Written by Matthew Cooke
I wrote this back in mid December. There’s more evidence now. And more disinformation as well. As usual, too many politicians spin. Too many reporters lazily just repeat whatever they’re told by government organizations instead of playing watchdog. And as usual, Trump just says whatever he feels like, regardless of the truth; on rare occasion admitting to something real. The principal here is about nuance. It’s about letting go of the usual left vs. right and digging deep into what sort of processes we want to have for self-governance. The yelling, name calling and black and white thinking is so boring and counter-productive.
Here’s my take on the alleged Russian interference in our election and the electoral college. A complicated one, but worth a little consideration.
#1. The CIA isn’t the first institution I place my trust.
It’s a brief rare moment I AGREED with Trump – in that we might question the same group blamed for allegedly giving us false information on WMDs in Iraq.
But in fact, it’s debatable how much the CIA was to blame for that claim. Cheney certainly wanted to manipulate whatever data there was. You can look into that more here:
But that information (exaggerated, manipulated or not) was used to invade Iraq — the atrocity of unfathomable devastation which both political parties have forgiven — a war which according to Iraq Body Count, caused more than 200,000 Iraqi civilians to be killed, although other sources say the casualties are twice that.
The Iraq war was the cause of 4,000 deaths of US soldiers, and tens of thousands more to be injured and maimed. It cost US taxpayers more than $800 billion. And for what?
Most agree (including Obama) that the rise of ISIS was a direct result of our disastrous invasion.
Before any historical revisionists buy into the farce that we didn’t know it was a mistake AT THE TIME, may I remind us there were many politicians (Feingold, Kennedy, Bernie Sanders) who knew exactly what this was.
There were military and journalists opposing it as well.
And despite the propaganda on February 15, 2003 about 300,000 to 400,000 protesters were in the streets of New York City. We didn’t want your f*cking war.
We didn’t want it then for the same reasons the apologists pretend were a secret until much later.
The Iraq War should have disqualified Clinton (and anyone else who voted for it) from any position in public service unless it was in amends and devotion to world peace.
That is — until Donald Trump took the republican nomination. Who in every area I care about (climate, criminal justice, economics, civil rights, total lack of foreign policy, emotional stability) is so much worse.
And now here comes the CIA again.
A breakdown of US intelligence’s multi-billion dollar “black budget” was ONLY revealed in files disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden to the Washington Post.
The CIA’s budget is the most expensive, $14.7 Billion out of $52.6 Billion in total for 16 intelligence agencies.
Now the CIA has done a LOT of things I vehemently oppose (and ironically Trump supports). Like defending and employing abhorrent forms of torture that have been proven time and again not to provide actual intelligence.
If the CIA is going to continue to take 15 Billion dollars in tax money, now might be a good time to prove their worth.
But there is also reason to take their claim seriously. Their intelligence efforts have supposedly improved since they were unable to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
Today, 17 intelligence agencies agree the Russians were trying to tip the scales for Trump.
More info here:
But we can’t stop there.
We have to also consider what it is we’re talking about. Which is the hacking of (or leaks from) the DNC. Some of the emails were misinterpreted. Some turned into fake news. Dangerously so.
And some emails were just blown way out of proportion. “I’m shocked, shocked to find gambling going on here!” (Casablanca reference)
But some of those hacked exchanges DID expose relevant insights into our election process, for example how the establishment parties directly provide their talking points to the media.
But don’t pretend this is just democrats as demonstrated by the aforementioned Iraq War which the shameless corporate media obligingly beat their drums over.
There is no “liberal” media when it comes to selling conflict.
In other words, the emails for the most part were just the status quo. They reflect the entire system and how it works.
They should have given the democratic party some insights into areas of improvement.
Like revealing the tone deaf miscalculation of the DNC encouraging Trump to be the opponent the media took seriously in the primaries.
Or that the DNC supported Clinton over Sanders.
Or how when Clinton said those who feel we should completely divest from fossil fuels should “get a life.” Perhaps that attitude was also apparent in policies environmentalists like me would take issue with.
All of this is awful, but considering our proximity to the climate cliff I preferred Clinton’s fracking to a full-bore climate change denier unsurprisingly appointing more climate change deniers to major cabinet positions including the head of the EPA.
For those of us who believe in science and want to protect the planet, we had a bitter tasting but clear choice.
I would really love nothing more than to deep dive into criticisms about those emails if larger problems weren’t now sucking ALL the oxygen out of the room (and warming it).
If Clinton had won the electoral college in addition to the popular vote, I might support a whistleblower from within the democratic party. A party of which I am no longer a member.
But this is different. So now to the HACKERS themselves…
IF this hacking and distribution of materials to the public was orchestrated on the part of a foreign power, we have a duty to look at that. Regardless which compromised and corrupt major party you represent. And regardless of what we think of the CIA.
Why? Because now the timing and focus of the hacks must be examined in the context of another country attempting to do what ironically the CIA does to other countries – manipulate a democratic election process. Isn’t THAT a hoot?
And finally let’s talk about the electoral college itself. Fundamentally created to protect the slave “owning” states from seeing slavery outlawed.
As a secondary justification for the college: created to prevent exactly the situation we are in from happening. To stop a foreign power from manipulating our politics for their benefit and our detriment. And to stop the take-over of our government in case the people would be “misled by a few designing men.”
This is certainly not unprecedented. Electors have gone against the stream before. More information here:
So, the electors do indeed have a duty to look into this. Especially when Trump lost the popular vote by over 2.8 Million. Especially when Trump claims the election is rigged until it looks like he’s won.
Especially when Trump has been surrounded by advisers and associates with economic and familial links to Russia.
More info here:
And the electors have a duty to examine their upcoming votes for all the reasons the college exists in the first place.
Most striking of all, is the irony that it’s this antiquated protection for slavery itself that put a champion of white supremacy in the White House.
Unfortunately, the areas of grey here may be more nuanced than the capacity of most of us at this time to really consider.
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