Regardless of whether you are a flag-waving, Trump supporting #MAGA maniac or a #BlueWave #Impeach #Resistance activist (or anywhere in between), we all must accept that some of the most extreme political #DirtyTricks were deployed during the US 2016 Presidential Election. Even worse, it continues and involves YOUR information.
50 million FaceBook accounts were exploited, most without any knowledge or permission from account holders, according to a whistle-blower. These facts are partially confirmed now by Facebook, which has suspended the accounts of Cambridge Analytica, it’s employee whistle-blower Chris Wylie and “researcher” Aleksandr Kogan, a Russian-American academic.
Facebook claims that Kogan lied and “violated” its policies in 2015 by “passing data” to a third party, including Cambridge Analytica. Kogan first claimed he had no links to Russia, however he was born in the old Soviet Union and received funding from a Russian university. No collusion? Essential fact, Cambridge Analytica was created by Stephen K. “Steve” Bannon with $15 million of Mercer money. Got your attention?
To totally unravel this mess you would need a giant wall chart, like something from A Beautiful Mind – if you’re too young for that reference, then think of the current Car Gurus ad (called “The Detective”.) To piece together this data mining mystery, I’ve compiled info from several sources including CBS, CNN, Mother Jones magazine, the New York Times and UK’s TheGuardian. Those links follow my attempt to explain all this.
I first learned how data “micro-targeting” was tied to the #FakeNews scam from a CBS 60 Minutes report by Lesley Stahl that aired last fall. If you’re totally lost, perhaps watch the video from Sunday, Oct 8, 2017, when we were introduced to Brad Parscale.* This is important because Parscale was recently named Trump’s 2020 Campaign Manager and is still using these tactics. He claims he had no ties to Russian #FakeNews, yet he worked with Bannon. The Kansas “boy” was just using Facebook tools, he says. Read on.
Some of you think the 2016 dirty tricks began with the DNC (democrats) paying for the so-called dirty dossier, but even that effort was first funded by a Republican donor. What erupted into this current tidal wave of social media manipulation traces directly to Republican Ted Cruz, the original candidate benefactor of Mercer money in the 2016 election, and to Russian link(s). There’s a lot to unpack and that’s why this story is just now breaking into mainstream media.
#FakeNews, meaning links to bogus information on misleading websites, began with Ukraine or Russian hackers several years ago. It got the attention of American intelligence and political operatives when US-sanctioned LukOil (one of Russia’s largest oil companies) helped fund a 2014 voter suppression effort in Nigeria. You can bet someone like Roger Stone was an early admirer of these methods, perhaps “academic/PhD” Carter Page and other names we’ve come to know.
At that time (2014) there was no Cambridge Analytica or Mercer funding… yet. There was something called Global Science Research, supposedly an academic research group tied to Cambridge University in the UK. Along the way, another group known as the Strategic Communications Lab (SCL)** further perfected and expanded the “micro-targeting” by layering in psychological profiling and user enticements, often called “click bait.” By 2015, Cambridge Analytica was in full swing and interfered in the 2016 UK “Brexit” vote. SCL was a UK government funded military intelligence operation. According to the Guardian, SCL “presented under the heading ‘Election: Inoculation’, a military term used in “psychological and disinformation campaigns.” (Link to full Guardian article*** below.)
To cut to the chase, these tactics were the basis of sites like Breitbart where the #FakeNews was then further spread by “useful idiots” on podcasts like InfoWars and even FOX news. Remember, Bannon is behind both Breitbart and Cambridge Analytica. Wylie, the employee / whistle-blower—who says he helped Bannon create the company—calls it “a full service propaganda machine.” He also says it evolved into a “grossly unethical” endeavor.
Clearly we need a congressional investigation to get to the bottom of who hired whom for what in this complicated scenario. For instance, while the NY Times reports:
Robert Mercer, a wealthy Republican donor, approached Stephen K. Bannon, with the promise of tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior. But it did not have the data to make its new products work.
That is not what CA “co-founder” Wylie says. He insists Bannon concocted the concept of Cambridge after seeing the Russian results. Wylie says Bannon approached the Mercers for funding:
Was it Bannon, then, who convinced Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to hire him, pollster Kellyanne Conway, and website developer Brad Parscale who knew how to exploit Facebook’s “targeted ads”? Whomever hired who, “the firm harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission,” a direct quote from Times article.
Back to Aleksandr Kogan,**** the actual Cambridge University Russian-American “academic” who physically harvested the Facebook data. Just today (Monday, 3.19) Kogan said he will gladly testify to US Congress. Great! There’s plenty for both Congress and Mueller to investigate, and I’m sure Mueller already has.
To wrap this up, Kogan can explain exactly how he got the millions of Facebook records. He used one of those crazy “apps” we used to see so frequently on the social media site; specifically, a personality test. Even if you didn’t take the quiz yourself, if any of your FB friends participated, YOUR data is part of this sordid mess.
That link about Professor Carroll and the above video of Chris Wylie really tell “the rest of the story.”
Finally, Carl Bernstein, Washington Post reporter of Watergate fame, refers to this continuing nightmare as our “cultural cold war.” I agree, thus the title. At least we may finally get to the bottom of what truly is #FakeNews.
Mother Jones has even more (including the Carroll court documents): https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/12/a-groundbreaking-case-may-force-controversial-data-firm-cambridge-analytica-to-reveal-trump-secrets/
17 people– a dozen of them kids– are dead in another school shooting.
No one has called it a Valentine’s Day Massacre yet, but it is.
Since the Columbine shooting (in 1999), 150,000 students have experienced a shooting at their school (according to @jaketapper @CNN.)
WE LET THAT HAPPEN BY ALLOWING @NRA TO HIJACK OUR DEMOCRACY AND BUY-OFF LAWMAKERS.
tweets Igor Volsky of @GunsDownAmerica and Thinking Cap Podcast.
I’m not here to politicize today’s event, as some Twits are already claiming online. This is a bipartisan issue, and needs a bipartisan solution. Shootings affect everyone. #AllShootingsMatter maybe that’s our tag.
We must get money out of politics. Stop making excuses and stop being so damn greedy! Corruption is rampant in Congress and Washington. Before Bernie (Senator Sanders) preached this, Dylan Ratigan was leading this charge on CNBC. He’s still preaching the gospel of decentralizing money (his current video and new endeavors.) The time is now. Not for more talking or praying, we need action. As honored, multiple-medal recipient former CIA agent Phil Mudd cried out on CNN this afternoon, “A child of God is dead. Can we acknowledge in this country that we cannot accept this?”
It’s so easy to call something we don’t like or understand “stupid.”
I find myself constantly calling our factually-challenged POTUS “stupid”, but it’s labeling and name-calling and gets us nowhere. Here’s why:
Like art, stupidity is in the eye of the beholder. I call sports stupid. To me the concussions and other injuries, make it “stupid” plus I find it a waste of time and money. Half the country (or more) would completely disagree and call me “stupid” for saying such a thing. It’s easy to see these divergent views in subjective matters, like art, sports, and games, but what about objective issues like facts? Are there any absolutes… in anything?
Before I completely dive off into the quantum realm, let me mention what prompted this estoteric analysis. Someone on twitter called the February 6 SpaceX launch of the #FalconHeavy cargo “stupid.” I’m not sure if the “twit” thought the overall concept of space exploration is “stupid” or just the idea of shooting a $100-thousand dollar Tesla Roadster into deep space (with a MILLION $ worth of mods 😉 ) It’s easy to argue that both are wasteful, when we have so many problems here on Earth. BUT, if this planet is indeed dying—as many claim—then we should thank our “stars”, pioneers like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson who are trying to find solutions, even if it means eventual relocation (to another planet.)
It may sound crazy (or stupid) at first, the idea that to survive humans may have to relocate, however as coastal areas continue to flood and Earth grows warmer (for whatever reason), people will move. At first, more people will move to “fly over” country. That is going to create some incredible tension. Rural gun-toters and “preppers” have been getting ready for this show down.
If the ocean truly has less than 30 years left—and scientists say when all the coral reefs die, other ocean life will quickly die, too—then humans are doomed. Those same experts say when the ocean is gone, human life cannot survive. Many, like my pal Al Gore, have understood all this for years.
Now here comes the finale: so who is stupid? The people who ignore climate facts, or the people trying to find solutions? Some deniers appear stupid, refusing to consider any of this. Many of them claim “End Times” are inevitable, predicted in the Bible (and other holy books), so why fight it? Just get ready.
Maybe that’s the only thing we can agree on– getting ready. Is that with a gun so you can “go out” killing everything and everyone who poses a threat? Billionaires are buying secret hide-aways where they can “hole up” if it comes to that. Buddhists and other pacifists are preparing mentally, with mind-training, and point out nothing is actually “solid” anyway. There are only molecules, planets and #space.
Thank you Michael Wolff! You’ve given us a classic in the genre of ‘What’s good for the goose…’ ; not a battle of the sexes but showman to showman. Bravo!
As you can see, BILLIONS of us–more than have read any other book in the history of words <or glyphs> from ALL corners of this planet (and probably several other orbs) are not only reading, but reveling in #FireandFury. Lies and hyperbole are all the rage at the fact-free WhiteHouse, so how can #Fake45 and crew complain about anything Mr. Wolff writes? 🤡
Creepy Donald truly has “less credibility than, perhaps, anyone who has ever walked on earth”, as Wolff impeccably replied on NBC news the morning his book was rushed to print. That was Friday, January 5, days earlier than scheduled (due to extreme demand.)
If you liked the Dossier, then you will love Fire and Fury. Bannon blowing his own pimply head off along with “all” the other staffers (even the Trump family?!) ALL of them, Wolff tells us, were dissing wildly on the so-called POTUS who (as we knew) didn’t even want the job. Those of us who followed the chaotic idiotic campaign from that first escalator ride “straight down” (where people were paid to stand around and clap) through the continuing charade, know the book is revealing the essence of the mess.
The only thing #SAD about Wolff’s book is that it could have benefited from better editing–to fix typos and word omissions, but also to double check sources and attributions– just to avoid that push back. But, in this ridiculous #TrumpWorld where we all live now, sloppiness is the standard. #SAD squared. No one bears it better than good ole #SloppySteve Bannon! Even worse than we knew or imagined.
Bottom Line: Timing is everything. It’s worth the minor errors to have “the book” out right NOW. After all, it’s #MuellerTime 😋 It’s so popular on twitter, that’s all we have to say: The Book. Everyone stuck in the #BombCyclone, shivering or sheltered for any reason, should stay in and read this HOT seller. Don’t stand in line, get it online: eBook version of Fire and Fury Shout out to @MSNBC for all the great coverage! (#inners, #AMjoy, @Lawrence #TRMS, #BriWi, and Ari too. Even tho I still have no #Beatnik pen. That is #SAD) Shout out to friends @CNN as well (especially that lovable, #Resistance-friendly @jaketapper.) #WePersist
Kind of odd and creepy that I’ve been writing about Charlie. One of the main characters in my fiction (work in progress) is named Charlie. He’s a robot repair guy, not a journalist and not intentionally named after Mr. Rose. However, I’ve spent a lot of time with Rose over the past couple of years. He’s the first person I see every day (on CBS Morning) and I’ve watched his late-night PBS show for at least 20 years.
With current comparison’s to the Pandora’s Box myth, I feel compelled to say that the aBoP (listed on my pinned post, of books and projects) is a reference to that myth. I’ll post an excerpt of my intro that explains why, but first I want to say how #SAD I’m feeling to learn of this dark side of Charlie Rose.
We all wrestle with addictions and kleshas (Buddhist term for our habituated tendencies) but so tragic to see a lifetime career in shreds over uncontrolled behavior.
Rose has discussed turning to meditation (over the past year or so.) Let’s hope he continues and that it provides relief and insight. As I posted on twitter: “We are definitely at an inflection point. Constant focus on sex and power in movies, TV and social media needs serious analysis and contemplation.” We must also look at the intense violence that we constantly feed our youth. These issues are all inter-related and entwined. A society that favors explicit pornography, horrific violence and rarely focuses on positive values is doomed.
History does repeat, so take a look at the downfall of past great civilizations like Rome and Greece to see where we are headed.
With that, the Pandora story is very apropos so I will share how I explain it in the intro of my in-progress fiction:
“In the famous Greek myth, the god Zeus had a daughter named Pandora. When the time came for her to be wed, the king of fate and thunder gave his daughter, and her husband-to-be, a locked box (actually it was a large clay jar or pithos, but in translation it’s always been called a box.) The important part is the admonition that Zeus gave the couple: to assure your happiness, DO NOT OPEN! Pandora couldn’t believe that her father would give her a gift she could not enjoy. So sometime after the marriage, while her husband was away, curiosity got the best of Pandora and she opened the gift. The most horrid things came flying out. She had unleashed all the evils of the world.
There are many variations of the story known as Pandora’s Box. I like the one that implies Zeus had locked up all the world’s troubles and entrusted his daughter to keep humanity safe.
What are the consequences of our 21st Century society’s lust, greed, and endless obsession for more (of everything)? How far can we go before everything collapses? Can we change our fate by changing our attitude? and what if we don’t? Perhaps this story will prompt you to ponder these possibilities.
So, why did I choose to call my story “a Box of Pandoras”? One of our favorite New Mexico governors, Bruce King, once warned our state legislators, ‘If you pass that bill you’ll be opening up a whole box of Pandoras.’ It became one of his trademark sayings. Rest his soul, we still laugh about it. But he (and Zeus) were right to warn about unleashing the world’s troubles.” (c) 2015 – 2017