Friday Reads: How can we stop him?Posted: December 16, 2016
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.
Meanwhile, 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.
Donald 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?
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?