Can This Be True?

The Democratic National Committee’s server was hacked last week, and embarrassing (although not very surprising) emails publicly released. The obvious intent was to create division right before the Democratic Convention, and to feed suspicions about Hillary Clinton’s nomination.

Voters and pundits can draw their own conclusions about the contents of the emails. The more intriguing–and troubling–question involves the source of the mischief. A number of media outlets have noted that the FBI’s investigation is focused upon Russia and Vladimir Putin.

My first reaction to the suggestion that Putin might be interfering with America’s election was a very pronounced eye roll. (I’m not much for conspiracy theories. In a different context, that sounds like the sort of wild accusation Trump would come up with.)

And yet..the FBI says the hackers were Russian, and this article by Anne Applebaum in the Salt Lake Tribune does give one pause.

The secret plot to control America, launched from abroad, is an old theme in American pop culture. “The Manchurian Candidate,” a film made in 1962, imagined a Chinese scheme to engineer a coup d’etat. Aficionados of paranoid thrillers may also recall “Lucky Bastard,” a 1998 Charles McCarry novel, which featured a U.S. president controlled by a Soviet case officer who happens to be his wife.

But now it is 2016, truth is stranger than fiction, and we finally have a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, with direct and indirect links to a foreign dictator, Vladimir Putin, whose policies he promotes. And yet it is not secret, it is not a plot, there is no conspiracy. No one has been hypnotized or recruited by foreign intelligence. Just as Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, openly accepts Russian money, the Trump campaign advertises its Russian links and pays no real political price.

Applebaum details Trump’s considerable business connections with Russia, and his efforts to attract Russian investment in his real estate projects. As she notes , Trump has also surrounded himself with “people whose deep links to the corrupt world of Russian business would normally disqualify them from U.S. politics.” She cites campaign operatives, among them Carter Page, a foreign policy aide who has long-standing connections to Russian companies and who supported the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who worked for several years in Ukraine for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian president ousted in 2014.

Although Applebaum doesn’t mention it, the LA Times reports that retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn,another close Trump advisor, flew to Moscow last year to attend a gala banquet celebrating Russia Today, the Kremlin’s propaganda channel, and was seated at the head table near Putin. Flynn is evidently a regular guest on Russia Today.

Russian state media is actively supporting Trump, and Applebaum says that whatever resources Putin is investing in Trump’s campaign, they are paying dividends.

For even if Trump never becomes president, his candidacy has already achieved two extremely important Russian foreign policy goals: to weaken the moral influence of the United States by undermining its reputation as a stable democracy, and to destroy its power by wrecking its relationships with its allies. Toward these ends, Trump has begun repeating arguments identical to those used on Russian state television. These range from doubts about the sovereignty of Ukraine — earlier this week, Trump’s campaign team helped alter the Republican party platform to remove support for Ukraine — to doubts about U.S. leadership of the democratic world. The United States has its own “mess” to worry about, Trump told the New York Times on Wednesday: It shouldn’t stand up for democracy abroad. In the same interview, he also cast doubt on the fundamental basis of transatlantic stability, NATO’s Article 5 guarantee: If Russia invades, he said, he’d have to think first before defending U.S. allies.

None of this, of course, is absolute proof that Putin and the Russians were behind the hack of the DNC. But it once again underlines the manifest dangers of Trump’s capture of the GOP–and the unthinkable consequences of a Trump Presidency.


  1. Give the Democrats a day or two. They’ll find a way to implicate Snowden’s involvement as well. As much as Pete accuses me of only seeing villainous implications when it comes to money and politics,but ,when it comes to the Clintons and their sycophants,everyone not on their team is a villain. Too funny.

    William. I think you’re onto something. I believe this latest and specious attempt to vilify Putin is based on Clinton support from anti-Putin oligarchs within Russia and Ukraine. The Clintons probably received a large amount of donations from these oligarchs and thus this internecine squabble within the DNC to link Trump to Putin is a signal to those oligarchs of support and also a weak attempt to downplay the malfeasance toward the Sander’s campaign from the DNC. Hell,a link I provided previously lets the cat out of the bag as far as finding out the source of the hack. Again,remember when N Korea was blamed for hacking Sony? It turned out to be ex-employees.

    Say what you will about the rednecks. They got their man as the candidate,and fair and square. That’s Democracy. The Democrats are ineffective because they’re even more devoted to mammonism than their Republican counterparts during this election cycle. Again,the Democrats have lost their minds. They’re losing more credibility every time they continue to defend their weak candidate. Democrats,we’ve become all hat and no cattle. I’ll bet most Democratic blogs are seeing lower numbers of readership because of this blind obedience to party fealty.

    The absurdity of being more concerned about the supposed hacking from the red menace over the contents of the e-mails says/reveals everything one needs to know about the current Democrat Party and its cult of sycophants. Has there ever been a party that has worked so hard at alienating and disenfranchising a large part of their constituency? I think not.

  2. FBI agents are sources, too, same as civilian police when it comes to corroborating any reports of thefts via communications equipment. Indianapolis is the largest population city in this polling district where citizens have no resident rights whatsoever in any other jurisdiction as individuals and adults. There are many Indiana land issues that affect our lives much more than rumors about corporation offices.

    At least in high school and college community news courses and publications, there can be actual citizens heard and quoted, not cited from stacks of journals and periodicals’ ads. An informative essay about the actual investigative process could be helpful to readers.

  3. Pete

    Rich made a large part of his wealth, approximately $2 billion between 1979 and 1994, selling oil to the apartheid regime in South Africa when it faced a UN embargo. He did deals with Khadafy’s Libya, Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, Kim Il Sung’s North Korea, Communist dictatorships in Cuba and the Soviet Union itself. Little surprise that he was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List.

  4. Pete

    What bothered so many was that Clinton’s clemency to Rich reeked of payoff. In the run-up to the presidential pardon, the financier’s ex-wife Denise had donated $450,000 to the fledgling Clinton Library and “over $1 million to Democratic campaigns in the Clinton era.”

  5. Pete

    Here’s your Hillary connection. You act as if they don’t share a bank account, have joint ownership in their fake charity, the CGI.

    Chagoury has been very generous to the Clintons in the years following the Rich pardon. He has organized an event at which Bill was paid $100,000 to speak (in 2003), donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and in 2009 pledged a cool $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative. The Chagourys were also active in Hillary’s 2008 presidential bid. Michel Chaghouri, a relative in Los Angeles, was a bundler and served on her campaign staff. Numerous other relatives gave the maximum $4,600 each to her campaign.

  6. And

    Beth Dozoretz, a longtime Democratic Party donor, was a friend to Denise Rich, and according to congressional investigations, played a “key role” in helping secure the Marc Rich pardon.

    In the years since the pardon was granted, Dozoretz has served the Clintons closely: as the finance co-chair of Hillary’s 2008 campaign and as a senior State Department official during Hillary’s tenure. She has supported the super PAC Ready for Hillary and the Hillary Clinton campaign. Her husband, Ronald, has sent $25,000 to $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

    These Rich connections are, of course, based on disclosed donations. But we now know that the Clinton Foundation has failed to disclose more than 1,000 donors, despite its written agreement with the Obama transition team that it would maintain complete transparency.

    Thank you.

  7. So OK the Trumpet accepts (maybe) Russian money. That is bad very bad, very bad (Note my wagging finger) because accepting Russian Money might or could influence and obligate the Trumpet to Russian interests (Putin). Putin is bad, bad to the bone.

    However, if Hillary Clinton accepts $675,000 and Bill accepts $1,550,000 in speaking fees and the Clinton Foundation received between $250,000 and $500,000 from Goldman-Sachs, please look the way. No influence peddling here. Nothing to see here. Just a few million dollars among friends. Oh look there is a glittering Disco Ball on the ceiling.

    When Hillary Clinton’s son-in-law Chelsea Clinton’s husband, Marc Mezvinsky sought funding for his new hedge fund in 2011, he found financial backing from one of the biggest names on Wall Street: Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein. The investment did not turn out to be a savvy business decision. Earlier this month, Mezvinsky was forced to shutter one of the investment vehicles he launched under Eaglevale, called Eaglevale Hellenic Opportunity, after losing 90 percent of its money betting on the Greek recovery. Opps – Ouch.

  8. William, I agree. Rich (his real name is Reich and he was born in Belgium) is very much like Trump and we should jail people like that. I think that he was sure that was going to happen which is the reason that he stayed out of reach. God executed him where he was.
    You and I and Bill Clinton have all said that we agree on what he deserved.

    The implication of Snowden is fact. He published the emails for Putin.

    “They got their man as the candidate, and fair and square. That’s Democracy.” well technically she’s a woman but we do recognize the person with the most votes as the winner and that is Democracy. I guess that you didn’t recognize it.

    Your frustration comes through in every post. Your party, the GOP, failed you as it has every one of the last 16 years. You see a pattern there? No. Extremists are blind to patterns.

    You are also blind to the facts about Hillary. She’s one of the smartest, hardest working, most qualified agents of change in the world. She cares about all of the people exactly like Bernie does. He’s a good politician but I and most Democrats believe that she’s a better prepared and more effective politician.

    Bernie is my hero. He got everything from the DNC that he’s spent his life working for except for the job. But unlike you he accepts democracy as the only path to freedom.

  9. Louie; you have listed some of the reasons I do NOT want to vote for Hillary Clinton but not voting for her leaves only the alternative of self-destruction by increasing the possibility of Trump and Pence being elected. Let us hope she has fooled more Americans than Trump, they will all vote on November 8th and she will be elected the first woman president of the United States.

  10. Louie, what is the right compensation for a nationally acclaimed speaker.

    Like, more than a football player or rap star gets paid?

    I would hope so.

  11. Among Bernie supporters I believe there are way more who support freedom and democracy than extremists.

  12. One of the things that I thought was well done last night was to lay out Hillary’s credentials as a “change maker”. If there’s one thing that American democracy is united about it’s the need for change which is a typical and natural reaction to decades of conservatism. Conservatives believe, in fact are extreme about, stasis as better ’cause it’s cheaper. Well, we see now that nothing is more costly than the failure to invest in a better future.

    So part of the racket now are the death throes of a completely failed conservative idealology unable to adapt to reality.

    Sad perhaps but so be it.

    As we look down the barrel of climate change as the impetus for completely changing our energy infrastructure, the status quo is a luxury way beyond our means. Conservatives hate that fact because the only possible path forward is massive change.

  13. What nobody wants to even talk about anymore are Trumpence. They are a colossal joke and I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t quit before election day.

    Now’s our chance to restore Washington to a functional Congress and Supreme Court.

  14. Pete: I hope you’re right; however, that big ego (now trying to manipulate the Clinton-Kaine campaign and the DNC) isn’t likely to quit. He is such a sick, sad joke. Nobody’s laughing anymore.

    Oh, how I miss Current TV, with Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, and Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The channel was sold to Al Jazeera, which folded due to low viewership.

  15. Pete

    You and I did not gain from the Marc Rich pardon.

    Bill, Hillary and Russia, benefitted, and keep benefitting. Just because Bill admitted it was a mistake doesn’t mean he isn’t still benefitting.

    Most importantly, a lot of slaps are trying to pin this on Trump.

    Hillary foolishly hit the re-set button with Russia after Mitt and some generals I can’t remember said Russia was a huge threat to the US.

    Let’s not get partisan crazy here!

    And I won’t vote for Trump,either.

    Both are selfish, shameless, opportunists.

  16. Pete: beautiful retort to the clueless “1”. Always keep the dots close together when explaining serious matters to him.

  17. William let’s say that you ran a company and a wealthy customer you did not like offered to buy a large order. Would you refuse?

    Politicians are once removed from that. They have a brand that needs to be fed if they are going to have anything to offer but unlike the businessman they get nothing personally when a customer supports the brand.

    Now consider, when Clinton (Bill, not the one who’s running) pardoned Reich there were no consequences. He was stuck in Switzerland dying. He stayed in Switzerland and died.

    I know that with a candidate whose name cannot be mentioned you are extremely limited in how you participate in this election. Your options are almost zero.

    But I’m not in that position. My candidate has a life long record of service. I personally like pragmatic people who get things done. I’m not an idealist myself so I admire those who serve the public to help the public in as significant ways as their talent takes them.

    We live in Democracy and we the people will choose who governs. If you have a better idea about governance offer it up.

  18. Shhhh! They’re trying to trap us, Betty.
    Keep those dots closer. Shhhhh!


    Hillary benefitted.
    Hillary hit the re-set.
    Hillary’s foundation, campaign, and Global initiative benefitted

    Hillary is reckless with emails.
    Hillary is the one who’s judgement and relationships are in question.

    Hillary is the one blaming Trump as if she had no relationship with the Russians.

    I don’t think you read anything you don’t agree with.

    70% of the American people distrust Hillary, and you continue to defend her.

    She and Trump are both bad. We deserve better.

    Shhhhh! Betty. They are all around us.

  19. Can we give Bill a shout out for his speech?
    While he was cattin’ around, Hillary was workin’ for you!

    While he was cattin’ around in Arkansas, she had Chelsea and immediately started working for Women.

    When he was cattin’ with Paula, Juanita, Eleanor, she was with working for you.

    He while he was with Monica and she was lookin’ for those Rose Law Firm billing records for that year old subpeona, that showed up’ in her living quarters, he told Hillary one day she could have her own interns if she worked real hard, and she kept working for you!

    After that blue dress showed up and it was hard to convince people of the vast right wing conspiracy, she got back to work.

    What a warm family story!

  20. I used to have hope William that some day you would choose to join us in the real world. I’m thinking now that’s not realistic.

    My view is that we don’t need better candidates, after all we only need one even though it would have been better if the GOP could have offered an alternative. The candidates need better constituents; better informed, more skeptical and less cynical, better educated, more open minded, and most of all more appreciative of the freedom we have from the Constitutional Democracy.

    Democracy is not a gift, it’s a responsibility, it’s an obligation, it’s our contribution to to future generations.

    There’s no more complex and difficult job than the US Presidency. Extremists just are unable to grasp complexity, they view the world as a simple black and white video game.

    The good news is that democracy allows for a 49% safety margin. We only need slightly more than half of adults to act responsibly. When you take all of those who don’t even bother at all the percentage of informed voters goes down even lower.

    There’s not the slightest doubt in my mind that there is almost nobody in the world who believes in Bernie and the DNC Platform who would not do everything possible to insure that Trump is not allowed near the White’s House.

    So most of the anti-Hillary rage comes from under-cover Republicans who just have no alternative.

    The only thing left for conservatives is destruction of the country. It’s just plain not going to happen.

  21. One of the allegories we used to try to teach the kids with was about “The Boy who Called Wolf”.

    William1 and Roger Ailes and Rush have been calling “wolf” for 3 decades with none ever in sight.

    The chorus continues.

    Of course they also called science a hoax. And Benghazi a crime. And Hillary’s emails a travesty. And Obama unamerican and Muslim. And their holy war necessary. And trickle down real. And Wall St honest. And ACA an economic disaster.

    Nothing they claim has ever come true.

    But they’re still trying.

  22. So Bill was a cheater? Hello! He is not running; his wife is, whereas Trump, thrice married and a blatant cheater on every wife, IS running. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black – and it isn’t even the kettle! Republicans are also complaining that no one brought up ISIS last night at the convention. Why? Because the Republicans cannot discuss issues, so they want Democrats to follow their agenda of fear. Fear, of course, works, as was proven by Bush-Cheney, but this time around we are going to nip it in the bud. Trump says he is going to wipe ISIS out, and the defense industry will be happy to hear that, coming from a draft dodger like Trump, who will spill American blood to sate his narcissism but never hazarded his own in furtherance of policy.

  23. I think that the GOP has fully consumed their allocation of credibility which is reduced every time a lie is told.

    They’re simply credibility bankrupt.

  24. They are cheatingonboth sides.
    Trump: 3rd wife. Taking advantage of everyone.

    Bill and Hill. Same thing.

    That dude still has a girlfriend. She knows and doesn’t care.

    They are all liars, cheaters, and self-serving. Let’s not put up with it, settle for it, excuse it. On either side.

    That is my entire point

  25. Sheila – This is one time that I have to disagree with you — partially.
    I would not be surprised that there might be some Russian involvement and that Putin would love to see Trump in the White House.

    However, this whole “the Russians are trying to interfere with our elections” is missing that point that the “neutral” DNC was anything but. Beyond that, they were thinking of playing the Atheist card. Perhaps because my mother was an Atheist (she couldn’t accept the concept of a god that would let children and babies suffer and die during the holocaust), this irks me as much as Trump’s attack on Muslims does.

    The response from the DNC, and Hillary, wasn’t “that was a terrible suggestion”, but rather “the Russians did it to embarrass us”. If it was the Russians, they only exposed (for their own purposes to be sure) what was actually going on. That fact that the Russians were the source of the hacking shouldn’t distract us from the DNC’s misdeeds.

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