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Sun, 04 Dec 2016
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Question

Can Trump's defenders stop Stein's recounts?

© William Philpott / Reuters
The president-elect's allies are seeking to stop recounts in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

President-elect Donald Trump's allies are taking legal action intended to stop election recount attempts initiated by Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

In Wisconsin, a pro-Trump super PAC filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the recount is unconstitutional and "may unjustifiably cast doubt upon the legitimacy of President-Elect Donald J. Trump's victory."

Comment: There could be other reasons for Stein's recount efforts: Is The Donald trumped? Clinton scheming to seize White House through backdoor


Propaganda

'Fake news' fizzles on arrival

The entire rigmarole around "fake news" is very curiously timed.

So far as I'm aware the general "theory" behind it was primarily developed in the past year or so by Peter Pomerantsev and Edward Lucas under the aegis of the Legatum Institute. Edward Lucas is a Russophobe even by the standards of Economist journalists (suffice to say that he seriously compares Putin to Sauron). Peter Pomerantsev is a journalist with a very murky biography who emerged seemingly out of nowhere to become a hugely influential voice in the Russia debate as a propagator of the "post-fact"/"post-truth" meme. In their August 2016 report "Winning the Information War," they went so far as to suggest Islamist deradicalization programs as a template for dealing with "radicalized, pro-Kremlin supporters, those on the far left and the far right, and Russian speakers."

In the past couple months, impartial arbiters of the truth like Facebook - the same company that was recently found to have censored conservative news source from its news feed - have seized upon and ran with this theme. The same media outlets that cheered on the Iraq War now wax lyrical about "post-truth politics." The German bloc in the EU - the most prominent outpost of Atlanticism in our new Trumpist world - has spearheaded the adoption of an EU resolution against Islamic State propaganda and Russian information warrior (adopting wholesale the equivalence proposed by Lucas and Pomerantsev).


Comment: The US is also passing a similar resolution: US House of Representatives passes bill targeting "Russian propaganda" websites


Light Saber

BREAKING: Syrian army recaptures another key district in eastern Aleppo

According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights another Jihadi controlled district of eastern Aleppo - Tariq al-Bab - has now been captured by the Syrian army.

The BBC is reporting that two-thirds of the former Jihadi pocket of eastern Aleppo has now been recaptured over the course of the last 10 days by the Syrian. However this is an exaggeration. Tariq al-Bab, though an important neighbourhood, and one which was amongst the first captured by the Jihadis in 2012 and which has been under their control ever since, does not account for such a large area of the Jihadi pocket.

The BBC is however right to say that with the capture of Tariq al-Bab the government controlled areas of Aleppo - ie. the main part of the city - are now once more in direct road communication with Aleppo airport, which has always been under the Syrian government's control.

Comment: See also: Aleppo's liberation is near! Water supply restored, thousands escape to safety of Syrian government (PICS, MAPS, VIDS)


Attention

Is The Donald trumped? Clinton scheming to seize White House through backdoor

© Rick Wilking / Reuters
Trump had previously called Clinton a 'nasty woman.'
Next month, Donald J. Trump, with hand on Bible, will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Or will he? The recent talk about recounting votes and 'faithless electors' suggests this highly contentious power struggle is far from over.

In fact, it may be just beginning.

Anybody who believes Hillary Rodham Clinton has been sent to the political graveyard by a Manhattan real estate developer has forgotten the cruel surprises of recent history (Remember the Greek referendum? Brexit anyone?). Democratic due process has devolved into something like The Hunger Games for the rich - a sensational televised spectacle to entertain the elite every four years, while keeping the people believing they can effect real change.

Attention

Iraqi war against Daesh: UN says death toll in Mosul is 'staggering'

© Hemn Baban/Anadolu
A wounded man is taken to hospital after clashes between Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government's peshmerga forces and Daesh terrorists in Mosul on November 17 2016
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has described casualty figures it released on the ongoing battle for Mosul as "staggering".

Figures for November showed that 1,959 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and its allies were killed in the battle for Mosul, while the UN's data for October, when the operation to recapture Mosul from Daesh began, showed that 672 ISF and other units were killed.

This brings the total death toll suffered by the Iraqi alliance against Daesh to 2,631, and the United Nations also said that the figures are likely to be much higher due to troubles with collating reliable data from highly unstable Iraqi provinces such as Anbar.

The number of Iraqi military deaths for the battle for Mosul, now nearing the end of its seventh week, emerged yesterday with UN officials describing additional hundreds of further civilian casualties, reporting that 926 non-combatants had been killed.


Comment: Interesting: Almost a thousand citizens of Iraq killed by Daesh during an Iraqi-led mission and barely a word about it in the Western press. If you think the blackout is because it has no propaganda value against the Russians, you're probably right!


Newspaper

WARNING: US House passes bill to censor Russian propaganda sites. War on "fake news" begins!

First it's the war of words. Then it's a shooting war. This is how it all begins.

It is strikingly curious, and hypocritical, that the neo-liberal left and neocon right, continuously talk about alt-right fascism seeping into American society, are now the ones actively creating a US fascist state... where "books are burned" and any dissenting voices will be considered Kremlin stooges. Smoke and mirrors.

The Duran has reported extensively on the "fake news" war that was conjured up by Soros, Clinton and the main stream media after a surprising election victory by Donald Trump.

Bad Guys

Washington passes intelligence bill, Russia's alleged attempts to "exert covert influence over peoples and governments"

© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Capitol Hill in Washington
The House of Representatives has passed an intelligence authorization bill containing a provision aimed at tackling what Washington claims is political interference by Russia on a global level.

The 93-page HR 6393, passed by the House in a 390-30 vote on Wednesday, calls for setting up a new, interagency panel to suppress Russia's alleged attempts to "exert covert influence over peoples and governments," the Washington Post reported.

The panel would be tasked with "countering active measures by Russia to exert covert influence, including exposing falsehoods, agents of influence, corruption, human rights abuses, terrorism and assassinations carried out by the security services or political elites of the Russian Federation or their proxies," the draft legislation goes on to say.

Eye 1

Pa. releases Trump electors' contact info, GOP slams "unprecedented harassment"

© James Robinson
Trump supporters celebrate as more states are called at a watch party at the Radisson in Camp Hill, Nov. 09, 2016.
Republican Party officials say they believe the Pennsylvania Department of State willfully disregarded open records protections when it released the contact information of President-elect Donald Trump's electors, opening them up to harassment.

The Department of State says certain information, including a list of Electoral College electors, is publicly available as part of the Pennsylvania Election Code. That list, provided by the president-elect or his representative, included the electors' contact information, according to the department.

PennLive spoke to an elector said she received 18,000 emails, 130 letters and postcards and numerous phone calls after her address and phone number was released. She said she hasn't attempted to read all the emails, but most were urging her to cast her vote for Hillary Clinton.

The elector asked not to be identified, out of fear of further harassment.

Comment: See also: What happens if an electoral college voter switches their vote on Dec. 19?


Bullseye

Iran's Supreme Court confirms death penalty for billionaire Zanjani, money laundering through oil sales deals

© YouTube/NewsReport24
A death sentence for Iranian billionaire Babak Zanjani charged with fraud and money laundering has been upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court, court's senior official Gholamreza Ansari said on Saturday.

"The main verdict on Zanjani oil case was confirmed," Ansari was quoted as saying by Iranian IRIB broadcaster.

Chart Pie

What happens if an electoral college voter switches their vote on Dec. 19?


Alexander Hamilton, inspiration for faithless electors?
There is a distinct possibility that at least one Electoral College member will switch votes on December 19. So what happens to an elector when a person doesn't vote for their pledged candidate and to the election in general?

On Thursday, two electors indicated in an op-ed on the political website The Hill that they could opt to vote for a presidential candidate during the December 19 Electoral College meetings other than the candidate they are pledged to vote for.

Polly Baca from Colorado and Levi Guerra from Washington state are electors, Democrats and pledged to vote for Hillary Clinton after the former Secretary of State won those two states on November 8 in the general election. "Though we come from different generations, as a retired elected official and the youngest 2016 Elector, we agree with millions of Americans that Donald Trump is unfit to be president," they wrote.

Baca and Guerra may switch their Electoral College votes to a candidate other than Trump (and seemingly Clinton) if such a candidate emerges, or they may not vote at all. "Electors of good conscience should exercise their Constitutional right to elect the best person for the job of President or simply abstain from voting for either of the major party candidates," they said.

Guerra, who is 19 years old, explained her decision at a Wednesday press conference. "I'm only 19 and this is my first time being involved in politics, but I hope that my willingness to put my country before my party will show that my generation cares about all Americans," Guerra said.