BBC’s somewhat better put together).

  34. different clue permalink
    February 28, 2017

    @Ian Welsh,

    I will just speculate that the hate mail you get comes from Clintonites, Mainstream Democrats, and members of the Intelligence Mighty Wurlitzer Community who resent your efforts to cancel their noise.

    Take heart in this . . . . the KKK members ( that’s Klinton Koolaid Kult members) who believe this Putin Diddit theory were outvoted by Trump voters who have better sense and attrited by other-party voters and non-voters who also have better sense.

  35. different clue permalink
    February 28, 2017

    @Tony Wikrent,

    If you are reading this thread, Naked Capitalism has posted a post and thread which are so exactly right-up-your-alley that you might want to consider going over there and commenting where a large number of people will read what you write.

    Here is the link:

  36. different clue permalink
    February 28, 2017


    And there are certain “other” problems if a state secretly decides that certain selected bunchloads of people do not deserve to be protected.

    I commend to your attention a series of articles blog-written by Canadian journalist and novelist Jeff Wells at his Rigorous Intuition blogsite. That whole series of articles is grouped under the subject-heading called Katrina. I will offer a link to one of those articles so you can see if it is something you wish to read and read further. If you do, the blogpage itself will offer on the right side of the screen a series of Subject Headings and their blogposts. “Katrina” will be found partway down the screen. Here is the link.

  37. Hugh permalink
    February 28, 2017

    Peter, as I recall when Hannah Arendt wrote about Eichmann and as an aside coined the phrase “the banality of evil”, she was describing the pettiness of the bureaucratic mind. Most evil isn’t “intentional”. It is the natural outcome of a lot of small minded people making small minded choices. If they would just look at the big picture for a second, the evil that flows from their choices would be obvious, but they don’t.

    All this ties in with the point a try to make about the essence of bad faith. Bad faith is not knowing somthing is evil and acting anyway. It is about what we would expect anyone, and especially someone in a particular position of authority and responsbility, to know, and judging their actions accordingly. As the rich and elites justify their wealth, privileges, and power on the basis of their knowing more and better than we do, it makes the hoocoodanode argument almost impossible for them to use. Their bad faith comes from their intentionally not knowing what they should have known and not asking the questions they should have.

  38. Peter permalink
    March 1, 2017


    The Mich repugs are certainly arrogant and somewhat incompetent but they were building a drinking water system not gas chambers. We don’t yet know what reasons will be used by the three men charged with causing the actual evil act, allowing the lead to leach from pipes and expose the people. Even that act wouldn’t cause extermination so some more mundane reason will probably be revealed. We will probably never learn what kind of banality occurred at the EPA where early internal research warnings were ignored.

    The three defendants knew they were guilty of something and their attempted cover-up is what they are being prosecuted for. I’m not sure about the others charged but all of them may be encouraged to use Eichmann’s defense pointing upwards to further political show trials.

  39. Hugh permalink
    March 1, 2017

    Peter, they were building a water system which poisoned children. They were more interested in cutting budgets and scoring political points than in safeguarding children. In a bygone age, the saying was “Never ascribe to malice what can be ascribed to incompetence.” In our times, the reverse is true. With our powers that be they would love us to think it was just incompetence or honest mistakes. But as I said, their whole claim to power, wealth, and privilege rests on their supposed competence and ability to see and avoid mistakes.

    Our ruling classes, our rich and elites, have done great violence to us, but the violence they do is never called violence. It’s budget cuts, downsizing, the economy, etc. But suggest using violence to end their violence and they go into hysterics. The same is true here. We need to stop giving this thieves and murderers the benefit of the doubt. We need to stop saying, “Oh, he/she is going to do terrible things, but it is just because they are stupid.” Things have gone on too long and have gone way too far. It’s not stupidity. It’s malice. You can’t have a class being “stupid” for 40 years, and yet somehow despite all their “incompetence” still always win while the rest of us just happen to lose each and every time.

  40. realitychecker permalink
    March 1, 2017

    Reagan was the Jesus Christ of the “I’m not criminal, I’m just stupid” religion.

    It worked so well for him that every single bad player since has used it when caught red-handed doing something that was objectively evil.

    Hugh is absolutely right on target in his last comment.

    When will the rest wake up?

  41. Willy permalink
    March 1, 2017

    But the good ole lawd has a plan!

  42. Peter permalink
    March 1, 2017


    I think you’ve caught the hysteria bug and are projecting partisan ideas, much of it based on fake news, on what you think they thought about this evil republican water project they were building. It is easier to simplify and create bogymen with bloody hands and nefarious agendas than to look at the facts about what happened. Snyder was elected to solve the financial problems plaguing Mich and its’ gutted cities, that’s his mandate. Painting this republican rascal to look like Putin reminds me that the Flint show was the warm-up for the fake news and storm the palace color revolution being pushed now.

    I don’t know what class you represent with the ‘we’ statements but a good portion of the working class and others did stand up and chose someone that appears willing to represent them and push for changes that will help them and others he even attacks our warped FP. What Trump can or is willing to do is debatable but he is moving ahead with change.

    There is no chance for revolution when much of the so called left is clinging to its position in the status quo and helping undermine what little positive change might be possible.

  43. highrpm permalink
    March 1, 2017

    what you say about painting synder as a republican boogey man reminds me of the subject / discipline/ theory known as psychohistory.

    i think malcom x was a good example of applied psychohistory ” It is easier to simplify and create bogymen with bloody hands and nefarious agendas than to look at the facts “ the guy ‘s chronic early childhood trauman, continuing into his adolescence disabled him for life of every being to do the routine work of earning an hourly wage driven income. his injuries hyper-sensitize him to injustise. his working the organizing experience of life resulted in him seeing most social interaction in terms of master/slave. really just seeing the truth of all collectives organized and operating on the principle of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and biomimicing the wolfpak, with its rungs of the social ladder, the first rung the lowly omega personality and the top rung the imposer alpha personality.

    malcom found it easier to preach the vision of a separate black nation, with the u.s. supplying the land whereever for such nation. reality? in the 60’s a small group of blacks expatriated to ghana with such intent. maya angelou being one of the members. and malcom x visited them. 10 years later of thereabouts, maya returned to the u.s. a guy named dr. robert e. lee stayed and lived his entire life hands on paying his own way for the benefit of the collective, rather than taking the easy way out of spouting his vision, or , as you put it, creat[ing] bogymen with bloody hands and nefarious agendas .

    now folks, who do you think had a healthier childhood, dr lee or malcom x? a short lesson in psychohistory. see cesar tort’s writing for lots more discussion on the subject.

  44. Tom W Harris permalink
    March 1, 2017

    You’re the best, Peter. Your David Brooks act has us rolling in the aisles.

  45. Hugh permalink
    March 1, 2017

    Peter, politicians always claim a mandate. More people voted against Trump than voted for him and he’s still acting like he has one. Of course, what Trump is going to give his supporters with that “mandate” is vastly different than what they think. But that is the essence of class warfare. Give the rubes a false choice, Hillary or the Donald. The rich and elites win either way. We rubes lose either way. And what’s really rich is that whoever wins can claim a mandate because the rubes voted for him/her.

    So the people of Michigan were given an election with a couple of shit candidates. And one of them happened to be Snyder. This is why voting for the lesser of two evils or either evil at all is so destructive, –because it is used to validate their evil. Snyder didn’t have to have a plan to poison children in Flint. All he had to do was not give a shit, spout bullshit lines about cutting waste, choose like minded people, fail to do due diligence, and children get poisoned in Flint. Hoocoodanode?

  46. realitychecker permalink
    March 1, 2017

    FWIW, I don’t think it’s “creating a boogeyman” to attach blame to folks of a certain type who keep producing results of a certain type.

    The best you can say for them is that they were “reckless” or “grossly negligent” when entrusted with public power and trust. And that still leaves them being accountable for the damage that resulted, IMO.

  47. Peter permalink
    March 1, 2017


    You might be right about describing what happened in Mich state government after the lead contamination was discovered as reckless or negligent but those are criminal accusations. I think, and there has been no evidence produced to back them. There is plenty of evidence of incompetence, miscommunication, sloppiness and ass-covering but those are at most political offensives that Snyder and the rest will probably pay for. The three people who’s actions are documented and appear to be reckless and negligent are being charged with a cover-up.

    The circus that grew around this crisis was political with the theme of great evil involved in all of the events leading up to the lead crisis. The accusations and fake news stories came almost daily warning this was a plot to take over the Detroit water system, favor friendly contractors and it was mostly a plan to supply oil companies with the deadly fracking water. Then the rumors started of secret directives coming down from above that caused the lead problem but never explained the reasons nor produced any record of directives.

    With Mike Moore trying to push the Flint residents into open revolt against the governor by terrorizing the families there what could go wrong? Someone got a rope on that raging bull and hauled him off to the funny farm for treatment for what they called ‘exhaustion’.

  48. realitychecker permalink
    March 1, 2017

    @ Peter

    I’m not only thinking about Flint, but about the many examples in modern history where bad guys claim to be only stupid, not bad. I know you are smart enough to be aware of the pattern.

    I am good faith curious about your background, and wonder if you would share some? On some issues, you seem really smart and tuned in, and on a few you seem to have allowed yourself to swallow the PR. Not looking to ad hominem you, just trying to understand the variance better.

    I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I am left on some issues and right on others. 🙂

  49. March 1, 2017

    Arguably far more important right now than any of the fake news or Russia tropes are powerful monied right wing interests wreaking havoc on recent Western politics (Brexit and Trump) in the form of Weaponised AI propaganda. This is being heavily under-reported in MSM

    Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media –

  50. Peter permalink
    March 2, 2017


    Thanks for asking, what you see may be from the fact that I am not as educated as many people here and am less susceptible to BS and groupthink than some people are. My BS meter starts buzzing when someone drops names such as Arendt into the conversation who revealed to the educated world that Eichmann and other monsters were monsters and then went on to write propaganda for a few decades.

    I don’t question the fact that there are sociopaths in positions of power or that they or their minions behave as described. What I do question is when some people use faulty logic to sell a story that suits their agenda not the truth or facts. Hugh states and many other people agree with him, that ‘they were building a water system that poisoned children’. This is simplistic faulty logic that avoids all the pesky facts, events and people leading to the crisis. The first fault with this statement, but it is still preached, is that the new water system poisoned no one. The Flint River may have produced cloudy and rusty water but it wasn’t poison and it isn’t part of the new system.

    The final effect I saw from this type of agenda, simplification and manipulation was when the three men who were directly responsible for the actions that caused the lead leaching and contamination were charged. Commenters from a Mich based blog, some you may know, and were victimized Mich dems were calling for these charges to be dropped so long as the perps became rats for their cause laying all blame on the evil governor and his minions. Apparently the fact that these men acted independently didn’t matter and lies would be okay.

    I’m too radical to start liking these republican rascals even Trump but the threats they may pose to liberty seem overblown in the face of the recent actions of the Clintonites. I am going to enjoy watching Trump carve up the regulatory state. I might be able to sell my house without swearing on a government form that I never ran a Nuke or toxic waste dump in my backyard.

  51. realitychecker permalink
    March 2, 2017

    @ Peter

    Thanks, Peter. I think we are alike in the fury we feel when people use arguments that do not comport with logic or the known facts.

    I have not gotten deep into the facts on the Flint situation, just the general outline, so I just have a general sense that nothing like that should ever have happened, and the people who were in charge must take the responsibility. But I don’t intend to invest energy into litigating that fiasco.

    I am more focused on the general trends we see, where the interests of regular people are constantly sacrificed to the interests of the corporate oligarchy, and our elected reps and their employees continually betray us.

    I was curious about your work background, as I was puzzled to see your uncritical take on the mortgage crisis, and also your seemingly uncritical view about the concept of capitalism; I see some problems, but still like much about capitalism, but when I read some of your comments re that, I am reminded of the time 50 years ago when I was very much taken with the writings of Ayn Rand. I’ve been thru a lot of changes since then, and have found the journey fascinating. I have found many of your comments to be very good and interesting, and so have become curious to know a bit about your journey. If you are comfortable to share a bit, amigo.

  52. NRG permalink
    March 2, 2017

    I think it is wrong to interfere with and manipulate democratic elections. I think elections should be as free and fair as possible. That’s true whether or not those elections are US. Ian and his fans here appear to disagree. Am I misinterpreting?

  53. realitychecker permalink
    March 2, 2017

    @ NRG

    Yes, you are.

    Also revealing yourself as a Clinton cultite.

    Most of us here believe that chronic election manipulators should have enough class not to pee their pants when someone else tries to do some manipulating.

  54. NRG permalink
    March 3, 2017

    Starting false with personal accusations is unlikely to lead to a productive dialog, if that matters to you.

    Electoral manipulation is wrong in every case. Many here seem to want to make exceptions, much like the targets of their criticism. I don’t. Not even to revel in schadenfreude.

  55. Peter permalink
    March 3, 2017


    The people responsible for the Flint crisis are being held responsible both criminally and politically. People driving the circus were seeking more than that, they wanted all their other partisan grievances aired and judgment day declared with themselves wearing the robes. Some children may have been injured but there is no reason to think it’s permanent. Flint is now on the federal dole receiving tens of millions for new water infrastructure to supply a gutted crime riddled city that burns crack houses to generate electricity with good clean water from their new pipeline system. The city council is back in control with no more EM usurping their democracy so they can return to spending money they don’t have.

    I’ve worked for wages mostly moving into high tech after returning to school in the late 80’s. I chose the most challenging wizardry available at the technician level and studies lasers, electro optics, atomic physics and light, everything from death rays to laser spying I worked with students after graduating cum laud and did some lecturing and instruction. The last field I studied was big science, particle beam accelerators for fusion research tickling the smallest bits of reality with a very big hammer. This was interesting but too close to the military and even the CIA so I went to work for Intel building something useful. I worked on the machine beasts that spat out billions of dollars worth of tiny glass and metal calculating cities know as chips that were constructed on the scale of 1/50 of the diameter of a human hair.

    You jump to conclusions when you say I am uncritical of capitalism but not recognizing the fact that it rules is just ignoring reality, there is no viable alternative, yet. My attack on the hysteria over the robo-signers was partially aimed the humor of seeing people clinging to almost meaningless pieces of paper in the digital age. This paper with proof of evil scribbled on it became a fetish with people led to believe it held the power to bring down some of the dreaded bankster/capitalists. I don’t see this mentality as being much different than the ploys being used against Trump. When some of the people behind this diversion started to claim that they could not only lock up the fraudsters but restore lost homes even free and clear I knew they had opened the asylums.

    No one has answered my questions about what they thought would have happened if this fantasy had become reality and I doubt they will. The economy was being frozen and crumbling because money had stopped flowing and the foreclosed but not processed home loans were a major cause of that condition. This contagion spread throughout the economy but the bad mortgage paper had to be addressed quickly so loans for home sales could resume along with everything else.

  56. realitychecker permalink
    March 4, 2017

    @ NRG

    Glad to hear that you unequivocally condemn the way the Democratic Party manipulated it’s primary election process to fuck Sanders out of the nomination, then rewarded Donna Brazille with the DNC chairmanship after she manipulated the election by giving debate questions to Hillary in advance.

    Because we condemn all election manipulation, amirite?

  57. realitychecker permalink
    March 4, 2017

    @ Peter

    Thanks, Peter, for sharing that background info.

    I think I understand you a little better now.

    I think we differ at the point where you accept the pragmatic need to deal with present reality as it is (a position I can certainly respect, as I have had to have that attitude in business, as a litigator, and as a futures trader) , but I also think it is very important to make judgments and speak out against all the things that are being allowed to be wrong in the present reality, in hopes that we can make a change in the ameliorative direction.

    For example, I think capitalism is as good a system as any, and better than many, but the current rampant corruption and rule-breaking spoils it, and should be addressed and rooted out to the greatest extent possible. So I am concerned to point out all the violation of process and fairness that come to light.


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