Flagg wrote: ↑
The BBC isn’t a State News Agency that cannot criticize the state and just serves as their mouthpiece. That’s the difference.
As far as I can tell, this is unrelated to my point. The BBC can criticize the British government, but should be restrained in commenting on American politics. American media corporations can criticize the American government, but should be restrained in commenting on British politics. There is, or ought to be, symmetry here.
Fundamentally, my point is that foreign journalist comments
on elections are not the problem, regardless of where the journalists are from, so long as a bit of basic self-restraint is followed. What's problematic is when agents of foreign countries are able to directly access and support politicians and political candidates within
a target country.
Vympel wrote: ↑
If it wasn't already apparent, I'm not in the habit of allowing my position to be neatly pigeon-holed by someone else. This isn't a courtroom. I've told you my intent.
Are you or are you not prepared to answer basic questions of fact about your own opinions? I'm not trying to ignore any of the nuances of your position. But this is a basic factual question , and what people think about your other
opinions is inevitably going to be strongly colored by your stance on this particular issue.
Do you, or do you not, believe that there were Russian agents involved with the Trump campaign?
What do you have to lose by answering this question directly?
This is far less certain than you make it out to be. The election was narrow enough that tapping the vote totals the other way by, say, 0.5% nationwide, or for that matter 0.5% in a few specific states, would have flipped the outcome. Very small amounts of help could be sufficient to turn the tide.
Furthermore, nations have laws against their politicians accepting funding and aid from foreign sources for a good reason. "Your Honor, the amount of help I accepted wasn't very important" isn't a valid defense against this. Because once you normalize "accept help from agents of a foreign government," you've rung the bell. You can't unring it. You're not going to be able to restrict future foreign help to "but only foreign help small enough that it doesn't change the outcome of an election or matter in any other way." Sooner or later you will have foreign agents and outright spies tipping your elections by covertly providing (real or fabricated) evidence or (obvious or deniable) support to the candidate of their choosing.
Even if this hasn't already happened with Trump (which is neither proven nor disproven), if we say "oh, what Trump's people did in 2016 was okay because it didn't change anything," sooner or later it will happen. If not with Russia, then with China, or Britain, or some other country that has an incentive to meddle in our elections.
When an election is narrow, what you focus on as the cause for the defeat comes down to your ideology. If your ideology is to push off responsibility for the loss from a cackhanded campaign run by incompetents trying to push an uninspiring candidate who was a symbol of eight years of disappointment with neoliberal policies on the American people and failing, then of course jumping up and down about a foreign interloper somehow using mind control to make the poors vote against their interests is a good idea.
But its not an honest accounting.
Personally, I focus on half a dozen entirely separate
issues, blaming all of them for the defeat. TRR has done so quite openly as well. As I recall it, he's talked about voter suppression and
Hillary's campaign being uninspired and
assorted other things. Oh, yeah, and the Russians too.
The thing is, running a shitty campaign or picking a bad candidate aren't outright illegal. They are mistakes that should be corrected, but are not crimes to be prosecuted. Believing people should be prosecuted for committing crimes is not a way of avoiding talking about those other mistakes. It is perfectly natural to want criminals to be prosecuted for their crimes.
If a horse thief walks into your unguarded, unlocked barn and steals your horse, demanding that the courts punish the thief is NOT a tactic to avoid dealing with the need to add a lock and some guards to your barn to prevent the next theft.
Now, none of this is about the object-level, down-in-the-weeds discussion of who had what help or anything like that. My point is simply that the level of Trump campaign involvement with Russia in this election cycle is already enough to matter. And that's purely on the strength of the allegations we know to have been made by a government prosecutor with a reputation for honesty and competence.
Mueller played a key role in selling the US public on the necessity of going to war in Iraq during the bush administration, so his reputation is thoroughly unearned. Not that any of the allegations made by him thus far support in any way the notion that "Trump campaign involvement with Russia" has anything to do with anything.
Okay, to be fair, Mueller's reputation for honesty may be iffy. Reputation for competence? Dunno. Would you mind expanding a bit on his role in the runup to Iraq?
Furthermore, Mueller has made his first round of formal charges. If you're waiting to see if his conclusions rise or fall on their own merits, the correct course of action is to remain silent
for several months, watch things unfold, and take stock at the end of that time, when more information has come to light. Not to jeer at the investigation while it's ongoing just because they haven't dumped their full report on your desk at a time when said report hasn't been written yet.
The charges that have been filed thus far don't support the claims in any way. Glenn Greenwald, one of the most promiment skeptics in this regard, predicted months
ago that investigations could turn up shitty criminality and result in charges that do not support the 'Russian meddling' narrative. And that's precisely what has happened so far.
This is a good commentary on the current position by M Tracey:
Note in this regard, Tony Podesta's resignation.
Tracey leads by saying "Insofar as the Russia 'scandal' is a scandal, it's a political corruption scandal masquerading as a global espionage scandal."
Tracey goes on to claim that this is a routine structural feature of American politics and that Trump's involvement with foreign agents is at a level that is, more or less, routine.
I would say that the first part is untrue simply because TO ME
this has always been a political corruption scandal masquerading as exactly what it is- a political corruption scandal. However, it is a political corruption scandal of the first order and worthy of our attention.
The second part is the sort of allegation that would benefit greatly from detailed proof.
I would also like to repeat that while Mueller has filed his first
charges we have no reason to expect them to be his only
charges. If they are, then you are likely vindicated. If they are not and stronger charges get filed, then your position looks very stupid in hindsight.
Since you are well aware that arguments based on what Mueller has done to date are by definition
supported by incomplete evidence, from here on out my only reply to you saying "Mueller has nothing" or "Mueller's work isn't important" or "he only files petty charges" is going to be laughter.
Twitter is a private corporation, not a government. If people are offended that Twitter is being oppressive... well honestly, my reply is this:
"Oh, it's a private corporation therefore the negative consequences of being smeared are irrelevant!"
This is to McCarthyism what an ant farting is to a hurricane.
Oh ok, so as long as we're not having literal
McCarthyism, US political culture is fine and we don't need to worry. Because accusing people who disagree with you of being paid Russian stooges is totally the mark of a healthy political culture and not at all the mark of a thoroughly debased one.
Meanwhile, Donna Brazile of all people is being denounced as a dupe of Russian propaganda. Good times.
There is a great deal of ill-health in American politics at the moment. The "ties to Russia" allegations being spammed could very easily be a part of it. However, it is far from the largest or the most toxic mass of problems we have at the moment. Until people start actually being concretely harmed
on a significant scale, we have bigger problems. We likewise have bigger problems than Twitter being sporadically nasty and overreacting.
The thing is, Birtherism and Benghazi obsession never resulted in federal charges being filed.
As above. The existence of charges that have nothing at all to do with the subject matter are irrelevant.
And if you move the goalposts far enough, you can retroactively declare as many winners and losers as you want.
There is some
concrete evidence of Trump's campaign having undisclosed ties to Russia and interactions with individuals from Russia they believed to be agents of the government during the campaign. Enough to support at least a first round of criminal charges. Somebody, who knows roughly how federal law worked, expected those charges to stand up in court. All by itself
, that is enough to make the Trump Russia accusations far more serious than anything related to birtherism or Benghazi.
This is vague hyperbole and inneuendo and thoroughly typical of rhetoric around this issue. Who, exactly, took 'considerable amounts' of money from Russia? Michael Flynn? You mean his paltry five figure speaking fee from RT, which he got through a reputable Washington speaking firm that RT negotiated down? That's a joke. What 'ties' does Trump have? You mean the time his lawyer emailed Dmitry Peskov at his office's public email address for help on a real estate deal and never even got a response - i.e. Trump's influence in Russia was so poor they didn't even have his personal contact details? That real estate deal failed, by the way.
That's like saying my client has 'Mexican ties' because I send an email to info_at_mexicangovernment.com.
I sincerely apologize for not digging in and providing specifics at this time, but I am on break from work. If you want a more detailed response to this question of yours, please say so and I will do the digging at home when I can.