Saturday, November 17, 2018
Friday, November 16, 2018
"By The Editorial Board, www.nytimes.com November 15th, 2018
Only Congressional hearings can answer what the company knew about Russian meddling — and when.
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.
“Facebook cannot be trusted to regulate itself,” tweeted Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline on Wednesday night.
Mr. Cicilline, who is likely to chair the House of Representative’s Judiciary subcommittee that focuses on antitrust law, was responding to a Times investigation, one that painted a damning picture of how Facebook had handled the discovery of Russian misinformation campaigns on its platform. Based on interviews with more than 50 people, the investigation depicted Facebook’s top executives — including Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg — ignoring and downplaying the extent of Russian skulduggery, even going as far as to stall the publication of internal findings.
On Thursday, Facebook pushed back in a blog post that denied slow-rolling its response to foreign election interference.
But familiar questions remain unanswered: How much did Facebook know, and when?
The answers to those questions grow in size and seriousness as the breadth of the effort to befoul the democratic process becomes more and more apparent. In February, the special counsel Robert Mueller brought an indictment against an infamous Russian troll farm, the Internet Research Agency. In July, Mr. Mueller secured an indictment against 12 Russian intelligence officers for their roles in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computers and those of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The same officers used both Facebook and Twitter to promote the stolen documents and emails.
In early 2016, people inside Facebook had spotted suspicious Russian activity, which was reported to the F.B.I. But in the days after the 2016 election, Mr. Zuckerberg publicly dismissed the notion that misinformation on Facebook had influenced the election, calling it “a pretty crazy idea.”
Even before the Mueller indictments exposed the extent of a coordinated Russian misinformation campaign, suspicions ran high. Many people had questions; few people were in the position to demand answers. Mr. Zuckerberg was one of those few, and for some reason he did not.
Facebook could have approached its civic duty head-on, but instead busied itself with damage control. Joel Kaplan, the company’s vice president for global public policy, objected to the public dissemination of internal findings on the grounds that it would offend conservatives. The company also chose to strengthen its ties with Definers Public Affairs, a consulting firm founded by Republican political operatives, which then sought to discredit anti-Facebook activists by linking them to George Soros, a wealthy liberal donor who is often the subject of conspiracy theories. Facebook said it cut ties with Definers on Wednesday night.
Russian influence operations and viral false reports should have been anticipated byproducts of Facebook’s business model, which is based on selling advertising on the back of user engagement. In short, Facebook capitalizes on personal information to influence the behavior of its users, and then sells that influence to advertisers for a profit. It is an ecosystem ripe for manipulation.
Facebook is not the only tech company that demands regulatory scrutiny. But Facebook has, perhaps uniquely, demonstrated a staggering lack of corporate responsibility and civic duty in the wake of this crisis."
Opinion | How to Find Out What Facebook Knew - The New York Times
Thursday, November 15, 2018
"A federal judge has ruled that Georgia counties must count absentee ballots even if the voter’s date of birth is incorrect or missing, and he is preventing the state from finalizing election results until that happens.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
The Vote Counts in Florida and Georgia Bring a Touch of Fairness to a Dysfunctional Election Day | The New Yorker
"A week past the midterms—as citizens in Georgia and Florida fight to have every vote tallied—is a good time to remember that there is no explicit right of universal suffrage in the U.S. Constitution. From the start, the franchise was defined by who could not, rather than who could, vote. On Election Day, people who were unable to meet intentionally restrictive I.D. requirements, which disproportionately affect people of color, were given provisional ballots. This was just the latest chapter in a long history of voter suppression. And, when these provisional ballots were contested immediately after the election, as Republican lawmakers, led by President Donald Trump, began to call fraud on efforts to insure the most fundamental premise of a free and fair election—that every vote counts and counts equally—that chapter grew a lot longer. Although it is not clear what impact these false accusations of voter fraud may have in future elections, what they expose, right now, is a blatant attack on democracy itself.
Prior to the election, Brian Kemp, the secretary of state of Georgia, who was in charge of overseeing his own election while running for governor, repudiated ongoing efforts to restore the one and a half million voters his office eliminated from the rolls between 2012 and 2016, many because of small discrepancies in their addresses, names, or voter histories. Kemp resigned as secretary of state on Thursday, after declaring himself the winner of Georgia’s gubernatorial race, and Governor Nathan Deal appointed a crony, Robyn Crittenden, to take Kemp’s place. On Sunday, Stacey Abrams, Kemp’s challenger, filed a class-action suit to delay certification of the election until every ballot is counted. Late Monday night, in response to a different suit, this one filed on the eve of the election by the Washington watchdog organization Common Cause, the district-court judge Amy Totenberg enjoined the Georgia secretary of state from certifying the election until this Friday. Among other things, Totenberg’s order required Crittenden to provide rolling updates on rejected provisional ballots and to set up a phone line for voters to check their ballots’ status. Meanwhile, the Kemp campaign issued a statement calling “Stacey Abram’s antics . . . a disgrace to democracy.” President Trump weighed in, too, saying on Twitter that Kemp “ran a great race in Georgia—he won! It is time to move on.”
Trump has also inserted himself in the Florida elections, where the races for governor and Senate are so close that they have triggered a recount. “The Florida election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged,” Trump tweeted. To be clear, there is no evidence that ballots have been forged, and, if any are missing, it may be because, like the hundreds discovered in a Miami-Dade postal facility over the weekend, they were never delivered. Scott, the governor of Florida, who is a fraction of a per cent ahead of Bill Nelson in the race for Senate, has used his current office to call on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate “rampant fraud” in South Florida and to urge state sheriffs to impound voting machines. In a letter to Scott requesting that he remove himself from the recount process, leaders at the local chapters of the League of Women Voters and Common Cause wrote that the governor has “intentionally politicized governance of the elections,” and pointed out that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has not found any indication of election fraud. On Monday, the election integrity organization, Protect Democracy, filed suit in federal court to have Scott removed from exercising any authority over the election or the recount. Meanwhile, Scott has fired off five lawsuits of his own, including one against the Broward County election supervisor for counting absentee ballots too slowly. “No ragtime group of liberal activists or lawyers from D.C. will be allowed to steal this election from the voters in this great state,” he said at a press conference announcing the suit. (It was dismissed on Monday.)
The rancor and wrangling in Georgia and Florida are the exceptions, but the rule turns out to be that voters across the country encountered impediments to voting on Tuesday, including prolonged wait times, intimidation, and broken voting machines. A woman named Michelle from Porter County, Indiana, posted a long thread on Twitter about her experience as a first-time poll worker that hit many of the discordant notes we’d been hearing from all over the country on Election Day: polls that couldn’t open on time because poll workers hadn’t shown up; polling places that didn’t open at all; missing ballots; ballots that weren’t being counted. The Election Protection Coalition, which runs the largest nonpartisan voter hotline in the country, logged more than thirty thousand calls from voters across the country experiencing problems.
With few exceptions, American elections are overseen by the country’s 3,141 counties and their equivalents, which in turn oversee more than 174,000 precincts. The precincts themselves are watched over by volunteer poll workers, who are tasked with turning school gyms and church basements into one-day civic hubs equipped with technology few of them understand. (Most are retirees; twenty-four per cent of them are over seventy-one.) The amateur quality to the whole endeavor is by design: it’s a way to insure that, at its core, American democracy is local. This was beneficial early Tuesday morning when people were sent away from a Philadelphia church because voting machines were malfunctioning. Once the machines were fixed, poll workers phoned the people who had left to tell them to come back. “They were all neighbors,” Micah Sims, the executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, told me. “They knew who hadn’t been able to vote.”
But untrained (or poorly trained) poll workers were also responsible for sending voters to the wrong precincts, for telling people they had already voted when they hadn’t, for refusing language assistance to non-native speakers, and for aggressively challenging voters’ credentials. In Florida, when a Puerto Rican woman presented her U.S. passport as I.D., she was told, wrongly, that she couldn’t vote because she wasn’t from this country. In Texas, an election worker was heard making racist remarks after challenging the veracity of a voter’s address. In her Twitter account, Michelle, from Indiana, reported that her requests for poll-worker training were ignored. Even if that weren’t so, it’s unlikely that she, or many others supervising elections, would have had the expertise to fix the broken voting machines and jammed scanners that bedeviled numerous precincts—eighteen polling places in Philadelphia alone. Malfunctioning voting machines, most of which are well past their use-by date, were predictable. Many will still be in service in 2020, either because there is no money for replacements, or because, as the election security expert Harri Hursti told me last August, counties are locked into long-term vender contracts.
Four days before the midterms, the secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, told the Council on Foreign Relations, “This is going to be the most secure election we’ve ever had.” On election day, D.H.S. set up a “virtual situation room” in Arlington, Virginia, with a hotline that election officials could call to report problems. Representatives from the major voting-machine manufacturers gathered in an unclassified area along with staffers from Facebook, Microsoft, the National Association of Secretaries of State, and the National Association of Election Officials. (High-level threats were handled in a classified briefing room.) For nearly two decades, Hursti and his colleagues have been ringing the alarm about the insecurity of computerized voting systems, like the ones used in Georgia. Voting machines, centralized tabulators, wireless systems for sending data, electronic poll books, and voter-registration databases are all vulnerable to various kinds of hacking. The 2016 election was proof of concept. This year, Christopher Deluzio, a lawyer with the Democracy Program at N.Y.U.’s Brennan Center for Justice, was an observer in the unclassified section of D.H.S.’s situation room. “It was useful to have the venders there when calls came in about problems with electronic poll books, and especially some of the older machines and software,” he said. But, he cautioned, “it is probably premature to assess how secure the election really was.”
One new security feature touted by D.H.S. was the addition of sensors designed to detect malicious activity on the election networks of forty states and sixty municipalities. (In 2016, twenty-nine states had them.) Although network sensors might have helped secure the election, they might not have helped very much. A Government Accountability Office test found that the sensors failed to detect ninety-four per cent of known malware. Another study showed them failing ninety-nine per cent of the time. Just as crucially, sensors cannot detect insider hacks, especially when those insiders have administrative access to electronic poll books, voter-registration databases, and ballot programming software.
This was acknowledged in Judge Totenberg’s Monday evening order, which noted that “according to Plantiff’s Complaint, information in the State’s voter registration server, used at the polls to determine whether voters are eligible to vote, is vulnerable to multiple security breaches and exploitable by manipulation of voter data. . . . Plantiff further alleges that the Secretary’s knowing maintenance of an unsecure, unreliable voter registration database increased the risk that eligible voters have been and will be unlawfully removed from the State’s voter registration database or will have their voter registration information unlawfully manipulated or mismanaged that prevents them from casing a regular ballot.” As Susan Greenhalgh, the policy director of the National Election Defense Coalition told me in an e-mail recently, “While we gird against the possibility of foreign hackers attacking our election infrastructure, we also can’t ignore the possibility of corrupt insiders tampering with the election systems.”
There is a school of thought that American democracy is harmed by talk of election hacking and system vulnerabilities because these will discourage people from voting. (Apparently, this was one reason that President Obama did not immediately inform the American public about Russian attempts to infiltrate the election system). But this turns out not to be true. A Harris poll from September, which was commissioned by the security firm HackerOne, found that people were actually more likely to vote in the midterms because of their fear of hacking. Last week’s record turnout at least partly confirmed this.
Still, long lines, broken voting machines, and discriminatory I.D. laws are known deterrents that will continue to dog American elections until they are systematically addressed. States actively committed to increasing voter participation, such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Vermont, have passed a series of simple voting reforms, including same-day registration, automatic voter registration when getting a driver’s license, early voting, and enabling voting by mail by lifting restrictions on who can obtain an absentee ballot. Last Tuesday, a majority of citizens in Florida chose to restore voting rights to felons, and, in Michigan, a package of reforms popularly known as “promote the vote” garnered a sixty-six per cent victory, both cases demonstrating the national appetite for an electoral system that is as it is supposed to be: free and fair.
Even as the recounts continue in Florida and Georgia, the newly invigorated Democratic members of the House of Representatives have promised that their first act in the new Congress will be legislation to make voting easier and more inclusive. This is aspirational. It has no chance of passage in the Senate, where Republican members know that maintaining a majority will mean disenfranchising a sizable portion of the body politic. And that is to say nothing of a President who is unacquainted with the practice of democracy."
The Vote Counts in Florida and Georgia Bring a Touch of Fairness to a Dysfunctional Election Day | The New Yorker
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Tonight's Winner: Congresswoman-Elect Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) | "Midterm exit polls show that health care was the number one issue for voters. And now that Democrats have won the House, they are promising to protect Obamacare. Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton joins Lawrence with a voter who helped her win: mom and “health care voter” Tasha Nelson" The Last ...
Monday, November 12, 2018
"On Election Day, much of DeKalb County was seeing blue.
Stacey Abrams nabbed 258,706 votes Tuesday, with Brian Kemp receiving nearly 49,000 votes. Libertarian candidate Ted Metz received 2,755 votes.
A total of 310,112 people — including 150,814 early voters — voted in DeKalb this election season. Provisional ballots are not included in the totals.
Much of Abrams’ base was in the southern part of the county. She also won Cobb and Gwinnett counties.
The strong showing for Abrams in DeKalb may not be surprising considering the Democrat has strong ties to the county and is a graduate of Avondale High School. At that precinct, she won 1,025 to Kemp’s 136. Metz took home 15 votes. The precinct also had a complaint of inoperable ID scanners.
“The ID scanners aren't working, and some folks are showing up in the system as either unregistered or, like me, showing up as having already voted when they absolutely have not voted yet,” resident Ellaree Yeagley said in a Facebook post. “It took time and several phone calls, but they supposedly have purged my false vote from the system and I was able to cast my electronic ballot.”
GEORGIA ELECTION: Kemp's lead shrinks, Abrams to file new lawsuit
GEORGIA ELECTION: Kemp's lead shrinks, Abrams to file new lawsuit. Abrams campaign readies federal lawsuit seeking more ballots to be counted.
"The unsettled race for Georgia governor tightened over the weekend as Democrat Stacey Abrams prepared litigation to force the counting of more provisional ballots, while Republican Brian Kemp’s campaign said her refusal to concede was “a disgrace to democracy.”
The clash heightened as a cache of 5,500 provisional and mail-in ballots were reported that showed Kemp’s lead over Abrams shrinking slightly to about 59,000 votes. Some came from counties that days earlier reported all votes had been tallied.
The newly-reported votes overwhelmingly tilted to Abrams and triggered a wave of celebration for Abrams’ supporters. But she still needs to net about 22,000 votes to force a Dec. 4 runoff, and there aren’t many votes that have yet to be reported.
It’s unclear, however, just how many votes are still outstanding. Kemp’s campaign said there are so few remaining that it’s mathematically impossible for Abrams to win, but the Democrat said there’s a larger cache of votes still unreported.
No major media outlet has yet called the race, and with a margin this tight they are likely awaiting the certification of the votes this week. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not call election contests.
Abrams’ hopes rest largely on provisional ballots cast by voters whose information often could not be immediately verified at polling places. Not all the ballots will be counted, but the Democrat hopes there are enough to gain ground on Kemp.
‘Race is not over’
A federal lawsuit readied by the Abrams campaign could change the dynamic.
It asks the court to require absentee ballots rejected for “arbitrary” reasons, such as a mistake in a birth date or missing information, to be counted. As many as 2,000 ballots were dismissed because of such problems.
And it would require counties to accept provisional ballots that were rejected because the voters live in a different county. Abrams’ campaign said this could affect thousands of additional votes.
After the lawsuit was filed Sunday, the State Election Board convened a special called meeting and voted unanimously to send a letter to all county election offices about how to count absentee and provisional ballots.
Gwinnett County rejected 1,587 mailed ballots, often because they were missing birth dates, according to public records from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. Across the entire state, election officials rejected a total of 5,147 mailed ballots.
To give counties time to process these changes, the lawsuit seeks to block counties from certifying results of the election until Wednesday. The deadline is now Monday, though because of the federal holiday many counties plan to certify on Tuesday.
“This race is not over. It’s still too close to call,” said Abrams’ campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo. “And we cannot have confidence in the secretary of state’s numbers.”
The secretary of state’s office – recently vacated by Kemp – reports 21,190 provisional ballots, many of them yet untallied. The Abrams campaign offered a higher figure it said was compiled through a canvass of county data.
One of the biggest gaps is in Gwinnett County, where Abrams’ campaign reported there were an additional 3,500 provisional ballots that the state figures don’t account. State and local officials said that Abrams’ number is incorrect.
‘Race is over’
If there’s a window for Abrams, it’s narrowing.
At least 89 counties have already certified their votes, and 118 counties have reported some results from provisional ballots.
Roughly half of the provisional ballots have been rejected, but those that reported on Saturday helped Abrams net about 2,000 votes.
About 40 counties had yet to report their final provisional ballots by Saturday afternoon, including many larger left-leaning counties where Abrams stands to gain votes.
More: A blue ‘tsunami’ in Atlanta’s suburbs reshapes Georgia politics
One of the largest is Fulton County, which on Friday reported rejecting 1,556 of the total 3,722 provisional ballots cast. Nearly 1,000 of the ballots were disqualified because they were out of county, and another 581 were not registered to vote. Three were rejected because they weren’t U.S. citizens.
The Kemp campaign cited those figures and others in a Saturday press release, declaring anew that “the race is over.”
"It is mathematically impossible for Stacey Abrams to win, force a runoff or trigger a recount,” said Kemp spokesman Ryan Mahoney. “Georgia voters have spoken. It's time for Abrams to listen and concede immediately."
That line was echoed by a range of Georgia Republican leaders and conservative figures, and amplified by President Donald Trump, who demanded on Twitter that Abrams concede.
That’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Abrams has repeatedly said she will continue her campaign until all ballots are counted, and unveiled a litigation team that’s already filed a successful lawsuit requiring Dougherty County to accept a few dozen late-arriving absentee ballots.
“This race is not over until every single ballot is counted,” Abrams said in a fundraising note sent Saturday to supporters. “So no matter what, I need you to remember that I am still fighting for you and your vote.”
Saying what should be obvious but has not been too far too many Democrats:
"Learning the right lessons from the 2018 midterms is key for the party as it looks ahead to the 2020 elections.
By Steve Phillips
Mr. Phillips is the author of “Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority.”
Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams, progressive African-American Democratic candidates, may not have won their races for governor in Florida and Georgia (both are still too close to call). But the strategy they followed is still the best strategy for Democrats to win: inspiring, mobilizing and turning out voters of color and progressive whites.
I’ve argued for this strategy for years. In my 2016 book, I analyzed Barack Obama’s victories in the context of the country’s changing demographics. The implications of the Gillum and Abrams races are profound (to be clear, I did fund-raising for the efforts to elect both Ms. Abrams and Mr. Gillum, just as I did for Mr. Obama in 2008), and learning the right lessons from 2018 is key for Democrats as they look ahead to the 2020 elections.
Over the past 20 years, the best-performing Democratic candidates in statewide elections in Florida and Georgia have been Mr. Obama, Mr. Gillum and Ms. Abrams. (Hillary Clinton in 2016 was actually Florida’s highest Democratic vote-getter ever.) This year, Ms. Abrams dramatically increased Democratic turnout, garnering more votes — 1.9 million — than any other Democrat running for any office in the history of Georgia (and that includes Jimmy Carter, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton).
Conventional wisdom dictated that both Mr. Gillum and Ms. Abrams did not give Democrats their best chance; more traditional, moderate white candidates were seen as the most competitive. In this view, moderate candidates can better appeal to and win over “swing” white voters.
Midterm results laid bare the fallacy of that view. In Missouri, Claire McCaskill, the incumbent Democratic senator, lost to Josh Hawley by six percentage points, 45.5 percent to 51.5 percent. Senator McCaskill campaigned by highlighting her moderate credentials and ran a radio ad distancing herself from her party: “Claire’s not one of those crazy Democrats,” a narrator said. “She works right in the middle and finds compromise.”
In Tennessee, Phil Bredesen, the state’s former governor, lost his bid for the Senate by over 10 points despite his attempt to peel off Trump supporters by coming out in support of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Or go back to the 2014 Georgia election results. The strategy of wooing supposedly moderate whites was put to the ultimate test when Democrats fielded nominees from two of the most prominent Democratic families in the history of Georgia — the Carters and the Nunns. Jimmy Carter’s grandson Jason Carter ran for governor, and former Senator Sam Nunn’s daughter Michelle Nunn ran for Senate. Together their campaigns spent more than $20 million, pouring enormous sums into television advertising seeking to persuade moderate whites to back their bids.
They each received about 45 percent of the vote. To date, Ms. Abrams has secured 49 percent of the vote and may yet pull off a victory, pending final vote tallies.
Or look at last year’s special election in Georgia’s Sixth District. Historic sums of money were raised and spent, and the Democrat, Jon Ossoff, still lost to Karen Handel. This year, riding the swell of turnout inspired and organized by Ms. Abrams, the Democrat Lucy McBath flipped that seat.
Clearly success required a different strategy. Ms. Abrams and Mr. Gillum embraced the Obama playbook for winning elections: It starts with emphasizing mobilization over persuasion. Ms. Abrams’s campaign defied conventional wisdom by spending early and big on a vast mobilization effort that involved calling, texting and knocking on the doors of nearly 600,000 infrequent Georgia voters a full year before the election.
Volunteers in the campaign offices of Stacey Abrams, above, and Andrew Gillum, right.Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
Scott McIntyre for The New York Times
Mr. Gillum took a similar approach and was buoyed by the backing of organizations such as New Florida Majority, which hired community-based canvassers to knock on tens of thousands of their neighbors’ doors to identify and mobilize Gillum supporters long before the rest of the country caught on to his candidacy.
These campaigns laid the groundwork for future Democratic success, because the thousands of volunteers, operatives and new voters will pay dividends for the 2020 Democratic nominee.
Mr. Gillum and Ms. Abrams did exactly what Mr. Obama did: They inspired people across the racial spectrum to participate and vote, and they did it by being unapologetically progressive. They did not shy away from championing Medicaid expansion, pursuing criminal justice reform and promoting gun control policies.
Andrew Gillum speaking to supporters at a campaign event in Miami.Gabriella Angotti-Jones/The New York Times
Does this strategy require a candidate of color? No, but it does call for candidates who can inspire voters of color. Beto O’Rourke in Texas is an excellent example, and his inspiring and well-organized campaign brought him closer to winning statewide than any Democrat has come in Texas in years. And nationally, the Democrats reclaimed a majority in the House by winning in nearly a dozen districts with large populations of voters of color.
Ms. Abrams and Mr. Gillum were also not afraid to tackle the not-so-silent racist “dog whistles” emanating from their opponents and the president. Ms. Abrams refused to shirk from condemnation of racism and condemned the ways in which honoring racist imagery like the Confederate monument at Georgia’s Stone Mountain monument — called out by name in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech — undermines democracy and distances entire groups from being part of the body politic. Mr. Gillum offered one of the greatest lines in the history of American politics when he offered, about his opponent, Ron DeSantis, during a debate: “I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”
Notably, this approach of tackling racism head-on is also the best way to woo many white voters. According to the exit polls, both Ms. Abrams and Mr. Gillum received more support from whites in their states than either Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton did. White people — all people — want to believe in something. Challenging them to reject racism and embrace their highest and best ideals is the most effective way to secure their support.
Yes, the strategy of mobilizing voters of color and progressive whites is limited by the demographic composition of particular states. But what Mr. Obama showed twice is that it works in enough places to win the White House. And that is exactly the next electoral challenge.
Democrats can go the old route that has consistently failed to come close to winning and demoralized supporters down the line, or they can do the math and follow the example of Ms. Abrams and Mr. Gillum and Mr. Obama before them. Invest in the infrastructure and staffing to engage and mobilize voters. Stand as tall, strongly and proudly for the nation’s multiracial rainbow as Mr. Trump stands against it. And mobilize and call forth a new American majority in a country that gets browner by the hour and will be even more diverse by November 2020.
Steve Phillips, the founder of Democracy in Color and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, is the author of “Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority.”
Opinion | Democrats Can’t Play It Safe. They Need Inspiring Candidates.
"WASHINGTON — North Korea is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases that have been identified in new commercial satellite images, a network long known to American intelligence agencies but left undiscussed as President Trump claims to have neutralized the North’s nuclear threat.
In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception - The New York Times
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Friday, November 09, 2018
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Stacey Abrams campaign: We don't accept Kemp declaring himself the winner
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Tuesday, November 06, 2018
"Some DeKalb County residents opting to vote in person instead of submitting an absentee ballot were told they had already voted when they arrived at the polls Tuesday.
Others reported never receiving their absentee ballots at all despite applying for them well ahead of Election Day.
DeKalb County spokesman Andrew Cauthen said in some cases, voters requested an absentee ballot but did not send it in and decided to vote in person.But when they got to their precinct, the system showed that the person already voted since the absentee ballot was requested.
“It’s not an abnormal process,” Cauthen told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In cases such as this, a poll worker is instructed to call the DeKalb elections office to verify if a ballot has been cast or not. If not, then the voter will be allowed to vote after signing an affidavit saying they will not submit the absentee ballot once they receive it. Cauthen said this prevents the person from voting twice.
Eriss Donaldson started her Tuesday at Flat Rock Elementary School in Lithonia and ended it in the nation's capital after a 10-hour drive.
The 21-year-old junior at Georgetown University said she tried to vote absentee, but felt the process failed her; that absentee ballot never got to her. So she decided to drive down and make sure her vote was counted.
She said she requested an absentee ballot on Oct. 5. When it didn’t arrive, Donaldson said the advice given to her by DeKalb County officials was to come vote in person.
“I requested absentee for a reason,” she said.
Even when she got to the school at 6:50 a.m., her voter profile said she'd already voted when she hadn't, so she was forced to vote with a provisional ballot.
“Hopefully it all works out,” she said. “It’s been a lot of effort trying to vote."
Her professors in the classes she missed — elements of political theory, religious ethics and moralities issues, human rights, history of the working lives — understood.
Despite the issue, Cauthen said no one has been unable to vote in the county.
“All issues to my knowledge have been resolved on site,” he said.
"Whatever happens in the midterms, the aftermath will be ugly. But the elections are nonetheless a fork in the road. If we take one path, it will offer at least a chance for political redemption, for recovering America’s democratic values. If we take the other, we’ll be on the road to autocracy, with no obvious way to get off."
Opinion | Last Exit Off the Road to Autocracy - The New York Times
Monday, November 05, 2018
"Charles M. Blow, November 4th, 2018
"Allow me to make a few requests of you in advance of Tuesday’s elections.
First, dispense with all of the distractions and the deceit.
Donald Trump is openly trying to weaponize racism, to inflame passions and stoke fear. He wants America to focus on a caravan of refugees almost 700 miles away rather than to see clearly the corruption and cravenness right in front of our faces.
Tune out, for the moment, the torrent of lies coming from Trump.
Instead, focus on your principles.
Focus on the numbness you felt on Election Day 2016, the feeling of horror and disbelief that Trump would actually assume the presidency, the way you stumbled though the days that followed, a pained, hollowed-out shell of yourself.
Remember the reason that you showed up, pussy hat-adorned, for the Women’s March, or the March for Our Lives following the horrific high school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Remember that feeling of honor and solidarity you felt when you saw those who took a knee on a football field or stood up at Standing Rock.
Remember Trump’s pathetically insufficient response to the suffering of brown American citizens in Puerto Rico and his outrageously hyperbolic response to suffering brown Central American refugees still in Mexico.
Remember that Nazis, white supremacists, white nationalists and all manner of racists seem to be quite pleased with Trump’s ascension.
At the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke boasted:
“We are determined to take our country back.”
“We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believe in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”
Remember how you felt when Trump said that there were “very fine people” on both sides in Charlottesville.
Remember how it felt back when, even if you disagreed with the president, sometimes vehemently, you still didn’t think he was a demagogue and demi-fascist.
Remember when the press — and the truth itself — wasn’t under constant assault by a president who is a liar of a quality and scale that we have never seen before.
Remember how dizzying it is to keep up with how many people have been forced to resign from this administration in shame and how many of the people connected to the Trump campaign have been indicted or pleaded guilty to some form of crime.
Remember how you felt when you heard Trump bragging on tape that he enjoyed assaulting women, when multiple women stepped forward who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Trump and when conservatives, including the so-called “religious right,” dismissed it all.
Remember the disgust you felt at seeing people held at airports due to Trump’s Muslim ban and seeing children ripped from their parents and locked in cages due to Trump’s family separation policy at the border.
Remember when Trump stood before law enforcement officers and encouraged more police brutality (they clapped), and stood before the Boy Scouts and talked about killing Obamacare (they chanted “USA! USA!”).
Remember that the Russians attacked our election and Trump not only hosted a joint press conference with Vladimir Putin, where he drew some moral equivalencies between our country and theirs, but he has utterly failed to full-throatedly acknowledge the attack or take sufficient steps to prevent the next one.
Remember how you feel every time you see a Trump rally and recoil as his hyped-up base falls further into his thrall, excited and entertained by his animus and depravity.
And now remember that through it all, Republicans in Congress have averted their gaze, silently or openly acquiescing, or even cheering.
Republicans bore witness just like the rest of us to Trump’s hatred, racism, division, corruption and mendacity, but instead of rejecting him, they embraced him. They became his flunkies and minions, his accomplices and his defenders. There is now no daylight separating the Republicans in Congress from the man who occupies the presidency.
So, you have to ask yourself: Do you want a Congress full of Trump puppets?
Do you want a Congress that refuses to hold Trump accountable, who would halfheartedly investigate connections between the Trump campaign and Russia and who would halfheartedly investigate a Trump nominee to the Supreme Court?
Do you want a Congress that will be a rubber stamp for Trump’s ill-conceived policies and will help him remake the American judiciary in ways that could take generations to undo?
Do you want a Congress that has continuously voted to do precisely what Trump wants to do: destroy the Affordable Care Act?
Is this the country you thought it was or could be, or are Trump and Republicans in Congress making a mockery of your America?
I say, enough is enough!
Someone has to protect this country, our institutions and our traditions. We have to stand up for honesty, principles, equality and civility.
The Constitution offers avenues for political change in this country, but the paramount one is at the ballot. Seize your opportunity on Tuesday. Vote, vote, vote!"
Saturday, November 03, 2018
"Very easy. I found a Youtube video with a link to a small Adobe program which converts the new Canon CRS (raw) files ti *.dng which Adobe can read. Editing raw in Photoshop is entirely intuitive. If you want the CS6 Master Suite I have Westwood’s serial numbers."
Friday, November 02, 2018
Lena Epstein, the congressional candidate who hired a fake rabbi for a Pence event, angered a lot of Jewish voters.
"The day after an anti-Semitic gunman killed 11 at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence appeared at a campaign rally in Michigan with a rabbi who offered a sober opening prayer for the event. “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,” Loren Jacobs began, before lamenting the country’s divisions and praying for peace.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Federal court rules against Kemp in Georgia absentee ballot battle | This is what that means | 11alive.com
Federal court rules against Kemp in absentee ballot battle | This is what that means | 11alive.com
"TOKYO (AP) — The bicultural, newly elected governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa plans to visit the United States with a message to the American people: Stop building a disputed military base and build peace instead.
Tamaki took office Oct. 4 after campaigning for a disputed U.S. Marine air base to be moved off the island and for the American military presence on Okinawa to be reduced. The small island hosts about half of the 54,000 American troops stationed in Japan and accounts for 64 percent of the land used for U.S. military bases.
Tamaki plans to visit New York and other U.S. cities in November, although dates and other details are not yet decided, according to the governor’s office.
“I want the American people to understand what has been, what is and what will be, to solve this problem,” Denny Tamaki told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday at the Tokyo office for Okinawa prefecture."
"Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, has made incendiary and racially charged comments for years.Erin Schaff for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — As Pittsburgh began burying the victims of Saturday’s synagogue massacre, the head of the House Republican campaign arm all but jettisoned Representative Steve King of Iowa from the House Republican Conference, declaring, “We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms.”
The highly unusual rebuke by Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, came a week before the midterm elections — but after years of incendiary and racially charged comments by Mr. King, capped in recent days by his endorsement of a white nationalist running for mayor of Toronto and a meeting with Austrian white nationalists, which he funded through a trip to visit concentration camps.
Mr. King is also locked in the toughest re-election fight of his eight-term House career.
“Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate,” Mr. Stivers wrote on Twitter. “We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.”
Mr. King fired back with a statement of his own, affirming that Americans of all races and “national origins-legal immigrants & natural born citizens” are created equal. He blamed attacks on him as “orchestrated by nasty, desperate, and dishonest fake news,” aided by complicit “Establishment Never Trumpers.”
The public censure is the latest downturn for Mr. King, whose lengthy history of making racially charged remarks has been subjected to closer scrutiny after the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. After liberal activists on social media lobbied some of Mr. King’s corporate donors to cut ties with the representative, the Midwestern dairy giant Land O’Lakes withdrew its support, saying in a statement that it wants its “contributions to be a positive force for good.”
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
But if Mr. Trump’s visit was intended to bring healing, it instead laid bare the nation’s deep divisions. Many protesters in Pittsburgh had no doubt of what one called “the dotted line” between presidential rhetoric and violence, though some people in the city have pushed back on the idea that Mr. Trump had fomented the atmosphere of anger. As the president moved around Pittsburgh, a largely Democratic city, the signs of discord were apparent.
The protesters, some praying in Hebrew, others singing and chanting, moved around Squirrel Hill. Hoodie-wearing college students and Orthodox Jews with black hats and long beards walked alongside demonstrators carrying militant signs and middle-aged parents pushing strollers. Signs read “Words matter” and “President Hate is not welcome in our state.” As if to hold up a beloved local figure in contrast to the president, the largest march began on Beechwood Boulevard, where Mr. Rogers, the children’s television figure, used to live, and it ended at the Presbyterian church where he used to pray.
Honoring Pittsburgh synagogue victims, Mike Pence appears with ‘rabbi’ who preaches, ‘Jesus is the Messiah’ - The Washington Post This was ignorant and cruel. OMG.
Honoring Pittsburgh synagogue victims, Mike Pence appears with ‘rabbi’ who preaches, ‘Jesus is the Messiah’ - The Washington Post
Monday, October 29, 2018
Former President Jimmy Carter called on gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp to resign from his current role as Georgia’s secretary of state to maintain public trust in the voting process, according to an Oct. 22 letter cited Monday by the Associated Press. “I have officially observed scores of doubtful elections in many countries, and one of the key requirements for a fair and trusted process is that there be nonbiased supervision of the electoral process,” Carter wrote. “In Georgia’s upcoming gubernatorial election, popular confidence is threatened not only by the undeniable racial discrimination of the past and the serious questions that the federal courts have raised about the security of Georgia’s voting machines, but also because you are now overseeing the election in which you are a candidate.” Carter added that “This runs counter to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections—that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial election authority.”
Carter avoided discussing the other reason advocates have called for Kemp’s resignation: allegations that Kemp is working to rig the election by stymying the voting rights of minority populations. He did, however, implore Kemp “to step aside and hand over to a neutral authority the responsibility of overseeing the governor’s election.” Kemp will face off against Democrat Stacey Abrams on Nov. 6.
Deaths of Despair
The American Economy Is Rigged - Scientific American