Category Archives: Trump Derangement Syndrome

Who are the Russian trolls indicted by the US?

Journalist and whistleblower Lyudmila Savchuk once worked at Russia’s notorious St. Petersburg-based troll factory hoping to expose the operation. She spoke to DW about the recent indictments of Russian meddling.

DW: Do you know any of the 13 Russians from the so-called troll factory the US has indicted for allegedly trying to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election via social networks?

Lyudmila Savchuk: I was aware of three names before I was hired: Prygoshin, Burtshik and Bystrov (ed: suspected top personnel at the troll factory.) The media had already written about them in 2014. As far as the others are concerned, I checked out their profiles on social media. They are friends with other people I met at the troll factory.

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Nunes Demands Answers from Senior Obama Officials on Steele Dossier

The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee sent numerous letters Tuesday to former high-ranking Obama administration officials demanding full disclosure of their knowledge of the controversial and unverified dossier that sparked the investigation into allegations alleging collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential elections, according to a letter obtained by this reporter.

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Michael Moore Participated In Russia-Sponsored Anti-Trump Rally

Progressive director Michael Moore participated in an anti-Trump protest in New York that was organized by Russians, according to information released Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Rosenstein announced indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller Friday against 13 Russian nationals for meddling in the 2016 election, highlighting how the Russians used social media to stir up strife and anger on social media using memes and unwitting Americans to do their bidding. One Russia-sponsored event was a protest of then President-Elect Donald Trump on Nov. 12, 2016, called “Trump is NOT my President,” and it involved Moore.

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Tech Workers Feel Alienated by Silicon Valley ‘Echo Chamber’

Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel has said he plans to leave Silicon Valley in part because of its perceived cultural uniformity. He isn’t the only one.

Several tech workers and entrepreneurs also have said they left or plan to leave the San Francisco Bay Area because they feel people there are resistant to different social values and political ideologies. Groupthink and homogeneity are making it a worse place to live and work, these workers said.

“I think the politics of San Francisco have gotten a little bit crazy,” said Tom McInerney, an angel investor who moved a decade ago to Los Angeles from the Bay Area.

“The Trump election was super polarizing and it definitely illustrated—and Peter [Thiel] said this—how out of touch Silicon Valley was,” said Mr. McInerney, who describes himself as fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.

Tim Ferriss, the tech investor and best-selling author of the “4 Hour Workweek,” moved to Austin, Texas, in December, after living in the Bay Area for 17 years, partly because he felt people there penalized anyone who didn’t conform to a hyper liberal credo.

People in Silicon Valley “openly lie to one another out of fear of losing their jobs or being publicly crucified,” said Mr. Ferriss in a recent discussion on Reddit.

 

Mr. Ferriss, who describes himself as socially liberal, said during the discussion that he found that Austin has a “a wonderful exploding scene of art, music, film, tech, food, and more,” adding that “the people are also—in general—much friendlier.”

Proponents of Silicon Valley point to its rich history as a hotbed of entrepreneurism teeming with new ideas, a region that has spawned some of the world’s biggest companies. Tech leaders have a unique brand of politics, they say, typically favoring globalization, free trade and immigration, while also generally supporting capitalism and opposing labor unions and government regulation.

“Nowhere but Silicon Valley is there as much of an intensity and variety of creation and development going on,” said Aydin Senkut, a startup investor at Felicis Ventures. “I think it’s up to you as an individual to not be limited to the echo chamber in Silicon Valley.” Mr. Senkut says he seeks out friends in art and other industries beyond tech, and his firm looks for investments outside of the Bay Area.

Preethi Kasireddy said she wasn’t surprised when she heard the news that Mr. Thiel is moving to Los Angeles from San Francisco. Ms. Kasireddy, a 27-year-old startup entrepreneur, said she made the same move last November because, like Mr. Thiel, she felt surrounded by people who shared identical beliefs, particularly about how to build a successful company.

Sometimes Silicon Valley venture-capital investors and startup founders “have a certain way of thinking, and if you don’t fit into that way of thinking you’re not in the cool club,” said Ms. Kasireddy, who declined to state her political beliefs but said they didn’t influence her decision to move. She also said she realized many of the resources she needed to build her next project—a blockchain startup—didn’t require her to be in Silicon Valley.

Apart from ideological issues, many are being driven away from the Bay Area by soaring housing costs and increasing traffic congestion, a 2016 survey by the Bay Area Council suggested. Of the 1,000 registered voters from the nine counties making up the Bay Area, 40% said they were considering leaving the region, citing the cost of living, traffic and a lack of availability of housing.

Still, there are signs that the political discussions pervading workplaces over the past two years have alienated a section of the workforce. According to a recent survey by Lincoln Network, an advocacy group for conservatives and libertarians in the tech sector, 31% of the 387 tech workers polled said they know someone who didn’t pursue or left a career in tech because they saw a conflict in viewpoints with their employer or colleagues. Among respondents who identified themselves as “very conservative,” that number was 59%.

Dan Hackney, a 31-year-old who describes his political views as adhering to Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy, said he left his job as a software engineer at Alphabet Inc.’s Google in January, after growing frustrated with what he saw as a lack of tolerance for conservative views at the company.

He said he was surprised when, shortly after Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016, the firm canceled a companywide product demonstration and instead held an all-hands meeting to talk about the results of the election.

Mr. Hackney said he doesn’t support Mr. Trump but he worried that Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who attended the meeting, were setting a tone that it was OK to exclude certain types of political views from the dialogue in the workplace.

“In that meeting it felt very much like, if you are a Trump supporter, you are out in the cold,” Mr. Hackney said.

He said he decided to look seriously for a job at another company after engineer James Damore was fired by Google after penning a memo that suggested men were better suited than women for certain tech jobs. Mr. Hackney said he felt afraid that he couldn’t express certain ideas without fear of punishment.

Google didn’t immediately respond to multiple requests for comment. Last week, the National Labor Relations Board said Google didn’t violate any laws by firing Mr. Damore.

Sahil Lavingia, one of the first employees of Pinterest Inc., said he left San Francisco last year because he felt like he wasn’t learning anything new in his interactions with other people in the tech industry, who mostly shared his political and social views.

“I would meet someone for coffee or dinner or drinks, and I felt like I was just having the same conversation over and over again,” said Mr. Lavingia, 25, a self-described liberal who founded the e-commerce company Gumroad Inc.

To find countering viewpoints, Mr. Lavingia said he relocated to Provo, Utah, where he has made an effort to become part of the largely conservative-voting city’s growing tech community, along with attending Mormon services every Sunday with his girlfriend and taking classes at Brigham Young University.

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How A Plea Reversal From Michael Flynn Could Uncover More Federal Corruption

Did Robert Mueller’s office withhold other evidence in Michael Flynn’s prosecution, either from the FISA court or from Flynn’s attorneys? There is reason to believe so.

On Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order in United States v. Flynn that, while widely unnoticed, reveals something fascinating: A motion by Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea based on government misconduct is likely in the works.

Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence,” Washington Examiner columnist Byron York detailed the oddities of Flynn’s case. The next day, former assistant U.S. attorney and National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy connected more of the questionable dots. York added even more details a couple of days later. Together these articles provide the backdrop necessary to understand the significance of Sullivan’s order on Friday.

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Byron York: A non-alarmist reading of the Mueller Russia indictment

There’s been no shortage of breathless reaction to Trump-Russia special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian organizations for their efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. “An attack that — but for the loss of life — is as bad as Pearl Harbor,” tweeted veteran journalist Jonathan Alter.

That’s one way to look at it. Another is that, combining the 37-page indictment with testimony from social media executives before congressional intelligence committees — and there isn’t much in the indictment that the intel committees didn’t already know — the Russian operation, while warranting serious U.S. punishment, emerges as a small, poorly funded operation with a level of effectiveness that is impossible to measure but could be near zero.

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World’s Largest Science Organization Gives Top Honor To Conspiracy-Monger Michael Mann

If you need another example of scientific establishment’s deteriorating credibility since the election of Donald Trump, here it is: The world’s largest science organization is bestowing a top honor on a climate propagandist who spends lots of his time making hateful, inflammatory comments about the president, his family, his administration and GOP lawmakers on social media.

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Was Christopher Steele Paid by Russian Oligarch and Putin Ally Oleg Deripaska?

A release last week of texts showed that Christopher Steele, the former British spy whose memos regarding the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia are referred to as the Steele dossier, reached out to Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, through a Russian-linked Washington, D.C., lobbyist named Adam Waldman. Among Waldman’s clients is Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a text dated March 16, 2017, Waldman texted Warner, “Chris Steele asked me to call you.”

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Mexican Nationals Meddled and Colluded in the 2016 Election

Special Counsel Robert Mueller laid out the law clearly in his indictment of numerous Russian nationals and groups for their attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.

As the indictment notes, the U.S. Department of Justice administers the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).  FARA establishes a reporting protocol for foreign nationals, including non-government individuals “attempting to influence U.S. public opinion, policy, and law.”  To its credit, the FBI seems to have done a good job tracking Russian individuals and entities that violated FARA even if there was no evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign or Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee emails.  If there was a link between any of these groups and the Kremlin, the indictment made no note of it.

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It Took 100 Years for Liberals to Grasp That Russians Interfere

Too bad the Mueller indictment starts only with the year 2014.

The grand jury indictments against Russian nationals secured by special counsel Robert Mueller make a strong case against foreign interference in American politics. They make no such case regarding collusion between the Trump campaign, or the campaigns of Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein for that matter, and foreign interests.

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Is There an Obstruction Case against President Trump?

The justice department’s office of legal counsel should answer the question.

It has become more urgent to ask: Why is there a special counsel in the Russia investigation? At this point, that question should be put to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — in the federal government, it’s the lawyers’ lawyer. To get down to brass tacks: May the president of the United States be charged with obstruction based on non-criminal discretionary acts that are unquestionably within his constitutional authority as chief executive?

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Rod Rosenstein announces indictments of Russians in U.S. election meddling

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is announcing Friday the indictment of Russian nationals and entities accused of breaking U.S. laws to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, CBS News’ Paula Reid reports.

On Friday, a D.C. federal grand jury returned an indictment against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities that accuses them of violating U.S. criminal laws to meddle in U.S. elections and political processes. According to a spokesman for the special counsel’s office, the indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., as well as “three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.”

From Breitbart: The group is alleged to have spent years, back to at least 2014, building a social media following of hundreds of thousands by playing off of existing divisions and sympathies in the American political landscape. When 2016 rolled around, the groups operatives are alleged to have disparaged Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, and used its influence to support Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

As Rosenstein explained, the goal of the alleged conspiracy is not as simple as supporting one candidate. The conspirators are alleged to have held rallies for and against president-elect Donald Trump on the same day in November, 2016.

“After the election, the defendants allegedly staged rallies to support the president-elect, while simultaneously staging rallies to protest his election,” Rosenstein told reporters. “For example, the defendant organized one rally to support the president-elect and another rally to oppose him, both in New York, on the same day.”

The indictment may be read at the link below.

US Government indictment of Russian nationals for 2016 election interference

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