Today is the first of two question days. The Democrats are said to have been collecting questions to eliminate duplicates and organize them into topics. What’s your question? Will it be asked?
Retired chemist. I've done a lot of chemistry that has to do with policy, particularly nuclear policy.
Cheryl Rofer has been a Balloon Juice writer since 2017.
There’s plenty of disinformation out there, from plenty of sources. Often it is aimed at particular demographic groups. Vietnam Veterans of America became concerned about disinformation targeted at veterans and went to the Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments to ask for help. They didn’t get any. VVA has since prepared a detailed report and testified to Congress.
Kristofer Goldsmith has done much of the organization’s investigating. An in-depth portrait of him here.
Facebook pages, Twitter and Instagram accounts, have spread memes and political commentary in the veteran community, often pro-Trump and championing veterans and denigrating liberals and minorities. Some of the accounts counterfeit the look of authentic veterans’ groups like VVA.
For instance, the Russian Internet Research Agency — a troll factory with Kremlin ties and the target of U.S. indictments and cyberattacks — bought at least 113 online ads aimed at U.S. veterans and followers of veterans advocacy groups during and after the 2016 election, according to VVA’s report.
Many pages are operated from Asia and Eastern Europe, and some even have Iranian ties, Goldsmith said. One popular page created in the United States — “Vets for Trump” — was hijacked by an administrator in North Macedonia.
One page, “Being Patriotic,” was cited in former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation as a product of the Internet Research Agency. It amassed 200,000 fans at one point, the Mueller report found. But other pages, like one focused on veterans but run from Vietnam, shared identical memes created by the IRA but with the page title cropped out.
One of the objectives seems to be to whitewash Russian and Chinese behavior to convince veterans that Russia didn’t interfere in the 2016 elections, for example. Or that ISIS was threatening military families in America.
It appears that the federal agencies don’t have any plans or programs in place to help veterans deal with this targeting.
The material targeted at veterans carries many of the same messages as other disinformation for other groups. The targeting makes it more plausible, focusing on the group’s special concerns and vulnerabilities. Other groups are targeted for their concerns and vulnerabilities.
The Washington Post article and the deep dive on Goldsmith are both worth reading. If you’re interested in how disinformation works, take a look at the report. Their focus is on veterans, but it’s relevant for all of us.
Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner
Let’s see what kind of lies and smears the Republicans can come up with today. And whether they take note of John Bolton’s book. The commentary from lawyers yesterday on my Twitter feed was that a good lawyer incorporates new material into their argument. Once again, I probably won’t be watching most of it.
Jay Sekulow up. He seems to be the ringmaster for all the President’s lawyers. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this.
The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt in particular, have gotten hold of a copy of John Bolton’s book. I am seeing reports on Twitter to expect a Washington Post story in which Bolton and his publisher deny making that book available. What. Ever.
As far as the overall story goes, there is nothing new. Trump was extorting Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelinsky to manufacture dirt on Biden and perhaps other candidates. What is new is that he said exactly that to Bolton. And Mike Pompeo knew about the campaign to remove Marie Yovanovich, and so did Mick Mulvaney. I am not surprised about any of this.
Bolton has been holding all this back to make a buck on his book. Great patriot there.
The reaction on Twitter is that now the Senate will have to call witnesses, this changes everything, yatta yatta. Seems to me the story has been clear all along, and the Republicans have managed to stick together in crime. This is just words. There’s something much worse they’re hiding, and the longer they hide it, the more essential it is to continue. Not a single one has any sense of country.
His helicopter crashed this morning. Four other people dead as well.
Or something like that.
Someone mentioned this video in a downstairs thread. Here’s an explanation from someone who studies such things.
A number of things about this are concerning. Paula White-Cain is an advisor to the President of the United States. The emphasis on evil spirits is bizarre and seems to me to indicate some disorder of psychology. The level of hate for the entire world – the seas, the animal world, human reproduction, is over the top.
The mitigating factor looks like she’s not getting much response from her audience. But they are there. We can hope that the lecture was assigned to a class on abnormal psychology.
But let’s hear from Ms. White-Cain herself:
After Adam Schiff’s magnificent summation last night, let’s see what the Republicans have to offer.
Donald Trump hit a new record for tweets yesterday – something like 130. Let’s help him beat that record!
Another long day. Let’s see if the President’s defense can come up with anything beyond lies and talking points.
Quinerly has landed in Las Vegas, NM, for a train ride. She’ll be in Santa Fe for a month – January 27 to February 27 – and we should have a meetup while she’s here. She particularly likes La Boca restaurant, so let’s start with that as the venue and, arbitrarily, the week of February 3. La Boca is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
With the new site, we have a new option. Instead of one or a few posts getting buried, you can always see what’s happening with the meetup by clicking on “Balloon Juice Meetups” under “Calling All Jackals.” The meetup information will have a link to this post, where you can comment. The Seattle meetup post is set up already, so you can see there how it works.
Also, if you’d like to meetup with Quinerly in one of her other New Mexico destinations,
- Gallup – February 27 to March 1
- Farmington – March 1 to 7
comment here, and we’ll (that is, WaterGirl will) put the information in the appropriate meetup pages.
We’re less than a year to inaugurating a Democratic President. But for now, the impeachment trial.
Looks like we could use a new thread, but I don’t have any topics. Too busy today cleaning house, shoveling snow, and paying bills. But that makes tomorrow ready for good things like practicing piano!
While I was cleaning house, I moved the kitties’ boxes and the mat in front of the door so I could clean that area. But when I wanted to clean where the boxes were,
So I cleaned the rest of the house, and only this little bit was left to vacuum. I thought for a bit they were going to move, but nah.
When I started making my supper with ham, they decided to come in the kitchen and beg. That gave me the chance to finish vacuuming and put things back in order.
The National Archives has an exhibit on suffrage and women’s protests. A big photo of the Women’s March greets visitors. But some things are missing. Criticism of Trump is blurred out. References to women’s anatomy (OMG vagina!) are blurred out.
Let’s hear from the reporter.
Historians and museum curators have been unanimous in saying that the National Archives should not be in the business of altering documents. Most of us can recognize that, just from that sentence.
The National Archives listened!
Kudos to the National Archives!
And open thread!
Started, they have, the disinformation wars.
Michael McFaul, the US Ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration, warns us that the disinformation will be flowing thick and fast during the impeachment trial. He points out three tactics:
- Deny facts
- Deflect attention, also known as “whataboutism”
- Disseminate lies
The net of all this is to make us feel that nothing matters, that there is no such thing as truth. Watch for Republicans to do this and for it to be amplified by bots and trolls (my collective term for automated and other troublemakers) on social media, the unthinking media, and your friends and relatives.
Don’t let the argument degenerate to “Well, that’s your opinion.” There are facts, and we need to keep pounding them.
Also, read the whole thing.
Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner