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Politics

Sorry Fellow Sanders Folks, You All Got Played

This has been pretty apparent for months now, but the information is trickling out. Sanders primary voters got played by Russian propagandists.

The Huffington Post has the latest installment in this story “The Bernie Sanders Campaign Faced A Fake News Tsunami. Where Did It Come From?

The HuffPo story details how a network of fake news stories and sock puppet accounts flooded Sanders social media networks after he lost the primary. The ultimate goal wasn’t to get people to vote for Donald Trump, but to get people to not vote for Hillary Clinton. That’s where the story about Clinton molesting children at a DC pizza place originated.

I personally remember this wave of news stories. As a Sanders primary voter, once I switched to a Clinton supporter, the vitriol and hatred from my fellow Sanders supporters (or who I thought were Sanders supporters) was disgusting. I was called every name in the book for even suggesting that these bogus stories were fake.

Well they were fake. Millions of people who probably would have done what I did when Sanders lost the primary and voted for Clinton – didn’t.

“The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance. … How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!” — Mark Twain

People were too quick to believe any negative story about Clinton and didn’t even care if it was true or not. And like I said, the purpose wasn’t necessarily to convince people to vote for Trump, but to simply not vote for Clinton by either not voting or voting for Stein or writing in a candidate. Vladimir Putin’s hatred of Clinton runs much deeper than his love for Trump, but now that Putin owns Trump and the Oval, his plan worked remarkably well.

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Politics

Trump Screws up and Subjects Steve Bannon for Senate Confirmation

Donald Trump messed up. By appointing his close advisor Steve Bannon to the National Security Council, he’s opened the door for Senate Democrats to tear him to shreds in a confirmation hearing.

While everyone was freaking about Trump’s Muslim ban, he quietly removed the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff as permanent attendees of the National Security Council.

But making Bannon, who ran a racist website before running Trump’s campaign, a permanent member on the National Security Council means the Senate gets to have a say.

Here’s the relevant section of the law.

It’s that last bit there that I think pertains to Bannon.

when appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate

But maybe Trump just does it without Senate confirmation.

Related Stories

Who is Stephen K. Bannon?

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Photos from Donny’s Inauguration

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Politics

Trump’s Russian Connections Coming Into View (UPDATE 1)


It’s taking too long, but it’s happening. The links between Russia and Donald Trump are being exposed.

If you recall, back in October, Salon ran this story about a secret Trump server that communicated with only one other server owned by a Russia bank. While interesting, it wasn’t a bombshell because no one could really tell what the server was doing, they could only guess.

But now, this Guardian story and this CNN story about Russian and Trump are bombshells. Buzzfeed also ran with this story and actually published the entire dossier online for everyone to see. You can view the documentation here.

A former British intelligence official with expertise in Russia was hired to do opposition research on Trump. The former intelligence official was so concerned about what they found connecting the Trump campaign to Russia that the information was given to the FBI. The FBI sought secret FISA warrants on four Trump campaign officials and has been actively investigating Trump’s Russian ties since.

This is huge. The Guardian story says that it is believed that Russia has sufficient dirt on Trump to blackmail him. I’ve been saying this for months that Russia got Trump on tape doing disgusting shit when he was in Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant in 2013. Why wouldn’t Russia get dirt on Trump? Give him free cocaine and few underage hookers and let the hidden cameras record it all. Trump’s a disgusting pig, of course he’d fall for it.

The Senate is investigating this. The FBI is investigating this. And at some point, when it all comes out, we need to hold Trump accountable. He doesn’t get to go home. He gets to go to prison. And we really need to have another election entirely – from new primaries forward.

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Politics

FBI Report on Russian Hacking GRIZZLY STEPPE

The FBI released a report on Russian hacking our election and helping Donald Trump become the next president of the United States.

The report is 13 pages long. Three of the pages discuss Russian hacking. The remaining pages are meant for departments and agencies to help protect against these sorts of threats.

According to the report there were two hacking events. One took place in the summer of 2015. That hack was a bit more sophisticated than the other. According to the FBI, the hack used “spearphishing campaigns leveraging web links to a malicious dropper; once executed, the code delivers Remote Access Tools (RATs) and evades detection using a range of techniques.”

The other known hack happened in the spring of 2016. That was more low-tech. It involved setting up a fake website that mimics a real website, like GMail. The victim is asked to change their password, when they do, they enter their real password first and then the hacker has it. This is the one John Podesta fell for (lack of proper security training).

Both hacks were against the Democratic party. Both involved harvesting of data, some of which was released in order to harm Hillary Clinton and help Trump.

It’s interesting that the FBI knew about these attempts to influence our election, but they were relatively quiet about it. But when the FBI found a giant nothing-burger on Clinton aide’s computer, they shouted it from the top of the tallest building 10 days before the election. The FBI, for whatever reason, was complicit in Russia’s attack on our democratic process. So view this “report” and anything the FBI communicates about this matter through that lens.

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Politics

Republican Party Compares Trump to Jesus and Calls Him King

Maybe I’m dumb, but this statement by the Republican party on Christmas Day is odd. Right?

He’s the sentence that jumped out at me.

“Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King.”

It sounds to me like RNC Chairman and President Elect Donald Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is saying that Trump is the new King with a capital “k” Jesus Christ.

I’m not Christian, so I’m not sure, but it seems like that would be at least frowned upon by the religon, if not an outright sin to say such things about the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior of Nasareth.

This is not normal.

Here’s the statement in its entirety.

WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus and Co-Chair Sharon Day released the following statement celebrating Christmas:

“Merry Christmas to all! Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King. We hope Americans celebrating Christmas today will enjoy a day of festivities and a renewed closeness with family and friends.

“Even as we celebrate, we must also remember those among us who are less fortunate. Many on this day are without hope, and need the kindness and compassion of those around them. It is our prayer we will rise to meet the material, emotional, and spiritual needs of individuals all around us, and what better day is there to love our fellow man than today?

“As we open presents, enjoy Christmas dinner, and celebrate our own family traditions, we are mindful of our men and women in uniform. Many are stationed around the world today protecting our freedoms, and cannot be with their own spouses, children, parents, and siblings. We express the deepest gratitude for service that takes them away from celebrating with loved ones, and we ought to remember them in our thoughts and prayers not just on Christmas Day, but the whole year round.”

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Politics

Trump’s No Useful Idiot, He’s an Active Player Working with Russia

As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman says in his column today, Donald Trump is no useful idiot, and that he “probably knows very well how much he owes to Vladimir Putin.”

Let’s just drop the “probably.” Remember this Salon story back in October in which it was discovered that a special server Trump setup communicated with only one other server located in Russia. We still don’t know the purpose of it, but it was probably a means of sending messages.

It’s been 142 days since Trump’s last press conference. That’s the one when he asked Russian intelligence agencies to hack Clinton.

Yes. Our election was severely compromised by Russians, news media here in the US, Republican politicians and the Trump team. We got played. Now what are we going to do about it?

The Constitution provides a remedy for this very specific situation – the electoral college. Alexander Hamilton wrote about the purpose of the electoral college in Federalist Paper 68. In it he said there are basically two reasons for the electoral college. One is to prevent someone who is merely famous, but ill-suited to be president, from winning the popular vote and becoming president. The other reason is to stop a foreign government from trying to install a president. Trump is both of those things. So if the electoral college will not right this wrong, we’ll need to settle this one in the streets.

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Federalist Paper 68 : The Mode of Electing the President

In light of the “election” of Donald Trump as president on November 8 and the mounting evidence that Russia influenced our election to help Trump, and the fact that Trump lost by 3 million votes, makes this federal paper relevant today.

The electoral college is a small “r” republican institution designed to keep foreign adversaries from installing a president. It also is designed to keep people who are merely famous from becoming president.

The Mode of Electing the President
From the New York Packet.
Friday, March 14, 1788.

HAMILTON

To the People of the State of New York:

THE mode of appointment of the Chief Magistrate of the United States is almost the only part of the system, of any consequence, which has escaped without severe censure, or which has received the slightest mark of approbation from its opponents. The most plausible of these, who has appeared in print, has even deigned to admit that the election of the President is pretty well guarded.1 I venture somewhat further, and hesitate not to affirm, that if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent. It unites in an eminent degree all the advantages, the union of which was to be wished for.

It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief. The choice of SEVERAL, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of ONE who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one querter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention. They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment. And they have excluded from eligibility to this trust, all those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the President in office. No senator, representative, or other person holding a place of trust or profit under the United States, can be of the numbers of the electors. Thus without corrupting the body of the people, the immediate agents in the election will at least enter upon the task free from any sinister bias. Their transient existence, and their detached situation, already taken notice of, afford a satisfactory prospect of their continuing so, to the conclusion of it. The business of corruption, when it is to embrace so considerable a number of men, requires time as well as means. Nor would it be found easy suddenly to embark them, dispersed as they would be over thirteen States, in any combinations founded upon motives, which though they could not properly be denominated corrupt, might yet be of a nature to mislead them from their duty.

Another and no less important desideratum was, that the Executive should be independent for his continuance in office on all but the people themselves. He might otherwise be tempted to sacrifice his duty to his complaisance for those whose favor was necessary to the duration of his official consequence. This advantage will also be secured, by making his re-election to depend on a special body of representatives, deputed by the society for the single purpose of making the important choice.

All these advantages will happily combine in the plan devised by the convention; which is, that the people of each State shall choose a number of persons as electors, equal to the number of senators and representatives of such State in the national government, who shall assemble within the State, and vote for some fit person as President. Their votes, thus given, are to be transmitted to the seat of the national government, and the person who may happen to have a majority of the whole number of votes will be the President. But as a majority of the votes might not always happen to centre in one man, and as it might be unsafe to permit less than a majority to be conclusive, it is provided that, in such a contingency, the House of Representatives shall select out of the candidates who shall have the five highest number of votes, the man who in their opinion may be best qualified for the office.

The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States. It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue. And this will be thought no inconsiderable recommendation of the Constitution, by those who are able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration. Though we cannot acquiesce in the political heresy of the poet who says: “For forms of government let fools contest That which is best administered is best,” yet we may safely pronounce, that the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.

The Vice-President is to be chosen in the same manner with the President; with this difference, that the Senate is to do, in respect to the former, what is to be done by the House of Representatives, in respect to the latter.

The appointment of an extraordinary person, as Vice-President, has been objected to as superfluous, if not mischievous. It has been alleged, that it would have been preferable to have authorized the Senate to elect out of their own body an officer answering that description. But two considerations seem to justify the ideas of the convention in this respect. One is, that to secure at all times the possibility of a definite resolution of the body, it is necessary that the President should have only a casting vote. And to take the senator of any State from his seat as senator, to place him in that of President of the Senate, would be to exchange, in regard to the State from which he came, a constant for a contingent vote. The other consideration is, that as the Vice-President may occasionally become a substitute for the President, in the supreme executive magistracy, all the reasons which recommend the mode of election prescribed for the one, apply with great if not with equal force to the manner of appointing the other. It is remarkable that in this, as in most other instances, the objection which is made would lie against the constitution of this State. We have a Lieutenant-Governor, chosen by the people at large, who presides in the Senate, and is the constitutional substitute for the Governor, in casualties similar to those which would authorize the Vice-President to exercise the authorities and discharge the duties of the President.

PUBLIUS.

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Politics

Stop Trump News Organization

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-9-40-17-pmDonald Trump becoming president is huge. We can not just rely on the Washington Post and the New York Times to keep him in check. Congress is a lost cause. We need an activist organization comprised of journalists, political junkies and community organizers.

The organization should be focused on investigative reporting on the Trump administration. Day-to-day coverage of events as well as deep investigative reporting.

To build a news org that could impact will take money. If someone can get together enough capital to run a news organization for four years, I’m in. Perhaps the financial burden could be lessoned by fundraising, but this will require generosity of wealthy individuals writing checks.

The staff of this organization should be overwhelmingly women and people of color.

If you want to be a part of this, comment below or hit me up on twitter.

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Politics

New New Media Now

Trump is about to be president. The mainstream media are very much a reason for Trump’s success. We can not leave it up to them to hold Trump accountable for the next four years. We must create our own real news organization that doggedly investigates and reports on every action the Trump administration makes – nothing but sunshine can ensure that Trump doesn’t destroy the nation.

I have a background in journalism and would be happy to dedicate the next few years of my life making sure Trump doesn’t do too much damage. But to do this we need money, lots of money, it would need to be in the area of millions of dollars. So if you have a rich friend, let’s talk. Hit me up on Twitter @2TwelveHundreds or post a comment here.