Republicans Using Incredibly Sketchy And Manipulative 'Dark Patterns' To Dupe People Into Donating Way More Than Intended

from the sketchy-grifters dept

Last week the NY Times had an incredible article about how the Trump campaign tricked donors into giving way more money than they meant to, using so-called "dark patterns" (i.e., tricky UI design and wording) that got many people to think they were donating one time, but instead accidentally signed up to contribute the same amount every month. The Trump campaign ended up having to return an astounding $122 million of the money it raised in refunds, much of it due to these tricks.

Contributors had to wade through a fine-print disclaimer and manually uncheck a box to opt out.

As the election neared, the Trump team made that disclaimer increasingly opaque, an investigation by The New York Times showed. It introduced a second prechecked box, known internally as a “money bomb,” that doubled a person’s contribution. Eventually its solicitations featured lines of text in bold and capital letters that overwhelmed the opt-out language.

The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists — retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives. Soon, banks and credit card companies were inundated with fraud complaints from the president’s own supporters about donations they had not intended to make, sometimes for thousands of dollars.

“Bandits!” said Victor Amelino, a 78-year-old Californian, who made a $990 online donation to Mr. Trump in early September via WinRed. It recurred seven more times — adding up to almost $8,000. “I’m retired. I can’t afford to pay all that damn money.”

Over at The Bulwark, Tim Miller noticed that, even following the NY Times expose of this practice, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) seems to have doubled down on this practice. First, it sent a text message to people falsely saying people needed to sign up within 10 minutes to Donald Trump's vaporware social media network. The page the link takes you to says you only have 10 minutes to "join" the social network (which makes no sense) and then asks you to "stand with Trump."

The framing of "Yes: I stand with Trump!" v. "No: I prefer Fake News!" is already quite something. But if you scroll down below the fold, it gets way more insane. When Tim first published his article, the sneaky money bomb dark pattern box (which again, you have to scroll down to see) has a bunch of text in bold, followed by an unbolded final line admitting that you'd be making your donation recurring.

It says:

We need your help to DRAFT Trump for President! Check this box if you want Trump to run again. Uncheck this box if you do NOT stand with Trump

Make this a monthly recurring donation.

You can see how that might be confusing. Lots of Trump supporters may check the box for the first, bolded, part, and not the latter. And that's not even mentioning the 2nd (also pre-checked box) for a second donation for a week later.

And then it got even more insane, because the NRCC updated the boxes... to make them even worse and more obnoxious:

So now it's not just click here to support Trump, now if you uncheck the sneaky recurring payments box, you're "a defector" and side with the Democrats. The full text:

We need to know we haven't lost you to the Radical Left. If you UNCHECK this box we will have to tell Trump you're a DEFECTOR & sided with the Dems. CHECK this box and we can win back the House and get Trump to run in 2024.

Again, it hides the "make this a monthly recurring donation" bit beneath that bolded text and still has the pre-checked "donate again soon" box.

As Tim Miller notes in his piece:

I’m sure there’s some formal legal difference between the NRCC tricking someone into signing up for a nonexistent social media site—and then having a default box opting them in to both double their pledged amount and make it recurring—and the criminal advance-fee scams made famous by the imaginary Nigerian princes.

But as a moral matter, the difference is awfully hard to suss out.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg, because Congress (in a bipartisan fashion) has been screaming about these supposed "dark patterns" on social media for the past few years, when nothing any social media company does is nearly as exploitive and sketchy as this. In fact, one of the NRCC's star children is Senator Josh Hawley, who keeps introducing bills to force social media sites to get rid of such "dark patterns." When that was happening, Hawley decried that "Too much of the 'innovation' in this space is designed not to create better products, but to capture more attention by using psychological tricks that make it difficult to look away."

I'm sure that Hawley will be along any moment to decry the efforts by the NRCC to trick people into donating way more money to his campaign than they meant to. Right? Right?

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Filed Under: campaign fundraising, dark patterns, donald trump, fund raising, gop, money bomb, recurring payments, republicans
Companies: nrcc, winred


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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:12pm

    "I love the poorly educated!" - Trump

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:12pm

    How do you milk sheep?

    Claim the election was rigged by democracy and ask for donations to fight it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:18pm

    "Do as we say, not as we do!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:31pm

    Unknowingly tripling your donation to own the libs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:33pm

    Is it bad that I read it first as...

    because Congress (in a bipolar fashion) has been screaming about these

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    F Layler @ windmills.com, 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:39pm

    Oh, dear. An Ivy League "Doctor" thinks this EVIL.

    Let's talk about Biden's stimulus, and giving BILLIONS to illegal aliens, trying to make election fraud permanent, doing away with Senate filibuster for one-party rule, or other that are orders of magnitude worse for The Public, you cheap little partisan.


    Now, continuing from prior, is this "spam", or disagreement?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      F Layler @ windmills.com, 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:41pm

      Re: Oh, dear. An Ivy League "Doctor" thinks this EVIL.

      It's disagreement! Because didn't hit the alleged "spam filter"! Quod Erat Demonstratum.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:51pm

      doing away with Senate filibuster for one-party rule

      Would you prefer we keep the filibuster around so partisan gridlock remains the norm instead of the outlier, then? 🤔

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 1:14pm

        Re:

        While on the subject I wonder how much outrage they had when it was the republicans who had the majority in both houses and the WH and engaged in a little 'one-party rule'...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:54pm

      Re: Oh, dear. An Ivy League "Doctor" thinks this EVIL.

      "and giving BILLIONS to illegal aliens,"

      And did the illegal aliens give the billions back after you woke up?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:55pm

      Re: Oh, dear. An Ivy League "Doctor" thinks this EVIL.

      I'm going to go with "Has no bearing on the article whatsoever" and add it to my round file.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:55pm

      Re: Oh, dear. An Ivy League "Doctor" thinks this EVIL.

      "...trying to make election fraud permanent..."

      Screaming incessantly about something will not make it become true, but hopefully it'll eventually give you a stroke.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 12:06am

        Re: Re: Oh, dear. An Ivy League "Doctor" thinks this EVIL.

        When he says "election fraud", he means "Democrats winning", and given that studies have shown that if things like gerrymandering and voter suppression are removed the Republicans are unlikely to win on their current platform, I'd say he has every right to be concerned. Having competent adults in charge would seem to be his worst nightmare.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 8 Apr 2021 @ 1:03pm

      Re: Oh, dear. An Ivy League "Doctor" thinks this EVIL.

      " trying to make election fraud permanent"

      Trump helped prove it was a legit election by losing his court cases.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 12:08am

        Re: Re: Oh, dear. An Ivy League "Doctor" thinks this EVIL.

        Well, that helps. Dominion's lawsuits should help cement it. Given that Powell's immediate response to having to actually present a case in court has been "no reasonable person would have believed a word I said", it should be entertaining to see how badly they fail to present their case.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        techflaws (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:24am

        Re: Re: Oh, dear. An Ivy League "Doctor" thinks this EVIL.

        Where even Republican judges were totally underwhelmed by the "evidence" presented.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 12:04am

      Re: Oh, dear. An Ivy League "Doctor" thinks this EVIL.

      Why would we talk about your fantasies when there's real issues to be concerned about?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:47pm

    I expected a "dark pattern" to mean a literal dark patterned background that would conceal critical information in the text, not taking advantage of morons in a hurry not reading all of it.

    If the term means tricky UI and wording, why not just say "tricky UI and wording" instead of using an opaque term you'll have to explain anyway?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      You realize this is a well known term of art, not something Mike just made up right?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_pattern

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      MightyMetricBatman, 8 Apr 2021 @ 1:12pm

      Re:

      I do not know if this comment was made in a trolly fashion or not, but I'll take the chance.

      The study of what person looks at in website originated from the outgrowth of the theories of UI design in computer science. It was found to be criminally easy to design a user interface that would draw your eyes to some things and totally avoid others.

      Since this type of study originates from computer science, they took terms from that field of study. In computer science, a "dark pattern" is a pattern in software engineering that makes iteration more difficult and more buggy as more and more is added onto the system.

      User interface research took the term to refer to a user interface designed to make it harder or avoid understanding of the information being projected.

      Dark patterns are not only pernicious in scams but regularly show up in contracts to hide things you would not ordinarily agree too. And the courts have generally encouraged it by being science illiterate as usual and responding "But the text was there." and ignore the entire study of what people look at on a screen or piece of paper.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rocky, 8 Apr 2021 @ 3:01pm

        Re: Re:

        Dark patterns are not only pernicious in scams but regularly show up in contracts to hide things you would not ordinarily agree too.

        There's actually a dark patterns website that showcases a lot of these patterns. It's quite an interesting topic. See www.darkpatterns.org.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 12:09am

      Re:

      "If the term means tricky UI and wording, why not just say "tricky UI and wording""

      Because that's longer than using the commonly accepted term?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 9:56am

        Re: Re:

        But still shorter than than first using the term and then explaining it for all the people who are not computer scientists and thus have never heard of it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rocky, 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But still shorter than than first using the term and then explaining it for all the people who are not computer scientists and thus have never heard of it.

          I would assume the people reading Techdirt would have an inkling of what different terms related to computers and tech mean, and if they don't, look them up. If a writer must put in an explanation for every technical term used to cater to people who have a poor technical vocabulary, it takes time from actually writing the articles. How about people actually look up terms they don't understand themselves?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 1:08pm

    'I didn't think the leopards would eat MY face!'

    I am shocked, shocked I say that a well known liar and con-artist would treat his own cultists with such gross disregard and contempt! Why, it's almost as though he's a narcissistic sociopath who only cares about them to the extent that they can do something for him, whether that be giving him money and/or stroking his ego and he has no problem exploiting them to get whatever he wants.

    On the one hand this is definitely sleazy behavior that needs to be called out and made so toxic that it's no longer a viable scam(mind, I'm not sure if that's possible given who's doing it and who the targets are), yet on the other hand I struggle to find much sympathy to offer as if anyone is going to get scammed you'd be hard pressed to find easier targets than Trump cultists, and acting surprised that Trump conned people is like acting surprised that shooting your own foot hurts in that it takes a spectacular level of stupidity not to have seen it coming such that my first thought upon reading the outraged quote was 'What did you expect you'd get for supporting someone like that?'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 8 Apr 2021 @ 2:36pm

      Re: 'I didn't think the leopards would eat MY face!'

      "narcissistic sociopath"

      Next he'll be urging his supporters to form an orderly line and shuffle to the Capitol and earnestly petition the reps to once more please consider that there MUST have been a genuine mistake in the results because perhaps the vote entry form had some unintended "vote for the other guy" option that was inadvertently buried in the instructions, and perhaps the text was more vague than was intended.

      If you could please do this, it would help to soothe the deeply hurt feelings of America's most popular President ever.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      catsmoke (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 10:54pm

      Re: 'I didn't think the leopards would eat MY face!'

      I struggle to find much sympathy to offer

      While you find that it requires no struggle to blame the victims?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 1:36am

        Re: Re: 'I didn't think the leopards would eat MY face!'

        "While you find that it requires no struggle to blame the victims?"

        The victims of the Trump cult surely aren't to blame for the acts of the cultists. You could argue that the cult members are similarly victims of fraud and conmanship but let's be realistic here - that they are so in the exact same way that most of the SA was. Your claim of victimization disappears when you become the willing accomplice.

        Trump didn't show up out of a vacuum, showing a large group of honest and decent people a bottle of snake oil and overnight converting them into the screaming mob shitting on the capitol floor and taking selfies of themselves committing sedition and assault.

        No, the 73 million people who voted for Trump last election have always been horrible people. The same horrible people who stood to applaud Cheney and GWB when they advocated torture as a legitimate means of interrogation and secret trials with neither jury, judge or legal representation as a valid means of administering justice.

        We can certainly blame the Trump cult. They wanted someone in authority to tell them "White Man Good! Black/Muslim/Gay Man Bad!". They got one to tell them - again - what they dearly wanted to hear. And now keep clinging to those lies with white-knuckled grips.

        I have sympathy for the honest person deceived by a grifter.
        Not for the angry malicious thug given a false cause to swing his fists at. And I don't think anyone needs to waste their sympathy on the benighted morons who wanted a strong man to tell them the reason they're poor and living in slums is because of the black people and/or the global jewish conspiracy.

        There's no victim blaming here. The 73 million americans who have consistently stood up to be counted with white supremacy, xenophobia, and whatever flavor of "leopard-eating-faces-party" was on offer aren't victims.

        They were upset the leopard tried to eat their face but they still voted for having someones face eaten.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:08am

        Re: Re: 'I didn't think the leopards would eat MY face!'

        SDM posted what would have basically been my answer in that similar to if you willingly support someone who is known for going around punching people you don't get to whine when your face ends up on the receiving end at some point if you support someone like Trump it's going to be a tad difficult to get people to sympathize when you end up conned and/or lied to, even if they don't agree with assault or scams respectively in general.

        They supported someone who has spent his life caring only for himself and screwing people over whenever it benefited him, after four years in the public eye making that and other charming traits of his crystal clear, it was just their bad luck that this time the people who got screwed was them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mononymous Tim (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 1:09pm

    More proof that the whole sham was for suckers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 8 Apr 2021 @ 1:23pm

    Well, it's a Nigerian reelection campaign

    You'd be a fool to vote for Biden after paying $15000 for getting Trump reelected. Are you going to admit to your wife and friends and most of all yourself that you've been conned out of that money, that you are a sucker? Nope, you always intended to pay all that money, cross the libs and hope to die.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 8 Apr 2021 @ 1:34pm

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 1:44pm

    What’s the endgame here?

    Do they think that the people they scammed will go “Haha, you got me!” And continue to vote Republican?

    If so, what a sad state of affairs. The abused voter continues to stay for more abuse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 2:06pm

      Sunk costs fallacy for ego and self-image

      Oh scams like this might shake a few of the less devoted cultists but most of them will likely shrug it off as a mistake that was entirely their fault rather than admit to themselves and others that they were conned and maybe the people telling them that the other side are composed entirely of baby-eating satanists who are comin' for their guns and bibles might not be honest and have their best interests at heart.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mononymous Tim (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 2:08pm

      Re: What’s the endgame here?

      Right, and probably in denial that it was on purpose.

      I'm so sick of hearing "He wouldn't do that." Oh yes, yes he would. He did and he still is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 8 Apr 2021 @ 2:22pm

      Re: What’s the endgame here?

      For a sad percentage, yes.

      Cult members will follow you to their graves. That is what a Trump supporter is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 4:33pm

      Re: What’s the endgame here?

      Do they think that the people they scammed will go “Haha, you got me!” And continue to vote Republican?

      Probably. These are stupid stupid people.

      For a bit of perspective, some of those mental midgets who stormed the Capitol still think Trump is going to pardon them somehow right after he gets inaugurated on a constantly moving date.

      Instead of 'where we go one, we go all' their slogan should be' thank you sir, may I have another?"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 4:54pm

      Re: What’s the endgame here?

      Right wing extremist media has so thoroughly poised the minds of its flock you can be sure they still voted for that POS.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 7:26pm

      Re: What’s the endgame here?

      In the home article for this, there literally is a guy who got scammed, says it was a fraud, but continues to support Trump. So unfortunately... yes, they will still vote republican.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 1:48am

      Re: What’s the endgame here?

      "Do they think that the people they scammed will go “Haha, you got me!” And continue to vote Republican?"

      Worse. They'll blame the libs for magically vanishing the money and keep pouring what cash they can spare into that hole.

      Here's the thing. The Trump cult - most of the 73 million, in fact - do not want the facts.
      They want to hear "Black Man Bad!", "You will not replace us!", "No more immigrants!", "Our jobs are coming back!".

      They want the myth of the 1950's back where a single man could support his wife, children, two cars and a dog in a picket-fenced house on a single wage and no one had ever seen a black person in the white neighborhood.

      They are emotionally invested in hatred and prejudice to the point where they'll instantly reject any fact inconvenient with their beliefs. When a con man shows up telling them he'll give it to the libs good'an'ard they won't stop to think. They'll give him all they've got left and as long as he keeps screaming about the evil libs they'll never stop to wonder what he's doing with their money.

      These people were all born homo sapiens but they've worked for most of their lives to take the sapiens away, just leaving a screaming ape.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 2:31am

        Re: Re: What’s the endgame here?

        "They want the myth of the 1950's back where a single man could support his wife, children, two cars and a dog in a picket-fenced house on a single wage and no one had ever seen a black person in the white neighborhood."

        To be fair, a lot of that sounds nice to me as well, apart from the enforced gender roles and racism. The problem is that they worship at the altar of Reagan and the other people who made even what really happened to personal economy in the 50s impossible to achieve for younger generations now.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 7:43am

          Re: Re: Re: What’s the endgame here?

          "To be fair, a lot of that sounds nice to me as well, apart from the enforced gender roles and racism."

          Of course it does, because it never existed. I'd be partial to that never-was story as well if it weren't for that it's on the same level of reality as wishing for a captain's desk on board the "Enterprise". If it's all the same to you, if we're going to talk about pure fiction I'd rather dream about going back to dragon-riding. It's about as realistic.

          The 1950's was a golden era all right - for domestic violence, poverty, child abuse, and all the other hallmarks of dysfunctional families. A time when smoking was considered so hip the pregnant mother was on one pack a day. The father was an alcoholic. The proper upbringing was a beating. And no one gave much of a shit about it. People died - in droves - to the most trivial of reasons. Today dying at 60 is a horror. In the 50's that was just "meh, bad luck. At least he had all his teeth".

          And that american dream? The house with the picket fence? Much like today the privilege of damn few. Americans have pursued that dream for so long now they started believing that was the standard back then. The only difference now is that if you decide, as the average low-to-mid income earner, to shoulder some crippling debt you can get something which at least looks like that dream, by buying a park or trailer home and lease a spot of ground to seat it in.

          No, what they indulge in is pure millenialism; the dream that in the days of yore, before the dark times of the present, the land flowed with milk and honey, hardship was unheard of, the woman knew her place in the kitchen and the marital bed, the children were obedient or learned discipline by way of the magical belt, and the brown, yellow and black people had the good courtesy not to bring their heathen ways before your eyes.

          You know, the same fantasy the nazis built their loyal following on.

          And just like when this demagogic dream was used to prop up the Jacobins in France, the Catholic church in medieval times and the reich in germany the ostensible reason as to why we no longer live in those wonderful times is <insert minority scapegoat here> who stole the dream and now control the world around them. Back then it was just the people who killed that nazarene carpenter, later on the jewish banking conspiracy...today it's space lizards, BLM, The Woke politically correct, leftists and, of course, ze jews. But this time with space lasers.

          The gender roles and racism is an innate part of the myth. The bait, as it were.
          Because you don't sell this shit to people who are well-adjusted and well off. You sell it to the losers in life; desperate people drowning in debt, morons who have pawned their firstborn to loan sharking credit card companies, rural farmers facing foreclosure...and everyone else desperate to know there's not just someone lower than them on the totem pole to spit on but someone to blame.

          They don't worship at the altar of Reagan. An altar indicates permanence. That's for the erudites guiding and using the herd of angry sheep. Who worship whoever is currently waving the banner of that dream. Yesterday that was Reagan. Before that it was Nixon and Goldwater. After Reagan it was Bush. Then Dubya. Then Trump.

          What they worship is the dream. Dear Leader Of The Day is just the current prophet.

          Liberals always make that mistake - thinking that the alt-right mob has memory retention. They don't. That's just not conducive to the way they've taught themselves to selectively ignore fact. The cult which has trained itself to instantly forget or set aside any inconvenient bit of reality crossing their path isn't big on history.
          What they have, is grievance.
          Talk about GWB today and maybe a few from the alt-right will recognize the name. The superstar from yesteryear. The savior who didn't. The six week wonder. Last seasons WWF star, buried by the Undertaker and promptly forgotten after his time in the limelight.

          But they sure as shit will remember the enemy they spent so much time screaming bile and hatred over. Bill Clinton. Obama. Hillary.

          No, the people sending Trump money aren't big on reason. They feel better for giving him the money they could have used getting their kid a lunch box or bike, because he promised to "give it to the libs". And then they forget about it, just nursing their grievance until the next time their prophet comes through for them with another tweeted hate session. Or a new prophet arises to scream the message louder than the old one.
          In between they sit back and nurse that dream of an america which never existed, possibly in an echo chamber of the like-minded.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2021 @ 4:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: What’s the endgame here?

            Quoting Aaron Sorkin here from the movie "The American President." I'm sure you can see the parallels:

            We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character. And wave an old photo of the President's girlfriend and you scream about patriotism and you tell them, she's to blame for their lot in life, and you go on television and you call her a whore.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Apr 2021 @ 1:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What’s the endgame here?

              "Quoting Aaron Sorkin here from the movie "The American President." I'm sure you can see the parallels:"

              Yeah, this shit isn't exactly new. Grifters greasing an electorate with fear and desire spiced with a suitable scapegoat to be upset about..it's as old as rhetoric.

              And it only works when your citizenry lacks basic education and has been taught to blindly salute rather than criticize their country, flag or party. A state every dictator and authoritarian desires for their nation and every believer in democratic values deplores.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:37am

      Re: What’s the endgame here?

      And continue to vote Republican?

      Yes, absolutely.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous, 8 Apr 2021 @ 2:45pm

    Mike Masnick

    Duped by the DNC to write smear articles about Republicans and Russians. Because Techdirt was demonetized by Google, for allowing conservatives to speak on Techdirt's platform. And has never been to Russia, yet still goes along with the Democrat narrative to push false stories about Russia too.

    Time to start reading another blog. Most articles are trash now. Like this one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 4:50pm

      Re: Mike Masnick

      Duped by the DNC to write smear articles about Republicans and Russians

      This article has nothing to with Russia. Odd choice.

      And Tim Miller who wrote the original is a well known Republican.

      And... you don't respond to any of the actual points raised in the article about Republicans duping Republicans.

      Because Techdirt was demonetized by Google, for allowing conservatives to speak on Techdirt's platform.

      What?

      And has never been to Russia, yet still goes along with the Democrat narrative to push false stories about Russia too.

      Wut?

      Time to start reading another blog. Most articles are trash now. Like this one.

      I'm sure you'll find many Russian blogs you can follow there, comrade.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:38am

      Re: Mike Masnick

      Time to start reading another blog

      Good riddance, asshat!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 2:52pm

    Credit card flow partially to blame

    I've always found it amazing that no one sees a problem with a system where the nearly static (changes once every few years) data on a credit card is sufficient for the would-be receiver of the funds to post credit card charges at their discretion. Yes, we should condemn the people who designed the interface to mislead users into choosing the submission options that led to excessive billing, but we should also condemn the system that enabled it. If the process for authorizing a payment required the cardholder to take one action to authorize to the credit card processor (rather than, as here, telling the card details to the campaign and trusting the campaign to do as "agreed") a one-time payment and a different action to authorize a recurring payment, we wouldn't need to be discussing whether the campaign engaged in shady tactics, because users simply could not make the mistake. The campaign would redirect the user to a site owned/operated by the card processor, and the card processor could display, in a standardized fashion, the charge being considered. The card processor, unlike the campaign, would be motivated to make this clear and presentable, so they don't have to deal with fraud complaints later. Likewise, if that authorization process told the card processor how much the user was authorizing, we wouldn't later have reports of "I thought they would charge me $10, and then they charged me $100," because the user would have seen the $10 (or $100) on the card processor's page before clicking Authorize.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous, 8 Apr 2021 @ 4:02pm

    Big surprise

    Guess who didn't vote for Trump? Masnick... Are you sucking up to Joe Biden? Yes, yes you are :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 5:15pm

      Re:

      Look, just because you sucked up to Trump for four years doesn't mean everyone does it to the politician in power.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 5:40pm

      Re: Big surprise

      It's always so amusing how your sort always imagines their "enemies" to be as stupidly and religiously invested in the supposed top enemy guy as you are in yours.

      Pretty sure almost everyone around here, at least, and a good deal of people elsewhere look at Biden as merely "not as bad as the alternative".

      Just because sucking up to your "leaders" is your cup of tea, does not follow that everyone else is sucking up to some other person, or that they even consider anyone to be "leaders".

      tl;dr : fuck off you smarmy weasel dick.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 12:23am

        Re: Re: Big surprise

        "It's always so amusing how your sort always imagines their "enemies" to be as stupidly and religiously invested in the supposed top enemy guy as you are in yours."

        I'm always amused at their reaction to how non-cultists act when their "team" is in question. For example, when the subject of Trump hanging around with Epstein is brought up, they always respond with "but Clinton", expecting people to defend him as they would Trump. They always seem confused when the honest response of "if Clinton is guilty, hang him too" is given.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:02am

          Re: Re: Re: Big surprise

          "They always seem confused when the honest response of "if Clinton is guilty, hang him too" is given."

          Because the narrative they've been hearing is that Clinton or the Kenyan Muslim is the leader of a vast conspiracy of satanists who garnish their pizza with bits of children and brainwash their subordinates and minions into blind obedience.

          So when it turns out liberals aren't, in fact, slavishly devoted to following the leader of the week it's just another of those facts contradicting what they "know" which they have to take some time ignoring and compartmentalizing before they can move on.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Big surprise

            That might be a part of it but it could also be a matter of expecting from others what you would do yourself.

            For someone who would defend their Dear Leader from any slights, insult or 'fake news' no matter what because they have been taught to believe that loyalty to authority figures in their tribe is the highest priority it would make sense for them to assume that everyone would share that mindset as obviously that's the correct way to do things, such that it would never occur to them that others aren't like that and are willing to criticize and condemn their authority figures when warranted.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 7:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Big surprise

              "That might be a part of it but it could also be a matter of expecting from others what you would do yourself. "

              Possibly. I find the alt-right mob in general views their "leaders" much like WWF stars. The current one to hold the throne they'll defend to their last breath - while his career lasts, then they move on to the next leader to defend to the death.

              They ones they really remember is the heel. The bad guy.

              I doubt many of the current alt-right mob could even say what GWB did in his time - but they'll remember every detail of what the Kenyan Muslim was supposed to have done, or Killary.

              So when the liberal isn't defending their "Big Bad Leader" the alt-right wingnut is left with the confusing feeling that "why isn't the libs rooting for their team? I'm rooting for mine!".

              The facts are irrelevant. It's like wrestling fans taking the performance art seriously.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:42am

      Re: Big surprise

      Guess who didn't vote for Trump?

      Why, obviously enough people to get him sh!tcanned as the lame duck he is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 8 Apr 2021 @ 4:34pm

    Yeah, my heart bleeds for anyone who would donate to Trump in the first place. I mean, really... Trump had been lying to their faces for at least 4 years, and they were stupid enough to believe whatever he said. Have they learned anything yet?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 4:47pm

    And that's only the tip of the iceberg, because Congress (in a bipartisan fashion) has been screaming about these supposed "dark patterns" on social media for the past few years

    Well, they also bitch about things like robocalling, spam, and unauthorized sharing/collection of personal data. But they always make themselves exempt when passing laws to regulate these things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 8 Apr 2021 @ 6:20pm

    Mike Masnick

    Trying to steal Rachel Maddow's spotlight.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 9:21pm

    It's hard to write this but I still feel like saying it, "dumbshit had enough money to send him $990". Doesn't justify what Trump did but....

    I bet if you asked the guy, he'd go full cognitive dissonance on how Trump is so rich, yet, at the same time he needs money. I watched Trump flip the flops that he'd already flopped the flipped 5 times in the last day and the red hats would rationalize whatever he said however they wanted it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    catsmoke (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 11:20pm

    NRCC

    Let us not conflate the National Republican Congressional Committee with any serious body in the republic. The NRCC is yet another fly-by-night scam operation whose principals have the goals of: (1) meeting the bare-minimum legal requirements for qualifying, with the IRS, as a tax-exempt 527 organization, and (2) absconding with 90% (or whatever non-persecutable maximum percentage) of the money they collect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:05am

    "The NRCC is yet another fly-by-night scam operation"

    So essentially just Republican Business As Usual?

    To imagine that it wasn't that long ago that party was filled with serious-minded adherents of pragmatism...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 4:40am

    Would you join Trump on a new social media site?
    YES! I stand with Trump!
    NO! I prefer fake news!

    Every accusation a confession.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 1:40pm

    Not sure who's the bad guy here

    Yes, it's bad that the NRCC website has evilly-worded check boxes and takes money from people, but on the other hand, they're taking money from rubes.
    And, yes, I use the word "rube" in the classical sense, meaning "people who know the con man takes money from people but they give him money anyway".

    Who are all these people who still give money to Trump after all stories about how Trump keeps so much money for himself. Okay maybe they don't believe all the stories, but how many stories does it take to realize there might be a grain of truth?

    On the other hand, maybe the credit card processors are the good guys since they gave people their money back when the complaints came in.
    Is there any word if the card processors banned the NRCC from processing credit cards due to all the complaints?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 9:18pm

      Re: Not sure who's the bad guy here

      Who are all these people who still give money to Trump after all stories about how Trump keeps so much money for himself. Okay maybe they don't believe all the stories, but how many stories does it take to realize there might be a grain of truth?

      You're talking about a portion of the population who will march in the streets based on Trump's boasting and egging on, can't decide among themselves whether it was a literal order to mob the Capitol building, then act all shocked that their Dear Leader isn't going to spend a lick of money or help to save them from the consequences of martyrdom.

      These people have their blinders surgically grafted to their faces. Proof is not going to have any meaningful effect. It's like trying to convince someone to stop giving money to Nigerian princes or Russian girlfriends.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2021 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re: Not sure who's the bad guy here

        "It's like trying to convince someone to stop giving money to Nigerian princes or Russian girlfriends."

        But but ..... Natalia assured me that as soon as my check clears and she gets the vaccine that she'll be able to fly over and "thank me" for all the money I spent!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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