FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Prime Directive: Trust the System, Blame the Russians

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 14th article, “Prime Danger in Vote Hack: Sowing Doubt.”

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 Victoria 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”!)

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.

On the one hand, we can thank our lucky stars, and shrewd American software engineers, that this “disruption” only effects the previously-unheard-of confidence circuitry of our election devices, that it only “sows doubts.” On the other hand, isn’t that the worstest thing ever, that the Russians can make Americans “lose confidence in the system.”

Because, really, we can ignore all the issues that have been analyzed by Americans over the past 15 years regarding the proprietary, hackable, electronic voting systems peddled by American companies. We can have complete “confidence in the security of the vote” in “most states,” and we can rest assured that “an accurate count would probably be made,” despite “meddling around the edges,” which might constitute “disruption” but “not really…manipulation.” [My emphasis.]

In fact, the authors warn us, “the disruption has already begun”—by the Russians. The American electoral system is probably in most states perfectly trustworthy, A-OK, and the Prime Danger comes not from the faults of the system itself, but only from the Russians—and, of course, Putin’s American sleeper agents, Bev Harris, Virginia Martin, this writer, et. al.—who might try to make people “lose confidence in the system.”

With this article, the NYT has given us a perfect example of the job the establishment media does: ignore the work, and trivialize the well-founded fears, of concerned Americans, and divert attention to the government’s villain of the day. Singer and Savage have done their bit in trying to fold the growing, serious doubts about the voting system into the current ridiculous narrative about the evil, scheming Russians—in order to reinforce the all-important message: “Trust the system.”

Will anyone really buy this nonsense? I wish I could say no.

More articles by:

Jim Kavanagh edits The Polemicist.

July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail