The Smoke Eater For Feb. 4, 2020

Caucus clusterfu*k, disinfo, and Acela A-holes

Good morning, this is The Smoke Eater for Tuesday, February 4, 2020, and I won the Iowa caucuses!

Quick Hit

A black eye for Hawkeye's * *Pretty Pictures * Disinfo plagues early primary states * Lindsey Graham is a backdoor man * Acela Assholes *

NOTE: I’m much later than I thought this morning, but there’s pictures! Just remember The Smoker Eater is ad-free and supported by super awesome readers. Be super awesome and tip me on Ko-Fi, or subscribe to my Patreon!

An Irregular Morning

Everyone was a winner at the Iowa caucuses last night after a few screw ups snowballed out of gymnasiums, rolled over the desolate and frozen Midwestern hellscape, and into cable news chyrons. A combination of fuzzy math and shitty robots caused errors in the calculation of delegates for the caucuses. TV talking heads were forced to cry themselves to sleep after multiple campaigns declared victory and whined about the archaic process.

Iowa Democratic party Party officials say the results will be released later today, and have shot down accusations that an app intended to report caucus results was hacked. Officials say they're calculating the results the old fashioned way, with photos and a paper trail, adding it was only "three sets of results" that were "inconsistent. The party has been maligned by geeks for refusing to release details about the app in fear that this posed a risk, but cybersecurity professionals are quietly sipping their coffee this morning, and definitely not saying, "I told you so."

NOTE: I've heard several rumors over the last 12 hours that have added to the confusion. I'm deliberately not reporting them as I can't confirm their accuracy. I'll update The Smoke Eater's web version, and tweet out anything I've confirmed.

Here's a photo gallery of the caucuses and the Warren rally. I'll put more up a later! In this photo an Elizabeth Warren supporter tries to convince 22 year-old Taylor Weetman, a student at Drake University, to realign.


The Democratic party has a disinfo team for 2020, but I'll be damned if I could tell you what they're doing. Conservative echo chambers were pushing their alt-facts about Iowa's caucuses for days, and some social media platforms have refused to slap down the misinformation arguably violating their own policies. The left wasn't immune either as Bernie Bots and the #YangGang spent Sunday losing their damn minds about the canceled Des Moines register poll.

BONUS: Five Thirty Eight's Politics podcast explains what went wrong in the Des Moines Register poll, and argues that it should have been pretty easy to isolate the corrupted data. (SPOILER ALERT: It was an innocent and very human error.)

Lindsey's Dark Web

The Trump-loving libertarian jackasses at Zero Hedge have been perma-banned from Twitter for spreading more unfounded garbage about the Wuhan corona virus, and doxxing a scientist. In addition, Facebook says it will remove corona virus conspiracies if they seem to cause harm, and will try to limit misinformation by providing people with more accurate info.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is trying to build a legislative backdoor into your DMs for Attorney General Bill Barr. Graham is cobbling together a new bill to limit encryption protections under the premise of fighting kiddie porn, but tech and privacy evangelists note the proposal would make platforms legally responsible for gross creepos, thus allowing the right to bitch and moan about censorship whenever they're perma-banned for peddling bullshit and conspiracies.

Private Twitter messages from Arron Banks, a super rich guy who helped found and fund the Leave EU movement, were hacked and dumped. The messages show Banks bragging about Nigel Farage's close relationship with Donald Trump, Wikileaks, and joking about their respective Kremlin connections. Banks' lawyers have been threatening news outlets and people hosting the messages. [Transcript]

One More Thing...

Most of the people screaming about the Iowa Democratic party's gigantic fuck up are pissed off that they woke up and didn't have anything to talk about this morning. Any of the arguments from cable news talking heads about the failures of an app that cybersecurity geeks warned was potentially flawed is a symbol of their own impotence and incompetence, not their expertise in politics or technology.

This was no more evident than Joe Scarborough's morning rant about the bathrooms in the Des Moines airport being symbol of the Iowa Democratic Party's failure. It’s an insulting and absurd analogy from a man who regularly claims simultaneous heritage and residency from Connecticut, New York, South Carolina, Florida, and Washington DC. People shouldn't listen to Scarborough for advice on anything unless it's about how to successfully navigate a #MeToo scandal, or why sockless boat loafers and a sweater are more socially acceptable than jeans and a t-shirt at wine tastings.

I spent all day in the Drake University Field House (AKA: Des Moines Precinct 38) watching the caucusing process unfold, and I'm still trying to process the scene (and my photos). I tip my hat to lone supporter of Tom Steyer who joined a revolt led a supporter of Sen. Cory Booker in order to thumb their collective noses at other campaigns. Caucuses are an exercise in group think; they're a weird and chaotic system from a bygone era, but I'll be damned if they're not democratic.

Like the vast majority of other towns and cities throughout the Midwest, Iowa has a lot of strip malls and parking lots. The vast expanses of nothingness that is mocked as flyover country is populated with real people, not numbers and percentages. Folks live in these seemingly remote areas because it's their home; this is where their friends live, where their families are from -- just as the Acecla train is home to pinstriped pricks and khaki douchebags.

OK, now here's a warm and fuzzy critter video! KITTIES!

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