December 16, 2016, John Hanno
“Dear Mr. Trump: It’s Not Too Late to Do the Right Thing”
If you were to join in and demand a thorough investigation of the Russian hacking and interference in this incredibly rancorous election and in particular, how it may have benefited you and hurt Hillary and other congressional candidates in battleground states Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida, there’s still a chance you wouldn’t have to be inaugurated on January 20th.
In spite of overwhelming evidence by our intelligence agencies, now including even FBI director Comey, you still will not admit the Russians, led by President Putin, have attacked an underpinning of U.S. Democracy. It was a 21st Century act of war. If you hope to be the legitimate leader and defender of the our great Democracy, you have to acknowledge that this was not a free and fair election. Stand up for America and not just for your own personal business interests and your party.
You were clearly the benefactor of this interference this time. But who knows who or what will be his next target. Putin, who many think is the richest person in the world and clearly vindictive enough to put in jeopardy, the interests and reputation of the Russian people just to settle a personal vendetta against Hillary Clinton, must be taken seriously. If you or your party were not complicit in this cyber attack, then you must join in the investigation and postpone the electoral college and also the inauguration. If you remain silent, your entire stay in the White House will be diminished by this cloud (pun intended).
You could say that because, as you’ve said before, the electoral college no longer represents what the founding fathers had in mind 240 years ago, and because Hillary has more than 2.7 million (2%) more popular votes than you did, that she should really be the next president.
You can use the excuse that because operatives in the Republican party have systematically disenfranchised democratic voters, minorities, women, students and senior citizens, in every state controlled by Republican Governors and legislatures, by requiring onerous voter IDs, by closing polling places in minority neighborhoods, by restricting early and weekend voting, by kicking democratic leaning voters off the voter roll with the cross-checking scheme, by the elimination of felon’s voting rights, even after they’ve served their time and by possibly even manipulating the voting counts of electronic voting machines, the only fair thing to do would be to allow Hillary her rightful place as our President.
And coupled with gerrymandering, hacking by the Russians, FBI Director Comey’s shenanigans and the latest anti-democratic peril, far right and Russian propagandists spreading fake news stories, the most patriotic thing you can do to “Make America Great Again” is to concede the election to Hillary, someone who has probably aimed for the presidency since she was a little girl.
And by crowning the first woman president in American History, just think how that would rehabilitate your reputation with women. Since you and a great majority of Americans and even your own party didn’t expect you to win, you could just go back to building the Trump brand, something you have worked and strove for since you were also very young, and something I’m sure you plan on passing on to your children and grandchildren.
Lets face it, you place a lot of importance on your image and appearance, but after four years in the hardest, most stressful job in the world, at seventy four, you will probably look like a doddering old man by 2020. Just look at President Obama. When he started in 2009, he was a young man with dark hair, now he looks like Uncle Remus.
But I believe that’s not your worst dilemma. You claim that you will turn your businesses over to your children. Most experts believe that’s just not feasible or legal. The potential conflict of interests, with a President of the United States owning prominent properties in a dozen or more countries around the world, countries that you must deal with as leader of America, and not CEO of Trump Brands, is too implausible to comprehend. All your hotels, residential properties and golf courses will have to be sold.
As President of the most powerful country, which is often the world’s policeman, arbiter and protector, you will be the face of American hegemony, aggression, transgression, imperialism, invasion and any other word anti American forces use to describe our incursion into other countries businesses. Every instance where you must make the tough decisions to send in the special forces or bomb something will have implications for everything belonging to you, your family and to anyone affiliated with the Trump Brand. And those decisions simply can’t be subject to potential ramifications to your business interests.
All those properties with the 100 ft tall stainless steel Trump signs will be the new American embassies, the new potential Benghazi’s. There will be a big glaring target on all of those properties. If some evildoer has a beef with America or with some decision you end up making, they may just find your properties an easy target for retaliation.
The dozens of Trump branded properties don’t have round the clock security forces like the White House, the Pentagon or even American embassies. They’ll be sitting ducks for every terrorist and crackpot. And even if you decide to divest and sell all your properties, the new owners will certainly have to remove any semblance of the Trump Brand. On January 20th, if you’re sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the Trump Brand will surely cease to exist.
Can you even imagine what would have happened if past presidents had their names plastered on as many properties as you do. What would have happened if there were prominent “BUSH” or “OBAMA” logos displayed on buildings when they were prosecuting the wars and military actions in the Middle East?
And on top of that, you’ve raised the stakes for terrorists when you declared during the election that, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the country.” And many far right and Republican zealots have tried to portray the war on terrorism as a religious Christian war against Islam or portray radical terrorism, as Islam’s war on Christianity. Because so many on the right repeatedly demonized President Obama and Hillary for refusing to label those evildoers as “Radical Islamic Terrorists,” they left no room for moderation. Your own words during the election only amplified that demagoguery.
Who in their right mind would go anywhere near one of your properties, especially hotels, resorts or residences, when you take over America’s war on terrorism from President Obama? All of us can remember when the President stood before the world and announced that they had captured and killed Osama bin laden. What would have happened if he had vulnerable properties all around the world? What will happen if one day you have to announce that you’ve killed a top leader of ISIS or Al Qaeda? Will you have to send troops to lock down all of your properties, to protect your Mar a Lago Mansion, your Trump Towers in Manhattan, the Trump Tower in my hometown Chicago or the new Trump International Hotel near the White House? You may need your own military force. Will the American taxpayer have to pay for this military security force? And how would the residents and neighbors like being under siege?
And that’s not the only Presidential decision that could have unintended consequences. How about when you sign the bill into law, which Speaker Ryan and the Republican zealots in congress are concocting, to end or privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. You promised senior citizens that you wouldn’t attack those popular programs. They may be angry enough to take a dump in the lobby of one of your prized hotels.
What happens when you pull the rug out from under the 20 million folks who finally have insurance thanks to Obama-care? And when you side with all your fossil fuel buddies against the farmers who depend on bio-fuel subsidies, you might just see a viral video of some farmer using his tractor to dump a load of manure on the front lawn, or using a manure spreader to spray the front door of, one of your exclusive properties.
And you couldn’t even imagine what someone might do to one of your golf courses when the “deplorables” find out you were feeding them a line of bull, after failing to deliver on all the insane promises you made during the election. Your golf courses might look like the Bushwood Golf course in Caddyshack after Bill Murray’s Carl Spackler and the gopher got done blowing it up.
And as an employer and union adversary of thousands of workers and an investor in the fossil fuel industry, there’s potentially hundreds of conflicts of interests concerning virtually every one of your cabinet level departments and nominations, especially those nominees with ties to Putin. Your families business dealings will be under constant and intense scrutiny as long as you’re in the White House.
I guess you have to decide how bad you really want to be president or how badly you want to preserve the Trump Brand and legacy. You canceled the press conference you scheduled with your children on December 15th, to explain how you will deal with your businesses. I think you now realize that separating your business interests and the responsibilities of being President is complicated and consequential. For America’s sake, I hope you make the correct decision.
Article from The Hill, by Ross Rosenfeld, Contributor, 11-22-16
“No, Trump did not win ‘fair and square'”
The problem with many liberals is that they simply don’t know when they should be outraged.
Since the disgusting and destructive presidential election, many pundits, conservative and liberal alike, have remarked that Donald Trump won the election “fair and square.”
They state it with tremendous authority, as if it’s some unquestionable tenet of any election discussion: “Well, we can’t argue that he won it fair and square.” Even Bill Maher and David Axelrod agreed on this point on Maher’s most recent show.
There’s just one problem with this argument: It’s nonsense.
Trump only won the election fair and square if you have no idea what either “fair” or “square” means.
This is not simply liberal sour grapes, though I’m sure many Trump supporters and self-defining “open-minded” liberals will characterize it as such.
First off, once all of the votes are tabulated, it appears that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will beat Trump in the popular vote — the only vote that should count —by about 2 million votes.
Sadly, none of these votes truly matter due to our ridiculous Electoral College system, which we’re the only country on Earth to employ.
Of course, many Trump supporters will cry out against this by claiming that Trump would’ve campaigned differently had it been the popular vote that counted.
Maybe, but, obviously, Clinton would’ve done so as well, and probably could’ve racked up even more votes in cities, especially those in states that she didn’t bother to campaign in because the Electoral College gives such an inordinate advantage to rural areas.
Generally, voter turnout tends to be considerably lower in solidly Democratic or Republican-leaning bastions, such as New York and California, where approximately 52.4 percent and 53.8 percent of eligible voters turned out, respectively, or Texas (51.1 percent) and Oklahoma (52.1 percent) (statistics from The Election Project).
More competitive states like Florida (65.1 percent), Ohio (64.5 percent) and New Hampshire (70.3 percent) tend to have much higher participation rates — a definite argument against the Electoral College. (In fact, the U.S. recently ranked 31 out of 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations when it came to voter participation.)
So while Trump would’ve stood to garner more votes in conservative states if the Electoral College didn’t exist, given that Clinton’s lead in big blue states was often bigger than Trump’s in big red states, the overall likelihood is that a straight popular vote would’ve increased Clinton’s popular vote lead.
Even Trump himself has acknowledged that the Electoral College makes no sense. In 2012, he called it a “disaster for a democracy.”
More recently, he told “60 Minutes” that he’d rather see a straight vote.
(Of course, in typical Trump fashion, he followed that two days later with praise for the very same institution, tweeting out, “The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!”)
No one can seriously argue that the Electoral College is not a severely antidemocratic hindrance and that it should be abolished. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
There’s little doubt that Clinton’s popular vote tally would’ve been millions more had it not been for several other factors: the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby v. Holder, which allowed 868 polling stations to close throughout the South; voter ID laws that are especially cumbersome to the poor; the purging of voter rolls based on cross-checking and the elimination of convicts’ voting rights, even after they’ve served their time; Wiki Leaks dumps; excessive voting lines intended to suppress votes (in 2012, for instance, the average wait time across Florida was 45 minutes); and the shenanigans of one James B. Comey, FBI director. (Does anyone doubt that this last one alone was enough to swing the election?)
Many liberals — in typical “blame ourselves” fashion — have consistently repeated the notion that Clinton lost because she didn’t inspire enough people to come out and vote. And there are indeed legitimate complaints to be logged in that regard. After all, she’s likely to finish with about 2 million or so less votes than Obama did in 2012.
But how many votes would Obama have received if he had been forced to contend with the FBI, Wiki Leaks, Russian hackers and a media set on promoting a nonsensical false equivalency for the purpose of improving ratings?
The truth is that our so-called democracy is more of pseudo-democracy, with ridiculously gerrymandered districts, large-scale voter suppression tactics, unequal representation, an Electoral College system that disregards the popular will of the people, and fake news sources that play to echo chambers and voter ignorance.
And although Trump succeeded without it, the ability of rich donors and corporations to pour money into elections should not be discounted either; nor should the corruption caused by the close association of Congress and K Street — both of which Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others have rightfully decried.
Yes, for all the things you can say about this election and our system in general, the one thing you can’t say is that it operates in a manner which is “fair and square.” Unless by “square” you mean that it squares with the wishes of the Republican leadership.
The question then remains: What can be done?
I’ve heard many liberals argue that nothing can be done — that the peaceful transfer of power and the continuity of government are the most important aspects of our democracy. But they’re wrong. The most important aspect of our democracy is the democracy part: the voting. And if we don’t protect that — if we don’t fight for it — the rest isn’t worth much.
It now appears that change will not come through the Supreme Court. And the prospect of passing a constitutional amendment to fix the Electoral College and the other voting issues I’ve enumerated is extremely unlikely without a wide-scale national movement. The same is true for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
We need that type of movement. We need protests. We need criticism. We need emails and phone calls to members of Congress. We need a news media that is responsible and that addresses these issues on a daily basis. We need to show our dismay in a very public way.
Ordinarily — in the past — I would’ve always had the greatest respect for the office of the president. Even presidents I did not agree with, I would’ve treated with respect. I would’ve never, if in their presence, have considered turning my back on them or not addressing them as “Mr. President.”
But that’s exactly what I think we should now do. Any American who objects not only to the things that Trump represents, but to the fact that our democratic institutions have largely been undermined, should refuse to show this president — and any president who does not win the popular vote, for that matter — any respect. Because, while we must accept the reality that he is in fact our president now, there is no rule that says we must revere him.
That is how you make your voice heard.
This does not mean that you should not pay your taxes (which support our military) or that you should disobey the rule of law.
But it does mean that you should turn your back on the president; that you should refuse to stand when he enters a room; and that you should refuse to call him “Mr. President.”
It means that Democrats in leadership should do everything they can to stop him from infringing on the rights of our citizens, and that, in the Senate, they should refuse to approve any Supreme Court justices and stop Republicans from getting any of their projects passed — through protests, filibusters and other procedural measures until election reform occurs.
It means that members of the House should emulate their efforts of this past June and engage in sit-ins and other demonstrations to bring Republicans to the table.
Of course, such tactics would bear consequences. The Democrats would be accused of undermining the very republic that they seek to defend.
But it must be kept in mind that these types of things have already been occurring. Our Congress is remarkably inefficient, and Republicans have set plenty of precedent when it comes to obstruction, making it a general policy to strike down or delay practically every reasonable attempt at legislation and every appointment attempted by President Obama, including refusing to take a vote in the Senate on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, whom many Republicans had previously praised.
Despite Republicans’ insistence that Trump should be given a chance, they never gave Obama much of one, did they? Whatever he achieved, he achieved despite them, not because of any real willingness to cooperate.
Still, in order for such an effort to succeed, it would have to be supported by the public — if not a majority, at least a vocal minority. Organize under hashtags like #Inauguration Protest, but keep in mind that hashtags and Facebook posts alone won’t do it. You need to show up.
We need not only a massive protest on Inauguration Day, but regularly scheduled protests outside of the White House and the Capitol. We need a movement, not just the dressings of one. It was large-scale movements that gave us women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights Law and gay marriage.
We need to make our representatives hear the clarion call in no uncertain terms.
Maybe then they’ll get the message that every vote should count and every person should count.
Rosenfeld is an educator and historian who has done work for Scribner, Macmillan and Newsweek and contributes frequently to The Hill.
This piece was corrected on Thursday, Nov. 24 at 11:28 a.m. to accurately note that James Comey is director of the FBI.
Article From The Huffington Post, Contributor Dr. GS Potter, Founder of the Strategic Institute of Intersectional Policy (SIIP). 11-29-16
“Trump is Right. The Election was Rigged. Here’s What We Know.”
In part of an on-going Twitter breakdown upon hearing the news that Hillary Clinton would participate in the recount of votes from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, he tweeted: There is NO QUESTION THAT #voter fraud did take place.
Trump has said time after time that the election was rigged. And he is absolutely right. The election was rigged. But it wasn’t voter fraud that it was rigged to achieve. It was voter suppression. And Donald Trump is very aware of this.
Perhaps the Candidate doth protest too much.
Donald Trump knows that the election was rigged, because his team of strategists and handlers are responsible for making it happen.
Donald Trump and the members of his team knowingly and strategically engaged in voter suppression tactics in an attempt to alter the results of the 2016 Presidential Election. These tactics include working to gut the Voting Rights Act, working to pass voter ID laws, shutting down polling places, cutting early registration, eliminating absentee ballots refusing to even consider the protections provided in the Americans with Disabilities Act, purging millions of voters from the system and engaging in voter intimidation tactics.
Yes, the system is rigged. And it took the white supremacist network that is behind Trump’s rise to power just over a decade to rig it well enough to take the White House.
The strategic efforts to suppress the votes necessary to secure an alt-right, white supremacist takeover of the White House can be traced back to the efforts of five people: Bert Rein, Richard Wiley, the Koch Brothers, and Robert Mercer.
Bert Rein and Richard Wiley have been key political players since the Nixon Administration. Rein was a member of the Key Issues Committee during the 1968 Nixon campaign and served as the Assistant Deputy Secretary of State under his administration. Wiley also held a position in the Nixon campaign and would go on to become the administration’s Chairman of the FCC. In the 1980’s, Wiley and Rein teamed up with another former colleague from the Nixon Era, Fred Fielding. Fielding was the Associate Counsel to Nixon and was the deputy to John Dean, who served time for his part in the Watergate Scandal. Dean was convicted and served time for his part in Watergate. Together they formed the firm Wiley, Rein and Fielding. After parting from Wiley and Rein, Fielding would go on to represent Blackwater Worldwide. Wiley Rein remains an important part of the conservative landscape.
Wiley and Rein also became prominent figures in the Reagan Administration. Rein worked as part of Reagan’s presidential transition team, while Wiley and Rein both work with conservative billionaire Robert Mercer through collaborations between organizations such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation- a conservative think-tank “whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”
In addition to these strategists, two organizations associated with the Trump also emerge to assert their positions as far right political powerhouses. As described, the Heritage Foundation (associated with Robert Mercer, Ed Meese and Wiley Rein) functioned to influence policy from within the political system. Robert Mercer, Charles Koch and David Koch would also combine forces to form a grassroots education and advocacy group that could apply political pressure from the outside called Citizens United. Citizens United would also produce another strategist for the Trump Campaign – David Bossie.
The Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and Citizen’s United all continued to gather influence in the political field. Charles and David Koch’s organization Citizens for a Sound Economy split into two groups in 2004. One group, the Americans for Prosperity, would become the protest and media arm of the alt-right’s political movement. The other arm, Freedomworks, would serve as the ground team for state and local elections and a political lifeline for the Tea Party.
The Koch Brothers teamed up again with Bert Rein and American Enterprise Institute’s Ed Blum to push their alt-right agenda in the courts through the Project on Fair Representation (founded in 2005). The mission of this organization is to “is to facilitate pro bono legal representation to political subdivisions and individuals that wish to challenge government distinctions and preferences made on the basis of race and ethnicity.” Their primary target was the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 2011, the Charles and David Koch founded Freedom Partners largely to funnel grant money into activist organizations and ground level political actions. In 2013, the alt-right network was successful in their efforts to gut the Voting Rights Act when they won the case of Shelby County vs. Holden (2013)
In related practical efforts, Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity were taken to court for accusations of voter suppression efforts in states such as Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Michigan. Using their characteristically aggressive tactics, the alt-right network was able to suppress enough votes in the 2010 and 2014 elections that they were able to take control of Congress.
By 2016, all that was left for the alt-right to gain control of the Presidency.
With full funding, a strategic team that had perfected manipulation of the government since the times of Watergate, a fully functioning alt-right media network, the social and tactical support of the Tea Party and the reluctant backing of the GOP, the alt-right engaged in a full-scale attack for control of the White House. This attack included timely interference from the FBI director James Comey and Wikileaks, potential interference from Russian intelligence organizations, and widespread efforts to suppress the votes of target minorities in key locations.
Without the suppression efforts that were reported in pivotal swing states, it is unlikely that Trump would have been able to secure the votes needed to win Wisconsin, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona. In fact, it would have arguably been impossible.
Without massive voter suppression, Trump could not have won the 2016 presidential election.
Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes would not have been secured by the Republican Party without the suppression of hundreds of thousands of minority voters. According to the Center for American Progress, “300,000 registered voters in the state lacked the strict forms of voter ID required. Wisconsin’s voter turnout was at its lowest level in two decades.” Approximately 27,000 votes separated Trump and Clinton.
While the race is still too close to call, Michigan’s 20 electoral votes would not have been even put into question without the voter suppression tactics applied by the alt-right, its leaders and the organizations they operate under. While less than 20,000 votes still separate the two candidates, over half a million voters were prevented from voting through failures to comply with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements, record purging, a lack of early voting, and voter ID requirements.
Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would also not have been secured by the Alt-right without the suppression and intimidation tactics applied by white supremacists. Trump himself called more than once for his supporters to monitor the voting behavior of Democrats. Politico reports that in an August rally in Altoona, PA Trump said, “I hope you people can … not just vote on the 8th, [but] go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it’s 100-percent fine. We’re going to watch Pennsylvania—go down to certain areas and watch and study….”
Donald Trump was also quoted as saying, “You’ve got to get everybody to go out and watch, and go out and vote. And when [I] say ‘watch,’ you know what I’m talking about, right?” at a speech in Ohio 10 days later. These efforts were successful and Pennsylvania reported more incidences of voter intimidation than any other state. In addition to these applied voter intimidation tactics, the majority of polling places were inaccessible to voters with disabilities, no early voting or absentee ballots were allowed and there was misinformation being dispelled about voter ID requirements. The difference between candidates in Pennsylvania is approximately 62,000 votes.
The states being audited in the recount are not the only states that deserve another look. In light of the overwhelming success of voter suppression tactics, additional states prove themselves worthy of review and federal relief. Florida, North Carolina and Arizona serve as strong examples.
The difference in Florida was just under 120,000 votes. This may seem like an insurmountable number – until the fact that long lines and failures to meet ADA standards required to ensure voters with disabilities can vote alone accounts for over 200,000 suppressed votes is accounted for. Cuts to early voting, funding for early registration drives, additional requirements for voter with prior felony convictions, eliminating polling places, and failing to make voting accessible to voters with disabilities all contributed to the deprivation of voting rights of hundreds of thousands of minority and disabled voters in Florida alone. Trump could not have secured the state’s 29 electoral college votes if the minority and disable votes had not been so successfully suppressed.
In North Carolina a collaboration of GOP lawmakers and organizations were successful in eliminating same-day registration and pre-registration for teen voters, shortening the early voting period, and passed voter id requirements. The Court of Appeals struck down the ID requirement in 2016, citing that the rule was passed with the intent to discriminate on the basis of race; however, North Carolina has also been accused of purging thousands of black voters from the system and failing to comply with ADA standards. While the difference between Clinton and Trump is around 180,000 votes, the Democratic candidate was potentially illegally stripped of hundreds of thousands of votes from black and disabled constituents alone.
And in Arizona, the alt-right\white nationalist Republican candidate would not have been able to secure the state’s 11 electoral votes without the suppression of hundreds of thousands of Latino and disabled voters. In efforts to suppress minority votes, and by refusing to comply with ADA requirements, a Republican coalition successfully passed legislation that limits mail in ballot collection and continues to require proof of citizenship to vote. The United States Supreme Court has already ruled against this practice, but Arizona continues to defy both the will of the court and the will of the people. Adding to the success of these suppression tactics, over 270,000 voters were allegedly purged from Arizona’s voting system. The difference between candidates in this state is approximately 85,000.
Just as there is no question that the alt-right is a white nationalist network – there is also no question as to whether or not this network has engaged in strategic efforts to disenfranchise minority voters in efforts to take control of the White House.
Voter suppression is how the election was stolen. Voter suppression is how white power Trumped minority voters in the election. And contesting voter suppression is going to be the only way to prove Trump right – because the election was rigged. If we don’t fight to prove him right, he and his white supremacist network just may take the White House.
The Strategic Institute of Intersectional Policy (SIIP) is calling for a Suppression Extension to ensure that voters with disabilities and voters of color that were unable to vote because of suppression to cast their votes. For more information, visit: http://strategycampsite.org/strategy-to-stop-trump.html
Note: This article contains text that was paraphrased from two prior articles, New Report Prompts Call for Democrats to Halt Transfer of Power to Trump Before Dec. 13 Deadline and Failure to Defend Minority Voters from Voter Suppression Threatens to Cost Democrats More than the Election. You can find links to these articles in the text above or by going to the following links: