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I just read a frankly horrifying article positing that Russian sabotage of the US Presidential election may well have extended to the hacking of several State’s electronic voting systems, and outright tampering with votes:

Russian vote tampering?

I won’t reiterate the attached article, which you can read at your leisure, but it would appear that Russian penetration of various electronic voting systems was more extensive than first acknowledged by the relevant authorities, and that when viewed as a whole, the unreasonable conclusion, arguably, is that the Russians didn’t actually rig voting in some areas. This dovetails with discrepancies between exit polls in some key battleground states, which are usually quite accurate, and official voting results, the former narrowly favouring Clinton, the latter swinging by a similar margin to Trump.

Good God. What if Trump can be shown to be the fraudulent victor of a literally rigged vote?

I’m not sure what the constitutional mechanism would be here. Impeachment, obviously, but if successful this simply results in the next Republican in the line of succession taking over the office – Mike Pence, May God have mercy – and that seems woefully inadequate if no Republican administration should have existed to begin with. Yet there’s nothing in the Constitution that I’m aware of that would permit Clinton to be installed instead, supposing anyone would be willing to risk the civil war that would probably result. And what of all those Trump executive orders, if Trump should never have been there to make them – are they invalid? The appointments to the Supreme Court? All the bills he’s signed, including the tax bill that changes so much and is so dear to Trump’s enablers? Who’s to decide – the freshly-stacked Supreme Court?  On what principles and precedents? Do we treat it as analogous to corporate law situations in which the actions of defectively-appointed officials are validated, despite the invalidity of their appointments – do we dare resort to remedies best suited to mundane business misdemeanours when such high matters of governance and governmental legitimacy are determined? Do we dare do anything else?

God help us.  The mess would be so big it doesn’t bear thinking about, which is why I expect that official inquiry along these lines might be suppressed by Democrats and Republicans alike. Down that road lies utter chaos, and the perhaps irremediable destruction of public confidence.

We may already have been thrust down that road anyway. I’ve been musing lately, to the mighty boredom of those around me, that this conspiracy might be far broader, far more breathtaking in its scope, than we’ve allowed ourselves to imagine. Mueller’s latest indictments, so remarkably precise and detailed in their allegations of just who exactly in the GRU was up to what, and when he was up to it, mentioned an unidentified Congressman who was a subscriber to the stolen kompromat made available by “Guccifer 2.0”, the nebulous dirty tricks entity conjured into existence by Putin’s trolls. If this was a Hollywood thriller, the motivation for the constant obstruction of Devin Nunes and his Republican Congressional henchmen wouldn’t be the mere desire to see Trump’s agenda of tax cuts and deregulation reach fruition. It would be because they’re all complicit too.

And what are we to make of the penetration of the NRA and other Republican inner circles by Russian honey trap Marina Butina, who apparently traded sex for access, and who might somehow be involved in funneling a great fricking river of Russian oligarch money to Republican politicians via the National Rifle Association? What if the whole election was funded through another iteration of Trump’s many money laundering scams?

Who else is in on this? Republican governors? The Koch brothers? Just how big a criminal is Trump, anyway? How is it possible that Donald will be allowed to appoint the Supreme Court judge who may be crucial in deciding his fate if more of this comes to light? What’s Mikey Cohen about to spill? What will come out of the Manafort trial? What’s Mueller know? Just how off-the-wall batshit crazy is all of this, really?

Read more along these lines here:

Dirty Rubles

The dark, sordid, desperately dangerous places this could go – nobody in the right frame of mind could relish this unfolding catastrophe. Empires have burst into flames over this kind of intrigue. This is last-days-of-Rome, horse-in-the-Senate, Visogoths-through-the-gates, cats-sleeping-with-dogs, sphincter factor 9.5 material. Perhaps, at this point, clapping our palms over our ears and singing “la la la” is a perfectly valid way to deal.

Update: For an informed response to the theory that Russians might have actually tampered with votes, read this spirited piece that says the idea is based on false assumptions, and that there’s no good evidence for it:

Russian Hacking Not the Culprit

The author of this rebuttal makes some very persuasive points about the complexities involved in trying to deconstruct what leads to Republican victories when the popular vote, by all available polling and demographic data, shouldn’t be breaking the GOP’s way. His main fear is that assertions that the Russians might actually be able to hack electronic voting apparatus amounts to an argument that it’s therefore not worth voting – which is not my takeaway at all. Here in Canada, we manage to run perfectly efficient and secure elections, at both federal and provincial levels, in which votes are counted electronically but paper back-ups are preserved for recount purposes – so I would think the more natural response to fears of vote tampering would be to advocate for better voting systems, instead of the half-assed crazy quilt of vulnerable state-run processes one sees in America.

The author’s primary substantive point, boiled down, is that there’s no need to resort to Russian vote rigging as an explanation, because the GOP is stealing elections all by itself by way of gerrymandering and voter suppression.

Oh, OK then. Now I feel better.

It seems to me that even if it looks like Russian vote tampering didn’t occur last time, they were mucking about in America’s electronic election infrastructure, and we should be terrified of what they might try next time. An eleven year old hacker just demonstrated her ability to penetrate an example of the electronic machinery used in Florida’s voting system, at a hacker conference in Vegas, and we have also become aware that the Russians did penetrate the Florida voter registration system. Concerted action is necessary, right now, to secure these rickety state systems.

Kid Hacks Voting System

Can the Russians Hack Elections?

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