BREAKING: Concern about "information campaign!"

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2017

The madness of tribal living:
We haven't read the New York Times' report about the now-famous meeting with the now-famous Russian lawyer. We've only read Kevin Drum's short, snarky treatment of same.

Drum is treating the report as some sort of vindication for our tribe. That said, here is the excerpt he posts:
Interviews and records show that in the months before the meeting, Ms. Veselnitskaya had discussed the allegations with one of Russia’s most powerful officials, the prosecutor general, Yuri Y. Chaika. And the memo she brought with her closely followed a document that Mr. Chaika’s office had given to an American congressman two months earlier, incorporating some paragraphs verbatim.

….In the past week, Ms. Veselnitskaya’s allegations—that major Democratic donors were guilty of financial fraud and tax evasion—have been embraced at the highest levels of the Russian government. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia repeated her charges at length last week at an annual conference of Western academics. A state-run television network recently made them the subject of two special reports, featuring interviews with Ms. Veselnitskaya and Mr. Chaika.

The matching messages point to a synchronized information campaign. Like some other Russian experts, Stephen Blank, a senior fellow with the nonprofit American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, said they indicate that Ms. Veselnitskaya’s actions “were coordinated from the very top.”
That's the excerpt from the Times. Our question goes something like this:

How lunatic has the world become when we liberals, along with the Times itself, seem to be shrieking and moaning about an alleged "information campaign?"

An information campaign! That's literally what the Times said!

Small-d democrats used to worry about disinformation campaigns. Now we're worried about an alleged campaign to produce information!

Tribal living destroys the brain. Perhaps the full report in the Times will seem different.

Award-winning further note: Based upon that excerpt, it sounds like our long-standing hypothesis is coming to pass.

Putin is making speeches in which he reveals some alleged information. Should we cover our ears and go "la-la-la-la" so we can't hear what he says?

Meanwhile, warning to the tribes: A troubling "information campaign" may be coming to pass!

We've said it any number of times. It sometimes seems that modern journalists no longer have a clear idea of what "information" is. They've trafficked in novelized stories so long that they no longer seem to understand the basic concept of "facts."

We started saying that when this whole Russian lawyer fandango surfaced. Today, the Times has issued a red alert:

A troubling "information campaign" may be taking shape!

(No, really—an information campaign! Honest to god, that's rich.)

35 comments:

  1. The term "information campaign" refers to the coordination between the "Trump Tower visitor" (Veselnitskaya) and the Russian prosecutor general to release what they felt was damaging information about Democrats.
    This is all part of a larger pattern of interference in our elections. There is some indication that attempts were made to hack into statewide voting machines. Podesta's emails were stolen and then strategically released in order to damage Clinton's campaign. It's even possible that the Trump campaign knew about this in advance.
    I hope Somerby doesn't condone theft and aiding and abetting theft, just because the emails may have been (purportedly) "real", i.e. "information." Can you see why We on This Side might have some questions about the validity of last year's elections? And in the interest of fairness, let's see a dump of RNC emails, or Trump's.

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    1. Would you like to see criminalization of the publication of stolen information like Podesta's emails if it can be shown it was stolen by a foreign government for the purpose of affecting a campaign?

      Delete
    2. @Anon 4:43pm:
      The hacker(s) and their sponsors are guilty of a crime. Anyone aiding and abetting the criminal act is also guilty. The question of liability in the publication of stolen data depends on a number of factors. If I knowingly receive stolen items, and then re-sell them, I could be held criminally liable. So too the publication of stolen data. This could apply to Wikileaks potentially. In general, to prosecute a media outlet for the publication of stolen data requires meeting a number of criteria. (This is similar to cases involving libel. ) There have been a number of court cases dealing with this issue ; I leave it to you to research that.
      My main concern is the overall pattern of outside interference to damage Clinton and elect Trump, including the possibility of hacking our voting system, which is a serious concern, and the Trump campaign's role in all of this. I would love to have seen the RNC emails and the Trump campaign's. Wouldn't you? But I wouldn't have approved of the DNC and Hillary's campaign engaging in Trump-like collusion to obtain them. Aside from any legal question, there is a question of ethics.

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    3. Don't use "aiding and abetting" because it doesn't apply. A stolen TV isn't stolen correspondence. Publication of stolen correspondence has never been illegal. Should it be in some cases? Anything in the Wikileaks emails in particular? Hacking computer systems to alter vote tallies is illegal. Publishing stolen emails from the same hackers isn't and shouldn't be. There is always a question of ethics whenever a news outlet leaks private information. In the case of a presidential campaign, the more information the better. What did you think of the ethics of reporting on Romney's recorded 47% remarks, the legality of which was in question but never determined, and the use of them in that campaign?

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    4. Romney's 47% remarks were disinformation. If, as Romney said, corporations are people too, then that number is WAY higher than 47%.

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    5. @Anon 6:56pm:

      I said aiding and abetting the criminal act, that is anyone directly involved in the act of hacking, or providing money, equipment, or means. email, or "correspondence", is the private property of the correspondees, not the general public. Or do you view your private emails as open to any hacker who wants them, to be published with impunity? Does "correspondence" include letters that I receive through the US Mail? Is that not considered private? Should email be treated any differently than the US Mail? These are not my opinions alone, and I am not advocating a particular position, but merely noting the problematic issues. Good info here:

      http://archives.cjr.org/the_observatory/the_legality_of_publishing_hac.php

      Look particularly at the Peavy v. WFAA-TV Inc. case.

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    6. @Anon 6:56pm:

      Two other things: just because a group of private citizens is engaged in a campaign, presidential or otherwise, doesn't mean they suddenly give up their rights, including the right to privacy or their right to private correspondence.
      The Romney thing was a little different; it was a speech to a decent sized crowd, and as such doesn't quite fall into the category of private correspondence.
      I am for transparency, but I'm also for the preserving of individual rights, and the balancing of those two things. It can get tricky sometimes. But more often than not, an overly simplistic blanket rule is not usually sufficient. Each case deserves to be looked at on an individual basis.

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    7. You don't have a right to prevent a news organization or political campaign from reporting on information that has made its way into their minds even if it is originally obtained illegally. Classified secrets might be an area of exception but you are not obligated legally to respect John Podesta's privacy or to keep quiet if someone gives you an illegal recording of something like Romney's 47% speech even if its illegality is not in question. You only have a right to reject the candidate whose campaign reported the information if you oppose it on ethical grounds.

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    8. If your neighbor steals your USPS mail and tells me about its contents, I can report it to the local paper and they can publish it. Hacking emails is illegal, and hackers face penalties. The information is not protected as stolen property and it shouldn't be. Think of the ramifications of a principle like that particularly for journalism.

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  2. Good catch, Bob.

    But hey, why do you sound surprised? What else would you expect from the goebbelsian establishment media...

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    Replies
    1. It's obvious that if Goebbels were alive today, he'd be backing Trump.

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  3. You like information campaigns?

    https://crooked.com/article/fool-twice-shame-media/

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    Replies
    1. I have seen attempts at debunking this on CNN and MSNBC. I think an honest media critic would examine the nexus of Fox News et al coordinating with the White House and Republicans, who hold the levers of power, to gin up this pseudo-investigation, and how much of a propaganda organization Fox News really is, and what a powerful player it is.

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  4. Democrats are reduced to arguing for the criminalization of the dissemination of information (speech) that potentially harms the electoral chances of politician they support. They try to frame it in words that sound like other, actual crimes for the dumber members of their tribe because the accurate "criminalizing information (speech)" will be recognized as the anti-constitutional, Stalinistic practice they would love to see legitimized.

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    Replies
    1. No one is arguing that.

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    2. "Democrats are reduced to arguing for the criminalization of the dissemination of information (speech) that potentially harms the electoral chances of politician they support."

      Yeah, but I don't think that's their main problem. Lying and spinning is perfectly normal M.O. of the political theater in so-called 'liberal democracies'.

      But this time around, what liberals/d-rats do is faaaar beyond that; it's off the charts. I believe it may have now surpassed the original mccarthyist hysteria, that they're trying to imitate.

      As Julian Assange said yesterday: "Democrats are on the path to oblivion with this collective psychosis."

      I hope he's right about the oblivion. The sooner the better, and no one is gonna miss them.

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    3. Mao, don't worry, Steve Bannon, and his minion, the present POTUS, Donald "Bone
      Spurs" Trump, are taking control. You can sleep soundly tonight, smugly experiencing, with schadenfreude, the suffering of the doomed liberal zombies.

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    4. Thank you for your kind words, even though I'm pretty sure that "smugly experiencing" is not a thing.

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    5. Mao's dislike for liberal democracies is natural, as his Kremlin paymasters aren't exactly liberal or democratic.

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  5. Ban information! Please stop referring to those who write or agree with that palaver in the Times as "liberal."

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  6. So thanks, Bob. This story pretty much confirms that not only did trump collude with the Russian government during the campaign, they are still actively colluding. Thanks for the info.

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    Replies
    1. I love how Bob brags that he couldn't be bothered to read the Times report. And how he is all UP on defending Russian lawyer lady and even Putin himself.

      Bob, when did you start receiving roubles? It's really striking how you lash out at any news of the Russia investigation by anyone who's not Fox News. "Our tribe"- you are so full of shit on that, you bent old man. It's weird how for such an obscure (and grindingly repetitive) blog as yours you attract such Putinist flying monkeys to basically agree with your rotten gist, constantly. Someone paying your bills, Bob? Some expert on journalism. When are you ever ever going to examine Fox News, Bob? This place is like a Breitbart/RT offshoot at this point.
      When will you be appearing on RT, Bob?

      Delete
  7. I can only imagine the sober, levelheaded response of the right wing if it had been discovered that Hillary's campaign had colluded with Kim Jong-Un to release dirt on Trump, including the stolen private emails of his campaign staff, and she had gone on to win the election by losing the popular vote by 3 million votes.
    It's just "information", after all.

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    Replies
    1. I don't quite understand what you're getting at. You haven't noticed, perhaps, the right wing reaction to the recent "news" (what news, it was openly discussed last year) that, after the Republicans lost interest in the Steele Dossier after Trump was nominated, the Democrats started funding the "investigation." What is surprising about that? Oh, because the "investigator" was dealing with Russians so that means the Democrats were "colluding" with Russians, amirite?

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  8. I responded to Dowd's latest column. Since I treated Dowd the way she treats others, the NYT online may not publish my comment.

    Maureen Dowd reports about her conversation with Mark Cuban this week and reported about her conversation with Jimmy Carter last week. Wouldn't it have been nice if in addition to reporting about a few of her conversations with Trump before the election if she had actually done some reporting? Dowd could have produced real news, not gossip, by speaking with people victimized by Trump's bankruptcies, his ex-wives, and small contractors who were short changed or never paid. Dowd ill served Times' readers by NOT reporting about how unfit Trump was to be President during the campaign. All along her preference for Trump -- or ANY Republican -- versus Hillary Clinton was apparent. Dowd was and is so thoroughly accepting of the right wing propaganda against the Clintons that Dowd is absolutely sure, just like the Right, that Hillary could not possibly have been running for President because she loves our country. Dowd has been ready to ascribe the worst of motives to Bill and Hillary for decades, but has never, ever considered that both of them are patriotic. It's a shame.

    Someday someone will win Powerball and Mega Millions on the same day. That's much more likely than Dowd ever apologizing to readers of the Times for her animus towards the Clintons, President Obama, and Al Gore.

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    1. Maureen Dowd not only "accepts" right wing propaganda about the Clintons, she has always been a zealous author of it, for decades she's pumped out hitjobs and snarly smug character attacks. And yeah, catty gossip. (The Times has also had this bizarre institutional hatred of the Clintons since 1992, someday I'd love to know the origin of that.) Dowd's bragging and ludicrous self-regard is aging so, so badly, like most of the Times' op-ed section- what a mausoleum. David Brooks and Tom Friedman and Monsignor Ross Douthat, and now climate denier Bret Stephens. Such a dead stagnant place, catering to the "moderate" right and Republican leaning. Don't know who they think they are appeasing, they are branded "the liberal NYTimes" forever by the deplorables. Dowd is like this aging nightclub singer who still fancies herself alluring and witty, but her pieces are just so so tired. It's not the 90s anymore, but she's clueless at how much time has gone by.

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  9. Relax. The American public is safe unless they venture away from approved venues. The New York Times and Washington Post will make sure no important information is accidentally released. Only stories from anonymous administration officials.

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    Replies
    1. "Only stories from anonymous administration officials" and scumbags like Peter Schweitzer.

      FTFY

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  10. Schweitzer is the author of "Clinton Cash", a book every bit as objective and honest as his books "Makers and Takers" and "Reagan's War".

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    Replies
    1. You forgot your snark tag.

      Delete
  11. "Award winning further note", this from Bob, who goes crazy when MSNBC reporters refer to each other as "the great."
    Bob long ago sank miles below Kevin Drum, it's not much worth thinking about. Keep poor Bob away from sharp objects when the indictments come down this week.

    ReplyDelete
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