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Category Archives: Great American Rip-Off

Hillary Vote Lead now 2.2 million

Hillary won the popular vote by over 1.7%. Which actually is in line with a number of the polls prediction. Something which makes the Chumphs “win” in several key states even more questionable.

Clinton has registered 64,654,483 total votes, compared to 62,418,820 for Trump, according to a Cook Political Report analysis Monday. That represents a margin of 2,235,663 in the popular vote. Clinton garnered 48.2 percent of the popular vote, while Trump earned just 46.5 percent, good for a 1.7 point margin. Trump, however, picked up wins in key battleground states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan, earning 306 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 232.

What stands out is the Margin shift in the so-called swing states – massively in Trumps direction.

The Russians do good work.

State Clinton (D) Trump (R) Others Clinton % Trump % Others % Dem ’12 Margin Dem ’16 Margin Margin Shift Total ’12 Votes Total ’16 Votes Raw Votes vs. ’12
6
7
U.S. Total 64,680,874 62,437,545 7,235,983 48.1% 46.5% 5.4% 3.9% 1.7% -2.2% 129,075,630 134,354,402 4.1%
8
13 Swing States 21,356,299 22,183,644 2,298,207 46.6% 48.4% 5.0% 3.6% -1.8% -5.4% 43,939,918 45,838,150 4.3%
9
Non-Swing States 43,324,575 40,253,901 4,937,776 48.9% 45.5% 5.6% 4.0% 3.5% -0.5% 85,135,712 88,516,252 4.0%

 

‘Voting for Trump would dishonor God’: GOP Electoral College member resigns to avoid backing Trump

A Republican Electoral College member from Texas has decided to step down because his conscience will not allow him to back Donald Trump for president.

Politico reports that Art Sisneros, a GOP elector who has been critical of Trump in the past, has resigned his position in the Electoral College because he simply believes Trump is not fit for the presidency.

“If Trump is not qualified and my role, both morally and historically, as an elected official is to vote my conscience, then I can not and will not vote for Donald Trump for President,” Sisneros wrote in a blog post late last week. “I believe voting for Trump would bring dishonor to God.”

The now-former elector went on to say that he’s stepping down from his role because he did not want to violate his pledge to support whoever won the popular vote in his home state.

“The people will get their vote,” he wrote. “I will sleep well at night knowing I neither gave in to their demands nor caved to my convictions. I will also mourn the loss of our republic.”

 

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Recount Scheduled for Wisconsin

The ugly truth is there were a good half dozen States whose election systems were rigged for Trump. So far, they won’t let cyber-scientists look at the data and systems of the others. More than likely they are busily trying to destroy the evidence. The Chumph didn’t “win” this election, it was won with help from his Russian masters, the “usual suspects” of Republican hackers, and an unwillingness of the MSM to challenge the results.

The reason they picked the three (was four) states to request a recount, is the vote tally’s already show that votes were manufactured for Chumph. What has been uncovered so far is a number of counties in Wisconsin reporting more votes for the Chumph…Than they had voters. That is a fairly easy hack. All it requires is for the County Elections Supervisor to add votes to the tally which is sent up to the State and Federal level. What has been discovered in an initial forensic analysis of the electronic votes tallied (Wisconsin has a paper voting system, so there is actually an easy way to audit the real vote) is the blocks of as many as 10,000 votes were added to the electronic tallies. So we wind up in position where there are significantly more votes …Than voters.

Jill Stein as a Third Party candidate doesn’t want to say that publicly…Yet.

Now…Unless they get to the paper votes – and this turns out the way the cyber-scientists believe…

This will set off a firestorm.

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Wisconsin agrees to statewide recount in presidential race

Wisconsin’s election board agreed on Friday to conduct a statewide recount of votes cast in the presidential race, as requested by a Green Party candidate seeking similar reviews in two other states where Donald Trump scored narrow wins.

The recount process, including an examination by hand of the nearly 3 million ballots tabulated in Wisconsin, is expected to begin late next week after Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s campaign has paid the required fee, the Elections Commission said.

The state faces a Dec. 13 federal deadline to complete the recount, which may require canvassers in Wisconsin’s 72 counties to work evenings and weekends to finish the job in time, according to the commission.

The recount fee has yet to be determined, the agency said in a statement on its website. Stein said in a Facebook message on Friday that the sum was expected to run to about $1.1 million.

She said she has raised at least $5 million from donors since launching her drive on Wednesday for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – three battleground states where Republican Trump edged out Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by relatively thin margins.

Stein has said her goal is to raise $7 million to cover all fees and legal costs.

Her effort may have given a ray of hope to dispirited Clinton supporters, but the chance of overturning the overall result of the Nov. 8 election is considered very slim, even if all three states go along with the recount.

The Green Party candidate, who garnered little more than 1 percent of the nationwide popular vote herself, said on Friday that she was seeking to verify the integrity of the U.S. voting system, not to undo Trump’s victory.

While there was no evidence of tampering or voting errors in the election, only a thorough review of results from the three states at issue will reassure Americans, Stein said.

“This was a hack-riddled election,” she told CNN, pointing to various cyber-attacks on political organizations and individual email accounts before Election Day and media reports citing concerns raised by computer security specialists.

Experts urged extra scrutiny of the three states, Stein said, because their voting systems were seen as vulnerable. They also cited “unexplained high numbers of undervotes,” the close finish between the two nominees and “discrepancies between pre-election polling and the official result,” she said.

According to Stein, the Wisconsin commission confirmed receipt of her recount petition at 3:45 p.m. local time, just over an hour before the deadline for filing. The filing deadline is Monday in Pennsylvania and Wednesday in Michigan.

The Wisconsin board said Stein was joined in her petition by another third-party candidate, Rocky Roque De La Fuente.

Although Trump won narrowly in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the margins make it highly unlikely any recounts would end up giving Clinton a win in all three states, which would be needed for the overall election result to change. Trump beat Clinton in Pennsylvania by 70,010 votes, in Michigan by 10,704 votes and in Wisconsin by 27,257 votes.

The presidential race is decided by the Electoral College, based on a tally of wins from the state-by-state contests, rather than by the popular national vote. The Electoral College results are expected to be finalized on Dec. 19.

Trump surpassed the 270 electoral votes needed to win, although Clinton will have won the national popular vote by more than 2 million ballots once final tallies are in.

A representative for Trump’s transition team on Thursday had no comment on Stein’s effort, and Clinton has not commented on Stein’s effort.

 

 

 

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Clinton “Won” by 1.6 million Votes…

This is how the election was “cooked”.

Hillary not only won the popular vote, but won it by the largest margin in history for a candidate losing the Electoral College.

Hillary Clinton’s Popular Vote Lead Over Donald Trump Now Exceeds 1.5 Million Votes

It’s been nearly two weeks since the November 8 general election, but the results have not remained static as ballots continue to be counted.

While the number of votes for both president-elect Donald Trump and his former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton continue to increase, the gap is widening, with Clinton expanding her popular vote lead over Trump.

According to new figures released by The Associated Press on Saturday, Clinton received more than 1.5 million votes than her Republican rival.

As of Saturday, Clinton had received 63,390,669 votes, while Trump received 61,820,845 votes — a difference of 1,569,824, according to The AP.

Rounded off to whole numbers, that translates to 48 percent vs. 47 percent.

A day earlier, on Friday, the vote difference was less, with Clinton getting 62,894,931 and Trump getting 61,580,333 — a difference of 1,314,598, according to The AP.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off

 

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Finally A Few are “Getting It” Relevant to the Election Hack

This election was hacked. Votes were moved or erased in about 4 states to produce an Trump electoral win.  What is interesting here is the anticipated Hispanic tidal wave turned into a trickle. All those new registrations failed to produce matching votes.

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Something stinks when exit polls and official counts don’t match

Media exit polls in last Tuesday’s election suggested Democrats were going to win the White House and the Senate, yet the reported vote counts brought a GOP landslide. While theories abound about what happened, election integrity activists say the exit poll descrepancy underscores the need for a far more transparent and accountable process. AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld interviewed Jonathan Simon, a longtime exit poll sleuth and author of Code Red: Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century. Simon explains why exit polls are a critical clue in the breakdown of the voting process.

Steven Rosenfeld: Let’s start by telling people about your involvement with election integrity and tracking exit polls.

Jonathan Simon: I’ve been working in this field which we call election forensics for about 15 years, since the 2000 election. Certainly things kicked in with the 2004 election and the exit polls there. I was actually the person who downloaded the exit polls that were left up on the CNN website which then made it possible to compare the unadjusted exit polls—and we can explain that in a bit—but comparing the exit polls with the vote counts and show through all those disparities that there was reason to suspect possibly manipulation of the vote counts.

It has deep roots and basically looking at every election since has found varying, but at the same time, fairly pervasive patterns of what we call the “red shift” and where the exit polls are to the west of the vote counts. We track that, we record it and we attempt to analyze it and get some sort of handle on what has caused it as a phenomenon. Then we look at all sorts of forensic data, accumulative vote share, tables and hand counts where we can find them. I’ve always been particularly conscientious about trying to take whatever baseline we’re using and validate that baseline, so that if we have an exit poll for instance, we try to make sure something that has been skewed by over-sampling one party or over-sampling people of color or something to that effect and validate it by that.

We try as carefully as we can. I’ve been doing this pretty steadily now for the last 15 years along with some of my colleagues, and I would be the first to acknowledge that there is a lot of smoke there and there’s a lot of probative value to this work, but that bringing it forth as ironclad proof is very problematic. So we’re stuck at a place where I pivoted to is looking at the risk involved in having a computerized, privatized, unobservable vote counting system and just taking on faith that that system is not being manipulated when there is such a obvious vulnerability (on which the experts strongly agree) of the system to malfeasance and manipulation. That is where I’ve tended to go, is to look at that risk rather than screaming fraud from the rooftops and claiming proof.Image result for vote machine hacking

SR: Let’s go through this piece by piece, because it’s a lot for people to really understand. You get the raw state-by-state exit polls that are commissioned by a big consortium of national media organizations. What did you find this year, that happened this week? What do you see in the raw data?

JS: Of course, we don’t get the raw data. The raw data would be… we have three definitions here. There’s raw data, which is the actual questionnaires and the simple numerical toning up of answers on the questionnaire. That is never publicly released. It’s if you want to characterize it as such, it’s what’s inside the sausage of exit polls, and we are not privileged to see that. I’ve had one opportunity in my life through an inside source to actually look at some of the raw data, but that’s a very rare thing. It’s not generally accessible to the public. Many of us have clamored for the public release of that raw data, certainly in the aftermath of the 2004 election and have been denied it.

Then there is the weighted exit poll data and that’s what the exit pollsters put out as soon as the polls close. This has been demographically weighted to their best approximation of what the electorate looked like and it is very valuable information. That’s what I was able to download in 2004 and that’s what I was able to download in many of the elections since, and that’s what I was able to download this Tuesday.Image result for vote machine hacking

How Local Machines Can be Hacked.

Then you have adjusted exit polls and what happens is they take the vote counts as they come in and they use the term as the art of “forcing,” they force the exit polls to [be] congruent with that vote count data so that by the end of the night or by the next morning when you have your final vote counts and final exit polls the exit polls and the vote counts will match, but that’s only because in essence they’ve been forced to match the vote counts.

SRI’m looking at the New York Times website right now, at its election 2016 exit polls interactive. What are the totals then that I’m seeing?

JS: I’m not looking at the New York Times. I’ve pulled these off of CNN and I’m also looking at MSNBC. Because the firm that does this, Edison, contracts with the consortium of major networks and then has some lesser clients such as the New York Times. When I say lessor, they’re still very major clients, they just don’t have the prime membership that these five networks and the AP have, but all these major clients get the same feed of weighted exit poll data.

What you’re probably looking at now would be adjusted exit polls and they’re very close to, if not congruent with the vote counts. But if you had looked up Tuesday night, for instance, if a poll closed at 7pm Eastern Time and you had gone online to a network site at 7:01pm Eastern Time, what you would have seen at that point was a weighted poll that had not yet been adjusted to match the vote counts. They would tell you the number of respondents. They’d give you all the cross tabs, by which I mean broken down by gender, age, income, party affiliation, usually 30 to 40, sometimes 50 questions … Pretty detailed stuff that indicated how each subgroup of the polled population had answered these various questions.

Some of those questions are demographic questions: What is your race? What is your income level? What party do you identify with? Who did you vote for in the last election? etc., etc. … Then there are the current choice questions. Who did you just vote for this evening and/or this afternoon? Those are all presented in sort of a scroll fashion. You can pull that up on all these websites.Image result for vote machine hacking

However, they will change over time as the vote counts come in. That’s why we screen-capture these initial public postings, because that contains the purest information in terms of not relying on the vote counts and if we’re approaching this with a certain amount of suspicion of the vote counts we’re trying to verify or validate the vote counts we want exit polls that are independent as possible from the actual vote count data, which then becomes blended in as the evening goes on from the time the polls close until whenever the final vote counts are available. That vote count data becomes blended in with the exit poll algorithm and gradually pulls the exit polls in congruence with the vote counts, at which point they’re used for academic analysis of demographics, but they’re not anymore used for validating the vote counts.

SR: Tell me again what the ‘red shift’ is and how you saw this shift again this year.

JS: The red shift is a term that I coined back in 2004 after the Bush-Kerry election, because the familiar term the “red shift” when we mean astronomy, that’s what brought it to my mind. But the reason it’s called the red shift is that it was very directional in that election where you saw vote counts coming out more in favor of Bush, more in favor of Republican candidates. Since Republican by that time had been designated red as in red states and blue states, that’s how it got the moniker the red shift.

What we found from that point forward is that it’s almost a singularity, very rare, that we find any significant blue shift anywhere. When we look at exit polls and vote counts, what we’re almost always seeing are vote counts that come out more in favor of the Republican candidate than the exit polls and in the case of intraparty nomination battles, more in favor of the candidate that is, I guess you’d have to say, to the right of their opponent.

For instance, in the 2016 primaries, a massive shift of exit polls state after state after state, in favor of Hillary Clinton. The vote counts were more in favor of Clinton than the exit polls, which were more in favor of Bernie Sanders. We saw a very consistent pattern of that.

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Some systems use credit card derived “data cards”. Easily rewritten to any vote total you want. Don’t even mention the laptop here…

In this past Tuesday, again we saw a very consistent pattern of exit polls that were more in favor of Hillary Clinton, more in favor of Democratic senatorial candidates and then vote counts were shifted from the exit polls to the right towards Donald Trump, towards the Republican senate candidates. Those are the figures that I pulled down and did a very basic analysis of. You have a column of numbers of state by state showing the degree of that shift and we’ll eventually do that for the national vote for the House of Representatives as well.

SR: When you see this discrepancy, without being overly simplistic, the question becomes, why is it there and what caused it? You’ve been through this four or five times and not even counting the midterm elections. What do you think is really going on when you see this general one-way shifting? Does it mean the polling is wrong? Does it mean the voting machinery is being tampered with? Does it mean both? How do you explain or understand this?

JS: What it means to me is that neither system is self validating. Neither system can be trusted. If you look at accounting, you do double entry accounting. I’m not an accountant so my terminology may be off, but you basically audit by checking one column of numbers against another column of numbers. If they disagree, you know something is wrong somewhere. There is some arithmetical mistake, some failure of entry, possibly fraud … you don’t know. You just know that if two things that are pretty much supposed to agree had disagreed, there’s a problem somewhere. I can rule out mathematically and scientifically, by this time, errors due to random chance. Errors due to random chance, sampling errors, what we call margin of error issues, would not be expressing themselves so consistently in one direction. They’d be going in both directions and they’d be much smaller.

If you take a mathematical sample of a whole … if you take a blood draw in a person and you look at 1,000 or so blood cells as represented in of all their millions of blood cells, that’s guaranteed to be a random sample. It’s not like all the bad blood cells hide out in a single vein or something. From that, you get a very clear and crisp mathematical margin of error and it tells you how likely you are to be within X number of percent about what the truth is about the entire target that you’re looking at of the blood of the whole body. That’s how you can make a diagnosis based on a pinprick.

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Russian cyber-spies hacked Democratic databases, Democratic emails, and Voter rolls prior to the election. And there is proof that the data was sent to the Trump campaign. Putin suddenly found morals to not hack the elections? NYET!

In exit polling it’s not that simple. In exit polling you have sampling that is not purely mathematically random. First of all, it’s done in clusters because it would be an impractical matter to catch people all over the state randomly coming out at the polls. You’d have to have a person at each precinct, etc. We’re not even talking about early voting and absentee voting. Let’s just leave that out of the equation and assume everybody votes on election day. You’d still have to go to thousands of precincts. It would be prohibitively expensive. What they do instead, and I was a pollster for a couple of years quite long ago, but the methods haven’t changed that much, you basically cluster sample. You pick 20 or 30 precincts that are representative politically and demographically of the whole state and those are the precincts in which you do all your interviews.

That adds mathematically about a 30 percent increase to the margin of error, to the inaccuracy if you want to call that of the poll. It’s certainly a tolerable change or loss of accuracy that can be factored in mathematically, but the real problems come up in exit polling with selection bias, response bias, the possibility of people lying to the pollster, etc. These are the things that have been seized on by those who have debunked the exit polls and said they’re worthless. They’re not worthless and at the same time they’re not best evidence. Best evidence would be the voter marked paper ballots. Best evidence would be the memory cards in the computers and what program is actually determining how these votes are counted, what the code is on those memory cards.

Exit polls are indirect. They’re statistical evidence and they have flaws that are difficult to quantify. When you see pervasive patterns where it is substantial well beyond the margin of error repeatedly in the same direction, in particular when you’ve been able to independently validate the demographics of the exit poll sample. This is the work that I did. It’s in my book, Code Red: Computerized Election Theft in the New American Century.

SR: So this is a persuasive and recurring pattern and not just in this week’s vote?

JS: In the 2016 primary, we compared the performance of the exit polls in the Republican primaries with the performance of the exit poll in the Democratic primaries. There was a glaring difference. I call these “second order comparatives.” Second order comparatives are very important because you’re essentially validating your baseline by doing that. If you’re conscientious about election forensics, that’s the work that you try to do. Does it add up to ironclad proof? No, but it’s a very consistent pattern that is absolutely probative enough that it says, Okay, we want to now take a look at the other system and how the votes are being counted. When you look at that other system and how the votes are being counted, your hair stands on end because it’s so vulnerable to not just outsider hacking, but to insider manipulation as well.

There are certainly a lot of anecdotal instances of this. For instance, just in this particular election, they bought machines in Ohio that had a feature in them that was basically capable of self auditing. It was a security feature. The Republican secretary of state of Ohio allowed the counties to switch off that feature. You have to ask why. You bought it and it had that feature. They said, Well, it would create chaos. You look at things like that and say hmm. You scratch your head and say, what is going on here? What may be happening in that darkness of cyberspace that the exit polls are giving us a pretty good hint about, but the vote counting system itself completely conceals?

SR: Let’s talk about what you found this week. I’m looking at your 2016 presidential chart. I’m looking at North Carolina for example, where it says the exit poll margin was 2.1% ahead for Clinton, but the final vote count showed Trump with a 3.8% lead. You have similar 4.4% Clinton lead in Pennsylvania but then losing by 1.2% to Trump, a 5.6% shift. You have Florida where she was ahead in exit polls by 1.3% and ends up losing by 1.3%, a 2.6% shift.

Is there any reason you can point to as to why you are seeing that in so many different states?

JS: First of all, let me preface it that what they’ve done since 2004 is exit poll fewer and fewer states. I think there were about 30 states exit polled this time, 20 states were left out because they were considered to be locks, non-competitive. What that does for a forensic standpoint is that it cuts our baseline… It’s as if they had a certain limited amount of resources, and they decided to really plow it into getting larger sample sizes in states that they knew were going to be competitive and possibly controversial.

North Carolina was one of those. I believe it had the largest sample size in the country. It was almost 4,000 voters were sampled and the usual sample size in these state exit polls is somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 if they expect it to be competitive. That was basically a double sampling that reduces the mathematical margin of error, but it also improves in a less quantifiable way the accuracy of the poll. That 5.9% red shift from Clinton to Trump is way outside the margin of error for that poll and therefore very unlikely to occur by chance. What might have made it happen? People could’ve been lying to the exit pollster. The exit pollster could’ve been all young urban college kids and the Trump voters might have been reluctant to comply with their requests. There might have been refusals from Trump voters.

Now Edison usually tries to get these things right and one of the ways they try to get it right is through some expensive training and they try to get a fairly represented sample of polling interviewers. The polls by the way are confidential. They’re not verbal interviews. You’re just handed a clipboard with a poll on it. It’s not as intimate as some people would believe. There’s less of an incentive to lie because it’s basically confidential. You fold your polling sheet up and you put it in the box or you hand it back to the interviewer to put it into a grab bag. There’s no name on it. There is nothing that associates you with it. The incentive to lie isn’t particularly high. We’ve always dealt with the—is there a reluctant [George W.] Bush responder going on here, is there a shy Trump voter? We don’t know. These are possibilities, but we’ve seen the same kind of exit poll pattern in intraparty contests, we’ve seen it year after year, we’ve seen it at the Senate races, at the House exit poll. It transcends an individual race like this where there was so much intensity.

If you want to sleep well at night, which I also prefer to denial, and you want to say to yourself, Yeah, it must have been people just lying to the exit pollsters and I’m not going to worry about it, that’s fine. What you’re missing at that point is the fact that if you challenge me to say, How do you know these exit polls are valid? I would turn right around and challenge you and say, How do you know the vote counts are valid?

The fact is, and this is cold hard fact, neither of us can prove our case. That is the problem. We have an unobservable system that cannot answer the challenge that it might be subject to manipulation. It can’t demonstrate that it is not rigged. Exit polls are just a tool that we use to look at it and say, Well folks, there might be something to dig deeper into here. The problem is virtually never is anyone allowed to dig deeper. We have optical scanner equipment all over this country right now that have the voter marked ballots that drop through the optical-scan reader device and sit in their cabinet below. Those voter marked ballots need to be saved 22 months in theory, although they’ve been destroyed early, in fact, in many cases, especially if when there was an investigation going on in Ohio.

You have these voter marked ballots that would have probably not been destroyed within two days of the election and they’re there. They theoretically could be exhumed and examined. You could go machine by machine, you could look at them in public and you could compare them with machine counts, then you could reconcile those machine counts with the central tabulator. County counts, and state counts … You could say, Yes, this was a valid election or no, this was not a valid election. We had a problem. Might have been fraud, might have been a glitch, we don’t know. The fact is, nobody has access to those ballots. They are corporate property. They are off limits to public inspection. It might as well, in the 99.9% of cases, be a paperless touchscreen that has no record whatsoever.

The fact is, we are denied, when I saw we, the candidates, the public, very often election administrators, by the rules of their states, are denied access to the actual hard evidence we call it, that would allow a determination of whether the election has been accurately counted or perhaps has been illegitimately counted and manipulated. As a matter of fact, in quite a few states and usually under Republican control, but the Democrats have not been tremendously cooperative about this either. The trend has been for ballots to be removed from public record status so that they are no longer susceptible to four-year requests and similar public information requests, Freedom of Information Act requests. They are getting less transparent, not more so….Read the Rest Here…

InfoWorld – “Every independently audited voting computer has been shown to contain numerous, basic, easy-to-exploit vulnerabilities. A fresh report from the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology puts it succinctly: “Voter machines, technically, are so riddled with vulnerabilities that even an upstart script kiddie could wreak havoc.” In 2012, white hat hacker Roger Johnston explained to Popular Sciencehow a voting computer’s votes could be changed for less than $10 worth of RadioShack hardware.”

Here is a Tutorial on how to hack a particular manufacturer’s machine. ALL of the electronic voting machines are vulnerable. All of the scanners are vulnerable. The database which draws up the votes at the national level is vulnerable.

 

 

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Texas Prison Bans Books By Langston Hughes… But Hitler and David Duke Are OK

Yeah…The Aryan Nations Criminal Gang is just fine…Because they are white.

A man holds a French (L), a Finnish (C) and a Danish (R) edition of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle) at the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich (AFP Photo/Matthias Balk)

Texas prisons ban books by Shakespeare and Langston Hughes — but Hitler and David Duke are OK

When a prisoner is behind bars, he or she typically has access to a library of donated books to pass the time. There are stories about incarcerated people getting their GED or even taking college classes, others learned enough law to fight for appeals. Then some just read the classics available on the shelves. That is, unless you’re in jail in Texas.

According to the Houston Press, the type of books available are growing smaller and smaller each year. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has consistently been working to rid jails of specific titles for decades, but after banning Wolf Boys due to finding a single page to be offensive, they’re finally drawing public outrage.

The new Dan Slater book is about two Mexican-American teenagers in Texas. They get drawn into a life of crime by the drug cartels and a Mexican-born Texas detective is tasked with finding them. According to reviews, the tale is a little violent and the outlook isn’t great, but according to The Guardian, it serves as a “thoughtful look at American society and the war on drugs.”

Before the book was even published, it was banned due to two sentences that described the way someone smuggled illegal drugs.

“The system is so aggressive and arbitrary,” the author said. “If you asked me to name 100 sentences that might have gotten my book banned those would not have made the list.”

But Slater’s book isn’t the only strange choice. Books by Langston Hughes, Gore Vidal, Flannery O’Connor, Sinclair Lewis and Thomas More have all been banned.

The guidelines for Texas are so loose that realistically anyone could ban any book for any reason. They were supposed to be banned if there is any mention of how to make weapons, drugs or explosives and if there is anything in the book that would “incite a prison riot” or has “sexually explicit images.” By that same logic, The Bible depicts murder, rape, sex and one of it’s leading characters encourages breaking laws and revolts against the King.

Strangely enough, books The Color Purple, which won a Pulitzer Prize, has been banned. A book of Shakespeare’s Sonnets was banned because of a nude painting on the cover. Dante’s Inferno and Buzz Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights are also on the blocked list. A collection of Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketches was also banned for nudity, but a kinky sex book titled The Pleasure’s All Mine passed through. To make matters worse, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and David Duke’s My Awakening also get the Texas Corrections sign of approval. As does Che Guevara’s Guerrilla Warfare, proving the book ban is not only arbitrary but ridiculous.

A 2011 investigation from the Texas Civil Rights Project found about 11,800 titles on the banned list. In just five years that’s grown to over 15,000.

While the issue is a national problem, Michelle Dillon, program coordinator of the Seattle-based non-profit Books to Prisoners, told The Guardian, “Texas is less rational than other states.”

To make matters worse, the decision of whether to ban is essentially left up to a mail clerk, who decides when books come in if they’ll be passed through to the inmate or not.

“There is no accountability,” Dillon says. She also noted there’s no consistency because one clerk will let a book go to the inmate while another will ban the same book because he or she is having a bad day or even because he or she has conservative values.

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off, The New Jim Crow

 

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US Collects Taxes on Those Olympic Gold Medals

Go to the Olympics representing the United States and win a Gold, Silver, or Bronze?

Well…There’s a tax for that.

For US Olympians, gold medals come with a hefty tax bill

She has flipped, tumbled and leapt her way into the hearts of millions over the course of the Olympic games. But when Simone Biles returns home she will be in for not just a major celebration but also a hefty tax bill.

The 19-year-old has won five Olympic medals – four gold and one bronze. She has cemented her title as the world’s best gymnast by taking home the gold in the all-around after three successive world championship titles – a feat only accomplished by three others in history.

But all that winning will cost her. On 21 August, Biles could be slapped with a tax bill close to $43,560 (£33,479)

That estimate is based on the $2m that she has accumulated in endorsement deals and assuming she is charged in the highest income tax bracket in the US – 39.6%.

Biles is not alone, her fellow US medallists will be slapped with tax bills for their victories as well.

American Olympians are subject to a so-called “victory tax” – a tax on both the money they receive from the Olympic committee for winning and on the value of the Olympic medal.

What are they taxed on?

US athletes who win a medal at the Rio games will take home the hardware and a cash bonus from the US Olympic Committee.

Gold medallists will receive $25,000, silver medallists get $15,000, and bronze winners earn $10,000.

Those winnings are taxed as income, the same way Americans are taxed on other prize money, like lottery winnings. Most countries exempt their athletes from these taxes.

But there’s more, the medals are also given a value and taxed. The value is based on the value of the materials the medals are made of.

Gold medals – which are mostly made of silver with a gold plating – are worth roughly $600 based on current commodity prices, silver medals are worth close to $300, bronze medals – which consist mostly of copper – have barely any monetary value, approximately $4.

How much is the tax?

Assuming the athlete was already a high-income earner, paying the top bracket of US taxes, they would be paying 39.6% on the combined value of the medal and cash payout.

Americans for Tax Reform calculated the bills to be: for a gold medallist $9,900, for silver $5,940, and for bronze $3,960.

That’s also assuming the athlete only won one medal.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Giant Negros, Great American Rip-Off

 

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Drug Test the Rich!

This could get interesting. AFter Republicans passed laws to Drug Test the poor as a condition of receiving SNAP, an enterprising Democrat turns it around.

Drug Tests for the 1 Percent?

The poor must prove they’re clean before they can receive benefits from the government. Why not hold the rich to the same standard?

Ever since the earliest days of government benefits, when social workers would inspect the homes of welfare recipients for cleanliness, the poor have been asked to prove their worth in order to receive help from the state.

Now, a Wisconsin Congresswoman is asking: Shouldn’t the wealthy have to prove their worth for all the government benefits they receive, too?

Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) is introducing the Top 1% Accountability Act of 2016, which would require drug testing for all tax filers claiming itemized deductions totaling over $150,000. Moore’s bill would require those with the higher itemized deductions to submit a clear drug test to the IRS or take the standard deduction, which is lower. The bill is intended to highlight the fact that it’s not just the poor who receive aid, even if they’re the ones asked to prove their standing. Aid to the wealthy comes mostly in the form of tax breaks, which allow them to keep money that they would otherwise be required by law to pay to the government.

“We don’t drug test wealthy CEOs who receive federal subsidies for their private jets, nor do we force judges or public officials to prove their sobriety to earn their paychecks,” Eric Harris, a spokesperson for Moore told me. “Attaching special demands to government aid exclusively targets our country’s most vulnerable individuals and families.”

The number of government tests and requirements for poor people receiving government aid has grown in recent years. Utah in 2012 passed a law requiring drug testing for recipients for Temporary Aid to Needy Families, Alabama passed a similar law in 2014, and Arkansas followed in 2015. Other states, including Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Kansas require drug testing if “reasonable suspicion” exists.

These drug tests target people with almost no income who, in the case of states such as Arkansas, receive as little as $204 a month. And the drug tests hardly ever turn up positive. In 2014 Governor Rick Snyder signed a law in Michiganimplementing a pilot program to drug test welfare recipients in three counties; none of the people in the pilot program have tested positive for drugs.

Middle-class and wealthy Americans may not be getting housing vouchers, but they are getting tax deductions, which come when people itemize their taxes rather than take the standard deduction. Itemizing taxes isn’t worth it unless you’ve spent more on tax-deductible items (including mortgage interest, charitable giving, and also the odd luxury item, such as a yacht) than the standard deduction, which was $12,600 this year for a married household filing jointly. According to one report, more than 95 percent of tax filers making over $200,000 itemized their deductions in 2011, compared to just 13 percent of those with incomes of $50,000 or less….Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off

 

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