OpenCDA

March 30, 2017

SSCI Hearings: Russian Influence on the 2016 US Presidential Election

On Thursday, March 30, 2017, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) held an entire day of public hearings in Washington, DC.  The SSCI was looking into the allegations that the Russians had influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election which elected Donald F. Trump to be the 45th President of the United States.  The nature of its duty, Congressional oversight of US intelligence activities, results in very few open public hearings.

OpenCdA watched these hearings lasting just over five hours.   Congressional hearings are nearly always predominantly boring speechifying by self-serving elected Congressional representatives.  These two hearings today were not boring, and there was nearly no partisan speechifying.

The Senators on the SSCI were exceptionally well-prepared and asked on-point, insightful questions.  The content of their questions and the perspectives and expertise offered by the witnesses suggested that Congress has finally recognized the ongoing threat that information warfare or information operations presents to the United States.  Senators took these hearings and the information from them very seriously.  We should, too.

OpenCdA urges citizens who are serious about understanding how effectively the Russians use information warfare strategies and tactics to offset a superior kinetic warfare force will find these five hours of hearings remarkably understandable and educational.  The same readers will also better understand just how effectively Russia has manipulated our free press (AKA:  the skews media) to influence public opinion.  Unfortunately, the hearings also revealed in living color just how derelict our elected officials have been since about 1990 in recognizing the existence, let alone the gravity of info war and info ops.

Here are links to video of Thursday’s hearings.

Morning Hearing:  Disinformation:  A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns

Afternoon Hearing:  Disinformation:  A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns

OpenCdA hopes that especially younger readers will take time to watch these hearings.   You need to understand just how your choice of news delivery platform, often social media like Twitter and Facebook and not just the traditional print and broadcast media, is being manipulated to shape the disinformation you read every day.  You will also hear just how easily the Russians turned President Trump’s frequent Tweets against him.

February 22, 2015

“… you are commanded to provide to the Office of Attorney General…”

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 8:56 am

slippery slopeOpenCdA’s post on February 20, 2015, entitled Now Just a Minute was based on the proposal attributed to Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon but considered by other county elected officials including Commissioners, the Prosecutor, and the Sheriff.   As reported in Friday’s Coeur d’Alene Press, Brannon suggested hiring a county public information officer to handle both public records requests and the dissemination of public information.

OpenCdA thinks this is a bad idea.   The suggestion is a convenient way to add another filter, a gatekeeper, between public records and citizens’ access to them.  It is appalling that our elected public officials do not distinguish between public records which speak for themselves and public information which uses a spokesflack to select and deliver the County’s fluff du jour in its most favorable light.

We find this suggestion particularly galling because it is appears to be directed at shutting down legitimate inquiries primarily from one person:  Kootenai County government watchdog Frank Davis.

That elected officials in Kootenai County believe a new position for one of their hand-picked cronies needs to be created just to field legitimate inquiries from one or even a few people suggests something else to us:  The community watchdogs like Frank Davis are on the right track, and they are making some past and present elected officials (and those locally who control them)  very nervous about what the Idaho Attorney General may uncover.  (more…)

May 25, 2014

Lesson Learned: Control the Press, Control the People

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 9:38 am

Hoover Book Cover copyThe image our US press has created and cultivated for itself is one of journalistic independence.  Our press, which today must include the electronic news media as well as print,  strives to promote itself as the purveyor of truth for the benefit of us citizens.  To believe the self-image the press has concocted, though, requires us to accept as fact the underlying premise:  that the press is independent of manipulation and control by external influences.

Matthew Cecil‘s recent (2014) book, Hoover’s FBI and the Fourth Estate, was intended to inform readers about the time and effort Hoover and his employees spent cultivating the FBI’s image by carefully and systematically manipulating the media.  Cecil diligently and successfully chronicled that.

Hoover had been the assistant director of the Bureau of Investigation’s Radical Division and had played an instrumental part in the Palmer Raids in 1919-1920.  Hoover realized that if the Bureau of Investigation was to gain public acceptance, it would have to overcome the bad tastes left by the outrageous overreach of the Palmer Raids.  To do that, it would have to be in total control of the agency’s image.  Beginning in 1924 when he was selected to clean up the Bureau of Investigation’s image and continuing until his death as the Director of the FBI in 1972, Hoover was obsessed with controlling every detail of every piece of information the public received about the Bureau and its successor FBI.  Cecil’s book details how Hoover picked and rewarded his friends and tried to discredit and destroy his enemies in the media. (more…)

December 26, 2013

Don’t Be Fooled! (By the Skewsmedia)

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 7:22 pm

Don't Be Fooled CoverIn our OpenCdA post titled Highly Recommended on October 14, 2013, we referred to a book entitled Detecting Bull, Second Edition, by Dr. John McManus.  It was published in 2012 and was intended to be a classroom textbook for senior high school and college students to help them “…think critically and systematically about news and purportedly factual information in any medium from face-to-face to Facebook to Fox, from the Huffington Post to the Washington Post.”

At the same time Dr. McManus was writing “Detecting Bull”, he was also writing a more consumer-friendly version entitled Don’t Be Fooled!  A Citizen’s Guide to News and Information in the Digital Age.

“Don’t Be Fooled!” contains all the concepts and basic information found in “Detecting Bull” and is now available through our local Community Library Network.

Studying either “Detecting Bull” or “Don’t Be Fooled!” will help you better understand the deficiencies in the local and regional skewsmedia’s reporting of our local news.

April 3, 2013

Not the First Time…

Kennedy4This morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press published a letter to the editor by School District 271 Trustee Tom Hamilton.  Hamilton’s letter was a response to a My Turn opinion column written by Adam Graves published in Saturday’s Coeur d’Alene Press.

In his opinion column, Graves criticized School District 271 trustees for not sending even one trustee to a fund-raising auction for one of the local schools.

In his response to Graves, Hamilton observes, “Knowing that formal invitations (likely printed by your firm) were mailed to several District Administrators, the board [SD 271 Board of Trustees] is left to assume that your failure to extend the same invitation to the trustees could only be an act of omission, deliberate or otherwise. Could it be that an opportunity to slander the board was your intent all along?”

Hamilton reasonably asks if Graves was trying to manufacture a situation that would result in an opportunity for them to attack elected officials.  This scheme has been tried before here in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  (more…)

May 8, 2012

“It Isn’t Logical”

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 8:52 am

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After reading Secretary of State Ysursa’s letter dated May 1 in OpenCdA’s post titled Is He Believable?, commenter “Chouli” responded by saying of Ysursa’s letter, “It isn’t logical.”

“Chouli” is correct — Ysursa’s opinion is illogical.  It is also inconsistent with the way laws are written by citizen legislators.   It is also completely inconsistent with Ysursa’s testimony in a hearing before the House State Affairs Committee in 2004. (more…)

May 2, 2012

Does Ysursa’s Opinion Really Matter?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 8:12 am

According to this morning’s article in the More-or-Less Press, the CdA Ministry of Disinformation has persuaded Secretary of State Ben Ysursa to help them defeat the effort by a large number of Coeur d’Alene citizens to recall Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, Council President Mike Kennedy, Councilman Woody McEvers, and Councilman Deanna Goodlander.

The MinDis induced the Secretary of State Ben Ysursa to sign a very official-looking and -sounding letter in which he suggests that he and no other should be considered the supreme and final authority on the interpretation of the state’s election laws. (more…)

April 20, 2012

“Facts Rule” — Coeur d’Alene Press Editorial

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 9:20 am

On Sunday, April 15, 2012, the Coeur d’Alene Press published an unsigned editorial titled “All eyes on recall.”  The gist of the editorial was summarized  by these two sentences midway through it:  “Our purpose today is not to pick sides in this fight but to define some Opinion page rules as the recall effort proceeds. And No. 1 is, facts rule – yes, even when it comes to opinions.”

OpenCdA was pleasantly surprised to see what we believed at the time was an honest commitment by the Press editorial board, a commitment to not pick sides in the recall effort and to ensure that even in opinion writings such as letters to the editor, “facts rule.”

We at OpenCdA were wrong, and we sadly admit today that we, like others in the community,  bought into the deception game the Coeur d’Alene Press is playing with  its readers. (more…)

February 25, 2012

Coeur d’Alene’s Ministry of Disinformation

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 8:57 am

Explaining how the City of Coeur d’Alene could pay off the multimillion dollar wrongful termination judgment awarded to fired former police lieutenant Dan Dixon, Coeur d’Alene City Administrator Wendy Gabriel decreed in Friday’s Coeur d’Alene Press article (Cd’A to appeal court ruling) that because the City is self-insured, it would simply levy a bond on taxpayers.  The news/views/skewspaper article said, “The city could ask a judge to deem the expenditure ordinary or necessary, meaning the city could borrow the money without voter approval, which is usually required when municipalities take on debt.”

That line from the article is factually inaccurate.  Moreover, the article omits some very important information the voter-taxpayers need to know.  (more…)

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