The Jolt: In which we ridicule panic over a Russian’s visit to KSU

In this July file photo, Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak arrives at the State Department in Washington to meet with Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon. His tenure as ambassador ended days later. AP/Carolyn Kaster

So you know that Kennesaw State University is going through a rough patch. First with the anthem-kneeling, then a lawsuit charging that its election center, responsible for programing electronic voting machines across the state, is a block of Swiss cheese when it comes to cyber-security.

A KSU server, wiped clean after the lawsuit was filed in July, provoked a great deal of Internet panic last week. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who initially condemned KSU’s “ineptitude,” now acknowledges that – while the university’s communication skills may need work — proper procedures were followed and no data was lost.

Even so, the confusion allowed TBS’ Samantha Bee to wax fervently, if not knowledgeably, on the drama: “Come on. I have double back-ups of my 3,000 cat pictures. Can you not give the same attention to democracy?” Watch here:

But on Thursday, things got downright silly on Facebook. We will not link to the posts, because that merely spreads the virus.

But word has gotten out among conspiracy theorists that, in April 2016, top Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak paid a visit to KSU. They say it was an innocuous “Year of Russia” event. But seven months later, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Georgia with a razor-thin 5 percent of the vote.

(In case you haven’t had enough coffee this morning: That last sentence was a sarcastic one.)

The source for this secret conspiracy?  KSU’s full-color, glossy campus magazine.

As for that wiped server, you can read the report examining the incident right here:

***

Fox News reported late Thursday that Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential Russian collusion recently sent America First Policies, a pro-Trump nonprofit created to back his agenda, a formal request to preserve its records. More than likely, this is because Rick Gates, a former Trump deputy campaign manager who is now under indictment, headed the group from its January creation until this spring — when he was forced out.

Nick Ayers, the former Sonny Perdue aide who is now chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, now heads the group.

***

Personally, we suspect one of three or four Republicans in the U.S. Senate. From the Washington Post:

President Trump boasted Friday of his social media influence after his personal Twitter account was briefly deactivated by a departing company employee, raising serious questions about the security of tweets the president wields to set major policy agendas, connect with his voter base and lash out at his adversaries.

The deactivation Thursday sparked deep and troubling questions about who has access to the president’s personal account, @realDonaldTrump, and the power that access holds. The deactivation also came at a time when the social network is under scrutiny for the role it played in spreading Russian propaganda during the 2016 presidential election.

The word from the White House, shortly after 6 a.m. today:

***

In a look-ahead at next week’s Atlanta mayoral election, the New York Times notes that it’s not the only big-city vote that poses a choice between white and black leadership:

In Detroit, a mayoral runoff pits Coleman A. Young II, the son of the city’s legendary first black mayor, against the incumbent, Mike Duggan, Detroit’s first white mayor in 40 years.

The Atlanta race also comes after three other majority-black Southern cities — Savannah, Memphis and New Orleans — have, in the seven years preceding President Trump’s victory, broken long streaks of black political power by electing white mayors.

***

Somebody is doing some lobbying ahead of Monday’s hearing before the state Public Service Commission, when Georgia Power will make its case for continuing the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle.

Continued construction was endorsed Friday by the Georgia Tea Party. From the press release:

GTPI acknowledges that developing a truly free market in electric power generation and distribution is desirable, but current technology makes that goal both expensive and impractical.

“While we are mindful of the principles of free market economics, we also acknowledge that the electric power industry, which is regulated by the elected Public Service Commission, has been successful in providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity in our state for a number of years,” said J.D. Van Brink, chairman of Georgia Tea Party

***

More on the KSU fallout. U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, on Thursday refuted House colleague Hank Johnson’s assertion that a recent data wipe of election machinery at Kennesaw State University raised questions about the validity of her Sixth District win.

“Raw votes are not kept on the servers. Not a single voting machine in the state is connected to a server. So what he is talking about, only he would know,” Handel asked. It’s worth noting here that Jon Ossoff, Handel’s former Democratic opponent and a former Johnson staffer, has never challenged the legitimacy of his defeat.

“Karen Handel is the winner of the Special Election and she is the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s Sixth District. I accept and have no intention of contesting that outcome,” he recently told the Huffington Post. (Tamar Hallerman)

***

U.S. Sen. David Perdue, D-Ga., was back at the White House on Thursday, huddling with President Trump and a handful of other GOP colleagues on immigration.

The consensus that seems to have emerged following the meeting makes the prospect of a Christmas government shutdown more of a possibility. Trump reportedly told Republican senators not to attach an agreement giving legal status to Dreamers onto a must-pass government spending bill in December, the path Democrats have urged.

Trump “would prefer it not to be part of a year-ending grand bargain of any sort, that it should be debated on its own merit,” Perdue told the Washington Post. Perdue wants to include components of his White House-backed bill in any negotiations with Democrats over the Dreamers. (TH)

Reader Comments 1

6 comments
FrustratedWithProcess
FrustratedWithProcess

Brian Kemp’s office investigated Brian Kemp and found that Brian Kemp is so pure and innocent that lambs aspire to be him.

Move along, nothing to see here...just another day in GOP Georgia politics.

...Aaliyah.
...Aaliyah.

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busy-bee
busy-bee

The investigative report should also include the "IT procedures" or a link thereto. This would allow the reader of the report to review procedures in place at the occurrence of the event. Also not addressed in this report is the timeline for the erasure of the information. It may be standard, but was it within the appropriate timeframe. I am not saying anything untoward was done, but there are some gaps in the report above. 

bertg45
bertg45

Sounds like a lot of no-news made into news.  Maybe another career path might be appropriate here.

TaxiSmith
TaxiSmith

Perhaps sarcasm is best reserved for teenagers. Pretty unseemly for a "newspaper."

JKToole
JKToole

@TaxiSmith You realize you're on an opinion page? Part of the editorial section of the newspaper? I guess not.

In mainstream journalism, news articles are unbiased and objective - the presentation of facts or reports of opinions of others, such as those of witnesses or experts.
An editorial is an opinion, openly expressed as such.
This type of article could be referred to as an “analysis” or interpretation of information. It goes a little further than  simple reporting, presenting an opinion from conclusions drawn from the gathering of information.

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