Thursday, February 22, 2018

Topline: It's Time to Acknowledge Trump Doesn't Want to Stop Putin's Meddling

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

Stand Up Republic
 

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

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The Kremlin’s Accomplice 
The Daily Beast — Feb. 19, 2018
Stand Up Republic co-founder Evan McMullin evaluates the inaction of the administration on the threat the Kremlin poses to the United States. Last week, the Department of Justice indicted 13 Russian nationals for their role in the campaign to undermine American democracy. Yet, the president and his allies continue to downplay the importance of this critical issue, even refusing to implement sanctions to act as a deterrent. This leads to an unpalatable but inevitable conclusion: they do not care that Russia acts against the United States, so long as it benefits them politically.

Governance  

Politics and Intelligence Don’t Mix 
OZY — Feb. 19, 2018
John McLaughlin, former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, makes a case for taking the politics out of Congressional oversight of intelligence. Balancing the secrecy necessary for clandestine operations with the transparency necessary for a democracy is a delicate act – it requires entrusting our representatives with the oversight power that we as citizens cannot wield over our intelligence services. When representatives like Devin Nunes abuse that trust for partisan political gain, our institutions are weakened significantly as a result.

Ideas  

A Refuge for Failed Populists 
The Washington Post — Feb. 20, 2018
This week, the Conservative Political Action Conference takes another nosedive on its ideological death spiral, welcoming the discredited castoffs of foreign populist and illiberal movements. This international gathering, convened by those who unironically embrace the term “America First,” represents a departure from any coherent conservatism based on principle. Case in point: the Le Pen family has historically advocated for a noxious French ethno-nationalism and statist authoritarianism, and now finds its representative an honored guest at CPAC.

Rule of Law  

Democracy and Its Discontents 
The American Prospect — Feb. 16, 2018
A summary and review of three important books for our current democratic predicament makes the important point: “if a democratic system of government is to endure, all parties must acknowledge that the imperative of preserving the rules that define and protect that system takes precedence over the goal of achieving power.” Thus, our current populist fervor threatens to erode democracy by eliminating the rules by which the system is governed.

Technology  

“Deep Fakes” is Deep Trouble 
Lawfare — Feb. 21, 2018
2016 was a banner year for disinformation. Unfortunately, it may also represent the mere tip of the iceberg. Lawfare takes a look at some recent advancements in technology that will likely enable almost anyone to create fake video or audio of major public figures that would be virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. The implications are clear: this technology “threatens to erode the trust necessary for democracy to function effectively,” as it will become ever more difficult to distinguish fiction from reality.



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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

enemies on our soil

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has caught Vladimir Putin in the act, running a clandestine operation to destabilize our country. On Friday, Mueller announced indictments against 13 Russians for meddling in our elections.

 

Friends —

Our democracy is under attack.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has caught Vladimir Putin in the act, running a clandestine operation to destabilize our country. On Friday, Mueller announced indictments against 13 Russians for meddling in our elections.

We’ve known it was happening, but now we have evidence — in excruciating and meticulous detail — that Russia engaged in a coordinated effort to undermine our electoral process, the very bedrock of our democracy.

It wasn’t just hackers and trolls, sitting thousands of miles away, who coordinated disinformation campaigns against us. No. They came to America; enemies on our soil. They walked our streets, they infiltrated our communities, and they learned how to drive us apart.

Friends, we cannot allow this kind of foreign subversion to go unchecked. Will you chip in $5 right now and join us in the fight to defend America?

The intelligence community has already stated that our 2018 midterms are under attack, but our president refuses to fulfill his Constitutional duty to defend our country from all threats. Instead, he would rather contribute to the assault on our institutions in order to protect himself. If we want to ensure that our democracy and freedoms persist, we must rely on the power of the American public.

Stand up with us today to show the president that Americans will not tolerate Putin’s attacks on our democracy.


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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Topline: Aleksei Navalny and the "Oligarch Huntress"

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

Stand Up Republic
 

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

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Missed Kremlin Connections 
The Daily Beast — Feb. 12, 2018
This past week saw a new development in L’Affaire Russe, courtesy of an unexpected source. Aleksei Navalny, the last remaining presidential candidate in Russia genuinely opposed to Putin, posted an expose linking Oleg Deripaska (Paul Manafort’s Russian benefactor) to a Kremlin intermediary with a heavy influence on Russian foreign policy. Navalny, who is generally hesitant to embrace Trump-Russia theories, believes that this may be a key development in the probe into the president’s Russian connections, as this is a direct line that can be traced from Manafort to the Kremlin.

Ideas  

In Defense of Democracy 
Foreign Policy Magazine — Feb. 13, 2018
The challenge to the United States in coming decades stems not only from traditional security concerns from revisionist powers like China and Russia, but from an ideological struggle pitting democracy against authoritarianism. Moscow and its allies in the West seek to delegitimize democracy around the world through a constant disinformation campaign, because a healthy and stable democracy is a direct challenge to the argument that only an authoritarian strongman can bring order to society. Countering this argument is not only good for democratic values, it’s in America’s national interest.

Russia  

The Double Life of a Twitter Troll 
The Kansas City Star — Feb. 14, 2018
The Kansas City Star traces the development of a particular Russian disinformation account on Twitter. When it first came to prominence, it claimed to be an African-American male warning Missouri protesters that the KKK was rampaging through the streets. Later, the account became “Deplorable Lucy,” a pro-Trump, middle-aged white woman. Suffice to say, the Kremlin is ultimately on no one's side here – Moscow only seeks to inflame partisan hatred throughout America.

A Crime and Lack of Punishment 
The Atlantic — Feb. 13, 2018
At a hearing before Congress yesterday, the leaders of the American intelligence community issued a warning: Russia will again attempt to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections. This is a serious national security issue, and the president’s continued refusal to even acknowledge it has become a critical liability for American democracy.

Technology  

The End of Fact? 
BuzzFeed News — Feb. 11, 2018
Leaders in tech innovation are warning of an “infocalypse,” a point at which the dissemination of false information reaches the communications equivalent of critical mass. We are approaching a moment where, thanks to technological advances, “anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did.” This development bodes ill for our ability to sustain a pluralist democracy in the modern world, at least if the problem is not confronted soon.



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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Topline: Tribalism's Expanding Reach

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

Stand Up Republic
 

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

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In Defense of the Rule of Law 
New York Magazine — Feb. 5, 2018
One of the more insidious aspects of GOP leaders’ attacks on federal law enforcement is its effect of politicizing even the most basic institutions of governance. If everything is reduced to basic tribalism, then there is no way corrupt leaders and members of their “team” can be held accountable. The Nunes memo was only the latest in a long line of efforts to delegitimize all government institutions that are, by design, nonpartisan, and it will certainly not be the last.

Accountability  

Cash for Conmen? 
The Daily Beast — Feb. 7, 2018
While the election of Trump has spurred something of a civic awakening in American society, some unscrupulous actors have used this newfound enthusiasm for personal gain. Organizations engaged primarily in self-promotion and self-dealing have seen a lucrative business opportunity in exploiting anti-Trump sentiment for their own ends. While it’s important to make your voice heard, it’s also necessary to make sure your dollars are going primarily to a good cause.

Governance  

Vote Local 
The Houston Chronicle — Feb. 2, 2018
The Houston Chronicle reminds us of the importance of political participation. With low voter turnout, especially in party primaries, our political system is often dominated by more extreme ideological candidates who can turn out a more passionate base. The best way to counter this movement to the extremes at a local level is to turn out to vote consistently at every stage of the electoral process.

Ideas  

Citizen Soldiers are Citizens First 
The Washington Post — Feb. 7, 2018
We’re more accustomed to seeing this kind of fascination with military power in tinpot third world dictatorships, but here we are. Though bone spurs in his foot sadly prevented him from military service of his own, the president has frequently co-opted the nation’s respect for the uniform and used it to bolster his own flagging popularity. While respect for those who have served is healthy, the over-politicization of military support is a dangerous trend in a constitutional republic.

Russia  

Trying to Tarnish Steele 
Just Security — Sept. 6, 2017
John Sipher, former member of CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service, explains the Steele “dossier” and places its information into the proper context. Essentially, the “dossier” is not a dossier, but a raw intelligence product, a collection of information gleaned from primary sources that still needs to be vetted and verified by further research and analysis. As Steele’s work was the primary target of the infamous Nunes memo, it’s becoming ever more important to know the facts of his work and that of his sources, much of which has been validated.











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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Topline: L’Affaire Russe

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

Stand Up Republic
 

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

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Trump, Nunes, and the Defenders of Moscow 
Observer — Jan. 30, 2018
This week featured a bonanza of new information on L’Affaire Russe: from the Nunes “memo,” to sabotaged sanctions, to the revelation of secret channels of communication between Sean Hannity and Julian Assange (who runs WikiLeaks in the service of the Kremlin). The consistent theme here, as John Schindler points out, is that this administration always operates in the best interests of the Kremlin as best it can given the constraints of our own institutions and American public opinion.

Ideas  

Building a Better Republic 
The Atlantic — March 2018
Yascha Mounk takes a look at the state of American democracy. The feeling of a disconnect between the people and the government led to the authoritarian populism of Donald Trump, but his election has only empowered the special interests that led to this feeling in the first place. How, then, can we best restore accountability to the system, and what limits are there on the manifestation of populism in our government?

The Investigation  

House GOP Versus Law Enforcement 
Bloomberg — Jan. 31, 2018
House Republicans, led by the indefatigable congressional henchman of the president, Devin Nunes, have cobbled together a “memo” on the FBI designed to torpedo the legitimacy of the Mueller investigation. This memo is based on classified information Nunes has never seen and is rife with inaccuracies, reflecting the lengths to which the Trump GOP will go to protect a compromised president.

Russia  

Crime and a Lack of Punishment 
Lawfare — Jan. 30, 2018
Lawfare provides a helpful primer on this week’s news on Russia sanctions. These sanctions were intended to punish the Kremlin for interference in the 2016 election and deter future such interference. The administration has largely refused to act, leaving American democracy vulnerable to Russia’s information war.

Technology  

Big Data, Big Problems 
The New York Times — Jan. 29, 2018
Strava, a fitness tracking app, contained data which could be used to identify military bases from user information. This not only raises national security concerns over a relatively benign fitness app, it highlights the risks of big data, especially as we give up a great deal of information about ourselves when we use this kind of technology.











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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Topline: #ReleaseTheMemo, Another Nunes Conspiracy

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

Stand Up Republic
 

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

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Another Nunes Conspiracy Scam 
New York Magazine — Jan. 24, 2018
Last we saw Congressman Devin Nunes, he was frantically trying to gin up a variety of conspiracy theories regarding “unmasking” to vindicate the president’s Twitter ramblings. After recusing himself from the Russia investigation, he’s reemerged to again attempt to do the administration’s dirty work, authoring a secret memo designed to cast aspersions on the integrity of the law enforcement agencies defending our country against foreign interference.

Ideas  

Czeching in on Europe 
The Washington Post — Jan. 23, 2018
An upcoming election in Czechia features a close race for the incumbent, a pro-Kremlin conspiracy theorist who vilifies Muslims and journalists, against a pro-Western centrist. Though we think a great deal about the battle for democracy at home, the Czech elections show that this fight is taking place across the Atlantic as well, and that our friends and allies are confronting similar challenges.

America’s Lost Partnership 
Asia Society Policy Institute — Jan. 18, 2018
As the American role on the world stage is intentionally diminished by the current administration, other nations are stepping into the vacuum. China, in particular, has been strengthened by America’s retreat, but even our allies have decided to move on without us. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is going ahead without the United States, in what is both an economic blow and an embarrassing indication of abdicated leadership.

Rule of Law  

G-Men Under Pressure 
The New York Times — Jan. 23, 2018
More reports regarding the president’s efforts to exert influence over leading FBI officials confirm what the entire Comey saga had already suggested: Donald Trump sees himself as unbeholden to the rule of law. His constant efforts to stymie the independence of law enforcement suggest not only a blatant disregard of the Constitution, but also raise questions about just what he’s trying to hide from the FBI.

Russia  

Divide and Conquer 
The Atlantic — Jan. 23, 2018
A recent release of information on Russian trolls active on Twitter revealed that they were among the most active — and vituperative — users of both the #BlackLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter tags. The Russians identified a fault line in our politics and attempted to exploit it. Here, The Atlantic looks at how their strategy lines up with the strategy of division employed by the president to shore up his own support.











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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Topline: Flake's Fiery Floor Speech

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

Stand Up Republic
 

Life is busy and filled with distractions. We wanted to make sure you saw these articles about the pressing issues facing our country.

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Donald’s Iron Curtain 
The Hill — Jan. 17, 2018
Senator Jeff Flake took to the floor of the Senate yesterday to denounce Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on the free press, an effort to preempt the president’s promised “Fake News Awards.” Whether or not Trump understands the broader political significance of his personal vendetta against the media, his attacks are doing lasting damage. A free and independent press is a cornerstone of democracy, and must be protected.

Ideas  

A Ship of State on Stormy Seas 
Slate — Jan. 17, 2018
In the wake of the allegations about Donald Trump recently paying porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an extramarital affair, Yascha Mounk reflects on how odd it is that this distasteful episode isn’t a bigger deal. Under any other administration in American history, this would have been the scandal that defined, and potentially ended, the presidency; yet, for Donald Trump, it’s just last week’s news. The fact that we are collectively pretending this is normal is evidence of the degradation of our norms of political behavior.

Populism in America 
Politico Magazine — Jan. 14, 2018
Politico takes a deep dive into the concept of populism, and its recurring role in American politics. Putting the current era in historical context is helpful in charting a path forward. Populism may rely on justifiable anger in voters, but it rarely uses that anger in constructive ways – rather, it assigns scapegoats and promises unrealistically easy solutions to complex problems.

The Investigation  

Bannon in the Barrel 
The Washington Post — Jan. 17, 2018
Robert Mueller’s investigation is proceeding with the efficiency you would expect from a career professional. Steve Bannon, recently fallen from the president’s graces after the publication of Michael Wolff’s book on the Trump administration, has agreed to answer Mueller’s questions. This likely will add a significant piece to the puzzle the investigative team is constructing regarding the Trump team’s alleged ties to the Kremlin.

Rule of Law  

The Real Domestic Terror 
Defense One — Jan. 17, 2018
Defense One looks at the threat to public safety posed by a resurgent white nationalist movement. While the administration is laser-focused on radical Islam, the reality is, white supremacists "killed more Americans…than any other domestic extremist group" in 2017. Violent extremism in all its forms is antithetical to democracy, and it doesn’t get any worse than extremism based on bigotry.











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Monday, January 15, 2018

VIDEO: How Democrats actually redefined "fascism"

If students in America knew THESE shocking things about fascism that have been taken out of their textbooks, they would never become Democrats.