Update on that painting

pictureJust a quick update, because I’ve been busy, and haven’t had the chance to catch up.

That painting – you know, the one Duncan Hunter removed because his tender labia got chafed at the controversial subject matter – was removed, because it apparently violated the rules of the contest it was judged to have won.

All the drama and the tug-of-war to garner the attention of the media was just so much bullshit.

“The Congressional Art Competition is an opportunity to celebrate the creativity of students in every corner of our country — and visitors from around the world see their talents on display when they walk through the halls of our Capitol,” Reichert said in a statement. “However, with any competition there are rules, and these rules exist for a reason. This painting hung in clear defiance to those rules and was a slap in the face to the countless men and women who put their lives on the line everyday on behalf of our safety and freedom.”

Ryan told the congressman that the Architect of the Capitol made the determination, Reichert’s office said.

The rules of the art competition state: “Exhibits depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature are not allowed,” according to the statement from Reichert.

There was some controversy on this very blog about whether Hunter behaved vaguely Reich-like when he removed the painting, because it was offensive. I agree the painting was repugnant, but as our guest writer Dave Hardin wrote, “The wall on which that picture hangs does not belong to Hunter, and neither did the picture. That wall belongs to us – all of us – and that picture belongs to a 17 year old high school student. That wall and what hangs on it is protected by Marines who served this nation long before Duncan Hunter could read or write.”

Hunter had no right to remove the winner of an art competition from the public walls, no matter how offensive he found it.

But it appears his drama was unnecessary anyway. All he had to do was ask the Architect of the Capitol to examine rules of the contest, and make a determination about whether the painting legitimately won.

It hadn’t.

But instead, Hunter decided to use his government authority to remove something he found offensive from a public venue.

Survey says: DOUCHE!

Enough Already!

Over the past couple of months I’ve been seeing more and more friends of mine, who didn’t like Trump and didn’t vote for him, boarding the Trump Train. 

I’ve found myself telling people, “I don’t even like the guy! Stop making me defend him!” This is not because he somehow magically won them (or me) over, or because they (or I) have all of a sudden begun to agree with his ideas. 

No, it is because the petulant, whiny, violent, ignorant, condescensing, petty, vengeful left’s puerile screeching has reached such cacophonous levels, that I find myself supporting and defending PEOTUS just on principle – as a slap in the face to these douche canoes. 

SO MUCH DRAMA!

At first, it was attempts to kill the legitimacy of the election and calls for the abolition of the electoral college. 

Then, it was the recount demands. 

Then, it was claims that the Russian meddling in our elections somehow handed Trump the presidency, instead of acknowledging that the left wan such a flawed, unlikeable candidate, that even Donald fucking Trump was able to trounce her, despite all the advantages she had, including advance knowledge of the debate questions! 

We had the condescending, supercilious denigration of those who voted for Trump as toothless, uneducated, racist trash that, as many I know have put it, voted against their own self interest, as if anyone, except the voter him or herself understands what said voter’s self interest is!

We had out-of-touch, billionaire Hollywood actors, ivory tower academics, and snotty artists demeaning and harassing the rest of America, and denigrating the incoming President and his family. Because the rest of America struggling to eke out a living and get ahead really wants political lectures from clueless elitists, who make millions by pretending to be other people. 

Now we have self-important celebrities and politicians claiming they won’t attend the inauguration, because TRUMP, and protesters planning to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power

The left’s temper tantrums were amusing at first, but the more they dominate the news cycle, the more irritating they get. My schadenboner, which was at first turgid, has now become deflated and been replaced by a desire to throat punch the next self-aggrandizing progtard who does his or her shit-flinging chimp impression on my news feed. 

ENOUGH!

For those of you who still don’t get it, I want to make this perfectly clear. 

If you have decided that your dislike of the incoming President is more important than preserving America’s fundamental system of government and the peaceful transfer of power, you America-hating loons, get the fuck out of my country! You don’t fucking belong here!

If you claim he’s not your president, unless you’re an illegal alien or are giving up your right to be an American, I have news for you: he is and will be your fucking president for at least the next four years! Deal with it. 

If you want him to fail, you want America to fail. And if you want America to fail, I cordially invite you to get fucked with a rusty jackhammer wrapped in concertina wire. 

If you think you’re so important, that your absence from the inauguration is newsworthy and will be noted or somehow missed by the average American, it won’t. No one gives a fuck about your very public refusal (read: concern trolling) to perform at or attend the inauguration. 

If you think the rest of the world isn’t watching the chaos you’re sowing you’re sadly mistaken. Your histrionic antics are embarrassing America much more than the election of a narcissistic, ignorant, reality star clown shoe ever could. 

All your drama is succeeding in doing is turning thousands and thousands of people who have previously opposed the President-elect into hesitant Trump advocates.  

So here’s some advice: you don’t like what’s happened? Take a good, long look in the mirror and ask yourself why. Why did you support a candidate that was so awful, that she couldn’t even CHEAT her way into the White House! Get involved. Get educated. Engage with the very people you now demean and convince them with facts and logic of the righteoussness of your position, instead of arrogantly looking down on them and airing your disdain. Run for public office. Work to change the education system. Learn from your mistakes. Act like adults. 

Yes, criticize the policies of the President. You are absolutely within your right to do that. It’s one of the most critical foundations of our country! But you might want to at least wait until he actually BECOMES President and you get a good sense of how those policies will impact America, instead of venting your ignorant spleen about sexist/misogynist/racist/whateverist Trump ruining this country.  

But ferfuckssake, grow up! 

I, for one, am sick and goddamn tired of listening to you. 

Guest Post: Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, Major USMC – Paves the way to malicious censorship in the modern Reich.

pictureToday’s post is bound to be controversial for some. I stand with our police and our military, and I find the student art that was taken down from the Capitol tunnel offensive and downright abhorrent.

That said, I’m also an Army vet, and much like the writer of this piece, I find the efforts to remove this high school student’s work abhorrent to the very principles we, as members of the U.S. Armed Forces have sworn to defend.

I’m always fond of telling the perpetually offended to put on their big boy and girl panties, and suck it up. There is no right to be protected from butthurt via government force.

As of two days ago, the painting was re-hanged in the tunnel of the Capitol, and after several attempts by other lawmakers to take it down, it remains there.


By Dave Hardin

Duncan Hunter ripped down a picture that was hanging on the walls of the Capitol building and was selected as the winner of a national art contest. He found it offensive, but I doubt he understands the deleterious effect his actions have had on others and their freedoms, and as far as I’m concerned, Hunter should be far more mindful of unintended consequences his actions could have on others, including fellow Marines – people Hunter cannot hope to measure up to.

Let me have the honor of telling you about Michael Paradise. He served with the most outstanding unit I was ever deployed with, and he did it with distinction. I have served with Mike north of the Arctic Circle, when our days were mostly night with -17 degrees temps. I have witnessed him standing ready to face our enemies in Beirut.

marineBack in the day I did some boxing. Not many were willing to step into a boxing rink, but Mike Paradise was the exception. He had the intestinal fortitude to stand toe to toe with any Marine, and he took me on. This picture was taken of Mike a month or so after our boxing match on our way to Beirut.

Mike was known to max out the Marine Corps physical fitness test – a minor detail nobody mentioned to me at the time. So, for a brief moment in his career Mike had the honor of beating up on this old Sergeant to the applause of all. I have heard his version of that event and I promise you he is far more humble than he should be.

Mike knows exactly what it feels like to be deployed into the unknown and be willing to stand in the face of tyranny, because he was among the last Marines who were sent to Beirut.

Fast forward a number of years.

Mike has been a teacher for the last 17 years. He is an art teacher, and he has spent the bulk of his adult life teaching young minds the art of free expression. I have the great honor and privilege as a Marine of stating that I was beaten up by an art teacher. That always brings a smile to my face.

Some of Mike’s high school art students participated in a program that selected their work to be displayed at the Capitol building in Washington, DC. He participated in, and supported a program, that is the finest example of our right to free expression. In the end, a painting done by a student in a neighboring school won the competition.

You know what happened next.

People got offended, and Duncan Hunter acted.

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter has removed from display in the Cannon tunnel the controversial student art contest painting of police-community relations in Ferguson, Missouri, that depicts police officers as animals.

This is appalling.

Congressman Hunter not only ripped down a picture created by a high school student from the wall, but he dishonored those who served to protect our right to free expression. He attacked the life’s work of another Marine. He attacked one of my Beirut brothers and he shamed the sacrifice those who came long before him.

All because people were offended.

The wall on which that picture hangs does not belong to Hunter, and neither did the picture. That wall belongs to us – all of us – and that picture belongs to a 17 year old high school student. That wall and what hangs on it is protected by Marines who served this nation long before Duncan Hunter could read or write.

Personally, I find the picture that was selected to be displayed offensive too. It depicts what happened in Ferguson from the perspective of bias and hate.

I have the right to be offended, but I have a right to hear and see that which others are free to express. I have a right to form my own opinion on it. So do all Americans… its what weaves the very fabric of America.

But what we do not have the right to do is demand that which offends us be removed by government force.

What defines us as Americans is our right to be offended, but at the same time respect and even defend another’s right to do exactly that. Being American demands that we defend the rights of others to scream at the top of the lungs that which we have spent a lifetime opposing.

Where does this kind of behavior stop?

Will the Congressman now go to the Library of Congress and burn a mass of books he finds offensive?

egaBecause if that’s the case, before Duncan Hunter starts goose stepping down the hallways of our of the Capitol ripping down artwork put there by my fellow citizens, he should turn in his EGA (that’s Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, in case you were wondering). His conduct was unbecoming a United States Marine, and as far as I’m concerned, he disgraced the Officer Corps.

I have several friends who know Duncan Hunter personally, and I reached out to my fellow Marines for an explanation. All I have heard so far are crickets. If Duncan Hunter has constructed an echo chamber of people who will not tell him when he is in the wrong, please let me be the one to kick in his door.

I am very aware that he has worked hard for veterans. He has done good work on those issues, but it appears he also created an environment in which people will not confront him in fear of losing his support.

So let me be the first to say…

Marine, your actions were wrong. You tarnished the EGA, and now you need to suck it up and make this right. You have an obligation to stand corrected and do it with dignity and honor. So do your duty, and make this right.

Because at the moment, Duncan Hunter, you are not worthy of standing in the shadow of the likes of Michael Paradise… Teacher.

BBC’s Harry Law: Pushing political agenda and displaying cultural ignorance

second-amendmentAs I said previously, I do consider BBC’s straight journalism considerably superior to almost any American “news” outlet. Someone pointed out that BBC does lean considerably left, but it is easy to discern their reporting efforts from their features/editorials, so while I respect their journalism, their other work leaves a lot of be desired.

A few days ago, a writer named Harry Low decided it was time to add some spittle-flecked ignorance to the already-vast library of anti-gun loonery that the “journalists” of the world dutifully created in order to advance a global anti-freedom agenda. He penned a piece for BBC Magazine entitled “How Japan has almost eradicated gun crime.” This is hardly a news piece in any way, shape, or form, nor does it explore any new ideas. The author’s only goal with this dull-witted screed was to emphasize one message: GUNZ BAD!

Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world. In 2014 there were just six gun deaths, compared to 33,599 in the US. What is the secret?

suicidesNow, let’s start with the fact that the gun rate cited in the United States also includes cases of legal self defense as well as suicides. As a matter of fact, two-thirds of the 33,599 deaths via firearms in 2014 – or 21,334 were suicides, according to the CDC.

Do you want to know how many people committed suicide in Japan in 2014? According to the BBC itself, in 2014 on average 70 Japanese people committed suicide every day.

Every. Day.

That’s 25,550 people per year, which may be a function of another problem, which I will discuss below.

So comparing deaths by firearm in 2014 and including suicides in the United States, which comprise 63 percent of the deaths being compared is abject inability to analyze data at best, and outright disingenuous manipulation of data at worst.

A country that banned handguns and has incredibly tight controls on all other types of firearms in 2014 saw a higher suicide rate than the United States.

So point one: Harry Law is either a liar or an idiot.

But let’s remove the suicides from the picture. Out of the remaining 12,265 deaths by firearm, 464 were listed as legal intervention. That means a thug got ventilated by a would-be victim, which leaves 11,801 firearm deaths. Now, remember, these are legal interventions which resulted in the death of the violent vermin in question. This does not include incidents in which the gun was merely brandished, or the vermin was only injured. We have no idea how many lives were saved by those acts of bravery, but let’s leave those alone for a bit.

There were also 586 unintentional deaths – or accidents – which leaves 11,215, and there were 270 firearm deaths in which the intent could not be determined. This brings the gun homicide level to 10,945.

Still, Harry Law might say, nearly 11,000 firearm deaths compared to six is a big difference! While Japan in 2014 had a 0.3 gun homicide rate, the United States came in at a whopping 3.43 percent! And of course, Harry Law’s answer to the disparity is the lack of guns.

If you want to buy a gun in Japan you need patience and determination. You have to attend an all-day class, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95%.

There are also mental health and drugs tests. Your criminal record is checked and police look for links to extremist groups. Then they check your relatives too – and even your work colleagues. And as well as having the power to deny gun licences, police also have sweeping powers to search and seize weapons.

That’s not all. Handguns are banned outright. Only shotguns and air rifles are allowed.

The law restricts the number of gun shops. In most of Japan’s 40 or so prefectures there can be no more than three, and you can only buy fresh cartridges by returning the spent cartridges you bought on your last visit.

And this is where point two comes in: Harry Law is ignorant on Japanese culture writ large.

The people are comfortable, he says.

There’s no clamor for a relaxation of firearms laws, he says.

And Japanese police officers rarely use guys, he says.

Japanese police officers rarely use guns and put much greater emphasis on martial arts – all are expected to become a black belt in judo. They spend more time practising kendo (fighting with bamboo swords) than learning how to use firearms.

“The response to violence is never violence, it’s always to de-escalate it. Only six shots were fired by Japanese police nationwide [in 2015],” says journalist Anthony Berteaux. “What most Japanese police will do is get huge futons and essentially roll up a person who is being violent or drunk into a little burrito and carry them back to the station to calm them down.”

Now, my juvenile giggling at a perp being turned into a burrito aside, I’m also not a fan of the militarization of police. I’m much more a proponent of effective training, whether with firearms, a baton, or hand-to-hand combat.

japan-homicides

That said, what Harry Law wrote demonstrates a remarkable lack of cultural awareness.

First, despite the lack of guns in Japan, the homicide rate actually increased by 6.76 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the World Data Atlas.

But more than that what Harry Law is missing is the fact that the homicide rate writ large in Japan has always been significantly lower than in the United States. Japan saw 697 homicides in 2003 overall, compared with 11,920 firearm deaths in the United States. But while gun ownership has been on the rise since 2003, the gun homicide rates have generally declined.

Gee, maybe there’s something else at play that Harry Law, in his ridiculous zeal to advance a “GUNZ BAD!” message is missing?

In 1988 Dave Kopel wrote an article about Japanese culture that might clear up Harry Law’s confusion a bit.

The Japanese criminal justice system bears more heavily on a suspect than any other system in an industrial democratic nation. One American found this out when he was arrested in Okinawa for possessing marijuana: he was interrogated for days without an attorney, and signed a confession written in Japanese that he could not read. He met his lawyer for the first time at his trial, which took 30 minutes.

Unlike in the United States, where the Miranda rule limits coercive police interrogation techniques, Japanese police and prosecutors may detain a suspect indefinitely until he confesses. (Technically, detentions are only allowed for three days, followed by ten day extensions approved by a judge, but defense attorneys rarely oppose the extension request, for fear of offending the prosecutor.) Bail is denied if it would interfere with interrogation.

Even after interrogation is completed, pretrial detention may continue on a variety of pretexts, such as preventing the defendant from destroying evidence. Criminal defense lawyers are the only people allowed to visit a detained suspect, and those meetings are strictly limited.

Partly as a result of these coercive practices, and partly as a result of the Japanese sense of shame, the confession rate is 95%.

For those few defendants who dare to go to trial, there is no jury. Since judges almost always defer to the prosecutors’ judgment, the trial conviction rate for violent crime is 99.5%.
Of those convicted, 98% receive jail time.

In short, once a Japanese suspect is apprehended, the power of the prosecutor makes it very likely the suspect will go to jail. And the power of the policeman makes it quite likely that a criminal will be apprehended.

The police routinely ask “suspicious” characters to show what is in their purse or sack. In effect, the police can search almost anyone, almost anytime, because courts only rarely exclude evidence seized by the police — even if the police acted illegally.

The most important element of police power, though, is not authority to search, but authority in the community.

Bottom line: The Japanese public has had a historically very different relationship with law enforcement, police have broad powers, including the power to stop, search, and coerce confessions during interrogations. The Japanese culturally respect police officers as much as they respect teachers, and have willingly ceded their rights. I don’t know a whole lot of people in the West, and especially not in the United States, who are willing to scrap their constitutional rights in the way the Japanese have. Additionally, crime rates are generally low because culturally, to commit a crime is to bring shame to one’s family.

And in Japan, culturally, the sense of shame is significant. Shame, honor, and duty are a historic part of Japanese culture. Going to jail carries with it an extraordinary social stigma, which compared to other countries, where prison time gives you street cred, would make more sense in explaining the low crime rates than the presence or absence of firearms. And at the same time, there is a focus on keeping crime statistics low, and violent crimes such as rape go underreported in a society that is apparently still male-dominated and so intent on keeping its image clean, that no autopsies are performed, on even most obvious cases of foul play, and no crime is reported.

The existence of chikan (“perverts”, meaning men groping women in public) is a massive problem and has led to the creation of “women-only” carriages in most major cities. Japanese police are also criticized for failing to take victims of sexual crimes seriously time and again as a result of either chauvinist bias or an inability to investigate such crimes.

What are most disturbing are however arguments that the low crime is partially a result of a police culture that are obsessed with keeping crime statistics low. Former detectives claim that police is unwilling to investigate homicides unless there is a clear suspects and frequently labels unnatural deaths as suicides without performing autopsies. Coincidentally, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

This brings me to point three: Harry Law apparently knows fuckall about Japanese culture, and uses that ignorance to his advantage when pushing a political agenda.

Point four: Harry Law shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Some straight talk on Russia’s cyber attacks

putinThe Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) on Russia’s cyber attacks was declassified recently, and of course, both sides – Republican and Democrat – are making political hay of it. Since I’m on neither Republican nor Democrat side, but rather on the side of America, let’s discuss, shall we?

First, let’s talk about what it did say, and not what the media says it says. I’m sick and tired of people citing the Washington Post and other media outlets in their efforts to promote “their side,” rather than actually reading the damn thing. In order to intelligently speak on the issue, we have to actually read the ICA – yes, all 25 pages of it.

  • It says that Russia’s recent activities demonstrate an escalation of activities that Russia has been engaged in for years.
  • It says Putin ordered the activities in the 2016 campaign.
  • It says Russia’s goals were to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system, as well as undermine Hillary Clinton in favor of Trump. I’ve said this before on this very blog. The declassified ICA confirms what I’ve said previously.

Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.

  • It says Russia’s cyber campaign was done in concert with its longer-term public relations/information warfare strategy.
  • It says Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were both part of Russia’s General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate’s (GRU)’s cyber campaign, and released information to WikiLeaks.
  • It says the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not – I repeat NOT – involved in vote tallying.
  • It says Russia will employ similar strategies in other countries’ elections processes.

Here’s what it does not say.

  • It does not say that the Russians helped Trump win.

We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.

  • It makes no assessment at all about the effectiveness of Russia’s efforts. As a matter of fact, I argued a few weeks ago on this site that their efforts to undermine confidence in the U.S. elections system was not successful.

Gallup polling in September indicated that only 62 percent of Americans had confidence in the accuracy of the vote count, but this number is similar to the polls conducted in 2008 – before revelations about active Russian meddling came to light. So it’s difficult to attribute the low confidence to the Russians.

  • It does not give away sources and methods. There are specific reasons for that. Know what the Russians do to sources who reveal information to their adversaries? They kill them. They are not big on due process. Their due process involves a bullet to the back of the head. If you doubt me, look up “smersh,” which stands for “smert’ shpionam” or “death to spies.” Believe it or not, we do care about human lives, and slimy detritus such as Robert Hansen and Aldrich Ames, who caused the deaths of numerous sources who had the unmitigated gall to betray the Soviet state and provide information to the United States, unfortunately are still allowed to draw breath.

There are also specific reasons to ensure that methods remain classified. Unlike certain morons in the DNC who failed to change their passwords or made them so ridiculously simple, that a teenager living in his mother’s basement could figure out a way in with his little Cheeto-stained fingers, the Russians will actually change their email addresses, beef up cyber security, and increase operational security, as well as make our collection platforms worthless once their existence is discovered.

  • It does not say the Russians wanted Trump from the start. It clearly says the Russian government “developed” a preference for Trump, and aspired to help his election chances.
  • It does not say that they in any way knew these efforts would succeed. As a matter of fact, it specifically says they developed a strategy to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidency when they thought it was likely that she was going to win.
  • It did not say Russia’s propaganda campaign was anything new and shocking. It wasn’t. It was part of a longstanding Russian strategy.
  • It did not say anything released by the Russians through WikiLeaks and other methods was false in any way.
  • It did not say that the Trump campaign had anything to do with these attacks or leaks.

It says the three major agencies agree with these assessments, although NSA makes the assessment that these operations were directed by Putin with moderate confidence, while FBI and CIA have high confidence assessments. The ICA explains what these assessments mean. High confidence means that the assessment is based on high-quality information from multiple, corroborative sources. Note that the ICA specifically says this does not preclude the possibility that the judgment could be wrong – only that the chance of it being erroneous is small, based on the quality and quantity of corroborative sources.

Moderate confidence in an assessment means the sources on which said judgment is based are plausible and credibly sourced, but there may not be a sufficient number of said sources or they may not be corroborated sufficiently to warrant a high confidence judgment. This does not mean the NSA disagrees with the assessment; it merely means that their confidence level is a bit lower. Confidence levels are kind of subjective. One analyst’s view of the sources could differ from another’s. But once again, moderate confidence assessment does not mean that there’s disagreement on the judgment itself.

The report talks about Russian state ownership and control of RT and other forms of media and that it conducts strategic messaging for the Russian government. There’s nothing surprising about this. Anyone who has been paying attention should know that Russian propaganda campaigns are well funded and well executed, as well as omnipresent and popular in the United States, especially given RT’s strategy of building its social media presence, in an effort to avoid broadcast regulations. Again, nothing new, and the IC had been making these assessments since at least 2012.

Additionally, the IC assesses that Russian efforts to gain information about U.S. elections, candidates, etc. are part of Russia’s efforts to gain intelligence about the adversary – to understand U.S. leaders and their motivations and vulnerabilities and to assess their future actions.

All of this isn’t new. It is intelligent, strategic information warfare. What is new is the extent to which the Russians were able to penetrate private servers, probe state elections systems for vulnerabilities, and disseminate their message using willing patsies such as WikiLeaks.

My view.

Conspiritards screeching that they deserve access to classified sources and methods, because EVIL, BAD GOVERNMENT are going to be sorely disappointed. You want access to classified? Get educated, get a clearance, get hired by the Intelligence Community, and work on cyber issues. But no, the IC is not going to disclose underlying reporting to some quasi-anarchist loon, who gives less than a shit about the lives disclosing such reporting could endanger and collections platforms it could compromise. Fuck off!

“But we do it!” “Obama interfered in Israeli elections!” “What about Radio Free Europe and Voice of America? They’re propaganda outlets!” and “We do it too.” Those are all cries of those who lack understanding of how pervasive Russia’s cyber intrusions were.

I will admit fully to being a hypocrite when it comes to us spying on other countries. I want information about them. I want to be able to determine what their leadership is up to, and to assess motivations and goals. That is what an intelligent nation does. It’s nothing they don’t attempt to do to us. That said, I don’t want to make it easy for them. I don’t want them to succeed. But I’m not going to apologize for doing exactly what they do, but better than they do. Fuck that.

And sorry, but using U.S. grants to fund a politically active group in hopes it would influence the Israeli election is much different than hacking into a private server, stealing information about a candidate and releasing it in hopes of influencing the election or discrediting the President-elect. The Obama Administration’s funding of propaganda and opposition movements is nothing new, especially given our actions during the Cold War to stop the spread of communism. But again, this is nothing compared to the Russians’ actions in this election.

The Kremlin’s campaign aimed at the US election featured disclosures of data obtained through Russian cyber operations; intrusions into US state and local electoral boards; and overt propaganda. Russian intelligence collection both informed and enabled the influence campaign.

Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties

We assess Russian intelligence services collected against the US primary campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape future US policies. In July 2015, Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks and maintained that access until at least June 2016.

The FBI and DHS in a separate joint assessment provided some technical details about the tools and infrastructure used by the Russian civilian and military intelligence Services to steal information regarding the U.S. election, and target other political, and private sector entities.

The U.S. Government confirms that two different RIS actors participated in the intrusion into a U.S. political party. The first actor group, known as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) 29, entered into the party’s systems in summer 2015, while the second, known as APT28, entered in spring 2016

Both groups have historically targeted government organizations, think tanks, universities, and corporations around the world. APT29 has been observed crafting targeted spearphishing campaigns leveraging web links to a malicious dropper; once executed, the code delivers Remote Access Tools (RATs) and evades detection using a range of techniques. APT28 is known for leveraging domains that closely mimic those of targeted organizations and tricking potential victims into entering legitimate credentials. APT28 actors relied heavily on shortened URLs in their spearphishing email campaigns. Once APT28 and APT29 have access to victims, both groups exfiltrate and analyze information to gain intelligence value. These groups use this information to craft highly targeted spearphishing campaigns. These actors set up operational infrastructure to obfuscate their source infrastructure, host domains and malware for targeting organizations, establish command and control nodes, and harvest credentials and other valuable information from their targets.

At least one targeted individual activated links to malware hosted on operational infrastructure of opened attachments containing malware. APT29 delivered malware to the political party’s systems, established persistence, escalated privileges, enumerated active directory accounts, and exfiltrated email from several accounts through encrypted connections back through operational infrastructure.

The assessment lists technical details, alternate names for these operations, and mitigation strategies.

hacks

If you think these operations are OK because we have a long history of funding opposition groups worldwide, you are an uber douche.

Again, I’ll admit to loving my country so much, that I believe it’s not OK, even though we’ve been known to fund opposition groups in foreign elections, and this level of intrusion far outstrips anything we’ve done in the past.

The ICA specifically assesses that Russia may have chosen WikiLeaks as its vehicle of delivering stolen information because it is known for its authenticity. It does not make any judgment that the information released to WikiLeaks is false. Julian Assange claims the Russians were not the ones who delivered the damaging information to him. I’m not claiming he’s lying, although he very well could be. I’m saying he wouldn’t know. At all. The Russian intelligence services aren’t known for sending files via the post office with large, flowery stickers on the package, saying “With love, from the Kremlin.” They would be several times removed from this information to ensure operational security. I also think the Russians chose WikiLeaks, because they accurately assess Assange to be an egomaniacal, arrogant asshole, who would feel important publishing this information, and who wouldn’t dig too deeply into its origins, because he wouldn’t give a shit – all for a higher cause.

So people pointing to Assange’s claims that it wasn’t the Russians who gave him the information as evidence contradicting the claims in the ICA are really unfamiliar with how the Russians work.

Do I think Trump won the election fair and square? Of course! There’s nothing to indicate otherwise.

Does this change the fact that the extent of Russian interference is a matter of national security? No, it doesn’t.

I’m once again listening to Kellyanne Conway in spin mode on CNN, claiming that had Hillary Clinton won, we wouldn’t even be talking about these hacks! AYFKM?

We had been talking about them since at least June of last year – when everyone, including me, thought Trump didn’t have a chance – even against someone as repugnant, corrupt, and unlikeable as she was!

We had been talking about them in September, when FBI disclosed that at least 20 state election systems had been hacked – likely by the Russians and Clinton was still ahead in the polls, albeit by a narrower margin. The fact that no one was paying attention because they were distracted by the latest pussy-grabbing scandal or another bright, shiny object does not change this fact.

electionThe President-elect needs to start focusing on what the Russians did and how they did it, rather than getting defensive about his perfectly legitimate election. Only delusional morons think these revelations have anything to do with the results of the election! But it’s time to start focusing on the actual threat, because, as the ICA stated, the Russians will continue to use these tactics to compromise other nations’ democratic election processes. It’s not like they haven’t done it before!

No foreign power should be able to gain access to our election systems, steal information, and use it in attempts to influence the outcome! THAT is the issue here.

 

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