FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2019
The species is wired this way, several experts have said: Would Donald J. Trump accept information from a foreign government during a White House campaign?
Presumably, yes, he would. (If you're six years old, feel free to call it "dirt.")
This prospect seems less upsetting to us than it does to everyone else. That may be because we understand what "information" is.
That said, we probably don't want foreign intelligence services trying to play active roles in our presidential campaigns. In a related point, we presumably don't want to encourage the use of stolen information or materials in such campaigns.
That said, we've yet to hear a coherent discussion of this whole conundrum. In theory, Congress is trying to craft a law which would more clearly define the outlines of permissible behavior, but we've seen no one who's able to deal with the complexities of this matter in a coherent manner.
Should we ban information from foreign governments? Should we ban information from foreign nationals? How is a campaign supposed to know if a foreign national is operating on behalf of a foreign government?
In the case of the nothing-burger Trump Tower meeting, was the Russkie lawyer so behaving? For what it's worth, the Mueller report didn't state a conclusion on that point one way or the other.
By the way, foreign governments can simply release information if they want it to be released. They don't have to set up secret meetings to pass it to someone's campaign.
Concerning the receipt of information from foreign nationals, we heard an explanation on CNN today which really took the cake. The presentation was of course accepted as if it made perfect sense.
We'll show you the transcript tomorrow, but Donald Trump is hardly the only public figure whose statements and analyses almost never make any sense. Our mainstream press corps has functioned that way for at least three decades now. Trump has merely taken their mental disorder to the next dangerous level.
Trump's exchange with George Stephanopoulos has set off a semi-hysterical pseudo-discussion which has been incoherent even by press corps norms. Tomorrow, we'll try to discuss some of the basic ins and outs of this latest old-fashioned scare.
Nicolle Wallace and her gang of favorites and elves have been especially sad. "This is the way the species was wired," well-known future anthropologists have despondently said.
In related matters: In related matters, women receive no pay for equal work and you're in a segregated school if there are any kids there at all. We learned these things on cable news from our very best crackpots and pals.
I tend to kinda sorta agree that the Trump Tower Meeting was something of a nothing burger, or that the players could say they were new to the game and could get a slap on the wrist. The President bold faced lying through the campaign that he had nothing to do with the Russians, however, is a double whopper with evil cheese, and of course that is only one item on the junk food for the soul feast. Bob is too wimpy to gaze at what Trump still obscures, the pain of Rachel Maddow being essentially correct through all of this would hurt a lot! So he lets Trump plead insanity and tries to avert his eyes.ReplyDelete
Using the word “information” is misleading. If someone offered to you that “Hillary likes puppies and her favorite treat is ice cream” that would be of no use. Campaigns want *negative* or harmful information about their opponents. That is the definition of “dirt.” Plus it takes a lot less space to write it, and less time to say it.ReplyDelete
“we probably don't want foreign intelligence services trying to play active roles in our presidential campaigns”ReplyDelete
Probably? Somerby has clearly thought this through. Hence, the lack of certainty.
But what does the statement mean? A “foreign intelligence service” isn’t an entity that comes knocking on your door. A person, like say a Veselnitskaya, knocks on your door. That person wouldn’t say “hi, I work for the KGB and I have some info.” That person, working as an agent of an intelligence service, would also be an employee of the foreign government that runs the intelligence agency.
Which leads to...
“How is a campaign supposed to know if a foreign national is operating on behalf of a foreign government?”
Hmm. That’s a tough one. Let me check with my source at the FBI to see if they can provide an answer to that question.
To summarize, if a campaign doesn’t know for sure if a person is an agent of a foreign intelligence service, and we “probably” don’t want foreign intelligence services meddling in our election, wouldn’t it be better to just reject the info and not find ourselves in some sort of quid pro quo arrangement with that individual/government/agency?
“By the way, foreign governments can simply release information if they want it to be released. They don't have to set up secret meetings to pass it to someone's campaign. “ReplyDelete
So true. But...
Did Russia do that in 2016? (No.)
Extra points for anyone who can think of a reason why a foreign government might not want to openly release dirt about, say, a candidate in another country’s presidential race.
I think you're going to say because they don't want their finger prints on the release. Of course they would have ways to accomplish that other than going through an opposition campaign.Delete
You might also suggest the foreign government would want an opposition candidate beholden to it. There again, it could offer to release the information through its own channels after offering to do so in secret to a candidate as a part of a quid pro quo agreement or just as a good faith gesture.
Best a candidate or a candidate's party not be subject to an embarrassing exposure by a foreign government to begin with, but regardless of how opposition candidates are constrained there's really not much to be done about it if a foreign government has a highly sophisticated intelligence service it can direct. That's why, ultimately, democracies are least vulnerable to such interference when they demand the greatest transparency from their governments, politicians, bureaucrats, and special interest groups.
“there's really not much to be done about it if a foreign government has a highly sophisticated intelligence service it can direct.“Delete
We would suggest, first of all, that a presidential candidate not lie about foreign involvements, and not agree to accept secret help from “foreign nationals”, or publicly ask Russia to hack his opponent.
Aside from that, in terms of election hacking through cyberattacks, there is very definitely more that we could be doing. They are sophisticated, but so are we, supposedly. The Russian hacking was at least as serious, if not more so, than Trump’s collusion with them. The Russians penetrated some state election databases. We should not throw up our hands and say “welp, not much we can do.” We are a clever sophisticated nation. We very much should be doing better, but our moron in chief and the supine GOP are not lifting a finger to protect the integrity of our elections as long as they think they benefit from the meddling.
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I don't think Trump is accused of having anything to do with the hacking of state data bases.Delete
As far as protecting democracy at the polls, the essential requirement is for re-countable paper ballots, including provisional ballots, to be in use everywhere. No electronic voting.
The registration rolls themselves will remain somewhat vulnerable to hacking or gaming and that requires that a provisional ballot process must, also, be in place everywhere and scrupulously carried out as a fail-safe.
Trump's people gave Russians polling data for precincts in states that were hacked, e.g. Florida.Delete
6:03 neither party is lifting a finger to protect the " integrity of our elections" which are essentially bought and paid for by special interests and the corporate sector whose interests are at odds with the interests of ordinary people like you and me.Delete
That is why you get decades of endless war, predatory lending, skyrocketing healthcare etc etc from both parties.
"but Donald Trump is hardly the only public figure whose statements and analyses almost never make any sense"ReplyDelete
Actually, dear Bob, on average he makes a whole lot more sense than any think-tank-concocted focus-group-tested lawyers-vetted bullshit I ever heard from your zombie kingpins.
Donald J Chickenshit, Acting President loves America. How do we know this?Delete
1. He dry humps the American flag in public whenever the mood hits him.
2. He has invented a new holiday to celebrate patriotism in which he himself will be the featured attraction. Coincidentally there will be a fireworks display at the Mall on the very same day.
Mao, how's the weather in the Crimea this time of year?
Whataboutism is NOT a fallacy and it offers a useful method to restore a measure of sanity.ReplyDelete
Hillary Clinton sought information about Trump from . . . a British spy who purported to be talking to Russian "sources". If there is some principle that applies to both and Trump looks worse, I am unaware of it.
Faux outrage requires pundits to adopt and discard fake "norms" and never, ever describe politics as it is. The notion that some purity test ought to apply to "contacts" is not an ethic. If either Trump or Clinton could be trusted, I would like to see some evidence to that effect. This partisan wrangling is rooted in denial about elite irresponsibility and betrayal that covers both Parties and the Media.
The DNC paid for the Steele report. Trump got his help for free, which is an FEC violation. Thr Steele report was turned over to the FBI. Trump lied about all his Russian help and even his contacts. Mueller report is the evidence. Clinton did nothing wrong. Trump did.Delete
"...denial about elite irresponsibility and betrayal that covers both Parties and the Media"Delete
There's the so-called "elite" (the institutions you're talking about) and there is the ruling class.
The "elite" serves the ruling class. That's normal. Typically, the ruling class is comprised of domestic business interests. But these days the liberal "elite" (of both "parties") serves the global finance.
And that's how you get this sense of "betrayal", I think.
"Mueller report is the evidence."Delete
Evidence of what? Please provide specific sources.
I understand that liberals (eek!!) that I have never heard of, have way more influence than your favorite nut,Trump. But please discard your disguise as a liberal.
That assertion is a lie and you know it.
Stop hiding behind black children in Baltimore from 30-40 years ago (you abandoned them) and embrace your true beliefs.
Thanks in advance.
Yet another excerpt from my memoirs relates to this topic:Delete
"... With the sheer number of people packed into the lobby, the air was stale and musky. The setting could not be better for my unveiling of my latent superpowers.
The sounds of anticipatory chatter filled the small lobby. I felt the pressure building inside me. I decided that it was time to reveal the power I had over the room.
Without any more hesitation, I dropped a massive yet silent bomb of intestinal gas among the party-goers.
As the circumference spread throughout the crowded room, people reacted through a combination of covering their noses, coughing, and obvious verbal disgust.
Within one minute, the room was completely empty. Thus is my superpower.