From: John Hemington <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Feb 20, 2018 at 7:40 PM
Subject: Is Russia a threat?
To: John Hemington <email@example.com>
There is little doubt that, given the wall-to-wall coverage of the Mueller investigation on CNN and MSNBC, hysteria has broken out in the nation concerning the supposed Russian interference in the U.S. At this point there is little question that there was some effort on the part of Russian internet trolls to support the candidacy of Trump over Clinton by posting partisan arguments on Facebook and Twitter, but it is far less clear that these efforts had any impact whatsoever on the outcome of the election. Since almost anyone anywhere can make such postings, whether they accurately identify themselves (few really do), one has to wonder just why this is such a 'big deal'. One can also understand why Russia, prior to the election, would have preferred a Trump victory. Clinton has been an implacable foe of Russia as far back as we can look; and, in his campaign rhetoric, Trump argued that the best policy the U.S. could undertake would be to work to coexist with Russia, cooperating where it made sense. The fact that no promise by Trump can be counted for much doesn't change the fact that his message was far more attractive not only to many Americans but also to the Russians.
As Rob Urie says in his attached article, "...what is striking is that the Russians aren't charged with creating social tensions. They are charged with exploiting and exacerbating them. It is their personas that are deemed to be false, not the familiar chatter of quasi-anonymous voices on social media. The point is that the social tensions preceded the chatter." Few have denied that Russians might have engaged in this type of interference, but the idea that it somehow served to throw the election is ludicrous on its face. These days social media is little more than ubiquitous noise hosting every form of bizarre nonsense imaginable as well as much useful information, yet millions of Americans remain fixated Facebook, Twitter, etc. for information. If we are to worry about a few Russian trolls compromising an election by the use of social media, we should be even more worried about the millions of actual Americans out there busily distributing fictitious memes over these same outlets – and perhaps think about shutting down such services as terminally unreliable fake news sources. But clearly we are not going to do that as the Internet serves the interests of Power far too well.
What is most important about Urie's article is his assertion that, in the wake of Hillary's unexpected loss, the liberal left has moved from wariness of the FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies to a full-on love fest of endorsement and support. This is quite surprising and potentially very dangerous as it further serves to enable long-term efforts by these agencies to surveil, infiltrate and discourage dissent and protest by American citizens. As far as interference in the elective process, the only effective interference we know about came in the form of Hillary and the DNC's successful efforts to derail a very promising run by Bernie Sanders in the primaries – but this type interference in 'free and fair elections' is deemed to be OK by the powers that be. So be cautious about jumping on the bandwagon of the 'Russian menace' when the real danger may well be lurking much closer to home.
A very good summary of the Russian threat is contained in the Real News Network interview linked below:
than to work on changing the system of relations spawned by neoliberal capitalism?