Democrats Need a Plan for National Voter Protection

Even as three different committees in Congress investigate how Russia tampered with our election last year, the Trump Administration and Congress are taking steps to tamper with the next election themselves.

The House Appropriations Committee just defunded the Election Assistance Commission, which is the only federal entity to help states prevent getting hacked.

The head of Trump’s “Election Integrity” Commission, Kris Kobach — fresh off court sanctions for lying to a court — sent a letter to all the Secretaries of State, asking them for their voting rolls (including party affiliation).

And then Trump named the loathsome Hans Van Spaskovsky, who has a history of suppressing the vote of people of color, to the Commission.

It’s probably no accident all this is happening as Trump and Mitch McConnell try to force through a massively unpopular change to ObamaCare. By making showy plans to cheat on a national scale, the Administration may be reassuring Republicans they can keep their job even by selling out their constituents in favor of a tax cut for the wealthy. They’ll just do it by cheating even more obviously than they have in the past.

Whatever the logic, though, Democrats are thus far responding to this obvious effort to cheat with half measures. While Democratic Secretaries of State are announcing they’re refuse to comply with Kobach’s request, that’s it. No discussion of anything more, not even an organized effort to point out that Pence didn’t mention cybersecurity in his statement the other day on “Election Integrity” even as Congress investigates the effect of hacks on the election last year. [This has been corrected to note it was Pence who didn’t mention cyber; Kobach does actually ask about technology in his letter.]

Just nine months after Democrats pushed for a national effort to protect the vote as it was being hacked by Russians only to have Republicans balk, Republicans are now embracing such a national effort. Yet Democrats are unprepared for what a nation-wide effort to ensure all Americans get to vote would look like.

This is an opportunity to lay out standards, within the framework permitted by federalism, for real election integrity. That might include things like:

  • Cybersecurity standards for both machines and electoral rolls
  • Standards for a paper trail on voting
  • Rules limiting how and when purges may happen
  • Affirmative restrictions on identity requirements that impose financial and time costs

Two noted racists are about to try to rebrand cheating as “integrity.” It’s time for the Democrats to do more than simply resist, but instead to lay out what real election integrity would look like in this country.

That’s all the more true given the investment Democrats have made in the Russian narrative. If Russia tampering with our vote is so important, then why is Republicans doing the same, much more aggressively and effectively, not worth the same effort?

91 replies
      • lefty665 says:

        That’s nice John, but inane. Bernie lost. He lost because the elitist neolibs who run the Democratic Party conspired to rig the primaries for Hillary. That’s what the DNC emails were about.  That was not some Russian plot. It was homegrown corruption, domestic, made right here in America by elitist neolib Democrats, for elitist neolib Democrats and of elitist neolib Democrats. They went on to run the worst presidential campaign in history. It was so bad the country elected Donald F^&#()* Trump instead, and nothing changed. The elitist neolib Democrats still run the party and they have lost all four subsequent special elections.  But wait, there is more. Now they are not doing squat to protect the voting rights of all Americans.  How many disasters do they get to cause?

        All you have done is deface Marcy’s blog with a huge irrelevant video. Just sign up for the twit race and be done with it John, seems technology, like politics, is beyond you.

        • John Casper says:


          As long as you want to pretend in the comments to be an FDR Democrat, you can count on more Bernie videos.

          While we’re on the topic, how do I make them smaller?

          “Just sign up for the twit race and be done with it,” lefty665.

          Below is a recent thread from which you ran away, because the “politics” was “beyond you.”

          Still waiting for your answers to these questions.

          You wrote, “Trump is so erratic there is not a predictable course for his activities.”

          1. Please link to the times Trump has deviated from grifting.

          You wrote, “The Israelis serve only their own interests, have intimate access to US activities and communications, and a history of dealing intelligence to anyone when it serves their interests.”

          Thank you Captain Obvious.

          2. Why do you ignore the GOP’s toleration of their conduct?

          You wrote, “You went from ok back to swallowing the propaganda when you bit on the bait that Obama gave the Ruskies a free pass.”

          It was your propaganda: “It has long been the case that the Russians can do pretty much anything we can when they choose to apply the resources. Intelligence is one of the places they put their resources.”

          3. Were you wrong?

          You wrote, “‘Getting tough’ with the Russians because Obama supposedly let them off easy (for things for which we have yet to see any hard evidence) sounds like neocon, warmongering, Hillary Dem hysteria.”

          4. Did you intend to write that Trump and the GOP has no problem with letting the Russians spy on us?

    • jo6pac says:

      Correct, obomber doj eric the holder did nothing then was followed by lynch who did the same.



      Nail it

  1. Peterr says:

    I’d add a fifth bullet point to your list, Marcy: a regular audit of x% of precincts, chosen randomly in each CD, as a check on the vote tallies generally. These would not be selected in advance, but an audit team would be ready to parachute into the precincts when they are selected on the Wednesday after election day. (This does not have anything to do with rules for recounts in close elections, which would continue as already in place.)

    • pdaly says:

      I like the idea.

      Presumably ALL those locations would have paper ballots to hand count–and there would be some way to verify those paper ballots were the very ones actually handled by the voter.

      If the system includes automatic audits, can it be gamed even with last minute announcement of the randomly selected district?
      What security measures are in place for precincts using paper ballots already?

      I can imagine a scenario where whole stacks of ballots are switched out post-election day and pre-audit just to cast doubt on a precinct’s election results, especially one that may have swayed heavily in one party direction.

      Say a precinct shows irregularities in post election day recounts, then will the whole district, state or nation need an automatic recount? If yes, paper ballot protection in every precinct will be necessary to prevent post election tampering. Worth doing, but how?

  2. Synoia says:

    Because the Democrats want the perks of being in DC, without the responsibility. The Democrats also believe that demographics will propel them to power in the future, without their having to change.

  3. TomA says:

    The effort to improve the security of electronic voting systems will always add more complexity, and this will in turn make validation more difficult and opaque (only a small number of experts will be able to interpret the code and, even then, most errors will only be discovered after the fact). The low-tech paper ballot with an inked thumbprint on it is not only doable, but makes large-scale fraud difficult to accomplish. That we are not considering this option tells me that politicians (of both parties) are not serious about election integrity.

    • Ed Walker says:

      I agree that any change should be to make things simple. In Chicago, we ink in a paper ballot which is read by machine. There is a paper trail at the polling station and transmitted somehow to a central counting place. That seems reasonably secure, and the thumbprint would be easy enough. We could also centralize the ballots for a recount on known clean machines.

  4. TheOfficialHashtagResistanceSuperPAC says:

    The Democrats won’t get rid of paperless Diebold machines because there is money to be made, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have fantasies of rigging the machines themselves. The only way to get that changed is to focus on a local level. The more local you are, the easier it is to leverage public pressure. Get a group of citizens together and talk to your local and state election officials. Demand a paper trail. Paper ballots scanned by machines programmed on encrypted computers with an airgap from networks. Encrypt all voter databases. Develop and implement procedures to recognize and avoid phishing attempts. These are fixes that are easy to understand and get behind. Yet no one is talking about this from what I’ve seen. Not the Democratic or Republican party.

    There has been a bipartisan response to hackings, but note how it is all been focused on offense. Retaliation is all they can agree on. We have over 100 cyber warfare teams engaged in ops against different “adversaries”. We level sanctions and kick out diplomats. We threaten war and surround “revisionist powers” with the mightiest military the world has ever seen. But nothing on defense. No move to secure the technology our democratic institutions rely upon. It’s almost as if our elected representatives don’t care about democracy and instead just want an excuse to be belligerent.

    • jawbone says:

      I thought it was Repubs who had monetary interests in electronic voting systems,

      What is the current situation?  And which owners of the electronic systems have ways of corrupting the vote counts?



    • bmaz says:

      Damn Dude!!!

      You are clearly breaking news here, because “Democrats” are not in charge of jack shit these days. But here “you” are to blame them for the voting rights rollback and bullshit that is the living hallmark of the modern Republican party.

      What a scoop!!!!

      • TheOfficialHashtagResistanceSuperPAC says:

        Not sure where I blamed anyone for “voting rights rollback”.  Just pointing out (correctly) that neither party has made any move to secure anything and both parties are instead gleefully and cooperatively acting like international thugs.  But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Schumer and Pelosi have been making concerted organizing efforts to rally people around security infrastructure investment.   Let me google that… oh wow they haven’t.  I was right.  Schumer voted for those counterproductive sanctions though.  So that’s something.

        Also pointing out that expecting the massively corrupt national party organizations to do anything is ridiculous and people should focus on applying public pressure on local officials.  On a national level, the Democratic party is broken. Don’t count on it for anything.  I assumed we’ve all given up counting on the GOP a long time ago.  I know I have.  Maybe I’m wrong about the Democrats taking Diebold money, but who knows with the way money is funneled into 501(c)4s.  They certainly take money from everyone else.

        The flaws of voting machines isn’t a new revelation, and this isn’t the first time anyone has tried to raise the issue.  Our representatives only care now because it helps facilitate their warmongering and anti-Russian xenophobia.

        It’s time for us all to admit that not only are Democrats incapable of putting up a meaningful “resistance”, they still wouldn’t even if they could.  Change isn’t coming from the top down.  It can only come from the bottom up.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, aren’t you falsely proud of yourself. Booyah Mr. Prescient Soothsayer!

          But, by bogusly blaming Dems above Republicans, even with a token bothsiderism feign mention, you are completely full of shit.

          • TheOfficialHashtagResistanceSuperPAC says:

            You’re giving me shit for urging people not to rely on an organization that not only has shown zero desire to substantially address the issue of voter security, but instead has worked to undermine it when it suited their needs.

            You’re giving me shit for urging people to instead of hoping the Democrats get their act together, get organized on their own, engage directly with their election officials, and demand the sort of change that would protect their votes.


            Maybe instead of lashing out, you should think about why you feel so threatened by someone pointing out that the Democrats won’t save us.

              • TheOfficialHashtagResistanceSuperPAC says:

                You seem to think I’m wrong to speak about what to expect (or perhaps more accurately what not to expect) of Democrats in the comments section of an article explicitly about Democrats.  I’m not quite sure why.  I’ll resubmit the possibility that you feel threatened by the idea that the Democrats don’t care, and reflexively reject the idea.  But they don’t.  Look at what they did when they had control of the federal government.  None of the proles who lived through the “recovery” believe the Democrats care.  And they were so desperate from something different they picked the elevated pied pier candidate who campaigned on claiming to be an outsider.  Neoliberalism is a cancer, and it’s most noxious symptom is Trump who with a squad of the most worthless goons imaginable are unfolding its terminal stage. But it is a bipartisan project, and the political silencing of anyone but the elite is part of that.


                I think we are in agreement that the Republicans are a craven self serving malicious and destructive party.  In fact I assumed that would be true of everyone reading.  I assumed it so much I didn’t feel necessary to spend time ranting about what everyone paying attention has long since realized.

                I’m sorry my distrust and disgust with Democrat complacency and complicity offends you.  But I, and others who occupy my station in life, realize the Democrats do not represent us either, and don’t want us to have a say.  Your responses aren’t convincing me otherwise.  I will continue to cast judgement upon them.


                Thank you for granting me the privilege of exercising my first Amendment rights in this space.  I realize that you could, should you so choose, decide to block my comments through moderator powers or maybe even my IP address from accessing the site.  So I appreciate you allowing me to express myself.

        • John Casper says:


          You wrote, “Change isn’t coming from the top down.  It can only come from the bottom up.”

          Sorry you missed Occupy.

          But, given the spirit you bring, I know you’ve already donated to the site.

          I was only able to give a little over $300 last year.

          Were you able to beat that drawing on your SuperPAC funds?

          OT, is there an UnofficialHashtagResistanceSuperPAC?

          If you value local action, why are you running a SuperPAC?

          Thanks in advance.

          • TheOfficialHashtagResistanceSuperPAC says:

            I can’t afford to spend 300 dollars on anything.  Thanks for using your economic privilege to shame me.

            • John Casper says:


              You’re welcome.

              Sounds as though shame comes naturally to you.

              Have you tried reading “Codependent No More?”


              Your public library will have it. Do you have a library card?

              Are you a communist? Do you believe in private property?

              The “privilege” here is reading one of the world’s great thinkers, emptywheel and the other writers. The site doesn’t run on air. Do you freeload everywhere?

              Are you an addict, who spends all their money on drugs?
              Are you behind on child-support too?

              Where do you work? Should you be focussed on that instead of “lashing out” with free advice that isn’t worth anything?

              Are you ashamed of your lying?

              Why haven’t you responded to my questions about when and where you claimed to have contacted “state” and “local” election officials?

              Has anything I’ve written here triggered more shame in you?

              Why does someone who is so destitute, chose a handle with “SuperPAC” in it?

    • John Casper says:


      You wrote,  “The more local you are, the easier it is to leverage public pressure. Get a group of citizens together and talk to your local and state election officials. Demand a paper trail.”

      Where is the evidence you leveraged “public pressure?”

      Did you do it without the media? If so, please explain.

      If it involved media, please link to it.

      You wrote, “Get a group of citizens together…”

      How do you check for citizenship?

      How many did you get “together?”

      How many political parties were represented?

      You wrote, “… and talk to your local and state election officials.”

      When did you talk to your “local” election officials?

      What were their names?

      Where did you talk to them?

      When did you talk to your “state” election officials?

      What were their names?

      Where did you talk to them?

      Thanks in advance.


      • TheOfficialHashtagResistanceSuperPAC says:

        Mr. Casper,


        I’m unsure if you’re serious in your inquiries or if you somehow think this is clever.  I’m not obligated nor advised to give you any identifying or personal information. Thanks in advance for understanding.


        I can (and perhaps ought) to inform you, in case you’re sincerely confused (one never knows on the Internet), that I am not actually the Official Hashtag Resistance SuperPAC.  I am not the official anything, nor am I a representative or in any way associated with any political action committee, Super or otherwise.  The name was chosen satirically.  Thank you for your generous support of this site. Perhaps when the elite decide people like me deserve disposable income, I’ll be able to do so as well.


        • John Casper says:

          “TheOfficial ‘SATIRICAL’ HashtagResistanceSuperPAC”

          Given your advanced writing skills–and the expensive education that produced them–isn’t it time to stop lying about how destitute you are? Isn’t it time to stop fabricating feelings of shame?

          Isn’t it time to stop making up stories about how you “organized?”

          Isn’t it time to make significant restitution to this site for “defacing it” and retracting this: “The more local you are, the easier it is to leverage public pressure. Get a group of citizens together and talk to your local and state election officials. Demand a paper trail.”

          “Thanks in advance for understanding.”

  5. greengiant says:

    Was that a test? Mentioning Kris Kobach without including crosscheck massive totally faulty biased against POC automated disenrollment in the same sentence? By the way, the lastest round of #Fakenews is that 5 million illegal votes were cast, all for Clinton. The origins of the Trumpian oxymoronic election integrity commission lie in the almost anonymous political operatives’ 2016 “3 million illegal votes” and Trump
    s pronouncement he would “allow” some random non profit to investigate. I would hope there is no connection between the federal executive and this blatant GOP pig sty group. The DNC continues to be even farther removed from reality than Trump is. The only hope I have for the Dems is to build themselves back up precinct by precinct, county by county in a revolution.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mandatory paper trails seem essential. Lots can go wrong with digital mechanisms, intentionally and otherwise.

    I agree with a requirement for mandatory random audits in each state. These would seem necessary to make the process more transparent. Resistance from state secretaries of state for such requirements simply makes the case that they are necessary.

    There are egregious examples of why all this is necessary. Virginia, for example, generally prohibits voting audits. Where permitted, they are apparently NOT allowed to affect the vote count. Let that sink in. Only Kafka and Karl Rove could appreciate the logic and the arrangement.

    Virginia, in particular, has a growing roster of Dem voters in its northern counties. Its growing prominence as a swing state simply highlights that all states are increasingly vulnerable to vote manipulation, domestic and offshore, and underscores the need to establish greater accountability and transparency. Voter manipulation, on the other hand, is effectively non-existent.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Dems are indeed letting precious opportunities float away.  They could be setting themselves up as a positive force in the public’s mind, in contrast to Donald and his enablers, who spread ignorance and chaos in everything they touch.  Dems, however, seem content to point fingers, pretending to be the adults in the room.  Doing so little tells the public they haven’t any more clue than Donald about what they want or how to govern, or that they are ashamed of their priorities as the Republicans should be.

    Rep. Dingell from Michigan was on CNN this morning, dissing Donald’s lack of manners and respect for women.  In pearls, wave and presumably pumps, she promptly segued into nonsense, dissing “Cadillac” health care plans.  Like supposedly Cadillac benefits plans generally, the characterization is rubbish.  Such plans only appear to be a luxury car because everything else on the road has been run down to junk status.

    The characterization also assumes that poor and middle class people have insufficient “skin” in the game.  Nonsense.  Has Dingell been asleep since the Summer of Love?  American families are barely hanging on.  And they are less optimistic about their futures being better then at any time since FDR was first elected.

    The characterization is even more false because no amount of premium and cost sharing would affect the consumer’s inability to competently judge between competing health care providers, competing procedures or hospitals, drugs or treatments.  The consumer has zero ability to affect insurance or health care costs.  Zip.  Only the government has the market power to deal with predatory insurance company actions, predatory drugs company pricing, and monopolistic health care providers.

    Dems like Dingell seem as unwilling to address these issues as the Goopers.  If the Dems don’t change their tune, they will be a generation whistling in the wilderness.

    • lefty665 says:

      “they will be a generation whistling in the wilderness”  They already are. Dems abandoned the New Deal working class in ’72 in favor of professional elites as part of the Party reforms. Real wages for 90% of the country have not gone up since ’78, and median family income is lower now than it was then too.  The ’16 election was the bitter fruit of almost 4o years of abandonment, but the elite neolibs cling to power in the party.  If they don’t, as you note, “change their tune” it will be a 3rd generation in the wilderness. That may not be possible to recover from.

      What’s up with Dingell? Some unions, some of whose members she represents, strongly opposed the “Cadillac” health care plan tax because their members had gotten better (read “Cadillac”) health care plans in lieu of higher wages. Seems a little odd of her to be running them down today.



      • John Casper says:


        “Seems technology”  again “is beyond you.”

        I’ve mentioned this before. See all the blank space in your recent comments that’s below your last sentence and above “Reply?”

        That’s you, who claims to be so technically proficient, being lazy and wasting even more of the site’s real estate.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      competing health care providers

      Compare to

      competing internet service providers

      See any difference?

      I do not. Both about ripoff service.

      • John Casper says:


        What does this have to do with this thread?

        How many “health care providers” are there? Do you mean physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, medical device makers, and Big Pharma? Do you want to include hospitals?

        Or, did you mean health insurers: CIGNA, WellPoint/Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, United,…?

        How many ISP’s are there?

        Another vector is how much are health care providers–whatever you mean–and ISP’s controlled by private equity groups?

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The importance of voter participation in government and voter turnout would be improved if election day in America was a national holiday, as it is in every civilized country. Not making it a day off work effectively suppresses democracy as well as Democratic voters.

    The one percent can vote early and often; those working two jobs and/or single parenting have a slightly harder time waiting in line for hours, then being told they’re at the wrong precinct or that the ID they’ve used for years is no longer valid for voting purposes.

    • lefty665 says:

      When I was a District Chair working the polls and making my rounds I’d always get to a couple of precincts before they opened. It never ceased to surprise me to see the lines of people waiting in line in the dark for the polls to open so they could vote before they went to work.  At the end of the day others would be dragging in on the way home from work.  I knew they were mostly not voting my way, but I sure respected their commitment. I am sure there were many more who could not muster the time, energy or freedom from obligation to exercise their franchise.

      We started providing coffee and snacks in the morning to those in line, not because we thought we would buy votes, but out of respect and camaraderie in the exercise of the opportunity and obligation of free people to choose their leaders.

      In recent years easier early and absentee balloting has helped. But you’re sure right, the country would be a better place if  the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November was a holiday.


    • Bardi says:

      Completely agree.  It needs to be a paid holiday, otherwise it remains a gift for the “1%” elitists.  If the institution cannot let the person go for the holiday, then an absentee ballot needs to be provided.  The military does it.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Von Spakovsky is not within Donald Trump’s orbit, nor is most of being president. So what named individuals within Team Trump are pushing such things as the misnamed voting integrity movement and staffing it with dinosaurs harbored by the “Heritage” Foundation?

    • P J Evans says:

      I’d guess President Bannon, the Kochs, and the Mercers.

      A lot of the GOP-run states are also refusing to provide any information that isn’t already required to be public, and a number of states are treating this request as if it were any other request for that information, meaning they want the requestors to pay the usual fees.

      (KS is one of the states that is reusing to turn over all non-public information. At least officially.)

  10. Jim White says:

    To me, universal registration, coupled with paper ballots counted by hand, is the only route to election integrity. Make every citizen automatically registered to vote and the cheating cheaters can’t purge those pesky votes they don’t like.

    Oh yeah, we also aren’t there until gerrymandering dies.

    • emptywheel says:

      I agree with that, but would you be willing to go to national ID to get there?

      I’ve long pondered that, what would happen if Dems agreed to one to get the other.

      • bmaz says:

        I would. Actually had a pretty long conversation with some folks at the IRE about that. At this point, given banks, SS numbers and drivers licenses, there is really not that more tracking it would portend.

    • lefty665 says:

      Universal registration would be wonderful, but not so sure I would sign up on the Luddite side of universal hand counting of paper ballots. Returning to a manual process on a task that takes place regularly on a nationwide scale does not seem an optimal solution to the problem. Nor is it one that guarantees any better results than what we are doing now.

      Optical scan machines, like the ones in use where I vote, are far from perfect but they do provide a verifiable paper trail which is the value of paper ballots. As long as the scanning machines are honest and minimally competent they will have a lower error rate than live human beings doing the counting, even assuming they are honest and competent too.

      Given the choice I would much rather have time and energy put into voter registration and standards for voting machines that are sorely lacking now. That plus statistical measures of confidence levels (random manual sample recounts) in the results to trigger full manual recounts of variances are found would be far more accurate, reliable and efficient than recruiting and maintaining an army of hand counters.


      • bmaz says:

        Agree with this completely. And, frankly, it works hand in hand with mailed ballots too which, at least locally here, are optically scanned too. The other thing we are working toward here is “ballot centers” instead of defined precincts. So any voter could go to any ballot center to vote or drop off mail ballot. Would never have to go to their home precinct to vote. Sounds minor, but would greatly help a LOT of people in big stretched out metro areas like here.

        • lefty665 says:

          Thanks bmaz.

          Ballot centers, interesting. Guess I haven’t been paying enough attention, I was not familiar with them.  Makes a great deal of sense. With modern (secure) communications and data handling there is not the imperative for highly localized precincts that existed when hand written voter rolls were the norm and local election officials largely knew on sight who was a local resident.

          • lefty665 says:

            Are ballot centers geographically located within your equivalent of our magisterial districts (board of supervisors form of county government) or are they truly independent and capable of providing localized ballots based on voter residence?

            • bmaz says:

              Not entirely clear, but my understanding is they will truly be distributed to maximize efficiency around the county. Here is a fairly recent writeup on the plan.

              Note that it is unclear to what extent the state will follow this lead by Maricopa County, or if they try to fight it (my guess). But Maricopa County is absolutely HUGE in both land and population, if it can work here, it may have a real chance.

  11. teddy says:

    Vote by Mail.

    Everyone is registered.

    Everyone gets a ballot in the mail.

    Return it if you like, or not.


    Easy-peezy, all problems solved.  Really!

    • John Casper says:

      Everyone with a physical, deliverable address.

      How do the homeless vote? That’s already an issue.

      Do voters get a reply back confirming their ballot was received?

      Lots of pressure on the U.S.P.S.

      How do you prevent elites from hacking to see which households have not voted, and then mailing in their ballots with the elites’ choices marked?

      If the U.S.P.S. gets two ballots from the same address, how does it determine the real ballot from the fraud?

      Would elites target voters who died in the last twelve months before the election? Send in ballots from them?

      • tjallen says:

        You could easily find the answers to these questions by looking at Oregon, which made mail-in voting standard 19 years ago.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Lefty665 raises an important point. Health care plans, like pensions and other benefits, are deferred or non-cash compensation for work already performed. They are part of the current contract, written or implicit, between workers and management. Management, of course, dismisses them as costs, and unilaterally cuts them at every opportunity – as if that were not the same as lowering the hourly wage. Having cut one set of costs, management promptly raise another by giving themselves tremendous cash bonuses. How is that “responsible” management and not self-dealing, predatory behavior?

    • lefty665 says:

      Thanks earloh.

      A historical note, health care benefits got their big boost during WWII as a non inflationary way to increase compensation. That is why, until the “Cadillac” fiasco, they were not considered taxable income. It is just one more example of how the elitist neolib Dems have rejected their roots and embraced the rich.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “The rationale is that the public is entitled to information in the possession of their governments so that the public may, among other things, hold their governments accountable”.

    So held a recent Ontario Divisional Court panel, authorizing the release of billing revenue information for Ontario’s highest paid public sector doctors.  The decision was more than three years in the making.  For some reason, the doctors and their trade association were reluctant to disclose the information, which had been sought by a major newspaper under Canada’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the kind of statutory citizens’ right that America’s elite has long avoided).

    Something to think about regarding all governmental conduct as we approach our Independence Day.

  14. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Insane, just insane. This is *NOT* what anyone should want, unless you are a fascist.

    Digital security experts say the commission’s request would centralize and lay bare a valuable cache of information that cyber criminals could use for identity theft scams — or that foreign spies could leverage for disinformation schemes.

    “It is beyond stupid,” said Nicholas Weaver, a computer science professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

    [one should not worry about the foreign spies as much as the domestic spies]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Indeed.  Aggregating that sort of intensely personal data in a single database, with unknown “ownership”, unknown physical and virtual security standards, unknown access, copying and use protocols, with no established oversight, accountability and enforcement regime?  A wet dream for Karl Rove and his progeny.  An enhancement for voter integrity?  Not so much.

      If the Dems don’t start kicking and screaming or even tweeting, let alone actually doing something about this, they will be the ones that deserve to be run out of town on proverbial pitchforks.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Portland [Oregon] Republicans voted this week to invite heavily armed militia groups to provide security at public events.

    That was alleged to be in response to counter-protests by “anti-fascist” protesters.  I assume the militia will wear the usual brown shirts.

  16. Hieronymus Howard says:

    A dozen news organizations don’t need to shoot their own video of WH press conferences.  It should be a live, online service offered by WH as SOP:  the “official White House digital video record.”  Everybody gets it free & can use it as they wish.  Can’t be fiddled with or “edited” because it has its clock running in the lower right-hand corner.  The seconds are ticking by for all to see.  Out-of-context quoting & suchlike manipulations are obviated when there’s a timestamp on every frame.  Commonsense courtroom-like procedure. (Or should be.  & no need to spend a million dollar$ on it either.)  A cheap, easy & self-authenticating record.  Too bad it’s never gonna happen though.

    • John Casper says:

      HH, what problem are you trying to solve?

      If the “White House digital video” is the only record, how can anyone verify it’s “live” and what actually took place?

      Is “Out-of-context quoting & suchlike manipulations…” a big problem? The media tapes coaches and players in major sports.  Spicer and Conway make $180,000 a year. Why can’t they handle speaking “on the record?”

      Why can’t the press record our government’s public statements? Isn’t that letting it work in secret?

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A legitimate federal voting protection commission would look at process, not individual voters.  It would take a systems engineering approach.  It would look at the voting process, the machinery and its design, purchase, use, safekeeping.

    It would look at trends, from paper ballot trails to digital connectivity, from h/w and s/w standards, design and auditability to physical and virtual security standards and practices.  It would examine in detail physical, wired and wireless access to all parts of the voting process.

    It would look at state budgets.  It would look at transitional subsidies to bring laggards up to an agreed standard, in order to assure all Americans the same right to cast their vote and have it counted.  It would look at audits and ways to maintain security over time. And it would look at minimum statutory safeguards to put all that into place, and to make it transparent and accountable to the voters whose rights are to be protected.

    It would examine voter rolls as aggregate physical and digital data.  It would NOT look at actual voter IDs.  That the last item was the first thing on this commission’s wish list demonstrates its inherent illegitimacy.  If there were any doubt about that, its hiring of the ultra-partisan Hans von Spakovsky should put a stake in them.

    • lefty665 says:

      “A legitimate federal voting protection commission would look at process, not individual voters.  It would take a systems engineering approach.  It would look at the voting process, the machinery and its design, purchase, use, safekeeping.”

      Very nice (and the rest of your comment is right on the money too). As you clearly know, that’s the difference between auditing large systems and smaller ones. In smaller systems we can get a sense of what the answer should be and look at records/transactions to see if they confirm that.  In large systems we examine process.  Are the information systems, appropriate, reliable, and secure? Are individual transactions reliably captured, do they start where they should and consistently come out at the right place? If the process has integrity then we can have confidence the outcomes do to.

      Related are the sample recounts proposed by others above. They are not “audits” looking at process as you describe, but instead are valuable statistical tools that allow us to quantify the confidence level we have in the overall election results.

  18. wayoutwest says:

    Anytime I see the word integrity near the word democrat I can’t help but do a spit-take.

    Even more entertaining is watching the snowflakes melt down because Trump is getting closer to exposing the non-citizen voter demographic that the Party was depending on now that they have alienated most citizens.

    It may require the SCOTUS to pry the public voter registration data from the states along with their driver license records plus the immigration status codes but once they do we’ll have answers to this big question. Estimates vary but this could affect millions of illegal non-citizen voters.

  19. John Casper says:

    wayout, you wrote, “Anytime I see the word integrity near the word democrat I can’t help but do a spit-take.”

    Not surprised “snowflake,” never figured you had much impulse control.

    Which Native-American tribe are you from, again?

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mr. Trump is so far over his head he’d rather tweet his fear and rage than do his job. After a few months in office, he’d rather campaign for another term – and fill his coffers – than fulfill his obligations in this one. He would invent voter fraud fantasies as an excuse to disenfranchise millions of voters rather than win their votes by governing in their interest. He is what he is most afraid of being. The problem he has as he flits from bubble to bubble is that when he arrives, he’s still there.

    • P J Evans says:

      He’s so much in need of adulation that his lawyers filed the re-election organization papers on 20 Jan, right after the inaugurination.

      That’s right, he’s been campaigning officially since entering office.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mr. Trump is so sure of his ground that he needs to remind himself every day:

    “I’m president, they’re not.”

    Perhaps his constituents should avail themselves of the gambit Mr. Trump has chosen for his denial of health care policy: “Repeal now, replace later [Not].”

  22. wayoutwest says:

    Trump is facing down a lying, libeling fake news fourth estate while the fifth estate tries to fan the insane brain fires of the phony resistance.

    Now that garbage news outlets such as CNN, AP and the NYT have been publicly exposed as enemies of the people Trump has every right to rub a little salt in their self inflicted wounds, they lost the election, he didn’t. Trump’s supporters seem to know these facts but the snowflakes are lost in some unreality where they actually matter or are not the complete losers they have made themselves.

    • John Casper says:


      “Trump is” the one  “lying” from the “unreality” of an “insane brain” that fires the “garbage” of  “the phony resistance” of “complete losers” like you.

      “Snowflake,” you have every right to roll your self-inflicted wounds in salt.


  23. pdaly says:

    Regarding gerrymandering (see Jim White’s comment above), the Tufts University summer workshop “Geometry of Redistricting” to take place in August 2017 will be free and also available to the public on-line.
    The registered participants with a PhD in math who take this course can then be expert witnesses in gerrymandering court cases. A friend of mine states news of this workshop has attracted lots of attention in several math blogs and many hope to attend. There will be 4 regional sites.

  24. bmaz says:

    It is yet another potentially confirmatory step in a voter evidence trail.

    Also, you guys need to quit sniping at each other.

  25. Watson says:

    Ex-Prez Obama could make himself useful by pitching in on a national effort to protect the vote.
    (HRC might do the same in support of Planned Parenthood.)

  26. marku52 says:

    The Dems have had probably 20 years to start protecting the vote. They’ve done nothing. Special voter ID required? Drive people to to get it.  Voters disenfranchised because they are falsely listed as a felon? Sue and work to ensure the data bases are correct.  FLA did this back in Bush V Gore.  What is the Dem’s response?

    NADA. It aint their donor base, so they don’t care.


  27. Hieronymus Howard says:


    > HH, what problem are you trying to solve?

    First problem is that our pal Mr. Trump has decreed that no recordings shall be made of the proceedings (for now).  Which seems moronic to me.  Someone should be shooting video so there’s a proper record.  We the taxpayers deserve at least that.

    Another problem is that no one makes a video with time-stamps from start to finish & publishes it for public perusal.  The MSM should have been doing it all along but is clueless here.  A digitally signed video is theoretically & practically unhackable because changing one binary bit of it would show that it has been tampered with.

    > If the “White House digital video” is the only record, how can anyone verify it’s “live” and what actually took place?

    Because it demonstrably IS live & what actually took place.  The real-time clock down there in the lower right-hand corner provides the verification that there’s nothing missing.  HH:MM:SS

    > Is “Out-of-context quoting & suchlike manipulations …” a big problem?

    Very much so, but you’d have to go to alternative news sources to become aware of it.  You won’t find it mentioned in WaPo or NYT or CBS or NPR.  It’s not there.  The No Agenda podcast, for example, goes to great lengths to deconstruct broadcast news narratives twice a week.  There’s lots of important stuff never mentioned by MSM.  No Agenda tries to fill in the blanks.  It’s a big time investment, though, as each show is three hours long.

    > Why can’t the press record our government’s public statements?  Isn’t that letting it work in secret?

    How so?  There’s nothing secretive about a video with nothing missing from it.  It is the ultimate in “transparency.”  No hiding place there.  & yes, “the press” could figure out how to do it for themselves––-but never bothered.

    • bmaz says:

      1) What proceedings, and how is that germane to this thread

      2) Are you referring to WH Press briefings?

      3) What mean by time stamps etc? They used to be covered by CSPAN which provided all that. Not now because of Trumpian restrictions.

      4) YES! It IS letting the government operate in secrecy, or at least partial secrecy, and should not be tolerated in this modern digital day and age. In a little fairness, WH Press briefings were not always what we have come to expect of them or so disseminated. But, again, that was when it was not so easy to do so, there is simply no excuse now.

      5) I actually think we are on the same page here, just unclear what you were responding to. I hope I have identified your subject correctly; if not, my apologies.

  28. Hieronymus Howard says:

    Yes, was referring to the WH press briefings that Trump said could no longer be recorded by any electronic means.  Which is an ignorant thing to decree.  If he won’t let others make recordings, he should provide his own “official” video version.  Somebody needs to be recording it.  “Stenographers” don’t cut it any more.
    Yes, my initial comment was off-topic.
    Was responding to questions by John Casper up‑thread.
    The time-stamps I referenced are the ones available in any viddycam.  HH:MM:SS
    Was not aware C-SPAN was showing the clock in its videos.  Good for them.  I didn’t get those C‑SPAN2 & C‑SPAN3 things & cut the cord a few years ago.
    The ticking clock makes all the difference.  Too hard to manipulate the record with that going on.  & of course time-stamps in some e-transcripts can be clicked on to go directly to that place in the video.
    The production of non-fiddlable digital videos is a transparent process & there doesn’t need to be anything secretive or underhanded going on when it’s out in the open.  Perhaps someone should “brief” the President on how to implement it.


    • bmaz says:

      Cool. Just wanted to make sure I was reading it right. Agree about time stamped transparency and open briefings.

      Might recommend Jay Rosen’s “Send In The Interns” line of posts. This is the first, but there are several editions and followup posts since then. My knee-jerk reaction is to say no, there is still some value to having front line reporters at the WH, but it is becoming a pretty hard call.

  29. John Casper says:


    I’m not sure what “…20 years to start protecting the vote,” means.

    IMHO–I don’t have numbers–a lot of the Dems GOTV efforts went to Trump. Trump covered his elitism in sleaze and it worked as an antidote to HRC’s elitism.

    What donor base knowingly contributes to a loser? A lot of that money will shift to GOP primaries.

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