SocraticGadfly: #Recount2016 — Green Party split, calling out BS (newly updated)

December 04, 2016

#Recount2016 — Green Party split, calling out BS (newly updated)

What does Jill Stein hope to do with a selective recount based on partisan,
largely Clintonista, spinning in just three states?
Building on my original thoughts about the recount that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein called for in the "flipped" states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, here's the latest updates, and my analysis of them, and opinion of them.

First, via friend Brains' update, Wisconsin and Michigan seem to be moving ahead straightforwardly. Pennsylvania state law is a much tougher nut to crack.

But, now, the analysis and opinion.

As for some Wisconsin precincts showing more than 100 percent voting? Even Brad Friedman of Brad Blog (no links; I don't link to JFK conspiracy theorists or fellow travelers, as well as 9/11 truthers or fellow travelers, and Brains already knows what I think of Friedman) admits that this is due to same-day voter registration and the number of registered voters not yet being updated. Yes, he's right, this could be done sooner. Other than that sub-issue, though, this doesn't seem to be a huge issue, IMO. (And, no, Friedman can't be well nailed down on either conspiracy theory, but he has enough of an online electron trail that I feel comfortable calling him a fellow traveler on both. Plus, he has demonstrated other douchery elsewhere, in my opinion.)

As for Richard Hayes Phillips' claims in an interview with Friedman that 80 percent turnout in some places in Ohio is a clear indication of fraud? Bullshit.

Fair Vote, looking ahead a couple of years from 2004 to the 2012 election, notes that five states had statewide voting turnout above 70 percent in 2012. I have no doubt that a great number of precincts, and a fair number of counties, passed 80 percent. And, I think it's reasonable to extrapolate that back to 2004. So, the idea that Phillips, per his book's title, was "Witness to a Crime," I highly doubt. Mark Hertsgaard, linked in my original piece, and here, has addressed his undervote claims on Kerry vis-a-vis a gay black judicial candidate. And, Robert F. Kennedy's involvement? Robert F. Kennedy is also a conspiracy theorist about his uncle's assassination AND an antivaxxer, an antivaxxer so bad Salon officially withdrew a story of his. And, no, when one believes in multiple such conspiracies, it's not an ad hominem to bring it up.

Further refutation of undervote conspiracy theory, or of bad machine scanning of ballots, even? Wisconsin set a record for write-in votes. People just didn't like either Clinton or Trump, even whlie caring enough to vote in other races.

(Update, Dec. 12: While the FBI and CIA disagree on their motivation on alleged Russian hacks into the Democratic National Committee computer system (along with possible alleged Republican National Committee hacks as well), the two agencies agree that the decentralized nature of US voting, among other things, make a hack of voting systems highly unlikely.)

Eventually, yes, TWO (and no more) Ohio elections officials were convicted on what was a technically a fraud charge but really was laziness in producing non-random ballot samples for recounting. Nothing more.

This is exactly the whole can of worms, or better, hovel of cockroaches, being opened that some people worried about when Stein first started the recount.

Snopes, meanwhile, has already tackled most of the mainly right-wing claims about the 2012 election. That said, many of them already apply to this election.

As I snarked on Facebook a week ago about Clintonistas, the same applies to the alt-left — if you're only going to be selective members of the reality-based community, I don't have a lot of use for you.

Now, the Green Party split, documented on the website of Green Party Maryland Senate candidate Margaret Flowers.

First, this:
The decision to pursue a recount was not made in a democratic or a strategic way, nor did it respect the established decision making processes and structures of the Green Party of the United States (GPUS).  The recount has created confusion about the relationship between the Green and Democratic parties because the states chosen for the recount are only states in which Hillary Clinton lost. There were close races in other states such as New Hampshire and Minnesota where Clinton won, but which were not part of the recount. And this recount does not address the disenfranchisement of voters; it recounts votes that were already counted rather than restoring the suffrage of voters who were prevented from voting.
This has several points that need unpacking. If you're going to bust the chops of Ralph Nader for rejecting the party executive committee in 2000, and refusing to run a safe-state campaign, then this holds true for Stein as well. (I actually agreed with Nader's idea, because you either run to win, and believe you should, or you don't. But, I disagreed with his action, just as I disagreed with British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for not following his party's executive and offering a full-throated rebuttal of Brexit.)

Second, yes, on the recount. Minnesota is as close as Pennsylvania, as Wikipedia shows, and New Hampshire is closer than Wisconsin and almost as close as Michigan.

That leads to this subpoint:
As a candidate, Dr. Stein has the right to call for a recount. However, we urge the GPUS to distance itself from any appearance of support for either Democrats or Republicans. We are well aware of the undemocratic actions taken during the primaries by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Greens cannot be perceived to be allied with such a party.
In fact, I agree, re the recount issue, that I signed the letter (the Flowers link) myself. So has Green Party Texas chairman Aaron Renaud, among others.  And, as I said in a comment on his post, Brains may disagree. Wake me up when Stein calls for Minnesota and New Hampshire recounts. This is ESPECIALLY true since Friedman claims that hacked Diebold machines gave Clinton a primary victory in New Hampshire in 2008 over Obama. Damn, I love the sound of petards hoisting.

(Update, May 12, 2018: By state law, Minnesota was not close enough to recount. New Hampshire changed state law in 2014 and Stein didn't qualify, though Clinton certainly did. NH law has a 'closeness' issue that applies to the candidate wanting to file the recount vs. the winner, not the first vs. second split. Doesn't change that NH was closer than Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, and almost as close as Michigan. And, Stein-Cobb never, to my memory, offered up state laws as a reason for not doing these two recounts.

And with that, I want to look at another close election – 1976. Carter won Iowa, Maine and Oregon all by one percentage point or less. Oklahoma by 1.2 points. But neither Ford nor indy candidate Eugene McCarthy asked for any recounts. There you are, Jill.)

That's despite Stein telling Gail Collins of the the New York Times op-ed staff that she doesn't consider one candidate preferable to the other.  (Of course, Collins went semi-Krugman in her bashing of the Green Party. Stein's right; most of us weren't voting for Clinton no matter what.)

Besides the fact that Stein is now officially supporting "lesser evilism," she appears to be supporting the "Putin did it," despite retiring Director of National Intelligence James Clapper saying a week after the election (nice timing) that his office has no proof Putin was behind most of this stuff. And, beyond that, as I've said repeatedly, anybody who Googles "Frank Giustra" + "Russia" + "uranium" knows Vladimir Putin had plenty of reasons to be cozy to Hillary Clinton, despite her warhawking on Syria and elsewhere. In fact, Clinton as a "known commodity" might have been appreciated more in some ways than Trump as a loose cannon, even if a potentially weak one.

As for paying for this additional recounting? Simple. You solicit rich Republicans as well as rich Democrats. If they don't pony up, you cut the recount to just Michigan and New Hampshire. (Actually, the RNC could in Minnesota, at least, use it as an excuse for voter roll purging, except for Minnesota having an all-Democratic state government.) Besides, in New Hampshire, in 2004, it was just $2,000 for the filing fee, plus additional actual costs. That's it, per Nader's overlooked 2004 recount; more on that from the WaPost. A Democratic recount of the 2008 primary there cost $67,000 and change; per the Secretary of State, the GOP primary recount cost $57,000, suggesting $130-140K for actual costs plus that filing fee for the general election presidential race this year. Out of $5 million or whatever in funds raised, that would be a drop in the bucket.

(Sidebar: New Hampshire showed some of the same non-anomalous urban-rural vote splits as this year's states in question.)

Contra a person on a Green Party FB group, as of 2008, Kucinich asked for a Dem primary recount despite finishing well out of the money. It still seemed then that distant finishers just needed to pony more money.

Heck, even Stein's own Veep nominee, Ajamu Baraka, opposes the recount.

I haven't found info yet on a price for Minnesota recounts; here's the basics of the mechanism, per its secretary of state's office. Per another site, I can't find a filing fee, just a discussion of actual costs to be paid for the work itself. Here's an overview of how two previous recounts in other statewide offices went there.

Anyway, the bottom line is the issue of propriety. Greens, including any on the executive committee, or other national committees, surely know this. Had Stein asked for a recount in just one state, the red/blue issue wouldn't come up. But, she's clearly bird-dogging computer scientists Alex Halderman et al, per my initial post.

There, I noted that Michigan State's Halderman had deliberately picked the three states that would push Clinton past 270. Even a blind fucking monkey could see that. So too can someone who's been active with the Green Party more than a decade. I've unfollowed my discussion on FB on this with Gil Obler (he posts to "public," so not violating privacy there) for that reason.

Third, yes. Now, Stein has touted Maine's 2018 ranked choice voting adoption. But, it doesn't address voter suppression by race or income class — or by party affiliation. She has spoken on all of those before, though, as a partial counter.

Finally, as Brains has hinted elsewhere, this is about Stein's political future, then her 15 minutes of fame are more than over. The Green Party no more needs her to run a third time than Democrats, and the nation, need a third Hillary Clinton run. And, if she's the only thing standing between a Cynthia McKinney or worse in 2020, then that's the party's fault first, the anti-third party structure of laws in 50 states second.

Besides that, Counterpunch exposes the backstory of her relation to the party's executive committee and her degree of dalliance with one particular Democrat. Did you know that, before she offered to step aside for Bernie, she explicitly endorsed him in the California Democratic primary?

That said, Brandy Baker lost me at "make (Greg) Palast relevant again." No, no, no. That man and his mythic fedora are both fucking loons in the Friedman/RFK Jr. class.


Update: Stein (NOT the Green Party) has a recount FAQ on its website, which leads to further issues.

First, she essentially tap-dances around why she's only recounting the three states in question.

We are conducting these recounts because independent election experts have pointed to 'statistical anomalies' in the presidential election results in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Has been refudiated by me in my first post.

Alex Hackerman's claims have been refuted by other election analysts, first. Second, Hackerman elided over the fact that Michigan has paper, or at least a paper trail, for all ballots in the state; he comes off as intellectual dishonest. Third, it's surely no coincidence that those are the three closest Trump-won states that would push Clinton over 270 EVs. Fourth, had Trump lost, we'd have other election experts saying the same about Minnesota and New Hampshire, and also likely wrong.

Also, from that same subpoint in her FAQ, which is about hacking, if Putin were behind this, as I noted in my original post, he would have covered his trail better, with the possible exception of wanting to rub it in American faces. (And, this ignores the massive degree we intervened in Russia's 1996 election and more.)

She then talks more directly about "why these states" in another subpoint, but adds little new. She then tries to pass it off by saying "many filing deadlines have already passed."

Next is her tagging the Party in Tweets responding to questions, even though a majority of the executive committee has condemned the recount. "Interesting," at least. At least she's honest enough to admit in another subpoint that this is her personal project. In yet another subpoint, she does mention Ohio 2004, without giving full details. As for whether the Ohio recount prompted California to ditch DRE machines, without links to news stories, as I Google for myself, we'll just let that lie. Well, no we won't. California was casting a skeptical eye on Diebold before the Ohio recount, per this subsection of a Wikipedia article about the company formerly known as Diebold Election Systems.

Versus people above, Bruce Schneier has a good, straightforward article on the basics of accuracy issues and paper trails with voting machines. And with that, I've wasted enough time on the update.

Well, let me add one thing.

This shows why I vote for ideas and ideals first, ahead of individuals.

I'll probably have a third, briefer post in the next several days about this.

Well, now Palast and his mythical fedora have weighed in, started with a blanket claim that Stein isn't hunting Russians. It's true she's never directly used the word "Putin," BUT — both she and the Haldermans of this issue have hinted at "foreign elements," and one would have to be an even dumber fuck than Palast to think Halderman and Stein meant anything other than Vlad the Impaler.

And claiming that most "undervotes" were actually machine-read intended votes, without any proof to that end. (I've undervoted myself, including in the current election, very deliberately.) I'll definitely have more later.

And, I do have more, including a weigh-in from Palast's doppelgänger, Greg AtLast. It's a must-read!


Update 2, Dec. 3/4: Stein has dropped her petition for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania after being ordered to post a $1 million bond. Given the $140,000 or so that a recount in New Hampshire would cost, that's probably not an unreasonable request. And, given that she's raised now, what, $7 million and counting, even if Wisconsin has an estimated price tag of $3.5 million, or more, she has the money for the bond.

I'm also with Andrea Merida Cuellar that the money could be better spent here in Texas, in the hopes of getting Martina Salinas above 5 percent on the RRC race and so avoiding a 2018 petition drive. (That said, with Salinas at 3.3 percent, the likelihood of a recount pushing her to 5 percent is as unlikely as Stein flipping any states from Trump to Clinton.)

That said, I am even more with her on this:
“At this point after Election Day, we do have to recalibrate within the Green Party toward the Green Party and away from the Jill Stein campaign,” she added.
 Stopping the Pennsylvania recount only makes that more necessary.

Stein's response? Move the Pennsylvania recount request to federal court. Sidebar result, per Merida above? NBC gets headline in link wrong, talks about Green Party recount. And, Stein is no more likely to gain traction from the federal court system than she was from state courts. Federal district court will likely simply remand her case to the state system.

A Michigan court has ordered the recount there to continue.


Update 3, Dec. 4: We're now officially in silly season. Reform Party/independent candidate Rocky de la Fuente is seeking a recount in Nevada, a state Clinton won by 2.4 percent. OTOH, per the main theme of this post, he says he wants to counterbalance Stein's recounts, so, there's that.


Update 4, Dec. 4: This is something I will expand on in a post in about a week or so. The North Star's Mark Lause does a good job of explaining all the rabbit trails and spider webs within the national Green Party, its relation to various state Green Parties, and more.
Except for a few states, the Greens are not a membership party and there are no national standard of what membership entails.  It describes itself as an alliance of autonomous state parties, an organizational structure that represents a kind of synthesis of the ideology of John C. Calhoun with impulses of a particularly flakey and apolitical New Age libertarianism.  Some states have organizations of tens of thousands of members and others consisting of handfuls of people whom get to represent their entire state.   Although often no more than paper parties, the latter can do anything pretty much anything it wants, including a decision to not run in elections at all and even to support Democrats that seem acceptable for one reason or another.  As far as that goes, the same applies to local groups.  This has permitted the party in my city and state to endorse Democrats with depressing regularity while regularly running no more than a handful of Greens statewide.

Funnier yet? He's from the Green Party of Ohio — the same Green Party as Bob Fitrakis. 


Update 5, Sept. 26, 2017: The AP confirms that Homeland Security says Wisconsin was never targeted by the Russkies, further undercutting the Stein-Cobb recount rationale. It is true that Wisconsin's voter ID law seems to have deterred thousands from voting. But, that's not the Russkies, and besides, both halves of the duopoly try to deter third-party voters all the time.

Glenn Greenwald has more on this.

And now, Texas is pushing back, saying we weren't hacked. California says the same.

What's even sadder from a Green Party point of view is that, even before Election Day last year, the David Brock/Peter Daou attack dog Democratic apparatus was already sliming Stein with the "friend of Putin" fake narrative, based on her trip to Moscow and sitting at the same table as Putin.

And, what happened?

She either unwittingly fell for fake news related to Putin, or else knowingly propagated it, as part of her call for a recount. I'm honestly not sure which. In either case, if she wanted to lessen the AccommoGreen slime that she and Cobb attached to themselves, she could make a statement now that she's sorry the duopoly keeps peddling the "Putin Did It." But, so far, I've not really seen that.

A lot of individual Greens are rejecting it — and many rejected it long ago. That said, many still are attached to it themselves.


PDiddie said...

You're just a little -- no, make that a lot -- too cynical and angry for me to buy much of any of this.

Hate all ya want, brother, but Stein isn't collaborating with the Democrats, or George Soros, or even the Russians on this.

Gadfly said...

First, I'm by no means alone on this, if you've seen the Green Party executive statement, read the Counterpunch piece, or read some posters on Facebook. (They're not "public" in their FB postings, so can't put them here.)

Second, never said Stein was "collaborating." But, given that she's bird-dogging Clintonistas on this, and she's asked for recounts, per THEIR call, for the three closest states that would put Clinton over 270, without collaboration, it's clear who she's aiding.

It's bad optics, pure and simple. Many GP officials know that hence the executive committee statement.


As for emotions? They're more, and more complex, than straight anger.

With Stein, it's probably disgust. Maybe other stuff.

It's also sadness over the part of the GP executive committee that, for whatever reasons, did not vote to condemn Stein. It's also sadness over other GP insiders who regret this becoming public, and put all the blame for that on the GP executive.

As for the likes of Friedman? You and I will disagree on his value, and accuracy, and helpfulness vs hurtfulness of the GP being connected to him over this. This is exactly what many people worried about when the recount was first called.

Gadfly said...

Oh, nine months later, plenty of people besides me, including some higher-ranking braves within the GP, stand by the idea that, if not a direct coordination with Dems, it was on the same level of collaboration as endorsing Bernie in the Cal Democratic primary, then offering to step aside for him.

And, I never said she was collaborating with the Russians. Rather, she was using the "Putin Did It" claims as part of the reason she said she wanted a recount, and that's now been refudiated in Wisconsin, at least.