The Big Hack — Update

On Friday, I wrote about the hacking into a wide variety of federal agencies by Russia that started back in March but was only recently discovered. The full scope and consequences of the cyber attack remain unknown and intelligence officials are still hard at work trying to find answers.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday …

“This was a very significant effort, and I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity. I can’t say much more as we’re still unpacking precisely what it is, and I’m sure some of it will remain classified. But suffice it to say there was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside of U.S. Government systems and it now appears systems of private companies and companies and governments across the world as well.”

Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) confirmed it has found evidence that the hackers had found multiple ways to sneak into federal agencies’ computer networks, including pathways it may not know about yet.  Our experts are not even sure just yet how to go about removing the invasive ‘bugs’ …

“Removing this threat actor from compromised environments will be highly complex and challenging for organizations.” – from a statement issued by CISA

But, of course, there is one person who has all the answers, who knows exactly what happened and he is telling us not to worry …

“The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control. Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because is [sic], for mostly financial reasons, petrified of discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!)  There could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA.”

Yep, you guessed it, the outgoing lame-duck president, Donald Trump.  Is there nothing he can keep his mouth shut about?  Nothing at all?  He likely has been fully briefed, as would be right and proper, but it’s highly doubtful that he paid close attention or even remotely understood what he was being told.  All evidence points to Russia as being the instigator, and no, everything is definitely not ‘well under control’.

The hack began as early as March, was just discovered this month, and security experts are still very much in the dark, so we have no idea at this point what dangers may be lurking.  And lastly, no, the voting machines were not a part of the hack.  First, if Putin had hacked our voting machines, he would almost certainly have done so in Donald Trump’s favour, in order to keep his puppet in office.  Second, hand counts in many states have confirmed the machine tallies.  And third, Chris Krebs, former head of CISA (who Trump fired for simply doing his job and being honest) stated that this was the most secure election in the history of our nation, and frankly I trust Chris Krebs at least a thousand times more than I trust Donald Trump.

Pompeo concluded by saying …

“We have lots of folks that want to undermine our way of life, our republic, our basic democratic principles. Russia is certainly on that list … You see the news of the day with respect to their efforts in the cyber space. We’ve seen this for an awfully long time, using asymmetric capabilities to try and put themselves in a place where they can impose costs on the United States. So yes, Vladimir Putin remains a real risk to those of us who love freedom.”

Hmmmm … any bets about Pompeo’s job status for the next 32 days?

Bottom line here, my friends, is that Russia is in control of some information that involves a wide variety of our federal agencies, including the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.  I won’t offer any possible scenarios, but let your mind wrap around that one for a while.  No, Donald Trump, everything is definitely not “well under control”.  Not by a long shot.

“This is not an America I recognize” says Republican Chris Krebs

More than a few times over the past year, I have said that this is no longer a country I recognize, no longer one of which I am proud to be a citizen. Turns out, I am not alone. Please take a minute to read Keith’s excellent post about Chris Krebs who is speaking out for our democratic principles. Thanks, Keith!

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In an article by Josh Feldman of Media-ite called “Chris Krebs Pleads With His Fellow Republicans to Push Back on Election Conspiracies: ‘This is Not an America I Recognize,’” Krebs testimony at the Senate Homeland Security hearing led by Chair Ron Johnson (R), his words are telling. Here are a few paragraphs.

Chris Krebs, the former DHS top cyber official who PresidentDonald Trumpfired after he publicly and repeatedly debunked election misinformation, pleaded with his fellow Republicans during Wednesday’s Senate hearing to quit spewing conspiracies.

While more Republicans have started to acknowledgeJoe Bidenwon the election, a significant number of them are still digging in on the president’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.

The hearing Wednesday comes in the wake of judge after judge —including ones appointed by the president —completely rejecting the fraud claims brought by the Trump legal team and other allies…

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Billy Is Out And Biden Is In

Just two thoughts tonight … well, okay, I actually have more than two, but I’m going easy on you tonight since it’s only Tuesday with another long week ahead.


Bye-Bye Billy Boy

I don’t watch junk television, so I never watched Mr. Trump’s show where he apparently took pleasure in screeching, “You’re Fired” to contestants on the program.  But from the early days of his term in office, it has been obvious that he does like to fire people without cause, but he’s a coward and doesn’t do it face-to-face, but rather FBI Director James Comey found out he was fired from television, and others have found out via Twitter or been forewarned through the grapevine.  The latest is William Barr who, although he technically wasn’t fired, resigned yesterday rather than give Trump a chance to tweet his termination.

I have neither respect nor empathy for Attorney General William Barr, since he has used his office to condone corruption and criminal activity to the detriment of this nation and its people.  However, the reason for his resignation is that he, like Chris Krebs before him, fully expected to be fired … for doing his job!

Mr. Trump fired Chris Krebs on November 17th because Mr. Krebs had the audacity to actually do his job and, after two weeks of investigations, announce that there was no evidence of the sort of widespread voter fraud Trump was claiming, and that the election was the most secure in the history of the nation.   Trump fired Krebs that very same day, saying …

“… recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud.”

A month later, and still Trump & Co have not been able to produce a single shred of evidence to support their claims, but are still bleating nonsense nonetheless.

And now, William Barr was about to be fired for the exact same thing.  After weeks’ of investigation by the FBI and Justice Department, earlier this month Barr declared that the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.  And Trump was furious.

Even before Krebs and Barr, firings have been ‘without cause’, such as Mark Esper, who was terminated from his position as Secretary of Defense because he would not commit to using active-duty troops to help quell mostly peaceful Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, D.C.

Anywhere else, such unconscionable terminations would be cause for lawsuits, and in fact Chris Krebs has filed suit against the Trump campaign, NewsMax, and Trump campaign lawyer Joseph DiGenova who called for Krebs to be “drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot”.  When I hear these things, I shudder and wonder if our federal government at the highest levels is run by the Mafia.

Any business manager can tell you that you simply don’t fire people because they did their job, told the truth, though it happened not to be what you wanted to hear.  I spent over 20 years in management level positions and was sued twice during that time for “wrongful discharge”, though in the end the plaintiffs both lost their cases.  This is why companies have Human Resource departments, to keep managers from terminating employees unfairly or without cause.  WHERE is the H.R. department in the White House???  Sleeping?  Or were they fired, too?

Again, Bill Barr was a man who had sold his conscience, who did not consider his loyalty to be to either the Constitution or to We the People, and as such, he deserved what he got, however he was forced out for all the wrong reasons.  The main person that I can see who needs to be fired was just officially fired yesterday by the Electoral College, and will leave his position at noon on January 20th, at which time you will hear a collective sigh of relief.


In other news …

Ohio Senator Rob Portman finally, a month late, acknowledged in a short public statement that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States, though not without a certain amount of rancor …

“In accordance with the Constitution and federal law, the Electoral College cast their votes for President today. The Electors met in their respective state following certification of the results. I think we need to respect this process the Founding Fathers established, and we must respect the will of the voters. As I’ve said previously, the Trump campaign had every right to pursue recounts and legal challenges. That has now happened over the past six weeks, and although there were instances of fraud and irregularities, it has not been shown to be widespread enough to change the result of the election. States must take seriously the proven examples of fraud and irregularities, prosecute anyone who engaged in it, and review voting systems to maintain the integrity of our elections. The transition process and briefings for the Biden team began three weeks ago at the direction of President Trump, and I commend him for that. The orderly transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy, and although I supported President Trump, the Electoral College vote today makes clear that Joe Biden is now President-Elect.”

McConnell?  Gaetz?  Graham?  Did you guys get the memo that the Electoral College has officially declared Joe Biden the winner of the November 3rd election?  Speak up … I can’t quite hear you.


And for a bit of humour, here is a MeidasTouch video I found rather humorous …

Just A Little Bit Of Snarky

countdownI can barely remember a time when we could go to bed at night without losing sleep wondering what the latest atrocity from the person in the Oval Office would be when we wake in the morning.  I look forward to seeing such a time again soon.  Why … I might even have to retire Snarky Snippets!  Just 49 days to go …


Take Away The Pardon Pen!

Last week, Trump gave the ignoble Michael Flynn an early Christmas gift … a pardon.  Flynn, you may remember, pleaded guilty to a felony count of “willfully and knowingly” making false statements to the FBI.  Flynn was involved in Russia’s interference in our 2016 presidential election and should, like others, be sitting in a prison cell today.  Instead, he is a free man.

With Flynn’s pardon, people began to speculate about who else Trump might pardon before he leaves office at noon on January 20th.  Let’s start with this headline …

Trump Has Discussed With Advisers Pardons for His 3 Eldest Children and Giuliani

Hmmmm … now why would his three eldest children need pardons?  Obviously, they have committed crimes and Trump knows about it, else he would have no reason to even consider pardoning them.  So … as they say, “inquiring minds want to know,” and this inquiring mind is now determined to find out just what Ivanka, Junior and Eric might have done that would send them to prison if not for daddy’s pardon pen.  Oh, he’s also considering a pardon for his son-in-law, the atrocious Jared Kushner.

Typically, a presidential pardon is issued when a person has been charged with a crime.  Thus far, none of Trump’s children have been charged with a crime, so any pardon would be a pre-emptive one covering crimes for which they might be charged in the future.  How the Sam Hell does that work?

Junior had been under investigation by Robert Mueller’s team for his role in dealing with the Russians for damaging information against Hillary Clinton, but he was never charged.  Probably should have been but wasn’t.

What all of this says to me is that there has been a great deal of criminal activity taking place behind the closed doors of the White House that is highly likely to be uncovered by the Justice Department once it is no longer led by toady William Barr.  I can guarantee you that none of it was in the best interest of this nation and its people, but rather served to profit Trump and his businesses.

According to the New York Times …

Such a broad pardon pre-empting any charge or conviction is highly unusual but does have precedent. In the most famous example, President Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon for all of his actions as president. President George Washington pardoned plotters of the Whiskey Rebellion, shielding them from treason prosecutions. And President Jimmy Carter pardoned thousands of American men who illegally avoided the draft for the Vietnam War.

I think that it’s time to put some restrictions on the presidential pardon pen.  Right now, there are none except that the president can only pardon federal, not state crimes.  I think no president should be able to pardon a murderer who has not been proven innocent, or a family member for any reason.  And I certainly don’t approve of this pre-emptive pardoning, where the person is pardoned for crimes that we don’t even know about yet!  This is just ridiculous.


Speaking of Attorney General William Barr …

It seems he might be having second thoughts about having been Trump’s toady, now that Trump has obviously lost the election and will soon be on his way out the door, taking all his minions with him.  For the first time since he took office in February 2019, Barr disagreed with Trump in a move that likely infuriated the child in the Oval Office.

Barr’s comments, in an interview with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month’s voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.

Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

Apparently, Trump’s attorneys were none too happy with Barr’s statement, as Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, “with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president’s complaints.

Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump’s allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired.  Would he fire Barr, with only 49 more days in office?  Sure he would!  He’d fire just about anybody, but at this point, I doubt he would find anyone willing to take the job for a period of less than two months.


Speaking of Trump’s attorneys …

Respected and respectable lawyers shy away from working for Donald Trump, for they would be risking their reputation, and potentially their license to practice law by working for him.  So, his legal team is not the best and the brightest, but one of his lawyers, Joe DiGenova is beneath even pond scum.

On Monday, DiGenova made an appearance on NewsMax, the latest in right-wing propaganda media, and said this …

“Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity, that guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.”

Seriously???

Chris Krebs, you may remember, is the former head of election security in the Department of Homeland Security, who stated in no uncertain terms that there was no widespread voter fraud, and that the 2020 election was the most secure in the nation’s history.  He was fired a few days later on November 17th, by an irrational person who has no conscience, no ability to discern fact from fantasy.

Condemnation of Joe DiGenova’s remark about Chris Krebs was swift, including calls for his disbarment and the charge that he was behaving like a “mob attorney”.  No word on Trump’s response, but no doubt he will praise and approve of DiGenova’s comments.

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