Sanders and Stein Knew About Russian Influence….and Did Nothing to Stop it
Like a bad drip campaign, we are seeing new information releases regarding what many of us watched and tried to deter during the Presidential election process. The sheer quantity of misinformation and attacks on Hillary Clinton while supporting and promoting both Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein was astounding. Through the use of an unfettered social media base, the same hate-filled lies were being projected to the two sides that the Russians knew would believe almost anything: the extreme left and the extreme right. The quantity of these launches was so great that it became impossible to try to inform anyone through fact checking and even when you did, the extremists refused to believe it. Both Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders were aware of the rather sophisticated and well-planned ruses and their silence allowed them to take advantage of them.
Politics is a dirty game and always has been. Throughout American history candidates have pulled all kinds of idiocies and ploys, but the landscape changes when a hostile foreign government steps in to coordinate the kind of influence that the Russians accomplished. They targeted the individuals that they knew would be stupid enough to simply not bother to check on facts and, instead, buy into any and all wacko rhetoric that accommodated their personal disdain for both the system and Hillary Clinton.
Those of us that were monitoring the Presidential campaign process saw what was happening early on. The same “messages” were being sent to the extreme right conservatives as the extreme left Sanders and Stein supporters and both groups eagerly drooled with each new lie. They laughed, shared and commented on Twitter and Facebook and as each new wacko piece of propaganda was shared, they took on a life of their own. Making any attempt to clarify with facts and truth to these groups was an exercise in futility and with the massive success rates, the Russians continued to spread the misinformation using their brainwashing techniques to benefit Trump as well as Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein and undermine Hillary Clinton.
The incredible massive quantity of feeds that came through via both Facebook and Twitter was beyond the point where anyone could say that they were unaware of them. According to a New York Times article:
“Russian agents intending to sow discord among American citizens disseminated inflammatory posts that reached 126 million users on Facebook, published more than 131,000 messages on Twitter and uploaded over 1,000 videos to Google’s YouTube service, according to copies of prepared remarks from the companies that were obtained by The New York Times.
The detailed disclosures, sent to Congress on Monday by companies whose products are among the most widely used on the internet, came before a series of congressional hearings this week into how third parties used social networks and online services to influence millions of Americans before the 2016 presidential election.
The new information goes far beyond what the companies have revealed in the past and underline the breadth of the Kremlin’s efforts to lever open divisions in the United States using American technology platforms, especially Facebook. Multiple investigations of Russian meddling have loomed over the first 10 months of the Trump presidency, with one leading to the indictments of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chief, and others on Monday.”
The idea that neither the Sanders nor Stein campaigns knew about these efforts is just another spin to keep them from looking guilty. The Russians created enough influence in creating disruption as they focused on anti-gay, racists and sexist messages. There was a specific attempt to focus on three of the important states: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, whose results continue to be questionable as the totals didn’t match the polls and the standard history of the states.
Sanders Internal People Knew About Russian Influence
Bernie has had a long history of being pro-Russia going back to his own personal choice of the country for his honeymoon when we were still in the middle of the Cold War. His stand in praising their healthcare system while ignoring the atrocities that occurred matched the same rhetoric that he shared about Cuba. Add to this the fact that Sanders was one of only two Senators to vote against the Russian sanctions, and it is more than eyebrow raising, it is indicative of his support for Russia.
Sanders is known to be a micromanager, with a desire to not only write his own speeches, but be in control of every small and great aspect of his political campaign. The “excuse” of not being aware of such an incredibly obvious amount of influence just doesn’t cut it.
It comes as no surprise that the Russian bots would take full advantage of a candidate such as Sanders as it played well with Putin’s extreme hate and fear of Hillary Clinton. But to understand what was going on, you have to recognize that Sanders’ internal people were also aware of the onslaught of misinformation from outside sources. In a Huffington Post article:
“The stories they posted weren’t the normal complaints he was used to seeing as the Vermont senator and the former secretary of state fought out the Democratic presidential primary. These stories alleged that Clinton had murdered her political opponents and used body doubles”
“But when Mattes <John Mattes, Administrator of Bernie Sanders Facebook page> started tracking down the sites’ domain registrations, the trail led to Macedonia and Albania. In mid-September, he emailed a few of his private investigator friends with a list of the sites. “Very creepy and I do not think Koch brothers,” he wrote.”
“By late October, Mattes said he’d traced 40 percent of the domain registrations for the fake news sites he saw popping up on pro-Sanders pages back to Eastern Europe. Others appeared to be based in Panama and the U.S., or were untraceable. He wondered, “Am I the only person that sees all this crap floating through these Bernie pages?”
This data was reported back to the Sanders campaign and one has to assume that their inaction and lack of follow through that resulted in “silence” was simply a way to take advantage of a play that was helping their campaign.
Now that the Mueller investigations have officially released the information in the indictments, the cat is out of the bag. Sanders response has been one that you would expect from a politician, but it is far from eliminating his personal knowledge of the situation. In a Politico article:
“Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders declined to directly address Friday’s revelation that Russian actors sought to boost his presidential primary campaign and sink Hillary Clinton’s in 2016, instead insisting that the special counsel’s investigation proceed unimpeded.
‘It has been clear to everyone (except Donald Trump) that Russia was deeply involved in the 2016 elections and intends to be involved in the 2018 elections. It is the American people who should be deciding the political future of our country, not Mr. Putin and the Russian oligarchs,’ Sanders said in a statement. ‘It is absolutely imperative that the Mueller investigation be allowed to go forward without obstruction from the Trump administration or Congress.’
Sanders’ urging that special counsel Robert Mueller be protected echoes the concerns of Democrats across Capitol Hill.
The independent senator’s statement came shortly after Mueller indicted 13 Russian individuals and three Russian entities for helping the Kremlin interfere in the last presidential election starting as early as 2014.”
Jill Stein Benefits — Hiding Out in the Open
By now, everyone is familiar with the infamous photo of Jill Stein at the dinner table with Vladimir Putin, Michael Flynn and other members of Putin’s political staff. While Stein indicates that she included this information on her campaign website, at the time, few people questioned it. Now that the Russian interference has come forward, Stein is referring to those that are making note of her visit and dinner as a “smear campaign”. Stein never addresses exactly what she was doing there or what the main topics of conversation were.
In an MSNBC meltdown interview response to whether Stein was aware of the Russian interference in supporting both her campaign and that of Sanders, Stein meanders around the topic in redirects that attempt to blame everyone from the Hillary Clinton campaign to the DNC. She wrongly points to the Mueller indictments as a reference for a single Facebook post, when in reality, the indictments address the large volumes of fake news and purchased ads.
Back in Dec. 2017, the Washington Post included an article that circled in on the potential of Stein colluding with the Russians. Senate intel committee investigating Jill Stein campaign for possible collusion with the Russians
“The Senate Intelligence Committee is looking at the presidential campaign of the Green Party’s Jill Stein for potential ‘collusion with the Russians,’ a sign that the panel’s probe is far from over, even as allegations swirl that the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation is racing to a close.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told reporters Monday that the Senate Intelligence Committee has ‘two other campaigns that we’re just starting on,’ in addition to the panel’s ongoing probe of alleged ties between the Trump administration and Kremlin officials. One of those he identified as Stein’s; Burr has indicated previously that the committee is also looking into reports that the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign paid for research that went into a dossier detailing allegations of Donald Trump’s 2013 exploits in Moscow.
Stein was present at a 2015 dinner in Moscow that was also attended by Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose contacts with Russian officials have been a chief focus of congressional investigators and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe. Flynn and Stein were photographed at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sat next to Flynn and across the table from Stein.
It was at this point that Stein finally released a statement that was also included in this article:
“Stein released a statement Monday night defending her campaign’s transparency and integrity.
‘Our communications with Russian individuals regarding an invitation to speak on international relations at the RT 10th anniversary media conference will confirm what we stated publicly at that time and since: that we did not accept any payment or even reimbursement for the trip,’ Stein said.”
The So-Called Progressives, Were Duped and Played
The fact that the people that seem to rally around their term of “progressive” fell prey to the kind of propaganda brainwashing that one would expect in a cheap spy novel, speaks volumes about both their mentality and their psychological belief system. This group shares the same cognitive dissonance as the extreme right conservatives.
Their mad desire to buy into the most bizarre stories as “news” and their blatant lack of fact checking is exactly what the Russians knew about them. They tapped into the idiocies of their “revolution”, knowing that this typical psychology would surround themselves and appease each other with any form of misinformation.
I have been writing about this particular condition for quite some time and I cover it in more detail in my article: Extreme Right, Extreme Left: Two Sides, Same Coin, which also references another article that I wrote:
In a previous article that I wrote entitled: “The Misinformation Fallout: Conservatives Still Taking the Bait”, I included:
“Conservatives and the extreme left share one thing in common: they live in a bubble of denial and they will believe anything, no matter how bizarre, that appeals to their beliefs. Now this may sound like a glove being thrown down, but let’s address conservatives first. In an article by PsychologyToday which stated:
“An interesting study by Fessler et al. (in press) found that conservatives are more receptive to believing false negative information regarding hazards (relative to benefits) than liberals. This is called negatively-biased credulity. The study was covered in The Atlantic by Olga Khazan in “Why Fake News Targeted Trump Supporters.”
But it isn’t just the extreme right that fell prey to the disinformation. In the same article I have offered:
“For those that were on the front lines of the attacks from BernieBros, bots and the extreme conservatives, there was an onslaught of false information that went from the strange to the ridiculous. They included such idiocies as the Clinton’s having hits on over three hundred people to the ludicrous video of Hillary laughing at winning the rape case in her early life as an attorney, each one was edited, created and totally false. It didn’t matter that Hillary’s ‘laugh’ was in response to a question as to whether she trusted lie detector machines, it was believed because they wanted to believe it and they didn’t even bother to check to see if it was true.”
When the supporters of both Sanders and Stein catapulted the Russian influenced social media, it took on a life of its own and became the whirlwind tornado that the Russians knew would succeed. Both Sanders and Stein campaigns were well aware of it, and used it to their advantage.