Two questions

I have two questions. I ask them purely because I am curious, and NOT because I have an agenda. Furthermore I am DEFINITLEY NOT a Trump supporter, just in case my questions give you the wrong idea.

  1. Dov Levin (Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie-Mellon University) calculated that between 1946 and 2000, the US attempted to influence the elections of other countries as many as 81 times – and these figures do not include its support of military coups or attempts to overthrow the regime following the election of a candidate the US opposed. Why is Russian interference in the American Presidential election different from US interference in other countries? Size of country? Relative global importance of county?
  2. Given the current prevalence of ‘fake news’ and rumour that seems to shroud the White House in an almost impenetrable fog these days, how will anyone manage to determine for sure whether the President did or didn’t pass on sensitive information to his Russian guests? Who can anyone believe?
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10 Responses to Two questions

  1. Noah Weiss says:

    Hmm. Given that I am fairly apolitical, I couldn’t answer these questions well, but I have some ideas:

    1) Maybe the media bias for the USA and the idea of the “Global Police Force” that the USA seemed to have in the Industrial Revolution gave some sort of normativity in influencing elections. I wonder how many of them came in trying to instill democracy into a place that had no desire to become a democracy?

    2) That is a very good question, and I don’t have an answer. Perhaps enough pressure will uncover truth… or just more lies.

  2. 1) I am sure many of our elections have been influenced by outside forces. Why wouldn’t they be? What happens here affects what happens in other countries (and vice-versa). I think the WAY our elections seem to have been influenced by Russia is the upsetting factor. It’s pretty difficult to fight internet trolls (one method), and then the whole cyber-spying thing.

    2) I think there are facts that have been spun by various news media in different ways, but the facts are there. And there is a relatively non-biased, informative center line of news media. Most of all, no one can dispute things Trump has actually done or things he’s said with his own mouth (or Twitter finger). The FBI has been investigating his ties to Russian mafia money for a while now. It’s intriguing (scary?) what they’ve uncovered so far.

    • The more time passes, the more I see the internet as a monster unleashed, despite its obvious benefits.
      I hope you’re right about the truth floating to the top. I guess I’m just feeling particularly cynical at the moment.

      • I’ve just had an unpleasant kind of semi-confrontation with a woman whose husband was going to repair my garage. I told them last year their estimate was fine, I’d have the money in May. I have the money. They came back with, “Talk to your insurance company again. Maybe the claim is good, you’ll get enough for a new garage and your rates won’t go up.” I did just that. The appraiser told the insurance company the damage came to a figure less than my deductible and 1/4 these folk’s estimate. This says to me, “Do your own investigation”

        I would not have reached that point if, when the money arrived, they’d done the work instead of NOT showing up at various times they said they would be here and then suggesting I go back to my insurance company. That is greed AND ignoring the “bird in the hand” axiom. The point is the truth might float to the top, but human nature is not all it could be sometimes. The way the Trump supporters deny even the words that come out of his mouth as having been said by him? Who wouldn’t be cynical when so many people cling to illusion BY CHOICE.

  3. Embeecee says:

    I have no idea of a sensible answer to either question. All I can say with certainty is that, given the character of Cheeto, it doesn’t seem a stretch that he’d blab something that’s supposed to be ‘secret’. And who can anyone believe? Trust yourself. To ME? that’s the only person worthy of it in this day and age. All common sense and hard ‘news’ has gone underground, maybe permanently. I do not trust the media, the government nor most anyone. It’s a really dark time in America.

  4. lwbut says:

    Good questions Helen. 🙂

    My 2 cents: 1. Had never really given it all that much thought before the US 2016 Presidential race and Trumpet asking on broadcast TV for the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails and tell Americans the ‘truth’ in an effort to influence voting towards him and away from Hillary. Since that time, with the benefit of hindsight, i realise this is nothing new. Those with influence and self-interest in outcomes will always try to use that influence to get something closer to what they would prefer – the more power and influence you have the more you can do. The US is very powerful with self-interests not just in their own country but in most of the world. There is every likelihood that the US has tried to influence every Australian election in ways that best serves their interests and not those of the Australian people! Probably so has Russia and it seems almost certain now so does China – our mineral deposits are of world wide interest and value. Nations would be stupid not to try to influence political outcomes here in their favour( it’s one of the reasons all countries have spy networks). Because of our reliance upon the US our politicians seem to largely look the other way and do not wish to stir the pot up too much, particularly with regards to US interference, we’ll wait and see what they think of the Chinese attempts. (Sam Dastyari anyone?)
    So the only difference i see is in the choice of media coverage you get to listen to – ours is mostly Pro-US biased so we hear lots about it when it’s a bad thing for the US and nothing when it is in their favour.
    2. The easiest way would be for the Russians to say something they know that they shouldn’t know that they could not have found out without Trumpet trumpetting. But the Russians are probably not going to do that unless they want to get rid of Trump and appearances are that they want him just where he is – in charge but under their influence. Knowing Trump’s ability to make an absolute ass of himself it is more than likely the Russians have some really bad dirt on him and are using it for all they are worth now he’s got the Main Job.

    If he had any integrity or patriotism for the US he’d stand down as president – but we all know he doesn’t and won’t go voluntarily. That would indicate failure and he’ll never admit to that.

    As for finding out the truth in other ways? We’ll have to hope that there are still some people with integrity – or at least the self-interest and vindictiveness – to get the facts out in the open for all to judge clearly. Whether Truth comes out through honest and open confession or dishonest and sneaky revenge does not really matter so long as it actually comes out and is believable/irrefutable. I cannot add undeniable to this anymore as Trump officials have shown even flat out lies will be denied or defended these days.

    We live in strange times, or maybe they were always strange and we just had limited/selected information concerning them.

    The internet has opened Pandora’s Box as far as communication is concerned.


    • I am very, very sick of Aus pollies banging on about our ‘great US friends and allies’. Ha! Do they truly think the US gives a damn about us except when we might be useful to boost allied numbers in one of their wars? Or a useful jumping off point for US aircraft? Do we really think America would rush to our aid in times of trouble unless it suited their own purposes? Yes, have to admit I am a cynical old bat, but does Australia even exist in the American consciousness? I doubt it. It certainly doesn’t figure in US news reporting. And Trump’s treatment of Turnbull pretty much says it all, really. (See )
      Loved your comment on Marilyn’s blog regarding the Paris debacle. Facts! Gotta love ’em!
      Times were probably always a lot stranger than we thought, but I’m old enough to remember when ‘honourable’ and ‘responsibility’ weren’t dirty words. Or jokes. Which doesn’t mean I yearn for ‘the good old days’ which weren’t good at all in some ways. But at least greed wasn’t quite so acceptable.

      • lwbut says:

        Spot on! – in this grumpy old sod’s opinion. 😉

        I would say though that while a large number of Americans would have no idea of the difference in, or locations of, Austria and Australia, there are a few million or so who know of and like us and even a little about us and a precious few have actually visited here even! 😉

        A miniscule percentage of which seems to be in Trump’s retinue or advisory cadre.

        Ah yes – greed, where would we all be without it? Most of us would be a lot happier and probably a lot richer also, if it weren’t for greed and the tiny few who have mastered that evil ‘art’.


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