Tag Archives: 2016 election

Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet? by Glenn Greenwald

The half-life of half-baked Russian stories is getting shorter and shorter. From Glenn Greenwald at theintercept.com:

LAST FRIDAY, most major media outlets touted a major story about Russian attempts to hack into U.S. voting systems, based exclusively on claims made by the Department of Homeland Security. “Russians attempted to hack elections systems in 21 states in the run-up to last year’s presidential election, officials said Friday,” began the USA Today story, similar to how most other outlets presented this extraordinary claim.

This official story was explosive for obvious reasons, and predictably triggered instant decrees – that of course went viral – declaring that the legitimacy of the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election is now in doubt.

Virginia’s Democratic Congressman Don Beyer, referring to the 21 targeted states, announced that this shows “Russia tried to hack their election”:

MSNBC’s Paul Revere for all matters relating to the Kremlin take-over, Rachel Maddow, was indignant that this wasn’t told to us earlier and that we still aren’t getting all the details. “What we have now figured out,” Maddow gravely intoned as she showed the multi-colored maps she made, is that “Homeland Security knew at least by June that 21 states had been targeted by Russian hackers during the election. . .targeting their election infrastructure.”

They were one small step away from demanding that the election results be nullified, indulging the sentiment expressed by #Resistance icon Carl Reiner the other day: “Is there anything more exciting that [sic] the possibility of Trump’s election being invalidated & Hillary rightfully installed as our President?”

To continue reading: Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet?

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Anti-Interventionist Voters Elected Trump, by Justin Raimondo

During his campaign, Donald Trump sounded like an anti-interventionist and paid homage to the military and veterans. Both played well in areas with high rates of military service and consequent casualties, and that accounts for Trump’s razor thin victory. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

How did Donald Trump defy all the pollsters, the pundits, and the Twitterverse “experts” and take the White House? According to the Democrats, it was all a Russian plot – Kremlin-directed Twitter “bots” spread “misinformation” and “fake news,” Russian hackers stole the DNC’s emails, and this deprived Hillary Clinton of her rightful place as President of these United States. If we listen to the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, it was all because their man Bernie failed to win the nomination due to corporate influence and the flawed election strategy of the Clinton campaign. And the Republicans tell us it was because – well, they don’t have any coherent theory, but, hey, they’ll take it regardless of why or how it happened.

What hasn’t emerged from the shock and horror of the elites, however, is a reasonably convincing explanation for the Trump victory: the storied “deplorables,” as Mrs. Clinton described them, rose up in rebellion against the coastal elites and delivered them a blow from which they are still reeling. Disdained, forgotten, and left behind, these rural not-college-educated near-the-poverty-line voters, who had traditionally voted Democratic, deserted the party – but why?

No real explanation has been forthcoming. Hillary tells us it was due, in part, to “sexism,” and the rest was a dark conspiracy by Vladimir Putin and James Comey. More objective observers attribute the switch to the relentless emphasis by the Democrats on identity politics, which seems convincing until one examines the actual statistics down to the county level in those key states – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – that gave the party of Trump the keys to the White House.

To continue reading: Anti-Interventionist Voters Elected Trump

How Team Obama tried to hack the election, by Paul Sperry

Now here’s a story about election hacking for which there is an abundance of evidence. From Paul Sperry at nypost.com:

New revelations have surfaced that the Obama administration abused intelligence during the election by launching a massive domestic-spy campaign that included snooping on Trump officials.

The irony is mind-boggling: Targeting political opposition is long a technique of police states like Russia, which Team Obama has loudly condemned for allegedly using its own intelligence agencies to hack into our election.

The revelations, as well as testimony this week from former Obama intel officials, show the extent to which the Obama administration politicized and weaponized intelligence against Americans.

Thanks to Circa News, we now know the National Security Agency under President Barack Obama routinely violated privacy protections while snooping through foreign intercepts involving US citizens — and failed to disclose the breaches, prompting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court a month before the election to rebuke administration officials.

The story concerns what’s known as “upstream” data collection under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, under which the NSA looks at the content of electronic communication. Upstream refers to intel scooped up about third parties: Person A sends Person B an e-mail mentioning Person C. Though Person C isn’t a party to the e-mail, his information will be scooped up and potentially used by the NSA.

Further, the number of NSA data searches about Americans mushroomed after Obama loosened rules for protecting such identities from government officials and thus the reporters they talk to.

The FISA court called it a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue” that NSA analysts — in violation of a 2011 rule change prohibiting officials from searching Americans’ information without a warrant — “had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Court.”

A number of those searches were made from the White House, and included private citizens working for the Trump campaign, some of whose identities were leaked to the media. The revelations earned a stern rebuke from the ACLU and from civil-liberties champion Sen. Rand Paul.

To continue reading: How Team Obama tried to hack the election

Why Bother? by Robert Gore

The best strategy for dealing with crazies is to keep your distance.

You try to ignore the ravings of the paranoid lunatic on a street corner, but if he’s waving a gun, you can’t.  He may kill himself, but he may kill you. Protecting yourself is your first consideration. You want to get as far as possible from him.

As an intellectual exercise, imagine how the Chinese and Russian leadership look at the United States, its government, and those of its allies. It will get you labeled as a “sympathizer” or “agent,” but take the risk and try seeing the world through their eyes:

We hear the Americans raving about the exceptional and indispensable nation, the American imperium, and maintaining world order. What other conclusion can be drawn: like many lunatics, the US suffers from delusions of grandeur. As we know, it’s difficult to maintain order in one country, and the US wants to take on the whole world? They’re having a tough time maintaining order in the US. Half the country hates the other half, and many of their experts warn of civil unrest that could be ignited with the smallest of sparks. Take it from us, spark suppression is a full-time job in big countries with many people and few common interests, even those with powerful, intrusive governments like the US.

How can the US think that it can rule the world when it can’t win wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq? That’s crazy talk! There are smart people in their military. They must recognize that guerrilla warfare, terrorism, knowledge of the people, language, and terrain, and the availability of cheap but effective defensive weapons and munitions give a huge advantage to nationals resisting domination in their own territory. Why hasn’t the US learned anything from their disastrous wars, or the Soviet fiasco in Afghanistan?

INSANITY MAKES FOR GREAT SATIRE!

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We in Russia are not altogether comfortable with our Syrian involvement and know it poses substantial risks. However, Syria is in the same neighborhood, is a long-time Russian ally, and hosts Russia’s only Mediterranean port. The US has no such compelling interests and is apparently there at the behest of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Turkey, and Israel. (How do these nations get the US to fight its wars? It must be baksheesh.) It pretends to fight Islamic terrorists while aiding them in another idiotic, and so far futile, attempt at regime change. The biggest danger for us in Syria isn’t the rebels, it’s those crazy Yanks.

The US and its allies’ (what curious allies—the US defends them and picks up most of the tab while they fund cradle-to-grave welfare states) interventions have created refugees—some innocent victims, some potential terrorists—who have fled en masse to Europe and trickled into the US. More intervention will create more refugees, yet that is their policy. Russia and China both have problems with native Muslim populations; it’s pure lunacy to import them. Yet, the American and European intelligentsia condemn not the proponents but the detractors of military intervention and refugee creation and admittance.

If those are supposed to be the smart people, it’s no wonder those countries are in such poor shape. A country is only as good as its people. The Americans and Europeans have voted themselves benefits from their governments that can only be paid for with debt. How long can that last? What will beneficiaries do when the well runs dry? The US used to be one of the most industrious countries on the planet. Now most of its people are fat, lazy, and soft, with no idea how to provide for themselves. The so-called smart people worry if transgenders can enter the bathroom of their choice, and cheer a great Olympic decathlon champion who turned himself into an approximation of a woman. These idiots are not useful to anybody.

The only rational policy is to keep our distance from the US, while trying to protect ourselves from its depredations, and concentrate on jointly developing the immense potential of Eurasia. In other words, to continue doing what we’ve been doing. Our primary economic initiatives, One Belt One Road and the Maritime Silk Road, under the auspices of the Eurasian Economic Union, are going well. We will develop extensive commercial and transportation links among nations stretching from China to Europe, an area which encompasses over half the world’s population and natural resources. China will providing much of the infrastructure investment through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Russia will spearhead security arrangements, particularly against Islamic extremists, through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes China and central Asian nations that were formerly part of the USSR, and will soon admit India, Pakistan, and Iran.

Financially, self-protection means moving away from fiat dollars and euros and stockpiling real money—gold. China is reducing its vast pile of US treasury securities, and Russia its much smaller pile. We will continue to advocate for replacement of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, preferably with the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights. The Chinese yuan recently became part of that currency basket. We have also taken steps to develop an alternative to the SWIFT system, the US’s monopoly on international bank clearing.

Militarily, some of the bluster coming out of the US is insanity: the possibility of “winning” a nuclear war. No matter what their computer simulations might suggest, there is no way that a US first strike would wipe out our means and will to retaliate, regardless of their anti-ballistic missile systems in Eastern Europe and South Korea. Sometimes it is an advantage to be underestimated by one’s enemy, but in this case, US underestimation could lead to extinction of the human race. Our nuclear weaponry, military strategies, and defense systems must continue to be state of the art, to assure that destruction in the event of a US attack is mutual.

Keeping our distance from the US certainly does not entail getting involved in their elections. Donald Trump didn’t have a positive thing to say about China during his campaign. Although he made noises about reducing America’s foreign interventions, we heard the same from George W. Bush and Barack Obama and look how that turned out. Trump also made noises about rapprochement with Russia, but it was clear that he’d be fighting his own Deep State if he won, which we did not expect. Why would we poison relations with Hillary Clinton, who we and most experts did expect to win, before she even took office? It’s a further sign of rampant delusion, a complete unwillingness to deal with reality, that Clinton’s Democrats are blaming Russia for problems they brought upon themselves.

Why bother manipulating an election when America seems so bent on self-destruction? It would be like trying to leash a rabid dog.

GREAT WRITING MAKES FOR GREAT READING!

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The FBI and Hillary, Again, by Andrew P. Napolitano

Andrew P. Napolitano asks some disturbing questions about the behavior of James Comey and the FBI during the election. From Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Last weekend, The New York Times published a long piece about the effect the FBI had on the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign. As we all know, Donald Trump won a comfortable victory in the Electoral College while falling about 3 million votes behind Hillary Clinton in the popular vote.

I believe that Clinton was a deeply flawed candidate who failed to energize the Democratic Party base and who failed to deliver to the electorate a principled reason to vote for her. Yet when the Times reporters asked her why she believes she lost the race, she gave several answers, the first of which was the involvement of the FBI. She may be right.

Here is the back story.

In 2015, a committee of the House of Representatives that was investigating the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, learned that the State Department had no copies of any emails sent or received by Clinton during her four years as secretary of state. When committee investigators pursued this — at the same time that attorneys involved with civil lawsuits brought against the State Department seeking the Clinton emails were pursuing it — it was revealed that Clinton had used her own home servers for her emails and bypassed the State Department servers.

Because many of her emails obviously contained government secrets and because the removal of government secrets to any non-secure venue constitutes espionage, the House Select Committee on Benghazi sent a criminal referral to the Department of Justice, which passed it on to the FBI. A congressionally issued criminal referral means that some members of Congress who have seen some evidence think that some crime may have been committed. The DOJ is free to reject the referral, yet it accepted this one.

To continue reading: The FBI and Hillary, Again

U.S. Intelligence Agencies Have No Clothes, by Michael Krieger

Like the naked emperor, the US intelligence agencies have existentially embarrassed themselves. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

The true patriotism, the only rational patriotism is loyalty to the nation all the time, loyalty to the government when it deserves it.

– Mark Twain, The Czar’s Soliloquy”

At this point, pretty much everyone in America has seen the results of Hillary Clinton media pet, John Harwood’s recent Twitter poll.

Who do you believe America?

— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 6, 2017

The significance of the above cannot be overstated. U.S. intelligence agencies, like so many other national institutions, have lost nearly all credibility in the eyes of the American public. The list is long, but includes economists, politicians, the mainstream media, central bankers, the financial system, and a lot more. The loss in credibility is well deserved and has nothing to do with Russia. Rather, it’s a function of a disastrous 21st century outcome for U.S. citizens both at home and abroad. A result that was achieved under eight years of Republican rule and then eight years of Democratic rule. The results were the same whether a donkey or elephant was in charge, because the people determining policy behind the scenes never really changed (same economists, central bankers, intelligence officials, etc), and the people selling the catastrophic policies to the public definitely never changes (mainstream media and its worthless pundits).

So here we stand at a moment where trust in essentially all U.S. institutions is at a well deserved all-time low, and the best the establishment can come up with is to blame Russia. Even worse, those pushing the whole “Putin is to blame for everything” conspiracy theories, consistently refuse to back up their assertions with any evidence whatsoever. In fact, with each passing week the case looks increasingly flimsy, with the latest declassified document issued Friday being particularly suspect. Even many of those largely convinced of Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election admit the most recent report was pathetic, embarrassing and proved absolutely nothing.

To continue reading: U.S. Intelligence Agencies Have No Clothes

Understanding the Trump Phenomenon, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

Donald Trump won the election because of Middle American Radicals. From Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. at mises.org:

Amid all the hysteria surrounding Donald Trump, clear and sober analyses of who he is and what to expect have been few and far between.

I’ve already seen numerous progressives warning that Trump intends to eviscerate entitlements. It’s as if facts never enter the progressive consciousness. Their opponents are an undifferentiated blob and hold what progressives take to be generically right-wing positions.

Only this robotic approach to politics can account for why progressives seem to think Donald Trump, by far the most pro-LGBT GOP nominee in history, intends to harm homosexuals, or that despite his repeated assurances that he wants nothing more than to shore up entitlements, he intends to cut them sharply.

As anyone who isn’t tone deaf when it comes to American politics knows, nobody in public life favors cutting back entitlements. What the left has to worry about isn’t budget-cutting Republicans. It’s making complete fools of themselves with hysterical predictions anyone in his right mind knows will never come true.

For one thing, to think Trump’s aim is to eviscerate entitlements is to misunderstand the Trump phenomenon altogether.

During the presidential campaign, a number of observers, trying to understand the Trump phenomenon, suddenly discovered the work of Sam Francis, an author and newspaper columnist, from 25 years earlier. Francis wrote about what he called Middle American Radicals (MARs).

The MARs hold political correctness in precisely the same contempt that Hollywood, the media, and the political class hold them. They are not rigidly ideological, nor even ideological at all. While in general, they support private property and the US Constitution, they are not philosophically opposed to business regulation, they believe free trade has made them worse off, and they have no interest at all in cutting Social Security and Medicare. And they are anti-globalist.

At the time Francis wrote about them, his analysis seemed off: if these people existed in the numbers he suggested, how were people like Bob Dole getting the GOP nomination?

The 2016 election, at last, vindicated the Francis analysis. The MARs came out in droves, despite the most relentless attack on their candidate by the media and cultural elite anyone can remember.

To continue reading: Understanding the Trump Phenomenon