Still More Myths About Clinton’s Defeat in Election 2016 Debunked

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Here is a sixth post debunking two common talking points by die-in-the-last-ditch Clinton loyalists and Democrat Establishment operatives. For both talking points, I’ll give a quotation that illlustrates the myth, followed by rebuttals. (Three previous talking points are debunked here, two more here, two more here, and one more here.) As usual, I hope you’ll find the rebuttals useful if these topics come up

I’ll cover talking points related to — drumroll, please — Russia, and therefore a bad-faith effort could be made to frame this post as — gasp — Russian propaganda. Let me assure readers at once that even though I’m writing this from my spandy new Russian dacha, that doesn’t have the slightest influence on my views! That said — [Yes, Dmitri? Was there more? Raskolnikov!] — That said, Yves said to go ahead with this topic. However, Yves doesn’t review what I write before posting, so any errors or omissions are solely my own.

The topic of Russian influence on the election, and Russian influence over (or, in strong form, control of) President-Elect Trump has already generated a vast literature, if I may so call it, in the echo chamber created by the political class. Frankly, I don’t have the days it would take to sort all the talking points out. So I’m going to limit my scope to the talking points used by candidate Clinton in the third Presidential debate; Clinton’s performance was, after all, Ground Zero for these talking points, and gave all her supporters in the political class and the electorate license to expand on them.

Let’s remember that anything Clinton said in the debate was carefully engineered by the Clinton campaign team. Here’s a description of Clinton’s debate preparation from Politico:

[Karen] Dunn and her partner Ron Klain – the two most experienced debate prep specialists in Democratic politics – … are overseeing an orderly and intensely secretive process.

Clinton’s advisers, in conversations over the last month, have repeatedly emphasized that the mock debate session, while important, is less vital than the informal law school sessions where Clinton hashes out her reactions and attacks. “It’s a moot court set-up,” said a Clinton insider. “She’s doing less of the usual mock debate sessions, with 100 people standing around, this time.”

[L]ongtime Clinton aide Phillippe Reines [and the] buttoned-down, courtly Klain has also stood in parrying questions with Clinton, according to people close to the situation – but both men have been less concerned with imitating Trump than preparing Clinton for the substance of the attacks, two keen attorneys framing Clinton’s reactions in the precise, disciplined language their lawyerly candidate thrives on.

Clinton’s experience and confidence can make her an intimidating person to prep — when you count her own three dozen on-stage debates there is arguably no one in American politics with more prime-time experience. Her coaches, however, are also longtime debate aficionados — campaign consultants Joel Benenson, Jim Margolis and Mandy Grunwald all sit in on prep, as does Palmieri, longtime attorney Bob Barnett, senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan, Podesta, occasionally Bill Clinton, younger policy aides who have helped compile the thick green binders of prep materials, and others.

Klain and Dunn, who report directly to Sullivan, not only offer an overarching strategy, but act as speechwriters — line-writers, really — paring down language and crafting practiced lines.

In other words, Clinton’s talking points are most likely to be “practiced lines” “crafted” by very smart Democrats; each will be the best shot the Clinton Team could take.

Talking Point: 17 Intelligence Agencies Confirmed that Russia Is Trying to Influence the Election

Here is Clinton deploying the talking point in the third debate:

[CLINTON:] And what’s really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions. Then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the Internet.

This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly, from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election.

And Clinton broadens the scope of her attack, merging Wikileaks with espionage with cyberattacks (I assume “hacking”) generally, and broadening “influence” to “interference”:

[CLINTON:] We’ve never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election. We have 17 — 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.

So, let’s look at some problems with Clinton’s talking point.

First, we have no way of knowing whether Clinton’s claim is true[1]. Her claim comes from this joint statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. Politifact:

The U.S. Intelligence Community is made up of 17 agencies, forming the basis of Clinton’s claim.

The 17 agencies are: Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Energy Department, Homeland Security Department, State Department, Treasury Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, Navy Intelligence and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The 17 separate agencies did not independently declare Russia the perpetrator behind the hacks…. However, as the head of the 17-agency intelligence community, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, headed by James Clapper, speaks on behalf of the group.

We don’t know how many separate investigations into the attacks they were. But the Director of National Intelligence, which speaks for the country’s 17 federal intelligence agencies, released a joint statement saying the intelligence community at large is confident that Russia is behind recent hacks into political organizations’ emails. The statement sourced the attacks to the highest levels of the Russian government and said they are designed to interfere with the current election.

We rate Clinton’s statement True.

Carefully parsing Politfact’s story against what Clinton actually said, I rate Clinton’s carefully engineered statement as not proven, and certainly not true. “17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed” is not the same as “James Clapper says that 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed.” First, we simply don’t know, as Politfact admits, that any of the individual agencies confirmed anything. I mean, was Coast Guard Intelligence really a serious player? Second, we don’t know the quality of the confirmations. What was the interagency process? Were any of the confirmations tested or cross-checked against each other? Or were the confirmations mere formalities? Third, is there a reason other than authoritarian followership to trust James Clapper? Bringing me to my next point–

Second, Clinton’s claim rests on the word of a proven liar. Here’s the blogosphere’s doyenne of national security and civil liberties, Marcy Wheeler on James Clapper:

Obviously Bogus Clapper Exoneration Attempt 4.0

Wyden: Does the NSA collect any type of data, at all, on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?

Clapper: No sir.

Wyden: It does not?

Clapper: There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, uh, collect, but not wittingly. [After 6:38]

The first Edward Snowden leaks proved James Clapper lied.

Wheeler then goes through a hilarious exegesis of Clapper’s various attempts to wriggle out of the trap his own words placed him in. Remember, 17 agencies did not confirm. James Clapper wrote a memo saying they did. That’s not the same!

Third, with respect to voting integrity, 17 is really 0. From the DNI statement:

Some states have also recently seen scanning and probing of their election-related systems, which in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company. However, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government. The USIC and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assess that it would be extremely difficult for someone, including a nation-state actor, to alter actual ballot counts or election results by cyber attack or intrusion. This assessment is based on the decentralized nature of our election system in this country and the number of protections state and local election officials have in place. States ensure that voting machines are not connected to the Internet, and there are numerous checks and balances as well as extensive oversight at multiple levels built into our election process.

Fourth, Clinton’s claim that foreign “influence” (or “interference)” is unprecedented is false. Politico:

Foreign Governments Have Been Tampering With U.S. Elections for Decades

Examples given: Nixon in 1968 created an October surprise telling South Vietnam’s President Thieu, through Anna Chan Chennault, that he’d get a better deal from him than from Democrat candidate Humphrey. On November 4, Thieu said he wouldn’t participate in peace talks. Iran refused to release the hostages it held to Carter until moments after Reagan was inaugurated. Of course, I’m not saying any of these examples are good, but they do show Clinton’s claim is false.

Fifth, the concept of “influence” (or “interference”) is extremely hazy. By “influence” (or “interference”), do we mean overthrowing a democratically elected government, as in Honduras? Or by “interference” do we mean funding political parties and factions, as in Ukraine? Or do we mean calling for a particular outcome in a foreign country’s referendum? Clearly, there’s a spectrum of possibilities, and it’s not clear where Russia’s putative “influence” (or “interference”) falls on that spectrum, or how significant it really is.

Sixth, nobody with actual responsibility for governing is acting like Russian interference is significant. Has the United States determined that Russian “influence” (or “interference”) is a casus belli? No. Has the United States tightened sanctions against Russia? No. Has the United States withdrawn its ambassador from Russia? No. Has Secretary of State Kerrey issued a diplomatic protest? Not that I can find. How about a “démarche” to the United Nations Secretary General? Ditto. So, even if the United States “formally accused the Russian government,” the accusation doesn’t amount to much, does it? Oh my goodness! “Formally”! In the lead, yet.

Seventh, with respect to Wikipedia, telling the truth seems an odd form of influence to have problems with. Returning to Clinton’s original point of departure, not one of the Podesta emails has even been shown to be false. See Glenn Greenwald (who disposes of Kurt Eichenwald, so please don’t bring that up):

Top Democrats have repeatedly waved off substantial questions arising from their hacked emails by falsely implying that some of them are forgeries created by Russian hackers.

The problem with that is that no one has found a single case of anything forged among the information released from hacks of either Clinton campaign or Democratic Party officials.

The strategy dates all the way back to a conference call with Democratic lawmakers in August. Politico reported that a number of Democratic strategists suggested that Russian hackers — who have been blamed by U.S. intelligence agencies for supplying the emails to Wikileaks and other web sites — could sprinkle false data among the real information.

Since then, despite the complete lack of evidence to support such a claim, it’s become a common dodge among leading Democrats and the Clinton campaign when asked questions about the substance of the emails.

Frankly, I’ve been gobsmacked by the refusal of Democratic loyalists to process or even accept the Podesta emails; the press, though adding caveats that legal clearly insisted on, accepts them as true as shown by the stories they write; but Democrats go into full “LA LA LA I can’t hear you!!!” mode. Since I came up as a Democrat, the idea that Democrats are as susceptible to epistemic closure as Republicans was alien to me. No more. If espionage and the truth are one and the same, how do we function as a democracy? I could understand the furor if the emails were about the Manhattan Project, but they’re only about a corrupt and vicious in-group of sycophants and grifters buffing their candidate’s talking points and pimping them to the press. So who cares?

In conclusion, I want to remind you that this talking point was carefully engineered; the Clinton team took its best shot. As we have seen, the “17 agencies” best shot claim is not proven as stated, is an argument from authority where the authority is a proven liar, doesn’t apply to voting integrity (the other “Russkis” narrative currently in play), depends on a hazy notion of “influence” (or “interference”) and isn’t taken seriously by the United States government, as shown by its actions. Oh, and the Podesta emails are legit. Doesn’t that count? Once again the staggering incompetence of the Clinton campaign team stands revealed.

Talking Point: Trump is a Russian Puppet

Here again Clinton deploys the talking point in the third debate:

CLINTON: Well, that’s because he’d [Putin] rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

First, if business dealings with Russia make Trump a puppet, then there are Democrat puppets, too . Politico:

A prominent D.C. lobbying firm has hired outside counsel over revelations that it may have been improperly involved in lobbying on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians who also employed former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Although the Podesta Group was founded by Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, he has not been involved with the lobbying firm that bears his name for years. His brother, Tony Podesta, is currently chairman of the firm.

According to an Associated Press report, the controversy centers around Rick Gates, the Trump campaign’s liaison to the Republican National Committee and a Manafort ally who also did work for the pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. As part of his work for the Ukrainian political party, Gates connected the Podesta Group with the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, a non-profit whose board originally contained Ukrainian members of parliament from the pro-Russian party./p>

Controversy surrounding Manafort’s ties to the pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians prompted his resignation on Friday, part of a larger campaign shakeup that included the hiring of a new campaign manager and campaign CEO. A New York Times story published last Sunday detailed how secret ledgers discovered in Kiev earmarked a total of $12.7 million in cash payments to be delivered to Manafort. The former Trump campaign chairman said he never received any such money.

Working on behalf of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, the Podesta Group lobbied in Washington for positions favored by the pro-Russian political party, of which deposed former President Viktor Yanukovych was a member. The lobbying work ended in 2014 after Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia, where he remains in exile.

Gee, it’s like they all know each other, isn’t it? Oh, and isn’t “work” for a “Ukrainian political party” influencing (or interfering with) elections?

Second, if realpolitik makes Trump a puppet, then heaven help us all. Here’s how Trump responded in the debate:

[TRUMP:] Now we can talk about Putin. I don’t know Putin. He said nice things about me. If we got along well, that would be good. If Russia and the United States got along well and went after ISIS, that would be good.

Assuming the validity of America’s imperial role for the sake of the argument, imagine that the world is tri-polar, with Russia, China, and the United States. Why then does it make sense to, as it were, fight a two-front war? Why not de-escalate with one, and focus on the other, possibly together? Of course, I’m not a foreign policy expert, unlike the national security class that got us into two losing wars and set a few trillion dollars on fire, but Trump’s logic is, at least, not insane. And it certainly doesn’t make him a Russian “puppet.”

Third, nobody with actual responsibility for governing is acting like Trump is a Russian puppet.. See the sixth point above, and then ask yourself how a “Russian puppet” was also receiving intelligence briefings as a Presidential candidate if anybody with actual responsibility took this point seriously. Here’s Obama on this point, post-election:

[OBAMA:] I think it is important for us to let him make his decisions. The American people will judge over the course of the next couple of years whether they like what they see. This office has a way of waking you up. Those aspects of his positions or his predispositions that don’t match up with reality, he will find shaken up pretty quick because reality has a way of asserting itself.”

One can hope.

So, if Trump’s business dealings make him a Russian puppet, there are other Russian puppets in the Beltway, including the brother of Clinton’s campaign manager. Further, Trump’s policy toward Russia can’t be shown to make him a puppet; it’s realpolitik. Finally, nobody who would have to take action, were Trump a puppet, is taking Clinton’s campaign seriously.


Clinton loyalists should step away from the blame cannons and look in the mirror. Little chance of that happening soon!


[1] I’m not going to concern myself with what private national security consultants write; I assume they’re talking their book.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Donald

    Typo alert–

    ” Iraq refused to release the hostages it held to Carter until moments after Reagan was inaugurated”

    Iran, not Iraq.

    1. Villainesse

      And another typo-

      “Seventh, with respect to Wikipedia, telling the truth…”

      Wikileaks, not wikipedia, is meant here.

      Different wikis are very different indeed. The wonderful open wiki nature of wikipedia does offer many more chances for both the intentional and accidental insertion of propaganda/removal of truth and other unsubstantiated lies and hearsay. On the other hand, wikileaks has taken far more care than other media to substantiate the accuracy of their obviously opinionated and biased leaked documents while at the same time completely protecting their leaker/whistleblowers from their own end. (Few will make Chelsea’s tragic mistake in the future!)

      Our world needs them both, but we need completely different mindframes to successfully parse the biases inherent in each. And also, we need that constant reminder that all our media is created within our smoldering stew of biases.

  2. Portia

    whose “reality”, I wonder? TPTB’s reality? Yeah, so you think you’re POTUS, do you? LOL

    [Obama] This office has a way of waking you up. Those aspects of his positions or his predispositions that don’t match up with reality, he will find shaken up pretty quick because reality has a way of asserting itself.”

    1. Ivy

      Would love to have been a flyski on the wall when Obama was shaken up and confronted with reality, although what is the life span of said flyski? Was he shown 8×10 glossies of some embarrassing event during community organizing, perhaps off shore, and by whom? The mind reels from the possibilities.

      1. Dean

        Your comment is intriguing. Makes one wonder how the intel agencies use their daily briefing to turn the president into their Manchurian candidate.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          I read somewhere that Nixon, when he first got into the White House, made a point of returning his written intelligence reports unopened, and obviously unread. Smart guy.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            You’re quite right. Kansas City Star:

            Priess, author of “The President’s Book of Secrets,” said Nixon refused to sit down with CIA briefers during the transition. To try to get the document to Nixon, intelligence officials resorted to dropping sealed copies of the PDB each morning with Nixon’s secretary.

            After Nixon’s inauguration, his aides returned the briefing books still in their unopened envelopes, Priess said.

            BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! What a great true fact. Thank you!

  3. Sarah

    Again, you’re never going to put and end to the excuses from establishment Democrats to rest until right-wing voter suppression is devalued as a reason Clinton lost. It is one of the easy goto comebacks of establishment types on the internet. I wish I had the time spend in attacking it, but I don’t.

    1. nippersdad

      The excuse that Republican voter suppression as a rationale for Clinton’s loss would work better had the Obama Administration’s Justice Department spent any time, whatsoever, going after it the past eight years. That and the fact that Clinton could so casually defund state Party election efforts using the Hillary Victory Fund scam shows that the Democratic Party never thought it much of a problem prior to the election.

      Had it been a real problem for them, why didn’t they do anything about it when it would have made a difference?

        1. nippersdad

          She lost in the rust belt states because, in her private opinion, their jobs were better offshored and anyone who doesn’t like it can drink Flint water. She was a simply appalling candidate, and if they cannot get over that they need only look at all of the other candidates like her who have lost their elections over the past eight years. They got what they asked for.

          1. Sarah

            I’m sure you realize that still doesn’t rebut the voter suppression excuse. They claim if it weren’t for voter suppression, they would have won in the rust belt states. There needs to be a rebuttal.

            1. grayslady

              It’s actually easier to rebut than you are making out. Try this:

              “Although two federal district courts had ruled that the photo ID law discriminated against African-Americans, who disproportionately lack the approved IDs, the law was applied on Election Day after an appeals court stayed one of the decisions. Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who backed the laws, has said they have no impact on voter participation, and Mr. Albrecht allowed that their effect on Milwaukee’s turnout would not have erased Mr. Trump’s victory in the state.

              Perhaps the biggest drags on voter turnout in Milwaukee, as in the rest of the country, were the candidates themselves. To some, it was like having to choose between broccoli and liver.”

              From an article in the NY Times.

              Few governors have done as much to suppress minority voting as Scott Walker in Wisconsin. So far, the voters have managed to get around the obstacles. Those who didn’t vote chose not to vote. They weren’t prevented from voting.

              1. Sarah

                Of course, Walker is going to assert his voter suppression has no impact on participation. So what? That’s not something to throw in the face of the establishment Democrats and have any effect on their excuse.

                1. grayslady

                  You might get off your hobby horse long enough to read the article. The citizens who were interviewed mostly chose to stay home, or write in someone else, rather than vote for Hillary. These were former Obama voters. Similar activity occurred in Ohio and Pennsylvania, to name two other states, although, unlike the voters in Milwaukee, many chose to vote Trump, having been disappointed by Obama’s empty rhetoric. These stories have been all over the internet. Search is your friend.

                  1. Sarah

                    My “hobby horse?”

                    Maybe come up with a quality response to their excuse that corners them logically would be a first step. Then if I dismiss it, you might be justified in your little diminutive characterization. But until you do, maybe you should note I haven’t disagreed with anything here about what went on. It just hasn’t met their best excuse head on. That excuse needs to be buried with a forceful argument, then jammed in the establishment D’s face.

                    I would hate to have to conclude that what goes on even here is just another instance of what goes on when I find myself confronted with either a right-winger of any persuasion or an establishment D: the inevitable retreat into the comfortable cocoon of one’s safe place worldview and subsequent accusation of anyone asking hard questions of being on the attack instead of that someone trying to deal with the inherent difficulties of making solid cases. To not deal with this is to let them slip away comfortably in their self-denial and self-pity. I want them to be miserable in their unmitigated failure and the understand just how massive that failure is. I want them writing in agony at just what a disaster they’ve drove the country and world into.

                    Reading comprehension is your friend.

                    1. integer

                      It just hasn’t met their best excuse head on.

                      Trying to reason logically with someone who is arguing from an emotional standpoint (though they will not admit this) is useless. A possible strategy is to dampen the initial collision as best you can, move the conversation perpendicularly by talking about something else that is loosely related yet emotionally comfortable for them, and then surprise them with logic when their emotional guard is down. Easier said than done but people rarely listen to, let alone properly process, information from someone who directly contradicts their views. Be kind and good luck!

                    2. integer

                      Btw Clinton would have been an environmental nightmare also. At this stage the only real option is a total change in paradigm (ie. the wellbeing of the environment being considered as more important than corporate profits, especially by those at the highest levels of government), and the probability Clinton would have ushered that in is 0.

                    3. Barry Fay

                      Sarah – your response should be in the header of the comments section! As I read the exchanges I was thinking the exact same thing (it is very rare for me to find “like minds” on other blogs – another reason why I love NC!)

              2. olga

                It’s all circular, though… If Democrats had not abandoned the blue collar voters long ago (i.e., Bill C), they might not have lost so many states’ legislatures and there would be fewer voter suppression efforts to begin with…

        2. Bluto

          If Hillary Clinton cannot defeat a clown like Trump in a landslide…what exactly CAN she do??
          Even with Republican voter suppression a decent candidate running a political campaign of “I am going to end neoliberalism and bring back jobs to the Rust Belt states” could have prevailed over the orange garbage can from New York.

          Clinton could not run on that theme because she is neoliberalism personified.

          It is illusory to expect that the Democratic Party can be reformed so that it can become the advocate of working people. Eight years of Obama proved that.

      1. neo-realist

        I’d also say that a combination of Bush moles in the Justice Department that Obama couldn’t get rid of combined w/ the usual Obama’s reticence to not dirty his hands w/ tough controversial issues, particularly ones that involve injustice to black folks which might cause him to look like a “Black President” as opposed to a President of One America if he took the black side, would account for non-action on the voter suppression issue.

        But I do recall an NYT op-ed from the President in support of the voting rights act, so that’s something ain’t it?

        1. andyb

          If Bush had moles in the DOJ, they would have backed Clinton, a fellow criminal and globalist. Those who still believe that we have a 2 party system should reflect upon the fact that there are no significant policy changes going from Dem to Repub Admins or vice versa. I’m sure you remember Poppy Bush and Bill C together pleading for Haitian relief. Since Haitians received less than 10% of the reported billions, I would imagine the missing money was split between the families of the 2 ex presidents.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      If the Democrat establishment viewed expanding the franchise and voter registration as core party functions none of this would be happening. This has been an obvious problem since the Florida felon’s list in 2000. Sixteen years, and they haven’t done squat.

      What did Clinton spend on TV? A billion? Some amazing number. They could have just bought people IDs and driven them to the polls for that kind of money.

      1. Sarah

        I understand, but it still doesn’t rebut their lazy and easy claim. You’re not going to shut them up anymore than you’re going to shut up a wingnut that knows his side is lying if you can’t deliver more than admonitions about what they should have been doing to prevent the suppression efforts. As we’re all well aware, the establishment D’s are still acting as if their economic policies were built upon the genius of their unassailable recognition of the inevitability of the wisdom of markets, globalization, and there was Nothing-That-Could-Be-Done but to cow to the scientific inevitability of it all. They and their apologists like to pretend the same sort of inevitability of political processes as if we’re all caught in some sort of vicious Hegelian dialectic; “There was just nothing we could do!” they say. “The moron masses will vote against their own economic interests no matter what we say.” This is, of course, an excuse to allow themselves to cater to the donor constituency instead of doing what is necessary politically.

        If the voter suppression excuse isn’t met head on and exposed as just another act of establishment D political cowardice, then debunking their myths as to how and why they lost will fail, and they will keep right on pretending there was nothing that could be done. (Sure, they’re going to do that anyway, but failing a rebuttal there will be nothing to expose their determined sophistry.) Of course, implicit in these arguments is that nobody in America could have beaten Donald Trump in the electoral college and there aren’t words to describe how idiotic that implicit argument is.

        1. uncle tungsten

          YES Sarah, +100 maintain the rage. The Dems did FA for years to get people to the polls. Once they smashed the Sanders assault, they changed no policies that the Bernie believers were gasping for. From that time on their fate was sealed. Had they been constantly advocating voting reform and voter access and fairer economy they would have neutralized the Trumpsters well ahead of time.

          I have said this before on NC but the Dem misleadership can’t even count. Bernie Sanders potentially delivered millions of voters for the Dems to harvest and that Podesta/Mook/Clinton trio spat on them and chased off looking for a few thousand alienated rich Repugnants like lemmings off a cliff.

          Now their Democrat Chair apparent (supported by Sanders !!!) has voted for a no fly zone in Syria. They are stupid, totally insincere and there is no humanity in them! UK had the same ignorant mindset and is desperately trying to destroy the alternative, Australia is bogged down by the same neoliberal madness in its ‘left’ party, Germany is about to hemorrhage due to its absurd neoliberal economics rigidity, France has never found its way after the betrayal of Mitterand and his champaign neoliberal ‘left’. Greece lies in ruins AGAIN! These neoliberal economic hucksters are voodoo economists.

          Tequila! now.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think there’s a clear enough thesis to refute. Can you give a link?

      For example, both these things can be true:

      1) The Republican CrossCheck operation operation suppressed a lot of votes nationwide

      2) Trump won because counties that voted for Obama in 2012 voted for Trump in 2016.

      It depends on what counties and precincts the votes were suppressed in, and I don’t think we know that.

      I wouldn’t bother too much with the excuses Democrats make about losing. If they stop firing the Blame Cannons at voter suppression, they’ll just point them at another target, like Putin, or Comey, or whatever.

      They had one job: Win. A competent campaign would have done that. The Democrats had, what, $2 billion in TV money? (Can that possibly be true?) They had plenty of press on their side. But as we know from the Ada debacle — which appeared in the news flow for about two days, and then vanished — they systematicallly misallocated their billions throughout the campaign. That’s why, for example, Clinton never visited Wisconsin, which she lost, and never gave the mayor of Madison a call.

      It may be that the Democrats simply believe themselves to be the natural ruling party, and hence any obstacles in the way of their (royal) “progress” are deemed to be illegitimate in some way. But a campaign isn’t a parade. It’s a campaign, a war. And in war there are obstacles!

  4. divadab

    When she rolled out “the Russians ate my homework” in debate I knew it was over for her. How downright pathetic. What a filthy liar. Good riddance.

    1. Sarah

      Well, it would have been nice to have had the Democrats run an anti-neo-liberal instead of Clinton. But even with Clinton, the planet would have still stood a chance to provide a home to future generations as even establishment Democrats recognize AGW is real. As it stands now, America has told the world it doesn’t give a shhit whether or not the planet is made inhospitable for future human civilization. With Clinton as president, we would have bought time for both the planet and for the Democrats to get fixed. Now, pretty much all is lost. I do hope you understand that.

      1. Code Name D

        I’m not convinced that is true. Oh sure, HRC states publicly that global warming is real and is man made. But then defends and expands fracking and ever met an oil pipeline she didn’t love. Those wars overseas are mosty about pipeline routs. NC calls it “soft deniyal”, I call it lieing through your teeth.

        1. Sarah

          There is all that. But I don’t call it “lying through your teeth.” I call it political cowardice in standing up to market and corporate brow-beating and which is essentially the entirety of the Democratic party’s problem and what lead them to embrace neo-liberalism as a response to Reagan and Powell (not to discount the post-Vietnam/Watergate Democrat’s denial of FDR/New Deal in favor of fluffing Wall Street to their own enrichment). That being said, the Democratic party is much more sensitive to being taken to task by environmental groups. And given how late in the game we are on AGW and that the public is amenable to the truth on AGW, a Clinton presidency would have had been loath to continue business as usual even out of a sense of corporate obeisance much less one of moral decency. I think we can all agree there is not a scintilla of hope a Trump administration will give one moment’s thought to the consequences of their actions with regard to even 10 years from now much less 100 or 200.

          1. nippersdad

            “…a Clinton Presidency would have been loath to continue business as usual even out of a sense of corporate obeisance much less one of moral decency.”

            As can be seen from both Clinton and Obama’s presence at the DAPL protests. Your arguments are increasingly appearing to be for the sake of argument.

            1. Sarah

              Well, if you think Democrats, even establishment D’s, really aren’t bothered by AGW, then I have to admit I’ve run into someone that is vastly more cynical than I am. It’s like I said, I think, in general, they’re brow-beaten political cowards that, at least congenitally, are concerned about facets of individual and social life that rise above vulgar economic existential factors, but, also congenitally psychologically, are spineless in the face of aggression and alpha maleness.

              And yes, I think they would be loath to continue business as usual. I’m pretty sure we both know what’s going to happen with a libertarian climate denier as Trump’s EPA chief, right? So choose; who would you have rather had in regards to choosing for that position? in dealing with legislation that’s going to be coming from the GOP House and GOP Senate?

              1. tegnost

                The hurdle you seem to be unable to get over is that hillary ran as a republican, courted republicans, espoused republican philosophy, kicked the left, and most importantly in your case, suppressed voters in the primaries thinking she could win without them. She favored protectionist trade deals, the murders of unionists in columbia were a result of CAFTA, never met a fracker she didn’t like and basically told goldman sachs she was 100% behind them but couldn’t say so publicly. That is why she lost. Global warming will now, ironically, get more of a voice as purple dems need to find a purpose, and maybe dems won’t engage in so much voter suppression next time around. Read the emails of your brow beaten cowards and you may find they were doing the brow beating themselves, and fully expected to flummox all of us morans….dint work thanks to a smattering of rust belt voters combined with an underwhelming turnout of supporters who did not vote because dems didn’t want them to, and didn’t think they needed them, which is a form of suppression in itself. They, and you, were wrong. AGW’s been a thing for quite a while and your precious defenseless alpha dems had their dog food left in the bowl and now it’s really gross and mouldering.

                1. Sarah

                  ”The hurdle you seem to be unable to get over is that hillary ran as a republican,…”

                  Good grief. No, she ran as a tempered neo-liberal New Democrat (that are starting to understand the error of their ways, but haven’t gotten there.) Somebody’s got a hurdle to get over, but it isn’t me.

                  “Global warming will now, ironically, get more of a voice as purple dems need to find a purpose, ,,,”

                  And I thought wingnuts and establishment D’s were delusional. Republicans are going to unleash such an withering shhitstorm of destruction just on short-term and immediate issues, Democrats won’t even get heard on those, much less have the time, energy, or political courage to take on issues of far-off voter concern that they haven’t worked up the moxie to take on to date.

                  “Read the emails of your brow beaten cowards and you may find they were doing the brow beating themselves, and fully expected to flummox all of us morans….”

                  Democrats are brow-beaten cowards of the right; they are the American right’s doormats. But that’s what gives them the false courage of neglecting and debasing anybody, anything, or any organization to the left of the DNC. They’re actually sucking up to their mind masters on the right and Conventional Wisdom Washington Consensus when they piss on the out-of-favor wacko left like FDR New Dealers. (I do really hope you get the sarcasm, but just in case you don’t, well, whatever.)

                  “dint work thanks to a smattering of rust belt voters combined with an underwhelming turnout of supporters who did not vote because dems didn’t want them to, and didn’t think they needed them, which is a form of suppression in itself.”

                  Well, you really showed them Democrats you have their number. It reads like you’re happy Clinton lost to Trump. If that is so, I have no idea what it is you hold dear but if it was anything that Democrats from Sanders/Warren/Brown/etc. to Joe Manchin even pretend to hold important, you lost it. Congratulations on your contemptuous victory in cutting off your nose to spite your face.

                  “They, and you, were wrong.”

                  What was I wrong about, pray tell?

                  “AGW’s been a thing for quite a while and your precious defenseless alpha dems had their dog food left in the bowl and now it’s really gross and mouldering.”

                  Yet another of you with reading comprehension problems. My “defenseless alpha dems?” When did I ever claim the existence of “alpha dems?” When did I ever claim establishment D’s are defenseless? (I called them political cowards. That means they *choose* weakness and impotence.) When did I call establishment D’s mine? Where have I intimated support for establishment D’s other than to imply it would have been better for Clinton to be president than Trump? I mean seriously, is it the consensus here that Trump was preferable? Hoo, boy. Do you realize a Trump presidency means, at least if you take climate scientists seriously, the world just missed the last off-ramp to avoid going over 2 degrees Celsius warming? I trust you know the significance of that. Am I right?

                  1. Lambert Strether Post author

                    I think it’s more important to seek advantage from the current situation, whatever it may be, than worry about alternate histories that never came to pass. (Perhaps one day there will be Campaign 2016 Re-enactors). My preference was for a Democrat Senate and a Republican House, as readers know, because I feel that gridlock is my friend. The voters threw the bums out everywhere, so we’re not going to get gridlock (modulo Senate filibusters). Instead, we’re going to get a fluid and dynamic situation (volatility).

                    Adding, the Democrat establishment had one job: Win Clinton the Presidency. They blew it. They should all be purged, those who have not already died of shame.

                    1. Jen

                      WRT to the Senate: running tools like Evan Bayh and Patrick Murphy didn’t help.

                      And yes, as I repeatedly point out to the wailing Clintonistas in my circle: when you are running for public office, be it for dog catcher or President it is your job to get people to vote for you. Do that, you win; don’t, you lose. It’s that simple.

                  2. different clue

                    If Trump can cause a major trade war with China leading to a deep depression in America and in China both, carbon emissions in both countries will decline far faster and deeper than they ever would have under a petroleo-phillic Clinton Administration.

                    But what if Trump can’t trigger a major trade war between China and America leading to a carbon-curbing great depression in both countries? He could still open the door to a steady abolition of Free Trade and a steady return to Protectionism. One Free Trade Container Supership emits as much carbon as a hundred million cars. Shrinking Free Trade enough to retire 20 Free Trade Container Superships from service has the same carbon impact as taking Two! Billion! cars off the road. That is some major carbon reduction impact.

                    So, no. All is not necessarily lost.

                    Free Trade is the New Slavery. Protectionism is the New Abolition.

                    Think about it.

                    1. cnchal

                      . . . One Free Trade Container Supership emits as much carbon as a hundred million cars . . .

                      I am a wee bit skeptical. Do you mind running the numbers?

                    2. Sarah

                      “If Trump can cause a major trade war with China leading to a deep depression in America and in China both, carbon emissions in both countries will decline far faster and deeper than they ever would have under a petroleo-phillic Clinton Administration.”

                      I do not believe what I’m reading. As satire, I used to claim that if you were concerned about AGW, you would vote Republican because Democrats will make a mixed market economy grow faster and produce more consumption through conventional counter-cyclic demand-side policies thereby increasing emissions. Of course, Democrats would also be pursuing green energy alternatives, at the same time, but that would have gotten in the way of the satire. Never mind, here in the flesh is the Onion losing its war on irony.

                      And anybody believing Trump is going to do anything about the inequality-increasing aspects of our intentionally rent-seeking, reverse Robin Hood “free” trade deals are as big a suckers as the people who think he’s going to bring back all the coal jobs back to Appalachia (which he would do if he could, of course, because he doesn’t give a whit about the consequences of coal as an energy source (and those jobs are just strip mine jobs in the West).) To understand he’s not going to do that, just look at his proposals for infrastructure “stimulus,” which are nothing but a scheme to have the public underwrite private investment in profit making ideas and not to actually invest in needed infrastructure that doesn’t come with an immediate return to private interests.

                      There is *no* positive side to Trump other than he’s better than an establishment Republican. With Trump, there’s the off-chance he might blunder into some policy that isn’t harmful. That is not a possibility with an establishment Republican or theocrat like Pence. And of course, both of them will allow the rest of the world to become the sources of green and renewable energy sources whilst they turn America into a country that makes nothing but financial instruments and continue the giveaways to the extraction industries and sell-offs of public lands and resources.

                      Besides, if Trump was to create a big ol’ depression, Democrats would probably be able to muster up the energy to win in 2020 and you certainly wouldn’t want that, would you? All that pent-up demand from the depression would …


                    3. different clue

                      You have every right to be sceptical. It comes from an article I saw posted once on the Reddit. Reddit is such an unsearchable grab bag of trash and treasure mixed that I was never able to re-find it.

                      Anyway, the article claimed that one Container Supership releases as much carbon as Seven Hundred Million cars. The article didn’t say what KIND of cars, or how much they were driven, or anything like that. So I reduced it in my own mind from Seven down to One hundred million cars.

                      If that still sounds too good to be true, I am ready to be corrected by any good article on Super Container Ship emmissions compared to car emmissions that anyone can bring here.

                    4. uncle tungsten

                      There will be a major global f*kup soon enough to quell carbon emissions. There are decades of recovery ahead to compensate for the obscene leverage in the global economic casino.

                      If we are extremely lucky, an economic crash will ‘save’ us. I don’t ever count on luck that comes in a package of that shape and weight.

                    5. different clue


                      You do not believe what you are reading? Go back and read it again. And then believe you read it. Because you really did read it.

                    1. Sarah

                      Yeah, and you’re so self-certain of that that it was of no consequence to just go ahead and turn the U.S. government over to the most frothing right-wing asswholes we’ve ever run into. I mean, just because the Democrats’ racists/misogynist/xenophobic/… excuses are not the reason they lost, that doesn’t mean Trump hasn’t unleashed the demons from Pandora’s box.

                      Even if AGW was of no concern, that doesn’t excuse handing the country over to increasingly alarming elements of authoritarianism and fascism. I think some of have lost a sense of what has happened. Neo-liberalism is leading us into authoritarianism and fascism. That doesn’t mean we should fear the fascism less than the neo-liberalism. We should be working to get rid of the neo-liberalism without allowing the authoritarianism and fascism to appear.

                      We’re losing. And badly.

              2. nippersdad

                The problem with your rationale is that there is no proof of it existing in the real world. Obama sold the most coal leases of any President in history even as the market for gas rendered its’ business model obsolete. The reason that gas is so cheap is because of the fracking from sea to shining sea that has now given the US the nickname of Saudi America. No one had heard of tar sands before the proliferation of oil pipelines Obama’s interior department has pushed throughout his Presidency. The Obama Administration has spent its’ two terms either scuttling or signing on to severely flawed global warming treaties like the Paris Accords and his foreign policy is rife with examples of war for oil related interests. Nothing I have seen would indicate that Clinton would have been any better, and there is a lot of evidence that she would have been worse.

                None of that is calculated to give the impression that they give a damn about anything but near term bottom lines. This is just a talking point for them to corral the lefties, and it shows. Better to have an actual enemy that one can organize against than someone who talks a good game and, thereby, delays any effort at change.

                One of the most disgusting things that I routinely hear is that Trump is going to derail all of Obama’s environmental advances; what advances would those be? He has STILL not taken responsibility for his debacle with the Macondo well in the Gulf, and extended his bad record even unto the Chukchi sea. I’m just not seeing it.

                Better the evil you know than the one that sticks a knife in your back with a smile on their face.

                1. Sarah

                  We know EXACTLY what Republicans are going to do. Exactly.

                  Trust me, my friend – you have nothing on me when it comes to my disgust with and sense of betrayal from establishment D’s. But Clinton wouldn’t have put a libertarian climate denier with a puny degree in economics as head of the EPA.

                  You, and I’m supposing many around here, have let their sense of betrayal motivate them to argue and act in a way that makes them more complicit, more culpable with the hurricane of right-wing evil that is coming than the cowardice and self-serving neo-liberal establishment Democrats that you feel betrayed by.

                  “Better the evil you know than the one that sticks a knife in your back with a smile on their face.”

                  No. Not when 1) your estimation of the betrayal is too strong and 2) not when the planet’s suitability for future human civilization’s is at stake.

                  Selfish are we? You think the *possibility* of *you* being betrayed yet again by pretenders to the things you hold dear is justification to, instead of taking the risk our priorities will be yet again abused by establishment D’s and our support taken for granted, go ahead and hand power over to people you *know* will destroy what you hold dear and what is necessary for future generations? Well, aren’t you precious and important. At least now, the betrayers can’t betray you this time. Never mind the consequences; at least the establishment D’s can’t upset you, sweetie.

                  Now, watch it burn. Enjoy.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > With Clinton as president, we would have bought time for both the planet and for the Democrats to get fixed.

        I don’t agree. We don’t know who Clinton sold herself to with the influence peddling she did with the Clinton Foundation; for every policy statement she mades, she has made commitments to silent partners we know nothing about. I think this claim rests on the idea that Clinton personally and the Democrats are operating in good faith, in general and on climate. Assumes facts not in evidence.

        I also think that the only way to fix the Democrats is to punish them by removing them from power. The prospect of being hanged did not, apparently, concentrate their minds, so perhaps actually having hung them will do the trick.

        1. different clue

          Actually, it won’t. The only thing that will do the trick is treating the Democratic Party very aggressively with a multi-year course of treatment with the most powerful political chemotherapy possible to kill all the metastatic malignant clintonoma cells scattered throughout the party . . . and at the same time with a multi-year course of treatment with the most powerful political antibiotics possible to kill every Yersiniobama pestis bacterium within the party. If that doesn’t work, the DemParty will have to be put to death so that any non-compromised organs it may contain ( if any) can be transplanted into other parties which still have a chance of survival.

        2. olga

          Hard to do, though… Today’s Dem party seems to be composed mainly of a multitude of well-paid (as in fat and happy) consultants and a similar sort of hangers-on. As long as there are donors willing to cover their chunky salaries, they’ve no reason to change or depart.

          1. Stephen Verchinski

            Thanks for this series. It should serve many to quit the dems for good. Now go and help the Greens. At least with the Greens have a platform based on principles and values we need as a species to survive. The dems platform got shredded even before the Democratic National Convention got underway and went Republican lite.

            The Greens just need organizational help, voters to reregister as Greens, and candidates for the mission to challenge open positions at higher levels of government. In New Mexico some 70% of all elected positions were, at the general election, run unopposed.

            Just to remind all too despite a media blackout the Greens still doubled their votes nationally from the last cycle. Thats a true progressive promise for the future.

            Oh and watch out for the new SOS dem implants. The next act at dem voter suppression is to bring back party straight ticket voting so that hacks can still run unexamined.

        3. Sarah

          “We don’t know who Clinton sold herself to with the influence peddling she did with the Clinton Foundation…”

          That’s right. We DON’T know and we DON’T know if any *possible* influence peddling would have influenced a decision to deal with the problem. So acting as if you might as well have assumed the results of known influence peddling and bad faith acting was and is an act of extreme self-important irresponsibility roughly equivalent to any climate denier manufacturing false rationales to ignore the reality.

          No. That is not a reason enough to guarantee missing the last off-ramp to avoid 2 degrees Celsius warming.

          Now, we’ve missed it. It’s gone. It can’t be fixed. And it will not be fixed. If you or anyone around here were arguing Trump was a better choice than Clinton, you now share in the shame that is America’s, the Koch’s, Jim Inhofe’s, Mitch McConnell’s, … for all time. I hope that isn’t the case, but if so, but if it is the case, it was a position of sanctimonious irresponsibility that in and of itself was an act of bad faith toward the well-being of future generations.

          Punishing Democrats should have waited till Clinton did indeed stiff the world in America’s obligation to deal with the problem. We would have known soon enough if that would have been the case and would have had the chance to marshal a pushback against it. Now, we don’t. I sure hope your conscience is clear. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

          1. Fco

            I must be looking at a different crystal ball because my conscience is crystal clear. Even the snowflakes in them don’t look too bad.

            Seems like you are still on the blaming phase of grief. Though I don’t share it, I do feel your pain.

            4 years. Give it 4 years. In the mean time…Taco Tuesday.

          2. Stephen Verchinski

            The rest of the world is tired of us and is moving past our stupidity on AGW. They will be better off without us.

          3. marym

            Based on the past 8 years, it seems more likely that what’s left of Democratic partisans would be more likely to push back on Trump policies than Clinton policies.

            I don’t think a significant portion of Trump voters were people on the left voting for spite, but that’s just an opinion.

            1. Sarah

              Based on the last 30+ years, anybody paying attention understands the right doesn’t just ignore anybody pushing back against their vileness, they run over them. And anybody equating what Clinton would do to what Trump is going to do is engaging in not only their own despicable MSM-like false equivalence, but attempting to inoculate themselves from their own complicity and culpability in the unfolding disaster.

              1. mary

                It wasn’t the few disgruntled lefties who may have voted for Trump that cost Clinton the election, or so many other national, state, and local elections. If the argument is now “lesser of 2 complicities/culpabilities” in bad politics and bad policies, that cause people not to trust or vote for them, Team Blue doesn’t have much to say for itself anymore. We’ll see if they support the next Occupy, BLM, NoDAPL, Sanders, etc. movement or not.

                1. Sarah

                  “It wasn’t the few disgruntled lefties who may have voted for Trump that cost Clinton the election, or so many other national, state, and local elections.”

                  Nobody said it was. Clinton earned her electoral college defeat and the excuses coming from establishment D’s are to be slammed hard. But the discussion here has turned to people defending the idea that Trump was preferable or equivalent to Clinton as president. And I’m telling you that was damaging, self-defeating, selfish petulance and willing delusion born of a sense of betrayal.

                  And if you think Occupy or BLM or .. were models for organizing the nonexistent “left” in taking on the right, then …, jeez, I’m speechless. Inchoate and easily dissipated anger is worthless. The right will laugh and fart in whatever direction they think that determined impotence is coming from. Then issue another decree to spray the unwashed masses from the streets. The comfortable won’t even hear about it.

                  1. marym

                    It was Democratic mayors coordinating with a Democratic administration that sprayed the Occupiers off the streets, with silence from Democratic loyalists. You don’t see supporting such resistance attempts in the streets as viable. Thus you probably predict that Clinton supporters won’t join any such initiatives in the future. The only electoral approach you see as viable is voting for Clinton. Yet you think there would have been “pushback” to bad Clinton policies?

                    1. Sarah

                      marym: “The only electoral approach you see as viable is voting for Clinton. Yet you think there would have been “pushback” to bad Clinton policies?”

                      That’s incorrect. Clinton was vastly preferable to Trump. Period. Trump represents the end of the country and world as we know it and as we wished it could be. That’s not hyperbole. That’s the truth. This can’t be fixed, save Mitch McConnell not doing away with the filibuster and Democrats mount total defiance (and who believes that will happen).

                      A bunch of people parked in streets refusing to make demands or prioritize political objectives can not and will not offer any resistance to either the rabid right or center-right neo-liberalism.

                      It’s not that Clinton wasn’t bad. It just that she was the only thing that stood between the abyss and reasonable hope to turn it all around without permanent irreversible damage. We/you were trapped and there was no escape and no other choice from the Lesser Evilism the Democrats triangulated us/you with. No amount of resentment about that could change that very fact. So apparently plenty of folks here preferred to act on prideful defiance and bristle against those they felt most betrayed against. Congratulations. Now you’ve got Greater Evil and much less reason to hope it can be reversed. And you’ve also built in permanent, irreversible damage for you, yours, and all future generations. You’re going to love Trump’s Supreme Court picks.


              2. Fco

                Sarah, it’s not the unfolding disaster that you passionately predict that worries me, it is your lack of understanding or your stubborn refusal to understand that people who do not share your sentiments are not as ” vile” as you describe them to be.

                I am now wondering how you have escaped being run over these past 30 years.

                Words like “despicable” are not helpful, they didn’t work the last time, and they won’t work going forward. What they will do though is alienate those you want to win over.

                But I have to say, morbid as it may seem, I do enjoy reading your rants.

                1. Sarah

                  Fco: “Sarah, it’s not the unfolding disaster that you passionately predict that worries me, it is your lack of understanding or your stubborn refusal to understand that people who do not share your sentiments are not as ” vile” as you describe them to be. ”

                  Then you can show me where I’m wrong.

                  1. Fco

                    I would really love to. But I’m thinking at this juncture in time, you may paint a glorious sunset into a hematoma of a sky.

                    It’s not that you’re wrong. I’m sure your definition of “vile” may be more encompassing than mine.

                    So…… How is that working for you?

                    Taco Tuesday.

                    1. Sarah

                      Translation: You can’t show where I’m wrong or have any lack of understanding. So you hide behind vague, amorphous insinuations without meaning. But I knew that.

                      So……How is that being wrong working for you?

                  2. different clue

                    Clinton supported Cold War 2.0 with Russia. So do you. Does Trump?

                    Clinton supported Jihadi terrorism in Syria. So do you. Does Trump?

                    Clinton supports Trade Treason Agreements. So do you. Does Trump?

                    Clinton is the Greater Evil. You supported the Greater Evil. What does that make you?

                2. sierra7

                  Reply to “Fco” 2:33 PM

                  I was wondering how far into these comments “yours” would appear…..Bravo!

                  1. Fco

                    You are right, there is absolutely no way I can show you that not all people who do not share your sentiments are vile.

                    I do not mind being wrong at all. In fact, I have been wrong numerous times in my life.

                    What’s strange though is that you even bother to respond to someone like me…who hides behind vague stuff. I know you must have better stuff to do with your time. After all, the weight of the world sits on your shoulders.

                    By the way, last time I read, Trump’s still the presumptive POTUS. (I thought maybe if you read that name more often, you’ld get used to the pain. But forgive me if it is actually doing the opposite.)

                    Naked Capitalism has educated me more than you’ll ever know. Even your rage and rants and minor belittling ( borderline bullying) have enlightened me.

                    For some odd reason, I picture you with a cat. I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m allergic to them?

                    Last but not the least, I will always hide from you.

                    Happy now?

                  2. Fco


                    I’m new to this thing. Why the “bravo” comment? Are we only allowed a number of comments per post?

          4. Code Name D

            Seems to me your approch had already been tried with Obama. And as you already noted, we went saling past the last exit ramp for AGW, on Obama’s Watch, no Trump required.

            It’s like spouce abuse. He keeps beating you over and over again. But you always return because you know, deep down in his heart, he really loves you and is trying to change. But he wont because you never give him a reason to change.

            As bad as you imagin Trump might be, the EVEDENCE shows that Clintion would have been just as bad, or not worse. And your argument that “Clition might change” is simply not compeling.

            The reality was that AGW was alsways going to get worse, no mater who one. Your faith dosn’t really change that.

          5. Pat

            So when do Democrats get to reject “New Democrats” aka Republicans marketing themselves as Democrats? Obama has already stiffed the world. But hey give Clinton a chance despite her lackluster record as Senator and her God awful record at State. And then it will be her successor we must give a chance despite a record that giving lip service to global warming is as deep as they are willing to go.

            The climate was a loser no matter who got elected. Could be that having someone in office who isn’t pretending to be concerned might end up accomplishing more, just by providing a clear target.

            1. Sarah

              Whoosh, right over all of your heads.

              Nobody was exposing Democrats until Sanders/Warren. (And no, blabbering on internet, writing books, …, doesn’t expose them. Only a political voice that is widely available ends up exposing them.) And Democrats show signs of feeling the heat. Even Bill Clinton acknowledges it. So sure, go ahead and build certain destruction in with complete GOP control instead of allow the dawning realization Democrats are going through a chance to work. Brilliant. Make sure you write something on your tombstones of your thinking on 11/8/16. Yours who come after you will admire you for your petulant selfishness.

              Code Name D: “As bad as you imagin Trump might be, the EVEDENCE shows that Clintion would have been just as bad, or not worse. And your argument that “Clition might change” is simply not compeling. ”

              Stupid beyond belief. You are getting a libertarian climate denier as head of the EPA. Do you *really* understand the significance of that? Really?

              Pat: “But hey give Clinton a chance despite her lackluster record as Senator and her God awful record at State. And then it will be her successor we must give a chance despite a record that giving lip service to global warming is as deep as they are willing to go.”

              How stupid it would have been, right? I mean, it’s like Trump asking black people to vote for him with the reasoning “What have you got to lose?” Well, I think they’re finding out and I think people who care even a whit about the planet are finding out the certainty of what we’re going to lose.

              It’s clear a lot of you folks are in the process of attempting to wipe your guilt away. You’re going to fail. If these are the arguments you were making before the election you’re just as guilty as any aging frothing wingnut denier, and more guilty than the establishment D’s you apparently hate more than the nauseating right.

              Enjoy your misery. Try not to let it weigh too much on your consciences.

              1. J Robertson

                Why are you lashing out at everyone here? It’s not going to change anything. The election is over. Trump is going to be president. He is going to appoint whoever he wants to and congress will confirm them. It doesn’t matter what Clinton would or would not have done. She lost, end of story. If the Dems don’t come up with a better answer than the crap they’ve been pushing they will continue to lose and it will be all Republican policies all the time. We missed the deadline on AGW and we will all suffer the consequences of that. That’s a fact. All that can be done is for each of us to try our best to pick up the pieces and move forward into whatever the future brings. I plan on resisting the coming administration as best I can, but I don’t imagine it will make all that much difference. What are you going to do?

              2. pretzelattack

                oh you mean like john edwards. he sure exposed them with his “two nation’s” rhetoric, right. after that, the democrats reformed which is why we have president elect bernie sanders today. oh wait, we aren’t. instead, given the choice between a proven warmonger and a potential warmonger, many democrats either stayed home, voted 3d party, or voted for trump. clinton was a truly awful candidate, focus on that and stop making excuses about all the changes she was going to go through, and pivot away from the truly awful neocons that supported her.

                1. Sarah

                  What the hell are you talking about? I don’t need to understand why she lost the electoral college. I know why.

                  But if you made the estimation and argument that it didn’t matter whether Trump or Clinton became president, and acted on it, then good luck with your conscience. If you have one.

                  – Look in the mirror when Trump makes his Supreme Court picks.
                  – Look in the mirror when Trump signs the ACA out of existence and health care is taken away from 20,000,000+ people.
                  – Look in the mirror when Medicare is privatized and insufficient vouchers are given to people who can’t afford the extra premiums.
                  – Look in the mirror when Social Security is privatized.
                  – Look in the mirror when climate scientists tell you what’s in store now that America has

                  It’ll all be worth it because, you know, you were edgy and cool and on the cutting edge of social-economic insight, understanding and hating the cancer of neo-liberalism and all. I mean, you have the answer of guaranteed jobs and Stacey Kelton and MMT and …. all that, so what about the misery created by what amounts to insouciant political nihilism from some sort of fake, hip conscienceless left. Never mind that the only political thing lamer than establishment D’s are pissant movements like Occupy that never even get around to making and organizing political objectives. Never mind that the GOP will move with such speed to destroy existing structures that provide even the slight mechanism to challenge their complete grip on power. Never mind that the GOP is getting ready to run what amounts to a Gish Gallop of destruction on 20th century political progress that what’s left of any political opposition won’t even be able to defend one item before the next bulldozer on the 20th century is right upon them. Never you mind all that. Because you’re cool, man, and that dislocated shoulder you got from patting yourself on the back for noticing just how evil establishment D’s are is covered by health care that others now can’t afford.

                  Clinton got her comeuppance that her neo-liberal economics, neo-conservative warmonging, frackin-lovin’ environment-destroying smug dismissal of class in favor of identity earned her. That’s all that matters. You won! Your trenchant insight was vindicated! Celebrate!

                  Never mind the politically illegitimate garbage that will now be making the rules.

                  1. A Semi-Informed Person

                    I, probably like a fair number of the people here, live in a state which was never really in question, and consequently wouldn’t have that much in the way of guilt to wipe no matter how the election turned out.

                    Independent of any of the arguments which are being made about which evil was in fact the lesser, I think you’ve approached this conversation in the wrong way. You may not agree with the conclusions people have come to, but it’s foolhardy (and a bit rude) to dismiss everyone not on board with the idea that Clinton would have been better than Trump as some sort of ideological hipster. Life doesn’t work that way. People anywhere on the political spectrum arrive at their viewpoints for a variety of reasons, and acting like everyone you disagree with has only the shallowest will not get you anywhere if you’re looking to accomplish anything more than venting anger.

                    If you want to argue that people are underestimating the damage Trump will cause, do that. But please leave out the part where you accuse vast swaths of commentators of being conscienceless, sanctimonious, and irresponsible and tell everybody how ashamed they should be. It isn’t helping anyone.

              3. aab

                Sarah, I’m going to hypothesize that you’re commenting in good faith, even though much of what you’re saying is not merely factually inaccurate and dishonest, but regurgitates Clintonian establishment talking points. I realize that it’s difficult to resist swallowing said poisonous talking points, because so much of public discourse is contaminated with them, and people are seeking a way to perceive themselves and the status quo that benefits them as morally good, and a vehicle for positive progress, because to accept the contrary position feels uncomfortable.

                But if you really do care about the environment, the climate crisis, the abuse of marginalized people, etc., you need to read more and better information sources, rather than hectoring people here. That is a necessary but not sufficient condition if you really want to be an agent of positive change. For example, you seem to be trying to claim that enabling the installation of Hillary Clinton as President would be better for dealing with the climate crisis than Trump being elected, because Clinton says words indicating that she recognizes the role of human activity in the crisis.

                But when others point out that Clinton saying she recognizes this factual reality is irrelevant, because she has displayed NO willingness to take effective action to alleviate the crisis, you wave your hands around and hurl invective. This is a waste of your time. Nobody here will fall for that, and you will change no minds elsewhere. To the degree that false propaganda will be effective in public discussion, it does not need you, here, regurgitating it. Do something else. Almost anything else.

                Right now, under President Obama, we are seeing fascism in action, at Standing Rock. Mercenaries in the service of banks and oil companies have launched extra-legal military assaults on the soil of a treaty-allied sovereign nation against its people and American citizen allies standing with them, to facilitate the construction of an oil pipeline that has the potential to poison that nation’s water and our nation’s water, while primarily privately enriching global corporations and banks. These violent corporate-backed actions are illegal in numerous ways, yet the local, state and federal government are either actively facilitating this corporate thuggery, or passively allowing it to happen. Our Democratic President is allowing it to happen. Hillary Clinton has not lifted her pinkie finger to stop it, or even speak words condemning it. They won’t stop it, because they are tools of these banks and corporations. Regardless of what they may or may not actually believe, they are refusing to limit their own enrichment one iota in the service of such beliefs. So their beliefs are functionally irrelevant.

                Their polite words mean nothing, if, while in power, they will take no actions that give meaningful force to those words. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both, demonstrably, evil people. Hillary Clinton deserved to lose the election. She lost not because of people like me who read and comment on Naked Capitalism, but because many of the New Democrats’ victims said, “We’ve seen enough, thanks,” and either voted elsewhere or just stayed home.

                I know that is uncomfortable to face, but until you do face these uncomfortable truths, you are an obstacle to positive change, and therefore, a servant of evil. You are a servant of evil, because you are acting as a servant of the Democratic status quo, which is evil.

                In addition to better educating yourself about Standing Rock, and the complicity of Democratic Party leadership in the atrocities happening there, please read the pieces that the corporate media is reluctantly delivering about all the suffering people — many of them black — who rightly condemn Obama and the Clintons for their suffering, and refused to vote for Hillary Clinton. They’re not fools. They’re not expecting much from Trump. If you’re going to come here and excoriate me on their behalf, you should at least familiarize yourself with their current conditions, life experience, and perspective — that is, if you really do care about suffering people and respect them as your equals.

                Clinton violated serious laws against the state. She was planning a hot war against Russia, the disembowelment of Social Security, and the utter abrogation of our national sovereignty under TPP/TISA, et al. She would have had a completely clear path to do those things, and set a horrifying precedent about what a person can do and still be awarded the presidency. I am not at all sorry she has (hopefully) been prevented from taking power. The voices of those who have been destroyed by NAFTA and the other corporate control treaties have ONLY been heard in the corridors of power because she lost. That is the ONLY reason the New York Times and New York Magazine deigned to send reporters to talk to them. Before her loss, it was, “Employment is down! The economy is great!”

                The first step to achieving ANY forward progress was going to have to be stopping Clinton. Clinton is the one who elevated Trump, so his election is totally on her, not on me or anyone at Naked Capitalism. And since he’s the father of her daughter’s best friend, and he’s the golfing buddy of her husband, I’m just gonna guess that he’s not all that much different from the Clintons, and not actually a world-ending Bond villain. If he is, well, again, his election is the Clintons’ fault. You can accept it or not, but these shrieking rants are ineffective.

  5. Ernesto Lyon

    Trump is a devil, but he is not the devil the Hill bots have made him out to be. He’s a different sort of devil, that we don’t fully understand yet.

    The interesting thing about Trump is that he’s his own man. He’s the 1% of the 1%. There are few in the world who can pull rank on him. He has no need to climb, unlike Hillary who seems have devoted her life to it, and still had a ways to go.

    There are problems with Trump, starting with the crony Republican cabinet, but there are also possibilities with him that are usually not open.

    1. different clue

      And not only that, he was never invited to any of the fancy schmansy meetings of the INsider esTABlishment OPOOP ( One Per Cent Of One Per Cent) like Davos, Bohemian Grove, Bilderberg, etc.
      They regard him as a vulgar plumber . . . Not Their Kind, Dear. They feel about him as if it were their septic tank pumping technician who made a few billion dollars . . . somehow. Oh the Humanity!

      And he knows what they think of him. Perhaps he will seek some wounded pride vengeance against the Greatest and the Goodest.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is the thing that drives me nuts. There’s so damn much liberal noise-making it’s tough to figure out the real players and where the power lies.

      It’s as if the Democrat establishment lost a big battle, and instead of hunkering down and trying to fix the position of the enemy and work out their next move, they’re running around blowing trumpets and sending up flares and firing their guns into the air and screaming and yammering. And they’re not firing the generals who lost the battle.

      It’s a volatile situation, a war of movement. Take advantage!

      1. Code Name D

        So is your next myth going to debunk Trumps connections to the dark lord? (Could use a little lightening up.)

      1. Villainesse

        The all-powerful “Dmitry” is why I most happily visited, first time today! DLC neo-‘red’-baiting is clearly good for somethin!

  6. L

    Thank you for this excellent series.

    Along these lines, The Baffler has a nice piece making many similar points to yours: #RIPMyShillaries
    An end to the era of professionally explained candidates”
    . While I do not share his optimism that the end is nigh for folks like Ezra Klein, when one consideres his godawful profile piece in which he argued that the meaning of the Democratic primary is that Clinton was the better, more feminine, listener. And that is what people want despite the fact that they showed up en-masse to Sanders rallies you one can’t help but enjoy passages like this:

    Funny, somehow Sen. Elizabeth Warren doesn’t have the same trouble speaking as vociferously as Sanders on the issues that matter to them and to a large swathe of Democratic voters.

    Sadly I fear that connected folks like Klein, Dean, and Reid won’t get the message that the policies do matter. At present they are still sending me requests for donations for the DCCC as if they hadn’t already lost.

    1. L

      Apropos of your comment about the carefully-crafted talking points, it is also worth noting that the Baffler piece notes that the phrase “Stronger Together” was the best of 85 alternative slogans which they paid good money to get. Slogans which included “Your future, your terms.”

      Given their ongoing obsession with the idea that “Russia Did It” you have to wonder if they test marketed that along with a dozen other bad countries as well. Perhaps “Canada Did it” just didn’t have the same zest.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “Canadian Single Payer Fanatics Cost Hillary the Election!”

          There should really be a twitterbot that fires off the blame cannons every few hours. Anybody game?

      1. UserFriendly

        Just imagine the HillBots trying to get their heads around Mexico did it… Right after they send their Rapists.

      2. nippersdad

        That no one caught on to the idea that the “stronger together” concept derives from the Latin fasces (bundle of sticks), from which in turn the word fascist comes from kind of surprised me. Seems like, were I in that particular poll, that would have stuck out. But then being “with her” and “Homeland Security” would have failed with me as well.

        They must have some mighty interesting people in their poll groups.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Oh, man. I missed that one. You’re right, of course.

          “Together,” that is, except for the #BerniBros, the women with a “special place in hell,” and who could forget the irredeemables?

          “Love trumps hate” is about as Orwellian as it could be…

          1. nippersdad

            The DLC/Third Way/New Dems have spent, literally, decades slapping down every element of the former Democratic coalition save for their funders. That they are now a regional Party should come as no surprise to them after having run possibly the most sociopathic example of their creed. And they still don’t get it! Pelosi and Schumer must think we are all fools.

            I thought this was really interesting: *

            One hates to say it, but it is beginning to look like Sanders really was a sheepdog for the Democratic Party, if not HIllary herself. At least he changed the conversation.

            *BTW, Lambert, if you have not looked at BAR in the past week or so, they have some really good stuff up.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Thanks for the reminder. The volume (both senses) is so great it’s hard to keep track and look at everything I should.

              If you want to play the inside/outside game, then you need a politician on the inside. Sanders is the best choice for that. If that makes people stamp their feet and cry “sheepdog,” I don’t really give two sh*ts at this point (as I would not, having just been called a sheep. Eh?)

      1. nippersdad

        After the past several elections, and now as a regional Party, they don’t have many more to lose before the mindset becomes irrelevant.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        From the McClatchy story:

        And they still face a daunting challenge crafting, let alone communicating, an economic message. It’s widely agreed that the party was unable to find a vigorous, meaningful way of telling working class voters it understood their concerns.

        Pleasing to see a reporter use the phrase “working class” without prefixing with “white.”

  7. fresno dan

    Naked Capitalist Pigs Comrades: you are most fortunate to have actual Soviet communist spy infiltrator, who has been inseminated into your society from conception, to reveal himself to you and our nefarious plots to restore world wide communism through our subversive and inconceivable plots. Here, in my basement lair, in my pajamas and fuzzy red hammer and sickle bunny slippers, I receive my orders from Putin himself, via walky talky while he rides his horse bare chested….and so is Putin.

    Now, with all the electronic monitoring of the communications, many dismiss that the Soviets can communicate with all the infiltrators without detection.
    After all, your own Secretary of State…uh….stated:
    [CLINTON:] And what’s really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions {[AND OF COURSE, THE SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE UNITED STATES]}. Then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the Internet.

    This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly, from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election. {[DESPITE OUR BEST EFFORTS, WE FAILED TO ELECT CLINTON AS WE BELIEVED SHE WOULD CAUSE THE INTERNAL COLLAPSE OF THIS COUNTRY MUCH QUICKER THAN ANYONE ELSE….CURSES!!! FOILED AGAIN}]
    That is why I always in my bunny slippers – yes, we do not use internet because is soooooo insecure – real spies receive their instructions for world domination by radio waves, which is why…….I wear bunny slippers…..because I need the rabbit ears as antenna…
    Yes, every person wearing bunny slippers is a Soviet mole.

    1. rowlf

      Be careful with your bunny slippers. They may not be adequate:

      This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “Why Lenin wore regular shoes, but Stalin wore boots?”

      We’re answering: “At Lenin’s time, Russia was still only ankle-high in shit.”

      Commie Martyr High Class of 1977

    2. different clue

      Fresno Dan.

      Is being most amazing thing! Is true you are being Putommunist Agent! How can I telling this? You mispelling of “walky talky”. Americans spelling are “walkIE talkIE” . . . not “walky talky” as you have mispelling it here.

      But Why Agent Fresno? WHY? Why have you revealing yourself at this most sensitive juncture with most obviousful plain mis-spellingly “tell” as like this?

    3. desmana moschata

      There must be more of us. I had always been programmed to believe I was the original russian mole and that we were nearly extinct. Good that we have friends.
      The Russian desman often lives in small (usually not related) groups of two to five animals, and appears to have a complex (but largely unstudied) communication and social systems and that is why it took so long for Clinton to find us.

  8. flora

    Thanks for this post. Interesting that Hillary ran as a sort of Eisenhower Republican, since the GOP used to stand for Civil Rights for blacks, and equal rights for women. They did not stand for the little guy or rising wages, however. See Margaret Chase Smith, Nelson Rockefeller, Edward Brooke.
    GOP Sen Joe McCarthy was a cold war demagogue during Eisenhower’s admin. (Sen. M.C. Smith stood to denounce McCarthy.)
    Today’s neolib Dems blend the best and the WORST of the Eisenhower Republicans. 3rd Way?
    It is deeply ironic that the DNC neolib Hillary campaign absorbs the Eisenhower GOP’s stance on civil rights, ignores the traditional Dem stance on the economic needs of the little guy, AND turns to McCarthyist smear tactics against political and press opponents. She’s not even as principled as Sen. Margaret Chase Smith was. (Sen. from Maine!)

    aside to Lambert, aka Raskolnikov! : one of the most insidious and pernicious effects of McCarthyism was self-censorship, fear, distrust and look-over-the-shoulder.

  9. Watt4Bob

    It seems to me that we’re having a hard time getting our collective minds wrapped around the fact that our ‘leaders‘ not only feel entitled to lie to us, but that it is their duty to lie to us.

    The Clinton ‘folks’ evidently think that we’re so susceptible to repuglican lies, that the only solution is a dose of democrapic lies.

    They haven’t for one minute considered the possibility that we’re so tired of being lied to, that we’ve decided to forego what has become utterly unbearable, that is, being forced to listen to even one more lie from the mouth of a ‘third-way’ democrat.

    It would appear that the repuglicans are in no way more self-aware than the democraps as far as that goes, so we’re in for a deluge of dis-honesty surrounding Trumps broken promises and empty campaign rhetoric.

    As far as both sides of the faux-political-spectrum are concerned here’s only one game in town, and that’s called Give the Rich What They Pay For.

    Our political class, has explained to us in perfectly clear english, (Thanks HRC) that their actions are governed by opinions they consider ‘private’, and that these opinions are often the exact opposite of the opinions they offer in public.

    Some of us are enjoying the small comfort that comes from the realization that at least the lies will come from someone not named Clinton or Bush.

    Since it was our political class that taught us to settle for incrementalism, they should understand why many of us consider this progress.

    1. run75441

      Do not fall into the same trap; “repuglican lies, that the only solution is a dose of democrapic lies.”

  10. Paid Minion

    So let me get this straight…….

    The Russians are “interfering” with US elections, by showing the American people the truth, vs. the propaganda doled out by the Democratic Party.

    To this I say: Thanks Russia. Keep it coming. Don’t even bother attempting to plant “false info” in any of this stuff, the truth is damaging enough. While you are at it, lets see some stuff out of the Republican camp, and the Wall Street banks.

    This illustrates the US Governments dilemma. They have put out so much false BS that the wretched refuse believes nothing they say anymore, even if it’s the truth. Integrity and credibility are tough to get back, once they have been lost/tossed aside.

    And the “interfering in US elections” is a real hoot to begin with. Like Israel, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, etc (not to mention various above-the-nation-state entities like MNCs and the Banksters) haven’t been interfering/influencing US elections for decades.

    How has the Clinton Foundation been doing with “donations”, now that they have zero influence in US government policy?

    1. Mildred Montana

      “This illustrates the US Governments dilemma. They have put out so much false BS that the wretched refuse believes nothing they say anymore, even if it’s the truth. Integrity and credibility are tough to get back, once they have been lost/tossed aside.”

      The man whose falsehoods no longer deceive has forfeited the right to tell the truth.
      —Ambrose Bierce

    2. different clue

      The Clintonites are grooming Chelsea Clinton to run for Congress, so that the Clinton Foundation will still have influence in the US government so as to keep those donations coming.

      That is why it is so very important that Chelsea not be allowed to get into Congress.

        1. different clue

          Don’t count on that. She will not crush herself. She will have to be crushed. She and all her dirty filthy Clintonite enablers and designers and sponsors.

  11. Anne

    I think one of the things that just frosts my cupcakes is this drummed-up outrage over so-called Russian incursions into Americans’ data, knowing that our own government has been harvesting and mining and tiptoeing through our information like a love-sick Ferdinand the Bull cavorting through the daisies, because, you know, terrorism! We don’t know what they’re doing with it, whether they are storing it, or building dossiers with it – but it’s landing some people on watch lists, so it can’t be as random as they want us to believe, can it? They keep assuring us that it isn’t like they’re actually reading our e-mails and taking snapshots of our web activity…but we’re supposed to be suffused with indignation and huffing with outrage because…Putin and Russia? Really?

    1. phred

      I’m with you Anne. How absurd is it to get one’s knickers in a twist over Russia when Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, the 17 US “intelligence” agencies, etc., etc., etc., not to mention our bestest pals the Brits with their shiny new spying laws, have been asserting their God-given right to all of our digital information? Russia might just as well get in line.

    2. uncle tungsten

      Because human terrain mapping! and trained people need to perfect dossiers and now they have supercomputers.

    3. uncle tungsten

      Plus I meant to include: the Russian stuff is a red herring as some people are desperate to avoid us looking at the DIA as the agent who leaked it. There is sh!t going down big time over this leak and it does point to a state actor but much closer to home. I read Trump is elevating the likely lad to a senior role in his administration. Pure speculation yes, but much more likely. Besides we have forgotten about Comey, phew! that was close.

  12. ChrisPacific

    Thank you for deconstructing the 17 intelligence agencies talking point. I read it when it was linked and was struck by the same points.

    In particular I think this part is suspect:

    “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

    Authorized these activities? What the heck does that mean? Are we supposed to accept that the Russian hacking community is some kind of centrally controlled organization that must seek government approval before they attempt anything too drastic? If so it’s like no hacking community that I’ve ever heard of. What if there was a WikiLeaks-like attack on a Russian government server that was traced to an American source, and the Russians tried to use the same argument to pin it on the US government?

    Also on the cyberwarfare front, does anybody really believe that this isn’t going on all the time? Or that at least some of the actors on each side are state funded and/or have ties to intelligence agencies? We know from the Snowden material that the US does it even to its allies (they were tapping Merkel’s phone, FFS!) So even if every word of it is true, there is an additional burden of proof to demonstrate that the activity is somehow exceptional and not just a continuation of the current security status quo. So far I have seen no attempt to do this, or even acknowledge that it’s necessary.

    I do find it amusing that the Clinton camp was simultaneously maintaining that (a) national security was under constant threat from the big bad Russians and (b) Clinton systematically ignoring security regulations for electronic communications wasn’t a big deal at all.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Here’s a nice takedown from Jacobin:

        But what we do know, thanks to digital forensics of the hacked emails, is that Podesta clicked twice on a not-so-sophisticated fishing email asking for his password. We also know from the same emails that John Podesta lost his cellphone in a taxi on January 19, 2015; and that his password was “p@ssword.”

        With leadership like that, the rest makes sense.

        A point for the Left in all this: the DNC’s ideas are not only bad because they don’t advocate the social-democratic redistribution we would like to see — they are also bad because they don’t work at a purely technical level.

        Their arrogance and contempt for the working class produced a flawed political theory, which in turn produced a bad strategy, which in turn produced a tactically inept ground game.

        Too busy congratulating themselves and concurring with each other, the Clintonites couldn’t even get the rudiments of the campaign correct.

        Not even a zero for the “o” in password? Remarkable…

  13. johnnygl

    Lambert, i didn’t see you mention Clapper’s resignation letter where he admitted that that they don’t know who hacked the dnc/podesta.

    1. grayslady

      Was that the one time Clapper was telling the truth? Who knows? Personally, I wouldn’t use Clapper in any of my arguments. Trying to determine whether or not Clapper is telling the truth is about as difficult as trying to determine what Trump is going to say next.

  14. clarky90

    Trust in any relationship is sacrosanct. Suspecting your husband or wife or partner, of hidden infidelity is like having “a conspiracy theory”. You have a bad feeling, a sense of unease- but that is all. It can go on for years.

    However, walking in, unexpectedly, on a (denied) liaison (romance) is all together different. You have been lied to. You know it. You grok it. You absorb the information into your very essence. The relationship (union) must and does change.

    I watched many Trump speeches in full on youtube, and then, afterwords, read the reports in the MSM of what he had just said. They were lying to me! I could see it, hear it. They lied to me.

    They must have been lying to me for the last sixty years of my life! I feel like such a sucker! I believed these lying bastards. I listened to them. I modified my actions, my thoughts, my diet, my beliefs. I subscribed to their “true information”, their “helpful advice”, their “concerned warnings”.

    I have been addicted to “the news” since my childhood. (I fondly remember the Sunday NYT spread out in our living room floor in the late 50s, early 60s). This has been a clarifying year for me. (tip of the hat to Boris Strether and Natasha Smith)

    Tammy Wynette – D-I-V-O-R-C-E (Live)

    1. Susan C

      I had the same experience you did. A couple months ago ran into a Trump speech and listened to what he said and then the next day the MSM all said he said something that was completely different than what he actually said. I think it was something to do about Iraq – Trump made a harmless comment about it but the media said he said something else all together and they all repeated the horrible thing they say he said. I was pretty shocked by this – I heard exactly what he said and he never said anything like that. That next night he was aired on CNN again speaking to the crowds and saying that he said xyz about Iraq and the MSM said he said something completely different (which I heard them say) and he said see folks – this is what I mean about the media. And I realized he was right – the media was lying and they were all in on it. Another thing crossed my mind during that time – why was he attracting such large crowds – maybe people wanted to hear what he was actually saying for themselves and not filtered by the media.

    2. cnchal

      . . . They must have been lying to me for the last sixty years of my life!

      Welcome to reality. Beware though that Trump doesn’t suck you into his lies. Although the people have been watching narcissistic politicians since the dawn of time, you can take nothing they say at face value.

      The main goal of a narcissist is to get an emotional response from the people around him (or her – although narcissism is less prevalent in women) and it doesn’t matter if the response is to be loved or hated, as long as there is an emotional response to feed off. The people nearby are objects, to be used as the narcissist sees fit for his own satisfaction, to be used and abused and when of no further use, discarded.

      What they hate, more than anything else, is to be ignored and shown no emotion when interacting with them. Becoming emotionally flat is a sure fire way to get a narcissist to lose interest and move onto someone vulnerable to their “charisma”.

      After the final debate, there was a few moments when the camera panned to Trump, alone at the podium clutching his notes looking angry and ready to eat the notes before stuffing them in his jacket. He wasn’t angry that he thought he might have lost the debate. He was angry that for a few moments there was no attention on him, and he didn’t calm down until his family entourage joined him on stage and they walked out together. That’s only my opinion, but the body language says a lot.

      Now the Presidency and the whole world is an object and plaything, as if they weren’t before, but he isn’t beholden to anybody, which frees him from constraints that previous presidents had. That’s new.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      As I wrote on August 1st:

      Readers, I’m eliminating “The Trail” coverage from Water Cooler’s 2016 election coverage, for a few reasons. First, the political class, across the board, is working actively for one candidate, as if they were extensions of that candidate’s campaign. Hence, at least insofar as material generated in the Acela corridor goes, there’s no news to aggregate. Second, and as a result of the first, the volume and toxicity of the talking points in this election is so great that it’s starting to affect my health; when I find myself drinking most of a bottle of wine, instead of the glass I had planned, it’s time to re-assess. The surreality is worse than I’ve ever seen in my thirteen years of daily blogging on politics, and that includes the run-up to the Iraq War, when the political class also lost its mind; the opportunity cost of investing in such surreality is simply too great, particularly when I could be improving other coverage. So, for the remainder of the campaign, I’m going to focus on topics that are not bright shiny objects or clickbait: on policy, money, understanding the voters (in ways that go beyond the material that appears under Class Warfare), and institutional issues within the parties. Where I focus on the “horse race,” it will only be in swing states. Finally, I don’t expect volatility to cease on November 8; I believe the political class suffers from a legitimacy crisis, which the election will not solve. Readers may wonder if I have a dog in this fight, and the answer is yes: I want divided government and gridlock. It’s always possible to make thing worse!

      Looks like I made the right call on that (well before the Podesta emails, too). Especially on ” I don’t expect volatility to cease”….

  15. Arizona Slim

    I’m sitting across the room from a Russian. And he’s a friend. Does that make me part of the conspiracy?

    1. Onlyindreams

      This time of the year, I do enjoy baking melt in your mouth Russian tea cakes…lest I make the short list of feeding the enemy, it may be a good time to switch to Mexican Wedding Cookies.

      Nephews this past weekend were taunting this ole lady ( me) for reading NC … alledgely a hotbed for “fake news”. All of a sudden I found new respect for being cavalier.

    2. lin1

      “Carefully parsing Politfact’s story against what Clinton actually said, I rate Clinton’s carefully engineered statement as not proven, and certainly not true. “17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed” is not the same as “James Clapper says that 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed.”

      Considering that Clapper is a known serial liar who perjured himself in senate hearings, his “confirmations” don’t mean much. Your question, though made as a joke, is a good one..Its been clear from the beginning what they mean by “propaganda” – its anything that contradicts their own, or exposes any of their massive hypocrisy and flat out lying. Its now becoming clear to me what they are talking about when they say “Russian operative” ..they are talking about Lambert, or any one of the commenters here..David Swanson (a “Russian agent”) explains. The enemies list is back. The blacklist is back

  16. steelhead23

    Clapper should have been fired. Let me say first – I am not a spook. But I know a bit about intelligence and for the chief of U.S. intelligence to announce that Russia had hacked into the DNC’s server was either a lie – or beyond stupid. One does not let one’s enemies know what you know. It doesn’t help you – it would help them. Think about it. Let us assume that said hacker was in the Kremlin, hacking away. That server has an IP address. Now, Clapper has just announced not only that the U.S. has the technology to find hackers, it also knows the IP address of a Kremlin server. How exactly would revealing that information to the world help the U.S.? Ans. – it wouldn’t. I haven’t a clue why Clapper did this, but he should have been immediately fired.

    1. flora

      adding: on the one hand liberals decry NSA spying as an evil over throwing of Constitutional protections. On the other hand liberals encourage eliminating or electioneering the vote in the electoral college (a Constitutionally mandated part of the election of presidents) to guarantee Hillary’s win. (If the recounts aren’t done by EC vote day, do those EC votes go uncounted?) No double-standard there. Nope. Consistency and principal, if it’s personally advantageous.

      1. MaroonBulldog

        “If the recounts aren’t done by EC vote day, do those EC votes go uncounted?” They shouldn’t. I believe federal statutes establish a procedure for dealing with this.

        The election of the president is complete when the votes of the electors are opened and counted in the newly-elected House of Representatives on its first day in session in the new year. (The election of the vice president is completed when the voltes of the electors are opened and counted in the Senate). The way to deal with a situation like this might be: The Republican slate of electors, pledged to vote for Trump and Pence, files returns, claiming that when the recount is completed it will show that they were elected (“they” referring to the slate of electors, not Trump and Pence–votes for presidential and vice presidential candidates actually elect the electors who will cast the electoral votes). The Democratic slate of electors, pledged to vote for Clinton and Kaine, likewise files a return claiming that they (again, the electors) were so elected. The House of Representatives then votes to decide which return to accept, and which to reject., regarding the president,, and the Senate so votes concerning the returns of the vice -resident. (I haven’t researched the law on this since the time of Bush v. Gore,but that’s the conclusion I think I remember coming to after reading the United States Code provisions on presidential elections. I’m pretty sure that statutes haven’t changed).

  17. Jerry Denim

    ” …the idea that Democrats are as susceptible to epistemic closure as Republicans was alien to me. No more.”

    The Republicans built their own closed-loop media ecosphere first with Fox news and Right Wing Talk radio. During the W Bush administration, there was no way team Dem could be anything but critics making team Dem seem more like critical thinkers and adversarial to entrenched power than they actually were. As soon as the Democrats had their own charismatic, infallible, ‘Great Leader’ to rally around (Obama) and their own little closed loop media eco-sphere that grew up around the cult of Obama, with supposedly left-leaning brand image (MSNBC, Orange Satan, Huffington Post) the Democrats quickly zipped themselves up in a tight, impenetrable sack of epistemic closure to match the Republicans. The Democrat’s impenetrable sack was Neo-Liberal just like the Republicans, but the Democrat’s sack (pardon the analogy/pun) smelled of sweet meritocratic credentialism and minority identity politics.

    If this past election cycle has taught me anything it’s that “Team Dem” blue juice drinkers are probably worse (more blinded) than the right-wing crowd. A Bush voter that voted Republican in every election since 2000 can most likely admit Bush’s faults and admit the Republican party has quite a bit of work to do. Your typical two-time Obama voter that voted Hillary this last election is incapable of recognizing Obama’s many flaws and if you try to talk to them about the Podesta emails you get fingers-in-the-ears “La-La-La” just as Lambert stated. According to the Team Blue cult members Hillary Clinton didn’t suck as a candidate- she was robbed, and anyone who criticizes Clinton from the left OR the right is a damn Russian double agent.

    The state of political discourse in the country is so bad I don’t know where to begin. 99 out of every 100 Americans are completely insane at the moment.

    1. Onlyindreams

      Being part of that reluctant 1% ( Jill voters), I now feel the icky slime as if I had voted for HC. I was once sane, but now doubting it much. Feeling voters remorse big time. Should’ve left it blank the first time.

    2. olga

      Perhaps not insane… just brainwashed (and without adequate education, historical knowledge, and good memory, unable to make sense of any of what is happening). Maybe that is why so much of what passes for “news” is targeted mainly at people’s emotions.

  18. I Have Strange Dreams

    Why did none of the 17 intelligence agencies warn US gov employees (including SoS) that Russia had the capability to hack private servers and why was using private servers for gov business not made illegal?

    1. redleg

      Hillary Clinton as SOS sent a memo ordering State Department personnel to cease using private email accounts due to hacking risk.
      Oh the irony.

    2. Code Name D

      Especially servers that were completely unencrypted for nine-months. If only we had an intelligence apparitions to help secure government e-mail conversation on secure servers. Oh wait…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I couldn’t work this in, but this “objectively pro-Putin” crap is — showing my age, hear — like arguing that John McNamara was a Yankee mole because he left Bill Buckner in at first base in Game Six of the 1986 World Series. I mean, come on.

          1. andyb

            I was at that game. Had religiously followed the Sox from the time my grandfather first took me to see Teddy Ballgame play. Used to fill out box scores when listening to a game on the radio The Buckner miscue devastated me and will be forever etched in my memory.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I saw it on an enormous old black and white TV while I was working as a janitor. Vacuumed the rugs, then sat down and watched the game. Horrible moment, just horrible.

  19. tgs

    re foreign influence in American elections

    Is anyone going to seriously deny that Israel has a huge influence not just on our elections, but our foreign policy as well? As usual, it is the elephant in the room.

    1. integer

      Is anyone going to seriously deny that Israel has a huge influence not just on our elections, but our foreign policy as well?

      Yes, however those that do so are wrong/dishonest.

  20. Anonymouse

    Seventh, with respect to Wikipedia, telling the truth seems an odd form of influence to have problems with.

    – Lambert I believe that you meant Wikileaks instead of Wikipedia in context.

  21. annie moose

    Submitted for your approval. An awful lot of electrons spilt for what feelz like buyers remorse. Clinton lost because at that point in time when it was most important Hillz was hated more than the Donald pick your reason pizzagate, hacked emails, past history, comfy fbi bs, the list goes on.
    Now you have the Donald enjoy his divine light. Revel in the caucasian version of the bath party. I know I will.

  22. Ping

    File under: Democrats Haven’t Learned Anything

    Tim Ryan, challenger to Nancy Pelosi demoratic leadership, was all over the talk shows proclaiming ‘we need a new message’ . His entire challenge is based on presenting ‘a new message’. New PR slogans….

    The morons still don’t get that it’s not about crafting a “message” but about action that reflects that they have managed to venture into the real world.

  23. TK421

    “Imagine having a presidential candidate in the pocket of a foreign nation!” scolded Hillary Clinton, as she went to pledge four hundred billion dollars to Israel for its plan to use Palestinians as ballast.

  24. scorpio

    with time we will probly come to learn that the wikileak of Podesta et al emails –like so many such situations– was an inside job, not hackers much less Russki intel. my guess is the H campaign made a few job offers to Bernie Bro techies in hopes of reaching his audience. and one of them decided to download on these Clinton grifters in hopes a better future Dem Party might rise from the neoCon neoLiberal smashup. or maybe it’s just my fondest wish. as a fellow Bernie Bro

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > inside job

      My private speculation, too. Bernie supporters would not be my guess, but rather somebody embedded in the Democrat nomenklatura for a long time, and somebody smart enough to use a cutout when phishing Podesta. “Embedded” long enough to get the hatred really curdled…

  25. Marco

    An optimistic sign that the snark-fog-of-war is lifting over at Atrios? “They-Had-One-Job”. I prefer “She-Had-One-Job” but that may be too personal. I’m sure the commenters will smack him back into line.

  26. Lynne

    What gets me about the whole “ebil Russians” argument is that it was yet more evidence that Clinton should never be elected IF what she claimed was true. Her big selling point was that she was tested, highly competent, and experienced. Yeah, so competent that she couldn’t pick campaign staff with the sense to avoid a simple phishing exercise AFTER being warned of the risk? I am constantly bombarded with horror stories of what the Feds would do to me if I had a data breach and hackers got PII (finance business). Yet here’s a woman who essentially brags that they were hacked and we’re supposed to agree that makes her eminently qualified?

    I told one of her supporters that her pushing the Russian hacker excuse was yet another reason not to vote for her. Their reply was to claim I probably blamed rape victims for wearing short skirts! Yeah, because the “campaign” was obviously supposed to be a coronation rather than a job interview, and obvious incompetence is to be rewarded, right?

    1. olga

      Right… the Russian-hacker claim is soooo obviously a cynical ploy (exploitation) of a campaign that had very little of meaningful substance to offer voters that I cannot even believe folks would seriously discuss it. But here we are…

  27. hjhg

    Does Russia run covert operations to subvert whichever government they perceive as threat or are you saying that Trump is a very principled patriot and a diligent man, and would not allow himself to be used to subvert the US? This are the two most important questions and the first one is true and the second is not.

  28. Charles Peterson

    A large number of real things could possibly have made the outcome different. By and large reasonable reasons for losing a close selection cannot be entirely debunked, though they could be ranked, and likely every ranking will be different.

    However “17 agencies” was not a respectable argument at all. It was simply a lie that Lambert has debunked.

    The people Trump has been selecting do NOT look like the ones who might turn our relationship with Russia from cold-war-with-no-name into Peace (which makes the larger claim of Russian involvement seem remote to the point of being a bad joke). Sadly, quite the reverse, with even small advances like the Iran deal likely being reversed. But making peace with Russia and her client states would actually be the most excellent thing to do right now (if not 70 years ago), and strangely I believe Russia is reasonable enough to want that, and not simply to take our place on top of the global-chaos-we-made, which they wouldn’t be doing anyway.

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