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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Michael Flynn Jr. and Pizzagate

I've been doing a ton of Pizzagate research, but haven't the time to discuss my findings in any detail right now. In truth, I'm thinking of writing a small book about this episode -- a case study in how the conspiratorial underground devolves into madness.

For now, let's briefly note that Michael Flynn Jr., son of the Lt. General who will be Trump's National Security Adviser, is a huge fan of right-wing conspiracy theories and a big Pizzagator. He also plays a substantial role in the transition -- a fact denied by Mike Pence, but a fact nonetheless.

Actually, they are now claiming that Flynn the younger no longer plays a role. Ah, yes. Where have we heard that before? This is a typical Trump trick: You may recall how the Donald's campaign at various times claimed to have severed relations with Roger Stone, Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort. All such claims came perfumed by a scent which the French call la connerie.

Flynn the younger uses Gab, the neo-Nazi alternative to Twitter -- and he wants Flynn the elder to use the same platform. Maybe Trump himself will make the switch?

By the way, modern-day hipsters-for-Hitler also have their own version of Reddit, called Voat, which is an intentional -- and allegedly humorous -- misspelling of the word "vote." 

Here's a story I missed a couple of weeks ago: Apparently, Pizzagate has been huge news in Turkey.
In the last week, all Turkish pro-government papers, including mainstream publications like Sabah, A Haber, Yeni Şafak, Akşam and Star, ran similar stories about the PizzaGate, using the very same images and claims from a (now banned) subreddit to convince their readers on how serious and deep-rooted the scandal was. Columnists penned articles that the PizzaGate is a part of the globalist conspiracy against Turkey, and one article even remarked that the “Teenage” in pizza-eating Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles now makes sense as a pedophilia reference after PizzaGate.

And all of this is very, very popular on Turkish Twitter. A video that claimed to show Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., purportedly delivering children to politicians and business people (which is not true) went viral in Turkey, just like the video of Vice President Biden on the swearing-in ceremony of Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del) was re-narrated in Turkey to claim that Biden was abusing Coons’ daughter in public (which, also, is not true).
As always, the question is: How much of this is intentional deception, and how much is the misguided conclusion-hopping of conspiratards anxious to pull the wool over their own eyes?

I don't think that a guy like (say) Ed Opperman -- a private investigator and an alleged socialist who has pushed Pizzagate on his show -- is a deliberate liar. In fact, I've quite enjoyed some of his less-nutty shows, like the one he did on Scientology. However, he seems to be emotionally wedded to the insane idea that everyone worth more than a million bucks wants to rape a child while shouting "Hail Satan!"

Who's the white private dick that's a lie machine to all the cranks?
You're damn right.
Who is the man that lies like hell 'bout the Clinton clan?
Can ya dig it?
Who's the cat who won't make sense
and helped the guy who ran with Pence?
Right on.
You see, this cat Op is one dumb mother...
Shut your mouth
Hey, just talkin' 'bout Op
He's a complicated man
But no one understands him 'cause he's cray-cray.
Ed Op.

I'll cackle uproariously when he accuses me of being paid by the Great Clinton Conspiracy to come up with that bit of filking.

For the most part, though, I think that the right-wingers who invented Pizzagate are deliberately engaging in psychowar. They are lying and they know it.

On a related note: I've been trying to get my head around the adversarial relationship between Alex Jones and the growing number of avowed, unrepentant fans of the Third Reich. "Out" Nazis all claim to hate AJ. Yet on some level, they seem to understand that he is kin. AJ has linked up with Milo "post-fact"  Yiannopoulos, who is also hated by the acolytes of Adolf, even though most of us feel comfortable classifying Milo himself as, at the very least, a fascist.

It's a little difficult for those on the outside to keep track of who-hates-whom within the far right. This situation reminds me of the old days, when Milton "Bill" Cooper asked his audience of addled UFO dimwits to read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. As soon as the Protocols entered his spiel, most outside observers assumed that Cooper had to be a secret Nazi -- after all, Coop was the guy who claimed that the "evil aliens" who had gained control of the world's banks could be recognized by their big noses. I was a little surprised to learn that actual swastika-bedecked Hitler-heilers hated Cooper. Why? Because despite the obviousness of his coded language, Coop refused to come right out and say "It's the Jews!"

(He may have taken that final step into overt anti-Semitism late in his ill-starred career; I stopped following his antics after a certain point.)

I guess that's the main split within the far, far right: The J-word. Those who state their bigotries plainly resent those who maintain a certain respectability by employing euphemisms. Coop could always claim: Hey, I'm not talking about Jews -- I'm talking about aliens! Jones can always claim: Hey, I'm not talking about Jews -- I'm talking about the Illuminati! The most successful American conspiracists offer up every slice of the Nazi sausage except for that really evil bit at the end.
"I'm thinking of writing a small book about this episode [PizzaGate]"

Yes, please! I would buy that book. I've never stated it, but I've always wanted you (Joseph Cannon, that is), to write a book. In this day and age, and you've read my posts, it would be nice to read a book by someone who isn't 'Hard Right'. That is, to say, someone who isn't a complete fucking lunatic that is so Far Right that they don't feel human to me.

I have the feeling that you would consider me much farther 'Left' than you are, but I'm pretty sure that broken down to brass tax, we are both Keynesians. And THAT, fundamentally, is what matters to me. Keynesianism is dead, to be sure, but the Democratic Party of today is entirely enveloped in the language of identity politics, something that doesn't interest me. Like you, I'm focused on economics and economic polity, not identity polity. I recently told my stepfather, who is an exceptionally Far Right extremist, that I don't play party loyalty or cults of personality, I'm interested in economics and policy, because I believe that's what matters.

Any civilization, ANY CIVILIZATION, is going to be the product of its economic policies. I've supported various third parties (the Socialist Party of the United States of America, the Green Party, the Progressive Citizens Party, which is a local party) and the Democratic Party (primarily in my support for Barack Obama AND Hillary Clinton). In 2008, I voted for Brian Moore, the nominee of the Socialist Party USA (SPUSA). I did this because I was hurt and upset that Hillary Clinton wasn't the nominee. I felt, at the time, that the nomination was stolen from her and that Barack Obama was chosen only because he's black. I actually hated Obama for stealing the nomination, as I saw it. I supported the Green Party during the midterm year (2010), both for ballot access in the Spring and for the Fall midterms.

In 2012, I very begrudgingly voted for Barack Obama in the general election, and Democratic Party down ballot (for every single position). I only voted for Obama because of pressure from my boyfriend at the time, who told me that voting third party was throwing my vote in the trash and stoked fears of a Willard 'Mitt' Romney victory. I still regret caving into such pressure and fear. In the 2014 midterms, I once again supported the Green Party, both for the Primary elections in the Spring and the midterms in the Fall.

This year, and only because of Hillary, I supported the Democratic Party. I voted on the Democratic ballot during the State Primary (for Hillary and every female listed on the ballot), and I voted for Hillary and every Democrat down ballot for the general election. This year was my last attempt to get Hillary elected. It's also the last time I will ever support the Democratic Party. I know Joe Biden said he may run in 2020, but I don't give a single fuck if he does or doesn't. I'm not on board for that or with the Democratic Party. Supposedly, an alternative route is running Cory Booker as "the Second Coming of Obama". Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Cory Booker have been disastrous. The only time they don't look vile is when they are standing next to a Republican.

And so long as Republicans continue to control the flow of information and the narrative, people will continue to buy and put stock into PizzaGate. The PizzaGate pseudo-scandal is far from over, both my mother and her husband believe PizzaGate to be a genuine story. They actually believe that Hillary Clinton was the Madam (or Head Mistress) pimping out soft, feminine underage boys to Washington clientele. Yes, they actually believe such claptrap.

When I've broached the subject, to try and change their minds, they look at me as if I had just come home from fucking a small boy. This is the society and culture that Fox News and Christian fundamentalism has created. We were primed for the rise of American Fascism.
Why do all these conspiratards coalesce around jews? they aren't part of ac conspiracy themselves-they're uncoordinated and mutually hostile so how do they all nudge towards this argument? I woulda liked to hear back from u, pls add a contact field to your 'anonymous' comments. I'll just bookmark for now.
Trump again follows in Hitler's footsteps (1938), by becoming Time magazine's Person of the Year (2016). Don't you just love New York?
"The city getting rich from fake news". It's an interesting article by the BBC. You've got tie city and sock city in China - well here's a fake news city in Macedonia. Pys-ops bullshit on the internet may feel like it's automated, but it still requires a fair amount of labour-power, not all of it highly skilled.

The article is interesting, but toe-curlingly pathetic. Photos yes, interviews yes, but did the question "Who is paying?" even occur to them?
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Monday, December 05, 2016

Maybe we should all just welcome the Apocalypse

Carlin died eight years ago, yet in this clip he discusses the 2016 election. Magic.

Pizzagate, explained. This piece in Vox is absolutely superb -- and horrifying.

Vox traces the Big Lie to 4chan. Why am I not surprised? 4channers are scum.

Right now the only question is: Did the vile smear-mongers who invented this yarn actually believe in what they were saying, or did they deliberately set out to deceive all of the gullible freaks inhabiting Paranoialand? Although much of the media pretends that Pizzagate originated as a mere rumor which "just grew," I feel confident that this particular example of the Big Lie technique was a deliberate concoction. Only someone who hasn't examined the evidence can argue that Pizzagate arose spontaneously the way Athena sprang from the forehead of Zeus.

In other words, the conspiracy theorists are the conspiracy.

This was not happenstance; it was a deliberate lie. (Although the tweet at the other end of that link was allegedly issued by a Jewish lawyer, it's actually the work of a neo-Nazi.) For another good look at the kind of fascist assholes who lurk behind the big lie of Pizzagate, see here.

In a sense, the real inventor of the Pizzagate Big Lie was Julius Streicher. He died in 1946, yet his spirit lives on. The exact same techniques once used to demonize the Jews are now being used to demonize the Clintons and anyone who supports them -- and no, that's not an overstatement: It's cold, hard, demonstrable fact. (Beware, black leaders: You're next.)

From Vox:
With that, fake news outlets like Your News Wire pushed the story more broadly just days before Election Day. One of the stories even claimed, “IT’S OVER: NYPD Just Raided Hillary’s Property! What They Found Will RUIN HER LIFE.” New York police officers did not raid Clinton’s property, but the story quickly got more than 100,000 engagements — shares, reactions, and comments — on Facebook, and it was quickly plagiarized by multiple fake news outlets to get hundreds of thousands more engagements on social media.

The nonsense just kept building and building, with fake news outlets running more and more false details about this false conspiracy theory — typically alleging that police, particularly the NYPD and FBI, had uncovered even more evidence of this international child abuse ring, even though no such thing had happened.

As all of this spread, pro-Trump supporters went back to the Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks to find more “clues” for Pizzagate and other conspiracy theories. Without any evidence or cause, they quickly began to interpret basic food items as code words for this supposed sex ring. Through this new ridiculous “discovery,” Trump supporters on social media linked even more emails to Pizzagate, which grew from a conspiracy theory about a DC pizzeria to one about a fictitious international child sex ring.
The evil involved here is truly infernal. These cancerous fake-news fiends deliberately whipped up false, hysterical accusations against anyone close to, or tangentially involved with, the Clintons. For the "crime" of supporting Hillary, innocent parties will now be stigmatized as child abusers.

UPDATE: General Michael Flynn seems to be linked to the smarm-merchants promoting this smear. See here and then head here

One of the main purveyors of Pizzagate codswallop is Infowars pseudoreporter Joe Biggs. He's a well-known fake newser. He has also partnered up with neo-Nazi Milo Yiannopoulos who is on record as an apostle of a "post-fact era."
Infowars reporter Joe Biggs will join social commentator Milo Yiannopoulos to tell Californians the truth about feminism and “social justice warriors.”
"The truth"? Good Christ, Milo has admitted that he does not even believe in truth! He likes the idea of a post-fact era. And yet half of the country has decided to get their "truth" from the likes of Joe Biggs and Milo.

The Alex Jones/Joe Biggs/Milo Yiannopoloulos linkage offers us a hard connection between Alex Jonesism and Julius Streicherism. (Added note: Look at the photo at the beginning of this article. If Alex Jones shaved his head and grew a bad mustache, he'd bear a surprisingly close resemblance to Streicher.)

Pizzagate once again demonstrates the general principle that I have outlined so many times before: Yes, some conspiracies are real -- and the right-wing conspiracy theorists are the conspirators. Whenever people debate the question "Should we believe in conspiracy theories?" they miss the point. Framing the question in that fashion is an over-simplification designed to distract us from the real lesson to take away from mystifications like Pizzagate...  

Yes, some conspiracies are real -- and the right-wing conspiracy theorists are the conspirators.

That was the lesson we all should have drawn from the rise of the Nazis, who came to power by spreading rumors of fake conspiracies while engaging in real-world practices that can only be described as conspiratorial.

There is another principle to be gleaned from all of this: Human credulity can carry a degree of culpability.

Every one of us is susceptible to being fooled; fallibility is an inevitable part of the human condition. I freely admit that I have made many, many errors over the twelve-plus years of this blog's existence. But there comes a point when the mark must take responsibility for being a sucker. As I said in an earlier post: Some forms of stupidity are so stupid as to constitute a sin.

The monsters who constructed the Pizzagate lie and the dullards who bought into the Pizzagate lie are, in a sense, co-conspirators -- equally guilty, equally to be despised.

Alan Moore once wrote a story in which we learn that Cain and Abel both suffer eternal punishment: Cain is condemned for being the first murderer, and Abel for being the first victim. I think that there's a lava pool in Hell reserved for both the fake news creators and the fake news audience.

Trump's Generals. A long-time friend to this blog sends us an important link which had previously escaped my attention.
We find ourselves in times that not only try men's souls, they test a person's ability to maintain one's composure, master one's fear, and to retain a reasonable degree of active decency, not to mention keep from regularly throwing up. I don't know if there's any validity to the idea of reincarnation, but right now it sure feels to me as though I'm being hammered and annealed in the forge of the universe.

And this is just openers. Things may well get worse...much worse.

I came across this news-story which gave me goose-flesh: "Is Trump Hiring Too Many Generals?"

My immediate interpretation was fairly paranoid compared with that of the article's author. Could The Donald be systematically assembling a strike-force of ultra-right wing generals in preparation for some sort of "trumped-up" justification for suspension of constitutional order and a martial take-over?

Of course I'm not saying that's what's really in the works. But it strikes me as a contingency that unfortunately is not all that far-fetched, given the realities of the times we live in.
From the Politico story at the other end of that link:
But people with experience in the national security realm, whether in the executive branch or on Capitol Hill, say the glint of all those stars on the uniforms could be blinding Trump to the drawbacks of relying too heavily on ex-military brass to fill his top posts, including weakening the constitutional principle of civilian control of the government. At least four retired generals may be in the mix for prominent roles in the administration.

In addition, they warn, Trump’s administration could wind up seeing too much of its foreign and defense policy through a military lens, disregarding diplomacy and other levers of national power. And that could be particularly dangerous in an administration with a president who has no policy experience.
1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis: All of JFK's military advisers were telling him to invade. In fact, they insisted. They did not know that there were tactical nuclear weapons on the island, and that the authority to use those weapons was given to the local commanders, who needed no permission from Moscow. If JFK had sent in an invasion fleet, nukes would have flown -- and the result, inevitably, would have been World War III.

I give you that taste of the past in order to give you a taste of your future.

And that takes us right back to the George Carlin video with which we began. It's not getting any better, folks. It's only going to get worse.
Off Topic rant here, but I don't understand why the younger generation of "liberals" and Democrats malign JFK. I think he's been highly underrated, and I agree that he, Khrushchev and other Russian and American players averted nuclear war in 1962. And that's one of the reasons he was murdered. However, I think the seeds that were sown in 1963 have resulted in what we're seeing today.
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That is NOT off-topic, Kathleen. It's very much to the point.

I've been incensed for years at the way liberal hipsters have fallen for the conservative lies about JFK. For example: Many young ninnies feel positive that Kennedy killed Marilyn, even though the evidence in favor of that proposition is non-existent, and even though that theory traces back to people like J. Edgar Hoover, Sam Yorty, and Jim Angleton.

I still consider Clinton the greatest of our post-war presidents. JFK had an easier time of it since he took over while the post-war Keynesian consensus held sway, and he did not inherit a massive deficit; moreover, the media landscape was far more even-handed in 1961 than it was in 1993.

That said, I now fear that talking about JFK's assassination may constitute playing the Trumpian game. Assassination research has been taken out of the hands of scholars and liberals (where it belongs). The game has been commandeered by the likes of Roger Stone and Alex Jones, neither of whom has ever made a genuine contribution to assassination research.
The "revisionists" started the war on the Kennedys in the 1980s. This was part and parcel of what the right was doing to this country as a whole, trying to con us into thinking our icons, who were Democrats, were made of feet of clay, while pumping up GOP politicians including presidents, no matter how mediocre (Hoover comes to mind when it comes to revisionism). These revisionists were trying to make it look like the Kennedys were all a big lie, that the grief we who were alive during the sixties and can remember them was all for a big fraud. It was all politically motivated.
"The nonsense just kept building and building, with fake news outlets running more and more false details about this false conspiracy theory — typically alleging that police, particularly the NYPD and FBI, had uncovered even more evidence of this international child abuse ring, even though no such thing had happened." - Politico

I spent 4 hours going through the Pizzagate material. I NEVER came across this claim. And this paragraph is as close as the Politico piece you praise comes to attempting to refute an actual claim. They attack a claim I didn't even come across in my own research! Politico is full of "false by association" type arguments, as is your blog post.

I suspect Pizzagate is likely false, but the key points have not been refuted. Politico failed to address the actual claims. So did you. Attacking the character of the people associated with spreading the story does not refute the claims.

@OTE admin,

Speaking of revisionism of the 1960ies, this is an ongoing project in all mediums. Next month, James Harvie Wilkinson III will have his own revisionist book put out. It's titled 'All Falling Faiths: Reflections on the Promise and Failure of the 1960s' and it's revisionist tripe. It's a tome that seeks to condemn the revolutionary fervor of the 1960ies, praises 'God' (Wilkinson's God, that is, not mine) that the attempts at change failed, and asks each of us to accept our masters and to go to sleep, because it's the "moral and righteous" thing to do.

Not only is James Wilkinson a fascist, his God is too. I'm so sick and tired of these revisionists putting out books on a constant basis. There's no pause in the propaganda publishing schedule.

I have to suffer the existence of a revisionist book like The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic by Michael Medved. Which is just the first of two books which posit that Medved's God (presumably the same interdimensional fascist as Wilkinson's God) divinely established the United States of America, and that it's Constitution is holy writ and divinely inspired or authorized by the spirit of God (Yhwh).

Roman Catholics are buying into this crap too, since many of them are on the Trump Train. From what my mother has said, and she supports Trump, the Catholics support Trump primarily because of the abortion issue. The American Catholics, like all other types of Americans, suffer from amnesia. Catholics should remember that Americanism is a fucking heresy, but few or none seem to remember that it was classified as a heresy. It's not politically convenient to remember that.

Americanism is a fucking creepy religion, this weird marriage of Americentrism with Christian Dominionism, a hybrid of civil religion with fundamentalist Christianity. This is Trump's platform, his winning strategy.
Go to hell, Anon. You're simply trying to sneak Pizzagate in through the back door. I was quite aware of that spurious "NYPD" claim on the day it was made. In fact, I mentioned it myself on November 6.
Thank you Joseph. This article includes info about these Generals. The Return of the American Security Council Network
I am disappointed, Joseph. I had hoped that with your vast knowledge of the rise of fascism in the thirties you would have some tips on surviving the coming police state. Being a grandmother I dare not give in to insouciance or despair -- but the latter is winning.
Your favoring of Bil Clinton's presidency calls to mind Churchill's favoring of democracy as a form of government.

Trump and the generals: He was re-socialized at a military prep school. Maybe he's enthralled by such absolute power. Maybe he's still bitter and wants to boss them. Maybe he wants to be able to say "You're fired."

From what I can tell, he gets his information from two sources. One is from pop sound bites and the other is on the golf course, where he has met with very, very bad people, as he has said.
Thanks for this focus on the fake news (and the audience!).

Also, JSL, thanks for that info. I have not heard the Dominionists mentioned in a while. I wondered why that threat had not been forefront in the election.
@OTE Admin @Joseph You both nailed it. I had the sense that the revisionism and focus on his affairs were designed to distract us from the truth about his assassination. "Nothing to see here, kids. Just a rich guy screwing around. Keep moving". I think the best book on this topic is JFK and The Unspeakable by James W. Douglass. Here's a brief quote from the Preface:
"On our behalf, at the height of the Cold War, John F. Kennedy risked committing the greatest crime in history, starting a nuclear war. Before we knew it, he turned toward peace with the enemy who almost committed that crime with him. For turning to peace with his enemy (and ours), Kennedy was murdered by a power we cannot easily describe. I hope that, by following the story of JFK's encounter with the unspeakable, we will be willing to encounter it, too".
Completely off topic but...
Republicans have been playing these games for eight years. Maybe it's time for us to join in and actually save our country.
Jared Kushner is calling for the FBI to crack down on anti-Trump protesters.
"Attacking the character of the people associated with spreading the story does not refute the claims". Ha ha, anon, 11.30pm! Some people you can't fucking sealion, OK?

Great stuff, Joe!

I am convinced that the best strategy is to provoke Trump, on our terms. The guy has a weakness. That's where we should be attacking.

Can anyone reading this who hasn't read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals please do so.

When you're fighting Power, always personalise.

I understand so much more now than I did 30 years ago.

Fascism wasn't stopped in 1936 in Spain, although hundreds of thousands died in the attempt. It wasn't stopped in Germany, Italy or Portugal either. Optimism of the will!
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Ours is not to reason WI

Bill Palmer reports a serious allegation that Trump votes are intentionally being counted twice.
Observers in some counties have found no issues at all, while others have reported concerns and suspicious incidents. But one recount observer Waukesha County is now making the flat out accusation that county officials are purposely double counting Donald Trump’s votes and pulling other shenanigans during the recount.

The accusation comes from recount observer John West, who has been documenting his experiences on his own publicly visible Facebook page. On Sunday evening he flatly declared that “I’m calling out fraud.” West went on to make the following specific accusations: “Waukesha County Wisconsin is obstructing the recount blatantly. Making up rules to shut out allowed observers. Double counting Republican ballots. Taking machines out and returning machines that break down after midnight hoping to avoid any observers.”

In the comments section of his own post, linked above, he went on to elaborate that “They aren’t invalidating clear duplicate and unsigned ballots that were mailed in,” thus explaining how the double-counting is taking place.
The post was later taken down; no-one seems to know why.

There's more hugger-mugger in the same county. Jill Stein says that officials are intentionally hiding the ballots:
While most counties are conducting their recounts in clear and transparent fashion, we have gotten reports of observers not being allowed near the recount tables or not being allowed to view the ballots. For instance, in Waukesha County, officials are entering the ballots in to the machine face down. Remember, we have a legal right to see the ballots.
I see no reason why every aspect of this process should not be open to the public. Of course, I also see no reason why machines should play any role in the recount. And yet Waukesha refuses to do a hand recount, even though most WI counties are taking the manual approach.

I suspect that a small group of pro-Trump conspirators in Waukesha knows full well that the vote was irregular and they now hope -- need -- to cover up what happened. What's more, we may have the name of a suspicious party: County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus. She has made her presence known before. She has a habit of shoddy vote counts:
Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, who has been under fire for past election snafus, is at the center of attention again because new procedures in tallying votes resulted in lengthy delays in getting election results Tuesday.

Nickolaus, who garnered national attention last April when her office made a mistake that flipped the outcome of a hotly contested state Supreme Court race, said she introduced new procedures Tuesday to follow guidelines set forth by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state.

As a result, some elections results were not posted on the county’s website until 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Even though the county keeps assuring us all that this woman will no longer have anything to do with the elections, she keeps worming her way back into the position.
Former Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus has been appointed to a three-year term as the clerk-treasurer for the Town of Waukesha, the Freeman reports.

The town had two clerk-treasurers resign in close succession. The Town Board met in closed session Thursday night to appoint Nickolaus, according to the Freeman.

Nickolaus came under fire in 2011 when she reported that she had failed to count City of Brookfield results, resulting in a statewide recount of the Supreme Court race that ultimately found Justice David Prosser defeated challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

A year later reporting problems plagued election night tallies in April 2012.
I'm not saying that she is corrupt. All I'm saying is that she seems to be the right person in the right place, and that strange things seem to happen whenever she's around.
I'm betting on an NRA / Russia connection that Did NOT involve hacking, but rather simply volunteering on election day at voting locations as volunteers. it would take less than 1% of NRA members to have turned the election via vote fraud in small, out of the way precincts.
The NRA PAC raised 31 million dollars to defeat Hillary Clinton.
Russian NRA connection exposed. Russian NRA Connection Exposed
What is Roger Stone saying or doing in connection with the recounts? Given his experience in 2000, this kind of gig is right up his street.
Is anyone checking voter lists to see that all voters actually are alive and live in the in the precincts where they voted?
Trump Chump "Deplorable Jeff" now worries about losing Medicare.

Yep, DJ, it looks like you may be spending your golden years eating Fancy Feast, and bartering for health care from your local unlicensed quack.

But hey, dude, you Trumped That B!+&# and showed those uppity wimmin and uppity culluds and arrogant librulz that White Doodz Rool, and isn't that more important than your continued survival?

DJ and his fellow DAWBs (Dumb Ass White Bigots) will now get the government, economy, ecology, and society which they deserve.

The problem with that, of course, is that those of us who deserve better will ALSO get what the DAWBs deserve. :(
Apologies if I read it here in comments, but I think this has not been mentioned on this site. If it has been mentioned already, it is still timely to revisit it.

Back in the primary season, Roger Stone said Preibus and Walker had perfected an election fraud method that they used, he said, four or five times, including to win the recall special election.

The Hill reported it, citing it from somewhere else, iirc. Of course, Stone's intent at the time was to explain DFT's large loss there.


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Sunday, December 04, 2016

If they're in it for the money, where's the money?

I have a basic question about those fake news sites we've been hearing about.

Before we get to it, let's clarify a point raised earlier. A few posts down, I linked to this NPR piece about a fake news entrepreneur named Jestin Coler -- apparently a real name, although there's all sorts of puns in there. The important thing to know about his main fake news site, National Report, is that it is genuinely funny. Headlines such as this one...
Trump to Limit All Intelligence Briefings to 140-Characters
...are obviously satirical. And yet right-wingers really have taken some of these stories seriously, such as the one about the decision to impose sharia law in Dearborn, MI.

So I don't think that Coler inhabits a morally iffy area. The same cannot be said of the rightists who could not spot the obvious signs of satire. Some stupidity is so stupid that it should be considered a sin.

Coler's operation apparently makes $10,000-to-$30,000 a month, according to afore-linked NPR story. And that brings me to my main question: HOW?

How the hell does anyone make that kind of money on the internet selling mere words?

I've read elsewhere that the big money-maker for people like Coler is Google Adsense. I've been using Adsense for many years, as a favor to Google for making Blogger possible. It makes a ridiculously small amount of money -- so little, in fact, that I never bothered to give Google my current address. They keep it all.

Some people tell you that Adsense will make $6.00 per 1000 visits. Bullshit. For me, it's less than six CENTS per thousand. (I'm not supposed to discuss the money, according to the terms of service. But since I don't even receive the $100 check that Google sends every few years, screw the terms of service.)

So how do the fake newsers make money?

Hell, how does ANYONE make money on the internet? I still don't know.

I have no idea how people make money on YouTube, where (I am given to understand) a monetized video will fetch its creator perhaps a thousand bucks for a million views. YouTube has invented the first form of entertainment in which the entertainer receives such a tiny reward for entertaining a million people. By way of comparison: Each episode of Elementary is seen by about 5.5 million people, and I suspect that the budget for each episode is a bit more than $5500.

The problem is the same as it has always been since the early days of the internet: Ad value is determined by click-throughs -- by interactivity. On the internet, it's not enough simply to inform the audience that a product or service exists. The content creator gets paid only if the audience member is interested in interrupting his-or-her web-surfing trance in order to buy (or learn more about) that particular product at that particular moment.

On TV, ads are considered valuable simply because they place the product's name in front of eyeballs. TV ads cost a lot of money even if people have no interest in the thing advertised. If television had to operate according to internet rules, the enormously expensive programming we take for granted simply would not exist. Jim Parsons would consider himself lucky to be paid $300 an episode.
That Quora link has people there lying through their teeth about how much money you can make through AdSense. I was on BlogHer for nearly 8 years before it dropped my contract when it changed ownership, and I made between $50-$100 a YEAR. The operators didn't have the $100 threshold but instead a $20-$25 dollar one, which made it easier to get paid.

I have had only one check from Google in all of the years I ran ads for them.

The truth is blogs are not money makers for an itty-bitty number of people who either got into blogging in around 2002 like Kos and Duncan Black (Eschaton) did or they are people who were already established writers. This is true for freelance writing in general unless you are an established writer with an agent. Only staff writers or technical writers can get any kind of stable income to rely on.
@Joe Cannon,

Read this article please. It relates to terrorism caused by right-wing conspiracies, specifically #PizzaGate. You need to focus in on this story and let people know everything you said about right-wing conspiracy theories is true. The part at the end, about what the owner and employees have gone through, threats from people who rely on InfoWars, Breitbart and the like, it's so sad.
JSL, I was going to write about the Pizzagate insanity, but decided to devote a post to the Wisconsin recount insanity instead, if only because the stories to which I linked have not received sufficient attention.

But yeah, this is a terribly important development. You should see how the story is being covered on the right wing sites like Gateway Pundit. "FALSE FLAG!" -- natch.

Ascended Madoka preserve us, they even question scientific consensus as "just your opinion".

People really are entitled to their own facts these days.

When Facepalm just isn't enough

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American support for the electoral college has gone UP since the 2016 election. Previously, there was overwhelming support for a Constitutional amendment to get rid of the system. Now, roughly fifty percent of the population supports the current system. I can presume only that there has been continual anti-Clinton propaganda all over social media, where I would not notice it.
I'm guessing that if Trump had won the popular vote and Clinton the electoral vote, rather than the reverse, support for the EC would remain at roughly the previous level. The knuckle-walkers of the Great White Booboisie have retained enough brains to realize that the EC enhances the power of their votes, at the expense of those decadent heathen libtards, and those uppity N-people and other minorities.
Since i'm the resident Troll here i suppose i'll comment first. The current system was put in by the founding fathers to give small states some modicum of power.

2nd. Although Clinton is ahead at least by 2.5 million votes at this time she is AHEAD of TRump by 3.3 million in California

so conversly he is ahead of her by 800,000 votes in the other 49 states.

so given the choice of control by the electoral college or control by California i'll stick with the electoral college
Several states have entered a compact to split their electoral votes as soon as fifteen states sign up for it, most notably New York. So that's a step in the right direction. If only some states do it then it can't work, but it's the best option regarding the EC. Doesn't need an amendment, you know. Makes it worth voting in safer states. I don't think Clinton has comeout aganist the EC, has she?

Weren't you going to do a humourous post regarding the Podesta affair (now PIzzagate)? Given the connection to Correct the Record and Media Matters it may be regarded by some as a fordward defensive by the fake news purveyors. I'm more open to Pizzagate, but I need an actual victim before I become a Pizza Truther.
The current system was put in by the founding fathers to give slave states some modicum of power.

"Since i'm the resident Troll here"--gerry, gerry, quite contrary

Indeed he is. If I were a betting man, I might start a pool on how many days before Cannon casts gerry into the outer darkness.
You would Gerry!
Would you also prefer to give up California as a contributing State to the overall economy of the US?
How about excluding California residents from the military?
Why don't we re-calculate our GDP, federal tax budget, imports, exports without California?
How about we distribute wealth and subsidies(pork) accordingly?
Why don't we make Red States explain why they can't manage to move with global economic trends, climate science, changing social trends, to recognize Fascism when it's staring them in the face, to READ anything other than FAKE news?
How about making Red States come up with one reason to elect an asshole that defies every Christian litmus test ever applied to every other candidate?
Why should I pay for the stupidity of Red States?
Gerry, your hands may fall off after four years of this ass hole, because hand ringing is hazardous after a while.
I give Pence six months.
anonymous-you won't believe this but i was born and raised and have lived my entire life in Massachusetts-i am 65 years old
Oh, good LORD. Looks like our resident troll lost out being "first" to our resident Looney Tune, Woody. And then was schooled by the same. Woodpecker, dude. If the troll amuses Joseph, there must be a salient reason. We all must coexist in such case.

A-hem. Again, Woodpecker. Tree-grubbing bird. Besides slinking back without abjectly apologizing to Joseph, did you at least eat some private crow? Or would that be too akin to cannibalism? Your beatific performance of "blessing" us all via your Sky Buddy, the toxic patriarchal cult Creep (aka "god" by the entranced) as you bid your "final" adieu is something I only wish I could forget.

As a counterpoint as to how the unentranced humans work, I was fully prepared to eat (or imbibe) crow, had I been wrong about the mass media's influencing and broadcasting the victory of their narrative "hero" Trump. I bought Old Crow. I was good either way. You, sir, have some explaining to do, after harassing Joseph for being right all along.

Stephen: interesting. I want to know more.

zee, I haven't had a troll for a while. Maybe I was wrong to scare off the old trolls. I have a sick dog who wakes me up every 90 minutes because he needs to relieve himself constantly. If I can deal with that, I can deal with a troll -- in fact, the two things are quite similar.
Haha, I completely hear you, Joseph! My dog is not sick but overtly unhappy we do not currently have an operational back door.

The troll (and unapologetic Looney Tunes character) do not please me, but given the world situation are tolerable as ballast.
Actually, the Looney Tunes work for Warner Brothers. My showbiz cousin Woody works for Universal.

Mr. Cannon, if I wronged you, I apologize.

The main reason I goofed is that I underestimated the importance of the gutting of the Voting Rights Act. If that had happened in 2005 instead of 2013, we'd be discussing the winding down of the McCain presidency. If it had happened in 2009, we'd be discussing the upcoming second term of Romney.

I must express admiration for Prowlerzee's stamina--that ze can hold a grudge for all this time. ;)
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Saturday, December 03, 2016

Right-wing conspiracy theory: The most dangerous substance on earth

Despite the hilarious efforts of the Trumpers to defend Il Duce's claim that millions voted illegally for Hillary Clinton, there have been only three (Brad Friedman says four) confirmed cases of voter impersonation in 2016, at least so far. Guess what? Those three were TRUMP SUPPORTERS.

Fake news watch: Heather Digby Parton has the best brief summary about the fake news explosion that did so much to elect Donald Trump.
This is just the latest story over the past couple of weeks involving the issue of “fake news” and its effect on this last election. It has been revealed that Facebook, one of the most important news purveyors in the world with 44 percent of Americans saying they get news from the site, was responsible for a vast number of false stories being pumped out to millions of people, most of them helpful to Trump.

Earlier this year Facebook had been hit with accusations of suppressing conservative stories, so the company eliminated human news curators and replaced them with a new algorithm that, well, ended up providing more conservative stories. Most of them were fake, many of them focused on lurid pseudo-scandals about Hillary Clinton.

On Reddit, a Clinton fake scandal called #Pizzagate continues to rage. It is entirely false, yet the site’s Trump-supporting users are up in arms over Reddit’s decision to ban the board that had fueled the conspiracy theory, involving accusations that Clinton had been running a pedophile ring out of the back of a pizza parlor. Reddit would not have banned it if its users hadn’t been publishing the private information of innocent people and accusing them of pedophilia.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, The Washington Post unveiled a big story about Russian involvement in disseminating fake news. Other news outlets have tracked down fake news purveyors as well, including individual entrepreneurial types as close as California and as far flung as Macedonia and the nation of Georgia, where the perpetrators coincidentally found that fake news benefiting Donald Trump could be very lucrative on the internet. The Post article has been challenged for its reliance on a questionable group that claims to be tracking fake news sites that aren’t actually fake news sites. (And there’s good reason to suspect that much of the spike in fake news traffic came from good old Matt Drudge, a phenomenon that I wrote about months ago.)

The Intercept published a fascinating account of fake news being created by Floyd Brown (a famous associate of Trump intimates Kellyanne Conway and David Bossie and the founder of the right-wing “oppo” group Citizens United, which drove Whitewater coverage in the 1990s). It’s not surprising that the man who created the Willie Horton ad would be involved in an enterprise like this. The article also tracks fake news stories circulated by the site Lifezette of possible Trump administration hire Laura Ingraham and far right institutions like World Net Daily.
A while back, I posted a piece which argued that some left-wing conspiracy theories were on the mark (or at least headed in the right direction) but all right-wing conspiracy theories were bullshit. An angry reader blared that I was woefully ignorant of Pizzagate. He was right: All I knew about it was that it had something to do with child abuse allegations.

Now that I know more. Good Lord. What can I say? Every week, it seems, one encounters a new contender for the title of Stupidest Conspiracy Theory of All Time. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Right-wing conspiracy theories are junk. I don't mean "junk" as in "trash" -- I mean "junk" as in heroin.

Right-wing CT is an addictive substance, the deadliest yet devised. You think that's an overstatement? Look up Auschwitz on Google Earth. I can't consider the addicts to be anything other than subhuman garbage until they pull the goddamned needles out of their arms.

We could add much more to Parton's observations. For example, she does not mention that the creation of fake news has essentially been monetized. Even pro-Blue writers have found that they can make a good living concocting Clinton-hate for $$$.
Coler is a soft-spoken 40-year-old with a wife and two kids. He says he got into fake news around 2013 to highlight the extremism of the white nationalist alt-right.

"The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction," Coler says.

He was amazed at how quickly fake news could spread and how easily people believe it. He wrote one fake story for about how customers in Colorado marijuana shops were using food stamps to buy pot.

"What that turned into was a state representative in the House in Colorado proposing actual legislation to prevent people from using their food stamps to buy marijuana based on something that had just never happened," Coler says.

During the run-up to the presidential election, fake news really took off. "It was just anybody with a blog can get on there and find a big, huge Facebook group of kind of rabid Trump supporters just waiting to eat up this red meat that they're about to get served," Coler says. "It caused an explosion in the number of sites. I mean, my gosh, the number of just fake accounts on Facebook exploded during the Trump election."
Here's the part I love best:
Coler says his writers have tried to write fake news for liberals — but they just never take the bait.
I can verify. The most popular thing I've ever written -- by far -- was this post published on April 1, 2006. Even today, and I mean this very day, that post will receive more than two hundred viewings; all of the incoming links come from right-wing conspiracy theorists. If I had written something of that sort every day for ten years, and if I had found a way to monetize the "hits" (as Coler did), I would now be a wealthy man. Lefties simply don't fall for that sort of thing -- at least not in such numbers, and not for any length of time.

Guys like me are routinely accused of acting in a "condescending" fashion toward those poor, beleaguered red-staters who can't understand why they lost those good-paying factory jobs. Guilty as charged. You know why I'm condescending? Because red-staters and Trumpers just plain fucking deserve it. They really are inferior. They will always blame the wrong parties for the loss of their middle-class status -- and they will never understand that the only time in history when they had good jobs was when both parties hewed to the mantra "We're all Keynesians now." (Those were Nixon's words, uttered just when the assault on Keynesianism began in earnest.)

As long as you Trumpers continue to revile Keynesianism and to defend Milton Friedmanism -- as long as you continue to act like turkeys voting for Thanksgiving -- I will continue to treat you as my inferiors. Because that's precisely what you are.
Nobody called for an investigation into whether or not NRA members volunteered for the voting stations on November 8th, 2016. Statistical odds are that one out of every two voting stations would have an NRA member just based on the sheer size of the NRA at five million members.
Then factor in that the NRA had a 31 million dollar pro Trump PAC and one has to ask, could they have generated either additional votes for Trump or simply thrown out votes for Hillary Clinton.
If one NRA member is statistically to be found for every two voting stations, then if a concerted effort was made to get NRA members to volunteer at voting stations, that number could easily double or triple.
Recounts are silly because all they do is recount the existing votes without forensically comparing ballot totals to signature totals in the signature book that each voter signs. Nor has anyone asked to check to see if signatures may have been forged.
Once a ballot has been forged, it becomes a legitimate ballot once it is counted. The present method of recounting simply generates more and more temptation to infiltrate and cheat at the ballot box.
Test post. Every time I try to post here lately, I get an error message.
This time I didn't get an error message.

The next-to-last time I tried to post, I previewed the message, and then got the error message when I posted.

This last time, I did not preview the message, and I got no error message.

Maybe the problem lies with the preview function?
i believe the proper terminology is not 'trumpers' but 'trumpsters'.

plus, everyone already knows what st. colbert taught us: reality (aka, truth) has a liberal bias.

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Friday, December 02, 2016

What is Obama hiding and why is he hiding it?

I had wanted to keep David Morris' superb essay at the top of this blog for another day or so, but election-related news keeps piling up. Let's take a brief look at a couple of important developments.

A bombshell letter from Dems in the Senate. Senators with access to intelligence briefings want Obama to declassify important information about Russian interference in our election on behalf of Donald Trump...
Multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation into Russia's hacking say the US intelligence community is increasingly confident that Russian meddling in the US election was intended to steer the election toward Trump, rather than simply to undermine or in other ways disrupt the political process. The sources say there is some new information but would not specify due to the classified nature of the intelligence.
The call to release the information came in a short letter to the president released by seven Democratic senators that said "there is additional information concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election" and called for the details to be declassified and released to the public. The public letter was signed by all the Democrats on the Senate intelligence community except the ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein did sign the second, classified message sent conveying more information about the request.
Here is what independent Senator Angus King of Maine has to say:
Sen. Angus King of Maine said he supports declassifying information on Russian attempts to intervene in November’s presidential election, not to revisit the outcome but to shed light on a “national security issue of the gravest consequence.”

“This is an arrow aimed at the heart of democracy by a foreign government and I think we need to take it very seriously,” King said Thursday in an interview.
The senators’ letter to Obama was as succinct as it was unusual.

“We believe there is additional information concerning the Russian government and the U.S. election that should be declassified and released to the public. We are conveying specifics through classified channels. Thank you for your attention to this important matter,” reads the text of the three-sentence letter.
Why is Trump trying to prevent democracy? You know damned well that if Trump had lost, he would be demanding recounts. But since he is the ostensible winner, he seeks to oppose any attempt to audit the results.
A team of Trump attorneys filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania late Thursday requesting a dismissal of Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s recount effort, arguing that she lacks a valid claim and merely “alleges speculative illegality.”

On Friday morning, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a lawsuit to stop the recount there, a move that came hours after Trump attorneys had filed a complaint to block the proceedings.

And soon after, a pro-Trump super PAC filed suit in Wisconsin, insisting Stein’s recount push could “unjustifiably cast doubt upon the legitimacy of President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s victory.”
That's quite correct, if by "unjustifiably" the PAC means "justifiably." After all, there can be no shadow on the legitimacy of the election unless the recount/audit effort finds actual evidence. So what are the Trumpers afraid of? (And yes, I'd say the exact same thing if the party positions were reversed. Principle before party.)

The Trumper response reminds me of what the cop said in L.A. Confidential: "You've got a big guilty sign around your neck."

Some Trump supporters have said that the recount is a waste of taxpayer dollars. How can this be so, if the money is coming from individual donations? Both Republicans and Democrats have intimated that Stein is engaging in a money-making scheme. Balderdash. The money is going to the recounts! And the price increases certainly are not the fault of Jill Stein, Hillary Clinton or any other recount supporter. The state of Wisconsin has suddenly jacked up the amount of money that they're asking for to $3.5 million (up from around $1 million). Don't blame Stein: Blame Wisconsin.

As all fans of Life of Brian know, Jesus did not say "Blessed are the cheesemakers." If Wisconsin keeps raising the price of democracy, he'll probably be very cross with those cheesemakers.

The best source of election integrity news is, as always, BradBlog:
Over the past 24 hours, Donald Trump or his surrogates have filed multiple legal complaints in three different states in an effort to stop the "recounts" (hand-counts, machine counts and/or forensic analyses of computerized voting and tabulation systems) as lawfully sought by Green Party Presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein. As the Stein camp noted today, the sudden interest by Team Trump comes as Trump's margin over Hillary Clinton has dropped from about almost 70,000 votes to about 46,000 votes (out of some 6 million tallied) as PA counties finally complete their initial tallies. The Stein camp notes today: "With his margin of victory in the state nearly halved as of last night, and now within 0.2% of triggering an automatic statewide recount, Donald Trump is desperately fighting to stop the recount in Pennsylvania." His attorneys filed a suit [PDF] late Thursday to dismiss her filings in the Keystone State.

He is also attempting, somewhat successfully, to stop hand-counting from moving forward in MI, where he reportedly leads Clinton by just over 10,000 votes out of about 5 million tallied, including more than 75,000 ballots with no vote reported for President at all, many of those cast in or near Detroit. That figure, Stein charges, "is double the number [of undervotes] from 2012."
In Wisconsin, pro-Trump outfits calling themselves the Great America PAC and the Stop Hillary PAC filed a complaint [PDF] in federal court to immediately stop the counting of ballots, which is now in its second day in the Badger State. That complaint, citing Bush v. Gore from 2000, argues that counting ballots violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution and "may cast an unjustified pall over the election of President-Elect Trump, undermining public confidence in the integrity of the electoral process." Sounds familiar, ironic and, yes, hypocritical.
Remember, the "Brooks Brothers riot" in 2000 was largely the work of Trump's best friend, Roger Stone. (Which is ironic, since Stone would never wear Brooks Brothers.)

And now please scroll down to read Dave Morris' piece. It's damned good. 
Why? Never tell anyone outside the family what you think. After two terms, Obama can trust his sources because they can trust him. It's good to be Commander-In-Chief.

The recounts are essentially trivial matters to him, but they might be cited when the time comes. First, the Electoral College has to meet and cast votes. Second, the new Congress has to be sworn. Third, Obama has to decide if he'll allow a new president (you know who) to take the oath.

We have to wonder if martial law would serve the United States better under Obama or under Trump. I will not be upset watching Obama on TV explaining the new rules of order and providing his legal brief for the extraordinary action. As a footnote, I suppose that Hillary had access in 1973 (while she served the House Committee during its impeachment proceedings) to the Nixon White House contingency plans (from VP Agnew's staff) to cancel the 1972 election, suspend the Constitution, declare martial law, and round up enemies. It's also likely that she, for one, had read the secret Lewis Powell Memo that circulated and established the momentum for what became the far-right success story.

Congress will not be able to meet, the Supreme Court is still 4-4 and three Justices are women.

I predict that Chief Justice Roberts will administer the oath of office to Trump in a tweet and trump will take the oath in a tweet.
No less than Roger Stone, himself, (and he should know!) has been quoted in The Hill as saying Scott Walker and Reince Priebus know how to rig an election, and in fact have done so five times in Wisconsin.
In an ideal world, Tim Kaine would now officially respond to team Trump's court filings. As VP candidate with a chance to win if the results are overturned, this would destroy their major argument while perhaps sparing Hillary from the full force of Trump's vindictiveness if (as is likely) the whole thing still goes south.

Dream on, David.....
If a volunteer grabs a hundred ballots and fills them out prior to the voting stations opening, or simply does the voting where no one will see them, those votes will look normal during a recount. What won't look normal is if the signature book each voter signs has 300 total signatures but that voting station delivered 400 votes, which apparently happened in 3 or 4 precincts in Wisconsin.

Also, what if 100 Clinton votes were replaced with 100 manufacture Trump votes so the totals match the signatures in the book? I presume the unused ballots are returned and counted to make sure that all ballots are accounted for.

Simply recounting ballots is very, very dumb if no other investigation is simultaneously going on.

I would like to know if NRA members were permitted within one hundred feet of a voting station other than to vote once and then leave. The NRA makes up 5% of all Trump voters and since the NRA had the largest anti Clinton PAC they should not have been allowed to volunteer at any voting station. Of course the FBI is on this to the degree that OJ Simpson was searching for his murdered estranged wife's killers.
Broken seals machines tampered with???
I have come around to all legal recounts being done.

Wisconsin AND Michigan should have full recounts because it is within the rules for both.

There will be end to this uprest unless they do them.

Pennsylvania will only get a full recount if the margin gets down to .5-where it seems it is headed.
Otherwise they should follow their laws with a partial.

Trump should get out of the way. Not allowing recounts in wisconsin and Michigan will just delegitimize his Presidency.

If Pennsylvania gets to .5 he should get out of the way for that
also -in wisconsin nearly 60 percent of Trump winning counties are doing hand recounts.

some others are using combinations.

the big urban areas that were heavy Clinton are doing machine recounts.

Also on a daily basis Wisconsin is posting spreadsheets on the counts that are done.

these are excel sheets i cannot access though. However they are telling you if any candidate picks up or loses 10 or more seperatly.

so far after 2 days mostly one's or 2's or no changes. No big changes yet
anonymous-the broken seals have been shown to be the original warranty seals from when the machines were bought. these machines are very old and most manufacturers no longer exist.

I'm sure most of them have had warranty seals broken and repairs done on these machines over the years
I saw an interesting tweet from a NYT "reporter" that said something to the effect that as the election drew closer Trump had been advised to focus campaign efforts in Michigan and Wisconsin. The NYT "reporter" wondered why that advice was given and who was behind it. Well, NYT "reporter", if you all hadn't been so obsessed with all Hillary emails all the time someone may have investigated that.
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Thursday, December 01, 2016

A slow-motion coup d'état

How did fascism (or something perilously close to it) come to America? The quick answer is here. A Trump surrogate has come right out and said: "There's no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts." Context does not change the meaning of that sentiment; check it out for yourself.

But you want a more detailed answer, don't you? Cannonfire reader David Jay Morris, a former news editor, has written a remarkable essay on the rise of Trumpism, and he has graciously offered it to this humble blog for publication. It's long, it's juicy, and it's the best I've seen on the topic. Everything below the asterisks is his, not mine.

* * *

A Slow Motion Coup D’état

With the alleged election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States, have we just witnessed the final act in what comedian Bill Maher recently called, “a slow-motion right wing coup d’etat?”

Amid all the bloviating and lies that characterized his campaign, Trump does appear to have gotten one thing right…the election was rigged.  The problem is, it’s the Republicans who did the rigging.

They’ve been at it for decades and once Trump is sworn in and his first Supreme Court nominee is seated, all checks and balances will be gone. Thirty-plus years of right-wing subterfuge and guile will have paid off big time, although not necessarily in the way most Republicans intended.

The cult of Trump will be ascendant.

Should-be-president-elect Hillary Clinton once said that there was a “vast right-wing conspiracy” arrayed against her and her husband.  These words elicited mainly sneers at the time, but can anyone seriously doubt them now?  Let’s take a quick look at some of the main elements of this “conspiracy” and see if you still think that Donald J. Trump is the legitimately elected president of the United States of America.  All of them have been presented and analysed in much greater depth elsewhere – and links to a few articles about each of them are included for those who would like to start investigating further – but here is an attempt to outline them all. 

Intensive Voter Suppression  

Back in 1980, leading right-wing Republican operative Paul Weyrich said,

"Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome. Good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

Ever since, the Republican party has engaged in a systematic effort to make voting more difficult for African Americans, young people, Hispanics and other groups who tend to strongly support the Democrats.  

Especially  since the Supreme Court trashed the Voting Rights Act in 2010, states with Republican governments have pulled out all the stops to keep as many likely Democratic supporters as possible off of the voting roles.  No one knows exactly how many people have been disenfranchised through these efforts, but estimates of Democratic votes lost range into the millions.  Trump’s alleged margin of victory in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida could easily have been erased if all those who should have been eligible to vote had been able to do so.

Creation of an Alternative Right-Wing Reality   

Fox News, Breitbart, Alex Jones, the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, home schooling, biblical literalism, well-funded right wing “think tanks” (or should we say propaganda factories), climate change denialism, fake news planted on social media – the list goes on and on.  For more than 30 years, the right wing has undertaken a systematic and well-organized campaign to dumb down a large portion of the American electorate, destroy their capacity for critical evidence based thinking and leave them susceptible to the wildest sort of demagoguery. 

The stage was set for Trump.

Corruption and Weaponization of Christianity 

Back in the day, most fundamentalist Christians could be counted on to reject the theory of evolution, but also to think that Jesus meant it when he told his followers to care for the least among us and that it might be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into heaven.  Abortion, on the other hand, was nowhere on their radar as it wasn’t touched on at all by their saviour. 

How times have changed.  Back in the 60s and 70s, right-wing Republicans and their wealthy backers realized that there was no better way to undercut support for the Democrats who were championing civil rights for minorities, the right to choose for women and a more equitable distribution  of income and wealth than to paint them as not only political opponents but as actual agents of the devil.  Politically, their program has been an astounding success…but in the process any remote connection to the actual teachings of Jesus seems to have been lost.

Demonization of the Media

Along with the creation of their own propaganda organs, a core tactic of fascist movements is the discrediting and demonization of the mainstream (i.e. fact-based) media.  Starting with Rush Limbaugh and Fox “News,” this has been a staple of the Republican playbook for years.  Trump has, however, taken it to a whole new level, to the point where reporters trying to cover his rallies became concerned for their personal safety. 

Such demonization is crucial if the voters are to be kept “safely” away from the truth about the people and policies for which they are voting.

Demonization of their Foes, Especially the Clintons  

From the time Bill Clinton first stepped into the governor’s mansion in Arkansas, right-wing Republicans have regarded him – and his wife Hillary – as very serious threats and they have spared no effort or expense in their efforts to demonize them.  The attacks in Arkansas were constant, but things really took off once Bill and Hillary moved into the White House. Remember Whitewater, the years-long multi-million dollar partisan witch hunt conducted by “independent” prosecutor Kenneth Starr which led to absolutely nothing but the opportunity for the Republicans to bring a trumped up impeachment charge against the president for lying about consensual sex.

Treatment of Hillary has been no better.  In spite of the Republicans undying efforts to find something – anything – to charge her with over Benghazi, her private e-mail server or the life-saving Clinton Foundation, they have come up with absolutely nothing.  What the right-wingers have succeeded in brilliantly, however, is in smearing Hillary’s reputation and painting her as “crooked Hillary” in the public mind.

That is the real scandal.

Florida 2000 and the Judicial Coup D’etat

If there had been a fair and complete count of all the votes cast for president in Florida in 2000, Al Gore would very likely have been the 43rd President of the United States.  If the thousands of (mostly black) people who were improperly prevented from voting by Republican Secretary of State Katharine Harris had been allowed to cast their votes, he would certainly have won by a safe margin.

Due to the unprecedented – and seemingly unconstitutional – decision by a partisan majority of the Supreme Court – two of whom should have, by any standards, recused themselves due to conflicts of interest – we never had the chance to find out for sure.  What we got instead was eight years of Bush buffoonery, 9-11, the Iraq war and near economic collapse.

The Weaponization of Social Media  

As just about every high school student knows, Facebook, Twitter and the like can be cruel places, but Donald Trump, his allies in the neo-Nazi alt-right movement and the growing army of professional Russian trolls have taken things to a whole new level.  Cross them and you will pay.

As Trump knows better than anyone, social media is also the perfect way to bypass fact-checking and spread the most nonsensical conspiracy theories and drivel of every sort unfiltered to his gullible followers.

Extreme Gerrymandering

In almost every election, in state after state and at a national level, significant majorities of Americans consistently vote for Democrats – yet Republicans consistently gain large majorities in the House of Representatives and many state houses.

Why?  Extreme – and probably unconstitutional – gerrymandering. 

The practice of adjusting the borders of electoral districts to favor one’s own side has long been an unfortunate feature of American political life, but in 2010 the Republicans activated a brilliant scheme to give themselves vastly more electoral power than their opponents.  Called Redmap, the first stage of the plan was to pour massive amounts of money into elections for governorships and state legislatures in the year of the census and then use that power to shamelessly (and scientifically) redraw the districts in a way that had never been seen before.

The result?  A right-wing stranglehold on the House and numerous state governments which has allowed unrestricted voter suppression, gridlock in Washington, and an endless series of partisan witch hunts.

So much for one man one vote!

Conspiracy to Undermine the Obama Administration

The very night that Barak Obama was being inaugurated in 2009, a group of leading Republican lawmakers and operatives gathered in a Washington DC restaurant and decided that their priority would be to make him a one-term president by opposing and obstructing him in absolutely everything he tried to do.  Unfortunately for the country, they stuck to this plan religiously throughout Obama’s entire eight years in office.  Of course, they then turned around and blamed all the suffering caused by their failure to go along with anything on the Democrats – and huge numbers of people believed them.

Working, as this effort did, so clearly against the interests of the American people, another word for it might be treason.

Corruption of the FBI

Not since the bad old days of J. Edgar Hoover have we seen such blatant and unethical interference by the FBI into an American election as occurred this year. 

FBI Director James Comey’s unprecedented bad-mouthing of Hillary Clinton was bad enough in July when he announced that she had been exonerated in the private e-mail server non-scandal and then proceeded to do everything possible to undermine her credibility. 

Totally beyond the pale, however, was his announcement ten days before the election that new evidence was being examined in the case – leading to the obvious assumption that it might be reopened – only to come back a week later, after all the damage had been done, and let us know that there was absolutely nothing there after all. 

Shameful…and totally at odds with FBI policy.

Of course, Comey was not the only one causing trouble. After Comey’s bombshell, it emerged that deranged Trump cheerleader-in-chief Rudy Guiliani was basically able to use the New York FBI office as a tool of his dear leader’s campaign. 

Money in Politics

The influence of money in politics has always been a problem in the United States, but the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United vs the FEC totally blew the roof off on all attempts to impose any sensible limits.

It seems that the only way now that you can be elected is to either prostitute yourself to big money interests – or else to be one yourself like Donald Trump.  Either way, the interests of the middle class, let alone the poor, are way, way down on the priority list.

The Cult of Trump

Trump once famously said that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still not lose any of his voters. 

He was probably right.

He might not have shot anyone, but he was caught on tape bragging about being a sexual predator, numerous shady business dealings were exposed, he was shown to have defrauded customers and not paid his suppliers, he told one demonstrable whopper after another on a daily basis, and it didn’t make a damn bit of difference to his fanatical supporters.

For those with a sense of history, his rallies were chilling affairs as he whipped his followers into a frenzy and skilfully directed their rage against blacks, immigrants, Muslims, the Clintons, the press, women he may well have assaulted, and anyone else that happened to get under his skin that day.

 Chants of “Lock her up!” and “Build the wall!” filled the hall, protesters were roughed up and respected members of the press had to have police protection. 

It’s hard to say if the whole scene reminds you more of cults of strongmen such as Idi Amin or Vladimir Putin, the horrifying political/racial cult of Nazism, or out-and-out pseudo-religious cults such as the Church as Scientology.

Take your pick. 

The bottom line is that Trumpism shows all the signs of being a genuine cult. 

In the long run, this could lead to disastrous results, especially when something doesn’t go the way the Donald wants and he urges his well-armed followers to take matters into their own hands.

Election Fraud

Anyone with the remotest interest in facts knows that Trump’s and the right-wing’s claims of massive voter fraud – millions of individuals voting illegally – is complete nonsense.  A recent in-depth university study found that out of almost one billion votes cast over a ten-year period, only 31 actual cases of such voter fraud could be found. 

Election fraud, on the other hand, is a whole different matter.

For years investigative organizations such as the Election Defense Alliance and  and academics such as Princeton professor Andrew Appel have been warning about the relative ease of tampering with many of the nation’s electronic voting machines and the tabulators which compile the results.  Numerous demonstrations have shown that their fears are valid, especially if insiders were to be involved.  

Electronic voting systems are, in fact, considered so unreliable and subject to manipulation that in 2009, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany forbade the use of computers to count the country’s votes, and ordered a return to the hand counting of all ballots in front of citizen observers.

The evidence suggests that there is good reason to be suspicious of the results of any election in which the final results reported vary greatly from the polls, especially the normally reliable exit polls.  This is the standard the U.S. government itself recommends for evaluating if an overseas election might be fraudulent.  

And which party has benefited from these statistical discrepancies here at home?  Surprise, surprise, it always somehow seems to be the Republicans - and 2016 was no different.  In the words of election integrity expert Theodore de Macado Soares:

“According to the exit polls conducted by Edison Research, Clinton won four key battleground states (NC, PA, WI, and FL) in the 2016 presidential election that she went on to lose in the computerized vote counts. With these states Clinton wins the Electoral College with a count of 302 versus 205 for Trump. Clinton also won the national exit poll by 3.2% and holds a narrow lead in the national vote count still in progress.

“Exit polls were conducted in 28 states. In 23 states the discrepancies between the exit polls and the vote count favored Trump. In 13 of these states the discrepancies favoring Trump exceeded the margin of error of the state.”

So can we state with certainty that Clinton’s loss was due to deliberate tampering with the voting systems in key areas?

The answer is no.  That would take a serious investigation by the FBI…but they seem to have been too busy looking into Secretary Clinton’s e-mail server to be bothered by such a trifling matter as the basic integrity of our national elections. 

Directly tampering with the tallies produced by electronic voting machines might be the holy grail of Republican efforts to prevent demographic realities from consigning them to the dustbin of history, but, so far at least, we have only circumstantial evidence that this has actually been happening. 

Fortunately, a faint glimmer of hope has been given to us by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s call for a recount/audit in the key states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and the massive public support it has received. 

Needless to say, the Republican authorities in these states have already started doing everything they can to shut down or stymie the effort.  As of the writing of this article, Wisconsin has just more than tripled the fee they will charge the Greens from $1 million to $3.5 million, and it is likely to go higher. 

Worse, they are trying to arrange the recount so that it will be nothing more than running the same data through the same tabulators again in exactly the same fashion.   Of course, this will tell us nothing - and that is, no doubt, the intention.  Rather than this, what is essential is a full manual recount of all votes available in any way on paper, and an in-depth forensic analysis by top-level impartial specialists of the voting machines and tabulators themselves, along with their installed software.

The Greens are trying to make this happen, but it is by no means certain they will succeed.

Let us pray that they do.

Vladimir Putin 

With the possible exception of the Trump cult, the conspiratorial elements listed above are not particularly new.  Some of them even go back decades or more.

The 2016 election did, however, bring us an entirely new phenomenon, one that might be the most disturbing of them all.

I refer, of course, to the likely involvement of a hostile foreign power in an organized attempt to undermine and influence the outcome of a U.S. presidential election.

Such efforts are nothing new for Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Back in the Soviet Union days, interfering in the elections of countries where there was some sort of communist – capitalist struggle going on was said to be a standard practice in the KGB playbook (as it also was, to be fair, in that of the CIA).  In more recent years, the regime of ex KGB officer Putin is believed to have become increasingly active in this area, particularly in the realm of cyberspace.

Forbes and the Wall Street Journal have reported on Russian cyber-attacks on the 2012 election in Georgia and 2014 one in Ukraine.  The Washington Post reported that Russia has conducted operations aimed at disrupting U.S. alliances and others designed to influence elections in Latvia, Greece, Italy and France with the apparent aims of discrediting the democratic systems of Western countries and creating the illusion of a moral equivalence between them and Russia’s own authoritarian and corrupt system.  

As is now well-known, U.S. intelligence is virtually certain that it was Russian players operating under Putin’s orders who hacked the e-mail accounts of the DNC, Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta and others and passed on damaging material to Wikileaks to be released at the worst possible times in an attempt to derail the Clinton campaign and increase the chances of Putin BFF Donald Trump winning the election.

Much of the nasty, anti-Clinton troll campaign was also believed to have been carried out by paid Russian operatives and strong evidence exists that the Russians attempted to – and perhaps succeeded in – hacking the voter registration systems of several states and the computers of at least one major electronic voting machine manufacturer. 

If true, either of these activities could have provided the Trump supporting Russians with a way to tamper with the actual vote count in his favour.  This possibility is one of the main reasons why the Green Party and their supporters are so adamant that any recounts must be done by hand, rather than with the same potentially corrupted equipment.


The implications of all this are staggering. 

If even a part of the theories put forward above are true, there is every chance that the person who was declared the winner of our 2016 election is not a legitimate president-elect, but a usurper.

A usurper who got where he is not just because of his own extraordinary skill as a con-man – perhaps the best in history – but through a long-term and carefully crafted and executed plan to subvert American democracy carried out by a group of right-wing zealots now aided and abetted by the government of a hostile foreign power.

If this doesn’t qualify as a conspiracy, I can’t imagine what does.

By David Jay Morris

December 1, 2016

About the author: Now semi-retired, long-time believer in progressive causes David Jay Morris is a former international news editor and columnist for the Guam Daily Post and has worked for the New York Daily News and Long Island Business Review.  Holding British-American dual nationality, he now lives in the UK with his wife, cat and three dogs and works part-time as a teacher, Japanese – English translator and editor. 
Excellent article, thought provoking.
There is just an unbelievable amount of anti Stein, Anti Recount chatter going on among the mainstream media. I find it appalling and very telling. Nobody should be against a manual recount, there just is no compelling reason to be against a manual recount, none. Whatever the outcome, it truly is all good.
Stein keeps being accused of asking for more and more money with the intent of bilking those who donated to the recount even as each state asks for more and more money. Clinton is being bashed even though she had nothing to do with the recount. And still other articles claim the recount won't change anything so why are they bothering.
Did the FBI bother to investigate how many of the 5 million NRA members served at voting locations the day of the election when those members NRA fees went directly to a 31 million dollar anti-Clinton PAC.
Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia

Then there is

Stein, Stein, Stein, Stein

Oh well.
I must point out that in 2000 Gore made a strategic mistake in not asking for a whole state recount.

He only asked for Miami -dade area.

Because of the constitutions 'equal protection' clause he in effect made miami -dade votes more important than the rest of florida

Thats what the 5 supreme court justices used as the basis for stopping the recount.

Now whether you were on one side or the other it's a valid reason.
Alseesandro-they might be less sceptical if she had picked at least one Hillary won stat-like MN instead of Michigan.

Also the basis of the recount is 'questionable'.

supposedly Hillary got 7 percent less votes than expected in machine areas as oppossed to optical scanner ballot areas.

However most ballot areas are in the boonies where Trump over performed.

Most machines were in the big cities dominated b Clinton voters. Since Trump over performed they would seem deficient.

anyways Wisconsin will be counted and the boonies ballots confirmed.

Joseph, so we have a resident troll now? I remember that BS about Gore only asking for the Miami recount --- he did also ask for state-wide. I don't remember all the details now, but I remember that was the troll-line then.
prowler-i cannot respond to you by Josephs order

As part of the alt-write, I demand the ouster of all apostrophe deviants. Still waiting to hear if we have to stomach a resident troll.

PZ, the presence of a troll tells me that this site is being read.
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