After the Las Vegas Shooting ... Sadly, It Still Applies

November 8th, 2017 - I published this one after the Las Vegas shooting, and sadly, it still applies.  The first impulse of every news organization was to get into the shooters FEELINGS and MOTIVATIONS.  Well — at least this time we’ve shifted a bit in terms of the structural failures that enable such a violent angry damaged guy to get semi-automatic weapons and mow down praying people.

Las Vegas
Just waiting on baited breath as our national press scrambles to unearth Stephen Paddock's life, history, distorted thinking and angry motivations. Which clearly are completely different distorted angry motivations than Dylan Roof's or Adam Lanza's or Dylan Klebold's or James Holmes'. So we must get clear on these distinctions. Thank goodness money's being spent on having graphic designers produce FLOOR PLANS that look like IKEA assembly instructions for a mass shooting, so that we too can think through the logistics of slaughter. As for Stephen Paddock, I won't be able to rest until I know about his condos, and whether he owned 43 or 44 guns or, God forbid, 47, and whether and how he modified their triggers. Also, the angles of his cameras. Will his family will be SHOCKED by what this entitled, angry, anti-social, gun-loving, gambling-addicted, girlfriend-berating guy had in store for the concert-goers? So glad that our journalists are honing in what makes this latest defender of entitled white male supremacy SPECIAL. 

70M gun owners (me among them). NRA claims 4.5M members and according to the Washington Post those assertions are inconsistent, exaggerated, and dishonest. So let's say 3-4M. That's 4-6% of gun owners. Of those, only lifetime NRA members, who pay a huge fee, can vote. So we maybe 2M slaughter-friendly bullies dominate. Less than .6% of our population buys the Congress and here we are. 

Did Paddock belong to the NRA? Was he a lifetime member or just an average-joe beneficiary of the their orchestrated malevolence? Did he fight with the gun lobby, or hang with Wayne? Did he own gun stocks? What was his Congressperson's sticker price for each law that threw each victim under the bus? Who introduced reciprocal carry, or lifting the ban on silencers? Whose idea was it to market pink guns to girls at Tractor Supply? These questions will just have to wait until the important ones have been answered.


Here’s a Hero Working in KANSAS

November 7th, 2017 - Here’s a hero working in KANSAS to get the home state of Kris Kobach to end CrossCheck.  Follow her on Twitter at @LeaveCrosscheck,, or the hashtag #LeaveCrosscheck.  Not using her real name because I’m not sure she wants it exposed, but I talk to her on Twitter DM - she’s the real deal. 

End CrossCheck

November 6, 2017 - End CrossCheck: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About CrossCheck, And A Lot You’d Rather Not.

Illinois, which had its voter rolls penetrated and just passed Automatic Voter Registration on its second try, now has a terrific energetic group of activists in Indivisible Chicago fighting to get IL to exit CrossCheck.  IL is also a member of ERIC, the Election Registration Information Center, run by the non-partisan Pew Charitable Trust.  ERIC’s the Belinda the Good Witch of CrossCheck, and gets the de-duplication right as opposed to CrossCheck’s 200 false positives for every real hit. 

Indivisible Chicago rocks.  CO, NV, OH and VA — now you too, you who belong to both ERIC and CrossCheck, need to exit CrossCheck now.  

If you want the in-depth version of what CrossCheck does, watch The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast.  It’s a little hokey, he’s always wearing this Sam Spade outfit and hat, still, his reporting’s the real deal.

(If you listen to the piece on This American Life just below, you’ll start to understand what is confusing (to put a good spin on it) those who want to use CrossCheck to deduplicate.)

On This Day in 1872, Anthony Voted

November 5, 2017  - On this day in 1872, Anthony voted. This after years of desperate attempts to persuade the abolition community that “universal suffrage” meant women, and not just 5% more voters, i.e., Black men.  She and Anthony had done just about everything possible to win the vote and yet — no.  She continued working on suffrage until her death at age 96 of the population he was eventually convicted and fined $100, which she refused to pay. How much went wrong because we failed to demand the enfranchisement of EVERYBODY after the Civil War.

The Epistemology of Voter Fraud

November 4, 2017 - The Epistemology of Voter Fraud. 

What do we know about duplicate voting, and how do we know it? 

I don't think teaching people about the facts of voter fraud satisfies them -- in fact, I think trying too hard to nullify their security concerns, only cements their convictions. Still, the facts here are kind of fascinating. 

This segment of This American Life was: How do we know what we know? I excerpted the part that was an interview with Sharad Goel (pronounced Shard GOY-el — the name belongs in an IB Singer short story). Goel is a Stanford computer scientist, and took on the problem of "double voting." People named Carol and Christine tend to be born on the same day! Listen why.

It's Like Our Whole Party's Wearing Suicide Vests.

November 3, 2017 - It's like our whole party's wearing suicide vests. 

Obama & Biden left the party 20M in debt -- and then Biden hacks up Hillary for losing? If O cared about his legacy enough to campaign for H, why didn't he fundraise enough during term 2 to leave the DNC in the black? If Debbie WS did a bad job and spent too much, why doesn't the buck stop with O?

HRC bailed out our verge-of-bankruptcy party by fundraising for it before she was even its candidate (we wanted it to go bankrupt?) -- and supposedly in exchange, Brazile says, the Joint Financing Agreement she proposed, prematurely demanded control of the party -- in 2015, before she was nominee, rather than in 2015 when she was. And this has been reported right left and center. And Brazile says she "thought about replacing" Clinton, as if she had the power to do so. 

My first thought was: In which alternate universe does someone who bails out a bankruptcy NOT control its finances? I was confused, last week, because it's not as if Bernie bailed out the Dems to the tune of 100M in $27 contributions. Now I I read Larry Tribe, who quotes the agreement below with the comment: That settles it. 

What serious Dem drops a bomb like this, days before the 1st election after Trump? And then my idol and Senator jumps in and calls our party rigged? 

Can we pack the Trump care package with any more love? 

O my poor sad broken broke party! What are we doing here?

Anybody Who Cares about Voting Should be Following Ari Berman

November 1, 2017 - Anybody who cares about voting should be following Ari Berman.  This piece is about Wisconsin — when you understand the voter suppression #s, which takes some time, there’s a kind of relief that happens: first becuase our country really is a different majority demographic than we think, and second, becuase we could all just stop parsing personalities and turn to the mechanics of fighting it.

A Modest Proposal

October 27, 2017 - A Modest Proposal 

If our elections aren't fair, maybe we should just save taxpayers the cost of having them and install people.  

Not just the server was wiped — the BACKUP server was ALSO wiped.  My friend Marilyn Marks, whom you should follow on Twitter, brought this lawsuit with the Coalition for Good Governance.  Georgia’s response was to wipe not onkly the server but the BACKUP server holding the data for GA-06’s recent elections.  


And here’s the thing: Karen Handel was the Secretary of State when she beat Ossoff.  That means that she was literally in charge of controlling the election mechanism in which she was also competing.  Right now, the Secretary of State is Kemp, who will be running for governor under the same principle.  Let’s call it the Uzbekistan Standard of Elections?

Kobach's Voter Fraud Detection Program

October 26, 2017 - Kobach’s Voter Fraud Detection Program is So Flawed that Indiana Created Its Own Software To Fix It.  


Well - that’s good of them, but they have also purged 481,000 voters from the rolls based on infrequent voting — SINCE THE 2016 election.  There are far too many ways to skin the un-register-eligible-voters cat, methinks.

This is Either Very Good or Very Bad

October 23, 2017 - This is either very good or very bad, I can't decide. And Klobuchar's question really is a good one: did the kiddie porn kid have access to the voter files? But maybe that doesn't matter. CrossCheck is less secure than your Twitter account.

Anyway, I like Dunlap's touch. He first learned of the arrest of the kiddie porn assistant 'while walking into church.' Doesn't get much better than that.

This is Why we Need #AVRinMA 

October 22, 2017 - Will someone please tell me how NOT to make weird, tense, overly exaggerated faces while talking on camera about critical legislation on voting modernization?  I asked this on Facebook and got a ton of advice: vipassana meditation beforehand, vocal exercises, look at the interviewer not the camera, sit on your best side, don’t wear the same color as the table — gargle — and so on.  Passing money-saving, bipartisan-satisfying, bureaucracy-reducing, voter-roll-securing legislation is not as easy as it seems!   Anyway, watch this: this is why we need #AVRinMA

Not Voting, or Being Able to Vote, Can be Fatal. THAT is the Lesson of Our Time.

October 18, 2017 - Cycle after cycle, chain after chain jerked. There has to be some kind of punishment. Her face was bleeding badly. Criminals and rapists and we can't stay there forever and he knew what he signed up for. The order doesn't matter. This is not a story with an epiphany. He jerks; we outrage; the tanks roll by behind us. We reply to his tweets; he marches us towards war and sledgehammers our democracy. DC is a superfund site and we're fixating on verbiage. How long are we, to paraphrase Sylvia Plath, going to pray to recover Daddy? Every woman loves a fascist, she writes -- the boot in the face, the brute, the Luftwaffe and the gobbledygoo. When will we finally declare that we're through? 

Why is the USS Comfort not treating people? Where's the reporting on FEMA, its employees' pedicure-fest in the sterile medical area, their walking around in flip-flops? How many people have died? Why did we lose four green berets? Who were they, and what happened in that ambush? Why did they recover a body only two days later? Is the Pentagon even investigating? Do we even remember which state Las Vegas sits in?

Our leader is the guy holed up in the hotel room with the arsenal. If you're venting, you're where he wants you. If we're calling Congress and thinking we're done, we're where they want us: digging the Maginot Line, crowing about about how they haven't passed legislation.  But so much of what Trump does skirts legislation, like the Germans went around the Maginot Line.  Those sanctions he’s supposed to enact: he dissolved the office charged with managing them.  We really have got to get ahead of this curve and realize how much is being done without any legislation whatsoever.  

Politics is about power. Skip the outrage, skip the issues, fight the WAR and throw them out. Voting and elections. Everything else second. Not voting, or being able to vote, can be fatal. THAT is the lesson of our time.

Watching Rachel Every Night ...

October 11, 2017 - Watching Rachel every night, I feel a little like Kate Winslet in Titanic, clinging to that piece of wreckage that Leonardo DiCaprio found for her before he drowned. Thank god she's here to lead us through it, again and again, until we get it. I need the repetition. I'm often so dumbfounded by what she is saying, the creativity of the misogynist media manipulation, the scale of it, the depth of the contempt and corruption, that I find I can't think straight as she's talking, and end up focusing on the fact that she has a long neck, or her gentlemanly habits, to escape the despair.

from Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life

October 3, 2017 - "The violence does something. You begin to expect it. You learn to inhabit your body differently through this expectation. When you sense the world out there as a danger, it is your relation to your own body that changes: you become more cautious, timid; you might withdraw in anticipation that what happened before will happen again. It might be your own experiences that led you here, to caution as withdrawal, but it might also be what you have learned from the others. … You begin to learn that being careful, not having things like that happen to you, is a way of avoiding becoming damaged. It is for your own good. And you sense the consequence: if something happens, you have failed to prevent it. You feel bad in anticipation of your own failure. You are learning, too, to accept that potential for violence as imminent, and to manage yourself as a way of managing the consequences." --from Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life