Monday, January 2, 2017

Response to What Trump Knows

(See: Just Above Sunset: What Trump Knows)

I must admit, I do have a few problems with any analysis of cyber hacking that says some kid in his basement can’t have hacked the DNC.

After all, the original so-called “Guccifer” — who hacked Colin Powell, George Tenet, Richard Armitage, John Negroponte, "Senator Lisa Murkowski; a senior UN official; members of the Rockefeller family; former FBI and Secret Service agents, as well as the brother of Barbara Bush, CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz, ... former Miss Maine Patricia Legere”, among others, and was eventually arrested for hacking the emails of former Bill Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal — was not a foreign power, he was just some unemployed taxi driver in Romania who believed the world is run by the Illuminati, and did it all with "no fancy equipment, only a clunky NEC desktop and a Samsung cellphone, and no special skills beyond what he had picked up on the web.”

That being said, I wouldn’t trust Donald Trump to know any more about that than he knows about anything else he pretends to know about, but doesn't.

(I should also point out that most of us writing computer code back in the day — you, Alan, doing much more sophisticated systems work in Microsoft, and me, on my Apple II+ at CNN, writing a program that instantly computes the costs of renting one hour of an AT&T video landline between any two points in the United States — for example, Grand Junction and Cincinnati — hadn’t a clue about what it was that made the underlying DOS — and, in my case, "Apple DOS” — work its magic in the background. I myself gave up programing in HTML when Microsoft stopped letting me do it myself, without it automatically changing all my raw ASCII into something I hadn’t intended. But enough of all the nerdy stuff, except that it’s hard to believe someone like Trump, who has has never owned a computer and probably couldn’t tell you what “HTML” even stands for, actually knows “a lot about hacking”, as he claims.)

So what big secret does Trump know that we’ll find out on Tuesday (or Wednesday)?:
“I don’t care what they say, no computer is safe,” he added. “I have a boy who’s 10 years old; he can do anything with a computer. You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier.”
Maybe he’ll announce that his ten-year-old son, Barron, did the hacking of the DNC?

Or maybe he’ll announce that, since launching a missile relies on computers, he’ll be modifying American defenses to have all our bombs delivered by bicycle couriers?

And along the same lines of what Trump knows about anything, if Trump keeps insisting the CIA was “wrong” about all those "weapons of mass destruction”, he needs to update himself on what actually caused that “disaster” back then. What the CIA probably got wrong was not standing up to George Bush's and Dick Cheney's “stovepiping” of intelligence analysis data, allowing them to manipulate the unexamined raw intelligence for their own political purposes, making it look like Iraq was working on programs it wasn’t working on, simply to support their agenda. (Maybe before this week's announcement, Trump can read Seymour Hersh’s excellent 2003 New Yorker piece on how it all happened.) 

If Trump doesn’t understand the past history of his own country, one can only imagine how he’s going to really screw up its future. 

And this brings us back to the question of whether our present situation is a failure of democracy, or a failure of our republican form of government, and the answer is clearly the latter, since if we were really a democracy, than the president-elect would be the one that got the most votes. In other words, this may be what happens when you have a klutzy electoral system that allows an uninformed minority to put one of its own in charge of what is arguably the most powerful nation on the planet.

So Happy F'ing New Year, and God Help Us, Every One!

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