The National Enquirer, Spokestabloid for baby-stealing aliens, Bigfoot, the latest celebrity in their final days and…Donald Trump,
Greg Palast is one of the top (and few remaining) investigative journalists today. Which is why no news organization in the United States will touch him. Which is why he is based in Great Britain working for both the Guardian and the BBC. In this story, he explains how the GOP effectively suppresses the vote using both gerrymandering and illegally removing registered voters from the voting rolls in order to “win” elections. Seeing has now the Obama DOJ and the Democratic Party have refused to wage all-all out legal war against this (made more difficult by the fact that most states and courts are controlled by Republicans), it’s very likely that the GOP will impose their version of democracy on this country which will greatly resemble the “democracies” in Russia, Turkey, China, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Honduras, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and, unfortunately, way too many more to list.
This Palast segment on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!” primarily reports how the GOP is working to beat Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate for the 6th congressional district seat in Georgia. But it also lays out clearly all that the Trump administration and the GOP are doing to fix elections permanently in this country.
You can either read the transcript or start watching the video at 23:05.
Instead of focusing on Oliver Stone’s dead-on review of Megyn Kelly’s interview with Vladimir Putin, I’m focusing on the childish, moronic, Trumpian comments made by NBC “News” President Noah Oppenheim in response to Stone’s remarks. Oppenheim demonstrates why NBC hasn’t had a real news division in years. I won’t actually quote Oppenheim; you can read what he said in the article I linked to at the bottom of this post.
At Fox, Kelly was never mistaken for a new journalist. She was just another Fox blonde beauty who exhibited spewed the same combative far right wing behavior as all the other Fox TV personalities, and spewed the same sensationalized, fact devoid b.s. promulgated all over Fox. She adopted the same phony, hard-hitting, confrontational interview style which aped the one Bill O’Reilly employed. None of this made her a news journalist.
Oppenheim hiring Kelly after she quit Fox was a ratings stunt and nothing more. Notice that Oppenheim didn’t hire Kelly to actually read news; he hired her as a TV personality only, hoping her Fox notoriety would draw ratings. So far, as I expected, that gambit has failed miserably. The few viewers who watched the show learned absolutely nothing from Putin. Kelly can read the “hard-hitting” questions written for her to ask but she has no idea how to follow up with her questions of her own.
Oppenheim figured that Kelly would bring her large Fox audience with her to NBC and that new viewers who never watched her on Fox would discover that they liked her. When he concocted his hiring stunt, he failed to consider or he dismissed two facts: 1. Most Fox viewers will not watch NBC News since it’s just part of the evil MSM (mainstream media) so reviled by the GOP and its base. 2. Megyn Kelly is not likeable. She has adopted too hard an edge from competing with the macho man culture established and nurtured by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes at Fox. She’s nice to look at but as soon as she starts talking, anyone not a Fox fan will turn her off. She hasn’t the warm and cuddly personality of the type Oppenheim has populated the Today show with.
So, Noah Oppenheim, pull out your chest and beat on it with your fists in your attempt to intimidate Oliver Stone. Your breast beating isn’t fooling anyone. You took a gamble on stunt hiring Megyn Kelly and, as expected, you lost. Of course to save face you’ll wait to cash in your chips and leave the game until Kelly’s contract is up and you fail to renew it. Or you may take some of those chips and pay her off to leave early. Either way, you’re the loser.
But with the way you childishly insulted Oliver Stone, perhaps after Sean Spicer is fired as White House Press Secretary, Trump will offer YOU the jump. You’ve already shown that you would fit right in with the low level of discourse in his administration.
Buried within this “Democracy Now!” story of the leaked NSA document is the real and very scary problem with elections in this country. It’s very easy to hack elections at the local level. In this Democracy Now! segment, computer security expert Jake Williams tells us why.
“[A]s the vote totals come in, they’re totaled by county commissioners, who, really, at the end of the day, have very little cyber—very little, if any, cybersecurity training. There’s no real-time monitoring of these machines in any case that I’ve—that I’ve been involved in. And, you know, as we look at these small county governments, they simply don’t have the funding to fend off, you know, what ultimately are coordinated nation-state—coordinated nation-state attacks.”
“[U]p at the state level, it gets pretty difficult to start manipulating vote totals. But I said I would go down to the county governments—right?—the individuals who are certifying the individual vote totals. We saw some—before the election, we saw some demonstrations of how to hack voting machines. And people always note that these are air-gapped voting machines. But, of course, the reality is, they’re programmed from, in some cases, PCMCIA cards, these computer cards, that ultimately are programmed on a computer that is very likely, in every case, connected to the internet. And so, again, if you look at starting to work through us, you know, we would target these low-level machines. I said the second thing I’d target would be absentee ballots. I think that—and to do that, you know, I specifically mentioned I’d go after voter rolls.”
All this is very disturbing because what it appears to show is that even in the states where mail-in ballots are mandatory, those tabulations may be no more secure than those from voting machines, especially if the voter rolls have been hacked into and tampered with first. The only way county election officials could verify if all election results are accurate would be to review the voter rolls, compare that data with the actual paper ballots, and then compare that to the election data input into their computerized systems. That takes time and money, money the counties just don’t have. Money denied to them by deficit hawks from both parties at the state and federal levels.
So, the primary and most disturbing issue here is not the fact that yet another highly-classified document was leaked to the press, but that our federal government has possibly been engaging in a cover up to prevent the American people from knowing how easily our election process can be compromised, and that in all likelihood it’s been hacked into and compromised for years. And even more disturbing, it could have been hacked not just by the Russians, but by homegrown hackers employed by one or both of the two major political parties. There’s no proof to that, of course–yet.
Yes, I knew Greg Gianforte would win his special election race for Montana’s sole House seat. We’ve long ago reached the point in this country where right wing Republican voters exalt in their elected representatives being violent thugs, especially when the violent attack is perpetrated against a news reporter, and a foreign one at that. You know how some them wingers hate them Brits.
But, once again, it was the Democrats that gave this victory to the Republicans by running Rob Quist, a folk singer against a billionaire, a billionaire who styled himself as a Trump clone because that’s what gets you elected in right wing congressional districts now. These voters are so fed up with Washington that they elected billionaire bullies to fight the crooks for them, never realizing that those billionaire bullies will feel right at home within the congressional political system, fighting against the interests of their constituents who elected them. For example, Donald Trump, the Bully-in-Chief, is making a mess of this country yet his Evangelical voter base still loves him.
The Democratic Party is still regarded as the party of whiney wimp liberals by the Right, and as the party of Republican Lite feckless incompetents by the Left. But the significant difference is that Democratic voters sit out the elections in protest while Republican voters come out in large enough numbers to elect their candidates.
As I see it now, the poll numbers showing Trump’s falling popularity are meaningless. Gianforte was elected in his district despite highly negative poll numbers. This just goes to show that in the absence of Democrats running a hero, voters will elect the Republican billionaire bully. Yes, this was just one right wing Republican district voting as predicted. But I worry that this could also be a harbinger of 2018 and 2020.
David Nir, political director of Daily Kos and was a fundraiser for Quist, is quoted as saying, “Republicans might be breathing a sigh of relief that their morally reprehensible candidate won on Thursday night, but they should still be very worried about 2018.”
To use the words of the great Vin Scully, Nir is viewing the political landscape with his heart and not with his eyes. I’m not feeling nearly as confident at this point.
If there was truly any journalistic justice in the U.S., Greg Palast would be a multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for his investigative reporting, something not seen to much these days since the corporate media, owned primarily by huge, media communications corporations like Disney, Comcast, and Fox, control virtually everything we see, hear, and read. Palast had the documented goods on the 2000 election stolen by the Bush campaign and certified by the GOP employees appointed to the US Supreme Court for that very reason. Palast has been forced to pursue his investigations into the US political system from London, England, working as a freelance reporter for both the BBC and the Guardian, as well as writing a series of the best exposé books on who actually controls and runs the U.S. political system and the global economy.
This article is Palast warning us of what is to come because it’s been happening all along, unbeknownst to the majority of American voters who don’t read Greg Palast. I think 2018 is our final chance to stem this GOP tide of voter suppression which is election-after-election moving us further down the short road towards becoming a fascist dictatorship. The Trump admin is already laying the foundation and doing the framing as I write this.
Democrats must set aside all the fingerpointing between the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton factions. We’re all in this together because, if the Trumps and the actual sources of power behind them have their way, we’ll all be imprisoned together and all elections will cease for everyone else.