On Thursday, Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley took to the House floor to propose an appropriations amendment that would allot $380 million for election security improvements. Quigley then passed the mic to Democratic whip Steny Hoyer so that he could give a rousing speech encouraging members to take a stand against Russian cyber fuckery. It was so good that it caused people to jump to their feet and start fist pumping to chants of "USA" like drunk dude-bros at a lacrosse game.

USA! USA! USAwww, damn it! The Republicans voted it down because why bother to give the states money when 35 of those states don't fucking care about cyber security? Never mind.

Those states could be investing free money into new equipment and resources instead of dicking around with hilariously hackable voting machines for another year. It's not like every day someone shows how easy it is break into a voting machine, an election management system, or a country database. Only 39 state systems were successfully penetrated in the 2016 election, so why bother listening to DNI Director Dan Coats's dire warnings about the "blinking red light" before a cyber 9/11? Dear Crom, Ronald Reagan was right, government really is the problem!

Congressional Republicans seem to have a problem admitting their impotence in the face of irrefutable evidence, and RussianRepublican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is leading the charge with a debunked conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton's emails somehow stole themselves. In two interviews with WaPo's Dave Weigel before and after Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian GRU officers for election fuckery, Rohrabacher suggested the US work with Julian Assange and right-wing cranks pushing the debunked Seth Rich conspiracy to close the book on HER EMAILS.

“The explanation of the indictment is so complicated and technical that it is hard for anyone to judge whether it's accurate."

It's actually not that complicated, and it's pretty damn accurate. Every US intel agency agrees on what happened, as do British intel agencies, Dutch intel agencies, social media companies, and computer geeks. Rohrabacher is the one person who has gone out of his way to meet with and listen to Assange deny participating in the DNC hack (Spoiler Alert: he did). Now this OC burnout wants to invite more nutbars to see how the Russians compromised US elections officials. Then again, maybe Rohrabacher is only mad that his favorite gun humping Russian spy is sitting in lock up, unable to attend any more fancy dinner parties. Or maybe he's compromised -- it's so hard to tell these days.

It wouldn't be so bad if Republicans were just denying the attacks, but they're also unnecessarily combative with federal agents charged with investigating the Trump-Russia scandal. It's no wonder the WSJ just reported three of the top cyber security experts in the FBI suddenly retired, with more expected to jump ship in the coming months. Can you blame them? Why would career government servants want to risk getting screwed out of their pensions and dragged to the Hill for political theater when they can take cushy gigs in the private sector? At least there they can actually stop cyber threats, like Microsoft just did when it discovered three 2018 congressional candidates being targeted in a covert phishing attack. Thanks, nerds.

In an effort to mitigate some of the damage caused by legislative apathy, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Thursday that the DOJ will now alert the public to cyber threats. In making the announcement, Rosenstein outlined some of the ways internet asshats have been trying to knock out infrastructure systems, like power plants and elections, and how Russia has historically engaged in espionage and influence campaigns similar to the 2016 election nightmare. He even gave about half a dozen different examples of Russian operations currently happening. That's a big difference from Trump's idea that "It could have been somebody sitting on their bed who weighs 400 lbs."

Things are rather fucked, but at least we have baby goats in sweaters, and an election in November.

[USA Today / Politico / WaPo / WSJ / NY Times / Roll Call / Wapo 2 ]

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or in a gutter taking photos.


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