Monday, July 3, 2017

A Heads Up For the 4th: No, Not About Trump's Latest Childish "Wrestling" Tweet

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"Yeah, I just made up the Voter Fraud Commission from my illegal voters conspiracy theory! Deal with it!"

As the nation's 241st birthday rolls around tomorrow, let's concede that Americans have disagreed about the nature of government and civic life almost from the start. But now it's evident that democracy and the American Republic itself is "in the dock" as we've beheld the havoc on it wrought by Trump and his Vulgarians.

Trump is front and center at the apparent devolution as witnessed in his latest attack on the media in a phony wrestling video dispatched via tweet yesterday. This follows the man-child earlier naming the press as "the enemy of the people"  along with his disparagement of "so called judges" and attacks on other checks on his  executive power. Much of this, of course, has been met with cheers and applause from his base - more invested in his deplorable, undignified behavior than his actual performance as a president. They never seem to ask themselves why this guy is so busy watching cable TV he has the time to take umbrage and fire off idiotic tweets, instead of getting down to the business of the nation.  The real business, like dealing with North Korea and developing a rational trade policy,  not crafting bogus executive orders to set up phony voter fraud "commissions" based on a pet conspiracy theory. (Which is the general topic of this post)

Let's also be reminded that Jefferson ('Notes on Virginia'), as well as Alexis de Tocqueville ('Democracy In America') expressed concerns the country - if not careful - could enable the 'rabble' to gain control by mischief of faction and usher in new forms of tyranny.  Jefferson, especially, worried a less educated electorate could fall victim, since intelligent voting required a critically thinking public. As Exhibit A, that this is no longer the case, I point to the 4.5 million "unique page views" Alex Jones recently got for his conspiracy bunkum - including captive child sex slaves held on Mars. What manner of moron could believe such drivel? To Jefferson, certainly one that has no business entering a voting booth.

Yet another abomination skating below most citizens' radar is Trump's newly invented "Voter Fraud Commission".  Let's again cut through the fog of fake news media crappola and recognize this bogus commission for what it is: a putrid excrescence of Trump's malignant agenda created to support his favorite conspiracy theory. That is, that he actually won the popular vote if 3 to 5 million "illegals" had not snuck in and voted for Hillary.

This translates to his "commission" being bogus and not worth half an ounce of doggie lickspittle. So, no surprise over two dozen Secretaries of State have told Trump's commission Vice-Chair (Chris Kobach) - now demanding a full set of voter information  where to stick it.     That voter information being demanded from all 50 Secretaries of State, includes: voters' full names, addresses, birth dates, political party, voting history, felony convictions, military status and the kicker - the last four digits of the Social Security number.

For those who might think this travesty is new, it isn't. There was a similar wild goose chase to root out voter fraud during the Gee Dumbya Bush  administration. It was a five-year investigation nationwide that cost millions of dollars and turned up a few dozen reported instances of fraud over a period of time in which hundreds of millions of ballots was cast. It was a political agenda that led to the improper firings of a number of United States attorneys. It was one of the biggest scandals of the George W. Bush administration, and it eventually resulted in the resignation in disgrace of Alberto Gonzalez as attorney general.  So wary citizens and students of history can add that travesty to Bush's illegal and pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.

Now for a real ironic twist:  Kobach, the Vice Chair of this "commission" has himself declined to turn over the Social Security information. Kobach said he can't provide such because of a state (Kansas) law. So he can't provide such but expects other states to violate their own laws?

One of the best and most direct refusals to comply with this voter witch hunt cane from Kentucky's Secretary of State who said:

"Not on my watch,  Are we going to participate in a political activity, a commission that is really set up as a pretext to find an answer to a problem that simply doesn't exist. And not on my watch are going to release sensitive voter information data, that is at best a waste of taxpayer money and at worst a national effort to suppress votes across the United States."

What can I say? She nailed it to a tee.  MSNBC legal specialist Ari Melber Friday night noted the use of the term "pretext" and suggested another more apropos: conspiracy theory.  To fix ideas, this "commission" was created because Trump's febrile, debilitated brain passed a noxious fart to blame  his popular vote loss on  illegal voters.  Thus, Trump and his sorry ass administration then decided, a few weeks after the election,  to spend millions of taxpayer dollars  to try to confirm Dump's conspiracy theory.

The Trump brain spasm had resulted in the following tweet that now has launched a multi-million buck pseudo effort:

"In addition to  winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally"

Of course, he produced no evidence at all to support this balmy claim,, zero. His claim rests entirely on his pathetic ego being bruised by the actual final tally that showed his losing to HRC by 2.9 million votes. BWAHAHAHAAHAA! Build me a commission to disprove it! Still, the asshole in chief took umbrage at the states that declined to turn over their voter data, including one state secretary from MS who said "they can go jump in the Gulf!". To which Trump then responded in a tweet Saturday:

"What have they got to hide?"

Of course they've nothing to hide at all. They simply opt not to share sensitive voter data with a screwball who bases his voter fraud commission on a conspiracy theory.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law conducted extensive research on all this and subsequently released a report that looked at a previously conducted national study. The latter looked at the non-citizen and potential fraudulent voting in the 2016 election. Their final conclusion?

"From the tabulation of 23.5 million votes there were  only 30 incidents of suspected noncitizen voting referred for further inquiries or prosecution. Thus, improper noncitizen votes accounted for 0.0001 percent."

Get that?  Not one percent, not one hundredths of one percent, but one ten thousandth of one percent of the total votes!    What percent of noncitizen voter fraud would Trump actually need for his brain fart tweet to hold? Do the math and it works out to some 4 to 8 percent of the total Hillary voters. (Assuming all HRC voters went for her and not Gary Johnson, or Jill Stein)  In other words, Trump's claimed illegal violations are as much as 80,000 times greater than what the Brennan study found!

The only sane and rational conclusion one can draw is that this bogus commission was set up for two functions only:  1) a distraction to the real threat against the U.S. election system, Russian hacking. And (2) the setting up of the false narrative of voter fraud to use as a justification to adopt voter suppression policies.

Sherrilynn Ifill, of the NAACP, had this despicable agenda pegged after Trump released his bonkers tweet claiming he really won the popular vote.  She was quoted in a WaPo piece back in February:

"We take the president at his word when he threatens to launch a 'major investigation' into voter fraud. We will challenge the illegality in the presentation or execution of the program. But we had all best recognize the implications id the president of the United states launching a nationwide voter intimidation program"

And then months later we beheld Trump's bogus "executive order" to try to give his derelict scheme ballast.

As for Kobach his vile voter suppression history precedes him.  In Kansas, he instituted a “Show Me Your Papers” law which required people to produce a birth certificate or passport when they register to vote. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in a unanimous opinion by Judge Jerome Holmes, found that Kobach had engaged in “mass denial of a fundamental right” by blocking 18,000 motor voter applicants from registering to vote.

Ifill in her Friday night interview with Rachel Maddow added other warnings to do with voter suppression.  Indeed, she stated emphatically she was alerted to the incipient danger of Trump's original tweet- about really winning the popular vote- when he began to repeat it, and then surrogates (like Goebbels look-alike Stephen Miller) began to pick it up. She realized then Trump and his cabal would use it. When Miller insisted on assorted Sunday news programs "there was proof of this" her alarms went to Defcon 1 and she then took Trump at his word.  As she put it:

"I believe he would combine his need to believe that he had won the popular vote with something that has been a very important issue on the Right. That is, to prove that widespread voter fraud occurs as a justification for voter suppression, That's what we see in all the states where we're challenging voter ID laws, where you see governors and other state officials insisting there is widespread voter fraud happening despite there being no evidence. That's the reason they enacted some of these very restrictive voter ID laws."

Ms. Ifill went on to note that just in the past year, two federal courts of appeals  "not known for being particularly liberal"  found that at least two states - North Carolina and Texas- deliberately created their voter ID laws for the purpose of discriminating against minority voters."

Ms. Ifill was also blunt and to the point about the purposes of collection for the voter information files:

"There are lots of people affiliated with people like Chris Kobach who know what they want to do with this information. Organizations like True the Vote and others, They want to be able to  use this data to intimidate people on election day. They want to be able to use the data to convince state legislators there is a problem and they need even more restricted voter ID laws. They want to use this information to intimidate individual voters. and suggest to voters if they try to vote they will be prosecuted."

This is serious and shows our democracy itself is at risk, not merely from Russian hackers into our election systems, but home grown political terrorists prepared to gut the system from the inside. This - if successful and not challenged aggressively in the courts- could lead not only to the Dems failing to seize the House in the midterms next year, but the abomination known as Trump getting a 2nd term.

This we cannot allow. We can't allow our democracy to be subverted from the inside by fanatics who can't win except by subversion and suppression of the votes, as well as outrageous gerrymandering.

So yes, that is the topic for a heads up, not Trump's childish display (actually originating with some psycho on Reddit) of a doctored video showing the Swine in chief beating up on CNN.

We need to get our priorities in order. Or as Ben Franklin once warned, after being asked: "What have we got a monarchy or a Republic?".  "A Republic, if you can keep it."

The  Democracy Index, compiled by the British -based Economist Magazine Intelligence Unit,  ranked the U.S. 21st in 2016, tied with Italy. In terms of the report:

"While Norway and several other Scandinavian countries are considered full democracies, the U.S. fell to a 'flawed democracy' '', receiving low scores for functioning of government and political participation.

That rank is destined to go even lower if states allow Trump to in any way legitimize this asinine "voter fraud commission" he has created. This entity needs to be killed where it stands, and the NAACP, ACLU and other organizations must all be ready - as we citizens-- to ensure this happens.

Enjoy the Fourth, but remember it's not just about waving flags, hot dogs and fireworks. There are real issues this nation needs to address to preserve its democratic values and we can't allow ourselves to be distracted or destroyed by the likes of a deviant man-baby like Donald Trump.

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Bill Hicks said...

American "democratic values," such that it ever really had any, died on 9/11. Since then it has been a neverending downward spiral of war, bombings, torture, spying, eavsdropping and enrichment of the 0.01% at the expense of everybody else. Trump is a logical endgame for where a nation founded on the principles of soulless hustling and the almighty dollar reigned supreme. America is tragic mistake, and my only wish is that it collapse quickly without taking the rest of humanity down with it.

Copernicus said...

Alas, there is little chance - I'd say zero - of a quick collapse without taking all of us down at the same time. The only ones who might escape are the top 0.001% who can get way on mammoth yachts or live in their inaccessible gated enclave with supplies (and water) to last for many years.