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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Beeve Stannon

As many of you already know, the House Intel Committee wants to question Brad Parscale, the "digital director" for the Trump campaign. Republican strategist Rick Wilson, a columnist for the Daily Beast, offered the following tweet:
A little bird tells me that a certain White House staff member whose name rhymes with Beeve Stannon is crapping diamonds over Parscale.
Remember: A White House staffer whose name rhymes with Beeve Stannon used to be in charge of Cambridge Analytica.

Is Georgia on your mind? Forget it. The race is already over. Ossof is ahead, but not to a sufficient degree.

Those who accept the reality of election hacking understand that it would be too suspicious to manipulate the results if the spread is larger than three percent (roughly speaking). In the much-ballyhooed race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel, Ossof is now ahead by a mere 1.5 points. He's well within the margin of error. The error always favors the GOP in important races. Funny how that happens.

Sorry, but Ossoff will lose. There will be plenty of "blame the Dems" handwringing afterward, and a whole bunch of Trumpian triumphalism. This shit will continue until responsible people in the media start to admit that our concerns about computerized vote-rigging are legit.

This piece in Politico just came to my attention: "Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?"
Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Foundation, which sued the state last month to prevent it from using the voting machines in the upcoming runoff, says Americans have reason to be concerned about the integrity of Georgia’s election system—and the state’s puzzling lack of interest in addressing its vulnerabilities. “The security weaknesses recently exposed would be a welcome mat for bad actors.”
The story focuses on a cybersecurity specialist named Logan Lamb who almost accidentally hacked into the state's voting system.
Within the mother lode Lamb found on the center’s website was a database containing registration records for the state’s 6.7 million voters; multiple PDFs with instructions and passwords for election workers to sign in to a central server on Election Day; and software files for the state’s ExpressPoll pollbooks — electronic devices used by pollworkers to verify that a voter is registered before allowing them to cast a ballot. There also appeared to be databases for the so-called GEMS servers. These Global Election Management Systems are used to prepare paper and electronic ballots, tabulate votes and produce summaries of vote totals.

The files were supposed to be behind a password-protected firewall, but the center had misconfigured its server so they were accessible to anyone, according to Lamb. “You could just go to the root of where they were hosting all the files and just download everything without logging in,” Lamb says.

And there was another problem: The site was also using a years-old version of Drupal — content management software — that had a critical software vulnerability long known to security researchers.
Lamb was concerned that hackers might already have penetrated the center’s site, a scenario that wasn’t improbable given news reports of intruders probing voter registration systems and election websites; if they had breached the center’s network, they could potentially have planted malware on the server to infect the computers of county election workers who accessed it, thereby giving attackers a backdoor into election offices throughout the state; or they could possibly have altered software files the center distributed to Georgia counties prior to the presidential election, depending on where those files were kept.

The center has played a critical role in the state’s elections for more than a decade, not only by testing the touch-screen voting machines used throughout the state and maintaining the software that’s used in the machines, but also by providing support for the GEMS servers that tabulate votes and creating and distributing the electronic ballot definition files that go into each voting machine before elections. These files tell the machines which candidate should receive a vote based on where a voter touches the screen. If someone were to alter the files, machines could be made to record votes for the wrong candidate.
Still think Ossoff has a chance? If you talk about the Georgia election purely in terms of Russian hacking, you're missing the point. Even if we leave Russia out of this, we have quite the scandal here.
After Lamb discovered the initial problems last August, he notified Merle King, executive director at the center, who thanked Lamb and said he would get the server fixed. It was months before the presidential election, and King pressed Lamb not to talk about the issue with anyone, especially the media.

“He said, It would be best if you were to drop this now,” Lamb recalls. King also said that if Lamb did talk, “the people downtown, the politicians … would crush” Lamb.
The vulnerability remains in place.

Syria. Here's a headline some of you may not have expected:
Exclusive: White House Officials Push For Widening War in Syria Over Pentagon Objections
A pair of top White House officials is pushing to broaden the war in Syria, viewing it as an opportunity to confront Iran and its proxy forces on the ground there, according to two sources familiar with the debate inside the Donald Trump administration.

Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council, and Derek Harvey, the NSC’s top Middle East advisor, want the United States to start going on the offensive in southern Syria, where, in recent weeks, the U.S. military has taken a handful of defensive actions against Iranian-backed forces fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Thank god Hillary didn't win. She's such a warmonger, you know.

Paul Ryan. Why did this former Trump critic become Trump's catamite? $20 million may have had something to do with it.
The swamp needs to be fire-bombed. The MSM are useless.
Thank you for this. Lamb brought out an excellent point that I hadn't thought through, which is once system is hacked all sort of perfidy is possible. While I'm not in denial that hacking and most probably vote rigging are occurring, I can't bring myself to think of all of the repercussions.

Also excellent point that Russians can't be blamed 100%. Rethugs have been tampering with voting registration records since at least 2000. My concern is that the focus on the Russians, while important, diverts concern from those in US who most probably initiated these activities and found a willing ally in Russia.
I had merely been assuming that the Grody Old Perverts did not want to investigate the Russian interference story because Russian interference had benefitted their party. However, they would have extra motive to bury the story if investigation of Russian meddling in our election processes could bring Rethuglican meddling in our election processes to light.
You were right, Ossoff lost by about 4 or 5%. However, that was a huge reduction in margin of victory from prior races in that district, so perhaps it's a pyrrhic victory for both sides of the political realm.
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