by baldilocks

So, a couple of very popular pro-Trump Twitter accounts have turned out to be Russia bots.

Jenna Abrams was a popular figure in right-wing social media circles. Boasting nearly 70,000 followers, Abrams was featured in numerous news articles during the 2016 election, spotlighted by outlets as varied as USA Today, the Washington Post, the BBC, and Yahoo! Sports. Her tweet about CNN airing porn during Anthony Bourdain’s show (it didn’t) was reported by numerous outlets.

But Abrams never existed.

When I posted this link to my Facebook account, some of my friends denied following this account and I believe them. I didn’t follow them either. But, guess what?

That is far, far from the point.

According to information released by House Democrats earlier this week, Abrams was one of more than 2,750 fake Twitter accounts created by employees at the Internet Research Agency, a “troll farm” funded by the Russian government based in St. Petersburg.

Emphasis mine. The 2,750 bogus accounts are just the ones who’ve been exposed.

The writers of this piece go on about how many how many pro-Trump persons followed and re-Tweeted their offerings. Further down into the article, we get to the Liberal/Leftist accounts who were really bots.

We were warned about this agency last year, by, of all entities, the New York Times. As a matter of fact, I shared the 2015 piece and said this:

[O]ne of the most importantly things that purposeful trolling does is to skew the conversation and, therefore, any reasonable view of any matter under discussion. Individual trolls can do this, if one “feeds” it – that is, engage it in conversation.

Imagine the distorted view that an entire organization of trolls can create–an organization whose business model is built on twisting views and building “reality” out of thin air.

The Enemy is the Father of lies and his wiles are many. And I’ll bet that many of us have been fooled more times than we know of; fooled by elaborate, well-designed architectures of lies–and I definitely do not leave mainstream information dispensaries out of this equation.

It’s not about the fact that we weren’t following these accounts. It’s about the other puppet accounts we are following and don’t know it, yet.

And, not for a second do I believe that the Russians are the lone purveyors of planted opinion.

Even more important for each of us is to be mindful of who you’re reading and listening to especially if you agree with them.

It’s about the access that people who are not your friends have to molding your perceptions.

How much harm has this Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg done? Not too much yet. They are still merely testing out the capabilities of their powerful weapon.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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Nuclear power is a pretty dangerous thing. Even if you can’t see radiation, acute radiation poisoning can kill you very quickly. The nuclear Navy that I grew up in had a whole set of rules that safeguarded you from radiation poisoning and contamination. Not all of them made sense the first time you heard them, but over time you quickly realized that they worked and kept you safe.

This bears a striking similarity to the Catholic Catechism. The rules were built over a long period of learning in the Church, and they helped keep people from getting hurt. Simple things like saving sex for marriage and receiving the Sacraments regularly kept people’s physical and mental health safe.

But hey, we had to screw it up. Timed perfectly before Halloween, there were a variety of stories about how the incoming generation was ditching Christianity for paganism. Two particular pieces stuck out to me. The first was from Quartz:

Continue reading “Throwing out the rules”

There has been a real debate on if foreign born Terrorist Sayfullo Saipovv should be sent to Gitmo or not. The debate has been interesting because you have the sight of John McCain and Lindsey Graham, favorites of Democrats and the left, reminding said leftists why they are still republicans, namely they are in favor of treating the enemies of the United States as…enemies of the United States and that’s not allowed in the Democrat Party anymore (See Iran).

It is however a fair argument to make that he was a legal immigrant who committed a crime and thus should go to the justice system, and in other circumstances that would be a good argument, but unfortunately we are at war with ISIS and we have an excellent precedent for a situation like this in via one of the most crafty pols ever to hold a General’s Rank in the US Army. General Benjamin Butler.

At a time in the Civil War when Lincoln was not talking emancipation in order to hold the border states Benjamin Butler, who tended to do things his own way, decided that returning fugitive slaves only helped the enemy and decided against it declaring them “contraband of war”. At one point he was questioned over it by a fellow officer from Virginia if he didn’t feel obliged to return slaves under the Fugitive Slave Law. (Butler was known to be sympathetic to the south before the war but a vapid anti secessionist.) Butler answer was classic:

…the Fugitive Slave act did not effect a foreign country, which Virginia claimed to be! And she must reckon one the infelicities of her position that insofar at least she was taken at his word.

I think the same logic works here. If a CNN analyst argues that, as a legal immigrant, Sayfullo Saipovv retains the rights of any other person arrested in the United States, including the right to a civilian trial and is not subject to being sent to Gitmo, the answer I would give the rights of a legal immigrant do not apply to soldiers of ISIS taken in battle, which Mr. Saipovv claims to be and to paraphrase General Butler He must reckon one of the infelicities of his positions that insofar at least he is taken at his word.

If they counter that in this case as a prisoner of way Mr. Saipovv must be treated in accordance to the Geneva Convention we can reply that as the Islamic State is neither a signatory to the Geneva Convention in fact nor a practitioner of its rules in action any member of ISIS taken in battle is subject to be held as an enemy combatant and sent to Gitmo if the Army or the commander in chief should so desire.

And I’d bet real money that once, President Donald Trump, who know a winning issue when he see it, figures this out that this one is a gimmie, he will desire it pretty damn quick.

Closing thought: There was a time that I would have believed that the Harvey Weinstein Democrat Left would not be so tone deaf as to insist that a man who declares himself a woman must be treated as such but a man who declares himself a warrior for ISIS must not. But the last few years have been an education and I can’t wait to see Democrat Senate Candidates in Red States forced to make the choice between supporting sending Mr. Saipovv going to gitmo and upsetting the democrat base or opposing it and upsetting general election voters.