Oh Look, There’s a Coding Hole, Let’s Exploit It!

427Critics may be crying foul, creating petitions and blaming the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for suspending access to the Democratic “Voter Access Network” database, but it was the Bernie Sanders campaign that exploited some apparent coding hole that allowed them to access confidential voter information gathered by their rival, the Hillary Clinton campaign.

From the Washington Post:

“The DNC maintains the master list and rents it to national and state campaigns, which then add their own, proprietary information gathered by field workers and volunteers. Firewalls are supposed to prevent campaigns from viewing data gathered by their rivals.

NGP VAN, the vendor that handles the master file, said the incident occurred Wednesday while a patch was being applied to the software. The process briefly opened a window into proprietary information from other campaigns, said the company’s chief, Stu Trevelyan. He said a full audit will be conducted.”

The DNC has reportedly told the Sanders campaign that it will not be allowed access to the data again until it provides an explanation for how the breach occurred as well as assurances that all Clinton data has been destroyed.

Meanwhile, Bernie supporters started a MoveOn.org petition online denegrating DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for suspending the campaign’s access and demanding they reinstate access to the database.  Afterall, “it’s not their fault that the DNC hired a contractor that left them a hole they could exploit” to gain an advantage against a rival candidate.  Really?

I’m sorry, but what the Bernie campaign just did is the equivalent of hacking.  I guarantee you that if it had been the reverse, if it had been the Hillary campaign accused of exploiting information gathered by the Bernie campaign, the GOP would join the Bernie campaign in demanding that Hillary step down from the race in disgrace.  It is NEVER okay to cheat, plain and simple.  Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver can claim all day long that they didn’t print it or download it, but those are specific terms.  Did they take screen shots (that’s not downloading)?  Did they create video of a screen scroll using a cell phone (that’s not downloading)?

Frank Bruni the New York Times went so far as to write:   “It smacks of special treatment, and Clinton, who set up her own home-brewed email account as secretary of state, can’t afford to keep giving voters the impression that normal rules don’t apply to her.”

Excuse me?!?!  Normal rules don’t apply to “Clinton”?  It’s not the Clinton campaign hacking her rival’s campaign data.  It’s not Hillary Clinton who is demanding special treatment.  It’s the Bernie Sanders campaign demanding that bad behavior is perfectly acceptable. It was the Sanders campaign that accessed ‘confidential’ Hillary Clinton campaign data.  How will they now use that information to enhance their chances?  Why do they apparently feel it was okay to do so and have NO REMORSE for having accessed that data?

Calling for the DNC to immediately restore access to the Sanders campaign is the equivalent demanding that an identity hacker be given complete and immediate full access to all of your identity information.  Sorry, but I disagree.  The Sanders campaign needs to provide an explanation for how the breach occurred and the full extent of information accessed. Only when any problem coding is expeditiously fixed should access be restored. Thus, the faster they fess up, the faster this mess can get fixed.

Naomi Klein Makes Moral Case for World Beyond Fossil Fuels

Activist and author, Naomi Klein, praises ‘courageous’ invitation by Pope in face of fossil fuel industry’s power

by Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Author and activist Naomi Klein spoke at the Vatican on Wednesday, calling climate change a “moral crisis” that should unite all people. (Photo: Adolfo Lujan/flickr/cc)

Naomi Klein—activist, author, and self-described “secular Jewish feminist”—spoke at the Vatican on Wednesday where she championed the Pope’s message for global action on climate change and made the case for “the beautiful world” beyond fossil fuel addiction.

Klein, who was invited to speak by the Vatican, gave her speech ahead of a two-day conference to discuss the Pope’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si’, on the environment and the threat of the global economic system—subjects that the author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate knows well.

The encyclical has garnered praise from environmental campaigners like Greenpeace International’s Kumi Naidoo, who called it a “clarion call for bold, urgent action.”

“Pope Francis writes early on that Laudato Si’ is not only a teaching for the Catholic world but for ‘every person living on this planet.’ And I can say that as a secular Jewish feminist who was rather surprised to be invited to the Vatican, it certainly spoke to me,” Klein told reporters ahead of the conference, which is called People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course.

She praised what she described as “the core message of interconnection at the heart of the encyclical.”

Klein also expanded on what may appear to be an unlikely alliance with the leader of the Catholic Church.

“Given the attacks that are coming from the Republican party around this and also the fossil fuel interests in the United States, it was a particularly courageous decision to invite me here,” she said, according to the Associated Press. “I think it indicates that the Holy See is not being intimidated, and knows that when you say powerful truths, you make some powerful enemies and that’s part of what this is about.”

“In a world where profit is consistently put before both people and the planet, climate economics has everything to do with ethics and morality.”  — Naomi Klein

“I have noticed a common theme among the critiques. Pope Francis may be right on the science, we hear, and even on the morality, but he should leave the economics and policy to the experts,” Klein said in her speech. “They are the ones who know about carbon trading and water privatization, we are told, and how effectively markets can solve any problem. I forcefully disagree.

“The truth is that we have arrived at this dangerous place partly because many of those economic experts have failed us badly, wielding their powerful technocratic skills without wisdom,” she said. “In a world where profit is consistently put before both people and the planet, climate economics has everything to do with ethics and morality. Because if we agree that endangering life on earth is a moral crisis, then it is incumbent on us to act like it.”

Echoing the Pope’s message to address inequities, Klein said that “our current system is also fueling ever widening inequality.”

But Klein stressed that her appearance at the Vatican did not mean that any one world view was “being subsumed by anyone else’s.”

“This is an alliance on a specific issue. It’s not a merger,” Klein said. “But when you are faced with a crisis of this magnitude, people have to get out of their comfort zones.”

Despite the magnitude of the crisis, Klein stressed: “We can save ourselves.”

“Around the world, the climate justice movement is saying: See the beautiful world that lies on the other side of courageous policy, the seeds of which are already bearing ample fruit for any who care to look.

“Then, stop making the difficult the enemy of the possible.

“And join us in making the possible real,” she said.

The two-day conference, which comes in the lead-up to the COP21 international climate talks in Paris later this year, is being coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE), an alliance of Catholic development agencies. Alongside Klein, other speakers include Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, pontifical council president H.E. Cardinal Peter Turkson, and CIDSE secretary general Bernard Nils.


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GOP Senator Takes Credit For Anti-Rape Law He Voted Against

The unethical dishonesty by the GOP leadership never ceases to amaze me.  Here’s a post from ThinkProgress today exposing yet another piece of flagrant dishonesty being committed by Texas’ senior senator, and the GOP’s Senate Minority Whip.  Personally, I find Sen. Cornyn’s behavior unethical, deceitful and unworthy of someone holding a seat in our nation’s Congress.


By Ian Millhiser posted from ThinkProgress Justice on Mar 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Ian MillhiserShortly after President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization into law, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) released a glowing press release claiming that a “Cornyn bill” to “eliminate nationwide rape kit backlog” was signed into law. The so-called “Cornyn bill” is the SAFER Act, which was incorporated into the VAWA renewal, and which “provide[s] funding for state and local governments to conduct audits of untested DNA evidence and create[s] a national reporting system to help track and prioritize untested rape kits,” according to Cornyn. By all appearances, it seems like a wonderful law. There’s only one problem.

imageCornyn voted against it.

Cornyn was one of 22 Senate Republican men who voted against the VAWA renewal. He opposed the bill because he objected to a provision enabling tribal courts to prosecute non-Native Americans who commit rape or other violent crimes against women on Indian reservations. This provision is intended to combat the virtual lawlessness that faces Native American women on these reservations without the VAWA renewal. A 2010 report by the Government Accountability Office found that federal prosecutors “declined to prosecute 46 percent of assault matters and 67 percent of sexual abuse and related matters” on reservations.

(HT: Steve Benen)

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.


Rep. Slaughter’s Letter to the Justice Department

A group of 20 House Democrats led by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) are now pushing for a Justice Department investigation into Justice Thomas’ possible serious violations.

The letter Rep. Slaughter and 19 of her colleagues sent was to the Judicial Conference of the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts. It urges the Judicial Conference follow the law and refer the matter of Justice Thomas’ non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act to the Department of Justice.

Various reports have raised concerns about Justice Clarence Thomas’ seemingly flagrant disregard for important disclosure requirements under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. Justice Thomas failed to disclose his wife’s earnings on judicial financial disclosure forms on which he was required to do so. And there are questions about his acceptance of gifts from interests with significant stake in several Supreme Court cases.

The Supreme Court’s very legitimacy and the public’s trust in the institution are under threat if Justices do not strictly adhere to ethical standards. It’s incredibly important that Justice Thomas’ violations are not ignored and that he be held accountable.


September 29, 2011

James C. Duff
Secretary to the Judicial Conference of the United States
Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Suite 2-301
One Columbus Circle, N.E.
Washington, DC 20544

Dear Mr. Duff:

Widespread reporting, including a recent report in The New York Times titled “Friendship of Justice and Magnate Puts Focus on Ethics,” raise grave concerns about the failure of Justice Clarence Thomas to meet various disclosure requirements under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. Based upon the multiple public reports, Justice Thomas’s actions may constitute a willful failure to disclose, which would warrant a referral by the Judicial Conference to the Department of Justice, so that appropriate civil or criminal actions can be taken.

Due to the simplicity of the disclosure requirements, along with Justice Thomas’s high level of legal training and experience, it is reasonable to infer that his failure to disclose his wife’s income for two decades was willful, and the Judicial Conference has a non-discretionary duty to refer this case to the Department of Justice.

Throughout his entire tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas checked a box titled “none” on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income, despite the fact that his wife had in fact earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003-2007 alone.

Furthermore, an investigation conducted by The New York Times has revealed that Justice Thomas may have, on several occasions, benefited from use of a private yacht and airplane owned by Harlan Crowe, and again failed to disclose this travel as a gift or travel reimbursement on his federal disclosure forms as required by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

Justice Thomas’s failure to disclose his wife’s income for his entire tenure on the federal bench and indications that he may have failed to file additional disclosure regarding his travels require the Judicial Conference to refer this matter to the Department of Justice.

Section 104(b) of the Ethics Act requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Attorney General of the United States any judge who the Conference “has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported.” If the Judicial Conference finds reasonable cause to believe that Justice Thomas has “willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information to be reported,” it must, pursuant to §104, refer the case to the Attorney General for further determination of possible criminal or civil legal sanctions.

Particularly as questions surrounding the integrity and fairness of the Supreme Court continue to grow, it is vital that the Judicial Conference actively pursue any suspicious actions by Supreme Court Justices. While we continue to advocate for the creation of binding ethical standards for the Supreme Court, it is important the Judicial Conference exercise its current powers to ensure that Supreme Court Justices are held accountable to the current law.

As a result, we respectfully request that the Judicial Conference follow the law and refer the matter of Justice Thomas’s non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act to the Department of Justice. We eagerly await your reply.

Sincerely,

Rep. Louise Slaughter
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Rep. Gwen Moore
Rep. Mike Honda
Rep. Earl Blumenauer
Rep. Christopher Murphy
Rep. John Garamendi
Rep. Pete Stark
Rep. Raul Grijalva
Rep. John Olver
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Rep. Donna Edwards
Rep. Jackie Speier
Rep. Paul Tonko
Rep. Bob Filner
Rep. Peter Welch
Rep. John Conyers
Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Anna Eshoo
Rep. Ed Perlmutter