How Russia trolled the USA

Originally published at:

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I think Coding horror already posted about this.


Guys. It’s time for some game theory.

HA HA HA! That made me laugh!




Russia is harboring Edward Snowden, but I don’t think it follows that his leaks were sponsored by Russia. The straightforward narrative is believable: That he thought we should know we’re being watched - which we SHOULD - and once he told us, he was no longer safe in the hands of any American ally.

Does the author feel that the threat of universal surveillance in the hands of an unaccountable state is a laughable fantasy?

Remind me again why Russia is bad? Something about “TV watches you?”

Be honest - don’t you inwardly hesitate for a moment before posting something critical about America’s surveillance network?

  1. fuck twitter. tweetstorms are as stupid as using your email as file storage, get a blog
  2. some quality soundbites in there:
    “Post-communism, they’re reduced to Drunk Uncle status in the global balance of power. Mouthy, smart, degraded, much reduced in stature.”
    “Creating a conspiracy narrative around the Clintons is like creating a “southern” narrative around NASCAR and grits.”
  3. you lose a lot of cred when you credit the media and progressives for taking down Nixon, while attacking them for going after the NSA. breaking the law, is breaking the law, whether done by a president or a branch of the military. If the NSA is somehow diminished, perhaps they shouldn’t have lied to elected officials.

The Human Rights Watch report on Russia for 2016 is a pretty good place to start.


On the one hand talking about foreign policy in terms of game theory is what got us things like Mutually Assured Destruction. On the other, he didn’t frame any of the discussion in terms of game theory, so that intro was rather confusing if also a bit menacing.


I remember my first beer.


Also, if you are gay, that’s a problem over there.


Yep, that’s one of the key areas mentioned in the report.


Yeah I read this via earlier, and although bits of it were moderately stimulating, ultimately this is one of those Marc Andreessen types who were told how smart they were at 13 or 14, but through a series of accidents failed to learn that that’s not the same as being smarter than everyone else ever.

(and yeah, he doesn’t appear to know what game theory is)



I suppose my line needed a /sarcasm tag. I know that Russia is abusive. I was pointing out that its reputation for abusiveness is largely due to its universal surveillance and secret police, and we have both. Have we abused them to the extent that Russia has? No, not yet. But it’s a loaded gun waiting for an active shooter.


i use and love twitter, but yes, i agree that tweetstorms (especially one as massive as this one) are what self-publishing forums like Medium are for.


Oops, sorry. I just keep track of places I should not travel, even if my job would like me to.


I don’t understand why the whole internet is having orgasms over this sophomoric wall of tweets. I know we all love name-calling and sarcasm, but I couldn’t find any ideas in between them.


It can also be read in its entirety in Storify form too:


Remember when tweetstorms were just called blog posts?

Pepperidge Farms remembers.

ETA - holy fucking shit - that is a MASSIVE amount of information. WHY would anyone do something like that? Christ. It’s like filling your swimming pool one pint glass at a time from your facet.


That is the daftest bundle of mindless wittering I’ve read in a long while. The author doesn’t know a single solitary bit about game theory. I think he’s heard the term somewhere and assumed it’s, like, “theory about games and stuff” and just worked off there. Because, of course, if you are going to scream your inchoate rage at the sky on Twitter the last thing you need to do is research. Pffft, even editing is not needed when someone has your mad skills. Just bust that thing out, Hemingway style, in one steaming 140-character chunk-o’-brilliance after another.

Okay that’s poisoning the well a bit, and I am sorry, but this sort of thing just gets so far up my nose.

In (more) seriousness, some points:

  1. It is, somehow, Russia’s fault that the American government decided to spy on everyone without any reason to do so whatsoever in clear violation of its laws? And Russia’s triumph that the remaining sane people of America took offense at this horrifying violation of the constitution?

  2. It is also, apparently, Russia’s fault when the American government decided to start a assassination-by-drone business? And that people objected to that too?

  3. Does it follow, therefore, that proper Americans should say “Nah, the constitution’s just for show.” I’m sure if our shadowy overlords decide to spy on us, go to war in random places, and kill an even more random selection of people, they must have a good reasons. As Bill Hicks of blessed memory was wont to say: “Go to sleep America.”

  4. He himself was on RT! And they didn’t edit him, either! Gave him control of what he wanted to say. Shouldn’t he just go and shoot himself as a Russian propaganda puppet?

Look. Americans. Brothers, sisters, and others. There is one hard truth to be had from the Trumpapocalypse: You did this to yourself. The devil didn’t do it. Putin didn’t do it. It was all you.

You wanna criticize Trump? Plenty to work with. Hell the Treasury Secretary appointment alone is enough to keep you in loathing for a decade. He’s a renewable source of outrage.

Wanna criticize Putin? Sure! Easy! Just don’t focus on the 10% of the stuff he did right and focus on the 90% of the stuff he did wrong. Pussy Riot? Not his fault. Gay rights? His fault. Not because he’s a homophobe because I’m pretty sure he isn’t. He’s worse. He’s a political opportunist and he saw an opportunity to get in good with the bastards in the Duma. Hey. Votes are votes, so what if some of the ballots are covered in blood. Syria? Syria is a good idea. Chechnya, on the other hand, first and second time, was a nightmare. Crimea? Fine. South Ossetia? Considerably less fine. He’s not coming after the Baltics (Yes! Exactly what Russia needs! Semi-frozen norther ports!), but will instead carve out an oil corridor across the middle east in alliance with, likely, Iran, and also likely China[1].

But this McCarthyist bullshit needs to stop. Now. This spinning off into exotic conspiracy theories is just as goddamn sad as the “Obama is a Kenyan Islamomuslimofascistosocialistreptile” fever of bygone ages.

[1] Note please that this is not bad because “that’s what America wanted to do instead!” It’s bad for the same reasons it’s bad when America does it.


I’ve a few gay mates who traveled to Russia on business. I don’t know them well enough to ask if they actually had sex with anyone while there, but they aren’t in the habit of hiding it and returned without tales of terror. Well, no, they did, they needed to go into the field in actual Siberia and had plenty of horror stories about that. Apparently going in the summer won’t save you because the mud covers the entire world and the mosquitoes are large enough to show up on radar.

Though, if you make a political statement on the subject the Russkie fuzz is as likely as not going to ship you back home with a “don’t come back” note pinned to your coat.


Oh, ideas are so TwenCen. Gotta move with the times. Besides, it’s very soothing: since it is all the Russian’s fault you don’t need to do a single thing! You just gotta hate Russia (which, luckily, you already do), and then rise above that hate and triumph because, as the last section clearly demonstrates, your innate American awesomeness will make it all better.


Here we have the problem. A lot of folks think just being a transgender gay man is political. Passing scanners, dealing with bathrooms, and having a husband as my work contact and next of kin in a small agency we work at are not things that can be hidden easily.

Just existing for someone like me ends up being political to people who don’t like queers.