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TomCADem's Journal
TomCADem's Journal
July 25, 2020

Clint Watts "Election 2020: Russia Cares, China Doesn't"

While you see Trump and Pompeo going out of their way to attack China, not surprisingly you hear little mention of Russia's continued efforts to interfere with the U.S. election. Has Russia lost interest in the U.S. election? Clint Watts, who testified to Congress on Russian election interference in 2016, recently posted that Russia continues to the be the most active foreign actor trying to interfere in the U.S. election in support of Trump:


In anticipation of Chinese interference claims ahead of Election Day in November, the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s (FPRI) Foreign Influence Election 2020 (FIE 2020) project included Chinese outlet the Global Times alongside its analysis of the Kremlin’s Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik News. Our analysis of Global Times content from January 1, 2019 to present day shows China has published significantly less English-language content than Russia regarding the presidential election. Chinese state-sponsored articles about the 2020 election, either observed by the FIE 2020 team or viewed on the Alliance For Securing Democracy’s Hamilton 2.0 dashboard, hardly travel into the U.S. audience space when compared to RT and Sputnik News.

Furthermore, an examination of the paltry Chinese election coverage shows they spend remarkably little time seeking to elevate one candidate over another. The trade war, Huawei, COVID-19, and the Hong Kong protests dominate Global Times headlines—not the 2020 election. Of 1,211 mentions of the 2020 candidates over a 15-month period, more than 85% discussed President Trump. Trump’s mentions were far more negative than positive, and most always in the context of China’s foreign policy goals vis-à-vis the U.S. rather than the presidential election. When China discusses the 2020 election, it’s not about capturing a victory, but undermining the integrity of the American democratic process.

Conversely, Russia’s outlets talk about internal U.S. politics and the election all the time, with their state-sponsored news outlets authoring a high volume of stories and mentioning the candidates more than twice as much as China. It is clear the Kremlin prefers a second term for President Trump heading into the fall and strongly opposes the election of former Vice President Biden. Russian President Vladimir Putin has openly said he wanted Trump to win in 2016, and Russia’s overt propaganda portrays Trump far more positively than Biden. Although they’ve soured a bit on the president in recent months, taking the opportunity to bash him with respect to America’s failed COVID-19 response and the administration’s authoritarian response to racial justice protests in D.C., nothing Russia says negatively about Trump compares to how derogatory the Kremlin is toward Biden. Headlines trash Biden continuously, and Russian derision of Biden will hit full swing this summer when a curiously timed movie out of Russia-occupied Donetsk, Ukraine, titled “Alpha R” hits theaters warning of a “New Cold War” if Biden wins the election.

The Kremlin’s strategy since 2016 has remained consistent—“secure the base, split the opposition.” Facebook takedowns of the Kremlin’s troll farm in 2019 showed Russian content promoting President Trump, denigrating Biden and elevating Sanders. In March of this year, Facebook closed a Russian troll farm cutout operation in Ghana that sought to infiltrate American minority groups on Facebook and Instagram, presumably hoping to divide the political left and influence voters headed into Election Day.
July 23, 2020

The Atlantic: The New Jersey Shooting Suspect Left a Pro-Trump Paper Trail

Not surprisingly, the chief suspect in the murder of a Latina Federal Judge's family members was a Trumpster.


Roy Den Hollander, the self-described “anti-feminist” attorney who authorities say is the chief suspect in the shootings of the son and the husband of a federal judge in New Jersey, attacked that judge by name in misogynistic, racist writings he wrote over a period of years and posted in bulk on the Internet Archive. Den Hollander, who describes himself as a Trump volunteer in his writings, called the judge an “affirmative action” case who affiliated with those who wanted “to convince America that whites, especially white males, were barbarians, and all those of a darker skin complexion were victims.”

Esther Salas’s 20-year-old son was killed in the attack at their home on Sunday, and her husband was wounded. Den Hollander was later found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in Rockland, New York. Den Hollander’s insults toward Salas were included in a 2,028-page collection of writings he posted online in 2019 under the username Roy17den, a handle that mirrored his Twitter account, @roy17den, and the email address he used both in personal letters and in court filings.

“Female judges didn’t bother me as long as they were middle age or older black ladies,” he writes when discussing a lawsuit he filed that went before Judge Salas, the first Hispanic woman appointed a federal judge in New Jersey. “They seemed to have an understanding of how life worked and were not about to be conned by any foot dragging lawyer. Latinas, however, were usually a problem—driven by an inferiority complex.”

Along with the attacks on Salas, Den Hollander’s writings also go after President Barack Obama (who he said has an “obsession to turn America into a banana republic”), Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (who he claimed was “angry that nobody had invited her to her high school senior prom”), Hillary Clinton (whose supporters were “teary-eyed, sad-sack, PC loonies watching their power of intolerance go down the drain”), and an Obama appointee (whom he describes as part of “that Orwellian party of feminists, ethnics, Muslims, illegals and queers who think they are superior to everyone else, especially white males.”)
July 10, 2020

Russia is backing a viral video company (Ruptly) aimed at American millennials

I was noticing a lot of videos of right wing protests being featured by a video channel named "Ruptly." For example, one video is entitled, "USA: Protesters rally for anti-mask protest, chant "We can"t breathe," which features an anti-mask protest headlined by Alex Jones of all people.

What is Ruptly? Well, Ruptly is a media outlet that is owned by Russia Today. Like Russia Today is pushes divisive content and features Russia friendly speakers on both the right and "left" such Glenn Greenwald who attacks the U.S. media ad shares tips for avoiding the NSA.

In short, Russia is back to its old tricks trying to undermine and spread division within the U.S.


New York (CNN)Three online video channels designed to appeal to millennials have collected tens of millions of views on Facebook since September. But the pages pushing the videos do not disclose that they are backed by the Russian government.

The pages are run by Maffick Media, a company whose majority stakeholder is Ruptly, a subsidiary of RT, which is funded by the Russian government. Although Maffick Media has hired contractors and freelancers in Los Angeles in recent months, the company is not registered in the US, it is registered in Germany.

Facebook suspended the pages on Friday, saying it would reach out to the people running them to ask that they disclose where the pages are run from and their affiliation with their parent company in order to get back on the platform.

The move was an unusual one for Facebook. The company does not require users to provide information about parent companies, but it is rolling out ways to try to increase transparency about who runs popular Facebook pages, and it has been taking aggressive steps to tackle covert government-backed information operations on its service. In 2016, a Kremlin-linked troll group ran a network of pages designed to look like they were operated by real American activists.
July 9, 2020

The Spread of Covid-19: Trump States vs. Clinton States - Trumpism Is Deadly

Once again, Trump's biggest supporters are sometimes his biggest victims:


It has been much noted in the news in recent days that confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been soaring in a number of states in the US, primarily in the south and southwest. But it is of interest to examine how widespread this is, and how it correlates with the politics of the different states. With the politicization by Trump of what should be a matter of public health, states (and their residents) are responding differently in their management of this public health crisis.

One way to look at this is to group the states according to who won there in 2016: Trump or Clinton. This divides the country roughly in half, between more liberal and more conservative areas. The chart above shows what then results for daily new confirmed cases (on a 7-day moving average).

The division is stark. The states won by Clinton (which included New York, New Jersey, the Northeast, Illinois, California, and Washington) were exposed early to Covid-19. These states are generally more highly urbanized and there is more international travel by both residents and visitors. This left them especially vulnerable as the virus that causes Covid-19 started to spread (first with little knowledge of how fast it was spreading, due to blunders in rolling out the necessary testing program in February and into much of March). But after peaking in April, these states brought down the daily number of new cases by over 60%, although with a partial and still limited reversal in the past week.

The pattern in the Trump states is quite different. Confirmed cases rose in the period leading up to April (in part as testing only became broadly available then), but then leveled off in these states through essentially all of April and May. Furthermore, the numbers leveled off at roughly 10,000 cases a day, or less than half the 21,000 cases per day seen in the Clinton states at their peak. The Trump states are often more rural, and there is less international travel (by both residents and visitors), so the lower numbers there were taken by some as indicating they were less vulnerable to this infectious disease.
July 6, 2020

Martin Luther King Explains Why Trump's Biggest Victim Is Actually His Own Base

I know there is a lot of anger at the support that Trump continues to draw from a diminishing minority of the U.S. population. Although Tump's support has diminished due in large part to his clear incompetence, Trump continues to draw support from a rabid base that he caters to with increasingly racist appeals.

The question is why does this work? Even if a person is a racist, why would they support someone who has mishandled a pandemic and eagerly acts against U.S. interests in favor of his own?

The answer is that Trump appeals to what MLK would call a Trump supporter's drum major instinct, the desire "to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first." Trump is not offering health care. Trump is not offering economic security. What Trump is offering is the validation that his supporters are innately superior to everyone else of a different race or background. Even better, Trump offers a scapegoat that America's ills are caused by people who not-white whether they are Mexican immigrants, BLM protesters, educated professional women, or Asians who are accused of spreading COVID-19.

Of course, as Germany experience, if you continue to blame all your problems on other people. this ultimately leads to a "final solution" of genocide to eliminate other people. For example, the Nazis did not originally advocate for the genocide of Jews. Instead. the Nazis originally pushed for the resettlement and relocation of Jews out of Europe.

This is why we need to combat Trump and his message of hate and blame. We need to educate, including his own supporters, that Trump's message of hate not only oppresses the objects of the hate, but it serves to oppress his own supporters who are losing their jobs and losing their lives blinded by Trump's message that they are members of some super race and that they need to protect their way of life, which is built around systemic racism.


The drum major instinct can lead to exclusivism in one's thinking and can lead one to feel that because he has some training, he's a little better than that person who doesn't have it. Or because he has some economic security, that he's a little better than that person who doesn't have it. And that's the uncontrolled, perverted use of the drum major instinct.

Now the other thing is, that it leads to tragic—and we've seen it happen so often—tragic race prejudice. Many who have written about this problem—Lillian Smith used to say it beautifully in some of her books. And she would say it to the point of getting men and women to see the source of the problem. Do you know that a lot of the race problem grows out of the drum major instinct? A need that some people have to feel superior. A need that some people have to feel that they are first, and to feel that their white skin ordained them to be first. (Make it plain, today, ‘cause I’m against it, so help me God) And they have said over and over again in ways that we see with our own eyes. In fact, not too long ago, a man down in Mississippi said that God was a charter member of the White Citizens Council. And so God being the charter member means that everybody who's in that has a kind of divinity, a kind of superiority. And think of what has happened in history as a result of this perverted use of the drum major instinct. It has led to the most tragic prejudice, the most tragic expressions of man's inhumanity to man.

The other day I was saying, I always try to do a little converting when I'm in jail. And when we were in jail in Birmingham the other day, the white wardens and all enjoyed coming around the cell to talk about the race problem. And they were showing us where we were so wrong demonstrating. And they were showing us where segregation was so right. And they were showing us where intermarriage was so wrong. So I would get to preaching, and we would get to talking—calmly, because they wanted to talk about it. And then we got down one day to the point—that was the second or third day—to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, "Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. [laughter] You're just as poor as Negroes." And I said, "You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. (Yes) And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white. And you're so poor you can't send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march."

Now that's a fact. That the poor white has been put into this position, where through blindness and prejudice, (Make it plain) he is forced to support his oppressors. And the only thing he has going for him is the false feeling that he’s superior because his skin is white—and can't hardly eat and make his ends meet week in and week out. (Amen)

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