Sunday, November 27, 2016

War Closer Than Most Thought In Cuba Missile

Only years after the 1963 Cuban Missile Crisis was it known that Russia-U.S. confrontations near the island were not the only threat.
We only found out 46 years that an Alaska-based U.S U2 doing a routine test for signs of nuclear testing at Novaya Zemlya
had flown off course, and flown as much as 300 miles into Russian territory.
My father had been assigned to Galena, where a small runway was maintained. When the call went out to prevent the Russians from shooting it down, Galena had the closest fighters.
Vanity Fair reported in 2008 about the near confrontation and said the jets sent to protect the U2 only had Falcon air-to-air missiles armed with nuclear warheads.
Going off course, apparently distracted by the aurora borealis, the pilot, Charles W. Maultsby,
only realized for certain that he was off course when he picked up a commercial Russian radio station. Russian military radio meanwhile was trying to trick Maultsby into flying farther into their country. He wasn’t fooled.
He decided to turn off all power-consuming devices and tried to glide as far as Alaska. The plane was so well designed for heights that it held the 70,000 altitude for at least 10 minutes.
With all the power turned off, the U2 began collecting ice. The pilot had to lick the screen to see where he was going.
It worked and two F-102s caught up with him before the Russians could. The pilots guided the U2 to a nearby, iced-over runway. The plane landed safely.
President John F. Kennedy, a war hero himself, had been meeting with his top commanders when learned about the U2 flight.
Some people in the room thought it was insane to even launch a U2 during this period.
Kennedy reacted differently. He said, “There’s always some son of a bitch who doesn’t get the word.”
Russia sent a message to Kennedy saying: “One of your planes violates our frontier during this anxious time we are both experiencing when everything has been put into combat readiness. Is it not a fact that an intruding American plane could be easily taken for a nuclear bomber, which might push us to a fateful step?”
Kennedy, for his part, rejected demands to use the overflight as a reason to start World War III.
One wonders how our new president would handle something like this?
My father, a World War 2 veteran, was stationed at Galena when this incident occurred. He never mentioned it to us and we only learned of it after he had died.
Not to defend Castro it must be noted that the U.S. tried unsuccessfully in the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

America Is No Longer A Democracy

Hillary Clinton is heading towards a 2 million vote lead in the 2016 presidential race, but it means nothing.
Donald Trump will be the next president because of a system that does not depend on the votes of the people.
Thomas Jefferson, one of the most powerful forefathers, said it this way: "Where the law of the majority ceases to be acknowledged, there government ends; the law of the strongest takes its place, and life and property are his who can take them."
Trump manipulated the election just has he done beauty pageants and reality shows by focusing on the electoral college. Pundits asked why he was visiting Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania so often. Those three states, which he carried by a total of 101,000 votes, gave him his lead in the electoral college.
With votes still being counted, Clinton had 63.7 million compared with Trump’s 62 million. Her lead was expected to grow.
The electoral college was created by the founding fathers because they feared letting the people elect a president. They especially feared a close race where the outcome was disputed.
The popular vote winner had lost three times previously, though winning by only a small margin until 2000. Al Gore won that election by 543,895 votes. And there was a dispute over the vote count in Florida that was settled by a Republican-dominated Supreme Court.
Voters had no say in the decision.
But never had there been an election where the popular vote winner had a lead as big as Clinton’s. With votes still out in several left-leaning states, including California, it was considered likely her lead would exceed 2 million.
The presidential election is the only important vote in the U.S. that is not determined by every vote cast. Mayors, governors, senators, et al, win by getting the most votes.
One thing is for certain, the French writer-traveler Alexis de Toqueville needn’t have worried about the “tyranny of the majority.”
Instead there is a possibility of a tyranny of the minority seeking to take away abortion rights, same sex marriage rights.
Polls have repeatedly shown that a majority supports these controversial rights. And for those who doubt polls, they were correct when they said Clinton would win the popular vote.
“According to the Brookings Institution analysis, the less-than-500 counties that Clinton won nationwide combined to generate 64 percent of America's economic activity in 2015. The more-than-2,600 counties that Trump won combined to generate 36 percent of the country's economic activity last year.
“Clinton, in other words, carried nearly two-thirds of the American economy.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Social Media Especially Facebook Accused Of Helping Trump Win

There are numerous reports of phony stories posted on social media that helped Donald Trump win the election. Facebook is the main villain because it initially denied there was any problem.
Google, without being asked, said it was going to review its algos to keep phony stories off Google Plus.
Users have complained they are going to use Twitter and other sites until the problems are fixed.
“Last week Buzzfeed revealed that a handful of teens in Macedonia, were responsible for dozens or more of the inaccurate conspiracy theories that had been getting sometimes hundreds of thousands of likes and shares on Facebook. Nearly all of these were in favour of Donald Trump. They’d gamed Facebook’s algorithm, noting that stories aimed at Clinton supporters didn’t make as many ad dollars as those aimed at Trump supporters,” Forbes reported.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, said this was “a pretty crazy idea.”
“A quiet group of rebel Facebook employees have created a fake-news “task force” to address the issue of hoax news appearing in users’ feeds, BuzzFeed News reports. “More than dozens” of employees have banded together, fearing retribution from management and meeting in secret, and plan to come up with a set of recommendations to deliver to Facebook’s management about how to fix the fake-news problem. “What’s crazy,” one anonymous Facebook employee tells BuzzFeed, “is for [Zuckerberg] to come out and dismiss it like that, when he knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season,” said Vanity Fair.
Gizmodo said Facebook was afraid of a conservative backlash.
“It’s no secret that Facebook has a fake news problem. Critics have accused the social network of allowing false and hoax news stories to run rampant, with some suggesting that Facebook contributed to Donald Trump’s election by letting hyper-partisan websites spread false and misleading information.
They absolutely have the tools to shut down fake news
“Still, it’s hard to visit Facebook without seeing phony headlines like “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide” or “Pope Francis Shocks World, “Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement” promoted by no-name news sites like the Denver Guardian and Ending The Fed.”
Google publicly declared it had seen the problem and was working on it. It was embarrassed by reports it carried by Trump had won the popular vote. Hillary Clinton has at least one million more votes, perhaps more.
Westerners were cheered by the April spring several years ago, when social media brought down Arab dictators. Many tyrants regained power, and no one in the U.S. expect we would see our own November winter.
Trump took credit for his mastery of social media, declaring it helped him win. He said he didn’t have the money the Clinton had so he used social media.
Many users who supported Clinton blocked these hoax news stories. But they showed up on many Facebook sites. No one realized they were hoaxes. Some defriended the people posting these false stories. But many were generated by bots.
Trump has threatened libel against news outlets like the New York Times which publish articles critical of him. He sent them several tweets.
The Times replied that they would keep reporting all the truth on trump and he could shove it.
Trump’s latest maneuvers are to try the block his several trials for federal racketeering charge. The status of a 14-year-old who claims Trump and a friend raped her. It is in limbo after she has received death threats.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sixty-three million Americans disenfranchised

The final votes remain to be counted but Hillary Clinton got 2 million votes than Donald Trump.
Sixty-one million people cast ballots for Trump.
And the Time and others say as more West Coast votes are counted her margin is likely to increase.
Hundreds of thousands of voter fraud were reported on Twitter but a Trump administration is unlikely to investigate. There also were stories of voter suppression.
In fact, Clinton has accused the FBI of winning the election for Trump with false accusations.
FBI Director “James Comey's announcement of a new inquiry into her use of email while secretary of state shortly before election day had stopped her campaign's momentum,”  Clinton told the BBC.
This same Comey blocked allegations of Russia intervening on Trump’s side because it was too close to the election.
“The Russian government maintained contacts with members of Donald J. Trump’s “immediate entourage” during the American presidential campaign,” one of Russia’s top diplomats said Thursday.
“There were contacts,” Sergei A. Ryabkov, the deputy foreign minister, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. “We continue to do this and have been doing this work during the election campaign,” he said.
This is the fifth time the winner of the popular vote has lost because states voted in the Electoral College. In all five cases Democrats had the most votes.
While Trump has sought to be conciliatory, particularly on Obamacare, it remains to be seen whether the Republicans in the Senate and House will cooperate. And his base will soon be calling him a liar if he backs off.
Trump’s “Trump University” fraud trial is still set to begin Nov. 28. The judge handling the case has refused to delay it but has suggested a settlement might be a good idea because the presidency is involved.
One again, Trump would be settling a lawsuit with money. And when will be the public get to see his taxes. He may not be able to hide them once he is in the White House.