The Russians are/aren’t coming

I’ll spare people the “sorry I’ve been away” spiel. I haven’t been forthcoming on updates to this blog, and that’s on me. My bad. Mea culpa and all that.

So, it’s time to address the issue of the Special Counsel into Russian interference in the 2016 US General Election. To date a couple people have been indicted on this case, on matters that do not seem to link back to Trump. Paul Manafort has been indicted on matters relating to money laundering and ties with nations that are notably not Russia.

Other charges, like Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos seem to be more (with the former) in line with “lying to the FBI” and (with the latter) something which seems to have fairly little substance – everything is still in the air on that one.

Yet it seems telling that the Special Counsel seems to have pivoted a little on the Russian story and has now turned an eye to Obstruction of Justice and maybe even campaign finance issues.

But this all needs to wash out over time. I don’t know one thing or another, but am just commenting on the matter as a layman.

Let’s get this down to brass tacks. What exactly is this all about?

The contention originally made was the Russian influence affected the outcome of the US General Election. Okay, fine. To date, it seems that very little has come forward to implicate Trump in these allegations. From the beginning of his presidency, Trump has had these allegations on his back, and there has been a constant question of the legitimacy of his win. The investigation is ongoing, and seems to yield very little substance so far.

So, I am surprised that all these extra items have popped up that have gained some legs. Not because I think Trump is a man of substance and purity. Oh hell, no.

Because this whole mess was to focus on how Russia might have skewed the results of the election. So, first we were worried about the election being turned, and now we’re worried that Trump might have broken a rule about buying off a porn star to keep her quiet? Or that he’s tried to obstruct his own witch-hunt?

What about collusion with Russia?

Because, it seems to me that if this is no longer about Russia, then we basically have an investigation in search of a crime, as opposed to a crime requiring an investigation.

Why is this a problem?

Because if not by intent, then at least by appearances, this whole special counsel theatre is basically a sign that very powerful and well-backed people will stop at nothing to depose someone who was actually democratically elected to his position.

Forget for a moment about the other charges and look at the Russian narrative. If it was found that Trump did not collude or conspire with Russia, and that there was no effect on the results of the election, then why is the special counsel continuing to dig for other random charges? If there was no influence, then Trump is and was – for better or worse – the winner of the election.

If you are not troubled by the idea rich and powerful people can overturn the result of a legitimate democratically elected leader, then I fear for your priorities.

This is beyond cheering for left over right. This is about the democratic process and respect for the will of the people. Whether you like Trump or not, if his win was legitimate, then you should be very worried. If you have no problem with the incessant probing of Trump’s affairs, but perceive Trump to be a tyrant, then you should be doubly worried, because it means that he can turn the tables back on your preferred candidate.

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When is it a deluded conspiracy theory?

It’s difficult to get alternative perspectives and unique outlooks on events, especially on the internet. From the moment “Loose Change” erupted on Youtube, serving to ask more questions about 9/11 than answer anything, the moment that anyone outlines that they don’t buy the official story they are immediately lumped into a hole with the deranged lunatics.

I attempted to watch Loose Change. All I saw was a whole bunch of allusions and a big fat wad of fuck-all. When it comes to 9/11, I find that when someone claims to me that the buildings were downed in a “controlled demolition”, they are often stumped by the question, “Why?”

Why demolish in a controlled manner when the mere vision of crashing planes would be enough to kick off a war?

But this post isn’t to engage in a search for the truth around 9/11. I am merely wanting to ask when does a crazy theory transfer from being a genuine possible explanation into deluded conspiracy theory? Let’s look a little closer to today as well, and ponder over Trump and the possible Russian collusion.

The rumblings of Russian involvement in the election have been simmering away since November 2016, but nothing of any substance seems to have come to surface. The media keeps trumpeting the story, but even the most “damning” of evidence seems to prove very little.

Donald Trump Junior once met with a Russian person who might have had ties to the Russian Government. He was searching for dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Questionable? Yes. Collusion? I remain unconvinced, especially when the likes of GQ pleads with foreign countries for dirt on Trump. My concerns with Trump Jnr lie more with his ethics than with any kind of political espionage.

Time and time again we expect to see some great revelation about Trump colluding with Russia, and each time it results in nothing but allusion and yet more speculation. I don’t mean this post to suggest that Trump is innocent, but at one point or another, if nothing seems to come of it, then we need to accept that the Russia collusion story will fall into the realm of the Truther and Birther movements. Something concocted from nothing which many people got wrong.

The thing is, many mainstream media outlets have wed themselves to the Russia collusion story. They have gone all-in and it will take some time before they admit to have gotten it wrong (if they ever do).

Tell you what, Mainstream Media. If you treasure your relationship with your audience (who is increasingly distrusting you), it would go a long, long way with people if you just eventually said, “Our bad. We kept pushing this, but we were wrong.” Such an act of humility would certainly earn some trust back from me.

On the flip side of this, let’s assume that Russia did meddle in the US election. Sure, I’m willing to entertain the notion. Considering how Clinton was ready to go to conflict with the Russians, are we surprised they preferred Trump?

 

Let’s not forget that as far back as 2014, Clinton was comparing Putin to Hitler. If I were a leader of a nation, I would be concerned about any politician who was comparing me to history’s greatest villain, and I wouldn’t mind if they weren’t at the helm of the planet’s largest military.

Besides, it’s not like meddling in foreign elections is something that only rogue states do.

“The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win”

A tale of two conspiracies

There are many things that bug me about the current slew of scandals that are surrounding the US politics at the moment. If I were to pinpoint one example, it would be the scandal surrounding the effects that the email leaks published by Wikileaks had on the election result in November.

As I understand it, on one side there are claims that Russia hacked the DNC, provided the information to Wikileaks, who then distributed the information.

On the other side, there are claims that the “hacking” came from a disgruntled staff member within the DNC, Seth Rich, who provided the information to Wikileaks, who then distributed the information.

None of these claims ever raise the question of whether the information published by Wikileaks is true or not. Basically, as I see it, these two great conspiracies hinge upon who exactly it was that told the truth about Clinton and the DNC at the most inopportune time. This completely baffles me somewhat. The controversy isn’t that the DNC (who is meant to be impartial) actively froze out a candidate – Bernie Sanders – who could have been nominated instead of Clinton, but rather that somebody leaked to truth to the peons.

So now we have the mainstream media drumming up whatever they can to smear the Trump administration with colluding with Russia (which strikes me as the kind of scare reminiscent of 1980’s Cold War Hollywood guff), and alternative outlets trying desperately to link Seth Rich to Wikileaks.

Nobody is actually acknowledging that the leaks to Wikileaks revealed that the DNC fucked things up royally, and that they lost the election as a result. The conspiracies are all basically trying to prove whoever it was who told the truth about the DNC at the most inopportune time.

Maybe I’m missing something here. Sure I’ve heard something about voter suppression in a state or two, and I admit to not knowing anything about that – but that’s a fault of the media’s. Everything I read is either Russia this, or Seth Rich that. The adult thing for the DNC to do, I would have thought, would be to say, “Well, fuck. That shit we did to get Clinton the nomination was a bit shit. Maybe we shouldn’t have done that shitty thing. Maybe Hills shouldn’t have called everyone opposing her a bunch of deplorables. Oh well, lesson learned. Maybe next election we can try to do things better.”

And then they could go about the job of being in opposition to Trump’s administration, and actually debating policies and shutting down legislation that could actively do harm. You know, like a system of checks and balances does.

But everything I see that attempts to legitimise Trump from this point on only strikes me as the petulant stamping of feet of a bunch of children upset that they didn’t get a turn on the slippery slide and have to wait a bit.

Grow up. Government is serious business that actually affects peoples’ lives. Stop treating it like a plaything.