Wednesday, November 30, 2016
The Obama administration confirmed the 2016 results, telling the New York Times that the presidential contest "accurately reflects the will of the American people."
That certification follows bipartisan questions about the validity of the electoral system before and after Election Day. But according to the White House, both sides are misguided.
The Stein campaign is aggressively fundraising and has set a goal of $7 million to fund the recounts. But the administration insists that no foreign government meddled in American elections.
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Rumors about Russian hacks reflect a greater strategy to undermine American institutions, the White House told the New York Times.
"The Kremlin probably expected that publicity surrounding the disclosures that followed the Russian government-directed compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions," the administration said in a statement, "including from U.S. political organizations, would raise questions about the integrity of the election process that could have undermined the legitimacy of the president-elect."
In other words, Moscow undoubtedly hoped that Clinton campaign emails released by WikiLeaks would make it seem like the digital strength of ballot boxes were jeopardized.
Shocked after an Election Day upset, Clinton supporters have called for a recount even though the nominee publicly conceded. Their calls were amplified after the Democrat pulled ahead in the popular vote by more than 2 million ballots.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
When George W. Bush left the White House in early 2009, he boarded a helicopter and went home to Texas, where he mostly remained silent about President Obama's actions.
This presidential transition is shaping up a little differently.
Rather than returning home to Illinois, President Obama is moving just down the street from the White House to a mansion in the tony Kalorama neighborhood.
And rather than remaining quiet, Obama, 55, who will become one of the youngest ex-presidents in history, has promised to dive in with grassroots liberals seeking to oppose Donald Trump, a man he has been feuding with for years.
Obama last week told his political arm, Organizing for America, that he is "fired up and ready to go," in leading the resistance to Trump, whose victory over Hillary Clinton devastated liberals.
Obama had apparently been preparing for a much quieter retirement from the White House, but Clinton's loss has changed those plans, he said.
Not only is Obama grappling with a Democratic party that lacks a new leader, but a Trump presidency coupled with GOP control of Congress virtually guarantees an effort to undo his signature achievements, including Obamacare, immigration regulations and a slew of environmental rules.
"I promise you that next year Michelle and I are going to be right there with you, and the clouds are going to start parting and the sun is going to come back out, and we're going to be busy, involved in the amazing stuff that we've been doing all these years before," Obama told downtrodden supporters on the call.
Not only is Obama poised to become the most politically active ex-president in modern history, his vice president is also vowing to stay involved in the Democratic Party.
Biden rejected efforts to get him to take the helm of the embattled Democratic National Committee, but an aide said he "intends to remain deeply involved in helping shape the direction of the Democratic Party moving forward."
All told, Obama and Biden may become the first ex-White House team to directly mobilize a party against their successor. And they may have a lot to mobilize against, since Trump has pledged to reverse so much of Obama's work.
For starters, Trump has promised as one of his first acts as president to sign a bill repealing the Affordable Health Care law, which critics believe is collapsing. Democratic strategist Christopher Hahn said Obama may weigh in on that move without directly targeting Trump.
"I think the president will express regrets about the healthcare law being repealed, but I don't think he'll be openly critical of Trump about that," Hahn told the Washington Examiner.
Other Democratic strategists predict Obama will jump right into the fray based on his history of attacking Trump.
During Hillary Clinton's White House run, Obama delivered sharp criticisms of Trump at stops around the country, calling him unqualified and lacking the right temperament for the job. Obama even questioned whether Trump should be entrusted with the nuclear launch codes.
"Judging by how zealously President Obama campaigned for Hillary Clinton, I strongly doubt the then ex-president will be able to keep his counsel or maintain studied silence as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have done before him," Doug Schoen, a former strategist for President Bill Clinton, told the Examiner.
If Obama publicly reacts to Trump, it would break from a tradition that has been carried out for decades by most ex-presidents.
Jimmy Carter was the last president to publicly engage with his successor, and sometimes traded barbs with President Ronald Reagan. In 1982, for instance, he accused Reagan of "not accepting his responsibilities," according to the New York Times, after Reagan blamed the poorly performing economy on the Carter administration.
Carter continued to chime in over the years. He called President George W. Bush "the worst in history" when it came to international relations.
Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton restored the practice of remaining silent, though Clinton in 2000 criticized George W. Bush in private conversations released recently by Clinton's presidential library.
But unlike those who left the White House before him, Obama has an unusually long history of feuding with his successor, who once questioned whether Obama was born in the United States.
Obama began publicly criticizing Trump at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011, where he ridiculed Trump over his quest to get the president to release his birth certificate.
Obama's take-down of Trump, who was sitting in the audience, included a parody picture of what a Trump White House would look like. The image showed the historic home decked out like a casino, the White House lawn converted into a golf course, and bikini-clad women bathing in the fountain.
"Say what you will about Mr. Trump," Obama told the laughing crowd, "he certainly would bring some change to the White House."
Regardless of their history and Trump's agenda, it would be inappropriate for Obama to attack Trump, now or in the future, Schoen told the Examiner.
"He does himself and his legacy no good to interpose himself into the ongoing political debate once he leaves office," Schoen said. "Donald Trump has earned, deserves, and should be the sole and singular voice for the U.S. after election day."
THE WAY I SEE IT by Don Polson Red Bluff Daily News 11/29/2016
Election hijinks and despotism
One can easily assemble a host of little-covered but crucially relevant election items: 1) The mainstream news media refined the political art of propaganda promulgation as a virtual adjunct of the Hillary/Democrat campaign. They have turned on a dime to advance the boutique and ironic assertion that “fake news” (marginally truthful things not advanced by the marginally truthful media elite) led voters astray to vote for Donald Trump. 2) But for the votes of a sizable minority of supposedly Democrat base groups—women, minorities and union households—Trump would likely have lost the states and votes that gave him his victory.
3) Late deciding voters (choosing the week, especially the weekend, before Election Day) swung dramatically for Trump. If the election had been held entirely on November 8, Trump’s share of the popular vote would have been a clear majority even with the millions of Hillary votes in reliably left-wing California. His win would have resembled Reagan’s win over Carter. As it was, the non-CA 49-states binary vote was Trump 50.8%, Clinton 49.2%.
4) When I crunched the vote data at electionatlas.org, Trump’s 2.5-million national vote deficit is dwarfed by the margin for Hillary in, not just California, but in Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area counties. Of the roughly 7 million votes in LA/SF counties, Clinton got about 5 million to Trump’s 1.5-million; that means advocates for popular vote winners getting the presidency really want LA and San Francisco area voters to have more sway than the entire rest of the country. Sorry, this writer will stick with the Electoral College our Founders created in their wisdom to prevent just that outsized sway for large population centers.
5) It became irrefutable after the Project Veritas videos and Wikileaks revelations that Democrat operatives and connected activists organized and illegally manufactured the violence that news media ignorantly attributed to Trump supporters in a slavish attempt to advance a violent right-wing narrative.
Headlines challenge liberal accepted wisdom: “White House denies that Russia hacked election for Donald Trump win,” “Democrats, not Trump, Racialize Our Politics,” “Democrat Party Operative Robert Creamer Used Terror to Wage War on Honesty,” “The snarling contempt behind the media’s ‘fake news’ hysteria,” “Illegal immigrants pose as families, tell tales of woe to gain entry to U.S.” “The Kremlin didn’t sink Hillary, Obama did,” “Teachers union leaders devastated that so many members voted Trump,” “5 Ways Trump’s victory is Obama’s legacy.”
Ideological corruption and hypocrisy has reared its ugly head among some Democrats and many leftists who have latched onto the Don Quixote-like fool’s errand of recounting selected states. What is their (Jill Stein/Hillary Clinton’s) hope? Denying Trump enough electors to…oh, that’s right, throw it to the House of Representatives which will take about 5 minutes to confirm Trump as President.
Liberals won’t see it this way but there is an established pattern of Democrats challenging elections that produce a Republican president. Al Gore infamously withdrew his phoned-in concession to George Bush—with news media complicity as they pronounced Florida for Gore, depriving Bush of nearly 10,000 Central Time Zone Florida Republican votes. Hillary has hypocritically asserted that Gore “won” that election despite those shenanigans.
Democrat supporters of John Kerry persisted in propagating myths about voting machine errors in Ohio and elsewhere. Stein and Clinton et al now pin their theory on similar myths. I don’t doubt the machines can be hacked, that votes can be changed; so far, we lack any proof.
Every one of the above items could be expanded to a column-length analysis; some may get that treatment yet. The following, however, requires my attention:
Within seconds of the announcement of the well-deserved death of Cuban tyrant Fidel Castro, I cheered and danced as the Cuban-Americans were doing in Miami. That despotic brutalizer and persecutor of Cubans of African descent, homosexuals, women, escapees-in-flimsy boats and citizens desirous of nothing more than political, personal and economic liberty—Castro would have been even more deserving of public trial for human rights atrocities than the German Nazi war criminals.
It occurred to me that this subject was among those I wrote about in my first year. Sure enough, my archive had the April 20, 2005 column. Following are my comments:
“Speaking of dictators, can you believe how tough the press and the Hollywood set are on that old softie, Fidel Castro? Perhaps that’s because they aren’t—Castro truly occupies a nearly revered place among the media and entertainment elites. It seems he’s treated practically like royalty any time he visits the bluest of the blue enclaves, like New York City…
“As author Humberto Fontova documents in his new book, ‘Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant’, Castro has imprisoned more people, as a percentage of the population, than either Hitler or Stalin. The next time you see one of those Che Guevara T-shirts, usually worn by some young idealistic kid taken with the ‘romance of revolution’, who could rattle off the supposed ‘evils’ of President Bush and capitalism, remember something. Che Guevara preached the cold-blooded murder of anyone who stood in the way of the imposition of communism. He practiced what he preached in the thousands of Cubans that he sent to firing squads for just that reason.”
Leftists like Barack Obama, Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau, Green Party’s Jill Stein and other socialist-sympathizing fools have proven the soft-headed acceptance of the banality of evil in that despot, Fidel Castro. They’re not likely to ever realize the error of their ways.
In the wake of a stunning election result, many people — especially in the media — have struggled for an explanation. Rather than acknowledge the obvious and prosaic answer — that voters in swing states chose change rather than the status quo — analysts have sought a Unified Theory of Donald Trump's Success. Trump couldn't possibly have won fair and square, the assumption goes, so all that's left is to identify whatever went wrong and banish it so this never happens again.
Over the past week, the consensus Unified Theory from the media is this:Blame fake news. This explanation started with BuzzFeed's analysis of Facebook over the past three months, which claimed that the top 20 best-performing "fake news" articles got more engagement than the top 20 "mainstream news" stories.
Nowhere in BuzzFeed's article does author Craig Silverman demonstrate a correlation between that data and voter persuasion, let alone a causal connection. Instead, the analysis offers a look at how articles of potentially questionable provenance could go viral quickly. That leaves a lot of questions begging in the "fake news threw the election" explanation.
There are also serious problems with the evidence BuzzFeed presents. As Timothy Carney points out at the Washington Examiner, the "real news" that Silverman uses for comparison are, in many cases, opinion pieces from liberal columnists. The top "real" stories — which BuzzFeed presented in a graphic to compare against the top "fake" stories — consist of four anti-Trump opinion pieces and a racy exposé of Melania Trump's nude modeling from two decades ago.
That didn't stop others in the media from making the leap from bad analysis to causal connections with absolutely no evidence in support of it.The New York Times began running news stories on the pernicious influence of "fake news," and even President Obama used it as an opportunity to lecture about the dangers it presents to democracy.
The Democrats' postmortem problem"If we are not serious about facts and what's true and what's not," Obama intoned from Berlin, "and particularly in an age of social media when so many people are getting their information in sound bites and off their phones, if we can't discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems." Earlier, Obama complained to The New Yorker, "Trump understands the new ecosystem, in which facts and truth don't matter. You attract attention, rouse emotions, and then move on. You can surf those emotions. I've said it before, but if I watched Fox I wouldn't vote for me!"
The president seems to leave out the fact that he won both of his elections in that same environment. In fact, there's nothing new here at all, except for a new outlet for the same paternalism that helped drive the election outcome two weeks ago. Those who came out on the losing end of the election want Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to hire an "executive editor"to cull all but the most acceptable news sources before Facebook users can make up their own minds.
Zuckerberg has said he'll look into ways to identify misinformation, but scoffed at the "fake news" theory of the election. "Voters make decisions based on their lived experience," he said after the election. "I think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason why someone could have voted the way they did is because they saw some fake news."
Zuckerberg hit the nail on the head. Rather than deal with the lack of connection that Clinton and Democrats made with voters — including in House, Senate, and state legislative races — Democrats and the media would prefer to reject those voters as hicks and rubes who can't tell the difference between facts and opinions, and between false stories and facts. It goes beyond a lack of empathy; it's outright contempt.
That contempt from elites in media and politics may or may not have produced the electoral results seen two weeks ago, but it certainly explains the shock that has resulted from it. That contempt is also reflected in the push to shut down commentary and pressure Facebook into editing their social media network to allow only those sources deemed acceptable by those in power, politically and culturally. They are creating a new social panic within their own circles and doubling down on paternalism. Don't expect that to end well when the midterm elections roll around in two years.