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If this is found to be the case, what is the solution?


By Joe Rothstein

Donald Trump spent much of the 2016 campaign warning us that the result of the presidential election would be rigged. Events of the last few weeks suggest he may have been right and that his presidency is illegitimate.

Here’s what we have learned in those last few weeks:

1. The Republican and Democratic co-chairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee endorsed the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that Putin’s government engaged in propaganda and hacking campaigns to influence the outcome of 2016 U.S. election. The use of “hacking” in their assessment is significant for reasons I’ll discuss in a moment.

2. The Russian propaganda campaign mirrored the way the Trump campaign itself used Facebook advertising to target voters, strongly suggesting collusion.

3. The National Security Agency and Equifax, two of the most secure data repositories in the world, reported that they were successfully hacked, undermining claims that state and county voting systems, many built on consumer software, were impenetrable to outside manipulation.

Let’s first consider the propaganda question.

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The Christopher Steele memos are not going away.


Nine months after its first appearance, the set of intelligence reports known as the Steele dossier, one of the most explosive documents in modern political history, is still hanging over Washington, casting a shadow over the Trump administration that has only grown darker as time has gone by.

It was reported this week that the document’s author, former British intelligence official, Christopher Steele, has been interviewed by investigators working for the special counsel on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Senate and House intelligence committees are, meanwhile, asking to see Steele to make up their own mind about his findings. The ranking Democrat on the House committee, Adam Schiff, said that the dossier was “a very important and useful guide to help us figure out what we need to look into”.

The fact that Steele’s reports are being taken seriously after lengthy scrutiny by federal and congressional investigators has far-reaching implications.

SNIP

The Steele dossier said one of the aims of the Russian influence campaign was to peel off voters who had supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries and nudge them towards Trump.

Evidence has since emerged that Russians and eastern Europeans posing as Americans targeted Sanders supporters with divisive and anti-Clinton messages in the summer of 2016, after the primaries were over.

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Regarding that last sentence, what are we to make of this? It was posted yesterday by an eastern European who poses as an American, refuses to disclose nationality and location to “friends” on Facebook, and boasted privately to me about “reach.” Who uses that word? And why? Especially when you are talking American politics to Americans!

Political survey: Q1: Who is our champion for 2020? Q2: WHY HILLARY?… I do not want to influence you, but …

Of course American friends ate this up despite HRC having stated quite publicly several times that she has run her last campaign and is moving forward on a new footing. As to that “I do not want to influence you…” portion, I refer you to George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant.

Absolutely! Yes you do! This is bald-faced influence peddling.

Why would a foreigner purportedly worshipful of Hillary contradict Hillary’s own words regularly with the ubiquitous #Hillary2020 hashtag?

Though this be madness yet there is method in it‘.

Yes indeedy!

To paraphrase Mammy in “Gone With the Wind,” trolls of this ilk are sitting there waiting to pounce just like a tiger when the time is right.

At Stanford, Hillary said,

“Make no mistake this isn’t just about what happened in 2016, it’s about what is happening right now”

Yep! And the trolls come in all manner of guises – but they are disguises. Be wary!

She has warned us in the past. Too many ignored and disregarded her, and look where we are.

Image result for hillary clinton stanford

 

 

 

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For the record, here are some of the Facebook and Twitter posts that Russian accounts disguised as Americans used to attack Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Please regard it as a public service announcement.

This is not over. They still are doing it. November is around the corner. Stay vigilant.

thinkprogress.org

These are the Facebook posts Russia used to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign – ThinkProgress

Casey Michel Twitter

An anti-Clinton bias coursed through Facebook pages secretly run by Russian actors (CREDIT: AP/ANDREW HA


By meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Moscow appears to have initially aimed to plant Donald Trump in the White House. But as signs toward the end of the campaign pointed to Trump’s defeat, actors in Russia were primarily trying to hamstring Hillary Clinton’s perceived ascension to the presidency. That theme ThinkProgress detailed earlier this week by analyzing Russia’s creation of hundreds of fake Facebook accounts, pumped via ads and promotion into Americans’ feeds.

For part 1 of this series, click here.

We’ve also learned that certain pages called for followers to vote for Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders, as opposed to Clinton — although those posts, especially as pertaining to Sanders, haven’t yet been revealed publicly.

SNIP

… while nominally pro-Clinton material existed on certain of these fake accounts, it was explicitly targeted at those opposed to the groups said to support Clinton.

And it’s within that paradox that we can parse the primary contour of Russia’s Facebook operations. Because where pro-Trump and anti-Clinton material have dominated the accounts that have thus far come to light, a key theme emerges throughout: The Russian operations also targeted the cultural schisms and tensions coursing through the U.S., muddying messages and exacerbating tensions to the point of nearly breaking.

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About a week-and-a-half after finishing Hillary Clinton’s What Happened  I was

1) not ready to re-read it quite yet and

2) not ready to start reading anything else. I wanted it to sit with me awhile like a nice Thanksgiving dinner.

I looked for a good movie on TV and nothing appealed to me, so I checked out *On Demand and found Recount available.

I hadn’t watched it in years – double digit years. There was much that I had either forgotten, or never noticed, or had not realized the significance of the first time around.

Ron Klain is the central character in the film. Hillary gives him a shout out in her book as a member of her debate prep team. We see him often as a commentator on MSNBC as we do Jeremy Bash who is a major supporting character in the film. The first time I saw this movie, I really had no idea who they were besides dedicated campaign staffers.

I had forgotten that each campaign had called in a former secretary of state to manage the chaos that originated around the infamous ‘butterfly ballot’ in Palm Beach County, FL.  The Democrats brought Warren Christopher aboard, and the Republicans called on James Baker.

If you are unfamiliar with that ballot, here it is.

Image result for image butterfly ballot

The butterfly ballot necessitated the correct insertion of the ballot (the yellow part underneath) into the machine and the use of that blue-handled stick-pin to punch a hole in the appropriate place on the ballot beside the ticket you chose. The complaint among many seniors in Palm Beach County was that they thought they might have punched hole #4 for Buchanan when they meant to vote for Gore (#5).

The confusion that ensued comprised the possibilities that people may well have simply punched the wrong circle, those circles are pretty small and many older people are vision-impaired, or that they may have inserted their ballots incorrectly, or that they had not punched the ballot firmly enough resulting in CHAD (Card Hole Aggregate Debris ) not completely detached from the ballot or even a “dimpled” ballot, i.e. no hole at all – only a dimple or indentation. A machine recount, as we learned, could push the partially detached “debris” back into the ballot nullifying the vote. A manual recount would raise the issue of voter intent in the cases of dimpled ballots. Florida does have a law regarding voter intent.

This is pretty nitty-gritty stuff for former global diplomats to be dealing with … unless it is your vote. Bringing in Christopher and Baker was also necessitated by the fact that the entire election would pivot around Florida, and once Palm Beach County was in question, folks in other counties began to question whether their votes were counted. In other words, the election in Florida, where one candidate’s brother was governor, was in question and was a mess … a world-class mess.

Here are a few things I had forgotten.

Al Gore had the popular vote even before Florida was counted.

Al Gore did concede on election night. He called George W. Bush. Then he called back and retracted when he was told the Florida numbers were going haywire. He was stopped just short of delivering his concession speech on election night.

Here is one thing I had never paid attention to. One line might well have gone forgotten or fallen to the cutting room floor since the actual character never made an appearance in the film. In an organizational meeting, James Baker is told that Jesse Jackson has Black and Jewish senior citizens marching in the streets demanding that their votes be counted and, as he said, “Who can argue with that?”

He then told Ben Ginsberg, a campaign attorney, to call in Roger Stone and bring crowds to Tallahassee, Palm Beach, and Miami.

Yes. That Roger Stone. Yes, this James Baker, and that James Baker! He called in that Roger Stone!

We all know how this ended when it finally did on December 12, 2000. SCOTUS halted the recount, Gore decided not to pursue any other pathways still open (to Ron Klain’s agony) and delivered a televised concession speech in the most upbeat of his usual upbeat manners. Many of us cried.

Looking back on this after reading Hillary’s excruciating chapter on election night and the day after, I see a difference in myself. I was a Gore supporter. No question about that. I would even say an enthusiastic one. But I was not impassioned. I kicked in my contributions. I had a demanding job that did not permit me much free time, and I was certain that this country would not elect George W. Bush. He was a joke to me and ended up a joke on me.

For Hillary, I was impassioned. Hillary was a cause for me. Despite my job, I worked hard for her in 2008 and much, much harder in 2015-16. One reason was the lesson I had learned about how U.S. voters will elect a joke. Much more of it was a long history of Hillary appreciation. She had the best experience, was the hardest worker, had the best mind and the best plans, as usual.  I knew all about them and promoted them. I gave every way I could.

Yet, on election night, I was not among the sobbers. I was not one of those crying. First, I was in severe shock. I could not comprehend what happened. It was as if I had been kicked in the head or struck by lightning.  I heard that she had called Trump. Then, I was deflated. Completely. I could not move, think, type, or speak. I was a zombie. Walking Dead. (Mind you. I have lived in Haiti and seen and met true zombies. That is how I was. Exactly.)

Neither was I tearful the following morning. This was a formality. A speech she felt she had to give. I appreciated the thought and feeling she had put into her words and the courage of her delivery. But it all was unreal to me. I was still in warrior mode – zombie warrior. Much as she did in June 2008, she graciously conceded. I was angry in 2008, and I was confused in 2016 because I did not see how this had happened. Something was very wrong here, but crying was too simple, and it was not going to satisfy my soul.

Having read Hillary’s reaction I think hers was pretty close to mine (hers, obviously, must have been mine times 66 million). Just drained, traumatized. Something had gone terribly wrong. But what?

What went into her decisions, to call Trump, to delay the speech since she had not written one, to give the speech the next day, what she did in those crucial hours, she explains all of that in that chapter. We didn’t have a lot of solid answers then.

Since then, we have gradually learned a lot, but we don’t know everything. For that we need to hear from Robert Mueller’s team.

We know that Obama encouraged Hillary to concede quickly and that she agreed with that. When I said on social media that she did not want to put the nation through another 2000, I was reminded that this is not 2000.  That is true, but the effect would have been similar, and even now we do not have the answers and there was no provision or mechanism to hold things off until we did have the information.

It was not Hillary but Terry Gross who brought up the issue of questioning the legitimacy of the election  earlier this month. Hillary responded that she did not think we had a mechanism for that.

That is another issue that looms large in Recount. Mechanisms. Apparently, the way election law was written in Florida at the time (and I have zero reason to think this has changed), if you want a total recount in that state, you must ask for that recount first before you request recounts in specific counties. That may be bass-ackwards, but that is their law. Having first requested recounts by county, Gore’s team was, by law, unable to request a full recount of the state. This was temporarily overturned by the Florida Supremes who called for a full state recount which proceeded until SCOTUS reversed that decision and stopped it. Likely they halted it because there are always those annoying dates! You must have a state winner by the time the Electoral College meets. You must have a president by January 20 even if Congress has to choose.

Another point brought up in the course of the machinations was that SCOTUS really should have no voice at all in an election and only Congress should, but both sides had already filed suits that had reached the Florida Supreme Court. By default, appeals went to SCOTUS.

In an election, much of what happens in 50 states with 3,142 counties is a function of local laws. If you did not like what happened in 2000, specifically that came down to Florida and its 67 counties. At best it would mean changing state election laws, which I do not think they have. At worst that would involve making micro-changes at the county level.

As for 2016, it would likely require some Constitutional change – an amendment. The least complicated path would be to abolish the Electoral College which twice in this young century has handed us the unpopular president. The College misrepresents the population. Who knows how likely such an amendment would be given gerrymandering and dark money in elections? It would not be easy. But worth a try.

At the end of Recount a codicil is read providing that the SCOTUS decision applied exclusively to Bush v. Gore. In other words, it can never be seen or used as a precedent for any future case.

There is much to be learned from the past, but there are not necessarily permanent fixes to past obstacles.

 

 

 

 

 

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“It’s like that old story; you can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbors. Eventually, those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard.” – HRC

This is an excellent allegorical warning that Hillary Clinton issued in October 2011 during bilateral remarks with then Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. The reference, at the time, was to Pakistan harboring the Haqqani Network and the Taliban.

Here are those remarks and that statement in context >>>>

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar

October 21, 2011

“… we both agreed that terrorism coming from any source is a threat to all of us. We expressed very clearly our concerns about safe havens on both sides of the border. We reasserted our commitment to doing more on the Afghan side of the border to try to eliminate safe havens that fuel insurgency and attacks inside Pakistan. And we asked very specifically for greater cooperation from the Pakistani side to squeeze the Haqqani Network and other terrorists, because we know that trying to eliminate terrorists and safe havens on one side of the border is not going to work. It’s like that old story; you can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbors. Eventually, those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard. We know that – on both sides of the border. ”

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It was only six years ago. We could not have conceived, such a short time ago, that those words could possibly apply to ourselves or to any loyal Americans. Yet here we are.

I watched the marathon of Homeland, Season 4 tonight. The opening credits for that season include a short clip of Hillary delivering those words. Funny how words that only a few years past can have meant one thing then and something new now.

Snakes in the backyard. Yes, Pakistan did and does harbor snakes in their backyard. But now we know that there are snakes in our own backyard: Foreign entities on social media influencing the American electorate. Some of these snakes arrived wearing American skin.

In her memoir, What Happened, Hillary identified the social media landscape as the new battlefield of 21st century warfare.

We have been attacked. Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation is ferreting out snakes. But we, too, must be on the lookout for snakes on our social media pages.

Even the snakes you nurture and consider pets are still snakes. Hillary’s words should resound deafeningly!

 

 

 

 

 

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Our friend and veteran Hillary Clinton supporter par excellence, Dr. Mary K. Sandford, is, among her many accomplishments, a singer, musician and composer. Here’s a tribute video she made using a song she wrote about the 2016 election and its results. She has included archival photos from Hillary’s career, the past election, and from Mary’s own family album.

Enjoy!

 

Published on Sep 22, 2017

Dedicated with profound gratitude to Hillary Rodham Clinton who will never stop fighting, and my mom, Juanita Dadisman Sandford (1926-2016), who worked with Hillary in Arkansas and recognized her genius a long time ago. Thanks to Barbara Kinney for her beautiful photography, And thanks to all from the campaign who worked so hard and who are working to move Forward Together. MK Sandford, Sep 22, 2017

The 2016 Election Blues (in A)

Dedicated to Hillary Rodham Clinton

MK Sandford

July 30, 2017

Verse 1

Saw you yesterday

My heart broke again

Said you were outta the woods

With us through thick and thin.

The crowd was mesmerized.

Hanging on every word.

Said, Here’s how we gonna change the world.

This is what I heard.

We gotta Resist, Insist, Persist, and Enlist.

                That’s what we gotta do

Resist, Insist, Persist, and Enlist 

                 That’s what we gotta do

Verse 2

Never saw it coming

That hard punch from the Right,

Putin had the fix in,

Found out that awful night.

But you’ll never give up.

You’re back in the fight

Said, Let’s turn this darkness

Back into the light

We gotta Resist, Insist, Persist, and Enlist.

                That’s what we gotta do.

Resist, Insist, Persist, and Enlist 

                 That’s what we gotta do.

Verse 3

First heard your name

Back in 1974.

Mama said, You got to meet this gal

Someday she’s gonna soar.

Mama’s words proved true

You live by a creed.

When they brought their lies and hate

You said love and kindness are what we need

We gotta Resist, Insist, Persist, and Enlist.

                That’s what we gotta do.

Resist, Insist, Persist, and Enlist 

                 That’s what we gotta do.

Verse 4

The election was a travesty

Didn’t go the way we planned

It’d be so easy to give up,

Turn our backs on our land.

And who ever decided

Not to help those in need?

A familiar voice rings out

Calls for justice and equality

Says We gotta Resist, Insist, Persist, and Enlist.

                That’s what we gotta do.

Resist, Insist, Persist, and Enlist 

                 That’s what we gotta do.

© Mary K. Sandford 2017 All Rights Reserved

 

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This from Daily Beast is interesting.


It was just last week when congressional investigators said they favored more transparency to the general public about exactly which Facebook posts a Kremlin-backed troll farm used to target Americans with anti-immigrant rhetoric—and even rallies on U.S. soil.

The lawmakers who lead the Capitol Hill committees charged with investigating Russia’s election meddling spoke out after Facebook declined to commit to sharing with Congress information about Russian government-backed posts, groups, and paid advertisements—including ones first reported by The Daily Beast.

On Thursday, Facebook announced that it plans to turn over more than 3,000 Russian-linked ads that appeared on the site to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and Congress is keeping information about the process close to the vest—at least for now.

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Is location a privacy issue? Should it be? We know now that location on social platforms is an issue. Individual users can hide their locations on Facebook.

We can argue two sides to the privacy question as a function of public safety:

I, personally, am safer hiding my location. V. The population is safer when we can identify a user’s location.

We can also argue that what goes for terrorists should not necessarily apply to trolls and bots. Is one more of a threat to public safety than the other?

At the far end of that argument is interference is elections, not only in the United States, and not only presidential elections. Potentially any election anywhere. Is the danger of that less than the dangers posed by terrorists?

Terrorist groups like ISIS operate recruiting efforts via a network of users dispersed over a variety of locations.

Although current evidence indicates that Russian trolls on Facebook operate out of brick-and-mortar “troll farms” like the one we saw on Homeland last season, we also know that the Macedonian trolls operated via a virtual troll farm in our last election. So we know that trolling need not operate from a hard-wired consolidated location in order to succeed.

https://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/homeland-10.png?w=500

So is location a privacy issue? Should Fake Americans have a right to hide their locations from Facebook followers on the basis of the argument that doing so ensures their safety? Should trolls have different rules from those that govern terrorists? Just asking.

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