OpEd: There are numerous reports of phoney stories posted on social media that helped Donald Trump win the election.
Facebook is the main villain because it initially denied there was any problem.
Google, without being asked, said it was going to review its algos to keep phoney stories off Google Plus.
Users have complained they are not going to use Twitter and other sites until the problems are fixed.
“Last week Buzzfeed revealed that a handful of teens in Macedonia, were responsible for dozens or more of the inaccurate conspiracy theories that had been getting sometimes hundreds of thousands of likes and shares on Facebook. Nearly all of these were in favour of Donald Trump. They’d gamed Facebook’s algorithm, noting that stories aimed at Clinton supporters didn’t make as many ad dollars as those aimed at Trump supporters,” Forbes reported.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, said this was “a pretty crazy idea.”
“A quiet group of rebel Facebook employees have created a fake-news “task force” to address the issue of hoax news appearing in users’ feeds, BuzzFeed News reports.
“More than dozens” of employees have banded together, fearing retribution from management and meeting in secret, and plan to come up with a set of recommendations to deliver to Facebook’s management about how to fix the fake-news problem. “What’s crazy,” one anonymous Facebook employee tells BuzzFeed, “is for [Zuckerberg] to come out and dismiss it like that, when he knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season,” said Vanity Fair.
Gizmodo said Facebook was afraid of a conservative backlash.
“It’s no secret that Facebook has a fake news problem. Critics have accused the social network of allowing false and hoax news stories to run rampant, with some suggesting that Facebook contributed to Donald Trump’s election by letting hyper-partisan websites spread false and misleading information.
They absolutely have the tools to shut down fake news "Still, it’s hard to visit Facebook without seeing phony headlines like “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide” or “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement” promoted by no-name news sites like the Denver Guardian and Ending the Fed."
Google publicly declared it had seen the problem and was working on it. It was embarrassed by reports it carried saying Trump had won the popular vote.
Hillary Clinton has at least one million more votes, perhaps more.
Westerners were cheered by the Arab spring several years ago, when social media brought down Arab dictators. Many tyrants regained power, and no one in the U.S. expected we would see our own November winter.
Trump took credit for his mastery of social media, declaring it helped him win. He said he didn’t have the money the Clintons had so he used social media.
Many users who supported Clinton blocked these hoax news stories.
But they showed up on many Facebook sites. No one realized they were hoaxes. Some defriended the people posting these false stories. But many were generated by bots.
Trump has threatened libel against news outlets like the New York Times which publish articles critical of him. He sent them several tweets.
The Times replied that they would keep reporting all the truth on trump and he could shove it.
Trump’s latest manoeuvres are to try the block on his several trials for federal racketeering charge.
The status of a 14-year-old who claims Trump and a friend raped her. It is in limbo after she has received death threats.
Op-ed: The final votes remain to be counted but Hillary Clinton got 2 million votes more than Donald Trump. She got 63 million and he got 61 million.
Sixty-one million people cast ballots for Trump.
And the Times and others say as more West Coast votes are counted her margin is likely to increase.
Hundreds of thousands of voter fraud were reported on Twitter but a Trump administration is unlikely to investigate. There also were stories of voter suppression.
In fact, Clinton has accused the FBI of winning the election for Trump with false accusations.
FBI Director “James Comey's announcement of a new inquiry into her use of email while secretary of state shortly before election day had stopped her campaign's momentum,” Clinton told the BBC.
This same Comey blocked allegations of Russia intervening on Trump’s side because it was too close to the election.
“The Russian government maintained contacts with members of Donald J. Trump’s “immediate entourage” during the American presidential campaign,” one of Russia’s top diplomats said Thursday.
“There were contacts,” Sergei A. Ryabkov, the deputy foreign minister, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. “We continue to do this and have been doing this work during the election campaign,” he said.
This is the fifth time the winner of the popular vote has lost because States voted in the Electoral College. In all five cases Democrats had the most votes.
While Trump has sought to be conciliatory, particularly on Obamacare, it remains to be seen whether the Republicans in the Senate and House will cooperate. And his base will soon be calling him a liar if he backs off.
Trump’s “Trump University” fraud trial is still set to begin Nov. 28. The judge handling the case has refused to delay it but has suggested a settlement might be a good idea because the presidency is involved.
One again, Trump would be settling a lawsuit with money.
And when will be the public get to see his taxes. He may not be able to hide them once he is in the White House.
New York Times
Was it Yogi Berra who said “it is déjà vu all over again?”
With 99 percent of the vote counted, Hillary Clinton had about 200,000 votes more than Donald Trump. She had 59,814,000 while Trump had 59,611,000 but he had more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win and she was stuck at 228.
"It certainly is going to bring this back into the forefront of public discussion," John Koza, the founder of the National Popular Vote campaign, which aims to effectively get rid of the Electoral College, told NBC on Tuesday night as votes were counted.
"We think every vote should be equal throughout the United States," he said. "We think the candidate who gets the most votes should become president."
In a country where it is supposed to be one man, or one woman, one vote, this destroys for some the legitimacy of a government already unpopular.
And it would be the second time in 16 years.
George Bush was elected in 2000 after several days of counting and court cases only settled by the Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court. Bush won a second-term but became widely unpopular because of a recession and war in Iraq that was launched looking for weapons of mass destruction that were never found. Some believe the war led to the creation of ISIS terrorists.
The nation still hasn’t recovered and the Middle East plague of terrorists has reached the U.S. and Europe.
Former Vice President Al Gore, meanwhile, had more votes but chose to concede in 2000 to avoid creating a controversy that might hurt the nation.
This week, unlike 2000, it was clear in 24 hours that Trump lost the popular vote and thousands of his opponents hit the streets in big cities from coast-to-coast in non-violent protests Wednesday night. A common cry was that Trump was not their president.
Also unlike 2000, Republicans will be inheriting a government that they deliberately sought to destroy. They publicly stated they would make it impossible for President Obama to get anything done when he was first elected in 2008.
It was a fight all the way, though Obama restored the economy to previous levels and killed Osama bin Laden.
Trump will have a narrow margin in the Senate, and it would be no surprise if Democrats block him any time they can.
The battle to take away the rights of women and gays by appointing conservatives could backfire. The way the court works, justices try to avoid turning around on important decisions.
Cornell University says: “Stare decisis is the doctrine of precedent. Courts cite to stare decisis when an issue has been previously brought to the court and a ruling already issued. Generally, courts will adhere to the previous ruling, though this is not universally true. See, e.g. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 US 833.
Stare decisis is Latin for “to stand by things decided.” The doctrine operates both horizontally and vertically.
Horizontal stare decisis refers to a court adhering to its own precedent. A court engages in vertical stare decisis when it applies precedent from a higher court. Consequently, stare decisis discourages litigating established precedents, and thus, reduces spending.
“According to the Supreme Court, stare decisis “promotes the evenhanded, predictable, and consistent development of legal principles, fosters reliance on judicial decisions, and contributes to the actual and perceived integrity of the judicial process.”
In practice, the Supreme Court will usually defer to its previous decisions even if the soundness of the decision is in doubt.
A benefit of this rigidity is that a court need not continuously reevaluate the legal underpinnings of past decisions and accepted doctrines. “Moreover, proponents argue that the predictability afforded by the doctrine helps clarify constitutional rights for the public. Other commentators point out that courts and society only realize these benefits when decisions are published and made available. Thus, some scholars assert that stare decisis is harder to justify in cases involving secret opinions.”
President Trump vowed the morning after he was elected to be conciliatory.
Nevertheless, he will be under pressure from his base to overturn decisions supported by the majority in many polls.
With California voting to legalize recreational marijuana, which is growing more popular from coast to coast, Trump will be risking losing his majorities in both the House and Senate. Seven states have legalized recreational marijuana and more than a dozen more have made medical marijuana legal.
The 2018 election has already begun.
Op-ed: Could Our Next President Go To Jail?
“Lock her up,” “Lock Her Up,” is often heard at Donald Trump rallies, along with pro-NAZI, KKK and anti-Jewish shouts.
There is a precedent for such action after a presidential election.
And it even occurred more than four years after the election.
The president and vice president generally have immunity for acts committed while in office.
But it was a Republican – then Vice President Spiro T. Agnew.
Elected as Richard Nixon’s vice president in 1968, he got in trouble in his second term.
“In 1973, Agnew was investigated by the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland on charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery, and conspiracy. He was charged with having accepted bribes totaling more than $100,000 while holding office as Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland, and Vice President. On October 10 that same year, Agnew was allowed to plead no contest to a single charge that he had failed to report $29,500 of income received in 1967, with the condition that he resign the office of Vice President,” Wikipedia reports.
“Nearly ten years after leaving office, Agnew paid the state of Maryland nearly $270,000 as a result of a civil suit that stemmed from the bribery allegations.”
Although Trump has been able to escape jail with settlements of numerous fraud cases his luck may be running out.
The first of at least one trial for fraud at his “Trump University” and he faces trial for allegedly raping a teen. That case is set for December.
In some cases these trials have been repeatedly delayed.
“A jury trial will begin on November 28 in California federal court for one of the three pending class-action lawsuits against him over Trump University.The civil fraud case going to trial alleges the university violated false advertising laws with its programs in Florida, New York, and California for claiming that Trump would handpick instructors and that they would have extensive real estate experience. Students also say they were deceived into maxing out their credit cards to pay for Trump University fees without getting any practical advice in return.
“Another case is also pending in California federal court on behalf of all Trump University participants.
“The third is in New York state court following a lawsuit filed by New York’s attorney general accusing Trump University of fraud as it “repeatedly deceived students into thinking that they were attending a legally chartered ‘university.’” That lawsuit also claims students were misled about the instructors. The university was not in fact accredited, nor was Trump involved in selecting instructors. They instead were given scripts that told them to pretend they had met Trump.”
These are civil cases.
He could go to jail on rape charges if convicted.
“Trump’s lawyers will appear in New York district court on December 16 for a lawsuit claiming that he raped a child, referred to only as “Jane Doe,” when she was 13 in 1994.
Doe’s complaint alleges that Trump and Jeffrey Epstein (the latter a former banker and a sex offender) subjected her to “acts of rape, sexual misconduct, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse, forcible touching, assault, battery,” and other forms of emotional and physical duress.
The instances, it says, took place at a series of parties at Epstein’s residence in New York City. Doe says that during their last alleged encounter, Trump tied her to a bed and then violently raped her in a “savage sexual attack” while she pleaded with him to stop. She says that he told her if she ever spoke publicly about what happened, he would hurt her and her family, Think Progress also reported.
Op-ed: While the media was chasing its tail on a British-tabloid inspired Clinton email story the regular police were at work. They caught a Trump supporter voting twice in Des Moines, Iowa.
Overnight Friday many media sites backed off the new Hillary Clinton email story, but any harm may have already been done.
“This is the sentence, published in September by the Daily Mail, that led to Hillary Clinton's new FBI woes: "Anthony Weiner carried on a months-long online sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl during which she claims he asked her to dress up in 'school-girl' outfits for him on a video messaging application and pressed her to engage in 'rape fantasies.'"
“By the time of that report, Weiner's sexting relapse had been exposed weeks earlier by the New York Post, which published messages that the former New York congressman exchanged with a "40-something divorcee." The New York Post story prompted Weiner's wife, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, to announce she was leaving her husband, but it did not suggest criminal behavior.”
… “Thus we have Friday's news that the FBI is renewing its inquiry into Clinton's use of a private email server. All because of story in a British tabloid,” the Washington Post reported.
Meanwhile, egged on by Donald Trump’s claims of vote rigging, a woman was caught voting twice in Des Moines. The FBI was nowhere in sight but the local police arrested her.
Peacock Panache reported: “According to law enforcement, 55-year old Terri Lynn Rote is being charged with first-degree election misconduct charge (a felony) for casting two votes at different Poke County early voting locations.
“Rote is a professed Trump supporter and told reporters during the primaries she planned to support Donald Trump. Moreover, her Facebook page not only shows support for the Trump-Pence ticket but also features a host of easily debunked anti-Clinton conspiracy theories.
“The Des Moines Register offered details on the arrest:
“Rote, a registered Republican, reportedly cast an early voting ballot at the Polk County Election Office, 120 Second Ave., and another ballot at a county satellite voting location in Des Moines, according to a Des Moines police report.
“It’s the first time in 12 years that Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald can remember ever having to report potential voter fraud, he said Thursday morning.
“I think it shows that our voting system works in Iowa, that we’re able to catch it,” Fitzgerald told press.
The 538 election statistics web site predicted the sketchy October surprise could cost Clinton one point in the polls. Many people have already made up their minds, and many have actually voted early.
The FBI was under intense pressure from both parties to explain why it released an incomplete investigtaive report.
Op-ed: Not only is Donald Trump behind in polls with about two weeks to go, pundits believe his remarks about nasty women will elect more of them than ever before.
“The irony is that Donald Trump may result in Democratic women having their best year ever.
In the final two weeks of the 2016 contest, Democrats are casting the GOP nominee’s insult-driven, misogynistic campaign as the embodiment of everything they say the Republican Party gets wrong on women. And their effort looks poised to deliver record-setting results,” Politico reports.
“It’s not just Hillary Clinton, who would of course be the first female president if she defeats him, or Nancy Pelosi, who has a slim chance of reclaiming the speaker’s gavel if enough Republican seats get sunk by Trump. In many of their most competitive races, Democrats are poised to win House and Senate seats that could easily bring the number of women to new levels in both chambers, along with potentially two female governors winning their first elections.”
For three weekends in a row, after he bragged about being such a big star he could grab any woman’s private parts, Trump has been the target of hilarious skits on Saturday Night Live that have gotten some record ratings.
The election website 538 predicts Trump’s foul tongue will depress the turnout of Republicans.
“The nightmare scenario for the GOP is that high-information Republican voters, seeing Trump imploding and not necessarily having been happy with him as their nominee in the first place, feel free to cast a protest vote at the top of the ticket. Meanwhile, lower information Repubican voters don’t turn out at all, given that Trump’s rigging rhetoric could suppress their vote and that Republicans don’t have the field operation to pull them back in,” said 538.
The New York Times has published a list of Trump insults.
Last weekend a Saturday Night Live skit, hosted by the popular Tom Hanks, drew laughs by saying Trump had won the national election insult “Bingo.”
The latest polls have Hillary Clinton with a lead of at least five percent, some put her in double digits.
To win she needs 270 votes in the electoral collect.
Many believe she will top 330 votes.
New York Times
Op-ed: When Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton the devil and threatened to jail her it was not the first time I had heard such talk, though not in recent years and in America.
It reminded me of political contests in the Third World, and often the incumbent made good threats to jail opponents.
Sometimes they were never seen again.
This was over the top even for a potty mouth. We don’t threaten opponents on debate stages.
"If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your (missing email) situation," Trump said, "because there has never been so many lies, so much deception."
Trump's threat -- which he has made before on the campaign trail -- is extraordinary even by the standard of the vitriolic 2016 campaign.
Clinton responded first by calling Trump's comments about her emails false, then said, "It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country."
Trump, as if continuing her sentence, added: "Because you'd be in jail."
It was very Nixonian, said former Attorney General Eric Holder, a Democrat. He recalled Nixon’s attorney general quit when ordered to fire the Watergate special prosecutor.
But Republicans were shocked as well.
“Former White House said, "Winning candidates don't threaten to put opponents in jail," he tweeted. "Presidents don't threaten prosecution of individuals. Trump is wrong on this."
There was a certain irony as Trump stalked Hillary on the stage, to use the verb chosen by several pundits, to talk about jailing her.
He is the one facing trial three weeks after the election for running a phoney university. And he will face trial in more than one state for ripping off students. Trump’s Foundation has been ordered to cease and desist taking donations because it is not registered.
In our living room, and many others from what I heard on several stations, people wondered why the taller Trump kept creeping up behind Clinton when it was her turn to speak. It seemed like something from a Frankenstein movie.
In the past such bizarre behavior has worked for Trump. Appparently not Sunday night.
Nearly as scary as the jail threat was his total lack of knowledge of Russia’s role in Syria. It reminded some viewers of Libertarian Gary Johnson’s comment “What is Aleppo.”
The two polls taken right after the event showed Hillary the winner.
Before the debate many Republicans had abandoned him, others said they would look for a strong performance to get him back in the race as his poll numbers tumble.
2016 US election news and other news from the USA
Worked in journalism, including on the Internet, for more than 40 years. Started as a news editor at the Colorado Daily at the University of Colorado, joined a small Montana newspaper, the Helena Independent-Record, and then United Press International.