Open Thread: More Calls for An Audit of the Election

Gabriel Sherman, at NYMag, “Experts Urge Clinton Campaign to Challenge Election Results in 3 Swing States”:

Hillary Clinton is being urged by a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Donald Trump, New York has learned. The group, which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked. The group is so far not speaking on the record about their findings and is focused on lobbying the Clinton team in private.

Last Thursday, the activists held a conference call with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias to make their case, according to a source briefed on the call. The academics presented findings showing that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots. Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000. While it’s important to note the group has not found proof of hacking or manipulation, they are arguing to the campaign that the suspicious pattern merits an independent review — especially in light of the fact that the Obama White House has accused the Russian government of hacking the Democratic National Committee…

More detail at the link. Supposedly, “a senior Clinton adviser” says that “the White House, focused on a smooth transfer of power, does not want Clinton to challenge the election result”. The sitting President certainly considers it his job to prevent, as far as possible, the incoming Trump administration from blowing up the world. But surely (she said piously) President-Elect Trump deserves to start his administration without the shadows that a cloud of accusations would entail?



Late Night Creepsters Open Thread: Watch Out for the ‘Alt-Right’

Just for the record: Yes, the white supremacists have found a home in Trump’s Republican party. Dave Weigel, in the Washington Post, last Thursday:

Geert Wilders strolled toward Quicken Loans Arena, drawing the usual amount of double takes. Clad in a trim blue suit, wearing sunglasses under his silver-blond coif, he stopped to talk to Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and a small crowd of foreign journalists began to gather.

“He heads the Freedom Party in the Netherlands,” King explained to a delegate who was wondering about the fuss. “A little bit of controversy here and there, but who among us hasn’t created some?”…

Whenver two or more racists and bigots are gathered together, surely there you shall find Steve “Pig Muck” King.

… In another year, the far-right Wilders would not have made it past the Republican National Convention’s perimeter. He has proposed moratoriums on new Muslim immigration to his country and a similar halt on mosque construction. “I don’t hate Muslims,” he has said. “I hate Islam.”

But the rise and nomination of Donald Trump had inspired Wilders — and expanded his American fan base. He was just one of many people who might have been labeled extremists, and whose views are rejected by the old elite of the Republican Party, but who attended the convention and related events with a sense that their politics were finally winning…

Many members of the “alt right,” racially conscious and opposed to new immigration, came to Cleveland with the same praise of Trump’s revolution. They held meetings, co-hosted parties and happily met the news media. Richard Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute, held a cheeky sign encouraging journalists to “interview a ‘racist.’ ” Peter Brimelow, founder of the anti-immigration and race news site VDare, stopped by a Tuesday night party headlined by Wilders…

For a week, those people had their run of Cleveland. The Tuesday night party, billed as a “fab” gay rights celebration, took over a dark rec center and paused for 30 minutes of speeches. Wilders was just one speaker; the event’s poster portrayed the anti-Islamist activist Pamela Geller and the provocative Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos as superheroes, charging into a fight behind Trump.

All of them congratulated the hundreds of conservatives in the room for seeing that liberal Western democracy in general, and gay rights in particular, were under siege from Islam…

Steve Peoples, for the AP, on Sunday — “Energized white supremacists cheer Trump convention message“:

They don’t like to be called white supremacists. The well-dressed men who gathered in Cleveland’s Ritz-Carlton bar after Donald Trump’s speech accepting the Republican nomination for president prefer the term “Europeanists,” ”alt-right,” or even “white nationalists.” They are also die-hard Trump supporters.

And far from hiding in chat rooms or under white sheets, they cheered the GOP presidential nominee from inside the Republican National Convention over the last week. While not official delegates, they nevertheless obtained credentials to attend the party’s highest-profile quadrennial gathering.

Several gathered in the luxury hotel well after midnight following Trump’s Thursday address, a fiery appeal they said helped push the Republican Party closer to their principles.

“I don’t think people have fully recognized the degree to which he’s transformed the party,” said Richard Spencer, a clean-cut 38-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, who sipped Manhattans as he matter-of-factly called for removing African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews from the United States…
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Reports from the People’s Summit

“No, sir, th’ dimmycratic party ain’t on speakin’ terms with itsilf. Whin ye see two men with white neckties go into a sthreet car an’ set in opposite corners while wan mutthers Thraiter an’ th’ other hisses Miscreent ye can bet they’re two dimmycratic leaders thryin’ to reunite th’ gran’ ol’ party.” — Finley Peter Dunne, Mr. Dooley’s Opinions (1901)

“Dems in disarray” is an honorable tradition, one of the oldest in modern politics; so is Will Rogers’ comment that You’ve got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and you’ve got to be a humorist to stay one.” Last weekend the progressive/leftist wing of the party convened in Chicago, to prepare for the convention and rally their troops…

D.D. Guttenplan, in the Nation, “There Was No Clear Agenda at the People’s Summit—and That’s a Good Thing“:

…[C]oming from London—where a political argument about what kind of world we want to live in and what kind of relationship we want to have with Europe turned murderous and took a young woman’s life—what I saw in Chicago was a warm, lively, hopeful, well-organized gathering of 3,000 people whose biggest discovery in the past year has been not that the system is rigged (we already knew that) but our own astonishing strength. And who have no intention of giving up that strength and falling quietly in line behind Hillary Clinton or anyone else.

“Once you know something you can’t un-know it,” the activist and actor Rosario Dawson told the crowd. “Now we know how powerful we are.”

The task now is to figure out how to preserve and grow that power, and how to use it most effectively in a time of great danger, and when the stakes for our country, and our movements, couldn’t be higher. And what may have seemed frustrating to those in search of a quick sound bite—namely the lack of a unified, coherent agenda going forward—actually struck me as a sign that no one was being stampeded, or shepherded, or rounded up to be delivered to Clinton or anyone else. Which is a tribute to the National Nurses United, who tacked this “gathering of the tribes” onto the end of their annual convention here, and proof that when Winnie Wong, the Occupy Wall Street veteran who co-founded People for Bernie, the group which co-sponsored the summit, told me that, instead of a list of demands, “I want to see a thousand lovely parasols,” she meant it…

For some, that means going to Philadelphia, where Sanders backers will be both inside the hall—like Mike Fox, Florida state coordinator of Progressive Democrats of America, or Waleed Shahid of the Working Families Party, who will be among the nearly 1,900 Sanders delegates—and outside on the streets. If you believe—as Sanders and his supporters do—that pushing the party away from corporate accommodation and towards a more populist, more “democratic” direction is actually crucial to defeating Donald Trump in November, then both are necessary. Because while those inside the hall are able to communicate demands, and negotiate, their power to do so stems from those outside—not just on the strength of their numbers but also on their willingness to obstruct or disrupt if those inside are ignored or muscled out of the way…

Frances Fox Piven, the veteran activist who has been mentoring movements for a half-century, did tell the group that, faced with the real risk of a Trump presidency rolling back decades of social progress, “we have to elect Hilary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump. You may not like it, but we do.” However, Piven also reminded us that “movements flourish when there are politicians in office who have reasons to be afraid of them.” …


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Satire is alone in the corner now

At some point the Irish bookies will establish a line on the probability that Trump’s entire acceptance speech in Cleveland is “The Aristocrats…”



Open Thread: Sen. Sanders Needs to Look Behind Him

Joy-Ann Reid, at the Daily Beast“Meet Al Giordano, the Man Who Wants to Take Bernie Down”:

If Al Giordano challenges Bernie Sanders for his U.S. Senate seat in 2018, he will tick nearly all of the boxes Sanders checked during his surprisingly robust presidential run…

So why would he do it? Because in Giordano’s view, and that of his social media supporters, Bernie is losing ugly and hurting Democrats’ chances of prevailing against Donald Trump in November.

“I mean, what haven’t they touched?” Giordano asks, peering at me via a 6-by-4 inch Skype window from his home in Mexico City. “What part of the Obama coalition have they not alienated? It’s like they want to erase the coalition.”

Giordano is referring not to Sanders himself, but to his most fervent online followers, who have blasted away at everyone from John Lewis to Delores Huerta to Elizabeth Warren, and most recently Barney Frank, for failing to support Bernie’s “political revolution,” or worse, for backing Hillary Clinton, who is loathed by a swath of the Sanders faithful. Giordano says he blames Sanders for the vituperative tendencies of his shock troops, and for failing to talk them down.

Giordano, a bearded, graying, former reporter with the Boston Phoenix alternative weekly, cut his teeth as an anti-nuclear protester in the early 1980s while living in Rowe, a small Massachusetts town bordering Vernon, Vermont. When he wasn’t filing for the Phoenix, he spent his time protesting the twin nuclear power plants on either side of the state border: Yankee Rowe and Vermont Yankee. And he became close friends with the late leftie activist and anarchist Abbie Hoffman. He has spent the last 19 years in Mexico, where he runs an online newsletter, Narco News, and a school that trains journalists to cover social movements. His claim to fame is winning a First Amendment case against the Banco Nacional de México, which sued him, a Mexican reporter and Narco News for libel over a series of stories claiming a bank official was in league with Central American drug cartels.

The 56-year-old Giordano presents as a combative Hillary Clinton supporter, but he didn’t vote absentee for her (or for anyone) in the April 19 primary in his home state of New York. He vocally backed and voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but has only voted for president one other time in 20 years: for Bill Clinton in 1996.

“For me this is not about Hillary Clinton, who has her strengths and she has her flaws,” he says. “This is about a coalition that has saved the United States and can keep saving it, and this is what needs to be protected. And so maybe it’s time for the Obama coalition to go to Vermont.”…

There’s still time for Sen. Sanders to do the right thing, and go back to his ‘safe’ seat in Vermont! But remember, VT’s a poor state and one with a suprisingly small population — contesting a Senate seat there would be nowhere near as ‘impossible’ as trying for NY, or even MI or OH. And I can attest, from my experience as a Masshole, that even a popular Senator (hello, John Kerry) who runs for president and fails suddenly becomes a big fat LUZER among his low-info constituents.

Don’t remember which of you commentors turned me on to Al’s twitter feed, but I owe you a big thanks! Al’s Wikipedia page is back (after some aggrieved BernieBros managed to get it pulled for being ‘insufficiently significant’ yestheyarethatpetty), so you can follow the links there for further information.



Open Thread: The Rebellion Against Trump

Honorable conservatives:

(Full tweet-essay here.)

Considerably less honorable “conservatives” —

Fresh-faced Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse is still peddling his staunch principles, but while Ben’d be a lock for the swimsuit competition, I suspect Bill “Always Wrong” Kristol has someone else in mind. And I don’t think Willard Romney owes Butcher’s Bill any favors, so… Tom Cotton?



Late Night Creepshow Open Thread: Nothing Says FREEDUMB Like Locking People Up

Would-be seditionist and “GOP manly man” (note new Lincoln-esque beard) Senator Tom Cotton is outraged, outraged!

… He described efforts to restore voting rights to felons as a partisan tactic to drive up Democratic turnout and make it easier for people to find jobs after they exit prison. At one point, he directly accused such policies of creating higher rates of crime.

There are 2.3 million Americans in jails, prisons, and juvenile corrections facilities today. Nearly one half of all American children have at least one parent with a criminal record, which makes it prohibitively difficult to even get a job interview let alone find employment.

America is by far the world’s leading jailer, with less than 5 percent of the planet’s population but more than 20 percent of its prison population. Half of all the countries in the world imprison fewer than 150 out of every 100,000 citizens. The U.S. puts 716 out of every 100,000 Americans is in prison — compared to 475 in Russia, 294 in South Africa, 274 in Brazil, 132 in Malaysia, and 80 in Egypt…

It may be tempting to dismiss Cotton as an unserious figure. But his backward approach to criminal justice is already having a tangible influence on the still-young bipartisan movement to walk back years of self-defeating policy crafted in the heyday of Tough On Crime politics…

My emphasis. Imagine the horror, says the bought & paid for Kochsucker, of making it easier for former felons to get jobs, i.e., removing them from the prison-industrial complex that siphons so much money to the right (Right) pockets. And they’d probably use their new freedoms to vote wrong, too.