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On Thursday I witnessed some imaginative bear hunting by PTSD-afflicted, Hillary-Should-Have-Won (HSHW) Democrats at the "progressive" Clinton/Podesta Center for American Progress Fund.
A panel was assembled to discuss the "serious challenge to U.S. national security by Russia's interference in our democracy," and the event began with introductory remarks by loaded-for-bear House Intelligence Committee member Jim Himes (D-CT) and ended with a question from me in my customary role among HSHW "progressives" as skunk at the picnic.
April 6, 2017 (1 hour 13:45 minutes)
(See below for a list of the dramatis personae.)
All in all, it was a telling performance, and watching some of it would be instructive. At minute 1:05:40, I was recognized to ask a question. I had to survive an attempt by the HSHW moderator to cut off my mic before asking whether Democratic representatives like Jim Himes and intelligence committee ranking member, Adam Schiff, had noting better to do than hunt witches, as Trump prepared to usurp the exclusive House prerogative to authorize war -- this time on Syria. (The handwriting was already on the wall that Trump was about to lash out Thursday evening -- without so much of a nod to Congress.)
For my penance I had to sit respectfully through a lengthy "rebuttal" by former special envoy to Libya Jonathan Winer, who availed himself of the few non-sequiturs left unused by Congressman Himes and the other panelists. (How Winer could still be a HSHW whiner, after seeing the chaos created in Libya by Hillary Clinton, is difficult to understand.)
I confess to beginning my question with a tad of sarcasm in complimenting Jennifer Palmieri (Hillary Clinton's campaign communications director) for her candid revelations about how hard -- and how successfully -- she worked at the Democratic National Convention to get the media to focus on the manufactured issue of "Russian hacking" of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails. So successful was Palmieri that the media ignored what the emails actually revealed -- namely, how Mrs. Clinton and the DNC stole the nomination from Bernie Sanders. (Reminder: the WikiLeaks exposure came just two days before the Democratic convention got started.)
Palmieri explained proudly how she managed to accomplish all that in a feature article in the Washington Post two weeks ago, titled The Clinton campaign warned you about Russia. But nobody listened to us.
In the same vain vein, Palmieri rang more changes on the general theme during the panel discussion. She also -- no doubt unwittingly -- dropped tidbits of evidence that could get some former officials in deep kimchi -- if a serious investigation of relevant leaks were to be conducted. But on Thursday no one seemed to notice. Rather, it was all Hats Off! to Palmieri for putting the media with noses to the ground on the trail of the Russian bear. The event itself reflected the reality that her achievement was so well launched that it persists to this day.
When the moderator asked her to comment, from her insider perspective, on "what was actually going on in late summer/early fall," Palmieri rose to the occasion with the following revealing remarks:
"It was a surreal experience for us and our campaign so I did appreciate that for the press to absorb, in addition to how/what an unconventional -- to put it mildly -- candidate Trump was and all of the crazy theater that was happening on stage, the idea that behind the stage that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton was too fantastic for people to, um, for the press to process, to absorb....
and for us it did feel that the whole campaign experience was pretty surreal without Russia. (Emphasis added)
"But then we go back to Brooklyn and heard from the -- mostly our sources were other intelligence, with the press who work in the intelligence sphere, and that's where we heard things and that's where we learned about the dossier and the other story lines that were swirling about; and how to process, how do we ... And along the way the administration started confirming various pieces of what they were concerned about what Russia was doing. And how do you weave that story line into the fight we were having with Donald Trump on the campaign trail? And that was a really hard thing. ... People did not care about Russia ... because they didn't hear about it. .... (Emphasis added)
"And we did finally get to the point on October 7, when the administration came out with a very stunning [memorandum]. How stunning it was for both the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of Homeland Security to put out a statement -- a long statement -- that said with high confidence that Russia was interfering in the election and they were also directing the timing of the leaks. And it named the institutions -- WikiLeaks, dcleaks, and Guccifer -- as being Russian-led, and how stunning that was to be that certain and that public. ...
"So I do think that the answer for the Democrats now ... in both the House and the Senate is to talk about it more and make it more real ...."
Thursday's event was enlightening, in a depressing kind of way -- especially for one who grew up in an atmosphere of widespread admiration for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, leader of a very different Democratic Party, and widespread disgust for Joe McCarthy.