Saturday, December 3, 2016

Last Call For Audit The Vote

Looks like Jill Stein took her recount money and went home, laughing.

Green Party-backed voters dropped a court case Saturday night that had sought to force a statewide recount of Pennsylvania’s Nov. 8 presidential election, won by Republican Donald Trump, in what Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein had framed as an effort to explore whether voting machines and systems had been hacked and the election result manipulated.

The decision came two days before a court hearing was scheduled in the case. Saturday’s court filing to withdraw the case said the Green Party-backed voters who filed the case “are regular citizens of ordinary means” and cannot afford the $1 million bond ordered by the court by 5 p.m. Monday. However, Green Party-backed efforts to force recounts and analyze election software in scattered precincts were continuing.

Stein planned to make an announcement about the Pennsylvania recount Monday outside the Trump Tower in New York.

The court case had been part of an effort spearheaded by Stein to force recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, three states with a history of backing Democrats for president that were narrowly and unexpectedly won by Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

A recount began Thursday in Wisconsin, while a recount could begin next week in Michigan. Trump’s victory in Pennsylvania was particularly stunning: the state’s fifth-most electoral votes are a key stepping stone to the White House, and no Republican presidential candidate had captured the state since 1988.

So unless a miracle actually finds malfeasance in Wisconsin and Michigan quickly enough to force a recount in Pennsylvania, it's over.  And even then it will be far too late.

Most — including Hillary Clinton’s campaign — expected Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s recount efforts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin not to change the result in any of those states. The reality, however, was that the election results would not have changed unless the recounts shifted the states to Clinton in all of those states.

With Pennsylvania off the table, even a flip in the Michigan and Wisconsin results would still leave Trump at 280 electoral votes — 10 above the 270 necessary to become the next president.

Lawyers for the Green Party told the Associated Press that they would not be able to meet the Monday deadline for a $1 million bond that the Pennsylvania court had ordered in the case. Additionally, on Dec. 2, the court had issued an ordersuggesting skepticism as to whether the Green Party’s complaint seeking a statewide recount would succeed. That order came in the wake of the Trump campaign’s motion to dismiss the complaint.

On Saturday, the Green Party filed a motion to withdraw their statewide recount request — which the court granted in an order later Saturday — although individual precinct-based recount requests will continue, in an attempt to force an automatic statewide recount, and a lawyer familiar with ongoing efforts noted that an appeal seeking a forensic audit of the Philadelphia voting machines remains pending.

The Trump ear is inevitable, and at this point we must find a way to resist, as I said earlier today.

On Resistance In The Trump Era

Author and essayist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gives us this essential piece in the New Yorker about what it truly means to resist the normalization of the Trump era and what we must immediately start doing in order to not only fight back, but to survive the next four years.

America has always been aspirational to me. Even when I chafed at its hypocrisies, it somehow always seemed sure, a nation that knew what it was doing, refreshingly free of that anything-can-happen existential uncertainty so familiar to developing nations. But no longer. The election of Donald Trump has flattened the poetry in America’s founding philosophy: the country born from an idea of freedom is to be governed by an unstable, stubbornly uninformed, authoritarian demagogue. And in response to this there are people living in visceral fear, people anxiously trying to discern policy from bluster, and people kowtowing as though to a new king. Things that were recently pushed to the corners of America’s political space—overt racism, glaring misogyny, anti-intellectualism—are once again creeping to the center.

Now is the time to resist the slightest extension in the boundaries of what is right and just. Now is the time to speak up and to wear as a badge of honor the opprobrium of bigots. Now is the time to confront the weak core at the heart of America’s addiction to optimism; it allows too little room for resilience, and too much for fragility. Hazy visions of “healing” and “not becoming the hate we hate” sound dangerously like appeasement. The responsibility to forge unity belongs not to the denigrated but to the denigrators. The premise for empathy has to be equal humanity; it is an injustice to demand that the maligned identify with those who question their humanity.

America loves winners, but victory does not absolve. Victory, especially a slender one decided by a few thousand votes in a handful of states, does not guarantee respect. Nobody automatically deserves deference on ascending to the leadership of any country. American journalists know this only too well when reporting on foreign leaders—their default mode with Africans, for instance, is nearly always barely concealed disdain. President Obama endured disrespect from all quarters. By far the most egregious insult directed toward him, the racist movement tamely termed “birtherism,” was championed by Trump.

Yet, a day after the election, I heard a journalist on the radio speak of the vitriol between Obama and Trump. No, the vitriol was Trump’s. Now is the time to burn false equivalencies forever. Pretending that both sides of an issue are equal when they are not is not “balanced” journalism; it is a fairy tale—and, unlike most fairy tales, a disingenuous one.

Now is the time to refuse the blurring of memory. Each mention of “gridlock” under Obama must be wrought in truth: that “gridlock” was a deliberate and systematic refusal of the Republican Congress to work with him. Now is the time to call things what they actually are, because language can illuminate truth as much as it can obfuscate it. Now is the time to forge new words. “Alt-right” is benign. “White-supremacist right” is more accurate.

Now is the time to talk about what we are actually talking about. “Climate contrarian” obfuscates. “Climate-change denier” does not. And because climate change is scientific fact, not opinion, this matters.

Now is the time to discard that carefulness that too closely resembles a lack of conviction. The election is not a “simple racism story,” because no racism story is ever a “simple” racism story, in which grinning evil people wearing white burn crosses in yards. A racism story is complicated, but it is still a racism story, and it is worth parsing. Now is not the time to tiptoe around historical references. Recalling Nazism is not extreme; it is the astute response of those who know that history gives both context and warning.

Trump's America is not just a kleptocracy that will benefit the elites while the rest of us suffer in silence.  It is, as history has told us again and again, an existential threat to what freedoms we have, and it must be framed as such, we must demand this from the people who are trying to frame it, in our daily conversations, at our jobs, at our places of worship, at our dinner tables.

The act of resistance begins with the thought of resistance, that this is not the way it is supposed to be.  That must be done first and foremost.

As Adichie says, now is the time to remember the truth and to recall the facts as the basis for all resistance going forward.

The Things We Don't See

The advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise has released this PSA entitled "Evan" that initially appears to be about a high school teenager looking for a friend in the school's library.  That's not what the video is about at all, and I guarantee you that like myself, you'll miss the real story the first time through.

It's a very, very powerful message here, and one that we as a country have forgotten.

Trump's Pence-ive Decision, Con't

It's not what Donald Trump said at his rally here in Cincy Thursday night (during rush hour that backed up traffic for 15 miles in any direction, by the way), it's what VP-elect Mike Pence said to reporters in Cincy that should really terrify you.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Pence said President-elect Donald Trump is preparing ambitious 100-day and 200-day plans aimed at fulfilling core campaign promises and jump-starting economic growth. 
Asked what might surprise voters about the Trump White House, Mr. Pence said: “I think the only thing that will surprise them is that Washington, D.C., is going to get an awful lot done in a short period of time.”

Big deal, every incoming administration says that, right?

His comments also suggest that a Trump White House would eschew many of the free-market principles that have guided prior Republican administrations, including injecting itself into the personnel and long-term operating decisions of individual companies. 
The new administration’s first priorities would include curbing illegal immigration, abolishing and then replacing Mr. Obama’s signature health-care system, nominating a justice to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, and strengthening the military, said Mr. Pence, whose wife, Karen Pence, sat nearby during the interview. 
By springtime, the Trump administration would work with congressional leaders “to move fundamental tax reform” meant to “free up the pent-up energy in the American economy,” he said. 
Pillars of the tax overhaul would include lowering marginal tax rates, reducing the corporate tax rate “from some of the highest in the industrialized world” to 15%, and repatriating corporate cash held overseas, he said.

Massive corporate tax cuts will mean massive domestic austerity, of course.  Particularly if we're going to be throwing hundreds of billions more at the Pentagon.   And by "massive austerity" I mean goodbye Medicare and Medicaid.

But as long as the Obama coalition suffers first and suffers hardest (and it will) that's okay with Trumpmerica.
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