Sanctions on Russia: Discomfort With Two Minutes Hate?

Captain Arizona, now Censored, has a knack for getting to the nub of things in his comments.

When the first post appeared on BfAZ, prior to the election, about the so-called Russian hacking, the captain astutely asked (I’m paraphrasing): “Let me get this straight. We’re angry that the Russians are manipulating the election by exposing how the Democrats are manipulating the election?”

Fast forward to today. We find ourselves engaged in an Orwellian exercise, akin to the “two minutes hate” from 1984, in which all Democrats vilify Putin and the “Russian hackers.” If I understand the logic, the Russians hacked the DNC and John Podesta, the latter through a phishing scam that we’ve all had attempted on us, and made public information about the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign. Thus, they “interfered” with our election. Had they not done so, Americans would have been blissfully ignorant of the shenanigans of Wasserman-Schultz, Brazille and others, and elected Hillary President.

So, not to be a downer on the good feeling we get from knowing Trump won by cheating, is a mob mentality taking hold here?

Hacking is a crime. I get that. So, in the abstract, a foreign government’s hacking activities are cause for concern. That’s fine, as far as it goes.

But if we’re honest with ourselves, the furor over this instance of hacking is unsettling. Hacking, after all, happens. Leaks of hacked information, after all, happen. Governmental intelligence agencies engage in this conduct. Regularly. More than any other country, the good ole U S of A engages in this conduct.

Before jumping into a new cold war, or perhaps a hot one, should we be asking ourselves a few questions, like:

Where’s the hard evidence of Russian hacking, and evidence it occurred at the behest of the Russian government?

Are there no instances of this hacking that are more egregious than the exposure of wrongdoing by Democratic Party officials and Clinton campaign operatives? If there are, why are we not hearing about them? If not, doesn’t it seem odd that the exposure of corruption is being twisted into an international uproar?

Would we be hearing this much about it if Hillary Clinton had won the election?

In terms of interference with our elections, how does this compare with Netanyahu’s attempts to interfere in the 2012 election on behalf of Romney. Yeah, I know, Netanyahu’s actions likely were not illegal, but interference is interference, right? If the interference is the cause for outrage, why were we not similarly outraged four years ago?

Should the U.S. be apologizing for its interference in past elections of other countries?

But above all else, and with the foregoing in mind, how does the rest of the world see this? I’m guessing they’re asking Captain Arizona’s question: You’re angry at Russia for manipulating your election by exposing how one of your own political parties was manipulating your election?

Hey, but we’re the United States. No need to feel embarrassed, right? We’re exceptional. Just ask us.

25 responses to “Sanctions on Russia: Discomfort With Two Minutes Hate?

  1. With only my citizens limited knowledge of Russian hacking, I think that President Obama has responded appropriately. Good, that’s his job. Unfortunately, Comrade Trumpsky will be taking over in three weeks and he does not seem to fully understand the possible consequences when governments hack each other. He has called on the nation to “move on.”

    The hacking happened and it is the government’s job to respond, which it has done, at least for the time being. The hacking did not cost Hillary the election which was lost by less that 100K votes in three formerly blue states. Hillary’s flawed, billion dollar campaign lost the election. And the content of the DNC emails, however obtained, along with everything else we know about this election should provide a road map for reform.

    I suspect that in the coming weeks and months, we will gain a much better understanding of what it means to have a buffoon for a president. And that, my friends, is our biggest problem right now.

  2. John Kavanagh asks whether the exposed information being true has any significance.

    Here’s a related question, that’s more of a thought experiment:

    How egregious could the conduct of the Dem Party and Clinton operatives been with the resulting uproar being on the hacking, rather than the information that was exposed? What if the “Russians”, or whoever may have been hacking the DNC and John Podesta, had exposed criminal activity? Would we still be vilifying Russia?

    • Sen. John Kavanagh

      Another thought experiment:

      Most liberals, oooops I mean progressives, applauded the theft of the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg and its publication by the N.Y. Times.

      Is it OK to steal government documents in hardcopy form and publish them but not in digital form? While the parallels are not perfect, it does make for an interesting thought experiment.

      What makes a “hack” bad? Is it the hacker? Is it the content and whether or not you personally want it released? Or is it whether or not it damages someone you like or want elected?

      Maybe as a society we should decide on a rule based upon principles BEFORE incidents happen, as opposed to judging after the hack based on unethical and personal reasons.

      • Yeah, it’s hard to stop once you start down this path.

        What if the CIA had intercepted communications of the ruling party in Iran showing political corruption and used those to expose the ruling party, leading to its downfall? Would we be discussing how the US had wrongly interfered in the internal affairs of another country, or celebrating the downfall of Iran’s ruling party?

  3. Bob, the Captain and you are both correct about the hoopla concerning Russian hacking being solely the result of Hillary losing the election. Had she won, this wouldn’t even be an issue. But she lost and it has to be because of some sneakiness on the part of the GOP (and their cohorts, the Russians) because Hillary could not possibly have lost due to any failure on her part.

    The truth is that the election was Hillary’s to lose…and she did. She won the popular vote by a significant number, but her arrogance wouldn’t allow her to acknowledge the rust belt red nacks she holds in contempt and they handed her her behind in the Electoral College, thus proving the wisdom of the Founders.

    Despite AzBM taking you to task about National Security, the truth is that if Hillary had won, he wouldn’t be saying anything about this. He is a solid Democrat and given a choice between National Security and winning elections, winning elections will always take precedence.

    • Wisdom of the founders? Let’s not get carried away, Steve. The electoral college was a sop to the slave states. It was a back door way to make the 3/5 compromise count in Presidential elections.

      You may be correct about prioritizing politics over national security, but I suspect that both parties are guilty on that front. The behavior of the Bush administration in the months prior to 9/11 was pretty shameful, don’t you think?

      • “Wisdom of the founders? Let’s not get carried away, Steve. The electoral college was a sop to the slave states. It was a back door way to make the 3/5 compromise count in Presidential elections.”

        Well, that wasn’t the Founders only reason for establishing the Electoral College. They also saw it as one more way to protect the interests of the smaller states against the power of the larger states. That was what I was referring to. Hillary ignored these smaller reliable blue states and went after the big ones and it cost her the election.

        “The behavior of the Bush administration in the months prior to 9/11 was pretty shameful, don’t you think?”

        I honestly don’t recall what the Bush Administration was doing during that time. Care to refresh my memory?

        • Steve, think about what you’re saying. Pennsylvania and Michigan are two of the largest states in the country, as is Florida. Remember, back in the founders’ day, the states had far more independent significance than they do today. Most of our large cities today straddle the border between two or more states. People move freely from one state to the next. The voters in the New Jersey and Delaware suburbs of Philadelphia have more connection to PA than to their home states. Had they chosen to live on the PA side of the border, the outcome of the election might be different. That situation didn’t exist back in 1787. It just doesn’t make sense anymore for a paper thin victory by a candidate in one state to offset a giant vote margin for his opponent in another state.

          As for the Bush Administration, Condi and W were ignoring the CIA for months prior to 9/11. At one point, W said to a CIA briefer who warned him about a potential attack, “okay, you’ve covered your ass.”

          • I forgot that the Bush Administration ignored warnings about something big happening. That was stupid and embarrassing. You are correct.

            You also appear correct about the large state/small state thing. I guess my greatest concern is California. In so many ways, California is like King Kong when you talk about the gorilla in the room. If the Electoral College is eliminated, California will wield enormous power all by itself. Add New York to that equation and the power the two will wield goes up exponentially.

            Of course, I am not really that worried because the Electoral College is here to stay. There is zero chance of calling a Constitutional Convention, and very little chance of getting 2/3rds of the Senate or House to pass a resolution and then 3/4ers of the State Legislatures to pass the Resolution in order to have an Amendment. Too many people with different ideas.

  4. Here is the public report from the intelligence agencies at the NY Times. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/12/29/us/politics/document-Report-on-Russian-Hacking.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=7&pgtype=sectionfront

    There is certainly a classified report that will never be publicly releases to protect sources and methods.

    Those of you who fixate on the DNC hack conveniently ignore the fact that the Russians have also hacked the Pentagon, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/russian-hack-almost-brought-the-u-s-military-to-its-knees/

    And are hacking into US infrastructure systems, “Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical grid security, officials say,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-hackers-penetrated-us-electricity-grid-through-a-utility-in-vermont/2016/12/30/8fc90cc4-ceec-11e6-b8a2-8c2a61b0436f_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_electrichack-810pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.cd98b25f69c8

    We are in a cyber war. Your lack of concern for US national security is deeply troubling. It’s not about Bernie Sanders was done wrong by the DNC.

      • Glenn Greenwald lost credibility with his reporting on Julian Assange and Wikileaks, and Edward Snowden. Greenwald has repeatedly legitimized, downplayed and defended hackers against top secret government operations to disrupt their illegitimate activities, and has done so with the Russian hacking story this year. He believes hacking and spying are legitimate sources of reporting, which means that he has no journalistic integrity, in my opinion. UPDATE: See David Atkins post, Even Glenn Greenwald And His Fans Should Fear the Trump-Putin Alliance, http://washingtonmonthly.com/2016/12/31/even-glenn-greenwald-and-his-fans-should-fear-the-trump-putin-alliance/

        • AzBM, For Sure Not Tom says this is a legitimate story. Who are we to believe?

        • Well, apparently the WaPo had credibility with you, as you relied on their report regarding the Vermont utility. So, go back to that report, and you can catch the following update:

          Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. electric grid. Authorities say there is no indication of that so far. The computer at Burlington Electric that was hacked was not attached to the grid.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            WaPo did update their story: But it still says Russian code was found on a Vermont Public Service computer.

            That’s still serious!

            My Too Big To Fail employer is under constant attack from Russia, China, dozens of other countries, criminal hackers and random scripts kiddies.

            It costs millions a year of your money to defend your money from those attacks.

            Based on the reaction from conservatives, we’re making too big a deal out of protecting a trillion plus dollars of American money.

            When talking to non-tech people I feel like a doctor who says “come by my office right away, that mole could be cancer”, and then the person waits until the thing is bleeding to stop in.

          • “Based on the reaction from conservatives, we’re making too big a deal out of protecting a trillion plus dollars of American money.”

            The real proble, in my opinion, isn’t a denial of the seriousness of the problem of hacking, it is a great deal of disdain at democrats who only “discovered” there is a problem when their technology was being hacked. And then it was only after Hillary lost that it became a “critical” problem.

            I am grateful to you that you protect our money from hackers trying to do bad things. And I can appreciate your frustration when people like me don’t take your warnings seriously enough. For my part, it was always the cost of bringing in IT experts that caused me to hesitate, even though I knew I was being penny wise and doallr foolish. Keep up the good work, Not Tom!

    • AZ BlueMeanie

      The Washington Post on Tuesday reports that investigators are finding evidence that the incident is not linked to any Russian government effort to target or hack the utility, according to experts and officials close to the investigation. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-government-hackers-do-not-appear-to-have-targeted-vermont-utility-say-people-close-to-investigation/2017/01/02/70c25956-d12c-11e6-945a-76f69a399dd5_story.html?utm_term=.f68acaa670e4

      I would not take any solace from this. The US and Israel engaged in a sophisticated cyber attack (stuxnet and flame) against the Iranian nuclear program. http://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/cyberattacks-on-iran-stuxnet-and-flame

      President Obama was prepared to launch a cyber attack against Iran if the nuclear agreement with Iran failed. That capability still exists. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/17/world/middleeast/us-had-cyberattack-planned-if-iran-nuclear-negotiations-failed.html?_r=0

      It would be the height of hubris to assume that the Russians and Chinese (and likely others) do not have a similar capability as the US for cyber attacks. The Russians and Chinese are known to have sophisticated hacking programs.

  5. all I here about is liberal whining about russian hacking of our elections. (actually hacking dmc e-mails) and no russian hackers did not force donna brazille to turn over questions to clinton or debbie wasserman schultz’s shenanigans. we are still waiting for the final count in the iowa dem. primary. in 2006 and 2008 voters forgot why they hated the democratic party. in 2010 2014 and 2016 they did not. 2012 romney did not appeal to the rust belt voter as he was their problem. 11 states before the election had popular vote for electoral collage and still no more as democratic party is still to busy whining about russian hacking. as long as the liberal elitists continue to think that the rust belt states were going to vote democratic ;but changed their minds over russian hacking. well good luck with that for the next election. hillary clinton was the fred duval of 2016 as was ann kirkpatrick and her boots! look at all of the rich old white farts eyeing running in 2018 yeach!

  6. John Huppenthal

    You all should be glad and helpful to putin. He is in control of 145 million very pissed off people with 1,500 nuclear bombs on high alert status.

    Just spend a minute thinking about their history and where they are now. The entire value of their economy is notmuch more than the rounding error on ours.

    The Russian public opinion polling is ugly. After 80 years of all you all’s utopia, we have a powder keg.

  7. Senator John Kavanagh

    Hacking to influence our elections is bad in every sense and when done by a foreign government it is threatening.

    But I have some questions that trouble me:

    1. Does the fact that the exposed information was true have any significance?

    2. If President Obama knew of the hacking before the election, does he bear some responsibility for doing nothing?

    3. If the perpetrators and their motives are known, why is there no proof being offered?

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Obama already answered your questions. Switch from Fox News now and then and learn something.

      I work in IT, with security engineers, and you will never see the “proof”, it would be stupid for Obama to inform the hackers of our defenses. Trump gets briefed next week, hopefully he’ll understand what he’s shown. And hopefully he won’t tweet any passwords.

      You have heard by now that Russian hackers broke into a Vermont power grid, right?

      I don’t understand why you’re asking these questions to begin with, this is serious stuff. Imagine power outages in Vermont in December/January.

      Now you’re not talking about embarassing emails, you’re talking about potential loss of life. I’ve been to Vermont in the winter, it’s freakin’ cold.

      Or consider the loss of economic stability in the region, if you care more about money than people.

      It’s shameful and troubling for our future security that the leader of your party, the incoming Commander in Freakin’ Chief, is treating this as a joke.

      • “You have heard by now that Russian hackers broke into a Vermont power grid, right?”

        AzBM says that is a false story put out there by a discredited reporter. Who are we to believe?

  8. Let’s not forget about the countless elections in various parts of the world in which the United States, via the CIA, has intervened in democratic elections, or overthrown a democratically-elected government. Have Americans forgotten that the reason for the Iranian Revolution and Hostage Crisis in 1979 was largely due to the CIA installing the Shah in 1953.

    So, the takeaway out of all of this is that when the US engages in subterfuge, we’re ‘preserving Democracy’, ‘protecting our strategic interests’, or whatever other phrases our corporate-owned media likes to propagate. But when it (allegedly) happens to us, we’re supposed to be angry and treat this as the work of the Axis of Evil.

    Besides, wasn’t Obama telling Trump to shut up because ‘an American election has never, and can never be tampered with’ (slight paraphrase) just a week before the election?

    • remember dominican republic 1965 sending in the marines to overthrow a democratically elected president we didn’t like.