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/
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
Seriously if the news media, or more importantly our Senators, cannot discern the difference between a silly prank and true perversion then it IS time to send all the bums home– reporters and lawmakers– and start over. We have enough idiocy in the WH.
Let’s start with FACTS. This photo of Al Franken is from 2006, during a USO comedy tour to the Middle East to “entertain the troops.” Notice the woman, Leeann Tweeden, another “performer” (she calls herself a “model” and sportscaster in her bio), is wearing a flak jacket. FULL STOP. While it may be considered poor taste to pose in the manner shown, that is not groping. As one who was groped as a young TV reporter, I know the difference; most women do.
As for the alleged forceful kiss, that’s more complicated. While our so-called “President” admitted on video tape (in 2005) that he could “grab women by the pussy” and couldn’t stop himself from kissing them, he’s not under investigation for that. Yet Senators, both Dems and Repubs, want to investigate Senator Al Franken over this “comedic” controversy. It’s a huge difference that Franken, a popular comedian at the time of this photo, quickly apologized for his actions and actually welcomes an ethics investigation. AND, Thursday (11.16), during a 45 minute segment on CNN’s “The Lead with Jack Tapper”, Tweeden accepted Franken’s apology, tearfully saying she did not want to ruin his political career. If Franken is investigated, then Trump must be also. If Franken is taken down over this, then Trump must absolutely be removed from the Presidency for admitting to far worse sexual assault violations.
At this same time we are hearing that 93-year old past President George H.W. Bush groped women when he was President and in his later years. Do you want to pull him out of his wheel chair and investigate him? Bring.It.On as the real pervert Roy Moore says.
What constitutes a pervert? Child molestation, is certainly at the top. That’s what Roy Moore is accused of– preying on and attacking under age girls. I just heard Dana Bash on CNN discuss a “Creep List” that is well known in Washington, DC. I doubt Senator Franken was on it, but I bet Trump is. It includes politicians and lobbyists who reporters and staffers (mostly females) do not want to be alone with on an elevator. If we’re going to open this long-hidden can of worms, then air it all out!
Finally, Mr. “Reliable Sources” Brian Stelter, how can CNN do a political week in review (as Dana just did) and not even mention that in the House of Representatives a half-dozen Congressmen introduced FIVE articles of impeachment against so-called President Donald Trump, accusing him of obstruction of justice and other offenses. I call him “so-called POTUS” because I am not convinced he won legitimately. I await the results of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election. That, my friends, is the primary issue we cannot be distracted from by cons, perverts and those seeking to sensationalize the news. The entire White House administration is truly a “house of cards” scandal.
Hey #FAKE45, don’t threaten us with disrespecting the flag. Every day you disrespect “We the People“– Americans. If not blacks, the #NFL, women, the disabled, Latinos, Hispanics, now it’s #PuertoRicans who face it, you did not realize WERE Americans. You embarrass us and yourself every day. But, since it’s my compassionate side that I truly want to cultivate, despite my propensity to respond just as #Nasty and insultingly as you, I offer a diagnosis instead of another insult. It may sound harsh, but the truth is you are sick.
Yep, I honestly believe you are sociopathic, meaning you suffer from Antisocial Personality Disorder. Only a professional can say for sure, but many of us see the symptoms: disregard for the feelings of others, lack of remorse or shame, manipulative, extremely egocentric, and often lies in order to achieve one’s goals. Sound familiar? Now, add to this the strong possibility of dementia. Dementia covers a large category of symptoms that can include Alzheimer’s, but also other brain trauma or disease. Those symptoms are recognized by increasing disrespectful and aggressive behaviors. See a pattern?
It’s no joke when many of us tweet begging the professionals to speak up and for Congress to consider the #25th Amendment— which provides for removal of the President in case of incapacitation. We could also call it the Captain Queeg clause (Look up The Caine Mutiny.)
Peeps, when it comes to Trump, I have tweeted the answer to all your questions of “why is he so…” He’s a demented sociopath. It’s not a horrible insult, I believe it’s true. It is way beyond #SAD that a madman holds the nuclear codes and is ruining our beautiful America (in many ways.) So, it’s not the players who #TakeAKnee or #Nasty women (like me) who are denigrating this Country. It is YOU, Trump! And, also our Congress who must open their eyes and See Clearly that it’s time to remove him. Otherwise, we may not have a nation left to defend. Get busy! You too, #Mueller!
On the first day, actually in the first hour, of Anthony Scaramucci’s new gig as #Fake45’s White House Communications Director, he claimed Trump has “really good karma.” What?
The former hedge fund manager is not Seeing Clearly* how karma works. 🤑 CNN’s lovable Jake Tapper wasn’t much clearer claiming karma “takes place in the next life.”
It’s trendy thinking that yoga means physical postures and karma is only tied to an afterlife, but actually neither is true. Yoga refers to practice, usually a spiritual practice, and karma is cause and effect (which can ripen immediately or much later.) Either way Trump is FAR from generating “good karma.”
Nothing limits karmic consequences to a future life… in fact, “extreme thoughts of malice” often ripen quickly (in this lifetime.) We can “purify” (clear karma) or continue on mindlessly, uncontrollably repeating our patterns (sound like our fearless leader?) While “negative” actions can result in a miserable future life, in Buddhist thinking it’s also possible to prevent future rebirths through beneficial actions in this life. Who knew karma was so complicated, Moochie!
As you can see, it’s basically impossible for me to write about Trump without generating angst, anger and karmic consequence for myself. It’s why I stopped blogging about him. I’m convinced the candidate and and his campaign colluded in Russian espionage to get into the White House and don’t understand why the “MSM” is so willing to accept that he won legitimately. Let #Mueller or a totally independent, bipartisan commission decide that.
Why am I and others so suspicious of Trump’s Russian connections? 1) there are an INCREDIBLE number of ties and links (to use Trump lingo) so many that a Buddhist might call it “auspicious” (but that exalted term is reserved for “good karma” not dirty tricks. ) 2) follow the money. Financial trails are quite revealing. In this case, after the Donald had stiffed all the U.S. banks (call that “bad karma”), he found friendlier funding sources through Deutsche Bank, Chinese and Russian banks and maybe some in Cypress.
And, it’s impossible to search Trump topics without encountering nefarious web sites. Russian and Ukranian hackers and bots have created so many #FakeNews sites, that unless you are a savvy web user, you can easily get sucked into scam sites and stories. I’ve noticed that if I click on some of these dubious links I get virus warnings (from my non-Russian security software) and often my VOIP (internet-based) phone rings! This happens on my desktop PC. I don’t know what the karmic consequences are of following such links on a phone or tablet. I try not to.
Bottom line: the difference between real news and #FakeNews is not what Donald Trump thinks; it’s actual, factual information on established news sites not made-up stories created by hackers. When reporters or journalists use the term “sourced” part of the sourcing is knowing who you are speaking to (okay, “to whom”– Trumpism is wearing down my standards.)
I could go on and on, but let me close where we began, with karma. When asked about the Chinese military torturing and killing Tibetan monks, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has commented: “No I don’t hate Chinese people for the terrible human rights violations their government engages in. But, I do feel compassion for the future suffering they are creating for themselves.” That answer, my friends, is good karma.