Monday, August 22, 2022

Last Call For The Big Lie, Sore Losers Edition

So, yeah, turns out the Trump regime was absolutely at the head of the "grassroots movement" conspiracy to defraud the US with fraudily fraud fraudulent electors, and coordinated the effort with the GOP's cadre of election deniers in key swing states by sharing stolen election data and absolutely breaking the law.

Sensitive election system files obtained by attorneys working to overturn President Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat were shared with election deniers, conspiracy theorists and right-wing commentators, according to records reviewed by The Washington Post.

A Georgia computer forensics firm hired by the attorneys placed the files on a server, where company records show they were downloaded dozens of times. Among the downloaders were accounts associated with a Texas meteorologist who has appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show; a podcaster who suggested political enemies should be executed; a former pro-surfer who pushed disproved theories that the 2020 election was manipulated; and a self-described former “seduction and pickup coach” who claims to also have been a hacker.

Plaintiffs in a long-running federal lawsuit over the security of Georgia’s voting systems obtained the new records from the company, Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler, under a subpoena to one of its executives. The records include contracts between the firm and the Trump-allied attorneys, notably Sidney Powell. The data files are described as copies of components from election systems in Coffee County, Ga., and Antrim County, Mich.

A series of data leaks and alleged breaches of local elections offices since 2020 has prompted criminal investigations and fueled concerns among some security experts that public disclosure of information collected from voting systems could be exploited by hackers and others people seeking to manipulate future elections.

Access to U.S. voting system software and other components is tightly regulated, and the government classifies those systems as “critical infrastructure.” The new batch of records shows for the first time how the files copied from election systems were distributed to people in multiple states.

Marilyn Marks, executive director of the nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance, which is one of the plaintiffs in the Georgia lawsuit, said the records appeared to show the files were handled recklessly. “The implications go far beyond Coffee County or Georgia,” Marks said.

In a statement to The Post, SullivanStrickler said the attorneys who hired the firm directed it “to contact county officials to obtain access to certain data” from Dominion Voting machines in Georgia and Michigan.

“Likewise, the firm was directed by attorneys to distribute that data to certain individuals,” the statement said. The firm said that it “had [and has] no reason to believe that, as officers of the court, these attorneys would ask or direct SullivanStrickler to do anything either improper or illegal.”

Dominion Voting Systems has been the target of baseless claims from Trump, his advisers and allied news organizations that its machines were hacked and were programmed to flip votes from one candidate to another. The Colorado-based company has filed a host of defamation lawsuits over the statements.

Dominion declined to comment on ongoing investigations but in a statement said: “What is important is that nearly two years after the 2020 election, no credible evidence has ever been presented to any court or authority that voting machines did anything other than count votes accurately and reliably in all states
The Post reported on Aug. 15 that an earlier set of records released in response to the subpoena showed SullivanStrickler was hired in late November 2020 to conduct a multistate effort to copy software and other data from county election systems. The effort was more successful than previously known, accessing equipment in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada.

That same day, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) opened “a computer trespass investigation” regarding an elections server in Coffee County, bureau spokeswoman Nelly Miles said. Under Georgia law, knowingly using a computer or network without authority and with the intention of deleting, altering or interfering with programs or data is computer trespass, a felony.


Not that it was ever in doubt as the Trump regime crack squad of legal eagles said on multiple occasions that they were in fact coordinating to share data in order to "prove election fraud", but we now know that they coordinated the sharing of illegally obtained election data, which makes this a giant goddamn criminal conspiracy to boot. 

On top of all that, they defamed Dominion Voting Systems and they are going to take these clowns for every dollar they have. Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, all of these bozos are going to prison, flipping evidence on Trump, or both.

It's going to get amazing in the weeks ahead.

BREAKING: Dr. Anthony Fauci Announces Retirement

Pandemic expert and government response chief Dr. Anthony Fauci will retire as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the end of this year.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who played a critical role in steering humanity through the two pandemics of our time, AIDS and COVID-19, announced Monday he is stepping down from his role in the federal government.

As of December, he will leave the position he's held for 38 years as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as his job as chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, and his role as Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden.

The straight-talking scientist and physician was the government's top infectious disease doctor for decades, and one of the few scientists that many Americans knew by name.

Fauci served under seven U.S. presidents and helped lead the country through numerous health crises. He was instrumental in combatting the AIDS epidemic, starting as the youthful director of the National Institute of Allery and Infectious Diseases in the early 1980s. He also took center stage in a politically fraught response to the nation's COVID-19 pandemic, and he was both praised and assailed for his tell-it-like-it-is philosophy.

Department of Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra, who took leadership of the agency a year into the COVID pandemic, said he relied on Fauci's counsel and praised him for "his ability to break down complex science in simple terms to the American people to save lives."

Fauci's actions during the AIDS epidemic helped marshal a scientific and government response that saved millions of lives. His approach to engaging AIDS activists also transformed the way patients and activists interacted with medical science for many diseases.

"Tony Fauci is a really interesting character in the history of the AIDS epidemic," says Jon Cohen, a journalist at Science magazine who wrote a book about Fauci's passionate but ultimately unsuccessful effort to develop an AIDS vaccine. "He becomes the voice of science, he can translate science into English better than anyone, and he can speak to every president, every congressperson, every world leader, and he can speak to patients," Cohen said in an interview.

Those abilities emerged during the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic, when the Reagan administration tried to downplay or ignore the deadly disease afflicting particularly gay men and users of drugs by injection, as well as people with hemophilia who died because their medication was derived from contaminated blood products.

Part of Fauci's strategy was to engage the patients and activists who were demanding not only answers but a rapid federal response.

"He was one of the few [powerful people in Washington] that opened his doors early to us to listen and to hear us out," said Peter Staley, one of the founding members of Act Up New York, a prominent AIDS activist group. "And he was one of the few that wasn't afraid of us, and thought we had something to bring to the table."

Staley recalls regular dinners that Fauci held in the home of a gay man who worked in his office. Those dinners "would last for many hours over many bottles of wine, and we debated these issues, and it would sometimes get very heated," Staley said. They didn't always agree, "but I came to respect the man intensely during that period."

The AIDS activists pushed for being part of the research and having a seat at the table, as scientists and government officials figured out how to develop drugs and test vaccines to control the AIDS epidemic.

Fauci also oversaw a laboratory at the NIH and saw patients throughout his long career, keeping connected to the science as well as the human dimensions of infectious disease.

"Tony won the respect of the angriest, most frustrated people because they saw him as an ally and because he listened to them and he incorporated them — he made them part of finding solutions," Cohen said. And that approach "radically overhauled how we think about disease and research and patients, not just AIDS." Breast cancer activists adopted this cooperative approach and many other disease advocates followed suit.

Dr. Fauci served America for most of my lifetime. I'm surprised politically that he wasn't run out of town years ago, but it's clear that Republicans were going to target him is they got the House back, and almost certainly they'll be after him for the rest of his days. It's a shame the hyenas will win in the end, but they got their wish.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

As a new NBC News poll finds some 57% of Americans want Donald Trump investigated for various criminal activity while occupying the White House, former conservative writer Damon Linker warns that there's no silver lining in the weeks and months ahead for America as we decide how to deal with the orange menace.
Debate about the search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence has settled into well-worn grooves. Mr. Trump and many Republicans have denounced the act as illegitimate. Attorney General Merrick Garland is staying mostly mum. And Democrats are struggling to contain their enthusiasm.

Liberal excitement is understandable. Mr. Trump faces potential legal jeopardy from the Jan. 6 investigation in Congress and the Mar-a-Lago search. They anticipate fulfilling a dream going back to the earliest days of the Trump administration: to see him frog-marched to jail before the country and the world.

But this is a fantasy. There is no scenario following from the present that culminates in a happy ending for anyone, even for Democrats.

Down one path is the prosecution of the former president. This would be a Democratic administration putting the previous occupant of the White House, the ostensible head of the Republican Party and the current favorite to be the G.O.P. presidential nominee in 2024, on trial. That would set an incredibly dangerous precedent. Imagine, each time the presidency is handed from one party to the other, an investigation by the new administration’s Justice Department leads toward the investigation and possible indictment of its predecessor.

Some will say that Mr. Trump nonetheless deserves it — and he does. If Mr. Garland does not press charges against him for Jan. 6 or the potential mishandling of classified government documents, Mr. Trump will have learned that becoming president has effectively immunized him from prosecution. That means the country would be facing a potential second term for Mr. Trump in which he is convinced that he can do whatever he wants with complete impunity.

That seems to point to the need to push forward with a case, despite the risk of turning it into a regular occurrence. As many of Mr. Trump’s detractors argue, the rule of law demands it — and failing to fulfill that demand could end up being extremely dangerous.

But we’ve been through a version of the turbulent Trump experience before. During the Trump years, the system passed its stress test. We have reason to think it would do so again, especially with reforms to the Electoral Count Act likely to pass during the lame duck session following the upcoming midterm elections, if not before. Having to combat an emboldened Mr. Trump or another bad actor would certainly be unnerving and risky. But the alternatives would be too.

We caught a glimpse of those alternative risks as soon as the Mar-a-Lago raid was announced. Within hours, leading Republicans had issued inflammatory statements, and these statements would likely grow louder and more incendiary through any trial, both from Mr. Trump himself and from members of his party and its media rabble-rousers. (Though at a federal judge’s order a redacted version of the warrant affidavit may soon be released, so Mr. Trump and the rest of his party would have to contend with the government’s actual justification of the raid itself.)

If the matter culminates in an indictment and trial of Mr. Trump, the Republican argument would be more of what we heard day in and day out through his administration. His defenders would claim that every person ostensibly committed to the dispassionate upholding of the rule of law is in fact motivated by rank partisanship and a drive to self-aggrandizement. This would be directed at the attorney general, the F.B.I., the Justice Department and other branches of the so-called deep state. The spectacle would be corrosive, in effect convincing most Republican voters that appeals to the rule of law are invariably a sham.

But the nightmare wouldn’t stop there. What if Mr. Trump declares another run for the presidency just as he’s indicted and treats the trial as a circus illustrating the power of the Washington swamp and the need to put Republicans back in charge to drain it? It would be a risible claim, but potentially a politically effective one. And he might well continue this campaign even if convicted, possibly running for president from a jail cell. It would be Mr. Trump versus the System. He would be reviving an old American archetype: the folk-hero outlaw who takes on and seeks to take down the powerful in the name of the people.

We wouldn’t even avoid potentially calamitous consequences if Mr. Trump somehow ended up barred from running or his party opted for another candidate to be its nominee in 2024 — say, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida. How long do you think it would take for a freshly inaugurated President DeSantis to pardon a convicted and jailed Donald Trump? Hours? Minutes? And that move would probably be combined with a promise to investigate and indict Joe Biden for the various “crimes” he allegedly committed in office.

The instinct of Democrats is to angrily dismiss such concerns. But that doesn’t mean these consequences wouldn’t happen. Even if Mr. Garland’s motives and methods are models of judiciousness and restraint, the act of an attorney general of one party seeking to indict and convict a former and possibly future president of the other party is the ringing of a bell that cannot be unrung. It is guaranteed to be undertaken again, regardless of whether present and future accusations are justified.
I have said this before and I will say it again: doing the right thing has a cost. The right thing is to indict Trump. We're not ready as a nation to even begin to discuss the consequences of that. Allowing Trump to escape consequences would be the end of America as we know it.
But prosecuting him would be ruinous as well, and very few people are even willing to entertain the notion that there's no way out of this hell that doesn't include a steep price for the vast majority of Americans and a disastrous one for those of us already marginalized.

Keep that in mind going forward.
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