Category: election fraud

Why Russian Influence Matters

Why Russian Influence Matters

Many Americans were simply stunned that Trump could possibly have been elected President. But the fact is that Trump actually lost the popular vote by quite a bit (almost 3 million votes).
Trump won by an 80,000 vote margin in just three states. That’s how close the election was. We know that some undetermined number of folks said that they didn’t really vote FOR Trump but rather AGAINST Clinton.       
We also know that break off “progressives” who either failed to vote or voted for Jill Stein and the Green Party had enough numbers in those states to have thrown the election back in Clinton’s favor.
We also know that ten million African American voters who turned out for Obama went back to not voting in 2016. While there were legitimate reasons for their lack of motivation, it’s a fact that they were targeted by Russian social media Trolls in an effort to discourage participation.
All of this points out the fact that the Russian backed, anti-Clinton campaign which spewed conspiracy theories non-stop throughout the election made the final difference. Far Right and far Left groups bought into, perpetuated, and magnified these Russian Troll created narratives.
Americans have to stop believing outrageous conspiracies that are designed to play to their prejudices and start getting into some sort of reality zone.
The right understands that the demographics in this country are against it. So they are busy extending and tightening their control of the nation’s media. Sinclair which is a very right wing corporation backed by big money from radical libertarian interests is making a concerted effort to extend its reach.
FOX News continues to be nothing but a disinformation organ for the far right and currently, the Trump administration. They serve to take the wildest fictions created by the ultra far right media like InfoWars and clean them up just a bit and make them seemingly respectable.
We know that anyone who listens to Alex Jones is, ipso facto, a nut job. But the right wing propaganda effort is a layered effort. They start with the totally wild crackpot ultra right talk shows. Then they take that essential message and clean it up and seemingly make it credible and respectable by running it through the massive FOX News network.
FOX brings on a mix of crazy right wing folks coupled with more mainstream Republican figures who lend some credibility to the reporting. But the overall message is only different in tone, not substance, from the insane narrative offered by the super far right.
If you want to give yourself a good wake up call, realize that FOX News is not the most right wing media network but rather the closest to the center of the vast right wing media disinformation network. Sinclair is quite a bit more right wing. And most of America is exposed to this propaganda effort 24/7.
The Russian owned media outlets in the US, Sputnik and Russia Today (RT) are somewhat transparent in their agendas. But what is less apparent is how many of the folks on their payroll seem to be engaged in messaging efforts designed to influence other media and especially social media campaigns. Coordination with Russian Troll farms makes what these folks are up to more sinister. They are really functioning as an extension of Russian intelligence operating freely here in the US.
Anyway, all of this combines to threaten the democratic process in which the will of the people is expressed through a vote. It represents an all out effort to control the sources of information and distort that info to shape the opinions of the voters. It has never in our history been as sophisticated or effective. And with media consolidation it is only going to get worse.

Election Cyber Security Going Forward

George S LedyardSheila Kennedy has blogged about our election security situation in her article Smoke and Fire and Vote Suppression
As usual she is thoughtful and articulate and brings up some points that we really need to be considering and under the Trump administration, for reason that are really not justifiable, we are not.
Donald Trump’s obsession with trying to prove that he really didn’t lose the popular vote, that the three million more votes for Hillary Clinton were fraudulent, has caused him to set up a Federal probe to investigate this so-called “fraud” for which there is ZERO evidence.
At the same time, Trump is adamant in his attempts to minimize the Russian interference in the 2016 election, for which there is massive evidence. Furthermore, given what we know of the Russian penetration of state voting systems, it would seem to be crucial that we take a look at the electronic voting machines, the security of the voter data bases, and so on because that’s where the really significant vulnerabilities lie.
But Trump’s Dept of Homeland Security has nixed that effort. So, the bottom line here is that the Trump administration wishes to spend many millions of dollars investigating a problem that doesn’t exist but will not do anything about a problem that is potentially REALLY serious. Many see this as a stealth effort to set up Federal level voter suppression measures and 40 states so far have refused to cooperate wit the probe’s request for records.
Putin - Russian hacking- 2016 electionThe Russians have managed to interfere with our 2016 election. We know that much. The extent to which their cyber penetration, their vast social media propaganda effort and other tactics, tipped the scales in 2016 has not been quantified and may not ever be. Their intelligence operation against Hilary Clinton and for Donald Trump was so complex that we may find it impossible to separate out what effect the Russian interference and from other elements that would have happened anyway.
But one thing is certain. The Russians have incurred almost no negative consequences for their cyber attack on our system. I suspect that the 2016 election interference op will go down in history as one of the most successful covert ops in intelligence history. Espionage professionals will be studying this operation in spook school for many years.
election security, cvyber attacks, election hackingGiven its success and the negligible price that Russia has paid, it’s virtually certain that they will continue this effort going forward. The Russians look at our democratic system as our big vulnerability. With a public that is polarized to the point at which elections at the national level are won by a mere percentage point or two we are uniquely vulnerable to fake news, disinformation campaigns designed to sway just enough votes to change the outcome. Tipping the scales is quite possible when elections are this close.
We desperately need to address the security of this process at the state level and this will require Federal coordination and financial support. Because it isn’t just he Russians we have to worry about. Other nations have cyber units that regularly hack our business and government systems. And now that they’ve seen how successful the Russian covert op was, we can expect other players to try the same thing.