To My Friends and Family on Facebook, I’m closing my Facebook Accounts

Update 10/05/2917: The Wall Street Journal reports that the Facebook legal team decided to delete all references to Russia from an April report about election meddling.

Screen shot of an October 5th Wall Street Journal report that Facebook cut references to Russia from an April report
The Wall Street Journal, October 5th.

A 13-page report, published on April 27 and titled “Information Operations and Facebook,” was shortened by several pages by Facebook’s legal and policy teams from an earlier draft, and didn’t mention Russia at all, the people said.

Rather, it concluded that “malicious actors” engaged in influence campaigns during the U.S. presidential election but said it couldn’t determine who was responsible. The extent of Facebook’s understanding at the time of Russian influence is unclear.

It wasn’t until a Sept. 6 Facebook newsroom blog post that the company publicly identified Russia as a source of such efforts.


Update: 09/27/2017 
This is the latest update from ABC News on Russia’s weaponized use of Facebook to subvert the 2016 U.S. Election

 

A screenshot of a September 27, 2017 report from ABC News regarding Putin's use of Facebook to steal the 2016 US Election
Russia pushed Trump as the only viable option

 


Posts that circulated to a targeted, swing-state audience on the social media site railed against illegal immigrants and claimed “the only viable option is to elect Trump.” They were shared by what looked like a grassroots American group called Secured Borders, but Congressional investigators say the group is actually a Russian fabrication designed to influence American voters during and after the presidential election.

“Their goal was to spread dissension, was to split our country apart, and they did a pretty good job,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Facebook told Congressional investigators about a series of posts from a group calling itself “Secured Borders,” which had the look of a grassroots American, anti-immigrant organization. Many of the group’s posts, retrieved from online archives by ABC News, include pointed, pro-Trump messages.

“How dare they accuse Donald Trump of racism and sexism just because he’s concerned about the well-being of Americans??” read one using an image of actor Jack Nicholson, dated Oct. 19. “If wanting to remove criminal alien scum from our streets is raciest and deplorable, then by all means count me in that basket!”

 

Update: 09/25/2017 This is the latest update from the Washington Post on Russia’s weaponized use of Facebook to subvert the 2016 U.S. Election.

Screenshot of a September 25, 2017 headline from the Washington Post that Reads: Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisions. Mark Zuckerburg is in the image.
September 25, 2017 Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisions

The Russian campaign — taking advantage of Facebook’s ability to send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics — also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women.

These targeted messages, along with others that have surfaced in recent days, highlight the sophistication of an influence campaign slickly crafted to mimic and infiltrate U.S. political discourse while also seeking to heighten tensions between groups already wary of one another.


An online info graphic that falsely claims American Intelligence Officials stated there was no collusion with Russia or Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Election
A Facebook meme falsely claiming that American Intelligence officials claimed there was no Russian Collusion or interference in the 2016 U.S. Election

I’ve used the meme in the header to illustrate the use of half-truth as propaganda.

Comey, Clapper and Brennon did not say there is no Russian collusion.

What they said, to be precise is this:

“There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever; the Russians interfered in our election.” James Comey June 08, 2017

The Russians used cyber operations against both political parties, including hacking into servers used by the Democratic National Committee and releasing stolen data to WikiLeaks and other media outlets. Russia also collected on certain Republican Party- affiliated targets, but did not release any Republican-related data. The Intelligence Community Assessment concluded first that President Putin directed an influence campaign to erode the faith and confidence of the American people in our presidential election process. Second, that he did so to demean Secretary Clinton, and third, that he sought to advantage Mr. Trump. These conclusions were reached based on the richness of the information gathered and analyzed and were thoroughly vetted and then approved by the directors of the three agencies and me.  James Clapper May 08, 2017

“Well, for the last 241 years, the nation and the citizens have cherished the freedom and liberty upon which this country was founded upon. Many brave Americans have lost their lives to protect that freedom and liberty and lost their lives to protect the freedom and liberties of other peoples around the world. Our ability to choose our elected leaders, as we see fit, is, I believe, an inalienable right that we must protect with all of the resources and authority and power.

“And the fact that the Russians tried to influence resources and authority and power, and the fact that the Russians tried to influence that election so that the will of the American people was not going to be realized by that election, I find outrageous and something that we need to, with every last ounce of devotion to this country, resist and try to act to prevent further instances of that. And so, therefore, I believe, this is something that’s critically important to every American. Certainly, it’s very important for me, for my children and grandchildren to make sure that never again will a foreign country try to influence and interfere in the foundation stone of this country, which is electing our democratic leaders.” John Brennon NPR

The term ‘Russian collusion’ is a classic gaslight.

Brennon, Clapper and  Comey did not mention “Russian collusion” because
the Russians can’t collude with their own intelligence operations.

Russia committed an more serious crime and on this, they all agree:

President Putin directed an influence campaign to erode the faith and confidence of the American people in our presidential election process. Second, that he did so to demean Secretary Clinton, and third, that he sought to advantage Mr. Trump. James Clapper

Who benefits from spreading lies?

Today I learned the folks who run Facebook knew that Russia was working to subvert the 2016 U.S. election and allowed them to do it.

Facebook officials reported that they traced the ad sales, totaling $100,000, to a Russian “troll farm” with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda, these people said. The Washington Post

It’s distressing to have friends and family I dearly love on the irrational side of a political debate based on weaponized lies.

All things are not equal. All systems are not equally corrupt.

Regardless of our mistakes in the United States the hope of a liberal democracy lies in the power of the people to criticize and shape their government.

Most of the ads, according to a blog post published late Wednesday by Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, “appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.” The Washington Post

In short, Vladimir Putin’s government purchased $100,000 in ads to
promote racism, sexism, anti-immigrant bashing, and homophobia.

My fellow citizens are not my enemy.

My family is not my enemy.

Old friends are not my enemy.

My enemy is a Russian dictator who uses Internet Technology to poison the political debates of democratic nations.

Facebook reported in its blog post Wednesday that about one-quarter of the ads in question were “geographically targeted,” although company officials declined to provide specifics about what areas or demographic groups were the recipients. Of those targeted ads, the company said, more ran in 2015 than 2016. The Washington Post

Putin targeted specific ‘types’ of people for specific kinds of lies in a bid to control how they think and act.

Facebook helped to deliver the U.S.  government to one of America’s most
vicious enemies.

I am therefore closing my Facebook account.

I recommend anyone who values our democracy to do the same.

Giving a forum to people who advocate killing other Americans for being different is morally deranged.

Stop enabling the insanity and those who profit from it.

If you need to contact me you can find me at www.robertmgoldstein.com.

You can also reach me at robertmgoldstein@yahoo.com.

Please be advised that I automatically delete email that doesn’t have
a clear subject line.

I also report abuse.

Thanks,

Rob Goldstein

Update: As of 09/08/2017 I’ve closed my Facebook account.

Here are more recent reports about Facebook’s profiling of its users:

Facebook targeted specific Facebook users in specific locations:

The Putin/Trump team used the Data to target specific Facebook users with specific psychological strengths and weaknesses.

Below is an ad targeted to people least likely to verify it as factual.

A Facebook at of Hillary Clinton in a Burka Claiming she is pushing Sharia Law and calling her Killary
These are the Kinds of Ads Facebook Sold

Here’s another example:

an ad sold on Facebook that claims democrats are giving away citizenship to increase their base
These are the Kinds of Ads Facebook Sold

An operation like this needed an America that was already divided by decades of the GOP’s Southern Strategy.


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Newt Gingrich and The Art of the Smear

In 1995 GOPAC was a right wing group chaired by Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich produced a handout called Language: A Key Mechanism
of Control
.

It was a list of 113 words for use in attacks on progressive ideas
and democrats.

“Words and phrases are powerful,” wrote Gingrich.

“…memorize as many as possible and remember that like any tool, these words will not help if they are not used.”

“Apply these (words) to the opponent, their record, proposals, and their party.”

The words on his list were: “traitors, betray, sick, pathetic, lie, liberal, radical, hypocrisy, corruption, permissive attitude, greed, self-serving, ideological, anti-flag, anti-family, anti-child, anti-jobs, unionized bureaucracy, impose, and coercion.”

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
from Language: A Key Mechanism of Control by Newt Gingrich

 

Republicans branded Democrats as, “sick, pathetic, incompetent, liberal traitors whose self-serving permissive attitudes promote a unionized bureaucracy and an anti-flag, anti-family, anti-child, anti-job ideology.”

Plus:

• abuse of power
• anti- (issue): flag, family, child, jobs
• betray
• bizarre
• bosses
• bureaucracy
• cheat
• coercion
• “compassion” is not enough
• collapse(ing)
• consequences
• corrupt
• corruption
• criminal rights
• crisis
• cynicism
• decay
• deeper
• destroy
• destructive
• devour
• disgrace
• endanger
• excuses
• failure (fail)
• greed
• hypocrisy
• ideological
• impose
• incompetent
• insecure
• insensitive • intolerant
• liberal
• lie
• limit(s)
• machine
• mandate(s)
• obsolete
• pathetic
• patronage
• permissive attitude
• pessimistic
• punish (poor …)
• radical
• red tape
• self-serving
• selfish
• sensationalists
• shallow
• shame
• sick
• spend(ing)
• stagnation
• status quo
• steal
• taxes
• they/them
• threaten
• traitors
• unionized
• urgent (cy)
• waste
• welfare

To be clear, Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party did not offer 113 new policies the GOP might write to win an honest political debate.

The GOP  chose to poison our politics by smearing Democrats and suppressing the vote.

Today the GOP violates Democratic norms.

Today the GOP writes cruel legislation in secret, and spreads Russian style propaganda in political ads.

Today, Newt Gingrich is a propagandist for Vladimir Putin.

In American Democracy the people are the government.

As citizens we pay taxes into a common fund which we use to promote the
public good.

The public good is public education, housing, healthcare, and nutrition for
our children.

We provide access to these essentials because a person without class
mobility is not truly free.

These are my daily affirmations, repeat after me:

Smear campaigns are not public policy

Words have meaning.

I will not be conned.

Government is instituted for the Common Good
Quote from John Addams

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2017

Quote from John Adams found on Twitter

 

 

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When do we call it Treason?

I don’t know how else to explain this.

Why is our incoming President working to subvert the integrity of our
intelligence agencies on an crime as serious as a conspiracy to subvert
our nation’s election
?

Even if the CIA and the FBI are wrong the evidence merits a serious
response and a complete investigation.

They don’t have to be right before we act to protect ourselves!

 

from MarketWatch: 10 signs that a U.S. president is a Russian agent

It sounds like the stuff of conspiracy theorists and the tinfoil brigade.

It’s even straight out of Cold War fiction.

But in the shadowy world of espionage, accusations and counter-accusations, how can the ordinary citizen tell if the next U.S. president is actually an agent of the Kremlin?

Good news: We’ve got your back.

Here are 10 “telltale signs” that a U.S. president might be a Russian spy, and how we might be able to swear in a “Comrade-in-Chief” next month.

1. U.S. intelligence concludes that the Kremlin helped put him in power.

That’s usually a pretty strong giveaway right there. The CIA has never before accused the Kremlin of interfering in a U.S. election. They’re probably not 0-for-1.

Mind you, when Russian hackers pointedly attacked and embarrassed Donald Trump’s opponent, but left him completely alone, you have to ask: Did we really need a report by the CIA?

2. The new president sides with the Kremlin against the CIA.

Trump’s dismissive response to this news includes three classic spin techniques: shooting the messenger, by attacking the CIA; misdirection, by raising doubts about the CIA’s competence, namely the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when it didn’t; and begging the question, by implying we should now “move on.”

Neither is a serious argument. Indeed, if the CIA’s report is accurate, why on Earth would we “move on”?

Imagine Ronald Reagan or Dwight Eisenhower reacting this way to a CIA statement about Kremlin activities in the U.S.

Go on — try.

3. He receives vast sums of money from mysterious Russians.

This even includes an astonishing $95 million that Trump personally received from a Russian billionaire during the 2008 collapse.

In Vladimir Putin’s kleptostate, there is no fine line between the state and the private sector, the president and the oligarchs.

As Trump’s son Eric confessed: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. … We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

4. His election suddenly makes a lot of people rich … in Moscow.

You think Wall Street has done well since Trump’s election victory?

The S&P 500 stock index SPX, +0.65% of the U.S. is up about 5% since Nov. 8.

Moscow’s RTS index: 20%.

Yes, really — from 973 to 1,148. Let the vodka flow! It’s not just about the oil rally, either. The RTS’s increase is more than twice that of global energy stocks.

Putin and his pals were nursing painful losses for several years. But no longer — Moscow stocks are back to their highest levels since the Ukrainian crisis.

5. He wants to end Russia’s global isolation.

Vladimir Putin’s sinister state has been subject to global sanctions since 2014, and for good reason. He’s destabilized Ukraine and annexed Crimea. The British government concluded he had “probably” assassinated a critic in London. He helped arm the people who blew up Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, killing 298 people.

Trump’s response? He praises Putin’s leadership, wants to “get along” with Russia, and hints strongly at ending those sanctions — something he can do by executive order.

Read more on MarketWatch