We are in uncharted territory.

On October 18, 2016 Barack Obama ridiculed anyone who could think the election could be rigged.

OBAMA: I have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place. It’s unprecedented. It happens to be based on no facts. … [T]here is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections, in part, because they are so decentralized and the numbers of votes involved. There is no evidence that that has happened in the past or that there are instances in which that will happen this time. And so I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whinin’ and go try to make his case to get votes.

Then Hillary lost.

In December 2016, Democrats were still trying to figure out what happened.

This process, which is a form of what’s called confirmation bias, can help explain why Trump supporters remain supportive no matter what evidence one puts to them—and why Trump’s opponents are unlikely to be convinced of his worth even if he ends up doing something actually positive. The two groups simply process information differently. “The confirmation bias is not specific to Donald Trump. It’s something we are all susceptible to,” the Columbia University psychologist Daniel Ames, one of several scholars to nominate this paper, said. “But Trump appears to be an especially public and risky illustration of it in many domains.” (Ames and his colleague Alice Lee recently showed a similar effect with beliefs about torture.)

One of those was a good observation. But what about the “Russia Collusion” story?

One theory is that it was invented 24 hours after the election.

On a phone call with a longtime friend a couple of days after the election, Hillary was much less accepting of her defeat. She put a fine point on the factors she believed cost her the presidency: the FBI (Comey), the KGB (the old name for Russia’s intelligence service), and the KKK (the support Trump got from white nationalists).

“I’m angry,” Hillary told her friend. And exhausted. After two brutal campaigns against Sanders and Trump, Hillary now had to explain the failure to friends in a seemingly endless round of phone calls. That was taking a toll on her already weary and grief-stricken soul. But mostly, she was mad— mad that she’d lost and that the country would have to endure a Trump presidency.

She was already looking for excuses except herself.

That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.

The Clinton camp settled on a two-pronged plan — pushing the press to cover how “Russian hacking was the major unreported story of the campaign, overshadowed by the contents of stolen e-mails and Hillary’s own private-server imbroglio,” while “hammering the media for focusing so intently on the investigation into her e-mail, which had created a cloud over her candidacy,” the authors wrote.

“The press botched the e-mail story for eighteen months,” one person who was part of the strategy is quoted as saying. “Comey obviously screwed us, but the press created the story.”

It helped that the Russia story already existed as an opposition research project before the election.

She wondered why the president hadn’t leaned harder into making the case that Vladimir Putin was specifically targeting her and trying to throw the election to Trump. “The Russia stuff has really bothered her a lot,” one of the aides said. “She’s sort of learning what the administration knew and when they knew it, and she’s just sort of quizzical about the whole thing. She can’t quite sort out how this all played out the way that it did.” On the long list of people, agencies, and international forces Hillary blamed for her loss, Obama had a spot.

Now, the Democrat Party has convinced their base, but not many others, that the election was stolen by the Russians for Trump.

Now what ?

Now, the Democrats are afraid to tell their own voters that it was a lie all along.

Even the left is warning Democrats they are playing with fire.

This is the former Director of National Intelligence telling all of us that as of 12:01 a.m. on January 20th, when he left government, the intelligence agencies had no evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and the government of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Virtually all of the explosive breaking news stories on the Trump-Russia front dating back months contain some version of this same disclaimer.

Oh Oh. Now what ?

From MSNBC politics shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

Even Buzzfeed, which published the infamous Steele “Dossier,” is worried.

But the demand on the US left right now isn’t so much for the damning big picture, or the details of what investigators are looking into. It’s for the proverbial smoking gun.

That demand is so clear and intense in the global information market that it was visible to an alleged Italian con man, who went about filling it with a detailed forgery. Progressive activists fell for a hoax that told them exactly what they wanted to hear, paid thousands of dollars for a forgery, and passed it on to journalists.

The demand is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows.

Meanwhile the actual frontline detectives — congressional investigators — aren’t so sure. “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations,” one warned BuzzFeed News’ Ali Watkins.

Then what happens?

23 thoughts on “We are in uncharted territory.”

  1. Those who are warning the Democrats that this could be dangerous for them are seeing some glimmer of light, yet they also have a major piece they do not see: many Democratic voters have no memory. They will not remember that Obama told them the election could not be rigged. They will not remember how many Hillaryites went all-in on collusion. They will not remember what Donna Brazile wrote just a few months ago. They will believe what they are told today.

    I would be discouraged and frightened by this, but I take heart because a few more see through it all every day. They may not become anything like a conservative or a libertarian, but they will be less convinced, less fight-to-the-death.

    I am seeing your comments on a lot of the sites I frequent, BTW. The guys from church have beer night every other Tuesday, if you are ever near Goffstown, NH. Others may feel free to inquire as well. We’ll be in the back room where the brothers drink at St Anselm’s tonight, but we move around.

  2. Given that the US media has memory holed the “Deir Ezzor Turkey Shoot” in Syria, where Pres Trump had the American military kill between 200 and 644 Russian mercs — sources vary — the obsession with the Trump-Russia collaboration narrative verges on a mental health crisis for the Left.

    Meanwhile The American military connected social media and increasingly the establishment right media has been ablaze with information with the “Deir Ezzor Turkey Shoot.”

    In short, the media-establishment Left is playing a “delegitimize itself” game with the Right on a scale it has no effing clue of because — “Liberal bubble.”

  3. “where Pres Trump had the American military kill between 200 and 644 Russian mercs — sources vary”
    I had not seen those numbers. All I had seen was the initial reports with ~50 dead.
    Haha. Hey Vlad, no matter what CNN says, you’re not dealing with a limp-wristed Chicago hack commie symp anymore…

  4. Here is more on the destruction of the Democrat Party.

    Lost in a Russia-induced haze, the Democratic Party virtually no longer exists. They have no ideas, no proposals, nada. There’s nothing but Nancy Pelosi whining about “crumbs” while genuine tax reform is appearing live in people’s paychecks. The Democrats can dream about a “wave election,” but the only wave that seems to be coming their way is a surfer’s wipeout.

    We’ll see.

  5. Regarding the Deir Ezzor Turkey Shoot, Jamestown had an interesting report on it the other day.

    The attack was not authorized by the Russian command and was planned as a night raid—the Russian-led force opened fire and attempted to swiftly move in, believing the SDF would offer only token resistance and that US forces would not risk aerial attack as the Russians moved in. But the US promptly deployed overwhelming firepower before all of the ChVK Vagner contractors moved out into battle formation.

    The Russians believed we wouldn’t attack them because of the possibility it would escalate and turn into an international incident or worse. You can’t blame them. Past American limited engagement military operations would seem to indicate de-escalation with near peers should be expected. Also, consider all the recent reckless run-ins and fly-bys with the Russian air force where we just held our position while they mocked us. The Russians’ strategy was actually perfectly logical and probably might’ve worked.

    But not this time.

    The Russian military command almost certainly knew in advance of ChVK Vagner’s planned move east of the Euphrates. And in Moscow, most assume the “traitorous” Americans were also aware of the imminent attack and, thus, prepared a deadly ambush (Militarynews.ru, February 13). This narrative is supported by the fact that, just hours before the ChVK Vagner force was massacred, a 210-meter bridge over the Euphrates, built last September by Russian sappers (see EDM, September 28, 2017), was washed away by a sudden flash flood. The Russian military accuses the SDF and/or the US of deliberately opening the floodgates at a hydroelectric damn upriver to destroy the bridge. The Pentagon denies this allegation (Interfax, February 9). The collapsing bridge cut off the Vagner-led force on the left bank from supplies, reinforcements and the possibility of an organized retreat.

    We saw them coming for a week. Instead of dawdling, dithering, or running it up the chain of command to wither on the diplomatic vines with our forces exposed like sitting ducks, we formulated a rather artful plan of attack taking into account the terrain and environment. We then executed it with deadly precision. We even had B-52s from 2000 miles away already in the air ready to flatten them. The full might of the US military rained down the wrath of God that night.

    The Kremlin responded by backing down immediately. They expressed confusion and doubt. This may change their entire outlook on their Syrian campaign.

    I don’t know what this might foretell in the grand scheme about the current ‘muh Russia’ debacle. It does tell us something has definitely changed with our military doctrine, and that something is taking the rest of the world by surprise.

  6. My understanding was that the story is that the US called Russia on the “hotline” we have set up to defuse situations, and they said the forces weren’t theirs, so they had nothing to do with it. After getting the same story for a couple of hours, we just decided, ok, fine, then it won’t be a problem if we kill them all then.

  7. The “Deir Ezzor Turkey Shoot” demonstrates the real problem with a ‘Mission Impossible’ force is that it has to be secret to be deniable.

    The Russian Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) reinforced Battalion Tactical Group in Syria was anything but secret.

    Putin is used to Obama’s and Merkel’s lack of political will letting him play ‘Hybrid War’ gambits successfully via “Public Secrets” like Wagner PMC. This game let rubber spine Post-modern leaders in the West play the ‘appeasement gambit’ without paying a Chamberlain like price when the fecal matter meets the rotary air impeller.

    In Trump, Putin faced a ‘willful’ American President unlike any since 1988.

    At Deir Ezzor, Pres. Trump took the “Open Secret” opportunity of “Hybrid War” to make a deniable real war on Russian forces.

    In doing so, Pres. Trump set an international precedent that anyone (armed with nuclear weapons that can threaten Russia) can destroy a Russian proxy forces and Putin will eat it.

    And since Trump won so “biggly” against Putin, the media here won’t report it because “Muh Russia” is more important than showing Trump the maniac…especially since the victim of the mania was Putin.

    Putin miscalculated on the character and capability of Trump as badly as Democrats did from 2015-to-date.

  8. I agree with AVI. The Democrats who were most able to accept evidence contra their party’s positions became Republicans and Independents, leaving a core of ideologues, virtue signalers, and people who benefit financially from govt. Even this core group will erode if the Democrats continue to lose elections, but the erosion will probably happen slowly. The natural human impulse to believe that drives some people into left wing politics isn’t going to disappear.

  9. The level of stupid shown at Deir Ezzor is so awful that -IT BURNS-.

    PMC Wagner’s troops had smart phones and were calling home all during the week long build up for the Deir Ezzor attack. Likely cheap Chinese made smart phones with android operating systems using the Syrian cell phone network for an international call.

    IOW, these smart phones had more back doors than a billionaire’s bordello.

    Wagner might has well have put the planned attack date up on the Jumbotron in the Dallas Cowboy’s Jerryworld stadium.

    Next, the bridge that Russian sappers threw across Euphrates River — which is the “Deconfliction line” between Assad and our proxy forces — was knocked out by the Kurds via a water release of a damn up-stream the day before the attack…

    …and they attacked anyway.

    It gets worse, as Grurray pointed out up thread, the US and Russian forces were on the “de-confliction hotline” and the Russians swore up and down before and during the attack Wagner wasn’t Russian.

    This is what the Russian Mercs said happened on social media during the “Arc Light on the Euphrates.”

    1. Predators did the initial acquisition and took out Wagner’s artillery with Hellfire missiles.

    2. F-15Es did the first crewed strikes.

    3. Then Buffs did the heavy deliveries.

    Note: These “JADAM Arch Lights” where done B-52 bombers with Sniper Thermal/Laser designator pods and upgraded with digitally upgraded bomb bays. They took target coordinate snap shots of various positions occupied by Wagner with it’s laser to build a database to feed 20 or so JDAM for a simultaneous precision drop.

    4. Then Wagner was strafed by A-10’s, AC-130 fixed wing and AH-64 Apache Helicopter Gunship.

    Later USAF sources said there were also F-22 drops.

    These likely happened before the F-15 drops to see if PMC Wagner had and high altitude IADS cover from Russian.

    IOW, when American military high command was sure there was no Wagner air defense cover, even shoulder launched missiles. Then they called in the AC-130U and Apaches to pick apart what was left

    The aftermath, according to an ex-US Army correspondent on an e-mail list I use, went as follows —

    One commenter on a thread on FB said ‘entire squads were obliterated.’ The morgue was stacked four deep and ‘nobody had started sorting the body parts.’

    Also ‘Russian doctors were heloed to the area, some at gunpoint.’ They did have medevac and a Russian partial mash. Remember this has been a, for the Mideast, damn near first scale war for a long time. Essentially Class One Industrial First Scale at least. So they do have medical.

    Of course we’re up to about Class Five.

    There is no way that the GRU (Russian Military intelligence) was unaware of Wagner’s poor operational security. Either the cloud of yes men around Putin didn’t let that information through. Or they did and Putin utterly miscalculated the likely American reaction from reading our press.

    Which would be one of the few times those MSM arse wipes were good for anything.

    Now Putin has gone into anti-coup hide out mode until the heat is off.

  10. >>I had not seen those numbers. All I had seen was the initial
    >>reports with ~50 dead.
    >>Haha. Hey Vlad, no matter what CNN says, you’re not dealing
    >>with a limp-wristed Chicago hack commie symp anymore…

    That is part of the reason for the black out. It was a huge military win for Trump over Putin.

    In 2014-2016 Donbas engagements the Russians suffered two WIA for every KIA because of the lethality of Ukrainian Artillery.

    American GBU-32 JDAM are much worse. And PMC Wagner was on the receiving end of scores of JDAM, Hellfires, A-10 strafing, AC-130 strafing, AH-64 strafing and the odd kitchen sink.

    There are several things contributing to us seeing a larger numbers of those WIA being converted into “KIA” as time goes on —

    1. Inadequate by American Standard medevac and medical support resources,
    2. Many wounded are being killed to keep their mouth shut, and
    3. Some non-wounded Syrian and Merc officers involved have been executed because Assad was so hacked off from the public failure.

    The other reason is the long term implications for Russian regime stability.

  11. The reason the Russians had not much to say about Deir Ezzor is that was not part of their plan at all. It was disobedience, wrapped in a mistake and topped with stupid sauce. The Russians do not operate like that. If they had been involved there would have been air cover.

    They were more upset with the Israelis, as the response to the Iranian drone, hit a base where there were Russian troops. One plane was a measured response. As well they blunted the Israeli response to a large degree. Syrian air defenses are just fine.

    As to Mueller and the MSM. They are in panic mode. They sense that the ‘shark has been jumped’ and indeed, it has. ;)

  12. What happens is that the Democrats and MSM put their fingers in their ears and say La la la, I can’t hear you. Independents like their bigger paychecks and figure out what is really going on, re-electing Trump in 2020.

  13. I wouldn’t be surprised if similar rogue Russian elements were behind the Iran drone operation/ambush. If so, it’s a sign Assad and Iran are losing control, so they’re increasingly relying on clueless mercenaries.

  14. I wonder if PenGun works in a troll farm?

    Just a thought.

    Iran is strung out pretty good and so is Russia.

    I think we can play their Vietnam game back at them now.

    I think we are over what used to be called “The CNN Syndrome” and CNN has no credibility anyway,

  15. ROTFLMFAO! A troll farm? You understand, I hope, the Mueller indictment of the Russian … social media users, is an admission of defeat. The main one has been shown to take all sides of various arguments, not to confuse America, but to take money from idiots. The MSM really is frightened that they will have to walk everything a long way back, as reality imposes it’s ugly snout into their …

    Nothing flies in Syria unless the Russians say it’s OK. The Israelis were recently reminded of this fact. Russian pilots are having a field day and tweaking the Americans daily. One interviewed says we play a little game and we always win. The game is who gets on the other guys ass wins, as that’s how air combat works. Now this is just rough play, but could escalate quickly if someone screws up.

    No there’s only me. I don’t need any help and almost no one agrees with me. ;) Fools!

    [PenGun, this is your second comment of the thread. It is time to move on. Thanks, Jonathan]

  16. “If they had been involved there would have been air cover.”

    No, if they had provided air cover to mercenaries on a probing mission, they would be explaining why they lost all those air assets. Since it appears we had a good idea they were coming east of the river, we certainly were prepared for them to have air cover. If we got the B-52’s involved, we had the air space secured. If this raid had worked, they might have been tempted to provide air cover for a next one. I don’t think so [now] Tim. The Russians certainly were involved, these contractors are under their operational control and that is much tighter than what we exercise over coalition forces we work with.

    Syian air defense is fine? Israel loses one F-16 while striking multiple Iranian or Russian sites and that’s fine? Tim, stop smoking that stuff.


  17. If the Russians had provided air cover they wouldn’t have had plausible deniability. The whole fiasco was rooted in the fact that they think they’re dealing with the usual pitiful Western leadership who can be cowed by fear of “escalating the situation” and they thought it was safe to push the limits a bit more than usual. But Vlad miscalculated. He ain’t dealing with the likes of Barry or Justin right now…

  18. I agree, the B-52s (and AC-130s) say not only was the airspace secure, but that we knew that it would be, hours, if not days, in advance. We learned, back when I was in college, over North Vietnam, what happens to B-52s in contested airspace. And we told the world that we had the airspace well secured. Which pretty well guarantees that there were a lot more air assets involved, JIC. In particular, air superiority assets. Reminds me a bit of the opening hours of Desert Storm. And probably reminded everyone else in the area.

    Russia may be a near peer, but this was something that they can’t do – project overwhelming, precision, force at a distance (with impunity). And that is part of their problem here – they probably couldn’t have changed the outcome much, even if they had tried with air assets. Indeed, no one tried. Which may be part of why Putin is playing scarce right now. He looked good pushing Obama around. Trump just reminded him why he maybe should have interfered a bit more in our elections – to maybe have helped Crooked Hillary win.

  19. My big worry right now is that the Democrats might ride Russian Collaboration fever long enough to retake the House in November, and immediately move to impeach Trump. No real possibility of conviction and removal in the Senate, but the Republicans impeached Clinton supposedly over sex, and they see this as much worse. Making things more problematic is the likely swing of 4-5 seats in the House by the PA Supreme Court gerrymander a week or so ago. A Dem win in the House would almost inevitably mean swinging committees from investigating Obama era illegalities to attacking pretty much anything Trump tries to do.

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