Sunday, December 11, 2016

Week 51: "Diebold 2.0" (December 11, 2016)

Dear Readers,

The election may have passed but there’s always more news. If at any time you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, feel free to reply and let me know. A reminder that all newsletters (and more) are available at


The main story this week comes from an announcement, thanks to a secret government official, that the CIA is investigating Russian hacks into the election, and that they have some evidence. However, we must be careful. These are unnamed sources reporting on top-secret information from secretive government organizations. I’m not saying the claims are invalid, but we must not be too quick to assume. What matters here is not whether the outcome was changed - I highly doubt it was, regardless of whether the accusations are true at all. No, what matters here is how much future elections can be affected by this. If Russia or any other hackers can change election results at will, that’s a dangerous sign for our democracy. We’ve long known that our electoral process is slightly clunky and vulnerable, but this basic a mechanical issue is, in many ways, harder to fix. I don’t know what the correct solution is here, and I doubt anyone else does either. It’s just something to ponder, perhaps in fear.

Louisiana Runoff Recap

Well, this is no surprise, but John Kennedy won the Louisiana Senate runoff with 60.7% of the vote. (for a reminder on what it is and why it occurred, check last week’s newsletter) Foster Campbell, a conservative democrat from Shreveport, got trounced downstate and wound up losing by a greater margin than Hillary Clinton did. Clinton carried Shreveport’s county, and Campbell didn’t, even though it’s his hometown. It was an embarrassing loss for Campbell, who tried to replicate Gov. John Bel Edwards’ campaign and failed miserably.

PEOTUS Trump Continues To Deny Daily Intelligence Briefings

In a worrying display, our president-elect continues to decline daily intelligence briefings. This is one of the most important things one can receive as the president and the fact that our already unqualified, unconventional president is unwilling to be informed about global issues means that he will either show up to work on January 20th over his head, or governed by lies. Either way, it could lead to a messy situation that is currently avoidable, and I’m worried about the potential situations we as a nation could find ourselves in.

The Trump Cabinet

Trump announced a few more Cabinet positions this week. For Treasury, he chose Goldman Sachs executive and hedge fund manager Steven Mnuchin (a reminder that Trump attacked Hillary on being too close to Wall Street). He announced Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development, and for Homeland Security announced General John Kelly. Some are worried that there are already multiple generals in his cabinet, but Homeland Security and Defense are, in my opinion, reasonable places for generals to be. In addition, former Exxon chief Rex Tillerson appears to be the favorite for Secretary of State. It was recently announced that on Monday, Trump would meet to discuss Cabinet positions with:

-Former CEO and presidential candidate Carly Fiorina
-Former Senator and presidential candidate who once lost re-election by 17 points, Rick Santorum
-Far-right-wing US Representative Raul Labrador
-Democratic Senator Joe Manchin

It’s a strange list; make of it what you will.

Trump Will Remain Executive Producer of “Celebrity Apprentice”

A report announces that Trump will continue in his position as executive producer of his hit show, the Celebrity Apprentice. He claims he will devote “zero time” to it, but his salary is reputed to be six figures. Regardless of whether he spends any time on this job, he still leads a show on a major network, while he is president. Even if his name is just in the credits for having the idea, he still receives a check.

This Week In World Elections
Canada: The Liberal party in Canada saw their vote share in a recent poll plummet, as the margin over the Conservatives fell from 23 points to 8 points. This is likely related to Trudeau’s reaction to Castro’s death and his decision to approve one oil pipeline and dismiss another. This, combined with a recent allegation of indecent fundraising, could turn the next elections into a horserace again. Or, it could all be a false alarm.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to comment or reply!

No comments:

Post a Comment