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A cautious Trump? Surely not. January 2, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I’ve no idea whether Russia did indeed attempt or succeed in hacking the US election process. But in a way what is more fascinating is the manner in which Donald Trump has received this information. Not for him the usual hyperbole with which he treats matters large and small – Mexican immigrants, his political opponents, anything else which strikes his fancy at any given time, rather he has been cautious, reserved, downplaying it.

In remarks to reporters upon entering a New Year’s Eve celebration at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump warned against being quick to pin the blame on Russia for the hacking of US emails.
“I just want them to be sure, because it’s a pretty serious charge,” he said.
“And if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong.”

He may well be correct. But why this uncharacteristic reserve? In almost every other instance where there’s been an hint of malfeasance he takes the road of expressing not merely belief but sometimes absurd belief.

It’s difficult not to believe that this is actually more indicative of a personality driven by whim. His actions in relation to the PRC and Taiwan during the same period point to that dynamic more than any other. I’d love to think that this is a different ‘governing’ Trump, one who weighs up evidence, is hesitant to offer an opinion without information and so forth. I fear though that people will be disappointed if they pin their hopes on that.

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1. CL - January 2, 2017

The phone call between Trump and the President of Taiwan was based on more than a whim.

“The historic communication — the first between leaders of the United States and Taiwan since 1979 — was the product of months of quiet preparations and deliberations among Trump’s advisers about a new strategy for engagement with Taiwan that began even before he became the Republican presidential nominee, according to people involved in or briefed on the talks.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-taiwan-phone-call-was-weeks-in-the-planning-say-people-who-were-involved/2016/12/04/f8be4b0c-ba4e-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.968d05e21489

“Former Senator Bob Dole, acting as a foreign agent for the government of Taiwan, worked behind the scenes over the past six months to establish high-level contact between Taiwanese officials and President-elect Donald J. Trump’s staff, an outreach effort that culminated last week in an unorthodox telephone call between Mr. Trump and Taiwan’s president.”

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WorldbyStorm - January 2, 2017

It’s not even the phone call that is a whim (though instructive too how slapdash his transition has been in relation to who gets through and who doesn’t and who he calls and who he doesn’t) so much as his seeming indifference in his responses subsequent to it. It’s not difficult to imagine a line from another candidate that would at least attempt to assuage PRC concerns, but from Trump we see the opposite, a sort of ramping up of the rhetoric. This sense that he is driven by no particular concern for the consequences or potential consequences of his rhetoric is where the sense of him being driven by whim comes in.

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2. EWI - January 2, 2017

Trump realises the danger to himself – given his Putin links – of of any narrative which involves Russian intelligence iperations around the US presidential election. Therefore the determined downplaying of the whole issue, so at odds with how he approaches everything else.

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WorldbyStorm - January 2, 2017

That does make sense EWI. So he protects himself in this instance as best he can.

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3. CL - January 2, 2017

There’s definitely a Russian connection.

“For three decades Donald Trump has profited from his connections to the Russian oligarchs, whose own fortunes depend on their continued fealty to Putin….
We don’t know the full relationship between Donald Trump, the Trump family and their enterprises with the network of world-class criminals known as the Russian oligarchs…

whatever the nature of President-elect Donald Trump’s relationship with President Putin, he has certainly managed to accumulate direct and indirect connections with a far-flung private Russian/FSU network of outright mobsters, oligarchs, fraudsters, and kleptocrats.”
http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/12/19/the-curious-world-of-donald-trumps-private-russian-connections/

__________
“Trump’s properties attract people involved in corruption and financial crime not just from the former Soviet Union, but from around the world, for example Rafael Olvera Amezcua, accused of large-scale fraud in Mexico, and Roberto Rincon, the Venezuelan businessman found guilty of rigging contracts, tax evasion and bribery. The common theme here is the need to launder the proceeds of crime.”
http://transparency.org.ru/en/news/first-we-take-miami-why-russian-businessmen-and-criminals-move-into-trump-s-towers

The Trump brand as a front for money laundering?

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4. Roger Cole - January 3, 2017

Ray McGovern, an ex CIA analyst and the group of ex CIA and other ex members of the US security sector have questioned the US/Irish corporate media coverage of this issue. I suggest you go on to his web site: raymcgovern.com
Ray was recently invited to speak in Dublin by PANA & the IAWM (see: http://www.pana.ie )

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CL - January 3, 2017

Here’s McGovern’s and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity take on the hacking issue.
“As the hysteria about Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election grows, a key mystery is why U.S. intelligence would rely on “circumstantial evidence” when it has the capability for hard evidence, say U.S. intelligence veterans.”
https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/12/us-intel-vets-dispute-russia-hacking-claims/

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yourcousin - January 3, 2017

Well there’s no zeal like the zeal of the converted. One important thing to remember is that opinions are still opinions, regardless of what side they come from. So we can’t believe the CIA/NSA because they’re the system, but we can trust the former CIA folks because they’re CIA, but reformed and now believe as we believe. I would respectfully point out that there are many sources out there that exist beyond the hype of Kremlinology and the “partisan fog” and they are all pretty much in agreement.

http://www.threatgeek.com/2016/06/dnc_update.html

https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/bears-midst-intrusion-democratic-national-committee/

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/all-signs-point-to-russia-being-behind-the-dnc-hack

See, this,

“it remains something of a mystery why the media is being fed strange stories about hacking that have no basis in fact. In sum, given what we know of NSA’s existing capabilities, it beggars belief that NSA would be unable to identify anyone – Russian or not – attempting to interfere in a U.S. election by hacking.”

From VIPS is not actually a rebuttal to the work from Crowdstrike or threatgeek. Its simply saying that the NSA is omnipotent and that therefor the system wasn’t hacked. I mean from my vantage point it seems accusing a foreign power of hacking would not win the accuser any points so I fail to see what say the DNC thought they would get out of it. Hillary’s whole plan was that she just had to be the adult in the room. That was her campaign strategy. Be the adult, not spread wild rumors like voter fraud.

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EWI - January 4, 2017

However, Craig Murray (the ex-British ambassador and whistleblower) says:

Anybody who believes the latest report issued by Obama as “proof” provides anything of the sort is very easily impressed by some entirely meaningless diagrams. William Binney, who was Technical Director at the NSA and actually designed their surveillance capabilities, has advised me by email. It is plain from the report itself that the Russian groups discussed have been under targeted NSA surveillance for a period longer than the timeframe for the DNC and Podesta leaks. It is therefore inconceivable that the NSA would not have detected and traced those particular data flows and they would be saved. In other words, the NSA would have the actual hack on record, would be able to recognise the emails themselves and tell you exactly the second the transmission or transmissions took place and how they were routed. They would be able to give you date, time and IP addresses. In fact, not only do they produce no evidence of this kind, they do not even claim to have this kind of definite evidence.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/exit-obama-cloud-disillusion-delusion-deceit/

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yourcousin - January 4, 2017

It’s the same group (VIPS) feeding Murray. Still not addressing the technical points. Its still just, “the NSA knows everything therefor it didn’t happen”.

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5. CL - January 3, 2017

Here’s a progressive view on Trump and Putin from Robert Kuttner:

” leading Republicans are pushing back on his insistence that he knows intelligence better than the CIA and challenging the idea that the U.S. should be a puppet of Vladimir Putin….

John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Rand Paul of Kentucky have said they will cooperate with the bipartisan investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democrats. They’ve made clear that they reject Trump’s alliance with Putin and trust the CIA more than they trust Trump’s intuitions that maybe some guy in New Jersey hacked the Democrats’ emails…

If Trump continues to insist that Russian cyber-warfare represents no threat to America and is not even worth investigating, he will be inviting the opposition of innumerable other Republicans.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-kuttner/the-containment-of-trump-_b_13574018.html

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6. FergusD - January 4, 2017

I still say, so what if the Russians did hack the DNC? Surely the important point is that Clinton and the DNC abused and corrupted the primary process to ensure she got selected over Sanders. The problem with all this stuff about Russia (which I am unconvinced of I must admit) is the it has overshadowed what was actually revealed in the emails.

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yourcousin - January 4, 2017

Fergus,
Please explain? I’ve been reviewing the email releases and I’m missing the smoking gun. The leaked questions? The obvious preference for a long term party member versus someone who was only a member for the primary? The offhand, informal, and unflattering way in which folks communicated when they thought they were “talking” in private? I still don’t see how Sanders could of gotten around the super delegate issue. And this primary was exactly why the super delegates existed.

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WorldbyStorm - January 4, 2017

Ordinary pledged delegates also broke convincingly for HC. None of which is to deny influence from DNC but I can’t see how that could transfer into corrupting primaries which aren’t they run by state govts not the DNC or am I wrong?

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FergusD - January 4, 2017

Isn’t the DNC supposed to be neutral between candidates, I assumed so. It clearly wasn’t for the reasons you describe.

Wasn’t there controversy about the Nevada primary?

I am not saying Sanders would have won without those things but it shows up HC as “establishment”, as devious (or her aides and the DNC). All the things many democrat voters didn’t like her for, and many, presumably didn’t vote. She lost the election (although not the popular vote) because of her politics, her record and her character. She, and the “liberal establishment” won’t accept that.

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yourcousin - January 4, 2017

Wait, so the bigger story than a foreign government using illegal means to try to influence an election is that an establishment candidate from an establishment party is in fact part of the establishment?

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WorldbyStorm - January 4, 2017

I don’t disagree FergusD re what is meant to happen and what does, but there’s not a huge surprise here.

She was a former secretary state, partner of one of the most successful Democratic Presidents (at least by the lights of the Democrats themselves) and a significant political figure in herself. She and he had had decades to build up huge stores of influence and call on them. She also had Obama’s support – again, the other most successful Democratic President (by the lights of the Democrats) and one who was closer instinctively to her than to Sanders.

And then there was Bernie (who I like a lot) who had been in the party two years and really only so he could take a run at the Presidency. The amazing thing is not that she won but that Sanders did so well (an indication of her weakness without doubt). I don’t know if HC doesn’t accept why she lost the election – I think there were many issues, part of which was definitely a lack of focus on the rust-belt. Frankly there’s little evidence of malfeasance bar influence. And there’s a broader issue – general polling both of Democrats and all voters consistently saw HC ahead of Sanders. It narrowed toward the end but she was still a fair bit ahead. That was reflected in the primary vote.

I’m not a HC supporter but I just don’t see this process as stolen or corrupted in the way some seem to. I also think that – and this mirrors some of the views expressed about Momentum yesterday – that a lot of people new to politics came in with Sanders and simply didn’t get how entrenched political activity is, or that establishments are establishments often because they have the power and the influence and on occasion the raw votes behind them. I’m very sympathetic to people feeling sore about this but I don’t think any of it was a given. Sanders as candidate might have done okay, or, as some argue, there was a playbook just there waiting to be unleashed upon him with comments from his past, support for x y and z and so on. The whole thing is crap really, from a progressive position – but then again that’s why none of us are Democrat supporters or members.

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CL - January 4, 2017

“Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida was forced aside by the release of thousands of embarrassing emails among party officials that appeared to show co­ordinated efforts to help Clinton at the expense of her rivals in the Democratic primaries. That contradicted claims by the party and the Clinton campaign that the process was open and fair for her leading challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hacked-emails-cast-doubt-on-hopes-for-party-unity-at-democratic-convention/2016/07/24/a446c260-51a9-11e6-b7de-dfe509430c39_story.html?utm_term=.64e4896b2663

This does not mean that Sanders would have won if the DNC had behaved fairly. We will never know. And its all past history now.

This coming Friday Trump is scheduled to receive the evidence of the Russia hacking from the CIA and the FBI.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-cyber-meeting-idUSKBN14O1QH

The Democratic Party, most of the Republican Party, the CIA, the FBI and most of the MSM are using the hacking issue to derail Trump’s proposed rapprochement with Russia.

The neocons are worried:
“The scandal is only limited because so far, there is no hard evidence of actual collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. But if such evidence were to emerge, or if we were to learn of financial links between Trump and the Russians, Kremlingate would go radioactive.” Max Boot.

But the paleoconservatives are hoping that Trump will proceed with detente:
‘The worst mistake President Trump could make would be to let the Russophobes grab the wheel and steer us into another Cold War that could be as costly as the first, and might not end as peacefully.’ Pat Buchanan
http://www.unz.com/pbuchanan/can-trump-and-putin-avert-cold-war-ii/

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WorldbyStorm - January 4, 2017

Just looking at the Wasserman issue it’s again difficult to see how the actual primaries or their outcomes were corrupted by it – The Washington Post notes that the emails were from late in the campaign when Clinton was already well ahead. It is, of course, abysmal (and one can find the stuff about seating arrangements at donor parties either tragic or comedy gold but again abysmal). But again where is the surprise? And it’s a bit of stretch to ascribe knocking stuff about say Sanders to shaping the outcomes.

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CL - January 4, 2017

‘“The DNC did something incredibly inappropriate here” and needed to acknowledge that’ said Edward G. Rendell, a former DNC chairman and former Pennsylvania governor.

It surely had some effect on Sanders’ chances. But was it decisive? Doubtful. But such reprehensible shenanigans influenced the overall tone of how the Clinton campaign was perceived. So it may have had an impact on Clinton’s chances vs Trump.

But its all over now. (apart from the on-going gnashing of teeth)

Atavistic energies have been released by Trump’s tribal campaign and victory. The demagogue becomes the most powerful political person in the world with a strong reactionary wind at his back. Strong enough to defy the CIA and FBI?

‘New Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump is “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.’

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/312605-schumer-trump-being-really-dumb-by-going-after-intelligence-community

The demagogue is already exercising his authority. We await the tweets to see if he has the cojones to defy the intelligence agencies.

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7. yourcousin - January 5, 2017

A little off topic, but topical to our teeth gnashing over Hillary’s loss.

“The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans believe people are fundamentally bad, while Democrats see people as fundamentally good,” said Mr. Watts, who was in the area to campaign for Senator Rand Paul. “We are born bad,” he said and added that children did not need to be taught to behave badly — they are born knowing how to do that.”

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/01/05/opinion/why-rural-america-voted-for-trump.html

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FergusD - January 5, 2017

I’m not “gnashing my teeth over Hilary’s loss” frankly. But she lost (in those key states) because of who she was and what she stands for but the Democrat establishment just won’t accept that. It was the damn Russkies wot done it – apparently?

Do you really think Obama etc pushing this line will help the Democrats?

I wonder does the US “interfere” in elections elsewhere?

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yourcousin - January 5, 2017

Wasn’t really addressing this one to you man. Just read the article and it seemed topical to me, that’s it. Mainly because I spend a lot of time in rural America and relate to that world view point more than I might like to admit.

No one is saying the Russians cost Hillary the election.

My point from earlier is that no, this line does not help Democrats, which is why I question why they would make it up.

I’m well aware of America’s history “actively lobbying” in other countries. But that one is really just “whataboutery”.

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8. CL - January 5, 2017

An interesting article here that deals with the origins of the alt-right and touches on the paleo/neocon divide.

“Inequality is the alt-right’s foundational belief. In this view, there are inherent, irreducible differences not only between individuals but between groups of people—races, genders, religions, nations; all of the above. These groups each have their own distinctive characteristics and competitive advantages; accordingly, inequality is natural and good, while equality is unnatural and therefore bad and can only be imposed by force. In practice, it is typically a belief in white supremacy and a rejection of universalism…
Neo-nazism, while not the whole story, is one part of the alt-right, just as the alt-right is not nearly the whole story of Trump’s victory but played a crucial part.”
http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/218712/spencer-gottfried-alt-right

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Starkadder - January 5, 2017

Thanks for the link, CL. We should come up with a formal term for those who make an idol out of political inequality, like Paul Gottfried and Mary Ellen Synon. How about
aequalitas inimicus (Dog Latin for “equality hater?”)

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yourcousin - January 6, 2017

Ditto Starkadder, interesting read. To me they’re just reactionary scum. Nothing new, but a very real threat.

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