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.

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail