Well, Waddya Know! Both President Trump And Barack Obama Are Interfering With The French Election!

See. when we do it, it’s ethical.

It’s small wonder that the rest of the world sees the United States as the most arrogant nation imaginable. Hot on the heals of  elected officials from both parties declaiming the outrageous conduct of Russia to “interfere in an American election,” with Democrats, depending on which excuse has been chalked on the blackboard as Hillary’s excuse du jour, even claiming that Vladamir Putin’s e-machinations stole the election, President Trump endorsed far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. Oh, as usual with this President, it was a confusing endorsement with a touch of deceit: in an interview with The Associated Press, Trump said although he was not offering an endorsement,  Le Pen is “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.” In other words, he endorsed her by saying she was the best candidate. The translation of Trump’s statement: “I won’t endorse her, but I’m endorsing her.”

Typical. Unfortunately.

Two weeks later, ex-President Obama directly and formally endorsed Le Pen’s opponent, Emmanuel Macron, saying  a video announcing his support..

“I know that you face many challenges, and I want all of my friends in France to know how much I am rooting for your success.Because of how important this election is, I also want you to know I am supporting Emmanuel Macron to lead you forward. En March! Vive la France!”

Also typical, also unfortunate.

Obama’s latest exploits should be called his Hypocrisy Tour: first the man who led the party that condemned the corruption of big money in politics immediately cashes in witb a staggering post-presidency book deal and two $400,000 speaking fees, and now the icon of the party that has been shaking its fist at the skies about foreign interference in U.S. elections openly interferes in the election of an American ally. …because, you see, when we do it, it’s a good thing.

This shouldn’t be hard to grasp. Any efforts by a foreign country, government, official, leaders, former leaders, corporations, organizations or media organs to influence the results of another nation’s elections are wrong, per se and always, no exceptions.

Some forms of outside and illicit influence are worse than others, but they all are wrong: endorsements, contributions, fake news, hacking…all of it. This should be obvious, and it is not a partisan observation. The refusal to admit it, however, IS partisan. The United States cannot protest credibly when its elections are messed with as long as its leaders and others persist in interfering with the democracy of other nations themselves. It doesn’t matter if the meddler is a former President who has been anointed with an unearned, permanent presumption of virtue regardless of reality, or a current President whose conduct is automatically assumed to be sinister by those unalterably biased against him. It is wrong in either case, or any other.

This embodies an international application of the Golden Rule. Democratic elections are nobody’s business but the citizens of the nation holding them. The United States resents outside interference with our elections—some Democrats called the Russian involvement with letting us know just how corrupt the Clinton campaign was the equivalent of an act of war—so we should understand why for us to do the same is similarly wrong.

I admit it: I trolled my Angry Left Facebook friends with this post a couple of days ago:

Barack Obama just endorsed Macron in the French election. Boy, don’t you just hate it when foreign governments and officials try to influence elections?

Was that wrong?

As I knew I would, I was immediately bombarded with rationalizations, spin, and the unmistakable sounds of those hoisted on their own petard. “Obama’s just a private citizen!” was the go-to lie. Right. Just a private citizen like you or me, whose endorsement video was run in its entirety on CNN and other news outlets and got more media coverage than the President’s endorsement. An ex-President is not “just a private citizen” as long as he has influence and power, and continues to use it. “The resistance” regards Obama as the last “legitimate” U.S. President. Then there is this: what ordinary private citizen publicly endorses anyone? By definition, endorsements come from those who think they can have an impact on an election by their announced support.

That leads to one of my favorite protests: Obama was trying to influence the French election,, but he wasn’t interfering with it. Aren’t you impressed that Bill Clinton is one of my Facebook friends?

Another theme was the always popular, “With all the other ethical outrages going on, this is the worst thing you can think of?” You all know how much I appreciate that one: “A isn’t wrong because B is more wrong, and besides why don’t you criticize what I find unethical…hey, look over there!”

Embodying what I think is the real logic of this hypocrisy was my left-leaning sister, who said, “This election in France is special, and it’s important to defeat Le Pen.” Ah! The same reasoning the New York Times employed to justify tossing journalism ethics into the trash and actively campaign for Hillary Clinton!

Didn’t anyone tell these people that standards you ignore whenever it is convenient aren’t standards at all?

 

 

65 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Around the World, Facebook, Government & Politics, Leadership

65 responses to “Well, Waddya Know! Both President Trump And Barack Obama Are Interfering With The French Election!

  1. “’Obama’s just a private citizen!’ was the go-to lie.”

    This, of course, ignores a trip to London to interfere in the Brexit referendum, just a year ago.

  2. Steve-O-in-NJ

    If not for double standards the left would have no standards at all.

  3. I can’t wait for

    1) the inevitable spin that this is different than what they accuse Russia of doing- which, though the method may be different, the goal is not.

    2) to see which fraction of Lefties is brazen enough to then go on and argue that Obama doing it is ok while Trump doing it is not.

    • Red Pill Ethics

      I wouldn’t call it spin; I’d call it a material difference. Assuming for the sake of argument that the Russian gov was the party that hacked Hillary (which to date I don’t think there has been any substantial evidence to prove), then we can say that both the Russian acts and the American acts, added useful information that legitimate voters can incorporate into their voting decisions. So far, the acts, their effects, and the consequent ethics, are indistinguishable from any other act of legitimate reporting.

      Concerned American voters learned about Hillary’s lax security and ignorance of technology (among other things).

      Concerned French voters learned that Obama supports a certain candidate and Trump supports another. If you’re concerned about French relations with America going forward (and why wouldn’t you be with the amount of Terrorism in Frace, and America’s leading role in fighting terrorism) then the knowledge that Trump supports one candidate over another is meaningful. Likewise, if you value American style modern-progressivism (and why would you!?), then the opinion of the eight year leader of that ideology might be important to you.

      But of course, information is more than just claims of facts; it’s also sources. When releasing information that might influence an election, sources especially matter. It’s meta-data that (appropriately) influences the interpretation and effect of would-be-facts for reasonable voters. That’s why a story released by the NYT would have a much different impact than the same exact story released by the Klan Gazette. You would be rightly critical of facts released by the Klan.

      Obama and Trump have attached their names to their information. This allows concerned French voters to know where the information came from and perform the critically important task of assessing it’s credibility, biases, motivations, and ultimately, what those facts mean to them.

      The Russians didn’t. They didn’t because they have a god awful reputation garnered from the last hundred years of apocalyptic national and international ethical failures. Millions dead in political purges, allies held at the point of a gun, a functioning dictatorship in the age of democracy, etc. That source, is not a good source to color information with. That necessary piece of information was withheld and the end consumers of that information were denied the tools needed to make critical assessments.

      There in lies the difference. Because I like kinematic metaphors, we’ll talk about organized fights; an apt description of ideological struggles in the first world. What Russia did was a sucker punch, what America did was standard above the belt hit. Sure they’re both punches, but they’re not both wrong.

      For some closing notes, I don’t believe that the Russians interfered with the elections. I’m sure a Russian hacker had some involvement but tying the behavior of a citizen to that of his government is like trying to hold an anvil on top of a ceramic pole. It’s possible, but it’s usually not the case. Until more info comes out positively connecting the two, I don’t think a reasonable person can say that the Russian government was involved. I do bet, that they’re happy to take credit though.

      I’m also not comfortable with the use of the word ‘interfere.’ It sounds like a direct manipulation of the voting process at the ballot, voting official, or voting laws level. I’d submit that the hypothetical Russian and factual American actions are better described ethical or unethical inputs for the voters. As soon as I find a good word for that, I’ll let you know.

      I also think that in general, current and former US officials endorsing candidates ranges from distasteful (in Obama’s case) to outright unethical (in Trump’s case). Just not on the basis that what they did was ethically indistinguishable from what the Russians did.

      • Red Pill Ethics

        I forgot about your second point. My last paragraph was just coincidence. Let me expand on that a bit. It’s distasteful for Obama to involve himself in the French election because it goes against the reasonable and preferable American tradition of having former heads of state fade quietly into the background. As proof of that, I offer the difference in popular perception between G W Bush and Carter. One is seen as aging gracefully while the other is seen as ineffectually railing against their irrelevancy.

        I say reasonable and preferable because it prevents situations like the one in Russia, where Putin retired and then quietly ran the state through his appointed successor.

        Our distaste then, is a guard against puppet leaders and a nod towards decency and civility between successive American leaders. Obama’s actions violate that precedent in spirit if not in action.

        I say that’s it’s unethical for Trump because he is the actual leader of the United States and there is no situation where an ethical result comes from him endorsing the French presidency. If his endorsee wins it creates the perception that the French presidency owes or has been bought by the American president, or in the event that his endorsee loses, he has alienated the leader of a historically and presently significant ally before even being sworn in. It’s just bad politics and diplomacy.

        I can say much the same about Obama, but at the end of the day he isn’t the President anymore and the degree to which this behavior is unethical is proportionally less because of that separation. It’s not completely separated, mind you, since his notoriety is intrinsically tied to the leadership of the US he does bear some representative burden.

        Overall though, whereas Trumps endorsement creates a relatively clear case of the perception of impropriety or alienation, Obama’s is much murkier; if it exists at all. As a retired US leader his ability to cash in any perceived debt is effectively nonexistent, and if Le Pen wins it’s not like he has to work with her.

        Obama’s endorsement violates the spirit, rather than the rule, of an American value, and doesn’t create nearly the same diplomatic problems as Trump. So I say his is distasteful while Trump’s is unethical.

        —-
        And as a side note, because I’ve been lurking rather than posting for awhile and I might not be known to the current commentariat, I’m a non-religious conservative libertarian. Tex and I fall generally on the same side of the arguments here. All of which is to prevent this criticism from those who haven’t seen my previous arguments: This isn’t the voice of a libtard setting a double standard.

        • But it is a double standard. You just make all the rationalizations I mentioned, if very articulately. Saying Obama isn’t a President any more doesn’t mean he isn’t a national leader. Either 2016 US candidate endorsing a French candidate would be unethical.too, yet neither had been elected to anything. Is a former President more of a national leader than a Presidential candidate? Gee, close call. I’d say a winner is more influential than a contestant.

          Obama’s endorsement which was directly and formally termed one is distasteful because it’s wrong, as I explained. Trump’s endorsement was no doubt stupider, since it risks pre-alienating a potential ally. The International Golden Rule as applied to endorsements still applies, and nothing you said undoes that.

      • Isaac

        There is also the inconvenient fact that we’ve been spying on, hacking, and interfering with foreign governments and elections for years, in exactly the way the Russians presumably did to us. And which Obama wholeheartedly signed off on. So let’s not forget that.

        The hypocrisy of Obama making a self-important video to meddle in the French election, when he’s not even President anymore, is just more fun to mock.

  4. Deery

    This is just sad Jack. Grasping for false equivalencies to try to make a foreign government’s direct intervention into our election as okay.

    The major difference is that a foreign government, using the apparatus of that government, at the very least, hacked into computer systems to covertly try to influence the election, at the very least.

    If Putin had directly endorsed Trump, and nothing more, there would not have been as much controversy, though it would have been dumb from a Russian diplomacy standpoint. Margaret Thatcher once endorsed Gorbachev, after all. That just has the potential to make things awkward if your chosen candidate doesn’t win, is all, and a sitting leader has to be aware of that.

    Nor do I understand your dismissal of the fact that indeed, Obama is a private citizen, barred from ever assuming the Presidency again. Yes, he has some influence (which duh, that’s why you publicly endorse someone), but he no longer turns the wheels of government, and has no diplomatic worries that might conflict with an endorsement. He’s a celebrity, not the US government. In much the same way that Susan Eisenhower’s endorsement of Obama when he first ran was widely publicized. Sometimes private citizens make public announcements of support of a chosen candidate. And if those private citizens are notable enough, sometimes it makes the news.

    Nor is Obama working on behalf of his chosen candidate covert or illegal. People are free to take the knowledge of his endorsement, weigh it, and apply it as they see fit. The endorsement might cause some people to vote against Macron as for him, for all we know. But I don’t think many people would approve of Obama hacking into the database of the French candidates and releasing information intended to damage one candidate over the other. That is a bridge too far, at least, it used be for many people.

    • Is this another irony post? It’s hard for me to tell. I need an irony punctuation mark now that my sense of humor has betrayed me. Maybe an onion emoji.

    • Boy I didn’t have to wait long.

    • “The major difference is that a foreign government, using the apparatus of that government, at the very least, hacked into computer systems to covertly try to influence the election, at the very least.”

      Hacking between nations has become routine. One has to expect hacking attempts, one has to protect against hacking attempts. In our discussion, what is missing is an assessment of who was responsible for anticipating and protecting our assets, and who failed to do that.

      “Nor do I understand your dismissal of the fact that indeed, Obama is a private citizen, barred from ever assuming the Presidency again.”

      As I said above, all of your conditions are satisfied by Obama’s injection against the Brexit campaign. That injection, though, actually included threats in the event that the British did not vote the right way.

    • Red Pill Ethics

      It pains me to say it, but I think Deery makes more sense here. And most of the rebuttals seem to be centered around “you silly liberal” rather than around deconstructing the argument.

      • I don’t think so. I think you don’t like the abstraction of the argument. At the end of the day, Obama and Trump *interfered* with the French election. Put in *interfered* with our election. The Left went ape over the “interference” and defend Obama’s interference based on the *method* he used. “It’s just an open endorsement”.

        Which if they want an exception to the standard, they probably should have been a bit less general and a bit more nuanced in their hysterics over the Russia hack, that only showed one more reason why Hillary was a corrupt and awful candidate.

        But they weren’t. So this is a double standard.

        • Spartan

          Method matters as does legality. The Wall Street Journal can openly endorse one candidate over another. That is honest and legal, and the people can judge that endorsement for what it is worth. But, if Wall Street hackers broke into a candidate’s email and released certain information that was damning to that candidate, it should be criticized for it — as well as going to prison for breaking state and federal laws.

          I’m not one of those people that say “the election was hacked!” I think that’s dishonest — hacking an election means that votes were changed or ignored through intervention. But it is correct to say that the Russians illegally interfered with the US election.

          • Correct. Trump and Obama LEGALLY interfered with the French election.

            But both illegal and legal interference by foreign nations and officials in elections are unethical.

            Ethics Alarms is the name, ethics is the game.

            I have never heard of an American newspaper formally endorsing a candidate in another nation’s election. The will say what result they think is in US interests, but endorsements? Never.

          • “But it is correct to say that the Russians illegally interfered with the US election.”

            I don’t necessarily disagree with your characterisation of what happened, but whenever I read something like this, a small part of my brain whispers “by telling the American people the truth”.

            The left in general has thoroughly soiled itself on values this last decade. I’d be hard pressed to think of something that they stood on their values for when it was more convinient to circle the wagons and get partisan.

            With all this noise around “fake news”, “Russian interference” and “hacked election”, I think it’s important to take a step back and acknowledge that despite the illegality of the hacking, the outcome was that voters had more accurate information than they did before the hacks.

            And by that standard, anyone that carried water for Edward Snowden should be stopped from making the point that the relative legality of something matters. I’m just saying.

            • When was it proven the Russians actually did this? No proof has been produced, just opinions that can change whenever the political winds allow them to.

              And yes, the elephant in the room is that the Democrats were stupid (and arrogant) about security, and that they actually DID write the emails. Reap the whirlwind

              • “When was it proven the Russians actually did this? ”

                I don’t particularly care. Look, from an ethical perspective, hacking, among a plethora of other things, is wrong, regardless of who did it. And because I don’t give much traction to the idea that the Clinton Campaign or the DNC leaked their own Emails and sewered their election, that measn that SOMEONE hacked them. That’s enough.

                • Granted, HT. Hacking was wrong in any circumstances

                  However, the narrative is that the Russians did this.

                  • And? Look, the DNC is tapping into some kind of new age Red Scare. It has as much power as we give it. I don’t particularly care is Vlad Putin was pushing the buttons himself, or if it was some Mountain Dew addled teenager in a basement. Very little changes.

              • One of the darkly comforting and simultaneously disturbing marks of State Sanctioned hacking is that the hacking attempts all come from a tight cluster of sources and they all spike for a 9 hour period in the day with a one hour lull in the middle and a near complete fall off on the weekends. The one hour lull in the day can be correlated with noon of the hacking source and you get a picture of ordinary workaday government computer geeks working from 8 am to 5 pm with a lunch break.

                Instead of pimply faced geeks hacking from mom’s basement at all hours or the Hollywood version of dedicated government cybergurus all clustered around a single terminal on the verge of breaking DOD, the state actors are all ordinary shmoes complaining about pay raises and waiting for the weekend.

                I’ll need to find the source, but I listened to a discussion that mentioned one key corroborating bit of evidence was that the 9 hour spike began at Moscow’s 8 am and ended at Moscow’s 5 pm with the one hour lull occurring at Moscow’s lunch time.

                • Please add the older section in normal type:

                  “he Hollywood version of dedicated government cybergurus all clustered around a single terminal on the verge of breaking DOD, at 2 am after nonstop days of firewall frustration

            • You are right, of course. Hillary’s lament boils down to, “How dare Wikileaks and Comey let voters know how corrupt and dishonest my campaign, party and I were before the election!” And there’s no getting around it.

        • Chris

          tex:

          I don’t think so. I think you don’t like the abstraction of the argument. At the end of the day, Obama and Trump *interfered* with the French election. Put in *interfered* with our election. The Left went ape over the “interference” and defend Obama’s interference based on the *method* he used. “It’s just an open endorsement”.

          Which if they want an exception to the standard, they probably should have been a bit less general and a bit more nuanced in their hysterics over the Russia hack, that only showed one more reason why Hillary was a corrupt and awful candidate.

          But they weren’t. So this is a double standard.

          This is just stupid. Everyone hearing the phrase “The Russians interfered with the election” knows it means “illegally interfered.” And of course the nuance of that statement has been articulated by numerous people. People don’t need to explain exactly how the Russians interfered every time they make this statement, because people already know, and we should be able to assume that people listening are acting in good faith and not trying to find something to nitpick.

      • To be clear I think it’s patently stupid for anyone billing himself as a conservative to endorse what Europe calls “the right”. Which is really just a nationalist left wing world view

      • No doubt hacking is *more* unethical than merely using your pop star status to endorse another candidate. But both are still *interfering*. Some the left, until about 5 minutes ago, insisted was verboten.

      • Isaac

        The Russian hacks were most likely retaliation against anti-Putin actions taken by Hillary while Secretary of State. By all accounts, Putin does not like Hillary, and it has nothing to do with a fondness for Donald Trump.

        As a Secretary of State, running for President, with lots of international enemies and lots and lots of shady secrets in her own past…Hillary Clinton’s emails were an obvious target. The fact that she kept them in her own private server for unsavory reasons made her an easy target. She was hoisted by her own petard.

        The Republican Party was also targeted by at least one Russian hacking attempt, but they had adequate security. Hillary did not. And her campaign chairman’s email password was “password.”

        The entire Democratic tantrum over “meddling with the election” is a response to a shady foreign government doing what anyone with a brain would expect them to do (and which, incidentally, we also do to them) combined with Hillary Clinton’s incompetence and legitimate corruption and bad character being exposed. How exactly we get from there to “blame Republican’s for this” I don’t know…but I’m not Deery.

        If “meddling with the election” is wrong (and that’s the most anyone can credibly accuse the Russians of doing- “hacking the election” is just a lie) then so is what Obama and Trump are doing. To endorse a candidate is to meddle with the election.

        Neither Obama nor Trump are illegally hacking anyone to meddle with the election, sure, but if Democrats cared one whit about our country being hacked, then China hacking 4 million Americans’ personal data might have registered some sort of response from Obama comparable to his practically weepy outrage over Russia screwing with his legacy. It didn’t.

    • “which duh, that’s why you publicly endorse someone”

      Thus conceding my point, and the entire point of the post. Did you not realize that, or did you think you could slip it by?

      I in no way said that the Russian/Wilileaks hacks and leaks were equivalents of the Trump/Obama endorsements. I said, 100% correctly, that they were both attempts to influence a foreign election. You are, regrettably, one of the champions here of deliberately pretending whole sections of my posts don’t exist to justify your false arguments. I wrote this: “Any efforts by a foreign country, government, official, leaders, former leaders, corporations, organizations or media organs to influence the results of another nation’s elections are wrong, per se and always, no exceptions.” That is a clear delineation of an absolute principle covering a vast range of conduct, and one not claiming that the seriousness of the conduct in the various cases are equivalent in any way. So no false equivalency was claimed. As you either know, or somehow missed. Saying different things are in a category—this one is “foreign interference in elections”—is not to say they are equivalent. A whale is not the equivalent of a shrew, but they are both mammals. This isn’t hard.

      If I write, “Nobody should kill someone who is not threatening them” you would doubtlessly write “How can you say the wife in the “burning bed” murder is equivalent to The Boston Strangler?

      Now that’s “sad.”

  5. Other Bill

    I wonder whether, a la Brexit, Obama’s endorsement of Macron is going to push the French into Le Pen’s arms. (Do you supposed Le Pen is from a branch of the Bic or Bich family?)

  6. Wayne

    I think Trump is allowed to offer an opinion on who is strongest on borders and what’s going on with France. This is not interfering with the French elections.

    • Isaac

      You could at least make a case. There’s no explaining what Obama is doing, other than missing the spotlight.

  7. If individuals found it contemptible and disgusting in the past administration, where does the acceptance of the exact same agenda and action from this administration come from? It is as though common sense is no longer, they have developed a deaf ear, blind eyes and empty mind.

    It is though they have lost the ability and intelligence of putting the facts together themselves.

    We are on the EXACT same path, just different name sitting behind the presidents desk.

  8. Baron von Cut-n-Paste

    I’m not sure I agree regarding Obama’s statement. It seems pretty much the same as any other celebrity endorsement. Should the voters care what, say, Alec Baldwin thinks about anything other than acting? No, but the fact that a lot of people do is an indictment of them, not Baldwin.

    Likewise, I don’t really see the problem in Obama releasing whatever statement he wants. If the French electorate inexplicably puts any weight on the opinions of a has-been American politician, then that’s on them.

    • Except the the ex-President is not, and has never been just another celebrity. CNN doesn’t cover celebrity videos making policy recommendations, or making endorsements. Boston papers are promoting Obama’s “first major speech” since leaving office, to be made in Boston.

      You don’t see any problem with foreigners interfering with elections, then. Your rationalization applies with equal force to the Wikileaks.

      • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

        Yes, because giving a speech to a bunch of people who can’t vote in the French Election that will then be televised to an American audience definitely constitutes interference. For that matter, if the French electorate for whatever reason thinks Obama’s opinion is relevant, then who are you to tell them they’re not allowed to hear it?

        And I’d thank you not to misattribute views to me.

        • No need to be testy, my good Baron. State what your views are instead of getting persnickety. We are here to discuss and learn other points of view, after all

        • You do excuse a political endorsement, which is by definition an attempt to interfere; otherwise why make it? Who in the US cares who Obama favors for the French Presidency? What earthly difference does it make, except to spur some weak-minded, French Obama admirer (I know that’s redundant) to eschew a coin flip for a vote the way The Brilliant Obama directs.

          Of course, assuming you are just snarky and not dumb, “Yes, because giving a speech to a bunch of people who can’t vote in the French Election that will then be televised to an American audience definitely constitutes interference” is deliberatelya diversion. I mentioned the SPEECH because it shows that Obama is not, as you nonsensically claim, a celebrity on the level of an Alex Baldwin. No, I didn’t say THAT was the interference—the endorsement of a foreign candidate was. The one misattributing is YOU. Don’t do it again.

          And I repeat: if you excuse Obama’s endorsement, as you do with your previous “Likewise, I don’t really see the problem in Obama releasing whatever statement he wants. If the French electorate inexplicably puts any weight on the opinions of a has-been American politician, then that’s on them,” then you endorse foreign interference in elections. Obama is not a French leader, and an endorsement is interference. That it might not be effective or substantial interference is irrelevant.

          So own your illogical position, and don’t complain when I correctly call it what it is.

          • Chris

            You do excuse a political endorsement, which is by definition an attempt to interfere; otherwise why make it? Who in the US cares who Obama favors for the French Presidency? What earthly difference does it make, except to spur some weak-minded, French Obama admirer (I know that’s redundant) to eschew a coin flip for a vote the way The Brilliant Obama directs…That it might not be effective or substantial interference is irrelevant.

            I don’t see how it can be both an unethical interference and be totally ineffective, but then, I’m more of a consequentialist than you are. How meaningful is an interference that doesn’t actually interfere with anything?

            And I repeat: if you excuse Obama’s endorsement, as you do with your previous “Likewise, I don’t really see the problem in Obama releasing whatever statement he wants. If the French electorate inexplicably puts any weight on the opinions of a has-been American politician, then that’s on them,” then you endorse foreign interference in elections.

            Sure, if you use the most broad definition of “interference” possible, and ignore that it is perfectly rational to approve of some types of interference and not others. When I cut my dog’s pill in two, I’m “interfering” with his medication; does that mean I must be OK with my neighbor interfering by replacing the pills with something poisonous?

            • If you use the definition of interference, period. The intent is to affect the election, otherwise, why do it? Whether it is effective interference or not is moral luck.

              • Chris

                Again, it is perfectly rational to accept certain forms of interference and not others; you can disagree with those who are OK with endorsement as a form of interference but not hacking, but calling that “illogical” or a “double standard” is simply inaccurate.

                • As I explain below, I disagree. The only way to prevent foreign inteference is to condemn all foreign interference. Once some forms are argued to be acceptable, as BvCAP does, then that accepts the pretense that it can be justified. Are all forms of child abuse as bad as the rest? No. Do I give a damn? No. All child abuse is wrong. Do those who say, “well, in this case maybe…” increase the number of rationalization child abusers? Of course. As with foreign interference, they are all equally wrong, because none are right. If you concede that some forms are acceptable, then you are endorsing child abuse…some just go “too far.”

                  I was sloppy, as you have pointed out. He was not literally endorsing the Russian hacks, but he was relieving them of the unethical conduct of “interference” by decreeing that interference isn’t inherently unethical.

                  But it is.

                  • Chris

                    As I explain below, I disagree.

                    Which is fine; but the positions of those you are disagreeing with on this issue aren’t double standards, nor are they illogical.

                    The only way to prevent foreign inteference is to condemn all foreign interference.

                    What you are really saying here is that the only way to prevent foreign hacking is to condemn endorsements; I don’t find that convincing. It is perfectly logical to condemn foreign hacking and still find endorsements acceptable.

                    Once some forms are argued to be acceptable, as BvCAP does, then that accepts the pretense that it can be justified. Are all forms of child abuse as bad as the rest? No. Do I give a damn? No. All child abuse is wrong.

                    “Abuse” is wrong period, no matter who does it; “interference” is not.

                    • Putting words in my mouth: “What you are really saying here is that the only way to prevent foreign hacking is to condemn endorsements”

                      Not what I said at all. I said that we cannot effectively or ethically condemn interference when we interfere. Short of actual, tangible retaliation, what the US does won’t have any effect on hacking by Russia or anybody else. Obama didn’t punish the Chinese nor the North Korean for hacks. Nor the Russians. Why wouldn’t they hack whenever they want?

                    • Chris

                      Putting words in my mouth: “What you are really saying here is that the only way to prevent foreign hacking is to condemn endorsements”

                      Not what I said at all. I said that we cannot effectively or ethically condemn interference when we interfere.

                      And the interference referred to in the former clause was endorsements, while the interference referred to in the latter clause was hacking. That’s not putting words in your mouth.

      • Chris

        You don’t see any problem with foreigners interfering with elections, then. Your rationalization applies with equal force to the Wikileaks.

        Jack, I don’t know how you wrote this and then scolded deery for saying you were drawing a false equivalence between endorsements and hacking. No, Baron von Cut-n-Paste’s argument (which is not a rationalization) certainly does not apply with equal force to Wikileaks.

        • What law did Wikileaks break? It released information, which was picked up by news media. This isn’t France. Russia broke laws. Wikileaks did not. Nor is there any proof that Wikileaks affected the result of the election, just that it interfered. BVCP’s excuses for Obama apply with equal force to Wikileaks.

          • Chris

            Wikileaks actively courts and encourages hackers in ways that mainstream media outlets do not; they also selectively release information to serve their political and personal agendas. I don’t know if they’re breaking the law, but I didn’t say they did; I said that BvCP’s arguments about Obama do not apply equally to Wikileaks.

            As I understand it, BvCP’s argument is that endorsements of foreign politicians is ethically acceptable. If you have a different understanding of his argument, let me know what it is. But provided that’s his argument, you know as well as I do that what Wikileaks does goes far beyond mere endorsements of candidates; therefore, BvCP’s argument does not apply to them.

            • Chris

              And anyway, earlier you told deery:

              I in no way said that the Russian/Wilileaks hacks and leaks were equivalents of the Trump/Obama endorsements

              You can’t have it both ways; either you and BvCP are both equating Wikileaks with endorsements, or neither of you are.

              • Again: both are efforts to influence a foreign election, and thus are indefensible. What works or doesn’t work, what was intended or not intended, “legal” or illegal, all are unethical and wrong. All. No exceptions. Some are more serious in effects than others, but they are all wrong. For Democrats or Republicans to decry Russian “interference” and then do it themselves or allow their leaders or the nation’s leaders to do so without their objections is hypocrisy. Any position other than “it’s all wrong” gives a potential pass to the rest by suggesting that “sometimes” foreign interference is OK—in other words, when WE do it.

                Wikileaks is not a foreign nation. That was my only point there.

                • Chris

                  For Democrats or Republicans to decry Russian “interference” and then do it themselves or allow their leaders or the nation’s leaders to do so without their objections is hypocrisy.

                  No, it isn’t. If Democrats were cheering on hacks on Republican politicians while decrying hacks of their own, that would be hypocrisy. It is not hypocrisy to find certain types of interference acceptable (no matter who is interfering and why) while condemning other types.

                  Any position other than “it’s all wrong” gives a potential pass to the rest by suggesting that “sometimes” foreign interference is OK—in other words, when WE do it.

                  That’s a misrepresentation; see above. It’s not “in other words, when we do it,” it’s “in other words, endorsements are fine but hacking is not.” I don’t even know if I disagree with you that endorsements of foreign politicians are wrong, but I do know that you are wrong to say that if one is OK with endorsements and not OK with hacking, they are engaging in hypocrisy.

                  • Oh, please. When both Democrats and republicans have decried “foreign interference with our elections,” they have made no such distinctions. They have not said, “This is the kind of foreign interference in elections that we cannot tolerate, but we’d be fine with other kinds.” Their condemnation was absolute, and properly so. “It’s OK when I do it but not when you do it” is the essence of hypocrisy. “You did a lot of it and I did just a little bit, so I’m better than you” is a rationalization. “It’s not the worst thing.” Agreed, Presidents and ex-Presidents endorsing candidates in other countries is not the worst thing, and I never said it was. It’s just wrong. Always.

                    As I said in the first place.

                    • Chris

                      Again, everyone knows what kind of interference Democrats have been talking about. Taking them to mean endorsements when they clearly mean hacking strikes me as deliberately obtuse.

                    • No, what it means is, don’t make ringing, absolutist declarations if you don’t really mean them, or aren’t willing to live by them. I’m reasonably astute, and I never took the parties’ and media’s condemnation of the Russians over “interference” to mean anything less than “It’s outrageous when foreign governments, officials and entities try to interfere (as in “inject themselves”) into US elections, which are not theirs to participate in, in any way.”

                      Which is correct.

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