Thursday Message Board

The site outage that has kept the blog off air for several days has now been resolved, so here’s a once-off Thursday Message Board, for comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language, please.

41 thoughts on “Thursday Message Board

  1. @D

    Anyone notice that, in a small photo at least, Glen Greenwald looks a bit like J.Q.? Is J.Q. moonlighting with a nom de plume? 😉

  2. @D

    When governments like Russia’s, that are run more like criminal enterprises than democracies, it’s the prominent leaders who are compromised and that the secret police have dirt on that become preferred – they can be influenced behind the scenes in ways that those who have managed to stay clean (or leave no evidence) can’t. Those who can’t be bought, blackmailed or bullied are least subject to control and become the most distrusted. Not that I think Mrs Clinton is above any of those influences but if Russia’s intelligence services were digging for dirt on US presidential candidates they would not have limited their search to only the one.

    It doesn’t bode well for the USA to have a President that didn’t win the majority of votes and with unresolved international election interference allegations circulating engaged in radically changing the way governance is conducted, who seems to be willing to reject reports from key intelligence agencies as well as key science agencies. A US government that seeks to remake “truth” as it sees fit is a government that seems most unlikely to achieve greatness. Knowledge may not always be empowering – it can be damning, shaming and burdening – but decisions made in ignorance or denial of knowledge will be disempowering and can only be right by accident.

  3. @Ken Fabian

    “Not that I think Mrs Clinton is above any of those influences…”

    Why not ? What evidence can you point to that she ever was ‘not above’ those influences ?

  4. @GrueBleen
    In truth, I have no evidence either way for either Clinton or Trump. The CIA report suggesting Russian electoral interference doesn’t look good for Trump’s “mandate”. Simply preferring a pro-fossil fuels US leadership, given Russian economic dependence on their exports – I can’t imagine deep and committed concern for climate from any kleptocrats – or even a strategic preference for less competent and more disruptive President that may weaken long term US power and influence may what Russia’s dirty deeds services were about.

  5. @D

    In an election fought between Trump and Sanders, would you vote for Sanders or Trump?

    I ask because your response to the Russian hacking claims is identical to the Trump team’s response (e.g. the CIA has no credibility because of Iraq, US intelligence agencies are setting Russia up) and differs markedly from Sanders’s response:

    “The word has got to go out to Russia, any other country on earth, that we are going to protect our democracy, that cyber-security is very, very dangerous stuff, and we will not tolerate other countries interfering in the democratic process in this country”.

    “For Donald Trump to summarily dismiss all of this makes no sense to me at all.”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bernie-sanders-blasts-donald-trumps-cabinet-of-billionaires/

  6. I think Sanders would have been preferable as US president to both Clinton and Trump. But, having lost to Clinton for nomination Sanders already started walking back on some of his better positions as part of his team-playing for the Dems.

    I posted my comment before the Trump team’s response AFAIK, and in any case well before I was aware of the gist of their response.

    I think Sanders misses the point that a) there is no evidence supporting the anti-Russian narrative, and b) as far as the hack/leaks refer to the Wikileaks revelations, those documents were authentic.

    So, if truth and transparency are considered damaging to a candidate that is the greater concern for democracy than the provenance of the truthful information. The Democrats seem to be going all out to deflect blame for their loss onto others so they don’t have to take responsibility for it themselves. It looks like that tactic is working on many ‘rusted on’ Dem supporters.

  7. @D

    “I posted my comment before the Trump team’s response AFAIK…”

    This is an easily checked falsehood (how Trump-like of you)—their initial statement was released on December 9 (US time), and you posted on December 10 (both US and Australian time). But it’s interesting that you independently reached the same conclusions as Trump and his team of liars and conspiracy theorists.

    “So, if truth and transparency are considered damaging to a candidate that is the greater concern for democracy than the provenance of the truthful information.”

    So, to be clear, covert US intrusions to sway elections in other countries are fine, as long as such efforts involve the dissemination of truthful information? And it doesn’t matter if this truthful information is misreported (e.g. Podesta on the Catholic Church) or used as a basis for conspiracy theories (e.g. Pizzagate)? And you’d be against a country affected by such an intrusion carrying out an investigation into it, as Democrats and some Republicans are calling for?

    “The Democrats seem to be going all out to deflect blame for their loss onto others so they don’t have to take responsibility for it themselves.”

    What does it mean for Democrats to “take responsibility”? A whole host of institutions that are meant to act as guard rails for American democracy failed and the result is that an unhinged authoritarian is headed for the White House. What possible sense could it make to ignore this systematic failure simply to indulge the deep hatred people like you feel for Hillary Clinton?

  8. I made it clear that, in any case, I posted before I was aware of Trump’s response.

    Calling me a liar might make you feel good, but it doesn’t change the fact. Many non-Trump writers on the internet have been making similar points about the questionable merits of the story of the alleged CIA secret report as soon as it appeared.

    Give me some examples of covert US interference in governance/elections of other countries by use of truthful information and I’ll let you know what I think of them. If they are concurrent and intertwined with coups, assassinations or other coercive actions they wouldn’t count.

    Misreporting of anything is by definition untruthful to some degree, so that hypothetical isn’t useful. I’m in favour of people knowing the truth about their rulers.

    Any honest assessment by the Democrats of the reasons for their failure to win the election would be part of taking responsibility – blaming everyone else is not. For example: polls had Sanders winning an election against Trump at a time when he was talking about universal health care and education; railing against the excesses of Wall St and the need for stronger regulation and so on. The DNC ditched or watered down all those positions and more. Then they lost.

    What are the “guard rails” that failed and the “systematic failure” you are talking about, and how did they not work the way they are supposed to have in order to have prevented Trump winning the election?

  9. @D

    “Any honest assessment by the Democrats of the reasons for their failure to win the election would be part of taking responsibility – blaming everyone else is not. For example: polls had Sanders winning an election against Trump at a time when he was talking about universal health care and education; railing against the excesses of Wall St and the need for stronger regulation and so on. The DNC ditched or watered down all those positions and more. Then they lost.”

    This account might make more sense if the guy who won hadn’t run a sham for-profit university, promised to repeal Obamacare and replace it with “free market principles”, and campaigned on re-deregulating the financial sector (along with just about everything else).

    The exit polls show that Clinton won voters whose chief concerns were economic.

  10. The Democrats ran the campaign they ran, with the candidate they ran and the policies they ran. And they lost.

    Please answer this:

    What are the “guard rails” that failed and the “systematic failure” you are talking about, and how did they not work the way they are supposed to have in order to have prevented Trump winning the election?

  11. Apparently the FBI and the ODNI (which sits atop all US “intelligence” agencies) are equivocating on the “Russian” angle which has been so strongly pushed by the CIA/Clinton/MSM axis.

    The bogus, anonymous, secret CIA “report” looks like it’s being hung out to dry.

  12. @D

    Again, this is Trump-level BS.

    All these agencies argue that Russia was behind the hacking; the disagreement is about proving that the hacking was designed to help Trump win.

    The conclusion that Russia wanted Trump to win can be drawn by any rational person using information in the public domain—including the one-sided nature of the attacks; Trump’s statements, policies and appointments; responses in Russia to Trump’s victory; the likelihood of Trump damaging US institutions; and so on.

  13. So the new solicitor-general was counsel assisting the building industry royal commission, which I think is sufficient to disqualify him.

    There’s a few other cases listed on the victorian bar’s profile of him… lots of immigration stuff, but no mention of which side he was taking or how successful he was.

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