Last week we learned that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in direct contact with North Korea in an effort to prevent the U.S. from stumbling into a renewed Korean war and possible nuclear conflict. Tillerson: U.S. is in direct contact with North Korea, is ‘probing’ talks:
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States is in direct contact with North Korea and is looking into whether Kim Jong Un is open to talks.
The comment, made during a brief trip to China, was the first time the Trump administration acknowledged direct communication with Pyongyang.
“We are probing, so stay tuned,” he said.
“We ask, ‘Would you like to talk?’ We have lines of communications to Pyongyang. We’re not in a dark situation, a blackout. We have a couple, three, channels open to Pyongyang; we can talk to them; we do talk to them,” he said.
After publication of this Washington Post report, our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief took to the Twitter machine to undercut his Secretary of State. Trump tells Tillerson to quit “wasting his time” on North Korea:
The president’s latest tweets, a day after Secretary of State Tillerson confirmed the U.S. is in contact with North Korea.
This is a pretty cavalier way to announce a foreign policy move with potentially massive implications.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Ethics, International, President, Scandals
Tagged Foreign Policy, iran nuclear deal, mental health, National Security, north korea, Secretary of State
The United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. It is the only time that such weapons have been used in war.
Donald Trump, apparently unaware of these historically significant anniversary dates, yesterday threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” — a veiled nuclear threat — if it does not stop threatening the United States.
So now Donald Trump is making the same wild threats that Kim Jong-un and North Korea regularly make? Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ statement echoes North Korea’s own threats.
Hours later, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to assuage Americans’ fears that a nuclear war with North Korea was imminent.
What is this, good cop bad cop? A return to Richard Nixon’s Madman Strategy with Tillerson reprising the role of Henry Kissinger?
The Washington Post reports, As Tillerson tries to assuage Americans’ fear, Trump highlights U.S. nuclear arsenal:
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday defended President Trump’s forceful warning to North Korea to stop threatening the United States, and dismissed concerns that Guam is in any imminent danger from Pyongyang’s missiles.
“What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” Tillerson said in an interview with two pool reporters while flying from Malaysia to a scheduled refueling stop in Guam.
“I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime that the U.S. has the unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies, and I think it was important that he deliver that message to avoid any miscalculation on their part.”
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
President-elect Donald Trump made it official this morning. Rex Tillerson, Exxon C.E.O., Chosen as Secretary of State:
In [nominating] Mr. Tillerson, the president-elect is dismissing bipartisan concerns that the globe-trotting leader of an energy giant has a too-cozy relationship with Vladimir V. Putin, the president of Russia.
A statement from Mr. Trump’s transition office early Tuesday brought to an end his public and chaotic deliberations over the nation’s top diplomat — a process that at times veered from rewarding Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of his most loyal supporters, to musing about whether Mitt Romney, one of his most outspoken critics, might be forgiven.
Instead, Mr. Trump has decided to risk what looks to be a bruising confirmation fight in the Senate.
In the past several days, Republican and Democratic lawmakers had warned that Mr. Tillerson would face intense scrutiny over his two-decade relationship with Russia, which awarded him its Order of Friendship in 2013, and with Mr. Putin.
The hearings will also put a focus on Exxon Mobil’s business dealings with Moscow. The company has billions of dollars in oil contracts that can go forward only if the United States lifts sanctions against Russia, and Mr. Tillerson’s stake in Russia’s energy industry could create a very blurry line between his interests as an oilman and his role as America’s leading diplomat.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Corruption, Energy, GOP War On..., International, Party Politics, President, Scandals
Tagged Cabinet, Foreign Policy, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, Secretary of State
According to the Washington Posts‘ Aaron Blake at The Fix, Hillary Clinton’s email server is why this race is still close:
The email story is absolutely killing her — and ruining what might otherwise be a coronation.
A new CNN/ORC poll (.pdf) demonstrates it pretty clearly. While polls at the start of the 2016 race showed Americans were basically split about whether her use of a private email server gave them pause about voting for her, it’s now clear that it’s a significant hurdle for a strong majority of Americans in voting for Clinton.
The poll shows fully 62 percent of registered voters agreed with the statement that her use of the server is “an important indicator of her character and ability to serve as president.” That number has risen steadily this year, from 46 percent in March 2015, to 55 percent in October, to 58 percent in June 2016, and now to 62 percent today.
Just 36 percent say the email server is “not relevant to her character or her ability to serve as president.” That’s down from 52 percent at the start of the campaign 18 months ago.
* * *
At this point, it’s hard to point to basically any other major explanation for Clinton’s declining poll numbers and the tightening overall race. She’s run a largely quiet campaign until this past week and has been content to let Trump make the news. The one constant story about Clinton has been new revelations about her emails and the Clinton Foundation (which the new poll, by the way, shows 60 percent say should be shut down either now or if she becomes president). And if you look closely, perceptions about her email server track closely with her overall image and her perceived honesty and trustworthiness.