Paranoia Strikes Deep

by wjw on November 27, 2016

So our new president-elect is the simultaneous choice of the KGB, FBI, and KKK.   That’s gotta be a first.

(Now I know that Trump supporters are deeply resentful of charges of racism.  “I’m not a racist, and neither is Trump,” I hear.  “He just used the racists, and fooled them into voting for him.

(If you’re a Trump supporter, I’m certainly willing to discuss this with you, but only on condition that we also discuss the possibility that he used you, and fooled you into voting for him.)

It’s actually the KGB that interests me.  (Yeah, I know it’s the SVR now, but Putin is old KGB, and so are his cronies, and the SVR has inherited the mantle, the attitude, the murderous assassins, and the polonium.)

Now I can’t think of another American election where a foreign and unfriendly nation intervened so openly on behalf of a candidate.  Putin praised Trump in public.  The Russian state hacked voter databases, hacked emails, hacked the Democratic National Committee, and created fake news to which American asshats, who don’t give a shit about the truth anyway, gleefully linked on Facebook.

“They want to essentially erode faith in the U.S. government or U.S. government interests,” said Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute who along with two other researchers has tracked Russian propaganda since 2014. “This was their standard mode during the Cold War. The problem is that this was hard to do before social media.”

In short, their goal is to destroy American democracy.  (See also this article in the defense magazine War on the Rocks.)

Can you imagine the stink the right would have raised if the Russian state had intervened on Clinton’s behalf?  Trump would have tweeted TRAITOR HILARY AGENT OF MOSCOW, and all his fans would have applauded.

Putin’s people have been supporting far-right parties throughout Europe, one reason why neo-fascists are doing so well over there.  (I assume this is not for reasons of ideological solidarity, but because far-right nationalists weaken Europe and NATO, both of which Putin views as an existential threat.)

The Russians came within an ace of hacking the Ukrainian election.  So why wouldn’t they hack ours?

American voting machines are amazingly vulnerable.  Some are still running on Windows 2000.  Some use the crypto key ‘abcde.’  Some use wi-fi and can be hacked from the parking lot.  Many still have no paper backup.  It’s disgraceful, but it’s what happens when the entire political class is pig-ignorant about the internet.

Our best defense against hacking is the amazing variety of machines being used.  To be sure of a result, any hacking attempt would have to penetrate a  diverse clutch of machines all using different technologies and operating systems.  You’d need a lot of resources to accomplish that.  The resources, say, of a nation-state with lots of experience in hacking other governments.

But still, you’d only have to flip a relatively small number of machines in a relatively small number of districts.  Trump lost the popular vote, but won the Electoral College with 104,000 votes in a few districts in only three states.  So you’d only have to flip 57,000, which really isn’t a lot when you consider the total turnout of 180,000,000.

Which is why I found myself sending money to Jill Stein this week.  I had little use for Jill Stein in the election, but if she’s the only candidate with the courage to discover whether American democracy still works, or is being held prisoner by a foreign power, then I’ll put my money where my paranoia is.

You know what else my paranoia is wondering?  What Putin’s price might be for helping Trump into the White House.  Would Trump surrender the Baltics— remember, NATO is a “bad deal”— in exchange for election victory and permission to build the Moscow Trump Tower that has been on hold since the 1990s?  (The folks in the Baltics don’t think this is farfetched at all.)

(And if Putin actually did hack Trump into the presidency, and Trump tried to stand up to Russian aggression, all Putin would have to do is threaten to reveal that Trump isn’t the legitimate president, and Trump would have to fold.  Wouldn’t he?)

And if Stein’s audits reveal that Trump’s election was legitimate, then we’re no worse off.  Right?  And I can put my paranoia to sleep for a few years.

The only bright spot in all this is that I can now accuse right-wing internet trolls of being Russian agents.  Because hey, it’s true.

Susan Beaty November 27, 2016 at 11:56 am

Yes. And Harry Reid was talking about this in August, but the mainstream media wanted to talk about email and sex.

Mark Wise November 27, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Yes, this. My paranoia has been stoked by Trump’s reaction to the recount.

Really, what kind of person fears an audit?

wjw November 27, 2016 at 3:48 pm
Ralf T. Dog November 29, 2016 at 2:50 am

There is also a fun new trend taking shape. People on Facebook who tend to post Liberal are finding their accounts are blocked due to,”Violating terms of service.” It even happens when posting non political stuff. I had one reply deleted, due to posting the web address of a martial arts school. (I was answering a question about how to contact them.)

I will admit, I am starting to toss in some Latin phrases to my posts, just to make the crazies think I am talking Mexican.

bkd69 November 29, 2016 at 9:11 am

The speculation I’ve got kicking in the back of my head is wondering if D. Trump is going to levy a tax on natural gas, to make coal prices competitive once more. This has the knock on effect of jacking gas prices up as well, which helps Putin’s economy.

Speaking of which, why does his energy policy read like it was copied and pasted from 2004, he asked, rhetorically. It’s not as if gasoline is expensive right now.

Carole Ann Moleti November 29, 2016 at 6:51 pm

Well said, Walter.

The big American flags being flown in front of my neighbor’s houses right now are like a middle finger to the rest of us in NYC who weren’t fooled by Trump. And we should know because he’s been a bad neighbor, a bad businessman and a destroyer of affordable housing in our backyards for years. Today he came out with a statement that anyone who burns a American flag should be jailed for a year. Until one of his Republican cronies reminded him that the Supreme Court has ruled that flag burning is protected speech and he is bound to support and defend the Constitution.

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