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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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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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In the aftermath of the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, Hillary Clinton was the first official from a foreign country to travel to Haiti and offer assistance. Four days after her trip, she announced the arrival of the USNS Comfort.

… we saw the arrival of the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship with more than 600 medical personnel, that adds important capacity to our relief efforts. Already, patients are being taken on board via helicopter, and treated. The Comfort adds to what is one of the largest international rescue and relief efforts in history. Food, water, medical supplies, and other essential aid continue to flow into the country.

Today, in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Hillary tweeted that the Navy and specifically USNS Comfort should be sent in to assist residents of Puerto Rico.

This is a no-brainer and should have been done days ago. It is deplorable that the president is busy leading “lock her up” chants, disinviting Stephen Curry to the White House, and ranting about sports figures genuflecting instead of standing for the national anthem but has no time to address the misery of American citizens on a devastated island.


Edited to add this.

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In her book, What Happened, Hillary Clinton discusses Russian interference in our election. She speaks of the the Wikileaks release of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and her campaign chair, John Podesta’s, emails. Some of these emails were altered in the Wikileaks version of the document dump. The objective was to make it appear that the DNC conspired with Hillary’s campaign to defeat Bernie Sanders.

Portions of these emails were then posted on social media platforms targeted to reach Bernie Sanders supporters after Hillary Clinton’s nomination was secured. The objective here, now that we were out of the primary season and into the general, was to sway Bernie voters and Indies away from “unscrupulous” Hillary and the Dems and toward Trump.

Congressional committees are pursuing investigations into the Russia question bilaterally. Several top Republicans have said that this is necessary since the next time it could be their party that is targeted. Hillary quotes James Comey as testifying that this is not a Democrat or Republican thing. That it is an American thing. That they are “coming after America,” and they will do it again.

I wonder if the Republicans are thinking deeply enough. I wonder if they are asking themselves how they ended up with Trump in the first place.

It can’t possibly be that Hillary Clinton and we, her team, were the only people who suffered a late night shock. There were 16 Republican candidates. Some of them, surely, had a primary night they thought they would win handily and did not. How did that happen?

Is it possible that the same forces that manipulated voters in the general election also manipulated Republican primary voters? What do Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich think of this possibility? Does Cary Fiorina really believe she was shoved aside only because she was a woman? Do the Bushes believe Jeb lost because, as Barb said, “Enough Bushes?”

If the Russians managed to manipulate the general election, should we not, down the line, also discover what role they might have played in Trump’s nomination?

It’s an important question. I believe Hillary Clinton had an excellent chance to win against all of those candidates. Each of them thought he/she was the most formidable to face the Democratic nominee. They would not have run to begin with if they did not.

With Mueller’s inquiry evidently reaching into the past well beyond the 2015-2016 election season, you have to wonder. Have the Russians been grooming Trump for many years? If so, was their only target over a two-year period Hillary Clinton? Or were Trump’s Republican opponents also targets of Russian interference?

The inquiries and investigations are only beginning with the Russian effect on the general election. The other question is whether they picked the Republican nominee. If the Republicans are not thinking about this, they should. How else is it possible that Donald Trump, known wheeler-dealer, dead-beat boss, shell game realtor, and political flip-flopper managed to beat out that field of 16?

I hope the Republicans are not focusing only on the forest and missing the foreign entities disguised as trees. (Same goes for the Dems, but I hope they are two or three steps ahead of me here).

 

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An excerpt from Hillary Clinton’s soon-to-be-released memoir was published at Bustle, a news and media website based in New York.

bustle.com

Hillary Clinton’s New Memoir Reveals How You Can Join Her In The Fight Against Trump — EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

Monica Schipper/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Cristina Arreola

The speculation about what happened on Nov. 8, 2016 and the months preceding that day have reached a fever pitch in recent months. Book after book has hit the market, each with its own theory about why Hillary Clinton lost and why Donald Trump won. Next month, Clinton will get a chance to tell her truth in her highly-anticipated post-election memoir, What Happened. For the first time, Clinton will allow readers a behind-the-scenes look at what it was actually like to be the first woman nominated for president by a major party, and how she weathered an election rocked by sexism and spectacle. Bustle is excited to reveal an exclusive excerpt from Clinton’s memoir, available Sept. 12, 2017 from Simon & Schuster.

Read more and see excerpt >>>>

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Hillary was all over cable news this morning- well her sound bite was. On MSNBC,  Morning Joe played it, and then CNN’s New Day picked it up. The Daily Beast also offered a link. What is surprising is that among these reports, no one came up with a still photo of the stalking during that October 10 debate when Trump elected to stand while Hillary spoke and to follow her all over the stage.

In her upcoming memoir, What Happened, Hillary recounts how his behavior creeped her out and the process she went through regarding how to handle it.

“Well, what would you do? Do you stay calm, keep smiling, and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly: ‘Back up you creep, get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.’… I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with men trying to throw me off.”

Here are a few flashbacks from the archives.

When Trump was talking Hillary remained seated and engaged.

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When Hillary was speaking, Trump remained standing.

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She talks. He stalks.

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Look at his face when she is speaking.

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Then there was the creepy lurking in the background.

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Her decision to ignore him was exactly in character. In early 2009, newly-inaugurated Barack Obama’s administration pivoted directly to Asia. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un decided to welcome Obama to world affairs by conducting a missile test while Hillary  and Obama were in Europe for a series of world summits. The administration recognized the test as a bid for attention and threatened further sanctions. Hillary likened NK to “cranky teenagers” and said experience taught her that the best policy vis-à-vis such behavior is to ignore it.

Well done, Hillary!

Elsewhere, she regrets her loss in these words.

“I couldn’t get the job done. And I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life.”

She said she let us down. No, you didn’t Hillary! You won! You never let us down.

 

 

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