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20 February 2018

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BillWade

Leaky Ranger says, "This is a serious business and I find the cavalier attitude of many here to be the farce. " Could you explain further, how's about my comment.

"The GOP ran AgSec Mike Espy out of D.C. for accepting tickets to college football games. What's wrong with that?

" Compare that to Kushner's inability to get a security clearance." It's taking time but what proof do you have of his inability to be granted clearance?

TV

This whole mess (taxpayer funded, of course) is the swamp fighting a newly discovered
cancer - Trumphoma.
I'm a cancer survivor, but this time I'm rooting for the cancer.

turcopolier

luke8929

Have the FBI visited you yet? pl

A Pols

There's a Time magazine cover from 1996 crowing about the US secret project sending specialists to Russia to help Yeltsin win that year's election. I guess I can't copy and paste an image here, but the curious can find it on Jim Kunstler's blog. It's funny in the context of today's moral panic.

The Twisted Genius

This indictment looks similar to the 2015 case against the Rooksie spies involved with Carter Page. Those three were charged with conspiracy against the US and FARA violations. The two Rooskies under government cover were sent back to Moscow. The Rooskie NOC was convicted, jailed for a short time and then sent back to Moscow. This shows Mueller is treating this kind of Russian information operation in the same manner as Russian espionage. Neither one is cause for war, so both sides ought to unbunch their panties and calm down. It's like two bands of howler monkeys slinging shit at each other.

Fred

luke8929,

In honor of Canada's bill C16 feel free to address me with the proper pronoun: Prince. In fact please be formal as we've never met. Let me introduce myself. I am Fredrick, Prince of Deplorables. Just don't confuse me with a deplorable prince. He's across the channel.

Cheers. PS. On a far more important note than the Canadian government mandating speech and her citizens not doing anything but kneeling in submission to the abolishment of their rights by legislative fiat, it does't look good for getting that cup back this year. Better get Ottawa to hire a few more Russians. Toronto too, as an "insurance policy."

Duck1

Seems like the late stage empire is sundowning, getting a little confused, can't quite follow the geopolitical problems it has created.

blue peacock

TTG #32

..both sides ought to unbunch their panties and calm down. It's like two bands of howler monkeys slinging shit at each other.

You may be more up to speed on these issues, but when was the last time the Russians got all hysterical about our interference activities there and behaved like we have here so incredibly childish?

This whole Russiagate affair seems rather infantile to me. But...I feel more convinced every day that it is a giant mask to cover up the real conspiracy by Obama, Hillary, Clapper, Brennan, Comey, et al. Nothing else makes any sense. Getting our panties in a wad over some trolling??? Is that how a pre-eminent military power behaves? I just can't buy that.

TDS has driven our media/political/government complex mad since the spring/summer of 2016.

rg

The phrase "reality marketing agency" made me break out laughing when I read b's comment. I often see words misspelled by b on his own blog, and believe this is a misspelling of "realty", possibly caused by a language translation application program. But yes, a "reality marketing" scam, indeed.

Greco
Seems like the late stage empire is sundowning, getting a little confused, can't quite follow the geopolitical problems it has created.

Perhaps, but keep in mind that a worse level of internal discord existed in the late 60s and early 70s, yet the sun didn't set on the US "empire" then.

Also many of these geopolitical problems have long been boiling beneath the surface. There's no question that Bush and then Obama's subsequent interventions in the MENA region stirred up a hornet's nest, but I would be careful to draw a distinction between what created these problems and what exasperated them. And as problematic as things may seem now try to imagine instead of these messy quagmires that a full-scale war had broken out between Iran and Israel. Things may very well have turned out even worse than they are now, although there's no saying whether the worst has yet to come.

The US plays an essential, albeit imperfect role in maintaining a level of sanity in world affairs. If the sun ever set on their capacity to fulfill that role, then there'd be a big pair of shoes to be filled and not a great many suitors (other than potentially a totalitarian China and in a much lesser capacity at that).

On another note more pertinent to the broader discussion, I think there's no mistaking that Mueller's investigation is being deliberately dragged out at least until around the midterms. If they can't get the Congressional votes, then they'll never be able to impeach him (not unless by more obscure or less democratic means). Beyond that point, I think fatigue and resentment over the investigation will begin to set in, even among Democrats, and the investigation will peter out. Until then, there's plenty of time for this madness to carry on unchecked and in that time something could emerge, true or false, from which the president may not recover. These indictments may not mean much of anything, but I think there's a real danger if the president lets this investigation play out. The president holds his destiny in his own hands, at least for now, and it would be a great shame if he were to ever lose that.

johnf

Is any of this fevered hysteria actually impacting on the American people, tho? Are they taking any notice of this Russian hoopla?

I can only go on what is happening here in Blighty. We had Operation Fear launched here, with hysterical warnings about what would happen if we left the EU. Result - Brexit.

Last year we had a hysterical general election, with the Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn advocating a return to Keynesian economic policies being repeatedly portrayed - by the tabloids, the broadsheets and the broadcasting channels - as an IRA supporting Marxist Trotskyite tree-hugging Islamic terorist supporting babyeating fanatic. Result - he went up in the polls over 20% and reduced Theresa May to running a minority government.

He is now being portrayed (in "serious" newspapers) as having been a secret agent for the Czechs during the Cold War. The Czech archivist for the communist era secret service says he was not. The British secret services have said he was not. Even the BBC is trimming its sails and denying the stories (the equivalent in the US would be CNN denying Russiagate).

Yesterday Corbyn was addressing the annual conference of the bosses of Britain's manufacturing industries. At the end a Daily Mail journalist asked about his spying. There was unrest amongst the audience and Corbyn bluntly and contemptuously denied it. That was followed by a Channel 4 journalist asking a similar question and he was booed by the audience. Corbyn said the point of the question and answer session was for Britain's bosses to ask him questions, not journalists. This was met with rapturous applause and cheers from the bosses.

Some of the most rightwing people in the country were booing the press campaign.

I think, as with Russiagate, that the general public have developed a very keen nose for bullshit and are simply ignoring it. They are becoming, if not an informed electorate, a canny and a sceptical electorate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRZCKqmsvFU

b

@rg - You are of course right.

I meant "realty marketing". Both pass the spell checker ...

Lee A. Arnold

I agree, both sides are wildly overblowing their horns on this indictment. There may be more to come, or not.

Indictment paragraph 6 says they bought political advertisements and staged political rallies in the U.S. Any U.S. citizen can do this, in any election, for any wacko idea. We see it all the time. BUT:

But FOREIGN persons cannot do that, from inside in the U.S., without registering with the FEC, registering under FARA (administered by Justice Dept.), and being truthful on their visa applications (administered by State Dept.) (See paragraphs 25, 26, 27). This is the heart of the indictment. Count One (starting at paragraph 8): conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by "impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions" of FEC, Justice, and State.

Next election, they can do it from outside the U.S., maybe no laws broken.

nard

MoA also has a take which reflects Helmer's take:
In the early 1990s some dude in St.Petersburg made a good business selling hot dogs. He opened a colorful restaurant. Local celebrities and politicians were invited to gain notoriety while the restaurant served cheap food for too high prices. It was a good business. A few years later he moved to Moscow and gained contracts to cater to schools and to the military. The food he served was still substandard.

But catering bad food as school lunches gave him, by chance, the idea for a new business:

Parents were soon up in arms. Their children wouldn’t eat the food, saying it smelled rotten.
As the bad publicity mounted, Mr. Prigozhin’s company, Concord Catering, launched a counterattack, a former colleague said. He hired young men and women to overwhelm the internet with comments and blog posts praising the food and dismissing the parents’ protests.

“In five minutes, pages were drowning in comments,” said Andrei Ilin, whose website serves as a discussion board about public schools. “And all the trolls were supporting Concord.”

The trick worked beyond expectations. Prigozhin had found a new business. He hired some IT staff and low paid temps to populate various message boards, social networks and the general internet with whatever his customers asked him for.

You have a bad online reputation? Prigozhin can help. His internet company will fill the net with positive stories and remarks about you. Your old and bad reputation will be drowned by the new and good one. Want to promote a product or service? Prigozhin's online marketeers can address the right crowds.
To achieve those results the few temps who worked on such projects needed to multiply their online personalities. It is better to have fifty people vouch for you online than just five. No one cares if these are real people or just virtual ones. The internet makes it easy to create such sock-puppets. The virtual crowd can then be used to push personalities, products or political opinions. Such schemes are nothing new or special. Every decent "western" public relations and marketing company will offer a similar service and has done so for years.

While it is relatively easy to have sock-puppets swamp the comment threads of such sites as this blog, it is more difficult to have a real effect on social networks. These depend on multiplier effects. To gain many real "likes", "re-tweets" or "followers" an online persona needs a certain history and reputation. Real people need to feel attached to it. It takes some time and effort to build such a multiplier personality, be it real or virtual.

At some point Prigozhin, or whoever by then owned the internet marketing company, decided to expand into the lucrative English speaking market. This would require to build many English language online persona and to give those some history and time to gain crowds of followers and a credible reputation. The company sent a few of its staff to the U.S. to gain some impressions, pictures and experience of the surroundings. They would later use these to impersonate as U.S. locals. It was a medium size, long-term investment of maybe a hundred-thousand bucks over two or three years.
The explanation of what such companies do and the proportionately small part of this company's efforts were in the US is noteworthy...the $1.2 million monthly budget is for the entire operation...not just the US department! http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/mueller-indictement-the-russian-influence-is-a-commercial-marketing-scheme.html#more

semiconscious

agreed...

i'm not seeing any 'equivalence' here - just a single group of howler monkeys, & they sure ain't russian :) ...

confusedponderer

Richardstevenhack,
This is what happens when a nation allows itself to be swept up in mass hysteria as a result of propaganda promulgated by persons with an agenda

Well, that's liklely true. Recently I read that hotdogs were rather accurately named "frankfurters" before WW-I but then were renamed to 'hotdogs' because they were ... too german.

Now, such sort of sillyness is immortal, as the more recent discovery of 'Freedom Fries' suggest.

And I alway thought of fries as "French Fries", which is a silly name given that they come from Belgium, so "Belgian Fries" would be more accurate (that written, the Belgians have fabulous sauces for fries, and excellent fries also) - which is just as unwanted.

Rather amusing in that renaming thing is that in France you get a baguette with fries as a "Sandwich Americaine", which implies as another possible name "American Fries".

http://www.la-viande.fr/sites/default/files/american_sandwich.jpg

Very confusing. Now, where the hell does these fries come from? From Freedom? Mars? Venus? Moon? ... Eeek ... Very confusing.

JW

Yes, correct.

I was about to say the same, however your comment #15 got in first. The ensuing chaos would be greatly amplified if it was preceded by a stream of increasingly pointed media exchanges,ie., where this war is being fought, with the soon-to-be defendant prior to his grand entrance at JFK.

Leaky Ranger

BillWade: Despite Kelly saying otherwise, "White House: New security clearance policy won't affect Jared Kushner"
https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-white-house-new-security-clearance-1519217706-htmlstory.html

JW

Joe, in relation to your comment #4, one of two things I would not underestimate the ability of the Russian government to run a global operation of any kind out of a dodgy back street Blini takeaway shop.

(The second is the 65 year project capability of DPRK to build military tunnels and shafts of unimaginable length and depth between any points of their choosing in ROK.)

Lefty

Leaky at 24

The traffic was tracked to spam from an advertising company in Pennsylvania (Lititz if memory serves) that the Trump folks had hired. There was nothing nefarious going on.

Spam and Trolls blown up into Russian conspiracy hysteria. It would be funny if it was not dangerous.

Seamus Padraig

This whole Russiagate farce has become so absurd that even a certified Putin-basher like Masha Gessen is increasingly finding it hard to swallow: http://www.unz.com/isteve/even-masha-gessen-cant-take-the-medias-russophobia-with-a-straight-face/

Tom

Americans have forgotten what an old fashioned racketeering investigation and prosecution looks like because its not done much any more...except for what Mueller is doing. We allow it with impunity because the racketeering is not being done by low class, recently arrived southern European mobsters. Trump is obviously mobbed up to the top of his Cheeto dust hsir do. Gonna be hard to prove because he hires good lawyers..but I'm certain that's what's coming. Same with Jared. Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

JW

TTG, re your comment #32, I'm sure that Friday afternoon drinks at the Kremlin would involve a number of tie-loosened Russians doing their impersonations of various Washington luminaries trying to look serious.

Frank Sherwood

Au contraire, Timmy no foreigner is ever going to be tried for these crimes. But these indictments will be used for indictments on US citizens. Another quite obvious ploy. And it will work even on unwitting dupes

Krony

It's hypocritical, yes. However, when an adversary does a harm to you, let's say in the time of war, do you say, oh well, we shot at them so we can't be hypocritical. That's stupid. Sorry, we can't be mad at Japan for bombing Pearl Harbor because we invaded the Dominican Republic. Oh well. So that line of argument is silly.

And so Russia is paying millions of dollars for people to influence public opinion in America and that's somehow just fine and dandy because we do it too? I suppose hacking the DNC and Podesta is perfectly fine. Would Mr. Sic Semper Tyrannis be fine if he was hacked? I suppose if his former job were in intelligence it would be open season on him because he wouldn't want to be a hypocrite.

I get it. The US does bad stuff too. But that does not mean we should just let our guard down. And I get that plenty of people willingly believe Hillary should have been locked up because right wing wealthy operations that were perfectly domestic were already poisoning their minds. So Russia just piled on a little bit more. But that doesn't make it right. The problem as I see it is that the right is mad because this is a popular story in the media. It is getting a lot of attention and getting amplified through social media and other news aggregators. Oh wait, isn't that what Mueller's probe is all about!? I guess you can't really complain if this story gets big and people start chanting "Lock Trump up!" because they won't want to be hypocritical.

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