Monday, April 24, 2017

4/23/2017 - The statistical effects of the October 28 Letter - by Michael Novakhov | Questions to the FBI: "Many good questions could and should al-zo be asked when Mr. Comey testifies in the closed session of the House Intelligence Committee this week... Comey's overall "motivations" might be complex and and at the same time simple: the security of the country. The details of these complexities are not easy to read..." | Federal Bureau of Investigation - NYT

"The statistical effects of the clearly significant (rather rapid, switch-like) changes in the voters sentiments after the October 28 Letter can be considered as the practically established fact: see the graphs below. The most interesting detail is that this sudden, abrupt changes started well before the October 28, 2016 date." 

"And while it isn’t proof of anything, the pattern is at least consistent with a “shock” caused by a burst of negative news for a candidate, as opposed to a more gradual decline." 

"The reversal point in the "Tone of media coverage" can be pinpointed to the October 16, 2016... The FBI - Comey's letter boosted this continuity in the directions of the "tones of media coverage", but did not initiate or start them, it looks like it was secondary in importance and significance to these general "tones of media coverage"... While the statistics of the Russian propaganda bots activities around that time could not be found but would be interesting to see, the descriptive accounts of its intensification during the last 10-7 days prior to Elections, as in the above piece, are quite convincing... Who and how managed this explosive burst of the negative and "fake news" about Mrs. Clinton?" 




Federal Bureau of Investigation - NYT 

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"After the release of the Comey letter, Trump's favorability shot up six points. It's dipped slightly since then, but only by a few hairs. In over a year of campaigning, only one thing had a serious impact on the presidential race. James Comey." 


Questions to the FBI

M.N.: Comey's overall "motivations" might be complex and and at the same time simple: the security of the country. The details of these complexities are not easy to read. A lot of specific questions could and should be asked, especially with regard to the "October 2016 Surprise", and the ridiculous (it is hard to find a different word) "Weiner sexting scandal", and the directly related Weiner's-Abedin computer email trove investigation. We still do not have an answer ("any answer" at this point, well or or not so well, substantiated and reasoned) as to how this enormous amount (650,000) of the e-mails (not just the casual after work reading) got in their laptop: who, how, and why dumped them. And if Weiner case was the FBI's so called "sting operation" (and the clearly politically motivated at that), and if the Russians or any other foreign (intelligence) entity assisted in damping these e-mails, then the questions arise, if there was any collusion, spoken or not, between the FBI (or its part, pursuing Weiner) and these entities. The question also arises if the "Clinton's e-mails investigations" were the deliberate and planned (and flawlessly performed) diversionary tactic: to deflect the attention and the resources from the FBI Investigation of Donald Trump, at the time a Presidential candidate. 

It is also worth remembering that at that time, very close to the Election day, the rumors were spread, including the Russian propaganda outlets and the social media, about the impending and the inevitable Weiner's arrest by the NYPD, apparently planted by none else but Erik Prince, who was as reported, seeking the "backdoor" communications channels with the Russians. Mr. Guiliani's acute political omniscience, apparently fed and fortified by his old FBI friends, is also of note, and also fits the pattern of smoke from the camp fire. The appointment of the new chief of the FBI's New York Field office (considered, rightly or wrongly, a bastion of the FBI's Trumplandia) in July of 2016, at the strategic point of the Presidential campaign, relevant or not, is also a curious occurrence. 

The statistical effects of the clearly significant (rather rapid, bullet-like) changes in the voters sentiments after the October 28 Letter can be considered as the practically established fact: see the graphs below. The most interesting detail is that this sudden, abrupt changes started well before the October 28, 2016 date. 


See: "statistical change in trump and clinton supporters after october 28 letter" 

- Google Search


This can be deduced from this graph based on the "Washington Post-ABC News national tracking poll Oct. 24-27, 2016": 

Image result for statistical change in trump and clinton supporters after october 28 letter

As is evident from this graph, the voters' sentiments started to change somewhere on October 20 - 24, probably in response to some pointed mass media campaign, which, as it is known, was facilitated by the presumably Russian cyber-bots. The letter itself might be just the contributing factor, synergistic with the adverse media campaign led by the Russian propaganda machine, of which the "Pizza-gate" was the latest offshoot. 

The reversal point in the "Tone of media coverage" can be pinpointed to the October 16, 2016 date, when, after some compensatory waves, this "tone" continued the same pattern and the directions through the Elections: 
 Image result for statistical change in trump and clinton supporters after october 28 letter

The FBI - Comey's letter boosted this continuity in the directions of the "tones of media coverage", but did not initiate or start them, it looks like it was secondary in importance and significance to these general "tones of media coverage". 

Image result for The statistical effects of the October 28 Letter

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Image result for The statistical effects of the October 28 Letter

THE OBAMACARE NOT COMEY EFFECT - December 11, 2016

aca announcement october 24 2016 | aca announcement october 24 2016 and clinton ratings

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"The speed and coordination of these efforts allowed Russian-backed phony news to outcompete traditional news organizations for audience. Some of the first and most alarming tweets after Clinton fell ill at a Sept. 11 memorial event in New York, for example, came from Russian botnets and trolls, researchers found. (She was treated for pneumonia and returned to the campaign trail a few days later.) 
This followed a spate of other misleading stories in August about Clinton’s supposedly troubled health. The Daily Beast debunked a particularly widely read piece in an article that reached 1,700 Facebook accounts and was read online more than 30,000 times. But the PropOrNot researchers found that the version supported by Russian propaganda reached 90,000 Facebook accounts and was read more than 8 million times. The researchers said the true Daily Beast story was like “shouting into a hurricane” of false stories supported by the Russians... 
The final weeks of the campaign featured a heavy dose of stories about supposed election irregularities, allegations of vote-rigging and the potential for Election Day violence should Clinton win, researchers said." 

While the statistics of the Russian propaganda bots activities around that time could not be found but would be interesting to see, the descriptive accounts of its intensification during the last 10-7 days prior to Elections, as in the above piece, are quite convincing. 

The graph on the top of this post illustrates the "statistical change in trump and clinton supporters after october 28 letter" (GS), as reflected in Trump's favorability ratings, most vividly. It also looks that the Comey's "clearance" 3 days before the Election day, was not reflected in any appreciable statistical effect. The "Intra-Trump" sentiments remained relatively stable after the elections, and started to diverge only in the beginning of April 2017, as is seen on the top graph. This might be an indication, that the cumulative effects of the Russian propaganda probably played the role more decisive than the "letters" per se. And the "blackening", negative propaganda apparently, sticks much stronger and longer, because the "embellishing, positive" white propaganda, is perceived as nothing of the ordinary, as something that is supposed to be this way. 

The overall wave-like pattern was observed by the noted pollster, 

"Clinton’s poll numbers were arguably a bit inflated in mid-October amid a very rough period for Donald Trump. And even before Comey, the media seemed eager for one last twist in the news cycle, so Clinton may have been due for a period of greater scrutiny one way or the other — for example, over emails from the Clinton campaign released by WikiLeaks.

Trump should get some credit, as well, for having been comparatively disciplined on the campaign trail. He’s gained about 2 points in national polls since Oct. 28, while Clinton lost 1 point.

Still, if you look at our win-probability graphic, while Clinton’s chances were slightly declining already after she came off her post-debate peak, the rate of decline began to accelerate a couple of days after Comey, once we began to receive some post-Comey polls. Now the decline has leveled off, and her lead has held steady over the past several days. One advantage of having a model like ours that’s pretty quick to detect changes in the polls is that we can potentially make better inferences about the cause of polling shifts. And while it isn’t proof of anything, the pattern is at least consistent with a “shock” caused by a burst of negative news for a candidate, as opposed to a more gradual decline." 

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-3-34-32-pm

It is tempting to assume that the moods, the ebbs and flows of the voting public's preference sentiments are somewhat similar to the biological process of peristalsis, and to continue the analogy, are governed by the certain rules and habits of the mass mental digestion processes of the news fodder in their media cycles: it is slow, somewhat "autonomous", self-determined to a degree, and moves along the certain temporal - stretched out in time and the time-z sinusoidal patterns, with the interplay of the psychosocial tensions determining their shape. It is also similar to the sinusoidal, supply-demand tensions reflecting the movements of the stock prices, as the reflection of the mass psychology. 

As N. Silver observed, Mrs. Clinton's "chances of winning", (which is a very different measure from the "intra-candidate" favorability ratings, as in the graph on the top), started to decline slightly after the highs of the "win" in the debates, and then, after the October 28 Letter, accelerated their declines rapidly,"consistent with a “shock” caused by a burst of negative news for a candidate".

Who and how managed this explosive burst of the negative and "fake news" about Mrs. Clinton? 

In addition to these, many other questions including Mr. Trump's finances, and possible financial obligations, formal or informal, his conflicts of interests, his special warmth for Russia (a rather rare case of the pure and platonic love on the part of the businessman and the deal-maker), and many, many other questions are very much on the agenda. 

Many good questions could and should al-zo be asked when Mr. Comey testifies in the closed session of the House Intelligence Committee this week, and al-zo for year-z to come. It is never too late to learn. 

At mean time, I hope that James Comey and Mike Pompeo have a good time and enjoy the beautiful z-z-zunny weather in New Z-z-z-eeland and the environ-z-z-z. 

Michael Novakhov 

2:45 PM 4/23/2017


How Much Did Comey Hurt Clinton’s Chances?

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When FBI Director James Comey told Congress on Oct. 28 that he was reviewing additional emails pertinent to the case of Hillary Clinton’s email server, Clinton had an 81 percent chance of winning the election according to our polls-only forecast. Today, her chances are 65 percent according to the same forecast. The change corresponds with Clinton’s drop in the national popular-vote lead: from a 5.7-percentage-point lead in our estimate on Oct. 28 to a 2.9-point lead now — so a swing of about 3 points against her.
How much of that can be attributed to Comey? And now that Comey told Congress on Sunday that the emails on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s computer won’t change his earlier conclusions about Clinton, should we expect her numbers to rebound? The cause and effect is hard to sort out. Clinton’s poll numbers were arguably a bit inflated in mid-October amid a very rough period for Donald Trump. And even before Comey, the media seemed eager for one last twist in the news cycle, so Clinton may have been due for a period of greater scrutiny one way or the other — for example, over emails from the Clinton campaign released by WikiLeaks.
Trump should get some credit, as well, for having been comparatively disciplined on the campaign trail. He’s gained about 2 points in national polls since Oct. 28, while Clinton lost 1 point.
Still, if you look at our win-probability graphic, while Clinton’s chances were slightly declining already after she came off her post-debate peak, the rate of decline began to accelerate a couple of days after Comey, once we began to receive some post-Comey polls. Now the decline has leveled off, and her lead has held steady over the past several days. One advantage of having a model like ours that’s pretty quick to detect changes in the polls is that we can potentially make better inferences about the cause of polling shifts. And while it isn’t proof of anything, the pattern is at least consistent with a “shock” caused by a burst of negative news for a candidate, as opposed to a more gradual decline.
In fact, the shift looks pretty similar to a period in July after Comey reprimanded but did not charge Clinton for her email server and testified before Congress about it. That period produced about a 2-point swing against Clinton.
The news may also have had an effect down-ballot. Democrats’ chances of winning the Senate were generally hovering around 70 percent in late October. Today, they’re 50 percent. It doesn’t take a lot to swing the numbers in the Senate forecast because of the large number of competitive races — even a 1-point swing toward Republicans because of higher turnout could affect the odds significantly.
So will the latest Comey letter help Clinton? That’s also hard to say, and any change will really come too late to be picked up on by most polls. It’s also plausible that the headlines themselves aren’t particularly helpful to Clinton, even if the news itself is. The Washington Post’s current web headline, for instance, is “FBI Director Comey says agency won’t recommend charges over Clinton email,” which reminds readers that Clinton was being investigated by the FBI for her email practices. Still, betting markets show Clinton’s probability of winning the election improving by about 3 percentage points on the news.



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"CIA director Mike Pompeo is among members from 15 agencies believed to be attending the conference and may well have been among those onboard the plane, which jetted in via Wellington." 



FBI Investigation of Donald Trump - 4.23.17 -

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5:17 PM 4/23/2017 - Copy - FBI Investigation of Donald Trump - 4.23.17 -

FBI Investigation of Donald Trump from mikenova (7 sites) 
James Comey - Google News: New report reveals why Jim Comey acted the way he did during FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton - TheBlaze.com


TheBlaze.com



New report reveals why Jim Comey acted the way he did during FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton
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Mother Jones



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Mother Jones



James Comey Wasn't a Partisan Hack. He Was Worse.
Mother Jones
By coincidence, right after my Comey post yesterday morning the New York Times published a long tick-tock about how and why Comey did what he did. It doesn't address the question of whether Comey tipped the election, it just provides an insider account ...

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Fox News



Clinton email probe reportedly caused rift between Comey, Lynch
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James Comey - Google News
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Fox News



Clinton email probe reportedly caused rift between Comey, Lynch
Fox News
Tensions boiled over after new emails were found through a separateinvestigation into former New York congressman Anthony Weiner, who was married to top Clinton confidant Huma Abedin. Comey wanted to alert Congress about what it found on the ...

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New Zealand Herald



FBI director James Comey arrives in Queenstown for 'Government conference'
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Daily Mail



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Daily Mail



Comey 'distrusted' former Attorney General Loretta Lynch
Daily Mail
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Axios



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FBI director James Comey arrives in Queenstown for 'Government conference' - National

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        FBI director James Comey has arrived in Queenstown for a 'top-secret' spy conference.
        Comey, wearing sunglasses, a light blue shirt and chino pants, arrived on an FBI chartered Gulfstream Aerospace.
        Comey was last in New Zealand in March 2016, when he met with Minister for the Government Communications and Security Bureau and Security Intelligence Service Chris Finlayson and Police Commissioner Mike Bush.
        Before Comey's arrival, a CIA jet touched down on the tarmac at Queenstown Airport.
        And, just like a scene out of an action flick, two security personnel stood guard as a number of men and women in suits exited the plane before being quickly ushered along the tarmac into waiting vehicles.
        A quick Google search of the registration number on the white, Gulfstream Aerospace's tail revealed United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) owns the jet.
        The Gulfstream has joined a second private jet at the airport, acting as added confirmation that the "Government conference" set to play out at luxury Millbrook Resort in Arrowtown in the coming week, is a meeting of spying network Five Eyes - the global alliance of the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
        A fleet of undercover police cars and a security vehicle drove onto the tarmac ahead of the jet arriving.
        CIA director Mike Pompeo is among members from 15 agencies believed to be attending the conference and may well have been among those onboard the plane, which jetted in via Wellington.
        Continued below.
        Police and security have been scattered across the grounds of Millbrook Resort this weekend, keeping a close eye on the comings and goings.
        Millbrook Resort manager Ross McLean confirmed on Saturday that a "Government conference" was taking place at the venue but denied to provide any specific details.
        "Millbrook is who we are because we do not disclose any information about any guests whether VIPs or just any couple," McLean said.
        McLean said important visitors typically enjoyed the fact that the resort was quite a "relaxed area", unlike the "hustle and bustle of Queenstown".
        The Herald believes the conference will take place for a week starting on Monday.
        A number of police officers roamed the resort grounds on Saturday morning, while security stood at a temporarily blocked internal road that runs down the side of the reception area.
        Marked and undercover police cars were spotted at various locations around the property.
        A spokeswoman for the Department of Internal Affairs told the Weekend Herald that they were not involved in the visit, which was just as much of a mystery to them as the public.
        The spokeswoman said if the highly secretive visit involved a head of state or ex-head of state, the department would typically be involved with organising vehicles and security with police.
        Prime Minister Bill English's office this week confirmed there would be not one, but a number of VIP visitors.
        A group of about 18 police officers and security guards dresses in casual attire were spotted outside the reception area at Millbrook yesterday afternoon and locals reported seeing snipers and bodyguards in Arrowtown earlier in the week.
        It is not known which government ministers are attending the Queenstown conference, however Minister for the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) and Security Intelligence Service (SIS) Chris Finlayson's is expected to make an appearance.
        Read the whole story

        · · · · ·

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        Weiner was Trump in Hillary mock debate until sex scandal

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        Only 2 points separate Clinton, Trump in latest tracking poll

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        Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say

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        Editor’s Note: The Washington Post on Nov. 24 published a story on the work of four sets of researchers who have examined what they say are Russian propaganda efforts to undermine American democracy and interests. One of them was PropOrNot, a group that insists on public anonymity, which issued a report identifying more than 200 websites that, in its view, wittingly or unwittingly published or echoed Russian propaganda. A number of those sites have objected to being included on PropOrNot’s list, and some of the sites, as well as others not on the list, have publicly challenged the group’s methodology and conclusions. The Post, which did not name any of the sites, does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet, nor did the article purport to do so. Since publication of The Post’s story, PropOrNot has removed some sites from its list.
        The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.
        Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.
        Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on “fake news,” as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem.
        There is no way to know whether the Russian campaign proved decisive in electing Trump, but researchers portray it as part of a broadly effective strategy of sowing distrust in U.S. democracy and its leaders. The tactics included penetrating the computers of election officials in several states and releasing troves of hacked emails that embarrassed Clinton in the final months of her campaign.
        During a Facebook live discussion, reporter Caitlin Dewey explained how fake news sites use Facebook as a vehicle to function and make money. (The Washington Post)
        During a Facebook live discussion, reporter Caitlin Dewey explained how fake news sites use Facebook as a vehicle to function and make money. Washington Post reporter Caitlin Dewey talks about how fake news sites function and make money. (The Washington Post)
        “They want to essentially erode faith in the U.S. government or U.S. government interests,” said Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute who along with two other researchers has tracked Russian propaganda since 2014. “This was their standard mode during the Cold War. The problem is that this was hard to do before social media.”
        Watts’s report on this work, with colleagues Andrew Weisburd and J.M. Berger, appeared on the national security online magazine War on the Rocks this month under the headline “Trolling for Trump: How Russia Is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy.” Another group, called PropOrNot, a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds, planned to release its own findings Friday showing the startling reach and effectiveness of Russian propaganda campaigns. (Update: The report came out on Saturday).
        The researchers used Internet analytics tools to trace the origins of particular tweets and mapped the connections among social-media accounts that consistently delivered synchronized messages. Identifying website codes sometimes revealed common ownership. In other cases, exact phrases or sentences were echoed by sites and social-media accounts in rapid succession, signaling membership in connected networks controlled by a single entity.
        PropOrNot’s monitoring report, which was provided to The Washington Post in advance of its public release, identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans. On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed more than 213 million times.
        Consider these points before sharing a news article on Facebook. It could be fake. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)
        Consider these points before sharing a news article on Facebook. It could be fake. Consider these points before sharing an article on Facebook. It could be fake. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)
        Some players in this online echo chamber were knowingly part of the propaganda campaign, the researchers concluded, while others were “useful idiots” — a term born of the Cold War to describe people or institutions that unknowingly assisted Soviet Union propaganda efforts.
        The Russian campaign during this election season, researchers from both groups say, worked by harnessing the online world’s fascination with “buzzy” content that is surprising and emotionally potent, and tracks with popular conspiracy theories about how secret forces dictate world events.
        Some of these stories originated with RT and Sputnik, state-funded Russian information services that mimic the style and tone of independent news organizations yet sometimes include false and misleading stories in their reports, the researchers say. On other occasions, RT, Sputnik and other Russian sites used social-media accounts to amplify misleading stories already circulating online, causing news algorithms to identify them as “trending” topics that sometimes prompted coverage from mainstream American news organizations.
        The speed and coordination of these efforts allowed Russian-backed phony news to outcompete traditional news organizations for audience. Some of the first and most alarming tweets after Clinton fell ill at a Sept. 11 memorial event in New York, for example, came from Russian botnets and trolls, researchers found. (She was treated for pneumonia and returned to the campaign trail a few days later.)
        This followed a spate of other misleading stories in August about Clinton’s supposedly troubled health. The Daily Beast debunked a particularly widely read piece in an article that reached 1,700 Facebook accounts and was read online more than 30,000 times. But the PropOrNot researchers found that the version supported by Russian propaganda reached 90,000 Facebook accounts and was read more than 8 million times. The researchers said the true Daily Beast story was like “shouting into a hurricane” of false stories supported by the Russians.
        This propaganda machinery also helped push the phony story that an anti-Trump protester was paid thousands of dollars to participate in demonstrations, an allegation initially made by a self-described satirist and later repeated publicly by the Trump campaign. Researchers from both groups traced a variety of other false stories — fake reports of a coup launched at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey and stories about how the United States was going to conduct a military attack and blame it on Russia — to Russian propaganda efforts.
        The final weeks of the campaign featured a heavy dose of stories about supposed election irregularities, allegations of vote-rigging and the potential for Election Day violence should Clinton win, researchers said.
        “The way that this propaganda apparatus supported Trump was equivalent to some massive amount of a media buy,” said the executive director of PropOrNot, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers. “It was like Russia was running a super PAC for Trump’s campaign. . . . It worked.”
        He and other researchers expressed concern that the U.S. government has few tools for detecting or combating foreign propaganda. They expressed hope that their research detailing the power of Russian propaganda would spur official action.
        A former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael A. McFaul, said he was struck by the overt support that Sputnik expressed for Trump during the campaign, even using the #CrookedHillary hashtag pushed by the candidate.
        McFaul said Russian propaganda typically is aimed at weakening opponents and critics. Trump’s victory, though reportedly celebrated by Putin and his allies in Moscow, may have been an unexpected benefit of an operation that already had fueled division in the United States. “They don’t try to win the argument,” said McFaul, now director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. “It’s to make everything seem relative. It’s kind of an appeal to cynicism.”
        The Kremlin has repeatedly denied interfering in the U.S. election or hacking the accounts of election officials. “This is some sort of nonsense,” Dmitry Peskov, press secretary for Putin, said last month when U.S. officials accused Russia of penetrating the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.
        RT disputed the findings of the researchers in an e-mail on Friday, saying it played no role in producing or amplifying any fake news stories related to the U.S. election. “It is the height of irony that an article about “fake news” is built on false, unsubstantiated claims. RT adamantly rejects any and all claims and insuations that the network has originated even a single “fake story” related to the US election,” wrote Anna Belkina, head of communications.
        The findings about the mechanics of Russian propaganda operations largely track previous research by the Rand Corp. and George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.
        “They use our technologies and values against us to sow doubt,” said Robert Orttung, a GWU professor who studies Russia. “It’s starting to undermine our democratic system.”
        The Rand report — which dubbed Russian propaganda efforts a “firehose of falsehood” because of their speed, power and relentlessness — traced the country’s current generation of online propaganda work to the 2008 incursion into neighboring Georgia, when Russia sought to blunt international criticism of its aggression by pushing alternative explanations online.
        The same tactics, researchers said, helped Russia shape international opinions about its 2014 annexation of Crimea and its military intervention in Syria, which started last year. Russian propaganda operations also worked to promote the “Brexit” departure of Britain from the European Union.
        Another crucial moment, several researchers say, came in 2011 when the party of Russian President Vladimir Putin was accused of rigging elections, sparking protests that Putin blamed the Obama administration — and then-Secretary of State Clinton — for instigating.
        Putin, a former KGB officer, announced his desire to “break the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on the global information streams” during a 2013 visit to the broadcast center for RT, formerly known as Russia Today.
        “For them, it’s actually a real war, an ideological war, this clash between two systems,” said Sufian Zhemukhov, a former Russian journalist conducting research at GWU. “In their minds, they’re just trying to do what the West does to Russia.”
        RT broadcasts news reports worldwide in several languages, but the most effective way it reaches U.S. audiences is online.
        Its English-language flagship YouTube channel, launched in 2007, has 1.85 million subscribers and has had a total of 1.8 billion views, making it more widely viewed than CNN’s YouTube channel, according to a George Washington University report this month.
        Though widely seen as a propaganda organ, the Russian site has gained credibility with some American conservatives. Trump sat for an interview with RT in September. His nominee for national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, traveled to Russia last year for a gala sponsored by the network. He later compared it to CNN.
        Economy & Business Alerts
        Breaking news about economic and business issues.
        The content from Russian sites has offered ready fodder for U.S.-based websites pushing far-right conservative messages. A former contractor for one, the Next News Network, said he was instructed by the site’s founder, Gary S. Franchi Jr., to weave together reports from traditional sources such as the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times with ones from RT, Sputnik and others that provided articles that often spread explosively online.
        “The readers are more likely to share the fake stories, and they’re more profitable,” said Dyan Bermeo, who said he helped assemble scripts and book guests for Next News Network before leaving because of a pay dispute and concerns that “fake news” was crowding out real news.
        In just the past 90 days — a period that has included the closing weeks of the campaign, Election Day and its aftermath — the YouTube audience of Next News Network has jumped from a few hundred thousand views a day to a few million, according to analytics firm Tubular Labs. In October alone, videos from Next News Network were viewed more than 56 million times.
        Franchi said in an e-mail statement that Next News Network seeks “a global perspective” while providing commentary aimed at U.S. audiences, especially with regard to Russian military activity. “Understanding the threat of global war is the first step to preventing it,” he said, “and we feel our coverage assisted in preventing a possible World War 3 scenario.”
        Correction: A previously published version of this story incorrectly stated that Russian information service RT had used the “#CrookedHillary” hastag pushed by then-Republican candidate Donald Trump. In fact, while another Russian information service Sputnik did use this hashtag, RT did not.
        Read the whole story

        · · · · · · · · ·

        statistical change in trump and clinton supporters after october 28 letter - Google Search

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        The statistical effects of the October 28 Letter - Google Search

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        The ObamaCare Not Comey Effect – emptywheel

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        Just after the election I did two posts considering the relative impact of the Jim Comey letter announcing FBI was reviewing the Anthony Weiner derived emails and the announcement of a huge ObamaCare premium spike.
        I still think we don’t have enough data about the relative effect of the two events.
        Nowhere in the post does Wang note what date Comey sent his letter, though. It was October 28.
        Unless Wang’s chart is totally mislabeled (Update: In an “explanation” added to his post, Wang effectively says his graph is off by three — though not four — days due to the way he presents multi-day polls; he has, at least, now told his readers when the actual letter came out) but what it shows seems to be consistent with what I showed in this post, which shows a Hillary dip and a Trump spike moving in concert on before October 28), then his chart show doesn’t support a Comey effect at all — it shows the opposite. The differential started narrowing after October 24. By October 28, when the letter was released, the differential had plateaued before it turned up again.
        As it turns out, the ObamaCare spike was announced on October 24 (and reported heavily starting October 25).
        That’s precisely when we see the differential moving.
        If we’re assuming an immediate response in polls in response to an event, then the ObamaCare premium spike would be a far better explanation than the Comey letter, which took place later.
        Frankly, I suspect both had an impact, and further suspect there may have been something else driving the differential late turn to Trump in the Rust Belt. And I suspect we still don’t have the data to explain what made a bunch of Rust Belt voters move to Trump right before the election.
        Read the whole story

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        Trump Adviser’s Visit to Moscow Got the F.B.I.’s Attention

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        The visit by Carter Page last July was a significant trigger for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump’s campaign.

        ‘The Daily’: James Comey and the 2016 Election

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        How the F.B.I. director handled investigations into Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and powerfully shaped the 2016 election.

        ‘The Daily’: James Comey and the 2016 Election

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        <a href="http://NYTimes.com" rel="nofollow">NYTimes.com</a> no longer supports Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. Please upgrade your browser. LEARN MORE »
        It was an election year that no one could have predicted: both candidates for president under investigation by the F.B.I.
        At the center of it all was one man, James Comey, making calculations that could shape history. A new Times investigation tells the definitive story of what Mr. Comey did and why he did it.
        On today’s episode:
        In this special episode, my colleague Matt Apuzzo takes us inside Mr. Comey’s decision-making as he shaped the presidential election through major investigations into both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
        Background reading:
        Tune in, and tell us what you think. Email us at thedaily@nytimes.com. Tweet me at @mikiebarb. And if that isn’t enough, we can even text.

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        Open the preloaded app called Podcasts; it has a purple icon. If you’re reading this from your phone, tap this link, which will take you straight there. (You can also use the magnifying glass icon to search; type “The Daily.”)
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        All Tech Considered : NPR

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        Former FBI agent Clint Watts testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption
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        Win McNamee/Getty Images
        Former FBI agent Clint Watts testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday in Washington, D.C.
        Win McNamee/Getty Images
        When he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, former FBI agent Clint Watts described how Russians used armies of Twitter bots to spread fake news using accounts that seem to be Midwestern swing-voter Republicans.
        "So that way whenever you're trying to socially engineer them and convince them that the information is true, it's much more simple because you see somebody and they look exactly like you, even down to the pictures," Watts told the panel, which is investigating Russia's role in interfering in the U.S. elections.
        In an interview Monday with NPR's Kelly McEvers, Watts, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, says the Russian misinformation campaign didn't stop with the election of President Trump.
        Ex-Trump Adviser Flynn Seeks Immunity Before Testifying On Russia Contacts
        "If you went online today, you could see these accounts — either bots or actual personas somewhere — that are trying to connect with the administration. They might broadcast stories and then follow up with another tweet that tries to gain the president's attention, or they'll try and answer the tweets that the president puts out," Watts says.
        Watts, a cybersecurity expert, says he's been tracking this sort of activity by the Russians for more than three years.
        "It's a circular system. Sometimes the propaganda outlets themselves will put out false or manipulated stories. Other times, the president will go with a conspiracy."
        One example, he says, is Trump's claim that he was wiretapped at Trump Tower by the Obama administration. "When they do that, they'll then respond to the wiretapping claim with further conspiracy theories about that claim and that just amplifies the message in the ecosystem," Watts says.

        Politics

        Sorting Out The Congressional Russia Investigations

        "Every time a conspiracy is floated from the administration, it provides every outlet around the world, in fact, an opportunity to amplify that conspiracy and to add more manipulated truths or falsehoods onto it."
        Watts says the effort is being conducted by a "very diffuse network." It involves competing efforts "even amongst hackers between different parts of Russian intelligence and propagandists — all with general guidelines about what to pursue, but doing it at different times and paces and rhythms."
        The White House has blamed Democrats for the allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. election, saying the theory is a way to shift the blame for their election loss. But Watts says "it's way bigger" than that. "What was being done by nation-states in the social media influence landscape was so much more significant than the other things that were being talked about," including the Islamic State's use of social media to recruit followers, he says.
        Gabe O'Connor is a production assistant with All Things Considered. You can follow him @Galacticmule.
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