Donald Trump has just gotten through with a week that many are calling the worst of his entire presidency. The highly anticipated Congressional testimony of former Trump fixer and recently disbarred attorney Michael Cohen raised a litany of allegations against his former boss this week, including new information relating to the Russiagate scandal. The hearings were dramatic in the extreme, and Cohen ended up implicating both the president and his inner circle in potential crimes on multiple accounts. This combined with the debacle that was the second Kim Jong-Un summit, and you’ve got the makings of a real disaster seven days.
Trump’s defense, as it always is, is to deny everything and shower slander upon his current enemy. Cohen is a liar, he says, and should not be believed. They parrot this line at Fox News, and his base does the same in day-to-day life, so who to believe? Politico’s Jack Schafer pointed out that Donald Trump has told more than 8,000 lies since becoming president. As for his former attorney, the disgraced Cohen, there is no doubt that he is also in every way a liar. No doubt about it. Remember that video clip of him arrogantly shrugging and saying, “Prove it!” in reference to the lies of his boss? I have always found it hard to find pity in my heart for him, although compassion is something one human owes another regardless of the circumstances. He confessed to lying to Congress and is prison-bound for it.
But the thing to remember is that for all Cohen’s faults, he never would have gotten in such trouble as this on his own. He was ordered down this path by an extremely corrupt wannabe mobster of a man. Everything he did, every lie he told, was all on the behalf of Donald Trump. I watched that testimony, and it had every look of being genuine. When he called his former boss a “conman”, you could tell he meant it. Like a man unburdening his soul, come what may. We wish Mr. Cohen our best in restoring decency into his life. For once in his existence, he has done the right thing without equivocating. He’ll be called upon again to tell and retell his story.
House Democrats plan to use Cohen’s testimony as an obvious reason to summon key witnesses and pursue investigative avenues that we Democrats could never get the crooked Republicans to look at. One of those same crooked Republicans, Representative Matthew Gaetz, threatened Cohen over Twitter. That is likely to trigger an investigation of him, too. We can count on a steady flow of public hearings involving those closest to the president as time goes on.
During it all, Trump was down in Hanoi meeting with Kim Jong-Un of North Korea in an all-but impromptu sideshow designed to deflect attention from the Russiagate scandal. While there, he disgraced the nation again with his poor negotiation skills and bluster. His attempt to shock the world by getting up and storming out of the deal just made us look bad. In that regard, it was reminiscent of everything else he does. He doesn’t seem to understand any better now than he did three years ago during the first months of the primaries. He’s not in a Manhattan real estate negotiation anymore. This kind of childish tactic might work on a construction company you’re trying to stiff. But its hardly going to get Kim to surrender his nukes! The very idea!
Kim knows perfectly well his nukes got him his seat at the table of the big boys. He is not giving up those nukes any more than Putin or Xi is. Trump and everyone else has to accept that. We all live under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust. Personally, I’m more concerned about Putin’s hypersonic missiles that could wipe out the Pentagon in under five minutes. Trump had not a word to say about that. They’re all doing this now on the right. They’ve got this lousy excuses for everything of “Oh, he just needs it for his base”. Those people and their sickening equivocation are like toxins to America. Michael Cohen at least is done making excuses. Now it’s time for Trump to be held accountable too.
As these words were being written, Trump went off the rails on Robert Mueller at the Conservative Political Action Conference, in the longest rant of his presidency. He attacked Democrats as socialists, johnny-come-lately that he is. He’s still patting Bernie Sanders on the head and encouraging him, all the while bringing us closer and closer to a society in which we lose our freedoms.
Going forward, it’s important that we keep the pressure on Trump, while also taking care to let people know the many differences between liberal or social democracy and the horrible disaster that is socialism. The onus of blame for this should properly be placed on libertarian and Republican support of the far left.
“Nothing is more extreme than the Democrats’ plan to completely take over American energy and completely destroy America’s economy through their new $100 trillion Green New Deal,” Trump said, describing the extreme Ocasio-Cortez plan to tackle climate change as a “high school term paper written by a poor student.”
Good evening to all from Millennial Democrats! Our name means a lot to us, because we spend a lot of time working out what it means to be a Democrat- and how to be of optimum use to the country and party alike. The two are completely inseparable at this point. Democrats retook the House. That means that things will be okay. We endured.
Still, although morale coming off of the Blue Wave is at an all-time high, we must capitalize. That means we must resist the urge to get complacent. We’re in a lull period, a sort of ceasefire, which means its time to shore up foxholes and stockpile and drill. We have to prepare ourselves for the real task- getting rid of Trump once and for all.
It is therefore just the time to tackle some questions as to what a Democratic Code might look like.
How do we reconcile the need for reasonable strictures with the hallowed principles of big-tent coalition?
How do we handle inter-organizational pressures?
How do we keep sane when we’re down in the trenches with each other for years at a time?
These questions have come up again and again, and have created a necessity for a flexible and logical framework of guidelines that everyone can live with and abide by.
This is not as hard as it may seem on the surface! We are Democrats. We come together from across all boundaries and we sometimes work with people who in many ways are quite different from ourselves.
It is absolutely paramount that we come to realize this as our single greatest asset.
Far from being a weakness, the heated and ideologically driven Democratic debates about policy and progress we have allow us the trials by fire we need to become very strong. We are like a lightsaber, dispelling the gloom and corrupt cobwebs that are the right wing’s lies. We have a core that is decent and sensible and growing. People will see our light and want to be part of it. We have only now to give them a good home and be prepared to accept their voices as equals. They’re part of the family already. In short, we can do this. We just have to lay down a foundation.
In keeping with that line of thought, we recommend the following proposals.
1. There must be universal will to abide by the few basic ground rules laid out when representing an organization.
2. Of paramount importance is our ability to disagree. We must come to fully realize that debate and a fight aren’t the same. Respect your colleagues, and treat them gently. Many of us Resistors are having a very hard time in life, especially under the fool that is Donald Trump. We must fully understand this and show empathy. Divided we cannot stand up.
In example, the Wampanoag Native tribe which gave us Thanksgiving may very soon be pilfered yet again. We are all we’ve got. This should constantly be on our minds when interacting with others. Patience and compassion must be our guides.
3. Respect the organization and the cause by keeping your tempers in check, especially in any sort of public capacity that could hurt the cause or get you targeted. Swearing and violent language should not be done as the page, if at all.
4. Respect the work of others, don’t take a fellow admin’s post down without thorough group discussion of the subject. Once in a while, people are going to post things outside the ring, but they put the time in on it, and deserve to know why it is being removed. Schedule a time to talk and explain to the person their mistake. This is how we improve both our knowledge and our people skills, and hence grow stronger together as a unit.
5. Respect leadership decisions. They will be made at the end of a long discussion leading to group consensus. When they are, we must subordinate our own feelings and trust in the Democratic process. We are Americans.
6. Respect the need to keep on track with political discussions. As we are all such diverse and brilliant people, clashes of ego and opinion are unavoidable. But they can be streamlined by avoiding controversial side topics that have no bearing on what we’re doing here. That is a major goal going forward.
All of us are aware of our significance; every voice is sorely needed. And I know that I don’t have to request you to be equal to the responsibility and trust I have extended you; you’ve already been doing it for a very long time. As Robert the Bruce said, “You are here! You know enough about honor.”
Demonstrate this in word and deed when speaking as a Resistor.
Please keep in mind just how important you all are to this cause, and treat each other like the vital organs of your body that we are. Care for and protect each other, and never forget:
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.
We have received numerous requests for a focus piece regarding cyber-defense for Democrats, especially right now as we are going into the midterms. In it is an introduction to a number of the techniques we can use to defend ourselves going forward. Knowledge is power. Pass it on.
Regular readers of Millennial Democrats will not require a lot of explanation as to how and why the threat of Russian hacking is real. We have been up against it for years. The time has come to soberly and objectively assess Russia’s cyberwarfare capabilities, and examine how we plan to fight back.
In 2016, America was caught off guard and we got a bloody nose. Guys like Roger Stone’s buddy Guccifer 2.0, or the guys in Fancy Bear pulled a fast one, to be sure.
They had the element of surprise back then. Most people had no idea what they were doing(and rolled their eyes at those who were trying to warn them, but that’s another subject). These days things are very different.
Regardless of the lies of the great orange malignance, America knows the Russians are out to get us. Trump is sticking his head in the sand on this and will do nothing to help us, so we’re going to have to learn to help ourselves, and each other.
It’s too bad we’ve got no national leadership on this, but it is what it is. We’ll get by on our own.
In starting out, the most important thing to keep in mind is this: Hackers rely on our mistakes, and mistakes are most often made when we don’t know we are making them. They need to catch us off guard, and their job is to find creative ways to use their tools to get us to slip up.
The first place a smart hacker will look is outside the box, so to speak. They’re always looking for ways to burrow in that you wouldn’t think to look for.
Employing a given system, be it a human being or a PC, for a purpose it wasn’t designed for is what hacking means. However, if you’re careful, neither you nor your computer will end up thus employed. It’s all about being careful.
Hackers are clever, be they Russian or from elsewhere, but they are far from invincible. We’ve already stopped a number of Russian cyber-assaults directed at Democrats this year, such as the ones aimed at our Claire McCaskill.
Without the element of surprise, hackers have many limitations. It’s not that easy to brute-force open a website. Just ask these guys:
Basic cyber-hygiene techniques would cut down on more than 80 percent of cyber attacks and cyber thefts, according to Herbert Lin, senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. It will benefit us to learn a few.
There is a great deal of white-hat(ethical hacking) work that can be done to defend America in this realm, and most of it has to do with how careful we are.
We repeat- It’s all about being careful. This cannot be repeated too often.
In this piece, we’re going to talk about a few common mistakes made by end-users(that means us, the consumer) and how they are exploited by criminals. We’re also going to talk about some of these cyber-hygiene measures and assign them three rules of thumb.
Don’t open strange emails.
Don’t click on strange links.
Don’t accept chat messages from people you don’t know, particularly on Facebook.
Before we get started, think for a second about all your other social media accounts. Are they just as secure as your Facebook or Twitter? Make sure they are! That’s the first place a hacker will go to collect more data about you. You’re particularly vulnerable to having your account on the ones you don’t often use pried open.
As an aside, this is also why you don’t want to use the same passwords for everything. Passwords are obviously critical, as somebody who’s got them has got all your information at his fingertips. Be careful!!
A great deal of a hacker’s job revolves around getting the passwords of their victims. Their most popular tools are all various ways to apply “spear-phishing” hacks, designed to steal passwords and personal data. The unlucky “phish” who opens one has become a victim and is now open to all kinds of trouble.
There are all kinds of ways to go spear-phishing. A brand new one showed up not long ago when U.S. government agencies recently received letters via snail mail.
One example that all readers of this blog will vividly recall took place on March 10, 2016, when the first volley of malicious e-mail messages hit the inboxes of thirty people who were closely associated with the Hillary Clinton campaign. Inside them were links that were actually viruses, like worms on a hook.
Nearly all of them were failures. All but one, actually. But one was enough.
Within nine days, a horrendous amount of critical data had been stolen and passed along to Wikileaks, to be strategically released in a way they figured would hurt us. It did.
Those leaked e-mails, in which Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was seen to be fussing over Bernie’s lack of ability to fill out campaign finance forms correctly, were spun up into a narrative that Bernie(who lost by four million popular votes) had been cheated.
Bernie or Bust bought it, there were riots in the streets of Philadelphia, and a rift was torn in the Democratic Party that still has yet to heal.
All of that was made possible, with just a few phished passwords.
To combat phishing is to make sure everyone knows how common and damaging these attacks can be. Everyone should keep their guard up when checking emails, and they should report any email they find suspicious.
It’s necessary to point out here that Facebook phishing in particular is horrendously easy. They can hack you right through your chat box. We recommend in the strongest possible terms that you put as little of your personal information as possible on Facebook.
Facebook presents about a million added vulnerabilities to all of us that use it. When Edward Snowden was asked what to do to keep your data safe on that platform, his response was, “Delete your account.”
We can’t recommend that, as Facebook gives us access to 2 billion people, but we can recommend this much. If people you don’t know send you strange messages on Facebook, don’t accept them.
“We are looking at just some of the malicious material that already may be circulating or will be released before the midterms. It also bears repeating that we know the campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was targeted.”
Cyber-intelligence experts see this as being major, and with clear reason.
Moving on, it isn’t only Facebook and social media you’ve got to be careful with. Websites too are vulnerable.
Anecdotally, the webmaster of this site has seen hackers from all over the world try to take us down, from Beijing, China to Lviv, Ukraine, from Adelaide, Australia to Beauharnois, Quebec. They use all kinds of tricks, but they’ve never gotten in and they never will.
This is not because I’m a cyber-genius who speaks binary code, but because WordPress is awesome.Sucuri, the plugin that keeps safe all of us Millennial Democrats, is likewise excellent. They care about their clients and they hold the same liberal values sacred that we do.
WordPress users should strongly consider using Sucuri, not least for the reverse IP trace it automatically performs. This has the benefit of letting you know a lot more about who’s trying to hack you. Sometimes it will tell you everything.
Once a flower store owner from Adelaide, Australia tried to hack us. By using a reverse IP trace, Sucuri let us know who she was as soon as she had done so. Then we went to a site called WhatismyIPaddress.com, put it in, and voila.
We were able to get the name of her business by looking at the name of her domain. We then used that to look her up, and jackpot. We found the store’s address, website, and owner. We also found far-right garbage smeared all over her life.
I could put her on blast right here with a screenshot like this one:
Luckily for her, I’m not that mean. But the next guy might be. It’s a dangerous game for newbies (noobs- learn your hacker-ese) to play. It’s easy to run into trouble.
Change your life, would-be hacker flower store owner! Mend your wicked ways, before it’s too late.
Speaking of WordPress, using the two-factor authentication feature they offer as part of their platform is another good idea. This is a highly effective security measure and is available for Facebook, Gmail, WordPress, and many other major platforms.
Using this feature means a second device’s input will be required to access email accounts or websites on new computers, usually by prompting you and sending an SMS code to your phone or whatever. This can prevent scammers from accessing compromised accounts.
In addition to good cyber-hygiene, which amounts to common sense, caution, and our three rules of thumb, there are some tools we can use to make our online experience safer still. You may find this necessary, from time to time.
Guccifer 2.0 recently made a mistake and forgot to turn his VPN on, and we connected him to an IP address connected to Russian intelligence. Now his whole identity is blown because he didn’t use his VPN.
We strongly recommend getting one of these, specifically IVPN. They take protecting their customers super seriously and they are located on the Rock of Gibraltar. That fortress strikes me as a good place to keep anything valuable.
HotspotShield is another good one, and also NordVPN. There’s a lot of them; shop around and find one that’s right for you. We feel it’s worth repeating that they are a very good investment.
Additional tools include TOR(The Onion Router), which offers a former naval encryption system that we can now all use. Tor takes all your internet traffic and routes it through its own network, providing total anonymity.
The DuckDuckGo browser, which Tor employs, is good to know about also. It has a number of different features that keep you safe, including a “Flame” feature that burns up all your cookies in a second. Pretty cool.
Now, just as then, there is a need for deterrence, to defend the nation and hopefully prevent a further escalation of tensions. There is more at stake than we can even put into words. We need to be ready.
There are bigger dangers here than the usual America vs. Russia, liberal world order vs the new world order that the extremist crazies keep screaming that they want kind of thing. This is different completely.
One superpower actively destroying the democratic process of another is new and very dangerous, especially since Russian destability tactics rely heavily on disinformation and a systematic devaluing of the truth.
Tad Devine, a former senior advisor to the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign, was in the news recently for the first time in a while. He was spotted in an old 2006 photograph enjoying himself with his then-coworker Konstantin Kilimnik.
In the picture, Kilimnik, a Ukrainian native, is pictured in an office setting with Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and other key players in Manafort’s consulting firm at the time. One of those players was Tad Devine.
Kilimnik is known informally as “Manafort’s Manafort“, and has been a figure of interest in the Russia investigation from the start. He is believed to be back in Russia now, and he is considered to have strong ties to Russian intelligence.
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.
If Manafort is the key to understanding exactly what the Russians were doing for Trump, Kilimnik is the key to understanding what Manafort did for the Russians. Devine 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.
By the time the Fourth of July rolled around in 2016, the Federal Election Commission repeatedly contacted the Sanders campaign with warnings that hundreds of his donors exceeded the $2,700 contribution limit, and that hundreds more may have been foreign nationals illegally giving Sanders money.
Devine has known Manafort and Kilimnik for many years. He was Manafort’s right-hand man in Ukraine right alongside Kilimnik, at a time when all three were the property of Viktor Yanukovych, the former President of Ukraine, whom in turn was the property of Putin. They were over there fixing elections for him.
More than a decade before Russia was accused of surreptitiously trying to tilt the presidential election toward Trump, the records show that Manafort, Devine, and Kilimnik were all encouraging Russia to hone its efforts to influence global politics. They were busy developing techniques they might use to help that process along.
They used these techniques to fix the 2004 Ukranian elections on behalf of Yanukovych, but they were so blatant in their corruption that the Orange Revolution began and overturned the crooked and invalid vote. Yanukovych was defeated in the second vote.
None of this mattered to Tad Devine, however, who kept right along working for Yanukovych.
Even after his rival, Viktor Yushchenko, barely survived a poisoning attempt, obliging him to “campaign with his face half paralyzed and a catheter inserted into his back to inject painkillers into his spine”, Devine’s conscience did not serve him well as a guide. He decided to hang around.
It is 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.
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.
Tad Devine may well hold the final piece of the puzzle as to how the whole rotten Russian conspiracy was put together. As Robert Mueller continues his journey to this discovery, our prayers will be with him.
A group of fanatical Bernie Sanders supporters went scrounging around the Internet recently, digging up old blog posts of a homophobic nature published many years ago by JoyAnn Reid, host of MSNBC’s popular morning talk show AM Joy.
There are no doubt the content of the posts were wrong. Reid apologized for the unkind things she’d said in the past, owned it, and moved forward. Her apology serves as a model for us all.
But that is not the issue here. Those posts were dug up and released for a reason. And genuine concern over the threat Joy Reid might pose to the LGBT community does not appear to be it.
An outsider might be taken aback by the vehemence of such a statement, especially as a headline. But it happens to be true. And its contents tell a very ugly story.
An Internet campaign was started by Bernie supporters under the hashtag #FireJoyReid in November 2017 after Reid “made the mistake” of mentioning Jane Sanders in a series of tweets.
What we're also learning is that it's not just a media problem. The same dynamic plays out throughout our society, from the restaurant boss to the White House. The change that's needed here is a system-wide societal reboot.
Um… I get that he has a hardcore following, but his own attitudes toward women, from his weird early writings to his physical dismissal of women in his presence (including his own wife) make that an incredibly dubious prospect.
Medium’s Investigator did the research necessary to identify its core members- a tightly knit group of Bernie Bros.
They identify usually as members of the DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), and they all proudly proclaim to have voted for Jill Stein.
Among many other unpleasant characteristics, the group makes a practice of producing, tweeting, and retweeting racist pictures, like this one of Kamala Harris.
Behind this campaign is the fact that a lot of black voters didn’t vote for Bernie. The anger this produced by a part of the Bernie left has been gigantic. That’s hard to understand, given Bernie’s record, but that is beside the point.
This Millennial Democrats contributor would be hard-pressed to think of a single other circumstance, in which white people could treat black people like this, without hardly a soul being outraged.
Anecdotally, this writer remembers being told during the election, that the South “did not matter”, because their states would go red in the general election. Were that to be accepted as truth, it would disenfranchise half the country’s Democrats and a huge percentage of the black ones.
Back in 2014, during a number of interviews, Bernie described the type of voters he wanted to appeal to.
“Well, here’s what you got. What you got is an African-American president, and the African-American community is very, very proud that this country has overcome racism (Editor’s note-????) and voted for him for president. And that’s kind of natural. You’ve got a situation where the Republican Party has been strongly anti-immigration, and you’ve got a Hispanic community which is looking to the Democrats for help.”
The way that social media keeps score, is with Likes, Shares, and Followers. The most famous people have millions of them. However, not all of these accounts are real. Some of them are “bots”, artificial accounts created for the purpose of making a person look more popular and important than they really are.
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. 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.
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 far right and left. We were barraged with nasty messages and threats. One particularly rabid group of Bernie Sanders supporters told one of our contributors that they hoped she was gang-raped. The list is very long, and very sordid.
It was just like in Ukraine or Syria. We were actively being targeted, by foreign agents, for participating in our own electoral process. It was scary, and it was violating.
We had wanted to make our voices heard, and to make a difference in our own futures. Instead, we found ourselves on the front lines of a virtual battlefield, fighting the first skirmishes in this new kind of proxy war we were to be fighting with the Russians.
Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites have increasingly come to be viewed as our most vulnerable area for national security. The United States does not have a ready defense to prevent such attacks.
At the time, nobody wanted to listen, but it became clear before long that we were not paranoid, although it was difficult not to come off that way in real life conversations. We expected a certain amount of eye-rolling, and we got it.
People can hardly be blamed. The whole thing was pretty implausible. Even our intelligence agencies were not fully aware of what was going on. This kind of thing has never happened here before. This sort of attack has in the past been used only by superpowers against small, Third World countries. We were never considered so vulnerable.
The anger and despair caused by the 2016 election opened a door. The smear job on Hillary Clinton represented a quarter- century’s work and God only knows how many millions of dollars on the part of the GOP. They had long ago ensured there was no end of mud to sling. And trusty Wikileaks was always around to make sure there was no shortage of new indecencies.
Regular folks who go to work and don’t have time to study these things for twelve hours a day cannot be fully blamed if they fell for it. We were targeted specifically by a brand new strategy developed by a cunning and ruthless man, bent on world domination. What is most important now is that we all wake up to it.
One source, who has screened new member requests for several dozen pro- Democratic Party Facebook groups since before the election began, made the following statement under the conditions of anonymity.
“From mid May 2017 to the end of July 2017, roughly 80% of the new member request were rabidly pro- Bernie Sanders supporters with profiles that appeared to be hijacked from the real owners or that were simply fake accounts. They seemed to have been created for the purpose of loading them up with pro Sanders, anti Democratic Party fake news to be spread by computer generation across Facebook.”
Even now, it remains far from over. Ordinarily, the months after such a chaotic election would be the slow season for politics. Spring and summer tend to be when people are out having fun. Unfortunately, both the stakes and the polarity of our atmosphere have become too high to allow for this.
Too high a level of polarity will destroy a culture. It causes a communication breakdown which leads to fighting. This polarity was not created by the Russians, but it was systematically financed, and worsened by them, using techniques so ugly they can only be referred to as antisocial media. It is now time for Facebook to answer to Congress and to the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, for what they allowed.