Election, Just Four Days

Just under ninety-six hours to election day!! Can you stand it? I can’t.

Newsweek published a bombshell story earlier today. Well, maybe its not such a bombshell. Newsweek and I seem to be the only one’s particularly interested.

I’d like to provide some perspective before digging into the story. Its an investigative, conspiratorial report. Conspiracy storylines are rarely credible, especially a few days before a Presidential Election. There’s just something about this particular story. It’s like that piece of hair you suddenly feel on your cheek at two in the afternoon. You can’t the see the damn thing. You can’t grab it. You can’t wipe it away. Your tactile sense insists that its there, yet, you sort of don’t believe it. This is that kind of story.

Second, consider the source. Newsweek has had its ups and downs. Back in the day (the pre-digital day), it was a respected, centrist, left-leaning news magazine. The media landscape has changed exponentially and the publication’s best days may be behind it. Today, its a digital magazine without an identity. Irrespective, its still considered by most a legitiamte publication, not inclined toward Breitbart-like, pull-it-out-of-your-ass, inflamatory conspiracy.

Newsweek’s story, November 4, 2016, Why Vladimir Putin’s Russia is Backing Donald Trump would be a barn burner if anyone actually cared. The report asserts Donald Trump is either an unwitting distributor for Russia’s propaganda factory or a new international player eager to partner with Putin to realign the balance of power in Europe.

My nutshell summary of the lengthy essay:

The Russians have thousands of agents at home and abroad working on a cyber/disinformation program aimed at the US, specifically, the Hillary Clinton campaign and affilaited Democratic institutions.

The Russian hackers steal digitized information from the targeted organization. Disinformation specialists review and, sometimes, manipulate the data. Then, they parse the data into a virtual “pipeline”. The pipeline delivers the data to any number of digital and physical outlets (WikiLeaks and other distribution websites, major news organizations, social media platforms, etc.) State sponsored online trolls comment on the red hot data and inadvertently leak the freshly baked disinformation into the insatiable 24 hour news cycle.

There are so many layers of distribution in the pipeline that many of those broadcasting the information don’t know they’re disseminating Russian propaganda. For example, WikiLeaks might not know who actually hacked the John Podesta emails. The most signigicant, and possibly most clueless recipient of the hacked data is the Trump Campaign.

For example, Newsweek Reporter, Kirk Eichenwald suggests a “manipulated document” was released online to Team Donald a few months ago. “Within hours” Trump was”reciting” the information on the campaign stump. He also tried to interject the hogwash into one of the Presidential Debates. Do you remember Donald’s babbling, incoherent bullshit about Sydney Blumenthal?

The essay is far more in depth and sites unnamed sources in US, European and Russian intelligence services. If you have few moments its worth a full read. At best, its fictional journalism, a fanicful cloak and dagger spin on the election. At worst, its espionage and Donald Trump is a pseudo-spy. No, he’s not a pseudo-spy. He’s far too dumb. Let’s try that again. At worst, Trump is being used by Russians to affect the outcome of the election.

And now, the funny thing. The Republican Primary season is well behind us. Like me, are you longing for the symphonic, poetic, melodic hum of seventeen angry candidates arguing about nothing? Do you miss Little Marco, Donald’s small hands, Governor Christie’s Trump laden hate fest (before the current love fest), Donald’s assessment of Carly Fiorina’s face, Donald’s assessment of Ted Cruz’s wife, Ben Carson’s request that someone on the debate stage attack him and Jeb Bush’s bravado-less bravado? Fortunately, Funny or Die had the good sense to reenact one of these demonstrative gatherings with a far more intellectually sensible line up: