Postmobster General: It's Deceptive, It's Delinquent, It's Deplorable, It's Deliberate...It's Defective, It's De-limit, It's Debased, It's DeJoy!
To safeguard our vote, Trump's stooge at the USPS must be returned to sender
|Greg Olear||Sep 18, 2020||42||5|
“I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this—who will count the votes, and how.”
ON 18 MARCH 2018, Vladimir Putin was elected to his fourth term as president of the Russian Federation, with a whopping 77 percent of the popular vote. Needless to say, that election was a sham, as all Russian elections have been this century—so much so that Donald John Trump was instructed by his national security team not to congratulate Putin on his “victory.” Indeed, DO NOT CONGRATULATE was written on Trump’s notes, in big block letters. (Also needless to say: Trump, ever obsequious, did so anyway.) Nevertheless, Putin has now been in charge of Russia since the resignation of Boris Yeltsin on 31 December 1999.
No American presidential candidate has gotten 77 percent of the vote since the last Founder died. Reagan only won 59 percent in 1984, when he trounced Walter Mondale. Nixon barely topped 60 percent in 1972, when he annihilated George McGovern. Seventy-seven percent is not possible in a free country—as the last three years have taught us, 30 percent of the population can be reliably depended upon to back the feckless demagogue.
No, Putin won because he rigged the election. He prohibited the reformer Alexei Navalny, his only viable challenger, from running, he intimidated the people to vote his way, and, just to be sure, he massaged the vote tallies. Earlier this year, he sidestepped the (flimsy, but still) Russian constitution, making it legal for him to seek still more terms as president. As the Russian activist, author, and filmmaker Vladimir Kara-Murza wrote in the Washington Post:
For a long time, Putin has been illegitimate de facto—extending his rule through a prearranged job swap (does anyone remember “President” Dmitry Medvedev?) or rubber-stamp “elections” in which opponents would be removed from the ballot. Until now, however, he was careful to maintain appearances, formally adhering to the letter of the law even as he violated its spirit.
This time, it’s different. By subverting term limits through a patently fraudulent vote, Putin has become illegitimate de jure; in the same league with rogue regimes that had employed this trick before.
We in the United States shake our heads at Putin’s antidemocratic tactics. “That can’t happen here,” we tell ourselves. But how can we be sure?
To Kara-Murza’s point, Trump has, on numerous occasions, hinted at staying in power for another term, and then another after that, and so on until infinity (or Ivanka). And why would he want to leave? All he does is golf, tweet, watch TV, and lie to and steal from the American people, all while being protected from prosecution.
To remain, of course, he has to win in November. In a fair election, that will not happen. So Trump, who even cheats at golf, has every incentive to cheat.
Doomed by demographics and three-and-a-half years of a mob presidency, the moribund Republican party can only retain power by dirty tricks: onerous voter ID laws, egregious gerrymandering, initiatives to prohibit mail-in ballots, polling-place shenanigans, unnecessary roll purges, disenfranchisement of felons, and so on. You know, shit Brian Kemp implemented as Secretary of State to steal his election in Georgia.
Their objective is to make it harder for people, especially people of color in swing states, to vote. In Wisconsin, a state Trump must hold to win re-election, the voter suppression initiatives have the help of the Republican-controlled courts, a discouraging sign. That state—home to a disproportionate number of traitors (the Quisling Quartet of Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus, Scott Walker, and Ron Johnson)—is sure to see all manner of GOP monkey business on Election Day. Paul Waldman of the Washington Post explains one likely tactic, in which Republicans pony up for on-the-ground operatives, which they are pleased to call “ballot security monitors:”
Let’s say there’s a polling location in a city like Milwaukee, which Republicans know is going to vote heavily Democratic. They send a few of their ballot security personnel there to challenge the credentials and identity of one voter after another, and since the poll workers have to deal with those challenges, the whole process slows down and the lines grow longer and longer. They don’t have to successfully keep any particular person from voting on Election Day; they just need to throw sand in the gears. Eventually, people start to say “I’m not going to stand here for hours,” and they drift off and go home. Mission accomplished.
That’s just the quasi-legal shit the party has been pulling for decades. What about the absolutely illegal shit, such as cyber-assistance from certain hostile foreign powers that will remain безымянный?
The official line from the Obama Administration—which, according to the David Shimer book Rigged, prioritized election security at the expense of Russian social media manipulation and disinformation campaigns—is that the vote totals were unaffected. James Clapper told Shimer that, while Russia certainly had the capability to affect vote tallies, they did not do so in 2016, thanks to the heroic work of the Obama team.
But we all have concerns. We know voting machines, like anything connected to the internet, can be hacked. We know Russia has both the capability and the motivation to hack them. We know that Putin was so desperate for Trump to win, and Hillary to lose, that he undertook extreme active measures to achieve that result. We know, further, that in his report to the British government, Christopher Steele specifically cited Russia’s “hacking and interference in Western elections, particularly the U.S. election of 2016.” We know that neither the federal nor any state government undertook a diagnostic test of voting machines after the 2016 election. We know that there were statistically significant discrepancies between vote tallies and exit polls in Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida in ‘16. We know that, unlike four years ago, the people in the West Wing are all, to a man, traitors. And we know that the president, who loves to telegraph his intentions, has been yowling about rigged elections for four years. Can we really depend upon an executive branch headed by Donald John Trump and Bill Fucking Barr to safeguard the election?
The investigative reporter Jenny Cohn has spent the last four years shouting from the rooftops about this stuff. Nothing could be duller than a granular analysis of the corporate structure of the various companies that manufacture electronic voting machines, but there are scary monsters down that warren of rabbit holes, as Cohn’s work shows. Vote fuckery is absolutely the elephant in the room—and it’s no coincidence that the animal in that metaphor is the symbol of the Republican party.
I asked a friend, who is a contract QA software test engineer, how a Russian hacking scheme might work. She explained:
Let’s say you and I work for the same company. I’m here in LA, you’re in New York. I send a document to your printer. I think that document will print in GREEN ink for the font. However, unbeknownst to me, it prints out in PURPLE on your end, because of a line of code in the software we both use, that we’re not privy to. Unless you TELL ME, “Hey, fun purple font you used,” I'd never know.
Translate that to voting software. Someone thinks they’re voting for Biden, their print out/receipt says they voted for Biden, but the software tells the tabulation server that it’s a vote for Trump. The totals are the same at the precinct.
Propriety software is thorny, she told me, because only the owners of the code can actually verify the results. Human eyes can’t read bar codes. (And this is where I point out that “proprietary software” means trademarks, and that Ivanka Trump has some business interests that involve voting machine trademarks, at least in China—although my guess is that this is both coincidental and irrelevant to what’s happening here).
Here in California, we’ve got a new system of voting machines that gives you a printout, that you then put in the ballot box—and a scanner counts the votes because each one has a QR (or similar) code on it. But because the e-voting machine software is proprietary, and no one can audit it to see if it’s legit or not, that QR code could be a giant lie, and not what the rest of the ballot says at all.
Let me emphasize: it could be. I’m not saying it is, or that this will actually happen. While there is plenty to worry about, lord knows, the situation is not entirely hopeless.
First, powerful people are making their voices heard. No less an authority than Dan Coats, the former Director of National Intelligence—and hardly a tree-hugging, Subaru-driving liberal—expressed his concerns in yesterday’s New York Times. They concern election legitimacy, not election security:
The most urgent task American leaders face is to ensure that the election’s results are accepted as legitimate. Electoral legitimacy is the essential linchpin of our entire political culture. We should see the challenge clearly in advance and take immediate action to respond.
Coats called for an independent bipartisan commission, composed of “congressional leaders, current and former governors, ‘elder statespersons,’ former national security leaders, perhaps the former Supreme Court justices David Souter and Anthony Kennedy, and business leaders from social media companies” that would
not circumvent existing electoral reporting systems or those that tabulate, evaluate or certify the results. But it would monitor those mechanisms and confirm for the public that the laws and regulations governing them have been scrupulously and expeditiously followed — or that violations have been exposed and dealt with — without political prejudice and without regard to political interests of either party.
This suggests that Coats is less concerned with the results being contaminated than with the blitzkrieg of disinformation Trump and his allies are certain to unleash when it becomes clear that he’s the loser. Basically, Trump and his crack propaganda team are going to scream bloody murder about how the election was rigged by the Deep State, and how Biden is the one who cheated. It’ll be “You’re the puppet” all over again.
Plus: even if Trump has given the car keys to the Kremlin, elections in this country are managed by the states, not the federal government. California, run by a Democratic administration, is the sixth largest economy in the world, and presumably can afford to manage its own election security. The governor of Wisconsin is a Democrat, as are the governors of Michigan and Pennsylvania. So there is cause for optimism there—but how much faith can we have in Laurel M. Lee, the Secretary of State of Florida, where Trump lickspittle Ron DeSantis—nicknamed “DeathSantis” because of his negligent covid-19 response—calls the shots?
Furthermore, NATO is still a thing, and its members are bound to protect us from foreign attack. Am I crazy to believe that Germany and France and Canada and the Netherlands and Estonia with its excellent intelligence services can and will help deter Putin on November 3?
It bears repeating: Anything connected to the internet can be hacked. The only foolproof way to stave off vote hackers is to stay offline. Hand-counted paper—mail-in ballots—are the way to go.
Trump and his collaborators in the GOP and the GRU know this, which explains the right-out-in-the-open dismantling of the US Postal Service by “logistics” company CEO and MAGA mega-donor Louis DeJoy. Anyone installed in such a vital position by this corrupt administration, this late in the game, should be regarded with extreme suspicion, if not outright contempt. But a guy who looks and talks like a bit player on The Sopranos, and who started his lucrative career running a family trucking company in New York City, and who plays fast and loose with the law, was a walking red flag even before he took the job and started to break shit. Bags of mail are literally falling off the backs of trucks, which, as Lincoln’s Bible pointed out on a recent Narativ broadcast, is Mob 101 stuff. It sure looks like Trump named DeJoy Postmaster General to fuck with the mail-in ballots—by any means necessary:
There has already been a public outcry about this, and yesterday a federal judge weighed in, basically ordering the General DeJerkoff to cut it out:
Although sabotaging mail-in voting is the ostensible motive, the dismantling of the USPS has ripple effects. Medications are being lost in the mail at an alarming rate, so patients are going without their medicine. Small businesses are suffering. This is only going to get worse as November approaches. DeJoy must go—hopefully by indictment in North Carolina. Exhausting as hyper-vigilance is, we must keep up the popular pressure. The more pressure citizens put on the board members of the USPS to remove DeJoy, the better. Here is how they can be contacted:
In the meantime, ballot drop boxes are a terrific workaround. Most voters have the capability to vote at home, and drop the ballot off to the box. Not all municipalities have them, but lobby for them if you can.
Be vigilant. Be patient—especially on election night, when the result is not likely to be immediately known. Expect GOP dirty tricks.
And take heart! Trump lost the popular vote by almost three million votes, against an opponent who was the target of a 30-year smear campaign by the rightwing media. He won the White House by virtue of razor-thin margins in three key swing states. His victory was secured by 77,000-some-odd voters—a blip.
Cheating only works if the vote totals are close. These won’t be close. Twenty-twenty won’t be Putin in ’18, but I expect the result to be closer to Nixon ’72 than Bush ’00. This November, no one will have to remind Vlad to DO NOT CONGRATULATE.
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