Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/8/2018: Tolstoy And The News [UPDATED!]

Good Morning!

1  Thanks, Leo! I think.. Althouse reminded me of a Tolstoi quote that offers the perfect explanation of why bias makes you stupid:

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.”

Researching this one led me to another quote from the Peasant Count:

“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their life”.

The quotes explain more of what is going on in the culture, journalism and politics right now than I am comfortable thinking about…which means that I am perpetually uncomfortable.

2. Someone please explain why we have not had this made crystal clear to us...This morning I heard Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican Senator whom I regard as an honorable and ethical public servant, note while talking about the unfolding FISA scandal that Christopher Steele, the author of the so-called Russian dossier, was paid in part by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to assemble the material, for which he visited Russia and engaged with sources there. Wait…what? This made Steele an agent of the Clinton campaign by definition, and means, therefore, that the Clinton campaign was “colluding” with Russia during the Presidential 2016 campaign, to “meddle” with U.S. elections.

[UPDATE and Correction: This is what the honorable and ethical Senator said. In fact, since Steele was a former spy, he couldn’t go to Russia. He did, however, engage sources who did, and who made contacts with Russians. Legally, this makes little difference. An agent who uses an agent to do the work of the principle is still responsible for what THAT agent does. ]

But the statement above is inaccurate. ] This constitutes more evidence of Clinton “collusion” than Mueller’s year-long investigation has uncovered regarding the Trump campaign, since, as far as we know, it has uncovered no such evidence at all. Is Mueller investigating Democratic “collusion”? If not, why not? The argument that Clinton was engaged in exactly the kind of activities Trump’s campaign is being accused of has been brushed off as crazy Fox News talking points by the mainstream media. It seems pretty clear now that this is a false and deliberately misleading representation, even before we arrive at the problematical use of the document by the FBI and the Justice Department.

3. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! I have never seen a more stark example of the mainstream news media/ conservative news media divide than this, though there are plenty of ties: Since yesterday morning, Fox News has been leading with reports on the new text messages uncovered showing the chatter between those star-crossed FBI lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page . Fox is hyping them to death, no doubt about it, but there is certainly material there to cause concern. The text that has been the focus of the most attention comes after messages involving a meeting about preparing Comey for a report to President Obama “because potus wants to know everything we’re doing.”

This occurred in the middle of the Clinton email investigation, which Obama has assured the press that he had no knowledge of or involvement in whatsoever. There were other provocative messages as well. The modern day Tristan and Isolde wrote that it was “Fucking terrifying” and “depressing” that Trump won the election, then a week later, Page wrote, “I bought all the president’s men. Figure I need to brush up on watergate .”  The next day, she again wrote to Strzok, “God, being here makes me angry. Lots of high fallutin’ national security talk. Meanwhile we have OUR task ahead of us.” The Senate new report also reveals texts  about the “risk” of a Trump presidency, “unfinished business,” and “an investigation leading to impeachment.”

The Senate report also revealed that the FBI knew about the thousands of Hillary Clinton e-mails found on Anthony Weiner’s computer a full month before Comey announced he wanted to re-open the Clinton email investigation and informed Congress.

None of this proves anything right now, though Fox and other conservative outlets strongly suggest otherwise. However it is news. It is certainly more newsworthy than what might be in a parade the President says he wants to have on the Fourth of July, another example of the latest development in fake news, “future news,” where the New York Times and other sources obsess endlessly about how bad it will if something happens that hasn’t happened yet and perhaps never will but the fact that the President may have considered it, intended it or wanted it to happen is damning enough.

ABC, NBC and CBS all ignored the release of the emails.

4.  The Dreamers Ethics Train Wreck rolls on. From Nancy Pelosi’s marathon speech yesterday:

 

There you have it:  ”Thank-you for breaking our laws, and saddling us with this divisive problem’ from a leader of the Democratic Party. The attitudes and posturing of the Democratic Party regarding illegal immigration is cynical, dishonest, and irresponsible.

Oddly, Pelosi’s direct endorsement of law-breaking did not receive any criticism or coverage from the mainstream media.

From the metaphorical other side of the aisle, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly explained that the illegal residents eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was a far larger group than those who had registered for DACA during the five years it was in operation before President trump suspended it.

“There are 690,000 official DACA registrants and the President sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million,” he said. “The difference between 690,000 and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up.”

Naturally, the mainstream news media and Democrats made these comments a big story. Here are some headlines:

Trump aide: Some immigrants ‘too lazy’ to sign up for DACA (Both CNBC and ABC)
John Kelly: Trump Plan Would Help Dreamers ‘Too Afraid’ Or ‘Too Lazy’ To Apply For DACA (Huffington Post)
John Kelly Suggests Some Dreamers Might Be ‘Too Lazy to Get Off Their Asses’ (Daily Beast)

There are many more. All are false and misleading. Kelly deliberately laid out the dichotomy between the arguments of the Dreamer advocates who explained, as several did on TV yesterday, that many of those eligible for DACA did not take advantage of the program because they were afraid (though why they were afraid when the Obama administration wasn’t deporting them is a fair question), and Dreamer critics, who might argue that they were just too lazy to do what was necessary. Kelly did not personally endorse either of these arguments, but naturally many sources chose to highlight the most pejorative part of his statement.

It’s biased, unethical and deceptive journalism.

Again.

96 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, language, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

96 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/8/2018: Tolstoy And The News [UPDATED!]

  1. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Remember the six basic truths?

    1, and most important: People are BIASED. They know what they like, they know what they want, and very little is going to change that.

    2. People are partisan and will cherry pick favorable facts, ignore unfavorable ones, and twist themselves up into logical pretzels to support their side.

    3,4. This is bolstered by the next two basic truths: people are lazy and arrogant. They aren’t interested in actually finding out the bases for anything the guy opposed to them has to say, and they wouldn’t want to hear them if they did.

    5,6. This leads to the last 2 basic truths: People are immature and hateful, so, when they can get away with it, they express their opinions in sophomoric, unfunny, and often downright cruel ways.

    The mainstream media is just the six basic truths writ large, and the left generally isn’t far behind. I had a conversation with a clerk in my office who will tell me that Columbus was a POS and recite all the lefty talking points, but later start a conversation about WWII and talk about the Friar rather than the Fuhrer. He thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room, but I saw no reason to tell him his stock with me just crashed.

  2. My head cannot kaboom more.

    Except that I must reserve a certain amount for what I fear will be the inevitable spin I expect to see made later.

  3. Kyjo

    Oh, Nancy. No, we are absolutely not in anyone’s debt for illegally entering, residing, and working in our country, and bringing their minor children along with them. The “Dreamers” haven’t been some great boon to our nation. Quite the opposite! The Dreamers and their parents have lived off the fat of the American people. They owe us a debt they can never repay, and if we, in an act of compassion and good will, grant them citizenship, the depth of their debt to will be unfathomable. How many of them will ever acknowledge it? If Democratic talking points are at all representative of the broader attitudes of the Dreamers, the answer is very few.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      The Democrats want the Dreamers to owe that huge debt to THEM, and create a permanent blue majority. Of course they have to make sure they are settled in all the right places. When you can’t rely on your own people, import people you can rely on.

    • Chris

      The “Dreamers” haven’t been some great boon to our nation. Quite the opposite! The Dreamers and their parents have lived off the fat of the American people.

      This is a xenophobic lie with no basis in fact.

      • Dreamers might eventually be a boon to America. Part of DACA was a requirement that they be educated, that education wasn’t free, but it was subsidized, so as of this moment, they most probably have acted as a drain on the system. That said, they’re a drain very likely to pay dividends as the Dreamers enter the workforce.

        The question is if instead of taking in students, America took in “normal” immigrants, who are usually already educated and either require a couple of top up certification courses or are already ready to enter the workforce, would America have been better off? Once you take into account opportunity costs, the Dreamers were invariably a bad deal.

        • Chris

          Where on earth are you getting the idea that the U.S. would have taken in more of your so-called “normal” immigrants if it weren’t for the Dreamers?

          • It very well might not have, but countries are generally good at estimating about how many immigrants they need to take in, and had people not been hopping the border illegally, it’s at least possible normal immigration rates would have increased.

            Even if you want to argue that that isn’t true, the fact of the matter is that the way we’re talking about Dreamers is as an investment, that has yet to pay out, and may never pay out. The idea that people breaking immigration laws helped America is asinine and needs to die a painful death.

            • Chris

              It very well might not have, but countries are generally good at estimating about how many immigrants they need to take in

              I…have no idea why you think that is true.

              Even if you want to argue that that isn’t true, the fact of the matter is that the way we’re talking about Dreamers is as an investment, that has yet to pay out, and may never pay out. The idea that people breaking immigration laws helped America is asinine and needs to die a painful death.

              Why is that asinine? Certainly you acknowledge it’s possible to break the law of a country and still help that country in the long run by doing so–this happened all the time during the Civil Rights Movement. I’m not comparing Dreamers to Civil Rights Activists–the concerns, both ethical and legal, are different–but it is not asinine to believe that the Dreamers are helping America despite breaking the law (and remember, they originally had no choice in the matter anyway).

              • “Why is that asinine? Certainly you acknowledge it’s possible to break the law of a country and still help that country in the long run by doing so–this happened all the time during the Civil Rights Movement. I’m not comparing Dreamers to Civil Rights Activists–the concerns, both ethical and legal, are different–but it is not asinine to believe that the Dreamers are helping America despite breaking the law (and remember, they originally had no choice in the matter anyway).”

                I acknowledge no such thing.

                I’m an economics guy, so I’m going to try to explain this with economics. Let’s say there’s a market… Let’s say Energy drinks. When you and I were in high school, energy drinks did not exist. When I got my first job, Red Bull came in a brown glass medicine bottle that was sold on pharmacy shelves as an energy supplement. Energy drinks exploded onto the market and experienced four digit growth rates for most of a decade.

                The growth in energy drinks at the time was a positive trend. Now let’s throw in some variables. If you make something more expensive, all other things equal, would you expect to sell more, or less? Probably less, right? But what if that natural trend overcame the lost sales you incurred by raising prices? What if instead of growing at the rate of 1000% year over year, sales merely grew 800%?

                There are a couple of ways of looking at this, one is to say: “We raised the price of Red Bull, and we sold 800% more of it, so raising the price of Red Bull means that we sell more!” (This is the retardation of progressive minimum wage laws, by the way, but that’s a separate fight.) another way of looking at it is: “We would have sold 1000% more Red Bull, but we raised the price, which negatively effected the growth rate by 200%,” In other words, even though what we did negatively effected sales, sales increased anyway, because the trend was so positive.

                Even if the Dreamers to contribute eventually to the economy, I believe that they will have done so at a greater cost, not only in financial terms, but in social and political terms than other, alternative ways to realize the contributions to the economy. Right off the top of my head: Governments actively recruit certain positions from foreign schools, if we didn’t have the Dreamers ready to graduate, and we saw that we needed, say, veterinarians in Texas, then the government could push to get vets through the queue faster, and save all the school dollars and political capital wasted on the Dreamers.

                • Chris

                  I acknowledge no such thing.

                  So you don’t acknowledge that the lunch counter sit-ins, which were illegal, benefited America? Bizarre.

                  Even if the Dreamers to contribute eventually to the economy, I believe that they will have done so at a greater cost, not only in financial terms, but in social and political terms than other, alternative ways to realize the contributions to the economy. Right off the top of my head: Governments actively recruit certain positions from foreign schools, if we didn’t have the Dreamers ready to graduate, and we saw that we needed, say, veterinarians in Texas, then the government could push to get vets through the queue faster, and save all the school dollars and political capital wasted on the Dreamers.

                  There are many factors you’re leaving out here. For starters, what about the dollars and political capital being wasted on deporting the Dreamers and other illegal immigrants who would have entered legally had they had the option?

                  • You said: “Certainly you acknowledge it’s possible to break the law of a country and still help that country in the long run by doing so–this happened all the time during the Civil Rights Movement.”

                    And I said: “I acknowledge no such thing.”

                    From the founding of America in 1776 to the first success of the suffrage movement in 1870, very few people had the ability to vote. It was only in 1870 that men universally got the vote (with some huge asterisks) and only in 1920 that women got the vote (same).

                    People like to think that the suffragettes were alone in the wilderness, opposed by old white men in funny wigs, but the truth of the matter is that the suffragist movement, fresh off the success of 1870 immediately started to move for universal female suffrage as well.

                    We will never be able to say with certainty whether women would have gotten the vote sooner, later or at all if not for the suffragette movement, but if you actually look back at the things people were writing at the time, the suffragist movement was generally annoyed at the suffragettes, who they found to be noisy distractions to a process that was already well underway.

                    Opposition to women’s suffrage came from many quarters, but I there were two camps in particular that I find interesting: The people who used the bad behavior of the suffragettes as indicative of the bad behavior of women generally, and thought that women were not mature enough to handle the responsibility of the vote, and the Women who were afraid that if they were given the right to vote, they might have to pay for that right with selective service, just like the men did.

                    Now it’s the first group that was important to this conversation. Were they sexist? It sure seems so, although I think that it’s unfair to say so with too much malice, being products of their time. But more importantly is that they used the actions of the suffragettes to oppose suffrage. When I said “bad behavior” earlier, I’m not talking about burning bras or getting uppity, suffragettes full on rioted, there are examples of property damage, burnt buildings, assaults and deaths. I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable to wonder if the suffragettes not given so much ammunition to their detractors, the suffragists might have succeeded a decade earlier, and with fewer bodies along the way.

                    I do not believe that gains made at the expense of breaking the law, generally, come at a lower cost than gains made within the law.

                    • Chris

                      I’m not about to condone rioting, though if anything justifies it, it’s being denied the right to vote because of what’s between one’s legs. But I specifically used the lunch counter sit-ins as my example. You’re really going to tell me no good came of those? Martin Luther King, Jr. spent quite a few nights in jail, not because of trumped-up charges, but because he broke the law. That didn’t do any good?

                      Again, this isn’t to say the Dreamers are equally justified–their circumstances are different, since they aren’t the ones responsible for breaking any law in the first place for being brought over as kids. But this is to show that the notion that Dreamers are helping our country isn’t “asinine,” as you call it.

                    • “You’re really going to tell me no good came of those?”

                      You watched that Jordan Peterson debate on channel 4, right? The one where he would say something, and Cathy Newman would say something like “So what you’re saying is….” and then follow it up with things that no only did he not say, and not mean, but no one approaching his words rationally could have thought he meant. All through this conversation, I’ve been saying that obviously, good things happened, but I’m not convinced that better outcomes were not impossible had there been less law breaking.

                      I also want to point out how fundamentally flimsy your argument is here, because you’re comparing not just different ways to break laws, but different laws. We aren’t talking about legislating different facilities for different races of Americans, we’re talking about the border.

                      Consider this:

                      Is having a border a good thing, yes or no?
                      Should a country have the right to determine the number of people that enter it, yes or no?
                      Should a country be able to determine the people who enter it based on the merit of the applicant, yes or no?

                      And that’s about the point down the rabbit hole where I expect reasonable people to be able to disagree. The next level of principle might involve what things make up “merit”. But once you determine that the underlying premise of the law itself has merit, you should probably ponder how the ethics and outcomes of laws with merit differ from the ethics and outcomes of meritless laws.

                  • “There are many factors you’re leaving out here. For starters, what about the dollars and political capital being wasted on deporting the Dreamers and other illegal immigrants who would have entered legally had they had the option?”

                    That’s actually an argument in favor of my point. Look, there’s no universe where people break immigration law and so we throw up our hands and work with a wonderful borderless world. The cost of administering DACA is a cost that the Dreamers, or more to the point, the parents of the Dreamers, have hoisted upon us, and they shouldn’t be rewarded because they made the enforcement of the laws they broke costly.

      • Kyjo

        Do tell me how my statement is a “xenophobic lie with no basis in fact.” Illegal immigrants never get paid under the table, avoiding tax liabilities? Illegal immigrants don’t go to ERs for medical treatment that they never pay for, and they never receive treatment from public health programs using falsified IDs and Social Security numbers? Illegal immigrants don’t drive around without insurance and cause auto accidents they never pay for? Illegal immigrants don’t send their children to public schools? Illegal immigrants don’t send any substantial amount of their earnings back to their countries of origin?

        • Chris

          I like how you think the answer to any of those questions would back up your initial argument. Certainly lots of illegal immigrants do those things (and certainly they would do so less if we provided them a path to citizenship). But such anecdotes aren’t even close enough to counter the vast majority of evidence that they are net contributors to our economy.

          • Kyjo

            At best, whether illegal immigrants are “net contributors” to our economy is a matter of contention. I’ve seen estimates that they pay something like $11 billion in taxes annually (roughly $1,000 per head or less—not exactly a cash cow, with the average American paying 9-10 times as much), but nearly every estimate of the value they receive in public benefits exceeds that figure. They also depress wages in multiple industries, and we should count costs associated with their US-born children, who wouldn’t have been born here if the parents hadn’t illegally entered our country in the first place. I don’t believe there is any reasonable argument to be made that these costs are somehow actually less than the taxes illegal immigrants do pay.

            • Chris

              I’ve seen estimates that they pay something like $11 billion in taxes annually (roughly $1,000 per head or less—not exactly a cash cow, with the average American paying 9-10 times as much), but nearly every estimate of the value they receive in public benefits exceeds that figure.

              Can you cite these estimates? The first one I found says precisely the opposite–a 2006 study by the Texas comptroller found that the state spent about $58 million on public services on illegal immigrants, but that illegal immigrants paid 1.58 billion in state and local taxes. That’s just one state.

              http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2016/sep/28/tom-delay/tom-delay-says-most-illegal-immigrants-draw-welfar/

              • Kyjo

                That’s only the programs in Texas for which illegal immigrants are eligible, and doesn’t touch on any assistance obtained fraudulently, nor any of the the other economic costs of illegal immigration in Texas. But nice try, Chris. Here’s what Politifact had to say about nonpartisan cost estimates:

                Costs of the unauthorized population have been debated before, though recent, nonpartisan estimates are scarce.

                In 1995, the U.S. General Accounting Office reported that a professor emeritus of economics had pegged the net cost of undocumented immigrants to federal, state and local governments at $11.9 billion in 1992. A review of the professor’s work published in 1994 by the Urban Institute, a policy research organization, rebutted that amount, adjusting it to $1.9 billion.

                The professor, Donald Huddle, in a separate exercise estimated net costs between $16 billion and $21.6 billion for 1994, the GAO report noted. The 1994 range of estimates assumed an undocumented population between 4 million and 5.4 million. (Huddle also rebutted the Urban Institute’s rebuttal.)

                “Because little data are available on illegal aliens’ use of public services and tax payments, the various indirect approaches used to estimate costs and revenues were often based on assumptions whose reasonableness is unknown,” the report said. “A great deal of uncertainty remains about the actual national fiscal impact of illegal aliens.”

                A 2007 report from the Congressional Budget Office examined the impact of unauthorized immigrants on state and local governments and found that they pay less in taxes than what they receive through state and local public services. It also noted they are prohibited from many federal benefits. (link)

                • Kyjo

                  Politifact also includes discussion of estimates from the Center for Immigration Studies and the Heritage Foundation.

                  As for the $11 billion tax figure (state and local taxes): https://itep.org/undocumented-immigrants-state-local-tax-contributions-2/#.WLhUSm_yvcs

                  • Chris

                    CIS is an extremist anti-immigrant group which has never produced a study that wasn’t immediately discredited, and Heritage is not much better.

                    • Kyjo

                      I mean, whatever you say, Chris. Politifact was citing them in an attempt to make Trump a liar for using a higher estimate from FAIR. Nothing I’ve said is a “xenophobic lie with no basis in fact.” But you’ll never retract that outrageous statement, will you?

                    • Chris

                      No, I’m fairly comfortable standing by my evaluation of your outrageous statement that “The Dreamers and their parents have lived off the fat of the American people,” which you’ve done nothing to support.

                    • Kyjo

                      You’re a dishonest interlocutor, Chris. I just pointed you to what Politifact, a source you went to first, has to say about nonpartisan estimates. The ones they cover all conclude that there is a net cost, though there’s debate over the how high the cost is. Even the 2007 GAO report that concluded that illegal immigrants receive more than they pay in taxes. So, my statement has facts behind it, and you have yet to show how it’s a “xenophobic lie.”

                    • Kyjo

                      Sorry, CBO rather than GAO.

                    • Chris

                      None of which justifies the line of yours I quoted. Even if they pay less in taxes than they receive in benefits, that’s not “living off the fat of the American people.” These people are working. And the amount paid in taxes is not the only measure of economic impact.

                    • Kyjo

                      If someone unlawfully enters your house, lives in the attic, showers in your bathroom, steals food from your pantry, and cooks in your kitchen, it doesn’t matter that they vacuum sometimes, fix a leak in the roof, or change your car’s oil: they are living off of your wealth.

                    • Chris

                      Oh good, I was hoping I’d get to point out that comparisons between a house and a country are garbage today.

                      Comparisons between a house and a country are garbage.

                      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/08/06/why-a-nation-is-not-like-a-house-or-a-club-and-why-the-difference-matters-for-debates-over-immigration/?utm_term=.c5385247343b

                    • Kyjo

                      Somin’s missive is wrong, both because analogies are by their very nature of limited application, and because the United States is in effect the joint property of its citizens. But please, try again—and maybe put the least bit of effort into showing that my statement is a “lie” or “xenophobic.”

                    • Chris

                      This particular analogy is so limited as to be useless.

                      It’s a lie because these people are working and contributing. It’s xenophobic because it’s a dishonest smear meant to otherize them.

                    • Kyjo

                      The analogy illustrates my point very clearly. Telling me it’s a useless analogy because Ilya Somin thinks the strict logical implications would be absurd or oppressive is not a legitimate response.

                      They are “working and contributing” by violating immigration law. Every penny they earn is earned unlawfully, and every cent they pay toward taxes is simply a return of their illgotten gains. It’s not a “lie” to call that “living off the fat of the American people.” I am not deliberately and knowingly spreading a falsehood, but I’m stating what I think on the basis of—get this—facts and ethics. And this nonsense about “otherizing”—foreign nationals aren’t American citizens, you dimwit, and calling my statement “xenophobic” improperly generalizes my negative opinion of illegal immigrants to all foreigners.

                    • Chris

                      The Dreamers were brought here as children. They themselves violated no law or ethical principle. They didn’t have a choice. Yes, your statement is xenophobic. And the analogy doesn’t work because a country does not live by the same rules as a house. To argue that it should in the one instance of immigration when it doesn’t in any other aspect is not logically valid.

                    • Kyjo

                      Demanding that they be received as citizens because of their parents’ unethical decision to bring them here unlawfully is itself unethical, never mind that few of them have ever set out to rectify their immigration status apart from demanding that they be exempted from our immigration laws. They are the responsibility of the nations from which they came. We don’t owe them anything beyond the essential rights to which all persons are entitled by law—and foreigners are not entitled to come, live, and work here in contravention of our laws, and they are not entitled to citizenship.

                      No, my statement is not xenophobic. I don’t hate foreigners in general. I don’t even hate illegal immigrants or their children. But I don’t believe they are a boon to our countrybor that we owe them any kind of debt, much less one of gratitude.

                      Your understanding of how analogies work is fundamentally flawed. There is simply NO analogy by which two different things are comparable in every respect. That’s why I said they are inherently limited. But to say that an analogy is limited is not to say that it is flawed to the point of uselessness. You are evidently incapable of identifying any actual flaw in the analogy I drew, and so are resorting to a generalized principle that comparing a country to a house is always illogical. You are wrong.

                  • Pennagain

                    Kyjo, Good try. Come back again when you have a commenter with whom you can progress in a discussion.

      • Otto

        Chris, although it nears hyperbole, I perceived nothing in Kyjo’s claim that demonstrates dislike of foreigners, intentional deception, or ignorance of facts. The only reason persons would immigrate to the U.S., legally or illegally, is hope for a higher quality of life than they could have in their home countries. Any positive differential between what they would achieve in their home country and what they would achieve in the U.S. with the same output of effort can only be attributed to living off the fat (wealth, capital, productiveness) of the American people (past, present, and possibly future). If their effort would achieve the same results (or better) in their home country, they would not immigrate. It is that simple.

        While this is true, I don’t believe we should even consider the economic benefit to the U.S. when determining who should and should not enter the U.S. or become citizens – it sounds too much like using a person as means to our own ends. However, if we do consider economic benefit, Humble Talent is correct that we must include opportunity cost in our calculation. If admitting a farmer from Guatemala as a citizen precludes us from admitting a physician from Germany as a citizen, we must include any differential in productivity (economic benefit) between the two persons as a cost (or benefit) of admitting the farmer.

        Of course, the myriad avenues of opportunity cost are not the only costs of illegal immigration. Assuming illegal immigrants purchase food, clothing, housing, and other commodities, their demand for these commodities puts upward pressure on prices that must be paid by all U.S. citizens. Assuming illegal immigrants seek employment, their supply of labor puts downward pressure on wages, a cost suffered by all U.S. citizens. If illegal immigrants seek an education, they contribute to classroom crowding and greater expense of education, which is a cost to all U.S. citizens. If illegal immigrants drive vehicles anywhere, they contribute to wear and tear on infrastructure, a cost to all U.S. citizens. If illegal immigrants receive any type of governmental benefit, it is a cost to U.S. citizens. If illegal immigrants receive any type of pseudo-private benefit (such as reduced rates on utilities), it is a cost to U.S. citizens.

        With the exception of opportunity cost, I concede that the same economic costs noted in the previous paragraph would be suffered by the U.S. citizenry if similar demand for commodities and services and similar supply of labor were provided by legal immigrants or even natural population growth of the U.S. citizenry. This is no reason to ignore the costs or pretend that they do not exist. The costs do exist – they exist far in excess of what any illegal immigrant contributes to the country – and opportunity cost is the key.

        The greatest cost, which was not material to the previous two paragraphs, is illegal behavior. The costs of illegal behavior, which is, in most cases, also unethical behavior, are enormous. The loss of the benefit of legal and ethical behavior is what we suffer when we glorify, condone, or otherwise reward illegal behavior (a condition not encountered with legal immigration or natural population growth of the U.S. citizenry, thus the opportunity lost). When our federal, state, or city governments partake in the glorifying, condoning, and rewarding of illegal behavior, we are in deep peril. This is our opportunity cost. This is the only relevant factor in considering whether or not we should allow Dreamers (and possibly their parents) to become legal citizens of the U.S.

        There is no place in the universe in which tolerating, protecting, condoning, glorifying, or rewarding any type of behavior contributes to a reduction in exhibition of that behavior. On the contrary, when federal, state, or city governments partake in tolerating, protecting, condoning, glorifying, or rewarding a behavior, there will be more of the behavior. Sanctuary cities and states not only condone illegal immigration, they also promote continued illegal immigration. They also promote illegal behavior generally. “What the hell, if California can ignore the laws, why shouldn’t I?” The costs of illegal behavior are astronomical, economic and otherwise.

        In short, it is silly, perhaps even asinine, to believe that illegal immigrants are a benefit to our country. They are certainly not a boon. If we allow Dreamers (and possibly their parents) to become legal residents or citizens, it will be, as Kyjo said, an act of compassion and good will.

        (Chris, if you want to argue this issue, you must show how illegal behavior and the promotion of illegal behavior are good. And, the analogy of U.S. citizens eating lunch at a “whites only” counter will not do. Any economic argument will certainly fail. You will be left with arguing for the benevolence, compassion, and good will suggested by Kyjo. Argue it well.)

  4. 2. Maybe new information has come up recently, but I don’t think there is an allegation that Steele visited Russia himself?

  5. Rusty Rebar

    “This occurred in the middle of the Clinton email investigation, which Obama has assured the press that he had no knowledge of or involvement in whatsoever.”

    I don’t think that Sept. 2 was the “middle” of the email investigation. As far as I understand that was ended in July, with the Comey press conference. There was also a kerfuffle on like Oct 28th, as they had found some emails on the Wiener laptop… and some indication that FBI knew of this a month in advance. So that would be something like Mid to late Sept, several weeks after these texts — which were months after the investigation was closed.

    Am I missing something in the timeline here? Is there some other evidence to suggest these texts were in regard to the Clinton probe? I am just confused by the timeline.

    • According to Comey himself, the case was never “closed,” as the Weiner episode proved. My understanding is that the Clinton investigation was ongoing, in the sense that the FBI would follow any new leads. Once Wikileaks released the hacked DNC emails,and the Weiner base was opened connecting to Huma, all of the investigations converged. As I said, the text could be innocent or meaningless, or not An independent investigation is called for.

      The time line is still changing, as the fact that the Wiener emails were discovered a month earlier than believes shows, I always thought Comey rushed the Clinton verdict in July because of the Clinton-Lynch meeting.

      I can’t begin to express how much I hate this stuff.

  6. Chris

    2. Someone please explain why we have not had this made crystal clear to us…

    Because it is a very, very stupid argument to make that investigating potential collusion is in itself collusion. Moreover, the allegation at the heart of the Trump-Russia affair is that Trump and Russia colluded for the mutual aid of both Trump and the Russian government. Steele spoke to informants who were potentially betraying the Russian government. See the difference?

    • No, it’s not stupid, Chris, and your legal ignorance is showing. Using a foreign power to undermine an adversary’s campaign with fact or fiction is still “collusion”—not a crime, just wrong. The Wikileaks leaks were proof of genuine malign acts, for example. You really have no “double standards” alarms at all, do you? Clinton, via Steele, DID exactly what Trump has been accused of doing, somehow, because, you know, Trump.

      • Chris

        No, it’s not stupid, Chris, and your legal ignorance is showing. Using a foreign power to undermine an adversary’s campaign with fact or fiction is still “collusion”—not a crime, just wrong

        Good thing neither Steele nor the Clinton campaign “used a foreign power” to do any of that, then.

        Clinton, via Steele, DID exactly what Trump has been accused of doing, somehow, because, you know, Trump.

        No. I have to explain this again? Trump is accused of colluding with the Russian government to influence the election. Steele took information from informants connected with the Russian government who accused their own government of influencing the election. You can’t collude against yourself, silly.

        • Rusty Rebar

          Steele took information from informants connected with the Russian government who accused their own government of influencing the election — to influence the election.

        • valkygrrl

          Forget it Chris, the cognitive dissonance on the right is strong. If you believe something then they’ll do anything to support the opposite. Al Gore cares about climate change ergo climate change is fake. Meeting with Russian spies, hiring a guy the Russians tried to recruit, and might have recruited and is up to his eyeballs in connections to Russian officials and advised the Kremin, and having a server constantly exchanging info with Russia, and hiring a guy who laundered money for Russian agents, and benefiting form Russian hacking of the DNC through sources connected to Russia that’s completely normal and innocent.

          But hiring a company who hired a guy who checked his sources for what your opponent was up to in Russia? That’s collusion.

          When the guy who tried to flog the “secret society” texts comes out again with a text that Obama wants to know what the FBI has on Russian interference a couple days before he meets with Putin, well that’s proof that he’s interfering in an investigation that ended a month earlier.

          Tomorrow I expect to hear why it’s okay to punch your wife.

          • Chris

            I aspire to your level of “Over this shit,” valky.

          • This would play better, valky, if there was a tiny shred of evidence that the the Trump campaign had any such sinister relations with the Russian government at all.

            Note that nobody objective is saying that the two sleazy agents’ texts necessarily prove anything, but it does bear investigating, as there is far more smoke there than any evidence suggesting nefarious conduct by the Trump campaign, the major piece being that somehow Clinton, a pathetic, corrupt, dishonest, incompetent candidate, somehow managed to lose to a schmuck, in part because the cheating ways of her party and foundation were exposed by Wikileaks, so people who cared began to understand just how awful she was.

            • Chris

              This would play better, valky, if there was a tiny shred of evidence that the the Trump campaign had any such sinister relations with the Russian government at all.

              How you can write that with a straight face is a mystery to me.

    • You need to decide whether Russian collusion is acceptable or not acceptable, treat that statement of principle like it matters, and apply it to the situation.

      If you’re willing to pass on this just because it’s aimed at the wrong person, I’m going to have a VERY hard time taking you even as seriously as I currently do on the topic.

      As for me? I’m going to wait. Really… This current Russian/Steel/DNC thing doesn’t really move me. If it’s true, it’s probably not illegal, actionable, or even politically material because the chance of Hillary running for office again in incredibly low…. But I would LOVE to know how deep that rabbit hole goes and how many sanctimonious twats get hoisted on their own petard. And if it’s not, I won’t have to dislodge the foot from my mouth.

      Side note: That position, you know, wait and see… That’s almost identical to my position all along the last year: Wait, see, act on good information. That’s how principles work.

      • Chris

        You need to decide whether Russian collusion is acceptable or not acceptable, treat that statement of principle like it matters, and apply it to the situation.

        I have been very consistent that Russian collusion is unacceptable. The problem is that you don’t know what collusion means, even after I just explained it. Listening to informants who are making accusations against their own government is not collusion with said government. Obviously. Holy shit, I can’t believe I even had to explain that once, let alone twice.

        • “The problem is that you don’t know what collusion means, even after I just explained it.”

          Not to get too Clintonesque over this, but I suppose that depends on your definition of “just”, because you sure as hell didn’t do that here.

          “Listening to informants who are making accusations against their own government is not collusion with said government. Obviously. ”

          That’s not the legal definition of collusion, that’s not a vernacular definition of collusion, and that’s not even a particularly useful or working definition of collusion. I mean…. If we work off your definition, which reads like you’re saying that collusion is impossible without a government being involved, then you basically blow whole legs out of your own narrative, because neither Julian Assange, Wikileaks, Clinton or the DNC are governments.

          Here’s Wikipedia:

          “Collusion is an agreement between two or more parties, sometimes illegal–but always secretive–to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair market advantage. It is an agreement among firms or individuals to divide a market, set prices, limit production or limit opportunities. It can involve “wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between the colluding parties”.”

          I think that’s as good a definition as any.

          What seems to be the fact pattern is that Hillary Clinton, by proxy of her bought-and-paid-for DNC, paid Steele to talk to Russians in an attempt to get dirt on Trump that they could use to sway the American election. To make that digestible: An American bought a National Party which hired a Brit to talk to Russians in order to procure information that would influence an American election.

          If that’s true, then it’s almost certainly collusion. At least if you aren’t twisting definitions into unrecognizable contortions.

          • As I add below, once you decide that Russia is an adversary, then everyone you talk to is suspect as a possible tool of that government.

          • Chris

            Me: “The problem is that you don’t know what collusion means, even after I just explained it.”

            Not to get too Clintonesque over this, but I suppose that depends on your definition of “just”, because you sure as hell didn’t do that here.

            I really don’t know how much clearer this can be…

            Because it is a very, very stupid argument to make that investigating potential collusion is in itself collusion. Moreover, the allegation at the heart of the Trump-Russia affair is that Trump and Russia colluded for the mutual aid of both Trump and the Russian government. Steele spoke to informants who were potentially betraying the Russian government. See the difference?

            Me: “Listening to informants who are making accusations against their own government is not collusion with said government. Obviously. ”

            Humble: That’s not the legal definition of collusion, that’s not a vernacular definition of collusion, and that’s not even a particularly useful or working definition of collusion.

            What definition of collusion are you working with that a government can collude against itself?

            I mean…. If we work off your definition, which reads like you’re saying that collusion is impossible without a government being involved,

            No, nothing I’ve said implies that. The charge is collusion with Russia. That means the Russian government. Working with individual Russians against their own government could be considered “collusion,” I suppose, but there’s nothing sinister about it, at least from an American perspective.

            “Collusion is an agreement between two or more parties, sometimes illegal–but always secretive–to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair market advantage. It is an agreement among firms or individuals to divide a market, set prices, limit production or limit opportunities. It can involve “wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between the colluding parties”.”

            None of this applies to Steele’s work, except perhaps the “secretive” part.

            • “Moreover, the allegation at the heart of the Trump-Russia affair is that Trump and Russia colluded for the mutual aid of both Trump and the Russian government. Steele spoke to informants who were potentially betraying the Russian government. See the difference?”

              I’m not working with your definition, because your definition is meaningless, and the artificial distinctions you are drawing serve only to reinforce your own bias. You’re still pretending that collusion requires government oversight. Once you get over the idea that collusion doesn’t require state backing, the difference you’re alluding to evaporates.

              Look, if instead of a foreign government, someone colluded with a foreign business, and said, “Hey, if you have your IT guys run oppo research for me, I’ll support the pipeline you’re trying to run” that would be collusion even though no one was in government.

              What’s dumber about this is that we have some fairly cut and dry examples of politicians ACTUALLY colluding previously that Democrats didn’t give a damn about, mostly because they were doing it. How about in 2007 when Barack Obama was caught on a hot mic saying to Dimitri Medvedev:

              Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”

              Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you …”

              Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

              Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

              Obama literally told Russia to stop rattling sabers in 2007 long enough for him to get re-elected, and then he would give them space in his second term, and what did Russia do in Obama’s second term? They invaded Crimea. Where’s your outrage, Chris? I mean, you have a quid, you have a quo, it’s a matter of record, the outcome was obvious. What more do you need? The “R” apparently, or is that too on the nose? But here you are huffing your own farts over some Russian spooks that Trump, let’s be real, probably never actually talked to. You care SO deeply, excuse me while I gag.

              • Chris

                I’m not working with your definition, because your definition is meaningless, and the artificial distinctions you are drawing serve only to reinforce your own bias.

                Ah, yes, the artificial distinction between working with a Russian who is working on behalf of their government vs. working with a Russian who is betraying their government…so hypocrisy. Much double standard. Wow.

                You’re still pretending that collusion requires government oversight.

                I have no idea why you keep saying this. Collusion with Russia requires a government, because Russia is a country, and countries are run by governments. Ergo, Steele using Russian informants who were throwing their own government under the bus by revealing Russian malfeasance in our election is not “colluding with Russia.” Obviously.

                Once you get over the idea that collusion doesn’t require state backing, the difference you’re alluding to evaporates.

                Once you realize the obvious fact that collusion with Russia absolutely does require state backing, the difference will be clear to you.

                Look, if instead of a foreign government, someone colluded with a foreign business, and said, “Hey, if you have your IT guys run oppo research for me, I’ll support the pipeline you’re trying to run” that would be collusion even though no one was in government.

                I know that. That contradicts nothing I’ve said.

                What’s dumber about this is that we have some fairly cut and dry examples of politicians ACTUALLY colluding previously that Democrats didn’t give a damn about, mostly because they were doing it. How about in 2007 when Barack Obama was caught on a hot mic saying to Dimitri Medvedev:

                It was 2012, and my god, I’m stuck in a version of the Bad Place where I’m doomed to debunk the same bullshit arguments every few days forever, aren’t I?

                https://ethicsalarms.com/2018/02/04/morning-ethics-warm-up-2-4-18-getting-pounded-on-the-head-to-make-us-confused-about-the-nunes-memo-edition/#comment-501737

                • “Ah, yes, the artificial distinction between working with a Russian who is working on behalf of their government vs. working with a Russian who is betraying their government…so hypocrisy. Much double standard. Wow.”

                  Look, there’s a couple reasons why you’re wrong here.

                  First is that the people that talked to the people that talked to Steele weren’t “betraying their government” any more than you are on a regular basis. Gossiping about government dignitaries is not treason.

                  Second is that if you want to consider that “betraying your government”, then consider how by your logic, Hillary Clinton did to the Russian people what you are assuming Putin did to the American people: Paid people to dig up dirt to damage the credibility of someone running for office.

                  Third is that I’ve been clear that the distinction that I thought was meaningless is that governments had to be involved for an act to be considered collusion, and I stand by that. Now you seem to be pivoting to saying that the difference you were talking about is that the effect that the “espionage” had on the Russian government, or perhaps the intentions of the “spies”. They were betraying their own country, right? Well… Who cares? They’re Russians! Let Russians care about Russian problems. On the American side, whether the target of the espionage was Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, the outcome was a “tampered” election, right?

                  “Collusion with Russia requires a government, because Russia is a country, and countries are run by governments. Ergo, Steele using Russian informants who were throwing their own government under the bus by revealing Russian malfeasance in our election is not “colluding with Russia.””

                  “Once you realize the obvious fact that collusion with Russia absolutely does require state backing, the difference will be clear to you.”

                  “I know that. That contradicts nothing I’ve said.”

                  I understand now! It’s not that collusion is bad, it’s that collusion with Russia, the country, is bad. See, I thought you had a principled stance against corruption, how foolish of me. You weren’t saying that Hillary Clinton colluding with Russians, the people, was not bad because it wasn’t collusion, you’re saying that it WAS collusion, but you don’t care because it wasn’t collusion with Russia, the country. It’s not that foreign tampering with American elections is bad, it’s that the Russia, the country, tampering with American elections is bad. Russians, the people, tampering with American elections? Perfectly acceptable. Wow, don’t I feel foolish.

                  “It was 2012, and my god, I’m stuck in a version of the Bad Place where I’m doomed to debunk the same bullshit arguments every few days forever, aren’t I?”

                  I just want to point out that a conversation between Barack Obama and a Putin aid on a hot mic where he literally promised to give Russia more flexibility if they backed off so he could get re-elected, at the time, was met with you saying this:

                  “Obama was president at the time he made those comments. Negotiating with Russia was literally part of his job. Despite the fake outrage that followed, there was nothing inappropriate about that exchange at all.

                  Next dishonest comparison?”

                  and this:

                  “It sounds bad because it’s an admission that politicians don’t do certain things they want to do until they know they have the political capitol to do so. That isn’t illegal. There is no comparison between this and what Page has been credibly accused of.”

                  “Help me get elected, and I’ll give you leverage” is EXACTLY what you’re accusing Trump of now, you hypocrite.

                  • Chris

                    Look, there’s a couple reasons why you’re wrong here.

                    First is that the people that talked to the people that talked to Steele weren’t “betraying their government” any more than you are on a regular basis. Gossiping about government dignitaries is not treason.

                    Yes, I’m sure Good Ole’ Vladimir had no problem with people informing Steele about what he was up to. Certainly they had nothing to worry about.

                    Second is that if you want to consider that “betraying your government”, then consider how by your logic, Hillary Clinton did to the Russian people what you are assuming Putin did to the American people: Paid people to dig up dirt to damage the credibility of someone running for office.

                    Everyone does this, and there’s nothing particularly wrong with it. The reason the Trump allegations are a scandal is precisely because of the potential involvement of a foreign government, not because he is alleged to have paid individuals to dig up dirt on Hillary. How do you not know this?

                    Third is that I’ve been clear that the distinction that I thought was meaningless is that governments had to be involved for an act to be considered collusion, and I stand by that. Now you seem to be pivoting to saying that the difference you were talking about is that the effect that the “espionage” had on the Russian government, or perhaps the intentions of the “spies”.

                    To paraphrase Trump, “No pivot.” My argument has been the same throughout; you’ve just been misreading it. Perhaps intentionally.

                    They were betraying their own country, right? Well… Who cares? They’re Russians! Let Russians care about Russian problems. On the American side, whether the target of the espionage was Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, the outcome was a “tampered” election, right?

                    I don’t know what you’re trying to say. Russians hacking Americans isn’t a Russian problem, it’s an American one. The target was Hillary Clinton.

                    I understand now! It’s not that collusion is bad, it’s that collusion with Russia, the country, is bad. See, I thought you had a principled stance against corruption, how foolish of me. You weren’t saying that Hillary Clinton colluding with Russians, the people, was not bad because it wasn’t collusion, you’re saying that it WAS collusion, but you don’t care because it wasn’t collusion with Russia, the country.

                    It’s “collusion” only in the sense that it involves people secretively working together to achieve a desired end. Again, there is nothing wrong with a political campaign hiring people to dig up dirt on their opponent, provided they aren’t working with a foreign government. “Collusion” implies something sinister, and what you’re describing doesn’t fit.

                    It’s not that foreign tampering with American elections is bad, it’s that the Russia, the country, tampering with American elections is bad. Russians, the people, tampering with American elections? Perfectly acceptable. Wow, don’t I feel foolish.

                    An informant passing along information isn’t “tampering” with an election. A government actively trying to influence another country’s election through a cyber-warfare campaign is. You should feel foolish for drawing such an overt false equivalency.

                    “Help me get elected, and I’ll give you leverage” is EXACTLY what you’re accusing Trump of now, you hypocrite.

                    Except he said nothing about “helping me get elected,” you idiot.

                    • “Yes, I’m sure Good Ole’ Vladimir had no problem with people informing Steele about what he was up to. Certainly they had nothing to worry about.”

                      Who cares? No, really. Who cares what Putin thought of it? Who cares how much personal risk Steele’s sources assumed? Why should any of that effect whether or not this was collusion, or whether or not collusion is bad?

                      “The reason the Trump allegations are a scandal is precisely because of the potential involvement of a foreign government, not because he is alleged to have paid individuals to dig up dirt on Hillary. How do you not know this?”

                      I reject the logic. I don’t see why we should treat collusion by governments so much more seriously than collusion by individuals. Like…. You are aware that governments are made up of individuals right?

                      “I don’t know what you’re trying to say. Russians hacking Americans isn’t a Russian problem, it’s an American one. The target was Hillary Clinton.”

                      Look, there’s two allegations:
                      1)Trump made promises to Putin so that Putin would hack the DNC to Torpedo the Clinton campaign.
                      2)Clinton paid Steele to talk to Russians to compile a dossier to torpedo the Trump campaign.

                      There are two main differences between these fact patterns: Hacking is illegal, where compiling dossiers is not, and the Wikileaks document dump did far more to damage Clinton than pissgate did to damage Trump. What isn’t different is the basic fact patterns: An American presidential candidate approached a foreign agent to gather information that might outcome the American election.

                      If you want me to give credibility to the idea that interference by Russia, the country, is more important than interference by Russians, the people, then you’re going to have to explain why to me. You seemed to be saying that because Steele’s contacts were taking personal risk, that the Clinton collusion is… What? Redeeming? I don’t understand why, especially from a domestic perspective, we should draw that distinction. Why do we care if Russians take risks?

                      “Except he said nothing about “helping me get elected,” you idiot.”

                      Think about what he said:

                      ““On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”
                      “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

                      “We can solve our problems, but not if I don’t get elected, lay off me until then, and I’ll have more flexibility, because at that point, I can never run for office again, and I won’t be accountable to the electorate.”

                      Chris, he said this. On. Tape. I have audio/video evidence that this happened. Up until then, Russia had been threatening to blow up NATO installations along it’s border, and then all of a sudden, they grumbled and mewled a little, but basically clammed up right until they marched on Crimea in 2014.

                      Would you give a fraction of the doubt that you’re expressing here to Trump, were the situations reversed?

                    • Chris

                      “Yes, I’m sure Good Ole’ Vladimir had no problem with people informing Steele about what he was up to. Certainly they had nothing to worry about.”

                      Who cares? No, really. Who cares what Putin thought of it? Who cares how much personal risk Steele’s sources assumed? Why should any of that effect whether or not this was collusion, or whether or not collusion is bad?

                      Let me remind you how this thread started so that you can see how far you’ve moved the goalposts here.

                      Jack originally wrote this:

                      This made Steele an agent of the Clinton campaign by definition, and means, therefore, that the Clinton campaign was “colluding” with Russia during the Presidential 2016 campaign, to “meddle” with U.S. elections.

                      Now, Jack did make a correction about whether or not Steele actually traveled to Russia, but did not correct the “Clinton colluded with Russia” point explicitly, and seemed to double down on it when he wrote that the Clinton campaign “was engaged in exactly the kind of activities Trump’s campaign is being accused of.” This isn’t true; the Clinton campaign did not collude with Russia, which is what the Trump campaign has been accused of.

                      Do you concede that Jack’s claim that the Clinton campaign colluded with Russia is false?

                      As for your claim that the Clinton campaign “colluded” with individual Russian informants, let me also remind you of the definition you cited from Wikipedia. I’ll bold the portions that apply to the Steele dossier:


                      “Collusion is an agreement between two or more parties, sometimes illegal–but always secretive–to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair market advantage. It is an agreement among firms or individuals to divide a market, set prices, limit production or limit opportunities. It can involve “wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between the colluding parties”.

                      Literally nothing that I did not bold applies to the situation you’re describing, and yet you are still describing it as “collusion.” Steele’s activities were not illegal. As far as we know, there was no intent on his part to deceive or mislead (though he certainly could have been misled by his sources). There was no defrauding of anyone’s legal rights. You’re ignoring the vast majority of the definition in order to draw a false equivalence between what Trump has been accused of and what Hillary Clinton did. I don’t see how that’s useful.

                      I reject the logic. I don’t see why we should treat collusion by governments so much more seriously than collusion by individuals.

                      1) Because this wasn’t collusion.
                      2) Even if it was, it wouldn’t be illegal, while a politician asking a foreign government to hack his opponent would be.

                      Look, there’s two allegations:
                      1)Trump made promises to Putin so that Putin would hack the DNC to Torpedo the Clinton campaign.
                      2)Clinton paid Steele to talk to Russians to compile a dossier to torpedo the Trump campaign.

                      The latter is not an allegation; it happened, and there’s nothing illegal or unethical about it.

                      There are two main differences between these fact patterns: Hacking is illegal, where compiling dossiers is not,

                      Ah, now you get it.

                      An American presidential candidate approached a foreign agent to gather information that might outcome the American election.

                      “Foreign agent” implies government. You know this.

                      ““On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”
                      “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

                      “We can solve our problems, but not if I don’t get elected, lay off me until then, and I’ll have more flexibility, because at that point, I can never run for office again, and I won’t be accountable to the electorate.”

                      Chris, he said this. On. Tape. I have audio/video evidence that this happened. Up until then, Russia had been threatening to blow up NATO installations along it’s border, and then all of a sudden, they grumbled and mewled a little, but basically clammed up right until they marched on Crimea in 2014.

                      Would you give a fraction of the doubt that you’re expressing here to Trump, were the situations reversed?

                      Yes. Obama did not ask Medvedev to do anything illegal. He did not ask Medvedev to jeopardize his opponent’s chances in anyway. He was literally doing his job as president by negotiating with a foreign power. This was always a phony scandal.

                    • Based on the available evidence, there is reason to believe that the Clinton campaign colluded with Russian agents, and no reason to believe the same of the Trump campaign. That her campaign paid Steele to use Russian sources to create opposition research is “collusion” as it has been defined by Democrats. No, its not illegal. Nor is it made illegal by the means by which such information was acquired. It is, however, unethical to allow a foreign power that kind of influence in our elections.

                    • Chris

                      Based on the available evidence, there is reason to believe that the Clinton campaign colluded with Russian agents, and no reason to believe the same of the Trump campaign. That her campaign paid Steele to use Russian sources to create opposition research is “collusion” as it has been defined by Democrats. No, its not illegal. Nor is it made illegal by the means by which such information was acquired. It is, however, unethical to allow a foreign power that kind of influence in our elections.

                      You’re simply ignoring everything I have written on this thread so far in order to say this, Jack. No, using Russian informants who were not acting on behalf of the Russian government is not collusion with Russia. No, using Russian informants who were going against their own government to reveal attacks planned by their own government is not collusion with Russia. No, getting dirt from individuals from a foreign country it isn’t even collusion at all. I’ve explained all of this in great detail. Your comment is non-responsive.

        • You can’t know if a “citizen” of an adversarial power is working to betray the power or on behalf of the power. This is one of the reasons to make it clear who your adversaries are. The investigations that should be going on here would be about when or if the Obama administration ever figured out that Russia was not a friendly government, and if so why its counterintelligence, both electronic and otherwise, had its guard completely down to Russia for at least the second Obama term in office.

          • Chris

            The investigations that should be going on here would be about when or if the Obama administration ever figured out that Russia was not a friendly government, and if so why its counterintelligence, both electronic and otherwise, had its guard completely down to Russia for at least the second Obama term in office.

            I’m not opposed to that being investigated. I hope you’re equally interested in investigating why the Trump administration continues to have its guard down when it comes to Russia, to the point where it won’t even implement the sanctions against them passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress.

      • Rusty Rebar

        You need to decide whether Russian collusion is acceptable or not acceptable

        I am going to go with acceptable.

        The last I checked, we (the United States — and really the West in general) fancy ourselves to be free. We enjoy freedom of speech and ideas. I am having a hard time trying to understand what is wrong with people from other countries having an opinion on who is going to be the “most powerful person in the world”. Of course Russia is going to have an interest in this, as is the UK, Israel, and the Congo for that matter.

        As a member of a society where we applaud this freedom of thought and expression, I am fine with other entities presenting their ideas, and these ideas may in fact influence my opinion… that is what ideas are all about, influencing other people. I am happy to have differing opinions, and yes even lies, out there. I am capable of sorting though this and deciding for myself what I want to believe and what I want to discard. This is the responsibility that we have if we want to be citizens. This seems to be the crux of the issue though. Some people do not want others to have that ability. They want the only rightful news to come from CNN or FOX or MSNBC — the corporate media. They only want their sources to be used, and forget that there are other people in the world, who also have opinions, opinions that they too are free to express.

        I have not heard even a hint of some other country changing votes, in fact I was told by someone with some amount of influence and knowledge that this is not even possible. (https://www.cnn.com/2016/10/19/politics/election-day-russia-hacking-explained/index.html) — that was at least until Trump won… then it was surely hacked.

        Hannity is a shit show. Deranged lunacy. But so is Maddow, and her sycophants along with the propagandists at CNN. Did you see that NBC hired Brennan? Have you seen that liar Clapper all over CNN lately? Since when did George Bush become the golden boy of the left? What about that mouth breather of a host Brian Stelter, or that idiot Chris “you cant legally read these emails, but we can” Cuomo or the Mika “it’s our job to control what people think” Brzezinski? These guys make Alex Jones look straight up reputable.

        Influencing our election? This is idiocy. An election is all about influencing people. That is the intended result — that people are influenced and vote in the way that you want them to. You cannot then come out and complain because people were influenced.

        • I actually agree with this. I think it’s important to know the biases and connections of our politicians, but this new fixation on the existential crisis that is dealing with the rest of the world looks really ugly from the outside looking in.

          I also think that it’s important to point out, yet again, exactly what it is that Democrats are asserting here.

          Their narrative, with a little bit of flavourful context, is that Trump promised Putin…. Something. We’re not sure what he promised Putin, we’re not sure who promised Putin the thing we don’t know what is, and we don’t know how the person we don’t know who is promised Putin the thing we don’t know what is, but Trump promised It to Putin. In exchange Putin would send out an army of Russian Hackers to hack the DNC (by trying the password: “password”, I shit you not.) and taking information off the DNC servers and giving it to Julian Assange, who was promised…. Actually, I don’t think the Democrats even have a conspiracy theory on what was promised to Assange, but Assange would then put the information up on Wikileaks. This information, all of it true, influenced the American people, because all of a sudden the American people got a glimpse of the man behind the curtain, and didn’t like what they saw.

          Let’s say all of that is true. It wouldn’t be good… I mean, hacking is illegal, and laws would have been broken. But I think at this point I think it’s more likely that something like this is more close to the truth:

          Russian Hackers tried to hack both the DNC and the RNC, but only succeeded at the DNC because their password was “password”, (I shit you not.) The hackers then gave the information to Julian Assange, because they wanted the world to know what they’d done, and probably couldn’t think of a platform more accessible or widely disseminated than WIkileaks. Assange would then put the information up on Wikileaks, because that’s what he does. This information, all of it true, influenced the American people, because all of a sudden the American people got a glimpse of the man behind the curtain, and didn’t like what they saw.

          • Chris

            Their narrative, with a little bit of flavourful context, is that Trump promised Putin…. Something. We’re not sure what he promised Putin, we’re not sure who promised Putin the thing we don’t know what is, and we don’t know how the person we don’t know who is promised Putin the thing we don’t know what is, but Trump promised It to Putin.

            I want you to think about this. Imagine a world in which it is a fact that Trump promised Putin something in exchange for his government’s efforts to assist his chances of becoming president. In that world, how would that Trump’s stance on Russia differ from our Trump’s stance on Russia?

            My answer is that it wouldn’t be different at all. In our world, Trump continues to deny Russian hacking. In our world, Trump continues to refuse to implement sanctions on Russia that all but five members of Congress voted “Yes” on. In our world, Trump continues to denigrate our intelligence agencies, to Putin’s delight. In our world, Trump hasn’t taken back any of the kind words he had for Putin during the campaign.

            Doesn’t all this look a lot like whatever Trump would have promised Putin in that other world?

            In exchange Putin would send out an army of Russian Hackers to hack the DNC (by trying the password: “password”, I shit you not.)

            You are, in fact, shitting us.

            http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2017/jan/06/jesse-watters/claim-john-podestas-email-password-was-password-la/

            • “I want you to think about this. Imagine a world in which it is a fact that Trump promised Putin something in exchange for his government’s efforts to assist his chances of becoming president. In that world, how would that Trump’s stance on Russia differ from our Trump’s stance on Russia?”

              I want you to think about this…. In a World were Trump just won an election. No collusion, nothing underhanded… But Democrats and intelligence professionals are saying he is. How would that Trump’s stance on Russia differ from our Trump’s stance on Russia?

              In that world, very little would change, Trump would still deny that Russian hackers hacked anything, for the same reason he lies about everything: ego. Would Trump impose sanctions? I doubt it. Trump’s on record saying that sanctions aren’t effective, and let’s be real… Russia has been fairly well behaved since Trump’s election. Is that because Russia is concerned with what Trump might do? Is it because Russia was only posturing because they hate Hillary so much? I don’t know. But I doubt very much that Trump would go out fists flying with a foreign leader he has no reason to go fighting. He would, however, absolutely and with complete abandon continue to denigrate the FBI, because they are denigrating him. He’s a small, petty man, and small, petty men do small, petty things, even when those things have big consequences.

              Doesn’t that all look a lot like Trump is the guy we know him to be?

              “You are, in fact, shitting us.”

              Well, first off… If that’s the line out of that paragraph you choose to respond to, I’ll graciously accept your surrender for the rest. Second, Assange asserted that Podesta’s password was “password” and Politifact claimed that was false, not because they knew it to be false, but because they couldn’t verify it, and Google’s current password scheme won’t allow “password” as a password.

              There’s a couple of problems with that…. First off, I have no reason to doubt Assange. No reason to believe him either, I suppose, but at this point, I’m more inclined to believe him because quite frankly, no one at the Hillary Campaign or the DNC (but I repeat myself) has said that anything Assange has said, or anything on wikileaks, is actually inaccurate. and two, I, like Pepperidge Farms, remember when Gmail accounts used to only require six letters and my password was…. Wait for it….. “password”! (I was 22, bite me.) Google never required me to update that, so it remained that until I bought my first house and had actual important Emails going through my personal Email.

              • Chris

                In that world, very little would change, Trump would still deny that Russian hackers hacked anything, for the same reason he lies about everything: ego.

                I think this is true, which is why I think it’s possible there was no collusion.

                Would Trump impose sanctions? I doubt it. Trump’s on record saying that sanctions aren’t effective, and let’s be real… Russia has been fairly well behaved since Trump’s election.

                No, they really fucking haven’t been.

                https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/22/boris-johnson-tells-russia-we-will-retaliate-against-cyber-attacks

                Is that because Russia is concerned with what Trump might do? Is it because Russia was only posturing because they hate Hillary so much? I don’t know. But I doubt very much that Trump would go out fists flying with a foreign leader he has no reason to go fighting.

                He could easily say that Congress forced his hand. He signed the sanctions bill into law. He just refuses to actually implement them. Isn’t this a huge problem? What would you say if Obama did this?

                Trump’s refusal to implement the sanctions passed by Congress is one of the largest red flags indicating to me that he either promised something to Russia in return for their help, or they have something on him and he’s terrified of them using it against them.

                He would, however, absolutely and with complete abandon continue to denigrate the FBI, because they are denigrating him. He’s a small, petty man, and small, petty men do small, petty things, even when those things have big consequences.

                Yes. True.

                Doesn’t that all look a lot like Trump is the guy we know him to be?

                Yes, but Trump making a deal with Russia to help them if they helped him also looks a lot like the guy we know him to be.

                First off, I have no reason to doubt Assange.

                AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

                • HT: “Russia has been fairly well behaved since Trump’s election.”
                  CS: “No, they really fucking haven’t been.” *posts link talking about Russians spying on the UK.*

                  Explain to me why Trump should attempt to impose sanctions on Russia for spying on the UK. Preferably with logic that wouldn’t require the UK to impose sanctions on The US following the discovery that the Obama Administration bugged the call phone of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

                  “He could easily say that Congress forced his hand. He signed the sanctions bill into law. He just refuses to actually implement them. Isn’t this a huge problem? What would you say if Obama did this?”

                  Honestly, I don’t think he should have signed it. I’ve never been a big proponent of economic sanctions, they punish the wrong people. If Obama actually vetoed a sanction? I’d probably have given credit where it was due.

                  • Chris

                    You: Russians have been very well behaved since they hacked the DNC to get Donald Trump elected!

                    Me: No, they haven’t. *posts link about Russia continuing to commit cyber-attacks on our allies*

                    You: Me no understand why that matter, for me am Bizarro, and me think doing nothing about major threat to we and we allies am good.

                    • Chris, even when I mock your stupidity, I still answer your questions with words. If you don’t feel up to that, maybe it’s better to just not respond.

                      The fact of the matter is that I can’t think of a time in the history of ever that economic sanctions were levied in response to espionage, period, let along espionage toward someone else, even if they are an ally. And if there was ever a situation where that would happen, the sanctions would have to be aimed at China first, because there is literally nothing that Russia is doing that China is not, except China does it better and more often.

                      So what you’re suggesting seems to be that Trump should punish Russia in an unprecedented way because Democrats have been lying about a relationship between his administration and Russia and he has to prove to them that they really don’t get along.

                      That’s insane.

                    • Chris

                      The fact of the matter is that I can’t think of a time in the history of ever that economic sanctions were levied in response to espionage, period, let along espionage toward someone else, even if they are an ally.

                      Here you go:

                      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/administration-developing-sanctions-against-china-over-cyberespionage/2015/08/30/9b2910aa-480b-11e5-8ab4-c73967a143d3_story.html?utm_term=.04434999bba7

                      And if there was ever a situation where that would happen, the sanctions would have to be aimed at China first, because there is literally nothing that Russia is doing that China is not, except China does it better and more often.

                      See above.

                      So what you’re suggesting seems to be that Trump should punish Russia in an unprecedented way because Democrats have been lying about a relationship between his administration and Russia and he has to prove to them that they really don’t get along.

                      That’s insane.

                      Quality strawman there. No, I’m fairly certain that is not why every Republican in Congress save for five voted for the sanctions.

  7. Grenny Pelosi and Baba Ginberg need to retire and play crib.

    Seriously, Trump takes an ungraceful swig of water, and people are trying to invoke the 25th amendment and remove him under the auspices of being mentally infirm, while Ruth Bader Ginsberg can’t manage to stay awake for ceremonies of middling length, and Nancy Pelosi thinks we invaded Syria, can’t tell the difference between Trump and Bush, doesn’t know what day of the week it is, and now, apparently she has forgotten that the Dream Act failed to pass, which is why DACA was an executive order. Seriously, Google all that, there’s video.

  8. Greg

    I’m virtually certain that Mueller is not investigating Democratic collusion, because:

    1. We haven’t heard about a single Democrat being interviewed, much less subpoenaed.

    2. The letter from Rosenstein appointing Mueller as special counsel specifically limited the investigation to “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” It does not authorize him to investigate the Clinton campaign. Note also the broadness of the terms, “links” and “associated with,” which would seem to authorize investigation of anybody who ever spoke to a Russian and handed out hats at a Trump rally. The omission of Clinton and the broadness of the investigation of Trump have always made me wonder if the letter was drafted by Rosenstein in bad faith.

    I’m surprised no Republicans are calling for a special counsel to target Clinton, as well as the misconduct of the the DOJ, the FBI and the other intelligence agencies with respect to the phony collusion accusations against Trump.

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