The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Michael Maiello's picture

    Truth Before Transition

    Barack Obama will hold a press conference tomorrow at 2:30 pm EST, before his family heads on their annual (well-earned) vacation to Hawaii.  We can hope for something important tomorrow as the White House has now made the following statements about Russia's election hacks:

    • Putin was involved.
    • Trump knew about it.
    • Clinton, and Democrats in general, were the targets.

    Despite the heartbreak of Hillary Clinton's loss and the absurdity of a Trump presidency, the Obama administration has emphasized from the day after the election the importance of a smooth transition from his administration to Trump's.

    Here's White House press secretary Josh Earnest, partially in response to Trump's Tweeted suggestion that this whole Russian hacking thing somehow only came up after the election result came in:

    “It was obvious to everyone who was paying attention,” he said, “including the gentleman whose thumbs authored that tweet, that the impact of that malicious activity benefited the Trump campaign and hurt the Clinton campaign.

    “That is, after all, why the president-elect called on Russia to hack Secretary Clinton’s email.

    “That is presumably why the coverage of the hack-and-leak operation that Russia carried out was focused on emails from the Democratic party and Clinton campaign staffers and not the Republican party and Trump campaign staffers.”

    He added: “That is why, in the day leading up to election day, the Republican nominee himself was encouraging people to check out WikiLeaks. He thought it would help his campaign.

    “And he knew that when people went to WikiLeaks, they weren’t going to find damaging information about [his allies] Steve Bannon or Reince Priebus or the RNC [Republican National Committee].”

    Writer and editor Elias Itzkovitz (byline also Elias Isquith) believes the White House is signaling a last minute change of priorities -- investigating the Russia hack is more important than details of the transition.  This post is based on his reasoning and reporting, which I find credible.  Trump's business dealings in Russia (along with those of his associates), his public man-crush on Putin, and his cheering the hacks from sidelines just make it likely that he or his campaign actually colluded with the hackers, one way or another.  It needs to be investigated and because Trump is moving into a position where he would be able to quash any inquiry, it needs to be investigated quickly, publicly and now, right up until he utters the last word of his oath and formally takes power.

    The transition is the sideshow here.  It's not some sacred thing.  The truth is more important.




    Comet pizza server hacked why would Hillary use that network? A disaster not my FAULT @realdonaldtrump

    After 8 years of disappointing people who want him to punch harder, do you really think he's going to take off the gloves now?

    Sometimes in a boxing match there's a flurry from the otherwise lethargic champ in the final seconds of the 12th round.

    Or not

    Yeah. This has really been an awful boxing match from start to finish.

    We shoulda'  knowed when he started with that "red white and blue America"--the guy in the American flag shorts always loses when he gets a chair broken over his head...

    Yes I read all about this last night. I just cant believe it to be true or credible mostly because this year has been filled with stuff like this and no one has done anything, so I just expect this will be his last press conference and nothing else. I want to be wrong Mike, but I dont think I am wrong.  I think all the people who are dreaming something should be done are just dreaming. We are rushing headlong into fascism and we need to fight that, and quit believing bullshit about how this isn't about to happen. Trump is going to happen and we must become our own tparty to stop Trumps agenda. 

    Yeah, Trump is going to happen.  But Obama doesn't have to make it easy. I wish he could set up some sort of independent prosecutor to start investigating this now, but I believe the laws have changed since the 90s.

    On Nice Polite Republican radio they are discussing if the Groper Elect would continue any retaliation against Russia for election hacking that Obama initiates.

    They were unable to reach any conclusion.

    I would say hack the hell out of Putin and Russia January 19. And see if Red Don's brobuddy responds.

    I turned off the Obama press conference when Obama said 'there is a sobering process when you go from campaign season to governing and you take the oath of office' ....apparently believing what is never going to happen and that I have blogged on....Trump can never be anything but Donald Trump. It's always campaign season when you are Donald Trump. Why? Because it's always about him.

    He has never sworn allegiance to anything or anyone but Donald Trump.

    Putin is the flying pig

    Among the damned

    Election rig

    How much was gained

    By Donald’s pain

    The Up

    Is in the Jig…

    The frog croaks, everybody listen...

    I wish I could be articulate like you. And I love reading you all.


    Michael, I think the Truth is more important.  But the transition and the long goodbye…  Obama is shadow boxing in the Bubble, before it pops him out of office… And who knows if he can punch out Putin’s virtual lights before January 21, 2017.  Maybe.  He seems exhausted.  Shadow Boxer Vs The Iron Fist.  

    To put it another way, Obama has never been very good at confrontation. 

    How would you know - ever seen him try it?

    Teddy Roosevelt alert - Newt compares The Donald to Teddy. Elsewhere, an angel loses its wings.

    So did Boehner. I wrote about it for the Daily Beast over a week ago, but they haven't published the thing yet.

    PS Did you get my email?

    Oops - just responded.

    He has ostensibly decided to a adopt the classic abused child strategy of denial and flattery in the hope that the next beating may be tempered, albeit not cancelled.


    Aspiring Trump Whisperer.


    Too bad, because he has one last card that he could actually play--a recess appointment of either Garland, Himself, or Trump's sister.


    That would leave the Dem senate minority in position to filibuster the vote to reject, and give us a minute to breathe.

    Obama was operating in a situation where the director of the FBI broke protocol and commented about emails she received from a server used by Liberal Weiner. If Lynch removed Comey, it was handing a gift to Trump. Trump would push the "rigged" rhetoric. Obama and Biden both mentioned Russian attacks on the election and the threat of US retaliation. The press now asks why Obama didn't talk about what he did talk about. The press is lazy and stupid. Obama can't openly say that we are engaged in a Cyberwar with Russia. On October 25, 2016, the was a dump of data from Putin aid Vladislav Surkov. It is likely that the war has began. It remains to be seen if it continues under Trump.

    Comey just came around to believing that Putin intervened in Trump's favor. The GOP leadership rejected informing the public about Russian cyberattacks. If Obama made a statement about Russian attacks, he would have been accused of "rigging" the election by Trump and the GOP. Comey would not have supported the idea that Russia was acting to elect Trump.

    I think the counterattack of Russia has begun. I think that a majority of white voters would still have voted for the racist orange-skinned con man because they wanted to reject the black President. Hillary got the majority of the popular vote. She did not get the majority of the white vote. The majority of other voters saw Trump for who he is. The rejected the Benghazi nonsense, the email nonsense, and the Clinton Foundation nonsense. The majority of white voters took the bait. We have a president- elect who is iin business in Russian and has children running his business who sit in on policy meetings. 


    Edit it to add:

    The first response of some on the Left was to reject the Russian Cyberattacks. 

    We try to blame Hillary for a loss, ignoring a dangerous turn in the political climate in the country. The press literally demanded that Hillary shut down the Clinton Foundation. Even supporters demanded that she shut down the foundation. Democrats in leadership made the same demand. Democrats are not yelling in microphones making demands of Trump. Trump shamelessly parades his kids on camera sitting in high level meetings. We were hacked by Russia and the media is surprised that they didn't blast the story like they blasted Hillary about Trump. 

    The Republican legislature in North Carolina conducted a coup. Only a small segment of the population of NC is protesting. 

    Congressional Democrats tried to get improved health care for coal miners despite the fact that the coal miners voted against the Democrats. 

    Trump has not divested his business. If a terrorist strikes one of his overseas or US based businesses, we will be putting troop at risk defending his personal interests. 

    We are in the Twilight Zone.

    Perhaps Sanders supporters were right. We who supported Hillary underestimated the degree of hatred engendered by years of false attacks and the holding of Hillary to a higher standard. We knew the truth about the false attacks so they didn't bother us. We saw her weaknesses but held her to the same standard that we held for other politicians. We didn't see how effective the republicans attacks were with moderate democrats and even liberals. But you know, those attacks in part worked with democrats because democrats, like Sanders, used those republican lies to attack her and therefore validated them with their supporters.

    What is the choice? When republicans lie so effectively should we surrender and abandon the victim of those lies? I'm not sorry I supported Hillary. I'm not sorry I defended her when republicans lied for decades nor am I sorry I defended her when democrats repeated those false republican attacks. Win or lose I was glad to stand up and defend and support Hillary.

    While some are condemning Hillary for her loss remember that Kerry also lost. I'm not sorry I defended Kerry from the false attacks by the Swift Boat Veterans either. Should we have abandoned Kerry when they effectively lied about his military service? I ask those same questions about Gore. We need a different strategy to deal with republican lies. We have never been very effective and it's getting worse. In this age of fake news where facts or truth don't seem to matter I'm not sure what that strategy is. The fundamental problem democrats are facing is that it's easy to whip up a rage filled angry mob with incendiary lies but impossible to whip up a reasonable mob with the truth.

    I had no problem defending Hillary. She had a history of trying to help. It cannot be denied that the media held Clinton to a different standard. Trump calls the media liars at every one of his victory tour rallies. Trump was never called to task. Female NBC reports have been attacked by Trump yet the NBC main anchors pretend that nothing happened.

    Some on the Left have a hair trigger attacking Democrats before they turn attention to Republicans. The chorus calling to close the Clinton Foundation was typical. Now we have people wondering why Obama is not publicly announcing a Cyberwar with Russia.  This attack on Obama comes before yelling that the Republicans are now agents of Russia. Any intelligence agent has to be concerned that any reported information will find its way to Putin. Even the partisan FBI director accepts the conclusions of the CIA that Putin wanted Trump in place. Some on the Left attacked the CIA report as bogus. Their initial push was to agree with Trump that the CIA was wrong.

    We have a voting population that is gullible and a portion of the Left that uses Republican talking points. We have a lazy press corps that acts as stenographers for Trump and the GOP. Our rights are under assault and the attacks are focused on the Democrats.

    We are screwed.

    The author of a NYT op-ed piece suggested that Republican s would have shut down American if Trump had won by 3 million popular votes but lost the electoral college count and Hillary had ties to Russia. They appeared on "All In" on Thursday, Chris Hayes was aghast at the idea that Democrats would resort to tactics everybody agrees would be used by the Republicans. Hayes is a supporter of the Left but uses the same double standard for Democrats as anybody at Fox News employs. Republicans would at tsk, tsk for their actions. Democrats would be labeled unpatriotic Communists.

    The problem with criticizing Hillary's campaign strategy is that she was under a full-court press for 1 1/2 years, while we're expecting her to strategize and run a normal campaign.

    In most campaigns, you release some policy position and it gets a bit of attention. In this one, it was a pivot between Donald's latest daily brain fart, her emails or the Goldman Sachs transcripts, later replaced by the daily Wikileaks leak.

    I am interested in the post-mortem on the ground game and media campaign they ran, especially in swing states. But when you're boxed in, you do things to break out of the box, not what you'd do in a more straightforward situation. In one statement I heard they assumed it was a GOTV campaign - that everything was so polarized, there was limited ability to persuade anyone of anything.

    And yes, even her own side kept attacking on everything from Haiti to the Clinton Foundation, to saying "superpredator" 20 years ago in the middle of a crime crisis, gross exaggerations of NAFTA's effects, making her out to be the biggest warmonger we've ever had, making her elitist, etc. "Getting the money out of politics" - a brilliant tactic when the challenger has no money. Trump then ran with that and turned his part into "I don't need the money". So in a campaign year flush with cash and private PACs & unregulated spending & $27 money bombs, Hillary was the only one dinged for raising money. So in 2020 we'll solicit only small donations?

    If Hillary came riding on Obama's coattails, it became incumbent to destroy those coattails. The primaries bizarrely started with resurrecting the single payer discussion when most of America is undersold on Obamacare as it is. Double down on what most hate? The debate about fracking was just as bizarre - control it, fine, but a ban? When it's part of over 50% of oil & gas production and responsible for our global drop in prices?

    Even when it came to the debates, everyone had an opinion on what she "had to do", and when it came down to it, she seemed to destroy Trump in all 3. Combined with Pussygate, how *did* he rise from the grave?

    A large part is simply repeating over and over and over and even over again how bad the economy is doing. Did you know how bad the economy is doing? It's doing bad, everyone says it, you just have to ask around, bad bad bad bad bad. And those immigrants, taking all our jobs? More bad - and Hillary did all that. Bad NAFTA, bad immigrants, bad terrorists - build a wall, waterboard the terrorists, make America great again. 3 simple steps to win again. Wall, Waterboard, Great. Plus lock her up. If only she'd thought of that. But then, she's a chick, so it wouldn't work. Manly power, testosterone - that's what America's missing. White light, white heat. Who knows, it'll take some time to understand.

    I was reminded yesterday about another forgotten event - how AP "recounted" the delegates and prematurely declared Hillary the winner the day before the primary when she was expected to clinch. Everything was designed to take the wind out of her sails. 

    Even with Obama, I have difficulty clalming his strategies were wrong. Maybe he got as much done as possible - maybe pushing harder instead of being effective would have just been used against him. They already passed the blame for the 2008 crash onto him. A lot of Americans don't seem to realize the drop in unemployment. They don't seem to realize the tiny numbers of domestic terrorist attacks were miniscule, and that a much bigger danger was either gun deaths (often by whites pretending to "defend themselves") or deaths by entanglement with police. While the marketing of Obamacare might have been too clever by half, how did so many Americans miss the improvements with the economy? What do they expect to happen now?

    The public does not feel the need to inform itself and much of the media no longer focuses on facts.

    So how do we respond - do we give up facts too, do we figure out how to present facts that catches, do we give up? "Eat or be eaten", "Adapt or die" - it seems our days as the rhetorical frog with the slowly increasing heat is no longer sustainable.

    The facts are our strongest ally. George Lakoff, a linguist at Berkeley, has written extensively on how to develop language to counter Trump. The first rule is not to repeat his language or message because that frames the argument just as he desires. The Left's response to the suspected Russian hack is classic. The first response should be to call for a special committee that takes away suspicion of bias to investigate the matter. Let the committee investigate. When the first response is to call the CIA report into question, you play into Trump's hands.

    Trump will attempt to cut takes while improving healthcare, job training, etc. He will recreate the economic disaster of Kansas. Language that notes Trump's debt increasing programs is needed. We just need skilled people creating catch phrases that explain the goals of Democrats. The public nods off on details.

    Edit to add:

    A link to an interview with Lakoff

    “Hillary now has two and a half-million votes over Trump. The person who the majority of Americans wanted to be president isn’t president. If you’re in the media, why are you there? You’re there for the public good. You’re there to tell the truth. You’re there to make sure that the truth is always told and not hidden. That’s your job. It’s not being progressive or democratic or anything like that. It’s your job!”…

    Will read the Lakoff links, thanks, tho re facts:

    According to Public Policy Polling research conducted Dec. 6 and 7, here’s what Trump voters think about a series of top-shelf stories, according to those surveyed:

    • 40 percent of Trump voters insist that he won the national popular vote.
    • 60 percent of Trump voters think that Hillary Clinton received millions of illegal votes.
    • 73 percent of Trump voters believe that George Soros is paying anti-Trump protesters.
    • 29 percent of Trump voters don’t think California votes should be allowed to count in the national popular vote.
    • 67 percent of Trump voters think the unemployment rate went up under President Obama. Only 20 percent accurately believe it went down.
    • 39 percent of Trump voters think the stock market went down under Obama. And 19 percent are unsure.
    • 14 percent of Trump voters think Hillary Clinton is connected to a child sex ring run out of a Washington pizzeria. Another 32 percent aren’t sure one way or another. Only 54 percent are certain that Pizzagate is a myth.

    And the problem is that WE, AS DEMOCRATS DON'T KNOW HOW TO REACH THESE PEOPLE?????

    Give me a break!   

    There is an attempt to normalize the abnormal. We have to remember that Hillary got millions more votes. Trump is trying to normalize Vladimir Putin. Trump's children are running his business and sitting in on top level meetings. When I mention these facts to Trump supporters, they appear to be the pod people from " Invasion of the. Body Snatchers". They have a single idea that Trump will clean the swamp. They know the line, but they cannot accept the fact that Trump is bringing more Neely crawling critters to the swamp.

    Latest Comments