Donald Trump: Still Not Convinced?

This morning’s headline: Code associated with Russia hacking found on Vermont utility computer.

Russian (and any others) hacking is a national security risk that shouldn’t be taken lightly. As I have posted previously the incoming Congress should work towards strengthening American cyber-defenses across the board.

A code associated with a broad Russian hacking campaign dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected on a laptop associated with a Vermont electric utility but not connected to the grid, the utility said on Friday.

“We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding,” the Burlington Electric Department said in a statement.

“Our team is working with federal officials to trace this malware and prevent any other attempts to infiltrate utility systems. We have briefed state officials and will support the investigation fully.”

The Department of Homeland Security alerted utilities on Thursday night about a malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the Burlington Electric Department said.

The article goes on to mention that his might not be a direct attempt to access the Vermont grid. That the laptop may have been infected by visiting a rogue site of some sort. But considering Ukraine has accused Russia of accessing their electrical grid and shutting parts of it down, this isn’t a laughing matter.

btw: Now I have to wonder if I may be hacked…when researching yesterday’s posts: Trump Shrugs Over Russian Hacking Accusations and Oh Cripes: Twitter Diplomacy!, I at two points ended up on a website of the Russian embassy UK and after that my laptop crashed…hmmm.

Trump and His Generals

I am going to leave the names out but here are some interesting comments from the interwebs about some of Donald Trump’s appointments.

“I know more than the generals do.”

*picks a bunch of generals*

it’s hard to build a junta without generals in your cabinet.

Inauguration Day is going to look like a North Korean army-parade.

Yes, but these generals are HIS generals…

Nancy Pelosi Has Got To Go

I have no axe to grind with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. I respect her accomplishments as a member of the House, as the first woman Speaker of the House, and most recently as minority leader.

But if we haven’t learned from the 2016 presidential election cycle, particularly from the insurgent campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders and the eventual win of Donald Trump. that the electorate wants change, what are we doing here?

There is no way we can think about winning 2018 if we roll out the same ole some ole. We need new leadership. We need someone fresh who can take on the GOP majority. We need someone who can inspire the newly franchised, the newly involved. We need someone who will take on Donald Trump.

I don’t have a dog in this fight…other than Nancy Pelosi should not be re-elected to her house minority leadership position.

For another take on her leadership and her apparent plan to consolidate her power: Black Caucus member knocks Pelosi over leadership shakeup.

Campaign Training for Potential Progressive Candidates

In a number of fairly recent posts I have been urging new faces to get involved in party politics. Well the other shoe in that equation is to run for elected office at the local and state level to help make the changes that you want to see. But that is a daunting task for those who aren’t quite sure how it all works. So if you have any interest, here is how you find out how to do it:

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An open letter to Wisconsin’s superdelegates: It’s not too late to Feel the Bern

Dear Wisconsin superdelegates,

Being the political people you are, I’m sure you’ve watched with excruciating interest every detail of the spectacle of the last ten days. Bill Clinton accosts Loretta Lynch on the tarmac in Phoenix, Lynch says she’ll let Comey handle this one, Comey questions Hillary Clinton for several hours, Comey explains why he won’t recommend prosecution, but not before going into great detail about the extreme carelessness of Clinton and her people and suggesting that laws may have been broken, and then punting back to AG Lynch, while Obama and Hillary hit the campaign trail and pretend none of it is even happening. Whew!

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza was out front early with what this means to Clinton’s presidential campaign, and it’s not a pretty picture. It’s clear that Hillary has been lying to the American people about this for a year. There’s no escaping that conclusion.

CNN has already produced a video contrast between what Clinton repeatedly said in public with what Comey said publicly yesterday. It’s not pretty either.

Paul Ryan is calling for Clinton to be denied access to intelligence briefings if she becomes the Democrats nominee, and it’s going to be tough arguing with him after Comey’s excoriation of Clinton. If she was still Secretary of State, President Obama would almost certainly force her to resign over this, and her security clearance would be revoked permanently. After the State Department Inspector General’s report in May, which refuted many of Clinton’s public claims about her email practices, NBC political director Chuck Todd stated that she couldn’t be confirmed as Attorney General of the United States.

So she probably couldn’t be confirmed as Attorney General, and she’d probably have to resign as Secretary of State, but you want to put her forward as your presidential candidate in November? Really?

One of you needs to do the right thing, the sane thing, the smart thing, and issue a statement that for the good of the country, for the good of the Democratic Party, for the good of us all, Secretary Clinton must remove herself from consideration as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States.

And then finish your statement by pledging your vote to Senator Bernie Sanders. It’s not too late, there’s still time to avert a disaster. It’s just going to take some courage.

Tea Party Radio Squawker Goes Over The Edge

Jay Weber of WISN AM radio got just a little out there recently when taking about the prescription pain killer problem at the Tomah VA hospital and Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and the slow reaction by anyone to solve the issue:

…every once in a while, one of the Milwaukee-area talkers crosses the line with something clearly objectionable.

Jay Weber of WISN-AM (1130) did just that a few weeks ago when discussing U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat.

“Maybe if those dead vets had been gay or lesbian, she would have acted — and they’d still be alive today,” Weber said.

I am not going to go into the obvious issues with Mr. Weber’s statement, but I do have one question for him:

How do you know that there aren’t any gay and lesbian vets at the Tomah hospital?

Morning Sickness….

I was shocked beyond belief this morning while watching an interview with the author of a new book, The Intimidation Game, Kim Strassel, on Morning Joe.  Joe Scarborough and Nicole Wallace just sat back and let this woman lie like a rug about the “Left’s scare tactics” designed to shut down “free speech.”  Nicole specifically asked about the “the single most terrifying” event….the John Doe investigation in Wisconsin.  According to the author, it was the work of a “Liberal prosecutor” who was unhappy with the works of groups who supported Republicans during the recall effort.  She went on to describe it as if they were jackbooted thugs terrorizing freedom fighters.  She sums it up by saying that the message was that if you were going to “play in politics”—this is what would happen to you.  As if the crap flowing out of her mouth wasn’t bad enough, the entire panel just lapped it up.  One of them, I forget his name, even trotted out the old “it happens on both the left and the right” bullshit.

Seriously, don’t they have fact checkers on a national news program?  Or that matter, the Wall Street Journal where the author works as a reporter?  They left out the best part of the story…who John Doe was and why they were investigating….but I don’t really have to tell you, do I?  How is it even possible that this narrative can continue to be perpetrated, despite all the proof that it is a tissue of lies?  The bigger question is why is Scott Walker not in jail?  And why would anyone seriously consider him Presidential material?  It’s enough to make you want to puke.

You have to see it to believe it:

US Senate Again Refuses To Do Its Job

And no I am not talking about the GOPs continued stonewalling on approving Merrick Garland to the US Supreme Court…I am talking about the Senate refusing to consider emergency funds requested by the Centers for Disease Control to prepare for the Zika virus this summer.

The U.S. Congress doesn’t look any closer to funding anti-Zika efforts now than it did last week. If anything, lawmakers appear to have taken steps back.

After hours of speeches on Zika from the Senate floor on Thursday, lawmakers adjourned for a week-long recess still fundamentally divided on how best to combat the virus. It was an anticlimactic end to this week’s Zika debate, which was perhaps the most dramatic since the Obama administration sent lawmakers an emergency funding request two months ago. As late as Thursday morning, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was insisting the Senate not break until lawmakers move on Zika. His demands came even as a previously in-progress deal hadn’t materialized, and as Republican lawmakers continued to balk at a bill that would fully finance a White House funding request.

“We shouldn’t be taking 10 days off as a dangerous virus threatens this nation,” Reid said. “And it is threatening us.”

In early February, the Obama administration asked Congress to quickly pass nearly $1.9 billion in emergency funds. It trotted out public-health officials to explain what they knew about the virus’s potential effect in the Americas, and what they needed to develop: a vaccine, top-flight diagnostic tests, rapid-response teams for any Zika clusters that pop up in the United States, among other measures.

So far, Congress hasn’t allocated any new money. The White House grudgingly repurposed about $600 million in Ebola funds for Zika earlier this month, at House Republicans’ urging, but the administration and public-health officials maintain much more is needed. The number of cases in the continental United States and in the territories continues to grow. Scientists have confirmed the virus causes the birth defect microcephaly and the immune disorder Guillain-Barré, and are investigating a link between Zika and brain and spinal-cord infections. Officials are also concerned about the coming warmer months, particularly in warm-weather states. “Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought,” said Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, at a White House briefing two weeks ago.

This would seem like a completely non-partisan bill…and what could be a more important priority for Congress than to protect the health and well-being of Americans. But apparently not!

How the administration’s Zika offensive should be funded, and by how much, has broken down mostly along party lines. Generally speaking, Senate Democrats have supported separate, emergency funding for the virus, while Republicans have not. Some congressional GOP leaders insist on considering the money as part of the ongoing 2017 appropriations process, which would mean taking funds away from other parts of the budget to pay for Zika. In that case, funding would also not be available until October when the new fiscal year begins, months after Congress first received a funding request from the White House.

This is totally beyond belief…something like this should be an automatic approval…period.

UWM’s Participation In the 2016 Presidential Campaign

With Wisconsin still in play before the April 5th primary election, both parties were very active around the state. And the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee played a pivotal role in the campaigns.

The Democratic Debate visited campus on February 11th and utilized the Zelazo Center which is an arts performance center on Kenwood Blvd directly across the street from the Fine Arts Building and the student union. Media overflow was housed in the ballroom of the student union. The debate was sponsored by PBS NewsHour and Facebook and the two sponsors reimbursed the university for the use of their facilities and catering for the media and presenters. Other than obstructing traffic and parking around the campus I don’t remember any complaints about the event.

On April 3rd, GOP candidate Donald Trump spoke on the main stage of the Fine Arts building. This was rather surprising in a number of ways…the first it doesn’t seem like a solid venue for his message and second it doesn’t seem like it would be big enough for the types of crowds that he pulls in. But that’s neither here nor there…it was his decision.

But there was some controversy around the Trump event. Faculty and students didn’t want him to appear on campus in the first place…but rightly the university allowed him to appear. And rightly his appearance drew a reported 70 to 100 protesters (although that seems low to me). And Fox News is paying for the extra security that was required.

But UWM did do something wrong with the Trump event…and as I said they rightly allowed him to appear there…but remember what I stated above about the Democratic event? That overflow media was housed in the UWM Union. Here’s what was wrong:

Trump’s April 3 town hall at the UWM Arts Center, which had a ticketed audience but did not include media beyond Fox News Network…

UWM should never have allowed an event to be held on their campus that excluded the general media. Never…this isn’t a private facility per se…it is a very public university…one that prides itself in being an urban school involved with its home community. Any event there should be open to whatever media group is interested in covering it…I can’t imagine that a few of the local TV stations outside of Fox6 wouldn’t have liked to have been there…I can’t imagine that the insecure and lost its way Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wouldn’t have liked to be there.

Universities have a responsibility to present all viewpoints to their student body and let them choose who/what they want to support…but they should never let one media outlet control coverage of events on their campus. They need to support free speech AND freedom of the press in the same breath.