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Time for change

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To Say there Is No Evidence of Collusion of the Trump Campaign with Russia Is a DAMN LIE

I am so sick of hearing that there is “no evidence of collusion” in the Mueller report. This talking point, initially spurred by William Barr’s summary of the Mueller report, has become such a part of our culture that I hear even Democrats and progressive news reporters repeat it all the time. In fact, I rarely hear anyone stating that the Mueller report does indeed include any evidence collusion. The statement in the Barr’s summary that has spurred this nonsense was “The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” Barr says nothing about collusion in his summary. He is able to do that because Mueller specifically says in the introduction to his report that he will not use the word “collusion” in his report because it is a lay term rather than a legal term.

Barr’s statement soon morphed into virtually everyone saying that the Mueller investigation found no evidence of collusion, or that his investigation came up empty on that subject. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I’ve read the Mueller report, and Part I of the report contains tons of evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. The assertion that no evidence of collusion was found is a very toxic lie because Republicans use it all the time to discredit Democratic efforts to hold Trump accountable for this and all the crimes that he has committed.


Collusion is defined in Wikipedia as “a secret cooperation or deceitful agreement in order to deceive others, although not necessarily illegal, as is a conspiracy.” One takeaway from this definition is that collusion is much like a conspiracy, except that it is not necessarily illegal, and thus it is a lay term rather than a legal term, nor does it have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to use the term. But failing to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt certainly is very different than saying that there is no evidence for that something.

Mueller makes it clear on page 2 of his report that “In evaluating whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of “collusion.” Indeed, Mueller barely uses the term “collusion” in his whole report. Yet the report is full of evidence of collusion. Here are a few examples:

Pages 6-7: “On August 2, 2016, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met in New York City with his long-time business associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI assesses to have ties to Russian intelligence. Kilimnik requested the meeting to deliver in person a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort acknowledged to the Special Counsel’s Office was a “backdoor” way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine; both men believed the plan would require candidate Trump’s assent to succeed (were he to be elected President). They also discussed the status of Trump Campaign and Manafort’s strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states. Months before that meeting, Manafort had caused internal polling data to be shared with Kilimnik, and the sharing continued for some period of time after their August meeting.”

Page 33: “Among the U.S. “leaders of public opinion” targeted by the IRA (The IRA, or Internet Research Agency, is an entity supported by the Russian government for the purpose of helping Trump to win the 2016 election) ”were various members and surrogates of the Trump Campaign. In total, Trump Campaign affiliates promoted dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.”

Page 35: “Starting in June 2016, the IRA contacted different U.S. persons affiliated with the Trump Campaign in an effort to coordinate pro-Trump IRA-organized rallies inside the United States. In all cases, the IRA contacted the Campaign while claiming to be U.S. political activists working on behalf of a conservative grassroots organization.”

Section D, starting on page 51: The title of this whole section is “Trump campaign and the dissemination of hacked materials”. The “hacked materials” refer to materials hacked by Russia. How could the Trump campaign have disseminated these Russian hacked materials without first colluding with Russia on the issue?

Page 6: “In July 2016, Campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page traveled in his personal capacity to Moscow… After returning to the United States, Page became acquainted with at least two Russian intelligence officers, one of whom was later charged in 2015 with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of Russia. Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow and his advocacy for pro-Russian foreign policy drew media attention.”

Page 89: “Papadopoulos (then a Trump Campaign official) suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.”

Page 95: “On August 23, 2016, Millian (President of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in the USA) sent a Facebook message to Papadopoulos promising that he would “share with you a disruptive technology that might be instrumental in your political work for the campaign.””

Page 109: “During the August 17 meeting, Simes (a Russian businessman) provided Kushner the Clinton-related information that he had promised.”

These are just some examples. There are plenty more in Part I of the Mueller Report. All of Part I contains only evidence of Russia’s efforts to get Trump elected, and Trump campaign officials to communicate with Russian government officials or influential Russian private citizens, mostly with contacts to the Russian government, and especially with regard to evidence of Trump officials to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.

I am not claiming that any of the examples I’ve provided here provide proof of collusion. But to say that they don’t provide evidence of collusion, especially when all taken together, is ridiculous.


On page 185 of Volume I of the report, Mueller writes “The Office considered whether to charge Trump Campaign officials with crimes in connection with the June 9 meeting described in Volume I…” This was the meeting that most people are familiar with regarding the investigation into whether a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump Campaign took place. It is the meeting for which Donald Trump Jr. received in an e-mail “an offer from Russia’s Crown Prosecutor” of “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to {Trump Jr.’s} father.” Trump Jr. responded “if it’s what you say I love it…”. This soon led to a the June 9 meeting in Trump Tower, which included Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, then the Trump Campaign Chairman, among many others.

Mueller goes on to say “The Office considered whether this evidence would establish a conspiracy to violate the foreign contributions ban in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; the solicitation of an illegal foreign-source contribution; or the acceptance or receipt of “an express or implied promise to make a foreign-source contribution”.” After explaining why the June 9 meeting could constitute one or more of these crimes (In that the meeting was arranged with the expectation that the Trump Campaign would receive dirt on Hillary Clinton (referred to in the law as “a thing of value”) from a foreign source at this meeting, Mueller provides three reasons to conclude that the evidence does not “establish” (By which he means proof beyond a reasonable doubt) any crime. These reasons are as follows:

1) “The government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the June 9 meeting participants had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful.” In other words, it would be difficult to prove that Manafort, Trump Jr., and Kushner knew that what they were doing was illegal.

2) “The Office would also encounter difficulty proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the value of the promised documents and information exceeds the $2,000 threshold for a criminal violation…”. In other words, it would be difficult to prove that the value of obtaining scandalous information of Trump’s only opponent for the U.S. Presidency was worth $2,000 or more.

3) The last reason is more difficult for me to understand precisely. Basically, what Mueller says is that a conviction for this potential crime is unprecedented, in that the “thing of value” is being offered for free, rather than the Trump campaign specifically offering to pay for them.

I find these three reasons ridiculously deferential to the Trump Campaign, but you can judge for yourselves. For these three reasons, Mueller is able to say in his report summary that he could not establish a conspiracy for this potential crime. And he won’t even mention the word “collusion” with respect to them because collusion is a lay term rather than a legal term.

Again – To say that there is no evidence of collusion in the Mueller report or that it came up empty is a very toxic lie, because Republicans use it against Democrats all the time to discredit Democratic efforts to hold Trump accountable for anything, saying that they have tried to get rid of him before day 1 of his Presidency.

Posted by Time for change | Thu Jan 23, 2020, 11:02 AM (5 replies)

A Common Thread in Recent U.S. Presidential Elections Where the Popular Vote Winner Didn't Win

There have been five Presidential elections in U.S. history where the popular vote winner failed to win the election. Because that was the case in two of our last five elections (2000 and 2016), this has spurred a good deal of interest in abolishing the Electoral College. I don’t disagree with abolishing the Electoral College. However, the Electoral College seems to have been the main culprit in only one of the five discordant Presidential elections. There is another issue, connected with the most recent two discordant elections, which appears to be far more important than the Electoral College in undermining our democracy. Whether or not the Electoral College gets abolished anytime soon, I fear that failure to address that issue very soon could be catastrophic for our country, with Trump winning re-election in 2020.

Election of 1824 – Decided by U.S. House of Representatives

The Presidential election of 1824 was ultimately decided by neither the popular vote nor the Electoral College. The ultimate winner of that election, John Quincy Adams, won only 31% of the popular vote, while Andrew Jackson won 41% of the popular vote and also won more Electoral Votes than any of the other three candidates. But since no candidate won a majority of Electoral Votes, the election was thrown into the House of Representatives, as required by our Constitution, and Adams prevailed. I have great admiration for John Quincy Adams, because after losing his bid for re-election four years later (to Jackson), he won election to Congress two years after that, where he soon became the strongest anti-slavery voice in Congress until he died 17 years later, at his desk in Congress. But surely he didn’t deserve to win the 1824 Presidential election based on the election results.

Election of 1876 – Decided by special “Electoral Commission”

Likewise, the initial results in the election of 1876 showed alignment between the popular vote and the Electoral College. That election was decided almost four months after Election Day 1876, by a special “Electoral Commission” that was convened because of allegations of foul play – specifically voter suppression of African American voters – by three Southern states (FL, LA, and SC). The Democratic candidate, Samuel Tilden, won the initial popular vote by 51% to 48%, and also won the Electoral College by 19 Electoral Votes, with an additional 20 Electoral votes that Tilden preliminarily won being disputed (19 of the 20 disputed votes were disputed because of alleged voter suppression). Following much negotiation and deliberation, the Electoral Commission eventually gave all 20 disputed Electoral Votes to the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, who thereby won the election by one Electoral Vote. The decision of the Commission was in large part determined by a deal that ended the Reconstruction Era, thereby terminating the federal protection that the freed slaves had enjoyed following their liberation during and soon after the end of the Civil War. The ending of Reconstruction inaugurated a very long era of eradication of voting rights and violent terrorism against the freed Southern slaves and their descendants.

Election of 1888 – Decided by Electoral College

The election of 1888 was the first Presidential election, and the only one ever that was not marred by judicial interference (See discussion of the 2000 and 2016 elections below), with discordant results between the popular vote and the Electoral College results. The incumbent Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland, won the popular vote by 0.8% but lost in the Electoral College to the Republican, Benjamin Harrison. Cleveland ran against Harrison again in 1892, and that time won both the popular vote and the Electoral College.

Election of 2000 – Decided by the U.S. Supreme Court

As with the Election of 1876, the Election of 2000, although technically determined by the Electoral College, was actually determined by the decision of a judicial body – in this case the U.S. Supreme Court. In what is widely considered one of the three worst and unjustified (not to mention corrupt) Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history, the Florida recount of the vote was stopped cold by the Supreme Court, thereby handing the Presidency to George W. Bush. The Democratic candidate, Al Gore, had won the U.S. popular vote by 0.5%, but the Supreme Court decision gave Florida and its 25 Electoral votes to Bush by the narrowest margin ever (537 votes) in a state that determined the winner of a Presidential election, giving Bush a four vote Electoral College victory. The cheating in this election was too widespread and complex to discuss here, but suffice it to say that future analyses showed beyond a reasonable doubt that Gore would have won if the counting hadn’t been stopped prematurely by the corrupt Supreme Court decision.

Election of 2016 – Trump campaign squelches recount of highly suspicious vote counts in five states

That brings us to the most recent Presidential election with a discrepancy between the popular vote and the election winner. That is the most important part of my discussion in this post, because if we fail to learn from it and fail to take corrective action, I fear that the results will be repeated in 2020. I have heard a good deal of argument that the Presidential Election of 2016 shows why the Electoral College must be abolished. As I noted above, I don’t disagree that the Electoral College should be abolished. But I doubt very much that that will happen prior to the 2020 election, and there is another, more important lesson that we can learn from the 2016 fiasco, which could allow us to take successful preventive action in time to prevent a repeat of 2016.

As in 1876 and 2000, judicial decisions likely played a critically important role in 2016. Based on pre-election polls, Trump won five states in 2016 that he was widely expected to lose (FL, NC, MI, PA, WI). More important, exit polls showed Clinton winning four of those states (FL, NC, PA, WI) and in a virtual tie with Trump in Michigan. In three of those states (NC, PA, WI), the differences between the exit polls and the official results were beyond the statistical margin of error. In summary, Clinton won the U.S. popular vote by 2.1%, while losing 5 states she was expected to win, by very small margins, with exit polls showing she should have won at least 4 of those states. The margin of the Trump victory was less than 1% in three of those states (MI, PA, WI), a very rare occurrence in U.S. history. Winning any three of the states with suspicious results, or even various combinations of just two of those states would have given Clinton an Electoral College victory.

Because of these highly suspicious circumstances, one of the 2016 losing Presidential candidates, Jill Stein, citing “compelling evidence of voting anomalies” and data analysis indicating “significant discrepancies in vote totals”, and urged by tens or hundreds of thousands of American citizens, attempted to raise money for vote recounts in all 5 states with suspicious results. She quickly raised $4.5 million for the recounts, but it was only enough money for recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

The Trump campaign then fought her efforts to obtain recounts in those three states. The end result was that state courts in Pennsylvania and Michigan supported the Trump campaign’s effort to block the recounts, while a Wisconsin court agreed to a recount, but specified that individual counties could elect to simply “recount” votes by re-running the same machines that provided the original count, rather than do hand recounts of paper ballots. This invalidated the whole recount because any serious errors that might have occurred in the machines were likely limited to those counties that elected to recount the votes by machine – which was the case in about one half of the Wisconsin counties.

What went wrong in 2016, and how can we prevent a repeat?

I have a critically important question about all this. Why didn’t our intelligence agencies get involved in this to demand or at least to strongly advise hand recounts in the 5 suspicious states? Our intelligence agencies had already determined that Russia had conspired to interfere in this election in favor of Trump. They also knew that, in accordance with that, Russia had hacked into our electronic voting databases in many if not all 50 states. And surely they knew that our electronic voting system is widely known to be highly vulnerable to hacking.

They did not know how successful, or what the specific results were of the Russian hacking into our state electronic voting databases. They did claim that they found no evidence that the hacking into our electronic voting databases altered the ultimate results of the election. But neither did they provide any evidence that the election results were not altered through electronic manipulation of our vote. When I hear this issue discussed by our national news media, they often seem more concerned about causing a loss of confidence in our Election system than in an actual altering of our election results. It’s as if electronic manipulation of national election results is a taboo subject.

By far the easiest and most accurate way to determine whether Russian (or other) manipulation of our electronic voting altered the results of the 2016 election would have been to simply recount the paper ballots for the suspicious states. Why didn’t our intelligence agencies demand this? This is an issue of such great importance that it shouldn’t fall to private citizens to raise huge sums of money to recount highly suspicious elections. This responsibility should fall to our federal government, and we should have laws that make this a high priority – not to be blocked by court decisions sponsored by the “winning” candidate. Yet apparent electronic manipulation of our vote has occurred several times in national elections in the 21st Century (with the more conservative candidate always the beneficiary) – with no meaningful hand recount of paper ballots invoked to dispel widespread suspicion. The circumstances surrounding the 2016 Presidential election SCREAMED to have our votes recounted, and yet our country sat by and allowed Donald Trump to block efforts to get to the bottom of this.

There is a fair amount of talk in our country about the need for all of our voting machines to be associated with a paper trail. (As of April 2019, twelve U.S. states still used paperless electronic machines as the primary voting machines in at least some jurisdictions.) However, I have never heard our mainstream news media even mention the fact that, even when paper trails are available they are rarely if ever used in a valid manner to conduct recounts in suspicious national elections, except when the margin of victory is extremely thin, as specified by law in some states. As noted by the Brennan Center for Justice, “Paper records of votes have limited value against a cyberattack if they are not used to check the accuracy of the software-generated total to confirm the veracity of election results”.

It is astounding and deeply disturbing to me that this was not done in the 2016 Presidential election, despite the highly suspicious circumstances AND the findings of our intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered in that election in behalf of Donald Trump and also had access to some unknown numbers of our state electronic voting databases. What kind of country is it that allows such things to occur and won’t even conduct recounts of paper ballots in an attempt ascertain the status of the integrity of our Presidential elections?

We’d better be prepared for a repeat of 2016, with plans for an aggressive response, including a mandatory recount of paper ballots in states with suspicious results, if we want to reduce the likelihood of another election catastrophe in 2020.
Posted by Time for change | Sun Oct 6, 2019, 02:05 PM (9 replies)

The Great Need for Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

I am terribly concerned about the reluctance of the Democratic House leadership to pursue Trump impeachment vigorously and expeditiously. The only potentially good reason not to do so is the theoretical political consideration that it could impair Democratic chances in 2020 of winning the House, Senate, and/or Presidency, as well as various state and local offices. Thus, hopes and plans for the Democratic Party leadership are to beat Trump and his Party at the polls in 2020, with impeachment being a much less important objective, if it’s any objective at all.

But there are several problems with that line of reasoning. First and foremost, our intelligence agencies have told us in no uncertain terms that Russia is planning again to interfere with the 2020 election on behalf of Trump and his Party. Nobody knows all the specifics of how they are planning to do so, or how likely are their chances of success. We know that they are again planning to conduct a social media campaign to influence U.S. voters. More ominous in my opinion is their potential to hack into our electronic voting machines and thereby manipulate the vote count. We know that our voting machines are vulnerable to such manipulation, and we know that Russia will attempt to hack into and manipulate them. The only question is how successful they will be in doing so.

Yet, Trump steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that this is a significant problem, and more important, he clearly is taking no steps to combat it. While our Senate refuses to even consider taking steps to combat this great danger to our democracy, and even repeatedly blocks Democratic efforts to do so, Trump, while providing lip service to the need for election security, refuses to exert any leadership in urging his Republican Senate to do anything about it. That in itself should be considered an impeachable offense. And it should require no further investigation to establish. The evidence for Russian interference in our election was extensively documented in Part I of the Mueller Report, which clearly stated that the interference was “welcomed” by the Trump administration. It is further extensively documented by U.S. intelligence agencies. If refusal to address this grave danger is not considered an impeachable offense, then our democracy has little chance of surviving much longer.

How to achieve victory at the polls despite Russian interference

If no steps are taken to combat Russian interference in our next election, then our best and perhaps only hope is a massive influx of Democratic and other anti-Trump and anti-Republican voters to cancel out whatever election manipulation the Russians are successful in achieving.

But Democratic leadership in the House apparently fears that an unsuccessful attempt at impeachment, or conviction in the Senate, will result in a backlash against the Democratic Party, leading to defeat at the polls in 2020. They say that a Republican Senate will never convict Trump following a successful impeachment, and that the American people are not yet ready for impeachment, as suggested by polls that fail to show a majority of the American people currently in favor of impeachment.

But polls on impeachment depend on how the poll question is phrased. Most polls that I’ve seen ask merely whether or not Trump should be impeached or if the House should hold impeachment proceedings. Such polls generally have shown the percentage of Americans in favor of impeachment to be in the high 30s to low 40s. But many more Americans would be in favor of an impeachment inquiry.

Furthermore, an official impeachment inquiry would be televised, as were the Watergate hearings of the 1970s. Many Americans who currently say that they are not in favor of impeachment simply are not well informed on the subject. A well-structured and televised impeachment inquiry would bring to the attention of the American people on a daily basis the multitude of reasons why Donald Trump is unfit to be President. I don’t see how that could fail to sway public opinion against him and substantially hurt his prospects of being re-elected. Furthermore, as that happens, Republican Congresspersons and Senators and would be faced with a great dilemma. They could either go along with the Democrats in voting for impeachment and conviction, respectively, or they could choose to try to explain to their constituents why they failed to do so. I suspect that many who choose the latter course would be voted out of office in November 2020.

Historical data on the political effects of attempts at impeachment in the United States

To help evaluate that opinion, let’s take a look at the historical data on the subject. There have been three previous impeachment attempts or threatened impeachment in the United States: 1) In 1868, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson on eleven articles of impeachment, which all centered around his firing of a cabinet officer, which at the time was against federal law. He escaped conviction in the Senate by one vote; 2) In 1974, following extensive televised hearings on crimes related to a break-in at Democratic National Committee Headquarters, involving three articles of impeachment (obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress), President Richard Nixon resigned from office, knowing that he would otherwise be impeached by the House and probably convicted and removed from office by the Senate; 3) In December 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury and “obstruction of justice”, primarily related to consensual sex with a 22 year old intern who worked for him. He was acquitted in the Senate in February 1999.

Following his acquittal in the Senate, President Andrew Johnson ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 1868, but won less than a third of the delegates on the first ballot, and failed to win the nomination. The Republican Party, which impeached him, held onto both the House (though with a loss of 4 seats) and the Senate (with no change in composition), and they won the Presidency (Ulysses S. Grant).

In the Congressional elections of 1974, the Democratic Party, which had led the impeachment effort against Nixon, won their House election 291-144, representing a whopping gain of 49 seats. They also won their Senate elections 23-11 and held onto their Senate majority, with a gain of three seats. In the next Presidential election, of 1974, Nixon’s former Vice President, and current President, Gerald Ford, narrowly won the Republican primary, and then lost the general election to Jimmy Carter.

Because Bill Clinton’s impeachment occurred in December of 1998, the Congressional elections of that year occurred prior to impeachment, but while the impeachment effort was a hot issue. However, there was little if any effect on the elections, as the impeaching Party, the Republicans, held onto their House majority (though losing four seats) and their Senate majority (with no change in Senate composition). Following the impeachment and acquittal in the Senate, the Republicans continued to hold onto their House majority in the election of 2000 (though losing two seats), as well as the Senate (though losing 4 seats in the Senate). They also gained the Presidency, with George W. Bush defeating Clinton’s Vice President, Al Gore, though that election was the closest Presidential election in U.S. history, Gore won the popular vote, and Bush’s victory was highly controversial (I would say stolen, though that is not the subject of this post.)

Thus, in summary, past history shows no support whatsoever for the theory that the impeaching Party is likely to suffer adverse political consequences. To the contrary, they won the Presidency in each of the three elections following the impeachment effort, did not suffer a loss of either House of Congress in any of the elections, and indeed, picked up 49 House seats following the impeachment effort against Nixon. In contrast to impressive gains by the impeaching Party following the impeachment efforts against Johnson and Nixon, the results were pretty much neutral following the impeachment and acquittal of Clinton. However, it is important to note that the seriousness of the charges were far more substantial against Johnson and Nixon than those against Clinton. Charges against Trump should be even more serious.

Some very serious impeachable offenses committed by Trump that should require little or no further investigation

It is highly doubtful that when our Founding Fathers wrote the impeachment clause in Article Two, Section Four of our Constitution, that they intended impeachment to be limited to offenses that could result in criminal convictions in court. There are a multitude of offenses that are not defined as criminal, and yet would obviously make a person totally unfit to be President of the United States. Regarding the term “high crimes and misdemeanors”, when our Constitution was written, a misdemeanor was not defined as a crime. What then is a “high misdemeanor” supposed to mean. This is not defined in our Constitution, and there is little agreement on precisely what it means. However, certainly it should include any offense that clearly makes one unfit to hold the office of President. There is very little disagreement on that. One typical suggested definition for "high crimes and misdemeanors" is, for example: “acts so dangerous to the public that he may not be allowed to remain in office until the next election”.

Nor is there any mention in the Constitution that in order to “convict” a President to remove him from office (I don’t believe that our original Constitution, written in the 18th Century, allowed women to be President), that the stringent criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” should be applied. Everyone should have basic human rights, which includes a right to freedom, except in extraordinary circumstances, such as being found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, of serious criminal offenses. But nobody has an inalienable right to be President of the United States. Our Constitution includes an impeachment clause because of the necessity of removing a President from office if found to be unit for the office or dangerous to our country.

Given that, here are some things that I believe should be a slam dunk for impeachment of Donald Trump, with little or need for any further investigation. I believe that there are actually hundreds of impeachable offenses that he’s committed since becoming President, but these are just some of the most obvious and easy to establish:

1. Obstruction of Justice, as extensively detailed in Volume II of the Mueller report.

2. Collusion with Russia to enable them to interfere in the 2016 election, as extensively detailed in Volume I of the Mueller report. Note: Although the Mueller report states that Mueller’s investigation did not establish “conspiracy” with Russia, as legally defined, beyond a reasonable doubt, the report does extensively describe collusion of the Trump campaign with Russia’s effort to assist them, throughout much of the more than 200 pages of Volume I, under the general rubric that Trump “welcomed” Russia’s assistance.

3. Refusal to take any steps to ensure a fair election in 2020, despite unanimous or near unanimous conclusions of Trump’s own intelligence agencies that Russia will again interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections to manipulate them in Trump’s favor.

4. Refusal to release his tax returns, as required by law – not to mention extensive aggressive efforts to prevent anyone else from releasing them.

5. Refusal to obey Congressional subpoenas – not to mention aggressive efforts to prevent numerous potential witnesses from obeying Congressional subpoenas relating to Congressional investigation of potentially impeachable offenses committed by Trump.

6. Numerous incidents of public incitement to violence, evidenced by numerous publicly available videos.

7. Habitually lying to the American people, as documented in more than ten thousand incidents, by the Washington Post.

8. Taking hypocrisy to absurd lengths by making punishment of undocumented immigrants the primary centerpiece of his campaign and presidency, while knowingly and simultaneously employing a multitude of such immigrants as cheap labor for his own businesses.

9. Wantonly cruel treatment of immigrants, including but not at all limited to separation of children from their parents, in some cases associated with deaths.

10. Using the office of the Presidency in multiple ways to enrich himself.

11. Failure to take any action against, or even acknowledging Saudi Arabia’s brutal murder of an American resident.

Concluding remarks

Our Founding Fathers recognized that democracy is a fragile system, which requires constant vigilance by those who have it, in order to keep it. That was a major reason why they included an impeachment clause in our Constitution. The above items and much else in Trump’s behavior as President have consistently demonstrated his utter disregard for our laws and our Constitution, and his seething contempt for Congress, all of our public institutions including the Office of the Presidency, the American people, and all other peoples of the world, with the exception of a few powerful and brutal dictators. And clearly, he has no moral compass whatsoever.

To allow such a man to remain as our President without making a vigorous attempt to get rid of him, in accordance with our Constitution, is a disgrace to our country and to all those in a position of power who refuse to fight back. It reminds me of how Hitler took over Nazi Germany. Like Hitler, Trump often talks about being “President for life”. He does so with a transparent pretense of just joking about it, but I’m quite sure that that is his goal – and that he will stop at nothing to achieve it, especially given the potential consequences to him if he doesn’t remain in office. He has bragged publicly that, in his fight against Democrats, he has the military, the police, and all sorts of other tough guys on his side. Does anyone really believe that he wouldn’t make our country into a police state if he could? He is clearly attempting to replace our whole government with nothing but obsequious devotees who he can count on to put loyalty to him personally above loyalty to our country or anything else. The longer he stays in power, the closer he gets to achieving that. Already, our Department of Justice is nothing but a Trump servant.

We must fight back, and impeachment is the only legal, non-violent way to do it. We cannot count on an election that is a year and a half away, and likely to be rigged to some unknown extent, to get rid of him. Even if he is ultimately acquitted by his Republican Senate, history suggests that daily televised hearings of his many offenses against our country are far more likely to weaken him than they are to cause a backlash in his favor.

I am aware that Jerry Nadler, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has stated that in some sense an impeachment inquiry is already underway. I am grateful for that as a move in the right direction. But I have two problems with it. One is that it is currently unofficial, which means that it is not televised. Consequently, whatever inquiry is currently underway, it is not generating much public support for impeachment, as did the Watergate Hearings of 1973-4, which generated so much public pressure against Richard Nixon that he was forced to resign, rather than face an actual impeachment vote and trial and conviction in the Senate. Secondly, Nadler has stated that this informal “impeachment inquiry” might or might not result in an actual impeachment vote in the House, depending upon where the inquiry leads. That statement suggests that we don’t already have a mountain of evidence for impeachable offenses against Trump – which is preposterous. For these reasons, and given the apparent extreme reluctance to impeachment of the House leadership, I am not at all certain that the current informal impeachment inquiry is going to be fruitful.

If you agree with what I’ve written here, please contact your Congressperson to urge them to support impeachment if they haven’t already done so, or to show support for them if they already have.
Posted by Time for change | Tue Aug 13, 2019, 12:00 PM (41 replies)

Jill Stein Campaign Response to Accusation of Use of 2016 Recount Money for Legal Defense

An article by Charles Davis in the Daily Beast was featured in a recent DU post that blasted Jill Stein for using leftover money she raised for a recount of the 2016 election for legal defense purposes. The Daily Beast article was published before allowing Stein or her campaign to respond to the allegations. The Stein campaign did respond later that same day (July 13, 2018), and the Daily Beast stuck the response at the very end of their article, while making no comment about it at any place in their article.

Given the Stein campaign’s response and what I know about Stein’s efforts to obtain a valid recount in selected states for the 2016 election, I feel that the Daily Beast article utterly failed to put the issue in a proper and fair context. Also, the DU post on this issue made no mention of Stein’s response, it was not noted by any of the DU responders to the post, and all the comments to the post that I saw were very negative towards Stein. Therefore, the purpose of this OP is to attempt to correct the record by putting this issue into what I consider to be a more appropriate and fair context. This was the Stein campaign’s response to the article:

Recount money was used to provide legal counsel for the Senate investigation of alleged Russian collusion that the recount and our campaign were accused of. It was outrageous that the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the recount of being a tool of Russian interference, when the recount was exactly the thing that could have detected any such election interference, had it not been obstructed. Legal counsel enabled us to defend the recount from the baseless accusations behind the Russia investigation, which allowed us to leverage the intense media interest in the Russia investigation to amplify the critical message that election integrity is our best defense against election interference.

That response makes perfect sense to me. If it is true, as indicated in the response, that “the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the recount of being a tool of Russian interference”, then using leftover recount money to pay for Stein’s legal defense was obviously legal and appropriate, and I don’t begrudge her that at all. Keep in mind that this “investigation” was engineered by our Republican Senators, and apparently by them alone. As such, I don’t have any more confidence in the validity of this investigation than I have in the House investigation of the Mueller probe of Trump or their continued investigation of the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal.

I have long believed that our election system is highly vulnerable to fraud and that it has been used as such on myriad occasions in the 21st Century. I believe that this is the primary reason why we are now ruled by a government that is so far to the right of the American people – including a radical right wing psychopath President, a radical right wing majority Supreme Court, a radical right wing majority Senate and House (until January 3, 2019), and a good majority of Republican state legislatures throughout our country.

The 2016 Presidential election produced some very strange results. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.1%, and yet lost the Electoral College resoundingly. Not counting three elections in U.S. history where the Electoral College did NOT choose our President (our President was chosen by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1824, by a special judiciary committee in 1876, and by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000, when they halted the vote counting in Florida), there had previously been only one time in U.S. history when the popular vote did not align with the Electoral College in a Presidential election. That was 1888, when the losing candidate, Grover Cleveland, won the popular vote by only 0.8%.

There were 5 states in 2016 that pre-election polls predicted Clinton would win, but which Trump won, by small margins – Michigan by 0.2%, Pennsylvania by 0.7%, Wisconsin by 0.8%, Florida by 1.2%, and North Carolina by 3.7%.

Exit polls are considered accurate enough in many countries that they are used to monitor the accuracy of election results. The United States too considers them accurate enough to have sponsored them in numerous countries in the 21st Century, as a means of monitoring their elections. Yet, although exit polls are routinely used in the United States, they are never used for the purpose of monitoring elections, even though they have greatly and consistently under-predicted Democratic candidate performance in Presidential, Congressional, and Gubernatorial elections since 2004.

Here is a table for the 2016 election that shows exit poll results, official vote counts, and “red shifts” for the 5 swing states that Trump won by small amounts after pre-election polls predicted a Clinton win. “Red shift” is the difference between the exit poll and the official vote count, when the official vote count is lower than the exit poll prediction for the more liberal candidate (if it is the other way around it is called a “blue shift”, but we’ve rarely seen blue shifts for state or national elections in the U.S. in the 21st Century).

State........................Exit poll result.....................Official vote count...............Red shift
North Carolina...........Clinton by 2.1%...................Trump by 3.7%..................5.8%
Pennsylvania.............Clinton by 4.4%...................Trump by 0.7%..................5.1%
Wisconsin.................Clinton by 3.9%...................Trump by 0.8%................. 4.7%
Florida......................Clinton by 1.3%...................Trump by 1.2%..................2.5%
Michigan...................Even...................................Trump by 0.2%..................0.2%

Red shifts high enough to flip the state from Clinton to Trump were seen in each of the 5 swing states. In 3 of those states (NC, PA, and WI) the red shift was larger than the statistical margin of error. Note the very small margins of victory for Trump in 4 out of the 5 states. The margin of victory in North Carolina was larger than the others, but so was the red shift.

The red shift for the popular vote (which doesn’t count for any electoral votes) was only 1.1% -- within the statistical margin of error. All of the above considerations rightly combined to cast a good deal of suspicion on the election results in the 5 swing states with red shifts (as well as pre-election polls for Clinton) that Trump won. Consequently, election integrity activists all over the country searched for a losing Presidential candidate to request recounts in those 5 states (only candidates are allowed to request recounts in the United States). Jill Stein was the only candidate to agree to do that. Some characterize her agreement to do that as “grandstanding”. They have a right to their opinion. But the fact of the matter is that recounts were desperately needed, as they held out the only hope for a reversal of what many believed to be fraudulent election results, with the election of a President that many believed to pose a grave danger to our country.

The Trump campaign attempted to block all three recount requests in state courts. In summary: The Pennsylvania recount was disallowed, the Michigan recount was initially approved but quickly struck down on appeal shortly after the recount was started, and the Wisconsin recount was allowed, but individual counties were given the option of doing the recount by using the same machines that provided the initial vote counts. About half of the Wisconsin counties chose to conduct the recount with those machines, which made the statewide recount worthless.

There is a great taboo in the United States against questioning the accuracy or integrity of our electronic voting machines. Losing candidates who do so by requesting hand recounts are lambasted by our corporate news media as “sore losers”, as was Al Gore in 2000. Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich was one of our biggest advocates in Congress for secure elections, until his District suddenly disappeared, thus ending his Congressional career. There have also been some associated deaths of brave people who have attempted to shine a light on election fraud at very high levels.

Thus, in 2004 John Kerry conceded a highly suspect Presidential election on the day after Election Day without requesting a recount, and in 2016 Hillary Clinton did the same. In both cases it fell upon the Green Party to fund the needed recounts, and in both cases the needed recounts were either not done or conducted in such an inadequate or corrupt manner that they were worthless.

It is easy to say in retrospect that the recount attempt in 2016 was a worthless exercise that shouldn’t have been attempted. But to those of us who strongly believe that our election system has been widely corrupted by the use of voting machines that lack public accountability, the 2016 recounts of the 5 states in question provided the best potential opportunity to begin the process of restoring our democracy.

Thus, I give Jill Stein a great deal of credit for making that attempt. Given the great taboo in our country against questioning the validity of election results, and knowing the character of our Republican Senate, as well as the fact that thus far no credible evidence has emerged against Stein, I find it likely that the Senate’s “investigation” of Jill Stein is without merit and in large part if not wholly motivated by her attempt to obtain information bearing on the integrity of the 2016 Presidential election results.
Posted by Time for change | Mon Dec 31, 2018, 01:24 PM (58 replies)

The Florida 2018 elections for U.S. Senator and Governor Are Highly Suspicious

Shortly prior to the 2018 midterms I contacted the Orange County, Florida (where I live) supervisor of elections to ask them how they intended to ensure that our votes are counted accurately. The answer was that audits would be conducted on statistically valid samples of ballots, and that this would be followed up by hand recounts where audits provided a red flag for serious errors. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that because of our country’s history of woefully inadequate election security and integrity in the 21st Century.

Following the election and the calling of the governor and Senator elections in Florida, I again contacted the Orange County supervisor of elections to follow up on their audit plans. I was told that there would be no audit because the machine recounts (for both elections) and hand recount (for the Senator election) made audits unnecessary. I tried to explain why the partial recounts that were done in no way made audits or follow-up full hand recounts unnecessary – but to no avail.

The partial hand recount of the Florida Senate election strongly suggests fraud (see below). The 2018 machine and partial hand recounts of the governor and U.S. Senate races in Florida were woefully inadequate as a means of ruling out fraud because: The machine recounts are inadequate for that purpose simply because if they had been programmed for fraud prior to the election there would be no good reason to believe that recounting of the votes by the same machines would produce a significantly different result than the original count.

The hand recount included only under- and over-votes, which amounted to about 32,000 ballots, less than 0.4% of the full Florida vote count. I’ve read two somewhat conflicting accounts of the results, but they both indicate substantial narrowing of Rick Scott’s lead over bill Nelson. According to CNN, Scott’s lead of 12,603 votes decreased by more than 2,500 votes following the hand recount. According to the Miami Herald, only 410 additional valid votes for Nelson and 136 valid votes for Scott were found from the recount (2). Although these accounts appear to contradict each other, there are two very important points that need to be emphasized about either scenario: 1) Nelson’s gains on the hand recount in either case are far too great to be attributed to random statistical error (I used statistics on a daily basis for 40 years in my career as an epidemiologist). The odds against such gains occurring by random chance are astronomical – exceeding odds of millions to one; and, 2) Given that the hand recount involved less than 0.4% of Florida’s ballots, if similar differences were found in the rest of the state in a follow-up recount, Nelson’s gains would exceed his current deficit by tens of thousands of votes, even using the lower vote count difference noted above.

I am not implying that the above proves election fraud – though it is certainly very suggestive of that. But certainly any election system geared towards ensuring the accuracy of the vote count would mandate a state-wide hand recount of the Senate race under these circumstances (and the governor’s race if the Senate recount changed the results of the election).
Posted by Time for change | Sat Dec 29, 2018, 04:41 PM (40 replies)

On the Criticism of Elizabeth Warren for Publicizing her DNA Test Results

I find the criticisms of Elizabeth Warren for publicizing her DNA test results to be so inappropriate that I suspect them to be largely if not totally politically motivated.


There are two lines of criticism that I am aware of. One is a criticism – unsupported by any evidence that I have ever seen or heard, notwithstanding the repeated assertions of perhaps the most bigoted man to ever occupy the U.S. Presidency – discussed in an ABC News article by Chris Francescani, provocatively titled “The real problem with Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Test: Geneticists”. That article notes allegations that Warren has used her assertions of Native American heritage to further her career – such as to obtain school scholarships, jobs, or tax relief (Unlike Trump, Warren has made her tax returns public).

The other line of criticism, also noted in the ABC News article, goes along the following lines:

“… using DNA to claim an ancestral affiliation with Native Americans contravenes contemporary notions of Native American identity, and to some in the Native American community is simply insulting… Some experts… saw Warren’s DNA test as an affront to Native Americans’ spiritual heritage, which is based on long and deeply-held tribal beliefs that the tribes have for centuries occupied the land on which their reservations sit”.

Really? Warren’s DNA test result somehow has something to do with Native American claims to their ancestral lands?

Warren’s Defense

Regarding the allegation that Warren has used assertions of Native American heritage for political or financial gain, she says “Let me be clear I have never asked for, never got any benefit because of my heritage. The people who hired me have all said they didn’t even know about it”. The Boston Globe has backed her up on that:

In the most exhaustive review undertaken of Elizabeth Warren’s professional history, the Globe found clear evidence, in documents and interviews, that her claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty, which voted resoundingly to hire her, or by those who hired her to four prior positions at other law schools. At every step of her remarkable rise in the legal profession, the people responsible for hiring her saw her as a white woman.

Warren has not made a big deal about her claim to Native American heritage. In her book, “This Fight Is our Fight – The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class”, she uses deeply personal anecdotes from her life experiences to help make many of her points. It includes a 4-page sub-section titled “Fight Bigotry”, which includes a discussion of the bigotry stirred up by our current president, and concludes:

“It isn’t enough to declare in private that our own hearts are good. We stand up in public for those who are attacked and we call on others to stand up. That’s how we tell ourselves who we are. That’s how we let the rest of the world know what we stand for”.

In another section of the book she notes briefly, presumably to make a more personal statement about bigotry, that her father’s parents objected to the marriage of her parents because of her mother’s Native American heritage, but they eloped anyhow.

Her decision to get DNA tested was spurred only by Donald Trump’s repeated ridiculing of her claim, by mockingly referring to her as “Pocahontas”. Trump also promised Warren, in one of his typical rambling semi-coherent statements at one of his rallies (though the statement was more coherent than his statements often are), that if someday he was in a public debate with her, he would agree to donate a million dollars to her favorite charity “if you take the {DNA} test and it shows you’re an Indian”.

Interpreting Trump’s claim as promising to donate a million dollars to charity if she produced a DNA test positive for Native American heritage (whether or not her interpretation of his promise was correct is not my point), Warren publicly released a report by a Stanford University professor who analyzed her DNA sample and concluded “strong evidence” of Native American ancestry from 6-10 generations ago.

It is important to point out, in response to the criticism that the DNA evidence that Warren presented
was not definitively conclusive, and that even if it was, it says nothing about her being actively affiliated with any Native American tribe, that Warren never made any such claims. She only presented the DNA evidence and her mother’s assertion to her of Native American heritage when she was a child, regarding her heritage. Her only reason for publicly revealing the test result was to rebuke the President of the United States for his repeated mocking of her over a period of more than two years, and to request that he pay up on his promise. It may also be significant that she designated a Native American charity devoted to protecting Native American women against violence, for him to send the money to.

Only towards the end of Francescani’s article, following ad nauseum repetitions of criticisms, especially including reasons why DNA tests of Native American heritage are not definitively conclusive, does Francescani present a contrary view. He states, “Not all Native American leaders, however, have been publicly critical of Warren’s DNA testing”. He then goes on to cite the comments of Eastern Band of Cherokee Principal Chief Richard Sneed:

“Senator Warren has not tried to appropriate Cherokee or Delaware culture. She has not used her family story of evidence of Native ancestry to gain employment or other advantage… On the contrary, she demonstrates respect for tribal sovereignty by acknowledging that tribes determine citizenship and respecting the difference between citizenship and ancestry.”

Sneed went on to note that Warren has sponsored legislation to help prevent suicides in Native American populations, identify missing and murdered Native American women, and help tribes reacquire land they once owned.

Certainly, Native Americans living in the United States have a lot to be sensitive about, and wary about the motives of white Americans. As described in detail in “American Holocaust – The Conquest of the New World”, by David E. Stannard, between 1492 and 1890, men of European ancestry (including those constituting the United States of America) perpetrated a genocide against the natives of the “New World” that amounted to the loss of approximately 100 million Native American lives, which represented approximately 95% of the population that existed in 1492. Numerically, that is far more extensive than the Nazi Holocaust, and spread out over a longer period of time (though certainly if the Nazis hadn’t been defeated, their Holocaust would have been far more extensive and much longer than it was).

But why be angry with Elizabeth Warren, a woman without a bigoted bone in her body, for merely announcing the result of her DNA testing in response to unceasing mocking of her by the most famous bigot in the world today? I would like to know if those who criticize Warren for announcing her DNA test result have ever criticized Donald Trump for his crude mockery of her and every ethnic minority group in our country. And I would also like to know whether those same people ever criticized the Republicans of North Dakota for their recent efforts to disenfranchise the Native Americans of North Dakota in order to win a U.S. Senate election. If not, I would like to know why not. It seems crystal clear to me that those people warrant far more criticism than does Elizabeth Warren for anything that she ever did.
Posted by Time for change | Sun Dec 2, 2018, 12:06 PM (33 replies)

The Potential Need for a Hand Recount of All Florida Ballots for the US Senate and Governor Races

According to Alex Harris and Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald, there were “about 32,000 undervotes and overvotes in the U.S. Senate race between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott”. Florida law mandated a hand recount of the Senate vote (to include only those undervotes and overvotes), as a result of the fact that Scott’s lead in the initial machine vote count and the machine recount was less than 0.25% of the total Florida vote for Senate.

Before the hand recount, Scott’s lead was 12,603 votes out of more than 8 million votes cast in the race. The hand recount reduced Scott’s lead to 10,033 votes, according to CNN, a decrease of 2,570 votes. But according to Harris and Vassolo, “of the more than 32,000 ballots counted, only 410 were valid votes for Nelson and 136 were votes for Scott…” That would suggest a pickup of only 274 votes for Nelson on the hand recount. That sounds wildly inconsistent with the above noted decrease in Scott’s lead of 2,570 votes.

In order to understand the true significance of the hand recount, the following issues need to be clarified:

1) The apparent discrepancy between the hand recount gains for Nelson of 274 votes according to the Miami Herald vs. 2,570 according to CNN needs to be clarified.

2) Regardless of whether Nelson’s gain in the hand recount was 274 votes or 2,570, or something in between those two figures, it must be recognized that the 32,000 ballots involved in the hand recount constitute less than a half of a percent of the total vote for U.S. Senate in Florida. If even the lower figure (274 votes) were extrapolated to the whole state of Florida, Nelson’s total gains would be greater than 65,000 votes, far more than enough to overcome Scott’s 12,603 vote lead prior to the hand recount.

Furthermore, in either case the Nelson gains are far too great to be attributed to random statistical error. In other words, the odds against such gains occurring by random chance are astronomical – millions or billions to 1.

That means that there must have been some systematic reason for Nelson’s gains in the hand recount, compared to the machine counts. Perhaps there was a benign reason for those gains. Any benign reason would involve the presumption that Nelson voters were far worse than Scott voters in properly marking their ballots, or that machines used in Democratic Florida precincts were far worse at recording and counting the marks on the ballots.

In order to get a better understanding of this possibility, it would be necessary to have a better understanding of what characteristics of ballots contributed to the Nelson pickups. If nearly all of these ballots involved marks for the Senate race that were partial or hard to visually read in any way, that would significantly support a benign explanation for the Nelson pickups. But if a substantial number of these ballots (especially those that were changed to Nelson votes in the hand recount) involved marks that visually appeared to fully cover the circle, that would cast substantial doubt on any benign explanation and therefore support a non-benign explanation – i.e. that voting machines were programmed to discount Nelson votes or add Scott votes.

This issue could be easily resolved by inspection and analysis of a statistically valid sample of the ballots that were changed by the hand recount.

3) If an inspection the ballots changed as a result of the hand recount cast doubt on benign explanations for the initial vote count in favor of Scott (as explained above), that would bring into serious question the validity of the vote count involving the more than 99.5% of ballots that were not counted in the hand recount. Only a hand recount of the entire state of Florida would than resolve that issue.

4) If a hand recount of Florida showed a Nelson victory, that would provide a very good reason to hand recount the Florida Governor race as well.
Posted by Time for change | Tue Nov 20, 2018, 12:24 PM (2 replies)

Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits it Sold Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States

Discussing a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), in response to his questions, Kim Zetter writes for Motherboard:

The nation's top voting machine maker has admitted in a letter to a federal lawmaker that the company installed remote-access software on election-management systems it sold over a period of six years, raising questions about the security of those systems and the integrity of elections that were conducted with them.

In 2006, at least 60% of U.S. votes were tabulated on election management systems made and operated by ES&S, the corporation that admitted to the installation of the remote-access software. It remains today the top voting machine maker in the U.S. In its letter to Wyden, ES&S referred to its remote-access software as “pcAnywhere”, and admitted selling it to “customers” between 2000 and 2006. Of note, earlier this year ES&S lied about this very same activity, in saying that it had never installed a remote-access system on any system that it sold.

Zetter notes:

The presence of such software makes a system more vulnerable to attack from hackers, especially if the remote-access software itself contains security vulnerabilities. If an attacker can gain remote access to an election-management system through the modem and take control of it using the pcAnywhere software installed on it, he can introduce malicious code that gets passed to voting machines to disrupt an election or alter results.

Consequently, Senator Wyden has tried very hard to obtain more information on this issue from ES&S. But they have refused to answer many of his questions, including what “customers” they sold their remote-access systems to. ES&S also refused to attend a hearing on election security last week before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. Wyden concludes:

ES&S needs to stop stonewalling and provide a full, honest accounting of equipment that could be vulnerable to remote attacks…. When a corporation that makes half of America’s voting machines refuses to answer the most basic cyber security questions, you have to ask what it is hiding.

I have been writing an eight-part series on Election Fraud in the United States for World News Trust, which has been posting this series on DU. Part I dealt with the vulnerability of our election system, but it did not include the recent admission by ES&S because it was not available at the time.

It seems to me that this admission by ES&S is dynamite, and I’m very grateful to Senator Wyden, one of our most progressive U.S. Senators, for aggressively investigating this. I have some additional thoughts on this issue:

1) Though Zetter’s article notes that the remote-access software makes our voting system more vulnerable to attacks from “hackers”, it seems to me that a more serious threat than outside “hackers” would be the voting machine companies themselves or the “customers” whom they choose to sell the software to, because they would have inside knowledge as to the opportunities that are available. Of note in this regard is that ES&S and other major voting machine companies in the United States are owned by militant supporters of the Republican Party.

2) I totally agree with Senator Wyden saying that, due to ES&S’s refusal to answer many of his questions and refusal to attend a Senate hearing on the subject, we have to ask what they are hiding. But I would also add, perhaps even more important, that we have to ask why they chose to make and sell remote-access systems in the first place – and then refuse to acknowledge this.

3) Although ES&S has admitted that it sold this remote access feature between 2000 and 2006, we have no assurances that it hasn't also sold or used it from 2006 to 2016. We only know what they've admitted to, not what they haven't yet admitted to.

In conclusion, Zetter notes in her article that “the recent US indictments against Russian state hackers who tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections show that they targeted companies in the US that make software for the administration of elections”. That alone should make Americans extremely concerned about the vulnerability of their election systems. I would add that we should have similar concern whether it’s the Russians who hack our elections, our Republican supporting voting machine corporations, Republican politicians who have access to these machines, outside hackers who have an interest in altering the results of our elections, or a combination of any of the above.

I believe that this is the most important issue facing our country today, because everything else depends upon it. I believe that Donald Trump would not be our President today if we had a secure election system. And I believe that the matter is only going to get worse unless and until we do something to start correcting it. In Part VIII of my World News Trust series I discuss some things we can do to improve the security of our election system.
Posted by Time for change | Tue Jul 17, 2018, 03:07 PM (5 replies)

I Think we Should Be Extremely Concerned about the Evil that Brought us Trump: Election Fraud

Facts about the vulnerability of electronic vote counting in the United States

Fact 1: It is universally agreed that the electronic vote counting system in the United States is very vulnerable to manipulation – i.e. election theft.

Fact 2: All of the electronic vote counting in the United States is done by machines owned by right wing individuals. Ownership of the machines makes election fraud especially easy. Hacking is not necessary. All it takes is for the owners of the machines to program them for the desired results.

Fact 3: Meaningful oversight of our elections is practically non-existent:
 Many jurisdictions produce electronic results that cannot be recounted because there is no paper trail to recount
 Neither the machines nor the results produced by them are ever available for public inspection, based on the principle that they are privately owned. So they cannot be inspected and analyzed for malicious code, despite myriad requests from election integrity organizations that this be done.
 When requests for paper recounts are made, unless the margin of victory is extremely narrow, so many obstructions exist for obtaining a thorough recount that it has never been done in a meaningful way in the United States.

Fact 4: In addition to the above noted facts that explain the potential for election theft, abundant evidence exists from exit polls and many other means that election theft has occurred on a massive basis in the United States since 2004, in elections at the Presidential, Senate, House and gubernatorial levels. The election theft always points in the same direction – favoring the more right-wing candidate.


Facts 1 through 3 scream out to us for the need to make our elections transparent and over-seeable. Fact number 4 is considered important to election integrity activists only because it seems that the potential for election theft is not enough to motivate most people to demand reform. Since the U.S. population is assured by those in power, most important our national corporate news media, that there has been no evidence of significant election fraud in our country, the motivation for demanding reform is very low. It is generally assumed by the American people that election fraud on a significant scale in the United States is not a plausible threat because their country is a beacon of democracy for the rest of the world. Few are aware that the United States is ranked last among the 47 long established democracies, by the Election Integrity Project founded by the Kennedy School of Government – largely because of its vulnerability to election theft.

The end result is a U.S. government today that can no longer be considered a democracy, is far to the right of the American people, and is woefully unresponsive to their needs or desires. This can only get worse in the absence of a strong effort to correct it.

To give you an idea of how bad it is, a Democratic pollster recently confided that internal polling generally must show a 10-point Democratic lead before a contest is considered even. Professional pollsters use “likely voter” models to adjust for this, so that their polls become more accurate predictors of what will happen on Election Day. The rationale for the “likely voter” models is that the reason that Democrats almost always underperform on Election Day compared to pre-election polls is that Democrats are less likely to vote than Republicans. But statistically, stolen votes have the same effect as voters not showing up to vote. Professional pollsters assume that Democratic underperformance on Election Day compared with polling predictions is due to Democrats not voting, because they do not consider that that underperformance may be due to stolen votes instead.

It must also be noted that Democrats almost always underperform on Election Day compared to exit polls. Nobody can blame this on failure of Democrats to vote, because exit polls are performed only on people who have just voted. So the explanation given to us as to why Democratic candidates almost always underperform relative to exit polls is that exit polls are always biased towards Democrats because Democrats are more likely to participate in exit polls than Republicans. Again, there is a complete unwillingness by our corporate news media to consider or discuss the possibility that Democratic candidate underperformance on Election Day compared to exit polls is due to electronic vote stealing.

Many, including myself, are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that we have experienced massive electronic election theft in our country over the past couple of decades, and that that is the reason that we now have Donald Trump as our President and a lackey Congress to support him. Many others, most notably our corporate news media and our elected representatives in Congress, either disagree with us on that or choose to remain silent about it. But whether you agree or not that we have experienced massive election theft in our country at the highest levels, I hope that at least we can all agree on the dire need for an accountable and fair voting system, and to act upon that to demand that we get one.

There is no issue facing us today that is even comparable in importance. Not Donald Trump, not anything. All other issues are intimately affected by the integrity of our election system. If it’s not adequately addressed we should not expect things to get any better in our country. They can only get worse.

I am publishing an eight-part series, entitled, “Election Fraud in the United States: 2004 to Present” on the World News Trust website, founded by Democratic Underground members in 2002 and operated since then by Democratic Underground member Tace (Francis Goodwin), with the help of various contributors.

Here are links to the first two parts and a listing of the titles to all 8 parts of my series at World News Trust. We hope you will check them out and provide any feedback, positive or negative, especially suggestions for improvement and what else can be done to address the important issue of election integrity in the United States:

Part I: Vulnerability of Electronic Vote Counting in the United States
Part II: Evidence for Election Fraud in Exit Poll Discrepancies from Official Results
Part III: The Validity of Exit Polls for Monitoring Elections
Part IV: Untimely Deaths Associated with the 2004 Presidential Election
Part V: Disallowed and Corrupted Vote Recounts in Presidential Elections
Part VI: Evidence for Election Fraud in Machine “Glitches”
Part VII: Voter Suppression
Part VIII: The Way Forward



Posted by Time for change | Sun Jun 24, 2018, 05:57 PM (99 replies)

California Called for Clinton While 800,000-3,000,000 Ballots Remain Uncounted

Greg Palast warned us that this would likely happen. Palast is the investigative reporter who more than anyone else documented how George W. Bush stole the Florida 2000 Presidential election that gave Bush the final electoral votes he needed to win the election. On June 1st 2016 Palast wrote of the coming Democratic primary in California that some poll workers have been told to give No Party Preference (NPP) voters provisional ballots rather than regular ballots. He urged voters to demand a regular Democratic ballot because, as many of us know, provisional ballots are usually not counted.

I did phone banking for Bernie. My job was to contact NPP voters and tell them that they had to ask for a Democratic ballot (or a Democratic “crossover” ballot) when they go to the polls, or if they’ve already been sent a “non-partisan” ballot (which doesn’t give them the opportunity to vote for President) they have to bring it to the polls to exchange for a Democratic ballot. The goal was to provide these instructions to all NPP voters in the state. But so many calls go unanswered – what percentage of NPP voters actually get the correct information?

The importance of this to the Sanders campaign was huge. Record breaking new voter registrations in California resulted in 4.2 million registered NPP voters by Election Day. Polls show that these voters vote for Sanders by a margin of approximately 40%.

But when California was called for Clinton on Wednesday morning, a bare minimum of 800 thousand ballots remained uncounted – including provisional ballots and late mail-in ballots. The 800 K number was arrived at by 11 California counties that reported solid numbers of uncounted ballots. But there are 58 counties in California. Nobody knows at this time the total number of uncounted ballots. Estimates of uncounted ballots range from 1 million to 3 million. And these estimates don’t even include the many eligible voters who were turned away from the polls on Election Day without even being given a chance to vote provisionally.

The official vote count had Clinton ahead by about 440 thousand votes. How can they call the election with so many votes uncounted, especially when most of them are disproportionately likely to be for the candidate who’s losing?

Election Day, June 7 in California

The reality of Election Day in California turned out to be far worse than even Palast was warning of. Investigations show an aggressive attempt to disenfranchise Sanders voters. Palast wrote on Election Day, June 7:

In some counties like Los Angeles, it's not easy for an NPP to claim their right to vote in the Democratic primary – and in other counties, nearly impossible. Example: In Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, if you don’t say the magic words, “I want a Democratic crossover ballot,” you are automatically given a ballot without the presidential race. And ready for this, if an NPP voter asks the poll worker, “How do I get to vote in the Democratic party primary”, they are instructed to say, “NPP voters can’t get Democratic ballots.” They are ordered not to breathe a word that the voter can get a “crossover” ballot that includes the presidential race. I’m not kidding. This is from the official Election Officer Training Manual page 49:
"A No Party Preference voter will need to request a crossover ballot from the Roster Index Officer. (Do not offer them a crossover ballot if they do not ask)."…

If an NPP voter doesn’t say they are “surrendering” their NPP ballot, the clerk can take it and count it blank instead of giving the voter a new one… Election Justice USA filed still more declarations with the courts of poll workers being told to give NPP voters “provisional” ballots even if they say the magic words, “I want a crossover Democratic ballot.”

Poll worker Jeff Lewis, who was abhorred by the training he received, filed a description of the training in an official declaration to a federal court:

Someone raised their hand and asked a follow-up question: ‘So, what if someone gets a nonpartisan ballot, notices it doesn't have the presidential candidates on it, and asks you where they are?’ The answer poll workers are instructed to give: ‘Sorry, NPP ballots don't have presidential candidates on them.’

Another California poll worker, Ashley Beck, complained:

I was told that all NPP voters are to be given provisional ballots. I was bothered by that, because I was always told that NPP voters in California can vote for Democrats and their vote would be counted…. We all know what happens most of the time with provisional ballots. They are not being counted.”

The Los Angeles Times announced hundreds of reports of additional problems in an article titled: ‘It was just chaos’: Broken machines, incomplete voter rolls leave some wondering whether their ballots will be counted. As if the impediments to obtaining a Democratic “crossover” ballot weren’t bad enough, some counties ran out of them, thus ensuring that NPP voters wouldn’t be able to vote on a regular ballot. Other counties demanded that first time voters (likely Sanders voters) show official voter ID, even though California law doesn’t require it. And as we’ve seen all through this primary season, many would-be voters are complaining that their voter registration was purged or changed to Republican (which prohibits them from voting in the Democratic primary) without their knowledge, and most of these would-be voters are Sanders would-be voters.

So why did they call the election with so many votes uncounted

The reason the election was called with so many votes uncounted is not hard to understand. It is exactly the same reason why our corporate “news” media timed their false announcement of Clinton “clinching” the Democratic nomination for the day before the California and five other Democratic primaries. It is the same reason why all of the powerful establishment forces within and outside of the Democratic Party have done everything they can since day one to prevent the nomination of Bernie Sanders. Their status, power, and wealth are vested in the status quo. The Sanders campaign is all about disrupting the status quo – leveling the playing field and giving the American people more control over their lives. It’s that simple.

Efforts are currently underway to force a counting of the uncounted California ballots prior to certification of Tuesday’s election. We will see what happens. If they are not counted, this should come up at the July Democratic National Convention.
Posted by Time for change | Thu Jun 9, 2016, 02:20 PM (117 replies)
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