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The Republican Mission to Destroy the U.S. Postal Service


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#41 JackD

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 03:39 PM

If there are applicable state statutes they can obviously be prosecuted by the state. The statute I thought was being discussed is a federal statute and I was simply pointing out that that was unlikely to.be prosecuted by Barr and couldn't be by state prosecutors. I doubt that federal administration of the post office, even with Trump's statements of intent, would be allowed to be prosecuted by a state, pursuant to a state statute, should the Supreme Court be presented with the question. Should such a prosecution be pursued, I think it would go to the Supreme Court unless lower courts stopped it. Stealing mail ballots might be different but that's not what's being discussed. FWIW.

ETA: I just noticed a story about a New Jersey Congressman who's urging his state's attorney general to empanell a grand jury to investigate whether the federal actions vis a vis the Post Office constitute interference with New Jersey's election since it has announced it intends to conduct the election largely be mail. Maybe we'll get an answer to your issue.

#42 AnBr

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 07:40 PM

View PostLFC, on 15 August 2020 - 11:30 AM, said:

WaPo is tracking the reductions in sorting capacity. Don't they look ... interesting. The memos show that this plan was in the works months before DeJoy was put in place. This is a long-term Republican plan to destroy our democracy.

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I'm not sure what the reasoning is for targeting blue states where he has no chance, unless it is merely to limit the popular vote regardless of the EC outcome. The swing and potential swing states make sense. Me, I'll just drop it off at one of the election centers we have around town for early voting. A little inconvenient, but no biggie.
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#43 baw1064

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 08:00 PM

View PostAnBr, on 15 August 2020 - 07:40 PM, said:

I'm not sure what the reasoning is for targeting blue states where he has no chance

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#44 Rue Bella

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 08:29 PM

Turns out some of the mailboxes that were removed were 2 or 3 very heavily used ones close to me. Right in front of the post office with a special drive-up lane. Now gone. So now you have to pull in, park in a tiny parking 'lot' that is always insanely crowded, and walk in to drop off mail.

Our ballots go out 29 days before the election, and can be returned at any time.There are 3 drop off boxes for the entire county. Three. Though there is a rumor that there might be more coming. The one closest to me is only a couple miles away. Easy on, easy off the freeway. And on a good frontage road. And of course you can drop it in the mail if you trust the mail service with your ballot. Early in person voting starts the 29th of Oct. I can't imagine CA not going blue again.
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#45 Probabilistic

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 09:49 PM

View PostAnBr, on 15 August 2020 - 07:40 PM, said:

I'm not sure what the reasoning is for targeting blue states where he has no chance, unless it is merely to limit the popular vote regardless of the EC outcome.

Trump wants to win the popular vote too. And he wants the biggest inauguration crowd.

#46 Rue Bella

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 10:21 PM

https://www.youtube....h?v=IHLoUa8J8Kk

VoteVets
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#47 JackD

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 09:43 AM

Postmaster General Dejoy denies taking orders from the administration and claims being responsible only to the Post Office Board.

Trump Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, says that no more sorting machines will be dismantled before January 1.

We report; you decide.

#48 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 09:51 AM

I'm still very, very curious what the business basis for ditching paid-for equipment is. Especially given that the disposal cost is not trivial and the substitution involves a good bit of added transport.
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#49 LFC

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 12:51 PM

Lying sack of shit Mark Meadows tried to spin his bullshit for Jake Tapper. Tapper was having none of it. Be sure to read that last sentence for a real look into how the Republican brain works.

Quote

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday clashed with CNN’s Jake Tapper as he was questioned about President Trump’s efforts to cripple the U.S. Postal Service.

When pressed by Tapper about the President admitting recently that he is blocking emergency funds to the Postal Service to hamper mail-in voting ahead of the November election, Meadows hit back by denying that Trump is sabotaging the Postal Service and claimed that the President has expressed openness towards additional Postal Service funding in a broader coronavirus stimulus package.

Tapper then pressed Meadows about high-volume mail sorters reportedly being decommissioned nationwide, prompting delays in delivery. Meadows punted the blame to Democrats.

“There’s no sorting machines that are going offline between now and the election,” Meadows said. “That’s something that my Democrat friends are trying to do to stoke fear out there. That’s not happening.”

Later in the interview, Tapper and Meadows clashed even further when the CNN anchor confronted him about Trump’s baseless claims arguing that mail-in voting leads to voter fraud. Tapped listed off a number of White House official and Cabinet members who have a record of voting by mail, which include the President and First Lady themselves.

“Can you tell me the difference between voting by mail in Florida and, say, voting by mail in Pennsylvania? What’s the difference?” Tapper asked Meadows.

After Meadows said that he couldn’t explain the difference, he proceeded to double down on Trump’s false assertion by arguing that mail-in voting would lead to voters being “disenfranchised” due “millions of ballots” getting sent to “empty mailboxes,” which he claimed can be blamed on outdated voter rolls.

Tapper pushed back by bringing up how several states have conducted vote-by-mail for years with little or without issues, saying that “there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud.”

Meadows then hit back by sharing a head-scratching defense of Trump’s baseless crusade against mail-in voting.

“There’s no evidence that there’s not either,” Meadows said. “That’s the definition of fraud, Jake.”

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#50 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 02:08 PM

Quote

Tapper pushed back by bringing up how several states have conducted vote-by-mail for years with little or without issues, saying that “there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud.”

Meadows then hit back by sharing a head-scratching defense of Trump’s baseless crusade against mail-in voting.

“There’s no evidence that there’s not either,” Meadows said. “That’s the definition of fraud, Jake.”

So what you're saying is that there is as much evidence of voter fraud by mail voting as of Donald Trump's murders of children that he has raped?
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
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"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#51 pnwguy

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 08:25 AM

 D. C. Sessions, on 16 August 2020 - 02:08 PM, said:



So what you're saying is that there is as much evidence of voter fraud by mail voting as of Donald Trump's murders of children that he has raped?
And those are in the hundreds! He only was able to hide it because he is a cannibal and ate their remains.
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#52 Probabilistic

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 09:24 AM

Asserting that absence of evidence is actually evidence suggesting presence of...is the definition of rhetorical fraud[1]. In that Meadows is right. In the rest he's gone to pasture.

Simple rule: if one is asserting a proposition, one has to provide affirmative evidence in support of the said proposition. Claiming absence of evidence negating the proposition is not considered necessary and sufficient. Otherwise, Physics textbooks would be full of flying spaghetti monsters dropping meatballs on meathead named Meadows.

[1] Of course, he was chuffed with his own cleverness, not realizing he just implicated himself.

#53 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 09:34 AM

 Probabilistic, on 17 August 2020 - 09:24 AM, said:

Asserting that absence of evidence is actually evidence suggesting presence of...is the definition of rhetorical fraud[1]. In that Meadows is right. In the rest he's gone to pasture.

I suspect your explanation is more comprehensible than my reductio ad absurdem.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#54 Probabilistic

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 10:53 AM

 D. C. Sessions, on 17 August 2020 - 09:34 AM, said:

I suspect your explanation is more comprehensible than my reductio ad absurdem.

Perhaps. Nothing, though, is as satisfying as reduction ad absurdum.

If application of reductio ad absurdum relies on the use of axiomatic or physical truths, which it does quite often, then it is fraught with the limitations of today's knowledge. E.g., if something is here, it cannot be simultaneously there is true only within the bounds of normal human experience. Similarly, every observer (observing the same event) came to know of the event at the same time is true within the bounds of normal human discourse. However, we now know these couldn't possibly be universally or precisely true.

If I assert statements purporting to be narrating some real events that depend on propositions like speed of light is not a universal constant or that it is not a limiting speed, reductio ad absurdum cannot disprove such statements. Our only recourse to establishing truth value of such assertions is accumulation of repeatable evidence.

Now, back to universal mail-in ballot. As I think of it, I find I dislike the idea. Two fold problem: (a) acquisition, processing, logistics and delivery in the mail system; susceptibility to effective DDOS attacks - only to the extent of slowing the system down in local areas giving time for mischief to sow confusion; ( b ) vote processing systems not geared for such event. The thing to like is ease of use/user experience from the perspective of a voter.

Poor technology choice, less federated/autonomous, lower resiliency delivery - too many moving parts and portions of the system has no real redundancy, inefficient as a result.

There are other technologies to achieve the desired quality objectives without sacrificing efficiency.

#55 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 11:03 AM

Is it perfect? (Rhetorical question.)
Is it good enough, within a broad set of constraints and with most agreed-upon goodfaith [1] figures of merit? Oregon and several other States suggest "yes."
Could it be improved given existing or anticipated technology within reasonable costs? Most likely.

[1] As in, not holding white or Party supremacy by way of vote suppression as desirable.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#56 JackD

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 12:10 PM

"Other technologies to achieve. . . etc." Example or examples?

#57 Probabilistic

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 02:51 PM

 JackD, on 17 August 2020 - 12:10 PM, said:

"Other technologies to achieve. . . etc." Example or examples?

In the short term scale out voting operations, especially in denser population areas. Significantly more polling places, more voting machines, and more voting days[1]. The objective is to reduce the conditions of virus transmission by reducing the density of people gathering at the same place, and same time. Addresses usability, safety and feasibility. Doesn't affect any of the other objectives that should be considered.

Longer term objectives: usability (across different stakeholders), security (authentication, authorization, confidentiality, auditability, immutability, non-repudiation), timeliness, resiliency, feasibility. These obviously do not carry equal weight. So a balanced approach is needed. Where that balanced is achieved is open to debate.

A minor change is devising smaller form factor for the voting machines (think iPads to order refreshments at La Guardia airport), thus packing more and reducing lines. Scaling out operations still applies. Improves usability. However does not improve auditability, immutability, and non-repudiation. Leaves those as is. Still operates on closed private networks as-is with the same level of security. Does not reduce timeliness; improves resiliency on the data acquisition side and quite feasible.

This may be sufficient to achieve desired outcome.

Why not universal mail-in? Short term: untested at the required scale.

If USPS is like the other two big legacy couriers, they operate in a hub and spoke model. Much of the logistics operations occur in hubs. The hubs would have to scale up significantly without being able to scale down when demand goes away. The bigger problem is on the processing side. The machines can't scale up 2 orders of magnitude. So more machines to distribute and balance load. The supply chain and manufacturing is not geared for it in the short run. Also, the authentication for mail-in ballot is signature verification. Prone to false negatives. Not a good substitute for multi-factor authentication, especially if a token is also involved. Authentication and authorization occurs after the vote has been cast, leaving no opportunity for error correction, or involves cumbersome correction process. There's also the problem of stale data in voter ID databases.

[1] Given so few days left before voting, even this is beyond reach. 2020 election is bound to be a mess.

#58 Probabilistic

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 04:19 PM

BTW, I'm curious about what you think... Which is a more palatable mess and ensuing confusion caused by existing or by new voting processes and systems? Which is more prone to confusion, conspiracies, mischief, doubt and lack of acceptance?

#59 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 05:03 PM

Please clarify the question, specifically WRT the threat environment.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#60 Probabilistic

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 05:32 PM

 D. C. Sessions, on 17 August 2020 - 05:03 PM, said:

Please clarify the question, specifically WRT the threat environment.

Scenario 1. No changes are made. Less # of polling places & poll workers, socially distanced slower rate of voting even longer lines, machines breaking down slowing down voting even further, people getting discouraged, the usual complaints precinct mismatch, voters getting turned away, minorities feeling targeted etc.

Scenario 2. People vote through a new mechanism - by mail. And then later come to realize tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of ballots have been disputed, counting takes inordinate time, deadlines missed repeatedly, misplaced ballots that have not been received by the election commission etc.

Which scenario would sow more confusion, open up more opportunities for mischief and cause loss of confidence in the results





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