Further Perversions in Social Media: The Catalonian Independence Referendum

Catalonia is holding an independence referendum today. The national Spanish government has declared this an illegal and/or unconstitutional political act.

Spain’s democratic constitution of 1978, which was approved by more than 90% of Catalan voters, gave wide autonomy to the regions but affirmed “the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation”. Only the Spanish parliament can change the constitution. Mr Puigdemont’s referendum is therefore illegal, and Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s conservative prime minister, is determined to prevent it taking place.

Police have been deployed to stop it, leading to all too predictable violence.

Spanish riot police burst into polling stations across Catalonia on Sunday, confiscating ballot boxes and voting papers to try to halt a banned referendum on a split from Spain as Madrid asserted its authority over the rebel region.

Police broke down doors to force entry into voting stations as defiant Catalans shouted “Out with the occupying forces!” and sang the anthem of the wealthy northeastern region. In one incident in Barcelona, police fired rubber projectiles.

Catalan officials said 337 people had been injured in the police crackdown. Officers in riot gear hit people with batons and forcibly removed would-be voters, including women and the elderly, from polling stations.

The ballot will have no legal status as it has been blocked by Spain’s Constitutional Court and Madrid for being at odds with the 1978 constitution.

Here’s what things look like on the ground.

The good:

The bad:

And the ugly:

The Spanish news media, however, has noticed an unfortunate trend playing out in regard to the independence referendum regardless of one’s views on Catalonia and whether it should be independent, how far back the desire for independence goes, or how many Catalonians (around 40% by polling) favor independence. From El Pais:

The Russian meddling machine has intensified its efforts on social media to deepen divisiveness in the final hours before the Catalan independence referendum of Sunday. Pro-Kremlin Twitter accounts increased their mentions of the Catalan crisis by 2,000%, according to social conversation analysis tools. The attempt to hold an independence referendum has gotten star treatment not only in channels directly funded by the Russian government, but also from accounts that trade in conspiracy theories and helped Donald Trump become the US president.

The 2,000% increase in Catalonia-related online activity in Russia detected by the tool Hamilton 68, not only involves anonymous accounts, but also a sudden interest in this crisis by famous social media users from the US, including Jack Posobiec, a far-right agitator who has been retweeted by Trump himself. These past couple of days Posobiec has shared links about the measures taken to prevent the vote in Catalonia.

Accordingly, Assange has intensified efforts to make the Catalan crisis a global trend on social networks, always from his particular point of view. On Friday, he accused Spain and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of having triggered the first world war through Internet censorship. His message was shared 14,000 times on Twitter. Before the Civil Guard took action to prevent an electronic vote tally, Assange himself also recommended via Twitter sending in the ballots via Telegram, an application developed by a company based in Russia.

And while El Pais reported that InfoWars and Drudge had gotten into the action, The Sydney Morning Herald has found that the top influencers, the key nodes, in the social media campaign for Catalonian independence are Assange and Snowden. Quickly followed by Wikileaks and RT.

El Pais has also reported that the hosting for the independence movements website is in Russia and it is being supported by Russian hackers.

However, now that judicial authorities have blocked logistical preparations for the vote, pro-independence forces have only been left with the support of hackers to maintain websites containing the electoral roll and and information on where to vote.

In fact, according to Spain’s Civil Guard, a group of hackers based in Russia and satellite countries is permanently creating new links in order to have so many copies of the census site that it will be impossible for the Spanish judiciary and police to shut them down.

In terms of digital technology, pro-independence forces face two serious obstacles: any website based in the European Union is liable to be shut down by authorities relatively quickly, and any hacker that operates within EU territory could be accused of a crime. This is why those in favor of independence for Catalonia are using computer programmers based in Russia, which has no legal agreements with the EU when it comes to digital legislation.

While Assange’s activities in regard to Catalonian independence have gotten him into some trouble with his hosts, the real question here is who benefits by doing this? And by doing it now? It certainly isn’t going to be the Catalonians, especially the 40% of Catalonians that support independence and will turn out to vote for it today. Their actions are making them subject to arrest or, based on the video clips up top, extra-judicial suppression by Spanish police attempting to stop the referendum. It certainly isn’t Spain which is going to have to deal with a prolonged challenged to its political integrity and cohesion. Nor is it going to be the EU which will be dealing with yet another challenge within one of its southern members. Given all the social network analysis of the social media landscape surrounding the Catalonian independence referendum and the fact that the independence movement moved its servers to Russia, it would appear that Putin’s Maskirovka has once again slipped. The game was given away by who the social media players were. At this point the only state that seems to benefit from increased civil, political, and social disorder in Spain and the EU is Russia.

 

148 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    Okay why TF is the First Minister of Scotland on that list? Is this some weird attempt at ethnic independence solidarity?

  2. 2
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Jesus Fucking Christ.

  3. 3
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yutsano: Most likely.

  4. 4
    Roger Moore says:

    It seems to me that Russia is going to need to start rebuilding their social media apparatus. Too many of the key players have been identified. More broadly, they’re going to need to figure out a new line of attack, since too many people now know that social media is prone to manipulation.

  5. 5
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

  6. 6
    zzyzx says:

    Why doesn’t Spain just say, “This vote is non-binding. Have a blast but we’re ignoring it?” That would seem to be such a healthier way of dealing with this.

  7. 7
    Amir Khalid says:

    An independent Catalonia would mean the end of El Clasico, the legendary Primera Liga fixture between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. For the sake of football, Catalonia must remain in Spain!

    But seriously, what if enough Catalans manage to vote in the referendum, and the result is a big majority for independence?

  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Roger Moore: Yes and no. I think your overall premise is correct that a lot of the formal and informal assets and useful idiots have been outed or outed themselves. However, what we can see is the tip of the iceberg. It is what is below the water line, the people and organizations that haven’t tipped their hands or been exposed, that worry me.

    For instance, CarolineO, the RVAwonk, recently wrote this and I think it is plausible. And, unfortunately, probable.
    https://medium.com/@RVAwonk/hackers-could-purchase-enough-personal-information-to-alter-voter-registration-files-in-35-states-1a34237c10d1

  9. 9
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Since the ballot has no legal status why is it necessary for the police to brutalize anyone? Why not just ignore the voters and declare the votes null and void?

  10. 10
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Why did they have to send out the police? Why not just ignore the results and then send in the police/Spanish equivalent of the NG when they stop paying taxes/declare independence? I feel like this is just playing into Putin’s hands.

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @zzyzx: @Patricia Kayden: @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: The current government has decided a heavy hand is necessary. Perhaps they think it will send a message that Spain will fight to retain Catalonia by force if necessary. I do agree that this simply provides more fuel to both those in Catalonia who seek independence because they want to be independent and those outside Catalonia who are making mischief.

  12. 12
    Amir Khalid says:

    @zzyzx:
    Not really. If the referendum result shows a big majority of Catalan voters for independence, that is bound to have political consequences.

  13. 13
    Elizabelle says:

    @zzyzx: Yeah. I’ve thought that for months.

    Rajoy/Madrid’s thuggish response seems quite unnecessary. The majority of Catalans do not support a split, although with treating their kids and neighbors this way, Rajoy is likely improving the secessionsist numbers.

    Stupid and heavy-handed. I’d suspect a lot Catalans are looking at the bed the UK made for itself with Brexit, and wary of secession, but look at how Rajoy treats them. Idiocy.

    Children are taught in the Catalan language in the primary schools, not (Castilian) Spanish. Although there is plenty of national broadcasting in Castilian.

    Personally, I don’t care for these “secession of the wealthy” schemes. States’ rights — a cry of white supremacists here — means that as a resident of Virginia, I should be down with people in Alabama being treated and cared for so shabbily, because “Alabama!”

  14. 14
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Adam L Silverman: A heavy hand will probably only stiffen the resolve of Catalonians to separate from Spain. Declaring the votes void would have been a less confrontational option. Oh well.

  15. 15
    Shalimar says:

    Snowden seems to have a highly principled habit of coming down on issues on the same side as the Russians. You might almost think there are some ties there.

  16. 16
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Wouldn’t an election so clearly tampered with, tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of voters disenfranchised, necessarily require a new one? I know there’s no Constiutional way to do that, but something would have to be done. Too many people would make too great a stink.

  17. 17
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Don’t the Catolonians care that they’re being manipulated by a foreign dictatorship?

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Amir Khalid: If you go to the Reuters’ link in the post, they make it clear that based on polling, only about 40% of Catalonians support independence. However, the anti-independence Catalonians are unlikely to show up and vote no because they know the referendum violates the 1978 Spanish constitution. So they’re neither going to waste their time, nor expose themselves to risk from police crackdowns and responses to them. As a result the referendum, if allowed to go forward, is likely to yield an overwhelming vote in favor of independence even though that appears to be a minority position among Catalonians.

  19. 19
    Kristine says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Would two-step verification do any good? Some sites require a verification code if I try to log in using a new browser or device. Then I get an email that they received a request from a new system/IP address/etc.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    kindness says:

    I don’t know how we as a world are going to deal with Russian chaos. Honestly the Spanish authorities should have just let them have their vote, especially when it won’t mean anything legally. Feeding the demons isn’t the way out of this. Don’t let the Russia/Bannon/Mercers win by burning it all down.

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: We have absolutely no Constitutional or statutory or regulatory permissions, systems, and/or structures in place to address this issue. I highly doubt we’ll have any of the latter two – statutory and regulatory – in place by 2018, let alone 2020.

  23. 23
    debbie says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Would you have thought the Spanish government would react like this?

  24. 24
    PhoenixRising says:

    @Adam L Silverman: busy day so I can’t provide cites RN but…not just predictable that violence will drive support to independence movement, but was predicted. In 1991. In debate about entering EU. And whether democracy could be used to break up Spain under EU rules. So today’s chaos didn’t come out of Russian meddling, but the fact that we are talking about it may have. Key distinction. Further, I suspect that Rajiv isn’t talking to us, he’s talking to Merkel, and what he’s saying is that Spain isn’t a good place for refugees entering the EU to get parked. He’s tough, Spain is tough and not only will Spain control Catalunya at the point of a gun but Spain will assert a legitimate role for state violence against citizens.

    If anyone has another potential upside to this clusterfuck by Madrid, managing this referendum differently than the last 3, I’d love to hear it.

  25. 25
    Elizabelle says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That’s exactly what’s happening. Whatever the vote count in today’s referendum, it’s not going to be representative. And the Catalan secessionists know this. As do the voters. I am not aware that they even have to hit a benchmark for a percentage of total Catalan citizens.

    PS: Noting my language: “secessionists” vs. independence-seekers.

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: As was the case with the British during Brexit and Americans during the 2016 election, let alone 11 months after that elections, it is unclear how many Catalans know there is an orchestrated external to Catalonia campaign that is pushing their independence referendum.

  27. 27
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    But the election would be a sham! How could the winners claim to be legitimate, especially if those prevented from voting could have made a difference in the result? It couldn’t be allowed to stand.

  28. 28
    Elizabelle says:

    @debbie: No, although I am hardly knowledgeable on Spanish politics.

    It seems incredibly stupid and heavy-handed. Hello — this region remembers Franco quite well. They don’t and didn’t like him. Why emulate him? Makes you wonder what else is behind the response.

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kristine: I’m not a tech person. My understanding of cyber warfare and cyber crime is conceptual regarding strategy and tactics, not technical. However, I have been told by those that are tech people that yes this would help. Especially in regard to email spearfishing attempts.

  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @PhoenixRising: No argument here. I’m aware of the EU issues. I’m also aware, as I know you are too, of the economic issues. Catalonia’s economy is larger than Portugal’s. Spain cannot afford to have that large a component of its national economy secede. Same reason you saw Texans and especially Californians targeted by Russia in regard to secession as well. Having what would be the 10th and 6th largest economies if they were independent states leaving the US would economically cripple the country.

  31. 31
    debbie says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I was thinking of your sojourn there and that you had a feel for the place. Maybe this has become the new normal? Five bucks says Trump tweets his approval, then wonders whether U.S. cops should consider adopting the same topics.

  32. 32
    oatler. says:

    Franco is not Still Dead! He’s back in POG form!

  33. 33
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Elizabelle: I’m tracking on your terminology.

    There are separate issues here, just as their are in regard to the Kurdish independence referendum I wrote about last Monday. One question is whether these attempts at independence are just or the right thing to do for the people that would be living in these new states. As in are these actually politically, economically, socially, and regionally viable actions that will benefit the citizens of these new states or make their lives worse (civil war, invasion to prevent independence, economic viability of the new state, etc). This is separate from the other two important questions. 1) are these attempts legal/constitutional? And 2) do they make strategic sense to do them now. As in is this the opportune time to do these?

  34. 34
    Roger Moore says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I suspect there’s a core of voters who are willing to accept any help for their cause that’s proffered without considering who’s offering it and at what price. That certainly seems to have been the case with Republicans and Russian help here.

  35. 35
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Roger Moore: Good point. This is one of the weaknesses of internet “war” in general: Once the other side figures out what you’re doing, that asset is gone.

    Unfortunately, I suspect that social media mischief will continue to influence those who don’t care to be informed.

  36. 36
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Wait, now you are forcibly hold Spain together? You monster.

  37. 37
    Baud says:

    OT, but surprisingly the bullshit of the week is not Trumpian.

    Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that a time could come when he no longer supports the Republican Party.

    “If the party can’t be fixed, Jake, then I’m not going to be able to support the party. Period. That’s the end of it.” Kasich said in an interview with anchor Jake Tapper.

  38. 38
    PPCLI says:

    Spain should follow Canada’s lead. Form commissions, negotiate everything, give in to tons of stuff in principle, blah blah ….
    make the idea of independence boring, and even the separatists will say “meh, this hasn’t been such a bad arrangement…”

  39. 39
    Roger Moore says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I think a key point is that there is a core of voters who are eager to get help for their program and who are going to accept it from anyone who offers. They know winning independence (or Brexit, or Republican victory) is too important to worry about that stuff.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    One of my coworkers will be heading to Seville on business in a couple of weeks. Ugh.

  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: There is a difference between de jure (what is legal) and de facto (what is in fact) actually popularly supported. There are many, many states and societies that have de jure elections, but their governments have no real de facto support. I would argue that the US is currently in this position. The President is de jure legitimate. However, his de facto support is very small and he has little to no de facto legitimacy. And given the minoritarian by design nature of the Senate and by gerrymandering and a change on the reapportionment rules in the 1930s that stopped increasing the number of seats as the US population grew to permanently curb urban power in favor of rural interests of the House we have a national legislature that is also de jure legitimate and de facto illegitimate. Unfortunately given the process that Senator McConnell created to get Associate Justice Gorsuch appointed to the court, there are very real arguments that the US Supreme Court is also, for the time being, de jure legitimate, but de facto illegitimate. Eventually a change will have to be made or things will move towards a crisis. Given how the US has dealt with domestic challenges over the decades, it will most likely take a crisis to get a change.

  42. 42
    Elizabelle says:

    Has anyone heard Rajoy or Spanish politicians at large make a good case to Catalans as to why remaining with Spain would be a good option?

    What little I’ve heard is skirmishing over the legality of the referendum, and now this ridiculous display of police power.

    Is someone credible making a case that — hey, we respect your culture (Catalan is the official language in government publications and schools), and your region receives some incredible benefits for remaining within Spain?

    A lot of this strikes me as a culture war.

  43. 43
    Baud says:

    @Mnemosyne: Seville isn’t close to Catalonia, is it?

  44. 44
    Elizabelle says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Great comment.

  45. 45
    PSpain says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Look at this from the lens of a 29% PP ruling government. Rajoy is uniting his base and picking up additional nationalist support. This is Trumpian.

    I noted yesterday all the Spanish flags flying in the wealthy Ensanche neighborhood here in Valencia. There were big anti Independence rallies here yesterday and today. In Valencia which speaks a similar language to Catalan. It was a bit disconcerting to see.

    I noticed just a couple of flags in a working class and immigrant neighborhood Monteolviete and none in the old city were here we live which is more bohemian mix.

    This has united Spanish Nationalists. Rajoy could care less about the ~50 to 60% that oppose the use of force. He will never get their votes.

    Sure the seemingly wise and easy move would have been to ignore a non binding and probably losing referendum, but attacking the Generalitat of Catalunya and the show of force today may not have 50% nationwide support but it has given Rajoy more support than he had before.

  46. 46
    sharl says:

    Atrios (Duncan Black) posted a 45-second video taken by his wife of the inside of a polling place in Barcelona. Harrowing.

    Polling place in barcelona pic.twitter.com/QaEnvnnJ9T— Atrios (@Atrios) October 1, 2017

    He also posted it at his blog.

  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m not forcibly holding anything together. I prefer a more elegant solution like gorilla glue.

    More seriously, I’m just looking at this as a strategic analyst. I’m not advocating for anything to happen. What I haven’t seen in regard to the Catalonian independence push are analyses that indicate it would be viable as an independent state. Largely because I haven’t looked. The ones I’ve seen in regard to Kurdish independence in what is now Iraqi Kurdistan are mixed at best. And the more optimistic ones are based on the Kurds being able to hold Kirkuk (likely) and maintain their ability to export oil (problematic at best).

    I understand the emotional yearning for independence. I get wanting to order one own’s affairs as a society. But gaining independence and not being able to consolidate that into a successful transition to independence that benefits your citizenry is strategically stupid.

  48. 48
    Elizabelle says:

    @Baud: Seville (as you know) is almost as far as you can get from Catalunya, if you don’t head due west (to the Atlantic coast).

    Ah, looking at that map and all those place names. I want to go back.

  49. 49
    debbie says:

    @Baud:

    Attention whore.

  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Roger Moore: Possibly. I don’t know if we know enough about whether those supporting Catalonian independence know where this support is coming from. Certainly the Catalonian leaders that moved their servers to Russia do. The question is does the average Catalan supporting independence?

  51. 51
    Elizabelle says:

    @debbie: Was thinking “how can you be saying that to baud?”

    And then realized, you’re referring to Kasich.

  52. 52
    Baud says:

    @Elizabelle: Not mutually exclusive.

  53. 53
    debbie says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I’d never do that, at least not where he could see it.

  54. 54
    Yutsano says:

    @Baud: Seville is in the southern part of Spain. Catalonia is the northeast. So unless the colleague is thinking of going to Sagrada Familia for mass it should be fine.

  55. 55
    Elizabelle says:

    Also, may we commend the Catalonians, and Spain in general, for not Muslim fear-mongering after the terrible van attack in Barcelona? Kudos.

  56. 56
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @PSpain: Thanks for the local context. Greatly appreciated and very important.

  57. 57
    Baud says:

    @debbie: I appreciate that.

  58. 58
    Roger Moore says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I don’t think you’re really disagreeing with me. The point is less that they don’t know and more that they don’t care. They could find this stuff out if they bothered to try- certainly the connections between Russia and both Trump and Brexit were there for anyone who was paying attention- but they don’t want to know.

  59. 59
    Elizabelle says:

    @PSpain: Another great comment. Hope you will hang with us more often!

  60. 60
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: These are trolls, and my experience with trolls is that knowing exactly what they’re up to doesn’t reduce their influence at all.

  61. 61
    clay says:

    @Shalimar: Is there any reason to trust that Snowden’s tweets are actually coming from Snowden himself? Isn’t it likely that the Russian government uses his account as a (somewhat, for some people) trustworthy source of opinion?

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Roger Moore: Yep, no disagreement.

  63. 63
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Trump’s level of support isn’t that small — it’s completely within normal bounds, only slightly lower than Obama’s low point. Bush got way lower. It’s unusual that he started so low, but he’s at a place a lot of Presidents get to.

  64. 64
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: Other than twitter has certified his account as being his?

  65. 65
    Fair Economist says:

    @zzyzx:

    Why doesn’t Spain just say, “This vote is non-binding. Have a blast but we’re ignoring it?” That would seem to be such a healthier way of dealing with this.

    They did that successfully in 2010. I don’t know why they’ve gone stupid.

    Wait, I do know. The last time the government was leftist. Now it’s rightist. That explains the sudden stupidity.

  66. 66
    Roger Moore says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Trump’s twitter account is certified as being his, but that doesn’t mean he personally tweets everything that goes out on it. I would not be the least bit surprised to discover that some, even most, of Snowden’s tweets are dictated to him by his Russian handlers.

  67. 67
    Baud says:

    @Matt McIrvin: It’s unusual to start and stay that low however. And it’s being propped up by the economy.

  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Matt McIrvin: His high point is just above 1/3 of the citizenry. That may be within the normal lower bound. It is not, however, normal to have your ceiling be the average floor of support of other modern presidents.

  69. 69
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I don’t know much about Twitter’s certification process, but do they just do that once? Have they re-certified Snowden since he fled the U.S.? Does that prevent Russia from extracting his passwords from him so they could post as him?

    Or, even if Snowden is the one doing the typing, does that prevent Russian agents from being in the room, dictating what to say?

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Roger Moore: I’m not arguing that it isn’t possible, just that we have no way of knowing. In the case of the President you used to be able to tell based on which phone was being used. Now the only way to tell if he’s tweeting or if it’s the caddy is whether the spelling, grammar and punctuation are terrible (the President) or just bad (the caddy trying to channel the President).

  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: Other than the documented visits from Congressman Rohrbacher or Nigel Farage, how often does the Ecuadorian Embassy in London allow Russian operatives to visit?

  72. 72
    sharl says:

    IMO an informative thread:

    I'm a dual Spanish citizen, and I'm half Catalan and half Castilian so this whole situation in Spain has been very disheartening to me.— Nando (@nandorvila) October 1, 2017

    As a person On The Left, it’s in my training to reject Nationalism in any form. It’s almost always a destructive force.

    Not to be all Ron Fournier about it but this crisis has been largely fueled by craven Nationalism on both sides.

    Financial crises fuel nationalism. We saw this in the 1930s and we’re seeing it all over Europe with a resurgence far right parties.

    Post 2008, Spain hasn’t seen its own version of Front Nationale or UKIP. Spanish nat’lism hasn’t turned on immigrants, it’s turned on itself

    As we’ve seen from the images today, the right wing government in Madrid is incredibly craven and reactionary. Almost fascistic.

    Rajoy has used his hardline stance against Catalunya to shore up his base of support in a moment of economic hardship for Spain.

    And as @bcqer points out, it’s a good way to distract from an unbelievable corruption scandal that has plagued the conservative party.

    That isn’t to say that the movement for an independent Catalunya is a left wing emancipatory one. It just isn’t.

    Catalan nationalism has typically been conservative, especially in the democratic era. CiU, which ruled Catalunya for decades, is neoliberal

    The current ruling coalition, which supports independence, is led by a conservative (Puidgemont) in an alliance with anti-capitalist parties

    Literally the only thing they have in common is a sense of shared nationalism. That’s it. That alone should give people pause.

    In fact a lot of the leftists that are veterans of the labor movement and anti-Franco resistance reject independence:
    …Guardian – In Catalonia’s ‘red belt’ leftwing veterans distrust the separatists: Nationalism is not the answer to Spain’s problems, say an older generation who fought against General Franco

    That said, that doesn’t mean that Catalunya shouldn’t be allowed to vote. It absolutely should. Madrid’s actions today are heinous.

    Allow the vote, and make the case for Catalans to stay in solidarity with their brothers in other regions. Do The Work, so to speak.

    Catalunya is the richest region of Spain and has a lot of values worth admiring. It should be on the vanguard of a more just Spain.

    In summary my stance is “For Self-Determination. Against Independence. Fuck the Police. And Fuck the PP”.

  73. 73
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Shalimar:

    I am profoundly embarrassed that there was ever a single moment that I was fooled by Snowden into thinking he was some kind of hero.

  74. 74
    Citizen Alan says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Why would they? The Republicans didn’t.

  75. 75
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m talking ’bout Snowden.

    Edit: Assange clearly needs no prompting from Russia. Snowden may or may not, depending on what you think of his actual motivations.

  76. 76
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Are you confusing Snowden and Assange in that reply? Snowden lives (comfortably?) in Moscow.

  77. 77

    @Matt McIrvin: Bullshit, his maximum support is close to the minimum support of most presidents. Which president had a huge protest march just the weekend after his inaugural?
    # Not Normal.

  78. 78
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: @Gin & Tonic: Sorry, got a wired crossed. Read Snowden, processed Assange. My bad. To answer your question then, yes it is possible. Also probable.

  79. 79
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: As for Snowden’s motivations: bought and paid for asset.

  80. 80
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It’s not that low — per the HuffPo average, he came in with about 45% approval, 46% disapproval, nearly even basically.

  81. 81
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Although, if these events lead to the Ecuadoreans putting Julian and his blankie out in the street, then it wouldn’t be all bad.

  82. 82
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Joy…

  83. 83
    Baud says:

    @Matt McIrvin: It’s going to go back down.

  84. 84
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    While Russia may be exploiting these things, there’s a lot of real sentiment behind some of this, and the longing for independence may come out of some real abuses and mishandling of power. Some central governments are too central for their own good, and a healthy dose of Federalism may be the cure.

    In the United States, states can send representatives and even get a President elected, so there’ some responsiveness to local needs. Also states have almost independence-like powers over taxation and law, so overreach can be mitigated.

  85. 85
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Matt McIrvin: That is unusually and historically low. And that lasted about a month. He’s been mired around 36-38% for almost his entire presidency so far. He was down around 34-35 and then got a couple point bump for the optics around the responses to Harvey and Irma.

  86. 86
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: No argument here. The McClatchy article I linked to show that they are not amused.

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    . And while El Pais reported that InfoWars and Drudge had gotten into the action, The Sydney Morning Herald has found that the top influencers, the key nodes, in the social media campaign for Catalonian independence are Assange and Snowden. Quickly followed by Wikileaks and RT..

    WTF? I’ve tried to follow the Spain independence vote stories, BBC news and others, but had not seen anything about Assange, Snowden, etc.

    Should we just consider them to be Russian agents, or unwitting dupes, or independent agents of chaos?

    Also, it is frustrating that the American media, and much of the American public, insist on seeing Russian collusion as a one-off, only related to the US presidential election, but not otherwise significant . Strange times.

  88. 88
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Brachiator:

    Should we just consider them to be Russian agents

    If it quacks like a duck….

  89. 89
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: Part of the reason this post took two hours to draft is I was looking for the social network analysis map showing that there are two central nodes in social media for information on the Catalonian independence: Assange and Snowden. Almost every link on this issue on social media connects back to them. Assange is the larger of the two nodes. I couldn’t find it – should have bookmarked it when I first saw it last week – so went without it.

  90. 90
    HeleninEire says:

    So here’s my intellectual contribution to this thread. It is on topic cuz everyone hates everyone else.

    I’m in a great pub. The old decrepit building was purchased for €850,000. They put at least another €250,000 to restore it. It is GORGEOUS.

    ANYWAY, I sat down for a pint. The first word The big fat Irishman next to me said was “gook.” The fifth word was “ni#gger” I came this close to turning to him and saying “STFU you Shanty Irish, Paddy, Mick”

    I did not do that. I moved away. Because I am a fucking lady.

  91. 91
    sharl says:

    I wonder if Spain has something comparable to “Facebook grandmas and aunts (etc.)” who propagate social media bullshit?

    Ahhhh. So that's where Trump got the "ingrates", for his latest series of tweets, from.— Missy Rains (@mrainie24) October 1, 2017

    The word was in the most shared article on Facebook last week—a Breitbart article. Breitbart does very well on FB. https://t.co/n6OU5FMhSR— Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) October 1, 2017

    My aunt shares so many brietbart articles (plus her own analysis) that i'm convinced she works there…if not, she deserves a job.— hey you (@Whuthapndhere) October 1, 2017

  92. 92
    Barbara says:

    Putin is a small man who has no clue of how to make things bigger, so spends all of is time and effort trying to make everything around him smaller. One of the places we went to last summer was the former Yugoslavia. Obviously, where there was once a large country there are now six or seven small countries. When we were in Croatia, my husband struck up a conversation with one of the tour guides, and she lamented that Croatia has become nothing but tourism on steroids. They have to import everything, etc. There is a reason that Germany became unified. There was a reason Spain became unified, same for France. Whatever ails Spain is unlikely to be ameliorated by pulling it apart.

  93. 93
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Expert trolling by whoever runs Mossad’s twitter feed:

  94. 94

    @Brachiator: can’t say I was surprised to see their names here, it helps make sense of some of the conversations I’ve had lately.

  95. 95
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Comes the Presidential tweetpocalypse!
    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/10/black-lives-matter-activists-to-join-nfls-chargers-in-on-field-protest-before-game-report/

    Activists representing Black Lives Matter will reportedly appear on the field with the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday as part of an orchestrated protest against inequality, and in defiance of complaints from President Donald Trump.

    According to KABC, the Chargers, who recently moved from San Diego, will also welcome members from the California-based Courage Campaign, and Democracy for America taking part before the game.

    The report states that, prior to their game with the Philadelphia Eagles, players will take part in a “kneeling human chain to remember what the original protest was about,” with the intent they can “re-center the protest on ending police violence against people.”

  96. 96
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Barbara: I Wouldn’t be surprised to see his efforts to either backfire on him as he (hopefully fails to) tears apart the global order or fail and not help Russia at all.

  97. 97
    Chris says:

    What the fuck is wrong with you, Madrid.

  98. 98

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: They help line Putin’s pockets but I fail to see how these machinations help Russia (as in the average Russian citizen) at all.

  99. 99
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I understand Ecuador has about had it with Assmunch. Here’s looking to him being tossed in a cell with no internet access, forever.

  100. 100
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    .There are many, many states and societies that have de jure elections, but their governments have no real de facto support. I would argue that the US is currently in this position. The President is de jure legitimate. However, his de facto support is very small and he has little to no de facto legitimacy.

    There are a number of problems with this view. The resident’s support levels are low, and that of Congress is always low, but no one seriously assumes that the federal government is not legitimate . People may not like individuals, but there is no flouting of law and policy on a widescale basis. There is no alternative government making law and competing for people’s loyalties.

    The Supreme Court is about to convene, but no one is going to try to remove the supposedly illegitimate justice, or ignore his vote or opinion.

    You might also say that the Republican party is illegitimate, but again this is practically meaningless .

    Finally, what happens when different groups in effect declare American democracy to be illegitimate? Chunks of voters who found their voice in Trump declared that Obama was not the legitimate president throughout his tenure, and this madness was aided and abetted by the GOP. Now, chunks of voters view Trump as illegitimate. Where does this leave us, if not in a political vacuum?

  101. 101

    @schrodingers_cat: well Putin certainly doesn’t care.

  102. 102
    Chris says:

    @kindness: Be easy to deal with if we had the level of popular and elite unity we had in the Cold War. If the Russians are doing so well it’s because so many are willing to help them.

  103. 103
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @schrodingers_cat:
    I think he wants to weaken the West and it’s int. order so he can more easily expand Russia in numerous ways, such as territorially, diplomatically, economically etc. Basically restore the USSR.

  104. 104
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Brachiator:

    Now, chunks of voters view Trump as illegitimate. Where does this leave us, if not in a political vacuum?

    More than just a few chunks of voters view Trump as illegitimate. And just wait: things haven’t gotten really bad yet. As FDR once said: “People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” IOW, nothing lasts forever and is always subject to change. Today, most people see the (GOP) federal government as legitimate if unpopular. Tommorow…?

  105. 105
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: The US system is a de jure system. Rule of law. Government of law, not men. And most Americans are almost always in a state of state supporting and state opposing behaviors depending on the issue. As you’ve correctly identified they are not in state denying. Sure, there are outliers like Roy Moore who took his state denying behavior professional.

    But, and we don’t know if it is a small or large but, we are dealing with multiple ongoing crises. Our structures and institutions seem unable to deal with them effectively or efficiently or even inefficiently. Our structures our sclerotic and haven’t aged well either. Eventually we’ll hit a large enough, sustained enough crisis where something has to give. That will not be a good day.

  106. 106
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Eventually we’ll hit a large enough, sustained enough crisis where something has to give. That will not be a good day.

    Would you recommend emigrating to Canada? No joke. My skills as a health care professional will definitely help me get in. After an election, lots of people say that, but if things will get really bad, like you suggest, then it might not be a bad idea.

  107. 107
    karensky says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Ditto. I am very creeped out.

  108. 108
    cain says:

    @zzyzx:

    Why doesn’t Spain just say, “This vote is non-binding. Have a blast but we’re ignoring it?” That would seem to be such a healthier way of dealing with this.

    This. I have no idea why they would send the police out. It just makes it worse. Just have the results and then say, “that’s nice, but you need to have parliament approval”.

  109. 109
    gene108 says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Wouldn’t an election so clearly tampered with, tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of voters disenfranchised, necessarily require a new one? I know there’s no Constiutional way to do that, but something would have to be done. Too many people would make too great a stink.

    If the disenfranchised voters are white and Republican, the yes, there will be outrage.

    For anyone else, it is just another case of tough luck.

    In the 2000 election, ten thousand Floridians were denied the right to vote. The reaction from conservatives was “good, our guy won”.

    Disenfranchising non-white conservatives is an American tradition.

  110. 110
    Brachiator says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    . As FDR once said: “People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”

    Trump supporters are for the most part neither hungry nor out of a job. And their leader is a rich plutocracy pitching a vile version of the prosperity gospel packed with racial resentment.

    Trump offers bait and switch authoritarianism. The suckers who fall for his con think America will be great again once nonwhites and women and Latinos and gays are made to STFU, and all Muslims are thoroughly stifled. But these dopes will soon find themselves with nothing while the plutocrats are left sitting pretty.

    A few might even feel that they have settled the score with FDR, who they viewed as a traitor to his class.

  111. 111
    Ruckus says:

    Russia can not wage traditional, conventional war and get away with it. Really not very many countries could do that, and I think that includes the US. Take away that word conventional and while there are a few countries that can wage it, the US being the notable contender here, the concept of any thing other than a few cockroaches being alive afterwards limits it’s usefulness. So that leaves Russia with a choice, stay what it is, with large resources that are difficult to get to and people willing to deal only at arms length. Or play the 21st century game, digital warfare. Pay off or buy people to look the other way, disrupt commerce/life/military and then steal everything not tied down. The cost to wage this war is a whole damn lot cheaper than conventional warfare, success is a lot easier than conventional warfare, a lot of the time people don’t even know you are actually at war. So they don’t fight back. And the people who’ve been bought off do far more blocking than could ever have been thought possible……
    You have bloodless war, at least on the waging side. Russia is good at the concept of deception and misdirection, they’ve been doing this for centuries, even when fighting bloody wars.

  112. 112
    BBA says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I think that account is a spoof, like DPRK News.

  113. 113
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @gene108:
    In several states? With hundreds of thousands potentially disenfranchised? There would be riots.

  114. 114
    BBA says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:
    “Oh? Who’s being naive, Kay?”

    Sometimes I wonder whether there’s been a single fair, free election in the history of the country.

  115. 115
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Brachiator:

    Trump offers bait and switch authoritarianism. The suckers who fall for his con think America will be great again once nonwhites and women and Latinos and gays are made to STFU, and all Muslims are thoroughly stifled. But these dopes will soon find themselves with nothing while the plutocrats are left sitting pretty.

    But most aren’t falling for it. And Trump (and the GOP in general) are grossly incompetent. Look at PR. If the GOP gets its way and “shrinks the government and drowns it in a bathtub” do you still think the disaster response will be the same even in blood-red Texas? That the Social Security checks will still come? That these people will still have jobs after the looting of the economy? Trump’s supporters are numerically irrelevant anyway if it were to ever come to a popular revolution. There’s more of us than there are of them.

    My point is that nothing lasts forever and one day, unless things change for the better, the Trumps, the McConnells, the Ryans, and the Mercers of this country will be removed from power one way or another and I’m not sure what will replace it will be any better.

    I don’t think this is going to happen tommorow. There’s still time, but time is running out. I’m looking at a few decades at most until this place blows up.

  116. 116
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Our structures and institutions seem unable to deal with them effectively or efficiently or even inefficiently. Our structures our sclerotic and haven’t aged well either.

    I think I understand what you mean and largely agree. I think that a huge test is coming.

    But I am not certain that the problem is that our structures have not aged well. I think that many have taken democracy for granted, and that a venal few think that democracy means that one group, the angry white plurality, is always supposed to get what they want. On top of this you have enemies foreign and domestic, from the Koch brothers to Putin, pursuing their own interests. And we have Trump sitting in the middle of this political circus, a raging and clueless ringmaster.

  117. 117
    Ruckus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    This.
    We’ve been, at least in our own minds, top dog for over 70 yrs. We refused to see that others have caught up and even passed us by. While our country is young it hasn’t had as many hard crises as most other nations that are much older than we are. We are so young we still are holding on to the disease we had at birth, abject racism. We were isolated enough that it took a direct hit on our shores to start WWII. We watched and somewhat supported Britain prior but stayed at arms length. And got away with it because we didn’t politically need nor seemingly desire to be part of the world. That brashness, that smugness, that has made us weak, has made us vulnerable. I believe that Russia took advantage of that in the last election. They weren’t getting anywhere otherwise, much of their petroleum market was shrinking, and that’s pretty much all they’ve got. We were the big bully in their picture and they wanted that number one spot.

  118. 118
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: I’m a big believer and staying and standing up for what we believe in. That said everyone has to make their own decisions. So far what we’ve seen is that by and large the bureaucratic inertia, the sclerotic nature of the elected branches of government, combined with pushback from states and localities, and the clumsiness and incompetence of the administration has prevented the worst from happening. Yes Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court, but only five other Federal court appointments have made it through. Most Federal appointments are either not being made, or the ones that require senatorial approval are dribbling out, meaning that career folks are running things. What you and I call the bureaucracy and others incorrectly the “deep state”. And American civil society seems more resilient that many of us expected. All of these are good things. In many ways we’re stress testing our state and society. While there are some worrying signals, by and large we’re doing okay. So the question is how much you can personally take. And I cannot answer that for you. Nor will I judge you for whatever decision you make.

  119. 119
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @BBA: I don’t care. Like DPRK News it is excellent!

  120. 120
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: No argument with your point. I think it is a combination helped along by hyper-wealthy looking out for themselves and a little balding guy in Moscow.

  121. 121
    sharl says:

    @BBA: I think that account is a spoof, like DPRK News.

    LOL, I think you are right. My observation is that Twitter is usually rapidly responsive in awarding their blue “Verified Account” check mark to government agencies, and @MossadIL doesn’t have that. I tried to find something that looked like the real deal on twitter, but no luck. I’m sure they are on there, just not under their organization’s name.

    It’s not unreasonable to assume the Mossad would officially be on social media – our CIA and NSA are – but our respective countries have very different traditions where information availability and national security are concerned.

    As an aside, even former admirers among hard-ass lefties like to mock Assange for inserting the “blue diamond” next to his name in his twitter account. Poor guy, lol. I guess he does have a lot of time on his hands for such tinkering, though. It’s good to have hobbies.

  122. 122
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I wash born here, an I wash raished here, and dad gum it, I am gonna die here, an no sidewindin’ bushwackin’, hornswagglin’ cracker croaker is gonna rouin me bishen cutter.

  123. 123
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Every country is three missed meals away from a revolution.

  124. 124
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    That’s all good to hear. When I read the news I can’t help but feel that the situation is getting gradually worse and that the plutocracy is entrenching itself into power, like what happened in Russia. My powerlessness in the face of all this frustrates me to no end. I’m the kind of person who generally likes to confront problems head on.

  125. 125
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ruckus: People forget that we barely crossed the minimum characteristic threshold to be considered a pluralistic society and state in the late 1960s and early 1970s with passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and the dismantling of almost all of the last vestiges of segregation and Jim Crow. These advances are not deeply embedded or ingrained yet in significant parts of American society, government, governance, jurisprudence, criminal justice, rule of law, etc. The President’s approach to running anything isn’t actually populist, rather its to implement an even more primitive form of governance: kinship based rule. Where things are run by, with, and through the ruler’s family, close associates/toadies, and close friends/toadies. Think Saudi Arabia, which is basically an ongoing family concern masquerading as a state.

  126. 126
    Brachiator says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    .And Trump (and the GOP in general) are grossly incompetent.

    But stuff still has to get done. The business of running the government still must get done. The world does not stop just because Trump and the GOP is incompetent. Their failure hurts and endangers everyone. Also, the GOP dominates the federal government and controls the majority of states. Seems pretty good for a bunch of incompetents.

    Look at PR. If the GOP gets its way and “shrinks the government and drowns it in a bathtub” do you still think the disaster response will be the same even in blood-red Texas? That the Social Security checks will still come?

    You do realize, don’t you, that the Republicans want to do away with Social Security?

    Sadly, I think that people would get used to less effective government, as long as they have monetized and Muslims and gays to attack as convenient scapegoats.

    Trump’s supporters are numerically irrelevant anyway if it were to ever come to a popular revolution. There’s more of us than there are of them.

    This is nonsense. And I don’t believe that most people who talk revolution would ever really take to the streets.

  127. 127
    Ruckus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    We are on the same page. I think.
    Your answer here @Adam L Silverman: I also agree with. Because while having our institutions so spread and much of the authority is not all that centrally controlled seems like a bad decision of long ago, it really isn’t. I do worry on a personal basis about Social Security and the VA but it seems that incompetence will, if not save us, at least slow down the destruction to a fast trickle, possibly leaving us enough time to salvage something positive out of it. And who knows it is possible that some may learn a valuable lesson, living isn’t for the weak, you have to fight every day to survive, even though we seldom have to go hand to hand with bears and mountain lions.

  128. 128
    Elie says:

    It seems fairly easy for the Russians to insert and incite anger and division in diverse populations…. It really isn’t whether I or anyone supports the Catalonians’ rights — its why and how its being done now — clearly as part of the ongoing strategy of Putin and the Russians.

    I don’t want to get overly paranoid, but I was reading about how some of the Dreamers have become opponents to the Democrats — specifically any attempt to reach a compromise to get any legislation passed. They have shown up at meetings calling Pelosi “a liar” and such. Of course, ultimately, if they completely bite the hand of the Democrats, they get nothing but whatever thin gruel the Republicans will give. That said, I can see their fear of having loved ones compromised if the wrong kind of “deal” is reached. Again, have absolutely no evidence that the Russians are in this issue, but our country right now provides many many opportunities to “atomize” the splits we have with one another. It is so so sad….

  129. 129
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Brachiator:

    But stuff still has to get done. The business of running the government still must get done. The world does not stop just because Trump and the GOP is incompetent. Their failure hurts and endangers everyone. Also, the GOP dominates the federal government and controls the majority of states. Seems pretty good for a bunch of incompetents.

    Of course. Their failure will hurt and endanger everyone. That’s the point. That incompetence will eventually piss enough people off, especially if they’ve been disenfranchised. The GOP is pretty good at cheating to win (as well as using people’s prejudices). That’s one thing they’re not incompetent at. And not even incompetence has to do it; simply policy that’s aimed at funneling more money to the uber-rich is all that would take to destroy millions of lives.

    You do realize, don’t you, that the Republicans want to do away with Social Security?

    Yes. I mean when the GOP finally does away with it, if they get the chance.

    Sadly, I think that people would get used to less effective government, as long as they have monetized and Muslims and gays to attack as convenient scapegoats.

    This is a possibility but not one that is sustainable. You can only scapegoat Muslims and gays for so long before people begin to wonder why their lives never improve when the evil degenerates are being punished.

    This is nonsense. And I don’t believe that most people who talk revolution would ever really take to the streets.

    How is it nonsense? Its happened plenty of places before. Do you think America is really so different? And nobody knows what one is capable of until the right moment comes.

  130. 130
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Could you point out a “popular” revolution were most of the people took to the streets?

  131. 131
    J R in WV says:

    @sharl:

    That looks like the fascists have actually won in Spain!!!

    Those aren’t policemen, those are stormtroopers, beating, kicking, dragging women by their hair. Monsters!! I’m sure Trump will love this!!

    Worse than trump? But I guess our cops feel free to do that too, now. Esp. to people of color, Native Americans, immigrants, anyone with one drop of African blood. Horrible.

  132. 132
    Elie says:

    @J R in WV:

    You realize, of course, how easily a few “rogue” troops could be inserted to do just as we observed, right?

    If we don’t start challenging our budding police state more strongly, we will end up in street fights also. This whole NFL thing has boxed in the real underlying issue — which is police brutality to blacks and browns, NOT the national anthem. By making the discussion all about kneeling and fellowship with each other over the anthem, the players have unintentionally weakened the truth of the real issue! One of them needs to throw it down to Trump and say something like — We are opposing police brutality, Mr Trump. We will get up and stand for the anthem when you and your administration support fair and just policing! This is NOT about the national anthem!

  133. 133
    J R in WV says:

    @Fair Economist:

    The last time the government was leftist. Now it’s rightist.

    Rightist or Fascist?? Is everyone in Spain seeing footage like in Duncan’s wife shot in her polling place? Would clearly Fascist politicians lose a national election in Spain today?

  134. 134
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Dagnabbit!

  135. 135
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Or one too many late night runs to the border at Taco Bell for 4th meal…//

  136. 136
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: There is no doubt things are not normal or good or whatever phrase you want to use right now. And for some folks – people of color, women, LGBTQ, religious minorities, legal and undocumented immigrants, especially of color – things are even worse and, unfortunately, like to get worse before they get better. But there are some pleasant surprises, like the resiliency of American civic society. And the general incompetence of the administration and the GOP majorities in Congress. And a good chunk of the news media seems to have realized they need to be afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.

    One of the real problems is that despite all his incompetence, inattentiveness, lack of critical or strategic thinking, and inability to actually be an effective authoritarian, the President has actually managed to pull off one thing: he’s injected himself into significant portions of American life. As BettyC was complaining about the other day he’s managed to insert himself into sports, TV and movies, other aspects of popular culture and entertainment, and, of course, because he’s erratic, mercurial, and not very good at what he’s doing a lot of us are now spending far too much time focusing on what he’s doing so we’re not caught off guard by something ranging from bad to damaging to society destroying out of a sense of self preservation. That’s exhausting. And it stresses people out. And stressed out people tend to self isolate and either become self destructive (internally directed violence) or outwardly destructive (externally directed violence). This will be one of the greatest challenges for all of us, actively fighting against presidentially created anomie. Both to prevent destructive behaviors or atomization and estrangement from each other. Atomized societies are ineffective at resistance and quickly lose resilience. So self care and care for others is essential. Remember to be good to yourself. And to cut everyone else some extra slack for the foreseeable future.

  137. 137
    Elie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Well said… As usual….

    I have been listening to a lot of music and joined a choir a couple of weeks ago. Music is my connection right now to the deeper values and spirituality that I need to keep on keeping on. Oh, I know my day will come when there will be a more specific role for me. Right now, I volunteer for the Democrats locally but I know other things will be arising and I plan to do what needs to be done, Lord willing.

  138. 138
    sharl says:

    @J R in WV: Is “Mrs. Atrios” a Spanish citizen? I haven’t visited Atrios’ blog regularly for quite a few years, but back when I was a regular (mostly lurker) there, Atrios would occasionally mention his wife, while being scrupulously careful to conceal her identity and clues that might lead to outing her. What he did say way back when is that her family did not originate in the U.S. or Europe, and she was an academic person who studied some aspect(s) of Spain as part of her research specialty; history, culture, politics, whatever, I cannot remember now.

    Duncan used to go with her at least once a year during her trips over there, particular during what I assumed were her summer sabbaticals. Took some great photos as I recall.

    She could be a Spanish citizen for all I know, it’s been a long time since I regularly hung around over at Eschaton. I’m just bringing this up to note that there are other reasons she could be over there. In fact, if her research specialty encompasses Spanish and/or Catalan politics or history, it would be rather compelling for her to be there for professional reasons, despite the risks – as a witness to history in the making and all that. It would potentially make for some great research papers.

  139. 139
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    So self care and care for others is essential.

    Translation: don’t bogart that joint; share your weed

  140. 140
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steve in the ATL: For the weed partakers, sure.

  141. 141
    J R in WV says:

    @BBA:

    Sure there have been fair elections. The ones where incumbents get thrown out were fair, and those former incumbents decided THAT CAN’T happen again!

    And so then there are unfair elections when that party gets back in. Guess which party that is, in today’s America? Republicans, that’s who.

  142. 142
    J R in WV says:

    @sharl:

    I have no idea who “Ms Atrios” is in real life, didn’t even know he was married. But that short video says all that need to be said, doesn’t it? Storm troopers breaking up a free and fair election.

  143. 143
    sharl says:

    @J R in WV: Yep, it was truly awful, and other stuff I’ve seen here and elsewhere doesn’t sound any better.

    I keep thinking about the how the “stuff of advanced civilization” seems like it is a fine surface dust that is so easily wiped off at this stage of wherever we are as a nation (if not also applicable to much of the world at large). It often feels like we are currently best understood in terms of our core animal nature.

    I’m wondering how much of this is due to now being so far away from WWII and the horrible lessons it offered: if one witnessed first hand the consequences of letting institutions of civilizations fall into disrepair, maybe one understood the value of preserving those institutions – flawed as they were/are – in a down-in-your-bones way that history books and documentaries are unable to impart.

    This probably applies more to our so-called elites – well-connected politicians and billionaire oligarchs – than regular but well educated folks. My impression – possibly incorrect – is that those post-WWII young adults, wealthy and working class alike, felt a certain commonality forged from that war experience. Again, I don’t know if that is actually true in the main, and even if it is, it sure would be nice if something less destructive than world wars could facilitate such positive social bonds. I’ll start to believe more that we are a civilized culture (at least in the U.S.) when I see that we are bound by more than wartime imperatives or the need to make tons of money or show large quarterly dividends. (I’m wondering if progress measured on a generational time frame – say, 15-20 years – might be doable. It certainly would be less destructive IMO, and I’d wager we would at least take better care of our schools and teachers.)

    I remember from historical accounts that one of the earlier groups that welcomed Charles Darwin’s results on evolution and natural selection was the Gilded Age crowd who – then as now – believed that they were the rightful beneficiaries of the simplistic and self-serving tenet “survival of the fittest”, rather than of inherited wealth, family connections, and/or just plain dumb luck. This current empowerment of a vile and corrupt ruling class seems a common feature among the U.S., Spain, Russia, etc.

    Meh, I’m rambling, gonna stop. But this stuff bugs the shit out of me!

  144. 144
    fuckwit says:

    @Adam L Silverman: the way you put this paints a frightening picture of an imminent revolution and/or dictatorship

  145. 145
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Citizen Alan: The telling point for me was his action, as an intelligence contractor, to flee to Hong Kong of all places because of their record on free speech and democracy. In 2013. Sixteen effing years after the UK left and the PRC resumed governance. Any suggestion he was intelligent and informed (whether conventionally, or as a product of intel that he knew and the rest of us did not) fell absofvckinglutely flat after that.

    It didn’t help that, according to his own statements, he had enough to go public two years prior and didn’t; this just screams that he was waiting for Ron Paul to win the election, and when Paul folded like a cheap suit he threw his little temper tantrum.

  146. 146
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It seems to me that Russia is going to need to start rebuilding their social media apparatus. Too many of the key players have been identified. More broadly, they’re going to need to figure out a new line of attack, since too many people now know that social media is prone to manipulation.

    This. There is a lot of interest in the academic community on what some call computational propaganda, google scholar showing 80 hits for 2017 in a search just now, and there are even more papers that don’t use those words.
    These guys are worth reading (they’re trying to dominate)- The Computational Propaganda Project but there are plenty of others. e.g. at random one about China:
    How the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts for Strategic Distraction, Not Engaged Argument (Sound like a familiar approach? )

    Sadly all this work will foster an arms race because attack and defense are highly related, but so it goes.

  147. 147
    boatboy_srq says:

    @sharl:

    I keep thinking about the how the “stuff of advanced civilization” seems like it is a fine surface dust that is so easily wiped off

    A lot of the commentary on the Crimean War, the Civil War, the Franco-Prussian War and WW1 sounds remarkably similar to this sentiment. Something on the order of “we’re better than this (aren’t we?)” is a common refrain. Concentration camps. Chemical warfare. The unrestricted warfare on commerce (by both sides in the Civil War, by the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War, by Germany in WW1). High explosive ordnance. And all deployed (largely) to satisfy nationalistic interests.

  148. 148
    DHD says:

    This line of thinking seems perilously close to old-fashioned red-baiting if you ask me. Is nobody allowed to challenge the status quo now without being linked to creeps like Assange, Snowden, Putin, Trump, etc? Honestly I’m reminded of the line of reasoning back in the 60s and 70s that went something like “unrest in America is helpful for Soviet propaganda, and there are Communists involved in the anti-war and civil rights movements, therefore STFU and stop protesting the war and racism”.

    I realize that for Americans, any talk of one nation seceding from another will forever be tainted with the stain of the Confederacy. Fine. The rest of the world isn’t the USA.

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