Inside Job Open Thread: Brad Parscale Bobs Up Again

The NYTimes handles the story as delicately as only the Grey Lady can:

With just 980 days to go until the next presidential election, President Trump said Tuesday that he would run again in 2020, an announcement that several White House advisers said simply meant the president would step up his preferred and much-missed activity of performing for an adoring crowd.

In effect, it continues the permanent campaign of a president who, from the time he took office over a year ago, has signaled his interest to run again and has kept holding campaign-style rallies. The president officially filed for re-election with the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 20, 2017, the day of his inauguration…

But another part of Mr. Trump’s announcement — that Brad Parscale, his 2016 campaign digital director, would be elevated to campaign manager — signaled a more complicated political maneuver on behalf of the president’s family, and specifically Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, according to the president’s advisers.

Mr. Kushner was close to Mr. Parscale during the 2016 campaign, and putting him in an expanded role was widely seen as a power play by the president’s son-in-law. It was first breathlessly reported by the Drudge Report — and billed as both a “historical record” and a “bold move. Matt Drudge, the website’s proprietor, is in frequent contact with Mr. Kushner.

Mr. Parscale, 42, is a frequent presence in Washington. The rare scruffily bearded man in Mr. Trump’s clean-shaven orbit, Mr. Parscale often spends one or two nights a week holding court with vendors and people he describes as “fans” in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel…

Mr. Parscale did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday, but in an interview with The New York Times in June, he described himself as a “blue-collar kid from Kansas who understood what Trump was saying,” and spoke at length about his devotion to the Trump family.

“I was always the family guy on the campaign,” Mr. Parscale said. “If I saw or heard anything that I didn’t think was good for the family, my loyalty was to the family first.”

In another interview, in August, Mr. Parscale described his role on the 2016 campaign.

“I build the plumbing,” he said. “I changed the plumbing of campaigns, from moving it from TV to digital.”…

Last year Mr. Parscale also took a sizable cut from the Trump campaign. The biggest single expenditure of the $17 million it spent in 2017 was the $5.5 million it paid for digital advertising, nearly all of which passed through firms owned by Mr. Parscale…

He does what Mr. Trump wants done, without asking nosy questions about ‘ethics’ or ‘legality’. Of course he’s entitled to his due rewards, a little taste off the top. That’s how family is defined, in Trumpworld!


Trump’s 2016 campaign and the digital operation that Parscale oversaw are under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. Earlier this month, Mueller indicted 13 Russians for trying to sabotage the last presidential campaign — helping Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton — through fake social media posts and other measures.

The special counsel in his charging documents said Trump campaign staffers were “unwitting” participants in the Russia effort, but he did not name any aides as co-conspirators.

Parscale also testified in a closed-door session last October with the House Intelligence Committee for its Russia probe. In a statement issued last summer, when his invitation first became public, he said that he was “unaware of any Russian involvement in the digital and data operations” of Trump’s campaign, which he said utilized “the exact same digital marketing strategies that are used every day by corporate America.”

“The only collaboration I am aware of in the Trump digital campaign was with staff provided to the campaign by Facebook, Google and Twitter,” Parscale added then. “Those experts in digital marketing worked side-by-side with our teams from Giles-Parscale, the Republican National Committee, and Cambridge Analytica to run a professional and winning campaign.”…

Vox explicates:

Parscale is intimately tied to a company called Cambridge Analytica, a shady data analytics firm that has become a major focus of both the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe….

Last December, Mueller requested that Cambridge Analytica turn over internal documents as part of his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

The thread connecting Russia, the Trump campaign, and Cambridge Analytica is Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser who was forced to resign after he reportedly lied to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI about his phone conversations with a Russian envoy in 2016…


The day’s inevitable Kushner Konnection…

78 replies
  1. 1
    Suzanne says:

    The news that Ralph Lauren of Arabia lost his security clearance absolutely fills me with passion.

  2. 2
    dmsilev says:

    “I was always the family guy on the campaign,” Mr. Parscale said. “If I saw or heard anything that I didn’t think was good for the family, my loyalty was to the family first.”

    Remember: It’s Fredos all the way down.

  3. 3
    B.B.A. says:

    Win or lose, he’s going to be holding campaign rallies until he shuffles off this mortal coil. Imagine a crowd of pasty fatbergs chanting “LOCK HER UP!”, forever.

  4. 4
    efgoldman says:

    Gonna’ be hard to run a campaign from Club Fed

  5. 5

    he described himself as a “blue-collar kid from Kansas who understood what Trump was saying,”
    “I build the plumbing,” he said. “I changed the plumbing of campaigns, from moving it from TV to digital.”

    Don’t mind me, just a plumber working on the series of tubes…

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suzanne: They will still tell him everything. Committing a crime every time they do.

  7. 7

    I remember when I thought the Bushes were awful and corrupt. Remember when people talked about the “Bush crime family”? These guys make them look like small time pickpockets.

    I mean, yeah, I still do think the Bushes were sleazy and awful, but this crowd makes them look like saints. The Bushes were sleazy and greedy, and there was an angle in everything they ever did to get them a few more dollars, but shit… This is on a whole other footing. Everybody is a criminal here. Mueller could keep this investigation going for the next 800 years, and he’d never get around to indicting everybody who’s earned it.

  8. 8

    So I’m digging around in the Frontline generator I trained, and at different times in the training, it seems to have grabbed onto a different news topic it keeps drawing language from. The 45th iteration keeps mentioning the Bundys and Malheur, the 46th one the Oberoi Hotel from the Mumbai attacks, the 47th the Lancet infectious diseases journal and “expat managers”…

    Machine learning is fun!

  9. 9
    scav says:

    He’s in DC, working for and to re-elect a president under investigation, and he really went with plumbing?

  10. 10
    John Revolta says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Seems I remember another Presidential campaign who used the “plumbers”
    metaphor. I don’t think it worked out too well.

  11. 11
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m pretty sure he’s thumbing his nose at us stupid plebes.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: If you make a David Brooks bot or some such, there will be consequences.

  14. 14
    Gretchen says:

    So if Mueller can’t find anything questionable that he’s done in the past, he’s working on new things from now on that Mueller can see.
    One thing I can’t get over – Kushner has unlimited money to buy tailored suits. Why does he always look like Pee Wee Herman? He’s tall and slim, surely it’s not such a challenge to get a made-to-measure suit that flatters him? But it’s always too-short,too-tight,-too-small. Why? You have unlimited money! Buy a couple of decent suits! Ivanka would like it! She doesn’t want to be married to Pee Wee Herman!

  15. 15
    trollhattan says:

    When is the next season of Vikings due?

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Gretchen: Paul Smith.

  17. 17
    tobie says:

    I’ve always wondered how someone like Parscale who spent most of his professional life designing websites could possibly have supervised a sophisticated data-mining effort like the one the Trump campaign ran. Maybe I’m a snob but I don’t see how you can do that without a huge staff of statistics-savvy engineers with PhDs and expensive equipment. The overriding impression I have when I hear Parscale speak is that he’s none too bright. Being an idiot-savant can only get you so far with data operations. You need an intelligence service to do what Parscale is credited with doing.

  18. 18
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Gretchen: I have two theories:

    a) Kushner, like his father-in-law, is such a narcissist that he can’t actually see himself when he looks in the mirror. The suits he buys go on and stay buttoned, but he can’t perceive how poorly they fit when other people look at him.

    b) Kushner’s suits would fit a younger, smaller, ‘less threatening’ Kushner — just as Trump’s badly-tailored suits would fit a taller, more physically imposing man. Jared’s afraid, consciously or not, that looking too much like a grown man instead of an adolescent going through a grow spurt would make Donald (or Ivanka) mad at him. Better to have the rest of us mocking him than lose his sponsor!

  19. 19

    @Omnes Omnibus: Nothing intelligent should have to do that, artificial or not.

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:


    Kushner has unlimited money to buy tailored suits. Why does he always look like Pee Wee Herman?

    I am never going to stop laughing at this. You said what I did not realize I was thinking every time I saw him. 😂

  21. 21
    Amir Khalid says:

    The skinny suits suggest European sophistication; that’s where the look is popular. Jared does carry it a bit too far, though.

  22. 22
    John Revolta says:

    @Gretchen: They’re using what’s left over from those tents Trump waddles around in.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    Other than as an exercise in developing programming, could you offer in a nutshell to this unenlightened layman an explanation of what its raison d’être is? The few examples you’ve offered seem (to me) to be word salad or total gibberish. And why Frontline?

    Not snark; honestly in the dark about this.

  24. 24
    tobie says:

    @Gretchen: Wow! I could never put my finger on what was so odd about his suits. Thanks.

  25. 25
    Amir Khalid says:

    On the other hand, Parscale sounds like just the person Democrats would want in charge of Trump’s campaign — loyal to the boss, but in way over his head at his job.

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    That may be what he’s attempting, but this is the actual effect. We need someone with Photoshop skillz to switch the faces.

  27. 27
    Chet Murthy says:


    I’ve always wondered how someone like Parscale who spent most of his professional life designing websites could possibly have supervised a sophisticated data-mining effort

    Yeah, this. I’m sure some of the others who’ve spent nontrivial amounts of time in transaction-processing could attest to the vast gap between the folks who just build web-pages/simple web-apps, and the people who build really significant TP systems. And to do anything significant in data-analytics, you need both the skills to build significant data-management infrastructure, AND AND AND serious machine-learning/statistics chops. The latter is -completely- uncorrelated with the former.

    I suspect M^4 might be able to speak to *how* different the skill-sets are, b/c he’s clearly either learnING or learnED ML.

    The idea that Parscale actually knew what he was doing, unaided, is bollocks.

  28. 28
    NotMax says:

    Anagram for Parscale is – – –

    Crap Sale.

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Amir Khalid: Tom Ford was the name I was looking for. My bad.

  30. 30
    Raoul says:

    Trump is so f’ing horrible we get D-listers as Cabinet members and top staffers now, one year or so into his term. And he wants to run again so that we’re enduring a laid off Verizon pre-paid wireless sales rep as Comms Director for Trump WH, mk. II?

  31. 31

    @NotMax: This particular application of neural networks is mostly for toys. It generates plenty of non-word salad, but I don’t find that too interesting to read. It turns out it’s very good at making individual lines/paragraphs by one speaker (“NARRATOR: The president decided to get a message to the stars.”) but then the ones before and after rarely have any relation.

    Frontline has all of their transcripts online in a relatively easy-to-scrape format, and doing this with Shakespeare or Harry Potter fanfiction as the corpus is old hat. I was curious what it would do with news transcripts.

    This kind of network is surprisingly good at things like clickbait headlines, which also fits in with my experience I mention above, where it’s good at single utterances.

    ETA @Chet Murthy:

    either learnING or learnED

    The latter soon becomes useless without the former, you see.

  32. 32
    Mel says:

    @Anne Laurie: @Mnemosyne: @Gretchen:

    I keep wondering if he’s being forced to wear all the hideous remaindered Trump Signature suits that Macy’s couldn’t offload at fire sale prices after they dumped his brand…

  33. 33
    SgrAstar says:

    @tobie: Wasn’t that what the embeds from Twitter, google, and facebook were doing?

  34. 34
    Mart says:

    Cambridge Analytica micro-targeting folks based on their Facebook “likes” (they seriously know who you are To a T) really struck a chord with me. Wife and I know a Haitian restaurant manager and after the election we bemoaned Trumps win. For the first time he looked sternly at us, raised his voice – told us we do not know his politics, the Clinton’s are monsters, that their foundation stole money from penniless hurricane and earthquake ravaged Haitian’s. The next week I read about Cambridge Anal/Facebook data mining. One of the examples was the targeting of Haitians in Miami with stories detailing how Evil the Clinton Foundation is. And to top it all off, the billionaire fucking Mercer’s financed the whole Cambridge Anal deal. We had another frosty visit, but soon were enjoying each others company again. Since the Regime announced they want to deport all storm/quake legacy Haitian’s last November, we have been afraid to see him. Need to work on that. PS – Don’t touch Facebook with a ten foot pole.

  35. 35
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    Thank you. Whatever buoys yer barque.

    Might be an interesting output from the speeches of A. Lincoln.

  36. 36
    Jay says:

    Fredo’s all the way down,

    Pascal’s hooked up with penny stock scammers.

  37. 37
    hellslittlestangel says:

    @Gretchen: Looser fitting clothing might raise his voice an octave or two, too.

  38. 38
    Aleta says:

    Joshua Green (who wrote ‘Devil’s Bargain):

    Joshua Green
    Trump’s new campaign manager, Brad Parscale, also oversaw the Facebook “dark posts” the Trump campaign used to depress the African-American vote.

    During the 2016 race, Trump’s new campaign manager Brad Parscale ghost-wrote hundreds of Trump’s tweets housed on a laptop he called the “Command Center” — here’s the scene backstage during the 2nd debate (with @JulianAssange watching over):

    He links these to an article he wrote with Sasha Issenberg (oct 27 16 ): Inside the Trump Bunker.

    He also linked to a piece at Wired this month (that mentions Parscale once), by Antonio García Martínez: Why Russia’s Facebook ads were less important to Trump’s victory than his own Facebook ads.

    “I always wonder why people in politics act like this stuff is so mystical,” Brad Parscale, the leader of the Trump data effort, told reporters in late 2016. “It’s the same shit we use in commercial, just has fancier names.” He’s absolutely right. None of this is even novel: It’s merely best practice for any smart Facebook advertiser. Custom Audiences was launched almost six (!) years ago, marketed publicly at the time, and only now is becoming a mainstream talking point. The ads auction has been studied by marketers and academics for even longer.

    (The article downplays the Russians and describes (may not be completely accurate) Facebook advertising. I’m not linking.)

    Plotting Russians make for a good story, and external enemies frequently serve an internal purpose, but the trail of blame often leads much closer to home.

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:


    I actually don’t have too much trouble on Facebook because I only click on political content from people I know. I never, ever click on political content that Facebook presents to me.

    Also, I’m only Facebook friends with people I know IRL and only belong to private groups that are writing-related. That also cuts down on the chaff.

  40. 40
    Chris T. says:

    Trump is so bad that I’m expecting the dictators of banana republics to start refusing to have anything to do with the US because it’s too corrupt.

  41. 41

    @NotMax: You need a lot more data than that, alas.

    Anyway, here’s hoping the robots are right:

    And he was a winner, but the first reaction was that the president’s reelection profession is in ruins.

    ETA It really does do a good Trump though.

    When I was in the country that is– 38 pages and the FBI. And he was very prominent. His mother was viewed, I think, you know, it’s a big role for the president.

  42. 42
    tobie says:

    @SgrAstar: Embeds alone won’t do it. As @Chet Murthy: points out, the machinery you need to build to do data mining on a national scale, micro-targeting specific communities, is great. You need something like a division of the NSA or the Defense Intelligence Agency behind you. I’ve always felt the collusion with Russian intelligence occurred in the data operations run through Cambridge Analytica.

  43. 43
    Mart says:

    @Mnemosyne: To be honest I creep on my wife’s Facebook a couple of times a year to see what the young’uns are up to. She is a ludite who does not know how to “Like”, and next to never comments, so we might be a data mining hole for Cambridge. I remember a comedian saying Facebook is evil as there is no bottom. Always think of that when my wife is fruitlessly trying to find that one good thing her favorite niece said…

  44. 44
    tobie says:

    @Mart: I have a friend who listens regularly to Democracy Now and voted for Jill Stein. She insists that Clinton’s brother owned a plantation in Haiti that he procured through the Clinton Foundation. Some version of this was reported on Democracy Now, which I guess has come to resemble the old Soviet Pravda.

  45. 45
    lgerard says:


    This was my favorite part

    CloudCommerce’s financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission give varying descriptions of Van Noy’s business career before he joined the company in the spring of 2011. They said he ran a “boutique real estate private equity firm” through the end of 2008 and oversaw more than $300 million of transactions during a roughly six-month stint at Morgan Stanley at the beginning of 2010.

    But in a bankruptcy filing Van Noy made in Utah in August 2010, Van Noy said he was unemployed — and had earned less than $9,000 in each of the last three years. Along with six-figure debts from unpaid credit cards and repossessed cars, he also faced two real-estate fraud lawsuits. A judge ruled against him in one case and Van Noy agreed to settle the other for the full amount of funds he was accused of misspending.

    After the AP asked Van Noy to reconcile the conflicting filings, he hung up

    Due diligence, how does it work?

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m sure that Facebook knows WAY more about me than I would be comfortable with, but I do my best to remain suspicious of anything they voluntarily “give” me.

  47. 47
    Aleta says:

    All the best data

    From May 31st
    San Antonio digital strategist Brad Parscale denied that the work he did on President Donald Trump’s campaign was intertwined “in any way shape or form” with alleged Russian operatives to use social media to influence the election.
    “Absolutely not,” Parscale said on Fox News’ Tuesday. He emphasized that the Trump campaign got the data it used here in America.

    “In the United States, we actually have access to some of the best data, and the data we used on this campaign directly came from the Republican National Committee, and what they did after the 2012 election to build a data set like never seen before,” Parscale said. “We didn’t need data, we didn’t need it from anyone else, it was right here in the United States of America, and the best data is right here.”

    Former FBI Special Agent Clint Watts told Congress in March that computer “bots” were used to repost false information on social media to influence the U.S. election.

    “The other side wants to believe this false narrative because they don’t want to believe their candidate was so bad that this is even possible,” Parscale said Tuesday. “And the truth is that data was already there, and we just used it to beat a bad candidate with a great candidate.”

    When asked too about Kushner’s involvement in the probe, Parscale said that while he doesn’t talk much to Kushner about policy, he can speak to Kushner “the man.” Blah blah blah

  48. 48
    Chet Murthy says:

    @tobie: Something else, to note too: Hillary’s campaign inherited a lot of Obama’s 2012 campaign, and got a lot of advice from folks from places like Google, too. When somebody says “oh, what Parscale did was digital marketing 101”, they’re implying that Hillary’s folks didn’t even know how to do that. But we know from reporting that Obama’s folks were all over this in 2012, and we have no good reason for thinking that Hillary’s folks weren’t at least as good.

  49. 49


    “In the United States, we actually have access to some of the best data, and the data we used on this campaign directly came from the Republican National Committee, and what they did after the 2012 election to build a data set like never seen before,” Parscale said. “We didn’t need data, we didn’t need it from anyone else, it was right here in the United States of America, and the best data is right here.”

    Jesus, he’s like if Trump was a script kiddie.

  50. 50
    Aleta says:

    I remember reading about a Florida blogger who organized T rallies there; he had some connection to the infamous Russian hacker. But also a connection to the Kushner Parscale operation in the Texas building where they performed their wizardry all by themselves.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:


    “In the United States, we actually have access to some of the best data, and the data we used on this campaign directly came from the Republican National Committee, and what they did after the 2012 election to build a data set like never seen before,” Parscale said.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering where the RNC got this fabulous data set like never seen before. 🤔

  52. 52
    Aleta says:

    @Major Major Major Major: This best data must be very expensive. Or wear expensive Italian shoes.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mart: If I had already ordered I would have told him to bring me the check and he can keep his fucking food. Otherwise, tell him he can keep on going without my business.
    If it’s just a social interaction I would make sure to not bother with him any longer.

  54. 54
    frosty says:

    @Mnemosyne: AFAIK Facebook thinks I was born in January 1905, because that’s what I told them. I like it for keepkng up with friends and cousins and musician groups, and I don’t have any news feeds. I don’t think. That’s what BJ is for!!!

  55. 55
    Mary G says:

    Facebook had employees reporting to work in Parscale’s operation.

  56. 56
    Aleta says:

    @Mnemosyne: fabulous “data set like never seen before”

    That’s quite a little phrase, the kind you don’t hear every day, isn’t it.

  57. 57

    @Aleta: More and more people are hearing about this data, believe me.

  58. 58
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    There was link in earlier post to list of March 24 Marches. Want to add that groups are planning one for Tulsa OK.

  59. 59
    Aleta says:

    @Mary G: Really? Because the RNC was giving them so much business that FB sent dedicated employees to assist their client full time? Or why?

  60. 60

    @Aleta: I know that individual Facebook employees were working with them, but not acting on behalf of Facebook. That doesn’t mean the other thing wasn’t happening too.

  61. 61
    jl says:

    @Aleta: A commenter here said that FB invited both campaigns to work with them on learning about their ad and story placement system. HRC campaign declined and Trump campaign accepted the offer. That is all I know about it.

  62. 62
    Aleta says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I will build a great, great data set. And nobody builds data sets better than me, believe me.

  63. 63

    @Aleta: have you seen crooked Hillary’s dataset? It’s a disaster.

  64. 64
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    When we’re talking about all this data, I’d like to remind everyone of this little gem from last December:

    I figure there are three possibilities here. One, it was a real fuckup that didn’t get noticed for a long time. Two, it was a way to allow shall we say certain agencies on the internet to access the information they needed to do their research in a way that wouldn’t be traceable back to the exposing party. Three, it was put out there for an agency as a bit of quid pro quo for said internet research, as the breadth and depth of the data would make perpetrating the internet frauds and scams that actually pay for a lot of this stuff significantly more effective, again in a way that would make it very hard to trace it back to an actual decision to expose almost all of the US citizenry to said fraud and scams.

    Coupling this with the RNC email hack that we know happened but hasn’t been talked about by, well, by anyone, it leads me to believe in the following scenario… given that the Russians were looking to destablize the USA.

    The Russians got into the DNC and RNC email systems. In one, they found the usual bitchy whining and partisan backstabbing and bickering that goes on in partisan organisations. In the other, they found real criminal conduct. Given that they wanted to destabilize the US, which one of those do you release, and which one of those do you keep? Why, the criminal stuff of course, because it can then be used for blackmail, and blackmailing people into criminal behaviour is significantly easier when the people you’re blackmailing are already pretty accustomed to both engaging in and overlooking criminal behaviour… esp. when the blackmail comes in the form of “it’d be a real shame for them to find out about the goats and little girls, but you know… we’d like to lend you folks a hand with what you’re trying to do here. After all, we’re all looking to secure the future of our children, amirite or amirite? All we need are all your base and we’ll use it plus our newly *koff koff* “acquired” knowledge of the internal cleavages in your mortal enemies to lend a hand with how you say the fucking of the rats.”

    This has led us to where we are, where the US is seriously and strongly less stable than it was a couple of years ago.

    Mission Accomplished!

  65. 65
    Chet Murthy says:

    @jl: I’d be willing to bet a pricey cocktail at a Mission bar, that the sorts of folks that FB was offering, were essentially “sales support” folks. Sure, they understand a bit of ML. A bit of stats. And how to tweak FB’s ad/campaign management system. But they’re not rocket scientists. B/c rocket scientists are busy (a) building the infrastructure, and (b) using it to make FB a ton off ads internally.

    I spent a year at another Gynormous AI-driven IT company in Sili Valley, in an ML group. I was a plumbing guy, but I got to see and work with a decent number of ML/analytics folks across a number of different product areas. And the closer you get to the user/customer, the more you’re getting folks who (sure) are smart, but not particularly deeply-skilled in ML/stats. That is, they do analytics by rule-of-thumb, not by deep understanding.

    From all accounts, the Cambridge Analytica methods were revolutionary. It staggers the imagination that sales-support folk alone could have managed the integration required to take CA’s stuff and make it work with Facebook.

  66. 66
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Chet Murthy: I should have added: and if FB sales-support folks -did- do the heavy lifting, we’d have heard about it. That sort of stuff doesn’t stay secret. There’d have been no good reason for FB to send only conservative nutjobs to work with Parscale, and the FB folks would have no good reason to not brag about their work. We’d have heard by now. -Somebody- would have heard.

  67. 67
    patrick II says:

    @Chris T.:

    You must have heard the news from Panama tonight.

  68. 68
    patrick II says:

    Of course Trump is running in 2020 (barring an unlikely impeachment). He needs to be president at least eight years to make enough money by selling american favors to foreigners that he can finally get himself, and maybe Kushner, out of debt if he’s lucky and succeeds in breaking apart NATO for the Russian oligarchs And that is not meant to be a joke.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    From all accounts, the Cambridge Analytica methods were revolutionary.

    Speaking as someone who failed trigonometry, the results that CA got from the inputs they claim they had seem kind of like cold fusion. As in, I suspect that someone else gave them the data and they had to make up a story other than, The Russians gave it to us.

  70. 70
    Ruckus says:

    I’ve unfriended a number of people that I knew IRL because I found out that I didn’t really know them at all. I knew them a long time ago and we shared hobbies. And then I turned my hobby into a job so that got me exposed to an even larger number of people. In the last few years I’ve found out who they really are on FB. I think the number of unfriends is over 100 now, around a third of my previous number. I’ve also been surprised by a number of people and how liberal they are.
    You just really don’t know sometimes, who the good people are.

  71. 71

    Guy looks like a freaking serial killer.

  72. 72
    Jay says:


    “SCL’s involvement in the political world has been primarily in the developing world where it has been used by the military and politicians to study and manipulate public opinion and political will. It uses what have been called “psy ops” to provide insight into the thinking of the target audience.[4] SCL claims to have been successful to help foment coups.[5]”

  73. 73
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Mnemosyne: Mnem, it turns out, for the purposes of evaluating their work, we’re about at the same place. The only leg-up I have, is that I’ve got experience evaluating work from areas -nearby- to the supposed areas where CA did their work. And so, when that guy from Cambridge popped up, claiming that his work had been used by CA (without his permission), and had a reasonable story to go with it, it seemed plausible.

    For sure, it takes a lot of data to pull off this sort of thing. The thing is, companies like FB (and all the ad-targeting companies) are willing to sell that data to every bidder (forget “highest bidder” — every bidder). Basically, the amount of informatoin out there about you in the form of click-trail data is …. shocking. The hard part is turning it into accurate predictions of what you’ll do in a given situation. That’s where, supposedly, CA’s algorithms were world-beating (again, supposedly due to having cloned the work of this guy at Cambridge).

    [where does the data come from? Well, every place you go, there are (invisible) ‘web bugs” on pages, that feed information to third-parties who aggregate information about clicks. And so does every “facebook badge”, every “twitter badge”, etc.]

    If I had to make a bet, it’d bet that Parscale & CA were -separately- feeding the Russians info, and they were doing the heavy lifting, and using their bot armies to get the job done. I mean, the talk about Parscale crafting hundreds of tweets on his damn laptop, that’s just bollocks. It makes him out to be a mastermind, and there’s absolutely no evidence of that — none. And the thing is, it didn’t *take* much coordination, did it? Just feed the Russkies some data and advice, and let ’em rip.

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    Cacti says:

    ESPN has a story up that the joint U.S./Canada/Mexico bid for the 2026 World Cup is in serious jeopardy of losing to Morocco.

    Word is that the governing confederations of South America, Africa, and Asia are having a recent change of heart.

    I’m sure it has nothing to do with a certain orange loudmouth and his comments about “shithole countries”.

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    Central Planning says:

    @Major Major Major Major: One of my kids built an AI that would generate rap lyrics for music they were writing. They trained it with lyrics from other rappers. The output was… unimpressive. The only thing I remember about it was there was a ton of repetition in the lyrics. I think that project quickly died after that.

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    @Chet Murthy:
    What did come out is that Facebook gave the Trump campaign vastly better prices than the Clinton campaign. They claimed that Trump’s ads were better clickbait, and that defines their prices. Democrats prefer to tell the truth and that is less sensationalistic, you see. I leave it to the individual to make judgments about this reasoning and it’s believability.

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    trnc says:

    Per the theory that DT was trying to up his brand by running and never really wanted to win, maybe hiring Parscale as campaign manager is a bigger attempt to lose.

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    Iron City says:

    So the bottom line for the short fingered vulgarian is not whether he wins another term but how much lovely money he can make. And if you/he makes more by loosing the Mr. Par there may be the way.

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