Saturday, December 10, 2016

Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says New York Times

This is a bit out of the general area of my blogging, but I just wanted to get it out there--so I can brag about my intelligence analysis skills (because there ain't nuthin' else to do with them...)
A liberal goes down in flames (Liberal-former suburban radical variation, post-middle age): (to see actual video footage of this, watch Saturday Night Live Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock at their liberal friends' apartment. My pain is that I hold both points of views--so I'm hip enough to American history to see how ridiculous I can be... )

 Election Night. Text to my son: "So is Trump actually doing well, or is the New York Times just messing around?"
B: "It's really bad. It's really bad."

Me-shocked, shocked! that the New York Times had repeatedly made a huge blunder, for months confidently predicting a Clinton victory, over and over again!--AGAIN? (See Judith Miller's brilliant work on behalf of GW and Dick that appeared on the front page of the 'Gray Lady,' prior to our invasion of Iraq.)  "So how can the pollsters get it so wrong?" Then I go on about what might be the first Trump war ('Invade Mexico?"), pleading for good news from Pennsylvania....
B: "It's probably over." [Letting the old man down easy...]
Me: "If you don't remember 2000, it was just like this. Man Bear Pig all over again." (South Park reference to that great? American Al 'I can't give up quick enough' Gore.)
B: "But this is worse"

Today, I started to type this: "The day after the U.S. Presidential election I text messaged my son saying that I thought there was a good " But then I looked at the text message stream and found the real record:
Friday, Nov 11, 8:23 pm "The more I think about the election and everything Trump is, the more it's clear, something crooked went down. I don't think Trump was in on it. IT stinks of Putin. Where are all the people who are happy about this? Beyond his mob? No one is explaining why they thought Trump was a reasonable choice."
"I suspect electronic voting was hacked. The code was inserted, did its thing and was then deleted. In most places with electronic voting there's no other record. A pattern could be detected through sampling and then comparing the results between e-voting precincts and paper voting precincts. "
Then B answered back the same way a pre-election article (August?) dismissed the possibility of hacking. B: "No, the way elections are run are too distributed to have anything happen." "The Democrats sh** the bed; it's what we do best." 

Then I made the Pauline Kael mistake: "Who do you know that wasn't a Trumpy, but in the end voted for him?" (Kael is famously reported as having said, "How could Nixon win? Nobody I know voted for him.")
B:I live in Los Angeles, which went for Hilary by like forty points. It's your relatives in Michigan who voted for him, and not the foolish ones, either. White blue-collar workers voted for him"
Me:"Putin. They started in the primaries, had so much success and fun, they went for it."
"In 1972 Nixon wrecked every viable Democrat leaving McGovern. There aren't that many Evangelicals [by themselves swing an election at this scale] Of two I know, only one admitted voting for Trump. Mormons went full Clinton." (A nod out to the members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. You stuck to your principles. I respect that. )

OK So this exchange was Friday after the Tuesday election. I was thinking all of this on Thursday. Wednesday? I can't claim. I was walking around in shock. The guy who won had said horrible things about groups of people I know, teach, respect and love. He threatened them and now he was in a position to carry out those threats. Maybe he won't...It's pretty clear, we are about to find out......

So today Saturday December 10,  Here's what I texted: "Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says" NYTimes. Now who told you this first?
"Based on, one--they were already caught, two the surprising results. This doesn't contradict the analysis of why people voted for Trump--I think it's clear, I picked up on this independently. [he offered change, to save jobs for the forgotten places and people in the country, who were largely ignored by Democrats. The 'conservative party,' is now the Democrats and has been since Clinton, he balanced the budget, signed punitive crime bills, didn't change Wall Street, didn't tax the corporations... I respect and like Bill Clinton and I think he would agree with me....but he would say that he did what was possible to do. Absolutely. Same for Barrack Obama. There is no real 'liberal' party, but there is a radical populist party, who are really just fronting for money. Corporations and billionaires got everything they want, they pay no taxes, but is there prayer in school, abortion universally illegal, jobs returned from overseas? ] 
"Also, I don't think the Russians necessarily intended to change the outcome, or, as the Time's article reports, 'intended to undermine confidence in our process.' I think that everyone, including Putin, believed the polls, so any hacking wouldn't matter. So have fun nerdskis!
"If they did intend to throw the election, and Trump was in on the fix? What would he have looked like when instead of not losing in a rout he won? What would any of us look like if we'd just cheated $200k, but somehow wound up on the cover of Time Magazine as the new unexplained billionaire? Would our face show elation that we'd just had a great success? Or shock?"

So here is my speculation.
1. In the end Trump won key states by small margins, 50,000 votes. Very low percentages, less than 5%.
3. Many of these states had electronic voting that could be hacked. But not all. So Trump wasn't a 40% candidate with the rest stolen.
 3. The argument (from August) that electronic systems were too diverse to all be hacked.... This is just an argument about scale not ability. Able to hack into one system, then all are vulnerable, it's just a matter of increased effort.
4. Was Trump in on a fix? I don't think so. I do think there's a possibility that he had knowledge that the Russians were going to hack electronic voting for his benefit--and he went along with it for two reasons 1. So he wouldn't lose as badly as everyone, including him, expected and then 2. Because what everyone expected, Clinton winning, would happen no one would bother investigating.
This is the steal a little, but wind up on the cover of Time Magazine allusion above. The mob guys in the Lufthansa heist back in the 70s had an 'uh-oh' moment even after they'd gotten away. They'd inadvertently stolen a lot more than they thought. The cops, FBI, weren't about to shrug it off as unsolved after a year or so. A happy thief steals a lot, unhappy thieves steal nothing, get caught, or steal way too much.
5. Did Putin and his spies intend to give Trump the win? Probably not. I think as I wrote above, they may have hacked the primaries derailing more main stream-GOP candidates (Which Nixon's people clearly did in 1972) leaving a seemingly universally loathed Trump on top, so why not have some fun in the Presidential Election? It can't hurt because Everybody Knows Hiliary Clinton is going to win by large margins. Basically, see how much you can get away with, don't get caught, and this will be a handy tool we can use in other countries when and if we really need it...
6. Analysis of the election. Sampling (polling) has a series of known problems, but it is also a very effective tool. The U.S. has a wide range of polling methods, paper ballots electronically counted (California), fully electronic machines (Pennsylvania, and others), mixed systems--states that have a range of voting systems. Also we have two hundred years of election data. (In 1972 after McGovern was obliterated by Nixon, Jerry Tartoni, he ran the McGovern HQ where I volunteered, sent me to the Livonia, Michigan City Hall to collect voting data on the previous 5 presidential elections. With just a couple hours of work, Jerry showed what we'd noticed on election day: There were more voting booths per voter in the Republican precincts than in the Democratic ones and that this pattern existed across all the elections. What we'd observed on election day driving people to the polls is that most polling locations were elementary schools. In Clarenceville--the Democratic corner of Livonia, the booths were right next to the door, so people waiting had to stand outside in the rain. Drive up to vote and you saw a line of people standing in the rain. In the Republican areas (most of Livonia) the booths were inside the gym, so no one had to wait in the rain. Dirty trick? Not really, just sneaky. I'm sure the Democrats have pulled this trick, but not as often. We're too busy sh**ing the bed.)
So start sampling, poll people, 'who did you vote for?' Not just president, but local candidates, bond measures etc... things that Russian hackers aren't interested in... How close does the poll fit with presidential vote count, and the other ballot items? If there's hacking then the presidential results will be off differently than any variance on the other items.

7. Do I think a full and successful investigation will reveal that this was a stolen election? How big are Putin's balls? Also what would be his downside if he got caught hacking Donald Trump into the US Presidency? It's not like we're going to invade.
So maybe it was stolen, but more likely yes it was hacked, and hacked all over the country, no Russian spies or agents were on the ground. But more likely it was just messed with. And if it was stolen, I don't think that was the intention.

8. How soon will we know what the top levels of Russian intelligence (RSA and GRU) know? Best guess 30-40 years. [One of the greatest benefits of the collapse of the Soviet Union was the few years of open KGB files and the secret police files across Eastern Europe. History was able to re-calibrate from this and I don't think it hurt Russia. Putin's doing everything he can to hobble the future of Russia, as we seem busy doing in the US.]

9. Will the U.S. government intelligence analysis sort this all out? They seem to be actively at work. Would they tell us if Trump won illegally? Before December 19, I think President Obama would announce it. December 19 is when the Electoral College votes--that's when the next U.S. President is really elected. After that date? Legally and Constitutionally no matter what happened on Election Day, Donald Trump will be the next president. Create chaos and admit vulnerability by announcing it was through 3rd party hacking? Maybe not....right away.... As a citizen in a democracy it's my duty to be informed.

10. And the Electoral College is the weak point isn't it? Hilary Clinton beats Donald Trump by 2.5 million votes, but because of the Electoral College gimmick, he wins? G.W. Bush wins?
As so many comedians have already pointed out, this is exactly the way our Founding Fathers intended, but it's wrong, and stupid and it's made our Presidential Election vulnerable.
 What I will be looking for is the analysis of just how few votes would be needed in which specific key states to switch the outcome of the past several Presidential Elections.

The real argument against the Electoral College will then be how these small changes couldn't possibly change the overall popular vote count or the results (except for 2000 and 2016).  It's a matter of scale, it's the 'Wisdom of Crowds,' I might get it wrong, but millions of us, informed millions, will  level out the mistakes.
Like Mickey Rooney said in Boys Town, "They can't get all of us Father Flanagan." With the Electoral College gimmick they don't have to get very many of us to get us all.

No comments:

Post a Comment