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The Plot to Subvert an Election, from New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti, does not contain everything we know about the Russian incursion into our culture and our 2016 election.  This compilation is, however, comprehensive enough to provide a good, quick survey course on the subject.

Because, as Rachel Maddow pointed out this week, Hillary Clinton was relentlessly in the bull’s eye of the Russian efforts, the entire anthology should be of interest to her 2016 supporters and voters and to Democrats in general. We know it has not stopped. We know they are still doing this in the run-up to the primaries that are almost upon us. Worse, we know that the primaries are not and will not be the prime target. 2020 will be. The presidential election will be – once again. We had better be prepared.

Here is a portion.

Putin Is Angry

The Russian leader thought the United States, and Hillary Clinton, had sought to undermine his presidency.

The Russian leader believed the United States had relentlessly sought to undermine Russian sovereignty and his own legitimacy. The United States had backed democratic, anti-Russian forces in the so-called color revolutions on Russia’s borders, in Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in 2004. It had funded pro-democracy Russian activists through American organizations with millions in State Department grants each year.

With little evidence, Mr. Putin believed this American meddling helped produce street demonstrations in Moscow and other cities in 2011, with crowds complaining of a rigged parliamentary election and chanting, “Putin’s a thief!”

And Mrs. Clinton, then secretary of state, cheered the protesters on. Russians, she said, “deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted, and that means they deserve free, fair, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.”

Mr. Putin blamed Mrs. Clinton for the turmoil, claiming that when she spoke out, his political enemies “heard the signal and with the support of the U.S. State Department began active work.”

The two tangled again the next year when Mr. Putin pushed for a “Eurasian Union” that would in effect compete with the European Union. Mrs. Clinton sharply dismissed the notion, calling it a scheme to “re-Sovietize the region” and saying the United States would try to block it.

Read much much more and see video clips >>>>

We must remain wary of social media presences that play to the disaffected. What we saw, among many other ploys from Russia in 2016, were seemingly American accounts admonishing Bernie Sanders supporters not to vote for Hillary Clinton. Also from the article:

The Russian operation also boosted Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who had dined with Mr. Putin in Moscow, to draw votes from Mrs. Clinton. It encouraged supporters of Mr. Sanders to withhold their votes from Mrs. Clinton even after he endorsed her.

If you are a disaffected Hillary voter, I caution you to be wary of “Hillary supporters” masquerading as Americans on social media. Typically, they praise HRC to the skies but also embed lies within their posts and/or the comment threads, e.g. claiming that Guccifer 2.0 was not Russian (refuted in the Mueller July 13 indictment and in this article) or that Russian organized crime deals exclusively in politics and money laundering and not in weapons or drugs. (They will sell you a mothballed USSR military submarine to transport drugs if you have the money. With a nuclear weapon if you have even more money. This is documented.)

There are several writers of varied levels of English Language Proficiency (ELP). The “ops,” i.e. sock puppets, trolls, bot controllers, access content from databases on cloud platforms as outlined in the July 13 Mueller indictment. The ultimate plan is very likely to skew the 2020 top line vote in ways that would dismay Hillary Clinton and re-elect Donald Trump.

This is not a short read, but it can be taken in episodes if necessary for a weekend read. It is rich with graphs, stats, videos.  It is well worth the time. You will not likely find this much information on the subject elsewhere all in one piece. It is probably also well worth a bookmark.

Have a lovely weekend. Fall is coming.

 

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I have no intention of buying or reading Amy Chozick’s account of her 10 years following Hillary Clinton. I have my own 10 years archived here. The excerpt in yesterday’s New York Times provides an interesting insight, for what that is worth, to how the campaign was covered in the media.

While it is perhaps laudable that Chozick takes some responsibility for the effect of reportage on the election outcome, she seems to have missed the most important fault. Emphasis below is mine. From the article:

They were never going to let me be president.”

SNIP

She did a whole riff on making lists. “I have a plan for just about everything,” she said. “You know, maybe this is a woman thing. We make lists, right? I love making lists. And then I love crossing things off!”

SNIP

And they were The Times and me and all the other journalists who covered those stolen emails.

It was not only eternally and ever the emails or the failure to ascribe importance to the source (Wikileaks) of the leaked DNC and Podesta emails. It was the abdication of the primary duty of a campaign reporter: to inform the public of the plans.

Yes, Hillary did have a plan for just about everything. They were good plans. Unfortunately, like blueprints, plans are not especially sexy or exciting. That those plans got shunted off into dusty corners of office cubicles (Amy’s and others’) is, I would argue, the single most significant failure of reportage in the campaign.

As mea culpas go, meh. More a Greek apologia. Chozick writes, “She went through the motions.” No! She did the homework! You dropped the ball. The ball was those plans.

Hillary Clinton, flanked by Bill Clinton, left, and Tim Kaine, giving her concession speech in Manhattan the day after Election Day in 2016. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

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In case you were wondering exactly how this Electoral College vote rolls out, here is a helpful summary from Emmarie Huetteman at the New York Times.

The Electoral College Is Meeting on Monday. Here’s What to Expect.

On Monday, 538 people will meet to determine who will be the next president.These meetings of the Electoral College, convened in every state and in the District of Columbia just shy of six weeks after Election Day, have long been little more than a formality.

But the victory of Donald J. Trump, who lost the popular vote but is projected to win the most electoral votes, has thrust the Electoral College into the spotlight once more.

President Obama on Friday described the Electoral College — originally a compromise between those who wanted Congress to choose the president and those who favored a popular vote — as a “vestige.” Here is a rundown of what comes next.

Who are the electors?

In short, the electors are people chosen by their state political parties to cast votes for president and vice president. Electors can be state party leaders or elected officials; sometimes they are individuals with a personal connection to a presidential candidate. Bill Clinton, for instance, is a New York elector this year.

The number of electors each state has is equal to its number of representatives and senators in Congress; there are 538 in total, including three from the District of Columbia.

What happens on Monday?

Electors will meet in their states, typically at the capitol, where they will cast two votes: one for president and one for vice president.

They will then prepare what is called a “certificate of vote” with the results, which is mailed or delivered via courier to the National Archives, where it becomes part of the nation’s official records, and to Congress.

Do electors have to vote according to popular vote results in their states?

Not necessarily. At least one elector has said he will buck his party and not vote for Mr. Trump. Nothing in the Constitution, or in federal law, binds electors to vote a particular way. There are some state laws that bind them to choose according to the popular vote in that state; others are bound by more informal pledges to their party.

Under some state laws, so-called faithless electors who vote against their state’s results may be fined or even disqualified and replaced.

No elector has been prosecuted for doing so, but then again, almost every elector has voted with his or her state’s results in the past. The Supreme Court has not weighed in on whether pledges and the related penalties are constitutional.

And that’s it?

Not quite. At that point, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., as the departing president of the Senate, will ask if there are any objections, and lawmakers can challenge either individual electoral votes or state results as a whole.

If an elector has chosen to vote against state results, that is the moment lawmakers can petition to throw that vote out.Objections must be in writing and signed by at least one member of the House and one member of the Senate.

If there are any objections, the House and Senate then immediately split up to consider them and have just two hours to decide whether they support the objection or not.

Both chambers will then reconvene and share their decisions; if both the House and the Senate agree with the objection, they will throw out the votes in question. But Congress has never sustained an objection to an electoral vote.

After any and all objections have been resolved, the results are considered final. The next step is to swear in the winner on Jan. 20.— EMMARIE HUETTEMAN

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Both the New York Times and the L.A. Times have endorsed Hillary Clinton.

 

Our endorsement is rooted in respect
for her intellect, experience and courage.

Hillary Clinton for President

STAND

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There is no dearth of kennel imagery at the Republican National Convention.  There are plenty of “dog-whistle” remarks. Last night, in the post mortem of Ted Cruz’s speech, a commentator said, “Its not like he killed a puppy!” Cruz himself, in refusing to endorse Trump,  has said he will not be a ‘servile puppy dog.’

safe_image.fluffy-puppies

If you have the general impression that the Grand Old Party is going to the dogs, however, you need look no further than the nominee himself whose running mate told the convention last night that we do not abandon our friends just before the candidate himself told the New York Times, well … not exactly.

In an interview with David E. Sanger and Maggie Haberman, Trump said he might, as president, not honor NATO commitments if nations have not ‘fulfilled their obligations to us.’  Foreign policy experts and even members of his own party are reeling.

Jeffrey Goldberg, in The Atlantic, takes the issue one step beyond, likening Trump to Vladimir Putin.

It’s Official: Hillary Clinton Is Running Against Vladimir Putin

Fulfilling what might be the Russian autocrat’s dearest wish, Trump has openly questioned whether the U.S. should keep its commitments to NATO.

Jeffrey Goldberg

The Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has chosen this week to unmask himself as a de facto agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a KGB-trained dictator who seeks to rebuild the Soviet empire by undermining the free nations of Europe, marginalizing NATO, and ending America’s reign as the world’s sole superpower.

I am not suggesting that Donald Trump is employed by Putin—though his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was for many years on the payroll of the Putin-backed former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. I am arguing that Trump’s understanding of America’s role in the world aligns with Russia’s geostrategic interests; that his critique of American democracy is in accord with the Kremlin’s critique of American democracy; and that he shares numerous ideological and dispositional proclivities with Putin—for one thing, an obsession with the sort of “strength” often associated with dictators. Trump is making it clear that, as president, he would allow Russia to advance its hegemonic interests across Europe and the Middle East. His election would immediately trigger a wave of global instability—much worse than anything we are seeing today—because America’s allies understand that Trump would likely dismantle the post-World War II U.S.-created international order. Many of these countries, feeling abandoned, would likely pursue nuclear weapons programs on their own, leading to a nightmare of proliferation.

Trump’s sympathy for Putin has not been a secret. Trump said he would “get along very well” with Putin, and he has pleased Putin by expressing a comprehensive lack of interest in the future of Ukraine, the domination of which is a core Putinist principle. The Trump movement also agrees with Putin that U.S. democracy is fatally flawed. A Trump adviser, Carter Page, recently denounced—to a Moscow audience—America’s “often-hypocritical focus on democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.” Earlier this week, Trump’s operatives watered down the Republican Party’s national-security platform position on Ukraine, removing a promise to help the Ukrainians receive lethal aid in their battle to remain free of Russian control.

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When your only character witnesses are your own kids and the rest of the support speeches at the convention must rely on demonizing your opponent rather than advancing your image, you have a problem.  When foreign policy experts align you with our arch adversary, one for whom you have expressed a certain admiration, it should render you radioactive.

It is high time for the media to start holding a magnifying glass over Donald Trump.  There has been a lot of screaming about Hillary: three emails with little embedded (c)s and a server that was more secure that the government servers, persistent lies about what she did and said during and after the attacks in Benghazi.

When Donald Trump entertains the notion of compromising NATO, the golden fleece of the 20th century, an alliance that kept the world safe in the wake of two  world wars, he endangers national security.  When he says something is going on and we need to find out what, he is correct.  Something is going on … with him.  We may not know what, exactly, but it is very clear that he is in no way qualified or predisposed to lead the free world.

It should not be difficult to figure out what to do.

We put Hillary Clinton’s resume side by side with Donald Trump’s. The contrast couldn’t be starker.

1997: Trump ponders Miss Universe swimsuit sizes. Hillary gets health insurance for 8 million kids.

Statement From Jake Sullivan On Trump’s NATO Comments

HFA Senior Policy Adviser Jake Sullivan released the following statement on Donald Trump’s latest comments about NATO and his view of America’s role in the world:

“Tonight, Mike Pence said Donald Trump would stand with our allies. Tonight, Donald Trump flatly contradicted him.

For decades, the United States has given an ironclad guarantee to our NATO allies: we will come to their defense if they are attacked, just as they came to our defense after 9/11. Donald Trump was asked if he would honor that guarantee. He said… maybe, maybe not.

Ronald Reagan would be ashamed. Harry Truman would be ashamed. Republicans, Democrats and Independents who help build NATO into the most successful military alliance in history would all come to the same conclusion: Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit and fundamentally ill-prepared to be our Commander in Chief.

The President is supposed to be the leader of the free world. Donald Trump apparently doesn’t even believe in the free world.

Over the course of this campaign, Trump has displayed a bizarre and occasionally obsequious fascination with Russia’s strongman, Vladimir Putin. And he has the policy positions – and advisors – to match. Just this week, we learned that the Trump campaign went to great lengths to remove a plank from the GOP platform about aid to Ukraine that would have offended Putin, bucking a strongly held position within his own party. Previously, he celebrated the Brexit vote, and in turn, casually predicted the disintegration of Europe. And now, he won’t even commit to protecting our NATO allies against a Russian invasion. It is fair to assume that Vladimir Putin is rooting for a Trump presidency.

More broadly, Trump has apparently decided that America lacks the moral authority to advance our interests and values around the world. He has adopted the logic and positions of China, Russia, and Iran. And there will be plenty of time in the days ahead to address his strategy to strengthen our coalition against ISIS, which apparently can be summed up in one word, ‘meetings.’

The choice in this election is clear. Hillary Clinton will defend our allies. She will protect our people. And she will uphold a bipartisan tradition of American foreign policy that has made us the greatest force for peace, progress, and prosperity the world has ever known.”

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Given the title, I dove into Mark Landler’s How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk prepared for fury – mine.  How, I wondered, can the New York Times, which endorsed her, feature such an article on the eve of five – count ’em – important primaries in the east?  But titles can be deceiving.  They are meant to draw.  I have been advised many times that my titles are not snappy enough, but it’s hard to evoke snap when you have also been advised that titles lacking Hillary’s full name are less likely to be gathered by internet crawlers that aggregate news about her. If you want the traffic, you have to dull it down to mundane Google-bait.

In the flurry of interviews that preceded the New York primary, there was one – and I forget which one now – in which Hillary was asked if she is a hawk.  She responded very carefully by differentiating hawkishness from support of the military and emphasizing that she is running to be commander-in-chief, a position that presupposes support of the military.  Judging from the title of Landler’s piece I was prepared for a polemic asserting her hawkishness.  What I found instead was a chronological analysis of her core attitude toward the military. It is fascinating, enlightening, and endearing.

Landler provides behind-the-scenes glimpses into military questions that played out partially in the public eye on the news and largely behind the secure walls of the Situation Room and other recesses of state. To know that Hillary, as a Senator, took the time and trouble to visit every military base in New York state and assess the impact on the wider civilian population of closing any of them is testament to her gritty approach to any work we, as her constituents, assign her.

While the article focuses on Hillary’s relationship with the military, its implications are wider in scope. Her style as a leader leaps from the page. She is a go-getter.  She gets the the people, the information, and the materials and briefs she needs to decide a position and then to make her case. This is how she operates, and it is impressive.

If you love Hillary – or think you do – from what you know now,  you will love her even more when she goes to Fort Drum, home of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division (where my dad trained), takes off her shoes, puts her feet on the coffee table and asks a General where a gal can get a cold beer.  That is my commander-in-chief!  That’s our Hillary!

So I strongly recommend, even though we all have a load of work to do over the next few days, that you plan to take a quiet break at some point, put your feet up, and read this article.  You will be glad for the information it provides, ammo for the battles we face, and for the pleasure of the read.

IS Hillary Clinton a hawk?  This sentence says it all, and we have heard her say this in town halls when asked: “She would look at military force as another realistic option, but only where there is no other option.”

Hillary Clinton sat in the hideaway study off her ceremonial office in the State Department, sipping tea and taking stock of her first year on the job. The study was more like a den — cozy and wood-paneled, lined with bookshelves that displayed mementos from Clinton’s three decades in the public eye: a statue of her heroine, Eleanor Roosevelt; a baseball signed by the Chicago Cubs star Ernie Banks; a carved wooden figure of a pregnant African woman. The intimate setting lent itself to a less-formal interview than the usual locale, her imposing outer office, with its marble fireplace, heavy drapes, crystal chandelier and ornate wall sconces. On the morning of Feb. 26, 2010, however, Clinton was talking about something more sensitive than mere foreign affairs: her relationship with Barack Obama. To say she chose her words carefully doesn’t do justice to the delicacy of the exercise. She was like a bomb-squad technician, deciding which color wire to snip without blowing up her relationship with the White House.

Read more >>>>

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First among the big New York papers to endorse Hillary Clinton was the New York Times.  Hillary won New York, and she won it big.  Nothing will prevent the forever antipathetic MoDo from mounting her screeds against Hillary and the Clintons, but that is OK since her CDS was diagnosed long ago.  We know she has a condition.

Prior to the endorsement, we saw NYT attacks on Hillary in the course of the campaign aside from MoDo’s predictable volleys.  Not since the endorsement has there been anything as personal, unmerited, and outrageous as Timothy Egan’s assault on Hillary’s personality here.

It is fair enough to quote her own self-assessment as not a natural politician. But to feed a false portrayal of Hillary Clinton, and that is clearly the intent, as removed, insulated, and awkward is editorial malpractice.

Anyone who has had the privilege to encounter Hillary Clinton can attest to her undivided attention and sincere interest in their words. People say that Bill Clinton makes you feel like the only person in the room.  Hillary has that effect as well.  Hand to hand, face to face, eyeball to eyeball she locks onto you and stays with you for as long as it takes.  She listens.  She remembers.  She takes action.

People with big issues who have spoken with her know this.  Their problems have generated policies in the Senate and policy plans in this campaign.  Hillary Clinton, far from being distant and defensive as she is often portrayed, is one of the most open, engaging, and attentive people you can ever hope to meet.

Timothy Egan makes some good points in his piece, but to end it with an indictment of Hillary’s personality goes way beyond the pale. What does he really know about her personality?  How does he know?  Hillary Clinton is a sincere, hardworking, and very warm person who deserves better treatment than this from a paper that endorsed her.

To conclude on a positive note, here is some feedback from people who were in the room printed in a journal that also endorsed Hillary.

She agrees with what Sanders says and likes the tone of his rhetoric, but doesn’t think he has the political chops to turn it into results. As for Hillary, she has long viewed the Clintons as a unit, and held against her the 1994 omnibus crime act, “the law to incarcerate African Americans at a higher rate,” as Graves calls it.

Graves lingered in the YMCA gym long after the crowd was gone, and thought about her new resolve.

“I’m convinced now. I just like her message and I like her sincerity,” Graves said. I’m looking at Hillary as her own person and I’m glad that I came. … I was putting her in her husband’s shoes until today.”

Read more >>>>

This is the Hillary we know. The Grey Lady has something to learn from the Hartford Courant about ladylike behavior.

 
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