Thursday Reads: High Anxiety

I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I was one of those kids who used to get up in the morning with tummy aches before school. I spent a week or so in hospital during high school suspected of having an ulcer. A lot was expected from me, so I pretty much tried to be as perfect as possible and that’s a recipe for self-doubt and high stress. It’s a hard habit to kick too.

I have to admit that I thought my Buddhist practice coupled with living in the Big Easy with a pledge to avoid relationships at all costs would keep my nerves pretty much under control. I made it through my doctoral program with very little of the usual stomach thing which they now call irritable bowl syndrome. But, life has these ways of reminding you that your imperfections are always lurking and that you probably never have them completely exorcised.  At least I know that I am not alone in this by any means.

We’ve become the United States of Anxiety. This is the year of the national nervous breakdown.  I’m right there with the rest of the country. So, you can read the official, peer reviewed title:  APA Stress in America™ Survey: US at ‘Lowest Point We Can Remember;’ Future of Nation Most Commonly Reported Source of Stress.  You can also read the media version: Americans Are Officially Freaking Out; Almost two-thirds say this is the lowest point in U.S. history—and it’s keeping a lot of them up at night.”   Yes it’s keeping me up at night too.  I’m one face in that number.  This is from the Bloomberg link.

For those lying awake at night worried about health care, the economy, and an overall feeling of divide between you and your neighbors, there’s at least one source of comfort: Your neighbors might very well be lying awake, too.

Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, report being stressed about the future of the nation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh Stress in America survey, conducted in August and released on Wednesday. This worry about the fate of the union tops longstanding stressors such as money (62 percent) and work (61 percent) and also cuts across political proclivities. However, a significantly larger proportion of Democrats (73 percent) reported feeling stress than independents (59 percent) and Republicans (56 percent).

The “current social divisiveness” in America was reported by 59 percent of those surveyed as a cause of their own malaise. When the APA surveyed Americans a year ago, 52 percent said they were stressed by the presidential campaign. Since then, anxieties have only grown.

A majority of the more than 3,400 Americans polled, 59 percent, said “they consider this to to be the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.” That sentiment spanned generations, including those that lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. (Some 30 percent of people polled cited terrorism as a source of concern, a number that’s likely to rise given the alleged terrorist attack in New York City on Tuesday.)

“We have a picture that says people are concerned,” said Arthur Evans, APA’s chief executive officer. “Any one data point may not not be so important, but taken together, it starts to paint a picture.”

Okay, so I highlighted the factors the studied controlled for which is pretty amazing.  Read that list of big events in US History and people still came up with this year, right now, and probably due to you know who.

There’s almost an overload of horrid news these days but at the top of my list is the number of my fellow citizens that fell for Russian Trolls. Actually, it’s even scarier that we have high level official that followed Russian trolls.   This is from The Daily Beast which is combing through a drop from the House of Russian propaganda from the election.  “Michael Flynn Followed Russian Troll Accounts, Pushed Their Messages in Days Before Election.” 

Former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn followed five Twitter accounts based out of the Russian-backed “troll factory” in St. Petersburg—and pushed their messages at least three times in the month before the 2016 election.

Over 2,750 troll accounts based out of the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency were made public by House investigators on Wednesday. The accounts, some of which had previously been identified by The Daily Beast as Russian-generated, were pulled from Twitter due to their ties to the troll factory over the past three months.

The Daily Beast had previously discovered Flynn, Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, and Trump campaign digital director Brad Parscale retweeted Ten_GOP several times in the month before the election.

The news that Flynn also pushed Russian propaganda comes at an unwelcome time for the former three-star general and head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn is one of the people under investigation by Robert Mueller’s widespread probe into Russian influence in the 2016 campaign.

During Flynn’s brief tenure as President Trump’s top national security aide, Flynn pushed for cooperation between the Russian and American military that would have been, at best, borderline illegal. Flynn ultimately resigned amidst reports that he had undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kisylak during the campaign.

Of course, Flynn wasn’t necessarily hostile to Russian agitprop. In December of 2015, he traveled to Moscow for a gala celebrating Russia Today, the Kremlin’s propaganda network. At Flynn’s side for dinner: Russian president Vladimir Putin.

This is horrifying.  From WAPO: “Russian ads, now publicly released, show sophistication of influence campaign”.

Lawmakers on Wednesday released a trove of ads that Russian operatives bought on Facebook, providing the fullest picture yet of how foreign actors sought to promote Republican Donald Trump, denigrate Democrat Hillary Clinton and divide Americans over some of the nation’s most sensitive social issues.

The ads that emerged, a sampling of the 3,000 that Russians bought during the 2016 presidential campaign and its aftermath, demonstrated in words and images a striking ability to mimic American political discourse at its most fractious. The targeting information also showed a shrewd understanding of how best to use Facebook to find and influence voters most likely to respond to the pitches.

As a group, the ads made visceral appeals to voters concerned about illegal immigration, the declining economic fortunes of coal miners, gun rights, African American political activism, the rising prominence of Muslims in some U.S. communities and many other issues. Some of the ads, many of which were bought in Russian rubles, also explicitly called for people to attend political rallies amid a campaign season that already was among the most polarizing in recent U.S. history.

The Daily Beast outlines the profile and activities of just one of these groups on Facebook related to gun fetishists.

The ad was highly specific—and specifically Russian.

It was for a Facebook group called Defend The 2nd. Above an image showing a cornucopia of bullets, it billed itself as “The community of 2nd Amendment supporters, guns lovers & patriots.” That was how it appeared to the public—the American public—but Facebook internally held data that told a different story.

Ad targeting information associated with Defend The 2nd showed how highly targeted it was. The location for viewership had to be within the United States. They had to be between the ages of 18 to over 65. They had to match Facebook users with interests including the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Sisters, Gun Owners of America, Concealed carry in the United States, and Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

House Democratics are responsible for the data dump.  You can see 14 ads on Facebook directly planted by Russian Trolls here at Motherboard.   They are broadly spread between helping Trump and helping Bernie Sanders against Clinton.  You can go see them. I have no intention of putting them up here.

Lawmakers finally disclosed a small sample of the more than 3,000 ads that Russian trolls bought on Facebook and Instagram during the 2016 presidential election. The 14 ads released on Wednesday show a glimpse of the political issues that Russian government trolls tried to harp on to sow divide among Americans and influence the 2016 presidential election.

Some of the ads disparage Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, or promote divisive trends like anti-muslim or anti-immigration sentiment. Some promote rallies and counter-rallies that ended up in real life events.

So, the Mustang is finally back running and has totally left me without the ability to pay for anything else.  I’m trying to round up funds to take Kinsey to the vet to get her on her meds and to pay the house note.  I’m not used to asking for money for anything but the blog but if you could spare something please help. I feel awful that I got this cat with hyperthyroidism to save her and now I can get her to the vet but I can’t pay for the visit and meds up front and Dinah needs to go too.  She’s in the throes of a reaction to mites. Thanks and I promise not to do this again if I can at all help it!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

55 Comments on “Thursday Reads: High Anxiety”

  1. dakinikat says:

    David Corn for MoJo:
    Hackers Compromised the Trump Organization 4 Years Ago—and the Company Never Noticed
    The perpetrators have possible ties to Russia.

    This week, a researcher named C. Shawn Eib wrote a blog post highlighting the existence of the shadow subdomains, which had been referenced in a Twitter thread several weeks ago. Eib noted that “more than 250 subdomains of domains registered to the Trump Organization redirect traffic to computers in St. Petersburg, Russia.”

    Another computer security expert, who also asked not to be named, notes that this network of shadow subdomains may have been established by a criminal enterprise looking to use the Trump Organization’s computer system as the launching pad for various cyberattacks on other individuals or entities. But, he adds, this breach also could be exploited by state or nonstate actors attempting to infiltrate the Trump Organization. “At the least,” he remarks, “it shows the Trump Organization has been badly run.”

    • quixote says:

      Hacked or inflitrated is the kindly interpretation. Myself, I would start from the assumption they knew all about it and cooperated (or colluded) for some payoff or because of blackmail. What with all the money laundering, there’s no shortage of blackmail material to force cooperation.

  2. NW Luna says:

    All this shit coming out now … Again, and not for the last time, I want to scream “We Told You So!”

  3. NW Luna says:

    I’m in that High Anxiety category. So are a lot of my patients. Bad combination.

    Fed the kitty — wish it could be more.

    • dakinikat says:

      Thanks! Anything helps! I have to get these girls to the Vet.

    • Enheduanna says:

      My mother has what I would guess is generalized anxiety and she gets panic attacks and has night terrors. I think all us girls in the family inherited the panic attacks at least – although they are probably mild compared to most cases. I have been fighting almost debilitating shyness my whole life and that’s just pure anxiety.

      One thing about getting older – it’s gotten a lot better. I no longer have as many FKs to give.

      Also fed the kitty and wish I could do more! Together we’ll get Kinsey fixed right up!

  4. NW Luna says:


  5. dakinikat says:

    Why do women get all attractive if they don’t want to be harassed? Glad you asked

    I emailed Steve something benign about how women make themselves attractive for the same reasons men do: to feel confident, to earn social capital in a culture that prizes physical beauty, to turn on their partners, to land dates with people they find mutually attractive — physically or otherwise.

    It’s not a contradiction to want all those things and not want a superior to masturbate in front of you. That seems pretty simple.

    But I wonder if it’s a little too simple.

    I don’t think we can have an honest conversation about sexual harassment and sexual assault right now without talking about all the ways we have taken women’s bodies and turned them into vessels.

    Because some how, men always have to make it about themselves and it’s not always about them …

  6. Sweet Sue says:

    Apparently, Brazille Nut has lost her goddamned mind. Hope Hillary and Bill call her out as the underpowered, backstabbing, lying weasel that she is. When will the Democratic Party stop stomping on the two people who saved and tried to save it from oblivion?
    Speaking of high anxiety, I’ve been married for thirty two years and, half the time, when my husband walks into the room I scream bloody murder.
    Dak, did what I could.

    • Pilgrim says:

      Brazile’s piece of work is lower than a snake’s belly.

    • dakinikat says:

      I think she’s trying to increase sales of her book. Never trusted her since she did the rules committee thing!

      • Enheduanna says:

        Wow! I had forgotten about that! “My Mama taught me to play by the rules”. And then they gave Obama some imaginary Michigan delegates.

        • Catscatscats says:

          I believe they gave him four of her delegates based on exit polls had he been on the ballot. It was a disgrace. He chose not to be on the ballot.

          • NW Luna says:

            I remember that. Obama could have been on the ballot and didn’t. He never was one for bold thinking.

      • bostonboomer says:

        She has been roasted all day long on Twitter. Oh and I’m officially done with Elizabeth Warren. She said the primaries were rigged. I was pretty much fed up with her already. She won’t get my vote again.

      • Fannie says:

        How can we ever forget that? Thanks Dak! I can tell you that I’ve gone back years to reread articles here, and you’re right, how in the hell did they fall for all the misinformation, and how did I become the worst bitch to ever write on FB. My anxiety is so high, I hate listening to all the horrible news, from Trump, his administration, and Bernie Bots. I am fighting dems, who want to game me because I said something this way or that way. Shit I’ve never been a damn queen, I’ll that the nasty bitch.

  7. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      Aren’t they trying to reduce or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction as well? Does this bill have a chance to pass?

      • quixote says:

        The medical expense deduction is used by itemizers, it’s not available for people taking the standard deduction. I thought the expenses had to be higher than 2% of adjusted gross income, but apparently it’s 10%. So that’s a lot of money before you can even start to deduct under the current system.

        The mortgage interest deduction they want to take away is for new mortgages higher than $500,000. With a 20% downpayment, that would be houses costing about $620,000. That’s aimed straight at the blue states which are the only places where those sorts of prices are common.

        Even though both of those can cause a lot of problems for a lot of people, I can’t see how either of them would raise all that much money. (Because in a nation of 340,000,000 or so, the absolute number of people rich enough to be affected isn’t that big. ?) I’ll be curious to see what the CBO says when it gets the numbers worked out.

      • bostonboomer says:

        They are going to cap the mortgage deduction at 500K. Most of the houses and condos around here are more than that. I don’t think the bill has a chance in hell, especially with the state and local tax deduction being killed. That would raise taxes on most people in Mass.

        • NW Luna says:

          Still can’t deduct state & local taxes unless you itemize. I’ve never ever had enough to itemize and I’ve been a homeowner since 1990.

          WA state has no income tax, and our sales tax is extremely regressive. Somehow an income tax never gets enough support here, probably because most people see it as being added on top of the sales tax. They’d have to come up with some transparent and irrefutable way of decreasing the sales tax when adding an income tax.

          As for 500K, the median price for houses now is around 600-700K here, and 800K across Lk Washington. I remember back when no one wanted to live in rainy Seattle — the good old days. Damn Microsoft and Amazon.

        • Mary Luke says:

          With our tax rate in MA it’s a horror show. Also NYC has substantial city taxes which eat a big chunk of working people’s paychecks.

    • Fannie says:

      Heard Ivanka Trump’s working the deal about Child Care Cost, something about not being able to put 5,000 aside for child care. She will HITTING the road with members to help poor people with understand how this new tax code bill. I am going to guess that not many women have been able to put $100 aside for child care. When the bill came due, it was paid, I didn’t have no sliding scale, pay $5 today and $10 the next. Hell I paid up on pay day.

      • NW Luna says:

        Ivanka is clueless about the real world. If she had to live on what we do, she’d melt down in tears while her mascara didn’t run.

  8. Enheduanna says:

    And starting tomorrow we get to hold our breaths and hope the idiot doesn’t do anything too humiliating (or start a war):

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Man Comes Forward to Describe an Alleged Extended Sexual Relationship He Had at Age 14 With Kevin Spacey

  10. RonStill4Hills says:

    I see. They somehow think Hills, and by extension, we, are the Past. BernieBots are the future.

    That’s fine. The party is going to sell its souls one more time.

    I have to hope that The JackAss-O-Lantern catches fire and emulates of his own accord because the Democrats are incompetent backstabbing pieces of shit.

    They won’t even bring a knife to a gun fight, they are packing daisies and herbal tea. They lose because they chase behind a wannabe Timothy Leary with an embezzling wife. Whatevs.

    The only democrat with balls sense 2001 is being made a scapegoat once again, and why? To cozy up to a bunch of narcissistic misogynist lazy millennial idiots!

    Fuck ‘em. Fuck ‘em in the ear hole.

    They will get neither votes nor money from me till they bow down and kiss Hiillary’s feet.

    I mean that most sincerely.

  11. RonStill4Hills says:

    I am very skeptical of everything I hear and read online. Russian and Alt-Right Ratfuckery is everywhere. But this is coming directly from Warren and Brazilles own mouths.

    They deserve what they get. They have brought this own themselves. Why on earth would they choose the Great Trumpkin lies to try to advantage themselves. Rigged indeed.

    If Donna thinks she will sell more books, maybe she will but she is done as a credible authority. She will never recover.

    If Elizabeth thinks the Weakened At Bernie’s is going to be some kind of Queen maker, she will be disappointed and diminished on top of it.

    I have two things to say to the left.
    1) you brought this on yourselves.
    2) You are own your own.

    At a moment a Neo-Confederate wannabe dictator is stinking up the White Hiuse, we are surrounded by idiots!!!!

  12. RonStill4Hills says:

    Of course morning drive-time was exactly what I knew it would be…non-stop Hillary bashing.

    No real discussion of Trump and the exposure of more lies form Jefferson Davis Secessions.

    Just gleeful “we told you so’s” from the “Feel the Bern” peanut gallery.