Recounting Florida

It’s as easy as A-B-C, factored by 1-2-3…. This piece will be a serial… It ended up as 9,800+ words, and concluded ~ noon on Saturday, November 17, 2018, when it was all over– except for the crying.

Florida was the site of a stolen US Presidential election in 2000: Bush v Gore. Florida had massive chicanery & cheating on Election Day 2000, and was ultimately decided by a right-wing US Supreme Court decision to stop the counting of its ballots. The majority decision written by Antonin Scalia postulated that since the Electoral College determines the US President, voters don’t have the right to vote, so there is no need to count all the ballots. Look it up.

Here in 2018, the situation is different but the same. There is no Electoral College argument to be made this time around, but still expect some bizarre right-wing “logic” to win out in the end. Since 2000, Florida has come up with rules & procedures to handle these situations, which seem to arise every election. This bring a veneer of order & sensible rule to this mass insanity.

The state of Florida conducts an electronic recount when the margin of victory falls below 0.5%. A margin under 0.25%, calls for a manual recount. A manual recount does not mean every ballot is counted by hand, as only the votes that come up as an “undervote” or “overvote” get pulled for manual review. This is where we get into the nebulous universe of determining “voter intent,” which is impossible. At this point the votes are what they are, but things may still change– if that makes sense, which it shouldn’t.

The non-partisan approach is to look at the numbers, the voting machines, and any reported irregularities on Election day. Since we’re talking about Florida, we know there were “irregularities,” meaning massive vote rigging and disenfranchisement tactics to suppress opposing party support. This warps the actual numbers, and makes voter intent impossible to determine, at an individual level and on a mass scale. Both parties manipulate electronic voting machines (EVM’s), but in Florida it’s most pronounced by the Republicans against poor black & Hispanic voters, who typically lean Democrat in big cities.

The types of voting equipment used in US elections falls into 4 categories: Optical Scan Paper Ballot Systems, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Systems. Ballot Marking Devices and Systems, Punch Card Voting Systems– which you can research here, although not everything is accurate (or up-to-date) on ballotpedia.

Florida uses paper ballots with Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) systems. DRE systems are computers that record votes directly into the memory. With no paper trail receipt, individual vote auditing is impossible, as a partisan hacker in control of the election machine in their district can program an algorithm into the memory, or change vote totals manually– with no way of being detected, unless a recount is triggered. How each Floridian voted is impossible to verify. This entire election process couldn’t be more manipulated & anti-democratic.

Of course there were plenty of voter suppression, dirty tricks operations on Election Day (and since), as politics is war. A key point was reached by noon on Saturday November 10, as Florida governor Rick Scott was able to halt the official vote totals before they flipped to the Democrats– in both the Senate & governor races. This means they’ll probably win both races, eventually. They were definitely stolen, the manner of which I’ve already discussed at length, as we’ve seen this before. Even President Donald Trump has admitted he’s trying to steal Florida. Every once in awhile Trump tweets a truth, to the dismay of his handlers.

Rick Scott is suing the Supervisor of Elections in Broward County, Brenda Snipes, and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, Susan Bucher(D)– for allegedly mishandling vote counting. Broward’s vote counting since Tuesday greatly narrowed Republican leads in the Senate & governor’s race, and has flipped the Secretary of Agriculture to the Democrats. Rick Scott even went so far so to ask the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate. “I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election,” Scott told reporters.

Evidentially, Broward County’s elections supervisor mixed 20 “invalid ballots” with a pile of 205 “valid ballots,” fueling a Republican conspiracy theory that this is how the Democrats are stealing the U.S. Senate election in Florida. According to the Miami Herald, the “mistake” was discovered after Brenda Snipes agreed to turn over 205 provisional ballots to the county’s canvassing board for inspection. A majority of provisional ballots were deemed invalid for reasons such as registering to vote too late or voting at the wrong precinct. Multiply these issues by tens-of-thousands of others, and you start to get an idea of the scope of the problem with elections in Florida.

“The ballots cannot be identified,” Brenda Snipes explained to a lawyer for the Republican Party. Governor Rick Scott has controlled all aspects of Florida elections over the past eight years, so who’s to blame? Democratic lawyer Marc Elias said he expected some of the voters affected to “fight for their votes.” Question: How can they fight for their vote, when they can’t audit their vote?

Rick Scott spokesman, Chris Hartline said in a statement, “The voters of Florida have spoken and Rick Scott was elected to the United States Senate in a close but decisive victory. It’s time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount.”

Senator Bill Nelson countered, “This process is about one thing: making sure every legal ballot is counted and protecting the right of every Floridian to participate in our democracy. We believe when every legal ballot is counted, we’ll win this election.” Bill Nelson’s re-election campaign is suing the Florida Secretary of State, Ken Detzner over the signature matching process that is used to validate provisional ballots. You get the idea here?

As of noon Saturday, November 10, 2018, when all the ballots had to be submitted for a final count, these are the official Florida vote totals in the three contested races.

US Senate: 100% of precincts reporting

Rick Scott (R) 4,098,107 50.1%
Bill Nelson* (D) 4,085,545 49.9%
Total Votes 8,183,652

Florida Governor: 100% of precincts reporting

Ron DeSantis (R) 4,075,879 49.6%
Andrew Gillum (D) 4,042,195 49.2%
Total Votes 8,218,616

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services: 100% of precincts reporting

Nikki Fried (D) 4,030,337 50.03%
Matt Caldwell (R) 4,025,011 49.97%
Total Votes 8,055,348

Note: On election night this open race was called for Matt Caldwell, but has since flipped to the Democrat Nikki Fried.

Cowardly Democrat and mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum, who (above) conceded to Ron DeSantis before midnight on November 6, boldly walked back his concession on Saturday, November 10. Gillum roared, “I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromising and unapologetic call that we count every single vote. And I say this recognizing that my fate in this may or may not change.”

Reading between the lines, one gets the sense that Andrew Gillum doesn’t mind losing again, if he has to. Standing up for the voting rights of his constituency was the furthest thing from Gillum’s mind when he conceded to a racist billionaire opponent on Election night. Ron DeSantis, pronounced the results “clear and unambiguous,” and stated that “with the election behind us,” he was planning for his transition as governor.

And thus the imbecile who began his campaign by stating that Florida shouldn’t “monkey up” this election, prepares to take office. DeSantis is in the best position of the four candidates for the two offices. If there needs to be a bipartisan compromise, it’s Rick Scott who will take the bullet for the Republicans.

Democrats & Republicans are responsible for this mess. Something as simple as counting votes is the easiest thing in the world to do, if it’s done fairly. Nothing about this election was fair. When the process becomes this opaque & complex, it becomes impossible to hide the corruption. The methods used to manipulate & win elections are kept veiled, because what they reveal is ugly, heartless & evil.

What this stand-off in Florida represents is the breakdown of US electoral politics. As mentioned in previous pieces, Florida is the key battleground state in American politics. The Republicans especially, WILL NOT yield it; particularly the governor’s mansion, which is vital to Trump’s 2020 bid. The Democrats are only half-hearted in their fight for voters’ rights, which is why I expect them to lose the Florida recounts. History can recall.

For all those who yelled, “Vote!” on election day, my reply is: “For what, Democrats who give up the fight on election night?” I abstained on November 6, and I was correct to do so, it turns out. Those who voted in Florida, only legitimized a corrupt process, and this is the proof. It’s a ridiculous charade, where winners are announced, even in the tightest of races, before all the ballots are even counted. It’s already another legal & political circus here in Florida, with no signs of justice in sight. It will take a revolution to bring fairness to the people Florida, and everywhere else.

Update: Tue 13 Nov 2018 10:01:48 AM EST

The biggest issue in covering this Florida recount is getting accurate facts on anything that matters. This whole process is being blanketed by a smokescreen of lawsuits & media misinformation. Google and all the other search engines have been wiped clean again, making online research difficult, if not impossible. Politicians & their compliant media lapdogs are assiduously working together to confuse the public, which is business as usual.

In the Panhandle, where Hurricane Michael depopulated the region on October 10, 2018, it’s now being alleged that voters were allowed to fax or email their votes. Elections Supervisor Mark Andersen in heavily Republican Bay County told the Miami Herald on Monday that he allowed about 150 people to cast ballots by email, which is illegal under state law. [1]

On Monday morning, a Miami judge ruled against a request by Rick Scott’s legal team to impound Broward County ballots & machines not being used in the recount. Democrats fired back with another lawsuit of their own, asking that Scott be barred from using “the power of his office in any manner related to Florida’s 2018 Senate race as long as he remains a candidate.”

This followed a public statement from Senator Bill Nelson over the weekend, asking Rick Scott to recuse himself from the office of governor during the recount. It’s political gamesmanship on all sides here in Florida, and the will of the people is used for leverage of candidates, not voters’ rights.

On Wednesday, a judge will hear a request from Bill Nelson that all absentee & provisional ballots that were tossed out over mismatched signatures be reexamined. It remains unclear (to the public), how many absentee & provisional ballots are disputed & uncounted in Florida’s 67 counties.

Since provisional ballots are an area of contention, let’s define the term. A ballot is marked provisional by a county election official if there are questions concerning voter eligibility. If 1) a voter doesn’t have a photo ID at the polling place, 2) a voter casts a ballot at the “wrong” precinct, or 3) an absentee ballot is mailed without a signature; these ballots can be identified as “provisional.” Provisional ballots must be reviewed & certified by local election officials before being added to the official count. Right now the vote totals are considered unofficial.

The recount of 700,000 votes in Broward county, began on Sunday after a three-hour delay was caused by a machine that wasn’t registering all ballots when tested. “The Democrats are challenging the calibration of the machines, they are saying it was a machine glitch,” Bill Scherer, Scott’s attorney told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Sunday, to explain the under votes. The Sun Sentinel provided no further explanation as to why the EVM’s weren’t working properly, or what the specific problems were? [2]

Palm Beach & Miami-Dade counties started their recounts Saturday evening, while most other counties began on Monday. About 8.2 million total votes were cast in the statewide election.

On Thursday, November 15 at 3 PM, unofficial returns are due in Tallahassee, and Secretary of State, Pam Bondi (R) determines which races meet the less than a 0.25% victory-margin threshold to order a hand recount. Election officials in Broward county have already stated that they won’t be able to complete the machine recount in time, due to the massive workload. This will probably mean more lawsuits on Friday. All parties have until November 30 to file any claims concerning the election.

Elections staff in Broward county had more than 3.5 million pages to sort before they could even start the actual recount — a task estimated to take up to 35 hours, said Joseph D’Alessandro, director of election planning and development. According to him, out of Broward’s 714,000 votes; 299,000 ballots were cast in early voting, 226,000 were cast on Election Day, and 189,000 were mail-in ballots.

On Friday, November 16, the count begins for military & overseas ballots post-marked Nov. 6 or earlier. Why these ballots weren’t counted on election night is unexplained.

On Sunday, November 18 at noon, county canvassing boards hand count results are due in Tallahassee. Each board examines provisional ballots and outstanding absentee ballots to determine whether they should be counted. Each of Florida’s 67 counties has a canvassing board made up of the supervisor of elections, a county court judge and county commission chair. [3]

According to this scheduled timeline, on Tuesday, November 20 at 9 AM, the Elections Canvassing Commission, consisting of governor Rick Scott & two cabinet members, will meet to certify the November 6 election. I confidently predict that the US Senate race results in Florida won’t be official by then.

Afternoon Update: Tuesday ~ 1:30 PM EST

This Florida recount mirrors the candidates campaigns, with the media distortion now amped up to 20. Instead of campaign ads, both sides are lawyering up, as accusations of cheating, manipulation & fraud are flying. This creates lots of media coverage: print, television & internet. Many of the accusations are true, on both sides; so what does that mean?

At this point, the public debate in the media is over a corrupt process & their candidates. The level of passion over this in the streets of Florida is virtually nil. That’s what I’m seeing anyways, as campaign signs were removed the day after the election, and no one is protesting in numbers. This Florida recount isn’t evoking the passion of 2000: 1) because it isn’t for US President (although it really is– as discussed above), and 2) because both parties are widely seen as bankrupt. The second point is the bigger factor here.

As one who didn’t vote in 2018, you may be wondering why I’m defending Floridians’ voting rights so steadfastly? It’s to illustrate the hypocrisy of this fixed process called elections, which too many people still believe in. At this point, it may be helpful to take a few steps back and answer this fundamental question, “What would a fair election and recount process look like?”

This presumes the candidates are representatives of the people, which they’re not; and that money isn’t a deciding factor, which is most certainly is. Setting all that capitalist corruption aside, an election can be fairly managed with ease in this digital age, but people have to understand & care. When votes get “lost,” or changed without knowledge, then what’s to believe in?

Here’s some common sense. Every voter should receive some form of receipt when they finish voting, the same way you get a slip of paper when you buy anything at a store. This “voting receipt” should have the information for the holder to audit their vote online, or wherever. If there’s an issue, the voter can contact the Supervisor of Elections to address the grievance. The receipt could even be electronically sent to cellphones or verified email addresses.

Also all ballots, including absentee overseas, et cetera, need to be counted on election night. Any “provisional” ballots need to be cleared up as quickly as possible: in a fair, transparent & democratic manner. This can be easily accomplished if each voter has a receipt. Counting the ballots of US soldiers, risking their livers oversees, a week after the election, is insulting. Insisting their ballots be thrown out is fascist. That’s Florida politics on both sides of the aisle.

Notice that the “common sense” I’ve just expressed in a few sentences, is nothing close to the current Florida election & recount process, and that’s by design. Once a vote is cast, a voter has no control over what happens next. This amorphic mass of ~8.2 million votes that are now being recounted in Florida, are claimed by both parties as their own. But no voter claims their individual vote anymore, or knows how it was registered, as it’s become a congealed lump of winner-takes-all politics. Everyone seems to miss this anti-democratic aspect, by not discussing it.

The Republican machinery specializes in rigged elections, and as Trump’s popular support continues to wane, this tactic becomes an evermore important strategy used to win elections. If the votes were counted honestly everywhere in the US, then the Republicans would be swept out of office in a few terms. That’s been a dirty GOP campaign secret since the late 1990’s.

The Democrats feel the same way when they face opposition from genuine socialist candidates on the left. The only real socialist of the US midterm ballot in 2018 was Niles Niemuth, for the Socialist Equality Party (SEP). In the Michigan 12th Congressional district, Debra Dingell easily won re-election, in what is considered a “safe seat” for Democrats by political insiders.

Niles Niemuth ran an amazing campaign, using the World Socialist Web Site to cover & promote his Congressional campaign for international socialism. Support for Niemuth was global, in political sympathy & monetary contributions. There was no other campaign like it in 2018. Here were the official results in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District election, per ballotpedia:

Candidate Pct.          Vote            total

Debbie Dingell (D)      68.2       199,690
Jeff Jones (R)            28.8          84,220
Gary Walkowicz          2.3            6,691
Niles Niemuth  (I)        0.8            2,200

Total votes: 292,801

Here’s an interesting bit of data from ballotpedia, concerning campaign spending in the Michigan 12th for US Congress, as of September 30, 2018:

Debra Dingell (D)               $1,085,073
Jeff Jones (R)                    $19,118
Gary Walkowicz (WCP)    $0    [!?]
Niles Niemuth (SEP)         $2,832

The Working Class Party candidate Gary Walkowicz (above) was credited with 6.691 votes, having officially spent NO money on the campaign. That’s unprecedented, so I wonder, “How does that happen?” Niles Niemuth was credited with 2,200 votes, which was surely under-counted– probably by at least one digit. Niemuth’s total “war chest” available (as of 9/30) was $3,874. Debra Dingell had another ~$440,000 on hand as of those dates. As you can see, the Republicans punted on this district.

Here are a few excerpts from an article published November 2, 2018 on the WSWS, titled, “Who are Gary Walkowicz and the Working Class Party?”

Walkowicz is a member of the bargaining committee of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 600 in Dearborn, Michigan, which covers Ford’s Rouge complex. This is the third consecutive election in which he has run for Congress from the 12th District against incumbent Democrat Debbie Dingell… The WCP is an electoral front… for the trade union officialdom.

The most striking thing about the Working Class Party’s election platform itself is its formlessness. It takes no position on any concrete political question. On the most critical issues of the day, including the drive to war against Russia and China, the crisis of the Trump administration, the bipartisan assault on immigrants, the Democrats’ anti-Russian campaign and the growth of internet censorship, the Working Class Party has literally nothing to say. [4]

If there was a fair recount in the Michigan 12th district, I don’t believe Gary Walkowicz would win even 100 votes; as whomever his supporters are, they all vote Democrat. The Working Class Party was apparently formed before the 2012 election, but according to their Wikipedia page, “the Working Class Party has no website of its own, but many of its leaflets and statements can be found on the independent website www.workingclassfight.com.”

Their newly-formed headquarters is in Detroit, Michigan, indicates the Working Class Party are a CIA/deep state campaign to keep the Socialist Equality Party in check. The SEP has long been headquartered in this area, which is why Niles Niemuth ran for US Congress in the 12th. His was the only SEP campaign of the entire US midterm, obviously due to lack of funds. The WSWS, SEP & Niles Niemuth still made quite an impact, which is all-the-more reason to suspect their vote totals were rigged.

Update: Wed 14 Nov 2018 03:15 AM EST

All 67 counties in Florida are in some stage of recounting their ballots, running them through electronic vote tabulators. The three largest voting system manufacturers in the U.S. are Elections Systems and Software (ES&S), Dominion, and Hart Intercivic. This PDF provides important specifics concerning the electronic voting machines & software used in Florida’s 2018 elections.

Election Systems & Software (ES&S) is an Omaha, Nebraska-based company that manufactures and sells its direct-recording electronic (DRE) machines, vote tabulators, election software (EVS & DS200), absentee voting-by-mail services, as well as professional support to 48 of Florida’s 67 counties. ES&S counts Florida’s votes, where they count the most.

This highly-lucrative EVM market is murky murky, as it involves giving high-paying clients what they demand, which is machines they can secretly control & manipulate. When looking at Republican suppression of Democrat voters in urban Florida, ES&S appears to be the GOP’s secret weapon.

According to Wikipedia, “ES&S is the largest manufacturer of EVM’s in the US, claiming customers in 4,500 localities in 42 states and two U.S. territories. As of 2014, the company had more than 450 employees, more than 200 of whom are located in Omaha,” a regional center for global hedge-fund investment.

“ES&S has installed statewide voting systems in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. ES&S claims a U.S. market share of more than 60 percent in customer voting system installations.” [5]

Dominion Voting Systems Corporation was founded in 2002 in Toronto, by John Poulos & James Hoover, and acquired Diebold Election Systems in 2010. Dominion vendors EVM services to the remaining 19 counties in Florida, 18 of which are rural & hard Republican.

The notable exception is Palm Beach, which is adjacent to Dade county, and currently the source of the most-heated bipartisan contention. It appears Dominion is used by the Republican machinery in Florida, mainly to inflate their vote in stronghold rural counties. We’ll soon see how the Dominion machines recount the votes in Palm Beach county, and I predict the results will be statistically fascinating.

To complete this EVM overview, Hart InterCivic Inc. is the smallest of the three voting machine companies, headquartered in Austin, Texas. Hart InterCivic Inc. EVM’s are used in parts of Texas, the entire states of Hawaii and Oklahoma, half of Washington & Colorado, and certain counties in Ohio, California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. [6]

Florida’s population has continued to grow, as the number of registered voters by the 2018 primaries was 13,013,657. In the 2016 primaries, that was 12.37 million, and in the 2014 primaries it was 11.8 million. Florida’s estimated total population in 2018 is 21.31 million.

Donald Trump’s post-midterm ratings among US voters are 46% approval, with 52% disapproval. What we see now in US politics are “leaders” at all levels who are unable to maintain a mandate of approval from the majority of voters. If one counts non-voters, these approval numbers drop even more dramatically.

In Florida, among its roughly 13 million registered voters, only 8.2 actually voted in 2018. Over 37% consciously abstained, or didn’t care. Those 4.8 million registered Florida voters who skipped this election are more votes than any candidate received, making this group the largest constituency. This fact is true everywhere, and yet it is concealed in all bourgeois media analysis of “red & blue waves.”

Whoever wins the Senate & governorship will receive ~ 4.2 million votes in their favor. In a state with a census of 21.3 million, that means the winner (whenever it’s decided), actually represents only 20% of the people.  Factor in all these candidate’s low job approval ratings & lack of popularity, and their political legitimacy dwindles even more.

For example, many Florida voters who checked Bill Nelson in the Senate, did so because they HATE Rick Scott, not because they love the Democratic incumbent. Here are both Florida senators approval ratings, published on October 10, 2018 to illustrate my point. N/O means no opinion, and M/E is margin of error.

Senator           Approve Disapprove N/O M/E

Marco Rubio (R)     41%     42%      17%   1%
Bill Nelson (D)         39%     41%      21%   1%

The same “lesser evilism” attitude is true for those Republican voters who checked off Ron DeSantis, a billionaire clown (below) who excited no one. DeSantis’ luck was that Republican racists HATED the idea of a black Democrat as governor of Florida, more than anything else. That, and all the resources the Trump team & Rick Scott provided DeSantis.

When you look at approval/disapproval ratings like these across-the-board, you realize that 20% approval is still giving the political victor far too much popular credit. Since half the voters who supported any candidate do so, only because they hate they other candidate/party more, it’s more like 10-12% of the population that is actually represented, whomever wins- Democrat or Republican. That’s why all these campaigns were centered around attack ads, as no one offers serious solutions that anyone can believe in.

On Tuesday (yesterday), there were two counties where recount efforts made the news. Mark Andersen, Bay County Supervisor of Elections, stood by his decision to accept 147 faxed & emailed ballots. This partisan Republican, thinly disguised as a neutral public official, cited the hardship of Hurricane Michael as the reason for changing (defying) Florida law.

I agree with his actions, but listen to Andersen’s rhetoric, and then compare it to his sympathies for any election hardships in Dade, Broward & Palm Beach counties, which are dealt with much differently by cynical Republicans, that’s for sure. The Bay county recount was finished on Tuesday, and according to Mark Andersen (below), “the numbers came back where they should have been.”

A few days earlier, the headlines in the Daytona Beach News Journal read, “Volusia elections chief says recount process going smoothly.” Yesterday must seem so far away for Volusia County Supervisor of Elections, Lisa Lewis who was on the verge of tears Tuesday, as Volusia county ended their recount with a 240-vote discrepancy.

Lisa Lewis stated to the media, “When we were comparing the totals from last night, when we finished that, to the first unofficial results, we noticed in the vote-by-mail and ballots and the early voting ballot counts that they were off. When the jam goes through and we think that it [the ballot] has counted, it truly hasn’t in some of those batches that were jammed.”

Once staff learned the totals were off, they brought in the three machines to process another recount of the Volusia county ballots. This 240-vote discrepancy in such a small-sample size (vote-by-mail & early voting ballot) is alarming, and it obviously shook the belief & confidence of the Volusia County Supervisor of Elections, who was a true believer.

In this video above, published August 21, 2018, Lisa Lewis describes the seriousness with which she takes her job. Lewis informs us that she has a background in banking, and performs her duties as election supervisor with the same professional care. Each vote is like money, she explains, which is sacred. But sacred for whom?

In her banking analogy, Lewis reveals more than she intends. Most people consider banks as institutions that hold their money for them, until it’s needed. A customer makes a deposit, and gets a receipt for it. This receipt of accounts gives the bank customer the power to withdraw their money at any time.

In Florida elections, voters have none of these rights, as they go to the polls and deposit their ballots, which are never to be seen or accessed again by that individual. Lewis declares the secrecy of “protecting the privacy of the voter,” to be a key component in maintaining secure & fair elections. Her analogy more resembles the methods banks use to steal money from their depositors when the market crashes.

Finally, listening to 55+ year-olds reassuring us (the public) of election cybersecurity, is laughable; as if thumbdrives & EVM’s can’t be infected with hidden malware.

Update: Wednesday, 14 Nov 2018 05:38 PM EST

It looks like Florida 2018 will come down to Palm Beach County (again), as it’s vote-counting machinery overheated while tabulating late last night, forcing Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher to recount 175,000 ballots. There are over 600,000 ballots to recount in Palm Beach County, Florida’s 3rd-most populous.

Bucher said today that she had noticed the machines were starting to fail “a couple days ago,” and didn’t all fail at the same time, but rather have intermittent problems. Ghosts in the machines, it seems. Service technicians have been flown in to help. “The machines started to overheat, then malfunctioned,” she said. “We’d let them cool off. Then eventually we just needed parts.”

Bucher already had assured the public she could NOT recount the U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner races, as well as a local state House race, by Thursday’s state-mandated 3 PM deadline. Palm Beach county voting machines can’t tabulate the recounts of all the undecided races at once, like machines in other Florida counties can.

The Palm Beach county deadline to finish the recount was extended to November 20, in a lawsuit the Democrats won a few days back, but it is about to be challenged by Republican attorneys in a higher court. If the votes aren’t completely recounted by 3 PM tomorrow, the original unofficial totals become official, according to Florida law. That would surely tip both the senate & governor’s races to the Republicans.

Did I mention earlier that there would be “statistically fascinating” results in Palm Beach county, due to the voting machines? Bang, right on cue. Looking at the distribution of ES&S vs. Dominion EVM’s in Florida, the pattern of distribution is clearly along partisan lines, with Palm Beach county as the key exception. Evidentially, this county is using antiquated Diebold machines. As reported earlier, Diebold was bought out by Dominion in 2010.

Recall the 2000 election, when butterfly ballots were used to confuse & suppress Democratic voters in Palm Beach county, which allowed Bush/Cheney to steal Florida by 537 votes. That decided the White House for 8 years. The same process is now occurring in Palm Beach county, electronically. The Republicans have supplied the Supervisor of Elections with malfunctioning equipment, which can’t possible do its job correctly in time.

In the end, the responsibility for this comes down to Florida governor Rick Scott, who was in Washington, DC today, for a photo-op with the freshman GOP senatorial class, of which he isn’t yet part of, but it sends a message, right?

Rick Scott has pointed fingers all around the state in the past week, but as governor in this time, he has done nothing to help these local officials do their jobs. The media scrutiny of many of these Supervisors of Elections is unfair, as most are just trying to get their results turned in, as quickly & correctly as possible. When asked today by a Washington reporter if he still believed voter fraud was going on with the Florida recount, Rick Scott remained silent.

Evening Thoughts: Wednesday 14 Nov 2018 09:48 PM EST

Rick Scott is in Washington, and the earlier photo-op was just a sideshow. He’s surely meeting with the Trump team, including Roger Stone, Stephen Bannon, & their ilk– as this is about 2020. If this Florida recount goes through, the results are going to match the polling, meaning Democrats Bill Nelson & Andrew Gillum will win. The Democrats seem confident in this, and the Republicans are acting very nervous. Bill Nelson is a hardline CIA Democrat, who won’t give up his seat easily. He has played this recount well (politically speaking), in comparision to Scott, DeSantis & Gillum.

A Leon county judge ruled in favor of the 5-day extension for Palm Beach county to finish its recount. Governor Rick Scott is a lawyer, looking for a federal judge who can intercede of his behalf to stop the extended recount. It’s ironic that as governor Rick Scott has every ability to enforce Florida law, he just hates doing it on himself.

In 2000, it was the US Supreme Court that intervened, by overruling the Florida Supreme Court, stopping the counting of ballots. Those who follow politics may remember that there is now a hard-right 5-4 majority on the US Supreme Court, with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. Anything is possible, and evil minds in DC surely are planning a nefarious conspiracy against the people of Florida and their right to have their votes counted.

The overwhelming mood among Floridians, who have been through this before, is disgust. Floridians are sick & tired of being used as pawns on some grand Machiavellian chessboard, every election. For those who don’t live in Florida, you would do well to pay attention, as this affects you too. The only reason this kind of manipulation doesn’t happen in your state, is because it doesn’t matter like Florida in terms of electoral votes in a battleground state. If you live in Ohio or Pennsylvania, then you may have an idea of what this is like, but you are still a distant second & third– in terms of experience in electoral manipulation.

Florida is a complex, ever-changing region & demographic. The environment of this beautiful state is being destroyed at an accelerated rate due to unchecked global warming & corporate pollution. The business environment in central Florida was destroyed by the Economic Crash of 2008, as millions lost their homes, businesses & families. What’s left is infrastructural decay & economic blight, with powerful hurricanes and other natural disasters impacting the state every year, and no solutions in sight.

To illustrate the accelerated rate of decay in central Florida, let’s examine two maps of MLB Spring Training locations over the decades. The first is from the 1980’s, as the Boston Red Sox were still in Winter Haven. This map has an excellent view of I-4, which runs from I-75 in Tampa to I-95 in Daytona, (so it really isn’t an interstate). I-4 runs through Orlando, which means Disney & tourism. I-4 is a congested nightmare, and is hated by commuters in central Florida, who blame regional & state planners for their lack of vision & problem-solving initiative.

The “I-4 corridor” is analyzed to death by political pundits as being the key to elections in Florida. They are correct in that, as this gauntlet of urbanization across central Florida contains every racial demographic, but is largely working class & poor. The average yearly income for a Floridian is $31,740. A bachelors degree in the Sunshine State earns $43,969 on average, and a graduate degree $59,058. If that seems low, that’s because it is. Both parties are trying to connect with, and win votes from, a demographic that it neither recognizes, nor understands.

The next Grapefruit League map is dated between 2004-07. The Nationals (not Expos) are in Viera, and the Devil Rays changed their mascot name to the Rays in 2008. By this map, the Reds had already left for Sarasota, replacing the White Sox who migrated to Arizona. The Reds abandoned field in Plant City is now sometimes used as a softball complex. Since the Crash of 2008, the Royals have gone to Arizona, and the Indians too. The Astros have moved southeast to share a facility with the Nationals, who also drifted south.

In our MLB Grapefruit images above, the franchises located in the I-4 corridor were: the Reds in Plant City, the Tigers in Lakeland, the Red Sox/Indians in Winter Haven, the Royals in Baseball (Haines) City, the Braves in Buena Vista (Disney), the Astros in Kissimmee, and the Twins in Orlando. After 2019 Spring Training next March, another franchise will be abandoning central Florida, as the Braves are leaving their beautiful facility at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex, to join the rest on the coast.

There’s more money to be made elsewhere, and that’s where the MLB franchises have gone, as every spring training team in the I-4 corridor (save the Tigers) has either: 1) moved to the east or west coast of Florida, or 2) relocated to Arizona. That roughly mimics the condition of those who live here, who have been left behind to fend for themselves, as no one in leadership is investing in jobs programs, infrastructure improvements, or environmental clean-up. Therefore, things continue to get worse.

Update: Thursday 15 Nov 2018 11:27 AM EST

More lawsuits & court rulings over disputed ballots & signature mismatches in the news, but nothing worth reporting here, as it’s a waiting game until 3 PM this afternoon. That’s when 66 of Florida’s 67 counties must deliver their recount, otherwise that county’s original numbers stand as official. Hats off to all those election workers who do their jobs honesty & well.

Every county’s recount will be a story in itself, whether it’s a significant shift in totals, or no change at all. Obviously it’s the largest counties that people will focus on the most, as that’s where the largest shifts in raw numbers can & will occur. The questions in each contested race are: How much, and for whom?

Here are Florida’s five largest counties by population:

Rank                 Population
1 Miami-Dade   2,751,796
2 Broward         1,935,878
3 Palm Beach   1,471,150
4 Hillsborough   1,408,566
5 Orange           1,348,975

The top-3 make up South Florida, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale corridor. BTW, shitty traffic there too. Hillsborough is Tampa, and Orange county is Orlando. Half of the rest of the top-15 most-populous Florida counties, are those that surround the top-5, including: Pinellas, Duval, Seminole, Brevard & Volusia county. Expect most-to-all of those counties to post significant recount gains for Democrat candidates. These counties are where the recount will be decided in the three statewide races.

There are 13 Florida counties with a population under 20,000, and another 18 with under 100,000, which sums 31, nearly half of Florida’s county total of 67. Note that this is population, not registered voters, but the point is the recounts here won’t matter significantly, because there are so few voters in these regions. At least three-quarters vote Republican, but they are very spread out, and much fewer in numbers. Their weight always gets over-emphasized on insipid red-blue electoral maps of Florida.

* Remember, Palm Beach county has until November 20 to finish its recount. If the vote totals still favor Scott & DeSantis after today’s recounts are re-tabulated statewide, then the Palm Beach election headquarters becomes the epicenter of US politics. Fascists always try to lie their way past a problem first. When that fails, they escalate to threats & intimidation. After that, they either: 1) give up & go back to lying, or 2) resort to provocative violence & goon squads. I don’t expect Trump or Scott to exercise restraint or civility, if it comes to that. The people of Florida need to be watchful & prepared!

When it comes to reporting this Florida election and recount, no one has been more on-the-ground than me. On August 24, 2018 I published “Florida’s 2018 Primaries,” which was the first analysis of the importance of the Florida governor’s race on Donald Trump’s chances in 2020, among many other factors.

Other analysis & front-line reporting has followed as events have progressed, including “Florida Gubernatorial Race & Trump 2020” and “Election Signals,” in which this entire mess was predicted, and it’s mechanism & primary participants revealed.

If you have been reading me up through this serial, then you are more up-to-date on what’s actually going on here, than anyone. Do you really believe the New York Times, Washington Post, or USA Today actually know anything about Florida? RealClearPolitics has been trying to demote the Florida recount on it’s hot-spot newsfeed, but it’s back up to #2– with a bullet. They’ve been reading me, just to catch up.

I’ve been reading the Miami Herald, Tampa Times, Daytona Beach News Journal & Palm Beach Post to get the facts, then I publish my thoughts. What I’ve noticed, is that it gets noticed. The local news is much more honest in it’s reporting, when they see & feel the presence of watchdogs, who are ready to call out the fakers. I recommend trying it.

Palm Beach County’s Election is Stolen by the Republican Machinery in Florida
Thu 15 Nov 2018 09:36 PM EST

Palm Beach Election Supervisor Susan Bucher, told the media this afternoon, “As a supervisor I take full responsibility. That’s my job. It was not for lack of human effort … it was so incredible, and I thank everybody who participated… it was the machines that failed. We gave a heroic effort and given probably three or four more hours we might have made it,”  she told a press conference.

Over 600,000 ballots remain uncounted, and it’s questionable whether they ever will be. In Palm Beach county, it’s now down to about 6,000 provisional ballots (1% of the total) for a hand recount, and military balloting. All votes must be in by Sunday, noon. Rules are rules, you understand?

The Palm Beach county recount has been halted (deja vu), before any of the races could be decided– and there were a total of four, including the three statewide contests. Police officers are seated in folding chairs, behind fold-up tables at Palm Beach election headquarters, where all the machines & bins of ballots are located. Four undecided races in the 3rd-most populous Florida county, over 600,000 ballots whose count is questionable (to say the least), and nothing is going on. It’s surreal.

The original (rigged) totals will be the official Palm Beach count, and there you have it. Faulty machinery, rigged vote tabulators and strictly enforced artificial deadlines are what wins “elections” in Florida. It’s the Republican way, and the Democrats don’t seem to mind. The local media has stopped digging, and has returned to mouthing the official narrative to the public. I smell a rat, meaning a bipartisan backroom deal.

Question: who owns the votes?  What happened to the 5-day extension for Palm Beach county, granted by the Leon county judge, you ask?  The Tampa Times reported this afternoon that a federal judge denied a request from Nelson’s campaign to have the Palm Beach county recount deadline extended.

There’s been virtually no media on this critical decision in the Florida recount process, as a federal judge has interceded on behalf of the Republicans, to halt the counting of Palm Beach county ballots. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee, cited a bunch of nonsense in his statement to the press. He’s a sample, there’s more in the link above:

“There is a complete dearth of evidence before this Court concerning the status, progress, or expected completion of the ordered recounts in Palm Beach County,” he wrote. “In considering whether to grant the extraordinary relief of a preliminary injunction, the Court is required to balance the equities. … This balancing is effectively impossible without an understanding of the state and limitations of the current ongoing process…”

Judge Mark Walker’s argument of “dearth of “evidence,” is false. Myself and plenty of others have provided plenty of evidence & context. In other words, cluelessness on judge Walker’s part, gives him the authority to overrule the judge who carefully listened to both sides & all the evidence, when he ruled for the 5-day extension. It’s public record, what’s been going on with the faulty machines in Palm Beach county.

The Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections stated (above), that she only needed a few more hours to complete the recount, and yet federal judge Mark Walker today ruled he saw no evidence the recount could be completed! Walker is clearly the fixed federal judge I mentioned the Republicans were searching for yesterday. It makes you wonder, how Bill Nelson and his lawyers could lose this one?

Palm Beach has set aside $11 million to buy new equipment, but Bucher said the county hasn’t yet purchased the machines because the state still needs to resolve a question about voting system compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The current Palm Beach county budget is a little over $13 million, to be ADA compliant by 2020. The $11 million upgrades Palm Beach county was offered by Rick Scott’s governor’s office for 2018, were not ADA compliant.

Bill Nelson has vowed to fight for an extension in the hand recount. Notice how he’s willing to fight for the <1%, while abandoning the 99+% of the Palm Beach county voters, who were disenfranchised by a technicality. Whatever deal Nelson & the Trump team worked out in secret, and executed with federal judge Mark Walker, is now being manipulated in the Florida recount numbers, which the public has been kept from seeing. That is the only rational reason for both parties & the media being mum on the recount returns.

Online, “Florida Recounts” is back to the top of the RealClearPolitics newsfeed, as of this update. Gosh, I’ve been right with so many predictions, I’ve lost count. That happens in Florida.

Update: Friday 16 Nov 2018 07:20 AM EST

These midterm campaigns went down as the most expensive elections in U.S. history, with over $5.25 billion spent on advertising, up 78% from the last midterm elections in 2014, according to a Kantar Media analysis released on Thursday. Spending was 20% higher than the 2016 presidential election, which is unprecedented.

And what did it yield? As we can see from Florida, it’s been all about manipulation & power politics. There is very little to add to the discussion at this juncture. It’s been over 17 hours since the recount totals were delivered, and the people of Florida still know next-to-nothing as to their results, or what’s going on. On election night, when the polls close, returns are immediately reported by the media as they come in. As for this recount, it’s a veil of secrecy. It contents are held & shaped by the masters-of-puppets, and then deliberately dripped into the media for effect.

The only rational explanation for this behavior, is more behind-the-scenes vote rigging, this time with both parties involved. If I’m correct in my analysis, then Bill Nelson could possibly defeat Rick Scott for Senate, but Andrew Gillum will certainly come up short in the “recount” for governor. Cowardly Democrat Andrew Gillum has already polished his latest concession speech.

The Trump team is going to get what they want, as Republicans always do when it counts, in the corrupt two-party straitjacket. In the end, this is another victory for fascism, and another hard lesson for those who believe in democracy & the Democrats. When will people learn?

On election night November 6th, when the rigged returns began pouring in for Florida, it sent a signal across the nation. Whatever expectations for a “blue wave” were quickly dashed. That was the point, from a ruling class perspective. As stated before, Democrats would rather lose critical races (such as Florida’s governorship), than energize it’s left-leaning constituency to secure victory. It’s called “bipartisan compromise,” which it has nothing to do with defending the rights of Americans to vote, and have it count.

Friday 16 Nov 2018 11:16 AM EST

This Florida election & recount is a tough story to break, because there’s so much secrecy at the highest levels. To summarize, this is all about Trump 2020, and notice the Democrats are caving in, with possibly a secret deal to keep Bill Nelson in the Senate, at the expense of Andrew Gillum. The votes of Floridians are likely being “fixed” to reflect that political compromise, as this has been published.

I’ve made more than a few (mostly minor) mistakes, shooting around in the dark, but I’ve also scored numerous direct & indirect hits. This is why I’m being crushed by Google, Fakebook, and all the rest during this recount process. Or is it a coincidence, that new censorship tactics began a few days after the election, as the Florida recount became a serious story? That’s part of the deal being a Trotskyist dialectician, with all the blacklisting & misinformation online.

The Florida felon voter amendment that passed on Election Night, has been hailed as a progressive victory. That would be true, if Andrew Gillum became governor, which he didn’t, as Ron DeSantis has been declared the winner by machine recount.  Amendments are implemented by the governor, and since new governor Ron DeSantis will have no interest in allowing released felons to vote, this amendment will get bottled up in legislation somewhere, and die when no one is looking.

Conversely, the Florida amendment that now prohibits new casinos without voter approval, will be implemented no matter who is governor, since Disney funded the “Yes” campaign. Disney views casinos as an existential threat to their family-oriented theme parks, so there was major political ad spending, with murky casino moguls funding the “No” campaign.

And since the state of Florida has consistently proven that it doesn’t count all the votes on election day anyways, what does it matter?  It has just been reported in the Miami Herald, that Broward County finished it’s recount, but didn’t submit it’s total in time, so it doesn’t count. Hillsborough county (Tampa) didn’t make the deadline either, as the supervisor didn’t know why staffers came up with an 846-vote deficit. This is a lesson in how elections & laws are bought & enforced in Florida.

Noon Update: 16 Nov 2018 12:01 PM EST

The governor’s race recount numbers are finally up at on the Florida Division of Elections website:

DeSantis / Nuñez REP   4,075,445     49.59%
Gillum / King DEM          4,041,762     49.18%

And for US senate:

Rick Scott REP         4,097,689       50.07%
Bill Nelson DEM        4,085,086       49.92%

For the record, it took far too long (with no explanation), for these results to be made public. For many Floridians, they have no validity. Broward missed the recount deadline by two minutes, allegedly due to the Supervisor of Elections’ unfamiliarity with the upload website. As we can see, US election politics kills democracy.

The machine “recount” for US Senate yielded a few more votes for Rick Scott, who will hang on and steal it. Whatever capitulations Bill Nelson and the Democrats made, it appears it wasn’t enough to secure his Senate seat.

Wouldn’t you love to be the recipient of such generosity, as the Republicans get every election from the Democrats? Nelson has been a top Dixie Democrat on the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, so I’m sure he’ll find a soft landing in the public sector. They can always use a man like him. As for you & me, not so much.

Afternoon update: Friday 16 Nov 2018 02:20 PM EST

Everyone has their statements ready, and here we go. Rick Scott to the press, “Florida voters elected me as their next U.S. Senator and now the ballots have been counted twice. We need to put this election behind us, and it is time for Bill Nelson to respect the will of the voters and graciously bring this process to an end rather than proceed with yet another count of the votes – which will yield the same result, and bring more embarrassment to the state that we both love and have served.”

Provisional & military ballots have yet to be totaled, and again Rick Scott demands a concession before all the votes are counted. It’s also highly-questionable whether Broward, Palm Beach & Hillsborough county were counted correctly. Those three urban counties who lean heavily Democrat weren’t recounted, despite all the heroic efforts of election workers. According to high officials, those three densely-populated counties had to submit their original election night numbers as official on Thursday at 3:00 PM, for various red-tape reasons.

Whatever the number of provisional & military ballots, it’s not going to be enough to shift the ~12,600 vote lead that Rick Scott has maintained (actually widened) over Bill Nelson. The machine recount was Nelson’s only realistic hope, but the Republicans sabotaged it & covered their tracks. When the Democratic counties didn’t finish in time, that cut the number of outstanding ballots to <200,000, with a likely near-50/50 split in voting.

I’m recalling these following numbers from local news broadcast, a few days back. Last election there were ~116,000 military ballots requested for soldiers with a Florida residence. About 80,000 were mailed back. About 2,500 were rejected, mostly because they were postmarked too late. Approximately those same numbers were expected this time. There’s the ~5,000 signature match ballots that are being disputed. That’s not a large enough sample size to overcome Scott’s lead, and there can be no presumption that Florida voters vastly prefer such an unpopular senator as Bill Nelson.

Floridians who have been here before will tell you that “overvote” & “undervote” totals don’t go very far in either direction, as it’s highly subjective & contentious, and therefore tends to be conservative. There are ~93,000 votes that are being hand reviewed county courthouses statewide, and the deadline is noon Sunday. Everyone wants this over by now, and the skids have been greased. Election officials will work very hard at making the most accurate determination in this tiny sample of Florida’s stolen election. And then Rick Scott will be declared the winner.

Andrew Gillum backers & racialists would do well to notice who has been filing all the lawsuits for the Democrats during this recount period. It’s been Bill Nelson’s team. That allowed the Democrats to take control in Washington, instead of losing control in Florida. Andrew Gillum has mostly kept silent on voter manipulation, and obeyed on command when asked to by higher interests. For all his sacrifices to the party, Gillum still gets to be mayor of Tallahassee. It’s not the governor’s mansion, but it’s close enough for him.

Evening Update: Friday 16 Nov 2018  07:17 PM EST

The 93,000 Florida provisional ballots are almost all in the most-populated counties, which lean heavily Democrat. We’ve seen how the machine recount went in these counties. Expect more of that with the hand recount. If there was a way each ballot could be individually identified, then voters could be contacted, and the “overvote-undervote” issue could easily be resolved.

There’s surely enough uncounted votes to swing the Senate race, and probably enough to flip the governor race too. But it’s hard to prove “voter intent” on an anonymous ballot, and the Republicans have lawyers who are experts at raising doubt & running out the clock. Noon Sunday (not one second later), and all the votes are totaled & official.

Election results are certified on Tuesday, November 20, and the 2018 election will go into the books. The wrap-up: Republicans stole this, because they HAD to have it. The Democrats complied, because 1) they are cowards, and 2) they are traitors to the working class. The media did it’s job, so everyone can move on. Most Floridians look at this whole process with deep mistrust, and hardly care.

It time for me to call the Senate race for Rick Scott, and end this serial. I’ve tried to provide a Floridian’s perspective on who, how, where, when & why this election was stolen. I have no elite access, so I can only take it so far with online research & theory. The real ballot totals, and what’s up with the EVM’s are beyond my reach. This is where insiders need to look to discover elusive answers as to why Florida can’t count its votes. The travel logs of the principle players (and their associates) may also provide some clues as to who knew what, and when.

Here’s irony. Just the other day, another communications satellite was launched into space by NASA at Cape Canaveral. We have some of the most brilliant minds in the world, working here in the Sunshine State, yet counting votes accurately & openly remains elusive to our election process. Actually it’s not ironic at all. It’s all part of the capitalist political process, which is nothing but corruption. Politics & elections in Florida are a joke, because Washington & Wall Street are a joke. So are Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Madison Avenue, and all the networks. The Pentagon, CIA, FBI and all the rest are beyond a sick joke.

Living in Florida reflects & magnifies all this, and it is ironic. It’s like rain on a hurricane landfall day. It’s like going crazy, when you’re already nuts. It’s like having to summon the will to care, but don’t. It’s like getting back into Windows with AOL. It’s like losing at Lotto. It’s like a homeless Trump supporter, who Nazi salutes because he fights “commies.” It’s like when the music is over, but no one turns out the lights. It’s like that obnoxiously opinionated cabbie, who never shuts up & irritates everyone to no end, but makes us all sane again through reason & laughter.

Wrap-up Thoughts: Sat 17 Nov 2018 11:28 AM EST

I stopped by the Sanford Courthouse this morning after 9:00 AM, to satisfy my curiosity. The front door was locked, with a sign saying “Security guard on patrol.” I looked into the glass, spotted the security guard at his desk, and waved to him. He’s an old man, so I took a seat on nearby a bench. After 30 seconds or so, he cracks the door open, and I walk up and ask, “Are election officials still going over any ballots?”

He’s confused, and tries to direct me to the public library, which is where early voting took place, but no ballot counting. I explain to him, this courthouse is the Seminole county seat, where ballots can be contested and local elections are certified, so I ask him again, “Is there anything going on inside?” He says the building is empty, and looking around at the parking lots, anyone can see he’s telling the truth. I then asked him if there was ballot-counting activity in the building yesterday, which was Friday. He said, “No.”

The lots were packed full on Thursday afternoon, when I walked by. There were three-piece suits on cell phones all over the place, buttoning-up & screwing on their game faces. I called it out as a “shitshow” to several of them as I passed by. There was no use in trying to get into the Courthouse then, or ask too many questions, as the next door police station parking lots were full too.

So the Democrats rolled over, in the clover. Today, central Floridians care more about UCF (22-game unbeaten streak on the line, baby!) on ESPN Gameday this morning, than rigged elections for phony representatives. After the rolling weekend party ends with Monday Night Football, high officials will convene in Tallahassee on Tuesday at noon, to certify this election as legitimate.

Sanford, the place I live, has a long history as one of Florida’s oldest towns. After the Seminole, Creek & Cherokee Indians were wiped out, and moved onto a reservation in Oklahoma, in what is known in history as “The Trail of Tears,” Sanford was eventually founded on the southern shore of Lake Monroe, at the head of navigation on the St. Johns River. Sanford was incorporated in 1877, one year after the Reconstruction was ended, in another political compromise that has had lasting ramifications, as Jim Crow segregation was established in the South.

The St. John’s River is called “The Nile of the West,” because it flows north, emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville. The powerful underground aquifers and artesian springs provide plenty of water for citrus & produce, which were the primary industries of early Sanford. By 1886, Sanford was the hub of Florida’s only railroad line, which connected Jacksonville to Sanford/Orlando, all the way to Tampa & Miami.

Notice how this 19th-century transportation route, mimics today’s population & voting corridors in Florida. After World War II when muck farming came into advent, and growers moved to south Florida, Sanford declining economically, while sprawling, like much of Florida.

In Sanford’s early history, steamboats were used to bring goods up & down the St, John’s River. Poor African Americans, Jamaicans, Swedish immigrants and other ethnicities were brought in to outfit & captain the transport boats which moved goods to port. These workers were called “boat keys,” because the ran the boats which were the key to the supply chain. Boat keys is awkward to say, so it was slanged to bo’key or bokey, and it eventually applied to anyone who was working hard in Sanford. That local pride which runs up to today, also means living & playing hard in Sanford. That means this bokey is signing off on this story.

Over & Out

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Florida’s 2018 Primaries

As we roll through the mid-term primaries, there’s a fierce behind-the-scenes battle in Washington (and everywhere else) over control of these elections. Every voting district in the US is controlled by either Republicans or Democrats. That party essentially controls the votes & voting machines in all the polling stations in the district.

We all know by now that these electronic voting machines (EVM’s) can be (and are) manipulated. These machines are actually designed to be vulnerable, for several reasons: 1) it’s easy for them to tamper, and 2) since anyone can do it, it gives the manipulators cover. Hence the ubiquitous but ever-mysterious “Russian hackers,” etc.

America’s tech giants including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have reportedly met in private to discuss strategies for countering “information operations.” FYI: this site (RicSize.com) is an “information operation,” by definition. I thoughtfully inform people on how things operate. Why am I being targeted & censored, as if I was a Russian intelligence agency? Can I be put on a kill list?  Makes me wonder…

This whole Internet censorship campaign has been targeted at dissidents such as WikiLeaks, the WSWS & myself– from the start. America became a de facto police state on 9/11 under Bush/Cheney (2001-09), and the intelligence/spying apparatus was vastly expanded under Obama/Biden (2009-17). In 2018, it’s a free-for-all in terms of who controls the EVM’s (& social media) in key districts, because that will decide these “elections.”

Has Russia hacked into Florida’s election system? There is no evidence. [1]
By Salvador Rizzo   Washington Post   August 17, 2018

— Exchange with reporters before a campaign event in Tallahassee, Aug. 7

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.): “At the urging, I might say, of the chairman and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, we wrote and signed a joint letter to all 67 county supervisors of election to tell them that the Russians are in Florida’s records. And they need help. And they can get that help free of charge from the Department of Homeland Security that will come in and help secure their database, their election records. But it’s got to be at their initiative to do that.”

Steve Bousquet, Tampa Bay Times: “Do you know what records the Russians are meddling around with in Florida?”

Nelson: “Say again?”

Bousquet: “Do you know which records the Russians are accessing?”

Nelson: “That’s classified.”

Nelson (above) told the Tampa Bay Times on Aug. 8, “They [Russians] want to sow chaos in our democratic institutions. Every intelligence agency in the United States government has said that they are going to try to disrupt the 2018 elections, just like they did in 2016.” The Democrats never stop with this charade because they have no answers real issues such as: no good jobs, low wages, unbearable student loan debt, ICE raids, the opioid addiction crisis, US wars of aggression, and so on…

It is no coincidence that incumbent Senator Bill Nelson is in a death match campaign with Republican challenger Rick Scott, Florida’s term-limited governor. Rick Scott (above) is a win-at-any-cost conservative conman, so he will definitely get Donald Trump’s endorsement after the Florida primaries, which are to be held August 28. Here’s a sample ballot from my district that was mailed to me, which is “proof” that “Russian meddlers” are in the Florida voting system, I submit to you as “Exhibit A.” The State of Florida also sent me a voter registration card, which I’ll keep in reserve as “Exhibit B.”

The gubernatorial race to fill Scott’s seat will probably be won by Republican billionaire Ron DeSantis, who has Trump’s endorsement already. Rick Scott may be term limited, but he surely wants a Republican to fill his shoes in Tallahassee. Gwen Graham, daughter of longtime Senator Bob Graham, has the Democratic machinery behind her, but she registers about as much excitement as Hillary Clinton. The political machinery in central Florida is owned by the Republican party, and that is the swing part of this battleground state. I expect Rick Scott to buy & steal both seats.

My vote is for a worker’s revolution, which means I don’t participate in this nonsense anymore. I don’t recall ever being told to think like this by a foreign intelligence agency, or any of their propaganda arms– I just feel that way on my own. I wonder if anyone in the “mainstream” can ever acknowledge that?

Update:  Sunday August 26, 2018 ~ 4:30 PM ET

Are our streets and public places safe? Here’s your answer, and it’s capitalism that is truly responsible. The Good Luck Have Fun Game Bar at the riverfront mall in Jacksonville, FL was hosting a Madden NFL 19 qualifying tournament this afternoon. and this video is what happened: the latest mass shooting atrocity in America.

Notice the laser focusing on the black kid’s chest at 25-26 seconds, then the shooting starts and the video is quickly disabled. The audio runs the full 60 seconds, and it’s just as terrifying.

Primary Day:  August 28, 2018   ~3:00 PM ET

It’s Primary Day, and I don’t vote; but that doesn’t mean I’m not politically active. On the contrary, this is the perfect day to express your political opinions. Everyone else is, so those who abstain should find a way to support their politics. My advice is to: observe, ask questions, listen, and speak up when necessary. My political sign for fascists and liberal apologists on Primary Day is a one-fingered salute, and I use it to good effect as needed.

The first thing I notice when I look at my voter registration card is that my selected polling station is far away, in a congested area. There are several locations that are much closer and even within walking distance, but those aren’t my stations. I’m registered “NPA,” which means No Political Affiliation. Sometimes in the past this has locked me out of the primaries altogether, but not this time as there are amendments & initiatives on the ballot, so everyone is encouraged to vote “Yes” or “No” on that at least. If you try to find information on where the polls are located online, this is a typical Florida political machinery response:

Sanford, FL is (demographically) largely black working class, but the machinery that controls the polls is Republican, as Governor Rick Scott and State Attorney General Pam Bondi have things locked up. Central Florida has been gerrymandered & carved up between the two ruling parties, just like every other state. The nearest polling station to me is the Sanford Civic Center, located in the historic downtown. On my way walking to it I pass War Memorial Park, where “Old Glory” flies at half-mast for the recent death of Senator John McCain (R-AZ). It’s City Hall & the courthouse across the street, with the police substation that controls the local Internet just past that. Do you think that’s partisan politics on Primary Day?

It’s late morning when I arrive at the station, and activity is light. I speak with one of the workers, who has been at this for 15 years. He says turn-out is a slightly above-average so far, and it was the same with early voting, which took place across the street at the public library. Early voting for the Florida midterm begins October 22.

I notice it’s all old people going into the polls. That’s not to say that people aren’t energized, because some definitely are; it’s just that so many have no clue. They exist on one form of fake news or the other. What’s largely going on at the booths are zombies pulling the handle, hoping everything will turn out alright. They may even be energized, but it isn’t going anywhere positive.

I approach a young black girl stumping for a local candidate. On top of her bad weave, sits a “Happy Birthday” tiara, which is a common election day tactic to woo voters. I allow her to give me her speech. She starts, then stops– as if she’s made a mistake. I reassure her that whatever she says isn’t going to influence my political opinion, because I don’t vote. She stops stunned and then asks me why not?

Me: I haven’t voted since 2000.

Her: That’s no reason to give up…

Me: I haven’t given up, I just don’t participate in a corrupt & manipulated process. Our votes don’t count– that was the Supreme Court ruling. That’s what 2000 Bush v Gore proved, so I don’t vote- since they aren’t accurately counted. You know that 10-year-old kids can hack these voting machines, right?

At this point an old lady who just voted and has been eavesdropping on our discussion hollers at me, “If you don’t like it then vote, otherwise shut up!”  To which I turn and directly respond, “Fascists always say that.” There are now three women who are completely stunned that someone would say that, even if it’s true. I give them all (and their candidates) a one-fingered salute– my political message to them as I walk away.

In 2000, I voted in Mount Dora, Florida at St. Edwards Episcopal Church. I checked Ralph Nader for President. It was a paper ballot that you marked with a pencil, which was then fed into an electronic vote counting machine. After that, well… who knows?

I’m in a very strange position, living in a small town where a lot of people know who I am, and I don’t know anybody. I get admirers & fans, along with creepers & haters, constantly crossing my path. Today it’s the latter, as I’m soon verbally assaulted by a large black woman whom I’ve never met. We are approaching each other on the Riverwalk and she begins hurling abuse at me from a distance. “I know who you are! You’re the anti-Christ!! God will see that you die a horrible death, when Abraham rains his vengeance on you!”

This 200+ pound psychotic zealot also screams, “Don’t you rape me!” She’s obviously a religious fascist with some #MeToo feminist hate sprinkled in for good measure. I reply, “Dream on, you deluded fascist bitch,” in repeated variations as we separate. It wasn’t over until the fat lady stopped singing, and it took awhile until her vocal cords finally went shrill in the distance. This is the shit I have to deal with, and it doesn’t make me popular with certain demographics. Luckily, I don’t care about being popular. It’s a Trotskyist’s responsibility to tell it like it is, which is called “Russian meddling” in Newspeak.

Florida is a (very large) mixed bag, which is why it’s always a key political state, whether it’s the governor, house, senate, and/or presidency up for grabs. Consider Florida the “Wild East” of Southern politics. You’ve got good ‘ol boys who have lived here forever and control much of the local machinery– overwhelmingly supporters of the Republican party. Florida continues to explode with new residents from all over the nation, and the world. Large populations of Hispanic, Asian and other ethic groups add to the already rich mixture of African Americans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and any other race you can imagine. The total number of all these groups probably is a majority in of itself, with Caucasians being the largest ethnic group in Florida.

In there, it’s a diverse group as seniors are no longer the main white voter base in Florida. Skilled workers for decades have moved themselves and their families to the Sunshine State. College students and millennials now make up a significant portion of the population and voter base. This is the most energetic element, which both parties but particularly the Democrats, need to win. When the kids stop voting for these parties, then a collapse of the two-party system becomes immanent, and we are nearing that threshold. These midterms are a litmus test, as kids are definitely being politicized, and if it doesn’t translate into significant votes for the Democrats, that means the kids have moved past them (and identity politics & trade unions), and into the field of revolutionary politics & socialism.

To summarize from a mainstream perspective: the 2018 Florida primaries were infiltrated by Russian agents, particularly in key swing districts. Their intent was to sow discord through information operations. This can’t be allowed to happen again on November 6th. We need increased police state measures, in order to ensure the security of our elections. After all, this is the foundation of American democracy, and all foreign interference must be removed.

Tuesday, ~7:00 PM ET

I live in a pet-friendly corporate apartment complex. Since I’m radioactive politically, I try to keep a low profile around the neighborhood. One of my favorite past times is feeding the wild mallards. This was their home, until humans decided to build apartments here, so food has become more scarce for the ducks and other water fowl.

In nature, mallards live partly on vegetation, and the rest on protein from insects, grubs, small amphibians and fish they can gobble down their gullets. Mallards are incredibly adaptable, I’ve come to learn firsthand. With weekly routine lawn maintenance, and pesticides killing bugs, their survival in places like here depends very much on human intervention. Why do humans refuse to recognize the problem with how we’ve been doing things, that capitalism is managed chaos driving us into an abyss? In “official politics” there is no accountability by any rational standard.

That’s what I like about the ducks, they’re always fair– and for the flock. When I feed them generously, they shake their tails in delight. When I neglect them for a time, they begin to quack louder around my door. There’s shit to pick up, and that’s part of the deal too. Ducks demand consistency, as here-today, who-knows-tomorrow doesn’t work for them.

Mallards live as a social group. They split off (male & female) during the summer months. Here, it’s all females competing for food, and these new yearlings are always hungry. There are some real beauties for sure, and it gets competitive, but that’s nature.

Learn early that you must control the feeding, otherwise it becomes a frenzy and violent behavior erupts. We are ALL emotional about food, so when you wave it in front of wild animals, they become aggressive– as this is life-or-death for them. Ducks always think and behave as part of a social order, in other words the group of ducks are an organism of itself, with a much higher level of awareness and effectiveness than they could achieve individually.

There are currently about 12-15 female mallards in my complex, and they run around in gangs of 3-5, trying to find food while protecting one another. The ones who are best at that become dominant. The mature females (who have laid eggs and hatched a brood), aren’t as active in seeking food, although they’ll take a free meal anytime they can get one. “Free meal” means they aren’t risking getting their feathers plucked or wings snapped. Feeding a proper & healthy diet to the yearlings determines the success of this generation. Here they compete with these buzzard birds, wh