Sunday, October 16, 2016

Is our long national Trumpmare finally over?

Seriously, is it over?

No-one ever mistook me for an optimist. In each election, my custom is to predict a victory for the candidate I loathe most. Yet here we are, three weeks away from the election, and Trump has decided that he can do without any help from the Ohio GOP. Doesn't that translate to "over"?

Maybe. But if so, then why do I keep watching the latest Trump news obsessively?

You're probably doing the same. What if the monster reanimates? For God's sake, keep a stake and some garlic close at hand: If there's thing I learned from a boyhood spent watching Hammer films, it's that Dracula tends to rise from the grave.

While maintaining your vigil, read this piece on the Trump/Putin ties. Yes, it is written by a spokesperson for Hillary For America -- hardly an unbiased source. But the facts are plain.
Intelligence officials say that Donald Trump was reportedly briefed in mid-August about Russia’s efforts to meddle in our election.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the first time anyone has quoted "intelligence officials" to that effect? It seems as though that "400 pound hacker" bit was a fib. Trump knew better.

The piece goes into Roger Stone's connections with Wikileaks, and the fact that Stone had advance knowledge of the John Podesta hack. You probably already knew about this.
It’s not just Stone. Yahoo! News reported that Trump’s former foreign policy adviser Carter Page traveled to Russia and allegedly met with the top Putin aide believed by U.S. officials to be in charge of Russia’s intelligence efforts regarding our election. Page had already raised concerns among foreign policy experts by delivering a July speech highly critical of U.S. policy — in Moscow.

The Trump campaign attempted to claim that Page had “no role” in the campaign. But that’s a demonstrable lie because Trump himself identified Page as a member of his foreign policy team, and spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed it.
So, to recap: our intelligence community has confirmed that Russia is trying to influence our election. Despite reportedly being briefed on this, Trump has continued to defend Putin and deflect blame from Russia — in effect coddling a foreign adversary. Meanwhile, Russian hackers and WikiLeaks are clearly trying to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

We also know that documents previously released by the Russian hackers behind Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks have been manipulated, and that we should only expect more of these dirty tricks moving forward.
Looks to me as though Donald Trump and Roger Stone are the ones who should fear being locked up -- for treason.

How they did it: BuzzFeed says that the hackers got into the DNC with a faked message from Gmail.
The emails, which were sent to DNC and Clinton staff from March 10, appeared almost identical to the standard warnings Gmail users get asking them to reset their passwords, the report found. Once clicked, the links took users to a page that imitated a Google login page, but which was stealing their password information — and downloading malware — designed by a group of Russian hackers known as Fancy Bear.
Researchers found the emails by tracing the malicious URLs set up by Fancy Bear using Bitly, a link shortening service. Fancy Bear had set the URL they sent out to read, rather than the official Google URL,, the report said.

“We were monitoring and saw the accounts being created in real time,” said Phil Burdette, a senior security researcher at SecureWorks, explaining how they stumbled upon the the URLs set up by Fancy Bear.
Wait. They were monitoring Bitly at the time? Awfully coincidental, that.

It is possible that we may one day learn that American intelligence services (and their contractors) have always known everything that Putin -- and Team Trump -- were getting up to.

This humble blog was -- I think -- the very first site to offer information and speculation about the Trump/Putin connection, in this post from June 16. I argued that Russian trolls manipulated the Bernie Sanders phenomenon...
No, I am not arguing that Bernie Sanders was cognizant of this operation. The 2016 astroturf campaign was designed not to make Sanders president but to create fractures within the Democratic party. You may have noticed that the pro-Bernie astroturfers rarely discussed the candidate's ideas in any detail, and rarely quoted him. This is the key distinction between Obama's online operation in 2008 and the Sanders online operation in 2016. In 2008, astroturfed demonization of Clinton was matched by wild overpraise of every thought and observation made by Barack Obama; the online effort was both negative and positive. This year, it was all about Hillary-Hate; Bernie was just the excuse.
In that June post, I maintained Hillary could not win against a cyber-war waged by a foreign power. Turns out I was wrong. Both the Russians and the Trump-eters suffered from the same failing: Whenever the situation called for subtlety, they were as obvious as Cyrano's nose.

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