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Monday, November 28, 2016

Donald Trump, King of the Conspiracy Crazies

Conspiracy theories. I've been interested in them for decades, and I've learned a thing or two. Let me explain the conclusions I've reached.

Know this: There are right-wing conspiracy theories and left-wing conspiracy theories.

Know this: Any theorist who claims to be "neither right nor left" or "beyond right and left" is right-wing, even if said theorist doesn't know it or can't admit it.

Know this: Many -- perhaps most -- left-wing theories turn out to be wrong. This is true even of my own little contributions to the genre. (Although I've been depressingly correct, lately -- as when I predicted that the Trumpers would engineer a win.)

Know this: All conspiracy theories concocted by right-wingers are BULLSHIT.

And when I say "all" I mean ALL ALL !!ALL!!

All right-wing conspiracy theories are BULLSHIT.

Read this early Cannonfire post for a list of fun examples. Allow me to repeat here a few words from the conclusion of that 2004 essay...
The left-wing theorists have a far from perfect batting average, but they often hit at least a double, while their reactionary counterparts rarely manage to get on base. More importantly, the left-wing theorists usually try to construct an argument based on evidence, while their rightist analogs tend to eschew footnotes in favor of high decibel levels and appeals to emotion.
Although the left-leaning theorists have proven all too capable of wild leaps and foolish presumptions (my own fallibilities remain on humiliating display in previous postings to this column), they have nevertheless amassed the better track record. They don’t ask for immediate credence – just a hearing.
Know this: Nazis have always relied on conspiracy theory as a tool to reshape reality. That, my friends, is what the phrase "Triumph of the Will" really means.

Remember when the press first reported that Melania Trump worked in this country illegally? According to the Trumpers, those reports were all examples of The Conspiracy: The Lügenpresse was engaged in a plot to besmirch Trump, and the Orange Messiah had to counter that plot through threats of legal action. Of course, we later learned that Melania really did work here illegally. But what of it? In Conspiracy Nation, mere reality doesn't matter.

Tomorrow, Donald Trump may suddenly decide that he is 45 years old again. If you say "No, Donnie, you're in your 70s," he will declare you to be part of the Great Conspiracy Against Trump. If Trump decides that he can fly by flapping his arms, you dare not tell him "Sorry, Donnie; you are not a bird." He will declare you to be part of the Great Conspiracy Against Trump.

Conspiracy theory is the mechanism by which right-wingers transform Reality itself into Silly Putty. 

You think I exaggerate? Then know this (and this): Yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted these words...
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE VOTED ILLEGALLY?

MILLIONS?

Think about it. Our next president believes that millions of people committed a crime which carries a five-year sentence.

Number of arrests: Zero.

Are we really supposed to believe that millions committed this crime without one single arrest? Without one single proven instance? Without one named criminal? Without one single "talker"? Without one single confidante willing to squeal to the cops?

Such a crime would require a massive amount of planning and mobilization. After all, one cannot simply show up at a poll and vote; voters must pre-register and arrive at the assigned polling station. Each registered voter learns about that location via an official government notice which arrives in the mail. How can any person or group co-ordinate millions of people in this enormous criminal endeavor without one single incriminating communication?

How can any conspiracy encompass millions of people without one slip-up? How can anyone hope to pay off millions without leaving any kind of trail?

And why would this conspiracy of millions inflate Hillary's vote in California (which is where much of her popular vote advantage occurred), as opposed to, say, Florida or North Carolina?

This may be the stupidest conspiracy theory I've ever encountered, and I've been tracking this crap since the 1970s. It's stupider than the one about Queen Elizabeth being a space lizard. Stupider than the one about the plot to invent the Dark Ages. Stupider than the one about Stephen King killing John Lennon. Stupider than the one about "crisis actors" at Sandy Hook.

And yet both Donald Trump and his insane supporters actually believe in this delusional nonsense.
I’ve noticed a lot of people on Twitter seem to think Trump’s tweet is scary because it’s false, but the actually scary interpretation is that he believes it’s true, which he probably does. It seems likely that Trump got his “information” from conspiracy theorist site InfoWars.com, or someone else retweeting or rewriting InfoWars — a lot of weird things Trump says later prove to emerged in the pro-Trump, conspiracy theory-corners of the internet. The problem with Trump isn’t the lies he tells as much as it’s the information he chooses to believe.
If you're a liberal, God help you if you argue that hackers might have affected our computerized election. The scoffers demand proof, and the standards of proof keep rising.

Despite those ever-elevating standards -- or, if you prefer, the ever-receding goal posts -- we have proven the existence of an otherwise-inexplicable "red shift" which has beset every election since the year 2000. Nay-sayers simply refuse to read the evidence.

When a liberal posits a conspiracy, no amount of evidence is ever sufficient -- even if said liberal presents a highly-detailed argument in a tentative, cautious, reasonable fashion, and even if said liberal makes a good faith effort to take contrary data into account. 

By contrast: When a right-wing conspiracy theorist (such as Donald Trump) posits a conspiracy theory, no evidence is necessary. The theorist need merely declare "It is so!" If he wants it to be true, then it is true.
Comments:
I'm realizing something as I sink into the kind of pessimism about "the Left" to which Slavoj Zizek refers to (when he's not wiping his nose or struggling to get past "uh....uh....uh...and so on and so on"). This isn't a conspiracy theory, it's rather an apparent fact once you dig just underneath the surface of the Disney World of Propaganda-AgitProp-CounterIntelligence. There is no "Left-wing" in America, anymore. There are Theocon fundamentalists (those who believe they have a mandate from God [Yhwh/Jesus] and are social fundamentalists and market fundamentalists, such as theonomy), and there are Corporatists who call themselves "Democrats, Liberals or Progressives" variously.

The Fundamentalists have a near total monopoly on the publishing world and on the distribution of books and literature, a recent example amongst a flood of Fundamentalist/Theocon books would be 'The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic' by Michael Medved. The Corporatists, who feign at being "liberal or progressive" have near total control of the media, the news and the bullshit tv shows, examples include the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, who is a complete and total corporate shill, or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. To me, there isn't a difference between Michael Medved on the one hand and Bill Maher or John Oliver on the other, they are fucking imbeciles who exist to push propaganda.

Trump's administration is, or rather is shaping up to be, and will be (these recounts will go no where) the realization of the Fundamentalist Black Iron Dream. It's the capstone of a long project. Donald Trump's recent nomination of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary was met with acclaim by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), perhaps the nation's largest circulation, who gave Ms. DeVos sticker stars for defeating "antireform [teacher's] unions" across the nation. She is celebrated for union busting. That is how far, far, far, FAR right this nation has gone.

I sit back, in despair, wondering, where the fuck are the real "Leftists"? There's myself, there's Jimmy Dore (a lifesaver, except for the time he spit in Alex Jones' face, which was gnarly and unacceptable) and Slavoj Zizek. And who else? Seriously, we are a dying breed, our numbers are dwindling to nothingness. The Democratic Party will die because it isn't the "Party of the People", and people are seeing through that mirage as we become a one party State masquerading as a two party system.

Our nation is built upon mythology and superstition.
Our economy, the global economy aswell, is built upon petroleum and usury.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7JgfB8PaAk
 
Joseph-c'mon.

The one good thing about having old voting machines in most states is that they have no internet capability. Remote hacking is an impossiblity because they can't be internet connected.

The voting machines that are computers are from the 80's that capsture votes digitally but still have to be manually scanned because of no internet connections.

i suppose that is turning out to the good in this internet stage.

as for Trimps comments. I suppose he's mostly talking about California which is giving Hillary a 4 million differential vote. Trump actually beat her vote wise in the other 49 states.

depends on how you look at things.

I would suspect that California DOES let a lot of illegals vote-how many though is up for speculation
 
It's racist code. It's a nod and a wink to those who dismiss Hillary's California margin because of the latino population, which doesn't count as "real" Americans, eg, real to the deplorables in flyover country. They know what he means. They know and approve of vote suppression not because they fear voter fraud. They fear becoming the white minority in their "own" country. Der Donald knows what he's doing by tweeting that.
 
gerry, gerry, gerry -- how many times do I need to go OVER this? We've talked about this before!

Voting machines do not need to be hooked up to the internet to be hackable. Look, they are the same machines, election after election. Yet every election you see different stuff on screen, right? Okay. So how does that "stuff" get there? I'll tell you: Someone plugs in a USB stick or SD card. The USB card got the ballot information from a main computer which is just a normal Windows machine -- and yes, it IS plugged into the internet.

In previous posts, I've pointed to experts who have demonstrated that it is relatively easy to spread malware in this fashion.

After the voting, the data is tabulated in a centralized system -- the "mother machines" as John Kerry's eife called them. These, too, are internet-capable and quite insecure.

In short, if you read the material to which I pointed, you'll see that you are completely wrong in your assumptions about the safety of our voting system. The crime can be done in relative safety -- by a skilled hacker based overseas, far away from our justice system.

I also showed you how to acquire the best book on the topic FOR FREE. So you really have no excuse for not doing your homework.

And you completely ignored what I had to say about Donald Trump! Fer chrissakes, read it again. Just because he lost big in California doesn't mean that the popular vote was rigged against him. Voting impersonation fraud carries a five year sentence. If there were MILLIONS of examples of that crime being perpetuated, how come nobody has been arrested? How could there be no hint of evidence against ANYONE?

And why commit millions of crimes in freakin' CALIFORNIA, where it can't possibly help?

The whole scenario makes no sense whatsoever!
 
If the lying liar meant the vote fraud lie he just told, his next tweet would have been "and so I call for a full audit of all votes in all 50 states". But he didn't, did he?
BTW here's an interesting article on the power of political lying -
https://thinkprogress.org/when-everything-is-a-lie-power-is-the-only-truth-1e641751d150#.ocz958eoe
 
If a voting machine has to be hooked up to the internet to be hacked will someone please explain to me how stuxnet worked?
 
Joseph, please don't engage with the troll. Breathe...you must be ruffling feathers for them (yes, They Live --- a movie I think of all too often these days!) to be trying to ruffle yours.

The election was rigged. Wisconsin scrubbed 5,000 phony votes from Trump's column even before the recount. Officials are struggling to explain them away....and why they all were in Trump's column.

North Carolina, too. An anonymous whistleblower is asking for help in requesting Freedom of Information on two corrupt officials in their motor vehicle agency who "scrubbed" voter registrations in certain counties.

Der Trump's True Believers are a busy bunch. And in North Carolina's case it only took two of them, but two = a conspiracy, too. As in they conspired to defraud certain would-be voters.


 
Election fraud is the issue here. Election fraud is committed by politicians and is as old as elections themselves. (Lyndon Johnson's run for the senate is a particularly egregious example.) Why is everyone pussy-footing around? (Sorry about the "pussy" and apparently the only one not willing to be a pussy is Trump who is terrified.)

I remember reading an article after the 2004 "election" that brought Bush back. It was an interview with Putin and I was surprised at how aware he was of the issues involved in the American election system. It was almost as if he knew exactly what happened the night Rove sat down and dialed the numbers into Ohio (in a panic because Bush was losing so badly. He was sloppy)

Look: the Russians hacked the voter registrations systems in countless states:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/russian-hackers-targeted-half-states-voter-registration-systems/story?id=42435822
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-state-election-databases-hacked-than-previously-thought/

The Russians hacked the DNC
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/27/us/politics/spy-agency-consensus-grows-that-russia-hacked-dnc.html?action=click&contentCollection=Politics&module=RelatedCoverage&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article

And don't tell me that Trump's release of Clinton's e-mails (announced a little too early by Giuliani)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3870834/We-ve-got-couple-surprises-left-Rudy-Giuliani-joins-Donald-Trump-s-daughter-law-hinting-Republican-nominee-planning-October-surprise.html
was actually hacked by Trump's team.

And what about that warning issued by the feds to Russia, warning them off our elections:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/17/us/politics/white-house-confirms-pre-election-warning-to-russia-over-hacking.html
because heaven forbid they do to us what we have done over the last 15-20 years.

We taught the Russians how to dice an election and now its coming back to haunt us.

So why don't we just intervene and let the recount go forward and let Clinton win (as she rightfully did.)

Simple: we are being blackmailed:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/17/us/shadow-brokers-leak-raises-alarming-question-was-the-nsa-hacked.html
https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/who-is-fancy-bear/
https://www.threatconnect.com/blog/how-to-investigate-incidents-in-threatconnect/
http://heatst.com/world/nsa-harold-martin-data-edward-snowden/

Finally, numbers don't care about Republicans or Democrats and when they start acting hinky, someone is pulling their strings.
 
Joseph,Joseph,Joseph. I said 'remote hacking'. Of course if someone could get 'physical access' to a machine is one thing. Also your'stick'scenario.

Most os these machines are pre-90. the ports for access will not use you sticks or thumbdrives used in computers today.

the computer chip ones pre 90's are like the old Casino slot machines that used a chip.

they can be hacked but require physical access. You make it sound so simple-where it is not.

It can be done-but always benefiting republicans.

lol.


Elections officials were adamant that a hack was all but impossible. Haas said that each machine is isolated from the internet and that any hacker would have to physically tamper with the equipment, one by one.

 
Joseph, I have no doubt you will recall HBGary. The latest --

Trae Stephens, a principal at billionaire Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm Founders Fund, was appointed last week by Donald Trump to help lead the transition effort at the Defense Department.

Before that, he worked at another Thiel-backed firm: Palantir, a highly controversial data analysis firm that is currently competing for Defense Department contracts.

Palantir gained notoriety in 2011 after the hacking collective LulzSec dumped thousands of hacked emails from HBGary Federal, a firm collaborating with Palantir to pitch clients, revealing plans to use Palantir’s data analysis tools on a project to spy on labor unions, journalists, and activist groups on behalf of business interests.


Where to start? -- conflict of interest? police state methods? corruption?
 
JSL, the Left has been defeated in the US by a marketing program run over generations that relies heavily on the principles of the prisoner's dilemma, dividing individuals and defeating any idea that there could be a social benefit in collective action. The Right insists that all success is individual and that the only tribal or collective actions to be trusted are ones they approve, a philosophy enhanced by powerful media and internet methods of social control. The Europeans -- especially the Nordic socialists -- would find the idea not just incomprehensible but dangerous (which it is).

Tribalism is the persistent human driver. "Where do I belong?" George Lakoff has written an excellent piece analyzing the failure of reasoned political debate to effect voter behavior because it fails to address this key point. He argues that emotional 'framing' is the key and that people seek to install a type of government based on a preferred type of family model.

The key idea here is that words are not what they seem (and have never been) but blunt instruments by which people obtain a social identity. It's a world where wild conspiracies can be accepted without question and where the Left's reasoned arguments are seen as hollow, unconvincing and ultimately pointless. We are social and biological creatures first; reason just tags along afterwards.
 
Cannonfire, king of conspiracy exposing, but nye a word on Pizzagate? My, my, I guess pedophiles are worth covering for if they are on the left? Disappointed. This coming from a 2 time Obama voter. Shame.
 
I don't know if gerry is a troll or not but I would like to thank Joseph for engaging with him. I definitely learned something about these issues. I personally don't believe the Russians hacked the US elections but that isn't proof by any means and I do believe that it is possible to have an illegitimate influence on the results even if it isn't as simple as pressing a button.

Harry
 
gerry, don't know where you vote, but I haven't seen one of those old machines with the curtains out front and the piano roll in the rear since sometime in the early 80s. I don't care if you have to use a 3.5" floppy disk, the data on any machine has to be transferred somehow; the clerks at your local precinct follow the instructions they have for updating the machine, and wouldn't know if a file updating the software on the machine was present or not, much less how it works. If you really think screwing with the vote is almost impossible, or even mildly difficult, you need to get your little hiney out of the 1970's and join the rest of us in "the future." I've been out of programming for 10 years (an eon in the industry), but even as rusty as I am, it would take me about 45 minutes to write a program that will allow any vote count you want, for any candidate or party you desire.
 
Just because California turns the Popular vote in Hillary Clinton's favor does not diminish her popularity elsewhere. There are several whack a noodle Conservative states that went 70% percent or more for Trump.
It's possible there was fraud in the solid red states that will never be revisited, thus making Trump's popular vote totals already inflated.
 
Anon, the truth is...I'm just not up to speed on Pizzagate. I downloaded a show that Ed Opperman did on the topic, but he often ticks me off, especially when he starts blathering about Bernie the Messiah and those evil, evil Clintons. But sometimes Opperman puts on a really good show, like the ones he did on John Holmes and Scientology.

So I'm gonna catch up. To be honest, my thinking lately has been Trump Trump Trump. (And, offline, Art Art Art.) It will actually be refreshing to focus on something else.
 
gerry, you really don't know what you are talking about. OF COURSE election officials say hacking would be very difficult, since they have no clue how it would actually be done. As a computer programmer, I can tell you that ANY computerized machine can be hacked, and physical access is not required. Also, the central tabulating computers are connected to the internet (or, at the very least, connected to a network that has internet connected computers on it, which is all any hacker needs for remote access) and I seriously doubt they have all the latest security patches and software. Also, it only takes one person with malicious intent having access to that central tabulating computer to make huge changes in a states votes.

Also, since Trump thinks "millions" of people voted illegally, he should be all for a nationwide audit, since he is basically saying that the election was rigged.
 
Election fraud is only committed by Republicans
 
Gerry, at last we agree.

The test: We've all heard of the really obvious tricks, like the robo-calls which tell voters to vote on Wednesday, or the flyers that tell black voters that they can't vote if they owe back rent.

Always...always...these tricks are meant to benefit Republicans. There is not one instance of a Democrat resorting to such efforts.

Obviously, a party willing to tell black voters to come to the polls on Wednesday is also a party willing to hack into the tabulating machines.
 
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