BREAKING: Jill Stein Close to Initiating Recount in Pennsylvania

Jill Stein, conspiracy theorist Green Party candidate, will be filing the necessary paperwork to launch a recount in Pennsylvania, according to multiple reports. The CBS affiliate in Philadelphia reports that today is Stein’s deadline:

Pennsylvania’s election law doesn’t allow a candidate to file a challenge. So, Jill Stein can’t actually contest the results herself.

The election law does allow voters to file challenges in individual counties in Pennsylvania – there are 67 of those.

But they’ll have to make their case in a courtroom.

One computer expert cited by Stein claims a 7 percent discrepancy in how Hillary Clinton performed in certain battleground states as compared to pre-election polling.

While Stein herself can’t challenge the results, her campaign has been hard at work raising money from the very Democrat voters she ultimately screwed over by being in the race in the first place. With several million dollars on hand, Stein is either close to funding her 2020 campaign OR she is about to play the role of The Joker from The Dark Knight.

 

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Trump: Obama’s Cuba Deal Is On the Chopping Block

When Barack Obama lifted assorted trade and travel restrictions on Cuba, he did so by executive order. He did it that way because he knew there was no way in hell that Congress was going to lift the sanctions.

President Obama has significant powers at his disposal to make the U.S. trade and travel embargoes on Cuba meaningless, though action by Congress is required to formally lift the sanctions.

Six separate laws dictate the terms of sanctions on Cuba. They range from the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.

It was President John F. Kennedy who prohibited U.S. exports to Cuba under the Trading with the Enemy Act shortly after Fidel Castro took control of the island nation.

Since then, Congress has moved periodically to toughen the sanctions with legislation, and a series of presidents have also taken executive steps to tighten or loosen the screws on Cuba.

Experts agree that Obama, who with actions on healthcare and immigration has signaled a willingness to test the lengths of executive power, has significant discretion when it comes to U.S. policy toward Cuba.

The six laws are written in a way to give the executive branch latitude in enforcing the law, and regulations are used to implement many of the sanctions.

This is how Obama operates.

Donald Trump has now announced that what the executive order gives, it can just as easily take away.

President-elect Donald Trump said Monday he will reverse President Obama’s thaw with Cuba if the island nation’s government does not make reforms.

“If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal,” Trump tweeted.

Trump is pledging to follow through on a campaign promise to undo Obama’s decision to open diplomatic and commercial ties with Cuba if the communist government doesn’t adopt changes.

In a signal that this will be the policy of the new administration, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has said the same thing

Personally, I am sort of agnostic on the sanctions regime. There is a strong case to be made that the Castro crime syndicate was only able to survive as long as it has because of the unifying factor it made of hatred for the dread Uncle Sam and the norteamericanos. Having said that, national policy needs to be preceded by a national discussion. Obama decided that toadying to another tyrant was more important than the law and went his own way. Right now nothing would please me more than for Trump to pull the plug on Obama’s concessions.

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Here Is Trump’s Busy Schedule of Cabinet Appointment Interviews for Today

trump-ugly-grin

President-elect Donald Trump has at least eight meetings today related to filling cabinet posts. The meetings begin at 1 p.m. at Trump Tower in New York. The meetings are all scheduled to last 30 minutes.

  • 1 p.m. Sandeep Mathrani, the CEO of General Growth Properties;
  • 1:30 p.m. Paul Atkins, the CEO of Patomak Global Partners, and a former commissioner of the SEC;
  • 2 p.m. Kathleen Hartnett White, the director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation;
  • 2:30 p.m. Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta, a Conservative House Republican who backed Trump early;
  • 3 p.m. Dave Steward, the chairman of World Wide Technology;
  • 3:30 p.m. Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma;
  • 4 p.m. David A. Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County; and
  • 4:30 p.m. John Allison, the former chairman of BB&T.

So far Trump has filled the following positions:

  • Attorney General: Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (pending Senate confirmation);
  • Ambassador to the United Nations: Ambassador to the United Nations (pending Senate confirmation);
  • Deputy National Security Advisor: Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland;
  • Director of the Central Intelligence Agency: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo (pending Senate confirmation);
  • National Security Advisor: Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn;
  • Secretary of Education: Secretary of Education – school choice activist (pending Senate confirmation); and
  • White House Counsel: Donald F. McGahn.

Cabinet-level Positions remaining to be filled:

  • Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Administrator of the Small Business Administration
  • Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget
  • Secretary of Agriculture;
  • Secretary of Commerce: Trump is expected to nominate Wilbur Ross, a billionaire investor and Weehawken native, to run the commerce department, according to reports. As secretary, Ross would help promote American business and oversee trade. Reports say Trump is also likely to pick Todd Ricketts, a top GOP donor and the owner of the Chicago Cubs, as deputy secretary.
  • Secretary of Defense
  • Secretary of Energy
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • Secretary of the Interior
  • Secretary of Labor
  • Secretary of State
  • Secretary of Transportation
  • Secretary of the Treasury
  • Secretary of Veterans Affair
  • Trade Representative

And we haven’t even talked about the other 4,000 political appointments Trump will make to run the Government.

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Washington Post Quotes A Fake News Source In A Story On Fake News

Last week the Washington Post ran a rather lurid story claiming to trace the influence of Russian propaganda on the US election (full disclosure, I think the theory is bullsh** but some people really need a hobby). it was headlined Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say.

The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.

If you can’t see the irony in that second paragraph, you probably shouldn’t be reporting on fake news. Be that as it may, the “researchers” are nothing if not magnanimous.

Some players in this online echo chamber were knowingly part of the propaganda campaign, the researchers concluded, while others were “useful idiots” — a term born of the Cold War to describe people or institutions that unknowingly assisted Soviet Union propaganda efforts.

There are two parts to the story. Even if we concede that fake news circulated during this campaign, and it does during all campaigns, the real issue is whether a) anyone believed and, more importantly b) if anyone changed their vote based on these articles.

Glenn Greenwald, writing in The Intercept, points out that what the Post doesn’t do is identify who the experts are or anything about their methodology. There are two organizations mentioned: a think tank called the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a heretofore unheard of group called PropOrNot. We know the former is a “neo-conservative” think tank that is hostile to Russia, NTTAWWT. In fact, I could be accused of the same. The second group, which provides the background for the article, is completely anonymous. We don’t know the names of the analysts, the management, or where the funding comes from:

In casting the group behind this website as “experts,” the Post described PropOrNot simply as “a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.” Not one individual at the organization is named. The executive director is quoted, but only on the condition of anonymity, which the Post said it was providing the group “to avoid being targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers.”

The credentials of this supposed group of experts are impossible to verify, as none is provided either by the Post or by the group itself. The Intercept contacted PropOrNot and asked numerous questions about its team, but received only this reply: “We’re getting a lot of requests for comment and can get back to you today =) [smiley face emoticon].” The group added: “We’re over 30 people, organized into teams, and we cannot confirm or deny anyone’s involvement.”

Thus far, they have provided no additional information beyond that. As Fortune’s Matthew Ingram wrote in criticizing the Post article, PropOrNot’s Twitter account “has only existed since August of this year. And an article announcing the launch of the group on its website is dated last month.” WHOIS information for the domain name is not available, as the website uses private registration.

More troubling still, PropOrNot listed numerous organizations on its website as “allied” with it, yet many of these claimed “allies” told The Intercept, and complained on social media, they have nothing to do with the group and had never even heard of it before the Post published its story.

TO HYPE ITS story, the Post article uncritically highlights PropOrNot’s flamboyant claim that stories planted or promoted by Russia’s “disinformation campaign” were viewed more than 213 million times. Yet no methodology is provided for any of this: how a website is determined to merit blacklist designation or how this reach was calculated. As Ingram wrote: “How is that audience measured? We don’t know. Stories promoted by this network were shared 213 million times, it says. How do we know this? That’s unclear.”

What we do know about PropOrNot from its twitter feed leads to some doubts about its, well, bona fides:

propornot

Greenwald is not alone in his criticism of this report

Sheera Frankel writes for BuzzFeed. Yes, you got it. The Washington Post ran a story that had been rejected by BuzzFeed because of the shady sourcing.

Who got labeled as Russian stooges? Just about any outlet that was critical of Hillary Clinton regardless of their politics:

One of the core functions of PropOrNot appears to be its compilation of a lengthy blacklist of news and political websites that it smears as peddlers of “Russian propaganda.” Included on this blacklist of supposed propaganda outlets are prominent independent left-wing news sites such as Truthout, Naked Capitalism, Black Agenda Report, Consortium News, and Truthdig.

Also included are popular libertarian hubs such as Zero Hedge, Antiwar.com, and the Ron Paul Institute, along with the hugely influential right-wing website the Drudge Report and the publishing site WikiLeaks. Far-right, virulently anti-Muslim blogs such as Bare Naked Islam are likewise dubbed Kremlin mouthpieces. Basically, everyone who isn’t comfortably within the centrist Hillary Clinton/Jeb Bush spectrum is guilty. On its Twitter account, the group announced a new “plugin” that automatically alerts the user that a visited website has been designated by the group to be a Russian propaganda outlet.

You either have a free press or you don’t. Nothing done by any of the fake news rose to the level, documented by John Podesta’s hacked emails, of “mainstream” journalists actually coordinating their coverage of the Clinton campaign with the Clinton campaign. In fact, mainstream news outlets were not even included in the study.

If one wants to see where this is going, you don’t need to look any further that PolitiFact or the Washington Post’s Fact Check or Snopes. Every Democrat claim is ruled true, check the coverage of Obamacare if you doubt me on this, and criticisms of the progressive party line are ruled false. A Mitt Romney claim was ruled “true but false” by the Washington Post and Federalist article on the Clinton Foundation was ruled “true but misleading.”

In its most honest form this is simply a raw attempt at censorship and discrediting views not acceptable to the corporatists elite in America. At its worst, it is just another attack on the trust Americans have in any news media… something very much like what the Russians would do.

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Declared Competent, Dylann Roof Will Now Act As His Own Attorney

What’s the best way to follow up a mental competency hearing that finds you able to stand trial? Do something totally crazy like deciding to represent yourself at your own trial.

But that’s what Dylann Roof, the man charged with killing nine parishioners at a black church in Charleston in June of 2015, will be doing as his case heads to trial.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel told Roof he felt the decision was “strategically unwise,” but allowed the request to go through. Roof’s attorneys will act as stand-by counsel, which he’ll definitely need considering the uphill effort he’s walking into.

Roof faces a total of 33 charges, which include hate crimes as well as murder. According to CBS:

Roof is charged in federal court with hate crimes, obstruction of religion and other counts in connection with the June 17, 2015, attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

At Roof’s competency hearing, Gergel heard testimony from psychologist James Ballenger and four other unnamed witnesses and reviewed sworn statements from three others, the judge wrote in his order.

Roof also has already been found competent in state court, where prosecutors plan a second death penalty trial on nine counts of murder.

Trials where the defendant represents himself rarely goes well and is typically warned against, as Judge Gergel noted.

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