Thursday, July 19, 2018

Quote of the Day

We know the United States has interfered in elections everywhere, including supposed allies and friends. . . . [It has] done it over and over again, and [there are] lots of examples. . . . Maybe the Russians did these things to the American elections. Maybe they wanted a Trump victory as an outcome. Maybe they wanted to weaken [a potential] Clinton presidency, as people are accusing them of. Maybe it’s all true. But the truth of it is this is normal stuff in the competition between these big countries. And the reason it’s made such an issue now is because various forces want to wound Trump. And he may or may not be complicit in this. So far there doesn’t seem to be any real evidence that he is. But it’s about the wounding of Trump and the struggle that’s taking place in the American elites, and within, very importantly, the state apparatus itself. [It's] a real struggle. And I have to say, I welcome this struggle. Because I think we have to talk about from what perspective do we look at these things.

[The oligarchy of this country] want us to look at these things as Americans, [as if] we’re all the same. You know, it’s an attack on American values. It’s an attack on American democracy. Well, is American values what goes on in the streets of Baltimore every day, where the Department of Justice said that people’s Constitutional rights are violated every single day? Are American values [the] unlimited spending of money, manipulating – the real manipulation – and determining outcome of elections? These aren’t the values of the American people. So let’s really be clear: the oligarchy of Russia is an adversary of the Russian people and the American oligarchy is an adversary of the American people. Let’s start with that. We’re not all in the same boat here. So, this issue of the people all up in arms about this [Trump-Putin] summit, it’s from the perspective of various sections of the American oligarchy. This is not what the American people need or want.

. . . [W]hat really affected the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election? So let’s say [the Russian government] did what they did. But what’s the bigger story? That the Russians did that? Or, for example, that this billionaire Robert Mercer, who brings money, Bannon and Kellyanne Conway and Breitbart News, which he mostly owned, to Trump, and manipulate through Cambridge Analytica, do various kinds of studying of voter patterns, especially in swing states, and are able to message specific messages to individual people. I still talk to people, intelligent, well-informed people, who never even heard the name Robert Mercer. It’s a far more important story to how the outcome of the election was manipulated by a far-right cabal very closely aligned with Netanyahu and Israel, allied with the Saudis. That’s a really big story.

It’s not that the Russians aren’t a story; but you know, where’s the big weight of the issues? And more importantly, given how destructive this Trump presidency is to the social safety net, to any kind of rational legislation that still exists in this country – and there wasn’t a heck of a lot of it, but they’re undoing what there was – given the fact that he’s a climate denier, I mean, what’s the bigger story? The fact that Trump’s undoing even the modest climate change legislation that existed? You know, pulling back EPA regulations on cars, allowing coal starting to drill everywhere any of these guys wants to drill, isn’t that a much bigger story than maybe, or even if, the Russians did whatever they did?

The point is that this Russia thing isn’t being driven by a real defense of values. Because the values of saving the planet, that’s a value. They’re not even talking about it. . . . [Y]es, if the Russians did it, American government agencies have every right to tell the Russians to stay the hell out of American elections. And if somebody colluded with them, yeah, sure, arrest them. I mean, whatever. That’s fine. But it’s peanuts compared to the bigger issues.

Paul Jay
Excerpted from "Trump-Putin and the Real Threats to Democracy"
The Real News
July 16, 2018

Related Off-site Links:
The United States Has a National-Security Problem – and It’s Not What You Think – Rajan Menon (The Nation, July 16, 2018).
Climb Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda – Norman Solomon (Common Dreams, July 16, 2018).
Soft Targets: The Muddled and Anti-Intellectual American Brains That Made Election Meddling Possible – Bill C. Davis (Common Dreams, July 18, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – July 16, 2017
Hope in the Midst of Collapse
The People's Climate Solidarity March – Minneapolis, 4/29/17

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