What are we to make of the headline-busting "bust" of twelve Russians for hacking Dem Party computers, releasing the supposedly confidential info there, and thus messing around with an American election or three?
Notice my question... "What are we to MAKE of" the above.
For to me that is the real question. One that is in and of itself its own answer.
This act by the Department of Justice has no meaning in a legal sense. The Russians ain't done nothing (yes, double negative -- perfect for here) that they (and the US government) have not been doing since at least 1918. And in this case it had absolutely no effect on any outcomes apart from raising the decibel level.
And that is exactly what this supposed 'bust' is to do as well.
Think of how much there is right now that the "Department of Justice" (sorry, but those scare quotes are needed) needs to drown out. -The Mueller idiocy. The success of the Trump Administration's policies. The slow reveal of the DoJ's own malfeasance in trying to upset the last election.
How better to do this than by a phony 'bust' of some ugly Ruskies?
Do they really expect the Russian government to extradite these people for trial here? (Would they 'bust' 'em if that was even a possibility? With the Russians thus able, via American criminal law practices, to demand access to all the information the DoJ won't even allow congressional committees to see? Really?)
And what about the timing? This occurring just as 1) a key FBI official is telling congress between smirks that 'no. I will not answer your questions -- the FBI lawyers tell me I cannot' and 2), President Trump about to meet with Russian President Putin -- and pull off who knows what State Department mortifying surprise?
No, the Russians here are not the target. We are. You, me and our elected president. -Our growing self-confidence and demand for taking control of what is ours -- control that threatens everything the so-called "DoJ" and the rest of "State" looks upon as its own.
Will this gambit work?
I think not.
Yes, NY Times readers will nod their heads in agreement, just as they are inclined and have been trained to do.
Those who live in the social media/tabloid world (increasingly the same thing) will ignore it as far less interesting then, say, four woman beating up a waitress at an Applebees.
But the bulk of thinking Americans will see it as just what it is -- another attempt at gaming us through the old and now largely ignored media circus.
No, they -- those perpetrating this farce -- won't go away. But their hold is day by day, and act by act, weakening.
This entire gambit is equally an example of that -- and an accelerator of their demise.