Showing posts with label Elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elections. Show all posts

February 18, 2017

Three Different FBI Investigations into Russia’s Election Hacking

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is pursuing at least three separate probes relating to alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential elections, according to five current and former government officials with direct knowledge of the situation.

While the fact that the FBI is investigating had been reported previously by the New York Times and other media, these officials shed new light on both the precise number of inquires and their focus.

The FBI's Pittsburgh field office, which runs many cyber security investigations, is trying to identify the people behind breaches of the Democratic National Committee's computer systems, the officials said. Those breaches, in 2015 and the first half of 2016, exposed the internal communications of party officials as the Democratic nominating convention got underway and helped undermine support for Hillary Clinton.

The Pittsburgh case has progressed furthest, but Justice Department officials in Washington believe there is not enough clear evidence yet for an indictment, two of the sources said.

Meanwhile the bureau’s San Francisco office is trying to identify the people who called themselves “Guccifer 2” and posted emails stolen from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s account, the sources said. Those emails contained details about fundraising by the Clinton Foundation and other topics.

Beyond the two FBI field offices, FBI counterintelligence agents based in Washington are pursuing leads from informants and foreign communications intercepts, two of the people said.

This counterintelligence inquiry includes but is not limited to examination of financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. The transactions under scrutiny involve investments by Russians in overseas entities that appear to have been undertaken through middlemen and front companies, two people briefed on the probe said.

Reuters could not confirm which entities and individuals were under scrutiny.

Scott Smith, the FBI's new assistant director for cyber crime, declined to comment this week on which FBI offices were doing what or how far they had progressed.

The White House had no comment on Friday on the Russian hacking investigations. A spokesman pointed to a comment Trump made during the campaign, in which he said: “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia, but I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people."

During a news conference Thursday, President Donald Trump said he had no business connections to Russia.

The people who spoke to Reuters also corroborated a Tuesday New York Times report that Americans with ties to Trump or his campaign had repeated contacts with current and former Russian intelligence officers before the November election. Those alleged contacts are among the topics of the FBI counterintelligence investigation.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco. Additional reporting by Dustin Volz in San Francisco and Mark Hosenball, John Walcott and Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Tomasz Janowski)

On ElectionA/M Russian SecOfficer Found Dead on Floor of Consulate

 NYC Morgue workers come in thru service entrance

In NEW YORK — He was found just before 7 a.m. on Election Day, lying on the floor of the Russian Consulate on the Upper East Side.

The man was unconscious and unresponsive, with an unidentified head wound — “blunt force trauma,” in cop parlance. By the time emergency responders reached him, he was dead.
Initial reports said the nameless man had plunged to his death from the roof of the consulate. As journalists rushed to the scene, consular officials quickly changed the narrative. The anonymous man had not fallen dozens of feet from the roof of the consular building, they said, but rather had suffered a heart attack in the security office, and died.

By the time the man’s body left the morgue the next day, Donald J. Trump was president-elect of the United States.

By the time the man’s body left the morgue the next day, Donald J. Trump was president-elect of the United States. It was the culmination of a sensational, bitterly divisive political campaign that US intelligence agencies would later say Russia actively sought to manipulate and skew in Trump’s favor. With the election results, the world had turned upside down, and the death of the man at the consulate quickly faded from view.

Police officers said the death of Sergei Krivov — his name revealed here publicly for the first time — looked natural, and listed the case as closed.
But who was Krivov? And how did he really die? Three months after he was found dead, as tensions between the US and Russia reach a fever pitch, the New York City medical examiner isn’t sure he had a heart attack after all.
As far as paper trails go, dying is a messy thing, even under normal circumstances. But in the months since Krivov’s death, it’s proven nearly impossible to find out how he died, who he was, and how, if at all, federal authorities were involved in any investigation.

English-language news reports said Krivov, identified then only as a 63-year-old Russian national and Manhattan resident, was a security officer. But a November report from Sputnik, the English-language Russian media outlet, says he was a consular duty commander.

That position is no ordinary security guard. According to other public Russian-language descriptions of the duty commander position, Krivov would have been in charge of, among other things, “prevention of sabotage” and suppression of “attempts of secret intrusion” into the consulate.
In other words, it was Krivov’s job to make sure US intelligence agencies didn’t have ears in the building.
As far as paper trails go, dying is a messy thing, even under normal circumstances.
The duty commander would also have had access to the consulate’s crypto-card — the top secret codebreaker used to encrypt and decrypt messages transmitted between the consulate and other Russian channels. It was likely Krivov who helped transmit cables in and out of the heavily guarded building.

Despite being described as a Manhattan resident by the NYPD, Krivov is a phantom in public records. No one with his name, or any iteration of it, has lived in Manhattan for years, and the only other two Krivovs listed in New York state didn’t return calls asking if they knew a Sergei (in the NYPD’s files, Krivov’s name is not transliterated as “Sergei” or “Sergey” but as the less common “Cergej”). Neither were listed as related to one. An NYPD officer looking at the case file told BuzzFeed News no family was listed.

The NYPD told BuzzFeed News the responding officers were in contact with “whoever was in charge of the consulate” for information regarding Krivov.
But when BuzzFeed News went to Krivov’s address, listed in the NYPD’s files, at 11 E. 90th St., it wasn’t a residence. It’s a Smithsonian-owned office building for its neighboring Cooper Hewitt design museum. It’s located a block behind the Russian Consulate, which is at 9 E. 91st St. One of the consulate’s public entrances is 11 E. 91st St.

Asked about the discrepancy, the NYPD insisted that 11 E. 90th St. was the address they had been given for Krivov, apparently by Russian consular officials.
“No one is living here — this is where my desk is right now,” a Smithsonian employee at the address said when BuzzFeed News called.

It’s unclear how thoroughly or for how long the NYPD investigated Krivov’s death. Multiple officials declined to offer any details about the investigation. Several officers told BuzzFeed News the case is listed as “closed.”
“The narrative of the story is kind of vague, it’s not saying much,” one officer said, scanning the incident report with BuzzFeed News on the phone. “With all cases like this, it is investigated by the detective squad,” he said. “For some reason it was closed out.”

A separate officer said the case was listed as “no criminology suspected, natural causes.”
The medical examiner’s office, though, says their investigation of Krivov’s death remains open.
“The cause and manner of death are pending further studies,” said Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the office. “There are no results to share yet.”

After BuzzFeed News published this story, the Medical Examiner’s office said that, while it did continue investigating the cause of death, the office had determined Krivov died naturally.
“This is a natural death,” Bolcer said. “We are doing advanced studies to characterize the details of the underlying disease.”

Further, the office said it is not unusual for the NYPD to close the case despite the lack of a clear cause of death, since the office had said the death was not suspicious. Toxicology tests were completed, the office continued, and the results were not going to be related to the death.
But others who spoke with BuzzFeed News said his disconnect between the medical examiner’s office and the NYPD is not normal. In standard practice, a death investigation would not be formally closed by police officers until the medical examiner had reached a determination on the death.

“It’s open until you can get a cause of death….there has to be a complete circuit with a case,” said Marq Claxton, a former NYPD investigator. “That case is going to stay open until there’s a final determination, it could be a homicide, it could be something, it could be accidental or whatever.”
A separate medical examiner official said Krivov’s body had been released the day after his death, but declined to say to whom the body was released. That the medical examiner no longer has the body, but testing continues, suggests toxicology screening of tissue or blood samples.

It’s not necessarily uncommon for toxicology tests to take weeks or even months to come back. The medical examiner’s office would not specify the kind of further testing being done.
None of the five major funeral chapels or funeral homes in upper Manhattan knew of any recently deceased person named Krivov. The New York City Health Department declined BuzzFeed News’ request to search for records related to Krivov’s death, saying that by standard practices, any search had to be requested by a family member. The city’s burial desk, which tracks documentation from funeral homes, said it only files paperwork and doesn’t have a searchable database.

The NYPD denied BuzzFeed News’ request for the incident report, saying the request did not contain enough details, including the date, precinct, and location of Krivov’s death, or the incident number. BuzzFeed News’ request in fact included all of that information. A separate denial said the incident report “is not a public record and can only be obtained through due process of law (Court Ordered Subpoena).”
According to experts and former police officers, incident reports are not generally withheld by the NYPD.

“The incident report, after an investigation is closed, typically that is releasable,” said Michael Morisy, the founder of MuckRock, a nonprofit organization dedicated to government transparency and records laws. “It’s really weird that they would categorically state that was rejected…incident reports are not broadly exempt from public records law.”

In a last-ditch effort to find where Krivov’s body may have been taken, BuzzFeed News called Aeroflot airlines, the only major carrier with direct flights between New York and Moscow. Aeroflot would not say whether it had flown a body from New York to Russia in the days following Nov. 8. Information about body transports, it said, was classified and could only be released by a government entity.

As police made their way to the consulate that Election Day morning, Americans’ interest in Moscow had reached a fever pitch of Cold War–era proportions, fueled by a near-constant barrage of reports detailing a wide-ranging Russian intelligence operation that the US intelligence community says was designed to undermine the US election.

It stands to reason that Krivov, who was nearing the upper end of the mortality curve for Russian men, may have died a completely natural death, and that much of the hand-wringing over the incident is due to bureaucratic red tape rather than suspicious circumstances.
But given the unique circumstances — and a backdrop of plummeting US–Russia relations — the lack of information has done little to quell theories. The more questions that were asked about Krivov, the less people wanted to talk.

“No one seems to want to discuss this,” one law enforcement source said, after reaching out to other law enforcement officials to see what they had heard about the case.
In the hours following Krivov’s death, the NYPD had said it would identify him following notification of his family. When BuzzFeed News asked for his identity months later, police immediately said the request would have to go to through the US State Department.

The State Department, after being initially responsive, abruptly told BuzzFeed News it wouldn’t help, and said the information would have to come from the Russian Consulate.
“No one seems to want to discuss this.”
“I’m not sure why they would or would not want to share this,” one State Department official said in a follow-up phone call, referring to the NYPD and the State Department. A New York police officer eventually gave BuzzFeed News Krivov’s name.

The incident — and the lack of information surrounding it — has raised eyebrows in Washington.
Two sources to whom BuzzFeed News spoke, who requested anonymity to discuss the probe, said Krivov appeared to be a heavy drinker, which law enforcement concluded led to his natural death.
“I don’t think there’s anything there,” one US intelligence official said.
The State Department also refused to say whether Krivov was registered as a foreign agent, how long he had been in the US, what his immigration status was, and whether they had any contact with the Russian mission regarding his death.
When asked about the incident, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “Are you serious?” She continued: “He had heart problems, he had heart attacks. It’s weird that your outlet is interested in this.”

“The employee of the Consulate General of Russia Sergei Krivov passed away on November 8, 2016,” the consulate told BuzzFeed News. “An American doctor that was admitted to the Consulate General stated without a doubt that the death was by natural reasons. Medical examiners are currently establishing the cause of his death, but it is believed that the man suffered a heart attack.”
The FBI said it was not involved in investigating Krivov’s death. It declined to comment further and deferred to the NYPD.

The NYPD did not give BuzzFeed News an official comment on the investigation. BuzzFeed News spoke with the NYPD several times for this story, including with the precinct involved in the incident and the NYPD’s public affairs office.

Krivov’s place of employment — a palatial stone compound in Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side — has long been one of the premiere spy hotspots in the decades-old espionage war between the US and Moscow. Where many aficionados would understandably expect Washington, DC, to be prime real estate for cloak-and-dagger theater, New York City is oft-trodden territory, not least for its hosting of the United Nations.

It is unknown whether Krivov worked with Russian or US intelligence agencies. His work may not have even put him near any intelligence operations that were being run out of the consulate.
According to FBI court documents from 2015, the foreign arm of the Russian intelligence service, the SVR, likely keeps a secure office space inside the Manhattan consulate where Krivov worked.
In criminal documents filed against Evgeny Buryakov, Igor Sporyshev, and Victor Podobny — three undercover Russian foreign intelligence agents working in New York City — the bureau described “a secure office in Manhattan used by SVR agents to send and receive intelligence reports and assignments from Moscow (the ‘SVR NY Office’).”

The criminal complaint does not say specifically that the “SVR NY Office” is in the Manhattan consulate, but the document does say it is “located within an office maintained by the Russian Federation in New York, New York.”
It’s an open secret, US intelligence officials say, that the consulate is a staging ground for Russian intelligence operations. It’s also a coveted target for US agents. And its importance, officials say, has been underscored as US intelligence agencies try to get their arms around the Russians’ sweeping operation to manipulate the US election.

“That’s always a target,” the US intelligence official said of the Manhattan consulate.
In an unprecedented report issued in early January, on the eve of Trump’s inauguration, the intelligence community writ large detailed the concerted Russian effort to manipulate and undermine the US election. Key to the intelligence community assessment were a multitude of intelligence channels, including signals intelligence — or SIGINT — like intercepted electronic communications or IP addresses. The specifics of where that SIGINT came from, and what it consisted of, remain secret.

BuzzFeed News has filed a FOIA request with the NYPD for the police report on Krivov’s death, and any related paperwork. That request was received, but a determination has not yet been made as to whether the department will provide them.
Maybe those documents will provide insight into a death that, for now, remains a mystery. Nov. 8 began with his death, and ended with one of the most contentious political upsets in history. After that, Sergei Krivov simply vanished. ●

Ali Watkins is a national security correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C.
Contact Ali Watkins at

December 16, 2016

Pres.Obama Promises Retaliation for Putin’s Election Hacking

“It’s not as important to know where the information comes from and how Putin shucked not a finger but both hands and 12 toted feet but what we mostly need to know this is not going to be the Syrian red line on the sand. Putin must be taught now he is crossed the line and he better not do it again. If not, we might as well assign Russia their own electoral votes on the next election.  What ever is done cannot also be something the next President recipient of Putin generosity can undue with a tweet” [Adam at adamfoxie*blog Int]

Barack Obama has warned that the US will retaliate for Russian cyberattacks during the presidential election.

According to extracts of an interview due to air on National Public Radio on Friday morning, the US president said he was waiting for a final report he has ordered into a range of Russian hacking attacks, but promised there would be a response.
“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action,” Obama said. “And we will – at a time and place of our own choosing.

“Some of it may be explicit and publicised; some of it may not be.”

The CIA has judged that the Russian cyber attacks, including the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee, were intended to influence the election in Donald Trump’s favour, according to reports. The FBI agrees that there was Russian hacking but has not as yet concluded it was intended to favour the Republican contender.

Senators from both parties have called for a congressional enquiry, while Trump himself has rejected the reports and his office has derided the CIA.

Trump weighed in on Twitter to ask if it was the “same cyberattack where it was revealed that head of the DNC illegally gave Hillary the questions to the debate?” One of the hacked emails, from interim DNC head Donna Brazile, said that a woman from Flint, Michigan, would ask at a primary debate with Bernie Sanders what Clinton would do as president to help people in the town suffering from a lead-contaminated water supply. 

He earlier tweeted: “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”

In fact, the intelligence community had issued its statement on 7 October, a full month before polling day.

Obama said he would reserve judgment on Moscow’s intentions pending a final report but he said the impact of the intervention was clear. The debate over motivation, he said “does not in any way, I think, detract from the basic point that everyone during the election perceived accurately – that in fact what the Russian hack had done was create more problems for the Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign”.

He added: “There’s no doubt that it contributed to an atmosphere in which the only focus for weeks at a time, months at a time were Hillary’s emails, the Clinton Foundation, political gossip surrounding the DNC.”

The president did not attempt to gauge the full impact of the intervention, but insisted it had had an effect.
“Elections can always turn out differently,” he said. “You never know which factors are going to make a difference. But I have no doubt that it had some impact, just based on the coverage.”

In the NPR interview, Obama expressed incredulity at Republican party support for Trump’s foreign policy positions, which have been uniformly supportive of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

“This is somebody, the former head of the KGB, who is responsible for crushing democracy in Russia, muzzling the press, throwing political dissidents in jail, countering American efforts to expand freedom at every turn; is currently making decisions that’s leading to a slaughter in Syria,” the outgoing president said.

“And a big chunk of the Republican party, which prided itself during the Reagan era and for decades that followed as being the bulwark against Russian influence, now suddenly is embracing him.”

Earlier on Thursday, the White House went its furthest yet in joining the dots between Trump and Putin.

Press secretary Josh Earnest pointed reporters to a unanimous statement from all 17 intelligence agencies, issued in October, that found “only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities”.

The press secretary said that in his personal view, that sentence was “not intended to be subtle”, adding that it was “pretty obvious that they were referring to the senior-most government official in Russia”.

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, agreed. “I don’t think things happen in the Russian government of this consequence without Vladimir Putin knowing about it,” he told MSNBC.

But Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told state TV channel Rossiya-24 he was “dumbstruck” by the reports of Putin’s alleged involvement. “I think this is just silly, and the futility of the attempt to convince somebody of this is absolutely obvious,” he said.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday of the hacking accusation that the US should “either stop talking about it or finally produce some evidence, otherwise it all begins to look unseemly”.

The White House said Obama would hold a press conference in Washington on Friday at 2.15pm ET (7.15pm GMT) before leaving for his annual family vacation in Hawaii.

December 15, 2016

US Voting Agency After Election Vote was Bleached

The U.S. agency charged with ensuring that voting machines meet security standards was itself penetrated by a hacker after the elections in November, according to a security firm working with law enforcement on the matter.

The security firm, Recorded Future, was monitoring underground electronic markets where hackers buy and sell wares and discovered someone offering logon credentials for access to computers at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, company executives said.

Posing as a potential buyer, the researchers engaged in a conversation with the hacker, said Levi Gundert, vice president of intelligence at the company, and Andrei Barysevich, director of advanced collection.

Eventually they discovered that the hacker had obtained the credentials of more than 100 people at the Commission after exploiting a common database vulnerability, the researchers said.

The hacker was trying to sell information about the vulnerability to a Middle Eastern government for several thousand dollars, but the researchers alerted law enforcement and said Thursday that the hole had been patched.

Created by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and led by presidential appointees, the Election Assistance Commission certifies voting systems and develops standards for technical guidelines and best practices for election officials across the country.

A spokesman for the Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment. An FBI spokeswoman said her agency was unlikely to comment without confirmation from the Commission.   

The researchers said that the Russian-speaking hacker had an unusual business model, in that he scanned for ways to break into all manner of businesses and other entities and then moved rapidly to sell that access, rather than stealing the data himself.

“We don’t think he actually works for any government or is super-sophisticated,” Barysevich said.

In the case of the election commission, the hacker used methods including an SQL injection, a well-known and preventable flaw, obtaining a list of usernames and obfuscated passwords, which he was then able to crack.
Though much of the Commission’s work is public, the hacker gained access to non-public reports on flaws in voting machines.

In theory, someone could have used knowledge of such flaws to attack specific machines, said Matt Blaze, an electronic voting expert and professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

The researchers were confident that the hacker moved to sell his access soon after getting it, meaning that he was not inside the system before election day. Further, the U.S. voting process is decentralized and there were no reports of widespread fraud in November.


December 14, 2016

Putin Personally Implicated with Election Hacking

 Putin as the sign portrays not America or Russia great again but the WORLD great again like if Donald and Vladimir are going to split it up the whole world between the two. Scary idea under any scenario.

NBC News reported late Wednesday night that as suspected Trump had a big hand helping him on the election. The man that Donald Trump thinks so highly of and believe of as a friend, the American people think of him being no friend of this country:

U.S. intelligence officials now believe with "a high level of confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.

Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said. 

Ultimately, the CIA has assessed, the Russian government wanted to elect Donald Trump. The FBI and other agencies don't fully endorse that view, but few officials would dispute that the Russian operation was intended to harm Clinton's candidacy by leaking embarrassing emails about Democrats.

The latest intelligence said to show Putin's involvement goes much further than the information the U.S. was relying on in October, when all 17 intelligence agencies signed onto a statement attributing the Democratic National Committee hack to Russia.

The statement said officials believed that "only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities." That was an intelligence judgment based on an understanding of the Russian system of government, which Putin controls with absolute authority.

Now the U.S has solid information tying Putin to the operation, the intelligence officials say. Their use of the term "high confidence" implies that the intelligence is nearly incontrovertible.

"It is most certainly consistent with the Putin that I have watched and used to work with when I was an ambassador and in the government," said Michael McFaul, who was ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.

"He has had a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, that has been known for a long time because of what she said about his elections back in the parliamentary elections of 2011. He wants to discredit American democracy and make us weaker in terms of leading the liberal democratic order. And most certainly he likes President-elect Trump's views on Russia," McFaul added. Clinton cast doubt on the integrity of Russia's elections.

As part of contingency planning for potential retaliation against Russia, according to officials, U.S. intelligence agencies have stepped up their probing into his personal financial empire.
American officials have concluded that Putin's network controls some $85 billion worth of assets, officials told NBC News.

Neither the CIA nor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence would comment.

A former CIA official who worked on Russia told NBC News that it's not clear the U.S. can embarrass Putin, given that many Russians are already familiar with allegations he has grown rich through corruption and has ordered the killings of political adversaries.

But a currently serving U.S. intelligence official said that there are things Putin is sensitive about, including anything that makes him seem weak.

The former CIA official said the Obama administration may feel compelled to respond before it leaves office.

"This whole thing has heated up so much," he said. “I can very easily see them saying, `We can't just say wow, this was terrible and there's nothing we can do.'"


December 12, 2016

Pennsylvania Judge Rules on Stein Request for Recount

A U.S. judge in Pennsylvania on Monday rejected Green Party candidate Jill Stein's request for a recount of the state's ballots in last month's presidential election and an examination of voting machines for evidence of hacking.

December 3, 2016

Many Variables But Yes The Millennial’s Made Hillary Loose the Election

Hillary Clinton's campaign has lots of excuses for losing. There's the electoral collegeJames Comey, the media's alleged over-exuberance in digging into Clinton's email server, etc. But Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Thursday that one particular group is especially to blame: millennials.
As Karen Tumulty and Philip Rucker reported from the big election postmortem at Harvard on Thursday night:
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook also acknowledged that her operation had made a number of mistakes and miscalculations, while being buffeted by what he repeatedly described as a “headwind” of being an establishment candidate in a season where voters were anxious for change.
He noted, for example, that younger voters, perhaps assuming that Clinton was going to win, migrated to third-party candidates in the final days of the race.
Where the campaign needed to win upward of 60 percent of young voters, it was able to garner something “in the high 50s at the end of the day,” Mook said. “That’s why we lost.”
I'll admit I was skeptical. Young people often get blamed for not showing up to vote; they're an easy target that way. What's more, just before the election, polls indicated that young voters — who had previously shunned Clinton — were actually rallying to her in a big way.
Digging into the numbers, however, Mook has a point.
The national exit poll shows Clinton underperformed Barack Obama's 2012 share of the vote by one point with those between the ages of 30 and 44 and by three points with those ages 45 to 64. She actually overperformed him by one point with those over 65.
Among those between 18 and 29, though, she took five points less — 55 percent versus Obama's 60 percent. Here's how those numbers compare to 2012:

Clinton's 55-36 margin among those ages 18 to 29 is also significantly worse than late polls suggested it would be. A mid-October poll from the Harvard Institute of Politics showed her leading Trump 49 to 21 with third-party candidates included and 59 to 29 in a two-way matchup with Trump — either a 28- or 30-point margin. A GenForward survey conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, meanwhile, had her up 41 points, 60 to 19.
These were large, quality surveys testing only young people, but they differed hugely from the results. Clinton's final margin was 19.
They, of course, are national polls, and the race was really decided in a handful of close states — Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, in particular. And sure enough, Clinton did even worse among young people in those states, according to exit polls. While Clinton's national margin of victory among young people was only four points worse than Obama's 60-to-37 edge, Michigan's exit poll shows her margin among young people there was five points worse (+28 for Obama vs. +23 for Clinton). In Florida, it was 16 points worse (+34 vs. +18). In Pennsylvania, it was 17 points worse (+28 vs. +9). And in Wisconsin, it was 20 points worse (+23 vs. +3).
Caveat: Exit polls, like any polls, are subject to error. Did Trump really only lose young people in Wisconsin by only three points? I'm very skeptical.
But if that number is anywhere close to accurate, it accounts for Clinton's narrow loss in the Badger State. The exit polls suggest Clinton netted about half a point overall from young people given she won them 47 to 44 and they comprised 17 percent of the electorate. Obama, by contrast, netted nearly five points when he won them 60 to 37 and they were 21 percent of Wisconsin's electorate. Clinton lost the state by less than a point, so that difference more than accounts for it. We’re extrapolating here, and it's inexact, but the fact is that even if Clinton had come anywhere close to Obama's share of the youth vote, she would have held on to Wisconsin. 
The story is similar in Pennsylvania. Clinton won those under 30 years old 52 to 43 after Obama won them 63 to 35, and in Florida, where Clinton won them 54 to 46 versus Obama's 66 to 32. It was closer in Michigan, where Clinton won the 57 to 34 versus Obama's 63 to 35. But, if you run the numbers in each state, had Clinton simply come closer to Obama's margin with young people, she would have won.
So if you accept the exit polls, it's clear Clinton did significantly worse among young people, and it was more than enough to make the difference in the states that mattered. But what if she wasn't supposedto do as well among young people as Obama did? Obama certainly had a unique appeal to them that would seem hard for an older candidate with less of a demonstrated millennial appeal to replicate.
That's fair, but it's also worth noting here just how much young people hated Trump. Harvard showed just 22 percent of young likely voters had a favorable opinion of Trump, while 76 percent had an unfavorable one. Basically every poll showed something similar.
It's true that young people never seemed to love Clinton. Even Harvard's poll showing her up big revealed that more young likely voters disliked her (51 percent) than liked her (48 percent). But it seemed their distaste for Trump was leading them to coalesce around the lesser of two evils.
In the end, it just doesn't appear to have happened as much as Clinton needed it to. In short: Robby Mook was right.

November 29, 2016

Another Trump Flip-Flop on the Election Count


Consider it another Trump flip-flop: back in October, Donald Trump told a crowd, "I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win."
Trump went on to decisively win the Electoral College, but now he is questioning the results anyway. In a tweet this weekend, the president-elect alleged — providing zero evidence — that "millions of people" voted illegally, and that that's the reason Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.
On a Monday morning phone call, members of the Trump team tried to back up the claim when NPR's Tamara Keith asked them for corroborating evidence. However, nothing they cited really made that case.
Jason Miller cited two sources on the call, as transcribed by CBS's Sopan Deb:
"In particular, I'd point to the 2014 Washington Post study that indicated more than 14 percent of non-citizens in both in 2008 and in 2010 elections indicated they were registered to vote. ... Some numbers include the Pew Research study that said that approximately 24 million, or one out of every eight voter registrations in the United States[,] are no longer valid or significantly inaccurate. And in that same Pew Research study, the fact that 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state. So all of these are studies and examples of where there have been issues of both voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting. ..."
The two pieces of evidence
First, there is the "Washington Post study" that Miller cites. He was referring to a 2014 post from the Monkey Cage, a political science blog at the Post. In that piece, Old Dominion University professors Jesse Richman and David Earnest wrote about a study they conducted of data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, an operation that conducts ongoing surveys of voters.
Richman and Earnest indeed found that "14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples" they used said they were registered to vote. Not only that, but some of those respondents said they in fact did vote.
However, the results of that study were heavily called into question, as Deb pointed out. In fact, that Monkey Cage article prominently features a disclaimer at the top:
"Note: The post occasioned three rebuttals (herehere, and here) as well as a responsefrom the authors. Subsequently, another peer-reviewed article argued that the findings reported in this post (and affiliated article) were biased and that the authors' data do not provide evidence of non-citizen voting in U.S. elections."
That peer-reviewed article comes from a team of researchers that includes Stephen Ansolabehere, who developed the CCES. He and two colleagues wrote at the Monkey Cage that Richman and Earnest's findings were based on "measurement error." For example, 56 respondents (a tiny sliver of people) changed their citizenship status between 2010 and 2012, and 20 of those had changed from citizen to noncitizen.
That's "highly unrealistic," Ansolabehere and his colleagues wrote.
"The mistake that Richman and his colleagues made was to isolate this small portion of the sample and extrapolate from it as if it were representative of some larger population," they added.
Later on, the Washington Post's Fact Checker likewise gave this claim (when made by Eric Trump) four Pinocchios.
That's one piece of evidence Miller put forward. He also pointed to a 2012 study from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The numbers he cites are in fact correct: That study showed that 24 million voter registrations at the time were "no longer valid" or were "significantly inaccurate," and that nearly 2.8 million Americans were registered in more than one state.
That's a sign that states' voter registration databases could use some extra upkeep but it's not itself evidence of fraud, as Miller said it was.
One reason it's hard to keep registrations up to date is that each state has its own system, plus safeguards to make sure people don't inadvertently get unregistered.
"We have these 50 different systems and different databases on voter registration," said Lorraine Minnite, a professor of political science at Rutgers University and author of The Voter Fraud Myth. "And we have a federal law that was passed in 1993 to protect voters from being illegally purged from registration lists for political reasons."
That 1993 law is the National Voter Registration Act, and it sets out specific provisions under which a state can remove a person from the voter rolls. Because of those provisions, a person won't instantaneously be removed after moving to a different state or dying, for example. Getting a driver's license in another state could cancel a person's registration in the original state, but both states first have to communicate with each other.
"So what has happened is that this notion that voter registration lists can possibly be 100 percent accurate at any point in time is a complete fiction," she said. "It's not allowed under federal law to be that way."
So Trump in fact — however inadvertently — did draw some attention to what many consider a real problem.
"If you lined up people from all political angles, they would agree that we in the country have a lot of room to grow on that, and that voters and election officials would be better off if we made common-sense reforms to voter registration," said Myrna PĂ©rez, leader of the Voting Rights and Elections project at the Brennan Center for Justice. But she takes issue with his allegations. "The answer is not to create panic and to make allegations that undermine confidence in our elections," she said.
Voter fraud happens, but it's exceedingly rare
Donald Trump and his team have repeatedly alleged voter fraud in this election, alleging that the outcome would be "rigged."
As NPR wrote last month, it would be phenomenally difficult to "rig" an election via voter fraud. Fraud does happen, though instances are rare. And there's not a massive, systematic effort behind it that could sway a presidential election, as voter fraud expert Rick Hasen explained to NPR's Terry Gross in October:
"We do have some instances of voter fraud. The most common kind of voter fraud we see [is] usually in a local election where maybe dozens or 100 ballots could make a difference, involving absentee ballots. Usually, it's absentee ballots that are bought or sold. I'll give you $20 for your absentee ballot and then I can vote it the way I want. Unlike impersonation fraud, when it's an absentee ballot, you can verify how someone voted because you have the actual ballot, so that does happen.
"And for The Voting Wars, I was able to find regularly in local elections — and certainly in some parts of the country there's been an unfortunate history of this, in parts of Kentucky, South Texas, parts of Florida. We have had this kind of fraud. But it's been in small local elections, never on a large enough scale, I think, to affect a presidential election and not the kind of fraud that Donald Trump is talking about to affect the outcome [emphasis added]."
Unfortunately, it's always possible to find some sort of instance of shady behavior in any given election — the Trump campaign provided NPR with a 45-page document listing instances of voter fraud, as well as instances of intimidation and registration fraud, going back more than a decade.
However, the Trump campaign has yet to provide evidence that widespread fraud — involving “millions of voters" — in fact swayed the results of the presidential election, as the president-elect said it did.

November 26, 2016

Clinton Campaign to Join Recount Effort

 NSA efforts finds Russia was hacking Democrats political accounts

Hillary Clinton's campaign said Saturday it intends to back the statewide election recount effort in the battleground state of Wisconsin being spearheaded by third-party candidate Jill Stein.

The Clinton team had been quiet about Stein's crusade, but campaign lawyer Marc Elias said that because a recount was set into motion Friday — and could begin as soon as next week — they want to see a "fair" process for all involved.

"Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves," Elias wrote in a Medium post explaining the decision, "but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides."

Wisconsin election officials said they received Stein's paperwork and that they were still waiting to obtain a cost estimate from county clerks to calculate a fee that her campaign must pay before the recount can start.

Her campaign is trying to fundraise online as much as $7 million for the effort — and had garnered more than $5.7 million as of Saturday morning.

The Green Party's presidential nominee also has plans to file a recount effort in Michigan, where NBC News has yet to officially call a winner, and Pennsylvania.

President-elect Donald Trump still holds narrow leads in all three states against his Democratic rival, and his victories in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin provided him with the Electoral College advantage he needed to win the presidency.

Elias acknowledged that the "the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states — Michigan — well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount," but said they felt it was "important, on principle" to partake in and monitor the process.

If Stein follows through with her promise to pay for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania, Elias wrote, the campaign will "take the same approach" with additional states and participate in any verification efforts there.

Until now, the Clinton campaign declined to comment on the potential re-tallying. After what aides called a crushing and unanimously stunning loss, most went silent as they came to grips with the outcome.

Over the last few weeks, lawyers and data scientists urged the campaign to consider a recount, according to Elias' post. He also said a deciding factor for the campaign was Russia's reported interference in the U.S. election process.

Besides "quietly" taking steps to "rule in or out any possibility of outside interference," the campaign also dispatched resources to critical battleground states.

"We have monitored and staffed the post-election canvasses — where voting machine tapes are compared to poll-books, provisional ballots are resolved, and all of the math is double checked from election night," he wrote.

Elias also acknowledged the anguish that many of Clinton's supporters and staffers felt after the shocking upset.

“We certainly understand the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton, and it is a fundamental principle of our democracy to ensure that every vote is properly counted," he wrote.


November 25, 2016

No Mex, No Asians, No Blacks and Only White Gays



I missed this posting from Owen Jones, who I happen to like and it was posted on the Guardian on Nov 23; I missed it because of the Thanksgiving holiday. I put a lot of importance on this subject of racism and bigotry in the gay community because I have seen it among ex friends and gays I have come in contact with and I find it repulsive and incomprehensible that people that have been victims of racism and bigotry will exercise it on others. Unfortunedly it is true and common. What I don’t see to often is other gays calling it out. 

During the Presidential election it was nice seeing many gays particularly on Facebook calling other gays out that said they were voting for Trump and posting fake news on Hillary Clinton who has been a friend of the community for most of her life and who had committed no crime and the only thing she was guilty of was something that others had done as well in her previous position and it was to have a private server. No crimes but accusation for everything because it was a well planned campaign by the Republican committee and others from Breitbart Alt right magazine and latter the Russian government even before they even knew who the GOP nominee was going to be. 

As I told someone on Facebook, compared to crimes Trump was going to court for and everything else we have seen about him , his character and serious quirks,  Hillary was, is a saint. No question about it in anybody’s mind that takes the fakes news and dumped them and measure the two candidates on the same things we have measured every Presidential candidate before. Even if this man did not mean everything he said and was going to do the opposite like a civilized politician then he is the biggest lier one that cannot be trusted by the electorate or the International community.

 So, there are gays saying they wont vote for her for the same reason anti gays are using. She can’t be trusted and she is a criminal who should be locked up. Every time I ask what crimes, no one was able to tell me anything that made sense or that it was documented. So they were swallowing the line of people that don't like gays. It was easy to be dismayed. As a result of this we have a lop sided election in which the looser gets over 2 million votes more. Not even in Russia would you find such blatantly criminal campaigns to make their candidate win. To me I expect it from the right and even a few gays but not for the numbers I saw. Would those numbers be enough to change the election? I don’t know but my main concern is that the numbers show intolerant racist gays who based their vote on the hard line Trump took on immigrants. Nothing to do on Hillary. They knew there will be no wall but they knew that Trump would at least be a lot tougher than Hillary on immigration and a few other minor  immigrant details like in school and who gets an education. That really hurt and we will all pay the price because our elected officials cannot be better than the people that select them except Trump wont even be any of that because he is not the winner of the majority of the nation votes.


Racism is a serious problem within the LGBT community and needs to be addressed. Despite the determination of many minority ethnic LGBT people to do just that, it is not happening. “How can I be a bigot when I am myself a member of an oppressed minority?” is a prevailing attitude among some white LGBT people. But another far more pernicious reason is that the LGBT world revolves around white gay men to the exclusion of others. The rainbow flag is whiter than it appears.

“I’m sexualised for my skin tone and never treated as a person,” Saif tells me. “The community is trained to accept a white, ‘masc’, muscled gay man and the rest of us are not really accepted or ‘one of their own’.” It’s not the individual he blames, but being conditioned by a community that venerates the “sexual image of a white gay man”. According to research by FS magazine, an astonishing 80% of black men, 79% of Asian men and 75% of south Asian men have experienced racism on the gay scene.

This manifests itself in numerous ways. Some are rejected because of their ethnicity; on the other hand, some are objectified because of it. On dating sites and apps, profiles abound that say “no Asians” or “no black people”, casually excluding entire ethnic groups. It’s like a “bastardised ‘No dogs, no blacks, no Irish’ signs”, as Anthony Lorenzo puts it.

“On apps like Grindr,” writes Matthew Rodriguez, “gay men brandish their racial dating preferences with all the same unapologetic bravado that straight men reserve for their favourite baseball team.”
Homi tells me he has Persian ancestry, and is “sometimes mistaken for being Greek, Italian, Spanish, etc”. Once, at a nightclub, he was relentlessly pursued by a fellow patron. Eventually, he was asked: “Where are you from?” When Homi answered India, the man was horrified. “I’m so sorry – I don’t do Indians! Indians are not my type.”

Historically, LGBT publications been dominated by white men and have neglected issues of race
And it is not simply a western phenomenon. Luan, a Brazilian journalist, tells me his country has a “Eurocentric image of beauty” and there is a “cult of the white man, which is absurd, given more than half the population is black or brown”. Others speak of their experiences of being rejected by door staff at LGBT venues. Michel, a south Asian man, tells me of being turned away because “you don’t look gay”, and being called a “dirty Paki”. He says it has got worse since the Orlando nightclub massacre, where the gunman was Muslim.

And then there’s the other side of the equation: objectification. Malik tells about his experiences of what he describes as the near “fetishisation” of race. The rejection of people based on ethnicity is bad enough, he says, “but it can be just as gross when someone reduces you to your ethnicity, without consent, when dating/hooking up”. His Arab heritage was objectified and stereotyped by some would-be lovers, even down to presuming his sexual role.
When the Royal Vauxhall Tavern – a famed London LGBT venue – hosted a “blackface” drag act, Chardine Taylor-Stone launched the Stop Rainbow Racism campaign. The drag act featured “exaggerated neck rolling, finger snapping displays of ‘sassiness’, bad weaves” and other racial stereotypes, she says. After launching a petition against the event, she received threats of violence. “White LGBTQs who are truly against racism need to step up and take ownership of what is happening in their community,” she writes.

LGBT publications are guilty too. Historically, they’ve been dominated by white men, have neglected issues of race, and have portrayed white men as objects of beauty. Dean stopped buying mainstream gay magazines two years ago. “The only time they would write about people of colour is when they had done something homophobic,” he says. “The gay media is completely whitewashed.”

There has been positive change in recent months, one leading black gay journalist tells me, but only because of the work of ethnic minority LGBT individuals “holding magazines to account, setting up their own nights across the scene” and using social media, blogs, podcasts and boycotts to force change.

While LGBT people are much more likely than heterosexuals to suffer from mental distress, the level is even higher among ethnic minorities. Undoubtedly, racism plays a role. As Rodriguez puts it, seeing dating app profiles rejecting entire ethnic groups causes “internalised racism, decreased self-esteem and psychological distress.”
Many of the rights and freedoms that all LGBT people won were down to the struggles of black and minority ethnic people: at the Stonewall riots, for example, non-white protesters. The least that white LGBT people can do is to reciprocate and confront racism within their own ranks. Shangela, an actor, tells me that racism from the LGBT community “hurts more because it’s coming from people that I’m meant to share a kinship with”.

The far-right movements on the march across the western world are consciously trying to co-opt the LGBT rights campaign for their own agenda. Muslims are portrayed as an existential threat to gay people, particularly after Orlando. There are those who only talk about LGBT rights if it is to bash Muslims or migrants as a whole. American white nationalist websites now sell LGBT pride flags along with the Confederate flag. This week, Milo Yiannopolous – a gay attention-seeker who has become an icon of the US far right – was at the centre of a media storm because a platform to speak at his old school was withdrawn. In the Netherlands, the anti-immigrant right was led by a gay man, Pim Fortuyn, until his assassination. In France, reportedly a third of married gay couples support the far-right National Front.

The struggle against racism has, of course, to be led by people of colour who suffer the consequences – such as Black Out UK, which fights for a platform for black gay men, and Media Diversified, which campaigns for minority representation in the media. But unless white LGBT people – who the official gay scene venerates – listen to the voices of those who are sidelined, little will change.

Being oppressed yourself does not mean you are incapable of oppressing others: far from it. LGBT people have had to struggle against bigotry and oppression for generations. It is tragic that they inflict and ignore injustice in their own ranks.

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