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How Putin Felt The Bern- Detailing Russian Interference In The Sanders Campaign.

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.

Putin's Other Puppets.
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?

The question of just how big of an effect did the Sanders campaign have on the final election can be gauged by looking at how bad he hurt her in the swing states where American elections are decided. Take a look at these numbers from 2016 Democratic primary exit polls taken from West Virginia- not a swing state, but dramatic and indicatory nonetheless.

Forty four percent is nearly half the Bernie supporters who voted in the West Virginian primary.
Forty-four percent! Nearly half the Bernie supporters who voted in the West Virginian primary planned to later vote for Trump. That speaks for itself.

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.

Far-right hardliner and former National Security Adviser Ret Gen. Michael Flynn dines with Russian President Vladimir Putin and far-left Green Party 2016 US Presidential election candidate Jill Stein. This dinner is a good look at what it looks like at the exact moment where the far left and the alt-right converge.
Far-right hardliner and former National Security Adviser Ret Gen. Michael Flynn dining with Russian President Vladimir Putin and far-left Green Party 2016 US Presidential election candidate Jill Stein. This dinner is a good look at what it looks like at the exact moment where the far left and the alt-right converge.

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.

Politico’s Michael Crowley put the case together days after the riot-causing WikiLeaks email dumps in July 2016.

“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.

Trump's SOTU Cheered for Anti-Socialist Theme he stole from us.
Trump and Bernie- Two sides of the same coin.

Means: Vladimir Putin may well be the richest man on Earth, by some estimates having more money than Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos combined. He more then had the means to pull off a job like this.

Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he believes the Russian president is “the richest man in the world” with a net worth of $200 billion.

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.”

Everything that belongs to the territory of the Russian Federation Putin considers to be his,” exiled Russian banker Sergei Pugachev told the Guardian (Pugachev once earned the nickname “Putin’s banker.”) He said that “any attempt to calculate [Putin’s net worth] won’t succeed. He’s the richest person in the world until he leaves power.”

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.

Thank You For Not Lying!
Thank You For Not Lying!

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.

Angry socialist gathers his forces for battle on his own Party.
Angry socialist gathers his forces for battle on his own Party.

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 37-page indictment resulting from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation makes it clear. Russian nationals and businesses definitely worked to boost the campaigns of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Green party nominee Jill Stein in an effort to damage Democrat Hillary Clinton, even as they did the same thing to Trump’s Republican opponents on the right.

The Russians “engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump,” according to the indictment, which was issued a year ago in February.

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.

This is what we're fighting.
This is who they are.

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.

Therefore, when we found out today that according to the indictment, Russia’s Internet Research Agency had a “strategic goal to sow discord in the US political system”,including the election, it was far from a surprise to us.
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.
At any rate, back then, they could still lean smugly back and say, Show me the proof. Today, however, the evidence is laid flat out in any number of places, such as Robert Mueller’s February 2018 indictment of thirteen Russian nationals, who had posted “derogatory information about a number of candidates”.
They bought ads and communicated with people tied to the Trump campaign and others in order to coordinate political activities. They even went so far as to coordinate their activities on our soil.
The indictment also mentions a February 2016 memo to Internet Research Agency staff. The instructions given were to post political content on US social media sites and “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them).”
“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 rarely misses work. But he did manage to be absent when it came time to vote to sanction Oleg Deripaska's aluminum company. Deripaska is a close friend and personal ally of Putin. He was also the owner of Paul Manafort's debt.
Bernie rarely misses work. But he did manage to be absent when it came time to vote to sanction Oleg Deripaska’s aluminum company. Deripaska is a close friend and personal ally of Putin. He was also the owner of Paul Manafort’s debt.

Unbelievably, he claimed he couldn’t show up for the Deripaska vote because he was meeting with the women who accused his campaign of sexual misconduct. Even the most rabid and dishonest and insane penner of political hit pieces could not make this stuff up. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

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.”
Missouri News, a Russian troll account that Twitter has since deleted (they've been pretty cool about cleaning up their act, unlike Facebook or even worse You Tube) is shown here giving the Sanders campaign a hand.
Missouri News, a Russian troll account that Twitter has since deleted (they’ve been pretty cool about cleaning up their act, unlike Facebook or even worse YouTube) is shown here giving the Sanders campaign a hand.
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.
Tad Devine and Paul Manafort together with Konstantin Kilimnik, the shadowy Ukrainian figure wanted for questioning by the special counsel Robert Mueller.
Tad Devine and Paul Manafort together with Konstantin Kilimnik, the shadowy Ukrainian figure wanted for questioning by the special counsel Robert Mueller.

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.

Although it has been very hard for Sanders followers to face this, it is our opinion that Devine too was working with the Russians and that Sanders most likely knew he was getting help from Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton. That help came in some very strange ways.

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.

One of the letters they wrote him flagged more than 1,500 questionable donors. Soon after, Tad Devine was paid almost a million dollars in one month by the Bernie Sanders campaign.

We know that the Russians had been plotting to interfere for more than a year before the election took place. The Steele Dossier said the Russians have been cultivating Trump for at least five.

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!

"Thousands of inauthentic Twitter accounts emerge when exploring tweets where @TulsiGabbard's handle appears (large highlighted cluster includes ~20K accounts) cc: @yoyoel @delbius @vijaya" Thanks to @GeoffGoldberg!
“Thousands of inauthentic Twitter accounts emerge when exploring tweets where @TulsiGabbard’s handle appears (large highlighted cluster includes ~20K accounts) cc: @yoyoel @delbius @vijaya” Thanks to @GeoffGoldberg!

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.

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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.

Russia’s Zapad War Games- A Ukrainian Warning

Russian aggression is back on the front page.

The Russians have got tens of thousands of troops moving toward the Baltic as these words are placed on paper, under the legal pretext of “strategic command exercises”. They’re calling them the Zapad War Games. They shot some people with a rocket today, and inflicted three casualties, at these “games”. Image result for zapad war games

The whole project was totally unexpected, and done with no transparency. This met with worldwide condemnation, but as always, Putin just ignored it. 

This is all closely connected to what’s been going on over here since 2016. Donald Trump and his campaign connections with Russia have been carefully examined from the beginning of his presidency. From the Steele dossier to the confession of Donald Jr, evidence of collusion is ample between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. Image result for steele dossier pee tape

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Tulsi Gabbard

Wikileaks managed to make a deal with a mole (most likely then-junior chairperson in the Democratic Party last year, Tulsi Gabbard) to attain leaked emails that caused the resignation of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz days before the convention. Then they used fake identities to disseminate propaganda to U.S. voters over social media sites like Facebook, which turned over all its advertising records on Russia to Robert Mueller’s team last week.

The problems we’ve been having with Russian hackers are not as new to other areas as they are to us. In fact, they’ve been going on for more than ten years. The trouble got started over an old war soldier, just like in Charlottesville. The Bronze Soldier attacks may be the first suspected state-backed cyber-assault on another nation, in this case Estonia

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Bronze Soldier of Tallinn

The Bronze Soldier of Tallinn was a statue of a Red Army soldier in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn. It was viewed by Russians as a symbol of Soviet deliverance from Nazism. To many Estonians, however, it was an eyesore of Communist oppression, a miserable period that lasted more than fifty years. They decided to remove it from the center of town, and move it to a military cemetary on the outskirts. The Kremlin threatened trouble immediately, and they meant it. 

Little Estonia, for all it lacks in acreage, is a world leader in the field of internet freedoms. They are one of the most heavily wired nations in the world. For this reason, one can only imagine how disruptive and traumatic it was, when the website of Estonia’s largest newspaper was brought crashing to its knees, with unprecedented speed, under the weight of a wave of Internet traffic it couldn’t support. As with America’s 2016 election, there was no way to legally prove Russia was responsible, but everybody knew. Image result for digital security

One Estonian government official told the BBC that evidence suggested the attack “was orchestrated by the Kremlin, and malicious gangs then seized the opportunity to join in and do their own bit to attack Estonia”.

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Russian-Ukrainian Conflict

2007 marked the beginning of a new and troublesome tactic. For the hostility of nations to find its mode of expression virtually is new. It is a developing situation worldwide, but the bulk of it until last year had always taken place in Eastern Europe. In order to understand the context of this struggle, it is necessary first to examine Russia’s strained relationships with most of its satellite states, particularly Ukraine.

The Kremlin has always considered Ukraine to be both a rightful part of Russia’s empire, and an important territorial asset. It presents a strategic buffer zone between Russia and the powers of NATO. It allows them a highly profitable pipeline route to Europe, and it is home to one of Russia’s few warm-water ports. For all those reasons, Moscow has worked for generations to keep Ukraine in the position of a submissive smaller sibling. It was the largest of their satellite states, and the one it took most effort to control. A great deal of bad blood on both sides remains.

Oleksii Yasinsky is the head of a company called Information Systems Security Partners, the occupant of an unassuming building in Kiev. Under his leadership, they have been able to chronicle a timeline of intrusions by a whole galaxy of hacker groups, with names like Guccifer 2.0, Petya, and the most feared of all, Sandworm

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Sandworm

This organization,  which uses the nomenclature of Frank Herbert’s Dune as code names, has been the focus of Yasinsky’s interest since the first cyber- attack on Ukraine, a country that has been used as a test lab for new types of ways to wreak virtual havoc. In December of 2016, Yasinsky was watching the movie Snowden when his building lost power- along with the rest of town.

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Ukraine Cyber Command

The lights went out in areas all over Ukraine that night. The Russians managed to shut off huge sections of their power grids, using the Stuxnet virus- the world’s first cyber weapon. It was announced in early September that more than a hundred United States power grids have been infected in exactly the same way.

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United States Cyber Command

Ukraine, however, is not alone. Numerous cyber attacks in Europe, particularly among former Soviet satellites, have been blamed on Russian-linked groups, many of an extremely astonishing nature. The lines between physical and virtual reality have blurred. Our own United States Cyber Command must be equal to the task of managing this. The consequences of their failure would be catastrophic. 

The Syrian Civil War is another place where we have had to fight the Russians time and again. Contrary to the party line, we were not all over there to fight ISIS together. But everyone thought we were, for years, because of Russian disinformation. Most Americans just didn’t seem to care enough.

Russia has proven its ability to use automated systems to inflict real harm in the world, as in their attacks on the Estonian and Ukrainian power grids. They could hurt us very badly if they wanted to.  

In 2008, Georgia too found itself at war with Russia, and suffered similar abuse.

In 2015 France’s TV5Monde broadcaster was taken off air in the middle of a broadcast. Its systems were all but annihilated.

Later the same year, another Russian hacking group calling itself APT28 perpetuated a massive data hack, in Germany’s lower house of Parliament. 16 gigabytes of data were stolen. After that, Germany’s head of domestic intelligence began speaking of a “hybrid” Russian threat” to the September 2017 elections in which Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term in office.

The list just kept on growing.

Nigel Farage, the United Kingdom Independence Party leader responsible for the Brexit agitation, was intimitely connected to both Putin and Julian Assange, the driving force of the Russian propaganda outlet Wikileaks. Brexit represented the greatest coup ever scored on the United States by Russia, until Donald Trump’s victory in November later that same year.

The month prior, another cyber attack, this time on Bulgaria in October 2016, was described by the country’s president as the “heaviest” and most “intense” to be conducted in south-eastern Europe.

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Macron blows whistle on Russian election hack

And shortly after Trump’s inauguration, the French presidential election between now-President Emmanuel Macron was hacked and tampered with as well, on behalf of the virulently anti- Semitic Marine Le Pen, whose entire campaign was financed openly by Putin.  

Cyber operations constitute a new situation for the nature and future of war. It is reflective of a growing worldwide trend among military strategists to consider cyberspace through the lens of the Clausewitzian spectrum of war, which is to consider it “the continuation of politics by other means.”

That newness is also why cyberspace constitutes so many new strategic difficulties, particularly as it is being deliberately used as a weapon of war by aggressive and imperialistic powers such as Russia. This state of affairs exerts a destabilizing effect on international security, and complicates attempts to work together.

Cyberspace has become a new sphere for great powers to carry out conflicts directly among each other (and any other power for that matter). Previously, their behavior was frozen at a certain level due to the strategic nuclear stalemate. There was a clear limit to how far great powers could go. Great care was always taken, to remain below the threshold of an armed attack and use of force. Instead, conflicts were carried out indirectly, through proxy wars in distant lands. 

However, virtual reality and the revival of the Cold War has given us a new type of proxy, one that brings us much closer to direct conflict with one another. Moscow believes there is a constant and unending  struggle within “information space”.

The manner in which they keep on pushing our buttons and getting away with is has empowered Putin tremendously. One is reminded of the way Hitler was ignored at first. In any case all this suggests that the Kremlin will continue to employ cyber in ways that U.S. decision makers are likely to view as offensive and escalatory in nature.

Moving forward, it’s likely this will have to get worse before it gets better. Our chance to catch it early passed us quietly by long ago.

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Merkel Concerned About Russian Cyber Attacks

2017 is almost over, but we’re not out of the water yet. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is up for reelection on the 24 of this month. In the age of Trump and his slovenly brand of incompetence, Merkel is the de facto leader of NATO, and therefore the most powerful leader in the world. Her reelection is all but guaranteed on a level field of play. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that we can expect to see a great disruption next week, as Russia tries knocking her off her perch. 

Moving forward, it is necessary for millennial and all voters to understand that trying to make meaningful changes with Donald Trump in office and the Russians eroding our base all they can, will require fifty times the effort before we can even begin to hope they might succeed. We’re vulnerable right now.

Therefore, the first step is for us, the tech-savvy information generation, to start applying our skills toward finding ways to defend ourselves from these invasive and violating virtual infiltration techniques. We have got to protect ourselves, and we have got to learn to fight back. We need all the help we can get. Our futures depend on it.

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