WaPo: 50% of Clinton Voters Believe Russia ‘Tampered with Vote Tallies in Order to get Donald Trump Elected’

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The story deals largely with the fact that party breakdown determines the conspiracy theories people are willing to believe or not. Interestingly enough, when looking at the results, Republicans (in particular, Trump voters) are less likely to believe conspiracy theories than Hillary voters. For example, the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy that said leaked emails from the Clinton campaign talked about a pedophilia ring run out of pizza parlor, shows 46% of Trump voters believe it but 53% do not.

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Bitter Clinton voters are more easily persuaded, however, especially when it comes to the belief the Russians hacked our voting systems to help Trump:

Trump voters and Clinton voters also look differently at two Election Day conspiracy theories: that Russia actually hacked the votes to change the election results, and that there were, as Donald Trump suggested, there were “millions of people who voted illegally.”

Half of Clinton’s voters think Russia even hacked the Election Day votes (only 9% of Trump voters give that any credibility at all). Six in ten Trump voters believe there were millions of illegal votes cast on election day. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Highlights From the Anti-Trump Electoral College Tantrums 

You can almost taste the delicious liberal tears.

Donald Trump won the electoral college on Election Night, which means he is going to be the next president. That’s because the electoral college—not the popular vote — is the only thing that matters in our presidential elections.

The electoral college participants formally cast their votes on Monday. Some liberals had hoped enough of the electors would change their votes to deny Trump the presidency. That didn’t happen. Read the rest of this entry »


Trump Secures Victory in Electoral College, as Bid to Flip Electors Flops 

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President-elect Donald Trump won more than enough votes in the Electoral College on Monday to secure his White House victory, as the latest – and perhaps last – stop-Trump movement failed to gain traction in state capitals.

A fervent push by anti-Trump forces to persuade electors to defect had turned the normally mundane civic procedure into high drama.

But the representatives designated to cast ballots in accordance with their states’ Nov. 8 decision mostly adhered to the results of the election. With several states still voting, Trump had 304 votes and Hillary Clinton had 169.

It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency. Texas put Trump over the top, despite two Republican electors casting protest votes.

Elector antics were few and far between, with most the disruptions occurring on the Democratic side. A Democratic elector in Maine tried to vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders, but switched to Clinton after it was ruled improper. Another who tried to vote for Sanders in Minnesota was replaced; a Colorado elector who tried to back Ohio Gov. John Kasich likewise was replaced. One of the biggest deviations was in Washington state, where three electors voted for Colin Powell and one voted for “Faith Spotted Eagle;” the remaining eight went to Clinton, the state’s winner.

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It marked the first time in four decades the state’s electors broke from the popular vote. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman vowed to work with the state attorney general and charge the four unfaithful electors with a violation of Washington state civil law. Such violations carry a fine up to $1,000.

With Trump’s win now secured, a joint session of Congress is scheduled for Jan. 6 to certify the results.

Trump’s undisputed Electoral College victory could serve to deter any further last-ditch efforts to effectively nullify his November win and prevent his inauguration, though the battle could shift next to his Cabinet picks.

Few expected the “faithless elector” push to imperil Trump’s victory on Monday. Only one Republican elector – Texas’ Chris Suprun – publicly stated he would vote for an alternative candidate. More than three dozen would have had to abandon him to complicate his path to the presidency.

But GOP electors still faced immense pressure — with some even receiving threats — from Trump foes in the run-up to Monday’s Electoral College vote. Those urging disorder in state capitals often cited Clinton’s popular-vote win, by roughly 2.6 million votes, over Trump in November.

Celebrities made public appeals to electors to use the arcane process to upend Trump’s victory, as some Democratic electors tried to persuade their Republican counterparts to defect. Reports that U.S. intelligence officials determined Russia interfered in the election to boost Trump – findings disputed by Trump himself – only fueled efforts to wield the Electoral College vote as a political circuit-breaker. Read the rest of this entry »


EMOPALOOZA 2.0: Electoral College

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The Founding Fathers got it right, and California is proof.

Consider this: Hillary Clinton’s 2.3-million-popular-vote plurality over Trump depends on the votes in a single state.

 writes: Shocked and appalled by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, some supporters of Hillary Clinton have turned to minimizing and even delegitimizing Trump’s election. In an era of severe political polarization, in an election with two candidates seen from the outset in highly unfavorable terms, after the most brutal campaign in modern history, and with an outcome that astonished just about everyone, these reactions are understandable, but wrong.

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Many diehard Clinton supporters cannot bring themselves to believe their candidate could lose to Donald Trump. They think: How could such a crude and inept con man be elected president? Even after it has happened, it is unthinkable, a nightmare. So, the election must not have been fair.

[MORE: Lobbied, pressured, even threatened: What life has been like for Electoral College voters]

Those on the fringe raise the specter of diabolical Russians hacking away at our democracy. More grounded Clintonians have less malevolent bogeymen — our Founding Fathers. As they see it, the election’s outcome should be blamed on a dysfunctional and archaic electoral-vote system. Hillary won the national popular vote. She should be president. It is as simple as that. The Electoral College should go the way of Trump University.

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They are right about one thing: Clinton did win the popular vote, by some 2.8 million votes, as the most recent data show.

Yet Clinton has only 232 electoral votes (in 20 states plus Washington, D.C.) to Trump’s 306 (in 30 states plus one from Maine), making him the president-elect. So Trump’s election without a popular-vote plurality is regarded as an 51obn4k-t2l-_sl250_injustice. Some Democrats claim a moral victory as victims of an electoral-vote system that once again horribly “misfired.” Their claim, however, neglects two facts.

[Order James E. Campbell’s book “Polarized: Making Sense of a Divided America” from Amazon.com]

First, had the election been conducted with rules awarding the presidency to the popular-vote winner, the candidates and many voters quite probably would have acted very differently, and the popular vote might not have been the same. Trump and Clinton would have campaigned in the “safe” states. Potential voters in those states would have felt more pressure to turn out and to vote for “the lesser of two evils” and not to waste their votes on third-party candidates. Some additional Clinton voters would probably have shown up, but gains on the Trump side would probably have been larger as more reluctant Republicans would have been pushed to return to the fold, particularly in big blue states like California, New York and Illinois. Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Official: Clinton’s Popular Vote Win Came Entirely From California

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Outside California, Hillary Clinton lost the popular vote by 1.4 million to Donald Trump.

John Merline reports: Democrats who are having trouble getting out of the first stage of grief — denial — aren’t being helped by the fact that, now that all the votes are counted, Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote has topped 2.8 million, giving her a 48% share of the vote compared with Trumps 46%.

To those unschooled in how the United States selects presidents, this seems totally unfair. But look more closely at the numbers and you see that Clinton’s advantage all but disappears.

As we noted in this space earlier, while Clinton’s overall margin looks large and impressive, it is due to Clinton’s huge margin of victory in one state — California — where she got a whopping 4.3 million more votes than Trump.

California is the only state, in fact, where Clinton’s margin of victory was bigger than President Obama’s in 2012 — 61.5% vs. Obama’s 60%.

But California is the exception that proves the true genius of the Electoral College — which was designed to prevent regional candidates from dominating national elections.

In recent years, California has been turning into what amounts to a one-party state. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of Californian’s who registered as Democrats climbed by 1.1 million, while the number of registered Republicans dropped by almost 400,000.

What’s more, many Republicans in the state had nobody to vote for in November. Read the rest of this entry »


Mainstream Media’s Top 10 #FakeNews Stories

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The mainstream media is the biggest purveyor of fake news.

debra-heine-sized-50x50xfDebra Heine writes: You gotta love our liberal media. Their entire modus operandi for at least the past two decades has been to shamelessly disseminate false left-wing narratives to the masses in their ongoing effort to discredit conservatism and further a progressive agenda. It’s what they do.

But since the election of Donald Trump, they have been obsessed with a new pet narrative: that a so-called “fake news” epidemic is occurring on the right.

This is partly because, I’m convinced, they resent the fact that some people on the alt-right are making inroads on their turf. But the “fake news” excuse also functions as a soothing balm for their wounded egos after their devastating 2016 election losses. It helps them deal with the uncomfortable fact that the electorate just rejected the hell out of the candidates for whom they blatantly shilled.

This happens every time the mainstream media’s favored party suffes a massive defeat at the polls, by the way. In 1994, they blamed their losses on the “angry white male.” After the 2010 “shellacking,” they attributed it to a menacing “climate of hate,”as personified by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

And now we are asked to believe that fringe conspiracy theories like “PizzaGate” swung the 2016 election for Donald Trump. That may make the left feel better about losing, but their pathetic “fake news” narrative is a conspiracy theory in and of itself.

[Read the full list here, at PJ Media]

PizzaGate refers to a spectacular conspiracy theory surrounding Comet Ping Pong, a Baltimore pizza parlor that some internet sleuths claim is at the center of an international child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton and the Podesta brothers. This month, a man with an assault rifle walked into Comet Ping Pong to “self-investigate,” and reportedly fired the rifle at least once inside the restaurant. Luckily, no one was injured.

If only one could say the same about the countless left-wing fake news narratives that have been pushed by the MSM over the years.

For example, the PizzaGate conspiracy theory festered online only in places like 4Chan, Infowars, and Reddit.

But the “hands up, don’t shoot” conspiracy theory — which suggested a racist white cop shot an unarmed black teenager for no reason at all in Ferguson, Missouri — was propagated all over the mainstream news: CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and others. It even was heavily spread by elected members of the Democratic Party.

That fake news led to riots, and it’s no stretch of the imagination to assume that the ensuing murdered policemen were the result of some bad actors feeling justified in retaliating.

Here is a list of ten memorable fake news stories from the mainstream media.

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1. RatherGate:

In an effort to influence the 2004 presidential election, Dan Rather used fake documents to claim that George W. Bush served dishonorably during his time in the Air National Guard:

CBS did its own investigation in the matter, and determined there were several serious breaches of handling this story, among them failure to identify the sources of the documents properly; failure to document the chain of custody of the documents; failure to establish the credibility of the documents.Those that tendered their resignations on request were: Senior Vice President Betsy West, the supervisor of primetime programs for CBS News; Josh Howard, the executive producer of Wednesday’s version of 60 Minutes; Mary Murphy, senior broadcast producer and Howard’s deputy. Mary Mapes, the actual producer of the Killian documents story, was terminated, in part for calling a senior official in John Kerry’s presidential campaign (Joe Lockhart) and offering to put him in touch with Burkett. The CBS panel called Mapes’ action a “clear conflict of interest that created the appearance of political bias.”

Unbowed and still convinced of the document’s authenticity, Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and its former corporate parent, Viacom on September 19, 2007, claiming he was made a “scapegoat”. A day later, Mapes wrote a column in the Huffington Post, claiming that far-right blogs have “pronounced themselves experts on document analysis, and began attacking the form and font in the memos. They screamed objections that ultimately proved to have no basis in fact … They dominated the discussion by churning out gigabytes of mind-numbing internet dissertations about the typeface in the memos, focusing on the curl at the end of the “a,” the dip on the top of the “t,” the spacing, the superscript, which typewriters were used in the military in 1972. It was a deceptive approach, and it worked”.

[Read the full list here, at PJ Media]

In a clear contradiction of her rant, Mapes did in fact have prior knowledge of Bush’s guard service in her hands but chose to ignore it. In a press release on January 10, 2005, Accuracy in Media reported that the internal investigation conducted by CBS into the “Rathergate” matter revealed that Mapes had documented information on hand which detailed Bush’s attempt to volunteer for duty as a fighter pilot in Vietnam but was denied by his superiors at the time due to his inexperience. Accuracy in Media Editor Cliff Kincaid explained:

“Mapes, who was very close to Rather and enjoyed his confidence, had the evidence exonerating Bush of this malicious charge. The report shows that there were multiple credible sources to prove that Bush did not try to avoid Vietnam by going into the National Guard and that he was in fact willing to go to Vietnam as a pilot. However, CBS News deliberately kept this information from its viewers and conveyed an opposite impression because Rather, Mapes & Company were trying to depict Bush as a coward who, as Commander-in-Chief, was sending American soldiers to their deaths in Iraq.”

The truth is that Bush, the alleged slacker, had volunteered to go to Vietnam while in the Texas Air National Guard, but was he was turned down because he didn’t have enough flight hours to qualify.

And Mary Mapes knew it.

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2. The Tucson Massacre Was Inspired by a “Climate of Hate” 

On January 8, 2011, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire on a Safeway parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona, shooting U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in the head, and eighteen others. Six people died, including a federal judge, one of Rep. Giffords’ staffers, and a nine-year-old girl. Read the rest of this entry »


Mikhail Zygar: Why Putin Prefers Trump

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With signs of Russian involvement in the damaging Democratic National Committee email hack, questions have been increasing about just what Putin’s motives might be when it comes to the US presidential election. We put that question to one of Moscow’s top Putin observers.

Mikhail Zygar writes: The year 2005 was a turning point in Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy and worldview. Until then, he’d had the sense that he was in control on the world stage, that he knew the rules of the game, that he understood whom he was dealing with and who his partners were. But in 2005, everything changed, and slowly the ground started moving out from under his feet.

That was the year Putin’s friend and partner Gerhard Schroeder lost the German elections and resigned as chancellor. Schroeder and Putin, who spoke German after serving in the KGB in East Germany, understood each other well and established close diplomatic and personal ties. But in 2005, Schroeder was replaced by Angela Merkel, whom Putin didn’t understand—and doesn’t understand to this day. In the intervening 12 years, he started suspecting Merkel of deceiving him, spinning intrigues and weaving conspiracies against him. He 51x3jqyxkrl-_sl250_showed his distrust by bringing his dog to meetings with Merkel, knowing full well that she had an intense fear of canines.

[Check out Mikhail Zygar’s book “All the Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin” at Amazon.com]

Now, Putin seems to be experiencing déjà vu: In the upcoming U.S. election, the battle is, once again, between a Gerhard Schroeder and an Angela Merkel—but with the differences and the stakes hugely amplified. The American Merkel is even more unpleasant to Putin. Hillary Clinton is already inclined to dislike him and Russia from her experience as secretary of state. Their personal interactions have not been positive; there is no love lost between the two. And then you have the American Schroeder, who seems to be an even better fit for Putin than the German one, and better even than Putin’s favorite international partner, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

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Donald Trump, in the Kremlin’s view, is extremely pragmatic, extremely unprincipled and extremely cynical—which makes him easier to reach an understanding with. Not to mention that Trump, unlike Clinton and just about the entire rest of the Washington foreign policy class, has explicitly expressed admiration and sympathy for Putin.

This is the kind of relationship with a US president the Kremlin has dreamed about, and has been unable to attain, for years. Read the rest of this entry »


Unpacking the New CIA Leak: Don’t Ignore the Aluminum Tube Footnote 

This post will unpack the leak from the CIA published in the WaPo tonight.

 writes: Before I start with the substance of the story, consider this background. First, if Trump comes into office on the current trajectory, the US will let Russia help Bashar al-Assad stay in power, thwarting a 4-year effort on the part of the Saudis to remove him from power. It will also restructure the hierarchy of horrible human rights abusing allies the US has, with the Saudis losing out to other human rights abusers, potentially up to and including that other petrostate, Russia. It will also install a ton of people with ties to the US oil industry in the cabinet, meaning the US will effectively subsidize oil production in this country, which will have the perhaps inadvertent result of ensuring the US remains oil-independent even though the market can’t justify fracking right now.

The CIA is institutionally quite close with the Saudis right now, and has been in charge of their covert war against Assad.

This story came 24 days after the White House released an anonymous statement asserting, among other things, “the Federal government did not observe any increased level of malicious cyber activity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on election day,” suggesting that the Russians may have been deterred.

[Read the full text here, at emptywheel]

This story was leaked within hours of the time the White House announced it was calling for an all-intelligence community review of the Russia intelligence, offered without much detail. Indeed, this story was leaked and published as an update to that story.

Which is to say, the CIA and/or people in Congress (this story seems primarily to come from Democratic Senators) leaked this, apparently in response to President Obama’s not terribly urgent call to have all intelligence agencies weigh in on the subject of Russian influence, after weeks of Democrats pressuring him to release more information. It was designed to both make the White House-ordered review more urgent and influence the outcome.

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So here’s what that story says.

In September, the spooks briefed “congressional leaders” (which for a variety of reasons I wildarseguess is either a Gang of Four briefing including Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and Harry Reid or a briefing to SSCI plus McConnell, Reid, Jack Reed, and John McCain). Apparently, the substance of the briefing was that Russia’s intent in hacking Democratic entities was not to increase distrust of institutions, but instead to elect Trump.

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

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[Read more at The Washington Examiner]

The difference between this story and other public assessments is that it seems to identify the people — who sound like people with ties to the Russian government but not necessarily part of it — who funneled documents from Russia’s GRU to Wikileaks.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

[snip]

[I]ntelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees.

NSA headquarters. Image: Wikimedia Commons

[Read the full analysis here, at emptywheel]

This is the part that has always been missing in the past: how the documents got from GRU, which hacked the DNC and John Podesta, to Wikileaks, which released them. It appears that CIA now thinks they know the answer: some people one step removed from the Russian government, funneling the documents from GRU hackers (presumably) to Wikileaks to be leaked, with the intent of electing Trump.

Not everyone buys this story. Mitch McConnell doesn’t buy the intelligence. Read the rest of this entry »


President Barack Obama, Supporters Push Policies and Appointments Before Trump Takes Over 

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President Barack Obama is trying to put the people and policies in place that he wants to outlast his presidency in the final weeks before Donald Trump takes over. But his supporters want more, way more.

Since Election Day, President Barack Obama has appointed 56 people to boards, commissions and offices in the hopes that they remain in those posts for years to come.

He has reduced the prison sentences of 79 federal inmates. He has handed out the nation’s highest civilian honor to 21 people who he said personally made an impact on his life.

[21 recipients honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom]

President Obama honored 21 recipients during his last Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House Tuesday. “Everybody on this stage has touched me in a very powerful, very personal way,” Obama said. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elouise Cobell, Ellen

Obama Swoops Into Afghanistan On Bin Laden Death Anniversary

And he has churned out rules, regulations and policies several times a week.

Obama is trying to put the people and policies in place that he wants to outlast his presidency in the final weeks before Donald Trump takes over. And his supporters want more, way more.

[Read more here, at McClatchy DC]

Every president tries to push through last-minute policies before their time in office comes to a close. But this year has a more frantic feel as special interest groups push Obama to do more, not just because the president-elect is of a different party but because few people know what he will do.

“People are, as you can imagine, they are getting quite desperate,” said Rena Steinzor, a member of the Center for Progressive Reform, a liberal advocacy group, who is pressing Obama to act. “Filling boards and doing whatever he can to establish protections that Trump would have to unwind is a good strategy.”

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With six weeks remaining, their to-do list for Obama is long:

They want him to issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political donations. They want him to pardon immigrants in the country illegally and direct federal employees to quickly process applications for immigrants who came into the United States illegally as children. And they want him to make good on his campaign pledge to close the prison for suspected terrorists at Guantánamo Bay.

[Read the full story here, at McClatchy DC]

Time is running out for President Obama to fulfill his promise to close Guantánamo. He now has less than 50 days to finish the job and close the door or he risks opening the floodgates for President-elect Trump. Amnesty International USA’s Security & Human Rights Program Senior Campaigner Elizabeth Beavers

No one disputes that Obama has the authority to do what he is doing, but Trump supporters don’t think he should be doing them anyway. Read the rest of this entry »


Barack Obama Second Term: A Complete Failure

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There’s no other way to describe it.

Jim Geraghtygeraghty writes: Every December, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post picks the biggest political loser of the past year.

In 2013, Cillizza’s selection was Barack Obama. He cited the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov, the NSA domestic-surveillance Tall-censorship-campusscandal, the IRS’s targeting of tea-party groups, and the continuing questions about the administration’s actions before, during, and after the attack on Americans in Benghazi.

“These are strenuous efforts to avoid the obvious: Obama’s ideas didn’t work. He failed to deliver what he promised.”

In 2014, Cillizza’s selection was Obama, again. The midterm elections went abysmally for Democrats, the threat of ISIS became much clearer, Russia moved into Ukraine, and former CIA director and secretary of defense Leon Panetta painted an unflattering portrait of the president’s leadership in his memoirs.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

In 2015, Cillizza picked two co-“winners,” Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. The reasons were obvious. By December 2015, it was clear Bush’s odds of winning the nomination were small and shrinking quickly. Clinton, meanwhile, looked likely to emerge bloodied from the Democratic primaries after a tougher-than-expected fight with Bernie Sanders.

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“President Obama’s second term has been a terrible failure for the country. A nation that is pleased with the status quo — a nation that feels prosperous, safe, and confident about the future — doesn’t choose to roll the dice with Donald Trump.”

This year, Cillizza assessed the surprising post-election political landscape and selected “The Democrats”:

The Democrats may be effectively locked out of power in all three branches of government for years. At the state level, after last month’s hillary-tallelections, they’ll control only 16 governorships and 13 legislatures.

[Read more here, at The Washington Post]

This year, punctuated by Hillary Clinton’s loss, exposed the remarkably shallow depth of the Democratic bench. The size of the Republican primary field — for which the GOP was relentlessly mocked — was also a sign of the party’s health up and down the ballot. Democrats simply didn’t have the political talent to put forward 17 candidates (or even seven). That’s partly because there’s been limited opportunity to move up in the leadership ranks. Pelosi (Calif.) and Reps. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) and James E. Clyburn (S.C) have had a death grip on the party’s top congressional slots for a very long time. It’s also partly because the Democratic farm system is hurting.

Lined up one after another, Cillizza’s picks create a broader narrative: President Obama’s second term has been a terrible failure for the country. A nation that is pleased with the status quo — a nation that feels prosperous, safe, and confident about the future — doesn’t choose to roll the dice with Donald Trump.

mendacity-obama-chait

Jonathan Chait’s ill-timed forthcoming book argues that “in the eyes of history, Barack Obama will be viewed as one of America’s best and most accomplished presidents.” Read the rest of this entry »


The Next NASA Leader Should be a Star 

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quin-hillyerQuin Hillyer writes: As Donald Trump builds his Cabinet, too little public attention has focused on the quasi-Cabinet-level position of Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

It’s an agency needing significant attention – and in Trump-supporting Alabama, home to Huntsville‘s Marshall Space Flight Center, we should be pushing for NASA to be revamped, re-energized, and perhaps re-imagined.

[Read the full story here, at AL.com]

NASA traditionally has been one federal agency that gets good “bang for the buck,” in terms of benefits to human life. Because of experiments that can be conducted only in the weightlessness of space, NASA has contributed mightily to human medicine in ways too numerous to count (heart-transplant-related devices, artificial limbs, and pain reduction during cancer treatments among them). NASA also has contributed in many ways to highway safety, mapping, weather tracking (especially valuable for those of us who deal with hurricanes), oil-spill cleanup, and better computer software, not to mention the plethora of ordinary (non-life-saving) consumer products made possible or made better by NASA discoveries.

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Meanwhile, NASA can boast a string of successes in its highest-profile role, that of exploration of both near- and deep-space. Sometimes we take for granted the astonishing feats of technology that NASA has produced – but recent robotic and orbiting analyses of Mars, and our amazing studies of distant semi-planet Pluto after a nine-year space flight, have added immeasurably to our knowledge of the solar system and its capacity for life. The orbiting Hubble Telescope, meanwhile, has opened new vistas into far-off galaxies we never knew existed.

[Read the full story here, at AL.com]

Knowledgeable observers, it is true, will say that no need exists for only government to do everything space-related. They are correct:

Commercial/private space projects show signal successes and great potential for more. Nonetheless, the sheer scale and cost of rocketry makes space the one frontier in which the national government can rationally engage in public/private partnerships of the sort usually more suited to state and local governments. Read the rest of this entry »


FAIL: PRWeek’s ‘Survey’ of 22 PR Pros Found ZERO Predictions for Trump

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Craig Bannister writes: The pre-election predictions of communications professionals surveyed by PRWeek proved to be unanimously – and embarrassingly – wrong. Could every PR executive in the U.S. have been so off, or was this a case of media bias in choosing the “experts?”

On Nov. 8, PRWeek published “They’re with her: PR execs predict a resounding Clinton victory,” in which reported the pre-election predictions of 22 communications professional – not one of whom predicted Donald Trump would win the election. Not only were their predictions wrong, they were embarrassingly wrong, with some apparently more influenced by personal opinion than science.

As a result of the overwhelming inaccuracy of the experts surveyed, PRWeek’s “biggest lesson” for PR executives proved wrong:

“The greatest irony here and the biggest lesson for communications professionals: Donald Trump may lose tomorrow because millions of Latino, Muslim, and women voters he vilified – Democrats and Republicans among them—help push Hillary to victory.”

[Read the full story here, at MRCTV]

No, the “greatest irony here” is that those who make a living as barometers, and drivers, of public opinion could all be so far off.

Here are ten of their most outrageously bad predictions – and the wimpiest one.

Most Wildly Inaccurate:

“I believe that my former boss Hillary Clinton will make history and become the first woman POTUS and she will win by an Electoral College landslide of 322 to 216. That includes Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina.” – Kris Balderston, president of global public affairs and strategic engagement, FleishmanHillard

So, PRWeek surveyed a former Clinton employee, who picked Clinton. And, while Clinton did take Nevada’s six electoral votes, she lost 29 in Florida and 15 in North Carolina.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton will be our next leader and that the Democrats will take back the Senate. My prediction is that we will be awed by the numbers.” – David Landis, president, Landis Communications Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND Oct 24, 2016: Washington Post

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…We’re also moving Utah — yes, Utah! — from “lean Republican” to “toss-up” as independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Utah native and Mormon, continues to show considerable polling resiliency in the Beehive State. Count us as skeptical that Clinton can win in such a Republican state. But McMullin is taking lots of Republican voters away from Trump, and it’s not out of the question that the third party candidate could win the state’s six electoral votes.

And, finally — and much to our amazement — we are adding Texas to our list of competitive states, rating it as “lean Republican.” The last three polls taken in the state have shown Trump ahead by three points (twice) and four points; the Real Clear Politics polling average in the state puts Trump up 4.6 points. It speaks to how badly Trump is performing even in longtime Republican strongholds that the debate going forward won’t be whether Texas should stay on the list of competitive races but whether it should move to “toss-up.”

Those changes tilt the electoral map — and math — even more heavily toward Clinton. Clinton now has 323 electoral votes either solidly for her or leaning her way. Trump has just 180. (Reminder: You need 270 to win.) And, virtually all of the vulnerability from here until Nov. 8 is on Trump’s side. Arizona and Utah, two states that haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996 and 1964, respectively, are toss-ups! Texas, the one large-population state that has long been considered solidly Republican, is within mid-single digits! States like Colorado and Virginia — swing states in the past two elections — aren’t even real opportunities for Trump anymore! Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Do You Understand the Electoral College?

Do you understand what the Electoral College is? Or how it works? Or why America uses it to elect its presidents instead of just using a straight popular vote? Author, lawyer and Electoral College expert Tara Ross does, and she explains that to understand the Electoral College is to understand American democracy.

Read the rest of this entry »


Disillusionment Among Hong Kong’s Youth Fuels Uneasy Separatist Longings

HK-anti-Beijing-students

The youngsters are members of a new front that is using increasingly aggressive tactics to demand an independent Hong Kong free from mainland China’s grip.  

Viola Zhou and Claire Baldwin report: On a recent Sunday night in the working-class Hong Kong district of Mong Kok, a group of radical young activists swore through loudspeakers and gestured rudely as they denounced mainland Chinese as “prostitutes” and “barbarians.”

The youngsters are members of a new front that is using increasingly aggressive tactics to demand an independent Hong Kong free from mainland China’s grip.

Their separatist yearnings have alarmed Beijing and the pro-Beijing Hong Kong government which are fighting back to win hearts and minds and forge a spirit of “love China, love Hong Kong” with multimillion-dollar information drives and exchanges.

The animosity on display in Mong Kok was virtually unheard of until recently, despite resentment toward mainlanders flooding into Hong Kong, and follows unsuccessful protests to demand full democracy in the city late last year.

The 'Umbrella Revolution' rallies together again after the October 21 talks

“I never call myself Chinese at school because it is a shame to be Chinese,” said 16-year-old “Gorilla” Chan, who, unbeknownst to his parents, founded a radical group with a 14-year-old friend.

He said violence is almost inevitable.

“That day will come sooner or later if Hong Kong remains like this,” Chan said.

Beijing sees national unity as sacrosanct and has ruled Hong Kong under a “one country, two systems” formula, allowing broad autonomy, since the city returned from British rule in 1997.

But Hong Kong’s prodemocracy movement, spearheaded by fresh-faced youngsters, has shaken the assumption of cozy accommodation between the mainland’s communists and the capitalist enclave.

The protesters demanded full democracy in a 2017 election for the city’s leader. But Beijing insists the leader will be chosen from a list of candidates it approves.

The anti-China radicals were galvanized by the democracy protests and gained traction later during protests against mainland shoppers swamping Hong Kong and buying up various items, including formula milk, and pushing up prices. Read the rest of this entry »