A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

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A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby toucana on March 18th, 2018, 4:03 pm 

The UK Guardian newspaper have published a 13m interview with Christopher Wylie, a data scientist who was intimately involved in the creation of the controversial Cambridge Analytica company who have recently been suspended by Facebook.



Much of what Christopher Wylie discloses has been either known or inferred for the better part of a year thanks to some excellent reporting that originally appeared in the German language Swiss press. It is however quite fascinating, and chilling to listen to his methodical account of how the deals were cut between Alexander Nix, Steve Bannon, and US hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer.
If you want to fundamentally change society, you first have to break it
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby toucana on March 19th, 2018, 7:09 am 

Facebook have now suspended the account of Christopher Wylie as well in a fit of pique worthy of Captain Renault (Claude Rains) in the film Casablanca (1942):



Under fire from politicians in the United States and the United Kingdom, Facebook said on Sunday afternoon it was conducting an internal and external review to determine if Facebook data provided to Cambridge Analytica still existed.

http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/19/technology/facebook-suspends-christopher-wylie/index.html

Presumably the next step will be to "round up the usual suspects".

A translation of the 2016 German news article in Das Magasin referred to in my OP can be found here:
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mg9vvn/how-our-likes-helped-trump-win
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby toucana on March 19th, 2018, 5:57 pm 

The story just got even better:

https://www.channel4.com/news/cambridge-analytica-revealed-trumps-election-consultants-filmed-saying-they-use-bribes-and-sex-workers-to-entrap-politicians-investigation

Cambridge Analytica tried very hard indeed, but ultimately failed to prevent this news feature from being made public. The UK C4 network successfully planted a team of undercover reporters posing as Sri Lankans who wanted to employ Cambridge Analytica to help influence forthcoming elections in that country.

Th 19m segment includes copious hidden camera and audio capture of the heads of Cambridge Analytica offering a very full run-down of the services they can offer to influence elections which seem to include bribery, entrapment, and the use of Ukrainian sex workers.

Cambridge Analytica say they utterly refute the allegations contained in this program, but are likely to have a difficult time refuting these revelations, as they’re on tape admitting to them.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby Braininvat on March 19th, 2018, 6:52 pm 

.Cambridge Analytica say they utterly refute the allegations contained in this program, but are likely to have a difficult time refuting these revelations, as they're on tape....


This posed no difficulty for the President. Just find a surrogate to tell people it was just boy talk, didn't mean anything, they were just joking around, blah blah blah. Heh.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby wolfhnd on March 19th, 2018, 7:12 pm 

https://www.spyculture.com/clandestime- ... analytica/

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles ... -analytica

Anyone but Hillary would have beat Trump, it's not a mystery that needs an exotic explanation.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby toucana on March 19th, 2018, 7:29 pm 

The BBC and Reuters are both reporting that the UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham will be seeking a court warrant early tomorrow to search the London offices, servers and databases of Cambridge Analytica after the company failed to comply with an 18:00 GMT deadline earlier today which required them to supply information relating to 50 million Facebook profiles allegedly acquired by the company.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-43465700

You can safely assume that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators in USA will be doing likewise (If they haven't already done so).

This is about to go ballistic.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby Braininvat on March 19th, 2018, 7:34 pm 

(Replying to Wolfdog)

The real point is not what effect they could have had on the election, but that it's stronger evidence of the corrupt nature of the company that the President keeps. Forget Hillary, pay attention to the crime family currently occupying the white house. The involvement of Mercer alone should raise huge red flags. A man with a legendary penchant for buying candidates. Make no mistake, these people want plutocracy, they have no interest in you as a participant in a democracy.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby Event Horizon on March 20th, 2018, 1:36 am 

The Cambridge Analytica (CA) data retention debacle is still causing ripples in the news media. Apparently they were offering data to politicians to get the dirt on their enemies. This is both corrupt and unethical and I suspect headed for the courts.
I would very much like to know which politicians paid for their "services", and exactly what data was released apparently in contravention of the Data Protection Act, which is supposed to protect computerized information on individuals.
I'm struggling to see how CA can survive this, the board appear to have been the people that instigated this.
A warrant to search CA's premises is being sought right now. They must have gotten a judge out of bed, it's very early here!! Police want to see what servers and data hold on untold facebook accounts.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby wolfhnd on March 20th, 2018, 2:56 am 

In the U.S., thanks to Snowdon, we know that the government collects data about individuals on a massive scale.

In a Senate Intelligence Committee on March 12, 2013, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked National Intelligence Director James Clapper whether intelligence officials collect data on Americans.

Clapper responded "No, sir," and, "Not wittingly."

You could argue that it is not data collection that matters but how that data is used that matters but then why did Clapper lie. There is something unsettling about the loss of privacy and that is the emotional hook on which the seriousness of the Cambridge Analytica story rests.

It is supposition that the Russians or Cambridge Analytica had any significant effect on the election. The evidence suggests that neither did. What did have a significant effect is arguably the corruption in the DNC primary process and Clinton's illegal server. One has to question why this story is news and the significance of the later were swept under the rug. Flapper's lying to the intelligence committee is certainly more significant because it is just one instance of how corrupt the permanent state has become. The role the media plays in that corruption is what we should be examining.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby toucana on March 20th, 2018, 5:16 am 

"wolfhnd » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:56 am".

It is supposition that the Russians or Cambridge Analytica had any significant effect on the election. .

No it is not supposition. The company openly boasted about their stunning and unanticipated success in warping both the 2016 US Presidential election, and in also contaminating the entire UK Brexit referendum debate a couple of months earlier by successfully reframing the topics of discussion along racist and xenophobic lines.

Cambridge Analytica regarded the UK Brexit campaign in June 2016 as a test-bed for many of the techniques they successfully deployed in America a couple of months later in November 2016. Do you think it was just an accident that the nativist UKIP leader Nigel Farage was intimately involved in both campaigns, and subsequently turned up in Trump Tower alongside the newly elected Donald Trump to gloat about his unexpected victory ?

It's one reason why this scandal is being taken so seriously in UK. The British government may yet be forced to hold another referendum on EU membership thanks to this company's hubris.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby jocular on March 20th, 2018, 8:31 am 

We seem to be in the middle of the washing cycle but what is /should be te future when it appears people's data can so easily be misused for political(and other) purposes by shadowy cliques /interests?

This is our future. We have to live with this now.

We can be deliberately fed "news" that satisfies our expectations in cunning ways.

Do we have to start teaching children at school how to be (social and otherwise) media savvy as something like a personal and collective/ civic duty?

I see the CEO of this company is claiming he was just doing what Obama did. Anyone have an opinion here?
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby Braininvat on March 20th, 2018, 9:44 am 

The CEO is contemplating life in a jail cell. I expect he will say anything to deflect blame.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby jocular on March 20th, 2018, 9:54 am 

Braininvat » March 20th, 2018, 9:44 am wrote:The CEO is contemplating life in a jail cell. I expect he will say anything to deflect blame.

Actually I was listening to some journalist from the New Statesman on the radio. ("Ball" was his name I think)

He went into that and said that this was essentially a 3 year old story .Asked why politics should be treated differently from sharing other kinds of data he said no one expected their data to be handed over to this kind of third party (although arguably we should have had more cop on)

Here I have found a recent article of his.
https://www.newstatesman.com/science-te ... no-scandal
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby Watson on March 20th, 2018, 10:16 am 

Truth is now a commodity that people buy and sell, and how that truth is distributed, in which areas, is all a matter of how much money someone has, and is willing to spend on getting their truth out to the masses. The only defense is critical thinking. Well one defense anyway. Problem is, people are lazy thinkers.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby toucana on March 20th, 2018, 8:29 pm 

Episode 2 of C4's ongoing expose of Cambridge Analytica's role in the US 2016 presidential election has now been screened:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy-9iciNF1A

If you haven't the time to watch the 17m feature 'Undercover Secrets of Trump's Data Firm' then a useful synopsis can be found here:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/cambridge-analytica-bosses-we-secretly-made-ads-for-trump-and-well-never-be-caught?ref=home

The most important points would seem to be these:
- CEO Alexander Nix boasts of having met Donald Trump many times.
- Cambridge Analytica created all the campaign strategy and branding used by Trump.
- CA worked with both the official Trump campaign and the Super PACS.

The last claim is singularly interesting as it is flagrantly illegal under American electoral law for staff to work across both the official campaign and the Super PAC (political action campaign) groups who create all the negative attack advertising. It's called 'coordination'.

Not quite 'collusion' as yet, but that will presumably be dealt with in forthcoming episodes where the undercover reporters discover exactly who the 'targeting team' were, and which countries they were located in.

Meanwhile, Alexander Nix the CEO of Cambridge Analytica has been suspended tonight from his job by his company directors, and Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Facebook has been placed in quarantine while FB try to absorb a $50 billion slump in their share value and figure out how to deal with this rapidly exploding crisis.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby BadgerJelly on March 21st, 2018, 1:54 am 

Anyone wonder why a big deal is being made of this?

Is propaganda illegal? Can it be stopped?
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby BadgerJelly on March 21st, 2018, 2:15 am 

Did people really not understand this is what advertising is?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8Dd5aVXLCc

Is this a "weapon" now whereas before it was called campaigning?
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby toucana on March 21st, 2018, 2:49 am 

BadgerJelly » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:54 am wrote:Anyone wonder why a big deal is being made of this?

Sure - Comedian Steve Colbert is just a puzzled as you are, and he can't figure out what all the fuss is about either:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyKivZT2wig

After all, it's less like Facebook is a bank that got robbed at gunpoint, and more like a bank that just gave all your money to bank-robbers because that's their business model.

What's the problem ?

It will be slightly tougher to explain away the clandestine three-way server database hook-up between Spectrum Health, Trump Tower and Alfa Bank in Moscow, but don't worry, they're already working on it. Hookers are one of their fields of special expertise after all.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby BadgerJelly on March 21st, 2018, 3:19 am 

There are no global internet laws. It is the same situation as tax dodging.

Maybe it will get to the point where the internet will simply be able to manage who we vote for without us actually having to vote.

At the moment it is little more than a game of tell them what they want to hear ... I guess it has always been like this. The US campaigning is frankly insane and comical. There are no policies, its just pure hot air.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby jocular on March 21st, 2018, 7:31 am 

BadgerJelly » March 21st, 2018, 3:19 am wrote:There are no global internet laws. It is the same situation as tax dodging.

Maybe it will get to the point where the internet will simply be able to manage who we vote for without us actually having to vote.

At the moment it is little more than a game of tell them what they want to hear ... I guess it has always been like this. The US campaigning is frankly insane and comical. There are no policies, its just pure hot air.

For that we would need transparency and for the "voters" to have a decisive input in the means or mechanism of collective decision making.

Hardly seems likely (or even a desireable end)

Why should we be interested in making democracy "efficient"? Messy is best and ensures everyone is more likely to get involved.

Democracy is a vehicle for the global elevation of human values (sure they can be elevated in a democratic vacuum if necessary) and we should be prepared to pay for what is not a luxury.

Decent democrats (no capital "d" )should now be framing laws to prevent a new (or refined version of) Trump even though this is doubtless a thankless task and we are pretty powerless to prevent dictatorships in countries like China and Russia.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby BadgerJelly on March 21st, 2018, 12:03 pm 

Why should we be interested in making democracy "efficient"? Messy is best and ensures everyone is more likely to get involved.


I think that reminds me of something Socrates said?
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby someguy1 on March 21st, 2018, 1:12 pm 

Didn't Obama do the exact same thing in 2012? He successfully used Facebook data to influence people to vote for him. At the time the press were very enthusiastic about how brilliantly the Dems used data.

When Trump does it, of course it's bad and evil.

In any event, the story is backward. Cambridge Analytica isn't the bad guy. Facebook is. They harvest your data and sell it to the highest bidder. Facebook is the underlying problem. Cambridge Analytica is only the symptom.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby toucana on March 21st, 2018, 1:46 pm 

someguy1 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:12 pm wrote:Didn't Obama do the exact same thing in 2012?

No he didn't, and you haven't provided a shred of evidence to suggest that he or his campaign team did either.

If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to do much better than to simply wander in here and start pumping garbage from the Fox News/Breitbart echo-chamber without bothering to provide any attributions or checkable factual references.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby jocular on March 21st, 2018, 1:55 pm 

BadgerJelly » March 21st, 2018, 12:03 pm wrote:
Why should we be interested in making democracy "efficient"? Messy is best and ensures everyone is more likely to get involved.


I think that reminds me of something Socrates said?

Would be chuffed if that were so.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby someguy1 on March 21st, 2018, 2:00 pm 

toucana » March 21st, 2018, 11:46 am wrote:
someguy1 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:12 pm wrote:Didn't Obama do the exact same thing in 2012?

No he didn't, and you haven't provided a shred of evidence to suggest that he or his campaign team did either.

If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to do much better than to simply wander in here and start pumping garbage from the Fox News/Breitbart echo-chamber without bothering to provide any attributions or checkable factual references.


The information is well-known to people following the news.

Here's an article that just appeared in Forbes, hardly a wingnut outlet.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleeta ... 3423cc58a5

From that piece:

Perhaps the most remarkable takeaway from coverage of the 2016 election is just how starkly changed the reaction of the public and media has been to political use of data-driven election targeting since the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns. When the Obama campaign pushed the boundaries of precision voter targeting, pioneering techniques like peering into the privacy of American’s living rooms through their DVRs to see what each individual voter was actually watching on their televisions, the press and public cheered, hailing it as a long overdue modernization of the campaigning process and holding up the campaign’s data scientists as miniature heroes showcasing what could be done with data today. In the leadup to the 2016 election, the press and public derided the Trump campaign as apparently being data-devoid, while hailing Clinton’s campaign as picking up the data-first mantle from the Obama campaign and pushing it even further.

This viewpoint is all over the news lately, and not just on right wing sites. In 2012 the Obama team bragged about using Facebook data. Surely you must be aware of this. When you ask for "checkable references" that Obama heavily used Facebook data, you are weaponizing your ignorance. It's a commonly known fact, widely reported at the time.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby toucana on March 21st, 2018, 4:03 pm 

SomeGuy1
I honestly believe you haven't read the detailed article I cited from the December 2016 issue of the German language Das Magasin which describes the genesis of Cambridge Analytica, and you probably haven't watched either of the two C4 news video documentaries I linked in as well either.

If you had, you would know that what Cambridge Analytica were up was not simple targeting based on publicly available social media data and Facebook profiles, but something far more sinister and divisive that comes straight out of the darkest pages of highly classified psychological warfare manuals.

If you had watched the interview between Guardian journalists and data scientist Christopher Wylie who helped found Cambridge Analytica, you would have heard him say that he actually came from a background of political micro-targeting and knew all about what had been done in 2012, but what he found himself involved with during the 2016 Trump campaign was corrupt data-mining and unethical messaging of a scale and scope he had never previously imagined (it's about 5m into the clip).

According to Wylie's account, the deceptive Facebook app he sourced from Kogan gave him access to the data of not only the quiz participants, but also that of all the members of the participant's FB friend network.

Back in 2014 a typical Facebook user had around 340 friends. Do you have any idea how that sort of exponentiation scales up ? Even allowing for duplication and overlaps, it means as Wylie explains that they only had to reach out to a couple of hundred thousand FB users in order to scale their data capture up to around 135 million profiles, the number of votes cast in the entire 2016 election.

Nothing that the Obama team did with their 'Narwhal' program in 2012 even remotely compares to what Cambridge Analytica did on Trump's behalf in 2016. Obama's team used some clever deals to gain insight into which TV programs some target audiences in certain areas most liked to watch on their cable DVR tuners. But the CA team set out to hijack the entire communication channel and whisper lies and disinformation individually tailored to the fears and neuroses of each target voter into their ears.

Christopher Wylie put it very well in his interview:
So we would know what kinds of messaging you would be susceptible to, including the framing of it, the topics, the contents, the tone, whether its scary or not. that kind of thing - so what you would be susceptible to and where you're going to consume that - and then how many times do we need to touch with that in order to change how you think about something ..

..Instead of standing in the public square and saying what you think and then letting people come and listen to you and having that shared common experience as to what your narrative is, you are whispering in the ear of each and every voter and maybe whispering one thing to this voter and another thing to another voter and you risk fragementing society. We don't have any more shared experiences or any more shared understanding. If we don't have any shared understanding, how can we be a functioning society ?
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby someguy1 on March 22nd, 2018, 2:02 am 

toucana » March 21st, 2018, 2:03 pm wrote:SomeGuy1
I honestly believe you haven't read the detailed article I cited from the December 2016 issue of the German language Das Magasin which describes the genesis of Cambridge Analytica, and you probably haven't watched either of the two C4 news video documentaries I linked in as well either.


Guilty as charged on all counts.

You know, without conceding the facts or the interpretation, I can certainly see that you have far more intense passion about this issue than I do. From where I sit I'm amused at how Trump triggers the liberals, of whom I used to be one and in many ways still am except that I didn't go batshit insane the day after the election.

Based on your passion I could never make any valid points that you wouldn't have some reference with which to grind my opinion into the dust. It would be tedious.

It is delusional of any adult, let alone one who claims to follow politics, to think that the politicians on one's own side are pure and those of the other side evil. Obama came up through Chicago politics. Will you please stop playing the innocent virgin?
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby toucana on March 22nd, 2018, 3:51 am 

You can read, or not read whatever you wish, It’s a free country. (For now).

If you prefer to watch Sean Hannity endlessly pushing Seth Rich conspiracy fantasies on Fox News, or Alex Jones on InfoWars trolling teenage school-shooting victims by calling them ‘Crisis Actors’ then that’s your constitutionally protected right.

The one thing that doesn’t really work however, is to turn up here in a thread that I actually created, and accuse me of weaponised ignorance when you haven’t made the slightest effort to read any of the sources I cited.

There’s a rather British joke about a court case where the following exchange takes place between the judge and the counsel for the defence:
Judge - “Mr Simpkins, i have listened to your arguments with some care for the better part of the last three days, but must confess I am still none the wiser”.
Counsel - ”No M'lud - just better informed”.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby someguy1 on March 22nd, 2018, 3:58 pm 

toucana » March 22nd, 2018, 1:51 am wrote:If you prefer to watch Sean Hannity endlessly pushing Seth Rich conspiracy fantasies on Fox News, or Alex Jones on InfoWars trolling teenage school-shooting victims by calling them ‘Crisis Actors’ then that’s your constitutionally protected right.


You're so emotionally involved that you've become delusional.
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Re: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle Blower Speaks

Postby Braininvat on March 22nd, 2018, 5:30 pm 

You know, without conceding the facts or the interpretation, I can certainly see that you have far more intense passion about this issue than I do. From where I sit I'm amused at how Trump triggers the liberals, of whom I used to be one and in many ways still am except that I didn't go batshit insane the day after the election.
--- SGuy

I don't know if this would help, but try considering this: most liberals, centrists, and misc. did not actually go batshit the day after election. Which makes that assessment sort of a broad spectrum ad hominem that can be used in lieu of argument - I suspect that you are better than that. You could probably learn more from the non-batshit perspectives of those who calmly view Trump's dangers if you simply look at all evidence provided and stay away from conspiracy theorists and partisan attacks. My own reaction is often amusement at the way crypto-Righties speak of Trump as "triggering" a critical reaction -- as if legitimate discourse and critique has become some kind of galvanic spasm or wild reflex.
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