Should I remain in bed, leave my country or fight against the dragon?
( see also the story by Wolfgang Hampel,
' Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say ' )
Betty MacDonald's sister Alison Bard Burnett
Betty MacDonald's mother Sydney with grandchild Alison Beck
Betty and Don MacDonald in Hollywood
Betty MacDonald fan club fans,
we recently got new updates on our Betty MacDonald fan club item ' Betty MacDonald in Hollywood '.
Two Betty MacDonald fan club fans whose relatives wrote to Betty MacDonald asked her many questions about The Egg and I, The Ma and Pa Kettle series and her experiences in Hollywood are going to share these golden Betty MacDonald treasures.
Betty MacDonald answered their many, many questions in a very witty way.
You can read these letters in December.
Betty MacDonald described her unique experiences in Hollywood. She stayed with daughters Anne and Joan, husband Donald, sister Mary at Beverly Hills Hotel and met all the famous producers and actors.
Betty MacDonald fan club voting will be very exciting.
Which city will be the winner?
My favourite is this city.
Do you have any idea which city this might be?
Send us a mail, please and you can win the the new Betty MacDonald documentary with several interviews by Wolfgang Hampel never published before.
Lisa and Betty MacDonald fan club cooking research team are working on a new item 'Betty MacDonald and her favourite recipes'.
Betty MacDonald fans asked their favourite writer many questions regarding her cooking and recipes.
There had been many excellent cooks in the Bard family, for example Betty MacDonald's mother Sydney Bard.
Betty MacDonald's husband Donald Chauncey MacDonald tried to be a good cook too.
Can you remember his favourite recipe?
If so send us mail and you can win the new Betty MacDonald fan club item 'Betty MacDonald and her favourite recipes'.
Deadline: November 30, 2016
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel interviewed Betty MacDonald's daughter Joan MacDonald Keil and her husband Jerry Keil.
This interview will be published for the first time ever.
New Betty MacDonald documentary will be very interesting with many interviews never published before.
We adore Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli
Thank you so much for sharing this witty memories with us.
Wolfgang Hampel's literary event Vita Magica is very fascinating because he is going to include Betty MacDonald, other members of the Bard family and Betty MacDonald fan club honor members.
It's simply great to read Wolfgang Hampel's new very well researched stories about Betty MacDonald, Robert Eugene Heskett, Donald Chauncey MacDonald, Darsie Bard, Sydney Bard, Gammy, Alison Bard Burnett, Darsie Beck, Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde Reynolds Jensen, Sydney Cleveland Bard, Mary Alice Bard, Dorothea DeDe Goldsmith, Madge Baldwin, Don Woodfin, Mike Gordon, Ma and Pa Kettle, Nancy and Plum, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and others.
The next Vita Magica will be on November 29, 2016.
Don't miss Letizia Mancino and Wolfgang Hampel on November 29, please.
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel and Letizia Mancino are reading from her delightful book ' The cat in Goethe's bed '.
Linde Lund and many fans from all over the world adore this funny sketch by Wolfgang Hampel very much although our German isn't the best.
I won't ever forget the way Wolfgang Hampel is shouting ' Brexit '.
Don't miss it, please.
It's simply great!
You can hear that Wolfgang Hampel got an outstandig voice.
He presented one of Linde Lund's favourite songs ' Try to remember ' like a professional singer.
Thanks a million!
Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli and our 'Italian Betty MacDonald' - Betty MacDonald fan club honor member author and artist Letizia Mancino belong to the most popular Betty MacDonald fan club teams in our history.
Their many devoted fans are waiting for a new Mr. Tigerli adventure.
Letizia Mancino's magical Betty MacDonald Gallery is a special gift for Betty MacDonald fan club fans from all over the world.
Don't miss Brad Craft's 'More friends', please.
Betty MacDonald's very beautiful Vashon Island is one of my favourites.
I agree with Betty in this very witty Betty MacDonald story Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say by Wolfgang Hampel.
I can't imagine to live in a country with him as so-called elected President although there are very good reasons to remain there to fight against these brainless politics.
'Pussy' is lying all the time.....................
I agree with 'Pussy'. It's a big problem - but the problem is..........
The most difficult case in Mrs.Piggle-Wiggle's career
Hello 'Pussy', this is Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
You took calls from foreign leaders on unsecured phone lines, without consultung the State Department. We have to change your silly behaviour with a new Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle cure. I know you are the most difficult case in my career - but we have to try everything.......................
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sent his brilliant thoughts. Thank you so much dear Wolfgang!
Hi Libi, nice to meet you. Can you feel it?
I'll be the most powerful leader in the world.
Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say
Copyright 2016 by Wolfgang Hampel
All rights reserved
Betty MacDonald was sitting on her egg-shaped cloud and listened to a rather strange guy.
He said to his friends: So sorry to keep you waiting. Very complicated business! Very complicated!
Betty said: Obviously much too complicated for you old toupee!
Besides him ( by the way the First Lady's place ) his 10 year old son was bored to death and listened to this 'exciting' victory speech.
The old man could be his great-grandfather.
The boy was very tired and thought: I don't know what this old guy is talking about. Come on and finish it, please. I'd like to go to bed.
Dear 'great-grandfather' continued and praised the Democratic candidate.
He congratulated her and her family for a very strong campaign although he wanted to put her in jail.
He always called her the most corrupt person ever and repeated it over and over again in the fashion of a Tibetan prayer wheel.
She is so corrupt. She is so corrupt. Do you know how corrupt she is?
Betty MacDonald couldn't believe it when he said: She has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.
Afterwards old toupee praised his parents, wife, children, siblings and friends.
He asked the same question like a parrot all the time:
Where are you? Where are you? Where are you?
I know you are here!
Betty MacDonald answered: No Pussy they are not! They left the country.
They immigrated to Canada because they are very much afraid of the future in the U.S.A. with you as their leader like the majority of all so-called more or less normal citizens.
By the way keep your finger far away from the pussies and the Red Button, please.
I'm going to fly with my egg-shaped cloud to Canada within a minute too.
Away - away - there is nothing more to say!
I can understand the reason why Betty MacDonald, Barbara Streisand, other artists and several of my friends want to leave the United States of America.
I totally agree with these comments:
Daniel Mount wrote a great article about Betty MacDonald and her garden.
We hope you'll enjoy it very much.
I adore Mount Rainier and Betty MacDonald's outstanding descriptions
Can you remember in which book you can find it?
If so let us know, please and you might be the next Betty MacDonald fan club contest winner.
I hope we'll be able to read Wolfgang Hampel's new very well researched stories about Betty MacDonald, Robert Eugene Heskett, Donald Chauncey MacDonald, Darsie Bard, Sydney Bard, Gammy, Alison Bard Burnett, Darsie Beck, Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde Reynolds Jensen, Sydney Cleveland Bard, Mary Alice Bard, Dorothea DeDe Goldsmith, Madge Baldwin, Don Woodfin, Mike Gordon, Ma and Pa Kettle, Nancy and Plum, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and others - very soon.
It' s such a pleasure to read them.
Let's go to magical Betty MacDonald's Vashon Island.
Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund and Betty MacDonald fan club research team share their recent Betty MacDonald fan club research results.
Congratulations! They found the most interesting and important info for Wolfgang Hampel's oustanding Betty MacDonald biography.
I enjoy Bradley Craft's story very much.
Don't miss our Betty MacDonald fan club contests, please.
You can win a never published before Alison Bard Burnett interview by Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel.
This CD is a golden treasure because Betty MacDonald's very witty sister Alison Bard Burnett shares unique stories about Betty MacDonald, Mary Bard Jensen, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Nancy and Plum.
Do you have any books by Betty MacDonald and Mary Bard Jensen with funny or interesting dedications?
If so would you be so kind to share them?
Our next Betty MacDonald fan club project is a collection of these unique dedications.
If you share your dedication from your Betty MacDonald - and Mary Bard Jensen collection you might be the winner of our new Betty MacDonald fan club items.
Thank you so much in advance for your support.
Thank you so much for sending us your favourite Betty MacDonald quote.
More info are coming soon.
Wolfgang Hampel's Betty MacDonald and Ma and Pa Kettle biography and Betty MacDonald interviews have fans in 40 countries. I'm one of their many devoted fans.
Many Betty MacDonald - and Wolfgang Hampel fans are very interested in a Wolfgang Hampel CD and DVD with his very funny poems and stories.
We are going to publish new Betty MacDonald essays on Betty MacDonald's gardens and nature in Washington State.
Tell us the names of this mysterious couple please and you can win a very new Betty MacDonald documentary.
Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli is beloved all over the World.
We are so happy that our 'Casanova' is back.
Another rare episode (from March 21 1952) of the short-lived comedy soap opera, "The Egg and I," based on best selling book by Betty MacDonald which also became a popular film.
The series premiered on September 3, 1951, the same day as "Search for Tomorrow," and ended on August 1, 1952.
Although it did well in the ratings, it had difficulty attracting a steady sponsor. This episode features Betty Lynn (later known for her work on "The Andy Griffith Show") as Betty MacDonald, John Craven as Bob MacDonald, Doris Rich as Ma Kettle, and Frank Twedell as Pa Kettle.
Betty MacDonald fan club exhibition will be fascinating with the international book editions and letters by Betty MacDonald.
I can't wait to see the new Betty MacDonald documentary.
Enjoy a great breakfast at the bookstore with Brad and Nick, please.
Wishing you all a good start today even if you don't like Mondays,
Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German )
Betty MacDonald fan club
Betty MacDonald forum
Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I
Wolfgang Hampel - Academic ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - cyclopaedia.net ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - DBpedia ( English / German )
Wolfgang Hampel - people check ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Memim ( English )
Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French )
Wolfgang Hampel - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Wikipedia ( English)
Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel
Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD
Betty MacDonald fan club items
Betty MacDonald fan club items - comments
Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I
Betty MacDonald fan club groups
Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund
Betty MacDonald fan club and Heide Rose
Betty MacDonald fan club fan Greta Larson
Election Recounts 2016: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Now that Green Party nominee Jill Stein has raised more than $6 million for recounts in three battleground states – Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – it looks likely that they will happen.
Stein formally requested a recount in Wisconsin first because that state’s deadline was on November 25. On November 26, Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign said she would join the Wisconsin effort, which starts next week, and will possibly join subsequent recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is defending the election results, according to Politico, saying, “it has seen no evidence of hackers tampering with the 2016 presidential election” and adding, “We stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people.”
Stein has telegraphed her intentions to also seek recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and she wrote on her fundraising website that she had raised enough money as of November 26 to fund the Pennsylvania recount too; the deadline for filing for a recount in Pennsylvania is November 28, and the deadline in Michigan is November 30.
Unprocessed ballots in the 2016 presidential race were still being counted as of November 26, especially in populous blue California, although they won’t change the Electoral College math because Clinton already won that state. According to the Cook Political Report, here are the popular vote election results:
Trump leads in the swing states by a popular vote margin of 22,171,924 to 21,342,561, according to Cook Political Report. That gave Trump his Electoral College victory of 306-232. Clinton would win the Electoral College if she flipped Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania into her column but – underscoring the immense difficulty of the task – she would need all three states.
Even her own campaign lawyer acknowledges the challenge, noting that no recount has overturned a presidential vote total even as large as Michigan’s, the tightest of the three states.
For his part, after initially staying silent about the Stein recount crusade, Trump, who prevailed in all three states and criticized the election as rigged before he won it, has decried the recount efforts as a “scam,” pointing out that Clinton has already conceded. Some others have also criticized Stein for what they see as a money-wasting quixotic effort; her vote total in Michigan surpassed Trump’s margin, and some believe the stronger presence of third-party candidates hurt Clinton this election year (with Stein and Gary Johnson playing the Ralph Nader role).
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Wisconsin’s Recount Will Proceed Next Week but the Other Two State Recounts Haven’t Formally Been Requested YetThe three states share a lot in common: They were part of a Midwestern narrative of white working class voters with economic angst shifting to Trump, while Clinton did not rally urban support to the degree Barack Obama had. The three states had not voted for a Republican for president since the 1980s, although Wisconsin has a GOP governor. Pennsylvania elected a slate of Democratic officials to statewide positions while also electing Trump.
Wisconsin’s Election Commission released a statement saying that it had received Stein’s request for a recount as well as one from Reform Party nominee Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente. Wisconsin has until December 13 to complete its recount and is still estimating costs and how they will be charged to campaigns.
The Wisconsin Election Commission “is preparing to move forward with a statewide recount of votes for President of the United States,” Administrator Michael Haas said in a written statement on November 25, the recount deadline.
The deadline to seek a recount is November 30 in Michigan. Michigan conducts automatic recounts in elections with margins of less than 2,000 votes (not the case here), but allows any candidate to request one if the candidate “believes that the canvass of the votes cast on the office may be incorrect because of possible ‘fraud or mistake’ in the precinct returns may petition for a recount of the votes cast in the precincts involved.”
Pennsylvania’s recount deadline is November 28. The state is unique in lacking a paper trail for its voting. Pensylvania’s election has the largest margin, and, with 20 electoral votes, the state is also the largest prize of the three.
2. Clinton’s Campaign Says It Investigated Allegations of Outside Interference in the Election but Found Nothing Actionable
Clinton let Stein drive the recount train until November 26, the day after a recount was granted in Wisconsin. Clinton’s campaign lawyer, Marc Elias, then penned a widely quoted post on Medium.com that said Clinton’s campaign had vetted the election’s integrity and found no actionable evidence of outside interference in the election.
But Elias wrote that Clinton would now participate in recounts, saying, “It should go without saying that we take these concerns extremely seriously. 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.”
Elias noted, “This election cycle was unique in the degree of foreign interference witnessed throughout the campaign: the U.S. government concluded that Russian state actors were behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and the personal email accounts of Hillary for America campaign officials, and just yesterday, the Washington Post reported that the Russian government was behind much of the ‘fake news’ propaganda that circulated online in the closing weeks of the election.”
Despite Trump’s sudden lack of outrage at what he had previously called evidence of “a rigged system,” he is now ideally positioned to clear away the doubts he helped to amplify about the votes cast and counted on those poorly secured computers. He can do so simply by acting on his legal right to demand and pay for recounts in the three states that swung the election, to ensure that the vote count was not distorted by any accidental computer glitches or intentional malware infections.
While Trump often casts himself as a victim of powerful forces conspiring against him — like news organizations, the Internal Revenue Service, or the cast of “Hamilton” — his standing as the winning candidate endows him with the unimpeachable authority to demand recounts, to see if the rigging he complained of really took place.
A comprehensive audit of the vote was suggested on Wednesday by Alex Halderman, a respected researcher in computer security at the University of Michigan who explained on Medium that he has approached Hillary Clinton’s campaign with a persuasive case for at least double-checking the results in those critical states.
“We’ve been pointing out for years that voting machines are computers, and they have reprogrammable software, so if attackers can modify that software by infecting the machines with malware, they can cause the machines to give any answer whatsoever,” Halderman wrote. “I’ve demonstrated this in the laboratory with real voting machines — in just a few seconds, anyone can install vote-stealing malware on those machines that silently alters the electronic records of every vote.”
As Halderman argued, although there is no evidence that any such hacking took place in the Trump-Clinton contest, there is broad agreement among security experts that election results provided by computers should be routinely audited: by looking at paper records of votes, where those exist, or examining the machines themselves for signs of tampering.
Given that Clinton spent the final weeks of the campaign criticizing Trump for hedging on whether or not he would accept the results, it would be hard for her to do this, despite having received over two million more votes than Trump nationwide.
Although Jill Stein indicated on Wednesday that she would request recounts in those three states, she needs to first raise $2.5 million to pay for them by Friday, the deadline for making such a request in Wisconsin, where Trump’s margin over Clinton is less than 23,000 votes.
But since there is no legal procedure in place to do such an audit of this year’s results, at least one of the candidates should take action to dispel the kind of doubts about ghosts in the machines Trump expressed on election day, which only grow with each viral anecdote of computer malfunction.
“Examining the physical evidence in these states — even if it finds nothing amiss — will help allay doubt and give voters justified confidence that the results are accurate,” Halderman argued. “It will also set a precedent for routinely examining paper ballots, which will provide an important deterrent against cyberattacks on future elections.”
Michigan preparing for potential hand recount of 4.8M presidential votes
Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president, has raised more than $5 million to pay for recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. She filed a formal recount request Friday afternoon with the Wisconsin Elections Commission and faces a Monday deadline in Pennsylvania and Wednesday in Michigan.
►Related: Jill Stein files for recount in Wisconsin
A recount won’t be cheap, and it will be a monumental task for the Secretary of State and 83 county clerks around Michigan.
She can’t request a recount in Michigan until the vote is certified, which is scheduled to happen at 2 p.m. Monday, when the Board of Canvassers meets to make the results — which show Republican Donald Trump with a 10,704-vote lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton — official. After the certification, she has until Wednesday afternoon to make the recount request.
►Related: Michigan elections director casts doubt on vote-hacking concerns
►Related: The numbers are in: Trump wins Michigan by 10,704
“What we’re doing is standing up for an election system that we can trust. We deserve to have votes that we can believe in,” she said in a video on her Facebook page. “This is a commitment that Greens have expressed that we stand for election integrity, that we support voting systems that respect our vote. We demand voting systems that are accurate, that are publicly controlled, that are not privatized.”
Her campaign manager, David Cobb, said the recount request in all three states is a given because of: Michigan's close election results; the fact that the vast majority of pre-election and exit polls in the state showed a lead for Clinton; and that there was a significant under-vote on Nov. 8, when an estimated 85,000 people cast ballots but did not make a selection in the presidential race.
"It is great that there are paper ballots in Michigan, but the only way to confirm the results is to do an audit or a recount," Cobb said.
The state has some experience with statewide election recounts, although not in nearly five decades, said Chris Thomas, director of elections at the Secretary of State office. One was done after one of Soapy Williams' races for governor, as well as the daylight saving time vote in 1968, when voters rejected the issue by 490 votes. Voters passed daylight saving time when it came back to the ballot in 1972.
“Our plans are being drafted,” Thomas said. “We’re on top of it. We’ve got some blueprints on how it will be done.”
If a recount happens, all the ballots — all 4,799,284 presidential race votes — will be counted by hand at the county level under state supervision. It’s a process that Thomas said will happen quickly. It has to be done before the 16 members of Michigan's electoral college meet on Dec. 19 to cast their votes for the winner of the presidential race.
“We’re fast,” he said. “We do all of our state recounts by hand.”
And it will be expensive. Under laws passed in Michigan in 2014, which are intended to make it more difficult to recall lawmakers, recounts are costly for the people requesting them. When the margin of the race is more than 0.5%, the cost to recount is $125 per precinct. There are 6,300 precincts in Michigan, which translates into a whopping recount price tag of $787,500.
► Related: What you should know about Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education sec. pick
► Related: Ben Carson mulls Donald Trump's offer to be HUD secretary
Since Stein got only 51,643 votes in Michigan compared with more than 4.5 million for Trump and Clinton combined, the cost per precinct for Stein would be $125 because her margin is not within 0.5%. If Clinton had asked for a recount, her cost would be $25 per precinct because she lost by such a slim margin. Stein also has estimated that she needs to raise several million for legal costs.
Stein said she’s not requesting the recount because she thinks it will change the outcome.
“This initiative is not about helping one candidate and hurting another,” she said. “We said over and over, we don’t support either of them. In this recount effort, we’re not attempting to overthrow Donald Trump, and I don’t expect that will be the outcome.”
Instead, she said she picked the three states where the vote was the closest to ensure the integrity of the election.
“We don’t have a smoking gun that there was voter fraud going on here,” she said. “But we do not have to prove that there was fraud to justify the need for a voting system that we have confidence in.”
Scott Hagerstrom, director of Trump's campaign in Michigan, said he's confident in the presidential tally in the state. But if a recount does occur, the campaign will have a significant presence in watching the recount.
"I’ve been involved in some recounts in the past. And you want to make sure you have representation there and make sure the proper procedures are followed," he said.
People in Michigan are clamoring to help. A request from Stein for volunteers to be observers during a recount in the state elicited hundreds of responses in the last two days.
The prospect for fraud in Michigan’s voting system is unlikely because the system is not connected to the Internet, and the state does operate with paper ballots that can be recounted, state election officials said.
Contact Kathleen Gray: 313-223-4430, email@example.com or on Twitter @michpoligal.
Spill details on Russia hack: Gabriel Schoenfeld
Retaliation is a bad idea, but Obama should order a full accounting before Trump takes the oath.
For an extraordinary reason, this is not something Obama can leave to his successor. Donald Trump, despite having received classified briefings on the Russian cyber threat, has refused to accept the intelligence community’s judgment that such an attack took place. His most notable public comment about it came at the second debate with Hillary Clinton, where he tossed a word salad of doubt over the matter: “Maybe there is no hacking,” Trump said, “but they always blame Russia.”
If Obama does not act in his final weeks, it is a virtual certainty that President Trump will not act either. As the beneficiary of the hacking, and as an admirer of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, Trump would have every reason to let it slide.
Options for a response have already been outlined in a paper that has made its way to Obama’s desk. They are, of course, top secret, but last month Vice President Biden told NBC’s Meet the Press that we would be “sending a message” to Putin, one that “will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.”
That was tough talk, but an unfortunate axiom applies to Obama administration pronouncements: the tougher the talk, the lower the likelihood commensurate action will follow. That rule is especially likely to pertain in this instance because all the imaginable options are so unattractive.
Among other capabilities, the Pentagon’s cyber command or the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence could send signals into Russian computers that could wreak destruction. Already back in the Cold War, the CIA planted “Trojan horse” computer chips in turbine technology the KGB was stealing from the West to control the flow of natural gas in Siberian pipelines. When the doctored chips performed their special task, the largest non-nuclear explosion ever seen from outer space was the result celebrated in CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.
The way the world is wired today, we could undoubtedly repeat such a feat with the right sequence of key strokes on a laptop in Langley, causing major pieces of Russia’s infrastructure to fail catastrophically. But the Russians could retaliate just as easily, and they probably would. Given how computerized our economy is, we stand to lose a lot more than we would gain from engaging in such kinetic action. Mutual assured destruction applies to the cyber age just as it did (and does) in the nuclear age.
A non-kinetic alternative, already much discussed, is to make public some portion of the enormous trove of documents the CIA undoubtedly possesses that demonstrate massive corruption by Putin and his cronies. This would have some salutary consequences. But every Russian already knows that the denizens of the Kremlin have pillaged the country’s treasure for personal gain. The trouble is, Russia is not a democracy and there is nothing its citizens can do about it. The major effect of such a U.S. action would be to induce a collective yawn.
Indictments? Sanctions? Both have been employed in response to past bouts of North Korean and Chinese hacking, and both would induce more yawns. Moreover, whatever punitive economic measures Obama puts in place today, President Trump could reverse on Jan. 20. Unless we settle for engaging in some petty retaliatory hacking of little moment, it would seem that we’re out of tricks. Indeed, given Biden’s swaggering threat, we might be witnessing a repeat of the Syrian chemical weapons fiasco in which Obama drew a red line, Syria promptly crossed the red line, and Obama — contemplating the unknown cost of launching a military operation — chickened out and said sorry, never mind.
Still, even if there is no effective means of retaliation, there remains one thing that Obama absolutely must do, though it comes at a price.
POLICING THE USA: A look at race, justice, media
The Russia-WikiLeaks assault on our electoral process was one of the most consequential influence operations in modern history. The public deserves a full accounting of exactly what happened. The intelligence community should lay out what it knows. Even if this means disclosing sensitive sources and methods, a timeline, a list of players and a description of the technology involved, and any and all relevant evidence should be put into the public domain in a report prepared and signed by trusted blue-ribbon names.
The stakes here could not be higher. If we do not obtain a documented account before Inauguration Day of what we have just witnessed, the incoming Trump administration will have every incentive to erase the evidentiary trail and bury the truth. Trump has exhibited no compunctions about falsifying far more trivial things. His designated national security adviser, retired general Michael Flynn, is a brazen Putinophile who has taken money from RT, Moscow’s principal English-language propaganda organ. Flynn will only be too happy to go along.
As we draw closer to the moment Trump takes the oath of office, the American people deserve an accounting that clears up as thoroughly as possible all questions about one of the many extraordinary aspects of the 2016 presidential campaign: how a candidate favored by Russia, and who favors Russia, was helped by Russia to ascend to the most powerful position in the world.
Gabriel Schoenfeld, a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the author of Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeschoenfeld
You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @USATOpinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To submit a letter, comment or column, check our submission guidelines.
Hillary Clinton’s Popular-Vote Victory Is Unprecedented—and Still Growing
Her margin is now bigger than the winning margins for John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
But one thing is certain: Clinton’s win is unprecedented in the modern history of American presidential politics. And the numbers should focus attention on the democratic dysfunction that has been exposed.
When a candidate who wins the popular vote does not take office, when a loser is instead installed in the White House, that is an issue. And it raises questions that must be addressed.
So let’s address them:
WHO WON THE NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE? AND BY HOW MUCH?Clinton is winning it. The only question now has to do with the size of the win. You will see different numbers in different counts because keeping on top of the national totals requires constant monitoring of the results from 50 states and the District of Columbia. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report maintains one of the most frequently updated spreadsheets on the race. One week after the election, it had Clinton with 62,403,269 votes to 61,242,652 for Trump. That puts Clinton ahead by 1.16 million votes. Another able chronicler of the count, Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, also puts Clinton ahead by more than one million votes.
The million-vote figure is a baseline from which to analyze Clinton’s popular-vote victory. But it is only that—a baseline—as her margin will continue to expand.
HOW COME NO ONE IS GOING OVER 50 PERCENT?The previous three US presidential elections saw the winning candidates win actual majorities of the popular vote. But that won’t happen this time. As in 18 previous presidential elections, the winner of the popular vote in this year’s election will achieve only a plurality of the votes.
More than a million votes have already been counted for Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green Jill Stein, independent Evan McMullin and others, according to various counts. The totals for third-party, independent, and write-in candidates will rise as the tabulation continues—providing a powerful indication of the desire for a broader democracy and political alternatives. The high level of support for third-party and independent candidates also guarantees that neither major-party candidate will do this year what Barack Obama did in 2008 and 2012: win a majority of the popular vote.
WHY AREN’T ALL THE VOTES COUNTED A WEEK AFTER THE ELECTION?The United States has no clear and consistent national standard for holding elections or for counting votes. The rules differ radically from state to state. In some states, election officials are already engaged on the process of establishing a final official count. In other states, ballots are still being counted. The big distinction is between states that do most of their voting on Election Day and states that rely heavily on “absentee” ballots and mail voting. It happens that many of the bigger states that make it easier to vote (at the polls and by mail) are states that favored Clinton.
The biggest of these is California, where Clinton is ahead 62-33 percent at this point. California election officials explain: “It typically takes weeks for counties to process and count all of the ballots. Elections officials have approximately one month (28 days for presidential electors and 30 days for all other contests) to complete their extensive tallying, auditing, and certification work (known as the ‘official canvass’) Most notably, voting by mail has increased significantly in recent years and many vote-by-mail ballots arrive on, or up to three days after, Election Day (vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the county elections official no later than three days after the election are included in the canvass). In processing vote-by-mail ballots, elections officials must confirm each voter’s registration status, verify each voter’s signature on the vote-by-mail envelope, and ensure each person did not vote elsewhere in the same election before the ballot can be counted. Other ballots that are processed after Election Day include provisional ballots (processed similar to vote-by-mail ballots), and ballots that are damaged or cannot be machine-read and must be remade by elections officials.”
As on November 11, according to the state’s updated “Estimated Unprocessed Ballots” report, more than one million ballots were as yet uncounted in Los Angeles County. Two days later, San Diego County reported that it has more than 600,000 ballots to count.
BUT THE HEADLINES JUST TALK ABOUT DONALD TRUMP WINNING?Elite media outlets do not, for the most part, have an interest in vote counts and what they mean. Coverage of the 2016 election campaign confirmed the extent to which major media are more interested in personalities than facts on the ground. The television networks like to declare a “winner” and then get focused on the palace intrigues surrounding a transition of power. Those intrigues are worth covering. But perspective on the will of the people get lost. Election-night numbers get locked in, and that’s that. There may be a notation that Clinton won “a narrow popular-vote” margin, but rarely is there a deep dive—even as the “narrow” margin grows to something much more substantial.
It was announced on election night that the Republican nominee had secured a sufficient number of Electoral College votes to claim the presidency. With the counts continuing, and with recounts a possibility, the Electoral College totals as of one week after the election project that Trump will win 306 electoral votes, as opposed to 232 for Clinton. The Trump figure is 36 more than is needed to reach the 270 total that is required to claim the presidency. Trump will almost certainly stay above the 270 threshold, although he could still lose a state (such as Michigan, where he leads by less than 13,000 votes) or win one (such as New Hampshire, where Clinton is up by around 3,000 votes). The results in a number of battleground states were so close that a shift of around 55,000 votes in three states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) would align the national popular vote result with the Electoral College result for a Clinton win.
What is important here is to recognize that there was no Trump mandate, in the popular vote (which he lost by a significant margin) or in the Electoral College (which he won narrowly, thanks to close results that tipped a handful of states in his favor). Notably, Trump’s total fell below 50 percent in the majority of states; he lost 20 states and the District of Columbia, and in at least seven additional states he leads, but without a majority of the vote.
IS CLINTON’S POPULAR-VOTE VICTORY UNPRECEDENTED?Yes. Clinton has already won the popular vote by a dramatically larger number of ballots than anyone in history who did not go on to be inaugurated as president.
There have been cases in the past where popular-vote winners have not become president. Three of them occurred in the 19th century, before the majority of Americans were allowed to vote. Before this year, there was only one instance in the modern era when a popular-vote winner was denied the presidency by the Electoral College. That was in 2000, when Democrat Al Gore beat Republican George W. Bush by 543,816 votes nationally.
Clinton’s popular-vote margin over that of Trump is now greater than that of Richard Nixon over Hubert Humphrey in 1968, and that of John Kennedy over Nixon in 1960.
Clinton is now winning roughly 47.8 percent of the vote, according to David Wasserman’s count for the Cook report. That’s a little less than the level reached by Gore in 2000. As Clinton’s popular-vote margin increases, so, too, will her percentage. It is possible that she will win the popular vote with the highest percentage of anyone who has not taken office.
But the percentage that matters is Trump’s. The Republican nominee will become president with less popular support than a number of major-party candidates who lost races for the presidency. Trump is now at 47.0 percent of the popular vote, according to the Cook count. That is a lower percentage than were won by Mitt Romney in 2012, John Kerry in 2004, Gore in 2000, or Gerald Ford in 1976.
IS THIS ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON AND DONALD TRUMP?No. Supporters of Clinton and critics of Clinton can kvetch about the virtues of her candidacy, and about what remains of the Democratic Party, for as long as their voices hold out. And Trump supporters can certainly announce that “the rules are the rules.” But this is about a higher principle than partisanship, and about something that matters more than personalities. This is about democracy itself. When the winner of an election does not take office, and when the loser does, we have evidence of a system that is structurally rigged. Those who favor a rigged system can defend it—and make empty arguments about small states versus big states that neglect the fact that many of the country’s smallest states (Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) backed the popular-vote winner. But those who favor democracy ought to join their voices in support of reform.
There are national movements to address the mess that is made when the Electoral College trumps democracy. There are petitions that call for abolishing the Electoral College. California Senator Barbara Boxer this week proposed a constitutional amendment to do just that, saying: “This is the only office in the land where you can get more votes and still lose the presidency. The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately.”
There is also the bipartisan National Popular Vote initiative. Promoted by the reform group FairVote, it commits states to respect the national popular vote (as part of a multi-state compact in which states with a majority of electoral votes commit to assign them to the candidate who gets the most votes) and to ending the absurdity of elections in which losers can become presidents.
IF SOMEONE TELLS ME I SHOULD “GET OVER IT,” HOW SHOULD I RESPOND?Just tell them that you agree with Donald Trump, who in 2012 described the Electoral College a “disaster for democracy.” On Sunday, he told CBS’s 60 Minutes that he still agrees with himself—even if he is not prepared to defer to the will of the people in this instance. “I would rather see it where you went with simple votes,” Trump explained. “You know, you get 100 million votes and somebody else gets 90 million votes and you win.”
Mr. Tigerli in China
Copyright 2016 by Letizia Mancino
translation by Mary Holmes
All rights reserved
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