Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
Admittedly, the first month of the Trump administration has been fodder for so many things but what he shares with every president since the inception of the National Security Council in 1947 are leaks to the press.
If you’re looking for subterfuge and politics, the 70-year history of the NSC will not disappoint.
When U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson complained about the leaks, his assistant, Ralph Dugan denounced the State Department saying “I’ve got about as much confidence in them as I have in a Soviet spy.”
The spy thing is for a different post but I digress…
And of course, the infamous quip by Ronald Reagan, January 10, 1983. “I’ve had it up to my keister with these leaks.”
What would then-U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) say about the breach in protocol?
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” addressed sex, birth control, equal pay, workplace sexism and homosexuality, making it “a laboratory for the social issues of the day,” the NYT notes in her obit.
Sure, Mary Richards was a fictitious character: an associate news producer for a local television station in Minneapolis, Minnesota but her role gave a generation of girls, myself included, a new perspective for jobs that weren’t limited to traditional female roles e.g. secretary or teacher.
A shout-out to Hazel Frederick, the curious onlooker who watched Mary Tyler Moore toss her beret into the air in the opening scene of one of television’s best-loved sitcoms. As per her obit in the LA Times in 1999, Frederick was shopping in downtown Minneapolis one day in 1969 when a camera crew filmed Moore in the here-I-come hat toss for the opening of her long-running “Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Frederick’s puzzled reaction was caught on film as she stood in the background in a green coat with fur collar and matching scarf. A neighbor spied Frederick on the first episode of the show and word was spread among Frederick’s family. Alerted by a daughter, Frederick finally saw her widely televised image on the third episode. She remained largely anonymous to the watching world until 1996, when Moore was in her area for a book signing. Moore invited Frederick to join her on stage and introduced her to 5,000 people as “my co-star.”
Initially, I thought this was a brilliant trolling piece by The Onion but no, it’s just Putin being Putin.
As if the American election process isn’t Byzantine enough with local, state, and federal rules and regulations, we have multiple ways of collecting, tallying, and reporting votes in 9,000 jurisdictions throughout the United States including optical scan, direct recording electronic systems (DRE), ballot marking devices, and punch card voting systems, early voting, absentee voting, and provisional ballots.
According to the NYT, the Obama administration is weighing new steps to bolster the security of the voting process against cyberthreat, “including whether to designate the electronic ballot-casting system for November’s elections as “critical infrastructure”, said Jeh Johnson, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.
Concerns about electronic voting aren’t new, of course, but overt cyberattacks are increasing. While the origins of the various attacks, including the DNC and OPM aren’t officially confirmed, there’s no denying the uptick in hacking decidedly unsecure and outdated computers and software.
Remember the 2000 presidential election and our obsession with hanging chads? A national commission was created in 2002 and Congress allocated more than $3 billion USD in grants to help officials upgrade voting processes and equipment. “But there is more to do,” said Johnson and “we should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process is critical infrastructure, like the financial sector, like the power grid.”
Is declaring the U.S. electronic ballot-casting systems as “critical infrastructure” an overreaction by the Feds? Great piece by Politico explaining that to date, there is not a singular national body that regulates the security on Election Day as it’s a process decided state-by-state. Technical standards for voting are created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Election Assistance Commission but the guidelines are not mandatory. That’s right – the security of your vote is based on voluntary standards.
A review of polling machines shows aging voting technologies impacting the majority of America including but not limited to the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Expect election cybersecurity concerns to escalate while the clock ticks down to November 8th.
I’ve leave it for others to dissect the politics of the Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio and focus on the important stuff: fashion. From the kitsch of Trump socks juxtaposed with the show-stopping Roksanda dress worn by Melania Trump to Stephen Colbert’s very sparkly red, white, and blue attire, a look at convention couture over the past few days.
Full disclosure: be assured, the Dems in Philly will get their runway review next week.
Image by EPA
T minus one week to Cleveland, two weeks until Philly, and 120 days to Election Day.
Little known fact: “Cleveland Rocks”, most famously sung by The Presidents of the United States of America and the theme song for “The Drew Carey Show”, was written by British singer-songwriter, Ian Hunter. The song was first released in 1977 under the title “England Rocks” on a single in the United Kingdom, predating the release of the “Cleveland” version by two years.
Why does Cleveland matter? From July 18-21, it’s home to the 2016 GOP Convention where Donald J. Trump is expected to be officially nominated/sanctioned as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Presidential election on November 8th.
And on that note, I need to find my credentials and riot gear. See you there!
Convo with my dad: “Britain can’t leave the European Union. Look at the cover – the first two words on my passport! What does this all mean?”
Me: “It’ll take about two years before the UK formally leaves the EU. You can use your current passport in the meantime and eventually, we’ll get new ones.”
Indeed but what does it all mean?
A great summary by Alastair Macdonald responds to the top five questions about leaving the EU:
1. Time frame: Approximately two (2) years before the economic and trade divorce is finalized;
2. Economic Council: Remaining members of the EU hustle to find a way to deal with the loss of 1/5 of the EU economy as well as the global and military clout;
3. Article 50: The break-up clause of the Lisbon Treaty. Invoke it or just say “I break with thee three times and throw dog poop on their shoes” ala Steve Martin;
4. EU: Now that the UK has said “adieu” to the EU, the goal is to find new members and fill that 7-billion euro hole in the budget;
5. Right here; right now: For now, nothing changes. Britons remain EU citizens and business continues with the caveat that we’re in unchartered territory including the potential for Scotland to make another attempt for independence and join the EU on their own.
In some ways, this reminds me of the Trump dynamics in the States. Many parts of the UK, especially post WW2, have not experienced or shared in the economic prosperity afforded London as the financial hub of Britain.
Loss of jobs, anger at immigrants, and fear of terrorism are tremendous motivators re: nationalism. “Make [insert country here] Again!”
Plenty of lessons to be learned ahead of the U.S. Presidential general election on November 8, 2016.
Sun Tzu, ancient Chinese general, military strategist, and author of The Art of War: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is noise before defeat.”
Tina Fey, actress, writer, and author of Bossypants: “Politics and prostitution have to be the only jobs where inexperience is considered a virtue. In what other profession would you brag about not knowing stuff? “I’m not one of those fancy Harvard heart surgeons. I’m just an unlicensed plumber with a dream and I’d like to cut your chest open.” The crowd cheers.”