Occam, Trump, and Russia

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thoreau
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 05 Jun 2018, 01:41

(Trump would brag that we have the best, the most amazingly useful idiots ever.)
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Painboy » 05 Jun 2018, 02:12

Putin wants to cause internal divisions in rival countries so a unified response by that country is harder to accomplish. He does this by flinging shit around until something sticks. There is no grand plan of Putin's. The idea he's some master manipulator is nonsense. He doesn't need to actually collude with anyone. He just needs to look like he did to cause problems because everyone wants to assume the worst.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by lunchstealer » 05 Jun 2018, 02:52

thoreau wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 01:40
Still, it is impressive how good the Russians can be at finding useful idiots in America. We seem to be rich in idiots for the picking.
It's almost more of a 'who dares, does' type of thing. Nobody realized how easy it was to engage idiots until... Wait it was Ron Paul wasn't it? Previously, the idiots that could be engaged were dipshit college students who quickly got bored when they found there were easier ways to get laid and that revolution doesn't pay. Ron Paul managed to motivate idiots with jobs and who are past the age of getting laid.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 05 Jun 2018, 03:04

Putin wants to cause internal divisions in rival countries so a unified response by that country is harder to accomplish. He does this by flinging shit around until something sticks. There is no grand plan of Putin's. The idea he's some master manipulator is nonsense. He doesn't need to actually collude with anyone. He just needs to look like he did to cause problems because everyone wants to assume the worst.
I'm not saying that Putin is an 11-dimensional chessmaster. I'm just noting that Russians have a lot of success whenever they come to America looking for idiots that they can use. The Russian intelligence services seem to be good at training people to identify and manipulate America's idiots across the spectrum.

And, for the record, I also regard Jill Stein and a lot of other liberals in the present day as useful idiots that Putin successfully played. I've seen quite a few liberals express admiration for RT.

And, again, I"m not saying that this is masterful 11-dimensional chess on Russia's part. I doubt that Putin is rubbing his hands together and announcing Phase II while pointing at a map. But his people are certainly good at recruiting and using idiots in the fertile, idiot-rich lands of America.

If tomorrow Putin thought he might get some political mileage from recruiting idiots in, oh, I dunno, the US auto industry, or school boards, or whatever, he could send a bunch of 20-something women, as well as some businessmen with money to launder, and in no time they'd have themselves a crop of idiots offering tours of dealerships and/or schools.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by lunchstealer » 05 Jun 2018, 03:09

thoreau wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 03:04
I've seen quite a few liberals express admiration for RT.
Including some reasonoids including maybe Balko at one point. Or at least one RT show would occasionally have him or one of the others of his generation on as a talking head.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Fin Fang Foom » 05 Jun 2018, 13:24

lunchstealer wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 03:09
thoreau wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 03:04
I've seen quite a few liberals express admiration for RT.
Including some reasonoids including maybe Balko at one point. Or at least one RT show would occasionally have him or one of the others of his generation on as a talking head.
RT has always had an agenda. Formerly at least some shows advanced that by showing a mirror up to the U.S. Now it's all funhouse mirrors.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Warren » 05 Jun 2018, 13:42

thoreau wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 01:40
I get why Putin does what he does, and that there are differences between Russian cultivation of US lefties in the Cold War and Russian cultivation of US conservatives now.

Still, it is impressive how good the Russians can be at finding useful idiots in America. We seem to be rich in idiots for the picking.
Is there some other society that's poor in idiots?
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 05 Jun 2018, 14:06

Ours are remarkably useful. Some idiots are useless.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Painboy » 05 Jun 2018, 16:21

thoreau wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 03:04
I'm not saying that Putin is an 11-dimensional chessmaster. I'm just noting that Russians have a lot of success whenever they come to America looking for idiots that they can use. The Russian intelligence services seem to be good at training people to identify and manipulate America's idiots across the spectrum.
But I don't think he's manipulating them in any real way. It's just people latching onto things they already believe. Those people pass around crazy memes and when the russians spit out a bunch of fake crazy memes they just get vacummed up with the other crazy memes being passed around. It's like worrying about flat-earthers being influenced by creationist ideas. They're already in the nutso pile. Nothing is really changing.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Jennifer » 05 Jun 2018, 16:38

Painboy wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 16:21
thoreau wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 03:04
I'm not saying that Putin is an 11-dimensional chessmaster. I'm just noting that Russians have a lot of success whenever they come to America looking for idiots that they can use. The Russian intelligence services seem to be good at training people to identify and manipulate America's idiots across the spectrum.
But I don't think he's manipulating them in any real way. It's just people latching onto things they already believe. Those people pass around crazy memes and when the russians spit out a bunch of fake crazy memes they just get vacummed up with the other crazy memes being passed around. It's like worrying about flat-earthers being influenced by creationist ideas. They're already in the nutso pile. Nothing is really changing.
Sure, they're already nuts, but IMO that doesn't mean it's OK to goad them into further nuttiness. It's like -- I dunno if you've paid attention to the thread I started about my dipshit Facebook acquaintance who is likely to be homeless and impoverished by this time next year, because she refuses to accept that her current lifestyle is far beyond her means and requires some significant downsizing -- yeah, she already seems determined to engage in financially self-destructive behaviors, and when everything collapses it will be her fault, but I still have a very low opinion of the people who encourage her to do this. And I'd have an even lower opinion of those enablers, if they were doing so because they thought her eventual impoverishment would benefit them in some way (or cause harm to other people besides her).
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 05 Jun 2018, 17:10

Painboy wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 16:21
thoreau wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 03:04
I'm not saying that Putin is an 11-dimensional chessmaster. I'm just noting that Russians have a lot of success whenever they come to America looking for idiots that they can use. The Russian intelligence services seem to be good at training people to identify and manipulate America's idiots across the spectrum.
But I don't think he's manipulating them in any real way. It's just people latching onto things they already believe. Those people pass around crazy memes and when the russians spit out a bunch of fake crazy memes they just get vacummed up with the other crazy memes being passed around. It's like worrying about flat-earthers being influenced by creationist ideas. They're already in the nutso pile. Nothing is really changing.
True. The Russians have only done memes and troll farms. They've never planted people inside major-party campaigns, funneled money to advocacy groups, or developed close ties to third party spoilers like Jill Stein. The only thing that the Russians have ever done is get some guys in a Petrograd warehouse to post memes.

The only idiots that they have ever used have been idiots on forums. They have never in any way engaged in any other sort of political activity using idiots in America.
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Painboy » 05 Jun 2018, 18:21

Jennifer wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 16:38
Painboy wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 16:21
thoreau wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 03:04
I'm not saying that Putin is an 11-dimensional chessmaster. I'm just noting that Russians have a lot of success whenever they come to America looking for idiots that they can use. The Russian intelligence services seem to be good at training people to identify and manipulate America's idiots across the spectrum.
But I don't think he's manipulating them in any real way. It's just people latching onto things they already believe. Those people pass around crazy memes and when the russians spit out a bunch of fake crazy memes they just get vacummed up with the other crazy memes being passed around. It's like worrying about flat-earthers being influenced by creationist ideas. They're already in the nutso pile. Nothing is really changing.
Sure, they're already nuts, but IMO that doesn't mean it's OK to goad them into further nuttiness. It's like -- I dunno if you've paid attention to the thread I started about my dipshit Facebook acquaintance who is likely to be homeless and impoverished by this time next year, because she refuses to accept that her current lifestyle is far beyond her means and requires some significant downsizing -- yeah, she already seems determined to engage in financially self-destructive behaviors, and when everything collapses it will be her fault, but I still have a very low opinion of the people who encourage her to do this. And I'd have an even lower opinion of those enablers, if they were doing so because they thought her eventual impoverishment would benefit them in some way (or cause harm to other people besides her).
Your facebook person is actually a perfect example of what I'm talking about. How many people have given her good and even heartfelt advice? Yet she continues on her course despite this. That's because she has already determined what she wants and is going to find the justification for it and ignore anything counter to her desires.

The people giving her bad advice are odious, as are the russian news trolls, but their practical effect is between negligible and zero. She doesn't need goading, she's already emotionally decided what she wants and refuses to accept she can't have it. This outcome was inevitable given her state of mind as you have outlined.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Painboy » 05 Jun 2018, 18:33

thoreau wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 17:10
Painboy wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 16:21
thoreau wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 03:04
I'm not saying that Putin is an 11-dimensional chessmaster. I'm just noting that Russians have a lot of success whenever they come to America looking for idiots that they can use. The Russian intelligence services seem to be good at training people to identify and manipulate America's idiots across the spectrum.
But I don't think he's manipulating them in any real way. It's just people latching onto things they already believe. Those people pass around crazy memes and when the russians spit out a bunch of fake crazy memes they just get vacummed up with the other crazy memes being passed around. It's like worrying about flat-earthers being influenced by creationist ideas. They're already in the nutso pile. Nothing is really changing.
True. The Russians have only done memes and troll farms. They've never planted people inside major-party campaigns, funneled money to advocacy groups, or developed close ties to third party spoilers like Jill Stein. The only thing that the Russians have ever done is get some guys in a Petrograd warehouse to post memes.

The only idiots that they have ever used have been idiots on forums. They have never in any way engaged in any other sort of political activity using idiots in America.
What was the practical effect of all of that though? A few thousand idiots here, a few thousand idiots there? That's not going to swing elections or change any policies. You are vastly overestimating their effects. Politicians get handed money all the time by everyone. Why would a few shadey donors have such a disproportionate sway over the thousands of other donors with their own desires?

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 05 Jun 2018, 18:40

You're right; we should not pay any attention to the fact that when Russian agents offered dirt the response of the President's campaign officials was to meet with them rather than call the FBI. Because none of this matters in any way. There's absolutely no reason to care if politicians and their inner circle--people who would get security clearances after the election--are following the rules for interactions with foreign governments. All of this is entirely inconsequential and in no way corrosive of the norms and rules that a well-run system requires.

It's all just troll farms.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 05 Jun 2018, 18:46

Look, we can have different views on the credibility of the evidence and whether it amounts to anything, but what's been plausibly alleged is a lot more than troll farms. The allegations may or may not be true, but why is the response to every mention of corruption and Russian meddling to downplay the significance of troll farms? I actually agree that troll farms are not a big deal; they're probably protected speech (and even if a lawyer should show that they aren't protected, they certainly aren't speech that I'm interested in seeing anyone use discretionary authority to go after).

I do think that there's reason to be worried when people at the top of a campaign meet with foreign agents offering dirt rather than calling the FBI. I do think there's reason to be worried when a campaign is infiltrated by foreign agents, since campaigns are chock full of people who will be getting sensitive jobs if their candidate wins. I do think there's reason to worry when the President and his inner circle have, at a minimum, spent a lot of time doing shady real estate deals with Russian businessmen. Even if you don't subscribe to the more extreme theories, these sorts of business entanglements would make it quite difficult for just about anyone else to get a security clearance.

If you find the allegations implausible, well, so be it. We can debate the significance of the evidence offered thus far. But it makes no sense to respond to every allegation with "Who cares about troll farms?" I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't care about troll farms. If I'm wrong, if the stuff I think happened didn't happen, well, then I'm wrong. Tell me that. Respond to that. Or ignore it if you're bored with it. But don't give me the "Who cares about troll farms?" non-sequitur.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 05 Jun 2018, 18:57

As to Russia and the NRA, I think it's less about swaying elections than about getting their people access to movers and shakers. Money for conservative advocacy groups is the cost of entry for getting to talk to elected officials and their close advisers. And I find it amusing/disappointing that the NRA has made itself so useful for Russian agents.

That is very different from troll farms.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Eric the .5b » 05 Jun 2018, 22:54

Fine. Nuclear first strike on Russia.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Shem » 05 Jun 2018, 23:36

Painboy wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 18:33
What was the practical effect of all of that though? A few thousand idiots here, a few thousand idiots there? That's not going to swing elections or change any policies.
You're kidding, right? 65,000 votes across three states highly targeted by Russians, and we have a different President.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by lunchstealer » 05 Jun 2018, 23:39

Shem wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 23:36
Painboy wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 18:33
What was the practical effect of all of that though? A few thousand idiots here, a few thousand idiots there? That's not going to swing elections or change any policies.
You're kidding, right? 65,000 votes across three states highly targeted by Russians, and we have a different President.
Much of which is because of how narrow the whole thing was. I wonder just how many elections can be swung by five digits of votes? I mean, other than 2000 and 2016, natch.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by dhex » 06 Jun 2018, 06:30

Russian English language psy-memes didn't swing jack fuck. Anyone who dug into that garbage was not a Hillary possible.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Eric the .5b » 06 Jun 2018, 19:46

dhex wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 06:30
Russian English language psy-memes didn't swing jack fuck. Anyone who dug into that garbage was not a Hillary possible.
And anyone who was demotivated to vote by that stuff...was also not a Hillary possible.

I'm not even sure we can blame Comey's last-minute shenanigans. Who exactly was actually going to vote for Clinton but got demotivated by vague investigation announcements?
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Shem » 06 Jun 2018, 20:39

Eric the .5b wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 19:46
dhex wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 06:30
Russian English language psy-memes didn't swing jack fuck. Anyone who dug into that garbage was not a Hillary possible.
And anyone who was demotivated to vote by that stuff...was also not a Hillary possible.

I'm not even sure we can blame Comey's last-minute shenanigans. Who exactly was actually going to vote for Clinton but got demotivated by vague investigation announcements?
The same sort of people who get demotivated to vote by rain on election day? I think you guys are underestimating how weak some people's desire to vote is.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Eric the .5b » 06 Jun 2018, 21:16

Shem wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 20:39
Eric the .5b wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 19:46
dhex wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 06:30
Russian English language psy-memes didn't swing jack fuck. Anyone who dug into that garbage was not a Hillary possible.
And anyone who was demotivated to vote by that stuff...was also not a Hillary possible.

I'm not even sure we can blame Comey's last-minute shenanigans. Who exactly was actually going to vote for Clinton but got demotivated by vague investigation announcements?
The same sort of people who get demotivated to vote by rain on election day? I think you guys are underestimating how weak some people's desire to vote is.
I think some people are overestimating how many people ever actually wanted to vote for Clinton.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Mo » 07 Jun 2018, 07:25

Eric the .5b wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 21:16
Shem wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 20:39
Eric the .5b wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 19:46
dhex wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 06:30
Russian English language psy-memes didn't swing jack fuck. Anyone who dug into that garbage was not a Hillary possible.
And anyone who was demotivated to vote by that stuff...was also not a Hillary possible.

I'm not even sure we can blame Comey's last-minute shenanigans. Who exactly was actually going to vote for Clinton but got demotivated by vague investigation announcements?
The same sort of people who get demotivated to vote by rain on election day? I think you guys are underestimating how weak some people's desire to vote is.
I think some people are overestimating how many people ever actually wanted to vote for Clinton.
I think that actually supports Shem's point. I would say the bulk, or a major chunk at least, of Clinton voters were reluctant Clinton voters*. Comey stuff isn't going to demotivate people who want to vote for Clinton, it will demotivate the, "Eh, at least she's not a vulgar sleezeball," voters.

* I would say the same about Trump as well
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 07 Jun 2018, 07:38

The integrity or lack thereof in a system can’t hinge on some nebulous influence that worst case is comparable to the weather. You will never ever be able to remove influences in that scale. Israel definitely exerts conscious influence. That nefariousness is just part of life.

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