Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave…NRA edition

Merciful Heavens, what a week.

Russians… connected to the National Rifle Association? [WaPo 12/13/18] [Business Insider 2/19] with Democrats beginning to investigate ties between the NRA and Trump campaign coffers. [The Hill 2/7/19] We can go back to the 2016 campaign cycle during which the NRA spent $54,378,558 on campaigns. [OS]  The top recipients of this largess in 2016 were:  The Republican National Committee ($77,185); National Republican Senatorial Committee ($75,110); National Republican Congressional Committee ($30,000); Roy Blunt ($11,900); Barbara Comstock ($10,400); Republican Federal Committee of Pennsylvania ($10,000), Republican Party of Tennessee ($10,000).  And, after we go back we can note other prominent Republicans who benefited from NRA contributions — Richard Burr, Charles Grassley, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio.  One more time, let’s look at the contrast between pre- and post 2015 NRA campaign and political spending — In 2012 the organization spent $19,767,043 and in 2014 it spent $27,024,898.  There’s a BIG increase from those generous levels to the bountiful spending of ’16, that eye-popping $54,378,558.  Where did the “new” money come from?

There is a nugget in the Hill article which may foreshadow future events:

“The Democratic lawmakers are requesting a series of documents from the NRA by March 6, including emails with five media consulting firms and the names of employees they communicated with at the companies.

They separately noted in letters to the companies that “a payment for a coordinated communication is an in-kind contribution to a candidate,” adding, “the NRA may have violated contribution limits under the Federal Election Campaign Act by making coordinated communications in excess of applicable contribution caps.”

Watch for March 6, 2019.

This, and we haven’t even gotten to the Saudis, the American Media Inc., Trump, Pecker, and assorted slimy goings on descending down toward the bottom of the bucket into which the Southern District of NY is currently delving.

Time once again to remember the line delivered by Bette Davis in the 1950 film “All About Eve,” — “Fasten your seat belt, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”  Night, day, month, quarter, year…

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Blog Post of a Mad Householder

I’d say “housekeeper” but that isn’t one of my shining accomplishments or skill sets.  That said, there are a few items I’d like to vent —

I don’t care how many people have decided to run for the presidency from the Democratic Party.  12? 20? 22?  For the love of Heaven, it’s 2019 — early 2019 — and this will get sorted by August 2020.  The sad state of cable broadcasting, in which filling up time is essential even if the news it provides may not be, gives us Horse Race coverage. Who’s ahead? Who’s behind? Who isn’t where he or she ought to be?  What do the polls say?  I. Don’t. Care.  Nothing will cause me to hit the remote control off switch faster than a handoff to some purely speculative pseudo-statistical analysis of the un-analyzable.  So, advertisers, please note, I’m going to miss your commercials right after…”Now ____ how is the race shaping up between Senator Bilgewater and Representative Sludgepump?  Or, How does the race change if Mayor Mangespredder announces his intention to run on Friday?”  I don’t care right now.

I don’t care about who is appealing to whom.  Nor, am I particularly excited about who might appeal to Rust Belt Trump Voters.  First, not all that many Democrats didn’t support the candidacy of Secretary Clinton in 2016.  Those who didn’t may have mattered in a few crucial states — but Stein voters weren’t likely to vote for her, and neither were the last vestiges of the die-hard Bernie Bros. Those voters may have made a difference? We don’t really know with any certainty, and frankly we don’t have time now to indulge in the intense navel gazing it would take to find out.  There are more important things to do.  For Example — Find people who didn’t register to vote in 2018 and get them signed up.  Democrats aren’t finished — we need to hold the House, take Senate seats, and vote the Orange Blossom out of the Oval Office.

Secondly, we have, I think, a greater need to listen to the testimony of the Intelligence community who spoke to the Senate, even if Orange Blossom isn’t.  The Russians haven’t stopped interfering in our election systems and our political institutions.  If anything, they’re intent on causing more trouble.  We’d spend our time much more productively if we could ignore the “divide and conquer” messages with the “horse race coverage.”  Enough.

I don’t have purity tests.  The candidate hasn’t been born yet who satisfies me 100% of the time on 100% of the policy issues.  And, I’d add, that I’m ignoring pundits who are intent on blathering on about how Candidate A will fare in the general election.  We aren’t there yet.  It IS time to talk about issues, because issues are usually what matters in the primary stages.  Candidate A and Candidate B aren’t running for the General (yet) they might be later, and often they will pivot with the campaign timing and territory.  I am an adult. I am used to this.  If the pundits must engage in a horse race speculation, they might at least differentiate between flat track, harness, and hunt racing.

I’m (as I said today in a tweet) over with so-called “independent” rich old white men coming to my rescue.  I don’t feel any need to be rescued.   No, I’ve not been entrapped by the “radical left.”  The current Republican pejorative “radical left” simply describes Republicans during the Eisenhower Administration.  I support public schools, public libraries (a particular interest), public roads and infrastructure, public health, all kinds of public spaces for recreation and conservation. I like labor unions, professional associations, and organizations which support public improvement, safety, and commerce.  This hardly makes me a ‘socialist.’

Or it might, IF and ONLY If one defines “socialism” as our contemporary 1% orators seem to do — I think I said something like: For the rich, capitalism is when 99% of the people make 1% of the population richer; socialism, by their lights, pops up when the 99% suggest that the 1% share any of their accumulated wealth with anyone else.  Capitalism needs rules.  Rules need to be enforced.  Opportunism isn’t Capitalism. Greed is not good.

And now I’ll turn my TV back on.

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DIY News and Views: Intelligence and the Lack Thereof

Intelligence

There was an open hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday, and for those who like their news unfiltered, here’s the link.  DNI Director Daniel Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and FBI Director Christopher Wray got the headlines; but, there’s more to be learned from DIA Director General Robert Ashley, NSA Director General Paul Nakasone, and NGA Director Robert Cardillo.

DNI Director Daniel Coats’ opening statement is linked here. (pdf) It should be of interest that the first two topics addressed in his presentation to the committee were (1) Cyber security threats; and, (2) Online Influence Operations and Election Interference.  As noted in several national broadcasts, the “southern border” — for which Trump claims “crisis status,” — doesn’t appear until page 18 of the print edition. While on that page, please note that Mexican sourcing is mentioned for fentanyl, most fentanyl is coming in from China.

On the other hand, from the lack of intelligence department, the president* is challenging the conclusions of his own intelligence gathering and analytical agencies, disputing their priorities and findings. [MST] The report that Iran is abiding (for now) with the previous arms deal, and North Korea definitely is not, seems not to be sitting well with the Oval Office occupant.  It’s instructive to take a closer look at some of the findings reported to the Select Committee, before heading back to the generalities of news outlet commentary.  Russia and China:

“At present, China and Russia pose the greatest espionage and cyber attack threats, but we anticipate that all our adversaries and strategic competitors will increasingly build and integrate cyber espionage, attack, and influence capabilities into their efforts to influence US policies and advance their own national security interests. In the last decade, our adversaries and strategic competitors have developed and experimented with a growing capability to shape and alter the information and systems on which we rely. For years, they have conducted cyber espionage to collect intelligence and targeted our critical infrastructure to hold it at risk. They are now becoming more adept at using social media to alter how we think, behave, and decide. As we connect and integrate billions of new digital devices into our lives and business processes, adversaries and strategic competitors almost certainly will gain greater insight into and access to our protected information.”

The Defense Technical Information Center offers this advice on how to analyze Russian use of cyber assaults and activities:

 “Russian military theorists generally do not use the terms cyber or cyberwarfare. Instead, they conceptualize cyber operations within the broader framework of information warfare, a holistic concept that includes computer network operations, electronic warfare, psychological operations, and information operations; In keeping with traditional Soviet notions of battling constant threats from abroad and within, Moscow perceives the struggle within information space to be more or less constant and unending. This suggests that the Kremlin will have a relatively low bar for employing cyber in ways that U.S. decision makers are likely to view as offensive and escalatory in nature; …”

Review, their activities are ongoing, surreptitious, and holistic.  To get further into these weeds, see the Minority Report, Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, January 2018. (pdf) on Putin’s Asymmetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and EuropeChapter 4, on the weaponization of civil society, ideology, culture, crime, and energy is especially informative.

As the president* disparages the information, evaluation, and analysis of our intelligence community efforts, and is revealed to have even more ‘undocumented’ meetings with Uncle Vlad, [FinTimes] … and probably won’t stop having secret meetings with the Russian dictator [VanityFair]… we need to keep our focus on Russian and Chinese activities, not to the exclusion of other pressing subjects, but toward being able to discern how much of our internal turmoil has external support and encouragement.

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Filed under Iran, Iraq, Politics

Returning Ramblings of a Slightly Hopeful Political Junkie

One of the problems dealing with continuous gaslighting, outright lies, and the fire hose of information and analysis (or what passes for it these days) that’s coming our way is the dilemma of how to respond to it without publicizing the incomprehensible or missing the monumental.  While broadcast media highlights the outrage du jour, or chases their latest shiny object,  the rest of us are left to sift through the wheat, chaff, weevils, and debris.  Let’s turn to some topics we’d not like to see get buried beneath layer upon layer of BS.

The current federal administration policy towards those fleeing from the violence in parts of Central America is deliberately cruel; cruelty troweled upon un-alleviated disdain and contempt.  Only a few hours ago this report emerged:

Miller, a notorious immigration hardliner who has been at the helm of President Donald Trump’s most controversial immigration policies, reportedly told ex-Trump aide Cliff Sims he “would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched America’s soil.”[BI]

That would be presidential adviser, Stephen Miller. Granting that the likes of Coulter, Hannity, and Limbaugh have garnered most of the commentary about current negotiations between the White House and the Congress, these people have a vociferous ally in the corridors of executive power.  Stephen Miller.   One of the things I would like to see and hear from my television set is not less coverage of Miller — but more. More background, more video clips, more information about who this man is, and why he holds such sway?

How much approbation does he deserve for being the Rasputin of Refugees and people of color, and for being the smirk behind the shadow of the Resolute Desk?  When the president opines that there were good people on both sides at Charlottesville _ is Miller applauding? When the Oval Office speaks of Mexicans and others from Central America as drug dealers, gang members, and human traffickers – is Miller clapping along?  How different is Miller’s smirk from that displayed by the Covington High School student, who would now have us believed from his well-coached (at the hands of Scott Jennings’ consultancy) that he was an innocent victim of Internet bombast?   Yes, I did watch the “long version” of the video, and I still saw what I saw.  An immature, smirking, bigot-in-training disparaging the efforts of a Native American elder who was attempting to defuse the situation.  So, I ask again — where were the chaperones?  Why is the Bishop backpedaling as fast as he can?  Is Miller still smiling at this?

However, I remain hopeful this president and the advisers like Mr. Miller, aren’t going to have the free ride they enjoyed during the first two years of this mis-administration. Why?

Let’s grant that the most important investigation, that of Robert Mueller and his associates, will have the most impact.  The press has been breathlessly awaiting this report since its inception.  However — remember — it’s not the only report on the horizon.

The efforts of the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York continue.  And, no, the prosecution of Michael Cohen isn’t the item on the menu.  Not only do we not know what Mr. Mueller knows, we also don’t know the entirety of what the SDNY knows.

The FBI may or may not have a continuing counter terrorism investigation open on members of this mis-administration.  It may have been folded into the Mueller Probe. It may be ongoing for individuals and institutions about which we’ve not yet heard. A little patience may go a long way.

Follow the money?  We have breadcrumbs of information thus far  Recent media reports mention “money laundering.”  Who’s doing the laundry? With whose money? And at what expense?  We do want to keep our eyes on the investigations of Deutsche Bank, and other financial institutions, which were eager to do business with Trump and his associates when American banks had had their fill of his bankruptcies and litigation. These questions remain unresolved, stay tuned.

And, now enter the House Committees.  We may not have to wait for impeachment proceedings — high energy, high intelligence, Maxine Waters will be in charge of overseeing financial issues in the House.  Elijah Cummings will be doing real Oversight.  Adam Schiff will be in charge of the House investigations (and re-investigations) of Russian interference and assaults on our governmental institutions.  Nevada’s own Dina Titus can now look into those emolument questions concerning the DC Trump hotel.  I think we can wager we will be hearing some Georgia soft twang ringing in Trump’s ears.

There are at least 17 open investigations into this mis-administration; it may not take One Great Booming Report from Mueller’s domains to send this train wreck of an executive branch into he borrow ditch — there may be 17+ reports, each cutting through the web of lies manufactured by this increasingly flailing administration.  Those cuts are going to begin to hurt.

Let’s hope we can endure a bit more pain for a while.

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Could we get a little perspective here? Immigrants, Numbers, and Trumpian Fearmongering

Oh mercy me! Merciful mercies…there are 5000 migrants “storming” our southern border, waileth the Trumpian fearmongers, intent as they are on creating a curtain of dread veiling the eyes of those who are susceptible to such manipulation.  Let’s take what’s probably an inflated number (5,000) of people seeking to apply for asylum along our southern border and compare that to some other examples of people “storming” in lines we see every day.

For example.  The Clark County Department of Aviation compiles statistics on the number of people who “storm” McCarran International Airport.  (pdf)  Wow, thus far in 2018 we’ve been “stormed” by 25,013,841 people!  But wait, we like these people. They come, some spend money at the airport, some get off the planes in Terminal 1 and go spend more money in our special Nevada play zones; playing with cards, and machines, and things with bells and whistles designed to help separate our tourists from their dollars.   Now, get out the old plastic brains and punch in 5,000 and divide that by 25,013,841.  Hint: You are going to get a small number with an exponent “e-4” on the tail end of it.  We can play with these numbers a bit more.

Try this.  Compare the 5,000 “storming” the southern border with the McCarran traffic for one month.  Let’s take a happy month for us — July — with many happy people who land in Nevada’s sunny climes to part with their paychecks; 2,991,599 of them in the month of July.  There are 31 days in July, so divide the number above by 31.  No exponent this time.  There’s an average of 96,503 passengers using terminal 1 each day in July.  Now, divide 5,000 by 96,503 and you’ll get 0.0518, turn that into a percentage and it’s 5.2%.  In other words the “storm” at the US southern border is a measly 5.2% of the number of passengers using McCarran International Airport Terminal 1 on a SINGLE DAY  in the month of July.

We can play with some other numbers from the northern part of the state, for example, RTC ridership in Washoe County.  The RTC published a report of YOY comparisons for April 2016 (pdf)  reporting 105.082 rides on the RAPID system, coming in at about 43.8 rides per service hour.  Handy calculator time again please.  Our word problem solution for this one is that 5,000 “stormers” are about 4.8% of the rides on the Washoe RTC RAPID system.  Not so much of a storm huh?

But wait, cry the fearmongers, these stormers will clog up our social services and get welfare… uh, not so much, non-citizens in Nevada aren’t eligible for social service benefits.  But but but — they’ll pack our schools!  There are 492,496 youngsters enrolled in Nevada public schools (exc downld) and again our calculator hops into action.  If every single one of the 5,000 Stormers from the “Great? Caravan” were a school aged youngster and they all enrolled in a Nevada public school they’d constitute a — wait for it — a 1.01% increase in public school population.  Hardly the stuff of alarmist proportions.  Realistically, they aren’t all school aged, they aren’t all coming here, and they aren’t anything remotely like a “storm” of invaders upon our southern flank. Please take two deep breaths and call a friend for consolation prior to any more anxiety attacks based on “swamping” our schools blathering.

So, why all the televised emphasis on the “caravan?”  It’s good “optics” for the racists.  Get a nice tight crowd shot of “illegals storming” the border and the fear factor kicks in — much more so than if we emphasize the FACT that most visa over-stays are people who fly in.

DHS has determined that there were 52,656,022 in-scope nonimmigrant admissions to the United States through air or sea POEs with expected departures occurring in FY 2017; the in-scope admissions represent the vast majority of all air and sea nonimmigrant admissions. Of this number, DHS calculated a total overstay rate of 1.33 percent, or 701,900 overstay events.”

Excuse me, but I’m having a problem here envisioning a “storm” of unlawful entries into this country when we have most visa overstays dribbling in through POEs by air and sea, and there’s a 1.33% overstay rate.  What I’m not having a problem seeing is that people like the current POTUS, and his sidekick the virulently racist Stephen Miller, are driving a PR campaign to convince people that Brown is Bad, and that “hordes” of “those (read ‘brown’) people” are “storming” our southern border.  I’m not buying it, and frankly speaking I don’t think anyone else should be buying into their malarkey either.

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DB Returns to Ranting About Soy Beans, with a pro tip for economic advisers

Yes, the results of the midterm elections were mostly satisfying — large and copious  thanks to all those who phone banked, precinct walked, and otherwise worked to make those results possible — No, there weren’t any major networks (or even minor ones) discussing trade policy as a factor in those election results, and rightly so because trade policy wasn’t a big deal.  Why should it be?  It’s not like anyone pays much attention, and that includes the so-called “business channels.”  About as close as we’re likely to get to any explication is yet another interview conducted by some major urban news outlet with yet another white rural voter who inexplicably votes for “Buzz Windrip” in the White House while ignoring the trade policy that’s wiping out rural agricultural profits.

Type in “stock market” and Google will return 384,000,000 results in less than .30 seconds. Type in “commodity futures trading” and get 27,900,000 results in the same time period.  Which one has more impact on our daily lives?  Right! The one with the smaller numbers, likely because the advertisers who pay the freight for what passes for business news are interested in the stock market, their stock prices, their competitor’s stock prices, their 90 day stock performance… we get it… the advertisers want stock market information and want us to pay attention to their stock market information, so that’s what we’ll all get — and we’d get it 24/7/365 were it not for commercials about skillets which can be beaten with sledge hammers, devices to remove facial hair, and pills and potions to restore attributes few people had in the first place.  But, we digress.

Those commodities futures trading markets are important.  There are four major functions of these markets: pricing; hedging; speculating; and organizing.  Let’s look at the hedging function first:

Merchants, farmers and international firms use the futures exchanges to hedge future transactions. When a farmer plants his crop of wheat, for example, he does not know what the price will be at harvest time. To remove the risk of price changes, he sells wheat futures contracts at planting time. When he sells his crop a few months later, he buys back the futures contacts. If wheat prices have fallen, he is protected because the futures contracts he buys at harvest cost less than the ones he sold at planting. An importing firm can use financial futures contracts in the same manner to lock in a price for the goods it will be importing later in the year.

This concept doesn’t require a degree in finance to comprehend. Sell futures contracts to protect himself from a price drop at harvest and our soy bean farmer can stay in business.  Actually, the farmer usually isn’t dealing with the futures but we can bet our last soy bean the grain elevator operators are. They’re paying very close attention.  NPR explains, “They’ll use futures contracts to manage sales and get good deals throughout the year, allowing them to pay farmers a more consistent price and protect them from big drops.”  Farmers benefit from a “more consistent price” and “protection from big drops.”  Anyone doubt those of us who buy the stuff related to soy beans (everything from soy sauce to animal feed to consumer products)  benefit from consistent prices?

“Manufacturers of both industrial and consumer products use soybean oil and meal to replace petroleum and other volatile or hazardous ingredients, as well as increase product performance. The versatility of U.S. soybean components makes product applications remarkably wide-ranging, including rubber, fiber, coatings, solvents, plastics, lubricants and adhesives.” [UnitedSB.org]

Again, no finance degree is necessary to understand that a consistent price is beneficial for manufacturers in a wide range of consumer products.  Consistent prices in a more stable market mean more predictable manufacturing costs, and more predictable business decisions.  IF there’s a market.  If there’s a market for the soy beans. If someone would decide (preferably before December 10, 2018) to fix the mess created by the administration’s silly tariff flap with the Chinese.

December 10 is the day the CFTC is scheduled to make a decision on the storage rate for soy beans — thus far it’s climbing because we’re about out of storage space — because major purchasers like China aren’t buying soy beans — and storage space is scarce and becoming more expensive —  remember Economics 101 or high school  “General Business?”  The result of current policy is a nose dive in soy bean prices.

The USDA is forecasting that soybean-planted acreage will drop by 6.6 million acres to 82.5 million in 2019. The American Farm Bureau Federation notes that “if realized, this would be the third-largest acreage decline of all time and the largest year-over-year decline in soybean plantings since … 2007.

“The decline in soybean acreage is anticipated given the slow pace of soybean exports, the dramatic decline in Chinese purchases, expectations for a nearly billion-bushel-l?carryout and projections for decade-low soybean marketing year average prices.”

Negotiations are still underway between the Trump administration and the Chinese government over trade issues. However, the U.S. government has emphasized that it is committed to getting things back to normal for soybean farmers. According to Bloomberg, “Any trade pact would also address the resumption of soybean sales specifically, since that was targeted in the trade war.”

“Committed to getting things back to normal?”  How about if Buzz and Company hadn’t launched the stupid trade war in the first place? There were other ways to press the intellectual property issues and trade questions with the Chinese without using a policy version of a meat ax.  However, the ham handed, ham fisted, and ham headed administration acted as “normal” i.e. acting first, without a full and measured consideration of the ramifications, and being surprised at the unintended consequences of its actions.  So, we’ve lost 98% of our soy bean sales to China.  Our storage facilities are filling up, and costing more; while the Chinese are signing contracts with the Brazilians for more beans.

Pro Tip for the economic advisers to the President — draw him a picture of a soy bean on a white dry-marker board, put his face on it, and then erase 98% of the picture until he gets the idea we’ve lost sales, and revenue, and a major component of our national agricultural statistics.  We could try this, but I don’t really hold out much hope he’ll do much more than blame the problem on a slow walking group of immigrant mothers and children from Honduras who have Hillary Clinton’s emails in their back packs, and whose 300 pound sons are at home in their bedrooms in San Pedro Sula hacking into DNC servers.   But, hey, it’s worth a try to amuse Buzz on a rainy day when he can’t play golf, with some colorful charts and pictures of himself as a soy bean if we could manage to get his attention long enough to do something about the trade/tariff stupidity?

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Focus, Group: Routine Maintenance for Elections

A few thoughts on voting and counting and counting the voting:

(1) Nevada would be better served if we’d take a few moments to consider the age, use, maintenance, and condition of our voting equipment than if we persist in the highly questionable track of “run to ruin” accounting.  “Run to ruin” is altogether too common in the public sphere — it’s a condition, initiated by under-funding or limited revenue in the first place, compounded by public unwillingness to spend “sacred taxpayer dollars,” and finally the proximate cause of expensive projects and replacements in the last instance due to deferred maintenance, or deferred replacement.  Colloquially, it’s the process by which park service managers don’t replace cattle guards until the whole front end of an extended cab pickup falls through; or, a water system has pipe in the ground for 65 years without replacement; or, a county clerk hopes beyond hope he or she can get two more elections out of the voting machines in the courthouse basement.  It’s what Granny called penny wise and pound foolish.

However, on some occasions there’s no way to escape it.  That’s why we have three levels of government.  If the local county resources won’t cover the cost of new or upgraded voting equipment, then the county looks to the state; and, if the state can’t manage the entire tab, then the federal government kicks in.  If all three levels are loathe to spend any money on any government services, again it’s what Granny called penny wise and pound foolish.  The cattle guards will collapse, the pipes will break, and the voting machines will crunch and crumble into their version of electronic/mechanical Valhalla.

We can, and probably should, start asking questions now (as opposed to waiting around for another two years) of our local election officials:  How old are our voting machines? In what kind of shape are they in?  What’s the maintenance schedule for them? Is that schedule continuous or only when the devices are hauled out every two years for use? How secure are our machines?  How likely is it that the computer systems in place for local voter registration can be hacked? Do we have a coordinated plan in place to prevent interference?

Do we have enough voting machines?  Do we have a sufficient number of voting machines to insure that every citizen who wishes to cast a ballot can do so in a reasonable amount of time?  At a reasonable distance from his or her residence?

(2) Do we need to consider other voting formats?  Some localities have mail-in ballots. This saves personnel costs in remote regions; saves time and expense for members of local law enforcement in regard to the transportation, collection, and security of voting devices, and keeps voting personnel expenses to a minimum.  The system doesn’t come without some decisions, a few controversial, about the process.  For example, must ballots be postmarked prior to the deadline or received by the County Clerk’s office before the voting deadline? Should the voter’s signature be clearly visible on the exterior of the envelop or should a privacy flap cover the name? (The flap system is a bit more expensive.)

(3) Are we staffing our elections adequately?  One of the contentious elements in current chatter concerns how local and state election officials are handling the count of absentee, mail-in, and provisional ballots — this really shouldn’t be an issue. Every legal ballot ought to be counted in every jurisdiction in every election.  The question is: Do we have the personnel to do that?  Should there be a higher than expected turnout, then do we allow our local election officials enough resources to properly staff the counting process, and/or do we allow them enough time to accomplish the tasks without having to hire too many (a number that represents a policy decision) additional people for the count or recount?    Are we allocating sufficient resources so that local election officials can plan for the best possible election service instead of the cheapest possible election service.  Granny said, “You get what you pay for.”

Granted we may all have a tendency not to look at the tires until one of them goes flat, and not to take heed of the washing machine until there’s water on the floor, but we’d be better prepared for elections if members of the public were to take an interest in our voting systems, processes, equipment, and staffing, BEFORE election seasons hit us with the full force of the advertising on our TV screens.

And, just to re-emphasize the punctuation in the title:  Have you eaten Granny?

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