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NERMEEN SHAIKH: On Wednesday, a federal judge ordered Michigan's Board of Elections to stop the state's electoral recount. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith said he would abide by a court ruling that found that former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein could not seek a recount. Goldsmith concluded, quote, "A recount as an audit of the election has never been endorsed by any court." Stein has pledged to continue to push for a recount. Michigan is one of three battleground states where Stein had demanded a recount. The other two states are Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. President-elect Donald Trump narrowly defeated Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton in all three states.
The recount has faced hurdles from the outset. In Pennsylvania, the recount must wait at least until a federal court hearing on Friday, just four days before the December 13th federal deadline for states to certify their election results. In Wisconsin, the recount is more than 70 percent complete. Clinton has gained just 82 votes on Trump, who won the state by more than 22,000 votes. Meanwhile, in Florida, three voters have sued to demand a hand recount of the paper ballots, alleging the presidential election was skewed by hacking and malfunctioning voter functionsvoter machines. Trump was declared the winner of Florida by more than 112,000 votes.
AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the recount, we're joined by John Bonifaz, attorney, political activist, specializing in constitutional law and voting rights, one of a group of leading election lawyers and computer scientists calling for that recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Bonifaz is founder of the National Voting Rights Institute and co-founder and president of Free Speech for People.
Welcome to Democracy Now!
JOHN BONIFAZ: Thank you, Amy. Thank you, Nermeen.
AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about the latest, what's happened in Michigan, the halting of the recount.
JOHN BONIFAZ: Last night, a federal judge halted the recount on the grounds the state appeals court ruling should stand, which found that Jill Stein, who's the presidential candidate seeking the recount in Michigan, is not an aggrieved party. This is a misreading of the state law. It's an outrage that the voters of Michigan will not have their votes properly counted. You know, the fact is, Amy, that in this country we do not have mandatory audits in most states for verifying the vote. We're led to believe that the machine tallies on election night is what the outcome actually was, and we do not look at the ballots. Seventy-five percent of the electorate in this country uses paper ballots, but we never look at those ballots. And that's what was starting in the state of Michigan. We were doing a hand count in the state of Michigan. It's been halted. And now we have 75,000 blank votes for president that will never be reviewed, with a 10,000-vote margin. It's an outrage for our democracy that we're not counting the votes.
AMY GOODMAN: Can it be appealed?
JOHN BONIFAZ: The problem here is that it's going to be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. This is a partisan decision made by the state appeals court. And these are judicial elections in the state of Michigan, and there are partisans on the Michigan Supreme Court. So, while that appeal is pending, you know, I think it's unfortunate that they may not take it up on a timely basis.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, John, in Wisconsin, where the recount is almost 70 percent complete, Clinton has just gained 82 votes on Trump.
JOHN BONIFAZ: Yes, but it's very important to note here that while some counties have agreed to hand-count the ballots, other counties are not. They're feeding the ballots through the very same machines that gave us the tallies on election night. Ron Rivest, a leading computer scientist from MIT, says that's like going to the same doctor for a second opinion. It makes absolutely no sense to feed those same ballots through the machines and tell us that they're recounting the votes. What we needed in Wisconsin was a full statewide recount of all the ballots, hand-counted. And there are other systems in the state of Wisconsin, unlike in Michigan, that don't have any paper ballots. They're electronic voting systems. And they also exist in Pennsylvania. And these systems have been proven to be hackable and vulnerable for our overall integrity of our process.
AMY GOODMAN: Last month, Democracy Now! spoke to leading cybersecurity and privacy researcher Bruce Schneier about the recount in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
BRUCE SCHNEIER: There are anomalies in the results that seem to correlate with voting machine type. Now, that is a red flag for hacking and something we should look at, and we should definitely research this. My guess is it isn't. My guess is there's some confounding variable that the machine type is correlated to demographic in some way. But we don't actually know until we do the research. My worry right now is the recount. That process was designed decades ago, when it meant counting the ballots slower and more carefully. And it didn't mean looking at the voting machines for forensic evidence of hacking. So I'm not convinced that even after this recount we're going to know more.
AMY GOODMAN: That's privacy researcher Bruce Schneier. John Bonifaz?
JOHN BONIFAZ: He's absolutely right that we need to be concerned about this, which is why, tomorrow in Pennsylvania in federal court, Stein's attorneys are going before a judge to make the case why voting machines should be examined. These election laws have been written long before these voting machines appeared on the scene. These voting machines appeared after the Florida 2000 election debacle. Private voting machine companies sold these systems to states throughout the country. And now they've been banned in many states. California did a top-to-bottom review of electronic voting systems and other voting systems and determined that these particular systems, voting machines where you touch on the screen your choices for president or any other office, that they in fact are vulnerable to be hacking, unreliable, untrustworthy and should be banned altogether in the state of California. Yet Pennsylvania still uses them for most of their counties. Wisconsin uses them, as well, for some of their counties. And he's absolutely right that what we need when we engage in a recount is an examination of those machines. So far, that has not been granted. But that's exactly why there's a federal court hearing tomorrow on this.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Donald Trump's senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, dismissed the recount efforts during an interview last month on Fox News.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Their president, Barack Obama, is going to be in office for eight more weeks, and they have to decide whether they're going to interfere with him finishing his business, interfere with a peaceful transition, transfer of power to President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence, or if they're going to be a bunch of crybabies and sore losers about an election that they can't turn around.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: That's Trump's senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway. So, John Bonifaz, can you talk about how Trump has been responding to this recount effort?
JOHN BONIFAZ: The Trump campaign or Republican Party has showed up in every single one of these states to stop these recounts. You know, Nermeen, when I was involved in Ohio in 2004 in the recount there, the election officials in some parts of the state were friendly, and others, they were resisting the recount in Ohio. But the Bush campaign and the Republican Party never showed up. They weren't involved in trying to stop that recount. That's very different here. The Michigan attorney general and the Republican Party were the ones who pushed for the stopping of the recount in Michigan. The Wisconsin Republican Party has pushed to stop it in Wisconsin. And in Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign and Republican Party are showing up in federal court tomorrow to try to stop this case from going forward.
What are they afraid of? What are they afraid of why we're going to count the votes and properly verify the process? In any functioning democracy, we should verify the vote. And it amazes me that we would want to have a cloud go over this election and continue into this next presidency without verifying the vote. We should be entitled, as voters, to ensure that the integrity of our process is protected. You know, there are two explanations for what happened on Election Day. One explanation is there was a huge hidden subset of voters who lied to the pollsters or chose not to respond to the pollsters, and they showed up on Election Day. That's believable or not believable depending on where you sit, but it is one explanation. Another explanation, equally as believable or not believable, is that the election was compromised. And we ought to engage in verifying the vote to determine which occurred. The people of the United States have the right to know that.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, there's a third explanation that people givenamely, that there are a number of people who came out to vote who had not voted before, so they weren't even contacted by pollsters.
JOHN BONIFAZ: You're absolutely right. There was voter suppression that occurred prior to the election. But those who may have shown up and didn't get contacted by pollsters, that is an explanation. That's part of what I suggest may have been the hidden subset of voters. But we don't know, and we will never know, if we don't verify the vote, which of the problems occurred. And we also know there was serious concern at all levels of the United States government about foreign interference in our elections leading up to Election Day. And then somehow we decide we're going to move on and not verify the vote after this election. It's amazing.
AMY GOODMAN: You were one of the main figures who pushed Jill Stein to do this recount. Some have criticized it, saying, "Why are you just choosing the states where Hillary Clinton lost?" The Clinton campaign is supporting here what you're doing. Why?
JOHN BONIFAZ: These were the three states with the closest margins of victory for Donald Trump. They were the three states where all the polls showing, leading into Election Day, would have a different result than was stated on election night. And I think, you know, if we had mandatory audits throughout the country, that would be far better. We ought to audit every election at every level throughout the country. But these were the three states that were most concerning, given what had happened on election night. You know, I think the Clinton campaign should have come in and asked for these recounts. I'm congratulating the Stein campaign for having the courage to do that. But I think the Trump campaign should show up and support these recounts. We all, as Americans, ought to want to verify the vote.
AMY GOODMAN: And finally, you just heard our conversation with the faithless elector. Overall, what would make you rest most easily when it comes to voting and how we choose our president?
JOHN BONIFAZ: I think we need a lot of reforms to protect our democracy. The faithless electors is an important move that Mr. Suprun and others are making to vote their conscience. But it raises the other question of why have this antiquated Electoral College that allows somebody to become president when he was the loser to the popular vote. We have somebody who won 2.7 million more votes than the declared winner. And, you know, this iswe need to abolish the Electoral College. We need to get big money out of politics. We need to deal with gerrymandering. We need a lot of improvement. All hands on deck for fighting for our democracy.
Trumpf has announced he will CONTINUE being executive director of his reality TV show DURING his Presidency! D.C. really does become 'Hollywood' and 'Oceania' in just six weeks. ::face.palm::

So, as I understand it from Trumpf's mouth, he will not sell, divest himself of nor place in blind trust any of his businesses. Rather, he will use the new digs and title on the door to sell his products and make his deals. He will additionally pick up again his reality TV show he dropped over a year ago. This really is like the decline of Rome, complete with the Circus. I don't understand how many of those who voted for him (apparently) have not yet voiced alarm at his plans. Never underestimate the stupidity/naivety of most Americans. Lambs to the slaughter........with Circus to entertain them. The station that hosts his reality TV show also has a news division - does anyone think they can be unbaised in their news coverage of things Trump when they have a lucrative contract with him?! [to site just one of thousands of conflicts of interest the 'man' has]. Add to this Circus and unethical mix his plans for war abroad and more and more aggressive police at home; complete marriage of government with corporations - and one has the textbook definition of fascism. Goodbye USA. It's been interesting........

I jokingly said on the day he was unjustly selected that he'd likely put Las Vegas type lights on the White House flashing the words 'Trump's White House', I think something like that is not so far from possible. I'm waiting to hear if he'll fly in AF1 or have his own plane retrofit with all the fancy electronics gear. And lets not forget the new type of foreign and domestic policy by tweet. The dumbing down of the USA has taken its logical conclusion. We have hit rock bottom and People had best wake up and wake up soon - or there will be NO way BACK or OUT of this DEBACLE in 4 years - or ever!

One thing is for sure [and was IMO before Trumpf] - the system is not repairable/reformable, and must be scrapped for a completely different model of bottom-up [not top-down] governance - and one not based on corporate capitalism, oligarchy, repression, debt-slavery, authoritarianism, denial of freedom and liberty, elitism, greed, contempt for those in need, destruction of the environment, propaganda, universal spying-upon, militarism and endless war, police-state, idiocracy, kitsch, et al.
Peter Lemkin Wrote:Trumpf has announced he will CONTINUE being executive director of his reality TV show DURING his Presidency! D.C. really does become 'Hollywood' in just six weeks. ::face.palm::

Wonder when he will be fired? Looks like there will be many means of impeachment against him that could be triggered. And speaking of triggered I wonder how his SS detail will be managing his security?
Magda Hassan Wrote:
Peter Lemkin Wrote:Trumpf has announced he will CONTINUE being executive director of his reality TV show DURING his Presidency! D.C. really does become 'Hollywood' in just six weeks. ::face.palm::

Wonder when he will be fired? Looks like there will be many means of impeachment against him that could be triggered. And speaking of triggered I wonder how his SS detail will be managing his security?

Yes, there is a law that makes it illegal for most any* US Government employee to use any foreign trip or negotiations/discussions with foreigners for personal monetary gain. It is not as clear exactly what law is violated by his keeping his businesses re: domestic reality [sic], though it is certainly unethical and I'm sure lawyers can find many things illegal about it. [*That said, it won't be as easy as it might seem. The laws that specifically forbids conflicts of interest, specifically excludes the President and Vice-President. However, to bring the charge of impeachment against Trump will likely be easier on his clear views and statements (soon to be actions?) in violation of his oath to uphold the Constitution The lawyers on both sides will have a field day under Trumpf, but impeachment by Congress is not reviewable by the Courts, I believe - but now in the lawless United Snakes almost anything is possible....] There are, I believe, three reasons for a President or Vice President to be impeached: Violation of the Constitution or his oath to uphold it; 'gross violations of the Public Trust'; the commission of 'high crimes or misdemeanors'. All are subjective, and with a Republican-controlled Congress, he would have to outrage at least some of the Republicans as well as the Democrats for Impeachment to be initiated and successful. It is my opinion that he won't get past the first year without Impeachment raising its head in Congress...perhaps not even the first few months. Most states have procedures for the recall of elected officials - too bad this doesn't exist on the Federal level. As others have pointed out, since the President of the USA effects citizens all over the World, a worldwide recall vote might be a desirable thing run by the U.N. Interestingly, the most vague charge of 'gross violations of the Public Trust' might well be the easiest charge. If, for example, after some 100% sure Trumpf outrageous statement or action there are millions out in the streets calling for his impeachment, then clearly there is a prima facia case for violation of the Public Trust.

Certainly impeachment will be on the lips of many from the day he takes office, if not before. His V.P. is his best insurance against impeachment, however. That monster is further to the Right than Trumpf and squeaky clean on conflicts of interest to my knowledge - though as much or even more contempt for the Consitution!

Maybe the cameras for his TV-reality show will even broadcast direct from the White House! Clearly the USA is now [though it long has been] only an (un)reality show of the surreal vaudeville kind.

'Welcome to the General Billionaires Administration': Pattern Emerges in Trump Cabinet

If the Trump administration is a pair of bifocals, one lens is the military, the other appears to be one of corporate power

[URL=""]Lauren McCauley

[Image: flag_trump_war.jpg?itok=uOJqANHk]

A banner during one of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. More true now than ever. (Photo: David Shankbone/cc/flickr)

Another day, another cabinet appointment for the incoming Donald Trump administration. On Thursday, he nominated fast-food CEO Andy Puzder to secretary of Labor while Wednesday it was former Marine General John Kelly to head Homeland Security. And, as observers are pointing out, a pattern is emerging as the future commander-in-chief appears to be building a "government of generals and billionaires."
"The new presidential administration is shaping up as the complete alliance of Washington insiders, parasitic finance capital (aka Wall street, etc.) and the massive military-security complex," columnist Eric Sommer wrote at CounterPunch on Wednesday.
"These ministerial level cabinet selections," he continued, "are a warning that far greater attacks on the social and economic rights of American workers, and greater militarism and military aggression abroad are being prepared."
Indeed, the selection of Kelly marked the third general hired by Trump to a key cabinet post, following the selections of Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis for secretary of Defense and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for White House national security adviser.
As Sommer notes, the U.S. constitution "was in important respects intended to ensure civilian oversight and control of the U.S. military," as it "provides that only the civilian law-making congress can declare war, and that the Presidenta civilianis the top commander of all military forces."
"I'm concerned," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told the Washington Post. "[W]hat we've learned over the past 15 years is that when we view problems in the world through a military lens, we make big mistakes."
If the Trump administration is a pair of bifocals, the other prescription appears to be one of corporate power.
"It's the G&G cabinet," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) quipped to the Post. "It does seem to be fairly limited to Goldman Sachs and generals."
An analysis by NBC's Ben Popkin published Wednesday found that the wealth of the combined Trump appointments "tops $14 billionmore than 30 times greater than that of even President George W. Bush's White House. And Trump isn't halfway done with his picks."
In addition to Pudzerwho was paid $4.4 million in 2012 alone according to the SEIUsome of Trump's recent appointments include:
  • Linda McMahon, chosen to head the Small Business Administration, is worth an estimated $1.16 billion with husband Vince McMahon. The couple jointly founded the pro-wrestling company World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
  • Former neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, who is worth an estimated $26 million thanks to "revenue from best-selling books, paid speeches and board positions," according to Popkin, has been asked to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), tapped to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is estimated to be worth $13.6 million. Popkin notes that he is "an orthopedic surgeon with medical industry companies in his stock portfolio."
Others whose vast wealth was previously noted by Common Dreams include: Todd Ricketts, nominee for deputy secretary of Commerce; Amway heiress and secretary of Education pick Betsy DeVos; secretary of the Treasury nominee and Goldman Sachs alum Steven Mnuchin; billionaire Wilbur Ross, who was tapped to lead the Commerce Department; and international shipping heiress, wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and nominee for Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
But progressives are vowing a fight. A coalition of liberal groups this week launched a campaign to block many of Trump's appointments, saying that all his "cabinet appointees have in common is a track record of working in their own self-interest, not public service, and amassing personal fortunes, not fighting for working families."
Meanwhile, during a press briefing on Thursday, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) denounced the incoming cabinet as a "collection of stooges and cronies and misfits" whose "only qualifications for the jobs they are being appointed for is that they have attempted to dismantle and undermine and destroy the very agencies they are now hoping to run," as Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) put it, according to The Hill.
"Rather than draining the swamp, he is now filling it up with hungry crocodiles," added Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
No Billionaire left behind.
Magda Hassan Wrote:No Billionaire left behind.

It is very sad indeed, that struggling/sinking middle-class working people voted for nothing more than a con-artist, circus-barker, greedy-billionaire, and pathological-liar who cares NOTHING whatsoever for the 'average person', and less so if they are non-white, non-Christian, non-lobotomized by propaganda, pro-Peace, pro-Civil Liberties/Freedom, Progressive, or can't be fleeced as a sucker. This is the greatest hoodwinking of the Public in living memory - and the USA has been hoodwinked many a time before! No wonder he liked the Mussolini quote - he is no doubt one of his role models.

No, no billionaires left behind (nor bigots, racists, Nazis, fascists, con-artists, militarists and other slime). What a wonderful set of 'affirmative action programs'.
The head of Exxon is slated to become the Secretary of State! He 'only' runs the largest corporation in the World and it 'just happens to be' an Oil Company. You can see where America is going - and where the Environment will go too. This 'icing' on this fascist cooking really takes the cake! The country ceases to be in six weeks and becomes a MEGA-corporation with an HUGE and aggressive military, militarized police to keep down and kill the 'rabble', with Trumpf as CEO of this corporate/polity metastasis. Well, the mask has come off completely - the beast stands naked before us all wherever you live. The question IMO is what are we going to do about this, before the contagion spreads, and before the Planet and all upon it dies?!

Quote:"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power"
― Benito Mussolini
The Republican Judges are not impressed by the calls for a recount....wonder why....

In One County, 4,000 People Showed Up to Vote But Didn't Or Did They?

Stein's Team Pleads the Case for a Recount in Pennsylvania: Too Little, Too Late?

[Image: image01-1-700x467.jpg] Jill Stein in Pennsylvania, pushing for recountPhoto credit: WhoWhatWhy
More than 4,000 voters in a single Pennsylvania county headed to their local polling places on Election Day, stepped into the booth and, at the moment of decision, seemingly cast their vote for no one, records show.
Not for President-elect Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton. Not for Gary Johnson nor Jill Stein.
Nor did they pick a single candidate for US Senate, Congress, state attorney general, state legislature, or town supervisor.
Yet machine records confirm that these Montgomery County voters went to the trouble of showing up. They then either decided to withhold their vote or something prevented their votes from being recorded.
This mountain of so-called No Votes, regarded as "implausible" by Stein's legal team, is now at the heart of her appeal for a recount of Pennsylvania's presidential race that awarded the state's 20 delegates to Trump.
Maazel said that a "juvenile password structure" and "antiquated technology," make these machines used around the state and in much of the country on Nov. 8th especially penetrable by hackers and malware.
With a federal judge promising a ruling Monday morning and a Tuesday deadline bearing down on Pennsylvania to certify the results Stein's lawyers say that the No Votes suggest that machines tabulating the vote simply wiped them from their memory.
In all, Montgomery County's election records show that 4,087 ballots out of nearly 450,000 cast there were registered as No Votes. Montgomery, a suburban community of 750,000 north of Philadelphia, supported Clinton over Trump by 21 percentage points.
"Thousands of votes almost certainly did not count," said Stein's chief lawyer on the case, Ilann Maazel, at a hearing Friday in Federal District Court in Philadelphia.
Maazel said that a "juvenile password structure" and "antiquated technology," leave these machines used around the state and in much of the country Nov. 8th especially penetrable by hackers and malware. His assertion was dismissed as a pipe dream by an expert witness provided by the state attorney general.
"It's as likely that androids from outer space are living amongst us," Michael Shamos, a onetime voting machine inspector for Pennsylvania, testified. "It's possible, but not likely."
Weeks ago, Pennsylvania loomed as a possible linchpin in the recount effort, but with the recount in Michigan halted and Wisconsin winding down, Trump's hold on the election is secure. And a significant shift in the results are unlikely in Pennsylvania, where Trump leads Clinton by more than 68,000 votes.
Instead, Stein and her lawyers say that the rights of voters are at stake and that a recount and forensic testing of machines might reveal weaknesses in the equipment.
Asked what Stein would do if the probe revealed evidence of hacking, Maazel said after the hearing, "We're not there yet."
The hearing, lasting two-and-a-half hours, starkly framed the issues that have played out as well in Wisconsin and Michigan, with Stein's side pointing to irregularities, and attorneys for the state and Trump saying the recount movement is fueled by paranoia and dismay over the outcome.
"The majority of voters voted for Donald Trump in Pennsylvania," said Trump's lawyer, Lawrence Tabas. "The [Stein people's] disappointment in that result is driving them."
Judge Paul Diamond criticized Stein's lawyers for "creating a legal fire drill" by waiting until Nov. 28, the last day possible, to submit a request for a recount. If the results are not certified by Tuesday, the vote could be thrown to the state legislature, or more dramatically, Pennsylvania's electoral votes could be discarded, as if the election there never happened.

While Stein's lawyers argued that thousands would lose their vote without a recount, the judge, along with Tabas, said that the votes of millions would be imperiled if the Tuesday deadline was missed, just seven days before electors in every state meet to cast their votes for president and vice-president.
Mindful of this, Maazel proposed a scaled back, two-tier approach. He called for a deep forensic dive into DRE machines in six of the state's 67 counties and a hand recount of just one percent of the ballots in 17 precincts roughly 250,000 votes where so-called optical scanners were used to tabulate paper ballots.
The scramble to beat the clock began in the courtroom, with Diamond asking the two sides to huddle to determine how long the assessments would take. They agreed the effort could likely be concluded in a "long" day and a half, just before time runs out.
Still, the judge offered only small hope to Stein's lawyers that he would allow a recount to go forward, saying they had not supplied any proof that a single machine had been hacked or a ballot tampered with.
"You're risking disenfranchising six million voters versus speculation," he said.
Breakdowns that somehow transformed more than 4,000 ballots into No Votes went mostly undetected by voters who left the booth thinking their selections had been registered. But hundreds of voters discovered the mistake within moments, when the machines recorded they had shown up but kept returning their ballots with no votes cast. In the following days, many of these voters embarked on a tortuous bureaucratic trail, said Maazel, the Stein lawyer.
They were shunted from one office to the other as they tried to submit a petition to have their ballot counted, and those who persisted were confronted with filing fees of as much as $500 or ultimately told they had missed a deadline. Most, Maazel said, just gave up.
Because petition deadlines varied wildly from town to town and because towns did not formally post them, voters in this predicament were deprived their constitutional right to protection against disenfranchisement, Maazel said.
Shamos, the attorney general's expert witness and a computer-science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said that Pennsylvania's tabulation methods, lacking a centralized computer, were impervious to a bad actor trying to hack into it by altering the software.
"Tell me how one would introduce malware into a significant number of machines to change the result," he said. "No one has."
Attackers, he said, would have to lie in wait for four months as machines were readied and tested before being brought to polling places a few days before the campaign.
"They would have to break seals and apply counterfeit seals," he said. "No one would have unfettered access."
He acknowledged that typical voting precincts such as schools, churches and libraries often went unguarded, even in the days leading up to the election.
Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan computer-science professor, testified for the Stein side that there were two basic ways Pennsylvania's machines were vulnerable to hacking, either by physically tampering with a computer chip or by transferring infected files from one machine to another on ordinary flash drives.
He said that while it was "significantly likely" pre-election forecasts were wrong, "it was not much less likely that there was a cyber attack."
"Putting myself into the role of attacker, with all its vulnerabilities, I would hack Pennsylvania," he added.

And on a more gallows humor, yet at the same time serious note:

Quote:Making Sure That Only the Right People Vote

Hint: It Helps to Be White

[Image: image00-1-700x467.jpg] Voting in the Age of Trump.Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0) See complete attribution below.
When the demographics of the US electorate began to turn against Republicans, it appeared as though they only had two options: Adapt their policies to appeal to minorities and young people, or stay the course and risk slowly fading into irrelevance.
Unwilling to change their policies and unable to change the country's demographics, the GOP instead chose a third option: Alter who can vote.
That's why, once they gained full control of a state, Republicans quickly moved to consolidate their power. They gerrymandered congressional districts and passed laws that would make it more difficult for likely Democrats to vote.
When the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013 with its decision in Shelby County v. Holder, it removed one of the last remaining obstacles that stood between the GOP and the ability to pick an electorate more to its liking.
State Republicans immediately went to work and passed laws across the country to make that happen.
Soon, we will see what it looks like when that plan goes national. With Donald Trump in the White House, Republicans in control of Congress, Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, and Kris Kobach (the architect of various voter suppression efforts) in the transition team, chances are the GOP will soon come up with another scheme to keep minorities on the sidelines on Election Day.
To help them out, we came up with a few innovative ways to ensure that only the "right" people vote:

English only: Ensuring that all election materials are available in English only seems like an easy way to keep undesirable immigrants away from the polls. But why stop there? Prior to being allowed to vote, immigrants should recite the Constitution from memory.
Voter ID: Under the pretense of fighting the extraordinarily rare crime of in-person voter fraud, Republicans have instituted a number of Voter ID laws across the country. The actual goal of these is to make sure that poor people, the elderly and minorities, who often lack the required ID, can't vote. However, current measures are not restrictive enough. Look for federal legislation that requires the following additional identification to be required to cast a ballot: Country club membership card, receipt for NRA donation, bowling league registration card, Trump University enrollment form and/or KKK secret handshake.
With the Interstate Crosscheck program, Kobach and his voter suppression minions managed to strike a lot of voters from the rolls, but the system is not foolproof. That's why a law is needed that prevents people from voting whose last name ends in the letter "z", any name that includes an "ñ" (note that the following letters are also foreign but they are acceptable because they come from European alphabets: ä, ü and ø), whose name matches any part of the name of a Middle Eastern terrorist or anybody whose name is Mo'nique.
While hundreds of polling places were eliminated prior to the 2016 election, additional steps have to be taken. In the future, polling places in areas with large minority populations must be located next to landfills.
To prevent long lines, voting hours will be staggered. White people can vote anywhere from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm while minorities and millennials must vote between midnight and 8:00 am or 8:00 pm to midnight. That way, each group has 12 hours to vote and it is therefore a "fair" system.
People with "Make America Great Again" bumper stickers, or anybody who can produce a copy of "The Art of the Deal," will be eligible for a Priority Voting line. People with "Coexist" bumper stickers, on the other hand, will not be allowed to vote.
Early voting, which many minorities prefer, will be eliminated. However, African Americans and Hispanics will have the exclusive opportunity to cast symbolic "late votes" on the Sunday following the election.
Democracy isn't easy, but these simple fixes should ensure that the next election won't be rigged.

June 25, 2013 The Day Republicans Won the Election

[Image: image00-700x467.jpg] Photo credit: HoyaLawandSociety / YouTube

November 8 will go down in history as the day on which Donald Trump won the presidency and Republicans held the Senate by fighting off Democratic challengers in several close races. A key foundation for that victory, however, was laid more than three years earlier on June 25, 2013. On that day, the Supreme Court handed the GOP a tool that allowed it to turn back the clock to a time when racism was OK.
With its Shelby County v. Holder decision, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act and opened the door to state laws whose sole aim was to ensure that voting would be as difficult as possible for minorities, who typically vote for Democrats.
The nation's highest court decided that "preclearance," the provision requiring the Department of Justice to sign off on changes to election laws in states with a history of discrimination, was no longer needed. They were quickly proven wrong.
Republicans, unable to change the country's demographics, did the next best thing to remain in power: They changed who could vote by enacting a slew of state laws targeting minorities.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg saw the storm clouds forming on that day in June. In her dissent, she predicted that this decision would leave many voters out in the cold.
"Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet" she wrote.
To get a quick primer on voting rights, the Shelby County decision and voter suppression, please watch the short video below.

GREG PALAST: Officially, Donald Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes. But a record 75,335 votes were never counted. Most of these votes that went missing were in Detroit and Flint, Michigan, majority-black cities. How could this happen? Did the Russians do it? Nyet. You don't need Russians to help the Michigan GOP. How exactly do you disappear 75,000 votes? They call them spoiled votes. How do you spoil votes? Not by leaving them out of the fridge. Most are lost because of the bubbles. Thousands of bubbles couldn't be read by the optical scanning machines.
SUE: I saw a lot of red ink. I saw a lot of checkmarks.
GREG PALAST: Sue is a systems analyst who took part in the recount.
SUE: We saw a lot of ballots that weren't originally counted, because those don't scan into the machine.
GREG PALAST: The machines in Michigan and Wisconsin can't read these bubbles. But a much better machine, the human eyeball, can easily read what the voter intended. Both Michigan and Wisconsin, you have to pay the state millions of dollars to have humans read the ballots. This woman, Jill Stein, raised the money for the human count of these uncounted ballots. According to Stein, this human review was finding a whole lot of...
DR. JILL STEIN: Votes that were blank, many of which were in communities of color that are historically Democratic. So, obviously, this was athis was a concern for him.
GREG PALAST: Enough votes that Mr. Trump would lose. So, then, a GOP politician came to Mr. Trump's rescue.
This is Trumpville, rural Michigan. And this is their hero, the man who shut down the recount. Bill Schuette is the Republican attorney general of Michigan. He issued an order saying that no one would be allowed to look at the ballots in over half the precincts, 59 percent, in the Detroit areathe very place that most of the votes had gone missing.
DR. JILL STEIN: And it's shocking to think that the discounting of these votes may be actually making the critical difference in the outcome of the election.
GREG PALAST: We went to speak with the secretary of state, whose spokesman said the missing votes in Detroit were simply people who waited in line but didn't want to vote for president.
FRED WOODHAMS: You know, I think when you look at the unfavorability ratings that were reported for both major-party candidates, it's probably not that surprising.
GREG PALAST: Back in Detroit, there was another explanation. Some of the votes missing resulted when 87 machines, responsible for counting thousands of ballots, broke down. Carlos Garcia is a media specialist at Michigan State University. He witnessed the breakdown.
CARLOS GARCIA: The start of polling at 7:00 a.m., the machine didn't work. And at 9:15 a.m., they brought in a replacement, and it was replaced by 9:30. The people that didn't wait, their ballots were in the bottom in the ballot box.
GREG PALAST: But they weren't scanned.
CARLOS GARCIA: And so, at the time when they started having anyone who was waiting scan their ballots, those ballots were not taken out of the machine. So, any new scanned ballots were falling in on top of the old ones.
GREG PALAST: They weren't counted. Activist Anita Belle.
ANITA BELLE: Only 50 ballots in the ballot box. Hot mess. Hot mess!
GREG PALAST: How did Detroit end up in a hot mess with these ballot-destroying machines? Republican state officials took direct control of the government's spending in Flint and Detroit. Result? Flint's water was poisoned, and the voting system of Detroit was poisoned, as well.
DR. JILL STEIN: Whereas if you're voting in a wealthy white suburban precinct, no sweat, your vote will be validated, you can have assurance and confidence in your vote. But if you're African-American, these questions cannot be asked.
GREG PALAST: And then there are voters who never got to vote in the first place.
DR. JILL STEIN: Whether it's because of the chaos inyou know, some polling centers are closed, and then some are moved, and there's all kinds of mixups. So, a lot of people are filling out provisional ballots in the first place, or they were being tossed off the voter rolls by Interstate Crosscheck.
GREG PALAST: Crosscheck is a list that was created by Donald Trump's operative, Kris Kobach, to hunt down and imprison voters who illegally voted or registered in two states in one election.
FRED WOODHAMS: Michigan participates in the Interstate Crosscheck, like a number of other states, so we do match voters who may be registered in another state.
GREG PALAST: Do you know how many names are on it?
FRED WOODHAMS: There's a lot of names.
GREG PALAST: There's a lot of names. Yeah, I'd say there's a lot of names. Here's Michigan: 499,092 Michiganders are on this suspect list.
GREG PALAST: Is this to eliminate fraud, or is this to eliminate voters?
FRED WOODHAMS: It's to clean our voter lists and ensure
GREG PALAST: Well, why would younow
FRED WOODHAMS: that there's no vulnerability for fraud.
GREG PALAST: Noso, do you believe that there's fraud in Michigan?
FRED WOODHAMS: Well, we've been very aggressive in closing vulnerabilities and loopholes to fraud.
GREG PALAST: Well, I see the aggression. Here, Michael Bernard Brown
GREG PALAST: is supposed to be the same voter as Michael Anthony Brown. Then Michael Timothy Brown is supposed to be the same voter as Michael Johnnie Brown.
FRED WOODHAMS: Mm-hmm. And you're correct that, you know, I'm sure that there are some false positives that show to us. But we go through it thoroughly, and we're not just canceling people.
GREG PALAST: Statistical experts who have looked at this list say it's heavily overweighted against minorities, because it's usingit's just basically a list of common names.
FRED WOODHAMS: I'm not familiar with that.
GREG PALAST: Michael Brown. Jose Garcia.
GREG PALAST: Could you imagine that that would be a problem, in terms of
FRED WOODHAMS: I did not know Brown was identified with one race or the other.
GREG PALAST: CommonOK, you know that Brown was a common name in America, and a black name?
FRED WOODHAMS: It's a very common name.
GREG PALAST: It's a very common black name in America, yes?
FRED WOODHAMS: I've known a lot of white Browns.
GREG PALAST: Donald Trump promotes Kris Kobach's and Michigan's Crosscheck crusade. Stein doesn't buy it.
DR. JILL STEIN: If he thinks that Michael Louis Brown is the same person as Michael James Brown, he's confused. And the American people should not be duped into believing him for a minute. It's the opposite of what he is saying: not people who are voting fraudulently and illegally, but actually legitimate voters who have had their right to vote taken away from them by Kris Kobach and by Donald Trump. And there is no legitimacy to his claim that there are fraudulent voters that have distorted the outcome of this election. It is a Jim Crow system, and it all needs to be fixed. It's not rocket science. This is just plain, basic democracy. And I think the people of Detroit are so inspired and principled and passionate. They really are a model for this struggle around the nation.
GREG PALAST: And so the recount slogged through, uncovering missing votes and missing voters that could change the presidency. So Republicans rushed in to shut down the recount completely. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, here in Michiganwe may be way north of the Mason-Dixon Line, but the elections are still run by Jim Crow. For Democracy Now!, this is Greg Palast.
AMY GOODMAN: And joining us from Washington, D.C., is Rolling Stone reporter Greg Palast. His new film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. So, Greg, what most surprised you in this latest research in Michigan?
GREG PALAST: Well, you know, people are looking for Russians, but what we had is a real Jim Crow election. Trump, for example, in Michigan, won by less than 11,000 votes. It looks like we had about 55,000 voters, mostly minorities, removed by this racist system called Crosscheck. In addition, you had a stoppageeven before the courts ordered the complete stop of the vote in Michigan, you had the Republican state officials completely sabotage the recount. They said, in Detroit, where there were 75,335 supposedly blank ballots for president75,000they said you can't count 59 percent of the precincts, where most of the votes were missing. There were 87 machines in Detroit that werethat didn't function. They were supposed to count about a thousand ballots each. You're talking about a massive blockade of the black vote in Detroit and Flint, enough votes, undoubtedly, to overturn that election.
And you saw a mirror of this in Wisconsin, where, for example, there were many, many votes, thousands of votes, lost in the Milwaukee area, another African-American-heavy area. And there, instead of allowing that eyeball count of the votes that are supposedly blank, they said, "Oh, we'll just run them back through the machines." It's like betting on an instant replay. It's the same game. They just put them through the bad machines again. This is not just a bad way to count the ballots; it's a way to not count African-American ballots.
And I want to emphasize that, Amy, which is that when we use the term "recount," we're actually talking about ballots that were never counted in the first placeway over 75,000 in Michigan. There are enough ballots uncounted that if you looked at them with the human eye, because the machinesthese are terrible machines which can't read your little bubble marks next to the candidate's name on the piece of paper. If the human eye looks at these things, it's easy to tell that someone voted for a presidential candidate. A lot of the machines said that they voted for two candidates. Not many people do that. The human eye could do that.
But the question is: Where are these ballots not counted? They are not counted in African-American areas, in Dearborn, where there's a heavy Arab-American community, in Latino communities. So, while we're discussing hacking the machines, a lot of this was old-fashioned Jim Crow tactics, you know, from way back. And by the way, a lot of this is the result of the destruction and the gutting of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which this is the first election post the Voting Rights Act. So, we sawand Jill Stein said it correctshe expected to see a lot of hacking. What she found was, as she said, a Jim Crow election.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, we just have a minute, but what do you think needs to happen now?
GREG PALAST: Well, we need to have kind of a Standing Rock for voting. We need to restart the voting rights movement, because with Jeff Sessions coming in as attorney general, we have to start investigations now. I'm in Washington because 18 Million Rising, the Asian-American group, and the Congressional Black Caucus Representative Hastings, they have presented 50,000 signatures to the Justice Department, begging Justice, please, open an investigation of this racist Crosscheck system created by Donald Trump's operatives, operating in 30 states, knocking off Asian-American, African-American, Latino voters. Please open the investigation now, before it becomes a new Justice Departmentor maybe it's in an Injustice Department.