Open Thread: President Obama Orders A “Full Review” of Russian Election Hacking

In a move essential to guarantee confidence in our electoral process, and also the proud political tradition of “Make ‘Em Deny It”, per CNN:

President Barack Obama has ordered a full review into hacking by the Russians aimed at influencing US elections going back to 2008, the White House said Friday.

“The President has directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process. It is to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders,” White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser Lisa Monaco said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters Friday. “This is consistent with the work that we did over the summer to engage Congress on the threats that we were seeing.”

White House spokesman Eric Schultz added later that the review would encompass malicious cyber activity related to US elections going back to 2008…

Democrats were quick to praise Obama on Friday and pressured Trump to change his tune.
“Defending our elections from foreign meddling is more important than any political party’s advantage or disadvantage,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “Any Administration should be deeply troubled by Russia’s attempt to tamper with our elections.”

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, California Rep. Adam Schiff, praised the administration for its move and called on the White House to declassify as much as it could.

“Given President-elect Trump’s disturbing refusal to listen to our intelligence community and accept that the hacking was orchestrated by the Kremlin, there is an added urgency to the need for a thorough review before President Obama leaves office next month,” Schiff said in a statement. “More than that, the administration must begin to take steps to respond forcefully to this blatant cyber meddling, and work with our allies in Europe who have been targets of similar attacks to impose costs on the Kremlin; if we do not, we can expect to see a lot more of this in the near future.”

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called the President’s move “constructive” and said he has no doubt about the Moscow’s role…

More detail, and video, at the link.

From that Newsweek link in the top tweet:

Asked if Republican President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team was not concerned enough about Russia’s influence on the election or about other threats to the United States such as infectious disease outbreaks, Monaco said it was too soon to say. As a presidential candidate, Trump praised Putin and called on Russia to dig up missing emails from his opponent, Hillary Clinton, from her time as secretary of state under fellow Democrat Obama.



Friday Morning Open Thread: Keep Insisting on the Truth

Apart from keeping all that in mind, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?



Fuck You and Your “Democrats Have to End Identity Politics to Win” Bullshit

via GIPHY

If I read one fucking more thinkpiece, blog post, semi-literate tweet, or facebook forward blaming whatever the fuck “identity politics” is for Democrats losing the election I am going to lose completely and totally lose my shit and climb a fucking bell tower. I don’t even know what people mean when they say identity politics anymore. So let me ask you:

Is it identity politics when you cater to white supremacists, the Klan, and neo-nazis to win an election?

Is it identity politics when you say white lives matter or blue lives matter?

Is it identity politics when you cheer building a wall to keep out rapey Mexicans?

Is it identity politics when you intentionally close voting districts in minority areas to suppress the vote?

Is it identity politics when you pass bills saying you can legally discriminate against the LGBT community?

Is it identity politics when you threaten a cop for wearing a hijab or try to rip the hijab off people in public?

Is it identity politics when you call for a ban on Muslims and claim that a government list of Muslims is a good idea?

Is it identity politics when your healthcare bills do nothing for women’s health but hand out Viagra like skittles?

Is it identity politics when children of color are disciplined more frequently and severely than white schoolchildren?

Is it identity politics when your #1 priority is passing bills telling what women can and can’t do regarding their reproductive health decisions?

Is it identity politics when the justice system systematically incarcerates minorities or when cities set up nuisance policing policies in minority communities?

Is it identity politics to insist that everyone say Merry Christmas?

Is it identity politics when you cheer stop and frisk in minority communities?

Is it identity politics when you claim “coastal elites” aren’t real Americans and that the heartland is where the “real people” live?

Is it identity politics to pay women less than men (and women of color even less)?

Is it identity politics to totally lose your fucking shit over a black Santa Claus or a black Jedi or boycott Rogue One because WHO FUCKING KNOWS THESE PEOPLE ARE FUCKING NUTS?

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No. Of course not. What you mean when you say “identity politics” is you mean all those groups you want to systematically oppress try to stand up and defend themselves and it hurts your feelings because you can’t have your way. In politics, it’s called COALITION BUILDING.

I left the GOP because of their identity politics. I couldn’t sleep at night being aligned with warmongerers, homophobes, christianists, climate deniers, flat earthers, racists, xenophobes, and every garden variety bigot under the sun. The Republicans are the real party of identity politics- it’s all about stroking the few, the white, the privileged, and that’s all they have. They don’t actually have policy proposals or ideas, unless “Fuck ’em let them starve,” “Fuck ’em they don’t need health care,” “Fuck it, let’s bomb them,” “Fuck it, let’s put them in jail,” “Fuck it, the bible says so,” or “Fuck it, let’s burn it all down” count as policies and ideas.

There’s also a fundamental difference in the reason for these two differing versions of “identity politics.” The Republican version is artificial, designed to maintain supremacy and the status quo and to keep the stranglehold of dominance over the evil “other.” Democratic identity politics is an organic emergence of the downtrodden and abused, gathering together to gain a voice and to stop the depredation, degradation, abuse, indignity, and physical, social, and economic violence being inflicted on them every single day. One identity serves to create and maintain injustice. The other identities are fighting the former. I know which group I am in.

So no. Democrats don’t need to massage the feelings of a bunch of racist dolts in Kansas who suffer from “economic anxiety” (pro-tip, morons- stop fucking voting for Brownback). Democrats need to embrace their identity politics, and they don’t need to cower, they need to be louder, and inyour face, and out there every single day fighting for what is right.

The end, motherfuckers.



Excellent Read: “On the Subject of Listening to the People of the Land”

I whole-heartedly endorse foundational progressive blogger Driftglass‘s response to the self-styled ‘Jacobins’ and their BothSides media enablers noisily calling for a return to the mythical utopia of the WWC Democrat:

In a former life, my span of responsibility was so weirdly far-flung that when people asked me what I did for a living, I would tell them that I was in charge of saving Illinois manufacturing. And while that’s a wee bit of an exaggeration, it is entirely fair to say that working on every aspect of saving Illinois manufacturing took up most of my time and energy and the time, energy and budget of my tiny staff.

So believe me when I tell that even though I was involuntarily retired from the field of battle, my antennae is still highly attuned to items in the news about the struggles of the Rust Belt economy: outsourcing, manufacturing, skills training, the need to retool high schools and community colleges and the various federal, state and local policies and initiatives designed to get at these large and complex problems.

This is why I can tell you that this idea that “better messaging” to the white working class is somehow the royal road back to political majorities for the Democratic party is nonsense. Sure, Democrats always need to work on speaking like mortal human beings… But messaging itself is not the problem. The media is the problem. And since, as the man said, the medium is the message, until we start taking on the media as Public Enemy #1, we’re going to go right on losing…

1) For a variety if reasons, white working class Americans have been taking a pounding since the late 1970s. And for a different variety of reasons, a disturbingly high number number of white working class Americans keep voting for the people that fuck them over.

2) Judging by policy statements made, resources allocated, attention paid and political capitol spent, it’s quite likely that history will judge the Obama Administration to have been the most consistently pro-manufacturing administration since Eisenhower. In fact, outside of health care (and turkey pardons), I would wager a penny and a fiddle of gold that in the last eight years the Obama administration put more effort into promoting American manufacturing than into any other domestic policy priority.

3) If you are a member of the general public, unless you made an extra special effort to inform yourself, you are blissfully unaware of any of this.

4) If you are blissfully unaware of any of this, it is not because the Obama Administration failed to talk it up at every single opportunity, but because over the last eight years the American political media collectively decided that instead of boring-ass stories about what the Democratic party has been trying to do to improve the lives and futures of the working class Americans, what you needed to hear were lively fairy tales about Birth Certificates and Death Panels. Email servers and Benghaaaazi. A Republican rebranding scam called the “Tea Party”. Instead of stories about the Caucus Room Conspiracy and Republican sabotage and sedition, you needed to hear endlessly, plaintive cries from all the usual Beltway hacks about how Barack Obama was refusing to lead!

…[A]sk an “undecided” or an “independent” or an “I just hadda vote for Trump because…” friend if they remember any of this, and I guarantee you will get a squinty, faraway look as if they’re trying to recollect some obscure fact about the Wendish Crusade of 1147, which had been imparted to them by a forgettable history teacher 40 years ago. Sure, some of this might ring a tiny bell, but inside their heads what will be ringing a much louder bell — an iron bell the size of fucking Ceres which drowns out all your little, Liberal tintinnabulations — are years and year and years of the Very Serious People in Americas finest newspapers and cable teevee shows telling them over and over and over and over again that all of this shit is the fault of Both Sides, so by God why not vote for an “outsider” who will disrupt the Corrupt Duopoly!..

Go read the whole thing, and remember: Sharing is Caring!



Thursday Morning Open Thread: Fight On

Most shared US tweet of 2016, per Buzzfeed.

If she can do it, so can we. Besides, what other option is there?

What’s on the agenda for the day?

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Remember Cole’s favorite candidate?

Useful reminders, from genuine reporters…

From ground zero of #Pizzagate:



Early Morning Open Thread: Man-Baby Symbol of the Year

But you can’t say Time‘s choice is “not normal” — the magazine has always had a predilection for showy authoritarians…



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Two Americas

Another way of visualizing the difference, by the Brookings Institution, as reported in the Washington Post:

According to the Brookings analysis, the less-than-500 counties that Clinton won nationwide combined to generate 64 percent of America’s economic activity in 2015. The more-than-2,600 counties that Trump won combined to generate 36 percent of the country’s economic activity last year.

Clinton, in other words, carried nearly two-thirds of the American economy.

This appears to be unprecedented, in the era of modern economic statistics, for a losing presidential candidate. The last candidate to win the popular vote but lose the electoral college, Democrat Al Gore in 2000, won counties that generated about 54 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, the Brookings researchers calculated. That’s true even though Gore won more than 100 more counties in 2000 than Clinton did in 2016.

In between those elections, U.S. economic activity has grown increasingly concentrated in large, “superstar” metro areas, such as Silicon Valley and New York.

But it’s not the case that the counties Clinton won have grown richer at the expense of the rest of the country — they represent about the same share of the economy today as they did in 2000. Instead, it appears that, compared to Gore, Clinton was much more successful in winning over the most successful counties in a geographically unbalanced economy.

The Brookings analysis found that counties with higher GDP per capita were more likely to vote for Clinton over Trump, as were counties with higher population density. Counties with a higher share of manufacturing employment were more likely to vote for Trump.

“This is a picture of a very polarized and increasingly concentrated economy,” said Mark Muro, the policy director at the Brookings metro program, “with the Democratic base aligning more to that more concentrated modern economy, but a lot of votes and anger to be had in the rest of the country.”…

Same issue as ever — if acreage could vote, Trump would’ve gotten his imaginary landslide. And if so many people in that acreage didn’t chose the impossible dream of re-enacting an imaginary 1950s over all the potential of an actual future…

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Apart from regretting the intransigence of our neighbors, what’s on the agenda for the day?