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DNC Backpedals After Cyberattack 'Hack' Was Actually A Security 'Test'

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The DNC has backpedaled on a report by CNN that a recent "sophisticated attempt to hack into its voter database" had been discovered by San Francisco-based cybersecurity firm Lookout - whose co-founder John Hering contributed $30,700 to the DNC in June of 2016, along with $2,700 to Hillary Clinton the same day. It's not Lookout's fault, however, as they were simply "looking out" for the Democratic National Committee when they discovered a "simulated phishing test" they assumed was real.

And in a massive breakdown in communication before verifying facts, the DNC contacted the FBI and CNN about the hack - before thinking to speak with the outside contractor which runs the voter database, NGP VAN.
Earlier on Wednesday, Bob Lord, the committee's chief security officer, briefed Democratic officials after detecting a fake login page that was designed to look like the access page Democratic Party officials and campaigns across the country use to log into a service called Votebuilder, which hosts the party's voter database, a Democratic source familiar with the briefing told CNN.

The initial detection of the apparent hacking attempt by a cybersecurity firm on Monday prompted the DNC to call the FBI, the source said. -CNN
According to Axios, NGP-VAN was running an unauthorized "simulated phishing test" on the DNC's VoteBuilder system. Meanwhile, PCMag reporter Michael Kan reported  that it was the Michigan Democratic Party which asked a third party (NGP VAN) to conduct the test.
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Unipolarism vs. Multipolarism - The Real Russian Interference in US Politics

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The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was ostensibly a conflict between two ideologies, two socio-economic systems.  All that seems to be over. The day of a new socialism may dawn unexpectedly, but today capitalism rules the world. Now the United States and Russia are engaged in a no-holds-barred fight between capitalists. At first glance, it may seem to be a classic clash between rival capitalists
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Facebook Kills 'Inauthentic' Foreign News Accounts - US Propaganda Stays Alive

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The creation of digital content led to the re-establishment of claqueurs:
By 1830 the claque had become an institution. The manager of a theatre or opera house was able to send an order for any number of claqueurs. These were usually under a chef de claque (leader of applause), who judged where the efforts of the claqueurs were needed and to initiate the demonstration of approval. This could take several forms. There would be commissaires ("officers/commissioner") who learned the piece by heart and called the attention of their neighbors to its good points between the acts. Rieurs (laughers) laughed loudly at the jokes. Pleureurs (criers), generally women, feigned tears, by holding their handkerchiefs to their eyes. Chatouilleurs (ticklers) kept the audience in a good humor, while bisseurs (encore-ers) simply clapped and cried "Bis! Bis!" to request encores.
Today anyone can create content and rent or buy virtual claqueurs in from of  "likes" on Facebook or "followers" on Twitter to increase its distribution.

An alternative is to create artificial social media personas who then promote ones content. That is what the Internet Research Agency, the Russian "troll factory" from St. Petersburg, did. The fake personas it established on Facebook promoted IRA created clickbait content like puppy picture pages that was then marketed to sell advertisements.
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The New Cold War Flops

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Has there ever been a country so vilified as Russia, a leader so demonized as Vladimir Putin? It makes me dizzy just to think of all the crimes that have been laid at that particular doorstep. I could spend the rest of this column simply listing them, from the deaths of numerous Russian journalists to the extinction of Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions – that and so much more! The omnipotent Russian President has apparently poisoned so many Russian expatriates in Britain that the streets are awash in polonium, novichok, and god knows what else.
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Will the Real John Brennan Please Stand Up?

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The battle between many former intelligence chiefs and the White House is becoming a gift that keeps on giving to the mass media, which is characteristically deeply immersed in Trump derangement syndrome in attacking the president for his having stripped former CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance. One of the most ludicrous claims, cited in the Washington Post on Sunday, was that the Trump move was intended to “stifle free speech.” While I am quite prepared to believe a lot of things about the serial maladroit moves and explanations coming out of the White House, how one equates removing Brennan’s security clearance to compromising his ability to speak freely escapes me. Indeed, Brennan has been speaking out with his usual vitriol nearly everywhere in the media ever since he lost the clearance, rather suggesting that his loss has given him a platform which has actually served to enhance his ability to speak his mind. He should thank Donald Trump for that.

Indeed, Brennan’s retaining a Top Secret code word clearance had nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with enhancing his market value for those poor sods who actually pay him to mouth off as an “expert” on television and in the newspapers. Are you listening New York Times and NBC? Brennan’s clearance did not mean that he had any real insight into current intelligence on anything, having lost that access when he left his job with the government. It only meant that he could sound authoritative and well informed by relying on his former status, enabling him to con you media folks out of your money on a recurrent basis.

It has sometimes been suggested that free speech is best exercised when it is somehow connected to the brain’s prefrontal lobes, enabling some thought process before the words come out of the mouth. It might be argued that Brennan has been remarkably deficient in that area, which is possibly why he looks so angry in all his photographs. Even John Brennan’s supporters are shy about defending the former CIA Director’s more extravagant claims. James Clapper, the ex-Director of National Intelligence, has described Brennan’s comments as “overheated.”
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War Abroad, War at Home

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Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, speaking at a Ron Paul Institute conference this past weekend, predicted US troops would remain in Afghanistan another 50 years — just as they have in Germany and Korea. He also termed the ongoing US-backed campaign in Yemen the "most brutal war on earth," a war western media overwhelming ignore. 

Colonel Douglas Macgregor at the same conference called Washington DC "the place where good ideas go to die." His years at the Pentagon, coupled with his experience leading US forces into Iraq during the first Gulf War, caused him to question the DC War Party in the most profound ways. Visiting the parents of an America soldier incinerated in a tank during that foray into Iraq, a foray with few US casualties otherwise, caused him to question not only his own missions but also the larger mission of US armed forces.

Both of these men now pose the same question: what is the goal? Why do seemingly endless military conflicts persist, despite lacking any constituency for their prosecution beyond the DC beltway? And why does US military strategy appear incoherent and counterproductive, when viewed through the lens of peace? Why can't we do anything about this, no matter whom we elect and no matter how much war fatigue resides in the American public?
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Afghan War A 'Total Failure' - Should We 'Privatize' It?

We are approaching the 17 year anniversary of the US war on Afghanistan. It is a slow-motion disaster, with our "enemy" the Taliban gaining more ground each year. Spending four trillion dollars and wasting thousands of lives in a war we are losing has led many, including Blackwater founder Erik Prince, to declare the Afghan war a "total loss." Prince has a plan that he claims would "win" the war by using far fewer US troops and spending far less money. But what is "winning"? What is the policy? Why are the Taliban our enemies in the first place? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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