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Fake News and Info Wars

Think Russia is messing with the mid-terms?

ALLELUIA! exclaims Bill Bonner, reporting for his Diary of a Rogue Economist from Waterford, Ireland.

We join with all Americans today in breathing a sigh of relief; justice is being done.

The bad guys are being hunted down. Our pristine democracy – in its pure white, unblemished, unsullied, and unbelievable gown – is being protected.

Finally, at least one of our foreign enemies has been nabbed by the gendarmes and will soon be railroaded by the courts; others will surely follow.

The perp is Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova. The feds claim she is responsible for overseeing the funds for a Russian conspiracy to meddle in US elections.

And now, too, Donald Trump and Mike Pence are after the Chinese, who – as we just learned last month – are also trying to subvert the will and wisdom of the American people.

More on both of those stories in a minute...

We're back in Ireland after a week in Bermuda. It wasn't a vacation. Instead, we got together with old friends...and the whole team of researchers and analysts who work with our Legacy Research Group.

We also met TV personalities Glenn Beck and John Stossel, and listened to two days of speeches and panel discussions.

We gave you a version of our speech, as we had prepared it. But as we listened to the other speakers, we revised and rewrote...to address the issues raised by other speakers.

And as we revised, we began to see more clearly how the pieces fit together.

From Reuters:

"US President Donald Trump has accused China of seeking to meddle in the Nov. 6 US congressional elections, saying Beijing did not want his Republican Party to do well because of his pugnacious stance on trade."

Yes, America's president says China's got it in for him. No details were offered, however.

We were left to wonder how the Chinese might meddle...Would they send out fake news? Or true stories?

Or was the whole "Chinese meddling" idea a form of fake news itself, intended to...well...meddle with the next election results?

The whole idea of interfering with the US elections takes our breath away. Every clown on the planet interferes. One writes a letter to the editor. Another posts something silly on the internet. A third makes a campaign contribution.

Fantasy, prevarication, and confusion – that's what elections are all about!

And while the experts have been unable to find any traces of Chinese meddling, in the case of Russian meddling, they say they have more smoking guns than at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Millions of Dollars have been spent on the Russian meddling meme. Millions of hours of research, investigation, and testimony...and billions of hours of the public's most limited resource – its time – have been invested in the issue.

And now, the federales finally collared a Russian woman, a US resident – the above-mentioned Khusyaynova. The papers summarized the charges against her as – are you ready for this? – "information warfare".

What exactly is information warfare? A capital crime? A misdemeanor?

Is it when you drop propaganda from bombers? Or is it like Radio Free Europe, where you send messages to citizens of other countries to try to give them a second opinion?

Frankly, we didn't know there was a law against it. Au contraire, we thought it was protected by the First Amendment.

Nevertheless, Reuters reports that the G-men grabbed the desperado and are preparing to perp-walk her right to jail:

"Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, became the first person charged with a crime for attempting to interfere in the 2018 US elections, according to a government official with knowledge of the investigation."

Maybe the crime busters got the wrong person. As near as we can tell, the biggest interferer – apart from the candidates and the political parties themselves – is casino mogul and Israeli citizen Sheldon Adelson.

The Huffington Post put Adelson's spending on the 2012 race at $150 million. And Bloomberg reports that Adelson is responsible for donating more than $100 million to this year's mid-terms alone.

The money keeps flowing...from the poor punters putting their quarters in Adelson's Las Vegas slot machines...to the rich politicos inside the Beltway.

Compared to the money Adelson spends, the Russkies' budget (reported to be $10 million for all of 2018) is pathetic.

And the papers report that between them, Republicans and Democrats have on-hand some $623 million more to spend on this year's mid-term races – every penny fully intending to upset the results.

It was as if the Internal Revenue Service announced a crackdown on Wall Street tax evasion...and arrested a kid with a lemonade stand on nearby Beaver Street just to let everyone know it was serious.

And here, we stand up in support of what is right, fair, and virtuous. That is, we stand with the meddlers.

If Adelson and other meddlers want to spend their money getting some pliant jackass elected – well, that's the American way!

But the Russians are wasting their money. According to the press reports, they used "fake personas on social media to stoke arguments about race and other contentious issues."

Whoa!

But wait...When did it become a crime to use a nom de plume? And how is stirring up controversy different from what shock jocks, provocateurs, telephone callers, presidential candidates, and practically everyone else does?

But let's look more closely...Maybe we'll see what this is all about.

More from Reuters:

"Using social media and other avenues, the Russians are waging 'information warfare against the United States,' to sow distrust in the political system, according to the complaint...

"The complaint included Facebook and Twitter posts that were both critical of Republicans and supportive of President Donald Trump. One post in March, for example, suggested Trump deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for his negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un aimed at denuclearization."

Well...whoa, again! Are they serious about this? A Nobel Peace Prize for The Donald may be absurd. But it's hardly illegal.

As for spreading distrust, even we, in our own small way here at the Diary, try to do it every day. That is, we try to connect the dots, revealing the public spectacle of DC and Wall Street; readers can draw their own conclusions.

But we're no match for the President. He's the master of sowing discord and distrust. Other members of Congress aren't bad, either.

Two years ago, "Lyin' Ted" Cruz called Trump a "sniveling coward." Now, they're campaigning together.

And what about Pocahontas? Elizabeth Warren says she took a DNA test to "restore trust in government."

Neither the Russians nor the Chinese will do better than that.

Bill Bonner has co-authored a number of New York Times Bestsellers including Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Markets and Messiahs. In his own opinion, Bill's most recent title, A Modest Theory of Civilization: Win-Win or Lose, is his best work yet. Bill also founded The Agora, a worldwide community for private researchers and publishers, in 1979. Financial analysts within the group have exposed and predicted some of the world's biggest shifts since that time, starting with the fall of the Soviet Union back in the late 1980s, to the collapse of the Dot Com (2000) and then mortgage finance (2008) bubbles, and more recently the election of President Trump.

See full archive of Bill Bonner articles

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