Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Short (but important) takes - a new Russian connection and why four more years would be just fine

More on Trump’s Russian connections

Cyber security experts have discovered a communications link between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization. There was lots of traffic between Alfa Bank and a Trump Organization server. The activity, according to investigators, does not appear to be random or spam, but indicative of human communication. And when investigators questioned the Trump Organization, the communications stopped and the server was renamed. AZBlueMeanie reviews the investigation and concludes that the Trump Organization server is The computer server that the media should be fixated on. Here’s why.

Earlier this month, the group of computer scientists passed the logs to Paul Vixie. In the world of DNS experts, there’s no higher authority. Vixie wrote central strands of the DNS code that makes the internet work. After studying the logs, he concluded, “The parties were communicating in a secretive fashion. The operative word is secretive. This is more akin to what criminal syndicates do if they are putting together a project.” Put differently, the logs suggested that Trump and Alfa had configured something like a digital hotline connecting the two entities, shutting out the rest of the world, and designed to obscure its own existence. Over the summer, the scientists observed the communications trail from a distance.

Be advised: this is a long and technical article. I know something of the technology involved but beyond this brief notice I would be in over my head.

Why four more years would be just fine, thank you

That’s Catherine Rampell’s view of the negative economic claims coming from the Trumpeters (Daily Star editorial this morning). In brief:

Donald Trump and his supporters have been insisting for months that this election is a “change” election. That is, Americans want to throw the bums out — specifically, the party of the bums occupying the White House — and usher in a wholly different leadership style that will lead to a wholly different society and economy.

“A vote for Hillary is a vote for more of the same,” a recent Trump ad declares. “A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for change that makes America great again.”

But despite such proclamations, nearly every data point available suggests Americans don’t really want much change. They would probably be happy with a little more of the same — if only they could find it.

The most frequently cited data point suggesting Americans want “change” is that two-thirds believe the country is on the “wrong track.” But as my colleague Scott Clement points out, this vague survey question has historically been a lousy predictor of presidential outcomes. I’ll add that these figures may also reflect disgust with the ugliness unleashed by this political campaign, rather than actual policy.

The bottom line is this: Republicans ought to be careful when they warn that Hillary Clinton equals “four more years of Obama.” “More years of Obama” is an option a lot of voters would gladly take, if indeed they were offered it.

on most economic measures, the country is doing much better than Republicans give it credit for.

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