Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 2, 2017
There is clear, unambiguous evidence that “Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.”
“Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment that has been provided to the President and to recipients approved by the President.”
A header appears upon EVERY page and states: “This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment; its conclusions are identical to those in the highly classified assessment but this version does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.”
Several “Key Judgments” are made in the report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which is dated 6 January 2017.
We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. 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. We have high confidence in these judgments.
• We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.
• Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia’s understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency.
• Further information has come to light since Election Day that, when combined with Russian behavior since early November 2016, increases our confidence in our assessments of Russian motivations and goals.
Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations — such as cyber activity — with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.” Russia, like its Soviet predecessor, has a history of conducting covert influence campaigns focused on US presidential elections that have used intelligence officers and agents and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin.
• 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 with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.
• Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards. DHS assess es that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.
• Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.
We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.
Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking
President Obama in December. Some in his administration feared that intelligence about Russian interference in the 2016 election could be covered up or destroyed. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times
By MATTHEW ROSENBERG, ADAM GOLDMAN and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
MARCH 1, 2017
WASHINGTON — In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.
American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump, according to three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence. Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates.
Then and now, Mr. Trump has denied that his campaign had any contact with Russian officials, and at one point he openly suggested that American spy agencies had cooked up intelligence suggesting that the Russian government had tried to meddle in the presidential election. Mr. Trump has accused the Obama administration of hyping the Russia story line as a way to discredit his new administration.
At the Obama White House, Mr. Trump’s statements stoked fears among some that intelligence could be covered up or destroyed — or its sources exposed — once power changed hands. What followed was a push to preserve the intelligence that underscored the deep anxiety with which the White House and American intelligence agencies had come to view the threat from Moscow.
It also reflected the suspicion among many in the Obama White House that the Trump campaign might have colluded with Russia on election email hacks — a suspicion that American officials say has not been confirmed. Former senior Obama administration officials said that none of the efforts were directed by Mr. Obama.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Credit Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik
Sean Spicer, the Trump White House spokesman, said, Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 13, 2016
November 12, 2016
Day 4: The shit’s starting to hit the fam… er, fan
Donald Trump, the GOP Presidential nominee who appears to have won the 2016 General Election, has reportedly made remarks that he might not, after all, as he proclaimed in his “Contract with the American Voter” that he would “5.) Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act. Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines…”
According to his first post-election interview, which was exclusive to the Wall Street Journal, “President-elect Donald Trump said he would consider leaving in place certain parts of the Affordable Care Act,” and that “Mr. Trump said he favors keeping the prohibition against insurers denying coverage because of patients’ existing conditions, and a provision that allows parents to provide years of additional coverage for children [up to age 26] on their insurance policies.”
Regular readers will recall that yesterday I had made the same observation, that portions of the law are worth keeping.
President-elect Donald Trump leaves a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), at the U.S. Capitol November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY, R) has pointedly said he opposes and will refuse Trump’s first order of business in his Contract with the American Voter which is “Constitutional Amendment for Congressional Term Limits.” The Senator, who has been in office since 1984 (32 years), said, “I would say we have term limits now. They’re called elections. And it will not be on the agenda in the Senate.”
Furthermore, McConnnell has also said that he’s opposed to Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 9, 2016
I couldn’t help but think of that phrase as I reflected upon the stunning conclusion of the 2016 Presidential Election.
“It is finished.”
The erudite will recognize the utterance attributed to Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 18, 2016
By many accounts, the 2016 Presidential Election year is a complete campaign in the ass. Two deeply flawed candidates manipulated and exposed deeply flawed processes in both major political parties, not the least of which is for the GOP, how to vet their candidates more thoroughly, and have the ability to remove them from official party candidacy, and for the Democrats, how to maintain candidate neutrality, and prevent party officials from influencing candidates of the top officials’ choosing toward nomination. I predict many much-needed changes on the horizon for both parties… following the November General Election.
by Gary Cosby, Jr.
Used with permission
WARNING: This is a long post. It is also my final political post before the election.
I am not an editorial writer but today I am going to play one on Facebook. First, let me say, everyone is welcome to comment; however, if your comment uses foul language or is abusive to anyone else, your comment will be deleted. One of the great problems we have today is our lack of ability to disagree and still have civil discourse; therefore, we will practice it or be censured. Keep in mind, this is my opinion and you do not have to agree with it. Thank your First Amendment rights for that.
By now, we all know this presidential election cycle has presented us with the two poorest candidates in memory, perhaps in all of American history. Certainly there have been poor candidates running for one party or the other throughout our history but not facing one another in the same election.
They have turned the presidential debates into bad Saturday Night Live skits. In fact, I doubt the writers of SNL would have been able to dream up anything this hideous. The American political scene will never be the same and Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 3, 2016
Someone opined that they hoped the 2016 GOP Presidential nominee would be elected.
I couldn’t disagree more.
As we have suffered, never before has there been a more grotesque figure campaigning for the noble office of the President.
The candidate has never served in an office of Public Trust, nor ever served in any Elected Office. There is literally no shred of evidence of governing competency, much less experience, in any Public Office, and though our Constitution states that the minimum eligibility requirements for the office are to be “a citizen of the United States… the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States,” we have never elected an individual as President whom has never served in any capacity of Public Trust, nor Elected Office.
And so, in that regard, the candidate is a significantly Unknown Quantity. That can be, and often is, fraught with enormous peril.
We expect Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 14, 2016
There are NO GOOD choices in this General Election.
The Devil We Know vs The Devil We Don’t Know.
We also have:
Choosing the lesser of two evils is still a choice FOR evil.
Granted, someone WILL be elected, and granted further, s/he won’t be liked by those whom didn’t vote for the winner.
The two major party’s candidates are almost universally disliked within and without the parties. And that is a very sad state of affairs. It is, in large part, why there was such enormous support for Bernie Sanders… who is the opposite side of the same coin as Trump.
What concerns me most about Trump is that he seems Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 24, 2015
There are numerous reasons, actually.
Here are a few:
He has an excellent political background/pedigree/experience.
• In 1978, aged 26 he was elected to the Ohio State Senate’s 15th Senatorial District, and remains OH’s youngest ever elected state senator
• In 1982, he was elected to the US House of Representatives 12th Ohio District, where he served from ’83-2001 (was re-elected 8 times) by at least 64% each time
• In 2010, he was elected governor, and in 2014 re-elected in a landslide, carrying all but 2 counties (86/88) – including the traditionally Democratic-leaning Hamilton county, where Cincinnati is located
Ohio Governor John Kasich (2010 & 2014)
He has done quite well by Ohio voters.
• His approval rating (always fluctuating for any elected figure) among Ohioans, has been as much as 77%.
• He expanded Medicaid in Ohio (which reduces uncompensated care & increases hospitals’ solvency)
• He saved $3Billion in the Medicaid budget, and slowed growth in the plan from 9%-3%, the lowest rate nationally
• He used cost-saving reforms & turned a $6-8 Billion Ohio budget shortfall into a balanced budget without raising taxes
• During his first term as governor, he grew the “Rainy Day Fund” (surplus) from $890M-1.5B
• In his first budget, he implemented a Personal Income Tax cut
• In his second budget, he implemented a 10% Personal Income Tax cut, and a 50% Small Business Income Tax cut
• During his first term as governor, he created 316,800 new jobs, and the state Unemployment Rate fell from 9.4% to 5.1%
• Education funding is at the highest level it’s ever been
• Because of Criminal Justice reforms, Ohio’s recidivism rate (reoffending) of prisoners is the lowest in the nation
• He has vigorously worked Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Alabama is a deeply “red” state (some say “redneck,” which may also be accurate), which is to say, that the state has historically voted Republican for the past several years; all of the state’s top office holders are Republicans, and both houses of the legislature are similarly controlled by Republicans.
The website 270ToWin.com had this remark about the state’s political alignment: “Alabama became a GOP stronghold starting in 1964, voting for Democrats only in 1968 and 1976 (for native son George Wallace and Jimmy Carter, respectively). The initial shift was largely in response to white conservative voter uneasiness with the civil rights legislation that was passed in the mid-1960s, which was effectively exploited by the Republicans’ “Southern Strategy.” In 2012, Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama by about 22%, almost identical to John McCain‘s margin of victory in 2008.”
Frankly, the Democratic party in Alabama has been virtually decimated, and there are very few candidates identifying themselves with the party. Many state office-holders are running unopposed, including other Federal seats, including incumbent United States Senator Jeff Sessions.
Taking a clue from the George Wallace playbook (Wallace was a STRONG and almost constant campaigner), there are 67 reasons why I wouldn’t give Parker Griffith a strong chance at winning the governorship.
For example, has he Read the rest of this entry »
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