Monthly Archives: February 2018

Knowing Russia intends to hack Midterms, GOP fires key election official battling cyber attacks


Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House decided, this week, to replace Matthew Masterson, who is the chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Masterson has played a substantial role in helping to protect states from possible Russian cyber attacks against U.S. elections.

Backing up a bit, in mid-February, Masterson expressed his strong concern over the election manipulation issue.

“The threat is real and the response needs to be robust and coordinated,” said Matthew Masterson, chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, an independent agency of the U.S. government that provides information about how to administer elections. “Folks in the election community are taking the threats very seriously and taking whatever steps they can to address it.

Now, less than two weeks later, Masterson gets the boot by Republicans.


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NRA supporters are sending death threats to Florida shooting survivors

The family of one of the students who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL say they have received death threats in the days following the tragedy.

Stoneman Douglas student David Hogg, along with several other student survivors, have given interviews on cable news and in the print media since the shooting, demanding action from lawmakers on gun law reforms. A video of Hogg looking directly into a CNN camera and speaking to Trump and those on Capitol Hill, saying, “And some of our policymakers… need to look in the mirror and take some action because… without action, ideas stay ideas and children die.”

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The 9/11 Hijackers Were Iraqis, Right? Teaching in a Time of Wars

Smoke-filled skies loom over an American tank destroyed during a firefight with Iraqis on the south side of Baghdad. (photo: Carolyn Cole/LA Times)

My pre-collegiate history education was not really much better than theirs, but it was somewhat different. I grew up in Washington, D.C., in the days when Congress ran the city directly, including defining the curriculum for elementary and secondary school students. We were required to take three cracks at American history (in fifth, eighth, and twelfth grade). Repeatedly, we spent so much time on the 13 original colonies that, by the day school let out for the year, we had barely reached World War I. I never did find out what happened after that, not in school anyway. Nowadays, schools have speeded things up a bit and the war they never get to happened in Vietnam.

I’m certainly not the first person to discover that, for new generations, foundational events in her own life — the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, the women’s liberation movement, even the first Gulf War — are, to the young, history almost as ancient as the Civil War. Why should they know about such things? They weren’t even born yet.

But here’s a surprising development — surprising because this last decade and a half seems to have flown past so quickly. I’m now encountering students who have no memory of an event that has shaped their lives, this country, and much of the world for the last 16 years: the 9/11 attacks.

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Inspection- Making America America, Part 1: Elections and the Russians

by Ken Carman

 We can’t make America “America Again” because we have never, ever lived up to our own expectations, not even our forefathers. That last is not as nasty a statement as some might think. Children never do. Fathers and mothers never do. InspectionCompromises are made. And expectations do change.
 But the object is to keep getting closer to the best expectations, defining ‘best’ often being the debate. History usually offers a twisted path, often because there are always those who wish to turn around and go back, or stray way off the path.
 One thing is sure: we have doubled back, even gotten off the path, lost in the woods when it comes to elections. Read more

Russian Disinformation Bots, Fake News, Fox News

Newsroom at Fox News in New York City. (photo: AP)

Courtesy AP, article courtesy Reader Supported News

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

No one has to lie to avoid telling the truth

hen you stop to think about it, can you tell the difference between Russian disinformation bots and Fox News? Actually, that’s a serious question.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s February 16 indictment of people and organizations associated with Russia offers a loose definition of Russian disinformation bots that seems equally accurate as a description of what Fox News has been doing since 1996:

… defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the US political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.

Russian bots and Fox News both have foreign roots. When Rupert Murdoch, an Australian, set about to buy American television stations in 1985, that was against the law. The Reagan-era FCC turned a blind eye to the law-breaking, and the Clinton-era FCC weaseled a way to affirm the broken law as legitimate by finding that Murdoch’s illegal holding was “in the public interest.” A year ago, for the first time ever, the Obama-era FCC approved 100% foreign ownership of American media to the outcry of almost no one. This is the world that Congress and the executive branch deliberately created over decades, a world where the unending stream of Fox lies and distortion is not only “in the public interest,” but protected by the First Amendment’s rights to free speech and a free press. Read more

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