The mess on our southern borders continues to get worse by the day, and nobody has quite known what to do. It came as a big relief to everyone genuinely concerned about the fate of our Southern American neighbors, who have come to us for help, that the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has passed a bill to give these people some relief.
The House voted 230 to 195, mostly down party lines late Tuesday night to approve a $4.5 billion measure to send humanitarian relief to the southern border, addressing concerns about conditions of detention centers where migrant children are being held.
This whole time we have barely heard or seen a thing. Many have feared the worst. Finally CNN got to go inside, and there’s no doubt that it was about time, but still, no one knows for sure what they’re up to; about all we do know is it doesn’t involve mass graves. We know they’re not ordering mass shootings, but other than that there is very little positive to say.
The following observations were made by Clara Long and Nicole Austin-Hillery, the journalists assigned to the story’s coverage by CNN, but they spoke for us all when they published them.
We have been speaking out urgently, since then, about the devastating and abusive circumstances we’ve found. The Trump administration claims it needs even more detention facilities to address the issue, but policy makers and the public should not be fooled into believing this is the answer.
The situation we found is unacceptable. US Border Patrol is holding many children, including some who are much too young to take care of themselves, in jail-like border facilities for weeks at a time without contact with family members, regular access to showers, clean clothes, toothbrushes, or proper beds. Many are sick. Many, including children as young as 2 or 3, have been separated from adult caretakers without any provisions for their care besides the unrelated older children also being held in detention.
These meathook findings leave little room for equivocation and help to shed critical light on a basic fact of critical importance.
We are dealing with the totally awful here, combined with more than a dash of the hideously absurd, although all of us are used to that by now. It’s Trump, after all.
Among other things, we had to actually have a vote about whether or not these little kids should be able to get soap and toothpaste. In the world’s richest country. What an insult to the history of the world’s remaining superpower.
Republicans are boasting about the worst thing they’ve done since Iraq, but even they and Trump seem mostly miserable. They’re not handling this situation well, but they didn’t create it, either. It’s a problem for us all at this point and a highly complex one. It should be noted that the Senate passed relief legislature as well, so that’s good.
Certainly, medieval solutions such as walls are a laughable measure. These people are coming here because our laws allow them to. Unless that changes, the wall would be nothing but a pointless and ugly disaster. They’re coming in through legal ports anyway. It’s almost like the right is starting to see that a wall’s not going to stop legal asylum seekers, but of course, that is probably a pipe dream. Bipartisan is practically a curse word to the modern right wing Party.
Democrats, as usual, are desperately trying to clean up what we can and keep it from getting any worse. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was the one who put this relief bill together, to the surprise of absolutely no one, and her ability to keep her caucus in order has allowed us to keep things up and running. We even got some Republican votes.
Only one group of people in all of this wide nation’s Democratic Party stood in a bloc to oppose a bill that should have been a no-brainer for any progressive.
How unbelievable is that? This is Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar we’re talking about here. Omar’s father was a Somalian cab driver who was able to get in here only at the cost of great difficulty, and now she is a famous Representative with an important voice to be heard in the Democratic Party. She blew it badly here. We gave her a chance before, and wrote “#WeStandWithIlhan-This Time.”
No way are we sticking up for her now. Not on your life.
At least the moderate core of the Party remains decent. I don’t have a thing to say for the rest. I guess Ilhan Omar can’t be outright proven a terrorist, so there’s that. But she sure does have some awful friends, and by this I mean Bernie Sanders, who she just co-authored a bill with, just as much as the Council of American-Islamic Relations. They’ve been right here to undermine us whenever it has counted all along, and look what it could have led to this time! The sheer physical revulsion I feel towards that vote they made is indescribable. Let no one say that we have not reached out; we have. Over and over again. But they just don’t share our values.
Regretting the need to keep this article about the kids and not the endless evils of the socialists, it’s disappointing from anyone to vote for refusing soap to caged immigrant children. Why was it not possible for Democrats of all stripes to come together and pressure Trump into buying these kids some soap and toothpaste? The guy does not mind at all putting on these displays of pettiness, unreal for the richest country in the world, but we do!
So much for Giving me your tired and poor. Our citizens are mostly the types of people who bought into all that Statue of Liberty stuff about the “huddled masses yearning to break free”. They opened up a Japanese internment camp for one particularly lucky huddled mass. I hate the term “masses” anyway and find it smarmily arrogant and superior. Those are people in there, not chewed and processed cud.
That last is a rather dehumanizing metaphor, which brings us to our next troubling observation. These people are not being discussed in the language of respect we should use when we hear of the plight of other humans, wherever or whoever they may be. They’re being referred to as pests and vermin. This cannot be allowed. We’re on a slippery slope at this point.
This really is Nazi-like, and not in the same overdramatic and irresponsible sense that Ocasio-Cortez used to compare what’s going on right now to the Holocaust. It’s in the sense of negating the basic human value possessed by every human.
Respect and kindness from our fellows ought to be a birthright, possessed by all members of our species. It’s always been unequal, and that sucks enough. But now Trump and the right wing are removing it altogether. The next step really could be mass graves and the death camps, and if it does come down to that we’ll be up against it even worse than ever. We now have these four time bomb socialist candidates to deal with on top of the mountainous pile of our other challenges.
Three Republicans voted in favor of the bill, and just four Democrats opposed the vote — they were all freshmen Democrats, and arguably the highest profile freshmen from the 116th Congress: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. All four said earlier in the week they would vote against the bill due to its funding of Immigration and Customs (ICE), which they have called for to be abolished.
There they are! The usual suspects, on again about the abolishing of ICE. Is this really the time? Make a speech or something, if you want to make a meaningless gesture. This is the same thing they pulled when Ocasio-Cortez refused to vote to help us re-open the government.
Oh, and those pictures of her showing up like a dynamo on the border today like some kind of a Terminatrix? They weren’t even recent! The shame of it all!
How in God’s holy name are we going to get those kids out of those cages, if we can’t even come together on giving them toothpaste? There’s no end to the outrage we ought to feel! It’s like living in a Nazi cartoon! If only we weren’t so beat up and numb already, from the previous three years of traumas! And let NO one forget, not a single bit of any of it could have been possible except with the help of Bernie Sanders!
That is why people now are getting murdered down there wholesale, in many cases by predator Americans who have gone there to act out their violent fantasies.
Removing from the German public their perception of their Jewish neighbors as humans like themselves proved invaluable to the Nazis when they locked down all of Europe and began to hunt them down and kill them off. It needs to be clearly noted that we’re far from saying they’re doing anything like what the Nazis were doing- yet.
We do not wish at all to trivialize the Holocaust, which dwarfed in proportion by far any other human tragedy. AOC made a big mistake there. She then made it obvious that she’s anti-Israel completely by refusing a visit to Auschwitz with a number of survivors, another big mistake. But just because she’s shrill and hysterical doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a wildly overstated point. The longer this goes on, the more vicious Trump will get, and we all know how he looks up to that savage lot. There’s no telling where it all might end.
Sincere people of all political persuasions should be able to get that we need to take care of children. The fact that we can’t just says it all about the state of the nation today. One thing is for sure, and one alone. The radicals are not helping on either side. The Democrats are the only ones who can, so we need to support each other now more than ever. All old grudges should be piled up like fall leaves and lit afire. The stakes are too high.
Going forward, the plan is clear. We have got to do what it takes to link hands with our people down there on the southern border, and we’ve got to do it now. We want you to give us those kids back, Trump, and a rage is growing in us because you won’t. The Point of No Return is now on your horizon. Turn back now, and you may yet reach the shore. History will revile you anyway, there’s no getting around that anymore, but only as Mussolini, not as Hitler. Take it or leave it.
And give those bars of soap to those dog-caged children!
The entity known as the far-right conservative entertainment show Fox News Network has become a big problem for America. Under the reign of Donald Trump, which never would have been possible without them, a new Dark Ages era of falsehood and deception has begun. Their talking heads have become a sort of private-sector State TV, and by the day they become more brazen.
Something has to stop them eventually, and the American people still can if they decide to rise up righteous. We’ve got to raise awareness about Fox “News”. They are not a real news station legally as well as in fact. They are not subject to airwave regulation by the FCC because they are just a cable show.
They can lie whenever they want without any penalty. And they do!
Judging from current events, it’s hard to pick a winner as to which recent event inspired us to write this story now; any other day would have done as well. The now-infamous Pelosi hit video on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” seems a reasonable place to begin.
Facebook, which has resolved on being dishonest and Russian infested itself, refused to take it down, which got a lot of justified heat slung at them, but they weren’t the real culprits this time. Liar Fox hosts were, but that didn’t raise many eyebrows. The whole world has known for years they’re just right-wing talking heads. Most of us have long since gotten used to being lied to by Fox, and we know on whose behalf.
The Republican Party, and the monopoly capitalists worldwide who are footing the bill for them.
The Republican Party, or more accurately its extremist wing known as the Tea Party and Fox “News” have a lot in common. They have the same ostensible values, but more importantly, they share the same financiers. The New York Times did a piece in 2010 titled “The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party.”
Libertarian Rupert Murdoch, the creator of Fox “News”, is a billionaire and was numbered in stone among their ranks before he retired. His fellow libertarians and allies Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries were the other chief culprits, unsurprisingly. Koch-supported lobbyists, foundations and political operatives are at the center of climate-science denial — a cause that forestalls threats to Koch Industries’ vast fossil fuel business.
Which “news network” has been pushing that line the loudest? We don’t even have to tell you.
As we have discussed many times on this blog, “libertarian” is the new word for monopoly capitalist, or fascist. Whenever you think of Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries, that’s who we’re talking about. A total media monopoly has been a Koch agenda item for years. Hawaiian representative Tulsi Gabbard, of all people, plays a strange role in their world. The arch-villains of Occupy Wall St, a dark money private political empire designed to promote far-right causes.
The Murdoch family is one of the biggest players. The amount of money they have formally given to the Republican Party is vast. Who knows what they’ve been up to since Citizens United? One can only speculate, and look at what we know for sure in the meantime.
Kathleen Ronayne at OpenSecrets.org put together the following statistics, leaving no doubt who Fox and the Republicans are getting their bread buttered by.
Since the 1990 election cycle, Murdoch has contributed about $750,000 to federal candidates and political committees, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Of that sum, 80 percent — or $600,200 — has benefited Republican candidates and committees, including a $250,000 contribution to the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 1990s, when the committee could still accept unlimited “soft money” donations.
These days it’s the son of Rupert, Lachlan Murdoch, who has run the place since 2017, and he is no better than his father.
When he took over, he promptly sold nearly every anti-Trump asset they had to Disney, including the Simpsons, their one contribution to humanity. King of the Hill too, I suppose, but on the other hand, we lost Beavis and Butthead out of the deal.
Speaking as a private citizen, I don’t think it was worth it. Every day, like boll weevils, they eat away at the strands of what Americans believe is going on.
Earlier today, when Robert Mueller made his first public statement regarding the report that bears his name regarding the Russian interference in our election, they swung into action right away. Headlines bearing such trivial names as “Laura Ingraham says Mueller ‘attempting to resuscitate the corpse’ of his report'” and “Mueller statement made for ‘bad day’ for Pelosi, 2020 Dems, Trump campaign manager says” proliferated all over the Internet within an afternoon.
The people claiming that the contents of the Mueller Report are anything but a disaster of the highest scale for America are part of the problem, and as usual, Fox hosts are leading the charge. The wrigglings of Sean Hannity were as loathsome as those of Glenn Greenwald (almost; at least the former will admit what team he’s on). We’re not going to get into that in this article, however. We’re going to stick with Fox and hope that Mr. Mueller won’t mind too much our lack of focus in his work today.
Fox “News”, for never again will we write the very words without using quotation marks, a practice I am hoping will catch on, is not really a news station at all. It’s part of 21st Century Fox, a cable entertainment network, and this is of the utmost importance because it explains why they can lie to us this way so systematically.
MediaBiasFactCheck provides the background.
Founded in 1996 by Rupert Murdoch, Fox News Channel, also known as Fox News, (FNC) is an American basic cable and satellite news television channel that is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.
Catch that? Entertainment! This will set the standard for our entire evaluation of this clumsy version of State TV we derisively call “Faux News”. Cable networks are not real news networks, at least not in the sense that the Big Three stations (NBC, ABC, CBS) are, because they do not go out over the airwaves. They are therefore not subject to Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, airwave regulation.
The FCC controls the airwaves. That’s their task. It’s their job. Their only job! And who among us has not asked before, with all the constant misinformation, the innumerable floods of lawsuits over wrong stories, the countless times they have been sued, why doesn’t the FCC do something?
Well, actually, for the same reason Robert Mueller didn’t charge Trump with a crime! They don’t have the legal right! The FCC has no jurisdiction over cable. Neither does CNN, of course, but they adhere to journalistic standards more than three-fourths of the time. Fox can’t even make halfway.
They only tell the truth on the air 42% of the time.
They’ve been using it as State TV, like in Russia, you know; the dictator’s mouthpiece, his most accessible way to lie directly to the people. But actually, it’s just like him, sham to the core and nowhere near the inner circle. We should be telling people this every time it comes up. Fox is NOT a news network because it doesn’t get to use the airwaves. It’s got to crawl through the ground like slithering worms in cables.
Cable television is far less regulated and held to standards far less rigorous than a real television station. They alone are the supreme arbiters of what they can say or not say during their slots of television, and cannot get in trouble for lying, which they do constantly. They are in no way the same as a Big Three airwave station.
To get our neighbors to see how worthless Fox really is, we need one simple equation and to raise awareness about it.
News is “fake news” if it has no journalistic standards, be they chosen or enforced by airwave laws and the FCC.
Those standards are defined by the journalistic tradition, and by national airwave laws.
Fox does not go out over airwaves, nor do they value journalistic standards.
Therefore, Fox = fake news.
Fox will lose all its power to mislead our people with lies if we raise enough awareness about this fact, which is, of course, the goal of this article. Fox But we’ll get back to that. In the meantime, let’s look at how much faith 21st Century Fox, of which Fox “News” Network is just a part, has in the truthfulness of the talking heads it’s hired.
Company makes no representation or warranty whatsoever regarding the completeness, accuracy, currency or adequacy of any information, facts, views, opinions, statements or recommendations contained on the Company Services and/or the Content.
A little background about the channel itself seems in order. Fox “News” was created by Australian-born American media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who launched it on October 7, 1996 to 17 million cable subscribers. It has gained in power and reach since that time tremendously, and its brazenness has grown beside it twice as fast, a mutated golem made of mis- and dis- information.
The word “disinformation” comes from the Russian “dezinformatsiya”, meaning ” false information given to deliberately deceive”, and so we mostly think of it as something Russian. Certainly, to say the least, disinformation strategies of the type Russia used to interfere in our 2016 presidential election cycle have become a problem in today’s world. But the Russians are hardly the true masters.
Here in the United States of America, we also know a thing or two about getting lied to by our president. We know too that his primary way of doing it has become his own personal, privatized version of State TV- Fox “News”.
What Fox has done over the years, or even just during the election, dwarfs what the Russians did to the point of demonstrating their accomplishment as puny. The Kremlin got a few ads through to people on Facebook and held a few rallies; definitely creepy, but absolutely nothing compared to what domestic mouthpieces are capable of. Russia was able to goad an enormous bull, not become one.
Compared to what Fox is capable of, they’re nothing. Small-time pikers, and no mistake. You don’t have to take our word for it, either. Consider rather the words of Ralph Peters, a former Fox News strategic analyst and a retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Army who left the network last year in March, disgusted with its sycophantic coverage of Trump and the vicious rhetoric of its talking prime time heads.
Peters said specifically that he could not “in good conscience” remain with an organization that, he argued, “is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.”
He went on letting them have it, too.
“In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration,” Colonel Peters wrote in his message, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.
As a people, we’ve gotten so used to being lied to by Fox that even the most acutely aware of the problem tends to have to shrug their shoulders at this point. But 99% of the slander thrown at Hillary Clinton in 2016 came from that direction. Varying aspects of what we know as the conservative media machine cooked it up over a quarter of a century, which illustrates and highlights the crux of the problem. Here in the land of the free, one of the most double-edged swords there is free speech.
Free speech is why I can write these words without having to fear death or the concentration camp. But it is also why we must tolerate Fox “News”, the Republican mouthpiece, lacking in all credulity- and yet, something I would still fight for their right to do just as hard as I would my own. In a democratic society such as ours, we have no choice but to grin and bear it. . Nothing true or useful comes to the people by way of it. It’s actually the polar opposite of news, which is daily information given by professionals, intending to inform the people about current events. Fox’s intent is to waylay and confuse.
What we, as a nation, have gotten used to accepting as a valid source is really one of the most wicked and egregious disinformation campaigns to take place in all of human history! It has not been by any foreign power that this disinformation has been unleashed on our people, but on our very own television sets, playing twenty-four hours a day nationwide. People are used to it, so they accept it as credible.
Nothing could be more inaccurate.
When world leaders, be they figure of states or high-profile figures from civil society, deliberately employ untruth against their own people, they are without a doubt using a method of repression, and a very costly one at that. In the Donald Trump era, weaponized lying has become easier and more common than ever before. Fox News has become his primary mouthpiece.
This is a disaster for America because such a state of affairs cannot help the inflicting of large-scale corrosion of democracy, regardless of the state it’s taking place in. If a country values its democratic system, its citizens will have to find ways to ward off this threat from time to time.
Otherwise, it will not survive.
I can hear someone asking, off in a parallel universe perhaps, what’s the harm in it? Let them have their pleasant delusions if it helps to keep them at work. Is this really something we have to fear will badly wound America?
That is why James Madison wrote the Federalist Paper 10th.
A stupid and incompetent citizenry is something no nation will long survive, so you better believe it will badly wound America. It already has. Fox News disinformation ends breaking up families, making people permanently angry, and seeing to it they’re uneducated on as many subjects as possible.
Rolling Stone Magazine provides the following sad anecdote to illustrate the tendency’s nature.
Jen Senko believes that her father was brainwashed. As Senko, a New York filmmaker, tells it, her father was a “nonpolitical Democrat.” But then he transferred to a new job that required a long commute and began listening to conservative radio host Bob Grant during the drive. Eventually, he was holing himself up for three hours every day in the family kitchen, mainlining Rush Limbaugh and, during commercials, Fox News.
“It reminded me of the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” Senko says. “He used to love talking to different people to try to learn their language, but then he became angry about illegal immigrants coming to the country, that they were taking jobs from Americans, and that English was becoming the secondary language.”
Studies have proven an actual physical effect of this by studying the brains of Fox News viewers. Author Daniel Goleman has coined the term “amygdala hijacking” to describe what inflammatory rhetoric and imagery are designed to do: trigger the emotional brain before the logical brain has a chance to stop it. The anger centers of their brains are literally more physically developed than those of healthy people. It’s like benchpresses for a bad temper.
In the year 2000, hosts like Hannity and the now-disgraced and silent Bill O’ Reilly made themselves the champions of the second Bush regime. This made them some friends. They learned a big lesson from it, too, one they’ve been revving up the engine off of ever since.
Misleading your viewers and using base anger to fight with is a quick and easy way to gain support from embittered people-whose numbers grow larger with every war and crisis. Divide and conquer is the oldest trick in the book used by the rich by preying on their fellows, in or out of America.
After 9/11 took place, while all the world was mourning and gearing up for war, Fox was making bigger and bigger bank as a result of their conservative alliance. They experienced a 440% increase in viewers, blowing the doors off comparable news organizations like CNN who don’t use wild speculations and click-bait headlines.
They got so big so fast, in fact, that when now-disgraced former CEO Roger Ailes came right out and said they are not a news organization in 2007, nobody much really heard him. They were too busy listening to Bill O’ Reilly and Sean Hannity instead. Hannity is a particular problem these days, as Trump’s good buddy, people give a lot of undue credibility to the lies told by him- a cable network entertainer, not a journalist.
Why are Big Three news networks like CBS or NBC or CNN so constrained by the truth while Fox is not? Surely the mighty Federal Communications Commission should be able to call Fox News to command, so why doesn’t it?
Actually, though, the FCC has no power over Fox or CNN, because both are cable shows and ultimately designed for entertainment! This is key. The difference between Fox and CNN is ideological. One chooses willingly to use journalistic standards. The other does not. Neither one is forced to! Fox is not legally obliged to tell the truth on the air.
Fox isn’t subject to FCC airwave regulation because it isn’t on the airwaves! Clever, right? Now they can spout all the hideousness they want and still dare to label it the truth. CNN is truthful by choice, but people think it’s because they have to be. That is not true, and it is almost certainly why the FCC doesn’t chop Hannity’s head off.
They nearly destroyed Howard Stern just for being annoying.
Make sure to catch that last part. Fox, the so-called “News” Network is in no way legally obligated to tell the truth about anything! They are a feature offered by the entertainment company 21st Century Fox. Entertainment is allowed to lie! It’s all just part of the show.
Making them tell the truth would spoil the effect, and our system doesn’t force them to. Not any more than USA’s client the World Wrestling Entertainment has to come right out and say pro wrestling is fake. People know it in their hearts, but they want to believe in the wrestlers, so they do. They like a good show. It’s exactly the same with Fox.
Although it should have been, it is not true that Fox has been made to start using a disclaimer saying “For Entertainment Purposes Only”. That was an April Fool’s joke in 2017 circulated by reporters, designed to make readers laugh- and to make them think. But it’s definitely true that entertainment is how they think of themselves. Ailes told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015 that he does not consider the other basic cable news channels — CNN and MSNBC — to be Fox’s competitors.
“We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN,” he said.
Discussion about American political issues today-meaning every single facet of life in southern North America- means a debate, unless you’re in a room where everyone agrees with you. Those debates will see a Fox-trained cadre putting forth the opinions of trolls like Hannity as a valid counterpoint to anything, even proven scientific facts. People take him seriously and believe the things he says.
Recently he said the immigration deal we nearly came to with Trump a “Garbage Compromise”. But actually, Hannity himself is an absolute, complete, and total trash can. He didn’t even go to school for this, he was working as a housing contractor when he randomly volunteered for radio and offered himself out as a mouthpiece for rightist nonsense.
If you’re willing to lie without repentance, there’s always some monopoly capitalist hoping to bring down America with your help.
Hannity has paid off for them with some real whoppers over the years. The anti-Obama movement of birtherism, 2016 voter fraud, “deep state opposition” of a “Shadow Government” – a network of government officials that are working to hinder the Trump administration. Conspiracy theories about the Seth Rich murder, and so on, leading up to the biggest lie of all- that Debauched Donald was fit to run this country.
It’s all a big show, not truthful news, but then again it was not meant to be. As the Fox “News” Network’s own CEO Roger Ailes said, they’re really competing with football and pro wrestling. It’s all for ratings and money- money that comes from billionaire libertarians like the Koch Brothers and their founder Rupert Murdoch.
Hannity will say whatever the Murdochs want him to.
That’s a big problem when most of it is not true; a third at most of Hannity’s public statements were rated fully true by Politifact. A recent Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind Poll revealed that most Americans get their political knowledge from Sunday morning political shows on television. These “do the most to help people learn about current events.” That would seem to confirm their opinion.
However, listen to the rest of the story.
“[S]ome outlets, especially Fox News, lead people to be even less informed than those who don’t watch any news at all.”
Again, this is because Fox is not a news channel. It’s entertainment packaged as news to mislead and stultify the American people. Great misunderstanding and bitterness come from believing things that just aren’t true. Real consequences arise from surrendering our objectivity.
Fox viewers have been getting angrier and angrier for decades, their bitterness manufactured and exploited. And who do their Friends at Fox lead them into feeling bitter towards? Liberals, progressives, anyone who wants to help the people. Anyone who isn’t just like them.
A full 60% of Fox News viewers describe themselves as conservative according to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center. According to John Ray at Data for Progress, “Across a variety of political and cultural attitudes, Republicans who report getting their news from Fox are significantly to the right of Republicans who don’t.”
Studies galore have been done to measure these tendencies, which should be well-documented and understood. Every one of the organizations reaching these conclusions is similar to MediaFactChect, a neutral nonprofit organization that exists to classify and track partisan bias levels among political media entities. They do this according to a rated standard political spectrum, going as always from extreme-left to extreme-right.
A related group, PunditFact, measures their commentators’ honesty. These standards are both logical and apolitical, and can reasonably trusted as far as anything else in the written world can.
Fox News is given by MediaFactCheck a Bias Rating very near the extreme end of the pole as Strongly Right, for reasons that are really rather damning. We’ve included them in blockquote below.
These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy. See all Right Bias sources.
Overall, we rate Fox News strongly Right-Biased due to wording and story selection that favors the right and Mixed factually based on poor sourcing and the spreading of conspiracy theories that later must be retracted after being widely shared.
They also score badly by the standards of PunditFact, a second and related organization’s tool for measuring the percentage of truthful reporting done by political analysts on the stories they discuss and the terms they use to describe them. We decided to include the numerical figures below, as a stark quality comparison between the center and far-right journalists is to be found there.
Currently, at Fox and Fox News Channel, 58 percent of fact claims made by pundits and on-air personalities have been rated Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire. NBC and MSNBC were not great either, but their work still represents a significant improvement versus Fox at 45%.
CNN scored best with only 22 percent of their fact claims not making it through the filters and most of those coming from guests rather than commentators, which is interesting because CNN also is a cable network. They chose to use journalistic standards of their own volition, not because they were forced to by any mean laws or regulations.
Conversely, Don Irvine over at Accuracy in Media showed what Fox thinks of truth as a value.
Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes told The Hollywood Reporter that Fox News has become so big, the network is really competing with cable sports and entertainment networks like TNT, USA and ESPN, not the ratings-challenged CNN and MSNBC.
They laugh because it doesn’t get the ratings that come from anger and savage lying. It also doesn’t get big bucks from the likes of Charles and David Koch.
We have to keep hitting this point until it sinks in. Fox cannot be trusted, and we should immediately go on the attack whenever someone cites them as a source rather than arguing on the merits or flaws of their absurd claims. Fox is not a news network at all. It’s just an entertainment cable network, like TNT or USA. They do not have a record of journalistic integrity, and they do not have to have one. We must attack Fox credibility on these grounds.
On a cable network, or elsewhere, journalistic standards are a choice. Citizens have to know there is a big difference between the quality of the work of those who adhere to them and those who do not. Fox has made its choice long ago, and so we must make ours. We have to start hammering this home immediately. As fast as we can. Fox is LITERALLY-and legally- fake news. They have systematically and for decades mangled truth in the pursuit of power and money.
We are done listening.
All the filth and lies the Bernie supporters were slinging around in 2016 came through their pipeline. They laid the groundwork in the minds of the American people that made them accept the Russian disinformation that convinced Bernie supporters to riot in the Philadelphia streets.
Most of all, they convinced the American people that Donald Trump, a known con man, racist, and bully, was worth entrusting the greatest responsibility in the world. They have put our entire American system at risk. The last pillar in the world holding democracy up
The nonsense the Russians were using was the same old anti-Clinton stuff Rush Limbaugh and his pals have been spouting. The record is clear and the facts are too.
In Trump’s words during the first 2016 presidential debates, somebody better call Sean Hannity.
Julian Assange, the co-founder of Wikileaks (a term he is said to hate, according to Daniel Domscheit-Berg, his old partner) is on his way to face American justice, good and hard. Ecuador is saying he broke the terms of his asylum, and in the next few “hours or days“, according to the Wikileaks Twitter account, he will be asked to leave once and for all.
Word has it they have made arrangements with the United Kingdom authorities for his arrest.
Ecuador has not independently confirmed this, but it’s certainly to be hoped that they will. No one has ever more deserved it.
That would just be where it begins, for him. Assange was indicted here in America last year, for reasons that are not known for sure and are obvious. After he gets done with whatever the British have got planned for him, he’ll be on his way here, where he will be charged with a federal crime and sent someplace to learn how to be penitent, since repentance never came on its own.
Quite possibly he could go to our dreaded military prison in Cuba, Guantanamo Bay, for being a terrorist and an enemy of the American people.
Wherever he goes, one thing is for sure. Our justice system may now very well proceed to dispense great misery on Mr. Assange, who has made his living and career out of hurting and embarrassing others.
Then again, why be Russian property? Why sell out the Western world? Why make all the days of your life about whining and malice?
Wikileaks is the organization whose release of hacked e-mails they’d illegally acquired from the servers of the Democratic National Committee spurred the supporters of Bernie Sanders to riot in Philadelphia. The entire Trump era was made possible by him. And in the end, rather than feed the cat, he spitefully let it go.
Moreno denies that Assange has the right to “hack private accounts or phones”. He has been greatly reviled for this modest request by the man whose life and freedom he is preserving. The deal was for him to sit there, shut up, think about where he’s gone wrong with his life, and above all, not intervene in the politics of other countries, especially those that have friendly relations with Ecuador. This seems reasonable enough, considering that they are a small nation, not in the least a world power. They really took a chance for him.
Latin America has a long history of resistance against imperialist powers, and Assange poses as a freedom of speech icon and crusader, so Ecuador took him in. Assange recently rewarded Moreno by digging for dirt on him and slathering it all over the news. What a guy.
Assange pretends to be nonpartisan and whines that he’s only doing his best to bring the truth to light.
The truth is that America is not perfect, any more than any other country is perfect. But it really is as my grandfather the World War II veteran liked to say, God rest his soul.
This is the greatest country in the world.
Without America to uphold it, democracy would disappear from Earth in a single generation, but let’s leave that aside for now. Even if we concede Assange’s point, and assume for a second that the service he performs is useful, wouldn’t it be nice to see it spread out evenly?
America is certainly not any worse than Russia, but Assange never has a thing to say about them. He has been sent many volumes full of dirt to dump on Russian officials and oligarchs over the years, but he never used any of them until after the 2016 United States Presidential election.
Shortly after, this changed for the first time when he released the“Spy Files Russia” dump. According to Wired Magazine, many outside observers consider the most logical explanation for them as having been an approved release direct from the Russian government, meant to defray criticism that WikiLeaks aided the Russian interference designed to help Donald Trump.
“These are tricks that the Russians were willing to give up,” says James Andrew Lewis, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who formerly worked as a Foreign Service officer and an information security rapporteur for the United Nations. “I actually thought it was a bit slow and belated. They probably had to get FSB clearance to release anything and that may have taken a while. Think of it as vaudeville for leakers.”
Before that, Assange and Wikileaks had never published a single solitary document that any Russian person might consider offensive in the slightest. He had always found some excuse, proving once more what we’ve been saying for years, that in our world today, those who scream and cry about America’s bad behavior tend to be working for Russia. It is no coincidence that Snowden ended up living in Russia.
Getting back on track, the speculative cause for this most recent development probably came from years-old private photos of Moreno and his family in Europe getting circulated recently on social media. Moreno said he believed the photos were shared by WikiLeaks.
“Mr. Assange has violated the agreement we reached with him and his legal counsel too many times,” Moreno told the Ecuadorean Radio Broadcasters Association.
No doubt he has, sir. Seven years, he’s been wasting their bed space. He also sued them for requiring him to pay his own costs, unbelievably. That’s all over now.
Hours or days. When Assange walks out into the streets, he’s going to get snatched up. He is soon to find out who he’s been crossing all these years. He probably still thinks he’s going to get a pardon from Trump, but one suspects he is not to end up in a cushy Federal Prison Camp like Paul Manafort.
America has a long memory, Julian. If I were you, I’d be looking for a good lawyer.
The name of Bernie Sanders did not appear on the ballot in a single state during the 2016 general election. But a large share of the blame for this disaster that is the current administration lies squarely on his shoulders.
The Bernie or Bust movement was a nightmare, the blatant racism and sexism shown by his campaign were a worse one. But in terms of national security, however, worst of all was the Russian support, particularly on social media, that kept his campaign alive long past the point of reason.
Using illegally acquired data from Wikileaks, emails that suggested little wrongdoing, the Russians successfully goaded Bernie, and his supporters showed his anger on the streets of Philadelphia, while inside the Democratic National Convention, Paul Simon played the first notes of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”.
Bernie’s conduct, when questioned about this, has been defensive and rude, and this reaction has added to the number of raised questions that linger to this day about where the senator stands on the shadowy foreign figures who were once involved with his campaign.
The evidence is clear that Sanders became the Ralph Nader of 2016, peeling off just enough votes from the Democratic candidate to spoil the election. All the chaos he created on the left drained just as much support away from Hillary Clinton as it took for Donald Trump to win. By this point, the proof is huge and glaring that he, and to a less well-known and effective extent, Jill Stein, allowed themselves to be used as Putin’s other puppets.
We had hoped he would be smart enough not to split the whole left by running again, but that is not going to be the case. So now that Bernie Sanders has formally declared his candidacy, a bad but not unexpected move, we’re coming across a lot of different questions regarding what manner of man he is.
Is he a socialist? Yes. He’s been calling himself a “Democratic Socialist” since the 1960’s. The word “Democratic” is not a qualifier; it is better off deleted. He means he’s a socialist, plain and simple.
Is he less than one hundred years old? We’re not sure, but he claims to be. Birth records support this claim, technically, but not by much.
Is he an escaped Walking Dead extra? No one can say for certain, either way.
All of these are good questions, and the disturbing answers to them raise serious concerns about his viability to compete in a general election. But the big questions are these. How much damage did Bernie Sanders do in 2016, and how bad were the Russians infested in his campaign apparatus?
In the three states that put Trump in the Oval Office, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, a high number of voters who voted for Sanders in the Democratic primary in those states crossed over and voted for Trump in the general election.
One in ten, to be exact. We’re talking thousands of people here. Registered Democrats who went so far as to actually vote for Trump.
Is it true that he and his campaign were involved in the Russian plot to interfere with our 2016 presidential election? The one that Trump says was fake news, but was actually so real it’s truly awful?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes, and we’re going to make the case for it thoroughly.
Let’s start by taking a look at the Russian motive, means, and modus operandi for giving Bernie Sanders a hand against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
Motive: Vladimir Putin wanted to cost Hillary Clinton the election, by any means necessary. The most effective, obvious, and accessible ways for him to do it was to give her opponents a hand.
One of these opponents was Donald Trump, the obvious recipient of most of Putin’s goodwill. Another, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, was physically present at the infamous December of 2015 dinner meeting with former National Security Adviser and Retired General Michael Flynn. The third, and the focus of this article was Bernie Sanders, her primary opponent.
Former U.S. officials who worked on Russia policy with Clinton have laid out the reasons for this in detail. Vladimir Putin, of course, is the multibillionaire dictator of Russia who paid for all this to take place.
Hillary Clinton strongly condemned the validity of Russia’s parliamentary elections in December of 2011. This made Putin very unhappy. He had his anger communicated directly to President Barack Obama.
“Former U.S. officials who worked on Russia policy with Clinton say that Putin was personally stung by Clinton’s December 2011 condemnation of Russia’s parliamentary elections, and had his anger communicated directly to President Barack Obama. They say Putin and his advisers are also keenly aware that, even as she executed Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia, Clinton took a harder line toward Moscow than others in the administration. And they say Putin sees Clinton as a forceful proponent of “regime change” policies that the Russian leader considers a grave threat to his own survival.”
“He was very upset [with Clinton] and continued to be for the rest of the time that I was in government,” said Michael McFaul, who served as the top Russia official in Obama’s national security council from 2009 to December 2011 and then was U.S. ambassador to Moscow until early 2014. “One could speculate that this is his moment for payback.”
He ended up getting it, but not without a lot of domestic help. It came from the far left, and it came from the alt-right, suggesting strongly what we strongly believe: The alt-right and the far left are one.
A spokesperson for the publication told Town and Country Magazine that was because they haven’t been able to figure it out. “While Forbes has been able to track money tied to Putin’s allies, we have not been able to come up with a defensible, provable estimate of his net worth.”
For a guy like this, throwing a few tens or even hundreds of millions into manipulating the elections of other countries to make them more amenable to Russian interests is nothing. It would almost be strange if he didn’t do it.
Putin has paid for “destability” campaigns worldwide. The far right is not alone among radicals in getting plenty of Russian assistance. The far left, which has shown just as strong a resurgence as its counterpart since the Great Recession happened, is also getting more than its fair share. Russia, it seems, is never short of rubles to spend on troublemaking.
Director of the Political Capital Institute Peter Kreko has been recently involved in research regarding this matter. He concluded two facts about the intentions of Putin. First, that he is becoming the frontman of a worldwide anti-human rights movement, and second, that he is investing in, stirring up, and inciting radicals on both ends of the spectrum that are trying to “sabotage democracy in Europe”.
Kreko describes Russian tactics focused on destabilizing the EU and advancing Moscow’s ideology. This includes supporting parties and candidates on the margins, such as Bernie Sanders, or Jill Stein and the Green Party.
In America, we are experiencing many problems with so-called progressives who are still insisting, in the face of the overwhelming evidence that keeps piling up, that “the Russia thing” is simply a distraction from the main issue, that in their view being how the DNC cheated Bernie Sanders (it didn’t). These people are doing the entire human race a grand disservice.
By turning a blind eye to the machinations of the most nakedly aggressive power to arise in the world since Hitler’s Third Reich, for the sake of stoking a petty grudge, they are in fact helping to make possible the same specific chaotic social conditions that in the past allowed far-right populist movements like Germany’s National Socialism to thrive.
They don’t understand that they are being duped by people who long ago grew cynical and full of boredom regarding the sorts of dreams and theories Bernie Sanders is espousing. After all, they invented most of it, and more a hundred years ago.
The left’s affiliation with the Kremlin can be explained better via the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” principle. Marx long taught that Communists should make any such alliances as are helpful toward the ultimate goal of dissolving the State. Russia’s state-controlled economy, which promises to keep “big capital” in check, has proved attractive as a model for many anti-capitalists.
Democratic Socialists, such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have clearly labeled themselves as anti-capitalist. This would have made them extremely valuable to Soviet propagandists working from inside the KGB. It still does.
Modus Operandi: Hiring hackers to spread dirt and lies around to influence elections is part of the Russian toolkit. The 2016 plan was not a new strategy, but rather a direct descendant of the original Cheka Disinformation Office, founded by “Iron” Felix Dzherzhinsky in 1923. Working both ends of the radical spectrum, left and right, to destabilize the interior of an enemy country. That is what they do.
Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has a researcher named Ben Buchanan working for them, also a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The focus of his research lies in examining how nations use their capabilities for attack and espionage in cyberspace against one another and examining the strategies that drive this usage. His words in their unaltered form may help to shed some light.
“There is a demonstrated pattern of Russian cyber operations stretching back several decades. One major early case, dating from the late 1990s, is commonly referred to as Moonlight Maze. In that case, Russian hackers penetrated a wide range of American networks for espionage purposes. Since then, Russian cyber operations have continued to expand greatly, hacking into key military, political, and economic institutions.”
“These operations show adeptness in several ways. Perhaps most significant is that they demonstrate how the Russians have developed new digital methods to accomplish old tasks. A series of espionage cases show the Russian aptitude for gathering information using computer hacking. The 2007 attack on Estonia and 2008 attack on Georgia are an exhibit of how Russia uses cyber operations against democratic states. Though we have somewhat less information about it, the 2015 blackout in Ukraine—the first ever publicly known case of a power outage caused by cyber-attack—shows the potency of cyber-attacks that appear to be Russian in origin. And the 2016 election interference demonstrates that the Russians have married their longstanding history of influence operations with their more recently developed capacity for hacking.” -With thanks to the Wilson Center.
The particulars of how these political digital influence campaigns worked out in practice in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary will be only too memorial to any Democratic activist who was around in 2016. We’ve included an anecdote that sums up what they were trying for precisely.
Around September 14 in 2016, for example, one “account specialist” of a Russian-controlled Facebook group called “Secured Borders” was reprimanded for having a “low number of posts dedicated to criticizing Hillary Clinton.”
The specialist was also told, “it is imperative to intensify criticizing Hillary Clinton.”
Later on, Russian operatives used accounts they controlled — including an account called “Woke Blacks” and “Blacktivist” — to urge Americans to vote for third-party candidates or not to vote at all. “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein,” one such message read. “Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”
Not for Russia, anyway.
No, indeed, Donald Trump was not the only candidate the Russians tried to help during the 2016 presidential campaign. One other name was mentioned specifically. Senator Bernard Sanders, I-VT. The Mueller indictments of a year ago offer solid confirmation of what we have been saying all along. The specific mention of Trump and Sanders shows that the Russian government decided early on to oppose Clinton.
A personal anecdote, that I’ll admit to having shared before. The editor of Millennial Democrats was online alongside legions of others, out there for HRC from 2015 onward, every day, for many hours. Anyone who was there back then can tell you. It can be stated categorically that there was a tangible, palpable disinformation campaign going on against Hillary Clinton. It worked, too. The Bernie Bots truly hated us, and their viciousness knew no bounds at all.
It still doesn’t.
In my experience, this blog and its affiliate Millennial Democrats Facebook Pages and Millennial Democrats Twitter account, which is a fifty state plus nationwide apparatus, has been attacked by Trump trolls maybe one out of ten in the ratio of how often it has been attacked by Bernie trolls. This has little to do with what side of the country we are talking about. It goes right across the board.
I’ve written in a 3 to 1 ratio of pieces targeting the right rather than the far left, although it is my deeply-held conviction and the conclusion pointed to by evidence that they are the same entity. But even when the week of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation is taken into account this remains true. Any moderate Democratic activist online will tell you the same.
You would go into groups and talk to people, who were steadfast in their refusal to listen far beyond the bounds of reason or even fanaticism. These guys were professionals.
It was like they were getting paid per response. They all seemed to be equipped with the same list of hit points about Hillary Clinton. This became clear after a while because the very same slanders would be laid out every time, in sequential order. In many cases the wording was actually identical, although most took the time to switch about at least a thing or two. And they were just as prevalent on the left as on the right.
It got especially bad during the last month of the Democratic primary, which was a very horrible time filled with chaos and division.
During this time, we were savagely attacked. Anything we posted would be Reported as Spam/Abuse by political adversaries from both the alt-right and radical left. We were barraged with nasty messages and threats; as a matter of fact, we continue to get them. They just keep rolling in, day after day, month piled on top of month. It’s called gaslighting; they want to wear you down so you give up.
One particularly rabid group of Bernie Sanders supporters told one of our contributors that they hoped she was gang-raped.
The list is long, sick, and sordid. Drop by drop, it has convinced us to take an unequivocal stance of #NeverBernie– and stick to it.
During the 2016 electoral cycle itself, nobody wanted to listen. Most Bernie supporters still will not listen; many today will actually go so far as to claim that Russia is participating in the campaign against Bernie.
This is the equivalent of a mugger calling for help as he snatches an old lady’s purse.
“Looks like we finally know for sure why Bernie would not vote to sanction Russia,” I wrote at the time, still in a state of shock at just how surreal it was for Bernie to reinforce all this by being one of two senators who refused to pass the bill for new sanctions in 2017.
He just called in sick for the vote to lift sanctions on close Putin ally Oleg Deripaska’s aluminum company recently. And this from a guy who very rarely misses work. Of the new crop of presidential candidates, only Elizabeth Warren has missed fewer votes than Bernie.
Bernie’s people have never wanted him to touch “the Russia thing”, and most even to this day will make claims about how “it’s not all about Russia” and we need to “Talk about the issues”. They want to laugh it off, even while when it comes time to talk about what Trump was doing. This is hypocritical. When Trump does it, it’s a big threat. But when Bernie does it, it’s as though it is just a little fun.
This gives you a look at how it was back then. It’s a Russian Twitter account called “Missouri News” (@MissouriNewsUS), which sent out pictures of Sanders and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the line “Bernie Sanders is basically a New Deal Democrat, #feeltheBern.”
Our entire intelligence community unanimously agrees that they’re targeting us. We know that they’ve been able to get malware into our power grids. We know also that they’re considered a complete menace in Europe, where they have demonstrated their ability to turn off the lights on huge swathes of Ukraine and take Estonia offline completely. But Bernie will not talk about it, so they simply will not look at it.
They will physically squirm in real life conversations. They remind me of Fox News devotees.
“A guy who was on my staff … checked it out and he went to the Clinton campaign, and he said, ‘You know what? I think these guys are Russians,’” Sanders said.
A former Clinton campaign staffer told Politico it was nonsense that Sanders’ campaign had reached out to Clinton’s about potential Russian interference. “No one from the Sanders campaign ever contacted us about this” — not in September, and not in “April and May.”
They never said or did a thing of that nature. Nothing of the sort ever happened. Not once. Not even after Bernie had offered his weak, half-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Guy on your staff, eh, Bernie? And just to think. All of this is before we’ve even mentioned Tad Devine.
Devine was Bernie’s chief campaign strategist, the most senior of advisers to the 2016 Sanders campaign. He was also the good friend and colleague of decades of Paul Manafort, who at the same time was running the Trump campaign. Devine was the first witness called at Manafort’s trial. Here is a picture of Tad Devine with Paul Manafort and the man suspected to be his contact within Russian intelligence, Konstantin Kilimnik, himself wanted by Mueller’s team for questioning and likely more.
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank did a piece at the time, titled “The Deep Cynicism of Bernie Sanders’ Chief Strategist“. It pointed out how during his run as chief strategist for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, Devine was always the first to scream and howl about the corrupting influence of money in politics. He said “our economy is rigged,” that “special interests” buy politicians, that “all of the new wealth is going to the top of America,” that there is a “corrupt system of campaign finance” of which Hillary Clinton offered an “egregious” example.
Sanders, by contrast, “supported the little guy.”
But as we know by now, Devine had worked repeatedly to secure the election of one of the world’s most corrupt political figures and then his allies, Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych, a crooked pro-Putin autocrat.
Thanks to Mueller’s prosecution of Paul Manafort, who earlier this weekend saw a heavily redacted- to the tune of eight hundred pages- sentencing memo presented to the court on his behalf, the former Trump campaign chairman and business associate of Devine, we now have the glimpse of Devine’s possible role in organizing Russian help for Bernie.
Though he is hardly the first to grab cash from foreign leaders, the ease Devine had in making the switch from cold-blooded profiteer strategist to social reformer firebrand strategist seems reptilian to us in the very extreme. It’s exactly that type of bold callousness that the Russians would look for in an asset.
Tad Devine is a figure of great interest in the Russiagate investigation, in our opinion. We’ve been expecting the special counsel assigned by the Justice Department to look into Russian meddling in our 2016 election cycle, Robert Mueller, to get around to him sooner or later.
Put it this way: If Manafort is the key to understanding exactly what the Russians were doing for Trump, and Kilimnik is the key to understanding what Manafort did for the Russians, then Devine, their old friend, is the key to what the Russians were doing for Bernie. He is by far the most likely connection between the Russians and the Sanders campaign. It is our view that this connection has not been explored anywhere near thoroughly enough, and we encourage our readers to write in with what they know. We would make responsible use of it.
Radio Free Europe provides some light on the situation by providing a March 31, 2014 email from Tad Devine to Rick Gates, who in 2016 was the chief aide to Manafort, and later became a star witness against him.
There we find that Devine was the one to write Yanukovych’s 2010 victory speech. That detail was found attached to his email to Gates, in the form of a draft agreement for Manafort’s firm to work on another Ukrainian’s campaign.
That all these people know each other so well cannot be a coincidence. No wonder Trump the other day said “I like Bernie”, all atwinkle in his smiling eyes.
By the time the Fourth of July rolled around in 2016, the Federal Election Commission had repeatedly contacted the Sanders campaign with warnings that hundreds of his donors exceeded the $2,700 contribution limit. They further warned him that hundreds more may have been foreign nationals illegally giving Sanders money. The Sanders campaign, however, did not take any action.
It bears repeating that it’s a very convenient coincidence, that three of the top strategists who ran against Hillary Clinton has been doing Putin’s bidding in this capacity for longer than a decade.
Last Thursday afternoon there was a meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee on the subject of Russian meddling into our 2016 election cycle.
During it, Retired Gen. Keith Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency, said that Russian operatives targeted both liberal and conservative voters in its disinformation campaigns during the 2016 election.
Democratic committee co-chair Sen. Mark Warner (VA) asked the panel if they had any doubt that Russia had attempted to interfere in some aspects of the 2016 election. Alexander said not only did he have no doubt, he could get very specific.
“Senator, I think what they were trying to do was drive a wedge within the Democratic Party between the Clinton group and the Sanders group,” said Alexander. This seems clear at this point to everyone but the willfully uninformed and the fanatically indoctrinated (and disingenuous Republican and other conservatives/libertarians).
The supporters of Bernie Sanders were ruthlessly taken advantage of by the Russians, who used their genuine zeal and idealism as a hammer for smashing Democratic unity to bits. They were duped by false information that came from within the Kremlin itself, and thus unwittingly became Putin’s other puppets.
The man who was in the best position to act as a conduit between the headquarters of the Sanders campaign and the Kremlin was Tad Devine.
This picture provides a vivid reminder of what Democratic activists on Facebook and Twitter have been warning everyone about in the direst of terms since 2015, namely, that the Bernie Sanders campaign was just as lousy with Russian entanglements as the Trump campaign was.
Devine may well hold an important piece of the puzzle here, which undoubtedly lies within the Sanders campaign. As Robert Mueller continues his journey to this discovery, our prayers will be with him.
By now this article has grown to prodigious length, and we applaud the reader who has followed the line all the way home. In his Rise of the Roman Empire, the ancient Greek Polybius said that the most important reason to learn history is so you have a chance to make good predictions about what may happen in the future. Russian interference is heating up for 2020 like never before, Trump has given no funding to the new national cyber-coordinator job, which basically leaves us on our own again, and we’ve got to be prepared for new forms of the same old tricks. Check out our article on Defense for Democrats.
Since this electoral cycle began, Sanders supporters have been joined and even overshadowed by the Tulsi Gabbard trolls.
One allied group of our friends recently created a Facebook page, Tulsi Gabbard Must Go. It’s been around all of a month, and yet, hundreds of trolls have fallen on it since then, like wild dogs. Some of them have shown up to troll the blog, also, like this charming lady.
Lisa Wolf Edit
This wasn’t written by a millennial. This was obviously written by a neo-liberal, 3rd Way Baby Boomer and stinks of David Brock. Reply
As for David Brock, we have good things to say about him and every other dedicated Democrat, but we don’t personally know the guy. What I will say, is that I like the smell of my hair pomade. The pleasing fragrance is half the point.
Getting back to Tulsi and Bernie and the rest of the fake left, none of this is very surprising. They’re collecting paychecks for it. Check out the amount of fake activity that accompanies everything she tweets. Keep in mind, Twitter is fighting this. Facebook is not. There are two billion people using Facebook. How incomparably worse must it be!
From this, we can see that the fake left has found a new stronghold in Bernie’s close ally.
Going forward, raising awareness on all this will become more and more important, and although the story is long and multifaceted, the narrative is clear throughout. Russia and Vladimir Putin were definitely feeling the Bern. Look for them to feel him some more as we head into the next presidential cycle.
From the day of its inception, the War on Cannabis has been a disaster for America. It has played a fundamental role in the architecture for the larger War on Drugs. Considered as a whole, this war can fairly be described as a generationally evolving series of wasteful and ineffective policies. In attempting to regulate the legislative needs and desires of mankind, the United States government has caused great harm to be done, in terms both of the law and of medical recourse to help for pain. It is a classic case of the old cliché, a treatment worse than its “disease”. Crimes have been committed in the name of fighting crime. Resources have been massively wasted. The futures of millions have been ruined in the eyes of the law. The question of why remains sobering in its implications. Anti-cannabis legislation was ostensibly created to safeguard the public and keep cannabis from menacing its health, but its effects have done more damage than the act their purpose was to prevent.
The question of whether the herb’s use constitutes a peril to public safety is a real concern. It is only logical for people to pay attention to alerts regarding something that might affect their health. As alerts on the matter have been so often raised, it is only natural for people to have health concerns about drugs, including cannabis. In a Health, Risk, and Safety article titled Cannabis, risk, and normalization: Evidence from a Canadian study of socially integrated, adult cannabis users, we are told that evidence pointing to the harmfulness of cannabis use has never been more abundant (213). Public concern is still highly prevalent, and many experts remain unconvinced that cannabis should be considered safe.
Whether that is true is not the issue here, however. We note only that widespread panic about cannabis was not scientifically based. The issue was never raised by the medical community of the United States. The Medical Science Monitor informs us that cannabis was routinely prescribed by American physicians. It enjoyed legal status in the United States until 1937. This is when U.S. legislature passed the first federal law against cannabis – the Marihuana Tax Act. Empirical approaches to solving the problem of cannabis addiction kept proving it was not a problem. The American Medical Association did not support the new law, and their advice was belittled and ignored. Science was not on the side of the anti-cannabis crusaders. Other rationales were needed and were manufactured where they could not be found.
The approach of the new Threat or Menace campaign was exemplified in Reefer Madness, the famous anti-cannabis public alert movie released in 1936. Self-described cannabis journalist Matthew Green paints a wild yet perfectly accurate picture of its contents in his article “Reefer Madness! The Twisted History of America’s Marijuana Laws.”. The movie exhibits an insane “reefer addict” portrayed in maniacal relief, smoking his way to murder as he enjoys the frenetic tunes of a piano-playing hostage. This law was based on artificially manufactured moral panic, as opposed to sound law or science. It was eventually discarded as being unconstitutional (Leary v. United States, 1969), but not before it set the foundation for the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which was far more comprehensive than the old law, although it continued to rely on selective or pseudoscience and public disinformation.
The tone of the new policy was set from the start by the prejudices of Anslinger, which was to prove disastrous for the cannabis community. Laura Smith, the managing editor at Timeline, paints an unforgiving picture of Anslinger in her piece “How A Racist Hatemonger Masterminded America’s War on Drugs”. He is shown there to be a xenophobic, culturally intolerant, and deeply racist man, one who used his power arbitrarily and in the worst ways. His power over his bureau, and over the anti-cannabis campaign, was completely unilateral. Historian John C. McWilliams stated in his book aboutAnslinger, The Protectors,“ Anslinger was the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (2).” His ideas about the existing social order laid the foundation for the policies he would set. He had a simple goal, but one that was far-reaching in its implications; a one-man crusade to protect American values as he saw them. His worldview held that change was coming too fast, and the anti-cannabis crusade provided him with a high-powered excuse to slow it down. The next step was to use this bitter project to hamstring progressive causes and people by making crimes out of acts that were not criminal. In this way, Anslinger laid the groundwork in place for an endemic legal injustice.
Racism was inherent in the new legislature. The approach was displayed by the confusion caused by a new word for cannabis, “Marihuana” (The more common spelling now is Marijuana) The Tax Act was named after this incorrect term, used as an associative trick based on racism and phonetics. It worked because the word sounded Mexican. Mexicans were unpopular and mistrusted, so tying public perceptions of the plant to Mexican immigrants was an easy way to scare white America. The FBN also targeted jazz musicians and lied about them without remorse. They created images of insane, weed-stinking black men on an unending quest for mayhem and white women; these also did nothing to set Caucasian minds at ease. Racial fear has always been a historically effective way to goad America’s ethnic majority off the path of common sense and decency. The War on Cannabis stands out as a noteworthy example of this tendency.
Shortly before the MTA was passed, a new governmental organization, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, was created to deal with the growing problem of drug addiction in America (Deitsch). Its first commissioner Harry J. Anslinger discarded science and medicine with glee. “Doctors,” he said, “cannot treat addicts, even if they want to.” He chose instead to call for “tough judges not afraid to take killer-pushers and throw away the key.” FBN techniques developed to disseminate the new way proved effective, allowing Anslinger’s perspective to set the tone for subsequent anti-cannabis legislation. Anslinger was a skillful administrator, and he had resources. His ideas caught on and manifested physically in the dehumanizing propaganda used by the FBN to scare anti-cannabis legislature past Congress. The aftershocks of FBN anti-cannabis disinformation are ubiquitous even today, living proof of the program’s success. Celebrating openly a pro-cannabis lifestyle is still enough to get you targeted. It’s easy to get busted, it’s hard to get a job. The way society perceives the users of cannabis today still comes largely from stereotypes based on exaggerated caricatures created during this era. These unfair and cartoonish notions have evolved and generalized over the years, becoming institutionalized as more people became invested in them. They have been used to degrade and delegitimize progressive causes and their advocates.
The propaganda employed by the FBN had been successful, so much so that it started a genuine public panic, and people were demanding that something be done. This gave Anslinger both the lawful right, and the means to pound his enemies into the ground. He was not long in finding his first sacrificial lamb. The first victim of the new policy was selected in 1937, just after the new law took effect. A draconian sentence of four years in prison for an ounce of weed was handed down to Samuel L. Caldwell of Boulder, Colorado. A precedent of insane harshness was set that endured in American courtrooms to this very day. It added greatly to the foundation of the original architecture of the greater War on Drugs, as conceived of and created by President Richard Nixon’s administration.
The Nixon era vigorously continued the judicial legacy of brutality applied to the cannabis community. Like Harry Anslinger had forty years prior, the administration targeted cannabis because its occupants knew liberals could be legally hamstrung as a consequence for using it. The concept was strategic, and its straightforward goal was the same as in the past-to keep conservatives in power at any cost. Neither fair play nor the health of democracy was considered, freedom was injured, and the resultant degradation of our system worked to the detriment of all Americans, whether they smoke pot or not. Chief Nixon White House adviser John Ehrlichman came to some of the same conclusions later in life. He spoke out frankly on the subject to Dan Baum of Harper’s Magazine years after the impeachment of Nixon. He laid out flatly their motives for taking aim at cannabis.
“Look, back in ’68, we had two enemies, you get me? The antiwar left, and the blacks. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be against the war, and we couldn’t make it illegal to be black. But by heavily penalizing the use of marijuana and heroin, we were able to disrupt
those communities. We were able to bust up their meetings, raid their offices, vilify them night after night on the evening news… Did we know we were lying about the drugs themselves? Of course we did.”.
Nixon’s work was built upon famously by the next Republican administration, that of Ronald Reagan. First Lady Nancy Reagan’s iconic “Just Say No” commercial typified the new approach, which was just like the old approach, but newly equipped with a spiffy slogan. In pursuing the anti-cannabis campaign, the Reagan administration was zealous in their willingness to apply suppression through the courts to the cannabis community. A TIME Magazine article from 1988 gives us a look at how it was. “The Reagan Administration calls its new drug policy ‘zero tolerance,’ meaning that planes, vehicles, and vessels may be confiscated for carrying even the tiniest amount of a controlled substance.” It goes on to tell the story of a captain whose boat was seized for a tenth of an ounce of cannabis. Things were so bad during that time for users of the herb that the case can hardly be overstated. Ardor for the arts of slander and libel grew in the government to an extent that left little room for conspiracy theories. Every possible medium was employed to spread Just Say No. Commercials, posters, the sides of buses. School programs like DARE, which stood for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, ensured that no young mind in America could miss the point. The net effects of all the anti-drug campaigning proved to be the same as in the past-untouched and rising rates of use, and black and poor people receiving disproportionately long sentences for small amounts of weed.
Subsequent presidents such as Bill Clinton were left with little choice but to compete with Reagan’s paternalistic style of law and order, and so the status quo remained intact. It was not until the election of Barack Obama that the prerequisite conditions for the monumental decision of 2012 legalizing recreational cannabis in the first two American states, Oregon and Washington, were met at long last. There is no doubt that it was a monumental decision. It represented the reversal of a hundred years worth of American legal policy and a tremendous amount of human struggling. The change, by that point, had been nearly a century in coming. Cannabis laws have been hamstringing the left for that entire time and they still are. Improvements have come, but they are highly incomplete. The threat of things reverting to their former miserable state overshadows all the progress that has been made in this area. Realization of the harm caused in the cannabis prohibition era has been highlighted in the nation’s modern consciousness. More and more people are coming to see how important it is to prevent the reassertion of the destructive and unfair status quo.
The history of the War on Cannabis is representative of a great many other social ills inside American life. The racist, reactionary, right-wing attitudes that created the original campaign are still alive and well in modern American jurisprudence. In the name of punishment and the spirit of human sacrifice, medical science has been stymied and suppressed, people have been ruined and jailed, and our prison system has been afflicted to the point where it has poisoned our political system. It is, simply stated, a historical and ongoing eyesore. Change has come but is far from secure, and a great deal of harm remains unaddressed.
ACLU ProCon.org, 2009. Leary v. United States https://aclu.procon.org/view.background-resource.php?resourceID=003427Bonnie, Richard J., Whitebread, Charles H., 1974. “The Marijuana Conviction: A History of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States.” https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=185042 Dagen, Chelsea, 2017. The Distortion of Drugs: War, Discrimination, and Profit. https://vc.bridgew.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi
Deitsch, Robert, 2003. “Hemp: American History Revisited- The Plant With A Divided History.”
Dickinson, Tim, 2016. “Why America Can't Quit The Drug War.” https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/why-america-cant-quit-the- drug-war- 47203/Downs, David, 2016. “The Science behind the DEA's Long War on Marijuana.”www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-science-behind-the-dea-s-long-war-on- marijuana/.Duff, Cameron, Erickson, Patricia G., 2014. “Cannabis, risk, and normalization: Evidence from a Canadian study of socially integrated, adult cannabis users.”Glick, Daniel, 2016. “80 Years Ago This Week, Marijuana Prohibition Began With These Arrests.” https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/drug-war-prisoners-1-2-true-story-moses- sam-two- denver Green, Matthew, 2008. “Reefer Madness! The Twisted History of America’s Marijuana Laws.”https://www.kqed.org/lowdown/24153/reefer-madness-the-twisted-history-of- americas-weed- laws-King, Ryan, Mauer, Mark, 2006. "The war on marijuana: The transformation of the war on drugs in the 1990s."Komp, Ellen, 2011. “Mark Twain's Hasheesh Experience in San Francisco.” https://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Mark-Twain-s-hasheesh-experience-in-S- F- 2328992.phpJennifer Robeson, 2002. “Who Smoked Pot? You May Be Surprised.” https://news.gallup.com/poll/6394/who-smoked-pot-may-surprised.aspxSmith, Laura, 2018. “How A Racist Hatemonger Masterminded America’s War on Drugs.”
Good evening to all from Millennial Democrats! Our name means a lot to us, because we spend a lot of time working out what it means to be a Democrat- and how to be of optimum use to the country and party alike. The two are completely inseparable at this point. Democrats retook the House. That means that things will be okay. We endured.
Still, although morale coming off of the Blue Wave is at an all-time high, we must capitalize. That means we must resist the urge to get complacent. We’re in a lull period, a sort of ceasefire, which means its time to shore up foxholes and stockpile and drill. We have to prepare ourselves for the real task- getting rid of Trump once and for all.
It is therefore just the time to tackle some questions as to what a Democratic Code might look like.
How do we reconcile the need for reasonable strictures with the hallowed principles of big-tent coalition?
How do we handle inter-organizational pressures?
How do we keep sane when we’re down in the trenches with each other for years at a time?
These questions have come up again and again, and have created a necessity for a flexible and logical framework of guidelines that everyone can live with and abide by.
This is not as hard as it may seem on the surface! We are Democrats. We come together from across all boundaries and we sometimes work with people who in many ways are quite different from ourselves.
It is absolutely paramount that we come to realize this as our single greatest asset.
Far from being a weakness, the heated and ideologically driven Democratic debates about policy and progress we have allow us the trials by fire we need to become very strong. We are like a lightsaber, dispelling the gloom and corrupt cobwebs that are the right wing’s lies. We have a core that is decent and sensible and growing. People will see our light and want to be part of it. We have only now to give them a good home and be prepared to accept their voices as equals. They’re part of the family already. In short, we can do this. We just have to lay down a foundation.
In keeping with that line of thought, we recommend the following proposals.
1. There must be universal will to abide by the few basic ground rules laid out when representing an organization.
2. Of paramount importance is our ability to disagree. We must come to fully realize that debate and a fight aren’t the same. Respect your colleagues, and treat them gently. Many of us Resistors are having a very hard time in life, especially under the fool that is Donald Trump. We must fully understand this and show empathy. Divided we cannot stand up.
In example, the Wampanoag Native tribe which gave us Thanksgiving may very soon be pilfered yet again. We are all we’ve got. This should constantly be on our minds when interacting with others. Patience and compassion must be our guides.
3. Respect the organization and the cause by keeping your tempers in check, especially in any sort of public capacity that could hurt the cause or get you targeted. Swearing and violent language should not be done as the page, if at all.
4. Respect the work of others, don’t take a fellow admin’s post down without thorough group discussion of the subject. Once in a while, people are going to post things outside the ring, but they put the time in on it, and deserve to know why it is being removed. Schedule a time to talk and explain to the person their mistake. This is how we improve both our knowledge and our people skills, and hence grow stronger together as a unit.
5. Respect leadership decisions. They will be made at the end of a long discussion leading to group consensus. When they are, we must subordinate our own feelings and trust in the Democratic process. We are Americans.
6. Respect the need to keep on track with political discussions. As we are all such diverse and brilliant people, clashes of ego and opinion are unavoidable. But they can be streamlined by avoiding controversial side topics that have no bearing on what we’re doing here. That is a major goal going forward.
All of us are aware of our significance; every voice is sorely needed. And I know that I don’t have to request you to be equal to the responsibility and trust I have extended you; you’ve already been doing it for a very long time. As Robert the Bruce said, “You are here! You know enough about honor.”
Demonstrate this in word and deed when speaking as a Resistor.
Please keep in mind just how important you all are to this cause, and treat each other like the vital organs of your body that we are. Care for and protect each other, and never forget:
Today is Voting Day! That long-awaited day, the one we’ve all been waiting for. As voting kicks off on the final day of the 2018 midterm cycles, we’ve got a few last thoughts to offer.
Down south, it looks like they’re trying to cheat people. Our prayers go out to all Democrats. A particular prayer seems due for Stacey Abrams of Georgia, the gubernatorial candidate of that fair state; we wish her the best of luck overcoming the dirty tricks of the Republicans and taking her state back to sane decency.
The disgraceful conduct of the Republicans will color their names for all time.
This Millennial Democrats contributor voted yesterday. A straight blue ticket! A drop of blue water to a strong Blue Wave. It was a beautiful moment for me. I have been waiting for this every single day since November 8 of 2016. I have lived for it. We are going to take back the House and save our country- and we are going to do it today!
Even one branch of Congress will be enough for us to stymie every evil thing they try to do. Forget about Trump getting anything else past legislature. He’ll be stuck in his chair from that point on. The Blue Wave’s Crest is towering over him as we speak. He is in its shadow.
For all of you who might see this at the last minute- If you are stuck at home today. If you’re too sick. If you’re too busy- Please take advantages of resources designed to help you get to those polls! Your country needs you, your people need you, your planet needs you!
EVERYTHING we have been doing here for all this time is pointless if we don’t make it into those booths.
Alleged rapist Brett Kavanaugh got a big step closer to confirmation today.
It sickens me to even have to write this. Can’t we do better? Is a drunken slob like this really the best that America can offer its highest seats of jurisprudence? What implication does that have for our country?
These questions lack satisfactory answers completely.
Where are we going with this? That is what I’d like to ask Flake and the others this week who allowed that whitewashed FBI investigation to self-delude about a decision of such monumental import.
The FBI didn’t talk to Kavanaugh or his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, and the Trump administration refused to even let them discuss Julie Swetnick, the third accuser.
They even ignored the testimony of Kenneth Appold, one of the most respected theological professors in the nation who said he could personally corroborate that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted Deborah Ramirez in high school. That “investigation” was a total sham. It was a sick joke. It reminded me of a dying goldfish I had as a little kid.
Don’t they see? If things keep along the way they are, the progress made in the last one hundred years will be lost. We’ll be right back in the good ol’ boy days, the days of cronyism and graft and corruption.
And then I remember- That’s exactly what they want.
I’m good and disgusted this morning. I keep seeing the twisted up rage in the face of the whiner Kavanaugh, threatening and storming, screaming up the 40-year-old Virgin defense. He looked like a cartoon character of somebody sniveling.
I compare that with the dignity on the face of Christine Blasey Ford, who risked every aspect of her safe and quiet life to get up there on that podium and tell that humiliating story. Who wants to be a victim?
The people who go around spouting that “false accusation, men are the victims” lie always manage to leave that part out. It’s a miserable, embarrassing thing to have someone come along and do unto you. Nobody wants to think of themselves that way.
This was not a person likely to be bought off; if she was, the Republicans would have outbid us anyway. They would have paid anything to jam that guy through. The only hope we had was that some decency would rise up in the hearts of a few of the Republicans, and in one case, it did.
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted no, and Susan Collins has still yet to declare officially, we’re waiting on that to come through in an hour. But he passed this hurdle, and there’s no mistaking it.
Regarding the lone Democratic yes, that of West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, even if he had voted no, Mike Pence would have broken the tie. It would not have slowed down Kavanaugh’s path to confirmation at all, and it would probably have cost Manchin his bid for reelection. He’s currently beating his primary opponent,
If the opportunity opens for Joe to use his vote to stop Kavanaugh, he will do it, and all true Democrats know this. If it doesn’t, then who cares who he voted for? Usually, only purists from the far left who live in progressive states. Easy for them to say. Red-state pragmatism is necessary. In the end he’s one of us.
We have seen this kind of thing before. It’s all an eerie repeat of 1992, and the Anita Hill hearings on Capitol Hill. Again, it was because the Republicans were trying to force a loathsome sex offender, Clarence Thomas(who has used his power to make one ruling in the last twelve years, shortly after media publicity revealed that he had not bothered to do so in ten years) down our throats and onto the Supreme Court bench.
Going forward, it’s important to remember that cloture is not the same as confirmation. We still have hope of a last minute change of heart, and even if he’s confirmed ultimately, it’s still not the end of the world. It’s just really disgusting. The fight was still worth it. We’re thirty-two days from the election, and this whole ordeal has empowered the Blue Wave beyond anything we have seen so far. 1992 saw Thomas get in, regardless of what he had done to Hill, but it saw a few other things also.
Televised images of a committee, composed exclusively of white males, sharply questioning African-American law professor Anita Hill disturbed many women, and of a sudden, they became galvanized en masse. It became known as the Year of the Woman.
Not long after, on January 3, 1993, for the first time in American history, California became the first state in the nation to be represented in the Senate by two women- Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein, who of course was the one to blow the whistle on Kavanaugh in today’s saga.
History repeats itself constantly, and the events of the 1980’s and 90’s have played an odd role in all this, with the sitcom stars and professional wrestling videos, and all the rest of it. If the past is any indication, the Year of the Democratic Woman, 2018, is going to crash into the Republicans with the force of a nuclear tsunami.
Go ahead and push it through, Republicans. Ruin your names for all of history. That’s what we want you to do. Because when we get back in power, we’re going to dismantle you with this.
We have received numerous requests for a focus piece regarding cyber-defense for Democrats, especially right now as we are going into the midterms. In it is an introduction to a number of the techniques we can use to defend ourselves going forward. Knowledge is power. Pass it on.
Regular readers of Millennial Democrats will not require a lot of explanation as to how and why the threat of Russian hacking is real. We have been up against it for years. The time has come to soberly and objectively assess Russia’s cyberwarfare capabilities, and examine how we plan to fight back.
In 2016, America was caught off guard and we got a bloody nose. Guys like Roger Stone’s buddy Guccifer 2.0, or the guys in Fancy Bear pulled a fast one, to be sure.
They had the element of surprise back then. Most people had no idea what they were doing(and rolled their eyes at those who were trying to warn them, but that’s another subject). These days things are very different.
Regardless of the lies of the great orange malignance, America knows the Russians are out to get us. Trump is sticking his head in the sand on this and will do nothing to help us, so we’re going to have to learn to help ourselves, and each other.
It’s too bad we’ve got no national leadership on this, but it is what it is. We’ll get by on our own.
In starting out, the most important thing to keep in mind is this: Hackers rely on our mistakes, and mistakes are most often made when we don’t know we are making them. They need to catch us off guard, and their job is to find creative ways to use their tools to get us to slip up.
The first place a smart hacker will look is outside the box, so to speak. They’re always looking for ways to burrow in that you wouldn’t think to look for.
Employing a given system, be it a human being or a PC, for a purpose it wasn’t designed for is what hacking means. However, if you’re careful, neither you nor your computer will end up thus employed. It’s all about being careful.
Hackers are clever, be they Russian or from elsewhere, but they are far from invincible. We’ve already stopped a number of Russian cyber-assaults directed at Democrats this year, such as the ones aimed at our Claire McCaskill.
Without the element of surprise, hackers have many limitations. It’s not that easy to brute-force open a website. Just ask these guys:
Basic cyber-hygiene techniques would cut down on more than 80 percent of cyber attacks and cyber thefts, according to Herbert Lin, senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. It will benefit us to learn a few.
There is a great deal of white-hat(ethical hacking) work that can be done to defend America in this realm, and most of it has to do with how careful we are.
We repeat- It’s all about being careful. This cannot be repeated too often.
In this piece, we’re going to talk about a few common mistakes made by end-users(that means us, the consumer) and how they are exploited by criminals. We’re also going to talk about some of these cyber-hygiene measures and assign them three rules of thumb.
Don’t open strange emails.
Don’t click on strange links.
Don’t accept chat messages from people you don’t know, particularly on Facebook.
Before we get started, think for a second about all your other social media accounts. Are they just as secure as your Facebook or Twitter? Make sure they are! That’s the first place a hacker will go to collect more data about you. You’re particularly vulnerable to having your account on the ones you don’t often use pried open.
As an aside, this is also why you don’t want to use the same passwords for everything. Passwords are obviously critical, as somebody who’s got them has got all your information at his fingertips. Be careful!!
A great deal of a hacker’s job revolves around getting the passwords of their victims. Their most popular tools are all various ways to apply “spear-phishing” hacks, designed to steal passwords and personal data. The unlucky “phish” who opens one has become a victim and is now open to all kinds of trouble.
There are all kinds of ways to go spear-phishing. A brand new one showed up not long ago when U.S. government agencies recently received letters via snail mail.
One example that all readers of this blog will vividly recall took place on March 10, 2016, when the first volley of malicious e-mail messages hit the inboxes of thirty people who were closely associated with the Hillary Clinton campaign. Inside them were links that were actually viruses, like worms on a hook.
Nearly all of them were failures. All but one, actually. But one was enough.
Within nine days, a horrendous amount of critical data had been stolen and passed along to Wikileaks, to be strategically released in a way they figured would hurt us. It did.
Those leaked e-mails, in which Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was seen to be fussing over Bernie’s lack of ability to fill out campaign finance forms correctly, were spun up into a narrative that Bernie(who lost by four million popular votes) had been cheated.
Bernie or Bust bought it, there were riots in the streets of Philadelphia, and a rift was torn in the Democratic Party that still has yet to heal.
All of that was made possible, with just a few phished passwords.
To combat phishing is to make sure everyone knows how common and damaging these attacks can be. Everyone should keep their guard up when checking emails, and they should report any email they find suspicious.
It’s necessary to point out here that Facebook phishing in particular is horrendously easy. They can hack you right through your chat box. We recommend in the strongest possible terms that you put as little of your personal information as possible on Facebook.
Facebook presents about a million added vulnerabilities to all of us that use it. When Edward Snowden was asked what to do to keep your data safe on that platform, his response was, “Delete your account.”
We can’t recommend that, as Facebook gives us access to 2 billion people, but we can recommend this much. If people you don’t know send you strange messages on Facebook, don’t accept them.
“We are looking at just some of the malicious material that already may be circulating or will be released before the midterms. It also bears repeating that we know the campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was targeted.”
Cyber-intelligence experts see this as being major, and with clear reason.
Moving on, it isn’t only Facebook and social media you’ve got to be careful with. Websites too are vulnerable.
Anecdotally, the webmaster of this site has seen hackers from all over the world try to take us down, from Beijing, China to Lviv, Ukraine, from Adelaide, Australia to Beauharnois, Quebec. They use all kinds of tricks, but they’ve never gotten in and they never will.
This is not because I’m a cyber-genius who speaks binary code, but because WordPress is awesome.Sucuri, the plugin that keeps safe all of us Millennial Democrats, is likewise excellent. They care about their clients and they hold the same liberal values sacred that we do.
WordPress users should strongly consider using Sucuri, not least for the reverse IP trace it automatically performs. This has the benefit of letting you know a lot more about who’s trying to hack you. Sometimes it will tell you everything.
Once a flower store owner from Adelaide, Australia tried to hack us. By using a reverse IP trace, Sucuri let us know who she was as soon as she had done so. Then we went to a site called WhatismyIPaddress.com, put it in, and voila.
We were able to get the name of her business by looking at the name of her domain. We then used that to look her up, and jackpot. We found the store’s address, website, and owner. We also found far-right garbage smeared all over her life.
I could put her on blast right here with a screenshot like this one:
Luckily for her, I’m not that mean. But the next guy might be. It’s a dangerous game for newbies (noobs- learn your hacker-ese) to play. It’s easy to run into trouble.
Change your life, would-be hacker flower store owner! Mend your wicked ways, before it’s too late.
Speaking of WordPress, using the two-factor authentication feature they offer as part of their platform is another good idea. This is a highly effective security measure and is available for Facebook, Gmail, WordPress, and many other major platforms.
Using this feature means a second device’s input will be required to access email accounts or websites on new computers, usually by prompting you and sending an SMS code to your phone or whatever. This can prevent scammers from accessing compromised accounts.
In addition to good cyber-hygiene, which amounts to common sense, caution, and our three rules of thumb, there are some tools we can use to make our online experience safer still. You may find this necessary, from time to time.
Guccifer 2.0 recently made a mistake and forgot to turn his VPN on, and we connected him to an IP address connected to Russian intelligence. Now his whole identity is blown because he didn’t use his VPN.
We strongly recommend getting one of these, specifically IVPN. They take protecting their customers super seriously and they are located on the Rock of Gibraltar. That fortress strikes me as a good place to keep anything valuable.
HotspotShield is another good one, and also NordVPN. There’s a lot of them; shop around and find one that’s right for you. We feel it’s worth repeating that they are a very good investment.
Additional tools include TOR(The Onion Router), which offers a former naval encryption system that we can now all use. Tor takes all your internet traffic and routes it through its own network, providing total anonymity.
The DuckDuckGo browser, which Tor employs, is good to know about also. It has a number of different features that keep you safe, including a “Flame” feature that burns up all your cookies in a second. Pretty cool.
Now, just as then, there is a need for deterrence, to defend the nation and hopefully prevent a further escalation of tensions. There is more at stake than we can even put into words. We need to be ready.
There are bigger dangers here than the usual America vs. Russia, liberal world order vs the new world order that the extremist crazies keep screaming that they want kind of thing. This is different completely.
One superpower actively destroying the democratic process of another is new and very dangerous, especially since Russian destability tactics rely heavily on disinformation and a systematic devaluing of the truth.
On the subject of this week’s Helsinki summit, in which the forty-fifth president of America slobbered on himself in the presence of Putin, there is almost nothing to say. Words fail all but completely.
Trump has a reputation as being a real tough guy, especially during a debate.
His attempt to loom over Hillary Clinton was memorable(and pathetic), as was the rough treatment he gave both “Low Energy” Jeb Bush, and “Little Marco” Rubio during the debates of the Republican primary.
If I were Trump, I’d have gone public with this thing from Day One. Thanks for your help, Russia! Now allow me to reward you, by annihilating your ability to do anything like this ever again.
I would have gone right to the NSA with everything my campaign had learned about how they operate, and I would have seen to it that information was used to keep our country safer in the future.
This is not about Republicans vs. Democrats, or at least, it shouldn’t have been, and still doesn’t have to be. This is Russia vs. America, a struggle of hundreds of years. There’s a lot more at stake here than one man’s pride and power.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump does not realize this.
Later on Monday, the Justice Department charged the woman who tried to set up a back-channel of communication with the Trump campaign, Maria Butina, as being an agent of the Russian Federation.
Tuesday she was hit with a grand jury indictment, which added a more serious charge of acting as an agent of the Russian government. This carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
This was on an investigation completely separate from that of Robert Mueller’s and offered some of the most explicit evidence yet that there were Americans who worked willingly to aid and abet the Russian efforts. And where, you ask, did they find Americans blind enough to reality to go along with something like this?
The pro-gun conspiracy world, of course, also known as the National Rifle Association, where Butina was shown in photos she put on Facebook attending events.
It all just goes to show. You cannot trust the right. They will do or say or willfully deny anything to take or keep power, even in the face of things like Sandy Hook and the Holocaust. That is what fascism is.
That is particularly relevant considering how they all jumped on the anti-Russia bandwagon yesterday when the President’s weakness became repugnant past a certain point. Mitch McConnell tried to talk tough, saying “The EU is friend to the US. Russia is not.”
The final indignity was delivered on Sean Hannity’s talk show, where Trump was guided through the Fox News interpretation of current events. He lamented that reporters keep asking about Russian election interference, rather than what he considers issues of substance.