December 25, 2020

The First Miracle

Interesting to consider how the gospel writers treat the first miracle of Jesus’s public ministry and what it might say about the miraculous in general (perhaps to focus more on the words than on the miraculous). 

Matthew: very cursory couple of verses in chapter 4 saying that Jesus performed a lot of miracles before getting to the Sermon on the Mount which consumes chapters 5, 6, and 7.  “Word” before “deed”. Then chapter 8 leads with the first specific miracle: a leper asked for healing after which Jesus says, “tell no one”. 

Mark: the first miracle recounted seems inadvertent and unplanned; Jesus was teaching and suddenly a man with an unclean spirit puts him on the spot by saying, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? I know who you are - the Holy One of God.” And Jesus heals the man seemingly almost of necessity. 


Luke: like the other gospels Jesus begins with preaching and then finds himself in what looks like quite a pickle: the people in the synagogue were roused to fury by his words and intended to kill him, having cornered him on a high cliff edge, but he passed through the crowd unharmed in what would seem to be his first miracle. (The next one is the same as recounted in Mark.)


John: Again a reluctance to start with miracles although Nathaniel believed he saw one in a private revelation of sorts that led him to follow Jesus after first discounting “what good can come of Nazareth?” The more famous miracle that comes next is that at Cana after he remarked to Mary “what does this have to do with you and me?”


December 18, 2020

Jesus Reading About Himself in the OT

At least two people in the New Testament read about themselves in the Old. Got to be a weird feeling reading the Old and recognizing it as talking to you specifically.  Jesus, of course, primarily. The Psalms are all about him and the book of Isaiah was called “the fifth gospel” by the early Church.  Jesus didn’t quote Ps 22 so much as Ps 22 quoted him. And John the Baptist as well read Isaiah and considered himself the “voice of one calling in the wilderness, make smooth the way of the Lord.”  

With Jesus, it had to be chilling reading his Good Friday instruction manual in the suffering servant passages in Isaiah: “He was oppressed and afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.” 

I like how Isaiah writes meaning one thing, while it comes to mean something different with the hindsight of how it was fulfilled with Jesus.  He wrote of a great and powerful member to come from the tribe of Judah,   

“Binding his foal to the vine, and his colt to the choicest vine, he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.”

Isaiah meant to convey wealth in the worldly sense but Jesus fulfilled it in the spiritual sense. 

The Jewish idea of having foal and a colt and so much wine that you could literally wash your clothes in it was a symbol of tremendous wealth and wellbeing. 

But with Jesus, it meant binding himself to the vine (of the Cross) and washing his garments in his own blood. Just as there was so much superfluous wine in that passage that you could wash your clothes in it, Jesus had so much superfluous grace/forgiveness/love that he washed the garment of humanity with it. Inspiring.

___

St. Irenaeus said that “just as Eve was led astray by the word of an angel...so did the Virgin Mary by the word of an angel receive the glad tidings that she should bear God, through obedience to his word.” 

Looking at the two angelic visitations: with Eve the serpent questioned Eve, while in the other encounter Mary asked a question of Gabriel. 

The devil assures Eve that she will be like God, knowing good and evil.  Gabriel suggests that Mary’s offspring, unlike mankind, will be holy, i.e. really like God: “the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy.

___

It occurred to me - a sign of hope for all of us - that the three apostles sitting like dufuses watching the Transfiguration and Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, would in fact become at least the equal or maybe superior to Moses and Elijah. The apostles were merely unfinished - like Moses after he killed the Egyptian, or Elijah before his calling.  As are we. 

December 14, 2020

Banned by Karl Keating

What do the Left and the fraud-denying Right have in common?  Maybe intolerance? 

Karl Keating appears to have blocked me from commenting on his Facebook page not for the offense of having actually commented that the election was stolen (a block-worthy offense I guess) but because I “liked” a comment from someone who said there was evidence of fraud.  Well it’s Keating's page and all that but I would’ve at least liked to have earned my banning a bit more. 

Of course, human nature being what it is, this only serves to confirm that I’m right. #StopTheSteal

December 13, 2020

The Pros and Cons of 7 Types of Election Fraud

So I’m trying to sort out the arguments and counterarguments on some of the types of fraud mentioned in this election.  There seems to be at least seven points of consternation:

1. Big tech and legacy media suppression of Hunter Biden info. 

2. “Old-fashioned” fraud exposed by Matt Braynard in Voter Integrity Project.

3. Sidney Powell’s assertion of fraud with Dominion software. 

4. Suspicious stoppage of vote counting in certain key states. 

5. Republican watchers not being allowed to view voting. 

6. Very low rate of ballot rejection. 

7. Last minute changes to voting procedure due to covid without legislative approval. 


1) Pros: Google and FB represent an unhealthy monopoly of news and search algos and should be broken up. They altered this election result. 

Cons: So what? Media can do what it wants, print what it wants, suppress what it wants due to First Amendment. It’s up to consumer of news to choose trustworthy media outlet (good luck with dat!). 


2) Pros: Some state votes are blatantly flawed to the point where the results should be thrown out and should not be certified. 

Cons: Yes fraud exists but if we don’t know whether Biden or Trump won a given state election then the putative leader in votes (Biden in this case) gets all ties. 


3) Pros: A respected attorney (prior to the election) makes big claims. Sens Warren and Klobuchar concerned about voting machines as well. Software is closed source and proprietary with oversight by group that included Dominion. 

Cons: Can’t prove the kraken to the folks that matter. Must trust the federal cyber security agency because a government agency wouldn’t lie to us. Can’t prove a negative (i.e. that voting machines are secure). Most importantly, this is a topic we can’t address at all because otherwise it would undermine faith in our elections, although it’s true that suppressing this topic undermines faith in our elections. 


4) Pros: States all seemed to get tired of vote-counting at same time for various reasons. 

Cons: Fulton County had a toilet overflow and water damage to ballots could occur. Unsure why the others took breaks. Move along, nothing to see here. I’m sure that someone somewhere has written an explanation of this if you seek it out diligently enough. Read widely young man! 


5) Pros: Why make poll-watchers stand far away and/or obscure their view if there are no shenanigans? If voting is safe and secure then why are poll-watchers really needed anyway? 

Cons: Because it’s just a power thing on the ground. Local animosity against folks that have known each other from opposite ends of the political aisle. Poll-watchers are just to keep the hoi polloi from thinking there’s fraud, like how your grandma has to get frisked at the airport to prove it’s safe to fly. 


6) Pros: Why was ballot rejection orders of magnitude smaller this time than in 2018 midterms? Did people get fabulously better at filling out ballots? 

Cons: People were too busy counting ballots in huge tidal wave of votes to worry about that stuff. Plus people were understandably terrified of being called names and disenfranchising if they rejected a ballot for penny-ante stuff. 


7) Pros: State legislatures are supposed to make election law changes and yet executive and judicial branches did this time. 

Cons: Take it up with your state legislature sucker. Politics ain’t beanball. Don’t elect spineless RINOS next time. 


December 12, 2020

A Virus Not Strong Enough to Unite Us nor Weak Enough to Prevent Division

Finished Netflix’s Queen Gambit. Not bad. The first two episodes were dog slow but the rest were good. Everyone is intrinsically attracted to excellence; there’s a reason that a Michael Jordan or a Jack Nicholaus enthralls. A goosebump ending in seeing the mighty fall, in this case one of the chess masters of the old Soviet Union.

The mighty however, don’t fall too easily in real life, case in point the potent forces of money, China, and fraud that got Joe Biden elected - the man without a campaign or a decent rally. The Supreme Court did the expected thing and shot down a Texas suit. I was amazed that some 17 other states had joined them. Ohio tried to “split the baby” by joining neither Texas nor the four states but argued that the Court should take it up. The Court did not, saying it was none of Texas’s business how Pennsylvania operates.  (i.e. "don’t go tattling on your sibling".) Jonah Goldberg and the crew from National Review were outraged and appalled by the lawsuit, offended by some of the “name brands” who supported it (Rubio, Cruz, Mark Levin, etc). Goldberg is having an aneurysm over it, so revolted is he by the fraud allegations and “Trump coup”. 

Eric Metaxas, a serious Christian whose written biographies of great Christian figures, was viciously attacked in print by Rod Dreher and they’d been friends for 20 years. I’ve never seen division like this on the right in my lifetime. 

We’ve been in the habit of late of spending a half-hour every night praying with Fr. Frank Pavone on YouTube. He’s been having half-hour prayer sessions for the country, interspersed with a song, some inspirational words and a guest. The daily 8pm live broadcast is a good way to get into the habit of praying for the president and the country. 

___

I’m sure Biden will win the Nobel Peace Prize for beating orange man. Obama did less than that and won one. 

___

Sadly the lesson the media learned with the Hunter Biden censorship is they’re more effective as an agent in killing news than in slanting it. Obvious bias has an equal & opposite reaction, but to not report something at all was shown to be effective.  They say only a small portion of Joe Biden voters knew about the laptop or Bobulinski’s testimony and enough said they would’ve changed their vote that it could’ve flipped the election. 

Facebook’s Zuckerberg knew this too, being as data-driven as he is. He didn’t spend money on ads trying to actually *persuade* people to vote for Biden - that’s so 1990. No, he simply partially suppressed the Biden news and at the same time added tons of voting drop boxes to Democrat-heavy areas of the country. Very effective use of some $400 million as it probably tipped the electoral election. 

Rush Limbaugh said he thinks we may be headed for secession not because of our policy differences but because of how Republicans think persuasion is important while Democrats think “by any means necessary”: bullying, stealing, cheating, packing the court, adding states. Of course the Left would say the Right no longer is into persuasion as well. 

___

Ironic that the point of trading with China was to make China more like us. Instead it’s made us more like China (see censorship by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google). 

___

We haven’t had the grandkids for four weeks now and son sent a link with story about how we shouldn’t put our lives on hold because of the virus.  His view is that being scared of the virus is for sissies, ignoring the idea that the virus avoidance idea is about not inundating medical professionals. Feels like common courtesy and civic responsibility to try not to have everyone catch the virus at once.  

Still, the demolition the virus has caused in mental health, schooling, and economic damage makes me wonder if this whole experiment of trying to tame the virus maybe was the best idea.  Although what was the alternative? Seems no country has found one. 

I think Steph and I tried a middle road somewhat. Of the nine virus months, we’ve taken the grandkids weekly for six of them.  Just feels like that the vaccine came a bit too late. Ohio’s on pace to have as many covid deaths from mid-November thru January than we had in seven months previous. 

The virus is almost demonically designed to separate and divide people because it’s not nearly so terrible as the 1918 flu when everyone was dying like crazy including young people, but it’s also not so tepid as something everyone can agree that it’s not that big a deal. It’s a virus not strong enough to unite people nor weak enough to prevent division.

And complicating the matter is how health care in the 21st century is expensive and lives on the thinnest of margins and so there’s not a lot of excess capacity in terms of ICU beds, nurses, PPE, etc…  People in the old days probably just died at home, for good or ill. For good *and* ill I guess.

December 06, 2020

Powerbroker Kirkland & Ellis and Odd Behaviors

It’s an interesting how the major power player in D.C. appears to be the elite law firm Kirkland & Ellis. They are literally everywhere, lurking behind every headline, the straw that stirs the drink. 

Kirkland & Ellis: the firm for all political parties, the establishment’s establishment. Founded in Chicago in 1909, they are the world’s wealthiest law firm. They’ve represented everyone from Jeffry Epstein to Paul Manafort to the State of PA against Donald Trump. Their ranks have included Attorney General William Barr among many others. 


Kirkland Downsizes and at the Same Time Upsizes with a Crisis Lawyer


In an October story just before the election, Kirkland started some weird stuff: 


“Kirkland & Ellis is not only the richest firm in the world, it’s also one of the nation’s greatest law firms. But outside of the firm’s compelling combination of prestige, profitability, and pay, something seems to be going on at K&E. Even for a firm with more than 1,000 partners, Kirkland has lost an unusually high number of them in 2020. On top of that, the firm was the first to refuse to offer special fall bonuses to associates, leading some to question why K&E was unwilling to share the wealth during a reportedly banner year. Now, we’ve received word that the firm has been conducting layoffs.”


https://abovethelaw.com/2020/10/layoffs-come-to-kirkland-ellis-the-worlds-wealthiest-law-firm/


But at the same time, Kirkland hired a huge “get”, Zuckerberg’s lawyer and leading leading congressional investigations lawyer: 


https://www.businessinsider.com/kirkland-and-ellis-hires-four-wilmerhale-banking-partners-reg-brown-2020-11


A top banking lawyer who just joined Blackstone's board is moving to the powerhouse law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Reginald Brown, (Oct 2020) a top financial regulatory lawyer, and three of his partners are leaving WilmerHale for Kirkland & Ellis.


Brown, a partner at WilmerHale who was named in September to a position on Blackstone's board of directors, has become one of the most prominent lawyers to advise banks and other clients in the regulatory hot seat. It's the latest big hire by Kirkland & Ellis, a firm known for its high profits and its proximity to the private-equity industry.


He has advised Bank of America on multiple matters over the years, including helping the bank through congressional scrutiny amid the financial crisis and helping it avoid precious-metals spoofing charges, Bloomberg reported earlier this year. He also represented Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign advisor, for a time.


Brown was also vice chair of WilmerHale's crisis management group. He has reportedly helped numerous executives prepare for testimony before Congress, including Wells Fargo's new CEO Charlie Scharf and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.


Kirkland represented Staple Street Capital in 2018 in the Dominion Voting Deal

https://www.globalbankingandfinance.com/dominion-voting-systems-acquired-by-its-management-team-and-staple-street-capital/amp/


In 2016, a Wikileak shows Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta asking for help with Clinton campaign from Kirkland partner Kamran Bajwa who cleared it with Bill Singer:  https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/54702


Kirkland’s partner Bill Singer was a political reformer who took on Richard Daley, lost, and went 180 degrees from outsider to insider by joining Kirkland.


https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1985-03-31-8501180275-story.html


From the piece: 


“Singer was a political wunderkind who in 1969, as a 29-year-old novice, had upset the Daley machine in a special North Side aldermanic election. Three years later he and the Rev. Jesse Jackson led a group of insurgents in a bitter dispute over seats to the Democratic National Convention, successfully replacing Daley and his delegates.


For most realists Singer was just another sacrificial lamb, but for many liberals the 1975 mayoral race was the match-up they had been waiting for: It was David against Goliath, right versus wrong, the sunlight of reform breaking through the dark clouds of patronage, the future versus the past...


He has always been a presence, and an influential one, has always been active, but in the years since his defeat by Daley he has changed more than his weight, in 1980 making a decision that startled some people and sharply altered the course of his career.


He joined Kirkland & Ellis... a symbol of establishment influence...The result has been a transformation from political maverick to power broker, from an outsider at City Hall to a well-connected insider who has considerable clout on a number of issues.”


Kirkland Controls DOJ? 


https://news.littlesis.org/2020/10/30/kirkland-ellis-the-law-firm-behind-the-trump-barr-power-grab-at-the-doj/


“Attorney General Bill Barr’s alarming expansion of political control at the DOJ in advance of the election is also a story of corporate capture: a single law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, has a revolving door monopoly on the highest ranks of the Department of Justice that deserves far more scrutiny.


A tight network of former Kirkland lawyers – including Barr, his two highest-ranking deputies, and numerous other top officials – has achieved an extraordinary level of control at the DOJ.” 



A Nov 16th Story of Kirkland Attorney Representing PA Sec of State Abuses Trump Attorney Linda Kerns


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-16/trump-campaign-lawyer-says-she-s-being-harassed-for-her-work


https://www.dailywire.com/news/lawyer-who-worked-on-trump-pennsylvania-effort-placed-under-official-protection-report-says


Linda Kerns required protection from police and U.S Marshals and withdrew from Trump’s PA case immediately after filing court papers against Kirkland & Ellis. 


“One of President Trump’s Pennsylvania election lawyers says she got an ‘abusive voicemail’ from an attorney on the other side of the case — and she wants the judge to impose punishment over the expression of ‘ideological hatred.’


In federal court papers, Linda Kerns said a lawyer with the firm of Kirkland & Ellis, which is representing Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, left her a one-minute voicemail at 8:43 p.m. Saturday.


“It is sanctionable when that abuse and harassment comes from an elite law firm representing the Secretary of State. An appropriate sanction should issue — one which deters such misconduct in the future.”


In response, Kirkland & Ellis lawyer Daniel Donovan disagreed with Kerns’ ‘characterization of the voicemail’. 


And, rattled enough, she left the team: 


After she submitted the document seeking sanctions on Monday, Kerns submitted papers with the U.S. District Court stating that she wanted to withdraw from the effort the Trump campaign was making to challenge the results in Pennsylvania, ABC News reported.


In an unrelated note, Politico reported, “Some of the most prominent figures urging law firms to back out of Trump’s legal defense are associated with the Lincoln Project, a group of current and former Republican political consultants and activists who ran ads against Trump during the campaign and promised a similar media fusillade against the firms.”


A Week Later Kirkland Withdrawals from Representing State of PA


https://www.law.com/nationallawjournal/2020/11/20/kirkland-ellis-withdraws-from-trumps-pa-lawsuit-while-impeachment-star-barry-berke-subs-in/



December 05, 2020

Tucker’s Legit Questions About Georgia

The American character, Rich Lowry once said, is for Americans to be slow to rouse but once roused to be formidable.  An example being the world wars where America tried to isolate but once the battle was joined were “all in”.

There’s some of that in the culture and political wars of our time. The Republican Party is reactive, not proactive, which mirrors the quintessential American spirit. Republicans didn’t create an activist judiciary but once it was clear (see Bork) there were new terms of engagement, the GOP fought back hard with the Federalist Society and a new flowering of an originalist judges and we see the fruit of that decades-long battle in the new justices under Trump. 


Similarly, the Left generally starts the battle but the Right at least lives to fight again. And so Zuckerberg is like a chess champion a couple moves ahead in this election cycle, suppress speech a bit on his platform while at the same time raining literally hundreds of millions of dollars into voting infrastructure in Democrat counties. Hardball, like the Bork-ing. 


Tucker Carlson remarked on Zuckerberg’s success: 


“What’s frustrating…is that the Left is incredibly organized, they understand how the systems work and they want to control the systems. The people who actually like America are not very organized ... they talk a lot but don’t seem to get their act together.”


The Left may be chaotic politically but operationally they know the levers. You can see that in how the voting changed with covid, how the Dems in state legislatures played it like pool sharks and the Republicans were hapless. Stacey Abrams, man she got it done. Brian Kemp and Raffensperger, not so much. Assuming they even were in the game. 


Part of it is probably that conservatives work from the premise that politics is downstream from culture, rather than the Democrat view of politics creates and informs culture. But elections matter, illegitimately run ones especially.


A video surfaces showing Georgia officials moving around “suitcases” after vote-counters were sent home. We were told “nothing to see here, that’s normal.” 


Tucker Carlson’s not taking it at face value. He says we are entitled to questions being answered and not condescended to as “conspiracy theorists”. His questions: 


“What was said to the poll monitors that caused them to leave?”


“Why were there reports of a pipe leak on election night that delayed ballot counting. Did it happen, Is it true?”


“What caused the Georgia Sec of State to send a monitor to the room just prior to midnight?”


“Which, if any, votes were counted during the 90 minutes when the workers were unsupervised?”


December 04, 2020

Georgia on My Mind

Part of the problem with the election coverage is there is no disinterested coverage. Which means it’s up to the individual to try to sort out truth from fiction while having a very small base of background knowledge in which to do it. You could call it amateur hour but then our elites are amateurs too, at least in terms of competence.  So we all try to ferret out the truth because we rightly don’t trust elected officials. 

It does sort of come down to that in some ways. Do we trust, for example, the governor and Sec of State in Georgia?  We could trust them in two ways: for their competence and integrity and obviously both are important.


I have no way of knowing their competence as I don’t know their jobs. So that’s not a fruitful avenue for sleuthing. 


What about integrity?  I don’t know their hearts but I can look for clues. 


1999-20?: Raffensperger accumulates a lot of debt, reportedly over $860k. No sin there. But did he cover it up? His opponent for a 2015 Georgia House seat was Kelly Stewart. Her campaign claimed

Raffensperger refuses to show proof that he's "paid 21 tax liens, legal judgments and lawsuits he's incurred over the last 17 years that total more than $860,000."

"It seems as if Brad's entire defense is: 'Everyone else is lying except me,’ [Stewart campaign manager] continued. 'Are over a dozen of private companies, courts, and government jurisdictions across four states really lying about his failure to pay his taxes and debts? Is this some conspiracy they dreamed up over 17 years just to keep him out of public office? And if they are lying, where is the proof that these issues have been resolved?'


Raffensperger said his opponent has 'knowingly stated factually untrue things' about him, his family and his business. He also said he's responded to Stewart's mailings concerning his 'business setbacks.'


'Business setbacks do occur in the free enterprise system — they are a fact of life,he said." 


2002-2010: (Now Gov) Brian Kemp wins Georgia State Senate in “stunning upset campaign” run by Jared Thomas, later Chief of Staff when Kemp was Sec of State, and later a Dominion lobbyist.

2007-2008: Kemp gets into financial difficulty and acquires large “insider” loans when getting loans was difficult; but not fully paid off as of 2018. No proof of any graft other than a refusal to reveal the terms of such loans, which can be helpfully gentle.

2010: Kemp appointed by Sonny Perdue, who had ethical violations around a conflict of interest and taking campaign contributions in amounts that exceeded state limits from several donors — including a political action committee run by SunTrust, the Georgia-based bank. Unclear if the ethical violations were “ticky-tack” fouls or how intentional they were. SunTrust later donated $14,000 to Kemp’s 2018 run for governor ($2,500 to his opponent). 

2018: Kemp wins close election against Stacey Abrams* while remaining as Sec of State during the run. Brad Raffensperger, a civil engineer, wins his Sec of State office after just four years experience in Georgia House and six years as a politician. Raffensperger appoints fellow Fulton County resident Gabriel Sterling, as COO of the Secretary of State. However, by April 2020, Raffensperger is referring the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to Sterling by giving Sterling’s personal gmail account instead of a state account email.  So perhaps Sterling was short-lived appointment?  His LinkedIn is extremely long and seemingly comprehensive but lacks Sterling Innovative Solutions, a LLC with himself as registered agent.

Sterling was a city councilman and is a business owner. Raffensperger said at the time: “I have worked with Mr. Sterling on several projects, and have found him to be knowledgeable and insightful to the intersection between the political and business communities.”  The claim to fame for Sterling’s council was privatizing almost all city work (although a few years later was mostly undone).

July 2019: Dominion is awarded $107 million contract with former chief of staff Jared Thomas as lobbyist.

Nov 2019: Kemp falls out with Trump over appointing newcomer Loeffler as senator instead of Trump-favorite and known quantity Doug Collins, a former salesman, pastor, Georgia House member and then U.S. Congressman who said in July 2019: “We will need to... ensure that government intelligence and law enforcement powers are never again used and turned on a private citizen or a political candidate as a result of the political leanings.”  Loeffler is a wealthy businesswoman involved in financial services and owning exchanges.

Apr 2020: Letter to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) from Secretary of State Raffensperger announces grant of $10+million towards election. Not clear yet where the money went and there’s a FOI request recently outstanding towards an auditing.

Nov 2020: Attorney Sidney Powell accuses GA state officials of corruption. Loeffler and Perdue issue joint statement: “The Secretary of State has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections. He has failed the people of Georgia, and he should step down immediately."


* - humorously, four of Abrams top ten donors had donations of $21,000 and shared the surname Soros, one being George of course. 

December 03, 2020

The Voting Industrial Complex

The lack of curiosity by National Review and others on voting technology baffles me, as if it doesn’t matter who controls so much of our infrastructure. They are trusting souls.

Or maybe they’re like, “what’s a little election theft among friends?” Presidential elections have been stolen in the past (1824 and 1960 come to mind) so it’s not without precedent. And human beings are pretty bad so it’s certainly "reasonable” to expect that this will happen. 

On the other hand we fought the Revolution over a lack of representation so it’s also not without precedent that we engage in war to ensure rights of self-government.  

I think part of it also is the power of the symbolic. It’s a sign of a much larger architectural project of control by elites. It’s not enough, potentially, to control the media, Hollywood, social media, etc.. to censor and shame, etc... But they also have the audacity to vote-cheat.

Perhaps as compelling as the testimonies was the reaction to a contested election, that it had to be shut down immediately. There’s a self-fulfilling prophecy in that: if you want to censor all discussion immediately about election fraud then you’re adding fuel to the conspiracy fire. If you want to tell me that Dominion is safe because Dominion says so then it’s going to raise more questions than if you at least said you’d investigate it. Especially when two prominent Democrat senators raised the issue the year previous.  


Much of it is fog of war and there is conflicting information with literally no one you can trust. And of course no one knows anything about Dominion voting machines by design, the theory being it best be kept as close to the vest as possible so as to not open itself to hackers or otherwise be publicized. Even who owns the company is being researched as it recently passed hands from one hedge fund to UBS Securities. Reporters probably can’t find out anything about how our electronic votes are counted simply because you’re not supposed to.  And all that ignores the sloppy, un-auditable system we have now in many states that encourages fraud.


There’s a simple way to get people to stop considering elections illegitimate. Stop cheating and end the Voting Industrial Complex. Three companies wield massive control over voting in this country. Use open source code and put up barriers to cheat-by-mail systems. 


It’s one thing for liberal cities to loot and pillage themselves but it’s another when you allow that lawlessness to extend to the disenfranchisement of voters in saner places.

December 02, 2020

A Tale of Two States

Interesting to compare election stats from '16 and '20 and between states with cleaner systems than others. It's obviously not helpful that the fraud is not contained to one type; the cheaters didn't have the decency to do that. And it's possible Dominion is clean although there's no way we should be allowing them the control they have. Of course, we know tech companies only have the common good in mind but still they should have open source code. 

Charlie Kirk comments on a pod: 

“Where’s the proof? Florida. It’s the only state where none of this crap was allowed. Ron DeSantis said you’re not putting these [Zuckerberg] drop boxes on the street, we do elections our way, if you request a ballot you have to verify the signature, everything was done beautifully in Florida.  I saw someone trying to vote who had already had been sent a ballot and voter fraud was stopped right in front of me. The system was working. And in Florida Donald Trump won by 4% --- in a battleground state where Florida used to be decided by 10,000 votes or less.”

Kirk also used the analogy of how if you’d have said in Boston that priests were abusing kids and the bishops knew, you’d be a kook and ostracized. People want to shield themselves from evil, not believe it, especially when not presented by any "reputable" news source like the New York Times. 

So Florida seems to be a reasonably tough state to cheat in and Georgia unusually easy.  Surprisingly, or maybe not, the final results differed wildly.  Trump's share of U.S. popular vote rose by 1.1% between '16 and '20 but in GA he took a nose-dive. 

Florida total votes cast went up 18% over '16 election while Georgia rose an astounding 24% from '16 (Georgia population was up 3% over last four years, while Florida up 4.2%). 

Trump gained 2.1% in Florida from '16.  He fell by 2% in Georgia from '16.   

But I guess they don't have suburbs in Florida so it all makes sense!

Voting Tech Changes over time:


Dominion machines (red): 



December 01, 2020

How a Vote Becomes a Vote: Schoolhouse Rock Edition

How does a vote become a vote? It’s like sausage being made but more ugly. So in Schoolhouse Rock fashion, let’s try:

Setting Expectations
The process of how your vote and your dead relative’s vote gets counted is a long and arduous path with many twists and turns, blind alleys, and black boxes hidden under layers of computer code with DNA that has been traced back to the Neanderthals.

A little known caveat is that vote totals, like polls, are recorded with a margin of error, meaning that up to 3% of votes are fraudulent or inaccurately recorded. This is okay and patriots will remember to “accept the results of election, even with the rounding error”.

The Infancy of Your Vote or Your Imaginary Vote
Popular folklore has it that vote is a binary choice, 1 or 0, a “yes” or “no”. However, we’ve learned that voting machine software is sophisticated enough to anticipate a future in which humanoid robots are allowed to vote and that their vote would count only a fraction of a human’s vote.  So you could call this very far-reaching and anticipatory software coding an impressive if uncommon feature in the programming world.

Your vote is ideally backed up by the “hard currency” (call it the gold standard) of a printed ballot. Not all states allow this and have something called “fiat electronic voting” where paper is not required. This is to save trees because the environment is far more important than election integrity.

But in a state like Georgia there is a paper trail.  And it all starts in a factory where the ballots are duly printed. These ballots are then stored and delivered to precincts by dedicated Democrat volunteers. These ballots are later moved in three-card monty fashion to precincts where your candidate of choice needs a bit of oomph. Call it political viagra. (Note: Facebook has determined this information is disputed.)

Arrival at the Voting Station
Next your average Joe goes to the voting booth and this is where it gets complicated. Your voting machine may or may not be hooked up to the internet. It may or may not have a sophisticated algorithm that allows votes to be padded as need be.  It may or may not assign your vote a fractional value, depending on the righteousness of your vote. But you make your choices and the machine does its thing, printing your selections and recording the votes automagically. The source code is closed and proprietary in order to help prevent people other than Dominion IT staff from manipulating votes.

Glitch-Time!
Then a “glitch” occurs, call it a water main break, toilet stopped up, server crash, or people just getting darn tired and needing a smoke break during vote-counting. It’s important though that Republican vote-watchers either leave the building or be moved a football field away.

Step up you dead people!  You have a golden opportunity now. Dedicated volunteers move unsupervised ballots that may lack a chain of custody and may have them filled out and entered in the machine. It’s important to sync printed ballots to electronic ones but fortunately the software has safeguards to ensure this. It has thought of almost everything.

Typos Happen
Finally your vote is counted and sent from the precinct to the the county clerk. Surprisingly, there seem to be actual humans typing in numbers such that typos can occur. In one Michigan county an election clerk reported that “all it was is there was an extra zero that got typed in.” What a country!

Mail-ins, Zombies, and Non-Residents, Oh No!
After the polls close in some states mail-in ballots are counted. These ballots may or may not be from living people, may or may not be from residents of the state, may or may not be filled in by eager-beaver volunteers who happened across a bunch of empty ballots (see lack a chain-of-custody), may or may not be filled in by machines that produce amazingly perfect black ovals in large groups as if you had a obsessive-compulsive collection of voters all coming in at the same time.

Finally: Network Statisticians Study the Entrails
Next the election desks at major news organizations ingest the data in nearly realtime fashion and declare a winner based on sophisticated modeling that takes into account past fraudulent voting patterns in order to predict a winner (to within 3%+- of course).

November 30, 2020

Scooby Doo, Eric Coomer, Where Are You?

Suburban voters were moving away from the GOP long before Trump, so one way to look at the divisions in both parties now is that it’s simply the growing pains of party realignments: Dems with corporate cultures, wealthy suburbs and the woke, and GOP with working class, small business, and social conservatives. Newt Gingrich predicts turbulence ahead for the GOP in trying to hold on to gains made with Blacks, Hispanics and working class folks. 

That’s probably why Trump was so difficult for National Review: they loathed him, embraced him, and now loathe him again. Hard not to see National Review’s unhelpful editorial today on Trump as a coming attraction of the war between deplorables and establishment Republicans in the GOP.  But to their credit - or blame - NR *is* consistent. They were as incurious about Diebold voting machines as they are about Dominion’s. The only person who knows jack about tech at NR is Charlie Cooke. Fog of war makes it difficult to know what’s true about Dominion but he would have a bit more credibility on the hackability of vendors than the rest. 

I think if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that naivety hasn’t paid off well. We thought no way the China virus came from a lab until hmm.... We thought the virus wouldn’t make it to the U.S. and would be over soon.  We thought masks were worthless until they were priceless. We thought the FBI wouldn’t sit on Hunter’s laptop, or that Amy Robach’s story on Epstein would never get quashed, or that Twitter would never censor the NY Post. We thought BLM was benign and cared about racial justice, and that Biden was ahead by a dozen and that a Blue Wall was coming because the pollsters told us so. And now we think election voting fraud didn’t occur. So unlike the FBI, WHO, CDC, Russia hoax, Catholic hierarchy, etc.., we CAN trust the CISA.  To paraphrase Reagan, “we’re from the CISA and we’re here to help you.” In 2020 you’d have done well betting against the experts. 

And it’s certainly perfectly in government’s nature to have a half-assed approach to election integrity given the sad state of data hygiene on the state level.  It’s perfectly in keeping that a Matt Braynard can find fraudulent ballots that state governments can’t or won’t. 

Anecdotal example is my own self: I got Social Security checks for awhile, and over a period of months I had to call a couple of times, telling them, “hey, I’m only 45, please stoppa da $700+ checks. “  Hardest call I ever had to make, I tell ya. 

I emailed our company's cyber security guru today asking how he feel about electronic voting. Wish I’d asked before the election given how now no one can say anything about fraud since it’s kneejerkedly perceived as being pro-Donald Trump. Which is ridiculous but that’s the country we live in now, where everything is calibrated around someone who is frankly uninteresting. To me anyway. Although I guess he is interesting simply for the the phenomenally crazy effect he has on everyone. 

On a lighter note...

To the tune Scooby Doo: 

Eric, Eric Coomer, where are you?
We've got some questions for you now.

Eric, Eric Coomer, where are you?
We need some help from you now.

Come on, Eric Coomer, we see you
Hidin’ under your desk there.

But you're not fooling us, cause we can see
You talkin’ up Antifa. 

You know we've got a mystery to solve so Eric Coomer
be ready for your act
Don't hold back!

November 25, 2020

A Common Sense Democrat I Could Support

Who says common sense is completely dead? 

John Barrow, the Democrat challenger who ran against the current Georgia Sec of State, said back in 2018:  

"What we need is hand-marked paper ballots, optical scanners to provide a quick but unofficial tally of the vote at the end of Election Day, plus audits of these optical scanners to make sure we’re not relying on an unofficial count that’s misleading in any way...If you talk to people who are most technologically savvy, they say nothing is better than paper and pen. This is a back-to-the-future moment. We can use technology to enhance the voting experience, but we should never trust our ballots anymore to a medium that cannot be read and understood by a human being.”


November 24, 2020

#StopTheSteal

Heard an interesting off-hand remark from Eric Metaxas and George Papadopoulos in an interview, about how both feel they looked at Trump differently from the beginning by virtue of having a family that included not just white collar but blue-collar members. Makes sense. The upper and upper-middle crust now take it as a sign of bad faith to vote Trump. 

Something that has stuck with me was learning that Antonin Scalia was not scandalized by Trump’s run. Didn’t endorse him of course, nor could he, but his bemused, positive reaction to Trump was influential.

Just as the liberals are often shocked that there are conservatives, and conservatives shocked that are liberals, the well-heeled are shocked to learn that there are working people out there. All are Americans and all deserve representation. Which is why this election fraud is so frustrating. 

___

Kind of fascinating this Sidney Powell character. Great reputation as an attorney and truth-teller but now at this point she can only be one of three things: liar, lunatic, or truth-teller.  It’s hard to dismiss her given that Eric Metaxas, whom I have a ton of respect for, believes her.  Although I think his belief is mainly dependent on his great friend John Zmirak who worked with Sidney in the past and who vouches for her. So for me it’s like “three degrees of separation”, trusting someone who vouches for her based on someone he knows her. I suppose that’s a pretty thin reed. 

What’s interesting thing to me is there’s a much easier way to go and that’s to admit that electronic voting was a very stupid idea. How could it not be viewed skeptically?  And viewed skeptically it inherently undermines trust in the system. And yet no one wants to go there and say we should go back to paper ballots. There’s fraud too there but it’s a lot more localized than a vendor like Dominion having dominion.


In 2016 I wondered: can the guardrails of democracy hold up against Trump? Now I think: Fool, the guardrails were a Deep State illusion they wanted to foster. 


The worst thing about the new media landscape is there are no news organizations you can trust and only a few individuals. And those individuals often speak out of ignorance if in good faith. People who do know something can be compromised ethically.  I read about this wild-eyed character named Patrick Byrne, scourge of Wall Street. Got a masters degree at Cambridge, taught at Stanford, started Overstock.com and became abundantly rich -- and along the way made some enemies in his recklessness. He took on Goldman Sachs and all the hustlers on the illegality of naked calls and he won inasmuch as his truth turned out to be accepted. But he also got sued in an unrelated incident by someone who claimed defamation of character and Byrne lost and ended up having to pay millions. Dude seems larger than life, having kicked cancer three times, once given hours to live. He’s all in on the Dominion conspiracy but obviously his reputation is tainted. But as one article about him from 2014 said, “sometimes the conspiracy theorist is right.” 


So it’s really a Wild West information-style. You get disinformation from the right, disinformation from the left and the same from the center. 


The endlessly amusing thing is to Google search for information on voting machines prior to 2020. It’s hilarious how many news entities were concerned and curious about them.  For example, way back in 2018 an article in Atlanta magazine, no conservative voice, appeared with these lines:


"[Georgia's] audit relies purely on a sense of trust in the voting computers’ code. As evidenced by a video report by the New York Times, an experienced computer geek could dictate the results of an election by tricking officials..."


Now of course dead silence. Can’t question voting machines or you’re a kook because it means deligitimatizing Biden. Must rush to judgment. American Conservative put it well: “[Trump voters] do not know for sure that the election was stolen, but they do know with absolute certainty that the media would lie to them if it was."


I think it's kind of funny that the media portrays Trump’s lawyers as the most inept and bush league team ever assembled and yet meanwhile Dominion is lawyering up, hired RNC bigwig Michael Steele, scrubbing social media accounts, not putting executives on shows & skipping a scheduled Pennsylvania State House meeting. Interesting optics.


If you put all the circumstantial evidence together it’s pretty weird: 


1. Twitter/FB boldly and fearlessly suppress the New York Post Hunter Biden laptop story pre-election.

2. Pennsylvania and other states rush in new lax rules on account of covid. 

3. Mail-in ballot rejection rate fall precipitously from 2018 midterms; apparently people got very good at filling out their ballots in the meantime.  

4. Fox News calls Arizona well before Florida; even Nate Silver flatly states it was obviously wrong call based on voting results at time. 

5. Voting appears to stop in several high profile states for reasons murky. 

6. Trump picks up 15% (!) more votes than in 2016 and carries with him at least a dozen GOP House seats and still somehow loses to Biden. 

7. Media rushes to anoint Biden king; Joe, anxious to portray himself as legit goes and buys a stage prop saying “Office of Presidential Elect”, a made up office. 

8. Real-time votes show spikes in Biden numbers while statistical anomalies flourish (this is thesis of Patrick Byrne anyway). 

9. Dominion Voting vendor hides and plays scared instead of laughing at the “conspiracy theory”. 

10. Respected Sidney Powell (at least respected previously) states categorically and without caveat there is massive fraud, even naming names, and thus opens herself up to defamation lawsuits where literally the only defense is the truth. That’s what I call having some skin in the game.


Put it all together and something really feels off. 

November 23, 2020

The Upside of the Election

There’s a satisfying national lesson in all of this political stuff. The “forgotten man”, the Trump supporter in flyover country, has been seen and acknowledged in the wake of the election. (Although you’d think that he would’ve accomplished that in ’16.) 

In an article asking various elites “what the Trump years taught us” author Gary Shteyngart sees glass as half-empty: “Our blue/red segregation is complete.” Playwright Kirsten Greenidge sees it as half-full: “Americans are coming to accept their diversity…[including] those of us of varying political points of view.”


Shteyngart writes: 


“Mostly the past four years [8-12 years] have brought about a resignation of reaching over to the other side and finding a common purpose.”


Finding “common purpose” is the money phrase. Reminds me of ex-MLB player Torri Hunter’s comments:


Hunter: Let me tell you something about baseball players. People from the Dominican, Venezuela, Asia, white, black, they come together and you know why they play together? Because they’ve got a common goal: We’ve got to win the World Series. And guess what: Whites, blacks, Asian, everyone says, “Let’s go, let’s do what we have to do.”


America has no goal. We have nothing we’re trying to reach. That’s why we’re all over the place.


A lack of external enemies in this era of relative peace with other nations means we will find internal enemies since the humans crave narrative and narrative requires conflict. 


And a lack of common purpose of Chrisitianity has helped feed it. 


Our nat’l education in diversity has certainly progressed rapidly: the messiah-cult of Obama shocked the Right with the diversity of opinion in the country, and the messiah-cult of Trump did the same for the Left.  Tolerance, eh, not so much, but at least we’re aware of aware of diversity of thought instead of just color or national origin now. The liberal bubble has been burst: even the least self-aware liberals are expressing shock at Trump getting over 70 million votes. 


This, from First Things, mentioned that the biggest lesson was how inept the elites are, especially the media. Shades of my saying “no one is good at their job”. The author brings up how Trump pointed out the media at his rallies and people pointed their cellphones and photographed them:


“[The reporters] sputtered in reply, which only confirmed that our betters aren’t so smart or skilled or savvy, and not so virtuous either, though very good at self-help.”