This is Maltego, everyone. It is our opinion we have much to be grateful to it for. It has given us the silver bullets we’ve been waiting on to free us from the monsters who have taken over our country. Donald Trump’s website tried to hack me yesterday, but I didn’t end up looking at the email from beloved Sucuri, the security plugin. We get all our IP addresses from hackers. I had a hunch just where to look to see who it connected to.
As it worked out, my hunch was absolutely right.
Thank Maltego, everyone. It gave us our silver bullet. Neither Trump nor Bernie ran the last election’s campaign with honor.
Now we pay them back for it.
So as all of you know, we here at Millennial Democrats have been covering the story of how #FarLeftIsAltRight pretty much since it began. We’ve had plenty of low-level circumstantial proof all this time, enough so that we who’ve been around a lot know who is on the level and who is not. We have known all this was real since then, but sadly, even after Robert Mueller’s two year long Russiagate investigation concluded, we did not have the proof. Not the ironclad stuff we really needed.
As of about three hours ago, that finally changed. Donald Trump’s website is linked directly to Vladimir Putin’s, as well as Guccifer 2,0’s and gwbush.com which is Zack Exley’s site. I cannot tell you people how surreal that was; everything I’ve ever hoped for and never expected or even thought in my wildest dreams. See for yourselves.
They were ALL there. Tencent from China, Namecheap from Los Angeles (Igor Efimenko), everybody. All the hackers I have really seen a lot.
They’re even sharing a network with OVH, whose owner, billionaire Octave Klaba, was the one operating the Trik Spam Botnet a few years back. It’s right there on his network.
43 million emails, it stole and then botched and exposed to the world. Then Mirai botnet hit them- an obvious deflection, and insurance scam besides. Now, worst of all, I have every reason to believe they’ll be coming for us very soon with a third botnet attack. They are massing for it all along the perimeter of the entire outer circle of the network. You’ve never seen anything uglier.
Maltego gives them red shapes fashioned after depth charges. Here’s some more.
It’s crazy to think we’ve got to face this, but at least this time we know it’s coming- and, in fact, is already here in at least two places- Seattle’s Emerald Ocean (another frequent hack attemptee of mine) and the server of Trump himself.
They have also acquired a great many Facebook servers; that also cannot be good news.
If Robert Mueller would have known what we do now- if he had gotten on that server and seen what is there, the whole entire event would have ended differently.
Not all of the evidence you’ll be seeing tonight is from Maltego, either, but has been confirmed by a variety of other tools and persons including my security plugin Sucuri, whois.com, a network scanning program called Nmap, and a search engine that only searches for devices, Shodan. Digital evidence does not lie; hear, therefore, what it has to say.
God, it’s unreal. I got Trump and Bernie in the same week, and both by examining their websites. First Zack Exley (Bern) at gwbush,com and now this. This is just too much good luck to hope for.
Silver bullets. baby.
All right, moving on. This is www.donaldjtrump.com, the website that tried hacking me today. Good old Sucuri caught them just like all the rest- and it turns out they are ALL connected.
VERY weird stuff around it. On September 9, 2015 they bought numerous blank domain names and have left them dormant since.
Whois.com had no data whatsoever which I have never seen before, but a simple Nmap scan revealed them to be present, even with some ports open.
It is impossible to say just what, but one thing is certain. They are hiding something.
Raising awareness has always been the goal. Now, for the FIRST TIME, we have something to raise awareness about. This will kick the opposition down a well. Going forward, the task is clear. We have to tell everyone in the world what we now know. If we can make this story news somehow before this evening this whole thing just might turn around for us. Stranger things have happened, and miracles do exist.
We’ll keep hoping- but all the while, we’ll be working on taking Ben Franklin’s old adage to heart.
“God helps those who help themselves.”
On that note, Democratic family, we might as well get to it.
The name of Bernie Sanders did not appear on the ballot in a single state during the 2016 general election. But a large share of the blame for this disaster that is the current administration lies squarely on his shoulders.
The Bernie or Bust movement was a nightmare, the blatant racism and sexism shown by his campaign were a worse one. But in terms of national security, however, worst of all was the Russian support, particularly on social media, that kept his campaign alive long past the point of reason.
Using illegally acquired data from Wikileaks, emails that suggested little wrongdoing, the Russians successfully goaded Bernie, and his supporters showed his anger on the streets of Philadelphia, while inside the Democratic National Convention, Paul Simon played the first notes of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”.
Bernie’s conduct, when questioned about this, has been defensive and rude, and this reaction has added to the number of raised questions that linger to this day about where the senator stands on the shadowy foreign figures who were once involved with his campaign.
The evidence is clear that Sanders became the Ralph Nader of 2016, peeling off just enough votes from the Democratic candidate to spoil the election. All the chaos he created on the left drained just as much support away from Hillary Clinton as it took for Donald Trump to win. By this point, the proof is huge and glaring that he, and to a less well-known and effective extent, Jill Stein, allowed themselves to be used as Putin’s other puppets.
We had hoped he would be smart enough not to split the whole left by running again, but that is not going to be the case. So now that Bernie Sanders has formally declared his candidacy, a bad but not unexpected move, we’re coming across a lot of different questions regarding what manner of man he is.
Is he a socialist? Yes. He’s been calling himself a “Democratic Socialist” since the 1960’s. The word “Democratic” is not a qualifier; it is better off deleted. He means he’s a socialist, plain and simple.
Is he less than one hundred years old? We’re not sure, but he claims to be. Birth records support this claim, technically, but not by much.
Is he an escaped Walking Dead extra? No one can say for certain, either way.
All of these are good questions, and the disturbing answers to them raise serious concerns about his viability to compete in a general election. But the big questions are these. How much damage did Bernie Sanders do in 2016, and how bad were the Russians infested in his campaign apparatus?
In the three states that put Trump in the Oval Office, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, a high number of voters who voted for Sanders in the Democratic primary in those states crossed over and voted for Trump in the general election.
One in ten, to be exact. We’re talking thousands of people here. Registered Democrats who went so far as to actually vote for Trump.
Is it true that he and his campaign were involved in the Russian plot to interfere with our 2016 presidential election? The one that Trump says was fake news, but was actually so real it’s truly awful?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes, and we’re going to make the case for it thoroughly.
Let’s start by taking a look at the Russian motive, means, and modus operandi for giving Bernie Sanders a hand against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
Motive: Vladimir Putin wanted to cost Hillary Clinton the election, by any means necessary. The most effective, obvious, and accessible ways for him to do it was to give her opponents a hand.
One of these opponents was Donald Trump, the obvious recipient of most of Putin’s goodwill. Another, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, was physically present at the infamous December of 2015 dinner meeting with former National Security Adviser and Retired General Michael Flynn. The third, and the focus of this article was Bernie Sanders, her primary opponent.
Former U.S. officials who worked on Russia policy with Clinton have laid out the reasons for this in detail. Vladimir Putin, of course, is the multibillionaire dictator of Russia who paid for all this to take place.
Hillary Clinton strongly condemned the validity of Russia’s parliamentary elections in December of 2011. This made Putin very unhappy. He had his anger communicated directly to President Barack Obama.
“Former U.S. officials who worked on Russia policy with Clinton say that Putin was personally stung by Clinton’s December 2011 condemnation of Russia’s parliamentary elections, and had his anger communicated directly to President Barack Obama. They say Putin and his advisers are also keenly aware that, even as she executed Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia, Clinton took a harder line toward Moscow than others in the administration. And they say Putin sees Clinton as a forceful proponent of “regime change” policies that the Russian leader considers a grave threat to his own survival.”
“He was very upset [with Clinton] and continued to be for the rest of the time that I was in government,” said Michael McFaul, who served as the top Russia official in Obama’s national security council from 2009 to December 2011 and then was U.S. ambassador to Moscow until early 2014. “One could speculate that this is his moment for payback.”
He ended up getting it, but not without a lot of domestic help. It came from the far left, and it came from the alt-right, suggesting strongly what we strongly believe: The alt-right and the far left are one.
A spokesperson for the publication told Town and Country Magazine that was because they haven’t been able to figure it out. “While Forbes has been able to track money tied to Putin’s allies, we have not been able to come up with a defensible, provable estimate of his net worth.”
For a guy like this, throwing a few tens or even hundreds of millions into manipulating the elections of other countries to make them more amenable to Russian interests is nothing. It would almost be strange if he didn’t do it.
Putin has paid for “destability” campaigns worldwide. The far right is not alone among radicals in getting plenty of Russian assistance. The far left, which has shown just as strong a resurgence as its counterpart since the Great Recession happened, is also getting more than its fair share. Russia, it seems, is never short of rubles to spend on troublemaking.
Director of the Political Capital Institute Peter Kreko has been recently involved in research regarding this matter. He concluded two facts about the intentions of Putin. First, that he is becoming the frontman of a worldwide anti-human rights movement, and second, that he is investing in, stirring up, and inciting radicals on both ends of the spectrum that are trying to “sabotage democracy in Europe”.
Kreko describes Russian tactics focused on destabilizing the EU and advancing Moscow’s ideology. This includes supporting parties and candidates on the margins, such as Bernie Sanders, or Jill Stein and the Green Party.
In America, we are experiencing many problems with so-called progressives who are still insisting, in the face of the overwhelming evidence that keeps piling up, that “the Russia thing” is simply a distraction from the main issue, that in their view being how the DNC cheated Bernie Sanders (it didn’t). These people are doing the entire human race a grand disservice.
By turning a blind eye to the machinations of the most nakedly aggressive power to arise in the world since Hitler’s Third Reich, for the sake of stoking a petty grudge, they are in fact helping to make possible the same specific chaotic social conditions that in the past allowed far-right populist movements like Germany’s National Socialism to thrive.
They don’t understand that they are being duped by people who long ago grew cynical and full of boredom regarding the sorts of dreams and theories Bernie Sanders is espousing. After all, they invented most of it, and more a hundred years ago.
The left’s affiliation with the Kremlin can be explained better via the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” principle. Marx long taught that Communists should make any such alliances as are helpful toward the ultimate goal of dissolving the State. Russia’s state-controlled economy, which promises to keep “big capital” in check, has proved attractive as a model for many anti-capitalists.
Democratic Socialists, such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have clearly labeled themselves as anti-capitalist. This would have made them extremely valuable to Soviet propagandists working from inside the KGB. It still does.
Modus Operandi: Hiring hackers to spread dirt and lies around to influence elections is part of the Russian toolkit. The 2016 plan was not a new strategy, but rather a direct descendant of the original Cheka Disinformation Office, founded by “Iron” Felix Dzherzhinsky in 1923. Working both ends of the radical spectrum, left and right, to destabilize the interior of an enemy country. That is what they do.
Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has a researcher named Ben Buchanan working for them, also a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The focus of his research lies in examining how nations use their capabilities for attack and espionage in cyberspace against one another and examining the strategies that drive this usage. His words in their unaltered form may help to shed some light.
“There is a demonstrated pattern of Russian cyber operations stretching back several decades. One major early case, dating from the late 1990s, is commonly referred to as Moonlight Maze. In that case, Russian hackers penetrated a wide range of American networks for espionage purposes. Since then, Russian cyber operations have continued to expand greatly, hacking into key military, political, and economic institutions.”
“These operations show adeptness in several ways. Perhaps most significant is that they demonstrate how the Russians have developed new digital methods to accomplish old tasks. A series of espionage cases show the Russian aptitude for gathering information using computer hacking. The 2007 attack on Estonia and 2008 attack on Georgia are an exhibit of how Russia uses cyber operations against democratic states. Though we have somewhat less information about it, the 2015 blackout in Ukraine—the first ever publicly known case of a power outage caused by cyber-attack—shows the potency of cyber-attacks that appear to be Russian in origin. And the 2016 election interference demonstrates that the Russians have married their longstanding history of influence operations with their more recently developed capacity for hacking.” -With thanks to the Wilson Center.
The particulars of how these political digital influence campaigns worked out in practice in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary will be only too memorial to any Democratic activist who was around in 2016. We’ve included an anecdote that sums up what they were trying for precisely.
Around September 14 in 2016, for example, one “account specialist” of a Russian-controlled Facebook group called “Secured Borders” was reprimanded for having a “low number of posts dedicated to criticizing Hillary Clinton.”
The specialist was also told, “it is imperative to intensify criticizing Hillary Clinton.”
Later on, Russian operatives used accounts they controlled — including an account called “Woke Blacks” and “Blacktivist” — to urge Americans to vote for third-party candidates or not to vote at all. “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein,” one such message read. “Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”
Not for Russia, anyway.
No, indeed, Donald Trump was not the only candidate the Russians tried to help during the 2016 presidential campaign. One other name was mentioned specifically. Senator Bernard Sanders, I-VT. The Mueller indictments of a year ago offer solid confirmation of what we have been saying all along. The specific mention of Trump and Sanders shows that the Russian government decided early on to oppose Clinton.
A personal anecdote, that I’ll admit to having shared before. The editor of Millennial Democrats was online alongside legions of others, out there for HRC from 2015 onward, every day, for many hours. Anyone who was there back then can tell you. It can be stated categorically that there was a tangible, palpable disinformation campaign going on against Hillary Clinton. It worked, too. The Bernie Bots truly hated us, and their viciousness knew no bounds at all.
It still doesn’t.
In my experience, this blog and its affiliate Millennial Democrats Facebook Pages and Millennial Democrats Twitter account, which is a fifty state plus nationwide apparatus, has been attacked by Trump trolls maybe one out of ten in the ratio of how often it has been attacked by Bernie trolls. This has little to do with what side of the country we are talking about. It goes right across the board.
I’ve written in a 3 to 1 ratio of pieces targeting the right rather than the far left, although it is my deeply-held conviction and the conclusion pointed to by evidence that they are the same entity. But even when the week of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation is taken into account this remains true. Any moderate Democratic activist online will tell you the same.
You would go into groups and talk to people, who were steadfast in their refusal to listen far beyond the bounds of reason or even fanaticism. These guys were professionals.
It was like they were getting paid per response. They all seemed to be equipped with the same list of hit points about Hillary Clinton. This became clear after a while because the very same slanders would be laid out every time, in sequential order. In many cases the wording was actually identical, although most took the time to switch about at least a thing or two. And they were just as prevalent on the left as on the right.
It got especially bad during the last month of the Democratic primary, which was a very horrible time filled with chaos and division.
During this time, we were savagely attacked. Anything we posted would be Reported as Spam/Abuse by political adversaries from both the alt-right and radical left. We were barraged with nasty messages and threats; as a matter of fact, we continue to get them. They just keep rolling in, day after day, month piled on top of month. It’s called gaslighting; they want to wear you down so you give up.
One particularly rabid group of Bernie Sanders supporters told one of our contributors that they hoped she was gang-raped.
The list is long, sick, and sordid. Drop by drop, it has convinced us to take an unequivocal stance of #NeverBernie– and stick to it.
During the 2016 electoral cycle itself, nobody wanted to listen. Most Bernie supporters still will not listen; many today will actually go so far as to claim that Russia is participating in the campaign against Bernie.
This is the equivalent of a mugger calling for help as he snatches an old lady’s purse.
“Looks like we finally know for sure why Bernie would not vote to sanction Russia,” I wrote at the time, still in a state of shock at just how surreal it was for Bernie to reinforce all this by being one of two senators who refused to pass the bill for new sanctions in 2017.
He just called in sick for the vote to lift sanctions on close Putin ally Oleg Deripaska’s aluminum company recently. And this from a guy who very rarely misses work. Of the new crop of presidential candidates, only Elizabeth Warren has missed fewer votes than Bernie.
Bernie’s people have never wanted him to touch “the Russia thing”, and most even to this day will make claims about how “it’s not all about Russia” and we need to “Talk about the issues”. They want to laugh it off, even while when it comes time to talk about what Trump was doing. This is hypocritical. When Trump does it, it’s a big threat. But when Bernie does it, it’s as though it is just a little fun.
This gives you a look at how it was back then. It’s a Russian Twitter account called “Missouri News” (@MissouriNewsUS), which sent out pictures of Sanders and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the line “Bernie Sanders is basically a New Deal Democrat, #feeltheBern.”
Our entire intelligence community unanimously agrees that they’re targeting us. We know that they’ve been able to get malware into our power grids. We know also that they’re considered a complete menace in Europe, where they have demonstrated their ability to turn off the lights on huge swathes of Ukraine and take Estonia offline completely. But Bernie will not talk about it, so they simply will not look at it.
They will physically squirm in real life conversations. They remind me of Fox News devotees.
“A guy who was on my staff … checked it out and he went to the Clinton campaign, and he said, ‘You know what? I think these guys are Russians,’” Sanders said.
A former Clinton campaign staffer told Politico it was nonsense that Sanders’ campaign had reached out to Clinton’s about potential Russian interference. “No one from the Sanders campaign ever contacted us about this” — not in September, and not in “April and May.”
They never said or did a thing of that nature. Nothing of the sort ever happened. Not once. Not even after Bernie had offered his weak, half-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Guy on your staff, eh, Bernie? And just to think. All of this is before we’ve even mentioned Tad Devine.
Devine was Bernie’s chief campaign strategist, the most senior of advisers to the 2016 Sanders campaign. He was also the good friend and colleague of decades of Paul Manafort, who at the same time was running the Trump campaign. Devine was the first witness called at Manafort’s trial. Here is a picture of Tad Devine with Paul Manafort and the man suspected to be his contact within Russian intelligence, Konstantin Kilimnik, himself wanted by Mueller’s team for questioning and likely more.
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank did a piece at the time, titled “The Deep Cynicism of Bernie Sanders’ Chief Strategist“. It pointed out how during his run as chief strategist for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, Devine was always the first to scream and howl about the corrupting influence of money in politics. He said “our economy is rigged,” that “special interests” buy politicians, that “all of the new wealth is going to the top of America,” that there is a “corrupt system of campaign finance” of which Hillary Clinton offered an “egregious” example.
Sanders, by contrast, “supported the little guy.”
But as we know by now, Devine had worked repeatedly to secure the election of one of the world’s most corrupt political figures and then his allies, Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych, a crooked pro-Putin autocrat.
Thanks to Mueller’s prosecution of Paul Manafort, who earlier this weekend saw a heavily redacted- to the tune of eight hundred pages- sentencing memo presented to the court on his behalf, the former Trump campaign chairman and business associate of Devine, we now have the glimpse of Devine’s possible role in organizing Russian help for Bernie.
Though he is hardly the first to grab cash from foreign leaders, the ease Devine had in making the switch from cold-blooded profiteer strategist to social reformer firebrand strategist seems reptilian to us in the very extreme. It’s exactly that type of bold callousness that the Russians would look for in an asset.
Tad Devine is a figure of great interest in the Russiagate investigation, in our opinion. We’ve been expecting the special counsel assigned by the Justice Department to look into Russian meddling in our 2016 election cycle, Robert Mueller, to get around to him sooner or later.
Put it this way: If Manafort is the key to understanding exactly what the Russians were doing for Trump, and Kilimnik is the key to understanding what Manafort did for the Russians, then Devine, their old friend, is the key to what the Russians were doing for Bernie. He is by far the most likely connection between the Russians and the Sanders campaign. It is our view that this connection has not been explored anywhere near thoroughly enough, and we encourage our readers to write in with what they know. We would make responsible use of it.
Radio Free Europe provides some light on the situation by providing a March 31, 2014 email from Tad Devine to Rick Gates, who in 2016 was the chief aide to Manafort, and later became a star witness against him.
There we find that Devine was the one to write Yanukovych’s 2010 victory speech. That detail was found attached to his email to Gates, in the form of a draft agreement for Manafort’s firm to work on another Ukrainian’s campaign.
That all these people know each other so well cannot be a coincidence. No wonder Trump the other day said “I like Bernie”, all atwinkle in his smiling eyes.
By the time the Fourth of July rolled around in 2016, the Federal Election Commission had repeatedly contacted the Sanders campaign with warnings that hundreds of his donors exceeded the $2,700 contribution limit. They further warned him that hundreds more may have been foreign nationals illegally giving Sanders money. The Sanders campaign, however, did not take any action.
It bears repeating that it’s a very convenient coincidence, that three of the top strategists who ran against Hillary Clinton has been doing Putin’s bidding in this capacity for longer than a decade.
Last Thursday afternoon there was a meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee on the subject of Russian meddling into our 2016 election cycle.
During it, Retired Gen. Keith Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency, said that Russian operatives targeted both liberal and conservative voters in its disinformation campaigns during the 2016 election.
Democratic committee co-chair Sen. Mark Warner (VA) asked the panel if they had any doubt that Russia had attempted to interfere in some aspects of the 2016 election. Alexander said not only did he have no doubt, he could get very specific.
“Senator, I think what they were trying to do was drive a wedge within the Democratic Party between the Clinton group and the Sanders group,” said Alexander. This seems clear at this point to everyone but the willfully uninformed and the fanatically indoctrinated (and disingenuous Republican and other conservatives/libertarians).
The supporters of Bernie Sanders were ruthlessly taken advantage of by the Russians, who used their genuine zeal and idealism as a hammer for smashing Democratic unity to bits. They were duped by false information that came from within the Kremlin itself, and thus unwittingly became Putin’s other puppets.
The man who was in the best position to act as a conduit between the headquarters of the Sanders campaign and the Kremlin was Tad Devine.
This picture provides a vivid reminder of what Democratic activists on Facebook and Twitter have been warning everyone about in the direst of terms since 2015, namely, that the Bernie Sanders campaign was just as lousy with Russian entanglements as the Trump campaign was.
Devine may well hold an important piece of the puzzle here, which undoubtedly lies within the Sanders campaign. As Robert Mueller continues his journey to this discovery, our prayers will be with him.
By now this article has grown to prodigious length, and we applaud the reader who has followed the line all the way home. In his Rise of the Roman Empire, the ancient Greek Polybius said that the most important reason to learn history is so you have a chance to make good predictions about what may happen in the future. Russian interference is heating up for 2020 like never before, Trump has given no funding to the new national cyber-coordinator job, which basically leaves us on our own again, and we’ve got to be prepared for new forms of the same old tricks. Check out our article on Defense for Democrats.
Since this electoral cycle began, Sanders supporters have been joined and even overshadowed by the Tulsi Gabbard trolls.
One allied group of our friends recently created a Facebook page, Tulsi Gabbard Must Go. It’s been around all of a month, and yet, hundreds of trolls have fallen on it since then, like wild dogs. Some of them have shown up to troll the blog, also, like this charming lady.
Lisa Wolf Edit
This wasn’t written by a millennial. This was obviously written by a neo-liberal, 3rd Way Baby Boomer and stinks of David Brock. Reply
As for David Brock, we have good things to say about him and every other dedicated Democrat, but we don’t personally know the guy. What I will say, is that I like the smell of my hair pomade. The pleasing fragrance is half the point.
Getting back to Tulsi and Bernie and the rest of the fake left, none of this is very surprising. They’re collecting paychecks for it. Check out the amount of fake activity that accompanies everything she tweets. Keep in mind, Twitter is fighting this. Facebook is not. There are two billion people using Facebook. How incomparably worse must it be!
From this, we can see that the fake left has found a new stronghold in Bernie’s close ally.
Going forward, raising awareness on all this will become more and more important, and although the story is long and multifaceted, the narrative is clear throughout. Russia and Vladimir Putin were definitely feeling the Bern. Look for them to feel him some more as we head into the next presidential cycle.
On the subject of this week’s Helsinki summit, in which the forty-fifth president of America slobbered on himself in the presence of Putin, there is almost nothing to say. Words fail all but completely.
Trump has a reputation as being a real tough guy, especially during a debate.
His attempt to loom over Hillary Clinton was memorable(and pathetic), as was the rough treatment he gave both “Low Energy” Jeb Bush, and “Little Marco” Rubio during the debates of the Republican primary.
If I were Trump, I’d have gone public with this thing from Day One. Thanks for your help, Russia! Now allow me to reward you, by annihilating your ability to do anything like this ever again.
I would have gone right to the NSA with everything my campaign had learned about how they operate, and I would have seen to it that information was used to keep our country safer in the future.
This is not about Republicans vs. Democrats, or at least, it shouldn’t have been, and still doesn’t have to be. This is Russia vs. America, a struggle of hundreds of years. There’s a lot more at stake here than one man’s pride and power.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump does not realize this.
Later on Monday, the Justice Department charged the woman who tried to set up a back-channel of communication with the Trump campaign, Maria Butina, as being an agent of the Russian Federation.
Tuesday she was hit with a grand jury indictment, which added a more serious charge of acting as an agent of the Russian government. This carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
This was on an investigation completely separate from that of Robert Mueller’s and offered some of the most explicit evidence yet that there were Americans who worked willingly to aid and abet the Russian efforts. And where, you ask, did they find Americans blind enough to reality to go along with something like this?
The pro-gun conspiracy world, of course, also known as the National Rifle Association, where Butina was shown in photos she put on Facebook attending events.
It all just goes to show. You cannot trust the right. They will do or say or willfully deny anything to take or keep power, even in the face of things like Sandy Hook and the Holocaust. That is what fascism is.
That is particularly relevant considering how they all jumped on the anti-Russia bandwagon yesterday when the President’s weakness became repugnant past a certain point. Mitch McConnell tried to talk tough, saying “The EU is friend to the US. Russia is not.”
The final indignity was delivered on Sean Hannity’s talk show, where Trump was guided through the Fox News interpretation of current events. He lamented that reporters keep asking about Russian election interference, rather than what he considers issues of substance.
The name of Vladimir Putin has been on a lot of minds this last year. Everyone knows who the Russian president is. And yet, in many ways- many specialists might even say most ways- no one really knows him at all.
Journalist and Putin biographer Masha Gessen provided us with the following anecdote.
‘I remember in 2005 I was asked to write a piece about Putin as a threat to Russia’s newborn democracy. I said you’ve missed the story – he’s not a threat, there is no democracy. And then I realised that the real story was to try and explain who this man was. Because really, nobody knew.’
A certain amount of uncertainty in Russian society should therefore not be viewed, as some early Putin apologists used to argue, as a product of the idiosyncrasies of Boris Yeltsin’s personality. Nor should fault for it be laid completely at Putin’s door. It has been a part of Russian life since the days of Kievan Rus and before.
In 1999, Washington Post writer Daniel Williams referred to Putin as “an all-but-unknown figure, an uninspiring speaker with no known political program — in short, a faceless apparatchik.” He came from nowhere and indicated no interest in politics until just before taking power. But, it’s Russia. So it’s not a total anomaly.
After graduating from Leningrad State University, Putin began his career in the KGB as an intelligence officer in 1975. Putin rose to the top ranks of the Russian government after joining President Boris Yeltsin’s administration in 1998, becoming prime minister in 1999 before taking over as president.
One aspect of his rise was predictable. The institutional mechanics that granted his elevation were ripe for someone like him to step in and take over.
The Yeltsin system was held together purely through nepotism, and political succession hinged on his prerogative as the incumbent leader. It was disorganized and corrupt. Excellence is not the term one would choose when describing the Yeltsin regime. He publicly declared Russia to be the “superpower of crime” and the “biggest mafia state in the world”.
The Russian economy performed horribly throughout the 1990s. From 1991 to 1998, Russia lost nearly 30% of its real gross domestic product (GDP). Numerous bouts of inflation decimated the savings of Russian citizens, who also saw their disposable incomes rapidly decline. Capital left the country in a flood, with close to $150 billion flowing out between 1992 and 1999.
Yeltsin was not unrealistic in fearing for the future. After all, he and his immediate circle were about the only ones in the country doing well. They had become the new bourgeoisie. Their embezzlement of public property was nothing short of extreme. The people were angry.
Following the initial idea of the notorious businessman Boris Berezovsky, known as the “Rasputin of Modern Russia”, the Yeltsin circle- known as the “family” -created a new party, called Unity (Yedinstvo) in order to stymie Primakov and promote another candidate.
Primakov was sacked in May of 1999. By August, Vladimir Putin was handed the keys to the Kremlin.
Putin’s rise to power was intimately tied to Yeltsin’s fear of Primakov, who as prime minister famously played the part of Heel to Putin’s Hero. The narrative proved of vital importance to Putin’s media manipulation, so much so that he has often been referred to as the “TV president.
Unity party campaign-leader Ksenia Ponomareva said the party seemed to have no ideology and no program whatsoever except promoting Putin. And she continues: “Our problem wasn’t only that we supported Putin, but that we actually created him!”
In this fortunate position, free to do whatever propaganda tricks he wanted against the weakened and scattered opposition, he easily won the March 2000 election with a final support of 52 %. We’ve been stuck with him ever since.
Most of the world believed that the outrage of the world would be enough to inspire the people of Russia to rid themselves of him, but here again, Putin enjoys an advantage peculiar to Russia. Corruption has been a fact of life in Russia for centuries. Most Russians hate it, of course, but life and dour circumstance has taught them to accept it as normal.
Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov had the following to say in his new book on the subject, Winter Is Coming.
“Back when Putin first took power in Russia in 2000, the question was “Who is Putin?” By 2007 it had changed to “What is the nature of Putin’s Russia?”
The solving of this riddle is one of the most pressing questions addressing the human race at this time. This is no Donald Trump we’re dealing with. Putin really is what Trump is only playing at- a billionaire tyrant, willing to crush with violence any and all who oppose him. He’s got his claws in us, and he is kicking with all his might to bring us crashing down. In order to prevent his plan to destabilize the global order, we will need to answer Mr. Kasparov’s question.