Friday, September 29, 2017

Mr. Putin, stop messing with our elections!

I also find it severely troubling that he doesn't treat Russian tampering with the election process as anything other than a national security threat aimed at undermining confidence in our election process. If someone had hacked into the RNC and gotten all of the e-mails people had sent one another there, I think we would have seen a lot of worry on the part of Republican leaders about Trump going public, and it would have hurt him. The fact that the Democratic committee e-mails were publicized but the Republican e-mails were  not  is manifestly unfair. The problem is that, as Lindsay Graham points out, even if Trump benefited from Russia this time, they could easily throw their support behind the Democrats next time. This should be neutral territory between liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats. This has to stop, and Trump is more concerned about protecting his own people than to putting a stop to this threat. If shutting down the investigation of Russia was his motive for firing Comey (He could have numerous failings, but we have to ask what the real reason for the firing was), and Trump said exactly that, then he is at the very least failing to protect our country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

It isn't even a question of collusion, it's the refusal on the part of the Trump  people to treat this as what it is, a threat to our democratic process.  Can you imagine Ronald Reagan not doing everything he could to make sure this kind of hacking never, ever happens again? Mr. Putin, stop messing with our elections!

28 comments:

Jimmy S. M. said...

Not gonna happen. To the establishment wing, nothing gets in the way of funneling money and resources to billionaires. Undermining free and open elections and democracy itself is nothing new for them, they admire the Russian oligarchical system. For the new right, it's just another top kek: suck it liberals.

oozzielionel said...

I have not seen anyone suggest that some Russian input into our elections may be appropriate. Just as we we insert our interests into the affairs of other countries, other countries can state their own opinions, run stories from their perspective, even run ads in the media to promote their interests. There are limits. Influencing an election is fair game but interfering is not. Fake news is fine. It is our fault if we fall for it. Changing vote tallies is criminal.

It is also not clear that we are properly differentiating the actions of "Russia" from the actions of Russians. We seem to make the assumption that nothing significant can happen in Russia without the approval of Putin. He is not that omnipresent. If hackers use an IP address linking to Russia, it does not necessarily follow that it is backed by the Russian military. Hacking into a mail server is theft. If they inserted false emails into the emails they released, that is over the line dirty. Tracing this to Putin may not be possible.

It could get worse. Russia could launch a vicious attack by manufacturing collusion evidence (assuming they would need to). Maybe they are just waiting for the right moment. We have created an environment where Russia could own us very simply.

Starhopper said...

We have created an environment where Russia could own us very simply.

Too late. The Chinese already do.

Legion of Logic said...

If the Democrats' emails were damaging, maybe you should be criticizing the Democrats for having damaging emails.

We live in a global community now due to the internet. Anyone from any country can post "fake news". Is fake news somehow okay if an American does it?

We interfere in elections all the time, as recently as, oh, the Obama administration. For it to happen to us is poetic justice. And unless voting machines were hacked, then the election was not hacked. Democrats lost due to their own incompetence, so next time they should get someone other than the worst possible candidate they could find.

Victor Reppert said...

I didn't say that Russian hacking de-legitimized the election, or even changed the result. I said that it constitutes an ongoing national security threat which Trump is refusing to confront. Trump could have said "There is no evidence that the hacking changed the result, so my legitimacy as President is not an issue. However, Russia as shown the ability to harm our election process, and we have to investigate this fully to make sure it never happens again, because next time, it could change the result."

We don't know what was in the Republican e-mails, but the DNC e-mails mostly revealed political bickering and infighting, and it still hurt. I think if it were revealed what leading figures in the party really thought of Trump, there would be far less party unity.

The voter registration lists were hacked into. If you can hack into voter lists, you can, potentially, wipe people off the voter rolls.

Do we hack into voter rolls? How, exactly, do we influence foreign elections?

oozzielionel said...

"How, exactly, do we influence foreign elections?"
This is a confusing question. First, I am now sure we know what we mean by "we." If we mean anything that falls under the US umbrella including the media, the government, criminals, anyone who lives in the US, then it is an impossible question to answer. How much US influences was there in the Brexit vote? Our media likely had a significant impact. The Trump phenomena may have as well. There was a lot of US pressure from different directions. They still had their vote, but we influenced their election. How much did the CIA do covertly? Maybe nothing.

The second confusing term is "influence." When I took Political Science, this was in the definition. Our government attempts to influence affairs in other governments all the time. Our media thrives on influencing.

My point is that influencing is OK. It is permitted. It is encouraged. We call it engagement, even caring about world events. Blogging may even be influencing. It has no borders. I may be influencing a foreign election even now. But I doubt it.

Mr. Guthrie said...

Maybe the reason we haven't seen Republican e-mails is that the Republicans had better cyber security than the Democrats. The passwords the Democrats used were laughable. John Podesta's password was..."password." Also, the Democrat's e-mails showed more than infighting. They revealed that the democratic process had been compromised in the primaries to deny Sanders the nomination. That's why Debbie Wasserman Schultz had to resign.

Victor Reppert said...

Putin's motives are well-known on this matter. He wanted Trump to win, or to undermine Hillary's presidency if Trump didn't win. Why would Russia want the RNC e-mails published? Whether they were protected well or not, hacking is still criminal. I don't know if I would call it compromising the democratic process, and so far as I can tell laws weren't broken. It does undermine the DNC's claim of neutrality in the nomination process. But many party governing bodies are openly non-neutral. Nothing in the Constitution requires a democratic primary process.

But remember, I am not arguing the legitimacy of the election. I am arguing that the Russian hacking is something our country has a strong motivation to prevent in the future, whether you liked Hillary or didn't like Hillary. The attempt by Russian hackers to break into voter registration rolls is especially disturbing. Conceivably, hackers could get into our voter registration systems and wipe out thousands of names. If they did that, that WOULD compromise the legitimacy of the election, and I don't know what we would do then.

jon said...

This is cringe-inducing.

For starters: Hillary’s policies were so ridiculously over-the-top Russophobic to the point that any patriotic Russian president could only interpret them as a national security threat - thus giving ample motive to meddle in American elections.

Secondly, how naive do you have to be to not know that America interferes in foreign elections and politics far more than Putin could dream of, such as:
- Funding foreign media organisations in order to advance pro-American interests
- Funding NGOs in foreign countries
- Constant lies about any and every non- Western country that America doesn’t like, that perpetuate through global media outlets
- Providing assistance to coup attempts to overthrow foreign governments eg. Ukraine and many others

If you want to stop foreign countries interfering in your elections, make moves to stop doing the same thing yourselves. How about it?

Hal said...

Victor,

Am surprised to see how much push back you are getting on your post. Seems to me to be spot on regarding how important of a threat this is to our national security. In normal times one would expect to see strong support for action to be taken to prevent one of our foes from attempting to delegitimize our national elections.

Legion of Logic said...

Hal,

Had Hillary won, and the RNC had been hacked, we would not see this post in this blog. That's why there is push-back - selective outrage is getting very old.

Hal said...

Legion,
How is Victor being selective in his outrage? Don't you think that we should be concerned over efforts to hack and disrupt our national elections by enemies like Russia?

louis said...

The latest news I've seen indicates that the emails were not hacked. It was apparently an inside job by a disgruntled employee. The time recorded on the server to copy the emails is so short that it means that it had to be copied to a local thumb drive and not copied over the internet.

Hal said...

Here is some recent info regarding Russian attempts to disrupt our election:
Click Here

Hal said...

louis,

Would you care to provide some links to the claims your are making? I've been unable to find any hard evidence to support them by googling.

louis said...

I googled it and found dozens of references.

http://nypost.com/2017/08/15/new-report-claims-dnc-hack-was-an-inside-job-not-russia/

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/when-is-a-russian-hack-not-a-hack-evidence-suggests-dnc-email-hack-was-an-inside-job/article/2631267

http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/podcast/Risk-Repeat-Was-the-DNC-hack-an-inside-job

kjc70 said...

Glenn Greenwald states in, "Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet?":

"That’s how the Russia narrative is constantly 'reported,' and it’s the reason so many of the biggest stories have embarrassingly collapsed. It’s because the Russia story of 2017 – not unlike the Iraq discourse of 2002 – is now driven by religious-like faith rather than rational faculties."

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

Hal said...

louis,

Thanks for those links. Problem is they don't provide good evidence for the claim you referenced in your earlier report.

It all goes back to one group making the claim which many other experts find quite questionable.

Hal said...

kjc70,

This site seems to give a little more balanced perspective on the DHS claims Gweenwald referenced in his article:
Click Here

Mr. Greenwald just seems to muddy the water here by including the foolish and paranoid reactions by others to the DHS claims. Because some foolishly claim that the evidence we currently have shows that the outcome of the 2016 election is not legitimate is no good reason to discard the threat of Russian attempts to interfere with our election process.

Victor Reppert said...

If the RNC were hacked and Hillary were elected I would say the same thing: hacking may not have de-legitimzied the election, but it is a national security threat that we have to keep from ever happening again. Let's keep our eyes on the ball here. Hillary says if she had been elected but had benefited from Russian hacking, she would still make sure it was stopped. It is politically shortsighted to say that hacking is OK if it benefits my side but not when it helps the other guy. The Russians are not real supporters of Republican policy except when it affects them, and they could just as easily hack for the Democrats tomorrow. Republican senator Lindsay Graham has made this exact point, and I have heard it from other Republicans as well.

Mr. Guthrie said...

Dr. Reppert, yes, I do take Russian hacking seriously. Its a pity the Obama administration didn't take it seriously when informed this was going on, as the New York Times demonstrates in this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/politics/russia-hack-election-dnc.html
We don't know if any laws were broken by the the DNC in sabotaging Sander's campaign. One reason is that the DNC repeatedly denied the FBI access to its computers to investigate Russian hacking, causing delays which could have given Democrats time to delete compromising e-mails. And yes, the Constitution does not specifically mention the primary process, but Article iv, section 4 does state that,"The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a Republican Form of Government..." This does pertain to democratic elections, including primaries.

Victor Reppert said...

While all quite interesting, this has nothing to do with my point. It was not about Hillary, the DNC, or the legitimacy of the election. This is about an ongoing threat posed by Russian hacking, and the failure of Trump to show any interest in preventing future attacks. That is it. This needs to stop, it needs to be forestalled before Putin's hackers do something that will invalidate our elections.

If Trump is impeached, he is replaced not by Hillary but by Mike Pence, who is more adept at pursuing a Republican agenda than Trump will ever be.

Hal said...

If Trump is impeached, he is replaced not by Hillary but by Mike Pence, who is more adept at pursuing a Republican agenda than Trump will ever be.

That is why this liberal (me) does not want to see Trump impeached. Trump's character flaws prevent him from acting coherently to advance his awful agenda. I'm not even sure he grasps the distinction between truth and non-truth he is so accustomed to simply distorting facts. Pence knows when he himself is spreading falsehoods and can do it with a straight face. He reminds me of Nixon in that regard.

jon said...

If there is a problem to be solved here, Trump should approach it by seeking an agreement with Putin to stop interfering in the affairs of Russia and Russian allies, in exchange for the same towards the United States.

Victor Reppert said...

So, if you stop interfering with our relatively free and democratic process, we will stop interfering with your elections in an effort to insure that they genuinely democratic.

Sounds like a winner.

https://welections.wordpress.com/category/fake-elections/

Joe Hinman said...

Starhopper said...
We have created an environment where Russia could own us very simply.

Too late. The Chinese already do.


yes that's so bad, they night even get in the way of rich getting richer. but don;t worry Trump will take us to the brink of nuclear annihilator despite China's claims,,

Joe Hinman said...

Hal said...
If Trump is impeached, he is replaced not by Hillary but by Mike Pence, who is more adept at pursuing a Republican agenda than Trump will ever be.

That is why this liberal (me) does not want to see Trump impeached. Trump's character flaws prevent him from acting coherently to advance his awful agenda. I'm not even sure he grasps the distinction between truth and non-truth he is so accustomed to simply distorting facts. Pence knows when he himself is spreading falsehoods and can do it with a straight face. He reminds me of Nixon in that regard.

republican "leadership" is falling all over itself, but we can't relay on that. We have to win tehmid terms no two ways aboiut that.

jon said...

Horribly belated reply:

Ukraine has had two types of governments since Soviet times: horribly corrupt pro-West governments and horribly corrupt pro-Russia ones.

Whenever the horribly corrupt pro-Russia governments have been in power, America has worked to undermine and overthrow them.

The horribly corrupt pro-West governments on the other hand get a free pass.

I could say similar things about many other countries in the post-Soviet space.

Perhaps this is, as you say, about trying to improve their democratic processes. It sure doesn’t look like it, though.