Saturday, February 25, 2017

Russia's Hacked DNC, How Did it Influence the Election

Secrecy versus democracy collide in our modern, interconnected era. During our recent presidential election, it was revealed Russia was at the heart of a directed attack on the DNC. Schneier wrote in January:
The constellation of evidence attributing the attacks against the DNC, and subsequent release of information, is comprehensive. It's possible that there was more than one attack. It's possible that someone not associated with Russia leaked the information to WikiLeaks, although we have no idea where that someone else would have obtained the information. We know that the Russian actors who hacked the DNC -- both the FSB, Russia's principal security agency, and the GRU, Russia's military intelligence unit -- are also attacking other political networks around the world.
Beside the electronic trespassing, what did Russia do that swayed the election Trumps way? About all that has been said is that Putin did not like Clinton mainly due to her Secretary of State positions, and that he has had some business dealings with Trump, perhaps liking his chances with him over her. There's talk of fake news created by the Russians, which apparently is different than fake news created by the USA's main stream media.

There is no real evidence that the DNC hack by the Russian government contributed in any decisive way to Trump’s win over Clinton. The election did show us a number of things:

  1. We do a crappy jobs a information security; attackers can get into any system, not just the DNCs.
  2. Whatever the DNC lost from a hacked server was more than compensated for for the internal fake news and Democratic biased reporting by most of the media.
  3. The polls missed the voter dislike for Clinton, preferring to take a chance on a political outsider.
  4. When a favorite loses, those behind the scene try everything they can to assign blame, from campaign staff to the MSM.
  5. If the America people felt that Trump was in collusion with the Russian, he would have lost in a landslide. The evidence must not have been that compelling because Obama elected to hold off reporting it until after the election. He was not taking the "higher ground" -- if he thought it would have pushed Clinton ahead or discredited Trump, he would have done it.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Elections Have Consequences: Travel Ban on Seven Nations

Wow, what a decisive issue we have seen with the 27 January Executive Order:  Protecting the Nation from Foreign terrorist Entry into the United States. It orders a temporary halt on all refugee admissions (120 days); visa suspensions (90 days) of individuals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen; an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees; and introduces a cap of 50,000 refugees to be accepted in 2017 (versus a limit of 110,000 set by Obama.)

The travel ban was a sensible idea hobbled by flaws, especially regarding green card holders and dual citizens. The roll-out was clumsy; the communication terrible. It temporarily inconvenienced hundreds of foreign nationals (versus Obamacare that impacted millions of Americans.)

For two weeks, there were some protests, from peaceful to mildly violent. The Washington (and Minnesota) law suit against the ban placed a temporary stoppage to the Order. On a 3-0 ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the government’s argument that suspension of the order should be lifted immediately for national security reasons.

The federal government; i.e., President Trump, believes it is not a Muslim ban, as the opponents claim. The seven countries sited lack normal governments and are weak on assisting with thorough vetting processes. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order.

The opponents claim they are making a Constitutional check against a President. Perhaps. But this reeks of political maneuvering by the traditional left's tactic of losing at the ballot box but winning in court.

What is the president’s authority in the matter of protecting the borders and keeping out those he sees as potentially dangerous? Do non-citizens' rights trump citizens'? Will a wall on our southern border be similarly viewed?

America has an illegal immigration problem. It has a national security problem. Trump's presidential victory was based on this to a great degree. We clearly see the left and MSM vitriolic tactics, believing their opinions are the only ones that matter. It is only going to get worse. The public discourse is beyond cordial; this is pre-civil war language.