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.

  Sort By: Importance   

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.

  Sort By: Importance   

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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