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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘election’

Senior US Officials: Putin Directly Involved in Hacking Election

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Two senior intelligence officials with direct access to CIA information have told NBC News they believe with “a high level of confidence” that President Vladimir Putin was directly involved in the Russian interfere in the US presidential election. They said their information comes from diplomatic sources and spies working for “US allies.”

Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News.

According to the officials, the hacking campaign began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton, then evolved into an attempt to expose how corrupt American politics have become, in an attempt to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [they] couldn’t depend on the US to be a credible global leader anymore.”

The CIA apparently believes that from discrediting the US, the campaign evolved eventually into an all out effort to elect Donald Trump.

The FBI, which has done its part to discredit the Clinton campaign, is yet to endorse the CIA view, but, according to NBC News, US security agencies recognize across the board that the Russians were behind the leaking of embarrassing emails from the account of chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign John Podesta.

A former CIA official told NBC News that the US will find it difficult to retaliate by embarrassing Putin, for the same reason the Russians didn’t bother to release embarrassing information about Donald Trump. In both cases the Russian and the American public is already familiar with the allegations about them, most of which came, in Trump’s case, from the President-Elect himself. In Putin’s case, the Russian public has so far accepted and forgiven, reports that he has grown rich through corruption and has ordered the killings of political adversaries.

David Israel

And They Said Trump Wouldn’t Accept The Election Results

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

The unprecedented attempt to weaken the impact of Donald Trump’s stunning presidential victory entered a new and more ominous phase this past week as the effort by Green party candidate Jill Stein – and latecomer to the party Hillary Clinton – to spur recounts in the pivotal states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan petered out with court decisions barring recounts in two states and a recount in the third resulting in an increase in Mr. Trump’s tally.

That the push to change the results would be unsuccessful was a foregone conclusion. Even recount proponents readily conceded the overall results in the three states would be sustained since neither Ms. Stein’s nor Mrs. Clinton’s numbers were close enough to Mr. Trump’s to indicate a reasonable chance of success.

However, as we noted in our December 2 issue, the immediate goal of recount activists was to force a delay in the Electoral College vote past the mandated December 19 date, which would throw the selection of the president into the House of Representatives, as the Constitution provides.

And although the Republican majority in the House would doubtless choose Mr. Trump, he would instantly become a classic footnote president who not only failed to get a majority of the popular vote but Electoral College validation as well. His ability to govern, let alone achieve some of the sweeping policy changes he promised during the campaign, would be greatly compromised.

The original delaying ploy having failed, individual electors in the Electoral College are now being urged – again, with Hillary Clinton’s support – to consider ignoring Mr. Trump’s popular majority in their individual states and vote for Mrs. Clinton on the grounds that Russian hackers may have somehow swayed the election in Mr. Trump’s favor.

And to their shame, Republican powerhouses such Senators Mitch McConnell and John McCain and Congressman Paul Ryan, who fought Mr. Trump throughout the campaign and who are no fans of his, have become fellow travelers. They coyly credit the allegations by calling for an investigation without saying when such a probe should take place. They seem to have an agenda of their own with regard to shaping their working relationship with Mr. Trump.

To be sure, there is nothing wrong with pursuing possible improper Russian intrusion into an American election. But calling for it in the midst of the current controversy without distinguishing the issues? Where were Messrs McConnell, McCain, and Ryan when the Pentagon and the Department of the Army were hacked, with information on millions of U.S. military personnel stolen? And where were they when the story emerged of Hillary Clinton’s use of an unprotected personal server for State Department business?

And then there is the matter of determining whether there is sufficient evidence of foreign interference with the election or that it even matters. For example, assume it is determined that FBI Director James Comey broke the law because of the timing of his announcement within days of the election that he was reopening the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation – which she claims sealed her fate. Would that be legal grounds for seeking to invalidate the election results? And how, exactly, would the case be proven? Wouldn’t millions of voters have to be questioned as to what effect the Comey episode had on them?

And can any of this conceivably be allowed to be under the purview of individual Electoral College electors?

But consider this: This week, ten members of the Electoral College, nine Democrats and one Republican, asked the Office of Director of National Intelligence for a briefing on any ongoing investigations into ties Donald Trump or his associates may have to the Russians. And two lawsuits have been filed seeking judicial rulings that Electoral College electors are not bound to follow the majority vote in their states.

So we can’t help but believe that the motivation for all of this frenetic activity has little to do with prevailing on the issues but everything to do with muddying the waters and hoping for delays in the Electoral College phase of the election.

Editorial Board

Election Aftermath: State Politics And Congress

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

The brief narrative about last week’s elections on the state level is that everything remains the same moving into next year’s legislative session.

The Republican-controlled Senate picked up an extra seat in the Buffalo area but could lose a seat on Long Island when the absentee votes are counted next week. A mere 33 votes separate the incumbent from the challenger, with the challenger ahead.

Outright control of the Senate hangs in the balance until that race is decided. The Republicans have 32 seats, including Democrat Simcha Felder, of Boro Park, Brooklyn, who caucuses with the Republicans. The mainline Democrats hold 23 seats and the Independent Democratic Coalition increased its membership to seven seats after two members, Senator Jesse Hamilton (D – Crown Heights) and Senator-elect Marisol Alcantara (D – Washington Heights, Manhattan), have pledged their loyalty to the IDC when session begins anew in January.

The IDC has formed a coalition with the Republicans since 2012 that has tipped the balance of power in the upper house. The average age in the state Senate is 58 and the average tenure for a senator is 10 years.

In the Democratic-dominated Assembly, there will be 18 new faces in the lower house next year. While the final tally has the GOP with a net gain of one seat, the Democrats control the 150-member house with 107 members. The average age of Assembly lawmakers is 55 years old; the average tenure in the Assembly is 11 years.

In Congress, the 27-member New York delegation will have four new faces in Washington. The newcomers replace incumbents from their own party who retired.

One of the most watched races was that of Fordham University Associate Law Professor Zephyr Teachout (D – Clinton, Dutchess County) against attorney and former Assembly Republican leader John Faso (R – Kinderhook, Columbia County), who had two failed attempts at statewide office (comptroller and governor). Faso won the race.

Teachout is a left-wing supporter of the BDS movement against Israel as well as a higher minimum wage, increased spending on public infrastructure, a ban on fracking, an increase in manufacturing jobs, property tax cuts, campaign finance reform, increased investment in rural infrastructure, an end to Common Core and high-stakes testing.

Faso, on the other hand, captured the support of the observant Jewish community, including Agudath Israel of America and several local Chabad centers run by members of the Hecht family.

Rabbi Hanoch Hecht, spiritual leader of the Rhinebeck Jewish Center and director of Chabad of Dutchess County, quickly became a Faso fan.

“He’s a supporter of Israel, a supporter of Jewish values, and the relationship with the Hecht family goes back well over 20 years,” Hecht told The Jewish Press. “I have had many conversations with Faso about Israel and the Iran deal, which he opposed. He’s very upset with the relationship the current president had with Netanyahu and all that has gone over there. He keeps his word and follows through on his commitments.”

Chaskell Bennett, an Agudath Israel trustee, echoed the feeling about Faso. “For our community, not only was John Faso the right choice, he was the obvious choice,” Bennett told The Jewish Press. “He understands the issues we’re discussing locally, domestically and internationally. He was extraordinarily positive on the importance of making sure the American-Israel relationship remains one of the most important relationships America has. He understands the difficulties of tuition-paying parents. He understands the challenges faced by a religious community in terms of being able to practice our religion. He has expressed his support for our ability to live as Orthodox Jews without fear of incitement, without fear of hatred, without fear of anti-Semitism. He spoke about the contribution of the Jewish community to the economy of the state and the importance of the Jewish communities’ investment in the district and there is a sizeable representation within the district.”

Jake Koschitzki, a Flatbush resident who owns two nursing homes in Dutchess County, says Faso is “a mensch. A word by him is a word and he cares about the Jewish people.”

During the presidential primary, Faso was a supporter of Carly Fiorina. Now that Donald Trump is the president-elect, Faso has some advice for the New York real estate mogul:

“We have to be very clear-headed and cautious about what is said because what is said by the U.S. president is paid minute attention to by the rest of the world,” Faso told The Jewish Press.

Trump is said to favor moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an action Faso supports.

“Moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is something I’ve supported for a long time,” Faso said. “Each country should be able to designate its own capital and foreign countries with their embassies should respect that designation.”

Faso admits he has to get up to speed on foreign relations.

“The focus of our campaign was on rebuilding the economy and domestic issues but I’m someone who is deeply concerned about international matters and I expect that during the course of my term in Congress I will be able to become much more acquainted with various foreign policy issues,” said Faso.

Although Faso said on “The Jewish View,” a television program taped in Albany, that he has been to Libya and Lebanon, he has yet to set foot on Israeli soil.

According to Koschitzki , Faso is looking forward to making a trip to Israel in the next year or so.

Marc Gronich

What the US Election Tells us About the Past, Present and Future

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

The recent election ended in a virtual tie, as did the election of 2000. Approximately half of the voters selected each of the two major candidates. According to the New York Times, Clinton may have received as much as two million more votes than Trump. This may turn out to be an exaggeration, but she certainly won the popular vote. Trump received more electoral votes. If 70,000 more of Clinton’s popular votes had been cast in Pennsylvania, 120,000 more in Florida, and 15,000 more in Michigan, she would have had more than the 270 needed to win the presidency.

That’s how close the election was. I predicted an unpredictably close vote back in August when Clinton was way ahead in the polls.

This is what I wrote in my e-book, Electile Dysfunction: “Think about the vote on Brexit. Virtually all the polls including exit polls that asked voters who they had voted for – got it wrong. The financial markets got it wrong. The bookies got it wrong. The 2016 presidential election is more like the Brexit vote in many ways than it is like prior presidential elections. Both Brexit and this presidential election involve raw emotion, populism, anger, nationalism (Britain First, America First), class division and other factors that distort accuracy in polling. So anyone who thinks they know who will be the next president of the United States is deceiving themselves.

“To be sure, the Electoral College vote is sometimes less difficult to predict than the popular vote, because it generally turns on a handful of closely contested critical states, such as Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. But in this election, there could be surprises in states that are usually secure for one party or the other. So even the electoral vote will be more difficult to predict than in previous elections.

“One reason for this unique unpredictability of the unique unpredictability of Donald Trump himself…. Hillary Clinton is more predictable, but her past actions may produce unpredictable results. …A final reason why this election is so unpredictable is because the voter turnout is unpredictable.”

In an election that was as unpredictable as this and that turned out to be a toss-up, any one of many factors may have determined the outcome. FBI Director James Comey’s ill-advised letter to congressional leaders on October 28, telling them, and the voters, that new emails had been discovered that might be “pertinent to the investigation,” may have made the difference.

In a series of TV appearances, I had urged Comey to do what he eventually did: “The FBI knows how to work that fast. They should get 100 FBI agents working 24 hours a day for three days… and in 72 hours at least release something the indicates whether there is anything, whether there is even probable cause. If there is nothing the public has to know that.”

I worried that Comey may not have considered the unintended consequences of his letter: “What if his statements about the emails produce a victory for Trump and it then turns out that there was nothing of significance in them? Or that they were merely duplicates of what had already been produced?” And I’ve urged him to explain the scope of his investigation: “Silence is no longer an option for Comey… He can’t any longer by silence allow his last statement to influence this election. Look how close it’s becoming since that statement was made. To have the FBI influence the outcome of an election and then nothing turn up would be an absolute disgrace to democracy.”

On Sunday’s CNN Tonight Don Lemon credited me with predicting what Comey would do: “Alan. To you. You hate to say I told you so, but you told me and everyone who would listen last week that this would happen. That Comey would have to speak out before the election.”

Comey did finally speak out, but it may have been too little, too late. Millions of votes were cast between Comey’s two statements. Those votes – based on a misperception that the emails were “pertinent” to the investigation – may have made the difference between a Clinton or Trump victory. No one can ever know for certain, but the election was so close, it is highly probable.

So Trump’s narrow victory doesn’t tell us much about the past or the present. Even if Trump had lost by a narrow margin, the fact that he got nearly 60 million votes would still be significant – as significant as his narrow victory – in telling us about the current mindset of the American people.

But the fact that Trump won tells us a great deal about the future, because a Trump presidency promises to be very different than a Clinton presidency would have been.

A Clinton presidency – coupled with a Republican Senate and House – would have been subject to the checks and balances of our constitutional system of separation of powers. A Trump presidency will not be subject to those constraints. There will be less gridlock, although the Senate filibuster may impose some constraints on President Trump’s expressed desire to pack the Supreme Court with “Scalias.”

Just as it was impossible to predict this election, it is impossible to predict the precise dimensions of the Trump presidency. If he is smart, he will reach across the aisle, as well as across genders, ethnicities and religions. A successful president must be different than a successful candidate. Only time will tell whether Trump acts on this historic truth.

In the meantime, the loyal opposition must remain both loyal and opposed to policies and appointments that are inconsistent with our values. We must cooperate when cooperation is warranted, but when it is not, we must use all available lawful options – political, judicial, media, academic and economic – to serve as checks and balances on a president who tries to exceed his authority. This is not the time for liberals or Democrats to become immobilized with despair, nor is it the time for violence or unlawful actions. It is a time to become energized and proactive.

Alan M. Dershowitz

Jews and Golden Calf: The 2016 Presidential Election

Monday, November 14th, 2016

According to a New York Times exit poll 70% of American Jews for Hillary Clinton while only 24% voted for Donald Trump. The huge differential is larger than the margin of Jews that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 (30%). This is bewildering from a pro-Israel standpoint. In an attempt to understand the confusing nature of Jews, non-Jewish friends of mine ask me how can so many Jews seemingly always vote for a candidate and a party against their people’s apparent own self-interest.

In 2016, to believe it still has anything to do with Truman or FDR, one is deluding oneself about the place where Israel stands in modern Democrat party politics. The booing of the United Jerusalem platform during the 2012 Democrat convention, the Israel flag burning outside the 2016 Democrat convention, the sea of “Palestine” flags within their convention hall and the swell of pro-BDS Muslim voters in the Bernie camp has to make one wonder why Jews would vote for a party that elevates these dangerous fringe elements? Why did Hamas-funded BDS supporters clamor around Bernie? Why does Hillary have the Huma Abedin, the daughter of the editor of a Saudi pro-Muslim Brotherhood newspaper as her closest confidant and whisperer? Why reject Donald Trump whose vows to tear up the Iran Deal, embraces Israel, and vows to defund the UN for their blatant support for Hamas and the anti-Semitic UNESCO?

In the last 20 years we have seen the rise of strong, prominent, popular non-Jewish New York Republicans who are ardent Israel supporters such as Al D’amato, Rudy Giuliani, Peter King, Donald Trump, George Pataki, while defiant Jewish Democrats such as Steven Israel, Jerald Nadler, Diane Feinstein, J street and others followed in lock step behind Obama during his march to force through the lie known as the Iran Deal?

Many will say that many American Jews fear Republican pro-Zionist Christians as a fake ally in disguise whose real motivation is mass conversion of Jews at some future “come-to-Jesus” time point. One would think that the radical global justice alliance of the Black Lives Matter movement with the violent BDS/Students for Justice in Palestine, who are both openly anti-Semitic and attack Jewish students on American campuses, would finally open the eyes of Jews who may equivocate in party affiliation. The Radical left constitutes the current grassroots of the Democrat party and will be its future. It is a cadre of groups such a Code Pink, ANSWER, SJP, Students and Graduate Activists, Students for a Democratic Society, LUPE, Legalization for All Network, and dozens of others that openly lend support to de-legitimization of Israel and Zionists as racists, usurpers, and murders. Dinosaurs such as Chuck Schumer and Diane Feinstein consistently haul in millions of Jewish Democrat dollars into a party that nurtures this growing anti-Semitic poison much akin to Rosemary’s baby, an evil that was nurtured dim- wittedly to maturity.

Ironically, I believe the answer lies in a 2013 Pew Research poll that states that only 40% of American Jews believe that G-d gave the Land of Israel to the Jews, while 82% of white evangelicals believe so, and even 54% of black evangelicals do. What is the matter with American Jews and their lack of fealty to their own religion and history? The answer is the corrupting socialist justice movement which has entranced a majority American Jews into thinking that godless universal secularism and global suffrage of “oppressed peoples” are the solutions to collective acceptance by the same radicals. The newly freed Israelites were hard worn to shake their old Egyptian ways, and when egged on by the trouble making Eruv Rav, rejected G-d and created a man-made idol, to worship and replace that G-d, even after the massive miracles of the Exodus and the Red Sea crossing.

In our time, we must return back and embrace G-d and His miracle in our time, the rebirth of Israel as the enormous first step towards Jewish renewal and reunification towards the time of Moshiach. We must renew our love for G-d and His gift of the Land of Israel, as commanded in His Torah, for us to inherit it, though we must fight for it like Joshua if we are to possess it. We must reinvigorate Zionism, and fight and defend our Birthright, otherwise when the wheels come off the cart for American Jews one day, many of us will wake up to the ugly reality of the assimilated German Jews in the 1930s- a repudiation by the society that they tried so hard to embrace. For now, and nothing lasts forever, the best friend of the modern day miracle of the fruit of Zionism, the State of Israel, is the evangelically based-Christian Zionist Republican party of Donald Trump, and Jews would be wise to embrace such as friend of the Jewish people. As we know, good friends are hard to come by.

Matthew Karlovsky

The Day After the Election

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

With the world’s attention focused on the presidential election, some attention must be devoted to the problems we will continue to face the day after the election, regardless of who is elected. Here are some of these problems:

  1. Following the election, President Obama may try to tie the hands of his successor, regardless of who it may be. During the lame-duck period, when presidents can act without political accountability, he may foolishly send the Israel-Palestine conflict to the United Nations. This would mean the end of the peace process. Palestinians would be dis-incentivized from entering into the kinds of direct negotiations without preconditions that the Israeli government continues to offer, which is the only realistic road to peace. The only hope of stopping this counterproductive move would be for the president-elect to insist that her or his hands not be tied by the lame-duck president.
  2. The problem revealed by FBI director Comey’s ill-advised statements over the past four months will not end with the election. Comey is a good man, but he has demonstrated an inability to control himself and his agents. The problem of unlawful FBI leaks has become pervasive, and it must be addressed by the new administration. Replacing Comey will not be enough; the entire culture of the FBI must be changed and it must be restored to its rightful position as the silent investigative arm of the Justice Department. Indeed, even more fundamental structural changes are now required. The entire DOJ, of which the FBI is one component, has become too politicized. In most other western democracies, there is a sharp division between the minister of justice, who is a political aide to the president or prime minister, and the director of public prosecution, who is a civil servant completely removed from politics. Only the director of public prosecution decides whom to investigate and who to prosecute. The political minister plays no role in such decisions. But, in the United States, we merged these two distinct roles into the job of Attorney General.  This must change if our system of justice is to be de-politicized.
  3. This election has exacerbated the long-standing problem of criminalizing policy differences. We are quick to confuse differences in policy with charges of criminal behavior. During this election, both sides accused the other of criminal conduct — Trump more so than Clinton, but even some Democrats were quick to cry “crime.” I have long railed against this development, whether it involved accusations against Democrats like Hillary Clinton, or Republicans like Congressman Tom Delay and Governor Rick Perry. The criminal law must be reserved for willful deliberate and clearly defined crimes.  We are moving away from that understanding and toward a dangerous expansion of the concept of crime in the context of political differences.
  4. Finally, the healing process must begin the day after the election. Lincoln’s words should be our guide: “With malice toward none, with charity for all.” It is unlikely that either the winners or the losers will be able to avoid malice and extend charity following this most contentious of elections, but it is essential that the loser accept the result and that the winner be gracious. Both Richard Nixon and Al Gore provide somewhat different models of appropriate responses.

This election revealed that there are deep divisions within the American electorate. Some of these divisions are reasonable and indeed desirable. These include differences over economic policies, foreign policies and other political issues  But this election revealed that there are divisions across impermissible lines: racial, ethnic, gender, religious, class and a willingness to resort to violence. These divisions will be much harder to heal. But the process must begin on the day after the election

Alan M. Dershowitz

Phantom Nation – The US Deserves This Election [audio]

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

The candidates reflect a culture in decline.

Phantom Nation 07Nov – SHOW

Israel News Talk Radio

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/israel-news-talk-radio/phantom-nation/phantom-nation-the-us-deserves-this-election-audio/2016/11/08/

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