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Post US Elections 2020: Another Burning Question
Created by John Eipper on 12/10/20 3:35 AM

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US Elections 2020: Another Burning Question (Paul Preston, -UK, 12/10/20 3:35 am)

Let me ask another burning question related to the US election.

Why is the assumption that, if there has been hacking of the machines, it has been done only by the Democrats? Given the determination of Mr Trump to win at all costs, not to mention his tenuous relationship with ethical behaviour, not to mention the superior power of the Presidency, is not equally likely that, if there was hacking, some of it was done in the Republican interest?

JE comments:  Excellent point, Paul.  I suppose the logical answer is that Republican hacking, if there was any, didn't turn out so well.  We've scrutinized the results in Georgia, a Republican-controlled state that voted for Biden.  There were no Democratic-controlled states that went for Trump.  Might this be "proof" of something...?


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  • What is Meant by "Hacking" an Election? (A. J. Cave, USA 12/11/20 3:29 AM)
    In mulling over Sir Paul Preston's burning question about the possibility of hacking the US Presidential elections by the Republicans, it is certainly a possibility, just like all other hackings. But, in my view, highly improbable.

    At a very basic level, if there was massive hacking (other than typical election fraud), then we should have seen a sweep, either by the Democrats or by the Republicans in the congressional races--politically advantageous for either party, and technically a freebie (president + congress, on the same ballot) without any additional overhead. Our Electoral College vote favors the 51% model. So, all such an algorithm had to do was to push the votes over the 51 threshold--not 100%.


    Democrats lost seats in the House, but maintained a majority, and the Senate is still in play.


    More...


    In most massive hackings, we normally don't know who. We just know or think we know what they did, usually long after the fact. Just couple of days ago, FireEye, one of Silicon Valley's largest cybersecurity firms, disclosed that it was targeted and hacked by a "state actor" (possibly the Russians, Chinese, or other smaller players, like Iranians and North Koreans), using a combination of methods not seen before. The hackers stole the tools that FireEye uses to test the networks of its clients. It's like breaking into a police station and stealing all the ammo (firearms, etc.).


    There's also a big difference between hacking and cyber attacks.


    In cyber attacks, hackers aim to manipulate, damage and destroy a network(s).


    In more common hackings, hackers want to have fun, for bragging rights (kids), or just steal data and use or sell to data brokers (professionals). This is where the infamous Yahoo email hack in 2013-2014 falls, where at least 1 billion email accounts were compromised (including mine).


    If the 2020 elections were hacked, the hack falls into the cyber attack category--manipulating the data.


    Since the voting machines are distributed among 28 states with various rules, the "hack" needed a more granular planning and execution that is uncharacteristic for impulsive and impatient younger hackers and not lucrative enough for professional hackers. So, it falls into the category of state players, either ours, or others, for political gains. So, the question is whether the GOP as an institution and or as individual Republicans, have the expertise and the financial resources to pull off something like this at scale. Same goes for Democrats.


    Among US governmental agencies, only NSA, FBI and CIA have these kinds of capabilities at their fingertips. There is no indication that any of these agencies are particularly pro-Trump to risk their necks.


    And, then, there is the Covid-19 factor, which complicates everything.


    Battleground states could have also changed election voting rules due to Covid that could have confused the voters--both elderly and newbies not used to voting. Deciphering the 2020 elections is already an industry.


    JE comments:  A. J. makes a convincing argument:  if either side (Democrats or Republicans) engaged in hacking, they didn't do a very good job.  The Republicans for obvious reasons (their guy lost), but the Democrats could have shifted just a handful of already close races to take control of the Senate, in addition to the White House.


    Monday (December 14th) is the celebrated Electoral College "meeting" date.  This event should put Decision '20 to rest, but it inevitably will not.

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    • It's Still Not Over: Texas Lawsuit Against PA, GA, MI, WI (George Aucoin, -France 12/11/20 2:30 PM)
      With all due respect to A. J. Cave (love her analytical approach) and Sir Paul Preston, discussion of this this noun "hack" when considering the US presidential election of 2020 artfully sidesteps the real issue before us.

      Fraud is the actual subject of discussion, however distasteful. The problem with discussing hacking is that it obscures the discernible intent of the actor(s), whereas fraud does not. Fraud necessarily implies immoral, illegal intent and this is why I believe it has not heretofore been a topic of polite discussion on the WAIS network.


      The basis for the incredulity of a Joe Biden win that simply will not go away is the appearance of massive coordinated electoral fraud. As in any criminal analysis, it follows that the Democratic Party had motive and opportunity. The evidence of actus reus is overwhelming in terms of firsthand observer testimony, video recordings of ballot counting rooms, electronic election machines and software having the programmed ability to fractionalize votes and, of course, the unprecedented ballot counting stoppage of four autonomous and independent US States--Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia--all within minutes of each other on election night followed by a resumption of counting in the wee hours in which the lead irrevocably changed hands. The missing element in this criminal analysis is proof of mens rea, or criminal intent. The obvious reason why the Republican Party isn't suspect of the same crime is:


      --No dead people voted for Donald Trump


      --No underage voters voted for Donald Trump


      --No unregistered voters in the ballot receiving state voted for Donald Trump


      --No illegal aliens (that's undocumented visitors to most of you) voted for Donald Trump


      --No felons voted for Donald Trump


      --No voters registered in more than one state voted for Donald Trump


      --No electronic voting machines fractionalized votes in favor of Donald Trump


      (For those of you aghast at the claims of this non-exclusive list--prove me wrong.)


      The most recent election suit filed in this matter relies on no such analysis. State of Texas v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, State of Georgia, State of Wisconsin and State of Michigan rests on the legal theory that the compact required by the US Constitution (Art. I Sect. 4) by the independent and autonomous US States require them to conduct their separate presidential elections based only upon the laws of their individual legislatures. Not decisions by their State Courts, not decisions by their State Governors or their Secretaries of State, but explicitly by their respective State Legislature only. The four-square complaint filed by Texas, and joined by at least 17 other US States, is that failure to convene an election under this constitutionally prescribed requirement disadvantages the voters in any compliant US State in a national election. Naturally, many US States (all with Biden majorities) have moved to dismiss the suit in solidarity with the defendant states.


      Contentious right? Oh indeed. And consequential. The US Supreme Court cannot dodge this filing, the first on this matter in which it has original jurisdiction. Dismissing this complaint will not mollify some 74,000,000 voters in all 50 States. As everybody on WAIS has certainly surmised, this one is for all the marbles. That's why so many are holding their breath.


      I'm not. The advance of the Left since the early 1960s--bigger, more brazen, and more outrageous every year--has finally come to this epic contest on the battlefield of American politics. Not to sound overly dramatic, but not since 1865 has the Nation's future turned on such an outcome. The individual inaugurated on Jan 20, 2021, Donald Trump or Joe Biden, will signify the success or failure of the United States as the oldest ongoing experiment in representative government and federalism.


      JE comments:   George, I found a map that breaks down the different state laws on voting rights.  See below:  you are correct that the two states (Maine and Vermont) that permit voting from prison went for Biden, but we can be confident it wasn't at 100%.  And they have a combined total of just 7 electoral votes.  So yes:  some felons voted for Trump.  Many states, red and blue alike, permit voting by felons after they serve their sentences (some before, some after parole/probation).


      https://felonvoting.procon.org/state-felon-voting-laws/


      Could you give us a simpler explanation of the argument Texas is making to the Supreme Court?  Are they saying that any state with election rules established by governors, courts, or Secretaries of State should have its results thrown out?  Presumably, the four states in question would then allow the legislatures to decide, which conveniently all have Republican majorities.


      Or if they don't get their way, at least one Texas official has a different solution:  Texit:


      https://www.businessinsider.com/texit-texas-state-lawmaker-suggests-referendum-to-secede-from-us-2020-12


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