Patterico's Pontifications

1/19/2010

An Explanation for the Trolls?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:56 am



Glenn Greenwald may have an explanation for those trolls you keep seeing around here:

Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama’s closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama’s head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for “overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs.” In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-“independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper’s abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.

Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false “conspiracy theories,” which they define to mean: “an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.” Sunstein’s 2008 paper was flagged by this blogger, and then amplified in an excellent report by Raw Story‘s Daniel Tencer.

There’s no evidence that the Obama administration has actually implemented a program exactly of the type advocated by Sunstein, though in light of this paper and the fact that Sunstein’s position would include exactly such policies, that question certainly ought to be asked.

(All emphasis in original.)

Indeed.

My suggestion: if there is a troll you suspect of being part of a secret Obama blog infiltration program, ask him.

If he denies it, consider it suspicious. After all, that’s just what they would say — isn’t it?

104 Responses to “An Explanation for the Trolls?”

  1. Remember, even paranoids have enemies.

    And some keep a list.

    Dr. K (eca563)

  2. Isn’t it too early in the morning to start this kind of shit?

    (sark meter on 10)

    reff (b996d9)

  3. So let me get this straight:

    Sunstein wants to create a secret government program to infilitrate organizations and pay co-conspirators to convince the American people that there are no secret government conspiracies?

    Brilliant!

    gahrie (3f31fd)

  4. I nominate Myron (aka Moron) to be asked this question first – primarily because of two reasons:

    – he only comments at this blog between Monday – Friday;

    – he only comments during normal working business hours (8AM – 6 PM).

    Looks like a duck, walks like a duck.

    Dmac (539341)

  5. Yeah, what gahrie said. The irony is inescapable.

    Of course, if a RIGHT winger had proposed such a thing, it would be called a “scandal.”

    Steve B (5eacf6)

  6. Oh, for the day when spies were shot.

    PatriotRider (1729de)

  7. I debunk 9/11 conspiracy theories (and a few others) as a hobby. I’ve written a number of white papers on the topic and thrashed a few of the cult leaders “science”. If you Google my name, you’ll see what I mean.

    This paper has severely damaged my credibility against the “truthers”. The paranoid delusional people in that group (all of them) already assumed that anyone who didn’t automatically agree with their idiocy was “in on it”. This policy drivel by Cass Sunstein reinforces that idea. She may want to fight against conspiracy theories, but this paper has done more damage to that fight than she could possibly imagine.

    Newtons.Bit (a67c58)

  8. Patterico, posts like this are why your site is a regular stop. I like the way you think, Patterico. That is, if you are, indeed, the real Patterico…

    TimesDisliker (b0d84d)

  9. Those of us with XX chromosomes do not take responsibility for Cass. Cass is a he.

    elissa (20d7d3)

  10. You gotta give it to Cass — at least he provides stuff to make his confirmation hearings interesting.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  11. I for one welcome our covert agent overlords.

    Elhaym (73bbf1)

  12. I sort of doubt that something like this would be very successful even if undertaken. Who would decide what conspiracy to address? Which blogs would “operatives” go to? How long before someone spilled the beans on their job?
    There was some study done a couple of years back in which it asserted only about 6% of the population visited political blogs regularly. What is the real gain from doing something like this?

    Certainly, ask the question but call me skeptical that the “trolls” you see are government sanctioned operatives.

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  13. Why did Sunstein make this plan public? Is he secretly with the Truthers and trying to tip them off that this sort of thing is going on?

    I find the whole thing verrrrrry suspicious. The Obama Admin better keep an eye on this potentially covert right-wing extremist.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  14. Why is the hell did he publish this freely? Is that some kind of double ought game theory?

    We’ve got the Obama administration proposing outright conspiracies and MSNBC host/Democrat senate hopefuls urging voter fraud.

    It’s so juvenile and short term. Will the GOP, once it has conference committee chairmanships, hold public hearings on this, with Cass and his staff under oath?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  15. Brother Bradley, funny how we both had the same thought. Indeed, you’d have to be a total moron to propose this secret program, meant to stifle conspiracy theorists, in public, while a serious contender for a government position.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  16. voiceofreason is obviously a government paid stooge.

    First, calling up “some study” from a “couple of years back.”

    Second, only a stooge would use “scare quotes” around the word “troll.” (Note, my “” were not scary, but illuminating!)

    Third, the bugs gnawing on the inside of my teeth tell me so.

    Hadlowe (2a80eb)

  17. Seriously? This is true?

    I think we now have arrived at some sort of harmonic convergence: Glen Beck and Gleen G. versus the Obama administration.

    Patricia (b05e7f)

  18. I’m still waiting for that check from the The Criminal Defense Attorneys Infiltrating Prosecutor Sites Vast Bleeding Heart Criminal Coddling Liberals Conspiracy.

    This is f***ing bizzare. In America? A constitutionally-elected government needs to pay for people to speak up on its behalf? Sunstein is an idiot. An insane idiot.

    nk (df76d4)

  19. Hadlowe, If I’m a government paid stooge ala Cass’ suggestion I cannot find it in my position description. Maybe there is invisible ink that you can decipher.
    As for the study:
    http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media/Files/Reports/2005/PIP_blogging_data.pdf.pdf

    Look at page 3

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  20. vor2,

    Are you claiming astroturfing never occurs? It simply does.

    Actually, a small number of people on the internet have a disproportionate impact on public thought, and astroturfing is lucrative and considered effective. One of the men most responsible for its development is David Axelrod.

    And how many people would it take to infect the top 20 blog’s comment sections? 1? 2? This isn’t hard to imagine. Remember, this is the administration that pardons black panthers with nightclubs and the Schultz party that tells voters to commit voter fraud because “republicans are bastards”.

    I used to have your doubt that people would be that pathetic. I mean, if you can’t argue your point honestly, isn’t it time to change your mind? People who rely on this tactic should just go ahead and become republicans. But people do pathetic things when they think they can get away with it. The band Moby encourages democrats to pretend to be republicans and lie about RINOs, and now, every prominent republican is always called a RINO. Mccain was to the right of W, but you couldn’t read a conservative blog thread about him without tons of people pointing out that he’s practically Joe Stalin. That meme spread fast, and while I wasn’t hot on Mccain, I think it was promoted via astroturf and suckers.

    I hope all they are doing is dispelling radical conspiracy theories, but that isn’t even necessary. It’s probably an internet fact of life now that when someone mentions a major brand or political issue, that there’s a realistic chance someone in the thread is there because that’s their job.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  21. Dustin,
    Indeed, you’d have to be a total moron to propose this secret program, meant to stifle conspiracy theorists, in public, while a serious contender for a government position.

    That doesn’t appear to be a handicap in this administration.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  22. The more you protest, the more true it becomes. Protest!

    I say we term these new stooges “Cass Warriors.”
    The only sane response is… hold on, my radioactive isotope tracking beacon is making the back of my skull itch something fierce. Need to find a steak knife.

    Hadlowe (2a80eb)

  23. elissa:

    I think I’m always going to call someone with a name of Cass “she”.

    Newtons.Bit (a67c58)

  24. I did see a posting or story about some folks at DOJ being hired to “watch” the blogs etc. Which blogs ? Who knows.

    Neo (7830e6)

  25. There’s no doubt that there’s astroturfing. But if George Soros wants to help the unemployment rate among people who have not washed in a week and have never washed their clothes, who are we to stop him?

    It’s a different issue from Sunstein’s insanity. The government exists because a whole lot of people put it there. And those people have no problem sticking up for it, paid or not. Just come with me to a friend’s dinner party in Oak Park, Illinois to see Obamania and Palinphobia at its sublimest peak to see what I mean.

    nk (df76d4)

  26. The band Moby

    See! S ee that right there. That’s enough to show government stoogeocity. A normal person would know that Moby isn’t a band, but a single government operative whose mission is to provoke Eminem and make banal sounds on a computer that resemble music.

    The computer resembles music, not the sounds, just so we’re clear. You just have to listen closely to the computer.

    But I see your plot, Dustin. It’s so simple. Persuade people that astroturfing is real, and because internet skeptics will try to disprove you, it’s obviously not real. Meanwhile, it secretly is real, as Mr. Sunstein’s paper demonstrates. (although the Mr. part of that equation is now in doubt due to the stoogery up above in this thread.) SIMPLE!

    Hadlowe (2a80eb)

  27. Dustin,
    It’s probably an internet fact of life now that when someone mentions a major brand or political issue, that there’s a realistic chance someone in the thread is there because that’s their job.

    I agree. It’s now common for apparently normal Internet drink Patron Tequila conversation to be directed by some commercial or political group.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  28. The government is good. The science is settled.

    Hadlowe (2a80eb)

  29. But I see your plot, Dustin. It’s so simple. Persuade people that astroturfing is real, and because internet skeptics will try to disprove you, it’s obviously not real. Meanwhile, it secretly is real, as Mr. Sunstein’s paper demonstrates. (although the Mr. part of that equation is now in doubt due to the stoogery up above in this thread.) SIMPLE!

    Comment by Hadlowe

    The publicized secret anti-conspiracy theory conspiracy.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  30. I find it astonishing that Sunstein was stupid enough to propose that government poison the public discourse.

    Ah, well, a partisan Democrat … guess I should not have been surprised.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  31. If bloggers don’t want government types commenting they can block .gov and .mil addresses from commenting. Then it would have to be on their own time which should negate any participation 😉

    NK,
    Just curious but what agencies are your dinner companions from? I’m not seeing the Obamania and Palinphobia (was going to use quotation marks but didn’t want to scare Hadlowe) sentiments in DoD.

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  32. i think they could be effective in casting doubt on the facts of a matter or the opinion of a person if they were subtle.they would only need to monitor sites with high traffic and with competing political ideas.for example they could cite studies funded and conducted by liberals. reports that have been thoroughly debunked are endlessly recycled.lies are stronger by repeatng endlessly.goebels ithink

    clyde (9d97a5)

  33. NK,
    Just curious but what agencies are your dinner companions from? I’m not seeing the Obamania and Palinphobia (was going to use quotation marks but didn’t want to scare Hadlowe) sentiments in DoD.

    Comment by voiceofreason2 — 1/19/2010 @ 8:57 am

    None. That was my point. These are intelligent, well-educated people who support Obama and the current Congress fervently. Nobody has to pay them to speak up, anytime, anywhere. They will, because this is America and they can and they want to. That’s why I say Sunstein is an idiot.

    nk (df76d4)

  34. I suppose there is an issue of perfectly exact adherence to the party line. But no paid government trolls are going to change the minds of either reactionaries or true believer potential deviationists. Not in America. Sunstein is still an idiot.

    nk (df76d4)

  35. NK,

    thanks for the explanation

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  36. These are intelligent, well-educated people who support Obama and the current Congress fervently.

    there is an inherent contradiction in that statement…..

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  37. Cass Sunstein’s proposals have funded 43,000 jobs.

    Peter Orszag (2a80eb)

  38. vor2, we already have proof that the Obama administration wants to do this. It’s linked right up there at the top. I don’t see the point of you sarcastically claiming it’s ridiculous when Cass already has proven it’s exactly what she’s wanting to do.

    It’s pretty silly and obviously it’s wrong, but I’m missing your argument. Obama is all about the astroturfers. You’re being kinda unreasonable.

    nk is claiming it’s a hopeless enterprise, since we all know what we want, but I bet it sways a few people. Still, at best, Cass’s ideas are a horrible afront to our country that lack impact. There’s no question that they are real.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  39. Ahh, redc14, what a lonely place the world would be if all the fools were gone.

    nk (df76d4)

  40. And, no, I did not mean either you or me. 😉

    nk (df76d4)

  41. It’s bad enough that an influenial figure in the Obama administration is suggesting such things. What’s REALLY disturbing is that this man is on the short list for a Supreme Court seat.

    Subotai (b74f54)

  42. In America? A constitutionally-elected government needs to pay for people to speak up on its behalf? Sunstein is an idiot. An insane idiot.

    That’s not what he is proposing. It’s a lot worse than that. He wants government agents to infilitrate and undermine government critics.

    Subotai (b74f54)

  43. Cass Sunstein is married to Samantha Power, who’s arguably even nuttier than he is.

    Official Internet Data Office (c93f96)

  44. Armstrong Williams is against this.

    imdw (4e28b4)

  45. “vor2, we already have proof that the Obama administration wants to do this. It’s linked right up there at the top”

    You see how it works vor2? You just say what is or is not at the link and Dustin doesn’t need to read it! But it is “proof”!

    imdw (4e28b4)

  46. Dustin,

    You said “we already have proof that the Obama administration wants to do this”

    based on a paper he wrote in Jan 2008 before he was part of the administration. And in that paper he used the 9/11 conspiracy people as one example and the Armstrong Williams and retired generals as another.

    He may suggest doing this but it is not in effect.

    The logistics and effectiveness of even trying are what make me skeptical.

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  47. Stop me if you’ve already heard this.

    An American reporter, in Moscow, during Stalin’s reign, stops a Russian citizen and asks, “What is your opinion of Stalin?” The Russian says, “Are you crazy, asking me this in downtown Moscow? Let’s get out of here”. So they get into the car and drive out of Moscow and into the tundra until not even the smoke from a fireplace can be seen. And then the Russian turns to the reporter and says, “Personally, I like him”.

    nk (df76d4)

  48. imdw, granted, you could only aspire to be an effective enough troll to be a professional, so this is probably hitting you from a different perspective than I.

    I’ve noted that you earnestly called someone a rapist and a murderer, and then laughed that you were only kidding because he’s a conservative and deserved that.

    I read the link. Cass proposes that the government send people into the internet, and perhaps into real circles, to undermine a broad definition of thought it’s calling conspiracy theories (That, as far as I can tell, includes Soros-linked behavior as a conspiracy theory).

    What I said is a truism,

    what Cass, part of the Obama administration, proposes is proof of what some aspect of the Obama Administration wants to do. That’s simple. You can tell me that Patterico’s SSRN link somehow isn’t a proposal to infect internet discussion dishonestly, or that Cass didn’t mean it, or some other idea, but you’re probably too lazy.

    As I said initially, it’s strange to bother with this tactic. If you need to lie and troll so much, you realize your argument would fail if you bothered to make it. You don’t need to be a democrat, imdw. You can admit you were wrong.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  49. “The logistics and effectiveness of even trying are what make me skeptical.

    Comment by voiceofreason2″

    Logistics of doing what you just did, post a comment on the internet? Seriously? If you need to astroturf, and you have David Axelrod in the room, there is no difficulty. Effectiveness? You probably have a point.

    But WHY were Cass and Axelrod selected? Because of their resumes and proposals. If you told me that Karl Rove was selected so that Bush could engineer public opinion and GOTV and legislative coalitions, I would say “no shit, that’s the only reason to hire Karl Rove”. IF you hire people like Cass, you have to take credit for people like Cass. Cass is, like it or not, part of the administration, and therefore, the things Cass wants are what part of the administration wants.

    Granted, this isn’t a hive mind. But astroturfing is a HUGE and consistent aspect of Obama’s circle. The link is substantial and can be associated with Cass even if written in the ancient times of 2008.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  50. iamadimwit is just pissed that it is not good enough to get paid.

    JD (3399c0)

  51. I think what VOR2 might be suggesting is that when Cass goes to David Axelrod or Obama or whoever and says “Let’s Moby those teabaggers who think you were born in Nigeria and that you are a Soros stooge” they will say “Cass, astroturfing is ineffective and stupid, so do something else”.

    I would be happy if this were the case, and if you think the Obama administration is pretty reasonable about things, it will be the case.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  52. Little Green F … but wait, maybe the payments have stopped!

    htom (412a17)

  53. Dustin,
    Last try from me.
    1. If only 5 or 10% of voters look at blogs it would change little in way of public opinion
    2. Since blogs tend to lean toward the left or the right and the people who frequent them are fairly convinced of their point of view it wouldn’t do much good. [How much headway does a conservative really make at Huffpo or a liberal at Patterico?]
    3. Bloggers can tell where the posts are coming from and could block entire domains from commenting if they chose to or prove to readership what has been occurring.
    4. A department or central coordinator would need to be created to keep the posts similar and on point making it likely their existence would be discovered. They would also have to maintain a current list of blogs they felt needed to be watched – a bombshell if divulged raising criticisms of “enemies list” and “Nixonian” — not something I think any administration would welcome.
    5. It is a good question to raise since he wrote the paper but there is no proof it is being done currently.

    In short, it doesn’t matter if they are reasonable or not – in my opinion it is not a good way to push counterpoints and/or disinformation

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  54. Cass may be a moron, but I think that’s some kind of requirement to participate in this administration.

    Rochf (ae9c58)

  55. “You can tell me that Patterico’s SSRN link somehow isn’t a proposal to infect internet discussion dishonestly, or that Cass didn’t mean it, or some other idea, but you’re probably too lazy.”

    We get it. You read links and come back here and declare you find in them “proof.”

    imdw (8b9faa)

  56. IMDW, I already proved that you are a liar, in this thread, when I said you called people rapists and then admitted you were lying because that’s what conservatives deserve. I don’t think even die hard democrats give a shit what you claim unless they simply are unfamiliar with you. But yeah, I consider an SSRN proposal from Cass Sunstein to be proof of what Cass Sunstein proposes.

    VOR 2, thanks for laying it all out, and I’ll do my best to respond.

    “There is no proof it is being done currently”

    That’s true. I don’t think anyone claimed there was proof it’s being done, though. There’s no proof it’s not being done, and there is proof that the democrat party wants to do this, and has repeatedly begged people to do this in various forums and formats. This isn’t isolated or anything, though you don’t deny it.

    To point #1, it’s arguable either way. There is a small number of commenters who are disproportionately influential and astroturfing is used because people think it makes a difference. And it’s not like you have to undermine someone by convincing all the Tea PArtiers to donate to Obama. You can dishearten a few idiots in the GOP by telling them that Mccain had a black baby or an abortion or is a RINO, for example. You’re wrong on this, but it’s also irrelevant. They will try things that are not proven to work, and as proposing just that in this instance

    Your point #3 is asinine. Not trying to be a dick, but that’s ridiculous in many directions. I can easily spoof an IP address. Who doesn’t know how to do that? Hell, you can simply connect at McDonalds. Not to mention that banning a bunch of IPs from the government is untenable.

    Your point #4 doesn’t make sense because astroturfing is an accepted industry practice that has several documented examples, from the 1993 heath care debate to anti smoking campaigns to modern business. Secrets can be kept if you have a small number of participants. There are districts where more votes are cast than there are voters, and yet year after year, whatever plan made that happen is never discovered. And if it were, would it be any more a bombshell than this SSRN paper? Why? It’s the same thing. They are telling you who they are and what they want to do if they are in power, and now they are in power. If you later find out that Cass kept this promise, will you really consider that a bombshell?

    As you said, there’s no proof. Of course there’s no proof; Cass stipulated it would be a secre. The fact that, if she actually got her way eventually, it is or will be secret, is obviously not determiniative. I am sure there are at least a couple of things the government has done that are still secret. 9/11 “MIHOP” theories require thousands of conspirators and billions of dollars. This wouldn’t. You could do this with $100,000 and 5 people in India with proxies. Axelrod is well known as a pioneer in this practice and it’s very hard to know all of the companies he used these tactics for. Because it’s pretty easy to hide something like this. I could go, right now, and do this to 20 blogs forever and no one would ever be able to find out I did.

    As you say, this is not a good way to push counterpoints. That may be the case (why is that the case? You’re pushing counterpoints, after all). I don’t understand why you insist this means the entire effort doesn’t matter. This is something the government should not have the power to do. That matters, before or after it’s proven effective.

    Anyway, there’s a whole host of possibilities that you are ignoring. This program could entail lies and distortions, exaggerations that are embarrassing (such as democrats pushing birther hysteria), ‘concerned christian conservative’ bullshit we all saw all the time.

    Your sum is that it doesn’t matter because it won’t work, but I sum that it matters whether or not it works and whether it’s implemented on the federal dime or not. What matters is that Cass, someone who has a disgusting view of federal power, has any chance of being in power. That’s the sum for me.

    I don’t want a GOP or Dem president that does this shit. I would prefer if the parties didn’t either, but anyone who doesn’t realize they already do is an idiot. Dirty tricks like this are very old hat.

    VOR2, perhaps our views are not contradictory. You don’t think it’s fair to assume the feds have already done this. I think it would be smarter for them to do this exact same thing from the political parties (it’s much easier and cheaper). I think it’s disgusting to appoint someone proposing shit like this. Be that person conservative or liberal. Don’t we agree, mostly?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  57. Oh yeah, if a dishonest politician knew that doing this would give him, say, .5% more votes, wouldn’t he do it? What if it was going to cost him votes, wouldn’t some Coakley level politicians do things that aren’t even effective?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  58. Gee, a thread on trolls and vor2 and imd-dummy show up. Must be like calling “SOOOOO-EEEEEEEE” to gather the pigs.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  59. I’m sorry for posting such a lengthy (And a bit repetitive) reply. I’m too busy to clean it up today.

    Obviously, vor2 shouldn’t feel compelled to refute me point by point.

    Though some of his arguments are either irrelevant or just silly. This Cass Sunstein is a total sociopath who shouldn’t be given a nickel of federal funding or an ounce of federal power. If NK and VOR2 are right, Obama is appointing people with comically stupid and ineffective ideas.

    This passive aggressive jackass would screw up any organization with internal politics, lies, and distractions. would you want to work for anyone who thinks like this? Good point, VOR2. This kind of thing should be associated with Obama if only to explain why they can’t seem to improve anything.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  60. The Russian government is already well-known to be doing this. For an example, take a look at Richard Fernandez’s Belmont Club. Every time he posts on russian topics (like the recent stuff in Georgia), he gets a ‘group’ of russians (with decent but characteristic english of same) just happening to post exactly the Russian government line, and arguing stridently against anything opposite, even if it’s just a factual statement.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  61. Dustin,
    You can ban .gov and .mil domains and not have to collect IP addresses
    #4 Do you really believe five people could keep up with all blogs? It still leaves the question of who is in charge.

    I don’t think we are that far apart on our view of whether something like this would be right. I don’t.
    Where we seem to differ is that I think the logistics for limited bang for the buck would probably have Axelrod looking for a more effective strategy. Your view seems to be that it is going to happen.

    voiceofreason2 (c9795e)

  62. You can’t ban anyone who is dedicated to an effort like this VOR2, and you know it.

    Banning domains would be ridiculous, and has nothing to do with the topic aside from being so ridiculous that anyone would think it is a sensible justification or recourse. It’s severely whacky to suggest this recourse.

    All blogs? Why would they need to keep up with all blogs? They could just keep up with google searches. And yes, 5 people could cover a large number of blogs. You keep on burning strawmen, but 1 person could cover an amazingly large sockpuppet footprint in he wanted to.

    Now, I keep talking about voters. That’s a mistake. They could simply be trying to keep people from respecting a few ideas. That seems even more feasible.

    At the end of the day, Cass’s proposals mean that any administration appointing him doesn’t give a shit about the ethics of its appointees, or doesn’t give a shit about vetting. With Obama, even money on which is the case.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  63. Why do you keep pointing out you could ban .mil and .gov ip address blocks? With a budget of $1000 per month you could get an account with each of some of the largest ISPs in the US: Comcast, SBC Communication, FiOS, Verizon, Roadrunner, Cox Communications, Bell South, and MSN. Just be sure to get an account without a fixed ip address and leave the modem’s power off for a few minutes. Bam, new ip address and you’re on a huge address block that has nothing to do with the gov’t.

    You wouldn’t even have to be clever with the ip spoofing. You could set up a couple hundred servers in different telco offices with a proxy service running. An agent then connects via proxy over https to a server and begins commenting on their list of sites. None of this is outside the normal budget range of even a very small gov’t agency. None of this has to come from a .mil or .gov address block.

    bonhomme (b47539)

  64. #63: Also, I think you would find that most posters from the .mil domain would be more likely to be trenchantly conservative, so banning them from a conservative website would suck. (He said from his DoD-owned desk, on his lunch break).

    1560 SHP (d9db9c)

  65. #62 if a site has the word blog in the address most government computers are denied access to it. A blog site with a router can easily apply an acl to block an entire domain.
    #63
    To use government computers on commercial domains requires going through federal approval/justification processes for commercial ISPs, which means an accountability chain and defeats the secrecy requirement

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  66. So the approval requirements are met, but with vague arguments that are deemed worthy by the right people following a short conversation with an important person. We’we talking the same people who turned off CC verification on campaign donations with no consequences.

    bonhomme (840ef1)

  67. I suspect Sunstein is a troll. Or an alien. One or the other.

    mojo (8096f2)

  68. “But yeah, I consider an SSRN proposal from Cass Sunstein to be proof of what Cass Sunstein proposes.”

    SSRN. Really.

    “IMDW, I already proved that you are a liar, in this thread, when I said you called people rapists and then admitted you were lying because that’s what conservatives deserve.”

    So how many times did it take you to read that letter to find the letterhead and signature on it?

    “#

    #

    Why do you keep pointing out you could ban .mil and .gov ip address blocks? With a budget of $1000 per month you could get an account with each of some of the largest ISPs in the US: Comcast, SBC Communication, FiOS, Verizon, Roadrunner, Cox Communications, Bell South, and MSN. Just be sure to get an account without a fixed ip address and leave the modem’s power off for a few minutes. Bam, new ip address and you’re on a huge address block that has nothing to do with the gov’t. ”

    You know the government uses anonymity software when it undertakes investigations. No reason it can’t do it when it undertakes COINTELPRO too.

    imdw (f7b257)

  69. Sunstein adheres to the philosophy of “libertarian paternalism”, an oxymoronic phrase intended to mean ‘guiding people into making the kind of choices that result in providing them with the most freedom’. Except for that slightly important “freedom of choice” thing.

    Papa Cass!

    There’s your Bee Ho administration game-plan in a nutshell: We’re gonna help you take care of yourselves BECAUSE YOU ARE TOO STUPID & SELF-DESTRUCTIVE TO DO IT ON YOUR OWN. This is the same freedom-robbing control-for-the-common-good crap that every fascist state has tried to implement! It’s Orwell’s “1984”; you’re allowed to do whatever you want to do, as long as we think it’s good for you.

    Icy Texan (877ca0)

  70. imdw, you were lying about all that stuff. The guy added his name later, and I proved that a long time ago in a different thread. There’s no need to go back into it. You have no credibility to lose and I have no time to bother with your child rape fantasies.

    As to your hilarious paranoia about the SSRN conspiracy to frame Cass Sunstein with these ugly ideas, I grant that this is your best argument. The paper is abominable and there is no defense other than Cass didn’t even write it. No one, including you, believes your assertion is plausible, but that never stopped you before.

    VOR2 is wrong on technology, but at least he’s not stooping to making dumb shit up.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  71. Trolls? Where?

    The Emperor (6fc47b)

  72. And so The Emperor answers the only remaining question … does she get Dental?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  73. “imdw, you were lying about all that stuff. ”

    I posted a link to a letter. I don’t know what made you so upset, that you read it and missed the letterhead or that you didn’t read it and blabbed about it. But either way it was a great simple result.

    “As to your hilarious paranoia about the SSRN conspiracy to frame Cass Sunstein with these ugly ideas, I grant that this is your best argument.”

    Oh it’s a conspiracy now? How circular. But isn’t that exactly what they *want* you to believe?

    imdw (e66d8d)

  74. imdw, say “hi” to Sunstein for me. I met him at a moot court competition in the mid ’90’s.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  75. imdw, if it’s so easy to point out the name of the guy who fantasied publically about Beck raping a child and murdering her, you would be able to say what his name was.

    Say his name, and post a link and people can judge for themselves how reliable your claims are. I guess it’s tangentially related to a thread on debunking oddball conspiracies. BTW, go ahead and compare to dates on the file to the day the document claims it was made. But mainly, I wonder if you can even locate the name of this child rape fantasist and extreme demogogue.

    I happily admit when I’m mistaken, but your claims on this have been ridiculous and I don’t think I am mistaken at all.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  76. Thank goodness government agencies don’t pay people to run interference when negative stories run on those agencies.

    Hadlowe (061332)

  77. Hadlowe, as far as I can tell, that is definitive. The government is screwing with free discussion on the internet, and no surprise, it’s going after government critics the hardest. If Bush was doing this, the ACLU would freak out. But the left thinks it’s OK to do anything to people critical of democrat leaders. This has been the defining characteristic of this administration from day 1.

    imdw, there was nothing confusing about what I requested. If it’s so easy to note who fantasized about kids, rape, murder, and Glenn Beck, WHO IS THAT PERSON? You don’t seem to even know. Also, what’s the date on that document and what’s the date it was last edited?

    Pretty sure you’re just lying again. This mysterious secretive person did not want you do know what his name was, and you lied about that too. But the real problem is that you thought this it was OK to publicly slime someone as a horrible child rapist because he criticized the Obama administration. It’s the kind of thing Scientologists do.

    What’s his name, and what are the dates? Why are you refusing to say his name if it’s something you and he don’t want hidden away?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  78. “This mysterious secretive person did not want you do know what his name was, and you lied about that too.”

    Still not reading the letterhead nor the signature huh?

    “What’s his name, and what are the dates? Why are you refusing to say his name if it’s something you and he don’t want hidden away?”

    Refusing to say what? The name that’s on the letterhead? Isaac Eiland-Hall? What’s to refuse here? I’ve linked to his letter, websites with his WIPO case (under his name) etc… You want me to send you some wikipedia links too? Did you read the letter? And what’s this about dates now?

    imdw (017d51)

  79. Hey, i’m-a-dickweed, if I pay you a dollar will you STFU about the guy that created/spread the Glenn Beck rumor? Please?

    Icy Texan (9815c8)

  80. Just let Dustin know what’s going on.

    imdw (017d51)

  81. imd-dummy, your face still smarting for the slap the voters gave you Tuesday? Get used to it, first of many, and even the tone deaf ideologues of the CA delegation collectively crapped their pants.

    PCD (ae93de)

  82. And so The Emperor answers the only remaining question … does she get Dental?

    Comment by SPQR — 1/19/2010 @ 4:41 pm

    Emporer/lovie/stooge’s mouthwash ain’t makin’ it!

    People's Front of Judea (44bf37)

  83. […] head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) Cass Sunstein recently wrote this paper suggesting something sounding a lot like Astroturfing: Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending […]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Ellie Light: Obama Astroturfer? Or Very, Very, Very Energetic But Independent Letter Writer? (e4ab32)

  84. […] fraud. Ellie Light is astroturf, plain and simple. Ellie Light is the personification of Cass Sunstein’s idea. Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by […]

    Where’s Waldo 2.0: The Anti-Competitive Version « Truth Before Dishonor (ea1fd5)

  85. […] (and head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) Cass Sunstein recently wrote a paper suggesting something sounding a lot like Astroturfing: Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending […]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Ellie Light: Obama Astroturfer? (e2f069)

  86. […] in Bambi’s administration?  It’s a legitimate question- Cass Sunstein recently wrote a paper advocating for government sponsorship of what amounts to […]

    The many homes of Ellie Light | Facts Are Stubborn Things (863a4f)

  87. […] the same time, we can’t help but recall that none other than Sunstein recently wrote a paper suggesting something sounding a lot like Astroturfing: Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending […]

    Who Is Ellie Light? « Fellowship of the Minds (4797e5)

  88. Aren’t these the same people who whined and moaned about trying to get newspapers in Iraq to report the positive stuff that was happening because of our military and its presence?

    So let’s see, here. It’s a horrible fascist act of fascist propaganda to try to keep Iraqis from blowing each other up, but it’s enlightened governance to brainwash your neighbor.

    These guys are the best ever.

    Amos (89bc07)

  89. […] From Patterico’s blog: On an unrelated note, recall that recently, Glenn Greenwald flagged the fact that Obama’s pal (and head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) Cass Sunstein recently wrote this paper suggesting something sounding a lot like Astroturfing: […]

    Astroturfing Trying To Make A Comeback « Nice Deb (ccbbeb)

  90. […] head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) Cass Sunstein recently wrote this paper suggesting something sounding a lot like Astroturfing: Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending […]

    Ellie Light: Obama Astroturfer? Is David Axelrod at the Helm of this? David Plouffe? Don’t Be Conned America. « Romanticpoet's Weblog (5381c6)

  91. The ‘Orwell Rolls In His Grave’ documentary is a good wake up call for anyone who’s still ignorant about the coming neo-feudalistic, high-tech, Panopticon singularity of a police state.

    A Digital Israel Bissell (708fc2)

  92. […] flagged the fact that Obama’s pal (and head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) Cass Sunstein recently wrote this paper suggesting something sounding a lot like Astroturfing: Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending […]

    Would the left stoop this low? You betcha (2af0e7)

  93. […] ([Cass] Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government.) […]

    Common Sense Political Thought » Blog Archive » Liberal Prostitutes For Sale (Cheap) (73d96f)

  94. […] Patterico.com site has a posting that wonders whether or not such letters are a part of an initiative brought on by Cass Sunstein, […]

    The Right Side of Life » The Curious Case of “Ellie Light” (fa89c7)

  95. […] at the Helm of this? David Plouffe? Don’t Be Conned America. Patterico’s Pontifications: An Explanation for the Trolls? Stix Blog: Who is Ellie Light? The Right Side of Life: The Curious Case of “Ellie Light” Ben […]

    Who Is Ellie Light? Michelle Malkin on Hannity About Fake Pro-Obama Letter Published in Dozens of Newspapers: “Obama Administration Is ‘The Astroturf Presidency’” (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  96. […] Thinker: DoJ hires bloggers as propagandists and sock puppets Patterico’s Pontifications: An Explanation for the Trolls? Stix Blog: Who is Ellie Light? The Right Side of Life: The Curious Case of “Ellie Light” Ben […]

    Andrew Breitbart on FOX News: Did White House Mastermind the Ellie Light Astroturf Letters to Help Push ObamaCare? (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  97. […] Thinker: DoJ hires bloggers as propagandists and sock puppets Patterico’s Pontifications: An Explanation for the Trolls? Stix Blog: Who is Ellie Light? The Right Side of Life: The Curious Case of “Ellie Light” Ben […]

    Andrew Breitbart on FOX News: Did White House Mastermind the Ellie Light Astroturf Letters to Help Push ObamaCare? (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  98. […] Thinker: DoJ hires bloggers as propagandists and sock puppets Patterico’s Pontifications: An Explanation for the Trolls? Stix Blog: Who is Ellie Light? The Right Side of Life: The Curious Case of “Ellie Light” Ben […]

    Andrew Breitbart on FOX News: Did White House Mastermind the Ellie Light Astroturf Letters to Help Push ObamaCare? (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  99. […] head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) Cass Sunstein recently wrote this paper suggesting something sounding a lot like Astroturfing: Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending […]

    Who is Ellie Light? A Friend of Cass Sunstein? « BUNKERVILLE | God, Guns and Guts Comrades! (2b7e85)

  100. […] Patterico’s Pontifications: ObamaCare: The president’s “hurry up and wait” plan and An Explanation for the Trolls? The Cypress Times: ALL THE PRESIDENT’S ASTROTURFERS: THE CURIOUS CASE OF ELLIE LIGHT […]

    “We’ll Pole Vault In” for Health Care Passage — Pelosi, You’re a Loon in Meltdown, but You’ve Got Crazy Spunk (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  101. #3 is great.

    HeavenSent (ae267e)


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