Why is it a cold "snap" and a warm "spell"?
In med school some classmates and I went trick-or-treating to homes of professors. After inviting us in, one insisted we hear a recording of him telling a joke. With sound effects! Shortened and cleaned up, it went like this: Shipwreck. Captain, pretty young wife, handsome young sailor paddle to uninhabited island. Captain orders rotating watch in nearby tree. Young man goes first. Says, “One o’clock and all’s well,” looks down and says, “Stop making love down there.” Repetitively: “Two o’clock…” etc. Captain is puzzled, but when he takes his turn he says, “Six o’clock and all’s well… By golly, it does look like they’re making love down there.”
Donald Trump and his henchfolk kept saying, “Stop rigging the election down there,” and now others are saying, by golly, it does look like it was rigged. Nice one, Donald. I mean, if a person knew the election was going to be swung in his favor, how useful would it be to get the other side to think it was an illusion?
We know Russia was messing with our election and did so with the knowledge of the Trump campaign. Russia’s online propaganda influence on our political discourse is ongoing and growing. James Comey might have provided advance information to team Trump. So is it beyond imaging that the Donald and his merry band of deplorables knew the fix was in, maybe had a hand in it? Might that explain Trump’s repetitive warnings of rigging, as an attempt to inoculate himself against Democrats looking into malfeasance?
Well, sure, demands for recounts can be seen as nothing more than sour grapes or, as Donald Trump, who has the best words, described it, “Sad.” But there’s no historical precedent for the winner of electoral votes losing the popular vote by such a yuge margin. Moreover, some experts concluded there’s statistical suggestion of tampering. Indeed, even before the audit, four precincts across Wisconsin “discovered” they’d tallied more votes for Trump than the total number of people who voted. An error, they said. Same mistake in each precinct. Well, these things happen.
Recounts detect certain kinds of errors. Can they, without analyzing each machine, uncover hacking of voting software? Given their other meddling and the steady stream of revelations of coziness with the Trump campaign, is it inconceivable that Russian hackers accomplished what many have claimed, since the advent of digital voting equipment, is relatively easy? Beyond speculation, what about known rigging in plain sight, via minority-voter suppression laws produced in Red states since the Supreme Court neutered the Voting Rights Act. How much did they tilt the election? Possibly by millions of votes. More than one way to make America great, right?
So there’ll be a watered-down recount. I doubt it’ll turn up much, or that anything will change if it does. It sure would be entertaining, though. There’s not enough popcorn in all of Iowa. Nor antacids in my medicine cabinet.
Meanwhile, I’m certain we all agree: let’s stop calling Trump’s victory “the will of the people,” or a “mandate.” Because, despite Trump’s latest spectacular lie, “the people” chose Hillary Clinton by over two-and-a-half million non-suppressed votes. (Note to Donald: if you claim millions voted illegally AND call the recount “nonsense,” you should also say “oops.” And when you sue to stop the recounts, the rest of us say "hmmm...")
While awaiting the outcome, here’s a thought experiment: Imagine the official Republican reaction if a Democratic president-elect had holdings around the world and had already pressured Argentina and Turkey to make self-enriching deals? What if she’d summoned media people before a golden throne, berated their coverage of her, made implicit threats, and demanded an end to unflattering photos? Would they rage about unambiguous attacks on the First Amendment as they had about imaginary attacks on the Second? Would they call a popular vote win/electoral vote loss “the will of the people” if it were their candidate? Would they “get over it”? Ever?
Finally, predict Foxolimjonsian responses if her family-business-managing daughter sat in on the president-elect’s conversations with foreign leaders; or if she’d selected the wealthiest administration in history, including Wall Street billionaires and lobbyists, after promising to “drain the swamp.”
I know: tough assignment. Take your time. And your answers must fit on a bumper sticker.[Image source]
A longtime ally of President-elect says the campaign joining recount efforts increases the chances that Clinton will face criminal prosecution.
“I think Hillary increases her chances of prosecution by acting this way,” Roger Stone said Monday on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.” ...Not long ago the egregious Kellyanne Conway informed us how "magnanimous" der Donald was being in not unleashing the Justice Department on Hillary, making the same implication of what happens if you make dear leader führerious. Let that be a warning, subtle as a sledgehammer.
... When did you notice that fake news does best with Trump supporters?
Well, this isn't just a Trump-supporter problem. This is a right-wing issue. Sarah Palin's famous blasting of the lamestream media is kind of record and testament to the rise of these kinds of people. The post-fact era is what I would refer to it as. This isn't something that started with Trump. This is something that's been in the works for a while. His whole campaign was this thing of discrediting mainstream media sources, which is one of those dog whistles to his supporters.
When we were coming up with headlines it's always kind of about the red meat. Trump really got into the red meat. He knew who his base was. He knew how to feed them a constant diet of this red meat.
We've tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You'll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out...Sure, it's fun, if that's the word, to confirm the obvious, that gullibility and credulity are disproportionately traits of today's right wing. More than that, though, it's scary. Because their leaders know it, have used it, will continue to use it, have no incentive to stop, and now they're fully in charge. The dumbing-down is sure to continue, with no end in sight.
A pizza joint owner in D.C. is suffering horrendous consequences after a fake story appeared online accusing his shop of harboring a child-abuse ring run by Hillary Clinton. Trumpics found it believable, evidently.
I can’t count the emails I’ve received, ridiculous claims about Barack Obama, easily debunked and dismissed. I can’t count the number of times I’ve replied with links to facts, to which the response has been silence until the next preposterous assertion arrives.
My suggestion to these repeat offenders: If the message comes to you with the phrase “Snopes confirms,” check before believing. Same with “If you do nothing else today, forward this...” If it supports your darkest beliefs about the other side, take a moment before buying in. Forwarding it makes you look silly, I tell them. In their minds, clearly, it doesn’t.
Credulity. It’s becoming our democracy’s biggest vulnerability, and the one most easily exploited. After decades of propagandizing and prevarications, it’s clear vast numbers of people have consumed the canards, and they’re way beyond ducking out. Although the phenomenon seems mostly limited to rightists, I get stuff forwarded to me from the like-minded, too, if much less often: usually it’s that quote that has Trump saying if he ran for president, he’d do it as a Republican because they believe anything. Obviously false: he’s never shown that degree of insight.
Seriously, though: it’s no longer a potential problem, it’s real. There are people (and bots), official and otherwise, spreading intentional falsehoods throughout “social” media, and thence to the mainstream. It works. Producers of fake news are claiming success influencing electoral outcomes. Fox “news” and rightwing radio have been peddling it for years.
Immediately after the election, when Hillary Clinton’s growing popular vote win (now surpassing two million) was undeniable, Trumpophiles began spreading the word he’d also won that vote. It’s still out there. Then came the “news” that protestors were being paid. Trump just denied ever saying he’d support a registry of Muslims. (He did, a year ago. It’s on tape. Look it up.) Now he’s falsely claiming he kept open a Ford plant that wasn’t closing. How long before he takes credit for the recent economic uptick?
Desire for confirmation of what we prefer to believe has replaced curiosity and skepticism. Heard enough times, falsehoods infiltrate the brain like amyloid, making truth irrelevant. This is dangerous, even for those who, for now, don’t care. Sooner or later, truth is important for everyone. Example: climate change. (“Where’s the evidence,” a recent letter asked! Everywhere.)
“Post-truth” is Oxford’s Dictionary’s word of the year. “I’m hearing…” Donald Trump says. “I never said that,” he declares. By direct measure, he’s lied more than any candidate, ever. How can you be “post” truth if you were never “intra”?
Good decisions require accurate information. If for every fact there are innumerable deliberate fabrications, what are citizens to do? There may be multiple possible solutions to problems, but facts are unitary. Our founders disagreed over inventing a government, but they didn’t argue about what was real. We’ve descended so far from that, there may be no way back. Donald Trump just hauled in media leaders to berate their coverage of him. Will they be brave enough to keep at it?
Crucial to separating fact from fiction is the desire to do it. (Trump’s brilliance was recognizing how thoroughly Foxolimjonesification has extinguished it, and he’s still employing the insight.) Next is accepting the possibility you could be misinformed. Finally, having decided to try, is the wherewithal to make the distinction. There’s little evidence of it among those celebrating Trump’s electoral vote victory. Once upon a time presidents were held to a higher standard, and news agencies were more interested in providing education than attracting eyeballs, when citizens wished to be informed, and were willing to do the work to achieve it. Now that they’ve won, how about Trumpists begin demanding honesty? They’ll discover the lies soon enough (secret ISIS plan, the wall, climate, Social Security, prosecuting Hillary…), but why wait?
“Post-truth” wins elections. Clearly people need investigatory skills they no longer have. Now that they’re in charge, will Republicans, who call public education “brainwashing,” encourage schools to teach them?[Image source]
A group of computer scientists believe they have evidence that suggests voting machines in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have been hacked and have been urging the Hillary Clinton campaign to ask for a recount in the three key states, according to a New York Magazine report.
CNN confirmed that the experts have been in touch with John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chair, and Marc Elias, the campaign's general counsel. The group includes John Bonifaz, a voting rights attorney, and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, according to New York Magazine...The soup in the whole article is a little thin, and it includes commentary from people who disagree. Still. We know hacking occurred during the campaign, that Russians appear to be pretty good at it, and that Trump and his gang are pretty cozy with them. So. Is it really all that outlandish?
... “It was like a f–ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter.“Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ ” the source said.
“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down,” the source added.A second source confirmed the fireworks...This is scary stuff. Predictable, though. The question is whether media will be cowed by him. I'm not optimistic, since they've come to care more about profit than professsion.
It was supposed to be a big, beautiful infrastructure bill. But President-elect Donald Trump’s pitch for a $1 trillion upgrade of the nation’s roads, bridges, tunnels and airports is already running into potholes as it meets reality in Washington. The overwhelming sticking point, as always, is how to pay for it.
Trump's advisers are so far floating the same kinds of financing schemes that Congress has batted around for years with little success, including proposals to lure private investors or reap a revenue windfall through an overhaul of the tax code. Key lawmakers say they’re in the dark on how Trump’s plan would work — with some conservatives simply hoping that his call for massive tax breaks will provide an economic jolt that makes the hard spending decisions easier...Yeah, now we're talking! Tax breaks!! The homeopathy of budgets. And privatizing!!! The alchemical solution to all our problems. If wishes were fishes... something something seafood sandwiches.
... Crucially, it’s not a plan to borrow $1 trillion and spend it on much-needed projects — which would be the straightforward, obvious thing to do. It is, instead, supposed to involve having private investors do the work both of raising money and building the projects — with the aid of a huge tax credit that gives them back 82 percent of the equity they put in. To compensate for the small sliver of additional equity and the interest on their borrowing, the private investors then have to somehow make profits on the assets they end up owning...
Two words: Mitch McConnell.
Amazing, isn’t it, how politics engenders hypocrisy (or is it the other way around?) Consider the calls for armed revolution by Trumpites had he lost. Forecasting “rigging,” Trump predicted and all but encouraged riots. Does anyone doubt it would have happened? (Was it rigged? Dare we ask?) Recall the last eight years, when effigies were hung and the internet was stinking with racist characterizations of our president, not to mention calls for assassination; or the Trumpists demanding imprisoning or shooting Hillary Clinton, some of whom did so, to uproarious cheers, from the stage of the Republican National Convention. (One of them, recently unhinged Lt. General Flynn, will be Trump’s national security adviser.) But, boy, is there outrage over random calls for the same against Trump!
If it needs to be said, I’m no less dismayed at the current invocations of violence toward Trump than I’ve been about those against President Obama. I hate seeing peaceful protest devolve into destruction and looting. But I also hate, and fear even more, hearing the execrable Sheriff Clarke, a rumored candidate for DHS under Donald Trump, saying demonstrations should be quashed because there’s “no excuse” for protesting “the will of the people.” This he said when the protests were peaceful, and when the will of the people was heading toward (now surpassing) a million more votes for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump.
“Get over it, you lost,” say people who never got over Barack Hussein Obama. Because we’re Americans and the people have spoken, they demand without irony, we must come together for Trump in ways they never did for Obama. Yes, “Not my president” signs are annoying, just as they’ve been during the past eight years. And Californians’ calls for secession are as ridiculous as Texans’ a few years earlier. (I’d miss California, though, especially if movie prices went higher.)
Many have felt legitimate outrage as protest demonstrations turned violent. I abhor riots, too, whether by lefties or in cities whose team won for their fans some sort of self-worth-affirming game played with air-filled or solid objects of various shapes. But I’d like to hear demands from those same furious folk for an end to the ever-growing number of incidents of sickening hate against people of color, gays, women, Muslims, Jews, and others who wear headgear without bills. Until I do, it won’t be easy to “get over it.” (Yes, a Trump supporter was beaten. Equally inexcusable, and happily rare.)
I concede that Donald Trump will be my president. If I’m right, that portends disappointment not just for me, but for supporters who convinced themselves his mendacious and tyrannical inclinations weren’t a deal-breaker. He’s been back and forth already on his “Day One” promises. He’s “draining the swamp” by putting its dankest, including lobbyists and bankers, on his transition team and considering them for his cabinet. They’ve already warned us to think twice before criticizing him. (Have I mentioned gulags lately?) Denying the win won’t help. Vigilance might, assuming ordinary citizens will remain unafraid to speak out.
It’s unprecedented and understandably frustrating that the electoral vote winner has lost the popular vote by such a huge margin. But it’s the law. Ironically, the Electoral College was designed to prevent the election of an authoritarian but superficial, conspiracy-promoting demagogue like Donald Trump. Citizens would, the framers agreed, elect a handful of people specifically tasked with choosing a president. Those sober men, removed from “tumult and disorder,” “heats and ferments” would name “a man ... in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” They had no idea. Back then Sean Hannity went town to town on horseback.
But here we are. Donald Trump is our president-elect. Contra mounting evidence, I hope he’ll be a far better one than the man he’s been throughout his life, and than the people he’s gathering close. If so, I’ll revise my opinion. Till then, here’s a proposition for Trumpophiles: I stop riots, you stop abuse of racial, ethnic, sexual, and religious minorities. And we agree to stand together if we see dictatorship arising. Because if Donald Trump really is the narcissistic, vengeful, autocrat he seems, preserving democracy will require bipartisan resistance.[Image from somewhere on Facebook]
Wow. Was I ever wrong about who America is and what it wants! Now I can only hope I’ve been equally wrong about who Donald Trump is and what he wants, that the latest president to lose the popular vote will leave our country in better shape than the last one who did. As an American, and unlike Congressional Republicans for the past eight years, I can’t hope for failure of our new president. I hope that whatever he means by “great” turns out to be great. I hope the voices of my correspondents and their similars, who call me a traitor and promise “you’ll get yours” aren’t the only ones he’ll listen to. I hope he’ll keep his promise to be president for all Americans. I hope the spike in bullying of not-white children, the defacing of mosques, synagogues, and black churches is temporary and this isn't the new normal. Same with violent protests.
I hope I’m wrong that minorities must live in fear.
I hope I’ve been wrong about everything. I hope climate change is a hoax and Vladimir Putin will be America’s best friend ever. I hope trickle-down economics will finally work; that cutting taxes on the wealthy and increasing military spending will, for once, make our economy soar, create fabulous jobs in numbers never before seen, and bring about budgetary balance.
And I hope Republicans are right that the social safety net they like to call “free stuff” has been making things worse, that when food stamps, early childhood education, job training, day care for working moms are no more, the inner cities will revitalize themselves and poverty will become a thing of the past. I hope abstinence-only sex education and defunding Planned Parenthood won’t increase STDs and teen pregnancies. I hope it’s unnecessary to have a president who can separate fact from fiction.
I’m hoping Donald Trump’s secret plan to defeat ISIS will get it done in days, as promised, and peace will reign in the Middle East. I hope he’s right that he alone can fix crime and it’s true it’ll start disappearing January Twentieth. I hope I’m wrong that his plans for Muslims will create more terrorists. I hope the deportation of two million of “the worst” criminals, also scheduled for day one, works well and without ensnaring many innocents. I hope the wall ends illegal immigration and when Mexico reimburses us for it, the money will be put to good use.
I hope a skeptical and unencumbered press isn’t as important to our democracy as I’ve argued, and that the same is true for those willing to speak out against government abuses. I hope a president threatening reprisals on critical reporters and political enemies is no big deal, because Omarosa just reminded us he’ll be keeping a list. I hope that turning the Department of Justice and FBI into instruments of presidential power will serve us well, too.
I hope our Constitution holds.
I hope the Republican replacement for Obamacare will provide for twenty million suddenly uninsured fellow Americans, and that guaranteeing access and controlling costs really is as simple as health savings accounts and cross-border insurance purchases.
Because I live here, too, I wish our president-elect success. I hope the environment doesn’t need protecting after all, or, if it does, that unregulated former polluters will be responsible voluntarily. I hope there’ll still be water free of fracking fluids, lead, and other poisons, or that we’ll learn they’re not really harmful. Same with burning coal and acidified oceans.
I hope that, seeing a godly man in the White House and a return to prayer and Bible study in public schools, God will lift His countenance upon us, begin cooling the planet, restoring the polar ice caps, and stop with the punitive hurricanes and floods. I hope I’ve overstated the value of education, that when the US quits teaching science and reasoning it won’t put us at a disadvantage in the world. I hope I’ve been wrong in believing immigrants have been and remain indispensible to our future.
For all these things, I hope in the name of my still-innocent grandchildren.
Also, if it’s not too much trouble, I hope when they get around to me, I’ll be sent to the same gulag as Jon Stewart, Dave Letterman, and Stephen Colbert.[Image source]