So where is the evidence?

Russia's manipulation of Twitter was far vaster than believed

Russia's infamous troll farm conducted a campaign on Twitter before the 2016 elections that was larger, more coordinated and more effective than previously known, from cybersecurity firm Symantec out Wednesday concluded.

The Internet Research Agency campaign may not only have had more sway — reaching large numbers of real users — than previously thought, it also demonstrated ample patience and might have generated income for some of the phony accounts, Symantec found.

Their research analyzed a massive data set that Twitter released in October 2018 on nearly 3,900 suspended accounts and 10 million tweets. It discovered that the average lag between account creation and first tweet was 177 days and the most retweeted account garnered 6 million retweets, and less than 2,000 of those came from within the IRA-linked network of accounts.

The huge delay between the creation of an account and the initial tweet points to a lot of patient preparation, and the retweets indicate that a lot of unaffiliated Twitter users were amplifying the IRA's message.

For some lawmakers, revelations about the broader scope of Russian disinformation on Twitter are a stark reminder that the U.S. government has precious little time to safeguard the 2020 election from foreign interference.

"In terms of the sophistication, there is a group of us who are looking at what we can do to protect ourselves in 2020," said Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former CIA analyst who urged her fellow lawmakers to adopt the sweeping House bill that includes provisions to strengthen security safeguards at the polls although it does not specifically deal with social media disinformation.

"[T]here's a whole half of [special counsel Robert] Mueller report that's just about straight old-fashioned Russian information warfare. We've been educating ourselves so that we can push forward legislation to fill some of those holes," she said, suggesting that lawmakers have a way to go in finding a legislative fix to the online disinformation problem.

There are no links to any evidence of any evidence to back up this definitive headline, but how many people will realize that? This has been the pattern since this Russian farce started. A definitive headline stating that something happened, but inside there is no there there.

And just what old fashioned Russian information warfare did Mueller put in his report?

Russia carried out a comprehensive cyber campaign to sabotage the U.S. presidential election, an operation that was ordered by Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and ultimately sought to help elect Donald Trump, U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in a remarkably blunt assessment released Friday.

The report depicts Russian interference as unprecedented in scale, saying that Moscow’s role represented “a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort” beyond previous election-related espionage.

The campaign initially sought to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, “denigrate” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and damage her expected presidency. But in time, Russia “developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump” and repeatedly sought to artificially boost his election chances.
...
In the report, the CIA, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded with “high confidence” that Russian intelligence services penetrated numerous computer systems tied to U.S. political parties and then “relayed” the email troves to WikiLeaks.

(there's more info in my comment here)

The article includes how congress wants to deal with fake information.

"Our response to bad content on social media is generally to say it should be taken down. That's because that's something we as politicians who are not technical experts understand," said Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), former assistant secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

"What we've had a harder time grasping is the virality machine that's built into the social networks through the algorithms that determine what news we see on a daily basis," he said.

Who gets to determine what is fake news or not? The new government funded programs such as the Integrity Initiative. NewsGuard. Hamilton 68. And any others that will make some people lots of money.

Jimmy and Aaron absolutely destroy Mueller's credibility on obstruction of justice charges against Trump.


Mueller’s BullS**t Press Conference Reveals His Dishonesty

This is 38 minutes long, but well worth watching.

my words are in italics cuz for some reason some of them got block quoted.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

Who writes like that?

In my opinion, the whole article is written by a Ukrainian troll.

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I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for Enlightened Men — if they ran for public office — but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Pricknick's picture

@Pluto's Republic
so now we'll blame it on the Ukrainians.
Sounds as plausible as russia russia russia.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Lily O Lady's picture

@Pluto's Republic

my head was building.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Lily O Lady

Sounds like the name of a sci-fi villian.

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The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

travelerxxx's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

Wonder whether JtC would let me change my handle from "travelerxxx" to the ultimate, most groovy "Far Vaster?"

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k9disc's picture

@Pluto's Republic

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

Pricknick's picture

Not only is it sick, there's no there there.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Roy Blakeley's picture

@Pricknick It's behind you!!

Apologies to anyone not familiar with the bizarre British Christmas performances.

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Centaurea's picture

of what the Russian troll farm allegedly did.

(I know the word "allegedly" is considered passé by the news media - if the FBI and the CIA say something, it must be true - but I'm not a member of the news media, so I'm using it.)

Seriously, can anyone tell me from the Symantec report what, specifically, the Russians did?

Also, I wonder what Symantec has to gain by further terrifying the American public about alleged threats to national security. Quite a lot, I'd think. Multi-million-dollar contracts to provide (cyber)security and consulting services, for instance, to governments, private industry, and frightened people everywhere.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

snoopydawg's picture

@Centaurea

Seriously, can anyone tell me from the Symantec report what, specifically, the Russians did?

As we can see here there is no evidence provided that shows how Russian bots spread disinformation through tweets. You would think that if there were thousands of tweets that were retweeted 6 million times that they could show us at least one of them. When I finally found an ad that was placed on Facebook I couldn't tell that it had anything to do with the election. "Jesus loves Hillary". Yeah that will get me to vote for her.

As to why is politico posting this now, it beats me unless the PTB just wants to keep people believing that Russia interfered with the after Mueller's report fell flat.

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“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

Lookout's picture

@snoopydawg

....using memes like:
troll bait.jpg
(actual example of Russian Troll bait)

No wonder the $hill lost. Interesting how no one mentions the role the MSM played in promoting T-rump isn't it. Additionally no one ever mentions that the $hill got the MSM to push T-rump.

Also interesting how Twitter shut down pro-Bernie tweets that were treading to high and too fast. One reason I don't tweet and am faceless.

The Russian bullshit just will not die. Keep telling everyone white is black...

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
"we will beat it together"

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We are so screwed.

snoopydawg's picture

@Lookout

Thanks for posting these silly ads supposedly placed by the Russian Internet agency. I've forgotten about them. Just how was that supposed to get people to vote for either candidate?

I love the "we're here to give you a hand" if you want to beat it."

Yep. Hillary's pied piper role in getting Trump so much air time is considered CT at certain websites. They bitched and moaned about how Wikileaks helped Russia elect Trump, but say that everything they released was false.

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“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

snoopydawg's picture

@Lookout

Mueller confirmed that this was a marketing scheme

In the early 1990s some dude in St.Petersburg made a good business selling hot dogs. He opened a colorful restaurant. Local celebrities and politicians were invited to gain notoriety while the restaurant served cheap food for too high prices. It was a good business. A few years later he moved to Moscow and gained contracts to cater to schools and to the military. The food he served was still substandard.

But catering bad food as school lunches gave him, by chance, the idea for a new business:

Parents were soon up in arms. Their children wouldn’t eat the food, saying it smelled rotten.
As the bad publicity mounted, Mr. Prigozhin’s company, Concord Catering, launched a counterattack, a former colleague said. He hired young men and women to overwhelm the internet with comments and blog posts praising the food and dismissing the parents’ protests.

“In five minutes, pages were drowning in comments,” said Andrei Ilin, whose website serves as a discussion board about public schools. “And all the trolls were supporting Concord.”

The trick worked beyond expectations. Prigozhin had found a new business. He hired some IT staff and low paid temps to populate various message boards, social networks and the general internet with whatever his customers asked him for.

You have a bad online reputation? Prigozhin can help. His internet company will fill the net with positive stories and remarks about you. Your old and bad reputation will be drowned by the new and good one. Want to promote a product or service? Prigozhin's online marketeers can address the right crowds.

So there you go. Everything Mueller said it was is correct. It's just that people didn't read this part of his report. Of course not because it shows that the company and its ads had nothing to do with the election.

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“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

snoopydawg's picture

@snoopydawg

According to this article no he did not.

Now, as the ‘Russian influence’ narrative is dying down, the anti-Trump – anti-Russian campaign is moving to new grounds. Last week the New York Times claimed that Paul Manafort, who for some time ran the Trump election campaign, gave public and internal polling data to the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska: Manafort Accused of Sharing Trump Polling Data With Russian Associate. A day after that sensational claim made a large splash throughout U.S. media the New York Times recanted:

Kenneth P. Vogel @kenvogel – 18:39 utc – 9 Jan 2019CORRECTION: PAUL MANAFORT asked KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK to pass TRUMP polling to the Ukrainian oligarchs SERHIY LYOVOCHKIN & RINAT AKHMETOV, & not to OLEG DERIPASKA, as originally reported. We have corrected the story & I deleted a tweet repeating the error.

Duh. Manafort gave polling data to his Ukrainian fixer Konstantin Kilimnik with the request to pass it along to Ukrainian oligarchs for who he had worked before joining the Trump campaign. Kilimnik had long worked for the International Republican Institute office in Moscow. The IRI is a CIA offshot under Republican Party tutelage that is used to influence politics abroad. Its long time head was the deceased hawkish Senator John McCain. While he worked with Kilimnik in the Ukraine, Manafort concentrated on moving the Ukraine towards the European Union and away from Russia. His and Kilimnik efforts were always opposed to Russian interests. But the NYT and others falsely try to pass them off as the opposite with the sole purpose of feeding the anti-Trump/anti-Russia campaign.

Well looky there. More false information about Manafort helping his Russian friend with their election interference campaign. But just like that fake story about how Russia hacked into Vermont's energy grid was retracted no one knows that. They keep telling people that happened!

Just like people will tell people that Russia influence on the election was far vaster!

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“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

@Centaurea I think it was Microsoft that started offering for free cyber security software and services to political campaigns. In 2020 the entire country will be engulfed in a nation wide election at every level. Good time to sell software and services (which will probably be existing software rebranded to stop those Russians.)

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@MrWebster
under contract.

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We are so screwed.

k9disc's picture

and military "hardening" of election tech.

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

stop with the evidence seeking, already. Want to end up like Manning? Assange? Snowdon? Just stop it.

In hiding, Pleasantry

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"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

Roy Blakeley's picture

@Raggedy Ann The inescapable conclusion of the Assange indictments is that it is criminal to discuss exposed classified information on line or in the press. Mention the collateral murder recording here and we, and JTC, can get 10 years per instance.

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Centaurea's picture

@Roy Blakeley as he told his viewing audience, it's even a crime for ordinary people to read Wikileaks documents. He and CNN will read them and tell us what we need to know.

Yep, Chris Cuomo says I'll be arrested and thrown in the clink if I read those DNC emails for myself in order to make up my own mind.

You know, those DNC emails that "Russia" "hacked". The ones that showed the DNC colluding (sorry, couldn't resist Biggrin ) with the Clinton campaign and with the news media, including *cough* CNN, to rig both the primary and the general election for Hillary.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

trying to drum up business. Straight out of the marketing department.

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We are so screwed.

travelerxxx's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

I read it as an attack on one of their main competitors, Kaspersky Lab, based in Moscow. Symantec has been crap bloatware for ages, so they've gotta do something...

So, yeah, it's mostly the old Microsoft ploy that Symantec is using — fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Like the Baptists around here say, "It's just business, nothing personal."

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@travelerxxx

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We are so screwed.

Socialprogressive's picture

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I picked the wrong pandemic to quite sniffing glue.
If your car is running, I'm voting for it.

Steven D's picture

@Socialprogressive Unsupported assertions are the norm for our media disinformation complex.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

wendy davis's picture

iron-clad innuendo. saves my lame brain from over-thinking things. 'accept, no need to verify'. it's a Snap!

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Lily O Lady's picture

were things they actually said on the record.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

I just had a thought. That these elaborate conspiracy ruses are a reactionary compact fighting to imprison the Djinn of Free Press and bury it under a nuclear bunker.

Part of the reason of so many newspaper failures nationwide, imo, was their failure to utilize the internet, (a democratization of information) particularly for "want ads", and Craigslist basically took over in that arena.

The proliferation of journalists and blogs that are free from corporate restraint are "existential threats" to the corporate media compound. They no longer have an absolute monopoly on disinformation, and together the corporations and governments are working together to violently quash even opportunities for dissent.

Let us reflect for a moment after 9/11... The Patriot Act. It had already been written, the PTB, were just "waiting" for the opportunity to strike. I think the MSM of today is trying to do something similar, more haphazard but just as authoritarian.

Remember the 24/7 cable "news" propaganda leading up to the Iraq war? It was lies, lies, lies all around. And the MSM, including PBS was in on it. Never challenging the State, they willingly brainwashed our entire (for all practical purposes) nation into supporting that disastrous and continuing war. They could do that with a monopoly. That was before everyone had internet. Now it's much harder to control information and they are vindictive about it.

Unfortunately, for history, the world, and all life on the planet...Americans (on the whole) live in denial (on many levels), lack critical thinking skills, and are easily led.

just some thoughts...

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snoopydawg's picture

@BORG_US_BORG

Let us reflect for a moment after 9/11... The Patriot Act. It had already been written, the PTB, were just "waiting" for the opportunity to strike. I think the MSM of today is trying to do something similar, more haphazard but just as authoritarian.

Isn't this really what is going on? Just more propaganda like the Iraq WMDs? I have been saying this all along. Russia Gate is just the new WMDs scam and once again Mueller is in involved with it.

Plus Obama made it legal for the government to just flat out lie to us about stuff. I find it so mind boggling that people have fallen for it again.

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“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

Roy Blakeley's picture

@snoopydawg and I feel the same rage I felt when the media shamelessly passed on the senseless propaganda the Bush Admin fed them.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@BORG_US_BORG

...inside the Council on Foreign Relations, where all six media monopolies are prominent members. They've been building the case for American wars since 1921 — going on for a century now.

Let us reflect for a moment after 9/11... The Patriot Act. It had already been written, the PTB, were just "waiting" for the opportunity to strike. I think the MSM of today is trying to do something similar, more haphazard but just as authoritarian.

Remember the 24/7 cable "news" propaganda leading up to the Iraq war? It was lies, lies, lies all around. And the MSM, including PBS was in on it. Never challenging the State, they willingly brainwashed our entire (for all practical purposes) nation into supporting that disastrous and continuing war. They could do that with a monopoly.

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I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for Enlightened Men — if they ran for public office — but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

So these studies which I call "computational propaganda" present graphs of data which do not prove any assertion of their authors. There is absolutely no statistical correlation between the data and the assertions. They simply graph and categorize data from a very suspect data set and then make a claim like Russians are interfering with say vaccination debate. Here is some data, now I can claiming anything I want about the Russians.

Symantec claims that the Russian tweets were more effective than thought based on quantity of tweets from what I can tell. They they offer no proof that tweets caused riots, changes of opinions, and very importantly, increased distrust, or originally changed votes. If quantity of exposure changed something, then the companies paying for ads in the Superbowl would become super rich. In fact Symantec never explained how exactly Russians were more effective. More effective at what, and how is that what measured?

In a way, the article has shown how the Russiangate narrative has in a way fallen apart because concrete assertions have fallen apart. There is no evidence that the Russians hacked any state or country voting machine or computer. The FB ads had next to nothing in terms of actual reach. Every assertion of factual collusion and conspiracy turned out to be false.

What is left is this nebulous shit about the Russians really wanted to disrupt American democracy by publishing an equal number of tweets for and against some hot issue. But of course, in doing this, the Russian bot-whisperers have come up with something which cannot be proved, is totally subjective, and is more about religious faith in that all things Russian are malevolent. It requires a Ph.d in Russian mind reading that Birch society would envy.

But all this Russiagate continues to be profitable.

OH BTW, in the article there is this underneath the picture of the Russian IRA office building this:

Russia's troll farm was found to have considerably more sway than previously thought and might have generated income for some of its phony accounts.

Sorta what people have claimed--their aim was to make money, not influence elections.

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snoopydawg's picture

@MrWebster

The whole reason that company was created was to make money. The history behind it was that the guy who owns it made people sick from some tainted hot dogs and his business was going to be crushed so he hired people to post their experience with his hot dogs and he saved it. This is why he created his internet business. But have you noticed how many people have connections to Putin? This guy was supposedly his chef at one time.

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“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

@snoopydawg
without being connected to Putin?

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We are so screwed.

snoopydawg's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

that makes a profit is connected to Trump? This Vlad guy sure has a lot of friends doesn't he?

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“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

@snoopydawg
You couldn't have a business in Chicago without being connected to Daley.

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We are so screwed.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

They have an average number of billionaires per capita as the rest of Europe, and all the same stores, restaurants, and hotels that the US does. The only thing they don't have is debt.

https://jakubmarian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/europe-billionaires-2...

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I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for Enlightened Men — if they ran for public office — but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Pluto's Republic's picture

@MrWebster

..is that they are providing cover for CrowdStrike's IPO, which is happening any day now. And Symantec is deeply vested. In fact, CrowdStrike was born there.

CrowdStrike is a unicorn — which means it's a tech that loses enormous amounts of money year over year. But it is somehow valued in the stratosphere.

I wonder how long unicorns are going to continue to fly on Wall Street.

CrowdStrike reveals share price ahead of IPO

CrowdStrike has elected to go public on the Nasdaq and has revealed the upcoming share price for its Initial Public Offering (IPO).

According to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the cybersecurity unicorn, based in Silicon Valley, will offer 18 million shares of Class A common stock for between $19 and $23 each.
However, as a technology firm attempting to stand against established players including McAfee, Symantec, Kaspersky, and others, CrowdStrike has poured funding into expansion and is not yet making a profit.

CrowdStrike reports a financial deficit of $519.1 million as of January 31, 2019. The company expects losses to continue in the foreseeable future in pursuit of market growth.

.

Speaking of Ukrainian Trolls, I read somewhere that CrowdStrike has only 2,500 subscribers to date.

The protection racket must be very lucrative.

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I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for Enlightened Men — if they ran for public office — but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

Their IPO should crash because people know that when they were in charge of the DNC computers they let them be hacked! By the Russians who are public enemy number one! And more than once. I wouldn't want to buy a product that comes with this history. Smile

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“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

Pluto's Republic's picture

@snoopydawg

...fired them because they got hacked. This, after the Russia Hoax was launched.

Stick with the C99 hound dawgs, people. We can sniff out where all the bones are buried.

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I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for Enlightened Men — if they ran for public office — but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

I've excerpted some of this article above, but I hope people will read it in full. It debunks so much of what the media has said and shows how Obama weaponized the intelligence agencies. I knew quite a bit of this, but not all of it.

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“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

@Pluto's Republic If you know how to manipulate it.

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2 Vast 2 Furious

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The only way Joe Biden is “going to be like FDR” is that he will die in office and leave a shitty vice president as a replacement.