Posts tagged ‘election’

One Person, Two Votes


This needs bumping for those battleground states:

You no doubt are familiar with the phrase “One Person, One Vote.” And when you vote in November, or in your primaries, or any special election, you of course get precisely one vote (barring some form of voter fraud, which I think is one of the worst crimes in our Republic).

 But as a consequence of having a two (major) party system, the math actually works out that you have two votes.  Let’s look at it through the lens of the 2008 election in Minnesota.  Minnesota is a liberal-heavy state and there was little doubt Obama would win the state.  But the Democrat Party in Minnesota did the numbers and found that their Senate candidate (Al Franken) was losing a squeaker of a race.  Note that for this to happen a sizeable number of voters had to vote for Obama but not vote for Franken.
So the Obama campaign sent out social media calls saying that Obama was in danger of losing. A bunch more people rushed to the polls to vote for Obama, and along the way enough of them voted for Franken that he won as well.  This table shows the results after the obligatory recount.
Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 8.32.48 PM
3rd party candidates garnered 460,225 votes.  No doubt, every single one of those people voted their conscience and had a reason for picking their candidate over Coleman.  But at least two of those parties lean conservative and would have preferred Coleman to Franken.  And no doubt many of their voters would have changed their vote if they’d known it was going to be that close.
So here it is.  460,225 votes went 3rd party, and Franken won the election by 312.
If 313 of those 460,225 voters had gone for Coleman, Franken would not have won (that’s less than 0.1% of the voters).  At the same time, if Obama’s emergency call had brought in 313 fewer last minute voters, Franken would have lost.
And finally, if 157 of those Franken voters had  gone for Coleman instead, Franken would have lost.
Did you see that last one?  157 instead of 313.  Why?  Because in a 2 party system, your vote counts twice.  You register a vote for one person and against the other.  The second candidate has to find a vote to match yours and then another vote to pull ahead 2 votes.
This has been an unconventional election cycle all around, and post-primary healing is not complete.  People who are strongly anti-Hillary have declared themselves #NeverTrump and it’s hard to go back on #Never.
But as I listen and read these #NeverTrump people, I can feel how strongly they oppose Hillary and much of their upset is a belief (or fear) that Trump won’t beat her.  Some even express it as a belief Trump ran to lose, paving the way for Hillary.
Some Republican candidates, after the primaries, have skipped the convention or refused to endorse Trump.  As I write this there’s a furor over Cruz’s speech for not endorsing.  Trump supporters are outraged, Cruz supporters are proud and emboldened.  I take the middle on this.  Cruz gave a good speech supporting the party in general and the down-ballot candidates.  He cannot be faulted for not endorsing Trump after the attacks he withstood.  The Trump supporters should not have booed him as he left, nor been harsh to him or his family after the speech.
However, I have a message for the #NeverTrump people:
Use both of your 2 votes! I understand that you have strong reasons to oppose him.  But if you stay home or vote 3rd party, you’re wasting one of your two votes.  If you really truly don’t want Hillary, I implore you to vote for the Trump/Pence ticket. If this entreaty fails to sway you, please go vote anyway and vote for the  down-ballot Republicans.  Whoever is President, we are going to need them.

An Ongoing Denial of Service Attack


Late last night, the media came out with reports of 4 women who allege that Donald Trump touched them in some sexual way.

12 hours later, people looking into it (not actual reporters), have found that:

Some of the claims match text from previous recorded sexual harassment or assault claims, as though borrowing verbiage to make them credible
One of the claims uses lyrics from a Velvet Underground song
One of the accusers is a Secretary employed by one of the Clinton’s organizations
The claims themselves defy logic—4 victims of a billionaire keep quiet for a decade or 3, skipping out on possible paydays from lawsuits, but then all come forward on the exact same day less than a month before the election

It is, of course, impossible to prove a negative and the clock is ticking on an effort to establish or discredit these claims before election day.  I’ll wager now that if they are all discredited before election day, more women will show up.  I will also wager that comments about the opening of the new Smithsonian Museum focusing on African Americans, which features Anita Hill and ignores Clarence Thomas, was some sort of reassurance to these women as they prepared to make their allegations.

But, it’s a week or two early for a proper October surprise.  Why now?  Well, there’ve been at least 6 different drops of email leaks related to the Clinton campaign in the last few days.  I have not scoured the leaked emails, but it certainly seems to include a number of ethical, and maybe criminal, lapses.

How to stop that getting reported?  With a Denial of Service (DoS) attack.

If you already know what a DoS attack is, skip ahead to the next one-line paragraph.

A DoS is an internet attack on a particular site, for example a web server.  Could be a big server like Microsoft or Google, or a small server like a local pizza restaurant.  The smaller the server, the easier the DoS attack.  Now, every time anyone visits that server, asking for a particular web page, the server notices the request, reads the request, finds the referenced web page, then starts sending it back to the originator of the request.  The process that does this is called a daemon.  It sits on the server waiting for requests.  Usually  many such daemons are waiting there, like taxis at the airport.  Each request is grabbed by a daemon and the next daemon steps forward ready for the next one.

While there is no theoretical maximum number of daemons, there are practical maximums to the number of file requests that can be examined at a time, and the amount of data entering and exiting the server.  So, if enough requests hit a server at the same time, the server will be momentarily too busy to respond to all the requests.  If the high number of requests continues, this becomes a problem.

When the high number of requests is intentional and orchestrated, this is an attack, specifically a Denial of Service attack—so named because a regular user of the web site, trying to reach it during the attack, will be unable to.  The web site is still up.  The attacker may be on a different continent.  But he or she has effectively shut down the server.

If you skipped the DoS description, re-join the discussion here.

The owner of the attacked server has tools to combat a DoS attack, but they take some technical skills and, of course, the owner has to want to.  Well, what owner of an internet server would not want to combat a DoS attack aimed at them?

Before I continue, let me recount a joke from the old British TV show Dave Allen At Large:

A Cardinal rushes up to the Pope and announces that Jesus has just entered Saint Peter’s Square, riding on a donkey.  “What should we do?” he finishes.
The Pope calmly replies, “Look busy”.

So far, over 6000 emails from Hillary crony John Podesta have leaked.  They are news.  But they are getting almost no air-time because the claims against Trump are all that’s being covered (in fact, some at MSNBC and other outlets have come on-air and said, ‘Nothing major in the emails, back to the Trump story.’)  This is, in essence, a Denial of Service attack on the media

As with the owner of the attacked web server, the media has the perfect tool to counteract this DoS attack.  It could simply give equal time to both stories.  But of course, they do not.  They have a story they can grind on to ‘Look Busy’ while burying the stories coming out of the emails.

Is it alarmist to suggest the media is complicit in this?  Well, the leaked emails are showing endless forms of complicity between the Clinton campaign and most every major media outlet there is.  And it’s naming names.  You might think CNN would welcome a chance to cut down its competition a little.  But they are just as vulnerable to the criticism.  So each organization ends up covering for all the others as it covers for itself.

One more thought on the DoS aspect of this.  We usually refer to the server-owner as the victim of a DoS, because their business is being attacked.  The attack takes the form of refusing service to existing or potential customers.  So in another sense, the victim is the customer.

And so it is in the DoS attack with the complicity of the attacked entities.  They still have their business.  They’re selling advertising and people are watching.   They can say they’re just doing their job.

But the customers, the news consumer, is being attacked.  They are being denied the full story of what’s going on.  Most of them don’t even know it, which is how the media wants it (there’s even an email among the leaked group saying precisely that!).

There used to be a time when an oppositional news media challenged and confronted all government agencies, effectively acting as an extra set of checks and balances, in addition to the three branches of Government overseeing each other.  That paradigm is dead—at least so long as the people leading the government share the values of the people managing the media.

To Be Continued….

The most important politician in the country



A polling station at sunrise in Phoenix as voting begins in Arizona’s presidential primary election.

We are about to elect a new President, and tensions are high because the stakes are huge.  The next President will make (or prevent) some stunning changes to our country.  But there is a politician more important than the President.  Who is it?

Boss Tweed is quoted as saying “I don’t care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating.”

This year we’ve seen in leaks of DNC emails that the DNC colluded to tip the primary scales in favor of Hillary and against Bernie Sanders.  This is, if anything, the opposite of the Boss Tweed quote—controlling the process of who gets nominated.

But do they control the electing?  No.  And Yes.  Let me tell you a story.

Several years back I had a friend who was a city councillor.  She decided to run for mayor and I did some door-to-door canvassing for her.  Her campaign provided me with all of the fliers she wanted distributed, and they gave me, for every neighborhood I visited, a list of all registered voters.

This list was a huge benefit.  Before approaching a house you could know the people’s names and party affiliation, which was usually enough to start a conversation well.

But the list was interesting.  For most houses there was more than a normal number of people registered.  If the people I talked to were a Mr and/or Mrs Smith, there might be 4 to 6 Smiths registered, with children who register before going off to college, and so on.

Then there’d be more names, from perhaps previous owners, again 4 to 6 of them.  Making 10 or more voters registered at every single address.

Now, think about the actual voting process.  In this town, there’s a list of registered voters outside the polling place so you can find your name and know you’re in the right place.  Then you go in, give your name, the poll workers find you on the same list.  They mark off your name, and you vote.

At the end of the voting day, maybe 10% of the names are filled in, even if turnout was maximized.

Got all that:

Campaigns have list of registered voters

Campaigns know which names are current and, therefore, which are reliably out-dated.

Someone wanting to vote under a false name can confirm the name before entering the polling place

The poll workers, at the time, were not allowed to ask for ID.

Who would do such a thing?  <cough> <sputter>  Gosh, is there a particular party that works against voter ID laws at every turn

So, back to the topic.  Who is the most important politician in the country?  It is your local registrar, who decides what names are on the voting rolls.  What new people are added (remember ACORN adding multiple fake registrations to make a quota?).  What new people are rejected.  What old names are purged.

Every time someone talks about stuff like this we are assured that voting is secure and don’t worry.  Yet in the past 4 days we’ve heard that one immigrant killer had voted in last 3 federal elections, and also that 1000s of fake registrations have been found for immigrants in Virginia.

Election fraud is easy, for those willing to do it.

The county registrar is the first line of defense against election fraud and many of them have no interest in taking the steps to do so, possibly because they support a party that benefits regularly from fraud.

Periodic purges are an important first step.

Voter ID is a necessary step.

Purging all non-voting people might be a thought.

Frankly, I’ve been wondering about a process where registering, even on election day, is ridiculously easy, but the voter rolls are entirely purged after every single election.

While you’re busy voting this Nov 8, supporting (or opposing) a particular Presidential candidate.  Look down the ballot a ways and pay some attention to the registrar.


Democrat Lawlessness

As I think about yesterday’s announcement by head of the FBI that Hillary had done all the things she’d said she hadn’t, but would not be charged, my thoughts turned to the one time a liberal friend gave me an honest answer to a political question. The year was 2002.  Let me set the backdrop a bit before describing the question and answer.

The year was 2002, the month October.  George Bush had been President a little under 2 years.  The press had been doing full blown hatchet jobs on him for 2.5 years.  We were coming up on the midterm elections, where the incumbent party usually loses.  Democrats controlled the Senate but, to the shock of many, were looking to lose seats that year.  They were, in fact, expected to lose enough seats that Democrat control of the  Senate might be down to a 51-49 margin.
The incumbent Senator in New Jersey up for reelection was Bob Toricelli (aka The Torch).  Even in the highly liberal state of NJ, he was polling at about 35%—probably because he was under investigation for a slew of corruption charges.  Usually in such cases Democrats just hunker down and wait for the press to get interested in something else, but the election was too close and it was clear he would lose.  So he ‘took one for the team’ and cancelled his candidacy to give the Democrats room to put someone else quickly on the ballot.  They selected Frank Lautenberg.
Then the entire party discovered he had waited too late.  New Jersey law specifically states no new candidate can be placed on the ballot within 45 days of the election.  This is to allow time to print ballots, and mail them to people doing absentee voting in time for them to reasonably return them before election day.  45 days is actually a very short time.
The Dems sued, took it to the NJ supreme court, who ruled against their state constitution with the justification that it would not be democratic to hold an election and not have a Democrat on the ballot.
At this time I went to every liberal I knew (which was a good sized sample space), made sure they were aware of the background to the story, and asked their opinion of the NJ Supreme Court ruling.  All but one of them hemmed and hawed and refused to say anything was amiss.  This, despite the fact that every single one of them, two years earlier, had been frothing at the mouth that Bush was ‘selected not elected’.  Then there was the one liberal who gave an honest answer.  I’ll never forget it (heck, I can probably find the email in my archives).  He said, “yeah, they ignored the law.  But I don’t want Republicans getting control of the Senate, so I’m OK with it.”
Lautenberg was placed on the ballot and won his election (showing just how little a democrat has to do to get elected in NJ).  But more of the other Senate seats flipped than was expected, and Republicans gained control of the Senate anyway.
I haven’t spoken to that friend since that day, I don’t think I could stomach it.  I suppose if I did I might ask, “You were willing to ignore lawlessness for a political gain, but didn’t get that gain.  Do you have any idea what you lost?”
Then there were the myriad liberals who hemmed and hawed and tacitly approved of the lawlessness.  For them all, Party is more important than Principle.  Is it any wonder that, with an announcement Hillary would not be indicted, they instantly move on to ensuring her election rather that listening to the recitation of all her crimes and demanding her punishment?