Archive - Jan 9, 2017

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Hammer And Sicko

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Memo to Donald Trump: TY TUPOY

This is the third time I've said to myself, "I guess I have to do a column on the whole Russia thing". Unlike the previous two times, I didn't put it off until I thought the Russia thing wasn't a thing anymore, and I didn't have to write about it. But now we're in the thick of the Russia thing again, so here we go.

Here's what we've got. We've got the American intelligence community reaching the collective conclusion that Vladimir Putin directly ordered Russia to fuck up Hillary Clinton's campaign because he didn't like her very much. If you're wondering why Republicans and Fox News are in the weird position of defending Russia all of a sudden, don't forget that they pronounced "fucking up Hillary Clinton's campaign because they didn't like her very much" BENGHAZI. So they've got a lot in common.

So, according to the intelligence community, they stole a bunch of e-mails from the Democratic National Committee, and fed them to Wikileaks, who released them over the course of the primary and campaign. We saw what happened from there. The media covered each of the gradual releases, building and maintaining a narrative that Hillary Clinton was somehow hiding something and untrustworthy, and that that was a suitable counterpoint to Donald Trump's idiocy and megalomania.

Now, there are counterarguments to this. One counterargument is a general "the American intelligence community lies about shit all the time". Which is fair. Question authority, dudes. And the questions you should be asking is, who benefits from this lie, who's harmed by it? What's the lie intended to accomplish? Are they underselling it or overselling it?

So the absolute worst-case scenario is that the intelligence community is using Russia as a patsy to delegitimize Donald Trump and/or worsen relations betweenthe U.S. and Russia for some reason. I can live with that. Trump's not legitimate and Putin's doing things we shouldn't be comfortable having good relations with.

All the other counterarguments are coming with people damned by this conclusion. That includes Trump, of course, and conservative Putin-fluffers like Sean Hannity, but never forget that it also includes your "liberal" media like Chris Potato Head Matthews and even, to an extent, the generally praisable Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, who, thanks to being part of cable news, reported dutifully on every single e-mail drip from John Podesta's malware, no matter how irrelevant.

And sure, sometimes, some people provided context, and tried to explain that the leaked e-mails were normal internal campaign bullshit, but it wasn't treated as a definitive conclusion, nor do we live in an environment where definitive conclusions are usually accepted anyway. So Russia affected the media coverage and the media coverage affected the election.

Now, that doesn't mean Russia bears sole responsibility for President Trump. The onus still falls squarely on Trump voters, who had to pretend to be comfortable with a litany of awfulness never before seen in American politics. But the Russians were part of it, and they were, rightfully, cheering their accomplishment on Election Night. Not only did they help sink Clinton's campaign, they aided and abbetted the most pro-Putin candidate possible.

So, not only is it fair to hang this shit around Trump's thick fuck of a neck at every opportunity, it doesn't matter if it's fair because politics is at a fairness nadir right now, and society's not going to undergo a radical shift and start rewarding honest, moral politics anytime soon. Why not throw a little ironic hipster Red Menace into our 2017?