Sunday, January 03, 2021

Don't know about you, but I'm terrified

Everyone tells me that Trump's frantic attempts to stay in office will come to nothing. But the people offering reassurance invariably base their arguments on legality, not on brute power. 
The foundation of Trump's power is his willingness to lie. Trump and his supporters have offered an incessant series of fabrications about this election. Jennifer Cohn:
Trump & Powell: Lied about their alleged military intelligence expert (he never worked in military intelligence) Lied about the timing of the burst water pipe Lied about suitcases of ballots (they were empty ballot containers) Lied about Dominion (It is not ESS or Smartmatic)
These falsehoods have had many brothers. Fortunately, none have persuaded a judge. Unfortunately, jurists are not the true target audience. The false claims of electoral fraud in Georgia and elsewhere were designed to appeal to Trump's numbskull bullyboys, not to the courts.
I don't know how many fascists will descend on DC. On previous occasions, the predicted MAGA tsunami turned out to be the spray of a child's water pistol. Nevertheless, we can all feel the angst; the air is electric. We all fear that something is coming. I've foreseen a day of violence ever since Trump placed his most zombified followers in positions of power at DOJ and DOD. 
He has prepared for a coup. An actual blood-in-the-streets coup.  

He has no choice but to attempt the most audacious move in American history. If he doesn't win this one, he faces hard time
BLM, Antifa and anyone else on the left would be insane to meet the Nazis in combat. "Peaceful" protest or counter-protest would only provide cover for the agents provocateurs. Stay home, lefties. Choose your battles wisely. 
Make sure the right takes the blame for any violence. Remember: During the Clinton era, people were talking about a possible Civil War II until the Oklahoma City bombing completely discredited the conspiracy-crazed right. Remember: The Decembrist uprising threatened to bring down the Czar -- but after the rebels fired their first shot, after the body of a military hero named Mikhail Miloradovich lay bleeding in the snow, everyone felt sickened and the crowd dispersed.
If the Trumpers shed blood, the movement will destroy itself.   

Regarding the instantly-infamous Georgia phone call: I was stunned by the tone of certainty in Trump's voice. He really thinks that the bullshit conspiracy theories he gathered from social media are more accurate than the data coming from the (Republican) Secretary of State in Georgia. Trump would find Alex Jones more credible than the CIA if ol' AJ told Trump what he wanted to hear.
I find myself once again in the unfamiliar position of agreeing with Bill Kristol.
Presidents and other politicians can be impeached after they leave office, and impeachable offenses cannot be protected by the pardon power. 
Impeach now. Impeach him for this offense and for others.
Trump cannot pardon himself, or be pardoned by Pence, for any crime that is the basis of an impeachment. The Constitution is clear on that point. If impeachment starts now, today, Trump's thuggish behavior will be literally unpardonable.
Trump threatened an election official in order to force said official to overturn the official vote. That is gangsterism writ large -- as large as it gets. It's not enough to see Trump go; he must be punished for this crime. Impunity invites repetition. 
As Marcy notes:
As you talk about The Tape, remember that Raffensperger and a slew of other GA officials are getting death threats on top of this.
I agree with Eichenwald:
Give  @GOP their "election fraud" hearing: Impeachment hearings for Trump on HIS attempted fraud. Introduce this tape.Then call Georgia officials to walk through Trump allegations. Give Trump/GOP opportunity to introduce their "proof" of GA election fraud.
I say let's investigate all claims of rigged elections for the past twenty years. 
For example, let's have a national discussion of the places in Wisconsin (such as Baraboo) where -- back in 2016 -- the number of votes cast was greater than the number of registered voters
Let's ask Trump's lawyers why, in 2016, they blocked a forensic examination of the machines used to tabulate the votes. There can be no innocent explanation for obstructing what should be a rudimentary act of electoral hygeine (paid for by private donations). 

Most of all, we must talk about the real problem:
ES&S. Blind Trumpers will never admit that Dominion's system, which offers a recountable paper trail, is quite a bit more trustworthy than the Republican-friendly firm ES&S, which has long offered highly dubious results that the Trumpers do not question. 

I urge you to read and share two important stories about ES&S. The first is by Alison Greene.  

Team Trump has been so vigorous in going after Dominion that it prompted us to look into how ES&S operates. What we have found so far is far from comforting.

  • Owned by a private equity firm, ES&S has been elusive about identifying the people in its ownership.
  • A number of ES&S executives and lobbyists have ties to top GOP election officials and politicians.
  • The ES&S executive in charge of the security previously worked in the Trump administration as a government executive at Health and Human Services before leaving under a cloud.
  • Forty of the 50 states use ES&S to cast and count some of their votes.
  • Of the 25 states Trump won, all but 3 either partially or fully relied on ES&S machines. The states where Trump won that didn’t use ES&S machines were Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alaska.
The following chart is eye-opening. ES&S counties are in green.
I'm particularly concerned by Maine, where Susan Collins won despite being well behind in virtually every single pre-election poll. 
The other article is by the extraordinary Jennifer Cohn. I may have mentioned this one before. 
ES&S, which was previously called American Information Systems (AIS), was founded in the 1970’s by two brothers, Bob and Todd Urosevich, in Omaha, Nebraska. According to Mother Jones, ES&S received its initial financing from the families of Religious Right activist billionaires Howard Ahmanson, Jr. and Nelson Bunker Hunt. (As far as I know, they do not currently have a stake in the company.) Ahmanson and Hunt were both heavy contributors to the Chalcedon Foundation, Christian Reconstruction’s main think tank. According to ABC News, Hunt also co-founded a secretive networking group for the Religious Right and right-wing billionaires called the Council for National Policy (CNP) to which Ahmanson belonged as well.

Based on the CNP’s 2014 directory (published by the Southern Poverty Law Center) and reporting in the New Yorker, recent CNP members include Kelly Anne Conway, Steve Bannon, and the Mercers, all alumna of the now defunct data analytics firm called Cambridge Analytica, which infamously accessed voters’ personal Facebook data without their permission on behalf of the 2016 Trump campaign.
Also in 2007, a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Computer Science found “numerous exploitable vulnerabilities in nearly every component” of ES&S’s optical scanners (for counting paper ballots) and direct record electronic (DRE, usually touchscreen) voting machines.
The same year, Jennifer Brunner (D), who was Ohio’s Secretary of State at the time, commissioned an analysis called the Everest report, which also found significant vulnerabilities in ES&S systems. The report concluded that those vulnerabilities “demonstrate the capability for attackers to execute arbitrary code on many of the components given access to them. Further, specific scenarios were identified where attackers who successfully gained access to the systems and exploited identified vulnerabilities could likely impact the results of elections.”
It was on ES&S’s watch that 127,000 votes vanished from Diebold machines in predominantly African American precincts in Georgia during the 2018 midterm elections, as reported in the Root.
Most recently, a “bug” identified in a September 2020 Texas examiner’s report involving ES&S’s “hash verification script” could have allowed ES&S to install (without detection) unauthorized software in its DS200, DS850, DS450, ExpressVote & ExpressVote XL voting systems.
There is much more. I invite you to check out Cohn's full article.
I hope democracy survives the next week. May God save the United States of America. 

1 comment:

gadfly said...

Joseph sez: "For example, let's have a national discussion of the places in Wisconsin (such as Baraboo) where -- back in 2016 -- the number of votes cast was greater than the number of registered voters."

Sounds to me like a bunch of orange-painted clowns wearing size 26 shoes who just happened to spend the winter in "The Circus City" along with some elephants bearing MAGA signs and wearing size 11780 shoes.