WTF Community

2020 Primary Election

(David Bythewood) #384

An interesting analysis with possible implications for DC counter measures – definitely a thread worth reading.


He was still running?

(David Bythewood) #386

An internal memo on cybersecurity, obtained by Axios, warns that “the White House is posturing itself to be electronically compromised once again.”

The state of play: That’s after at least a dozen top- or high-level officials have resigned or been pushed out of a cybersecurity mission that was established under Barack Obama to protect the White House from Russian hacking and other threats, according to conversations with several current and former officials.

Why it matters: Warnings by officials from the former Office of the Chief Information Security Officer (OCISO) — which in July was folded into the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) — suggest new intelligence vulnerabilities. One White House official familiar with the developments said the consolidations could lead to a “Wild West” atmosphere.

Details: Many of the concerns are detailed in an Oct. 17 internal memo written by a senior White House cybersecurity director who is among the officials who have left the mission.

  • The memo doubled as a formal resignation letter by its author, Dimitrios Vastakis, who was the branch chief of the White House computer network defense. Vastakis did not respond to requests for comment.
  • Vastakis worked in the OCISO, established after Russian hackers breached some White House computers in 2014.
  • OCISO was created to “take on the responsibility of securing the Presidential Information Technology Community (PITC) network,” per the internal memo.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

  • A White House source familiar with the plans told me: “You have an entire section who’s dedicated to providing counter threat intelligence information” and “if you remove that, it’s like the Wild West again.”

The president’s team is trying to force out the career staff, especially the expert staff hired under Obama, according to another source familiar with the changes. They said the effects could leave the White House vulnerable to a “network compromise.”

The organizational structure for the cybersecurity mission going forward also raises questions about the continuity, oversight and retention of records that had been covered by the Presidential Records Act (PRA).

  • “It is highly concerning that the entire cybersecurity apparatus is being handed over to non-PRA entities,” the memo says.
  • “This is a significant shift in the priorities of senior leadership, where business operations and quality of service take precedence over securing the President’s network,” the memo says. “As a career cyber security professional, this is alarming.”

Some cybersecurity officials feel they’re being pushed out.

  • OCISO staff are “systematically being targeted for removal from the Office of the Administration (OA) through various means,” the memo says. Those included “revocation of incentives, reducing the scope of duties, reducing access to programs, revoking access to buildings, and revoking positions with strategic and tactical decision making authorities.”
  • Several sources described growing internal resentment after it was announced two months ago that staff would no longer be receiving their annual bonuses on Oct. 1.
  • Others have left voluntarily for different opportunities. Joe Schatz, the former White House Chief Information Security officer, left the team in August for a technology consulting firm, according to a news release.


More kinks for Giuliani’s relentless pursuits to find dirt on Hunter Biden.

WASHINGTON — Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, signaled this month that he planned to open a new front in his attacks against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — work done by Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden for a wealthy Romanian business executive facing corruption charges.

But there’s a problem with that strategy: Mr. Giuliani participated in an effort that would have helped the same executive, and was in fact recruited to do so by Louis J. Freeh, a former F.B.I. director who had been brought onto the matter by Hunter Biden.

In effect, Mr. Giuliani and Hunter Biden were on the same team, if not at the same time. And their work to help the business executive, along with that of Mr. Freeh, stood in contrast to efforts by the United States, including Vice President Biden while he was in office, to encourage anti-corruption efforts in Romania.

The dynamic in Romania underscores how Mr. Giuliani has done a brisk international business with clients who sometimes seem to be seeking to capitalize on his connections to Mr. Trump even as he has accused Hunter Biden of seeking to capitalize on his father’s name while doing business in other countries. And the disclosure of the connection between his role in Romania and Mr. Biden’s comes at a time when Mr. Giuliani, the former New York mayor, is under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York for possible violations of foreign lobbying laws.

(M A Croft) #388

As a person from outside the US I’m a bit reluctant to make a comment on your forth-coming elections, however it has always perplexed me as to why the most wealthiest country on Earth struggles to provide adequate Health Care for all its citizens. Yet on a per capita basis, US the US pays far more for Health Care than ay other country.

Below is a list of the countries that spent more than $US3,000 on healthcare per capita in 2017:

  1. United States – $US10,209

  2. Switzerland – $US8,009

  3. Luxembourg – $US6,475

  4. Norway – $US6,351

  5. Germany – $US5,728

  6. Sweden – $US5,511

  7. Ireland – $US5,449

  8. Austria – $US5,440

  9. Netherlands – $US5,386

  10. Denmark – $US5,183

  11. France – $US4,902

  12. Canada – $US4,826

  13. Belgium – $US4,774

  14. Japan – $US4,717

  15. Iceland – $US4,581

  16. Australia – $US4,543

  17. United Kingdom – $US4,246

  18. Finland – $US4,173

  19. New Zealand – $US3,683

  20. Italy – $US3,542

  21. Spain – $US3,371

I was interested to read this opinion piece in the Guardian today by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman

The debate about healthcare has been at the center of the Democratic primaries, yet it is hard to make sense of the conversation. For some, public universal health insurance – such as Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All bill – would involve massive tax increases for the middle class. For others, it’s the opposite: Medicare for All would cut costs for most Americans. Who is right?

On, any interested reader can simulate the effect of replacing private health insurance premiums by taxes – progressive income taxes, wealth taxes, consumption taxes, or broad taxes on consumption or all of national income. This simulator that we developed is open-source, user-friendly, and based on a systematic exploitation of all available statistics about who earns what and pays what in taxes and health insurance in America.

As one illustration, it’s possible to see how the tax plans of the leading Democratic primary candidates would affect tax rates for each group of the population. For instance, Bernie Sanders’s tax proposals would be enough to replace all existing private insurance premiums, while leaving 2.6% of national income to cover the uninsured and spend on other programs. Under such a plan, the 9 bottom deciles of the income distribution would gain income on average, as would the bottom of the top 10%. With smart new taxes—such as broad income taxes exempting low wages and retirees—it is possible to make the vast majority of the population win from a transition to universal health insurance.

Supporters of Medicare for All are right. Funding universal health insurance through taxes would lead to a large tax cut for the vast majority of workers. It would abolish the huge poll tax they currently shoulder, and the data show that for most workers, it would lead to the biggest take-home pay raise in a generation.

I hope that this message can be got out to as many people as possible because all people deserve to enjoy the benefits of a Health Service - not just those who can (because of their lifes circumstances) afford it.


Joe Biden so wants to be president…this profile examines the improbability of this - no momentum, tendency to make gaffs, can’t raise money like the others.

…I’ve attended in a half-dozen states in the six months since Biden announced his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. If he ever does sleep, surely Joe Biden dreams as he proselytizes, of an unbroken America, its ideals and reputation restored, where everybody is folks and folks have everything they need and maybe some of what they want, where the field is just even enough that nobody is ashamed of their own place on it, and where the president isn’t an idiot but where you can easily deal with the idiots by kicking the shit out of them out back in a parking lot or something.

Crucially, in this dream, Joe Biden is the president.

The pitch goes like this : Joe Biden ought to be the nominee because he’s electable, a meaningless concept if recent history is any guide, and presidential, that wonderful word — the thing Donald Trump could never be even though he literally is president — despite the fact that Biden, who appears by almost any measure to be a good man, a man whose lone sin in life is ego (and does that even count anymore?), has spent a half-century grasping for this position and watching it slip through his fingers.

To anyone paying attention — the army of political professionals more wired to observe shortcomings than are those likely to actually vote for him or for anyone else — it looks, unmistakably, like it’s happening again. His vulnerabilities are close to the surface. There’s the basic fact of his oldness and the concerns, explicit or implicit, about his ability to stay agile and alive for four more years. This was true of Biden, who is 76, even more than it was true of Bernie Sanders, who is the oldest candidate at 78, up until Sanders had a heart attack while campaigning in Nevada earlier this month. (It’s not true at all of Elizabeth Warren, who is 70 but seems a decade younger. And it’s not exactly true of Trump, who is 73 and really just seems crazy, not old.)

But it’s not just his age itself. It’s his tendency to misspeak, his inartful debating style, and — most of all — his status as a creature from another time in the Democratic Party, when the politics of race and crime and gender were unrecognizably different. It’s not just that the Joe Biden of yesteryear sometimes peeks out from behind the No. 1 Obama Stan costume. It’s that the Joe Biden of today is expected to hold his former self accountable to the new standards set by a culture that’s prepared to reject him. And though he’s the party Establishment’s obvious exemplar, he can’t seem to raise any money — spending more in the last quarter than he brought in and moving into the homestretch with less than $9 million in the bank (roughly a third of what Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders has on hand). For political reporters, marveling every day at just how well this isn’t going, watching Biden can feel like being at the rodeo. You’re there because on some level you know you might see someone get killed.

Yet Biden is still the front-runner. Volatile and potentially worthless as they may be, it’s what the polls say. Biden leads the field on average by a handful of percentage points, though his lead has trended steadily downward, from a high of 33 in May to 20 in June to 11, and then to 9.9, and 6.6, and 5.4, according to RealClearPolitics. In the whole campaign, there has only been one day — October 8 — when he slipped to second place, an average of 0.2 points behind Warren. He’s also the front-runner in South Carolina, Nevada, California, Texas, North Carolina, and Florida. “There is this sense of hanging on. And perhaps he can. But that’s generally not the way the physics of these things work,” former Obama adviser David Axelrod told me.

Generally, you’re either moving up or moving down. Warren is clearly moving up. There’s no sign that he is.”


20th Republican Congressperson will not run for re-election

Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced Monday he will not run for another term in Congress, making him the latest GOP lawmaker to head for the doors as 2020 approaches.

“I will not seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, nor election to any other office, but instead I will close the public service chapter of my life,” Walden said in a statement.

The announcement adds to the challenges facing House Republicans as they try to win back the majority next year. Walden is the 20th Republican to say he will forgo reelection to the House in 2020, compared with just seven Democrats.

Walden is also the fifth Republican in a top committee post to announce retirement plans this year.

:rat: :rat::rat: :ship:

(David Bythewood) #391

Trump’s 2020 Campaign Throws A Fit After Twitter Says They Can’t Buy Fact-Free Political Ads


Harris campaign showing some troubles

Kamala Harris is dramatically restructuring her campaign by redeploying staffers to Iowa and laying off dozens of aides at her Baltimore headquarters, according to campaign sources and a memo obtained Wednesday by POLITICO, as she struggles to resuscitate her beleaguered presidential bid.

The moves come as Harris is hemorrhaging cash and in danger of lacking the resources to mount a competitive bid against better-funded rivals in Iowa. The overhaul will touch nearly every facet of Harris’ operation, with layoffs or re-deployments coming at headquarters, as well as in New Hampshire, Nevada and her home state of California, a Super Tuesday prize that her advisers once viewed as a big asset.


Sen Warren puts it out there to tax the very wealthy to pay for a medicare-for-all healthcare system. Since she’s not gettting big donor money, it is a very aggressive taxing of the mega-wealthy…and getting the huge earnings/wealth gap a bit more on par (but that is a stretch to think this taxing would level the playing field so to speak.)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has a plan for taking Jeff Bezos’ money.

The 2020 candidate unveiled her proposal Friday to pay for her estimated $34 trillion Medicare-for-all plan without upping taxes on the middle class. It relies on a big chunk of change from the country’s biggest earners, and would end up costing the Amazon founder nearly $7 billion.

To raise the tremendous sum needed to provide universal health care, Warren laid out a $20.5 trillion tax package that she says targets “the financial sector, large corporations, and the top 1 percent.” Bezos squarely falls under that last category, and he’d be subject to Warren’s wealth tax that was upped in this plan from two percent to six percent. And six percent of Bezos’ $111.7 billion net worth? That’s about $6.7 billion.

Joining Bezos at the top of the pile is Bill Gates, who would put in around $6.4 billion, and Warren Buffett, who’d contribute closer to $5 billion. Bezos’ company would also end up paying heftier taxes, though it won’t have to worry about providing them with health care anymore. Kathryn Krawczyk

(David Bythewood) #394

While primarily for New Jerseyites, others can crib notes from this and should see how their states differ.


Russian hackers with the Kremlin’s military intelligence unit targeted Virginia’s election infrastructure in 2016 – a cyber operation now confirmed by current and former state election officials.

The Russian effort searched for vulnerabilities within Virginia’s online election infrastructure, authorities familiar with the matter said. The specific Russian actions targeting Virginia have not been previously reported.

Analysts within the Department of Homeland Security eventually traced the suspicious activity to the GRU, the Russian military spy agency.

The attempts to break into Virginia’s election systems did not change any votes, steal any personal information, or affect any voting during the presidential election, the officials stressed.

Yet Richmond first received notice of the Russian reconnaissance only after hackers looked for weaknesses within the state’s election websites.

Federal investigators disseminated a critical cyber bulletin known as a FLASH alert only days after malicious actors broke into Illinois’s voter database in the summer of 2016.

The alert detailed how the Illinois Board of Elections reported an unusual surge in online traffic – traffic later traced back to Russia.

After an FBI investigation of the suspicious surge, authorities discovered hackers accessed and reviewed confidential Illinois voter data. The finding marked an alarming and unprecedented Russian incursion into an the American voting system.

In an interview Monday, Virginia Elections Commissioner Christopher E. Piper confirmed the Illinois incident led Virginia to exert greater scrutiny of its election systems in Richmond.

Only after the FBI identified specific IP addresses involved in the Illinois attack did Virginia officials realize the same malicious actors tried to access Virginia voting systems.

But the effort did remain undetected under the state’s old security regimen – a weaker set of defenses than the heightened current cooperation between state officials and U.S. intelligence agencies.

A report from the Senate Intelligence Committee suggests the consequences of Russia scanning efforts could have been far different had the FBI failed to issue its urgent nation-wide alert on Aug. 18, 2016.

Authorities in Richmond reported, “it seemed the actors were ‘cataloging holes to come back to later,’” indicating the effort most likely reached an initial investigative stage.

The specific scans ultimately impacted 21 states, according to the final findings of the Senate report. Only Illinois is explicitly identified in the text of the document.

“Virginia’s impacted web domains were both on the elections website,” Piper said. “And they both are secure, absolutely.”

But Piper demurred on whether he’s seen foreign incursion efforts since he became Virginia’s elections commissioner in January 2018.

“I can’t discuss any specific security events, but I can tell you that we work very hard not just on the front lines, assuring Virginia’s defenses,” Piper said. “But should there be any breach, we’re ready to go.”

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show Virginia has currently spent $2.7 million of a $9 million federal grant to improve the state’s election security.

The development comes after WUSA9 first reported Virginia spent none of the grant before the 2018 midterm elections.

Ultimately, Homeland Security analysts concluded Russia likely attempted to access voting systems in all 50 states before the 2016 presidential election.

While the Senate intelligence report describes substantial progress in election security as America approaches 2020, the authors note “the threat [from Russia], however, remains imperfectly understood.”

“This problem isn’t going away,” Piper said. “It’s not something that after 2020 we can sit back and go, ‘OK, we fixed it.’ That’s not how it’s going to work. So, we have to be prepared for this issue to be ongoing, beyond 2024, beyond 2028.”

Sounds like the Virginia Elections Board was asleep at the wheel in 2016 and sheer dumb luck is the only thing that avoided a breach. Then they spent $0 dollars of their federal grant to protect their election systems in 2018. Now they’ve still only spent less than 1/3 of the grant to protect against Russian intrusions in 2020 (a measley $2.7 million).

And the Commissioner “assures” us with this statement: "…should there be any breach, we’re ready to go.” WTF? If there’s a breach, it’s already too late.

What’s Trump doing to protect against Russian attacks on our 2020 election? :zero:

(David Bythewood) #396

This is bigger than I think some may realize, given a cornerstone of the Ukraine scandal was Trump’s efforts to pin the attacks on our elections on Ukraine instead of Russia.


Beto is out!

(David Bythewood) #398

Every day is opposite day in the Trump regime.


With Beto out this weekend, we are seeing some more shuffling around in the candidates positions - top 4 - Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg…

Seeing a lot on Andrew Yang this weekend…he’s smart, but has had sporadic adoration. He’s certainly on the fringes of being a successful candidate…but he is authentic, and has passion for things he believes in…

Andrew Yang was groomed for a high-paying job at an elite law firm. He lasted five months.

Walking away from wealth and prestige dismayed his immigrant parents. But it made him into the entrepreneur running for president.

Two decades later, Yang’s norm-busting career as an Internet business builder is the foundation for his norm-busting Democratic presidential campaign. He evangelizes about what he’s learned creating start-ups and nurturing businesses focused on the public good. His marquee policy — giving every U.S. adult $1,000 a month in guaranteed income — is the most un­or­tho­dox proposal of any major candidate.

It’s the product of a nontraditional career, which began with his decision, in early 2000, to quit his law firm and walk away from all that money, prestige and comfort.

He could qualify for the December debates…


Democratic Strategists Set Up $75 Million Digital Campaign to Counter Trump

A progressive organization is plunging itself into the presidential campaign, unveiling plans to spend $75 million on digital advertising to counter President Trump’s early spending advantage in key 2020 battleground states.

The effort, by a nonprofit group called Acronym and an affiliated political action committee, is an outgrowth of growing concern by some Democratic officials that Mr. Trump could build an insurmountable edge in those key states through massive early advertising efforts. Mr. Trump has spent more than $26 million so far nationally just on Facebook and Google, more than the four top-polling Democrats — Joseph R. Biden Jr., Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg — have spent in total on those platforms.

“The gun on this general election does not start when we have a nominee; it started months ago,” said David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and was a key adviser to him in 2012, and who recently joined Acronym’s board. “If the things that need to happen don’t happen in these battleground states between now and May or June, our nominee will never have time to catch up.”

In an interview, Mr. Plouffe and Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, said their digital campaign would kick off immediately with a heavy focus on shaping how the public views Mr. Trump and the Democratic Party during the primary season, well before a nominee emerges.

“Our nominee is going to be broke, tired, have to pull together the party and turn around on a dime and run a completely different race for a completely different audience,” Mr. Plouffe said.

“There is an enormous amount of danger between now and then,” he added. “If the hole is too steep to dig out of, they’re not going to win.”


More election fraud brought to you by the Republicans.

UPDATE: Two people have been charged with distributing sample ballots.

Republican candidate for Marion City Auditor Robert Landon and Marion County Republican Party official, John Matthews have been charged with distributing phony sample ballots.



From CNN reporter, Jim Acosta…on what T has been telling his people.