←  Political Discussion

Talk Radio Sucks -- Smart Politics


The Trump / Republican / Russian War on Fa...

golden_valley's Photo golden_valley 13 February 2018 - 07:15 PM

Well one thing you can do, Congressman King, is to keep talking about what Coates and others have testified to so that at least some people are exposed to the truth of what is happening. It won't change the mind of the folks in Maine who have already rejected it, but there must be a few people in Maine who will understand. It's a form of inoculation...try to head off the virus so people question what they hear and offer resources (your office) to tell the truth.

LFC's Photo LFC 14 February 2018 - 08:04 AM

More on just how completely unprepared we are for the coming Russian cyberattack on our elections. Funny how the part of law and order has control of the White House and Congress and yet can't seem to move on this issue. Again, it's "almost" like they aren't even trying.


With the first primaries of the 2018 elections less than a month away, you might expect federal officials to be wrapping up efforts to safeguard the vote against expected Russian interference.

You’d be wrong.

Federal efforts to help states button down elections systems have crawled, hamstrung in part by wariness of federal meddling. Just 14 states and three local election agencies have so far asked for detailed vulnerability assessments offered by the Department of Homeland Security — and only five of the two-week examinations are complete.

Illinois, for instance —one of two states where voter registration databases were breached in 2016 — requested an assessment in January and is still waiting. Primary voters go to the polls there March 20; state officials can’t say whether the assessment will happen beforehand. DHS says the assessments should be finished by mid-April.

Meantime, fewer than half of the estimated 50 senior state elections officials who requested federal security clearances have received them, DHS says. That can hinder information sharing designed to help states deal with election disruptions.

And Congress is still sitting on three bipartisan bills that address election integrity issues, including funding to upgrade antiquated equipment.

Overall, experts say far too little has been done to shore up a vulnerable mishmash of 10,000 U.S. voting jurisdictions that mostly run on obsolete and imperfectly secured technology. Russian agents targeted election systems in 21 states ahead of the 2016 general election, DHS says, and separately launched a social media blitz aimed at inflaming social tensions and sowing confusion.

The CIA director and two other top U.S. intelligence officials told the Senate Tuesday they’ve seen indications Russian agents are preparing a new round of election subterfuge. The secretary of state has said the same. Texas will hold the first primary of 2018 on March 6; Illinois follows two weeks later.

That makes local election officials “the front lines of the information age,” said Eric Rosenbach, co-director of Harvard’s Belfer Center and a former Defense Department chief of staff in the Obama administration. “After what the Russians did, every other bad guy is going to come after our democracy now.”

Progressive whisperer's Photo Progressive whisperer 14 February 2018 - 08:18 AM

Only THEIR law, or law that favors them.

LFC's Photo LFC 14 February 2018 - 08:40 AM

Republicans are spreading fake news through masked "news" sites.


Last month, a site called the Maine Examiner reported that Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, was the state’s only member of Congress to vote to shut down the government. The site illustrated its story with a picture of Pingree next to Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), though Lewis wasn’t mentioned in the story.

Two weeks ago, another site, the California Republican, shared an article promising to explain “the process behind #ReleaseTheMemo,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) push to release a document that he has said shows anti-Trump bias at the FBI.

Both sites look like news outlets. But neither have staff writers, editorial guidelines, or physical offices. Instead, the Maine Examiner appears to be linked to the state’s Republican Party. And the California Republican is a project of Nunes’ reelection campaign.

The sites certainly aren’t the first political mouthpieces to disguise themselves as journalism. Mike Pence planned to create a state-run news service during his tenure as Indiana governor, before pulling the plug in the face of fierce criticism. The Republican Governors Association set up a partisan news site last summer that didn’t disclose who was behind it until reporters made inquiries.

Nor are the sites likely generating huge traffic, based on their social media numbers.

But for the political interests behind them, the sites represent a useful way to spread their message to supporters while falsely conveying the authority of independent journalism. Such fake “news” is particularly troubling at a time when online content can spread virally without consumers knowing who’s behind it, and the 2016 election saw hundreds of thousands of Americans were unwittingly duped by news articles, ads and social media posts produced by Russian “troll farms” and Macedonian teenagers.

“There’s a general lack of transparency here,” Brendan Fischer of the Campaign Legal Center told TPM. “When you have these ongoing accusations of fake news and attacks on the legitimate news media, and then partisan candidates creating what are actually fake news sites to help muddy the waters and push their message, it helps weaken trust in journalism and the media as an institution.”

The California Republican briefly went offline after Politico reported on it on Sunday. The site said that was due to “heavy traffic and an attack on our servers.” It was back up as of Tuesday.

Nunes’ campaign and congressional office did not immediately respond to TPM’s requests for comment.

The Maine Republican Party has staunchly denied any involvement in the Maine site, but according to a local news report, metadata indicates that a username linked to the group’s executive director, Jason Savage, registered the site’s web hosting account and downloaded the design template.

Neither Savage nor Maine GOP communications director Garrett Murch responded to TPM’s request for comment.

The Maine Democratic Party last month filed a complaint with the state ethics commission requesting an investigation into the GOP’s ties to the site and whether campaign finance laws were violated. The commission confirmed to TPM that the complaint will be reviewed at a meeting next week.

Both the Nunes campaign and the Maine site appear designed to mimic the conventions of legitimate news sites. They feature a mix of local and national news articles largely excerpted from other mostly conservative publications and framed with a conservative slant, as well as sports and human interest stories unrelated to politics. (The Nunes site promises “the best of US, California, and Central Valley news, sports, and analysis.”) On Facebook, they’re catalogued as “media/news” companies.

And neither site gives much indication to a casual news reader that they’re political propaganda. The California Republican has no “About” page explaining its purpose. At the very bottom of each page, in seven-point type, appears the line: “Paid for by the Devin Nunes campaign committee.” The Maine Examiner offers even less information, telling readers on an About page that it’s the work of a “small group of Mainers.”

The Republican Governors Association’s site set up last year, the Free Telegraph, still doesn’t include a disclosure on its social media feeds.

D. C. Sessions's Photo D. C. Sessions 14 February 2018 - 09:01 AM

View PostLFC, on 14 February 2018 - 08:40 AM, said:

Last month, a site called the Maine Examiner reported that Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, was the state’s only member of Congress to vote to shut down the government. The site illustrated its story with a picture of Pingree next to Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), though Lewis wasn’t mentioned in the story.

Key take away: Pingree standing next to a nggr.

andydp's Photo andydp 14 February 2018 - 09:21 AM

View PostLFC, on 14 February 2018 - 08:40 AM, said:

Republicans are spreading fake news through masked "news" sites.

Link to story Please ?

LFC's Photo LFC 15 February 2018 - 10:49 AM

View Postandydp, on 14 February 2018 - 09:21 AM, said:

Link to story Please ?


And here's Politico's story on Nunes's fake news site.


LFC's Photo LFC 19 February 2018 - 12:59 PM

Adam Schiff (D-CA) goes directly after Trump and his continued protection of Russia.


Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, criticized the Trump administration’s response to Russia’s election meddling on Sunday in light of special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment targeting Russians over the interference.

Schiff, who frequently draws the ire of President Donald Trump, also reiterated his dissatisfaction with the Obama administration’s initial response to the influence campaign, which according to Mueller’s indictment began in 2014.

But Schiff said Trump shouldn’t direct his anger at his predecessor as his own administration has yet to implement new sanctions against Russia that Congress approved last year.

“None of that is an excuse for this president to sit on his hands,” Schiff said on CNN’s State of the Union. “It is inexplicable that the president of the United States continues to sit on sanctions that Congress passed, that Congress wants enforced against Russia over this interference.”

Meanwhile an op-ed at TDB makes the case that Trump isn't just avoiding the topic of Russian interference, he's welcoming it.


For at least two years, Americans have tried to make sense of Donald Trump’s affinity for Vladimir Putin and refusal to fully acknowledge and counter Moscow’s ongoing attacks on our democracy. We’ve heard the excuse that Trump simply views the Kremlin interference story as a partisan effort to delegitimize his election.

But Friday’s indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the president’s response to it, point to a more troubling and increasingly likely motivation: President Trump does not want to stop Kremlin interference intended to sway our elections in his favor. Rather, he welcomes it.

The Special Counsel’s revelations provided a detailed description of part of the modern information warfare Russia has waged against our country since at least 2014. It was a highly-coordinated assault, employing foreign agents on U.S. soil as well as Moscow-based internet operatives.

And yet, in response to this news, the president still couldn’t muster a forceful rebuke of Putin’s regime. Nor would he vow to hold it accountable and deter future attacks. On the contrary, he tried to spin the entire ordeal as an exoneration.

This is either willful ignorance or, more likely, disloyal opportunism. That’s because, whether he admits it or not, the president must know that the story he publicly calls a “hoax” is real. We have detailed evidence of Moscow’s subversion of our democracy. But it seems unlikely that the president will change his tune and take action to counter it.

“I can’t say I’ve been specifically directed to blunt or actually stop” Russian influence operations, NSA Director Mike Rogers shockingly revealed to the Senate Intelligence Committee this week. Rogers and the nation’s other top intelligence chiefs were on the Hill to provide their annual Worldwide Threats Assessment.

On this threat, the intel chiefs unanimously agreed: Russian information warfare against us continues unabated and the Kremlin will actively work to influence our upcoming elections. Trump’s own Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats even warned, “We need to inform the American public that this is real. We are not going to allow some Russian to tell us how we’re going to vote. There needs to be a national cry for that.”

Rather than echo this cry from our intelligence community, the president is actively obstructing efforts to stop the attacks.

According to Coats, the intelligence chiefs “essentially are relying on the investigations that are underway,” which is to say that they are collecting intelligence on the threat, but they have not been directed by the president to stop it. There’s a critical difference between the two.

Traitor Trump. Or perhaps Benedict Donald?

Posted Image

LFC's Photo LFC 19 February 2018 - 01:00 PM

Somebody who claims to have worked in Putin's troll factory says that 13 indictments are laughably low. My guess is that Mueller is just getting started.


When Lyudmila Savchuk read the U.S. federal grand jury indictment of 13 Russians accused of interfering in the the 2016 U.S. elections and other crimes, including bank fraud and identity theft, she was disappointed. All of those named by special counsel Robert Mueller were connected to the Internet Research Agency, also known by its infamous sobriquet the Troll Factory. Savchuk used to work there, and Mueller’s list, she said, should include hundreds of people.

“I am super excited to see the indictment, but for now 13 trolls sounds like a joke,” Savchuk told The Daily Beast on Sunday, after she read and studied the 37-page document.

Since 2015 Savchuk and her Internet World team of 15 anti-trolling experts have been running their own investigation of the Factory’s methods. They’ve looked at the way it hired “bot drivers” to create slanted or completely fictitious posts that automated networks could spread like wildfire across social media, and they’ve studied the campaigns and projects of the Troll Factory on both social networks and pro-Kremlin media.

So, they had a pretty good idea from the moment they read about the indictments and saw initial reactions what the Kremlin’s line would be: as Savchuk put it, “To laugh and mock the U.S. investigation.”

Progressive whisperer's Photo Progressive whisperer 19 February 2018 - 03:00 PM

View PostLFC, on 19 February 2018 - 12:59 PM, said:

Traitor Trump. Or perhaps Benedict Donald?

Hey now, Benedict Arnold arguably won the Battle of Saratoga for the Continentals; so he did far more for America than Manhattan Mugabe will ever do (well, except by dying).

LFC's Photo LFC 20 February 2018 - 05:42 PM

Suckabee doesn't lie nearly as effortlessly as Conway. She's got nothing to work with but can't deflect without looking like a complete stooge.


White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders clashed with ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl on Tuesday.

“The president hasn’t said that Russia didn’t meddle. What he’s saying is it didn’t have an impact, and it certainly wasn’t with help from the Trump campaign. It’s very clear that Russia meddled in the election,” Sanders said during a press briefing.

But Karl asked Sanders if President Donald Trump really thought — as he tweeted over the weekend — that the FBI failed to stop a school shooting in Florida because it was preoccupied with investigation the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 election.

Sanders insisted that was not what Trump thought.

“Did he mistweet?” Karl shot back. “He said this is not acceptable. they’re spending too much time to prove Russian collusion.”

“I think he’s making the point that we would like our FBI agencies to not be focused on something that is clearly a hoax in terms of investigating the Trump campaign and its involvement,” Sanders said.

“You just agreed that the evidence is that there the Russians interfered,” Karl said.

“I said that the Trump campaign interfered and colluded with it,” Sanders said.

“But the investigation is obviously about what Russia did and raises the question now that you’ve said the president agrees, the national security adviser says the evidence is incontrovertible, what is the president going to about it?” Karl asked.

Sanders insisted the Trump administration had “spent a lot of time” on cyber security and said Russia was not fond of the president’s defense budget.

Sanders later claimed Trump “has been tougher on Russia than Obama was in eight years combined.”

pnwguy's Photo pnwguy 20 February 2018 - 07:15 PM

View PostLFC, on 20 February 2018 - 05:42 PM, said:

Sanders later claimed Trump “has been tougher on Russia than Obama was in eight years combined.”
And the grinch got the strength of 10 grinches, plus 2.

(8 years of Obama) < (1 year of MAGA Trump). My how incredible the dear leader is, at vanquishing America's foes.

LFC's Photo LFC 21 February 2018 - 04:44 PM

Tomasky lays out the reason for Russian meddling even before Trump was in the running; Putin feared Hillary Clinton as President.


By far the lamest response to last week’s indictments by Robert Mueller was Trump’s tweet over the weekend in which he wrote: “Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong—no collusion!”

First of all, it’s a complete non-sequitur. Sentence C has nothing to do with sentence B which has nothing to do with sentence A. Second, he seems to be admitting here that Russia was meddling in our presidential campaign, which he had long denied. He couldn’t quite bring himself to type “meddling,” but he sure implied it.

But most telling of all is this. What does he think it proves that Russia started meddling in our elections before he was an officially declared candidate? (He’d been flirting with a run since the Reagan administration.) One supposes he thinks it means that since the meddling sorta predates him, it can’t have been about him. In a way, he’s right. All this Russia stuff happened in the first place not because Vladimir Putin loved Donald Trump, but because he hated Hillary Clinton. It’s an extremely important point to remember, because only when we remember this do we see how surreal this whole episode is and recognize the gravity of the danger we face.

It’s late 2013. You’re the world’s leading reactionary cultural ethno-nationalist. After having been out of power (at least officially) for four years, you became president again a little more than a year prior. You rigged the elections of the previous two years to make sure you’d win, and you did.You’re back in the saddle for as long as you want to be, and now you’re playing for keeps.

You crack down on the homosexuals, throw the book at Pussy Riot (who were arrested, interestingly, the night before the election you won). Those are your appetizers. Then come the main courses—you roll into Ukraine and Crimea. The United States and the EU start placing sanctions on you. Your economy tanks, the price of oil drops, the ruble collapses. Who you gonna blame? Well, it’s the United States that led the sanctions push more than anyone else, banning transactions with Rozneft, Gazprombank, and other big Russian entities. You blame Barack Obama.

Then you start thinking Obama’s on his way out. Who’s going to succeed him? You can read American papers just as well as anyone, and in mid-to-late 2014, the American papers are saying unanimously, whether approvingly or not, that the next president of the United States is almost certain to be Hillary Clinton.

You especially hate her, more than you hate maybe anyone (Michael Crowley and Julia Ioffe did a great job in this 2016 Politico article explaining why). She harshly criticized the 2011 parliamentary elections as rigged. She compared your annexation of Crimea to “what Hitler did back in the 1930s.” She promoted social media networks as vehicles for democracy promotion against dictators.

In other words, she supports everything you oppose and opposes everything you support. She must be stopped—or at the very least, bloodied.

So that, I am certain Mueller will tell us when he issues his report, is how and why the Russian meddling started. It was to damage Clinton. And it wasn’t merely personal. It was also ideological. Her victory—the ascension to the presidency of the United States of a liberal woman who backed democracy and women’s rights and girls’ rights and gay rights and the rights of ethnic minorities and a free press—would have constituted a victory for everything a reactionary cultural ethno-nationalist despises. And on top of all that, she’s a liberal woman who backed all those things and wasn’t afraid of Putin. She was his worst nightmare.

Putin succeeded beyond his wildest wet dreams.


So Trump, as I said, is right, to a point. Putin wanted to kneecap Clinton. At first. But then—lo and behold: The world’s leading reactionary cultural ethno-nationalist could scarcely believe his good luck, because the world’s second-leading reactionary cultural ethno-nationalist entered the Republican primary. And look—he was winning! Could this possibly be happening, Putin had to think to himself? I don’t know, but we’d better go all in here. Imagine having a racist, xenophobic, rights-trampling, free-press-hating partner in of all places America!

Putin never could have dreamed that in his plot to challenge global liberal democracy and spread authoritarianism, he would have an ally in the president of the United States of America—the country that has for 70 years, in ways both good and admittedly quite bad or hypocritical, been the front-line defender and champion of global liberal democracy. Talk about boring from within! You don’t get any deeper inside the belly of the liberal democratic beast than the Oval Office!

nuser's Photo nuser 21 February 2018 - 05:22 PM

Hillary made a serious mistake so did many others-Willard Romney destroyed all of his emails plus hard drive!
IMH they really are not Presidental material, but then who is.

Traveler's Photo Traveler 22 February 2018 - 08:32 AM

nuser, certainly agree to a point. Hillary's biggest mistake was how she handled her mistake. Among many others. But that was the worst one. We all talked about it here back in April 2015.

LFC's Photo LFC 26 February 2018 - 04:32 PM

Congressional Democrats are trying to push the Russia sanctions forward. If nothing else it makes for great campaign ads. "Did you know that your Republican Congressman has been actively protecting Russia from the sanctions they supposedly voted for but won't fight for? Why have they and Donald Trump (gotta' keep them bolted as tightly as possible to Trump) decided to see our country out to Vladimir Putin?"


House and Senate Democrats are teaming up in an attempt to increase pressure on the Trump administration in the coming days over its controversial decision to not immediately implement sanctions against Russia last month, as mandated under legislation that Congress passed overwhelmingly.

This week, House Democrats are filing a resolution aimed at compelling the administration to implement those sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). A copy of the resolution was obtained by The Daily Beast.

“Congress passed a pretty comprehensive sanctions bill with respect to Iran, North Korea, and Russia last year—and the president has not implemented any of those sanctions. So we need to put our foot to the gas pedal,” Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA), who is introducing the House resolution, said in an interview. “If the president’s not going to do it, then Congress needs to.”

The resolution names Russia’s “continued aggression in Ukraine and forcible and illegal annexation of Crimea and assault on democratic institutions around the world, including through cyberattacks.” It mirrors a Senate resolution introduced this month by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The House and Senate efforts are largely symbolic, lawmakers acknowledge. And they’re unlikely to force real action absent Republican support. But Democrats are hoping that the effort will keep the spotlight on the sanctions as Moscow continues to destabilize Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and as Trump and his associates remain under investigation by the special counsel.

LFC's Photo LFC 02 March 2018 - 01:52 PM

Secret documents on Russia's troll farm used to target Americans Republicans and Trumpians with fake news have been leaked. Details of the leak here and of how the troll farm used several services like Reddit here. Meanwhile Trump continues to protect Russia from sanctions.


The Kremlin-backed troll farm at the center of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election has quietly suffered a catastrophic security breach, The Daily Beast has confirmed, in a leak that spilled new details of its operations onto obscure corners of the internet.

The Russian “information exchange” Joker.Buzz, which auctions off often stolen or confidential information, advertised a leak for a large cache of the Internet Research Agency’s (IRA) internal documents. It includes names of Americans, activists in particular, whom the organization specifically targeted; American-based proxies used to access Reddit and the viral meme site 9Gag; and login information for troll farm accounts.

Even the advertisement for the document dump provides a trove of previously unknown information about the breadth of Russia’s disinformation effort in the United States, including rallies pushed by IRA social media accounts that turned violent.

While special counsel Robert Mueller’s recent conspiracy indictment against the IRA showed a sophisticated organization aimed at targeting U.S. voters with disinformation, the seller appears not to have understood the implications of the auction.

The listing was titled “Savushkina 55,” the physical address in St. Petersburg from which the troll farm used to operate. The date on the auction is listed as Feb. 10, 2017—seven months before Facebook and Twitter identified and pulled down Internet Research Agency accounts from Twitter. It received no bids. The seller, “AlexDA,” has not posted any other listings, and was unable to be reached. In Russian, the listing promised “working data from the department focused on the United States.”

While the date of the auction could not be independently confirmed, the authenticity of the leak can. The leaked documents list screen names connected to a number of American citizens who were used as unwitting proxies by the Russians. The Daily Beast was able to track down four of those citizens, whose names have not been previously revealed. The leak contains precise dates in 2016 in which the IRA-created account Blacktivist reached out to those U.S. citizens, plus a short description of the conversations. The Daily Beast spoke to those citizens, and confirmed they interacted with the Blacktivist account in the ways described by the IRA in the document. In one case, the American even provided screenshots of his interactions with the Russian troll trying to dupe him.

In short, the leaked document contains details of the Russian disinformation campaign that have not been previously made public—details which The Daily Beast was able to confirm.

JackD's Photo JackD 02 March 2018 - 02:03 PM

"Meanwhile Trump continues to protect Russia from sanctions." Just another item of evidence for the Special Prosecutor.

LFC's Photo LFC 05 March 2018 - 11:35 AM

Mitch McConnell, American traitor.


Former President Barack Obama’s last White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, said Sunday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) insisted in 2016 that a bipartisan statement on Russian election meddling — released fewer than two months before the election — be “watered down.”

“The President asked the four leaders in a bipartisan meeting in the Oval Office to join him in asking the states to work with us on this question,” McDonough told NBC’s Chuck Todd, referring to a late September 2016 letter from the majority and minority leaders in both chambers to the National Association of State Election Directors.

“It took over three weeks to get that statement worked out,” McDonough continued. “It was dramatically watered down. You can ask Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi–”

“And it was watered down on the insistence of Mitch McConnell?” Todd interjected.

“Yes,” McDonough replied.

“And nobody else?” Todd asked.

“Yes,” McDonough confirmed.

The Obama chief of staff said he didn’t know why McConnell had insisted on watering down the letter.

golden_valley's Photo golden_valley 05 March 2018 - 01:38 PM

Throw this on the pile of inaction. Maybe some of Barron Trump's computer literate friends are working on this for free.


...the State Department has yet to spend any of the $120 million it has been allocated since late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in elections or sow distrust in democracy.