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How Millions of Americans Were Duped by Russiagate



“Mueller Finds No Trump-Russia Conspiracy”, read the front page headline of Sunday’s New York Times. Bit by bit, mainstream American consciousness is slowly coming to terms with the death of the thrilling conspiracy theory that the highest levels of the US government had been infiltrated by the Kremlin, and with the stark reality that the mass media and the Democratic Party spent the last two and-a-half years monopolizing public attention with a narrative which never had any underlying truth to it.

There are still holdouts, of course. Many people invested a tremendous amount of hope, credibility, and egoic currency in the belief that Robert Mueller was going to arrest high-ranking Trump administration officials and members of Trump’s own family, leading seedy characters to “flip” on the president in their own self-interest and thereby providing evidence that will lead to impeachment. Some insist that Attorney General William Barr is holding back key elements of the Mueller report, a claim which is premised on the absurd belief that Mueller would allow Barr to lie about the results of the investigation without speaking up publicly. Others are still holding out hope that other investigations by other legal authorities will turn up some Russian shenanigans that Mueller could not, ignoring Mueller’s sweeping subpoena powers and unrivaled investigative authority. But they’re coming around.

The question still remains, though: what the hell happened? How did a fact-free conspiracy theory come to gain so much traction among mainstream Americans? How were millions of people persuaded to invest hope in a narrative that anyone objectively analyzing the facts knew to be completely false?

The answer is that they were told that the Russiagate narrative was legitimate over and over again by politicians and mass media pundits, and, because of a peculiar phenomenon in the nature of human cognition, this repetition made it seem true.

The rather uncreatively-named illusory truth effect describes the way people are more likely to believe something is true after hearing it said many times. This is due to the fact that the familiar feeling we experience when hearing something we’ve heard before feels very similar to our experience of knowing that something is true. When we hear a familiar idea, its familiarity provides us with something called cognitive ease, which is the relaxed, unlabored state we experience when our minds aren’t working hard at something. We also experience cognitive ease when we are presented with a statement that we know to be true.

We have a tendency to select for cognitive ease, which is why confirmation bias is a thing; believing ideas which don’t cause cognitive strain or dissonance gives us more cognitive ease than doing otherwise. Our evolutionary ancestors adapted to seek out cognitive ease so that they could put their attention into making quick decisions essential for survival, rather than painstakingly mulling over whether everything we believe is as true as we think it is. This was great for not getting eaten by saber-toothed tigers in prehistoric times, but it’s not very helpful when navigating the twists and turns of a cognitively complex modern world. It’s also not helpful when you’re trying to cultivate truthful beliefs while surrounded by screens that are repeating the same bogus talking points over and over again.

I’m dealing with a perfect example of the perils of cognitive ease right now. Writing this essay has required me to move outside my familiar comfort zone of political commentary and read a bunch of studies and essays, think hard about new ideas, and then figure out how to convey them as clearly and concisely as possible without boring my audience. This movement away from cognitive ease has resulted in my checking Twitter a lot more often than I usually do, and seeking so much distraction that this essay will probably end up getting published about twelve hours later than I had intended. Having to read a bunch of scholars explaining the precise reasons why I’m acting like such an airhead hasn’t exactly helped my sense of cognitive ease any, either.

Science has been aware of the illusory truth effect since 1977, when a study found that subjects were more likely to evaluate a statement as true when it’s been repeatedly presented to them over the course of a couple of weeks, even if they didn’t consciously remember having encountered that statement before. These findings have been replicated in numerous studies since, and new research in recent years has shown that the phenomenon is even more drastic than initially believed. A 2015 paper titled “Knowledge Does Not Protect Against Illusory Truth” found that the illusory truth effect is so strong that sheer repetition can change the answers that test subjects give, even when they had been in possession of knowledge contradicting that answer beforehand. This study was done to test the assumption which had gone unchallenged up until then that the illusory truth effect only comes into play when there is no stored knowledge of the subject at hand.

“Surprisingly, repetition increased statements’ perceived truth, regardless of whether stored knowledge could have been used to detect a contradiction,” the paper reads. “Reading a statement like ‘A sari is the name of the short pleated skirt worn by Scots’ increased participants’ later belief that it was true, even if they could correctly answer the question ‘What is the name of the short pleated skirt worn by Scots?’”

Stored knowledge tells pretty much everybody that the “short, pleated skirt worn by Scots” is a kilt, not a sari, but simply repeating the contrary statement can convince them otherwise.

This explains why we all know people who are extraordinarily intelligent, but still bought into the Russiagate narrative just as much as our less mentally apt friends and acquaintances. Their intelligence didn’t save them from this debunked conspiracy theory, it just made them more clever in finding ways of defending it. This is because the illusory truth effect largely bypasses the intellect, and even one’s own stored knowledge, because of the way we all reflexively select for cognitive ease.

Another study titled “Incrimination through innuendo: Can media questions become public answers?” found that subjects can be manipulated into believing an allegation simply by exposure to innuendo or incriminating questions in news media headlines. Questions like, for example, “What If Trump Has Been a Russian Asset Since 1987?”, printed by New York Magazinein July of last year.

You can understand, then, how a populace who is consuming repetitive assertions, innuendo, and incriminating questions on a daily basis through the screens that they look at many times a day could be manipulated into believing that Robert Mueller would one day reveal evidence which will lead to the destruction of the Trump administration. The repetition leads to belief, the belief leads to trust, and before you know it people who are scared of the president are reading the Palmer Report every day and parking themselves in front of Rachel Maddow every night and letting everything they say slide right past their skepticism filters, marinating comfortably in a sedative of cognitive ease.

And that repetition has been no accident. CNN producer John Bonifield was caught on video nearly two years ago admitting that CNN’s CEO Jeff Zucker was personally instructing his staff to stay focused on Russia even in the midst of far more important breaking news stories.

“My boss, I shouldn’t say this, my boss yesterday we were having a discussion about this dental shoot and he goes and he was just like I want you to know what we are up against here,” Bonifield told an undercover associate of James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas. “And he goes, just to give you some context, President Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half we covered the climate accords. And the CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with it, let’s get back to Russia.”

(And before you get on me about O’Keefe’s shady record, CNN said in a statement that the video was legitimate and disputed none of its content, saying only that it stands by Bonifield and that “Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it.”)

Zucker, for his part, told the New York Times in an article published yesterday that he was “entirely comfortable” with CNN’s role in promoting the Russiagate conspiracy theory the way that it did.

“We are not investigators. We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did,” Zucker said. “A sitting president’s own Justice Department investigated his campaign for collusion with a hostile nation. That’s not enormous because the media says so. That’s enormous because it’s unprecedented.”

“We are not investigators”? What the fuck kind of dumbass shit is that? So it’s not your job to investigate whether what you’re reporting is true or false? It’s not your job to investigate whether the anonymous sources you’re basing your reports on might be lying or not? It’s not your job to investigate whether or not you’d be committing journalistic malpractice with the multiple completely bullshit stories your outlet has been humiliated by in the last two years? It’s not your job to weigh the consequences of deliberately monopolizing public attention on a narrative which consists of nothing but confident-sounding assertions and innuendo?

Read More:  Ocasio-Cortez Accused By Democrats For Being A Russian Bot

“We are not investigators.” So? You’re not dentists or firefighters either, what’s your point? That has nothing to do with the mountains of journalistic malpractice you’ve been perpetrating by advancing this conspiracy theory, nor with the inexcusable brutalization you’ve been inflicting upon the American psyche with your deliberate nonstop repetition of bogus assertions, innuendo, and incriminating questions.

The science of modern propaganda has been in research and development for over a century. If you think about how many advances have been made in other military fields over the last hundred years, that gives you a clear example of how sophisticated an understanding the social engineers must now have of the methods of mass manipulation of human psychology. We may be absolutely certain that there are people who’ve been working to drive the public narratives about western rivals like Russia, and that they are doing so with a far greater understanding of the concepts we’ve touched on in this essay than we have at our disposal.

The manipulators understand our psyches better than we understand them ourselves, and they’re getting more clever, not less. The only thing we can do to keep our heads while immersed in a society that is saturated with propaganda is be as relentlessly honest as possible, with ourselves and with the world. We’ll never be able to out-manipulate the master manipulators, but we can be real with ourselves about whether or not we’re selecting for cognitive ease rather than thinking rigorously and clearly. We can be truthful with our friends, family, coworkers and social media followers wherever untruth seems to be taking hold. We can do our very best to shine the light of truth on the puppeteers wherever we spot them and ruin the whole goddamn show for everyone.

It may not seem like a lot, but truth is the one thing they can’t manipulate, whether it’s truth about them, truth about the world, or truthfulness with yourself. The lying manipulators got us into this mess, so only truth can get us out.

Read More: Paul Manafort may face new charges after reportedly lying to Russia investigators

William Charles is a guy with a job who’s lucky enough to win every single time. He writes about sports because he watches sports. He watches sports because he writes about sports.

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5 Biggest Inventions for Daily Life



Technology and development go hand in hand. We are living in the 21st century and it is unarguably the most advanced period of human civilization. Hundred years ago things which seemed to be unimaginable, because of technology are possible today. Humans have successfully landed on the Moon and Mars, and their ambitions have not died. The humans are now investing their time and money on more such projects. Also, because of the medical science, the life expectancy of a human has been increased.

Indeed, many significant inventions have changed human lives forever. But there are many inventions on which we are dependent on our daily lives and can’t expect to live without them now. Have you ever wondered about this? Check the list below.


Paper is one of the most important inventions of humans. Paper was invented sometime around the 2nd century BCE in China. The primary reason to invent the paper was to record something important and to convey messages. Today paper is used for several reasons. Be in the form of newspaper, to write something, reading books, wiping hands or as toilet paper, it has become a very part of our lives.

Vacuum Cleaner

Nobody loves an untidy environment. One of the best ways to clean up the mess is brooming. But brooming couldn’t solve all the problems. So, there was a requirement of something better than a broom. This gave Ives W. Mcgaffy motivation to invent the first manually powered cleaner that was based on principles of vacuum in 1868. That machine was quite light-weight and compact. Gradually developments took place in vacuum cleaners and today we have the finest vacuum cleaners. Although the best vacuum cleaners are a bit pricey the Dysan Black Friday Sale is perhaps a better option to grab the best deals for you.

Safety Razor

Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Zac Efron, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, one thing is common among everyone is that they have truly justified how to sport a clean shave look. But to look exceptionally stunning in clean shave look all of the above-mentioned names require a safety razor. Before the invention of the safety razor, people used to shave with a single blade razor that was very difficult to use and most of the time would cut the skin. Thanks to Jean Jaques Perret who invented the first safety razor and made the lives of men easy and convenient. Later, in 1901 King Camp Gillette an American invented the first safety razor with removable blades and rest is the history.


Another very significant invention made in contemporary times is the zipper. It is one of the most useful inventions by humans but the irony is that we don’t realize its importance. The initial use of zippers could be found in the clothes. It was used as a replacement for traditional hooks and buttons. The need for an easy method to tie the open spaces of clothes with a zipper was because the traditional buttons or hooks consumed a lot of time and their operation was also very difficult. The zipper reduced the time to close the same amount of area by almost 2 times. Moreover, the zipper had a very negligible chance to get opened on its own, unlike the buttons or hooks. And today we not only use the zipper for our clothes but our bags and covering clothes for different products as well.


Technology has two sides, good and bad. This is perhaps one of those inventions that have made the human lives easier but at the same time tried to degrade the condition of humans like a parasite. But it is an invention and is used in our daily lives that is why it deserved a place on this list. We use plastic daily in one or the other form. Plastic has become a part of our lives.


Technology’s primary motive was to serve human needs and to make human life easier and convenient as it was before the inventions. The technological developments that took place in the past 2 centuries have transformed human lives forever. Today, in the most complex geopolitical environment of human history, technology plays a very significant role in the soft power of any nation. Those who have access to technology are considered to be more powerful. This is precise because the development is directly proportional to the technology.

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Everything You Need To Know About The Recent Raisina Dialogue



The Raisina Dialog is a multilateral forum dedicated to tackling the world’s most challenging problems. Global leaders in politics, business, media and civil society are sponsored in New Delhi each year to examine participation on a wide variety of relevant international policy issues. The Dialog is organized as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral conversation involving heads of government, cabinet ministers and representatives from local government, as well as senior executives from the private sector, media and academia. The Foundation for Observer Research organizes the conference in cooperation with the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs.

The Raisina Dialog is a diverse and inclusive platform, with attendees from all walks of life. They place a greater emphasis on maintaining the conference is an inclusive and secure space for all participants, irrespective of gender identification, sexual orientation, race, age, faith or impairment. This event included ministers of foreign affairs from 13 countries, namely Iran, Australia and Russia. India and Finland reached a deal during the Raisina Dialogue. Russia has also stated that it backs India for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Russia also declared at the Raisina Dialog that this is backing India for permanent membership of the latter. Brazil is also heading to India.

On the margins of the Raisina Dialogue, India and Finland signed a Defense MoU, which aims to strengthen the collaboration among countries when it comes to production, engineering, R&D related equipment.

Global leaders taking part in India’s most extensive global conference Raisina Dialog praised the governance and dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi about several global problems. Talking at the inaugural session of the Raisina Dialog 2020, former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated he wanted to see India as a “solid part of the international partnership of democracies” and to admire the governance of Prime Minister Modi in that regard. He said that he would like to see India as a vital member of the global democratic coalition. ETV Bharat News also reported the fact that he admired Prime Minister Modi’s guidance in that respect.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose speech focused on problems faced by “liberal democracies” in handling their own country’s political demonstrations, congratulated Prime Minister Modi, under whose rule India has now become “self-defined” seems to be the breaking news.

Harper said India would never become a “bastion of Western liberals” and its heritage is “coming back in full force” under the present government. India’s role will be a big part of the answer in the future. If I can pay respect here to Prime Minister Narendra Modi I think this is going to be the sort of India that the dream of Prime Minister Modi is building, “Harper said. Former South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo said the position of global leaders, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be crucial in “overturning the recent trend” in the midst of challenging times.

In the breaking news, Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whose speech focused on the Afghan peace efforts, praised Prime Minister Modi for “all the assistance given to the people of Afghanistan and managed to hold us near and precious.”

In ETV Bharat News, we concluded that this day marked the start of the fifth edition of Raisina Dialog in New Delhi. The flagship meeting, collectively hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Foundation for Observer Research, was India’s commitment to international efforts to find alternatives, recognize prospects, as well as provide continuity to a century that has seen an eventful two decades.

The three-day conference will put together 700 foreign delegates, 40 per cent of whom will be women, reflecting India’s dedication to equality between men and women.

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Tensions Flare as World Leaders Navigate Iran Nuclear Agreement



If you have kept an eye on major geopolitical events over the past three or four years, you’ve no doubt seen the Iran Nuclear Deal dominate many headlines. The Iran Nuclear Deal was formerly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action and it was set in place during the Obama Administration. The goal of the Iran Nuclear Deal was to push Iran to abandon and decommission a vast array of enrichment centrifuges throughout the country while promising to not build any more for roughly 15 years. With the election of President Trump during the 2016 Presidential Race, the Iran Nuclear Deal was put under significant pressure. President Trump touted a promise to withdraw the United States from the historic agreement and there has been chaos ever since. Let’s take a general look at the Iran Nuclear Deal so that you can walk away with an understanding of what is at stake.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was set in place between Iran as well as the P5+1, five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. The deal was rigorously negotiated before an agreement was reached with Iran in Vienna back in 2015. Blowback from the deal was felt almost immediately from conservative voices throughout the United States, including then Presidential Candidate, Mr. Donald Trump. Critics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action argued that the deal was largely unenforceable and that Iran would be quick to renege on their half of the bargain, thus emboldening the country to push for nuclearization while simultaneously seeing their own economic sanctions reduced.

The terms of the Iran Nuclear Deal have been covered extensively by Middle East expert Amir Handjani. His work can be found on Reuters, POLITICO, and Bloomberg News among other sources. For a more general overview of the agreement, you can keep on reading. Outside of the components that we listed above, the Iran Nuclear Deal also pushed Iran to limit its enriched uranium stockpile to just 3.7%, a far cry from the 90% needed to produce a nuclear weapon. Additionally, Iran would be forced to modify their reactors to prevent the production of weapons-grade plutonium. To finalize the deal, Iran would also agree to routine and comprehensive inspections to maintain compliance.

Upon being elected to the Presidency, Donald Trump vowed to withdraw the United States from the agreement. Since making his initial announcement, the Iran Nuclear Deal has been in jeopardy with the vast majority of the groups still wishing to remain in the agreement. As a result, the E.U. has been forced to navigate the turbulent waters of an unofficial agreement with vitriol being aimed at them by the White House. Despite Iran’s continued commitment to the deal, President Trump and his Administration have been consistently pressuring the members of the agreement – China, the U.K., France, Russia, Germany, and the U.S. – to realign for a ‘Trump Deal’. With tensions sky-high, it remains to be seen how this will all play out. With any luck, for the good of the world, an agreement will eventually be locked in place.

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