Making a Fool Out of Myself

I heard an interview last weekend with a conservative commentator — one who opposed Trump, actually — and he said smugly that “liberals are just making fools of themselves over Trump’s win in the election.” (Or words to that effect). So, I was thinking today of the “liberals” I know who have spoken to me about their post-Trump realities.

Among them are several women who work in our home as caregivers for my elderly mom. Most are immigrants; all are ethnic, racial or religious minorities. They tell me that among their family members there is talk of where to go if things get really bad in Trump’s America; or of possible deportation of friends, though they have young children born here. I’ve had caregivers tell me that, because I still display my Clinton/Kaine campaign sign in the front yard, they felt safe speaking honestly with me about what this election means to them. Many of their other clients are older people and Fox News is on all day in those homes. It pains me to think that these ladies, who with dignity and professionalism take care of people’s loved ones (and not for high wages), often have to endure hours of trumpeting of a political “victory” that is not just personally offensive, but legitimately raises fears for their future.

Other “liberals” have shared with me their fears of what’s to come under the Trump and GOP healthcare regime. These are friends who finally have decent health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. They have serious medical conditions that require on-going treatment or surgical intervention — medical care made affordable for them only because of their ACA insurance. For some, the fear of losing access to necessary medical care raises real life or death fears. It’s heartbreaking.

On November 9, I woke-up to the reality that our election process, and many of my fellow citizens, put into the presidency an openly misogynistic, shameless, narcissistic, bullying, authoritarian, vindictive, impulsive, unqualified, mentally unstable person who invites hatred against ethnic and religious minorities. A saying has come to my mind many times since then: “The political IS personal.” How brutally true that is for many. So, yes, I am prepared to make a fool out of myself over that.

I know there are those who wish to give Trump a chance and are (it seems to me) willing themselves into forgetting everything that we learned about him over the course of the election: the scams he’s pulled, the ugly and aggressive words he’s blasted to rabid hordes, the countless lies he’s told. It is, in fact, uncomfortable to stay fully aware of who he is, especially now that inauguration day looms near. But please don’t let your discomfort lull you into complacency. We all need to continue to make fools of ourselves, loudly, for the sake of the many out there for whom this election may have devastating personal implications.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them ….” – Maya Angelou

#NotNormal #TheResistance

Don’t be like this silly bird.  🙂



The Definition of Treason

18 U.S. Code § 2381 – Treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(2)(J), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)


True to form, Obama has been careful and measured in characterizing the political and legal implications of Russia’s scheme to put Trump in the White House.  But while Obama may feel constrained by the weighty obligation to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, neither the media nor we citizens are similarly limited.   If Trump or members of his campaign had knowledge of or where complicit in Russia’s scheme, we can and should call that by its rightful name:  treason.

Here’s what is known to date.

Russia illegally hacked the DNC and selectively released content to Wikileaks with the intent of promoting a Trump win in the US presidential election.   The CIA, FBI and Director of National Intelligence agree on this.

At the same time, Trump has taken surprising steps — surprising especially coming from the historically anti-Putin GOP camp — to soften the US position on Russia.  Indeed, due to influence of the Trump team, a softer position on Russia was even made part of the GOP’s platform.  Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, has had extensive political dealings with the Russian government, as have Trump surrogates Carter Page and Jack Kingston.  Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s future National Security Adviser, has appeared as a commentator for Russian state television and sat with Vladimir Putin at a Russian gala.  Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, also is quite simpatico with Putin, even having received Russia’s Order of Friendship award from Putin. Trump himself has openly praised Putin and Donald, Jr. has touted Trump Inc.’s extensive business interests in Russia and the “money pouring in from Russia.” Russia’s deputy foreign minister stated that Moscow had contacts with members of the Trump campaign during the election and that Team Trump folks have been staying in touch with Russian representatives since then.  The latest news is that a former Trump surrogate is in Russia preparing American businesses operating there for the soon to come lifting of the US sanctions against Russia. (Sorry, Ukraine!)

In other words, the connections between Trump & Co. and Russia are known and multiple.  How then can we ignore the obvious possibility that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with the Russians on their scheme?  And how can we deny what appears to be a possible quid pro quo in which Russia is receiving benefits due to its help in getting Trump elected?

Given the seriousness of these implications, it would be fully justified for the Electoral College to delay its vote until this matter can be fully investigated.   In any case,  we who love this country, regardless of party affiliation, should insist that the Obama administration thoroughly investigate not just what happened in regard to the Russian hacking, but why and with whose knowledge.  In the end, saving our democracy may be the greatest legacy of the Obama administration.

The Storm is Brewing, Yet the Media’s Missing It

Is it just me?  I keep looking for media coverage of what I think is a “yuge” story about how many people are newly minted activists in the wake of the Trump win. But the media seems to be asleep at the wheel — again.

Pieces of the puzzle have been covered, yes — the protests, the donations to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, the increase in NYT subscriptions. But there’s something so much bigger out there that I haven’t seen covered in the press.

Here’s the thing:  I personally know of dozens of people — like myself — who are, historically, politically interested, but not really activists in general, but who are now actively using words like #TheResistance and #NotMyPresident. Not 20 year olds either (no offense, 20 year olds), but middle aged professionals like me — lawyers, scientists, professors, business people, healthcare people, many of us parents.  In other words, people with a lot on their plates already who are prioritizing this issue, every single day, to stay active and outraged, and to absolutely reject what Trump ran on and stands for.

The talking heads on the Sunday morning talk show I saw this week were all smug grins and normalization.  I could barely stand to watch because it is increasingly clear every day that Trump is #NotNormal.  For christsake, I read today that since being elected Trump has spoken to Putin twice per day — two times per freaking day!  — more than to any other world leader.

I guess our journalist friends — who I generally admire tremendously — are not seeing what I’m seeing.  Example: soon after the election, I joined a new private FB group for progressive lawyers; 20 days later that group has over 120,000 members!  The media kinda missed white rural outrage, so we know they can be clueless.  But how can they miss this level of activity and outrage and resistance? How can they miss the fact that many empowered and educated people are now getting activated in full blown opposition to Comrade Drumpf and his band of cronies and haters?

Of course, I realize there’s an echo chamber with like-minded people rallying each other on.  I live in an echo chamber, too.  But because I live here, I can tell you that I know my people and I have NEVER seen anything like this tidal wave of opposition from my peers and cohorts.  People who have been more or less on the sidelines are now attending organizational meetings, making daily phone calls, writing letters, planning strategies — and not just for today, but for the long haul.

I’ll say this:  though Trump’s election is a travesty and reflects horribly on our country, the people who are standing up to oppose him make me incredibly proud.  And hopeful.

Was the Election Hacked?

No one knows yet if the 2016 presidential election was hacked, but it’s not so far-fetched an idea. There’s historical precedent according to Alex Halderman, a U. of Michigan Computer Science Professor: “In 2014, during the presidential election in Ukraine, attackers linked to Russia sabotaged the country’s vote-counting infrastructure and, according to published reports, Ukrainian officials succeeded only at the last minute in defusing vote-stealing malware that was primed to cause the wrong winner to be announced.”

Halderman and others have noted a statistical anomaly in some swing state counties where voting was done electronically instead of with a paper ballot.  Specifically, there was a higher percentage of votes for Trump in the electronic voting counties, where some type of hacking could have played a role.

Of course this finding raises alarm, given that Russia is known to have hacked the DNC and other political organizations with the apparent purpose of skewing the election results. I have heard from informed sources that Halderman is not an activist, either, but a hard core reputable scientist.  If he’s concerned, we should be, too.

Halderman and others have been encouraging the Democratic party to ask for a recount, but party leaders apparently are hesitant given the turmoil that might result if the recount finds that Clinton actually won the election. Used to playing the role of gad-fly, however, Green Party candidate Jill Stein has jumped in on this issue, officially asking for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, three key swing states that went for Trump by narrow margins.  Her fund-raising site to support the recount effort is at $2.8M as of this morning, with a goal of raising $4.5M.

Make that $2.8M plus $20.



Full Court Press

Full court press, Dems. Winning at the state level is cheaper and may be more attainable than taking back the House and Senate in 2 years. Plus, state legislatures have an incredible impact on our daily lives (especially if our federal social safety net programs become block grants to states) and the lack of Democrats at the state level creates a small bench from which to pull from for federal office. This is exactly what President Obama was planning on turning towards once he leaves office, even before the election.  Let’s help him out!…/obama-holder-redistricting-gerrym…