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Russiagate probe expanding

December 16, 2020

It was reported yesterday that now-special counsel John Durham is expanding his Russiagate probe and “making excellent progress.”

But blogger Jeff Dunetz makes the depressing point that it might be just more talk that all leads to nothing. Durham has dragged this out so long that many voters didn’t even know about the Democrat hoax to overturn the 2016 election until after the 2020 election (which Democrats now claim that it’s insurrection to challenge.) Meanwhile, anyone paying attention (or reading this newsletter) has long known who did what and who ought to be in prison for it.

Dunetz compares these regular rumors that “indictments are coming” to Lucy continually yanking the football away from Charlie Brown. He also notes that if Biden gets in, all Durham will be able to do is submit a confidential report to a Biden-appointed Attorney General, who for all we know will be someone personally involved in Russiagate. I would not bet against that AG dropping it right into the nearest shredder. All the work Durham did, and all the years he put into it, would come to nothing. Pardon me if I’m beginning to suspect that that was the whole point of putting so many years into it.

Attention, Georgia Republicans

December 16, 2020

Attention, any Georgia Republicans thinking of sitting out the Senate runoff races to reelect David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler: you should know that their Democrat opponents have the outspoken support of socialist “Squad” members Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

Both took part in an online “Vote-a-Thon” to rally Muslim support for the Democrats, with Tlaib declaring, “I hope that you realize just the opportunity here that Allah has given us to show the power of Muslims in Georgia.” The event was sponsored by the Georgia chapter of CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) and also included Linda Sarsour.

If Sarsour’s name sounds familiar, you might remember her being ousted from a leadership role in the Women’s March for her anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-American comments and for fundraising for a terrorist who killed a Jewish American in Israel.

Muslim Americans certainly have the right to vote and be active in politics, but I think Prof. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit summed up this event well by writing, “Having these three come down to defend (Democrat Senate candidate Raphael) Warnock against charges of anti-Semitism is as if Lester Maddox had brought in George Lincoln Rockwell to defend him against charges of racism.”

Presidential pardon talk

December 16, 2020

If President Trump does have to leave office, there’s a lot of talk about who he will pardon before he goes. Two names that keep being mentioned are Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Assange is the founder of Wikileaks and Snowden was the CIA subcontractor who leaked classified information about the NSA’s global surveillance program. Both were charged with espionage. Snowden is currently a permanent resident of Russia, and Assange is in prison in England, reportedly in grave health.

Views of both men’s actions have gone through an evolution over time. They were accused of leaking information that put Americans in danger and that prevented 54 terrorist attacks. But those claims came from the same intelligence figures (CIA Director James “Liar” Clapper, Robert Mueller, etc.) whom we later learned were allegedly part of a coup attempt against President Trump and who themselves had no qualms about lies and illegal actions to frame Americans whose political views they found unacceptable.

Now, conservatives who once thought of Snowden and Assange as traitors are starting to see them more as persecuted whistleblowers. Particularly after we learned that Snowden was right, the intelligence agencies were spying on all Americans and lying about preventing terrorist attacks, and a court ruled that the surveillance program exposed by Snowden was illegal and likely unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Democrats seem to hate Assange less for exposing classified information than for costing Hillary Clinton the 2016 election by releasing DNC emails that showed what the party was actually doing and saying.

Their names may be coming back into the news more in coming days, so John Stossel, who like many of us was confused about what the truth was, talked to Snowden directly. He concluded that pardons for both are warranted. Read it and see if you agree.

And before any Democrats or liberal media members scream in outrage over Trump possibly pardoning them, let them recall that President Obama commuted the sentence of Bradley (now known as Chelsea) Manning, who was also convicted under the Espionage Act for leaking sensitive military information that put American troops in danger in the Middle East, and which was leaked to…Julian Assange of Wikileaks.

UPDATE 12/16 10:56 AM

The biggest problem with settling what happened with voting machines is that there are so many ways computers can be programmed or hacked, and it’s such a complicated, technical subject, that competing “experts” end up pointing in more directions than economists do.

Here is a head-spinning update on just the last two days’ worth of stories related to Dominion Voting Systems:

First, a data analyst named Russel Ramsland of Allied Security Operations Group released a forensic report claiming that the machines used in Antrim County, Michigan, had a 68% error rate, about 85,000 times more than allowed by federal law, which put ballots into adjudication, where they could be altered without oversight. He claimed it had to be deliberately designed for vote fraud.

Then the fact-checking site LeadStories.com published an article questioning Ramsland’s qualifications and claiming that his report was incorrect and did not prove vote fraud. Also, that the adjudication procedures in Antrim County were not as he described them so the votes couldn't have been altered.

Then on Tuesday, Dominion CEO John Poulos finally appeared before Republicans in a Michigan Senate hearing, where he also rejected Ramsland’s accusations and denied that Dominion flipped votes or had any ties to foreign governments. He called it a “disinformation campaign” and said paper ballots provide a backup to show the votes are accurate, and the problem in Antrim County was that the tabulators hadn’t been updated. The Senators were criticized for seeming unprepared and confused by all the technobabble (join the club!)

So, the machines are trustworthy! That settles it. But wait: another data expert who’s challenging the vote in Georgia called it “blatantly false” for Poulos to say it’s technologically impossible to program the machines to flip ballots in real time and that it hasn’t happened on Dominion machines, because it did in Michigan and Georgia. He said, “Mr. Poulos may be able to fool members of a legislature or the media but he cannot fool Election Integrity advocates who are IT professionals.” (linking to a lengthy excerpt because the original is behind a paywall.)

So will we all have to become data analysts to trust future votes? And how will we ever know the truth about this election and prove it to everyone’s satisfaction with so many people making contradictory claims? I just keep saying this: if the people who claim there’s nothing to this story will stop erasing records and turn the machines over to an impartial forensics team to verify the results, then it will settle it either way, once and for all. Any efforts to prevent that and simply deny that anything was hinky about the election will feed suspicions that will linger for years.

As for future elections, here’s a wild and crazy idea: how about handing people paper ballots after they show their IDs to verify that they’re legally allowed to vote, then having them be counted by human beings with no political affiliations while observers from both parties stand close at hand and aren't ordered out of the building?

I can already hear the objection: “That would take too long to find out who won!” Would it take longer than 44 days? Because that’s how long it’s been since Election Day.

ORIGINAL STORY:

According to the forensics report by Russell Ramsland of Allied Security Operations Group, released Monday in compliance with a court order, crucial security and adjudication logs are missing from the machines. These logs go back years, but –- wait for it –- it’s only the ones from 2020 that are gone. “We must conclude that the 2020 election cycle records have been manually removed,” the report says.

"The adjudication process is the simplest way to manually manipulate votes,” the report explains. “The lack of records prevents any form of audit accountability, and their conspicuous absence is extremely suspicious since the files exist for previous years using the same software.”

What makes this even more suspicious is that the tabulation error rate for this election was a staggering 68.05 percent. Ballots that won’t run through the machine and be counted have to be manually adjudicated, a process where election workers decide how they should be counted. There were so many of these that they couldn’t all have been examined this way. This would explain, or at least partially explain, the very low rejection rates.

The allowable error rate established by Federal Election Commission guidelines is 1 in 250,000 ballots.

As we said, the report states, “This high error rates proves the Dominion Voting System is flawed and does not meet state or federal election laws. Because the intentional high error rate generates large numbers of ballots to be adjudicated by election personnel, we must deduce that bulk adjudication occurred."

But it goes on: "However, because the files and adjudication logs are MISSING [emphasis mine], we have not yet determined where the builk adjudication occurred or who was responsible for it.”

Investigators found that all security logs for the day before Election Day, Election Day itself, and the day after Election Day are GONE. “Security logs are very important to an audit trail, forensics, and for detecting advanced persistent threats and outside attacks, especially on systems with outdated system files,” Ramsland said.

Other server logs are present, so there is no reasonable explanation, he said, for these to be missing. These logs would have given us all of the following: domain controls, authentication failures, error codes, times users logged on and off, network connections, internet connections, times and data transfers. Right now, all this information is, shall we say, unavailable.

This is something it might be nice to be able to ask the good people of Dominion Voting Systems and their contractors about in a, you know, hearing. Preferably under oath. They’ve said repeatedly that their machines are “fully auditable,” and that might be true IF THE LOGS HAVEN’T BEEN REMOVED. But Dominion has not responded to requests from THE EPOCH TIMES for comment.

My commentaries occasionally refer to the brilliant book 1984, by George Orwell, who was inspired in 1948 by Stalinist tactics used in Russia to imagine a world of constant surveillance, deprivation and thought control. If the source of such words as Newspeak, nonperson, memory hole and thoughtcrime is still unfamiliar to you, then you must add 1984 to your reading list.

But there’s another fictional world in which the individual is destroyed, and that’s BRAVE NEW WORLD, written by Aldous Huxley in 1932.

Thanks to the news site LIBERTY DAILY –- which does the job THE DRUDGE REPORT used to do when it had sense –- we found a link to a prophetic 1958 interview between journalist Mike Wallace and Huxley. Everyone should see this.

It should be said at the outset that Mike Wallace was a powerhouse journalist. In later years, as a reporter on 60 MINUTES, he did go after conservatives like Ronald Reagan in a way that could irritate, but one didn’t get the impression that he was just shilling for one political party or narrative. His son, Chris Wallace, host of FOX NEWS SUNDAY, might want to think about that next time he tries to pressure a guest into saying Biden is the President-ELECT. To use a reference from 1984, it reminds me of the head of the Party making Winston Smith say 2+2=5. I digress.

Anyway, Mike Wallace was interviewing Huxley because of the author’s newly-published series of essays on the threats to freedom in America, called ENEMIES OF FREEDOM (also published as BRAVE NEW WORLD REVISITED).

"Who and what are the enemies of freedom here in the United States?” Wallace asked him. At that time, Mr. Huxley said he couldn’t really give an answer to the “who,” but he could see “impersonal forces” pushing us away from freedom. He also said there were “a number of technological devices which anyone who wishes to use can use to accelerate this process.”

This was 1958! Imagine if Huxley could see what we have now in the way of “technological devices” being used to accelerate the process of diminishing our freedom. Even his genius could never have foreseen it.

Instead, Huxley was contemplating such forces as overpopulation, not yet in America but in other areas of the world, as a reason to manage people’s lives. “Unfortunately,” he said, “in all these underdeveloped countries, the only highly-organized political party is the Communist Party.” He said they likely would be “the heirs of this unfortunate process.” And so they still are, in China.

The force at work in America he called “over-organization.” With increasingly elaborate technology, we need more hierarchical organization. (Conveniently, advances in organization have accompanied advances in technology.) More and more people live as “subordinates” in systems controlled by bureaucracies such as Big Business or Big Government. (Today, of course, we'd throw in Big Tech.)

When asked what specific devices might be used for control, Huxley mentioned the propaganda techniques used by Hitler to impose his will on masses of people. He said such methods weren’t being used in America –- remember, this was 1958 –- but they existed and were available, some more sophisticated than Hitler’s. “We mustn’t be caught by surprise by our own advancing technology,” he warned.

Huxley saw television as being used “quite harmlessly” (again, 1958) but foresaw it being used to control us. He noted that in totalitarian countries, it’s on “all the time,” giving out one message, “one single idea all the time.” (This sounds like Orwell’s telescreen, and also like CNN talking trash about Trump.) TV is “an immensely powerful instrument,” he said. "Morally neutral,” it can be used for good or evil.

When Wallace asked him what a future totalitarian state might be like, he said it might be very unlike those from “the immediate past,” meaning, I assume, Maoist China and Soviet Russia. Huxley saw future regimes maintaining control by gaining the consent of those being ruled. In BRAVE NEW WORLD, of course, the government uses a fictional drug called “Soma” to keep everybody content and cooperative.

But mostly they would do it with propaganda, by “bypassing the rational side of man and appealing to his subconscious, deeper emotions, and his physiology, even” so that he will be made to “actually love his slavery.” He’ll be happy, in a way, but “happy in a situation where he oughtn’t to be happy.”

Huxley said it was important to start thinking of these possibilities so we wouldn’t be surprised by the things that “people of bad will” tried to impose on us through technology.

In his essays, Huxley wrote prophetically about what was starting to happen to politics. Wallace quotes him: “All that is needed is money and a candidate who can be coached to look sincere. Political principles and plans for specific action come to lose most of their importance. The personality of the candidate, the way he is projected by the advertising experts, are the things that really matter.”

The advertising business was merchandizing candidates “as if they were soap or toothpaste,” Huxley told Wallace.

"Personality is important, but there are certainly people with an extremely amiable personality, particularly on TV, who might not necessarily be very good in positions of political trust.”

Boy, did he say a mouthful. Quick, how many of you immediately thought of “good ol’ Joe” trying to project likability from his basement. Can I see a show of hands?

Once science has found that something works, he said, you can be sure the technology behind it is going to steadily improve. So advertising would, he predicted, become more sophisticated. Participation in democracy requires a rational side, but advertising tries to bypass rationality and appeal to unconscious forces below the surface. “So you are, in a way, making nonsense of the whole democratic procedure which is based on conscious choice on rational grounds.”

This is exactly what we’re seeing today. Especially the part about nonsense.

He spoke about the danger of these techniques being used on children, who are the most vulnerable. “It’s not an immediate threat,” he said, “but it remains a possible threat.” I wonder what he’d say about the indoctrination going on in schools today.

The big take-away, I think, is Huxley’s emphasis on the importance of limiting centralized control and the power of “the group” in favor of the individual mind. He’d hate modern "safe spaces," "cancel culture" and “identity politics.”

When Wallace observed that Soviet Russia wasn’t a free society but didn’t seem to squelch artistic creativity, Huxley said that in such a society, the scientists and others doing creative work enjoy far more freedom than others, and a relatively high standard of living. They have PRIVILEGE. And that’s how I imagine today’s leftists see themselves in a future socialist society. They’ll be special while others (we) are the drones.

Ironically, it’s Orwell who comes to mind here: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

We also found a must-read essay on the Huxley interview, written in 2017 by Frank Miele, that discusses Trump and the media propaganda machine targeting him.