How an Engineering Student’s Question Prevented a NYC Skyscraper from Falling Down

Citigroup Center

Engineering crisis of 1978 (from Wikipedia)

Due to material changes during construction, the building as initially completed was structurally unsound. William LeMessurier‘s original design for the chevron load braces used welded joints. To save money, Bethlehem Steel changed the plans in 1974 to use bolted joints, which was accepted by LeMessurier’s office but not known to the engineer himself.[22] Furthermore, according to The New Yorker, LeMessurier originally only needed to calculate wind loads from perpendicular winds under the building code; in typical buildings, loads from quartering winds at the corners would be less.[22][159] In June 1978, after an inquiry from Princeton University engineering student Diane Hartley, LeMessurier recalculated the wind loads on the building with quartering winds.[159][f] He found that, for four of the eight tiers of chevrons, such winds would create a 40 percent increase in wind loads and a 160 percent increase in load at the bolted joints.[22]

Citicorp Center’s use of bolted joints and the increased loads from quartering winds would not have caused concern if these issues had been isolated from each other. However, the combination of the two findings prompted LeMessurier to run tests on the structural safety.[103] The original welded-joint design could withstand the load from straight-on and quartering winds, but a 75-mile-per-hour (121 km/h) hurricane force quartering wind would exceed the strength of the bolted-joint chevrons.[99] With the tuned mass damper active, LeMessurier estimated that a wind capable of toppling the building would occur on average once every 55 years.[162][161] If the tuned mass damper could not function due to a power outage, a wind strong enough to cause the building’s collapse would occur once every 16 years on average.[162] LeMessurier also discovered that his firm had used New York City’s truss safety factor of 1:1 instead of the column safety factor of 1:2.[99]

LeMessurier debated how to address the issue before ultimately contacting Stubbins’s lawyer. LeMessurier then contacted Citicorp’s lawyers, the latter of which hired Leslie E. Robertson as an expert adviser.[163] Citicorp accepted LeMessurier’s proposal to weld steel plates over the bolted joints, and Karl Koch Erecting was hired for the welding process.[104] Very few people were made aware of the issue, besides Citicorp leadership, mayor Ed Koch, acting buildings commissioner Irving E. Minkin, and the head of the welder’s union.[99][104] Starting in August 1978, construction crews installed the welded panels at night. Officials made no public mention of any possible structural issues, and the city’s three major newspapers had gone on strike.[88][104] The work continued despite the threat of Hurricane Ella several weeks after the repairs started.[99][164] Repairs were completed in October 1978, before the media resumed publishing. LeMessurier claimed a wind strong enough to topple the building would only occur once every 700 years.[88][165] Stubbins and LeMessurier covered all of the repair costs, which were estimated to be several million dollars.[165] Since no structural failure occurred, the work was only publicized in a lengthy article in The New Yorker in 1995.[88][160]

 

William LeMessurier-The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis: A Lesson in Professional Behavior

 

Citicorp Center | NYC skyscraper saved by a student’s question


The Citicorp Center repair is a classic engineering case study of how mistakes must be avoided in engineering and construction of public works. A skyscraper in New York City needed a unique structural system. While reviewing the design a student (named Diane Hartly) asked a question that made the engineer realize that a mistake had been made. There is a daring race to make the repairs for the building collapses. The video gives the details and then discusses how the engineer handled the situation.

 

Princeton Engineering Student

Diane Hartley

Diane Hartley

 

Principal at Hartley LLC
Washington, District of Columbia, United States  Contact info

I now have Fiber Internet to the Home through (Windstream Internet)

This afternoon, a Windstream tech install fiber in my basement.  (thin yellow cable)

Fiber Optic to Ethernet Internet Connection

 

The white Adtran box converts fiber to Ethernet for the modem

The black cord is power.

The Green cord is telephone cable (Voice)

The thick yellow cable is Ethernet (LAN) to modem

The thin yellow connection is fiber (Fiber)

 

Modem

Windstream DSL Modem

I was able to keep my old modem, which takes Ethernet from the Adtran fiber to ethernet converter.

 

Pricing

  Previous DSL Current Fiber Fiber Upgrade Fiber Upgrade Fiber Upgrade
Download 50 mbps 200 mbps 400 mbps 500 mbps 1000 mbps
Upload 2 mbps 200 mbps 400 mbps 500 mbps 1000 mbps
Intro Price (monthly) $37 $37 $27 $47 $57
12 month price $37 $55 $55 $75 $85

Check Pricing & Availability in your Neighborhood

 

Phone

I still have the ability to call 911 on my phones (even though I dropped phone service).

The tech told me that the 911 call is routed over fiber.

 

Fiber into my Basement

Fiber Cable in home

The tech told me that fiber comes in a roll and really curls into a coil as it spreads out.

The black curling cable is fiber.

The other two cables coming from the ceiling are Ethernet and telephone.

How a lack of legitimacy undermines “Broken Windows Policing”


In a 2011 New Yorker talk, Malcolm Gladwell described the central role “legitimacy” plays in motivating people.  Previously, political theorists had focused on “deterrence theory” that treats people as rational actors who decide whether to follow the law based upon a weighing of the pros and cons of compliance.

Protesting Illegitimate Authority

Gladwell cites NYU Professor Tom Tyler’s work on “legitimacy”, and argues that people will fight to the death and even go on hunger strikes against an authority they feel is illegitimate, despite overwhelming penalties that deterrence theorists assume would be effective.

Gladwell identifies 3 factors in establishing legitimacy:

  1. Does the authority grant one standing and listen to one’s petitions?
  2. Is authority administered with neutrality or is there one set of rules for one group and a different system for others?
  3. Is the system trustworthy — does it follow well-defined rules that are sensible and are not subject to arbitrary change?

 

How Reform Efforts go Wrong:

Society celebrates civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King and police reformers such as Jack Maple, but society often fails to recognize how easily reform can falter if succeeding leaders do not follow in the original spirit.

In this article I originally wanted  to also include an evaluation of the role “legitimacy” plays in the right’s perception of the anti-racism movement, but this post is already quite long so this post will focus solely on policing.

In the following post, I summarize a number of sources that suggest that while the policing reforms of the 1980s were innovative and effective, the system mutated into an irrational system of “broken-windows policing” that disproportionately harasses and alienates minorities.

When one asks why do minorities not comply with police, I believe that generally an important factor is American policing’s weak legitimacy.

 

How Policing Reform turned into “broken windows” policing

There is an excellent 2-part podcast series by Reply-all that chronicles how desperate the crime problem was in New York City in the 1980s and how one policeman rescued the city and transformed policing on a nation-wide basis. Unfortunately his reforms were warped into the system that is today referred to as “broken windows” policing.

 

Please listen to these two podcasts because they are a major influence on my thinking about broken-windows policing.

  1. The Crime Machine, Part I (please listen)
  2. The Crime Machine, Part II (please listen)

 

The Reply-all podcast reports that in the 1980s, when New York City was in crisis, the New York City police only cared about crime that affected white people or rich people.

Police wouldn’t even investigate a theft that was less than $10,000 ($32,000 in today’s dollars).  It was during this crisis that a transit-cop named Jack Maple created an innovative COMSTAT database that allowed police to identify the most prolific criminals and treat every crime seriously.

 

Leadership cares more about image than problem solving

A big part of the episode is about people’s efforts to fight systemic dysfunction in a world where leadership cares more about looking good than actually addressing problems.

 

There are many organizations whose leadership care more about public relations or resume-building than actually dealing with real problems.  Maybe you’ve had a CEO or supervisor who manages their organization with too much of an eye to how they look in the press or how an act contributes to their resume.  I suspect the same problem occurs with the police and elected city leadership.  In this environment it’s more important to have a lot of superficial statistics to placate the establishment and “earn” a promotion rather than dealing with difficult problems.  When too many people follow this path, it becomes difficult for the average person to do the right thing.

 

Jack Maple was fighting a dysfunctional police system when he created COMSTAT but the introduction of the database was not handled in a healthy way, and the domineering and brutal New York police culture perpetuated itself in the way the database came to be used.

 

Rather than being used as a tool to help the police become better partners with the community and identify the most prolific criminals, COMSTAT came to be used as a tool of the police leadership and mayor to generate good-sounding statistics.

 

Making Leadership Look Good at Minorities Expense

After Jack Maple (the database’s original inventor) retired, police were ordered to rack up stats in minority neighborhoods to make quota so that the mayor and police leadership could brag about how tough they were on crime.  After a while, police leadership painted themselves into a corner and they needed to generate even more “activity” statistics (tickets) in minority neighborhoods and also to under-report actual crime so that the city could still advertise itself as an increasingly safe place for tourists and those wanting to buy property.  After a series of years in which crime was understated, it became difficult for honest police to accurately report reality.

 

In minority neighborhoods, under Rudolph Giuliani’s  “broken windows” policing, police were given quotas that caused them to sweep up whole minority demographic groups, forcing the police to create laughably weak pretexts for their tickets.  In theory, the summons were supposed to be related to a nearby crime, but this was often not the case. Rather than focus on significant crime, police would be forced to cite scores of people on bogus charges such as  “blocking pedestrian traffic” because that was the only way they could meet their quotas.  Another favorite catchall for police was to cite people for “furtive movements“, despite the fact the police officers who cited this reason most were unable to define what the term means.  Police would pull down “suspects” pants and underware to search them for drugs and a culture of silence prevented accountability.

 

In the earlier era, Jack Maple had complained that the police only cared about the white and wealthy.  In the post-Jack Maple era, where the crime rate was lower nationwide, the police and politicians still only cared about the white and wealthy and looking good, but instead of ignoring minority neighborhoods or actually engaging in a partnership with the communities, in the new era they focused on building an image of toughness and  by creating an increasing amount of minority ‘activity” (tickets)  rather than fighting actual crime.  They would actually downgrade real crime while simultaneously increasing low-level harassment of minorities.

Making Broken Windows Race Neutral?

If one were to argue the new quota system was applied in a race-neutral manner, one would have to show that police adopted broken-windows policing in white neighborhoods as well.  And as the second episode describes: If the police make the mistake of issuing a citation to a white architect for riding his bike on the sidewalk, they’d find their boss would tell them to back off because such people have lawyers and connections.
A relevant question is whether this is solely a class thing — whether black architects who ride on the sidewalk get cited more often than white architects.  I suspect the answer is yes.  Upper-class black people have to dress and act much higher class than white people to get the same class benefit.  Riding a bike or walking is not an activity which separates you from the masses so you’re apt to be targeted, either by racist citizens reporting you for “riding while black” or by the police themselves.  I expect that a black man would situationally be able to achieve the same class benefit I have as a white man if they drove a luxury car that costs many times more than my Corolla and and if they dress 50% more formally.  But if they choose to go out for a run in shorts, their class benefit melts to because a runner can’t bring along their class signifiers.  It is my understanding that running in the dark while black is not the same experience I have when I go out for a run in the dark.

 

If you pay attention to the second episode, you’ll notice that they mention that this “broken windows” policing wasn’t confined to just New York City.   New York City as seen as a model city and it exported the model nationwide.  Fergusson Missouri had a huge number of summons per household and Sandra Bland (Link #3: Malcolm Gladwell) had a large number of unpaid fines for police citations.

 

Sandra Bland: Arrested for Resisting Arrest

You can dismiss this case as an extreme case of one bad apple, but Malcolm Gladwell says the arresting officer should not be written off as an anomaly.  In fact, the arresting officer is a model of how current policing philosophy and training intends police to operate.
After a difficult period of her life in Illinois, Bland moved to Texas to start a new life as a student in a small town in Texas.  The minute she left the University parking lot, a police officer manufactured a bogus charge of failing to signal as she pulled over to the side of the road in response to his aggressive driving.
This incident only got attention because she committed suicide after being jailed for 3 days.
I aknowlege Bland’s suicide is an anomily, but this officer’s behavior is not.

 

Dashcam video of Sandra Bland’s arrest

  1. The Texas police don’t seem to have have the nerve to include the video immediately before the stop where the police officer sets a trap to use a pretext for pulling her over.
  2. The police officer never responded to Bland’s request when asked for a reason why he was arresting Bland.  He was either too zoned-in in demanding she comply or he knew he couldn’t justify charging her with failure to signal.
  3. The officer later gave the rationalization that she was arrested for resisting arrest (a catch-22).

Sandra Bland’s Phone Video of her Own Arrest

 

Broken windows policing is an entire movement whose police harassment falls disproportionately on minorities.  If you listen to the Joe Rogan episode you’ll hear Malcolm Gladwell describe how broken windows policing trains police to pull over hundreds of motorists for “bullshit reasons” with the hope of “hitting the jackpot” of finding one person with heroin in their trunk.

 

 

How Representative are Video Accounts?

I hear that some of the much publicized police incidents (such as the Michael Brown incident) are misrepresented in the media.  That may be true.

 

I also hear questions about how typical police mistreatment is of blacks that does not result in death.   If you believe Amber Ruffin’s claim, every black person she knows has stories about run-ins with the police.  Ruffin shares her experience that police are quick to pull a gun on a black woman and that the police will change their tone in an instant when they realize they are being watched by someone who is white.

I would also guess that there is a sizeable fraction of the police that I would characterize as “authoritarian” who demand compliance, rather than earning legitimacy.  They do not treat black citizens with the dignity they show to whites and yet they insist that even questionable orders be obeyed.

 

So to reiterate NY Professor Tom Tyler’s framework of legitimacy as applied to broken-windows policing:
  1. Standing: Do police give citizens a fair hearing and articulate legitimate reasons that support their actions rather than declaring that they have the authority to order citizens around and force them into compliance?
  2. Neutrality: Do police conduct themselves in a way that persuades citizens that there is a standard of law that applies equally to the police themselves and to all other people?
  3. Trustworthiness: Is the law arbitrary or likely to change?

 

One can argue about whether the intention of broken windows policing is racist, but I would argue that is better to first deal with the fact that American policing (like many other American institutions) has legitimacy problems.

White Americans who have a long history of condoning rebellion should not expect minorities to treat them as meek and polite Canadians would.  Rather, White Americans should expect legitimate resistance to contemporary policing philosophy.  The challenge is to channel legitimate frustration and anger into productive dialog, reconciliation, and reform.

 

The amazing woman responsible for the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines


Here’s the amazing story of grit and perseverance about the woman who did the pioneering work for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.
Katalin Kariko light corrected.jpeg
Katalin Karikó, born in Hungary
Temple University & University of Pennsylvania

Timeline: Development of Vaccine by Katalin Karikó:

(from Wired Magazine article)

 

  1. 1955: Katalin Karikó was born in Hungary
  2. 1976: She hears about ideas of using mRNA to target viruses while an undergrad at the University of Szegedin Hungary.
  3. She completes her Ph.D.
  4. 1985: As an immigrant from Hungary, Katalin Karikó immigrated to the US to do research at Temple University.
  5. After a dispute with her boss, Temple University tried to have her deported.
  6. She switched to the University of Pennsylvania, but her research was not considered promising because there were significant challenges in getting the immune system to accept the mRNA that the vaccine uses.
  7. The mid-1990s — She failed to get funding for her work at the University of Pennsylvania and was forced to choose between stopping work on her mRNA research or be demoted from a track to be a full professor.
  8. She chose to be demoted and continue her research.
  9. UPenn’s ultimatum was posed just after she had been diagnosed with cancer.
  10. She persisted and was able to get her research funded with the help of an established immunology professor — Drew Weissman — who she met at the photocopier.
  11. In the early 2000s: she read a study that gave her an idea of how to avoid the adverse immune system reaction that prevented mRNA from being used in vaccines.
  12. 2005: Karikó and Weissman published a study suggesting that there may be a way to avoid the immune reaction.
  13. After publishing their research and patenting it, they received no invitations to talk about their work.
  14. But Derrick Rossi, a postdoc at Stanford University noticed their research and created a company called Moderna in 2010 to commercialize the technology.
  15. Karikó and Weissman licensed their technology to a small German company called BioNTech, after five years of trying and failing.  (BioNTech was founded by a Turkish immigrant named Ugur Sahin)
  16. 2013: UPenn refused to reinstate Katalin Karikó as a full professor after demoting her in 1995. She told them she was leaving to go to BioNTech: ”When I told them I was leaving, they laughed at me and said, ‘BioNTech doesn’t even have a website.’”
  17. 2017: Moderna (founded by the Derrick Rossi Stanford postdoc) used the technology Karikó pioneered to develop a Zika virus.
  18. 2018: The German company Karikó and Weissman licensed their technology to partnered with Pfizer to develop an influenza vaccine.
  19. April 2020: Derrick Rossi’s Moderna received $483 million (£360m) from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to fast-track its Covid-19 vaccine program
  20. Pfizer developed their mRNA vaccine using Karikó and Weissman research, but without government funding.

Read More:

1) Read full “Wired” article:

 

 

 

Was the 2020 Election Stolen?

Fraud


I’ve talked with friends who sincerely believe that this past election was stolen.

I wrote this post up in the hopes it serves as a reference for friends who want to discuss Election Fraud — the most proximate cause of January 6 Capitol Hill Riot.

Under Oath
Under Oath

1) Not Under Oath

The first thing you have to do is distinguish between different types of evidence.

Rudolf Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and others made many claims during press conferences but many of the claims and evidence provided were not presented in a court of law where testimony would need to be made under oath and subject to cross-examination.

Sidney Powell

When Sidney Powell did make claims in court, her cases fell apart.

Sidney Powell
Sidney Powell

Sidney Powell describes one source, code-named “Spyder”, in court filings as a former “Military Intelligence expert and filed a claim that he was an expert witness:

I was an electronic intelligence analyst under 305th Military Intelligence with experience gathering SAM missile system electronic intelligence. I have extensive experience as a white hat hacker used by some of the top election specialists in the world.

But upon further scrutiny, it was revealed that her “expert” never completed his entry-level training for the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion over 15 years ago.

He served in the Army for almost 10 years, but worked as an auto mechanic.

Merit admits that he hasn’t read the document carefully, even though he swore that his name was true.

Sidney Powell has not won a single election-fraud-related court case, but does that really matter to her if her books and other merchandise sell well?

I Cannot Tell a Lie
I Cannot Tell a Lie

2) A lie can travel around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes:

The claims of fraud were widely circulated on Fox News and Social Networks but the retractions didn’t get as much attention.

3) Tucker Carlson says he’s open to evidence of UFOs, but Sidney Powell hasn’t provided any evidence to back her claims.

Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson

If you go to ~ minute 6 of Tucker’s nightly video address, he critiques Sidney Powell for her refusal to provide him with any evidence.

Tucker said that he is more open to diverse evidence than most television shows, even evidence of UFOs.

4) Tucker offered Sidney Powell a week’s worth of Prime-time coverage if she would first provide evidence.

If Powell was legit, she should jump at the chance to share her evidence with the Fox News audience; and of course a blockbuster scoop like Powell’s would be a big ratings win for Fox. Assuming the material is true, this would have been a win-win.

5) If Tucker Carlson is lying about his offer, all Sidney Powell would have to do is post evidence to Twitter and call his bluff, asking him to make good on his earlier offer of Prime-time coverage.

It seems implausible that Powell wouldn’t take Tucker up on his offer because Tucker was lying about the offer.  If this was a bluff, and Tucker was actually unwilling to have her on his show, Powell easily could have called the bluff.

All Powell would have needed to do is post evidence on Twitter and publicly asked Tucker to make good on his earlier invitation.

6) People unconsciously accept a lie as true if repeated often enough.

  • If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it is true.
  • If you want people to believe something, repeat it often.
  • Whether it is true or false, lies become perceived as truth with repeated exposure.   🙂

7) A Public Relations Case for “Fraud”, not a Legal one

Trump, Powell, and Giuliani repeatedly claimed fraud in the their public statements, but failed to back it up in the courts, making their campaign more of a public relations campaign than a legal one.

Rudolph Giuliani
Rudolph Giuliani
Foto: Alan Santos/PR
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

8) Giuliani disputed minor rules in court, but didn’t allege Fraud.

It is puzzling that Giuliani brought such minor claims in his Pennsylvania lawsuits. He sued people and counties that weren’t even responsible for the actions he was protesting.  And in a case involving Lancaster County (where I live) the actions to throw out ballots that he was protesting likely helped Trump.

  • In one case he complained that voters in Lancaster County hadn’t been allowed to correct mistakes they made in their mail-in ballots. Voters in Lancaster County who had forgotten to put a secrecy envelope around the envelope containing their ballot had their ballots rejected. But this isn’t an example of widespread fraud. It’s and example of a minor way in which Lancaster County handled mail-in ballots that most likely helped the Trump campaign because Biden voters were disproportionally likely to vote by mail.  Disqualifying mail-in ballots, rather than allowing them to be fixed, like Lancaster County did, most likely helped Republicans because mailin voters were more likely to vote Democratic.  Though a few Republicans were caught up in the fray, the actions Lancaster County took likely helped Republicans.
  • My view is that Giuliani was just trying to file lawsuits to “make some noise“, whether or not they showed evidence of substantial fraud.

It is even more puzzling that he admitted that he wasn’t alleging “fraud”.

Though the campaign has made a number of general allegations about voter fraud and alleged improprieties with how Pennsylvania’s votes were counted, the campaign did not provide any specific evidence of voter fraud in the lawsuit, and Giuliani specifically said during a hearing, “This is not a fraud case.”

Justice is blind
Justice is blind
Mitalivshanbhag1810338
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

9) Trump’s legal team filed at least 60 lawsuits and lost all but 1.

The one case that they did win didn’t gain them any votes, only moving their election observers from 12 feet to 6ft 1

10) Claim: Trump’s poll watchers were denied access to observe the election counting.

“In Pennsylvania, Democrats have gone to the state Supreme Court to try and ban our election observers,” Trump declared Thursday evening, adding, “They don’t want anybody watching them as they count the ballots.”

This is untrue, as there is zero evidence of Democrats attempting to ban Republican representatives from observing the counting of votes.

The president is seemingly referring to a case adjudicated Thursday morning in which the Trump campaign was requesting closer observation of the ballot canvassing process in Pennsylvania, but legitimate poll watchers were never systemically barred from any location.

Later in the article:

U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond (a President George W. Bush appointee) denied the request after Trump’s lawyers admitted that observers had been admitted to the facility.

Key Background:

During his press conference Thursday, Trump also claimed that his campaign had been “denied access to observe any counting in Detroit.” Referencing the TCF Center in downtown Detroit, Trump alleged, “one major hub” had “covered up the windows with large pieces of cardboard” so they could “protect, and block, the counting area. They didn’t want anybody seeing the counting.” While cardboard was placed over portions of the glass because workers inside claimed they felt intimidated by the protesters gathered outside, at least 134 Republican poll challengers were already inside the vote-counting area. (There were 134 counting boards set up, and each party was allowed one poll watcher per board.) On Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press, both Democratic and Republican poll watchers were prohibited from entering the center because the number of challengers already observing the process had reached a mandated capacity related to the coronavirus pandemic. By Wednesday afternoon, more than 225 Republican poll watchers were “roaming the room and observing the process—almost double the number of challengers who were supposed to be there.”

Dominion Voting Systems
Dominion Voting Systems

11) Claim: Dominion Machines swapped votes

The claim about Dominion voting machines is the only claim I’ve heard that could have had a big enough impact to be significant if the facts were true.

  • As I mentioned in a previous point, it is one thing to make a claim in a press release or television appearance and another thing to present your evidence in court. Point #1 shows that Sidney Powell based her claims on unreliable sources when she did argue her point in court.
  • Point # 3, 4, and 5 show that she was unwilling to provide any evidence to Tucker Carlson, even with the offer of a week’s worth of primetime coverage.
  • Rudolf Giuliani and the Trump campaign backed away from her claims.
  • You don’t need to distract yourself with all the talk about the electronic voting systems being hacked if you pay attention to the paper ballots that are printed when the voters make their choices.

Paper Ballots
An electronic voting machines that produces a paper receipt from Election Services

The Bottom Line: Paper Ballot Audit

Every vote using Dominion machines was printed on a paper ballot.

We don’t have to rely on the electronic machine tally. We can just count the paper ballots which the voter printed when they made their choices.

The paper ballot count matched the electronic count in Georgia to within a margin of error of:

  • 0.0099% ( or 496 votes out of 5 million)

They audited the Georgia results 3 times.

12) State Assemblies heard expert testimony that corroborated the Dominion claim

My cousin from Canada sent me a couple emails about the election. One was about Sidney Powell and another was about an impression that Sidney Powell’s evidence was being presented to the Arizona state legislature. (i.e. “under oath”)

I had told my cousin that there is a difference between press conferences and events where the statements are make under oath and subject to cross examination.

He sent me a link to a video that purported to be a session of the Arizona Legislature. It was not.

It was basically a press conference with some members of the Arizona Legislature designed to look like a meeting of the legislature. The video was titled “LIVE: Arizona State Legislature Holds Public Hearing on 2020 Election” and it got nearly 2 million views.

  • This was grossly misleading:
  • It was not an official hearing
  • Witnesses were not under oath.
  • They had no opposition. Everyone there agreed with the party line.
  • There was no cross-examination.
  • The event was held at a hotel, rather in the state legislature.
  • This was a glorified press conference dressed up as a quasi-official forum

2 million people viewed this video and I think it likely that many were misinformed.

Exhibition Match
Exhibition Match

13) Giuliani held many of these quasi-official events. If anything was rigged, it was these fake “hearings”

Giuliani held many events like this around the county giving the impression that these were official events with the traditional standards of a hearing.

Giuliani is like the boxing promoter who goes around the country putting on a public show, boasting about how great his boxer is and holding exhibition matches with friendly opponents.

Many of his television viewers don’t realize that the event is not a real adversarial event.

His record against any real opponent is 1-59, and that one case he won isn’t anything to brag about.

14) Those alleging fraud have not been able to back up their claims

Maybe they’ll listen to Lindsay Graham?

“They said there’s 66,000 people in Georgia under 18 voted. How many people believe that? I asked, “Give me 10,” and hadn’t got one. They said 8,000 felons in prison in Arizona voted. Give me 10. I hadn’t got one… There’s problems in every election. I don’t buy this. Enough’s enough. We’ve got to end it.”

Federalist Society logo
Federalist Society

14) The 59 court losses have been fairly judged.

If the President had actually been the victim of election fraud on the scale we’ve never seen, you would expect that judges appointed by other Republicans and judges Trump himself appointed to agree with him that substantial fraud occurred at least once.

But Bibas, 51, is not just another judge on another court. He is a Trump appointee on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, with jurisdiction over Pennsylvania and two other states. A former member of the conservative Federalist Society, Bibas was appointed in 2017, one of 53 appellate judges the president has put on the federal bench since he took office, more than any other president since Jimmy Carter.

Bibas is not the only Republican-appointed federal judge to dismiss Trump’s claims of rampant voting fraud and tabulation irregularities. Steven Grimberg of the Northern District of Georgia and several other Republican-appointed judges, have ruled against the president.

ESS Election Systems
ESS Election Systems

15) Dominion Machines in were not even used in Philadelphia.

Dominon voter machines could not have been used to commit fraud in Philadlephia if they were not used there.

Philadelphia used machines purchased from a competitor to Dominion, Election Systems Software of Omaha, Nebraska.

You can read more about this in an earlier post I wrote.

Why file the Bookvar case involving a minor dispute over 2 votes (one from Lancaster County) that didn’t even involve fraud if you’re not even filing a case allaging a much larger fraud in Philadelphia involving Dominion machines?

If Philadelphia was really lying about not using Dominion machines it should be very easy to prove.

16) Claim: They stopped counting the votes late in the evening.

It is common for some counties to stop counting late in the night.

Is the fact that many CVS stores are scheduled to close at the time suspicious?

Catch-22
Catch-22

17) Claim: There were suspicious late night ballot “dumps”

If mailin ballots are being counted through the night, you’d expect them to report the results when they finish a batch.

Mail-in ballots had a higher percentage of Biden votes because Trump discouraged his voters from voting by mail and Biden voters who  were cautious about Covid were more likely to vote by mail.  I know the Epic Times treats this as an unexplained event, but it is not.  There is nothing suspicious about it.

Anyone who knows much about the election would not be surprised when the counties that chose to continue counting mail-in ballots returned ballot totals early in the morning.

This complaint also seems to be a catch-22. Your damned if you stop counting and you’re damned if you continue counting.

18) Claim: Many of these late night dumps heavily favored Biden.

Everyone knew that the mail-in ballots would trend Democratic and the in-person votes trend Republican. This was because the Democrats were more cautious about Covid-19 and Trump discouraged Republicans from voting by mail

It should be no surprise that the mail-in votes tilted Democratic.

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania

19) It is suspicious that Pennsylvania Mail-in Votes came in several days after election day.

Republicans could have allowed the Pennsylvania mail-in ballots to be counted earlier.

States like Florida were able to report their results election night because their election rules allow the counting of mailing ballots to begin before election day.  2

Pennsylvania Republicans resisted legislation which would have allowed the counting of mail-in ballots before election day..

This had the advantage for Republicans that the vote tally would favor Republicans early, with Democrats only catching up as the mail-in ballots were counted.

Here’s a report from Oct 26 that described the Pennsylvania’s situation as a known issue:

The underlying problem is a state law barring election officials from even starting to process, let alone count, mail-in ballots before Election Day. County election officials have begged the legislature to allow them before Nov. 3 to begin sorting and verifying mail-in ballots. As it is, they expect to spend much of Election Day opening envelopes, break to tally results from in-person voting, then get back to counting absentee votes. Statements from state officials that most votes will be counted by the weekend after Election Day are not reassuring, given that Mr. Trump has already indicated he will spin reporting delays as evidence of fraud.

20) There was a one in quadrillion chance that Biden won all the swing states that he did.

This ridiculous claim was filed by the Texas attorney general’s Supreme Court filing and it rests on a statistical calculation that has no basis in reality.

To summarize:

a) In the 2016 election, which had much lower mail-in voting, votes for Republicans and Democrats were much more evenly distributed.

b) In the 2020 election, in which there is record high mail-in voting, and in which Democrats are much more likely to vote by mail and Republicans in person, the results are less randomly distributed.

Pretend you don’t know about the mail-in voting that causes the vote distribution to vary and act surprised that mailin ballots caused the distribution of votes to be different.

Calculate a naive statistical calculation about the likelihood that a large chunk of votes would trend in a partisan manner.

Tombstone
Did dead people vote?

21) Claim: It is easy to vote under a dead person’s name

a) Absentee Ballots are not sent out unless they were requested.
b) Applications for ballots are sent out only to registered voters.
b) You have to apply for a ballot using a person’s Social Security Number or Driver’s License Number
c) You have to have access to their postal mailbox on the day the ballot arrives.
d) You have to lie when the system responds that the person is already dead and sign a letter saying that they are still alive.
e) You have to hope that the bipartisan group of people at your polling place (which includes local Republican citizens) will blindly accept your application to override the system and vote under the name of someone in their community who has died and was flagged as dead by the system.
f) You have to be willing to spend up to 19 years in prison if you get caught
g) There are many Republicans who would love to prosecute a Democrat for voter fraud

br />

22) There are hundreds of accusations of dead people voting every year.

The small number of people who have tried got caught:

a) In Pennsylvania, Bruce Bartman, a 70-year-old from Delaware County, Pennsylvania, has been charged with voter fraud.
b) He pretended to be his dead mom to vote for President Donald Trump in the 2020 election and registered his dead mother-in-law to vote, prosecutors said

"Dead Voter" is Still Alive
“Dead Voter” is Still Alive!

Majority of “Dead Voters” still Alive.

e) Many of those allegedly dead voters were mistakenly marked as “dead”

Two People with the Same Name and Birth Year

  • In a country as big as the US, you are going to find false matches – somebody born in January 1940 voted in Michigan in the election, and there was somebody born somewhere else in the US in January 1940 who has the same name and is now dead. This will happen a lot in a country as big as the US (328 million people), and particularly with common names.

Son with Same Name and Address as Deceased Father

f) Some of the “dead voters” were actually legal voters with the same name and address as the deceased person, such as sons with the same name as their father who were living at the same address and who were using a ballot meant for their father (sr.) instead of (jr.).
g) There are many Republicans who would like to catch Democrats who are voting using a dead person’s identity.
h) Donald Trump’s campaign raised over $1 billion dollars. His campaign has the resources and interest in catching dead voters and filing election lawsuits.
i) Proving that a dead person has voted should be easy if it is so widespread.
j) Donald Trump filed at least 60 election lawsuits, but it has not won a single case proving that a significant number of dead people voted for Biden.
k) You would think that among all the Republicans that wanted Trump to win, one of them would have been able to supply him with the evidence that he would need to win a single voter fraud court case.
l) Bruce Bartman, the Pennsylvania voter who committed voter fraud, did not vote for Biden.

23) Claim: People voted in the Arizona election who didn’t live there.

Amy Rose, who votes absentee and claims Henderson, Nevada as her home, with her son. (Courtesy Photo)
Amy Rose, who votes absentee and claims Henderson, Nevada as her home, with her son. (Courtesy Photo)

Anyone who has actually been involved in elections knows that every year people who live out of state vote.

These include military members, missionaries, Americans doing business in other countries. There are a lot of different reasons why a citizen would legally be allowed to vote in a state where they do not live. My brother is an American citizen living in Canada and he legally cast his vote in the Pennsylvania election because that is where he previously resided.

Here’s an article published in the Military Times about how military spouse votes were challenged in Nevada:

To at least one military spouse whose residences of Henderson, Nevada, and Davis, California, are listed — with their specific nine-digit ZIP codes (exact addresses are not included) — finding herself and her husband, an Air Force major, on the list was “shocking.”
To see my integrity challenged, along with other members of the military to be challenged in this way, it is a shock. And to be potentially disenfranchised because of these actions, that’s not OK,” said Amy Rose, who votes absentee and claims Henderson as her home while the couple is stationed in California.

Rose found her locations on the list after a copy of the letter, sent by Weir Law Group on behalf of the Trump campaign, as well as the list, were published on Twitter by Riley Snyder, a reporter with the Nevada Independent.

The list contains two people who lived in Henderson, Nevada, and now live in Davis, California, in the 95618 zip code, with the 6104 addition — the code that indicates a specific delivery route belonging to the couple.

“We put two and two together and realized, ‘Yeah, Wow.’ It’s shocking to see ourselves there,” Rose said.

A lot of the claims you hear from the Trump campaign that sounded glaring, fall apart under scrutiny, but the truth has a hard time catching up with the lies. ( But I shouldn’t use the word “lies” because I’m not sure that in every instance the Trump campaign understood what the truth was.)

24) If the Election Fraud was so big, the evidence should be plentiful.

President Trump has argued that he won in a landslide, despite results that suggest that he lost the popular vote by ~7 million votes. If he is arguing that he won by as much as he lost, he’s got to show a swing of ~14 million votes.

Given how much fraud President Trump is alleging, you would think proving fraud should be easy.

He should not be making claims about dead people, out of state voting, or minor rule discrepancies.

And he should be providing evidence.

25) Why only fraud in the Presidential Race?

The first thing is to ask yourself is “Which election?

  • There were elections a the local level, for County Commissioner.
  • There were elections at the State Level for Congresspeople and Senators.
  • There were elections at the National Level for Congresspeople and Senators.

If there was election fraud, it appears as the people who committed fraud forgot to change the results for any of these other races because I don’t hear about widespread fraud in these races. In fact, Republicans did well in many of the down ballot races, picking up seats at the Federal level in Congress and only later losing the Senate.

If someone were to commit fraud, why would they go to the trouble of filling out ballots in a way which would reduce Democrat’s majority in Congress and force them to win both seats in the Georgia runoff, just too have the prospects of having the weakest possible Senate majority (50-50)?

It just doesn’t make sense.


  1. fact check

  2. I don’t know the details of when they start, and whether it is the actual counting or just taking out of the envelopes and verifying the ballot’s authenticity.

Did Philadelphia Use Dominion Voting Machines in the 2020 Election?

ExprerssVote Voting Machine


Philadelphia City Hall
Philadelphia City Hall

My friend Dale heard rumors that President Trump would have won Pennsylvania if Dominion Voter Machines had not swapped votes for Joe Biden in Philadelphia.    I researched the claims and found them to be unfounded:

No, Philadelphia did not use Dominion Voting Systems in 2020.

CLAIM: Video provides data-supported evidence that the election technology firm Dominion Voting Systems committed election fraud by transferring vote ratios between precincts in Philadelphia.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Dominion technology isn’t used in Philadelphia’s elections, so the company had no part in tabulating votes there. Despite a flurry of false claims about election results in battleground states like Pennsylvania, there’s no evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities in the 2020 election.

THE FACTS: A video claiming to be a “smoking gun” exposing Dominion’s election fraud in Philadelphia is easily debunked: Pennsylvania’s largest city doesn’t even use Dominion software in its elections.

That’s according to city election commission spokesman Nick Custodio, who confirmed to The Associated Press in an email that Philadelphia’s voting system vendor is the Omaha, Nebraska-based Election Systems and Software LLC.

It is also confirmed by Dominion, which explains among a series of fact-checks on its website that it does not “even operate in some of the contested districts, including Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Dane County, WI.”

 

But how can we trust the city of Philadelphia to tell the truth?

ExprerssVote Voting Machine
ESS ExprerssVote Voting Machine

You don’t have to trust the city. Philadelphia’s purchase of  machines from ESS, a competitor to Dominion, was widely publicized at the time.

Summary:

  • Machines were purchased from a competitor, Election Systems Software of Omaha, Nebraska.
  • The purchase of these machines was widely publicized at the time.
  • One of the requirements of the contract was that the new machines produce a paper audit trail that can be compared with the electronic tally.

1) Why were new machines purchased?

In 2016, the election results were contested: Four in five Pennsylvania voters use machines that lack an auditable paper trial.

2016 Green Party candidate sued Pennsylvania because she “accused Pennsylvania of violating the constitutional rights of voters because its voting machines were susceptible to hacking and barriers to a recount were pervasive.

 

2) The replacement of the old machines was widely publicized:

In April of last year, the Department of State told counties that they should pick new voting systems with a voter-verifiable paper record by the end of 2019.

The administration of Gov. Tom Wolf committed to having new machines in place by 2020 after settling a lawsuit brought by 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. The case targeted Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin for their voting systems’ susceptibility to hacking and for barriers to recounts.

Other voters exiting the Temple Brith Achim Synagogue polling location in Upper Merion weren’t quite as animated over the switch from push-button machines to scannable paper ballots filled out by hand.

“It’s even it’s better now that you actually get a confirmation ticket that your vote was cast. We never got that before,” said Tykia Turner.

How does an auditable paper trail work?

  • When a citizen votes, the machine they use prints out a paper receipt that the voter can verify reflects their voting choices.
  • This paper receipt is then used in the event of a recount.
  • We can verify whether the voting machine’s tally is accurate by counting the paper receipts and comparing it with the electronic tally.

 

Aren’t you glad that we were able to recount the 2020 election votes using a paper trail?

If this election had been like 2016, and all we would have had to go on was the electronic totals.  It would have been much more difficult to verify that the results were accurate.

 

In Georgia: Paper Ballots Matched Dominion Electronic Results

Hand counts of paper ballots can have an element of human error, but in Georgia, where Dominion was actually used, in an election of 5 million votes, the hand-count matched the electronic tally to within:

President Trump’s “Peaceful Transfer of Power” “Bluff”

Saddam Hussein Shotgun

Is Trump bluffing, like Saddam, to project an image of strength?

 

 

Press Conference: September 23, 2020

President Trump made news recently for declining to agree to a “peaceful transfer of power.

Mr. President, real quickly: Win, lose, or draw in this election, will you commit here, today, for a peaceful transferal of power after the election? And there has been rioting in Louisville. There’s been rioting in many cities across this country — red and — your so-called red and blue states. Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferal of power after the election?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster. And — and —

Q I understand that, but people are rioting. Do you commit to making sure that —

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I know. I know. Yeah, no, we want —

Q — there’s a peaceful transferal of power?

THE PRESIDENT: We want to have — get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very trans- — we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly; there’ll be a continuation.

The ballots are out of control. You know it. And you know who knows it better than —

Q No, sir. I don’t know that.

THE PRESIDENT: — anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.

Never Admit Weakness or Consider Defeat

The President’s sympathizers explain away his words by imagining a situation comparable to Saddam Hussein’s bluff with Weapons of Mass Destruction: Whereas Saddam Hussein could never admit he didn’t possess Weapons of Mass Destruction, out of need to project an image of strength, President Trump must never entertain the possibility of losing.

Here’s a description of UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix’s assessment:

Blix provides a number of potential answers, ranging from Saddam’s pride, to the argument this essay advances—that he hoped to retain the threat of WMD in his weakened state. Only with the perception that he possessed unconventional weaponry could he be protected from his enemies such as Iranian Shi’a, Israel, and the Kurd

Bluffing led to disaster

We all know what disaster resulted from Saddam’s miscalculation and his need to maintain his pride..

What Motivates Trump:

In addition to his pride, Trump needs narcissist supply and the fears post-Presidency lawsuits. As a narcissist, he will provoke chaos without limit, seeing chaos as a bargaining chip in his bid to secure himself either:

  1. a continuation of Presidential term
  2. some post-presidential arrangement that avoids accountability and loss of face and  narcissistic supply.

Any post-presidency scenario that does not provide him with sufficient attention and a cushion to his ego will be seen by the President as unacceptable.

Like former Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, the President is a transactional man who expects to get something in exchange for the power he’s been entrusted with.

Don’t “joke about bombs at the Airport” or bluff about WMD

Its a well know that one should not joke about bombs while you’re at the airport.  Likewise, you shouldn’t bluff about the peaceful transfer power in an election season.  The risk of this sort of brinkmanship is that it spirals beyond anyone’s control.

The Banana Republic Option: State Legislatures Overule

There is also a possibility that all this talk about fraud could provide cover for state legislatures to overrule the popular vote in their state, prompting Congress at a national level to cast votes on a 1 voter per state basis, which favors Republicans and would lead to a Trump second term.