The limits of economic sanctions

The Democrats and news media screamed "collusion" when the Trump Administration declined to impose new Russian sanctions, but you probably didn't hear the actual reasons why Trump said "no".

Reason #1)

The U.S. Treasury Department said in a report submitted to Congress this week that expanding sanctions on Russia to include new sovereign debt would have “negative spillover effects” on global financial markets and businesses.

Russia doesn't carry much debt, which is why the sanctions aren't having a big impact. But if they are locked out of the debt markets then the West will never have economic leverage on Russia.

Reason #2)

A new law meant to punish Russia for election interference could force the Trump administration to sanction some of its closest allies -- including Saudi Arabia and India -- a possibility that has put capitals worldwide on edge.
The dilemma shows how Moscow's election malfeasance is deepening Washington's acrimony, complicating US foreign policy, and could ultimately force some allies to choose between the White House and the Kremlin, at a time when Russia is aggressively expanding its influence, particularly in the Middle East.
The Trump administration didn't levy a single sanction on January 29, the first day it could have under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. That day, anyone doing business with certain Russian intelligence and military entities, including arms manufacturers, faced possible penalties.
The client list of these blacklisted Russian entities includes US counterterrorism partners such as Morocco, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Qatar is a Russian customer, as well as crucial NATO ally Turkey.

The U.S. has been losing influence in the world since 2003. If we start punishing our allies we could end up having no influence at all, except as a military bully.
That doesn't work very well with "allies".

Reason #3)

The US's top negotiator in Ukraine suggested Wednesday the four-year-old conflict in the country's eastern regions no longer makes headlines because many European countries would like to improve their relationship with Russia.
"Honestly, I think a lot of European governments don't want this to be a permanent obstacle to dealing with Russia," Ambassador Kurt Volker told DW in response to a question about why the conflict had been "forgotten."
"They're unhappy with Russia's actions, they're not happy with the invasion, they put in place sanctions but they don't want that to be permanent. And so they would like to see this to go away."

If we continue to push this, Europe will simply stop cooperating. The sanctions cost them a lot more than they cost us.
If they drop the sanctions then we end up looking weak.

Then there is the fact that after a while the sanctions do nothing but make you look petty. Consider our sanctions on North Korea.

North Korea is forbidden, by UN sanctions, from buying hockey sticks, because they’re “recreational sporting equipment.” In past events, North Korean participants have had to borrow all sticks, and return them before leaving.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. North Korea also has to find a third party to supply uniforms for them, because the uniform sponsor, Nike, is afraid that doing business with them will violate US sanctions.

But the real kicker is that the politicians in Washington that are screaming "collusion" don't actually want to reform anything.
Consider this headline: Russians penetrated US voter systems, DHS cybersecurity chief tells NBC

After reading that is your first response "Let's sanction Russia"?
Only if you are a politician, because for normal people the first reaction would be to fix our voting system.
But that would assume the threat to our voting system is real, and not some fictional one created for political advantage. Which is why we still lack a serious push to get rid of hackable voting machines and go back to pencil and paper.

That's why you end up with more Russians believing that Washington is meddling in their politics than Americans who say the same about Russian interference in U.S. politics.

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One Pundit called The Saker claims that the sanctions list had anti-Putin, pro-Western oligarchs. Great idea to put FUD of sanctions and financial loss on Putin's opponents.

Yah, the sanctions list is so inclusive that it could put any non-Russian business as a future sanctions violator. The sanctions list is becoming not so much a punishment but a way to game advantages to American companies--the EU is being sold that they should be importing liquidized natural gas from US producers under threat of sanctions for Nordstream 2. Bulgaria must be re-thinking billions of transfer fees in denying to be part of building a Russian pipeline of natural gas.

Certainly the US will lose influence, but it could ignite a series of trade war battles as EU countries resent losing billions in trade with Russia.

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Looks like the deep state actors are re-cycling old discredited charges. Article from Greenwald.

https://theintercept.com/2017/09/28/yet-another-major-russia-story-falls...

So what was wrong with this story? Just one small thing: it was false. The story began to fall apart yesterday when Associated Press reported that Wisconsin – one of the states included in the original report that, for obvious reasons, caused the most excitement – did not, in fact, have its election systems targeted by Russian hackers:

I remember bunches of states were calling bullshit on the DHS claims:

Texas denies state was target of election-related hacking by Russi
https://www.texastribune.org/2017/09/29/texas-denies-it-was-target-elect...

California, Wisconsin deny election systems targeted by Russian hackers
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election/california-wisconsin-den...

And there is this:

“There remains no evidence that the Russians altered one vote or changed one registration,” said Judd Choate, president of the U.S. National Association of State Election Directors.

https://www.reuters.com/article/legal-us-usa-election-russia/wisconsin-o...

So why the re-hashed charges? I think to divert attention away from the Mueller story as the investigation is falling off the proverbial rails.

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Amanda Matthews's picture

@MrWebster

our Overlords continually lying about the election.

1 they need a ‘bad guy’ to hang ALL their failures on; and,

2 BRICS

The handwriting is on the wall and it’s written in indelible ink. Our Overlords want to change that to blood. They think we owe it to them to die or comple children, grandchildren, any and all of our fellow countrymen/women to die for their bank balance.

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

polkageist's picture

@MrWebster The only hacking in the election was by the DNC.

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Greed is not a virtue.
Socialism: the radical idea of sharing.

@polkageist

Dunno if you read/remember these or similar articles or not, but there were a bunch of damn good articles written about this, detail-packed and, in some cases, perhaps might be considered rather lengthy by some - but they certainly were written by actual reporters doing their jobs and even the sections quoted below are sufficient to make the essential points, (although all well worth reading at source, if this can be managed) and this, I think, shows the whole preposterous, if maliciously destructive, scam as the ludicrous and very unfunny comedy it is. And that's an essential service, the sort the news media is supposed to provide the public.

https://www.computerworld.com/article/3173032/cybercrime-hacking/indiana...

Security Is Sexy

By Darlene Storm, Computerworld | Feb 22, 2017 7:40 AM PT

Indiana joins Idaho in claiming DHS tried to hack their election systems
Indiana claims DHS scanned the state's electoral system tens of thousands of times without permission.

Indiana is the newest state to accuse the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of trying to hack its state electoral system. ...

... Idaho: Hey, DHS tried to hack our election website, too!

Indiana isn’t alone with such recent DHS hacking claims as Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney said he believes DHS may have attempted to hack its state election website around Nov. 8. It wasn’t a Russian IP address mucking around in the state’s affairs, but an IP address belonging to DHS, he said.

When Idaho “looked at IP addresses that tried to get into our system,” it didn’t find “a single IP address from a foreign country,” but one from “our own Department of Homeland Security.”

Denney also told the Post Register, “I don’t know what they [DHS] penetrated, or what they tried, I just know their IP address showed up as hitting our website. I don’t know what they were doing. It would have been nice if they had told us.”

Denney expressed frustration that DHS conducted penetration tests without any warning or permission, adding that other secretaries of state across the country are also really concerned about what the election system designation of critical infrastructure will mean in the long run. ...

... Similar hacking accusations by states that gave DHS permission to probe

After Georgia accused DHS of trying to hack its computer network and voter registration database, and DHS denied it, West Virginia Secretary of State-Elect Mac Warner accused DHS of attempting to hack West Virginia election records too, just as agency had allegedly tried to hack Kentucky's.

Kentucky later claimed the alleged DHS IP address did not access “public voter information and online voter registration websites.” Kentucky had granted DHS permission to conduct regular scans and concluded the “IP address made no attempt to scan, attack, or infiltrate our system and that the visits appeared to be regular web traffic.”

Warner’s claims about the West Virginia election records hack by DHS were disputed by then Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. Unlike Georgia, Indiana and Idaho, Tennant said West Virginia did grant DHS permission to do a “cyber-hygiene scan prior to the election.”

Tennant said Warner’s statements about the DHS hack were false. “The IP address did not access anything of concern and after discussions with DHS about our specific traffic here in West Virginia, we have no indication at this time that the visits were malicious.”

Only the States which did not allow Homeland Security access complained about this attempted intrusion because the others were expecting them.

So when it was claimed that Russia tried to access the election systems of 21 States, my first thought was that they were accusing others of what they were trying to do themselves - 'correct the election'. Now, of course, I wonder about attempts at planted 'Russian fingerprints'.

https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/georgia-claims-homeland-securi...

Georgia official accuses Department of Homeland Security of hacking attempt on state election systems
Georgia claims Homeland Security tried to hack election systems
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Thursday, December 8, 2016, 9:20 PM

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 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.

“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. ...

... Forty-eight states accepted offers by the Homeland Security Department to scan their networks ahead of the presidential elections. ...

(Lots of info at source for anyone wishing to refresh their memories. Emphasis mine)
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-14/georgia-confirms-homeland-secu...

Georgia Confirms Homeland Security Attempted To Hack Election Database 10 Separate Times

by Tyler Durden
Wed, 12/14/2016 -

Last week we noted a letter from Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, to the Department of Homeland Security questioning why someone with a DHS IP address (216.81.81.80) had attempted to hack into his state's election database on November 15, 2016 at 8:43AM. Now, according to WSB-TV in Atlanta, we learn that Georgia's election systems were actually the target of hacking by DHS on 10 separate occasions.

The Georgia Secretary of State's Office now confirms 10 separate cyberattacks on its network were all traced back to U.S. Department of Homeland Security addresses.

In an exclusive interview, a visibly frustrated Secretary of State Brian Kemp confirmed the attacks of different levels on his agency's network over the last 10 months. He says they all traced back to DHS internet provider addresses.

"We're being told something that they think they have it figured out, yet nobody's really showed us how this happened,” Kemp said. "We need to know."

Kemp told Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant his office's cybersecurity vendor discovered the additional so-called vulnerability scans to his network's firewall after a massive mid-November cyberattack triggered an internal investigation.

Meanwhile, Kemp pointed out that all of the attempted hackings occurred around critical registration and voting deadlines calling into question whether "somebody was trying to prove a point."

The Secretary of State's Office manages Georgia’s elections, and most concerning for Kemp about the newly discovered scans is the timing.

The first one happened on Feb. 2, the day after Georgia’s voter registration deadline. The next one took place just days before the SEC primary. Another occurred in May, the day before the general primary, and then two more took place in November, the day before and the day of the presidential election.

"It makes you wonder if somebody was trying to prove a point,” Kemp said.

Of course, the Obama administration, a pillar of "transparency" for sure, has confirmed the attacks originated at the DHS but has refused to provide a straight story on why the attempted hackings occurred. Furious with the lack of answers, Kemp has now written a letter to the Trump administration asking for a formal review after his inauguration next month.

Last week, the DHS confirmed the large Nov. 15 attack traced back to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection internet gateway. But Kemp says the DHS’ story about its source keeps changing.

"First it was an employee in Corpus Christi, and now it's a contractor in Georgia,” Kemp said. ...

... Kemp says several of those scans came around the same time he testified before Congress about his opposition to a federal plan to classify election systems as "critical infrastructure," like power plants and financial systems.

As we've said before, despite all the media attention on "Russian hackers," this cyberattack, originated from within our own Department of Homeland Security, is the only actual confirmed case of hacking related to the 2016 election. ...

http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/21/exclusive-obamas-feds-tried-to-hack-in...

EXCLUSIVE: Obama’s Feds Tried to Hack Indiana’s Election System While Pence Was Governor

Richard Pollock
Reporter
9:54 PM 02/21/2017

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials tried to hack Indiana’s state electoral system with at least 14,800 “scans” or hits between Nov. 1, 2016, to Dec. 16, 2016, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.

The attacks are the second confirmed IT scanning assault by DHS officials against states that resisted then-President Barack Obama’s attempt to increase federal involvement in state and local election systems by designating them as “critical infrastructure” for national security.

Members of the National Association of Secretaries of State voted Saturday at their winter meeting to oppose the designation. They are asking President Donald Trump to overturn it. (RELATED: State Officials Want Trump To Reverse Obama’s Last-Minute Election Power Grab)

Former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was also Trump’s vice presidential-elect during much of the period covered by the DHS scans of the Indiana system.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, the incoming president of the association, told TheDCNF Tuesday that, “we know that between November 1 and December 16 we were scanned with about 14,800 scans, nearly 15,000 different times.”

The state’s IT team traced the intruder to a DHS computer’s IP address. The same DHS unit attempted 10 times in 2016 to hack into the Georgia electoral system.

Federal officials are barred under DHS rules from trying to penetrate a state system without the express approval of the state. Neither Georgia nor Indiana approved the DHS scanning attempts. ...

...Thomas Vessely, IT director for the Indiana secretary of state, told TheDCNF that “we kindly declined [DHS] assistance because we were very comfortable in the work we were doing in monitoring our election system.”

Lawson said she “always assumed it was because I was the incoming President of the National Association of Secretaries of State and because we declined their assistance.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp told TheDCNF Jan. 24, 2016, he was suspicious because four of the 10 attacks against the Georgia election network occurred as he was about to talk to DHS officials, or coincided with his public testimony opposing the critical infrastructure designation.

“It’s certainly concerning about the dates,” Kemp said.

Kemp hopes the IG can determine if the hacks were timed to intimidate him.

Lawson said despite the scale of the scans, the DHS efforts to attack its election system was unsuccessful. “Our voter registration system was not penetrated.”

She said there was “one slight penetration on an (election) website that was actually old and out of date, so it didn’t go anywhere.”

Governmental deployment of IT technology could be an evolving new tool against political opponents or to impose censorship, according to James Scott, a senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, a cybersecurity think tank. ...

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/22/us/politics/us-tells-21-states-that-h...

U.S. Tells 21 States That Hackers Targeted Their Voting Systems

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSSEPT. 22, 2017

WASHINGTON — The federal government on Friday told election officials in 21 states that hackers targeted their systems before last year’s presidential election.

The notification came roughly a year after officials with the United States Department of Homeland Security first said states were targeted by hacking efforts possibly connected to Russia. The states that told The Associated Press they had been targeted included some key political battlegrounds, such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. ...

... Even so, the widespread nature of the attempts and the yearlong lag time in notification from the Department of Homeland Security raised concerns among some election officials and lawmakers.

Related Coverage

Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny SEPT. 1, 2017
Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says DEC. 9, 2016

For many states, the calls on Friday were the first official confirmation that they were on the list — even though state election officials across the country have been calling for months for the federal government to share information about any hacks, as have members of Congress.

“It is completely unacceptable that it has taken D.H.S. over a year to inform our office of Russian scanning of our systems, despite our repeated requests for information,” California’s secretary of state, Alex Padilla, a Democrat, said in a statement. “The practice of withholding critical information from elections officials is a detriment to the security of our elections and our democracy.” ...

...The government did not say who was behind the hacking attempts or provide details about what had been sought. But election officials in several states said the attempts were linked to Russia.

The Wisconsin Election Commission, for example, said the state’s systems were targeted by “Russian government cyber actors.” Josie Bahnke, Alaska’s elections division director, said computers in Russia were scanning election systems looking for vulnerabilities. ...

... The targets included voter registration systems but not vote-tallying software. Officials said there were some attempts to compromise networks, but most were unsuccessful.

Only Illinois reported that hackers had succeeded in breaching its voter systems.

Other states said their cybersecurity measures turned back efforts to get to crucial information.

“There are constant attempts by bad actors to hack our systems,” Iowa’s secretary of state, Paul Pate, a Republican, said in a statement. “But we continue to deflect those attempts.”

Colorado said the hacking did not quite amount to a breach.

“It’s really reconnaissance by a bad guy to try and figure out how we would break into your computer,” said Trevor Timmons, a spokesman for the Colorado secretary of state’s office. “It’s not an attack. I wouldn’t call it a probe. It’s not a breach, it’s not a penetration.”

Earlier this year, a leaked National Security Agency report detailed that hackers obtained information from a company that provided software to manage voter registrations in eight states. The May report said hackers sent phishing emails to 122 local election officials just before the November 2016 election in an attempt to break into their systems.

The latest disclosure to the states comes as a special counsel investigates whether there was any coordination during the 2016 presidential campaign between Russia and associates of President Trump. ...

Were they giving the short-memoried public a year to forget about the Homeland Security hacking attempts and merely remember vaguely some mention of something like that?

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-09-27/h...

Homeland Security Clarifying State Election Hacking Attempts
California becomes the second state notified by the Department of Homeland Security that networks other than its election systems were targeted by Russian hackers last year.

Sept. 27, 2017, at 7:14 p.m.

By CHRISTINA A. CASSIDY and CHAD DAY, Associated Press

The Department of Homeland Security has notified two states that Russian hackers attempted to scan networks other than their election systems in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, contrary to details provided last week.

On Wednesday, California became the second state — after Wisconsin — to receive the clarification.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement that homeland security officials told him the scanning activity took place on the state technology department's network and not on the Secretary of State website, as the state was told last week.

"Our notification from DHS last Friday was not only a year late, it also turned out to be bad information," Padilla said in a statement. ...

... Last week, the department notified election officials in 21 states that their systems were targeted last year "by Russian government cyber actors seeking vulnerabilities and access to U.S. election infrastructure."

Most systems were not breached, and there is no evidence of actual tampering with voter registration databases or ballot tallies. In Illinois, however, hackers penetrated the voter registration network and spent three weeks rooting around before being discovered in July 2016. But officials said no information was changed. ...

...In California, the Secretary of State's office said it does not use the Department of Technology to provide IT services for its websites, internet-facing applications or the statewide voter registration database. In a statement, the technology department said its security systems worked as planned and that the "suspect activity" was blocked.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin's chief elections officer said Wednesday that he still doesn't know whether Homeland Security has provided the state with all available information about the hacking attempt.

The state was initially told that hackers had attempted to scan its internet-connected election infrastructure, likely seeking specific vulnerabilities to access voter registration databases. Days later, the Wisconsin Elections Board was told by Homeland Security officials that the scanning involved the state's Department of Workforce Development, which oversees job training and unemployment benefits. ...

If anyone can get into this (I've copied below whatever from the search page,) there may be something of interest within.

Critical Infrastructure Designation & DHS Hacking Attempts
Critical Infrastructure & DHS Hacking ... Infrastructure" by the President or by the Secretary of Homeland Security. ... Secretary of State Security ...
[Search domain www.house.ga.gov] house.ga.gov/Documents/CommitteeDocuments/2017/Sc

So, they floated their story, presumably to get people wondering if any of it really might be a foreign state rather than the millions of hackers of all varieties:

https://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/states-major-election-hacking-228978

More than 20 states have faced major election hacking attempts, DHS says

By ERIC GELLER and DARREN SAMUELSOHN

09/30/2016 04:33 PM EDT

Updated 10/03/2016 02:08 PM EDT

Hackers have intensely probed state voter registration systems in more than 20 states, a DHS official told POLITICO on Friday.

The revelation comes amid fears that the electoral system is vulnerable to digital meddling, following a series of suspected Russian hacks of Democratic organizations, party officials and state election networks.

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's has fueled these concerns with proclamations that the election will be "rigged."

The DHS official — speaking on background because of the subject’s sensitive nature — explained that hackers of all stripes are constantly testing the digital defenses of every state’s public-facing election systems. But in 20-plus states, the agency determined that these intrusion attempts have become what DHS calls “probing of concern.”

“It’s reached a threshold of some concern,” the official told POLITICO, cautioning that the majority of states were not experiencing successful intrusions.

The federal government has focused more attention on state voting systems in the wake of confirmed digital intrusions into voter rolls in Arizona and Illinois.

The FBI and DHS asked states to look for hacking attempts coming from the IP addresses linked to those intrusions. That filtering exposed the maelstrom of attacks on state election systems that officials are now trying to analyze. ...

(But wait, wasn't Homeland Security in there already, by permission in all but a few States? On the other hand, apparently they hadn't been successful in actually getting in on their own hacking attempts, perhaps not being a conversant with such things as your average bored 11-year-old 'Russian spy'.)

... Several secretaries of state — who oversee elections — acknowledged that they are constantly flagging potential nefarious digital activity. But very little of this activity actually leads to a breach.

"The fact someone pinged it doesn’t mean there’s a breach," said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said in an interview Friday.

Williams said his state wasn’t among the ones that had experienced a "probing of concern." But, he added, it’s not uncommon for hackers to make a run at his data trove.

“The fact someone passes by, or runs a quick test on the database and doesn’t get through, that happens every day with every major database,” he said. ...

... DHS said it has not traced the state probes to a common source. There is also no consensus among digital security experts and former officials about whether Russia is behind the state election hacks.

The DHS official explained to POLITICO that the attempted break-ins didn't fit a clear pattern, and more represented a "storm" of attacks.

“We’re still in the storm phase right now,” the official said. “It’s really not uncommon. You’ve got all sorts of cyber criminal groups, you’ve got your regular hackers that are just sort of messing around.”

The attacks come as U.S. officials are weighing whether to publicly blame Russia for the digital assaults that have compromised the Democratic National Committee and other top political organizations.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said they suspect Moscow is trying to sow general distrust in the electoral system with the spate of hacks.

Some Democrats believe the goal may even be to help elect Trump, who has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin's leadership skills.

To help states fend off these hacks, DHS has offered to provide states with additional digital scans of their systems, on top of the nationwide monitoring DHS already does regularly.

The DHS official told POLITICO that 21 states have “expressed interest” in these vulnerability-scanning services. ...

And the already-exploded story is continued anyway, presumably using those states willing to be conned or otherwise go with it.

(Re-adding pre-existing bolding which did not carry over.)

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/russia-department-homeland-security/

As Feds Continue to Blame Russia, Indiana Officials Expose DHS in Massive 2016 Election Hack
By
Jack Burns -
February 23, 2017

According to a report published by the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group, the Department of Homeland Security, under the Obama administration, attempted to hack the Indiana State electoral system nearly 15,000 times. The news comes in the wake of months of post-election talk the Russians helped Donald Trump get elected, thwarting any chance of Hillary Clinton to win in November of 2016.

Yet even with the bipartisan parade of politicians, including former president Barack H. Obama, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and others, the American people have not been presented one shred of evidence to suggest the Russians attempted to meddle with the elections. Free thinkers everywhere are scratching their heads, and asking themselves if they’re supposed to believe the so-called leaders in Washington, without being presented with any proof the Kremlin had anything to do with Clinton’s loss.

The bully in Washington may have used his executive powers to go after states such as Indiana, that “resisted then-President Barack Obama’s attempt to increase federal involvement in state and local election systems by designating them as ‘critical infrastructure’ for national security,” writes DCNF’s Richard Pollack. To better describe the hacking attempt, Pollack described it as a “scanning assault.”

Apparently, the National Association fo Secretaries of State (NASS) aren’t too happy about the intrusive big-brother cyber attacks by the Feds, and are calling on Trump to overturn the measures put in place by his predecessor to increase federal involvement in their election systems. Once again, the states are pushing back against executive overreach by a president who is no longer in office, which may serve to demonstrate just how long-lasting Obama’s rule-based, executive order leadership actually is. ...

Seemingly miffed by the IT intrusion is Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who also serves as president of NASS. She told Pollack, “we know that between November 1 and December 16, we were scanned with about 14,800 scans, nearly 15,000 different times,” an action which was traced back to a Department of Homeland Security computer’s IP address, which was the same system used to hack into Georgia’s electoral system as well, making it the second time the federal government has been implicated in attempting to hack into state election systems. She points the finger squarely at the Obama administration’s DHS, saying she believed the scans were possibly retaliatory since the state chose not to allow DHS to get their hands on Indiana’s electoral infrastructure. “We declined their assistance,” she said but added, “our voter registration system was not penetrated.” ...

...In terms of proof, the only evidence presented, which indicates the Election of 2016 was tampered with, is coming from sovereign states, two of whom are now pointing the finger at the Obama administration’s DHS, for attempting to hack their own state’s system. It must be plainly stated. Factually speaking, the Department of Homeland Security has twice been implicated in election hacking, not the Russians.

At this point in the discussion, and debate about Russian hacking, still not one iota of evidence has pointed a finger at Russia. All the while, Americans are being force-fed a steady stream of mainstream media reports the Russians meddled in the election. However, many Americans, as The Free Thought Project has faithfully reported, are no longer blindly consuming the state-run media’s reports.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Benghazi wasn’t the result of a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Islam film. And no, not yet do we believe the Russians hacked the Election of 2016, although two reports indicate our own federal government most certainly did. Ironically, DHS has yet to comment on the accusations coming from Georgia and Indiana, a notable silence which appears to be deafening.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@MrWebster

...that prove there was no hack at all. That suggest the hoax was mounted by CrowdStrike, itself, on behalf of the US intelligence agencies.

These have been distributed to every embassy in most countries in the world as well as to every ambassador at the UN.

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jorogo's picture

Wiki and DW both call him the US "special representative" to Ukraine, but DW also calls him ambassador, and the US's top negotiator in Ukraine. Is he all three? What is it he's negotiating? And what "invasion" is he talking about? A clue would be that he once was on the staff of John McCain, a virulent anti-Russia freak who actively supported the Maidan revolution with his live appearance to bless their US-"midwifed" coup, and succeeded Victoria Nuland, who proposed that plan.

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"If I sit silently, I have sinned." - Mossadegh

Amanda Matthews's picture

@jorogo

That scandal sure didn’t hurt him a bit. But iit told us everything we ever needed to know about his ‘character’ (or lack of rather).

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

snoopydawg's picture

The alleged attack that is. But still, why isn't anyone asking why Obama didn't keep our elections safe? Hmm? Because they are surely blaming Trump and the republicans for not fixing them. I'm sure you can guess who is pushing this meme the hardest.

Here's Obama himself saying that the elections cannot be rigged. Period. This was after he said that if Trump whines and tries to blame someone else for their loss, then this office is not the place for them.

Ha Ha! Now that is funny. Smile

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Israel doesn't have to hack our elections. They vet all the candidates before they're allowed to run.

What good is having the most expensive military in the world defending this country when it has become a shithole to live in?

CB's picture

The latest round of sanctions has been designed to set the current conflict with Russia in stone.

It contains within itself a mechanism whereby the US State Department can come up with pretexts to escalate and continue sanctions in perpetuity despite any actions taken by the Russian government other than complete submission to the requirements of the US government.

It's the neocon controlled US government's final response to Putin's very effective statesmanship on the world stage. Think of the dozens of times Putin outfoxed the US government since he became president of Russia. (Take note on how Putin will respond to the latest US bombing in Syria. It will be measured, deliberate and designed to do the least harm to his country when it eventually arrives.)

The only other leader in the world that has successfully resisted American diktat as much was Fidel Castro. But Russia is not a tiny defenseless island state. It is the largest country by landmass and contains within it's borders every element in the periodic table in sizable quantities. It is capable of standing toe-to-toe with the US militarily and has advanced scientific capabilities. It's citizenry supports their government at percentage levels far, far above that of any of the western nations that are trying to dismantle Russia. In addition, Russia has many friends in both hemispheres of the world least of which is China (soon to be the world's largest economy).

Sanctions against Russia will never be fully successful. The last sets were effectively used by Putin to actually strengthen and advance the Russian economy AND it's military. Any escalation beyond the current state of affairs will start hurting the US and it's European satraps way more than Russia.

US Sanctions Against Russia: The Forecast for 2018
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It must be clear that the letter and spirit of PL 115-44 define Russia in legislative terms as an adversary to the United States, which should be actively opposed and subjected to a comprehensive pressure. In fact, PL 115-44 sets the framework for US policies with regard to the Russian Federation, which to a great extent obviates opportunities for partnership and constructive cooperation. Russia should have no illusions about a reversal of course in the near future. We must also avoid underestimating the efficiency of the tools to pressure us. These trends need to be thoroughly analyzed and monitored.
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So, the executive authorities will submit at least seven reports to Congress in 2018, which can be divided into three groups.

The first group includes reports drawn up mostly by the US Department of the Treasury. The U.S. Treasury is the key, if not the only, sanctions policy tool. Congress instructs the U.S. Treasury to work closely with the CIA, the Department of State and other agencies whose data may significantly expand capabilities of financial intelligence. The most expected document in this group is a report on Russian oligarchs and parastatal entities to be prepared by February 2018 and which contains a list of senior Russian political figures as well as oligarchs and entrepreneurs close to the “Russian regime.” Congress wants the submission of an assessment of the relationship between the said individuals and President Vladimir Putin or other members of the Russian ruling elite and an identification of any indices of corruption with respect to those individuals. The report should also include the estimated net worth and known sources of income of those individuals and their family members, including assets, investments, other business interests, and relevant beneficial ownership information and an identification of the non-Russian business affiliation of those individuals.
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The next report is to appear in February as well. It concerns opportunities for expanding sanctions against individuals or entities blacklisted by the Department of the Treasury under Presidential Executive Order No. 13662, which made it possible to impose sanctions to counteract Russian policies in Ukraine. The fine point is that the executive order imposed sanctions against Russia’s financial and energy sectors, while PL 115-44 added railways to the list, as well as the iron-and-steel and manufacturing industries. For the time being, the report is not to be expanded.
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The next group is covered by the subtitle, Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia. The Act makes it incumbent on the US government to act as a protector of the sovereignty and security of all Eurasian countries that are or may become “victims” of Russian influence. The Department of State is the key agency responsible for this group. Policies in this area imply the broad use of soft power based on NGOs in the US and Eurasian countries (the Act lists some of these). The appropriations for these purposes in 2018 will add up to $250,000,000, a considerable sum given that it will be largely used for ideological and educational work rather than for infrastructure.
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Finally, yet another report is linked to a law on Ukrainian and other countries’ energy security interpreted as reduced reliance on Russian distribution or any ties with Russia. It is speaking about facilitation of Ukrainian energy sector reforms, the sector’s liberalization, enhanced efficiency, etc. But in the same breath it mentions counteraction to Russian energy projects (Nord Stream, etc.) and what it calls “Russian aggression.” It also says directly that the US policy should be aimed at promoting US energy exports to Europe, among other things, to create jobs in the United States. (This means that the Americans are using this political tool in market rivalry.) The Secretary of State is to report on the implementation of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act and on achievements in this area in February, with subsequent updates to be submitted every six months.

The bottom line is that PL 115-04 prescribes a specific bureaucratic procedure and narrative that will largely define US policy with regard to Russia in 2018 and thereafter. There will be at least seven reports submitted next year, each of which will most likely provide a pretext for the further alienation of Russia and the United States from each other. Russia needs a well-considered policy of clever actions that will make it possible to control confrontation, minimize damage, and retain foreign policy initiative.

The fuckwits within the US government just keep doubling down and doing the same thing over and over when things don't work as they expected. Think Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

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