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October 15, 2019

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Thanks.

Irish whiskey

I can deal with wine and cheese from places other than France, Italy, and Spain. But Irish whiskey isn't really something you can get, except from Ireland. Not cool.

You guys can have the whiskey. For me, Manchego and Iberico were already budget-stretching treats.

I'll have to think of it as just another incentive to actually get serious about eating less cheese.

Fun factoid of the day: There's a store in Belfast, Maine, called Eat More Cheese. I imagine they'll be hurt by these tariffs. Luckily for my health and my budget, I don't live too close to Belfast anyhow.

Something I meant to bring up was the use of "Russian asset." I don't take that narrowly to apply only to someone who is actively and knowingly working on behalf of Russia. But I think that's what a lot of people think it means, as opposed to someone the Russians can use to their advantage (at least in a sufficiently sustained and focused way - not in a one-off or diffuse effort).

no, i don't think she's actively and knowingly working on behalf of Russia. but the kind of idiot she's being is useful to them.

Sure. My point was that people who hear or see "Russian asset" think someone is being described as something like a spy and react accordingly, whether it's because they believe the accusation or they think the accusation is over the top. (People who write headlines probably know this, too, and they like it.)

But I think that's what a lot of people think it means, as opposed to someone the Russians can use to their advantage (at least in a sufficiently sustained and focused way - not in a one-off or diffuse effort).

If a person who is savvy enough to win a Congressional seat intentionally takes positions and uses rhetoric that's helpful to the Russian troll narrative, it's not absurd to assume they're doing it knowing that they're helping Russia. Obviously, no one can read their mind. For that matter, maybe actual Russian agents don't know what they're doing either since no one can read their mind.

I'm fine with using the word "asset." Clearly, she's an asset in the ordinary sense and meaning of that word.

"i think Gabbard is an idiot who has set herself on a course which parallels the kind of course we already know Moscow likes, intentionally or not."

Is it relevant, let's say, in every case, thata course that parallels one Moscow likes is bad? Should that be fundamental to our foreign policy? If Moscow likes it we think it's bad, period.

Perhaps her ideas are good for us and, incidentally, Moscow likes them?


If a person who is savvy enough to win a Congressional seat...

I don't think it's that high of a bar, given some of the things MCs say and do.

I'm also not saying there's something wrong with the use of asset. I'm saying that many people take it necessarily to mean something more than it necessarily does, at least in the context under discussion. The ordinary sense and meaning of a word doesn't always matter in every context, the same way it doesn't in a term of art.

A useful idiot isn't the same thing as a double agent, but both can be considered assets. Despite this, many people only read it to mean something much closer to double agent than useful idiot. And that gets exploited for the purposes of sensationalism.

So, regardless of the basis in evidence for what Clinton said, it's being taken as something far more sensational than it seems, AFAICT, it was meant.

My take tends to be that a "Russian asset" is someone who is doing Russia's bidding. Whether from shared ideology, affection (family-based or othetwise), bribery, blackmail, etc.

As opposed to "an asset to Russia", who is someone who does things that benefit Russia. But without guidance, coordination, or perhaps even without contact. Russia may well try to (covertly) try to help elect such people. But part of their value is precisely that there are no links that can be uncovered.

It is, admittedly, a nuance which is mostly lost/ignored in our public discourse. But I think it's an important one.

My sense is that Gabbard may fall, to some extent, into the latter category. Which Trump belongs to is, for the moment, undetermined. w

In other words, "OMG!!! That Clinton's a crazy conspiracy theorist!!!"

In other words, "OMG!!! That Clinton's a crazy conspiracy theorist!!!"

Or maybe there is a conspiracy. I am willing to be called a "conspiracy theorist" based on facts that have been proven, and things that have occurred and been stated in public.

If a person...intentionally takes positions and uses rhetoric that's helpful to (the other side), it's not absurd to assume they're doing it knowing that they're helping (the other side).

I would not characterize this as "McCarthyism" as that term seems wholly inappropriate. But it does verge on a smear.

It is, IMHO, treading on dangerous ground. Using this definition, I have - just in my brief lifespan -helped both Ho Chi Minh and Saddam Hussein, and kinda' sorta' assisted Jill Stein. In a similar vein, Democrats who whine about balanced federal budgets are thus actually, and consciously "helping" the Republican Party. Can I call them "assets"?

The term "help" is carrying a bit too much weight in the aggressively accusatory formulation as written. I suggest the services of a good wordsmith.

Other than that...politics ain't bean bag. It is deadly serious at times. Carry on.

and kinda' sorta' assisted Jill Stein.

You're smearing yourself.

Perhaps her ideas are good for us and, incidentally, Moscow likes them?

i think most of her domestic policy ideas are pretty good, actually. her foreign policy is much more mixed, for me. but it's her rhetoric that makes people scratch their heads.

i think most of her domestic policy ideas are pretty good, actually. her foreign policy is much more mixed, for me. but it's her rhetoric that makes people scratch their heads.

Because of her rhetoric, I don't believe or trust her on policy.

You're smearing yourself.

...and you are lapping it up. :)

Because of her rhetoric, I don't believe or trust her on policy.

true.

she's hurt herself quite a bit, i suspect.

it's one way to stand out, though. get some of that sweet sweet Tucker Carlson love.

Or maybe there is a conspiracy. I am willing to be called a "conspiracy theorist" based on facts that have been proven, and things that have occurred and been stated in public.

Okay. But some people seem to think Clinton is accusing Gabbard of being something like a Russian spy and are reacting with "OMG!!! That Clinton's a crazy conspiracy theorist!!!" on that basis. (And if she were accusing Gabbard specifically of that, it would be without evidence.)

But I'm starting to feel like I'm going down a rabbit hole, so I'm going to leave it at that.

but it's her rhetoric that makes people scratch their heads.

This. She is fore square against 'interventions' but all in on drone warfare against 'terrorists'. She is an Islamophobe, hence the goofy support for the secularist Assad regime. As a Hindu nationalist, she is also all in for Modi. I can only wonder what her position on Kashmir is.

...and you are lapping it up. :)

Yep. Thanks!

As a Hindu nationalist, she is also all in for Modi. I can only wonder what her position on Kashmir is.

It's in this kind of situation where you see who is a real pacifist (or whatever morality-based political position you prefer), and who is merely using it as cover for advocating policies that they support for completely other reasons.

Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if Gabbard were to quit pretending that she was a Democrat, leave the party and run against Trump for the Republican ticket?

A guy can dream...

throw another log on the fire...

Modi ASSET!

Five of the people in this picture should be on trial at the Hague. The fifth is just another right wing authoritarian thug.

ASSETS!

Very late to this party, but just wanted to say that I get what hsh is saying, and I agree with him. If it is possible to be more careful about wording so that one gives impression A (useful idiot, not requiring proof) rather than impression B (treacherous spy in the pay of a foreign power, requiring proof) it's a good idea. Nothing will stop sensationalist malevolent actors from gleefully seizing and publicising and then igniting the wrong end of the stick, but it's a good idea to try to give them as little fuel for the fire as possible.

The fifth...sixth (duh).

"Thought Leaders" always seems a bit Orewellian to me.

"Thought Leaders" always seems a bit Orewellian to me.

Having encountered it exclusively in the business world, I hear it as one of those business-ese phrases that's all the more hollow because it's supposed to be so portentous, if not downright profound. Same people who use "utilize" and "assist" all the time.

Of course, I sound like a prig, so there's that.

But srsly, "thought leader"?

If I agree, does that make me a thought follower?

There is no such thing as a thought follower. It's kind of like Lake Wobegon, where all the kids are above average.

You are not supposed to ask inconvenient questions, though....

There is no such thing as a thought follower.

Nope, just followers. Having followers who think would, after all, be soooo inconvenient.

Yes cleek, the Facebook story is exactly the sort of crap I don’t care about. We have had homegrown American liars sowing discord and spreading lies in this country for as long as we have had a country. I love the melodramatic spy novel discourse that people use to talk about this trivia. It’ s like living in a Tom Clancy novel written by liberals.

We have always had discord in this country and rightwing propaganda and a fair amount of hypocrisy on the left and, btw, lefties have been ( correctly) criticizing mainstream liberals for hawkishness and hypocrisy for as long as I have been aware of politics. Personally I despised Bill Clinton almost as soon as I was aware of him. Dislike of Hillary came later, as it became clear what her foreign policy views were. Tulsi has her problems which make many lefties unenthusiastic about her, but everything she says about Clinton is well within what anti interventionist leftists have been saying about that part of the Democratic Party for decades. And btw, calling leftists useful idiots is also something of a tradition amongst liberals. The dislike is mutual and not created by Putin. I assume I don’t have to talk about the decades of propaganda put out by very well funded people on the right. And then there are all those think tanks with funding from all sorts of people, including foreigners. But sure, our little democratic utopia has been upended by Russian Facebook ads. We used to be so honest and have such respectful fact- filled debates and discussions about the important issues of the day. It was like living inside a West Wing episode. The liberals won almost all the debates, because reality has a well known liberal bias and everybody knew it.

Incidentally, stepping back a bit, all political factions live in their own little world. You can visit sites to the left and to the right of this one where nearly everybody disagrees with things taken for granted here. Did Putin do that too? The man is like some sort of Lovecraftian nightmare.

Anyway, end of my ranting. . I will vote for the Democrat in 2020, even if it is Biden or Clinton come to save the Democratic Party from people like me whose brains are under the ancient chthonic spell of nameless Russian gods.

We used to be so honest and have such respectful fact- filled debates and discussions about the important issues of the day.

and do you think adding more disinformation and deception to the system is going to make that better?

do you think leaders elected this way (of which Trump is simply our first instance) are going to care about anything you care about?

and believe me, the quality/effectiveness of this stuff is only going to improve. it won't just be the gullible who get mislead by it.

Personally I find Donald's analysis typical of what real lefty types have been saying for ages, and in essence I find it rather hard to argue with as regards the historical imperfections of domestic US politics (and for that matter UK and other western ones too), except that I am a liberal, and therefore part of the "problem". My focus on Putin and Russia is not because I consider him the source of all or most of the problems, but because he is an outside source, with an avowed intent to weaken the systems of the liberal west (US, EU, NATO), and that therefore his internal (to the US) enablers and apologists are essentially traitors, and hypocritical ones at that by virtue of their constant deployment of faux patriotic rhetoric, rendering them legitimately vulnerable (I hope) to a particular kind of attack. If Donald sees this issue as unworthy of his time and concern, I believe that this is his prerogative, and I for one am just grateful that he, unlike many people who think similarly to him, is prepared to hold his nose and vote D in the next election for the (as he perceives it deeply flawed) greater good.

But srsly, "thought leader"?

h/t to someone I can't remember from LGM, but the updated version is "thinkfluencer." They weren't serious, but it makes me feel all happy and warm inside whenever I see it.

one of those business-ese phrases that's all the more hollow because it's supposed to be so portentous, if not downright profound.

also:
Product Champion

holy crap... the NYT is terrible.

https://twitter.com/NickMerrill/status/1186712387707199488/photo/1

Republican asset?

believe me, the quality/effectiveness of this stuff is only going to improve. it won't just be the gullible who get mislead by it.

I noticed yesterday that Facebook had found it necessary to remove a couple dozen Russians-masquerading-as-"real-Americans" accounts. Only one of which had an actual Facebook presence. They were all Instagram accounts.

And it was noted that the realism of the created images was only going to get better over time.

I've witnessed a stunning lack of skepticism on social media. An unsourced picture or screenshot with some text on it is all that is needed to believe something is true.

It's not like I can download just about any kind of image and add whatever text to it I like, right? Oh, wait...

No matter how many times a given instance of such a thing gets debunked or how many such things in general get debunked, some people just don't seem to get it. They pass along already-debunked or clearly suspicious/questionable crap time and again.

They never picked up on Photoshop. So it's probably not surprising that more sophisticated software, applicable to video not just still photos, is beyond their ken.

"No matter how many times a given instance of such a thing gets debunked or how many such things in general get debunked, some people just don't seem to get it. They pass along already-debunked or clearly suspicious/questionable crap time and again."

That's the "greater fool" theory, repurposed from the stock market to RWNJ trolling.

I'd never heard of the Greater Fool theory, but I like it. It reminds me of nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public, which I thought was by W C Fields, but turns out to be (roughly) by H L Mencken.

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