Computers, Credibility, and Cyberspace

Special investigator Robert Mueller secured indictments for three Russian companies and thirteen Russian citizens with “a widespread effort to interfere with the  2016 presidential election,” according to Saturday’s Wall Street Journal.  The Russians had a “strategic goal to sow discord into the U.S. political system.”

 

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that there is no allegation in the indictment that any U.S. citizen knowingly participated in the alleged crimes. That’s one of those statements that I would repeat, because a lot of readers will not believe it the first time they read it, and they will tune into or read some media that will falsely report that the Trump administration officials are next in line to be indicted. Nowhere does it say the Trump administration  is still under investigation, although Michael Flynn, former national security advisor, has pleaded guilty, and “there was no indication Friday that Mr. Mueller wouldn’t seek more charges in the future.”

 

A Russian company called the Internet Research Agency “employed hundreds of people who created fictitious on line personas and set up hundreds of social media accounts-on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram-that pushed divisive messages or helped organize rallies, the special prosecutor said.” For the record, I am not on any of those social media websites, however, I think that one website that I watch either had someone who was a Russian pretending to be an American Russophile, or that person was totally insane, take your pick. I would describe insanity as the denial of long-accepted, verified academic facts as nothing but negative propaganda; come to think of it, it all seemed like propaganda at the time. You know propaganda, the outright denial of proven facts, and the challenging of the credibility of people who report the facts. I especially enjoy propaganda when it resorts to challenging the people who report the facts, calling them Nazis and implicating them in international conspiracies which have no basis of credibility, but then propaganda has never had credibility.

 

Speaking of credibility, let’s look at that. Nine-eleven was an incredible intelligence failure. This disruption of the 2016 presidential election seems to be yet another one. While I understand that they have a lot to do, with all of the cyber-attacks that they face, was this another attack that they (the officials sworn to protect us) failed to notice, and if so, how can they claim they are protecting us if they can only start investigations after the fact? The damage, if any, has already been done, and there are other names, like Bernie Sanders, that are being bandied about as people that the Russians enlisted for help in disrupting the 2016 election.

 

Here’s where some more undocumented guilt remains: With the American social media firms that were too busy counting their money and thinking of new ways to market themselves than to concern themselves with disrupting  American democracy. Apparently, the “global economy” ideology is so pervasive that allowing a company to come in, use your resources (for which I am sure that they paid) to disrupt an American institution is just another part of this “global economy” that we live in, to the managers of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’m sure that this indictment troubles the Democrats, because no one in the Trump administration has been charged, thus putting impeachment further away. It doesn’t really matter  to the Democrats that the Russians want to disrupt American democracy as much as impeaching Trump would mean; after all, they have their priorities.

 

I have no doubt that Bill Clinton would like for at least one other president to be impeached in his lifetime, as he and Andrew Johnson remain the only two presidents that have been impeached, and yes, read your history, Bill Clinton was impeached, like it or not, he just was not removed. None of the Democratic senators voted to remove Clinton from office. This latest foray into international cyber-attacks occurred during the Obama administration, please note. From the looks of things, none of the accused will ever step foot on American soil, and anyone who thinks that Russia will willingly surrender them or allow them to be extradited is a pipe dream. If you believe that any of the conspirators will make it into an American court, I have a bridge in New York that I want to sell you for a great price.

 

While Vladimir Putin might be far away enough from the conspirators that he cannot be indicted, there is little doubt that he, or one of his charges, was involved in this conspiracy. That’s the great thing about cyber-attacks; they can trace international dealings with our election systems, but they can’t seem to find evidence that the Secretary of State endangered national security on an unsecured device. This is another reason to question the credibility of those sworn to protect us. As more and more cyber-attacks occur, if all of this is just politics, then the credibility of those whom we trust to protect us will diminish even further. This selective ineptitude is draining our trust, byte by byte. We discovered an international attack not because someone wanted to protect us, but because of political motivation to attack the sitting president. If they have no motivation to serve and protect us, the people, they have no business in the positions that they hold. This is more evidence to clean up the swamp. Carry on, Mr. Trump

Comments

Leroy Added Feb 18, 2018 - 4:45pm
Much to do about nothing.  According to one article out there, Mueller is just throwing out names.  Some of them weren't employed at the time.  And, it seems, most of the "interfering" occurred after the election, according to Facebook.  And, of course, the US only interferes with foreign elections "in the interests of  democracy."  With the Flynn indictment getting flimsier by the day and will likely be thrown out, Mueller had to show something for all these months and millions.  He did manage to come up with another charge against Manafort.  Even if Manafort is convicted, it will be thrown out on appeal (even though he may be guilty).
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 18, 2018 - 4:53pm
Leroy, I agree that a lot of this is much ado about nothing, but this is all about impeaching Mr. Trump. They need to get on with things and stop all of these proceedings, whose motivation is to get Trump out of office.
Flying Junior Added Feb 18, 2018 - 10:03pm
I seriously doubt that the objective is to impeach Trump.  If it was, what would Bill Clinton's desires have to do with it.  I doubt Bill is behind this.  Like it or not, we're stuck with this guy as our president.  Even if the democrats, or if you will, democratic senators and representatives again take the congress in 2018, it would not be their objective to impeach.  That's something that mean-spirited republicans do.  Russia or no, Trump won.  We will stand while the damage is done by the current administration and congress and attempt to correct it as soon as we regain power.
 
As the Elvish queen told us, "Much has been lost."
 
A certain amount of this tempest we might be able to agree upon.  There is no evidence that Russians colluded with the Trump campaign.  The take away is that they believed that the most damage they could possibly do to our political system was to have ginned up hatred of Hillary Clinton and nudged the election in the favor of Trump.
 
That's the part that the investigation is about.  If Russia did succeed in pwning susceptible partisans and independents with social media trolls and bots, we view that as a concern.  Apparently it doesn't bother you.  The motivation behind the investigation is to prevent it from happening again.  Again, I think both of you are okay with Russian interference.  You appear to welcome it.
 
Everybody knows that the indictments are symbolic.  Edward Snowden sought refuge from the U.S. Government in Moscow.  I'm guessing we don't have an extradition treaty.  But that does not mean that these indictments are not based upon truth.
 
Keep flailing swamp drainers.  You guys are going to lose on this one.  Truth shall be discovered.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 19, 2018 - 5:07am
Junior, it bothers me that they didn't see it for two years, and their motivation is NOT to stop it, but to gain points on their political adversary. The ineptitude of the people who are supposed to protect us from these things is amazing, and the only time they take action is when they believe that it has hurt them politically, so they seek revenge. The point of the essay that you missed was that they (those sworn to protect us from cyber-attacks) are taking action only when it has interfered with their agenda, and after a trail of thousands of incidents, that should have been obvious shortly after it began.
The other disturbing aspect, which you again missed, was that Twitter, Facebook and Instagram considered it as just revenue generating, and not as interference in democracy. I care a lot about it, but those sworn to protect us seem to only care when they think it harms them, or people in their agenda otherwise, they'll just let it go. Thanks for your comments.
Leroy Added Feb 19, 2018 - 8:15am
"The motivation behind the investigation is to prevent it from happening again."
 
No, it wasn't.  Read the instructions given to Mueller.  It was to investigate the Trump's campaign collusion with Russia.  It was NOT an investigation of Russian meddling in general.  It was very specifically targeted at Trump.  It was a get Trump operation by both the Democrats and RINOs.
 
It would seem that the Russian indictments were outside the scope; however, he was allowed to pursue incidental crimes that he might stumble across.  That is how he is attempting to hang Manafort and Flynn and the Russians.  Flynn's indictment will be overturned.  Manafort is wealthy enough to defeat his incidental crime.  The Russian indictments have no significance.
I have said that it should have been an open investigation into Russian meddling, and if it led to Trump's campaign, so be it.  No one ever expected it would lead to the Clinton campaign, but so be it.  No one expected it would lead to Britain's effort to defraud the American voters, but so be it. 
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 19, 2018 - 9:12am
Thanks for the details Leroy. They spent millions trying to get to Trump and they nailed themselves instead. The collusion is ripe with villains, while missing the intended target. Perhaps those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Thanks again, Leroy.
George N Romey Added Feb 19, 2018 - 10:48am
This entire “spy thing” has been going on for years with US leading the way. Very akin to the line in the movie Casablanca.
 
The real story is that the Democratic Party cannot accept the fact that they experienced the most humiliating political defeat in our nation’s history. So now they are grabbing at straws and in doing so alienating more Americans. Trump may well be victorious again in 2020 just because that party has turned off so many voters.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 19, 2018 - 11:24am
George you are so right. Recent reports indicate that the Dems are losing ground, although that depends on who you listen to, obviously. The midterm elections usually go to the party what does not occupy the White House, and if the Republicans prevail in the midterms, that will be a strong indicator of their weakness. Thanks for the comments, George.
Leroy Added Feb 19, 2018 - 11:28am
"The real story is that the Democratic Party cannot accept the fact that they experienced the most humiliating political defeat in our nation’s history."
 
You nailed it, George.  They were promised an easy victory with bogus polls showing double-digit leads.  They bought it.  Many feel guilty knowing that they could have done more.  That makes acceptance all the more bitter.   It's driven them to the point of insanity.
 
There were two posters (posers) who bragged about the impending crushing defeat and demise of the Republican party.  They left in humiliation.  Republicans may be falling into this trap today.  The Democrats aren't going anywhere.  It may be the Republicans who suffer a crushing defeat in 2018.   However, as the Democrats become more radicalized, they will start pushing away voters.  They already seem to have ditched the black voters in favor of non-citizens.  That seems self-defeating to me.
mark henry smith Added Feb 19, 2018 - 12:44pm
Of course this will lead back to Trump. He's in this up to his teeth, or people in his employ, but does it really matter? Are we really such a nation of rubes that we can't be trusted to tell a legitimate argument from a fake one? Well, buddies, if that's the case, what the hell are we trusting voters for? Why not just have the IBM computer Watson pick our leader. Could it do a worse job?
 
And let's understand exactly how this worked. The Russians spent almost no money. They merely went on social media sites, posted whatever plopaglanda they thought would be most offensive and ridiculous, then backed it up with numbers. That's right, they spent the money buying numbers to make it appear that lots of people were supporting these insane ideas. Then once they had people's attention, they worked them, to move them in the direction they wanted.
 
Look at how this works, social media. People self select things that are popular for whatever reason. If you see a million people have looked at something you think it has to be interesting, so you look and feed the numbers. There's an entire industry set up to create numbers for a price. You see it on Facebook, get this post out to 100,000 people. Now they aren't guaranteeing numbers, but they are. And then there are other services that guarantee likes, as many as you're willing to pay for. With things so foul, how can you trust anything, reviews, comments, identities? I don't. But I know eventually just doing good work will find an audience of good people who will be able to discriminate away the bad people who want to take you down. These are all just platforms for a real entrepreneur to build a real audience in a real world. For the phonies, it is the world.
 
Madness, it is to trust any of this and despite anything you would like to say about Trump's moral decrepitude, he is a savvy player in the arena of social media and Hillary is a dunce. Say anything to get attention, that's all that matters to social media entrepreneurs for now. It's the Wild West. Let's remember it's still a baby in diapers sitting in its own poop and it's left for individuals to clean up their own sites, because the baby can't do it, yet.         
George N Romey Added Feb 19, 2018 - 1:18pm
Marko let’s not forget for years how Americans were fed lines of crap during the Cold War. The Russians were out to destroy the American way of life and billions were spent allegedly preventing them from doing so. If one is going to throw feces they should expect same in return.
Ian Thorpe Added Feb 19, 2018 - 3:46pm
As there is very little evidence that social media really influences elections, I wonder are these indictments just a distraction to make people look elsewhere while bigger crimes is swept under the carpet. I'm referring of course to the alleged security violations and selling of influence and involvement in dodgy deals with Russian oligarchs by a certain former Secretary of State. And of course the famous hack that wasn't of the DNC by Russia. I think everyone is aware now that the 'hack' was in fact a campaign worker with a memory stick who leaked the emails to Wikileaks, probably the late Seth Rich
Tubularsock Added Feb 19, 2018 - 5:32pm
What marvels Tubularsock about all of these conversations is that it is the same broken recorded debated over and over again.
 
If you haven’t figured out yet that Killery is a corrupt scammer and Dump is just as corrupt then you have been not looking very closely at the entire picture.
 
All that has happened is that Dump swiped out the Washington Swamp for just his own slime pushers.
 
The name of the game is to strip the public goods and lands for THE SLIMER’s private gain. Leaving paying not only the bills but the devastation and havoc produced by these assholes for the “public” to handle.
 
Not just Democraps and Republican’ts but everybody else as well. The only “winners” are not you guys!
 
You are stuck in them and them .......... but in reality it is them and US.
 
And the US is powerless because so many take their eye off the ball!
Dr. Rupert Green Added Feb 19, 2018 - 8:38pm
Sometimes the condition is such that the innocent must go to jail to cool off a hot climate. Other times, the guilty may have to be left alone to prevent a hot climate. Impeaching President Trump at this time may have unintended consequences. Incidentally, one cases was the Central Park boys accused of rape, of whom Donald Trump castigated as animals.
mark henry smith Added Feb 20, 2018 - 12:34pm
We rush to judgment because it gives us a rush, and the Russians are exploiting this rushing mentality as is Trump.
 
Now kids are rushing out of school to protest gun laws, as if that's how to get things done, have some loud-mouthed Jewish kid with an agenda start a movement so he can become famous, and he's swept up by a media machine to give him play time. Did you even listen to his argument? Ban assault weapons? If the kid had thrown a bomb, would we ban bombs?
 
In the rush to judgment, to make a name, to use media as the maker of policy, all nuance and deep thought is lost in the excitement of the moment. This too shall pass, said the wise man to the NRA, just delay.     

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