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Old 9th November 2016, 21:05
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The Real Russia. Today.

Trump is America’s president-elect, hopes for better relations with Russia, a blessing from the Patriarch, and champagne

Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory telegram to Donald Trump, following news of the Republican candidate’s surprising victory in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election. Putin has said he welcomes Trump’s advocacy for better relations with Russia, stating in his message, “We understand and are aware that it will be a difficult path, in view of the degradation that U.S.-Russian relations have unfortunately suffered.”
Story in English https://meduza.io/en/news/2016/11/09...ign=2016-11-09

Quote of the Day:

“Your active and sincere positions during your campaign have restored true democracy to the United States.”

These were the words of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko addressed to Donald Trump in his congratulatory message. Lukashenko also wished Trump “good health and energy.”
Story in Russian https://meduza.io/news/2016/11/09/lu...ign=2016-11-09

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church is praying that Donald Trump gets divine assistance in his new job, saying, “There’s now hope for good changes both domestically and internationally.”
Story in Russian https://meduza.io/news/2016/11/09/pa...ign=2016-11-09

Russian politicians have expressed hope that relations with Washington will improve once Trump enters the White House. Meduza spoke to several prominent political experts in Russia to gauge attitudes about America’s new president-elect.
Story in Russian https://meduza.io/news/2016/11/09/pa...ign=2016-11-09

Despite popular hopes in Russia, many experts in the country say there’s little chance of serious improvements in ties with the United States, and Moscow shouldn’t expect a second “reset” or a push to lift economic sanctions. Story in Russian
*ксперты исключили перезагрузку отношений с**оссией после*победы Трампа :: Политика :: *БК
No Comment:

Nationalist party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky threw a party in Russia’s parliament building to celebrate Donald Trump’s victory. “The U.S. will no longer be interfering in the business of other countries,” he said, raising a glass of champagne to a “new and better” era of bilateral relations. Story in Russian
Жириновский устроил в*Госдуме банкет по*случаю*победы Трампа на*выборах :: Политика :: *БК

Yours, Meduza

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  #352 (permalink)  
Old 10th November 2016, 02:11
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Thousands Across the US Protest President-Elect Donald Trump
Thousands Across the US Protest President-Elect Donald Trump - ABC News

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Old 21st November 2016, 02:35
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Obama's final foreign trip was his last chance to warn the world about Trump, and to warn Trump about the world
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES Michael Memoli & Christi Parsons Nov 20, 2016

In a brief, presumably final, face-to-face encounter, President Obama on Sunday appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to fulfill agreements to scale back incursions into eastern Ukraine and work with the U.S. to bring order to chaos in Syria.

The night before, Obama sat with his Chinese counterpart to note important cooperation on climate change and regional security issues, particularly with regard to North Korea, before President Xi Jinping warned that relations with the U.S. were at a “hinge moment.”

Left unsaid in the diplomatic readouts by American officials was the specter of President-elect Donald Trump and the likelihood that he would take a far different approach in managing the most complex U.S. relationships abroad.

Under different electoral circumstances, Obama’s trip this week — his last, scheduled presidential tour overseas — could have been something of a valedictory march: a sweeping speech on democracy in its birthplace, Greece; a final fond farewell and early endorsement in Berlin for his most important partner, German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and an economic summit in Peru of Asian and Pacific leaders.

White House officials had even envisioned a chance of putting a bow on Obama’s strategy of reorienting U.S. attention to Asia by persuading a lame-duck session of Congress to consider the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal.

Trump’s election put an end to all that.

Instead, Obama was warning about the threats to democracy in an era of “active disinformation” that left the public struggling to separate fact from fiction. He and Merkel sternly lectured Trump from a distance about the obligations of leadership and the need to abide by international norms of behavior.

In a Sunday night news conference before leaving Peru, Obama said he thinks — though he can't guarantee — that Trump may govern more moderately than the way he campaigned.

“I can't be sure of anything,” Obama said of Trump’s approach. But the presidency, he said, “has a way of shaping your thinking and in some cases modifying your thinking because you recognize the solemn responsibility not only to the American people but the solemn responsibility America has as the most powerful country in the world.”

Obama had thought he would be handing off leadership of the Western powers to Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of State who ran a campaign largely on a platform of continuing Obama’s policies. Instead he appeared ready to pass that mantle off to another leader, Merkel, who now plans to seek a fourth term as chancellor.

“I do believe that Chancellor Merkel and Germany are a linchpin in protecting the basic tenets of a liberal, market-based democratic order that has created unprecedented prosperity and security for Europe, but also for the world,” Obama said in a joint interview with German television and print reporters.

In his news conference, however, he cautioned against any U.S. withdrawal from leadership of global institutions, warning that for all the world’s problems, the globe is far safer, more secure and prosperous than it was when the current international system was put into place.

“The United States really is an indispensable nation in our world order,” he said.

“Before that order was imposed, we had two world wars in the span of 30 years,” he noted. “In the second one, 60 million people were killed,” he added, “entire continents in rubble.”

In Asia, “you routinely saw famines of millions of people,” he said.

America can’t carry the sole burden of sustaining the modern global system, but other countries can’t replace U.S. leadership. If the U.S. shuns the role of heading the global order, “then it collapses … there’s nobody to fill the void,” he said.

“That’s a burden we should carry proudly,” Obama added, “an extraordinary privilege."

As he concluded his trip, Obama also made it clear that he plans to govern through to the final day of his term, without regard for what Trump may have in the works. In his brief conversation with Putin, for example, he said he held fast to his position that Russia should respect the sovereignty of Ukraine and work for a peaceful resolution in Syria.

He also made it clear that his administration will move ahead with new environmental rules, even though Trump and the Republicans may not like them. The proposals are well-considered rules that have been under scrutiny and public discussion for a long time, he said, and they shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

“I feel strongly these are the right things to do,” he said, “and I’m going to do them.”

Still, though, a postelection funk continued among the White House staff, defying Obama’s best efforts to shake them out of it and his frequent pleas to just about everyone to give the new president-elect time to prove skeptics wrong.

Those traveling with the president could not help but monitor the president-elect’s appointments to key positions. Many of Obama’s aides considered the choices curious, in some cases troubling and in almost all cases a signal of Trump’s intention for a clean break with the policies of the last eight years.

They also digested the feedback of foreign leaders who had manage to speak with Trump directly after the election, hopeful to put concerns to ease but not always finding reason to.

Obama spent his two terms working to strengthen global institutions, both out of his conviction that collective action is the best way to achieve success, but also to reduce the burden on the United States to singularly solve the world’s problems.

The president now has little choice but to put his faith in those institutions to bring along, or ultimately stand up to, a successor who appears to have very a different vision for U.S. leadership in the world.

The task before Obama over the last few days — to try to explain how his successor might act — seemed nearly impossible, given the adversarial history between the two men and the uncertainty caused by Trump’s contradictory pronouncements on foreign policy throughout the campaign.

Based on a single face-to-face meeting in the Oval Office days after the election, Obama felt assured enough to make one commitment to the international community: that Trump understood and would remain committed to the NATO alliance.

When it comes to the more thorny issues of confronting Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria and keeping up the campaign against Islamic State, Obama locked arms with key partners to send a different message to Trump: color within the lines.

“What I can guarantee is that reality will force him to adjust how he approaches many of these issues,” Obama said Sunday night. “That’s just the way this office works.” Obama's final foreign trip was his last chance to warn the world about Trump, and to warn Trump about the world - LA Times

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Old 23rd November 2016, 19:59
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Hillary Clinton urged to call for election vote recount in battleground states - Alleged irregularities in key states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin prompt demands for audit amid concerns over ‘foreign hackers’
THE GUARDIAN Jon Swaine in New York 23 Nov 2016

A growing number of academics and activists are calling for US authorities to fully audit or recount the 2016 presidential election vote in key battleground states, in case the results could have been skewed by foreign hackers.

The loose coalition, which is urging Hillary Clinton’s campaign to join its fight, is preparing to deliver a report detailing its concerns to congressional committee chairs and federal authorities early next week, according to two people involved.

The document, which is currently 18 pages long, focuses on concerns about the results in the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“I’m interested in verifying the vote,” said Dr Barbara Simons, an adviser to the US election assistance commission and expert on electronic voting. “We need to have post-election ballot audits.” Simons is understood to have contributed analysis to the effort but declined to characterise the precise nature of her involvement.

A second group of analysts, led by the National Voting Rights Institute founder John Bonifaz and Professor Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan’s center for computer security and society, is also taking part in the push for a review, and has been in contact with Simons.

In a blogpost early on Wednesday, Halderman said paper ballots and voting equipment should be examined in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, warning that deadlines were rapidly approaching.

“Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts,” he said.

The developments follow Clinton’s surprise defeat to Donald Trump in the 8 November vote, and come after US intelligence authorities released public assessments that Russian hackers were behind intrusions into regional electoral computer systems and the theft of emails from Democratic officials before the election.

Having consistently led Trump in public opinion polls for months preceding election day in all three midwestern states, Clinton narrowly lost Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and may yet lose Michigan, where a final result has still not been declared.

Curiosity about Wisconsin has centred on apparently disproportionate wins that were racked up by Trump in counties using electronic voting compared with those that used only paper ballots. The apparent disparities were first widely publicised earlier this month by David Greenwald, a journalist for the Oregonian.

However, Nate Silver, the polling expert and founder of FiveThirtyEight, cast significant doubt over this theory on Tuesday evening, stating that the difference disappeared after race and education levels, which most closely tracked voting shifts nationwide, were controlled for.

Silver and several other election analysts have dismissed suggestions that the swing state vote counts give cause for concern about the integrity of the results.

Still, dozens of professors specialising in cybersecurity, defense, and elections have in the past two days signed an open letter to congressional leaders stating that they are “deeply troubled” by previous reports of foreign interference, and requesting swift action by lawmakers.

“Our country needs a thorough, public congressional investigation into the role that foreign powers played in the months leading up to November,” the academics said in their letter, while noting they did not mean to “question the outcome” of the election itself.

Halderman, the University of Michigan computer security expert, noted that this Friday is the deadline for requesting a recount in Wisconsin, where Trump’s winning margin stands at 0.7%. In Pennsylvania, where his margin is 1.2%, the deadline falls on Monday. In Michigan, where the Trump lead is currently just 0.3%, the deadline is Wednesday 30 November.

Senior congressmen including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland have already called for deeper inquiries into the full extent of Russia’s interference with the election campaign.

Nonpartisan experts and academics have been in communication with Democratic operatives and people who worked on Clinton’s bid for the White House, who are being urged to officially request recounts in states where a candidate may do so.

New York magazine reported that a conference call has taken place between the activists and John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.

Both Podesta and the acting Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Donna Brazile, have privately mused about the integrity of the election result, according to two sources familiar with the conversations.

Several senior Democrats are said to be intensely reluctant to suggest there were irregularities in the result because Clinton and her team criticised Trump so sharply during the campaign for claiming that the election would be “rigged” against him.

But others have spoken publicly, including the sister of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s closest aide. “A shift of just 55,000 Trump votes to Hillary in PA, MI & WI is all that is needed to win,” Hema Abedin said on Facebook, urging people to call the justice department to request an audit.

Alexandra Chalupa, a former DNC consultant who during the campaign investigated links between Moscow and Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, is also participating in the attempt to secure recounts or audits.

“The person who received the most votes free from interference or tampering needs to be in the White House,” said Chalupa. “It may well be Donald Trump, but further due diligence is required to ensure that American democracy is not threatened.”

According to people involved, activists had previously urged Jill Stein, the Green party presidential candidate, to use rules in some states allowing any candidate on the ballot to request a review of the result. Stein is understood to have declined, citing in part a lack of party funds that would be required to finance such a move.

In a joint statement issued last month, the office of the director of national intelligence and the department for homeland security said they were “confident” that the theft of emails from the DNC and from Podesta, which were published by WikiLeaks, was directed by the Russian government.

“Some states have also recently seen scanning and probing of their election-related systems, which in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company,” the statement went on. “However, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian government.”

Asked on Tuesday whether the agencies had confidence that the election itself had been secure, a spokesman for the office of the director of national intelligence said: “Our colleagues at the department for homeland security are best positioned to address this.”

A spokesman for the department for homeland security, however, did not respond to requests for comment.

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Old 23rd November 2016, 22:01
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Democratic presidential electors revolt against Trump
The Electoral College could see a historic number of 'faithless electors.'
POLITICO Kyle Cheney 11/22/16 05:09 AM EST

At least a half-dozen Democratic electors have signed onto an attempt to block Donald Trump from winning an Electoral College majority, an effort designed not only to deny Trump the presidency but also to undermine the legitimacy of the institution.

The presidential electors, mostly former Bernie Sanders supporters who hail from Washington state and Colorado, are now lobbying their Republican counterparts in other states to reject their oaths — and in some cases, state law — to vote against Trump when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 19.

Even the most optimistic among the Democratic electors acknowledges they're unlikely to persuade the necessary 37 Republican electors to reject Trump — the number they'd likely need to deny him the presidency and send the final decision to the House of Representatives. And even if they do, the Republican-run House might simply elect Trump anyway.

But the Democratic electors are convinced that even in defeat, their efforts would erode confidence in the Electoral College and fuel efforts to eliminate it, ending the body’s 228-year run as the only official constitutional process for electing the president. With that goal in mind, the group is also contemplating encouraging Democratic electors to oppose Hillary Clinton and partner with Republicans in support of a consensus pick like Mitt Romney or John Kasich.

The underlying idea is that a mass defection of electors could provide the impetus for a wave of changes to the Electoral College.

"I do think that a byproduct would be a serious look into Electoral College reform," said Micheal Baca, a Democratic elector from Colorado who is spearheading the anti-Trump effort, along with Washington state elector P. Bret Chiafalo.

"If it gets into the House, the controversy and the uncertainty that would immediately blow up into a political firestorm in the U.S. would cause enough people — my hope is — to look at the whole concept of the Electoral College," said another elector involved in the anti-Trump planning, who declined to be identified.

One prominent Electoral College critic says that even if Trump wins easily on Dec. 19, a small number of Republican defections could still roil the future of the institution.

"If you could get eight or 10 Trump electors to vote for someone else ... then that would probably get people's attention," said George Edwards III, a political science professor and Electoral College expert at Texas A&M University. "We haven't ever had that many faithless electors in one election."

Democratic elector Polly Baca (no relation to Micheal) said the Electoral College should be returned to its original conception — as laid out by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers — as a deliberative body able to exercise free choice while using popular votes only as a guide.

"If we cannot use the Electoral College as a deliberative process ... then we ought to do away with it," said Baca, a former co-chairman of the Democratic National Convention and former Colorado state senator.

The 538 members who comprise the Electoral College are slated to gather in their respective state capitals on Dec. 19 to cast the formal vote for president. Trump won the popular vote in states making up 290 electoral votes — and he’s leading narrowly in Michigan, which carries another 16 electoral votes. If all of them vote for Trump, he’ll win 306 electoral votes, easily exceeding the 270-vote majority he needs to become president. That's why the magic number is 37 Republican defections.

Dozens of Republican electors, picked at state and local party conventions, have signaled discomfort with Trump, but most have committed to supporting him despite their misgivings. Only a handful have said they'd consider voting against him in the Electoral College.

One, Texas' Art Sisneros, said he's still making up his mind. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, another elector, called on Trump to withdraw from the race after a tape of his comments about sexually assaulting women leaked in October. But he's since confirmed he'd still support Trump with his electoral vote.

A slew of Democrats, on the other hand, have also signaled they may defect from Clinton, which wouldn't help or hinder Trump's path to the White House but could contribute to a sense of disarray and voter disenfranchisement.

In any case, it's hard to know exactly how many faithless electors may be out there because there's no organized effort by candidates or parties to whip votes or track support.

Polly Baca, who's still considering whether to cast her vote against Clinton, said that she'll decide in part based on whether there's a strategic consensus reached with other Democrats to vote for another candidate.

Already, the six Democrats prepared to be "faithless" electors would be the most to defect from their party's presidential candidate since 1872, when Democratic nominee Horace Greeley died before electors cast their votes. The last time that many electors rejected a living presidential candidate was 1808.

Robert Nemanich, another Colorado elector prepared to cast a faithless vote, said he's spoken to five electors in his state alone who intend to join him.

The rarity of the faithless elector phenomenon is rooted in electors’ reluctance to reject the will of the voters. But it’s also because 29 states — including Colorado and Washington — have laws mandating that electors support the winner of the state popular vote.

These laws, though, have never been enforced or challenged. And some of them impose only modest fines but provide no recourse to change the outcome.

In recent elections, the Electoral College has become an increasingly vexing issue for Democrats, who won the popular vote in 2000, only to see George W. Bush take the White House because of the electoral vote math. Should the college vote for Trump, as expected, it'll be the same story: Clinton led the popular vote by about 1.7 million votes as of Monday morning.

To repeal the Electoral College outright would require a constitutional amendment — and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) conveniently proposed one last week. But it's unlikely to advance in a Republican-controlled Congress. Another measure, a multistate compact already enacted in 11 states, would require electors to support the winner of the national popular vote. But that would take effect only if enough states join to comprise a majority of the Electoral College.

So far, the 11 signatory states — all solidly Democratic — make up just 165 electoral votes.

Ironically, Democrats have taken heart from Trump’s own statements regarding the Electoral College. In the past, the president-elect has called the body a "disaster for democracy." In 2012, he urged supporters to march on Washington when he believed Mitt Romney had won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College.

His views haven’t changed. In a recent, post-election interview with "60 Minutes," he said, "I would rather see it where you went with simple votes."
Democratic presidential electors revolt against Trump - POLITICO

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