Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Dear God, I Hate This Stupid Mother Fucker.

By Franz

I hate his constant infantile need for attention—like a baby shitting himself and flinging it at the walls, rejoicing in his ability to make others suffer for his actions.
I hate how transparently and debilitatingly narcissistic he is, exhibiting a lack of empathy most associated with bona fide sociopaths.
I hate that he can’t talk without his mouth forming the shape of a distended prolapsed asshole.
I hate that the fucking resident of the United States spells like a 3rd grader who got hit in the head with the goddamn shovel.
I hate that millions of Americans have to suffer because his transparent compensation for his micro-penis is more important to him than actual leadership.
I hate the constant, tedious, immature bragging—like a 71 year old slob who won’t stop reminding you he once fucked the prom queen in his Trans Am, as if we give a shit.
I hate the way he constantly holds his stupid face with his chin raised like he ordered the “Mussolini for Douchebags” home kit.
I hate the way he crosses his arms in meetings with the body language of a four-year-old in time out.
I hate his fake teeth, fake hair, fake tan, fake marriage, fake life, and fake residency.
I hate his complete lack of chivalry or affection as he walks ahead of his wife and kid—a kid that he’s likely unfortunately turning into the same kind of broken, unloved piece of shit he is.
I hate that he’s a chauvinist, racist, homophobic, bigot, and isn’t remotely ashamed of it.
I hate his stupid long red ties that don’t make his Christmas twinkle light penis any bigger.
I hate his insipid, intrusive alpha male handshake, like a fucking baby orangutan beating its chest in the zoo.
I hate that he constantly blathers "no collusion, no collusion" like a macaw with Tourettes.  
I hate that he clearly can’t fucking read. Watching him mumble his way through a teleprompter is like watching a bulldog on Quaaludes try to do math.
I hate that he could dick whip the statue of the Virgin Mary in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and the “religious right” would still make excuses for him.
I hate that he’s turned the West Wing into a glorified Klan rally.
I hate that he has the verbal finesse of a used car salesman with a fake GED.
I hate that he has admitted to grabbing pussies, defamed a Gold Star family, demeaned a war hero, praised Nazis as “very fine people,” extra-maritally banged a porn star and paid her off to keep her mouth shut, made fun of the physically handicapped, admitted to obstruction of justice, became a blatant puppet of the Kremlin—all on television—and this idiocratic country still saw fit to reward him with the high office once held by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Barack Obama.
I hate that he’s nothing but an over-glorified psychologically handicapped Internet troll—and not even a good one.
I hate that he couldn’t pass a junior high quiz about what the ADA actually is, or does.
I hate that he lies like most people breathe.
I hate that his dead bird’s nest of ridiculous hair has no actual origin point—it just sits there like an embarrassed and confused tumbleweed.
I hate that his ascendance revealed without any reasonable question that nearly 40% of this country is still virulently racist.
I hate that he thinks a vainglorious $50 million parade is a better way to honor the troops than by increasing the VA budget by $50 million.
I hate that he takes credit for everything good Barack Obama did for this country, but takes responsibility for nothing bad.
I hate that if (not when) he meets with Kim Jong Un, Trump will be the one with the more ridiculous hairdo.
I hate his fucking face.
I hate his fucking voice.
I hate that he’ll be long dead and gone when this country finally purges itself of his existence the way Germany shits on the memory of Adolf Hitler.
I hate that he’s too deranged and ignorant to ever understand how truly reviled, hated, embarrassing, and disgusting morally upright and sane people know he is.
I hate that he has turned the residency of the United States of America into a Fox News reality show.
I hate that he fucking exists.
Cross posted at The Rogue Left

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Russia and Putin are fiercely dangerous to our democracy. Putin has something very big on Trump, which has rendered him an impotent toady. These two facts are obvious. This is the biggest, scariest story in the world. Let’s stop pretending it isn’t.

Tweet, minutes ago, from Tony Schwartz, who wrote The Art of the Deal for Trump:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Trump fires Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him as the nation’s top diplomat, orchestrating a major change to his national security team amid delicate negotiations with North Korea, White House officials said Tuesday.

Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled diplomat cut short a trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.


Monday, March 12, 2018

The thing that ate America's brain

Melania Knew -- Charles Blow NYT

Dear America: Come on, you can’t be serious.

The ongoing saga over a president, a porn star and a payoff is so lewd and tawdry that it can’t simply be added to the ever-expanding list of horrible misbehaviors of a womanizing misogynist.

It’s not even the infidelity that most bothers me. I view that as an issue between spouses and with the other person involved. I contend that we on the outside never really know what understandings may exist in a marriage, unless the two parties within reveal it.

In this case, Melania knew exactly the kind of man she was getting.

When Donald first meets Melania, they are at a New York Fashion Week party to which Donald has been invited by the wealthy Italian businessman who brought Melania to America on a modeling contract and work visa. According to GQ, sometimes, to promote his models, the businessman “would send a few girls to an event and invite photographers, producers, and rich playboys.”


Kiss My Rump, Donald Trump

Words and music by Sandy and Richard Riccardi

Buy it now! https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/sandyandrichardriccardi3 copyright 2016 www.partyriccardi.com

Give the white supremacists a nod Tell the Christian right that you found God Take away the women’s rights we’ve had for fifty years Hang out with the Ku Klux Klan, then crucify the queers Build a wall to keep the for’ners out Tell a Californian there’s no drought That leaves one thing more before we’re through One little thing from me, for you to do Kiss My Rump, Donald Trump I’d never vote for you Not if you were the last man standing Kiss My Rump Donald Trump Your winning days are through Your ass, to you, we will be handing Lie about the businesses you’ve sold Leave your wives before they get too old Go learn your Scottish history, you silly billionaire Admit you can’t buy everything as proved by your bad hair Talk of women like they’re pigs and whores State they’re only useful on all fours Use Mick Jagger’s music till you’re sued But here’s one little task you must include Kiss My Rump, Donald Trump I’d never vote for you Not if you were the last man standing Kiss My Rump Donald Trump Your winning days are through Your ass to you we will be handing I’ll try to be succincter But your mouth looks like a sphincter Your squinty eyes reveal to me A narcissistic personality Your tiny sausage fingers are Too small to hold your fat cigar I’d put a handsome Muslim man before your nasty fake spray tan Tell McCain he’s not a war hero After all, why not? You didn’t go Tell me how you plan to carpet bomb the innocents Tell me you can run the country with noexperience Flush the Grand Old Party down the drain Have a bromance with Vladimir Pu-tain Summon all the bigots in the country from their caves Is this the way a president behaves? Kiss My Rump, Donald Trump I’d never vote for you Not if you were the last man standing Kiss My Rump Donald Trump Your winning days are through Your ass to you we will be handing

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Former Assoc. Dir. of National Intelligence: "it was entirely possible votes were tampered with."

There has been extensive discussion of Russian efforts to hack into US voting systems (for example, see the report of the Director of National Intelligence from January of last year), and it is no longer in dispute that Russia was successful in ‘compromising’ a number of voting systems. Nor is it in dispute that many elements of our voting system (not just the voting machines themselves) are vulnerable to cyberattacks, and old-fashioned tampering, as explained in the excellent diary from yesterday by DKos contributor Leslie Sazillo, which highlights the work of Dr. Barbara Simons, an expert in computer security and voting systems.

For all the efforts Russia engaged in over the course of years to attempt to determine the outcome of the 2016 election, and install their preferred candidate, and all that is publicly known of their multifaceted operations to penetrate our voting systems, there are still many here and elsewhere who hold onto the contention there is no direct evidence that any votes, or vote totals, were changed.

That contention relies on the notion that Russia did everything in its capability to capture the election, from hijacking social media platforms to recruiting Americans to assist them, and they breached various voting systems in dozens of states, but the one the one thing they held back from doing, was change votes themselves (even though, as the work of Dr. Simons and other experts show, they could do so ‘invisibly’). Why would Putin hold back in this one instance, when he has shown no such restraint in any other way?

The answer is, in all likelihood: he didn’t hold back. Claims that votes were not changed to ensure the election of Putin’s tool, are looking less plausible by the day.

An article by Dr. Eric Haseltine (in, of all places, Psychology Today) from last month, explicates why this is the case.

First, who is Dr. Haseltine? From his website:
Eric joined the National Security Agency to run its Research Directorate. Three years later, he was promoted to associate of director of National Intelligence, where he oversaw all science and technology efforts within the United States Intelligence Community as well as fostering development innovative new technologies for countering cyber threats and terrorism. For his work on counter-terrorism technologies, he received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal in 2007.
A little more background on him, from Wikipedia:
Haseltine spent 13 years at Hughes Aircraft, where he rose to the position of Director of Engineering. He then left for Walt Disney Imagineering in 1992, where he joined the research and development group, working on large-scale virtual-reality projects. In 1998, he was promoted to senior vice president responsible for all technology projects.[1] In 2000, he was made Executive Vice President. Haseltine was head of research and development for Walt Disney Imagineering[2] by the time he left in 2002 to join the National Security Agency as Director of Research. From 2005 to 2007, Haseltine was Associate Director for Science and Technology, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)—that organization's first—a position he described in a 2006 US News and World Report interview by stating: "You can think of me as the CTO [chief technology officer] of the intelligence community"…
Eric has 23 patents in optics, special effects and electronic media, and more than 150 publications in science and technical journals, the web, and Discover Magazine.
Seems reasonably qualified, and from his years at NSA, reasonably informed.
Here’s his take on tampering with vote totals:


After the last presidential election, I heard one expert after another reassure voters that the Russians could not have hacked voting machines or state vote tallying systems on a scale large enough to tip the presidential election…
As much as we’d all like to believe such confident pronouncements, my experience in the intelligence world, where I served as Associate Director of National Intelligence, has lead me to one inescapable conclusion—the optimistic “experts” are probably wrong, and all of us should acknowledge that our unconscious (or not-so-unconscious) need to believe that our democracy can’t be subverted by foreigners, blinds us to powerful evidence to the contrary. And, after embracing this scary possibility, we should do a lot more to secure our voting systems than we are doing now…
The case for Russian tampering with the vote
Let me start by explaining the way intelligence professionals would approach the question of whether the Russians, or other skilled actors, could change the outcome of a U.S. election by tampering with voting. Then I’ll show why intelligence-style analysis leads to uncomfortable conclusions.
In making assessments about a state actor, such as the Russians, intelligence analysts ask two questions: what are the intentions of this actor and what are their capabilities?…
So, do the Russians intend to elect American candidates they prefer over those that we, the voters, prefer?
In a word, yes. In a rare display of unanimity, last year the U.S. Intelligence Community assessed that Putin, acting through his intelligence services, had indeed tried to tip the presidential election. One of the Russian Intelligence’s scariest accomplishments was to break into voter databases in 21 states (up to 50 states if you believe some sources). This success alone could have influenced the election by dictating who could and could not vote. In one target of Russian hacking, North Carolina for instance, some legitimate voters (in a “blue” precinct, as it turns out,) could not vote because the e-poll registration system used to allow voters to vote erroneously asserted that some legitimate voters weren’t registered…
One more thing. You might be wondering whether, despite their motivation to subvert our national elections, Russian leadership might still hesitate to alter vote tallies out of fear of getting caught. Whereas the U.S. Congress responded to voter registration hacks and email leaks from the Clinton campaign with sanctions—a mere slap on the wrist—the U.S. just might view outright alteration of vote counts an act of war and respond accordingly.
Sadly, I think the Kremlin views getting caught as more of a good thing, than a bad thing, because the net result would be favorable to Russia. Based on the way we responded to Russian behavior in 2016, Putin knows that a sizable portion of America—members of whichever major party the Kremlin favored—would, by and large, accept the inevitable Russian denials about vote tampering because we all believe what we want to believe, particularly when believing Russia committed an act of war could lead to armed conflict with a superpower…
In other words, if Russia were caught changing vote counts, America would be even more divided than today: exactly what the Kremlin wants. And the national will to respond to Russia’s provocation as an act of war simply wouldn’t be there.
Russia wins if they don’t get caught and Russia wins if they do get caught; what’s not to like? (emphasis added)
Note that Dr. Haseltine makes reference to information that, rather than the 39 states we know were in some way compromised, it may be the voting systems in all 50 states the Russians accessed.

Dr. Haseltine goes into detail about the vulnerabilities of voting systems, covering much of the same territory as Leslie’s review of Dr. Simon’s work, so I won’t go through it here, but Dr. Haseltine’s summary is well worth the read.

For our discussion, it’s his ultimate conclusion that warrants attention:
Adding up what we know about Russian intentions and capabilities, and factoring in the vulnerabilities just listed, I believe that it was entirely possible votes in the 2016 election were tampered with, and that attempts could be made to compromise future elections.
Why hold onto the notion that Russia didn’t try to change votes? (And if they tried, there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t be ‘invisibly’ successful.)

Dr. Haseltine suggests it is simply not wanting to believe it to be true: “the optimistic “experts” are probably wrong, and all of us should acknowledge that our unconscious (or not-so-unconscious) need to believe that our democracy can’t be subverted by foreigners”.
Charles Pierce, at Esquire, echoes this view:
The last outpost of moderate opinion on the subject of the Russian ratfucking during the 2016 presidential election seems to be that, yes, there was mischief done and steps should be taken both to reveal its extent and to prevent it from happening again in the future, but that the ratfucking, thank baby Jesus, did not materially affect the vote totals anywhere in the country. This is a calm, measured, evidence-based judgment. It is also a kind of prayer. If the Russian cyber-assault managed to change the vote totals anywhere, then the 2016 presidential election is wholly illegitimate. That rocks too many comfort zones in too many places.
Putin isn’t playing.

Saturday, Mar 10, 2018 · 8:21:45 AM EST · ian douglas rushlau
DKos member Hudson Valley Mark in a comment stressed the importance of communicating clear policy goals to address the vulnerabilities of our voting systems, and his point is well-taken.

The Verified Voting Foundation has created principles for making voting as secure as possible, which are as follows:
Any new voting system should conform to the following principles:
1. It should use human-readable marks on paper as the official record of voter preferences and as the official medium to store votes.1
2. It should be usable by all voters; accessible to all voters, including those with disabilities; and available in all mandated languages.2
3. It should provide voters the means and opportunity to verify that the human-readable marks correctly represent their intended selections, before casting the ballot.3
4. It should preserve vote anonymity: it should not be possible to link any voter to his or her selections, when the system is used appropriately. It should be difficult or impossible to compromise or waive voter anonymity accidentally or deliberately.4 No voter should be able to prove how he or she voted.5
5. It should export contest results in a standard, open, machine-readable format.6
6. It should be easily and transparently auditable at the ballot level. It should:
export a cast vote record (CVR) for every ballot,
in a standard, open, machine-readable format,
in a way that the original paper ballot corresponding to any CVR can be quickly and unambiguously identified, andvice versa.7
7. It should use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware components and open-source software (OSS) in preference to proprietary hardware and proprietary software, especially when doing so will reduce costs, facilitate maintenance and customization, facilitate replacing failed or obsolete equipment, improve security or reliability, or facilitate adopting technological improvements quickly and affordably.8
8. It should be able to create CVRs from ballots designed for currently deployed systems9 and it should be readily configurable to create CVRs for new ballot designs.10
9. It should be sufficiently open11 to allow a competitive market for support, including configuration, maintenance, integration, and customization.
10.It should be usable by election officials: they should be able to configure, operate, and maintain the system, create ballots, tabulate votes, and audit the accuracy of the results without relying on external expertise or labor, even in small jurisdictions with limited staff.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Charles Koch all of a sudden has a problem with corporate influence in politics

By Joan McCarter

Yes, you read that right. Charles Koch, in an op-ed in The Washington Post, complains that there's too much corporate influence in policy-making. Charles Koch, the guy who with his brother has bought the whole Republican House conference and about a third of the Senate's, says this:
When large companies can pressure politicians to force everyday Americans to fork over unearned millions, we should all question the fairness of the system. […] To include millions more of our people in true economic progress, our lawmakers must act on behalf of all Americans—not just the privileged few.
For reals. What brought this sudden realization upon him? He doesn't like Trump's tariffs, which show, he says, that "Our entire economy is rife with cronyism."

Uh-huh. He really, really wrote that, after the Kochs spent more than $20 million on the Republican tax scam that will net them more than $1 billion in tax cuts. They gave a fund-raising committee that supports Paul Ryan, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and a pro-Ryan PAC $500,000 to get that tax law, a law that's going to cause plenty of everyday Americans to "fork over unearned millions when the few provisions benefiting them expire in a few years.

And he has the gall to say "We only support policies that are based on equality under the law and that help people improve their lives." His evidence of that? The Kochs lobbied for the end of ethanol subsidies. Because that really helps the great unwashed in their everyday lives.

The incredible thing is, he really believes he's been treated unfairly here.