Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Democrats Locate Their Gonads And Hatch Pitches A Hissy Fit


It was delightful this afternoon to see the beet red face of Sen. Orrin Hatch on the tube - about to pop a blood vessel- as he castigated the Democrats for using a boycott. As I wrote in three previous posts it was time for the Dems now to shake off the post-election slumber and move into permanent combat mode. No collaboration with this hoodlum administration, come hell or high water.

Their display today proved they're paying attention, if not to me then to a very energized and impatient base tired of seeing pussyfooting in place of political opposition.  Hatch's hysterics are especially choice given this asshole and his Reepo pals did pretty much the same for the past  8 years. So what the fuck is wrong with Orrin? Has he got Alzheimer's or something?

To set the scene: Confirmation votes for Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price and Treasury nominee Steve Mnuchin were delayed on Tuesday morning after Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted hearings, denying the committee the necessary quorum to proceed. It was a dramatic move by the minority party to try and stall the confirmations of both Cabinet appointees.

It was just the sort of thing I had been calling for, including in a post two days ago, when I referenced a former Senate aide (Adam Jentleson)  who wrote in The Washington Post ("Senate Democrats Have The Power To Stop Trump If They Use It") about procedural measures to solidly muck up the works and slow everything to a grind.

The asshole Hatch, too dumb to get it, believed it was all about "bitterness", i.e. at Trump's, Russian assisted election win, as opposed to resistance and political warfare. So no surprise the smug son of bitch from Utah was apoplectic over his colleagues’ behavior. Know what  I say? Tough! Suck it up, maestro, and get used to more!

Here’s a choice selection of quotes from Hatch’s tirade against the Democrats.

“I don’t remember us treating their nominees this way. Assuming that they don’t support these two [Price and Mnuchin], then they can vote against them.”

Well, sure, that's on too, Senator.  But it's also nice to fuck up your overall process and timeline as well.

The gentleman from Utah wasn’t done, bloviating:

We’ll see if they will come and do the job that they’ve been elected and sworn to do. I’m very disappointed in this type of crap, I mean, my God, there’s no excuse for it.”

Well, there's actually plenty of excuse for it, given you and your Reepo mates are simply prepared to make a Faustian deal with Bannon and Trump to shut up, while they destroy any polity as well as the constitution. So this is a way of Senate Dems delivering a wake up call, that people are paying attention to this administration and not just to their disgusting picks. (Who I have labeled despicables)

The committee chair stood up for the honor of the nominees, saying that Democrats “really shouldn’t treat dignified people who are willing to sacrifice and serve in the government this way. … This is the most pathetic thing I’ve seen in my whole time in the United States Senate.”

Dignified people? You mean this bunch of alligators Trump and Bannon intend to now fill the D.C. swamp with? Put a sock in it, Hatch.

To drive it all home, Hatch said of the boycotting members:

To not be here and participate, that’s a total abnegation of their duties as senators, and I think it’s pathetic.”

Think what you want you goddamned, sniffing, pompous little asshole, we on the other side thought it was great. Anything to fuck your side up since you all seem to lack the will to hold the Trump fascists to any account, so committed are you to hanging onto his coattails to get your vicious agenda through.

To be clear, Hatch's posturing and histrionics  (including actually calling the Dems "idiots" for holding their ground) was a pointed attack on the asymmetric obstruction strategy traditionally employed by a true opposition party. The fact is it relies heavily on  governing and institutional norms, never exceeding what the basic rules allow. So I have no remote idea why Orrin is getting his panties in a twist. Does he wish to rescind the applicable Senate rules? Does he wish to be "king" of the Senate and just order all of the opposition to do his bidding because he (or Trump) says so?

Truth be told, Hatch's spiel might have carried some righteousness and moral weight had it been delivered by anyone but Sen. Orrin Hatch.  He's indisputably one of the biggest hypocrites in the Beltway.   He also seems not to know, or care, that another reason for delaying the votes is to do further cross checking on the nominees (Price and Mnuchin) due to press reports that suggest both have not properly completed their conflict of interests questionnaire and been forthright on their issues. (Including Mnuchin's of a $100m account he appeared to forget. As Jim Hightower put it, "maybe it was just chump change for him)

Maybe, but I somehow doubt it.

Anyway, good work, Dems. Now keep it up. I want to see more delay tactics as well as NO votes for all of these crappers. If the Repukes want them let them vote for them. That goes for you too, Joe Manchin, on the Sessions vote!


Update:

This morning the GOP Senators declared all out political war by nixing the need for a quorum to vet nominees. They are now officially in league with the other Nazi scofflaws of the Trump administration, after gaslighting the rules of  their own institution.

Acting AG Sally Yates Merits Kudos For Defying BLOTUS



Two years ago it was Sen. Jeff Sessions who grilled Sally Yates on her ability to be impartial, asking:

"If the views the President wishes to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or deputy attorney general say 'no'"?

Yates didn't hesitate in answering:  "Senator, I believe the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the constitution and give their independent legal advice to the President".

This is, in fact, exactly  what Sally Yates did, but it was ignored - after Trump's unlawful "EO" created vast chaos and irreparable harm, leading her to take the action she did.

Millions of us who lived through Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" - when he fired two attorneys general (who refused to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox) - were shocked and horrified when BLOTUS Trump fired Sally Yates last night. What did Ms. Yates do to deserve such ignominious treatment?    According to the Trumpistas, she told justice department lawyers not to defend his executive order banning entry for people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

As I wrote in two previous posts, this was quite correct as none of these so-called "executive orders" has any force of law behind them, having not been properly vetted. Worse, the content clearly is in violation of the Constitution, including equal protection under the law and the establishment of religion clause. Ms Yates saw these violations clearly and acted upon them, as a principled person charged with impartial justice would.

But Trump's gaggle of Nazis, especially Steve Bannon,  didn't see it that way. They  said Sally Yates had “betrayed” the department by refusing to enforce a legal order that was “designed to protect the citizens of the United States”.  Of course this is balderdash, because Trump's scrap sheet decree framed as an "executive order" was unlawful,  carrying no weight, none.  Bannon and the other assholes who drafted it and fired it off didn't even bother to do a modicum of cross- department vetting to ensure it was doable and consistent with existing practices.  Because of this they had to walk back the green card aspect, i.e. initially denying entry to legal green card holders.  Even Iraqis who had helped U.S. troops were included in the insane ban, as well as an Iraqi general fighting ISIS.  As some military experts have put it, this is sheer "insanity" when we need Iraqis to help root out ISIS. 

Nor did Bannon and his fellow reprobates have the sense to alert the affected agencies (e.g. Homeland Security) before releasing it so they could at least get their operations in synch. No, they just dropped the hammer, forcing agencies to cope with the thousands of suddenly affected travelers - including Harvard professors, students, doctors - one from Cleveland Clinic - on the fly. Again, sheer insanity.

Thus, this act of Bannon-Trump's discloses they do not believe in judicial independence and insist the DOJ become their political pet to interject and impose wanton, lawless policy. The very nature of the language used, e.g. "betrayed", indicates this - when Ms, Yates was following the historical and principled position of DOJ independence from political influence.

This is evocative of the Reich Courts which replaced the normal Weimar judiciary during Hitler's reign. Hitler  - like Trump now - insisted and demanded "loyalty" from his judiciary to thereby enact his Reich laws (e.g. which enabled seizing Jewish property)  so well described in many books, such as Konrad Heiden's, 'The Fuhrer'.   My point is that when an independent judiciary is quashed it should be the first sign of impending tyranny to vigilant citizens.

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe, on MSNBC last night, offered this view, when asked 'how big a deal it was to fire the acting attorney general over this issue'':

"I think it's historic. It certainly reminded me immediately of the Saturday night massacre. One of the main differences is how quickly this has happened with the Trump presidency. It's like history is being collapsed into a black hole and everything is happening faster than the speed of light. It seems to me that because the Sessions nomination is already controversial, because the executive order really challenges who we are as Americans and violates important parts of the Constitution - including the clause forbidding an establishment of religion  - including the many protests against this president, I think this is an important turning point in our history.

I think tonight is part of that extraordinary moment we are living through. "

When next asked if it was right for Trump to relieve Ms. Yates of her job, and replace her, Prof. Tribe responded:

"The President had a choice. He could have arranged for the appointment of a special counsel to defend his position even when the Justice Department wouldn't. There are certain limited cases in our own recent history where the Department of Justice was unwilling to defend a particular law and congress appointed someone to defend it. In this case, it wasn't a law that was an issue but an executive order, the president might have arranged through the White House counsel's office to have his order defended. But for him to turn the Justice Department - because of this discharge- into part of his fiefdom and compromise its independence suggests that he has no commitment to the institutional integrity of the department we rely on to represent the rule of law. And not simply the rule or whim of the president of the United States,"

Note carefully first Prof. Tribe's distinction of a law (e.g. settled law) from executive order. Note also that as opposed to his reckless and tyrannical act of firing Ms. Yates, he had other options. Namely getting his own counsel to defend his order, and even better, make the full case that it comports with the constitution. But this he did not do! Authoritarian narcissist that he is, he insisted conformity of the DOJ with his personal, unlawful decrees and hence making the DOJ "part of his fiefdom"  to quote Professor Tribe.

If we as a nation can't see anything seriously wrong with this, we are beyond hope. However, I am convinced the spreading protests show that enough citizens are aware and are  not prepared to initiate or allow another version of Hitler's Reich Court.

For perspective here, as the country’s top law enforcement official, Ms. Yates  had control over the justice department’s immigration litigation office, which has handled the federal complaints filed against Trump’s order since his bombshell policy was announced on Friday. As she made clear in a letter to justice department lawyers :

I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. At present I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.”

The acting AG's action earned praise from immigration activists and Democrats but within three hours Ms Yates was gone. A propaganda statement from press secretary Sean Spicer's  office
said:

Ms Yates is an Obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.”

Of course, this is nonsense only meant to distract from the political basis for the firing. As I noted in the last post, Mike Morrell - former CIA deputy director- noted the ban is purely for show and didn't  get at the core problem. In his words:

"I think the order is going to make the threat worse. It is going to make us less safe. First of all, the biggest problem we face is home-grown terrorism.  Of the roughly hundred people who've been indicted for Isis -related crimes over the last three years, eighty five percent were American citizens. This doesn't get at that at all.... It doesn't make the danger any less and it's playing right into the Isis narrative that it's a war against Islam. So this is going to be a recruitment boon for Isis."

Morrell also exposed the blatant Trump lie that these nations were on Obama's hit list. In fact not. They were really part of a program to enhance the security of a visa-waiver program for people traveling from European countries. So the Trump bunch effectively enhanced and 'weaponized' a nominal visa waiver program.

After firing Ms. Yates. Bannon-Trump drafted Dana Boente to take her place. What we know is that he is the US attorney for the eastern district of Virginia, and also an Obama appointee.

A White House statement quoted Boente as saying: “I am honored to serve President Trump in this role until Senator Sessions is confirmed. I will defend and enforce the laws of our country to ensure that our people and our nation are protected.”

This may well be a more or less accurate statement. The not so sanguine news this  a.m. (CBS) is that Mr. Boente has ordered the DOJ to comply with Bannon-Trump's "order".   Well, there may be limits to adhering to principles and demonstrating courage in these difficult times. Look how the asshole Sean Spicer even threatened over 100 State Dept. employees even after they used the Dissent Channel - which by law makes them immune to political  threats.

In the meantime, after this new insult, the Democrats must go full ballistic on Trump's nominees including Jeff Sessions. Any Dems voting for these nominees, OR who go against a filibuster for Trump's Supreme Court pick, will be listed by name as Vichy Democrats (collaborators) on this blog. Everyone, from every sphere or occupation, must now grasp the seriousness of the national situation. We are approaching a constitutional crisis because of the extremists now running the country and there will be no peace, no relaxation no cessation of dissent until they are neutralized or removed.

See also:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/30/opinion/president-bannon.html?_r=0

And:

http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/henry-giroux/70955/democracy-in-exile-and-the-curse-of-totalitarianism

Monday, January 30, 2017

After Latest BLOTUS Stunt- Dems Must Vow Total Obstruction

Related image
"Well, uh, uh, I'm just doin' what Stevie Bannon told me to do! BWAAAHAHAHA! Why does everybody hate me?"

The latest vicious stunt pulled by the Trumpistas was their de facto Muslim ban enacted by fiat Saturday at exactly 4:42 p.m ET, stranding thousands at airports around the world.

The pseudo-order(given it will surely be overturned) ,suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen

Trump has declared his paper piffle "E.O."  is "not a Muslim ban" but obviously it is and only a brainwashed, authoritarian Zombot would deny that. Clearly, Trump is capable of lying with impunity and getting too many of his groupies to swallow each of them whole.

As the NY Times Editorial Board put it Saturday night, after the latest Trump abomination:

"It must have felt like the worst trick of fate for these refugees to hit the wall of Donald Trump’s political posturing at the very last step of a years long, rigorous vetting process. This ban will also disrupt the lives and careers of potentially hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have been cleared to live in America under visas or permanent residency permits.

That the order, breathtaking in scope and inflammatory in tone, was issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day spoke of the president’s callousness and indifference to history, to America’s deepest lessons about its own values."

The depth of depravity of Trump and specifically his Nazi advisor Steve Bannon, was on full display Saturday evening as hundreds of thousands of lives were dislocated by his insane scribbles passed off as "executive orders". They are nothing of the sort as I observed in my previous post, never mind thousands of  gullible officials taking them as settled law and preventing even green card and valid visa holders from returning home.

And while the pro-authoritarian Trumpies make much ado of how their gilded hero is "protecting " them, they'd be better served by backing up and putting on their thinking caps.  Mike Morrell, former CIA deputy director, noted this a.m. the ban is purely for show and given the history of recent attacks doesn't get at the core problem. In his words:

"I think the order is going to make the threat worse. It is going to make us less safe. First of all, the biggest problem we face is home-grown terrorism.  Of the roughly hundred people who've been indicted for Isis -related crimes over the last three years, eighty five percent were American citizens. This doesn't get at that at all.... It doesn't make the danger any less and it's playing right into the Isis narrative that it's a war against Islam. So this is going to be a recruitment boon for Isis."

Morrell also exposed the blatant Trump lie that these nations were on Obama's hit list. In fact not. They were really part of a program to enhance the security of a visa-waiver program for people traveling from European countries. So the Trump bunch effectively enhanced and 'weaponized' a nominal visa waiver program.

As I said, all for show, to posture in front of Trump's brain-addled authoritarian "hobbits" - as Bannon referred to them when he raged at the NY Times.

As the Times also  noted, regarding Trump''s - I mean Steve Bannon's "order" (since Bannon is really the one pulling the strings of the brain dead idiot)):

"The order lacks any logic. It invokes the attacks of Sept. 11 as a rationale, while exempting the countries of origin of all the hijackers who carried out that plot and also, perhaps not coincidentally, several countries where the Trump family does business"

Well, what would you expect from the pen of a white Nationalist Nazi who even dubs himself "Darth Vader", as he did in a documented phone call to the Times last week, ordering them to "shut up".  Trumpies ought to ask themselves why Bannon-Trump haven't banned the nations from which the 9/11 hijackers came. Well, because those nations have Trump business interests!    For example Trump is involved with multiple deals with UAE billionaire developer Hussain Ali Sajwani. Sajwani himself has engaged in several controversial land deals with senior officials in the United Arab Emirates .During Trump's recent news conference he actually admitted Sajwani offered him $2 billion worth of development deals in Dubai.

And don't get me started on the pussyfooting Dems who ought to be ashamed that Bannon - in his rant to the Times -  actually declared the MEDIA to be the opposition, NOT the Democratic Party!  If I were a Dem (which I am not, I'm unaffiliated) I'd hang my head in shame because Bannon's spiel to the Times really showed my party wasn't doing its job as an opposition.

But in the wake of Bannon-Trump's Muslim ban  we have a serious shot over the bow for any Dem cooperation with this vile bunch of reptiles.  Wait, that's an insult to reptiles..  Before, I was willing to give the Ds a pass even if they ended up voting for some of Trump's less vile despicables, but no more.  Now, I want to see full throttle obstruction to the Bannon -Trump Reign by Diktat.

For reference, after the Nazis occupied Paris in 1940, a clique of French authorities proceeded to work with them, including facilitating deportations of Jews to Nazi death camps.  This lot became memorialized in an infamous sense as "Vichy France". In other words, Nazi collaborators.  The Dems now risk becoming known as VICHY Dems if they do not fight like rabid ferrets against everything the Bannon-Trump hoodlums propose or try to do.

The reason is abundantly clear: nothing they propose,  no law or plan,  can have the nation's interests at heart given a) Bannon is really running the show and b) Trump is a mere mentally unstable puppet.

Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman tweeted on Tuesday that we have "An American first: a president who was obviously mentally ill the moment he took office. Thanks, Comey." Yesterday Arizona congressman Ruben Gallego said Trump is mentally unstable. He also said "This man is not normal. He is not acting normal. And there's nothing that he's done at this point for me that he's proven that I should work with him. And I don't think it's gonna change."

Do the Democrats get it then? You cannot work with an administration run by a Nazi white nationalist and a madman liar! This is a non-starter, What does this mean? What sort of actions does this translate into?

- No more votes cast for any Trump nominees! If they are going to get in anyway, fine- let the GOP deliver their votes, don't you do it!

- Total filibuster against ANY Trump Supreme Court nominee until Obama's SC pick (Merrick Garland) is first given a hearing. Sorry, you do not get to "jump" your place in line for SC nominees even after an election.  Any Dem who refuses to exercise the filibuster is to be primaried, no exceptions.

- No enabling passage of ANY Republican legislation that will ultimately be signed by Bannon-Trump. That includes infrastructure, Obamacare (ACA), defense.   Again, any Vichy Democrats who collaborate with these vermin to be primaried when they next face re-election.

In a more general sense, former Senate aide Adam Jentleson, writing in The Washington Post ("Senate Democrats Have The Power To Stop Trump If They Use It") referenced procedural measures to solidly muck up the works and slow everything to a grind. He writes:

"The tool lies in the simple but effective act of withholding consent" adding that "an organized effort on the Senate floor can bring the body to its knees and slow down the agenda of a president who doesn't represent the majority of Americans"

How  would it work? Basically the 48 Dems would have to organize so one is always on the floor when the Senate  leader (McConnell) calls for motion to consent. Bear in mind for the Senate to move in a timely fashion there must be unanimous consent for every action or measure put forward. If a single Senator objects to any consent agreement then McConnell will be forced to resort to time-consuming procedural steps through the cloture process.  These steps would generally take four days to confirm nominees and 7 days to advance any piece of legislation. And that's without any amendment votes, If those are added,  each such amendment can be subjected to 7 days of cloture as well. With the will to do it, the Dems for once could have the Reepo heads exploding with frustration and exert some measure of payback.

To effect this, all the Dems need is to ensure one of them is always on the floor to withhold consent. The beauty is that because every Senate action requires unanimous consent it confers massive leverage for Democrats. BUT....they must possess the  balls to use it, else forget it, as they revert to balless donkeys as depicted above. If they don't like being called "obstructionist"  then,  again, we must call them balless donkeys. There's no other option. You either do like the Reepos and bring an Uzi (not a knife) to a gunfight, or go home.

Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday vowed to “claw, scrap and fight with every fiber of my being until these orders are overturned.” That's fine as far as it goes, but unless he and fellow Dems unite to obstruct every move the Trumpists and GOP attempt in the wake of Bannnon's atrocity, it's merely empty words.

Am I advocating analogous strategies to the Tea Party? You're damned right I am, especially after Bannon-Trump's latest abomination with the de facto Muslim ban which will even have effects too many can't see  For example, the Tech companies including Google have vowed to move their companies to other nations if their workers can't secure the H1B visas here.

In the end this is about acting the part of a genuine opposition and not as political collaborators for an unstable asshole and his Nazi master, Obersturmfuhrer Bannon.   This is the piece of dung who - in a statement released about Holocaust Memorial Day - ensured that all reference to Jews was scrubbed beforehand. This, of course, is the M.O. of the Holocaust denier.

The media should not have to play the part of a full opposition party but rather a vigilant outside ("fourth estate") monitor- recorder of ongoing transgressions It is up to our opposing political representatives to act the part and not confect excuses not to.  It means risking collegiality but that's okay  For the parlous era in which we find ourselves collegiality must take a back seat to protecting citizens' rights and not enabling an  anti-American rabble that calls itself an administration.

Have my made my point clearly? Yeppers, I believe I have!

Lily Rothman, in her recent (Feb. 6, p. 20) TIME essay ('The Perils of Snap Judging A U.S. President') is correct to the degree that many U.S.  Presidents gummed things up in their first 100 days "as they try to find their footing as leaders of the free world".  But for Donald J. Trump there is zero danger of that, i.e. waiting past those 100 days for him to rectify. The reason is because we know - short of  his getting needed ECT and treatment at Bellevue - he will be as much (or more) of a lying asshole then, as he is now.

Thus the take of Garrison Keillor is the more correct:

"What we know is that this man is who he is. There is no larger, finer man waiting to get out."

So whether we wait 1 day, 100 days or 1000 days is immaterial. Trump, morally deformed mutant that he is will remain the same Indeed. A 70 year old psychopath with delusions of grandeur and omnipotence who relies on a white Nationalist consigliere (Bannon) to tell him what to do and what to sign. No wonder Paul Krugman in a Tuesday tweet referred to him as an American "first" - the first ever mentally ill  man to become president. The Dems and media must fight this monster with every fiber of their being, exposing his atrocities as they emerge- and there will be more.

The last straw was disallowing the Director of National Intelligence and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs from being assured a seat at the principals meeting - the most senior grouping of national intelligence officials or NSC. And who will get special prominence? Who will be guaranteed a seat before all others? Why Steve Bannon, Nazi consigliere to the mad potentate with orange hair.     This is now serious territory, folks.  This is the territory of an emerging constitutional crisis. One which could have so easily been avoided had the electors done their sworn duty in December and prevented this fool's ascent to the highest office.

This is territory we cannot tolerate, and one hopes Nancy Pelosi- who is to convene a Town Hall tomorrow night - grasps the meaning of a Vichy Dem and doesn't try to insist we can work with these vermin.  On the positive side, even if he Dems punk out, the ACLU will be there to fight for us. They have collected $24 million since Saturday compared to typically $4 million a year.  Thanks, President Bannon, for your terrific help here, writing as a 25 year member of the ACLU!

See also:

http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/pierre-tristam/70936/trump-s-middle-finger-to-muslims-and-law

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bill Maher Nails It On Trump's Bogus "Executive Orders"

i

Bill Maher, in his Real Time intro last night, really hit the nail on its head, exposing Trump's so-called "executive orders" (which consumed 99 percent of actual work time this week, or maybe 2 hours total) as what they are: signed tweets. To call Trump's parade of signed malarkey executive orders is roughly like calling each page of Junior's scratchy algebra homework new proofs of Fermat's theorem.

But, of course, Trumpies don't wish to hear that. They'd rather loll in their delusional world that their man is accomplishing something when he isn't doing squat. Hence, they fancy  the mirage of action over actual executive effort and work. Like Trump - when he holds up each signed product in a leather binder, similar to a toddler who just completed a page in his coloring book. "Looky, Mommy! I  did do it! I did!"

But in Trump's case it's all theater. All make believe. By that I mean these glorified scrap sheets  have no force of law, none. Many Trumpies also believe the authority to write an executive order is conferred by the Constitution but this is not technically so. Let us reference the Wikipedia entry:

"There is no constitutional provision nor statute that explicitly permits executive orders. The term executive power in Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the Constitution refers to the office of President as the executive. They are instructed therein by the declaration "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" made in Article II, Section 3, Clause 5 or face impeachment. Most executive orders use these Constitutional reasonings as the authorization allowing for their issuance to be justified as part of the President's sworn duties, the intent being to help direct officers of the U.S. Executive carry out their delegated duties as well as the normal operations of the federal government: the consequence of failing to comply possibly being removal from office"

In other words, these more comport with a wish list based on appeals or pleas from a president to the legislative branch to formalize into law what he seeks to do. In Trump's case, most legal experts note these scribbles on fancy paper haven't even been vetted  by competent, qualified staff for internal consistency or by constitutional lawyers, for consistency with constitutional law.  Thus, they are at most :"executive actions" - or a lesser category to executive orders. The latter, then, have already been vetted.

Trump's signed action ("tweet")  on staunching the flow of Muslim immigrants is clearly unconstitutional, for example. He declares with solemn bull toad authority that he is preventing people from "entering via terrorist nations", yet he doesn't even name the nations of the 9/11 terrorists, including: Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab  Emirates.  The selective naming of his chosen 7 nations means there is no equal protection under the law for the selected nations' immigrants. It's like he's turning a blind eye to the sources of real terrorists.

So, any constitutional lawyer worth his salt would be able to expose Trump's signed paper as not worth much more than a piece of his gold-lined toilet paper.

Thus, the key aspect for people to bear in mind here is:

"Executive orders are subject to judicial review, and may be struck down if deemed by the courts to be unsupported by statute or the Constitution."

Trump's other signed tweets - like for his nutty wall - are in similar legal limbo. That includes not even making the cut for internal consistency, hence not even making the grade of an executive action.

A signed tweet as Bill Maher put it? Sure! But Trumpies ought not get their panties in a twist from premature somersaults,  given most will not even see the light of day as actual deeds.

The "March for Life": A Pre-Moral - Not Moral - Display

Image may contain: 1 person, text
The spectacle in D.C. yesterday, operating under the banner of a "March for Life', featured a crowd of perhaps 275,000 bearing flags, banners and placards, that flowed down Constitution Avenue, filling the street, and then  rallied at the Supreme Court building across from the Capitol.  For reference, this is significantly less than The Women's March on Washington  attended by an estimated 485,000 people last Saturday

One of the PR positions and framing adopted by the "Life" crowd is that they were adamantly "pro-woman" - which, of course, is poppycock. If you are for taking away a woman's control over her own body - even after rape or incest - you are in fact, not pro-woman but anti-woman.  In addition, you are not moral by any stretch, but PRE-moral.

The difference again is wonderfully articulated by Cheryl Mendelson, former Professor of Ethics and author of 'The Good Life' , who I earlier  (Oct. 11 post) referenced in terms of explaining the  nature of moral capacity and defining the moral character. Mendelson's take on the anti-abortion movement and personae is instructive in terms of firmly placing them in the premoral spectrum. As she writes (p. 157):

"The premoral mind confuses the disgusting with the wrong and retains an infantile fear of things sexual. Its rationality is overcome by emotion, fantasy, wish and projection. The belief that extracting a 10-week fetus from a woman's womb is murder rests to a large extent on the sense of disgust aroused by the thought of destruction of living tissue.

When fundamentalists insist on risking the life of the mother to deliver an anencephalic fetus they take this tendency to an extreme. People who think this way are unable to override disgust with rational appreciation of the objective characteristics of the fetus. The ability to do so is an indispensable trait of the moral mind."

In other words, the basis for a truly moral mind presumes the capacity for rationality to assess objectively - as opposed to emotively.  This is something I've written about a number of times before.   A point made in my Aug. 1, 2015 post was that no sane person in his or her right mind could possibly regard a "zygote" as a person, or a fetus as an "unborn child". There is simply no standard by which that passes even elemental laws or tests of logic, or science.  A child cannot be "unborn" because by definition it is already born!  Hence, an "unborn" (fetus) cannot be a "child".  Thus, we send the 'child' to school, get him to do his homework, to take his medicine, cross streets safely, respect his elders and so on. If unborn, it's a fetus, not a "child"  so all those activities are preposterous.

This is also why Mike Pence's arguments to the March for Life supporters, i.e. that he can get a "personhood" law implemented, is pure bollocks. Pence is talking from emotion, not science or rational objectivity.  A person, a human person, must have at least minimal capacity for basic cognition and rudimentary choice. It must possess a brain, at the very least, which evinces definite brain waves. Anything that doesn't is a proto-human entity, but clearly not a person. The logical error made is called the "genetic fallacy" as first described by Antony Flew ('Thinking About Thinking'). That is, arguing that because a thing is going to become something, it IS something. It would be like me picking up an acorn and claiming it's an oak tree. Nope. No way. Only an insane person would assert that!  Is Pence insane? Not likely (we must hope!) but he isn't exercising any rationality.

As a former Roman Catholic, however, he may still be under the dogma of the Didache which declares:

"You shall not kill the fruit of the womb and you shall not murder the infant already born"

Which is obviously medieval nonsense, as I showed from the arguments above.

Another failure of rational objectivity among the marchers for life is their lack of recognition that nature itself is the most pervasive source of abortions. As Sagan and Druyan observed in a widely circulated article from 1991: "Most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried"

Cheryl Mendelson for her part notes (p. 159):

"Nature sloughs off early pregnancies at a high rate and we do not hold funerals for these embryos and early fetuses.  As many as 60 to 70 percent of fertilized eggs are lost overall, usually silently - without anyone ever knowing fertilization took place. Up to 15 percent of known pregnancies miscarry in the first trimester. Were we to take seriously the morbid pseudo-moralism of the fundamentalist Right, we would recognize these countless millions of miscarried embryos and fetuses as lost lives and be sunk in a vast and permanent sea of endless mourning for the unending deaths of innocents."

So the question arises: Why don't the anti-abortionists have this endless mourning for the dead embryos, fetuses? Well, first - because there are too many and they'd never have an end to funerals or morbid grief - as Mendelson points out. Second,  because the premoral mind only makes a federal case out of it when individual women are seen trekking to Planned Parenthood for abortions!  IF those were carried out silently, discreetly in private (like nature does),  say using an abortion pill-  none of this would be known and no anti-abortion hysteria could exist  This is why the sooner  much wider access to RU-486 is achieved the better, to take the issue out of the premoralists' mitts. The problem now is that too many right wing extremists are preventing their state's citizens from accessing it - either by using excessive pricing, legal maneuvers or keeping it out of state insurance exchanges.

Mendelson goes on to make an equally cogent point regarding the false moral righteousness of these people (p. 160):

"To equate the termination of an early pregnancy with the death, indeed the murder, of an infant or child is not merely morally uncalled for but dangerous. It implicitly demeans the value of real people's lives, both adults' and children's, and confuses the reasons why we protect them so vigilantly. If our moral obligations to one another are abstracted from our capacities for feeling, thinking, intending and wanting - from everything that makes us human and forms the ground for our care and protection of each other- we are thrown back into a premoral kind of thinking.

To regard the destruction of insensate agglomerations of cells that contain human DNA as the destruction of a person's life is to step outside the moral into the brutal and dangerously irrational kind of thought that substitutes taboo for reason. It is a regression to quasi-magical thinking."

It is, in other words, a reversion to the genetic fallacy: mistaking the acorn for the whole oak tree. The human fertilized egg for the complete human person, which in either case is preposterous.

So why commit this fallacy, this regression to a premoral mental state? It is because the people who invoke it have the belief that these agglomerations are "ensouled". They thus imbue the rudimentary gaggle of cells with a supernatural aura for which no proof exists at all, none.  As Mendelson puts it (ibid.):

"The premises that the fertilized egg, embryo and fetus are ensouled or sacred are ideas that cannot be proved  factually and that many religions vehemently reject."

The monstrous error at the heart of all anti-abortionists' thinking is the genetic fallacy and also the slight given to the already born- in terms of tax policy, governmental assistance etc. If you're only pro-life to birth, then you're a damned hypocrite, and don’t truly believe black lives (or any lives) matter at all.  If you’re an anti-higher tax clone of Grover Norquist – or believe taxes are only for military defense and not social support, ditto. If you're against the government providing free child care so a working class parent can afford to get a job, ditto.

If you're truly pro-life you have to take civic, community ownership for the child's welfare -after it is born as much as before, via appropriate legislation- enabling it, not impeding it. And further this has to be effective  all the way through that child’s dependent years.  This applies with special force to the most economically marginal of our nation, the people barely scraping through at Walmart or Mickey D jobs because enough better jobs aren't available.


Looking out at the sea of pro life marchers one saw many a sign that begged to ban Planned Parenthood, and overturn Roe v. Wade. Is this moral or premoral? Mendelson again (ibid.):

"Do those people who oppose abortion on the basis of religious tenets have the right to impose their religious views on people who reject them?  The moral answer, emphatically, enshrined as law in the United States Constitution, is no. People are within their rights to attempt to persuade others to adopt and live by their religious ideas but not to force them to do so using laws and the power of government."

Thus, those two hundred thousand odd marchers for life were totally wrong if they hoped - by the force of their march - to get government to enact laws or SC rulings to prevent abortions and hence deny others the right to have them. In this sense, Pence, when he proclaimed:

We will not grow weary, We will not rest, until we restore a culture of life in America for ourselves and our posterity,”

Is way out of his depth and position if he means anything other than the use of persuasion to attain that "culture of life".

Yes, fight for your belief that the fetus is an equal person to a full -fledged conscious human, if you must.  But do so on the field of reason and persuasion, not coercion via abominable domestic terror tactics or the jackboot of government law. To quote author Julian Baggini ('The Edge of Reason') again:

"When we give up on reason, the only tool we have left is coercion."

Alas,  coercion violates the very basis of our constitutional system which is one of declared rights, not use of force to attain an end.  This is also why Trump's global gag rule on abortion discloses he has no use for rights, but prefers coercion - like the authoritarian he is. He also - like his premoral supporters- has no real reverence for life, given that gag rule will lead to at least two million more abortions per year, by some estimates. Not to mention hundreds of thousands of more women dying by taking matters into their own hands.

The problem is that in Trump World with its embrace of alternative facts, too few people may accept it. Worse, they may be inclined to sacrifice their reason and treat every tweet issuing from a Trump brain fart as coming from the Oracle of Delphi.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Lawsuits Against Trump for "Emoluments" Need To Go Forward

A legal watchdog group  filed a lawsuit Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, alleging that Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his businesses to accept payments from foreign governments.
Trump, about to face multiple lawsuits over his handling of business entanglements

The news that a citizen watchdog group (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)  on Monday filed a lawsuit  claiming that President Donald Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his business to accept payments from foreign governments shouldn't have come as any surprise.  The lawsuit claims that a constitutional clause prohibits Trump from receiving money from diplomats for stays at his hotels or foreign governments for leases of office space in his buildings.

That clause is quite correct, as we read Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution stating that no American officeholder shall, “without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

The clause is not a historical quirk. Gordon Wood, an American historian, argues that America’s founding fathers were obsessed with the problem of corruption, which they believed had doomed earlier republics. Hence, they inveighed against even the appearance of being "gifted" by foreign interests, nations.

Trump called the lawsuit “without merit, totally without merit” after he signed some of his first executive actions (not technically "orders"  since they've not been legally vetted) Monday in the Oval Office. But he is wrong, dead wrong.  It is fully with merit and he will learn in the ensuing months just how off base he is.

The watchdog group filed the lawsuit in the Southern District of New York. The group is being represented in part by two former White House chief ethics lawyers: Norman Eisen, who advised Barack Obama, and Richard Painter, who worked under George W. Bush. The two have expresse,d frustration that Trump has refused to take their recommendation and divest from his business, and feel they had no choice but to take legal action. The lawsuit at its core argues:

As the Framers were aware, private financial interests can subtly sway even the most virtuous leaders,  and entanglements between American officials and foreign powers could pose a creeping, insidious threat to the Republic.”

At a news conference earlier this month, Trump Organization lawyer Sheri Dillon insisted that the so-called emoluments clause of the Constitution isn’t meant to ban fair-value exchanges. "They didn’t think paying your hotel bill was an emolument,” she said.

But Dillon is wrong. When the hotel bill is paid by a foreign potentate or dignitary or office holder, and to a hotel that is owned by a President - then it IS an emolument.  So Sherri doesn't know what she's yapping about, clearly as uninformed as that mistress of misdirection Kellyanne Conway. And btw turning over these business interests to relatives like Jared Kushner, or Donald Jr.,  is not divesting.

That's why Harvard Law prof Lawrence Tribe was quite clear Monday night  on exactly why Trump is guilty of constitutional violations As he observed, after being asked to make his case:

"It's pretty easy. He's receiving benefits big time, of a financial kind from foreign governments all over the world. And that's illegal. It's what the emoluments clause forbids."

Prof. Tribe went on to elaborate the sources from foreign governments that are problematic:

"The first are leases, or private arrangements between businessman Trump and foreign governments. They are hotels, they are easements, all kinds of financial instruments, very intricate and complicated like a Matrushkan doll - inside one another. Corporations inside LLCs - all complicated ways of doing one thing and one thing only: funneling money to Donald Trump when foreign governments decide they want to benefit him in whatever way - whether expanding his Aberdeen golf course, or something else. it enriches him even if they don't pay top dollar for the hotel rooms.

The issue isn't how much they pay, but that they're paying anything. The Constitution basically says that if you're President of the United States you should not be in bed with business partners. Because if you are there is just no way for the American people to know when you make a deal with one of these countries, whether you're making it in the best interests of the country or you want Trump to be first"

To be specific, here are a few examples by geographic location:

- Trump Tower Mumbai, partnered with the Lodha Group whose chairman and founder (Mangal Prabhat) is  the VP of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). How do we know what favors Prabhat may curry from the Donald to secretly help advance the BJP? We don't. How do we know how many billions from the BJP may indirectly cross Trump's grubby palms? We don't.

- Trump partnered with Indonesian billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibja on management and branding deals for a resort and residential complex in Bali and a 1700 acre resort in West Java. Hary Tanoe as he's known locally, has been active in opposition parties against President Joko Widodo. Tanoe introduced Trump to several local politicians including one at the center of a corruption scandal. Trump's deals with Hary also entail Chinese and South Korean state-controlled companies.

- Dubai properties: Trump is involved with multiple deals with billionaire developer Hussain Ali Sajwani. Sajwani himself has engaged in several controversial land deals with senior officials in the United Arab Emirates .During Trump's recent news conference he actually admitted Sajwani offered him $2 billion worth of development deals in Dubai. The question elicited is: How do we know what Trump ISN'T telling us? We don't. Can we trust him to reveal all his deals and offers? I doubt it! The bastard is a congenital liar so you can't trust anything he blabbers or tweets.


 How should Trump solve his problem? Tribe again:

"All he has to do is dissolve his assets. He has to sell off his interest in the hotels, liquidate them and then convert them into assets that can be put into a genuinely blind trust. So he has no way of knowing which governments are greasing his palm. What he's done instead is simply put them behind a kind of one way mirror. He still has these properties but he says.  it's enough for them to be managed by his sons and a long time employee. That doesn't solve the problem at all, it just exacerbates it by creating an optical illusion that some people may be deceived by".

On the issue of  needing "Standing" to bring such a case, Tribe is equally clear:

"Well, the group is positively harmed by this labyrninthine maze of emoluments that the president is involved in It's whole mission is devoted to getting corruption out of government, especially where money is involved.  So it's having to use money and resources it could have used instead on shadowy political campaigns or other corruption. These now must be used going down the rabbit hole of tracking down all the mysterious ways Trump is enriching jhis empire, day by day. That's the kind of harm the Supreme Court, in a case called Haven's Realty gives you standjng to sue.

When Trump says the case has no merit, I wonder what constitutional law course he took but I don't think he knows what he's talking about".

In the end, the decision to hear the case will show whether we are still a nation of laws, or have mutated to become so lawless that we can't even recognize constitutional violations when they occur.

The group behind Monday’s lawsuit also filed a complaint Friday addressed to the General Services Administration, an agency that oversees the lease of the government-owned building that houses Trump’s new Washington hotel. The complaint, argued the agency,  must cancel the lease because it expressly forbids any elected official from benefiting from it.

GSA officials had said they needed to wait until Trump took office before weighing in on the issue. They have yet to issue an opinion, though, and have not responded to repeated requests for comment. Democrats in the House and Senate on Monday sent letters to Acting Administrator Timothy Horne seeking information about what the agency plans to do. One must hope Mr. Horne is not intimidated into inaction by the Trumpsters.

Are we a nation of laws or scofflaws?  The answer is contingent on whether Trump is held to account for his multiple, dangerous business entanglements - which fairly reek of potential corruption. How can we know, in deed, what nefarious deals he is making to enrich himself behind our backs? The argument from the likes of Sherri Dillon that he "shouldn't have to lose money" is insane bollocks. He ought to have thought of that before running for President!

If he didn't wish to "lose money" or profits by divesting from business assets, then he should have remained a real estate tycoon and developer and not campaigned for the Oval Office.  NO President has a God-given right to also be a billionaire and real estate tycoon!

Mr. Trump will now learn his own extensive Trump assets will be his likely downfall... IF we are a nation of laws and adhere to the Constitution.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Doomsday Clock" Moved Closer to Midnight


This morning at 10:00 Eastern time, in news that ought to send chills down ever citizen's spine, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the second hand of the Doomsday Clock another half minute closer to midnight. Hitherto it had been set at 3 minutes to midnight, since 2015.  The new setting marks metaphorically the acknowledgement of the highest danger facing the planet since 1953, when the U.S. and U.S.S.R. conducted multiple H-bomb tests in the atmosphere.

A global failure to fight climate change and concern over Donald Trump’s cabinet picks were cited as reasons for the increased threat to the planet. Of course, none of this ought to surprise the intelligent, high information citizen who is able to reason and discern fake news from the genuine form.

While the BAS historically has rejected that "one individual" can move the clock, it is clear to me that they have been alarmed following Trump's mid-December tweet that:

"We need to strengthen and expand nuclear capacity until the world comes to its sense regarding nukes."

As a number of strategic analysts had pointed out, including staff from The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the U.S. already has just under 5,000 nuclear warheads in its active arsenal and more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads. This is more than enough to turn the world to ash about six times over.

Given that Russia, according to the same strategic sources, "has 400 more nuclear warheads than the U.S. does", one might assume that Trump - via his tweet - really meant overtaking the Russians. But to the scientists of the BAS it may also have meant tearing up the new START Treaty which limits strategic weapons to 1,550 each by February, 2018. At least these would be the possible interpretations IF one assumed Trump knew that the Russians had a 400 -nuke advantage and also knew what the START Treaty was. But since he doesn't even read his daily briefs, that's unlikely.

The only conclusion to draw from the BAS staff' reasoning for citing Trump's cabinet then is that they don't believe any of them possess the gravitas or wherewithal to influence Trump in any way - say to stay his hands from entering the nuclear codes if he felt the need to do so.  The BAS own words confirm this:

"We understand that Mr. Trump has been in office only days, that many of his cabinet nominees are awaiting confirmation and that he has had little time to take official action. But Mr. Trump’s statements and actions have been unsettling. He has made ill-considered comments about expanding and even deploying the American nuclear arsenal. He has expressed disbelief in the scientific consensus on global warming. He has shown a troubling propensity to discount or reject expert advice related to international security. And his nominees to head the Energy Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Management and the Budget have disputed or questioned climate change."

As I pointed out in the previous post, the man is out of touch with reality -hence certifiably insane by any sensible definition. His cabinet picks for EPA, Energy Dept. are not much better. Hence, the dire clock warning.   As the BAS statement continued:

"Last year, and the year before, we warned that world leaders were failing to act with the speed and on the scale necessary to protect citizens from the extreme dangers posed by climate change and nuclear war. During the past year, the need for leadership intensified but was met with inaction and brinkmanship."

Climate change, of course, enters as the more slow rolling form of human extinction. Indeed, in my Nov. 4 post from last year I cited Economic and psychology expert George Loewenstein, who was typical of the risk assessment experts consulted in an AP study. He called climate change "a problem that threatens the very existence of the human race and is already having devastating consequences around the world".

The results of the AP survey were similar to a larger survey of 750 experts conducted earlier last year by the World Economic Forum. Their Global Risks Report 2016 found that the five biggest global risks in terms of impact were: 1) climate change, 2) weapons of mass destruction, 3) water crises, 4) large scale migration, and 5) severe energy price shocks.

The contributors to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists also cited the threat posed to democracy by fake news and the influence exerted on elections as reasons for the new setting, according to a panel of scientists involved in the process.

The appropriate symbolic time is deduced each year by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The new reading brings the threat closer to midnight than it’s been since the height of the Cold War – when it reached 11:58pm.

When asked what was the single biggest factor in moving the hands forward, Professor of Meteorology David Titley said the dissemination of facts and science expressed through a “verbal looseness” was a particular threat.

“Policy that is sensible requires facts to be facts,” one theoretical physicist added.

And, of course, "verbal looseness" is epitomized by Trump's reckless December tweet on nuclear capacity.  As I pointed out no sane person ought to be propounding nuclear policy via a cartoon language medium. The very choice to do so indicates that person lacks all his marbles. Hence, if I were the BAS I'd be hitting the panic button over Trump's verbal looseness too! Anyone who uses Twitter to bloviate on nuclear forces and capacity has several screws loose.

How would humanity actually hitting midnight look? The best fictional portrayal of such a catastrophe was probably in the 1983 movie 'Threads'. The film is about 1hr and 47 minutes long, Brit-made,  but if it doesn't scare the bejeezus out of you, you are either already: a) brain dead, or b) a zombie and amongst the walking dead.

'Threads' is set in the industrial city of Sheffield, UK, and to be sure one needs to get adjusted to the peculiar accent. But once one does, he or she will be granted an inside look at a future none of us want to face. (One U.S. reviewer said that "Threads makes 'The Day After' look like a day at the races".) Having seen both,  I concur.

Threads is not for the squeamish or faint-hearted but I do think all those yammering for war or confrontation with Iran, North Korea or China (the Trumpies want to battle over the Spratley Islands) need to see it and let its message soak in. In fact, I think every critically-thinking red blooded citizen ought to see it, if for no other reason to be motivated to let reps know this thing isn't on - not now or ever.

Though based on a hypothetical Soviet-Russian invasion of Iran, which possibility is no longer - since the present day Russians have plowed enormous investment monies into Iran and its reactors, the projected invasion of a U.S. and NATO strike force is accurate to any unfolding future scenario. From the initial strikes on a nuke reactor at Isfahan, to the accidental sinking of the Russian ship Kirov in the Straits of Hormuz, to the accidental exchange of 2 tactical nuclear weapons (with radiation blowing over Pakistan) and the escalation to a full scale nuclear war - with 3,000 megatons exchange (210 megatons on the UK alone) this movie will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The last segment of the film - following the timeline after the missile exchange and when nuclear winter occurs, discloses there are some prices that are simply too much to pay. Most graphic are the scenes of the sorry victims of radiation sickness in Sheffield, UK and the final scene when a young woman that manages to survive gives birth to an infant with a frog-like face, pointed furry ears, scales and rat nose. As she screams in horror at her mutant, grunting offspring, the film pans to black and the credits roll.

DO we really want this future? Then by all means we need to heed the warning conveyed by the Doomsday clock.

See also:

http://thebulletin.org/timeline

Excerpt:

'The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.' That probability has not been reduced. The Clock ticks. Global danger looms. Wise leaders should act—immediately".

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

BLOTUS Trump's Voting Fraud "Investigation" Shows He Belongs In a Strait Jacket

Related image
"Hmmmmm...if I believe it, it has to be real! Else I am insane and need a straight jacket!"

"The rehabilitation of reason is urgent because it is only through the proper use of reason that we can find our way out of the quagmires in which many big issues of our time have become stuck. Without a clear sense of what it means for one point of view to be more reasonable than another the position one adopts is ultimately based on nothing more than personal opinion or preference.

When we give up on reason, the only tool we have left is coercion."

- Julian Baggini, 'The Edge Of Reason', p. 3.

Let us concede that reason is an indispensable tool for arriving at truth. Many, such as Philosopher Julian Baggini - quoted above, would agree it's the best method we humans have for arriving at the facts, the objective reality of a situation. By the same token, those who would scorn reason in favor of pure opinion, random tweets or regurgitating fantasy travel outside the foundations of truth and make a unified governance all but impossible. The situation we have arrived at now in this country is that at least one third of Trump supporters - according to a PPP poll - have no use for reason or facts. See e.g.

http://www.politicususa.com/2017/01/25/poll-shows-americans-support-womens-marchers-donald-trump.html


Consider the claim of Trump then that there has been massive voter fraud that cost him the popular vote, including that "three to five million more voted illegally for Hillary Clinton".  Consider this is coming from the guy who actually WON the electoral vote - the only one that counts- and yet his ego is still too traumatized to accept that fewer citizens voted for him than his opponent.

Consider also that there is not one scintilla of evidence to support his fantastic claim - which btw-  is negated by 50 Secretaries of State (including from  37 Republican- governed states) that the integrity of their election processes were never compromised  Consider then that, also, the singular evidence is that Russian hacking played the dominant role in the 2016 election which actually helped catapult HIM to power. Anyone see anything backwards here? Inverted from reality?

ALL the intelligence agencies agree that Russian hacking at various levels, including of the RNC, was established to their satisfaction, and that is where the REAL voter fraud has occurred. Yet Trump, in his own bubble of flatus continues to pound the conspiracy theory he lost the popular vote because of a "rigged election"  when all the data show otherwise - except for the role of Russian hackers to bring HIM to power.

What's wrong with this picture?

Well, the absence of reality and reason in Trump's assorted ruminations. Even Jacob Chaffetz, head of the House Oversight Committee averred "I see no evidence for it", referencing Trump's voter fraud delusions. He asserted his committee would not be taking it up. Remember, this is the guy who went full bore on Benghazi.  Clearly, if anything of substance was really there, Chaffetz wouldn't dodge it.

Voter fraud itself, in the sense of being committed on a mass scale by "illegals", is especially an irksome and stupid claim which flies in the face of all evidence accepted by sane people.  So is the lamo Trump claim that being registered in more than one state is illegal or dead people being on voter rolls. As exposed regarding the first, there is Exhibit A - his own daughter Tiffany, registered in 2 states, NY and Pennsylvania, as well as his consigliere, Steve Bannon registered in 2 states(FL and NY) and son-in-law Jared Kushner(NJ and NY) . All a big storm in a teacup.

As for dead people on voter rolls, of course! Like a voter can't die (like my mom did) days before a vote (mid-term in 2014)  and then be left there until removed by the state (FL). At the time, the last thing on my mind when I learned mom died was contacting FL to have her name removed from the voter registry. Good god, are Trump and his minions totally tone deaf or mentally incapable of processing the vagaries of life - as well as death? And figuring out why a person's name may be on a vote registry long after their demise? WTF is wrong with these fools?

 Then take the case of alleged Colorado voter fraud and assorted "witch hunts" for it.  Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler has been on the hunt for  voter fraud in the state since he took the office in 2011, claiming non-citizens were illegally voting in Colorado elections. But a  report from The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel shows that, to date, there have been zero prosecutions of Gessler’s suspects.

After originally claiming more than 16,000 non-citizens registered to vote in Colorado in 2011 and that as many as 5,000 of them had actually voted in 2010,, Gessler’s office finally released the names of only 155 people who they thought of as suspects. ....

Many of those people whose citizenship and right to vote were called into question by Gessler were found to be verifiable U.S. citizens, The Associated Press reported. In some counties, like Boulder, of those questioned, only legal U.S. citizens were found."

As Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett put it, quoted in The Boulder Daily Camera :

Local governments and county clerks do a really good job regulating the integrity of elections, and I’ll stand by that record any day of the week. We don’t need state officials sending us on wild goose chases for political reasons.”

So Gessler, like another scare monger - Michelle Malkin- were mostly into "wild goose chasing" and stirring up voting fraud hysteria to reinforce the bogus Trump campaign claim that this past election was "rigged".  A claim now revived by Trump - aka BLOTUS ("Biggest Liar of The U.S") since he took office, the total irony of his wackjob blurtations being lost on him. But then we know irony can't be processed by the insane, any more than they can reason.

The actual voter fraud, however, has been voter suppression and the most classic case occurred in Florida in 2000 with that general election.  Greg Palast, author of 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy',  documented how 90,000 and probably more like 150,000 legal black voters were removed from voter lists in Florida, using the ruse that they were convicted felons,  not permitted to vote in that state. Jeb Bush awarded the contract to the firm that submitted the higher bid, Choicepoint.  It then scrubbed from the voter rolls all names that were clearly black (first name Jamail or Kinesha, for instance), that bore an arguable resemblance to a felon’s name.   This remains, along with the electronic scrubbing of D-votes in Ohio in 2004 (using electronic machines),  the two most massive cases of vote fraud.

But BLOTUS and his febrile followers can't be bothered with facts, or reason. And in this case of reason, they ought to be asking themselves why the person who actually WON and is now in the White House, is making such a big stink over it as opposed to getting the fuck over his little wounded ego.  Jeezus, hasn't he bigger fish to fry?

Oh, here's another chestnut one finds on some Trumpie blogs, in the form of the daft question:

"Why would any serious person object to an investigation into this issue of voter fraud?"

Well, a number of reasons! First, it's a waste of time. As in the election is over and the winner decided - by electoral vote not popular vote. SO where the fuck is the injury that merits the investigation? Trump is already in the Oval office so what exactly  is the investigation going to  settle?  It shouldn't take a genius to conclude the whole purpose is to soothe his widdo ego, that's all. In other words, it's a big McGuffin created to salve a wounded ego because the little bastard didn't win both the electoral AND popular votes! (Apart from trying to settle a score with the 3 million more Hillary voters!)

Second, as I noted above, there is NO genuine evidence for any voter fraud of the type the Trumpies are pissing and whining about. All the Secretaries of State have certified so, and that includes 37 Republicans.  This "voter fraud" the BLOTUS insists happened  has been proven to occur only roughly 0.00000013 % of the time see e.g.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/voter-fraud-real-rare/story?id=17213376

Third, such an investigation will cost money - paid for by Mr. And Mrs. U.S. Taxpayer. I for one don't want to see any more money squandered on fulsome bogus "investigations" by Repuke assholes who use them as the only way to get hard-ons. It's bad enough Trump is going to try to make us cough up the tax money to build his dumb ass wall - another case of detachment from reality.

Here's another choice canard compliments of the pro-Trump bloggers: The images of the Trump inaugural crowds were "artificially reduced" by the use of border frames! Hence, Obama's stills looked as though they had bigger crowds because of being unframed.  This is total madness, of course, because one need only go to the actual videos spanning the different events - produced by PBS- to show Trump's crowd was significantly less. But, of course, the Trumpies likely believe these videos are also faked. Such is the way of unreason and insanity.

Chris Hayes this evening on 'All In' brought up another point, ostensibly in Trump's defense, i.e. that he wasn't really a liar. That is, he truly believed  in his mind there was actual  voter fraud that denied him the popular vote, despite all the stats and evidence showed there wasn't any.

Okay but in this case, he may not be a liar, but he would be certifiably insane, given he is no longer able to separate fact from fantasy. The sort of condition that gets a lot of psychos admitted to Bellevue for ECT and long term therapy.

So ok, he's not a "liar" but then he must be insane. If he is insane he has no business being in the White House or near any nuclear football. He ought to be tied up in a strait jacket in a mental institution some place until they can bring him out of it, say with electric shocks, or lithium therapy or whatever the newest treatments are.

But this is a guy that should not be sitting behind that big desk signing executive orders and shooting his yap off about building giant Walls, torture, violating the Posse Comitatus Act to send troops to Chicago, or going after sanctuary cities.

No, this is a person bereft of reason as well as reality, who needs to be admitted into the nearest  mental facility as soon as possible. And if his followers are unable to see that, they merit the same therapy.  We cannot afford to have a nation where one third of its citizens are no longer grounded in reality, but tall tales and "alternative facts".

To quote Charles Blow of the NY Times:

"Trump does not simply have “a running war with the media,” as he so indecorously and disrespectfully spouted off while standing on the hallowed ground before the C.I.A. Memorial Wall. He is in fact having a running war with the truth itself.  ...Donald Trump is a proven liar. He lies often and effortlessly. He lies about the profound and the trivial. He lies to avoid guilt and invite glory. He lies when his pride is injured and when his pomposity is challenged.  Indeed, one of the greatest threats Trump poses is that he corrupts and corrodes the absoluteness of truth, facts and science".