The Russian Cyber-Attack Report: Observations And Questions

The first page of the Joint Analysis Report narrative by the Department of Homeland Security and federal Bureau of Investigation and released on Dec. 29, 2016, is photographed in Washington, Jan. 6, 2017. Computer security specialists say the technical details in the narrative that the U.S. said would show whether computers had been infiltrated by Russian intelligence services were poorly done and potentially dangerous. Cybersecurity firms ended up counseling their customers to proceed with extreme caution after a slew of false positives led back to sites such as Amazon and Yahoo Inc. Companies and organizations were following the government’s advice Dec. 29 and comparing digital logs recording incoming network traffic to their computers and finding matches to a list of hundreds of internet addresses the Homeland Security Department had identified as indicators of malicious Russian intelligence services cyber activity. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

From The New York Times today:

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia directed a vast cyberattack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and installing Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office, the nation’s top intelligence agencies said in an extraordinary report they delivered on Friday to Mr. Trump.

The officials presented their unanimous conclusions to Mr. Trump in a two-hour briefing at Trump Tower in New York that brought the leaders of America’s intelligence agencies face to face with their most vocal skeptic, the president-elect, who has repeatedly cast doubt on Russia’s role. The meeting came just two weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration and was underway even as the electoral votes from his victory were being formally counted in a joint session of Congress.

Soon after leaving the meeting, intelligence officials released the declassified, damning report that described the sophisticated cybercampaign as part of a continuing Russian effort to weaken the United States government and its democratic institutions. The report — a virtually unheard-of, real-time revelation by the American intelligence agencies that undermined the legitimacy of the president who is about to direct them — made the case that Mr. Trump was the favored candidate of Mr. Putin.

The Times story is a mostly fair, if incomplete, description of the report itself, which is a provocative, disturbing and infuriating document. Damning? I don’t know about that. Anyone can damn something, but to be sure the damning is just requires evidence.

Observations and Questions:

1. The report isn’t evidence of anything. It just isn’t, and anyone or any source that states otherwise is misleading us. It would not be admissible as evidence if Russia or Putin were on trial in the U.S. for trying to influence the 2016 election. The document is a statement of opinions after analysis of material and sources we are not allowed to see. At the beginning, the report goes to great lengths to explain why this is, and the explanation is sound. Unless, however, the position we are supposed to take is that the intelligence community is to be assumed to be 100% correct, uninfluenced by bias, and  ought to be believed without reservations despite the presence of hard evidence, the declassified report is a statement by experts of an analysis based on experience and study, of exactly what, we don’t know.

2.Regarding the Times story: the intention of the news media to undermine the Trump Presidency and bolster Democrats who want to blame their candidate’s defeat on anything but her own weaknesses and conduct  appears to be on display in the Times story. For example, we have this statement:

“The Russian leader, the report said, sought to denigrate Mrs. Clinton, and the report detailed what the officials had revealed to President Obama a day earlier: Mr. Trump’s victory followed a complicated, multipart cyberinformation attack whose goal had evolved to help the Republican win.”

The leaping to the logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefor because of it”) is both a human tendency to be avoided and well-known. This statement appeals to it, intentionally, or incompetently. The fact that Trump’s shocking victory came after the cyber-attacks does not mean or even suggest that the attacks were responsible for that result. The Times immediately, in the next sentence, even states that “The 25-page report did not conclude that Russian involvement tipped the election to Mr. Trump.” Well, those are mixed messages. Do I, based on the uninterrupted anti-Trump attitude of the Times in its headlines, placement of stories, tone and pitch of news reports, op-eds and editorials, conclude that the mixed message is intentional or sparked by negligence seeded by bias?

I do.

3.  Much further down in its story, the Times admits,

While it accused Russian intelligence agencies of obtaining and maintaining “access to elements of multiple U.S. state or local electoral boards,” it concluded — as officials have publicly — that there was no evidence of tampering with the tallying of the vote on Nov. 8.

The report, reflecting the assessments of the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency, stopped short of backing up Mr. Trump on his declaration that the hacking activity had no effect on the election.

“We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election,” the report concluded, saying it was beyond its responsibility to analyze American “political processes” or public opinion.

A recent poll by The Economist and YouGov found that 52 percent of Democrats now believe Russia “tampered with vote tallies”; not that it just leaked emails to the public, but that it altered the outcome of the ballots in the election. If one accepts that poll, as The Federalist points out, more Democrats believe the Russians installed Trump into the Presidency Republicans  ever believed Barack Obama was a Muslim. That Russia “hacked the election” is, at this point at least, fake news.

Why isn’t the Times doing its job as an objective, independent news source by addressing that widespread partisan delusion with, for example, a headline stating that “Declassified Intelligence Report Says No Evidence That Russia Affected Elections Results”? That statement needs to be delivered loudly, unequivocally and clearly. Since it isn’t, I have to ask why.

4. That this is important was on vivid display yesterday at the Capitol. Democrats are still pushing the false narrative that Trump’s election was somehow tainted—let’s see, first it was all those racists and misogynists, then it was James Comey, then alleged voter suppression—all those African-American voter who couldn’t get voter IDs in Wisconsin, for example, where anyone can get one for free, and Pennsylvania, which doesn’t require ID, and Michigan, which also requires none: you know, the three states that flipped the Electoral College?—then it was the Electoral College, since the popular vote is what should elect real Presidents, then it was “fake news” on Facebook, and now it’s the Russians.

Yesterday, as Congress met in a joint session to officially certify the election results, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) cited Russia’s interference in the election as the first of many Democratic objections to Trump’s Electoral College victory. All of this was allowed and possible engineered by Nancy Pelosi… the House Democratic Party leader who tweeted this last October, when everyone was attacking Trump for refusing to pledge to accept the eventual election results:

pelosi-tweet

Yesterday, oddly enough, Pelosi appeared to have forgotten that ringing declaration of process and bi-partisanship, saying at a news conference that the Russian hacking concerns cast a pall over the 2016 vote:”That’s why people have some level of dismay today on the vote … about the Electoral College. How much is known about the foreign disruption of our election?”   Nancy is talking about questions like “How much is really known about Barack Obama’s background? That birth certificate sure looks funny….”  that Democrats found, justly, disgusting on the part of a tiny minority of GOP fools.

This is part of a organized post-election effort by Democrats and the news media to cast doubts on Trump’s legitimacy.

5. Call me suspicious, but I find it very strange that the section the Times itself calls “the key” to the report is buried at the very end of the paper’s summary, after 1431 words:

The key to the public report’s assessment is that Russia’s motives “evolved over the course of the campaign.” When it appeared that Mrs. Clinton was more likely to win, it concluded, the Russian effort focused “on undermining her future presidency,” with pro-Kremlin bloggers preparing a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #DemocracyRIP. It noted that Mr. Putin had a particular animus for Mrs. Clinton because he believed she had incited protests against him in 2011.

Yet the attacks, the report said, began long before anyone could have known that Mr. Trump, considered a dark horse, would win the Republican nomination. It said the attacks began as early as July 2015, when Russian intelligence operatives first gained access to the Democratic National Committee’s networks. Russia maintained that access for 11 months, until “at least June 2016,” the report concludes, leaving open the possibility that Russian cyberattackers may have had access even after the firm CrowdStrike believed that it had kicked them off the networks.

Wait—so how does the intelligence community thus conclude that the objective of the effort was to elect Donald Trump? When did it start appearing less likely that Clinton was going to win? I must have missed that stage of the campaign, like the entire polling community, Democrats, Republicans, and the news media. The report says that the Russians assumed that Trump would lose right up to November 8. Here, perhaps more than in any other area, actual evidence and not “assessments” are mandatory. Everything I see suggests that Russia did what it did to undermine Clinton and her inevitable Presidency, not to elect Trump.

6. The focus on Trump allows the news media, as usual, to divert attention away from the complete failure of President Obama’s administration to protect the nation from these kinds of foreign attacks, and the President’s selective outrage over the Russian hacking when there was no announced responses to far more damaging cyber-attacks from abroad raised questions as well.

Kudos are due to ABC reporter Jonathan Karl for having the integrity to ask one of the main ones. Karl asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest this week why the President expelled 35 Russian diplomats for hacking the DNC, but didn’t expel any Chinese diplomats for hacking the OPM, a huge government agency, in 2015, allowing China access to  the highly confidential records of 21 million government employees. “Why did the White House do nothing publicly in reaction to that hack, which in some ways, was even more widespread than what we saw here from the Russians?” queried Karl.

Earnest’s answer: “Humina humina humina…,” but phrased in a Josh Earnest rather than a Ralph Kramden manner:

Earnest: These are two cyber incidents that are malicious in nature but materially different…I’m not downplaying the significance of it, I’m just saying that it is different than seeking to interfere int he conduct of a U.S. national election. I can’t speak to the steps that have been taken by the United States in response to that Chinese malicious cyber activity–

Karl: But nothing was announced! There was not a single step announced by the White House.

Earnest: It is true that there was no public announcement about our response, but I can’t speak to what response may have been initiated in private.

Karl: But no diplomats expelled, no compounds shut down, no sanctions imposed, correct? You don’t do that stuff secretly.

Observes Ed Morrissey:

“Karl’s question, and Earnest’s inability to provide a coherent response, is the question the media should have been asking ever since Obama and the Democrats suddenly embraced Mitt Romney’s formulation of Russia as our #1 geopolitical foe over the last two months. That question should also be aimed at Congress as they ask for joint select committees to delve into the Russian propaganda campaign. The basic question is this: Why didn’t you do anything about China first?”

The uncharitable answer being given in various conservative or cynical forums: “Simple: Because the Russian hacks were harmful to the fortunes of the Democratic Party, while the Chinese hacks just harmed millions of real people and the nation.”  If you find that unfair, by all means come up with a more plausible answer.

7. A good argument can be made that the most troubling part of the report is the intelligence community’s view that Russia supports anti-fracking activity in the U.S., and exploited the Occupy movement for propaganda purposes. The Times didn’t view this part of the report worth mentioning. Let’s see how many non-conservative media sources do.

8. Trump’s vehement denials that the e-mail hacks affected the election-–there is also no real evidence that they did not—is very similar, and just as stupid—as the Clinton camp’s screaming about James Comey letter to Congress about the Weiner e-mails. It makes him look like he has something to hide, brings more attention to what is, in substance, more of an indictment of the Obama Administration and the DNC than it is anything that reflects badly on him.

It’s understandable that the President-Elect feels unfairly persecuted by Democrats since the election, since he has been. Presidents. however, are supposed to be able to handle such things in a rational and restrained manner.

________________________

Sources: The Nation, The Hill, Washington Post, New York Times,

21 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Science & Technology

21 responses to “The Russian Cyber-Attack Report: Observations And Questions

  1. Nice analysis.

    I have one quibble regarding “the complete failure of President Obama’s administration to protect the nation from these kinds of foreign attacks.” With regard to non-government computers — those with security policies outside the control of the Obama administration — I don’t think that’s possible. That’s just not how the internet works. Conceivably, things could be improved by massive computer security regulations, but that would take congressional action, and it would be a huge burden on the tech industry. And it may not be possible to protect computers from hacking any more than it’s possible to protect buildings from bombs. All we can do is make them resistant and be vigilant.

    • Agreed, Can’t blame the administration for the Russian hacks on the DNC or Sony. Hacks om OPM is a different matter…but all foreign hacks against US entities should draw official action.

      • Greg

        Honestly, what should the administration be doing to prevent hacking that it isn’t already doing? The government pays lots of security experts to protect its computers. Should the administration hire more experts? Fire the existing experts and hire different ones? Do those additional experts exist? Should the government hire them away from the private sector, leaving the private sector even more vulnerable to hacks? Should the administration be training new experts?

        What sort of official action should the US take against foreign hackers? Diplomatic notes? Economic sanctions? Bank account freezes? Expulsions of embassy personnel? Closing of country homes? We’ve done all of those. Counter-hacking? I imagine we do lots of that. Drone strikes?

        Is hacking a government computer worse than planting a spy like Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen or John Walker, all of whom did a lot more harm to American security than any hack that has been publicly revealed to date? Did we take any official action to punish the Soviets when we discovered those spies?

        The fact is that we spy on them and they spy on us; we try to hack them and they try to hack us; presumably we both have some successes and some failures; and that’s the way the game is played.

  2. Fred Davison

    That is some kind of special double jujitsu that can overcome twice the spending by one side over the other in an election, and yet leave nary a trace. Somebody should quickly hire those Russian geniuses for the next election.

    It’s not the leaking of Podesta’s emails that was the problem, it’s the content. The Hillary campaign completely owns the corruption, collusion and cheating that was revealed.

    • Other Bill

      Agreed, FD. No one talks about what the hack, from wherever it originated, revealed. They only complain about the hack. I don’t remember people complaining about Daniel Elsberg or Deep Throat. All they wanted to talk about was what they revealed. Incredible hypocrisy. Extremely frustrating. Has anyone asked whether anything the Russians allegedly revealed was not accurate?

      Further, if I were a Russian oligarch, who’d I rather play nuclear poker with? An alleged real estate developer or a former first lady? The former head of Exxon/Mobile or John Kerry or Samantha Power? The anti-Obama or the preserver (and past implementer) of Obama’s foreign policy, so called? I”m guessing [Ras]Putin would much rather have had four or eight more years of incompetence on the other side of the table.

      • Agreed, FD. No one talks about what the hack, from wherever it originated, revealed. They only complain about the hack. I don’t remember people complaining about Daniel Elsberg or Deep Throat. All they wanted to talk about was what they revealed. Incredible hypocrisy. Extremely frustrating. Has anyone asked whether anything the Russians allegedly revealed was not accurate?

        I wonder how many critics of the hack defended Dan Rather and his story in 2004?

  3. Chris Marschner

    How does the administration deal with their activities to thwart the election of Benjamin Netenyatu as the PM of Israel?

    How do they reconcile covert CIA activities to destabilize or overthrow dictators we don’t like?

    How can we expect that others will not do to us what we do to them?

    Are we that naive?

    • This is, you know, why Putin mocked Obama’s indignation. That, and the fact that we know, don’t we, that the CIA does far worse, in many places, including Russia.

      • Other Bill

        And has everyone forgotten Obama’s going to England to tell the electorate there that if they voted to leave the EU Britain would move to “the back of the que” for trade with the U.S. Frankly, I think that helped push Brexit over the top. But if that’s not meddling in a foreign election, what is?

  4. James Flood

    If Putin’s goal was to delegitimize a US President, who is doing his bidding now? I’d call them useful idiots but they’re worse than that. They simply don’t care about the collateral damage. If the “hacking” narrative soothes the party and the base then it’s scorched earth for all!

  5. Zanshin

    Hi Jack,
    Regarding point 2 of Observations and Questions.

    First you quote a statement from the article which claims that officials had revealed to President Obama a day earlier that:
    “Mr. Trump’s victory followed a complicated, multipart cyberinformation attack whose goal had evolved to help the Republican win.”

    Then you wrote,
    The Times immediately, in the next sentence […] states that “The 25-page report did not conclude that Russian involvement tipped the election to Mr. Trump.”

    I find that very decent of the Times and for me it is certainly not a convincing argument for claiming that:
    “Regarding the Times story: the intention of the news media to undermine the Trump Presidency and bolster Democrats who want to blame their candidate’s defeat on anything but her own weaknesses and conduct appears to be on display in the Times story.”

    There are two important statements here,
    a. Officials had revealed to President Obama a day earlier that: “Mr. Trump’s victory followed a complicated, multipart cyberinformation attack whose goal had evolved to help the Republican win.”
    b. “The 25-page report did not conclude that Russian involvement tipped the election to Mr. Trump.”
    My evaluation on these two statements are,
    – Probably both statements are true;
    – the public has a right / wants to know this information.
    – the two statements are sufficient related to each other to be placed next to each other.
    ==> conclusion for me, no need to call these two statements a mixed message which makes the question is this “mixed message intentional or sparked by negligence seeded by bias?” unanswerable.

    • Chris

      Agreed. “Followed” does not mean “caused by.”

    • I disagree. If the second sentence wasn’t there, “Mr. Trump’s victory followed a complicated, multipart cyberinformation attack whose goal had evolved to help the Republican win.” would bong any doubt constitute an insinuation that the victory was is some way caused by the attack. You and I know that post hoc is a fallacy, but the public typically does not, and the news media and Democrats are aggressively pushing the false narrative that the effort DID cause the victory. Thus it is misleading and incompetent to phrase it that way, no matter what the subsequent statement was.

      b. “The 25-page report did not conclude that Russian involvement tipped the election to Mr. Trump.”
      My evaluation on these two statements are,
      – Probably both statements are true;
      – the public has a right / wants to know this information.
      – the two statements are sufficient related to each other to be placed next to each other.

      1. They were not placed next to each other at the outset of the article, and should have been
      2. The second IS true.
      3. The first is half true and half supposition at best. We have seen mo evidence at all that “the goal had evolved to help the Republican win.” None. The report in fact says that the Russians never thought trump could win, so how does the report, or you, explain that the “goal had evolved to help the Republican win.”?

      • Zanshin

        Jack,

        I reread my comment and noticed I was a bit imprecise/unclear. Here some clarification.

        Regarding point 2 of Observations and Questions, you discussed two statements from the Times article, which I will quote now as statement (a) and (b).

        (a) The Russian leader, the report said, sought to denigrate Mrs. Clinton, and the report detailed what the officials had revealed to President Obama a day earlier: Mr. Trump’s victory followed a complicated, multipart cyberinformation attack whose goal had evolved to help the Republican win.
        (b) The 25-page report did not conclude that Russian involvement tipped the election to Mr. Trump.

        In my evaluation of these two statements, I discuss the whole statements, as quoted under (a) and (b).
        So, when I wrote “Probably both statements are true” I did not mean to say that the claim is true that:
        the Russian leader sought to denigrate Mrs. Clinton
        but that the claim is true that
        the report said that the Russian leader sought to denigrate Mrs. Clinton
        Et cetera.

  6. Greg

    This so-called “25-page report” is almost entirely padding and filler. I read it and I don’t see anything in it that adds to what we knew before the report was issued.

    Ignore the first 3 pages, consisting of a cover page and two pages on “background and methods” that say essentially, “In preparing reports like this, we look at the sources we think we should look at and reach the conclusions we think we should reach, and you should trust us because we know a lot more than you.”

    Ignore the next 3 pages, consisting of another cover page, one “page left intentionally blank” and another page that says, “Trust us, we know things and you don’t.”

    Ignore the next 2 pages, which are a summary of the rest of the report. Just read the report itself. It’s short.

    Ignore the 2 pages after that, a table of contents and another cover page.

    Ignore the 7-page Annex A, which describes the news and editorial policies of the RT website and youtube channel. In the first place, the annex is four years old and describes RT’s activities before and during the 2012 campaign, not the 2016 campaign. In the second place, RT has a tiny audience in the US and could not possibly have affected either the 2012 or 2016 election in any material way. In the third place, are we really supposed to be outraged that Russia operates a pro-Russian website that disseminates Russia’s view of the world?

    Ignore the 1-page Annex B, which is bureaucratic boilerplate (explaining what “highly likely” means and how it differs from “likely”).

    Ignore the last 2 pages, which consist of one “page left intentionally blank” and another cover page.

    That leaves 5 pages. Those 5 pages are the entirety of the actual content of the report, including all of the report’s information, reasoning, opinions and conclusions. Let’s take a look at them:

    Page 1 and the first quarter of page 2 tell us that Putin preferred Trump to Clinton. We all knew that without the CIA telling us. The only interesting part is the acknowledgement that Putin blamed the US for the Panama Papers hack and leak, and for “inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012.” There’s no suggestion in the report, however, that there would have been anything improper about this sort of interference by the US in Russia’s political process.

    The next half of page 2 tells us that the Russian strategy includes covert intelligence operations (we knew this already without the CIA telling us, because every country in the world engages in covert intelligence operations) and overt operations (i.e., legitimate, unobjectionable activities, such as public expressions of opinion by the Russian government and people who agree with it). The CIA informs us that, unsurprisingly, some portion of Russia’s no-doubt extensive intelligence operations in the US includes collecting information about think tanks and other political actors.

    The stub of page 2 and the first half of page 3 set out the CIA’s curiously unpersuasive argument that Russia was responsible for the DNC email leaks. Essentially their argument is: (1) Guccifer, who claimed to have hacked the emails, has made inconsistent statements about his identity (as if a secret hacker and leaker should be expected to make himself easy to identify), (2) Putin made mocking public comments about the leaks (as, of course, he would do regardless of the source), (3) RT publishes Wikileaks content (like many other news outlets, such as the New York Times), gives favorable coverage to Assange (as many other news outlets, such as the New York Times, did before he embarrassed Hillary), and has given him a broadcast slot on its network, and (4) just trust us, we know things and you don’t.

    Then some irrelevant asides about Russian activities that had no effect on the 2016 election (World Anti-Doping Agency and state election boards).

    The stub of page 3 and all of page 4 complain about legitimate activities by Russia and individual Russians. Complaints about RT’s news and editorial bias. (Was RT as biased as CNN? The report doesn’t say.) Complaints about Russian media coverage of the campaign for Russian audiences inside Russia. Complaints about public remarks made in Russia by Russian politicians unknown in the US. Complaints that Russians (“trolls”) posted anti-Hillary comments on blogs and that some were paid to do so.

    The report tries to make these activities sound sinister by calling them part of an “influence campaign” that included “cyber tools and media campaigns.” The New York Times escalates the rhetoric, calling this a “complicated, multipart cyberinformation attack.” But the campaign that the report actually describes consisted solely of (1) the alleged leak of DNC emails (“cyber tools”), plus (2) journalism, editorials and other information and expressions of opinion posted publicly on the internet (“media campaign,” unless you take the view that all information posted on the web is transformed into cyberinformation), competing for attention with literally hundreds of millions, if not billions, of web postings by other people and organizations.

    Page 5 tells us that the Russians are bad, bad people for doing the things described on pages 1-4 and that Russians have done bad, bad things in the past. (“In the 1970’s, the KGB recruited a Democratic Party activist who reported information about Jimmy Carter’s campaign and foreign policy plans.” Shocking!) Also, that the Russians might do bad, bad things in the future.

    So, cutting through the padding, the irrelevancies and the things that go without saying, the only significant part of the report, the only part that actually accuses the Russians of doing anything improper that affected the election is the unpersuasive half page that asserts again, without evidence, that the Russians leaked the DNC emails.

    To my mind, the only troubling thing about the report is that it was issued at all. Who in the intelligence agencies contrived this hackwork and what were their real motives for doing so? They clearly knew how thin their case was, else they wouldn’t have felt the need to add so much padding and so many irrelevant asides. But the media seem completely uninterested in that question.

  7. Ok folks, here’s one for you. I just got off the phone with someone that was talking about this at length and this person thinks that the evidence that the Russians are behind this is likely fabricated by the CIA in a similar way as how evidence was fabricated and presented to support the invasion of Iraq. In other words, there was a narrative chosen ahead of time to present to the people, this narrative was chosen for pure domestic political reasons, and the only evidence presented (if you choose to call opinions evidence) is evidence that overwhelmingly supports the predefined narrative.

    My opinion of that conversation:
    I suppose that opinion could be as accurate as anything else I’m hearing because all I’m hearing is opinions of detailed analysis that we are not allowed to see.

    What’s absolutely true is that opinions is what is being trotted out to the American people and I’m getting that uneasy feeling that they are saying “Trust Me”. I’m sure most of you know what I think of that phrase. I still think “trust me” belongs somewhere on the rationalization.

    I’ve been smelling a propaganda rat from the Obama administration, from the DNC, from the Clinton camp, from the political left in general, and from the Liberal ideologically infused media for quite some time now; this seems to fit the pattern the political left propaganda pattern and it seems to be too good to be true. I’ve stated that propaganda seems to be the norm in politics today, but that is especially true from the political left.

    I’m really not looking for something to support my suspicion of manipulated propaganda from the left; however, the they seem top be going out of their way to feed it with a generous supply of “trust me”.

    I do not trust the Obama administration to tell the whole truth, no way, no how, and opinions of the analysis just ain’t gonna do it for me, I want the facts so a true independent analysis can be done.

    • I may only be a mere Canadian Zoltar, observing from afar, but starting with your third paragraph from the bottom, and on down to the end, we could have been raised in the same family we sound so much alike. I can’t help but feel that there’s a whole lot more happening here then anyone is being told, and none of it is any good, for about 99% of us at least.

  8. I am with Zoltar. This frenzy over Russian meddling, and the alleged “damning” documentation of it, is just too convenient, too wag-the-dog-ish, too much like yet another Cnton deflection (“Look! Russians!”) to trust a couple of clearly embittered and sore-losing corrupt regimes and their toadies (one regime in office, the other having been waiting to succeed it as was presumed and deemed entitled) with being accurate, let alone credible.

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