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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 26, 2021
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 26, 2021 by Tony Wikrent Strategic Political Economy “Rich People Are Leading the Anti-Vaccine Movement — and Experts Have a Theory Why” [Money, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-20-21] From 2019, still germane: “Disease experts say the parents least likely to vaccinate their kids live in some of the most afflu […]
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Ah,Yes,There Was Indeed Collusion!

Yes, there was unquestionably collusion between Trump, the key people in his campaign, and Russia. The Treasury Department report which just was released, makes that more than clear. Trump’s campaign, through Paul Manafort, fed voter data to Konstantin Kilimnik, who gave it to Russian Intelligence, which then was able to target particular locales and demographics with a torrent of lies and fake news stories, to either keep them from voting, or get them to vote for Trump.

We all knew this, it was beyond obvious. It was not some byzantine plot that only our best agents, or the modern-day equivalents of Holmes or Poirot, could figure out. It was not hiding in plain sight. It was not hiding at all. Trump is not Professor Moriarity. He is a gangster who bludgeons his way to what he wants. We knew about Manafort’s long ties to Russia. We learned about Cambridge Analytics. We heard Manafort boast, “watch Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.”

Brad Parscale was communicating directly or indirectly with Russian officials in a dual strategy to precisely identify where Trump should campaign, on a daily basis. This was all written about, and particularly in the year after the election. But it did no good, which was always the point of the criminality; once you rob the house or plunder the coffers, you’re got the money, and that’s all that matters.

Having good analytics is not a crime, but it is depressing enough to think that this is where our electoral system has devolved. Conspiring with a foreign power to get a person elected who is most favored by that foreign power, and who is guaranteed to do everything he can to let them do whatever they like geopolitically, is a crime of the highest order.

Trump used the term “collusion” under advisement. There is nothing in criminal statutes about collusion, so that was their protection. Focus on the term which was not a crime But there are statutes against criminal conspiracy. And treason is a high crime, and it is punishable by death.

I took a quick look at the Bing search engine headlines, the ones you can see up there even today, if you search “collusion.” All those stories Bing and its parent company AOL were anxious to put up, about “No collusion found by Mueller,” “Trump victorious,” “Senate acquits Trump, finds no collusion.” The more recent stories of the last few days tell a different tale. But of course it comes years later than it should have.

I criticize the media extensively. It is wearisome, because it is both obvious and fruitless, at least to a major extent. I don’t want to go through the list of media figures, including the New York Times, which fronted for Trump during 2016; and then all the TV anchors and analysts, from Chuck Todd, to Ken Dilanian, who were either unbelievably obtuse, blatantly incompetent, or in Trump’s hip pocket. Or perhaps better put, the mouthpieces of the networks which employ them, and which did everything they could to help Trump win. But we remember it, and how enervating and infuriating it was to see hour after hour of it. And it did not stop after Trump “won,” it continued through the hamstrung Mueller investigation, and the impeachment.

The Republican leaders all knew that there was criminality. Kevin McCarthy knew early on. Paul “Let’s keep it in the family” Ryan knew. Richard Burr knew. McConnell certainly did, maybe years ago. Ron Johnson and Lindsey Graham knew. Those eight Republican senators who incredibly went to dinner in Moscow on July 4, 2018, knew. Jill Stein went to a dinner in Russia before that, she was part of it. Michael Flynn helped orchestrate it. Trump pardoned Flynn and Manafort, and Roger Stone, who was in close contact with Assange regarding Wikileaks data dumps., to both reward them, and keep them from ever telling the story.

The 2016 election is over, but its consequences will never be over. It was the lowest point in American history, in my opinion, until the 2021 Trump-planned and fomented insurrection at the capitol occurred, which of course was also a consequence of the treasonous campaign of Trump in 2016 .

What is perhaps most indelible is the sure knowledge that Republicans didn’t and don’t care. They would do it again in a flash. Abraham Maslow, the famous social psychologist, constructed a “hierarchy of needs” pyramid chart, to describe his theory about how people need the basic necessities to be fulfilled, before they can go on to have their other needs met. So at the bottom of his pyramid are Physiological needs, like food and water Above that are Safety needs, then Belongingness and Love needs, then Esteem needs. At the top of the pyramid, the need one can only be predominantly motivated by when all the other needs are met are Self-Actualization needs: reaching your full potential, being the best you can be.

The Republicans’ pyramid would be much different. It would have Winning at the base. On top of that, Keeping Power, and above that, Stealing as Much Money As You Can.. Their pyramid probably ends there, they do not seem to have any other values. Do anything to win, keep that power, and then take the spoils. All the rest of it is just bothersome noise to them, to be ignored and scorned.

And they did win the election of 2016, because Trump conspired with Russia. In a different time, there would have been hangings. But in this era, Republicans were able to use their vast monetary power, plus a media which was either on their side, or obsessed with a “both sides” mentality and practice, to simply block, deny, mock, invert, and keep it at bay. There was no way that Trump was going to be convicted in the Senate, the fix was in. Republicans were never going to convict him of anything. They just needed a few phrases to pretend that they were being sober and judicious. What they were actually doing was, putting their team over anything else; and protecting themselves, because many of them were in on it.

Even so, the truth will usually come out, even though we knew it long before this, and when it could have made a major difference. It was so obvious! We waited and waited for some major entity to lay in out in black and white, but they never did.

All that effort and travail: following along, listening to testimony at hearings, the various charges by Mueller’s team against Russian operatives. Hoping that Rick Gates would reveal the whole story; that Manafort would go to jail and stay there. Waiting for something really big, which never came, not in the way that the public needs, to really believe in it. There was no Walter Cronkite to go to Vietnam and then say on TV that the war cannot be won. There were just various talking heads arguing with each other. And then Barr to grab the Mueller report, and mischaracterize it before it came out. And Ken Dilanian saying, “The top line is that he found no collusion, and that is a very big deal.”

So many institutional failures showing us how weak or corrupted so many of those supposed bulwarks of democracy now are. On the better news side, we did win the 2020 election. And the collusion story may still be told in greater detail, and more justice might be done. But of course nothing can undo the 2016 election, where Trump, funded by Russian oligarchs for years, was pre-selected by Russia to run for President, and then given the full support of the Russian government, which hacked data, and worked with Trump campaign heads to target key voters with a massive network of internet trolls, fabricated stories, and the techniques of thought control. And we can add the social network heads like Zuckerberg, who played a large part in it, too.

It was a plot, a conspiracy, a treason against the United States government. We figured it out, we studied what we knew, and learned; and interpolated and extrapolated our way to the essential truth. That is something we can be proud of, even if we never were able to get the media to see it, or to somehow get Republican loyalists to put the country over their own tribal partisanship, greed, and totalitarianism.