Disaster

found online by Raymond

 
From Infidel753:

If you’ve come here hoping for some crumbs of reassurance, you had best look elsewhere. I have none to offer. There is no honest way to put a positive spin on this.

Obama’s accomplishments will be destroyed. Obamacare will be repealed and the millions of newly-insured people will be thrown out in the cold again (it hardly matters whether the Republicans bother to “replace” it with some half-assed scheme of their own). The nuclear agreement with Iran will be abrogated and our government will likely make that country a primary foreign scapegoat, returning relations to pre-Rouhani enmity if not worse. The US will abandon the Paris climate agreement and return to reckless exploitation of fossil fuels and official denial about global warming.

It will go further than that. The Supreme Court will be packed with activist ideological wingnuts who will remain long after Trump is gone. Gay marriage, abortion rights, minority voting rights, separation of church and state, and what few institutional protections workers still have are all in serious danger. Even Social Security and Medicare could eventually be destroyed (“privatized”). Ethnic and religious minorities will come under attack, not only from hostile government policy but also from a racist subculture massively emboldened by Trump’s victory.

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Was It Hate Or Stupidity
That Elected Donald Trump?

found online by Raymond

 
From Ted McLaughlin at jobsanger:

Donald Trump is now the president-elect of the United States, and next January he will be sworn in as the 45th president.

I’ll be honest. He scares the hell out of me. I think he will divide the country, appoint a reactionary to the Supreme Court, and aid the Republican Congress in their effort to give more to the rich and trash our economy. In short, we are in for a terrible few years.

Democratic leaders are saying we now owe Trump the opportunity to have a successful presidency. I can’t agree. I think we owe him no more of an opportunity than he gave to President Obama (with his incessant and disingenuous birtherism).

Today, I am left wondering how this dangerous liar, xenophobe, misogynist, racist, bigot got elected. We can’t blame minorities. They saw him for the person that he is, and they voted overwhelmingly against him. No, the blame rests entirely on whites, who voted for him in a large majority.

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The Complicity of Rural America in the Election of Donald Trump

found online by Raymond

 
From The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser:

I am appalled, as are tens of millions of other Americans, by the fact that Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. I voted for Bernie Sanders during the primary season, believing that his progressive views were (are) the best way forward for the United States. Sanders’ inability to connect with older, rural, white Americans, and the Democratic National Committee’s attempt to derail him, doomed Sanders’ candidacy. While many Bernie supporters think that he would have beaten Trump had he received the nomination, I am of the opinion that this is little more than wishful thinking. Yesterday, I cast my ballot for Hillary Clinton primarily because I thought (and still do) that a Trump presidency will be disastrous for America. I was willing to overlook Clinton’s scandal-plagued career and her connection to Wall Street because I believed at the time (and still do) that electing Donald Trump would send the United States careening down a path that could lead to world war. A Clinton presidency would likely have been more of the same, a sameness that I could, if need be, stomach for four more years. As a progressive and a liberal, I’ve come to see that neither political party represents me. In 2008, swept up by promises of hope and change, I believed that Barack Obama would bring fundamental change to America. By 2012, I realized that idealistic hope and change had been swallowed up by an obstructionist Congress, lobbyists, big banks, and Wall Street. While President Obama talked a good game, his allegiances were still with corporate America. This became clear in the aftermath of the housing bubble collapse, when the Obama justice department failed to prosecute those who caused the collapse. The political élite ignored how angry middle America was over the pain and suffering caused by the last major recession. Having been ignored for decades, these older, white, Christian Americans see in Donald Trump a man who is willing to stand up for them; someone who speaks their language and empathizes with their pain; someone who doesn’t see them as deplorable. These are the people who swept Donald Trump into the White House. The majority of baby boomers and older people voted for Trump. Over eighty percent of Evangelicals cast their vote for the Republican nominee. Most of these people were never going to vote for a Democrat, so there is literally nothing that Trump could do that would turn them away from voting for him.

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Here’s Why We Grieve Today

found online by Raymond

 
From John Pavlovitz:

I don’t think you understand us right now.

I think you think this is about politics.

I think you believe this is all just sour grapes; the crocodile tears of the losing locker room with the scoreboard going against us at the buzzer.

I can only tell you that you’re wrong. This is not about losing an election. This isn’t about not winning a contest. This is about two very different ways of seeing the world.

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Reining In the Insurgent FBI

For the first time in the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it becomes necessary for a President, a newly elected President, to fire the agency’s Director. It is politically painful. It is not an easy thing to cut short the 10 year appointment that was made by a previous President.

But newly elected President Clinton has to take action.

I called Director Sessions a few moments ago and informed him that I was dismissing him, effective immediately, as the Director of the FBI.

We cannot have a leadership vacuum at an agency as important to the United States as the FBI.

President Bill Clinton, July 19, 1993

William Sessions insisted he had done nothing wrong. A report from the ethics board of the Justice Department, the Office of Professional Responsibility, said otherwise.

Officially, the primary offense had been a series of private trips using public aircraft. The trips were to private events and visits to relatives, with little side trips to minor public functions to maintain a facade. The Director had taken along his wife.

But there had also been complaints about a lack of leadership. Director Sessions had a management style often described as disconnected. He seemed to enjoy the trappings of office more than the duties.

I think about those charges: the incidents of taxpayer funding for private trips, the pattern of listless management, when I consider the more recent, stunning involvement of the FBI in the just concluded election for President.

The shock of a reverse Trumanesque election may drown out what ought to be one of the most disturbing aspects of the campaign. We can hope not.

We have had horrible Presidents before.

I would not have thought it plausible that the tragedy that was President George W. Bush would be eclipsed by a more dangerous administration. As I see it, Mr. Bush could have been a capable President if he had shown the same interest in policy as he did in baseball.

I see a dim possibility of a more constructive variation. Donald Trump, like the last Republican President, has a notoriously limited span of attention. If a similar vacuum develops, it is within the realm of imagination that a responsible member of the new staff will achieve control. Reince Preibus has been mentioned as a possible Chief-of-Staff.

Sometimes the escapism of fictional entertainment gives me a break from the disturbing patterns of contemporary conservatism, especially as conservatives are about to take control of government. Sometimes the lessons of fiction can be applied to life.

One of my favorite television programs is “Blue Bloods” with Tom Selleck as Police Commissioner Frank Reagan. Selleck may be a bit of an ass in private life, demanding and paying for water for his plants during a California drought. But his introspective television persona is near perfect art.

Some of the scenes are kind of silly. Donnie Wahlberg plays one of the Commissioner’s two sons, Detective Danny Reagan. Danny seems to run through the city streets every other episode. “Stop! Police!” he yells. Then follows up with “Hey!” He chases a suspect on a sidewalk, dodging pedestrians. “Hey!” he hollers. He rounds a corner, on the heels of the perpetrator. “Hey!” He closes in “Hey!”

Perhaps there is some reason, beyond that initial self-identification as a police officer. To the uninitiated viewer, which is to say me, the only purpose would seem be saving the pursued criminal the trouble of glancing over his shoulder. Kind of like belling the cat. The person being chased knows exactly where Detective Reagan is at any given moment.

There is a more serious objection. One basic premise is a conservative’s pet delusion. Detective Danny is only too eager to break the rules, roughing up the occasional suspect to obtain a confession, threatening a witness with bodily harm to get a much needed clue. He is constantly reined in by more cautious superiors, who none-the-less appreciate his extreme success in solving cases that are beyond the reach of more orthodox investigators.

The Commissioner himself hosts a discussion at Sunday dinner with adult kids and grandchildren. He poses the cliché we have heard so many times. Suppose the only way you can find a hidden bomb is to beat information out of a suspect. Would you break the rules to save countless lives?

The easy response, the right response, is, well, yeah for sure. I would beat the guy until he gave it up. But we should also challenge the premise. The responsible answer has to be a little more complete.

If I could save my children from serious harm by cutting off my fingers, I would do that as well. But I don’t cut off my fingers as a first response if I hear a scream, because I am sure to a moral certainty that would not help. There are effective ways to save kids. Self-mutilation is almost never one of them.

It is not intuitive, but threats and beatings are not an effective way to get at the truth. Our fight against terrorism has taught us that physical pain is effective at getting false confessions. Torture does not get us the truth. Considerable police research is going into finding what is effective, and what simply wastes time. So far, we know that ticking bombs will more quickly be found by engagement than by brutality.

Television provides weekly morality plays, hypothetical fiction that occasionally makes us think. One episode struck me as especially thoughtful.

The Police Commissioner discovers that a behind-the-scenes investigation has uncovered something damaging about a political opponent of the city’s mayor. The mayor, the commissioner’s boss, demands the information. The Commissioner refuses, even when the mayor threatens his job. Unless an investigation results in court action, nothing goes to a politician. Not if a politician is a candidate. Not if a politician is already in office. Not even if a politician is the boss.

Well, good for that fictional enforcer of the law! Prosecutors and investigators alike have always been subject to a universal ethic. Information from official investigations are not to be shared outside of court, except in those extraordinary situations where lives are at stake. And no information is to be exposed when an election might be influenced.

That is a bedrock principle. The misuse and abuse of investigatory authority is not compatible with the essential functioning of a Republic. The use of the power of investigation by politicians can effectively end democracy. The use of the power of investigation by investigators to influence elections is just as dangerous.

In July, 2016, the Director of the FBI told Congress that an investigation into the private email server owned by Hillary Clinton had uncovered nothing that would merit criminal action. Then he launched into a public scolding, a severe public reprimand of Mrs. Clinton.

With eleven days to go before the Presidential election, he sent a dramatic letter updating Republicans about possible new evidence that might reveal some criminality. The weekend before the election, he sent a final letter confirming that there was nothing new after all.

Each turn of the vicious cycle was dangerous to the democratic process. The original report was ethically wrong. The public scolding was ethically wrong. The update to the original report was ethically wrong. The update to the update to the original report was too damn little, too damn late.

Reports indicate there were even vicious circles within those vicious circles.

A renegade right wing group inside the New York office of the FBI supposedly interviewed the author of one of those many highly creative conservative research books into the evil of all things Clinton. A small group of agents wanted to use it as the basis for an active investigation connecting a host of disparate points into a collection of connected stray dots. More mature superiors and attorneys in the Department of Justice gently explained rules of evidence and vetoed the idea.

The conservative cabal of aging, rebellious agents then conducted their own disinformation campaign. They told sympathetic representatives of right wing outlets that indictments of the Clintons were imminent.

The stunning upset election of Donald Trump can’t be credited to the FBI fiasco. In a sense that is unfortunate. It is a scandal that may pass unnoticed into precedent, unnoticed until the next time.

Some defenders of Director James Comey maintain that his violation of protocol was simply an attempt to head off the disinformation campaign by a few in some corner room of the New York office of the FBI. If Director Comey was guilty of anything, it was an absence of leadership.

It brings us to the final circle within this dangerous precedent, an arc going back to a public announcement 23 years ago.

We cannot have a leadership vacuum at an agency as important to the United States as the FBI.

If necessary, the new President should remove the Director. It is doubtful that Donald Trump will see that as a clear duty.

President Obama has enough time left in office to save President Trump from that decision. He can fire Director Comey himself.

Director Comey can save both Presidents from that damaging necessity. He can do the right thing.

Along the way, a private cell of rogue agents in New York should be escorted out of the agency and away from any investigatory authority.

Forever.


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David Brooks Cannot Remember
What David Brooks Wrote

found online by Raymond

 
From driftglass:

Of all the institutions that have failed the stress test of this election, none has gone up flames more spectacularly than the American political media. Sure, some people may say that the meltdown of the Republican Party was worse that the implosion of the punditocracy, but those people are stupid and wrong and you should not listen to them.

It is true that the meltdown of the GOP and the crackup of the media are deeply interrelated phenomena. However the meltdown of the GOP has come because the base of the party — bitter, proudly ignorant and often racist old white men who have been marinating in Fox News and Hate Radio bile for decades — have finally clawed their way out of the Southern Strategy basement lab where “respectable” Conservatives have keeping them for years, and broken out into the open. The Grand Old Party is falling apart because the true, ugly, raving heart of that party has finally emerged, loud, crazy and unashamed, running naked and amok for all to see.

The corporate media, on the other hand, has gone to pieces precisely because it continues to aggressively deny its true nature.

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About the Cubs Winning
the World Series…

found online by Raymond

 
From Batocchio at The Vagabond Scholar:

I can’t claim to be the most diehard Cubs fan, living and dying with every game and season, but I have been a lifelong and loyal fan since visiting family in Chicago as a kid and attending Wrigley Field for my first-ever baseball game. I used to joke that I was a Cubs fan because I was a masochist, and I think many Cubs fans have approached their fandom with loyalty, fatalism and a sense of humor.

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Lil Wayne Doesn’t Care
About Black People

found online by Raymond

 
From Tiff J at The Intersection of Madness and Reality:

In case you missed it, a video clip of rapper, Lil Wayne, doing a very recent Nightline interview with ABC News correspondent, Linsey Davis, has been making the rounds. The lead-in to the segment lists Wayne’s musical accomplishment as one of the most successful rappers of all time; even eclipsing Elvis Presley for more appearances on the Billboard 100 Chart. With that kind of cultural impact and platform in mind, Davis decided to pick what’s left of Lil Wayne’s brain, and ask him about social justice issues and his proximity to them.

Specifically, Nightline wanted to know his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement. Furrowing his face in confusion, a seemingly disjointed Lil Wayne asked “What is it? What—what do you mean?”

When Linsey Davis (bless her heart) attempted to explain the movement and its reason for existing— (Oh, hi white supremacy, state violence, and systemic racism), Lil Wayne said he found the mere concept of Black lives mattering “weird.”

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Final Election Day Predictions

found online by Raymond

 
Raymond: In fairness, this wasn’t the only prediction that blew up.
 
From Aaron Astor at The Moderate Voice:

First, nothing in the last day of Early Voting has tempered my belief (see earlier post) that Hillary Clinton will win easily in the popular vote and in the Electoral College. The Comey “Never Mind” letter may have marginal impact in encouraging Dems to vote, but I doubt it will matter much.

However, I am adjusting one thing based on what looks like the continued fall-off of support for Gary Johnson and other third party candidates among Early Voters. To be conservative here, I will give one point from Johnson and others to Trump.

That makes the final popular vote total:

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