It’s about time it’s Friday.
SENATE TO START BIPARTISAN COMMISSION ON ELECTION HACKING
According to this report, Senators Kirsten Gillebrand (D-NY) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) introduced legislation today to create a 9/11 style commission on election hacking and cybersecurity, in hopes to find out exactly what happened in 2016, as well as determining what can be done for 2018.
This is some pretty big news, for three reasons.
First, it’s a bipartisan effort to get to the bottom of the matter. For the last few months, The Changing Narrative has slowly slid from there was no collusion and there was no hacking, to that it wasn’t a big deal, to a “so what” attitude. Now, we’re finally getting the rank and file Republicans to admit that something was wrong, and that this needs investigation.
Second, it’s been obvious for a while that something was rotten with the 2016 election, but instead of having this kind of commission come from the Executive branch, like it should, this commission is coming from the Senate. The three branches of the government operate independently of each other, but in unison. Since the Executive branch didn’t create this commission, like they should have by March, it’s time for the Legislative Branch to pick up the slack.
Finally, as I said to finish the last paragraph, this should have been done by March. The fact that someone could lose the popular vote by over 3 million votes nationwide, yet win three crucial states by less than 71,000 people to clinch the Electoral College instantly places an air of illegitimacy around the victory. That’s less than the populations of Boca Raton, Florida, or Napa City, California. That’s almost exactly the population of Plum Borough and Penn Hills, PA. There are more undergrads at Penn State University, then the margin of victory for Donald Trump.
By creating a commission to investigate if there was any wrongdoing in the election, not only would it give the facade that he cared, but it would have let the country heal, and get on with the next mess. Instead, he trots out his racist rhetoric and insists that the only reason he lost was that 3-5 million people voted illegally. Aside from being wholly fabricated, and near impossible to pull off, the only anticdotes supporting this came from white people who saw brown and black people voting, and they got scared.
Here’s a couple predictions: The Russians, with the help key members of the Republican National Committee, and the Donald Trump Campaign, exploited several weak areas in the American Electoral System. These areas included cybersecurity, campaign funding, spreading of propaganda to target demographics using traditional and social media, propping up third party candidates, and modification of voter rolls in key districts that, when coupled with voter suppression tactics like ID laws, disenfranchised enough voters in key states that the actual hacking of voting machines may not have been needed, but would have been easier to execute, with the witting, but also unwitting assistance of Americans at every stage of the process. Some people, like Donald Trump and his staff, organized the actions from the top. Others, like members of the GOP who accepted laundered money from Russia, were complicit at the end. Many still, like your uncle or grandma on Facebook forwarding memes from “Crossing Borders” or “Heart of Texas”, were unwittingly participating in spreading Russian propaganda.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE’S PRESS SECRETARY LEAVING POST
Per Politico, Mike Pence’s Press Secretary is stepping down at the end of the month. Marc Lotter has been with Mike Pence since his days in Indiana, and followed the former governor to the White House. He not announced any reason for stepping down, or what his next move is.
Something strikes me as weird here. Here’s a man who has worked with Pence for a long time, and followed him from Indiana to Washington, D.C. He uprooted himself, and his family if he has one, to work in the center of power. As the Russian Investigation heats up, he turns in his notice, and leaves without having another job lined up.
Granted, I’ve quit my fair share of jobs, some on good notice, some following a fist fight with the owner. But one thing I’ve always tried to do is make sure that I have a plan, or at least access to a plan. If I left a job without having something lined up, it’s because something felt fishy. Like the MLM company that was visited by the feds the week after I left, or the stereo sales company that had several people selling things other than speakers from the back of a van. Those, I left because my spidey sense was tingling, and that meant danger was afoot.
That’s why I think Marc Lotter quit his job. If he was leaving for a better paying job, or had another other, the story would have said so. Instead, that part was left open. With the Russian Investigation gaining more ground, I can see why Marc is getting out while the getting is good. He doesn’t want to be like the next guy.
MANAFORT’S SPOKESMAN SPENT TWO AND A HALF HOURS TESTIFYING BEFORE GRAND JURY
Jason Maloni, spokesman for Paul Manafort, testified before a Grand Jury today for more than 2.5 hours, as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation. Details are still sketchy as to whether he was testifying as a witness or a suspect, or both.
My hypothesis is that they’re coming after him as a witness at first, seeing what he knows about Manafort, and seeing if he knows anything they don’t. Not likely, but it’s worth a shot. If Mueller’s team catches Maloni lying, they’ll nail him with a perjury charge faster than Barry Allen doing the dishes. If Maloni tells them everything he knows, they’ll use him to bury Manafort. Once they have Manafort, it’s on to bigger fish.
FIRTASH EXTRADITION IMMINENT, WAS TAPPED BY USIC
The Chicago Tribune had a couple stories about Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian billionaire oligarch with ties to Paul Manafort. It looks like the United States is trying to extradite him from Austria to stand trial in Chicago, and at the base of this trial is “thousands of intercepts” in the possession of the USIC.
A few months ago, the Rumor Mill on Twitter was talking about how Manafort’s phone was hot-micked. Various IC agencies around the world had their eyes and ears on him, and hacked his phone with an SS7 exploit to turn it into an eavesdropping device at will. This is called a hot mic, for the term used to describe a live microphone in video and audio production. Some of the most embarrassing things are caught on a hot mic. It’s bad enough when it’s on a conference call for work, or a class project in front of the really cute girl in class, but when it’s German Intelligence doing it, it’s bad.
Along with the Manafort Hot Mic rumor, Dmitry’s name popped up a couple times as another target who’s phone was hacked. Since Mr. Firtash doesn’t belong to the Five Eyes, the USIC can have a field day with him, as long as they get approval for surveillance under FISA 702. Interesting how that number keeps coming up.
FACEBOOK GIVES MORE INFORMATION TO ROBERT MUELLER
Speaking of numbers, Facebook gave Robert Mueller’s team more of them. Facebook is cooperating with the Special Counselor on his investigation, and has disclosed more information to them than they disclosed to Congress.
I’m wondering, how much of that disclosure was voluntary, and how much of that came with a search warrant?
ROHRBACHER APPROACHED WHITE HOUSE OVER ASSANGE DEAL. KELLY TOLD HIM TO POUND SAND.
First off, I’d like to give a big, old FUCK YOU to the Wall Street Journal tonight. I know this isn’t very professional of me, but while finishing up this article earlier, I clicked on the last link I’d saved from earlier today, referencing an article from the Wall Street Journal, and some damn fine reporting about how Russia’s Favorite Representative, Dana Rohrbacher, had met with Julian Assange of Wikileaks, and had called the White House about a deal. When I clicked on that link that I had saved earlier, my browser crashed, the computer required a reboot, and I lost a solid couple hundred words about Joe Arpaio.
Now that I’ve got that out of my system, here’s a link from Business Insider. My favorite part of the story is twofold. First, Rohrbacher offered a deal to the White House. If they give Assange a pardon, he would give them proof that Russia was not behind the election hacks. Second, he talked to Chief of Staff John Kelly, who said that this info, if he had any, “was best directed to the intelligence community.”
Ouch. Hope the ACA can help with that burn.
The more I’ve learned about Rohrbacher this year, the more I’m convinced that he’s on Putin’s payroll. This man actually proposed giving Alaska back to the Russians on the House floor. He has repeated Russian propaganda talking points, even when they’ve been disproved, and his only committee work in the House deals directly with Russia. Meeting Julian Assange in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, with Chuck Johnson by his side (more on that white supremacist piece of shit later), and phrasing the deal the way he did, shows that he’s either a Russian shill, an idiot, or both.
I’m not a lawyer, but if I’m ever in a position to offer someone a pardon in exchange for information they have, I want to corroborate the information first. They don’t get the pardon until AFTER I’ve guaranteed they aren’t trying to fuck me.
Plus, Julian Assange has more problems than just with Americans. He was involved with Brexit, LePen, the German Nationalist movement, and has leaked government secrets from pretty much every government in the world. If he’s looking for a soft landing, he’s in for a rude awakening. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tries to apprehend him, or worse, the moment he steps foot outside of that embassy.
I’ll have to do a little digging, and see when Rohrbacher jumped on the Trump Train. That’s a piece worth looking into.
Finally, before I go for the night, I finally posted a link to this blog on Twitter. Not sure if anyone followed it yet, but it shows that I’m at least thinking of spreading the word about this site, and that I’m at least somewhat confident of my writing. The website layout is a different story.
Also, I love this quote from Katy Tur a few nights ago. I think I’ll keep it as part of my sign-off for a while.
“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”
– Katy Tur
Thank you, and have a good one.