Stuff to Read

More about those pesky Russians —

Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options (Washington Post)

After you’ve read that, check out this:

Kremlin Troll ‘Alice Donovan’ Reportedly Writing News As Recently As October (Talking Points Memo)

Regarding the word of Kremlin Troll Alicce Donovan, from the TPM article:

Perhaps predictably, some of the sites that published Donovan’s work have reacted largely with shrugs in much the same way that right-wing organizations felt too much was made of pro-cop memes, anti-Hillary jokes, and anti-immigrant sentiment. The origin of the articles was unimportant, suggested both Veterans Today editor Gordon Duff and Counterpunch editors Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank. “I don’t edit what people do. If it’s original, I’ll publish it,” Duff told the Post. “I don’t decide what’s real and not real.” Today Duff wrote his own conspiracy-filled piece about the Post story, primarily to criticize Counterpunch, at Veterans Today.

There are news sites and there are junk news sites; know the difference. IMO Counterpunch used to be better than it is now, though.

Counterpunch took a more philosophical tack: “So why did we run five pieces by Alice Donovan?” asked St. Clair and Frank. “First, because they were interesting and timely. The short pieces on Syria, in particular, came at a moment when Trump was engaged in his first big military action and we were eager, perhaps too eager, to publish as many different perspectives as possible on his new, more aggressive policy.”

Another site, We Are Change, didn’t respond to the accusations at all, though it did remove Donovan’s work from its public web presence.

See also, Russia Wants Americans to Doubt Mueller, Experts Warn (Newsweek)

16 thoughts on “Stuff to Read

  1. "Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia.  Why is everyone so interested in Russia all of a sudden?" is the whining complaint heard from conservatives since the last election.

    Now, they're not just whining anymore.  They are openly denigrating Mueller for investigating t-RUMPLE-THIN-sKKKin, his family, and the band of sycophantic sociopaths he had in his campaign and early in his (mal)administration.  And they're also loudly casting aspersions on ALL members of the FBI.

    One dumbass Republican House member even called for a "purge" of the FBI, focusing on all higher-level people who didn't support the owner of the ass he kisses and licks – tRUMP.

    A purge?  Really?  Hve you ever read any history, Congressdope?

    Let me ask conservatives a question:

    Would you be pulling-out all stops to call for this investigation to be stopped if you thought tRUMP was innocent?

    If you thought he was innocent, shouldn't you welcome an investigation?

    So, the fact that you want the investigation stopped, pretty much proves that you suspect he's guilty.

    Guilty.  Guilty of either inviting, or welcoming, or ignoring, Russian intervention in the 2016 election.

    The more you keep yapping, tRUMP supporting conservatives, the more people you're convincing of tRUMP's guilt!

    And if the "Ghost's of Republicans Past" could appear, they'd haunt your every hour – sleeping and waking –  for ignoring the threats from the one place on Earth they thought was was most threatening.

    And here you are on the cusp of 2018, helping Russia undermine democracy in America, and all over the world.  

    If you love Totalitarianism (and Plutocracy) so much, why don't you move to Russia?

    Putin also love ass-kissing/licking sycophantic sociopaths.  Just don't miss a spot!  I'm sure they still have GULag's – they just call them something else.

  2. Whenever someone on FB wants to "friend" me, I go to their page. Being a conservative doesn't disqualify anyone, but if they display racist or homophobic messages, I pass. If there is nothing – no picture, no personal posts, no "about" information, I pass.

    Why is that hard for social media? Prove that you are a real person as a criteria for setting up a FB or Twitter account. Whatever ID 'proves' you are you should be checked any time a second account is set up. Duplicate names can't disqualify, or duplicate addresses, but 500 people with the same name and same address should be an issue. A random sample of drivers licenses should be compared to public DMV records. If you are not a US resident, the posting practices should come under closer scrutiny. Setting up groups should require some validation and the practices of groups in recruiting and messaging can be monitored. It's a free forum – they can watch what's going on. 

    Publishers should adopt as SOP a background check of writers and publishers should insist on full disclosure. Deception about who you are or who is backing you should cause your name to be blacklisted. Being on the list shouldn't cause an automatic ban, but unless a publisher can explain why they deemed a writer credible, they should lose credibility for using them.

    Would these methods be absolute? Of course not – but they'd make the process of creating a million followers for Trump impossible. Flooding the FCC with phony letters in opposition to net neutrality would be impossible. This doesn't undermine privacy, but it will threaten anonymity. Frankly, I think it's a good trade-off.


  3. Saul Rosenberg wrote a contributing op-ed about similar net media ilk in the NYT today, in a piece entitled Confessions of a Digital Nazi Hunter.  He claims that Twitter blocked his efforts which identified and combated impersonators, who used fraudulent identities to spread what is essentially hate speech.  

    At least lately, some of the tactics and techniques are becoming obvious as are the dissemination sites.  Someone wrote a suggestion that we rename what is now routinely called the mainstream media as truth based media. I could kind of go for that.  As a correspondent to CNN said on a late night show, the truth has only one side.  My view is that the truth is an ideal and an excellent one.  Those who misinform and use misinformation to do harm, are not to be coddled.  Gulag is right.  Discrediting investigative authority is what people do when they fear the truth and are looking for cover. The truth would mean they had been conned and manipulated, and who would want that.  My guess this won't be their first or last reality slap-down rodeo, though.

    • Regarding Counterpunch, IMO it was better back when Alexander Cockburn was running it. Not that I always agreed with him, but I think he had some editorial standards. I used to link to it often back in the day. Now it’s a lot junkier, and I don’t think that because the Washington Post says so. That’s been my opinion for quite some time.

      Junk news sites, left or right, that indiscriminately publish material without making any effort to check facts are a pox on American political discourse. I realize the “big guns” of mainstream media get things wrong a lot, also. I’ve done actual news reporting, and it’s a lot harder than it looks. But it’s one thing to misstate something because you got bum information from your sources and another to not have sources at all, but just run stuff that sounds newsy and truthy. That’s the difference between news and clickbait.

  4. My other comment is in moderation, so I'll just post the titles of the links:

    "Go Ask Alice: the Curious Case of 'Alice Donovan'" from Counterpunch, and "The 'Washington Post' 'Blacklist' Story Is Shameful and Disgusting," which Matt Taibbi wrote for Rolling Stone a year ago.

    The main takeaway from the former is that Counterpunch is a small, poorly funded operation with two guys selecting 50 articles a month out of 75 submissions per day, and that the few articles they selected from this person were pretty unmemorable and not particularly Putinite, Trumpite or even anti-Hillary in orientation; in fact their only real problem is that the identity of the author is sort of mysterious, making the editors look bad, so they should try to be more careful about this in the future, and I'd guess they probably will.

    The point of the 2nd is that the Washington Post has a nasty history of smearing leftists. 



  5. freetofu – What are the facts which support your opinion? Do you have examples of previous FBI plants who have been unmasked? Is there a compelling motive for the FBI to deceive? Are you especially fond of other conspiracy theories?  Do you see a higher truth in Trump's fact-free narrative? 

    I'm very tolerant of opinions that differ from mine but throwing paranoid ideas out like bombs is verbal terrorism. A fact needs a citation and an opinion which undermines confidence in our institutions needs some foundation.

    I've had the FBI investigate me – my finances, my associations, my email, every FB post, and they never fabricated any facts to satisfy the prosecutor with the DOJ. (The prosecutor played fast and lose with the facts, but the FBI didn't distort anything.)

  6. Bernie & all –

       (most of) the MSM forfeited the claim to objective truth during the propaganda offensive which preceded the US invasion of Iraq, and they haven't earned it back yet.  US coverage of international relations is often suspect, particularly regarding actions in the Middle East. 

  7. Valid point, Elkern, which is why I go with the notion of truth as an ideal.  That con job cost Colin Powell his reputation and showed the country it's BS meters were way out of calibration.

    • At this point, to deny that Russia attempted to manipulate the election, continues to try to impact U.S. public opinion, and has undue influence on Trump, is right up there with denying the holocaust and the moon landing. We don’t know all of the details or whether anything they did last year actually flipped the election. But to say there’s no evidence the Russians were and are up to something that needs to be checked is beyond delusional.

  8. I mean I don't have any knowledge of this particular type of FBI plant offhand, but it's pretty well-known that they used to plant agents in radical groups back in the day. 

  9. Honestly Counterpunch kind of lost me when Cockburn started writing all that climate change denialism stuff.

    But, you know, an alternative, radical-left webzine isn't a peer-reviewed journal or the New York Times. If a writer is known, you can judge their writing based on authority. If she's a beginner, it wouldn't normally strike me as outrageous for this kind of publication to make a judgment call based on their reading of the content. This Russia stuff – much of which really is paranoia (a lot of Hillaryites accuse pretty much anybody who criticizes her of the sin of being Russian) – is the new reality, I guess, so they'll have to deal with it.

  10. fretofu "This Russia stuff – much of which really is paranoia …"

    Its hard for me to see any Trump ties to Russia except for the ……
    Flynn thing and 
    the Manafort thing
    and the Tillerson thing
    and the Sessions thing
    and the Kushner thing
    and the Wray thing
    and the Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius “Russian Law Firm of the Year” thing
    and the Carter Page thing
    and the Roger Stone thing
    and the 198 Million voter records thing
    and the Felix Sater thing
    and the Boris Ephsteyn thing
    and the Rosneft thing
    and the Gazprom thing
    and the Sergey Gorkov banker thing
    and the Azerbajain thing
    and the “I love Putin” thing
    and the Donald Trump, Jr. thing
    and the Lavrov thing
    and the Sergey Kislyak thing
    and the Oval Office thing
    and the Gingrich/Kislyak phone calls thing
    and the Russian Business Interests thing
    and the Emoluments Clause thing
    and the Alex Schnaider thing
    and the hack of the DNC thing
    and the Guccifer 2.0 thing
    and the Mike Pence “I don’t know anything” thing
    and the Russians mysteriously dying thing
    and Trump’s public request to Russia to hack Hillary’s email thing
    and the Trump house sale for $100 million at the bottom of the housing bust to the Russian fertilizer king thing
    and the Russian fertilizer king’s plane showing up in Concord, NC during Trump rally campaign thing
    and the Nunes sudden flight to the White House in the night thing
    and the Nunes personal investments in the Russian winery thing
    and the Cyprus bank thing
    and Trump not releasing his tax returns thing
    and the Republican Party’s rejection of an amendment to require Trump to show his taxes thing
    and the election hacking thing
    and the GOP platform change to the Ukraine thing
    and the Steele Dossier thing
    and the Sally Yates can’t testify thing
    and the intelligence community’s investigative reports thing
    and the Trump reassurance that the Russian connection is all “fake news” thing
    and the Chaffetz not willing to start an investigation thing
    and the Chaffetz suddenly deciding to go back to private life in the middle of an investigation thing
    and the appointment of Pam Bondi who was bribed by Trump in the Trump University scandal appointed to head the investigation thing
    and the The White House going into full-on cover-up mode, refusing to turn over the documents related to the hiring and subsequent firing of Flynn thing
    and the Chaffetz and White House blaming the poor vetting of Flynn on Obama thing
    and the Poland and British intelligence gave information regarding the hacking back in 2015 to Paul Ryan and he didn’t do anything thing
    and the Agent M16 following the money thing
    and the Trump team KNEW about Flynn’s involvement but hired him anyway thing
    and the let’s fire Comey thing
    and the Mueller let’s fire him too thing
    and the Election night Russian trademark gifts thing
    and the Russian diplomatic compound electronic equipment destruction thing
    and the let’s give back the diplomatic compounds back to the Russians thing
    and the let’s back away from Cuba thing
    and the donny Jr met with Russians thing 
    and the Trump allowing the deadline for signing the Russian sanctions bill pass
    SO yeah there’s probably nothing there!

    Credit to BrianCincinnati on Medium

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