There is a special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District on Tuesday, between Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff and Republican candidate Karen Handel. Georgia is one of only five states that use electronic voting without any “paper trail” available for verification of the vote. (h/t Ballotpedia).
That’s bad enough, but wait, it gets worse. Kim Zetter at Politico Magazine had an in-depth report this week about just how unsecure the voting system in Georgia is. Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?:
Last August, when the FBI reported that hackers were probing voter registration databases in more than a dozen states, prompting concerns about the integrity of the looming presidential election, Logan Lamb decided he wanted to get his hands on a voting machine.
A 29-year-old former cybersecurity researcher with the federal government’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Lamb, who now works for a private internet security firm in Georgia, wanted to assess the security of the state’s voting systems. When he learned that Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems tests and programs voting machines for the entire state of Georgia, he searched the center’s website.
“I was just looking for PDFs or documents,” he recalls, hoping to find anything that might give him a little more sense of the center’s work. But his curiosity turned to alarm when he encountered a number of files, arranged by county, that looked like they could be used to hack an election. Lamb wrote an automated script to scrape the site and see what was there, then went off to lunch while the program did its work. When he returned, he discovered that the script had downloaded 15 gigabytes of data.
“I was like whoa, whoa. … I did not mean to do that. … I was absolutely stunned, just the sheer quantity of files I had acquired,” he tells Politico Magazine in his first interview since discovering the massive security breach.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Campaigns, Courts, Election Integrity, Elections, Infrastructure, Scandals
Tagged Cyber Crime, Cyber War, Russia, Secretary of State, Technology
I first posted about this pending lawsuit back in February 2015 and I have occasionally posted updates about its status. Background: Update) Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature faces another lawsuit for its failure to fund public education:
Meanwhile, an earlier case in which our lawless Arizona legislature shortchanged our public schools, in which the Arizona Supreme Court held that the statutory financing scheme for public education violated the Arizona Constitution, Article XI, § 1, Roosevelt Elem. School Dist. No. 66 v. Bishop (No. CV-93-0168 1994), is now the basis for yet another lawsuit against our lawless Tea-Publican legislature.
A public interest advocacy group is planning a lawsuit alleging that the state has unconstitutionally underfunded building maintenance and soft capital for school districts, which could force the state restore hundreds of millions of dollars of budget cuts made in recent years.
The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest plans to sue on behalf of several school districts and taxpayers, said attorney Tim Hogan. The Glendale Elementary School District’s governing board in December  voted to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff, and Hogan said he plans to bring in several other school districts, along with property taxpayers from districts that have approved bonds to make up for funding shortfalls.
“It will allege that the current system is unconstitutional because it doesn’t provide any dedicated capital funding to school districts sufficient to ensure that they meet the state’s minimum standards,” Hogan said of the lawsuit. “School buildings have to be renovated. They have to be repaired. They have to be maintained. And all of that requires significant dollars.”
In its landmark ruling in Roosevelt Elementary School District No. 66 v. Bishop, the Arizona Supreme Court concluded that the state had violated a provision in the Arizona Constitution requiring the state to establish and maintain a “general and uniform” public school system. As part of its settlement in the case, which led to the creation of the Arizona School Facilities Board, the state agreed to provide funding for building renewal, which covers all aspects of building upkeep and maintenance, and soft capital expenditures such as textbooks and computers.
Posted in Arizona State Legislature, AZBlueMeanie, Budgets, Constitution, Corruption, Courts, Education, Ethics, GOP War On..., Governor, Infrastructure, Legislation, Party Politics, Propositions, Scandals, Taxes
Tagged Proposition 123 (2016)
The so-called “Trump rally” in the stock market is fueled by unbridled greed and giddy anticipation of a huge corporate welfare tax cut package “even as Washington remains gridlocked and evidence of any real pickup in the economy is scarce.”
The market impact of the Trump presidency is based so far on prospects — with details and congressional dynamics left to be sorted out — rather than accomplishments.
* * *
The cause for bullishness on Tuesday was Mr. Trump’s new call to cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, from 35 percent — deficits, perhaps, be damned.
As the Sith Lord Dick Cheney infamously reminded us, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter” to Republicans when they are in the White House.
The New York Times reports, Trump’s Tax Plan: Low Rate for Corporations, and for Companies Like His:
President Trump plans to unveil a tax cut blueprint — not an actual bill — on Wednesday that would apply a vastly reduced, 15 percent business tax rate not only to corporations but also to companies that now pay taxes through the personal income tax code — from mom-and-pop businesses to his own real estate empire, according to several people briefed on the proposal.
The package would also increase the standard deduction for individuals, providing a modest cut for middle-income people and simplifying the process of filing tax returns, according to people briefed on its details. That proposal is opposed by home builders and real estate agents, who fear it would diminish the importance of the mortgage interest deduction. And it is likely to necessitate eliminating or curbing other popular deductions, a politically risky pursuit.
As of late Tuesday, the plan did not include Mr. Trump’s promised $1 trillion infrastructure program, two of the people said, and it jettisoned a House Republican proposal to impose a substantial tax on imports, known as a border adjustment tax, which would have raised billions of dollars to help offset the cost of the cuts [and to pay for Trump’s folly of a border wall.]
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Corruption, Economics, GOP War On..., Infrastructure, Legislation, Mexico Border, Party Politics, President, Scandals, Taxes
Tagged budget deficits
This was supposed to be the week that the Arizona legislature passed a budget and then declared sine die. Didn’t happen.
According to the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required), the holdup is Governor Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal, the one he mentioned in his State of The State Address back in January but has still not fleshed out the details at this late date. Ducey’s bonding plan for universities has more questions than details:
Gov. Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal is a vast unknown for Arizona lawmakers.
He doesn’t offer any long-term growth projections or specifics on how the state’s three universities will spend the $1 billion that the plan is supposed to generate. There is also no mention of oversight from the Governor’s Office or from the plan’s backers.
Lawmakers do understand the broad strokes of the universities’ wish list if they get the money: new buildings, research programs and repairs.
But the plan almost certainly will generate much more than needed to pay off a $1 billion loan over the course of its 30-year life, a fact acknowledged by both backers and foes, and that’s something lawmakers question.
Lawmakers are also hearing from cities and counties, which look to lose millions of dollars under the plan. Ken Strobeck, president of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, said the plan is opaque by design, and he’s done his own analysis that shows the universities will gain more than $1 billion.
“These are not uninformed people,” Strobeck said. “I think they knew exactly what they were doing.”
Posted in Arizona State Legislature, AZBlueMeanie, Budgets, Counties, Economics, Education, GOP War On..., Governor, Infrastructure, Legislation, Taxes
Tagged Cities, universities