After Iowa … Can Bernie Win a “Strip & Flip” Selection?

By MIMI KENNEDY, BOB FITRAKIS and HARVEY WASSERMAN

Bernie Sanders has shown in Iowa that he’s a viable candidate … and more. Considering Bernie was down 50 points just a while ago, Iowa has sent a clear signal that this campaign must be taken seriously.

But the terrain will quickly shift. Bernie will obviously do well in New Hampshire. Then the race will move to southern and bigger states, where Hillary may have an edge.

But we’re not talking about demographics. The real terrain shift that concerns us is from a caucus state to ones where the votes are counted on electronic voting machines.

The key strategy in question is “strip and flip,” i.e., the stripping of electronic registration lists, and then the flipping of the vote count on machines that have no reliable system of verification.

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Jeb Bush begs town hall attendees to ‘please clap’

By DYLAN STABLEFORD

For Jeb Bush supporters who may be face-palm averse, you may want to look away.

At a town hall event in New Hampshire on Tuesday, the former Florida governor and Republican presidential hopeful asked attendees to “please clap” after his call for the next commander in chief “to be a lot quieter” was met with silence.

“I will not trash-talk,” Bush said at the event in Hanover, N.H., a day after finishing a distant sixth in the Iowa caucuses. “I will not be a divider in chief or an agitator in chief. I won’t be out there blowharding, talking a big game without backing it up. I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter, but send a signal that we’re prepared to act in the national security interests of this country — to get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world.”

After failing to elicit applause, a tired-sounding Bush pleaded with the crowd.

“Please clap,” he said, drawing applause — and some awkward laughter.

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Health Angle Barred at NYU Wi-Fi Kiosk Talk

By JACK O’DWYER

The dangers of excessive Wi-Fi radiation will not be among the topics discussed when Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff talks Feb. 10 about the ongoing installation of 7,500 high-powered Wi-Fi kiosks in New York City.

Jennifer Cho, director of development, NYU’s Center for Urban Science & Progress, Brooklyn, said the program will discuss new technologies that will improve the life of city inhabitants. There will be a Q&A period in the hour-long program but no duration has been set for that.

Activists have asked for a “literature table” where documents on the health effects of radiation can be displayed. That will not be allowed, she said. Also rejected was the suggestion that the program be moved to NYU’s Kimmel Center in New York.

Doctoroff uses abstract, general terms in talking about the Kiosks. The Jan. 25 New Yorker described an initial nine-foot, six-inch kiosk being installed at Third ave. and 15th st.

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Missing precinct scrambles to report Sanders won

By JENNIFER JACOBS

Votes from one precinct in Iowa were still missing Tuesday morning, and Democrats from that neighborhood scrambled to find party officials so that they could report their tally: Bernie Sanders won by 2 delegates over Hillary Clinton.

With Des Moines precinct No. 42’s results, Clinton’s excruciatingly close lead narrowed further, making the final tally for delegate equivalents in the Democratic Iowa caucuses:

Clinton: 699.57

Sanders: 697.77.

It quickly raised questions about whether Sanders had won the popular vote in Iowa. Sanders backers called for Iowa Democratic Party officials to release the raw vote totals.

“It’s important considering how close the race is. We need to be sure everyone has our accurate count,” Jill Joseph, a rank-and-file Democratic voter who backed Sanders in at No. 42 Monday night, told The Des Moines Register.

Party officials had worked into the early morning Tuesday trying to account for results from a handful of tardy precincts in the extremely close presidential caucus race between Sanders and Clinton.

But they announced that Clinton had eked out a slim victory, based on results from 1,682 of 1,683 precincts.

Team Clinton quickly embraced that news, and flatly stated that nothing could change it.

Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire in the 2:30 a.m. statement said: “Hillary Clinton has been awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents, Bernie Sanders has been awarded 695.49 state delegate equivalents, Martin O’Malley has been awarded 7.68 state delegate equivalents and uncommitted has been awarded .46 state delegate equivalents. We still have outstanding results in one precinct – Des Moines 42 – which is worth 2.28 state delegate equivalents. We will report that final precinct when we have confirmed those results with the chair.”

Clinton’s Iowa campaign director Matt Paul said in a statement at 2:35 a.m.: “Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa Caucus. After thorough reporting – and analysis – of results, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates. Statistically, there is no outstanding information that could change the results and no way that Senator Sanders can overcome Secretary Clinton’s advantage.”

McGuire could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday morning.

The scene at precinct No. 42 was “chaos” Monday night, Joseph told the Register. None of the 400-plus Democrats wanted wanted to be in charge of the caucus, so a man who had shown up just to vote reluctantly stepped forward. As Joseph was leaving with the untrained caucus chairman, who is one of her neighbors, “I looked at him and said, ‘Who called in the results of our caucus?’ And we didn’t know.”

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Donald Trump is a fraud: Report confirms the billionaire’s presidential bid is a long and calculated con job

Everything Trump has done during the campaign is designed to dupe the media into funding his marketing strategy

By SEAN ILLING

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign feels whimsical, like a practical joke or publicity tour gone awry. But it turns out the Donald is running a long con. A new report in Politico suggests Trump has been plotting this stunt for years, and he knew exactly what he had to do to succeed.

According to the report, Trump was approached two years ago by GOP operatives who wanted him to run for governor of New York. To their surprise, he declined but added that they would be useful when he ran for president. “I’m going to walk away with it and win outright,” Trump told the group, “I’m going to get in and all the polls are going to go crazy. I’m going to suck all the oxygen out of the room. I know how to work the media in a way that that they will never take the lights off of me.”

Trump knew all along that his celebrity and media savvy were sufficient to support his campaign. Although they didn’t believe him, Trump told the Republicans in that room in 2013 that he would dominate the race without spending much on paid advertising. From the report:

“’You can’t run for president on earned media,’ one attendee recalled telling Trump. The billionaire looked up, and paused for a long moment. ‘I think you’re wrong,’ Trump said. ‘Are you going to do all those little events at the Pizza Ranches?” another person asked, referring to the Iowa fast food franchises that are a staple of presidential campaign stops. ‘Maybe a little,’ Trump replied. ‘But it’s really about the power of the mass audience.’”

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2:00PM Water Cooler 2/1/2016

By LAMBERT STRETHER

The Trail

The Iowa caucuses start at 7PM today. A blizzard is on the way, but won’t arrive ’til after the caucuses conclude. On the Republican side, I have no idea who will win. But even if Trump loses, I don’t think it will be by much, and I can’t see him giving up. Why would he? (Although it will be interesting to see how he redefines a loss into not being a loser.) On the Democratic side, I don’t have any idea either, and although the headline is that Clinton is in the lead, in fact, Sanders and Clinton are in a statistical dead heat. It’s worth noting, though, that even if Clinton does win, it took the entire political class acting collectively to heave her over the finish line, and she will have done so at the cost of “never, ever” being seen as “progressive” again. And Sanders can keep going until the FBI indictment convention, with his small donor base. Why wouldn’t he? So I expect the race to remain interesting for some time to come.

“In a somewhat ominous sign for [Trump and Sanders], the registration numbers have not increased much for either party, and although there is same day registration, the Iowa hands all point out that the Obama upset was presaged by very substantial registrations of new Democrats for months ahead of time” [Digby,Salon]. Sketchy sourcing, though…

And here’s one reason why: Microsoft wrote really bad software that will keep new voters from registering

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BUSTED: Iowa Precinct Captain Revealed as Paid, Out-of-State Staffer for Clinton Campaign

With the potentially pivotal Iowa caucus mere hours away, the Bernie Sanders campaign has found evidence to suggest that Hillary has been “infiltrating the caucuses with out-of-state paid staffers.”

By NATHAN WELLMAN

The alarming controversy began when Sanders supporter Dennis Clifford received a letter from the Clinton campaign urging him to caucus for Clinton. While this isn’t in itself unusual, the letter named a paid staffer from out of state as its precinct captain.

“It’s my job to make sure all of Hillary’s supporters are in attendance on caucus night to ensure Hillary wins,” the out-of-state captain said.

“I think this raises a very serious concern,” Jeff Weaver, national campaign chairman for Sanders, told Yahoo! News. “I would hope that the media will be able to get to this before Monday night.”

Precinct captains are traditionally entirely staffed by Iowans. Weaver calls this a “highly irregular” practice on the part of the Clinton campaign, with some experts worrying that this placement “could easily lead to abuse.”

While Weaver assured Bernie supporters that he’s not concerned specifically about this single out-of-state precinct captain, he did insist that this could be a small link in a larger strategy by the Clinton campaign to have “non-residents attempt to participate and be counted in the caucus.”

Running contrary to what the intercepted letter suggests, the Clinton campaign continues to maintain that all of its precinct captains are Iowans.

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CLINTON CAUCUS CAUGHT ON CAMERA COMMITTING VOTER FRAUD IN IOWA?

HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN ACCUSED OF VOTER FRAUD IN POLK COUNTY, IOWA CAUCUS

IOWA – Bernie Sanders supporters are outraged claiming caucus chair Drew Gentsch and precinct captain Liz Buck did not conduct an actual count of Clinton supporters. The pair are accused of deliberately misleading the caucus at precinct #43 in Des Moines.

This is a very serious accusation especially given the razor thin race in Iowa between Clinton and Sanders. The entire incident was captured on camera by C-SPAN. We have included the full video below.

Reddit user cosmicjesus3 explains:

So basically in the caucus they have to hand count everyone depending on what side they’re sitting on. Well when it came time to do the second count the numbers were off. The first vote breakdown was like this
FIRST VOTE: 215 Sanders 210 Clinton 26 O’Malley 8 Undecided 459 TOTAL
And this is the SECOND Vote: 232 Clinton 224 Sanders 456 Total
So somehow they lost 3 people but Clinton’s vote went up by 14.
So basically what had happened was Hillary’s team didn’t take the time to do a full recount instead she just added the new people who joined the second vote. Which clearly wasn’t an accurate count.
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Trump pointed to some tactics that were fraudulent: a false report that Carson had suspended his campaign (inducing would-be Carson voters to vote Cruz instead), and a bogus mailer, meant to look like an official notice from the state, meant to frighten Iowans into voting Cruz.

Typically, this article makes much less of what Cruz’s campaign may have done than of Trump’s bombast and Team Cruz’s snarky comebacks—i.e., the theatrics of it all.

The tacit assumption of this piece is the usual assurance that no victories are ever “stolen” in the USA.

MCM


Donald Trump Says Ted Cruz Stole Victory in Iowa Caucuses

After hinting at it for a day, Donald J. Trump on Wednesday bluntly accused Senator Ted Cruz of “stealing” victory in the Iowa caucuses and demanded a do-over.

By MAGGIE HABERMAN and MATT FLEGENHEIMER

Mr. Trump finished in second in Iowa, after leading public opinion polls there for months. Initially, after losing the state, Mr. Trump was gracious, thanking Iowans in his concession speech and offering Mr. Cruz a kind word on his victory. On Tuesday, though, Mr. Trump vacillated between thanking Iowans and saying he was honored by his showing to saying it wasn’t worth spending his own money on the race because voters didn’t appreciate it.

In typical fashion, Mr. Trump first tested lines about Mr. Cruz committing voter fraud in a speech at a rally in New Hampshire, sprinkling it in with a larger address.

Mr. Trump is basing his claim on reports that Mr. Cruz’s aides and allies, including Representative Steve King of Iowa, had posted a false report on Twitter that Ben Carson had suspended his campaign while the voting was still going on. The implication is that some of the Carson votes ended up going to Mr. Cruz.

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Want Endless War? Love the U.S. Empire? Well, Hillary Clinton’s Your Choice

By MAJORIE COHN

Hillary Clinton likes to extol her foreign policy credentials, particularly her experience as secretary of state. She attaches herself to Barack Obama’s coattails, pledging to continue his policies. But she is even more hawkish than the president.

Like Obama, Clinton touts American exceptionalism, the notion that the United States is better than any other country. In his State of the Union addresses, Obama has proclaimed America “exceptional” and said the U.S. must “lead the world.” Clinton wrote in her book “Hard Choices” that “America remains the ‘indispensable nation.’ ”

It is this view that animates U.S. invasions, interventions, bombings and occupations of other countries. Under the pretense of protecting our national interest, the United States maintains some 800 military bases in other countries, costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars annually. Often referred to as “enduring bases,” they enable us to mount attacks whenever and wherever our leaders see fit, whether with drones or manned aircraft.

Obama, who continues to prosecute the war in Afghanistan 15 years after it began, is poised to send ground troops back to Iraq and begin bombing Libya. His aggressive pursuit of regime change in Syria was met with pushback by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to Seymour Hersh.

The president has bombed some seven countries with drones. But besides moving toward normalization of relations with Cuba, his signature foreign policy achievement is brokering the agreement to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

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