The Kremlin Connection
September 30, 2017 5:23 AM   Subscribe

 
Yeah, it's full of Maher-isms, but it also makes a pretty convincing case based on What We Know Thus Far.
posted by hippybear at 5:24 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Natasha Urinekostekstra.

*snrk*

Hey guys, we already know you hate Bill Maher. Let's skip that part and talk about the video.
posted by adept256 at 5:47 AM on September 30 [12 favorites]


That said, I don't think the people that need to see this ever will. It's just fake news. The >30% are watching Fox News and reading Brietbart where this is never talked about. Anecdotally, I talked to a Trumpist and they were ignorant of who Manafort is. It's not getting reported. Trump himself is dismissive on the subject.

When Meuller starts indictments they will be shocked and surprised. They won't see it coming. We already know Manafort and Flynn have indictments coming. Maybe even Trump himself.
posted by adept256 at 5:56 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


A more comprehensive timeline from Bill Moyers.

A much, much, much, much more comprehensive timeline and wiki from some OCD folks over at Reddit.

That said, I think the 5 minute summary from Bill Maher is helpful for the Forest/Trees perspective.

They should all die in prison.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:04 AM on September 30 [64 favorites]


That Bill Moyers thing is insane! Obviously Maher's writers' room was cribbing from it. But jeebus!
posted by hippybear at 6:13 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


They should all die in prison.

There will be riots when the pardoning start.
posted by pracowity at 6:39 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


There will be riots when the pardoning start.

There will be rallies when the indictments start: "But what about Hillary?"
posted by lordrunningclam at 6:51 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


I wish they had kept the original formatting for the Bill Moyers timeline. The new one makes it harder to use.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:21 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Does anyone here see any parallels to the people who tried to make similar cases against Obama for everything from his birth certificate to fast and furious?

Anyone see the irony here?
posted by tgrundke at 7:37 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Not really. Because the stuff against Obama was pretty much made up nonsense and this is all verifiable facts.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 8:04 AM on September 30 [85 favorites]


Perhaps that's the irony.
posted by hippybear at 8:11 AM on September 30 [27 favorites]


Does anyone here see any parallels to the people who tried to make similar cases against Obama for everything from his birth certificate to fast and furious?

In hindsight it looks a lot like deliberately conditioning the media and public to treat allegations of serious criminality as just more partisan nonsense.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:12 AM on September 30 [83 favorites]


There will be rallies when the indictments start: "But what about Hillary?"

Fortunately, it’s a long and expensive plane ride from Vladivostok.
posted by tehgubner at 8:31 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


remember when Bill Maher just casually dropped the n-word on national television a few months ago and he still has a platform? perfect new figurehead for the brainworms brigade.
posted by indubitable at 9:24 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


As they say on the internet "100 times this". I thought of posting this video last night at 1:01AM... but due to the Maher hate here, refrained. I think this particular New Rules will remain watched in awe and as a classic piece many years from now, just like 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'
posted by growabrain at 9:58 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Doesn't really matter who or what Maher is if, in this case, the facts and ideas he's chanelling are important and true. Derailing this into a mock jury on Maher's deeper character is exactly the kind of thing we let steal the ball and obscure the most serious, timely issues that need and deserve to be prioritized and lead to a public consensus. I'm glad Maher's taking this seriously and considers it important. He's got a big but slightly low info/politically wobbly audience that eats up everything he says. This is good. This helps shift the focus to what really is an immediate, existential crisis for America and democratic ideals more generally.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:01 AM on September 30 [27 favorites]


In hindsight it looks a lot like deliberately conditioning the media and public to treat allegations of serious criminality as just more partisan nonsense.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish

To quote Calamity Jane from Deadwood: You got a dark turn of mind, mister.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:12 AM on September 30 [7 favorites]


That was pretty sharp. I think is Maher is good. I don't agree with everything he says, but he's definitely been shining a light on topics that others wont touch for years, and saying things that need to be said.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:19 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


I hope that Maher has good security detail....
posted by growabrain at 10:22 AM on September 30


I do see a parallel with the Obama Birther movement and it underscores just how broken the intellectual ability of the right wing to discern facts and come up with logical conclusions is. Obama’s place of birth is something that is easily verifiable within minutes. We have institutions that have existed for hundreds of years for the expressed purpose of easily and verifiably answering this exact question.

To say that evidence of interference in the US election process is just more partisan mud slinging is to say “I am a stupid person that cannot use my brain to figure things out. I am ready to ignore facts because they harm my party.” I’m trying not to be hyperbolic and say that we live in a fascist state, but the rise of fascism is a trivial step from where we are now.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:30 AM on September 30 [26 favorites]


Sadly, until the numbers in Congress radically change, there could be a tape of POTUS admitting everything in detail and clear English, and nothing will be done. Nothing.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:50 AM on September 30 [9 favorites]


Sadly, until the numbers in Congress radically change, there could be a tape of POTUS admitting everything in detail and clear English, and nothing will be done. Nothing.

Right. That's the unfortunate possibility. It doesn't really matter how guilty he's proven to be. The Republicans don't have the courage or decency to take a stand and impeach a criminal from their own party.
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:00 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


The Republicans don't have the courage or decency to take a stand and impeach a criminal from their own party.

... until they must.
posted by philip-random at 11:10 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Until they must? What would happen to make that true?
posted by dilaudid at 11:14 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


John Green of vlogbrothers did a good summary of this as well.
posted by seiryuu at 11:20 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Until they must? What would happen to make that true?

history tells us they didn't rush to dump Nixon, but finally ...
posted by philip-random at 11:25 AM on September 30


Russian money-laundering details remain in the dark as US settles fraud case

was a real WTFer for me there, back in May
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 11:37 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


I'm in the 'dislike Maher' camp, and wish to be another voice for: good for him, pointing this out. I don't think this will reach many people who need to hear it, but if it convinces anyone at all, great. Really, the more people we have talking about this everywhere, the better. If we're people who disagree about lots of other stuff, even better.

In hindsight it looks a lot like deliberately conditioning the media and public to treat allegations of serious criminality as just more partisan nonsense.

I wouldn't ascribe deliberate strategy to this, but it really is out of the abuser playbook.
posted by mordax at 11:44 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


Gaslighting under a different form.
posted by hippybear at 11:45 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


(To clarify: I think this how most of these people are in their interpersonal relationships, and it carries over to how they handle politics.)

Upon preview:
Gaslighting under a different form.

Agreed.
posted by mordax at 11:45 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry, Maher couldn't make it four minutes without pandering shitty homophobic jokes. In this case the enemy of my enemy is not my friend.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 12:19 PM on September 30 [13 favorites]


relevant cliché:
"A stopped clock is right twice a day" (to which I added "and a clock running backwards twice as often")
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:26 PM on September 30


Yeah, sorry, Maher couldn't make it four minutes without pandering shitty homophobic jokes. In this case the enemy of my enemy is not my friend.

The Moyer or Reddit timelines deliver the information (even more information) without the Maher. Thank God.

My eternal frustration is that the majority of these pieces have been out there for years but it seems like the majority of people in the media and among the voting population only decided to start putting them together now, a year after it would've been useful to do so. But it's cool. At least we focused on Clinton's emails--the real threat to our country.

But my eternal hope is that if this is what's public, then perhaps Mueller will provide a report even more damning. I don't know if it will make a difference. The number of people on the right (and the left!) who have dismissed Trump Jr.'s meetings with Russian agents to get dirt on Clinton as normal campaign behavior, something Clinton herself surely would have done, of course she would have, NBD bro, it incredibly disturbing and pretty indicative of exactly how corrosive both partisanship and this "Politics Is A Fun Sports Game And I Root For My Team" mentality are to democracy itself. It's not a game, and good God, even the people who are worst about this mentality still expect their favorite basketball/baseball/football/cricket/etc team to follow some rules.
posted by schroedinger at 12:37 PM on September 30 [14 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Sorry, hippybear, don't threadsit in here; once it's posted to Mefi, people can comment on it. If people dislike what Maher has to say in this video, they can say so.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:37 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


Well, at least Maher's prejudices include one against Russia which makes this rant easier. And it's one way to help reach those who share his normalized homophobia and racism. Not quite the equivalent of "We lost Walter Cronkite" during the Vietnam War, but a step in the right direction.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:37 PM on September 30


Obama could have been born on the moon and, because his mother was an American citizen, he was an American citizen. Nothing could be a better example of GOP propagandizing and the uselessness of many in the media.

My preferred example of the GOP deliberately sowing distrust of, and disregard for the media was their budget shenanigans. There is nothing like eight million repetitions of 'the coming fiscal cliff' to make people tune out so they can write whatever laws they want without repercussions.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:38 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


I get that without the nicknames schtick, it would have just been news rather than a comedy sketch, but maybe what we need now is news?
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:38 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Gaslighting under a different form.

I was planning to post this on the other thread, but it fits so excellently here:
Since WW2 (in some places before), there has not been a majority for actual conservative politics anywhere in the West. The rise of the welfare societies demonstrated that working families didn't have to live in squalor and that the economy wouldn't tank if the rich paid taxes. So the people who wanted to keep on surpassing their workers and not paying taxes on their capital gains (etc.) had to figure out ways to fool the electorate into voting for them and their cronies. We all know what happened next, that is not the point of my comment. The point is that those people knew from the outset that they were lying. Obviously, there are always a bunch of idiots who will parrot the lies, but generally, someone who has attended an Ivy League university or the equivalent in Europe knows very well that racism is evil rubbish, that there is no trickle down effect and that global warming is real. They know universal healthcare is the best for the economy, as is sustainable energy and workers rights. I've met so many of these people during my life, there is not one of them who wasn't a blatant liar or a privileged fool or both. And they know they are gaslighting the people who vote against their own interests. I've met quite a few politicians who are not personally racists, but who more or less openly acknowledge that playing the racists is the only way they can achieve power.
Already during Bush2, they were beginning to be arrogant about this, and let it out (reality-based community, anyone). What is happening now is that they have let it all hang out. No one is pretending anymore. Trump could shoot someone on 5th Avenue, and then persuade the riled up haters it was a POC or a woman or someone from the mainstream media and they'd think it was great.
Now I am not suggesting that these riled-up haters, the core voters are the ignorant or the victims - to the contrary - they are doing the same on a smaller scale in their local communities. They proudly mirror themselves in Trump, and see themselves as validated through his outrageous behaviour.

(Saving my opinion on Maher for another day. He did a good job. We need all the help we can get).
posted by mumimor at 12:39 PM on September 30 [21 favorites]


I was surprised they completely missed the Magnitsky angle, although I guess that's another level of complexity that may not be necessary.
posted by ropeladder at 12:45 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


some day we'll find it
the kremlin connection
comey and mueller and me
posted by entropicamericana at 1:21 PM on September 30 [23 favorites]


Comey really is a... odd angle in all this. I wanna say it's a bit like he couldn't help but screw Clinton because, you know, history, and at the same time he maybe saw the (egregious, disastrous) problems with Trump and wanted to stop them as well... but that doesn't make much sense either. I mean I get that he probably thinks or thought that Clinton was bad bad bad - but could he have really thought that she was worse than Trump? Or was he just trying to torpedo her so that after she won she would be easier to attack?

I fucking hate all these prima Donna motherfuckers. Just do the goddamned work for the people and then go home.

And Bill? You're not funny, even when the jokes are.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:40 PM on September 30


Doesn't really matter who or what Maher is if, in this case, the facts and ideas he's chanelling are important and true.

It probably matters to you if you aren't a straight white cis male and Maher has made a career out of leveraging your marginalization against you
posted by beerperson at 2:05 PM on September 30 [13 favorites]


Or was he just trying to torpedo her so that after she won she would be easier to attack?
Yeah probably this more or less. He , like everyone else, thought she'd win.
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:06 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Comey really is a... odd angle in all this. I wanna say it's a bit like he couldn't help but screw Clinton because, you know, history, and at the same time he maybe saw the (egregious, disastrous) problems with Trump and wanted to stop them as well... but that doesn't make much sense either.

Comey has said his decision was based in his desire to ensure the department wasn't "politicized". He didn't want it to seem as if the FBI was somehow covering for Clinton, and his excuse was that the right was already making those allegations.

However, I think he was in the same mindset of a lot of rabid Clinton critics during the election who are otherwise reasonably-minded people:
  1. Wanted to be perceived as "objective", so harped on what criticisms they had
  2. Assumed she was going to win, so criticisms wouldn't make a difference
  3. Queued up the criticisms they were expecting to level at her presidency, not her candidacy
  4. Subconsciously (or consciously) enjoyed seeing her brought down a peg, and (1) and (2) allowed them the excuse to do so.
If 18 months ago you were able to convince Comey, the press, the far Left, even some moderate Republicans, that we were in actual danger of Trump becoming POTUS, I think treatment of Clinton would've been different. I believe there are deep biases against her that run through a fair chunk of this country, but I also believe that the reason the criticisms of her compared to Trump got so out of hand was because, like Clinton and her campaign, everyone thought this was a normal election. I think many of us, HRC's supporters and detractors alike, thought Trump's success during the primary was proof of exactly how weak and ineffectual the GOP had become and concluded Democratic success was preordained. Instead we should've taken it as a warning of the cunning of the forces at work during this election and what this country was capable of doing. But we didn't. Instead of responding accordingly to the threat, those in power and the voting population just doubled down on those behaviors that played right into the bigotry and outside influences that led to Trump's election.
posted by schroedinger at 2:21 PM on September 30 [22 favorites]


Well, at least Maher's prejudices include one against Russia which makes this rant easier.

Um, that's not a good thing.
posted by atoxyl at 2:29 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


I'll check out the Moyers, though - that's a Bill I have more respect for.
posted by atoxyl at 2:31 PM on September 30


It probably matters to you if you aren't a straight white cis male

You don't know me so please don't make random insinuations. I'm normally not a Maher fan, but if 1 + 1 = 2 and he says that to an audience that too often thinks 1 + 1 = 3, and that ignorance is affecting the world in negative ways, too, I'll reserve my criticism for when he's doing something deserving of criticism.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:52 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


I'm normally not a Maher fan, but if 1 + 1 = 2 and he says that to an audience that too often thinks 1 + 1 = 3

Who do you think watches Bill Maher?
posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:22 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


However, I think he was in the same mindset of a lot of rabid Clinton critics during the election who are otherwise reasonably-minded people:
Wanted to be perceived as "objective", so harped on what criticisms they had
Assumed she was going to win, so criticisms wouldn't make a difference
Queued up the criticisms they were expecting to level at her presidency, not her candidacy
Subconsciously (or consciously) enjoyed seeing her brought down a peg, and (1) and (2) allowed them the excuse to do so.


Also he was apparently facing the threat of an open internal FBI revolt from Rudy G's buddies in the New York FBI Office.
posted by srboisvert at 3:30 PM on September 30 [6 favorites]


Also he was apparently facing the threat of an open internal FBI revolt from Rudy G's buddies in the New York FBI Office.

If that is the case, then Comey slimed Clinton in order to cover up corruption in his own agency. Not exactly the symbol of integrity he claims for himself.

Instead of investigating Clinton, yet one more time, he should have been investigating the corruption in his own precious agency.

There is only one explanation for his violation of all the rules against political interference and for ignoring the recommendation of his own ethics office and this is because he feared being yelled at by Republicans but didn't fear being yelled at by Democrats.
posted by JackFlash at 3:42 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


(Comey) feared being yelled at by Republicans but didn't fear being yelled at by Democrats.
Which he still misjudged badly. It didn't take much for him to end up on Trump's bad side AND the outside.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:51 PM on September 30


Correction, he feared being yelled at by Republicans in congress, which is why he immediately leaked the information to them, violation all department ethics rules.

If nothing else, this illustrates exactly why those rules were wisely put in place, because they could unduly influence the outcome of an election. But Comey rejected the rules, substituting his own "judgement" in place of the rules. He was seriously wrong, perhaps the most disastrous single decision made by a government official in recent memory, doing untold harm to the nation.
posted by JackFlash at 4:00 PM on September 30 [10 favorites]


Who do you think watches Bill Maher?

Lots of people, but at least a subset of his audience are left leaning independents and left libertarians who don't always have the most consistent or deep political views and understand liberalism mainly as something vaguely to do with liking sex, drugs, and rock and roll-- you know people who identify as liberal/left but occasionally seem to think that Milo guy might have a serious point of some kind to make. Point is, he's got a big audience and for whatever reason, they really like and trust him and maybe the important part--the message that we're actively under a cyber/psychological/propaganda attack by a hostile foreign power and holy shit why is dealing with that not even close to the top of our political priority list?-- will get through to some more of them.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:23 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


It's not like Maher ever invited Milo onto his show and then ended up agreeing with a bunch of shit he said
posted by beerperson at 5:57 PM on September 30 [13 favorites]


Not really. Because the stuff against Obama was pretty much made up nonsense and this is all verifiable facts.


Are you saying he didn't wear a tan jacket, salute with a coffee cup in hand and eat arugula?
posted by Sebmojo at 7:53 PM on September 30 [6 favorites]


Oh, and stand under an umbrella (iirc)
posted by Sebmojo at 7:54 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


What's that movie that ends with one character hallucinating Martha Stewart's head on a dog saying "arugula arugula"?
posted by hippybear at 8:10 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


I'll take "Mars Attacks!" for three hundred?
posted by From Bklyn at 9:04 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Until they must? What would happen to make that true?

Have we stopped using, "Surely, this..."?
posted by Revvy at 12:04 AM on October 1


Well the word from the Leftists I know n Twitter is that this whole Russia thing is something made up by and promoted by the Liberals in the Democratic party to attack the Left.

That's kind of the problem with dealing with a Psyop Campaign .I have no idea if they are saying that because they have orders to do so, if their sources are compromised, or they seriously, SERIOUSLY don't want to deal with the idea that the attacks on Clinton they were repeating may have been part of a psyop campaign, and they are no more than dupes.

One of the major effects of the psyop campaign is it's probably completely fractured the tenuous alliance between the Left and liberals. Because as we've seen, people have way to much invested in considering Clinton and the DP establishment as evil. And if other country's examples are any indication, they'll be able t keep this fracture going for decades.
posted by happyroach at 1:13 AM on October 1 [10 favorites]


remember when Bill Maher just casually dropped the n-word on national television a few months ago and he still has a platform?

You don't even need to go back that far (not that the summer was eons ago) for examples of Maher's casual racism and lack of principle. But he's critiquing Russia so all is apparently forgiven...
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:13 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Against my better judgement, I watched the video. I'm still not really sure what the charge is here... just a lot of insinuations and Glenn Beck-style "connections." Trump can rest easy if this is the best #theResistance can do. In any event, any strong claim of election "hacking" has tended to fall apart.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:47 AM on October 1


In any event, any strong claim of election "hacking" has tended to fall apart.

Yeah, Mueller has Jared, DonJr, an Manafort in a meeting at Trump Tower where Russians offered illegal help in the campaign.

Jared was in charge of their online media.

Jared is a moron. I expect Mueller's already got an email chain of evidence proving the conspiracy to violate us laws, and ignore as much as I can of the churn until indictments drop.
posted by mikelieman at 5:18 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


or they seriously, SERIOUSLY don't want to deal with the idea that the attacks on Clinton they were repeating may have been part of a psyop campaign, and they are no more than dupes.

Yeah it's absolutely this. Misogyny made them take the bait, even when the bait was obviously really fucking stupid, and now the stakes are too high to admit they might have been duped.

It's moral cowardice, all the way down. Same as it ever was.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:46 AM on October 1 [10 favorites]


Sadly, until the numbers in Congress radically change, there could be a tape of POTUS admitting everything in detail and clear English, and nothing will be done. Nothing.

I'm finding this hypothetical situation hard to imagine.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 7:12 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Well the word from the Leftists I know n Twitter is that this whole Russia thing is something made up by and promoted by the Liberals in the Democratic party to attack the Left.

I noticed this too and it had me scratching my head until I traced it back to its primary sources. These are mainly a few well-known friends of Julian Assange, who is currently on a mission to win back what few shreds of credibility he can on the ideological Left. Move along, nothing to see here. I'm sure Edward Snowden is clean as a whistle.

I haven't seen a single convincing argument disproving anything, but lots of playing the players and not the ball. The Left spin is all about discrediting sources as partisan, equating intelligence efforts with neoconservatism and/or writing off detailed investigations as anti-Russian hysteria. This would all be very valid criticism if the scandal were being used to divert attention from the systemic top-to-bottom corruption of the electoral process that propelled Trump to the White House, but I don't see anyone making that argument either.

I don't much care for Bill Maher, but I lol'ed.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 7:24 AM on October 1 [1 favorite]


That's kind of the problem with dealing with a Psyop Campaign .I have no idea if they are saying that because they have orders to do so,

The "leftists on twitter" "have orders" to downplay Russiagate? What?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:11 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


I believe happyroach is referring to Russia's planting of anti-Clinton propaganda in groups on the left as well as on the right. Classic salami tactics.
posted by schroedinger at 10:05 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


Selection of sources for above: Times of San Diego, HuffPo article expanding on previous, more recent report in Politico, Sanders himself.

I don't think I need to explain how deeply corrosive these tactics are. What the KGB understood, and any amoral political strategist understands, is that belief perseverance is stronger than facts. It doesn't matter whether or not their planted news articles are eventually disproved, the negative feelings remain.
posted by schroedinger at 10:25 AM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Well the word from the Leftists I know n Twitter is that this whole Russia thing is something made up by and promoted by the Liberals in the Democratic party to attack the Left.

I don't exactly believe this, but I have been speculating that the Russia + (Facebook, Twitter) contretemps is about a government push for control over internet sites. That is, not really a left/right battle, but a government/user one. After all, sometime in the 20-30s (IIRC), the government was given essentially free access to the telephone lines (and before that the telegraph), so it stand to reason that they'll want the same mediating rights for the themselves over the Internet.
posted by rhizome at 11:18 AM on October 1


That was surprisingly depressing to watch. Sure, I chuckled at "Urinekostextra", but it was all over when he got to Comey's nickname of "The Election Fucker", given how much Bill Maher himself was against Hillary the whole time.

So save it, you fucking clown. Your schtick is several decades stale. Pack it up and go the fuck home.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 11:21 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


I'm not a Prominent Leftist on Twitter, but I follow many of them, and I think what they intend to point out is that, while Russian has a pysops campaign intended to influence the election and amplify racial tensions within the US, those tension are endemic to this country and we need to focus on that above all else. Trump did not arise from a vacuum, but is a natural end-product of US political and popular culture focused on racial grievance and fear of the other. Whatever influence Russia may have had on the election is minor compared to the screeching white male resentment id amplified by decades of Republican policies of disenfranchisement and gerrymandering.

I get so tired of the left-liberal sniping, like one is going to be able to prove that the other was ultimately responsible for the election of Trump through argument. Russia is important, but not nearly as important as fixing our politics and finding a way to provide healthcare, the right to vote, and justice to all Americans. Fix gerrymandering and disenfranchisement, and Russia's bullshit will be completely ineffective.
posted by Existential Dread at 2:29 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


The "leftists on twitter" "have orders" to downplay Russiagate?

It's more subtle than that- one of the effects of a psyops campaign is that when revealed it promotes a "who do you trust" mode. And at this point, we have to go by association. And as Elizabeth the Thirteenth pointed out:
I noticed this too and it had me scratching my head until I traced it back to its primary sources. These are mainly a few well-known friends of Julian Assange,
So we have patterns of influence, and are left wondering who to trust. Is this person attacking the Left because they really prefer the centrist Democrats or not? Is this person turning from attacking Clinton to Pelosi and Warren because they really don't like them, or because of a whispering campaign?


Fix gerrymandering and disenfranchisement, and Russia's bullshit will be completely ineffective.

Easier said than done. Unfortunately, fixing gerrymandering and disenfranchisement will require taking Congress. We're in a weak position to do so, and the easiest way to keep us from making progress so, is to keep us fighting each other.

What gets me are the people who say "Russia has no interest in interfering with American politics- it's not the cold War." To which I have to say, study some geopolitics, some time.
posted by happyroach at 3:25 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


I think what they intend to point out is that, while Russian has a pysops campaign intended to influence the election and amplify racial tensions within the US, those tension are endemic to this country and we need to focus on that above all else

Right, and the "leftists" on Twitter who helped disseminate a Russian psyops campaign intended to disrupt our elections by exploiting pre-existing prejudices in the american body politic should maybe start by examining their own prejudices, since they were one of the groups exploited by Russia.

I mean...that is just maddening reasoning. "Well, yes. But we already felt pretty misogynist, so maybe we should focus on that."

Any examination begins with taking responsibility for your own role and doing a full and unsparing moral inventory of why you chose that role.

Good lord.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:41 PM on October 1 [9 favorites]


Right, and the "leftists" on Twitter who helped disseminate a Russian psyops campaign intended to disrupt our elections by exploiting pre-existing prejudices in the american body politic should maybe start by examining their own prejudices, since they were one of the groups exploited by Russia.

if the ones in my Facebook feed are any indication, I'm not holding out much hope. These guys (for the ones I'm thinking of are all guys) seem awfully entrenched (ie: ego-invested) in the positions they took last year being the CORRECT ones. Any evidence to the contrary seems to just bounce right off them.

Two individuals in particular come to mind. I called them out on their repeated postings of stuff from RT.com (Russia Times). They simply couldn't get their minds around the fact that yes, RT did some pretty solid reporting, but only on topics that could be seen as useful to Putin etc, whereas you could never find anything from RT that was remotely critical of official Russian state policy.

It's Confirmation Bias 101, I guess. Very hard to penetrate. Maybe we need some kind of a celebrity driven consciousness raiser (or whatever) wherein shiny happy famous people share stories about that time they were completely wrong about something, and how it was their preconceived notions on the topic that drove them to it.

"Confirmation Bias," says Jerry Seinfeld with big smile, "We all do it."
posted by philip-random at 4:43 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


I think what they intend to point out is that, while Russian has a pysops campaign intended to influence the election and amplify racial tensions within the US, those tension are endemic to this country and we need to focus on that above all else

But that misses the psyops campaign that was aimed at the left, unless the left also believes itself to have "endemic racial tensions" that were used against it.

Russia didn't just exploit the racial tensions in this country. It also exploited the tensions between liberals and leftists, among many others.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 4:43 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


Russia didn't just exploit the racial tensions in this country. It also exploited the tensions between liberals and leftists, among many others.

In retrospect the whole Bernie Bros thing would seem to be a good example.
posted by mikelieman at 4:46 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


FOOLISH BERNARD BROTHER: Bill Maher is an unfunny bigot whose tired covfefe jokes and schticky timing spoil the informative value of this post.

WISE METAFILTER USER: But have you considered that your opinions are a psyop hacked by Russia?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:01 PM on October 1 [11 favorites]


We already have the quid pro quo in this deal.

Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine, July 18, 2016:
The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has been dismissive of calls for supporting the Ukraine government as it fights an ongoing Russian-led intervention. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked as a lobbyist for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.

Still, Republican delegates at last week’s national security committee platform meeting in Cleveland were surprised when the Trump campaign orchestrated a set of events to make sure that the GOP would not pledge to give Ukraine the weapons it has been asking for from the United States.
How The Trump Campaign Weakened The Republican Platform On Aid To Ukraine, August 6, 2016:
When Republican Party leaders drafted the platform prior to their convention in Cleveland last month, they had relatively little input from the campaign of then-presumptive nominee Donald Trump on most issues — except when it came to a future Republican administration's stance on Ukraine.
...
[Platform committee member Diana ] Denman "was steam rolled," said Melinda Haring of the Atlantic Council, a Washington, DC, think tank, who believes the language the Trump campaign approved is weaker. And she says "it's anyone's guess" what Trump would do regarding Ukraine and Russia, and that perhaps he might not even back "appropriate assistance."

Haring was referring to Trumps appearance on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos last month, when Trump said Vladimir Putin is "not going to go into Ukraine, OK? Just so you understand, he's not going to go into Ukraine."

Of course, Russia did go into Ukraine when it invaded Crimea two years ago and backed separatist fighters in other parts of the country. Trump later said that he meant Putin would not go into Ukraine on his watch, if he were President.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:02 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


FOOLISH BERNARD BROTHER: Bill Maher is an unfunny bigot whose tired covfefe jokes and schticky timing spoil the informative value of this post.

WISE METAFILTER USER: But have you considered that your opinions are a psyop hacked by Russia?


I . . . uh . . . what is this weird strawman you've set up?! First of all, it's not just Bernie fans critiquing Maher in this post. Like, at all. Second, this is a pretty hilarious dichotomy you've set up here, because back during the election and Maher's Glorious Anti-Clinton War the far left adored him. And a lot of us who actually wanted Clinton to succeed despise his I'm-Such-A-Smart-Iconoclast-White-Guy ego-driven routine. This is a pretty amazing rewrite of very recent history and I'd love to know when this delusional new story you're selling started.

People are pointing out that the Russians engaged in active measures during 2016 because they actually engaged in active measures. Not because they've got boners for Maher. Christ, what a bizarre and counterfactual argument you are trying to make.
posted by schroedinger at 7:15 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


Second, this is a pretty hilarious dichotomy you've set up here, because back during the election and Maher's Glorious Anti-Clinton War the far left adored him.

This is news to me. The leftists I know hate Bill Maher and certainly disliked him during the election. Here's a piece in Alternet and a piece in Jacobin which are pretty representative of what I've seen and heard. The far leftists I know, for whom Sanders was unacceptable, hated him too. We probably know different leftists, and define leftism differently besides. The dichotomy in the joke comes from the attitude toward left-liberals I saw in this thread.

People are pointing out that the Russians engaged in active measures during 2016 because they actually engaged in active measures. Not because they've got boners for Maher. Christ, what a bizarre and counterfactual argument you are trying to make.

Who here has denied the facts Maher lays out? I haven't, and I don't. Who can deny that those facts at the very least strongly suggest that Trump tried to use his Russian connections to help him win the election? I haven't, and I don't. It's a clearly sketchy situation and I hope the law clarifies it and holds the guilty accountable. I dearly hope that category includes the president. What I object to is the notion, current in this thread, that left-liberals and leftists only believe what they believe because of a foreign conspiracy, and can thus be dismissed out of hand.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:06 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


That's not what anyone has been saying at all.
posted by happyroach at 10:35 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


What I object to is the notion, current in this thread, that left-liberals and leftists only believe what they believe because of a foreign conspiracy, and can thus be dismissed out of hand.

what made (and perhaps continues to make) the alleged conspiracy so effective is the degree to which it's done its homework. It knows what motivates certain interests (and thus defines potential divides) and has focused its efforts on manifesting those divides. So they haven't actually spread that much dis/misinformation -- just applied it very well.
posted by philip-random at 9:30 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


When people already have barely-simmering grievances, "Let's you and him fight" doesn't take much work at all. There's all kinds of attractions and repulsions that can be used to pick apart alliances, and you can be sure psyop people are good at finding them.
posted by happyroach at 6:23 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


That's not what anyone has been saying at all.

Good lord. It's what you said:

That's kind of the problem with dealing with a Psyop Campaign .I have no idea if they are saying that because they have orders to do so, if their sources are compromised, or they seriously, SERIOUSLY don't want to deal with the idea that the attacks on Clinton they were repeating may have been part of a psyop campaign, and they are no more than dupes.

"Do they sincerely believe what they say? Who can tell, but: no"
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:48 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


I do think that this is a pretty good primer at what Mueller is looking into and of course it's all Follow The Money and even if there is some kind of hacking or social influence allegation it's going to be the money trail and the attempts to cover it up that will spell doom.

Or that's how it would work if this were a movie. But I suspect there Plot Twists Yet To Come!
posted by hippybear at 10:13 PM on October 2


The evidence that Guccifer 2.0 was a Russian operation doesn't really hold water:

http://g-2.space/

I'm not suggesting Russia didn't have an interest in influencing the election. However, the idea that the Trump campaign successfully colluded with the Russians to influence the election without that knowledge leaking is preposterous. Are people here really suggesting the Trump camp are capable of such a thing?

Do people only care about this because they believe the elected individual himself, or his family/team, colluded with a foreign country to get elected? Or is the concern simply that Russia influenced the election independently?
posted by bigZLiLk at 5:04 AM on October 3


FOOLISH BERNARD BROTHER: Bill Maher is an unfunny bigot whose tired covfefe jokes and schticky timing spoil the informative value of this post.

WISE METAFILTER USER: But have you considered that your opinions are a psyop hacked by Russia?


This is terrifically dishonest. I get that you're mad, but come the fuck on.

1. No one is arguing that Bill Maher isn't a huge racist, misogynist asshole. In fact, he was an asshole during the campaign. To HRC, among others.

2. Literally no one has suggested that the "left" believes everything they do because of outside, malevolent influence, and that is really the key to your bullshit strawman. People have lots of beliefs, influenced by lots of things. But if some of your most stringent beliefs are easily debunked batshit crazy Hillary theories that all turn on the assumption that she's just a lying evil bitch, then YEAH, I'm gonna go ahead and say that positing that those beliefs were influenced by Russian meddling is perhaps the most charitable interpretation of your particular misogynistic fuckery.

3. I'm once again going to register my objection to referring to these people as "the left." They do not have a monopoly on policy positions, but they do have a stranglehold on assholery.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:46 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]


[Oh, hey, we've been distracted with a lot of death, horror and terror elsewhere lately, but having a look in here, I'm going to ask that people stick to discussing the information in the post rather than starting up yet another big honking Bernie/Hillary fight. Please don't do that. Thank you.]
posted by taz at 6:44 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


the idea that the Trump campaign successfully colluded with the Russians to influence the election without that knowledge leaking is preposterous.

Of course it's preposterous, that knowledge has leaked like it was stored in an exceptionally porous sieve.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:35 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]


However, the idea that the Trump campaign successfully colluded with the Russians to influence the election without that knowledge leaking is preposterous.

Warnings about Russian interference have been raised since, what, fall of 2015? I personally remember bringing up the topic in early 2016 and being told by both the right and the left (specifically, Bernie fans on the left) that I was a paranoiac Shill. The evidence only piled up since then and throughout the whole election season. But if you pointed it out then you got the pile-on from both sides.

Just because you weren't paying attention doesn't mean the information wasn't there.
posted by schroedinger at 8:52 AM on October 3 [5 favorites]


Just because some of us don't live inside the US media bubble, doesn't mean we haven't been paying attention. I'll accept there may be convincing evidence I haven't seen, but when the strongest evidence (I've seen) is US intelligence claims that Guccifer 2.0 was Russian intelligence is then so thoroughly debunked, it's hard not to take lesser inferences with an extremely large dose of skepticism.

Think about that. US intelligence claim the release of factual information to a media organisation by Russian intelligence influenced the result of a US election. They supply no supporting evidence, and the statement is then shown, with a significant amount of supporting analysis, likely to be false. And yet US intelligence, not to mention the US media, make no counter argument. Do you see where I'm coming from?

The extent of the "verifiable facts" appear to be that Trump, a sometimes billionaire businessman, had some interests with Russians or in Russia, likes Putin's megalomania and totalitarian methods, tweets a lot of bullshit, denied a bunch of stuff... I mean, is that it?
posted by bigZLiLk at 4:22 AM on October 4



I'm not suggesting Russia didn't have an interest in influencing the election. However, the idea that the Trump campaign successfully colluded with the Russians to influence the election without that knowledge leaking is preposterous. Are people here really suggesting the Trump camp are capable of such a thing?


Oh, that knowledge is leaking all right.

From an email exchange between Rob Goldstone and Trump Jr:

"The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump - helped along by Aras and Emin... "


- Rob Goldstone

"Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?" -Trump Jr.

That exchange lead to a secret in-person meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Jr., Paul Manafort and Kushner, and several figures who were linked in various ways to Putin. The exchange/meeting proves that the Trump campaign/family was aware of Russia's help (which they lied about) and willing to cooperate with Russia. There are also dozens of other unusual in-person meetings between Trump campaign officials and Putin cronies, nearly all of which were kept secret at the time, and many of which they lied about (sometimes under oath) until there was undeniable proof that the meetings took place. Then there's the constant trickle of emails recently that show Trump lawyers were talking about business deals with Russian oligarchs during the campaign, which Trump also lied about. At best I'd say the Trump did a workmanlike job of keeping this secret. They certainly didn't

Do people only care about this because they believe the elected individual himself, or his family/team, colluded with a foreign country to get elected? Or is the concern simply that Russia influenced the election independently?

Both? There's undeniable evidence of the latter, and really, there's undeniable evidence of the former too. The degree to which Russia interfered in our election is huge on its own, but we also have smoking gun evidence that the Trump team was not only eager to cooperate with the Russian government, but actually did so with Russian cut-outs in a secret meeting. The question isn't whether it happened, but how far the Trump team's collusion with Russia went. Did they get cold feet after that Trump Tower meeting, the one that supposedly didn't matter because they claimed not to get any useful information from it? Did a group of people who've never shown any scruples suddenly grow a conscience? Or did they continue to conspire with a hostile foreign power in an attempt to illegally influence an election?
posted by Green Winnebago at 1:59 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]


The extent of the "verifiable facts" appear to be that Trump, a sometimes billionaire businessman, had some interests with Russians or in Russia, likes Putin's megalomania and totalitarian methods, tweets a lot of bullshit, denied a bunch of stuff... I mean, is that it?

To assert this is the extent of "verifiable facts" indicates you've been willfully ignoring everything involving this investigation in the past year. As mentioned by Green Winnebago, the POTUS's first-born son released on Twitter his email exchanges with Russian officials about collecting information on Clinton. And that's just one item.
posted by schroedinger at 9:09 PM on October 4


Schroedinger, I was referring to the Reddit post linked by leotrotsky.

I have no doubt Russia takes exactly the same interest in the US election as the US takes in foreign elections they seek to influence. And as Green Winnebago helpfully points out, the Trump camp had no compunction seeking information from foreign sources that might help their campaign.

What is lacking, as in this Washington Post article, is actual evidence the Russians did anything illegal to enable Trump to win the election.

I just feel like the degree of certainty being expressed here is not warranted.
posted by bigZLiLk at 11:47 PM on October 4


What is lacking, as in this Washington Post article, is actual evidence the Russians did anything illegal to enable Trump to win the election.

I'm not sure that matters, if Mueller can prove that Kushner, in charge of the online presence, conspired with Russians to receive anything of value ( which in itself is illegal ) and which appears to have happened based on the meeting with Russians to discuss their support of the election in exchange for freeing up Putin's money ( adoptions ) then evidence the Russians did anything other than receive information from Kusher might not matter very much.
posted by mikelieman at 12:04 AM on October 5




Boy, if that's what she thinks is the basis for the Russia investigation, it is about as intellectually honest as the conservatives who claim "safe spaces" are for college students who don't want anyone to disagree with them.
posted by schroedinger at 10:59 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]


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