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Michigan Had 84,290 Unregistered Blank Votes: Stein Requests A Recount While Trump Argues Those 84,000 People Are Too Expensive To Count

December 2, 2016

Michigan elections are always fraught for me, given that our campaign finance laws  allow judicial candidates to be bought, judicial opinions to be bought, legislators to be bought, well, you get the picture. I have always suspected Michigan ballots of being not quite accurate, because I have voted for years in local and national elections here, and I have been lectured by poll workers on the types of ballots the machines won’t count. \

For instance, if a ballot line isn’t colored in darkly enough with a blue or black pen, which required coloring to connect an arrow, the ballot won’t be read. If someone has too many blank spaces using a fine-tipped pen instead of a marker, the ballot won’t be counted. If someone makes a mistake and colors in a “party affiliation,” but then votes against party for one candidate, the ballot won’t be counted. And the only parties to choose from are Democrat or Republican sometimes, not Green Party. To make matters even more confusing, due to the demographics, often elections are uncontested, so voting by party often means that someone can’t vote in local elections, if they happen to be on the ballot, and this is determined by county.

It’s enough to make a person’s head spin, but it’s also enough to call for a recount. Michigan had 80,ooo “blank” votes, or ballots that the machines didn’t read, and since Donald Trump only won by 10,000 votes, this could swing the election results in another direction.

Trump’s party discounts this assertion that 80,000 votes are important, when Trump only won by 10,000 votes in Michigan:

Trump spokesman Jason Miller referred Monday to the recount as “nonsense,” noting that Clinton conceded to Trump and chastising reporters for “chasing the shiny object.

“I really do think it’s ridiculous that so much oxygen has been given to the recount effort when there’s absolutely no chance of any election results changing. This election’s been decided,” Miller told reporters on a call.

That “shiny object” may well be an electoral college victory, and that “shiny object” represents 84,290 people that Trump has deemed unimportant.

Why were there 80,000 blank votes? Voting machine irregularities and not making a dark enough line could account for it. Here is a sample of the ballot instructions from the Michigan.gov website:

 

TO VOTE: Completely darken the oval opposite each choice as shown: Marking optical scan ballot that uses ovals
– OR –
TO VOTE: Complete the arrow opposite each choice as shown: Image: Marking optical scan ballot that uses arrows

It would be very easy to mis-mark. I have been lectured about how to mark the ballots, and even I am not always sure if my pen is dark enough. How does one know if the pen is dark enough until a vote is scanned, and then you can’t change it. I vote every time not knowing if my vote was counted because of my pen or marker. If a marker dries out some, does that make the vote invalid? If a tree falls in forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

Here are Michigan’s instructions for completing its ballots:

IMPORTANT: To mark your ballot, use only a black or blue ink pen. DO NOT USE ANY OTHER INK COLOR!

PARTISAN SECTION: To vote the partisan section of the ballot, you may cast a “straight ticket,” a “split ticket” or a “mixed ticket.”

Straight Ticket: Vote the party of your choice. Nothing further need be done in the partisan section.

Split Ticket: You may vote a straight ticket AND vote for individual candidates of your choice.

Mixed Ticket: Vote for the individual candidates of your choice in each office. NONPARTISAN and PROPOSAL SECTIONS of the ballot (if any) must be voted

separately.
DO NOT vote for more candidates than indicated under each office title.

WRITE-IN CANDIDATES: To vote for a candidate whose name is not printed on the ballot, write or place the name of that candidate in the blank space provided and (completely darken the oval) or (complete the arrow). This must be done even if you cast a straight party vote. Do not cast a write-in vote for a candidate whose name is already printed on the ballot for that office.

CHECK BOTH SIDES OF BALLOT: This ballot has two sides. Be certain to check the reverse side of the ballot.

WHEN YOU HAVE COMPLETED VOTING: Place the ballot in the secrecy sleeve so that votes cannot be seen and the numbered stub is visible. Return the ballot to the election official stationed at the tabulator. (If voting by absentee ballot, follow the instructions provided by the clerk for returning the ballot.)

NOTE: If you make a mistake, return your ballot to the election official and obtain a new ballot. Do not attempt to erase or correct any marks made in error.

How would a voter even know if a mistake had been made? How would a voter know to request a new ballot? I have requested a new ballot when I made a mistake, but I was yelled at for it. There were shouts across the room about how I needed a new ballot, about what to do with my mistake, which entailed dropping my marker and leaving a line across the page, and another time for doing “straight party,” when I wanted to vote against that in local elections.

Does the ES &S 100 model offer the same voting instructions as the Michigan.gov voting instructions? In short, no. The voting machine manufacturer differs in its voting instructions, stating that a specialized marker must be used to make votes be counted, something the Michigan government doesn’t specify in its instructions to voters:

A carbon ink-based felt-tip marking pen which produces a mark of adequate reflectivity is the preferred marking instrument in the polling place. The reflectivity specifications of such markers, as well as the manufacturers thereof, are available from ES&S. A Number 2 lead pencil can also be used.

It would be stupid if different pens or pencils made an 84,000 vote mistake, but maybe it happened.

Because there are a shocking number of unallied votes, the Election Board, made up of 2 Republicans and 2 Democrats, approved the recount. Since Michigan never performs an audit unless it’s asked, no one knew before about the 80,000 uncounted votes.

Here are Michigan election stats for past years:

There is a huge uptick in uncounted votes.

According to Stein’s legal team, a hand recount is the only way to assure that the 80,000 votes get counted:

Stein has suggested Michigan had a “sky-high number of blank votes,” which is why she plans to pursue a recount of the Nov. 8 results. Stein received 51,463 votes, or about 1.1 percent, of the ballots cast in the presidential election.

Trump edged Clinton 47.6 percent to 47.4 percent of the vote, while Libertarian Gary Johnson finished third with 3.6 percent. Approximately 84,290 ballots were cast in the election without votes in the presidential contest.

Lass said the recount would show whether any of those ballots contain faintly marked ballots that were missed by Michigan’s optical-scanning machines.

There is no way to believe that 84,000 people who voted had no commentary on the 2016 Presidential Election.

I am saddened that Michigan has no auditing procedure of its own, and while Trump’s attorneys and headlines trumpet how much a recount will cost taxpayers, I am angry that these campaigns would be willing to otherwise write off 84,000 people and their votes.

“Michigan does not have an audit of the machines, so a hand recount of all of the paper ballots is the only way to make sure the machines are counting properly,” he said.

There is no way to audit the machines, so a hand count it is. I wanted to contact our clerk for information, but I won’t be able to do it before I publish this.

According to the Michigan.gov website, these are the voting machines used:

The ES&S M100 voting machines use a ballot which is compatible to use with the AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal. The AutoMark Terminal offers voters with disabilities the ability to cast a ballot with greater independence.  While the AutoMARK is designed for voters with disabilities, any voter may use it, upon request.

So, I looked up “how to hack ES &S machines,” and I came up with a handy reference guide on How To Tinker:

Name Kind How hackable? Paper recountable?
The worst: remote hackable, no paper trail
AccuVote TS DRE Internet or local No
WinVote DRE Internet or WiFi or local No
iVotronic (newer models) DRE Internet? (we don’t know [Note 2]) or Local No
Pretty bad: need physical presence to hack, no paper trail
AVC Advantage 9 [Note 3] DRE Local only No
Shouptronic DRE Local only No
iVotronic (older models) DRE local No
Not so bad: Hackable remotely (in principle), but with auditable/recountable paper trail*
iVotronic with “real-time audit log” DRE with VVPAT Internet? (we don’t know [Note 2]) or local Sort of [Note 1]
Better: Hackable remotely (in principle), but has auditable/recountable paper ballots that the voter actually marked
ES&S Model 100 Optical Scan Internet? (we don’t know [Note 4]) or local Yes
ES&S DS200 Optical Scan Internet [Note 4] or local Yes
Best: Need physical presence to hack, but has an auditable/recountable paper ballots that the voter actually marked
AccuVote OS Optical Scan Local only Yes
Optech-III Eagle Optical Scan Local only Yes

For more information . . .

You can find out what voting machines are used in your state and county, and you can also find descriptions of the voting machines. And remember, those paper ballots only protect against hacking if someone actually looks at (some of) them in an audit.

Given that 84,290 votes weren’t counted in Michigan, a hand recount is the only option, and audit becomes a constitutional mandate in that people who vote should receive the right to have their votes be counted, regardless of whether or not the machinery is working correctly. An audit, at this point for Michigan, should be a mandate, not an argument.

Note that the ES &S Model 100 is used in “my county,” according to Michigan.gov, which makes me wonder how the Michigan.gov website is tracking visitors when I didn’t enter a zip code.

What does Michigan’s voting system security entail? Not much. “Security Seals” again are the form of security.

Guess what, I got onto a “Security Seals” website and I can order the seals for upwards of $40, or less, if I wanted to, and I don’t have to provide any certification. PrintElect.com has a page that confirms it provides service through 2018 for the ES &S machines. Want to see the “security seals”?

Cutest little thing ever, isn’t it? It’s $23 and has a Product ID number of 1372. Clearly this is not designed to prevent “tampering,” just supposedly alert an election official to malfeasance if  it’s missing. There is no note on Michigan’s website detailing that the safety seals are ever audited for accuracy or to alert to tampering though, so it’s not listed as standard election procedure.

The other safety seal is cheaper, but it’s just as cute.

That little beauty runs $16 and is Product ID Number 1379.

Ah, the joys of the internet to the uninitiated, namely our legislators…Trump campaign…Trump himself…

Clearly security itself isn’t a priority for Michigan. Since there is no procedure

Security Concerns

Security Seals Ideally, the M100’s exposed ports, memory card access areas, ballot box doors and case seams would be covered with tamper-evident security seals. The integrity of these seals should be maintained at all times, and only breached under controlled, explained circumstances. Seals should be logged to maintain chain of custody of sensitive materials.

Ballot Box Access Optical scan systems have at least one and possible more ballot boxes. Each ballot box should be inspected by a voter at the beginning of voting to make sure that they are empty. These ballot boxes should locked and/or be sealed with tamper-evident tape.

Memory Card is Sensitive Corrupt memory cards may be able introduce viruses, cause the main election server to crash and falsify votes. Access to the memory card should be controlled, monitored and logged at all times.

Correct Inks Some Optical Scan systems have trouble reading red inks or inks with red in them. Voters should use the writing instrument provided at the polling place or, if voting at home, black ballpoint pen that does not bleed through paper.

Keys The keys for the M100 are the same for all M100 machines and are easily pickable with readily available tools. Care should be observed around the ballot box lock and the scanner key lock (turns the system off and on).

Counterfeit Ballots It is fairly easy to frustrate the counterfeit ballot detection mechanism on the M100. People who produce counterfeit ballots could cast multiple votes and the detectability of these ballots would only depend on how close they appeared to be like the real ballot cards.

Background1

In the 1980s, the advent of simple one-dimensional sensors spawned a revolution in such applications as fax machines and page scanners. The first machine to incorporate this technology into a ballot tabulator was the American Information Systems PBC 100 scanner, later known as the Model 100. The system, which came on the market just as AIS was reorganized into ES&S, uses an Intel 80386 microprocessor to process the data from the image sensor. It reads the election configuration from a PCMCIA memory card before opening the polls. When the polls close, it records the results to the memory card and optionally transmits them by modem to the election office. As such, the PCMCIA card serves the same purposes as the memory pack used on the Optech I scanner.

I thought that maybe the PCMCIA cards would be some sort of security system, but there are PCMCIA cards of varying types available for purchase online, with eBay being the first vendor to pop up, $19.95. What does PCMCIA stand for? Some proprietary technology that is not hackable? Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, originally called PC Cards, they are designed for adding memory to computers, and according to Wikipedia, there are only tree types made. This explains why any of these memory cards are available on eBay. They are probably available on most websites, and an enterprising hacker, which I am not, could probably determine which ones fit voting machines, and since votes are stored on this PCMCIA cards, could, ostensibly, sway an election.

I am sure all of this would require some programming experience, which I don’t know of off the top of my head, and I wouldn’t know how to shop for it either; however, there are plenty of people who are talented in coding, and every university I know of has a coding program for students. I could try to run down the ease of such a thing, but I will admit I am too lazy for that much work.

Because I need things for computer software simplified, I did a basic search to see if any state governments that also use the ES & SM100 have data on the memory cards. The Secretary of State from Mississippi gives information on these memory cards, which don’t sound proprietary at all:

The Model 100 tabulator reads marks on both one and two-sided ballots. Administrators can request custom ballot acceptance criteria, which ES&S programs onto the tabulator’s election definition PC card. For example, if a jurisdiction prohibits counting blank ballots, ES&S election coders can program the Model 100 sort blank ballots out of the general ballot count until jurisdiction officials can review the ballots. With each acceptable ballot counted, the Model 100 increases the running vote totals for each race included on the election definition.

This covers blank ballots, too, of which Michigan has plenty. But, just as I suspected, Personal Computer cards, memory extension cards for any home computer, are used to store voting data. It’s not that the method for vote tabulation shouldn’t be made public, because transparency in our election process is essential to everyone accessing their Constitutional right to vote; however, I just expected security or technology to be more extensive than a simple home computer memory upgrade which any grade schooler is capable of executing.

Oh, thank goodness there is some security, which I found further down on the Mississippi page:

The Model 100 uses PC cards to store the tabulator’s election definition, audit log and other election-specific information. Data on the PC card exists in one sequential block, which is updated each time the Model 100 scans a ballot. Use PC cards with a memory capacity of 512KB (kilobytes).

NOTE: The PCMCIA card does not require it to be formatted. The card uses a block memory device and does not have to be formatted or erased as it is overlaid with a block of data with a defined length. You will need ES&S proprietary software and hardware to write, modify and read the PCMCIA card.

ES&S

HPM is used to write the election definition onto the PCMCIA card.

The M100 reads the election definition from the PCMCIA card, modifies the results and status area as ballots are tabulated and writes log entries as appropriate.

ERM is used to read the results from the PCMCIA card

There is, at least, a software block, and my understanding of that ends at deciphering ERM to possibly Enterprise Resource Management? I am not certain about this. It just sounds familiar. But, then again, what is HPM? I tried looking up the software used, but I got onto a site that listed problems with voting software, notably that one of the Carolinas reported a county in which a programming glitch meant that ballots were recounted. North Carolina, but the message was dismissed because the voting irregularity wasn’t noted at the time the man voted. I am not sure what would have been done, but there is proof that nothing was done, even when the voter reported he voted Democrat and the machine logged a vote for Trump:

The Alamance County Board of Elections will recalibrate the voting machines at the Graham early voting site after a second-hand, anonymous complaint. A man claiming to be a concerned citizen called the Times-News and said that when a friend of his attempted to vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, it selected Republican candidate Donald Trump. The information was left in a voicemail with no return phone number or name of the individuals involved. Alamance County Board of Elections Director Kathy Holland said she received a similar phone call from one of the local political parties about a man claiming the machine had selected a different presidential candidate from the one he was attempting to select. No one, she stressed, has complained while voting. She said they would recalibrate the machines after voting ended Monday evening at the Youth Services Building.

Our response to them and everyone is that if they think anything is not entering correctly, before they cast their vote, they are supposed to go to the person in charge,” Holland said. “That could be the chief judge on Election Day, or site coordinator in early voting, and let them re-create what happened. We calibrate all of our machines before they go out, and that’s not to say that they can’t come out of calibration, but I’ve talked to all the workers, and I’ve not had one person to say one thing about it.” She said she and her staff tell voters never to leave their voting machine unless they are satisfied with their ballots.

It would seem best to audit the election in North Carolina, but that hasn’t happened. And, note that the person reporting the voting irregularity couldn’t have known the machine was about to malfunction, because the only proof of a machine malfunction would be an audit or test. It’s possible that voting machine had been hacked or misprogrammed, but nothing has happened except to “recalibrate” the machine, and that was at the end of the day, after it’s possible that people intending to vote for Clinton ended up voting for Trump.

NPR has a story on “flipping votes,” but says the machines aren’t rigged, just old and not recording votes correctly:

Norden thinks the real problem is that voting machines used in much of the country are old, more than 10 years in most places. The machines rely on outdated technology — some of it is from the 1990s — to calibrate the touch screens. And the hardware is starting to wear out.

“Over time, as people vote, that calibration becomes less and less accurate,” says Norden. So by the end of a long day of voting, the machines aren’t as accurate as they were in the morning. Also, the sealant that attaches the screen to the machine can deteriorate over time, which causes the screen to be misaligned.

Larry Norden, the person referenced above who is supposedly reassuring us that the hardware is just wearing out, doesn’t have any qualifying expertise to advise that the machines weren’t hacked other than “it would be a very stupid thing to do…” No, a very stupid thing to do is to use tape as a security device (See my post from yesterday:“Is Hacking An Election Possible?” Short Answer: yes, with smart phones or simple idiocy ) or a memory card that tallies votes that can be bought on eBay.

I can’t find a tough way actually to hack an election. The ballot counters all seem to rely on outdated technology and components that anyone can purchase on the internet. It might require some serious coding skills, but then again, it may not, just access to a machine and a the equivalent of a zip strip or sticker roll.

Regardless of the ire about the cost of a Michigan recount, over 84,000 people deserve to have their voice heard. I may not even like what they have to say, but they have the right to vote and have their votes count. Thank you to Jill Stein for pointing out how many Michiganders had been silenced and being willing to say that a Constitutional right is priceless.

2016 Presidential Election Recount: Is Hacking An Election Possible? Trump Voters High On Oxy And Smart Phones Hack Voting Machines

November 30, 2016

http://www.commoncause.org/research-reports/National_062206_Malfunction_and_Malfeasance_Report.pdf

Trump is calling foul in Green Party Jill Stein’s campaign to launch a recount in swing states Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. While some online argue election fraud doesn’t exist, others say that hacking can’t be found unless someone looks for it. For those who don’t believe Russia impacted the US 2016 Presidential Election, just ask the US government what it thinks. The Obama administration has officially declared Russian interference:

The Obama administration on Friday officially accused Russia of attempting to interfere in the 2016 elections, including by hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.

The denunciation, made by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, came as pressure was growing from within the administration and some lawmakers to publicly name Moscow and hold it accountable for actions apparently aimed at sowing discord around the election.

“The U.S. Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations,” said a joint statement from the two agencies. “. . . These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

So, if the US Intelligence Community determines there was a hack, then Russian hacking can be real, can’t it?

The Foreign Policy Research Institute and PropOrNot, a nonpartisan group of researchers, independently provided reports to The Washington Post that detailed a sophisticated, multi-pronged disinformation campaign designed to propagate two specific messages: first, that Hillary Clinton was deathly ill and was secretly plotting to turn America into a plutocracy run by “shadowy financiers”; and second, that the world was on the brink of a war with Russia. The groups traced 200 of the biggest fake news websites to the Russian government, as well as a group of botnets and human “trolls”, which planted stories and reached at least 15 million Americans. (For a sense of scale, more than 135 million people voted in 2016. Clinton appears likely to win the popular vote by more than two million ballots despite decisively losing the electoral college.)

These messages would have presumably turned unwitting and undecided voters towards Donald Trump, who painted himself as a financially independent outsider who openly wanted to reset relations with Vladimir Putin, a controversial and bellicose international figure whom Trump has nevertheless praised as a “great man”. While it is unclear whether Putin specifically hoped to facilitate Trump’s election, Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said that the campaign served a broader, long-term purpose. “They want to essentially erode faith in the U.S. government or U.S. government interests,” he told the Post. “This was their standard mode during the Cold War. The problem is that this was hard to do before social media.”

According to Wisconsin, no hack was committed:

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has found no evidence that any of its voting machines were hacked during the Nov. 8 election, a spokesman said Saturday.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on Friday filed a petition to have a state recount on the sole grounds that data experts believe there may have been a cyberattack. They have no evidence, but contend that Democrat Hillary Clinton performed better where paper ballots, rather than electronic ones were used.

The Washington Times asked commission spokesman Reid Magney if there has been any indication of hacking.

“No evidence of hacking,” Mr. Magney said in an email.

Of course, keep in mind here that no total recount has been finalized in Wisconsin, so there is no evidence to support Mr. Magney’s lack of evidence in determining no hacking happened. In short, there is no evidence to prove hacking did or didn’t happen until a recount happens, so anything else is premature. However, and here is the big qualifier, hacking Wisconsin’s machines requires little more than a screwdriver. In fact, Wisconsin voting machines are so outdated from a security standpoint that they are outlawed in other states:

Stein’s attorneys called University of Michigan computer scientist J. Alex Halderman as their first witness during Tuesday’s hearing. He said he believes optical scanner machines that most Wisconsin municipalities use to tabulate votes could be hacked with a screwdriver or with portable media containing malware.

Hacking with a screwdriver is about as low tech as you can get. Don’t know how Wisconsin could presume no hacking took place when all that it would take is a screwdriver, or even a phone or something similar that could hack into the machines.

There is the argument that you had to be drunk or stoned to vote for Trump, that hacking didn’t play the same part in the election as drunk or high people voting, which has been proven by factual analysis:

Drunk, Stoned And Suicidal Voted For Trump

Drunk, Stoned And Suicidal Voted For Trump

Basically, there are huge problems with the Trump election, not the least of which can be influenced by things that seem fantastically overreaching, but have been proven as fact, such as Russian hackers working inside Presidential campaigns to influence the US Presidential elections. True. U.S. Government validating Russian interference…true. Drunk and high voting for Trump: true.

An historian studied the troubled election results, and she dubbed Trump’s supporter the “Oxo Electorate,” a group of people with higher rates of overdose and death, coupled with low income and very poor expected outcomes:

After “recovering from the shock,” she began comparing the drug-overdose death rate with voter performance in critical states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

What she found was striking.

Six of the nine Ohio counties that flipped from Democrat to Republican in 2016 logged overdose death rates far above the national rate of 14.7 people per 100,000. Nearly every Ohio county with an overdose death rate above 20 per 100,000 saw voting gains of 10% or more for Trump compared with Romney and/or drops of 10% or more for Hillary Clinton compared to President Barack Obama in 2012. Only Butler County, home to Miami University, and Hamilton County, the jurisdiction for Cincinnati, did not conform to this pattern.

Twenty-nine of 33 Pennsylvania counties with overdose death rates above 20 per 100,000 conformed to the same pattern and/or flipped from Democrat to Republican entirely. (You can see Frydl’s comparison of county vote totals and overdose death rates here.)

The phenomenon led Frydl to dub such voters the “Oxy electorate.”

Perhaps the recount will find that machines weren’t hacked, but that those who were suicidal or high on oxy turned out in huge numbers to vote. Which is more of a farce? Tough to tell, but when you add in the antics of the Electoral College, we may have just welcomed the Ringling Brothers into our political elite.

It’s all too easy to say that the disenfranchised are not responsible for their problems, the they are the consummate victims, and that is what has been preached. Drug use then naturally supposedly follows, coupled with issues of social degradation. In other words, the uneducated white male has now been supposedly marginalized to the point that he can’t succeed because factory jobs and mining jobs are gone.

“The people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the steel belt that voted for Trump were aware that the steel mills closed in 1983,” she said. “They were aware of that in 2012 when they voted for Obama. There is something specific to the opioid crisis in the last four years that is a social policy failure that deserves to be treated as discrete.”

Frydl, who has written a history of the drug war in America, believes that the Obama administration’s response to the opioid crisis signaled to many addiction-ravaged areas that “their suffering was not registering with the Democratic Party establishment.”

The administration’s landmark bipartisan bill passed earlier this year to address the crisis, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, was seen as modest, at best. Attorney General Eric Holder failed to hold Purdue Pharma, widely considered to be the main source for opioid overprescribing in the 1990s and 2000s, or other pharmaceutical companies to account for their part in the crisis, Frydl said. And even as the government cracked down on legal prescription drugs, heroin from Mexico and synthetic opioids from China flooded in to meet demand.

After decades of systemic economic decline and the government’s failure to address the subsequent public-health crisis, Trump’s outsider campaign was perfectly primed to capitalize on the so-called Oxy electorate’s fears about foreign influence and loss of status.

I have heard this argument before. There are books about the so-called feminizing of schools, leading to loss of social status for boys, mainly white boys. These arguments mainly focus on the fact that boys are failing in school because rules are too strict, too feminine, too much making boys sit still. The Washington Post article published in 2015 by a mother whose son isn’t doing well  in school, hardly making her an unbiased investigate, says “too much sitting still.”

The lack of movement and rigid restrictions associated with modern schooling are killing my son’s soul.

Does that sound dramatic to you? Perhaps. After all, most of us go through school and somehow survive more or less intact. But if you really think about it, you might remember what you hated about school. You might remember that it took you years after school to rediscover your own soul and passions, and the courage to pursue them.

The stress of school, of trying to fit into an environment that asks him to suppress the best parts of himself, recently had my son in tears. Again.

He hasn’t been allowed outside at school all week; it’s too cold. Yet this son has spent happy hours outside at home this week, all bundled up, moving snow with the toy snowplow, creating “snowmobile trails” in our yard with his sled and shoveling both our walk and our neighbors. Because he wants to.

This morning, as always, my son was up and dressed before the rest of the household; he likes time to play Minecraft before school starts. But he also cleaned the dirty glass on the woodstove, started the fire and brought wood into the house. Because he wants to.

And it hit me this morning: He would have done great in Little House on the Prairie time.

Not exactly hard facts there, hearkening to a “simpler time,” when all that was required was building a fire. Take out the video game Minecraft to be sure, because that’s not part of the Little House on the Prairie hoax, and then for, sure, you have a well-adjusted kid who will succeed if you take him in a time machine back to the 1800’s. The disenfranchised white male has no responsibility for his own lack of achievement, no responsibility for addiction behaviors, no responsibility for failing in school, and in fact, no accountability in general. People are then surprised and doing strange things like linking male underachievement to a “national emergency,” and then trying to dumb down their expectations in order to appeal to boys who don’t thrive. It’s a form of reverse gender discrimination that’s baffling. How can any group of people achieve more if no one expects them to?

 Young men in Great Britain, Australia, and Canada have also fallen behind. But in stark contrast to the United States, these countries are energetically, even desperately, looking for ways to help boys improve. Why? They view widespread male underachievement as a national threat: A country with too many languishing males risks losing its economic edge. So these nations have established dozens of boy-focused commissions, task forces, and working groups. Using evidence and not ideology as their guide, officials in these countries don’t hesitate to recommend sex-specific solutions. The British Parliamentary Boys’ Reading Commission urges, “Every teacher should have an up-to-date knowledge of reading material that will appeal to disengaged boys.” A Canadian report on improving boys’ literacy recommends active classrooms “that capitalize on the boys’ spirit of competition”— games, contests, debates. An Australian studyfound that adolescent males, across racial and socioeconomic lines, shared a common complaint, “School doesn’t offer the courses that most boys want to do, mainly courses and course work that prepare them for employment.”

Young white men, those who voted for Trump, those who are suicidal, high on oxy, drinking too much, unemployed, under educated, blame women for their lack of achievement and then  gravitate toward Trump who advocated “grabbing [women] by their pussy.” Hooray, paybacks. Take that, You Women! You have a pussy! Not a surprise for we women, but I begin to wonder how much of this gender-based disenfranchisement isn’t really the problem rather the symptom.

Why do boys have to be treated in a specific ways in order to thrive? Why are young white men so fragile? Why is it such a threat to point out that this election is deeply flawed if there was Russian hacking, any hacking, voter suppression, and then an instant denial of any problems? Why is it a problem to point out that the electorate that came out in droves is deeply troubled, addicted, broke, and pushing for change without wanting to take any responsibility? Men have ruled America for the last 200 years, why is now women’s faults that the men are underachieving?

As of this morning, Wednesday, November 30, 2016, Wisconsin is performing a recount, but a judge won’t force clerks to count by hand. How tampering would be found that way, I have no idea, because the allegation is the the machines were faulty.

Pennsylvania requires voters request a recount, and voters have requested a recount, so it looks like one will go through for Pennsylvania:

According to a spokesman for Stein’s campaign, voters have filed some 780 petitions in 260 election districts in Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Centre, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. That means that about 3 percent of precincts in Pennsylvania will be recounted.

The Stein campaign wants to go farther than that. It wants a full hand recount of the votes in counties that use opti-scan machines, which are similar to machines that scan standardized tests. These machines have a paper trail, and county officials say a recount would involve recounting the paper ballots.

In addition, Stein wants county officials in the other two-thirds of the state, including Philadelphia and the suburban counties, to conduct “forensic analyses” on their electronic machines that do not provide a paper trail to determine whether or not there may have been a security breach.

Why not conduct an analysis. People mention there is “no proof” hacking occurred, so why check? Others argue that a basic check of three states is good for the electoral system, just a routine audit. Audits of the voting electorate are not something bad, and Al Gore’s campaign had pushed for recounts, so why vilify a woman when she does it? Why is Jill Stein not allowed to ask for a recount? She was a presidential candidate. She ran for office. She is not invisible, and that’s a bad thing? She is entitled to the same process audit that Trump said he wanted to use, but now that he thinks he won, Trump wants every woman to concede? An audit is allowed, and Trump alleges that illegal votes were cast in other states but is not asking for an audit.

Trump tweeted there was “serious voter fraud,” but won’t ask for a recount:

Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!

The media can’t push for a recount, and the only way to check for fraud is to do a recount. Strange that Trump is so afraid of a recount.

Voter fraud, Russian hacks, ballots that haven’t been counted. Life is stranger than fiction, but Germany has now declared that there is evidence of Russia interfering with elections and Germany is concerned for its own elections:

The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service has warned that next year’s general election could be targeted by Russian hackers intent on spreading misinformation and undermining the democratic process.

Bruno Kahl, president of the Bundesnachrichtendienst, said Russia may have been behind attempts during the US presidential campaign to interfere with the vote.

“We have evidence that cyber-attacks are taking place that have no purpose other than to elicit political uncertainty,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung in his first interview since he was appointed five months ago.

“The perpetrators are interested in delegitimising the democratic process as such, regardless of who that ends up helping. We have indications that [the attacks] come from the Russian region.

If there was a hacking attempt, why not check it? A Michigan election expert argues that hacking can happen, but really, checking results of an election should be automatic, not vilified.

Election security experts still agree with Halderman’s underlying argument: that auditing elections would help to settle dangerous, persistent uncertainty in a system potentially plagued by hackers. They’re not as taxing as a full recount. And, importantly, they shouldn’t solely be deployed as an emergency provision in contested elections, but rather a default part of the process. MIT’s Rivest quotes his computer scientist colleague at George Washington University, Poorvi Vora: “Brush your teeth. Eat your spinach. Audit your elections.”

So, is hacking a possibility? Sure is. We would be foolish to ignore it’s a possibility. How does one hack a voting machine? Easy. Microsoft doesn’t have security updates for the operating system the voting machines run.

The list of those problems is what you’d expect from any computer or, more specifically, any computer that’s a decade or older. Most of these machines are running Windows XP, for which Microsoft hasn’t released a security patch since April 2014. Though there’s no evidence of direct voting machine interference to date, researchers have demonstrated that many of them are susceptible to malware or, equally if not more alarming, a well-timed denial of service attack.

It’s not a tough concept for anyone who uses computer to grasp. In fact, most people wouldn’t use a home computer without a security update, but they sure as hell vote with them. The argument that voting machines are safe was disproved last summer, when voting machines were found to be so outdated that it invalidated votes:

The extent of vulnerability isn’t just hypothetical; late last summer, Virginia decertified thousands of insecure WinVote machines. As one security researcher described it, “anyone within a half mile could have modified every vote, undetected” without “any technical expertise.” The vendor had gone out of business years prior. 

The WinVote systems are an extreme case, but not an isolated one. Other voting machine models have potentially vulnerable wireless components; Virginia’s just the only one where a test proved how bad the situation was.

The worst part about the current state of voting machines is that they don’t even require outside interference to undo an election. “They’re all computers. They run on tens of thousands of lines of code,” says Norden. “It’s impossible to have a perfectly secure, perfectly reliable computer.”

If voting machines were known to be so unreliable that votes were tossed, why wasn’t something done about it BEFORE the election? It comes down to cash, and the fact that no one wants to check. This comment, published last fall, is eerily prescient:

“The money’s not there right now,” says Norden. “We interviewed election officials who told us what they were hearing from their state legislators and others who would be funding this type of equipment, and they say come back to us after there’s some kind of crisis.”

Some kind of crisis. Looks like we have one now. Think using a Smartphone to hack a voting machine is too tough for anyone to figure out? Turns out that the State of Virginia reported that a poll worker did it by accident when playing music from the smart phone by connecting to a library’s internet:

During the site visit to Spotsylvania County, the auditor was informed of voting equipment problems experienced on Election Day at Precinct 302 that included the voting machines “crashing” and becoming inoperative individually in succession and concurrently on Election Day. The local staff believed that these failures occurred due the use of a smartphone by one of the officers of election who was streaming music using the open wireless network provided by the public library which hosted this polling location. The continuing machine failures led the polling location staff to instruct voters to turn off their cell phones upon entry to the polling location on Election Day.

To gather information about the potential connection between the use of a smartphone and the successive crashing of WinVote machines, the auditor was granted access to Spotsylvania’s voting machines which were not used in Precinct 302. The voting machines used in Precinct 302 remained under seal. Using his smartphone, the auditor was quickly able to access and connect to the wireless network hosted by these WinVote DRE machines. The auditor immediately reported this potential significant security problem to the Department of Elections.

This information was provided by the Virginia Department of Elections. Hacking a voting machine has already been done, even if by accident. The WinVote machines were supposedly tossed, but there was no other information from other states investigating their voting machines. An election official accidentally hacked a voting machine by accident, it was proven, and now people say it can’t be done, hasn’t been done, so there is no need to look for it.

It’s tough to believe election officials when past efforts didn’t offer any rudimentary efforts at security from election officials in Virginia:

Rather than decertify and decommission the vulnerable machines in 2007, the board allowed their continued use in 30 counties for the next seven years, assuring the public that the systems were nonetheless safe because they employed “strict security protocols.” Presumably, they were referring to the Wi-Fi network’s “abcde” password. There was nothing else protecting the machines.

Still don’t believe an election can be hacked easily? There is a YouTube instructional video:

Just insert a new memory card and reboot. Easy peasy, and YouTube shows us how to do it.

The real question is: does Pennsylvania use Sequoia voting machines that have YouTube instructional video demonstrating how to hack them? Sure does!

I checked the Pennsylvania Montcopa.org, the government run website that brags about using Sequoia voting machines, and here is a direct quote from their Election Commission:

Montgomery County has used the Sequoia AVC Advantage® voting machines since 1996. We are one of the earliest counties in the nation to utilize a direct recording electronic (DRE) machine.

The Advantage has a full-faced ballot display whose single page style means no scrolling through ballot pages. A square next to the candidate’s name or referendum question is pressed when making a selection. Write-in votes are done simply by using a keyboard below the ballot display.

The voter is able to view his entire selection before pressing the cast vote button.

Why people argue that Pennsylvania’s results couldn’t have been hacked is seeming a whole lot ostrich-like.

Can I verify that removing the memory card from Sequoia machines can alter the votes, be used to hack an election? Sure can. I checked on the Sequoia manufacturer’s website, and this is on their first page:

The Sequoia AVC Edge is a touch screen direct-recording electronic voting machine. It is a multilingual voting system activated by a smart card and  records votes on internal flash memory. Voters insert a “smart-card” into the machine and then make their choices by touching an area on a computer screen, much in the same way that modern ATMs work.The votes are then recorded to internal electronic flash memory. When polls close, the votes for a particular machine are written to a PCMCIA card which is removed from the system and either physically transported to election headquarters or their contents transmitted via computer network.

So safe. So secure. No one has ever stolen a memory card. Think those cards are tough to come by? Nope, one is given to each voter, according to the manufacturer:

 A voter must have an activated smart card in order to begin voting. After the voter casts his or her ballot on the Edge, the smart card is deactivated and returned to a pollworker. This prevents one voter from voting multiple times.

Can a memory card also deactivate a whole machine without anyone knowing about it? Sure can. The only protection on these machines is a “tamper evident seal,” with no indication what makes it “tamper evident,” according to the Sequoia maker:

The cover for the poll function switch accommodates a tamper-evident seal. Also on the back of each Edge unit is a yellow “Activate” button, which can be used to switch the Edge into different operating modes. Finally, the backside of the Edge has a small LCD screen (two rows of 20 characters) that displays diagnostic and error messages

How high tech are these “tamper evident seals” on Sequoia machines? Check out the photo:

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-11-06-58-am

 

 

 

Are there any other “tamper evident seal” problems out there? New Jersey had a lawsuit based on “tamper evident seals” from Sequoia, using mainly tape. I kid you not. Tamper evident seals were a piece of tape that warned the user not to remove them.

I think pink tape is enough to stop hackers, isn’t it?

New Jersey court documents from 2011 prove that an election can be rigged based on what an election official called an “accidental” programming error.

The Sequoia AVC Advantage is an old-technology direct-recording electronic voting machine. It doesn’t have a video display; the candidate names are printed on a large sheet of paper, and voters indicate their choices by pressing buttons that are underneath the paper. A “ballot definition” file in an electronic cartridge associates candidate names with the button positions.

Clearly, it had better be the case that the candidate names on the printed paper match the candidate names in the ballot-definition file in the cartridge! Otherwise, voters will press the button for (e.g.,) Cynthia Zirkle, but the computer will record a vote for Vivian Henry, as happened in a recent election in New Jersey.

How do we know that this is what happened? As I reported to the Court in Zirkle v. Henry, the AVC Advantage prints the names of candidates, and how many votes each received, on a Results Report printout on a roll of cash-register tape. The printout reads, in this case,

I23 I24 J23 J24

Cynthia Zirkle 10 Ernest Zirkle 9

Vivian Henry 34 Mark A. Henry 33

In this election, four candidates are running for two positions in a vote-for-any-two election. Here, J23 indicates that the button at column J, row 23 on the face of the AVC advantage received 34 votes. The problem was that the poster-size printed paper covering the buttons had the name Cynthia Zirkle printed at position J23. Vivian Henry’s name was printed at position I23. That is, there was a mismatch between the printed paper and the electronic ballot-definition file. Similarly, the positions of Ernest Zirkle and Mark Henry were swapped.

The Princeton auditor who found the mistakes listed above, using a Sequoia voting machine in 2011 said that the election results were chalked up to “human error;” however, if more than one election in the states that have disparate election results have already reported voting machine errors that resulted in incorrect election tallies, then “hacking” has already occurred, even if by accident with a smart phone, and even if by accident with an election official misprogramming a voting machine.

The Sequoia voting machine has problems, but what about the Diebold voting machine?

Guess what, there are internet tutorials for hacking that, too.

Two of the lead researchers in the study were able to demonstrate a number of different ways that voting machines could be hacked. They used a $1.29 microprocessor and a circuit board that costs about $8, along with a $15 remote control.

They demonstrated that the cheap hack worked from over a half-mile away.

“When the voter hits the ‘vote now’ button to register his votes, we can blank the screen and then go back and vote differently and the voter will be unaware that this has happened. Spend an extra four bucks and get a better lock, you don’t have to have state-of-the-art security, but you can do some things where it takes at least a little bit of skill to get in,” Johnson said.

As far as how easy the hack is, Johnson told Popsci that “I’ve been to high school science fairs where the kids had more sophisticated microprocessor projects.”

You can look at Politico Magazine for an article about how to hack an election, and there is information on Popular Science, as well about elections that have already been hacked. Seems hacking an election isn’t a possibility, it’s a reality, and since it’s already happened, an audit seems more than well-deserved.

Pennsylvania, currently refusing to hand count its votes, uses machines that were hacked in New Jersey elections, and the only way to determine if the machines were hacked, even if inadvertently, is to match a paper trail to the computer trail, something Pennsylvania refuses to do, even though other states have outlawed the machines, a term coined by Jill Stein:

But the tipping point came in 2006, when a major congressional race between Vern Buchanan and Christine Jennings in Florida’s 13th District imploded over the vote counts in Sarasota County—where 18,000 votes from paperless machines essentially went missing (technically deemed an “undervote”) in a race decided by less than 400 votes. Felten drew an immediate connection to the primary suspect: The ES&S iVotronic machine, one of the many ordered in Pennsylvania after they deployed their HAVA funds. Shortly after the debacle, Governor Charlie Crist announced a deadline for paper backups in every county in Florida that year; Maryland Governor Bob Erlich urged his state’s voters to cast an absentee ballot rather than put their hands on a digital touch screen—practically an unprecedented measure. By 2007, the touch screens were so unpopular that two senators, Bill Nelson of Florida and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, had introduced legislation banning digital touch screens in time for the 2012 election.

Given the fact that Pennsylvania knowingly used voting machines that have been hacked before, one begs the question: if Pennsylvania knew it had older machines without security updates, then why use them? Security experts already determined the state with the greatest hacking risk was Pennsylvania, and because, as I mentioned above, Pennsylvania uses the Sequoia machines:

But most identified Pennsylvania as the greatest concern. There, according to Verified Voting 47 counties of 67 vote on digital voting machines without a written backup record if something were to go awry—a reality that is very much on the minds of state officials (legislation is working its way through the House to examine the issue of voting modernization.) In Pittsburgh and Philadelphia—two Democratic strongholds whose turnout typically decide the fate of the state’s outcome—around 900,000 voters will cast ballots entirely on paperless touchscreens DREs, if previous elections are any guide. Then, at least from the voters’ perspective, they will disappear into a sea of ones and zeroes.

Montgomery County, a crucial Democratic redoubt in the suburbs of Philadelphia—an area sometimes seen as having the potential to swing the entire state—is one such locality that uses a paperless electronic machine, and only one machine, for all 425 precincts: Appel’s Sequoia AVC Advantage.

New Jersey hasn’t said whether or not the employee that “accidentally” misprogrammed the voting machines was replaced. Pennsylvania’s response to identifying the risk of hacking in a system with no paper and simple reusable memory cards?

“We are very, very confident in our machines,” Val Arkoosh, the vice chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, tells me. She spoke with the staccato fervency and granular detail of someone who is thinking about this issue, and has been asked before. Yet when I asked her about Appel’s hack and the Princeton group, next door across the Delaware River, she appeared not to have heard of it. She assured me their system is secure: “We program each of our machines individually—they’re never connected to the Internet,” and an internal hard drive “creates a permanent record each time that a vote is cast.” At the end of the day, Arkoosh said, “the vote is transcribed on a thermal tape, the machines are closed to lock, the information is transferred to a standalone server that tallies the results.”

The fact that the programming alone is a problem for election coordinators is apparently of no concern to Pennsylvania or its judge that ruled there was no evidence of problem from the machines before it investigated. Still begs the question: Pennsylvania, why not do a recount if it’s already been paid for?

The fact that “hacks” thus far have been committed by poll workers doesn’t mean it can’t happen–it means it already has and it’s just a matter of finding out how frequently it happens:

In May 2006, Finnish computer security expert Harri Hursti working with the organization BlackBoxVoting.org released a report documenting several security issues with the Diebold electronic voting terminals TSx and TS6. According to the report, “the security threats seem to enable a malicious person to compromise the equipment even years before actually using the exploit, possibly leaving the voting terminal incurably compromised.”11 In other words, a computer hacker, doubling as a poll worker, would only need a few seconds of physical access to the machines to introduce a virus to the software by putting a memory card inside of the machine. Because the memory cards are transferred from one machine to another, this could cause the machines to fail or to simply change the vote outcome by switching votes.12

It’s happened, just has it happened in the 2016 election?

It’s happened before:

In April 2005, Pennsylvania decerti ed the UniLect Patriot electronic voting machine after concluding that defects in the system were responsible for more than 10,000 uncounted votes in three di erent counties in November 2004. When the state re-examined the machines after the elections, it found that the machines often failed to register votes after the voter pressed the screen to make his or her selection. e machines were also prone to freez- ing up during use.20

In a separate incident in Berks County, Pennsylvania, involving voting machines manufactured by Danaher Controls, 111 votes were lost when the cartridges used to record votes were accidentally programmed as training cartridges during the May 2005 primary election.21 Election results showed that three races were decided by less than 111 votes. After much controversy, the Berks County Election Board ultimately voted against having a re-vote.22

For a full reporting on voting machines causing election recounts, check out this link here:

http://www.commoncause.org/research-reports/National_062206_Malfunction_and_Malfeasance_Report.pdf

It’s happened in multiple states, and Pennsylvania is not alone. Texas. Arizona. Florida. Virginia. New Mexico. The list goes on…

Online Backlash to Boycott Trump Businesses

November 19, 2016

In the interest of fairness I have to tell you that I am definitely holding her father’s words against her, Ivanka Trump, I mean. Ivan Trump claims to be upset that people are boycotting her products because of “something her father said,” that something being an admission to sexually assaulting women by “grabbing them by their pussy.”

While Shoes.com bragged about “standing tall with Ivanka,” enough people have complained that Shoes.com has since dropped Ivanka’s products, according to one on-line blogger; however, I found Ivanka’s handbags still on sale at Shoes.com.

While you can guess the intellect level of a blog entitled “Supreme Patriot” (one wonders, Patriot God? Goddess Patriot?), there is a backlash to the Ivanka backlash. Enjoy their typo. I didn’t make it:

How can companies be so darn stupid?

They’re offending millions of people simply because they disagree with President-elect Trump?

What a bunch of maroons!

What those maroons have figured out is that the part of “simply because they disagree with President-elect Trump” is anything but simple.  It’s a complicated, to the point that I saw comments on Facebook thanking people for not de-friending them for being a Trump supporter.

Business Insider published an article about the banning of Trump products, all Trump products, because they all lead back to Donald Trump.\

The Trump brand is losing money, and Shoes.com doesn’t want to be in the middle of it:

Shannon Coulter, a brand and digital strategist, started the #GrabYourWallet hashtag in October following the publication of a leaked tape that showed Trump making lewd comments about women. Coulter used the hashtag to encourage people who were offended by Trump’s language and actions to boycott companies doing business with his family.

Following Trump’s election, she and other anti-Trump Twitter users have circulated a spreadsheet with retailers that do business with the Trump family. The spreadsheet includes information about how to contact each business.

On Saturday, Shoes.com announced on Twitter that it was removing Ivanka Trump shoes from its inventory. While the Canadian company valued at $320 million isn’t as big as competitors like Zappos — which continues to sell Trump lines — this was the first time a retailer responded to the Grab Your Wallet movement by actually dropping Trump products.

As of Tuesday, Grab Your Wallet’s list of brands that carry Trump products included 32 retailers, including Amazon and Bloomingdales.

That list includes contact information for the buyers of those companies to tell them that you don’t want to see Trump products sold through their businesses. Businesses and tenants that were “embarrassed” by having Trump on buildings in Manhattan successfully petitioned to have them removed, The Washington Post reports:

President-elect Donald Trump’s name is written in the Manhattan skyline, emblazoned on condominiums, hotels and office towers throughout the city where he made his real estate riches.

But one group of tenants wants to strip Trump’s brand from their buildings. In October, residents from a trio of apartment complexes on the Upper West Side petitioned to have the name “Trump Place” removed from the towers’ facades, saying they were embarrassed to be associated with Trump.

On Tuesday, they got what they asked for. The company that owns the buildings said it would rename them after their street addresses — 140, 160 and 180 Riverside Blvd. — and take down the all-caps gold letters spelling out “Trump Place,” the Real Deal reported.

“The purpose of this change is to assume a neutral building identity that appeals to current and future tenants,” Equity Residential senior regional manager Mary Pawlisa told the publication. “Using the street address for the building name is popular practice in NYC, and our well-known Riverside address makes it easy for visitors to locate the building.”

The Trump name has now been squarely linked with “grab them by their pussy,” and if Trump was a nation, we would condemn him for human rights violations, not have so many people vote for him; however, pussy grabbing is not good for business. According to another Washington Post article, complete with info graphs, the Trump name has taken a popularity tumble:

As you can see, the pink line falls below the blue line in the spring of 2015, just as Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015. Trump’s businesses failed to see the gains in foot traffic that they typically do during the summer, Foursquare says. Things appear to get worse this spring, as voters in states around the country went to the primaries. Foot traffic at Trump properties was down 17 percent year-on-year in March, April and June, and down 14 percent year-on-year in July.

The data obviously only represents people who use Foursquare and Swarm, which is a select group. The company says that it has normalized that data against figures from the U.S. census to remove age and gender bias, but that urban dwellers are still somewhat over-represented in their figures.

One likely reason for the fall in traffic, Foursquare says, is that Trump’s hotels, casinos and golf courses are mainly located in “blue states,” like New York, Hawaii, New Jersey and Illinois, and depend on local visitors from those regions. In blue states, Trump’s properties have seen foot traffic decrease by more than the national average, for example falling 20 percent year-on-year in July 2016. In “purple” swing states, the drop has been less extreme, as the second graph below shows.

While online business “experts” claim boycotts don’t work well, boycotts have been known to push companies to action, as evidenced by Shoes.com:

“College-educated women in particular are well aware of the epic consumer power they wield, and they’re flexing that power,” Coulter told CBS.

The campaign has already seen one victory this month: Shoes.com removed Ivanka Trump’s shoes from its website, according to CBS. The #GrabYourWallet is now calling for people to stop shopping at NordstromAmazon and Macy’s, among others. It’s also calling for a boycott of New Balance after an executive said Donald Trump’s presidency would herald favorable trade policies for the shoemaker. In total, the list includes nearly 50 companies.

If you are a Facebook guru, you might want to check out this post, complete with contact information regarding ways to contact businesses that support Trump’s televisions shows:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/ryan-mack/boycott-trump-list-of-of-companies-to-refuse-to-support/10150222197459365/

It even includes contact information for NBC:

15.  NBC

Executive VP, Publicity,NBC Entertainment(Rebecca Market)

To express your concerns about Trump’s continued support by NBC, you can contact them here:

NBC 1-212-664-4444 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            1-212-664-4444      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

NBC Entertainment:

Rebecca Marks, Executive Vice President, Publicity

818-777-3030 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            818-777-3030      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Rebecca.Marks@nbcuni.com

There are other contacts to make, and will provide them in subsequent diaries.

NBC Executives who might want to know how you feel too.

NBC Entertainment Rebecca Marks Executive Vice President, Publicity 818-777-3030   818-777-3030      | Rebecca.Marks@nbcuni.com

Universal Pictures Cindy Gardner Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs 818-777-2581     818-777-2581      | Cindy.Gardner@nbcuni.com

Universal Media Studios Curt King Senior Vice President, Publicity 818-777-3655      818-777-3655      | Curt.King@nbcuni.com

Adriene Bowles Focus Features President, Worldwide Publicity and Executive VP, Marketing 818-777-7499        818-777-7499      | Adriene.Bowles@nbcuni.com

For those of you who aren’t just “upset about an election,” but really believe in supporting businesses who don’t advocate human rights abuses or sexual assault, please make your voice heard. It’s just that easy.

Presidential Election Is Just The Biggest Example of Workplace Gender Discrimination And It’s Downright Deadly

November 11, 2016

She was more qualified. She had more experience. She won more votes than he did, won the American popular vote, and yet, some old white dude is still going to take advantage of procedural “gotcha” to steal this woman’s job. What this presidential election says about America is that equality for women in the workplace has worldwide ramifications. When racist white men collaborate to misogyny, the whole world suffers. Now gender disparity seems like a national disaster, but how about at 8pm on Election Day? People were still living in denial about how damaging gender inequality in the workplace is.

Today, we have seen that gender inequality can topple the stock market, bring the peso to its knees to beg, make innocent civilians beg for their lives, and still, people talk about how gender inequality is a woman’s problem. Gender disparity in the workplace means that we have a man waltzing to the White House who has threatened nuclear weapons, who has threatened to torture people, arrest detractors, grab women by their pussy. No one is safe from the ultimate ugly and brutal tide of gender violence and inequality.

If Trump as President of the United States doesn’t scare the world out of its denial, not much will, especially when we consider that Hillary Clinton won the vote. How much more does it take to convince people that gender inequality kills?

Why Hillary Clinton Lost the Electoral College: She Failed To Focus On Herself

November 10, 2016

There is so much impassioned sadness right now after the American election, so much fear that the rest of the nation is so misogynist that what little safety women have accomplished has been abandoned, but there is that niggling message of fairness in my brain that is telling me to look at the issue critically, to realize that Clinton ran a poorly constructed campaign.

I am devastated to see Trump and President in the same space. I am so sad that even winning the popular vote, Hillary Clinton couldn’t win the election, and like any one person, I have been left to wonder what went wrong. How was it that Clinton failed to connect with so many people? Fox News claimed there were underground “Trumpers,” people who wanted Trump but didn’t want to tell anyone. Other pundits claimed Clinton was a “weak” candidate, which I can’t believe. No one can make it through the campaign trail like that and still be a weak person.

She didn’t campaign in Wisconsin, a normally Democratic state, as in didn’t. campaign. at. all. She lost Wisconsin. She tried to capitalize on putting Trump down when she should have been appealing to her voting constituents. In other words, she bought into the trap, focusing her energies on trying to top Donald instead of campaigning for herself. And, sadly, it worked. She never stood up for herself, focused on herself. Here is where women across the U.S. put their heads down on their tables and cry, because we all know that feeling, and we have found out that even a Presidential candidate who focuses too much on one man can lose herself. If she can do, what hope do we have?

In the Halloween edition of The New Yorker, on page 48, Clinton states that voters want a narrative, they want someone to blame. And this probably, more than any other statement, defines Clinton’s perspective. She understands that voters want a narrative they can believe in, but then she is incapable of delivery. Her next step is to blame voters, almost for their stupidity, and it’s this condescension, this combination of a little bit of glimpse followed by blindness that hindered Clinton. Clinton stated she wanted to raise the minimum wage to $12/hour, but it this past election, multiple states raised the minimum wage higher than that, and it didn’t take an act of Congress or a President to do it. In other words, Clinton couldn’t give them what they felt they needed.

To extend that logic, how is it that Trump gave people what they needed, and how humiliating is it that Trump gave so many people what they needed? It appears that the working class are sick of being working class for lower and lower rates of pay. The man with the most money wins. He gets immunity, and this feeds into their most base feelings of victimization.

Of course, other countries have elected clowns. Look at Italy, at Berlusconi, at the way he paid for prostitutes with state funds, and then the way the EU pushed back, imposed austerity measures. One could say that the world fought back, but I wonder who paid the price, the Italian people? So it is with all of us that we fear being punished for the evil clown.

Other evil clowns? Putin, whom nobody in Russia mentions without making the sign of the cross. Putin has said he wants to renew relations with the US, and according to my daughter, Trump will give him a sloppy face lick and declare “friends,” oblivious to the danger of meeting a fellow sociopath. And this element of grandiosity, the lack of fear is what scares the hell out of all Americans who didn’t vote for him.

Trumpers never pledged to do anything to “make America great again,” completing their victimization tears, they were content to let Trump take care of them, bask in the paternalism of scary money. Clinton supporters, on the other hand, always felt that they had work to do, but it was misdirected work. No one wants to take up the mantle of liberating the masses, because that seems like too much work. Better to hand that off to someone like Trump who predicts empty promises.

What could Clinton have done? She could have focused on herself, on her platforms, instead of responding to Trump every time. She could have been emotionally available to greet her voters, come right out and asked for support. She could have asked for help, asked others to talk about voting for her, asked people to come out and support her. I am sad to say that Clinton’s mistakes are often the mistakes of women who aspire to power but don’t ask for help, don’t focus on themselves, on what they bring to the table. Lesson learned. Leaders, and especially women who lead: focus on your strengths, not what people say about you. Focus on your accomplishments. Tell people what you have done well. Tell people how you will make life easier for them. Don’t try to compete with pussy-grabbing comments, because no one wins. You don’t have to say it’s disgusting because everyone knows it–move on. Be proud. Fight for what you want.

Clinton didn’t question the electoral college like Trump vowed to, and Clinton never challenged the biggest chance she had to become President. Perhaps the electoral college would have found in her favor, but we will never know, because she didn’t fight for it, and she had a perfect right to do so. Al Gore did more than Clinton. It is at this juncture that Clinton could have shown what kind of leadership she had and questioned the machine that dealt her an unfair hand, could have pushed for the American voters that elected her by popular majority. Now, the world will never know what would have happened had the machinations played out according to the system, because Clinton gave in. Most likely she would have lost, but she would have held the system accountable, stood up for the people who voted her into office. It is in this, in her silence, in her capitulation, that Clinton’s leadership qualities have never been so deafeningly quiet.

 

Donald Trump Lost The Election So Why No Concession Speech?

November 9, 2016

According to Trump’s campaign promises, that he wouldn’t concede an election, that he thought the electoral college was rigged, that he wouldn’t accept those results, it’s strange that when his win depends on that very “rigged” system he railed against, he is willing to accept that technicality as his own right and not concede the election. We shouldn’t be surprised. Trump has been a liar from the beginning, but Clinton won the election. She won by popular vote: Clinton had 47.7% of the votes to Trump’s 47.5% of the votes, but Trump didn’t offer a concession speech.

The American people, by popular vote, elected Hillary Clinton, so where is Donald Trump’s concession speech? In short, he has none. Trump is willing to accept a rigged system in his favor, as long as he benefits, even if he didn’t win the election based on the will of the American people.

 

How I Told My Daughter The Election Results: The American People Elected The First Female President of the United States By Popular Vote

November 9, 2016

Here is how I said it:

“Honey, I know you just woke up and wanted a woman to be President of the United States, but I have some interesting news for you: Trump may have won the election because of the electoral college. Remember how we talked about needing 270 electoral votes to unequivocally win the election, and remember how you were up until 1 in the morning with your calculator, trying to determine if either candidate had enough votes for an outright win? You studied the maps, emerging election numbers, what percentage of precincts were reporting, and you tried to forecast how Clinton could win? You couldn’t figure out a clear winner. And, remember when we talked about how the electoral college may not follow the vote of the people? Well, neither candidate had enough of a majority to fully win the election by a large margin. Here is what I can tell you: the American People, by popular vote, elected the first female President of the United States. Fuck yeah! That is something to be proud of, to be happy about. “

Then, I showed her the numbers below.

 

As of 10 a.m. ET, Clinton had amassed 59,299,381 votes nationally, to Trump’s 59,135,740 — a margin of 163,641 that puts Clinton on track to become the fifth U.S. presidential candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election.

Neither candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote — as of 10 a.m. ET, Clinton stood at 47.7 percent and Trump at 47.5 percent.

I explained it to her:

“By sheer numbers alone, the American People cast one vote at a time to elect the first female President of the United States, but we have to wait until the electoral college weighs in, and we have to stay strong in our hope that Clinton won’t concede before the electoral college gets its chance to vote. The electoral college may surprise us and not vote along party lines. The electoral college may finally hear the will of the people. Let’s hope Clinton doesn’t give up.”

My daughter’s response?

“She hasn’t given up yet, Mom. I don’t think she will. “

We have hope here in our house. We are hoping that Clinton won’t let us down, we the people who elected her, voted for her, believed in her, are hoping she won’t give up the fight before it’s over. Let’s keep hope. My daughter is.