Why I conclude that the 2016 Election Result is Invalid Based on the Republican Senate Intelligence Report on Russian Interference

The Senate Intelligence Committee conducted an investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 election. At the conclusion of the investigation the Republican Senators issued a five volume report in pieces and at various dates over the past few years. The report received relatively little attention due to the busy news cycle headlines.

Because Republicans control the Senate, the Senate Intelligence Committee is led by Republicans who controlled the release of the report. We presume that Republicans have no motivation to publicize the report findings or act on their findings in a way that might hurt Trump’s chances of re-election.

The full text of the first volume of the Senate report is available online here. Volume 2 is here. Volume 3 is here. Volume 4 is here. Volume 5 is available here.

This blog post summarizes the findings of the report. I wrote this summary so that I would have a clear basis of recall the findings of the Senate report. In this age where facts are deliberately blurred for political purposes and memory is less than perfect, this is important. My notes and quotations are based almost entirely on writings of Heather Cox Richardson. The notes support my overall conclusion.

VOLUME 1 – RUSSIA DID ACCESS THE U.S. ELECTION SYSTEM

Russians successfully breached U.S. election system security in 2016. “Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple U.S. state or local electoral boards,” but the Department of Homeland Security “assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.” The section on Russian attacks on voting machines is almost entirely redacted so we still do not know those details.

VOLUME 2 – RUSSIAN GOALS TO HELP TRUMP AND THE OTHER METHODS OF INTERFERENCE USED

Russians “sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin” and “in 2016, Russian operatives… used social media to conduct an information warfare campaign designed to spread disinformation and societal division in the United States. Masquerading as Americans, these operatives used targeted advertisements, intentionally falsified news articles, self-generated content, and social media platform tools to interact with and attempt to deceive tens of millions of social media users in the United States. This campaign sought to polarize Americans on the basis of societal, ideological, and racial differences, provoked real world events, and was part of a foreign government’s covert support of Russia’s favored candidate in the U.S. presidential election.”

VOLUME 3 – U.S. GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO ELECTION INTERFERENCE

How the elected U.S. government responded to the intelligence reports of Russian attacks on our election.

VOLUME 4 – U.S. INTELLIGENCE AGENCY RESPONSE

The methods and findings of the Intelligence Community are investigated, supported and justified.

VOLUME 5 – RUSSIAN CONNECTIONS WITHIN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN

Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort was actively working with a Russian intelligence officer who was a longtime business associate in Ukraine.

CONCLUSION

The Republican Senate report does not conclude that the results of the 2016 presidential election are invalid. As a user of the Senate report, I do reach that conclusion that the result was invalid.

8 anti-racism actions to take now

These eight action steps are written by Catrice M. Jackson and published in Bazaar on June, 8, 2020.

“1. Resist the urge to withdraw, lash out, and become defensive or emotionally brittle when black people speak the unfiltered truth about racism.
2. Refuse to be a co-conspirator with white terrorism by breaking the intergenerational legacy of white silence and complacency.
3. Recommit in every moment to be extremely uncomfortable and uncertain while on your anti-racism journey.
4. Stop being afraid to talk openly and directly about racism in general and your own racism in particular. White people always think it is “those other white people” who are the problem.
5. Grab a seat, sit down, and be quiet. White people are not the experts on racism. Listen much more than you speak.
6. Listen to black women, and if they’re willing to teach you, pay them for their labour.
7. Accept that there are no exceptional white people, but there are white people who do good things.
8. Understand that there is no perfect formula for becoming anti-racist, and that the work ends only when you take your last breath. Learn what the Weapons of Whiteness are, discover which ones are your go-to weapons, and be ready and willing to disarm yourself.”

Immorality of Soldiers and Police

Soldiers and police (I’ll just call them “militants” because it’s hard to distinguish when they are in combat gear) who were “just following orders” to side with this criminal federal government regime against the majority of the American people have a serious moral issue to deal with, and maybe more. In the worst cases police and soldiers committed atrocities against peaceful unarmed citizens carrying it their civic responsibilities this week. There are many well documented cases of unprovoked attacks on citizens and journalists. It is unacceptable and these people must be held accountable.

Protesting criminal government is a moral civic responsibility. Protecting the status quo of social inequality is not. No justice, no peace. These militants are on the wrong side of the moral divide.

Militants ironically stand between protesters and a well known symbol of our democratic system of government.

Actions have consequences. These militants are too young to remember society’s reaction against what was politicized as “baby killers” returning from Vietnam. Soldiers were shunned, couldn’t be hired, and faced social condemnation for at least a decade of the 1970s. “Just following orders” carriers even less respect today.

Militants reportedly attacked peaceful protesters and clergy on church grounds in Washington DC.

“First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me”

~ Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller Lutheran Pastor.

We must speak out. We must take action. And we will always seek justice.

Note: Of course I know that this blog post does not consider the many soldiers and police who act honorably. That’s the point. It’s not about them.

Police policy: what works, what does not

In the midst of horrible an reprehensible behavior by some police officers this week gassing, beating, arresting and shooting peaceful citizens elsewhere, I want to acknowledge that our Millville police walked peacefully with the community over the weekend and yesterday a New Jersey State Police officer from Port Norris stopped at my rural home and Baysave business just to ask if everything was OK. I really appreciated it. Thank you to all those officers! My family member in law enforcement are embarrassed and horrified by the aggressive actions by some police against peaceful protesters. Some police chiefs ‘get it’ and others just do not. The days of tough guy law and order mentality of “dominate the streets” being touted publicly by the president will just not work anymore. I appreciate president Obama’s statement yesterday that police policy happens at the local level, not by national policy. But why is it that some police chiefs ‘get it’ while others do not? Why is it that some understand the underlying the massively powerful force of resentment against government and others think they can maintain a ‘business as usual’ approach to law enforcement?

I didn’t know much about the topic of policing until my son was in law school focusing on criminal law and policing policies. (He won the school’s recognition award for exceptional performance in that area and had several great criminal law internships). In addition to conversations with the young lawyers, At first I was surprised that young lawyers are so opposed to traditional policing and criminal law tactics. Then I read a few books and resources on the topic to get a real education. I learned that we’ve been handling our policing and criminal law wrong for a very long time. It’s just like learning that spanking our kids was wrong and ineffective for all those generations. Unfortunately it is not reasonable to expect that the average person will educate themselves. The belief in outdated and ineffective policing persists in the minds of the majority of undereducated population (and especially politicians who think they know better). We are well familiar with “The Myth of the Rational Voter” concept as explained by author Bryan Caplan that a democratic process cannot be relied on for good public policy.

Those of us who study social policy and effective policing know that looting and rioting is an inevitable result of the decades of the widening gap in economic and social policies that are enforced by our government. Ultimately, we can’t fix police policy until we begin to address these other inequities. But no matter what, the policing policies of the past are wrong and ineffective and will only lead to more bad results.