The 2016 elections taught us to watch for attacks that undermine the legitimacy of elections


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/06/19/legitimacy-attacks.html


#2

I thought it was a joke back in 16’, but it ain’t funny no more.


#3

It’s important to remember that Putin’s primary goal behind efforts like this is destroying confidence in Western liberal-democratic institutions. Anything else is a bonus for him.


#4

That doesn’t seem to be the meat of his second point. Felton points out in the quoted text that the idea of appearing to attack the legitimacy is both easier and just as effective.


#5

I heard he hates us for our freedoms.


#6

Historically thats not entirely untrue of the model of the Russian Strong Leader. There is a pretty consistent pattern of the state filtering information from the outside and deciding on what is true and good for the populace, etc and so on.


#7

Very true.

“Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States, or to promote the success of its enemies, or shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements, or say or do anything except by way of bona fide and not disloyal advice to an investor or investors, with intent to obstruct the sale by the United States of bonds or other securities of the United States or the making of loans by or to the United States, and whoever when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause, or incite or attempt to incite, insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall willfully obstruct or attempt to obstruct the recruiting or enlistment services of the United States, and whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy of the United States into contempt, scorn, contumely, or disrepute, or shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any language intended to incite, provoke, or encourage resistance to the United States, or to promote the cause of its enemies, or shall willfully display the flag of any foreign enemy, or shall willfully by utterance, writing, printing, publication, or language spoken, urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production in this country of any thing or things, product or products, necessary or essential to the prosecution of the war in which the United States may be engaged, with intent by such curtailment to cripple or hinder the United States in the prosecution of war, and whoever shall willfully advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated, and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished”

and of course, for our UK friends -

“No person shall by word of mouth or in writing spread reports likely to cause disaffection or alarm among any of His Majesty’s forces or among the civilian population.”


#8

The bad news is, paper trails and other auditing means will NEVER be introduced into the system, because our fearless leaders see them as detrimental to their interests. You have to remember why electronic voting machines did not include better security and auditing right from the start - our own politicians want them to be hackable because they want to be the people doing the hacking. All elections in this country have always involved voting the graveyard and ballot box stuffing and other nefarious means of manipulating the counts. But those things were slow, hard to manage, had to be set up well in advance, and were expensive because they required a lot of people. When the first idea of electronic voting came along, the party leaders figured they had a much cheaper and more efficient means of jiggering the count. Now, instead of having to hire armies of bums and getting them cleaned up and bused to the voting booths, all the party leaders have to do is hire one hacker who is better than the one hired by the other party. The only thing new and different in the 2016 election is neither party anticipated the extent of interference from Russians and maybe others. But such short-sightedness is typical of a damn politician. No matter what comes out of any investigation, the voting machines will remain childs’ play for hackers because that is what the slime who control this country want. They’d rather have the damn Russians pick our President for us than take a chance on giving up being able to steal an election.


#9

IDK. I don’t need to involve any foreign power, leader, or actor for the not-so-currently not-so-much-newly appearing discomfort with the democratic process, especially in regard to the representation of the will of so-called common people.

Seriously, I grew up with the feeling of disenfranchisement. Everyone I know except those from upper middle class families (and above) who did (or will) inherit(ed) the fruits they didn’t till the fields for have or had the strong feeling about not being properly represented.

Personally, I grew out of this - by leaving my un-comfort zone and actually engaging in parts of the democratic process, e.g. in NGO’s. I was lucky enough to be on the board of an organisation with 35k members with a grassroots consensus approach. I learned a lot. Especially about people telling everyone they would not be represented by me, and people who suspected puppet masters behind the scenes.

That said, the illiberal assholes in power anywhere truly have something to gain if the so-called western democracy is in crisis. QED presidential election 2016.
And Macron, as alternative model, still will have to prove himself. Going to be a tough ride.


#10

You may not need it, but you’re politically aware and informed. Putin’s psyop activities (propaganda, hacking, funding right-wing populists, etc.) are aimed at spreading FUD amongst low-information American exceptionalists, Little Englanders, and their counterparts in other Western liberal democracies. As it happens, those types also tend to be prime candidates to become right-wing authoritarian followers. Convince enough of them that the ideals that liberal democracy aspires to don’t work and that illiberal democracy is an acceptable alternative and suddenly the post-war Western political consensus underlying NATO and the EU starts looking shaky.

Putin benefits from a disunified, isolationist, protectionist and xenophobic West for obvious reasons, so I can’t blame him for supporting Il Douche, the Brexit forces, Le Pen, and the other ugly right-wing movements that have crawled out from under the rocks in recent years.


#11

I don’t know if its as bad as you make it out to be, but if it was that bad, and I believed it was that bad, it would be pitchfork time. I’m hoping its not pitchfork time.


#12

It seems to me there were three groups, not one, driving the implementation of voting machines. Obviously the group you’ve already identified, who saw a cheaper way to suborn elections, but also a group who saw the opportunity to profiteer from the voting machine companies, and finally a group we’ll call “the patsies” whose starry-eyed faith in technology is matched only by their vast lack of actual technical expertise.

Most politicians I’ve met personally have been fundamentally incapable of evaluating the risks of machine voting. They are expert at getting elected and have few (if any) other knowledge-based skills.


#13

I don’t doubt Asshat In Charge of Russian Federation benefits from the crisis of democracy.

But I think it’s just lazy to arrgue He Who Must Not Be Mocked is The Cause™ or The Root of all Evil©.

I’m currently tired of conspiracy theories. I like them, in general. It’s fun, for a while. But FFS, you can just switch names in most of those.

The terrible truth is: this is us. Not then. At least not as a cause. Them, they may have propaganda. But we, we have a problem. (And propaganda of our own, but that’s a different thread.)


#14

I’m not arguing that Putin’s the root cause or that there’s any real conspiracy being spearheaded by him; the Shirtless Wonder is pretty open about what he’s doing (seems to have fun with it, in fact). Putin’s just the primary state actor taking advantage of a deeper problem in the politics of the West, namely the outcome of the pursuit of unsustainable, race-to-the-bottom neoliberal globalism that’s left a lot of poorly educated people stranded and angry. Meddling with elections is one way he turns that situation to his advantage.


#15

Thanks for the clarification.


#16

The Socialist Party of Great Britain found a way around that.

As a result of press censorship during that war (WWII), the Socialist Standard was not able to publish articles directly critical of the war. Instead, they published articles discussing ancient history, including the Peloponnesian War as veiled allegories of the contemporary conflict. The Socialist Standard noted that “while we deeply regret having to adopt this course, we cannot see any workable alternative to it.”


#17

I may not agree with you about everything, but here I think your insight is unassailable.

Certainly a lot to work with there! Nice hack, perhaps all the more so given the greater knowledge of the classics among educated people of the time.


#18

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