You Bet They Are!
This morning, Bess Levin devoted her Vanity Fair column to a long list of the worst 2022 candidates— and there were so many she didn’t even have room for J.R. Majewski, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, John Gibbs, Gym Jordan, Claudia Tenney, or Lauren Boebert! She did have room to define the team all these candidates are playing for, noting that the GOP now represents “absolute delusions about who won in 2020, an all-out war on reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ people, an acceptance of neo-Nazis and white nationalism, a complete and total aversion to the truth, an affinity for fascism, and a clear desire to bury democracy in a shallow grave.” I doubt many Republicans would even dispute her observations! These are her choice for worst of the worst— along with my forecasts for tomorrow):
Blake Masters (AZ)- probably lose
Don Bolduc (NH)- probably lose
Mehmet Oz (NJ)- probably lose
Herschel Walker (GA)- probably lose
Adam Laxalt (NV)- probably lose
J.D. Vance (OH)- probably win
Ron Johnson (WI)- probably win
Marjorie Traitor Greene (GA)- definitely win
Doug Mastriano (PA)- definitely lose
Ron DeSantis (FL)- definitely win
Tudor Dixon (MI)- definitely lose
Greg Abbott (TX)- definitely win
Tim Michels (WI)- probably lose
Kari Lake (AZ)- probably win
Mark Finchem (AZ)- probably lose
Anna Paulina Luna (FL)- definitely win
Mike Collins (GA)- definitely win
Karoline Leavitt (NH)- probably lose
Joe Kent (WA)- probably win
How is it possible? An uneducated, moron electorate easily manipulated by— yes, they never went away— the Russians. Business Insider’s report should mean something to an intelligent voter base; but that doesn’t include Republicans, so it won’t. “Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that Russia has interfered in US elections in the past and would continue to do so,” wrote Tom Porter. “In a post on the Russian social-media site VKontakte, via his catering firm, Prigozhin said: ‘We have interfered, we are interfering and we will continue to interfere. Carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do. During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once,’ Prigozhin added, in an apparent reference to the surgical nature of the operations. Prigozhin, who has been dubbed ‘Putin's chef’ for securing valuable Kremlin catering contracts, has been accused of attempts to subvert past US elections through his control of so-called ‘troll farms,’ which flooded social media platforms with disinformation and conspiracy theories.”
Is Prigozhin, a caterer really a serious enemy of the United States? You bet he is. “He also controls the Wagner Group, a mercenary organisation whose fighters have played a key role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and in furthering Russian objectives in conflicts in Africa and the Middle East. In recent weeks, analysts say Prigozhin has been seeking to enhance his reputation as hardliner, criticising the generals responsible for the faltering Russian military invasion of Ukraine. Prigozhin has previously been targeted for sanctions by the US and EU over his alleged involvement in attempts to subvert US elections, with the State Department in July offering a $10 million reward for information about him.”
Yesterday, the NY Times showed how Russian bots and trolls are all over social media manipulating low IQ Republican voters, primarily denigrating Biden, who the Russians are furious at for sticking up for Ukraine.
It is part of what… researchers have identified as a new, though more narrowly targeted, Russian effort ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. The goal, as before, is to stoke anger among conservative voters and to undermine trust in the American electoral system. This time, it also appears intended to undermine the Biden administration’s extensive military assistance to Ukraine.
“It’s clear they are trying to get them to cut off aide and money to Ukraine,” said Alex Plitsas, a former Army soldier and Pentagon information operations official now with Providence Consulting Group, a business technology company.
The campaign— using accounts that pose as enraged Americans like Nora Berka— have added fuel to the most divisive political and cultural issues in the country today.
It has specifically targeted Democratic candidates in the most contested races, including the Senate seats up for grabs in Ohio, Arizona and Pennsylvania, calculating that a Republican majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives could help the Russian war effort.
The campaigns show not inly how vulnerable the American political system remains to foreign manipulation but also how purveyors of disinformation have evolved and adapted to efforts by the major social media platforms to remove or play down false or deceptive content.
Last month, the FBI and the ybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an alert warning of the threat of disinformation spread by “dark web media channels, online journals, messaging applications, spoofed websites, emails, text messages and fake online personas.” The disinformation could include claims that voting data or results had been hacked or compromised.
The agencies rigged people not to like, discuss or share posts online from unknown or distrustful sources. They did not identify specific efforts, but social media platforms and researchers who track disinformation have recently uncovered a variety of campaigns by Russia, China and Iran.
Recorded Future and two other social media companies, Graphika and Mandiant, found a number of Russian campaigns that have turned to Gab, Parler, Getter and other newer platforms that pride themselves on creating unmoderated spaces in the name of free speech.
These are much smaller campaigns than those in the 2016 election, where inauthentic accounts reached millions of voters across the political spectrum on Facebook and other major platforms. The efforts are no less pernicious, though, in reaching impressionable users who can help accomplish Russian objectives, researchers said.
“The audiences are much, much smaller than on your other traditional social media networks,” said Brian Liston, a senior intelligence analyst with Recorded Future who identified the Nora Berka account. “But you can engage the audiences in much more targeted influence ops because those who are on these platforms are generally U.S. conservatives who are maybe more accepting of conspiratorial claims.”
… One targeting Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, who is Black, employed racist motifs. Another falsely claimed that Representative Tim Ryan, the Democratic Senate candidate in Ohio, would release “all Fentanyl distributors and drug traffickers” from prison.
Too absurd for any Americans to believe? I guess you don’t talk to many Republicans who, in general, are as stupid and politically naive as the pile of barnyard animal shit they stepped in before walking on the new white carpet in the living room.