Nel's New Day

June 5, 2020

DDT: Week 176 – Only Wealthy Better off

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is happy. The stock market is going up again, thanks to the many trillions of dollars  the government has made available to big corporations and wealthy people. Lockdowns started on March 18, and the nation’s richest people’s wealth increased over $565 billion while 42.6 million workers filed for unemployment. Those 42.6 million people don’t buy stocks. 

May added 2.5 million jobs, two-fifths of them part time and 1.2 million in the poorly-paid hospitality sector. Yet 21.2 million jobs were lost in March and April, and the 13.3 percent unemployment rate is the worst since World War II. The jobs were also for white people, whose unemployment rate went down from 14.2 percent to 12.4 percent: for blacks, unemployment went up from 16.7 to 16.8 percent. DDT called this “a tremendous tribute to equality.” The CBO forecasts unemployment levels above 10 percent for almost a year and doesn’t reflect self-employed people with serious losses and college graduates who had not started looking for jobs. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pointed out the increase in jobs is propped up by the stimulus money, soon disappearing.

To Yamiche Alcindor, a black woman who reports for PBS NewsHour, who asked him for specifics on a plan to address police violence against blacks, he said, “You are something.” In the above photo, DDT shushes Alcindor.

DDT did, however, put a happy spin about George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer:

“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that is happening for our country. This is a great day for him… This is a great, great day in terms of equality.”

DDT used the word “great” 55 times during his ramblings. mThe White House also rearranged chairs for the press to put them closely together with no social distancing because “it looked better.” Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was right: DDT should stop talking. 

After his campaign rally, DDT headed to another one at a factory in Maine, but all the swabs made during his photo-op there will have to be thrown away. With no mask, he stopped to talk to the workers wearing white lab coats, masks, hair nets and plastic booties. Last month, almost one-third of Maine nursing homes reported they had no nasal swabs for testing, and over 60 percent of the respondents said they had fewer than eight available.  

While in Maine, DDT announced his new task force to crack down on illegally harvested fish and appointed former sexist, racist Gov. Paul LePage as its chair. During the conversation, he asked if the lobsters harvested off Maine are equivalent to those a few miles north off the Canadian coast. And he promised auto tariffs on the EU if it doesn’t lift duties on lobsters imported from the U.S. Tariffs on U.S. lobster, like many other products, came from DDT’s trade wars. DDT also opened a fragile marine conservation area off Cape Cod to commercial fishing, hours after DDT declared himself a “great environmentalist. The change harms the endangered North Atlantic right whale as well as deep-sea coral and sponge gardens thousands of years old. No evidence exists that the conservation area had hurt fishing revenues.

According to a new study, DDT removed protections from almost 35 million acres of public land, about the size of Florida. “President Trump is the only president in U.S. history to have removed more public lands than he protected,” stated the analysis. DDT already removed protections from 16.6 times the land Theodore Roosevelt protected for parks and monuments.

The U.S. Park Police stated it was wrong when he said no tear gas was used to clear protesters so DDT could cross the street.

AG Bill Barr has decided to “flood the zone” by bringing in thousands of unidentified law enforcement to Washington, D.C. Some, found out by wearing shirts and patches, showed they are from two prisons in Texas, one of which has at least five guards with COVID-19 infections. In Washington, DC., they failed to wear masks while close to each other and demonstrators. The Bureau of Prisons confirmed guards dispatched to two cities didn’t wear their uniforms “because they are serving a broader mission.” In a letter to DDT, Washington’s mayor Muriel Bowser wrote:

 “Unidentified federal personnel patrolling the streets of Washington, D.C., pose both safety and national security risks. The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans.”

In the Senate, Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which passed the House 410-4, because it was so broad it could include “minor bruises.” The Senate could force the bill to the floor, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the senior senator from Paul’s state up for re-election this year, doesn’t want to bother. According to the bill, “nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress during the first half of the 20th century,” and “between 1890 and 1952, 7 presidents petitioned Congress to end lynching.”

Two Senate committee chairs planned to deliver subpoenas in an investigation of the origins of the Russia probe and allegations of President Obama’s wrongdoing (aka Obamagate, according to DDT). Ron Johnson (R-WI), elected two years ago and chair of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is moving forward with 30 subpoenas determined by a party line vote. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), vulnerable in his current reelection and chair of the Judiciary Committee, said he’ll wait until next week for a vote on 50 subpoenas.  

In a series of angry tweets, DDT declared he pulled the August WeGOP conference out of Charlotte (NC) in August, but the RNC hasn’t given official notification “regarding its intent for the location of the convention.” The state is moving forward toward opening, already in Phase II, but Gov Roy Cooper—a Democrat—won’t promise the facility open to 20,000 Republicans because of social distance. GOP governors are salivating for the gig with offers in Nashville (TN), Jacksonville and Orlando (FL), Phoenix, and Georgia. Las Vegas is also interested, but Dallas has already turned it down. The RNC said DDT will not accept the Republican nomination in Charlotte. Planners are considering a rolling convention in several cities so DDT can say he had the largest convention ever.

Using the “economic emergency,” DDT signed an executive order waiving long-standing environmental laws to speed up federal approval for new mines, highways, pipelines, and other projects by limited state environmental reviews. Thus far, DDT has completed 66 rollbacks of environmental protections, and another 34 of them are in progress, most of them related to air pollution and emissions with 11 about water. Wheeler singled out a recent veto of a natural gas pipeline by New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, to block such impacts as damage to aquatic life, downstream impacts, and climate change. The rule follows DDT’s attempt to remove California’s authority to set its own vehicle emission standards under the Clean Air Act.

DDT is bored with COVID-19; he hasn’t talked to Dr. Anthony Fauci for weeks. Barr plans to solve the health crisis by suspending constitutional rights, among them asking Congress to pass laws allowing people to be indefinitely held without trial. 

The Pentagon is spending most of its $10.6 billion for shipbuilding, submarine launch equipment, missile tube and body armor.

West Point had canceled its in-person graduation this year because of COVID-19 until DDT insisted on giving a commencement address to 1,000 graduates on June 13 in order to perform this ceremony at all service academies. This past week, the Army found asymptomatic infections in 1.5 percent of them. The decision produced protests on the West Point Parents Facebook page.

Unwilling to be seen weak by going to his bunker, DDT has made the White House into a fortress with tall security fencing and concrete barriers for 1.7 miles around the white House. 

On the same day of DDT’s disastrous photo-op at a church, Ivanka Trump, possibly responsible for the tear gas clearing of the Washington, D.C. peaceful protest for her father’s photo-op, tweeted, “Less hate, more love!” for LGBTQ Pride Month. Her responses were less than positive. DDT refuses to issue a Pride proclamation, but his campaign is trying to make money for a MAGA t-shirt with rainbow-colored letters.

DDT, the great opposer of mail-in ballots who always votes by mail, seems to be homeless when it comes to voting. He gave up his home in New York City to declare residency in Florida where he can’t declare Mar-a-Lago as his residence because it’s a club. DDT’s solution was to use the White House as the address for his ballot although he says his residence is in Florida. That’s voter fraud

Barr is so desperate to please his boss he made up a story about foreign countries printing and mailing phony absentee ballots without detection but couldn’t provide evidence. In multiple states, election officials said such a scenario is virtually impossible because of security protections—unique tracking bar codes, tally marks, matching signatures, regulation envelopes, etc.

In the world of COVID-19, the U.S. has 1,965,708 cases and 111,390 deaths on June 5. The small coastal town where I live has picked up 17 new cases since the county began to open and allow tourists. The number is small, but it’s a 170-percent increase over the first three months of cases in the state. Eighteen states have reported spikes in the number of infections.

May 17, 2020

Sunday of Week 173 – A Time for Good News

DOJ’s AG Bill Barr use of a request to drop charges against convicted Michael Flynn as a distraction from the failed leadership of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues to have twists.  To smear Joe Biden, DDT’s new incompetent acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell made public (unmasked) the names of people in the Obama administration who asked for unmasking the people in intelligence reports related to Flynn. Biden was one of the names although his request was not illegal or inappropriate.

The “unmasking” could make Flynn’s situation worse because of “unmasking” his illegal activities, including his unauthorized conversations about President Obama’s sanctions on December 29—while Barack Obama was still president—with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Earlier in December, Flynn’s illegal negotiations involved NATO, Syria, Turkey, and UN Ambassador Samantha Power. 

  • December 1, 2016: Flynn’s and Jared Kushner’s meeting with Kislyak at Trump Tower, concealed for over three months, to arrange a back channel with Moscow and set up cooperation with Russia’s diplomatic facilities to cooperate militarily in Syria.
  • Mid-December 2016: Flynn’s acting as a paid lobbyist for the Turkish government, something he lied about, when Barack Obama was still president, and Flynn’s meeting with senior Turkish officials asking to be paid for secretly carrying out directives from Ankara.
  • December 22, 2016:  Flynn’s call to Kislyak at Kushner’s request to undermine U.S. policy by asking if Russia would delay or defeat an upcoming UN Security Council resolution vote condemning Israel’s building of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Grenell is proving charges against Flynn shouldn’t be dropped.

The DOJ did a bit of accidental unmasking.  After hiding the name of a suspected tie to the 9/11 plot for years, the DOJ inadvertently named Saudi official Musaed al-Jarrah in a court filing. Survivors and families of victims wanted the name for their suit against the Saudi government for complicity in the attacks, but Barr refused. Jarrah’s name and other information was redacted in a 2012 document indicating that Jarrah arranged for two other Saudis to help the first two Qaeda hijackers after they arrived in California in early 2000.

A Miami federal judge ordered ICE to release hundreds of detainees at three South Florida detention centers, citing “cruel and unusual punishment” and “deliberate indifference” to the detainees. She demanded a report within three days about a plan to cut the non-criminal and medically vulnerable populations by the hundreds, twice-weekly reports, and masks for all detainees, replaced weekly, within two days. She also wrote:

“Social distancing at Krome is not only practically impossible, the conditions are becoming worse every day. Further, ICE has failed to provide detainees in some detention centers with masks, soap and other cleaning supplies…. Accordingly, there is sufficient evidence in this record to determine that the present conditions at the three detention centers constitute a violation of the Petitioners’ Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights.”

The Miami-Herald reported that ICE segregated up to 100 detainees exposed to COVID-19 with no masks, sanitizer, and possibility of social distancing. Only staff had PPE. A concern is that ICE will transfer detainees to other detention centers to avoid the judge’s orders as the agency started to do when the lawsuit was filed on April 13.

In late April, a federal judge ordered ICE to announce measures expediting the release of parents at family detention centers because facilities lack hygiene and social distancing standards. At that time, about 620 family members, including 285 children, were at three Texas and Pennsylvania facilities. ICE has until tomorrow to identify how many family members and staff tested positive for COVID-19 and why detainee haven’t been released or transferred. The judge also required descriptions of policies and practices to protect infected people from serious illness or death. Four days ago, 943 people out of 1,788 detainees tested for the virus—over half—have tested positive.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordered the White House to give her 20 emails this week directly relating to DDT’s decision to withhold congressionally appropriated military aid from Ukraine. Judge Amy Jackson will review the documents herself to decide whether the plaintiff will receive them.

The full 4th Circuit Court ruled 9-6 that an emoluments case against DDT, accusing him of accepting foreign government money through his Washington hotel, may continue. Only the Supreme Court can rescue DDT from the case proceeding. A judge in the majority accused dissenters of ignoring precedent and procedure with their opinion that they disagree with the case.

DDT’s campaign has paid over $16 million on legal and compliance services for DDT’s lawsuits and cease-and-desist orders, about ten percent of campaign spendings, between the 2018 and 2020 election cycles.

A federal judge upheld his April 15 ruling that rejected permits vital for Keystone XL and other pipeline projects to cross streams and wetlands. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer cannot use a blanket water-crossing permit to approve new oil and gas pipelines without considering their impacts on endangered species.

Nine states are suing DDT’s administration for the EPA decision to suspend environmental regulations during the coronavirus pandemic, called the “license to pollute” and violates federal pollution laws and the EPA’s duty to protect the environment. The new guidelines have no end date. The lawsuit states that the EPA lacks legal authority to waive laws and failed to demonstrate the need for its changes. The nine states are California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Virginia.

After two decades, the Ashaninka indigenous group won its case over illegal tree logging in Brazil. The community will receive $3 million in compensation and an official apology. The judgment may serve as a legal precedent for other indigenous and environmental lawsuits in Brazil.

A DDT-appointed judge ruled against a defamation lawsuit by Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) family against Esquire’s report that the Nunes farm had moved from his congressional district to Iowa. For campaign purposes, Nunes claimed that he is a dairy farmer, but his farm is halfway across the continent. Nunes’ suit wanted $77.5 million in damages, and the Nunes family wants $25 million. The judge determined that the suit did not explain inaccuracies and allowed for an amended complaint. Nunes, DDT’s pet who leaked information to him when chairing the House Intelligence Committee, has a large number of lawsuits, but no one knows who is paying for them.

Even a few Republicans are upset about DDT firing another inspector general, State Department’s Steve Linick, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) claims that it attacks democracy. That’s not as much a surprise as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) saying DDT’s reasoning for firing Linick is “simply is not sufficient.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who IG Linick is  investigating for sending his security detail on personal errands for himself and his wife, asked the White House to fire Linick. Grassley said the Congress requires written rationale for firing and “a general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told CNN’s Jake Tapper that a conversation with DDT made him very comfortable about Linick’s firing but wouldn’t explain what was said. Maybe something about DDT protecting Johnson from charges of selling his stake in his family’s privately held company for millions after Johnson learned from classified briefings about the COVID-19 crisis. 

After calling DDT “evil” during his campaign, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has done a complete 180-degree return to approve of everything that DDT does. One of his major donors disagrees with Graham. Richard Wilkerson, former chair and president of Michelin’s Greenville (SC) North America operations, is supporting Graham’s opponent, Democratic Jamie Harrison, in the 2020 election. Wilkerson commented on Graham’s support of DDT despite DDT’s attacks on former Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):

“What is the character of a man who will not defend his best friend? If he won’t defend John McCain, why would I expect him to defend any of us in South Carolina?”

Wilkerson also wrote about Graham’s endorsing divisiveness, supporting tax cuts for only the wealthiest, attacking public safety, and opposing expansion of unemployment benefits for people losing their jobs from GOP incompetence.

The USDA will spend $470 million to buy surplus foods—vegetables, dairy, seafood, and meat—for distribution to low-income people, keeping the products from being destroyed. The agency finally took action after weeks of complaints about the food being plowed under and thrown away in other ways. In April, the USDA gave $19 billion for the agricultural industry to help food producers–$16 billion of direct payments to farmers.  

Much to the delight of his Florida neighbors, DDT has withdrawn his request for adding a dock to his property because only residential owners can get docks in the interior south Florida waterways. He still has another problem: in 1993, he signed an agreement that Mar-a-Lago would not be his residence when he bought it for a club, and now he’s using the club as his voting address. It’s called voter fraud. To fix the problem, he has to close the club.

March 14, 2020

DDT: Week 164 – Beyond Covid-19

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has spent the week avoiding assistance for people and helping his friends. At Friday’s press conference, he raised crude prices by five percent by declaring that he would buy over $2.6 billion of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that saves huge U.S. oil companies from the Saudi-Russia oil war. Yet he opposed paid sick leave in order to lose over $807 billion in revenue for Social Security and Medicare—and almost half of that revenue from businesses that employ more than 10 workers. That’s more than President Obama’s $700 billion stimulus to save the U.S. in 2009, and the government got much of that back, sometimes with interest.  

The wealthiest people will benefit if DDT succeeds in suspending payroll taxes until “after the November election.” The top 5 percent of workers making over $140,000 a year will save close to $3 billion a month if only the 1.45 percent charge for Medicare. The top 211 workers who average $95.7 million a year will each reap an additional $115,700 per month—almost $1 million for the time that this 1.45 percent is suspended, according to what DDT wants. Households in the bottom 20 percent will get about two percent of the benefit.

DDT is also back to attacking militia in Iraq after 30 rockets fired on a base killed one British service member and two U.S. service members. The Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley blamed “Shia militia groups”; DDT told DOD Secretary Mark Esper to do anything he wanted; and Esper fired back the next day. The U.S. came close to war after it killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani over two months, but DDT backed down a full war. The Iraqi military said the U.S. airstrikes killed three Iraqi soldiers, two police officers, and a civilian as well as damaging an airport. Plans to staff missile-defense batteries will require hundreds of new troops in Iraq. The day after DDT’s airstrikes, the House passed a resolution to bar DDT from starting a war with Iran without congressional approval. DDT threatens to veto the measure.

The Pentagon may be backing down on giving a $10 billion contract on a cloud computing contract to Microsoft instead of Amazon. A judge said that Jeff Bezos’ lawsuit is “likely to succeed” perhaps because DDT had told the Pentagon not to give the contract to Bezos. The Pentagon disagreed but said it wanted 120 days to look over the technical aspects.

Almost 80 attacks, including those by the U.S., occurred in Afghanistan during the first 9 days of DDT’s “peace deal” with the Taliban. But DDT is moving hundreds of troops out of the country, reducing the number from 13,000 to 8,600—the same number as when he was inaugurated. The U.S. has information that the Taliban doesn’t intend to live up to its part in the agreement. Last week, DDT said the Taliban could “possibly” overrun the Afghan government and seize power after the troop withdrawal. State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo said the deal wouldn’t go forward if the Taliban doesn’t live up to their agreement, but DDT is calling the shots.

Known for his corruption and grift, DDT has been accused of what the New York Times called the “largest tax fraud case in the history of New York City government.” Five former city employees and a former Trump organization employee testified a connection between DDT’s business to a real estate housing scam. Six people reported the bribing of tax assessors to lower DDT’s property taxes.

Almost a month ago, U.S. intelligence officials warned members of Congress that Russia is interfering in U.S. elections to help DDT. Immediately, DDT replaced high-level intelligence officials with his partisan loyalists who delivered a different message. DDT’s new intelligence leaders told lawmakers that Russia isn’t supporting any candidates in contradiction to past knowledge. New acting intelligence director Rick Grenell, head of 17 agencies, didn’t show up for the briefing because he thought he wasn’t prepared :to address sensitive subjects that tend to upset the president.” Before the briefing, Kashyap Patel, now an employee in Grenell’s office and formerly Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) aide who was moved into the White House, gave intelligence officials limits on information to congressional member about foreign influence operations in “an inappropriate politicization.” Patel wrote a memo accusing law enforcement officials of abusing their power to help Republicans in their attempt to discredit the Russia investigation.

Grenell has imposed a hiring freeze and ordered a review of his personnel and mission. Intelligence officials view his actions as a preliminary to ousting intelligence officers who politically disagree with DDT. The question is why Grenell would create a large-scale reorganization when DDT has already nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) for permanent director.

South Korea reported that North Korea launched multiple weapons twice in less than a week on March 2 and 8 with Kim Jong-un inspecting a large military exercise the second time. The firing was directed northeast from the east coast with projectiles falling into the water between North Korea and Japan. Some flew as far as 124 miles. Another military exercise was on February 28.

The Senate is in charge of an investigation into whether Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao abused her position to help her husband Mitch McConnell’s Senate campaign by sending millions of federal dollars to Kentucky—and McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, controls the decision of who does the investigation. DDT replaced the retiring Transportation Inspector General with an acting IG.

DOJ must release secret grand jury evidence to congressional Democrats according to a district judge and two judges on a three-judge panel from an appeals court. The ruling can be appealed the full court and/or the Supreme Court. Judge Judith Rogers, appointed by Bill Clinton, wrote that grand jury records are court records, not DOJ records, which have been released to Congress during impeachment investigations five times. A George W. Bush appointee agreed, and DDT’s appointee dissented. The DOJ is reviewing the decision and thought that earlier decisions were wrong.

U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman wrote an article for the Harvard Law Review explaining how the Roberts [Supreme] Court is destroying democracy:

“The Roberts Court has contributed to ensuring that the political system in the United States pays little attention to ordinary Americans and responds only to the wishes of a relatively small number of powerful corporations and individuals.”

In “The Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy,” Adelman uses examples such as gutting the Voting Rights Act, upholding strict ID laws to make voting more difficult, approved purging thousands from voting rolls, and abdicated its responsibility to end partisan gerrymandering. He continued by writing that the Roberts Court enforces enormous income inequality by giving economic and political power to corporations and wealthy people.  

Chief Justice John Roberts proved Adelman’s point when he agreed with the conservative members to overturn lower court rulings regarding enforcing DDT’s executive order to keep immigrant asylum-seekers in Mexico to be robbed, raped, and killed while waiting months for hearings. The same court permitted DDT’s “wealth test” to deny residency or admission to the U.S. for immigrants.

A volunteer for a pro-DDT organization has been charged with 10 felony counts for submitting false voter registration information, and the Florida county sheriff believes that other workers may also be committing the same crime on the 119 forms. Problems were wrong registrations, changes in party affiliations without the voters’ knowledge, forged signatures, or fake personal information.

A new algorithm from the Census Bureau will badly skew populations of minority communities and rural areas while claiming to protect privacy. Mistakes up to 25 percent for population and 100 percent for specific groups can badly distort districting and funding. “Differential privacy” means that population, voting age population, race, and ethnicity are reported as enumerated only at the state level. For example, the number of girls 15 to 19 in Emporia (VA) were decreased from factual 185 to 30, raising the teen pregnancy rate from ten percent to 66 percent. It found 716 people on the Hawaiian island of Molokai when the 2010 population was 90. Native American reservations with fewer than 5,000 residents saw a decline of 34 percent with the new system. Growing Alaskan villages appeared to shrink. While some cities lost population, one had a 253 percent increase.

A blind man failed his citizenship test because he couldn’t read a sentence in English. He and his doctor had asked for a Braille version, but immigrations officials gave him a large print version instead because they didn’t have any Braille.

DDT’s weekly frivolous libel lawsuit against the media is directed at CNN after ones against the New York Times and the Washington Post. This one references an opinion piece about DDT’s claim that he’s would accept opposition research from foreign governments. Larry Noble’s conclusion to his piece:

“The Trump campaign assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.”

DDT’s argument is that “the “Defamatory Article has forced” his campaign for pay for “corrective advertisements.” DDT’s campaign waited nine months to push for a retraction and apology before the lawsuit.  

DDT is so furious with DDT-supporter and former AG Jeff Sessions that DDT endorsed Sessions’ opponent for the Alabama Senate primary, a former Auburn University football coach.

Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, 67, received 23 years in prison for his sexual assaults. He compared the #MeToo movement to McCarthyism.

DDT didn’t know people died of the flu. His grandfather died of the flu epidemic in 1918.

Gallup shows that people like the Affordable Care Act more than they like DDT with a 52 percent approval of the ACA. DDT’s approval rating is barely above 42 percent. 

November 4, 2018

Voter Suppression, Tricks: ‘We Lie All the Time’

Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) bragged on the campaign trail that he and his GOP legislative leaders “lie all the time.” And boy, does he lie! Here’s a list from PolitiFact Virginia. He even sent out a press release lying about a WaPo fact check on his opponent by using a a fact check of an attack ad in a completely different race, against GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). And that’s just one way to get Republicans elected.

In the past, black people in the South went to the polls to cast their votes. The idea, called “Souls to the Polls,” was quashed in many states including North Carolina and Florida because Republican lawmakers decided that GOP candidates could win only if the black vote was stopped. Forty percent of states don’t allow workers time off to vote on Election Day, and many other states are restrictive in permission.

Georgia’s Secretary of State and candidate for governor Brian Kemp, poster child of the nation’s voter suppression, has lamented votes by blacks. The master vote registration purger who declines to process registration forms from blacks registered to vote said he was afraid he would lose the election “if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote.” He’s also afraid of absentee ballots, “especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote … and mails those ballots in.” He added that his opponent, a black woman, could win thanks to “the literally tens of millions of dollars that” her campaign is “putting behind the get-out-the-vote effort to their base.”

If voting didn’t make any difference, Republicans wouldn’t go to such extreme lengths to keep people from voting. Updates and new tricks to keep people away from the polls on November 6:

Materials are being sent out with the wrong date to vote, like this “friendly” postcard in Arizona, with a date ten days past Election Day.

Montana Republicans have joined the states falsifying information about voting. The GOP sent a mailer lying about absentee ballots being accepted ten days after Election Day if they were postmarked by 8:00 pm on that day. Wrong. Absentee ballots must reach their destination by Election Day.

A judge denied Native Americans in North Dakota the right to vote without a street address just this past week, and voter suppression continues with the GOP fear that Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) will be reelected. One woman who went to the county auditor’s office in Sioux County to ask about early voting was told that there was no early voting, unlike most other North Dakota countries. The auditor didn’t mention an absentee voting option. The same auditor ordered a woman filling out an absentee ballot to use blue ink in order for the ballot to be counted; the directions on the state website mandates black ink. A great deal of time was required until someone from the secretary of state’s office said either color of ink was acceptable—that will hopefully be accurate.

A non-partisan election official in Dallas County (TX) said that voter intimidation is the worst she’s seen in 30 years with name calling and voter interrogation in lines waiting to vote, partisan poll watchers looking over voters’ shoulders as they cast their ballots and question voters on their politics, harassment, and verbal abuse with a person driving by and yelling about “baby killers.” Reports of this intimidation have not stopped it although the police removed one “poll watcher.”

In Kansas, people can’t get a passport if they aren’t born in a hospital even if they have a birth certificate. The same probably goes for getting a voter ID. The only way to get permission is to pay money to go to trial with a large number of documents.

The Rachel Maddow Show sent a production crew to Dodge City (KS) after the news that the only polling place for 13,000 voters will be moved far out of town away from a bus stop. County Clerk Debbie Cox [visual] made the excuse of construction at the former place in town [map below], but no construction was found. The venue was also booked on November 4 and November 17 of events. Cox put three polling places in the rest of her county for the remaining 1,300 voters. In addition, she mailed new registrants an official statement of registration with the wrong voting address. Even if the largely Latinx voters working in the meat-packing industry can get a job to the new polling place, they may not have enough time off work to actually vote.  The 22-minute segment provides more details.

Cox forwarded a letter from the ACLU offering voter assistance to the office of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach with the attached message “LOL” (lots of laughs). In control of voting, Kobach is also a candidate for governor. An 18-year-old high school student, Ashley Romero, sued for more polling places that are accessible to Dodge City voters. A judge ruled against Romero, stating that changing anything now would be too confusing but promising to look into the case after the election.

Last week, reports of voting machines flipping votes in Georgia for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to her opponent, Kemp, and in Texas from Democratic senate challenger Beto O’Rourke to incumbent Ted Cruz led to thoughts of hacking. Some machines even registered Kemp’s name before a person voted. Despite the GOP trying to blame the voters for these flips, it happens if machines aren’t properly calibrated. In addition, Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Kemp refused to provide a paper trail for votes in Georgia. Preparing for a possible loss because of Abrams’ popularity, Kemp declared today that he was investigating Democrats’ hacking into the vulnerable voting computers although he has no evidence. He has been warned for years about the problems with this machines but said nothing as long as he supervised the winning of Republicans.

Voting machines bought almost two decades ago were meant to last no more than 15 years, manufacturing companies have gone out of business or don’t make the computers, and most spare parts are available only on eBay or Craigslist from other discarded computers. Even if voting machines work, they work slowly, meaning long lines with people not staying to vote in a form of voter depression. In 2012, over 500,000 people didn’t vote because of extremely long wait lines. Some states use provisional ballots to solve problems in computers but don’t count them after the election. Three privately held companies, subject to little oversight and put convenience over security, control over 90 percent of all the nation’s election systems. The Associated Press reports three privately held companies sell and service more than 90 percent of the nation’s election systems.

When Republicans aren’t admitting that they want to suppress the votes of minority and lower-income people, they claim laws beginning in 2005 are to stop voter fraud. Between 2000 and 2014, evidence found 35 credible voter fraud allegations among the 834,065,926 ballots. Yet voter ID laws in the red states block about 5 million people from casting ballots—many of for specific groups such as Native Americans in North Dakota, Latinx in Arizona and Kansas, students in New Hampshire, and people of color in Wisconsin. Conservative judge Richard Posner has apologized in his 2013 memoir by writing that the ID law is “now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.” In 2018, voter ID laws, polling-place closures or changes, and state legislation to stop voter registration have replace Jim Crow laws of poll taxes, literacy exams, and property deeds. Paul Weyrich plotted Ronald Reagan’s win in 1980:

“I don’t want everybody to vote . . . our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

It’s still a miracle if people vote this year—or ever again. But not all is lost:

A federal judge ordered Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp, also running for governor, to stop throwing away absentee ballots without giving the voters advance notice and a chance to rectify any issues. Kemp’s workers had been making determinations about whether a signature matched the one on file without any scientific reason. Kemp’s “exact match” requirement threw out voter registrations even if the mistake was only an extra space. The judge used Kemp’s words that absentee voting is “a privilege and a convenience,” not a right by describing the staying of an injunction—that she refused—is also not a right.  The 11th Circuit Court refused Kemp’s appeal to the judge’s order keeping absentee ballots.

In Ohio, provisional election ballots previously purged from voter rolls between 2011 and 2015 must be counted if voters still live in the same county of their last registration and if they are not disqualified from voting because of a felony conviction, mental incapacity, or death.

Overall, two-thirds of the public (67%) says “everything possible should be done to make it easy for every citizen to vote,” while only about a third (32%) say citizens “should have to prove they want to vote” by registering in advance.  [visual voting]

After 80 percent of voters said that healthcare is extremely or very important to their vote, GOP members of Congress lied to the public that they supported pre-existing conditions–even if they voted to do away with the Affordable Care Act. The 78% importance for the economy is lower than in any recent midterm.

Roxanne Gay encouraged everyone to vote:

“Every single day there is a new, terrifying, preventable tragedy fomented by a president and an administration that uses hate and entitlement as political expedience. If you remain disillusioned or apathetic in this climate, you are complicit. You think your disillusionment is more important than the very real dangers marginalized people in this country live with.”

Republicans claim that the GOP wants freedom, but they want freedom only for themselves, not for minorities, women, and lower-income people. (Below: a sign that police forced a woman to remove from her yard.)

All voter polls are open until at least 6:00 pm, some later. Here’s a list by state.

Vote as if your life depends on it. It might.

September 8, 2018

More Pieces from DDT’s 85th Week

While Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) creates chaos to stop people from noticing reasons for his indictment, the news keeps churning.

Twitter, who tried to claim its lack of bias in not banning conspiracy-theorist Alex Jones and his InfoWars website when other social media did, has “permanently suspended” Jones and his website for violating policies against abuse, including attacks on a reporter outside Kavanaugh’s congressional hearing.

DDT tweeted in mid-August that he was revoking the clearance for John Brennan, but Brennan hasn’t received any notice about the loss of his clearance. This lack of follow-through seems to be a pattern:

  • June: DDT said he “instructed” officials “not to endorse” an official G-7 communique negotiated by member nations diplomats. Nothing happened.
  • April: DDT tweeted that Russia should “get ready” for his military offensive in Syria. Nothing happened.
  • February: DDT asked Defense Secretary James Mattis for military options for Iran. Mattis “refused.”
  • Last summer: DDT tweeted that transgender people were banned from military service. The Joint Chiefs ignored him.

Benjamin Wittes, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and editor in chief of the blog Lawfare, noted that unlike all other administrations, saying, “there is an almost total disconnect between what the president says in public and the actions of the executive branch.” Or maybe his aides really are taking papers off his desk.

With a prediction of a “blue wave,” Republicans have gone beyond their usual fraudulent efforts to win the election such as restrictive voter ID laws, gerrymandering, false statements about candidates, and maneuvers to put someone on the ballot to benefit themselves, and lying about their credentials. Now they’ve moved on to stolen materials, as in the example of Abigail Spanberger, candidate for Virginia’s 7th House district, who is running against Rep. Dave Brat, who replaced House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.  Brat is as unpopular as Cantor was , and the district is considered a toss-up between the two parties.

A GOP SuperPAC connected to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released all the private information from a job application completed by Spanberger, including her Social Security number. The Postal Service said that it released Spanberger’s application in error and asked that it be returned, yet the GOP PAC spun the information into lies about Spanberger.

A polling company asked voters if they would be less likely to support the Democratic candidate “if she knew that the candidate had taught at a school funded by the Saudi royal family that had ‘numerous students arrested for terrorism,’” and the GOP put this information into a “news release.” Spanberger substituted at a prep school for a wealthy school after she finished her MA with no record of any students connected to terrorism in any way. The problems cited by the GOP occurred long after Spanberger left the school. Then someone put up fake posters claiming that Spanberger promises to impeach DDT, open the U.S. borders, and abolish ICE—issues when Spanberger opposes.

In Texas, Democrat Rep. Beto O’Rourke is even in the polls with Sen. Ted Cruz for the general election. Now about 1,000 of O’Rourke’s supporters are receiving false texts that he is “in search of volunteers to help transport undocumented immigrants to polling booths so that they will be able to vote.” The messages came from his campaign by a first-time volunteer who signed up under a false name and were not authorized.

Racist robocalls sent from Idaho went to Florida residents where Andrew Gillum, a black man, is the Democratic candidate for governor against Trumper Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). The message starts with “I is Andrew Gillum” in a minstrel performer voice to background sounds of drums and monkeys before the voice rambles on about mud huts and unfair policing. The recording claims to be provided by the Road to Power, a website with white supremacist and anti-Semitic content.

Other GOP attacks are against veterans—ridiculing tattoos on a Maine candidate who served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming that a Colorado candidate who was an Army Ranger and Bronze Star recipient was responsible for VA problems, and saying that a Kentucky ex-fighter pilot deals in “execution” instead of “ideas.”

With no accomplishments or positive plans for the future, the GOP has devolved into the Party of Trump. It had hoped to run on their tax cuts, but the Pennsylvania special election proved that a failure. All they have are smear campaigns. This past week, congressional Republicans refused to negotiate on a pact banning both parties from using hacked or stolen materials in campaigning. Republicans said that Democrats had violated an agreement not to publicly talk about the negotiations.

The speeches from DDT and President Obama this past week show the serious difference between the two parties. One speaker introduced and praised candidates with personal anecdotes and plans for what they can accomplish if they are elected. The other one barely mentioned a candidate’s name, instead talking about himself and how people must vote for members of his party to keep him from being impeached. DDT tried to play down any concern about president Obama’s speech, but insiders says that it added to his paranoia.

Hurricane Florence, due to hit the East Coast by the end of next week, can bring disaster back to the United States, but not everyone has forgotten DDT’s inability to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s destruction of Puerto Rico. Last Thursday, House Democrats accused GOP members of failing to investigate DDT’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in order to protect DDT. Even after the report that 2,965 people died because of the hurricane, almost triple those in Hurricane Katrina, DDT said that he did a “fantastic job.” Republicans held only one hearing on Maria, compared to the nine that they had about federal response to Katrina. They also asked for no records from the White House although they obtained over 500,000 documents from George W. Bush and within five months prepared 569 pages about the government’s failures and suggestions for improvement.

DDT blames Puerto Rico for the deadliest U.S. disaster in almost 100 years despite the refusal of the United States to support its territory. He called its power plant “dead” before the hurricane although it was still functioning and said that delivering aid was difficult because Puerto Rico is an island. The death rate could be as high as 4,645 because emergency responders didn’t provide help in many areas for days. DHS failed to immediately waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico which prevented the island from getting aid and supplies from non-U.S.-flagged ships out of the U.S., and a hospital ship didn’t arrive for nine days. The assistance to Puerto Rico was minimal compared to mainland assistant, $6.2 million on the island and $141.2 million for Texas. Under pressure from U.S. officials, Puerto Rico hired a two-employee company in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown that had once employed his son to repair its electrical grid. The company overcharged for its services before it failed, and much of Puerto Rico was without power for several months. In short, DDT and the U.S. failed Puerto Rico.

Even Israeli military hardliners object to DDT’s removal of funds for Palestinian refugees’ healthcare and schooling plus $200 million in economic aid as they far greater conflict instead of peace. DDT’s new level of hostility toward Palestinian was symbolized last May when Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN, walked out of a Security Council meeting to avoid hearing a speech by the Palestinian envoy, going beyond appointing David Friedman, funder of the illegal West Bank settlements, as ambassador to Israel. Christian evangelicals and donors such as Sheldon Adelson want the elimination of Palestinians, but DDT is creating a backlash from a people who have nothing to lose.

A neuroscientist suggests that DDT may be suffering from “narcissistic injury” because of his growing loss of power and control. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders explains that “criticism may haunt these individuals [suffering from this disorder] and may leave them feeling humiliated, degraded, hollow, and empty.” The reaction is to angrily blame others, as DDT is against Bruce Ohr, Jeff Sessions, John Brennan, etc. “Narcissistic rage” causes much higher levels of bully, threats, and erratic behavior with the sole intent of punishing others.

Just 36% say they approve of the job President Trump is doing, a 5-point drop from last month, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll. Fifty-six percent disapprove of Trump’s job performance, up from 53% the month before.  Good photo  The broader IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index plunged 11.6% to 40.4. That’s one of the biggest monthly drops since IBD started tracking this index in January 2000. Trump is also net negative among male voters for the first time in 2018, and has no advantage among voters over 65 for the first time since the election.

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.

August 22, 2018

‘Voter Fraud’: Gerrymandering, Officials Controlling Their Elections

After Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lost the popular vote for his current position, he persuaded many of his followers that over three million undocumented immigrants had illegally voted for Hillary Clinton, coincidentally the number of votes he was short. To prove his point, he set up a special commission to find evidence to prove his claims. Only DDT’s true believers were allowed any information about the commission’s work, and one of its members sued to get documents as simple as times, agendas, and minutes of the meetings held in secret. He said that the documents show “a pre-ordained outcome to this commission to demonstrate widespread voter fraud, without any evidence to back it up.”

The commission became nationally known when it demanded extensive personal information about every voter in the nation. In at least one state, Colorado, people dropped their voter registration in response. Documents indicated that the commission was considering a demand for all information of people excluded from jury duty. The commission’s plan was also to promote the faulty Crosscheck program that promised but failed to identify duplicate registration.

The leader of the task force, also the leader of the voter suppression legislation across the United States, is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Despite the judgments against him in court, including one judge ordering lawyer Kobach to take remedial legal classes, he initially garnered 191 more votes for governor in the GOP primary than opponent in an election with over 300,000 votes for the seven GOP candidates. At least until 100 votes appeared for Kobach’s opponent, gubernatorial incumbent Jeff Colyer, when a county clerk pointed out an error in Kobach’s reporting, making the difference between the two only 121 votes with 8,000-10,000 outstanding provisional ballots. Meanwhile county clerks reported that totals posted by the office of the Secretary of State, Kobach’s office, were missing votes for his opponent. Yet Kobach proceeded with campaigning for the general election, comfortable that he will win. The deadline for the final count was to be August 21, less than two weeks. The debacle continued for several days with other violations.

Public outrage forced Kobach out of any voters’ counts so he appointed his assistant Eric Rucker to certify the final election results. A donor to Kobach’s campaign, Rucker formerly served as top aid to an earlier Kansas AG during the AG’s investigation for misleading judges and a grand jury in the probe into the murder of Dr. George Tiller who performed abortions in Overland Park. The state suspended the AG’s law license for professional misconduct, and Rucker was admonished for not correcting misleading information he provided to the state supreme Court. Last year, a former employee sued Rucker after he told her grandmother that she had been fired because she didn’t go to church. All the ballots submitted after the election pushed the number of votes to Kobach, and Colyer conceded the primary a week ago.

Kansas is a red state, but Sam Brownback, the evangelical Catholic governor until DDT appointed him for U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom this year, drove the state into massive debt with his huge tax cuts. GOP voters are concerned about people not turning out for Kobach because they don’t want to return to Brownback’s problems.

Kobach isn’t the only state official controlling his own election by setting policies for people who can vote and then announcing the actual count. Governor of Florida Jeb Bush, when his brother George W. was the subject of controversial votes in the state that gave Bush the presidency with the help of the U.S. Supreme Court, promised to “deliver Florida” to his brother. Katherine Harris, Florida’s Secretary of State and co-chair of George W.’s state campaign, was more help to Jeb. In George W.’s 2004 run, and Ohio GOP Secretary of State Ken Blackwell co-chaired W.’s state campaign while overseeing the election that gave W. his second term. After Blackwell’s voter suppression activities during that election, he stayed secretary of state while running for governor. Ohio GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted, candidate for lieutenant government, purged over two million people from voter rolls since 2011.

In Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp won the primary to be the GOP gubernatorial candidate in this fall’s general election. His history shows a number of voter violations (aka fraud). After 670 ballots were cast in a county with 276 registered voters, the number of registered voters magically changed to 3,704 after a federal lawsuit. Georgia has no paper record of votes, and the computers were erased the day before watchdogs were authorized to examine them in a legal proceeding. In the past, husband and wife registered at the same address were assigned different polling places and districts, and a voting machine provided a ballot for another congressional district. In one district, a results tape from a computer showed that it had not collected any votes at the close of the election, and in another precinct a race in a congressional district were omitted from a results tape. In response to the investigation of his failing to process registration applications of minority voters, Kemp investigated voter advocacy groups.

Kemp is known for being sloppy as secretary of state: three years ago, he released personal identifying information, including Social Security numbers for six million people to the media, political parties, and other paying subscribers who legally buy voter information from the state. Kemp called it a “clerical error.” He knows that Georgia’s computers are vulnerable to Russian hacking but refuses to accept a paper record for voting. His argument is that it could “subvert the Constitution to achieve the goal of federalizing elections under the guise of security.” Only five states, including Georgia, cannot be audited because the voting machines have no paper trail. Kemp also uses Exact Match to eliminate voter registrations if a typographical error occurs; twice as many blacks as whites were blocked from the rolls. In a state where population increased, the number of voter registrations decreased.

County officials appear to be helping Kemp with potential fraud: officials in a largely black Georgia county, population 7,000, closed seven of nine polling places with no justification for its claim of inaccessibility to people with disabilities.

Like GOP state officials in other states, especially secretaries of state, Kemp has the ability to commit voter fraud, that Kobach is supposedly fighting, such as easily-hacked computers at polls, purges of voter rolls, failure to register voters until after an election, investigations to intimidate groups registering minorities, etc. For the first time in the state’s history, a black woman is running for governor—against Brian Kemp. And he has control of the voting. The legislature stays white and Republican in a state with fewer than 40 percent white population because of gerrymandering.

In another case reflecting voter fraud through districting to favor Republicans, Democrat Danny O’Connor is fighting to win a special election for the U.S. House in the badly gerrymandered Ohio District 12. GOP Troy Balderson has been ahead since August 7, but some found votes, reminiscent of the magical discovery of 7,500 votes in Wisconsin in 2011 that elected GOP state Supreme Court justices, appeared after reports of election results. As provisional and absentee ballots dribble in, Balderson has maintained enough lead to win but perhaps not to avoid a recount, mandated if he wins by .5 percent or less, about 1,000 votes difference. With about 3,000 ballots left, O’Connor is behind by 1,781. The deadline is August 24. No matter the result, the two candidates will oppose each other in the upcoming general election. (Right, Ohio District 12)

Kobach maintained that voter fraud matters in close contests and asserted immediately after the August 7 election that he didn’t know how many non-citizens voted in his primary. Once Colyer conceded, he said, “It is highly unlikely that voter fraud changed the outcome.” He bragged about the new Kansas law that made the state with “the most secure election laws in the country” although a federal judge struck down the law last June. Until Colyer conceded, Kobach criticized the judge’s ruling as a concern for Kansas voter fraud. Winning seems to have erased any of Kobach’s concerns about voter fraud, especially when he’s in a position to help facilitate it. Now he can campaign for the general election and start worrying about voter fraud again.

July 20, 2017

Voter Suppression Goes National

A distraction from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) yesterday was his threats to the DOJ top personnel and the special investigator in charge of tracking Russian collusion with DDT and his associates. Today’s shocker was the revelation that he’s checking into the possibility of using his “presidential pardon” for his staff, his family, and himself. A vital issue for democracy in the United states, however, is his new voting commission which met in public for the first time yesterday.

An obsession with big numbers led DDT to claim that the Hillary Clinton would not have bested him by almost three million votes if the nation didn’t have three to five million illegal votes cast in the election. In his fits of pique, he supports the Republicans who use voter suppression to win elections, state by state, through draconian laws and voter registration purging. Several days ago, the commission riled up secretaries of state across the country by demanding voter roles, including birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers, and individual voting records.

Across the nation, those requested to send information have primarily said that they would provide the same information that they would to any request for public information. After one lawsuit, the commission must stop collecting voter information until a court makes a ruling. Another suit addressed privacy concerns, especially because the storage computer lacks security.

Amazed at the backlash to the commission, DDT had an official rollout with its chair, VP Mike Pence, and its mastermind and vice chair, Kris Kobach, presenting its goals in what has been called its first meeting. The real first meeting was done just among the members in private. Kobach is known for creating and disseminating the most unreasonable voter ID laws in the country as well as purging voter registration lists in Kansas where he is secretary of state. In the past, Kobach has been one of the strongest defenders of states’ rights.

One stated reason from the commission is to study voter fraud. It has been studied ad infinitum since states started passing laws to prevent minorities, women, and low-income people from casting votes. Women are easily disenfranchised if they have married because names on current identification don’t match the birth certificate. They are also a larger percentage of the elderly who sometimes have no birth certificates. One comprehensive study of every federal election between 2000 and 2014 found 31 credible instances of voter impersonation out of over one billion votes cast. Only four cases of voter fraud were identified in the 135 million votes cast last November.

Wisconsin was one of 14 states last year implementing new voting restrictions for the first time. Voter turnout fell in that state to a 20-year low, especially among poor and black residents. According to federal court records, 300,000 registered voters, 9 percent of the electorate, lacked strict forms of voter ID in Wisconsin.  An analysis of states with and without strict voter ID laws, the number of voters, primarily black and poor, was suppressed in all the states that passed restrictive laws.  This comparison showed that Wisconsin’s voter-ID law reduced turnout by 200,000 votes. Donald Trump won the state by only 22,748 votes. Voter suppression has been confirmed by other studies.

Like officials in 31 other states, Kobach uses Crosscheck to purge voters from registration lists and hopes to use the program with all 50 states. The program is known for huge numbers of false positives, but these people are disenfranchised. The ACLU has sued Kobach four times for voter suppression; he lost all four cases. With great investigative zeal, he found only nine cases of fraudulent voting out of 1.8 million votes. In describing registration and voting by noncitizens as “pervasive,” Kobach could find only one of these cases in Kansas. Requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote in Kansas has blocked one of seven Kansans since 2013.

Pro-commission people constantly use the term “voter fraud” for registrations for one person in multiple states and for deceased people.  Yet registering in multiple states is legal; it is the act of voting in more than one state that is a felony. Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law and adviser with high-level security clearance, is registered in more than one state. The same is true for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, senior adviser and white supremacist Steve Bannon, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer. And probably many of DDT’s officials. Gregg Phillips, creator of the app VoteStand to help people report potential voter fraud, is registered in Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. DDT called Phillips a guru on voter fraud. One study shows 2.75 million people registered to vote in multiple states, usually because of recent moves. In just Clark County (NV), over 150,000 of the county’s 700,000 active registered voters within one year.

The commission claims to be “bipartisan,” but it is run by two seriously partisan Republicans and packed with strong supporters of the voter fraud myth. Another member is Ohio’s former secretary of state Ken Blackwell who ordered county clerks not to accept voter registration on anything less than paper the thickness of a postcard. He also accidentally distributed voter lists with full Social Security numbers for the state’s voters.

House Republicans seem unconcerned about voter fraud. They are attempting to defund the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the only federal agency that exclusively works to make the voting process secure. The move comes after the EAC worked with the FBI to investigate Russian hacking. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also fired its cyberattack expert.

For over a decade, computer experts have issued warnings about the vulnerability of equipment used for voting, especially the direct-recording electronic (DRE) machines. At least five states lack any paper trail for votes, and another 24 use a mixture. Thus only 21 states in the nation have a system for verifying votes. After the Bush/Gore debacle in 2000 when punch cards were unreadable, the Help America Vote Act provided states with $3 billion in 2002 to purchase modern equipment. Most of the states used the money for DRE machines that provided to paper trail.  Russian hackers tried to access election computers in at least 21 states last year, and that may be a conservative estimate.

About states’ reaction to submitting personal information about voters, DDT delivered a line that should have brought laughs: “If any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what they’re worried about. And I asked the Vice President, I asked the commission: What are they worried about? There’s something. There always is.”

Yes, DDT, if you are hiding your tax returns, your visitor logs, your conversations with an adversarial country, your—it goes on and on—you must have something to hide.

Courts have determined that voter suppression laws, including but far beyond voter IDs, are “passed with racially discriminatory intent.” GOP legislators admit that the purpose of these laws is to reduce the number of Democrats at the polls. But DDT’s new commission claims that it is “fighting voter fraud” and “protecting election integrity.” The commission ignores the fact that ten percent of people eligible to vote lack the identification to satisfy these new GOP laws. DMVs necessary to obtain IDs and early-voting places close in non-white, non-rich, and non-GOP neighborhoods. Commission members claim that no one ever complains about their disenfranchisement. They do, but they have no effect on the process outside the courts.

Republicans need the new voting commission to stay in power. They will divert attention from the democracy of paper trails for computer voting, enfranchising all eligible voters, early voting, and simplified voter registration. Republicans hate mail-in voting popular in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington because voting is made easier. They hate the automatic voter registration because any eligible voter can easily access the process. They hate a paper trail because the votes can be recounted. The sole goal of most GOP legislators is to keep their party in power at any cost to democracy. The United States doesn’t suffer from voter fraud–it suffers from GOP fraud.

October 31, 2016

U.S. Republicans Suppress Votes

The election is rigged, claims Donald Trump, and Iowa made the first arrest in 2016 for voter fraud. Terri Rote, 55, tried to vote for Trump at two separate polling stations in Des Moines and faces up to five years if convicted. She claimed that she was afraid that her first vote would be changed to Clinton. The system worked because she was caught. Investigation into the accusation that dead people were voting showed that some of these voters were mistakenly listed on death rolls, some had the same or similar names to dead people in their districts, and with others poll workers mistakenly scanned the wrong barcode on the voter rolls.

voter-protection-fake-badgeVoter fraud is the GOP excuse for suppressing the vote across the nation because Republicans think they can’t win in a fair contest. Trump  is sending people—including militia members and off-duty law enforcement officials–to take video and still cameras to search for voter fraud in nine cities with high minority populations. Roger Stone’s “Vote Protectors” are to have fake but official-looking ID badges to intimidate voters and livestream their images on the internet. Huffington Post printed off this “badge” from Stone’s website. The “badge” information is gone, but Stone still asks his “protectors” to execute “exit polls” to contest any Trump losses. In Ohio, Steve Webb plans to closely follow any voting minorities “to make them a little bit nervous.”

These actions could cause trouble for the RNC. In 1981, Stone helped the GOP New Jersey gubernatorial candidate win with a “ballot security” force wearing black armbands to intimidate minority voters. A lawsuit led to a Consent Decree on the RNC due to be lifted next year. It could be extended for at least eight years if the DNC wins its lawsuit showing current intimidation, including Stone’s message on social media that “poll watchers” should wear red shirts on Election Day as they supervise minority populations.

GOP-controlled states are also suppressing the vote:

Nevada: Despite orders from federal district Judge Miranda Du to provide early voting and Election Day polling sites on Indian reservations for the Nevada’s largest tribes, the state’s GOP Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske decided that she didn’t need to do this for any tribes not so ordered. Members of the Duckwater Shoshone Reservation must drive 275 miles roundtrip to register and vote, but Cegavske said that their request came 24 hours late. She stated several concerns including not knowing who could “investigate and prosecute potential election law violations occurring on sovereign tribal lands.” Her office has earlier set up extra polling places in fewer than 48 hours if the voters didn’t seem to be largely Democratic. Cegavske belongs to the Koch-owned ALEC.

North Carolina: Several of the nation’s most restrictive voter suppression laws were struck down earlier this year; judges wrote that North Carolina enacted these laws to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” The GOP has other ways to continue suppressing the vote, for example long wait times in 18 counties, including the largest four, that have lost most of the early-voting locations and have as little as three percent of the votes in 2012. In the other 82 counties, voting has averaged one-fourth more than 2012. Guilford County, with a population of almost one-half million people, lost 15 of the 16 early-voting locations from 2012. Voters at North Carolina A&T State University, a black college with over 10,000 students, must travel at least a mile away because its campus early-voting location was removed from campus.

north-carolina-voting

Another suppression system in the state is removing voters from the rolls. Grace Harrison, 100, was one of 100 Beaufort County residents—mostly black—who had consistently voted for decades but were forced to attend an in-person hearing to defend their right to vote because one piece of mail was bounced back from their addresses. The NAACP is suing the state because the National Voter Registration Act bans the removal of voters during the last 90 days before the election, and they must have more chances to respond to the mail. Part of the lawsuit also concerns the failure of the state to add tens of thousands of voters to the rolls who registered at a DMV over the past few years.

Gov. Pat McCrory, leader of the state’s “potty police” laws against transgender people and Trump supporter, cheered about the success of his alternate suppression techniques because Democratic voters were “not coming out” to the polls.

Ohio: A federal court order kept Ohio from purging 200,000 voter registrations just last week because they had not cast ballots since 2012. These voters may be disenfranchised, however, because their provisional ballots are frequently thrown out in Republican-controlled states. The state refuses to send these voters absentee ballots. The purge hit twice the number of people living in Democratic-leaning areas and targeted black residents in low socioeconomic neighborhoods and the homeless.

Texas: A court removed some restrictions on voting as a “poll tax” because the state-mandated IDs were more expensive than the sometimes free IDs not permitted for voting. Two years later, the federal appeals court ruled that the law discriminated against minority voters. Yet Texas officials found an easy way to continue voter suppression: they simply lie to the people about the necessary documents for voting. A federal judge ruled that voters can bring documents showing their names and addresses to the polls as identification and sign a statement saying that they had a “reasonable impediment” to getting a photo ID. Voting has started, and polls are still using outdated posters that list only the old rules. Poll workers tell voters in lines to have their photo IDs ready without telling people how to vote without these IDs. In a poll of 1,000 registered voters, only one-fourth of the respondents knew that a photo ID is not necessary to vote with ethnic minorities far more confused than white voters about regulations.

Indiana: Almost 45,000 newly-registered voters, almost all black, may not be able to vote because police raided the Indiana Voter Registration Project and seized documents on October 4—just one week before the end of the state’s early registration period. No one knows why, but the GOP vice-presidential candidate is still governor of Indiana and a close friend of Doug Carter, the superintendent of the Indiana State Police. Prior to the closure of the voter registration, police detectives went to the homes of people registering voters “to interrogate them.”

Wisconsin: Voters at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay asked for an early-voting location on the grounds because of long voting lines during the primary, but Green Bay City Clerk Kris Teske refused, saying it lacked the necessary resources. Privately, however, Teske wrote that student voting would benefit the Democratic Party in an email to David Buerger, counsel at the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Teske was appointed by GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

Georgia: As many as 100,000 voter-registration applications weren’t processed by the state that also refused to extent voter-registration deadlines despite the devastating Hurricane Matthew. GOP Secretary of State Brian Kemp, election overseer, said that “we can’t sit back and watch the radical left create chaos in our state” after the ACLU asked a court to reopen voter registration for the counties hardest hit by the hurricane. In an effort to intimidate voters, Georgia also moved a polling precinct for mostly black voters from a gymnasium to the sheriff’s office. Gwinnett County in suburban Atlanta has only one early-voting precinct for a population of almost 900,000 people.

Florida: When Gov. Rick Scott refused to extend the time for voter registration because of the hurricane, a judge overturned not only his decision but also the mandate that a signature on absentee ballots exactly match the original one which could be 50 years old.

James Comey, FBI director, may be responsible for the largest vote-rigging in the nation. His letter to legislators—not his responsibility—stated that the discovery of more “Clinton emails” might not be significant but should be investigated. The “existence” of these emails was released almost a month after they were found, and there’s no indication that any of the emails are either from or to Hillary Clinton. Yet Comey has allowed Republican House Oversight Chair Jason Chaffetz  to state that the FBI has “reopened” the case against Clinton, another falsehood.

The man who cheerfully released what he hoped was damaging information about Clinton said he didn’t tell people that Russia is meddling in the country’s election because he might influence voting. When Comey sat on that information, the DHS made it public. In the Clinton case, Comey found transparency important; in the Trump case, he wanted to hide what he knew.

James O’Keefe, who tried to make highly edited videos to lie about the Clinton campaign “rigging” Trump’s campaign, may be responsible for illegal wiretapping. Earlier O’Keefe videos destroyed ACORN and came close to destroying Planned Parenthood. Now he wants to destroy Clinton.

As people consider their beliefs, they need to know that the more they hear a statement—true or false—the more likely they are to believe it. Voter fraud, lack of trust in Clinton—the lies are embedded into minds in an “illusion of truth.” It’s much easier to believe in generalities than to search for facts.

November 7, 2015

Will Computer Hackers Determine Elections?

“Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.” It’s an old saying that might be true in Ohio during the most recent election. A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana miserably failed with a tally of almost two-to-one. I assumed that many of the no votes came from people who disagreed with the part of the amendment that would give sales control to just t, essentially a monopoly. According to Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, the vote may have a much darker reason. Their article, published in the Columbus Free Press, claims that “televised screen shots taken Tuesday night of live election returns in Ohio provided by the Secretary of State’s office showed hundreds of thousands of votes flipping from the “yes” to “no” column of Issue 3, the ballot measure to legalize marijuana.”

Secretary of State Jon Husted, the man who provided the election returns, was “vehemently opposed” to the measure, Issue 3, and “threatened its proponents with legal action.” Live television showed the flips of hundreds of thousands of votes going from yes to no in just minutes. The shot on the right was taken just 11 minutes after the one on the right although the number of reporting precincts increased by only 6 percent. The first screenshot, with 39 percent of precincs reporting, showed the measure ahead by 65 to 35 percent.

television shot 1

television shot 2

 

Ohio has a history of voting problems.

 

Over a decade ago, James Q. Jacobs published a lengthy article about the “voter irregularities and anomalies” that may have caused John Kerry to lose Ohio—and the presidency of the United States. He claims that an analysis of Cuyahoga County votes shows that Kerry votes were changed to George W. Bush votes. In a study of 166,953 votes, one of every 34 Ohio voters, the Kerry-Bush margin shifted six percent through punch card cross-voting. Jacobs said, “Seven-eighths of voters in heavily-Democratic Cuyahoga County, more than one of every eight Ohio Kerry voters, could have cross-voted at an adjacent precinct using the wrong ballot order.” By Ohio statutory requirement, candidate names rotate to the top of the ballot list an equal number of times. If ballots cast for one precinct are counted with a different precinct’s ballot order, the votes can be reversed or assigned to a third-party candidates, a situation that had an unusually high incidence in several Cuyahoga County precincts.

An investigation by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that “some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.”

The CEO of one of the most crucial suppliers of electronic voting machines, Warren O’Dell of Diebold, pledged before the 2004 campaign to deliver Ohio and thus the presidency to George W. Bush. In 2004, Bush’s margin of victory was only 118,775 out of 5.6 million votes, 800,000 of them cast on electronic voting machines.

Other GAO conclusions:

Some electronic voting machines “did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, and it was possible to alter both without being detected,” meaning than an entire vote count can be slipped.

“It was possible to alter the files that define how a ballot looks and works so that the votes for one candidate could be recorded for a different candidate.”

“Vendors installed uncertified versions of voting system software at the local level,” leaving the opportunity to use altered memory cards.

The GAO also confirms that access to the voting network was easily compromised because not all digital recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had supervisory functions password-protected. Access to one machine provided access to the whole network allowing a small group of people to change large numbers of votes.

Access to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user IDs combined with easily guessed passwords.

The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy, meaning, again, getting into the system was an easy matter.

One DRE model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary fashion that a power failure on one machine would cause the entire network to fail.

A voting machine in Mahoning County recorded a negative 25 million votes for Kerry. Election officials in that county also agreed that voters reporting at least 18 machines visibly transferred votes for Kerry to Bush. Franklin County voters experienced the same problem, and dozens of voters swore that their vote for Kerry disappeared without a paper trail. Kerry’s margins were very low in both counties compared to exit polls. In Gahanna Ward 1B, recording 638 people voting, Bush had almost 4,000 extra votes. On 1:43 am after Election Day, Miami County reported an additional 19,000 votes after the central tabulator had reported 100 percent of the vote; 13,000 of the votes were for Bush. Shelby and  other counties admitted that they discarded key records and equipment before any recount could take place.

In 2007, Lawrence County officials reported votes going to the wrong candidates. At the end of an election that year, a tally printed and posted on the door of the county precinct got numbers one way, but a tabulation machine at the county’s headquarters flipped the numbers, exchanging the number of votes for two candidates. E-voting machines were made by Election Systems & Software. Lawrence County Election Director Catherine Overbeck didn’t say how they determined which tabulations were correct.

Furious with President Obama’s 2008 win, Karl Rove promised to deliver Ohio for Mitt Romney in 2012. Fox network called the Ohio vote for President Obama soon after 11:00 pm, but Rove told them to wait. He claimed a shift to the right immediately after 11:00 am as it had in 2004. That’s when the GOP secretary of state, Ken Blackwell, called SMARTech to fix the computers that had just gone down, and they rerouted he vote through its company in Chattanooga. Kerry’s lead reversed by over 6 percent. SMARTech’s top client was the Bush-Cheney campaign, and the company worked for Jeb Bush and the Republican National Committee. Journalist Craig Unger gives the details in his book, Boss Rove.

In 2012, Rove predicted the same reversal from the same counties that had flipped right in 2004. It never happened, and Karl Rove’s jaw dropped. I watched him as the votes kept on coming for President Obama in Ohio. Here is his meltdown.

A few weeks before Election Day, Anonymous, a hacktivist group, issued a video statement warning Rove that he was being watched. Two days after Election Day, Anonymous released a press statement claiming that it prevented Rove’s attempt to steal the 2012 election for Romney.

 “We began following the digital traffic of one Karl Rove…After a rather short time, we identified the digital structure of Karl’s operation and even that of his ORCA. This was an easy task in that barn doors were left open and the wind swept us inside.”

“ORCA” was a Romney’s high-tech get-out-the-vote system to keep tabs on potential voters and to target who hadn’t voted yet on Election Day. Anonymous claimed that ORCA’s purpose was to rig the vote and that the group blocked Rove’s access to “digital tunnels” for vote changing.

Election Day is one year from tomorrow. The United States is the only major democracy that allows private partisan corporations to secretly count and tabulate the votes with proprietary non-transparent software. As of now computers are no better than they were when Ohio gave George W. Bush the presidency in 2004, and Karl Rove was positive that the state would put Mitt Romney into the presidency in 2012. Matt Bevin won governor in Kentucky by a tidy margin despite polls indicating either a Democratic win or a very tight margin. How many elections in the United States have been decided by those in power who are willing to electronically steal elections for their own benefit? We won’t know because the government refuses to provide the same security that computers in banks and large corporations require. Will computer hackers decide the presidency of the United States in 2016?

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