Trump campaign advisers were talking with Russian intelligence officials during the election.

Well, I’m exhausted, how about you guys? Just trying to keep up with today’s news has tuckered me right out.

As it stands, it seems like many of the accusations of the Trump campaign coordinating with Russian intelligence might be true. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN spent much of the evening competing to break this story.

The WaPo article is a detailed run-down of today’s Flynn story, but the New York Times, CNN and Vox, there, are reporting on this evening’s more recent news: the fact that Trumpsters were in regular contact with Russian intelligence officers during the campaign.

Let me run that by you again, because it’s amazing: Russia put considerable time and effort into subverting our election, and Trump’s campaign advisers were talking to Russian intelligence while they did that.

Did the Trump campaign coordinate with Russian intelligence to “hack” our elections? Well, no one is conclusively saying so, yet, but it sure the hell looks like they were, folks.

I don’t even know what to think about this, it’s so stunning. On one hand I’m not at all surprised, because if you were paying any attention at all this summer, you saw this coming. On the other hand, holy crap you guys I think the president of the United States might be a Russian stooge.

Watching the wheels come off this presidency is much the same. Not surprising, and also mind-blowing. Like, of course the wheels are coming off, these people are incompetent. But holy crap, how did we let this happen?

I don’t know. It’s late and I don’t have anything intelligent to say about this because I’ve been staring at it like a slow-motion train wreck all day. I can tell you one thing, though: I cannot wait for Spicer’s daily briefing tomorrow.

(Featured Image Credit: Donald Trump signs orders to green-light the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, 1/24/17, by the Office of the President of the United States. Source.)

An End-Of-The-Year Linkdump

Why am I sharing the above video? It’s part of an interesting series of three that covers user behavior, SEO and fake news, done by Matt Patt, one of the guys behind the Game Theorists and the Film Theorists, a couple of great YouTube channels. See the whole series here.

Below I have a bulleted list of stuff I think you should at least scan through. The first section is stuff I stumbled over today while sorting my RSS feeds for the year. The second section is a handful of links from my Fodder bookmarks folder, links I intended to share but never got to for some reason. Check ’em out.

And Happy New Year. I hope.

Most Recently

  • TPM: Office Of Government Ethics Head Was Behind Trump Divestiture Tweetstorm – “The director of the Office of Government Ethics himself was behind some pointed advice the federal agency gave President-elect Donald Trump about his business conflicts by way of its Twitter account in November, according to records obtained by NPR under a Freedom of Information Act request.”
  • Council on Foreign Relations: Why Exposing Putin’s Wealth Would Be Obama’s Best Revenge – “The Obama administration continues to search for some sort of payback against Vladimir Putin, so that Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election will not have been completely cost-free for the Russian president. Yet, by all accounts, President Barack Obama has rejected the idea of trying to expose the hidden wealth and financial shenanigans of the Putin inner circle.”
  • Foreign Policy: The Crisis Manager’s Cheat Sheet for 2017 – “It’s time to start setting priorities for the coming year of war and conflict.”
  • New York Times: Why Netanyahu Will Miss Obama – “Even before President Obama’s decision last week to abstain on a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, it was safe to assume that the Israeli government was eagerly awaiting his departure. In the eyes of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr. Obama — who skipped Israel on his first trip to the Middle East and later undertook secret nuclear talks with Iran — seemed unable to appreciate the depth of Israel’s security needs or the difficulties of Mr. Netanyahu’s domestic politics.”
  • Torrent Freak: 2016 Was The Year Torrent Giants Fell – “2016 has been a memorable year for torrent users but not in a good way. Over a period of just a few months, several of the largest torrent sites vanished from the scene. From KickassTorrents, through Torrentz to What.cd, several torrent giants have left the scene.”
  • Gizmodo: That ‘Fake Plastic Rice’ in Nigeria Was Actually Something Much More Depressing – “Last week, Nigerian officials seized over 100 bags of what was claimed to be plastic rice. Lab tests have since shown the product isn’t fake, as Gizmodo and other outlets reported. But it is badly contaminated rice that’s unsafe for human consumption.”
  • FactCheck.org: The Whoppers of 2016 – “A year ago, we broke with past practice and named Donald Trump our first ever ‘King of Whoppers.’ This year, the reigning champ defended his title well – once again dominating our annual review of political whoppers.”

Cleaning Out My Linkdump Folder

  • www.IndivisibleGuide.com – Remember that Google Docs guide to resisting the Trump Administration that was going around a couple of weeks ago? It got so much traction Google Docs couldn’t keep up, so the writers built a website where you can get the guide.
  • Vox: The voting rights manifesto: a state-by-state plan to defend democracy – “Progressive activists and Democratic politicians must coalesce around a proactive voting rights agenda that they can act swiftly on whenever they get the chance.”
    Vox: A better way to manage your passwords, explained with a cartoon – “After every big hack — like when Yahoo announced last week that 1 billion accounts were compromised — experts tell us to stop using the same password for every website. In fact, they tell us to stop memorizing our passwords altogether.”
  • Gizmodo: What It’s Like Being a Sane Person on the House Science Committee – “The GOP’s shenanigans get the headlines, but what about the other side of the aisle? What is it like to be a member of Congress and sit on a science committee that doesn’t seem to understand science? What is it like to be an adult in a room full of toddlers? I asked some of the adults.”
  • Cracked: 5 Reasons Fake News Killed Facts In 2016 – “…I hoped my humble contribution would be joined by an internet-wide embracing of reason. You can imagine how 2016 has been for me.”
  • Buzzfeed News: The Most Moving Personal Essays You Needed To Read In 2016 – “Here are some of the most beautiful and insightful personal essays that BuzzFeed staff and contributors wrote this year (in the order they were published).”

“A decent breakdown of all things real and fake news.”

No one seems to be exactly sure where this graphic came from, but it’s pretty legit. Click to view it full-sized in a new browser tab.

A decent breakdown of all things real and fake news.

Obama sanctions Russia over election ‘hacking’

When I write about Russia diddling our elections, I put “hacking” in quotes, like so: Russian election “hacking.” This is because because Russia did not actually “hack” our elections.

Russia hacked the DNC and got emails, and used those emails to fuel a propaganda campaign that was aimed either at disrupting our 2016 election in general by making Americans distrust the election and our democratic election methods, or to support Trump and help him win the election, depending on which intelligence agency you listen to. I think the CIA thinks Russia was supporting Trump and the FBI thinks it was just for general disruption. I may have those backwards.

I’m pointing this out because apparently a whole bunch of us think Russia somehow actually “hacked” the election itself, IE, futzed with voting tallies. This did not happen. Voting tallies were not futzed with at all, by any party, in any direction, that anyone can prove.

At any rate, the Russians diddled our elections, and President Obama announced that we would be retaliating back during his last press conference, and today he announced those retaliations.

To sum up: 35 Russian diplomats will be expelled from the US, two Russian compounds in the US will be closed, 9 individuals and entities will be sanctioned, and the DHS and FBI are releasing information on Russian cyber activity to help US tech people and companies combat Russian hacking.

You can read the White House’s statement here.

Donald Trump on the Russian ‘hacking’ of the 2016 elections

“Asked by reporters if the United States should sanction Russia, Trump replied: ‘I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on.'” (Reuters)

Photo Credit: Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C., by Gage Skidmore. (Source & License.)

Lagunitas NightTime

The Electoral College is voting today, but that’s not going to break our way and honestly, I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. I’m pretty sure that if, by some miracle, the Electoral College actually voted someone besides Trump into the presidency, this whole damn country would burn straight to the ground.

Instead, let’s talk about the best beer I’ve tried in awhile: Lagunitas NightTime.

So, some backstory: I did not drink prior to moving to Oregon. It wasn’t out of any sort of puritanism or tee-totaler mentality as much as because everything I’d tried up to that point had tasted pretty bad. Wine, beer, liquor – it all tasted gross to me. To be fair, I had mostly sampled garbage. Miller and Budweiser. Watered-down dirt cheap well liquors. Five-dollar wines. I once tried a sip of Mad Dog and I swear to god I can still taste it in my mouth to this day, and it’s been 20 years. That kind of crap will cure anyone of liking alcohol.

Then I moved out to Oregon where, as far as I can tell, they only sell Budweiser as a joke.

It also helps that my Jim has pretty good taste in alcohol. Previous boyfriends/husbands had – it turns out – terrible taste in alcohol. (In retrospect it seems perfectly obvious that they would’ve, but y’know. The things you don’t notice at the time…)

Jim introduced me to beers that actually taste like something you’d want to drink, and now I’m starting to investigate wines. We’ve also determined that there are several liquors I quite enjoy. (Notably, they’re all ridiculously expensive. I don’t have the budget to drink liquor.)

We drink pretty rarely. Jim’s diabetic for one thing, and I have no interest in drinking a lot. We have a beer or a glass of wine once every couple of months or so, but we do like to try new things when we have a drink, so we tend to scoop up interesting new beers or wines whenever we spot them.

The Lagunitas NightTime was one of these finds. We bought it back in October for Halloween, then ended up having a Fall plague that prevented us from going to the party where we’d intended to drink the beer. So there it sat, forlorn and nigh-forgotten, in the fridge, until last night.

I know nearly nothing about alcohol. Lagunitas refers to NightTime as an IPA, India Black Ale and India Dark Beer, and it does say “ale” on the bottle, but NightTime reminded me of all my favorite stouts and porters. It’s a dark beer, which I tend to prefer. Really, I want a loaf of rye bread in a bottle when I get a beer.

The first thing I noticed about NightTime was the scent. It smelled like fruit and toast in the glass, and it tasted sharp and bitter and black, if a thing can taste like a color. It was acrid and dry, and left little aftertaste – very clean. The scent combined with the flavor to create something lovely and rich, though.

Unlike a porter or stout, NightTime is a pretty light beer to drink. Drinking a good stout almost feels like you have to chew it. It’s a very thick beer. NightTime isn’t. You could have this ice cold on a hot day and be pretty happy with yourself over the choice. It’s also best cold, unlike most of the stouts I enjoy. Those usually do better at room temperature.

I’ve liked quite a lot of different beers. Deschutes has a couple I really enjoy, as does local brewery Block 15 and coastal favorites Rogue. Very few of those have knocked my socks off quite like Lagunitas NightTime, though. This one was an instant favorite.

It’s a limited release so who knows how long you’ll be able to get your hands on a bottle of this. But if you can, you definitely should. It’s fantastic.