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And all the chairs are musical

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — two cases of unreal real estate, Moscow & Washington ]
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Putin:

Clinton:

Political influence on the movies

Friday, July 21st, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — Canada, Hollywood cave? ]
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Sources:

  • Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, Did the CBC get spooked?
  • Hollywood Reporter, Vladimir Putin Cut From Two Upcoming Hollywood Movies
  • **

    The Chinese don’t want the Dalai Lama to speak with heads of state; they throw their weight around, and some heads of state capitulate.

    Here’s the equivalent in terms of the arts. I suppose it’s inevitable, considering the state of the world, but I don’t like it one little bit.

    Clinton-Trump parallelisms via Daniel Nexon — whassay?

    Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — more on the digging dirt / foreign sources story ]
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    It’s all too easy to lose sight of the intriguing parallelism here — but symmetries are worth watching, often revelatory. Good catch by Daniel Nexon:

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    From January: Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire:

    Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country.

    Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

    A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

    The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia. But they were far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.

    Russia’s effort was personally directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, involved the country’s military and foreign intelligence services, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

    [ .. more .. ]

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    Your thoughts? — valuable since they’ll no doubt differ from mine..

    Brilliant “life imitates art” DoubleQuote

    Saturday, July 8th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — a superb find & capture ]
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    In an earlier tweet, Turner identified “Underwood and Petrov in ‘House of Cards’ season 3 vs. Trump and Putin IRL by #timoreilly“. That’s them.

    I got this via Thomas Hegghammer, who has a keen European eye — something I suspect may be invaluable in analytic work.

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    Likewise noteworthy, a neat title to an Atlantic piece on the same meeting of the minds — which also exhibits double vision:

    Here’s the relevant detail-work from the text of that piece:

    Attendance at the meeting was sharply limited, reportedly in order to avoid leaks: There were just six people in the room, including each president’s foreign-policy chief and an interpreter for each side. That means that anyone curious to know what was discussed is forced to rely on the accounts of the two governments involved—neither of which has a sterling reputation for honesty.

    Adding to the confusion, the two initial accounts of the meeting differ sharply. Russian and American officials, together with Jordan, announced a cease-fire in southwest Syria, the one major material accomplishment, though one that based on Jordan’s involvement was clearly in the works long before the two presidents met. The two sides also agreed to set up a working group on cybersecurity. From there, accounts diverge, creating a Rashomon-like situation in which it’s likely impossible to piece together what actually happened.

    Rex Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, briefed reporters in Hamburg on the discussion. Tillerson said Trump had begun the meeting by pressing Putin about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

    “The president opened the meeting by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in 2016 election. Putin denied such involvement, as he has done in the past,” Tillerson said. He said that Trump had returned to the topic more than once during the meeting. (As the meeting ran over, first lady Melania Trump was reportedly sent inside in an unsuccessful attempt to get the men to wrap up.)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, also briefing reporters in Hamburg, agreed that Trump had brought up the accusations, but that Trump had accepted Putin’s version of the events, which is that Russia is innocent of any involvement. U.S. officials denied that. He also claimed Trump had dismissed the allegations: “Trump mentioned that in U.S. certain circles still inflate subject of Russian meddling in elections, even though they have no proof.”

    It’s hard to know what to believe. Lavrov and Russia have obvious motivation to lie about what happened. But Trump has repeatedly shown that despite his bluster about being a tough negotiator, he can be easily persuaded by foreign leaders during face-to-face meetings, abandoning long-held positions when effectively debated by a counterpart. (This is one reason that Putin, like other foreign leaders, was so eager to meet in person.)

    Moreover, Trump’s own view on the interference in the election remains opaque. He has never fully accepted the judgment of U.S. intelligence agencies and most of his own aides that Russia was behind hacking of email accounts and other feints. Most recently, on Thursday in Warsaw, Trump suggested that Russia might have been involved but might not have been alone, and concluded, “Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.”

    Rashomon indeed! — but maybe that’s the play here: obfuscate.

    Influencing the vote, a reminder

    Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Not just Putin, Zuckerberg, remember? ]
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    We’ve all been forcibly reminded of Russian attempts to influence the US electoral system — but have we forgotten Facebook?

    Sources:

  • Weisburd, Watts & Berger, WOTR, Trolling for Trump, 2016
  • Micah Sifry, Mother Jones, Facebook Wants You to Vote on Tuesday, 2014

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