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.
The fight started after Trump pulled the US out of a newly arranged agreement, blaming the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau whom he derided as “dishonest and weak”.
A sort of agreement called a summit communique was finally reached, thanks to an all-night negotiating session by officials from all sides. For a few brief hours, it started to look like the nightmare was ending.
But after leaving for Singapore, Trump tweeted personal attacks on the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and said that he had told his representatives not to sign, turning what had already been a tense meeting of the world’s leading industrialized democracies into a fiasco.
“PM Justin Trudeau acted so meek and mild,” he tweeted. “Only to give a news conference after I left saying that ‘US tariffs were kind of insulting’ and ‘he will not be pushed around’.
“Very dishonest and weak” he claimed, adding in a separate tweet: “I have instructed our US reps not to endorse the communique.”
Trump was very unhappy with the likes of Trudeau and Merkel, our time-honored and trusted allies. But he wasn’t so unhappy with the G7’s missing partner Russia, which was suspended from the group – then called the G8 – in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
This is no longer unbelievable. Recently retired four-star general Barry McCafferty recently commented sadly that he believes Trump to be a “threat to national security” because Putin has something on Trump.
This seems clear to us, and if he’s not being actively directed, it’s because he’s too predictably destructive to require that type of micromanaging. Better to just let him sling his feces as he will.
It’s usually a point with Trump not to pay his bills, but this time he seems determined to keep his promise to pay off for the Russian dictator. He accepted the job of busting up American alliances at Putin’s behest.
It’s as if Littlefinger crawled out of Game of Thrones and off the TV screen. I can see him now with his little ratty face, saying “Chaos is a ladder.”
As this goes down, we’ve got to raise awareness. We have to continue to let people know what’s going on because our president is lying to us with a zeal that would have impressed Joseph Goebbels. Regardless of what he may say, the other countries of G7 deserve our love and support.
We’ve all been in this together for a very long time, long enough for history to show many times over that internal discord and disunity in the Western world give openings to extremist enemies. We who live in the G7 nations need each other.
In future days to come, when millennials hold the majority of the seats of power, it will be our responsibility to see that a failsafe mechanism against a repeat of this situation is installed. In the meantime, however, we’ve got little choice but to watch as Trump makes his mess. This is how a teacher of preschool must feel.
America is celebrating its second Memorial Day underneath the reign of Donald Trump, and it’s worth reflecting on exactly what that means.
Memorial Day is a special day for America. It gives society a way to show gratitude to those who have carried upon their lives the burdens and responsibilities of war.
The Atlantic’s David Frum wrote today “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” is a promise not denominated only in dollars and cents. We commit spiritually, too, to do our limited human best to understand and appreciate the losses and suffering imposed by the defense of the nation.”
Trump spent his day boasting about the economy he’s been ravaging on Twitter. Later he made a speech and laid a wreath, but the speech he made was an abject lesson of insincerity, where he said all the usual things and made reference to “Our Heroes”.
The commander-in-chief of our military is a man who was never in Vietnam at all, win or lose. He was able to dodge the draft because of his “bone spurs”– and his daddy’s money. Poor people didn’t get out of going to Vietnam for bone spurs.
The instance of John McCain is not the only time he’s proved himself a hypocrite on the matter of his supposed admiration for veterans. Trump has had numerous back-and-forths with the military.
He told Khan’s mother to remain silent, because, as a Muslim wife, she “wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”
After he got elected, four Army soldiers were killed in Niger in an ambush in October 2017. Trump remained quiet for 12 days. He then disputed comments alleging that he told the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson he “knew what he signed up for” and forgot the soldier’s name.
The list goes on, as it tends to with our 45th president.
Going forward, we can raise awareness by equipping ourselves with the facts. Every time Trump and his supporters start tooting their own horns about the military, we can remind them of how he got his Purple Heart. He was handed it, the same as he was handed his money.
A veteran in Virginia gave Trump a Purple Heart medal during an August 2016 campaign speech — and the future commander-in-chief saw nothing untoward in accepting it.