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Monday, December 17, 2018

Robert Mueller releases memo summarizing FBI's interview with Michael Flynn

Brown v. Board of Ed: Key Cold War weapon. People are feigning surprise at the fact that Russians targeted African Americans to try and suppress voting for Democrat candidates in 2016.

neier top -- better!!



People are feigning surprise at the fact that Russians targeted African Americans to try and suppress voting for Democrat candidates in 2016. This is not new. Americans refuse to face our own history. As a member of the Army's "Counter Intelligence Corp" during the early years of WWII my Dad was an undercover agent in both the "Black Dragon's" and the "Socialist Workers Party" where Soviets and Japanese were trying to weed away Black support from the war effort as a result of America's continuing racism. A brief by the US Attorney General in the 1954 Brown v Board of Education case specifically addressed the Soviets attempts to suppress Black support for the American system: Americans stubbornly and lazily refuse to learn basic American history. Most colleges refuse to teach it.

"The brief, submitted by Attorney General James P. McGranery, said, “The United States is trying to prove to the people of the world of every nationality, race, and color, that a free democracy is the most civilized and most secure form of government yet devised by man…. The existence of discrimination against minority groups in the United States has an adverse effect upon our relations with other countries. Racial discrimination furnishes grist for the Communist propaganda mills.” It also featured an excerpt from a letter by Secretary of State Dean Acheson, described as “an authoritative statement of the effects of racial discrimination in the United States upon the conduct of foreign relations.”
Brown v. Board of Ed: Key Cold War weapon

Russian propagandists targeted African Americans to influence 2016 US election | US news | The Guardian

Some of the Facebook ads linked to a Russian effort to disrupt the American political process during the 2016 election campaign.



"The new reports said that while it was well known that Russian trolls flooded social media with rightwing pro-Trump material, their subtler efforts to drive black voters to boycott the election or vote for a third-party candidate were under-appreciated.



One popular bogus Facebook account created by the Russians, Blacktivist, attracted 4.6 million “likes”. It told followers in the final weeks of the campaign that “no lives matter to Hillary Clinton”, that black people should vote for the Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and that “not voting is a way to exercise our rights”.



Some black Americans were even weaponised as unwitting “human assets” for the Russian campaign, according to the researchers, who said operatives in St Petersburg worked to recruit people in the US to attend rallies and hand out literature.



The Oxford researchers found black Americans were also targeted with more advertisements on Facebook and Instagram than any other group. More than 1,000 different advertisements were directed at Facebook users interested in African American issues, and reached almost 16 million people.



The material was intended to inflame anger about the skewed rates of poverty, incarceration and the use of force by police among black Americans to “divert their political energy away from established political institutions,” the report said, adding that similar content was pushed by the Russians on Twitter and YouTube.



The New Knowledge researchers agreed that the “most prolific IRA efforts” on Facebook and Instagram were aimed at black Americans in what they called an “immersive influence ecosystem” connecting many different pages posting information and reinforcing one another.



In addition to the online posts telling black people their votes would not matter or urging them to vote third-party, Russian operatives tricked people with “vote by text message” scams and tweets designed to create confusion about voting rules, according to New Knowledge.



New Knowledge said the social media propaganda campaign should be seen as the third front in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, together with the hack and theft of Democratic party emails that were passed to WikiLeaks, and the attempt to hack online voting systems across the US.



The Oxford researchers said the lack of human editors on platforms such as Facebook was enabling propagandists. “Obviously, democracies need to take computational propaganda seriously as a threat to their public life,” they said."



Russian propagandists targeted African Americans to influence 2016 US election | US news | The Guardian

‘They're a joke’: Rudy Giuliani steps up attack on Mueller

Opinion | Julián Castro and the Cordial Candidacy - The New York Times





"By Charles M. Blow, www.nytimes.com December 16th, 2018

I’m listening for something arresting, a vision and a vocabulary that will rally and inspire.



Julián Castro talking about the possibility of running for president in 2020, at his home in San Antonio this month.

Photo by: Eric Gay/Associated Press

Julián Castro really wants to be president.



That much was clear on Thursday when I sat down with him and his identical twin brother, Joaquín, for an interview over dinner in a Midtown Manhattan steakhouse.



Julián, a self-described progressive, is the former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the former mayor of San Antonio, who last week announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee. Joaquín is a congressman in Texas who would be Julián’s campaign chairman.



When we begin the interview, Castro is careful with his answers nearly to the point of being cagey. You can see him doing the calculations in his head, trying not to overstate a position or appear too absolute on a topic that he has not fully considered.



Can a sitting president be indicted?



“Well, I think we’re going to find that out.” Later he adds, “I know what I hope. I hope we can bring anybody to justice.”



Do you believe that Trump should be indicted?



“I believe the walls are closing in on him.”



If you were president and prosecutors attempted to prosecute a then former President Trump, would you pardon him as Gerald Ford did for Richard Nixon?



“That is a tough decision. My inclination is to say no, that I would not, but I think some of that also depends on where we’re at as a country.”



But, as the dinner wears on, he loosens and his quickness to laugh emerges. He dispenses with the knife and fork he has been using to negotiate his roast chicken and, in a move that would have made Emily Post squirm but makes me smile, he hoists it with his hands. He is comfortable now, and this man I like: imperfect but not impertinent. Human. Relatable.



We discuss Castro’s rather standard Democratic stances on major issues: in favor of common-sense gun regulations, wants to roll back the Trump tax cut, and wants to take a multinational approach to the issues driving Trump’s tariffs. He’s in favor of universal pre-K, free public college across the board, and Medicare for all.



I’m listening for something enlightening, something arresting, a vision and a vocabulary that will rally and inspire. It never fully manifests. He talks of summoning a “common sense of purpose, of common national identity.” He chides Donald Trump’s divisiveness and churlishness. But somehow, it all flattens for me. I’m too familiar with the framing.



And yet, there is something genuine about Castro, a nice guy who made it. He’s not straining to impress, and that, in and of itself, is impressive.



Because Castro’s relative youth is so apparent in his appearance and comportment, it occurs to me that if elected, Castro, who is now 44, would become one of America’s youngest presidents. And this gives me pause. There is a young man’s ease and airiness about Castro, a disarming charm that arrests the attention because of its counterintuitiveness, but I struggle to imagine it in the Oval Office.



Thinking about the campaign, too, it is hard to imagine Castro in a bare-knuckled brawl with Trump and the Republicans.



For instance, how would he respond when confronted with what he told The New York Times Magazine in 2010? “Joaquín and I got into Stanford because of affirmative action,” Castro told the magazine. “I scored 1210 on my SATs, which was lower than the median matriculating student. But I did fine in college and in law school. So did Joaquín. I’m a strong supporter of affirmative action because I’ve seen it work in my own life.”



Trump would have a field day with this.



It is important to note here that Castro is unlikely to be the only young candidate this cycle. Indeed, there may be a whole raft of hopefuls in their 40s, and even 30s, who throw their hats into the ring.



But youth has a way of making itself known, of peeking through the curtain of the mature persona one tries to craft.



Castro’s first task is to secure the nomination. One could see a scenario in which this Southern Hispanic would have particular advantages on the primary calendar, but it remains to be seen how an incredibly diverse party will respond to an incredibly diverse slate of candidates. Will people hew to tribalism and regionalism in their choices, or will those things be of little consequence in the end?



Castro has been talked about for years as a rising star in the Democratic Party, one who could someday become this country’s first Hispanic president.



One question for me is whether this is that moment for Julian, or if interest in him peaked before his opening appeared. There are now other stories and educational pedigrees just as compelling as Castro’s and they are attached to people with higher profiles, access to more donors and, quite frankly, more of a craven desire to rise to power.



This nice guy may not always finish last, but can he come close enough to the top in Iowa and New Hampshire to confirm his viability?"



Opinion | Julián Castro and the Cordial Candidacy - The New York Times