A thief fell out of heaven with some loaded dice …

A thief fell out of heaven with some loaded dice … August 13, 2018

• “After a few hours on Friday, one hacker was essentially able to turn a voting machine into a jukebox, making it play music and display animations.”

Paper ballots have yet to be improved upon.

“Unfortunately, it’s so easy to hack the websites that report election results that we couldn’t do it in this room because [adult hackers] would find it boring,” said Jake Braun, one of the event’s organizers.

So on Friday, almost 40 child hackers between the ages of 6 and 17 were let loose on the mock sites, and most of them were able to tamper with vote tallies, some even changing candidates names to things like “Bob Da Builder” and “Richard Nixon’s Head.”

Plenty more unnerving stuff in that article about the use of disinformation to spread hacked or hacked-and-altered material. And none of this even touches on the deliberate, domestic actions of Republican officials and judges who seem hell-bent on making it as difficult as possible for non-white citizens to vote.

See also: xkcd, “Voting Software.”

• David S. Glosser is a neuropsychologist who volunteers for HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) here in Philadelphia. He’s also Stephen Miller’s uncle.

Yes, that Stephen Miller.

Glosser is not happy with the white nationalist views of his nephew or with Miller’s work in the Trump administration reshaping America to conform to those views: “Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle.

Acting for so long in the theater of right wing politics, Stephen and Trump may have become numb to the resultant human tragedy and blind to the hypocrisy of their policy decisions. After all, Stephen’s is not the only family with a chain immigration story in the Trump administration. Trump’s grandfather is reported to have been a German migrant on the run from military conscription to a new life in the USA and his mother fled the poverty of rural Scotland for the economic possibilities of New York City. (Trump’s in-laws just became citizens on the strength of his wife’s own citizenship.)

These facts are important not only for their grim historical irony but because vulnerable people are being hurt. They are real people, not the ghoulish caricatures portrayed by Trump. When confronted by the deaths and suffering of thousands our senses are overwhelmed, and the victims become statistics rather than people.

Read the whole thing. It is deservedly harsh, but it’s also the work of an uncle trying desperately to save the soul of his sister’s son.

• Bayliss Fiddiman writes about “Betsy DeVos’ $40 million yacht, and all the other ways she’s dodged taxes.”

The tax-avoidance of the DeVos family is a story with theological significance and theological consequences. The DeVoses are some of the most generous donors to white evangelical institutions and ministries, but that generosity tends to be highly conditional. Like many of the largest donors supporting white evangelical organizations, the DeVos family’s philanthropy seems intended to create financial dependency, rather than financial independence, for the recipients.

The effect this has on those organizations cannot be overstated. Whenever you see the kind of whiplash backlash causing an immediate, disgraceful, public, reactionary reversal from some white evangelical organization, you can trace that back to the influence of a DeVos or an Ahmanson or a Pew or one of the other conditional philanthropists working so hard to ensure that none of those ministries or organizations ever does anything to challenge the overclass.

• Hey, look at the calendar. Good time to revisit Al Aronowitz’s “August Blues“:

August is the month when wars start. It’s when the water dries up and the spirit begins to wither. Insomniacs pull down their shades and lock themselves in their rooms in August. Lifelong friends have fist fights. People feel like they’re going to burst. Sometimes they do. …

• Plainfield, New Jersey, when it is known at all, is probably best known for the 1967 riots that earned the city a chapter in the Kerner Commission report. The following spring, I was born there. I spent seven long hot summers in Plainfield playing baseball in the Bread of Life league, where I learned to always hit the cut-off man and never to make the third out at third base, while also learning about the essential religious differences between white evangelicalism and the black church.

Today, via Erik Loomis, I learned that Plainfield, NJ, is also where Dudley Moore is buried. Moore — an immigrant — is probably most remembered for his movie roles in 10 and Arthur, and for his classic comedy bits with Peter Cook, but his career began — and ended — as a musician. Hence the title of this post, which comes from Larry Norman’s “The Sun Began to Rain” off of the original Jesus-rocker’s 1976 album In Another Land. The piano here — strangely — is played by Dudley Moore.

(As with most of Uncle Larry’s songs, I like the music more than the Rapture-mania folklore passing as theology. But this song earns points anyway for almost succeeding in making premillennial dispensationalism sound playful.)

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