Sunday, November 5, 2017

It ain't the Russians

And now the 21St century version of the "evil-Russians-out-to-get-us" is the tam tam of the latest war drums.

Who knows who was in bed with which Russians when or why in this last election farce? For the sake of argument, let's just suppose that all the accusations are true, even if the evidence shown to the public so far is pretty lame.

So, they bought some Facebook ads and ran bots? How much are they accused of spending? Most of the numbers I hear on NPR are in the hundreds of thousands.

Is that all?
Hillary alone spent a billion.

Wow, those Rubles must pack a punch if they had any influence on our cash soaked election!

Our elections were more of a circus than a farce. We had the clowns in center ring, one became president, the do nothing press was in a side show of "he said-she said" and the ramped up rhetoric was on the high wire getting all the audience attention. Everyone with dollars to donate got shares in Ringmaster Inc.

How much did the oil interests spend? What manipulations were they involved in? Wall Street? Walmart? The Koch brothers? Some of these companies have more assets than Russia's gross domestic product. Apple has more cash on hand than the Federal Reserve. How much did our own unscrupulous plutocrats spend? And how did they spend it across local, state and national contests where one presidential candidate alone collected a billion American Dollars?

The Russians?

How did those Ruskies become the assumed enemy of all Americans again? A lot of the explanations for that sound pat and categorical when the facts tell of a more two sided story. 

To hear our corporate Democrats tell it, the Russian Federation is attacking America, our elections, our interests and our foreign friends. They would rather talk about the Russians with web bots than the flood of domestic campaign donations and their own spending tactics in social media.  They certainly do not want to hear any criticisms of the Obama-Clinton foreign policies. 

Mitigating circumstances for the Putin government includes their annoyance with us breaking our promises around Kosovo independence, being able to beat ISIS in Syria, displeasure with the Ukrainian "revolution" doing things like outlawing the Russian language and some discomfort with us and our NATO friends picking the Russian boarder to install a tactical missile battery. Oh, and there is that little thing about sticking USA noses into the Yeltsin election.

Looking at our post cold war policies towards Russia one would think that the State Department had some other long term reasons to oppose Russia that has little to do with Communism. 

And what makes Russia so important?

Canada is our #1 trading partner. They have companies that do things like monopolize world mining or build oil pipelines along with some of the biggest banks in the world. Don't they have lobbyists? For most of the world, from China to England going either way, their economic relationship with the US is critical. Why wouldn't their governments try to help their businesses find a way to support politicians who support them? Maybe they had more than a couple hundred thousand dollars and social networking bots.  As it appears, some of that fake news and those fake accounts have been paid for in US dollars. 

Advocacy groups backing any number of nations such as Israel or Saudi Arabia find ways to influence the media and make sure that they target their own donation dollars to feed those who help them. There are probably a good ten nations that spent more than Russia on our presidential elections alone, and then there was all the spending down ballot. 

A few years ago we were all supposed to be upset that some people from China were involved in campaign donation based lobbying. We were very concerned because "the Chinese" were doing what our own rich people do. Now we are supposed to be scandalized because "the Russians" are playing the same game.

All the scare tactic language in the world doesn't change the fact that the real problem was never people from Russia or China buying our politicians, it is the fact that our elected officials are for sale.

In the big picture, the Russian Government spending a million dollars on Facebook is chump change.

Our elections are under constant assault, bit it ain't the Russians, it's the money.