Friday Reads: How can we stop him?

Good afternoon!middle-aged-women-posing-next-to-christmas-trees-from-the-1950s-60s-1

I’ve been trying to get myself together to write the post today but it’s just one “what fresh hell is this?” moment after another.  The man who is supposed to be the next President at this point continues to praise Russia for hacking our election and has basically lost the popular vote by a greater margin than any other President at any other time and he’s still taking every critic out there on Twitter like a petulant toddler. 

Speaking of Twitter today we learned that the great journalist Kurt Eichenwald is taking time off away from Twitter to help law enforcement deal with threats to the safety of his family and to him. I completely understand how this feels as I had a similar situation when I ran for office in Omaha. There are very dangerous elements in the right wing of this country.

middle-aged-women-posing-next-to-christmas-trees-from-the-1950s-60s-8Meanwhile, two premier scholars on authoritarianism have written that Donald Trump is an extant threat to Democracy.  I’m going to provide Sam Wang’s analysis here then link you to the NYT op ed directly.  How can we help Democracy survive a mad man backed by Russia, ISIS, the KKK and White Nationalists aka NAZIs?

In today’s NYT, two scholars of authoritarian movements, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, weigh in. It’s an important article.

Readers, recall that my main purpose in running this site was not simply to aggregate polls. I also wanted to help direct efforts and resources. Presidential polls were off (watch my entomophagy, which I made as substantive as I could), but the top six Senate races split 2-to-4, which is about right.

Now, with democratic institutions under threat, the question is: what can everyday citizens do? Recently, former Congressional staffers have prepared an excellent guide. Read it, print it, save it.

In addition, I offer three ideas, whose impacts range from long-term to immediate. These are meant for all Americans who want to save institutions – whether they are liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican.

middle-aged-women-posing-next-to-christmas-trees-from-the-1950s-60s-16Donald Trump is a threat to Democracy and we all should be concerned and prepared to take action.  It is not usual for a number of journalists and private citizens to be subjected to continual death threats for taking an opposite view unless we’re dealing with a despot.

Donald J. Trump’s election has raised a question that few Americans ever imagined asking: Is our democracy in danger? With the possible exception of the Civil War, American democracy has never collapsed; indeed, no democracy as rich or as established as America’s ever has. Yet past stability is no guarantee of democracy’s future survival.

We have spent two decades studying the emergence and breakdown of democracy in Europe and Latin America. Our research points to several warning signs.

The clearest warning sign is the ascent of anti-democratic politicians into mainstream politics. Drawing on a close study of democracy’s demise in 1930s Europe, the eminent political scientist Juan J. Linz designed a “litmus test” to identify anti-democratic politicians. His indicators include a failure to reject violence unambiguously, a readiness to curtail rivals’ civil liberties, and the denial of the legitimacy of elected governments.

Mr. Trump tests positive. In the campaign, he encouraged violence among supporters; pledged to prosecute Hillary Clinton; threatened legal action against unfriendly media; and suggested that he might not accept the election results.

Trump as much admitted to a Russian Hack today and has gotten away from his fat guy on a bed narrative.  He basically invited Russia to hack us last summer.

It represents an effort by Trump — one that is going to continue — to construct an alternative narrative to replace the increasingly substantiated one in which Russia may have in fact tried to interfere in our election to help him, which would obviously carry enormous significance on many levels.

But Friday, Trump send out a new tweet that accidentally reveals that he knows this entire narrative is a lie:

Trump is referring here to news that broke in late October: That a hacked email showed that interim DNC chair Donna Brazile may have leaked a Democratic primary debate question to Clinton’s campaign in advance. Brazile publicly blamed this leak on Russian hackers who were out to divide Democrats by feeding the perception among Bernie Sanders supporters that the DNC was putting its thumb on the scales for her. This built on a formal statement that the intelligence community put out earlier in October declaring itself “confident” that Russia was trying to interfere in the elections by hacking into DNC emails.

CNN reports that Russian Hacking Activities continue unabated. Meanwhile, China continues to show its wrath for Trump’s attempt to change our policy towards Taiwan.  They’ve captured a US Drone in the South China Sea.  The entire MENA region will likely be upset of Trump’s appointment of an extremist as ambassador to Israel which hints that he may be open to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and ending any talk of a two state solution.  I truly would suggest finding the location of your nearest bomb shelter if this behavior continues and our country lets him move closer to actually being in office.

While Trump gets away with Tweets that appear to start diplomatic crisis and stock market crashes, Journalis Julia Ioffe’s moment of Twitter candor caused her to leave Politico earlier than planned. We’ve all wondered exactly how Ivanka’s First Lady status is influenced by her odd relationship with her father. We’ve also wondered how all of the Trump spawn are going to manage to get passed the anti-nepotism laws.

The respected political journalist Julia Ioffe’s tenure at Politico has come to an end after she posted an unfortunate — and straight-up vulgar — tweet about Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka. Ioffe was already wrapping up her time as a contributor to Politico and moving to a new job at The Atlantic when she posted the ill-advised tweet, but now Politico is accelerating the process, bringing her contract to a premature close.

Ioffe, who also contributes a column to Foreign Policy, had a decidedly “adult” reaction to the news that Ivanka would be taking an office in an area of the White House traditionally reserved for the First Lady. She wrote:

So, everything continues to be highly irregular.  I mean seriously,  how do we continue to get past this all even?middle-aged-women-posing-next-to-christmas-trees-from-the-1950s-60s-36

Hillary Clinton has stated that she believes Putin had a personal grudge against her which led to the hacking attacks.  However, most people believe Trump just owes the Russian Oligarchs millions and like the US Mafia, he admires their MO.  Krugman believes he’s complicit and not the only useful fool in the country.  Many are still appalled by Comey and the FBI including Podesta, Reid, and others.

But let’s be honest: Mr. Trump is by no means the only useful idiot in this story. As recent reporting by The Times makes clear, bad guys couldn’t have hacked the U.S. election without a lot of help, both from U.S. politicians and from the news media.

Let me explain what I mean by saying that bad guys hacked the election. I’m not talking about some kind of wild conspiracy theory. I’m talking about the obvious effect of two factors on voting: the steady drumbeat of Russia-contrived leaks about Democrats, and only Democrats, and the dramatic, totally unjustified last-minute intervention by the F.B.I., which appears to have become a highly partisan institution, with distinct alt-right sympathies.

Does anyone really doubt that these factors moved swing-state ballots by at least 1 percent? If they did, they made the difference in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — and therefore handed Mr. Trump the election, even though he received almost three million fewer total votes. Yes, the election was hacked.

Indeed.  The Hamilton electors have grown larger in number and are being begged to do their Hamiltonian duty by many including the a ggggg grandson of the man himself. 

Meanwhile, I’m curled up here trying to stay warm and self-medicating with wine and purring cats. I don’t have a nice vintage outfit, hairdo, or tree, but damn, I’d sure like to crawl back a few months and get a do over.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

52 Comments on “Friday Reads: How can we stop him?”

  1. Sweet Sue says:

    Obama is worse than useless.

    • Delphyne49 says:

      I just posted this comment on FB – I’ve been watching MSNBC since 2 pm EST.

      Men simply view/experience/deal differently with life and death issues, whether on a personal level, a national level or a global level – I no longer believe that they should hold any office of power without the counsel from women, respecting and valuing our experience of being female in male dominated cultures, ie, patriarchy.

      It is 3:41in the afternoon and I have just poured a glass of wine to deal with this Press Conference.

      The POTUS needs to have a psychiatrist on the staff to help him understand what we are dealing with, with respects to Tangerine Man. Dealing with the PE like he is “normal” is a sign, to me, of a codependent person dealing with an abuser.

      Profound sadness is the emotion of the moment.

  2. William says:

    I didn’t watch the press conference, I went out. I had some faint hope that Obama would say something meaningful, but I seriously doubted it. I don’t know exactly what he said, but I can get the gist from above.

    I don’t enjoy saying this, but I think that Obama has a psychological makeup which leaves him incapable of dealing with Republicans, who have devolved into pure evil beings who will cheat and lie in any way to win power. Obama did well in some other matters, he handled world affairs pretty welll, with Hillary’s and Kerry’s help. In a bipartisan era, he would have done just fine. Unfortunately, he proved to be the perfect foil for Republicans, for Comey (who I am now pretty sure never had even a warrant to take that Weiner computer), for the Russians, for all of those forces. I could write many paragraphs about why that might be, but what is the point? Some suggest that it is beccause as man of dual ethnic heritage, he learned to get along and to compromise. Or maybe it is that he was so protected in his career, paths were cleared for him, opponents disappeared from the ballot or had their votes given to him, that he doesn’t see any need to fight;, it all comes out fine for him. Someone who has to fight is somehow distasteful to him, and he wants no part of it. I’m sure it is more complex than any of that.

    So they roll over him. He doesn’t tell the country about the Russian hacking, not forcefully, in a major address. He says that Comey is an honorable man at the very point when Comey is violating the 4th Amerndment as well as established procedure. He won’t appoint the Supreme Court Justice, appears to think that it is okay for Republicans just to refuse to hold any hearings. And he apparently doesn’t seem to comprehend the awfulness of what just happened, and the major threats going forward. Maybe he does, but doesn’t thilnk it is his role to do anything about them now. I never underestood why so many reasonable liberal people adored him, except for the racial image, and the wishful projection. The basic theme of the Shakespeare History plays was that the unassertive Richard II, by wrongly abdicating the throne to a more dynamic and unscrupulous figure, Henry Bolingbroke, actually set into motion the War of the Roses ,and alll the attendant discord and bloodshed.

    • Delphyne49 says:

      I agree with your 2nd idea.

      Or maybe it is that he was so protected in his career, paths were cleared for him, opponents disappeared from the ballot or had their votes given to him, that he doesn’t see any need to fight;, it all comes out fine for him. Someone who has to fight is somehow distasteful to him, and he wants no part of it. I’m sure it is more complex than any of that.

      He wasn’t ready in 2008 and, unfortunately for the entire country, he wasn’t ready in 2012, either. He has accomplished some things, but on this issue, when our country’s actual Life is at stake, he “went high” when, as I read earlier in the day, “he should have cut them off at the knees.” He doesn’t and never has, in my opinion, had that prey drive that is necessary, at times, for the office of POTUS.

      I am not as inconsolable as I was on 11/9, but I’m close to it.

      • gregoryp says:

        Obama seems to be a thoroughly decent man who lacks the creativity, vision and imagination to understand his enemies and their machinations. Good guy, terrible terrible politician. He didn’t even understand or know that Comey was his enemy. Didn’t think twice about re-appointing him. Didn’t think twice about having neocons and Republicans on staff. Always wanting to appease the Republicans and the more he tried the more savage they became. Just has terrible instincts for a politician and this past election results are largely his fault just the same that he lost the majority in the Senate after picking Senators for cabinet posts and then not ginning up enough support in the midterms.

      • joanelle says:

        I agree, Delph he wasn’t even close to being ready, but once again as with the power to vote, they chose the minority they were most comfortable with – a black male rather than a woman for our first minority president.
        His personality, his communication style and his personal confidence does not suit him for the role of POTUS

  3. NW Luna says:

    Times article headline:

    Obama Says He Told Putin: ‘Cut It Out’ on Hacking


  4. NW Luna says:

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Take this headline…for instance.

      Obama and his talk of changing the political culture. It is Bullshit. When in NC the GOP is pulling a legislative coup. I don’t see any way of things changing any time soon.

  5. William says:

    In regard to Dakinikat’s question above, what can we do?, it is well worth thinking about. Apart from the usual general sentiments about not giving up, and trying hard, I think it is necessary to use whatever economic power we have. I noted before that the counties which Hilllary won account for 68% of the national economic output. So we have a country where the minority, the mostly non-producing economic places, somehow rule the majority.

    I don’t have the clear answers, probably no one does. I do think that it is worthwhile for “blue” areas and people who live in them, to try to stop aiding the areas which hate them, which are deep “red,” and which only want their money and output. Pragmatically, a plan never to visit a red state, unless one has relatives there; to damage any tourism there, might help a small bit. Not buying any products from companies headquartered in such states. Finding ways to legally delay payments of income taxes, or to find deductions which might defray payments? Pulling money out of the stock market? (I know that it has gone up because of the always fake “Republcan Rally,” plus the knowledge that Trump will take away all restrictions, but it will ultimately go down, and maybe quickly, at some point). Taking money out of U.S. banks and putting it in foreign banks? I don’t quite know how to do that; but I am personally quite worried about an ultimate collapse of the dollar when Trump piles enough so much debt, and that we will have hyperinflation and a subsequent devaluing of all assets. Kat know much more about this kind of thing than I do. People usually mostly vote their pocketbooks, so I would not want to do things to help the economy grow, if I could help it.

    We do not want to fight a literal civil war, but maybe we have to work toward fighting a non-violent one. Maybe it would not matter; maybe the people in the Red states are so filled with stupidity and hate, that they would vote Republican no matter what. But maybe not. I would also hope that some of our lawmakers stop being afraid of the Republicans and the media, and start using words like “totalitarians” and even “fascists.” Maybe some of it will sink in to the voters. If not, then we’ve lost, anyway. I wouldn’t want to patiently wait for any pendulum to swing back around; something has to be done now, if it can be. I think that doing anything which might have some effect, trying to do it concertedly in some cases, can help provide at least some sense of purpose. I hope that others here or in other places, come up with some worthwhile ideas. Surely, we have to try to do something.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, WE are going to have to resist and fight tyranny. And we should keep the heat on the White House and Congress up to the bitter end. And on the media forever!

  6. NW Luna says:

    Only one state with a small # of Electoral votes, but a good sign nonetheless.

    In Effort to Block Trump, Alaska Court Will Hear Suit Seeking Injunction Against State Electors

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    Obama to the nation: he’s your problem now.

    Say goodbye to your civil rights, voting rights, women;s rights, cleam water, air and food supply, Adios to your healthcare, educational system, regulatory agencies and the environment. Sit back and watch your beloved parkland be sold off to the highest bidder. Old folks get ready to shift for yourselves and don’t get sick in the process. Allies brace yourselves because the US is in the hands of a brutal, uncaring cabal who will stomp you for getting in their way of enrichment.

    All bets are off with a madman at the helm and Obama could not care less.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    I guess I’m dumb, but I don’t see what more Obama could have said. He castigated the press for obsessing about the emails and in so many words indicated they helped elect Trump and were useful idiots for Russia. He specifically said that the press was unfair to Hillary and helped Trump.

    Someone, I assume Obama, had to lean on James Comey to get him to go along with the rest of the intelligence community on Russia’s intent.

    Not everything can or should be done out in the open and Obama specifically stated that by pointing out that Russia doesn’t announce what they’re doing and they deny it afterward. I assume that some kind of retaliation against Russia will take place before the inauguration. I also expect that the CIA will have some surprises for Trump.

    What was Obama supposed to do today, pound on the podium and scream like Trump? I’m disappointed that he didn’t speak out before the election, but what can he do now?

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I agree……..The time for Obama to speak out forcefully was before the election. That’s where I believe he failed us. I know Obama has the desire to do his job in a non-partisan way, but after he saw what the MSM did to Hillary over the Benghazi/Emails which was a totally concocted issue and the wikileaks, he should have known that whatever information he had concerning Russia meddling in our election to help Trump, SHOULD have been shared with the voters.

      The truth is that Barack doesn’t like to brawl, Donald Trump does, there’s nothing that Barack can do at this point. From here on out we’re basically on our own to organize and figure out ways to fight back.

    • Fannie says:

      BB, I tend to lean with your opinion. Did Obama really know who the sources where, and whose lives might be n the line if exposed. I thin he had to be very careful how he talked about this situation. All along we new 17 different agencies agreed about the hacking. And all the media reported as fact the Wikileakes, but who are the real players?

      We don’t know if he has already retaliated, and has already done something that is going to hurt Russia. Both the 9/11 and this Hacking is an attack on our Country. I do think he can declassify some information, and ought to tell us as much as he knows, but for the life of me, I’m getting ready to go to bed, and hope that in the morning there will still be a floor to stand up on. I wanted to celebrate with some good news from him, and really he was there for Hillary Clinton, and he’s now going to be looking back at this for a long time to come. And we will never have a woman president, as long as I am alive.

    • janicen says:

      I agree. I think he was playing it cool, the U.S. will respond to Russia, but that’s all he can do. The worst thing he can do is play into Putin’s hands by tearing the country apart. Frustrating as it is, we cannot let Putin succeed in disrupting our country anymore than he has. I think Obama respects our country and its institutions and he doesn’t want to destroy it. Our country is its institutions. Trump is going to be POTUS and we have to find a way to change that but we can’t tear the house down or Putin, half-assed murdering dictator, will win. That’s what I took out of Obama’s speech. I was pissed off at first, but now I get it. Nothing we can do but find a way to win again.

      • Fannie says:

        Yeah, I think he fears and knows that people lives are on the line, and they are our people who have families, and are out in the field. If exposed, as Valerie Plame was, how will Putin react?

        Good points, and I agree, let’s go after the media. They are a big part of the reason politics stink in this country.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Keep in mind, too – we ALL thought Hillary was the clear winner before the election. Hindsight is 20/20.

  9. ANonOMouse says:

    If Ivanka wasn’t his daughter he’d be dating her

  10. ANonOMouse says:

    This is not the way a father touches his daughter. I’ve been uncomfortable with the way he touches her and talks about her for a long time.

  11. NW Luna says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Quickly skimmed through the whole thing (minus footnotes), stopping to slowly read several parts.

      Anything other than a true blind trust — which requires divesting current holdings and the proceedings to be placed elsewhere in something he doesn’t know about — makes him impeachable on entering office. No specific proof required — the mere fact of still holding is enough.

      Crucially they also discuss that “faithless” applied to electors is a misnomer. Faithful electors would find the Usurper unqualified and so they could not vote for him.

      However — Congress jmust act. If Congress does not, or lacks the numbers to act, nothing happens and we’re (even more) screwed.