links, commentary, toons, pics, fun!

Sunday, December 18, 2016


(Link to post online for those receiving by email)

The Electoral College votes tomorrow, after which, barring a miracle, the nightmare becomes real. All I can say is if ever there was a time for the E.C. to use its constitutional power it's now. We know Trump's election is in part the result of foreign interference, and that he is dangerously unfit for office. If the E.C. rubber stamps this of all elections then there is literally no reason for it to exist.

If you read one thing...

This long piece by Ta-Nahesi Coates for The Atlantic is quite moving and worth your time: "My President Was Black."  It's written in 'chapters,' so you can read it in installments.

It reminds me of this video of Jay-Z and friends celebrating on inauguration night 2009:

Such absolute joy in that video, as Jay-Z keeps repeating the same lines over and over, and it just never gets old. I remember that time in D.C. so well and seeing this video the next morning, among so much outpouring of good will and good feeling... now it all seems so long ago.

Clara Jeffery for Mother Jones issues a clarion call, "Time to Fight Like Hell"

If you're interested in more concrete terms what that might look like, some former Democratic congressional staffers put out a guide to action: "Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda"

Here’s the quick and dirty summary of this document. While this page summarizes top-level takeaways, the full document describes how to actually carry out these activities. 

Ch. 1:  How grassroots advocacy worked to stop Obama. We examine lessons from the Tea Party’s rise and recommend two key strategic components:  
1) A local strategy targeting individual Members of Congress (MoCs).2) A defensive approach purely focused on stopping Trump from implementing an agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.  
Ch. 2: How your MoC thinks, and how to use that to save democracy. Reelection, reelection, reelection. MoCs want their constituents to think well of them and they want good, local press. They hate surprises, wasted time, and most of all, bad press that makes them look weak, unlikable, and vulnerable. You will use these interests to make them listen and act. 

Ch. 3: Identify or organize your local group. Is there an existing local group or network you can join? Or do you need to start your own? We suggest steps to help mobilize your fellow constituents locally and start organizing for action.  

Ch. 4: Four local advocacy tactics that actually work. Most of you have 3 MoCs - two Senators and one Representative. Whether you like it or not, they are your voice in Washington. Your job is to make sure they are, in fact, speaking for you. We’ve identified four key opportunity areas to pressure MoCs that just a handful of local constituents can use to great effect. For each of these always record encounters on video, prepare questions ahead of time, coordinate with your group, and report back to local media:
1) Townhalls. MoCs regularly hold public in-district events to show that they are listening to constituents. Make them listen to you, and report out when they don’t. 
2) Non-townhall events. MoCs love cutting ribbons and kissing babies back home. Don’t let them get photo-ops without questions about racism, authoritarianism, and corruption. 
3) District office sit-ins/meetings. Every MoC has one or several district offices. Go there. Demand a meeting with the MoC. Report to the world if they refuse to listen. 
4) Coordinated calls. Calls are a light lift but can have impact. Organize your local group to barrage your MoCs at an opportune moment and on a specific issue.

Masha Gessen writes for the New York Review of Books, "The Putin Paradigm"

Paul Krugman, "Useful Idiots Galore"

Josh Marshall on the 'revelations' that the Russians helped get Trump elected: "Stop Pretending. Everyone Knew About Russia. The GOP Didn't Care."

I also found Josh Marshall's response to John Podesta's Op-Ed in the Washington Post ("Something is deeply broken at the FBI" which takes the FBI to task for their behavior during the election) interesting: "The Unfolding Chronicle of WTF"

The Brookings Institute released a report entitled, "The Emoluments Clause: Its text, meaning, and application to Donald J. Trump" by Norman Eisen, Richard Painter, and Laurence H. Tribe, which talks about how the founders of our country included language in our Constitution to guard against a President using his office for personal gain, opening himself up to outside influence.  Here is the conclusion:
The Emoluments Clause, until recently not much discussed because its constraints have been taken for granted, constitutes a clear barrier to the intermingling of business and governmental interests that Donald J. Trump proposes to build into his conduct of the Presidency. That is a conclusion without partisan or ideological inflection; it would apply with equal force to any person or party occupying this position of public trust.  
It is plain that a President Trump would be subject to removal from office for the intentional abuse of power that this manifestly unconstitutional intermingling of private and public concerns would entail. When this guillotine might fall is a matter of political more than legal calculation, and is thus beyond the scope of our analysis. Likewise, just how the ongoing prospect of such an ignominious end to a Trump presidency would embolden his political adversaries at home and abroad, and undermine his legitimacy in the eyes of the American public and global community, is impossible to predict. So too, we cannot anticipate how the omnipresent prospect of such a disgraceful end would distort the dynamics of a President Trump’s ability to serve the domestic and national security interests of the nation. But that this looming constitutional shadow over his time in office would grievously disserve the people of the United States is beyond doubt.

For a quick and lively summary of this issue check out this short video from Vox's Liz Plank (whose style I can find off-putting, to be honest, but this video makes some good points). I agree this is something the Electoral College should consider (along with Russia's interference, the popular vote, Trump's mental health, among other things), but since they probably won't I hope there are some good lawyers thinking of how to get this in front of some judges.

SNL last night:

I would probably find this funnier if I'd seen the movie it's referencing, but it's still pretty good:

An interesting article from the Huffington Post: "Is Donald Trump Mentally Ill? 3 Professors Of Psychiatry Ask President Obama To Conduct ‘A Full Medical And Neuropsychiatric Evaluation’"

The article notes people exhibiting 5 or more of the following 9 symptoms are likely to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believe that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement
6. Is interpersonally exploitative
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.”
How many of those apply to Donald Trump?

Absolute horror show: "Here's how Republicans plan to repeal Obamacare within weeks of Trump taking office" by Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner. It's going to happen folks, and people are going to die because of it. It's hard to have much sympathy for the ones that voted for Trump, after all they'll be getting what they voted for... but many others will suffer due to no fault of their own. And all basically just to spite a man with the temerity to be President while being black.

Lastly, a bit of fluff: "In the Chappaqua woods, a search for Hillary Clinton" 

No comments: