09/14/20

Obtain a Ballot Just by Taking a Photo of a Signature

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Ah, what? A signature photo using your smartphone? Whose signature? How many signatures?

How This Solo Founder Got Into a Top Tech Accelerator ...

Meet Debra Cleaver, Founder & CEO, of Vote.org. February of 2017. The Institute of Politics as Harvard hosted a panel discussion, titled “Leaders of the Resistance’. The Panelists included Debra Cleaver, Founder & CEO of Vote.org; Leah Greenberg, Co-Founder of Indivisible; Andrea Hailey, Founder of Civic Engagement Fund; Amanda Litman, Founder of Run for Something; and Jess Morales Rocketto, Digital Community Organizer for OccupyAirports joined moderator Meighan Stone, a Spring 2017 Entrepreneurship Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and President of Malala Fund for a panel discussion on the women-led “Resistance” against the current White House. The panelists discussed recent events in voter and candidate outreach, especially on the local level, in achieving their efforts to advance Democratic causes in the upcoming 2018 and 2020 elections.

Meanwhile…

With November looming, the scramble to protect the 2020 U.S. election from coronavirus chaos is on.

To that end, a small, skilled cluster of voting rights advocates are launching a new voter mobilization project. Called VoteAmerica, the new non-profit shares DNA with Vote.org, the esteemed nonpartisan voter mobilization site VoteAmerica founder Debra Cleaver first launched in 2008.

VoteAmerica’s goal is to boost voter turnout by helping people vote by mail. In a normal year that might mean striving to drive record turnout. But in the midst of the pandemic, the team is working to ensure that 2020’s presidential election turnout doesn’t slump like it would in a midterm election year.

“It seems at this point that Americans are either going to be unable or unwilling to vote in person in the November election, which could lead to catastrophically low turnout,” Cleaver said in an interview with TechCrunch . “But if we have our way, there will be no perceivable dip in turnout in November.”

While Vote.org is still around, the organization severed ties with Cleaver last summer in a drawn out battle with the group’s board. As Recode reported last month, some key Vote.org partners and donors walked out the door with Cleaver—a major concern for an organization with valuable ties in Silicon Valley and a more dire mission than ever in 2020.

With VoteAmerica, they might be back in the picture. Some of Cleaver’s previous Silicon Valley backers include Y Combinator’s Sam Altman (Cleaver is a YC alum), LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and angel investor Ron Conway. In a conversation with TechCrunch, Cleaver noted that at least Conway is back on board, pitching in with the $5 million in initial funding—a mix of grants and early contributions—to get the fledgling organization off the ground.

“We have the expertise, the team, the experience, and the plan,” Cleaver wrote in a Facebook post last month, adding that a “generous donor” had already stepped up to cover the nascent organization’s payroll costs.

Cleaver describes VoteAmerica as a lean team with deep experience—and one ready to hit the ground running. The project’s new website VoteAmerica.com fittingly displays an election day countdown clock in stark white-on-red lettering to convey the urgency of its task.

In the announcement for the new project, Cleaver said she believes that the 2020 elections “will be the most chaotic in American history”—a prediction that unfortunately is very difficult to argue with.

“Chaos driven by a global pandemic, foreign interference, threats of political violence, a radicalized electorate, a virulent campaign of disinformation, and fragile election administration technology all combine to make voting in person more difficult and less secure than ever before,” Cleaver said.

Because states conduct elections in the United States, her group’s core mission is to shepherd voters through the national patchwork of voting registration systems. On the simple site, visitors can register to vote, check their registration status, find a polling place, request an absentee ballot or sign up to vote-by-mail.

While many states in the U.S. already administer a large chunk of their voting through absentee vote-by-mail, It looks likely that the urgent public health threat posed by the coronavirus will mean that mass public gatherings in crowded polling places remain unwise. In light of that threat, states are looking to dramatically scale up those systems now to get them ready in time for November.

Old systems, new solutions

For VoteAmerica, navigating the quirks of American election systems can look like lending voters a fax machine.

“You can only sign up [for a mail-in ballot] online in 15 states, which is not actually a significant number, but there’s another 15 more where you can fax in your form, which doesn’t seem relevant because it’s 2020 and who uses a fax machine?”

But using fax APIs, VoteAmerica is building out a system that allows voters to request a vote-by-mail application just by taking a photo of their signature. VoteAmerica’s tool then uses code to put the signature in the right spot on the form and then programmatically faxes it to the relevant local election official.

“This is kind of wonky because we’re using truly antiquated technology to modernize the vote-by-mail process,” Cleaver said. “But if you have a mobile device—and 87% of Americans have a smartphone—we’re building technology that lets you sign up directly from your mobile device without printing and mailing.”

It’s just one way that VoteAmerica plans to employ technology solutions to civic problems—like the outdated government systems that still haunt American life. The solution sounds small, but at scale it can mobilize a huge amount of voters who otherwise could have been tangled up in the bureaucratic process. Naturally, that kind of elegant workaround to inefficient systems attracts interest from the tech community.

“We definitely do get a lot of tech money, and I think it’s because tech people both appreciate and trust using technology to clear antiquated hurdles,” Cleaver said.

“The things that we do, people in Silicon Valley are very receptive to it, whereas people outside the Valley might take a little more time to warm up to it.” More here.

09/14/20

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Partner with Netflix to Produce BLM

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Does anyone think this documentary would be comprehensive and honest? Anyone?

Source: As a part of her and Prince Harry’s mega-deal with Netflix, Meghan Markle is reportedly pitching a documentary about a Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder, The Sun reports.

Patrisse Cullors, who is one of the three individuals who founded the BLM movement, would be the subject of the documentary that Meghan Markle would apparently like to produce with Netflix.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as Meghan, 39, and Harry, 35, are also known, have inked a deal with the streaming giant estimated (by some prognosticators) to score them $100 million to $150 million over perhaps five years. These are desperately needed funds considering the couple’s lavish lifestyle, sky-high security costs, debt to the British taxpayers for the renovation of their English home, (now reimbursed) and the reported lack of financial support they are now receiving from the Windsor purse.

The Mirror heard from a source who said that Meghan Markle pitched the documentary to Netflix because she’s been “blown away by the incredible work Patrisse has done” in spearheading the BLM movement.

“She thinks her story needs to be told – and she would love to be the one to make it.”

Meghan Markle pitches movie idea to Netflix about Black Lives Matter co-founder

Patrisse, 36, was driven into action by the acquittal of George Zimmerman for shooting young Trayvon Martin to death in Florida.

She, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi founded Black Lives Matter in 2013. And if Meghan Markle has anything to do with it, Patrisse will soon star in a Netflix documentary.

Meghan Markle is a historic first for the British royal family: an African-American spouse of a senior royal. So perhaps it is a natural fit she should seek to produce a Black Lives Matter documentary with Netflix.

Meanwhile, outspoken British TV host Piers Morgan has lashed out at the Sussexes for being such greedy gobble gannets where money is concerned, according to the Daily Star. Sure, they’ve reported paid back the millions of dollars in British taxpayer funds used to renovate their English home, Frogmore Cottage. But the great wealth that the couple has sought out rubs the ever stuffy and huffy TV personality quite the wrong way.

Taking a jibe a Meghan, 39, and Harry, 35, Piers exclaimed: “It’s great they’ve paid back the Frogmore money, it’s great they’re not taking any more of Charles’s money, but they’ve kept the titles – and if you really want to find freedom, and you really want to divorce the country, why would you keep the titles ‘Duke and Duchess of Sussex’?

Meghan Markle ‘has pitched Black Lives Matter movie to Netflix’ amid £112m deal

In a lamentation evocative of Welsh complaints that ever-English Prince Charles was undeserving of the Prince of Wales title he received at his 1969 investiture, Morgan continued in his verbal thrashing of Meghan and Harry: “I’m from Sussex and I bet I’ve spent more time there over the past week than they have in their entire lives, and yet they want to trade off their royal names to get all this money.”

Oh, but Morgan wasn’t done. As the duchess reportedly plans for a Black Lives Matter documentary, he said, “The only reason Netflix is paying them all this money is because of their royal titles – you think Meghan Markle would have got £1.50 out of them without it?

Co-founder of Black Lives Matter Movement Patrisse Cullors

When Meghan Markle and Harry announced their Netflix mega-deal earlier this month — one that may spawn the Black Lives Matter documentary — they said, “Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope. As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.”

Other royal commentators, according to the Express, have recently reflected that Harry and Meghan have apparently severed the last cord tying them to their past lives as working senior royals in the British royal family.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have repaid their £2.4 million taxpayer-funded renovation of Frogmore Cottage, their UK residence. The New York Times also reports that the Sussexes are no longer receiving any income from Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall. ITV Royal Rota podcast hosts Chris Ship and Lizzie Robinson discussed how the couple’s financial independence is sending a stark message.

‘They are done’ – Meghan and Harry issue ‘clear warning’ as they cut final royal ties

According to Ship, Harry and Meghan cut these financial ties to the Windsor fortune to serve as a justification for blocking the media from their lives.

Which is ironic, since media interest in Meghan and Harry has only grown since they announced in January that they were bolting from their positions as senior royals.

Now, eight months later, they’re firmly ensconced in the Los Angeles area, having purchased a $14.7 estate in Montecito, California. And of course they have landed the deal with Netflix. Apparently to come: the Black Lives Matter documentary.

For Harry’s, a considerable downside to the split, the Mirror reports, has been the loss of the duke’s treasured military titles.

Prince Harry was “emotional and demoralised” after being stripped of his military titles when he stepped down from the royal duties, a biography has claimed. The Duke of Sussex was forced to relinquish his cherished roles in the British Army after moving to California with Meghan earlier this year. Harry vowed to maintain links with servicemen and women after leaving the forces in 2015, reports the Daily Star. It is this aspect of ‘Megxit’ that he found most “demoralising”, according to Finding Freedom authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.

Prince Harry ’emotional and demoralised’ after being stripped of military titles

09/14/20

Venezuela Arrests an American Spy at Oil Refinery

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer: He’s a marine who has served at CIA bases in Iraq and was found with specialized weapons and a large amount of USD. In April of 2020:

(Reuters) – Venezuela has received refining materials via a plane shipment from Iran to help it start the catalytic cracking unit at the 310,000 barrels-per-day Cardon refinery, which is necessary to produce gasoline, an official said on Thursday.

The shipments mark a new stage in cooperation between the two OPEC nations that are both facing crippling U.S. sanctions, with their levels of oil production and exports declining in recent years due in part to the pressure from Washington.

Erling Rojas, vice-minister for refining and petrochemicals in Venezuela’s Oil Ministry, announced the arrival of the material on Twitter. “Thanks to the support of our allies in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he tweeted.

***

Word of the alleged U.S. spy came after a Venezuelan court last month sentenced two former U.S. Green Berets to 20 years in prison for their role in a failed incursion in May.

Separately during Friday’s broadcast, Maduro said that in recent days security forces had also foiled a plot to cause an explosion at another oil refinery, El Palito in Carabobo state. He did not elaborate.

The President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, announced on Friday the arrest of an alleged “American spy,” who was reportedly arrested near the largest oil refinery complex in the country. The alleged spy, who has not been named, was reportedly in the vicinity of the Paraguaná Refinery Complex, which is known as the third-largest refinery complex in the world. It combines the Amuay, Bajo Grande, and Cardón refineries, which together produce nearly a third of Venezuela’s daily oil output.

Venezuelan Cardón Refinery paralyzes crude processing ...

During a live address on Venezuelan national television, Maduro said an American citizen had been arrested on Thursday in Falcon State, in Venezuela’s northeast. Falcon is the site of the Amuay and Cardón oil refineries and much of the local population is employed in the state-owned oil industry. The Venezuelan president said the alleged spy is “a marine” who was “serving on [Central Intelligence Agency] bases in Iraq” prior to arriving in Venezuela. He added that the alleged spy was “captured with large amounts of cash, large quantities of dollars and other items”. He did not elaborate further, but said the detainee was in the process of “giving a statement in custody”.

Maduro also said that Venezuelan security forces had foiled a separate plot to bomb El Palito, which is another oil refinery, located in Carabobo State. He then urged workers in oil refineries to “be on alert” in case more attacks are planned. Venezuela’s oil production has fallen to nearly a third of its peak output in 2009 when the country was producing 3.2 million barrels per day. The government blames the oil shortage on acts of sabotage from domestic and foreign enemies of President Maduro, but opposition parties claim that mismanagement and corruption are behind the demise of the Venezuelan oil industry.

Earlier this year, a Venezuelan court sentenced two American former servicemen to 20 years in prison for their role in what the Venezuelan media refer to as “enfrentamiento en El Junquito” (“El Junquito raid”), or “Operación GEDEÓN”. GEDEÓN refers to a failed coup plot carried out on May 3 and 4, 2020, by a group of up to 60 armed men. It is alleged that the coup was masterminded by Major General Clíver Alcalá Cordones, a retired member of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Army, with the support of Silvercorp USA, a private security group led by Jordan Goudreau, a Canadian-born former sergeant in the US Green Berets. The United States government has denied involvement in the coup plot.

09/14/20

Biden May Follow Soros-Funded Franken Road Map To Victory

By: Daniel John Sobieski

Fearing they will lose as their candidate’s polls sink and his cognitive abilities deteriorate before our eyes, Team Biden is assembling a war room of lawyers and Soros-backed local officials who will march before compliant judges in an attempt to duplicate the theft that in 2008 took a Minnesota Senate seat from a seemingly victorious Republican Norm Coleman and hand it to a seemingly defeated Al Franken.

The chaos and fraud of universal mail-in ballots sent to dead people and dogs in jurisdictions where there are more people on the voting rolls than live there thanks to failure to purge the lists, will add to the chaos of court challenges as votes are suddenly discovered in car trunks and hall closets while others legally cast are tossed out depending on which way the recount is going. We saw a preview of the Democrat’s 2020 game plan in Minnesota in 2008.

As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized in July 2009, an editorial reprinted by the website Huffington Riposte:

Incumbent Republican Norm Coleman in 2008 conceded re-election defeat in the mother of all recounts in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race after the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously rejected his lawsuit. Arguably, his seat may have been lost that day in 2006 when Democrat Mark Ritchie defeated two-term incumbent Republican Mary Kiffmeyer in 2006 to become  Minnesota Secretary of State.

It was Ritchie who orchestrated the recount that gave Democratic challenger Al Franken a lead some six weeks after incumbent Coleman appeared to win by 725 votes on Election Day, He has extensive ties to both the ACORN organization that was under federal investigation for vote fraud and was endorsed by the community activist group in 2006.

In 2006, the Minnesota ACORN Political Committee endorsed Ritchie and contributed to his campaign. Other contributors to his campaign included George Soros, along with the likes of Deborah Rappaport, a Saul Alinsky disciple who co-founded the Midwest Academy, a radical ACORN clone.

As Newsmax reported at the time:

“Mark Ritchie as we all know is a hard-core liberal who was endorsed by ACORN and funded by ACORN,” Matthew Vadum, senior editor of CapitolResearch.org, a nonprofit think tank, told NewsMax. “It is not surprising that he has a permissive attitude toward the recount process.

Also contributing to Ritchie was James Rucker, the former director of grass-roots mobilization at MoveOn.org and reportedly a cofounder of the George Soros-backed Secretary of State Project (SOS) that played a critical role in this and other elections.

Ritchie gave partial credit for his 2006 election to the liberal 527 organization, whose stated goal was to replace conservative secretaries of state with liberal Democrats. “I want to thank the Secretary of State Project and its thousands of grassroots donors for helping to push my campaign over the top,” Ritchie said in a posting on the project’s web site.

Coleman really never had a chance with the election machinery rigged against him.  In 25 Minnesota precincts, there were more ballots counted than voters who voted, a situation that exists nationwide.  Election officials had made copies of damaged ballots but then didn’t mark them as copies or sequester them from the originals There is also the issue of the 133 missing ballots from a heavily Democratic Minneapolis precinct that were nevertheless included in the recount.

It was in the thousands of rejected absentee ballots that Coleman’s election night victory might have been reclaimed. The state canvassing board ultimately allowed in a selected group of 933 such ballots which expanded Franken’s lead to its current margin, leaving some 11,000 ballots not included to be counted.

The left realized after recounts in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, both of which were key parts of two Bush victories, that who was Secretary of State was as important, if not more so, as which candidate got the most votes. Control the election process and you control the future.

The SOS project website opposed the likes of conservative Republicans Katherine Harris of Florida and Ken Blackwell of Oho and held them up as examples of the type of people they want to defeat. Naturally, Mark Ritchie was the type they want to elect. It was ruling-after-ruling by the Ritchie-led State Canvassing Board that went against Coleman that put Al Franken in the U.S. Senate.

In 2006, along with Minnesota’s Ritchie, the SOS project endorsed and helped elect Jennifer Brunner in Ohio. Democrats supported by that group also won that year in the key swing states of New Mexico, Nevada, and Iowa. In 2008, the group helped fund Democratic victories in Montana, West Virginia, Oregon, and Missouri, spending some $280,000, according to the watchdog group Center for Public Integrity.

Soros, then and now, and other liberal activist groups knew the importance of controlling local election machinery as well as key state-level and local offices. While Republicans concentrated on Senators and Congressmen, as important as they are, Soros and his ilk concentrated on the down-ballot offices a lot of voters and pundits overlook

Did I say New Mexico? As in the race that put Al Franken in the Senate, recounts and lawsuits will inevitably continue until the Democrat takes the lead, and then the counting will stop with nary a protest from the legacy media or the Russians.

Take the little-noticed flip of a Republican congressional seat in New Mexico after a supposed election night victory was announced by local and national media for the GOP contender. This was the announcement by ABC:

Wednesday 2:18 a.m. EST — Republican Yvette Herrell has defeated Democrat Xochitl Torres Small in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, ABC News can project. Herrell is the first woman to represent the district.

Not so fast. Before the echoes of that announcement had faded, missing ballots suddenly were reportedly found, just enough to flip the results to the Democrat. Amazingly missing ballots are seemingly never found that gives the lead to or increases it for the Republican. Herrell is not conceding the race:

In an interview on Fox News, Herrell told Judge Jeanine Pirro that after multiple media outlets called the race for her on Election Night, the secretary of state’s office called her and said, “they had magically found 4,000 ballots that had not been counted.”

Herrell said, about an hour later, the secretary state’s office called again and said they found another 4,000 ballots.

That second batch of 4,000 was enough to flip the election to the Democrat. As Mayor Daley might say, his voice rising from a cemetery precinct, just tell me how many votes do you need? Or as Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin once reportedly observed, “The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”

As in 2008, 2020 will see swarms of attorneys working with Democratic Soros-backed secretaries of state and liberal activist judges to finish the coup against Donald Trump. This is their ultimate insurance policy. Watch for and follow the likes of Democrat attorney Marc Elias, As TownHall.com notes, he is the ultimate “plumber” and “fixer”:

Back during the 2008 Democratic Primary when Florida was considering mail-in ballots, Obama specifically cited the need for signature verification, to ensure “they can check to make sure that the right people are voting.”

 Now, lawsuits brought by the George Soros-backed election lawyer Marc Elias are seeking to gut those requirements. A Democrat lawsuit in Pennsylvania is seeking to prevent election officials from rejecting votes even if a signature on the ballot is completely different from the voter’s signature on file.

  Want elections to be decided by the maneuverings of liberal election lawyers, where results are delayed for months, hundreds of ballots go missing, and duplicate votes are never scrutinized? That’s what happened in Minnesota, with Elias’s handiwork during the Senate recount in 2008. Seven months, “20,000 pages of legal briefs, and millions of dollars in election costs” later, Al Franken emerged the victor with results swinging by over 1,000 votes in his favor. It was once Elias’s proudest achievement before he represented a group that registered dead voters, helped Hillary Clinton take over the DNC, and smear her opponent with a dossier full of lies about President Donald Trump and Russia. When Democrats want to tilt elections in their favor outside the ballot box, they know who to call.

One way to avoid this planned calamity would be a Trump landslide victory so big and in so many states that it would take 747s full of newly discovered mail-in ballots sent from China to make a difference. The other way is to simply learn from the Franken theft 0f 2008 and prepare with our own army of poll watchers, election judges, and, yes, lawyers pledged not to repeat it.

* Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.