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Hometown: Georgia
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 15,091

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How convenient Benishek was installed right before the election.

The doublespeak is on full display: one claim is that he is there to "provide overall direction" but another is that he "does not direct her as to what to do." When a GSA spokesperson announces that "Benishek would not be acting as a White House surrogate within the GSA" we can all assume that is exactly his role.

Murphy's screwed and she knows it. She could have done her job properly, but she doesn't have the integrity or the backbone for that. Looks like Benishek might be there to take the helm if Murphy wavers--but she won't. Her paycheck is more important to her than her country.

Krebs saw this coming.


Krebs, who has led CISA and its predecessor DHS division since early 2017, had been planning to leave his position and return to the private sector shortly after Biden took office. But he had hoped to stay on in the short term to help the Biden transition team and see the new administration into its first few months, the people familiar with his thinking said.

They said Krebs had expressed a hope to people close to him that Ware might take over in the event he were forced out.

Matthew Travis, CISA's deputy director, is a political appointee who is also subject to White House removal. Another person whose job may be in jeopardy is Matthew Masterson, CISA's lead election security staffer. Masterson, whom state and local election officials widely credit with helping to build a robust election security partnership, is also a political appointee whom the White House can order fired if it chooses to do so.

But CISA's third-ranking official, executive director Brandon Wales, is a career civil servant who cannot be fired except with cause.

"Krebs created the Executive Director position as the highest career employee to aid any transition in the absence of political leadership, like if Travis and Krebs were both to leave," said a U.S. official, who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the situation.

"Some [at] CISA are probably worried," the official said of Krebs' potential firing, "but there has been a transition plan in place."

In other words, "Republican party can get off my back!"

From the Bloomberg article linked at PW:

Georgia’s two Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, have called on Raffensperger to resign. Republican Representative Doug Collins, a close ally of the president who’s overseeing the recount for the campaign, has also criticized Raffensperger.

I guess if you’re a shill for President Trump you can get away with it, no one holds him accountable,” Raffensperger said of Collins.

Raffensperger said the audit now being completed should give voters confidence in the results.

“The reason we’ve done an audit is that we make sure that every legal vote has been counted, and that should give people assurance that we’re making sure that it’s a thorough process so there can be no question afterwards,” he said.

Well, damn. It's a shame Raffensperger likely blew his career future in the party by saying this, but what a guy! If you can get to the article, it's worth reading for the bits about Lindsey Graham and signature-matching as well.

Kudos to you, Brad Raffensperger. 🤗

What 'deal'? Media often does a lazy, lackluster job of covering COVID relief efforts.

It's a disservice to everyone to frame the issue merely in terms of dollars, ignoring the content of the proposed bills.


A major difference between the proposals concerns state and local governments. The HEALS Act provides no additional funding, while the HEROES Act allocates $1 trillion in additional aid to state and local governments.[36] Another difference is on evictions and foreclosure, which were forbidden in certain cases under the CARES Act. The HEALS Act lets the provisions expire, while the HEROES Act extends it for up to another year and expands the moratorium to cover all renters and homeowners, instead of just the special cases covered in the CARES Act.[37]

Another major difference is that HEALS includes shield provisions for corporate immunity. This is a major sticking point. HEALS also includes inappropriate allocations for NASA, West Wing renovations, and the DOD, including money for weapons and Navy aircraft procurement... but zero for Veterans Affairs.

There have been changes over time since both Acts first came out, but these differences give a good indication of the reasons why legislation has stalled. Media not bothering to address the details is misleading people into thinking no one is bothering to try to get help to everyday people, which just is not true. The HEROES Act isn't perfect, but at least the House passed something worthwhile, in May, which Mitch never bothered to bring the Senate floor for discussion.

That the Senate passed their bill and then called the House bill "partisan and unrealistic" is just insulting. As usual.



Democrats made a good faith effort at compromise and came back with a pared down version of HEROES, and still were rebuffed. It was a wasted effort, and media skewing the perception of events by not properly covering them doesn't help. Nancy Pelosi isn't the problem. trump, Mnuchin, Senate Republicans, and Mitch McConnell are the problem.


"Trump's latest lawyer told listeners of his radio show..."

There's no way anyone could make up a story to match what's going on. It's unreal.


Trump's latest lawyer told listeners of his radio show Nov. 7 "in my opinion there really are no bombshells that are about to drop that will derail a Biden presidency, including the lawsuits" and suggested Trump's suits "don't seem to have much evidence."

Then do tell what is the bleeping point? You are going to be wasting the judge's time. They don't like that. At all.

Because of course she did.

Linked at the end of above article:


Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) in 2007 to help various kinds of public service workers erase their student debt after ten years of loan payments.

But management of the program is widely considered to be a failure as more than 98% of applications from teachers, firefighters, police, and other public servants are rejected.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been sued multiple times over her department’s high denial rate, while Education Department (ED) officials contend that Congress designed the rules to be too restrictive. [snip]

In early 2020, amid lawsuits against the department and lawmakers decrying that 99% rejection rate, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos agreed to simplify part of the paperwork process.

And linked from a Twitter thread in that article:


The change — which the department posted to the Federal Register without a news release or other public announcement — will address one of the most alarming revelations in the GAO's review: 71% of denials were essentially due to a paperwork technicality. According to the GAO, more than 38,000 applicants were denied relief under the expansion — known as Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) — simply because they hadn't first applied for and been denied PSLF.

The department's fix is to consolidate the two programs into one application form so that borrowers applying for TEPSLF will no longer have to first file a separate application for PSLF.[snip]

"The department's lack of urgency in helping borrowers navigate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program has left applicants confused, panicked and rightfully frustrated," said Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat and chairman of the House education committee. "I am relieved that — in response to intense public pressure — the department is finally taking a step toward fixing the PSLF application process. However, this change alone does not satisfy the department's responsibility to faithfully implement the law."

That 'paperwork technicality' had to be deliberate. Wow, what a nightmare for people just trying to apply, much less the rejection rate to this point. Typically unhelpful is the lack of public information provided after a change was forced. It's a good thing this is getting some media coverage to mitigate that. Hopefully, the latest 'fix' will actually help.

Pretty sure Lev is telling the truth here. Dmytro Firtash is the money man.

Parnas, Fruman et al were intermediaries for Firtash, who himself can be seen as an intermediary for Putin.

A trip down memory lane:


Firtash has established close ties to the former mayor of New York City in part by recruiting several of Giuliani’s associates. In July the oligarch hired two lawyers who have been helping Giuliani in his campaign to discredit Trump’s critics: Victoria Toensing and Joseph DiGenova, a married couple Trump considered hiring in 2018 as part of his private legal team. Best known as diehard defenders of Trump on Fox News, the couple has combed through the oligarch’s case files and used some of them in the effort to defend Trump on television and in the press.

Toensing and DiGenova then hired another Giuliani associate, Lev Parnas, to serve as their interpreter in communications with Firtash in Vienna, according to a statement the lawyers sent TIME on Oct. 11. While on his way to Vienna on Oct. 9, Parnas was arrested at Dulles Airport in Washington and charged with violating campaign finance laws. The indictment against him alleges that Parnas and his business partners secretly channeled money from an unidentified Russian donor to various political causes and candidates. Parnas has not entered a plea. His colleagues in the Firtash legal team declined to comment on the arrest.


Parnas and Fruman were arrested at Dulles Airport in Virginia on October 9. Both had one-way tickets to Vienna. Giuliani, meanwhile, revealed to reporters that he had intended to travel to Vienna the next day, sparking speculation that the travel plans of all three men were somehow related to Firtash. Giuliani told NBC News he “wasn’t planning to go see” Firtash in Vienna. John Dowd, a former lawyer for Trump who now represents Parnas and Fruman, did not respond to requests for comment.

The overlap between Parnas and Fruman’s business activities, their dirt-digging with Giuliani, and their interactions with Firtash raises questions about the true scope of the Trump-Ukraine scandal—a story that has grown far beyond the initial controversy over a phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. Is it possible that Firtash’s case, Parnas and Fruman’s plotting, and Giuliani’s freelancing in Ukraine are intertwined? Asked by phone whether Firtash hoped to win favor with Trump and his Justice Department by helping to undermine the president’s critics, Toensing declined to comment on the record and abruptly hung up.


"For us to be able to receive information from Firtash, we had to promise Firtash something," Parnas said. "So for Firtash, it was basically telling him that we knew his case was worthless here and that he's being prosecuted for no reason. And that basically, it could get taken care of."

In other words, according to Parnas: Guiliani, the former New York City mayor who made his name putting mob figures in prison as a U.S. attorney, was so eager to help Trump and hurt Biden that he turned to a man Ukrainian activists call their country's most dangerous oligarch — and offered the equivalent of a get-out-of-jail-free card.


The Firtash story is more than one man’s grab for riches. It demonstrates how Putin uses Russian state assets to create streams of cash for political allies, and how he exported this model to Ukraine in an attempt to dominate his neighbour, which he sees as vital to Russia’s strategic interests. With the help of Firtash, Yanukovich won power and went on to rule Ukraine for four years. The relationship had great geopolitical value for Putin: Yanukovich ended up steering the nation of more than 44 million away from the West’s orbit and towards Moscow’s until he was overthrown in February.

“Firtash has always been an intermediary,” said Viktor Chumak, chairman of the anti-corruption committee in the previous Ukrainian parliament. “He is a political person representing Russia’s interests in Ukraine.”


The Firtash end of the Ukraine scandal—which House managers avoided out of a fear they'd over-complicate their case—is what makes the Ukraine scandal one of the worst in U.S. history.

Upshot: Democrats are fighting Trump with both hands behind their back.

I'm not going to second-guess the impeachment team, and in the end Abramson is sympathetic to their decisions. They did a great job, and with an honest Senate, would have prevailed. It's still worthwhile to make the trip through Abramson's reasoning. His conclusions are terrifying. Biden winning the election really did save the country.

She really did stand by our state after her stolen election.

Instead of fading into the background to perhaps plan another electoral run, Stacey Abrams rolled up her sleeves and got to work on GA's problems with voter suppression and turnout. She has done a fantastic job, and GA will benefit enormously from her efforts.

I hope you're right, but... not so sure about that, unfortunately.



White House computer security Chief Dimitrios Vistakis gave the White House one helluva resignation notice earlier this week when he quit over practices he dubbed “absurd” including the systemic purging of cybersecurity staff.

They say that history repeats itself. Unfortunately given all of the changes I’ve seen in the past three months, I foresee the White House is posturing itself to be electronically compromised once again. Allowing for a large portion of institutional knowledge to concurrently walk right out the front door seems contrary to the best of interests of the mission and organization as a whole.

The above quote, taken from a memo obtained by Axios and sent by Vistakis summarizes the former director’s worries. The rest of the letter paints the picture of a Trump administration hellbent on purging the Obama-appointed security specialists tasked with defending White House computers in the wake of a 2014 breach. [snip]

Vistakis' greatest complaint seems to be that White House officials are prioritizing the President’s comfort or convenience over actual computer security.

Link to Axios memo - Oct 2019

A bit further down in the thread:

Exclusive: U.S. official focused on election security will be replaced - Feb 2018

The head of a federal commission who has helped U.S. states protect election systems from possible cyber attacks by Russia or others is being replaced at the behest of Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House.

The wrecking ball has been swinging against US cybersecurity for a while now.

The petty denial phase is not just insulting. It's becoming a national security issue.

How far will they follow trump over the cliff before it's obvious to everyone, even trumpers, that the country means nothing to the Republican party except a means to power and wealth?
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