Saturday, December 29, 2018

TWGB: But What Does it Mean?!

There's something mysterious in the air lately, and, welp, I have no idea what's up with any of it. Nope. No freakin' clues. The above linked Tweet from George Papadopoulos regarding Maria Butina seems to pertain to the impression Russian tv is creating the Butina appears to have been "groomed" (in more ways than one) to perform some kind of campaign in the US. It appears to be a denial that this is even the case (and really, is it out of the way to suppose that Russian tv is not--GASP!--totally honest?) but frankly, what does he know?

I'm guessing he assumed the less said the better, in any case, which is a lesson better learned late than never, no?

In other fascinating news from McClatchy, it looks like a story they reported in spring may have firmed up a little, to the extent that Michael Cohen's phone (at least) appears to have been in the vicinity of Prague at the time when the Steele Dossier indicated that he was meeting with Russian officials to arrange a payment to hackers. This story from the dossier was originally met with by Cohen with a hard disavowal and a picture of the outside of his passport for some reason, and he still pretty firmly denies it--but a bit intriguingly:

He's never been, he says (although maybe he had, but it's been a while!) And yet, "#Mueller knows everything!"

Mueller knowing everything sounds good--but what does it mean?! (Stay tuned, I guess.) Sometimes these breadcrumbs we're following in this case seem like they are simply "for the birds". (I mean, honestly, one of the companies engaging in trolling during the 2016 campaign still appears to be trolling, filing a motion that tantalizingly refers to a "nude selfie".  Children, please do not let such sugar plums dance in your heads! It is probably nothing. Much.)

One of the things that does feel like "something" is that Russians appear to have actively promoted Jill Stein during 2016 to leech left-leaning votes away from Hillary Clinton as part of a protest contingent. This was enough to impact the totals for certain key swing states. (Although useless knob Gary Johnson impacted vote totals in my damn state by more apparently without Russian fuckery.) And remember her fascinating fundraising to try and get recounts? Well, it's paying for her legal defense, now. (And her ties to Russia aren't her only problem.) But all in all, the "something" I hope most people take away from this is that in America's two-party dominated system, right now, you have to vote your goals, not your feelings, and that might mean casting a vote for someone you don't love. It strikes me that I don't know if the problem is more about lack of civics or just innumeracy, but it gnaws at me that either deficiency could be so exploitable.

In another interesting "something" --look, I'm just going to post the lede of this Leopold and Cormier story and admit this is messed up and I also don't know what it means, either:

US Treasury Department officials used a Gmail back channel with the Russian government as the Kremlin sought sensitive financial information on its enemies in America and across the globe, according to documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News.

The extraordinary unofficial line of communication arose in the final year of the Obama administration — in the midst of what multiple US intelligence agencies have said was a secret campaign by the Kremlin to interfere in the US election. Russian agents ostensibly trying to track ISIS instead pressed their American counterparts for private financial documents on at least two dozen dissidents, academics, private investigators, and American citizens.

Most startlingly, Russia requested sensitive documents on Dirk, Edward, and Daniel Ziff, billionaire investors who had run afoul of the Kremlin. That request was made weeks before a Russian lawyer showed up at Trump Tower offering top campaign aides “dirt” on Hillary Clinton — including her supposed connection to the Ziff brothers.

And why in the hell would there be any cooperation when the information asked for was this? If there's any transparency, it looks like transparent fuckery!

But nope, I can't fit it all into the big, messy, clearly fucked-rotten story about what happened during the 2016 presidential election. It just looks like one more way among several that a foreign entity wanted to skew the election against Clinton--and in favor of Trump.


Steve in Manhattan said...

Why would our Treasury be providing the fucking Russians with anything? And it's astonishing how GP, Giuliani, Trump, Manafort, and the rest of them can't stop kicking themselves in the dick. It's wonderful ...

Hannah said...

Lovely blog. Thanks for sharing with us.

Scott in Big Sky said...

Vote your goals, not your feelings? The condescension is duly noted. Anybody that doesn't vote for one of the two dominant parties is all squishy and impractical. Whereas, those that do have earnest, attainable objectives. Hooey. Which one of your dominant party candidates is/was going to break the duopoly of the two-party system? I'll tell you what, I'll continue to vote for the best person for the job and you can continue to prop up a corrupt, murderous system while scoffing at those of us that can't stomach the candidates those parties put forth, thereby assuring we're both happy. And in the meantime, I'll search for insightful commentary, free of flippant mocking, elsewhere.

Vixen Strangely said...

I know, I know. I should totally drop my dishtowel and offer tea and sympathy that I offended by implying that voting a third or fourth or fifth party vote results in poor outcomes. "Condescending" is a very insulting attitude for me to display, and my apologies. Assuming one totally understands the mathematical outcomes of some tens of thousands voting their feelings with the electoral college system that we have, and how it empowers the actual avowedly white nationalist party that then gets control over judicial nominations, environmental regulatory agencies, food and drug safety, and gets to determine things like how effective, really, FEMA needs to be when it's really only Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands or Guam getting hit by hurricanes and stuff, cats a whole new light on my thinking!

Condescension is a horrible attitude, because it implies the target of this attitude does not understand the results of their activities very well. I withdraw my condescension, and offer a new one, contempt, because you have chosen poorly with full understanding that the spotlessness of your conscience takes precedence over the consequences of a sloppy system like voting. There--no flippancy at all. I hope that makes you feel better, understanding that your feelings are very important to you.

Scott in Big Sky said...

I'll do you the courtesy of ignoring your vague, patriarchal, non-sequitur attempt at victimhood. It is below me. Besides, I didn't know you owned a dishtowel, nor do I drink tea. But I find the comment illuminating in that it speaks loudly about your inability/unwillingness to address an honest argument.

Your apology rings as hollow as your assertions. Besides, what kind intellectual integrity does it take to condescendingly apologize for condescending? As for your contempt, it obviously comes cheap and I gladly accept it. None of that changes the fact that you continue to ignore the simple contention that the duopoly is the problem. A problem that you accept that you have no solution for, or apparently, any interest in solving. You've picked your team and your sticking with them. How wonderfully tribal of you.

I recognize the ills that you articulate not as a product of somebody voting their conscious, but instead of the very system that produced them. You remember, the '...sloppy system like voting' that you fully accept and are eager to perpetuate. I know that because you conceded that none of your favored dominant party candidates has ever changed, or even attempted to change said system. Instead, they function almost exclusively to guarantee its future. And your fine with that.

Now, about your team. Introspection is certainly not their (nor your) strong suit. In fact, it is their (and your) fault that we've had to endure the last republican administrations. Keeping in mind that each of the last two democratic presidents have governed to the right of Richard Nixon, it's no wonder that your tribe continues to hemorrhage the very core of citizens that once swelled its population and made it great. Those days are long gone, thereby, making it quite difficult to win elections in the sloppy system we have. You must now rely on total obedience from all like-minded individuals to even have a chance. No thanks.

I'm going to continue vote against limitless drone strikes on countries we are not at war with. I am also going to continue to vote against unprecedented executive secrecy and aggression towards whistle blowers. I'm going to continue to vote against those that suggest torture was a political calculation that must not be held to account for fear that it will prevent us from looking forward. Nor do I believe that I'll be voting for those that abandon the lower economic strata under the guise of welfare reform for political expediency. I also chose not to vote for those that prefer to dismantle the regulatory structure that protected us from severe economic downturns due to the greed of their wealthy benefactors. That's just to name a few of the things I won't support that you and your last two presidential teammates firmly embrace and have aggressively worked to further institutionalize.

I recognize that you folks don't laughingly claim to be the party of personal responsibility, and that's to your credit. I'll give you that.

While I have in the past found some insightful commentary at this site, I failed to recognize the self-centered rage and vitriol that appears to be its motivation. Just like your tribe, you've belittled and taken for granted another of those would be supporters upon which you yourself say must show fealty if you're to have any electoral success. Keep up the good work.

Vixen Strangely said...

Yeah, my apology rings hollow because it isn't one. Voting is a collective action. People can think differently--great! But the people who win elections get the most votes. That's all. That's really it. In the presidential elections, the person with the most electoral votes, wins. It's all we have. I didn't invent the patriarchal system and I don't determine who runs. I'm for less-bad choices instead of allowing more-bad choices. If that isn't enough for you, don't imagine commenting here gets me to change my opinion about that. But if you enjoy ineffectual gestures, you go on ahead.

Scott in Big Sky said...

You've more than proven the unworthiness of your opinion and your innate hostility. There exists no intellectual foundation for this ridiculous argument you attempt to defend with futility. You continue to concede the point. So dishonest and self-serving is your opinion that you abandon, contradict and negate it in successive sentences and posts. That's not to mention the factual inaccuracy coming from somebody who claims to 'understand the mathematical outcomes' of yet does not seem to know who received the most votes in recent elections.

My original arguments remain unrefuted. In fact, your off-topic ramblings have only served as further proof of their veracity. I don't want to change your opinion, I simply pointed-out that your assertions did not support your contention. And that the mocking, scoffing, and snark were just that...unsubstantiated tripe driven by blind rage. All points that you fail to address. Throwing around phrases like 'ineffectual gestures' while blindly accepting a corrupt and murderous system as the only option seems to capture the spirit of your argument and character quite succinctly.

Vixenstrangelymakesuncommonsense. How self-serving is that? Before you kill any fascists, you'll need to stop shooting yourself in the foot. And now to follow through with my original charge--I'm done with you. You have nothing worthwhile to offer.

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