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‘It’s going to be an army’: Tapes reveal GOP plan to contest elections - POLITICO

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But election watchdog groups and legal experts say many of these recruits are answering the RNC’s call because they falsely believe fraud was committed in the 2020 election, so installing them as the supposedly unbiased officials who oversee voting at the precinct level could create chaos in such heavily Democratic precincts.

“This is completely unprecedented in the history of American elections that a political party would be working at this granular level to put a network together,” said Nick Penniman, founder and CEO of Issue One, an election watchdog group. “It looks like now the Trump forces are going directly after the legal system itself and that should concern everyone.”

Penniman also expressed concern about the quick-strike networks of lawyers and DAs being created, suggesting that politically motivated poll workers could simply initiate a legal conflict at the polling place that disrupts voting and then use it as a vehicle for rejecting vote counts from that precinct.

Democratic National Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa said the DNC “trains poll watchers to help every eligible voter cast a ballot,” but neither the DNC nor the state party trains poll workers. The DNC did help recruit poll workers in 2020 due to a drop-off in older workers amid the pandemic; but he says it is not currently doing so and has never trained poll workers to contest votes.

On the tapes, some of the would-be poll workers lamented that fraud was committed in 2020 and that the election was “corrupt.” Installing party loyalists on the Board of Canvassers, which is responsible for certifying the election, also appears to be part of the GOP strategy. In Wayne County, which includes Detroit, Republicans nominated to their board a man who said he would not have certified the 2020 election.

Both Penniman and Rick Hasen, a law and political science professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, said they see a domino effect that could sow doubts about the election even when there was no original infraction: A politically motivated poll worker connecting with a zealous local lawyer to disrupt voting, followed by a challenge to the Board of Canvassers that may have nothing to do with the underlying dispute but merely the level of disruption at the polling place.

“You shouldn’t have poll workers who are reporting to political organizations what they see,” Hasen said. “It creates the potential for mucking things up at polling places and potentially leading to delays or disenfranchisement of voters,” especially “if [the poll workers] come in with the attitude that something is crooked with how elections are run.”

‘The precinct strategy’

The recordings are among the first windows into what former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon, who’s been urging listeners to his podcast to take on election leadership positions, calls “the precinct strategy.”

But Penniman, the election watchdog, believes the strategy is designed to create enough disputes to justify intervention by GOP-controlled state legislatures, who declined to take such steps in 2020.

“Come election day you create massive failure of certification” in Democratic precincts, Penniman said. “The real hope is that you can throw the choosing of electors to state legislatures.”

Participants in the recorded training sessions said their goal is to root out fraud, not just achieve more Republican poll workers in majority Democratic precincts.

Among panelists at a May 14 “Election Integrity” summit in Detroit was Jacky Eubanks, a Trump-endorsed state house candidate who warned “kids my age who are communists do and will staff our elections” in urging Republicans to become “paid, full-time elections workers” to police absentee ballot signatures, according to a recording of the summit.

Speaking separately to Macomb County Republicans, Eubanks also recently said, “The election system is rigged, and who best to steal it but our clerks.”

During the May 14 election-integrity summit, Seifried said the party is now actively recruiting lawyers and that he wanted to “start reaching out to law enforcement.”

Patrick Colbeck, a former member of the Michigan state Senate and former gubernatorial candidate, said at the same summit that he is “working with another organization right now” on “developing a kit for law enforcement” because many don’t understand election law and it will give them “tools that identify and enforce election fraud more effectively.”

Eubanks did not respond to requests for comment. In an email to POLITICO, Colbeck said there should be “regular training” for law enforcement on election laws.

A focus on Michigan

A central theater for the party’s “election integrity” organizing, Michigan is among a number of battleground states where party loyalists are being groomed to serve as inspectors in the next presidential election. Seifried estimated the RNC is committing $35 million to election integrity efforts nationwide, similar to what it spent in the last cycle in battleground state efforts. He is one of 16 state directors.

For decades, the RNC was barred from so-called “ballot security” measures after it settled an early 1980s case in which it was accused of voter suppression in violation of the Voting Rights Act, including sending armed police officers off duty to polling places in minority areas. In 2018, a federal judge allowed that consent decree to expire.

“The 2020 election would have been the first year that the RNC could have done anything with election integrity,” said Seifried in the tapes.

Of all former President Donald Trump’s battleground-state allies, Republican operatives in the state of Michigan came the closest to throwing the 2020 election — and the nation — into a constitutional crisis. So many volunteer challengers overwhelmed Detroit’s TCF Center, where votes were being counted, that police intervened because Covid safety protocols had been breached.

The poll watchers accused poll workers of “bullying” them and blocking them from voting tables due to pandemic social distancing requirements. They also falsely alleged “phony ballots” were smuggled into the center, helping lay the predicate for a weeks-long delay in certifying the state’s electoral votes. That’s despite the fact that then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden had won the state by more than 154,000 votes.

In the recorded meeting with activists in March, Seifried said there “was a lot of disorganization, a lot of lack of preparedness and I’ve heard horror story after horror story,” referring to the GOP watchers barred by police due to Covid restrictions.

“We’re going to have lawyers that work to build relationships with different judges so that when that happens, we’re going to have lawyers that have relationships with the police chiefs in the different areas, with the police officers in the different areas so that when that happens with preexisting relationships already established so that they can’t lie,” Seifried said during an October 2021 training session in Oakland County.

A GOP-led committee found no evidence of widespread fraud in Michigan’s 2020 election and recommended the state’s attorney general investigate those who made false claims “to raise money or publicity for their own ends.” Numerous lawsuits were dismissed in court.

In the tapes, Seifried cites specific grievances from 2020: that “unsolicited” absentee ballots were mailed by the Secretary of State, that not all clerks were required to match signatures on absentee ballot applications, that the number of ballot drop-off locations were dramatically increased and that Democratic areas received more outside funding to increase voting access than Republican areas.

‘How to Challenge a Voter’

In 2022 and 2024, instead of untrained volunteers, the goal is for GOP recruits to have undergone training and be equipped with new tools, according to Seifried.

Before sharing a slide on “How to Challenge a Voter,” Seifried outlined a series of scenarios under which recruits could contest voters or voting processes, though he cautioned it is illegal to challenge every vote.

“You have to have good reason to believe that an individual is not a citizen, that an individual is not of legal voting age. If an individual does not live at the location that they’re registered at, or if the person is not registered at all,” he said during a March 2022 meeting.

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68 days ago
They are doing it out in the open, and what's the reaction? A giant shrug.
68 days ago
I think it's good that the GOP is going to waste resources on this-- the big scandal will be that elections are run by thoughful and considerate professionals and volunteers!
68 days ago
68 days ago
Washington, DC
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Reader Request Week 2022 #1: My “Man-Cred”

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Me, looking very manly, if I do say so myself.

Hello, and welcome one and all to Reader Request Week 2022, where you offer up the topics, and I offer my thoughts on your topics. Let’s start this week off on a manly topic, shall we?

“Just Sayin'” asks:

You have occasionally been criticized by meatheads for being a “girly man” type, and you have dismissed these idiots appropriately.

However, for the sake of argument and fun, please defend your man-cred, and demonstrate your good standing in the white male dominated patriarchy. What tools do you own, and what can you do with them? Can you fix an engine, sail a boat? Are you a deadly shot with a pistol? Do you hunt? What sports have you, can you play well? Macho achievements, skills? Can you drink all night and crank out immaculate prose like a Hemingway? You get the idea.

So, to answer this, I need to go back to high school, and the day that the dance teacher, Joan Rohrback, decided that I was going to be in her dance class.

It went like this: I was standing around in front of my high school administration office, doing whatever the hell I was doing, when Ms. Rohrback marched up to me, said “I need a guy to be in the dance class. You’re it,” and then walked away before I could say anything one way or the other. And just like that, I was the guy in the dance class, because as it happened a physical education class was required, so I had to do something, and also I didn’t want to argue with Ms. Rohrback about it. She was a dancer, she could pop my head right off with her thighs.

It turned out that dance class was in many ways fundamental to my understanding of my own masculinity. This was for several reasons. One, it reinforced to me that I was, in fact, a straight dude — and a cis straight dude, although “cis” was not a word I knew or a concept I would have understood at the time. Regardless, I was very aware of the women I got to be with in the class, and felt like I was getting away with something being able to spend my time with them instead of, say, wrestling another dude into a foam mat. Two, it taught me to dance. To be a good dancer, I think, you have to understand that your dance partner is your equal — you may lead (or may not, depending on the dance and whether it is a partner dance or an ensemble dance), but the dance doesn’t work if you don’t support and aid those you dance with. I wanted to be a good dancer, and as a result I learned to understand, in a very oblique way I wouldn’t unpack until much later, the benefit of equality and support.

Third, it really effectively short-circuited my concern about the judgment of other dudes. A lot of straight men, especially young men, don’t dance, because they think they will look foolish doing so, and when they’re concerned about looking foolish, the people they’re most concerned about looking foolish to are other men — who they often imagine will see them on the dance floor and cast judgment on them, not for their moves, but for being on the dance floor at all. Learning to dance got me over that, by actually teaching me how to dance and by teaching me to enjoy dancing for itself, and by giving my dancing proper focus — not on the other dudes, most not on the dance floor, who may or my not be judging me, but either on my dance partner, who legitimately deserved my attention, or on myself, enjoying the pleasure of the dance itself.

Did I get shit from other dudes about dancing? Sure, both in high school and beyond, but I didn’t care. And some time later, when literally the most beautiful woman I had ever met in my life saw me dancing and then told me we had to dance sometime that evening, and I said “now is good,” and then we got married (not that night, to be clear), my policy of not giving a shit about what other dudes thought about my dancing was vindicated. When I took Krissy to meet my dude friends for the first time, and they all said to me (when Krissy was out of earshot), “We don’t understand, how did you manage this,” I got to say, “Because I learned how to dance, motherfuckers,” and I have to say, that was especially sweet.

So, learning how to dance went a fair distance of getting me out of needing the approval of other men for the things I did, and who I was. It wasn’t the only thing, to be sure, and here are some of the other things that helped: My enormous ego, even as a child, which made me resistant to the opinions of people I thought were full of crap, particularly if they were my peers who I realized knew possibly even less than me about how the world worked; My manifest lack of genuinely useful male role models growing up, counterbalanced with a surfeit of women in my life who Just Got Shit Done; The ability to be in my own head a lot of the time, and to do my own thing, regardless of what anyone else thought of it. And also, you know, the realization that so much of the US Standard Model of Masculinity was just complete bullshit, which was evident to me at a very early age; so much of it posturing and so very little of it actually useful to anyone who had to deal with it, including the men themselves. But certainly the high school dance classes gave me a structure to think about masculinity and my relationship to it, whether I was fully aware of it at the time or not.

Now, let’s fast forward to today, and the interrogation of my masculinity by other dudes. It is correct that I have a tendency to wave away attacks on my masculinity by other men, but that doesn’t answer why I do that. One reason is because I don’t care what these dudes think; they’re all resentfully holding up the gym wall in the high school dance of my life, while I’m in the middle of the floor, dancing with my gal and all my friends. Another reason is that even by their own standards of what masculinity is, they’re usually not measuring up, so why would I let their opinion of what I’m doing matter one way or another?

A third reason is that, bluntly, and again, by their own standards of what masculinity is, I’m wiping the floor with them. Hello! I’m a financially sound cis, straight white man who, even factoring in all the societal buffs he got for free, built a successful career with his own hands(*), and has been living the life he’s wanted to live for going on three decades now. I’m good enough at it that the way these dudes deal with it is to try to demote me out of it. And, my friend, if you have to concoct an actual industry-spanning conspiracy to explain how I’m actually failing in my masculinity, well. You have fun with that. It’s all the same to me. You can’t demote me out of my manhood, and it’s not my manhood that looks lesser for you having made the attempt.

That said, I cheerfully acknowledge that I don’t care about so many of the things that (jokingly presented in the question, but not-so-jokingly presented by the Masculinity Police) are on the checklist for Standard Issue Man-Cred. Who made those lists? What are their credentials? What about those activities are so inherently strongly gendered that someone who is not “masculine” can’t do them? Tool use is not inherently masculine. Sailing a boat is not inherently masculine. Shooting a pistol is not inherently masculine. Writing whilst drunk is not inherently masculine (see: Dorothy Parker). Can I do the things on any random given Man-Cred list? Possibly! But there’s almost nothing on any random Man-Cred list that needs a man, by whatever definition you want to give that word, to do it.

But because we live in a sexist and deeply gender-anxious world and culture, both globally and locally, I concede that there are certain things that men are expected to do, or at least aren’t given the same amount of shit for doing, than other folks; it’s not suggested they can’t do these things, nor is their competence questioned when they do them.

To this end, these are some of the things on my own “Man-Cred” list, the list by which I measure my own success as a man, and which, I suggest, I will not encounter static for being able to do:

  • Provide, financially and emotionally, for my family
  • Love and champion friends
  • Be a good and useful neighbor
  • Contribute positively to my community
  • Be kind and fair with others when I can
  • Use my voice and wherewithal for the things I believe in
  • Use my privilege to raise people up, not keep them down
  • Acknowledge the wrongs I do and make amends if possible
  • Work to be the better version of myself every day
  • Plan for a future beyond myself and my own immediate desires

Again, there’s nothing on this Man-Cred list that needs a man to do them; anyone of any gender can perform them. But let’s also acknowledge that if men centered these sorts of things in their masculinity, we might be better off in general.

I will be the first to acknowledge that I am not perfect in observing the things on my own Man-Cred list; I’m not always performing my own conception of masculinity to its best. But I do make the effort. I become a better man, and a better person, by doing so. And if nothing else, I still get to dance.

— JS

(It’s not too late to get a question in for this week’s Reader Request Week! Go here to find out how to do so.)

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117 days ago
Provide, financially and emotionally, for my family
Love and champion friends
Be a good and useful neighbor
Contribute positively to my community
Be kind and fair with others when I can
Use my voice and wherewithal for the things I believe in
Use my privilege to raise people up, not keep them down
Acknowledge the wrongs I do and make amends if possible
Work to be the better version of myself every day
Plan for a future beyond myself and my own immediate desires

Such a better list than, say, Heinlein's.
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The Pledge Drive … is not going great

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Sorry to have to bring some bad news to you all, but the pledge drive is, well, not doing so great. While some of you have stepped up and donated, in some cases generously, the total number of donors has been much smaller than usual, and unless we can turn this around, hopefully in the next few days, I’m going to have trouble keeping the blog running. It’s likely I’ll have to cut back on posts, possibly drastically, and/or seriously consider shutting the blog down. I’m really sorry to have to even raise this as a possibility, but unfortunately it’s a real one.

Which seems a pity, because if everyone who enjoys this blog on a regular basis were to donate even a small amount of money, as a lump sum or monthly, we could raise all the necessary money to keep the blog (and me) thriving in a matter of a couple of hours.

donate button

If you’re having a rough time, due to COVID or whatever other reason, and can’t afford to donate now, I certainly understand, and I hope things can turn around for you. But if you enjoy the blog and can afford to spare a few bucks (or more than a few bucks), you could help make all the difference.

Big thanks to all who have donated so far, and to those who donate monthly. But if you’re not one of these fabulous people, please consider becoming one.

Thanks again


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171 days ago
I think the RSS for this site messed up recently. Anybody else?
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What if girls aren’t oppressed?

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The Bureau of Labor says that by 2026 we will be short 1.2 million engineers. Right now, the majority of developers are men. So presumably it’s a crisis that women are not in STEM.

Microsoft is thinking that filling the funnel with girls is the way forward. Microsoft decides the Wonder Woman movie has a female protagonist, so girls will identify with her. And Microsoft announces it will solve this engineering shortfall with Wonder Woman. Coding lessons for girls! Turn your tech skills into superpowers!

But the majority of people who saw the Wonder Woman movie were male. And, the majority of those viewers were ages 25-44. So Microsoft targeted girls who want to code with a character from a movie only 2% of girls saw.

Which is because it’s likely based on a porn fantasy. But whatever, as a gimmick for coding, Wonder Woman was a huge failure. Luckily we don’t need Microsoft to encourage girls to write code because girls do as well as boys in grade-school coding classes. And girls do as well as boys in computer science courses in college, but girls don’t stay in the major. They don’t like it.

A study from Accenture shows why: girls aren’t interested in the abstraction. “The content of coding projects is typically less engaging for girls, who often prefer health and real-world problem-solving challenges.”

This study is consistent with a study  that asked Harvard Business School students what motivated them, and what was the best part of their work experience. Male students were more likely to say they were motivated by competition and female students were more likely to say they were motivated by collaboration.

Stuart Reges teaches computer science at University of Washington and he shows that women and men coded at the same rate until the 80s, when women began to have other professional opportunities. Now, Reges says that after decades of all sorts of initiatives, women are no more than 20% of tech workers in any country, even in societies with otherwise remarkable gender equity.

Finally, research also shows that the less power a woman has in society, the more likely she is to choose STEM. So instead of assuming girls are oppressed and therefore do not code, why not assume girls use their power to choose not to code?

Jacquelynne Eccles found that women primarily choose non-STEM careers because they have strengths that men often lack. Eccles found that if someone has high math skills and only moderate verbal skills, the person will choose a career in STEM. However if they have high math skills and high verbal skills, the person will choose a non-STEM career. Female math students were of course more likely to be in the group with high verbal skills. Eccles concludes that women who are good at math shift away from STEM because they have so many more career opportunities than men who are good at math.

Encouraging women to go into STEM is a waste of money. Any woman who wants to can study STEM. No one is stopping women. Women are choosing not to. So stop trying to get more women to go into STEM and just leave the women alone.

What we do need from the world is marketing that gives girls credit for making good choices. The real superheroes are the ones actually listening to girls, instead of telling girls that their goals aren’t the right ones.

The post What if girls aren’t oppressed? appeared first on Penelope Trunk Careers.

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196 days ago
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Lions


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

He's actually only relaxed because the two 10am appointments were with lions.

Today's News:
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