Thursday, December 29, 2016


President Elect Donald Trump pushes-back hard on Lame-duck President Obama’s threats of reprisals against Russia


Trump’s verbal barbs weren’t only directed at his current Democrat counterpart  ---  Trump says he doesn’t know what Republican Senator Lindsay Graham is talking about when mentioning targeted sanctions personally directed at Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin;  adding that he doesn’t talk to Graham


By making his threats against Russia, Lame-duck Obama might be leaving his successor with a more complex problem than is necessary  ---  Russia expresses its annoyance at Obama’s stance and promises to respond in kind to any U.S. actions


According to a report in the Washington Post,  President-elect Donald Trump’s pushback against his lame-duck counterpart was more like a very hard ceremonial shove  ---   “President-elect Donald Trump distanced himself Wednesday night from the Obama administration’s plans to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, telling reporters  ‘I think we ought to get on with our lives.’…  Trump, appearing at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., was asked what he thought about the Obama administration’s plans to sanction Russia for what U.S. intelligence officials say was state-sanctioned hacking of Democratic organizations, targeting of state election systems and meddling in the U.S. presidential election…. ‘I think we ought to get on with our lives,’ Trump said in response. ‘I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I'm not sure we have the kind the security we need.’…”. (See  “Trump on alleged election interference by Russia: ‘Get on with our lives’” by John Wagner, 12/28/16, Washington Post   [ ];  same as []).

Questioning also turned toward proposals raised by GOP hawks, Lindsay Graham and John McCain.   According to John Wagner’s reporting for the Washington Post,   “….Asked in particular about comments Wednesday by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) that sanctions should hit Russian leader Vladimir Putin “as an individual,” Trump demurred….  ‘I don’t know what he’s doing,’ Trump said of Graham. ‘I haven’t spoken to him. As you know, he ran against me.’…  Trump, whom critics have accused of being too cozy with Putin, was referring to Graham’s failed 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination….”

The WaPo article also made note of the following:   “….  During the election, several Democratic email accounts were hacked, including those of the Democratic National Committee and of John Podesta, the chairman of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign….  U.S. officials have pinned the blame on the Russian government -- a finding that Trump has repeatedly said he views skeptically….   administration officials are pushing Obama to respond before leaving office.” 


A report on the same story that appeared in the International Business Times made President Elect Trump’s remarks seem even tougher and more significant  (See  Trump On Russia Sanctions: President-Elect Urges US To ‘Get On With Our Lives’ Ahead Of Obama Administration’s Possible Restrictions”  by Seerat Chabba, 12/29/16,  IBT/National   []).   According to the IBT report,  President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday showed no inclination toward sanctioning Russia, despite President Barack Obama’s push for the country to take steps against Russia over its alleged interference in the election that saw Trump emerge victorious…." 

The IBT report by Seerat Chabba also mentioned Russia’s response to Obama’s threats  ---  “….  Russia has said it will respond to any 'hostile steps' by the U.S., denying all allegations of attempting to influence the elections....  'If Washington really does take new hostile steps, they will be answered ... any action against Russian diplomatic missions in the US will immediately bounce back on US diplomats in Russia,' CNN quoted the official representative for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, as saying in a statement....  Zakharova added: 'Frankly, we are tired about the lies about Russian hackers — it’s misinformation by Obama administration aimed at providing an excuse for its own failure.'..."


Monday, December 19, 2016

Electors meet today to pick next President

Last minute efforts to stop “election” of Donald Trump as POTUS all likely to fail  

According to a report this morning in Newsmax,   “…  you thought Election Day was in November….   Electors are set to gather in every state on Monday to formally elect Donald Trump president even as anti-Trump forces try one last time to deny him the White House….   Protests are planned for state capitals, but they are unlikely to persuade the Electoral College to dump Trump. An Associated Press survey of electors found very little appetite to vote for alternative candidates…   Republican electors say they have been deluged with emails, phone calls and letters urging them not to support Trump. Many of the emails are part of coordinated campaigns….”   (See  Electoral College Meets Amid Effort to Deny Trump Presidency” by Staff Writer, 12/19/16, Newsmax/ Home   []).   

That Newsmax article went on to state,  along with many anecdotal examples,  that   “….   Some Democrats have argued that the Electoral College is undemocratic because it gives more weight to less populated states. That is how Hillary Clinton, who got more than 2.6 million more votes nationwide, lost the election to Trump. Some have also tried to dissuade Trump voters by arguing that he is unsuited to the job. Others cite the CIA's assessment that Russia engaged in computer hacking to sway the election in favor of the Republican….   But despite the national group therapy session being conducted by some Democrats, only one Republican elector told the AP that he will not vote for Trump….”


Newsmax says that there is no constitutional provision or federal law which requires any elector to cast his/her vote for the candidate who carried their state in the November election.   However,  there are some  >>>states<<<  that do require their electors to vote for the winning candidate,  some by either by operation of state law  ---  and others by signed pledges.   Nonetheless, no elector in the Electoral College has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged, according to the National Archives.   The Newsmax article says that   “….   Those laws are rarely tested. More than 99 percent of electors through U.S. history have voted for the candidate who won their state….”


The Newsmax piece, cited above, also noted that a “joint session of Congress” will convene on January 6th 2017 to certify the results of the Electoral College vote, with Vice President Joe Biden presiding as president of the Senate.

After the result of the Electoral College vote is certified by the Congress, the winner   more than likely Donald Trump — will be sworn in on January  20th.

Friday, December 9, 2016

UH OH !!!  ---  Georgia’s Secretary of State says there’s evidence of HACKING of his state’s election computers

Georgia officially notified Homeland Security about the unauthorized attempted breach of its elections computer systems  ---  Homeland Security says it will investigate and then respond to the inquiry directly to the State of Georgia

HERE’S THE RUB:  ---  the Georgia Attorney General says the post-election attempted hack of his state’s election computers looks like  >>>  IT WAS DONE BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY  <<< 

Georgia now wants confirmation and an explanation about the apparent unauthorized intrusion into its computer systems by the Federal Agency


According to a recent report that appears in Newsmax,   The state of Georgia on Thursday accused the U.S. Homeland Security Department of apparently trying to hack its election systems….  In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Georgia Secretary of State Brian P. Kemp said a computer traced back to the federal agency in Washington tried unsuccessfully to penetrate the state office's firewall one week after the presidential election. The letter speculated that what it described as "a large unblocked scan event" might have been a security test….  It sought details, including whether the agency did in fact conduct the unauthorized scan, who authorized it and whether other states might have been similarly probed. Kemp cited the federal law against knowingly accessing a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access, which is a felony….”  (See  “Georgia Accuses US of Trying to Hack Its Election Systems”  from AP feed, 12/8/16,  Newmax/Home/ Newsfront   []).

The Newsmax article went on to quote the Georgia Secretary of State as follows:   “….   ‘At no time has my office agreed to or permitted DHS to conduct penetration testing or security scans of our network,’ Kemp wrote. ‘Moreover, your department has not contacted my office since this unsuccessful incident to alert us of any security event that would require testing or scanning of our network.’…   Kemp said this was ‘especially odd and concerning’ given that he is a member of the U.S. Election Infrastructure Cybersecurity Working Group run by the federal agency….”

Newsmax printed this response from Homeland Security:   “….  Homeland Security spokesman Scott McConnell said the department got Kemp's letter and is ‘looking into the matter.’…’DHS takes the trust of our public and private sector partners seriously, and we will respond to Secretary Kemp directly,’ McConnell said….”


The Newsmax piece also noted that forty-eight states accepted offers from the Homeland Security Department to scan their networks AHEAD of the presidential elections. Reportedly those scans searched for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. The U.S. agency also described how states could patch their networks to make it more difficult for hackers to penetrate them.   Interestingly, Georgia was one of the two states that DID NOT ACCEPT the pre-election offer from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.