TNB Night Owl — Snark Attacks 2000 Mules

12 October Carp Tail (second version) Photo by Howard J.

I’m going to be honest with y’all… after the hearing today, the press of trying to find RW reaction and get it transcribed before midnight, and the brief argument I had with the husband, I wasn’t feeling like snarking. I wasn’t feeling like giving you any kind of article at all, even though Tiff was suggesting I could write about something that’s fun for me. (For the record, fun for me is Barbies and miniatures, which I figured none of you would give a crap about. That’s fine.) So she says, “You can vent to me about the argument if you want.”

So I did. Now — here’s where we get to tonight’s Snark Attack topic — I tell her that one thing the husband brought up during the argument is how the media and the J6 Committee are “smearing millions of peaceful patriots who never went into the Capitol.” Then he asked why is it when the FBI uses geotracking on the insurrectionists, that’s legit, but when Dinesh D’Souza does it, then “that’s not how that works.”

Tiff sends me the link to an interview conducted by Philip Bump of the Washington Post with Dinesh D’Souza about his film. Let’s just say pretty soon I realized I had fodder for tonight’s article. *Wide Shark Grin*

Now, this is a long article and there’s a lot of goodness in it. There’s just too much for me to share it all with you; so I urge you to read the whole thing for yourself. But, in the meantime, let me share some tasty, snarky morsels with you. Ready?

Here’s the article for you, thanks to Tiff!

This is the last paragraph of Bump’s introduction:

I will admit this conversation will read more easily if you have seen the film. But it can be summarized fairly succinctly: D’Souza admits his movie does not show evidence to prove his claims about ballots being collected and submitted.

Discussing the gaps in “2000 Miles” with Dinesh D’Souza, May 17, 2022

You know, when the filmmaker admits his “documentary” is garbage, well… *snickers*

Bump: I want to start with the “bike guy.” So this is, in the movie, a guy who is shown coming up to a drop box outside of a library late at night in Atlanta. He deposits a ballot, takes a picture of it. Gregg Phillips from True the Vote, who is sort of acting as the narrator for a lot of these video snippets, says that he understands that this is happening because the people who are making these deposits have been told that the only way they get paid is if they take a picture.

So I want to start by asking: Do you have evidence besides Phillips making that assertion that that is true, that these people needed to take a picture in order to get paid?

D’Souza: Yes. Our evidence on the payments is really threefold. The first is that the way the whole investigation got started is that True the Vote had a hotline and they were approached by a whistleblower in Atlanta who said that he was dropping off ballots, he was getting paid $10 a ballot and he described that he was not alone, but he was part of a larger operation.

This is what caused True the Vote to then say, “All right, let’s try to figure out a way in which we can map out and track and perhaps figure out the scale of this operation.” And then they got the idea of doing this through geotracking. So the first step of this investigation was not the geotracking — it was the whistleblower. And the whistleblower laid out the scheme, and the scheme then became the hypothesis or template for the investigation.

So you have direct testimony to the effect that this is a paid operation. I mean, common sense would tell you that, but it’s obviously corroborated by an actual whistleblower.

Discussing the gaps in “2000 Mules” with Dinesh D’Souza, May 17, 2022

An actual whistlebower who, weirdly enough, won’t come forward and speak to authorities at GBI (the Georgia Bureau of Investigation) and the Georgia Secretary of State’s office who were willing to investigate these allegations. Later in the interview, D’Souza even admits he has never spoken to the whistleblower. D’Souza doesn’t know his name. All the proof we have this guy exists is the word of True the Vote.

But there’s more about “bike guy.” Basically, the video of him doesn’t show him taking a picture of the ballot as he drops it in the box. He’s taking a picture of his bike, which is next to the dropbox, AFTER he inserted the ballot in the box.

There’s a lot of back-and-forthing about this and whether or not this proves anything. My take is this: plenty of people take pictures of the meal they’re about to eat and will post it on Instagram. And, apparently, in 2020, people were encouraged to take a picture of themselves voting or putting the ballot in the box, just so they can demonstrate to their followers, “Yes, I voted.” So taking a picture of a ballot box after you’ve dropped your ballot in certainly doesn’t prove you’re up to anything nefarious.

But it gets better…

Bump: Not only that, the bike guy didn’t take a picture of the ballot going in. He took a picture after the fact, after he posed his bike next to it. Clearly, this is not someone who’s taking a photo of the ballot going in. I think it’s remarkable you accuse me being willfully ambiguous here, given that literally the entire crux of your argument with these mules is being ambiguous about the information that you have.

But I also want to point out that this bike guy, there’s no evidence that he even submitted more than one ballot. He pulled a ballot out of the bag. There’s no indication there’s more than one ballot. Why do you think he has more than one ballot when he’s doing that in the first place?

D’Souza: Well, when we’re presenting this evidence, we’re showing sometimes different things to draw different types of significance, right? And you also have to remember that surveillance footage is not taken by my cinematographer, for example. It’s often grainy footage. It’s bad footage. You can’t see very clearly what’s happening. So what happens is we’ll show a video. And the purpose of the video is to show, for example, someone taking photos of the ballot.

Holy Crap, the Wheels Just Came off this Interview!, May 17, 2022

So he doesn’t have any footage of “bike guy” dropping multiple ballots into a dropbox at one time, because surveillance footage is often grainy and unclear.

Are you laughing as hard as I am right now?

Now, this is probably the point in the interview when it’s become painfully clear even to Dinesh that the wheels are coming off the credibility of his project…

I mean, let’s be real here: if you’re doing a documentary that is making an incredible allegation that 2000 “mules” in a handful of key states were ballot harvesting, wouldn’t you make a point of, oh, I dunno, really digging into the evidence some third party is offering to share with you? Because, if your credibility matters to you, then it kinda seems like you would. But then, maybe that’s just me… Then again, I’m not a felon who spent time in a “community confinement center,” either.

D’Souza adds this to his reply:

Now, in that particular image, you can’t see if it’s one ballot or five ballots. My guess is that the True the Vote investigators can figure that out because they’re able to zoom in on the photo. They have a different level of sophistication in approaching this than me sitting in a theater and watching the image.

True the Vote Has better equipment than a documentary film crew does, May 17, 2022

Maybe the RW group “Lie About Voter Fraud” should cut out the middleman and make their own videos, if they have a way to zoom in on a photo that Dinesh doesn’t…

I’m just sayin’…

Okay, this made me LOL so hard:

Bump: But with all due respect, this is exactly what you’re doing with this geotracking data. You’re making assumptions about what this shows and pulling out these examples of people that you say showed up at these drop boxes, but you don’t actually tie those two things together. You are making these broad assertions —

D’Souza: Tying what two things together? What are the two things?

Bump: So for example, the bike guy. The assertion is made by Gregg Phillips that this guy then went to other places and other drop boxes, but no evidence for that is shown. You don’t even show the geotracking data.

D’Souza: Wait a minute. When you say no evidence of that is shown, let’s zoom in to that.

Bump: Please.

D’Souza: So we say in the movie very clearly that True the Vote set a high bar for who qualifies as a mule in their search algorithm.

Bump: Which is not true and we’ll come back to that, but go ahead.

D’Souza: The high bar is 10 or more drop boxes. So right away this blows out of the water, the kind of nonsense that says these are people dropping off family ballots. If you were dropping off the ballots of your family members, would you need to go to ten drop boxes to do it?

Bump: Did the bike guy go to 10 drop boxes?

D’Souza: Of course he did.

Bump: How do you know that?

D’Souza: Otherwise he wouldn’t be counted!

They Have an Algorithm, Y’all!, May 17, 2022

What the heck is it with RWers and algorithms? Oh, and I want to have Philip Bump’s puppies. (I say puppies because I’m too old to bear his children…)

Oh, and for the record, according to the GBI in their report to the GAGOP, they have this to say about the cellphone tracking information from True the Vote:

Specific to the Georgia election, “Georgia Devices of Interest” is a spreadsheet listing approximately 1,048,575 Mobile Device Identification Numbers and their geolocation from October 1, 2020, to January 5, 2021.

Of those datapoints, the spreadsheet identifies 279 cellphones which had made multiple trips to within 100 ft of a voter drop box. [Emphasis mine.] Other spreadsheets and documents provided tie these cell phones through geolocation to various organizations.

What has not been provided is any other kind of evidence that ties these cellphones to ballot harvesting; for example, there are no statements of witnesses and no names of any potential defendants to interview. Saliently, it has been stated that there is “a source” that can validate ballot harvesting. Despite repeated requests that source has not been provided to either the GBI or to the FBI.

Tweet from Stephen Fowler, October 21, 2021

Within 100 ft of a dropbox isn’t exactly proving they were close enough to put anything into the dropbox. And how are they tied to other “various organizations”? Are they tied because they came within 100 ft of one or more of these organizations? How is that indicative of anything?

Also, even if we accept the premise that the 279 cell phones that came within 100 ft of a dropbox multiple times were mules, we still have zero evidence any fraudulent ballots were cast.

And sadly, neither does Dinesh and True the Vote…

But that didn’t stop them from making up stuff for this documentary!

Bump: That’s not true. I’m saying that the bike guy — the sole evidence presented for the guy being a, quote, “mule” in your movie is: A guy goes up to a drop box, deposits a ballot. After it is deposited, he takes a photo of the drop box. That is the entire amount of evidence that is presented beyond Gregg Phillips’s word. And now this is the point —

D’Souza: No, I don’t agree.

Bump: Let me finish. This is the point at which I point out that Gregg Phillips misrepresented wildly the extent of voter fraud in the 2016 election. He claimed he had millions of illegal ballots that were cast in 2016, something that Donald Trump then elevated — he never offered any proof for it. Gregg Phillips is not someone who’s credible on these issues, and his word is the only word we’re given that the bike guy went to other drop boxes.

How am I wrong?

D’Souza: You’re wrong because this video is taken in a place where there are authorities involved, who are looking into this exact matter. They have this exact data and, in fact, many of them inside of the GBI and inside of Brian Kemp’s office and inside of Raffensperger’s office are very eager to try to fight back and push back against True the Vote. They have never made the argument you’ve made. So you’re literally playing ballistics expert, so-called, when, A, you don’t know anything about ballistics and, B, no ballistics expert is saying what you’re saying.

Philip Bump eviscerates Dinesh D’Souza, May 17, 2022

Did you catch that? People in the GBI, the GA Governor’s office, and the GA Secretary of State’s office are pushing back against True the Vote. Yeah, maybe because True the Vote lies about election fraud, and has done so since 2008?

This isn’t the end of the interview, but it’s the last bit I’m going to post from it. Go read the rest in the full article!

Bump: Okay. So let’s be very clear though, because you are making a very broad claim about broad illegality in multiple states that is dependent on our assuming that this data is valid. And yet, in your film, you do not show one single person for whom you present geotracking data placing them at multiple drop boxes, much less doing so on multiple days. Do you disagree with that?

D’Souza: Well, we do — I put out on social media that we do have video of the same guy on more than one occasion at the same drop box in a different outfit. That’s true.

Bump: But you don’t know who he is.

D’Souza: Now, whenever there’s something that you don’t have, you always have to ask: What is the significance of you not having this, right? I mean, if you have a serial killer that goes to five homes and murders people and leaves this DNA at all five places, but only one of the five homes has a video camera, is it reasonable to say, “Why don’t I have video camera of the serial killer at all five homes?” You don’t because the other four didn’t have a camera that was turned on.

Bump: But that’s not —

D’Souza: Let me finish. But if you have the DNA — and in this case, we’re talking about digital DNA — that places this guy at the crime scene in all five homes and then, moreover, the digital DNA shows that he arrived at home number three, let’s just say at 2 a.m. in the morning, and you look on the video and there he is. What more proof do you need?

Bump: So here’s what I would say: That is not analogous for a couple of reasons. The first being that it’s not as though we have access to this DNA. We are told by someone who is trying to make a case — who has lied to us in the past about this exact issue — that they have the evidence that this exists. We are not presented with that actual evidence in the film.

The second thing is — now we get to the geotracking — it’s obviously very misleading to call this digital DNA. We’re not being told DNA is found in the home. We’re being told it was found in the general vicinity of the house, which could have any number of explanations. And this, of course, gets to the core issue about geotracking.

A lot of your defenders are trying to create this straw man, suggesting that I or other critics reject broadly the idea of using geotracking. But there’s a big difference between being able to say someone is inside the U.S. Capitol — a very large building in a very isolated location — than it is to say they were sitting at a particular desk in that building.

Geotracking, Schmeotracking! with Dinesh D’Souza, May 17, 2022

All I can add is BOOM!

As always, this is an open thread, so talk about whatever you’d like in the comments down below. Stay snarky, my Blender peeps!

And remember, this Sunday’s noir film will be “Thieves’ Highway.”

Finally, one last thought: Tiff is a treasure, and we’re damned lucky to have her. She works her butt off and is probably the best mentor I’ve had for blogging. So give her some love in the comments below, as well as all day today.

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Any opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or of the other authors/contributors who write for it.

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