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Monday, December 19, 2016


1.  Google your two senators and get their office phone numbers.

2.  Call each one, identify yourself as a constituent [they love that], and urge the senator [by way of the staffer who answers the phone, of course] to support the call by Senators McCain and Schumer for a select bipartisan committee to investigate Russia's interference in the election.  Make it clear that you will not be satisfied with Senator McConnell';s proposal for a regular [i.e., Republican controlled] committee.

A tiny thing, but it takes no time at all.


Anonymous said...

People should not do this. Anything that gives Republicans like McCain more luster is a bad idea. There aren't any Republican good guys.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I leave it to each reader to make his or her own choice of tactics. I think we are pretty much in agreement on ends.

s. wallerstein said...

It doesn't matter whether McCain is a good guy or not. We're not choosing role models for our kids here. If backing McCain's proposal for a bipartisan committee serves the cause of subverting Trump and Trumpism, then it's the right thing to back.

Anonymous said...

It's absolutely critical that the congressional investigation be a select committee. There will be a complete whitewash if it only goes before the senate intelligence committee.

Robert Shore said...

A little perspective is badly needed.

Moscow Attacks!
by Eric Margolis
Watching the mounting Red Hysteria in the US is bizarre and amusing. But most amusing is the media furor claiming that the Kremlin has ‘meddled’ in US elections. Or even threw the vote to Manchurian Candidate, Donald Trump.
My answer: even if true (and I don’t believe it), so what? Is great power meddling something new? That’s what great powers do.
The US is hardly in a position to play the outraged virgin. Starting in 1946, the US and the Vatican financed Italy’s right-wing Christian Democratic Party, helping it win three national elections against the Left even though it was heavy with former fascists and Sicilian bandits.
Washington organized the overthrow of Syria’s government in 1949. In 1953, the US and Britain colluded to overthrow Iran’s popular democratic government. In 1954, the US overthrew the government of Guatemala. There followed intervention in Lebanon in 1958. Three years later came the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion and over fifty attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro.
In 1965, the US invaded the Dominican Republic and overthrew its regime. 1973 brought the US-backed coup against Chile’s Marxist government. Nicaragua’s leftists were next on Washington’s hit list. There was masked intervention in Haiti, then a bombing and sabotage campaign in Baghdad, Iraq. A failed attempt to overthrow Iran’s elected government and more machinations in Syria and Libya, followed by outright invasions.
There are many more to mention: Bolivia, Brazil, Congo, Turkey, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine’s ‘Orange’ Revolution, Georgia, and the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected pro-Russian government. And now, of course, Syria.
Regime change has become as American as apple pie.
Lately, the US helped put Egypt’s bloody dictator in power, overthrowing the democratic government in the process and tapped the phone of close ally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In the past, Soviet intelligence was very good at intrigue, professional spycraft and occasional ‘wet affairs.’ But the Soviets never measured up in sheer volume of meddling and regime change to the mighty US – and still don’t.
As a seasoned intelligence watcher for the past three decades, I think claims by US Democrats that they lost the election due to Russian machinations are absolute bunk. One suspects all the noise and fake fury over Clinton’s loss may foretoken an attempt to oust the Trump government by underhanded legal means (‘lawfare’) and popular demos. The Dems lost because they ran a horrible, corrupt woman who was hated, and mistrusted by many. They tried to hide the shameful fact that the Democratic Party rigged the nomination to exclude an honest candidate,
Sen. Bernie Sanders. This was the scandal, not baloney about voting machine voodoo and red scares.
Claims by senior US intelligence officials that Moscow rigged the US elections show two things: first, if true, they were asleep on guard duty; second, that they have become shockingly politicized. Their job was to inform the White House, not manufacture conspiracy theories.
Some of them were shown to be frighteningly extreme, crazily anti-Russian, and likely agents of our deep government.
We need calm, seasoned professionals to run our intelligence, not wild-eyed ideologues bent on war against Russia. America was headed that way under Obama and Hillary Clinton. If Russia came to this conclusion, it was logical for them to try to sway the outcome of the election – if they really did.
The canard that Hillary Clinton was defeated by the godless Red spymasters are as believable as ‘the dog ate my homework.’

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ed Barreras said...

The CIA and FBI now both affirm the Russian hack and its motive. Do we have reason to mistrust those entities? Yes, of course. Does this automatically mean they're lying? Of course not. The only way to discover what really took place is to have a bipartisan hearing.

For the life of me, I can't see why this should be so controversial. Does anyone really think that a mere investigation into the alleged hack would inflame Russia to the point where we'd soon find ourselves on the brink of war?

Robert Shore, that piece by Eric Margolis made three salient points as far as I can tell.

First, that the U.S. has a long history of meddling in the elections of other nations. This is no doubt true, but whatever happened tot he principle of two wrongs don't make a right? It is not inconsistent to condemn U.S. actions vis-a-vis those other nations while still thinking that the American public is owed answers about the allegations against Russia in 2016. Let's not lose sight of the fact that Russia is being accused of commiting multiple crimes for the sake of swaying several U.S. elections. If this is true, we ought to know about it.

Second, that the Democratic party "rigged the nomination to exclude" Bernie Sanders. As a Bernie voter, I have seen no evidence of legally actionable wrongdoing on the part of the DNC or the Clinton campaign during the primaries. Hence Margolis's implied analogy is false. Again, Russia is being accused of muitiple crimes.

Third, it is implied that the alleged Russian actions, if true, were actually justified given Obama and Clinton's saber rattling. This is perhaps Margolis's most complicated claim, as it brings up several issues (for example, if he thinks that a Clinton presidency posed such an imminent danger that whatever means the Russians took to thwart it were justified by the ends, what, then, does he make of the dangers Trump's presidency poses when it comes to China?). Even so, this personal opinion of Margolis does nothing to nullify the point that the American public is owed answers about the allegations against Russia.

Chris said...

Obama specifically said Friday during the press conference that Russia DID NOT HACK THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION. So what does the carefully codified phrase "hacked the election" mean? It means leaked podesta and DNC insider info to Wikileaks. Okay, well let's be clear, that IS IN FACT pertinent info the voting body of the US ought to know in a democracy. Period. So we are already playing in red herring territory with the codified phrase. And it's telling there is NO call to investigate the behaviour of the DNC or Clinton's money laundering scheme for finance her campaign at the cost of down-ballot initiatives, which may well be illegal.* Moreover, Assange and Wikileaks explicitly stated they did NOT receive the podesta e-mails from a Russian statesmen. Unlike the CIA, FBI, and NSA, Wikileaks has a pristine reputation - whether or not you agree with their philosophy behind leaking - they have not been shown to lie, or falsify info (unlike the above mentioned institutions). How do we choose which of these two groups to believe? What's the criteria?

And let's note one glaring IRONY, before the Russians supposedly intervened on Trump's behalf, Clinton and the DNC already had back in April of 2015º:

“The variety of candidates is a positive here, and many of the lesser known can serve as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right. In this scenario, we don’t want to marginalize the more extreme candidates, but make them more ‘Pied Piper’ candidates who actually represent the mainstream of the Republican Party,” read the memo.

“Pied Piper candidates include, but aren’t limited to:
• Ted Cruz
• Donald Trump
• Ben Carson
We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to [take] them seriously.

[N.B. Before I get accused of ideological purity, and flirting with holocaust denialism, can we focus on the evidence and crux of the argument, and not my personal character - which I recognize is far from perfect?]



Chris said...

Ed, read the rolling stone link I submitted in regards to your "second" point. The fact no one but Taibbi and one Politico reporter talked about this during the entire campaign is terrifying. More reason to suspect even the left falls for the propaganda espoused by the main stream media.

Ed Barreras said...

Chris, In fact, Vox ran a rather lengthy piece on the controversy that was prominently featured on the website (URL below). Is it sleazy? Sure. Stil, I personally see no evidence of a prosecutable offense here. However, I would not object to an investigation into the issue now that the election is over. I just doubt anything would come of it, based on what we know. So count me in for looking into that as well.

Also, if I understand you correctly, you think that the Russian hacks, if they took place, were perfectly legal and justified on the grounds that the information disclosed was pertitent to the deliberations of voters. Well, I'll just point out that you seem to be basing this on no recognized statute whatsoever. Perhaps it's a case that would stand up in court. Still, it should be investigated.

Chris said...

"you think that the Russian hacks, if they took place, were perfectly legal and justified on the grounds that the information disclosed was pertitent to the deliberations of voters."

You don't understand me correctly, since I never said or even implicitly asserted such a thing.

Ed Barreras said...

That is what I gathered from your remark: "It means leaked podesta and DNC insider info to Wikileaks. Okay, well let's be clear, that IS IN FACT pertinent info the voting body of the US ought to know in a democracy."

Chris said...

Well it is pertinent right?

That we should know the info doesn't mean I justify Russia being the granters of the info.

Although I do think many would be singing a different tune if Russia had leaked Trump's taxes to the NYTimes.

Chris said...

Just to make the point starkly clear.
If the only way to get the pentagon papers leaked was to brutally violate an innocent teenager, I would say: yes we SHOULD know what's in those papers, but we SHOULD NOT acquire them that way.

Similarly, yes we SHOULD know what's in Podesta's e-mails and DNC e-mails, but we should not acquire them by Russian-state hacking.

However, they are already leaked, and so my worry is, the OVEREMPHASIS on Russian hacking and investigations is at the cost of a proper analysis of the leaks (hence a red herring).

So pivoting back to the scenario, we do everything we can to justify the wrong done to the teenager (improve her well-being to the best of our ability and imprison the assailant), but we don't completely ignore the contents of the papers (after all a war is going on!).

N.B. The teenager case is slightly loaded, since we know with 100% certainty the source of the leak.