Wednesday, November 1, 2017

As Russia meddling plot thickens, focus on what matters most



     Now it gets complicated.
     On Monday, special counsel Robert Mueller III named former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort and his associate, Rick Gates, in a 12-count indictment related to laundering Russian money. An hour later, George Papadopoulos' guilty plea, for lying to the FBI about his relations with Russia, was unsealed.
     Cue the timelines and relationship charts.
     Those of us old enough to remember Watergate — sigh, the scandal in the early 1970s that brought down the Nixon administration — recall just how labyrinthine this kind of thing can become, a sprawling opera buffa with an enormous supporting cast of bagmen, functionaries and tangential-yet-important lowlives.
     Nixon — Richard Nixon, the president — was forced to resign as even his supporters began recognizing his guilt in 1974. I assume people of today know that, but then again, assuming Americans know stuff, whether history or science or current events, is not a winning strategy anymore. Assuming it ever was.
     Knowing stuff is hard. Life is complicated, which is why people prefer to dream up conspiracy theories and simple pat explanations for complicated situations, or distract themselves from news they don't like with shiny objects — "What about Hillary?" — little snow globes they can give a shake. Will any investigation, no matter what it finds, lure them out of their hall of mirrors?
     That question will be answered down the road. Before we get lost in the minutia of the investigation, waiting for the tide of prosecution to start lapping at the steps of the White House, assuming it's not there now, we should remember to look at the big picture, and always keep in mind the most important thing.
   
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13 comments:

  1. "Under Pence, the second-class citizenship of women is a fact. Under Trump, there are no facts."

    FYI. I am planning to steal this brilliant line in many of my conversations.

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  2. it seems clear that Russians attempted to affect our presidential elections. not the Russian government necessarily but its likely they played a part in these efforts. its not clear these efforts were successful. did American voters base their choice as to who to vote for on misinformation the Russians injected into the campaign? hard to say. was Hillary negatively affected by this disinformation ? yes by that and many other things. did the Russians affect the outcome of our presidential election? no. unless they targeted very specifically votes that swayed the electoral college and thats extremely unlikely. was Donald Trump involved with Russians in these efforts? hopefully Mueller determines this. were members of the trump campaign staff involved with these efforts by the Russians? hopefully Mueller can determine that. is this illegal? I don't know Neil, do you? if Mueller fails to uncover this type of activity will that vindicate the president? unlike climate predictions that won't be proven out for decades we should know the facts of this series of events in the next year or so

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    1. FME -- Rubbish. All the way through. Start to finish.

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    2. FME - As a wise person said, we're all entitled to our opinion, we just aren't entitled to our own facts.

      A hallmark of the Trump administration is that they openly believe they are entitled to their own "facts", "facts" that they use to mock and browbeat their critics. Only a chump buys that the jury is still out on climate change and that Trump can be vindicated. The information is already out there to send Trump packing. The only unanswered question is whether the GOP has the will to allow Mueller to do his job. If they don't our nation may be forever damaged.

      Neil - one of the best articles I've read regarding our national nightmare.

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  3. Good article, Neil.

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  4. Complicated indeed. I suppose there's a chance, rapidly diminishing alas, that Trump will just throw up his hands, saying he's had enough of this persecution, and quit. More likely is that he'll start firing people left and right, pardoning his loyalists if he thinks he can get away with it, and basically stonewalling. Or he could drop dead and even that would leave a host of complications.

    john

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  5. Now he's trying to blame Chuck Schumer for the guy in New York who ran down and killed those people with his truck. In this effort, he is joined by a bunch of politicians who get hysterical with indignation whenever anyone tries to "politicize" a mass shooting by bringing up gun control.

    These people are utterly despicable.

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  6. "There are dozens of Trumps lining up to take his place." Steinberg

    "Men gets used to anything, the scoundrels." Dostoyevsky

    I'm inclined to believe the Republican establishment (Ryan et al) don't much care about Trump's troubles with the investigation and may even welcome them as a distraction from what they're up to. As long as he's still around to sign their tax bill. Cutting taxes on the rich is, for Republicans, the first of the sixteen pleasures.

    Tom

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    1. The "conservatives" used to push a narrative that they had a laundry list of ideals under their big tent. They used to drone on about family, and values, the sanctity of life, christian ideals, free markets, the 2nd amendment and so on. We know now that it was all BS. They are concerned with two things. Lower taxes on the ultra wealthy, a fewer regulations on the ultra wealthy's business interests. That's it.

      Even the obsession with destroying Obamacare is about freeing up a trillion dollars or so to pay for the rich guy tax cuts. Trump may destroy our democracy but at least the real goals of the modern "conservative" movement have been revealed with startling clarity.

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    2. I knew their morals were suspect when they didn't slam the door on the tea party.

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    3. Wells said, Dennis.

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  7. Trump is a delusional petulant jerk, boss of the playground so far. Unless some more folks come to understand that and give a damn about it, we can just hope for the best. Interesting moral question - who is worse, the brain-damaged bigot who believes his own delusions, or the manipulators who know he's deranged and dangerous but look the other way because he suits their purposes? Like when Grandma dies and the family doesn't report it and keeps her body in the basement so her welfare checks will keep coming.

    Maybe Trump is just sick and needs to be institutionalized, and Paul Ryan is the real human scum.

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  8. Here is a sampling of the Facebook ads the Russians employed to hack the 2016 Presidential Election. Some are so lame it looks like there was collusion with the Clinton Campaign. Others are over the top stupidly lame, proving there really was collusion with the Trump Campaign.

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