Occam, Trump, and Russia

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Aresen
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Aresen » 24 Mar 2019, 22:50

thoreau wrote:
24 Mar 2019, 22:06
If Russia didn't dangle anything in front of Trump or reach any deal with him, then we're left with the disturbing reality that Trump sucks up to Putin because he genuinely likes a Russian dictator better than he likes, well, just about anyone of any consequence in America.
If the last 26 months didn't clue you in to Trump preferring dictators to democrats (small 'd'), where have you been?
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Shem » 24 Mar 2019, 23:50

JasonL wrote:
24 Mar 2019, 19:48
As of now it’s a pile of meh tho right? There doesn’t seem to be anything explosive. I feel like I can already hear engineers moving goalposts all across the land.
We honestly don't know. The letter tells us there was no direct collusion with Russian agents, but it doesn't say anything about collusion using cutouts like Wikileaks (and the report might not either, as Mueller might have seen it as beyond his mandate), nor do we really know how compelling any obstruction evidence might have been. Mueller punted by outlining all evidence for and against, and the AG reached the conclusion that there was no obstruction because there was no original Russia crime. Which feels weird since "no crime=no obstruction" isn't anywhere close to the same thing as "he didn't obstruct justice." Need to see the full report to know what it means.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Aresen » 25 Mar 2019, 00:17

The one thing that always bothered me about the notion of Trump colluding with Putin was that it implied that Trump had the good sense to know when to shut up.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 25 Mar 2019, 00:19

My take was that if it came down to obstruction it was already a failed effort.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Shem » 25 Mar 2019, 01:26

JasonL wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 00:19
My take was that if it came down to obstruction it was already a failed effort.
Considering the investigations that have been farmed out to SDNY, I'm not sure how you can draw that conclusion without the report.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Taktix® » 25 Mar 2019, 01:43

JasonL wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 00:19
My take was that if it came down to obstruction it was already a failed effort.
This is true. While technically illegal, politically it's chasing a stained dress...
Aresen wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 00:17
The one thing that always bothered me about the notion of Trump colluding with Putin was that it implied that Trump had the good sense to know when to shut up.
He didn't. He publicly asked Russia to hack Clinton's emails and and he fired James Comey and then told Lester Holt he was think about Russia when he did it.

What happened is he won, because the U.S. government is set up in such a way that the executive branch polices the executive, and he was able to use all the normal levers of power available to a president to put people in place to protect himself. It didn't matter what Mueller turned in, AG Barr was going to report "no collusion" regardless (speaking of moving goal posts, the "no collusion" mantra is the Andre The Giant of goal-post-moving).

If there were some serious investigation early on, like in the first few months of 2017, I think there really might have been a real chance of impeachment. But once he's anyone's had a chance to metastasize in the White House, there's no turning back.

This is probably the death blow to any meaningful resistance. I have precisely zero faith in the collection of ambitious fools the Democrats have investigating Trump.

I don't believe Barr's report, but I know when my side's whipped. And we're whipped. I just fucking hope I'm wrong. I hope we don't see the floodgates open to empowering white supremacists, to vote rigging (I still don't understand why a Russian company has to be contracted to maintenance the State of Maryland's voting machines).

I hope we still stop child internment camps, that Trump supporters stop attacking journalists and Trump's dictator buddies' allies stop attacking protesters. I hope we still have something of a free country left once Trump's done with it.

Cause guess what? If any of that shit happens under Trump's watch, there will be no political will to stop it. That all vanished today.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 25 Mar 2019, 02:14

In retrospect, collusion was where the fix was. If Trump merely knew what Russia was doing and never got in the way, blowing kisses at Putin but never aiding any hackers, that would be (1) not collusion and (2) completely unacceptable. But by tying everything to a collusion scenario it was basically guaranteed that Trump would get away with it. Now he is untouchable, and his supporters can continue to beat up reporters and he can keep kissing the asses of dictators.

We are so screwed.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 25 Mar 2019, 02:34

In retrospect, this is like when there was that big debate over whether or not Bush Jr. ever said that Iraqi WMD constituted an "imminent" threat. Everyone went to footage of speeches and press conferences and whatnot and searched for the word "imminent." And they had a hard time finding any use of that word. And it was judged that the absence of that word meant that Bush Jr. didn't technically lie so it was OK for him to be re-elected and everything he did in Iraq was just, you know, a minor mistake. Never mind that he and the people working for him did everything possible to play up this threat that turned out to be non-existent. The word "imminent" was never used, so he never lied. Or something.

With Trump, we knew early on that his son took a meeting with a Russian promising dirt, we knew that people who were at the meeting were all "Whoa, this is eerie" when the DNC hacking happened, we know that Trump publicly asked for Russian hackers to go after Clinton's emails, and we know that he stated in an interview with Lester Holt that he fired Comey to shut down the Russia inquiry. In short, we know that Trump knew who was helping him and he got in the way of people trying to rectify it.

But was it "collusion"? Most definitions of the word involve some sort of agreement or coordination, and there's a dearth of evidence on that point. What he did was, of course, completely unacceptable for someone in his position, but the word "collusion" probably doesn't apply, just as the word "imminent" was apparently never used by Bush Jr. And since the public got fixated on one specific word in each case, when it was found that that word did not apply it was judged that the President's conduct was just peachy. Even though it wasn't.

I suspect that in the next decade a President will do some similarly outrageous thing, and when it is found that a word initially used to characterize the deed in reporting did not quite apply, the President will be deemed innocent. And everyone will scoff at his (or her) critics.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Taktix® » 25 Mar 2019, 02:47

thoreau wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 02:34
In retrospect, this is like when there was that big debate over whether or not Bush Jr. ever said that Iraqi WMD constituted an "imminent" threat. Everyone went to footage of speeches and press conferences and whatnot and searched for the word "imminent." And they had a hard time finding any use of that word. And it was judged that the absence of that word meant that Bush Jr. didn't technically lie so it was OK for him to be re-elected and everything he did in Iraq was just, you know, a minor mistake. Never mind that he and the people working for him did everything possible to play up this threat that turned out to be non-existent. The word "imminent" was never used, so he never lied. Or something.

With Trump, we knew early on that his son took a meeting with a Russian promising dirt, we knew that people who were at the meeting were all "Whoa, this is eerie" when the DNC hacking happened, we know that Trump publicly asked for Russian hackers to go after Clinton's emails, and we know that he stated in an interview with Lester Holt that he fired Comey to shut down the Russia inquiry. In short, we know that Trump knew who was helping him and he got in the way of people trying to rectify it.

But was it "collusion"? Most definitions of the word involve some sort of agreement or coordination, and there's a dearth of evidence on that point. What he did was, of course, completely unacceptable for someone in his position, but the word "collusion" probably doesn't apply, just as the word "imminent" was apparently never used by Bush Jr. And since the public got fixated on one specific word in each case, when it was found that that word did not apply it was judged that the President's conduct was just peachy. Even though it wasn't.

I suspect that in the next decade a President will do some similarly outrageous thing, and when it is found that a word initially used to characterize the deed in reporting did not quite apply, the President will be deemed innocent. And everyone will scoff at his (or her) critics.
But it wasn't "reporting" that pounded the "no collusion" drum. It was a canard created by Trump and his defenders, who kept repeating it over and over until it became the common term. It was a coordinated, Orwellian propaganda campaign to change the language of the conversation to more favorable terms...
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 25 Mar 2019, 09:23

The charge had to be incendiary enough to keep the investigation going because special prosecutors and so on don't do "looks weird lets fish forever" unless there's some Big Thing that may be at the end of it. I'm fine with the investigation but I think Pelosi and some others knew this all along. It's not orwellian it's the outcome of an investigation that couldn't find evidence of the thing you wanted them to find evidence for.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Mo » 25 Mar 2019, 09:31

I mean his National Security Advisor and campaign manager went to jail for it, so it's not like there wasn't extremely suspicious going on. Also, Mueller did end up determine that Russians interfered with the election, which was up for debate before the investigation began and was being denied by many of the "shame on the media" folks.
JasonL wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 09:23
The charge had to be incendiary enough to keep the investigation going because special prosecutors and so on don't do "looks weird lets fish forever" unless there's some Big Thing that may be at the end of it. I'm fine with the investigation but I think Pelosi and some others knew this all along. It's not orwellian it's the outcome of an investigation that couldn't find evidence of the thing you wanted them to find evidence for.
I expect to see written apologies from the Rich Lowrys of the world to Bill Clinton for an investigation of a shady real estate deal that turned into an investigation about blowjobs.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 25 Mar 2019, 09:36

Mo wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 09:31
I mean his National Security Advisor and campaign manager went to jail for it, so it's not like there wasn't extremely suspicious going on. Also, Mueller did end up determine that Russians interfered with the election, which was up for debate before the investigation began and was being denied by many of the "shame on the media" folks.
JasonL wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 09:23
The charge had to be incendiary enough to keep the investigation going because special prosecutors and so on don't do "looks weird lets fish forever" unless there's some Big Thing that may be at the end of it. I'm fine with the investigation but I think Pelosi and some others knew this all along. It's not orwellian it's the outcome of an investigation that couldn't find evidence of the thing you wanted them to find evidence for.
I expect to see written apologies from the Rich Lowrys of the world to Bill Clinton for an investigation of a shady real estate deal that turned into an investigation about blowjobs.
Well, right, I should rephrase - if you want to make the case that your investigation is not Whitewater but is More Important, you need a More Important charge in the air. The investigation about russia could have been handled without - some of the charges that were being thrown about.

The good things to come about are related to the Russian actors, the bad things donkeys still don't think they have to beat the guy in an election. Impeach Now was a substantial overreach. Pelosi was correct.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Mo » 25 Mar 2019, 10:06

JasonL wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 09:36
the bad things donkeys still don't think they have to beat the guy in an election. Impeach Now was a substantial overreach. Pelosi was correct.
That is largely limited to the Extremely Online set. In 2018 and now, Russia was a relatively minor part of their pitch.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 25 Mar 2019, 11:27

OMG republicans are stupid. They are going to take this win and set it on fire by re circling on Hillary Clinton yet again.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Highway » 25 Mar 2019, 11:42

If they're chanting "Lock Her Up!" then they don't need to think about how feckless and stupid their own leadership is.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 25 Mar 2019, 12:22

What price have Republicans ever paid for whipping people up against the Clintons? Yes, in 1998 they lost some seats in the vestigial organ known as Congress, but in 2000 and 2016 they campaigned against the Clintons and won the presidency in spite of losing the popular vote.

Much of my enthusiasm for the Mueller investigation came from the idea that we still had a standard, that if it were shown that the head of state was playing games with a foreign dictator for the benefit of his own career then there would be consequences. But there aren't.

I think that he will benefit from holding rallies where people chant against the Clintons. History certainly shows no downside here.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Mo » 25 Mar 2019, 14:25

Michael Avenatti, chaos monkey, steals Trump’s good news cycle.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 25 Mar 2019, 14:27

In his own strange way, Avenatti remains useful. Not always great, not someone we necessarily want to look at and say "Yep, he's ours", but useful.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Taktix® » 25 Mar 2019, 16:08

Why Clinton? Trump wants his own Yulia Tymoshenko to throw in jail, because you have to collect the "Jail Political Opponents" badge to make Dictator Scout...
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 25 Mar 2019, 16:16

Volodiya promised Trump that once he shows that he's as ruthless as Putin he can go to a special island where everything is made of gold. And Trump's all "I'm going to the island! I'm going to the island!"
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 25 Mar 2019, 16:20

There is a story members of the right believe that goes like - Clinton and her campaign coordinated with the sitting president to create the Steele report, pitch it do the feds and ram it through FISA review to secure monitoring rights in as they'd put it clear violation of all normal rules of evidence for such things. The idea is the FISA warrant was weaponized to overturn a legitimate election result and ergo this whole list of characters starting with Hillary and her campaign through I forget who all else Strzok, Page, McCabe etc etc.

They don't have and won't have anything like evidence to make that stick. They have people trading notes saying they hate the guy. They have the approval of the FISA court but the presumption is the Steele Dossier is the only material bit of evidence in the world and there could have been no warrant issued without it. They have this thing about whether the origins of the dossier were or were not disclosed to the court.

That's ... not a thing that will stick for conspiracy.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Aresen » 25 Mar 2019, 16:23

Taktix® wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 16:08
Why Clinton? Trump wants his own Yulia Tymoshenko to throw in jail, because you have to collect the "Jail Political Opponents" badge to make Dictator Scout...
Except the Dictator Scout "Wall" Badge is for keeping people in.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Painboy » 25 Mar 2019, 16:52

JasonL wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 16:20
There is a story members of the right believe that goes like - Clinton and her campaign coordinated with the sitting president to create the Steele report, pitch it do the feds and ram it through FISA review to secure monitoring rights in as they'd put it clear violation of all normal rules of evidence for such things. The idea is the FISA warrant was weaponized to overturn a legitimate election result and ergo this whole list of characters starting with Hillary and her campaign through I forget who all else Strzok, Page, McCabe etc etc.

They don't have and won't have anything like evidence to make that stick. They have people trading notes saying they hate the guy. They have the approval of the FISA court but the presumption is the Steele Dossier is the only material bit of evidence in the world and there could have been no warrant issued without it. They have this thing about whether the origins of the dossier were or were not disclosed to the court.

That's ... not a thing that will stick for conspiracy.
There probably was some pretty shady stuff that got that FISA warrant. I mean they have text messages between two FBI agents trying to find dirt on Trump. One of the reasons I've been skeptical of the whole Russia connection is that those two agents didn't think there was anything to it.

I don't think anything will come of it as it's all procedural stuff that's only interesting to those into the nitty gritty of law.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Shem » 25 Mar 2019, 17:16

Painboy wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 16:52
JasonL wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 16:20
There is a story members of the right believe that goes like - Clinton and her campaign coordinated with the sitting president to create the Steele report, pitch it do the feds and ram it through FISA review to secure monitoring rights in as they'd put it clear violation of all normal rules of evidence for such things. The idea is the FISA warrant was weaponized to overturn a legitimate election result and ergo this whole list of characters starting with Hillary and her campaign through I forget who all else Strzok, Page, McCabe etc etc.

They don't have and won't have anything like evidence to make that stick. They have people trading notes saying they hate the guy. They have the approval of the FISA court but the presumption is the Steele Dossier is the only material bit of evidence in the world and there could have been no warrant issued without it. They have this thing about whether the origins of the dossier were or were not disclosed to the court.

That's ... not a thing that will stick for conspiracy.
There probably was some pretty shady stuff that got that FISA warrant. I mean they have text messages between two FBI agents trying to find dirt on Trump. One of the reasons I've been skeptical of the whole Russia connection is that those two agents didn't think there was anything to it.

I don't think anything will come of it as it's all procedural stuff that's only interesting to those into the nitty gritty of law.
You mean the warrant on Carter Page, a guy with repeated, public contacts with Russian spies who was courted previously in an attempt to turn him into an asset and who turned state's evidence in a previous counterintelligence case? Whose FISA warrant probably predated his work with the Trump campaign as a result? I never got why non-Republicans were so eager to jump on the "that was a bullshit FISA warrant" train. Insofar as "valid" examples go, the Page FISA is pretty much the best possible case for the FISA=good camp. Do you really want "guy who the Russians were seriously and provably trying to turn" to be your poster child here?
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 25 Mar 2019, 18:37

Ahh their answer to that is that Page was already known as an FBI informant who delivered the goods on Buryakov so the interest predating was they already were using him and FISA was required to do what they wanted to do so why use Steele dossier if it was such an easy hurdle?

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