Republican Conspiracy to Take Down Cowgirl?

by William Skink

For those hoping that their choice for president wasn’t going to be between a neoconservative and Donald Trump, last night’s New York primary was, though expected, still depressing. A lot can happen, like an alien intervention or a giant sinkhole that swallows all of DC so we can just start over, but barring some spectacular set of unlikely events, it’s gonna be either Hillary or The Donald. Gross.

To lighten the mooood, I’d like to welcome Cowgirl to the conspiracy fringe where paranoia blossoms like weeds–genetically modified Monsanto weeds that may or may not put mind-controlling spores into the atmosphere. What the hell am I talking about? It would appear the Cowgirl site suffered a malware attack that may or may not be an attempt by Gianforte to silent the important progressive “news” Cowgirl reports on. Here is one of the hilarious comments from Cowgirl’s moderator, Mt Temperance:

We caught the hackers as they were testing the waters here. they certainly didn’t get too far…..
It seemed the only reason for the attack was to shut us down, and keep our readers from viewing our site.
While I did find Malware code to re-direct our viewers to porn and pill sites, I did not encounter any viruses or malware structures that could harm our readers….. just Cowgirl’s site. The codes were stripped and defenses put in place. We rescanned our site and it is now certified as clean by Surcui and Google Folks, so you’re good to comment at your leisure.
Thank you to our concerned readers for tipping us off! you guys rock!
This was all probably because of our opinions and real news gathering as progressives in this election year…….
I am sure there are some conservatives somewhere, who are not very happy at this time.

Are Republicans paying hackers to attack Cowgirl with malware because of the “real news” that is reported there? Anything is possible, I guess. More than likely this attack isn’t anything special, but kudos to Cowgirl for not letting an opportunity to play the victim pass without taking advantage of it. Gullible commenters quickly took up the conspiracy theory, claiming only rich Republicans have the resources to attack partisan gossip sites like Cowgirl:

Richard Miller: Who else has the power to do such a thing other than the “Double G” that is trying to lie his way into the Governors office.

Norma Duffy: Or the Money for that matter.
Hiring a Black Hat costs money, something only our millionaire republicans who want to takeover the state have.

Too funny. I guess oligarchs like the Pritzker clan don’t exist, or if they do (they do), they would never stoop to the tactics those nefarious Republicans are being accused of (without evidence, mind you). For more on the Pritzkers, Consortium News has a new piece, titled Bowing to America’s Oligarchs worth checking out (h/t JC).

Playing the victim here keeps the narrative of rich Republicans being big meanies alive for the Dem party faithful. But that other narrative of Democrat corruption keeps getting legs, with Ochenski taking it on in his column this week (sorry, no link).

At Cowgirl, there was one commenter who suggested not getting paranoid regarding this attack. That comment, and the response from Temperance, is just priceless:

IT Professional: Lets not get paranoid – wordpress sites are scanning continuously by bots trying to find vulnerabilities. Getting one hacked to redirect to a porn site is not uncommon. Not being critical of the platform used for the blog – it is just the nature of the framework

Mt. Temperance: No one here has gotten paranoid. This was a specific hack.
Let’s be specific shall we. It is our duty to report our news to our viewers cleanly. And it is important to keep them safe in the process. The word-press site wasn’t hacked, the domain was. Nothing else to see here….. move along!

Yeah, nothing else to see here. Thanks for the laughs, Cowgirl.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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18 Responses to Republican Conspiracy to Take Down Cowgirl?

  1. I forgot to mention that if Cowgirl wants to be taken seriously for reporting “real news” then attributing images used by the professionals who take them would be a good place to start. I saw that Dennis Bragg recently commented that his image was used without attribution.

  2. Greg Strandberg says:

    Thank you for making me laugh again, several times in fact. I too thought about discussing that sites and its recent troubles, but you did a great job. The real laughs, as you mentioned, are in the comments.

    Who are these people?

  3. Rob Kailey says:

    There are so many holes in the Cowgirl explanation of this ‘attack’ that it is every bit likely that they downloaded and posted an image that, shall we say, brought friends. Possibly from an unlicensed and unattributed image, perhaps? The odds that this was a directed strike against MTCowgirl dot com are very small. Good analysis, Lizard.

  4. Rob Kailey says:

    Just a question, but why, if they were SOOO thorough in their defense and cleanup would they be so adamant that they are “keeping their readers safe” and then begging their readers to take action so that’s safe to visit the site? ‘Just being curious, I guess …

  5. JC says:

    I guess this is as good of a time to add a little fuel to the conspiracy fires. utilizes a technique called HTML5 Canvas Fingerprinting. What this is, is a technique to uniquely identify each and every computer that visits their site. I’ll post a pic that shows what it looks like when you visit the site with a browser that is setup to detect such efforts:

    This is no random thing that people do with WordPress. It is a deliberate attack on people who view their site to identify and track their browsing behavior. Want to see how vulnerable you are to having your privacy violated by the likes of MTCowgirl, visit Panopticlick. For instance, when I look at the fingerprinting data it generates, my web browser that I use primarily shows that it is unique among the 138,000+ tests it has done.

    Who else uses it? Many places, including And why should I be worried? Well, Fingerprinting can be associated with “Householding” where all of your devices can be associated with a household. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination of who may be interested in this sort of tracking technology. But in this era of the NSA’s goal of total information collection, you can be assured that your visits to sites like MTCowgirl and ID might end up in a terrorist database…

  6. JC says:

    One last poke at MTCowgirl. They are hosting their website at GoDaddy. While many people think of GoDaddy as an inexpensive web hosting outfit best known for exploiting feminine attributes in their marketing, it is much worse than that.

    GoDaddy is the province of Bob Parsons, billionaire extraordinaire, and right wing political activist. He also is infamous for his elephant hunting expeditions, and other exploitive activities.

    So this begs the question: why would give their business to GoDaddy and feed profits to the likes of Parsons, when there are so many other progressive businesses offering competitive services at similar prices?

    • Greg Strandberg says:

      Why would the Montana Democratic Party choose a North Carolina company to redo their website this year when plenty of Montana companies could have done the same?

      • JC says:

        Yep, New Media Campaigns works with the best of political entities. Like the House Majority PAC. Plenty of Montana businesses that won’t work with right wingers.

      • Glen says:

        Please forward the names of site building and hosting companies in Montana. I had no idea GoDaddy was owned by a right winger and will,be happy to move our site.

        • JC says:

          Modwest in Missoula is topnotch. Likewise ReadySetGo in Billings. Johnson’s in Helena.

          Of course, a Montana hosting company isn’t necessarily the best choice, though Modwest has been a national/international favorite for over 15 years. There are great national hosting companies that have progressive or neutral political policies, including DreamHost — who offers free hosting to 501(c)(3) nonprofits, and SiteGround. There are many, many more out there.

          If you need higher end services, there’s Nexcess. Always steer clear of bargain basement hosting companies or anything owned by GoDaddy (like Media Temple).

          More likely than not, most bargain basement hosting sites are owned by transnational corporations like Endurance International (almost 70 branded hosting companies in its portfolio in the wiki entry) that buy up a bunch of brands, and cross-market them. The weakness of one is a weakness of all.

    • Glen says:

      Please provide names of local companies that build and host websites. Thank you so much.

      • JC says:

        Wow, there’s so many of them. You can select a web developer depending on your needs. Most decent developers have good relationships with reputable hosting companies that they use.

      • JC says:

        And I’ll add here, as I’m not allowed to comment at Cowgirl, that ReptileDysfunction is hosted at WordPress. We use the free version, and they run it on their global cloud system. Somebody at Cowgirl (MT Temperance i think) tried to demean us by suggesting that because is hosted in california (it isn’t really, it’s hosted all across WP’s cloud infrastructure) that it is hypocritical of us to lambast others for their choices.

        Well, if we were going to pay for WordPress hosting, I’d suggest to Skink that we do it somewhere like SiteGround or DreamHost, or if we wanted to go local, using Modwest. But as WordPress is full of security issues, it pays either to have WordPress host the software, or a company that is experienced in supporting WordPress installations to do so. MOdwest falls a little behind in managed package hosting on its shared grid system.

  7. Cowgirl, like all sites that promote propaganda, has ulterior motives behind the writing (and I assume the writing they do for Pogie too). As with advertising, it is not about surface features. The true purpose is unstated. It’s not hard to see with these outlets that they encourage a ‘circle the wagons’ attitude among followers. And that is probably the real purpose of the blog, which has always been a professional endeavor. It keeps the followers in a groupthink camp and afraid of demonic outsiders.

    So the idea that Republicans would want to take down the site, when harldy any Republicans even read it, is ludicrous. Republicans have their own wagons to circle. The MT. Dems are just doing a little psy-op on their readers, telling them the blog was attacked by the evil enemy. They eat that shit up.

    By the way, I stopped by the Cowgirl site when I woke up at a wicked early hour, like 2AM, some time ago. They had a meter on the side showing the number of people currently viewing the blog. The correct answer was “1” – or me. But the meter read 46. Odd.

    • Greg Strandberg says:

      You’ll notice they did away with the hit counter for how many people visit or read an article. You’ve always said that was fake, I’ve always wondered if you were right. By taking it down, I wonder if they just got tired of living the lie. After all, we see them spying on users and now, with the “fake” Gianforte Facebook news, it’s probably best to stop lying about visitors when you charge someone else with lying too.

      Of course, there’ll never be any mention of the removal of the hit counters or their spying through the fingerprinting software. They’ll ignore those charges or, if they grow too loud, they’ll attack the person making them.

      Montana Democratic strategy 101.

      • Their software is very sophisticated. Since it is Montana, I would guess they are using party software that is available to all the local parties in all the states, expensive, meant to track and spy on people, but affordable because it is widely used throughout the country. New York and California apparatchiks probably use it too. Cowgirl is such a phony operation.,

        People can get in and comment by various emails and names, and this software allows them to ID the computer so no matter any fake name or address, they can censor you. Such software is expensive, I guarantee you, and Pogie probably has it too, as he’s a fake. It means that they want their lackeys and employees commenting, no one else.

        Anyway, the number 46 intrigued me.

  8. LivingstonFan says:

    While it has always been obvious to me that Norma and Temperance are one in the same, what are the odds that both would misspell “conspiracy” the same way in this thread with Matthew Koehler.

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