Farron Cousins Was Wrong About Progressives in This July 2018 Video

Farron Cousins, The Ring of Fire, progressives, DNC servers, Russia Probe, hacking, rant
This is Farron Cousins as seen in a July 21, 2018 video.

This if Farron Cousins as seen in a July 21, 2018 video. Taken via a screenshot.

I have a bone to pick with Farron Cousins. A few days ago, I watched a segment from The Ring of Fire’s YouTube Channel and it ticked me off.

On July 21, 2018, Farron Cousins made this video for The Ring of Fire entitled, “Everyone Is Lying About The DNC Server ‘Scandal.’”

This has got to be one of the worst segments Cousins has ever done. Why? While Cousins insists that everyone who questions the way in which the FBI investigated the suspected hack into the DNC servers, he goes on to show his own ignorance.

  • First, Mr. Cousins talks about information found in an article from The Daily Beast, although he doesn’t mention it by name.
  • Second, Cousins compares liberals, progressives, and some Democrats who are still skeptical of the Russia Probe to Trump, Trump cultists, and other Republicans. (Nice, because we all have a hive mind, right?)
  • Third, Cousins insists that all the people who have questions or reservations about the Russia probe didn’t do the research.

Those assertions Cousins made were not only insulting but wholly dismissive. Of the things I hate most in this world, dismissiveness ranks pretty high. And even if though Cousins is known for his tone, it didn’t fit this segment because it was partly aimed at his own audience, which skews progressive. That said, let me break down why this video was bad in depth.

Rebutting Cousins’ First Claim

I have a couple of questions for Cousins: How many people are reading The Daily Beast on the regular? Also, how could we have read this article if it didn’t exist in 2017?

Look at the time stamps for the video and the article.

Last year is when Comey testified before Congress — and I don’t recall him ever talking about server imaging. Nor did I hear anything about cloud servers. In fact, this is what he said when he testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee in January 2017:

We’d always prefer to have access hands-on ourselves if that’s possible.

This is what Comey said in March 2017 when he and NSA head Michael Rogers were being questioned by Rep. Will Hurd of Texas:

HURD: Have you been able to — when did the DNC provide access for — to the FBI for your technical folks to review what happened?

COMEY: Well we never got direct access to the machines themselves. The DNC in the spring of 2016 hired a firm that ultimately shared with us their forensics from their review of the system.

HURD: Director Rogers, did the NSA ever get access to the DNC hardware?

ROGERS: The NSA didn’t ask for access. That’s not in our job…

HURD: Good copy. So director FBI notified the DNC early, before any information was put on Wikileaks and when — you have still been — never been given access to any of the technical or the physical machines that were — that were hacked by the Russians.

COMEY: That’s correct although we got the forensics from the pros that they hired which — again, best practice is always to get access to the machines themselves, but this — my folks tell me was an appropriate substitute.

HURD: The — at what point did the company and the DNC use — share that forensic information to you?

COMEY: I don’t remember for sure. I think June. I could be wrong about that.

ROGERS: The company went public in June of 16, with their conclusions. I would assume it was around that time.

COMEY: I think it was about the time — I think it was a little bit before the announcement, but I’ll say approximately June.

HURD: So — so that was — how long after the first notification of — that the FBI did of the DNC?

COMEY: Ten months.

HURD: Ten months? So the FBI notified the DNC of the hack and it was not until 10 months later that you had any details about what was actually going on forensically on their network?

COMEY: That’s correct, assuming I have the dates about right. But it was — it was some months later.

Comey would restate the same thing again and again, particularly when he was in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017, a month after he was fired. In each of his testimonies, there was no mention of a cloud server. Comey said the word “cloud” quite a few times but in the figurative sense.

Rebutting Cousins’ Second Claim

This is probably the worst claim Cousins made because he is doing the same type of thing that he would hate done to him. He paints Russia probe skeptics with a broad brush in order to dismiss them all, which is woefully ignorant.

The truth is that there are different motivations behind the skepticism:

  1. Trump wants all of this to end. So do his cultists.
  2. Republican ideologues often fall in line and protect their own. They want no part in holding their party accountable, even if their party is being led by some barely literate, bombastic, self-serving demagogue like Trump. And over 80% of Republicans support is butt anyway.
  3. Liberals, progressives, Democrats, and others who are skeptical of the Russia probe don’t entirely dismiss it, but they question the type of attention it has received — especially compared to issues they care more about.

Do you see the difference? Not all skepticism is the same, especially if the reasoning behind it is different for different people.

And lefties are nothing like Trump cultists. For one thing, progressives actually care about people and the issues they are promoting reflect that. Their skepticism of the Russia probe is, again, about the type of focus it is receiving — especially over things like health care, the environment, education, debt, and fair elections (which is ironic). The fact that the DNC refuses to promote these issues angers a lot of people on the left.

Rebutting Cousins’ Third Claim

Progressives probably know more about the Russia probe than Farron Cousins does, especially since we are bombarded with the news each time we go online. There is so much news coming out about the Russia probe on an almost daily basis, that it is difficult for one person to keep track of it. The probe has also expanded its scope that it’s hard to keep track of its original premise.

Excuse me if I don’t know every single detail of this probe when it comes out. I tried to make my own timeline and I’m way behind as it is.

What I Found in Minutes

By the way, this is what I found from a few searches:

FBI never examined hacked DNC servers itself: reportThe Hill; January 4, 2017 (Before the intelligence community released its classified assessment to Donald Trump, a DNC official said the FBI never requested access to DNC servers.)

FBI Says the Democratic Party Wouldn’t Let Agents See the Hacked Email ServersWired; January 5, 2017 (An FBI official contradicts the DNC and claims that the DNC rebuffed requests by the FBI to inspect the committee’s servers.)

DNC Refused to Give FBI Access to Its Servers … Instead Gave Access to a DNC Consultant Tied to Organization Promoting Conflict with Russia — Washington’s Blog; January 5, 2017 (The title is self-explanatory, but Dimitri Alperovitch, who is CrowdStrike’s Chief Technology Officer and co-founder, was singled out for being a fellow at the Atlantic Council, an organization that wants a conflict with Russia.)

Hacked computer server that handled DNC email remains out of reach of Russia investigatorsThe Washington Times; July 5, 2017 (In a decent bit of journalism, Dan Boylan looks at the DNC hacking case from multiple angles, with the bulk of the article focusing on CrowdStrike.)

Comey: DNC denied FBI’s requests for access to hacked serversThe Hill; January 10, 2017 (I quoted from this article.)

At Russia hearing, FBI Director James Comey mum about possible Trump probeChicago Tribune; January 10, 2017 (This doesn’t mention the servers at all.)

Did John Podesta deny CIA and FBI access to DNC server, as Donald Trump claims?PolitiFact; July 11, 2017 (Trump said that John Podesta never gave the DNC servers to the FBI or CIA. This was a garbled mess that was easy to refute because Podesta wasn’t a DNC employee and the CIA had no business inspecting the DNC’s servers.)

Ex-CIA analyst shreds Tomi Lahren for peddling bogus right-wing talking point about DNC servers — Raw Story; April 20, 2018 (This story only talks about the consensus among intelligence officials.)

Is this good enough for ya, Cousins? BTW, none of those stories mention the number of servers or cloud servers, and only the Washington Times article briefly mentioned forensic imaging.

Also …

Here are two bonus articles from my notes:

Think Tank: Cyber Firm at Center of Russian Hacking Charges Misread Data — VOA News; March 23, 2017 (CrowdStrike reported that Russia had hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, but that was disputed by a British think tank and Ukraine’s military.)

Guccifer 2.0 NGP/VAN Metadata AnalysisThe Forensicator; July 9, 2017 (As it turns out, the metadata of the files taken from the DNC indicates that the files were copied locally — via a thumb drive — due to the speed at which they were downloaded.)

For the Record …

I count myself in the third group I mentioned, but I believe that Russia tried to influence that election. And yes, I will acknowledge that Putin preferred Trump to Clinton in 2016; Putin said so himself. However, if we are looking at Russia’s attempts to influence American elections, we might as well look at other countries. What about Saudi Arabia and Israel, for example?

Ultimately, we need to realize that Americans themselves have a greater effect on American elections than any foreign actor. This is especially true of American oligarchs, political parties, and corporations. However, Congress just passed up a chance to make our elections safer and most don’t want to use try any remedies, like ranked-choice voting and paper ballots. When we talk about Russia, we tend to overlook this reality.

In fact, it looks like some people would rather blame outsiders for our failings than look in the mirror. This is particularly true about the DNC, who filed a stupid lawsuit against numerous parties, including Russia. This is something Cousins even criticized, and this is one of my biggest complaints about the Russia probe.

In Conclusion

Yes, I was picking on Farron Cousins for a bit, but that was because during one segment, in particular, he took an unnecessary swipe at a portion of his own audience and he lumped them in with people he feels are deplorable. That was insulting and ignorant.

Now, I explained all the reasons why Cousins was wrong, including the motivations of people who talk about the probe. He should now that even though many progressives are mad at the DNC, they also care more about the evidence then he recognized. So, when Cousins was busy writing up his ignorant rant, he seemed to forget all this — or maybe he never fully understood this to begin with.


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