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Thread: 2018 American Political Scene

  1. #1966
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    so i trust we all remember the lively little debate around here about whether the Russians were deliberately trying to get Trump elected vs "merely" just trying to screw with the US election.

    US Senate Intelligence Committee Report:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/techn...s-scale-sweep/

    A report prepared for the Senate that provides the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia’s disinformation campaign around the 2016 election found the operation used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Trump — and worked even harder to support him while in office...

    The first report — by Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project and Graphika, a network analysis firm — offers new details of how Russians working at the Internet Research Agency, which U.S. officials have charged with criminal offenses for interfering in the 2016 campaign, sliced Americans into key interest groups for targeted messaging. These efforts shifted over time, peaking at key political moments, such as presidential debates or party conventions, the report found.

    The data sets used by the researchers were provided by Facebook, Twitter and Google and covered several years up to mid-2017, when the social media companies cracked down on the known Russian accounts. The report, which also analyzed data separately provided to House Intelligence Committee members, contains no information on more recent political moments, such as November’s midterm elections.

    “What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party — and specifically Donald Trump,” the report says. “Trump is mentioned most in campaigns targeting conservatives and right-wing voters, where the messaging encouraged these groups to support his campaign. The main groups that could challenge Trump were then provided messaging that sought to confuse, distract and ultimately discourage members from voting.”...

    The Russians aimed particular energy at activating conservatives on issues such as gun rights and immigration, while sapping the political clout of left-leaning African American voters by undermining their faith in elections and spreading misleading information about how to vote. Many other groups — Latinos, Muslims, Christians, gay men and women, liberals, Southerners, veterans — got at least some attention from Russians operating thousands of social media accounts.

    The second report — prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee by researchers for New Knowledge, Columbia University and Canfield Research — emphasized this aspect of the Russian operation, saying, “The IRA created an expansive cross-platform media mirage targeting the Black community, which shared and cross-promoted authentic Black media to create an immersive influence ecosystem.”

    This report, though largely tracking with the one from Oxford and Graphika in its conclusions, also offered some new statistics, including that the Russians posted more than 1,000 YouTube videos for their disinformation campaign and that Instagram generated more than twice the “engagement” among users than either Facebook or Twitter. Such metrics track user comments, shares, likes and other actions that go beyond having an item merely appear on their screens.

    Both reports also offered some of the first detailed analyses of the role played by YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, and Instagram, owned by Facebook, in the Russian campaign, as well as anecdotes about how Russians used other social media platforms — Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest — that have received relatively little scrutiny. The Russian effort also used email accounts from Yahoo, Microsoft’s Hotmail service and Google’s Gmail.

    The authors of the report by Oxford and Graphika, while reliant on data provided by technology companies, also highlighted the companies' “belated and uncoordinated response” to the disinformation campaign and, once it was discovered, their failure to share more with investigators. The authors urged that in the future they provide data in “meaningful and constructive” ways.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  2. #1967
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    and recall the discussion we had about that oh-so-wonderful tax bill that was going to super-charge the American economy.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...26b2d6629d4d4/

    The stock market is giving President Trump a lump of coal for Christmas.

    All three major indexes shed more than 2 percent on Monday, as the S&P 500 notched its lowest close in 14 months. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is down 2.2 percent this year, and the small-cap Russell 2000 index has lost more than 20 percent from its late-summer high, officially putting it in bear market territory.

    The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500, both down more than 7.5 percent this month, are on track for their worst December performances since 1931, in the pit of the Great Depression.

    Trump was silent on the latest market down day, extending his pattern of avoiding comment on Wall Street carnage. A year ago this week, he was heralding history-making gains, as his then-imminent signing of a massive tax cut powered stocks higher...

    But to the extent the promise of Trump’s tax cuts offered investors a major theme last year, it was replaced this year by the threat of his widening trade war. The president has cast blame elsewhere, a message White House trade czar Peter Navarro carried forward in a CNBC interview on Monday when he identified Federal Reserve policymaking as the primary culprit spooking investors.

    “Donald Trump’s instincts are always right on this, and months ago he started pointing out that the Fed was going too far too fast,” Navarro said. He said in the absence of stronger inflation, the central bank should hold off on continuing to raise interest rates. “The only argument I'm hearing for the Fed to raise rates now is somehow they have to exert their independence.”
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  3. #1968
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    Our resident Trump defenders have been oddly quiet lately...
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  4. #1969
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Our resident Trump defenders have been oddly quiet lately...


    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!

  5. #1970
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    Did someone say fiscal fiasco?

    https://itep.org/five-things-to-know...-and-jobs-act/
    Below are the five takeaways about the legacy and continuing effect of the TCJA.

    • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will substantially increase income, wealth, and racial inequality.
    • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will continue to substantially increase the deficit.
    • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is not significantly boosting growth or jobs.
    • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act continues to be very unpopular.



    Despite the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s lack of popularity and ill effects, many Republican lawmakers are calling for even more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  6. #1971
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    The stock market is giving President Trump a lump of coal for Christmas.
    Bonds better for now. But yea last week was bad in the US meerkats all round.

  7. #1972
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    So let's see what else has been happening....

    Trump's crime foundation has been shut down, hard.

    Flynn's judge is so disgusted with him that he's considering prison, even though Mueller has asked for no prison time.

    Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano has openly speculated that Trump could be under sealed indictment (let that source sink in for a minute)

    And of course our favorite gaslighting White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders has denied pretty much everything as usual.

    Tick tock...tick tock...
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  8. #1973
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    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!

  9. #1974
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    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!

  10. #1975
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    So let's see what else has been happening....

    Trump's crime foundation has been shut down, hard.
    Meh, it was never very big

    Flynn's judge is so disgusted with him that he's considering prison, even though Mueller has asked for no prison time.
    Not connected to Trump but to Flynn's dealings with Turkey.

    Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano has openly speculated that Trump could be under sealed indictment (let that source sink in for a minute)
    Let it sink in, its coming from the same guy who is a states rights, Lincoln started the civil war conspiracy theorist... Am I supposed to take Alex Jones seriously too?

    And of course our favorite gaslighting White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders has denied pretty much everything as usual.
    Literally the job of every press secretary ever.

    Tick tock...tick tock...
    His re-election draws near. If the economy doesn't tank he'll get a second term. If it does, he wont. Its that simple. Past is prologue and every president who wanted a second term but did not get one was dealing with both peace and a bad economy.

  11. #1976
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    This

    Some others are envisaging a situation where Trump resigns to make way for Mike Pence as president if he foresees losing an election, and obtains a presidential pardon from Pence.

    Still others, including prominent political pundit, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, go so far as to predict Trump would resign in the “next few weeks” after cutting a deal with prosecutors since his children Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump could be the “next dominoes to fall”.
    First one if anything comes out of this.

    But I don't take seriously any of this news as the "Trump's gonna get it" line has been coming for the last two years and about to happen real soon now

    American media on this particular subject is as credible if not less than Pak media : D
    Last edited by Double Edge; 19 Dec 18, at 15:21.

  12. #1977
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    Meh, it was never very big
    thought it was the Clinton Foundation that was the font of all criminality...odd.

    Not connected to Trump but to Flynn's dealings with Turkey.
    Obama specifically warned Trump in his one private meeting with the man against just one guy-- Flynn. Trump hired him regardless. poor judgment.

    edit-- should also add, it's not just Flynn's dealings with Turkey. it's also Flynn lying about his contacts with Kislyak and Flynn lying to the FBI.

    His re-election draws near. If the economy doesn't tank he'll get a second term. If it does, he wont. Its that simple. Past is prologue and every president who wanted a second term but did not get one was dealing with both peace and a bad economy.
    i find it unlikely regardless. he's not made -more- supporters since he got elected, and he'll need that to counter a Democratic base which has been roused from apathy. he doesn't have any margin, seeing as how he won the key swing states by the skin of his teeth the last go-around.

    of course if the economy goes into recession by 2020, as seems more and more likely given the current economic indicators, it will be an absolute wipeout.

    on the tactical level, i find it interesting that the Trump re-election campaign recently announced that it will be merging with the RNC effort. essentially, the party will go all-in for Trump, closing off potential challengers (whom didn't really have a chance to begin with, but still). essentially the issue that people had with HRC campaign and the DNC in '16, lol.
    Last edited by astralis; 19 Dec 18, at 15:48.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  13. #1978
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Meh, it was never very big
    No, just another example of Trump's crime organization getting the axe, NBD.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Not connected to Trump but to Flynn's dealings with Turkey.
    Good thing there isn't anything sealed or redacted about Flynn's case that hasn't been made public yet, eh?

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Let it sink in, its coming from the same guy who is a states rights, Lincoln started the civil war conspiracy theorist... Am I supposed to take Alex Jones seriously too?
    How about we let this sink in: Consider the source...This is Trump's propaganda organ and personal cheerleading squad. If this was some MSNBC liberal talking head (like Chris Matthews saying Trump could resign in a few weeks), I wouldn't have given it a second glance, or even a first glance for that matter. But it's not. It's Fox News.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Literally the job of every press secretary ever.
    The job of a press secretary is to spin and smooth over and put a good face on bad news, sure. If you think that's what Sarah Sanders is doing, then you've drank far more kool-aid than I thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    His re-election draws near. If the economy doesn't tank he'll get a second term. If it does, he wont. Its that simple. Past is prologue and every president who wanted a second term but did not get one was dealing with both peace and a bad economy.
    Like Astralis said, his margin is gone. The American people have seen who and what he is. "Won't get fooled again...".
    Last edited by TopHatter; 19 Dec 18, at 17:34.
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  14. #1979
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    So we have out of the blue - announced on twitter - withdrawal from Syria because the traitor proclaims "mission accomplished" without taking any advice and sanctions to be withdrawn from Deripashka's companies - the pal that Manafort offered updates of the campaign to... Two little birds sitting in a tree, Trumpkin and Vova. Guess he's taking his orders from Moscow now.

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    Mueller to Save Trump for Later as Prosecutor Readies Next Steps

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be cautious about implicating President Donald Trump-- or even a thinly disguised “Individual-1” -- directly in criminal activity in legal filings he’s expected to issue in the next few months, according to people familiar with his investigation.

    Mueller is planning to continue building out his case brick-by-brick in a set of legal filings, as he offers his most detailed narrative yet of Russia’s election interference. That will include identifying any Americans who may have conspired with Russia to affect the 2016 election and what Russians hoped to get in return, the people said. Mueller is also looking into whether the president sought to obstruct justice.

    “Real-life cases, especially complex ones like this, rarely have one piece of irrefutable smoking-gun evidence,” said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor. “Real cases are built piece-by-piece and rely on evidence from various sources and common-sense inferences.”

    Mueller is likely to save any findings that touch personally on Trump for his final report, which he’ll submit to the Justice Department, the people said. That report will almost certainly be reviewed by Democrats -- who will take control of the House next month -- as they consider whether to impeach the president.

    “There might well come a point when Mueller is able to pull together all of his evidence and present a compelling or even overwhelming case," Honig said. “That remains to be seen, but the indicators are present."

    It’s a contrast from the approach taken by U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan, who gave Trump the impossible-to-miss “Individual-1” pseudonym this month as a co-conspirator in hush money payoffs by lawyer Michael Cohen that they say violated campaign finance laws.

    Trump continues to denounce what he calls the “Russian Witch Hunt Hoax,” writing in a tweet this week, “Nothing to do with Collusion. A Democrat Scam!”

    Mueller’s investigation so far has sketched broad connections between Trump, his associates and Russia.

    Moscow Tower


    In late November, Mueller secured a guilty plea from Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer. That plea deal revealed that Trump was involved in trying to build a Trump tower in Moscow until at least June 2016, even though he had said publicly that he had no business dealings in Russia. That could be seen as part of an obstruction of justice charge, one of the people familiar with the probe said.

    Mueller’s office declined to comment for this story.

    Cohen’s admission also established, for the first time, a potential financial motive for Trump to curry favor with Russia both before and after the election.

    Cohen also admitted that before giving false testimony to Congress, he circulated his prepared remarks to others. Mueller is likely to reveal the identity of those people at some point.

    Mueller’s investigation previously forced Trump’s lawyers to disclose that Trump dictated a false explanation for why his son, Donald Jr., and other associates met with Russians in Trump Tower in New York in June 2016.

    Trump’s false statement said the meeting was about adoptions, when in fact it included a discussion about lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia. Trump Jr. took the meeting after being told the Russians could provide dirt on Trump’s opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton.


    Damaging information about Clinton, which the Russians had stolen by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, was made public by WikiLeaks soon after the Trump Tower meeting. Mueller has already documented Russia’s hacking operation. Upcoming legal filings could fill in the blanks about whether any Americans conspired with WikiLeaks to release the information.

    ‘Eager to Help’

    “We have begun to see the broader outlines coming into focus on several fronts,” said Honig, the former prosecutor who’s now a white-collar defense attorney with Lowenstein Sandler LLP. “We now have a sense of why Trump wanted to appease Russia: He needed government approvals to build the project -- and why Russia, in turn was so eager to help him win.”

    Trump’s legal problems extend beyond Mueller. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have portrayed Trump -- or, as they put it, “Individual-1, who at that point had become President” -- as complicit in the scheme to pay hush money to alleged mistresses during the campaign. They are continuing their investigation into other potential campaign finance irregularities.

    They are expected to review financial transactions involving Trump’s presidential campaign and the Trump Organization, while the New York Attorney General’s office is investigating allegations that Trump misused funds from his charitable foundation for personal purposes, including to boost his campaign. The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is investigating whether Trump underreported his taxable income going back decades.

    Mueller appears to be adhering to Justice Department policy that a sitting president can’t be indicted. Instead, he’s expected to write a final report identifying potentially criminal conduct by Trump, as well as any other important details that don’t rise to the level of a crime, said David Dorsen, a former federal prosecutor who served as assistant chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in the 1970s.

    “I think he would certainly disclose, at least to the attorney general, all of the evidence he has,” Dorsen said. “In that capacity, he’s being more of an investigator for who he is reporting to.”

    “He would probably be very careful to not omit anything for fear that he would be criticized for concealing the evidence that he developed,” Dorsen said. “What looks like a weak case to a layman might be viewed as very strong by an experienced prosecutor who can visualize how a case can play out.” Link
    ________
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