Well, one issue is we don't really know what "the allegations" are, but I will agree that some of what has been talked about in the media is "serious." However, the seriousness of an allegation is not the only factor to consider. Murder is a serious allegation, but one wouldn't expect an investigation unless there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that an offense has been committed.Brian Peacock wrote:I think the allegations are serious and need investigating. As I've said on a number of occasions the allegations strike at the heart of the US's democratic security and that this is, or at least in my view should be, of serious concern to all US citizens in light of what we already know about Russia's activities and intent.Forty Two wrote:Well, because of a lack of probable cause. Yes, investigations are to investigate, but you seem somewhat quick to consider any investigation of any allegation concerning Trump to be justified because, well, they're just investigating....Brian Peacock wrote: ... Isn't this what inquiries and investigations are for? You seem somewhat overly invested in resolving this matter ahead of those proceedings, and particularly in affirming the judgement you've already made which, essentially, seek to dismiss ahead of time certain possible conclusions to those proceedings. Why do you think that is?
But, we have an investigation open, and it's been going on for a year now, so I'm not arguing against investigating. I would like to see some evidence soon, though. I don't think that's really unfair to ask.
\Brian Peacock wrote:Quote me saying I don't think investigations into those things are appropriate.... But, when I raise issues like Uranium One, the Clinton Foundation donation issues, or the alleged collusion between the Clinton camp and FusionGPS (foreign nationals), you generally haven't suggested investigations are appropriate. Why do you think that is?
I didn't say you you said anything, I said you didn't say something. You haven't suggested it.
So, do you think investigations therein would be appropriate? Are the allegations serious enough?
That's fine for you to counter, however, wouldn't the Steele dossier be an example of a foreign national providing something of value to the Democrats?Brian Peacock wrote:
What I have done is countered the view that the Steele dossier was fabricated at the behest of the DNC, which has been the entirety of the content of the spin coming from the US right.
Sure, you find the allegations laughable, but the allegations are serious. Just like the allegations that Trump colluded with the Russians to rig the election. Laughable.Brian Peacock wrote:
I've also dismissed claims that the Russians infiltrated US national security to corner the uranium market and that Hillary Clinton is personally responsible for giving away 20% of the US's uranium assets to the Russians -- according to some in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation -- and/or that the Russians control 20% of the US's domestic uranium production as a consequence of the Uranium One deal as laughable.
Sure, and there is evidence that persons involved in the investigations of Clinton and of Trump were significantly biased in favor of the former and against the latter. And, we have not seen the evidence that they say was serious enough to warrant further official inquiry.Brian Peacock wrote:
Regardless of my personal opinions on those matters, investigations of the sort you say I consider inappropriate are a matter for Congress and the Justice Department - bodies which have declared that the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election and the possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, and/or members of that campaign and/or the Trump administration, are serious enough to warrant further official inquiry.
We've seen direct evidence of bias, and the agent on the Hillary Clinton investigation thought that it was a moral imperative that he and others in the agency stop Trump. They downplayed Hillary's alleged offenses, and they have hungrily gone after Trump. Maybe he's guilty of something, I don't know. But, I'd like to see evidence. Allegations of Russiagate are not the only allegations relating to threats to democracy. Allegations that "never Trumpers" and the DNC are working to pin something on Trump regardless of his guilt or innocence in relation to Russia are serious too.Brian Peacock wrote:
If they decide that Clinton's tenure at the State Department warrants investigation then surely investigations will follow. As things stands you would have us believe that the Republican controlled government's instigation and oversight of the various 'Trump-Russia' investigations, along with a failure to investigate the Uranium One matter, are grossly unfair political conspiracies. But who are the various Republican-controlled government institutions and agencies conspiring with, and to what end I wonder?
I've said that I don't know what he'll say. He might say "Donald Trump was in cahoots with the Russians, and here's how I know....[and provide detailed evidence about Trump contacts with Russians and shady deals]". I, however, find that extraordinarily unlikely. Steve Bannon was a chief strategist, basically planning the overall strategy of the campaign and managing the message and machine trying to get Trump elected. If he has anything concrete to say about Donald Trump illegally dealing with the Russians, Bannon would be incriminating himself too. He wasn't just a bystander, and if he saw something, he'd be legally bound to report it, and if he hung around he couldn't help but expose himself to allegations of being part of the conspiracy. If Trump was not personally involved, but Bannon has personal, firsthand knowledge of campaign people dealing illegally with Russians, it's the same thing - Bannon is a conspirator there, at best, and at worst he was involved. He'd be sending himself to jail, and he'd take the 5th if forced to sit and testify.Brian Peacock wrote:In general I'd tend to agree with your comments, but only up until the part where you couldn't help but dismiss ahead of time anything which Bannon might have to say to investigators. Tell me, in this context what's the difference between Bannon answering investigators' questions regarding what he knows about what has been going on and Bannon merely gossiping? Does it depend on the content of his answers or the context of the questions?But, anyway, my question was posed to ask what Bannon would be talking about. And, it seems to me very unlikely that he would have anything to say that would suggest any sort of crime on the part of Trump. But, as you noted, there is, in fact, an investigation, so go right on ahead and question Bannon, I say. He's probably more at risk for himself than he is a risk to Trump. Although, I can't for the life of me see what he's going to say that's anything more than gossip.
So, what's he going to say? Oh, yes, I knew Trump was colluding with the Russians. I helped arrange a meeting between Trump and a Russian agent who had a suitcase of money? I didn't help arrange it, but I knew about it firsthand because Trump told me? Or, Trump Jr told me? Or, I overheard a phone conversation? Or a saw a written communication from a Russian? What, really, is Steve Bannon possibly going to say?
My view is, nothing. He'll talk about hard in-fighting, and political power plays within the organization -- shuffling around for power -- backstabbing - whatever. But, nobody is going to roll over on this. If there was some illegal dealmaking between Trump or his campaign and the Russians, it would have involved a fair number of players, and someone by now would have spilled the beans. If it so happens that it was a private thing between 2 or 3 people - nobody will say a word. Hard to envision it being just a couple people involved, but if that's the case, and nothing is in writing, then there won't be anything to find.
You wish [/quote]Brian Peacock wrote:Oh, I can see potential legal issues with "another country offering material support to any domestic US presidential campaign, or campaign accepting such support," but nobody has said that any country offered material support to the Trump campaign or that the campaign accepted that support.Brian Peacock wrote:I think you'll find that this is currently being investigated by multiple authorities, but I presume from your wiggle that you see nothing untoward about another country offering material support to any domestic US presidential campaign, or in a campaign accepting such support?Forty Two wrote:... This is a new phrase - "utilise or rely on it [Russia] as a political resource." What might Trump have done that would fall within that blurb, and also be illegal or unethical or immoral?
Nope. My statement is accurate. There are allegations of Russian meddling, and Russian hacking, and Russian interference. But no allegation that there was an OFFER made to Trump or his campaign, or an ACCEPTANCE by Trump or his campaign.
No, I would not consider a foreign power hacking an IT network of a domestic political org to be no problem. But try to understand what I'm saying. Of course "hacking" is a problem, but there is no allegation that Trump campaign participated in or knew about any hacking. The allegation against the Trump campaign is that some Russian lawyer said she had dirt on Hillary Clinton and used that as a way to get a meeting with Trump Jr. That's not a problem. Any hacking is a problem, but that's not anything Trump is alleged to have participated in.Brian Peacock wrote:I see. You would consider a foreign power hacking the IT network of a domestic political organisation and passing that 'dirt' to a rival campaign, the attempted hacking of computerised electoral systems to favour one party over another, and systematic propagandising on behalf of one party over another as 'no problem'. Got it. I also note that you haven't really answered the question, merely recast it and fired it back....If you're referring to someone offering to give "dirt" on another candidate, well, I don't think that's ever been held to be a problem. Was it illegal for FusionGPS or that guy Steele to provide dirt on Trump to his opponents?
And, of course, an attempted hacking of computerized electoral systems is a big problem. But, let's posit the Chinese doing it to help the Democrats. Is that a crime on the part of the Democrats? Or, does there have to be some involvement by the Democrats to participate or conspire in the act? Foreign governments and hackers are trying constantly to hack election computers. This is not a first time thing. These computers are not sacrosanct with rival nations paying due respect to the systems up until 2016, when the Russians crossed the hacker Rubicon to try to hack computers and influence or meddle in an election. They do it every election. What, in your estimation, would make it a crime on the part of either the DNC or RNC, or a particular candidate's campaign?
No no - I'm trying to illustrate why it's NOT illegal. Dirt is never in the public domain. That's what makes it valuable dirt. Dirt that's in the public domain is already known to the public. The value of dirt is, like the Stormy Daniels stuff, to take private information and make it public to embarrass the politician. It doesn't become a crime just because the guy coming forward with the Stormy Daniels stuff is Canadian, British or Russian. Even if the info was stolen by someone, it doesn't make getting and publishing that information a crime. Look at the Pentagon Papers - there, the New York Times came into possession of illegally obtained and illegally leaked government secrets and papers that were not in the public domain. They published them, and revealed politicians to be liars and cheats in relation to the Vietnam War. The US Supreme Court held that the first amendment protects the publishing of even stolen, illegally taken materials. Now, if the New York Times had participated in the theft, that's another story - but, the Times had no obligation to keep it secret.Brian Peacock wrote:Perhaps that would be material support in this instance -- if such information was private and not in the public domain -- but, as I noted in my original post, the, "But what about the Democrats/Hillary...?" repost is merely a way to avoid the issue at hand by implying that the possible wrong-doing of one party is mitigated, legitimised, or offset by the possible wrong-doing of another - and indeed, it appears to be a pathological response with many on the right of the US political divide.Your use of the term "material support" makes the analysis more difficult, than if it was payment of money or donations. But, I see where you are going with it. Is it material support if the Prime Minister of Canada called up Hillary Clinton and said, "hey, I have this information on Trump that shows he's lying about X, cheating the government on contracts in his companies, and discriminating against black people in hiring - it's rock solid, accurate information?" Would that be a crime? What if a Canadian national, a big businessman, did the same thing? What if it was a former Crown Prosecutor from Ottawa who came across the border, had a meeting with Hillary Clinton, and offered dirt on Trump?
So, it's like if 42 is running for office. Some Brit or Russian hacks my computer and finds out my fetish for Stormy Daniels porn flicks, and they download the proof, and give it to my opponent as dirt on me. My opponent publishes the dirt, but didn't know about the hack. Who has committed the crime? My opponent? The hackers? Both? Did my opponent have a legal obligation to burn the true and accurate information, just because someone else stole it?
Wrong analogy. The actual analogy is "Vladimir stole cookies and gave them to Todd, who did not participate in the theft or know about the theft, and so Todd is a criminal."Brian Peacock wrote: "Why did you steal those cookies Todd?"
"Well Jimmy steals cookies and gets away with it all the time Moma!"
"Well, Jimmy got a cookie from General Tsao, and it turns out that cookie was stolen too, and Jimmy was not prosecuted." Well, that's because Jimmy didn't do anything wrong. He didn't participate in the theft.
I don't know what it means for US Democracy to be secure. I think the process is surprisingly less rigged than I expected. I didn't think Trump had a chance of winning. I can't imagine a guy who never held elected office running for President on what amounts to a shoestring budget, with a novice team, and the entire Democrat Party, and most of the Republican Party establishment, against him, could possibly win. The election of Trump actually restored my faith in the voting booth, because it shows that it's still extremely difficult to fix it so someone can't win.Brian Peacock wrote:
Do you think US democracy is secure as it stands, or do you think that, given what has come to light about what Russia actually did do (the Trump-Russia thing aside), US democracy is perhaps less secure than it should be or needs to be?
As long as the US electoral system remains mostly offline, and mostly non-computerized, and as long as it remains decentralized with a paper trail of ballots that can be counted physically, we are largely secure. The only real way it Russia "interfered" was through propaganda and facebook ads ,and there's not much we can do about that. If political speech is going to be free speech, then Russians get to say what they want as much as anyone else. Shit, our President actively worked in public to defeat Brexit. Were his published speeches and such an "interference" in the Brexit vote? Was it o.k. for him to say "vote remain" and state all his reasons? What about individuals and groups outside of Britain? Were they free to publish facebook posts and ads one way or the other? Or is that an illegal interference?