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Person #5040: 239 Posts

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  1. That was (0 Replies)

    freaking weird. Jill Stein?

  2. No, it's definitely McCarthyism, because (0 Replies)


    Russia, I tell you!

    McCarthyism is defined as “a campaign or practice that endorses the use of unfair allegations and investigations.”

    There have been several unfair allegations and investigations made by… umm, made by…

    Which senator was it? Which elected official accused people on the Trump campaign of working for Russia? Help me out…

    There are investigations by the FBI, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and they have blacklisted…

    The closest we have to Joe McCarthy is Donald Trump, who was mentored by Roy Cohn.

    If anyone runs out of morons, they’re in luck. We’ve got a commenter or two we can give away.

  3. Thanks for posting, Jim. (0 Replies)

    I’ve been busy and a bit tired. I continue to follow things closely, but there hasn’t been enough for me to work on a post.

    Here’s what I got:

    Carter Page is a weird, weird guy. The word is that he’s being investigated as a “agent of a foreign power” as opposed to a “Agent of a Foreign Principal,” which is merely someone who is employed by a foreign country. In other words, Page is being investigated for what would be informally referred to as espionage. He’s made a lot of puzzling appearances in the news and said peculiar (strange, not suspicious) things.

    Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort ran afoul of the law in failing to register as “Agent of a Foreign Principal.” There maybe an investigation into them working as “spies,” but there’s nothing specific on that. There are all kinds of rumors about them, but not much news. Manafort is a serious sleaze, and Flynn is nuts. No news there.

    Reuters and the Daily Beast reported that the Senate Intel Committee doesn’t have enough staffers to carry out the Trump-Russia investigation. That’s true, says Lawfare, but not surprising, investigations often take time to build momentum. Their thinking is that the articles were attempts by interested parties to light a fire under it. Jason Chaffetz and Elijah Cummings (House Oversight) sent a letter to the White House requesting documents concerning Michael Flynn. The White House declined the request.

    It’s also clear now that Julian Assange was in bed with Russia.

    Rumors. I’m including these rumors to give you an idea of how some people are thinking. The absolute truth value of rumors is zero or close to it. I find the value in the considering what kind of thing could have happened and seeing what various sources say. I’m new to Twitter, but I don’t accept anything I read about TrumpRussia at face value. I won’t write a post with rumors, unless evidence comes out to corroborate them or I write a post about sourcing and knowing online. Comments are comments.

    1. One speculated crime of the Trump campaign is data laundering. I’d never heard of data laundering, but what it involves is taking stolen data and washing its sourcing away by passing it through other systems. The idea is that Russia stole data and the server in Trump Tower washed the data. I haven’t seen any evidence that this happened; however, the idea of data laundering was new to me.

    2. Jason Chaffetz is leaving office because he was compromised by Russia. Again, this is sheer speculation. Announcing that he won’t run again and that he may not finish his term certainly raises some questions. This rumor, however, would seem to be contradicted by the fact that he’s calling for documents to drive the investigation.

  4. I don't partake and probably won't (2 Replies)

    went marijuana is legal, but I’ve yet to hear convincing arguments for why implementation is going so slow.

    There’s the argument that there’s no test for driving under the influence of cannabis. It already happens now. Are those people let go? I’m also skeptical of the argument that it can’t be allowed until there’s a way to catch people who abuse it. It sounds prudent, but I’d like to see some stats to back it up.

    Then there’s the let’s tax it into oblivion. I was talking to someone working in the “cannabis industry” (let that term soak in for a while) in Washington. He said they had a 20% tax. I’m not familiar with pricing on weed, but he said it was uncompetitive with black market weed.

  5. State parties, according to an article, (1 Reply)

    I just read are a moderating influence on politics. (Of course, I can’t find the article now). The idea is, parties tend to see politics as a long haul where as private organizations tend to see politics myopically through an issue or two. This was true for Dems and GOP. Parties tend to bend less with the political winds because they represent a number of groups, and they also have the good of the party in mind.

    I’m not arguing with anyone here, just wondering if it’s the nature of parties presenting part of the problem.

  6. The value of Ellsberg's opinion on Assange and Snowden (0 Replies)

    came from who he is, not what he knew.

    That doesn’t mean his opinion is worthless, but did he know Assange was or would be in bed with Putin?

    Some of the #natsec people I follow say Snowden was either a spy or a dupe. I registered the information, but I haven’t seen anything but innuendo at this point.

  7. The legal problem, the one that (0 Replies)

    prompted the warrant:

    “The government’s application for the surveillance order targeting Page included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators’ basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow, officials said.”

    FISC agreed that there was probable cause–sufficient reason based on facts that a crime was committed–that Page was engaged in espionage or terrorism. NOTE: Probable cause means there is enough evidence for a warrant. It doesn’t mean someone is guilty or will be indicted. It was most likely Russian spies trying to recruit him that provided the basis for a warrant.

  8. I accept your definition (0 Replies)

    of Mensch as an apt description of what I think, which I admit was not what I wrote. (If that helps).

    I can only speak for myself as far as the Russia Connection goes. Sessions is just a blip as far as I can tell. The problem is, he either lied or came close to lying to Congress. Leahy asked,

    “Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?”

    He said no.

    His answer is suspicious as were his contacts Kislyak, given the degree of contact the Russian diplomat/spymaster had with the Trump campaign and given Sessions involvement with the campaign.

    I don’t know what you’re reading these days, but WaPo reported it. I think the story got the attention it deserved. The media, which I often criticize, does this with every story. They report it, don’t know if it means anything. The media is feeling its way on a story most reporters don’t have the background knowledge on.

    I read a thing in Politico today about Chabad Judaism and its connection to Putin, Kushner, and Felix Sater. I’ve known about Kushner and Sater’s connection to Chabad since February. I thought it was funny that the Port Washington Chabad synagogue gave its Man of the Year Award to Felix Sater, a convicted Russian mobster. Is there something nefarious about the connection between the Russians and Chabad? I have data, but I have no idea. A lot of Russian mobsters and oligarchs happen to be Jewish. I register the data, but I”m not making any conclusions.

    The main focus of stories is on Flynn, Sater, Manafort, Page, and Cohen. There have been sidebars into Kushner’s ties to Russia lately. But until something new comes out, these guys are the focus.

  9. It's complicated, and (0 Replies)

    I’m certainly learning. Thankfully, there are people like Rep. Adam Schiff who are saying that this is a big deal.

  10. Some additional responses (0 Replies)

    What I presume motivates these people are power, prestige, and money. Why did Manafort do marketing and set up campaigns for dictators? He was getting illegal payments in Ukraine and working for Putin at $10 million a month. (If we were motivated by the same things, we wouldn’t be commenting on BMG like it’s our job).

    U.S.–Russia relations have been in the crapper since they annexed Crimea and part of Ukraine. Obama slapped pretty hefty sanctions on Russia.

    Flynn is not credible. That’s why he’s under investigation. He likely violated the Logan Act, FARA, and the Emolments clause.

    Aside from Breitbart recirculating Russian fake news, I haven’t seen Bannon’s name mentioned in connection with Russia.

    In terms of assumptions about what Russia wants or thinks, read The Kremlin Playbook link. And read the link to John Schindler. This is new territory for all of us. It’s not new territory. We shouldn’t be more credulous than usual, but we shouldn’t more skeptical because we don’t like how it feels. It’s impossible, at least for me, but I don’t want to have to take back something I’ve written because it’s incorrect.

    I try to act like a good reporter: I read a lot, I consider the source, but I try not to reach a conclusion until I have enough sources to write a post. I read Louise Mensch because I get leads from her tweets, not because she’s a trustworthy source. I may not interview people, and I don’t have an editor, but I try hard not to mislead people either.

  11. The irony of using language (0 Replies)

    we haven’t heard since the 1950s isn’t lost on me. Many of the espionage principles remain the same, however. The question is, how we deal with the issues. For some on the Left, it seems that the best way to deal with them is to pay no attention to them.

  12. Thanks for responding to (1 Reply)

    what I wrote. It’s refreshing to respond to what I said, though calling Louise Mensch one of my favorite sources is stupid (troll). I follow Mensch. I also follow John Schindler. Seth Abramson. And Adam Khan. I’ve never cited Mensch to support anything I’ve said.

    Also, I’ve never blamed the Russians for all, or almost all of our problems, in the election or in our country. In fact, I don’t know anyone who is doing so. This is a straw man as far as my posts are concerned.

    Gessen wrote: “Russiagate is helping [Trump]—both by distracting from real, documentable, and documented issues, and by promoting a xenophobic conspiracy theory in the cause of removing a xenophobic conspiracy theorist from office.” Maybe you can explain what she means better than I can?

  13. My goal is to put out (0 Replies)

    reliable information so people can make sense of events when they happen.

  14. Based on my reading, Russia (1 Reply)

    does a lot of investing in people hoping they’ll pay off. The idea is to plant a lot of seeds, not knowing which will mature into something harvestable. I think this is basic “spywar” and that we try to do similar things. Those people can do favors, legal or illegal.

    Russia’s political warfare also makes us look bad. That’s Politics 101: make yourself look better and your opponent look worse.

    Again from what I’ve read, Putin & Co. started out just trying to stink up the election, cause problems, make us look bad. Making us and our democracy look bad lessens our stature and appeal as an ally. Trump certainly makes us look bad. Seventy year-old alliances have been upset by his rhetoric alone. This political warfare isn’t sufficient for Russia to take us over, but it makes us look bad.

    The Russians believe (see Gerasimov Doctrine) that the methods they used in our election are the future of warfare. Cyber warfare will amount to as much as 75% of war. They have been using it in Europe to soften up opposition to their economic and political infiltration. They shut down the internet in Georgia when they invaded. Part of what they are doing is experimenting with their tactics.

    Trump and his people are a seed. Russia started to cultivate Trump back in 1986, and he took out a one-page advertisement in major news papers criticizing America’s involvement in the Middle East and South China Sea. He’s been doing business with oligarchs/Russian mafia for decades. It’s more than likely that he has laundered money for them. It’s more than likely that they have compromising information on him (not necessarily peeing hookers). Russia would love to get sanctions lifted, though I think it’s unlikely that will happen. Still I believe there are likely policy changes and decisions that could be made to help Russia.

    For Russia, Trump & Co. offer 1) an opportunity, albeit a very tiny one, for state capture, 2) the opportunity to make the United States look bad, 3) an opportunity to try hybrid warfare in the United States, and 4) an opportunity to plant more seeds in the United States.

  15. I answer the why and (1 Reply)

    how in my post. John Schindler has specifics on the how.

    Russia’s espionage culture is unique and in key ways markedly different from how Western countries approach the spy-game. It’s a product of the Soviet secret police, that brutal and cunning force, and it’s no accident that Vladimir Putin’s spies proudly call themselves Chekists today to commemorate them—just as they did in the days of the KGB. “There are no ‘former’ Chekists,” as the KGB veteran Putin has stated, and this attitude permeates his Kremlin.

  16. Bob Gardner is a troll. (1 Reply)

    In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/)

    is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.

    Observe how Bob has nothing substantive to contribute, but accuses with straw men, ad hominem arguments, and mischaracterization. At least on this topic, he’s not capable of engaging with evidence or valid arguments.

    Where did I make “dark assertions about how the Russian mind operates”?

  17. The Lefty Navel-Gazing Argument, cont... (0 Replies)

    Gessen says we need to focus on “documentable, and documented issues.” Like there isn’t plenty of documentation of Trump & Co.’s Russian connections?
    My sources for this post were a 2009 report and a recent New Yorker article. I’ve cited news stories and court cases going back 20 years.

    In The Nation, Greg Grandin argues that the Russia Connection “let’s the Democrats off for their own failures.” He’s mad because Rachel Maddow has been spending time on the issue.

    5) Impeachment is Impossible Argument. This is another straw man argument Gessen and Grandin bring up. Gessen says it’s THE reason anyone is focusing on the Russia Connection. Grandin agrees. The fact is, it’s not. The first reason for the attention is national security. A valid reason to write and report on it. From my partisan perspective, it is another distraction for the administration. Chances are high that Trump won’t finish his term. Impeachment and the threat of impeachment contribute to those chances. Scandals have been known to cripple administrations, a good thing as far as the Trump White House goes.

  18. I've yet to see anyone speak (2 Replies)

    intelligently about not investigating the Russia Connection. I’ve only seen idiocy here and elsewhere.

    Seascraper is not worth responding to. I’m not sure Bob Gardner is. I have strong doubts that he even bothered to read what I wrote. His comments on this thread have been moronic and off-point.

    1) Bob began with an ad hominem attack “How does the trilateral commission fit into this? Not to mention the Illuminati.” The implication is that the Russian Connection is a conspiracy theory, the intellectual equivalent of the dog ate my homework. Instead there is an investigation into a conspiracy. The former provides conspiracy as evidence, the latter uses evidence to suggest a conspiracy.

    2) “Nobody really has cared about foreign powers interfering with our country when it suits their other needs.” What does that even mean? Nice use of indefinite pronouns.

    He goes on to cite the Washington Times, which has a First Amendment right to publish a newspaper, to support his vague statement suggesting that I pick and choose what foreign powers I pick on. My point is, we have to watch out for the Russians again. After 20 or 25 years of relative irrelevance, they’re back, and they’ve got a new game. Russia is generally a national security and espionage issue, but the average person needs to aware that Cold War 2.0 has more to do with (dis)information than military might.
    The Americans–Trump & Co.–are the legal issue. There is more than enough information to require investigation into American collusion with the Russians and the infiltration of Russian allies in the White House.

    3) Doubleman said he agreed with Masha Gessen: “Russiagate is helping [Trump]—both by distracting from real, documentable, and documented issues, and by promoting a xenophobic conspiracy theory in the cause of removing a xenophobic conspiracy theorist from office.” I addressed the “conspiracy theory” above, but the “xenophobia” accusation is absolutely bizarre. Where’s the “intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries”? It’s a straw man argument.

    4) The More Navel-Gazing Lefty Argument. Gessen says we need to focus on “documentable, and documented issues.”

  19. But you have to love a troll (1 Reply)

    that doesn’t read the post and relies on his own unsubstantiated positions.