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ScottN

ScottN Avatar

Location: Half inch above the K/T boundary
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 27, 2018 - 7:55pm

 islander wrote:

Yeah, and he just politely declined right?  Except for that whole "gotta set up a meeting with the head of the campaign" thing and express enthusiasm about the offer and even mention timing of late summer...

No I don't think he's particularly bright (or dim for that matter). He's just an average billionaire used to getting his way with everything and not familiar with laws that he thought never would apply to him (literally and figuratively), and certainly not understanding the tank he just jumped into.

And yes, It is fun to watch people like this get their comeuppance - especially following all the 'drain the swamp' rhetoric they espoused. Is there a better use of people's time?  Maybe, but I'm not offended when any of these people get theirs.

 
It may be significant that among the attendees were Manafort, Kushner, and Rinat Akhmetshin.  
islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 26, 2018 - 10:02pm

 Lazy8 wrote:

The emails only show that Donald Jr. was offered dirt from hacked emails. The Trump campaign didn't release them, someone else did.

It's possible that Donald Jr. was clever enough to realize that accepting this offer of help would violate campaign finance law; maybe some overzealous prosecutor could also gin up a case for receiving stolen goods or something. Federal hacking statutes are broad enough (and poorly-written enough) that it's possible just being in a conversation with someone alleging to have hacked emails is a crime, don't know.

Or care really—the dirt they dug up (that hadn't already been made public via the Benghazi hearings, which was far worse) was that the DNC was doing its best to promote the establishment candidate over primary rivals. That came as a surprise to absolutely no one.

And assuming Donald Jr. is that clever (show me some evidence of that, somebody?) if he had simply said "Can't accept this, but I can't stop you from releasing it" he's off the hook for campaign finance violations. If he said "Can't accept this, you release it" it's possible that violates campaign finance law. Which would subject the Trump campaign to...a fine.

So yeah, let's tie up dozens of FBI agents for months and prosecute a few campaign staffers...for tax evasion and lying to the FBI.

It is fun to watch the vermin under the rocks of the Trump campaign exposed to the light of day, just as we only found out the Secretary of State was hiding her communications in a private email server because of the Benghazi hearings—which were also a partisan witch hunt. Maybe some transparency will result. I guess that'd be good. But isn't what we already know about Donald Trump—what he brags about publicly—bad enough?

 
Yeah, and he just politely declined right?  Except for that whole "gotta set up a meeting with the head of the campaign" thing and express enthusiasm about the offer and even mention timing of late summer...

No I don't think he's particularly bright (or dim for that matter). He's just an average billionaire used to getting his way with everything and not familiar with laws that he thought never would apply to him (literally and figuratively), and certainly not understanding the tank he just jumped into.

And yes, It is fun to watch people like this get their comeuppance - especially following all the 'drain the swamp' rhetoric they espoused. Is there a better use of people's time?  Maybe, but I'm not offended when any of these people get theirs. 


R_P

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Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 26, 2018 - 7:27pm


Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 26, 2018 - 8:28am

 islander wrote:
I know you are trying to be mocking here, but you aren't far from what happened: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/11/donald-trump-jr-emails-full-text-russia-rob-goldstone

I'd say Donald Trump Jr. is a little better placed than "random henchman".  And while I don't think even this crew has the hubris to leave documentation of open collusion, I do think there is enough there that it shows the willingness to step way over the line of normal in accepting assistance from a hostile foreign power. 

I don't think there is much to be done about it until 2020, but I'm stunned at the lack of bother most of the upright/law & order/strong defense GOP crowd has just because it got the result (marginally) they wanted.  

The emails only show that Donald Jr. was offered dirt from hacked emails. The Trump campaign didn't release them, someone else did.

It's possible that Donald Jr. was clever enough to realize that accepting this offer of help would violate campaign finance law; maybe some overzealous prosecutor could also gin up a case for receiving stolen goods or something. Federal hacking statutes are broad enough (and poorly-written enough) that it's possible just being in a conversation with someone alleging to have hacked emails is a crime, don't know.

Or care really—the dirt they dug up (that hadn't already been made public via the Benghazi hearings, which was far worse) was that the DNC was doing its best to promote the establishment candidate over primary rivals. That came as a surprise to absolutely no one.

And assuming Donald Jr. is that clever (show me some evidence of that, somebody?) if he had simply said "Can't accept this, but I can't stop you from releasing it" he's off the hook for campaign finance violations. If he said "Can't accept this, you release it" it's possible that violates campaign finance law. Which would subject the Trump campaign to...a fine.

So yeah, let's tie up dozens of FBI agents for months and prosecute a few campaign staffers...for tax evasion and lying to the FBI.

It is fun to watch the vermin under the rocks of the Trump campaign exposed to the light of day, just as we only found out the Secretary of State was hiding her communications in a private email server because of the Benghazi hearings—which were also a partisan witch hunt. Maybe some transparency will result. I guess that'd be good. But isn't what we already know about Donald Trump—what he brags about publicly—bad enough?
islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 26, 2018 - 5:23am

 Lazy8 wrote:
islander wrote:
I'm bothered that there is at least an appearance that one of our candidates either explicitly or implicitly saught and maybe utilized the help of the Russians (or any other foreign state) to win an election.  Yes, nothing has been proved, but there sure are a lot of russians around the Trump campaign. And we are trying to look into it, but there seems to be no way to do that without it becoming overly politicized. We also seem to have a fair bit of a problem with the current administration (and associated party players) trying to actively thwart any serious inquiry (not least because it will be highly politicized, but also because...?).

This really amuses me. Trump (or a henchman, whatever) goes to The Russians: "We want you to help the candidate you already want to win."

The Russians: "Brilliant! Would never have thought of that! What you want us to do?"

T(oah,w): "Post defamatory stories on Facebook so fake that only our supporters will believe them. Also maybe spying? I hear you're good at that. Like, the best."

TR: "Am on it, comrade! Also we have dirt from emails but no idea what to do with."

T(oah,w): "Publish!"

TR: "Also brilliant! Would never have thought of that in million years!"

T(oah,w): "Glad to have you on the team, doing my bidding!" (Rubs hands).

If there were any evidence that Team Trump solicited help from the Russians and directed their activities you might have a case. In the current thicket of campaign laws that would probably count as an illegal campaign contribution or something. After all, you're allowed to accept help from outside organizations (Fox News, CNN, Moveon.org, the NRA) but you're not allowed to direct it.

I'm not seeing any evidence that that happened, or that anyone on Team Trump was clever enough to direct it if it had. If the awesome investigatory powers of the FBI aren't enough to penetrate the evidence hiding of henchmen who can't save a Word doc as PDF maybe it's because there's nothing there to find.

When Robert Mueller wraps up his witch hunt and prosecutes a few henchmen for unrelated crimes and it turns out that's all he gets...what has been accomplished? For one the Trump administration will have proved to its supporters that the Deep State is out to get it, that the outrage expressed was just sour grapes and partisan rah-rah. They will be immunized against scrutiny when they actually do something evil that merits oversight and intervention.

 
I know you are trying to be mocking here, but you aren't far from what happened: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/11/donald-trump-jr-emails-full-text-russia-rob-goldstone

I'd say Donald Trump Jr. is a little better placed than "random henchman".  And while I don't think even this crew has the hubris to leave documentation of open collusion, I do think there is enough there that it shows the willingness to step way over the line of normal in accepting assistance from a hostile foreign power. 

I don't think there is much to be done about it until 2020, but I'm stunned at the lack of bother most of the upright/law & order/strong defense GOP crowd has just because it got the result (marginally) they wanted.  


Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 25, 2018 - 6:02pm

 haresfur wrote:
Just because you are the lackey, not the ring-leader, doesn't mean you aren't guilty of the crime. The laws are different for foreign nations than for internal organizations, right?

Yes, different. But not as different as you might think.
haresfur

haresfur Avatar

Location: The Golden Triangle
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 25, 2018 - 5:22pm

 
Lazy8 wrote:

If there were any evidence that Team Trump solicited help from the Russians and directed their activities you might have a case. In the current thicket of campaign laws that would probably count as an illegal campaign contribution or something. After all, you're allowed to accept help from outside organizations (Fox News, CNN, Moveon.org, the NRA) but you're not allowed to direct it.
 
Just because you are the lackey, not the ring-leader, doesn't mean you aren't guilty of the crime. The laws are different for foreign nations than for internal organizations, right?
Steely_D

Steely_D Avatar

Location: Biscayne Bay
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 25, 2018 - 5:02pm

 R_P wrote:
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted

My sense of anticipation was hyped. Robert Mueller had just indicted the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency, along with several of the trolls who had slaved tirelessly from their cyber-cubicles in St. Petersburg in a plot to despoil American democracy. Having recently survived a hit-and-run collision with a suspected Russian troll, who had recklessly driven the internet highways using a false ID (Alice Donovan), I was eager to see what the former FBI man had uncovered.

My appetite was further whetted by an NBC News producer who proclaimed the Mueller indictment “one of the most important political documents in US history.” Right up there with the Monroe Doctrine, the majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson, and the Starr Report, I suppose.

I greedily downloaded a pdf of the 33-page filing, expecting to finally get answers to questions that had been nagging me for months, such as: How could the Russians have been so sloppy as to get caught with their hands in Trump’s pockets? Did they believe Trump was smart enough to effectively collude with them? Did they really think Hillary needed any help blowing a sure thing? And, most importantly, what was Alice Donovan’s real name? (...)

 

R_P

R_P Avatar

Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 25, 2018 - 4:58pm

They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted

My sense of anticipation was hyped. Robert Mueller had just indicted the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency, along with several of the trolls who had slaved tirelessly from their cyber-cubicles in St. Petersburg in a plot to despoil American democracy. Having recently survived a hit-and-run collision with a suspected Russian troll, who had recklessly driven the internet highways using a false ID (Alice Donovan), I was eager to see what the former FBI man had uncovered.

My appetite was further whetted by an NBC News producer who proclaimed the Mueller indictment “one of the most important political documents in US history.” Right up there with the Monroe Doctrine, the majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson, and the Starr Report, I suppose.

I greedily downloaded a pdf of the 33-page filing, expecting to finally get answers to questions that had been nagging me for months, such as: How could the Russians have been so sloppy as to get caught with their hands in Trump’s pockets? Did they believe Trump was smart enough to effectively collude with them? Did they really think Hillary needed any help blowing a sure thing? And, most importantly, what was Alice Donovan’s real name? (...)


kcar

kcar Avatar



Posted: Feb 25, 2018 - 3:17pm

 Lazy8 wrote:
islander wrote:
I'm bothered that there is at least an appearance that one of our candidates either explicitly or implicitly saught and maybe utilized the help of the Russians (or any other foreign state) to win an election.  Yes, nothing has been proved, but there sure are a lot of russians around the Trump campaign. And we are trying to look into it, but there seems to be no way to do that without it becoming overly politicized. We also seem to have a fair bit of a problem with the current administration (and associated party players) trying to actively thwart any serious inquiry (not least because it will be highly politicized, but also because...?).

This really amuses me. Trump (or a henchman, whatever) goes to The Russians: "We want you to help the candidate you already want to win."

The Russians: "Brilliant! Would never have thought of that! What you want us to do?"

T(oah,w): "Post defamatory stories on Facebook so fake that only our supporters will believe them. Also maybe spying? I hear you're good at that. Like, the best."

TR: "Am on it, comrade! Also we have dirt from emails but no idea what to do with."

T(oah,w): "Publish!"

TR: "Also brilliant! Would never have thought of that in million years!"

T(oah,w): "Glad to have you on the team, doing my bidding!" (Rubs hands).

If there were any evidence that Team Trump solicited help from the Russians and directed their activities you might have a case. In the current thicket of campaign laws that would probably count as an illegal campaign contribution or something. After all, you're allowed to accept help from outside organizations (Fox News, CNN, Moveon.org, the NRA) but you're not allowed to direct it.

I'm not seeing any evidence that that happened, or that anyone on Team Trump was clever enough to direct it if it had. If the awesome investigatory powers of the FBI aren't enough to penetrate the evidence hiding of henchmen who can't save a Word doc as PDF maybe it's because there's nothing there to find.

When Robert Mueller wraps up his witch hunt and prosecutes a few henchmen for unrelated crimes and it turns out that's all he gets...what has been accomplished? For one the Trump administration will have proved to its supporters that the Deep State is out to get it, that the outrage expressed was just sour grapes and partisan rah-rah. They will be immunized against scrutiny when they actually do something evil that merits oversight and intervention.

 

"For one the Trump administration will have proved to its supporters that the Deep State is out to get it, that the outrage expressed was just sour grapes and partisan rah-rah. They will be immunized against scrutiny when they actually do something evil that merits oversight and intervention."
At this point, Trump's supporters are quite willing to ignore the truth or dismiss evidence pointing towards the truth if someone tells them that it's "fake news." So even if Mueller finds nothing worth prosecuting OR finds seriously criminal activity, Trump's supporters have in many cases have already made up their minds, or had them made up for them. 

"I'm not seeing any evidence that that happened, or that anyone on Team Trump was clever enough to direct it if it had. If the awesome investigatory powers of the FBI aren't enough to penetrate the evidence hiding of henchmen who can't save a Word doc as PDF maybe it's because there's nothing there to find."



It's way too early to speculate about what Mueller and Co. will find or won't find. Legal experts quoted in the news stories that I've read find the number of indictments and plea deals indicative of Mueller having strong evidence to prosecute and convict people. Whether that evidence will lead to Trump and his inner circle remains to be seen. 
haresfur

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Location: The Golden Triangle
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 25, 2018 - 1:37pm


 islander wrote:

I'm bothered that there is at least an appearance that one of our candidates either explicitly or implicitly saught and maybe utilized the help of the Russians (or any other foreign state) to win an election.  Yes, nothing has been proved, but there sure are a lot of russians around the Trump campaign. And we are trying to look into it, but there seems to be no way to do that without it becoming overly politicized. We also seem to have a fair bit of a problem with the current administration (and associated party players) trying to actively thwart any serious inquiry (not least because it will be highly politicized, but also because...?).

 
Of course it is politicized when you investigate a political campaign. Such is life.

In my mind the crimes that members of the Trump campaign have plead guilty to are enough to show he is unfit for office (yes, I know unfit doesn't mean impeachable). If he didn't know, he is unfit to lead any organization.
Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 25, 2018 - 10:50am

islander wrote:
I'm bothered that there is at least an appearance that one of our candidates either explicitly or implicitly saught and maybe utilized the help of the Russians (or any other foreign state) to win an election.  Yes, nothing has been proved, but there sure are a lot of russians around the Trump campaign. And we are trying to look into it, but there seems to be no way to do that without it becoming overly politicized. We also seem to have a fair bit of a problem with the current administration (and associated party players) trying to actively thwart any serious inquiry (not least because it will be highly politicized, but also because...?).

This really amuses me. Trump (or a henchman, whatever) goes to The Russians: "We want you to help the candidate you already want to win."

The Russians: "Brilliant! Would never have thought of that! What you want us to do?"

T(oah,w): "Post defamatory stories on Facebook so fake that only our supporters will believe them. Also maybe spying? I hear you're good at that. Like, the best."

TR: "Am on it, comrade! Also we have dirt from emails but no idea what to do with."

T(oah,w): "Publish!"

TR: "Also brilliant! Would never have thought of that in million years!"

T(oah,w): "Glad to have you on the team, doing my bidding!" (Rubs hands).

If there were any evidence that Team Trump solicited help from the Russians and directed their activities you might have a case. In the current thicket of campaign laws that would probably count as an illegal campaign contribution or something. After all, you're allowed to accept help from outside organizations (Fox News, CNN, Moveon.org, the NRA) but you're not allowed to direct it.

I'm not seeing any evidence that that happened, or that anyone on Team Trump was clever enough to direct it if it had. If the awesome investigatory powers of the FBI aren't enough to penetrate the evidence hiding of henchmen who can't save a Word doc as PDF maybe it's because there's nothing there to find.

When Robert Mueller wraps up his witch hunt and prosecutes a few henchmen for unrelated crimes and it turns out that's all he gets...what has been accomplished? For one the Trump administration will have proved to its supporters that the Deep State is out to get it, that the outrage expressed was just sour grapes and partisan rah-rah. They will be immunized against scrutiny when they actually do something evil that merits oversight and intervention.
hayduke2

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Location: Southampton, NY
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 24, 2018 - 2:01pm

Please take time to read this profile of the American political world, and the likely rise of the current administration:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/paul-manafort-american-hustler/550925/
islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 24, 2018 - 11:04am


Lazy8 wrote:
What part of the Russian activity bothers you? That they did it at all? Get over it. They're going to do it. They have their own geopolitical aims and they're going to pursue them.

That it was Russians instead of, say, Portuguese? Why?

That it wasn't out-in-the-open propaganda, with a statement at the end:"I'm Vladimir Putin and I endorsed this message"? Get over it. Every political operative will speak thru proxies, trying to have their message come from a familiar face. 
   

I'm bothered that there is at least an appearance that one of our candidates either explicitly or implicitly saught and maybe utilized the help of the Russians (or any other foreign state) to win an election.  Yes, nothing has been proved, but there sure are a lot of russians around the Trump campaign. And we are trying to look into it, but there seems to be no way to do that without it becoming overly politicized. We also seem to have a fair bit of a problem with the current administration (and associated party players) trying to actively thwart any serious inquiry (not least because it will be highly politicized, but also because...?).


Lazy8 wrote:
 That it was aimed at your faction? Maybe we're onto something.


 
Sure, I'll cop to this. Hillary wasn't my faction, but If you count "not Trump" as those in the cross hairs then yeah that's me. I'm bothered because we have elected a person of bad character, who is orders of magnitude worse than the other options. Sure this can be debated, and we can't do A/B testing to be sure, but really, this guy is a lout who has little redeeming in his bag of tricks. The best thing I can see is that it does show people what happens when you don't vote, but I fear that even more will now be willing to vote for lesser evil because they noticed this result.

On the other hand, we are more than 25% (or 12.5% worst case) through the experiment, and the country is still here, things are still pretty good on balance, and despite the raging political rift in the country, we have all survived.
  Lazy8 wrote:
Finally I want anyone hyperbabulating about this to answer a simple question: what do you propose to do about it?

Be specific. Nothing vague like "Stop them!" I want serious, implementable proposals. Actual things someone (the combined executive and legislative branches of the federal government, say) could actually do to stop a foreign power from engaging in propaganda.

And no, I don't mean short of actual war. The hyperbole among the chattering classes has equated Facebook posts with an act of war, among other things. If you actually believe that breathless tripe you need to be prepared to put troops (and nukes?) where your mouths are.

I'll leave for later the follow-up simple question: Assuming whatever you proposed is successful and those responsible are still alive (remember, Seal Team 6 is on the table) how will you know they've stopped? When will we be safe from the terrible menace of people telling us things.
 
Good questions. My only answers start with "be better people". But I don't see that happening. It will ebb, it will flow. The dems will get power again and the repubs will be mighty miffed at the retribution that follows. The geese will migrate in the fall, and I hope to shuffle off of this mortal coil before it gets too ugly. Civilizations end. There is an arc to them all, but they all cede their position at the top eventually. Some do it gracefully and settle into a comfortable post king-of-the-hill retirement position; see Italy and Britain (sort of), maybe Japan... I don't expect to see us in that phase, but I doubt I would live long enough for the transition to happen, so I'll just leave it as hope for the future. 
Lazy8

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Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Feb 24, 2018 - 10:17am

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
In continuing to misunderstand or mis-frame the problem, this article has little useful to offer. But it does capture one truth: "one of two things has to be true: either Democratic “political operatives” are incredibly bad at what they do, or else they are feigning amazement in order to get themselves off the hook for the lousy job they did in 2016. "

 
It was never about the actual ads the Russians ran. It was absolutely about how they crawled the internet, sowing rancor and discord, making any discussion/exchange of information unpleasant. We had them before the election, right here. We have them now. :shrug: 

Hmm, I think the article nailed it. Or at least nailed all around it.

What part of the Russian activity bothers you? That they did it at all? Get over it. They're going to do it. They have their own geopolitical aims and they're going to pursue them.

That it was Russians instead of, say, Portuguese? Why?

That it wasn't out-in-the-open propaganda, with a statement at the end:"I'm Vladimir Putin and I endorsed this message"? Get over it. Every political operative will speak thru proxies, trying to have their message come from a familiar face.

That it was aimed at your faction? Maybe we're onto something.

The ads/fake news/posts themselves were incredibly ham-fisted. They appeared in dark, dank, claustrophobic echo chambers. They weren't targeting persuadable people, they were feeding prejudices so strong that the owners would believe anything—pizzagate, Vincent Foster murder conspiracies, CNN slipping Hillary debate questions (no wait, that one actually happened, but you get my drift)—that aligned with them. A Hillary ad in Think Progress was wasted money (at least after the nomination); a Trump troll was preaching to the choir on Red State.

We've lived thru wave after wave of partisan propaganda, much of it vile and dishonest—and transparently so. Remember the GW Bush years? It tended to come from the left then. The only people convinced by it were people predisposed to believe anything negative about someone they hated. Did that massive effort (and I do mean massive: look at the resources that poured into, say, the 9/11 conspiracy industry and compare that with the Russian troll bot effort) result in a change in electoral outcomes? A hint: Bush's second margin of victory was bigger than his first.

Finally I want anyone hyperbabulating about this to answer a simple question: what do you propose to do about it?

Be specific. Nothing vague like "Stop them!" I want serious, implementable proposals. Actual things someone (the combined executive and legislative branches of the federal government, say) could actually do to stop a foreign power from engaging in propaganda.

And no, I don't mean short of actual war. The hyperbole among the chattering classes has equated Facebook posts with an act of war, among other things. If you actually believe that breathless tripe you need to be prepared to put troops (and nukes?) where your mouths are.

I'll leave for later the follow-up simple question: Assuming whatever you proposed is successful and those responsible are still alive (remember, Seal Team 6 is on the table) how will you know they've stopped? When will we be safe from the terrible menace of people telling us things?


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Posted: Feb 23, 2018 - 12:40pm

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
In continuing to misunderstand or mis-frame the problem, this article has little useful to offer. But it does capture one truth: "one of two things has to be true: either Democratic “political operatives” are incredibly bad at what they do, or else they are feigning amazement in order to get themselves off the hook for the lousy job they did in 2016. "

It was never about the actual ads the Russians ran. It was absolutely about how they crawled the internet, sowing rancor and discord, making any discussion/exchange of information unpleasant. We had them before the election, right here. We have them now. :shrug:
 
How dare they...!1!?1 {#Rolleyes}
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Posted: Feb 23, 2018 - 12:24pm

 R_P wrote:
The hysteria over Russian bots has reached new levels
Pundits and Democrats ascribe to a handful of bargain-basement Russian trolls all manner of ability – including orchestrating a coup d’etat
 
 
In continuing to misunderstand or mis-frame the problem, this article has little useful to offer. But it does capture one truth: "one of two things has to be true: either Democratic “political operatives” are incredibly bad at what they do, or else they are feigning amazement in order to get themselves off the hook for the lousy job they did in 2016. "

 
It was never about the actual ads the Russians ran. It was absolutely about how they crawled the internet, sowing rancor and discord, making any discussion/exchange of information unpleasant. We had them before the election, right here. We have them now. :shrug: 

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Posted: Feb 23, 2018 - 12:11pm

The hysteria over Russian bots has reached new levels
Pundits and Democrats ascribe to a handful of bargain-basement Russian trolls all manner of ability – including orchestrating a coup d’etat
he grand total for all political ad spending in the 2016 election cycle, according to Advertising Age, was $9.8bn. The ads allegedly produced by inmates of a Russian troll farm, which have made up this week’s ration of horror and panic in the halls of the American punditburo, cost about $100,000 to place on Facebook.

A few months ago, when I first described those Russian ads in this space, I invited readers to laugh at them. They were “low-budget stuff, ugly, loud and stupid”, I wrote. They interested me because they cast the paranoid right, instead of the left, as dupes of a foreign power. And yet, I wrote, the American commentariat had largely overlooked them.

Now that Robert Mueller’s office has indicted the Russian actors who are allegedly behind the ads, however, all that has changed. American pundits have gone from zero to 60 on this matter in no time at all – from ignoring the Facebook posts to outright hysteria over them.

What the Russian trolls allegedly did was “an act of war ... a sneak attack using 21st-century methods”, wrote the columnist Karen Tumulty. “Our democracy is in serious danger,” declared America’s star thought-leader Thomas Friedman on Sunday, raging against the weakling Trump for not getting tough with these trolls and their sponsors. “Protecting our democracy obviously concerns Trump not at all,” agreed columnist Eugene Robinson on Tuesday.

The ads themselves are now thought to have been the product of highly advanced political intelligence. So effective were the troll-works, wrote Robert Kuttner on Monday, that we can say Trump “literally became president in a Russia-sponsored coup d’etat”.

For thoughts on the finely tuned calculations behind this propaganda campaign, the Washington Post on Saturday turned to Brian Fallon, a former Hillary Clinton press secretary, who referred to the alleged Russian effort as follows: “It seems like the creative instincts and the sophistication exceeds a lot of the US political operatives who do this for a living.”

Of what, specifically, did this sophistication consist? In what startling insights was this creativity made manifest? “Fallon said it was stunning to realize that the Russians understood how Trump was trying to woo disaffected (Bernie) Sanders supporters ...”

The Post added a few suspicious examples of its own. The Russian trolls figured out that battleground states were important. And: they tried to enlist disgruntled blue-collar voters in what the paper called the “rust belt”.

Okay, stop here. Since when is it a marker of political sophistication to know that some states are more persuadable than others? Or to understand that blue-collar voters are an important demographic these days? (...)

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Posted: Feb 23, 2018 - 9:37am

 miamizsun wrote:
i had this spinning in my periphery yesterday

for the most part it was a good conversation

and something you would never see in/on the mainstream agitprop

enjoy this stuff while you can 
 
I wouldn't know.

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Posted: Feb 23, 2018 - 4:15am

 R_P wrote:


 

i had this spinning in my periphery yesterday

for the most part it was a good conversation

and something you would never see in/on the mainstream agitprop

enjoy this stuff while you can


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