#41
russia is a smokescreen raised by terrified dem operatives relying on xenophobia and the boomer enemy to delegitimize trump
#42

Urbandale posted:

russia is a smokescreen raised by terrified dem operatives relying on xenophobia and the boomer enemy to delegitimize trump

it's not truly about deligitimizing trump, imho. if they wanted to prioritize undermining trump even an organization as confused as the shattered dems could do better. the trump presidency is just a career setback for them, part of playing the game, what they're really afraid of is the public conception of their own political bankruptcy (which just so happened to pave the way for trump.) they couldn't possibly have failed so fundamentally, so catastrophically, to appeal to actual human beings. it must be the fault of a foreign interloper. so they're trying to cover up for their own failure first, by any means necessary, with the actual material consequences of the political situation they have created taking a distant back seat. as usual, they fail to understand the gravity of the situation and tilt at windmills because the consequences won't really affect them.

#43

cars posted:

i think it was very nice of her to hastily add those question marks to her sign

betteridge's law of protest signs

#44
anti-russian sentiment, propaganda, whatever is very rooted in actual material reasons. European example: the required expansion of (primarily) german capital into eastern europe, in part due to the collapse of the economies of the southern european states requires driving wedges between eastern europe and russia etc etc blah blah blah
#45
The fake liberal idiot I keep in my brain in order to test Owns on has come up to ugh something that flummoxed me...if the Russia story is something that the Democratic Party and their friends in the press made up whole cloth in order to "deflect attention" or something how come the three letter agencies all seem to think it's worth investigating and pursuing? how beholden to party politics are they
#46
the alphabet soup wants to force trump's hand & prevent the detente with russia he flirted with during the campaign. note that tillerson talked shit about russia during his confirmation hearing & trump "admitted" that russia was responsible for the hacks during his first press conference.
#47

littlegreenpills posted:

The fake liberal idiot I keep in my brain in order to test Owns on has come up to ugh something that flummoxed me...if the Russia story is something that the Democratic Party and their friends in the press made up whole cloth in order to "deflect attention" or something how come the three letter agencies all seem to think it's worth investigating and pursuing? how beholden to party politics are they

IIRC the FBI at first contested the CIA's account, then a couple of days later did a 180. Maybe Obama strongarmed them the way Bush strongarmed the CIA in 2003. Not sure if he would've been able to do that as a lameduck.
More importantly it doesn't even really matter. If the hack/leak was just a "hey, it looks like this happened, fyi" news item then the complete lack of evidence wouldn't be worth caring about, but in the context of the radically aggressive posture the US pop is being told to adopt, the fact that there's even less public evidence than there was before the Iraq War should just automatically be troubling even to liberals.
It also doesn't matter because even if Russia did hack the DNC, who cares? It wasn't consequential, it didn't affect the outcome of the election, it's a good troll and it's funny.

#48
look, if the worlds leading authority on foreign powers intervening in democratic elections on behalf of rightwing strongmen says that a foreign power intervened in a democratic election of behalf of a rightwing strongman, who are we to question?
#49

littlegreenpills posted:

The fake liberal idiot I keep in my brain in order to test Owns on has come up to ugh something that flummoxed me...if the Russia story is something that the Democratic Party and their friends in the press made up whole cloth in order to "deflect attention" or something how come the three letter agencies all seem to think it's worth investigating and pursuing? how beholden to party politics are they

all they need is one or the other.

#50
btw the accurate way to look at this, because it's what happened, is that the Democrats and their friends in the press had their hands on this fake-as-shit report and this british ex-spy's self-promoting claims about it for months. they knew it was all ludicrous and knew they'd be isolated as kooks if they displayed it without some sort of official go-ahead from the taste-makers in Washington, so they just hinted darkly about some mysterious compromising information wielded by the "KGB" and left it at that.

it became a story because, in the wake of Trump's refusal to publicly mumble assent to the CIA's soft challenge to his legitimacy like almost anyone else would do to ease transition, the intelligence agencies first arranged a "briefing" to "warn" both trump and obama about the document's "imminent release", then leaked the fact that the briefing happened to the news press, turning the contents of the bullshit document into "news" so that it was just a race to the bottom as to which Web site would run the thing first (Buzzfeed, surprising no one).

The "briefings" for obama & trump were arranged, then leaked, for the purpose of making the bullshit document, previously not news worth reporting, into news worth reporting. Predictably, it's on these grounds that the debate-club-minded liberals in the press have justified printing it, including Glenn Greenwald. they were played by a fairly old dirty trick and even the ones who saw it happening couldn't stop it because, well, now it's "news" because the people have the right to see what Obama sees in high-level national security briefings (an odd and sudden change in outlook on that question for most of the news outlets that eventually repeated the allegations).

The proximate cause for the "story" happening at all was the manipulation of the press by the intelligence agencies, not the Democrat surface-level P.R. people or the press themselves. The news media were cultivated exactly as that old CIA/FBI/NSA saw about journalists describes, like mushrooms: fed shit and kept in the dark. the Democrats had obvious reason to pump up the story, and it certainly served the CIA's purpose to ignite a sudden explosion of Red-baiting xenophobia from what was already a powder keg given the constant anti-Russian propaganda issuing from the Obama White House. What the agencies' motives were, that's the point where speculation begins. i think it's enough that Trump had talked about them like no person in his position had ever dared to talk about them. They have turf to defend.
#51

#52
was it with turkish aircraft
#53
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/SYRIA_THE_LATEST?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-01-23-14-26-59

"The attack followed a joint raid in the same area flown by Russian and Turkish jets on Saturday."
#54
#55

Backus posted:

FBI Director James Comey to stay on in Trump administration

lol

#56
cute how they had Comey soft-peddle the implied threat like he's Trump's secret pal, which is a good way to make sure that an aged egotist like Trump wouldn't necessarily realize it was a threat from Comey as well and could later maintain Comey as a current Republican favorite. also cute how the Washington Post in its aggressively post-Bernstein/Woodward era both knows all about a one-on-one conversation between Trump and the head of the FBI about a national security issue and is happy to print it in contravention of its current standards for what should and should not be public knowledge. I'm sure everyone here has seen that strategy before at a smaller scale in the workplace, where the big boys apply pressure to someone by having a "friend" tell him what "no one else will".
#57
"War Declared on Iran" Placeholder Post
#58

tears posted:

"War Declared on Iran" Placeholder Post

#59
woke twitter has identified the real issue with the latest wave of anti-russian chauvinism:

#60
that is one reason those pictures are bad, yes.
#61
Tony Norfield: The Anti-Russia Syndrome

I normally cast aside explanations of events based on the psychology of the actors, but this has been hard to do in recent months. How else, apart from signs of paranoia, can one explain the never-ending stories in the mainstream media about the Russian menace?

A constant tirade against Russia emanates from television and radio channels, and from all the ‘quality’ newspapers and reporters. (See this Youtube video of Putin explaining that the BBC’s John Simpson has no ‘common sense’). Only the topic changes with the times. One early focus was Russia’s intervention in Crimea/Ukraine, which upset US and European strategy. The next was how Russia’s support for Assad in Syria unravelled and sidelined disastrous western policy. One of the latest is the election of Trump, billionaire-in-chief of the US hegemon. A shocked US political elite can only put down Trump’s election to the nefarious Russkies, not to domestic political reaction. Right on cue, a British ex-MI6 agent provided a dossier of ‘evidence’ to ‘demonstrate’ that Putin was in a position to blackmail Trump! If that were not bad enough to show how the commies were undermining western liberal democracy, new stories are about Russian support for Marine Le Pen’s Front National in France and other rightwing parties in Europe.

The anti-Russia syndrome reflects two things outside the realm of psychosis. Firstly, it is a sign of big power frustration with a permanent member of the UN Security Council that can veto US-led UN resolutions and which can also back up its policies with military firepower. Secondly, the chronic phase of the crisis persists, and this is straining the political infrastructure, as most clearly seen with the Brexit and Trump votes. ‘Anti-communism’ is one of the few comfort blankets that the western powers can cling on to in these troubling times and pretend that they are all still in the same gang.

Take the UK government, for example. No longer invited to any EU soirées, the UK has to grandstand at NATO. The UK Ministry of Defence today declared that one of its key objectives for this week’s NATO summit in Brussels was

“to ensure the Alliance continues to make progress on taking forward the ambitious agenda agreed at Warsaw, in particular on modern defence and deterrence towards Russia. On that front (literally), the enhanced forward presence of NATO battlegroups is deploying this Spring to the Baltic States and Poland, with the UK proud to be leading the formation in Estonia, one of our most effective Allies in the Helmand campaign.”

The anti-Russian strategy has been a hallmark of British imperialism ever since the October revolution of 1917, and it has helped shape, or has been used in, almost all of its other policies. From the late 1930s/early 1940s, Britain focused upon splitting India into two countries, so as to make the new Pakistan a bulwark against any Russian incursion into its interests in the Indian subcontinent and the Persian Gulf. Britain also feared Soviet involvement to stymie its attempts to re-establish its colonial empire (and those of other powers) in the late 1940s. Britain went out of its way to support Moslem fundamentalism in the Middle East and North Africa as a counter-weight to local demands for freedom from foreign domination, usually put forward by secular nationalists, and it justified this by using the fear of ‘communist subversion’, even when that was completely unfounded. Similarly, Britain used the Soviet threat as a way to get the Americans to back its policies, as with the US involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Mossadegh in Iran. There were many other such initiatives, as documented in Stephen Dorrill’s MI6: Fifty Years of Special Operations.

Russia has completely embarrassed British and American political strategy at a time when Britain wants to hold on to its role as facilitator for that strategy in European and beyond. Now, post-Brexit, the Brits are high and dry, but Theresa May hopes to continue to hold hands with Donald Trump over NATO. Expect more

#62

marlax78 posted:

Tony Norfield: The Anti-Russia Syndrome

I normally cast aside explanations of events based on the psychology of the actors, but this has been hard to do in recent months. How else, apart from signs of paranoia, can one explain the never-ending stories in the mainstream media about the Russian menace?

A constant tirade against Russia emanates from television and radio channels, and from all the ‘quality’ newspapers and reporters. (See this Youtube video of Putin explaining that the BBC’s John Simpson has no ‘common sense’). Only the topic changes with the times. One early focus was Russia’s intervention in Crimea/Ukraine, which upset US and European strategy. The next was how Russia’s support for Assad in Syria unravelled and sidelined disastrous western policy. One of the latest is the election of Trump, billionaire-in-chief of the US hegemon. A shocked US political elite can only put down Trump’s election to the nefarious Russkies, not to domestic political reaction. Right on cue, a British ex-MI6 agent provided a dossier of ‘evidence’ to ‘demonstrate’ that Putin was in a position to blackmail Trump! If that were not bad enough to show how the commies were undermining western liberal democracy, new stories are about Russian support for Marine Le Pen’s Front National in France and other rightwing parties in Europe.

The anti-Russia syndrome reflects two things outside the realm of psychosis. Firstly, it is a sign of big power frustration with a permanent member of the UN Security Council that can veto US-led UN resolutions and which can also back up its policies with military firepower. Secondly, the chronic phase of the crisis persists, and this is straining the political infrastructure, as most clearly seen with the Brexit and Trump votes. ‘Anti-communism’ is one of the few comfort blankets that the western powers can cling on to in these troubling times and pretend that they are all still in the same gang.

Take the UK government, for example. No longer invited to any EU soirées, the UK has to grandstand at NATO. The UK Ministry of Defence today declared that one of its key objectives for this week’s NATO summit in Brussels was

“to ensure the Alliance continues to make progress on taking forward the ambitious agenda agreed at Warsaw, in particular on modern defence and deterrence towards Russia. On that front (literally), the enhanced forward presence of NATO battlegroups is deploying this Spring to the Baltic States and Poland, with the UK proud to be leading the formation in Estonia, one of our most effective Allies in the Helmand campaign.”

The anti-Russian strategy has been a hallmark of British imperialism ever since the October revolution of 1917, and it has helped shape, or has been used in, almost all of its other policies. From the late 1930s/early 1940s, Britain focused upon splitting India into two countries, so as to make the new Pakistan a bulwark against any Russian incursion into its interests in the Indian subcontinent and the Persian Gulf. Britain also feared Soviet involvement to stymie its attempts to re-establish its colonial empire (and those of other powers) in the late 1940s. Britain went out of its way to support Moslem fundamentalism in the Middle East and North Africa as a counter-weight to local demands for freedom from foreign domination, usually put forward by secular nationalists, and it justified this by using the fear of ‘communist subversion’, even when that was completely unfounded. Similarly, Britain used the Soviet threat as a way to get the Americans to back its policies, as with the US involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Mossadegh in Iran. There were many other such initiatives, as documented in Stephen Dorrill’s MI6: Fifty Years of Special Operations.

Russia has completely embarrassed British and American political strategy at a time when Britain wants to hold on to its role as facilitator for that strategy in European and beyond. Now, post-Brexit, the Brits are high and dry, but Theresa May hopes to continue to hold hands with Donald Trump over NATO. Expect more

#63

cars posted:

btw the accurate way to look at this, because it's what happened, is that the Democrats and their friends in the press had their hands on this fake-as-shit report and this british ex-spy's self-promoting claims about it for months. they knew it was all ludicrous and knew they'd be isolated as kooks if they displayed it without some sort of official go-ahead from the taste-makers in Washington, so they just hinted darkly about some mysterious compromising information wielded by the "KGB" and left it at that.

it became a story because, in the wake of Trump's refusal to publicly mumble assent to the CIA's soft challenge to his legitimacy like almost anyone else would do to ease transition, the intelligence agencies first arranged a "briefing" to "warn" both trump and obama about the document's "imminent release", then leaked the fact that the briefing happened to the news press, turning the contents of the bullshit document into "news" so that it was just a race to the bottom as to which Web site would run the thing first (Buzzfeed, surprising no one).

The "briefings" for obama & trump were arranged, then leaked, for the purpose of making the bullshit document, previously not news worth reporting, into news worth reporting. Predictably, it's on these grounds that the debate-club-minded liberals in the press have justified printing it, including Glenn Greenwald. they were played by a fairly old dirty trick and even the ones who saw it happening couldn't stop it because, well, now it's "news" because the people have the right to see what Obama sees in high-level national security briefings (an odd and sudden change in outlook on that question for most of the news outlets that eventually repeated the allegations).

Matt Taibbi's latest:

#64
to be clear that post from long long ago has 23 upvotes so this is collective gloating. always shall I be faithful to the LF hivemind, always shall I just post what we're all thinking
#65

gyrofry posted:

sure, that is the vehicle du jour, but it could literally be anything. it's a pretext, not a driver. like much effective propaganda, it has the appearance of being grounded in a moral claim

also, I would suggest that the kind of nationalist fervor we're witnessing will eventually (if it hasn't already) take on a life of its own as it did during the depths of the cold war, and hating russia will begin to simply be popularly regarded as good and right for its own sake. this will still be manipulated and leveraged for geostrategic objectives, but it will make it a lot easier when the need for pretexts to catalyze this begins to wither away.

this also happened and is well into its prime at this point. people are risking their careers by being insufficiently anti-Russian & i doubt that will change for the foreseeable future.

#66
gj cars i retroactively upvoted your prescience, alas I was only a lurker at the time
#67

dimashq posted:

gj cars i retroactively upvoted your prescience, alas I was only a lurker at the time

I think we were all prescient on this one, I don't think I saw a single poster doing anything more wrong than suggesting hopefully that there might really be a tape of a bunch of prostitutes peeing on a bed for Trump somewhere, and I mean, tfw

#68
i kept summarizing that post for other people irl and what they did in response was very interesting. they basically nodded for a few seconds, although i could not really place the look in their eyes at that moment, and then just out of no where and completely inexplicably they would vomit onto their bibs and cough up these long tentacles that would then spin around, like a propeller cause little droplets of spit and vomit to fly out in every direction like a dog shaking itself off. i'm not quite sure how to interpret this but always the tentacles would recede, and they would wipe the blood from their eyes and just very calmly say "well, let's wait for the facts to come and then we'll see". hopefully everyone is doing okay now, though
#69
rip to other people irl
#70
[account deactivated]
#71
I regretfully inform the nation that spies are not respectable people but are, in fact, seedy squalid little bastards who lie for a living. Now, my next guess on Real Time is the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper!
#72
In retrospect, it's notable how the Trump-Russia thing has completely evaporated in the press at the exact point it might make some small difference in whether Trump stays in office. Both sides here lost, though the alphabet boys lost bigger.

Trump's White House had no real foreign policy agenda that conflicted with that of the CIA/NSA/FBI. The administration's line on Latin America and Iran is the same as the agencies' and just as strident, and feints at diplomacy with DPRK went nowhere and did nothing for Trump domestically. Both groups see eye-to-eye on China and even on Russia, outside of nominal pushback on the latter that the agencies themselves provoked by trying to shove the White House around on the topic. The only White House actions that directly challenged the intelligence and security agents were direct retaliation against the "collusion" accusations, stuff like working to void the extra-legal CIA-retiree network's lifetime security clearance, and that was all down to hurt egos in the current administration.

Most likely, all the agencies wanted from the White House was the usual: assurance that their ongoing black-ops-dirty-tricks efforts would continue unimpeded by the ebb and flow of electoral politics. They'd set up dual plans to cover either result from 2016: a) the leaked "briefings" on the weirdo fake Russia report to pressure Trump, and b) an FBI investigation of Clinton's campaign in the event she won (which they'd probably though much more likely than a Trump victory). If Trump weren't such a prickly princess and if he hadn't packed his administration full of crazy, angry nerds in the first year or two, the White House could've disarmed the situation with ease and had a lot more time, energy & freedom to pander to its razor-thin margin of electoral victory. Instead, they had to waste it fighting the impeachment battle in the court of public opinion, fighting agencies that were already made nervous when the guy they didn't expect to win ended up in charge and appointed a bunch of political losers who hadn't been properly vetted by the Washington-cocktail-party circuit.

But the agencies turned out to be the biggest losers here, and from circumstances outside their control, because their whole supposed advantage is control. They didn't foresee mass uprisings in cities all across the United States, because they figured they still had "total information awareness" (not to mention a gigantic amount of regained goodwill from the mainstream news press over Trump) and couldn't be blind-sided by the public's reaction to a combination of readily available digital cameras and KKKops doing KKKop things in full sight of them. The agencies certainly couldn't foresee a worldwide plague and the economic instability it created, maybe the largest contributor to current domestic unrest.

Now, the agencies are stuck with a situation that appears to be slightly in their favor but is still well beyond their control. It's another 2016-style enthusiasm gap among likely voters for their currently favored puppet party, balanced against an administration that's lagging in "favorable" ratings—but that administration should have been sunk entirely in the public's eyes by those same unforeseen circumstances, since the current White House is so poorly equipped to handle these sorts of crises by itself, it borders on comedy. And big or small, no cop really benefits from a public conversation where half or more of KKKop Kapital United $naKKKe$ is suddenly okay with anyone saying We Hate Cops, accusing cops of criminal conspiracies or—most importantly for the alphabet boys, their federal-state-local inter-cop network & its bottomless pig-trough—calling for cop money to be spent on anything else.

As Trump-Russia's gone pretty much nowhere for the agencies in the long run, I kind of doubt this next part, but: I'm a little curious whether there's going to be a last-second attempt to salvage the "collusion" line by bringing in some unlikely new angle on Russia & Trump in the 11th hour before the election, some novel accusation against Trump or some puffed-up Russia-linked foreign policy scare, in a window too small for the White House to address it adequately before people Pokemon Go to the polls. Whether or not the agencies try for one last swing, it's a risk either way—if not to reasserting complete control over their gang turf in Washington, then to the future careers of the agency middle managers tasked with the Russia takedown. What I really doubt, though, is that all this anti-Russian Red-scare energy will disappear after the election, and whether or not it gets aimed full-bore at China next probably depends on who wins in November.
#73
imo the trump-russia thing was always mostly just a way to make it seem like the democrats were involved in pushing back against the trump admin in the most content-free way possible. they had no real issues with how anything was being run but were very embarrassed by having brought this on themselves and also need to maintain the facade of "popular resistance"
#74

c_man posted:

imo the trump-russia thing was always mostly just a way to make it seem like the democrats were involved in pushing back against the trump admin in the most content-free way possible. they had no real issues with how anything was being run but were very embarrassed by having brought this on themselves and also need to maintain the facade of "popular resistance"

I think that's true as far as the nominal bourgeois-party opposition goes, like, I think most of the college-educated Democrat types who do the biggest talking about Russia & the White House don't more than half-believe it themselves, even at the level of Facebook-posting nobodies. They're stuck in a mentality circa 2008 where they think they're being deeply clever by employing rabid xenophobia and security-state nationalism against the other party. They imagine their brilliant triangulation will confuse and befuddle their slack-jawed mid-continent countrymen into voting Democrat or not voting at all.

But the Democrats by themselves couldn't, wouldn't and didn't deploy the Russia smear, beyond vaguely hinting at its existence. It was the FBI & CIA that moved the ball on it. Otherwise the Democrats would have made direct accusations instead of ominous rumblings late in the 2016 election season, since they already had their hands on all the dubious material that was used to make those accusations shortly after the election. It's obvious why the Democrats couldn't do it by themselves, because without the perceived reliability of the nation's top cops behind it, most of that now-discredited "report" comes across as ludicrous, hallucinatory or just plain wacko, like a pathologically manic idea of how to smear a politician. (I'm not lecturing here, I think that's something pretty much everyone on this forum accepts.)

Those detailed accusations on Russia didn't fly until Trump won, because then, the U.S. intelligence & security agencies needed to put pressure on this property-dealing TV dope who wasn't fully up to speed on how Washington is supposed to work. When that failed, they needed to punish him repeatedly, day after day in the news, for talking shit about them in public statements in a way that no one in Trump's position ever had. That in turn led to what we're seeing now, the active capture of the bourgeois party whose left-of-the-center-left wing might have, at some theoretical point in the future, pumped the brakes on the CIA/FBI's plans somewhere. I don't think the movers & shakers behind all this intended to depose Trump in his first term, but I think they intended to utterly humiliate him by 2018 and sink him in 2020, with Trump as a foreign agent somewhere near the top issue in the presidential campaign season, and it didn't exactly go as planned.

IMO the agencies are still in a 2016 mentality themselves. They see Trump as an interruption and everything that's happened with him as lemons into lemonade, a way to bring both bourgeois parties to heel in the U.S. after Trump's gone, with the non-Trump Republicans falling back into their normal deferential/revolving-door role and even the mild-lefty-style Democrats now shot through with "intelligence community" influencers and candidates. The difference between the agencies and run-of-the-mill, 2008-brain Democrats is that the agencies just might make mentality into reality. What I'm sure galls them is that there's no guarantee of that in 2020, when by all rights there should be, with two senile candidates as likely to die from the plague as they are to convince anyone they can stop it. The CIA/FBI/NSA/etc. know they should be lashing these idiots to the sled right about now, securing dual guarantees that they'll be given everything they ever wanted for the foreseeable future no matter who wins, under the threat, however vague, of a genuine breakdown in public order over the next few years.

#75

cars posted:

I think that's true as far as the nominal bourgeois-party opposition goes, like, I think most of the college-educated Democrat types who do the biggest talking about Russia & the White House don't more than half-believe it themselves, even at the level of Facebook-posting nobodies. They're stuck in a mentality circa 2008 where they think they're being deeply clever by employing rabid xenophobia and security-state nationalism against the other party. They imagine their brilliant triangulation will confuse and befuddle their slack-jawed mid-continent countrymen into voting Democrat or not voting at all.

I don't think this is true at all, most lib types that are hooked in to stuff like CNN's outrage addiction news stream 100% believe it, Maddow etc present the exact same kind of alternate reality presented by Fox and devoted viewers for the most part engage with it completely sincerely, even the supposedly intelligent academic types who should know better. In these circles the narrative is a culturally accepted fact. They're genuinely afraid of the cunning Ruskie because that brain damaged cold war culture is deeply embedded in America's psyche, not because they think they can extract some clever utility out of exploiting it.

I think that there's certainly a lot of cynicism in the media deliberately constructing their narrative to be addicting, but I never see that kind of ironic cynicism mirrored when talking to people who watch it: they're all in on the fantasy and their continued engagement is guaranteed by their confusion and frustration that something that is sold to them as so conclusively obvious still hasn't been acted on (because it doesn't exist lol.) And this includes the complicit journalists and news staff, everyone is the hero of their own story and while maybe there's a little voice in the back of their heads telling them it's all bullshit, for the most part I think they go in to work convincing themselves it's all real.

I do agree with you though that the dem establishment and alphabet boys haven't learned a single thing and have totally failed to adjust their mentality.

#76
I have a measure of confidence in the ability of the Democrat-style, college-educated or otherwise-pseudo-intellectual liberal mind to compartmentalize. Like, yes, they think they're flag-waving heroes because that's exciting and caters both to post-Cold-War pop-culture trends and to their fantasies about Nixon & the '60s, Bush & the '00s and dissenters as the real patriots. They drift toward Hashtag Resistance for the same reason a lot of the older, property-owning types are skittishly "socialist" now in a Euro-nostalgic, less feisty revival of radical chic, which I think probably comes from a different place than the younger petit-bourgeois angry about not owning that same house.

But I think there's a temporary cubicle partition at the edge of that "resistance" in most cases, and on the other side is someone snickering like Muttley, thinking, Man we'll sure snow those foreigner-hating flyover-country rubes. They still think they'll do that, and even if Trump wins in November, they'll argue that he didn't win enough, because the Democrats were so clever about Russia. If he loses, they'll take full credit for that, too.

Certainly I think a handful of the voices here, Louise Mench for instance, are people who'd be sucked into the eco-hippie flat-earth equivalents otherwise, lottery-winner loons whose fried neurons are firing across the gaps at a lefty-lib-approved conspiracy theory that gave them a pop-up audience and has respectable types pressing the loons' happy buttons every couple weeks. But I don't think that's most of them. Rachel Maddow is a known type of non-loon, a successful The-Nation-and-up careerist, denouncing Trump as a foreign agent & murderer until it's time to wish the President a speedy recovery from the plague, because The Founding Fathers were gentlemen to each other, but also racist slavers when Maddow can sell that story, and so on.

I think most Democrats are primed to see themselves as mini-Maddows, not mini-Menches. Too smart to think people are creeping outside their windows with mind-control devices, clever enough to decipher the code and carry out some wondrous grand electoral strategy. I also think that depending on who wins in November, all this CIA-stoked xenophobe energy may very well shift gears without the clutch, and the people still rambling about devious Russians will fly out the window and get left in the cold, with many of their avid fans suddenly disdaining them as unfashionable and behind the times.

I guess I'd apply this in a lot of ways to Trump-friendly conspiracies, too, even to the extent of QAnon, though most of them don't get that elaborate. You have a minority of crazed true believers and then a larger number of compartmentalizers revolving in and out who half-believe in all of it and half-think they're just cunning, big-brained strategists & tacticians. They suppose vaguely that they need to trample out uppityness among non-whites, but less over visions of "The Storm", white genocide or a coming race war (though they'll while away the hours dreaming of one) and more over a less fantastic fantasy-land, where the jobs—that must be hiding somewhere within U.S. borders, because where else could they possibly go?—get sucked away from racial enemies, vampire-like, and enrich them and maybe their kids but definitely NOT the ex-wife or deadbeat dad. Though in most of these fantasies, the right-liberals cast themselves in the role of a "small business owner", a petit-bourgeois turning bourgeois just in time for retirement age, employing a dozen strapping young crackers and maybe a black or two to sweat in the hot sun building patriotic hot dog stands. I don't think even most of the people stockpiling canned goods and shell-catchers think they'll ever use them. It's just fun for them to dream about.

A safer bet for finding true believers is to look among the chunk of the real, and real neurotic, bourgeoisie that's trying to set up plush bunkers and impossibly bribe-immune helo pilots for the day when the grimy paupers realize how rich the bunker-buyers really are. They have real worries, and they know it even if they think the worst outcome is exceedingly unlikely, and they also know that if & when the worst comes to pass, there's not really anything they can do about it. But the only way they know how to approach a problem is to pile money on it until it's squashed flat, so they'll keep on trying to do that, while the more sensible types try to forge & strengthen ties with the armed sectors of the bourgeois state.
#77
#78
#79
I hammered on here a while back about Bill Clinton as the ur-model for Trump as candidate & president in the public eye, and campaign post-mortem reports have made plain what a problem it was for the Clinton campaign in 2016. They wanted to call Trump out as a sleazeball rapist, and of course he is, he’s a bourgeois family-money/TV-celebrity guy from the United States who’s never had to plan things out more than a few days in advance without help from a paid staff, one he tends to abuse and ignore. He likely can’t perform everyday tasks without their help, let alone cover his own dragging ass, and he’s nowhere near as smooth an operator as the Clintons or Obamas became when they realized young that they had a future in politics and had to keep all the rough stuff on the island. Trump’s probably literally raped a teenage kidnap victim in a New York City apartment, called a staffer who hates him over to the bed and handed the no-name a wad of bills to pay a human oil slick next door for the privilege. But...

Clinton’s people wanted to shout “Trump’s a rapist” from the rooftops and try to get every sweaty pastor in the country to reel back the steady, year-over-year drift of right-liberal “social conservatives” into “where’s my pedo nudes”. Yet they knew their candidate was out there rallying voters alongside a guy most voters realized was probably a rapist and had been accused of rape while running for president, then got elected twice. William Jefferson Clinton as a comfortably tame, clever, suit-wearing version of a rude, slimy, criminal hick opened up a lot of opportunities when new-money nervousness faded in the U.S., when the way to show you had power and wealth in the U.S. shifted entirely to, “Act like you have no idea how to act in a given situation, loudly and on TV.”

Guess which friend of the family picked that one up when the Hiltons put it down. And now we know the Hiltons traded in that behavior for more dollars & fame, but also sent its product off to be ritually abused in some sadist’s discipline dungeon. I suppose the lingering question among bourgeois gossips is whether Trump ever tried to rape her himself.

So: it all worked back the other way, too. Clinton’s opponents figured that with a guy this greasy and enamored with his own rise to power, they could keep digging and eventually find some magic buried fact that would destroy him in the public eye without challenging their own behavior. Trump’s opponents thought the same thing about him, and because they all swam in the same septic system as their target and can’t crack that sewer fat-berg open too wide without drowning themselves in slime, both groups, Clinton’s opponents and Trump’s, ended up in this complex rhetorical legalese tangle that fascinated the news nerds and didn’t do much of anything for anyone else.

Plus, once this Russia crap moved past the wacko waifu pee-pee report, the press vultures couldn’t even titillate the audience with Lifetime-Network rape fantasies. They couldn’t even be like, Breaking news, we have the cum, repeat Trump’s Cum Is A Go. It turned into Diet Clinton, Slick Willie with all of the flabby lawyers and none of the crying women.
#80
Trump brought all the women Clinton abused to one of the debates.