Monthly Archives: February 2018

U.S. elections are vulnerable to cyber attack in 2018

The 2018 mid-term elections are vulnerable to attack from what the Russians may have learned from their probing cyber attacks on state election systems during the 2016 election.

NBC News reports, U.S. intel: Russia compromised seven states prior to 2016 election/span>:

The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election — but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials.

Top-secret intelligence requested by President Barack Obama in his last weeks in office identified seven states where analysts — synthesizing months of work — had reason to believe Russian operatives had compromised state websites or databases.

Three senior intelligence officials told NBC News that the intelligence community believed the states as of January 2017 were Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin.

The officials say systems in the seven states were compromised in a variety of ways, with some breaches more serious than others, from entry into state websites to penetration of actual voter registration databases.

While officials in Washington informed several of those states in the run-up to the election that foreign entities were probing their systems, none were told the Russian government was behind it, state officials told NBC News.

All state and federal officials who spoke to NBC News agree that no votes were changed and no voters were taken off the rolls.

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Head of U.S. Cyber Command suggests Trump is failing to defend U.S. against Russian cyber warfare

Remember the right-wing conspiracy theory that there was a stand down order in Benghazi! That FOX News myth has been entirely discredited despite Hollywood fiction like 13 Hours.

But it is now increasingly fair to ask whether there is at least an implied “stand down order” from the Trump White House to the intelligence agencies to not take more aggressive actions to thwart Russia’s ongoing cyber warfare against the U.S. and to protect our elections.

Last week at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) pressed FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Cia Director Mike Pompeo, and National Security Director Admiral Mike Rogers on whether they had received specific direction from President Trump to blunt future Russian interference efforts. The officials indicated they had not received a specific direction of the sort from the president. Live coverage: FBI director testifies to Senate Intelligence Committee.

This despite the fact that all the intelligence agency heads reconfirmed that they believe the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s assessment that there has been no decrease in Russian interference since.

“We have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle here,” Pompeo told Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned that Russia views its influence efforts against the 2016 election as successful, and warned that the 2018 midterms could become a target for Moscow.

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceived its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Coats said.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo asserted that the intelligence community is engaged in a “significant effort” to counter Russian and other foreign influence operations against the United States.

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4th Avenue Spring Street Fair 2018

“The Fourth Avenue Street Fair is Tucson’s Premier Community Event!

The 2018 Fourth Avenue Spring Street Fair happens on March 2, 3 & 4!

10:00 a.m. to Dusk each day!

This nearly 50-year-old, family-friendly tradition brings over 500,000 people to the heart of the Old Pueblo every year. The Fair hosts artists from around the world, decadent food, local entertainment and a lot of fun! The Fair is biannual, taking full advantage of our wonderful Sonoran Dessert climate, with one in the Winter and the other in Spring.

The Fair is produced by the North Fourth Avenue Merchants Association, Inc., a local nonprofit. The funds are used to support the Avenue’s infrastructure, invest in local neighborhoods and other nonprofits, and to create other free community events throughout the year on Historic Forth Avenue.

Free Shuttle Service is provided from the Pennington Street Garage and the Tyndal Avenue Garage by VIP Taxi. We also recommend parking along the Modern Streetcar line and using Sun Link!”


The evil GOP bastards’ scheme for a back door repeal of ‘Obamacare’ in the courts

A part of the GOP’s “tax cuts for corporations and plutocrats” bill back in December was the under-reported repeal of the individual mandate, which didn’t actually repeal the coverage requirement — it only repealed the tax penalty provision.

This was part of the long game the evil GOP bastards play to deny Americans access to affordable health care. By removing the tax penalty, it allowed the state Attorneys General from 20 red states, including Arizona, to file a lawsuit (.pdf) attempting a back door repeal of ‘Obamacare” through the courts, rather than through Congress.

These evil GOP bastards assert the legal sophistry that the individual mandate is now unconstitutional — after the GOP’s malicious sabotage of “Obamacare” in the tax bill – and now the rest of the ACA should fall as part of the GOP’s legal sophistry in court.

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona among 20 states seeking repeal of Affordable Care Act mandate:

Arizona is among 20 states asking a federal court in Texas to hold the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate unconstitutional because the tax that penalized anyone who did not carry health insurance has been repealed.

The filing, made in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth on Monday, also asks that the court find the entire health care law unconstitutional, but if not, to amend the law by repealing the mandate.

The filing is largely based on the argument that the repeal of the law’s tax penalties, included in the tax cut bill passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in December, effectively does away with a key reason the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in a 2012 case.

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Judge repeatedly attacked by Trump rules in favor of his ‘big beautiful wall’

Presidential comments on pending cases in court can have an improper influence on the tribunal. This is most acute in military courts where the commander-in-chief can be seen as placing his thumb on the scales of justice. See, Military Judge: Obama’s Comments On Military Sex Abuse An “Undue Command Influence; Trump’s comments about Bergdahl ‘disturbing,’ judge says.

This improper influence on the tribunal can also extend to cases pending in the federal courts. Presidential comments on pending Supreme Court decisions.

Which brings me to this incident from the 2016 election. Trump Attacks a ‘Mexican’ U.S. Federal Judge:

The presumptive Republican nominee for president devoted almost a quarter of his hour-long rally in San Diego on Friday night to criticizing Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is currently presiding over a class-action lawsuit against the real-estate businessman for his role in Trump University.

During his disjointed remarks at the rally, Trump invoked Curiel’s ethnicity, said the judge should recuse himself from the trial, called for an investigation into him, described him as “negative” and a “hater,” insisted on a summary dismissal of the case, complained about being “railroaded by a legal system,” and asserted he would win the trial.

* * *

Mr. Trump also told the audience, which had previously chanted the Republican standard-bearer’s signature “build that wall” mantra in reference to Mr. Trump’s proposed wall along the Mexican border, that Judge Curiel is “Mexican.”

Judge Curiel’s parents were immigrants from Mexico, but he was born in Indiana. He is a U.S. citizen. Trump’s comments led to accusations of racism, including from Republicans.

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CD8 Special Election Primary (preliminary results)

From the Secretary of State’s Office, Last Updated: 2/27/2018, 3:37:07 PM

Precincts Reporting: 100% Registered Voters: 456,000 Ballots Cast: 109,426 Voter Turnout: 24.00%

The candidate from the “Kochtopus,” state Sen. Debbie Lesko, leads in preliminary results.

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* Eight other GOP candidates with less than 3 percent of the vote.

On the Democratic side, political newcomer Dr. Hiral Tipirneni leads in preliminary results.

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