Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

This Trump World Grab-Bag is Too Much

Because I am starting to become "an old", my memory is stuffed-full of detritus that is fertilizer to me, even if it is mere dead material to "youngs". The term "useful idiot" is associated with Soviet Communism to me, because my first experience understanding of the world was a Cold War understanding, before the Berlin Wall fell and before Glastnost and perestroika and all that--it was that weird thing where some people thought it was hip to be Gorky Square. You start out as a with-it socialist who cares about human rights but thinks the working man suffers more from Big Money than Big Government, and then you take rubles to talk out your ass about whether Mother Russia's government love-taps people into submission or just earns every bit of respect from the citizenry that comes her way with excellent government.

Maybe I come pre-programmed to distrust all things where a US politician seems especially enamored of another nation. Maybe I just have too much suspicion regarding an entity that has weaponized lying. But I will say that I do kind of agree with Michael Hayden, in this instance, when he uses the term "useful idiot" for Trump. The "idiot" is a guarantee. And I suspect by now even Russia has had reason to pause over how useful he is.

I've been a bit adrift posting these Grab-bags because I'm trying not to make more of them than they are--stories, somehow, and maybe not even very-well sourced stories (although I try to keep my links tied to legitimate sources, not fake news mills), but things that are real enough to help construct a timeline and a narrative. I want to help a picture shape up--but I also know I am biased so I try to refrain from all but logical commentary. I am aware fake news exists and that tasty nuggets might not be all they seem--also, some stories are just too obvious. I've eschewed posting some recent news as a "Grab-Bag"because it is just boring-- Nigel Farage is a Person of Interest?

Of course Nigel Farage is gravitating to whatever power and money he can find. That seems like his natural depth. And regarding recent interviews with Vladimir Putin, of course he tries to deflect responsibility for hacking the US election. What else should he do?

And if you want proof, there seems to be proof that Russia wasn't just being APT 20-something in the DNC's email but influencing US voter offices.  A lot. And then you get news like the piece where the NSA got word that Russia even tried hacking not just our election, but the actual voting. Courtesy a certain person charmingly named "Reality Leigh Winner"--now arrested.

It is too much! It is too damn much. But it is, apparently, our reality. It could turn out to be misleading--but why is there so much even misleading info connecting the Trump campaign to Russia--and Russia to influencing the 2016 elections?


Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, I see you're still busily doing Mephistopheles's work, as I expected.

You know, the Russians have tried to influence US culture and politics for many years. Back in the 1960s many of supposed civil rights and anti-war groups were financially supported by communist front groups. They were influential in the spread of LSD and helped to create social chaos in the US. Young people (as I was) are largely naive and easily influenced.

The objective was destabilization of our culture, and I'll say it was very successful and the results resonate to this day.

Now of course I am in agreement with those who feel that the idea of Russian influence directly applied to our president is completely specious and is designed to slow down initiatives that President Trump wishes to advance in order to keep us secure and have more prosperity.

A more legitimate concern of politicians being directly influenced by agents of another country should be Mexican cartels trying to buy politicians in US border states. Of course they have no desire to destabilize the US as communists do. They simply want to conduct illegitimate business by making addictive drugs easily accessible. Thank God President Trump has no need of financial incentive by communists or criminal organizations.

One of the best pieces of advice regarding political observation I ever received was from one of the people in Watergate. He said, “Beware of people telling you things that you want to hear.” I suspect the left will be learning this lesson.

Vixen Strangely said...

I don't like the idea of any country having an undue leverage in the activities of our US politicians, which is why I think things like the emoluments clause, being fought against by Trump's DOJ lawyers, are exactly the sorts of things we need in place to keep track of who the people's representatives are working for. I agree with you that the discussion of Russian interference in our culture is an old story--despite my leftist inclination they are now no more a free society than they ever were as USSR, and their response to our strength has been to destabilize by exploiting holes in our culture. We have spoken before of how extreme partisanship and the hyperbolic atmosphere of the 24 hr cable news cycle have transformed the minds of many Americans into something quite radically different from the unified American citizenry that could be hoped for. People seek what they are calling "news" like an entertainment or narcotic--ideology becomes a kind of opiate of the people. They are "siloed". To be what? Feed. Feed is what you find in silos. Fake news spread by GRU exploits and targeted at inflaming US partisanship is an effective tool. I don't know if we will or won't prove Trump campaign "collusion". Because of the convenience of the WikiLeaks drops, the campaign may have simply "gone with flow". Why screw up a thing that benefited them? I will say though, that we have by now enough verified stories of Trump campaign contacts with Russian assets, and enough work done by Russia to enhance Trump's campaign to possibly count as an FEC issue, that I don't necessarily doubt that there was a relationship. I see the outlines of one.

You describe my work as Mephistophelean. Mephistopheles of legend worked for Satan in the collections department of his soul-gathering enterprise. Don't mistake me. The bargain that I'm driving at isn't swapping treasure for eternity. I'm not buying souls. I'm playing devil's advocate as to why Trump is no saint. I'm hoping the shambolic responses coming from the WH, the poverty in quality of his spokespeople, and the overall understanding that Trump isn't actually very good or even competent, and that he might even be too dopey to know he's being used to destabilize the US, become too obvious for him to be allowed to continue a reign of error. Keep your soul. Open your eyes. You might have been told things you want to hear, too.

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, I appreciate that you recognize that the lack of unity in American politics sabotages many of our possibilities in life.

One of the things I have noticed is that the left and right simply don't understand each other in a very profound way. It is almost a case of two different planets. And naturally, humans being what they are, our first response to these differences is to brand the other side as evil, crazy, disingenuous, stupid, etc., through the entire realm of pejoratives. This is quite a feat when you realize that basically the right and left are talking about two abstractions that do not and cannot ever exist in actuality. The left will keep the right from achieving its goals, and the right will keep the left from achieving its goals, either of which would be better for American citizens than the current angry morass.

Here's one of the things we need to realize. In the modern world, people on the right never write folk songs about politicians. They don't have that “sort” of investment in the political process or people who run for office. People on the right prefer leaders to managers. After World War II, managers replaced leaders in business and the right isn't comfortable with that. The support for Trump is incorrectly seen if the watching eye's view finds Trump support to be a sort of counterbalance to the way leftists would support a popular candidate. The right doesn't even think about stuff like that.

It is possible that you are entirely correct that Trump lies. On the right, no one would doubt it. He is a politician after all. And for the right, politicians are sort of akin to used car dealers.

However, President Trump has not lied in any substantial way to his voters or the agenda that he ran on. He said he would counter the Paris accord narrative, and he did despite the political capital he may have lost. His attempt to secure extreme vetting by virtue of limitation of immigrants from terrorist nations is now before the Supreme Court. He tried to do it once and it was shot down by the 9th Circuit. And the second time it was shot down by some judge in Hawaii. But he didn't stop. He has taken it to the Supremes, and he promised that to us.

He is removing some regulations on coal mining, and he promised this to us. He has slowed new federal regulations with executive orders, which is part of his campaign to drain the swamp, and he promised us he would try and do this. He has affirmed his support for law enforcement, as he promised he would. I could go on and on as I'm sure you could, but the thing is, he has been in office less than a year and he has demonstrated his intent to carry out his promises in the face of tremendous opposition from Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans.

See, Vixen, the things that populists care about are the big, final results. Secure borders. More prosperity. And the right sees him valiantly trying to achieve these goals. The right sees the left as people usually invested in some kind of Kafkaesque wrangling by apparatchiks. And I appreciate that some of the goals I have only alluded to here are not goals that the left embraces.

You know, I sort of liked President Obama. I thought he basically seemed like a well-intentioned good guy. I disagreed with virtually every policy that I remember him advancing though, not because they were always bad, but because sometimes I felt they would lead to diminished ends for US citizens.

President Trump is blustery and comes from outside the political class, and I understand how people with certain sensibilities would dislike him. But the thing is, as far as the right is able to conclude, he is making a serious attempt to make good on his promises.