Saturday, June 10, 2017

Scattershooting a week's worth of broken news

About six or so draft status posts need to be condensed to a sentence or two each.  Okay, a paragraph or two.

-- Sylvester Turner is simply weak, folks.  After a dozen Texas cities quickly declared they would legally enjoin the state of Texas from enforcing the sanctuary cities ban, the rest of us have been waiting for Mayor Sly to bust his move.  It's a question Stace at Dos has asked three times now -- in his best passive-aggressive voice -- and finally, after the newspaper of local record along with dozens of immigrants rights activists called him out for his recalcitrance, Turner finally said he'd put it on council's agenda in a couple of weeks.  And the mayor's lickspittles on social media all declared victory in one voice.

One CM was heard to say that Turner was still afraid of alienating Republicans in the Lege, even after securing the much-ballyhooed pension reform legislation, which has already been signed by Helen Wheels Abbott, and for which Turner held an instant self-congratulatory press conference.  So what future is he so scared of?  Yes, the fireman are going to fight back a little harder, but if the mayor were really sly he'd just kick that can down the road like all the mayors before him have done. 

If you have nine Democrats out of fifteen CMs, you shouldn't need extra time to whip votes.  But as I have said time and time again, Houston's Democrats are really moderate Republicans in disguise.  Turner's long history in the Lege taught him when to kneel to conservative complaints and when to ignore liberal ones.  And until someone pays Marc Campos to share his secret to turning out the Latinx vote, none of that is going to change.  So hey, maybe this weakness isn't all on the mayor.

And maybe he's just sitting tight, waiting for the courts to take care of it.  That's still not leadership.

-- Dan Patrick forced a special session by getting the Freedom Caucus to kill the sunset bill.

As a key deadline to pass bills out of the Texas House approached last month, a small group of ultra-conservative legislators ensured the demise of a measure that would have prevented the shuttering of several state agencies. In a text message to a lobbyist, Rep. Kyle Biedermann, a member of the self-styled House Freedom Caucus, said Patrick called the group and asked them to stall long enough to keep the bill from passing.

He made Greg Abbott his bitch, and he goat-fucked every single Texas House Republican moderate in the 2018 GOP primary.  Texas Democrats won't be able to to do anything but cry over it; it's all on the Straus Caucus to stop them.  In the special and in next year's elections.

This is among the many reasons why I'm retiring to New Mexico in a few years.

-- James Comey has again gone from being the guy who threw the election to Trump to the guy who's going to get Trump thrown out of the White House.  To hear Democrats tell it.
Some heard bombshells; sounded like eggshells to me.  The actual reveal was Comey having his buddy leak the memo that kneecapped Trump a couple of days before his testimony.  Edward Snowden said it best.

-- It was tantalizing...

Russian intelligence agents hacked a US voting systems manufacturer in the weeks leading up to last year’s presidential election, according to the Intercept, citing what it said was a highly classified National Security Agency (NSA) report.

The revelation coincided with the arrest of Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor from Augusta, Georgia, who was charged with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.

The hacking of senior Democrats’ email accounts during the campaign has been well chronicled, but vote-counting was thought to have been unaffected, despite concerted Russian efforts to penetrate it.

Russian military intelligence carried out a cyber-attack on at least one US voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than a hundred local election officials days before the poll, the Intercept reported ...

The NSA report makes clear that, despite recent denials by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, the NSA is convinced that the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) was responsible for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

But ...

The intelligence assessment acknowledges that there is still a great deal of uncertainty over how successful the Russian operatives were and does not reach a conclusion about whether it affected the outcome of the election, in which Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton hinged on three closely contested states.

But ...

But the suggestion that Russian hackers may gained at least a foothold in electronic voting systems is likely to add even more pressure to special counsel and congressional investigations. The Obama administration maintained that it took preventive measures to successfully guard against breaches of the systems in all 50 states.

Someone in position to know says it's worse than is being reported.

"I don't believe they got into changing actual voting outcomes," Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said in an interview. "But the extent of the attacks is much broader than has been reported so far." He said he was pushing intelligence agencies to declassify the names of those states hit to help put electoral systems on notice before the midterm voting in 2018.

I'm again hearing eggshells.

A leaked analysis containing none of the raw data being analyzed in that analysis does not come even remotely close to being the sort of hard evidence that those of us who are skeptical of your conspiracy theory would require. For the many, many reasons listed in the debunkery compendium, nothing but hard evidence will suffice.

The fact is, we’ve already seen analysis reports from intelligence agencies on the alleged Russian election meddling, like this one by the DHS and the FBI in December, and this one by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in January, and like the Intercept’s NSA leak those didn’t contain any raw intelligence either.


Additionally, the NSA was literally just shown to have been dead wrong about Russia meddling in the French election.  [...] For weeks establishment outlets were reporting as unquestionable fact that Russia was known to have hacked French electoral infrastructure, citing NSA chief Michael Rogers’ confident proclamation that NSA surveillance had “watched” this happen. 

In an even stranger development, Wikileaks and Glenn Greenwald are suddenly no longer BFF because of the burning by The Intercept of whistleblower Reality Winner.

-- UK PM Theresa May miscalculated like a Texas GOP boss (well, hopefully), and now she has to go harder right with her coalition.  There was also a remarkably hostile rift opened among Middle Eastern nations, a couple more terrorist attacks, and some other things that slid down the memory hole faster than shit through a goose.  It's not all about Trump, after all.

You all caught up now?

Just one week ago, it was back channels, broken climate accords, and covfefe.  Those were the days.

I din't even have time to opine about Kathy Griffin (Go, girl) or Bill Maher (STFU).

Too much and too fast for me to document on a timely basis.  Taking another break after the Funnies and the Wrangle; any updates after Monday morning will appear in the Twitter feed.

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