Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Brace for Impact

"Brace for Impact. It's like the movie, Sully. The birds are in the engine, the plane is still flying, but you know the plane is going down." Is America headed for a crash landing?

Brace for Impact: America is Crash Landing
Brace for Impact--America is headed for a crash landing.

Bill Maher.'s joke (from his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher, the 11/11/16 season finale) was the perfect analogy for what is happening in America since Donald J. Trump became president-elect. It's that moment when you realize you are going to crash and there is nothing you can do about it.

But, Sully performed a miracle that day and landed the plane. Can we do the same for America?

Hillary won the popular vote.
It is projected that when all the votes are counted, Hillary will have received as much as two million more votes than Trump..That’s nice, but it counts for nothing. Just a footnote in the history books.

Remember the 1969 book by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross On Death and Dying. She outlined the five stages of grief—Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally, Acceptance. I find myself experiencing all five at once, or rather, I alternate from one to the other.

It would take something akin to a miracle for the results of this election to be changed. That’s depression and acceptance. But then I remember that Sully safely landed that plane. Miracles can happen. So then I’m back to denial and anger.

Maybe there is something we can do. I’ll get to ways and means in a moment, but first I want to discuss why I feel America is headed for a crash landing. It is more than just the disemboweling of the liberal agenda, the impending fascism, and the yahoos feeling emboldened to express their hatred openly and violently.

Donald Trump is in over his head.
I’ve said it from the beginning—running a business is nothing like running a government. Donald Trump is in way over his head. Even he knows it. Have you seen him on TV recently? No more bombast. Instead he looks scared. Really scared. Little- boy-in-the-principal’s office scared.

David Axelrod, a guest on Maher’s show said “Trump has no ideas. He’s an empty vessel. He changes his opinion from the beginning to the end of a sentence.”

This is scary because it means that he will do whatever whoever he talked to last tells him to do.

Even worse, Trump doesn’t want the job. He wants to sit in his New York penthouse and be king. Maybe Pence and Ryan will be running the country.

There was only one hope for the country. Trump would surround himself with good people and let them run things.That hope is dashed  Who is he picking? He's picking people like Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn. 

And Trump is back to tweeting insults at his political enemies. Any hope that he would finally show a moderate side or become reasonable is gone. 

Conflicts of interest abound.
Donald Trump runs a global empire He owns 500 companies in 27 countries. How can he disentangle himself from that?

Trump’s solution is to have his three oldest children run the company. This is not an adequate solution, but it is made even worse because Trump has appointed his kids as his advisors. He wants them to sit in on classified briefings.

How will this work? In the morning, the family will do government work, in the afternoon they will do family business work, and never the twain shall meet? This is nonsense. Plus they have already mingled the two roles in just the first few days.

On Trump’s transition website with a .gov address, Trump listed all of his business properties and even his wife’s QVC jewelry business. (It was later taken down.)

When Ivanka participated in the 60 Minutes interview, she made sure the camera caught the bracelet she was wearing, and the next day she was running ads for that bracelet. Ivanka also wears the clothes from her own fashion line when she makes official appearances, and then advertises those items, telling potential customers that they can “wear her look.”

All presidents have put their financial portfolios in blind trusts. There is no way to put a huge conglomerate with the Trump name splashed all over everything in a blind trust. The only way to end the conflict of interest is for President Trump’s family to divest themselves of the entire business.

During the campaign he said that he didn’t care about his business—running the country was more important. Prove it!

The transition is in chaos.
When there is not strong leadership, there is chaos. Chris Christie was heading the transition team. Christie and everyone he had chosen to help him with this got fired, apparently at the behest of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared. Now, new people are starting from scratch, but they forgot to file the paperwork, so no one from the various government agencies they need to interface with could meet with them.

The people that Trump wants to appoint to his cabinet are vastly unqualified for these positions. They lack experience or temperament or both. Trump wants to appoint the cronies who were loyal to him during the campaign.

There are 4,000 positions to fill and only two months left to do it. The transition team starts their work months before the election is even held because it is such a big job. But Trump fired everyone, so it is back to square one.

Trump has made only two appointments in the first two weeks. Reince Priebus, the head of the RNC, will be chief of staff. That’s a reasonable appointment. However, Steve Bannon will be co-equal as “Chief of Strategy.” (I think Trump made up that title.) Bannon has long associated himself with the alt-right—a political faction known for white nationalism and misogyny. Not an acceptable choice.

What can we do?
We can forget about asking the Democratic leadership for help.  They are as upset as we are, but we can't expect Obama or Hillary to openly try to upend the election. Other elected officials can’t do anything either. American democracy does not work that way. If we want a peaceful transition of power when a Democrat wins, we have to support it when a Republican wins--even if the Republican is as unqualified and unsavory as Trump.  

A friend of mine has tried contacting leaders, like Nancy Pelosi and others. The staffers who answered the phone were all very frosty to her, and all they would say is, “We have no comment at this time.”
We can protest. By all means join in with protests. Post your opinions and memes on facebook and twitter and blogs. (I’m doing it.) Just don’t expect the election of Trump to be overturned by them. We may be able to have some effect on policy around the edges. For instance, maybe we can pressure Trump not to put Bannon in the White House.

We can work to abolish the Electoral College. The Electoral College is very unfair. It gives smaller states more power than larger states. A voter in a low population state like Wyoming has more than three and 1/2 times the clout of a voter in a large state like California.

This will prevent future problems, but it won’t help elect Hillary. Even if there was a way to abolish the Electoral College in just a couple of weeks, it can’t be applied retroactively.

Also, there is one problem. All states need to get all votes counted in one day. Some states do not have all their votes counted over a week after Election Day.

We can get red-state electors to switch their votes. Every now and then an elector pledged to a candidate votes for another candidate. It is not illegal to do this, and it has never changed the results of an election.

In order to get electors pledged to Trump to change their vote, we would have to uncover something really, really bad about Trump. Much worse than anything that came out prior to the election. And it would have to be irrefutable. 

An investigation into Trump's ties to Russia would be a good thing to focus one. But who would do this investigation? The Republican Congress? The Republican-led FBI? Dream on. It's not going to happen before the inauguration. Maybe afterwards so they can impeach Trump and have Pence as president.

The Electoral College has 306 electors for Trump and 232 for Clinton, a difference of 74 electors. We would need 38 of these electors to switch to Hillary. If you live in a state that voted for Trump, find out who those electors are and lobby them. 

We can find a cache of uncounted votes or prove election fraud in red-states.
Are there thousands of ballots hidden in a closet or dumpster somewhere? Did someone hack the computers? Maybe, but good luck finding the lost ballots and the evidence of hacking. And even then, it would take law suits to change anything.

Trump won some states by very small margins. For instance in Michigan with 16 electoral votes, the margin was only 0.03. But we would need to find more of states with vote-count errors to make up the difference between Clinton and Trump.

In our favor, we know The Russians were actively involved in trying to get Trump elected. They outright said so. Gloating, I guess. Plus the NSA has the proof.

Plot to Hack America
The Plot to Hack America

Malcom Nance, a globally recognized counter-terrorism expert and Intelligence Community member, published The Plot to Hack America in October 2016 Consequently, he can’t answer about what happened on Election Day, but his research and expertise certainly shows that it is possible that Russia hacked the election. But, perhaps they didn’t need to hack the election itself—they accomplished their goal with Wiki-Leaks.

Will we get a miracle?
When I started writing this piece, I thought a miracle could be possible. Now I think it is so remote, it would rival the odds of lightning striking twice.

The Electoral College meets on December 19. Time is very short for a miracle.

After that date, we would have only resignation or impeachment. Then we would end up with Pence or Ryan. Maybe a tiny bit better, but maybe worse. I say worse because Trump is so incompetent, he may bungle everything he tries to do.

When researching something on google or when you see things on facebook, be very careful. There is a lot of fake news out there, deliberately made to look like it is from a reliable source.

I usually look immediately at the web address to see if the post comes from a reputable source like a major cable network (excludes foxnews) or newspaper/magazine. If I am unsure about the source, I copy it into the browser. Many times I have found that the source is a satire site.

You may want to read some of my other essays.

The Revenge of the Yahoos

You can join Blue America Fights Back on facebook. This is a new facebook group that wants to fight back by sharing information and tactics. Likeminded people are invited to join.

You might aslo want to read this. Something Stinks When Exit Polls and Official Counts Don't Match 

Click Here is a list of the Electoral College electors

--Catherine Giordano