I’ve read several pieces in recent years about how LinkedIn has gone all soft, with people posting about their emotions ‘n’ stuff, but honestly, I haven’t seen it. LinkedIn was the first social network I joined and the first one I quit, because as far as I could tell, it was utterly useless.
Then I got fired and started looking for work, and the first thing I learned was, if you’re looking for a job in any field other than journalism, it’s essential to have a LinkedIn profile. I’d had dozens of contacts, even some nice endorsements, on my first one. Which I’d nuked. Ah well. I started a new one, and have studiously ignored it ever since.
But I finally read something there that made it seem worth having one: This account by a cybersecurity expert on going to Mike Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” in 2021. Lindell offered a $5 million prize to anyone who could prove his “evidence” of election fraud in 2020 incorrect, and this guy, Bob Zeidman, a Trump voter, thinks he did.
Lindell, of course, refused to pay him. He took it to private arbitration and won. Maybe you read about it.
Anyway, Zeidman writes serviceably well for a civilian, although I doubt he was going for chuckles in some passages, like this one:
I was a little surprised when Lindell called up a minister for an opening prayer that referred to Jesus multiple times. As a Jew, I was a bit uncomfortable, but more comfortable when the entire crowd rose to proudly and loudly recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the National Anthem.
But there were laffs galore coming:
We asked to see the “proof of fraud” that had been promised to us, and were pointed to 5 files on the network. We had been told that these files showed data flowing from China and other places over the Internet to the voting machines on the day of the election. We each downloaded them, one of which was over 22 Gbytes, but found that they contained no recognizable data in any known data format. We were stumped.
At some point, I performed a simple transformation of the files and found something surprising. I quietly packed up my things, said goodbye to my fellow experts, went back to my hotel room, and called my wife. “I have some good news,” I whispered to her on the phone. “All I want to say is that you should start thinking about how you want to spend five million dollars.” The transformations I had performed showed that these files were actually simple Microsoft Word documents containing numbers and gibberish. There was no way for this to be network data or any data related to the election.
You can figure out the rest: The entire “symposium” was a shitshow, much to the disappointment of Zeidman, $5 million notwithstanding. But this graf kinda pierced me:
But the most disappointing result is that this symposium will sow even more doubt among the undecided and give more ammunition to those who hate Trump and despise Republicans and who have no desire to reform or safeguard the voting system in America.
He’s right about ammo for the Trump-haters, but maybe because his brain is so full of code and computer knowledge, he can’t see the forest for the trees: We don’t need to “reform or safeguard” voting in America because it already works pretty well. The fact it’s so atomized, covering the nation with thousands and thousands of precincts, each with their own way of doing things, does wonders for protecting it from widespread fraud. Yes, you’ll always have some isolated cases, onesies and twosies here and there, but large-scale fraud, enough to swing a significant election, is just too hard to pull off (Chicago in 1960 notwithstanding).
That’s not to say an election can’t be influenced by bad actors. Russia most surely did interfere in 2016, but as a wise man said, they didn’t hack the election, they hacked the electorate, with the help of scoundrels like Paul Manafort, et al.
So while it’s amusing to imagine Mike Lindell having to pay this nerd $5 million — and I devoutly hope he does — it’s important not to draw the wrong conclusions from his silly symposium.
In more comic news, this week the Michigan state senate voted on repealing a law that makes it a crime for adult couples to live together without being married. You can have a roommate, but no shack-up, as we used to call these relationships. Speaking against its repeal was a U.P. Republican who previously distinguished himself by chairing the committee that looked into the 2020 election and concluded no fraud occurred. He was called the usual names by his fellow party members, but held his ground, and maybe he felt he had to get a little of his own back:
Two GOP lawmakers who voted against the proposed repeal argued that keeping the law on the books would encourage marriage and strengthen families. Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, said the reasons for the longstanding policy “are clearly not obsolete.”
A law that virtually no one even knew existed had to be kept in place, to encourage good morals.
Another weird thing that virtually no one knows: Ed McBroom and his brother ran a dairy farm together, until the brother was killed in a traffic accident in 2018. The McBroom brothers were married to a pair of sisters, and all four of them were/are the parents of 13 children. After his brother’s death, they took the widow and her flock under their wing. And they all live — I doubt under one roof — on the farm together. What would the law make of that? Hmm. Lotsa farm hands, anyway.
OK, then. The weekend is threatening to kick off one of these days, and I might need to pour a gin and tonic to welcome it. Have a good one.