Senator Cardin’s Report on the US Security Concerns of Russian Active Measures and Cyberwarfare

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has overseen the production of a report on the US security concerns regarding the Russian active measures and cyberwarfare campaigns against the US and a number of European states. This is a minority staff report prepared for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The report can be found at this link or downloaded below. A section by section summary can be found at this link or downloaded below.

Final_Cardin_Report Section by Sections of RR 1-8

For those interested, here’s the video of the German Marshall Fund’s event about the report with Senator Cardin and Congressman Hurd.

Responding to Russia’s Attacks on Democracy

January 10, 2018 | 8:45AM to 10:30AM EST
Washington, DC


  • Panel 1: U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (D-MD)
  • Panel 2: U.S. Congressman Will Hurd, Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security (R-TX)


  • Secretary Michael Chertoff, former United States Secretary of Homeland Security

While Americans have recently been awakened to the threat of Vladimir Putin’s efforts to undermine democratic institutions in the United States, such tactics are all too familiar to our European partners and allies who have been on the frontlines of Russia’s assault on democracy. There is much we can learn from the history of Russia’s activities aimed at undermining democracies in Europe, as well as from how our European partners and allies respond. The U.S. government, including the Executive Branch and Congress, must take steps to work with our European partners and allies to defend against and deter such activities in the future.

Please join the Alliance for Securing Democracy at The German Marshall Fund of the United States for a two-part discussion. The first conversation will feature U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as he presents findings from his new report, “Putin’s Asymmetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security.” This will be directly followed by a conversation with U.S. Representative Will Hurd on Russia’s threat to U.S. national security. Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff will moderate both sessions.

Open thread!

Party at DiFi Reelection Headquarters this Morning

Fox & Friends must be putting their unique spin on the release of the Fusion GPS testimony, which demonstrates conclusively for lucid readers (i.e., non-Fox & Friends viewers) that the GOP is more interested in propping up Trump than getting to the bottom of Russian interference in our elections:

Specifically, the testimony shows that the narrative peddled on Fox News — that the Trump-Russia investigation was triggered by a dossier underwritten by partisans to undermine Trump — is a lie. Further, it shows that Senators Grassley and Graham’s criminal referral on dossier author Christopher Steele is cynical abuse of an ally and whistle-blower who should be thanked profusely for his concern for the integrity of our democracy, a concern not shared by Trump or his Republican enablers.

Anyway, someone sounds extra nervous this morning:

Each and every single sentence is a lie. And the volume of lies is a fairly reliable indicator of Trump’s perception of personal peril. I fervently hope Mr. Mueller gets this specimen under oath.

Breaking: Senator Feinstein Has Released The Transcript of Glenn Simpson’s Testimony To The Senate Judiciary Committee

Senator Feinstein has released the transcript of Glenn Simpson’s, of Fusion GPS, testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. You can find all 312 pages at this link. Or access it below in case Senator Grassley throws a tantrum and it get’s removed from Senator Feinstein’s outward facing Senate page. I haven’t had a chance to read through this and won’t get to it till at least tomorrow, if not later in the week, but enjoy!


Open thread!

How Can We Miss You If You Won’t Go Away

White House adviser Stephen Miller was escorted off the set of CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday after a contentious interview with host Jake Tapper.

Two sources close to the situation told Business Insider that after the taping was done, Miller was asked to leave several times.

He ignored those requests and ultimately security was called and he was escorted out, the sources said.

CNN declined to comment.

The White House did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

So anti-chain migration (whose family escaped/survived the Holocaust because America allowed them to chain migrate to the US) enthusiast Stephen Miller is as obnoxious off the air as he is on the air. Good to know.

This is also a good way to get arrested. And be on the receiving end of a restraining order. Creep gonna creepy.

Open thread!

Russiagate Open Thread: Parscale-y Beasts


Why’s this Rumspringa-dropout dude suddenly popping up on Twitter, again?

Ah… from the San Antonio Current:

Senator Dianne Feinstein has summoned Brad Parscale — web director of San Antonio’s Giles-Parscale design firm — to testify and submit documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee on any interaction he’s had with Russian nationals.

This, of course, has to do with Parscale’s integral role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, in which he led the team’s digital media efforts. As the main guy pouring campaign money into the Facebook advertisements and marketing strategies that ushered Trump into the White House, Parscale has inevitably been linked to those in Trump’s camp suspected of letting Russia interfere with the 2016 election.

Parscale, who’s called the Trumps “family,” has previously denied any corroboration with Russia in regards to his campaign work…

Sen. Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee has also requested an interview with Dan Scavino, the Trump campaign’s social media director. Her Wednesday letter to Parscale was addressed to his San Antonio company, Giles-Parscale Inc., a company co-owned by Jill Giles that received a hefty $93 million for its work on the successful Trump campaign.

However, the local design firm, known for providing interior design and branding to the Pearl’s top residents (Hotel Emma, Supper, Local Coffee, Larder, and the Can Plant, to name a few), has tried its best to sever itself from the Trump brand.

That may be why Parscale moved the political arm of Giles-Parscale to Florida in June — leaving the more corporate and commercial efforts in San Antonio. Especially because, according to several reports, Parscale is already actively involved in Trump’s re-election campaign planning….

And here I’d more or less assumed Parscale was just in it for the grift, like all the other Trump satellites…

Kushner was Parscale’s “patron,” according to a person familiar with the campaign’s inner workings, which could explain their closeness.

Kushner got Parscale hired, the person said, “despite the fact that a number of people in the campaign wondered whether he had any idea what he was doing.”
Read more

Anyone Ever Wonder Just How Marijuana Became Illegal In The US?

AL did a great job covering the political fallout from AG Sessions crusade against the demon weed, but what I almost never see discussed in all of the coverage is just how marijuana was deemed to be dangerous and became illegal in the US. It all comes down to one appointed official trying to protect his department’s budget

If you look for the roots of America’s ban on cannabis, you’ll find nearly all roads lead to a man named Harry Anslinger. He was the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which laid the ground work for the modern-day DEA, and the first architect of the war on drugs.

Anslinger was appointed in 1930, just as the prohibition of alcohol was beginning to crumble (it was finally repealed in 1933), and remained in power for 32 years. Early on, he was on record essentially saying cannabis use was no big deal. He called the idea that it made people mad or violent an “absurd fallacy.”

But when Anslinger was put in charge of the FBN, he changed his position entirely.

“From the moment he took charge of the bureau, Harry was aware of the weakness of his new position. A war on narcotics alone — cocaine and heroin, outlawed in 1914 — wasn’t enough,” author Johann Hari wrote in his book, “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.” “They were used only by a tiny minority, and you couldn’t keep an entire department alive on such small crumbs. He needed more.

Consequently, Anslinger made it his mission to rid the U.S. of all drugs — including cannabis. His influence played a major role in the introduction and passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which outlawed possessing or selling pot.

Fueled by a handful of 1920s newspaper stories about crazed or violent episodes after marijuana use, Anslinger first claimed that the drug could cause psychosis and eventually insanity. In a radio address, he stated young people are “slaves to this narcotic, continuing addiction until they deteriorate mentally, become insane, turn to violent crime and murder.”

In particular, he latched on to the story of a young man named Victor Licata, who had hacked his family to death with an ax, supposedly while high on cannabis. It was discovered many years later, however, that Licata had a history of mental illness in his family, and there was no proof he ever used the drug.

The problem was, there was little scientific evidence that supported Anslinger’s claims. He contacted 30 scientists, according to Hari, and 29 told him cannabis was not a dangerous drug. But it was the theory of the single expert who agreed with him that he presented to the public — cannabis was an evil that should be banned — and the press ran with this sensationalized version.

Ansliger then combined his pursuit of a dedicated funding stream for his bureau with a healthy amount of all American racism and bigotry.

Harry told the public that “the increase [in drug addiction] is practically 100 percent among Negro people,” which he stressed was terrifying because already “the Negro population . . . accounts for 10 percent of the total population, but 60 percent of the addicts.” He could wage the drug war—he could do what he did—only because he was responding to a fear in the American people. You can be a great surfer, but you still need a great wave. Harry’s wave came in the form of a race panic.

Ansliger even promoted the term marijuana over cannabis because of its ethnic and racial connotations.

The word “marijuana” itself was part of this approach. What was commonly known as  cannabis until the early 1900s was instead called marihuana, a Spanish word more likely to be associated with Mexicans.

“He was able to do this because he was tapping into very deep anxieties in the culture that were not to do with drugs — and attaching them to this drug,” Hari said. Essentially, in 1930s America, it wasn’t hard to use racist rhetoric to associate the supposed harms of cannabis with minorities and immigrants.

So as the nationwide attitude towards cannabis began to fall in line with Anslinger’s, he testified before Congress in hearings for the Marijuana Tax Act. His testimony centered around the ideas he had been pushing all along — including a provocative letter from a local newspaper editor in Colorado, saying “I wish I could show you what a small marihuana cigaret can do to one of our degenerate Spanish-speaking residents.”

One appointed officials pursuit or relevance and power combined with his racism and bigotry spawned an almost 100 year war on drugs in the US. An effort that has spent billions of dollars, but done very little to curb American’s appetite for drugs. All while perpetuating and furthering systemic racism and its horrific effects on Americans of color.

“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” — Kohelet 1:9

Let’s Do Something For The Real Forgotten Men and Women of the US: Toys For Puerto Rico

Despite the President’s and the White House’s Spokeswoman’s Office constantly harping on the forgotten men and women of America (aka the same cranky white conservatives that everyone has been pandering to for over 200 years), there are actually real forgotten Americans. They live in Puerto Rico. Many (most?) still don’t have reliable power and won’t for several more months. And since the GOP controlled Congress is happy to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit for corporate and affluent tax relief and to further screw Puerto Ricans over by treating it as not part of the US for import purposes, but not to actually properly provide for the general welfare of US citizens that live in Puerto Rico, let alone any other US citizens that aren’t wealthy, the rest of us have to step up.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, an example of someone who is doing an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice, has taken the initiative to make sure the children of Puerto Rico have as merry a Christmas as possible. Puerto Ricans traditionally give gifts on the Feast Day of the Three Kings/Dia de los Tres Reyes, which is on 6 January. So he’s been pushing Toys for Puerto Rico, as well as Unidos: Disaster Relief and Recovery Program to Support Puerto Rico.

Chef Jose Andres and his colleagues are still going above and beyond trying to feed all the Puerto Ricans in need.

Here’s the link to World Central Kitchen’s page.

I know someone here is always asking you all for money. Usually it is Doug! using ActBlue to actually pay for his new kid’s college fund er, um, fund Democratic candidates. And that is very important. But too many of our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico have lost almost everything and with all the other meshugas going on they’ve largely dropped off the news media and political radar. So if you can afford to help make sure a girl or boy in Puerto Rico has something to brighten their holiday or to help make sure they and their family get a hot meal or necessary disaster relief, please pitch in.

And for those in the path of the bomb cyclone – stay warm, stay safe!

Open thread!