There are about three weeks in the summer and three weeks in the fall where the weather in Washington DC is comparable to the best anywhere. The rest of the year is dicey, to say the least – the difference, for example, between Hell and Washington DC in the summer is primarily that Hell has dry heat; and depending on the vicissitudes of the Gulf Stream and the Jet Stream, winter days can be as brutally cold as New England or dangerous, nasty affairs involving freezing rain and horrendous ice storms. So we here in the National Capital area make the most of it when the weather is as it was the last few days – balmy, breezy, sunny and idyllic.
And this year, the woods behind my back yard Virginia, as well as the woods everywhere around here, in Maryland and the District of Columbia (yes, there are plenty of trees there, and a huge park called Rock Creek, over twice the size of New York’s Central Park) are filled with the weird and wondrous stribulations of Magicicada septendecium, commonly known as the seventeen year locust. They’re not actually locusts. The European settlers of this region, having never seen these insects before, being equipped with only their Bibles and the stories therein concerning the plagues of Egypt as a reference, dubbed them thus. But in fact, the red eyed little bugs are not anything like grasshoppers and their lives are nothing like those led by such critters either. Most importantly, quite unlike locusts, they eat nothing – because that’s all they’ve been doing for seventeen years prior to emerging from their underground burrows, transformed from sap-sucking flightless nymphs into their astonishingly strange and final adult form. No, the only things on their tiny minds at this stage are, as the local adage goes, “Sing, mate, and die.” Living fast, dying young and leaving a good-looking corpse, the Magicicada septendecium is surely the James Dean of entomology.
As might be expected, seeing them again reminded me of seventeen years ago, in 2004, two and one half years prior to the founding this Web Log, when my consultations involved visits from Bush 43 cronies frustrated with their inability to find non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As then, so it is now, it seems. This morning, I received a request for a telephone consultation with Doug Logan, Chief Executive Officer of Cyber Ninjas, an organization currently engaged in another search for things that do not exist.
Gretchen got the request via text and called to notify me at my home office in Great Falls, Virginia, where I still remain despite much hoopla concerning unmasking, re-openings and the return of hugs and handshakes (there are still, IMHO, far too many idiots running around unvaccinated spreading God knows what interesting mutations of Original Flavor Covid). Being a well-informed Washingtonian, she knows who Doug Logan is, naturally.
“It’s my duty as your private secretary to tell you about this,” she admonished, “but you’re not really going to give that [expletive] [expletive] [expletive] a free initial consultation, are you? The [expletive] [expletive] QAnon’s [expletive]!”
“Now, now,” I chided, “if I refused to speak to every [expletive] [expletive] [expletive] involved in American politics, I’d still be stuck with the [expletive] [expletive] [expletive] involved in politics everywhere else, wouldn’t I? Besides, you and I both know, [expletive] [expletive] [expletive] make up at least thirty percent of my business.”
“Okay,” she sighed, “I guess you have a point. I’ll book him for this afternoon, right after Mohammed bin Salman’s public relations liaison.”
“One [expletive] [expletive] [expletive] after another,” I chuckled. “See what I have to put up with to pay your extravagant salary?”
“Oh, muchas gracias, effendi,” she shot back.
“Da nada,” I replied.
“At least there’s no heavy lifting and some decent restaurants nearby for lunch,” she japed. “If we ever get back into the office, that is. Did I mention this guy wants to Skype?”
Well, Skype is hardly my favorite client interface, but what can you do? Freebie or not, it’s their consultation, after all.
Tom: Hello, Mr. Logan. How are you?
Tom: I believe you might be on Mute, sir.
Tom: In Skype for Business, Mr. Logan, in such a situation, I suggest you click on the telephone icon – the black one that looks like a telephone, that is, not the red one that looks like a telephone receiver – a popup window will appear with a number keypad display with two icons above it. Click on the Devices icon at the top right of that window, then select the option for PC mic and camera. That should enable your…
Logan: Okay, yeah, right, I knew that.
Tom: Certainly. And your team knew exactly how Microsoft SQL handles its file date metadata and how R-Studio Technician works too, I’m sure.
Tom: I’m referring, of course, to Cyber Ninjas recent… finding… that massive amounts of data were deleted from the Maricopa County Board of Elections databases resident on the Dominion Voting Systems server the Arizona State Senate ordered them to give your team of… “auditors.”
Logan: Proper steps have been taken to address that!
Tom: But not before ensuring that the Cyber Ninjas got some serious kimchee down their cute jet-black karate gi’s and copious egg sushi on their faces, sensei.
Logan: All significant impacts have been remediated!
Tom: I’m sure they have. Tell me, when a Cyber Ninja screws up like that, are they expected to commit seppuku, or is that only required of incompetent Cyber Samurai?
Logan: Is this how you normally treat your clients, Mr. Collins?
Tom: Not normally, no.
Logan: So you’re saying I’m not normal?
Tom: I would the circumstances surrounding this consultation are decidedly unusual, to say the least.
Logan: How do you know that? I haven’t told you anything yet.
Tom: Oh. I see. So you are contacting me in reference to something other than your firm’s ongoing “audit” of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County, Arizona?
Logan: I didn’t say that.
Tom: Am I therefore to conclude you have a problem with additional issues pertaining to this “audit?”
Tom: So you think that your “auditors” will successfully use optical microscopes to find bamboo fibers in the 2020 Arizona election ballots, thus substantiating that the ballots either came from China or somehow went to China and came back?
Logan: Our methods are proprietary.
Tom: What’s that supposed to mean?
Logan: Just what it sounds like.
Tom: And you think that examination of the ballots with ultraviolet light will reveal “official” watermarks on ballots showing votes for Donald John Trump to become president of the United States?
Logan: I cannot comment relative to an ongoing audit.
Tom: And you believe that J. Hutton Pulitzer’s computerized, automated “kinematic marker” detection system will be able to positively establish that ballots presumed to have been legitimately mailed in were, in fact, never placed in an envelope and delivered by the US Postal Service?
Logan: Same answer.
Tom: Well then, sir, if you are confident that those methods will prove that there were irregularities in the 2020 Arizona election sufficient to invalidate the ten thousand four hundred and fifty-seven vote margin by which Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump, what can I possibly do for you?
Logan: I want more ideas, and they say you’re the smartest person in Washington.
Tom: Which is a lot like being the tallest building in Baltimore.
Logan: Baltimore? It’s infested with Democrats.
Tom: Not exactly my point, but true nonetheless. Okay, then, for starters, have you thought about using an electron microscope to look for those Chinese bamboo fibers?
Logan: How would that help?
Tom: Chinese bamboo can be very, very sneaky, you know.
Logan: Do tell.
Tom: Oh, yes, very sneaky indeed; tiny, tiny bamboo fibers, ah-so, so small. You wouldn’t want to miss them.
Logan: Are you saying an electron microscope could increase the total of ballots positively identified to contain Chinese bamboo?
Tom: Not only that, but an electron microscope might find pollen.
Tom: That’s right, pollen. It’s really, really small, but highly definitive. If electron microscopy were to identify bamboo pollen on a ballot – or better yet, were one of your people use it to identify the pollen of a plant or flower found only in China, well then, as the British say, “Bob’s your uncle.”
Logan: I cannot confirm or deny that I have an uncle named Bob. That’s personal information protected by the Privacy Act.
Tom: It’s a figure of speech sir, meaning essentially, “there you have it.” Such a discovery would offer some highly convincing circumstantial evidence. The same technique could be used to substantiate that a voting machine has been smuggled from Arizona to Venezuela and back, too.
Logan: How would finding bamboo pollen on an Arizona voting machine prove that it’s been to Venezuela?
Tom: No, no, sir, that’s not it – finding the pollen of a plant or flower found only in Venezuela would do that. Then there’s GC/MS analysis.
Logan: GC? MS?
Tom: Gas chromatography/Mass spectroscopy. Ballots exposed to a high, sudden but non-destructive vacuum will outgas thousands of organic compounds. A GC/MS is essentially a computerized analytical laboratory. Every organic chemical with a vapor pressure greater than the vacuum value could be collected and definitively identified using the unit’s onboard digital library of organic compounds. You could tell what the person who filled out that ballot ate for breakfast that day. You could tell if they were a male or a female; you could even get a pretty good estimate of their age; probably detect what diseases they have, or a fair number of them, anyway. And the same thing goes for anybody who handled the ballots, too. But comparative analysis of the gas chromatograph peaks for the compounds with calibrated control samples could separate the person who filled the ballot out from a collection of people who just touched it, particularly if you had lists of the workers who handled them. All you would need to do is use the GC/MS to establish a set of appropriate statistical baselines of ballots that had been filled out and handled only by human beings and after that, anything bogus produced by a machine would stick out like a sore thumb – its organic chemical profile would reek of printer lubricants and toner solvent. Pile up eleven thousand of those and Donald Trump wins Arizona by five hundred and forty-three votes. What do you think?
Logan: For reasons of industrial security, I cannot offer an assessment of technical methods.
Tom: I understand. Moving on then, there’s polygraphs. You got the Arizona State Senate to authorize your team getting the Maricopa County Dominion Voting Systems data servers as well as turning over all its ballots to you to play with, so just go back to them and ask that they force everybody who worked on the Maricopa County Board of Elections in 2020 to undergo a lie detector test – and you guys write the questions. Sure, they’ll go to court to try and stop you, but with the current Arizona and US supreme courts, they’ll have to comply, and if the Arizona State Senate, the RNC and Trump raise enough ruckus in the right-wing media, the courts won’t waste any time approving it, either. If even five percent of the people subjected to polygraph testing produce what appears to be inconclusive or willfully false results, it will be a major public relations coup for your effort and seen by many as further substantiation of your claims. And the beauty part is that, statistically, if you subject a hundred unwilling subjects to high-stress polygraph tests with loaded questions, at least ten percent of them are going to produce results that make them appear deceptive, whether they were actually lying or not.
Logan: Polygraphs can’t be used as evidence in court.
Tom: Not in law courts; but in the court of public opinion, no such restrictions apply, and there, you will triumph. Then there’s psychics.
Tom: Sure. Even law enforcement agencies use them occasionally when they get a case that otherwise stumps them. And the kicker is, more that forty percent of Americans believe psychics have genuine abilities. Hire some famous ones, like Francesco Salomoni, Elisa Canali, Courtney Taylor, Melanie Moe, Amanda Jane, Kimberly Morrow, Emily Lewis or Julie McKenzie. Interview them first to make sure they buy in to your… shall we say… point of view… and then have them start sorting the ballots their psychic powers tell them are real from the ones that are fraudulent. When they’re done doing that, you’ll be able to point to a pile of ballots that win Maricopa County for Trump by a landslide. Or send them out to look for… you know… those lost Trump ballots. I bet they find a huge stash of those hidden somewhere out in the Arizona desert where nobody but a real, high-powered celebrity psychic could find them. And then there are the necromancers. Some of those psychics I mention communicate with the dead as well as find lost objects and so forth. Just get some affidavits from dead people complaining that the Democrats made them vote for Biden. It will be dynamite with the Marjorie Taylor Greene fans. Can’t you just hear Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity right now, talking it up on Fox News?
Logan: Anything else?
Tom: How about checking for radioactivity?
Tom: Sure – if the ballots were airlifted out of Arizona to China or Venezuela or wherever by alien spacecraft, traces of radioactivity would be left on them.
Logan: Are you serious? That sounds utterly preposterous!
Tom: That does?
Logan: Yes, of course it does! Nobody in their right mind would believe that!
Tom: But none of the other stuff? Just that?
Logan: No comment.
Tom: And no charge for the advice, sir. I would ask, however, if you use any of my ideas, you give me credit for having suggested them. Now, what else can I do for you?
Tom: In that case, I have another [expletive] [expletive] [expletive] to meet with in about twenty minutes, and I need a cup of coffee and a bathroom break. Goodbye.