Monday, November 28, 2016

Counting....and Waiting....and Music Monday

 Hat-tip to Kevin Henkes
People in the USA remain in a kind of limbo as to certainty of the name of their next president. There will be re-counts in, perhaps, three "swing" states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Jill Stein of The Green Party has been rather successfully "fund raising" (see here) to pay for such re-counts; that in Wisconsin has already been formally requested. The deadline for a formal request for re-count in Pennsylvania is today, Monday 28 November, and Michigan's deadline is Wednesday 30th December. I understand that a re-count in Pennsylvania would be especially complex, requiring petitions submitted district by district - just for starters! For more detail/opinion on the wisdom of these re-counts see The Trouble With Recounts in the Name of Hacking, by Dan Lohrmann. Of the points made, this one struck me as being particularly pertinent:
3) Are politics the real motivation? If this recount were truly about the election’s integrity and improving public confidence in the process, why not include recounts in New Hampshire and Nevada — which were states that Clinton won with very narrow margins? In New Hampshire, Clinton won by 2,700 votes — which is the smallest margin of victory in any state. In Nevada, the Hillary Clinton margin of victory was 26,000 votes — far less than the Trump margin of victory in Pennsylvania.
As well as the uncertainty caused by re-counting votes, there will also be a question mark hanging over the Electoral College vote on 19 December. It appears there's a possibility that some Electoral Voters might decide, or be persuaded, to vote against the candidate who was declared winner in their state, in an attempt to ensure that Donald Trump would not become president. How likely it is that such votes would swing the presidency from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton - or even be the cause of neither of those candidates reaching the necessary 270 votes to be declared president - isn't clear. Back in England we'd describe such mucky, messy muddles by declaring: "What a flippin' dog's breakfast this is!"

Results of re-counts will not be known for a few weeks. There's a deadline for those results: 13 December. As mentioned, the Electoral College will vote on 19 December; a further wait, until 6 January 2017, follows then.....

The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes. Congress may pass a law to change this date.

The Vice President, as President of the Senate, presides over the count and announces the results of the Electoral College vote. The President of the Senate then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.

If a State submits conflicting sets of electoral votes to Congress, the two Houses acting concurrently may accept or reject the votes. If they do not concur, the votes of the electors certified by the Governor of the State on the Certificate of Ascertainment would be counted in Congress.

If no Presidential candidate wins 270 or more electoral votes, a majority, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution provides for the House of Representatives to decide the Presidential election. If necessary the House would elect the President by majority vote, choosing from the three candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote would be taken by state, with each state having one vote.

If no Vice Presidential candidate wins 270 or more electoral votes, a majority, the 12th Amendment provides for the Senate to elect the Vice President. If necessary, the Senate would elect the Vice President by majority vote, choosing from the two candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote would be taken by state, with each Senator having one vote...........

Apt songs aren't easy to come by, but Music Monday it is, so I shall try these for size:


mike said...

There seem to be as many justifications for the recount as against it. Jill Stein took-up the cause, which Bernie supports, and obviously many contributors feel the effort is worthy.

We have a mixture of piss-poor machinations for casting ballots within each state. A little research into electronic voting machines provides a plethora of doubt regarding their reliability and security. By the very nature of electronic voting machines, there is no accurate method of determining whether a real human cast a vote or a surrogate, false vote was cast.

Lohrmann's essay that you link to and excerpt, has a telling link in his penultimate paragraph, a link to Wired, "Hacked or Not, Audit This Election (And All Future Ones)" [ ], that essentially refutes Lohrmann's essay and supports Jill Stein's efforts. The article quotes Pamela Smith, the president of the non-partisan group Verified Voting, which focuses on election security, “It’s almost as if it’s [voting machine audits] designed to not find out if there’s anything wrong, or if there is, not do anything about it."

Regarding your Electoral College discussion, The Guardian ran an article this weekend, "‘A recipe for scandal’: Trump conflicts of interest point to constitutional crisis" [ ]:
"Constitutional lawyers and White House ethics counsellors from Democratic and Republican administrations have warned Donald Trump his presidency might be blocked by the electoral college if he does not give up ownership of at least some of his business empire."

Patti Smith's "People Have The Power"

"I was dreamin' in my dreamin'
Of an aspect bright and fair
And my sleepin' it was broken
But my dream it lingered near

In the form of shinin' valleys
Where the pure air recognized
Oh, and my senses newly opened
And I awakened to the cry

And the people have the power
To redeem the work of fools
From the meek the graces shower
It's decreed the people rule..."

Twilight said...

mike ~ Your comment had gone to "spam" - now rescued - Blogger playing up again.

There are, I believe, are quite reasonable arguments to be made on all sides in these circumstances.

One big question mark for me is: from whose accounts have those severaal millions of dollars, received by Stein, originated - and in such a short time ? I'm sorry but I simply do not believe the bulk of that money has been raised from small amount donors (as in Bernie's primary campaign). Some wealthy corporations/individuals with axes to grind - and probably from both sides are likely sources. That gives me no confidence in re-count results, which could be equally as suspect as original results.

Any amount of cynicism is never enough in regard to USA's political life.

Had re-counts been officially funded, as audits, I'd think it a very good thing - but that's not what's happening.

We're screwed any way up.

Clinton found to be winner in all 3 re-counted states (if they manage to beat deadlines) - we're screwed.

Trump confirmed as winner - we're screwed.

Neither, after Electoral College votes counted has 270 electoral votes - and someone else is chosen by House of Reps - we're screwed.

I'm with Frank Sinatra's song on this one "Nobody Wins"...especially We the People.

mike (again) said...

I'm not concerned about from where the money came. The money simply triggers a recount performed by each of the states' official regulations and bears no influence on the outcome, other than providing the monetary resources for that outcome. We don't have a federal, presidential election, so each state should have a thoroughly valid auditing method, but as indicated by the quote in my previous comment from Pamela Smith, the president of the non-partisan group Verified Voting, the auditing process itself is questionable, and perhaps meaningless. There should be complete homogeneity among states' voting machines and methods, but each state is stand-alone, with unique rules peculiar to each state, with variations within most states. It's unfortunate that there is enough leeway and doubt in these systems that a secondary audit is even requested by Jill Stein, et al.

Our world extant is a digital world, always being exploited by hackers for the backdoor. Stuxnet is old hat now, but there is no reason to think the same or a variation couldn't happen to electronic voting machines. It only required ONE person to use a loaded flash drive into a computer to infect:
"Stuxnet is typically introduced to the target environment via an infected USB flash drive. The worm then propagates across the network, scanning for Siemens Step7 software on computers controlling a PLC. In the absence of either criterion, Stuxnet becomes dormant inside the computer. If both the conditions are fulfilled, Stuxnet introduces the infected rootkit onto the PLC and Step7 software, modifying the codes and giving unexpected commands to the PLC while returning a loop of normal operations system values feedback to the users."

The White House, Congress, Internal Revenue Service, our military, Hillary's Podesta, and many American industries have been hacked. To believe our elections can't be hacked is beyond naive.

I would prefer the money for these audits be utilized for updated voting machines or to convene a panel of experts to provide guidance for a secure and valid election process!

mike (again) said...

BTW - Remember "Black Mirror" S3E6, "Hated in the Nation"...the bee drones? It's only a matter of time before someone figures-out how to blow-up batteries in everyone's cell phones, detonate a nuclear power plant, or instigate a war. The opportunities are limitless.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ To believe our elections can't be hacked is beyond naive.
Agreed - and I don't. I also don't believe, or trust, that re-counts funded, and funded so hugely, by bodies who have clout and lots to gain are going to produce trustworthy results. Why are you not concerned where the money came from?

I too would like to see the money used to make a start at reforming the electoral process - but would the same big pocket donors be prepared to pay for that? I doubt it. What - lose all that valuable fog that surrounds every election?

Agree on your second (again) comment, and would not be surprised if someone could do those things already.

mike (again) said...

I believe I heard Jill Stein state on ABC Word News that she was receiving a $45 average donation toward the recount effort.

I'll reverse your question. Why are you concerned about the funding? The funding will hold no sway over each state's auditing or the outcome. Why do you suspect something nefarious about the donors? As most pundits have indicated, there's a very, very small chance anything will change from what was originally reported. Whether big names or peasants, if those donors want to provide money for a recount, so be it. Does it matter if Jill Stein is a surrogate for Hillary?

Donald Trump would have done the same, so what difference?

I agree with Bernie:
"Sen. Bernard Sanders on Sunday dismissed the presidential vote recount in Wisconsin, saying 'nobody cares' about it and that it’s unlikely to affect the outcome of the election in any way. Speaking on CNN’s 'State of the Union,' the Vermont independent and former presidential hopeful said the recount, while perfectly justified, simply is not a big deal."

mike (again) said...

IF the votes were tampered in those three states, not that they were, but IF, wouldn't you want to know, regardless who paid for the recount or the implication?

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ If you believe that Stein was receiving $45 donations in sufficient numbers to reach $5million and more in days....well, I'm surprised. There are articles around the net indicating that money was coming in in huge chunks (don't recall exact amount but over $100,000 at a time) at regular intervals, all through 24 hours - quite unlike the way $45 chunks from Tom Dick and Henrietta would arrive.

You have to ask why I'm concerned about the funding?! Why are we concerned about Citizens United, corporations and lobbyists buying elections, buying favours, pay to play etc? Seems the same to me.

I'd want to know if votes were tampered with, yes, but the way the re-count is being funded gives me pause - as to how the re-count(s) will be done, who's in charge, who's overseeing it and have they been paid off. We'll never know, of course.

Bernie is being Bernie, as usual - gotta love him for it. He wasn't interested in "her" e-mails, or now in the re-count(s). He just gets on with what he's good at, bless 'im. I think differently on this. If he'd been more interested in her e-mails we might be in a different situation right now. But he is who he is, and he will carry on doing what's best for us, as far as he's able.

mike (again) said...

I'm not sure what you are reading online, Twilight. I remember your #pizzagage intrigue, which still holds a huge fascination for many online readers. Snopes has a good synopsis:

Should you be reading "WHOA! IS GEORGE SOROS Secretly Funding Jill Stein’s [Hillary’s] Recount Effort To Steal The Presidency From Trump?" [ ], I encourage you to realize it's a reddit article, which is where pizzagate originated. That article declares that $160,000 is being donated to the recount effort every hour, 24/7, yet there is absolutely no source for that statistic. There are a number of websites promoting post-truth careful...question everything.

Much more worrisome to me is Trump, himself. His cabinet choices. His business conflicts of interest. His tax plan that favors the 1%. His fascist abhorrence. His denial of global warming.

mike (again) said...

"We not only need elections to be auditable, we need them to be audited.

We should use this opportunity to set a precedent of auditing electronic voting results to strengthen confidence — not only in this election, but in future ones."

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ I had to look up pizzagate - but yes, now I remember - the pedophile thing. I'm sure it goes on, Snopes or no Snopes - and who owns Snopes these day, by the way? I do believe there's an underground thing pedophilia-related. In the UK there's been quite a big push to uncover it there - been going on for a few years. In connection to this election there was talk of some guy doing flights to some island for such activities, Epstein is his name, I think, and he was/is a friend of the Clintons, Bill had been a passenger on some of his flights. Not really connected to the re-count thing though.

You seem to be hinting that I'm reading the wrong stuff, conspiracy theories, gossip etc. Well - I read less than I used to because most websites have disgusted me too many times. I have not read more than a couple of things on reddit - find it hard to navigate. I know it's not reliable - not my thing at all. i mostly read at Naced Capitalism and Truthdig. I've dumped Smirking Chimp now too. I'd rather pop in to a few mild conservative sites than some "liberal" ones at present. Democrats are pissing me off more and more. There's lots of garbage, and there's lots of manipulation going on in all directions, mike - yes.

The Soros thing with regard to funding the re-count may or may not be true - the big funders of the DNC, banks, Wall street, corporations etc are just as likely to be coughing up large globs of $$$$$ to try to get their girl back winning are they not?
And by whatever means necessary. They can't risk Trump, they don't know what he'll do.

There's not a thing we can do anymore anyway.

I'm past caring.

The USA has weathered worse storms whichever candidate is announced as winner eventually. With Trump we'll be in unknown territory - but Republican flavoured territory with all its nasties; with Clinton we'll likely be in a war within the first year, and gridlock in congress because Republicans have both houses. Screwed either way. She'll do nothing worthwhile about global warming - Obama has done hardly anything.

R J Adams said...

"A flippin' dog's breakfast"? No self-respecting canine would take more than a sniff at this lot without turning tail and leggin' it back home. It's one stinkin' political mess with the rest of the world dragged into it.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ It truly is!