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Monday, December 12, 2016


This is from my son, Professor Tobias Barrington Wolff:

Friends, please share and circulate this post widely.

Now that Senators McCain, Graham, Schumer and Reed have released a joint statement emphasizing the seriousness of the Russian espionage and interference with the election and calling for an investigation (link below), it is time to start pushing very hard.

Immediate action items:

- Call and write your Senators, particularly Republican Senators, and make clear that (1) you endorse this joint statement, (2) you take this matter very seriously, (3) you demand that your Senators publicly endorse the joint statement and push for a full investigation into Russian espionage during the election. This is vital.

- Push hard on Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan to demand that they endorse the joint statement and support a full investigation. Emphasize that Senators McCain and Graham are putting country over party and that all elected officials must do the same. Push this message out on blogs, on Twitter, on your social media pages. When you get pushback, continue to emphasize that our elected leaders need to put country over party. Trend the hashtag #CountryOverParty

- Demand that the media focus on this issue like a laser. The incoming President and his team will try to distract the media with outrageous statements and inflammatory tweets. Do not be fooled. Write letters to the editor. Email the public editors of newspapers. Tweet and email cable news shows.

 Demand that all of them treat this story with the seriousness it requires. Tell them that you want to see serious investigative journalism on this issue.

Dedicate at least one hour to these tasks, preferably on multiple days.

This joint statement is the beginning. It is time to build on it.


Chris said...

Am I missing something? Besides speculation and unnamed sources, what is the actual evidence interfered?
I'm not saying they didn't (I'm also not saying Belize didn't), but what's the evidence?

Jerry Fresia said...

I agree with Chris; no evidence has been presented and we are suppose to trust the CIA? To support this effort I would have to appear to be utterly ignorant of the long history of US election manipulation - even against Russia - or appear to be utterly hypocritical.

I wish there were hysteria over the manipulation, hacking, subversion of our own electoral processes? Maybe the Russian hacking undermines the ability of American billionaires ability to buy our elections.

Maybe this is about the electoral college; if so, they ought to come out and say so but this new cold war just adds to the
darkness of the days ahead.

Sorry, I don't get this. Where's the No Drama Obama?

M said...

I agree with Chris take. Let's not rush to play into the hands of those who wish to escalate the conflict with Russia without having some serious evidence--even if undermining Trump's presidency would be one of the results.

And let's just pause to note that the CIA is complaining about a foreign power intervening to install an unhinged right-wing president. Can't say I wouldn't enjoy the irony if it were true.

Robert Shore said...

I think Trump is absolutely right that the same people who are claiming that Russia helped Trump win the election also claimed that Iraq had WMD. How anyone can take CIA pronouncements seriously is beyond my comprehension. If Trump can put a stop to the Russia-bashing that has been going on for far too long he will have done this country a great service.

Robert Shore

Tom Cathcart said...

Come on, guys. Yes, the CIA was either wrong or duplicitous about WMD. Whose pocket are they supposedly in now? Hillary's? It's wise to be skeptical of the CIA, but your skepticism has to make political sense. Or are you just saying that they're wrong? I'd rather bet they're right---because of the stakes.

Matt said...

I think Trump is absolutely right that the same people who are claiming that Russia helped Trump win the election also claimed that Iraq had WMD. How anyone can take CIA pronouncements seriously is beyond my comprehension.

Actually, I think this isn't really right. The CIA was quite cautious, even skeptical, about WMD claims. This was then spun wildly or just lied about by Powell, Bush, Rice, Cheaney, et al. (This was why this group exposed Valarie Plame, etc.) I'm not one to take the CIA's word for something, but it's important to get these things right, and I think Trump is (unsurprisingly!) making things up here.

Also, as someone who lived in Russia for some time, visits it regular, whose wife is from Russia, speaks (poorly) Russian, considered taking a job there recently, has property there, etc., I can say that being very skeptical of Putin and thinking it's plausible that Russia would do this stuff is in no way necessarily "Russia bashing". Better arguments than that are needed.

Lounger said...

An excellent post and suggestions as usual by Professor T.B. Wolff.
Placing a spotlight on the possible Russian interference in our electoral process can only serve to hurt Trump and his Russian connections. He is behaving like a Russian apologist, so if there is any truth to the assertion that they were trying to tilt the election in his favor, then he loses a lot of credibility early in his term. This would be a very good thing.
I also like the idea of building a base for future actions; #countryoverparty is a great idea as a slogan that can be used for other issues that will require Congress to drop partisanship to fight Trump.

Chris said...

Tom it's not a matter of whose pocket they are in, I'm just suggesting a very minimal criteria before action: the presentation of evidence. If the evidence is JUST 'because we said so', that's not compelling. And that applies to any state institution with a high degree of power. Certainly I (and presumably Jerry) aren't being overly difficult?

Chris said...


Roberr Shore said...

Thanks, Chris. Here is the link to Glenn Greenwald's view in The Intercept, well worth reading! Note what he has to say about the CIA.

Calgacus said...

Yes, Chris, Jerry Fresia. Of course I don't know, but based on experience and logic, if I had to bet, I would bet better than 50-50 that it is nonsense, a pathetic attempt to discredit his Trumpliness from people who are no less repugnant, from people who put party & worse over country without hesitation. The CIA traditionally is a Democratic stronghold - and a successful subverter of socialist parties worldwide - just as the FBI is a Republican one. Counterpunch has plenty of articles from rational, which is to say highly skeptical viewpoints.

Robert Shore said...

From Glenn Greenwald's Intercept piece linked in my previous comment:

"Needless to say, Democrats — still eager to make sense of their election loss and to find causes for it other than themselves — immediately declared these anonymous claims about what the CIA believes to be true, and, with a somewhat sweet, religious-type faith, treated these anonymous assertions as proof of what they wanted to believe all along: that Vladimir Putin was rooting for Donald Trump to win and Hillary Clinton to lose and used nefarious means to ensure that outcome. That Democrats are now venerating unverified, anonymous CIA leaks as sacred is par for the course for them this year, but it’s also a good indication of how confused and lost U.S. political culture has become in the wake of Trump’s victory."

And here is Paul Krugman in yesterday's NYT:

"The C.I.A., according to the Washington Post, has now determined that hackers working for the Russian government worked to tilt the 2016 election to Donald Trump. This has actually been obvious for months, but the agency was reluctant to state that conclusion before the election out of fear that it would be seen as taking a political role."

Note how Krugman takes the Washington Post article as proof of Russia's involvement in the election.

Robert Shore said...

Here's the link to an excellent piece by Jeffrey Sommers of Counterpunch: