The FBI released a report on Russian hacking our election and helping Donald Trump become the next president of the United States.
The report is 13 pages long. Three of the pages discuss Russian hacking. The remaining pages are meant for departments and agencies to help protect against these sorts of threats.
According to the report there were two hacking events. One took place in the summer of 2015. That hack was a bit more sophisticated than the other. According to the FBI, the hack used “spearphishing campaigns leveraging web links to a malicious dropper; once executed, the code delivers Remote Access Tools (RATs) and evades detection using a range of techniques.”
The other known hack happened in the spring of 2016. That was more low-tech. It involved setting up a fake website that mimics a real website, like GMail. The victim is asked to change their password, when they do, they enter their real password first and then the hacker has it. This is the one John Podesta fell for (lack of proper security training).
Both hacks were against the Democratic party. Both involved harvesting of data, some of which was released in order to harm Hillary Clinton and help Trump.
It’s interesting that the FBI knew about these attempts to influence our election, but they were relatively quiet about it. But when the FBI found a giant nothing-burger on Clinton aide’s computer, they shouted it from the top of the tallest building 10 days before the election. The FBI, for whatever reason, was complicit in Russia’s attack on our democratic process. So view this “report” and anything the FBI communicates about this matter through that lens.
Maybe I’m just getting older. Maybe the conservative movement was always devoid of serious intellectual thinkers. But up until the late 1990s, the conservative wing of our political world included intelligent people like William F. Buckley and editorial writers like William Safire. There were always the Birchers, but there were intelligent men and women associated with the GOP who could make a cogent argument. Not today. In 2015, the intellectual giants have long abandoned the Republican party and conservative politics.
I can recall listening to conservatives make their case and thinking, “I totally disagree with what they’re saying, but I get where they’re coming from on this issue.”
There was a certain intellectual integrity to conservatives 20 years ago, but now the conservative arguments range from one argumentation fallacy after another. Just look at the conservative Supreme Court justices’ arguments opposing marriage equality. There is clearly no rational basis to deny gay couples the same protection under the law as straight people, so all that’s left are intellectually dishonest arguments that really make no sense whatsoever.
In his dissenting opinion on marriage equality, Justice Clarence Thomas somehow tried to equate allowing gay people the right to marry as tantamount to opposing inter-racial marriages. Of course, the opposite is true. Denying gay people the right to marry is exactly like denying people of different races the opportunity marry the one they love. While inter-racial marriages were criminal offenses, and with gay marriages we’re dealing with civil law, however the same equal protection under the law argument clearly applies to both situations.
And look at the conservative response to yet another blow in the “effort” to destroy the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court, once again, has ruled in support of the Affordable Care Act.
And because of that decision, conservatives are confusingly accusing Supreme Court judges of activism. In conservative circles if the court doesn’t strike down a law passed by Congress, it’s being an activist court. Which of course is exactly the opposite of what’s happening, so that’s yet another dumb idea.
The reason for this insane disconnect between current conservative ideas and logic is that the party has been exposed. For the last 50 or 60 years, the GOP has been the party of the rich, for the rich. They’ve pushed massive tax cuts, slashing the top tax bracket by more than 50 percent. They’ve pushed hard for deregulation of the banking industry, which has resulted in a boom and bust economy. That started with the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s, the hedge fund collapse and the most recent Great Recession. Thrown into the mix is the Enron and other similar corrupt corporations gaming the system and rigging markets.
So while they work to suppress worker wages, dismantle unions and gut as much federal and state regulations as possible, the working men and women are living on less money, with bigger bills, more debt and an unpredictable future.
And that’s the problem with the Republican party. They can’t talk about this stuff publicly, or they won’t even win House seats in Texas. So they have to lie. When Ted Cruz says that if he’s elected president he’ll repeal the Affordable Care Act on day 1 in office, he knows that’s bullshit. Cruz must know that the president can’t unilaterally just throw out laws passed by Congress. The president can lobby Congress to change the law or repeal the law, but Cruz knows that the president doesn’t have the authority he is claiming he will have if elected president. Cruz is banking on the fact that those people who are showing up to listen to him speak 18 months before general election, don’t care.
But that’s the only trick the GOP can do. They can throw red meat to their ignorant base that shows up to vote in primaries. While this looniness makes for funny news stories and hilarious Saturday Night Live skits, it’s not particularly useful in terms of honest political discourse. The frightening aspect of all of this nonsense is that some freak thing could happen during the general campaign and one of these stunningly inept GOP candidates could be president. Can anyone seriously imagine what a Chris Christie presidency would look like?
Speaking at a conservative conference this week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that he has the experience to be president, and that his experience busting up labor unions in particular makes him especially qualified to battle global terrorism.
“If I can take on 100,000 protesters,” he said, “I can do the same across the world.”
The terrorists on the other hand have taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria. They have brutally murdered hundreds, if not thousands of people. The terrorists sometimes video record the murders and publish them on the Internet and in some cases the videos get rebroadcast on Fox News. That one Fox News is publishing shows a man being burned alive.
In 2011, when Walker was working to break the back of government-sector organized labor, at one point nearly a 1,000 protesters slept in the Madison, Wisconsin capitol rotunda. With signs like, “Kill the bill,” I’m sure those sleeping bags were quite intimidating.
Those sleepy protesters eventually would lose many of their rights to bargain collectively. Gov. Scott Walker didn’t just win the battles, he won the war against government workers organizing. So watch out global terrorist network of well-armed brutal murderers, if Scott Walker becomes the next president of the United States, don’t even consider organizing. Walker will peg your raises at no more than the consumer price index, so don’t even ask.