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The 2018 Midterms- A Globally Critical Blue Wave.

The 2018 Midterms- A Globally Critical Blue Wave.

     The 2018 midterm elections were among the most anticipated races in history, and they did not fail to deliver dramatic results. Throughout the election cycle, word of a Democratic Blue Wave gained momentum, and a watershed voter turnout was the satisfying result. It was the highest for any election held in the United States since Watergate, which seemed suitable for such a high stakes contest. In many cases, the primary considerations of the voters seemed to counterbalance one another. These were the strong economy and the personal repugnance of Trump himself. The president has managed to snatch credit for the strength of the economy, but his low approval ratings pointed to Democratic gains (Washington Post). History has favored the minority party at the time of the president’s first midterm. This tendency, combined with American disgust for Trump himself as a man, to give Democrats control of the half of the Congress known as the House of Representatives by a wide margin.

     The achievement of the Democrats can hardly be overstated. Reporter Dan Balz of the Washington Post gave us a few statistics with which to illustrate this point. Democrats flipped about two-thirds of the competitive districts won by both Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2012 or by Clinton in 2016 and Mitt Romney in 2012. They also picked up one-third of districts won by Trump in 2016 and Obama in 2012. In districts where both Trump and Romney had won in the previous two elections, Democrats gained about a quarter of the competitive seats (Washington Post). Democrats even managed to break even in net seats in the Senate, though they had faced crushing electoral odds in that chamber. Twenty-five Democratic senators were up for reelection as opposed to only eight Republicans, and many were in states that went solidly red in 2016. Managing to hold the line places Democrats in a fantastic position to retake the Senate in 2020, when the shoe will be on the other foot. While immediate domestic concerns are likely to be given precedence, the effects of the Blue Wave in 2018 are sure to reverberate worldwide.

     This tremendous level of electoral enthusiasm was all the more remarkable in that midterm elections in general are not captivating to most voters. In a normal year, only the most ideologically driven and committed members of the electorate tend to turn out for them, and certainly overseas interest is not typically overwhelming. But in recent years, a radical polarization has gripped the global society’s political atmosphere. The specter of World War Two has risen and people are getting scared. A great acrimony and division has spread through America and the rest of the world. Some are calling it a civil cold war, and its battlefields can be found on many fronts. Trenches are being dug under national borders, in some cases, and along gerrymandered district lines in others. People in all corners of the globe had good reason to pay attention, as the struggles highlighted the dramatic and worldwide trouble the human race is having in getting along with itself.

     The quality of the candidates selected by the two parties speaks in volumes to the quality of those who did the selecting. Democrats elected eight new scientists. Republicans elected three felons and a dead pimp (Post-Tribune). Something has got to give here. Somebody is going to hold power in America, the world’s sole superpower. We have to look closely at whom. The moderate wing of the Republican Party used to have some allies in it. There were men like John McCain, who in spite of their party affiliation was sound and unselfish Americans. Some of them could be counted on for bipartisan dialogue concerning issues of paramount importance. McCain is now gone, however, and with him the moderate wing of the Republican Party. This type of candidate took serious damage in the midterm primaries. They were discarded in favor of candidates more in line with the views of Donald Trump. Many of these came from the ranks of the alt-right, though the elections also played an important role in illustrating a trend of worsening extremity taking root in the far left. Only center Democrats have reliably proven they can put themselves to the side enough to do what is best for the country.

     The 2018 election was in many ways a referendum on the 2016 election, and the events immediately surrounding it. The victory of Donald Trump combined with Brexit constituted significant blows to the American-led, liberal world order, and empowered the radical right. It also empowered Russian president Vladimir Putin, who had spent millions of dollars to defeat Hillary Clinton and get a guy in office he found more pliable. “Putin likes Trump because he supports this view of the world, that the big guys can carve it up,” explained former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov in an interview for Gentlemen’s Quarterly. After Trump won, Kasparov, who is Putin’s former opponent in a Russian presidential election, wrote some predictions down in his new book on the future of the Western world order, Winter is Coming. He believed we had eighteen months in which to turn around the sequence of events that had been started, two years at the most. If we didn’t find a way by then, he felt, it would probably be too late. I thought of those words many times on the way to the voting booths this year. They perfectly summarized the reason it was so important for the Democrats to win the midterms in 2018. Only the full force of American conviction can activate its might enough to keep the world safe for democracy.

     Today’s world, like today’s Republican Party, is busy coping with an uptick in reactionary far-right movements, movements that in many cases and nations border on fascism. Alt-right candidates were present in greater number than ever before in the 2018 midterms, and this too is part of a worldwide trend. From Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil to Norbert Hofer in Austria, adherents of racist nationalism have been growing increasingly violent and brazen. A man screams “Hail Trump!” in a movie theater; another during a performance of the Fiddler on the Roof. “Middle America is rallying to the flag of the alt-right,” said Kyle Bristow, a self-described member of the “alt-right” and the attorney of infamous white nationalist Richard Spencer. These candidates mostly lost, but their sheer proliferation is a terrible sign. It goes without saying that all of them were Republicans. The race was representative of the political atmosphere worldwide in that it was ideologically polarized. It saw its fair share of triumphs for liberals and progressives, but it also saw a rise of far-right, white nationalist candidates. Some of these were victorious. The low quality of the Republican candidates has negative consequences for every level of government.

     A Democratic retaking of the House of Representatives was a critical first step in containing and reversing this virulent problem. It is why the Resistance showed up in such numbers at the polls. For two years, liberals and progressives have been helpless to do anything but sit idle, as one travesty after another has rocked the global community. We have not had the power to protect our people, or even to get many others to listen or to understand our plight. But with the power to form committees of Congressional inquiry, we can finally start to put the bad guys under a microscope. The power of the House is, in this case, the power of defense.

     The elections were not completely without problems for the Democrats. It showed us that ideological faultline is still existent not only in the Republican Party but in the Democratic as well. The rift between the supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton has healed to an extent, and there have been improvements made in this area. Our shared victory in the midterms demonstrated that the progressive wing of the party is beginning to learn from the tremendous mistakes they made in 2016, where undercurrents of far left hard feelings allowed the Russians an easy way to turn the 2016 Democratic primaries into a zoo. The radical left’s extreme love for the Bern reached the levels of a cult by the end of the primary. From the day the Bernie or Bust petition began circulating, it was obvious we were in for trouble. If they couldn’t have Bernie, they said, they would rather have Trump. This attitude was allowed to get highly pervasive, and it killed us in the end.

     This time around, Democrats did a far better job of managing conflicts between the two wings of the party. They simmered at a low boil all the way through the midterm primaries but managed to keep from becoming a fight instead of a contest and ruining the Blue Wave. This is a positive sign, suggesting the far left might have learned from 2016, which is good. Most mainstream Democrats have been pushed to the left as far as we will go, and are starting to get ready to push back. Centrist groups like Third Way have been pushing candidates to read up on history and polling. “The party is not going to go in the direction of Sanders-style socialism, because it’s not winning on the issues and it doesn’t win politically except in a very, very limited number of places,” Third Way president Jonathan Cowan tells TIME. “It’s going to go in the direction that won it two presidencies” (Elliott). The last two two-term Democratic Presidents were mainstream Democrats. [That’s] what’s going to get the House back.” It’s important to emphasize here that mainstream Democrats do not seek reorientation of the party. We’ve been doing an excellent job under the worst possible conditions.

     Progressive Democrats from the Sanders wing were not without a few reasons to cheer in November’s elections. The upset primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over twenty year veteran Joe Crowley for New York’s 14th District stood out on a number of levels. Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest Representative ever elected, and her zealot’s love for socialism has given the Sanders wing a new face and voice to cheer for. My thoughts are that this is not the worst thing in the world, because we need them, and it appears that some healing has taken place. Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters used to very nearly hate each other, and that no longer feels as acutely so. It appears that the left has achieved a degree of unity for now, but it remains to be seen whether this newly placid status quo can survive another presidential primary.

     The immediate battles to be faced come January in the House of Representatives are only one part of a much larger problem. Democracy is under attack worldwide. It is being replaced one plank at a time like the proverbial Ship of Theseus. At what point in all this replacing does it become a different ship? Only one thing is certain, at least in the gut level instinct of this writer. Since Trump got elected, this country does not feel the same at all. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, America has been rated as being less than a full democracy for the last two years. The EIU produces an annual review ranking countries on their adherence to 60 distinct democratic values, including electoral processes and press freedom (“America Has Been Classified as a Flawed Democracy”). According to their standards, we’re not a free country anymore. America is now more like Viktor Orban’s Hungary, or Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The rich want to get into power and stay there, and quote the ideals of freedom as the reason they ought to be able to use any means to do so. The only way we can hope to turn this all around is to get the Democrats back into power and keep them there.

     The biggest net effect of the midterms is the Democratic retaking of the House because it gives the sane center of the country back the power of defense. Democrats can now protect our country from anymore disastrous Trump ideas. This also sets back Putin’s plan of attaching more of his tendrils and creepers to the grand old castle walls that hold up our country. Proactive measures are more limited. Democrats can form investigative committees, and hold hearings for the purposes of questioning and gathering information. Resources are certain to focus on raising awareness about the Russiagate scandal and other serious challenges facing our democracy. The conduct of Trump and his allies can be highlighted and brought to the forefront of public consciousness everywhere. It should be understood that even with a legislative chamber in blue hands, Republicans still hold the White House and the Senate, and the cooperation of all three is needed to pass a law. Nothing in recent history suggests hope for bipartisan cooperation on any issue, regardless of the issue’s importance. People will see once again how obstructionist and unfair the opposition is, and afterward, it will be easier to help people understand the truth- everything we hold sacred is in danger. If things keep on as they are, the days of American supremacy will be numbered.

     A close look at the playing field this election has left us with will prove useful as we step into the future. Blue Wave 2018 hit home for the midterms, and it gave us a great start. But the world remains beneath the dark shadow of a large-scale hatefulness and mayhem. The potential for danger and disorder is so great that it seems almost redundant to say so. As someone who has lived through all this, and read not just eight articles about it but hundreds, I feel that this narrative is being neglected and understated. This is due to responsible journalists not wanting to sound alarmist, in some cases, and it’s comforting to tell ourselves we’re in less trouble than we are. But the country’s divisions have been highlighted and exacerbated by hostile foreign powers such as Russia, who also targeted the 2018 midterms. This has added urgency to the issue and made them even more difficult to ignore. Going forward, it will be incumbent on the Democratic leadership, under the new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to use their regained power dexterously. To show the people of the country that there is a reasonable alternative to the bedlam created by the current administration, resources must be channeled wisely and well. Good thing we’ve got a professional headed for the Speaker’s Chair. We’re really going to need her.

     In studying the political history of America, the scholar will note along with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., who wrote in his Age of Roosevelt that foreign radicalism has never taken deep root here. From the visceral horror felt by the Founding Fathers toward the bloodbath going on in France to the resolute pursuance of seeing an end to the Nazis, America has always managed to resist being taken in by extremism from left or right. The source of our strength as a nation’s people has always lain in our ability to value compromise and moderation, which are necessary if we wish in times of crisis to be able to pull together with the full force of American conviction behind us, like when we fought World War Two. When these values are abandoned, democratic nations start to fall. If we lose our ability to communicate, we clearly can’t coordinate strategy. Only the full force of America’s people can activate its might enough to keep the world safe for democracy.  Our ability to hold the center is why we have become and remained so strong. 

       After looking at all this, a simple question remains. Has America ever faced a midterm election like 2018? In considering its potential impact of it on the country and its global standing, many would argue that the answer lies in the negative. The Trump administration has been a disaster of colossal proportion. Every day that America is represented in its highest office by a man who many would argue is both corrupt and deeply incompetent is a day in which we are vulnerable in the eyes of the world. Resisting his demented policies has taken everything we have, but we managed it even though we held so little power. After two years of that, holding the House of Representatives feels like a tremendous luxury of strength. We can assure the Trump presidency will be a lame duck from this point on. We can’t start setting things to rights just yet, but we can stop the current Oval Office occupant when he tries to do further damage. We can block his cruel new policies, and removing his ability to hamstring our future with corrupt appointees like the Supreme Court’s Brett Kavanaugh. This is why it was so crucial for the Democratic “Blue Wave” to sweep America.

Works Cited

Agerholm, Harriet, 2018. “America falls short of being a full democracy for second year running, report finds.”

/www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/america-democracy-rated-donald- trump-not-fully-democratic-us- president-report-the-economist- a8195121.html

Balz, Dan, and Scherer, Michael, 2018. Washington Post, Washington Post. “For Democrats, A Midterm Election That Keeps On Giving.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-democrats-a-midterm-election-that-keeps-on- giving/2018/11/09/b4075ef2-e456-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html? utm_term=.754bc43973ad

Beauchamp, Zack, 2018. “The midterm elections revealed that America is in a cold civil war.”

https://www.vox.com/midterm-elections/2018/11/7/18068486/midterm-election- 2018-results-race-surburb Campbell, Alaistair, 2018. “Garry Kasparov on Putin, Trump, and their deal to carve up Europe.” https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/garry-kasparov-alastair-campbell-interview

Elliott, Philip. Time, Time, 2018. “The Middle Road.”

time.com/5428157/democrats-centrist-midterms/.

Frier, Nancy, 2018. Time, Time, 2018. Facebook Discovers an Ongoing Effort to Influence the 2018 Midterm Elections.

Grand Magazine, 2018. “Urgent: The United States Has Been Classed As A Flawed Democracy.”

www.grandmagazine.com/2018/09/urgent-the-united-states-has-been-classed-as-a-flawed-democracy/.




		
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Making Tyranny Great Again-Trump Spends Week Assaulting Democracy.

Trump is a threat to our democracy.

Ever since the first few weeks that Trump took office, in which he created worldwide pandemonium by announcing via Twitter that citizens of seven countries were banned from traveling into the United States, America has seen itself disgraced by the conduct of its 45th president time and again.

Things have reached the point where it’s becoming normal. The bar of expectations set by our citizens for our leaders is having to be lowered by the day, and that is very dangerous to our democracy.

Most recently, it’s been his decision to start stripping people who criticize him of their security clearances, starting with former CIA director James Brennan.

Axios recently tweeted that Trump has become enamored with the unchecked powers of the presidency. “What he enjoys most about this job is finding things he has absolute power over,” said one source who’s worked closely with Trump.

Sources recently told Mike Allen that Trump  “got a kick out of pardons, that he could pardon anybody he wants and people would come to him to court him and beg him.”

60 former CIA officials have signed a letter responding to the removal of Brennan’s security clearance, pointing out that “The country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.”

Of course it will, but that is not what Trump cares about.

Trump’s attack on John Brennan is meant to distract us from his crimes, starting with the fact that he and his crew are almost certain to be proved guilty of agreeing to conspire with a shady Kremlin plot to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election.

Even at this minute, he is aiding and abetting Putin’s attack on the election by denying it was happening. He’s still doing it.

Meanwhile, his old campaign manager Paul Manafort’s trial drags on, because the jury is still deliberating. Why? There is enough evidence against that guy to throw him in the can for a million years.

The jurors must be at least as aware of it as we are, which is what makes it fishy that they’re still in there arguing with each other about it. T.S. Ellis, the judge, who has been threatened himself, says they’re scared. Who can blame them?

All the while, Trump is talking about how sad it is that a guy who stabbed America like Manafort did is on trial at all.

Not very democratic of him, but that’s the kind of guy he is.

The bottom line is that democracy is an impediment to Donald Trump. He does not find it useful, so he holds it in contempt. To him, the natural order of things involves debauched old white guys on top of every power structure, shouting orders and bossing everybody around.

Democracy has been in the process of rejecting this worldview for more than a hundred years. So why respect it? It’s an albatross around his neck.

If he can manage to whip up a sort of spit-polished authoritarianism, some form of rule that would retain a veneer of democracy while skewing the contest to ensure its result, that would be ideal for Trump, and also for his right-wing nationalist buddies all throughout the world.
Trump wants Erik Prince to build him his own private army. he was talking about building him a private spy network a few months ago. They want to privatize the war in Afghanistan.
He’s been talking up his dictator buddies, like Putin and Kim and Maduro, right from the start. As long ago as 1989, he was making public statements deploring the “lack of control” the Soviet Union had over its people. He wants to do whatever he wants to do, and he can’t  completely disregard the rights of others because he lives in a democracy.
How then to get rid of it?
In the clouded and foggy mind of Trump, these notions are not well conceived. They are murky impressions at best, addled further by the dementia Omarosa says he’s got. But other authoritarian leaders, like Putin, understand them very well and would like nothing better than to see them take place here.
America is the center of the current, liberal world order that has given us everything since the conclusion of World War Two, a struggle over these same ideas that nearly finished us. In order for that to change, America must abandon its values. That is why Trump, a man who values nothing he can’t stain his T-shirt with, was so favorable a candidate for other despots to support.
Going forward, we have got to come together strongly to affirm that we will not give up our values for anyone or anything. That is what the Resistance is for. Preservation of all we have in America depends on our success.

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.

Bernie’s Old Manager Tad Devine Called As Witness In Manafort Trial.

Bernie, his campaign manager Tad Devine, and Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort.

One of the chief strategists of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, Tad Devine, has finally gotten a phone call from Robert Mueller.

He has been listed as one of 35 witnesses who will be called to the stand in the upcoming trial of Paul Manafort to provide information about their lobbying activities in Ukraine, where he was Manafort’s right-hand man for many years.

The Devine-Mueller conflict has been coming for a long time, because of the strong Russian support for Bernie Sanders, and because he is a former business partner in Manafort’s lobbying operation.

He and Manafort have been working together for a long time, at least since 2004, the year the Orange Revolution took place in Ukraine.

At that time they both were the property of Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt and incompetent president, Viktor Yanukovych.

That revolution took place because Yanukovych, who hired both Manafort and Devine as chief political advisors during their 2004 election, was so corrupt and the election so obviously fixed.

In 2010, when the future Sanders adviser began working for Yanukovych, he and his Party of Regions had already been suspected of poisoning their political rivals and murdering journalists.

He, in turn, was the property of Vladimir Putin. It’s not hard to see the trickle-down effect at work.

This was not the only time recently that Tad Devine’s name has come up in connection with Paul Manafort’s– or Robert Mueller’s.

A list of exhibits filed in a Virginia federal court last Wednesday contained a number of interesting pieces of data, including emails between the two.

Another one was his name being plastered all over phone calls with both Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, who is Manafort’s Ukrainian employee.

Kilimnik is the guy they call Manafort’s Manafort, a reference to the fact that as Manafort has long been considered the key to understanding Trump’s role in all this. Kilimnik is thought to be the key to understanding Manafort’s.

Last week a picture of Paul and Tad popped up, sitting next to each other in Ukraine, all smiles. Their buddy Kilimnik, who Manafort tried getting to go tamper with witnesses for him, was right there too.

It seems crystal clear. These are the guys who cooked this up. Together. Soon there will be solid proof.

When Robert Mueller’s team first unearthed this, back in February, the Justice Department released an indictment related to Russia’s interference in our election. It had a lot of very interesting information, including these words from Russian intelligence.

“Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them).”

It’s so similar to what happened in 2016 that it’s eerie. The only difference was that in 2004, Manafort and Devine were working together directly, whereas in 2016 they were ostensibly opposed to one another.

That is very convenient for the enemy.

In the end, Bernie lost by four million votes, although you will still hear the embittered remnants of Bernie or Bust complaining about superdelegates having cost Bernie the election.

The Russians did all they could to encourage that narrative.

An unreal percentage of the Facebook groups formed in support of Bernie Sanders were infiltrated and administered by foreign hackers(often Macedonian) who were there for no reason other than to spread slander and lies about Hillary Clinton.

It worked.

Ten percent of the Sanders campaign were those who signed the Bernie or Bust petition. Likewise, ten percent of Bernie’s voters ended up voting for Trump.

Those very same sad sack Busters were juicy prey for the Russians, who seem to have known they would be, right from Day One. They couldn’t have planned it better.

The primary medium they used to reach our people was Facebook, which in many ways is a world unto itself. Back then it was overrun with accounts who had convinced themselves fanatically that Bernie was a shoo-in to win.

They were deeply hurt and angry when he did not, so much so that they turned the last few months of the primary into an absolutely miserable time, filled with acrimony and division.

While Hillary Clinton was celebrating a hard-fought victory, and Paul Simon played the first notes of Bridge Over Troubled Waters, the Bernie supporters got so mad that they rioted in the streets of Philadelphia. They caused a schism in the Democratic Party that we are still healing from.

Why? Because Wikileaks dumped hacked DNC emails showing Debbie Wasserman-Schultz fussing over Bernie’s inability to fill out campaign forms.

On a side note, it is our extreme pleasure to report that Julian Assange, that foul organization’s leader, is facing imminent expulsion from Ecuadorian embassy he’s been hiding in like a rat these past few years.

The question is, to whose benefit? Who stirred them up so much, and why was it so effective? How could they have been so convinced he would win a completely lost battle? It didn’t add up, and at the time it really felt wrong. On every level.

Once the reports on the Russian cyber-tactics used in 2016 started coming out, and we started seeing them describe the things we had all experienced, it all fell right into place.

And once we started looking into it closely we saw examples everywhere. Just about as often as the name of Tad Devine.

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.

A personal anecdote. 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, particularly on Facebook.

The time has come for America to look objectively at this whole situation, through the eyes of Robert Mueller, and to do what it takes to remedy it. That means traveling across party lines, and going wherever the trail leads.

It has been our opinion for a long time that trail will eventually highlight Tad Devine as the Russians’ man inside the campaign of Bernie Sanders. Now that his role has been revealed, many an important piece of this puzzle is about to start falling into place.

As this story continues to develop, we’ll be keeping you posted on all of it.

One Year In- 45th Fumes As Mueller Investigation Turns Two.

The Mueller investigation heats up as we enter Year Two.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the formation of the special counsel investigation headed by Robert Mueller, and what a year it’s been.

Initially, its mandate was to investigate what the newly elected president knew about Russian interference into the 2016 election. But it quickly became clear that the president’s possible criminal tendencies would make it necessary to go a lot farther.

The president’s old lawyer, Ty Cobb, told him this would all be over by now. He got fired. The top lawyers in the country all refused to replace him. And then his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, got busted himself, and was replaced by former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is both over the hill and insane.

All is not well in the White House.

Over the past three decades, the man the Russians helped to elect as the president has allegedly committed just about every crime there is, from tax evasion to domestic abuse to sexual assault.

They say the past always catches up, and it seems like in this case, that is true.

In the last year, we have seen the myriad investigations into Donald Trump range all over the place, as America continues to learn more and more about what manner of man holds court in its highest office. This last week has illustrated the situation for us, in microcosm.

The Senate Judiciary Committee released hundreds of pages of interviews relating to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. A few from Donald Trump Jr. shed light on a critical meeting between Trump campaign brass and Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016.

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced that it agreed with the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.

And the Office of Government Ethics made public Trump’s 2017 financial disclosure statement.

That one hurts him.

This document is stone cold proof that he reimbursed Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer, for the $130,000 paid in hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Obviously very damning, but by then it was old news.

That one came courtesy of Trump’s lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who really loves to talk.

He told us all that Trump knew of the Cohen payments on Sean Hannity’s talk show a day after he got the spot on the bench of Trump’s legal team. You’d think that would have taught him to shut up, but it didn’t. Earlier this week, he was talking again, to CNN’s Dana Bash.

He was boasting that he had been told by the special counsel’s office that they did not believe they could indict a sitting president, as per Justice Department regulations established during the Nixon era.

Who expected that? We’re obviously not going to send the sitting president to prison! He’d have to stand up for the morning head count, in the middle of security briefings! That was never the plan, it would be ludicrous.

If Rudy’s intent was to console his capo, by reassuring him he’s not getting locked up next week, it seems to this Millennial Democrats contributor that he has admirably failed in that duty.

What Giuliani’s speech really did, was to let us know things have gotten so serious, that Mueller and his team have probably been considering disregarding the previous Justice Department regulations and locking him up anyway.

It’s hard to understand why a legal expert would do this much talking, even if he is demented and past his prime. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. But that’s the nature of this administration and life in the country during it. Nothing makes sense, everything is topsy-turvy.

The same celebrities we loved twenty years ago have all turned into monsters, because they stepped into the political arena. They’re all so many fish out of the water. They don’t look any happier to be in power as we are to have them there.

As we prepare to follow this investigation into its second year, the big takeaway from the first one is that Donald Trump is almost certainly at least as guilty as Richard Nixon. But unlike Nixon, he probably won’t resign for the good of the country. And that is where the true crisis lies.

When Robert Mueller makes his recommendation at the end of all this, he very well may ultimately walk up to the desk of Rod Rosenstein and say Yeah, he did it! He knew everything!

It would then be the duty of the legislative branch to impeach him. Judging from their past conduct, it’s all too possible that this Congress, with their Republican majority, may not. They have undermined the Russiagate investigation from its first day.

If Trump is guilty and the Republicans ignore it, our democracy will have faced its greatest peril. We’ve got to do everything in our power to see to it that the Republicans in control of the House and Senate act with honor and fulfill their pledge to defend this country against tyranny, from within or without.

If they do not, we will soon go the way of the Roman Empire. 

As this article was getting ready to publish, the news broke that Rudy Giuliani is talking again. This morning, he says that Robert Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of his questioning in order to interview Donald Trump himself.

We’ll have to wait and see.

Misguided Idealism- Bernie’s Brand Is Too Far Left To Win Elections.

#TheBlueWave-2018!

Bernie Sanders has endorsed Marie Newman in her battle to defeat Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill. The Sanders boost comes as early voting has already started in Illinois. It’s possible he will visit the district to rally voters, cut commercials for her, and help her raise funds.

This came a day or so after Nancy Pelosi made it clear that Democrats will continue to stand by the representative chosen by the voters, and support Lipinski.

Just this morning, Marie Newman repaid that favor when she said she might not support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi(D-Calif.) as the Democrats’ leader.

“I would have to see who’s running,” Marie Newman told The New York Times when asked if she would back Pelosi as Speaker if Democrats seize control of the House.

Nancy Pelosi is a national treasure who suffers the slings and arrows of half the country on a daily basis. Marie Newman is indecent in the extreme for attacking her in this manner.

Sanders knows that in backing Newman he is doing his best to start an ugly fight. And one would think he’d know that he’s bet on a losing horse again- his stepdaughter just lost her election for the mayorship of Burlington, VA– and for the same reason as always.

Bernie Sanders is too far left. Radically too far left.

The hardcore extremists who are propping up Bernie would like nothing better than to view the Newman/Lipinski contest for the 3rd Congressional District as a test of the political purity of far-left extremists against the Democrats who have always protected and stood up for them.

They point to Lipinski’s anti-abortion stance, which undoubtedly is repugnant, as a reason why attacking an elected Democrat ought to be considered acceptable.

But what about Heath Mello, early last year? He was perfectly willing to compromise on woman’s reproductive rights. Bernie took all kinds of heat for this at the time. He just didn’t care.

Bernie also refused to endorse Governor Ralph Northam’s campaign in Virginia. Again, we have to ask why?

The only answer is sour grapes. Northam easily beat his primary contender, Bernie’s man Tom Perriello. He, of course, was for Bernie last year. Perriello, however, is far from an ideal progressive. He’s another one of Bernie’s anti-abortion candidates.

It was also not so long ago that Perriello boasted of his A rating from the National Rifle Association, which was a result of his opposition to an assault weapons ban.

Let’s get real here. Bernie didn’t endorse Perriello because of his policies. He did it because Perriello is one of his cronies. Northam was not.

Dan Lipinski is also not a crony of Bernie’s, and it is the firmly held conviction of Millennial Democrats that is the only reason he has decided to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong in Chicago.

Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. It all comes down to that. Everything he does makes perfect sense, once you’ve considered that he isn’t on our side. He has a really mean and overcompetitive side to him. That was clearly visible by last June, by which time he had ceased to resemble Mr. Rogers.

It is that unfortunate tendency that keeps him from helping real Democrats. He thought he was just going to show right up and start taking over the show. Unfortunately for Senator Sanders, we have made it quite clear to him that he and his fanatic followers are not at all going to waltz in here and take us over, regardless of the disgraced and terminated Cenk Uygur and his insolent hashtag, #WeWillReplaceYou.

Time for some real talk. Bernie is bitter about losing. He tried to hijack the Democratic party. He never intended on joining us for a second, although he lied all the way through both 2015 and 2016 and said he would. He hates Democrats and always has. He once said that JFK made him nauseous.

That is what this is about. Nothing else. It is why Bernie was so appealing to the Russians.

 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).”
No wonder his people don’t want him to touch “the Russia thing”.
This is 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. We can guess why Bernie would not vote to sanction Russia. Half the things they did in 2016 were on his behalf!
This Bern-interference has become an all-too-familiar refrain over this past year, and particularly in this primary season. He has shown up to split the left and sow discord everywhere he goes.
So-called progressives are getting together all over the country, hijacking local chapters of the Democratic Party. They are attacking our candidates everywhere.

There has never been a set of midterms so crucial. Everyone on every side knows this. The best chance we’ve got of getting rid of Donald Trump before 2020, except maybe for the 25th Amendment, is to turn the Congress blue. The guys we’ve got in there now would never have impeached Nixon. We need Democrats in the legislative branch to impeach Trump. Period.

Our electoral road to success is an uphill battle. Twenty-five Senate Democrats are up for reelection this year, for example, as opposed to only eight of the reds. A plausible path to control of the Senate has arisen since Doug Jones’ stunning upset of the perverse Roy Moore, but it’s still going to be very hard.

In spite of all this, there’s a certain element in the party that refuses to care about any of this and instead insists on fighting their own people.

I saw a good point in an article today about progressive energy at the local level; awesome. It takes us all. Working together, and not against each other. It’s not about rejecting progressive ideas; we’re all progressives. The 2016 platform was progressive to a magnificent degree. Time to start focusing on the positives and putting the past to bed.

It’s insane to have a primary where Democrats are fighting each other in a year when every cent is needed so desperately to fight the real enemy. Anyone who is forcing us to waste time and money thus, and worsening the interparty divide in the process, should be viewed as extremely suspect.

In related news, Conor Lamb’s stunning victory in Pennsylvania this month in a district Trump won by more than 20 points sent a strong message to Republicans as to how revolted America is by their president. It was a clear and present harbinger of an overwhelming #BlueWave.

But there was also a strong message sent by his victory to us Democrats.

It means that being a calm, thoughtful and polite moderate is a winning strategy once more.

It also means that being constructive is very important to American voters after years of chaotic hatefulness on both far sides of the political divide.

The political spectrum of America is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth from right to left. It always has and it always will. However, despite all kinds of tectonic social upheavals and political reorientation, most Americans are ultimately part of a large political center.

Going too far left in primaries to appease this assumption makes the road back to that political center a long one.

There are some very noisy people in both extremist camps who get famous using vitriol, wild rhetoric, and radical views. Lamb’s victory proves that you have the better chance to win by exhibiting your intelligence self-control. We’ve had enough of screaming about a revolution.

In order for the Blue Tsunami to keep sweeping over this country in 2018 and 2020, our candidates have to understand that we cannot win unless we appeal to Independents in the national electorate and moderate Republicans in right-of-center congressional districts or states. Misguided idealism and purism is not going to help us get rid of Donald Trump.

And neither is Bernie Sanders.

 

 

Supreme Court Allows Immigrants Held Without Bond- A Slippery Slope.

A rotten decision.

The news has been flying hot and heavy lately on a number of different topics. One that has inspired a gigantic response, from both left and right, is the recent news from the Supreme Court that immigrants can be held by U.S. immigration officials indefinitely without receiving bond hearings, even if they have permanent legal status or are seeking asylum, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

In a 5-3 ruling Tuesday, with one recusal, the court ruled that immigrants do not have the right to periodic bond hearings.

 

The court affirmed the right of the government to detain immigrants indefinitely behind bars.

“Immigration officials are authorized to detain certain aliens in the course of immigration proceedings while they determine whether those aliens may be lawfully present in the country,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion.

There has been an ongoing class-action lawsuit about this, spearheaded by Alejandro Rodriguez, an immigrant with permanent legal status who was convicted of possession of a controlled substance and joyriding. He was detained by immigration officials for three years without a bond hearing.

The ACLU took up his case, eventually winning his release and the cancellation of his deportation order. The government’s appeal was begun under the Obama administration, and continued after Trump took office last year. That set a precedent which has now been reversed.

What’s really worth paying attention to here is that a man with permanent legal status, a citizen for all practical intents and purposes, has been yanked off the street on minor charges and done more time than he would have for the charges themselves, just because he was originally from another country.

Besides this decision being absolutely lousy according to any sort of ethical code, it’s also very dangerous.

The right-wing, particularly the ones who’ve been screaming apocalyptically that President Obama was coming for their guns and putting us all in FEMA camps these last eight years, ought to know what it’s like to live in fear of an authoritarian American government running rampant over the rights of the citizenry.

The incident of Ruby Ridge comes to mind as an example of a time when the far right themselves have been on the receiving end. Republicans need to be reminded of this, and it might even get through to some. More people took it seriously in a debate than I’d expected.

The significance of this event is heightened considerably by where it appears on the timeline of all this. It’s another brick in the wall in every possible sense; the Border Patrol is building a piece of wall on California’s land, right now. It’s another big sign that things are terribly wrong, in Donald Trump’s America.

This concerns us all. It’s a slippery slope leading right to the end of our democracy if we’re not careful. There’s no doubt at all that we’re in trouble on many different levels right now, and all of them are based on a steady attack on our nation’s institutions by its own president.

Mike Rogers, our current CIA director, warned the nation today that Trump has literally not given him permission to do anything to prevent the Russian efforts geared at hacking the new elections.

It was also confirmed today the Russians penetrated voter data in seven states at least and targeted at least 21. Still, though, Trump refuses to admit it’s anything but a hoax.

He’s been going around recently, boasting about the seven more years he’ll be in office. Now that Rick Gates is testifying against Manafort, though, it might not be seven more months.

Millennial Democrats will be releasing a piece soon on how to best protect your right to have your vote counted within the next day or two.

As this continues, we’re going to have to record these things for posterity and help to spread awareness as best we can, with the ultimate goal in mind of getting people to vote.

They cannot cheat us enough to win if we show up in our tens of millions.

Rick Gates Cooperates- The End Comes For Donald Trump.

Rick Gates Cooperates

Things have been moving at a tremendous pace in the Russiagate investigation lately. Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, has staggered the “hoax” claims of Donald Trump with over a hundred new charges in the investigation.

This was coupled with the stunning news that Manafort’s associate Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign chair for the Trump campaign, has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.

Mueller also charged Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, with a multimillion-dollar fraud related to mortgages.

This sounds innocuous, but Manafort has a history of shady real estate dealings; ripping off Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska on a multimillion-dollar hotel deal in the Cayman Islands is how he landed himself in this stew in the first place.

Both Gates and Manafort had earlier been charged with laundering millions of dollars that they had collected as lobbyists for the government of Ukraine.

Manafort in particular has been making millions since the 1980’s, lobbying for brutal world dictators who’ve been shunned by the rest of the world, such as Putin prop Victor Yanukovych, ousted as president of Ukraine after the Orange Revolution of 2004.

By Friday Gates had pleaded guilty to two different charges: conspiracy with regard to the financial crimes, and lying to investigators. Apparently, he told the lie during prior plea talks. Prosecutors prepared a revised indictment, this time directed only at Manafort.

Donald Trump also is shaking in his boots over perjury. His lawyers are trying to set terms for his testimony before special counsel Robert Mueller. Without a care in the world for their country and its well-being, they’re prepared to wage a court battle to shield him from testifying at all if their conditions aren’t met, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Sources familiar with the situation reported that Trump’s legal team is currently considering all its options in finding various ways for him to testify that would prevent him from perjuring himself, which they know full well he will do within minutes of starting the meeting.

If Trump is speaking, Trump is lying. It’s like breathing, to him.

A few days prior, a former attorney at the law firm Skadden Arps pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about conversations he had had with Gates regarding work that the firm did for Ukraine.

The week before that, Mueller indicted thirteen Russian nationals on charges related to their involvement in the Internet Research Agency, a social-media mill, alleging that it used illegal means to promote Trump’s candidacy.

Its efforts included buying ads on social media and digitally impersonating Trump supporters in Florida. It also involved giving plenty of help to the campaign of Bernie Sanders, one of only two Senators not to vote to sanction Russia this year.

Michael Flynn, the President’s former national-security adviser, had already pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. He had been in legal jeopardy anyway, thanks to his work as an unregistered foreign lobbyist. He too is now coöperating with the investigation. So is George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying about his foreign contacts.

As of yet, none of the charges formally accuse the Trump campaign knowingly colluded with the Russians, or whether the President himself obstructed justice. But the ever-growing list of people who are cooperating points to Mueller getting close on both points, particularly if Manafort joins them.

As campaign chairman, Gates sat in on the now famous June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who contacted Trump Jr. offering “dirt” on the Clinton campaign. Manafort left the campaign two months later. Gates, however, stayed on through the election. He may have much more to tell.

All along, Paul Manafort has come into view more and more clearly as the guy who knew how it all went down on the ground. He’s not testifying, probably out of fear for his life. The best case scenario for him is life in prison.

For Gates, it’s different. He was not the man on top, and it’s not too late for his redemption. In that case, he would go from being one of America’s most repugnant criminals to being one of its saviors, the guy who looked himself in the mirror and found courage enough in himself to decide to tell the truth and save the country.

It is the opinion of Millennia Democrats that if he knew what Manafort was doing, and he can testify that he was doing it with Trump’s blessing, that may very well be the final shot needed to bring down Trump.

This is also the opinion of former White House counsel to Richard Nixon, John Dean, one of the leading figures in the Watergate scandal. On Saturday, Dean said the news should be of great concern to former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who faces multiple charges in the case, as well as to the White House.

All of this is very different from the pornography film that was Ken Starr drooling in the tabloids twenty years ago. These are Americans, who have actively attempted to sell out America to its most hostile, powerful, and implacable foe. They deserve nothing less than the ultimate penalty of law.

In the last analysis, the biggest threat to Trump in the matter of Russiagate is not Robert Mueller or even Paul Manafort. It is he himself that is most to fear. His scorched-earth attacks on the FBI and on Mueller through the early part of the year failed to do anything but make him look more guilty. Something is in the air, and the tension is palpable. America will have to wait and see.

 

Democracy Aflame- Trump Almost Fires Robert Mueller.

Stick up for Robert Mueller

The New York Times reported Thursday evening that President Donald Trump ordered the firing of Robert Mueller last June. Mueller is the Special Prosecutor assigned to investigate Russian interference in our 2016 election cycle. He is also the best hope we have of getting out of this mess in one piece.

In June, Chris Ruddy, a close Trump friend and Mar-a-Lago member, said after a visit to the White House that he’d overheard a discussion about the president considering firing Mueller.

Ultimately he decided not to go through with it, after White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit instead of carrying out the order.

That seems like a pretty thin line of defence against something of the same type actually happening in the future.

This news is very big. It means that Trump drove us up to the brink of a constitutional crisis and took a good long think about driving us right over the edge.

The pretext he’d planned to use was that Mueller had once been a member of his golf club who quit over an argument over fees.

The kind of ridiculous insanity displayed by that line of reasoning has been the hallmark of Trump’s time in office. It’s that kind of thinking that’s got him going around poking at the North Koreans. He does not seem to grasp the idea of consequences. To Trump, regard for the law or the social contract is something for poor people and losers. But while he will not be around much longer to suffer for these decisions, the rest of us will.

In America, we have always had the time to stop and take a look at what we want our futures to look like, and how we want our lives to go. We choose a path, and we stick to it as well as we are able.

If things keep on as they have been, that is going to go away forever. To millennials, who must soon adapt to the post-Trump America, this is of the utmost concern.

This is the way that democracy dies. People stop caring about it. They cease to understand why it is valuable. And by the time they wake up to the fact, it is often too late.

Plato observed that political regimes follow a predictable evolutionary course, from oligarchy to democracy to tyranny.

Oligarchies give way to democracies when the would-be elite classes become decadent and develop interests apart from those they rule.

Democracies give way to tyrannies when mob passion overwhelms political wisdom and a populist autocrat seizes the masses.

The one constant is that the tyrant never starts out looking like a tyrant. On the contrary, in a democracy, the tyrant most commonly arises in the guise of the people’s champion. To this man, every trust is given. He’s the one man who can make everything whole again.

We all know who this reminds us of.

With Trump, we have a glimpse of what this sort of evolution looks like: A vulgar right-wing populism has emerged out of a maelstrom of anti-establishment hysteria from both sides of the political spectrum. Trump has been trying to play the part of a strongman fascist, right here in America. He views Mueller as a threat and wants him gone.

He began to argue for Mueller’s firing just days after his appointment to investigate the president’s 2016 campaign for collusion, the source said.

The revelation comes right as Mueller’s investigation appears to have intensified. Members of his staff in December finished an initial round of interviews with all of Trump’s senior White House staff.

In an impromptu press conference on Wednesday, Trump said that he himself may speak to Mueller’s team in the next “two to three weeks.”

Clearly, this is a terribly ominous sign.

Lawyers involved with Mueller’s investigation know that too.

“It’s one more brick in the wall,” said a Washington lawyer representing another senior Trump aide in the Russia probe.

Vast numbers of Americans have already made preparations to protest if Trump’s firing of Mueller becomes reality, a reaction similar to the public response after Richard Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre. On that infamous evening, Nixon ordered the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox. It ultimately led to his impeachment, but not before doing much to complete the ideological cleaving of America.

A report by the National Constitution Center summed up how well the whole scheme worked out for Nixon.

“Within hours of executing this Saturday Night Massacre, a firestorm of public protest erupted that led to the appointment of a new special prosecutor, the subpoenaing of dozens of additional damning tapes, the drafting of impeachment resolutions … and the ultimate unravelling of the Nixon Presidency.”

After the Saturday Night Massacre, the percentage of Americans who believed that Nixon should resign jumped from 19% to 38%, and reached 57% within six months. These kinds of low numbers are also reminiscent of Trump; it would be interesting to see how many of us currently think Trump should resign.

There’s a very real chance that if Trump pulls this he will get away with it because people cannot possibly be more disgusted with him than they already are. His base would cheer him on.

We also can’t be lulled into believing that this Congress will have the same sort of stomach and decency as the one that prepared to oust Nixon. Democrats hold neither house. And these Republicans have acted without conscience at every vote. There is not a sound reason to trust them.

Going forward, we will need to keep the closest possible eye on this and sound the alarm every way we can. Trump will do this if he thinks it will save him.

And besides. Nothing screams out the necessity for a blood-feud like golfing fees.

Back then, Chris Ruddy said during an interview with Politico that “It(the firing of Mueller) could trigger something well beyond anything they ever imagined.” 

It is to be hoped that those words are never put to the test.

Unfair Hot Air and the Steele Dossier- A Great Big Orange Distraction.

It’s always a little sad, watching Republicans mangle the truth to get at some political goal. Even though we’ve come to expect it, they’re still leaders of the country, ones the public has placed their faith in. It will never be pleasant to observe their disingenuity.

This GOP tendency is the reason that much of the “new” information that recently got highlighted in the news regarding the Democratic funding of the latter half of the Steele dossier consisted of things we have known all along.

A source told CNN on Tuesday that the law firm Perkins Coie, as part of its representation of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained the intelligence firm Fusion GPS and entered “into an engagement for research services that began in April 2016 and concluded before the election in early November.”

The infamous Steele Dossier, compiled by retired MI-6 officer Christopher Steele, has been the subject of intense scrutiny as of late by Special Investigator Robert Mueller’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 2016 United States Presidential election, and the Russian interference in it. Millennial Democrats would like to thank the patriots who might one day have to sit through the viewing of that pee-tape.

Republicans are howling with unjust rage, but they are also scrambling to change the subject. The fact is that the Republicans were the ones who began the creation of that dossier.

Furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with that. For one thing, it’s well within the boundaries of FEC regulation. For another, Donald Trump is a slouching corruption, a living personification of all the ills too much money can give to an intemperate person. Everybody knew it, on both sides of the aisle. We only needed proof and evidence.

Fusion GPS is a Washington, DC intelligence firm that in 2016 retained a well-respected former British spy, Christopher Steele, to research any connections between Republican candidate Trump and the Russian government.

The firm was first employed by Republicans during Trump’s primary run and later by Democrats to produce opposition research on Trump. CNN reported early on the Fusion efforts in researching Trump were first funded by Republicans. Democrats ended up adopting the project after Trump became the presumptive nominee.

In short, none of this is new in any way. Most of it we knew the same day the Dossier broke news. The GOP’s attempt to frame this as a breaking scandal is nothing but a cheap and obvious distraction. It’s like their recent attempted revival of the uranium scandal that never was. Or the House decision to have one last dance with Hillary Clinton’s old emails.

It’s just Trump’s old Manhattan real estate strategy in his new role as president. This is the political equivalent of a countersuit.

Accusations and insult are buzzing like hornets because some high-ranking Democratic officials did not have knowledge of the deal directly. Others chose not to make public what they knew, but so what? What did people expect them to do? Hold a meeting about it? Put it around on a memo?

After all the ways Russia has proved it could hurt us with information, it is only logical for our strategists not to be jumping around and shouting about anything sensitive, no matter how trivial. The process of compiling that dossier required secrecy and caution. Of course they would tell as few people as needed to know directly. To do otherwise would have been clumsy and stupid.

It is an objective fact that the Clinton campaign was well within the bounds of decency by picking up the Fusion efforts. But in the highly polarized atmosphere of the time, even having a decent bank account was something to apologize for, according to the radical left. One can just imagine how they would have howled had they known about this.

Also, we’d just gotten through cleaning up the mess made before the Democratic National Convention by a number of criminally obtained documents used against us by the cyber-terrorist organization Wikileaks. We didn’t know where the source of the leaks were, so we did what anyone sensible would do, and took precautions against giving up our strategies as ammunition to the opposition.

It’s standard practice in the fascist playbook to immediately accuse their opponents of whatever crimes they have just committed. For a ready example, how many times has Trump accused mainstream media sources of fake news?

The purpose of all that slander is not only to defend himself. It is also to obfuscate the very meaning of the term. Fake news refers to bogus articles put out by bogus Internet websites that exist solely to deliberately produce, publish, and promote fake news, e.g. hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation purporting to be real. It does not in any way refer to any articles produced by reputable journalists working for reputable organizations.

The facts surrounding the Democratic involvement in the matter of this dossier are actually quite ordinary. It is standard practice to find out all you can about your adversary in a political election. As long as you respect the boundaries set by the law and the dictates of conscience, you have nothing to apologize for.

What is not standard practice, is to receive that information from hostile foreign powers that want nothing more than to knock America down and take all she has.

Comparing this to what the Trump campaign was doing when they sent Donald Jr. and the rest to that meeting with Russian lawyers is like comparing what a surgeon does to Jack the Ripper, to paraphrase the former World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov. They both cut people open, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Fusion GPS is a United States entity. The man they hired to compile this data, Christopher Steele, was a foreign national originally from Great Britain, one of our closest allies. He is also a lifelong intelligence professional. By every standard, he has excelled in his chosen field of expertise.

This dossier has not met with refutation. On the contrary, we are finding facts contained therein, according to all sources. The sheer speed at which the revelations are coming has many experts believing that we’ve already got more than Watergate gave us against Nixon.

In the end, it makes no difference who paid Fusion GPS. The only thing that matters is the accuracy of the facts contained within. It is our task moving forward to help people realize that the slanders and insinuations directed at Democrats are nothing more than unfair hot air.

Stephen L. Hall, a retired chief of the CIA’s Russian operations, summed it up best in a tweet: “Still not sure why this is getting all the press play. Nothing new here.”

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