USA: The election result was not decided in the Kremlin – commentary

The election result was not decided in the Kremlin

But the response to Russian hacking shows how partisan division has weakened the country
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  • ndtewarie  On December 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    The witch is dying but she’s full of so much hubris, that she’s like a dog in the manger, and,just,like,how cancer,is eating away at Bill she’s next. Some people would never learn. This could be her nemesis.

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 19, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Between the absolute hate for a Black President and absolute hate for women, in general – and after the President-elect said it himself: “the Electoral College is a disaster for democracy” ….

    – Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party were fighting an uphill battle ….

    Russian hackers may have only given them a little push out of the way – but that part of American culture is difficult to overcome – HATE.

    I am very sure Hillary Clinton could take comfort in being a spectator while watching the disaster that is about to befall President Donald J Trump.

    I don’t have any insider information, so don’t contact me.

    But, we have had three notable “Terror Attacks” today, 19 Dec 2016 – Turkey; Germany; Switzerland … I had nothing to do with it.

    If anyone thinks that this is the end of “terror attacks” – Here is what I recall:

    The downing of Korean Flight 007 by a Russian fighter jet – some spokesperson said that international tension was the cause. Downing of an Iranian passenger jet, just going about their business flying passengers; and of course, 9/11 ..!!

    Donald Trump and the Republican-Tea Party have been stoking the fire of hatred and misogyny over the past 8-years or so in the country “they” call the Great Satan and that was the basis of their rallying cry to elect them – they won!

    if you are smelling sulphur around those guys ….. watch out.
    For me, I am concerned about being in the wrong place at the wrong time ….

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 21, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it
    [in part – about Fake News]

    George Monbiot | The Guardian UK

    How far is too far for Donald Trump?

    Understandably, there has been plenty of coverage of the racists and white supremacists empowered by Trump’s victory. But, gruesome as they are, they’re peripheral to the policies his team will develop.

    It’s almost comforting, though, to focus on them, for at least we know who they are and what they stand for.

    By contrast, to penetrate the corporate misinformation machine is to enter a world of mirrors. Spend too long trying to understand it, and the hyporeality vortex will inflict serious damage on your state of mind.

    Don’t imagine that other parts of the world are immune. Corporate-funded think-tanks and fake grassroots groups are now everywhere. The fake news we should be worried about is not stories invented by Macedonian teenagers about Hillary Clinton selling arms to Islamic State, but the constant feed of confected scares about unions, tax and regulation drummed up by groups that won’t reveal their interests.

    When the Institute of Economic Affairs, as it so often does, appears on the BBC to argue against regulating tobacco, shouldn’t we be told that it has been funded by tobacco companies since 1963?

    There’s a similar pattern in the USA: the most vocal groups tend to be the most opaque.

    As usual, the left and centre (myself included) are beating ourselves up about where we went wrong. There are plenty of answers, but one of them is that we have simply been outspent. Not by a little, but by orders of magnitude.

    A few billion dollars spent on persuasion buys you all the politics you want.

    Genuine campaigners, working in their free time, simply cannot match a professional network staffed by thousands of well-paid, unscrupulous people.

    You cannot confront a power until you know what it is. Our first task in this struggle is to understand what we face. Only then can we work out what to do.

    The less transparent they are, the more airtime they receive. The organisation Transparify runs an annual survey of think-tanks.

    This year’s survey reveals that in the UK only four think-tanks “still consider it acceptable to take money from hidden hands behind closed doors”. And these are the ones that are all over the media.

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 21, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    The Electoral College has failed The USA and democracy

    With the CIA, FBI, and USA Director of National Intelligence all agreeing that Russia intervened in the 2016 USA election to help Donald Trump win, never has there been a greater need for oversight of the integrity of the USA electoral process

    – by Bryan Cranston | Independent UK

    There were a number of faithless electors in Monday’s vote [19 Dec 2016], and the official election history books will confirm that John Kasich, Colin Powell, and Ron Paul were all awarded an Electoral College vote.

    But the ratification by the Electoral College confirms that the United States can no longer refer to itself as the world’s greatest democracy.

    Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has been consistent in his lack of respect for facts. He denies the recent Time attribution as President of the Divided States of America, but the vote facts speak for themselves.

    Trump received 46 per cent of the vote, which in terms of the country’s total population equates to just 19.7 per cent. Trump is President-elect because of less than 20 per cent of the population. That is no landslide, and certainly no mandate.

    So how can the Electoral College claim to be an arbiter of American democracy?

    For most of its inauspicious history, the Electoral College has been regarded as a quirky peculiarity of USA politics, with few Americans understanding its role or what it does, and even fewer foreigners seeing any sense in it.

    The creation of the Electoral College tells us its own story about the formation of modern America, and its embrace of independence from colonial rule.

    When confronted with the task of creating a government for their newly independent sovereign nation, America’s so-called “Founding Fathers” were very distrustful of foreign intervention in their government. They wished not to see a return to colonial enslavement, so ensured that their Constitution prohibited non natural-born citizens assuming the presidency. They wanted to ensure that only an American would govern Americans.

    But the Founding Fathers were also wary that foreign interventions could play mischief with the electoral process.

    In March 1788, Alexander Hamilton published The Federalist Papers: No 68 (under a pseudonym), writing, “… 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?”

    With the CIA, FBI, and USA Director of National Intelligence all agreeing that Russia intervened in the 2016 US election to help Donald Trump win, never has there been a greater need for oversight of the integrity of the USA electoral process.

    But whilst the Founding Fathers supported the ideals of democracy, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin were all opposed to it in practice, saying, “If we incline too much to democracy we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of a dictatorship.”

    This statement fits with the quote often attributed to Winston Churchill, that the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.

    Fear of foreign intervention and a lack of faith in voters to exercise sound judgement drove the Founding Fathers to design a fail-safe mechanism – the Electoral College.

    Today marks the second time in 16 years that the Electoral College has voted for president a man who the public rejected.

    With mounting evidence that the 2016 presidential election was compromised in some form to some degree, it was the responsibility of the Electoral College to fulfil their constitutional obligation and not simply act as a rubber-stamp.

    These two facts alone confirm that the presidential election process and the role of the Electoral College need serious inquiry into their role and very existence.

    The future of American democracy depends on it.

    Bryan Cranston is a political scientist and US political analyst with Swinburne University in Australia

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 23, 2016 at 10:00 am

    The Electoral College was never intended to be a democratic institution – somebody said that if it is important, do not let the people decide.

    So, black Americans were excluded at the inception because they were three-fifths a person, but now Black Lives Matter – they are still excluded.

    This is the genius of political expediency – “they” tell us they are doing this for one reason and somehow get us to accept the end result – well, it makes sense, we say – and life goes on!

    Now, Donald Trump just clarified his position on nuclear weapons: “Let it be an arms race!”

    Makes me wonder: IS Donald Trump stupidity or insane??!?

    May Bulman wrote in the Independent UK:

    Prince Charles has issued a warning over the “rise of populism” in a veiled apparent reference to the election of Donald Trump and increasingly hostile attitudes towards refugees in Europe.

    The Prince of Wales said “We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive to those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s.”

    The “suffering doesn’t end when [the victims] arrive seeking refuge in a foreign land,” he said in the pre-recorded message for BBC Radio 4’s Thought For The Day.

    “My parents’ generation fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and inhuman attempts to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe.”

    Citing UN statistics, he added that a “staggering” 65.3 million people abandoned their homes in 2015 — 5.8 million more than the year before.

    He went on to urge listeners to remember this Christmas “how the story of the Nativity unfolds with the fleeing of the holy family to escape violent persecution”.

    Front National candidate Marine Le Pen is expected to reach a second-round run-off in next year’s French presidential elections, while similar political parties have also seen an increase in support in countries including Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

    The speech was the third time Prince Charles has appeared on Thought for the Day.

    The Prince first did the Thought for the Today on the fiftieth anniversary of VE Day in 1995 and then again in January 2000 to mark the new millennium.

    The Electoral College has NOTHING to do with democracy – President-elect, Donald J Trump is a demagogue!

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 30, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Putin’s friendly response to the expulsion of his USA diplomats has a chilling subtext – Independent UK Editorial

    Russia appears determined to pry apart the long-standing partnership between Europe and the USA – and there is now a very good opportunity to do so

    Is the new Cold War postponed? The expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the closure of two intelligence-gathering operations in Maryland and New York by President Obama followed allegations that Russia had hacked into emails of prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, during the election campaign.

    The conventional response to this – familiar during the days of the Cold War – would have been a tit-for-tat expulsion by Russia of a similar number of USA diplomats posted there. This was indeed the request of the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. His ministry asked for President Putin’s approval to expel 31 diplomats from the USA embassy in Moscow and a further four from the consulate in St Petersburg. But President Putin turned it down.

    “The new unfriendly measures by the USA administration are regarded as provocative, designed to further undermine relations,“ Mr Putin said. But he added: “We will not create problems for American diplomats. We will not expel anyone.”

    This is the clearest signal yet that Russia is seeking a reset of its relations with the United States of America, a sign that it is seeking a rapprochement with the new, inexperienced – but evidently friendly to Russia – President Trump.

    There are rational reasons why it should want to do so. Western sanctions have undoubtedly damaged the Russian economy, which barely grew in 2014, shrank sharply in 2015 and almost certainly fell further this year. The fall in oil and gas prices will have played a large part in this contraction, but the measures agreed by the G7 countries in 2014, following the annexation of Crimea and the incursions into eastern Ukraine, have made recovery much more difficult. These existing sanctions were extended earlier this month by both the EU and Japan, and have now been reinforced by further measures by the USA.

    If President Putin’s response simply showed a desire to have better relations with the West in general – a “let’s-kiss-and-make-up” gesture – it would be welcome.

    Russia has become an increasingly difficult and devious player on the world stage, and some of its actions, notably in the Middle East, have been disgraceful. But there is a disturbing subtext: that Russia is determined to attempt to pry apart the long-standing partnership between Europe and the USA. And there is now a very good opportunity to do so.

    Europe is distracted by internal tensions over the euro and migration; by Brexit of course; by a series of elections in three major countries – the Netherlands, France, and Germany – and by the probability of elections in a fourth, Italy.

    Even more important, the new USA President has signalled in a number of ways that he will seek better relations with Russia, even at the expense of its continuing military support for Europe. These include suggestions that if the USA is to continue its role in NATO, the EU nations will have to increase their defence spending.

    The President-elect’s nomination of Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil, as Secretary of State, will if confirmed mean that Mr Putin has someone whom he knows well, and has personally awarded the Russian Order of Friendship, in charge of USA foreign policy. As for his own business interests, he signed an agreement last summer (just one, it should be said, of several attempts to do so) to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

    What we are seeing now is a classic test of what the new USA administration will do next. Mr Putin wants to see how resolute Mr Trump will be in supporting the defence of Europe, but also how accommodative American foreign policy will respond to Russia’s other geopolitical interests. A return to the Cold War would prove counter-productive for a host of reasons. Mr Trump should be prepared to dine with Mr Putin. But he should sup with a long spoon.

  • Gigi  On December 31, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    @ndtewarie, I don’t know where your political leanings are concerning Guyana but I think that we can both agree that Guyana’s PPP is one powerful party and a force to be reckon with since it took the combined influence of America, Britain, Canada, the EU and the UN to rig the election results to favor the PNC. Now compare that mammoth undertaking to one lone, individual country, Russia, rigging the presidential elections in America. Good grief! the comparison is mind boggling! I knew Guyana was a banana republic all along. I also know that America is on the path to becoming a banana republic, but what I did not know was that America would become a banana republic so quickly and a worst off banana republic than Guyana. Ouch! I now have even greater respect and admiration for the PPP. They are wise to ally with Russia and by association Trump. Guyana may not have to wait until 2020!

    Déjà vu…I’m in love all over again!

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 2, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Opinion: Now Is Not a Time for National Unity – I’m Taking to the Streets Against Trump’s USA

    We stand NOT with the bigots, but with Muslims, LGBTQ, people of colour, women, Jews, immigrants and anyone else directly hurt by Trump’s campaign.

    Ruth Wyshogrod (Philadelphia) | Haaretz

    PHILADELPHIA – Like many Americans, I felt sick to my stomach after Donald Trump’s victory on Tuesday night. Wednesday was like a day of mourning, with no energy to do anything and a general sense of despair.

    I remember feeling the same way after voting in the 2015 elections in Israel, where I was living at the time – commiseration among my peers on the Israeli left, and my colleagues in civil society – in the hopelessness that we had reached a point of no return.

    And then, there they were – on Wednesday, swastikas on Broad Street where I walk my dog. Two days later, black students threatened with “daily lynching” at the University of Pennsylvania where my husband studies. So real, so close, so sickening. And so clearly resulting from Trump’s rhetoric. So I took to the streets.

    I took to the streets because the rhetoric of this campaign, and the hate crimes taking place in response, are all too similar to stories I was raised on from my family’s past, stories that I learned about in school, scenes depicted in countless Hollywood films. Stories that I never thought, in my wildest nightmares, would re-appear in my lifetime.

    I took to the streets because, sadly, I am not shocked or surprised when I witness this rhetoric in Israel, but the U.S.A. seemed – at least in my naïve liberal bubble – to be moving toward an ever-so-slightly more progressive democracy – one where gay marriage is a norm and we are (finally) starting to talk publicly about paid parental leave and a single-payer, universal healthcare system.

    But that was wishful thinking. In reality, much like Israel and Western Europe, the U.S.A. seems to be moving backward in time, retreating into its tribal, national, isolationist cave. So I took to the streets to say that I refuse to accept that reality, and that I will take concrete steps to fight it.

    Who came out to Philadelphia’s City Hall on a brisk, dark Thursday night? I saw people of varying races and ages: many college-aged women – white, black, Latina. Teens clad with baggy pants and skateboards. An Asian mother with a young boy, carrying a sign that spoke to the world she would like her son to grow up in. I saw an older white man, dressed as though he just returned from a Grateful Dead show at the Fillmore.

    The group gathered in the epicenter of Philadelphia’s downtown district and, accompanied by police motorcade, started to march along JFK Boulevard, as if splitting the sea of corporate towers above. Bystanders, middle-aged black and white men and women leaving work, cheered and filmed on their smartphones, but mostly did not join in. These people were angry. They shouted “GOP, hands off me,” and “my body, my choice,” in reference to the GOP’s – and particularly Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s – policies toward women’s health and reproductive rights.

    They shouted “not my president” and “fuck Donald Trump.” These people all share a rejection of Trump’s call for unity. How can we expect Muslims, LGBTQ, people of colour, women, Jews, immigrants, and anyone else directly hurt by Trump’s campaign to unite with those who preach hate toward them – especially in light of the sharp rise in hate crimes occurring in Trump’s name in the days following the election?

    Rejecting unity, how do we move forward? After Netanyahu’s government was re-elected in 2015, I sought comfort in the network of people and organizations working every day to create a more inclusive Israel for all its citizens. We must all focus on that work here, too.

    This is not a time to be violent or aggressive. But it is also not a time for national unity and forgiveness. We must be angry, we must protest, and then we must exercise our anger to affect change.

    Assuming we will not abolish the Electoral College and void Trump’s victory before 20 January, how do we move forward to protect the progress this country has made in healthcare, LGBTQ rights, environmental protection, protection of immigrants and religious and ethnic minorities, and ensure that we continue to move in the right direction on all these issues?

    We engage. We organize. We continue to fight for our communities by supporting progressive organizations, with our time and our wallets. We identify representatives whose views align with ours and make sure they promote our progressive agenda.

    If we cannot find those people, we run for office ourselves. We unify not with the bigots, but with others who are, or have ever been, oppressed and hated. History teaches that we are stronger when we form coalitions and networks of support, when we leverage each other’s strengths and energies. And together, we fight with a resonating cry for equality and freedom.

    Ruth Wyshogrod is an Israeli and American citizen who has worked in civil society NGO’s in Israel. She currently resides in Philadelphia.

  • Ron Saywack  On January 2, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Clyde Duncan:

    I visit this medium from time to time to find that you are a fixture on it. Well, that’s fine. Guyanese Online has a loyal, committed customer in you.

    However, you may not like what follows but I felt compelled to say it.

    Invariably, you are in the cut-and-paste mode. I am personally not interested in your seemingly endless reproduction of other people’s views. Frankly, I find it irritating and thought I should let you know it. What I really want to know is Clyde Duncan has to say on any given subject matter, not his compulsion and obsession to co-opt various sources. Originality is always appreciated and I’m certain I am not alone on this.

    Finally, let me further state that there is nothing wrong with cut-and-pasting as long as it is done when warranted, discreetly and within contextual relevance.

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 2, 2017 at 8:05 pm

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