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The Rising Threat of China-Spy Pleads Guilty, Trade Deal Possible-What Will That Mean?

China displaced millions of people to build the Three Gorges Dam with no compensation.

Sources told CNBC on Wednesday the announcement of a U.S. trade deal with China is “possible” by next Friday, apparently the result of a U.S. delegation’s meeting with Chinese negotiators in Beijing on Wednesday. The United States has the world’s largest economy, China is second, and we’ve been running into a lot of trouble with them because of it.

That makes this development very interesting.

The Chinese economy has experienced astonishing growth in the last few decades. In 1978 China discarded the dead principles of socialist personality cults and started a program of economic reforms. Back then it ranked ninth in the nominal gross domestic product (GDP) with USD 214 billion; 35 years later it jumped up to the second place with a nominal GDP of USD 9.2 trillion. According to Focus Economics, it is now worth $15 trillion to our $21.

Count on their trying to take first place.

The first thing that comes to mind is that we can’t trust either side. Our president is a moron. He made a fool of himself in Hanoi meeting with Kim Jong-Un, the North Korean dictator. The Chinese will try and take advantage of him. And because Putin and Xi are such good pals, it wouldn’t surprise me if their bromance turned into a threesome.

Trump’s juvenile reaction to the discovery of Russian interference into our 2016 election has manifested in his refusing to fund or staff the new cyber-defense force our Congress authorized in 2017. This is a big problem. There are other countries also who are out there trying to hack into our stuff so they can ruin and steal it. And at least one of these is ten times more powerful an enemy than Russia-literally. That applies both to military prowess and to manpower, as well as money.

The people who run Millennial Democrats have figured out how much the Chinese hate us and want to do us harm, thanks to the experiences we’ve gained while running this website. We started out in foreign affairs because of the Russians, and certainly that nation’s computer criminals have tried to hack in here and take us down many times. But even though we’d never printed a word about them, or even thought about them very much, Chinese attacks have been incredible in their sheer frequency.

The vast, worldwide right wing conspiracy Hillary Clinton spoke of takes a swing and a miss at Millennial Democrats.
The vast, worldwide right wing conspiracy’s Chinese division takes a swing and a miss at Millennial Democrats.
A look at his location.
A look at his location.

For every time the Russians have tried to hack in here, the Chinese have done so ten times, and we don’t know exactly why. Are they under contract for the Russians? Is it just that they hate what they call the “white left” that much? Or is it just that they’re out to eviscerate anyone who is pro-America?

The only sure thing is that they’re out there, lurking.

One attempt after another has been made recently by them to challenge us. Earlier today, ex-CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee pleaded guilty to conspiring to spy for China. He got paid $100,000, and got a promise from the Chinese government to be “Taken Care Of For Life”.

This week, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that Russia works around the clock 365 days a year to undermine American democracy. But he also said that China posed the biggest threat to the United States when it came to economic espionage. Last year sonic attacks of a mysterious nature were used on our diplomats there in China. Both countries were suspected.

Last month, the Justice Department announced that a former engineer and Chinese businessman had been charged with economic espionage. They were caught conspiring to steal trade secrets from General Electric, in a scheme for which the Chinese government provided “financial and other support.”

Our current trade dispute with China is protectionist in nature. They keep ripping us off. Huawei’s entire router system was nothing but a blatant theft from Cisco. That incident among others led to a series of American tariffs being levied against China, and fears about potential economic damage due to fallout is obviously a concern for both countries.

Trump and Xi both have boasted of progress in the talks, but that’s what they do. It has yet to be seen if this is real or just another stalling device crafted from propaganda. What is certain is that disputes such as whether America will immediately remove existing tariffs or keep them in place as an enforcement measure to stop practices such as intellectual property theft have derailed a final deal.

Let’s be clear. We have spent a lot of time detailing the threat posed by Russia, here at Millennial Democrats. But barring any unforeseen disaster, and regardless of how much time they spend trying to bring one on-which, as FBI Director Christopher Wray recently said, is something they do 365 days a years-they will never truly be able to challenge the United States as a global power. Putin is a dictator but his country has no infrastructure, so his state’s autonomy remains highly limited.

For practical purposes, that means they can only do harm, not create anything.

China, however, has 1.43 billion people living within its borders, and total autonomy. They took the homes of millions of people away without compensation of any kind to build the Three Gorges Dam (which is a real hunk of junk, for all its size, it hardly even works). Last October they locked up a million Muslims, an entire race of people known as the Uighurs, without so much as a pretext.

Without warning, they built prison camps so vast out in the Gobi Desert that we first thought they were building some kind of new military device. They didn’t bother lying about it because they do not care what anyone else thinks. They’re so strong they can do whatever they want on their own turf, or so they think.

They are massing military force in the South China Sea, looking hungrily at our possessions there. They may well try for a pre-emptive strike, after which they would have autonomy in their entire region as well. Would they stop there?

Do would-be conquerors ever?

The Chinese are our only true global rival, and they’re working with the Russians against us. Russia and China have historically had rocky relations, but they will certainly work together to bring down the United States-led global order which has made everything possible for us all. Xi called Putin his “most dearest friend”; how ridiculous. It’s like watching a bad anime.

Going forward, we’re going to repay the Chinese favor of trying to hack in here all the time by raising awareness about what they are up to. They have become a predatory power, a foe not only of America but of freedom and democracy worldwide. That places them squarely on our radar. Look for them to stay there.

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Countdown to 2020-Joe Biden Announces, Bernie Gets Booed, and Trump Prepares to Leave Office.

Joe Biden has finally announced. He’ll be running for president in 2020.

This is good news, folks.

It is still too early to issue a one hundred percent endorsement, but no one can deny that as things stand right now, Biden is the clear front-runner. The idea that it might be the one-trick pony Bernie Sanders is ridiculous. Democrats don’t want him, Republicans laugh at him, and the sane center will never accept him as more than just another screaming wingnut on the fringe. Biden is the former vice-president, his career and resume speak for themselves, and he doesn’t wear a blue clown suit around, nor look like an insane Mr. Rogers.

He also raised more money on the first day of his announcement than anyone else, including Bernie or Beto O’Rourke. 

Biden has started out forcefully. He is the first of the Democratic candidates to take aim at Trump directly, his poor character and incompetence. He’s saying that America deserves better, and there can be no doubt at all that he is right. For the way things would stand if we went with Bernie, in the immortal words of George R. R. Martin, winter is coming.

No one is going for it. Trump would pick his teeth with Bernie’s bones. In the recent Reuters survey, Sanders’ support fell to just 15%, nearly 10 points below Biden. And we’re the progressive party. What do you think the moderates and NeverTrump Republicans are going to feel about him? It is undoubtedly for this reason that Grant Woods, the old chief of staff of John McCain came on CNN to assure Americans that this is true. “Biden will beat Trump in Arizona,” he stated with utter confidence. “Bernie has zero chance.”

Currently, those people are siding with us, more and more. The longest-serving Republican in Iowa, State Rep. Andy McKean, flipped his voter registration card publicly at a press conference last week, saying he is now a Democrat because he won’t have anything to do with what Trump is selling.

How long will that last if he sees us all go crazy for socialism?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is doing all he can to pose as an anti-socialist crusader and frame the whole election as the Last Battle for American freedom (johnny-come-lately that he is; we’ve been fighting this battle for years). He allowed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s highly radical Green New Deal to go up for a vote, just to make the point so he could do it.

Their extremity will hurt us in the end.

It is very important to realize that the loud and highly internet visible Bernie Bros are masters at making themselves seem more numerous than they actually are. Their faction is far too radical both in policy and appearance.

We have chronicled the many failures of the Bern faithfully, on this site and many others, ever since 2015. Now that others are also vetting Bernie, we are soon to see him out of gas completely. This is good because if McConnell and his ilk succeed in painting them as our base it’ll be a disaster.

Joe Biden also has a far broader appeal than the white working class crusader Bernie Sanders, who was booed and heckled this last week at the “She the People” event, for name-dropping Martin Luther King (he celebrated that hero’s memory last year by insulting the legacy of Barack Obama) in a pathetic attempt to wipe out thirty years of running from racial issues using words and somebody else’s legacy.

Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren did fine. Bernie was booed off the stage.

One supposes women have not forgotten how he tried to hijack the Women’s Convention. He has never made women’s rights his fight, or those of people of color. He said “identity politics” did nothing but “distract from real issues”. 

Biden has a very good relationship with the African-American community, and his popularity with women has only increased since the Bernie Bot hitjobber Lucy Flores-who is shown in many pictures letting Bernie literally slob all up on her neck, as our Twitter coordinator pointed out recently- tried to do her nasty number on him over a hug.

Here's Bernie, getting up close and personal with Lucy Flores, who reviled Joe Biden for a similar hug.
Here’s Bernie, getting up close and personal with Lucy Flores, who reviled Joe Biden for a similar hug.
This speaks for itself. She didn't accuse Biden because what he did was wrong, she did it because it was helpful to the Bern.
This speaks for itself. She didn’t accuse Biden because what he did was wrong, she did it because it was helpful to the Bern.

Bernie can’t even make a sincere apology when it comes to his campaign being infested by Russians (his old campaign manager, Tad Devine, was the first witness called at Paul Manafort‘s trial), or about not telling his crazy supporters to not riot in the streets of Philadelphia while Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic Party Presidential nomination. He set it up so that he had to flip and flop, just for being economically successful. In the wonky world of cyber topsy turvy he created in 2016, having done well for yourself in life was practically a crime.

Now we know Bernie himself is a millionaire. You don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

Going forward, it’s quite clear what we’ve got to do- stand with Joe Biden and the other good Democrats running, like Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris, while utterly rejecting the whiny fake left and its nutty programs. We want to get someone in that nomination’s seat who can actually win. We do not need a new George McGovern. Look for Bernie’s unpleasantness and inflexibility to take center stage against Biden’s lifetime of service and achievement.

Trump Lies On Border as #TrumpShutdown Weakens America For Third Week.

#TrumpShutdown begins its third week, and America is hurting.

On the cusp of the twentieth day of what has now become immortalized as the #TrumpShutdown, Trump himself headed to the border to disgracefully lie to America and did so. Other than that, there is not a whole lot going on. How could there be? Everything is closed down, and as one walks around as an observer, there is a very real sense of being in the eye of the tornado.

Even West Virginian senator Lindsey Graham, a guy who has become progressively worthless as the Trump circus atmosphere corrupts him, came up with a plan to try and end the shutdown. Trump shot holes in it. He told Senate Republicans that he believes he is winning the fight”, leaving Graham shaking his head in despair, saying he has “Never been more depressed“.

On that point, at least, we are agreed.

On Friday millions of people will not get paychecks; things like food stamp benefits are only guaranteed through February. One man was on CNN the other night sobbing because he was so afraid he’s going to lose his house. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked the illegitimate president frankly why he doesn’t stop hurting people. His answer was right out of the spoiled child brat Trump playbook.

Because then you won’t give me what I want.

There’s no need really to point out how disgusted a sane human is bound to be at the sound of that, it speaks for itself loud and clear. Trump is calling it a humanitarian crisis, which it is. But the only one causing it is he himself, and he will not stop. That is something in between blackmail and terrorism.

Moving on the subject of terrorism, the Pentagon- who, earlier in the week, was actually reduced to having to go to Fox News and beg for their help in getting the moron in the Oval Office to listen to them regarding Afghanistan- has warned that it is concerned about the risk of a terrorist attack striking home in these conditions.

However, our guess is that they’re not going to feel like they need to do much at all. The worst thing they could do to hurt America right now is to simply leave us alone.

Another 9/11 would unify us. The way things are going we may collapse under our own weight, which is not completely a jab at Trump’s obesity. The most effective punch is the one you don’t have to throw, at the end of the day, but to an extent, this is wishful, hopeful thinking. We are exposed, of course. We have not been opened up like this to an attack since 9/11 happened.

It’s unreal how quickly we forget. Not even twenty years ago, terrorists smuggled boxcutters through airport security and took down the Twin Towers. Osama bin Laden believed that would be the end. Not all at once, of course, not that day. His belief was that once we had been hit that hard, we would not be able to take it. Our policies and justice would become undemocratic, and the idea of America freedom we espoused and intended to bring to the rest of the planet would be soiled irrevocably, a discarded relic like Soviet socialism.

I think a lot of people are waking up to what a bad situation we are in. And when you end up in a bad enough situation, one that makes you scared enough to forget about your pride or wants or ideas, you start to look around at how you got there.
Putin’s developing hypersonic nuclear missiles now. He could wipe us right out with them and there’s nothing we can do. We don’t have them. China and Russia both are winning that arms race viz. the US. From what we can tell, the only reason he doesn’t up and do it is for the same reason as the terrorists- because the worst thing he can do to us is to sit back and eat popcorn and watch as we self-destruct.
At the end of the day, a day in which no one went to work and time to reflect has been forced upon us, one question keeps ringing in American minds- How did it come to this?
Why is that big orange disgrace stumbling around on our border, looking dumb and talking dumber? How did he get the power?
There are three simple words that say it all.
#BernieOrBust! We pray with all our hearts they have managed to learn from their mistakes, and we think there’s a good chance of it. They might have been watching the news.

From the eye of a tornado, you can see the sky, but you can’t see what’s going on around you. There’s no way of knowing how severe the devastation is, and the reality of the situation is that there’s not much use in worrying about it. You batten down the hatches, you keep yourself in the cellar, and you hope and pray for the best with all your heart.

Along with the neverending task of raising awareness, that is what we must do now.

Cold War 2.0- Sonic Attacks Spread from Cuba to China, Russia Suspected.

American diplomats in China have been getting brain injuries from mysterious sonic-based “health attacks“. They appear to be the same devices used to give brain injuries to our diplomats in Cuba. The chief suspect is Russia because that’s who’s got the most to lose from America and her old Cold War era enemies making peace.

It reads like something out of the history books from fifty years ago, doesn’t it? Communist bullies and thugs all over the world stage, and the United States upholding its values in spite of them. We all stood together, and we supported all the world.

Now look at us.

The Russians are treating us like a monkey does when it sees visitors at the zoo peering in at them, and slings its feces at their faces in impotent rage. They laugh and don’t bother even to move. The monkey can’t hit us, because the glass is there.

But what if the zookeeper came along and busted out the window? Would they still be safe from the monkey poop?

Stepping out of analogy land just in time, we’re pretty sure the answer is no.

Worse, the Trump administration is minimizing it and trying to cover it up. In Cuba, they’re telling us we’re all hypochondriacs, and in Russia, they are openly boasting.

Meanwhile, Putin says he’s preparing for war against us since Trump yanked us out of the nuclear treaty without warning-not that America has any choice but to defend herself since Putin’s been developing blatantly for years. Our missiles were getting old. What are we supposed to do? Some believe this also is about China.

It is the gut feeling of this Millennial Democrats contributor that the whole entire bromance between Putin and Trump can be viewed as the Russo-German Non-Aggression Pact 2.0.

Stalin and Hitler never meant to play nice forever. It was a marriage of expedience. They wanted to spook the liberal powers of the West into backing off and leaving Poland to her miserable fate, which they did. But soon, they got into a pissing contest, and nearly finished off the human race in the process of resolving it.

That’s what Trump and Putin are doing now, except instead of just Poland, it’s the whole entire world.

The webmaster of this site has seen it attacked by the most diverse locations. Hackers from everywhere on earth that people live have tried to take our website down or smear or smash it. They have come from Lviv, Ukraine, they have come from Shanghai, China.

They have come from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which just had its own far-right lunatic candidate Jair Bolsonaro take power in one of the most violent election cycles in that country’s whole entire history. The guy got stabbed in the stomach last month by the Brazilian equivalent of a Bernie Bro, but that’s a whole different article.

The point to consider right this second is the map they’ve tried to hack us from. It’s like a grid of the entire right-wing worldwide network. You can see how they work together. In early 2017, it was always Russians and Eastern Europeans who were trying to hack us. But these days it’s all the Chinese.

The Chinese have tried to hack into Millennial Democrats more than a hundred times; our Sucuri plugin keeps automatic records.

One time these Chinese guys tried to hack us from a strange IP address that appears as a link. I took an old computer and clicked on it from there, and it took me to a strange website where nothing existed save a blank page with the obscure phrase, “Silence is the Gold” written on it.

It’s a saying from Taiwan meant to reproach regular people who speak out on world events, as they believe it’s only those of “noble” birth, e.g. rich kids, who have the right to their opinions.

Silence is the Gold. It was clear they’d put it up there just so we would find it. It was just for us. How eerie. If you’re such a rich big shot, why is the silence of us “little” people required? What is so threatening, if we’re all so itty bitty? All we want is a decent world to live in, to heal up from Hiroshima and Dresden and the Holocaust.

Why don’t you guys want that too?

I’ve been thinking about that phrase ever since that incident happened, and I’d like to thank the man who sent me there to find it. Having read it, I finally understand what it is they are working together for. It really is the Non-Aggression Pact a second time.

All of the monsters everywhere are getting together and making common cause, just long enough to restore the status quo of a hundred years ago.

They all want to return to the days of graft, corruption, and big bosses, in which if you are little people, you’ll only get any Gold if you employ your right to be Silent; that’s what the blacklist was for. Just shut up and go to work and let the professionals handle it, they seem to be saying, all the while greedily eyeing one another’s possessions.

Last time we tried leaving it all to them, they nearly killed us all in World War Two. The next World War will employ nuclear weapons. People won’t survive that very long.

As the old saying goes, war is too important to be left to the generals, and politics are too important to be left to politicians. It follows naturally that all of human life is too important to be left to them as well. Regardless of our bank accounts, we have got to take personal responsibility and do all we can to fend this off. Together, we are strong.

Interestingly enough, as these words were being written, our webmaster received an alert which was then sent to me, that hackers operating out of China, from an IP address in the Hangzhou Alibaba Advertising Co.,Ltd. system tried to bruteforce attack our site.

If they ever make a computer virus that can use that sonic device on us, I’ll be one of the ones it’s aimed at.

What a thought.

The vast, worldwide right wing conspiracy Hillary Clinton spoke of takes a swing and a miss at Millennial Democrats.
The vast, worldwide right wing conspiracy Hillary Clinton spoke of takes a swing and a miss at Millennial Democrats.
A look at his location.
A look at his location.

 

Cyber-Defense For Democrats! Security Measures For Midterms.

#CyberDefenseForDemocrats

Hello, world!

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.

But it’s important not to overstate the case. It is not accurate to attribute cybernetic omniscience to the Russians and their zany bots and fake news.

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:

This is the IP address of a hacker, purportedly from Beijing, who is always doing his best to get in here. Have at it, pal.
This is the IP address of a hacker, purportedly from Beijing, who is always doing his best to get in here. Have at it, pal.

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.

Every technique that hackers use, be they DNS attacks against home routers, phishing emails, malware, botnets, or what have you, is ultimately something we can avoid.

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.

  1. Don’t open strange emails.
  2. Don’t click on strange links.
  3. 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.

They came with CDs inside, and they contained malware, according to cybersecurity researcher Krebs on Security. The infected discs were accompanied by a Chinese-postmarked envelope and a “confusingly-worded” letter.

That is just like what they do on Facebook. Hackers make links that look like YouTube videos and various other innocuous things, and they write you some goofy little messages. They look like some cute little harmless thing. Actually, they’re viruses. And you’re hit.

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.

They save everything. They’re like a gigantic data collection firm, and they’ll sell your personal information to companies like Cambridge Analytica who will use it to hurt us all.

Why risk it?

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.

Facebook was made to brief congressional aides just last week Tuesday about the newest outbreak of anti-Democratic disinformation, which is already said to be evolving into something more sophisticated. Excerpts from that briefing are shown below.

“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:

My (possibly) Chinese friend, saying hello to me again. Hi, buddy. Change your ways!
My (possibly) Chinese friend, saying hello to me again. Hi, buddy. Change your ways!

Then the hunter would rapidly become the hunted.

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.

A VPN, or virtual proxy network service, will allow you to register as being somewhere that you’re nowhere physically near. It allows you to safeguard your IP address. You do not want hackers to have your IP address, as it can be used to hurt you in a bewildering multitude of ways. This is probably the biggest reason to use a VPN.

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.

We suggest you learn Linux, because it is more secure, and 99% of viruses are designed to attack Microsoft products. 

Russian hackers have been targeting home routers of individual people en masse, using what is called a DNS attack. We suggest you check your home router often, using the website Secure Router.

Secure Router is a great free feature that allows you to check if your router has been compromised with the click of a button. Doing this regularly cannot hurt and takes less than a second.

In closing, it’s important to emphasize that this is an introductory piece, and not meant to be totally comprehensive. These techniques will do a lot to keep you safe, but nothing is a substitute for doing your own research.

So far, this has not been the kind of cyber war imagined in the past, with nations taking out each other’s power grids before a mass invasion, although Russian malware continues to turn up in our power stations.

It’s more like a new type of proxy war. Like it or not, against our will, we have begun a new phase of the Cold War, on digital battlefields where you meet the enemy directly, but behind a screen.

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.

If nothing is true, everything is permissible. And then our entire species starts down the road to guns and roving mobs.

Disinformation and a post-truth reality are unacceptable, and so is Russian interference into our election, regardless of how many Fox News devotees will slobberingly say otherwise.

We have only got one party ready to defend our democracy from the foreign agitators’ who are trying to destroy it, and that is the Democratic Party. Accept no substitutes.

Due diligence is the key. Hackers will look for things you might be neglecting. Get in some good habits and keep yourself alert, because it all comes down to one thing.

If you are politically active as a Democrat, you are not paranoid. You are a target. Defend yourself.

Praying for a Peaceful Winter Olympics- Put Away The Nukes!

Put down the nukes!

The Winter Olympics will be held in South Korea this year, a fact that has caused anxiety to a great deal of the world.  The Korean peninsula has been a troubled place for a long time. It is the site of both the first and last active conflict of the Cold War.

North Korea has urged the U.S. to end international calls for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to instead support ongoing peace talks geared toward ending the long-running hostilities. To that end, they’ve been going out of their way to be reasonable.

At one point it was feared that North Korea would use the opportunity to try for a hack or an attack or a disruption of some other kind, but it doesn’t really look like that would be necessary.

Kim has his nukes. It’s a fait accompli. He’s got no more real reason to worry, as long as he doesn’t nuke anyone else first. Even the sloppy drunk Steve Bannon had to concede this. There’s no military solution here.

To forget Kim’s nukes, and try peace, like one headline I saw today said, is the only choice we have. It’s that or be ashes. We can’t nuke another country, just because they made more nukes.
If we were going to go that route, we’d have had to nuke the Soviets back in the 50’s.
These days, forget it. You’re nuking half the world, and hoping not one of their nukes will hit you back. Good luck wiping China, Russia, and India off the map. 
Nuke. What a stupid sounding word. Can’t we get past this? Do we really want to live in a world, where our leaders go around like baboons, growling and threatening one another while comparing the size of their…buttons? Haven’t we learned anything at all?
It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that living constantly under the shadow of nuclear annihilation is very boring, but we recognize that is not the opinion of Donald Trump. It’s another one of those 1980’s Glory Days kinds of things, that he and Putin both so love.
I mean, we miss the Go-Go’s, too. Just because we were little kids, doesn’t mean we didn’t love the 80’s. Sadly, however, all good things must come to an end. Like She-Ra. Or the Satanic Panic.
Most of us do not miss the Cold War, or any other war, because we know that war is bad. For human beings, it really is that simple. We don’t want to be smouldering ashes, as Mr. Kim promised we would be, and we think it sensible to imagine that the North Koreans felt much the same when Trump made them a similar promise.
We don’t need to have this fight anymore. It’s pointless and it’s stupid. Everyone knows that. So why does it keep going on? Who benefits? If America were to reopen hostilities with North Korea, who would stand to gain?
When North Korea did its first missile test, on May 19th of this year, the move drew worldwide condemnation. In an all-but-unanimous rejection of any more nukes, the world made known its mind.
Still, all-but-unanimous is still not the same as unanimous. There were a few lone voices of dissent from the wilderness. One of them should not surprise us. That name is Vladimir Putin.
Putin immediately spoke up for Pyongyang, warning the international community against thoughts of military action, and posing as the leader of the world.
One might expect Moscow to show some concern about North Korea’s missile tests. Russia, after all, is one of only three countries to border with North Korea by land. It also wants to keep the nuclear club small. And the missile even landed in Russia’s territorial waters. But Putin did not seem to mind. The casual observer might be tempted to conclude that he is up to something.
In what ways and to what degree does Russia have leverage over North Korea? What outcome would best advance the interests of the Kremlin?

The key to the problem most likely begins and ends with oil. Russia has long been suspected of supplying North Korea with oil, even though international sanctions limit such activity.

However, recent reports from a collective of journalists called Asia Press International claim that the price of oil there has fallen by 40 percent.

We do not know the exact amount of oil Russia has exported to North Korea, but it’s easy to see why Russia would want to help Pyongyang. Keeping the North Koreans dependant could help keep them compliant, which creates leverage that Russia could use in future negotiations with China or the United States.

In addition, Putin’s personal fortune and control of Russia are both completely dependant on Russian oil reserves. His ability to manipulate those markets is the backbone of his empire.

At any rate, it will all have to wait until after the Winter Olympics- an event at which millennials are the bulk of the competitors. The South announced on Thursday its president would meet the North’s Olympics delegation on Saturday. The games will soon be on, and we’d like to send our best wishes and hopes to South Korea along with the American competitors.

Onward to victory!

 

FCC Democrats Call For Help- Making a Stand for Net Neutrality.

Focus On Internet Freedom

A Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has called on us for help. We will answer the call. Now is the time for the millennial generation to rise.

Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel wrote in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that Americans must resist the agency’s plans to end net neutrality rules adopted under the Obama administration, calling the FCC’s plan “lousy”.

She urged Americans to make their voices heard before a Dec. 14 vote. Here is a link providing the information you need to contact your local reps to make your voices heard. It’s called BattleForTheNet.com. 5Calls.org is another good place you can go to help coordinate your voice with ours. That’s how we come together and make a big noise; which is to say, that is how we caucus.

“They have proposed to end net neutrality , and they are trying to force a vote on their plan on Dec. 14,” Rosenworcel writes. “It’s a lousy idea. And it deserves a heated response from the millions of Americans who work and create online every day.”

It’s been getting a heated response from Russian citizens, anyway.

Hundreds of thousands of comments in favour of this policy have come from Russian trolls. The FCC stymied the investigation into them. 

The Federal Communications Commission order will throw out almost all of the regulations set in place by the Obama administration.

FCC chair Ajit Pai said in a statement Tuesday that “the FCC would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”

What all that slick talk means, is that they want the legal right to squeeze your ISP for information about you and about what you are doing.

The FCC’s two Democratic members blasted the proposal as being a greedy and invasive policy, but the GOP has a majority on the commission. Barring a last-minute change of heart by one of the three Republican commissioners, the order will likely be approved during the agency’s next open meeting on December 14.

Internet freedoms have been at risk since the day of the Internet’s creation. And authoritarian practices have slowly crept into American cyberspace from authoritarian states.

In opposition to our dearly-held liberal beliefs about Internet freedom and independence, Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed the importance of what he calls “Internet Sovereignty”.

Vladimir Putin has taken this idea one step further by calling the Internet a “CIA project.

The free world once thought it would use economic and social ties to gradually liberalize authoritarian states. But the authoritarian states have abused this access and designed a web of economic interdependency through which to spread their corruption and repression at home and abroad. Instead of accepting our proffered hand up, they have used it to pull us down into the muck with them.

Even now, Russian hackers are trying to influence the fight over net neutrality, and according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the federal government is not cooperating with investigations into the fraud. While Trump is in office, the apparatus of law will not be on our side.

Things have reached a point where our intelligence services are telling Israel and other trusted allies not to share information with Trump’s White House. It is safe to assume that applies to us as well.

It is, therefore, the recommendation of Millennial Democrats that we should all be ready to protect ourselves. We can’t risk losing our networks and our teammates every time Facebook or Twitter deletes one of our accounts. We cannot let them have all the power.

If things take much more of a turn for the worse, history indicates those of us who are stalwart members of the resistance are in for a very bad time.

For anyone who might be thinking that sounds drastic, keep in mind that public and private libraries around the United States have pledged to destroy user data on their computers, as well as backing up system data abroad.

The American Library Association has realized the danger. It made a statement on November 18 of last year that it would “work with President-elect Trump” and his transition team. Now the association has apologized, saying, “We understand that content from these press releases, including the 11/18/16 release that was posted in error, was interpreted as capitulating to and normalizing the incoming administration.” They realize now that is impossible.

At the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, librarians have begun purging interlibrary loan records. Guilt by association with controversial books has a very dark history. The McCarthy years are back. But this time they’re claiming that Russia is a buddy.

This is going to cost a tremendous amount of time and money for them. It’s the most serious decision they could make.

Clearly, they are taking this threat very seriously. There is every reason for us to take heed of their example.

The bottom line is this- If you’re against Trump, and you don’t intend to shut up about it, then it’s best to do everything in your power to keep them from knocking you offline and silencing you.

That is their goal, and they will cheat all they can to achieve it. Hundreds of unjust Facebook sentences suffered by loyal Democratic activists testify to that as this is written. Anonymity is your friend.

There are a number of important ways how we can keep ourselves safe and independent, and we’re going to make some specific recommendations.

First and foremost, we will be developing a cursory familiarity with the two most basic ways to stay anonymous online. These are known as the virtual private network, or VPN, and the Onion(Tor) Browser.

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short, is a secure network connection through which you can safely connect your device to public networks, or create a secure channel for remote access control between computers.

TorProject.org gives the definition of the Tor Browser project as being “free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.”

The best solution is to use VPN and Tor in conjunction.

Just log on through your VPN, and then do your stuff through Tor. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a whole lot better than nothing. As for chat, we have a first class(and free) encrypted chat program available to us in the app known as  Telegram.

We also recommend that you gain at least a cursory familiarity with open-source Linux distributions such as Ubuntu. It’s free, its programs are free, and 99% of malware programs are written to target Microsoft system files.

For protection against malware we recommend(other than switching to Linux altogether) Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017, which has consistently outperformed its competitors year after year.

Remember NOT to use Kaspersky’s antivirus, or anything Russian, under any circumstances.

The New York Times reported that Israel hacked Kaspersky and caught Russia using it to search for NSA exploits and other U.S. government classified programs. That’s how they got a copy of the Stuxnet virus.

The FBI has been warning us that we’re in huge danger of having our next elections hacked again, but too many Americans are still far from focused. We have our work cut out for us raising awareness.

Any dirt the Russians get their hands on will be accessible to Trump, which is bad news for his adversaries. The 200 protestors arrested on Trump’s Inauguration Day this year are facing sixty years in prison apiece for minor acts of vandalism last year. The message sent by that reads loud and clear. Things have busted loose all over God’s creation. You don’t want them poring over your records.

The cause of freedom and the threat of tyranny are locked in an ongoing, existential struggle. To the ones who would set up shop as tyrants, the Internet and the free flow of information it engenders is viewed as both a threat and an opportunity. There will always be many internal and external forces, seeking to challenge our security in the information realm.

Going forward, the goal is no less lofty than ensuring we will not be silenced.

The German poet Heinrich Heine, a man deeply reviled by the Nazis, warned us shortly before the Holocaust, “Where books are burned, in the end people are also burned.” We should keep in mind going forward, that if they wanted to do a book burning these days, they wouldn’t even need fire. They could just delete them.

To delete our work is to delete our thoughts and our voices as well.

We will not sit by and be quietly deleted.

Make Peace or Perish- The Only Way Forward in the Nuclear Age.

North Korea caused an earthquake today, while conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. Their statement claimed it was caused by the testing of an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile.

The announcement from Pyongyang came a few hours after international seismic agencies detected a man-made earthquake near the test site in the North. Japanese and South Korean officials said it was around 10 times more powerful than the tremor picked up after its last nuclear test a year ago. According to Kim Jong-un, the test was a “perfect success.”

North Korea has often tried to catch us off guard by conducting major weapons tests around American holidays, which is why we’ve received this nice treat for Labor Day. Mr. Kim called his country’s first ICBM test, conducted on July 4, a “gift package for the Yankees”.

America is considering halting trade with any country doing business with North Korea, and this at least seems reasonable. Economic sanctions are the one civilized strategy available. However, this gives rise to another disturbing aspect of this particular mess. Putin has been lobbying the North Koreans too, attempting to angle his own toehold of influence into the mind of the panicked and isolated Kim.

This comes at an all-time low point in historical relations between Moscow and Washington. On Thursday, Trump’s administration announced it would shut down Russian diplomatic missions in US cities, seemingly in response to an order from the Kremlin expelling 755 American diplomats toward the end of July. YouTube videos were taken of the Russian embassy in San Francisco earlier this week, before it was vacated. Clouds of black smoke rose from it for hours. The fire department was denied entrance. It is believed they were burning documents.

Becoming a player in this North Korean missile crisis would likely suit Putin very well. Both Moscow and Beijing seek to keep the United States at bay to protect their own interests in the area, and the arrogance and youth of Kim makes his susceptibility to flattery very likely. Putin has proven himself able to manipulate disjointed dictators before, using this trick. “Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile program is misguided and futile,” Putin said in an article released by the Kremlin. That’s the kind of talk Kim likes to hear.

James Person, an expert on Korea at the Wilson Center, is of the opinion that by giving the North Koreans our recognition somehow, we can still defuse this- before it’s too late.”The important thing is, the US has to recognize that only it has the ability to give Pyongyang what it wants,”Person said, but he failed to state exactly what that is. No one really knows.

United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis threatened a “massive military response” to any attack on the United States or its allies, following this news. There’s no doubt he means it, should the North Koreans actually strike first somewhere, but other than that it’s all really just talk at this point. North Korean possession of nuclear technology is a fait accompli, for better or worse. The Pentagon will be busy planning.

These are very scary times, and no mistake. The hydrogen bomb is vastly more powerful than the atomic bombs used against Japan at the end of World War Two. How powerful are they? Think of it like this- They use atom bombs, just as a trigger. The explosion is comparable to ten million tons of TNT.

Trump doesn’t seem to get that his bombast and threats aren’t helping. Every time he starts in with his nonsense, Kim dares him to actually do something with another and even worse experiment. It’s a vicious cycle that may very well cause a tragedy. Furthermore, he refuses to take responsibility for any of it, preferring instead to point the finger at South Korea.

“South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!” Trump tweeted.

He also warned South Korea it would have to pay, for using the US missile defence system (Thaad). And on the eve of the nuclear test, he was reported by the Washington Post to have been on the point of withdrawing from a five year old free trade agreement with Seoul.

Jon Wolfsthal, a former special assistant to Barack Obama on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, said that “Reassuring South Korea is a top priority”, and that“The Trump administration is failing this test. Threats about the Thaad bill and now the trade agreement are very damaging.” By alienating Washington from Seoul with that kind of talk, Trump is playing right into Kim’s hands.

The only real solution we have is to come to the table with the newest member of the nuclear community. A clean and surgical first strike doesn’t even happen in the movies. Unless we are willing to accept the death of many millions, worldwide heartbreak for mankind, and bringing our species one step closer to the brink of a nuclear omnicide, a first strike is out. What else is there but to try and find room to coexist?

Going forward, it is clear that as usual, or biggest obstacle is Donald Trump. He has made what is already a very bad situation far worse. He thinks he’s sounding like George Bush. He doesn’t understand that fire and fury is not the way to go here.  It’s time to calm down, and start working together. We’ve been through this before. We lived through it when Russia got the bomb, and again when China did. The only way forward was to accept one another as equals, and move on with our lives.

The fact it took nuclear weapons to bring that about is pretty sad, but that is no longer the issue. We’ve got to find a way. The only option is to adapt to the changing situation, using the only true weapon we have ever had, with which to resist the power of darkness. Love. We must now place all our hopes and all our faith, in love. Love of the world, love of each other, love of ourselves. For the love of all that’s holy, we have got to make a genuine peace or perish. It’s that, or the end.

 

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