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Putin ally boasts that Russia interferes in elections by ‘meddling with your brains — we change your conscience’

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An influential Kremlin adviser boasted that Russia’s foreign interference goes beyond elections — and actually interferes with consciousness.

Vladislav Surkov, who’s credited with shaping Russia’s authoritarian political system using techniques borrowed from reality television, wrote a lengthy essay published in the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper predicting that Vladimir Putin’s governance would influence the rest of the world.

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“We need to recognize, understand and describe the Putinist system of government … as the ideology of the future,” Surkov wrote, according to The Independent.

Surkov admitted the Kremlin sought to influence Western democracies using the same techniques he has used to build what he calls a “managed democracy” in the former Soviet Union.

The so-called “grey cardinal” mocked foreign governments investigating Russian election interference, and boasted that his propaganda techniques were even more powerful than hacks and other forms of meddling.

“Things are much more serious,” Surkov said, according to Ukraine’s ambassador to Austria. “We meddle with your brains, we change your conscience — and you have no clue what to do about it.”

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Surkov echoed conspiracy theories promoted by President Donald Trump and his conservative allies about a “deep state” bureaucracy managing U.S. democracy, which he said offered only the “illusion of choice.”

“The modern model of Russian statehood begins on trust and rests on trust,” he said. “This is its major distinction to the western model, which cultivates distrust and criticism. And herein lies its strength.”

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Why you should sell your house now — and not wait for the climate to change

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Cities across the United States are already seeing the impacts of climate change. Sea levels are on the rise in Miami, Florida, where ocean waters creep into the streets, even when it isn't raining. Massive wildfires have taken out whole neighborhoods in California and in Alaska, about 2.5 million acres have burned since July 3. Wildfires there are getting worse, according to experts.

The problem of climate change has reached a dangerous level for some homeowners in areas that are no longer insurable. In Miami, for example, the "street-level" is now considered the basement and insurers are dropping coverage for basements. According to the Daily Beast, at least 340,000 California homeowners lost their property insurance coverage between 2015 and 2018 because the wildfires are getting worse and companies don't want to pay out when homes are destroyed.

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GOP lawmakers working behind the scenes with Democrats to curb Trump’s tariff madness

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According to a report from Wall Street Journal, Republican lawmakers are working behind the scenes to rein in Donald Trump's penchant for declaring tariffs willy-nilly depending on how he feels about other countries and their leaders at any given time.

As the president trade war rages on -- impacting manufacturers, farmers and consumers alike -- Republicans looking at the 2020 election are desperate to turn around a U.S. economy that looks headed for a recession.

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Beto O’Rourke doubles down on gun buybacks

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Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a Texas Democrat who is running for president in 2020, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he believes assault weapons are "instruments of terror" and the government should implement a mandatory buyback policy.

I was asked about @SenToomey saying mandatory buybacks are "awful."

I said the priorities in D.C. are screwed up.

What's awful is a 17 month-old baby shot in the face with an AR-15 in Odessa. What's awful is 22 people killed in a Walmart buying school supplies in El Paso. pic.twitter.com/JAN1xfrQYS

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