Early Morning Open Thread: Queen of the Useful Idiots

Talent does what it can, genius does what it must, and when it comes to gumming up the wheels Dr. Jill Stein has shown a certain genius. The latest from Reuters:

Wisconsin’s election board agreed on Friday to conduct a statewide recount of votes cast in the presidential race, as requested by a Green Party candidate seeking similar reviews in two other states where Donald Trump scored narrow wins.

The recount process, including an examination by hand of the nearly 3 million ballots tabulated in Wisconsin, is expected to begin late next week after Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s campaign has paid the required fee, the Elections Commission said.

The state faces a Dec. 13 federal deadline to complete the recount, which may require canvassers in Wisconsin’s 72 counties to work evenings and weekends to finish the job in time, according to the commission.

The recount fee has yet to be determined, the agency said in a statement on its website. Stein said in a Facebook message on Friday that the sum was expected to run to about $1.1 million.

She said she has raised at least $5 million from donors since launching her drive on Wednesday for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – three battleground states where Republican Trump edged out Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by relatively thin margins…

Dave Weigel, at the Washington Post, has a typically succinct explainer — “Why are people giving Jill Stein millions of dollars for an election recount?“:

It’s a lot of money, especially for the Green Party. Stein’s 2016 campaign, the party’s most electorally potent since 2000, took in $3,509,477 from donors. As of Thursday afternoon, the recount effort had raised $3,875,502. It’s the largest donation drive for a third party in history — so what’s actually going on?

The Green Party has done this before, to little result…
The inspiration for the recount: Theories ranging from sketchy to debunked…
If the election were hacked, a recount couldn’t prove it…
Stein doesn’t claim that the recount will elect Hillary Clinton
… That desire has motivated many donors, but Stein spent much of 2016 telling interviewers that the Democratic nominee was more dangerous than Donald Trump. In her own comments since the recount effort began, she described the election as “hacked,” but doesn’t say that the wrong result came out of it…

Stein has also used the fact that Democrats won’t push for recounts as evidence that the party is corrupt. On RT, she scoffed that “you’d think that the Democratic candidate, who has more skin in the game here, would be more involved.” According to Palast, Stein told him that “Democrats do not act to protect the vote even when there is dramatic evidence of tampering.”…

TL; DR — Stein’s jumped on the bandwagon to milk another fifteen minutes of attention for herself… excuse me, “her” party — while slagging the actual victims (Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party) using the GOP’s/RT’s most conspiracy-friendly memes. A mort of “liberal” money that would’ve been better spent elsewhere will now be poured into the hands of the state electors most firmly in the hands of less-than-ethical Republicans (sorry, Madison — you know better than I how much Scott Walker has damaged Wisconsin’s credibility). When the recount almost inevitably fails, honestly or otherwise, the GOP will happily trumpet that Trump has TRIUMPHED over #CrookedHillary. Good job for your Russian puppeteers, Dr. Stein!

66 replies
  1. 1
    Duke's Archives says:

    Somebody get a rope.

  2. 2
    eemom says:

    You are a fucking idiot, for reasons I’ve already explained ad nauseum on your fellow idiots’ threads.

  3. 3
    elm says:

    This money will mostly fund Stein’s 2020 vanity campaign to attack the Democrat and loudly proclaim both sides equally bad.

    She is also harvesting names and email addresses of people to spam later.

  4. 4
    Duke's Archives says:

    @eemom: Who, me?…what were we talking about?

  5. 5
    Duke's Archives says:

    What I wish to hear is people far more knowledgeable than myself explaining this kind of thing and there are waaay too many commas so there.

  6. 6
    Luthe says:

    On the one hand, I fully support a recount/election audit. On the other, I don’t trust Jill-fucking-Stein as far as I can throw her self-centered ass. It’s a conundrum.

  7. 7
    Brachiator says:

    I don’t get it. Stein seems to be exploiting Democratic voters. It’s pitiful.

    And what was her excuse, uh, reason, for attending the RT gala?

  8. 8
    Gemina13 says:

    Well, this should be interesting, for values of “interesting” = more batshit drama.

  9. 9
    Duke's Archives says:

    @efgoldman:I apologize if I wound her up.

  10. 10
    Gemina13 says:


    Ditto. I have an acquaintance who is shouting this from the rooftops, and a good friend who’s supporting the recount. I dread what’s going to happen over the next few days, as they know and talk to each other.

  11. 11

    What’s eemom’s argument again? Alternatively: Hi, eemom, could you lay it out again?

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:

    Seriously, was there anyone in this election other than Hillary who did not have some kind of close tie to Russia? This is really fucking ridiculous at this point.

    I feel like Kevin McCarthy at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers because our media is acting like it’s completely normal for every candidate for president except one to have close ties to the same foreign country. What the everloving fuck is going on?

  13. 13
    Peale says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think you missed something about John Podesta. That may or may not have been true, who knows?

  14. 14
    Brachiator says:


    I feel like Kevin McCarthy at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers because our media is acting like it’s completely normal for every candidate for president except one to have close ties to the same foreign country. What the everloving fuck is going on?

    It’s like a mashup of “Invasion” and “The Manchurian Candidate.”

  15. 15
    Temporarily Max McGee (Until Death!) says:

    @Duke’s Archives:

    Don’t think yourself so important. eemom doesn’t care much for the author of the post.

  16. 16
    Mnemosyne says:


    A brief Google showed that the claims about Podesta having ties to Russia came from Breitbart so, yeah, I’m going to need a non-Russian propaganda source on that.

  17. 17
    amk says:

    @Mnemosyne: A bloodless rw coup, courtesy lazy ass dems and loony left.

  18. 18

    @Mnemosyne: Maybe his risotto recipe had vodka sauce or something.

  19. 19
    frosty says:

    Well, Adam. it appears your advice to me on the thread below was on target: It’s grift, all the way down. I’d puke, if I had anything left to puke. At least I kept my hand on my wallet.

  20. 20
    eemom says:


    Fuck tu, Brute. Better look out when you’re visiting down here, lest I be inspired by your gun idea.

    I apologize for assuming anybody read any of the other threads where the recount issue was discussed, including the one from, oh, say, about an hour ago.

    My point is that the recount is a good thing, because ANY kind of chance of stopping trump is a good thing, no matter how slim the chance; and that anyone who pisses on that chance because it involves Jill Stein is a fucking idiot. That’s all.

  21. 21
    eemom says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (Until Death!):

    I’m glad to see you. Are you feeling ok?

  22. 22

    @eemom: What if we think there is an absolutely zero percent chance it will help and we’d rather people focus time and especially money on Louisiana?

  23. 23
    Mary G says:

    She’s exploiting people in denial, usually done by Republicans.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Temporarily Max McGee (Until Death!) says:


    Yeah, thanks. This chemo regimen isn’t giving me any noticeble side effets. We’ll see how effective it’s been come Wednesday- CT scan Monday.

  26. 26
    mai naem mobile says:

    Fidel Castro has died. 2016 finally got a friend for Antonio Scala in hell.

  27. 27
    mai naem mobile says:

    I think Obama should troll the GOP real hard on Fidel Castros death. Not sure exactly in which way but since they accepted Putins help for real, the least Obama can do is troll them on a real commie pinko douchebag. Maybe he can talk about how Fidel helped end apartheid in SA and start crying. The GOP thinks all OBama cares about is black people anyway .

  28. 28
    greennotGreen says:

    I actually support an audit…of every federal election. Just seems like the responsible thing to do. It shouldn’t have to be requested by a particular candidate, just happen whenever the count is close and maybe in a random state when it’s not. The nonprofit of which I’m a member pays for an audit every five years just to make sure we’re doing everything right. Surely our democracy deserves as much care.

    P.S. I didn’t send Stein any money. She’s a kook.

  29. 29
    raven says:

    Fidel is dead and I can’t get back to sleep.

  30. 30
    fuckwit says:

    I would like to hear from people who lived through the late 60s and early 70s politically.

    It seems the country has gone bat-shit insane. Nobody believes anything or anyone. There is no source of truth. Everything is a lie, or a conspiracy, or manipulated by some nefarious scheme or grift. The shocks and horrors come from every angle and constantly. Nobody knows who or what to believe, and everyone’s motives are suspect.

    Did this happen then too? Is it reminiscent of that era to anyone old enough to remember it?

    I’m not talking about particular parallels (i.e. Sanders as Clean Gene, Clinton as Humphrey, landing us with Troll as Nixon) but rather to the general sense that the whole system has come undone and nobody knows what the hell is going on anymore.

  31. 31
    fuckwit says:

    @eemom: Wait a minute. Did you just threaten to shoot another commenter on this blog? What the fuck… if we had mods on this here blog, I’d hope they’d be paying attention.

  32. 32
    opiejeanne says:

    @fuckwit: I am that old and I don’t remember ever feeling this level of despair. Sure, disappointed when my candidates didn’t win, worried about the people who did win, but more frustrated than anything else, and certainly nothing like this deep, gut-wrenching fear and loathing.

  33. 33


    Nobody believes anything or anyone. There is no source of truth. Everything is a lie, or a conspiracy, or manipulated by some nefarious scheme or grift.

    There is that old apocryphal story about the SDS meeting consisting entirely of FBI agents on COINTELPROs who didn’t know each other…

  34. 34
    bjacques says:

    By the time I heard about this, over a million had been raised already, so I figured Dr. Stein could easily hit her target without my help. If only someone could have found a cheaper way to get more votes for Hillary and fewer for Trump, oh, a couple of months ago…

    I supported Bernie in the primary but started having serious doubts when his supporters in my FB circle of friends began circulating the same anti-Hillary stories from Breitbart and InfoWars that my conservative friends were peddling. At least with Hillary in office the country wouldn’t have rolled back into the ditch. I’d sooner have supported Doctress Neutopia than Jill Stein. At least the Doctress thought of the Love-olution before Sen. Ron Paul glommed onto it.

    I think a more constructive use of the money would be to support Foster Campbell in Louisiana.

  35. 35


    his supporters in my FB circle of friends began circulating the same anti-Hillary stories from Breitbart and InfoWars that my conservative friends were peddling

    Not a coincidence!

  36. 36
    Duane says:

    I just endured an episode of Washington Week. As Villago might say, line them up.
    Those people are clueless and dangerous.

  37. 37
    Jeffro says:

    Glad that pic of Stein, Flynn, and Putin is making the rounds once again…for all the good it’ll do at this point. Hopefully some enterprising punk rock band will use it on their next album cover: “Friends of Vladimir” or something

  38. 38
    Jeffro says:

    @bjacques: btw agree totally: folks should be giving money to support Campbell

    On a non-donating note, let’s not forget to call our Senators/Reps this coming week: NO CHANGES to Medicare, Medicaid, & Obamacare. Even Trump voters didn’t vote for that. (Well other than Paul Ryan, the Kochs, and the Mercers)

  39. 39
    lol chikinburd says:

    Florence Henderson
    Fidel Castro

  40. 40
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @fuckwit: I’m letting John know. That’s unacceptable.

  41. 41
    Srv says:

    @eemom: Wow. Death threat alert! Somebody please help…

  42. 42
    amk says:

    @eemom: you have serious anger management issues. 24×7 self-righteous anger? fuck that bs.

  43. 43
    Duane says:

    The picture at the table is all you need. I think collaberators is the correct word.

  44. 44
    Momentary says:

    I’m kinda surprised people here are so hostile to this. I mean yes, Jill Stein is an idiot, but Alex Halderman is not an idiot, he’s perhaps the foremost world expert on voting machine security. His case is simple: 1) we know there was Russian hacking to try to influence the election, 2) we know the digital voting systems used in some areas of the key states are hackable, and 3) there’s an observable correlation between those specific areas and swings to Trump. See https://medium.com/@jhalderm/want-to-know-if-the-election-was-hacked-look-at-the-ballots-c61a6113b0ba#.3ean7gcq9 for Alex’s direct take.

  45. 45
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Mnemosyne: I certainly understand feeling like the Twilight Zone. I haven’t stopped wondering how I got into this bizarre timeline since Nov 9. I’d really like to go back to the one I came from.


    I don’t think the fact that some people were at the same dinner some years ago is enough evidence to accuse them of collusion in a plot to subvert the democratic process. Our side, after all, marched confidently into battle under the banner that making paid speeches at $250,000 a pop shouldn’t lead to a presumption of partiality.

    Bannon is crooked. I think there’s definitely enough on him to arouse genuine suspicion. These others you’re worried about, like Stein and Levine…I think it’s just the kind of “cloud raising” stuff we criticize in the Times.

  46. 46
    Coin operated says:

    @eemom: Somebody needs a fucking timeout…

  47. 47
    smintheus says:

    @Momentary: You’re right, there needs to be an audit of the vote. That ought to be done routinely with electronic voting machines. A shame that this necessity has been neglected to the point that a demagogue like Stein can play with voters’ reasonable fears.

  48. 48
    aimai says:

    @Lurking Canadian: I really don’t agree. The evidence is incontrovertible that Russia Today (RT) and the Russians have interfered with this election and were the source of the attacks (and specifically the absurd attacks on Hillary’s after dinner speeches) and that they channeled their information directly through Bernie Sanders campaign and through Stein’s campaign. The Green party, at the national level, has long been a tool of the Republican party and they gratefully accept donations and information from anyone who is not a horrible, no good, evil, democrat or democrat allied organization. There is no reason to give Stein the benefit of the doubt. She has proven over and over again that she sees the Democrats as more dangerous than Trump and that is simply not a position that any grown up adult on the left should have ever taken. Occam’s razor says she is a moron who is easily being used by Putin, an actual enemy of the country who actually backed Trump.

  49. 49
    Citizen_X says:

    The problem in those states is not that the vote was counted wrong, it is that US citizens (in far greater numbers than winning margins) were prevented from voting. Recounts aren’t going to do shit about that.

  50. 50
    Momentary says:

    @Citizen_X: The voter suppression needs to be fought with everything we’ve got. But if we win the fight so that everyone is able to vote at the polls without intimidation, and then our enemies just use malware to tweak the vote tallies to wipe out those votes, the votes are lost just the same.

  51. 51
    sukabi says:

    @Citizen_X: FWIW, the Clinton campaign is backing the recount effort, reading between the lines it’s partly to keep Stein honest about money collected for recounts.

  52. 52
    karen marie says:

    @fuckwit: I was there and, no, this is a whole different can of worms.

  53. 53
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    Oh. My. Fucking. God.

    If I set up a Cage Match so that Anne Laurie and John Cole and all the other people here who cannot stop being blinded by rage over the fucking fact Other People Ran for President could step into the ring to fist-fight Stein and Sanders, would that get all the pointless inter-personal insultation, bitter dregging and Primary rehashment off the Ballon Juice feed allowing us all to discuss the issues at hand in a rational manner? (Actually, if you want to punch anyone in the God-damned face it should be dumb-as-fucktard Gary Johnson who actually took votes away from Clinton, not the other two. Where’s all the Gary hate, people?)

    The potential for error or to tamper with electronic voting machines is a real issue. Jesus we’ve heard for years that we’d better change our system because it’s just too tempting and easy to fuck with it. Especially in places where the political powers that be are making all the decisions about what kind of voting machines will be used, and who can get an honest public audit of their results-like Wisconsin and Kansas, for example. This country has already had elections changed by failures in the software of electronic voting machines, and many were unrecoverable because they lack paper backup. https://www.verifiedvoting.org/downloads/revised_summary31.pdf

    Add to that the fact that the bastards have done this before, are mastering their cyber-attack skills and are becoming better and better at it. http://www.wsj.com/articles/uk.....1447121671

    And, talk about useful idiots–if someone from outside the US wanted to make sure a they had a patsy and friend in the White House, Donald Trump and his entourage are the best thing since sliced Vodka for Putin and his fellow KGB buds. See, they really don’t think they’re gonna take over the United States. They just want to destroy us as a cohesive, competent opposing force to their exiting new project of resurrecting the USSR into the totalitarian dictatorship it once was. What better way to do it than to put chaos personified into the White House and let him trample it into a shambles.

    So, the red flags are here, waving squarely in our faces. And yet, we’ve got a shit-ton of otherwise smart people trying to pretend the whole idea of Russia managing to get their cyber-fingers into our shitty, insecure, secret proprietary software-run electronic voting machines is preposterous. Absurd. Only a grifter or an attention seeker would even try to say such a thing. And, why, it would be so hard! It would require superhuman capabilities that the Russians or anyone else lacks! They’d have to have the coordination of too many people in too many places. Besides, they’d never get under our “radar” in America…right?

    Well, there’s always a first time in the the sleepy little haven of predictability and virtue we call America. And then we wake up. It really never occurred to anyone someone would go to the barbaric, obscene and extremely well-coordinated lengths they did to fly commercial jets into three different buildings in order to terrorize the United States, either. But they did. And we were actually warned ahead of time. We’re being warned now.

    I for one will never miss my $25 bucks. If Stein doesn’t use it for what she’s saying she’ll use it for( and she’s already filed the paperwork and paid the fees for one state, so that’s a good sign) then at least she’s dead in the fucking water for any future annoyance/vanity runs for President. If she wants to roll naked in the pile of electronic transfer receipts I don’t care either. If her filing for audits of the votes in these states results in any revelations of substantive errors, tampering or even in a few extra votes for Hilary, I’ll be happy.

    When the recount almost inevitably fails, honestly or otherwise, the GOP will happily trumpet that Trump has TRIUMPHED over #CrookedHillary. Good job for your Russian puppeteers, Dr. Stein!

    And, that’s fucked up thinking in so many ways. NO. We should be auditing all our elections given the current state of possibilities. Responsible organizations like Verified Voting, knowledgable computer and political scientists, and national security experts all agree: it’s not just a matter of if, it’s when. So, are all of them working for their Russian puppeteers, too?

    I don’t think so.

  54. 54
    karen marie says:

    @Momentary: Except – Jill Stein. This is an out-and-out grift both to put money in her pocket and raise her visibility and credibility with the most susceptible to bullshit.

    People are not thinking this through, because they want that pony, damn it!

  55. 55
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @karen marie:

    People are not thinking this through, because they want that pony, damn it!

    Maybe so. But whether there’s a pony at the bottom of this pile of shit or not, if you don’t dig, you’ll never know. The shit’s gonna be there no matter what, but the pony just might suffocate if you don’t even bother to look for him.

  56. 56
    Elizabelle says:

    I’m happy to see a serious recount and close analysis of the vote. This is too important, and the “president-elect” is too unqualified and unfit.

    If there is a way for us to dig out of this spite vote by the GOP and low info voters, let’s do it.

    The fake news exposes after the fact (and the NY Times flapping about fake news after their deplorable Hillary coverage) — very troubling.

  57. 57
    Momentary says:

    @karen marie: I think making sure we can trust that our systems do in fact count votes with reasonable accuracy is more important than Jill Stein, grifter though she undeniably is.

  58. 58
    Larkspur says:


    I would like to hear from people who lived through the late 60s and early 70s politically.

    I’m going against my better judgment in responding to this, because all these years later, I still feel like a monumental chump loser. Yes, I was young, but still. It was crazy, especially for a teenager from a lower middle class background, who was a freshman at the University of Michigan in the horrible year of 1969. There was a war on. Yes, I was totally unprepared psychologically and socially, and I bombed in Ann Arbor before the end of my second semester. (That’s a metaphorical bombing. I just failed.)

    I never joined the SDS – I was dimly aware enough to know that they preferred people like me to get arrested, while they stayed free or went underground so they could run the revolution. I was naive enough to believe that there really was going to be some kind of nationwide upheaval. I dropped out of school because I was overwhelmed, because my parents decided that they didn’t really want to pay tuition after all, and because I couldn’t see any point in majoring in anything: physical sciences? I’d end up working for a company developing new and better forms of chemical warfare. History? Why? Everything I’d been taught was a lie. English or classics? What would I do with that after the “revolution”? There seemed to be no fucking point to any of it.

    So I dropped out and got a series of low-level jobs, like nurse’s aide, light factory work, retail sales. I was working class; no sense in pretending otherwise. So yes, the train of history rounded a sharp corner and I fell off. I never got back on, unlike Bernardine Dohrn (for example), who did similar kinds of work while underground. But she was ten years older than me, from a privileged background, had finished her undergraduate studies… and then emerged back into society, did her time in prison, and became a lawyer. She and Bill Ayers even had kids while underground. Children! And here I was, convinced that bringing children into a patriarchal, authoritarian, corrupt world was a bad thing.

    I fell for it, and I didn’t have the psychological or financial wherewithal to climb back up. I coulda been a contender (although to be honest, my upbringing and my clinical depression were always going to be complicating issues). But yes, I believed that the fracturing of society was real and that if and when things came back together, it was going to look way different. I was right and I was wrong, and I pretty much ruined my own chances for a successful civic life in the process.

    But honestly, I like walking dogs. On Thanksgiving I walked an elderly Tibetan terrier and a pair of cute noisy pugs. I also drove around the county visiting cats whose people had gone away for the holiday: a great big young Maine Coon cat who went into thundering paw mode when I arrived, a little tortie who stayed under the bed, and a big handsome gray cat who wanted to go outside but forgave me for not letting him. I also fed a fish named Ernie. It was a nice day.

  59. 59
    NR says:

    @karen marie: Wait, now Clinton supporters want a pony?

    I’m so confused. Is there anyone left in American politics who doesn’t want a pony?

  60. 60
    NR says:

    Btw, Hillary has joined the Wisconsin recount.

    I guess she’s a sucker getting grifted too?

  61. 61
    InternetDragons says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    Thanks for the post, Ella. John being in ‘my mind is made up’ mode and Anne Laurie once again trying to be condescending seems perilously close to an effort to shut down discussion. I love this place, but it does tend to devolve into an echo chamber sometimes. The clubhouse rules here seem to be that you’ve got to love Hillary, completely dismiss Sanders, and snark about anyone who sees things differently. And that won’t do a damned thing to help any of us given what we’re now facing.

    Election integrity is an issue – and we all know that, given the gerrymandering, racist manipulation and vote suppression by the Republicans (and they aren’t done with these strategies). Now we’ve got the FBI and the freaking Russians involved in OUR elections. Heightened concern about election integrity isn’t out of line. If Hillary had initiated the recount she’d have been crucified. It’s smart and sensible for Clinton to let Stein be the face of the recount effort.

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend. I’ll never vote for Stein, and if she ever tries to run for office again I’ll ridicule her. But at the moment her action seems to allow the Dems to have a bit of breathing room while allowing the process to move forward. And it should happen, even if all it does is validate the current results.

    Of course, now that the Clinton campaign has joined in the recount effort, I am sure that pretzel logic will suddenly manifest here on BJ to somehow make it just fine for the Clinton campaign to do this while still kvetching about the fact that Stein initiated it.

    I wish there was more interest in discussions here about how to build alliances with both Sanders supporters and those who went for third-party candidates this time. Most of those folks are, in fact, allies. I’m another who is tired of seeing the primaries so frequently rehashed on the front page here. Maybe it’s easier to do that than think about what has to get done over the next four years – but we’ve got to face that reality and start trying to reach beyond our personal echo chambers, whatever they may be.

  62. 62
    Feebog says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    I was on the “fools errand” side of this to start. But I’ve become convinced otherwise. Preach it Ella.

  63. 63
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:


    Thank you for your honesty.

  64. 64
    Larkspur says:

    @Steeplejack (tablet): I appreciate this more than you can imagine.

  65. 65
    Catherine says:

    @Larkspur: I enjoyed reading your post. Nice writing.

  66. 66
    Phed_Up says:

    FYI everyone, an audit and a recount are different things.

    An audit (looking for shenanigans along the line) should be an automatic thing after every election especially with electronic voting machines.

    This Jill Stein recount effort is not that thing

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