Thursday, 6/8/17, Public Square

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10 Comments

by | June 8, 2017 · 7:47 am

10 responses to “Thursday, 6/8/17, Public Square

  1. Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station says:

    Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing: Comey Testimony

    A lot of my readers have pinned their hopes on today.

    I know this because they’ve written to me about it. Left and Right.
    My predication for today: Massive Meh.

    Comey is a cagey son of a bitch. He’s a professional spook, half cop, half intelligence agent. He’s not Trump’s friend, but he for goddamned sure isn’t your friend either. He’s got some kind of agenda, but it’s very likely not anything you could guess.

    If you’re expecting James Comey to hand you Donald Trump’s head on a golden platter with an apple stuffed in his mouth, I suspect you’re about to be disappointed.

    If you’re expecting James Comey to forcefully end speculation regarding Russian interference in our election process, I suspect you’re about to be disappointed.

    To be blunt: Most Americans don’t even know what any of this is about.
    They can’t wrap their head around the fact that there are two things going on here. Those things are related, but separate.

    One is possible deliberate collusion between Trump (or his campaign) and Russia to diddle the election.

    Despite what a lot of you would like, that’s unlikely. Members of Trump’s campaign and his staff, certainly, have ties to Russian interests. No doubt. And it’s shady as hell, BUT that is not the same as collusion or election tampering.

    The other is actual Russian manipulation of the election.

    “Manipulation” can mean many things in this case, from hacking of voting machines or vote tally systems (unlikely) to information operations via social media designed to influence the voting public (VERY likely) and a variety of things in between including the infusion of soft money into various campaigns (likely and not even illegal).

    The problem is this: the members of this committee are just about the last people qualified to investigate any kind of “hacking” and the very fact that they’re using words like “hacking” should tell you that. Not one of them has even the vaguest understanding of directed information warfare or bot farms or troll factories or even the slightest inkling of how Facebook and Twitter and Instagram shape public perception. And not one of them, not ONE left or right, of these politicians are going to do a goddamned thing about the shadowy gray process that finances their political careers and THAT is the ONLY thing you can count on.

    When it comes to this subject, the honest truth of the matter is foreign nations attempt to influence the make-up of our government all of the time, see Saudi Arabia, Israel, China et al, with varying degrees of legality. We should be less concerned with sticking it to Trump and a lot more concerned with the security our election process by ensuring the integrity of our physical voting systems, access to voting for all eligible citizens, firewalls against manipulation of the voting public, and more than anything else: a complete overhaul of campaign financing.

    Folks, eventually this farce is going to peter out to a thin trickle like John McCain taking a piss, disappointing and unsatisfying, a lot of groaning and the job half done. They’re not going to impeach Trump, they’re not going to “invalidate” the election, they’re not going to produce a smoking Russian gun. They’ll rant and they’ll rave and they make proclamations, they’ll spend a lot of money and give the press a good show, but in the end they won’t even find a plump intern and an illegal blowjob.

  2. Rick Liebst

    Overall it is the staunch, that smell of something rotten and might be out of sight. Or even hidden, more then likely that. Though it seems that either they are just so stupid or the general public is. The me-me of, “It is not the American people who elects the President it is the Electoral college that does”. So of course then the obvious question would be why have these expensive election and even campaigns if the vote of the general population does not count? Or cut out the middle man and simply have these elections for the electoral college members? So each state would have an election every say five years for the electoral college members. OK it is beginning to sound like the Soviet union huh? Perhaps the soviets are not just influencing the election HUH?

  3. In light of Trump’s plan for the nation being identical to what Brownback did to Kansas I am tickled to see national coverage of the Kansas story. The country could learn a lot from studying this states’ woes.

    Kansas’ Disastrous Experiment in Trickle-Down Economics Is Finally Over
    The Republican Legislature voted to override the governor’s veto and raise taxes.
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/06/kansas-disastrous-experiment-in-trickle-down-economics-is-finally-over/

  4. Thunderchild

    The resident is now into his fourth largest tweet drought for him. Historically, he goes into silence on the Twitter when things are not going well for him.

    Things are not going well for him.
    Oh the right IS crowing that this is vindication! Their boy won the day! But they kinda HAVE to do that. When you are a Republican, you have to convince folks that in the room full of horseshit you give them, there is gonna be a PONY!
    But the underlying news is not good at all for them.
    Jeff Sessions is now implicated. He will be deposed soon.
    And history teaches us, the child in chief cannot keep his mouth shut. By the time you read this, I’ve little doubt there will have been another before dawn tweet storm. He can’t help himself. He is now exposed as a liar. Reactionary that he is, he is gonna hit back.

    • Rick Liebst

      “you have to convince folks that in the room full of horseshit you give them, there is gonna be a PONY!” Now that made me chuckle, new one.

      • Rick Liebst

        I think I make have to use that in the next battle I get into with a trump supporter.

    • I chuckled at that line too, and it’s still a good day when I can manage to laugh even when the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

      • Thunderchild

        I cant take credit for the line. It comes from one of Reagans writers, 30 + years ago. And it is gaining traction again. The idea that if your situation is bad, it is your fault, and you must find your own solution. This, at the time, was paired with another bromide, ” The words you should fear most are I am here from the Government to help you”
        This is the secret of Republicans in general and Trump supporters in PARTICULAR. “Help” is not help, it is slavery. This is why so many desperate people vote for someone like Trump or Republicans in general. They have been schooled to blame themselves for their own suffering and misery. Cruelly, the right often invokes “God” in this as well. If you are hurting, you are not right with God.
        I don’t understand why this strategy has WORKED for them, but it does. And it is working for them again. And this is frankly scary. Because for the sick religious, Trump is God made and God sent to govern. For the not so religious right, Trump is what they aspire to. Why, if they could learn to be just as greedy, manipulative and criminal as he has, why they could be billonaires too!
        And that is how you get the miserable to toil in a world of shit, looking for a pony. And when they don’t find that pony, they will blame first the Government and turn their righteous anger not finding it on everyone else, except the voice that tells them, “just keep looking! It’s there!”

  5. “Here’s the basic problem the country now faces: If you believe that Comey — whatever his faults and whatever his errors may be — is an honorable and decent human being, what do these three hours of testimony convey about the group of people in charge of what the Constitution quaintly calls ‘the Executive Power’ of the country in which we live?

    One way or another, we have to face the fact that we have a president about whom the FBI director, after meeting him once, began writing memos to file, because he did not trust him to tell the truth about their interactions or to respect the functioning of law enforcement — and that this seems, given the ‘nature of the person,’an entirely prudent course of conduct.”

    https://lawfareblog.com/nature-person-initial-thoughts-james-comeys-testimony

  6. Robert Reich says:

    Trump plans to file complaints with the inspector general of the Justice Department and the Senate Judiciary Committee, seeking an investigation into James Comey’s “leak” of his memo documenting a conversation with Trump to a friend, to be shared with the New York Times.

    This is utter rubbish. Anyone can report on a conversation with the president, as long as the conversation isn’t classified. And Comey’s notes didn’t include classified information.

    By initiating an investigation of Comey, Trump is creating more trouble for himself:

    1. Trump’s act of initiating this investigation of Comey because Trump didn’t like Comey’s testimony could itself be considered an effort to obstruct justice.

    2. In the context of whistleblower laws (which I used to enforce), this act could be both evidence of retaliation and, under some laws, considered an adverse retaliatory act itself. Comey could be considered an employee who is blowing the whistle on his former boss. That boss wants to punish him for doing so. That’s illegal.

    3. Presumably, Trump is doing this to intimidate others who might be tempted to talk about unclassified conversations they had with him. Such an effort at future intimidation could also be considered illegal — both as a further effort to obstruct justice and as a violation of the whistleblower laws.

    Trump has an uncanny ability, when he’s dug himself into a hole, to keep digging. He continues to be his own worst enemy.

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