The Manchurian Candidate

Some more of the same

Some readers may not comprehend the implication, or what this has to do with Heinz 57. I will not get around to explaining that.

In the meantime, America may be on the verge of experiencing a movie plot played out live on TV. That said, let’s discuss President-elect Donald Trump.

Yesterday ABC World News with David Muir featured P-E Trump’s ongoing feud with the United States intelligence services. In my spare time (I’m retired) I captured some screen shots for your viewing pleasure while I replay as much of the dialog as I feel necessary. The story from ABC News takes note of some interesting points:

In an unprecedented public display of acrimony, President-elect Donald Trump and the CIA are engaged in a war of words over the extent and details of Russian efforts to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.

“There must be big smiles this morning at the Kremlin,” said former White House cybersecurity official Richard Clarke, now an ABC News consultant. “It’s unprecedented that a president-elect should be denigrating CIA, refusing to read their intelligence and disagreeing with them on a major substantive issue even before he is inaugurated.”

Trump used his Twitter account this morning to continue his effort over the weekend to discredit the CIA and its reported conclusion that the Russians hacked into Democratic Party computers in an effort to help elect Trump.

Trump tweeted, “Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!”

His Twitter rant followed a statement issued by a U.S. intelligence official this morning denouncing the pushback against the intelligence community’s assessment.

Responding to Trump’s comments over the weekend, an intelligence official told Reuters, “It is concerning that intelligence on Russian actions related to the U.S. election is being dismissed out of hand as false or politically partisan.”

“The inclination to ignore such intelligence and impugn the integrity of U.S. intelligence officials is contrary to all that is sacred to national security professionals who work day and night to protect this country,” the official said.

Allow me to play some screen shots from the program with associated language:

Trump: You know, I’m like a smart person. I don’t have to  be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.

That was Donald Trump explaining why he has not been participating in daily security briefings, something serious candidates have been doing for decades before him.

Call me a bleeding-heart liberal if you want, but I appreciate having a smart person in the head office for a change. Now it appears we are going to at last have one. We know this is true, because he says so.

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Not so fast. Leaders in Congress, yes, this includes the Republican congressional leadership, are saying they want to take a closer look. Donald Trump may dismiss Russian tampering in a United States election, but these people, who have made a career of public service, realize this kind of thing is erosive of public trust and needs to be dealt with professionally. Which does not include getting the President-elect involved.

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From the ABC news broadcast:

Tonight, Republican leaders in Congress, breaking with President-elect Trump, announcing they will investigate whether Russia used hackers to try and influence the election, something Trump doesn’t believe happened, even though the Director of National Intelligence said it did.

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Trump has his own take:

They have no idea if it’s Russia, or China, or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place.

Yes, readers, you heard it here. The man who wants to be President of the United States thinks our intelligence agencies can’t figure out whether a person, alone in his bedroom, is grinning and tipping the scales in an American election. The CIA has over 21,000 employees and an annual budget of $15 billion (2013)—your tax money. And they can’t figure out whether Igor Baddenuff on Solentz Ulitza in Novogorod is calling the shots on the American presidency. Guess which agency is due the ax when President Trump steps down from the platform on inauguration day.

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The Donald had more to say, and the screen shot says it all.

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Unless you catch “hackers” in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn’t this brought up before [the] election?

Donald, it was brought up prior to the election. That is, of course, if you consider October this year to have been before the election.

 

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Trump’s denial of any involvement is belied by his public utterances during the campaign:

Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.

No friend of Donald Trump, but earnest about a future in American politics, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida remarked on Donald Trumps romance with Putin and his appointment as Secretary of State of Rex Tillerson, currently CEO of ExxonMobil and a person known to  have close dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Close only if you consider sharing champaign toasts and receiving Russia’s Order of Friendship, personally pinned on his jacket by Vlad the Ensnarer.

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Members of the American  intelligence community are not taking this lightly.

I think it would be devastating to hear that the incoming President doesn’t value the intelligence that will come out of the agency.

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Trump supporters appear to be in denial over l’affaire Putin. A woman I have known since childhood is casting this as a political ploy by the Democrats.

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To make this available to search engines, I’m including a transcript of the Facebook post:

Barbara Lewis Darr

Who in the world caused this so called security breech [sic] in the election? The Russians may or may not have done the actual hacking, but I can only think of one group that is politicizing this to discredit Donalt Trump’s presidency and somehow throw it back to Clinton. However, another thought is perhaps Obama wants to declare the election null and void and try to serve a third term.

There are a number of issues with this statement and others like it. For one, there is no doubt who did this. The Russian government was behind these security breaches.

Second, there is no need for Clinton to politicize this. This business was politics from the get go. The Russian government, no friends of the United States and the current administration, apparently saw this as an opportunity to poke a stick in the eye of the great power to their west. My personal opinion is Vladimir Putin prefers a Trump presidency over Hillary Clinton and figured they had nothing to lose by weighing in as best they could. Would having Donald Trump elected President of the United States cause our country to become a laughing stock to the rest of the world? Look around.

And finally, the idea the election could be declared null and void is a bit of absurdity that ignores what was taught in civics class in high school The 22nd Amendment seems to prevent President Obama from serving a third term.

That said, there is concern that electors might change their votes. There is nothing in the law to prevent them from doing so, and it has happened in the past:

On 22 occasions, 179 electors have not cast their votes for President or Vice President as prescribed by the legislature of the state they represented. Of those, 71 electors changed their votes because the candidate to whom they were pledged died before the electoral ballot (1872, 1912). Two electors chose to abstain from voting for any candidate (1812, 2000).[2] The remaining 106 were changed by the elector’s personal interest, or perhaps by accident. Usually, the faithless electors act alone. An exception was the 1836 election, in which all 23 Virginia electors acted together.

The 1836 election was the only occasion when faithless electors altered the outcome of the electoral college vote. The Democratic ticket won states with 170 of the 294 electoral votes, but the 23 Virginia electors abstained in the vote for Vice President, so the Democratic nominee, Richard M. Johnson, got only 147 (exactly half), and was not elected. However, Johnson was elected Vice President by the U.S. Senate.

Full disclosure: I voted for Clinton, but I would be distressed at seeing electors renege on their commitment and change the outcome of the election. You want something to undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of our government? This is the way to do it. To the Republicans in their misery I say, “You voted for this guy. You are going to be stuck with him.”

And may Jesus have mercy on your souls.

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