Sunday, July 29, 2018

As Trump And Putin Plan To Steal The Midterms, Democrats Are... Dismayed


Sadly, I don't see Putin-Gate as being decisive in the midterms. As Republican Congressman Darrell Issa told Neil Cavuto on GOP-TV yesterday, that id Trump is "proven to have not told the whole truth about the fact that campaigns look for dirt, and if someone offers it, you listen to them, nobody’s going to be surprised. There are some things in politics that you just take for granted." What it says about my fellow citizens is mind-boggling-- but, of course, we had a hint of that when so many of them (albeit not a majority) voted for a cheap huckster and fascist in 2016. Character, apparently, doesn't count for these voters. How could anyone not have seen him as the lesser of two evils? Maybe all this Russia stuff keeps chipping away at Trump's approval... but it never seems to drop below 38% no matter how blatant his affinity for Putin. It's important for the rest iff us to be aware of info like the Atlantic essay by Natasha Bertrand this week: The Case for a Trump-Russia Conspiracy Just Got a Little Stronger, even if we already know everything there is ti know about his "character, truthfulness, and culpability... If Trump knew about the meeting and was okay with it, Trump and those around him could be guilty of an inchoate conspiracy." Does it matter?
[I]f Trump approved a meeting with foreign nationals in the hopes of obtaining something of value-- i.e., opposition research at the height of the presidential election-- the intent alone could provide prosecutors with an important piece in understanding the campaign’s willingness to conspire with Russia, legal experts told me.

...“President Trump’s track record of dishonesty will cast all of the hard evidence in the most negative light in the minds of the prosecutors who decide whether the interests of justice call for charges to be brought.”
OK, nice. But I'm not counting on prosecutors saving us from the scourge of Trumpism. I'm counting on the midterms. I believe only one thing stands between a 40-50 seat Democratic majority in the House and GOP retention of control: Putin-Gate II. Everyone has heard about Russian hacking of Claire McCaskill by now. Republicans seem completely fine with the help.

Friday Trump chaired a brief meeting on his NSA, but it seemed like he was there for just one reason: to find out what the plans were so he could pass them along to Putin. It lasted less than an hour "and no new directives on how to counter or deter threats against election meddling were discussed. Officials only discussed actions taken so far to repel attacks against the US election system." I hope no one gave Trump anything in writing. NBC News reported Friday night that the regime has no central strategy for election security, and no one's in charge.
[E]ven members of Trump's national security cabinet have acknowledged the need for a central, unifying effort-- one that experts say is missing. Senior officials have also admitted that the government has failed to take steps necessary to give the Russians second thoughts about intervening in American politics. Trump hasn't done so, and neither did Barack Obama, whose response to election meddling-- expelling diplomats and closing Russian compounds in December 2016-- has been described by some of his own former aides as tepid.

If any evidence was needed that the Russians haven't been deterred, a Democratic senator, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, said Thursday she was the target of an unsuccessful Russian hacking attempt. A Microsoft official says that company has also observed attempted Russian hacks against two other unnamed candidates.

"I do think we need to do more as a government. It requires a whole of government, because it's not just the elections," Kirstjen Nielsen, the Homeland Security secretary, told NBC's Peter Alexander at the Aspen Security Forum earlier this month.

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, said in a speech this month that "the system is blinking red" on Russia cyber threats but "we have to do better in what we deliver to our customers."

In April, a top National Security Agency official said the U.S. doesn't "yet have the political fortitude to say how we'll strike back" against Russian misbehavior in cyberspace. No additional fortitude has been on display in the months since. NSA director Paul Nakasone, asked about those comments last week, said he wasn't aware of them.

"We have to as a nation bring all of the elements of our power against our adversaries," he said.

In February, his predecessor, Adm. Mike Rogers, told Congress the Russians "haven't paid a price at least that's sufficient to get them to change their behavior," adding later that "we're taking steps, but we're probably not doing enough."

Last week, House Republicans voted down a proposal by Democrats to increase election funding to states by $380 million-- the cost of about four F-35 fighter jets.

Democrats in Congress are deeply dismayed.

"In a normal White House, there would be a point person on the National Security Council, to coordinate all the different agencies and to work with the states and the social media companies to make sure our electoral systems aren't so vulnerable to attack," Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who is helping lead an investigation into Russian interference as ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told NBC News.

"But President Trump's inability to acknowledge that the Russians interfered in 2016 and that they will be back in 2018 is really hampering the government's response to this threat. We just don't have a whole-of-government strategy for dealing with this problem, and it leaves us incredibly vulnerable to continued interference by the Russians or, for that matter, any other adversary who might try to steal their playbook."

...While U.S. intelligence officials have said they don't see a Russian effort to go after voting systems timed to the midterms this fall, they acknowledge that there is little to stop the Russians from doing so. Meanwhile, the social media manipulation has never stopped, and the hacking attempts appear to continue.

Coats, the nation's top intelligence official, spoke at length about his worries in a speech this month, given just days before Trump stood next to Vladimir Putin and seemed to undercut his intelligence agencies on Russian interference.

"Russia has been the most aggressive foreign actor-- no question," Coats said. "And they continue their efforts to undermine our democracy."

As to the upcoming midterm elections, he said, it's fairly meaningless that there are no signs of interference in specific states, because "we fully realize that we are just one click of the keyboard away from a similar situation repeating itself."

Moreover, Coats added, "we are seeing aggressive attempts to manipulate social media and to spread propaganda focused on hot-button issues that are intended to exacerbate socio-political divisions. Despite public statements by the Kremlin to the contrary, we continue to see individuals affiliated with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency creating new social media accounts, masquerading as Americans, and then using these accounts to draw attention to divisive issues."

He continued: "These actions are persistent, they are pervasive, and they are meant to undermine America's democracy on a daily basis, regardless of whether it is election time or not. Russian actors and others are exploring vulnerabilities in our critical infrastructure as well."

"The warning signs are there, the system is blinking, and that is why I believe we are at a critical point."

Dark Triad by Chip Proser

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At 7:08 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

I'm counting on the midterms. I believe only one thing stands between a 40-50 seat Democratic majority in the House...

And that one thing is...Nancy Pelosi. You wanna win the House? Tell Nancy to retire.

At 7:18 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

"When The DCCC Calls, Hang Up The Phone"


At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Many people are incensed and freaked out. Trump should be impeached immediately, but no, Congress does not care that our orange leader conspired with a foreign government to undermine our election and our democracy or care that the Russians will interfere again, perhaps even more so this time. Power outages of our voting machines perhaps? Changing the actual vote counts? The Republican Party is completely compromised and they are a bunch of traitors. Yet things go on as usual and 38% still support them. Unbelievable. Trump Anxiety Syndrome will be increasing among the populace.

There must have been many Germans aghast at the horrors during the Nazi build up during the 1930's. We never hear about them.

At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, read Shirer. Fact is, a majority of Germans never did vote for hitler. But they got hitler anyway. Just read about it. Better than me telling you. Shirer was there.

"But I'm not counting on prosecutors saving us from the scourge of Trumpism. I'm counting on the midterms."

You mean EXACTLY like the 2006 midterms that saved us from cheney/bush-ism?

You just admitted that you're insane. ponder that. Oh never mind.

At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

edmondo, it would take the retirement of Pelosi and the next 50 in succession before anything would change even a tiny bit.

The day someone like Jayapal can win the gavel is the day things might actually start to change.

But the ice caps and polar bears will have been gone for decades by that time. And Florida's electoral votes will have to be counted under water.

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of what use is ActBlue when they raise funds for the DCCC?

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:59, been asking DWT that for over a year. No answer.

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every day, DWT presents more evidence that the Democrats are a lost cause, yet promotes the idea that voting for them is the way to go.

I'd rather work out how to insert a square peg into a round hole without touching either object.

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:21, it becomes more clear every time they do as you say that DWT is acting, or being used willingly, as a sheepdog.

Still, truth is very scarcely found these days. DWT has more than most. I just wish it would throw its collar and become a true left wolf.


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