Who’s a Russian Asset?

Mark Zuckerberg was once again pilloried in Congress. How many companies in the Libra association are headed by LGBTQ people? Isn’t it true that Libra is a project of white men? What are you doing for African Americans whose lives you have ruined? Do you discuss white supremacy at your far right dinner parties? And, of course, overlaying all of this was the idea of Russian interference.

Ironically, one of the goals of the Russians was to enhance US grievances and elevate identity politics. Most notably, some of the most successful Black Lives Matter memes and tweets were created by the Russians. As the NYTimes wrote:

“The most prolific I.R.A. efforts on Facebook and Instagram specifically targeted black American communities and appear to have been focused on developing black audiences and recruiting black Americans as assets,” the report says.…The report says that while “other distinct ethnic and religious groups were the focus of one or two Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts, the black community was targeted extensively with dozens.” In some cases, Facebook ads were targeted at users who had shown interest in particular topics, including black history, the Black Panther Party and Malcolm X. The most popular of the Russian Instagram accounts was @blackstagram, with 303,663 followers.

The Internet Research Agency also created a dozen websites disguised as African-American in origin, with names like blackmattersus.com, blacktivist.info, blacktolive.org and blacksoul.us. On YouTube, the largest share of Russian material covered the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, with channels called “Don’t Shoot” and “BlackToLive.”

…Of 81 Facebook pages created by the Internet Research Agency in the Senate’s data, 30 targeted African-American audiences, amassing 1.2 million followers.

The fact that Black Lives Matter was promoted by the Russians doesn’t detract from their legitimate goals. Nevertheless, one can imagine the Russians chortling at how successful their attacks have been. Mark Zuckerberg is one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs, the creator of Facebook, a world-dominant firm, a firm that the Russians and Chinese fear and instead of rejoicing in America’s success, America’s political class are seeking to take Facebook and its CEO down through the petty politics of identity.

Who’s a Russian asset?


"America’s political class are seeking to take Facebook and its CEO down through the petty politics of identity."

No, no one is dragging him into this. Mr. Zuckerberg is willing to get into the the petty politics of identity.

What's the name of Novartis' CEO? Or ExxonMobil? I have no idea because some CEOs actually focus on their CEO job.

Remember this FB post of Zuck and the 2017 roadtrip?

"My personal challenge for 2017 is to have visited and met people in every state in the US by the end of the year. I've spent significant time in many states already, so I'll need to travel to about 30 states this year to complete this challenge. After a tumultuous last year, my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they're living, working and thinking about the future." https://m.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10103385178272401

After that, there were innumerable headlines of Zuck 2020 and ambiguous answers. So, no one is dragging him into the swamp, he wants it.

Get PSC Result 2019

Novartis and ExxonMobil didn't have 25-year-old billionaire CEOs with major Hollywood movies made about them.

Surely you don't believe those movies were the cause of, and not an effect of, Zuck's antics.

The Democratic Party's strategy is to assemble a Coalition of the Margins to outnumber Core Americans. The obvious problems is that the Democrats' fringes don't have much in common and don't like each other. Therefore, their mouthpieces, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, try to unify the Democrats' diverse elements by encouraging hatred of white men as the Emmanuel Goldsteins of The Current Year.

Hostile outsiders would have to be crazy not to pile on to encourage what the American prestige media is trying to do.

" The obvious problems is that the Democrats' fringes don't have much in common and don't like each other."

This became crystal clear when the womans march ate its own.

Yes, it’s a high ROI. There are persistent reports of Russian support for US anti-fracking groups, for instance, which is a two-fer, it damages the US economically and tends to drive up the price of oil sold by the Russians.

It’s not a new thing. They provide support to the Vietnam era US anti-war groups, much as the US supported Cold War era dissidents in Poland. It’s cheap to cause trouble.

The Dems have not been wise to spend the last three years -- and five more are coming -- blaming their Presidential Election losses on "the Russians."

The Russians support everything the Dems do. And now we're gonna have eight straight years of hearing that the Russians are Enemy #1. Even the apolitical will wonder why their demands are always aligned.

I didn't know about the extent of their targeting of African-Americans, but in retrospect this sort of thing makes much more sense than that they actually cared about electing Trump.

They didn't care about Trump. Ads ran when he looked like the least electable. When he became the nominee, they funded protest rallies against him.

New Studies Show Pundits Are Wrong About Russian Social-Media Involvement in US Politics
Far from being a sophisticated propaganda campaign, it was small, amateurish, and mostly unrelated to the 2016 election.
By Aaron Maté


Gee, thanks for calling me "marginal". Never mind my ancestors were likely here before yours, especially if family tales of a Native great great grandfather are true, but if not the 1640s are still pretty early. Oh, and a collateral ancestor signed the Declaration, and another died for the Union in the Civil War.
Tell you what, I won't call out Trump fans as racist deplorables if you folks drop this jerkery about "marginal Anericans". I belong here at least as much any the rest of you.

The "marginals" purported marginal status is their claim to validation. Otherwise they'd call themselves Americans or the Silent Majority or something else to put them in the mainstream. So it's not Sailer's term; it's the Fringes' term for themselves.

if family tales of a Native great great grandfather are true

Wow--that's an impressive blood quantum! Who's your Spirit Animal?

When you lot stop calling Democrats "marginal/fake/not-real Americans", then maybe they'll stop making you cry with mean words calling you "deplorable"

I do not think they are crying over it. They appropriated it and celebrated the lack of good political sense on the part of the people who coined and used the term deplorable as a catch-all term.

Steve you fall into the trap of identity politics when class warfare aka income/wealth inequality is the real issue. The Democratic party is very much run by rich white men (Gates, Buffett, Bezos) just like the Republicans (Koch, Trump, Mercer, Adelson).

So what's the solution to Russian nihlism and cynicism?

I suggest pampering us with money, so that the next generations are no longer cynical or nihilistic. Any generation that lived through 90s cannot be salvaged from nihilistic outlook.

I'm calling Homeland Security.

I am a big Putin fan. Where to I register to become an official Russian asset?

Of course, Russians use Facebook as its primary platform for spreading falsehoods because Facebook has more users than any other social medium. My view about Russian meddling is that a significant number of Americans are sufficiently ignorant on their own they don't need Russians to misinform them: the problem is with ignorant Americans not Russian dissemblers. Even after they have been informed that they are being misinformed, ignorant Americans continue to believe the misinformation. And are proud of it!

To paraphrase Mark Twain, if you don't watch CNN you are not informed, if you do, you are misinformed.

I'm not sure where the Russians got the most bang for the buck though. The dossier was probably a better investment than the facebook ads.

Regulation of Facebook should be similar to what was done with the cigarette industry in the early 1960s with the advent of the first warning labels. Other than the design of a nice warning splash page that appears when one logs in to their Facebook account, not much else needs to be done. I'll leave it to loyal MR readers to come up with what the warning might look like but this might get the ball rolling:

"The website you are about to visit may contain unverifiable information that is hazardous to your ability to think clearly."

Disclosure: I've never had a Facebook account nor intend to.

Full disclosure: I'm a Russian asset. My real name is Peni Yakmiov and I'm posting from Crimea.

The fact that Black Lives Matter was promoted by the Russians doesn’t detract from their legitimate goals. Nevertheless, one can imagine the Russians chortling at how successful their attacks have been.

What a dilemma! If the Left promotes its identity politics (like it's done with ever-escalating insanity since the 1960's), they're doing exactly what the chortling Russians want! If the Left stands down and Trump is re-elected and continues to reduce the flow of neurosurgeons and software engineers from Central America, their triumph is complete!

Can anyone link me to this material? Because I'd like to deploy it myself to insure Trump's re-election. Apparently, it doesn't take much.

I Am Spartacus.

I'm That Baby's Daddy


I am pencil

Hey, your troll is too obvious. There is no such name as "Peni" in Russian language, and the surname is written Yakimov (there is no such thing as Yakmiov). As a Russian I always find it funny, that you can't be bothered to google for something more believable.

Don't listen to this guy, he's the troll.

I think it was obvious that what he said was tongue-in-cheek. Also, he has a pretty well known blog of his own.

The farce you link to is the inevitable result of immigration and the promotion of sexual deviants. How you could have talked yourself into believing this would turn out any differently than it has is something your should ask yourself.

More importantly, who's a Chinese asset?

In Other News: "Hillary Clinton Escorted From Costco After Repeatedly Accusing Sample Lady Of Being A 'Russian Asset.'"

FAKE NEWS! Hillary wouldn't be caught dead shopping with the hoi polloi in a Costco.

The problem with Facebook is that people want a news on that platform, but the platform opens itself up for non-news sourcing.

Facebook should adopt a News section, just like Apple News, which limits itself to recognized and widely published news organizations.

Then, it can have a separate category for others (non-news orgs, interest groups claiming to be news orgs, etc.) and for postings which are political ads. In fact, Facebook could require compensated posts to disclose themselves as political ads and cause the ad sponsor to identify itself.

Bots, disguised political ads (which could not be accepted today on TV or radio without disclosure) would be captured by this disclosure.

FWIW they’re either implementing these or already have.

The political ads disclosure part is the subject of current legislation, so it has not been implemented. The News section is under discussion but has not been implemented because of rights negotiations.

No this has been addressed. Why listen to politicians when they’re always full of bs?


Political ads are stored in a database with the funding group identified. This is a solved problem.

I checked the Facebook link, but you might want to look at current legislative proposals that address the issue: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honest_Ads_Act

Thanks for pointing it out.

Here is the link to the legislation: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1989

Skeptic, According to this article, Facebooks policy is defective: if you forward the article, the disclosures disappear and there is no link back to the database.


So what is the difference? Recognized and widely published news organizations aren't reliable. They don't have people on the ground reporting anymore, they can't afford to. Rational people watch and read the news from these sources, wait three days then figure out whether what they read has any connection to reality.

This isn't 1950 anymore. There aren't three networks and a bunch of vibrant local newspapers with massive advertising cashflows that could fund the journalistic side of the business. There remains husks of once influential institutions that are scrambling to survive.

Congress, and politicians and hanger's on in general have all grown up and built their networks of influence and careers on being able to survive and thrive in a media environment that doesn't exist anymore. Of course they want to blame the Russians or someone else, anyone else except themselves when they are blindsided by events they didn't see coming because their means of gathering information has collapsed.

Thread winner!

derek's comment is a Thread loser. -1

If you want to learn about the disinformation and threats to journalism, I would recommend the Harvard/MIT Berkman Institute as a source of information on this subject: https://cyber.harvard.edu Also, you might look at materials at the Knight Foundation.

Hi mouse!

No, it is still the thread winner.

Almost every sentence he wrote is true with the possible exception of "...don't have people on the ground reporting anymore ... ". I think they have some on the ground but certainly fewer than in the past. You would have to live under a rock to not know traditional journalism is in decline. Furthermore, almost all "news " organizations have chosen a side and pander to their subscribers for money, most egregiously the big alphabet media companies.

Yours is the thread loser. - 10^6


It's your opinion, unbacked by anything but your opinion. But, I think you and Derek give it away when you refer, in reference to and comparison of real journalism, that "their means of gathering information has collapsed." and "recognized news organizations aren't reliable..."

What has collapsed is not the gathering of information, but the substitution of opinion for information without reference to facts.

I cited my authorities, but you had nothing to offer in terms of information or authority, other than your opinion, for what that's worth. I don't take your opinion seriously, however.

Support journalist. Learn to separate fact from opinion.

"What has collapsed is not the gathering of information, but the substitution of opinion for information without reference to facts."

You are half correct - opinion has replaced facts. Had you read for comprehension you would know I meant that when I wrote " ... almost all "news " organizations have chosen a side and pander to their subscribers for money ...". Maybe you aren't very bright or your head is full of rebuttals while you are reading.

As for the authorities, maybe you haven't been paying attention but we are tired of so called authorities, including eggheaded professors at MIT, unless they are talking about quantum mechanics.

An appeal to authority is good evidence that YOU know your arguments have failed.

I done with you for now.


You, evidently, are the only "authority", and pointing to others who are, including your derisively termed "egghead" professors, only underscores your inability to respond.

Using terms like egghead, not very bright, and being tired of authorities, or even derisively referring to authorities as a weakness is a sign of anti-intellectualism, and an abandonment of reason.

Learn how to engage in civil discussion. If you don't, I will respond in a way that you understand.

If you want to read more:

Here's the book you can read by some eggheads: "Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion" by Prantkanis and Aronson. It is required reading in some mass communications courses. It shows how tactics appealing to emotion are overcoming rational discussion and fact based mass communication.

They weren't all that accurate or careful in 1950, either--there just weren't a lot of alternatives or ways to check up on them.

In case you are interested, here is a link to a Berkman Klein (Harvard/MIT) study of disinformation and using AI to address it: https://cyber.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/2019-10/2019AIMediaInformationQualityOnePager.pdf

"Mark Zuckerberg is one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs" on what metric?

I would never rate the person as such unless one required me to limit the assessment to only pecuniary metrics. The world really is not a better place due to FB or Zuckerberg's goal or making everyone's private lives public or his companies property to sell.

"The world really is not a better place" on what metric?

I am deeply skeptical of Facebook, the influence it has on the world, and the way Zuckerberg has handled the issues that have emerged. And yet the lowest common denominator strain of modern liberal thought has actually managed to make me sympathize with the guy.

That kind of thing seems to be happening a lot lately. Forget the alt-right; liberals are their own worst enemy. By far.

+1. Not only in this case, it's pretty much with everything since Trump was elected. Liberals are the only reason I will still end up voting for Trump. I mean, look at their lineup of candidates. That is truly amazing (not in a good way)


The left is not liberal in any sense of the word. They have hijacked the word. The left is closed minded, dogmatic, authoritarian, vengeful, and even violent. Consider the ironically named leftist gang Antifa - it is not anti-fascist, it is fascist.

What does "who's a russian asset" even mean? There's nothing wrong in being russian, in fact the best literature and music and maths and chess is in big part russian. So you seem to be aware of the abundant bullshit in the whole debate, why don't you just reject it's very premises.

"Russian asset" means in this context "asset of the Russian government", not "representative of the Russian culture". Since most of us here, of various political views otherwise, do not like very much the current Russian government, yes, we can take as a common premise that yes, there is something wrong in being a Russian asset.

Perhaps that's why ,a href="https://nailheadtom.blogspot.com/2019/04/book-thrown-at-russian-spy.html">Maria Butina is still in the joint. Yankees just can't be too careful.

... U.S. Democrat leftists are waging a culture-war -- and have been successfully doing so for two generations.
Their Cultural-Marxism model was highly successful in establishing the Soviet government via the aggressive, authoritarian Bolshevik political minority

As everyone knows, the Bolsheviks seized power by seeking safe spaces and complaining about Kerenky's microaggressions. You know, instead of raising an Army (or rather taking the one which already existed) and, you know, actually seizing power.

And, if the Bolsheviks were a minority (which they were), what was the Russian nobility and land owners?

Some soviet propaganda campaign successes live on. That much of the population of the West has a hysterical fear of nuclear power is one example.

Institutions live on too: in Britain the National Council for Civil Liberties was a communist front organisation; it lives on under the name Liberty. Whether it now gets Russian support I have no idea.

In the US it should be easy to identify Russian agents. Uranium? Or perhaps it's inaccurate to think of some people as Russian agents when they are on sale to anyone with enough money.

Are there any agreed-upon examples of Russian propaganda taking hold with the American right? Many of the examples you hear about are suspiciously like things you would expect Russian socialists to favor and things you would expect American socialists to favor, in parallel and without any coordination. So they don't work as incontrovertible evidence of interference.

Now the anti nuclear power movement is an example of something so obviously irrational even for the left (Especially for the left? It's clean, centralized, government controlled, subject to ample graft, large scale. It's actually kind of weird that the right likes it. The left should be its principle advocate!) that it makes sense to interpret it as a propaganda success. Anti frakking might be in the same ballpark.

Are there right wing examples?

By fear of "nuclear power," do you mean fear of nuclear weapons? If Soviet propaganda is really responsible for that we should thank it. Fearing nuclear war is highly rational and salutary.

Or did you have in mind nuclear power stations? In this case the opposite is true: hysterical fear of nuclear power was mostly caused by anti-Soviet propaganda. Specifically, all the hysteria around Chernobyl accident, which was portrayed as far worse than it was in reality in order to indict the Soviet system. E.g. see the recent HBO series.

"Hillary Clinton Suggests Tulsi Gabbard Is A "Russian Asset," Being "Groomed" For Third-Party Run"


HC is either a nut or an evil genius that knows the left will believe her crazy conspiracy theories. Neither option is good.

I don't think Mrs, Clinton is important anymore.

These were good points by Alex, but I think partisan responses miss the general pattern. Any real problem, dare I say grievance, may be reduced to nonsense by demagoguery. L

And reverse (partisan) demagoguery as a response is not terribly productive.

In this case a steady attention to workplace discrimination might be better centered in the House Committee on Education and Labor.


But I have to say Alex, if you ask who is the BIGGEST Russian asset, we know the answer to that one. And it will matter more when in 5 or 50 years than who asked some dumb and embarrassing questions at one hearing.

(all in all a very unique take-away on a busy week of news)

Gabbard and Yang are the only two candidates raising pertinent questions but the Democrats want to talk about Big Bad YT instead. Just as well.

Liberalism has no limiting principle, unfortunately.

She's pleasant. She's currently polling at 1.3% or thereabouts, so that's not where the Democratic electorate's heart is. (She's also never held an executive position)

Gabbard and Yang have stated policy goals. Democratic voters have no interest in that. They're interested in candidates who grant them emotional validation by promising to be abusive to elements of the political opposition. No clue how we're supposed to navigate an environment when one of the major political parties is a malevolent criminal organization and it's electoral base wants that.

I think more and more Americans want a real change and meaningful leadership. And the word is now clearly getting out. This is the time to turn this election around and win it.

It's going a bit far to call the Republican Party "a malevolent criminal organization". That's more Trump's thing, and he's not really a Republican.

The notion that Trump isn't really a Republican is vintage 2016. In what meaningful way has the rest of the Republican leadership opposed or seriously pushed back on Trump? The tacit agreement is that Trump can do or say whatever he wants as long as he delivers tax cuts and conservative Supreme Court justices. He has delivered those and therefore experiences very little meaningful opposition from powerful people within the party. Lindsey "My party has gone batshit crazy" Graham and Mick Mulvaney were once vocal Trump opponents. Look at them now.

It’s getting to look like Charles Barkley and some of the NBA are Chinese assets and Tim Cook, too, since he’s become chairman of a board of a Chinese university.

"Who’s a Russian asset?"

Who isn't a Russian asset? Isn't all in the eye of the beholder?

I suspect most are closer to meme-bots mindlessly running a script created by the Russian government. "Asset," imho, implies some level of knowledge/intent.

I guess my point is that *everyone* is a Russian asset based on the beholder's perception of a person's actions and/or impact aligning with the beholder's understanding of Russia's interest. See Hillary's comments on Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein. The charge of being a Russian Asset is now closer to being a meme in my opinion - it's been so watered down by ridiculous McCarthyist charges that it has less meaning.

Actions speak louder than words, darlink.

Prediction: if it is true that “Russian bots” supported left wing causes then the the entire class of stories will be forgotten by the media (and by extension the people) and they will take up some other nonsense smear job.

The enemy of the people.

The Russians are wasting their money. In a multiracial country, each one votes for his race. Blacks will vote like a block for blacks, without any encouragement. Russians achieve the opposite of their goal: Frightened Whites move to the right. Sowing chaos and confusion distracts the masses from the real issue.

The flat-earthers have arrived, I see.

Troll denied.

Wow, you really got me there.

Since there's no such thing as race, I call African-Americans "Democrats," since 95% of "Democrats" vote Democrat.

The quote about multiracial societies is Lew Kuan Yew's and the USA is one. Most countries are. Still don't get why you are denying the obvious.

He was supporting you. Talk about friendly fire lol

Blacks have been voting for whites for many years, and whites voted for Obama.

Good attempt at race baiting.

Obama was both black and white.

Obama was the ideal black candidate for public office in that he identifies as black but looks suspiciously white, which, of course he is. His election was the single most racist political event in US history, maybe even world history, since he received the Nobel Peace Prize for convincing enough Yankees to vote for him. Or it may simply been the turn for a Chicago legislator to win one.

As usual, your link doesn't say what you assert it does. In fact, it says the opposite (e.g., "analyses in studies ... show natural clustering of humans into broadly continental groups based on their DNA"). Although they then try to sow some confusion, nothing they say in any way contradicts this.

Popular "race categories" are real and useful. Otherwise, wouldn't it be absolutely inexcusable malpractice that medical risk profiles are generated on that basis? If races are not meaningful, why are they so meaningful in determining medical risk factors?

Even if it were true that race had no genetic basis (which it is not), obviously there are cultural and social differences between the races. So in that respect your entire comment is a non sequitur.

No, that's not what the piece said. That's grasping at fractional truths to scaffold a terrible belief system.

These pieces are always a little silly. "Population structure is real; racial groupings are not real" - well, duh, they're abstractions that work a million times better than "There are no levels of structure between the village and the human race". If there's a better model - propose it. But these people are never interested in models that allow people to better understand the structure of humanity and better place people into groups; they're more interested in creating a sense that everyone belongs in one big group, whether its more accurate or not.

Now, the most speculative thing that can be done in human genetics is to claim "IQ scores are heritable" as they say, such that a dumb White man is genetically dumber than a smart White man, but an equally dumb Black must be genetically smarter than he seems (which must be the case if between group differences are non-genetic). To say this is racist in its extreme, presupposing some sort of superiority of the Black individual that is not evident in any way in his achieved scores.

Yet this is exactly the corollary of what self described anti-racists would propose - that Americans who are Black and White with equal IQ scores actually have different genetic IQ, with the Black individuals being superior. In order to evade a group difference, they have to invent a non-existent genetic superiority of individuals who are apparently equal in their realized accomplishment.

Imagine if we proposed that, when comparing Jewish Americans and Italian Americans of equal apparent achieved IQ, the Italians must in fact be genetically superior to apparently equal Jewish individuals, in order to square the circle of different group IQs. Such a thing would be seen as quite ethnically biased in favour of the Italians, and probably a nakedly racist act. And yet this is exactly what "anti-racists" seem to claim for Blacks and Whites.
The "racists" claim only that Black and White individuals of the same IQ have roughly similar genetic intelligence, whatever it means for group differences, while it's the "anti-racists" who claim that of Black and White individuals with the same IQ, Black individuals are secretly genetically superior.

So you’re a racist neo-Nazi. At least we know where you stand.

There is no difference. There are no races, that’s been proven by SCIENCE. However due to racism we need to use race as a category for affirmative action.

anon, you lack honesty. Nothing written above is close to what the Nazis believed. They certainly did not believe that Whites and Blacks of equal realised IQ had roughly equal genetic intelligence.

Their position was close to the inverse of what Barney et all believe, which is that Blacks have higher true genetic intelligence than matched White counterparts. This is, of course, racism with no scientific basis, but Birney et SL embrace it in order to "save" the notion that there are no group genetic differences in the trait.

Consider the contrast of the Birney et al position with the hardcore Marxist anti-racist left: These proclaim that IQ is merely a bourgeois construct, so groups differences or individual differences are inherently meaningless. It's "IQ is bunk" Soviet pseudo-science nonsense, but at least it's consistently anti-racist.

But the Birney et al position that differences within a group (not a "race") are heritable and genetic but between groups are non-heritable and non-genetic requires the imposition of the idea that of an apparently equal IQ European and Chinese man, the European is secretly superior to the Chinese man in his genetically linked IQ variants. Not exactly an anti-racist position and probably one that would support discrimination against Chinese, against their "merit"!

Change "European" to "Black" and "Chinese" to "White" in the preceding paragraph and nothing changes in substance.

"Who’s a Russian Asset?"

Alex, no mention of Hillary Clinton calling Jill Stein and Tulsi Gabbard Russian assets? This seems pretty remarkable given your headline and that the Clinton interview was only a week ago.

"Like her attack on Tulsi Gabbard, Hillary Clinton’s accusation that I am a “Russian asset” is a ludicrous, unhinged conspiracy theory with no basis in fact. It’s also an attempt to deflect attention from the role of Clinton’s campaign in her own defeat. This desperate blame game is not an encouraging sign that the Democratic party will muster a winning strategy to oust the disastrous Trump administration in 2020. Equally alarming, the Clinton camp’s attempts to shift responsibility for their electoral failure to “Russian assets” has fueled a new era of McCarthyism - a toxic brew of warmongering, political repression and censorship now poisoning our public discourse."


Were you afraid to get into the controversy or did you just consider Clinton's comments to be so delusional as not to merit a response?

You may take the position that you disagree with Clinton and others (below), but "delusional?" No. It's a legitimate attempt to digest available evidence.

Tulsi Gabbard is being used by the Russians, and to a former us double agent, the evidence is clear

Should We Be Worried About Candidates Accepting Donations from ‘Russophiles’?

There is no reason whatsoever to believe there is any link whatsoever between Representative Gabbard and the Russian regime. Quite the opposite indeed. Suffices to say, she harshly criticized the Syrian regime, which is widely known to be staunchly supported by Russia.

I don't actually think that you are a Russian troll, I think you just get personal kicks clouding the issues in a "nothing matters anymore" way.

You say "she harshly criticized the Syrian regime" but I think you know:

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) talks often about her January 2017 trip to Syria, when she met Bashar al-Assad, toured Aleppo after it had been reduced to rubble (by the Assad regime), and interviewed Syrian civilians and the regime-approved “opposition,” who unanimously told her Assad was a better option for Syria than the “terrorists.”

You do it for kicks. Which is pretty sad in its own way.

What's amusing is if Trump had said exactly what Clinton did say, your position would be the exact opposite of what it is.

And yes she did harshly criticize the Syrian regime:

"2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said Thursday evening that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is a "brutal dictator," just a day after Sen. Kamala Harris said the Hawaii congresswoman had embraced Assad.

During an interview with CNN, host Chris Cuomo called on Gabbard to "acknowledge that Basha al-Assad is murderous despot."

"I don't dispute anything that you're saying there. He's a brutal dictator, just like Saddam Hussein, just like Gadhafi in Libya," replied Gabbard, who is an Iraq War veteran."


Assuming that you follow the news, you know her 2-step. She says (when pushed) "brutal dictator" but then turns around:

On Thursday, Gabbard maintained that the reason she has been outspoken about ending "wasteful regime-change wars is because I have seen firsthand this high human cost of war and the impact that it has on my fellow brothers and sisters in uniform."

It is a fabrication, and a Russian/Syrian talking point, that this is a US-instigated attempt at "regime change."

The reality was that Assad faced an Arab-Spring insurrection and civil war, one that broke down barriers and intersected with out own conflict with radical Islam, leading to the creating and (momentary) dominance of ISIS. In that we chose sides, including for (perhaps the long shot at) democracy.

Now you may say this extreme isolationism is heartfelt, but many take the strategic view that it is an American withdrawal, and an extension of the Russian sphere of influence. Not to mention that it does kiss off any protection for human rights within Assad's Syria.

LOL, anonymous just got his sock puppets screwed up and outed himself. Good job genius.

I have no idea what just happened in your mind, but I'd suggest you take it as a danger signal.

So your position is that any U.S. politician who does not want to fight Russia in Syria is a Russian asset, or what? Any politician who is in favor of any policy that Russia likes is a Russian asset?

You shouldn't take my word for it. You should read the "I was a double agent" piece for more nuance.

It's simple. There are two kinds of Americans: those on board with the Forever Wars and Russian Assets.

In a weird way that's the false dichotomy Trump has chosen.

"If we don't want Forever War we must yield to Putin."

She also arms shipments withheld to Ukraine, and the advice given that they should just make peace with Putin.

To be rude about it, Tulsi and Donald are united that Syrian Christians, etc., should now just suffer their own fate.

"To be rude about it, Tulsi and Donald are united that Syrian Christians, etc., should now just suffer their own fate."

So you obviously believe US Troops should be deployed to protect Syrian Christians. Where else around the world should US Troops be deployed to protect Christians?

Hmm. So, let me get this straight. You see absolutely no difference between our allies in the fight against ISIS and just random Christians around the world?

I don't believe in the Forever War. The US never made a commitment to stay in Syria for decades. Indeed, it was foolish to go in in the first place.

Explain to me how USA security is better off with our troops in Syria? Why US troop should die to support "allies" who weren't allies before our troops were there?

I do feel a little regret with regards to the Kurds, because they have been our allies for decades. However, that's mostly a fight between two of our allies, the Turks and the Kurds. How many American's should die to prevent the Turks and Kurds from killing each other?

There's absolutely no legitimate reason for anyone, even Tulsi Gabbard, to personally meet and discuss things with a much-maligned foreign dictator that eats babies for breakfast. What good could come of it? Wouldn't it be better for her to be like others and simply accept whatever the government and media tootle about any particular mal hechor rather than dignify his obscene existence with a personal conversation. After all, FDR has been consigned to the dustbin of history for his conversations with Stalin.

"There is no reason"

That's not his strong point.

You can take Putin out of your name, but not apparently, your heart.

There was plenty in both my links to reasonably discuss, but if you go ad hominem, you got nuthin'

You are spreading an awful lot of misinformation in this thread.

The Christian Broadcasting Network is not a reliable source of information for anything, let alone Syria. AFAIK they have a total of zero reporters on the ground there.

Tulsi Gabbard is many things but a Russian asset is not one of them. Hillary retracted that statement within 48 hours and now insists she meant Republicans. Gabbard did visit Syria and spoke with Assad and she left convinced that Assad was the lesser of many evils. Apparently no one bothered to brief her that Assad intentionally released thousands and thousands of Jihadis from prison knowing this would poison the well of legitimate insurgency against his regime. This is now a fait accompli as far as the west is concerned.

To Gabbard’s claim about regime change wars, Operation Timber Sycamore ran for almost six years. So yes, we were actively a part of overthrowing the Assad regime for several years, in an operation akin to Operation Cyclone in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Almost all of the weapons, including TOW missiles ended up in the hands of Islamic extremist groups.

Here is Bernard Hudson, the former director of counterterrorism at the CIA on Syria:


Which neatly corroborates literally everything I’ve said about the subject here. Lot of armchair experts, hopefully you’ll at least listen to Hudson.

Oh, and claiming Assad is the biggest threat to religious minorities in Syria is about as wrong as a claim as has been made. He is a threat to everyone but as far as religious minorities specifically, he’s near the bottom of the pack of evils.

The safety of Christians seems to be a contested issue.

New allegations that Assad is behind attacks on Christians undercuts 'protector' narrative

I can agree with Hudson. That piece does dovetail with much I've said. It's just where you place your emphasis.

While the current administration’s handling of the withdrawal of U.S. troops was poorly executed (to say the least), it was inevitable the United States would withdraw.

I just choose to say more than the least. This was a bonehead move that better men are now trying to patch up into something sensible, and that does not end in genocide.

That dovetails with absolutely nothing you have said. It contradicts essentially every comment you have made about Syria, here and in the previous threads. That is a prima facie absurd attempt at gaslighting.

You’ve now linked to the Washington Examiner, a far right wing tabloid that also erroneously claimed this week that 67% of Americans believe we are reaching civil war. Just stop.

Stop spreading disinformation. Linking to tabloids and the CBN is irresponsible and by the way the total number of reporters on the ground between the two ‘outlets’ Is zero.


That's funny. They blame me when I link the New York Times. They blame me when I link the Washington Examiner.

And here I thought I was being even handed.

Who is this mysterious ‘they’? Here are your comments from the Syria thread. Xyzzy, if memory serves.


For giving my professional take you I believe you accused me of being a Russian asset and a liar.

Now that I’ve been shown to be correct you gaslight and pretend you agreed the entire time. Then link tabloids to throw doubt as to the consensus.

You’re wrong and have been the entire time. I’m done.

No, I just think of you as being a weird dude. Probably an academic so caught up in dusty books and sterile tides of history that individual lives, like the ones we were talking about on that day, don't matter so much.

Civilians die on the road I say? Well, in the great sweep of history that's nothing, you say.

Academic, that’s a new one. From Russian asset with a nefarious agenda to weird academic with dusty books. Wrong on both counts. I was pretty explicit about my profession, to which you linked tweets and called me a liar in response.

Maybe you can link to InfoWars next, or Breitbart. Washington Times is still around too. Plenty of Neo-cons still have Twitter so that’s also an option.

Recap: anonymous has posted numerous nonsense comments where he vehemently disagreed with an actual expert in the field. He’s wrong throughout and then declares his opponent a spy for Russia.

After he’s been proven incorrect he pretends he was right all along even though his comment history shows him to be a misinformed homeless man shouting on the street.

After that he pretends his enemies are academics in an ivory tower who don’t understand the real world. This accusation is leveled against a self professed combat veteran who works in the national security and intelligence industry.

How do you guys keep falling for Thiago..seriously.

Obviously Basil = Thiago. Indeed Thiago has dozens of sockpuppets at this point. But I didn't realize that anonymous was actually Thiago until he outed his self above. That's interesting.

Fake Brazilian, Fake Californian, Fake American.... Who knows, maybe he really is a paid Russian troll? It's kind of funny.

The question is, is it your malfunction, or your attempt at the ultimate troll?

Again, I always use the same email, and the hosts can always see who I am. No idea if Thiago, or indeed you, give the hosts that courtesy.

"Fake Brazilian, Fake Californian, Fake American...."
Many Americans are considered Californians and all Californians are donsidered Americans.

anonymous has been Thiago the entire time?

Omfg. I’m not even mad, I’m just impressed.

Yep, he is very skillful.

Seriously, no one is going to simply point out that these lines of questioning are irrelevant to the case, not reaching enough relevant ears to be influential (even if the voter base persuadable by such questions would be large enough) and counterproductive in reinforcing the ideological divides?

I'm a European and have little stake in these politics, but these questions, and these comments here, are inane.

I'm European, too, and we have huge stakes in the US cultural and political process, because we are on the receiving end of cultural trends starting in the US. The diversity craze and so on. Sure, we are very receptive to it because of cultural similarities and because some of it bubbles up autonomously in our own countries (French Po-Mos, Fabian socialists etc), but it is in the US that these trends go mainstream and find the constituencies, funding and moral authority backed by state and quasi-state institutions to go out into the world to proselytize.

It is our fight. Our enemies weaponized our petty squabbles.

+1, great link

The fact that Black Lives Matter was promoted by the Russians doesn’t detract from their legitimate goals.

They don't have any legitimate goals. The rhetoric draws on a sociological fiction: the notion that white-on-black violence is a salient and systematic problem in this country and a second (and quite malicious) fiction that holds that cops are trigger happy. The cultural reality they draw on is the prejudice (on the part of gentry liberals) that ordinary people and cops as agents of ordinary people are getting above themselves by imposing community standards on gentry liberals' preferred mascots, as well as the prejudice (on the part of many blacks) that cops being deplorable are getting above themselves by imposing community standards on blacks. (See, for example, the liberal discourse about George Zimmerman, who is depicted as deserving a beating because he called a non-emergency dispatcher to report a youth ambling around his subdivision was behaving suspiciously).

Indeed. Attracting would-be Russian manipulator and propagandists is bad, but by no means "fatal", for any legitimate movement, since the effect of such Russian efforts is rather weak, and in any case, they might be quite wrong about what is actually bad for their opponents, since they seem to be systematically wrong about how to run a state and how to run a foreign policy, it doesn't seem improbable. And Russian "cyber warfare" is probably just mostly a grift on the Putin Establishment by techies.

What is more "fatal" for Black Lives Matter is that its central claim just isn't true. At all. Anti-Black racism doesn't explain anything about police violence, while quantitative factors which are not inherently racial, even if correlated with race, explain almost everything.

At this point, who isn't a Russian asset.

What we saw was business as usual. The hearings are used by the Congresspeople to offer questions that can be used as soundbites in the media. The question is often portentous and ominous, but not really supposed to be answered.

There's no way Zuckerberg was supposed to answer the questions because, if he did, people would wonder why he knew that. He was supposed to appear dumbfounded, apparently to make him appear a bigot, instead of someone actually perplexed as to why anyone would ask such a question. A cheap trick that often works. It did in this case.

As a historian, I would say Joyce Beatty. She is introducing the style of the Soviet show-trials of the 1930s into the congress.

I am surprised no one mentioned this article were the question of who is and who is not Russian asset is considered in minute details:


It's even more amusing for the Democrats to attempt to classify Jill Stein as a Russian asset. It's a transparent bid to preemptively knock out a third party candidate on the Left before she can even run. And it's pretty terrible that most of the main stream media didn't begin to defend the obviously ridiculous accusation. If Trump had made such a crazy comment the counter editorials would be Legion.

Boomer: Man, I remember that time in '16 when I was about to vote for Hillary but then I saw that meme on Facebook and I just changed my mind to Trump.

Alex, I thought politics weren't your shtick? Do you happen to recall when Hillary never bothered to campaign in key battleground states she lost in, such as WI and MI? Did Putin change her travel plans?

And if the Russians supposedly could subvert US democracy with the reported sum of $100k in ads, what does that say about the ROI and planning of the Hillary campaign?

How many eyeballs was that compared to the almost $1bn Clinton blitz and the near tacit support of the MSM?

And the moral of the story is that Putin has a time machine and created slavery in the US, the KKK, lynching, good ol boy network, the ghetto, Black Panthers, Bloods and Cripps, Watts Riots, LA Riots, NWA, and Gangsta Rap.

I might vote for Trump just to see NeverTrumpers and their MSM conduits go absolutely nuts and enlist in ISIS to become suicide bombers in Syria against Russia.

Russia is promoting social activism in the US? Wouldn't that make Russia a US asset?

Alex's analysis is spot on. And what's interesting is since 2016, Russia's behavior conforms more conspicuously with Rod Serling's Twilight Zone episode The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street. In the episode, the aliens fly over the neighborhood and switch some lights on and off, which is all the have to do to make every turn on each other and go bezerk.

Isn't it interesting that Serling was writing in the 1960's about the same two countries?

Fear is very adaptive. enhances survival (relative to fearlessness), hence it tends to be easy to provoke. Hence politicians who are willing to use every means at their disposal will tend to use it when they can. It seems to be cost-effective.

That is merely a simplified summary. I will refrain from recommending a book but instead suggest typing "psychology of fear" or similar into the Google Scholar search box.

Excellent Alex. Well said.

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