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Excerpts from the indictment of the Russians

Given the size and sophistication of Russian interference in the election, it is not credible that at least some members of presidential campaigns did not know they were dealing with foreign entities, and that is illegal.

My comments are prefaced with an * and are in italics. These quotes are from the indictment.

Page 2.
From in or around 2014 to the present, Defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.

Page 12.
The conspiracy had as its object impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of the United States by dishonest means in order to enable the Defendants to interfere with U.S. political and electoral processes, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

*They began in 2014. Let that sink in…

Starting at least in or around 2014, Defendants and their co-conspirators began to track and study groups on U.S. social media sites dedicated to U.S. politics and social issues.

Page 14.
Defendants and their co-conspirators, through fraud and deceit, created hundreds of social media accounts and used them to develop certain fictitious U.S. personas into “leader[s] of public opinion” in the United States.

Defendants and their co-conspirators also created thematic group pages on social media sites, particularly on the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. ORGANIZATION controlled pages addressed a range of issues, including: immigration (with group names including “Secured Borders”); the Black Lives Matter movement (with group names including
“Blacktivist”); religion (with group names including “United Muslims of America” and “Army of Jesus”); and certain geographic regions within the United States (with group names including “South United” and “Heart of Texas”). By 2016, the size of many ORGANIZATION-controlled groups had grown to hundreds of thousands of online followers.

Starting at least in or around 2015, Defendants and their co-conspirators began to purchase advertisements on online social media sites to promote ORGANIZATION-controlled social media groups, spending thousands of U.S. dollars every month. These expenditures were included in the budgets the ORGANIZATION submitted to CONCORD.

*Louise Mensch was the first to out @TEN_GOP as a Russian front, yes she was.

36. Defendants and their co-conspirators also created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts designed to appear as if U.S. persons or groups controlled them. For example, the ORGANIZATION created and controlled the Twitter account “Tennessee GOP,” which used the handle @TEN_GOP. The @TEN_GOP account falsely claimed to be controlled by a U.S. state political party. Over time, the @TEN_GOP account attracted more than 100,000 online followers.

Page 17.
They engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.

a. On or about February 10, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators internally circulated an outline of themes for future content to be posted to ORGANIZATION-controlled social media accounts. Specialists were instructed to post content that focused on “politics in the USA” and to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them).”

Page 18.
In or around the latter half of 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through their ORGANIZATION-controlled personas, began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or to vote for a third-party U.S. presidential candidate.

On or about October 16, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the ORGANIZATION-controlled Instagram account “Woke Blacks” to post the following message: “[A] particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.”

On or about November 3, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators purchased an advertisement to promote a post on the ORGANIZATION-controlled Instagram account “Blacktivist” that read in part: “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”

Starting in or around the summer of 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators also began to promote allegations of voter fraud by the Democratic Party through their fictitious U.S. personas. and groups on social media. Defendants and their co-conspirators purchased advertisements on Facebook to further promote the allegations.

Page 19.
Starting in approximately June 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized and coordinated political rallies in the United States. To conceal the fact that they were based in Russia, Defendants and their co-conspirators promoted these rallies while pretending to be U.S. grassroots activists who were located in the United States but unable to meet or participate in person. Defendants and their co-conspirators did not register as foreign agents with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Page 23
Media reporting on or about the same day as Facebook’s disclosure referred to Facebook working with investigators for the Special Counsel’s Office of the U.S. Department of Justice, which had been charged with investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Defendants and their co-conspirators thereafter destroyed evidence for the purpose of impeding the investigation. On or about September 13, 2017, KAVERZINA wrote in an email to a family member: “We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity (not a joke). So, I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with the colleagues.” KAVERZINA further wrote, “I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed that it was written by their people.”

*I’ll be real interested to know what banks were involved and if they did due diligence in opening the accounts. Some of the accounts were opened with fake and stolen ID. Which makes me even more suspicious of the banks, who apparently just had no clue.

Page 31
The conspiracy had as its object the opening of accounts under false names at U.S. financial institutions and a digital payments company in order to receive and send money into and out of the United States to support the ORGANIZATION’s operations in the United States and for self enrichment.

Nikolas Cruz, Florida shooter, and the far right


Mentally unbalanced people often look for extremist political and religious ideologies as a way to explain / turn off the voices in their heads. The cult, and these usually are cults, explain to their newbies why their problems are caused by whatever the cult opposes. The newbie finds a home and friends. The cult, which often actively recruits the unbalanced, has new pliable cannon fodder to work with.

Nokolas Cruz was not a member of white supremacist Republic of Florida. Jordan Jereb, a member of the group, concocted the story to get media attention. The story emerged out of alt-right 4chan, which delights in pranking and hoaxing mainstream media. In addition, law enforcement said they found no links between Cruz and ROF.
However, classmates of Cruz and his own online postings indicate he was racist. So, he got his views from somewhere and was pretty clearly seeking out those with similar extremist views. The internet makes this easy to do and also makes it easy for a lunatic fringe to recruit. This must always be opposed.

Seven classmates of Cruz told The Daily Beast he expressed extreme political views and disturbing behavior when he attended the high school he is now accused of attacking with a high-powered rifle.

“He would always talk about how he felt whites were a bit higher than everyone,” Charo said. “He’d be like, ‘My people are over here industrializing the world and starting new things, while your people [meaning blacks and Latinos] are just taking up space.’”

The prescient Lunatic Fringe, from 1981

Collecting music vs listening to it. Darkthrone

For music collectors, just listening to music by a band isn’t enough. They want everything a band has done, and first releases when possible. Just came across an extreme example of this while hunting for music CDs at yard sales. Darkthorne is a Norwegian black metal band who recorded an influential CD in 1991 called A Blaze In The Northern Sky. The first release had a white background on the CD. The second release shortly afterwards on the same label had a black background on the CD. There are no other differences.

Discogs is a marketplace to buy and sell CDs and vinyl. You can research what something has sold for on their site. In this case, the first release white label has a median price of $128.99. The second release black label is less than one-fifth of that, at $22.73. More recent versions on other labels are much less.

And that’s the difference. Hardcore collectors will always pay more for a first release. It’s not just rarity that governs price. Lots of CDs and vinyl are rare – and worthless – because no one wants them. I knew nothing about Darkthrone however could tell immediately based on a high price for an obscure CD that they are highly regarded in some circles. To command a high price, it needs to be rare and sought-after.

Conversely, there is lots of amazing music out there and the CDs sell for pennies. Often this is because the artist or release is so popular that millions of copies are floating around. So, it’s not rare at all.

Gigawatt 1: Low-cost solar energy for Nevada

Gigawatt 1 will not only be a ginormous solar project in Nevada, it will also provide electricity at way under the current rate for all power in Nevada, not just the renewable rate. This is direct competition to the odious NV Energy which fight innovation, solar, and lower prices relentlessly. They’ve already lost three major casinos, who are getting their power elsewhere now. Gigawatt 1 will accelerate that process.

Switch, based in Las Vegas, has ginormous data centers worldwide.

Switch CEO and Founder Rob Roy’s Gigawatt 1 solar project will be built in Northern and Southern Nevada. The project will produce among the lowest priced solar power in the world and generate enough clean energy to power nearly one million homes. The Gigawatt 1 concept comes from an initiative called Gigawatt Nevada, first proposed by Rob Roy three years ago.

Bloomberg:

Swiss asset manager Capital Dynamics AG will build a one-gigawatt portfolio of solar farms in Nevada, one of the largest such projects in the U.S., with technology infrastructure company Switch Inc. as an “anchor tenant.” The two companies expect the cost of power generated by Gigawatt 1 to be significantly lower than what the local utility charges.

Green Power on the chart is a premium customers pay for all renewable energy.

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House



Michael Wolff taped conversations and interviews in the White House and astonishingly, was allowed to wander around unmonitored while doing so. Apparently Trump Co. thought he was totally on their side. He wasn’t. This is reminiscent of what Tom Wolfe did with Radical Chic, taping wealthy liberal New Yorkers at a Black Panther fundraiser. Wolfe made them look like idiots, using their own words,  which he too had taped.

While Wolfe’s omnipresent viewpoint can be a bit disconcerting, and you may wonder how he got a certain conversation verbatim, there have been no substantive disagreements about what he reported. That’s important. For example, Bannon regretted saying things Wolff quoted in the book but did not say he didn’t say them.

The Trump White House, as exhaustively documented by Wolff, was and is a snake pit of mostly amateur idiots who are in way over their heads and spend their time plotting against other factions to compete for the attention of the Doddering Daddy. Comically, they especially compete to be the final person to talk to Trump before he makes a decision because Trump invariably parrots whoever he talked to last. Wow, now that’s some kind of powerful leadership, isn’t it?

Bannon comes across as the one with the most knowledge of how politics works, and was scathing, sometimes to their faces, to Jarvanka, who he (I think quite rightfully) considers to be spoiled brat idiots. Case in point: Jarvanka were responsible for getting Scaramucci hired because they thought he would support their faction. The Mooch, of course, quickly self-destructed and Jarvanka then quickly were publicly horrified he was ever hired. Bannon said repeatedly, sometimes to Trump directly, send Jarvanka back home, because if they stay in the White House they will inadvertently destroy you.

Oh, Trump is most certainly not playing n-dimensional chess. Often, after tweeting something idiotic or incendiary, Trump was baffled at the hostile response it got. He genuinely does not understand politics.

My one quibble with the book is it makes the cast of idiots just looks like idiots, when the truth is many of them are racist to core, corrupt, and uncaring about the damage they are causing by their blundering.

After reading Fire and Fury I’m even more convinced Trump will fall.