Monday, May 22, 2017

Democrats Are Falling For Fake News About Russia

   And, at a quick read, it's pretty good.
   It's a topsy-turvy world out there, man.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I respect you a lot for calling out PC, but to be honest, the Russia thing is a major blindspot epistemically. There are basically three key dynamics here:

1) an utter lack of transparent information of wrongdoing on the part of the Trump admin. (This also really applies to the Russians. The published evidence basically amounts to the intel community saying RT was biased against Hillary. Who would have thunk it?). The only thing that seems firm is a FARA violation on the part of Flynn, but that is a thinly prosecuted offense in Washington, and really only a few steps above the laughable implications of a Logan Act violation.

And to be clear, if we were to actually to prosecute the Logan Act, the initial "concern", we would have no diplomatic corps. Sally Yates' concern there was galactic bullshit.

2) Obvious partisan motive to gin up the controversy to distract from massive electoral failure. This is compounded by the fact that you can always withhold proof of wrongdoing by claiming you are protecting intelligence sources and methods.

3) Donald Trump repulses a lot of people which makes them avoid the implications of 1 and 2.

These conditions make for a perfect storm of confirmation bias and misinformation and should evaluated with extreme skepticism.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

See, this is exactly the kind of thing I'm worried about!!!

I gotta run and can't respond with the care this comment deserves right now--but really all I was freaking out about was (a) the prima facie case that there may be some chicanery afoot, and (b) the hesitance to investigate fully.

As for the actual worth of the evidence...I'm clueless and wouldn't be at all surprised...or not much...if you were right.

But *I don't know anything about this stuff*... Anyway, what you've got there is very helpful already, but if you got anything else on this, for the lova God, lay it on me, man.


2:15 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Yes, the vox article is good, but it's worth investigating how seriously Mench is being taken. I suspect in this case the problem will self correct. The trouble here was subjects of the article were not just 'some guy on the internet,' and so had some presumed authority.

So, it's a problem. But not yet at the level where pre-election, teenagers in Albania were getting rich running pro-Trump fake news sites.

Quick news search finds this, published before the box story:
Particularly this comment:
Mench to be flagged as fake by admin

And this(!!), published after
Even at DU, the commenters are not defending Mench

3:02 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Also, this:

3:04 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Thanks p-mack, will check it all out.

WTF bought herself 20k fake followers???

I am starting to get disoriented by all this craziness.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing that bugs me the most is how little evidence is being released. There is a plausible, but still weaselly-feeling, excuse for withholding proof in defending intel assets, but when they do release things it is just so dumb. So, the Russia/RT thing is a giant facepalm, but it is worth drilling into the evidence provided for the hacking itself.

Here is the best writeup I have seen on the evidence given of Russian hacking. The biggest thing is the provenance of the malware, apparently it is very well-known Ukrainian malware used in a large number of hacks. This was identified by referencing its SHA (basically a nearly guaranteed unique identifier for a sequence of characters, in this case the PHP source code) against known malware. The original rationale given by Crowdstrike (the DNCs contractor to investigate the hack) that this malware was used by Russia was that it supposedly compromised Ukrainian field artillery. But we now know this never really happened, because the estimates of Ukrainian were never reliable and the Ukrainians themselves disputed it. Other things like Russian names left in code and such are just dopey explanations (for one, you don't even know a subsequence of code was written by the author because of how much copy/paste is done while hacking).

There are also subtle changes in reportage that raise big red flags to those paying close attention. The last few Russia NYT stories I have read mentioned something to the effect of "hackers working in league with the Russians" rather than the Russians themselves being the hackers. This suggests the most plausible explanation from the intel community is the DNC hacks were executed by a third party financed by Russia. But again, there is no evidence given that this happened, presumably to preserve intel sources and methods.

it certainly could have happened, but it is not at all supported by what has actually been published. And there seems to be a consistent refusal to actually be transparent, instead relying on suggestive leaks which have indeterminate evidentiary value.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF bought herself 20k fake followers???

This is totally a thing people do to launch themselves into Twitter stardom. It is definitely evidence she is a massive self-promoter, which is entirely similar to what her Russia nonsense seems to be: self-promotion on the fears of liberals still distraught over the result of the election.

3:26 PM  

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