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Title: The Democrats’ circumstantial case against the president who beat them
Source: Washington Post
URL Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news ... rect=on&utm_term=.55fbd58e91ab
Published: Apr 20, 2018
Author: staff
Post Date: 2018-04-20 15:41:33 by buckeroo
Keywords: None
Views: 85
Comments: 11

One of the marvels of modern life is that our cultural behavior still hasn’t caught up to the pace and volume that we’re bombarded with. Human brains never had to consider the concept of “trillions” until the past hundred years or so, and we’re simply unprepared for it. One hundred? Sure. One million million? It’s somewhere past 100 in the sense that Alpha Centauri is somewhere past Baltimore. The same holds for information. Our ability to filter information is predicated on our adeptness at finding patterns. Given a few things, we can figure out what they have in common, a handy way for our abnormally robust brains to fill in the blanks. But there aren’t any blanks anymore, not really; every nook and cranny of our lives is filled with information. It’s easy, then, for us to apply our instinctive abilities to that volume of data and come to the wrong conclusions. You can’t find a complete sentence in a bowl of alphabet soup, but in a volume of alphabet soup the size of the Atlantic Ocean, you can eventually cobble together the entire Harry Potter series.

In popular culture, we have two competing understandings of how conspiracies are uncovered. There’s the “All the President’s Men” variety, in which journalists talk to people who individually have discrete pieces of information and figure out the newsworthy pattern. Then there’s the “A Beautiful Mind” variety, in which a hyperactive ability to find patterns vacuums up everything nearby and figures out the thin tendrils by which they might be connected. You can find patterns wherever, given enough creativity and enough possible components. It’s like building a house of Legos: You can connect any two things and can build whatever you want given a big enough pile of blocks.

This has had an interesting effect on the economics of the current political moment. It’s a moment in which there is a loosely articulated conspiracy involving Russian hackers and — potentially — agents of the president of the United States, a conspiracy of enormous stakes and enormous import. It’s a moment in which that president is deeply unpopular, so there are plenty of people willing to do some digging to uncover links between the two. It’s a moment in which uncovering those links leads to social-media fame for those more interested in applying brush-to-canvas in creative ways than painting a comprehensible, verifiable picture. And it’s a moment in which there has never been a bigger ocean of soup from which to draw letters.

On Friday, the Democratic National Committee released a complaint against the 2016 campaign of President Trump — and against staffers for the campaign and against 10 unknown people and against WikiLeaks and — why not! — against Russia. The lengthy, 66-page document attempts to establish authoritatively a connection between the Trump campaign (which certainly existed) and Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election (which also certainly existed). But, as with so many other efforts, the lines drawn between the two are flimsy. But, nonetheless, the DNC deliberately tries to draw them with a thicker weight than they deserve. The DNC’s goal, after all, is not to present a fair case for Trump’s having colluded with Russia. Its goal is to presenting a convincing case. And just as the protagonist of “A Beautiful Mind” created the conspiracy he wanted to see, so does this document create the conspiracy the party is looking for.

But unlike “A Beautiful Mind,” the DNC presumably knows that it’s misleading itself.

For example, the complaint writes that Russia repeatedly communicated with agents of the campaign about its desire to hurt Clinton, which is true. It goes on to say that “the Trump Campaign and its agents” welcomed that help. Agents did. Did “the campaign”? There’s a nebulous border to where “the campaign” is drawn, which has certainly been to Trump’s advantage over the past year. But is it fair to say that “the campaign” welcomed help because adviser George Papadopoulos didn’t tell federal authorities that he’d been told about the Russians having dirt on Clinton?

What’s more, do those contacts between Russia and the campaign validate the DNC’s claim that “the Trump Campaign, Trump’s closest advisers, and Russian agents formed an agreement to promote Donald Trump’s candidacy through illegal means”? There’s no new evidence in this document, mind you. The DNC simply claims that the uncertain or loose connections between the two are themselves the proof they’re looking for.

At other times, the known evidence is misrepresented or ignored.

“Trump associates continued to secretly communicate with Russian agents and WikiLeaks as they strategically disseminated information stolen from targets,” the DNC alleges. The evidence for this? Direct messages between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks and other between Roger Stone and the Russian intelligence officer calling himself “Guccifer 2.0.”

Both of those sets of messages have been made public; there’s no credible evidence that any are still secret. And they’re anodyne, at best; Guccifer trying to curry favor with an indifferent Stone or WikiLeaks and Trump Jr. dancing around each other with differing outcomes in mind. Small things are lifted from the alphabet soup and proclaimed to be important, like Stone predicting that leaks from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta were imminent or WikiLeaks asking Trump Jr. to promote something shortly before Trump-the-candidate tweeted his support of WikiLeaks.

Stone’s tweet about Podesta came well in advance of the leaks of Podesta’s emails, and he’s argued that the wording of his tweet — “soon it will the Podesta’s time in the barrel” — should be read as being “the Podestas” not “[be] Podesta’s.” Meaning that he predicted that John and his brother Tony Podesta would be targeted, and he didn’t say anything about WikiLeaks. Over the summer, in fact, Stone kept predicting that an upcoming WikiLeaks release would target the Clinton Foundation, which it didn’t.

Trump Jr., meanwhile, was asked questions by WikiLeaks that he ignored and vice versa. The tweet from Trump was a general promotion of WikiLeaks — but the request from WikiLeaks was to promote a specific link, which Trump Jr. tweeted a few days later.

The DNC complaint tries to have it both ways. In one section, they tout Trump’s public praise of WikiLeaks as incriminating. In the next, they detail various times that the campaign tried to cover up its connections to the Russians. Look, either they didn’t want attention drawn to their criminal conspiracy — which is what the DNC alleges existed — or they did.

We must now ensure that we keep cracked open the door through which all of this flows: It certainly could be the case that there was more direct, higher-level communication between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. It could also be the case that what’s known is already sufficient to result in significant political or further criminal repercussions. One way in which conspiracy theories work is that any small validation is seen as validation of the whole, deservedly or not. But in the interests of fairness, we have to grant that there still could be a there there, whether or not the DNC makes its case. I go back, over and over, to 2009 essay by Lawrence Lessig predicting that access to information on a massive scale could lead to conspiracy theories in which cherry-picked data was strung together in questionable ways. The skill we need to cultivate is the one in which we get better at filtering things out of our theories, recognizing that they’re too neat or too tangential.

One of Lessig’s point in his essay, though, was that there would be a political benefit to coming up with credible theories by using the DNC’s process. Too much information, he wrote, “is not going to inspire change. It will simply push any faith in our political system over the cliff.”

Especially given an incentive for the push. By Friday afternoon, the DNC was fundraising on its complaint.


The DNC is just "fishing" ... they have no objective evidence. Try and imagine the reaction just placed by the Washington Post (whom authored this article) by the publick.

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#1. To: buckeroo (#0)

Its goal is to presenting a convincing case.

Which is always the objective in a civil suit.!!

"...they have no objective evidence..."

That remains to be seen........but they Do have Cohen Milstein

Jameson  posted on  2018-04-20   15:57:39 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Jameson (#1)

OK ... blabber, blabber and more blabber but no objective evidence.

buckeroo  posted on  2018-04-20   16:08:21 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: buckeroo (#2)

no objective evidence.

I doubt that Cohen Milstein would take this case if they deemed there to be "no objective evidence" -

We'll see what they have soon enough....

Jameson  posted on  2018-04-20   16:20:53 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Jameson (#3)

Cohen Milstein

Just another man bullshitting his way into more BULLSHIT.

buckeroo  posted on  2018-04-20   16:30:42 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: buckeroo (#0) (Edited)

It will simply push any faith in our political system over the cliff.

Yeah

Eleanor cliff

ClinTon zombie women - men who will die - kill To keep Their manson overlords in power

WiTh hordes of underlings - minions

HuTus

Keeping The naTives dumb - hungry - resTless

Dnc gospel

yes - we - con

HelTer - skelTer

Ebonics - Hoax - chains

poT - meTh - ice

Run
boris

ps

This is all going To blackfire

If you ... don't use exclamation points --- you should't be typeing ! Commas - semicolons - question marks are for girlie boys !

BorisY  posted on  2018-04-20   16:39:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: BorisY (#5)

Question for you: is your "T" key on the keyboard stuck on sTupid? Just asking to see if Nurse Ratchet has capitalized investments that you are taking an advantage of, all based on government "over-abundance" as you exploit her mentally mental ward at the hospital.

I think all you need is a doobbie to quiet your inner anger.

buckeroo  posted on  2018-04-20   17:09:31 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: All (#0)

The Mueller witch hunt is about to wrap up with absolutely no evidence of Trump/Russia collusion, there never was and any sane person knew this. It's just more theatrics to try and convince more sheeple that Trump is a bad guy and not to vote for anyone on that side of the fence including him if he runs in 2020.

Vegetarians eat vegetables. Beware of humanitarians!

CZ82  posted on  2018-04-20   19:30:00 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: buckeroo (#0)

And even the Dims aren't as hysterical as the Republican supporters of the Usual Suspects that Trump beat. Seems like the devout Party People are foaming at the mouth mad.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2018-04-21   9:59:32 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: Jameson (#3)

I doubt that Cohen Milstein would take this case if they deemed there to be "no objective evidence" -

There is this thing lawyers call "billing" that is the reason he took the case.

Or are you so delusional you think he is working for free?

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2018-04-21   10:00:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: CZ82 (#7)

The Mueller witch hunt is about to wrap up with absolutely no evidence of Trump/Russia collusion, there never was and any sane person knew this.

It doesn't matter. What they were doing was throwing red meat to their True Believers to keep them fired up,and donating time and money.

Plus,once the charges and rumors are "out there",there is no taking them back. People ALWAYS remember charges were made,but almost never remember when the charges were dismissed. It's just human nature,and apparently even applies to the semi-humans that that populate the DNC and the RNC.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2018-04-21   10:04:11 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: sneakypete (#9)

"billing" that is the reason he took the case.

You bet.

https://www.cohenmilstein.com

Jameson  posted on  2018-04-21   10:26:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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