The media – and by virtue every Democrat and Republican – were in a froth flecked rage over the weekend, because a CIA briefing regarding Russia’s cyber meddling in U.S. elections was leaked to the press.
The assessment – as reported by Reuters – said that “Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help President-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system.”
Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, the Post said intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks.
The officials described the individuals as people known to the intelligence community who were part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and reduce Clinton’s chances of winning the election.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” the Post quoted a senior U.S. official as saying. “That’s the consensus view.”
As soon as the news came out, Trump supporters immediately went into fully defensive mode.
How do we know these reports are true?
Do all 17 intelligence agencies agree?
Are we supposed to disregard what was in those emails, because they may or may not have come from the Russians, and they probably haven’t, because MEDIA LIES!!!!11
Obama Administration lies!
This is the same CIA that assessed the presence of WMD in Iraq! (Which, by the way, many Republicans were more than happy to defend.)
WikiLeaks denies this, so it must be false! (Coming from the same people who attacked Julian Assange as a criminal and dog knows what else when he published Bradley Manning’s leaks.)
Clinton supporters worked themselves into a frenzy, because…
That means Hillary actually may have won!
Invalidate election results!
Challenge them in courts!
The Russians installed Trump in the White House!
Install Hillary in the White House using the courts! (This last bit of full retard recommendation came from none other than the Huffington Post, whose staff has apparently been eating paint chips and huffing Sharpies in an effort to get over the election.)
In the interest of accuracy and fairness, let’s examine the report.
The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.
There are two assessments here – both about Russian intent. One is that they wanted to influence the election to help Donald Trump win, and the other is that they also wanted to undermine the confidence in the U.S. electoral system. These are not surprising assessments, and there’s nothing to disbelieve here, given the Russians’ history of meddling in sovereign nations’ affairs, and threatening the sovereignty and even territorial integrity of at least one of its neighbors in the not too distant past.
Anyone remember this report (in Russian) I cited back in 2014, detailing Russian meddling in the Crimean referendum prior to its annexation? Anyone see already filled out ballots being brought in?
Note what the assessment does not say.
The assessment does not say that Russia HELPED DONALD TRUMP WIN. That would be near impossible to quantify, because the agency would have to examine reasons why Trump voters voted the way they did, and assume said voters were telling the truth about their motivations. It would also have to quantify how many Trump voters would have voted for Hillary had it not been about the Russian revelations.
The agency did not assess any of this. They made a judgment call based on existing intelligence and historical evidence about Russia’s motivations for interfering. At no time did they make an assessment on the success or failure of these efforts!
The agency also did not judge (at least not judging from the available media reports) that Trump or anyone in his campaign were complicit in these efforts or somehow colluded with Russia to steal the election.
Why haven’t they released the underlying intelligence that was evidence for this assessment?
Because it’s classified.
But the briefing was released! We want to see the underlying intelligence!
My guess is the briefing was released without authorization – probably to influence policy. If you want to see the underlying intelligence, get a clearance, join the intelligence community, work on cyber issues. No one is going to give you read access to sensitive material that may compromise sources and put lives and collection in danger, because your tinfoil hat is so tight, that you think the CIA is somehow biased against Trump, and made an assessment about him cheating his way into the White House that the CIA didn’t actually make.
The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.
Some are using this bit in the report to claim that because there is disagreement, the assessment is false/biased/an Obama Administration plot to overturn the election. The DC, in particular, ran a story yesterday claiming the FBI disagreed with CIA’s assessment.
The FBI did not corroborate the CIA’s claim that Russia had a hand in the election of President-elect Donald Trump in a meeting with lawmakers last week.
Except, according to the original report, that’s not really what the CIA assessed. They assessed the motivations for the meddling (that the Russians wanted Trump to win), not that somehow Russia HELPED Trump win, because it’s nearly impossible to assess that Russia was actually responsible for Trump’s victory. CIA was assessing Russia’s motivations and desires vis-a-vis the election. I doubt anyone can dispute the Russians’ involvement given these activities detailed in an August report in which the FBI confirmed that Russians had, indeed, been mucking around in our elections systems. But FBI, being a law enforcement agency, uses a different standard of evidence than the intelligence community, because their ultimate goal is to bring a prosecution.
Were the Russians successful in undermining Americans’ confidence in their election systems, which is the second assessment CIA made? Gallup polling in September indicated that only 62 percent of Americans had confidence in the accuracy of the vote count, but this number is similar to the polls conducted in 2008 – before revelations about active Russian meddling came to light. So it’s difficult to attribute the low confidence to the Russians. But again, the assessment wasn’t about the Russians’ success or failure, but the motivations behind their hacking activities. Big difference.
Further, the Democrats weren’t the only ones hacked, according to the FBI, although the Republican Party denies it was hacked.
A solid explanation of the differences in FBI and CIA assessments can be found here.
For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said in a television interview that the “Russian government is not the source.”
Well, gosh. Because the information would arrive at
Assange’s Ecuadorean Embassy’s doorstep stamped: FOR WIKILEAKS — WITH LOVE — FROM THE KREMLIN! Of course, Kremlin’s involvement would be several times removed! That doesn’t prove or disprove anything. It would be rather suspicious if there were obvious links to the Kremlin. That’s when I would scream that something is off, because the Russians are never this obvious!
Hopefully, this clarifies some stuff, because both sides seem to be going full turnip on this issue.
Nothing in the reports claims that the intelligence community assesses that Russia helped Trump win – only that this was the Russians’ desired outcome.
Nothing in the reports claims that either Trump or his campaign were in any way complicit in those efforts.
Nothing in the reports or the assessments claims Hillary would have won had Russia not interfered. Frankly, she was a weak candidate to begin with
And by the way, nothing in the reports indicates in any way that Russia was successful in hacking the actual RESULTS or somehow changed them in some way. Nothing.
So maybe Republicans need to stop screeching about lies and CIA conspiracies.
And maybe the Democrats need to quit wailing about how the election was ostensibly stolen from Queen Pantsuit.
And maybe – just maybe – we need to focus on the fact that Russia, in addition to its activities threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors, and using outright thugs to do it, trying to weaken the NATO alliance, shooting down civilian airliners, and using militants to achieve its goals of increasing its influence in the former Soviet sphere, has also been trying to wage cyber warfare against us.
If you don’t think that’s a big deal, because “we deserve it for our own meddling,” and you think that’s just fine, because ultimately your guy won, I wonder if you’d be intellectually honest enough to admit if you’d feel similarly had Hillary won.
I’d wager to say you’d be screaming bloody murder.
Dear low information voter dick nozzles –
Well, it looks like the Hairy Hemorrhoid will be the GOP nominee, and I have to say…
You applauded ignorance of foreign policy and economics.
You praised vulgar attacks and lies.
You ignored unrealistic promises and flip flops on issues you claimed were important to you.
You worshipped gaudy arrogance.
You ignored clear authoritarianism and disdain for the Constitution.
And you have won.
Now you can expect the GOP establishment you claim to hate so much to genuflect and fellate Trump’s tiny little pecker.
You can expect all those Democrats who voted for Trump in the primaries in order to secure the weakest possible opponent for Hillary Clinton to vote for her in the general election.
You can expect anyone with any principles left in the Republican Party to either write in anyone but Trump, vote for a third party candidate or sit this one out.
And now that they have helped secure the weakest possible opponent for Hillary, the leftist media will go on the offensive, trot out every possible attack, drudge up every skeleton from every Trump closet, and make Trump look exactly like the shit flinging monkey that he is.
You will wind up with President Hillary Clinton, and it’s no less than what you deserve.
Because you have sold out your supposedly “conservative” values for the promises of a cheap, narcissistic, arrogant fraud. You have turned your anger into irrational obtuseness. You have turned away from liberty and constitutional principles, because you were angry, and you wound up throwing out the baby with the bath water.
And if by some miracle, the Hairy Hemorrhoid winds up in the White House, you will get exactly what you claim you hate about Hillary Clinton.
A slick, despicable, lying, vainglorious shit goblin with no respect for your rights and contempt for the Constitution, which he thinks he can circumvent and bend to his will.
You will have deserved it, you gibbering, deluded chimps.
Because voting for a complete mockery of your principles just to stop a democrat =\= upholding your principles.
Remember that when you wind up exactly with the kind of statist shit show you dread.
You deserve it.
“Those who aim at great deeds must also suffer greatly.”
Many of us in the liberty movement saw the handwriting on the wall some time ago, as far as the Rand Paul campaign was concerned. He came in a distant fifth in Iowa, a state many thought he would win a year ago, his polling looked bleak in the other early states, and he was short on resources. He likely could have gone on, but instead, ended his campaign Wednesday morning. He’ll focus on securing re-election to the Senate, which he should easily accomplish. This turn of events has caused many of us in the liberty movement to despair, and even question the viability of the movement itself.
This must stop. What, did some of us think this would be easy? That the neoconservatives, the authoritarians, the entrenched interests, and all the rest who stand in our way inside the Republican party, would simply step aside? This sort of wishful thinking is all too common among those of us in the liberty movement. Reality is that it took over a century for the state to grow as it has, and for our liberties to be endangered the way they are now, and we won’t reverse that in a single campaign, a single election cycle, or even over the course of one pro-liberty presidential administration. We have a long fight ahead of us, and only over the past few years has it seemed as if we can begin to turn the tide. The sooner we realize this, the better our chances of making an actual impact. Our adversaries understand the value of incremental progress. So must we.
To that end, we must take Senator Paul’s defeat in stride, assess our options, and recommit to the fight, supporting the best possible outcome for the advancement of liberty.
We cannot simply throw up our hands, take our ball, and go home. To do so would validate every criticism the establishment makes about liberty Republicans. That we’re not really Republicans. That we don’t understand the value of coalitions in politics. That we’re children who pitch a screaming fit the moment we don’t get exactly what we want. This will not do.
To that end, I believe wholeheartedly that liberty Republicans must work to elect Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, the next President of the United States.
Along with Senator Mike Lee, he’s stood with Rand more than anyone else in the Senate. True, he’s not perfect, but he’s very good, and we can’t let the proverbial perfect be the enemy of the good.
He’s the only candidate still in the race who subscribes to an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. He’s the only candidate in the race who stands firmly against warrantless surveillance. He’s made some unwise comments about ‘making sand glow’ and ‘carpet bombing’, but for the most part, he rejects the ridiculous neoconservative foreign policy agenda. He’s with us on privacy and data security. However socially conservative he might be, he understands federalism, and would leave such issues largely in the hands of the states. He’d eliminate the odious TSA, along with a host of other superfluous federal departments and agencies. He understands the desperate need for sweeping criminal justice reform. Ted Cruz is our staunch ally most of the time.
Case in point: The USA Freedom Act. While it was much weaker than the original bill, it still ended warrantless government access to phone metadata, which was the major problem. That data is still collected by phone companies, and no bill yet seriously contemplated would stop that. Yet, many liberty activists are angry because he supported that version of the USA Freedom Act. That bill was the epitome of an incremental victory for liberty. We should thank him for supporting it.
The man just rolled into Iowa and beat the ethanol lobby in its backyard, winning Iowa with flying colors. The significance of that cannot be overstated.
He missed the latest vote in the Senate to audit the Federal Reserve, but that bill had vanishingly small chances of getting the 60 votes need to invoke cloture, and exactly ZERO chance of getting the 67 votes needed to override the inevitable Obama veto. Yet liberty Republicans skewered Cruz for missing the vote! Where was he? Winning, apparently. He knows we need a pro-liberty President if such a thing is to become law.
Once one compares Senator Cruz to the competition, the choice becomes even more clear.
I won’t spill a lot of ink here dealing with Donald Trump, as it’s been done elsewhere to great effect. Suffice it to say he’s a horrible demagogue with a long history of supporting Democratic candidates and policies, and for all the world seems like the bastard political child of Silvio Berlusconi and Benito Mussolini, with a dusting of liberal Yankee jackass for good measure. No. Just no.
Marco Rubio embraces the neoconservative “Invade The World/Invite The World” policy panoply with both arms and grinning enthusiasm. So on foreign policy and immigration, he’s a fresh-faced rerun of George W. Bush. No, thank you.
Rubio, Trump, Chris Christie, ¡Jeb! Bush, and to a lesser extent, John Kasich (who is the worst of the lot other than Trump), brag about how we need get back to violating the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans to stop terrorism. All are on board, to varying degrees, with perpetual entanglement in the Middle East.
Ben Carson, while a fine man, suffers upon close examination, and has looked feckless and inconsistent in debates and on the campaign trail. His campaign is fading, and with good reason.
Carly Fiorina will be a strong surrogate for whoever our nominee is, but her moment in the sun in this race has passed. Jim Gilmore is somehow still running, effectively as a fundraiser for Boyd Marcus. He was never a real factor.
For the first time since at least 1980, we have a chance to elect a President who will actually try and make a dent in the growing leviathan state, and strike a blow for liberty. We can win! Let’s prove the doubters wrong. Let’s join the rest of the wider conservative movement, defeat the establishment catspaw candidates, and WIN.
Cruz for liberty. Cruz for President.
Originally posted at The Bull Elephant.
Bob Dole doesn’t like Ted Cruz. Bob Dole thinks Republicans would perform better at the ballot box with a fucking fascist fuckhole at the top of the ticket. Bob Dole isn’t a senile, old Republican hack. Bob Dole knows how to win presidential elections.
Note from Nicki: Welcome to Brad Johnson! Brad is a new blogger here and will be writing about whatever he wants. He’s fun. He’s exciting. He’s cool. He’s not afraid to use bad words. What’s not to like?
Filmmaker Michael Moore is ready to write the obituary of the Republican Party, and his logic for doing so isn’t without merit.
The Grand Old Party, according to the socialist fuck stick, faces demographic problems that are hard to avoid. The presence of fringe candidates who use bombastic rhetoric are driving away minorities and young people that Republican desperately need to attract if it wants to remain viable.
“Let me give you a statistic: 81 percent of the electorate in 2016 will be either female, people of color or young adults between 18 and 35. They don’t look like those men on stage for the Republican [presidential] debates,” Moore told Salon.com. “When school started in September, for the first time ever the majority of our kindergarteners were not white.”
Moore is promoting a new film, Where to Invade Next, which was released in Los Angeles and New York just before Christmas. A larger release is scheduled in February. Those of you reading this, of course, would rather ram a screwdriver through your eye than watch one of his flicks. And, really, who can blame you?
Moore’s past films, which, despite what his fans may say, aren’t documentaries, include Bowling for Columbine, an assault on the Second Amendment, and Sicko, which disparaged the American healthcare system and promoted socialized medicine in Cuba and the United Kingdom.
Although Moore is undoubtedly just being an attention whore, his point – “concern trolling” is probably a better term – is a good one, as much as one may hate to admit it.
“We are not the America [Republican presidential candidates] grew up in, or the America they think they’re talking to. Those three groups they have alienated: women, people of color and young people,” said Moore in the interview. “By turning off 81 percent of the electorate, what is their plan to get into the White House? They can’t make it happen anymore. I mean, it really is a dead party.”
Of course, there is diversity in the Republican field, something their Democratic counterparts lack: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are of Cuban descent, Ben Carson is an African-American, and Carly Fiorina is a chick. The three remaining Democratic are all white, two of them are over the age of 68, and only one is a female (maybe – it’s questionable).
Nevertheless, Republicans do face a demographic problem. In May, the Washington Post noted that the white vote, on which the party has relied to be successful in national elections, has dwindled from near 90 percent in 1980 to a little more than 70 percent in 2012.
Separately, Gallup shows that 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney won 57 percent of the white vote, while President Barack Obama took 82 percent of minorities.
The big problem for Republicans is that incendiary rhetoric from certain candidates further damages the party’s already dismal efforts outreach efforts to minorities.
This includes idiotic statements made by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who has railed against even legal immigration, proposed prohibiting Muslims from legally entering the United States, promoted trade protectionism. After all, there’s no better way to engage minorities than to nominate a guy who is, basically, every asshole who has commented on a Stormfront forum.
“The 2016 electorate, demographically speaking, will be worse for Republicans than 2012,” Chris Cillizza explained. “And unless Republicans can begin winning more of the nonwhite vote, the 2020 election will be worse for the party than the 2016 election. And 2024 will be worse than, well, you get the idea.”
The Republican Party isn’t going to win over minorities if its nominee has a record of demagoguery against certain parts of the electorate. And if there is a change in direction, it has to be genuine, otherwise, minority voters will see straight through it. There isn’t an easy solution for Republican faithful here; either they began to embrace minorities or their prospects for winning back the White House will become much more difficult.