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The Russian Hacking News: It’s Worse than Scott Thinks

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Shakezula posted on the Washington Post story last night, and Scott beat me to it today. There’s nothing surprising in the general contours of the emerging reports:

  • Russian agents and organs tried to influence the election.
  • The goal wasn’t simply to undermine faith in American institutions but also to help Trump.
  • We know that because, among other things, Russian agents hacked GOP emails as well but didn’t make use of what they acquired.
  • The intelligence community cannot directly tie the activity to decision makers in the Kremlin.

A lot of this is, if true, confirmation of what experts have long believed about Russian interference in the 2016 election. We should also not react with high moral indignation toward Russia. Moscow is just using the instruments at its disposable to enhance its influence and security. That’s what great powers do. Both Moscow and Washington have long histories of intervening in the affairs of other states—including engaging in regime change. Moscow is particularly reliant on information warfare against western democracies because of its relative geopolitical weakness. Unfortunately, the strategy is working pretty well, and Germany’s next on the list.

But we don’t need to act like hypocrites to recognize the general terribleness of last twenty-four hours of news. We already knew that Mitch McConnell was willing to break the system for partisan ends, but even I never through that he would actually run interference for a foreign power simply to achieve political power.

I’ll go further than Scott: McConnell cannot retain his status as Majority Leader. He has disqualified himself.

But he will retain his status.

Given that Paul Ryan cares more about privatizing Medicare than even worrying about Trump’s massive conflicts of interest, Democrats will have to align with the few Republicans who actually value democratic institutions if we want to avert possible disaster.

And Americans do need to worry. The Trump campaign had a straightforward and appropriate response on Russian hacking and efforts to influence the US election. It could have said: “we condemn foreign interference in American elections. We will do everything that we can to get to the bottom of this, and take appropriate action.” But, instead, their press release simply attacks the Central Intelligence Agency.

Now, you might argue that the Trump campaign is boxed in. Recall that Trump once invited Russia to hack Clinton’s emails. But Trump insisted that he was joking. So that option remains open. But Trump has (so far) refused to take it. Instead he has repeatedly denied Russian involvement. This leaves roughly three possibilities.

First, there’s truth to the apparently “ungrounded” accusations that people in the Trump campaign were colluding with Russian hackers—or, at least, their intermediaries at Wikileaks.

Second, Trump—perhaps influenced by prolonged exposure to Michael Flynn—is simply delusional on this point. That is, he has significant problems dealing with evidence that cuts against his preferences. He doesn’t want to believe the intelligence community. So he simply attacks it. In this case, perhaps it threatens his ego by detracting from his electoral victory.

Third, the Trump campaign wasn’t colluding with Moscow, but it’s still somehow compromised. In its most benign form, Trump just really wants closer cooperation with Russia. In its scarier forms, we start getting into fears about Trump’s business ties to Moscow, or even the idea that Russia has kompromat or some other leverage over Trump, his inner circle, the GOP, or all three. Because Trump never disclosed his taxes, we know little about his business connections with Russia. But we have reason to believe that these—and those of his inner circle— are not trivial. Moreover, the Post story supports the fear that the hackers are holding RNC—and perhaps other campaign-related—emails of the kind used effectively against Clinton and the DNC.

These possibilities are all awful.

What’s even worse? The baseline GOP response is that this story is all about Democrats being “sore losers.” These are people who—and I know that I’m a broken record on this—six months ago were telling us that Obama’s too weak on Putin, repeatedly argue that the United States needs to do a better job of standing up for its allies, and who claim that the they are patriots who put country first.

This is the wages of weaponized partisanship. Party before country.

Well, not everyone.

Strange days, here we come.

 

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  • aturner339

    We called the Tea Partiers sore losers and they ignored us and gobbled up Wisconsin. Time to get really sore.

  • Peterr

    Moreover, the Post story supports the fear that the hackers are holding RNC—and perhaps other campaign-related—emails of the kind used effectively against Clinton and the DNC.

    And whose name shows up on a whole lot of RNC emails from the time period in question? The name of the soon-to-be White House Chief of Staff.

    But I’m sure that Reince never said anything about his new boss that the new boss would take umbrage at. Never criticized his political skills, never said anything nasty about him, never lamented his ascendance in the GOP. And that new boss is such a pussycat, willing to overlook minor criticisms and never holding a grudge.

    Or, you know, not.

    Reince’s biggest nightmare has to be picking up the phone and hearing the words “Good morning, Gospodin Reince. We have a proposal for you . . .”

    • Phil Perspective

      But I’m sure that Reince never said anything about his new boss that the new boss would take umbrage at. Never criticized his political skills, never said anything nasty about him, never lamented his ascendance in the GOP.

      Willard said all sorts of bad things about Trump and now look at him. What does that tell you?

      • DamnYankees

        I think the issue is more that Reince is easily blackmail-able.

        • Right. Romney has enough money that he can tell everyone to go fuck off if they try to blackmail him. The obvious anagram/emptiest suit in American politics presumably doesn’t.

      • JMP

        Trump dangled the prospect of Secretary of State to get Romney to dance for him, humiliated him, and then gave the position to someone else anyway. What does that tell you?

        • Philip

          That there’s still hope for Chris Christie to be humiliated on national TV again?

          • Alas, the universe isn’t that kind to us. If it were, we wouldn’t have gotten Trump in the first place.

  • We should also not react with high moral indignation toward Russia… Both Moscow and Washington have long histories of intervening in the affairs of other states—including engaging in regime change. Moscow is particularly reliant on information warfare against western democracies because of its relative geopolitical weakness.

    Fuck that.

    Unfortunately, the strategy is working pretty well, and Germany’s next on the list.

    Because that.

    I damn well am going to be morally outraged by the leaders of any country subverting democracy, promoting fascism and despotism, and stirring up bigotry and xenophobia in order to serve their perceived national interests.

    • Yes. The aims are awful. And that’s why I think the US needs to combat this. But the US isn’t exactly covered in roses on this front, and it’s important we not forget that.

      • Arouet

        Is it really that hard to understand that you don’t *need* to be “covered in roses” in order to object to something? Some of the moral power of your objections for the rest of the world will be tempered by the hypocrisy, but the fact that the US has done similar things in the past doesn’t make what Russia did okay, any more than it makes what the US did then okay.

        This is the real world. Just about everyone is a hypocrite, and that goes double for nation-states with hundreds of years of history under many different leaders. But they’re not always wrong.

        • Um, yeah. As a citizen I think I can be outraged that foreign powers are interfering with our process. I don’t work for the State Dept. and I don’t have to avoid seeming to criticize something our own spy agencies might be doing somewhere else in the world. And I’d think even the State Dept. is going to express outrage about this kind of stuff when that’s what they deem appropriate. (Puts the rest of us in an awkward position at times, I guess.)

    • Dilan Esper

      I damn well am going to be morally outraged by the leaders of any country subverting democracy, promoting fascism and despotism, and stirring up bigotry and xenophobia in order to serve their perceived national interests.

      Prepare to be outraged a lot, then.

      Look, I’d very much favor some sort of UN convention where we put limits on nation-states’ espionage agencies. I’m not sure what the limits would look like (I doubt there’s any way to limit computer hacking, for instance), but I am very much behind the notion that it is a violation of national sovereignty for foreign powers to go mucking around in electoral processes. Perhaps the international community can agree to a set of enforceable standards….

      But I am not optimistic, and it’s because not only does Russia love to do this stuff, but we do as well. And I’m NOT just talking about ancient history. We spent tens of millions of dollars intervening in the Ukraine’s elections very recently (I’m sure Putin did as well). We did a fair amount of stuff in Egypt too. And we are doing a ton of stuff in Venezuela as well. This is what great powers do– they move the pieces on the geopolitical chessboard, and not promoting some abstract norm of democracy. They want friendly regimes, and human rights is at best a very minor consideration.

      And if you think the US government ultimately gives a crap about human rights and democracy abroad, ask our buddies the Saudis about that.

      So what we come back to is not what Russia does, but what we do. And Mitch McConnell is just scum. Our leaders are supposed to protect the country from Russian espionage.

      And McConnell’s calculation, in addition to being unpatriotic and sleazy, is extremely short term thinking. Now they know that the Russians are sitting on a trove of unreleased material about the Republicans. All of which is potential blackmail material.

      • farin

        But he wants the same thing as Putin: A cripple US rife with internal discord and misery. So the blackmail will never be necessary.

  • AMK

    It’s probably all three factors you outline–Russian influence on some of Trump’s people, their collective immunity to inconvenient facts and genuine belief that America has more to gain from working with Russia against ISIS, China or whoever else.

    The fact that onstensibly responsible and knowledgeable figures in the GOP are willing to sell American democratic sovereignty down the river for partisan advantage, money and tax cuts and/or gutting entitlements is not news to anybody who has watched the years-long footsie between them and the Israeli government.

    • AMK

      ….now the Russians are objectively worse the the Israelis on just about every level, but it’s the same principle.

    • Phil Perspective

      …. is not news to anybody who has watched the years-long footsie between them and the Israeli government.

      The footsie in which pretty much every elected Democrat has engaged in for years and years.

  • pianomover

    “The shock doctrine is a theory for explaining the way that force, stealth and crisis are used in implementing neoliberal economic policies such as privatization, deregulation and cuts to social services.”

    And whatnot.

    • But that neoliberal Hillary Clinton would've been exactly the same, and those contradictions won't heighten themselves!

      • Hogan

        Jill Stein tells me the only way to fight fascism is to let fascists take power.

        • LeeEsq

          I guess it would be called assault rather than resistance if you fight fascists when they are not in power.

  • Nick never Nick

    OK, it’s obvious that the fundamental failing here is not with Russia, but within multiple American institutions. When the archaeologists of the future are trying to identify what happened to the political class of the United States, it seems that there will be a few possibilities for why this has occurred.

    1) electing a black president has driven them mad; an America where that can happen is not worth saving. Democrats have invalidated themselves by courting voters that don’t count.

    2) they won the Cold War under Reagan, that victory means they get to rule America forever.

    3) they never cared about the Cold War at all, that was just a reason to spend money on military stuff.

    4) electing an ex-hippie president has driven them mad; an America where Clinton was president deserves to be destroyed.

    5) Christianity and bad economics have addled their brains.

    6) nothing has ever mattered but winning, only losers pretend otherwise.

    7) time to pay back the Roosevelts for their fucking taxes, social benefits, and environmental protection.

    8) we’re patriots — if we do it, it’s patriotic.

    Personally, I’m going with 1-8, but I can see how there could be reasonable debate.

  • wengler

    That Walsh tweet was fucking hilarious. It’s like Trump kicked his puppy.

    • Its hysterical that if you read further down the Walsh Freedom ™ timeline he gets just as angry about how the government is forcing photographers to take pictures of gays at their weddings. Freedom was already lost, apparently, when businesspeople couldn’t discriminate against customers. I guess Russian interference in the election was just the icing on the gay wedding cake photo.

      • efgoldman

        I guess Russian interference in the election was just the icing on the gay wedding cake photo.

        A nice turn of phrase (as usual)
        How did your finals go? Or are they still after the holidays?

        • We have papers instead of finals. I thought that would be good but its horrible. So I am avoiding writing a final paper right at this very moment. By writing here. This is, perhaps, a really stupid thing to be doing as a form of procrastination. I mean any form of procrastination is not a good idea, but posting here and getting even more upset about Trump is probably on the worse side. I’d be better off rage cleaning.

          • I had to ask for a medical exemption this semester (luckily, I got it). It’s been horrifying in a manner I never thought was possible, and I have suffered from PTSD before. It was peanuts compared to this.

            Good luck with your papers.

            • I am so sorry. I can’t even imagine what you are suffering. I go in and out of a feeling of rage, disgust, and desperation over the election and it hits me at odd moments, like when I sit down to write these stupid papers. I love what I am doing (social work school) and I love my internship which happens to be in a majority-minority public school with a large number of muslim and immigrant families so what I’m writing about and what I’m doing seems even more important since the election.

              But by the same token things like a Welfare Policy Class that discusses Obamacare is like attending the wake of a friend who died, suddenly. Or maybe I should say attending the autopsy. Every great thing we discuss in class, or that we do at my school for my internship, is agains the background of this enormous loss of confidence, of faith in the system, even of joy.

              The principal gave a speech before the little kids’ annual “peace concert” (we are in a super blue town, in a true blue state) and it made me cry–she talked about the importance of recognizing multiple stories, that everyone in world, everyone in the room, was entitled to have all their stories heard, loved, respected and she promised all the parents (again, remember, majority minority/refugee/immigrant/muslim) that the school would never let them be defined by anyone (unnamed: Trump) by a single story. That in listening to those stories, loving that complexity and that humanity, we would truly all share in paradise. (This was a crib from some woman immigrant writer’s ted talk but DAMN it was beautiful).

              • Thanks for this. Some days are certainly easier than others. I haven’t had any days as bad as the first few after the election, but I have a persistent sense of existential fear that never really goes away. I’m getting afraid that I’m getting used to it, and that thought is kind of scary in its own right. Hopefully things will continue to get easier for me, though. I really don’t want the shitgibbon to be responsible for me having to give up on this degree, because that would be one more way he’d have power over me.

          • efgoldman

            I mean any form of procrastination is not a good idea

            My kid always said she did better under deadline, and now she’s doing daily (web) journamilism.
            But then, this kid did her whole masters thesis, concept to turning it in, in 56 non-stop hours. First draft. Accepted.

            • BartletForGallifrey

              But then, this kid did her whole masters thesis, concept to turning it in, in 56 non-stop hours. First draft. Accepted.

              I hate her. I worship her.

              • I wrote my master’s thesis in 1999. I was in the middle of a student organizing campaign that was starting to turn into a labor organizing campaign. I told my advisor that I might need an extra semester. She was German-American and could really nail the intimidating German look. She made it crystal clear that this was not going to happen. I’m not so easily intimidated but I sure as hell was in that conversation. So I sat down at a computer (in the school computer lab as I didn’t own a computer) and wrote my master’s thesis in a week.

                • mds

                  and wrote my master’s thesis in a week.

                  You kids nowadays. The only reason I didn’t do my entire doctoral dissertation in a week is that my advisor wanted to review a particular chapter early … so I did that one chapter. I actually had to formally delay my appointment to submit the dissertation to the dean’s office because I was still printing out figures that morning. And if I had it all to do over again … I’d say “screw graduate school.” But still.

              • You and me both.

                • BartletForGallifrey

                  It’s ridiculous that I’m supposed to go to class and study and take exams while the world is collapsing around me.

                • I don’t entirely understand how everything hasn’t just been cancelled for the next four-plus months to enable people to get their bearings. Or rather, I do, because it doesn’t affect straight, cis white dudes. Must be nice to have white/male privilege and not have to deal with existential dread because your country just elected a fascist who literally regards you as a second-class citizen. I remember what it was like to have white privilege before the Nazis came out of the woodwork, but it literally feels like an alternate timeline now.

      • SNF

        I seriously thought the gay wedding tweet was a joke for a second. It just read exactly like a liberal parody of what a conservative would believe.

  • AMK

    I have a fantasy that Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain become independents caucusing with the Senate Democrats (giving them the Senate and with it a real block on Trump) in exchange for Dem policy concessions on corporate taxes and a military buildup. Maine and Alaska have elected independents so both women would have a real shot, and McCain is presumably not running again so he doesn’t have to face the GOP base in Arizona.

    • This is disturbingly close to my fantasy of a cross-party oversight coalition.

    • I have a fantasy that the electors just turn around and vote for Hillary and we can all suddenly go back to sleep at night.

      • I do too, but it probably wouldn’t work. Even if they did, the House would almost certainly refuse to confirm the election results. I’m honestly not sure what happens after that but Clinton wouldn’t just waltz into the inauguration.

        • DamnYankees

          Is the House confirming the election results constitutionally required?

          • EliHawk

            According to the 12th Amendment, they merely have to be opened and counted by the President of the Senate (i.e. the incumbent Veep) in the presence of both Houses. There’s no Constitutional provision of Congressional certification, merely:

            “The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.

            The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.

            The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed”

            • Raven667

              What about compromising and instead of focusing Electors on Clinton, get them to put Kaine for VP and get rid of Pence. If anything happens to Trump you have a fixer, and the rest of the time you have a moderating influence.

              • BartletForGallifrey

                Or “literally anyone else”

              • SNF

                If Kaine was VP, that would make Trump immune to impeachment. If Trump has a big enough meltdown/scandal, Republicans could maybe impeach him if they know they’ll get Pence as president. But a Republican Congress would never help a Democratic VP replace a Republican president.

                • pseudalicious

                  I think the cabinet appointments and Pence attending daily intelligence briefings while Trump only attends weekly shows that Trump’s a puppet and Pence expects to be in charge, with The Donald getting a few bones thrown his way (Carson, which… wow, what a shitty bone; clearly he really is the master at the Art of the Deal!). The picks aren’t heterodox (if no one minds me stealing that word) or based on random whims, like Trump’s beliefs are. This doesn’t mean Trump isn’t uniquely dangerous in that he has his finger on the button and for all the other reasons many, many people have enumerated. But it looks like it’s shaking out that Pence is really the president. We’ll see, I guess.

          • mds

            Is the House confirming the election results constitutionally required?

            Only in the sense outlined by the 12th Amendment, as noted by EliHawk. However, as I delight in reiterating ad nauseam, Congress validating the Electoral College results is legally required by 3 U.S. Code § 15, which would allow them to disqualify a state’s electors if (1) there were sufficient grounds to be concerned about irregularities in an electoral slate; or (2) a majority of Congress simply decided to do it for whatever fucking reason they wanted. And then (2) gets us an election thrown into the House and Senate. Gee, I wonder who they’d choose from amongst those eligible by virtue of winning any electoral votes?

        • ploeg

          The Republicans would squawk, and it would get very ugly in a hurry. After all the claptrap about the Electoral College being how we choose presidents and we should take our 2.5 million plus majority and stick it up our posteriors, I don’t see how the Republicans would have a leg to stand on if they get jobbed by these same rules.

          • I actually sincerely hope this happens now purely so I can see the contortions the Republicans and their enablers at Pravda Breitbart and Fox News have to go through to change their positions. I don’t have the slightest hope after this shitty year that it would actually change anything in the long run, but I deserve to be given that much pleasure after living through all this crap.

          • BartletForGallifrey

            it would get very ugly in a hurry.

            What, as opposed to now?

    • efgoldman

      I have a fantasy that Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain become independents caucusing with the Senate Democrats

      Graham, too. They will all make their usual harumphy noises about bi-partisanship and comity and norms, and then vote exactly as Yertle McTurtle needs them to.

  • DamnYankees

    I seriously have no idea what the GOP or Mitch McConnell stand for anymore other than the idea that “their kind of people” should be in charge. What principle is there anymore?

    • As I’ve said several times today, Cleek’s Law. It’s the only principle Republicans need!

    • NBarnes

      It’s a kind of principle.

  • Donald Trump: the radioactive polonium in America’s tea.

    Just wait till the investigations start and Russia leaks the receipts to Wikileaks.

  • urd

    So we should believe Wapo articles based on whispers supposedly from the CIA, and trust them, but anything from the FBI supports high treason.

    This nation deserves the political leaders it has…

    • I tried to do this in a fancy way.

      But I’ll just make it simple.

      What?

      • urd

        (Note, you changed your original response to me, but I’m keeping mine the same.)

        Hardly.

        You even say “if true”. And if true, what about Obama’s role in all of this? Why doesn’t that raise a few eyebrows?

        So while you spend time being outraged about this, like most of the democratic machine, Drumpf is actually putting horrible people in key cabinet positions.

        And while there has been some discussion of his appointments, right now most of the focus is on the Russia connection.

        And no, I don’t believe the US public can focus on two things at once.

        • What?

          • urd

            Is that your position?

            In future please provide some context.

            • Morbo

              no u

    • You may deserve the political leaders we have, you fascist-enabling piece of shit. Those of us who are minorities or women certainly do not.

      • urd

        Please.

        You don’t know me, so don’t presume to know who I am or what I support.

        • I know you spent every minute of the time I saw you posting here running up to the election attacking the only person who was capable of preventing fascism from taking root in this country. That’s all I need to know about you to know that you are an enabler of fascists.

          • urd

            All that my posts indicate is that I wouldn’t sell out my beliefs on the cheap. I won’t support another “business as usual” candidate, which is all she was.

            Preventing fascism? I guess that would depend on where you were living. Her foreign policy stance was hardly one of “preventing fascism”.

            If I were to apply your form of analysis to your comments I’m sure I could say all number of nasty things. But I’d have no real evidence.

            Feel free to keep making stuff up though.

            • William Berry

              Do you have any friends? Are you this big a jerk in real life?

              Goddamn purity trolls. JHFC

              • urd

                Considering I’m not the one throwing out insults, this is really funny.

                And tell me, where did compromising get us? Oh that’s right, Drumpf. Thanks.

                • You started out in this thread by telling us we deserved this. You earned every insult I and others have thrown at you by doing so.

                  I’m polite to people who aren’t dicks. I disagree with TJ about a lot of things, but he’s never been anything but unfailingly polite to me, so I’m kind to him in return. You, on the other hand, are an asshole through and through.

                  And Clinton “compromised” by moving well to the left after Sanders provided a serious primary challenge, but I’m pretty certain that’s not the kind of “compromise” you were talking about.

                • urd

                  Really? I find it hilarious that I’m being lectured about my tone from someone who so easily throws out insults and personal attacks without any backing.

                  Her “compromise” was a sham. I had no faith in it as it was just another policy shift among many that was expedient and never fulfilled.

                • If you can’t handle baseless insults, you really shouldn’t have opened this comment thread with one. And every insult I’ve thrown your way has been richly deserved.

                  Clinton has consistently had one of the highest truthfulness ratings of any politician on fact-checking sites, but you haven’t ever let facts get in the way of your argument in the past, so why would you start now?

                • nixnutz

                  Dude, do you really think insults are more offensive than openly cheerleading for the suffering and oppression of your neighbors?

                  I don’t doubt that you do, you’re clearly an extremely stupid sociopath, but you should at least try some self-examination. I don’t think you’re psychologically capable of doing so, but I invite you to prove me wrong.

                  Be warned though, if you ever do develop the self-awareness of a flatworm you’ll blow your brains out immediately.

                • urd

                  Since I didn’t do any cheer-leading for Drumpf, yes I think insults are more damaging. And feel free to show me where I supported him.

                  More insults. Personal insults are the last refuge of the intellectual coward. Maybe you would like to actually engage me on the discussion at hand?

                • You are in fact cheerleading our suffering and oppression by saying that we deserve him (note that nixnutz did not say “cheerleading Trump”, but reading comprehension and/or honesty are clearly not among your strong suits), but I am not surprised that you do not possess the self-awareness to realise this, because you are extremely stupid.

                • urd

                  I acknowledge my mistake with my inference about Drumpf; however since this is the first time I’ve mentioned deserving what we are getting, that is hardly cheer-leading.

                  And more insults. If you actually had a good argument to go along with it wouldn’t be too bad, but since that is all you have it’s a bit of a problem.

                • Given that you have more than doubled down upon it after being called on it, you certainly are cheerleading. If you showed even the slightest sign of understanding how absolutely monstrous what you said was, I might have eased up a bit on you by now, but with every further response you’re just further cementing my judgement of what a horrible person you are. When called on being an apologist for fascist oppression, you double down on the apologia. No further explanation is needed; you deserve everything I said, and will continue to do so for as long as you pursue this line of argument.

                • BartletForGallifrey

                  And tell me, where did compromising get us? Oh that’s right, Drumpf. Thanks.

                  No, you little shit, purity ponies refusing to compromise got us here.

                • efgoldman

                  Forget it, Cassandra. Apparently some Democrat, somewhere, sometime, ran over a kitten, so we all deserve to die.

                • I hit a squirrel a couple years ago while driving home from work. I didn’t mean to; it darted out in front of me before I even saw it, much less had time to slam on the brakes. Sorry, guys. I guess this was my fault all along.

                • Somehow the worst thing about urd is that it thinks “Drumpf” is still funny.

                • To be fair, I’ve used it some myself, but that’s mostly due to inadvertence, as I haven’t uninstalled the Drumpfinator Chrome extension, and sometimes it gets put into my replies when I edit them. I still find it amusing when peppered into news stories, but I tend to continue finding jokes funny long after their sell-by date has passed. For example, I also still like Doge.

                • rea

                  Urd, of course, along with Ghostship, is a prime suspect for employment by the Russian government.

                • I realise this thread is pretty much dead, but I want to point out how pathetic (t)urd’s attempt to pretend he never called Clinton a fascist is. I explicitly said that Clinton was “the one person who was capable of preventing fascism from taking root in this country” (emphasis added). His attempt to hand-wave his response away after-the-fact is absurd, because pointing to conditions in other countries as a response to a statement about fascism in this one doesn’t even make sense. Just another reason he’s a dishonest sack of shit.

                  I suspect rea’s interpretation is right. Probably a Russian troll.

            • You are an idiot and an atrocious human being on so many levels it is astounding.

              Clinton’s foreign policy cannot on any realistic level be described as “fascist”. The term effectively has no meaning if it is used to describe her relatively moderate foreign policy. Meanwhile, the PPEOTUS has literally endorsed nuclear proliferation, preemptive nuclear strikes, killing innocent family members of terrorists, theft of other countries’ natural resources, and countless other war crimes.

              The PPEOTUS was endorsed by the KKK, and actual neo-Nazis are cheering his “victory”. Thousands of hate crimes have been committed since the election. “The president-elect grabs pussies, so I can too” is an actual thing men say now, and there has been an epidemic of sexual assaults among schoolchildren. And on and on. Women and minorities, including myself, are existentially terrified. I’m looking into getting citizenship elsewhere because my ancestors ended up in concentration camps in the ’30s and ’40s and I don’t want even the remotest risk of having the same thing happen to me. Israel, which I regard as an apartheid state, is looking increasingly attractive because it is the one place in the world where I can be certain anti-Semites will never take power. That’s how terrified I am.

              But instead, you spent the entirety of your posts here tearing down the one person who could have stopped this, and you’re telling us we deserve this. You are a garbage human being with garbage opinions and I will continue to call you out as the garbage you are. You deserve whatever misfortune happens to you in a Drumpf administration, and I mean that with all sincerity.

              • urd

                And you double down on the insults and knowing anything about me.

                Sure it can. Just as one example, she had no issue with the fascists in the Ukraine. Her policy seems to be that of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. No matter how odious. And yes, because he is stupid enough to say such things out loud. I have no idea what Clinton’s real position is on these matters, but I know she is smart enough to never say it in public.

                And you bring this up because? I’ve never once voiced any support for Drumpf. You say you are terrified. Yet I see no outrage from you on the very real matter of what the democratic reaction had been to Drumpf’s cabinet positions, as they seem much more concerned with the Russia matter. And where is Obama?

                I don’t pull my punches. Clinton was a deeply flawed candidate that should have never been elevated to the political position she was. And yes, we deserve this. For roughly a decade this nation has passively sat by while our government has abused not only its own citizens but those around the world. While outrage against the government was in vogue when Bush the younger was in charge, that all changed when Obama was elected.

                Karma’s a bitch. With the exception of those who demonstrated and put their bodies on the line in the streets, we all deserve whatever misfortune comes from his administration.

                • If supporting fascists in other countries makes a person a fascist, probably every single president going back at least to Eisenhower is a fascist. Your definition is idiotic and completely waters down the meaning of the word.

                  I quite frankly have bigger fish to fry right now than the shitgibbon’s cabinet appointments, like devising an exit strategy in case the Shoah Mk. II starts up, but contrary to your dishonest insinuations about me, I have in fact been addressing them, and have been quite scathing about them, such as this comment I made not twenty minutes ago. But sure, I’m not out in streets protesting. I have a job and school and other shit to do. Not all of us can be out on the streets putting our bodies on the line.

                  Obama certainly isn’t perfect, but drawing a false equivalence between him and this is the height of dishonesty. The fact that people had better things to worry about than drone strikes isn’t a huge condemnation of this country, because no matter how much you pretend that both parties are the same, his foreign policy and domestic policies were both nowhere near as destructive as Bush’s. No matter how much you fuck the “Democrats aren’t liberal enough!” chicken, most people don’t give a shit, because most people aren’t to the left of Obama.

                  I did plenty of things to help stop the spread of fascism. I volunteered for HRC. I donated to her and to ActBlue several times. I voted for her, which is more than you fucking did. Tell me, what did you do to stop fascism? The least you could have done was vote for the one person who could have prevented it. You didn’t fucking do that, so don’t lecture me about what I “deserve”. You may not have explicitly voiced support for Trump, but that’s what the term “useful idiot” was devised for. Though it’s probably not an accurate descriptor of you, since I can’t imagine anyone ever thinking of you as useful. You didn’t do the bare minimum needed to stop fascism, and you share the blame for it.

                • urd

                  I’m seeing a lot of words but it all boils down to two things: you violently disagree with me and are willing to do a lot of mental gymnastics to avoid looking at the facts that complicate your world view.

                  But as you say, you have bigger fish to fry.

                • Translation: “I have no rebuttal to any of your arguments, so I will simply dismiss them without bothering to cite a single fact to support my own arguments.” Your concession is accepted.

            • econoclast

              Well, urd, you help elect a fascist, so nobody gives a shit what you think.

              • EliHawk

                It’s really a shame the t on his keyboard doesn’t work. For accuracy’s sake.

              • urd

                And your proof of this is?

                You like making shit up, don’t you?

                • A vote for a third party is a vote for Trump. Duverger’s Law is not difficult to understand. Even if your vote personally didn’t contribute to the outcome (which we have no reason to take for granted given your history of dishonesty), you encouraged others to vote likewise, which certainly did.

                • BartletForGallifrey

                  you encouraged others to vote likewise, which certainly did

                  This. Even if your state genuinely is “safe” (or lost, e.g. Oklahoma), if you did something other than vehemently urge people in other states to vote for Clinton, you’re culpable.

                  I suppose someone who lives in Idaho or California and voted for Jill but never told anyone about it and didn’t badmouth Clinton is fine, but I also suppose that the number of people in that category is in the double digits.

            • JMP

              You were very clear that you were supporting Donald Trump, the fascist, by voting third party, so this is in fact your fault. But please keep being self-righteous even though you are one of the bad guys.

              • urd

                And it is very clear you don’t have a clue. I live in a state that is so blue it went for Clinton almost immediately after the polls closed.

                But don’t let facts get in the way of your narrative.

                • Clinton couldn’t possibly have lost PA, either, and yet she did. There is no such thing as a safe state.

                  In any case, poisoning the well in online discourse by tearing down the one person who could have stopped fascism certainly wasn’t helping prevent fascism, either.

                • urd

                  Wrong. There were several safe states. Where do you thing the bulk of her popular vote count victory is coming from?

                  Are you serious? My comments here were “poisoning the well”? You have to be fucking kidding me. This has to be the weakest argument you have made to date.

                • All states that come out with large margins are safe in retrospect. PA was considered safe before the election. So were WI and MI. Clearly, none of them were. Meanwhile, several states that Republicans considered safe were closer than several states that are frequently considered swing states. Assuming any state is safe is asinine.

                  And yes, your continued attacks on Clinton here were indeed intended to damage her credibility. You are, in fact, still doing it by accusing her of being a fascist. This is literally cited on Wikipedia as being a textbook example of said logical fallacy. If you want to split hairs by saying it’s simply an ad hominem rather than poisoning the well, fair enough, but regardless, your attacks on Clinton have been entirely substance-free here. Then again, so have all your other attacks, so it’s par for the course, really.

                • urd

                  PA and WI should have never been considered safe. There is ample evidence that local democratic officials in these states were seriously concerned about the situation. Their fears fell on deaf ears.

                  And no, there were safe states. Please look at the vote totals for the west coast, as one example.

                  Hardly, I didn’t call her a fascist; I said she had no issues with supporting fascists:

                  Just as one example, she had no issue with the fascists in the Ukraine. Her policy seems to be that of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

                  Maybe you need to brush up on your reading skills as well.

                • You flat-out stated that getting Clinton elected would not be “preventing fascism”:

                  Preventing fascism? I guess that would depend on where you were living.

                  But sure, you didn’t explicitly call her a fascist. You just strongly implied she was one. When the dictionary defines “distinction without a difference”, they should point to your comment.

                  Media sources and polls considered PA and WI safe. There was not a single poll that had WI down throughout the entire course of the election. Without the FSB/FBI ratfucking, maybe the polls would have been accurate. But the problem is that black swan events are not predictable. Daesh could also have carried out another 9/11 on November 7. Because we can’t predict what happens late in an election, there is no such thing as a safe state.

                • urd

                  One of your opening statements was that she was our best hope to stop fascism. I disagreed and gave an example. That is hardly me calling her a fascist, no matter how you twist it

                  Media sources? Are you serious? Why the hell would anyone believe them? The “media” has been useless for years. There was enough information out there before the election that should have raised alarms about the “safety” of these states. And trying to support your position with the

                  the FSB/FBI ratfucking

                  is weak as these states had issues regardless.

                  Still sticking to that “no safe state” position? Pity reality does not back you up. Counterfactuals, aren’t they great? You might not want to rely on them to make your argument though.

                • So are you doing anything useful to stop fascism? Or are you part of the problem?

                • urd

                  Well I guess the real question is what would count in your eyes? I’m sure there is a purity test to be applied.

                • You tell me what you’ve done to fight fascism. Anything.

                • JMP

                  Keep telling yourself that, but in fact living in a non-close state does not in fact absolve one of supporting Trum by going third party, and encouraging others to do the same.

                  In 2000, I was living in Chicago which is in a safely Democratic state. That doesn’t absolve me of my responsibility for electing George Bush by voting for Ralph Nader, which remains the worst thing I’ve done in my life and the single action I most regret. How anyone who voted Nader in 2000 or Stein can be so self-centered and incapable of admitting fault as to not only not regret it but actually still claim that what they did was justified is beyond me, but I do know those people are all total shits.

                • If you weren’t implying that Clinton was a fascist, then you were implying Drumpf isn’t one, or that there is no meaningful distinction between the two. There is really no other credible way to read your argument other than as dismissing any difference between the two candidates, which, frankly, is proof that I’ve wasted all this time I’ve spent in this comment thread. And yet here I am.

                  The media is largely useless, I agree, but I did, in fact, cite polls as well, and despite the overall failure of state polling this cycle, national polling turned out to be almost entirely dead-on.

                  Given that Clinton’s margin of loss within PA, WI, and MI combined was within five digits, it is impossible to make a remotely credible argument that the Comey letters did not swing the election, because her poll numbers worsened every time he released one, no matter how much you wish to say “lalala counterfactual”.

                  Besides, you started with the counterfactuals by saying there was no way Clinton could have lost your state. Obviously, you know in retrospect that she won your state (and we have to take your word for it that she won your state, which, since you haven’t been terribly truthful about many other things, isn’t something I’m willing to accept purely on faith), but in retrospect, you had no way of knowing that she was definitely going to win it at the time.

                • urd

                  You’re the one that keeps going on about Nader costing Gore the election in 2000, right?

                  If so, it explains so much about your comment.

                  People like you are why we keep repeating the past.

                • JMP

                  Just as one example, she had no issue with the fascists in the Ukraine.

                  Oh goody, it’s the Putin propaganda lie that the legitimate government of Ukraine that Russia tried to depose were somehow “fascist”. Also, when someone calls the country Ukraine “the Ukraine” they kind of prove that they know nothing about it.

                • People like you are why we keep repeating the past.

                  Yes, I’m the reason we’re repeating the past. You may as well be saying, “Nach Hitler, uns.”

                • urd

                  Hardly; I was responding to you self centered view that she would prevent fascism from taking root in this country with no regard to how it could affect other countries.

                  I didn’t use a counterfactual in stating that there was no way Clinton could have lost my state. And since you don’t know where I live, you have no idea what the polling and final vote number were. Another weak argument.

                • We can’t directly do anything about fascism in other countries, because we do not have input into their electoral processes, if they even have them. We can do something about fascism in ours. Your comment was, at best, a red herring, which, when discussing fascism in this country and the very real suffering it will bring to hundreds of millions of people here, is a monstrous diversion.

                  You have lied about countless other things, so I have no reason to take your assertion about Clinton’s final results in your state for granted. Even if Clinton won it by millions of votes, you have no way of knowing some last-minute terrorist attack wouldn’t cause a depression in turnout and a freak upset, or any of a number of other unforeseeable black swan events, so you are in fact relying on counterfactuals. Before you write that off as implausible, everyone dismissed the idea of President-Elect Shitgibbon as implausible as late as two months ago, so clearly predicting the future is not an act anyone should take for granted.

                • urd

                  Your belief that we can’t do anything about fascism in other countries is part of the problem. You focus on one aspect of control, without looking at any other methods. While it wasn’t strict fascism, was this also your position on the situation in South Africa?

                  When you have to resort to a terrorist attack to support your argument, you really have nothing left. Something worse than insults; impressive.

                • The statements “We have no input into other countries’ electoral processes” and “We have no direct input into other countries’ electoral processes” are not equivalent, and you are being dishonest by claiming I said the former. I strongly dislike weasel words, so when I use qualifiers, they are almost always there for a reason. We have direct control over our own country’s political process in the form of elections. We do not have direct control over the form of other countries’ political processes. We can exercise indirect influence over how our government affects other countries in the form of petitioning congresspeople and government officials and the like, but that is not anything like electing officials. The distinction is important, and it is unsurprising that it is lost on you.

                  I am also not surprised that you dismiss the possibility of a terrorist attack, despite the fact that San Bernardino and Pulse, amongst others, happened within the last two years. I am a queer person who lives less than 150 miles away from the Pulse nightclub, but, y’know, don’t let that stop you from making grotesque dismissals of the various dangers women and minorities face. It’s not as if you haven’t been doing that already for this whole comment thread.

            • MyNameIsZweig

              All that my posts indicate is that I wouldn’t sell out my beliefs on the cheap.

              On … the … cheap ..?

              I think we’re actually going to all end up paying a very dear price for the purity of your precious snowflake beliefs.

              You selfish bastard.

              • urd

                I’m the selfish bastard?

                That’s hilarious. How many times were people like me told that Clinton was to best choice? And who is president now?

                Selfish indeed.

                • There are plenty of people in this thread who did everything they could to stop a fascist from being elected. They will now suffer greatly in part because of the selfishness of people who were too pure to stomach voting for a candidate they regarded as imperfect.

                  You are not in the former category of people, so kindly go fuck yourself with a rusty chainsaw.

                • JMP

                  Who is President now? Barack Obama still, but soon it will be the complete monster who you fucking supported and encouraged other people to support, that’s who. But keep lying and trying to deny responsibility for your own actions.

                • urd

                  Touche. That is a god point; I spoke incorrectly. Obama is still president.

                  Again with the

                  you fucking supported and encouraged other people to support

                  without a single cite to that fact.

                  You might try using facts to support your arguments.

                • JMP

                  I like how urd demands cites when on this very thread he admits to voting third party, which is supporting Trump.

                • urd

                  Please explain to me how voting third party in a safe sate is supporting Drumpf?

                  I’d really love to see that logical proof, as your entire “you supported Drumpf” argument depends on it.

                • JMP

                  Voting for a nutcase instead of the only legitimate candidate running against Trump is in fact supporting him, and going on and on about how much you hated that candidate and spreading lies about her is encouraging others not to vote for her and supporting Trump.

                  This is not controversial. Third party voting in America’s electoral system is support for the candidate you nominally claim to oppose. You just keep denying this basic fact and demanding other people prove it because you don’t want to admit to being a self-centered prick who puts your own ego above the good of the country.

                • urd

                  I spread lies about Clinton? When?

                  And I did a write in vote for Sanders, but thanks for proving what happens when people make assumptions.

                  And I’m afraid I didn’t see anything close to a logical argument in your comment. A lot of self righteous rage, but nothing useful.

                  But keep blaming people like me for the democrats failure; that is if you want to keep repeating the past and the near future.

                • The fact that you do not qualify Sanders as “a nutcase” does not change the fact that you wasted your vote and strongly encouraged others to do likewise, and does not absolve you of responsibility for the election’s outcome, no matter how much you wish it does. Duverger’s Law is not a secret and it is not difficult to understand.

        • Hogan

          You’ve consistently crapped all over Clinton and Clinton supporters. Under the circumstances, we can make a fair guess.

          • urd

            And your guess would be wrong. Pity the world doesn’t work the way you think it should.

            • Hogan

              So you’re gutless too. Good to know.

  • Hells Littlest Angel

    … Russian agents hacked GOP emails as well but didn’t make use of what they acquired.

    If they used it to blackmail Republicans, we wouldn’t necessarily know about it.

  • West of the Cascades

    To try to sleep at night, I am hanging my thin hopes for the next several years on about five to ten Republican Senators. I made a list:

    Republicans Who Might Not Destroy The Healthcare System, Medicare, and Social Security

    Collins (R, ME) – 2020 – alleged moderate, opposed Trump
    Flake (R, AZ) – 2018 – sometimes moderate, state has lots of olds & poor, Medicaid expansion state (by R Governor!), opposed Trump, up for reelection in 2018 in D-trending state
    Rubio (R, FL) – 2022 – state has lots of olds, wants to be President
    Heller (R, NV) – 2018 – up for reelection in D-controlled state, opposed Trump
    Murkowski (R, AK) – 2022 – sometimes moderate, state depends on fed $$, opposed Trump
    Graham (R, SC) – 2020 – not always horrible, opposed Trump
    Sasse (R, NE) – 2020 – opposed Trump
    Portman (R, OH) – 2022 – not always horrible, opposed Trump
    Crapo (R, ID) – 2022 – not always horrible
    Alexander (R, TN) – 2020 – actually pretty uniformly horrible, although did not use to be
    Corker (R, TN) – 2018 – doesn’t always say horrible things, up for reelection in 2018

    Basically, we are fucked, but there is a very slim hope that enough of these people with all 48 D + I Senators will prevent the fucking from being absolute and apocalyptic.

    • I cannot believe that we’re in the situation of hoping that Lindsay fucking Graham will help defend us from a fascist putsch.

      • EliHawk

        Given what state he’s from, I’d thank god for Lindsay Fucking Graham every chance I get. Given South Carolina, we could have had one more Jeff Sessions in the Senate for the last 14 years. The fact that SC’s sent a semi-moderate, somewhat reasonable person is a fluke of amazing proportions.

        • Graham and Haley are pretty decent, given what SC is capable of producing. It looked for awhile before the election like SC might be getting less horrible this year, but I have no faith that fair elections will ever again be a thing in this country, so they probably won’t.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          Lord. I guess Lindsey Graham *is* what passes for semi-moderate and somewhat reasonable these days.

          • Graham is actually only really terrible on foreign policy issues. He’s actually downright reasonable on a lot of other issues. He’s been consistently critical of Trump, at least, which is more than I can say for most other Republicans these days.

          • pseudalicious

            Terrifying.

      • Bootsie

        Graham’s been fed-up with how the GOP insists on basically sitting and doing nothing instead of actually trying to implement their agenda for the past eight years.

    • mds

      Sasse (R, NE) – 2020 – opposed Trump

      For being a RINO basically indistinguishable from Clinton. He is a monstrous theocratic asshole whom you should pin no hopes of reason or moderation on. We really need to stop fetishizing these Randian Jesus far-right shitstains like Sasse, Lee, and Amash.

  • scott_theotherone

    Have things really changed enough that someone—no, not just someone, but the president-elect, which is to say a very famous someone with absolutely no power yet—with Trump’s baggage can openly claim that an intelligence agency is incompetent and dishonest? I gotta say, I will not at all be entirely surprised if some very, VERY compromising evidence, the likes of which we haven’t come close to seeing yet, against Trump turns up in the next week or two. And I’m talking stuff like photographs including underage individuals and such, so not the kind of thing that any but his most rabid 27% of supporters can ignore.

    Then again, maybe not. This year has proven that there’s nothing horrific and unbelievable that can’t come true.

    • dl

      And I’m talking stuff like photographs including underage individuals and such, so not the kind of thing that any but his most rabid 27% of supporters can ignore.

      that photo’s already out there…and his own daughter no less! ;)

    • Davis X. Machina

      Have things really changed enough that someone—no, not just someone, but the president-elect, which is to say a very famous someone with absolutely no power yet—with Trump’s baggage can openly claim that an intelligence agency is incompetent and dishonest?

      People on the left do it all the time. They’re just not famous

    • SNF

      Trump won the election only a month after confessing to serial sexual assault.

      I hope you’re right that something like that would destroy him, but it’s just as likely that it would result in outrage for a week, and then age of consent would become a partisan issue.

      • pseudalicious

        Yep. Guys, he raped a thirteen year old girl. A thirteen year old girl. And she had to retract due to death threats. His followers love them some rape, as long as they get to be the rapists.

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