Retired CIA operative warns us "Convergence Is Worse Than Collusion"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/22/retired-cia-vet-warns-us-con.html

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So are their interests colliding or converging?

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At this point the writing’s on the wall. Senior officials in Teflon Donald’s campaign colluded with Russian state assets. My guess is Putin is far too savvy to have any direct official connection to them, and he’d be expected to try to sway foreign elections. The interesting question is whether Cheetolini knew. The irony is that he may be so dumbfoundingly stupid that his inept accomplices told him and he only vaguely understood it, leading to the instance of him going on national television to publicly invite Russian interference, an action so brazenly corrupt as to give deniability to his seriousness.

But yeah, it’s excellent odds more than one of his bootlickers told him about their attempts to court Russian collusion, and I’ll bet more than one will flip.

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The United States, though, remains a more prosperous and more powerful nation, an advantage built on its commitment to its founding values.

I bet he thinks all the people dumping on capitalism are mere tools of Russian propaganda, too.

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such fringe views are becoming more mainstream, displaying an increasing convergence of interests between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the views of Drumpf supporters.

In the end, both Putin’s and Il Douche’s supporters are the same Know-Nothing 27%ers: jingoistic, racist, ultra-nationalist, often Xtianist xenophobes who constantly support policies that end up being destructive to their own economic interests and health and welfare.

As for their “leaders”, the difference is one of competence rather than aspiration. They’d be just as happy as enemies as they are colluders, because right-wing populist leaders are always in need of enemies – including other right-wing populist leaders as circumstances dictate.

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I’ve been saying this all along. I highly doubt Trump even knew he was colluding. Putin says hey it sure would be nice if these sanctions went away, also I hear you’re selling real estate in Moscow, I’d love to buy some. Trump thinks oooh boy, the tough guy I want to emulate likes me, he really likes me! Sanctions sound bad and I literally have zero background on anything to make any other decision, I’ll help him out so he likes me more!

Obviously bad, and collusion, and treasonous. But not the high-intelligence, covert operation a lot of people think it is.

Aside from this, though, is the fact that more savvy republicans quite clearly were using covert methods to funnel Russian money through the NRA. In many ways I think we should put a little less focus on the barely functional potato in the White House and put a lot more scrutiny on Republicans in the House and Senate.

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Our ideals are second to none in the history of the world (even though we have rarely lived up to them as consistently as we should), but this sentiment always puzzles me when educated adults throw it out there as an axiom.

We are so loathe to admit to ourselves that a good measure of our prosperity and power comes as a result of being an essentially impregnable, vast nation awash in natural resources, with access to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and no existential threats in the hemisphere. When that was combined with having a mind-boggling industrial base ramped up after WWII with much of the rest of the industrialized world trying to recover, we got a hell of a lead on the rest of the world that we’ll never get back.

(to be clear, I know you didn’t say this & were just quoting–this is criticism of the sentiment not you)

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In other words, we don’t acknowledge the factor of luck in our prosperity. We also don’t acknowledge the role that critical violations of those ideals – dispossession of Native Americans and slavery being the original sins – played in building the country.

In that sorry sense, the privileged Libertarian douchebros who whinged when Obama told them “you didn’t build that” are operating in one of the oldest of American traditions.

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Don’t get me started on Libertarians.

“it is categorically impossible for a government to create wealth”

Then when you point out that public works allow for an ROI on personal wealth far in excess of the taxes required to build them, they go on to weasel out of any comprehensible definition of “wealth”.

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This shouldn’t be surprising. The Alt-right fascist set has had a long term fascination with Russia and Putin. Seeing them as both a model to work towards, and an important ally. Often read as an explicitly white Christian ethno-state standing between Europe and thick, intoxicating muslim cock.

And I mean that literally. Everytime I’ve seen that discussion in online fringe right spaces it rapidly devolves into discussion of brown people’s groins.

So I definitely think this goes the other way. Trump isn’t so much leading the right to Russia. As the fringe right was already there. So as with a lot of this it’s more Trump elevating and validating the Fringe.

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Co-mingling.

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How many Trump supporters, if they actually got what they say they want, would be happy? How many would see their neighbors rounded up and their childrens’ schools closed and blame Obama?

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And slavery. It never went away, now we have modern day slavery by means of acquiring dirt cheap goods from child laborers in other parts of the world. Our prosperity is largely thanks to others having little to nothing.

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I think the commitment to rule of law is actually more valuable than any of that. The US’s economy is only huge compared to western peers because of its huge population. There’s no one way to directly compare the wealth of nations, but GDP per capita at purchasing power parity puts the US in 5th (though I wouldn’t count Luxembourg, personally) with basically all the western democracies in a relatively tight pack.

If you take a country with great natural resources but no judiciary and put it up against a country with poor natural resources but a great government, the latter will be doing better every time.

So I think claiming that American ideals have lead to American prosperity is fair, especially since those ideals informed the democracies of many other countries. I do think that America should look at other countries and continue modernizing it’s ideals, though.

Slavery makes individuals who take advantage of it richer, but it makes society poorer. That goes for those kids we are exploiting overseas right now, and for the slaves in US prisons. If everyone shops at the dollar store then everyone works at the dollar store. It’s a tragedy of the commons except the commons is other people’s lives and bodies. Give those people education, food and freedom and we’ll all be richer in a generation.

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That is really not hard to believe. Hard-line autocrats who employ a secret police force that assassinate or “disappear” enemies of the state; a largely white, anti-semitic nation; a ban on LGBTQ rallies, and being LGBTQ is “not illegal yet”

I mean… it’s sort of like a “to do” list for the Republican party, right?

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Cf: Africa

Basically choked with natural resources, but largely hasn’t recovered yet from colonial destruction of native government.

…because that destruction is still ongoing.

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