I Pit the Russian Government and their Paid Trolls

Continuing the discussion from A Perfectly Reasonable Amount of Schadenfreude about Things Happening to Trump & His Enablers:

This is to continue the discussion from the previous thread without continuing to derail it.

Russia, being armed with nuclear weapons, is not a nation we want to destabilize. They are also not a powerful threat to the US. But they are a gadfly that tries to undermine the United States. Is the US secretly retaliating against them? Should they make that retaliation public? Are they doing nothing about Russian misinformation tactics and saboteurs? Is everyone on the SDMB arguing to be careful not to go openly hostile against Russia secretly a paid Russian troll?

Anyway, fuck Russia. (Not the Russian people as a whole though, I’ve had some good friends and coworkers who are Russian, they rock.)

Hm - odd. When a thread is linked, isn’t it usually linked to the OP’s post? Seemed to end up at my post instead, which I hope wasn’t being used as an example of derailment, I spose, but anyway, yeah - I’m of the mindset that US retaliation should be conduted under stealth, and with as little fanfare as possible.

I didn’t read the other thread, and don’t plan to go through 2k posts. So i’m not sure what the issue is specifically.

But i recall somebody (PJ O’Rourke?) once referring to the Russians as idiot step children to Europe.

There was a glimmer of hope post Berlin Wall collapse and the Boris Yeltsin era that perhaps Russia would join the world of liberal democracies. That clearly has not happened.

Russia is not our friend.

I tried to link it to the thread but I might have messed it up. Sorry, that wasn’t intentional.

All good - figured that might’ve been the case.

Heh - to steal from that other thread…

I’ll bet when most people think of the IRA these days, it sure isn’t the Irish Republican Army.

The idea that Russia was going to be a liberal democracy and an economically liberal free market was just naive thinking from the start, an example of America’s political narcissism and imposing its obnoxiously pious virtue on everyone else. Russia has elements within their society that want to be democratic, but they also want economic and political stability, and we tragically ignored that in the 1990s. And in terms of foreign policy, we perpetually ignore our hypocrisy, demanding the Russia remain neutral in political matters right on its doorstep even as we fly our stealth bombers 10,000 miles away from our shores.

My fantasy is a switch in the White House that just turns off the Internet in Russia whenever the President thinks the trolls need a “time out”.

I need a job, so how do I become a paid Russian troll? I’m old, white, have lots of time on my hands, and live in a place with bridge in its name. Where do I sign up?

Even worse are the unpaid trolls that know they are doing Russia’s job but don’t give a flying fuck because they are “stickin’ it to the Libruls!”.

The very idea that Russians are more prone to dictatorship is offensive to me. We all want political stability, law and order, potholes to get fixed, clean drinking water. Some get those things through liberal democracies.

It is the dictators job to convince people they can only get those things from him. And apparently Putin has convinced you.

There are geopolitical issues such as flying our stealth bombers 10,000 miles away from our shores, which is a valid critique. But your comparison between Putin’s Russia to any liberal democracy smacks of Apologism to me. The US is far from perfect. But you can’t justify Russian autocracy by saying, but we are bad too. Compare Russia to your favorite Social Democratic European country.

I agree and while I’m here, what kind of name is REvil? I mean, really.

It just seems so…I don’t even know what.

I wasn’t in any way justifying Russian autocracy or corruption; in fact just the opposite. I was trying to point out that America has a tendency to think of remaking every country in our own image and it usually ends up biting us right in the ass - unless we’re exploiting their resources, in which case we wink and nod at dictatorial thuggery, that is.

But our advisers were in Russia all throughout the 90s, meddling in their elections, pretty openly taking sides with certain camps and aggressively pushing for democracy and even more aggressively pushing for free markets that ultimately tanked in the late 1990s.

We compounded that error by injuring Russia’s geopolitical identity and attempting to manipulate a region of the world that Russia has long regarded as more Russian the Western.

I doubt that. But there are people paid to search for references to Putin himself, and to employ bots programmed to object to denigrations, ridicule the denigrator, etc. Of course the vast majority of that kind of action happens on the bigs (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Here, over the years, we’ve seen people post in rather odd ways and wondered if they were practicing the art of deception. Hell, lots of people do that on the Internet.

But those who aspire to write bot programs do need to learn how to successfully pass as “ordinary American guy just asking questions” and such, and medium-sized boards like this are one place where that practice can take place.

Yeah, we probably see a lot more of those than of the paid variety. Somehow, for some people, Russia went from representing the Evil Commies, to embodying the White Supremacists’ Aspirational Dream Home.

These people, one suspects, don’t make much use of the reasoning-oriented portions of their brains.

I remember back in the day when the USSR was intact and there were people in both governments that worried that the KGB was too powerful and would one day take over the country and people would barely realize it

which is what’s pretty much happened only difference is they managed to be voted in and are using espionage tactics to stay in power…

I’ve seen Christian right-wing types bemoan the fact that the “godless yellow commies” (an exact quote BTW) are the only ones that seem to be able to get rid of perversions like “porn and gays” when we cant after a publicized Chinese internet porn crackdown a few years …

You can practically feel the pain of the authoritarianism-craving and sexual/gender-role insecurities coming into direct conflict with the racism.

If they can’t be reconciled, it must be the work of evil Democrats!!1!!! (Probably.)

If you’ll forgive a slight deviation from the topic, just out of curiosity: how does everyone feel about the waves of social media bots being employed to disrupt the operation of the Cuban government? Similarly, or is that different?

Am I getting paid? No? Then I’m not interested.

First I’ve heard of it. Assuming it’s true, I think what I’ve always thought: that America’s attitudes about Cuba really need to move out of the Cold War era, and that, like most things, the country would probably get better if we just stopped picking at it.

It’s important to understand that the Russian government isn’t so much a government as it is a criminal organization. It’s baked in. Russia’s assets, the industries that were built under communism and their extensive natural resources are owned by the people that managed to successfully steal them after the fall of the USSR, and they get to keep them only as long as they please Putin.

Russia has the legislative and judicial system of Trump’s wet dreams. If you are an oligarch that controls an industry and the winds shift, you may be presented with legal papers that show that you never owned the companies that you own. You stole them. You’ll get arrested and maybe you’ll die in jail. There will be piles of trumped-up evidence against you, and anyone that might have supported you will be arrested or disappear.

Putin mostly does this to his own oligarchs, but he and his government have done it to foreign individuals and companies……the Magnitsky Act sanctions were imposed as the result of Russia pulling this scheme on an American businessman.

Any holdouts, people who believe in uncorrupt justice, within law enforcement and and the judicial system have been purged long ago, persecuted and prosecuted on false corruption charges ……think of Trump’s push to “investigate the investigators” and push out and prosecute anyone unwilling to corrupt the system in his favor.

This has a chilling effect. Not chilling, in the sense that a horror movie is chilling ( although it’s chilling in that sense as well), but chilling in the legal sense. It discourages (chills) honest people from entering law enforcement, taking government jobs and running for public office. It’s how you maintain corruption.

The Russian government also uses their corrupt institutions to incite moral panics, pedophilia being a big one. They love accusing political enemies of being pedophiles and will drum up all sorts of evidence. The pedophilia panic is also used to fuel anti-gay sentiments and to chill educators, who are frequently persecuted for promoting immorality.

I became very interested in this subject in 2015, (yes, pre-Trump) after I read Bill Browder’s book Red Notice - the story of his persecution by Russia, then I read a few more books including Nothing is True and Everything is Possible - the Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev.

The thing that I found most disturbing about the Trump/Russia scandals wasn’t the individual contacts with Russians or even the fact that his campaign was run by a person who attempted to rig Ukrainian elections in Russia’s favor.

It was the Putinesque flavor of his overall trajectory. Discredit the press. Discredit law enforcement. Investigate the investigators. Flood the zone with constant relentless lies. Drum up crimes against anyone that goes against you. Keep lying, relentlessly, until you wear your country down. Hold fake elections with a pre-determined outcome.

Trump is Putin’s revenge. The USA tried for years to get Russia to become a liberal western democracy like us. Putin used Trump in an attempt to turn the USA into Russia, a corrupt illiberal democracy. He almost won, and he hasn’t lost yet.

That said, I don’t think Trump is actively in on it, although he’s surrounded by people who are. Trump is an idiot, a clown with a flamethrower that got played by Putin. But a clown with a flamethrower still has a flamethrower and just look at how well Putin played him. Putin literally tricked him into unilaterally withholding urgent Congressionally appropriated assistance to his enemy in a hot war - tricked him by manipulating his vengefulness with ridiculously transparent disinformation.

So, how do we win? Not by going after Russia’s secrets, they have none……we know they murder people all over the place, we know they’re totally corrupt. Hacking and releasing their secrets will only get innocent people killed, even if we released something that implicated only the guiltiest of the guilty, they’d flip it around and use it to persecute their enemies - investigate the investigators, blame someone for the leak and kill them.

We do it by restoring our strong and uncorrupted democracy. Unfortunately there isn’t enough interest in doing so, because politically, democracy is for Democrats.

5 years ago I joked that Trump would have half the country convinced that democracy was only for Democrats. I wish it had stayed a joke.