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Prime Directive: Trust the System, Blame the Russians

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Jim Kavanagh       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments, In Series: Elections

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The Polemicist

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There are increasing doubts about the trustworthiness of America's now ubiquitous electronic voting systems. For all the reasons I put forth in my previous post , including the suspicious results in the Democratic primary this year ( analyzed in detail in a Stanford study), wider swaths of the public are aware and concerned about whether voters can have confidence that their votes will be counted for whom they are cast.

So the establishment media had to address this issue in some way. I guess that's why the New York Times put David E. Sanger and Charlie Savage on the case, with their September 14 th article, " Prime Danger in Vote Hack: Sowing Doubt."

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As the title indicates, the prime objective of this article is to allay any doubt voters might have about the reliability of the American electoral process, while at the same time acknowledging (kinda, sorta ) that there's some "danger" involved in the opaque, proprietary technologies that now determine the outcome of our elections. It's a tricky needle to thread, and the convoluted and self-contradictory argument they use to do it is woven around the first two words of the article: "Russian hackers."

Yup, step one of their argument is that the danger does not come from privatized electronic voting-counting systems that, as scores of analysts have demonstrated, and Collier recently pointed out, allow "thousands, even millions of electronic votes [to] be siphoned from one candidate to another through malicious internal coding in the voting software." You can ignore, as they do, all that "conspiracy theory" nonsense. The only danger to the electoral system comes from "Russian hackers."

Step two of their argument--and the trickiest part--is that the only danger those Russian hackers pose is to " sow doubts about the legitimacy of the results ." You see, those conniving Russkies cannot really hack, only "disrupt," electronic voting systems. Sure, they can get in and "meddle" a little, but they cannot "change the outcome." (Because it must be that nobody can, or else "Stop that thought, "Conspiracy Theory"! )

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This category of an intrusion into a computerized electronic system that's not really a hack, but only a "disruption" is a wondrous rhetorical, if not actually digital, device, which allows us to have complete confidence in the electronic voting system and still worry about it, in just the right way. We can credit Sanger and Savage for revealing to us how the exceptional American electoral system can apparently deflect any malicious hack by turning it into an ineffectual "disruption." Even more amazing, the system seems to have been designed, craftily, to allow just enough inconsequential "meddling" to entice and expose any foolish and malign disrupters. Especially if they're Russian.

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Former college professor, native and denizen of New York City. Blogging at www.thepolemicist.net, from a left-socialist perspective. Also publishing on Counterpunch The Greanville Post, Z, The Unz Review, and other sites around the net.

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Series: "Elections"

Hillary's Hide-and-Seek (Article) (# of views) 10/17/2016
Waiting To Exhale: Hillary, In Sickness And In Health (Article) (# of views) 09/20/2016
Strike the Vote (Article) (# of views) 09/17/2016
View All 10 Articles in "Elections"
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