Nel's New Day

August 23, 2018

Voter Fraud: Perpetuated by Government Officials

Perhaps worried that legislation could keep Russian from winning Republicans in the upcoming election, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is blocking election security legislation from moving through the Senate. The bill had bipartisan support from co-sponsors James Lankford (R-OK), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Conservative Roy Blunt (R-MO) had scheduled a markup before DDT’s action postponed it.

At the same time, Reality Winner, who leaked information about the Russians’ hacking at least 100 elections systems, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison for leaking security documents. Her sentence is the longest in history for providing classified information to the media.  has been sentenced to 63 months in federal prison for leaking government documents regarding Russian attempts to hack voter registration databases.

While the federal government ignores Russia’s cyberattacks into the U.S. election, Microsoft found and disabled six malicious websites created over the past several months and trying to provide expanded cybersecurity protection for campaigns and election agencies using Microsoft products. Two attacks are on conservative think tanks that have broken with DDT.

Less than two weeks ago, organizers for a “voting village” at the annual Def Con hacker convention in Las Vegas set up voting machines and invited 50 participants between the ages of 8 and 16 to hack facsimile websites of 13 battleground states. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/aug/22/us-elections-hacking-voting-machines-def-con  An 11-year-old girl broke into a website within ten minutes before convention participants moved to a new state’s website every 30 minutes with the typical break-in time at 15 minutes.

Flaws in the states’ election systems:

  • A voting scanner and tabulator, which 24 states use, have no password or software verification to keep it from being overridden.
  • A touchscreen voting machine can easily be reprogrammed to play music and animated clips.
  • An electronic poll book machine that signs in voters on Election Day was hacked in five seconds, potentially exposing “unencoded” personal information on voters.
  • If the database isn’t secure, a hacker can delete every tenth registration which turns people away from polling stations.
  • Even if a voting machine is not hacked or ever connected to the internet, there are ways to affect the results, researchers say.
  • The election winner can be changed in 22 seconds by taking a single disc from a polling place even if machines were never connected to the internet.
  • Almost one out of three candidates for the U.S. House have a security error on their campaign websites.
  • Vote totals on a replica election night results page show that a candidate’s name has been changed by remote access.
  • Changing the election’s winner using a single disc with malicious software brought back from a mock polling place, where the machines were never connected to the internet, can take only 22 seconds.

University of Michigan’s J Alex Halderman stole a mock election in front of his audience during his 30-minute talk on the weaknesses of voting machines. He pointed out that hackers don’t need to change all the votes, just enough to swing a close election in favor of the opposition—in Russia’s case the Republicans. The centralization of the voting system comes from the connection of individual voting machines to PCs used to program individual elections. “One large vendor codes the system for 2,000 jurisdictions across 31 states,” Halderman said. His solution is to have paper ballots, something that five swing states don’t have. Even those with paper ballots refuse to execute a statistically valid check of paper ballots, requiring counting only a few hundred.

Federal officials were defensive about the hacking discoveries, claiming it was just a mock effort, but Village co-founder Harri Hursti said:

“Every voting machine in this room is in use in [the] next election [in] 2018. Every single one, every single model, is a model still in use.”

In Maryland, Russian oligarch Vladimr Potanin, close friend of Vladimir Putin, is the biggest investor in the company that hosts the state’s voter registration system, candidacy and election management system, online ballot delivery system, and unofficial election night results website. AltPoint’s largest investor is Vladimir Potanin, who is reportedly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Other methods of voter fraud from officials:

Las Vegas District Court Judge Susan Johnson ordered at least two defendants who pled guilty to felony charges to complete their probation requirement and “vote for Trump” in 2020. Evidence about this voter fraud appears in both court transcripts and from interviews from “multiple criminal defense attorneys” who said that the judge gave this directive to at least four defendants. She suspended a 28-month prison sentence although he admitted to assault and battery with a deadly weapon so that he would have his voting rights restored in “plenty of time” to cast his ballot for the president. Another man was told to withdraw his plea and admit to a misdemeanor instead. Johnson said that she was just joking.

San Juan County (UT) Clerk John David Nielson helped falsify and backdate an election complaint to disqualify Democrat Willie Grayeyes from the County Commission race and claimed Grayeyes was ineligible to run because he didn’t live in the county. A U.S. district judge had to right the wrong that Nielson executed on the part of GOP candidate Wendy Black. Nielson admitted under oath that he had lied to keep Grayeyes off the ballot. Grayeyes, a Navajo, was able to run only because the tribe went to federal court to redraw commission boundaries for equal educational opportunities, fair treatment in the justice process, access to the ballot box, and their rightful share of oil and gas royalties.

Illinois GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner blocked legislation that would have required corrections officials throughout the state to help people detained in jails and prisons understand whether they can vote. Election and correction officials would have been mandated to offer ballots to people in jail before their trial if they want to vote and voter registration forms to people being released from jail with information about their voting rights. Minority groups disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system would have been many of the beneficiaries of the bill. Illinois alone has 4 million people with an arrest record who might have been affected by the legislation.

In an attempt to keep districts with large immigrant population smaller, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross inserted a question about a person’s citizenship status into the 2020 census. A number of courts have ruled against Ross’ decision since it was announced earlier this year, the most recent a federal court in California that is permitting two lawsuits to go forward against the federal government. This decision rejects the claim that federal courts cannot supervise the decision to add a citizenship question.

In a Virginia case, aides to GOP Rep. Scott W. Taylor forged signatures to get an independent candidate on the ballot to split the vote with the Democrat to help Taylor win. In New York, a campaign worker for Michael Grimm filed an extra petition for opponent Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) with no cover sheet, hoping that the violation would invalidate the entire filing and giving the race to Grimm. The scheme was uncovered, and Donovan ran in the primary, beating convicted felon and former representative Grimm almost two to one.

The Hopewell (VA) Electoral Board decided to put some candidates’ names in all uppercase because the candidates wanted this style although state election officials stated this was not permitted.

The U.S. Supreme Court contributed to the ability of states to commit voter fraud with a 5-4 ruling permitting massive purging of voter rolls. The federal National Voter Registration Act prevents states from eliminating voter registrations because people don’t vote. Ohio decided to mail a card, only in English, to people who didn’t vote for two years. If the card is not returned and the person doesn’t vote for another four years, the name is removed from the rolls. There is no proof that the person no longer lives at that address. The decision in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute permits that process.

Excuses for purging and mandated photo voter ID are voter impersonation, people voting twice, vote buying, absentee fraud, and voter intimidation. A study found 0.000003 alleged cases of fraud for every vote cast, but at least 5 million people are disenfranchised, the vast majority being minorities, women, elderly, and poor.

Approximately 25 percent of black voting-age citizens lacks a government-issued photo ID, compared with 8 percent of white voting-age citizens. Only 50.8 percent of white voters ages 18 to 29 were asked for ID compared to 72.9 percent of young black voters and 60.8 percent of young Hispanic voters. Minority voters are less likely to have flexible work hours or own transportation, creating a greater struggle to get IDs and cast ballots.

Republicans managed to destroy ACORN, a community organization that advocated for low- and moderate-income families in social issues such as neighborhood safety, voter registration, health care, and affordable housing. Conservative activist James O’Keefe secretly filmed staged and edited misleading interactions to portray low-level personnel as encouraging criminal behavior, and ACORN lost its funding.

Negative publicity from these videos led to punitive laws in at least 23 state for strict photo ID, limits on early voting, elimination of same-day voter registration, closures of polling places, restrictions on student voting, purging voter rolls, etc. The Supreme Court decision striking down part of the Voting Rights Act limited oversight of the new laws designed to limit votes to whites. A DOJ report explained the reasoning provided by Rep. Sue Burmeister, sponsor of Georgia’s voter restriction law:

“If there are fewer black voters because of this bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud. [Burmeister] said that when black voters in her black precincts are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls.”

In North Carolina, Republican consultant Carter Wrenn admitted that the myth of voter fraud is only an excuse, “Of course it’s political. Why else would you do it?” He explained that the Republicans want to protect their majority.

Wrenn calls it “political”; I call it fraud.

March 5, 2017

Trump: ‘Deflector in Chief’

“The time for trivial fights is past.” – Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) during his first address to Congress last Tuesday evening.

donald-trumpDDT’s semi-presidential appearance didn’t last long. Left without his keepers at Mar-a-Lago this weekend, DDT worked to deflect all his bad press resulting from this week’s scandals about Russia about that country’s participation in the presidential election with angry, libelous tweets. Between his rants about firing Arnold Schwarzenegger were accusations about President Obama tapping his phones at the Trump Tower. The adolescent sending the tweets couldn’t even spell “tapp” correctly: he gave the word an extra p. The excuse his handlers gave DDT was a vague statement in fake Breitbart news about Barack Obama’s “police state” tactics. With no evidence, could be sued for libel, disseminating damaging false information.

Rep. Ted Lieu’s (D-CA) summary of DDT’s problems:

“Either @realDonaldTrump is paranoid like Nixon, or judge found probable cause of crime for #wiretap. Either way our President is in trouble.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said:

“It’s beneath the dignity of the presidency. It is something that really hurts people’s view of government.”

Growing concern has developed because DDT will be hosting Angela Merkel next week after accusing her of “ruining Germany.” Schumer echoed Lieu’s conclusion about the allegations either being false or providing probable cause to search for broken laws.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) described DDT as “deflector in chief.” She said about DDT’s accusations:

“It’s called a wrap-up smear. You make up something. Then you have the press write about it. And then you say, everybody is writing about this charge. It’s a tool of an authoritarian.”

Two issues about Russia that DDT wants to conceal are the way that his new AG, Jeff Sessions, committed perjury in saying that he had no communication with the Russians and the question of whether a special prosecutor should be assigned to address DDT’s campaign involvement with Russia instead of letting the partisan Congress investigate the matter.

Concerns about Russian involvement in the campaign has been released in dribbles and drabs for almost a year as DDT continued to express his unadulterated admiration for Vladimir Putin as a leader. The most recent activity before DDT’s tweet was when Sessions tried to jump out of the frying pan by finally recusing himself from any investigations into the FBI and hoping to save himself from resignation. He’s in a risky situation because Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) wants Sessions to go back to the Senate to explain his statements made earlier under oath.

sessions-putinSessions’ problems began when he answered a question that no one asked him. Franken asked Sessions what he would do as AG if the connections between DDT and Russia were true. Sessions didn’t answer that question, but he said that he had “been called a surrogate” in the campaign and that “I did not have communications with the Russians.” By now the media has made clear that his answer was not true (aka a lie) because he met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice while the White House was working on sanctions against Russia. When these meetings were publicly revealed, Sessions said he couldn’t remember if he talked politics with the ambassador. Russia is now in control of Sessions’ future because the ambassador can blackmail him. Saturday Night Live opened with a spoof about Sessions, played by Kate McKinnon.

Franken sent a letter to Sessions telling him that his not mentioning Russian involvement in the election “strains credulity.” The letter asked why Sessions had failed to mention the communication and what all his and his staff members’ communications with “Russian officials and their associates during the presidential campaign of 2016” are. As Franken wrote:

“If it is determined that you lied to the [Judiciary] Committee and the American people under oath during your confirmation hearing, it is incumbent upon you to resign from your position as attorney general.”

DDT’s response to Sessions’ recusal was a “ballistic” rant in which he used “a lot of expletives” and “nobody has seen him that upset.” That may be the reason that Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus didn’t go to Florida with DDT—thus the tweets. And DDT’s demand for a special prosecutor into the non-existent wiretaps. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who has consistently maintained that there’s no need for an investigation into Russia’s involvement in DDT’s campaign, said that the Intelligence Committee “will make inquiries” as per DDT’s demand. On the other hand, FBI Director James Comey asked the Justice Department to publicly reject DDT’s claims about the former president’s wiretaps of Trump Tower.

Democrats—including seven of the nine on the Senate Judicial Committee—are calling for a special prosecutor into Russian interference while Republicans continue to squirm about its possibility. Doing so would allow a nonpartisan person instead of an acting deputy attorney general to leads an investigation. DDT’s nominee for that position, Rod Rosenstein, could be asked about a commitment to naming a special prosecutor before his final vote. The historical precedent for an appointment is during the Watergate scandal in 1973 when the Judiciary Committee demanded that Nixon’s nominee name the prosecutor before the vote as well as asking questions about the prosecutor’s level of independence. Other special prosecutors occurred for investigation into Bill Clinton’s Whitewater affair and George W. Bush’s Valerie Plame affair.

Almost two decades ago, then-Sen. Jeff Sessions defined the standard for assigning a special prosecutor. The issue was whether Gore lied during an investigation into the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign’s fundraising. Sessions said that an independent investigator should be appointed any time that an AG is asked to investigate the president because of the president’s power over the AG. Now Sessions may face criminal charges for perjury and leads the same agency, the Department of Justice, that would ordinarily investigate alleged violations of federal law. For all the time before he finally recused himself, he was in the same power that the AG faced in the case where he set up the standard.

In its continued support for DDT, the FBI may be concealing information from Congressional committees attempting to investigate communication between DDT’s people and the Russian officials. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said that the intelligence community has not been forthcoming, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said, ‘‘We know less than a fraction of what the FBI knows.” Asked about transcripts that the FBI refused to share with Democrats, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) tried to “deflect” the issue by refusing to discuss them, indicating that they do exist. The issue of transcripts is interesting because U.S. citizens, including Michael Flynn, can be taped without FISA warrants. Transcripts of Flynn–or anyone else–would  indicate evidence of wrongdoing.

After DDT’s accusations about President Obama’s wiretapping one of his homes, he moved on to tweets stating that the former president had Russian ties and that Democrats didn’t want to help the FBI investigate the Russian cyberattacks.

DDT’s “relationship” with Russia seems to be cooling in the light of continued criticism from people in the U.S.—something that DDT cannot handle. One indication is that his pick for top Russia adviser is Fiona Hill whose book Mr. Putin, Operative in the Kremlin alludes to Vladimir Putin’s history as a KGB operative. There are also rumors that Putin didn’t want DDT to win; he just wanted to create chaos in the United States. On MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, New Yorker editor David Remnick said:

“Everybody expected Hillary Clinton to win. You expected her to win. The polls expected her to win. So they succeeded, in some sense, beyond their wildest dreams, and now they’re freaked,” Remnick added ominously. “If you talk to people in Moscow now, there’s a lot of buyer’s remorse. There was an order sent down to Russian television, ‘enough with the celebrating about Trump!’”

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that the Kremlin is waiting for “some kind of actions” to understand what the future holds because “we have heard different statements from President Trump.” Even Russia understands that DDT’s volatility is untrustworthy.

The weekend is almost over, and DDT will get his keepers back when he returns to the White House. His handlers there may temper his tweets.

Should we be obsessed with the Russia story? Of course! This is bigger than Watergate, and it sets the direction for the United States for decades to come. An additional issue surrounding the White House is that eight Russian operatives connected to DDT have already been found dead. We need to overcome the “deflector in chief.”

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