Hacked to Pieces

This has been the week that Russian hacking finally was mostly taken seriously. If you missed the New York Times’s long expose on how our political system was hacked, please take the time to read it. Since that piece was published, unnamed senior intelligence officials told NBC and ABC that Vladimir Putin was personally involved, and that Putin did intend to tilt the election to Trump.

Lots of people continue to believe this news is just propaganda, and not all of those people are Trump supporters. Some die-hards on the Left are certain the stories are being circulated by Clinton supporters trying to sway the Electoral College. But I think the hacking stories need to be taken seriously.

Because I think the Russian hacking issue needs to be taken seriously, I think it needs to be separated from the issue of whether Trump legitimately won the election. As long as it’s about the election, partisans will continue to fight over what’s true and what isn’t based on how it reflects on their candidate.

People will be arguing until the end of time whether the hacking really made that much difference in the election. My opinion is that of all the things that soured Clinton’s campaign, the revelations from Wikileaks were very low on the list. The actual revelations may have been embarrassing to the people involved, but none seemed to me to be devastating. The worse of them merely reinforced what many of us already believed, that Clinton really was isolated from the bread-and-butter issues that mattered to most Americans and that the DNC had its thumb on the scale for her throughout the primaries. But those things were apparent without the leaks.

However, in the unlikely event the electors use the hacks as a reason to deny Trump the presidency, I’m not going to argue with them.

Even so, too many people are not moving on from the election, seems to me. Clinton supporters are still moaning all over social media that She Wuz Robbed and the election was rigged and Comey letter and hacking and fake news and it wasn’t fair, and probably the election was rigged and it’s all Bernie Sanders’s fault. In other words, they’re a lot like the Sanders supporters who still believe Sanders really won the primaries and Clinton somehow stole it from him.

I endorse what Josh Marshall says here:

Just to put my cards on the table, I believe there is a good likelihood, probably even a probability, that if the Russian subversion campaign had never happened and James Comey had never released his letter, Hillary Clinton would be prepping to become our new President. My own guess is that Comey’s letter had the bigger impact. These were both profoundly damaging events in the race and Clinton lost by very tight margins in most of the newly (hopefully temporarily) red states. I see little way to challenge this assertion.

But the tiny margins are only one side of the story. Let’s take Wisconsin. The final tally puts Trump ahead by .8%, or 22,748 votes. That’s a tiny margin. Any number of things could have shifted the balance. Spending the final week of the campaign talking about a new investigation of Clinton’s emails was more than enough to tip the balance. Spending not just a single trip but more concerted time in the state could have too. But now look at the shift from 2012. The shift in the direction of the GOP was 7.7%. That is a huge shift over four years. Huge. There’s no getting around that. If you step back from Wisconsin to the larger Upper Midwest region and indeed the United States you see something more fundamental. Donald Trump did what we all remember Barack Obama doing in 2008: He changed the shape of the electorate.

What all of this comes down to is that something very big happened in this election that was quite separate from Comey and Putin.

And if Clinton had squeaked out the Electoral College win, by now that very big something would have been completely brushed aside. The one silver lining to her loss is that maybe Democrats will be forced to confront their failures as a party. But many of them are still in denial that Clinton or the Democratic Party are in any way at fault.

Right now the Dems are dividing up into pro- and anti-Keith Ellison factions. Rep. Keith Ellison is campaigning to be the next DNC chair, and I endorse him wholeheartedly. I think he’s just the guy we need. But yesterday I heard someone who wants a centrist chair say that we have to be careful about moving too far Left and getting McGoverned.

After the debacle that was November 8, they’re still worried about being McGoverned? And not concerned about continuing to be Clintoned?  Unreal.

People are also still arguing about whether the Democrats need to win back working-class whites. Some still think that demographic trends will lead the Dems to glory some day without having to deal with working-class white voters. Someday minorities will be a majority, and younger voters tend to be more liberal, so Dems will rule. Some day. And then a guy actually said this:

“Demographically, the Electoral College is heading in the right direction” for Democrats, Dan Pfeiffer, a former adviser to Mr. Obama, said. What Mr. Trump pulled off, he added, “would be hard to replicate.”

What would be hard to replicate is the fact that younger voters clearly wanted somebody else entirely to vote for, and The Establishment is still in denial about it. But let’s move on …

One of the smartest commentaries I’ve seen yet is by Matt Bai, who says — correctly, IMO — that Trump was made possible by the fact that hardly anyone trusts our civil institutions any more.

There was a time, not long ago, when it was possible to believe that no one would pay a very steep price for that cascade of failure during the Bush years, when just about every trusted institution in American life seemed to collapse of its own dereliction.

Disgraced pundits kept on pontificating. The CIA kept right on stonewalling — successfully — to keep its history of torture sealed off from public view. The parties in Washington kept on fighting like spoiled brats. The bankers kept on making money and loaning it out.

A decade passed, and American voters seemed to have settled into their cynicism, in the same way baseball fans still filled the stadiums after the steroid debacle and Catholic parishioners still lined the pews after coming to terms with chronic abuse.

No wonder we’ve become a post truth society. If the Bush years taught us anything, the “experts” on the teevee are all idiots, and “truth” can be whatever the guy with the biggest megaphone says it is. And he’s probably lying.

Trump had figured out that no one really believed the elite media anymore — the same media that said Iraq was an existential threat, that the banks had to be saved, that Obama would transform our dysfunctional politics. The same media that nightly featured a cavalcade of smug morons whose only qualification to opine on TV was an almost pathological shamelessness.

Who is the arbiter of truth these days? We have no Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite. Frankly, we get better information from John Oliver than from the Network Evening News. So, why not pick whatever smug moron you want to believe and ignore the rest of them? Truth is whatever you want it to be.

Something big has happened in our civil life, and it is a lot bigger than James Comey or Vladimir Putin or pizzagate or emails. It is bigger than Clinton or Trump. It’s that our civil life has lost all cohesiveness. There appears to be nothing real there; it’s all smoke and mirrors. Facts don’t matter. History is fungible. Believe what you like.

Trump’s victory not replicable?  Seriously?

50 thoughts on “Hacked to Pieces

  1. Last night at a Tampa Democratic Club function last night I was invited to say a few words. There was serious moaning and groaning through the meeting about losses from the top to the bottom of the ticket and how we would use the setbacks to network and rally and a lot of assorted BS. After that I was the novelty of the eve, the ‘gyrocopter guy’.

    I laid it on the line in a few short minutes – if the democratic party wants to win elections, voters at the grass roots need to demand a DIVORCE – from big money. Trump won as the non-establishment with the claim that he would ‘drain the swamp. He won’t but as long as democrats are perceived as the party of corruption, we will loose races. When voters DEMAND the party erect barriers between Wall Street and Congress we will win. Because there are more Independent voters than there are democrats or republicans and they are voting ethics not issues. As long as both parties are tools of money, republicans have the edge – they are better at deception. If we don’t draw and enforce a clear ethical separation, we will lose and may go extinct.

    I got a standing ovation.

  2. Dmitri Orlov compared the collapse of the Soviet Union (the “SU” as he calls it) with the death spiral of the US, in ReInventing Collapse.

    He identifies a progression in which the people in a country lose trust in that country’s institutions. It’s not an iron-clad, always happens in a specific order, nor does it happen discretely like one domino falls, then another, and so on.

    It’s roughly in this order: People lose trust in the country’s: political system, the legal system, the financial system, and then in the basic fabric of society, of people treating each other decently.

    Media and propaganda is somewhere in all of this, and the SU was completely a propaganda state, which is a more novel experience for those of us in the US, or who can at least remember Cronkite and Murrow.

    BTW, Orlov is an extremely entertaining writer, and well worth reading.

  3. There is no such thing as post-truth. There are liars, and there is decay, but truth rules. The trick is in discovering it, despite the liars and the decay.
    Pity about the teevee news, but I never trusted it anyhow. It’s the top of this society that’s rotten; lower down it’s sound. (I hope.)

  4. We Americans have lost ourselves and our reason for being proud of being Americans.
    Yelling “USA! USA!! USA!!!” is jingoistic, not patriotic.
    It’s an empty chant, like the fans of a 4th place team yelling “We’re number one!” Uhm, no you ain’t! Your team finished in 4th place, NOT THE NUMBER ONE SPOT, assholes!

    Banana’s Republicans have worked hard at turning this country into the best–armed 3rd World Banana Republic innthe world – an “armed madhouse”. *
    And in that time, the Democrats have been turned themselves from defending the poor and middle-class, and minorities, from the predations of those richer and more powerful, to cheap hookers for banksters and the rest of rich and powerful in this country and around the world. For a visual image, remember fat Chris Christie hauling his lard-ass on stage, go bring McDonalds to Hair Furor.

    Until the Democrats stop selling themselves and the rest of us down the river, fuck them!

    I completely agree with Doug – no surprise here.
    Now, will the Democrats grow some spine – if it’s not too late already – and try to block this sociopathic dumbass the way the Republicans did one of the finest – and people – Presidents we’ve ever had in office ?

    Time will tell…
    But I’ve seen nothing to be optimistic about since t-RUMP was “elected.”
    Or get the fuck out of the way, while the rest of us try to salvage something which your corporate whoring has left diseased, broken, or dead.

    * GOP Motto:
    Party over people!
    Party over country!!

  5. Yeat’s WWI poem “The Second Coming” gains increased currency, at least the line about “the centre doesn’t hold”.
    Yeah, smoke and mirrors, foundationless foundations, nothing real there.
    Dare I repeat myself and comment that we’re screwed?

  6. I completely agree with everything you say here. What you identify as the really big thing, is indeed a really big thing. And yet, I think there is something more immediate: The reason it’s impossible to find one particular thing that lost Hillary the election, is that she shouldn’t have run at all. I felt that (and I know you did too) the minute I heard she was running. I didn’t know she would lose. I just knew she was the wrong person to represent the Democratic Party or to lead the country at this time. Even if she won she would be the wrong person. Not because she’s a she-devil, but because she brings nothing to counteract that dissolution, and lots of things to exacerbate it. Even before she does anything — just by being Hillary Clinton in America in 2016.

  7. Right now, for me, the worst part is the waiting until the Le Grande D’Oranged is sworn in.

    The Reich-Wing (read: white people, mostly males) in this country is anticipating a party that day!
    That day will become the official start of their Kristallnacht.
    They feel like t-RUMP being in power will allow them to act-out in previously unacceptable ways – including unlawful vicious violence against “other” people and their homes, businesses, and religious institutions.
    They want the left and minorities in this country not just to yell, “UNCLE!”, but to kiss their asses as they’re beating our brains in.
    They want blood.
    This will be payback for whatever they feel aggrieves them, and has led to their loss of money, power, and stature. It won’t matter a bit that nothing could be further from the truth, but all they really want is retribution. Ongoing retribution.

    And we who are not among the Reich-Wing loons, sit here, waiting for t-RUMP’s shit to roll downhill like a tsunami of pig sewage held in a massive pond by a dam on the top of the hill where people live below, that’ll break in a couple of weeks, and no one can do anything about it (except maybe the Electoral College. But if people changed their vote, they and their families could very well be in imminant danger).

    In some senses, I imagine this is how the people who lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis felt in the days until that threat to human existance was resolved – I was only , so all I remembered later is the adults in my life acting scared.
    But we don’t have a JFK as a leader.
    We have a narcissistic loon who is in so far over his head, they’ll have to dig the Marianas Trench deeper for him to get any further in over his orange comb-over/toupee/extensions.
    And t-RUMP’s cabinet picks so far show that he really, really, really wants to antagonize any and every one who’s not one of his “My people…”
    That term, in and of itself, is reason for fear.

    Dig deep for courage friends.
    We’ll all need it.
    This may be the last holiday and new year celebration that we have with a relatively normal America.

    Come 1/20/17, comes Fascism.
    Don’t embrace it.
    Don’t surrender.
    Help fight it.
    And help those who will be the victims of t-RUMP’s brown-shirts in any way you can.

  8. Two comments:

    The Wikileaks stuff was mostly gossipy stuff that, even if true and unadulterated, seems unlikely to be a factor. That said, if Trump or ANY Trump staffer can be proven to have been in any direct communication with Putin or his staff in 2016, forget “measured responses”, forget electoral college– the election should be NULLIFIED.

    Why do Republicans always veer hardcore and Democrats always go “Republican Lite”? Because we our esteemed leaders haven’t figured out that America is more “cast of Hamilton” than cast of “All in the Family”. Ellison, yes. If we can’t win as progressives, we’ve ceded the future.

  9. Paradoctor — its not post truth but post integrity, lose that and it is the beginning of the end, and we’ve lost it as a society for sure. Trump is the inevitable result.

    Truth is a constant; it always is. Whether as a society it is accepted and held in proper esteem is a question of integrity.

    This brings to mind one of the democrats campaign themes — America is Great, because America is Good. Clinton said this several times on the trail and in the debates, and it was a theme of Michelle Obama expounded on in that great speech she made.

    That appeal fell on so many deaf ears because a lack of social integrity has us so far gone as a society that the moral compass needed to appreciate that theme is just not there. Decency can be found in some, but as a society, its hardly a trait that describes America right now. And that is really sad.

  10. Doug – glad you made that point, it is definitely the problem.

    This really has hamstrung the party when it comes to policy, and it impacts the democrats ability to get out the vote. It puts limitations on the ability to make good on progressive solutions voters want because of the party being beholden to big money. Clinton’s incrementalist approach was caution from the perspective of attempting to walk a line between serving the Money Masters while doing just enough to make democratic voters think the party is still with them. But Big Money always came first. Tinkering around the edges of things so as not to upset the big money boyz while casting scraps as the answer to problems.

    Identity politics then, becomes to the democrats what racism and bigotry is to the GOP — red meat to distract the respective bases while the party does the bidding of the wealthy donors.

    The millions of dollars Clinton made from the Wall Street speeches, and her refusal to release the texts of those speeches, implied corruption on her part. That she refused to release those speeches is what made the “Crooked Hillary” label work so well.

    Obama in 2008 and then Sanders in 2016 proved that you could raise enough money on small donations to effectively run national campaigns, and thus there is no need to rely on wealth to the extent they do. And this is why the current democratic leadership needs to go, because it has become way too comfortable in its reliance on big money.

  11. mago – yeah, Yeats got it right when he observed that “the centre doesn’t hold” – but in a way that perhaps only Buddhists truly fathom.

  12. Imo, there will be violence on January 20th, in DC – and elsewhere.

    If people are out and about, and insufficiently enthusiastic about t-RUMP’s innauguration, they may be called racial epiphets, pushed, hit, punched, cold-cocked, hit with a bat or some other hard object, and yes, even shot, by t-RUMP’s brownshirted thugs.

    I’m going to stay in, and probably read a novel – or watch Turner Classic Movies. And drink heavily, it should go without saying.

  13. csm… Bravo for the 10:49 comment. You’ve pinpointed the issue that overwhelmingly consumes my understanding where we went wrong as a nation. All of the retrospection is meaningless if we don’t come to grips with the overarching problem of moral decay and apathy that has permeated our society.
    For 18 months Trump’s sickness was on full display for everybody to witness, and yet nearly half of the American electorate chose to vote for him in spite of what they should have known to be acceptable as leadership and trustworthiness. Trump is a sick man.
    Think back to his little episode where he was being an imposter while talking with a reporter about “Donald Trump’s” love life with some glamor queen. He was engaging in that kind of behaviour in his late 40’s or early 50’s. A behaviour that would be unacceptable in a 12 year old. It would be one thing if Trump just admitted to doing that and excused it as just playing games, but he absolutely denied doing it when it was completely undeniable.. that incident is one of hundreds that provide evidence to the senses that there is a sickness dwelling in his character.
    And it’s to our detriment as a nation to overlook that kind of sickness regardless of how desperate our political situation has become.

  14. 1. I don’t have a problem with blaming Bush for a collapse of faith in some important institutions, but surely Obama was elected to restore some of that trust. Why does he get a pass for what looks like a failure to do so?

    Just to get the ball rolling, it wasn’t Bush that declined to prosecute any bankers.

    2. If we are trying to think the unthinkable, try this – she is young, attractive, pro-choice, gaining political experience, and hopes to work in the Trump Misadministration on child care and advocate for a sensible view on climate change.

    Soooo… will Ivanka Trump one day be the Democratic nominee for President? How about the Dem Senator from NY? O, as a fallback, the Rep Senator from NY?

    So much to fear, so little time…

    • Tom Maguire — I’m not giving President Obama a pass. He should have prosecuted bankers. And I’ve criticized him all along for not communicating enough to people what he was doing and why he was doing it. But IMO most of the damage was done before Obama took office. As Matt Bai said in his piece that I linked to it just took this long for someone to come along and exploit it.

  15. Bill of Particulars against Donald Trump


    A. Donald Trump is a conman.
    B. Donald Trump is a misogynist.
    C. Donald Trump is a bigot.
    D. Donald Trump is a racist.
    E. Donald Trump is a swindler.
    F. Donald Trump is a pathological liar.
    G. Donald Trump is a double-dealing crook.
    H. Donald Trump is a serial bankrupt.
    I. Donald Trump is a serial sexual assailant.
    J. Donald Trump is a braggart and a bully.
    K. Donald Trump is a petty, vindictive loser.
    L. Donald Trump breaks deals, fakes deals, botches deals and self-deals.
    M. Donald Trump meets the diagnostic criteria for narcissism.
    N. Donald Trump meets the diagnostic criteria for sociopathy.
    O. Donald Trump displays contempt for facts and reason.
    P. Donald Trump lies to himself, to better lie to you.
    Q. Donald Trump has no honor. His word is worthless.
    R. Donald Trump is arrogant, impulsive and ignorant.
    S. Donald Trump is incompetent. He spreads chaos.
    T. Donald Trump is repulsive in appearance, speech, and behavior.
    U. Donald Trump is unprincipled, autocratic and a friend of autocrats.
    V. Donald Trump is deep in debt to foreign powers.
    W. Donald Trump conspired with a foreign autocrat to subvert a Presidential election.
    X. Donald Trump owns a global business empire, run by his children in a transparently unblind trust; so upon taking office, he shall have conflicts of interest that span the globe.
    Y. Donald Trump has refused to end his Trump Old Post Office Hotel lease; so upon taking office, he shall be in violation of Federal law.
    Z. Donald Trump is openly receiving financial favors from foreign leaders; so upon taking office, he shall be in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8.)

    Therefore be it resolved:

    That Donald J. Trump is unfit to be President of the United States, and must be excluded or removed from that office.

  16. The scary thing is that the Russians did hack the RNC and most likely the Trump organization. The CIA has already been implying that they have hacked the Trump organization as well. In both cases, the opportunities for blackmail are rather obvious. The CIA is bad enough. The Russians are a recipe for disaster.

  17. paradoctor, a lot of voters knew all that stuff but were desperate enough to hope he’d change anyways. Might be the real reason for the historic exit poll discrepancies – people were too ashamed to admit they’d just bought the silly weight loss device from the nutty TV huckster. We’ll probably have to wait until the orange little liar reveals himself as so incorrigibly personality disordered that even the desperate normals can’t take it anymore. Bad as it is, it’s a good opportunity to observe quite publicly how Dark Triads always lie but never change.

    Sadly for many, words like “sociopath” or “narcissist” aren’t much more than psychobabble. To them you might just be a kook until they’ve been personally victimized badly enough. I had to wait until my own wife got hers before she finally understood my psychobabblings. But I’d like to think it does plant a seed.

  18. One thing that has amazed about the aftermath of this election is the number of people who believe that Clinton was a great candidate, instead of being a clueless, arrogant, out of touch Beltway fixture who ran her campaign incompetently and picked the wrong people to handle things for her. Just as she did in 2008! The legend of Clinton the liberal angel with a flaming sword is so wildly wrong, I find myself laughing when people try and peddle it. This does not make me popular, but I believe that Democrats have to face the reality of what the Clintons are and were before we can hope to win.

  19. Total bummer, man!

    Coffee with Ivanka appears to be canceled.

    The Trump family on Friday appears to have canceled a charity auction that featured the president-elect’s daughter Ivanka, as criticism mounted that the future first family’s charitable solicitation risked opening the White House to special interests seeking to pay for access.

  20. @maha

    Not just the bankers, but the torturers and the rest of the Bush cabal. Allowing their lawlessness to escape unpunished is a big part of why Trump and his cronies were emboldened to stage their coup.

  21. I think the Russian hacking is hitting those who have decided this was “just” an election, like any other.

    Now, maybe I’m wrong. I could be – I don’t call myself the LongHairedWeirdo just for the hair, you know. So I see things differently than a lot of folks, but bear with me.

    Bush came by and was plainly incompetent, but geez, Gore was a boring smarty-pants and boy do the Republicans have some tasty sound bites to use for headlines! And besides, the US is doing *great* I’m sure even Incurious George can’t muff this.

    But he does. And he normalized torture and literal warmongering, and got away clean. All the while, his cronies are sliming Democrats as horrible people.

    The Dems worked with him when he had reasonable ideas – remember that.

    Now, at the time, I didn’t think Bush was any form of “Hitler”. Yes, he started a pointless war, and that’s hideous beyond imagining, and yes, he did it, in part, for very Hitleresque reasons. But I was sure he just wanted to show up his dad regarding Iraq.

    In any rational universe, he’d be seen as the dopiest dope who ever doped, even if he didn’t, you know, *dope* – with performance enhancers, I mean. But he’s not even that.

    And I was afraid. Because the Republicans who, previously, screamed bloody murder that Clinton could SPY ON AMERICANS with nothing but a RUBBER STAMP FROM THE FISA COURT!, were now saying “Hey, when the President does it, that means it’s not illegal[1].” They were setting up for a Hitler, if you see what I mean.

    They were throwing out any and all principles they had, to support their own. And that meant that they would support someone/something even worse than Incurious George.

    (Obviously, I don’t just mean just the spying – I include torture, conquest, lies, etc.. But the FISA arguments stood out because I remembered them whining about Clinton.)

    Is Trump more like Hitler? We don’t know yet.

    Stop. Rewind. Was George W. like Hitler? No. Was John McCain like Hitler? No. Was Romney like Hitler? No.

    I could have said that pre- and post-election about any of them. With Trump, I can only say “we don’t know yet.” And if you’re honest, you have to admit I have a point though you might think that the comparison is lunacy. We don’t know.

    But we do know he’s petty. We know he loves entitlement – like walking in the women’s dressing room because he can, and I doubt anyone has real questions, deep down, about whether his “walk right up and grab them…” comments have basis.

    We know he’s threatened to use the law against a political opponent on trumped up charges (no pun intended, but if he follows through, I hope history students 40 years in the future are *sure* the expression comes from his name). We know he holds grudges, and he’s more than willing to carry them out through less-than-ethical means.

    Me? On election night, my thoughts were that some of the worst people in the world won by doing some of the worst things in the world. And even if Trump’s not a Hitler, there *are* no more interim steps. Trump isn’t paving the way for a Republican Hitler – he’s already shown they’d rally around one, albeit carefully and weakly.

    This isn’t a normal election.

    But it’s not. Multiple agents of the courts slandered Hillary Clinton and their leader explicitly threatened her with jail. Everyone knew Trump was dangerously incompetent, and did not have the sort of temperament that gets to order a nuclear launch without someone telling him “no”. Trump was caught on tape bragging about multiple sexual assaults; he attacked a judge for having Mexican parents, and suggested we should pass a law respecting an establishment of religion, so the US could discriminate against an unpopular religion.

    And still they refused to do the right thing and say “don’t vote for him” – in fact, they even called upon agents of law enforcement to interfere with the election, in hopes of throwing it to him.

    I will *never* get over this. And while I don’t think the EC will change the outcome, and while I don’t think the Russian hacking will change anything fundamental, I think people are being *idiots* if they think it should be let go.

    [1] That’s actually a quote from Nixon, but their arguments were just as bad.

  22. This is my perception: Trump is patriarch of a family dynasty. His children are an extension of himself and his wives are not only arm candy but breeders for his children. It appears that Melania will stay in New York and Ivanka will play the role of first lady. She are Jared are moving to D.C. The whole brood will have a role in running the country. His kids are already attending meetings. I have never heard of this and I can’t understand why it is allowed. Bill Clinton said if we has elected, we would get 2 for 1. Now it looks like we will get 4 for 1. What a mess. Trump may not have any press conferences but communicate by tweeting. That way, he doesn’t have to answer any questions. He wants to run the government like a business. He is no match for China or Putin. And I just hope they are wise enough not to consider the nuclear option because of his antics.

  23. Just one more reminder the Federal Government is not and never has been a FOR PROFIT BUSINESS. It is a service organization; and, is to serve the people of the United States of America (if there really is one).

  24. NickT,
    re your post at 6:09:

    IMHO, Clinton’s biggest problem is that she and Bill scared the Republicans, who began a decades long campaign to vilify them. Some less than ethical member of the GOP must have been prescient, and as we’ve seen, the long campaign worked. I think a lot of people feel like Clinton is awful without really knowing why. Their claimed reasons apply so much more to Trump that it’s clear they’re engaging in double think. Or maybe they just don’t care how much Trump lies, among other things.

    Well, ok, the fact that she’s a woman was probably a minus for an awful lot of voters. And it means she has had to develop a very thick skin, as any woman rising to her level would have out of necessity. She’s not my favorite politician, but then she was running against a candidate presenting himself as a fascist. A huge part of the public apparently wanted a fascist, or were willing to hold their nose to get some perceived benefit.

    On the other hand, if you’re just saying she’s a moderate Republican, a nationally endangered species, I can’t argue all that much.

  25. One of my most endearing (or irritating) qualities is that I speculate on Mahablog. Frequently, I’m wrong. If anyone’s keeping score, let’s keep it between us, OK? But consider this. The GOP has not been able to rope Trump in since the election. NONE of the reliable people is on the team. (Yes, Reince & Pence) Overall, Trump has packed the cabinet with Wall Street billionaires and wack-job generals. Plus Goldman Sachs. But prudent, reliable DC political insiders who know how the game is played are absent. Bannon is not a player that the GOP trusts. Trump’s threatening Paul Ryan fairly openly. I speculated early in Nov. that Trump would be discredited with the help of the GOP in 2017 and then impeached at the 2 year mark. But maybe the GOP will avoid that delay and the conflict with a White House that won’t play the game… If 37 republicans shaft Trump, then the process of an impeachment is avoided – two years of disastrous leadership and all the partisan blame is avoided. So what it – and this is entirely speculation – the GOP is selecting the 37 renegades to stab Trump on Monday. At which point the GOP in unison will be shocked, shocked, I tell you… that Trump won’t be president and reluctantly, with great sadness, they will pick someone who understands the game…

  26. As much as I would like to see Trump impeached, then we would get Pence and in some sense, he is worse. I understand if the electors throw Trump out, they can put anyone in but who would they pick?

  27. “the GOP is selecting the 37 renegades to stab Trump on Monday. At which point the GOP in unison will be shocked, shocked,”

    I suspect even the dull-witted speaker Ryan will have considered this option. Trump has basically managed to piss off almost everyone in the Beltway. It would have the added advantage of forcing the drooling “base” to shut up and eat their silage like good little sheep. It would be their best play– no loose cannon upsetting our trade partners.

    Not expecting it, though. I doubt Ryan has either the organizational skills or the “man parts” to pull the, uhh, trigger and surreptitiously get the appropriate “incentives” out.

  28. but who would they pick?
    I’d put my money on a guy that wears a no scent scent while bowhunting and has been known to drive the wienermobile.

  29. If the electors do not vote for Trump, then there will be chaos. If the elector do vote for Trump, then there will be chaos. Therefore there will be chaos. Nowadays it’s nice to know _something_ for certain!

  30. Doug,
    I’ve also had thoughts along that line – but different.
    I call it, “I Haz A Dream, 2!”

    In it, t-RUMP allows the GOP powers-that-be to help select his cabinet positions – and this is what’s happening to some degree.

    t-RUMP waits until the incompetent and ignorant assclowns screw some major crap up.

    At which point, he goes into “POTUS-Apprentice” mode:
    He calls press conferences, and publically fires the conservative boobs by screaming “Mr/Mrs/Ms X, YOU’RE FIRED!” And explains how this person was foisted on him by the conservative leadership.
    t-RUMP then turns to the Democrats, and says, “You folks seem to know how to run a government. Why not help me out. Replace X, Y, Z, for me!”

    Ok, probably much less a dream than an illusion, or a delusion, or an acid-flashback from the late 70’s or early 80’s.

    But let an old boy dream….

  31. The Orange Apprentice, plutocrat edition? Might be possible. After all, we do have the Governator taking over the old one.

  32. I could be wrong, but its a fool’s errand to put any serious “hope” in what the electors will do on 12/19. Bottom line will likely be this: Trump will be president for the next four years, maybe eight. And people are setting themselves up to be depressed all over again putting too much stock in these electors and thinking otherwise, or that the GOP may impeach Trump sometime sooner. But Trump really is a symptom of the problem, more so than being THE problem. This is why, even if Trump is impeached, the only difference is we won’t have a complete moron in the white house. But the GOP will do the same things they’ve always intended, once in power, with Trump or without him.

    The real problem is our society has “evolved” to the point where the two main traits that can be found in most of those who can be considered leaders or in roles that call for leadership are a lack of integrity and courage. The rest of them are corrupted by money. And this cuts across BOTH parties. Its painful to watch these hypocritical bastards on the right engage in the most extreme projection calling out democrats for being corrupt, and then watch the mealy-mouthed, unintelligent responses from democratic leaders. And this is because its hard to defend against this or speak from a progressive perspective on it and have policies that are grounded in that when you know that the people who pay you are not for that. So you cannot respond clearly and concisely, nuance and incrementalism becomes your touchstones in communication because they help you, to put it plainly, speak out of both sides of your mouth.

    Let’s be real here: Clinton made MILLIONS of dollars in speeches to Wall Street, speeches that even to this day she refuses to make the texts public. Does anyone really believe then that she could have effectively represented the values that speak to the constituency the Democratic Party claims to represent? And if Clinton is as symptomatic of the democrats as Trump is of the GOP, was it realistic to think she could win with that message, when you have democratic leaders, hamstrung by the interests of wealth that they have prioritized over traditional democratic values now for years, that rendered them unable to respond in a clear and concise manner in which the average voter would get?

    The ONLY way the democrats are going to be in any way effective at all in opposition is they have to reorient themselves, and do it quickly. They have to cast off the masters of the universe that own them today. They build the party from the ground up, and leverage the technology to raise money from the ground up, and it can be done. And then they have to give voice to the interests of the grass roots, and speak to the issues. One of the things that has driven me damn near insane is when I look at the democrats, its hard for me to come up with ONE POLICY that they have pushed forward that did not put the interests of the wealthy first. For all the good it has done, the ACA fits that bill. Which is one reason that it has the Rube Golderg aspect to it, and the coverage gaps, etc. Again, mealy-mouth, nuance, incrementalism. Then throw out a little identity red meat to mollify the base.

    Sorry for the rant, but I’ll wind it up with this: we need to STOP focusing on Trump and start focusing on the GOP. Trump is their useful idiot who could not exist without them. We need to stop hoping that “our republican friends” will somehow gain some integrity and put the nation first when it comes to his corruption. And we cannot expect the media will stop trying to normalize what’s happening because it also lacks integruity and courage and is corrupted by money as well. The GOP is the problem because the only thing it cares about is power, the nation and its people be damned. Truth be told. And we need democrats to start being truth tellers.

  33. @ paradoctor — truth rules only if people care about the truth. And the current problem is that a great many people plainly do not. In fact, a great many plainly don’t grasp what caring about truth involves: self-criticism and honest empirical research.

  34. Yes there will be screw-ups. Yes there will be shamings and firings. Yes the R party will tear itself apart. But the course corrections will be from the orange one himself, hence not directed by evidence, logic or common sense. His policy will ‘evolve’ in the Darwinian sense; that is, it will slowly adapt, without intelligence or planning, directed by random mutation and selection-by-success, at the cost of vast suffering.

    His policies will be allegedly directed against his fellow 1%-of-1%ers; they will by intention be directed against the 99%; but will be enacted so incompetently that they will hurt even the 1%-of-1%.

  35. And that’s when the Governator steps in and says: “Get out, ahsshole.”

    For Christmas I’m giving my in-laws a copy of Idiocracy. Come to think of it, I might do it for the whole family.

  36. csm,
    Both parties are corrupt.
    And always have been.

    The difference is that Republicans are corrupt for corruptions sake. They seek only power, and then to allow their friends, families, cronies – and, of course, themselves – to profit.
    There is no expectation of any public good.

    The Democrats are also corrupt.
    But they expect some return on the corruption.
    “Sure, make some money! But make sure that X, Y, and Z, are built! AND WORK!!!”

    For over 100 years, Tammany Hall was as corrupt as Hell!
    Yet, it built a lot of the infrastructure that made NY City great! They built ports, City Hall, the Mayor’s Mansion, subways, bridges, canals, etc.
    There was a return on the investment.

    Under GOP corruption, there IS NOOOOOOOO return on investment.
    Public taxes are shuffled into private pockets.
    No ROI.

    I’ve always said, “I don’t mind a bit of corruption. But make sure that after you take your share, me and other citizens can use whatever it was that enriched your and your fellow grifters pockets!”

    Maybe that’s wrong, but… Hell, it works for me. It worked for NY State. It worked for NY City.
    Show me what GOP corruption has accomplished in LA, KS, MS, TN, SC, etc…
    It has accomplished nothing – except public schools that don’t teach, bridges and roads that can’t support traffic, etc…

  37. CUND: you have it exactly right. Democrats are also flawed, but provide some return for the collective good and the non-rich (bridges, clean air, schools, and social security). I would add that Democrats embraced civil liberties in the 60’s, the civil rights era, and do to this day. The Republicans have NO interest in individual rights. Period. End of story.

  38. http://www.dailywire.com/news/8373/ivanka-trump-vacationing-vladimir-putins-hank-berrien


    Does anyone remember this?

    Maybe the “mole” in Trump tower isn’t manafort but ivanka herself.
    Why is it the pics of people going into trump elevators reminds me of the wizard of OZ?
    Conway, the flapper( mouthpiece ) who comes out to speak for the great and wonderful OZ?
    The worst is to see so many blowing off serious issues like conflicts, foreign policies, war, human rights. The willingly syncophantic crowd that gathers around money and power. Truly sickening.

  39. CUND — right. And that is also the answer to why Obama couldn’t turn this thing around. America wanted him to, and the the Republicans spent eight years, every day, doing nothing else but making sure that he couldn’t. A great deal of what they did was psychological. They lied, and too many people believed their lies. That the GOP didn’t entirely succeed is Obama’s great accomplishment. Unfortunately it didn’t stop the Republicans from DELIBERATELY breaking this country, and they now intend to destroy everything he did accomplish. So what I want to say is that the Republicans have destroyed this country by design, out of pure spite and hatred, and the Democrats have destroyed it because, while all this was going on, their leadership, especially the Clintons, were too smug and complacent, and compromised. Hillary had no credible appeal to too many who needed relief. They were angry and they fell for the Republican bullshit, which seemed to promise more than the prospect of Hillary Clinton.

  40. Trump only claimed to have the best words. Surprisingly, he never claimed to have the best spelling.
    grannyeagle …Today I read about Ivanka fulfilling the role of first lady like you mentioned in your comment above.. It’s creepy. Maybe it’s me, but I get a sense that it’s kind of incestuous in nature. Not by any deeds, but by role assignment alone. I guess I’m just an old fossil with an archaic value system, but I can’t come to grips with assigning a wife’s role to a daughter…Where do you draw the line when you transpose a child into a marital relationship? Especially after he’s made comments that he finds her sexually appealing and that he’s unshackled from societal restraints. Caligula move over!

  41. Cund & Tom, I get it, both parties are corrupt but dems will at least spread the wealth around resulting from their participation in it. And I agree, for the republicans, its never about “the people,” only about the wealthy. And I’m not in the doctrinaire camp of sacrifice the good on the alter of the perfect. I’m also not one of those a pox on both their houses, why vote, damn them all types either. There is a difference; no question the dems are better. And I will always support them. The best chance we have for fixing our broken political system and institutions is to sweep republicans from positions of absolute control. But it is that same corruption that has limited our ability to do that as we just realized.

    My point is what the parties have in common, the corruption of money, limits their ability to deliver on “doing good” when you have someone in position to dictate to you the limits of what you can do, if in the case of the democrats there is still a sense of integrity left that you really want to do good. Sometimes the limits can have a negligible impact, but as we have seen, in some cases those limits are such that they negate any appreciable benefits or effects. Democrats are left to define “victory” in such cases as having “gotten stuff done” but that lowers their stock with their own supporters on the business end of such policy, who will see it as, in its simplest form, “yeah, you got stuff done alright, but for who? Not me!

    So come election time, you have that. You build a healthy skepticism in what should be your natural or traditional constituencies, outside of the true believers. And you need more than the true believers to win. And when you come with the same old, same old the result is what we just saw. As a party, you develop a blind spot, and you say to yourself, “we have the most qualified candidate in the history of forever!” And then you lose.

    My other point is this: the democrats do not need to be as heavily reliant on the wealthy benefactors and be as beholden to their demands when they can raise sufficient money through grass roots funding using technology. I can accept that removing those shackles is a process and cannot happen overnight. But even now, in the aftermath of this devastating loss, the party still seems to have a faction content on maintaining those shackles as the way forward. Why?

    So it really comes down to what kind of party the democrats are to be? One that says I will piss on you and call it rain (TPP)? One that negotiates from a losing position when it comes to the worst excesses of the GOP because the same wealthy benefactors of the GOP who also fund democrats demand it? And is the lack of courage and integrity we see in democrats, that hinder their ability to effectively communicate and push back, really a function of the limitations placed on them by wealth?

    I am not naive enough to think that wealth can be shut out entirely from the political process, nor do I think it should be. But we can flip the script. If we are not beholden to them for money, because we have the mechanisms to raise sufficient funds on our own, from the people, as we have seen, then let the democrats negotiate the terms for their participation, instead of the other way around. And then the democrats can get back to being an effective counter to a totally corrupt GOP.

  42. Trump was not a White-lash by the Republicans. They didn’t want anyone like him. The party wanted a minority candidate. The GOP ran two Hispanic-Americans figuring one of them would garner enough of the Hispanic vote to beat the DNC candidate. Unfortunately they allowed an outsider to also appear on the ticket. When none received a majority of the vote instead of having a runoff they foolishly let the one with the most votes be their candidate.

    The question I would ask is why was our election susceptible to hacking? If not the Russians it could have been the 400 lb guy sitting on his bed in his parents basement.

  43. Swami: It also gives me a nauseating creepy feeling when Trump says he would be attracted to his daughter if she wasn’t his daughter. However, I really think it is more that he does not see Melania up to the role and I think Melania does not want it. It is clear that Ivanka wants to participate in some sense. It is an unusual situation but then I think Trump’s whole administration will be unusual. I am not sure I can tolerate it without going crazy. But then there is a pill for that.

  44. Let’s be real here: Clinton made MILLIONS of dollars in speeches to Wall Street, speeches that even to this day she refuses to make the texts public. Does anyone really believe then that she could have effectively represented the values that speak to the constituency the Democratic Party claims to represent?

    Yes, I do think she could have represented the values that speak to the constituency of the Democratic Party. Look: she was a highly sought after speaker. A speaking gig can be really lucrative when you have to raise the price until you stop getting more requests than your staff can handle.

    That she gave a lot of Wall Street talks, and was compensated for them, is perfectly normal. That this is reason to have a great deal of suspicion about her is foolishness.

    Now: I’m not saying that everyone should agree with my feelings. But I am saying, she was offered a boatload of money to go give talks; she likes money, took the money, and gave the talks.

    “Okay, so why not just hand over the transcripts?”

    Because something she said would be twisted into some gruesome caricature and used as an attack ad. “And SHE ADMITS she said it!” Or maybe she said something like “we’ll need more jobs because major manufacturing, as a source of jobs, is gone and not coming back.” That’s true – but it’s suicidal for a politician to say that.

    Now: show me some of her too-friendly policy proposals, and I’ll listen to you. But I won’t accept that it’s bad that she was offered a lot of money to do something, and did it.

    Really, that’s as bad as the claims that the Clintons listened to Clinton foundation donors. The idea that a donor to your charity can *talk* to you is a big nothingburger. The only question is: do you give them favors you wouldn’t give anyone else? And so far as anyone could determine, the answer was “no”.

  45. Could Obama have turned things around? I think so, if he had stuck to his Yes, We Can message. But he believed, or was convinced by his economic advisors, that preventing a second Great Depression was good enough, that we did not need a near-term economic recovery. Obama even said that the government could not afford to do more for the economy. See his “out of money” quote on CSPAN in May, 2009. So Yes, We Can became No, We Didn’t. If, like FDR, he had focused on economic recovery, the odds are good that there would have been no Republican sweep in 2010, and then Obama could have focused on health insurance reform.

  46. I’m somewhat bemused by the hysteria about Russian “hacking.” It’s not new, of course. I was in high school for the McCarthy/John Birch/Moral Majority/HUAC years, so maybe I’ve been a little inoculated. I’ve been through the Missile Gap. the Bomber Gap, and the MX-11. I’ve been to Vietnam and I’ve read quite a bit about it. I read a good bit about Iran-Contra, El Salvador, Chile, and Guatemala. Oh, yeah, and Haiti (again), too. Nicaragua. I can remember when Air America was not a liberal radio channel, but an air freight company that brought heroin from Northern Thailand to Vietnam (while I was stationed there). I’ve watched while the police across the nation, with some notable exceptions, have dropped the pretense that they are anything other than an occupying army, the courts have stopped pretending to be the same for everybody, and corporations that their workers are anything but disposable trash. When I was in high school I noticed that there was not one single book in our school library or in the Public Library, either in my home town of Royal Oak, or the Detroit Main Public Library on Woodward Avenue, where I spent so many happy Sundays, about Communism. Well, the Detroit Library might have had a couple copies of Capital in their locked shelves. My high school library at least had two copies of Mein Kampf. And you’re just noticing that people no longer trust government agencies? I had high school teachers who passed on the oral history of the labor movement. We heard about the 1942 Detroit Race Riot. I heard stories about how J. Edgar Hoover blackmailed presidents. We knew about Operation Phoenix, where the CIA was proud to announce that they had killed 50,000 Vietnamese (they’ve recently cut their claims back to say they only killed 25,000). And you’re worried that these people aren’t taking seriously stories about childish computer intrusions that revealed accurate information to the public because the intelligence community says it was consistent with work done by the Russians and also consistent with their motivations. I love your blog, man, but I am so scared by this ongoing campaign, like the ones I’ve seen before, to get us into a war with Russia in the next couple of years. The signs seem so obvious to me.

  47. I can remember when Air America was not a liberal radio channel, but an air freight company that brought heroin from Northern Thailand to Vietnam (while I was stationed there)
    Are you talking about Udorn?

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