Pondering

In a normal world, in the event of a President resigning, becoming incapacitated, or being Impeached and removed from office, the order of succession is pretty clear. The Vice President would then step in to take control, and if he was unavailable then the Speaker of the House, and so on and so forth as called out in the table below:

(image courtesy Wikipedia)

All well and good. But the question I’ve been pondering lately is considering how deep Russian collusion may go in this administration, how far down the line of succession will we have to travel in order to get a Chief Executive who untouched by the scandal?

The VP has been conspicuously silent on the whole affair, but if this bit of reporting is to be believed, it’s for good reason. Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House apparently has his own ties to Russia. Orrin Hatch? I haven’t heard his name come up in anything regarding Vladimir Putin, so he may in fact not have the stench of this upon him, but who knows?

Obviously Hatch would not be my first choice for President, but after the dog and pony shit show of the last sixty days, I think I—and perhaps the vast majority of the rest of the country and the rest of the world—would breathe a collective sigh of relief at the prospect of actually having someone (regardless of his politics) who is at least a competent adult in the White House again.

If it is shown that the tentacles of Russian collusion reach further into our government than just the upper echelons of the Executive Branch, we are facing a truly unprecedented situation. If it can be proven that 45 and his gang of thugs were illegitimately installed during the last election, what can be done about removing the entire lot? Does the country call for a new election, or is it somehow awarded to the person who actually won the popular vote?

We’re in uncharted waters here, folks.

A Question

Is 45 so utterly and completely delusional that he still thinks he has any real legitimacy left with Americans and the rest of the world when he has a Twittertantrum like this?

So he’s complaining about leaking classified fake news? And he fired Flynn anyway? Uh. Yeah, whatever.

Starting to feel the noose getting tighter there, Cheeto?

I’m not dancing in the streets—yet—but I am feeling a little more hopeful that this administration’s wanton hubris and pathological narcissism will be what spells it’s ultimate doom. When you start dissing your own intelligence agencies—who undoubtedly have more dirt on you than even your buddies in the Kremlin—and accuse them of being illegitimate—things are not going to end well for you.

I’m sure someone, somewhere, has hands on the floodgates as we speak, just waiting for the right moment to release the shitstorm of hurt that’s going to hit 45 and his Cabinet of Deplorables like a runaway locomotive.

We are in uncharted territory here, folks. How far into the administration does this Treason reach? As it stands now, I would go out on a limb and dare say any Republican who isn’t calling for hearings is guilty on some level.

There appear to be no Constitutional remedies in place for removing and replacing the entire Executive Branch, so fasten your seat belts. I have a feeling things are going to get very interesting very quickly…

Why, Indeed…

From Think Progress:

11 things exposed by the ethics office Republicans just tried to dismantle

On Monday night, on a federal holiday, behind closed doors, House Republicans voted to eviscerate the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) — the independent body tasked with rooting out corruption and conflicts of interest on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, after a public outcry, they abandoned the plan, though some Congress members suggested they may try again at a later date to gut the ethics panel.

Since the office was created in 2008, it investigated dozens of cases each year, uncovering damning information on Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike. The following cases, which range from insider trading to accepting gifts from foreign governments, reveal the kind of behavior that may now go unchecked without the government watchdog in action.

  1. Steering information and favors to a lobbyist’s wife. In July of this year, the OCE reported that Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) allowed his wife, Constance Harriman, to lobby his own staff on behalf of the Humane Society between 2011 and 2015, “dispensed special favors” to her, and helped her set up as many as 100 meetings with other members of Congress. Whitfield also introduced bills supported by the pharmaceutical technology company LaserLock while his wife served on their board and while the couple held stock in the company. The OCE uncovered e-mails showing Harriman using her husband’s congressional office to gather information that would benefit LaserLock. Whitfield announced his resignation shortly after the report’s release.
  2. Boosting a junk vehicle inspection side business. In 2010, the OCE found that Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) violated House ethics rules by meeting with Georgia officials about making changes to the state’s vehicle inspection program while co-owning a business that conducted the inspections. “Deal sought to preserve a state vehicle inspection program that had generated significant personal financial benefit for him,” the report found. Deal resigned following the probe.
  3. Using a public office to benefit a personal hedge fund. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) may have violated half a dozen House ethics rules by continuing to operate a hedge fund and multiple law firms while serving in Congress, the OCE concluded in 2015. The report found Grayson may also have omitted nearly $1 million in outside income from his financial disclosure statements, directed his congressional staff to do work for his hedge fund, used government resources for his reelection campaign, and indirectly profited from a military jet fuel company that held government contracts. Grayson lost his primary bid for a Senate seat this summer.
  4. A luxury trip and gifts on Azerbaijan’s dime. In 2015, 10 members of Congress from both parties and 32 of their staff members attended a conference on the Caspian Sea paid for by Azerbaijan’s state-run oil company. There, they were showered with gifts, including hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of travel expenses, turquoise earrings, silk scarves, crystal tea sets and Azerbaijani rugs worth up to $10,000 dollars. The oil company funneled the money through U.S.-based non-profits to conceal it from ethics watchdogs, and several members of Congress refused to cooperate with the ensuing investigation. At the time of the gifts, Azerbaijan was seeking an exemption from U.S. sanctions against Iran so it could build a massive natural gas pipeline. Five days after the conference, President Obama signed an executive order that included the exemption.
  5. Continuing to pay a staff member who was fired for harassing women. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) fired his chief of staff Kenny West in April of 2015, after female staffers complained he was sexually harassing them. Yet the OCE found that Meadows continued to pay West more than $12,000 a month until August of that year. A year later, the office decided to continue investigating the allegations. They interviewed women in Meadow’s office who said West looked down their shirts, touched them without consent, and made inappropriate comments about their “love lives.”
  6. Ethical violations and financial malfeasance from Harlem to the Caribbean. In 2010, the OCE dug up a mound of dirt on veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), including evidence that that Rangel “improperly used his congressional staff and official letterhead to raise seven-figure donations from corporate charities and chief executives for a college wing named in his honor; violated New York City rules by housing his political committees in his rent-controlled apartments in Harlem; did not pay taxes on a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic; and did not properly disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal financial assets.” A few months earlier, the office found that Rangel had taken corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean. Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which Rangel co-founded, called for the elimination of the ethics office after Rangel was found guilty of 11 different ethical violations. He retired earlier this year.
  7. Improperly using federal resources for a campaign. In 2014, the OCE investigated rising Republican star Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) for improperly using federal resources to further her political campaign from 2010–2012. While it’s common for House and Senate staffers to help with their boss’s reelection campaigns, to abide by the law, they must do it in off-hours and outside the congressional buildings. McMorris Rodgers, the OCE alleged, broke these rules and used her House staff and federal financial resources for election campaigns (including staff travel), paid a consultant for work in her House office with campaign funds, and mixed the two resources to campaign for a House leadership office. In 2015, Brett O’Donnell, a Republican debate coach, pleaded guilty to lying to the OCE about how much campaign work he did for lawmakers while being paid from their office accounts — including Rep. McMorris Rodgers.
  8. Trying to buy a Senate seat. The OCE uncovered recordings showing that an “emissary” of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) offered money to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in exchange for the governor appointing Jackson to fill the Senate seat vacated by President Obama. Jackson also used resources from his D.C. and Chicago House offices to lobby for the nomination, which he did not ultimately get. Blagojevich remains in prison for attempting to sell the seat. Jackson resigned in 2012 after taking a long medical leave of absence.
  9. Flouting campaign finance rules on a book tour. While mounting a failed bid for the White House in 2012, the OCE found, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) paid the same consultant through her campaign and her PAC, violating rules barring coordination between the entities. She may have used funds from her presidential campaign to promote her book, and used her book tour — paid for by the publisher — to campaign for president. The office said there was “ substantial reason to believe” she violating federal campaign finance laws and House ethics rules. Bachmann retired in 2013, effectively ending the investigation.
  10. Taking contributions in exchange for a bar mitzvah fireworks permit. In 2013, the OCE found that Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) agreed to assist a constituent in obtaining a permit for setting off fireworks at his son’s bar mitzvah on Long Island. Bishop then requested a donation of $5,000 from the constituent and his wife, and received it shortly after. Bishop lost his bid for reelection in 2014 after his opponent hammered him on the ethics charges in campaign commercials.
  11. Paying for family trip to Universal Studios with campaign funds. In 2015, Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) and his family took a five-and-a-half day trip to Los Angeles. Stutzman met with supporters over two of the trip’s days, but billed the entire trip — including his family’s airfare and rental vehicle — to his Senate campaign, according to the OCE. While in California, the Stutzman family visited Universal Studios and toured the Reagan Presidential Library and the Reagan Ranch, where they posed for pictures Stutzman’s wife later posted to Facebook. Stutzman, who denies the charges, lost his bid for the Senate in the Republican primary this year. He was facing a probe from the House Ethics Committee, after the OCE’s report, but his retirement took him out of both groups’ jurisdiction.
  • me growing up: I don’t understand how an empire like Rome with so many resources and such a clear advantage could tear itself apart, or how the Germans in the 1930s could allow the Nazis to rise to power. It just seems so unlikely. Did they not see what was going on?
  • me watching the 2016 election cycle: Oh.

The Four Stages of Trump Grief

From Robert Reich:

As the era of Trump approaches, some of you are succumbing to the follow four syndromes:

1. Normalizer Syndrome. You want to believe Trump will be just another president – more conservative and pompous than most, but one who will make rational decisions once in office.

You are under a grave delusion. Trump has a serious personality disorder and will pose a clear and present danger to America and the world.

2. Outrage Numbness Syndrome. You are no longer outraged by what Trump says or what he does – his incessant lies, his cabinet picks, his bullying, his hatefulness  – because you’ve gone numb. You can’t conceive that someone like this is becoming President of the United States, so you’ve shut down emotionally. Maybe you’ve even stopped reading the news.

You need to get back in touch with your emotions and reengage with what’s happening.  

3. Cynical Syndrome. You’ve become so cynical about the whole system – the Democrats who gave up on the working class and thereby opened the way for Trump, the Republicans who suppressed votes around the country, the media that gave Trump all the free time he wanted, the establishment that rigged the system – that you say the hell with it. Let Trump do his worst. How much worse can it get?

You need to wake up. It can get a lot worse.

4. Helpless Syndrome. You aren’t in denial. You know that nothing about this is normal; you haven’t become numb or stopped reading the news; you haven’t succumbed to cynicism. You desperately want to do something to prevent what’s about to occur.

But you don’t know what to do. You feel utterly powerless and immobilized.

Millions of others feel equally powerless. But taking action – demonstrating, resisting, objecting, demanding, speaking truth, joining with others, making a ruckus, and never ceasing to fight Trump’s pending tyranny – will empower you. And with that power you will not only to minimize the damage that is about to occur, but also get this nation and the world back on the course it must be on.

If you find yourself falling into one or more of these syndromes, that’s understandable. Normalizing, numbing, becoming cynical, and feeling powerless are natural human responses to the gross absurdity and genuine peril posed by Trump.

But I urge you to pull yourself out. We need you in the peaceful resistance army, starting January 20.

This Horrible Belief About the Election and What to Do With It

From RudePundit:

If a Republican were president right now and an incoming Democrat had won in an election where there was even a whiff of Russian interference, the nation would be shut down right now. Lawyers would be filing every lawsuit imaginable in every court everywhere. Marches would be ready to blockade the path of the electors from even getting to their meeting place. Impeachment documents would have been drawn up and, if they were in the minority in Congress, Republicans would be nonstop shaming Democrats, asking if they’re loyal to the United States or Russia, until they agreed not to certify the election. It would be a 50-alarm fire and no one would be able to stop the momentum until the president-elect agreed to postpone inauguration until either a definite determination was made about the Russian influence or until a new election could be held. And that’s what they’d do if the Democratic president-elect was an entirely competent, qualified person. If it was an egomaniacal hedonist who craps all over the traditions and decorum of the government? We’d be at Def-Con Monica.

And who could blame them, really? If Democratic elected officials truly believe that Russia hacked the Republican and Democratic National Committees’ email servers in an effort to push the needle even slightly towards Donald Trump, then that’s exactly how they should be acting.

In a twist right out of Shakespeare, President Obama’s fatal flaw is the very thing that launched him into the presidency in the first place: his belief in the basic decency of people. It has failed him time and again, yet so often when dealing with his political opposition, he has treated them with respect and dignity that they did not deserve and that they refused him. It failed him when he tried to get Mitch McConnell to release a joint statement on the hack before the election. McConnell said he wouldn’t do it and, if the Democrats did, he would just call it political games and discredit it. So, being decent, Obama backed down. Everyone in that situation should be ashamed.

Now, in the last weekend before the Electoral College votes on Monday, in the last month before Donald Trump takes over and attempts to completely destroy his legacy, it is time for President Obama to at long last forgo his instinct to trust that right will somehow always win and to actually reach out to bend the arc of history towards progress. In simpler terms, he needs to fuck some shit up.

This is where we are right now: Obama has such confidence that Russia did hack the servers that he is promising that the United States will retaliate. Now, yes, real evidence needs to be presented to the nation (which will automatically be dismissed as false in many quarters, notably the ones that inform Trump’s opinions). But, at this point, I’m gonna trust Obama over Russia or the guy who told an audience in Chicago a blatant lie last night: that the murder rate is “the largest it’s been in 45 years.”

In the course of two tweets, Trump pretended no one had ever talked about the hacking until now and then admitted that people had talked about the hacking before the election. It’s no wonder that White House Spokesman Josh Earnest could directly say, “Mr. Trump obviously knew that Russia was engaged in malicious cyber activity that was helping him and hurting Secretary Clinton’s campaign.”

As Trump continues to deny and deflect on Russia’s involvement, it would be good to remember the rule that whatever Trump says about others generally applies to himself. During the election, for instance, Trump kept insisting that Hillary Clinton’s email server something or other “disqualified” her from even running for president. The truth is that Trump’s financial entanglements that will likely put him in violation of the Constitution from the moment he’s sworn in actually should have disqualified him from running. And he knew that (and, as many others have said, I’m still not convinced that this election is not a publicity stunt that got out of hand).

So we have to consider both Trump’s just weird refusal to take the intelligence agencies he’s going to need at their word on Russia and that, in the latter part of the election cycle, he claimed that the whole thing was “rigged” against him. Again, it’s just a damned odd thing to say. What we originally thought was simply a shot across the bow of the legitimacy of a Clinton victory is seeming more and more like a deflection from the election actually being, if not rigged, then manipulated. Ultimately, if there was coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, then do we call that “treason”? And if we do, then we have to follow through with all that that requires.

At the very least, President Obama should ask that Congress delay the Electoral College vote until, as Trump might say, we can figure out what the hell is going on. Barring that, he should ask Congress to delay the January 6 count of electoral votes. Barring that, Democrats should file objections to the vote that will force Congress to have to go on record in support of Trump.

And rank and file Democrats better be calling their members of Congress and the White House to voice their concern. And they better be ready to take to the streets to shut this down before the Trump cancer metastasizes so that its diseased tendrils grow deep into the American body. Act like our goddamned lives depend on it. Obama should be leading the charge on this, asking all concerned Americans to get involved. Just don’t expect decency from a good many of them.

Barring all of that and Trump becoming president (as is most likely), well, then we need a new plan. And I’ve got an idea or two.

One last thing for President Obama: Fire the fuck out of James Comey. Shit, arrest that motherfucker.

And yet none of this will happen. Based on past experience I know I can call my representatives until I’m hoarse and email them until my fingers bleed, and it will make absolutely no difference whatsoever.

I often wondered how the people of Germany could let Hitler rise to power.

Now I know.

Donald Trump Is Gonna Get Us Killed

by Michael Moore

A week has gone by since Donald Trump admitted he’s only been to “two or three” of his daily presidential national security briefings. There have been 36 of them since the day he secured enough electoral college votes to be appointed president next Monday when the Electoral College meets.

Most would agree the #1 job of the leader of any country is to keep its people safe. There is no more important meeting every day for the President than the one where he learns what the day’s potential threats are to the country. That Trump would find it too cumbersome or too annoying to have to sit through 20 minutes of listening to his top intelligence people tell him who’s trying to kill us today, simply boggles the mind.

Of course, our minds have been so boggled so many times in the past year by this foolish man no one seems that surprised or concerned. He can get up at 5 in the morning and send angry, childish tweets about how he’s being portrayed on SNL (“Not funny! Unwatchable!”), or belittling the local elected union leader in Indiana, but he doesn’t have time to hear about the threats to our national security.

So, my fellow Americans, when the next terrorist attack happens—and it will happen, we all know that—and after the tragedy is over, amidst the death and destruction that might have been prevented, you will see Donald Trump acting quickly to blame everyone but himself. He will suspend constitutional rights. He will round up anyone he deems a threat. He will declare war, and his Republican Congress will back him.

And no one will remember that he wasn’t paying attention to the growing threat. Wasn’t attending the daily national security briefings. Was playing golf instead or meeting with celebrities or staying up til 3am tweeting about how unfair CNN is. He said he didn’t need to be briefed. “You know, I think I’m smart. I don’t need to hear the same thing over and over each day for eight years.” That’s what he told Fox News on December 11th when asked why he wasn’t attending the security briefings. Don’t forget that date and his hubris as we bury the dead next year.

We had a president like him before. He, too, lost the popular vote, a majority of Americans saying they didn’t want him in the Oval Office. But his governor/brother and his ex-CIA chief/dad’s appointees to the Supreme Court put an end to that, and he was installed as Commander-in-Chief. On August 6, 2001, he was on a month-long vacation at his ranch in Texas. That morning, the White House Counsel handed him his daily national security briefing. He glanced at it, set it aside and then went fishing for the rest of the day. Below is the photo of that moment which I showed the world in “Fahrenheit 9/11”. The headline on the security briefing reads: BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO STRIKE INSIDE U.S. On the top page it tells how bin Laden will do this: with planes. George W. Bush didn’t leave the ranch to go back to work for the next four weeks. In the fifth week, bin Laden attacked the US with planes on September 11th.

It’s one thing to have a president who was asleep at the wheel. But, my friends, it’s a whole other thing to now have a president-elect who REFUSES TO EVEN GET BEHIND THE WHEEL! This utter neglect of duty, a daily snub at the people who work to protect us, the first Commander-in-Chief to literally be AWOL and announcing proudly he isn’t going to change—this, I assure you, is going to get a lot of innocent people killed.

To you, Mr. Trump, I say this: When this next terrorist attack takes place, it is YOU who will be charged by the American people with a gross dereliction of duty. It was YOUR job to pay attention, to protect the country. But you were too busy tweeting and defending Putin and appointing cabinet members to dismantle the government. You didn’t have time for the daily national security briefing. Don’t think we’re going to let you use a modern-day burning of the Reichstag as your excuse to eliminate our civil liberties and our democracy.

We will remember that while the plot to kill Americans was being hatched, your time was consumed by whom you saw as the real threat to America: Alec Baldwin in a wig.

Source

Stop Pretending

A must-read from The Monkeyworld:

Actor/comedian Patton Oswalt wrote a Facebook post that made the rounds this weekend because of it’s honesty and unwavering commitment to call bullshit out for what it is…bullshit. Oswalt was not going to pretend the world will not change for the worse next month when Donald Trump, the most unfit human being to ever run for President, takes the oath of office to become, no matter how Twilight Zone it is, the 45th President of the United States of America. Here’s Patton’s post:

Patton Oswalt on Donald Fucking Trump

This perfect summation from Patton Oswalt , just an actor/comic yes, is on the money nonetheless. I try to be empathetic and put myself in everyone else’s shoes…so: If I won the Presidency with a less than 0.7% margin in the three Rust Belt States that swung the Electoral college I’d feel “well it was certainly close, not a mandate, but hey rules are rules” even if they’re from an obsolete, distant world we DO NOT live in anymore.

But then if my opponent had over 2.5 million more popular votes than I did I’d certainly feel less than good about my “victory.” Especially if in the last 7 elections, including mine (well, Trump’s, but play along), the GOP candidate had only won the popular vote once (2004, Bush Jr.). Did the people really speak and say I was their choice? I mean Al Gore only (only!) had 500,000 more popular votes in 2000 over Electoral College “winner,” Bush Jr.

Well I know I certainly wouldn’t say that those 2.5 million more votes were made by illegals and double voters, and then fight & refuse any recounts. I mean why try to live in fact when you could just send 140 character tweets saying what you “think” happened?

You get the point yet? Go ahead, try thinking how you would feel “winning” that way? Well how about Trump’s own government intelligence community, the FBI & the CIA bringing forth evidence that in their judgement Russia DID hack Democratic National Committee computers, as well as the Republican Committee. It’s a given Wikileaks and Russia were complicit, working with intel given to them that in no way shape or form should they possess. There’s even evidence that Russia attempted to infiltrate state voting databases & polling machines…with no concrete answer if they were successful or not.

In addition, without question, they said that Russia had a full bore operation to influence the outcome of the election in Trumps favor since July 2016 at the LATEST. Trump’s answer? To call his own country’s intelligence operation (the CIA & FBI) incompetent and choose to believe Russia instead. This is the man after all who encouraged Russia to disturb the election in his favor on national television, insinuating a financial gain could be had by people turning Clinton’s emails over to the media! It’s on tape, we’ve all seen it, so when Trump tweets out he never said it are you going to pretend he didn’t?

Because that’s the crux of Oswalt’s post & this whole situation. Are we just going to PRETEND none of this happened? That he doesn’t have ethical conflicts so deep they could never be fully disclosed, that he isn’t trying to get security clearances for every member of his family, that he hasn’t filled his cabinet up with nominee’s who are super wealthy, old and backwards and predominantly white males who have deep ties with Washington DC for decades?! Instead of draining the swamp he hired every DC Swamp Monster he could find or owed a favor to!

(It continues and gets even better.)

A Letter to My Electors

I emailed the following to my state’s electors who provided contact information. You can find a list of your Electors here. I seriously doubt that enough of them can be swayed (all of mine are Republicans) to keep Trump out of office, but we can sure as hell try.

_________________________________________

Respected Electors,

We are rapidly approaching a pivotal moment in American history. On December 19th, you and other members of the Electoral College will be called upon to cast your votes for the next President of the United States.

This election has been contentious and fraught with questionable behavior on the part of both candidates, but only one of those candidates was supported by a small group of racist, nationalist individuals who owe their history to and base their philosophy on the KKK and rise of the Third Reich in Germany in the 1930s.

Since his election on November 8th, Donald Trump has begun assembling his Cabinet and support staff from what are inarguably the least qualified individuals in the history of this Republic; a vast majority of whom have no—or at the least very limited—experience in government. Instead of “draining the swamp” as Mr. Trump vowed during the campaign, he has surrounded himself with exactly the type of individuals beholden to the corporate interests whom he had promised to remove from the machinery of government.

There is no disagreement that both parties offered the American people flawed candidates. As was often heard, “This is the best we can do?” but only Mr. Trump has shown his unwillingness to adhere to long-standing existing international treaties and his steadfast refusal to embrace to the most basic tenants of what is required for the successful transition of power—not to mention his unrestrained emotional outbursts, his unbridled narcissism, and his continuing blatant disregard for established constitutional law calling upon him to divest himself of his worldwide business dealings really call into question his overall fitness to assume the Office of President. Running the country is not an episode of Celebrity Apprentice.

Please remember this is the man who during his campaign vowed to jail his opponent, dismantle the First Amendment and said, “We have nukes. Why can’t we use them?”

In addition, serious questions are being raised regarding the part Russian Intelligence and hacking played in this election, as well as Mr. Trump’s and his advisors’ ties to Vladimir Putin, leader of a nation openly hostile to the security and interests of the United States and our longstanding allies in western Europe. Currently efforts are underway to audit the vote in several key states to verify the integrity of this election, a process that is necessary regardless of the eventual outcome so that the American people can be secure in their knowledge that our elections are free of outside influence and accurately reflect the will of the voters. The level of distrust in the results of this election and the fact that the pre-election polls were so wildly inaccurate are unprecedented in American history and need to be properly addressed before the next President takes office.

As of this writing, Hillary Clinton is winning the popular vote by more than two million ballots and that number is rising daily. Mr. Trump may have won the Electoral College November 8th, but he has lost the popular vote. More Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. Please keep that in mind.

When the actual number of eligible voters versus the number of people who actually voted is taken into account, Mr. Trump won not by a close 50-50 split, but rather was selected by only about 25% of the American public. He has no mandate from the people to enact the kind of sweeping changes to our country that has many fearing for their lives and their ability to live as free American citizens.

As we approach the date when a final determination of the winner of this election must be confirmed by the Electoral College, I ask that you look into your heart and ask if Donald Trump’s vision of America—something that flies in the face of our 240 years of history and for which millions have fought and died to protect—is something you want for yourself, your children, and your grandchildren. Enough red flags have been raised to say this election is not business as usual, and unlike the Germans in the 1930s who had no historical precedent to warn them of the horror that was approaching, we do—and the parallels between 85 years ago and what Donald Trump is proposing in 2016 are unnerving.

You have a momentous choice ahead of you: vote for the candidate called on November 8th, abstain from voting altogether, or vote for the admittedly imperfect but infinitely more qualified candidate who actually won the popular vote, Hillary Clinton. For the good of the country and our planet, I respectfully ask that you put country before party and do the latter.

Trying To Make Sense Of It All

I know it’s a losing proposition, but I was standing in the shower this morning trying to figure out where all this unbridled hate that’s running in the streets of this country has come from. Why now, and most importantly, what do the 25% of eligible voters who actually voted for the asshole and apparently agree with—or at least overlook—the overt racism Trump has vociferously denounced encouraged actually think is going to happen when the man assumes power?

Okay, for the sake of argument let’s assume that Trump gets his magic wall constructed (who is going to build it and exactly how the thing is actually going to get built remains another huge question) and somehow manages to successfully rip countless families apart and deport several million undocumented immigrants to Mexico. Do he or his minions have any idea what that is going to do to the economy? Do they seriously think that many people can be removed from the machinery of commerce without any negative repercussions? Do they even care?

“No, gol-durnit, because all those Mexicans are gonna be gone!”

I believe that not too long ago a group of regressive legislators in some southern hellhole tried to rid their state of all those pesky undocumented laborers and found themselves with millions of acres of cotton (or some agricultural product) rotting in the fields for lack of workers to pick it. Did all their state’s out-of-work white workers line up to take their places?

Of course they didn’t. BECAUSE AMERICANS DON’T WANT TO DO THESE JOBS. If they did there wouldn’t be a market for undocumented workers in the first place!

Who exactly do they think is going to pick their vegetables (or scrub their toilets, or pave their roads or perform the myriad other unskilled labor jobs that are ostensibly performed by non-whites—documented and otherwise—in this country)? Do they think their unemployed cousins, nieces, aunts, brothers, sisters, or other blood relatives are going to flood the employment offices in a rush to clean urinals? Are they willing to stand out there in the soon to be universal hundred plus degree summer heat and lay asphalt? (Because apparently not only are we going to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, but we’re actually going to roll back  existing environmental regulations as well, pretty much assuring that Florida will be completely underwater sooner rather than later—and considering the role that godforsaken state has played in recent elections that might not be such a bad thing.)

Of course they won’t…and they certainly aren’t going to agree to do it for minimum wage (which will probably also be abolished before long, come to think of it). But don’t worry—Trump is going to bring all those manufacturing jobs back to ‘murika!

Get ready for your shiny new iPhone to cost $2000—at least—if Apple is forced to bring their manufacturing back to these shores.

The people who seem to want to “make America great white again,” AKA the low information voters who apparently think the Cheeto-faced Shitgibbon is going to wave a magic wand and make all their lives better don’t really seem to have a clue about the unintended consequences of what Trump’s promises (if they’re even actually fulfilled) will do to their lives, because that would actually involve thinking beyond their blind racism. No, it’s easier to blame their own continued unemployment on the hoards of brown-skinned workers literally flooding across the border (Faux News said so!) instead of—I dunno—actually doing something about improving their skill sets so they are employable in a 21st century economy.

Are they prepared to take on their aging parents’ medical expenses after Medicare is wiped out? Do any of them have financial portfolios (or enough money stuffed in a sock under the mattress) that will provide the bare minimum of subsistence that Social Security would at least provide?

Somehow I seriously doubt that as well.

And who’s going to pay for their medical care after “Obamacare” is repealed?

And since we’re on the subject of rolling back all social progress of the last 80 years, can someone please tell me how preventing gays from marrying (or mixed races for that matter, because while nothing has been said about it I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to hear that’s coming once the easy targets have fallen)—or worse—is going to improve their marriages and their lives? In fact, how is taking away someone else’s rights supposed to increase your own? Just once I’d like to hear one of these troglodytes explain how that happens.

I’m Not Alone

From Wil Wheaton:

It is five in the morning. After a little over four hours of restless sleep, I got out of bed before my tossing and turning woke up Anne. I’m not sleeping much recently, and what sleep I do get is plagued by nightmares.

It’s been raining all night, which I realize isn’t something worth mentioning for most people, but it hasn’t rained here in Los Angeles since 1856, so it’s kind of a big deal. Back in the old days, when it rained a few times a year, before the myth of climate change tricked us all into believing that we’re having a terrible drought that apparently doesn’t really exist, we would sleep with the window open on rainy nights, so we could hear and smell the rain.

My dogs looked at me with confusion when I got out of bed, then did the dog equivalent of shrugging their shoulders and burying themselves back into the covers. My cat wants me to let him out, stop the rain, dry off the patio, and then let him back in. And then back out. And then back in again because he’s a cat.

So. Let’s get to it: we’re fucked. Nothing matters, everything is terrible, and we’re living in a nightmare that hasn’t even begun to hint at how bad it’s going to get. I’ve been spending a lot of time going through the stages of grief, and though it’s mostly a lot of anger, I’m bargaining: maybe the Electoral College will step in and prevent this fucking catastrophe from happening. Maybe the vote will be audited in some of these states where the devil won by just barely over one percent, which is honestly kind of suspicious. Maybe the Democrats in Congress will be joined by a few principled Republicans (they exist, right? They have to exist, don’t they?) and the white nationalist cabinet this president elect wants to install won’t be confirmed.

Bargaining. I know it isn’t going to happen. I know we’re fucked.

Twenty-five percent of eligible voters elected a racist demagogue who has never held a single elected office in his life, a seventy year-old man who has the temperament of a child. I still can’t believe it. When I hear the news say “President Elect Trump” it turns my stomach. It’s such an affront to the country, to the office of the presidency, it feels like it isn’t real.

Hate crimes are happening all over the country. White supremacists, anti-semites, and the absolute worst of humanity feels validated by this election, and they are boldly and fearlessly attacking people, declaring that this election — votes cast by one in four eligible voters — endorses their hateful, bigoted, regressive world view.

Anger. This never should have happened.

How can so many people, even if they are a statistical minority, have no problem supporting a racist for president? What are these fucking idiots going to do when all the things he promised them don’t happen? They say they were voting against corruption and lobbyists and Establishment Washington, but one look at the men this narcissistic sociopath wants in the highest positions of government reveals that none of those things will be reflected in his administration. They won’t get their jobs, they won’t get their draining of the swamp, but we’re all going to get the racism, bigotry, ignorance, and white supremacy they had no problem voting for.

Denial. Somehow, someone is going to do something to stop this from happening. He’s breaking all sorts of ethical rules. He’s breaking diplomatic norms. He doesn’t even want to live in the fucking White House! He doesn’t want the job, he just wants the attention. This can’t be happening.

And back to Anger. And then more Bargaining.

And Depression. So much Depression.

Paul Ryan is going to destroy Medicare, just because he can. Because he is a selfish, evil, despicable man. For the first time in the history of the nation, the Senate refused to confirm a Supreme Court justice (and apparently even the fucking Democrats who we’re supposed to count on to fight back are fine with it) and now our nation will deal with a regressive, right-wing majority on the court for the rest of my life. The Republicans are going to roll back and undo and destroy as much of the social progress of the last 40 years as they can, and in the richest country in the world, our citizens will suffer needlessly, because people like Paul Ryan subscribe to a selfish, hateful, myopic philosophy created by an asshole who never had to experience the consequences of her bullshit.

All of this, and more, because of twenty-five percent of voters.

Oh, there’s Anger again.

And so it goes, this cycle of grief, for my country, for the freedom and hope and opportunity I’ve always believed is fundamental to the American identity, for my fellow humans who are going to suffer now and in the future.

All because twenty-five percent of voters looked at this despicable, hateful, ignorant liar, and voted for him and everything he represents.

Kakistocracy

Over the past few days, I’ve stumbled upon a word that more of us should know as it so perfectly captures this moment in time. Commit this one to memory, because you’re probably going to want to use it often:

Kakistocracy n. (kak·is·toc·ra·cy / kækɪsˈtɑkɹəsi) Government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power.

REUTERS/Christopher Aluka Berry

The origins of kakistocracy are actually pretty neat. The term was first used around 1829 and was coined as an opposite to “aristocracy”. It comes from the Greek “kakistos” or “worst”, which is the superlative form of “kakos” or “bad”. Switch the “k” to a “c” and you have the root of modern words like “cacophony”.

But here’s where it gets even more fun. “Kakos” is closely related to “Caco” or “defecate”. As we saw above, it’s essentially the same phonetic sounds and has similar modern words derived from it.

Today, you’ll find this in the Greek “Kakke” “human excrement”, Latin “cacare”, Irish “caccaim”, Serbo-Croatian “kakati”, Armenian “k’akor”, Old English “cac-hus” or “latrine”, Dutch “kak”, German “Kacke”, and the school-yard favorite “caca”.

So in this trying time, remember the word “kakistocracy”.

Quite literally, government by the shittiest.

(Source)

This Man…

…has more class in his little finger than the entire incoming Trump administration possesses in its entirety.

(Photos via Pete Souza)

While I never agreed 100% with everything Obama did during his tenure in the White House, I will still take solace in knowing that if the United States descends into madness after 20 January 2017, I had the pleasure of living through what was still one of the greatest Administrations this country has seen.

Barack, Michelle…I’m going to miss you and your exceptional family. After Tuesday’s election I’m not sure we ever deserved you, but I’m grateful we had the opportunity.

What the Trumplodytes Can’t Seem To Grasp…

…is that even though their God Emperor won the election (yet lost the popular vote, by an ever-increasing margin), this does not give them license to freely go around beating up anyone they don’t like and act like they’re now above the law.

BECAUSE THEY AREN’T.

The United States is a still a country of laws, and if they go beating on someone, threatening lives, or commit any number of the other horrific acts that have occurred in ONLY THE LAST TEN DAYS and they’re caught, they will pay the price. They will go to jail. This isn’t a free-for-all, and it isn’t The Purge.

So if you see any of this shit going down, intervene if you feel safe doing so, or at the very least get a good description of the assailants, use your goddamned cell phone for something beyond Candy Crush and CALL THE FUCKING COPS so these animals can be caged…while you still can.