Saturday, July 21, 2018

Perspective on the Howling

Fact:  Over a century ago, an American warship --  the USS Maine – mysteriously exploded in Havana Harbor, at a time when the US was supporting native uprisings against Spanish colonial rule.  Even then, there was good argument that the explosion was caused by serious flaws in the ship’s boiler;  nowadays, with the hindsight of much better engineering knowledge, it’s all but certain that the ship’s boiler system was at fault.  Nonetheless, a newspaper mogul named William Randolph Hearst ordered his editors and reporters to claim that the ship had been blown up by Spanish saboteurs, and the US must not tolerate such an insult.  He kept on like this for weeks, until the US population – which made the mistake of believing that anything published in the newspapers must be true – pressured the federal government to declare war on Spain.  The result was the Spanish-American War, which ended the colonial empire of Spain – and, incidentally, sold millions of newspapers for Hearst.  It’s been said in the years afterward that Hearst started a war just to sell his papers.

News-media editors and owners have regarded this feat with awe and envy ever since.

With that in mind, consider how two major news-media corporations have steadily and constantly attacked Trump the Spoiler ever since election night, desperately trying to get him impeached and install Hillary in his place – with a little help from the Democrat National Committee and billionaire George Soros.  First they tried to claim that Trump was a neo-Nazi, and he’d won because all the “racists” in America had voted for him.  That didn’t work, despite the carefully-sculpted Charlottesville caper, because nobody with any sense believes that there are nearly 50 million Nazis voting in the US.  …Besides, a lot of people who voted for Trump were Black.  Black racists could be understandable, but Black neo-Nazis?  No way.

So, while not entirely giving up on the Trump-is-a-Nazi pitch, they took up the public theory that Trump is a Russian Dupe, and the Russians hacked our election to put him in office.  And what’s their evidence for this?  Simply that Russian agents – like agents of nearly every other government in the world – tried to “influence” our federal election. 

Pause for another historical fact: everybody and his uncle has tried to “influence” US elections since before America became a country.  Many of the Founders grumbled at the ways agents of the British crown tried to sway elections in various colonial Houses of Burgesses, usually by rallies which included lots of free sausages, cigars, and hard cider.  The political rally with free goodies has been a staple of political campaigns ever since.

More to the point, there’s a difference between “influencing” an election by swaying the minds of the voters and “cheating” by dickering with the voting and counting process.

After America gained its freedom and began holding elections regularly, would-be election cheaters had to come up with ever more elaborate tricks as election committees learned to counter them.  After more than two centuries, across 50 different election systems, those election committees have become very good at countering election-cheats.

Contrary to popular opinion, no, you can’t just use an Internet connection to hack into a vote-tallying machine and alter the results.  The last people to try that were an all-American company called Diebold, who actually made the vote-tallying machines, and were caught at attempting the cheat nearly ten years ago;  their machines wound up in the junk-heaps, they were obliged to pay back millions, and their company no longer exists.  Modern voting systems – a different one for every state – have several tallying methods, elaborate oversight methods, and multiple air-gaps.  Computer-hacking simply won’t work.  If you want to cheat on an American election, you have to do it the old-fashioned way: stuff the ballot-boxes (the classic Democrat trick) or kick people off the registration rolls (the classic Republican trick).  A lot of states have countered these tricks by making the voter-registration rolls a matter of public record, so that literally anybody can look at the rolls, look at the election results and cry “Foul!”, and demand a recount – which, of course, will be very carefully overseen. 

Now “influence” is another story, and everybody has tried it at one time or another.  The old song “Jefferson and Liberty” was written by Irish “interests” to encourage undecided citizens to vote for Thomas Jefferson.  Jefferson did indeed win the election, but I really don’t think it was just the song that did it.  During the 1930s, a lot of German agents formed the German-American Bund, which paid for political ads and speeches supporting the ‘new regime’ in Germany.  That didn’t stop the election, and re-elections, of FDR nor keep the US out of the allied side of World War Two.  During the early Cold War, various Russian agents invented or infiltrated pro-peace groups and tried to persuade the public to persuade the govt. to get out of the Korean War, even unto buying ads for opponents of Ike in the ’52 election.  Didn’t work. 

And never mind the home-grown groups, who buy ads and create rallies and spread rumors for their own candidates.  Professional advertising companies have been quietly hired by political parties for nearly a century, in hopes of applying their expertise to something other than selling soap.  One result is that the American public has developed a good nose for advertising pitches and a healthy cynicism for the same – enough to give them a practical working immunity to political ads.  Any advertising executive can tell you that even the best of ads can’t guarantee buyers.  Consider how many people have seen, and loved, Budweiser ads featuring those beautiful Clydesdale horses;  that still hasn’t made Budweiser everybody’s favorite beer.  “Influence” is only the ability to make people listen to what you have to say, not to make them believe it, let alone act on it.

Now, bearing all that in mind, let’s look at what CNN and NBC and assorted Democrat pundits and politicians have been throwing at Trump for the past week.

First, after claiming for nearly a year that “Russia meddled in our election to elect Trump!” the media and DNC made a point of trying to prevent the Tump/Putin summit meeting in Helsinki, on the excuse that “Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments is an insult to our democracy” (Chuck Schumer).  Those indictments were against “12 Russians who *allegedly* interfered with the 2016 election by hacking the DNC server” (Rod Rosenstein). 

But the meeting went ahead anyway, and at the joint press conference Putin offered to permit US officials – including Mueller – to come to Russia to assist in their investigation of the Trump-Russia collusion story.

He also stated: “Business associates of Mr. Browder (one of the indictees) have earned over $1.5 billion and never paid any taxes, neither in Russia nor in the United States, and yet the money escaped the country.  They were transferred to the United States.  They sent huge amount of money -- $400,000,000 – as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton…the way the money was earned was illegal.  So we have solid reason to believe that some (US) intelligence officers accompanied and guided these transactions.  So we have an interest in questioning them.”

Did anyone see the media pick up this blockbuster of a story?

Anyway, Trump met in private with Putin – nobody else there but two translators – and afterward said that he believed Putin when he said that Russia “did not interfere with our 2016 election”.  The media and Democrats, of course, went ape-sh!t over that comment, howling that it proved that Trump trusted Putin more than his own “intelligence community” – and extrapolating from that to accusations of treason and calling on the military for a coup to remove Trump from office.  Their hysteria is amazing. 

More interestingly, Mike Pompeo – who has been quietly close to Trump for a long time – said that the Russians “tried to interfere with our election”.  Note the words “tried to”.  He did not say “succeeded”. 

Put both those phrases together, and it’s quite possible that they’re both true;  the Russians tried to interfere with our election – and they failed. 

Now, the entire “intelligence community” does not necessarily like, or serve, Trump.  Different departments of the federal bureaucracy – a.k.a. the Deep State – have their own political biases, continued sometimes for decades.  The FBI, for instance, has a long history of serving and protecting Democrat administrations, while the CIA has a similar history of serving and protecting Republican ones.  Not every employee of these bureaucracies toes the party line, but enough of them do to establish a trend.  Comey, for instance, did remarkable services for Obama and later for Hillary. These included forbidding FBI personnel to even use the word “Jihad” or “Jihadist”, and inviting a CAIR official to be advisor to the FBI on “hate crimes”.  This is the real reason Trump fired him, and one of the reasons Trump has no trust in the FBI.  The CIA wasn’t entirely clean either, given the behavior of Brennan during the Cold War and afterward, but it behaved much more sympathetically to Trump than the FBI did.

In fact, there’s good reason to believe that when Trump first planned to go to Russia on business, he had the sense to go talk to the CIA about what he might expect there – and Pompeo was the agent he talked to.  I further suspect that Pompeo has been Trump’s reliable guide to dealing with Russia ever since.   I’ll go so far as to say that Pompeo – and Trump – know some things about Russia, and China, which could be very advantageous to the US as long as they’re kept secret.  More on this later.  So of course the DNC and its media cronies, in their hysterical efforts to get rid of Trump, are likely to expose it. 

In fact, Trump is not “subservient” to Putin – the opposite, if anything.  Trump has, in fact, been noticeably tough on Russia.  He has approved the sale of weapons to the Ukraine, he has not lifted the sanctions on trade with Russia (which is much more important than it sounds) but approved sanctions against specific Russian oligarchs (by which we can read “Russian Mafia moguls”), he has flogged the other NATO countries into paying their fair share for their common defense (primarily against Russia), he has berated Germany’s Merkel for her plans to make a gas and oil transmission pipeline linking Germany directly to Russia (think about that), he has torn up Obama’s agreements with Iran that Russia wanted so badly, and above all he has increased our military’s funding and let it loose to actually win the war against the Jihadis in Syria -- and all the way into Africa.  Actions speak louder than words, and his actions have not been those of Putin’s kiss-@ss. 

So what is he keeping secret? 

First, the fact that Russia’s attempts to “influence” the 2016 election were pitiful, and easily caught.  They managed to hack into the voter registration rolls in a few states – where, in fact, the registration rolls are a matter of public record.  They also managed to hack into the DNC’s “analytics” – the surveys of what Democrat voters tend to like, which gives the DNC ideas about how to appeal to them – which would be about as effective as hiring Pew or Gallup to do the same survey.  They spent maybe $100,000 under cover of a shell company to buy political ads playing up racial and social divisions in the US – and there’s no evidence whatever that those ads changed a single vote.  They also bought memberships in the NRA, which is laughable considering the NRA’s attitude toward Russia, and that it had already endorsed Trump over Hillary on its own hook, for free.  In short, Russia did a p!ss-poor job of “influencing” our elections – or anything else.  The scary specter of ingenious Russian agents worming their way into the US govt. is a total illusion.

So is Russia’s power, period.  For over a century the Russian economy has been staggering from disaster to disaster, constantly running out of food and having to buy grain from its claimed “enemies” in the west, with factories functioning at roughly 50% capacity, with farms that can’t get their produce to market for lack of transport, with military hardware that is 15-50% inoperable, with an army which is mostly unpaid and moonlighting (and could not even conquer all of the Ukraine!), with its internal trade depending at least 50% on barter, and with most of its money tied up in the west – at least partly by Trump’s doing.  No wonder Putin wants that $400 million back!  Those trade sanctions are seriously hurting Russia, and Putin really-really wants Trump to take them off.  Russia could save half its annual harvest if it could only get a thousand working pick-up trucks – and fuel, and replacement parts – out to its farms, and Trump is in a position to make that happen.  Trump does indeed know how to play Economic Warfare.  And what’s Putin supposed to have on Trump, anyway?  A rumor of his cavorting with high-class Russian whores?  Ridiculous.  Everyone knows that Trump is too shameless to be blackmailed!  No, Putin does not have Trump by the short-hairs;  it’s the other way around if anything. 

And the same is true of China, only with more mouths to feed.  They’re both paper tigers, maintaining an excellent false front.

Probably the only “modern industrialized nation” in worse economic shape is North Korea, which has become an expensive embarrassment to China and Russia alike.  They’d both love to see Kim & Company vanish, and see economic powerhouse South Korea take over the whole peninsula and turn it into a money-maker, instead of a sinkhole, with which they could profitably trade.  The problem is that Russia and China cordially hate each other, and would happily make war if they thought they could win.  China has the advantage of a lot of cannon-fodder which it would be happy to lose in war, while Russia has the superior weaponry – such as it is – to do that.  In order to keep Russia and China quietly focused on getting rid of Kim, both countries have to keep up their false fronts with each other.  Revealing their weaknesses before the world would disrupt the whole plan.

That’s the reason Trump doesn’t want to expose Russia’s secret – or China’s.  It’s the dumb Democrats, in their frenzy to Get Trump (and what, put Mike Pence in his place?), who are endangering the game.  We can only hope that their own hysteria collapses on them before they do serious damage.

--Leslie <;)))><  )O(      


Paradoctor said...

What Putin has on Trump isn't just pee; that's just the amusing part to keep the people's attention. What he's got is proof of Trump's financial criminality. Money laundering, crooked deals, swindles, nonpayment, and so on. And maybe worse. Consider what that is being laundered off that money.

So the color of the black mail isn't just gold water; it's the long green, and maybe red on his hands.

The Russian weaknesses you mention are known publicly. After all, here we are discussing them. And the Trumpian crookedness I just mentioned is also well-known. So these are open secrets; keeping them need not concern anyone. So I don't think that's what Trump's keeping quiet about.

Leslie Fish said...

The devil is in the details -- like, it would take platoons of the Russian army to get those trucks (and fuel, and parts) to the farms without them getting ripped off. Anyone who's done construction in Russia (such as Trump!) knows that you'd better double your planned concrete and rebar, because without constant armed guards at the site half the materials will be stolen. Also, like, all it would take to plunge China into total darkness would be concerted missile-strikes on the power-generating dams on the Yellow, Hwang-Ho and Yangtze rivers.

Also, remember, Russian and Chinese spies can't read *every* blog and newspaper in the US (who can?), so they concentrate on the big outlets -- which spend most of their time lambasting Trump rather than looking at economic details of the rest of the world. It could very well be that they *don't* know anybody else is onto their secret. After all, where else has anyone said that the old Commie Big Two are paper tigers that couldn't win a war against India, if you please?

Trump's financial swindles? That's old news. Remember Trump University, and those unpaid-for pianos, and plenty of other scams he's been involved in. If the Russians were to threaten bringing stuff like that before a US court, they'd be told: "Get in line".

Paradoctor said...

Well, if yellow's just for fun, and green's old news, then maybe it really is red. Because Trump _acts_ blackmailed by Putin.

So let's rev up the rationalization engine now. "It's not so bad that Trump was (complicit in / guilty as hell for) the (injuries/deaths) of (1/2/3/4/5+) people (by accident / on impulse / by plan ), because (reason 1 / reason 2 / reason 3 )." Fill in the form!

The blackmail could still be green. For instance proof that he really is completely broke, and fully owned by Russian banksters. (But that too is an open secret.)

SDN said...

"Because Trump _acts_ blackmailed by Putin."

Evidence? None.