Russia

Yes, Russian Trolls Tried To Influence the 2016 Election. No, They Didn't Win It for Trump.

Are we really going to shut down the internet because Hillary Clinton ran a bad campaign and blew an easy win?

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Carlos Barria/REUTERS/Newscom

Yesterday saw the release of reports documenting attempts by the Russia-based, Putin-backed Internet Research Agency (IRA) to influence the 2016 presidential election via social media messaging. Both reports were written for the U.S. Senate, one by Oxford University's Computational Propaganda Project and analytics firm Graphika (online here) and the other by New Knowledge (online here), and both were written up by major papers such as The New York Times and Washington Post. They are being used as proof positive that American social media is dominated by foreign trolls who are duping American voters in all sorts of sinister new ways that call for sweeping new regulations of virtually all aspects of online life.

But while "The IRA, Social Media and Political Polarization in the United States, 2012-2018" and "The Tactics and Tropes of the Internet Research Agency" provide exhaustive catalogs of what Russian bad actors were up to on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and other platforms, they utterly fail to show that any of those efforts had much, if any, impact on Hillary Clinton's unexpected and self-inflicted loss to Donald Trump. That omission—and a corresponding lack of interest in putting such efforts in a historical or contemporary context—means the studies provide little to no actual insight into electoral politics on the ground or online. We're at a moment right now where Congress and the tech sector are both calling for all sorts of regulation in ways that will transparently benefit current market leaders while decreasing online freedom. The last thing we should do is let reports like these drive us more quickly in such a mistaken direction. In a world not simply of seamless "deep fakes" and undetectable, authentic-seeming AI-generated images, the only way forward is through what might be called mass, decentralized media literacy. To paraphrase The Whole Earth Catalog's credo, "We are as gods as readers and we might as well get good at it."

Both reports note that the IRA, like traditional advertisers or political operatives, segmented potential voters into various different groups and adopted strategies mostly designed to reinforce negative perceptions toward Hillary Clinton. New Directions finds that the IRA spent a fair amount of energy targeting African Americans. Out of 81 Facebook pages the report discusses, 30 targeted black audiences and amassed 1.2 million followers. By comparison, 25 pages focused on conservatives, drawing about 1.4 million followers.

From the Times' account:

The report says that while "other distinct ethnic and religious groups were the focus of one or two Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts, the black community was targeted extensively with dozens." In some cases, Facebook ads were targeted at users who had shown interest in particular topics, including black history, the Black Panther Party and Malcolm X. The most popular of the Russian Instagram accounts was @blackstagram, with 303,663 followers.

The Internet Research Agency also created a dozen websites disguised as African-American in origin, with names like blackmattersus.com, blacktivist.info, blacktolive.org and blacksoul.us. On YouTube, the largest share of Russian material covered the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, with channels called "Don't Shoot" and "BlackToLive."…

While the right-wing pages promoted Mr. Trump's candidacy, the left-wing pages scorned Mrs. Clinton while promoting Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. The voter suppression effort was focused particularly on Sanders supporters and African-Americans, urging them to shun Mrs. Clinton in the general election and either vote for Ms. Stein or stay home.

The authors of "The IRA, Social Media and Political Polarization in the United States, 2012-2018" conclude in part,

Social media have gone from being the natural infrastructure for sharing collective grievances and coordinating civic engagement to being a computational tool for social control, manipulated by canny political consultants and available to politicians in democracies and dictatorships alike.

Well, yeah, no. Terms such as social control can't be thrown around so easily, especially when both Republicans and Democrats are getting all hot about regulating social media and Facebook and Twitter, facing declines in growth, are ready to play ball (Tim Cook, doubtless concerned about Apple's flattening market capitalization, is also musing on the "inevitable" regulation of the tech sector more generally).

In 2016, black voter turnout, key to Democratic victory, was about 60 percent, or the same level it was for John Kerry in 2004. Was that due to Russian bots telling African Americans to stay home or Hillary Clinton's patchy get-out-the-vote effort? I'm guessing it's the latter. There's no question that the leak of Clinton and Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and former FBI Director James Comey's actions during the closing weeks of the election hurt her campaign (and that the Russians played a hand in the release of the emails). But the leaks confirmed negative perceptions about Clinton, her penchant for secrecy, and the way the DNC was rigging the game against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.). And still, with all that in play, Trump won due to fewer than 80,000 votes cast in three states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin), all of which had gone for the Democratic candidate in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012. You can argue that without the Wikileaks dump, which the U.S. intelligence community says was facilitated by the Russians, Clinton would have won. But she loaded the gun herself—and in any case, that has nothing to do with social media efforts by the IRA.

Perspective here is key. When it comes to foreign influence, the CIA says that Moscow has been trying to influence presidential outcomes via covert propaganda since at least since 1964, when Nikita Khrushchev threw his weight behind Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater due to the latter's higher level of bellicosity toward the Soviet Union and communism in general. The amount of impressions, likes, retweets, shares, and rubles that get thrown around in the reports sound fantastic until you zoom out to the bigger picture. As TechCrunch reported a year ago, for instance, Clinton and Trump spent a combined $81 million on Facebook ads while the IRA ponied up $46,000, or 0.05 percent as much. Nate Silver writes:

Unfortunately for those of us who prefer our internet less fettered, various panics are crossing streams, all of which are pushing to freeze the status quo. In politics, the old coalitions that worked for Republicans and Democrats are falling apart, so much so that both parties are at or near recent lows in self-identification. We're in the thick of a modern "era of no decision," in which neither party can maintain unified control of the government for very long. Both Democrats and Republicans have spent much of the past year attacking social media platforms for mostly imaginary crimes and threatening regulation or worse. Only a week ago, representatives of both parties invoked antitrust remedies in a discussion of Google. That's a predictable response from politicians who feel their grip starting to slip. At the same time, a trans-ideological intellectual consensus also seems to be building that social media is harmful to young people, old people, lonely people, you name it. And then there's the hysteria, particularly strong among liberals, Democrats, and #NeverTrump Republicans, that Russia is somehow an ascendant power.

The combined result of all this, plus trepidation about the economy and the general direction of the country, is almost certain to be a spasm of regulatory gestures toward the internet, to cleanse it not just of hate speech but political trolls, fake news, and bad actors generally. Sadly, what we really need to be doing right now is formulating new forms of media literacy that fit the reality of a "post-fact" world, one in which everything we see may well be a simulation.

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101 responses to “Yes, Russian Trolls Tried To Influence the 2016 Election. No, They Didn't Win It for Trump.

  1. >>>because Hillary Clinton ran a bad campaign and blew an easy win?

    if sufficient number of morons believe, Establishment can use to oppress.

  2. Yes, Russian Trolls Tried To Influence the 2016 Election.

    I believe there’s evidence the Kremlin has attempted to have influence on every American election since probably the late 1940s.

    1. I would be really surprised if that weren’t the case.

    2. We know for a fact they were all-in for Henry Wallace. No “social media” bs, they ran his whole campaign.

      1. Many foreign states and non-American groups try to influence American elections. There is big money in getting the USA on your side.

        Israel spends money to get pro-Israel Congressmen elected.
        China.
        EU.
        Russia.

  3. The Internet Research Agency also created a dozen websites disguised as African-American in origin, with names like blackmattersus.com, blacktivist.info, blacktolive.org and blacksoul.us. On YouTube, the largest share of Russian material covered the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, with channels called “Don’t Shoot” and “BlackToLive.”

    HATE CRIME!!

  4. Experts have been raising the alarm for the past couple of years about how AI fakery might impact society. These tools could be used for misinformation and propaganda and might erode public trust in pictorial evidence, a trend that could damage the justice system as well as politics.

    What experts?

    1. Experts in AI fakery, DUH!

    2. Fake AI experts. They’re anonymous authority you can appeal to.

  5. Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate. Bad campaign or not. Hel l she lost to Trump. Nuf said.

    1. She won by eleventy trillion votes but the electrical college stole the election!

      /prog

      1. Hitlery was a victim of state-line gerrymandering and voter suppression.

        1. The Russians gave her a map that only had 47 states on it.

          1. How’s the Mexico-funded wall coming along?

            Any wall?

            Anything?

            1. Wrong thread, Pastor Costco!

            2. Still hanging around, gecko?

            3. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|12.18.18 @ 5:27PM|#
              “How’s the Mexico-funded wall coming along?”

              Are you getting treatment yet, asshole?

  6. Social media have gone from being the natural infrastructure for sharing collective grievances and coordinating civic engagement to being a computational tool for social control, manipulated by canny political consultants and available to politicians in democracies and dictatorships alike.

    Wait, this report was done by Smart People ™ who ostensibly have higher degrees?

  7. What lies did the Russkies tell about Hillary? Were there any social media lies being told about Trump? Maybe the b.s. cancels itself out among the low info voters? Surely, none of the highly educated Democrat voters that the Rev. is always telling us about fell for nonsense about Hillary?

  8. “In 2016, black voter turnout, key to Democratic victory, was about 60 percent, or the same level it was for John Kerry in 2004. Was that due to Russian bots telling African Americans to stay home or Hillary Clinton’s patchy get-out-the-vote effort?”

    It was only higher in the two elections in between because blacks had an actual black candidate to vote for.

    “FBI Director James Comey’s actions during the closing weeks of the election hurt her campaign (and that the Russians played a hand in the release of the emails).”

    The email stuff was over in the summer well before the election, until it turned out that there were a couple thousand emails that Huma and Carlos Danger had that the Clinton people had neglected to tell the FBI about. So unless you’re thinking that Huma and Carlos were working on behalf of the Russians, the last minute Comey stuff can’t be laid on Putin. That one was totally self-inflicted on the part of the Dems.

    1. Comey also sat on the information for a month. He only revealed it after FBI investigators were tired of Comey’s pro Clinton methods and were about to come forward.

      1. Liar.

    2. Clinton’s emails seem to bring out the stupid in people, don’t they?

      (1) Comey sat on information because the Justice Department is required to make all effort to avoid interfering in an election. Maybe you noticed Mueller shut down every public aspect of his inquiry over two months during the midterms? Of course he’s more professional about his ethics than Comey – in part because doesn’t have Comey’s self-inflated sense of his own rectitude. Most people agree with this theory : A partisan Trump-cabal of FBI agents in NYC was leaking to Fox & Giuliani. Comey couldn’t control them and thought it best politically to ignore his ethical obligations. Note the supposed anti-Trump agents didn’t leak, but we always knew the narrative about them was pure right-wing propaganda.

      (2) By the time those new emails emerged the FBI had already reviewed tens of thousands of messages, finding nothing close to warranting charges. What was the chance a random group of new emails would be different? Did that small chance justify throwing a presidential election? No, but Comey is a hack. Even worse, he’s a hack convinced his every action is principled and pure. I think both ends of the political spectrum agree on that.

      (3) I realize brain-dead tin-foil-hat Clinton nonsense is mother’s milk to your kind, but why should “Clinton’s people” even know emails were accidentally backed up to Weiner’s laptop? Please remember they were 95% + duplicates of messages already reviewed,

      1. Clinton’s emails seem to bring out the stupid in people, don’t they?

        Trumptards would be just as crazy, regardless,

      2. and by nothing close to warranting charges you mean the multiple instances of Top Secret & above classified communications living outside their controlled environment?

        But hey, nothing to see here if the person responsible is connected enough.

        1. (1) Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton all used private email as Secretary of State. In the case of Rice, she channeled all email thru aides, who used private accounts.

          (2) Powell, Rice, and Clinton all used secure government channels for messages they thought classified.

          (3) Powell, Rice, and Clinton all had unclassified messages upgraded to classified by later review

          (4) In the case of Clinton, all but 4-5 of these messages were received by her, not sent. Yell “treason” all you want, but be prepared to hang scores (if not hundreds) more people in the email chain

          (5) But weren’t those messages sent by official State Department email? There is no security or legal distinction between Powell’s AOL account, State Department email, or Clinton’s server. They are all un-secure. Practically, AOL and State Dpt email have been hacked several times. There is no evidence Clinton’s server ever was.

          (6) No one – repeat no one – has ever been prosecuted for misjudging a message as unclassified when it was later upgraded to classified. If people were jailed for that mistake the federal government would probably need a dozen more prisons to house them. If Clinton was charged, it would be because her name was Clinton. She would have to be treated differently than everyone else to be charged.

          (7) I’m pleased to help you become more well-informed on this much-distorted issue.

          (8) You’re welcome…..

  9. what we really need to be doing right now is formulating new forms of media literacy that fit the reality of a “post-fact” world

    Millennials are a media literacy lost cause. It’s like a whole generation just fell off the turnip truck.

    1. 67% of Democrats believe that Russia manipulated vote totals to cause Trump’s win. That’s up from 52% this time two years ago.

      Check the age breakdown. Millenials and Zs, 35 and under, are the biggest failure. They’ve taken the two years of no evidence – of people showing that it WASN’T true – and turned it into faith. It not just “post-fact”, it’s anti-fact.

      1. (snort) 64% of Americans believe Trump is LYING about the Russians

        67% of Democrats believe that Russia manipulated vote totals to cause Trump’s win.

        56% of Republicans believe millions of fraudulent votes were cast.

        Left – Right = Zero
        A shrinking minority of Americans COMBINED.
        Your time has expired — following the dodo bird to extinction.

  10. Sadly, what we really need to be doing right now is formulating new forms of media literacy that fit the reality of a “post-fact” world, one in which everything we see may well be a simulation.

    We call this world a ‘post-fact’ world because for the first time in human history, we can fact-check* people in real time, whereas up until recently– and in particular we’ll just say all of human history before the ubiquity of the smart phone– you just took people’s word for the shit that came out of their mouths if they spake it with enough authority.

    *not diving in to who fact-checks the fact-checkers.

    1. But who would fact-check the fact-checker-checkers?

      1. Maybe just have the original fact checkers fact check the fact checker checkers? Keeps it in a nice circular loop, which seems how things tend to work nowadays by default anyway!

      2. Teach kids about primary sources and ignore fact checkers.

        1. When will you start using any?

    2. Its post face because idiots are too lazy to check primary sources and in context quotes but instead rely on tweets from Vox and other assholes as a means to gather information. It is a generation if intellectually lazy people who think cliff notes of cliff notes replace actual texts an facts. Headline reading, tweet reading imbeciles who cant form cogent fact based arguments deeper than 120 word tweets. Jeff the chemical idiot is a primary example of this.

      1. Its post face because idiots are too lazy to check primary sources

        Yes, but your idiocy is bipartisan. Like, what is YOUR source for that, or for ANYTHING on this page, bloviator?

  11. “Meddling” doesn’t even come close to adequately describing what the US tentacles are doing all around the world.

    What propaganda cable bundle do you subscribe to?

    Let me guess. The one where your shit don’t stink?

    1. It’s OK when we do it. Actually, it’s OK when the Russians do it too. As long as the right candidate wins.

  12. is it post-fact because facts mean nothing *now*, or did facts *always* mean nothing and technology finally pulled back the curtain on Oz?

    1. I’ll vote for door number two.

    2. Its post fact because liberals believe subjective viewpoints are stronger the objective facts. It’s their truth after all.

      1. Exactly like you. (lol)

  13. Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong in 2016. She was the most qualified Presidential candidate in American history. And she got more total votes than any white male candidate in history, beating Drumpf by 3 million.

    Even more impressively, she accomplished all this with the deck stacked against her. Not only did Russia hack the election, there was also indefensible behavior from domestic actors. For example, statistics expert Nate Silver has conclusively shown the Comey letter was likely decisive in handing the Electoral College to Putin’s Puppet. The so-called “liberal media” was viciously unfair to Clinton ? engaging in sexist speculation about her health, overemphasizing her minor fainting incident, and amplifying her e-mail non-scandal.

    Reason is absolutely correct in its relentless criticism of Orange Hitler’s draconian white nationalist immigration policies. But I wish your writers would stop downplaying the #TrumpRussia angle.

    #StillWithHer
    #NotMyPresident
    #ItsMuellerTime

    1. This is all completely true OBL! And to boot Hillary Clinton was also far and away the most attractive woman to ever participate in politics! That crazy skank Sarah Palin couldn’t hold a candle to the “hot grandma” thing Hillary had going for her!

      Overall it’s still just a mystery how such a perfect candidate could have possibly lost, even with the deck stacked against her!

      1. Russia + Comey + Wikileaks

        Anything else?

  14. “They are being used as proof positive that American social media is dominated by foreign trolls who are duping American voters in all sorts of sinister new ways that call for sweeping new regulations of virtually all aspects of online life.”

    Elitist Democrats (and Republicans) refuse to accept election results. This isn’t the first time elitists have had problems with average Americans asserting themselves at the polls, and, hopefully, it won’t be the last. If anything is different this time, it’s precisely how radicalized the Democrats have become on every issue.

    Now that Trump has carved the white, blue-collar, middle class out of the Democratic Party, there is no center-left anymore. After Trump comes the deluge. It’s gonna make Barack Obama look like Ronald Reagan.

    1. P.S. Keep your powder dry.

    2. I think this is round abouts right.

      I think we’re just going to become increasingly polarized until either the left completely breaks into 1000 pieces… Or we’re going to end up in a civil war. My personal hope is just that the US decides to peacefully split up into at least 2 countries. That way everybody can get what they want, and nobody has to get hurt. Otherwise it is likely to be decades of utter chaos. We’ll see.

      1. The US can’t split into two pieces anymore.

        The economy of the blue pinpoints in the cities is no longer able to be self sufficient. They have overspecialized.

        Their food, power and water come from the people they disparage with impunity now.

        While they have police forces that might back them, the military, being recipients of massive disparagement, largely do not.

        They are simply not viable.

        1. They don’t realize any of that. Power is from the switch, food from the store/restaurant and water is from the bottle or tap. For all their pronouncements of intellect and sophisticated thinking they really are this shallow in just about everything.

        2. That’s not really true.

          California could exist just fine as a separate nation. They could be a socialist, overly indebted nation like Italy!

          But city states? No. But that wouldn’t be what a reasonable person would propose.

          Personally, I think cut off the entire west coast, either keeping from San Diego south, or perhaps from Everett, WA north. The rest of the US needs SOME west coast port… But it doesn’t need to be an existing one even, just access to the ocean. Other than that, the west coast is a lost cause anyway. It is only dragging the rest of the country down. If they split, the libs that would bail from the rest of the country, and the cons that would bail from here, would resort the nation enough to get the rest of the country on a better track.

          They could import food, water, etc as needed. Hollywood, tech, etc etc etc could keep them afloat for awhile. If it failed it would be of their own commie doing, not because they didn’t have the resources at their disposal.

          This is THE ONLY peaceful way America will be saved. PERIOD. We’re not changing enough commie minds to fix this country.

  15. So what about the Russkis?

    “Robert Mueller’s Legal Masterpiece”
    […]
    “The special counsel has spun a web of investigations that draw closer to Trump every day.”
    https://newrepublic.com/article/152717
    /robert-muellers-legal-masterpiece

    Call a pile of horseshit lovely and assholes like the rev will fall for it.

    1. Sevo can’t count high enough (not enough fingers) to know

      1) The number of convictions, guilty pleas and indictments in Trump’s inner circle ALONE.
      2) SEVEN separate offices, pursuing NINETEEN different investigations.
      3) Trump FORCED to shut down his Trump Foundation today.
      4) The ONLY President FORCED to pay a $25 million FRAUD settlement, FROM THE OVAL OFFICE.
      5) His dumbass Donald Jr admitting he KNOWINGLY conspired with the Russian government, who TOLD him, IN WRITING that their government WANTED to help elect his father.
      6) Donald’s own PUBLIC admission … on LIVE tv … to OVER 100 MILLION witnesses … that he INTENTIONALLY obstructed justice.

      As Trumptards AGAIN fa out … scurrying like cockroaches … with bullshit NOBODY swallows, but …. like Trump himself … keeps morale up among his nodding Bobbleheads.

      1. Continued, for goobers in denial

        Russian invitation to Donald 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.
        Source: Donald Trump Jr’s own Twitter feed!!!

        (smirk)
        LOCK THEM UP!

        OR … Junior is undeniably guilty. Will his father allow his son to spend the rest of his life in prison. Is Trump THAT evil?

      2. Continued, for goobers in denial

        Russian invitation to Donald 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.
        Source: Donald Trump Jr’s own Twitter feed!!!

        (smirk)
        LOCK THEM UP!

        OR … Junior is undeniably guilty. Will his father allow his son to spend the rest of his life in prison. Is Trump THAT evil?

        1. Fuck off hihn

        2. Dumbfuck Hihnsano having another bitchfit meltdown.

          1. omfg (sneer)

            I LINK ACTUAL PROOF … PUSSIES WHINE …. ONE MORE TIME FOR CONSERVATARD COWARDS

            JesseAss WHINES that libruls never use original sources … as HE whines about an …. ORIGINAL SOURCE!

            Red Rocks White Nationalist … faced with DOCUMENTED PROOF THAT HE’S FULL OF SHIT … throws a bitchfit meltdown … WHINING about a BITCHFIT MELTDOWN!

            NOBODY could INVENT anything CRAZIER!

            ONE MORE TIME FOR TRUMPTARDS

            Russian invitation to Donald Jr. … Source: Donald Trump Jr’s own Twitter feed!!!

            “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.

            SOURCED REBUTTAL OR …. MOAR PUSSY WHINING?

            (snort)

  16. To repeat H.L. Mencken:

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    1. If the PTB (Powers that Be) menaced the populace with real hobgoblins, they might actually end up having to do something.

  17. Who cares. Countries try to influence other country elections.

    I worry more about non-Americans illegally voting in our elections to give Democrats more power.

    1. Those two are both symptoms of your Trump Derangement Syndrome.

      1. You’re confused:

        Trump Derangement Syndrome is a condition analogous to hypochondria, whereby Trump is the disease and everything the sufferer doesn’t like is the symptom.

        The condition you’re thinking of, whereby the sufferer is obsessed with voter fraud, is Kobachitis.

        1. You’re confused:

          Smarter than you
          And I don’t drool.

  18. LAME as Trump himself. Nick again sucks up to his anti-libertarian commentariat … FAILS to support that Russian inteference did not elect Trump …. WHINES about Hillary … FORGETS to remind us that Obama is a Muslim from Kenya

    For the record, Trump won the Electoral College by …. 39,000 voters … in three states combined
    So tell us Nick, what does it take to flip 39,000 voters?

    P.S. Nearly 10 million voted against him.
    P.P.S. He had a record number of “anti” votes … those who voted AGAINST Hillary, NOT for Trump.

    And the Senate Intel Committee, this very day, totally demolished your “argument.”

    Tell us again about the “great journalism” here! Not in several decades.

    1. It seems like that if it takes nothing to flip 40,000 people then that also speaks to major mistakes on the Hillary campaign. Not taking the extremely minor action to clinch those 40,000 votes.

      Beyond this, is it actually wrong for foreign nations to run political ads in our country? If so, why?

      1. EVASION. DIVERSION. DISHONEST

        Hmm, why are you so certain that she knew — what YOUR President says never happened? Do you understand the question.

        Diversion:

        is it actually wrong for foreign nations to run political ads in our country?

        You lose BIG, just by asking.

        Honesty
        “Is it wrong for a foreign nation to spend millions of dollars to influence the election of a US President … who’s son KNOWINGLY conspired with that nation’s government, who TOLD HIM — IN WRITING — that the conspiracy was ‘part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.'” ???

        Now, please confirm that you NEED an answer to the honest question.

        If so, why?

        Are you asking “Why has Trump lied about it so egregiously?”

        I answered your diversions questions.
        When will you be answering mine?

        1. Fuck off hihn.

        2. Dumbfuck Hihnsano having another bitchfit meltdown.

    2. Wow, I like this new commenter! Makes many of the same points as libertarian icon Michael Hihn (even with the same formatting style), and treats #TrumpRussia as the outrageous scandal it is!

      1. Libertarians think alike.

        ????All I can say is that many of us who have been in online forums for 20 years or more, still use the formatting which was common at the time online … and literally universal everywhere else (to convey EMPHASIS.)

        (The snark is NOT toward you — but to those who WHINE about formatting, when they’ve lost on the actual substance.)

      2. OBL, FTW!

        1. “Libertarians think alike.”

          Except it’s been proven ad nauseum that the ONLY person that ever agrees with Hihn… is Hihn. Even when you are making the same point as him, you are still a goober. It would be interesting to see what his home looks like. I would imagine everything smashed and covered in drool.

          1. Except it’s been proven ad nauseum

            Try it now, pussy. (sneer)

            1. Dumbfuck Hihnsano having another bitchfit meltdown.

              1. That was ridicule of him. Now you, pussy … who also FAILS to prove it.

                P.S. YOURS is the bitchfit. (sneer)

          2. This is true. I have on occasion agreed with The Hihn on a minor point or two, and yet he still just goes all berserk on you about whatever nonsense.

            I do sometimes wonder if Hihn was once a sane person, and then just went off the deep end. He was the head of the Washington state Libertarian party IIRC once upon a time. Seems like even in the LP they wouldn’t allow somebody as nuts as the current year Hihn to run the state party.

            1. Sadly, I think he was once sane. I wonder if he still has occasional flashes of sanity?

              1. A small parental basement will drive anyone mad.

              2. Once in awhile I have thought I’ve seen flashes of sanity.

                He lives in Boise nowadays, or so he says, so you could always look up his number and give him a friendly call and see if he’s less crazed on the phone! 😉

  19. YAWN!!! You look for the simplest explanation first for why Trump won-Hillary SUCKED as a candidate and ran a shitty campaign. If the dems had nominated anyone even somewhat likable, or even Chelsea’s used tampon, we would not be talking about any of this now.

  20. YAWN!!!

    SNEER

    ?You look for the simplest explanation first for why Trump won-Hillary SUCKED as a candidate and ran a shitty campaign.

    WHICH ONE GOT MORE VOTES?

    When will you be old enough to vote?
    (Or to read?)

    1. Look, the truth is between a douche and a turd sandwich, more people wanted a turd sandwich… But the douche won the electoral college. That’s all there is to it.

      I personally would waaay rather have Trump than Clinton. I’d rather have Trump get his every policy than Clinton getting the same. Trump is at least a fucking American. Clinton, and the rest of the Dems, literally hate everything that made America special. Trump is basically just a mediocre middle of the road American politician from like 30-40 years ago… But compared to the rest of the field in 2016, that made him leaps and bounds better than anybody else.

      1. Cowardly diversion

        1. Dumbfuck Hihnsano knows all about cowardly because he has an Enemies List.

          1. I’m on that list. Are you on that list?

            1. FUCKING PSYCHO LIARS

            2. I never made the list… I’ve always been sadz about that 🙁

  21. Neither democrats nor republicans are free from corruption.

    Divide and conquer. Isn’t it odd that we have a government system that divides us? Is that our objective? If not, whose is it?

    Perhaps it time we stopped being manipulated, recognized what our single unambiguous objective is and began actually putting a plan in place to achieve it.

    Then we might be acting like intelligent life.

  22. Russian trolls more powerful than the international media?

    1. Apparently a few tens of thousands of dollars of Russian ad spending is more valuable than hundreds of millions spent directly by the campaigns, and shit tons more by PACs… So I guess trolls should be able to overwhelm the entire influence of the international media by those metrics…

      1. It was tens of millions.
        Combine that with you wacky comparison of social platforms and actual MEDIA. I mean REALLY dumb!
        And your ignorance of the tactics used (here and on social media in general)

        You also forgot to SCREECH
        FAKE NEWS
        NO COLLUSION

        1. Show me where the Russians spent 10s of millions on ADVERTISING. They had trolls, in theory, but that wasn’t paid ads.

          Campaigns spent hundreds of millions, I’ve only ever seen quotes in the 10s of thousands for actual ad dollars spent by Russians. So fukk off.

          1. That was their Facebook budget alone.
            And nobody said ads (snorf)
            Strike 3

  23. “There’s no question that the leak of Clinton and Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and former FBI Director James Comey’s actions during the closing weeks of the election hurt her campaign (and that the Russians played a hand in the release of the emails).”

    There certainly IS a great deal of question about that last. Wikileaks denies it, and you’d think they’d have some idea how they came by the emails.

    In fact, it seems more an article of faith than a reasoned conclusion.

  24. This quote from the “Tactics and Tropes” report shows a fundamental weakness of both reports:

    “The platforms didn’t include methodology for identifying the accounts; we are assuming
    the provenance and attribution is sound for the purposes of this analysis.”

    It’ d be interesting for the platform companies to create a data set using the same methodology for each country in the world and publish the results.

    1. No link. (yawn)

      1. BULLSHIT. And your ignorance of what that means The exact opposite of what you assume. I’ll dumb it down as far as I can.

        “1) We don’t know HOW they identified targeted groups, like blacks, Hillary leaners, etc,
        2) We assume their methods were sound for the purpose of this analysis,”

        THAT is what vek fucked up, back a bit. Now your own fuckup.

        It’ d be interesting for the platform companies to create a data set

        (lol) They were created by the Russians, NOT the platform companies.

        As always, Trumpsters invent the LAMEST excuses, like orangutans explaining nuclear physics, which is PROVEN at the source YOU mentioned!

  25. Trump’s Second Year of Verbal Diarrhea
    From Michael ‘Aviante’ to those ‘anomonissss’ sources in ‘The New York Times.’

  26. How is the wikileaks dump any different than the “grab them by pussy” tape? Both revealed “secret” information that would be obviously harmful to one of the candidates. Who cares where is came from?

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