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/
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.
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.
Our U.S. Senate just voted 52 to 46 (Friday, Feb 17) to put the final nail in the planet’s coffin. Approving Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency is truly tragic. This Republican dominated so-called Congress has really shown us who they are. TRAITORS. Yes, they’re ALL traitors and they should ALL be in jail! They have betrayed Americans and now our beautiful natural resources.
First, be proud of our Senate Democrats. They pulled several all-nighters to extend the debate time and allow the public to contact their representatives so we could oppose extreme bigots like Jeff Sessions (for Attorney General), the totally unqualified Betsy DeVoss who bought her way to Education Secretary, and the Dems testified again last night trying to stop Okie AG Scott Pruitt. Pruitt’s claim to fame has been challenging EPA rules that protect human health and the environment. As my own wonderful New Mexico Senator (D) Tom Udall says, “Pruitt is all about special interest, not the public interest.” Amen. With thousands of pages of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) material about to be released showing Pruitt’s links to fracking and oil money, we’re about to learn a LOT more about Scott Pruitt.
But, the self-serving Republicans couldn’t be bothered with facts. They’ve just been ramming through all of Trump’s appointees as fast as they can since they have the votes. They wanted NO public comment time, and the creepiest creep Senate Leader McConnell actually had the Senate switchboard disabled (using fax signal rather than phone) so we couldn’t call Congress today.
Seriously, after we almost broke the phone system with opposition calls to Jeff Sessions and DeVoss, Mitch disabled it.
Yes, the same smashed-mouth Mitch who shut down Senator Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor as she tried to read Coretta Scott King’s (MLK’s widow) letter into the record during Jeff Sessions’ hearing earlier this month. McConnell cited some antiquated, obscure rule to silence Warren. She was told to “sit down.” In my long career of watching and covering news, and now tweeting about it, I cannot recall a male Senator being censured or told to sit down. SC (R) Lindsey Graham said, “She had it coming.” VERY sexist.
Today (after the Pruitt vote) weird Mitch had the audacity to stand on the Senate floor and attempt to make fun of progressives, calling us “knee-jerk liberals.” I say attempt, because creepy goofball Mitch doesn’t even know his name-calling facts. Knee-jerk refers to “unthinking emotional reaction”, but sadly that’s the Republicans, not us. We’re the “elitist, fact-obsessed, media” remember? We actually know stuff.
There are no more real Republicans, as I used to credit them. Trumpism has taken over the entire GOP, and it’s far from a grand old party these days!
Now if you stuck around here’s your reward. Bonus material. The REAL scoop. Trump actually is doing what he said he would. The real shock is that the ignorant Republicans (all of them combined) can’t outsmart him. He told you he negotiates. So, the first name he tosses out is the most abhorrent– an actual joker. If you’re gullible enough to settle for the first offer (like Sessions, Mitch’s wife or Rick Perry) then score one for the deplorable Trumpers. They’re laughing their asses off. (NOTE: Not all Trump supporters are deplorable, but card-carrying deplorables are Trumper twits.) In Jeff Sessions, we have the most bigoted, throwback imaginable in charge of the Justice Department. Funny, huh? You’ve got a hedge fund guy who scammed the system (and a lot of home owners) in charge of the U.S. Treasury. Hilarious, right? A homophobic, pro-lifer running our medical system (BTW, he also pulled scams with medical stocks) and Big Oil (literally the CEO of the world’s largest oil company, Exxon, who has pending deals in Russia) running our foreign affairs. WHY?
Don’t blame Trump, blame Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. These Traitors, along with Lindsey Graham, and other former “Real Republicans” have a scheme that’s backfiring. They thought they could use Trump to ram through their key legislation, like repealing “Obama Care” (the Affordable Care Act) and screw poor people in other ways by messing with entitlement programs, BUT #FAKE45 is having the last laugh. (Click and read the image above.) What they’ve really done is stick America with a truly deplorable cast of characters. (Notice that when unions and the old organized labor networks pulled together, they were able to dump Puzder for Labor Secretary.) Trump negotiated in return offering up the more reasonable (and Hispanic) Alexander Acosta. Did Mitch or Lyin’ Ryan try to negotiate? Nope, too stoooopid. The original wheeling and dealing (before Repubs totally sold out) had to do with the Supreme Court pick, but that’s a longer story.
BOTTOM LINE: When Trump is inevitably impeached for all his lying, Constitutional violations, con jobs and bufoonery, we’ll be stuck with VP Pence and people totally incapable of running the departments they head. Oh, and Trump will have still made a killing with the deals and contacts he’s cultivating. The country will be bankrupt by then, real people will have suffered (and died) and our democracy left damaged by #RussianCollusion (aka Treason.) PLUS we’ve just spent somewhere between 10 and 25 MILLION in less than a month for extra security (travel and intel costs) for Trump’s weekend jaunts to Mar-a-lago and to keep the First Lady holed up at Trump Tower. Wait til we see the other bills racked up by Bannon, the Flynn fling, and all the fam hanging out at the White House.
As political tensions continue to escalate in these final hours leading up to the scheduled Trump “inauguration”, I felt compelled to clarify why Representative John Lewis, and MANY others, say he’s not a legitimate president. As I worked through the following five issues, I’m now convinced it’s much more than a discussion about boycotting the inauguration– the event must be cancelled or at least delayed until we get resolution on the following issues, especially Treason:
1) TREASON (collusion with Russia) during the US election process (elaboration below)
2) Lying and “dirty tricks” by Trump during the election process
3) Constitutional Violation (s)
4) Failure of the Electoral College
5) Failure of the FBI (disparate treatment of the candidates)
Russian Influence is becoming more and more apparent and it extends far beyond the cyber “hacking” and leaks that have been discussed. I’m not talking about Trump’s alleged kinky sexual preferences which got a lot of play on social media when the secret MI6 dossier was revealed. The real issue is collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. It’s fact that Trump’s appointees and former employees were in Russia during the campaign. What were they doing? They give all kinds of excuses, but investigations are pending and until that issue is resolved, TREASON is on the table. At the very least, there’s the Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 18 U.S.C. § 953) and espionage to consider.
How can someone involved in foreign collusion take our most sacred oath? Trump was not elected “fair and square” with such issues unresolved. At least postpone the inauguration until we have answers. Once Trump has the Ultimate power, who can contain or control him? He could launch nukes and/or take unfathomable Executive Actions putting us all at risk. This is not a joke. It’s essential to pause and fully investigate these matters. So much so, that the other issues and accusations pale in comparison. However, if he’s exonerated from the Russian problems, the other four still matter. I’ll come back to Treason and its penalty at the end.
There are entire databases devoted to tracking the daily, hourly and sometimes moment-by-moment LIES tweeted and repeated by Trump. He cannot open his mouth without more lies pouring out. During the recent press conference, I lost count. While it may not be illegal to lie (which seems ridiculous), it certainly destroys the moral authority of a leader. Dirty tricks resulted in the eventual impeachment of Richard Nixon. Again, we don’t know where the investigations into Russian influence will lead, but DNC information was compromised. That was enough to take down Nixon.
Conflicts of interest that violate the US Constitution: Trump did nothing to resolve his issue with the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution at his delayed press conference (01.11.2017) Even though his attorney claimed he’s not in violation, that is in dispute by several ethics attorneys including Republican attorney Richard Painter who advised President Bush (43) on ethics, Norman Eisen, a former US Ambassador and ethics attorney with long career as a government watchdog (investigated Enron), Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig and many others. Those three are on record saying Trump will be in violation the moment he takes the Oath.
Our antiquated Electoral College had one important job to do this past election cycle. That was to serve as the final “fail-safe” to over-ride the election of someone “not endowed with the requisite qualifications.” They failed. The EC had the authority to prevent this exact situation– to stop an unqualified demagogue like Donald Trump. Their “faithless” rubber stamp vote proves the EC must be eliminated. Over 73 MILLION Americans actively voted against Trump– 10 MILLION more than voted for him. 65.8 million for Hillary Clinton, and another 7.8 million voted for the Libertarian ticket, other third party or write-in candidates. Trump received less than 63 million votes.
We now know that FBI Director James Comey was investigating both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the election cycle. In what appears to be partisan pressure, Comey “reopened” the Clinton investigation (into the never-ending email issue), discussed it publicly, and then closed the case again in the final days of the election process. He still refuses, however, to confirm the Trump investigation. This is why we need a special select Congressional Committee to investigate Russian collusion and possible treason… IMMEDIATELY!
During the drafting of the Constitution treason was punishable not only by death, but by an exceptionally cruel method of execution designed to enhance the suffering of the traitor. As described in colonial documents:
“ the traitor is hanged by the neck, then cut down alive, that his entrails are then taken out, and burned, while he is yet alive,” and “that his head is cut off, and that his body is then divided into four parts.”
Our Framers intended to limit a traitor’s death for alleged subversion to instances of “levying war against the United States, or adhering to enemies of the United States.” It layman’s terms, the latter means assisting a foreign enemy (according to several attorneys.) It certainly appears Trump’s campaign did that.
So, instead of a big gaudy celebration in a few days, maybe we’ll have a different sort of spectacle. As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow says, “Watch this space.”