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Historical Presidential Strength Versus Trump's Weakness On Russia

[ Posted Thursday, July 19th, 2018 – 15:59 PDT ]

President Donald Trump, who never met a superlative he didn't love (when it describes him in glowing terms, of course), claimed after his disastrous performance in Helsinki this week that: "No president ever has been as tough as I have been on Russia." That's a pretty tall order, especially when many others are saying exactly the opposite -- that no American president has ever been as weak as Trump was this week towards Russia. John McCain even offered up his own lyrical superlative to describe what just took place: "No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant."

Trump's megalomania is, as usual, quite easy to disprove. To begin with, there was the purchase of Alaska in 1867, signed by President Andrew Johnson. Can anyone imagine how the Cold War might have played out differently if Alaska had still been Russian territory? The start to America's uneasy and adversarial relationship with Russia dates back to Woodrow Wilson, who sent American soldiers onto Russian soil in 1919 to fight against the newly-emerging Soviet state. Hundreds of Americans died fighting Bolshevik Russians, even though most Americans never learn about it in history class. Fast forward to the aftermath of World War II, and you'll find plenty of American presidents showing incredible strength against the U.S.S.R. during the entire Cold War period, the most notable of whom was probably John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And then, of course, there was Ronald Reagan, who famously taunted: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" in Berlin. Does any rational being think that Donald Trump's fawning press conference this week stacks up in any meaningful way with any of these previous examples?

Trump's claim was born in the rightwing media, who were desperately trying all week to portray Trump as something he just wasn't. They trotted out a list of Trump's supposed toughness against Russia, which went something like this: "Trump has instituted more sanctions against Russia than anybody, he kicked out more Russian diplomats/spies than anybody, he armed the Ukrainians, he went forward with anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe, and he bombed Syria twice." The whole effort was based on the maxim: "watch what he does, not what he says." This was necessary, since there simply are no examples to point to of Trump saying anything even slightly negative against Vladimir Putin or Russia.

So is Trump "speaking softly and carrying a big stick"? Well, no. Not really. Arming the Ukrainians, the missile systems, and the Syrian raids were, to Trump, all about reversing everything Barack Obama had done. In Trump's mind, if Obama had done it, it was bad, therefore he should do the opposite. There were no fiery Trump speeches or denunciations of Putin's Russia attached to any of these moves. The other two items on that list were mostly forced upon Trump (by his own advisors in the case of the expulsion of diplomats, and by Congress in respect to the sanctions). In fact, Congress passed bills demanding Trump levy even stronger sanctions on Russia, and he has only partially complied -- if Congress were in change, the sanctions would now be much more harsh, in other words.

Up until this week, President Trump has never unequivocally stated that Russia attacked our election system in 2016. Even this week, he was obviously reluctant to do so, and usually hedged his statements with plenty of weasel words. He also apparently doesn't even believe that Russia is still attacking our elections, and the cyberwarfare departments have reported that they have gotten zero top-level guidance from the White House on how to fight back in the 2018 elections -- so they've gone ahead on their own initiative, in an attempt to fill the vacuum of leadership Trump has left them with.

But the real measure of Trump's weakness towards Putin and Russia can be shown by one item that emerged from Trump's private meeting with Putin. A timeline is necessary here, to fully show how incredibly weak Trump still is on the insane proposal Putin floated to Trump.

Last week, Rod Rosenstein briefed the president that Bob Mueller was about to hand down 12 indictments of Russian intelligence officers, with solid proof that they had attacked America's election system. Rosenstein reportedly asked Trump whether Mueller should hold off on the indictments until after the Helsinki meeting, since there would obviously be diplomatic fallout which could impact this meeting. Trump told Rosenstein to go ahead and release the indictments, reportedly because it would make his own bargaining position against Putin stronger.

So far, so good. Any U.S. president would have been wise to choose this route, since it would indeed be a rather large bargaining chip on the table. A strong president would have gone into the meeting after stating in the media that he was going to demand the extradition of these 12 individuals to face American justice for their actions. This would have put Putin in a position of playing defense on the issue.

What happened instead is Trump obviously didn't have the slightest grasp of how diplomatic negotiations like these are supposed to happen. In an interview on CBS which aired Sunday morning -- the day before the summit meeting -- Trump was openly and visibly surprised at the suggestion from the journalist that such an extradition demand be made. He quite clearly stated that nobody had even mentioned this possibility to him, but that the idea was an interesting one, and he'd give it some thought. Think about that -- even though Trump himself approved the indictment's timing, he had absolutely no clue about how to use such leverage against Putin.

Since Putin had all weekend (which included that astonishing admission in the Trump interview) to come up with his own diplomatic ploy, he was apparently the one who brought it up during the two men's meeting. Putin offered to have his own intelligence people interview the 12 Russians in Russia, and offered to allow anyone from Mueller's team to "sit in on" the interviews (not specified was whether they would even be allowed to ask their own questions). In return, however, America would have to let Russian agents question 11 Americans about supposed crimes they committed against Russia. On this list was a former American ambassador to Russia. Trump, astonishingly, thought this was "an incredible offer." You could plainly see that Putin had talked him into the supposed reasonableness of such a quid pro quo. Putin had masterfully shifted the dialog from one where he was playing defense to one where he was driving the issue, thus forcing Trump to take the defensive position. Incredibly, Trump didn't do so -- he instead appeared to go along with the idea wholeheartedly.

A strong president in such a position would have opened the issue in the private talks with a flat-out demand that the 12 be extradited. When Putin offered up his "fox investigates the chicken thefts" idea, a normal American president would have laughed it off and dismissed it out of hand. It's likely neither one of them would have even brought it up in the press conference because the idea should have gone over like a lead balloon. If it had been brought up, a strong American president would have stated forcefully to the world's press: "I demanded the extradition of the 12 Russian agents, and we will begin the formal process to request they be extradited." Putin would have been left explaining the intricacies of the Russian-American extradition process, and probably wouldn't have even brought up his own fanciful plan in public, since it was such an obvious non-starter.

Trump returned home and continued to think Putin's "incredible offer" was a good idea. Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked directly about it and refused to reject the offer out of hand. She said the White House was discussing the proposal and had no announcement at the present time. Again, a strong president would have had their press secretary laugh the idea off the stage in no uncertain terms.

Today, the Senate hastily acted to stop this idiocy in its tracks. In a unanimous 98-0 vote, they passed a non-binding resolution to inform Trump that his idea was absolutely and positively insane and would be incredibly detrimental to America's interests both here at home and around the world. Even in today's hyperpartisan era, this anti-Trump statement passed unanimously in the Senate, showing that absolutely no one was willing to back Trump up on Putin's plan.

Just before the Senate voted, finally sensing that the political winds were blowing against them, the White House relented and released a rather wishy-washy statement, which read in part: "Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt." Hopefully? Really? That's the best you can do? And this is supposed to be the toughest president of all time against Russia? Imagine Ronald Reagan wistfully stating: "Hopefully, this wall will come down someday, somehow or another." Or J.F.K. calling up Nikita Khrushchev and saying: "Hopefully, those missiles in Cuba will be removed... you know, if they even exist at all."

The indictment issue more than any other (so far) showed Americans just how pathetically weak Trump is when it comes to Vladimir Putin. Trump didn't demand extradition -- in fact, he hadn't even heard of the notion on the day before the summit. He got masterfully played by Putin, who mesmerized Trump into believing his plan was somehow "incredible" and a great way to solve the impasse. Trump gushed about the plan in the press conference, and then directed his White House staff to consider it when he returned home. It wasn't until the Senate was on the brink of passing a resolution -- by a vote of 98-0 -- condemning the idea that the White House finally decided to abandon it. Even when they did, they could not bring themselves to in any forceful way demand the extradition take place, while remaining "hopeful" that it somehow would happen. Putin immediately responded that the 12 Russians would never be extradited, period.

It's pretty easy to see who is strong and who is weak in this relationship. It's pretty easy to see who is calling the shots and pulling the puppet strings. And it is an absolute disgrace to the memory of Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy to even imply that Donald Trump is the toughest president ever when it comes to Russia. Trump may think this is true is in his own delusional mind (and in the echo chamber known as Fox News), but wishing doesn't make it so by a long shot.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

57 Comments on “Historical Presidential Strength Versus Trump's Weakness On Russia”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    When Putin offered up his "fox investigates the chicken thefts" idea, a normal American president would have laughed it off and dismissed it out of hand.

    With any other American president, Putin would never have raised such an asinine proposition.

    With Trump, Putin raised the asinine offer just to see what Trump's reaction would be. Would Trump laugh it off or would he actually take it seriously and even think it was a brilliant idea? Well, the world now knows the disturbing and sickening answer.

    Why is it not appropriate to label the president a traitor for his treasonous behavior?

    And, if it isn't treason, then the American president is so incompetent that he is not capable of living up to the oath of his office.

    What does this president have to do to be relieved of his duties?

  2. [2] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    "(Trump) has never stated unequivocally that Russia attacked our election system."

    What does it actually MEAN when anybody says "Russia attacked out election system", or "Russia attacked our democracy", or "Russia subverted our democratic process" etc.?

    A helluva bunch of Dems/Libs (and likely a few Weigantians) actually believe that the Russians penetrated our voting machines, and cast bogus ballots for Trump, which is why Trump won. They don't know, and out of ignorance, don't care, that voting machines are not even connected to the internet!

    What it actually means to say "Russia attacked our election system", is that Russian hackers revealed to the whole world, that Hillary, Donna Brazille, Podesta and company (the DNC), had stacked the primary process deck to make damn sure that Bernie Sanders didn't win the nomination, and that's ALL it means!!

    I'd say that anybody who wasn't smart enough or perceptive enough to have taken that fact for granted before the hackers ever posted the emails that proved it, had to be suffering from terminal political naivete. Nobody ever heard of "superdelegates"? Why do you think the Dems invented superdelegates? Not to democratize the nomination process!

    People cast their votes based on wallet issues, and/or political ideology. NOBODY switched votes from Sanders to Trump because Sanders got cheated - that's prima fascia ridiculous!

    Basiclly, the whole 'scandal' of Russian hacking is an attempt to 1), rationalize Hillary's 'impossible' defeat, and 2, to delegitimize Trump's win.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It's so nice to be able to read the last indictment presented by Mueller regarding the 12 GRU operatives. Because, after reading this important document, we know quite a lot about what the Russian attack was all about.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Let me know if you need a link, okay?

  5. [5] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    CRS

    So as long as a foreign country’s criminal actions benefits your candidate, you have no problem with their actions, is that it?

    I always thought that the “C.R.” stood for “Corrupt Republican” when “Comrade Republican ” might be more appropriate.

  6. [6] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Listen

    Obviously, you misssed my whole point.

    I maintain that the "criminal actions" did NOT "benefit my candidate"! (Actually, Trump was not my candidate, but that's another subject.)

    No rational person could believe that Sanders' backers, (the leftist of the lefties) voted for Trump (the rightest of the righties) because they discovered that Hillary cheated their guy out of the Dem nomination.

    (Of course, I hasten to admit that rationality is not the long suit of Dems/Libs.)

    I always thought that LWYH stood for "I'm embarrassed about what I post, so I use a pseudonym".

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    [6]

    You're the one who purposefully misses the point, enjoying the art of distraction.

    Be that as it may but, your disrespectful tactics are not appreciated here.

  8. [8] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz-
    Please extend your condemnation of disrespectful tactics to those here that are disrespecting and demeaning One Demand.

  9. [9] 
    TheStig wrote:

    While it is still very easy to find vocal Trump apologists, it is becoming increasingly hard to find any who are willing to admit they actually voted for him. If pressed for details, they mumble a change of subject.

  10. [10] 
    John M wrote:

    [2] C. R. Stucki

    "What does it actually MEAN when anybody says "Russia attacked out election system", or "Russia attacked our democracy", or "Russia subverted our democratic process" etc.?"

    Here's what it means:

    1) The scale of the Russian campaign was to spend tens of millions of dollars spent over several years to build a broad, sophisticated system that can influence American opinion.

    2) The Russian efforts described in the indictment focused on establishing deep, authenticated, long-term identities for individuals and groups within specific communities. This was underlaid by the establishment of servers and VPNs based in the US to mask the location of the individuals involved. US-based email accounts linked to fake or stolen US identity documents (driver licenses, social security numbers, and more) were used to back the online identities. These identities were also used to launder payments through PayPal and cryptocurrency accounts. All of this deception was designed to make it appear that these activities were being carried out by Americans.

    3) Additionally, the indictment mentions that the Russians had a department whose job was gaming algorithms. This is important because information warfare—the term used in the indictment itself—is not about "fake news" and “bots." It is about creating an information environment and narrative—specific storytelling vehicles used to achieve goals of subversion.

    4) The content was not designed to persuade people to change their views, but to harden those views. Confirmation bias is powerful and commonly employed in these kinds of psychological operations (a related Soviet concept is “reflexive control”—applying pressure in ways to elicit a specific, known response). The intention of these campaigns was to activate—or suppress—target groups. Not to change their views, but to change their behavior. In other words, to keep targeted groups like African Americans home, and not vote for Clinton in sufficient numbers to make a difference.

    That's considerably more than what you are trying to minimize and belittle with your comments. It's apparently you who don't understand.

    A key goal of these Russian campaigns was "mainstreaming" an idea—moving it from the fringe to the mainstream and thus making it appear to be a more widely held than it actually is.

    This corrosive effect is real and significant. Which part of the fear of “sharia law in America” came from Russian accounts versus readers of InfoWars? How much did the Russian campaigns targeting black voters impact the low turnout? ETC.

  11. [11] 
    John M wrote:

    [6] C. R. Stucki

    "Obviously, you misssed my whole point."

    Obviously you are the one who missed the whole point.

    "I maintain that the "criminal actions" did NOT "benefit my candidate"! (Actually, Trump was not my candidate, but that's another subject.)"

    Which directly contradicts what our own intelligence agencies are saying, since they agree that the Russian actions did indeed demonstrably benefit both Trump and the Trump campaign. Even Putin in Helsinki came right out and said he wanted Trump to win. Imagine if an American President made such a statement about favoring a British Prime Minister in an election, for instance!

  12. [12] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John M

    OK, one question - Did all those high-tech, ultra sophisticated efforts fool YOU!!

    I know the answer, it ain't just NO, i't HELL NO, implying that you were too smart to be fooled, but the great unwashed masses all were deceived, right??

    Rampant elitism, right?

  13. [13] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz

    Sorry all to hell, Miss Hypersensitivity, but please note, I would NEVER "disrespect" you!

  14. [14] 
    John M wrote:

    [2] C. R. Stucki

    "A helluva bunch of Dems/Libs (and likely a few Weigantians) actually believe that the Russians penetrated our voting machines, and cast bogus ballots for Trump, which is why Trump won. They don't know, and out of ignorance, don't care, that voting machines are not even connected to the internet!"

    True. But Russians HAVE hacked electronic poll books — tablets and laptops, loaded with check-in software, that have increasingly replaced the thick binders of paper used to verify voters’ identities and registration status.

    This HAS lead to things like: Voters being told they were ineligible to vote and being turned away at the polls, even when they displayed current registration cards. Others being sent from one polling place to another, only to be rejected. Scores of voters were incorrectly told they had cast ballots days earlier.

    There are at least 21 states whose election systems were targeted by Russian hackers, according to interviews with nearly two dozen national security and state officials and election technology specialists.

    The assaults on the vast back-end election apparatus — voter-registration operations, state and local election databases, e-poll books and other equipment — have received far less attention than other aspects of the Russian interference, such as the hacking of Democratic emails and spreading of false or damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. Yet the hacking of electoral systems was more extensive than previously disclosed, The New York Times found.

  15. [15] 
    John M wrote:

    [12] C. R. Stucki wrote:

    O"K, one question - Did all those high-tech, ultra sophisticated efforts fool YOU!!

    I know the answer, it ain't just NO, i't HELL NO, implying that you were too smart to be fooled, but the great unwashed masses all were deceived, right??

    Rampant elitism, right?"

    WRONG. You are the one being elitist and deliberately burying your head in the sand like an ostrich.

    It doesn't have to fool everybody, just enough.

    How many ordinary bright people fall for scams every day? A phone call, from the police or IRS saying wire them money or put money on a prepaid card? Finding a wallet and saying deposit some money in a joint account as a sign of good faith, then we will withdraw it and split it. Happens all the time, right? People GET fooled and played.

  16. [16] 
    John M wrote:

    Two previously acknowledged strikes in June 2016 hint at Russian ambitions. In Arizona, Russian hackers successfully stole a username and password for an election official in Gila County. And in Illinois, Russian hackers inserted a malicious program into the Illinois State Board of Elections’ database. According to Ken Menzel, the board’s general counsel, the program tried unsuccessfully “to alter things other than voter data” — he declined to be more specific — and managed to illegally download registration files for 90,000 voters before being detected.

  17. [17] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    OK, one question - Did all those high-tech, ultra sophisticated efforts fool YOU!!

    Wrong question. The question you should be asking, is, did all of those efforts influence ANYONE to vote differently than they might have otherwise?

    A quick look at the record suggests: yes, of course it did. College-age voters stayed home or voted for third party candidates in higher numbers than they had in previous elections. Black voting totals were way down. Rural republican numbers went way up, particularly in western Wisconsin, where local colleges usually balance the vote.

    Communist Jill Stein's numbers in Wisconsin went from 1% (in 2012) to 6% (2016), and Libertarian Gary Johnson went from 2% (2012) to 7% (2016).

    You could blame that all on Hillary, and many do, but then, that's exactly what they'd want us to do, isn't it? Nationwide, Hillary actually out-performed Obama, while Trump did about the same as Romney had. It was the distribution of those votes in swing states that changed - evidence that specific targeting of voters in key areas made the difference.

  18. [18] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    On Morning Joe today, Donny D opined that the Democratic message should be "The vote of your lifetime." (My choice would be along the lines of "Be proud of your government.") Donny is going to talk about messaging with Parez next week, so maybe he can help convince the unstable geniuses in the DNC to stop acting like idiots.

    This is the reason I don't engage with Mr. Harris' compulsion on election financing. It doesn't make any sense to discuss what choices need to be made in remodeling a house if the foundation is not solid.

    After (and if) we restore stability to our democracy by defeating the forces of transactional isolationism, how to repair the damage to both our domestic and international orders can proceed.

  19. [19] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    [18] My current favorite is "Make America Good Again".

  20. [20] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Leaning Blue-
    I agree that it doesn't make sense to discuss choices of remodeling a house if the foundation is not sound.

    Other than using the word compulsion instead of focus all you really said is it doesn't appeal to you, which is your decision to make.

    As you have so far been reasonable, I am offering you the opportunity to discuss whether the idea should part of the public debate so that people that may find the idea appealing could participate if they want to.

    If you should choose to discuss the idea, I would appreciate an answer to the following questions that no one here has chosen to answer. (the only exception would be one comment, I think from NYpoet- sorry if I remembered the wrong person, that said if 10% of citizens participated in One Demand in 2018 that it could have an impact, though it was unlikely people would participate.)

    If one third to one half of the citizens that vote in presidential elections but don't vote in off year elections participated in One Demand by writing their own name (if there are no small contribution candidates on their ballot) rather than not voting which could total 10-20% of the total vote in 2018, could this inspire more people to participate in 2020 have an impact on the 2020 elections with some victories by small contribution candidates in 2020? If not, why not?

    If these citizens did participate in 2018 instead of not voting what harm could/would it cause?

  21. [21] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    If not, why not?

    Because the way votes are reported, the same candidate would win and each local reporter would ignore the write in's unless they noticed an unusually large number of them. Big if there. And a bigger if they bothered to research and write a story about it even if they noticed. Then if you look at traffic monitoring site like Alexia, you will find CW.com does not get enough traffic to even be listed. Are you hoping the NYT will pick you up if CW does? Does anyone there even read this blog? Yes, in theory what you want could happen but statically its up there with winning the big prize on powerball. Nice fantasy but keep your day job.

    If you want a chance of actualizing change: put your house in order. Fix your site, add to it, make it relevant. Make it something that CW would want to write about. You are showing a pattern of neglect that is quickly moving from persistence to creepy stalking...

  22. [22] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Bashi-
    Well, at least it's a start.

    It is true that it would require a significant amount of voters participating in 2018 to be noticed.

    Even 5% of voters would be a significant amount. 10-20% is possible with just one third to one half of the 2018 non-voters participating instead of not voting.

    The participation includes signing up on the website so it is clear why they are participating.

    To repeat a point I have been making, it is unlikely that this amount of participation could happen if people don't know about the opportunity so if that many people did participate the media would already be covering the story by the time the votes were cast.

    And of course CW.com would just be a starting point that could lead to other media covering this idea. It is a starting point- not the end game.

    Again with the fix your site bullshit?

    There is plenty of information at the site for people to understand the idea and citizens can sign up right now.

    It costs money to update the site and I have only a limited amount of money available. And of course, when the site was new and previously updated that was not good enough at the time.

    As there is plenty of information available and people can sign up now your opinion that the website needs to be updated is noted, but not necessary for CW to address One Demand or even write aboot it.

    Then I can use the limited resources available to make updates when they will be needed as I cannot afford to keep updating the site without results.

    And if CW would address One Demand and the current opportunity to mobilize and explain what he thought might need improvement then I might be able to make the improvements if they are needed.

    Thank you for acknowledging that it could work in theory. That is what all political campaigns are aboot- theory.

    Theoretically the Big Money Democrats could gain a majority and even the White House in 2020 and then decide to not represent their Big Money contributors in favor of representing ordinary citizens.

    But that is statistically the equivalent of winning the top prize in the powerball every week for a full year.

    But when so many things that were statistically unlikely in politics have been happening over the last few years, both possibilities should be part of the public discourse.

    You did not answer what harm could/would be caused by citizens participating in One Demand. Does this mean that you don't think it would cause any harm if 5,10 or up to 20% of the vote in 2018 was made up of citizens participating in One Demand instead of not voting?

  23. [23] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Balthy [17]

    Re all those voter stats about college students, blacks and other voter blocs.

    One can equally well explain those changes in voting patterns by the fact, as somebody stated here elsewhere recently, that "The Dems nominated the worst candidate in the whole U.S., and she got beaten by the second worst candidate."

    It's a manifestation of desperation to create Russian Boogiemen/internet trolls as the villains, when it could just as easily be the old "Occams Razor" principle.

  24. [24] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Again with the fix your site bullshit?

    Image is everything. No one is going to take you seriously if your site looks neglected no matter who writes about it. They don't take you seriously, they don't sign up. Argue all you want, but it's marketing 101. It shows you are serious and not just some random crank, which seems to be the image you are currently going for. That is why I needle you about the link in your name above each post you post here. Independently, ya who cares. Added to all the stuff ListenWhenYouHear mentioned in the other thread, and 1Demand looks like a place to steal your info, rather than enact political change.

    You are focusing on the theoretically possible and ignoring the probable. It would not take any more resources to bring your site up to snuff. Cut down on the posts here, read some of the plentiful guides on how to run and update a blog that are free and all over the net, and bam! you are legit. No money required, just hard work on your part. It's that last bit that seems to be your personal obstacle...

  25. [25] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Don Harris:

    I did not mean to denigrate you or your commitment with the word compulsion. I don't have any problems at all with political passion. But political passion is needed to now be directed toward the threats to the nation's fabric, which can --and should-- primarily be addressed by voting. Remember that Trumpians believe this to be true as well; only the perceived threats are different, not their passion.

    I'll be happy to engage discussion of your crusade (and using that word, I hope you're not of Islamic faith ;) in good time. Like you, I consider unconstrained money in elections to be an abomination. My point, though, is that this is not the time.

    As Donny Deutsch remarked this morning, this is the election of our lifetimes. If you can mobilize voters this time who would not otherwise vote, than I'd hope you would mobilize them to not waste their votes in protest. Particularly so, among voters who are de-facto disenfranchised by gerrymandering reinforced by corporate money. The stronger the vote, the clearer the message.

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    https://variety.com/2018/film/news/james-gunn-fired-from-guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-3-1202879817/

    Toe the political correct frakin' line or your history..

    Jeezus H Frakin' Christ!!!!

  27. [27] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    One can equally well explain those changes in voting patterns by the fact, as somebody stated here elsewhere recently, that "The Dems nominated the worst candidate in the whole U.S., and she got beaten by the second worst candidate."

    Well I'm sure that that's the spin that the Trumpfans would prefer. The fact that Hillary finished with more votes nationwide than Obama got in 2012 mitigates against that explanation.

    The winning and losing of the 2016 election was a process, not an event. We'll probably have to see Mueller's Report to know the true extent of the Russian plot and the extent to which their interference ultimately affected vote totals.

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    CRS [13]

    All of your comments are put-downs, in one form or another, whether they are directed to one of us or to your fellow citizens.

    Is it really necessary to do that every single time you post a comment?

  29. [29] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Leaning Blue-
    Now is not the time for you. But now is the time for people that vote in presidential elections but not in off year elections as this opportunity will not be available again until 2022. This is THE election of a lifetime for these citizens to take advantage of this opportunity rather than wait four more years to get it started.

    I agree that political passion should be directed toward the threats to the nations fabric and that can and should be addressed by voting. For me, Big Money is a Big Threat.

    These potential participants have already rejected voting for Democrats in 2018 and would not be voting. But participation in One Demand would not be just a protest vote.

    It is a vote against the Big Money candidates to register disapproval of candidates that take Big Money and to create and demonstrate demand for small contribution candidates in 2020 and to create a base to form an organization to support the small contribution candidates that could be inspired to run as small contribution candidates in 2020 that would otherwise not run as small contribution candidates or not run at all in 2020 without this demonstrated support in 2018.

    Pretty much basic democracy in action.

    This is not wasting the vote. Not voting is wasting the vote. This is using the vote for a specific purpose to solve a real problem through direct citizen action now instead of waiting for promises of solutions through legislation at some point in the future that never seems to happen or work the way it is promised.

    If legislation did or even could work, we wouldn't be having a conversation aboot the problem of Big Money in politics because all the previous legislation would have already solved the problem.

  30. [30] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Balthy [27]

    Re "We'll have to see Mueller's report to know the true extent that the Russian's interferance ultimately affected vote totals."

    You've gotta be kidding! How can he, you, me or anybody POSSIBLY know how subliminal messaging affected vote totals.

    Read John M's [14] which seems to epitomise the Dem/lib take on the whole Russian meddling/Russian Collusion thing. If that represents something close to how you, and pretty much everybody around here except for me, sees the Russian influence thing, there no way anybody but God himself could ever know "how it all affected vote totals", right?

  31. [31] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz

    So, does simple disagreement invariably constitute a "Put-Down" in your mind?

    Perhaps you should define "put-down" for me.

  32. [32] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    You've gotta be kidding! How can he, you, me or anybody POSSIBLY know how subliminal messaging affected vote totals.

    a. most of it had no subliminal messaging, if any did. Most of it was straight-up trolling.

    b. Somebody, somewhere will eventually devote a master's thesis to the subject of 'Application Of Psychological Warfare Techniques In Russian Espionage Materials Used To Interfere In The 2016 Election'

    c. John M [14] is correct: we haven't gotten the full story about Russia's cyber campaign during the elections, but I'm sure the deep state is itching to tell the tale. That'll come in due time as well.

    It's early yet. Trump's doing a fine job of trashing his own reputation among all but his loyal GOP followers, and taking a few of them down with him as well. Despite a recent increase in bravado among GOP talking heads (i.e.,the 'Red Wave' *giggle*) the voter enthusiasm edge remains with the Democrats. The Numbers suggest that we could even lose ground in the Senate (historically bad year for Dems there, it's said), but the House is in sight, and that's got us all buoyed.

  33. [33] 
    Kick wrote:

    BashiBazouk
    24

    Image is everything. No one is going to take you seriously if your site looks neglected no matter who writes about it. They don't take you seriously, they don't sign up. Argue all you want, but it's marketing 101.

    Absolutely correct, Bashi. How many people in this day and age of rampant fraud and phishing are eager to sign up with their credentials on a website that is outdated and contradicts itself multiple times? You can pretty much count them on two hands, and the proof of that is in the results to date.

    Don won't listen, though. I used the Holy Bible simply as a reference for "layout" regarding the dynamics playing out in Mueller's investigation... two large sections containing several named books and the common glue that held the sections together... and Don in his "infinite wisdom" whined about the validity contained in the Bible... spoken like a true moron too who doesn't understand that the Bible is also a history book written over time, which time does indeed coincide with other written history which corroborates much of the history contained therein, but I digress.

    As I read Don's asinine comment, it occurred to me that it would be very instructive to Don if he could "clue in" to the fact that his website resembled his whining about the Bible. The same way he feels about the Bible and its contradictions applies equally to his website, but do you think for a second he's got the ability to apply a little introspection? I would think anyone with two brain cells to rub together could see where the first section ended and the second section began and how his website contradicts itself ad nauseam and therefore appears like a fraud to anyone who reads it.

    That is why I needle you about the link in your name above each post you post here. Independently, ya who cares. Added to all the stuff ListenWhenYouHear mentioned in the other thread, and 1Demand looks like a place to steal your info, rather than enact political change.

    Exactly. As long as Don refuses to reconcile the history contained in the two big sections of his "One Demand" political "crusade," people are naturally going to view his spew in the same manner as he views the history of the Jewish people and the subsequent hijacking, appropriation thereof, and embellishment by the Anglo Saxons.

    Rant over... and more of yet another attempt to somehow get through to Don on his terms and less of an attempt that takes itself seriously. Seriously. Marketing 101. :)

  34. [34] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    1

    Why is it not appropriate to label the president a traitor for his treasonous behavior?

    Wow, Elizabeth. You've come a long way in such a short time.

    [139] Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Paula,

    Treason is a serious charge and should not be thrown around in a non-serious manner. ~ Elizabeth Miller, 06/18/18

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2018/06/15/ftp488/#comment-120162

    So it's okay now, Liz, to refer to Benedict Donald as a traitor? Are you quite sure? Not that you could ever stop anyone from doing it during the constant and repetitive exercise of your self-appointed duties as board monitor wherein you frequently admonish posters for opinions you disagree with.

    Lately you've taken to whining about people being afraid to refer to Trump as a traitor... whereas I have always referred to him as Benedict Donald and Paula too had to suffer through your tiring tirades.

    This is why I asked you to allow people... mostly Paula... to express their opinions on the political chat board and that you allow yourself to stop with your repeated attempts at censorship.

    Thank you for coming around, though, Elizabeth. Yes, ma'am, he is absolutely a traitor. Who knew? :)

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    I believe it is time to consider treason as a description of Trump's behavior in the wake of the Helsinki summit.

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    There is a lesson here … when the facts of any given issue change or when new facts become known, it is often the case that arguments may change accordingly.

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Besides, I still believe that treason is a serious charge and should not be thrown about without sufficient facts to support it.

    There is also a lesson in that.

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    This is why I asked you to allow people... mostly Paula... to express their opinions on the political chat board and that you allow yourself to stop with your repeated attempts at censorship.

    I'll resist attempts to improve the quality of comments to conform with the excellence of this reality-based political blog when asinine comments like the above are a thing of the past.

    This is not a "chat board" - a place I would never visit, let alone attempt to turn it into something it will never be.

  39. [39] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    35, 36, 37, 38

    I believe it is time to consider treason as a description of Trump's behavior in the wake of the Helsinki summit.

    The Helsinki summit is the tip of the iceberg, ma'am, which is why I have always and will always refer to Trump as "Benedict Donald."

    There is a lesson here … when the facts of any given issue change or when new facts become known, it is often the case that arguments may change accordingly.

    No, ma'am, the "facts" and the bigger "lesson" are that you should never endeavor to admonish or censor other posters on a political chat board for having an opinion you disagree with based on your knowledge of the facts and/or your definitions of "common decency" or "________" <--- insert term here.

    Perhaps Paula or I or another poster has knowledge of the facts that you don't, and perhaps you should allow everyone else to have an opinion you don't agree with based on your limited knowledge and/or definitions of which you personally approve because:

    (a) Commenters are entitled to their own opinions whether or not they meet with Elizabeth Miller's preferred definitions and/or

    (b) There might be commenters who have knowledge of the facts that far exceed those known by Elizabeth Miller.

    Besides, I still believe that treason is a serious charge and should not be thrown about without sufficient facts to support it.

    There is also a lesson in that.

    Treason is both a legal term of art and a word with a common definition. Of course, not every person who refers to a person as a traitor is attempting to "charge" them with a crime as outlined in United States Code. Allow yourself to comprehend the fact that commenters should generally be allowed to opine that someone is a traitor without somebody like you admonishing them regarding their word usage and seeking to censor their language.

    You really should allow yourself to cease and desist in your oft repeated exercise of self-appointed Royal Canadian Mounted Police Board Monitor. :)

    I'll resist attempts to improve the quality of comments to conform with the excellence of this reality-based political blog when asinine comments like the above are a thing of the past.

    What was so asinine about the "comment like the above," Elizabeth? You've got your knickers in a twist because I referred to the "comments" section of the "political blog" as a "political chat board" and that didn't meet with your personal approval or definition. Well boo effing hoo; cry me a river.

    I would wager that the author of the blog couldn't give two shirts whether or not I refer to his political blog's comments section as a "political chat board" or not as long as I continue to support it. So the question remains as to why on Earth you feel the constant need to admonish commenters of the blog to post in terms that suit you or in accordance with your knowledge of the facts; it is beyond all human comprehension.

    You should let it sink in that commenters on the "political chat board" aren't required to post to suit Elizabeth Miller's knowledge of the facts or using language that is acceptable to Elizabeth Miller... because they're not. :)

    This is not a "chat board" - a place I would never visit, let alone attempt to turn it into something it will never be.

    Nice "chatting" with you on the "board," Elizabeth. You should visit more often and allow yourself to "clue in" to the fact that it's not about you, Elizabeth. There are going to be posters that have opinions that contain facts you know nothing about and do not exactly meet with your own personal definitions.

    Get over yourself already, Elizabeth; it's not about you... nor should you try to mold it to suit your personal tastes. You are entitled to your opinion, obviously, but trying to police the board and make everyone post in terms you agree with based on your personal opinion and limited knowledge is pretty asinine, in my opinion. If you disagree with someone's opinion, by all means, debate away, but I'm not here posting in an attempt to please Elizabeth Miller; I would wager that no one else is either, and I cannot fathom why on Earth you believe everyone should be. :)

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    I think you would be happier elsewhere.

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'll try once more, Kick, because you're worth it.

    Demonstrating a sense of dignity and engaging in discourse, agreeable or otherwise, is not, in any remote sense, censorship.

    I hope that you can understand that.

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'll try once more, Kick, because you're worth it.

    Demonstrating a sense of dignity and engaging in discourse, agreeable or otherwise, in a civil manner without insulting fellow commenters is not, in any remote sense, censorship.

    I hope that you can understand that.

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You are right about one thing, Kick. This is not about me or any of us who use the comments sections of this excellent blog.

    It's about this excellent blog and it always has been.

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    … but I'm not here posting in an attempt to please Elizabeth Miller …

    You should be here to express your political opinions in a civil and intelligent manner and you should care whether you are here to uphold the standards set out in Chris's blog.

    If you are not here to do that, then you probably shouldn't be here at all.

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick, if you can't understand any of this, then I have no more time to spend on this with you.

  46. [46] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    45

    You should be here to express your political opinions in a civil and intelligent manner and you should care whether you are here to uphold the standards set out in Chris's blog.

    You should let it sink in that you're not the arbiter or what is acceptable on "Chris's blog." He already said he didn't have a problem with Paula's verbiage regarding Mr. Kennedy, and he stated unequivocally and in no uncertain terms regarding what he considered unacceptable.

    If you are not here to do that, then you probably shouldn't be here at all.

    If you are here to admonish posters to comment to suit your personal tastes or not "be here at all," then perhaps you're not concerned about the best interests of the author at all. :)

    Kick, if you can't understand any of this, then I have no more time to spend on this with you.

    Who couldn't guess that "Limited Liz" would use her oft repeated line that someone doesn't understand her elementary and repetitive drivel that she has no time to waste on other posters? Very lame, Liz.

    You've already stated on multiple occasions that you don't have time to spend with Paula or I and several other posters on this board; however, there is ample evidence contained herein that proves overwise. The last time you stated you didn't have "time to spend" on me, I believe I said "oh, good" and asked that you bestow Paula with equal amounts of your limited time.

    We live for the day when you "have no more time to spend" on either us or your obsession with board policing. :)

  47. [47] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    " . . . No time to spend with . . 'I' and several others . . " From the person who corrects my spelling!

  48. [48] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    47

    "... No time to spend with.. 'I' and several others.." From the person who corrects my spelling!

    Poor Stucki with yet another trolling post not related to political issues; he must really be one lonely old man who got his "feelers" hurt by having his word usage corrected.

    As I said before, old man, I only corrected your usage of the phrase "want to do" to "wont to do" in your obvious misuse of a word because you were trolling my posts for spelling so I returned the "favor" to let you know you misused a word. You enjoy trolling only certain posters regarding spelling in the same manner that Elizabeth Miller trolls only certain posters as if she is their mother and/or the board police.

    Have a nice day old man, and remember that hayseeds in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. ;)

    p.s. Regarding ONLY your first post on this page ALONE

    [2] ** (Trump) should be in brackets rather than parentheses. Brackets are used when you insert words into a quote.

    ** What does it actually MEAN when anybody says "Russia attacked out election system": Should be our election system; you have misquoted the author. How hard is it to cut and paste without screwing it up?

    ** !!: Duplicate punctuation.

    ** NOBODY switched votes from Sanders to Trump because Sanders got cheated - that's prima fascia ridiculous!: It's even more terminally ridiculous to claim that out of 60+ million voters, you make this type of asinine claim regarding all of them.

    ** Basiclly: You omitted a vowel there, Stucki. You obviously suck at spelling.

    ** 'scandal': Should be in quotes.

    ** 'impossible': Should be in quotes.

    ** 2: You used a parenthesis after your item "1)" yet omitted it for your item "2." Pick a format.

    Shall I address the ignorance in the remaining approximately dozen of your posts on this page alone? Are you that effing lonely for a response from me? :D

  49. [49] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Actually it is fairly hard to "cut and paste" if you don't know how, don't have anybody to teach you, and particularly if you don't give a damn!!!!!

  50. [50] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    P.S. That's "don't give a damn" as in, 'it doesn't matter to "I"'!!!

  51. [51] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    49

    Actually it is fairly hard to "cut and paste" if you don't know how, don't have anybody to teach you, and particularly if you don't give a damn!!!!!

    Well, we all know you have a keyboard and an Internet connection, am I right? So you obviously have a way of finding this out. No offense is meant by this, Stucki, but if you're going to quote somebody incorrectly while continually whining about the mistakes of others, you should probably "give a damn" unless you're a hypocrite.

    There is more than one way to "copy and paste," but the simplest way to teach you via blog post is to utilize the "Ctrl" key along with several others that are notably located at the bottom left on a standard QWERTY keyboard: Z... X... C... V.

    Highlight using your mouse the relevant text you wish to copy then simultaneously select the following keys to copy and paste:

    Ctrl + C = Copy
    Ctrl + V = Paste

    Similarly, if you wish to remove text from one place and move it in another, highlight the relevant text:

    Ctrl + X = Cut
    Ctrl + V = Paste

    If you make a mistake and wish to "undo" the actions you've just performed:

    Ctrl + Z = Undo

    You can invoke "undo" multiple times as needed in order to correct your keystrokes.

    Hope this helps you. :)

  52. [52] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    50

    P.S. That's "don't give a damn" as in, 'it doesn't matter to "I"'!!!

    Stucki, you are the Weigantian poster boy for spelling and grammar mistakes mattering... unless, of course, they are your own errors. :)

  53. [53] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    OK, I'm givin' you credit for good intentions, but all that technicla stuff just doesn't work for people my age. I don't ever do long quotes, so if I mis-type a single letter in transcribing a short quote, particularly if it doesn't affect the sense of the original, you may just have to endure it.

  54. [54] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick [53]

    Can't be treu 'cause I never make arrers, right?

  55. [55] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Oops - make that last one read Kick [52}, not [53}

  56. [56] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    53

    OK, I'm givin' you credit for good intentions, but all that technicla stuff just doesn't work for people my age.

    I don't know about "technicla" stuff, but technical stuff isn't in everyone's wheelhouse. ;)

    I have this theory that we're all good at something, and I would wager your expertise lies in gardening and making things grow. I would additionally wager that you have one hell of a stellar garden. My grandfather had a huge garden wherein he grew just about "everything under the sun," even peanuts.

    I don't ever do long quotes, so if I mis-type a single letter in transcribing a short quote, particularly if it doesn't affect the sense of the original, you may just have to endure it.

    Enduring you is what we all do, Stucki, am I right? ;)

    Just so you know, I meant that in a nice way. :)

  57. [57] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    54

    Can't be treu 'cause I never make arrers, right?

    Wrong! :)

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