-- Secret “war-crime” warrants by International Criminal Court is mischief-making
Getting the full story about Ukraine
The west vs the rest – the world is changing
Ukraine commemorates Nazi collaborators
Do New Zealanders no longer support Ukraine?
The subtlety of neo-Nazi influence in Ukraine – ignored by our media
Where are Ukrainian refugees going? – an update
Is New Zealand covertly supporting the glorification of neo-Nazism?
Following the war in Ukraine – an update
Russian anti-war protester goes to see for herself
You can’t understand Ukraine without acknowledging its deep divisions
Once again, those Russian neo-Nazis – the Wagner group
A heartwarming story about a Ukrainian prisoner of war
Over 50 POWs killed. A military accident or a cynical war crime?
Ukraine/Russia war, an intelligence operation or a sting, Ukrainian and UK spies, and Bellingcat
Mainstream media defends poor journalism by smearing good journalism
Ukraine war – a shocking failure of our mainstream media
How is the war going?
Why should Ukraine listen to lame duck Boris Johnson?
Ukraine war – a failure of honest diplomacy and reason
British volunteer soldier in Ukraine speaks up
What about those Russian neo-Nazis?
Neo-Nazis in Ukraine – stages of denial
Confusion about neo-Nazis in Ukraine-Russia war
Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Comedians are often more truthful than politicians.
Ukraine – a beginner’s guide
Why the silence on censorship?
Everything You Know About Ukraine Is WRONG
Some sense on the Russia-Ukraine war
British volunteer soldier in Ukraine tells his story
Virtue signaling over Ukraine
Fluoridation and child IQ – the problem of counting chickens before they hatch
August ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
July ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
June ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoridation group tells porkies about NZ fluoridation review
Opponents of fluoridation all at sea with new legislation
Update of NZ fluoridation review timely and useful
May ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation contribution to heavy metals in drinking water is too low to measure
April ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Hip fractures in the elderly and fluoride – contradictory evidence
March ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
An open letter to Paul Connet and the anti-fluoride movement
February ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Data dredging, p-hacking and motivated discussion in anti-fluoride paper
Censorship: Thinking you are right – even if you’re wrong
Embarrassing knock-back of second draft review of possible cognitive health effects of fluoride
The promotion of weak statistical relationships in science
Can we trust science?
January ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
I don’t “believe” in science – and neither should you
December ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Science is often wrong – be critical
November ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Hyping it up over fluoridation
September ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
August ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
July ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Even studies from endemic fluorosis areas show fluoride is not harmful at levels used in fluoridation
Canadian studies confirm findings of Broadbent et al (2015) – fluoridation has no effect on child IQ
Child IQ in countries with endemic fluorosis imply fluoridation is safe.
Anti-fluoride 65 brain-fluoride studies not evidence against fluoridation
June ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking delayed
Another study used by anti-fluoride activists actually shows community water fluoridation OK
May ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
When scientists get political: Lead fluoride-IQ researcher launches emotional attack on her scientific critics
New study touted by anti-fluoridation campaigners actually indicates fluoridation is safe
No relationship of bone cancer to fluoridation – another new study the anti-fluoride brigade will attempt to ignore
New review finds fluoride is not a developmental neurotoxicant at exposure levels relevant to fluoridation
April ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride campaigners still rely on irrelevant studies
Author confirms anti-fluoridation activist misrepresentation of her work
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 6: Incestuous relationship of these studies
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 5: Don’t censor yourself
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 4: Till et al (2020)
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 3: Riddell et al (2019)
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
No; a new study from Ethiopia does not indicate fluoridation is bad for your bones
Anti-fluoridationists put faith in new “strong” studies to provide evidence missing in draft NTP review
Industry-funded translation can introduce bias in selection of studies for scientific review
Another embarrassment for anti-fluoride campaigners as neurotoxic claim found not to be justified
February ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Beware of scientific paper abstracts – read the full text to avoid being fooled
January ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation and sex steroid hormones – or the mouse that roared
What are the recent fluoride-IQ studies really saying about community water fluoridation?
December ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation science and political advocacy – who is fooling who?
Scientific integrity & fluoridation – Dr Ghali responds
Sleep disorders and fluoride: dredging data to confirm a bias
Some fluoride-IQ researchers seem to be taking in each other’s laundry
Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
October ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
ADHD and fluoride – wishful thinking supported by statistical manipulation?
Experts complain to funding body about quality of fluoride-IQ research
What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
September ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Biostatistical problems with the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
Fluoridation – A new fight against scientific misinformation
An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Bye, bye to the collusion lie
If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help
Anti-fluoride activists misrepresent a new kidney/liver study
July ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
MH17 tragedy- 5 years on
June ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Chemical watchdog confirms suppressed report but justifies the suppression
May ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Does international chemical watchdog cherry-pick evidence to confirm a bias?
Psychology of Russiagate – an adult discussion for a change
April ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Russiagate – Some insights into its origins and results
Russiagate: Lessons for the media. But will they listen?
March ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Aftermath of the Mueller report – the media starts looking at itself
Mueller report to be released mid April – but it will be redacted
Collapse of the “Russiagate ” myth exposes how corporate media has failed
Getting out alive – why we should always demand evidence
Terrorism in Christchurch – some thoughts
“Disinformation” and the mainstream media
February ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
January ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Preempting the annual misrepresentation of NZ dental health data by anti-fluoride activists
December ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation: Another study shows stopping fluoridation bad for child tooth decay
November ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Media manipulation – the tail wags the dog
Protection of teeth by fluoride confirmed – yet again
And you thought Russiagate could not get sillier.
Trump and the media – codependents wallowing in the mud
Julian Assange’s mother appeals for her son’s freedom
October ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Nuclear dangers if INF treaty abandoned could be worse than in the 1980s
Fluoridation and ADHD: A new round of statistical straw clutching
September ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
September ’18 NZ blog ranking – delayed
Flight MH17 tragedy in Ukraine – new evidence
Novichock detection and the Salisbury tourists
A more convincing take on prenatal maternal dietary effects on child IQ
Fluoridation: “debating” the science?
Opportunities and problems for grassroots activism offered by the internet
August ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Who is weaponising the vaccination debate?
Another BUK accident in Ukraine
Policing social media – who is coming next and who is behind it?
Political interference prevents investigators from considering the “bleeding obvious”
July ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Mainstream media “mob violence” over Helsinki summit
Blatant misreporting of latest OPCW report on chemical weapons in Syria
Time for a serious auditing of Porton Down’s nerve agent stocks?
June ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride campaigners exhaust their legal channels with another loss
Magical World Cup Gala Concert
May ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoridation activists buy scientific credibility using a predatory publisher
Another shonky OPCW chemical incident report on Syria
Not just another rat study
Russian sports doping scandal looking like an illusion?
April ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Mainstream media-political alliance gets vindictive
Novichock – a marketing ploy?
The “heart of the Syrian chemical weapons programme” destroyed?
OPCW on Salisbury poisoning – one step forward, two back?
Anti-fluoridationist Paul Connett misrepresents NZ data
Anti-fluoridationists rejection of IQ studies in fluoridated area.
March ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
A conference paper on the maternal prenatal urinary fluoride/child IQ study has problems
The 52 IQ studies used by anti-fluoride campaigners
The real lessons from Vladimir Putin’s re-election
Why is it so difficult to get an open discussion on fluoridation?
Mary Byrne’s criticism is misplaced and avoids the real issues
Anti-fluoride group coordinator responds to my article
Where could you get a nerve agent in Salisbury?
The first casualty . .
Paul Connett’s misrepresentation of maternal F exposure study debunked
February ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride activist commits “Death by PowerPoint”
Paul Connett “updates” NZ MPs about fluoride?
Anti-fluoride activists misrepresent another thyroid study
Fake news from the White Helmets returns
RT election subversion – yet again?
January ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Yet another fluoride-IQ study
So you are saying . . . . . !
Jordan Peterson demonstrates the importance of free speech
Select your conspiracy theory and connect the dots
Whose who in the Russiagate affair – an infographic
A week of good news in New Zealand
Is “Russiagate” another deception like Iraqi WMDs?
“Fire and Fury” exposes the fundamental problems of the anti-Trump movement
Confirmation bias – we all suffer from it but how can we reduce its effect?
December ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Yet another way Russia is undermining our society
Anti-fluoridationists misrepresent New Zealand dental data – an annual event
Fluoridation means money in the pocket
Anti-fluoridation campaigners often use statistical significance to confirm bias
November ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The problem with scepticism
Chemical weapons use in Syria UN report flawed by political bias
Anti-fluoride “expert” finds the real reason oral health has improved – and it’s not fluoride
Meat substitutes – prospects and new ethical questions
October ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
New fluoride debate falters
Political maturity in New Zealand – at least compared to the US
Flaw and porkie in anti-fluoride report claiming a flaw in Canadian study
Do we need a new fluoride debate?
September ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Endemic fluorosis and its health effects
Maternal urinary fluoride/IQ study – an update
Fluoride, pregnancy and the IQ of offspring
Facts about fluorosis – not a worry in New Zealand
We need more post-publication peer review
Cassini plunges into Saturn tonight – a grand finale
What’s with the anti-fluoridationist promotion of dental health programmes?
Non-violence in the defence of free speech
August ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation not associated with ADHD – a myth put to rest
From Charlottesville to Boston – a lesson
Hypocrisy, irrationality and wise words from Monty Python
Are we all anti-fascist now?
Are fluoride researchers sacked for their findings?
Fluoridation and cancer
Local anti-fluoride activists tell porkies yet again
July ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The main stream media is out of touch
Don’t rely on sources – follow the evidence
Stovepiping to produce fake news
June ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Darwin, sexual selection and Putin
Fluoridation: Open letter to Democrats for Social Credit
Fluoridation: What’s happening with the New Zealand legislation?
May ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The “information war” and social media, or how to tell if you are a Kremlin troll
Anti-fluoridationists commonly misrepresent Ministry of Health data
ChildSmile – a complement, not an alternative, to fluoridation
Fluoridation helps protect adult teeth as well as children’s
Fluoridation: the truth about heavy metal contamination
Visualising the numbers – The Fallen of World War II
Bottle fed infants: fluoridated water not a problem
April ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Citing scientific studies and the arrogance of ignorance
No, fluoridation is not associated with leading causes of death
Anti-fluoridationists exploit infant deaths by fiddling statistics
Here we go again
The Putin Derangement Syndrome
Bottle fed infants: fluoridated water not a problem.
March ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Another anti-fluoridation whopper
2018 Global Atheist Convention
Fluoridation: Making sense of the Ministry of Health data
Fluoride, coffee and activist confusion
Trump didn’t invent the problems – and his opponents didn’t invent protest
Anti-fluoride authors indulge in data manipulation and statistical porkies
Be careful what you wish for
An Oscar for Al Qaeda?
February ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
EPA comprehensively debunks anti-fluoride claims of a fluoride-IQ effect
Anti-fluoridationists go to Supreme Court – who is paying for this?
Debunking a “classic” fluoride-IQ paper by leading anti-fluoride propagandists
Islamophobia or mental illness?
Tha Amnesty report – and a response from Syria
Non-fluoridated Christchurch does not have better teeth than fluoridated Auckland
January ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Debunking anti-fluoridationist’s remaining 12 reasons for opposing fluoridation
Madonna teaches us a lesson in critical thinking
New research confirms adults benefit from community water fluoridation as well as children
Premature births a factor in cognitive deficits observed in areas of endemic fluorosis?
Sources our mainstream media uses to promote their narrative about Syria
More nails in the coffin of the anti-fluoridation myths around IQ and hypothyroidism
Water fluoridation – what to expect in the near future
Fluoridation: New scientific review of fluoride and oral health
Critical thinking, not censorship, is the solution to fake news
Anti-fluoride IQ claims are false
December ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Large Swedish study finds no effect of fluoride on IQ
Fake news and the new fact-free reporting paradigm
Fluoridation: New research confirms it is cost effective – yet again
Fluoridation: members of parliament call from submissions from scientific and health experts
Fake news, human suffering and the fight against terrorism
November ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Sometimes I think the world has gone mad
Leader of flawed fluoridation study gets money for another go
White Helmets confirm authenticity of acted “rescue” video
Manufacturing news, and opinion, about Syria
Why should we subsidise religious leaders and their silly statements?
Warriors, scouts, Trump’s election and your news media
US elections – who should you be angry with?
Trump’s victory – why the surprise, why the anger?
Anti-fluoride claims often not relevant to New Zealand
October ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
White Helmets dupes New Zealand government?
Voluntary media censorship is ethically wrong
Fluoridation not associated with hip fracture, heart attacks of osteosarcoma – new study
Anti-fluoridation activist Paul Connett has a senior moment about our debate
“Humanitarian” intervention and war crimes
Crocodile tears over Syria at UN security council
Anti-Syrian propaganda and the White Helmets
Shyness of anti-fluoride election candidates
Syria & the fog of war
September ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
But will it stand up in court?
Flogging a dead horse – anti-fluoridationists lose in court again
Syria UN Ambassador makes sense of the war in Syria
The shaky Syrian ceasefire agreement staggers on – or does it?
Fluoridation & democracy: Open letter to DHB candidate Andrew Buckley
When will they ever learn?
Ceasefire in Syria is exposing real nature of “moderate” rebels
What do Syrians think of the new cessation of hostilities agreement?
Dissecting pseudoscientific and political propaganda
August ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
An anti-fluoride trick: Impressing the naive with citations
Does community water fluoridation reduce diabetes prevalence?
“Filtering” out fluoride
Rio Olympics – what are those gold medals worth?
Fluoridation – freedom of choice
Is water fluoridation better than salt fluoridation?
Ethics and the doping scandal – a response to Guest Work
Being better informed – unexpected advice from The Guardian
July ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Quantifying the problem of international sports doping
Dental health – it’s not all about fluoride
The Putin diversion
The insult of low expectations
MH17 tragedy – 2 years on
Misrepresenting fluoride science – an open letter to Paul Connett
Are you really right?
June ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Why don’t feminists fight for Muslim women?
Permission to have that conversation
A cynical take on effective speakers
Richard Dawkins – speech to Reason Rally, 2016
Chemophobic scaremongering: Much ado about absolutely nothing
MH17 tragedy – new investigation launched
Fluoridation: News media should check press releases from anti-fluoridationists
Fluoridation debate: Responding to Tom O’Connor
May ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
New review shows clear economic benefits from community water fluoridation
Debating fluoridation and tyranny – Tom O’Connor responds
Attempting a tyranny of the minority on fluoridation
Writing to please the reader’s ear
Fluoridation: One small step sideways?
New research confirms water fluoridation does not cause bone cancers
Public discussion of science can be toxic
Fluoridation cessation studies reviewed – overall increase in tooth decay noted
Mistakes were made – but by who?
Don’t be fooled by simple media “science”
“Do the math” – a bit like “Do the research!”
Victory Day celebration of defeat of terrorism in Palmyra
Will we be using contact lens cameras in future?
Barrel bombs, hell cannons, Aleppo and media bias
April ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Korean community water fluoridation supported by new evidence
Science and management – a clash of cultures
Anti-fluoride campaigners cherry-pick irrelevant overseas research but can’t find relevant New Zealand research
Cochrane fluoridation review described as “empty”
Anti-fluoridationists misrepresent new dental data for New Zealand children
A challenge to anti-fluoridationers to justify their misrepresentation of New Zealand research
Fluoridation decisions to be made by District Health Boards
Nadine gives a necessary message to her fellow Muslims
Anti-fluoridationists now scaremonger about silica in your drinking water
Reversed responsibility and the burden of proof
Anti-fluoridation cherry-pickers at it again
March ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation: My podcast with with Howard Farran
Why is Donald Trump so successful – and will he win?
Why are our politicians so silent on Palmyra’s liberation from clutches of Daesh?
The US speaks in two tongues on terrorism
Chemistry is everywhere – even in those natural products
Life for women under Daesh (ISIS)
The toxicity of chemophobia
Anti-fluoridation campaigner, Stan Litras, misrepresents WHO
Hiding behind “experts”
The “interfaith” trap – particularly for atheists
A Chinese study the anti-fluoridation crowd won’t be citing
Misrepresentation, misogyny and misandry – these should concern sceptics
Searching articles on fluoride
February ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Big business funding of anti-science propaganda on health
Anti-fluoridationist’s flawed attacks on Calgary study
Media misleading on Syria
Stephen Fry on Twitter
Richard Dawkins and the Skeptics Conference controversy.
Is the media lying to you about Syria?
Fluoridation: Whakatane teaches us something we should already know
Chemistry – “to dupe, to cheat?”
What a pleasant surprise!
Censorship by demonisation
Once more on the IQ and fluoride myth – why ignore other factors?
January ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation: Whakatane District Council makes the Hamilton mistake
New study finds community water fluoridation still cost effective
“Crusade Against Multiple Regression Analysis” – don’t throw baby out with bathwater
Fluoridation: Some simple chemistry
The danger of insisting on your own facts
Flight MH17 in Ukraine – what do intelligence services know?
Iron and fluoride in human milk
Hubris of the google researcher
The Harvard study and the Lancet paper
Cultural and ideological bias in scientific literature reviews
Facts, beliefs and delusions
Science – a method of investigation, not a belief system
Yet another misrepresentation of a dental health study
December ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peer review – the “tyranny” of the third reviewer
Christmas – “White Wine In The Sun”
Community water fluoridation still cost-effective
Democracy and expert advice on scientific issues
Fluoride and IQ – another study coming up
The hardest thing in life . .
Climate deal signed – now for the hard bit: action
Traditions and social arrangements out of step with social diversity
“Natural News” on trial in The Hague for crimes against science
Rejection of scientific studies in online discussions
Another defeat for anti-fluoridation claims about arsenic
November ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The problem with reasoned discussion
John Pilger on Paris, ISIS and Media Propaganda
Science is never done – some scientific terms explained
Studies show – or do they?
Should we trust science? – Wellington talk
Can world leaders learn from the Paris terror attacks?
Anti-fluoride hypothyroidism paper slammed yet again
Cyberchondria and similar “illnesses”
Onehunga and the “fluoride-free” myth
Thames voters decisively support fluoridation
Why doesn’t Putin shirtfront someone?
October ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific papers, civil disobedience and personal networks
The quackery of anti-fluoride internet trolls
Our beautiful planet: Astronaut art works
Christian co-option of karakia
Combatting anti-fluoride Gish gallopers
MH17: Final technical report
Responding to Tracey Brown on fluoridation
“The ugly truth” – Tracey Brown ticks me off
MH17 – another Boeing sacrificed for investigation.
The ugly truth about critics of “the ugly truth” in science
Many Syrians see Russians as saviours
Door knockers should pay to interrupt us
September ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoride: More scaremongering using drug warnings
Putin’s UN address: “Do you realise what you’ve done?”
Obama’s United Nations address: “We Must Stamp Out ‘Apocalyptic Cult’ ISIS”
European and Māori major non-believers in NZ
Cochrane responds to misrepresentation of their fluoridation review
ChildSmile dental health – its pros and cons
Should all scientists really be militant atheists?
The Alternative Medicine Racket
The chemical party
A job with a view – but not for the clumsy
Fluoridation: Freedom of choice – and responsibility
My talk to the Reason & Science Society – an invite
Why the internet annoys chemists
Freedom of religion and belief – not a license to interfere with others
Humanitarian intervention – but when & how?
Discussing science on social media
August ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Australian census religion question – progress
In the end, it came down to the science in Denver
Subverting democratic consultation on the fluoride issue
Religious instruction scrapped from school curriculum in Victoria
Alternative reality of anti-fluoride “science”
What is life?
Anti-fluoride propagandists get creative with statistics
Fluoridation: Connett’s criticism of New Zealand research debunked
Fluoridation: Connett’s naive use of WHO data debunked
Time to give up on Sitemeter
70th anniversary of first use of atomic weapon against civilians
Connett misrepresents the fluoride and IQ data yet again
Fluoridation: Newsweek science journalism bottoms out
July ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The bureaucratic solution to a problem
Fluoridation: “Sciencey” sounding claims ruled unacceptable
Comparing the Cochrane and NZ Fluoridation Reviews
Rapid change in attitudes to marriage equality
Scaremongering and chemophobia
MH17 tragedy: 1 year on
Talk of “mini ice age” bunkum
Progress in removing religious instruction from public schools?
Fluoridation: Beliefs about safety and benefits
Climate change: Our time really is running out
Cochrane fluoridation review. III: Misleading section on dental fluorosis
June ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Cochrane fluoridation review. II: “Biased” and poor quality research?
Cochrane fluoridation review. I: Most research ignored
What is causing warming of the earth?
New science bloggers wanted for Sciblogs 2.0
Gagging of scientists – a common problem?
I wish more people were aware of this
Misrepresentation of the new Cochrane fluoridation review
News media – telling us how to think
Misrepresenting the York fluoride review
Fluoridation: Misrepresenting the “saliva theory”
Something to consider
Fluoridation and horses – another myth
Science and social media in new Zealand
Monday morning proverb
Fake weight-loss study example of wider problem
Calcium fluoride and the “soft” water anti-fluoridation myth
May ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Connett & Hirzy do a shonky risk assesment for fluoride
Making mountains out of scientific mole hills
Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
RSNZ Science Book Prize winner – Tangata Whenua
Don’t put all the blame on the Germans – a lesson from World War II
The problem of “Fact-Resistant Humans”
What a nice idea
Water fluoridation effective – new study
Follow the money?
The distrust of science – a task for science communication
We always seem to ignore the causes
April ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Wise words from Carl Sagan
Poor peer review – and its consequences
Connett fiddles the data on fluoride
ADHD link to fluoridation claim undermined again
Commercial and ideological support of anti-fluoride activity
Why is Vladimir Putin so popular in the USA?
Is comfirmation bias essential to anti-fluoride “research?”
The will to find out
IQ not influenced by water fluoridation
Making sense of scientific research
The frustrations of modern technology
March ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Poor peer-review – a case study
The arrogance of science?
New Zealand science book prize – 2015 Short list
ADHD linked to elevation not fluoridation
Anonymous comments on social media
More poor-quality research promoted by anti-fluoride activists
Free download – “Severe dental fluorosis and cognitive deficits”
Are submissions on fluoridation worth it?
Social media and science – the problems and the challenge
A couple of “oldies” inject some sense into international politics
Open letter to Lisa Hansen on NZ Fluoridation Review
February ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Paper claiming water fluoridation linked to hypothyroidism slammed by experts
Dirty tactics by anti-fluoride activists in Taupo
NZ Fluoridation review – Response to Micklen
NZ Fluoridation review – HS Micklen responds to critique
Did business interests interfere with Hamilton’s fluoride tribunal process?
A perspective of distances in space
Download report analysing anti-fluoride attacks on NZ Fluoridation Review
Social health policies, freedom of choice and responsibility
Reality of war for civilians
Stephen Fry not pulling any punches
January ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
US meddling in Ukraine behind coup
Sunday reading – Richard Dawkins reads some of his “fan mail”
Is debating with anti-science activists worth the effort?
Six months on – concerns about MH17 investigation
Severe dental fluorosis and cognitive deficits – now peer reviewed
Those evil chemicals
“Internet and social media misinform thousands daily”
“I just know”
The victims of terror
Fluoride Free NZ report disingenuous – conclusion
Spotting Bad Science
October ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
December ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The MH17 blame game
Science never claimed to know everything
Special pleading by Philippe Grandjean on fluoride
The inverted ethics of doxxing?
Fascinating and painless chemistry lessons
Did the Royal Society get it wrong about fluoridation?
“Do your own research!”
Dirty politics over MH17?
Cherry-picking and misinformation in Stan Litras’s anti-fluoride article
Today’s fantasy, tomorrow’s possibility
The farce of a “sciency” anti-fluoride report
November ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Creationist ‘audits’ science museum
“Real” experts’ on climate change? Really?
Water fluoridation and dental fluorosis – debunking some myths
Proving anecdotes are reliable
Declan Waugh pushes another anti-fluoride myth
Severe dental fluorosis the real cause of IQ deficits?
Catch 22 in Ukraine
Let’s rely on anecdotes instead!
Standing up to junk science in New Zealand
Declan Waugh claims it’s “clear as day”
Unusual photo of Moon and Earth.
Criminal investigation of MH17 tragedy – where is it at?
There is something about those climate records that keep getting broken
Putting politicans in their place on climate change
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 – what really happened?
Fluoridation – a racist conspiracy?
Curiosity’s historic comet photo
When science deniers turn to science
Fluoride debate: Second response to Rita Barnett-Rose – Daniel Ryan
Fluoride debate: Response to Daniel Ryan’s critique – Rita Bartlett-Rose
Fluoride debate: A response to Rita Barnett-Rose – Daniel Ryan
Fluoride debate: The scientific evidence against fluoridation – Rita F. Barnett
Another legal defeat for NZ anti-fluoridation activists
Anti-fluoridation propagandists promoting shonky “review”
How to change your Mind – and why it is good for you
The science and politics of climate change
Science and belief
September ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peer review of an anti-fluoride “peer review”
The information war – The NZ Listener takes up arms
MOM “a thousand times better than cricket”
Activist’s anti-science adverts found misleading – again
Don’t you get tired of this?
It’s time we did something about sugar
Crude dredging of the scientific literature
Anti-fluoride activists define kangaroo court as “independent”
MH17 – Preliminary report leaves most conspiracy theories intact
Do you prefer dental fluorosis or tooth decay?
Emotion Drives Decision
Ingested fluoride, dental health and old age
August ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Sad news – Victor Stenger has died
Making money out of fanatics
Dirty politics on the Royal Society fluoride review
Review finds community water fluoridation safe and effective
Anti-fluoride activists unhappy about scientific research
The Mind of the Science Denier
Open letter to Jane Nielson – a “fluoridation convert.”
Accidental Renaissance – or intuition?
Tactics for science denial
Natural News comes out with a load of heavy metal rubbish on fluoride
July ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Declan Waugh continues his distortion of Finnish fluoride research
Another fluoridation whopper from Declan Waugh
I am still waiting for my cheque
An answer to the anti-fluoride critics – in one image
Some answers to the confusion about the #MH17 crash site
Informed parents know water fluoridation is good for their children
Making political capital out of the deaths of innocents
Elected officials must ignore activists and listen to own voters
The irony of some peer-review and citation complaints
Ken Ring pontificates on climate change
Anti-science US Congressman on House science Committee!
“Creative” reporting of fluoridation science
What happens when fluoridation is stopped?
June ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Controversial IQ study hammered in The Lancet
New group challenging the anti-science brigade
Fluoridation: what about reports it is ineffective?
Approaching scientific literature sensibly
Declan Waugh’s misinformation on fluorosilicic acid
A healthy attitude towards quantum mechanics
An open letter to Declan Waugh – new mechanism for fluoride toxicity?
Toxicity is in the dose or concentration of fluoride
Councils and scientists targeted by anti-fluoride activists
Lugansk – a modern Guernica?
Inna Kukuruza – “her eyes spoke to the whole world”
Connett’s hypocrisy on fluoride & IQ
May ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Confirmation blindness on the fluoride-IQ issue
Where do teeth come from? The stork theory
There is research and there is “research”
Fluoridating water does not lower IQ – New Zealand research
Fluoride and IQ – once more
Another anti-fluoride myth in the making
A balanced debate
It’s all the fashion in Ukraine
Fluoridation: What a difference a year makes?
Wishart misrepresents fluoride science to advance his extreme ideology
Fluoridation: emotionally misrepresenting contamination
April ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peer review, shonky journals and misrepresenting fluoride science
Ingested fluoride is beneficial to dental health.
Anti-fluoridation advertising deceptive
Fluoridation: putting chemical contamination in context
The first victim!
An outdated tax anomaly – charitable status of relgion
Declan Waugh scaremongers over fluoride – again
Arrogance of ignorance?
Pandering to anti-fluoridation campaigners
International cooperation in space serving humanity
Is anyone listening?
March ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific cooperation despite political posturing
Fluoridation returns to Hamilton City.
European border changes over 5000 years
Dental fluorosis: badly misrepresented by FANNZ
What makes something right or wrong?
How do we know what is true?
Cherry-picking and ring-fencing the scientific literature
Fluoride and heart disease – another myth
Graphic information in science
Corporate backers of anti-fluoride movement lose in NZ High Court.
Terry Pratchett making sense
Fluoride and the 5 easy steps of a conspiracy theory
February ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Pseudoscience in your supermarket
Another god debate
Repeating bad science on fluoride
Truth about those science fairs
Quality and selection counts in fluoride research
The precautionary principle
How can scientists use social media?
Curiosity sees a familiar “evening star.”
The fluoride debate – what do the experts say?
January ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Entertainment is brain exercise
Download The Fluoride Debate
Determining scientific knowledge by petition
Fluoride debate: Final article – Ken Perrott
Fluoride debate: Paul Connett’s Closing statement
The good(?) old days of scientific writing
Most of us missed this one
False balance and straw clutching on fluoridation
Who is funding anti-fluoridation High Court action?
Astro-turfing for scientific credibility
Losing trust in religious leaders
Conspiracy theorists misuse analytical evidence
All things bright and beautiful
December ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoride debate: Ken Perrott’s closing response to Paul Connett?
Putting vaccination risks into context
Fluoride debate: Arguments Against Fluoridation Thread. Part 8. Paul
Alan Turing receives royal pardon
The true meaning of Christmas
Where is the heat going?
Fluoride debate: Response to Paul’s 5th article
Back to the moon!
Fluoride debate: Arguments Against Fluoridation Thread. Part 5. Paul
Census 2013 – religious diversity
Fluoride debate: Response to Paul’s 6th article.
Testing the God theory
Fluoridation debate: Against Fluoridation Thread. Part 6.
November ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
‘The particle at the end of the universe’ wins Winton Prize
Fluoridation debate: Why I support fluoridation – 2nd reply to Connett
Psychics have it easy these days
Fluoride Debate: Why I support fluoridation – 2nd response from Connett
From dental neglect to child abuse?
Fluoride Debate: Why I support fluoridation – response to Connett
Fluoride debate: Why I support fluoridation – Response from Connett
Word of wisdom, and otherwise
Have local climate pseudosceptics come to the end of the road?
Fluoride debate: Why I support fluoridation
Sin is relative
Fluoride debate – I get email
Fluoride debate Part 1a – response to Connet’s response: Perrott
Fluoride debate – some housekeeping
Fluoride debate Part 1a – response: Connett
October ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoride debate Part 1: Perrott
Fluoride debate Part 1: Connett
The fluoride debate – introduction
The origins of ethics and violence
What’s really true?
Anti-fluoridation porkies – Mullinex’s rats
Science and faith
NZ climate change “sceptics” abandon appeal
Christianity has hijacked human values
Fluoridation: Hangout with the University of Waikato
The universe – it is bigger than you think
Our Far South – time we learned about it
Christian ethics and Peter Singer
Fluoride – friend or foe: a lecture
Cyber bullying of science
Fluoridation: the hip fracture deception
September ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Tim Minchin – an inspirational speech to graduates
Jon Stewart interviews Richard Dawkins
Anatomy of an anti-fluoridation myth
NZ experts deplore anti-fluoridation misrepresentation of science
Helping kids to wonder
Fluoridation – the IQ myth
When politicians and bureaucrats decide the science
Welcome counter to scientific and health misinformation
New “evidence” for global cooling?
Phobos eclipses the sun – as seen by Curiosity
Dentists you can trust?
Activists peddle chemical misinformation for fluoridation referenda
August ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Cherry picking fluoridation data
Anti-fluoridationist astro-turfing and media manipulation
Anti-fluoride activists attempt to silence science
Crazy ideas and “supernatural” phenomena
Experts speak out on fluoridation
Fluoride sensitivity – all in the mind?
Earthquakes and twitter
Cyber-bullying – what’s with sunscreen?
Anti-fluoridation study flawed – petition rejected
News media influences public trust in science
The “consensus message” in communicating science
Hamilton – the water is the problem, not the fluoride!
Topical confusion persists
Celebrate your curiosity – one year on
July ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Is this the way to reorganise science?
The limits of science and a world record
Water treatment chemicals – why pick on fluoride?
Are you qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell?
The Galileo fallacy and denigration of scientific consensus
A new Cosmos
Michael Mann’s defamation lawsuit on track
Is fluoridated water a medicine?
Debunking anti-fluoridation myths
Source of moral authority has shifted
Fluoridation – an organised campaign to misinform.
Hamilton gets its fluoridation referendum
Not your usual rocket launch
Fluoridation – topical confusion
Communicating climate science – Michael Mann comments
Fluoridation and conspiracy theories
Richard Dawkins learns about the Bible
Fluoridation – the violation of rights argument.
June ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The victim mentality of conspiracy theorists
Poisoning the well with a caricature of science
Fluoridation petition – for Hamilton citizens
The importance of books for kids
Fluoridation – it does reduce tooth decay
Stop feeling guilty
Getting a grip on the science behind claims about fluoridation
Is fluoride an essential dietary mineral?
Will Hamiltonians finally get a voice on fluoridation?
Scientists, political activism and the scientific ethos
Fluoridation – are we dumping toxic metals into our water supplies?
When science is under attack
Tactics and common arguments of the anti-fluoridationists
Hamilton City Council reverses referendum fluoridation decision
Global warning in science fiction
May ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peter Singer on effective charity
The science of consciousness
Collapse of Arctic sea ice
An eReader breakthrough?
Singing about the periodic table
Black cat in a dark room – and the role of science
A New Zealand climate change pseudosceptic apologises!
Pseudosceptics are at it again – misrepresenting and attacking climate scientists
Chris Hadfield’s 5-month Space Mission in 90 Seconds
Confusion and distortion – has global warming stopped?
“Incontrovertible” is it, Rodney?
Video coverage of astronauts’ return to earth next Tuesday morning
A beggar’s market?
The limits of philosophy
April ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
‘The Unbelievers’ and science
A global warming hoax meme is born – in New Zealand too!
Friday follies – what happened to the “official AGW hypothesis?”
Fiddling with census figures for religion in New Zealand
The beginning (of the universe) for beginners
Terrorism and the West’s obsession with oil
Marriage equality, retribution and moral progress
A sombre night in Boston
Moving into the mainstream – on the coat tails of the “New Atheists”
Thatcher, Monckton and Pinochet
Potty Peer in Waikato
New Zealand Blog ranking Montage
What is global temperature?
I was wrong about Lord Monckton
New “Hockey Stick” but same tired old denial
March ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
April Fools and Agenda 21
Christchurch from space
A war between religion and science?
Climate contrarians/deniers are cherry picking again
Dishonesty of intelligent design “research”
Something for all those lapsed catholics
Dawkins’ new book
Our world from the International Space Station
Creationists prefer numerology to real scientific research
Talking sense about morality
Extreme confirmation bias in action
Greedy Lying Bastards
Those arguments against marriage equality
Census 2013: That religion question
Climate change is not simple
February ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
A sensible Christian perspective on Peter Singer
No immutable truths, no eternal dogmas
Global climate – and your grandchildren
Entertaining – and the science is good
The truth about the hockey stick
Origins of religious ethics and violence
Sean Faircloth, Director of Richard Dawkins Foundation, visiting NZ
The Russian meteor – what we know
Should we be prepared?
Does religion blur understanding of evolution?
The “dynamic duo” of science?
A day for cheap shots
Science as the best, possibly only, way to truth
The reality of cancer
Education should never validate ignorance
“Divine commands” and personal conscience
January ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Is your region warming?
No cause for alarm – if you cherry pick
The political alarmism behind climate change denial
Can philosophers, or anyone, tell us what is “right” and “wrong”?
History of science – for Kiwis
What a shock!
Who is guilty of misusing science?
Deconstructing climate change, and its deniers
Amazing photos of Shuttle Endeavour flight deck
Australia’s “New Normal?”
Going beyond the evidence
A time for hypocrisy
Historians and sociologists just as human as scientists
December ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
A problem with logic
Historians and sociologists lecture scientists – about science
Wonders of Life coming – we hope
A dose of reality
Pulling the wool over the eyes of the faithful
Scientists and philosophers discuss morality and meaning
Christmas present from NASA
At last – Moving Naturalism Forward videos
Getting the Book Invented
Sense on evolutionary psychology.
Does science have a cognitive privilege?
Sceptical humility and peer review in science
Cancer – an emotional rollercoaster
Sceptical arrogance and evolutionary psychology
And now for a bit of drama
Agreement polar ice sheets are melting
November ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Regarding women as animals
Christmas present for nerds – what about science books?
Time for philosophical honesty about Darwin
Religion in schools – a sensible approach
Climate change deniers don’t understand expertise
The arrogance of supernatural privilege
Morality and non-human animals
More damage from megastorm Sandy
Capturing kid’s minds with emotions
That particle again
Who were Stalin’s victims?
Reports from the Moving Naturalism Forward workshop
The elephant in the US elections
October ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life. Episode 3: Meaning
Who are these “credible experts”?
The mini-iPad and original sin
Death – part 2 of a series
Beer, anxiety and depression – their origins
Why (some) Christians support discrimination
Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life – Sin
Moving Naturalism Forward
A concise summary of climate change – science and politics
From evolution to belief
Are you offended yet?
This has to stop
Sneaking in the magic man
Naturalism and science are incompatible
None so blind
A Kiwi makes it to Mars!
September ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The most important place you didn’t know about
A useful map of the human body
The paradoxes of theological gullibility
The internet – Yeah, right!
US air traffic on a typical day and on September 11, 2001
Finish the sentence . . .
People saying stupid things on the Internet
Another anti-science attack on Mann fails – but the lies continue
Secularism – its internal problems
Politics and economics of Arctic ice loss
Internet silos become ideological ghettos
Climate change denier’s false “deep distress” fools no-one
Changing that light bulb while in denial
High Court ruled on integrity – not science
New Zealand climate change denial defeated
I don’t know!
Making giant flowers out of fireworks
Moral evolution in today’s society
August ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Drifting moral values
Subjective morality – not what it seems?
Objective or subjective laws and lawgivers
Neil Armstrong by Buz Aldrin
The science philosophy “conflict”
Making sense of religion, science, and morality
Kiwi science fiction with a message
Science – the greatest story ever told
A sundial on Curiosity?
Scientific shift work
Cynical evangelisation of children
Curiosity requires patience
Going for gold – on Mars
A load of science
July ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
NZ Blog Rankings FAQ
So scientism = non-theism?
Saying it with flowers
What really happens in religious instruction classes?
What Is Life? From Schrödinger to Watson to Venter
Their mission – values or advancement of religion?
The story behind the High Court action
Ethical enquiry or moral instruction?
Scepticism, denial and the high court
William Lane Craig’s philosophy – the condensed version
So you think science has a problem?
Peter Singer on the misrepresentation of Peter Singer
Human values are secular
End of life decisions
Why the Higgsteria?
Cost of scientific research – and political naivity
The creationism controversy – a summary
Is there room for religion in science?
June ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific knowledge should trump “belief”
Seven Minutes of Terror
Australian census confirms healthy trend
Science is messy – for girls too!
Print-on-demand books – what’s the hold-up?
How to write a best-seller!
Sharp increase in “nones”
A disciplined discussion
What did Galileo ever do to you?
Gnu bashing once again
The prejudiced journalist
Do atheists need religion?
Mixing values and Jesus in secular education
The Scamtific Method
May ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific knowledge – reliable but not certain
Weather extremes and climate change
“Web monkeys” and science presentation
Dementia – There’s an app for that!
Give them enough rope . . .
Why won’t Inland Revenue subsidise my life expenses?
Human morality is evolving
So you’re considering switching to eBooks?
Welcome to the Anthropocene
Naturalism in science
“Lose” your faith, gain your life?
What’s in store for eBook readers
Heartland ignorant of public relations – let alone science
Belief and morality
What has science ever done for us?
April ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The problem with philosophy
Puddles and “fine-tuning”
Great science talks in Auckland
Science denial is a diversion from the real problems
When the “best explanation” is the worst explanation
Toss out the moderator for a better discussion
Jesus heals – but not cancer!
Emotional time for Shuttle fans
Catholic popes victims of sexual abuse!
Who is committing fraud here?
Morality and the “worship” of reason
The silliness of a self-proclaimed “investigative journalist”
Moral behavior in animals
Conservatives, liberals and purity
The trouble with physics?
Is God incredible – or what?
Science and the folly of faith
March ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Another lousy photo of the sun?
The Sand Creatures
A fuzzy photo of the sun
The “public square” myth
Yes, please try this at home!
Whanganui District Council comes to senses
“Good faith” science – and its enemies
Climate change controversy in context
Shy climate denier in “science team” reveals himself.
The chickens are hatching
February ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The size of things
Theological pretzel twisting
A universe in an eBook (or app)
Souvenirs for scientists
Heartland Insitute gets mail
Heartland’s climategate – and Mann’s book
Bioluminescence in space!
Defeat for imposed prayer
ID research and publications
Theological mental gymnastics over evolution
“What, me worry?” – distorting climate change data
Free will – problems of definition
January ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The scientific method – what about the philosophical method?
In the front lines of the “climate wars”
Who is funding the climate change denial groups?
Our fingerprints are all over it!
The [in]compatibility of science and religion
Comprehending reality – Should we give up so easily?
Nothing is something
Who drives the science/religion conflict?
Choosing your religion
Open letter across the barricade
New book formats
The argument from authority (or lack thereof)
December ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peter Jackson – Satan’s Little Helper”
“Other ways of knowing” and their result.
Slaughtering some sacred seasonal cows
Reacting to a death with respect and hatred
Christmas present ideas: This Hell would be useful!
Higgs and homeopathy
Christmas gift ideas: Aussie wisdom
Christmas gift ideas: The human mind – a history
Christmas gift ideas: Evolution of gods, morals and violence
Christmas gift ideas: Working on Mars
Christmas gift ideas: One for the kids
Christmas gift ideas: Why we deny climate change
Christmas gift ideas: Thinking of our grandchildren
Christmas gift ideas: How We Know What’s Really True
Christmas gift ideas: Kids – it’s OK to be different!
A debunking handbook provides lessons in science communication
November ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Finding out about the astronomers who found the universe
Climategate 2.0 and “toecurling” journalism
It’s crowded up there
Creative science writing
Royal Society’s science book of year Winton Prize winner.
Reclaiming ‘intelligent design’
A lesson in human logic
Is Keith Ward really that naive about science?
Demolishing Craig on morality
Cultural effect of The Big Bang Theory
Answer simple question – win an iPad
New Zealand in good company. Pity about the USA
October ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
What’s your number?
Concern over William Lane Craig’s justification of biblical genocide
Outsourcing moral decisions to justify genocide
New Zealand happy – some preachers upset!
The never ending battle
Having it both ways
Ranking human conflicts and tyrannies
Dawkins responds to a stalker – Craig gets his debate
Avoiding possible catastrophe – even if you are confused
You CAN be good with God!
Big money behind local climate change deniers?
Historians of science sometimes miss the wood for the trees
Approaching morality scientifically
Ethicists have problems with ethics!
The climate change denial machine
How do you know that?
How We Know What’s Really True
Problems with pdf eBooks – metadata issues
September’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Compulsory payments for advancement of religion – let’s get rid of that.
Some recent recommended science books
Art in science
Where have we been?
Rings around Uranus
William Lane Craig’s “logic”
Science and the “supernatural”
Empathy for colleagues
Approaching a Middle East peace
Atheists aren’t shrill – just disgusting?
What’s this about cosmic rays and global warming?
Making life from the primordial soup
A fight-back – or simply spite?
Evolution and education – advice for teachers
That’s what I like to see in a young woman!
A reminder of reality’s magic
August ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Religious theology of secularism
Martydom of the priveliged
Another book for the kids
Secular democracy and its critics
2012 Global Atheist Convention – Melbourne
Hitler objects to atheist charge
440 FOI requests in one day! From one person!
There is something about Wellington
Some things for the kids
The blinkered view of politics?
I get email
NZ blog rankings update
Is Monckton good value?
The reality of scientific research
Monckton messes own nest
July ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Videos on morality
Pat Churchland on the science of morality
Breivik’s terrorism and science
Terror in Norway
Atlantis returns home – viewed from ISS
Background Briefing for Mockton’s NZ visit
Science has the real debate
Bias in the history of science
Seven years of discovery
Your chance for a free book
That hacking scandal
Are scientists hostile to religion?
Galileo’s modern critics
Debates in the philosophy of science
Does science lead to secularism?
June ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Personal attacks on climate scientists
A silver lining to Expelled?
Galileo’s revolutionary contribution
Science, religion and respect for meaning
Protecting yourself against bullshit
Clarifying some myths in the history of science
Early history of science
Converting beliefs to “truths”
Ideology and violence
Painless science writing
May ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Waking from a coma!
American Imams supporting evolutionary science
A secular bible
Daniel Dennett on conflict between religion and science
Visible signs of the rapture
The Magic of Reality for young people
Don’t drink the punch!
Working on Mars
A non-theist feast down under!
The chances of Royal Weddings arising randomly…
Designer spin II
What’s special about religious “knowledge?”
Climate change lectures in Auckland
April ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Exposing the pretense of Christian unity
Is there a role for science in morality?
Philosophical justifications for morality
Answering questions on morality
Problems with philosophers and theologians
More on the science of morality
Selling the family silver!
Craig brings some clarity to morality?
Foundations of human morality.
Church rejects power of prayer!
Limits of logic
Something to celebrate
Advocating or explaining secular moral values?
March ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
What is Life? Another Great Debate
The Galileo myths
Beauty, mystery and science
Christianity gave birth to science – a myth?
The implausibility of reality
Is atheism bad for science?
Myths within a myth
Thank goodness for eBook Readers
Theistic science? No such thing
The ethics of exploitation
Blogging for New Zealand
Science Under Attack?
Acceptance of science – dangerous for some
Making sense of Ring gate?
February ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
From “Grand Design” to “On Being”
A human response to Christchurch quake
Alan Turing documentary
Taking the census seriously
The future of books – and Santa?
On being philosophical about science
The secular Egyptian protest a good start for a successful revolution
Shonky climate-change denial “science”
Reinterpretation “research” on climate change
A hymn for Darwin Day
Celebrating Alan Turing’s life and achievements
The scientific study of religion
January ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Converging evidence on climate change
eBook “singles” – and the problems
Marie Curie Lecture Series – 2011
Comparing blog visit statistics
Shoddy reporting on “god genes”
The god gene – or is it a meme?
Certainty is useless – a scientific concept
The nature of the science-religion conflict?
“Other ways of knowing” – some sense at last
Culture and the scientific renaissance
Sharing a chemical moment
The moon and the ISS
Secular News Daily – useful source
New views of eclipses
Deriving “ought from is” scientifically?
December ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Science and morality – a panel discussion
A physicist comments on science and morality
A philosopher comments on science and morality
Telling right from wrong – unreligiously
Another local climate change denial meme
Wine and the Watchtower
It’s that time of the year
A handy app for your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad
A philosopher’s Christmas present
Painted into a corner?
Real science – warts and all
WikiLeaks and climategate
2011 – International Year of Chemistry
The “You Can’t Trust Science!” agenda
NASA and old lace
November ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Cutting off your nose for Christmas?
“Other ways of knowing” purpose?
What is the problem?
A victory for secular ethics
The Hitchens – Dembski debate
The joys of eBook readers – the Sony PRS-650 Touch
Secularism is important
Dawkins answers questions
Telling right from wrong?
Can science shape human values?
Some book ideas
The ISS – a decade of growth
October ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The human mind – a history
Check out those climate change claims on the internet
Waking up to morality
Four signs of a stroke
Can the “supernatural” be of any use?
Are ebooks taking off?
Some pesky delusions
Strident, militant atheists?
Why we deny climate change
Attitudes will change. Life will get better
Your computer is the enemy!
Death by stoning for adultery!
Scientific misconduct and skepticgate
Breaking away – an interesting case study
Sam Harris on The Daily Show
Move over – old fellow!
Hawking’s grand design – lessons for apologists?
Arrested moral development.
September ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Treating statistics sensibly
Not about Einstein
Bus adverts a human rights issue
Check out your ancestors
Trust the experts – if they say what we want
The Bible – a book review
A scientific consensus on human morality
Pope Benny’s speech – graphically
Putting the Pope in his place
Popes cunning straw mannery?
Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind
Mind change – a moral choice?
Putting the IPCC in its place?
Mapping modern science
An unnecessary being?
What is matter? What is materialism?
New science blogs in New Zealand
The Grand Design – neither God nor 42
Earth and Moon from Mercury
The Challenge of the Human Brain
August ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fallout from Hauser affair spreads
A lesson for NZ critics of climate science?
Nicholas Stern to present Robb Lectures
So you want a conversation?
The myth of the noble scientist
The heart of PZ Myers
After NIWA, God?
Marc Hauser replies – acknowledges mistakes
Hauser misconduct investigation – Full text of Dean’s statement
Fallacy of Fine Tuning
A desperate plea to be noticed?
A stormy future?
A sympathetic take on Marc Hauser and the “scientific misconduct” issue
A paper by Marc Hauser retracted – Harvard Magazine
Climate change is complex
A nice little tool for printing blog posts
“God of the surprises”
Recognising good science bloggers and Big Blog Theory winners
It’s politics, not science
July ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Suzan does a mini- Monckton
Evolution of gods, morals and violence
Is and ought
The new science of morality
Science, faith and limits of knowledge
Liability of scientific denialism to political conservativism
Evolution and the Holocaust
Life on the building site
Theological critiques of billboards required
Support John Abraham against Monckton’s bullying
Ways of not knowing
The changing face of science communication
A regular climate science podcast
Climategate – Journalist withdraws and apologises
Making room for faith in science?
Getting straight on marriage
“Climategate” smears found false – Mann cleared
NZ Atheists Swap Buses For Billboards
June ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Religion in public life – two approaches
Ridiculing ridiculous science commentary
Truth getting it’s boots on!
A question of expertise and credibility
Climate scientist’s’ register?
Kids – it’s OK to be different!
Twinning with Venus
Avoiding grown-up discussion
A competition for Aussie science blogs
Apologies would be nice
Historic shuttle launch photos
Australians concerned about tax exemption for cults
Pseudoscience and anti-science nonsense
Science on New Zealand TV
Hot science blogs
May ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Journalists create world’s first artificial news story!
Don’t trust Monckton!
This is scary!
Theological intrusions into science
God, stop ‘playing science’
Why Don’t We Go To Church?
The heart of opposition to climate science
Last chance – almost!
What’s that about global cooling?
Are you threatened by clarity?
Supporting good science communication
We don’t know!
Monckton and Shimkus get silly together
The Dawkins Delusions
Climate change and the integrity of science
Secularism in Australia and New Zealand
Natural selection or domestication?
April ‘10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Thinking of our grandchildren
Science, values and ethics
Avoiding tax – supernaturally
Climate scientist sues newspaper for false reporting
Climategate, Lord Monckton and Monty Python
Climate change deniers wallets threatened
Climategate summed up
Superstition – inevitable?
Libel Reform campaign continues
RIP Antony Flew
Officially a fake scandal from science perspective
Dangerous science denial
You have to laugh!
A more transparent approach
Orbital debris, the ISS, moon and sun
A space nerd’s Easter
Getting to the truth – gradually
March ‘10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Climate scientist Phil Jones exonerated
The origins of science?
The rickety bandwagon of climate change denial
Are religious scientists worried about their brethren?
The climate change denial industry
Can science answer moral questions?
Periodic Table of of science blogs
Creationism, climate change and scientific denialism
Open Letter from U.S. Scientists on the IPCC
From Melbourne to Copenhagen
Are science and religion compatible?
Chris Mooney interviews Michael Mann on “climategate”
Science bloggers talk teaching
Great photo of the Solar Corona
Clear science communication
Institute of Physics in hot seat
Climate science for you and me
February ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Richard Dawkins – wrong again!
Freedom of information and responsibility
This game looks familiar
Anti-science lies being exposed – slowly
Deniers distort Phil Jones
New Zealand has bigots too
Belief and social identity
Etiquette for the office global warming denier
NZ blogs sitemeter ranking – February ‘10
Climate change confusion – a conspiracy of sorts
WARNING! People might find us out!
One for the kids
Get your climate change science on the run
Can science solve all problems?
Spinning exoneration of Dr. Michael Mann Into “Whitewash”
Self-exposure – a journalist out of depth
A photographer’s dream
Get in line – who is the odd one out?
I want one of these!
The ISSS used for teaching
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Ken, you make some good points here. However, discounting as being a “myth” the possible collusion between Trump and his team with Russia, ignores the disclosures of Trump family members, and others within Trump’s inner circle, of contacts and meetings with personnel connected to the highest level of Russian government, for the purpose of obtaining Russian help in winning the election. Whether such contact constitutes collusion will be left to the special counsel, the courts, and Congress to determine. However, the contacts are documented fact, as are the falsehoods/denials of Trump and his people in attempting a cover-up of these contacts/meetings , and of their true purpose.
With the majority party in Congress continuing with efforts to impede, rather than assist, the investigation of Trump, the full truth will take that much longer to emerge. However, until it does, to buy into Trump’s delusionary rants that the collusion question is a “myth” or “hoax” is premature and a mistake.
Steve, I call it a myth because it is a story heavily promoted by politicians and the media but lacking any credible evidence. Really. Not one skerrick of credible evidence for the official narrative.
I keep asking people who question that for their own take – what specific evidence have they seen. And all I get is documents outlining opinion (the January intelligence report) and innocent meetings for which the person displays their partisan politics by making significant. (For example, not one of those questioners has even mention contacts of Clinton and her team with Russia – yet one can find plenty of examples. And I am asked to draw impossible conclusions from the fact that trump met Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in the White House and he was accompanied by the then Russian ambassador. As if that has never happened in the past! As if it is at all unusual for international politics!
You mention contacts and acknowledge that they are, as yet, not evidence of collusion. Yet the media presents them as such.
Now we all have contacts with Russians. Every day you and I knowingly and unknowingly have contact with Russians. As we do with English, Samoans, Australians, French, Lebanese, Ukrainians, etc. And these contacts could well be documented fact
You get my point. Russians are just like any other people. All peoples are engaged in commerce, culture and diplomatic activities. There is absolutely no reason to see Russians differently. In my view, it is simply racist to question such contacts purely because of the ethnicity involved. And let’s face it that is what is being done.
So, until I see proper evidence I will continue to call this story a myth. And any objective person watching the Harding interview must surely agree – don’t forget this book was also heavily promoted as revealing the facts, the evidence for collusion.
But I do have an open mind on this so will ask you, as I have asked others, what specific evidence do you see as so damning as to justify this political meltdown in the US? This revival of McCarthyism? Yes, there a plenty of reasons for that meltdown (not least of which is Trump’s buffoonish character), but nothing I see to do with Russian contacts or “collusion.”
So what is it that convinces you that this story is anything but a political myth?
I am not convinced of anything in regard to the investigation of potential collusion between Trump and Russian authorities, Ken. I’m waiting for all information before jumping to conclusions. Given the information provided in the infamous dossier which has been accorded enough credence by investigators to be taken seriously, the reported corroboration of points within the dossier by independent sources, documented fabrications and false denials about Russian contacts made by Trump and his people, Don, Jr’s admission that the Trump Tower meeting with Russian personnel was to obtain supposedly damning information on Clinton, Trump’s bizarre defense, and apparent fear, of Putin, and the feverish attempts by Republicans to discredit the Mueller investigation as it closes in on the White House, there is far more reason to keep an open mind about this than to simply dismiss it all as a “myth”.
While the Congessional investigations are far too partisan to be of any value, Mueller’s is not. Until it is revealed what his investigation has uncovered, dismissing it as a “myth” is doing nothing but buying into Trump’s rhetoric, and jumping to a premature conclusion.
I am not convinced of anything in regard to the investigation of potential collusion between Trump and Russian authorities, Ken. I’m waiting for all information before jumping to conclusions. Given the information provided in the infamous dossier has been accorded enough credence by investigators to be taken seriously, the reported corroboration of points within the dossier by independent sources, documented fabrications and false denials about Russian contacts made by Trump and his people, Don, Jr’s admission that the Trump Tower meeting with Russian personnel was to obtain supposedly damning information on Clinton, Trump’s bizarre defense, and apparent fear, of Putin, and the feverish attempts by Republicans to discredit the Mueller investigation as it closes in on the White House, there is far more reason to keep an open mind about this than to simply dismiss it all as a “myth”.
While the Congessional investigations are far too partisan to be of any value, Mueller’s is not. Until it is revealed what his investigation has uncovered, dismissing it as a “myth” is doing nothing but buying into Trump’s rhetoric, and jumping to a premature conclusion.
OK, Steve, you say:
That is more or less my position – and why I call the media promoted story of Russian Collusion as fact a “myth.” When credible evidence turns up I will no longer use the word – but after all this time and so much fake news on the issue I strongly suspect nothing will turn up. I do see the story as a myth and the frenetic activity around it as political hysteria with a heavy overlay of neo—McCarthyism I suspect many other people are now coming to that conclusions as well..
To be clear, I did not dismiss the Mueller investigation as a myth – not by any means. I was referring to the story promoted by the media and the politicians. This mythology is typified by the way Harding performed in his interview. I am as interested as anyone at the results of the Mueller investigation and other justice department investigations – and I actually think many Republicans are as well as the discoveries my not reflect well on the Democrats and the Clinton campaign.
One can argue about issues like the dossier (which was paid for by the Clinton campaign), fantasies about what was said in meetings, etc., but there is nothing of substance there. Although the Mueller and other department of justice investigations of the dossier and bias/leaking from the FBI may turn up something of interest – but probably more damning to the Clinton campaign than the Trump campaign. Despite some indictments those investigations have not turned up a single bit of credible evidence to support the collusion story/myth.
However, could you please explain what you mean by “Trump’s bizarre defense, and apparent fear, of Putin,” I just do not understand it as his comments about President Putin and the need for cooperation with the Russian Federation in the fight against terrorism have, in my view, been far from bizarre. They have probably been the least bizarre (and most hopeful) comments he has made.
I am aware that there is a heavily promoted demonisation of President Putin in the US and western media and, yes, I am amazed at how bizarre and pitiful many western politicians and journalists are when discussing that president and his country. Perhaps the truth is that Trump said something sensible about Putin and it looks bizarre to the brainwashed. 🙂
Still, I will await you example because I do not follow Trump’s ravings so may have missed something he has said which was bizarre.
Trump stated something to the effect that he believes Putin when Putin tells him that he had nothing to do with interfering in US elections. This is in direct contradiction to what Trump’s own intelligence people have made clear to him. So, basically, Trump has gone on record as believing Putin over intelligence from his own CIA. “Bizarre” pretty well describes it. Perhaps we are “brainwashed” about Putin. However, I believe it more likely that those who trust him are naive.
Granted, Trump very grudgingly backed off of this repudiation of his intelligence people, but only after public uproar and adamant urging from his advisors. It’s clear his retraction was disingenuous, at best.
The dossier was paid for by “an unamed Republican” initially, then picked up by Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
We aren’t going to agree on your dismissal of the potential collusion, but here is some info on the dossier. Given Newsweek’s publication of tabloid level, error-riddled antifluoridationist articles lately, it has lost a good bit of credibility in my opinion, however, take the info for whatever it may be worth.
Now, Steve, that hardly qualifies as “bizarre or showing apparent fear. I judge that as simply an acceptance of the facts as he saw them. After all, the intelligence had absolutely no evidence, admitted that it didn’t and its opinion could not be interpreted as fact. In the end, it was the OPINION of a few selected agents in four selected agencies.
I would have said exactly the same thing – or more likely (rather than a matter of belief) that Putin’s assurances coincided with the facts – the intelligence report didn’t.
Having read the intelligence report I would, in fact, claim that it is that which was bizarre – and it is bizarre to claim it has any credibility. The only “facts” it actually reported were things like RT interviewing 3rd party candidates in US elections. Bloody hell, one has to be brainwashed to see that as evidence of Russian interference or collusion. Surely the bizarre thing is that the US media practically ignores the 3rd party candidates. In this case, RT was doing a service for US democracy – and yet these intelligence agents cite that as an attempt to meddle in US politics.
One can’t help but conclude the real “crime” of RT is that it did not provide partisan support for Clinton in the way most of the rest of the US media did.
It’s not so much as believing Putin over the intelligence community but a matter of recognising the unreliability of that intelligence opinion.
I see that as being wise on Trump’s part – especially with the record of that community (remember Iraq and weapons of mass destruction?)
I haven’t’ disagreed on potential anything – obviously. Just stated that I have seen no evidence, only a lot of fake news and unbalanced reporting. Given the long time available to find some evidence I think it is reasonable to take a working assumption that this is simply another case of weapons of mass destruction. To be critical and cynical about the whole affair is sensible.
I have seen a number of reports on this dossier (I have also read it and concluded one would have to be very gullible to accept these stories) and the more intelligent ones are suggesting that there is an attempt to move away from it as primary evidence (wise). Whatever, the investigation of this and other issues will drag up a lot of muck from the Washinton swamp – and some of it, maybe even most of it, will be damning for Clinton. It may also expose real problems of bias and partisanship within the intelligence agencies and the FBI.
So rather than prejudging the investigations, I am all for them. It is going to be entertaining to watch.
Ken, you’re providing unsubstantiated opinions. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s all they are. Your perspective on Russia and mine are obviously very different, so we’ll probably never agree on the advisability of trusting what Putin says over what the US intelligence community has determined and made clear to Trump. The bottom line is that we have a President who is unqualified for the position and incapable of governing effectively. Resolution of the problem is why we have regular elections.
There are nothing but unsubstantiated opinions around on this issue., I obviously can’t prove a negative and there is absolutely no evidence to support the claims being made. That is why I call the official story from the media and politicians another myth – similar to the Iraqui weapons of mass destruction. And surely no intelligent person these days should accept without evidence the unsubstantiated claims of an intelligence community if they remember their record. That is how I come to my current opinion.
I will change my mind when I see credible evidence. Surely that is sensible. You know, I remember the Cuban missile crisis – then the US actually did produce evidence. These days all we are presented with is unsupported opinion. Not good enough for me. especially when we consider the political motives involved.
It’s not a matter of trusting Putin or any politician or intelligence agent. The simple truth is Putin’s declaration accords with the facts as they exist. He is not alone in this regard (except that he has access to inside knowledge) – many people have recognised the emperor has no clothes and are saying so.
As for the qualifications or credibility of your president – there is hardly anything new there – at least from my perspective. But he is the elected president and, as you say, this problem can be resolved by elections. And that is how it should be resolved – not by a hysterical neo-McCarthyist campaign which is destroying the credibility of US politics and degrading the quality of political discourse. This is the point made in Brook’s article. I have been absolutely disgusted at the behaviour of people I considered “on my side” – their willingness to accept and promote outright lies and to resort to street violence. That is not the way to improve the situation.
Ken, As I’ve presented, there is enough substantiated evidence to raise legitimate questions of collusion that require investigation. This is what has been reported in the media. Ignoring that evidence is certainly your prerogative, but it does not mean it doesn’t exist. If there have been media reports that there definitely was collusion, I am unaware of them, but would agree that, in the absence of more evidence than is currently known to the public, any such claim would be premature at this point. I agree, as well, that any “hysterical neo-McCarthyist campaign”, or “street violence” is not the way to resolve the problem. However, I am unaware of any such campaigns or violence in the US which may be associated with the questions of Trump’s possible collusion. There is simply an investigation into the legitimacy of these questions. In my opinion, the more lies Trump continues to make and the more he and his allies continue in their attempts to obstruct and discredit this investigation, the longer it will drag on and the more questions will be raised as to what he may be trying to hide.
Although I’m not sure how you obtained the Trump dossier and classified CIA intelligence reports, I have enough respect for you to know that you don’t make claims you can’t support. If you know for a fact the contents of those documents as well as what evidence Mueller has, then you certainly know far more than do I, and probably the rest of the general public. However, again, based on what I have seen made available to the public, claims that all of this is a “myth”, or “hoax” are premature at this point.
From the David Brooks opinion piece that you seem to be touting: “Wolff doesn’t pretend to adhere to normal journalistic standards. He happily admits that he’s just tossing out rumors that are too good to check.”
Please provide a link to the quotation where Michael Wolff happily admits that he is just tossing out rumors that are “too good to check.”
Whether you believe Wolff’s book to be true or not, obviously Trump sees the truth in it (after calling it a “phony book”).
In the book, Bannon called the actions of Trump’s family members “treasonous.”
Trump’s reaction to the “phony” book? “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
So either Trump does not believe the book, in which case Bannon never called his son & son-in-law “treasonous,” or he does believe it, in which case he is lying when he claims it is “phony.” Sorry, Mr. President, you can’t have it both ways.
Trump’s own reaction proves the validity of the book. Not only that, but it provides clear evidence regarding claims made about his mental fitness.
David, as you are aware that is Brooks’ assertion, not mine. You will have to ask your question of Brooks himself.
However, I have seen this assertion made in several commentaries on Wolff’s book and get the impression it is a comment on his general approach and goes back to things he has said in the past.
As for the book itself – I have yet to read it. Given it has only been available for less than a week few commentators have probably read it anyway. Like “Collusion” it was to be the next book I read – but having seen the Harding interview and a few interviews with Wolff I am seriously questioning whether it is worth my time.
Will have to make up my mind in a few days by when I will have finished the books I am currently reading.
As for your claim “Trump’s own reaction proves the validity of the book” I refer you back to my last article on confirmation bias. I personally would not make a decision based on anything Trump says.
Ken, In reading through these comments I thought you had come a long way. At the top of this thread you only used the word “collusion.” I didn’t see you denying Russian interference in the U.S. election.
But when you asked Steven to “please explain what you mean by “Trump’s bizarre defense, and apparent fear, of Putin, . . ” he rightly pointed out Trump’s denial of conclusions presented by his own intelligence community took a back seat to Putin’s denial of Russian interference. He is right. That is bizarre.
However, and more to the point, it is your rational that I find so amazing.
Your quote: “It’s not so much as believing Putin over the intelligence community but a matter of recognising the unreliability of that intelligence opinion.
I see that as being wise on Trump’s part – especially with the record of that community (remember Iraq and weapons of mass destruction?)”
And you did it again in the next comment: “That is why I call the official story from the media and politicians another myth – similar to the Iraqui weapons of mass destruction.”
This is the sole rational that you have presented in discounting U.S. intelligence regarding Russian interference. Ken, your ability to filter out information which might interfere with your bias is astounding.
You have already tried this argument on me and I have debunked it. U.S. Intelligence did not get it wrong prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Again I refer you to this Opinion Piece by Joseph P. Wilson, dated July 6, 2003. Wilson presented a detailed account of his findings on March 1, 2003. The invasion began on March 20, 2003.
Again, U.S. Intelligence got it right. It was the President who lied about his own intelligence. And most of the media was spoon-fed by, and played along with, that Administration. But not all of the media got it wrong did they. Again, I cite Knight Ridder: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/knight_ridder/ . . . and . . . https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/17/the-reporting-team-that-g_n_91981.html
And the politicians who voted for that war got it wrong because their President, who had access to that intelligence when they did not, lied to them.
So . . in light of that example, which you raised, in which a President lied about his own intelligence, your rational for denying Russian interference in the U.S. election is little more than very thin ice.
But my question to you is, ‘When you have previously been presented these facts which debunk the myth that U.S. Intelligence got it wrong prior to the 2003 Iraqi War, why do you continue to use this fabrication as a rational that, therefore, U.S. Intelligence must be getting it wrong now?’
Why do you so easily filter out that which might dent your worldview, and claim it doesn’t exist after it has already been presented to you? What is the point of a dialogue with you when certain information doesn’t seem to filter its way in?
Your quote: “I will change my mind when I see credible evidence.”
Again, here you go: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/zuckerberg-acknowledges-russians-exploited-facebook-last-years-election-202101016.html
Let me see you change your mind.
Steve, I think there is plenty of substantiated evidence to raise concern about corruption in the US political system – by both sides. Hopefully, the current investigations will get into some of these concerns. The muck racking paid for by the Democrats will probably be looked into. Focus is already being investigated (interestingly it turns out that the Russian lawyer present at the Trump Tower meeting had also hired Focus for her work on Bower – amazing what links are coming out. Saw an interesting interview with her last night). I am unsure if the Democrat emails released by Wikileaks will, though. I know the content of these is a great concern to many Democrats.
I repeat – I am not ignoring evidence – I am just stating that to date there is no substantiated evidence of collusion. I think that is a fact that has been admitted by several politicians and investigators – and even some of the media. Tellingly some of the media now talk about alleged collusion rather than collusion or meddling.
The January Intelligence report and the “Trump dossier” were both made public and can be found with a little effort. Here is a link to my copy of the January intelligence report. – https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ah6TuA1O6sT9h6k3_FyrWmr5UBwXQA – it’s a Onedrive link so I am unsure how long it lasts. If you cannot access it I will upload a copy to my blog and link to that.
In it you will read statements like:
“In an effort to highlight the alleged “lack of democracy” in the United States, RT broadcast, hosted, and advertised third-party candidate debates and ran reporting supportive of the political agenda of these candidates. The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a “sham.””
Unsubstantiated but it is true that RT has run interviews with third party candidates – I personally saw that, and a debate between the Greens and Libertarians, in the last election. Larry King also showed an interview with Trump. I didn’t see any RT interview with Clinton – but I suspect RT would have jumped at the chance if she had been agreeable.
Frankly, I think that works in favour of the US democratic system – it does not undermine it. And it is an indictment of the US mainstream media that they didn’t show similar interviews.
I probably have the “Trump Dossier” on my hard drive somewhere. It was available for download. However, after my initial reading, I found it so offensive I have not bothered referring back to it. I don’t think any serious commentator gives it much credibility – “Golden Showers” indeed. But I am sure you can find a copy online with little effort.
David – you say of me “your ability to filter out information which might interfere with your bias is astounding.” And you are referring to the intelligence information claiming collusion or interference.
Please cite from the January report the specific evidence I have filtered out. Here is a current link to that report if you don’t have it – https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ah6TuA1O6sT9h6k3_FyrWmr5UBwXQA
Yes, Ken, there is ample evidence of corruption within the US political system, as there probably is for any political system. And, it starts right at the top in the US. However, this does not negate the documented evidence which has led to the investigation of possible collusion by Trump and his people, or the independent corroboration of information within the dossier which, again, had both Republican and Democrat funding. Attempts to deflect focus away from Trump and unto his favorite obsession, Hilliary’s emails, are nothing but obstructionary tactics. Once again, the longer Trump and his allies continue their transparent attempts to obstruct and discredit the investigation, the longer it will drag on, and the more will questions arise as to what he may be trying to hide.
What I have been referring to is information on Russian interference, provided to Trump by his own intelligence community. You claim this information to not be credible based on a declassified intelligence report which, out of obvious necessity, omits classified information on specifics, supporting evidence, and sources. No credible assessment can be made of the validity of intelligence provided to the President of the US based on such a public, declassified document as that.
Given that we don’t know what evidence Mueller has uncovered, it cannot be credibly stated that it is a fact that there is no substantiated evidence of collusion. Until his findings are made public, we have no idea as to whether there is any such evidence, or not.
Again, as far as I know, the media, politicians, and investigators have always talked in terms of “alleged collusion”. I am aware of no credible source which has made definitive claims that there was collusion. We’re still in the investigative stage trying to determine this.
Trump’s stated belief in that which he states Putin has told him, when his own intelligence community has informed him otherwise is akin to if Netanyahu were to publicly express greater trust in what Arab leaders have told him, over that of which his own intelligence community has informed him. Bizarre still seems to be an apt description.
Oh Ken, we’re fighting again. My mother warned me this would happen with you.
You are purposely being disingenuous when you say, ” . . you say of me “your ability to filter out information which might interfere with your bias is astounding.” And you are referring to the intelligence information claiming collusion or interference.”
No, as you know I was referring to this statement from you: “I see that as being wise on Trump’s part – especially with the record of that (the U.S. Intelligence) community (remember Iraq and weapons of mass destruction?)”
My question is, ‘Why do you continue to use the Iraqi WMD myth as a pretense for claiming that the U.S. Intelligence community lacks credibility when you know that an untrue illustration? Why has this not filtered in yet? You know better, and you continue to do it anyway.’ (By the way, I should have included this link in my previous comment http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/opinion/what-i-didn-t-find-in-africa.html )
There is a clear difference between “interference” and “collusion.” You, like so many anti-fluoride fanatics, appear to be blurring the issues. Whether collusion occurred is up to the Special Counsel to determine. Interference has been determined. I cite Mark Zuckerberg’s own admission that his own IT has established this as a fact. Why would he do that which could damage his bottom line?
As I recall, when previously presented with this, you claimed that Zuckerberg was being pressured by our anti-Russian hysterical government, and was forced to make an untrue admission. Correct. This wreaks of desperation. If I was a 30 year old billionaire being pressured by the U.S. Government to make untrue admissions about my Fortune 500 company, I would simply move to Switzerland and do whatever I wanted. (The U.S. government couldn’t even stop Julian Assange for crying out loud.)
By the way, when you speak to Steven about this “racist” anti-Russian hysteria, I feel I should point out he is not criticizing the Russian people. Far from it. He is criticizing a repressive regime which has become known for the murderers of its own journalists. Putin is not the Russian people. By defending him and his regime, you are, yourself, assisting in their suppression.
Steve – you refer to “the documented evidence which has led to the investigation of possible collusion by Trump and his people.” I don’t know what that means. Yes, there are plenty examples of people from Trump’s team or people from Clinton’s team meeting with foreign nationals. Surely that is normal and to be expected (unless you are a racist and see something horrible in any interaction with a Russian). However, I think it boils down to interpreting these meetings according to one’s own bias.
Personally, I cannot see why Trump jnrs 20 minute meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya (a mundane lawyer dealing with other matters) should be seen as evidence of collusion – any more than the Democratic Party’s funding of Fusion research involving Steele meeting with ex KGB and current FSB people in Moscow and paying them money for dirt on Trump. (Russians laugh at the idea that paying an ex KGB or FSB agent money for slander will give you anything than what you want to believe. These sources are well known for taking money from such “researchers” in this way). Yes, I am sure Trump jr was attracted by the misleading suggestion that Veselnitskaya may have had some dirt on Clinton (which she didn’t) and Clinton’s team was attracted by the prospect of dirt on Trump – but Collusion?
So I can not see what the specific credible evidence was in the case of the Trump team – especially if one is excusing Clinton’s team attempts at muckraking.
No, I am not attempting anything in the way of diversions by mentioning the Democrats emails (not Hilary’s emails). But right from the beginning, it was obvious to me the Clinton raised the Russian collusion myth in an attempt to divert attention away from the exposure of DNC corruption in the Wikileaks email dump. It is the collusion story which is the diversion. And surely we can understand why Clinton resorted to it.
I wish someone would tell me specifically what this credible evidence is.
Also, you refer to ” independent corroboration of information within the dossier” – can you tell me specifically what the information anmd its corroboration was? Did Trump hire prostitutes, indulge in golden showers and is there independent confirmation of that? People loosely talk about confirmation and evidence but never mention the specifics. So frustrating. It all smacks of partisanship and confirmation bias.
Please tell me – specifically – what the evidence is that is getting everyone so excited. I just cannot see it.
I have no interest in defending Trump – I am non-partisan. But obstruction and discrediting of investigation is normal procedure for politicians and is being used both by the Clinton team and the Trump team at the moment regarding the different investigations underway. Why moan about it – and, in particular, why moan about one side doing it when we all know what politicians are like. As I said, it all smacks of partisanship and confirmation bias to me.
All I ask is some concrete evidence to justify the claims of collusion – or even to justify, objectively, the investigations. Is there something or are these just the normal result of a biased and corrupt political system with actors refusing to accept an election result and seeing the hope of some sort of judicial coup instead of preparing properly for the next election.
Please understand Steve – I am not claiming it can be “credibly stated that it is a fact that there is no substantiated evidence of collusion.” I am saying there is no evidence that has been provided to justify these claims. Yes, a lot of spin and fake news but no evidence.
If and when such evidence is provided I will change my opinion – but currently I see the whole thing as a myth – motivated by a childish response from Clinton to explain her loss. I think it is pathetic for people who wish to promote this myth to fall back on appeals to wait to see what the investigations will reveal. It suggests to me they are holding out false hope – and yes I have come across people who think the Iraqui weapons of mass destruction are still an open question – they still want us to withhold judgment until all the evidence is in!
You must use different tinted glasses when you read the media – I have often seen opinions reported as fact on this issue. In particular, the January intelligence report which everyone seems to rely on (but probably have not bothered to read) is reported as factual and evidence when it is neither – nothing but the opinion of a few selected agents. And what about Harding’s book – promoted by the media as full of evidence and the final say on the matter. Yet, his interview suggests it is rubbish.
I do not give a stuff about who a buffoon like Trump wishes to “believe.” All I can say that Putin’s declarations on this matter (which are very few but very definitive) correspond with the facts that are available. The fact that Trump is discounting what the intelligence community has told him suggests to me that they haven’t told him anything substantive – and that is a reasonable conclusion based on all the publicly available material and leaks.
I frankly think the media driving a story of something being wrong with Trump because he has looked at the evidence and made his judgement is really bizarre.
But then again – as I say I am driven by evidence and someday, someone, may actually come up with something to change my assessment. But so far it hasn’t happened.
David – what you specifically wrote was:
“This is the sole rational that you have presented in discounting U.S. intelligence regarding Russian interference. Ken, your ability to filter out information which might interfere with your bias is astounding.”
You were referring to the intelligence report – that is the document everyone cites for supporting evidence and “proof” of collusion.
So, I repeat:
“Please cite from the January report the specific evidence I have filtered out. Here is a current link to that report if you don’t have it – https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ah6TuA1O6sT9h6k3_FyrWmr5UBwXQA ”
And I say that because I have read the report and do not see any substantive evidence. I see opinion and disclaimers about treating these opinions as fact. But absolutely no evidence of collusion.
What I do see is a real concern on the part of these intelligence agents that a free media might report unpleasant facts about the US or, god help us, give some coverage of people standing for election who don’t have the blessing of the establishment. And this threat to a free and open media does concern me -especially considering the Senate pressure that has been put on social media to censor their contents.
David, I think it is probably worth looking at the Iraqi WMDs story in a little more detail because its strikes me there are extremely strong parallels with the current collusion story
When I say “more detail” – I mean rather than use absolute black and white terms we should recognise that there were different sections of the intelligence community. They were saying different things. Politicians were selecting the stories they wanted and squashing the stories that did not support their manufactured WMD as a reason to invade Iraq. After all, the intention of invasion had been there for a long time. It was a declared aim of the New America Century grouped. All they needed was a story toi justify it and get political support.
Al Jazeera recently ran an interesting documentary on the WMD deception and the differences in the intelligence community. I think it is called Iraq: A Deadly Deception – http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2017/01/iraq-deadly-deception-170108082649899.html
Yes, I know, your usual habit is now to attack Al Jazeera as not being reliable, funded by the Qatar state, incapable of criticising its president, not criticising terrorist attacks, etc., etc. But give it a watch – it is certainly interesting.
This went into the different intelligence information available, the selection of suitable information by politicians, the suppression of counter information available and the dissatisfaction of the intelligence agents whose much more credible information was suppressed.
Several of those intelligence agents (now retired) were interviewed and described what happened – how the whole story was a deception and how the reliable intelligence was suppressed and unreliable intelligence promoted and amended to support to programme or agenda.
Now, I find it interesting that some of those interviewed retired intelligence agents are the same ones (people like McGovern) who are now warning about the current carry on. In fact their veteran’s organisation has submitted forensic information to Congress showing that the DNC leaked emails released by Wikileaks had been downloaded onto a drive like a usb stick and not hacked. And this occurred on the east coast of the US. That evidence (the speed of transfer) is very convincing. They also show how another batch had been processed to insert diversionary information which could imply some east European origin.
So I think there is a strong parallel. The intelligence information used to support the collusion myth has been released or produced by a few selected (by politicians and politically motivated agency heads) agents. We do not yet have access to what dissenting agents think about this (although some leaks suggest a lot of concern). This selected information is being used to justify a wider and predetermined agenda. Agents who dissented over the Iraqi WMD are the same ones warning us now that the current “official” information is false.
If only in 2003 there had been some politicians who stood up against this pressure – even saying they trusted Hussain’s word rather than the false intelligence reports, perhaps we would not have had that invasion tragedy and all the disastrous consequences that flowed from it.
If only there were politicians who could stand up today against the neo-McCarthyist pressure and racist attitudes and shout out that the emperor has no clothes. Then we might be able to resist the current move to heightened international tension and prevent disastrous consequences – perhaps more disastrous even than that resulting from the US invasion of Iraq. After all today the specific protagonists have large numbers of nuclear weapons.
Ken, in previous comments I have given you the evidence which justifies the raising of questions of collusion. I have not claimed it to be definitive proof of collusion, just sufficient to justify raising the questions and initiating an investigation. Only after completion of the investigation will we possibly know whether there was collusion or not. If you want to continue to ignore this evidence is up to you. However, for the US government to ignore it would not only be grossly irresponsible, but a threat to national security.
The absurdity of attempted trivialization of the importance of the meeting of Trump people with Russian personnel with ties to the highest level of Russian government, speaks for itself. Trump, Jr. lied about the purpose of this meeting, with a statement prepared by his dad, the President of the United States. If this fact alone doesn’t set off screaming alarms about potential collision, nothing will. I suppose it’s also entirely normal for Jared Kushner to have discussed with Russian personnel the establishment of back-channel communications with Russians…….utilizing Russian equipment?
Sure, Putin would prefer that it all be treated as nothing but harmless little, everyday contact, but for the US to do so would be utterly ridiculous.
Yes, attempts to shift focus away from Trump and unto the Democrats are nothing but diversionary and obstructive tactics of Trump and his allies. The fact that you continue to omit the fact that the dossier was funded by a Republican, as well as the DNC, is indication that your intent here is to mislead, rather than inform.
I did not state that you claimed it “can be credibly stated that it is a fact that there is no substantiated evidence of collusion.” The following is what I stated:
Given that we don’t know what evidence Mueller has uncovered, it cannot be credibly stated that it is a fact that there is no substantiated evidence of collusion. Until his findings are made public, we have no idea as to whether there is any such evidence, or not.
What you stated was:
“I repeat – I am not ignoring evidence – I am just stating that to date there is no substantiated evidence of collusion. I think that is a fact that has been admitted by several politicians and investigators – and even some of the media.”
You stated as fact that there is no substantiated evidence to date. Again, until we know what Mueller has uncovered, it cannot be credibly stated, as you clearly attempt to do, that there is no substantiated evidence of collusion. We don’t know what evidence there is.
I have no expectation of changing your mind on this, Ken. I simply go back to my original point. There is far too much documented evidence suggesting the potential for there to have been collusion for it all to be discarded as being a “myth”. If the investigation clears Trump of this allegation, fine, but this question must be taken seriously and fully examined prior to its dismissal.
Ken, again there is a difference between “collusion” and “interference.” I may be mistaken, but it appears that you are blurring the two issues for the sole sake of argument.
“David – what you specifically wrote was:
“This is the sole rational that you have presented in discounting U.S. intelligence regarding Russian INTERFERENCE. . . . (And Yes. That was what I wrote.)
“You were referring to the intelligence report – that is the document everyone cites for supporting evidence and “proof” of COLLUSION.” (And No. I was not referring to that document.)
Do you not see what you just did there? If not, I’ll say it plainly. I have no proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and anyone from Russia. But I have previously offered proof of Russian interference, which, by the way, you seem to have overlooked.
Beyond that, I like what you have written about the parallels between the G.W. Bush Administration and the Trump Administration and their relationships to their own Intelligence.
However, I disagree with this:
“So I think there is a strong parallel. The intelligence information used to support the collusion myth has been released or produced by a few selected (by politicians and politically motivated agency heads) agents.”
I disagree that this is the parallel. The parallel is — In 2003 the President manipulated and misrepresented US Intelligence as a pretense for war. In 2017-18, the President is also attempting to manipulate US Intel, only in this case, it may be defined as Obstruction of Justice. His firing of James Comey, . . . his extreme displeasure in the fact that his Attorney General recused himself from oversight of the very investigation which centered on his own campaign, . . . the constant right-wing media’s (state-tv) attempt to discredit Special Counsel Mueller (for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZBHvZGIHvQ ), . . . and his own tweets condemning these investigations as “witch hunts,” thereby attempting to discredit them.
In both cases, Bush & Trump, the actual Intel took/is taking a back seat to the agendas of each president. There is your parallel.
Sadly, it appears that President Bush was more successful than our current president in this pursuit. Sadly, it appears he was more apt . . more intelligent . . more successful.
One more thing – When I was in the Middle East I often watched Al Jazeera. The choices were Fox, CNN, and Al Jazeera. At that time, during the late Bush, early Obama Administrations, I found Al Jazeera to be the most balanced on U.S. politics 🙂
“If only in 2003 there had been some politicians who stood up against this pressure – even saying they trusted Hussain’s word rather than the false intelligence reports, perhaps we would not have had that invasion tragedy and all the disastrous consequences that flowed from it.”
Response: There were. However, Bush’s drum-beat for war drowned out the voices of those opposed to it. State tv publicly criticized and attempted to paint those opposed as un-patriotic / pro-terrorist. This was the genius of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. They were highly successful in their manipulation of the media and intel. Trump, on the other hand, sadly flounders around, unsuccessfully attempting reign in his own intelligence.
In the Senate, the 21 Democrats, one Republican and one Independent who courageously voted their consciences in 2002 against the War in Iraq were:
* Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii)
* Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico)
* Barbara Boxer (D-California)
* Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia)
* Lincoln Chaffee (R-Rhode Island)
* Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota)
* Jon Corzine (D-New Jersey)
* Mark Dayton (D-Minnesota)
* Dick Durbin (D-Illinois)
* Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin)
* Bob Graham (D-Florida)
* Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
* Jim Jeffords (I-Vermont)
* Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts)
* Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont)
* Carl Levin (D-Michigan)
* Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland)
* Patty Murray (D-Washington)
* Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island)
* Paul Sarbanes (D-Maryland)
* Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan)
* The late Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota)
* Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Six House Republicans and one independent joined 126 Democratic members of the House of Re[resentatives in voting NAY, on October 11, 2002, to the unprovoked use of force against Iraq:
Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) Tom Allen (D-Maine) Joe Baca (D-California) Brian Baird (D-Washington) John Baldacci (D-Maine, now governor of Maine) Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) Gresham Barrett (R-South Carolina) Xavier Becerra (D-California) Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) David Bonior (D-Michigan, retired from office) Robert Brady (D-Pennsylvania) Corinne Brown (D-Florida) Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
Lois Capps (D-California) Michael Capuano (D-Massachusetts) Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) Julia Carson (D-Indiana) William Clay, Jr. (D-Missouri) Eva Clayton (D-North Carolina, retired from office) James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) Gary Condit (D-California, retired from office) John Conyers, Jr. (D-Michigan) Jerry Costello (D-Illinois) William Coyne (D-Pennsylvania, retired from office) Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland)
Susan Davis (D-California) Danny Davis (D-Illinois) Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) Bill Delahunt (D-Massachusetts) Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) John Dingell (D-Michigan) Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) Mike Doyle (D-Pennsylvania) John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tennessee)
Anna Eshoo (D-California) Lane Evans (D-Illinois) Sam Farr (D-California) Chaka Fattah (D-Pennsylvania) Bob Filner (D-California) Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois)
Alice Hastings (D-Florida) Earl Hilliard (D-Alabama, retired from office) Maurice Hinchey (D-New York) Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas) Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) Mike Honda (D-California) Darlene Hooley (D-Oregon) John Hostettler (R-Indiana) Amo Houghton (R-New York, retired from office) Jay Inslee (D-Washington)
Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Illinois) Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) Dale Kildee (D-Michigan) Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Michigan) Jerry Kleczka (D-Wisconsin, retired from office) Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)
John LaFalce (D-New York) James Langevin (D-Rhode Island) Rick Larsen (D-Washington) John Larson (D-Connecticut) Jim Leach (R-Iowa) Barbara Lee (D-California) Sandy Levin (D-Michigan) John Lewis (D-Georgia) Bill Lipinski (D-Illinois,retired from office) Zoe Lofgren (D-California)
James Maloney (D-Connecticut, retired from office) The late Robert Matsui (D-California) Karen McCarthy (D-Missouri, retired from office) Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota) Jim McDermott-D-Washington) Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia) Carrie Meek (D-Florida, retired from office) Gregory Meeks (D-New York) Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-California) George Miller (D-California) Alan Mollohan (D-West Virginia) Jim Moran (D-Virginia) Connie Morella (D-Maryland)
Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) Grace Napolitano (D-California) Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) Jim Oberstar (D-Minnesota) David Obey (D-Wisconsin) John Olver (D-Massachusetts) Major Owens (D-New York)
Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-New Jersey) Ed Pastor (D-Arizona) Ron Paul (R-Texas) Donald Payne (D-New Jersey) Nancy Pelosi (D-California) David Price (D-North Carolina) Nick Rahall (D-West Virginia) Charles Rangel (D-New York) Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) Lynn Rivers (D-Michigan, retired from office) Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas, retired from office) Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) Bobby Rush (D-Illinois)
Martin Olav Sabo (D-Minnesota) Loretta Sanchez (D-California) Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) Thomas Sawyer (D-Ohio) Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) Jose Serrano (D-New York) Louise Slaughter (D-New York) Vic Snyder (D-Arkansas) Hilda Solis (D-California) Pete Stark (D-California) Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) Burt Stupak (Michigan)
Mike Thompson (D-California) Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) John Tierney (D-Massachusetts) Edolphus Towns (D-New York) Mark Udall (D-Colorado) Tom Udall (D-New Mexico)
Nydia Velaquez (D-New York) Pete Visclosky (D-Indiana) Maxine Waters (D-California) Diane Watson (D-California) Melvin Watt (D-North Carolina) Lynn Woolsey (D-California) David Wu (D-Oregon)
Steve, here is something we can both relate to and helps describe my attitude towards the current US political hysteria about Russia.
I often get into discussions with anti-fluoride people who assure me that fluoridation is harmful and there is ample evidence of that. I ask for specific evidence, they might refer to the IQ myths. If we get around to specific papers to discuss (which inevitably they have never read) then we can look at that evidence. It can be discussed.
That is exactly what I am doing in this case – asking for SPECIFIC evidence which can be discussed and being frustrated by the lack of specificity in the charges. (Vague charges of “meeting of Trump people with Russian personnel with ties to the highest level of Russian government” come across to me like vague charges of fluoridation being neurotoxic without actually providing specific evidence or specific studies). The anti-fluoride promotion of the IQ myth or mantra simply relies on the mud sticks phenomena. It works for them, unfortunately, and it works for the Russian collusion/interference myth too – unfortunately, and probably largely because of common anti-Russian prejudice or even racism. The problem with this story is that the stakes are much higher – for the whole world. Let’s not forget that both the US and =the Russian Federation are armed with sophisticated nuclear weapons.
A common anti-fluoride approach or response when they are told that there is no evidence of harmful effects from fluoride at recommended concentration is to go nuclear and say – “not yet.” They have a strong, ideological drive, a conviction that fluoridation is harmful and that it is just a matter of time, of more research to identify that harm. (This parallels exactly the response of a local radio interviewer I respect responding to the US ambassador saying in an interview that no evidence of Russian collusion/interference had been produced. She said “Not yet!” My opinion of her dropped dramatically with just those 2 words. She displayed an ideological conviction which was not evidence-based but held out hope that somehow, sometime evidence would arise to support her conviction. It is the sort of conviction that argues for a suspect being imprisoned despite lack of evidence for any crime – but just on the convictions that one day evidence will be found).
On the one hand, the appeal to wait and see – for years – for some sort of evidence does not stop me calling the anti-fluoride IQ stories, etc, myths. On the other hand, I am all for more reviews, further research, etc. If that research, review, turns up evidence of an IQ effect I will stop calling it a myth. Exactly the same here. Given the original diversions used by Clinton and the fact that some of these stories are sticking, I am all for a review of the actual evidence. There is, of course, an inevitable problem that such reviews can be influenced by bias and political agendas and that is why so many people are concerned about the examples of bias, agendas, leaking and political motivations of FBI and intelligence people. I guess that is the real world anmd it happens in the science world too.
Another common approach from the anti-fluoride people is to claim the initiation of new research as evidence of harm – the new NTP studies are a classic example where the anti-fluoride people have reported it as some sort of evidence to back their claim. Stupid – but this is exactly the attitude of people who cite the investigations as evidence of collusion/interference and argue that “where there is smoke there will be fire.”
I see this current US hysteria as being very similar to the anti-fluoride hysteria and I am trying to react the same way – asking for evidence and basing my conclusions of the real facts as I have them at the moment (and always being willing to update my conclusions when or if new evidence arises). I will certainly not give in to the political pressure whether it be by anti-fluoride people or US politicians and media. I am calling this whole thing a myth because, at this stage, that is all it is – in the same way the anti-fluoride IQ story is a myth.
I can only conclude, with the current information I have, that the emperor has no clothes and will not succumb to pressure demanding that I say he has.
Steve, an example of my frustration is your refusal to be specific about meetings. You refer to my- “attempted trivialization of the importance of the meeting of Trump people with Russian personnel with ties to the highest level of Russian government, so I am forced to interpret this to mean you reference is to a meeting held in Trump Towers between Trump jr and specifically lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Now, where were the “Russian personnel with ties to the highest level of Russian government.” It is pathetic to make that claim about Natalia Veselnitskaya – simply because she has Russian origins. This is the sort of treatment of Russian I often am forced to conclude amounts to racism. It is the sort of attitude promote by Stalin to prevent Russians having contacts with foreigners.
The currently available information about that meeting (apparently leaked from the Mueller investigation) does not support the spin being put on that meeting (NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/russian-ran-ivanka-after-2016-trump-tower-meeting-donald-trump-n835661)
Interestingly Veselnitskaya has asked several times to give evidence to congressional committees on this meeting and her professional relationship with Focus. I think she is frustrated that her requests have so far been turned down.
Now, am I trivialising that meeting because I refer to its brevity (Trump quickly saw he wasn’t going to get anything he wanted) and to the status of the lawyer? Or are you overblowing the meeting by referring to Veselnitskaya as having “ties to the highest level of Russian government.”
Now, I appreciate you may be overblowing it because that is the way you media spun the whole story. But that is exactly why I say we must always approach the media, any media, critically and intelligently. We should ask the right questions and determine the facts as they are available. Otherwise, we end up being fooled by fake news.
Your reference to back channels is also overblown This happens all the time in international politics – how else would progress be made. And, yes, US politicians and diplomats do this as do everybody. It could be that Russian diplomats doing this more intelligently and successfully – and that may explain why they have had the success they have had in Syria with the launch of the Astana talks and the imminent launch of the political negotiations in Sochi. This has only arisen becuase they have been prepared to talk with everyone – including the rebels forces – and this inevitably involves back channels.
OK David, I am seeing you differentiation between collusion and interference as a diversion. So I will repeat my question in an amended form..So, I repeat:
Please cite from the January report the specific evidence of Russian interference I have filtered out. Here is a current link to that report if you don’t have it – https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ah6TuA1O6sT9h6k3_FyrWmr5UBwXQA
It is simpoly a matter of getting down to specifics. After all – you are making the charge – if you cannot substantiate your accusation of me perhaps you should withdraw it. If you can, then I can make amends.. But at this stage, I do not see anything to amend.
Apples to oranges, Ken. Antifluoridationists condemn an initiative when decades of completed research have clearly demonstrated otherwise. No such research has yet been completed on the collusion question, and no conclusion has been reached on its validity. A better comparison would be to the very beginning of fluoridation. Valid evidence was observed suggesting a correlation between the content of public water and increased resistance to dental decay. No conclusion was reached at that time, but the evidence was strong enough to warrant detailed investigation. Only after detailed research and investigation as to what in that water could be the cause of the increased decay resistance, was a conclusion reached that it was fluoride.
What you are doing is akin to someone in the early part of the 20th century proclaiming that the claim of increased dental decay correlated with water content was a myth because he had seen no conclusive evidence otherwise. In other words, putting the cart before the horse. While sufficient evidence had been documented to warrant detailed investigation of the question, conclusive evidence was not available until adequate research had been done to determine the source of the decay resistance. Had research been ceased because of such premature condemnation of the question we would have missed out on decades of valuable decay prevention.
We are in the beginning stage of the collusion question. While sufficient valid evidence has been documented to warrant a detailed investigation of the question, no such investigation has yet been completed. Claiming the question to be a “myth” at this point ignores the valid evidence suggesting otherwise, and reaches a conclusion before any valid research has even been completed. Rather than waiting for the results of the investigation, you are basing your dismissal of the question on a declassified intelligence report which lacks key information provided in the classified original, and a complaint that no conclusive evidence has been made available…..when there can be no such evidence until completion of the investigation.
When antifluoridationists call for waiting for further evidence, they are ignoring decades of research which has already been completed, and instead waiting in hope for some unnamed research which has not yet begun, and does not exist. There is no prior investigation of the collusion question which is being ignored, and the ongoing one has not yet been completed and made public. Prior to reaching any conclusions, we need to first see what exactly is the evidence which has been uncovered.
The only “hysteria” I see is in those who desperately seek to obsruct and shut down this investigation before it has been completed. This hysteria began when Michael Flynn pleaded guilty, and the White House began seeing the investigation rapidly closing in on Trump.
David, perhaps you should watch the video on the Iraq deception and try to think objectively about the strong parallels with what is happening currently.
I am disappointed you did not attempt a diversion by attacking the source. What would have been your reaction if I had linked to that video if it had been shown in RT? Complelety possible – perhaps I should check as RT very often runs US docos and may well have run this one.
I am also disappointed you did not also attack the reliability of the veteran intelligence agents – after all, they have also appeared in RT programmes or news reports.
You aren’t on your usual mark at the moment 🙂
Ken, your comment: “Please cite from the January report the specific evidence of Russian interference I have filtered out. Here is a current link to that report if you don’t have it – ”
Response: Why would I use a source that you are providing to prove something that I am saying, when you are telling me there is no evidence of what I am saying in it? That is ridiculous.
Let me try to illustrate how nonsensical you were:
This website is the website that everybody cites because it has more information on fluoride than any other website. Use this link to prove that optimally fluoridated water is safe to drink: http://fluoridealert.org/
Do you see what you just did?
There was Russian interference in the 2016 election. If there was not, please explain to me why Mark Zuckerberg, a 33 year old billionaire, worth $74 Billion, would admit to a flaw in his Fortune 500 company that allowed foreign interests to infiltrate the democratic process of the 2016 presidential election in the U.S..
Yes, Steve, apples and oranges because there is definitely a very different time scale to politics compared with scientific research. I see your argument as special pleading as surely we are not going to wait for decades. Politics has a much shorter cycle. Much shorter. Otherwise, we should still be withholding our assessment of the Iraqi WMD deception which occurred “only” 15 years ago
We are definitely not at the beginning – we are 18 months out and still nothing. Some of the investigations have reached sufficient maturity to allow indictments – and none of these fulfils the hopes of those supporting the anti-Russian hysteria. This whole myth has amounted to one crashing failure after another, the collapse of one central pillar after another.
No, I am not going to give into political pressure to wait for decades and meanwhile accept the “official” story. I will stick to calling it a myth until some credible evidence is produced. That is how I reacted to the WMD myth and I see no reason to change that objective approach. I think that is the only credible and honest approach for the non-partisan, non-racist person to adopt in this case.
Cart before the horse, Ken. I have simply made the case that sufficient evidence has been documented to warrant a detailed investigation. This is a far lower bar than that required for proof of collusion. You seem to believe that there needs to be conclusive proof of collusion before even raising the question….ignoring the fact that conclusive proof cannot be obtained without first investigating. Your opinion seems to be that the documented lies by Trump and his people, the Trump Tower meeting, the Trump contacts and financial ties to Russia, the Kushner attempt to set up a back-channel communication line with the Russians circumventing US intelligence, and the Trump obstruction of the initial FBI investigation, are insufficient to warrant an investigation by special counsel, thereby rendering the collusion question to be a “myth”. The US government and I disagree.
Invoking claims of racism is beneath you, Ken. You are informed, knowledgeable, and intelligent enough to make your case without sinking to such a tactic. There is no evidence, whatsoever, of racism in my comments.
As far as Veselnitskaya‘s ties to top tier Russian government:
“In a July 14, 2017 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Veselnitskaya acknowledged that she was in regular contact with the Russian prosecutor general’s office and with Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika ‘while waging a campaign against U.S. sanctions’ “.
Are you claiming that the Russian Prosecutor General is not at the top level of Russian government?
You claim “media spin” and advise approaching media intelligently and cautiously, yet you quote a media report to support your opinions on the Trump Tower meeting.
Back-channel communication between governments can certainly be useful. However, Kushner suggested setting up such communication using Russian equipment, thereby circumventing US intelligence. Are you suggesting that it is normal procedure for governments to set up back channel communications with those who have been historic opponents, letting those opponents fully control all information in those communications, and shutting out the intelligence community of these governments? It would not raise questions if Netanyahou allowed Arab leaders to have full control over back-channel Arab-Israeli communications, while shutting out his own Israeli intelligence?
So, David, you see the January intelligence report as equivalent to FAN??
Yet it is the report that the media have relied on as “proof” of interference. They have sued it to convert selected opinion into “fact.” It is the report which people say Trump should believe over the answer President Putin gave to his question.
I think this is an admission on your part that there is absolutely no evidence. This is why you cite vague media reports instead. Realy, the statements of the social media heads under pressure and strong criticism from the Senate committee to censor their media are hardly reliable.
You are accusing the intelligence agents behind this report as being no better than FAN – and you have the cheek to accuse me of “filtering out” evidence.
That is pathetic.
Really, you should question more. 🙂
Ken, your first comment to Steven can be summed up with this sentence from you: “we are 18 months out and still nothing. Some of the investigations have reached sufficient maturity to allow indictments – and none of these fulfils the hopes of those supporting the anti-Russian hysteria.”
Well . . 18 months out. Let’s compare Apples to Apples. Let’s compare the timeline of Russiagate to the timeline of Watergate, since the U.S. AG has specifically stated that an investigation of Hillary has no basis.
The Crime – September 3, 1971: “White House Plumbers” E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy, and others break into the offices of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist Lewis Fielding looking for material that might discredit Ellsberg, under the direction of John Ehrlichman or his staff within the White House.
January 28, 1974: Nixon campaign aide Herbert Porter pleads guilty to perjury. (That would be an “apples to apples” comparison to George Papadopoulos pleading guilty to perjury. – That’s more than 2 years, Alexander.)
March 4, 1974: the “Watergate Seven” (Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Colson, Gordon C. Strachan, Robert Mardian, and Kenneth Parkinson) are formally indicted.
Well, Ken, 18 months out and 4 indictments so far. Russiagate seems to be a roller-coaster ride compared to the dragged out process of Watergate. Apples to apples. You would have been climbing the walls by 1973 proclaiming the innocence of Nixon.
As to your comment to me. You seem to be insisting that I look at your link and provide you with evidence of something which you say does not exist – in that link. Why? Because, “it is the report that the media have relied on as “proof” of interference.””
Ken, I’m not the media. You asked for evidence of Russian interference and you insist that I use your source.
For the third time now, there was Russian interference in the 2016 election. If there was not, please explain to me why Mark Zuckerberg, a 33 year old billionaire, worth $74 Billion, would admit to a flaw in his Fortune 500 company that allowed foreign interests to infiltrate the democratic process of the 2016 presidential election in the U.S..
This is the third time I am asking the question. You have avoided it twice now. Is there some reason why you are avoiding the question? ‘I think this is an admission on your part that Russian interference occurred.’ 😉
And no, I wasn’t comparing an intelligence report to FAN. I was comparing your use of your source to the way anti-fluoride fanatics use FAN.
Ah . . My apologies, Ken. Upon reviewing the comments, I see you did answer the question as to why a 33 year old worth $74 Billion risked the bottom line of his company to admit that foreign interests interfered in U.S. Politics.
Ken: “Realy, the statements of the social media heads under pressure and strong criticism from the Senate committee to censor their media are hardly reliable.”
Who, Ken? What politicians pressured Mark Zuckerberg into making a false admission which could have threatened the status of his billion dollar company? Please cite specific names.
Please cite a reliable source which confirms what you are claiming.
And please explain why Mr. Zuckerberg wouldn’t just put his money into an account in the Cayman Islands, move to Switzerland, and give the Finger to some alleged U.S. politician who had the nerve to threaten him and his very successful, global company.
Your answer wreaks of desperation. And you accuse Steven of reaching unsupported conclusions with little or no evidence? Please.
Steve, let put this bone of contention to bed.
You say “You seem to believe that there needs to be conclusive proof of collusion before even raising the question….ignoring the fact that conclusive proof cannot be obtained without first investigating.”
I assure you that is not my position. I think there is ample circumstantial evidence for corruption in the electoral process on both sides in the US to justify an investigation. As I have said I welcome it and look forward to outcomes. I have followed up the outcomes so far, read the indictments and see nothing to justify Russian collusion or interference. I found the intelligence veterans release of forensic information on the Wikipedia leaks pretty convincing. It is perhaps a bit irrelevant but it does show one aspect of Clinton’s claims in her diversion attempt was wrong.
I look forward to results of the investigation of the Focus report (the dossier) and how it was used to justify electronic snooping on an election campaign. So far, we only have leaks about the findings on that. Yes, I apologise for referring to a media report of a leak – unfortunately all we have to go on. And, please recognise your complaint is a matter fo pots and kettles considering you have linked me to such reports. But I agree – I look forward to the formal outcome of the investigation of that specific meeting and I really hope that Veselnitskaya is given the opportunity to give evidence.
Lies by politicians are expected and the specific withholding of information, in this case, is typical of this sort of Stalinist or Neo_mcCarthyist investigation where the victim is never proven to be guilty of the charge but gets caught through their omissions. Those lies in themselves do not support the collusion claim. And, yes, we have seen plenty of lies from the other campaign – specifically Clintons whole manufacture of the Russian hacking diversion. Lies are part of politicians day to day activity.
My reference to racism comes out of my own feelings and experience. My family has both Russian and Māori members and I am sensitive to examples of racist attitudes towards them which I do see quite often. I really do believe the willingness to see Russians as always the villains is racist. They simply do not deserve such attitudes. It is similar to old attituides towards Jews.
In this regard it is worth reading the article by Alexander Mercouris – Western racism and the stereotyping of Russians – this really strikes a chord with me. He has returned to that theme again in his current article on the extreme report by Senate Democrats – see Democrat Senators publish a deeply disturbing and profoundly racist report about Russia in which he points out:
This racism is also seen in the reaction to the lies of Flynn outlined in his indictment. Despite the fact that he lied about the way the Israeli PM had asked them, and him specifically, to intervene with diplomats for a number of countries (including the Russian Federation) to prevent an upcoming UNSC vote on Israel this is not being described as collusion or interference. Why not? Perhaps to do so would bring a charge of antisemitism? Or perhaps anti-Russian racism is just more acceptable by the establishment? After all, we have the spectacle of Cramer in official evidence claiming it is the Russian genes to lie and cheat! Would such comment go past unnoticed if he said that of Jews?
I see you reference to news reports of a Russian Lawyer’s contact with the legal authorities in her country, especially when working on the specific issues she was working on, as desperation. Come off it. Would you make that claim about an Israeli lawyer? Why is it OK to do so with a Russian Lawyer. And are you seriously suggesting that the Russian Federation handles its delicate intelligence and special ops though its legal authorities? Come off it.
I really cannot see why you cling on to the back-channel misrepresentation. Why are you upset that the Russians use their own equipment in their diplomatic work. Why do you call Russia a “historic opponent?” Simply because they are presented as such to you by your media or has there been some specific act of aggression against your country? And just imagine – how we would laugh if someone objected to US diplomatics using their own equipment in their diplomatic activity.
By the way, I am sure if Netanyahou is doing his job he will probably regularly use all sorts of communication opportunities to talk with his neighbours – and in many cases he will not want to have that communication thwarted by Mossad.
I thought it great that President Putin could pick up his phone and personally thank President Trump for the information provided his intelligence services by the US intelligence services leading to the capture of a number of terrorists in St Petersburg. Many lives were saved. I thought it was great that Trump could meet with Russian foreign minister Lavrov in the White House (in the same way Putin has met with the US secretary of state, as also great. It is disgusting for the establishment media and politicians to try to prevent such contact or to present it as dangerous. It is nice that such communication can be made without going through the FSB and CIA.
David, you may not have picked this up so perhaps its a case of me letting you into a little secret. I never, or hardly ever, bother to follow up links provided me by anti-fluoride or pro-collusion activists to news media. I recognise how bad and unreliable the media, all media, is. But give me a link to a paper or document and I will follow it up. I do so with links anti-fluoride people provide me with their favourite papers and end up reading and discussing them.
In this case, I have gone for documents on the collusion story. The January intelligence report is a primary one – provides the information politicians and the media continually refer to. It is essentially what Obama used to justify his questionable expulsion of Russian diplomats. If there is any real evidence that is where it will be – not in media reports.
I have read all the indictments (perhaps this is why I can see your reference to 4 indictments as somehow progress in evidence for the collusion story as silly as they actually are evidence against, if anything.
Regarding the pressure put on the heads of the social media companies to censor their media, I suggest you have a look at the video of that particular senate hearing.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Here is Mark Zuckerberg’s statement in full. This is not a link. Please give a credible explanation why he would take the time to make it. If you claim that he was pressured into making it, please provide evidence of such:
I just went live a minute ago. Here’s what I said:
Today is my first day back in the office after taking parental leave. It was really special to be with Priscilla and August after she was born, and to get to spend some more time with Max.
While I was out on leave, I spent a lot of time with our teams on the question of Russian interference in the US elections. I made some decisions on the next steps we’re taking, and I want to share those with you now.
First, let me say this. I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity. Facebook’s mission is all about giving people a voice and bringing people closer together. Those are deeply democratic values and we’re proud of them. I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That’s not what we stand for.
The integrity of our elections is fundamental to democracy around the world. That’s why we’ve built teams dedicated to working on election integrity and preventing governments from interfering in the elections of other nations. And as we’ve shared before, our teams have found and shut down thousands of fake accounts that could be attempting to influence elections in many countries, including recently in the French elections.
Now, I wish I could tell you we’re going to be able to stop all interference, but that wouldn’t be realistic. There will always be bad people in the world, and we can’t prevent all governments from all interference. But we can make it harder. We can make it a lot harder. And that’s what we’re going to do.
So today I want to share the steps we’re taking to protect election integrity and make sure that Facebook is a force for good in democracy. While the amount of problematic content we’ve found so far remains relatively small, any attempted interference is a serious issue. Here are 9 things we’ll be working on over the next few months:
1. We are actively working with the US government on its ongoing investigations into Russian interference. We have been investigating this for many months, and for a while we had found no evidence of fake accounts linked to Russia running ads. When we recently uncovered this activity, we provided that information to the special counsel. We also briefed Congress — and this morning I directed our team to provide the ads we’ve found to Congress as well. As a general rule, we are limited in what we can discuss publicly about law enforcement investigations, so we may not always be able to share our findings publicly. But we support Congress in deciding how to best use this information to inform the public, and we expect the government to publish its findings when their investigation is complete.
2. We will continue our investigation into what happened on Facebook in this election. We may find more, and if we do, we will continue to work with the government. We are looking into foreign actors, including additional Russian groups and other former Soviet states, as well as organizations like the campaigns, to further our understanding of how they used our tools. These investigations will take some time, but we will continue our thorough review.
3. Going forward — and perhaps the most important step we’re taking — we’re going to make political advertising more transparent. When someone buys political ads on TV or other media, they’re required by law to disclose who paid for them. But you still don’t know if you’re seeing the same messages as everyone else. So we’re going to bring Facebook to an even higher standard of transparency. Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser’s page and see the ads they’re currently running to any audience on Facebook. We will roll this out over the coming months, and we will work with others to create a new standard for transparency in online political ads.
4. We will strengthen our ad review process for political ads. To be clear, it has always been against our policies to use any of our tools in a way that breaks the law — and we already have many controls in place to prevent this. But we can do more. Most ads are bought programmatically through our apps and website without the advertiser ever speaking to anyone at Facebook. That’s what happened here. But even without our employees involved in the sales, we can do better.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you we’re going to catch all bad content in our system. We don’t check what people say before they say it, and frankly, I don’t think our society shouldn’t want us to. Freedom means you don’t have to ask permission first, and that by default you can say what you want. If you break our community standards or the law, then you’re going to face consequences afterwards. We won’t catch everyone immediately, but we can make it harder to try to interfere.
5. We are increasing our investment in security and specifically election integrity. In the next year, we will more than double the team working on election integrity. In total, we’ll add more than 250 people across all our teams focused on security and safety for our community.
6. We will expand our partnerships with election commissions around the world. We already work with electoral commissions in many countries to help people register to vote and learn about the issues. We’ll keep doing that, and now we’re also going to establish a channel to inform election commissions of the online risks we’ve identified in their specific elections.
7. We will increase sharing of threat information with other tech and security companies. We already share information on bad actors on the internet through programs like ThreatExchange, and now we’re exploring ways we can share more information about anyone attempting to interfere with elections. It is important that tech companies collaborate on this because it’s almost certain that any actor trying to misuse Facebook will also be trying to abuse other internet platforms too.
8. We are working proactively to strengthen the democratic process. Beyond pushing back against threats, we will also create more services to protect our community while engaging in political discourse. For example, we’re looking at adapting our anti-bullying systems to protect against political harassment as well, and we’re scaling our ballot information tools to help more people understand the issues.
9. We have been working to ensure the integrity of the German elections this weekend, from taking actions against thousands of fake accounts, to partnering with public authorities like the Federal Office for Information Security, to sharing security practices with the candidates and parties. We’re also examining the activity of accounts we’ve removed and have not yet found a similar type of effort in Germany. This is incredibly important and we have been focused on this for a while.
At the same time, it’s important not to lose sight of the more straightforward and larger ways Facebook plays a role in elections — and these effects operate at much larger scales of 100x or 1000x bigger than what we’re discussing here.
In 2016, people had billions of interactions and open discussions on Facebook that may never have happened offline. Candidates had direct channels to communicate with tens of millions of citizens. Campaigns spent tens of millions organizing and advertising online to get their messages out further. And we organized “get out the vote” efforts that helped as many as 2 million people register to vote who might not have voted otherwise. Many of these dynamics were new in this election, or at much larger scale than ever before in history, and at much larger scale than the interference we’ve found.
But we are in a new world. It is a new challenge for internet communities to deal with nation states attempting to subvert elections. But if that’s what we must do, we are committed to rising to the occasion. Our sophistication in handling these threats is growing and improving quickly. We will continue working with the government to understand the full extent of Russian interference, and we will do our part not only to ensure the integrity of free and fair elections around the world, but also to give everyone a voice and to be a force for good in democracy everywhere.
Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll keep you updated with more soon.
Stating that one needs to wait for results of an investigation before drawing conclusions on that investigation is “special pleading”? Eighteen months into a very complex investigation which is being obstructed by the most powerful politicians in the United States is equated with waiting decades for some potential research which may or may not be initiated at some point? Ken, you’re getting ridiculous now.
What is your hurry to discard the question of collusion as being a “myth” before any detailed investigation has even been completed? Why is it so important to discredit the investigation before it has been completed? Are you somehow concerned with what it will reveal? I’m really not sure what is going on here with you, Ken. Your being one whom I have known to seek the truth as discovered through proper research and investigation, regardless what that truth discloses, your adamant rush to judgement in this case prior to all the facts having been determined and revealed, really surprises me.
Ken, let me ask you this as plainly as I can.
Are you seriously saying that Mr. Zuckerberg was pressured into making a false, disadvantageous, indeed harmful claim about his company and Russian interference in the U.S. election?
Yes or no?
If yes, what evidence do you have to offer to support this position?
No, Ken. This is not an investigation into corruption within the electoral process of the US. It is an investigation into possible collusion of the President of the United States with a foreign government which has been a historic adversary of the US. Attempts to divert attention in this way are simply obstruction of that investigation.
Until the results of this investigation are finalized and made public, it is premature and irresponsible to conclude that there is nothing to the question of collusion.
I did not complain about your use of a media report to support your position, nor have I complained about media reports. You have. I simply pointed out the hypocrisy of your warning about relying upon media reports when that’s exactly what you did with your quote of the NBC report.
That politicians lie is not a reason to discard evidence suggesting collusion of Trump wth the Russian government, nor does it justify the pathological lying by our president and his people, especially when those lies are specific responses to questions raised in an investigation of this president and his people.
Your points about racism are well taken. However, they are irrelevant to my comments. Questioning a meeting with citizens of a long time adversary of the US, who have ties to the highest level of government of that adversary, does not, by any stretch of the imagination, have anything to do with racism. It has everything to do do with the prudence and diligence which would be expected of any responsible citizen or government.
I did not reference contact of a Russian lawyer with legal authorities in her country as being desperation. I responded to your request for evidence to support my claim that this specific lawyer has ties to the highest level of Russian government. Again, are you claiming that the Prosecutor General of Russia is not at the highest level of government of that country?
Yes, I would say the same about an Israeli lawyer, or that of any other nationality, were they involved in this same exact scenario.
Yes, I am suggesting that the Russian Federation handles its intelligence ops through any productive means available, as does any such country. Can you guarantee that this Russian lawyer is not a part of the Russian intelligence community? Can you state unequivically that she was not recruited by the Russian government and briefed specifically for this particular op? In the absence of such guarantees, it would be grossly irresponsible not to consider that such a person with clearly stated ties to the top level of Russian government might very well be working for that government in direct opposition to the best interests of the United States.
I have not expressed that I am upset with Russians wanting to use their own equipment. I have stated the obvious reality that a US citizen suggesting to a historic adversary of the US, that this adversary establish back channel communications with that citizen, with that adversary having complete control over all information from that communication, thereby circumventing the intelligence community of the US……is absurdly idiotic and reckless at best, and strongly suggestive of collusion and a threat to national security at worst.
It is highly doubtful that the Russian government “would laugh” at the suggestion by a top level advisor to Putin to establish a back channel communication with the US government, with the US retaining full control over all communication through that back channel. Banishment of that advisor to Siberia would be far more likely.
If you believe that Netanyahou would cede complete control of highly sensitive back channel information with Arab leaders to those leaders, thereby circumventing his own Israeli intelligence, then you obviously believe him to be a complete idiot, every bit as incompetent as Trump.
For information on the historic adversarial nature of the US-Russian relationship with countless examples of acts of agression of each country against the other, read up on the Cold War.
Yes, Putin, as does our Congressional leadership, knows exactly how to manipulate Trump….stroke his ego.
To consider a White House meeting of the President of the United States with high level officials of an adversarial government, in which press of that government was allowed in while United States press was barred, to be “great” and not dangerous to the best interests of the US may be a good description from the Russian perspective, but certainly not so from the US perspective. Ditto for our President blurting out sensitive intelligence information to those adversaries during that meeting.
Did Putin allow US press into his meeting with the US Secretary of State, while barring Russian press? Extremely doubtful.
Steve, I respectfully suggest we are going to have to agree to disagree on this issue. We obviously have different perspectives (not surprising as we live in different countries and have different experiences and backgrounds). And I find you are uncritically repeating many of the stories that the media has promoted but are simply based on misrepresentation of just outright fake news. (For example, the official media of both sides were present at the Oval Office meeting which is the normal accepted practice. The Russian press office released their photos – which were widely used – the US side did not. Yet this is somehow suggested as evidence of collusion and Trump being a Manchurian candidate in the media!! In reality, this misleading presentation of the completely normal meeting is simply an attempt by the establishment to constrain the new president in his relations with a major geopolitical partner – and that should worry us).
I actually find it disappointing that sensible people are so uncritical in their reading around this whole issue – but as I suggested in my previous article we are all subject to confirmation bias and we will all select and interpret media stories to fit our preconceived agenda. This is especially true in areas like this where most people have a partisan ideological affiliation. I just find it tiresome to confront such stories again and again and find people are allowing themselves to be driven to a position by them.
You say of me “Your being one whom I have known to seek the truth as discovered through proper research and investigation, regardless what that truth discloses, your adamant rush to judgement in this case prior to all the facts having been determined and revealed, really surprises me.” Yet you cannot accept my description of this hysteria as “myth” is not a final judgment. It is a working conclusion based on our experience in similar matters (Iraqi WMD) and the existing evidence that can be gleaned from very biased reporting and official reports and texts of indictments. As I said, if an when credible evidence is produced to support the allegations I will change my mind and will no longer call it a myth.
This is exactly my approach on, for example, the Mexican prenatal F study. I drew a working conclusion on the value and credibility of that study and the way it was being reported. I actually think it very possible high F intake by women can affect the cognitive abilities of their children – just not in the way the study reported, and the way anti-fluoride people used that study. My final conclusion on that will await a proper study of the association of fluorosis with premature births, low birth weights and cognitive results – or similar work.
I think what you have a conflict with is that I think differently to you. I do not see the Russian Federation or Russians as adversaries. I have resisted such brainwashing over years (and my family connections have helped in this). Just as I do not see Māori as lazy and criminal and always assume the worst of them (a common local comment). Again family connections and sympathies.
I think we can both agree that there is no credible evidence yet to support the allegations of collusion or interference, that one should wait for the conclusion of the investigations and their final report (what time scale are you allowing of this, by the way?) And I wish the media and politicians would also treat the issue this way. Until then I think we will simply go with our own preferences in our working judgments. I will keep calling it a myth and not credible while you will keep seeing it as credible (if not proven) and possibly a confirmation of the feelings you have about Russians who you see as “adversaries.”. I hope we can both have the honesty and objectivity to handle the final reports and conclusions properly. (As I said I have come across people who still argue the case for Iraqi WMDs)
As I say, until then we simply have to agree to disagree. A completely normal and mature position for adults, surely. It should not upset us when we come across people who draw different (working) conclusions is such matters.
Certainly, Ken. As you say, we both have our perspectives and biases. Healthy discussions such as this between those from different parts of the world are never a bad thing. As long as you fully recognize your own confirmation bias in this issue, I have no problem in agreeing to disagree. While your comments here remain surprising to me, my consideration of you as being a friend, as well as my respect for you as a scientist and a warrior against the misinformation of antifluoridationists, have not diminished in the least.
Steven, you say, “Your points about racism are well taken.”
No they are not. The Russian people are not a race. However, the Caucasian people are a race. The vernacular of that is “white people.” The word Caucasian comes from the geographical area of the Caucasus Mountains which lie in Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Therefore, if the Russian people were to be identified by race, they would be white people. That being the case, Dr. Perrott is complaining about racism against white people.
In light of President Trump’s recent racial comments on this Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, (and that is about as perfect as it gets), perhaps Dr. Perrott, as a white man living in an area formerly inhabited by the indigenous Maori, should rethink his use of the hot-bed word “racism.”
Anti-Russian hysteria, or Russo-phobia are descriptive of “ethnocentrism,” not racism. Dr. Perrott likes to throw around that word because it draws a more strong, more negative emotion than does the more correct “ethnocentrism.”
Ok, Dr. Perrott, as a white man living on Maori land, do you really want to talk about racism?
Ken, you say, “I think we can both agree that there is no credible evidence yet to support the allegations of collusion or interference . . ”
Collusion? No . . at least not public evidence. Interference? Yes.
You have asked for tangible evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election. I have provided an admission from one of the wealthiest men in the world in which he states that Russian interests infiltrated his media platform in efforts to influence the election.
That is tangible evidence which you requested . . and yet you still maintain there is no “credible evidence yet to support the allegations of collusion or interference . . ”
This is what I mean when I say you filter out that which threatens your preconceived worldview.
Oh . . one more thing, and this may have been an oversight on your part, but you seem to have neglected to respond to my previous question to you. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, and for your convenience, I’ll repeat it:
Ken, let me ask you this as plainly as I can.
Are you seriously saying that Mr. Zuckerberg was pressured into making a false, disadvantageous, indeed harmful claim about his company and Russian interference in the U.S. election?
Yes or no?
If yes, what evidence do you have to offer to support this position?
Steve, I have no problem recognising my own problems with confirmation bais as I recognise others. it is part of being human — we are an emotional rather than a rational species. Capable of rational thought but it takes an effort.
I have recognised over the years that movements I have been involved in have often deteriorated into dogma and this has made me conscious of my own tendencies and need to counter them
I find the best way at the moment is to use a wide spread of sources – I really oppose the blinkering people indulge in by refusing to access alternative sources (and this blinkering is heavily encourages by governments in the US and NATO to the extent that forms of censorship are now being considered). I also go for documents rather than news reports. These can still be unreliable but it is much easier to assess the information being used.
An example was the press agencies at the oval office meeting. I got, as did everyone else, the story that only the Russian press office was there. But reading alternative source shows that to be simply a lie – fake news. In particular, I remember reading the comments of the Russian photographer who was there. (His comments were not published by the mainstream media – of course).
Whether this extreme bias in the mainstream media is due to outright racism or simply the pressure of group thinking (with heavy pressure from the establishment) I will not speculate. But again and again, I come across these outright lies so if a story is of any interest I simply check alternative sources and documentary material to try to get more balanced information and make up my own mind.
This is the reason some people find my comment “surprising”. And it is the same reason people immersed in anti-fluoride propaganda find my comments “surprising” on that issue.
David, whatever your rationalisation I am sticking with the term racism because I think it underlines the extreme prejudices involved.
Your arguments could also be used to discredit use of the term in NZ as Māori are similarly not a race in your terms. And yes, in NZ (which is a multicultural scoewity where Māori are the tangata whenua) we often discuss racism. The term “Maori land” could be interpreted as racist – it is never used today but was in the old, less informed, days).
OK, David, you are on record as saying there is, currently, no evidence of collusion – whatever that term means.
But you claim interference. Please explain specifically what you mean by that term in this context. Does it mean manipulation of vote numbers, gerrymandering, burning ballot boxes? I need to know what form this specific alleged interference occurred in.
Then please provide your specific evidence for this – documentary not press reports (we know that are unreliable). What specific evidence is there of specific interference?
Of course, the document that is considered most reliable on this subject (and I am happy to discuss the specific examples of interference it provides) is the January Intelligence report.
And, no, there is no point harking back to the statement of Zuckerberg’s which provides absolutely no evidence (he specifically says he can’t or won’t) – and after seeing the pressure placed on the heads of these companies by the Senate committee these sort of vague statements bear a strong similarity to the “confessions” of Stalin’s victims while being far less specific. The only difference is that Stalin’s torturers would have got the victims to list specific “evidence.”
By the way, Ken, Thank you for the link to the Al Jazeera documentary. I finally had a chance to watch it.
I completely agree with the film. Not only does it testify to the fact that U.S. Intelligence was aware there was no basis for war, I was surprised to see that there was actually more knowledge about the “yellow-cake lie” than I had previously known. The truth was very well known prior to the war.
In answer to this question from you, “What would have been your reaction if I had linked to that video if it had been shown in RT?”
The answer is that I would have thanked you for the link, and I would have said, “I completely agree with the film. Not only does it testify to . . . . ” 🙂
First this: “OK, David, you are on record as saying there is, currently, no evidence of collusion – whatever that term means.”
Response: Actually I am on record as saying there is no PUBLIC evidence of collusion. Here are my exact words, “Collusion? No . . at least not public evidence.”
What does that mean? Well, let’s take the example of your friend Alexandar Mercouris who writes the Duran. When he went off on his rant about the Trump Dossier being the original and sole basis for the Mueller Investigation ( http://theduran.com/another-special-counsel-investigate-real-scandal-2016-election/ ), there was no PUBLIC evidence to the contrary.
However, when Senator Diane Feinstein released the transcript of Glen Simpson, of Fusion GPS, the PUBLIC learned that it was George Papadopoulos, who kicked off the Trump-Russia investigation by telling Australian diplomat Alexander Downer that Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton; a fact that Republicans tried to keep from PUBLIC view.
So . . in that case, first there was no PUBLIC evidence, then there was PUBLIC evidence. But the evidence always existed. Easy enough.
Ken’s quote: “But you claim interference. Please explain specifically what you mean by that term in this context. Does it mean manipulation of vote numbers, gerrymandering, burning ballot boxes? I need to know what form this specific alleged interference occurred in.”
Response: Methinks thou art feigning ignorance. Why would you think this? No on, to my knowledge, has ever suggested that Russian interests burned ballot boxes, engaged in gerrymandering, or manipulated vote numbers.
Please provide a link to any citation from anyone who has suggested this, which would naturally be where you got the idea. Or did you just make that up?
Interference means interference. It is a crime for a foreign national to spend money to influence a federal election. See https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/2145572/bluman-v-federal-election-comn/
Any foreign influence that can affect a vote is interference. For example, if a voter was on the fence as to whether to vote for The Donald or Hillary, and that potential voter was surfing through Facebook and saw a meme from a group calling itself The Heart of Texas that said “Hillary Clinton has a 69% approval rating among all veterans,” that might influence their vote. And if The Heart of Texas was really concocted invention from a troll farm in St. Petersburg, that would be foreign interference in a U.S. Federal election.
(By the way, take a look at this one, you’ll love it: “Satan: If I win, Clinton wins. Jesus: Not if I can help it.” Take a look at the image on the meme. It’s hilarious. http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-facebook-ads-2016-election-trump-clinton-bernie-2017-11
Ok. To Zuckerberg. This is what you have to say: “And, no, there is no point harking back to the statement of Zuckerberg’s which provides absolutely no evidence (he specifically says he can’t or won’t) – and after seeing the pressure placed on the heads of these companies by the Senate committee these sort of vague statements bear a strong similarity to the “confessions” of Stalin’s victims while being far less specific.”
First of all, a Senate Hearing is not Stalin coercing a confession. Take a look at this. This is a great example of a Senate committee trying to pressure an industry leader into confessing War Profiteering. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDkTkpoyfL0
If you bothered to look at the footage, what you saw was an actual McCarthyistic Senate, the real thing from 1947, not your imagined pseudo-McCarthyism of today, trying to pressure Howard Hughes into admitting that his company engaged in crimes against the United States. Howard Hughes told them to go fuck themselves.
After watching that, do you honestly believe a Senate Committee could pressure Zuckerberg into anything?
Let’s look at Zuckerberg, a guy who is wealthier, younger, and more sane than Howard Hughes. Face it, no one can put any pressure on someone worth $73 Billion.
Aside from that, Zuckerberg made statements Under Oath. A sworn statement is considered valid evidence, because the penalties for perjury can be severe.
Let me get this right. Your off-the-wall theory is that Mark Zuckerberg took an oath to tell the truth before a Senate Committee, and you are saying he lied, under penalty of perjury, so that he could make statements which would have defamed and devalued his Fortune 500 company, because some Senators, whom he could squash like bugs – and then move to another country, pressured him?
What evidence do you have to put forth such an outlandish theory and discount the sworn testimony of Mark Zuckerberg? If you have personal knowledge that he committed perjury in his claim that Russian interests attempted to influence a U.S. election, I suggest you get your documents to the Trump White House. They would be very interested in this.
So again . . Sworn testimony is valid evidence. What evidence do you have to discount Zuckerberg’s testimony?
Bit confused here, David.
You assure me there is no public evidence of collusion and now you say there is – all within a few paragraphs?
I am beginning to think we should have a specific definition of what is meant by “collusion.”
I am aware of the controversy around the Fusion report and the apparent desire to move away from. But the Australians are laughing about the substitute ring in.
No, I am not feigning ignorance – just that I cannot see what this interference is that you talk about as I cannot see anything covered by such a term. The specific examples I mention (with the possible exception of ballot box burning go on in the US and I am aware there are investigations currently underway on them. I don’t think there is any serious suggestion of involvement from the Russian Federation. Manipulation of votes by Russia by hacking has been suggested but I didn’t think anyone seriously took that up – and even the mainstream media has gone back on, or denied such reports.
OK – you give a specific example – foreign nationals spending money to influence a federal election. A can understand that. It is the sort of thing the US indulges in around the world and did so heavily in the 1996 presidential elections in the Russian Federation. Boxloads of money were passed around in that case and US nationals had offices in the Moscow White House – the seat of the Russian Duma. While it is generally acknowledged that the US financed their efforts heavily most of the money came from the Russian oligarchs who had stolen it from the Russian people. This has often been described as the biggest theft in history. The US supported, and helped, that theft.
(I imagine this is one of the reasons Russians roll their eyes and laugh when they hear unverified stories of how their government or president interfered in the US elections.)
Understandably countries try to prevent this and I notice the Russian Federation has recently tightened up their laws in an attempt to prevent money being transferred via NGOs to political parties. This has been a common way for the US intelligence agencies to get finance to “opposition” groups like Navalny’s in Russia.
You give one example of someone or some group on a Facebook page saying something about election candidates. That happens, of course, it happens a lot. I have seen no credible evidence that any Russian state organisation does this but am aware of the unsupported claims being made – such as the Heart of Texas. It is incredible how news reports will claim “proof” and they simply baldly claim a facebook page is controlled from Russia with no evidence at all. Ah, the sorry state of the US media (and the gullibility of its readers) – especially when the words “Russia” and “Putin” are used. the need for evidence seems to fly out the window.
But, I imagine in the upcoming Russian Presidential elections there will be all sorts of social media comments made about candidates. And I bet some of those will be made by foreigners, including US and British citizens. I imagine the US intelligence agencies will be organising some of these too. Of course, a lot will be made by Russian citizens – I have already seen such derogatory comments about some of the potential candidates. I wonder if any of the political organisation or candidates will moan after the election that the result was influenced by a Facebook comment? And, if they do, I wonder who in their right mind will take them seriously given that the average Russian voter is exposed to such derogatory comments, and such comments coming from the US anmd NATO countries, all the time..
So, you claim that while there is no public evidence of collusion (just like there is no public evidence of harm from community foundation but some nutters still hold out hope) there is evidence of interference.
So, please provide specific evidence. You mention money from foreign nationals. Can you provide specific evidence of any money being transferred from Russia to the US to support any of the candidates?
Can you provide any specific evidence of Russian money being used by a state organisation to plant social media comments (I add state organisation as I am aware plenty of Russians, many living in the US as well as Russia, regularly post on social media)? No, unverified news reports do not count.
Finally, can you suggest any serious likelihood of such social media posts on an election in either the USA or the Russian Federation having any significant effect? After all, in the USA at least, the candidate campaigns had budgets of billions of dollars. Anything like a Facebook post is hardly going to have an effect – even if planted by a foreign intelligent agent.
David, sworn testimony is just that – sworn testimony. It may or may not contain evidence but it is not evidence in itself.
Zuckerberg’s article (which was not sworn) is evidence-free. He does make a claim of something but says he can not provide the evidence.
This is the content story through this whole hysteria. And shockingly, media and the faithful have taken to describing evidence-free reports and statements as “evidence.” We have see selected opinion being converted to official documents and then convert to “facts.” What a stupid fiasco.
There is a difference between individual citizens voicing their opinions on Facebook and actual interests paying people to flood a social media platform. We know that the crime of actual foreign money being paid for sway an election occurred. How do we know this? What actual evidence do we have?
“The testimony of a witness is the information and answers to questions given by a witness to the court as a whole. Testimony is considered to be a form of evidence, just as physical objects are considered to be evidence.” https://trial.laws.com/testimony
So, to summarize your answer, Ken, you have absolutely no evidence to support your claim that Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch lied under oath when he testified that Russian disinformation reached as many as 126 million U.S. users in order to affect the 2016 presidential election.
To quote you: “I keep asking people who question that for their own take – what specific evidence have they seen. And all I get is documents outlining opinion.” . . However, in your case, you’re not even providing a document. All you are providing is your opinion.
You have ask for evidence supporting the claim of Russian interference in the 2016 election. I submit the sworn testimony of Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch which, as I have shown above, is actual evidence. You have nothing but your opinion to counter this evidence. Therefore, in this debate, we have concluded that certain Russian interests did commit the crime of spending foreign money to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
End of story.
It pains me to say this, Steven, but Condoleezza Rice isn’t exactly the most credible source you could have chosen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyFgdVSOqtg
You’re missing the point here, David. Ken has painted the Russian probe as nothing more than “Democrat funded muck raking” and “myth”. Here we have Rice, a very prominent Republican, former Secretary of State under a Republican President, stating that Trump should not be calling this question a “hoax”. It’s difficult to dismiss this question as being simply a partisan “myth” when opinions such as this are being put forth by both Republicans and Democrats.
Ken, you seem to have misunderstood:
“Bit confused here, David.
You assure me there is no public evidence of collusion and now you say there is – all within a few paragraphs?”
Re-read it. I said there is no public evidence of collusion. End of story.
What you are referring to (when you say “now you say there is”) is my example from the Duran in which the writer went off on his rant about about the Trump Dossier being the original reason for the Mueller investigation. First there was no public evidence to the contrary, and then after Sen. Feinstein’s actions, the evidence to the contrary became public.
Two different things. 1. Collusion & 2. the Trump Dossier being the sole reason for the investigation.
I hope this helps.
Steven, Ok. I get it, but Condoleeza Rice?
“Ken has painted the Russian probe as nothing more than “Democrat funded muck raking” and “myth””
Democrat funded? Has Ken provided any evidence that the funding for any investigation or probe has come from Democrats? Has he provided any evidence of any funding from Democrats for any muck racking? If he did, I missed it.
I’m sure he would have provided such evidence of funding since he has an evidence based mindset.
My point from the very beginning has been that there is ample documented evidence demonstrating that Ken’s labeling this collusion question as being nothing but a “myth”…..is premature and lacks credibility. Ken has knowingly or unknowingly fallen into the Trump tactic of seeking to trivialize and discredit this question before the bulk of the facts of any detailed investigation have even been revealed. I don’t claim to know these facts yet, nor have I claimed that there is enough valid evidence to prove collusion. I have simply stated that there is enough documented evidence to warrant a full investigation of the question of collusion, and that judgment on its validity needs to be withheld until we have the results of this investigation.
The “Democrat funded muck raking” to which Ken refers is, I have assumed to be, the dossier, which he rightly indicates was funded by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. He uses the facts that there are unproven allegations in the dossier, and that the dossier was funded by Democrats, as a large part of his argument that the question of collusion is nothing more than a partisan “myth”, kept alive by Democrats and media “hysteria”
What Ken omits is the fact that the initial information gathering for the dossier was funded by a Republican, that there are aspects within the dossier which have been corroborated from independent sources, and that Democrats are not the only ones taking this question very seriously. Whether one accords credibility to Rice or not, she is a very prominent Republican, former Secretary of State under a Republican President. That she is on record as stating that the question should not be labeled a “hoax”, puts a big dent in Ken’s implication that the question is simply a partisan “myth”. Her former position as Secretary of State provides her with a world view, which puts a dent in Ken’s implication that those who take this question seriously are basing their opinion on nothing but what he considers to be biased American media reports.
None of this proves collusion, nor have I claimed that it does. However, it does support the point I have been making all along. There is too much documented evidence which has been made available, to simply discard the question of collusion as a partisan “myth” prior to bulk of information from a highly detailed investigation having even been released.
No David, it doesn’t help. It still comes across as confused.
I am well aware of the debate over which specific story was used by the FBI to get legal approve of their electronic monitory of the Trump people. I don’t think it matters – both stories are farcical – and surely the easiest way to decide is for the FBI to release their documents used for the legal application.
However, I must take your statement that you say there is absolutely no public evidence for collusion as your current position
I realise you are, actually, in the position of those anti-fluoride nutters who agree there is no public evidence for harm from CWF but have faith that sometime somewhere in the future credible evidence will turn up.
It’s a position I think is logically correct by stupid for normal people who are prepared to go with the existing evidence, draw working conclusions, get on with life and be prepared to change their mind if and when new evidence turns up. This latter position is the way humans work – if they want to achieve anything in life.
I take this position over the IQ myth. I agree logically that sometime, somewhere, evidence may turn up to show a negative IQ affect from CWF. If this ever happens I will stop calling this particular story a myth. But meantime I get on with my life using the current knowledge.
Please, Steve, don’t talk past me repeating arguments we have already dealt with (but presenting them in a way you know does not reflect my position).
It is not respectful or mature.
I am always happy to discuss this issue further with you – all I have said is that it this stage we have a different perspective (you see Russians as adversaries who cannot be trust, I don’t – any more than other peoples). If you think there is something else I should consider then bring it up with me. Please don’t misrepresent me behind my back.
Ken, I apologize. It is indeed, irritating when people talk past other commenters, and that was not my intent here. Knowing that you read all comments, I was commenting to you as well as David, and should have made that clear in my wording. If there is anything I have presented which misrepresents what you have stated, please let me know and I will gladly reconsider my statements. As of now, I stand by what I stated.
Thanks for the opportunity to correct some of the misrepresentation, Steve.
1: I have not “painted the Russian probe as nothing more than “Democrat funded muck raking” and “myth”.” You may have interpreted it that way but it is certainly not how I see it. I am completely non-partisan in this and recognise Trump’s opponents come from both major parties – both before and after his election. I do see a strong partisan component though – it has disturbed me that people I have often considered rational have so willingly taken up a neo-McCarthyist, Russophobic (even anti-Russian racist) argument simply because of their partisan disappointment. I would have thought their principles, and therefore attitudes towards world peace and international understanding, let alone the fight against terrorism, would have had deeper roots.
I guess I should know better as I do really know how tribal party politics are.
2: You say:
May I reword this in a way we should both understand – and this is an attitude I sometimes get from anti-fluoride people.
Ken, I accept your clarifications, other than the fluoridation comparison. Again, that is apples to oranges. There were indications of potential IQ impact by fluoridation. Studies were run and completed to determine the validity of that question. Given the results of these studies, a credible claim can be made that the IQ association is myth, because the studies have produced no valid evidence otherwise. A fluoridation comparison to your current claim here would be having claimed the IQ question to be a myth prior to any studies, whatsoever, having been performed to determine the validity of the question raised by the initial indication of IQ impact.
Claiming the collusion question to be a myth because bits and pieces of the only credible investigation which has been initiated, and incomplete information in the unclassified portion of an intelligence report, are insufficient to prove collusion, has no validity. We don’t have enough information to reach such a conclusion yet. If you are really seeking to inform, rather than influence toward your bias through the use of dismissive language, the objective characterization of the question would be “as yet unproven allegation”.
The introduction of Rice into the mix is not as evidence that there was or was not collusion, but simply to demonstrate that the this question is not strictly partisan, born out of “Democrat funded muck-raising” and media “hysteria”. Rice is an example of a highly respected member of Trump’s own party with a world perspective who is taking this seriously.
I disagree with your interpretation of the fluoride-IQ story, Steve.
I called this story a myth long before any specific studies were done on areas of CWF – because it was based on misrepresentations. The studies referred to were of poor quality and occurred in areas of endemic fluorosis.
I think I was justified in calling it a myth then – as a working conclusion – because of the nature of the evidence (poor and biased) and because of the unreliability of those promoting the myth. Strong parallels with the collusion myth.
OK, there are now some studies done in areas of CWF but I do not see them as a final, conclusive rejection of the myth. One can fall back on the issue of the size of the effect one can detect (Broadbent’s study had a relatively large confidence interval, for example). In science one or two studies are not generally treated as conclusive proof.
So I am still open. My working conclusion is that the story is a myth. Initial studies support that conclusion, but I am still open to changing my mind when more conclusive evidence comes in.
In practice, this was also the attitude of others who reviewed the evidence. They did not accept the promoted story – and this was before the publication of Broadbent’s paper.
In the real world, the anti-fluoride attempt to argue that one should wait until all the evidence is in did not sway the reviewers. They still argued for the continuation of CWF on the basis that the evidence to date showed no harm. That is how humanity makes progress – we don’t sit around waiting for new studies just because someone claims they have faith there will be some. But we do keep our eyes on new studies and are prepared to change our conclusions if necessary.
I initially called the Clinton story a myth becuase as a politician she cannot be trusted. She was attempting to divert attention away from the exposure of corrupotion and the attempts at evidence were extremely poor. Since then there have been several releases of findings, documents, from the investigation – I see them as similar to the NZ, Swedish and Canadian studies on the fluoride-IQ story.
So the evidence to date confirms my initial working conclusion the collusion story is a myth in the same way the IQ studies in areas of CWF confirmed my working conclusions.
In this sense, the collusion and IQ stories are certainly not apples and oranges. I think my response has been reasonable in both cases. I can understand why anti-fluoride activists and partisan Clinton lovers or Trump haters (or extreme Russophobes) may object to my use of the word “myth.” But, hell, it is my blog and I love to be provocative. I do not use the word myth when writing scientific papers on the IQ effect.
Ken says: “However, I must take your statement that you say there is absolutely no public evidence for collusion as your current position
I realise you are, actually, in the position of those anti-fluoride nutters who agree there is no public evidence for harm from CWF but have faith that sometime somewhere in the future credible evidence will turn up.”
No, I am not.
Ken, I’ve already made this as clear as I can. I am not discussing collusion with you. I have already said there is a difference between “collusion” and “interference.” You appear to be discussing collusion with Steven. Leave me out of that.
You have asked for evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election. I have provided that evidence. You have offered nothing to counter that evidence. This debate is over.
Russian interests interfered in the 2016 election. I am in no position to discuss whether or not foreigners colluded with the Trump campaign.
Is that clear enough?
So, David, your story about Russian interference is restricted to “actual interests paying people to flood a social media platform.”
A bit vague. But specifically which of these interests are state authorities of the Russian Federation?
You fall back on “Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch . . . testified that Russian disinformation reached as many as 126 million U.S. users in order to affect the 2016 presidential election.”
That again is vague. Could you provide the piece in his testimony which described the Russian state agency involved? Or, perhaps you could link me to the testimony – I can’t find it and I do not have access to NYT at the moment. I have seen a video recording of the pressure put on Stretch by the Senate hearing.
The closest thing I can find is a reference to Facebook adverts paid for in rubles. Is that what you mean by interference?
Weird, as I bet there was plenty of advertising related to the US elections paid for in a number of currencies at that time. The adverts paid for by RT may have been paid in rubles. RT has made public their ads on Facebook from that time and the amount of money spent on them. The ads were simply promotions of their programme content. Presumably, all news agencies in the US were doing similar things at the time.
And what the hell is the problem? Facebook approached RT with a plan for their advertising around the elections. RT declined the offer as it was too expensive. But now, after political pressure, Facebook bans all ads from RT!!
Apparently, in their innocence, Facebook thought it a good thing for news agencies to report on the US elections and were willing to provide a service for money. Now they have had their wrist slapped for such innocence and the US seems to be retreating into the paranoia characteristic of the Soviet leadership during their time. They seem to be seeking to control, even censor, media they do not have direct control of.
There is talk of a firm based in St Petersburg. I don’t know what that firm does or who pays them to do it. It is quite feasible that if they are involved in placing Facebook posts a US political organisation or company paid them to place such posts during the election. However Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch said in the written testimony that the 80,000 posts from Russia’s Internet Research Agency were a tiny fraction of content on Facebook, equal to 1 out of 23,000 posts. The amount of money allegedly spent by this firm pales into insignificance when compared with the billions the presidential election campaigns had in their budgets. And I bet some of that was used to place misleading facebook posts.
I really think this sort of thing is pathetic if you are describing it as Russian interference. I am sure this sort of thing goes on all the time. For example, I often post things on the MSoF facebook page. Sometimes I will pay for the post to be promoted (I assume this is similar to what RT was doing). It means the post gets in front of a wider audience – I pay more and the audience becomes even wider. Facebook makes some money and we get more nutters commenting.
Now just imagine of an anti-fluoride Senate pressured Facebook, lectured them on allowing NZ money to be used to influence things in the US and Facebook responded by refusing to accept paid promotions from MSoF!
Isn’t the whole thing silly?
And yet US and NATO politicians are running around claiming “Russian” or “Putin” interfered in the French, German and Catalonian elections. They interfered in the Brxist referendum (crazily actual figures were produced in this case to show Russian money of less than 1 US$ was used to pay for posts or ads). They are being accused of interfering in the upcoming Mexican elections. Bloody hell – perhaps they are also going to be accused of interfering in the upcoming Russian presidential elections.
The whole thing is just so bloody stupid. If that is what it is all about I don’t think evidence matters.
But it does show that the establishment in the US appears to be unable to handle the democratic situation where free speech enables this sort of thing to happen. People do get a chance to participate – and yes misinformation gets promoted, there is dross among the good stuff. Nothing new there as misinformation has been promoted by the mainstream media for yonks. Apparently, the real problem is the growth of the internet and alternative media is allowing others to promote their information.
All this means for the discerning reader is that they have to apply their critical and intelligence analysis of the available in information to a wider number of sources. I think that is well worth it as I have found it far easier to work out the real situation in various parts of the world than I did in the past when the mainstream media had a monopoly.
Ken, read your entire comment (just above) with this in mind. It is a violation of Federal law for foreign money to be spent in the U.S. to influence a U.S. Federal election. https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/2145572/bluman-v-federal-election-comn/ (The same is true in Canada. I can’t spend money in Canada to try to influence an election there. And I assume the same is true in many countries.)
For example, when you spend money on Facebook for MSoF, are you trying to influence a federal election? When RT spends money on adverts to promote its own programming, is it trying to influence a Federal election?
Your comment: “Now just imagine of an anti-fluoride Senate pressured Facebook, lectured them on allowing NZ money to be used to influence things in the US and Facebook responded by refusing to accept paid promotions from MSoF!” — Irrelevant.
Your comment: “Apparently, in their innocence, Facebook thought it a good thing for news agencies to report on the US elections and were willing to provide a service for money. ” — Irrelevant.
Your comment: “Weird, as I bet there was plenty of advertising related to the US elections paid for in a number of currencies at that time. The adverts paid for by RT may have been paid in rubles. RT has made public their ads on Facebook from that time and the amount of money spent on them. The ads were simply promotions of their programme content.” — Irrelevant.
I will look for Stretch’s testimony later, when I have more time.
Here you go. https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/10-31-17%20Stretch%20Testimony.pdf
I personally haven’t read it in it’s entirety, but just glancing through it, he did testify:
“We found that fake accounts
associated with the IRA spent approximately $100,000 on more than 3,000 Facebook and
Instagram ads between June 2015 and August 2017. Our analysis also showed that these
accounts used these ads to promote the roughly 120 Facebook Pages they had set up, which in
turn posted more than 80,000 pieces of content between January 2015 and August 2017. The
Facebook accounts that appeared tied to the IRA violated our policies because they came from a
set of coordinated, inauthentic accounts.”
” Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian company located in
St. Petersburg. “
Thanks for the link, David. I actually already had it. The questioning and pressure placed on these spokespersons for social media, and their responses under pressure, are really the interesting aspect of those hearings. Actually quite revealing.
As I said, $100,000 spent on ads on Facebook and Instagram (and I assume ads might mean the promotion of posts) is pitifully small and certainly does not justify the hysteria.
The interesting thing though is that IRA is probably just one example of a number of companies around the world doing this sort of thing, and getting contracts to do so. It could be that this is even done under contract for US parties – campaign, etc. I often feel that the climate change and anti-fluoride campaigns employ companies like this to achieve their level of saturation.
The important thing is that this is not evidence, it is allegations and it would be interesting to see what it is based on. There is no claim of Russian state agency involvement (although of course the FSB, CIA, FBI, Democrats, Republicans are all equally possible as contractors of this and similar companies).
Facebook acknowledges a problem with unauthenticated accounts (and presumably they are alleging this specific company, like similar companies would be creating such accounts) They have undertaken to attempt to prevent unauthentic accounts – surely a good thing.
But an element of this dredging for evidence of collusion/interference is that simply because a company has an office in St Petersburg is taken to imply evil intent and acting as part of a subversive organization. In the end, givne that capitalism is global, companies have bases and offices around the world and this is usually considered a good thing. The attribution of intent or evil because this office is in Russia or that it is a Russian registered company (if it is) is simply another example of a prevailing racist attitude. Certainly, it is evidence of how words like “Russia” and “Putin” are used to confuse people and promote Russophobia.
David, I glad you think this concentration on the activity of RT and RT promoting their news by ads in Facebook are irrelevant. You do realize that is the only example of “evidence” in the January intelligence report which is used to give formal justification for this whole Russophobic hysteria of interference?
Ken, right at the start I would like to point out that you are the only person here who has used the word “evil.” I never called anyone evil. Steven never called anyone evil. I think you should honestly take a long hard look at your own persecution complex in regards to whatever ties you have to Russia or its government.
Let me also say that my father’s family came from the Volga River region of Russia. I would never say anything derogatory about the Russian people, despite the illusory persecution feelings you appear to harbor.
The Russian government, on the other hand, has become famous for the murders of its own journalists whose only vocation is to inform the Russian people of the truth. The Russian government has displaced its own people for the sake of global prestige during the Olympic games held in their country.
My contempt for a repressive regime says nothing about the love of the Russian people who currently live in the land from where my father came. If you want to support that regime and profess your love for the people of my family, you are neither honest, inquisitive, nor critical.
Nevertheless, Russian interests did interfere in the 2016 election.
As expected, you did not tell the truth. This is what you said, “I will change my mind when I see credible evidence.” You didn’t change your mind did you. Are you willing to admit that Russian interests interfered in the election? Yes or no?
Let’s go through this again. Sworn testimony is considered credible evidence. https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/2145572/bluman-v-federal-election-comn/
Sworn testimony was provided that Russian interests did interfere in the election. https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/10-31-17%20Stretch%20Testimony.pdf
The fact that you do not accept sworn testimony as evidence does not negate the fact that it IS acceptable evidence. Proof has been provided that it is acceptable evidence. Your inability to accept a fact is your issue. It is not with the rest of the world that has the problem. (Your quote: “The important thing is that this is not evidence . . “)
Your quote: “It could be that this is even done under contract for US parties – campaign, etc. ”
Response: If U.S. companies are doing this in U.S. elections, that would not be illegal. Your point is irrelevant.
Your quote: “As I said, $100,000 spent on ads on Facebook and Instagram (and I assume ads might mean the promotion of posts) is pitifully small and certainly does not justify the hysteria.”
Response: What you failed to mention is that according to sworn testimony,
“Our best estimate is that approximately 126 million people may have been
served content from a Page associated with the IRA at some point during the two-year period.”
126 million exposed to IRA content in a country of 323 million. That is almost 40% of the population of the United States exposed to fake account adds from foreign interests attempting to influence the Presidential election. And you don’t understand what all the fuss is about?
You have deliberately cherry-picked an insignificant stat in order to trivialize the matter. That in itself speaks to your dishonesty.
Your quote: ” . . simply because a company has an office in St Petersburg is taken to imply evil intent and acting as part of a subversive organization.”
Organization? Quote from the sworn testimony: ” the IRA violated our policies because they came from a set of coordinated, inauthentic accounts.”
A set of “coordinated” inauthentic accounts IS a subversive organization.
Your quote: ” . . companies have bases and offices around the world and this is usually considered a good thing. The attribution of intent or evil because this office is in Russia or that it is a Russian registered company (if it is) is simply another example of a prevailing racist attitude.”
Please provide evidence that the IRA is a global company with only one office in St. Petersburg. If you cannot do so, please retract the statement.
Show me the evidence for what you just said.
David, do you think this sort of thing is a violation of Federal law for foreign money to be spent in the U.S. to influence a U.S. Federal election. This is an email from Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy to Hillary campaign chair John Podesta
David this illustrates a problem in these sorts of discussions – you say of me:
That you could claim I have “ties . . . to Russia or its government” shows a paranoia or just plain brainwashing. I find it incredible for this to occur as these are subjects everyone can discuss and do so in a collegial fashion. When people start accusing blog discussion partners of having some sort of ties with a foreign government (a common response from people who wish to dirty the waters) proper informed discussion becomes impossible.
But it does illustrate how unreliable such sort of claims are and how unreliable you are as a source of information on this issue. If people can say that of a discussion partner how credible are their claims of collusion/interference in the US presidential elections. Surely it just illustrates how easy it is to make things up to fit their story.
I am well aware this sort of thing goes on and it is a reason I always ask for specific evidence. A discussion partner’s biases and conspiracy theories are of no value to me. I am as prepared as anyone else to recognise wrongdoings, commercial and political, by people in Russia and the Russian government as I am for any other national or national government. But the demonisation of the country and president that we are all exposed to just means it is simply sensible to ask for, and look at, specific evidence. There are just so many lies being promulgated. For example, you say:
“The Russian government . . . . has become famous for the murders of its own journalists.”
Not one iota of evidence. It is like the story we were told as kids that Russian women are fat. Or Russian women have become famous for being fat. Yes, tell enough lies and the lies become famous – but lies are not the truth.
This a first for me:
“The Russian government has displaced its own people for the sake of global prestige during the Olympic games held in their country.”
What happened? Did some citizens lose their homes with the rebuilding involved? Were drunks moved off the street? Aren’t these action common in all countries holding such big events? What is so special about the Russian Federation?
But, this is so typical – fact-free comments being made and the recipient is expected to accept them without any evidence at all. Remind you of the January intelligence report?
No, David, sworn testimony is only evidence of the testimony. It does not mean that any claims made in the testimony are true – that we should accept such claims without any specific evidence. You are just, again, using a trick to avoid facing up to the fact you have no specific evidence. No one appears to have – at least so far.
For example, the Facebook representative appeared to promise (in September) to make available a large number of posts made by the company under question. I would love to see them so that I can make up my own mind about the nature of the evidence and the nature of those posts. Can’t find them anywhere – have you seen them? If so, please provide a link. Is this the material Facebook claims to have but is not allowed to make public?
You are worried by a statement that “possibly” 126 million people could have been exposed to some posts. Hell, so could have I been exposed – it doesn’t worry me one bit as I don’t thing anyone on Facebook is so simple to accept conspiracy theories and childish rumors unless they correspond to their own biases. That number means nothing because anyone on Facebook is “possibly” exposed to promoted material.
Even more people are exposed to the mainstream (“official”) media which often contains misleading material. Hell, statements from political leaders, well known for telling lies, are exposed to more people.
I am well prepared to believe that companies like IRA violate Facebook’s authentication policy. I am sure we have seen material from similar companies in our discussions on the fluoridation issue.
As for IRA – I simply cannot say anything. I have done my best to research its nature, origins, and location of offices. I find lots of speculation (based mainly on two articles from Russians sources which don’t necessarily have credibility). I don’t find anything surprising – but really, the commercial world with all it links (usually international) changes in ownership, etc. is beyond me. It is even worse in attempting to deal with information in a foreign language from a country where business registers would confuse the hell out of me and where, as a strong residue of the criminal anarchy of the 90s, so many cowboys operate. It’s bad enough here and we only had the 1984-1990 Labour government deregulations to worry about.
So, no. “Sworn testimony” is not convincing to me. However, if you can produce some credible verified evidence from the testimonies I would love to see it. Those Facebook posts from IRA which were to be handed over to Congress would be a start.
Ken, thank you for your reply. To your first comment, I don’t know what that is therefore I can’t comment on it. “Subject: Endowment.” Endowment is rarely, if ever, used in the context of a contribution to a political campaign. “Endowment” is more often, if not always, used in the context of a contribution to a charitable or humanitarian organization.
Can you put this in context or provide a link to this? Until then, all I can say is that there is nothing illegal about anyone making a contribution to a charitable fund.
My quote: ““I think you should honestly take a long hard look at your own persecution complex in regards to whatever ties you have to Russia or its government.”
I don’t know if you have ties to the Russian government. That is why I used the word “or,” rather than “and.” But you do have ties to Russia. You have family ties to Russia. My comment was not incorrect.
Your comment: “This a first for me: “The Russian government has displaced its own people for the sake of global prestige during the Olympic games held in their country.”
According to Human Rights Watch, tens of thousands of workers, a large number of whom are foreign migrant workers, are building 136 Olympic sites. Media, activists, human rights organizations and other NGOs have been highlighting human rights abuses related to these works, including: exploitation of workers engaged in Olympic construction; illegal dumping of construction waste threatening residents’ health & safety; evictions and displacement to make way for Olympic construction, sometimes without fair compensation; refusal to relocate people whose homes are severely damaged or affected by Olympic construction; and pressure on and harassment of environmental and human rights activists and journalists who criticise Olympic preparations or other government policies. https://business-humanrights.org/en/major-sporting-events/russia-human-rights-abuses-related-to-2014-winter-olympic-games-in-sochi
For more on Russian government abuses prior to the 2014 Olympics you may visit the Human Rights Watch page here: https://www.hrw.org/tag/sochi-olympics
If you have any evidence that Human Rights Watch is lying, please present it.
Regarding these abuses, you say, “Aren’t these action common in all countries holding such big events? What is so special about the Russian Federation?”
If you have evidence that “evictions and displacement to make way for Olympic construction, sometimes without fair compensation,” or, “refusal to relocate people whose homes are severely damaged or affected by Olympic construction,” occurred in the United States, please present it.
Russian murders of its own journalists. We have been here before: “March 17, 2017 – Journalist Yevgeny Khamaganov died of unexplained causes in Ulan-Ude. Khamaganov was known for writing articles that criticized the federal government and was allegedly beaten by unknown assailants on March 10.”
Interesting that so many of these murdered journalists were critical of the Federal government, local government, or local police. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia#Under_Putin
If you have any evidence that Wikipedia is lying, please present it.
It is clear that an environment exists in Russia which allows criticism of its government to be brutally snuffed out. More so than in the United States. If you can provide a list of murdered journalists in the U.S. who have been critical of their government, please do so.
In the United States, The First Amendment is the FIRST Amendment for a reason. Freedom of the Press to criticize its government is Sacred. How many journalists were murdered for criticizing President Nixon, who was brought down by that Free Press?
This climate does not exist in Russia. Russia IS famous for the murders of its journalists. I live on the other side of the planet and I know about it. That is what famous is. And no, I can not prove that anyone ordered the murder of Human Rights activist Timur Kuashev. Nor can I prove that anyone ordered the Holocaust. But I can prove that a climate of free criticism of government does not exist in Russia.
Your comment: “No, David, sworn testimony is only evidence of the testimony. It does not mean that any claims made in the testimony are true.”
According to U.S. law, it does. https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/2145572/bluman-v-federal-election-comn/
If you have legal credentials which allow you to argue U.S. law, please present them. If you have a law degree obtained in the U.S. which would allow you to voice a qualified legal argument, please present it. Otherwise, your comment is meaningless.
The fact that you don’t agree with legalities in the United States doesn’t mean they are invalid. It means you have a problem with reality. For 330 million of us, sworn testimony is valid evidence. It’s your problem. It’s not the law’s problem.
Your comment: “You are worried by a statement that “possibly” 126 million people could have been exposed to some posts.”
Actually, I am worried that you don’t see it as a problem. And of course you see the problem. That is why you didn’t mention this particular stat in your original comment. What you did mention was this: “the 80,000 posts from Russia’s Internet Research Agency were a tiny fraction of content on Facebook, equal to 1 out of 23,000 posts.”
1 out of 23,000 posts makes the problem seem more trivial than the fact that almost half of the population of the U.S. was exposed to these foreign political posts during an election that was so close that the loser actually had 3 million more votes than the winner. Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote by 2.2%. That is how fragile this election was. . . And you don’t see a problem with almost half of all voters being exposed to foreign propaganda favoring one candidate over the other?
That says more about you and your bias than it does about the election.
Your comment: ” As for IRA – I simply cannot say anything. I have done my best to research its nature, origins, and location of offices. ”
In other words, you can not support your implication that the IRA is a global company with one office in St. Petersburgh. Well, I suppose that is some progess.
Ken, my sincere apologies. In re-reading my comment I see that I provided the wrong link. In discussing sworn testimony as evidence, this link would be more relevant:
“Testimony is considered to be a form of evidence, just as physical objects are considered to be evidence.” . . https://trial.laws.com/testimony
And again: “.“Evidence” is the sworn testimony of witnesses, the exhibits admitted into evidence, and anything else I tell you to consider as evidence.”
And again: “CONCLUSION
Under the conditions discussed above former testimony is now
admissible as evidence in criminal cases in Montana as in other jurisdictions.”
And again: “Evidence, in law, any of the material items OR ASSERTIONS OF FACT (my emphasis) that may be submitted to a competent tribunal as a means of ascertaining the truth of any alleged matter of fact under investigation before it.
And again: “Testify
To provide evidence as a witness, subject to an oath or affirmation, in order to establish a particular fact or set of facts.”
And again: “Testimony – Oral evidence given by a witness under oath, either orally or in the written form of an affidavit or deposition.”
And Again: “Evidence – Anything tending to prove or disprove a disputed fact. Examples of evidence include, but are not limited to: testimony (oral statements made in court), tangible evidence (things or objects that have physical existence), documentary evidence (letters, memoranda, reports or other writings), and demonstrative evidence (procedure or re-creation where the cause and effect of an event are shown or acted out). See also Circumstantial Evidence, Rules of Evidence, and Parol Evidence Rule.”
And while I’m at it, I might as well comment further on this:
“As of 2015, Russia has been ranked 180 out of 199 countries in terms of press freedom. Under Vladimir Putin, Russia’s ranking for press freedom has steadily declined in the past decade.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timur_Kuashev#Context
“The CPJ lists Russia as “the third deadliest country in the world for journalists” since 1991, exceeded in the number of deaths only by Algeria (1993–1996) and post-invasion Iraq. It is more revealing, perhaps,[according to whom?] to set Russia alongside its G20 partners — not just the USA and France, but also Saudi Arabia and China (see Table 1, in the IFJ report). Russia’s problem, shared by certain other members of G20 (India, Brazil, and Mexico), is not simply one of the number of deaths but that killing with impunity has persisted over time.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia#International_comparisons
“Similar figures were produced by the CPJ. In a June 2007 statement, the CPJ said, “A total of 47 journalists have been killed in Russia since 1992, with the vast majority of killings unsolved,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia#Concern_abroad
And . . . since we are speaking of Freedom of the Press: “After Russia took control of Crimea, the Russian parliament passed a law making it a criminal offense to question Russia’s territorial integrity within what the government considers its borders.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_freedom_in_Russia#Criticism_of_annexation_of_Crimea
I imagine this means a journalist, or anyone for that matter, can be jailed (and whatever else goes along with that) for criticizing the illegal annexation of Crimea.
No. I can’t prove that any government official ordered the murders of any of these people. But I can prove the oppressive climate exists in Russia which allows this to happen. And its government appears to be encouraging the situation. Illegal to “question Russia’s territorial integrity,” whatever that means.
If you truly care about the Russian people, you should be screaming about this instead of arguing with me in its defense.
David, the email was one of the DNC’s leaked by Wikileaks.
I only presented it (without any claims) because you raised the illegal use of foreign money for election purposes in the US. I wonder if the authorities do any checking of money transfers like this – I bet all parties probably indulge in things like this.
Luke Harding in his book Collusion (described as the definitive book on the subject 🙂 )is presenting as evidence of interference the profit made by Trump in selling his house to a Russian Oligarch. If this sort of thing is being considered – well gooses and ganders.
” I wonder if the authorities do any checking of money transfers like this – I bet all parties probably indulge in things like this.”
I would be willing to bet real money that any foreign endowments made to the Clinton Foundation have been put under a microscope many times over. That would probably explain why this irrelevant email was released by Wikileaks.
One would hope so, David. But seeing you are putting up money you must be able to provide a link or evidence that “the Clinton Foundation have been put under a microscope.” I understand the Clintons and the foundation are still the subject of investigations.
However, John Podesta was Chairman of Clinton’s election campaign – it’s amazing how things got mixed up financially. Her subsequent DNC chairwoman even admitted that money laundering was going to transfer money away from the DNC into the Hillary campaign and this violated election law.
Irrelevant or not this email is in the Wikipedia dump because it leaked the DNC and Podesta emails.
Your quote: “But seeing you are putting up money you must be able to provide a link or evidence that “the Clinton Foundation have been put under a microscope.””
“”Time after time, the Clinton Foundation has been subjected to politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false,” Craig Minassian said in a statement to CNN.”
“The FBI has been investigating the Clinton Foundation for months, reviving a probe that was dialed back during the 2016 campaign amid tensions between Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents about the politically charged case, according to people familiar with the matter.”
“The Foundation, which was formed in 1997 during Bill Clinton’s presidency and has raised roughly $2 Billion, has been a repeated target of Republicans.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/05/us/politics/clinton-foundation-fbi.html
Your quote: “Irrelevant or not this email is in the Wikipedia dump because it leaked the DNC and Podesta emails.”
When exactly will your non-partisan source release some of the damning Trump emails . . or his tax returns?
David, you should be given a packet of gold stars for the way you enthusiastically rely on sources like CNN. But it will be interesting to see what comes out of the current investigations.
What do you mean by MY “non-partisan source?” The source was the DNC and Podesta. The emails were linked by Wikileaks and experts say they have not been altered.
I do not consider the DNC or Podesta to be MINE or “non-partisan.”
But, then again, YOUR non-partisan source, Hillary Clinton, describes Wikileaks as a Kremlin spy agency!!
Alright then, when exactly will your non-partisan, whistle-blowing source, Wikileaks, release those damning Trump emails . . or his Tax returns?
Are there some damning trump emails? Do you have “testimony” for thta? 🙂
Or is this a diversion, again?
David, your little trick of claiming testimony is evidence is surely something you do not want to persist with.
Are you then going to accept the claims of people like Bill Hirzy and Paul Connett on fluoridation to be “evidence” of harm simply because they were presented as sworn testimony?
Come off it – such testimony is not acceptable as proof, or as material evidence, where factual matters are concerned.
“David, your little trick of claiming testimony is evidence is surely something you do not want to persist with.”
Response: It’s not my little tick. It’s a fact of U.S. law.
“Are you then going to accept the claims of people like Bill Hirzy and Paul Connett on fluoridation to be “evidence” of harm simply because they were presented as sworn testimony?”
Response: If they were sworn under oath to provide truthful testimony, and they knowingly said something false, then they are guilty of perjury. If you can find an example of that, by all means, let me know and we will proceed from there.
“Are there some damning trump emails? Do you have “testimony” for thta? 🙂
Or is this a diversion, again?”
In light of the Hollywood Access tape, and other examples, knowing the way he talks, do you honestly believe there won’t be anything damning in his emails?
David – it is a trick and it relies on different meanings of the word “evidence.” Testimony, newspaper articles, opinion, etc., may be included as “evidence” in investigations and legally. But the fact they are accepted in that sense or given in sworn testimony does not make them factual or in anyway an argument to prove anything – whether political interference or harm from fluoridation. Whether the claims are sincerely believed by the witness or not.
One advantage of testimonies like those of Hirzy and Connett is that they usually cite scientific references. The fact that they believe their claims of harm in a testimony considered as legal “evidence” to be considered does not prove their claim or make it factual.
That is a great advantage – I can follow up cited references, check out how they have interpreted data, etc., I can make up my mind according to the underlying real material evidence (scientific data) not the legal “evidence” of a testimony.
Similarly, if I could actually see the posts that Facebook refers to (and which they claim are not allowed to make public) then I could have proper material evidence to consider. The sworn testimony does not do that for me.
Similarly, my next article describing the Strzok-Page texts is worth nothing without access to those texts – no matter how much I believe the story or how much I swear. I have quoted from a few of the texts and the article I describe quotes more. These texts (or a small proportion of them) are publicly available and they help me make up my mind using real facts – not newspaper articles or testimony, sworn or not.
You failed to cite any specific example in which Connett or Hirzy knowingly lied under oath. FB General Counsel, Colin Stretch made statements of fact under oath. End of story.
Ken, your quote: ” Testimony, newspaper articles, opinion, etc., may be included as “evidence” in investigations and legally.”
Wrong. Newspaper articles or opinion may not be admissible as truthful evidence. However, they may be admitted in cases of libel or slander as evidence against a defendant who wrote said newspaper or opinion pieces.
Nevertheless, I refuse to engage in a discussion with someone who has no knowledge about what they are discussing. You are factually in the wrong here. Either educate yourself, or open your mind, and then maybe we can have a meaningful discussion.
David, you well know that anti-fluoride activists often give sworn testimony or affidavits in hearings, including court hearings. As an example, several anti-fluoride activists presented affidavits to the NZ High Court in the legal action attempting to prevent fluoridation of two small south Taranaki towns.
Here are some affidaviets from that court:
Paul Connett’s affidavit
Affidavit of Mark Atkin
Affidavit of Stamoulis Litras
Affidavit of Kathleen Thiessen
Affidavit of Martin Ferguson
1st Affidavit of David Menkes
These affidavits present the opinion of the people on issues (eg is fluoridation a medicine) and interpretation of the science which they claim shows harm from fluoridation.
Now the affidavits are taken as evidence in the court – legal “evidence” – not scientific “evidence” or fact.
In fact, an objective person with access to the literature can check out these affidavits and find several factually incorrect claims.
That is the nature of legal “evidence” – it is not fact and cannot be used to prove a claim.
Another one of Paul’s sworn statements full of misrepresentations of the science.
Click to access paul-affidavit_final_20110408-1.pdf
I should correct myself regarding the Strzok-Page texts.
In fact, while a large number (something like 10,000) have been given by the DOJ to Congress only 375 have been made public. This was done by the DOJ, to a selected number of journalists. There may be a document somewhere listing them all but at the moment all I can find are quotes in newspaper articles.
There is some speculation as to why the DOJ took the unusual step of making a selected number available to journalists (and Democrats are pretty pissed) There are also attempts to get the rest of the texts made public through official information demands.
But, in the nature of things, Congress may well decide not to allow the rest to be made public. Or it may be some time before they appear in some congressional document outlining a decision.
This is interesting. I wasn’t aware that these people had actually provided sworn affidavits. I would like to take some time to look into these.
You raised the “fluoridation is medicine” argument in these affidavits. The truth is, Connett has probably said it so much that he actually believes it. When I met him in 2014 I raised the medication argument. Using the definition that he has chosen to use, he is correct. However, using that same definition, I forced him to admit that Cranberry Juice is medicine, because people use it to treat irritable bowel syndrome.
Now, if someone wanted to take this to the hysterical level that anti-fluoridationists have taken it, a parent could argue that their children’s school is forcibly medicating their children when the school serves cranberry juice – according to the definition that Connett chooses to use.
Now, would that parent knowingly be misrepresenting what he actually believes? That would be the relevant question. Does Connett believe what he is saying? I don’t think so. I have an email from him in which he admits to exaggerating the truth.
Sworn statements are to be taken as fact. A U.S. President was impeached because, under oath, he did not tell the truth about his sex life – in an investigation surrounding Whitewater, which had nothing to do with sex.
In Stretch’s testimony, he made verifiable statements of fact. He did not state opinions.
Nevertheless, thank you for the links.
David – a statement may be a fact in that it is a fact that it is a statement. But this does not mean the contents are necessarily factual.
You say Stretch made “verifiable statements of fact” – I would say “potentially verifiable” in the same way a scientific hypothesis is potentially verifiable by testing it against reality.
This is what is, currently, not possible with Stretch’s statement. He makes claims without providing the evidence anyone could look at to test his claims. In some cases the evidence is there – it’s just that at this stage it is not available to you and me – only Senate committee members.
Given the current neo-McCarthyist and Russophobic hysteria in the US – including in the US Senate – it is simply wise to want to see the material evidence. If this opportunity is continued to be denied us then it is understandable if people get suspicious. Especially those of us with a little surviving memory.
Stretch’s statements were factually verifiable. If anyone on that Senate Committee wished to scrutinize anything that Stretch said and asked for absolute proof of what he just said, and if that committee member wished to provide his or her own IT expert to verify what Stretch said, he or she could do that. (And for all we know, this may have happened in a classified setting.) His comments were verifiable.
Stretch is the General Counsel of Facebook. He understands that if he were caught perjuring himself, expelled by the bar, he would lose his job, he would forfeit his career as an attorney, and he would face a prison sentence.
Now, whatever delusional persecution complex you may harbor as you froth at the mouth about Russo-phobia, and whatever imagined pressure you feel Stretch was under by this Third-World oppressive government, it all pales in comparison to the repercussions of Stretch perjuring himself.
Steve, a while back I said in a comment:
At the time I was not aware that Veselnitskaya had in fact back in November appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I have a copy of her testimony and, while long, it would be useful for you to read it as it provides information on her relationship and communications with the Russian Federation’s Prosecutor General’s Office, her understanding of the meeting with Trump Jr and details around that.
While it is hard to get one’s head around the specific legal cases she was working on (and which she wanted to raise her concerns about with Trump Jr) the testimony does provide answers to a range of specific questions put by the committee.
I think documentary evidence like this is of far more value than hearsay of media rep0orts and claims.
You can download her testimony from https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000161-0605-da22-ad65-67efbb000001