When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 1 Cor 13:11
The other day there was another glut of headlines about Russia ‘interfering’ in our elections, evoking such predictable remarks by the usual suspects about Trump colluding with Russia, etc., etc. Those were the headlines–but had anyone gone beyond them to the underlying claims, what had actually taken place was that hackers–alleged to be Russian–had attempted to infiltrate Burisma, the Ukrainian company which the Bidens have become intertwined with.
Here is a great example: Report: Russian hack indicates Moscow may again meddle in U.S. election
But from the first paragraph:
A cybersecurity firm says Russian spies successfully hacked the Ukrainian oil and gas company that’s part of a scandal involving President Donald Trump that led to his impeachment, and it may be a signal Moscow will again interfere in this fall’s U.S. elections.
Assuming someone gets past the headline, and assuming someone has even the tiniest amount of critical thinking, one would wonder what the one has to do with another. After all, according to mainstream reporting to this point, there is NOTHING untoward about the Biden’s arrangements with Burisma, so how on earth it could bear on the 2020 election strains credulity (unless in fact there is something untoward going on…).
But, in a nation where an unnervingly large number of people are mere partisan sheep with apparently no capacity for independent thought, the ‘damage’ is already done.
The next paragraph gives us yet more to wonder about:
The group, Area 1 Security, said in a report it found evidence Russian military intelligence targeted Burisma with a “phishing” attack last fall for access to employee passwords and email accounts. It also said Moscow’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, was behind the attacks.
The UPI article helpfully provides a link to the original ‘report’ which the breathless reporters on the morning news show didn’t reference. I read the report, just as I have read much of just about all of the reports that have been released. I find the evidence that it was the GRU a little flimsy. Here is the long and short of it: “Area 1 has been tracking GRU TTPs for several years, and the TTPs utilized in this
campaign have been tied to those observed by Area 1 in prior GRU campaigns.” So, basically the argument is that the tactics observed in this ‘attack’ are ones they had observed before and had attributed to GRU; this similarity is apparently enough to justify the conclusion that the GRU was responsible in this case, as well.
I’m not really interested in analyzing their claims all that much. My gut, however, is that they were just looking for publicity, betrayed by this section, which really goes a long way to making my point of this post:
Our report is not noteworthy because we identify the GRU launching a phishing campaign, nor is the targeting of a Ukrainian company particularly novel. It is significant because Burisma Holdings is publically entangled in U.S. foreign and domestic politics. The timing of the GRU’s campaign in relation to the 2020 U.S. elections raises the spectre that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 U.S. elections.
The only true statement in this paragraph is the first one. Their report is not noteworthy, nor is the targeting of a Ukrainian company novel. The rest is contrived bunk, but to understand why, we need to give that first sentence a little more attention.
One of my chief complaints with the Fake News media and their sycophant partisan sponges is the way we are informed about things as if they are novel and noteworthy, when in fact they are not unique at all. There really isn’t any better example of this phenom than what we are witnessing as we speak: the impeachment and trial of Trump for an alleged ‘quid pro quo’ (or whatever the latest charge is) when we actually have Biden ON VIDEO actually engaging in a ‘quid pro quo’ related to the very same subject matter, in a manner brazenly and self-evidently self-serving, with Trump’s supposed conduct not at all obviously self-serving.
Even more than that, you could say that what is under discussion in both cases is actually fairly common practice–by everyone involved in Washington DC politics. This is clearly what Mick Mulvaney was getting at when he said, “We do that all the time with foreign policy.”
Which is also clearly true. LOL
So, if it is the case that such things happen “all the time” with foreign policy–and it is–why exactly is what Trump was (initially) accused of doing “noteworthy” and/or “novel”?
Maybe they are all wrong for engaging in such behavior. But to assert that Trump’s actions are some how uniquely pernicious when they were nothing but par for the course is absurd. But to believe it? To accept that assertion uncritically, lapping it up greedily, becoming intoxicated as if one is a seven year old sucking down a case of beer?
Jeff Sessions Another Example
Or how about the brief interactions that Sessions had with the Russian ambassador? For these, intense pressure to recuse himself was placed on Sessions, which he, to his shame, gave in to. Not asked: how many other people did the Russian ambassador come in contact with? We do all know what ambassadors and senators do, right? Also not asked: did Sessions come in contact with other ambassadors? What about the rest of DC? Did they come in contact with other ambassadors?
We can only know if it is significant that Sessions interacted with the Russian ambassador if we have first determined that ambassadors in general don’t ever interact with senators (a laughable idea) and then extend the question to the Russian ambassador. I don’t think I even saw this question raised by the children. They were too busy devouring whatever it was that was being dished to them. The thought never even occurred to them. In point of fact, it is not “noteworthy” or “novel” that an ambassador of any stripe would interact with an American politician. Again, I ask, we do know what ambassadors do, right?
Back to Trump
This also illustrates a complaint I’ve been making for a long time using the metaphor of a basketball team where one side bludgeons the other with baseball bats and then when the other team complains, or, heaven forbid, throws an elbow in self-defense, the abusive team starts shouting “You’re breaking the rules! YOU VIOLENT PEOPLE!”
Maybe they are all wrong in engaging in such behavior–but only Trump is now being put on trial in the Senate, subject to removal, whereas Biden is ahead in the polls in the Democrat field for president.
This is what Alinsky means by ‘make them play by their own rules.’ You set up a system where no one is allowed to hit someone over the head with a baseball bat, and then as soon as the other people put down their baseball bats, you bean them over the head. When they complain, they say things like, “Well, we all need to try to be better people… you first.” It’s just a ruse. [I put this analogy in print back in April 2019, long before this Ukrainian nonsense.]
So, look. Unless your goal is to be manipulated and deceived, when a piece of news comes across your desk, or is shoved down your gullet, you should inquire as to whether or not the thing presented to you is truly novel and/or unique.
Now, the whole Russian hacking/collusion thing is saturated with a refusal to acknowledge this principle. The giveaway is actually in the sentence I marked “true” earlier: “Our report is not noteworthy because we identify the GRU launching a phishing campaign, nor is the targeting of a Ukrainian company particularly novel.”
This is not noteworthy or novel for the simple reason that even a tiny bit of research would reveal that in point of fact, the “Russians” have been engaging in such behavior across the board for decades, targeting pretty much every country, business, and organization. There is nothing special about Burisma. Indeed, the Area 1 people admit as much. But let’s not stop there! You know who else has been engaging in such behavior? China.
You know who else?
The United States.
And North Korea, and the UK, and Israel, and Iran, and, well, everybody. And everybody is a target.
If you are not aware of this, after reading this you need to spend a few hours on Google researching this, NOW.
What makes the Russians different? There isn’t anything the Russians did that China is not doing, tenfold. China is currently engaged in an ‘election interference’ campaign that blows what the Russians did out of the water when it comes to explicitly wanting to change election outcomes. China has been pouring money into the United States to shape public opinion for years and years. There is no corresponding Russian ‘Confucius’ center. If the Russians were doing what the Chinese were doing, we’d never hear the end of it. But since its the Chinese doing it–that is to say, a bunch of rich and powerful people are profiting from China intrusions and there is no way to pin it on Trump–hardly anyone knows about this stuff.
Unless, that is, they are adults, who can think for themselves, put things in proportion and context, willing to read more than headlines, and eager to track down their own leads generated from an interest in the TRUTH.
This applies as much to the initial accusations of Russian hacking as to this current instance. For example, as I documented in this post this summer about Russian ‘interference,’ what was alleged was that Russians had spent about $160,000 on trying to ‘influence’ the US election. This is supposed to be a ‘big deal.’ Hey, maybe it is… but the Trump campaign, by itself, spent $81,000,000 on Facebook ads. That’s 81 MILLION. And how much did China spend on the 2016 election?
Well, gee. We don’t have that figure. (I am unaware of it, at least.) It hasn’t even occurred to the children that it might be relevant. And at any rate, its a little absurd to think that an election can be swung with a mere $160,000. (As I detail, I myself have spent about $10,000 in FB ads, so I know EXACTLY what to expect from these kinds of investments).
But I have even more personal knowledge than that. As someone who manages a webserver I am acutely aware of when it comes under attack–which is daily. For the purpose of this post, I took a look at the log of blocked ‘attackers.’ This log is THOUSANDS of entries long. Scanning the origins of these hacking attempts surfaces these countries recently attacking the server of a veritable nobody (that’s me), who is not associated with any company, country, or organization: Germany, Turkey, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, China, England, the US, etc., etc., and yes, Russia.
The GRU? Quite possibly. And if I was a publicity-mongerer, I guess I could put out a report with this paragraph in it:
Our report is not noteworthy because we identify the GRU launching a phishing campaign, nor is the targeting of an American citizen particularly novel. It is significant because the American citizen is very interested in U.S. foreign and domestic politics. The timing of the GRU’s campaign in relation to the 2020 U.S. elections raises the spectre that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 U.S. elections.
Would it be significant? LOL, no. Because every web server on the planet is being bombarded by bots and agents seeking every advantage. And we know for a fact that the US government is as active as any of the others. Do you even know what’s going on out there?
I’ve had my websites defaced by the PLA. Is that significant? Not really, when you consider the thousands of others who have had the same experience. The details of these types of attacks and more happening to individuals of all stripes, even nobodies like myself, can be known by anyone who thinks like an adult, rather than a child. Anyone paying the least bit attention is aware of this stuff. I mean, you know what a Nigerian Prince scam is, right? You know what a phishing attack is, right?
Apparently you, me, and millions of others know, but not that great intellect, John Podesta.
So here we are heading into an impeachment trial spurred on by absolute nonsense which has followed absolute nonsense. (We haven’t even been given access to the underlying evidence that supports our intelligence agency’s claims that Russia hacked the DNC, etc. But hey, don’t worry. Our intelligence agencies would never lie to us.) It isn’t that its not bad that Russia tried to hack the 2016 election, its that that statement is so trivially obvious that you’d have to say, “So? How is that different than what they (and China, etc) are always doing?”
Ask that question and the answer seems to be that its not very different at all… but with a nation of infants, it turns out to have been a very effective way to whip them into a frenzy in an attempt to direct them towards a specific target…
And maybe that would be fine, except then you have to remember there are more and more people like this guy who are the ones being ‘whipped.’
Child, it is time to grow up.