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Archives for Joe Martin (page 1 / 80)

Black woman attacked by men wielding lighter fluid, racial slurs

Black woman attacked by men wielding lighter fluid, racial slurs →

Robert Chappell, writing for Madison365.

An 18-year-old Black woman says she was attacked with lighter fluid and flame early Wednesday morning by white men yelling racial slurs. She sustained second- and third-degree burns.

Althea Bernstein works as an EMT while studying to be a paramedic and firefighter. She says she was on her way to her brother’s house at around 1 am Wednesday when she reached a stoplight on Gorham Street near State Street in downtown Madison. She doesn’t remember for sure which intersection it was.

“I was listening to some music at a stoplight and then all of a sudden I heard someone yell the N-word really loud,” she said in an interview Wednesday. “I turned my head to look and somebody’s throwing lighter fluid on me. And then they threw a lighter at me, and my neck caught on fire and I tried to put it out, but I brushed it up onto my face. I got it out and then I just blasted through the red light … I just felt like I needed to get away. So I drove through the red light and just kept driving until I got to my brother’s (home).”

I never thought that I'd see this in Madison. This is absolutely reprehensible.

Accusing President Trump

Accusing President Trump →

In an election, I normally look for a candidate that I can vote for, rather than just voting against candidates. This Presidential election is not normal. In this election, I am absolutely voting against Donald Trump. Morally, he is our worst President since Richard Nixon. He may be the worst President since Andrew Johnson succeeded Abraham Lincoln.

But you don't have to take my word for it. David Roberts, writing for Vox, put together a damning indictment, as part of a larger article.

Trump has made no secret of his feelings toward protests and law enforcement generally. He once told Breitbart, “I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

He has advocated for the failed and racist “stop and frisk” policy to be expanded to new cities and called Democrats “anti-police.” He removed Obama-imposed limits on military equipment sold to police, encouraged police brutality, told states to “dominate” protesters, threatened protesters with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons,” and tweeted, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a prominent segregationist rallying cry from the civil rights era. He wanted to deploy 10,000 active-duty American soldiers to US cities to quell domestic protests and considered firing his secretary of defense, Mark Esper, when Esper resisted.

All this comes in the context of a long history of lurching authoritarianism. The first thing Trump did on entering office is flout the longstanding US tradition of presidents separating from their personal financial interests while in office. His business interests are still mixed up in affairs of state in ways no one fully understands, and his administration is openly deferential toward sectors of the economy that pledge loyalty to him.

He has completely shut down congressional oversight and is currently engaged in a purge of inspectors general, the independent watchdogs within government agencies. One of those IGs, at the State Department, was in the final stages of an investigation into whether some of Trump’s arms deals with the Saudis were legal.

He has pushed for loyalty tests at the FBI, the State Department, and the Department of the Interior, put immigrant kids in cages, used state power to force international allies to launch bogus investigations of his political opponents, and flouted impeachment despite compelling evidence of his guilt. He voiced support for the armed mob of right-wing protesters that stormed the Michigan legislature.

He has waged relentless war on independent journalism, called journalists enemies of the people, threatened to sue journalists, and denounced or threatened any media platform that fact-checks him.

Throughout it all, he lies, lies, lies — 18,000 times during his presidency, as of April. There is no discernible set of principles or governing philosophy at work, only Trump’s day-to-day impulses as he watches Fox News, stews in the residency, and tweets.

Trumpism, if there is such a thing, is a shameless disregard for norms and laws in service of a will to power. It runs on demands for loyalty, disregard of oversight, and devotion to dominating and humiliating opponents.

Yet the GOP has supported him, enabled him, and protected him from accountability, right up to voting him free of impeachment, covering for his disastrous coronavirus response, and echoing his calls for state violence. The party has followed his every impulse.

This November, I will be voting for Democrats across the board. As far as I can remember, this will be the first time that I've ever voted for Democrats. But, as Mr. Reagan said, "I didn't leave the Republican party, the Republican Party left me." As long as the Republican Party is the party of Trump, authoritarianism, bullying, and lying, I cannot vote for a single member of the party.

Stupid excuses for not investigating hangings

Stupid excuses for not investigating hangings →

Erika D. Smith, writing for the Los Angeles Times on racism in rural California.

There are huge problems in California’s high desert, ones that rival those in parts of the Midwest and Deep South.

It was only five years ago, for example, that Los Angeles County settled with the U.S. Department of Justice over allegations that deputies systematically harassed and discriminated against Black people and Latinos in Palmdale, including with military-style sweeps of federally subsidized Section 8 housing.

Unsurprisingly, when it comes to traffic stops, racial profiling is also a thing, which — and I’m just spitballing here — might be one reason so few Black men and women want to become deputies and patrol the high desert. Villanueva was complaining about this very thing on Monday, when a Palmdale resident called into the community conversation to press him about the lack of diversity on his force.

It’s an awful cycle of systemic racism that has led to where we are today.

Either the departments, if the sheriffs are to be believed, have deputies who are so ignorant that they can’t see why a Black man hanging from a tree would be evidence enough to start a homicide investigation.

Or, if we are to believe residents, we have deputies who believe Black lives are expendable. And since no one will notice when they are gone, why spend money and energy investigating a possible murder that will only rile up Black people and possibly shine a light on longstanding racist practices?

This entry was tagged. Racism California

Republicans And Democrats Agree On The Protests But Not Why People Are Protesting

Republicans And Democrats Agree On The Protests But Not Why People Are Protesting →

Michael Tesler, writing for FiveThirtyEight on how Americans view the protests.

there’s a pretty big gap in just how strongly Democrats and Republicans back the protests. In last week’s Economist/YouGov poll, for instance, 73 percent of Democrats said they strongly approve of the nonviolent protests, compared with just 27 percent of Republicans. And according to the most recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll, Democrats and Republicans are also fairly split on how peaceful the protests have been, how long they should last and what’s driving them. In that poll, Democrats were 40 points more likely than Republicans to say that the protests have been mostly peaceful and three-quarters of Republicans said they wanted the protests to stop now, compared to less than one-quarter of Democrats. Republicans were also 44 points more likely than Democrats to say the protests were primarily motivated by long-standing biases against the police, whereas most Democrats said the protests were motivated by a genuine desire to hold police accountable.

Republicans believe that people are demonstrating because they hate the police, Democrats believe that people are demonstrating because they want to hold the police accountable.

This entry was tagged. Police Racism

Students of color challenge Arizona schools to do more to address racism

Students of color challenge Arizona schools to do more to address racism →

Lily Altavena, writing for the Arizona Republic.

As police departments and corporations face public reckonings over systemic racism, schools, too, are confronting accusations of racism from current and former students and parents.

The Republic revisited more than a dozen racist incidents reported at metro Phoenix schools since 2016: Those incidents ranged from basketball spectators directing monkey noises at a Black player to students repeating the n-word over and over again in videos posted to social media.

This entry was tagged. Racism Arizona

Why You Need to Stop Saying "All Lives Matter"

Why You Need to Stop Saying "All Lives Matter" →

I can't possibly say this better than Rachel Elizabeth Cargle did, two months ago, in Harper's Bazaar.

Black lives did not matter when they were inhumanely transported like livestock from Africa. Black lives did not matter when they were lynched by the hundreds at the hands of the KKK. Black lives did not matter when they were attacked by dogs as they protested for equal rights.

With the weekly news cycle seeming to, without fail, include the death of at least one black boy at the hands of the police, or the body of a black woman being thrown to the ground by local law enforcement, or a black child being manhandled by the services meant to protect them, my heart sinks as I cling to the desire that black lives will matter.

If a patient being rushed to the ER after an accident were to point to their mangled leg and say, “This is what matters right now,” and the doctor saw the scrapes and bruises of other areas and countered, “but all of you matters,” wouldn’t there be a question as to why he doesn't show urgency in aiding that what is most at risk? At a community fundraiser for a decaying local library, you would never see a mob of people from the next city over show up angry and offended yelling, “All libraries matter!”—especially when theirs is already well-funded.

This is because there is a fundamental understanding that when the parts of society with the most pain and lack of protection are cared for, the whole system benefits. For some reason, the community of white America would rather adjust the blinders they’ve set against racism, instead of confront it, so that the country can move forward toward a true nation of justice for all.

My personal message to those committed to saying “all lives matter” in the midst of the justice-driven work of the Black Lives Matter movement: prove it. Point out the ways our society—particularly the systems set in place to protect citizens like police officers and doctors and elected officials—are showing up to serve and protect black lives. Illuminate the instances in which the livelihood of the black community was prioritized, considering the circumstances that put us into less-privileged spaces to begin with. Direct me to the evidence of justice for the bodies discarded at the hands of those in power, be it by unjustified murder, jail cell, poisoned water, or medical discrimination.

These are the things that must be rectified for us to be able to exhale. Until then, I'll be here, my black fist raised with Black Lives Matter on my lips.

The Biblical Problem With "Black Lives Matter"

What's the Biblical problem with "Black Lives Matter"? There isn't one.

Many, many people become very angry when they hear anyone say, "Black Lives Matter". They loudly respond with "ALL lives matter!", as though saying "black lives matter" means that only black lives matter.

Here's my take: All lives matter. But black lives getting ended has been widely ignored—as though black lives don’t matter. So I’ll happily emphasize that, yes, black lives matter.

Let me put it to you a couple of different ways.

Prodigal Sons Matter

Lisa Koons shared this on Facebook, and it was sent to me by a friend.

The father was waiting there with a big sign: #ProdigalSonsMatter

When the older brother saw it, he was angry, wouldn't attend the party, and moped around with his own sign #AllSonsMatter

Father: "Dude. It's not about you right now."

Lost Coins Matter

A woman owned 10 silver coins and lost one of them. She wrote #LostCoinsMatter on her planning board and cleared her schedule. Her friends, greatly desiring a brunch date, said, "But #AllCoinsMatter! You still have nine. Come with us!"

She, being wiser, said, "#AllCoinsMatter when you have all of the coins in hand. But when one is missing, #LostCoinsMatter and that coin temporarily becomes more important than all the rest."

She swept the floor. She turned on her brightest flashlight. She looked under every couch cushion, dumped out every bag, looked under every area rug, and searched on her hands and knees until she finally saw the bright gleam of her missing coin.

She'd missed the brunch date, but she'd ensured that now, truly #AllCoinsMattered.

Lost Sheep Matter

A man had one-hundred sheep and lost one of them. He threw up #LostSheepMatter on Twitter and asked for help finding it. His city-slicker cousin mocked him, saying #AllSheepMatter.

But the man left the ninety-nine in the pasture and searched for the lost one until he found it. He placed it on his shoulders and carried it home. When he got there, he texted his cousin saying, "#AllSheepMatter now that all of the sheep are home safe."

The Sermon On The Mount

Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor…"

A heckler from the crowd interrupted to say, "Well actually, all people are blessed, Jesus."

Hurt Cities Matter

Seen on Facebook:

For my all lives matter folks: when the Boston marathon was bombed everybody's profile picture went "Boston strong" nobody said "all cities are strong!"

When the Las Vegas shooting happened, people changed their profiles "stand with Vegas", nobody sais "well what about the people that got shot in my city?"

Have you ever seen someone counter a "breast cancer" post with "what about colon cancer?"

But for some reason if someone says "Black lives matter", it turns into all inclusive "all lives matter"

It's not an either/or proclamation. When there is a crisis we have always ralled around that particular group. It doesn't discredit or diminish any other group, it just bings awareness and support to the group that needs attention.

  • Unknown (if you figure out who the original author is please let me know so I can properly give credit)

Your Crime Matters

When your home has been robbed, do you want to hear your neighbor say, "#AllCrimesMatter"?

After Police Reform, Crime Falls In Camden

After Police Reform, Crime Falls In Camden →

Sarah Holder writes at CityLab about a change in policing, in Camden, NJ.

In 2013, the Camden Police Department was disbanded, reimagined, and born again as the Camden County Police Department, with more officers at lower pay—and a strategic shift toward “community policing.”

That meant focusing on rebuilding trust between the community and their officers.

“For us to make the neighborhood look and feel the way everyone wanted it to, it wasn’t going to be achieved by having a police officer with a helmet and a shotgun standing on a corner,” Thomson said. Now, he wants his officers “to identify more with being in the Peace Corps than being in the Special Forces.”

A conversation with Thomson about community policing is likely to involve many such catchy maxims. “Destabilized communities,” he told me, “need guardians, not warriors.” He explained the “Back to the Future Paradox”—use technology wisely, but pair it with regular-old “Bobbies on the street.” And he stressed the idea that public safety is about access to social services, economic rejuvenation, and good schools, not just cops: “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.”

As someone committed to seeing what the data shows, I do have to point out that—as of 2 years ago—it was too early to definitively call Camden's experiment a success.

The numbers themselves can be potentially misleading: Homicide rates, for example, aren’t necessarily a complete measure of urban violence. Just because fewer people are dying from gunshot wounds doesn’t mean fewer people are getting shot: It could also mean they’re getting better treatment, faster. One of Thomson’s Camden policies, nicknamed “Scoop and Go,” may be at work here, which mandates officers to personally drive victims to the hospital if ambulance wait times are too long. That saves lives, without really addressing the source of the violence itself. (Another possible factor: More victims are just getting to the hospital faster by calling an Uber.)

This entry was tagged. Police Reform

Buffalo Police have no respect for law & order

Buffalo Police have no respect for law & order →

59 Buffalo police have declared that they have no respect for law & order. Two of them were responsible for shoving an elderly gentlemen to the ground, giving him a scalp laceration and a concussion. The other 57 have just resigned from their position on the Emergency Response Team to protest the fact that the police brass suspended the two guilty police.

If the police can't handle facing scrutiny, oversight, and the possibility of discipline, they are not fit to wear the badge. Publish their names and then fire every. single. one. of. them.

L.A. woman is raising awareness for Breonna Taylor's death

L.A. woman is raising awareness for Breonna Taylor's death →

Just after midnight on March 13, Louisville police, executing a search warrant, forced their way into Taylor’s home. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a shot at an officer’s leg. The police fired back with at least 20 bullets, striking Taylor eight times [causing her death].

Walker, who said he thought they were being attacked by criminals, was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a police officer. The charges have since been dismissed. The police have not been charged, but the FBI is now investigating the shooting.

I know some people will want to focus on the fact that her boyfriend fired a shot at an officer's leg. "He attacked the police! It was his fault that Breonna died." Not so fast. Let's back up a step. The police executed a search warrant at midnight. What were they doing coming into a home after the residents were asleep in bed? And why did Kenneth Walker think that they were criminals?

The police were three plainclothes detectives. They were executing a no-knock warrant, looking for evidence on a drug dealer who had been arrested earlier that day. They thought that he might be having drugs shipped to Taylor and Walker's home. However, their suspicions were wrong.

Let's reframe this. After going to bed, Kenneth and Breonna woke to the sound of their door crashing in. Three men, dressed in every day clothes, charged through the door. Kenneth, who is a licensed gun owner, tried to protect his girlfriend from these home invaders. Rather than fleeing, as home invaders tend to do, these men answered with wild shooting. They shot off 20 rounds, managing to hit nearly every part of the house: the living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and both bedrooms. Breonna Taylor was hit eight times and killed.

Breonna Tayler deserves justice. She died because police decided to follow-up on a slim lead, on a warrant that they possibly lied to get, by breaking into a house at night, without knocking, announcing their presence, and giving the residents a chance to wake up. Or doing the even more sensible thing and executing the warrant while the house was empty, making everyone safer. Their recklessness and and sloppiness led to Breonna Taylor's death.

Hidden By A Myth

America's police force is idealized and mythologized in a way that blinds people to the reality on the ground. America's police departments are almost entirely lacking in accountability and in desperate need of reform. Some are fine. I'm not here to praise the often praised, because it distracts from the vitally important task of fixing what's broken. If that statement bothers you, then I ask you to consider whether you have an idealized view of the police that distorts your sight and blinds you to the evil that is done in the name of law and order.

Many Americans think our police forces are largely made up of Officer Friendly. He is someone who is dedicated and selfless. Someone courageous, even heroic. Someone highly trained. Someone who serves the community by upholding law and order. Someone who seeks justice. Someone who daily puts their life on the line to enter an urban warfare zone of lawlessness and crime.

What if that stereotype is too optimistic?

What if too many officers are undertrained, lacking the knowledge necessary to tame their fears and deescalate tense confrontations? What if a few others are cowardly bullies who use force to hide their fear? Or are thugs, who react to verbal aggression with physical aggression? What if those officers enjoy wearing the uniform because they enjoy exercising power over others? And what if too many officers create the conflict that they're trying to prevent, because they've been told to view those around them as enemies and they act accordingly?

Individual members of America's police forces have spent the last week revealing the truth about themselves through their actions. Don't assume that every clash with protestors was instigated by the protestors or that the anger the protestors feel is unjustified and easily dismissed. For the past 7 days, the bad actors among America's police forces have chosen to display the contempt that they have for law and order. Watch their behavior with an open mind. Please.

Are you paying attention?

Are you paying attention? →

Are you paying attention? The protests of the last 4 days have been trying to draw your attention to police brutality. To the fact that America's police use violence routinely and without fear of consequences. This is not a matter of a few bad apples. This is a culture of bad policing that exists throughout America. And with the eyes of the nation on them, America's police are giving the world many examples of their lawless, unrestrained behavior.

As you watch these videos, ask yourself how many of these uniform-wearing criminals will

  1. Ever be identified?
  2. Disciplined in any substantive way (loss of pay, loss of rank, fired, etc.)
  3. Arrested
  4. Charged
  5. Convicted
  6. Sentenced

We need to clean up America's police forces. Or we are complicit in their crimes.

P.S. And here's a thread of over 100 incidents of the police attacking journalists. Including a reporter who was permanently blinded in one eye from non-lethal ammunition. And an Australian reporter, punched in the face, on live television.

More deaths, no benefit from malaria drug in VA virus study

More deaths, no benefit from malaria drug in VA virus study →

I'm sure this is just fake news. There's no possible way that President Trump and Elon Musk could both be wrong about medicine. The VA is probably loaded with Deep Staters who will stop at nothing to bring Trump down. 🙄

A malaria drug widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals. There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported.

The nationwide study was not a rigorous experiment. But with 368 patients, it’s the largest look so far of hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin for COVID-19, which has killed more than 171,000 people as of Tuesday.

The study was posted on an online site for researchers and has been submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine, but has not been reviewed by other scientists. Grants from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Virginia paid for the work.

Researchers analyzed medical records of 368 male veterans hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus infection at Veterans Health Administration medical centers who died or were discharged by April 11.

About 28% who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died, versus 11% of those getting routine care alone. About 22% of those getting the drug plus azithromycin died too, but the difference between that group and usual care was not considered large enough to rule out other factors that could have affected survival.

Hydroxychloroquine made no difference in the need for a breathing machine, either.

Researchers did not track side effects, but noted hints that hydroxychloroquine might have damaged other organs. The drug has long been known to have potentially serious side effects, including altering the heartbeat in a way that could lead to sudden death.

Earlier this month, scientists in Brazil stopped part of a hydroxychloroquine study after heart rhythm problems developed in one-quarter of people given the higher of two doses being tested.

Why Southern Democrats Saved Joe Biden

Why Southern Democrats Saved Joe Biden →

Mara Gay traveled through the South, talking to black Democrats about their support for Joe Biden. She wrote about it in the New York Times.

For those who lived through the trauma of racial terrorism and segregation, or grew up in its long shadow, this history haunts the campaign trail. And Mr. Trump has summoned old ghosts.

“People are prideful of being racist again,” said Bobby Caradine, 47, who is black and has lived in Memphis all his life. “It’s right back out in the open.”

In Tennessee and Alabama, in Arkansas and Oklahoma and Mississippi, Democrats, black and white, told me they were united by a single, urgent goal: defeating Mr. Trump this November, with any candidate, and at any cost.

“There’s three things I want to happen,” Angela Watson, a 60-year-old black Democrat from Oklahoma City, told me at a campaign event there this week. “One, beat Trump. Two, beat Trump. And three, beat Trump.”

They were deeply skeptical that a democratic socialist like Mr. Sanders could unseat Mr. Trump. They liked Ms. Warren, but, burned by Hillary Clinton’s loss, were worried that too many of their fellow Americans wouldn’t vote for a woman.

Joe Biden is no Barack Obama. But he was somebody they knew. “He was with Obama for all those years,” Mr. Caradine said. “People are comfortable with him.” Faced with the prospect of their children losing the basic rights they won over many generations, these voters, as the old Chicago political saw goes, don’t want nobody that nobody sent.

Many Progressives, who long for a Revolution, have been angry about what they see as short-sighted support for a moderate who will ensure that "nothing changes" in the United States. But these black Americans have seen what's happening around them and aren't dreaming about striding forth into a Glorious Future. They're afraid of sliding back into a horrible past—a past that many of them lived through. I'm not going to second-guess their decision.

Rising Seas May Force U.S. Climate Refugees to the Same 5 Cities

Rising Seas May Force U.S. Climate Refugees to the Same 5 Cities →

Drew Costley writes about cities preparing for the impacts of climate change. Friend of the blog Adam Volle will be at ground-zero, in Atlanta.

Atlanta’s first Climate Action Plan, developed in 2015, informs how the city will prepare for 2040, the year the city’s population is expected to have tripled in size, in part due to climate migration — from 400,000 to 1.2 million.

“It’s sad that people have to leave their homes where they’ve lived their entire lives and that they have to mobilize because of climate change,” said Jairo Garcia, who helped develop the plan as Atlanta’s former director of climate policy and renewables. “But without the right planning, it’s going to put a lot of pressure on cities like Atlanta.”

“Just escaping sea level rise in the coastal region and moving a little bit further inland, that’s not going to do you a whole lot of good.”

The city’s 2040 Development Plan, folding in recommendations from the Climate Action Plan, outlines a strategy to extend its resources for an expanded population. One section of the document calls for “significantly more and improved public space to support the life of our growing city.” Most climate migrants, it predicts, will not have their own outdoor space. Plans to develop housing focus on densely populated communities, like apartments and condominiums, rather than single-family homes. The city is also preparing to become more public transit-oriented, with four bus rapid transit lines criss-crossing Atlanta’s metropolitan area and “off-street superhighways for bicycles” that follow old railroads in the area.

This entry was tagged. Global Warming

Trump Has Driven Away New Hampshire Republicans

Trump Has Driven Away New Hampshire Republicans →

From Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, at the New York Times, on how Mr. Trump has affected the party.

Yet if the New Hampshire Republican Party now belongs to the president, it has also seen a significant decline in enrollment.

“New Hampshire is going to be a challenge for him to win in November,” said Jennifer Horn, the former New Hampshire Republican chairman and a staunch critic of Mr. Trump. “A week ago, we had more than 20,000 fewer registered Republicans than there were Election Day in 2016.”

Ms. Horn noted that Republican candidates lost large, consistently red areas in the 2018 midterm elections, and that the same thing could happen here to Mr. Trump. While other state Republicans played down concerns about the drop in party members on the voter rolls as the natural ebb and flow that happens in a state with same-day voter registration, Ms. Horn said 20,000 was “way outside the norm.”

And the state’s demographics reflect the type of place where Mr. Trump will face challenges: concentrations of working-class whites, but multitudes of college-educated voters, who polls show have been abandoning the Republican Party.

Many Errors Are Evident in Iowa Caucus Results

Many Errors Are Evident in Iowa Caucus Results →

Nate Cohn, Josh Katz, Denise Lu, Charlie Smart, Ben Smithgall and Andrew Fischer analyzed the reliability of the caucus results, for the New York Times. My takeaway is that the caucuses are far too complex for providing an accurate distillation of voter preferences. They're fine for selecting county delegates, who then select state delegates, who then vote on who to support at the national convention. There's a certain elasticity to results when preferences are being filtered through that many levels of trust and reasoned judgment. That may have been the world we lived in 100 years ago, but it's not today's world, when voters expect their caucus alignment to directly support a given candidate.

You should read the entire article to see all of the different ways that the results got fouled up. Here's a sample.

The results released by the Iowa Democratic Party on Wednesday were riddled with inconsistencies and other flaws. According to a New York Times analysis, more than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of the Iowa caucuses.

In some cases, vote tallies do not add up. In others, precincts are shown allotting the wrong number of delegates to certain candidates. And in at least a few cases, the Iowa Democratic Party’s reported results do not match those reported by the precincts.

“The caucus math work sheet is the official report on caucus night to the I.D.P., and the I.D.P. reports the results as delivered by the precinct chair,” [Mandy McClure, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party (I.D.P.)] said. “This form must be signed by the caucus chair, the caucus secretary and representatives from each campaign in the room who attest to its accuracy. Under the rules of the delegate selection process, delegates are awarded based off the record of results as provided by each precinct caucus chair.”

To emphasize: the Iowa Democratic Party collates the results and publishes them, but isn't actually responsible for validating the data coming from the precincts. If it's calculated wrong at the precinct level, it'll stay that way.

The errors are detectable because of changes to the way the Iowa Democratic Party reports its results, put in place after the Sanders campaign criticized the caucus results in 2016. This cycle, and for the first time, the party released three sets of results corresponding to different steps in the caucus process. The rules are complex and thorough, and they create conditions in which the results can be obviously inaccurate or inconsistent within a precinct.

That these errors are only detectible now, after the Sanders campaign insisted on collecting and reporting more data, makes me wonder how often the numbers have been wrong before.

The Iowa Democratic Party has corrected some errors, but the errors became far more frequent on Wednesday as the count dragged on.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Iowa Democratic Party released a wave of results showing Deval Patrick sweeping central Des Moines. That was incorrect. Mr. Sanders’s votes had been reported as being for Mr. Patrick, while Elizabeth Warren’s tallies went to Tom Steyer.

A plausible explanation is that an Iowa Democratic Party staff member accidentally copied the results of one column too far to the left in a spreadsheet for some precincts. Such errors inevitably occur in manual data entry, but the Iowa Democratic Party does not appear to have enough quality checks to assure that it reports accurate results.

​What's the point of having a state-level political party if it's not setup to do the work of actually collecting and disseminating reliable information about what its members want? It sounds like a debate club with delusions of grandeur.

This entry was tagged. President2020

An ‘Off-the-Shelf, Skeleton Project’

An ‘Off-the-Shelf, Skeleton Project’ →

Jason Koebler, Joseph Cox, and Emanuel Maiberg, writing for Vice, provide a look at the app that was supposed to make it easy for volunteers to report the results of the Iowa caucuses.

Motherboard asked six cybersecurity and app development experts we trust to analyze the app. The app was built on top of React Native, an open-source app development package released by Facebook that can be used for both Android and iOS apps, according to Kasra Rahjerdi, who has been an Android developer since the original Android project was launched, and Robert Baptise, a white-hat hacker who has exposed security flaws in many popular apps and reviewed the code. Rahjerdi said that the app contains default React Native metadata and that it comes off as a "very very off the shelf skeleton project plus add your own code kind of thing."

"Honestly, the biggest thing is—I don’t want to throw it under the bus—but the app was clearly done by someone following a tutorial. It’s similar to projects I do with my mentees who are learning how to code," Rahjerdi said. "They started with a starter package and they just added things on top of it. I get deja vu from my classes because the code looks like someone Googled things like 'how to add authentication to React Native App' and followed the instructions," Rahjerdi said.

"The mobile app looks hastily thrown together," Dan Guido, CEO of cybersecurity consulting firm Trail of Bits, told Motherboard.

So the app has the look of something that was written by someone who's a newcomer to programming, rather than someone experienced.​

To properly login and submit results, caucus chairs had to enter a precinct ID number, a PIN code, and a two-factor identification code, each of which were six-digits long. "We saw a lot of people entering their precinct ID instead of their PIN in the PIN spot. There were some issues with not knowing where to put what credential, which is a difficult thing to design around,” Niemira said. “Having to sign in with three different six-digit numbers is confusing on the best day, but it was a call that was made in order to help keep this process as secure as possible.”

The app required users to keep track of 3 different 6-digit codes and enter them in the correct fields, during a confusing, high-pressure event. And those users are all volunteers, from a demographic that's not known for its fluency with technology. That's a complete failure of user-experience design.

According to state records, the app was built in several months at a cost of $63,182.

"We started our engagement with the IDP in August and began requirement gatherings and beginning to develop the app at that point, so we basically had the month of August, September, October, November, and December to do it, though requirements gathering takes a long time, so we didn’t have a final production version of this until pretty close to caucus time," Niemira said.

​The app was done in a rush, with no time to think through the requirements and create a design that would be usable, secure, and fault tolerant. Let alone to create code that was well-tested and robust. Or time to adequately train users and ensure that they had the app installed and working several weeks before the caucuses.

Election security experts have been saying for years that we should not put election systems online, and that we shouldn't be using apps to transmit results. And, if U.S. election officials are going to use apps like this, that they should be open to scrutiny and independent security audits.

“We were really concerned about the fact there was so much opacity. I said over and over again trust is the product of transparency times communication. The DNC steadfastly refused to offer any transparency. It was hard to know what to expect except the worst,” Greg Miller, cofounder of the Open Source Election Technology Institute, which publicly warned the IDP against using the app weeks ago, told Motherboard.

Stamos echoed that sentiment. "Our message is that apps like this should be developed in the sunlight,” he said, “and part of an open bug bounty."

Politicians seems to be allergic to doing things out in the open, with the full scrutiny and criticism that comes with transparency. This debacle is the inevitable result of secrecy, penny-pinching, tight timelines, and hubris.

Bernie Sanders Raised More in January Than Any Rival in Any Quarter

Bernie Sanders Raised More in January Than Any Rival in Any Quarter →

Some good news for fans of Senator Sanders, from Shane Goldmacher. If I'm going to point out why I think Sanders is a risky candidate (and I am), then it's only fair to point out one of the reasons why he's a strong candidate.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont raised $25 million in January, his campaign said on Thursday, a staggering sum that gives him an enviable financial advantage at an crucial moment in the Democratic primary race.

The $25 million haul is more money than any other candidate raised in any full quarter during 2019, including several presidential hopefuls who hold the big-dollar fund-raisers that Mr. Sanders forgoes. The announcement is the latest sign of an epochal change in money in politics, with candidates now able to finance a top-tier national campaign fueled by masses of donors giving a steady stream of small amounts.

The Sanders campaign also announced that it had received 1.3 million donations in January, and that more than 1.5 million different individuals had donated over the course of the campaign.

“Working-class Americans giving $18 at a time are putting our campaign in a strong position to compete in states all over the map,” said Faiz Shakir, Mr. Sanders’s campaign manager, in a statement.