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    • Cambridge Analytica, FaceBook And Inevitable Abuses That Inevitably Happen
      So, you’re probably aware of the furor over Cambridge Analytica. They scraped Facebook’s database, and used the psychological information to craft their campaign. They have also been caught on tape admitting they do dirty tricks like honey traps, and propaganda (knowing lies). And there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth. First of all, it […]
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I was in a bar a couple of weeks ago with a co-worker who told me she didn’t vote this time around. She drinks considerably more than I do these days and after a few rum and cokes, she said that she couldn’t vote for Hillary because she was pretty sure she was going to drop a nuke on some country.

I was still sober, having only sipped a hot sake and played with some spicy tofu. It was the day after the election. I needed comfort food.

I laughed about the nuke comment. That’s ridiculous, where did you read that? I glanced over to my companion to see her swaying slightly on her stool. She said her husband told her. He was the one who was always searching the news sites. And besides, she believed it.

Damn, I thought, I gotta stop going to the bar with her.

But it wasn’t just there where I heard the most insane stuff about Hillary. I went to a wedding in early October and sat next to a woman who with eyes all wide and fearful told me that Hillary and Bill had killed 80 people. I felt uncomfortable sitting next to her and told my sister what she said. “Don’t be silly”, she said, “Everyone knows it was only 40.” She was kidding but she’s also a staunch Republican and she sat out the election. Couldn’t bring herself to vote for Trump.

So, for what it’s worth, I personally know *one* Republican with a conscience.

During the past year, I talked to many people who seemed to have lost all direction when it came to politics, truth and morality. They didn’t know what to believe. They weren’t getting the truth from their media sources. All cable and newspaper sources let us down this year. They grossly exaggerated the email problem for Clinton and barely touched on Trump’s myriad conflicts of interest.

I suspect that the biggest threat was Facebook. If you’re a social animal and not particularly tech savvy, Facebook is your gateway drug to the internet. It’s also somewhat flattering when people want to be your friend. Back in 2008, I got thousands of friend requests from people on Facebook. I accepted only a handful because A.) I didn’t know most of those people  B.) I don’t like Facebook’s kludgy interface. If feels claustrophobic. C.) I had a suspicion that it was going to be used as a method to spread propaganda. It turns out this was correct.

Bottom line: some of us know what is going on for whatever reason and some of us don’t know what’s going on. At. All. Some of us forgot what we believed in and threw away all semblance of morality and voted for a con man for president because we were discombobulated. We don’t know what the truth is anymore. We don’t know who is good and who is bad. We don’t know what is important and what is trivial. We don’t believe in climate change even when we see satellite images of ice caps melting. We don’t believe that Humans could be responsible for that or making that happen more quickly. We believe that a man who has a history of federal housing discrimination lawsuits, a record of not paying his workers and video tape of him boasting of sexual assaults is more trustworthy than a dedicated, experienced career public server who wants to simplify her email accounts.

At this point, there is almost nothing the two sides can agree on. Ok, maybe gravity. We can agree that gravity holds us to the earth.

And there is maybe one other thing that we can all agree on that everyone playing a long game should be paying attention to. I’m going to call this, the Scorecard. It’s the precise layout of the swamp that Trump claimed he wanted to drain. This is the breakdown of government by the numbers. It’s a short scorecard. We’re only going to be looking at the three branches of the federal government. These are numbers that no statistician can manipulate to make them look like something they are not. They are absolute numbers, prescribed by the Constitution. They represent the checks and balances one branch of government has on another branch of government. Can we all agree that the quantity represented by a number increases as the number gets farther away from zero? In other words 1>0. 45> 3. 238>195, etc. Right? Ok, great. Here’s the scorecard:

2016 2017
R D R D Undetermined
President 0 1 1 0
Vice President* 0 1 1 0
Senate 54 46 51 48 1
House 247 188 239 194 2
Supreme Court 4 4 (1) 4(1) 4

These numbers can be found at the non-partisan site The Green Papers.

The asterisk next to the Vice President means that in the event of a tie in the Senate, the Vice President can cast the tie breaking vote.

More info: There are more Republicans in Congress (House and Senate) than there are Democrats. It has been like this since 2010. If Obama wanted to initiate any changes, they have been able to block him. I am not an Obama fan and have always thought that he was an awful, naive, inexperienced negotiator. But even if he were any good at this, the Republicans would have blocked him and not because he was African American but simply because he was a Democrat. This is why nothing has gotten done since 2010. Since 2010, Congress has had an unsurpassed record of non-accomplishment by design. (You can check the statistics here but only if you feel comfortable with graphs. Otherwise, just stick to the Scorecard which cannot lie according to the Consitution)

The Senate has the power to advise and consent on Supreme Court nominees. Presently, there is a 4-4 tie in the Supreme Court since the very conservative Antonin Scalia died early this year. Scalia is one of the justices who voted for the Citizens United case. In that 5-4 split on the Supreme Court, it was decided that rich people and corporations could dump as much money as they liked into political campaigns. This disadvantages poorer candidates and average citizens. Scalia was also one of the 5 who voted to roll back part of the Voting Rights act. Maybe you don’t think this affects you because you’re white but if you ever decide you need to form a coalition with African Americans to get a candidate elected, you may find there is a structural imbalance due to voting rights restrictions in southern and some northern states that will make this impossible. That is what the current post election audit (aka Recount) is about.

The Republican Senate refused to carry out this Constitutional duty because they were hoping for a Republican president to make a new appointment. There was nothing in the Constitution to compel them to rule on Obama’s appointment within a specific time period. It’s just the norms that we have run the country with for 240 years. So they sat on it.

In summary, the swamp was not drained. The swamp prevented any meaningful legislation from occurring for 6 years. It lost a little volume but it’s still in charge. In fact, the swamp now has allies in the White House and it will soon have allies in the Supreme Court.

Now, if you are the kind of person who sees no useful reason for government to exist except to go to war with other countries, hates Social Security and thinks Medicare should be privatized, then you should be absolutely delighted by the way things turned out. Republicans have been waiting for this moment since the 1930’s to get rid of all the things you rely on. (Of course they will. They don’t care about you.) Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R- Wisconsin), has plans that will make you very, very happy. He can’t wait to get rid of Obamacare. And while I think Obamacare didn’t go far enough, like many of you have told me (“Why can’t we all have Medicare??”), there are some people who rely on it for pre-existing conditions. They’re about to lose their lifeline- literally.

Forget Medicare for All. Paul Ryan and his Republican House members are sharpening their knives to dismantle it. No, I am not kidding. Who’s going to stop them? Go back and look at the scorecard.

If that’s not what you thought you were going to get when you voted to let Trump “Make America Great Again”, then you are going to be sick about what you have done to your retirement benefits. Your vote will affect your children and grandchildren and your great grandchildren. You, voter, know now that when you look at your grandchildren, you are responsible for making their futures significantly harder. Trump is going to appoint the next Supreme Court justices and you can bet he’s going to nominate more Scalias who love the rich and well connected and not so much you and yours. By the way, the Supreme Court had 5 solid votes to overturn Roe v Wade until Scalia died and it didn’t do it. They were never serious about it. They just wanted to keep us all at each other’s throats.

I think we can all agree that this is the current state of affairs in the US Government, right? We are all talking about the same things now.

Cut out this scorecard and stick it to your refrigerator. The next opportunity you will have to drain the swamp is in 2018.

And for God’s sake, get off of Facebook.


39 Responses

  1. Of all the disturbing things you note which are true, probably the most disturbing, and the most overarching, is the absolute ignorance of far too many citizens. At least if the populace were informed and smart, there would always be a chance. But they are getting dumber, at least as regards how government works, and what the actual realities are.

    And I am someone who never liked computers, am very wary of technology. Of course, one can meet some nice people; and it is fun to look up a few things. But the “social network” is indeed something that is so easy to manipulate and propagandize.. And while I am not as close to it as many, your experiences do indeed substantiate that otherwise reasonable people have been brainwashed, or maybe have simply lost the capacity to reason, because they are not capable of filitering out reality from the purposeful dstortion. And the Russians caused and exploited it; and our own news media, out of stupidity, spite, or partisanship, did not step up to serve as an anchor to truth.

    And so we have something that has all the feel of a horrifying dystopian novel of decades ago. A brilliant, honorable and capable person runs against a crooked, soulless person who would destroy our democracy, eliminate our safety nets, and plunder everything for himself and his cohorts. And somehow, in a Hitlerian fusillade of lies and preposterous myths, he is able to con an American populace which has become so addicted to bread and circuses that it has completely lost what once made it great. But to make the story even more awful, he doesn’t actually win; many more people still are smart and caring enough to vote for the noble candidate. But because of some archaic flaw in the voting system, he is able to win with a distinct minority of the vote, and even that is only acomplished by cheating and intimidating and suppressing milions of votes. It is a nightmarish story that somehow came true this year.

    This never would have happened had not the Republican Party completely lost its moral compass years ago The idea of a democracy is that both sides try their hardest to win, but essentially play fair. What the Republicans have done is to treat it all like a strategy game where the only goal was to win. Pitted against a nice but too ineffectual Democratic President, they even managed to violate the meaning of”advise and consent,” but were never called on it. At that point, even though I of course still desperately wanted Hillary to win, I had this sinking feeling that we had lost our democracy And while of course we would be more than infinitely better off had she won, we know that the Republicans had already vowed to block every one of her Supreme Court nominees; they were willing to let the Court shrink through physical attrition, hoping that somehow they would get a majority; 3-2 or 1-0, over the years, until they won, and could fill all the seats. There are a hundred lower court judgeships which they refused to fill, and now will fill with far right judges who will further decimate voting rights And of course they would have had a myriad of House hearings against Hillary; and they would have once again threatened to raise the debt ceiling each year to blackmail her into doing things they wanted.

    This is no longer a workable democracy, in such a form. The Republicans have at their call a very large group of religious or pseudo religious people who are immune to facts and science. They want guns in every home and on every street; and abortion made illegal; and minorities more than marginalized; and no government at all, except to impose their code of moral behavior. They would never vote differently, no matter what the circumstances.They make the Republicans’ seats safe, and allow them to have no risk in becoming more and more radical. They should be in another country, but we are stuck with them. And because mamy reasonable people have moved to California over the decades, but the electoral system is undemocratic, voters in my state, who could control the country if they somehow agreef to move in a calculated way to the smaller Red states, understandably do not So somehow they have essentially gerrymandered themselves, only because we have a completely undemocratic electoral system which the Republicans in their singleminded fanaticism have found out how to game. There is no other conclusion but that the Republicans seek a permanent control of this country.Whether one calls it a fascist dictatorship, or an oligarchical theocracy, it is a complete control of all branches of government, plus the media, to a position that cannot be uprooted.

    The Supreme Court was the fulcrum fot this. So of course they would never give up the Court. Even trying to be somewhat hopeful, it will now probably take another 40 years to even possibly have a moderate-to-liberal Court. So what we are left with is some desperate hope that people will wake up and realize what has happened to our country. But again, too many of them are in the “wrong” states, electorally speaking. We could hope for the economy to completely crash, but that would of course bring great hardship. We can hope for some demagogic person on our side who “excites’ people in a Facebooky or talent show kind of way. We can actually take to the streets, millions of us, in a non-violent manner. Or perhaps we can all pay to get minority voters the esoteric IDS required by suppressive laws, and convince everyone that even if they have to stand in line to vote for ten hours, they must do so, to save our country. I wish that I had more sanguine suggestions. But your story about a few people in Pennsylvania who have lost their ability to reason, may well be a microcosm of of a nation which has become unmoored from its history and principles.

  2. I wish Obama would at least get off his a$$ and appoint Garland to the Supreme Court.

    • He’s not a risk taker. There. I just summed up obama’s 8 yrs in office. No risk taking.

      • I am appalled that Obama didn’t make a big noise after VRA was gutted in 2013 and its implications to minorities. Even politically active people like me were unaware of the full extent of damage the Republicans could do (and did do) with it and surprised that the WH didn’t use its bully pulpit to educate and prevent the ensuing voter suppression. Media silence may be understandable in how biased and incompetent they are but the WH and administration sucked it up? There will be more disenfranchisement everywhere and this is what is being hinted at by the buffoon and his tantrums with Hillary getting the popular vote.

        And the disenfranchisement will be supported by his supporters who feel entitled and privileged. There is (Christian) white rage everywhere — the guy on Delta; a 10 min long video at a craft store where a young white woman Trump voter had a melt down because she thought the AAs at the cash counter ‘discriminated’ against her; one of those real housewives (that I like) made the mistake of putting up a nativity display with her in it as Mary and she is inundated with hateful comments from ‘Christians.’ Tough times are ahead.

      • Agree…totally…

  3. If citizens have no idea what’s going on, it’s not because the news media “let us down” or even were derelict of duty. It’s because just like in 2000, the narrative was from the POV of the candidate that won… because “they” wanted a horserace. The incessant hounding of Hillary on the emails and the flu (!) while not even bothering Der Donald on his missing taxes and fraudulent charity that was shut down, let alone his impending court cases, is not “letting us down.” It’s worse than the FBI tipping the scales….because that, too, was fuel for the infotainment newsclowns. Their filter on what people know is so strong that many people do not even know of Standing Rock. At least people online, on Facebook, know that much. It’s up to everyone to do one’s own research, but the nonstop toxin that is MSM is criminal. We need to disrupt the media. Hold them accountable. Those are our airwaves, or should be. That they even cover the election as a “race” instead of focusing on the issues is….despicable. But it is what we accept. For a brief time in 2000 people at least realized that and tried to take the fight to where it belongs. We need more MediaWhores type watchguards, but this is the Twitter generation, alas. TV news has been hollowed out, but it is still the standard whereby the general population thinks everything is under control. They are now busy normalizing Der Donald. I can’t even look at cable news without it triggering scenes from They Live. Put on your sunglasses, people!

  4. Stein moves for Pennsylvania recount

    By Daniel Strauss

    11/28/16 01:02 PM EST

    • New article on the link you provided says Trump is now certified as the winner in Michigan with 10,704 more votes than Clinton.

  5. Going to be a very rocky 4 years for sure. Trump is mentally unstable and the white women who voted for Trump are going to be the most sorry of all because they are going to be targeted too along with minorities. Read up on the alt-right if you don’t believe me. Oh, and for those who voted for Johnson and Stein? I’m glad you don’t have to worry about what is coming down the pike.

  6. From Electoral-Vote.com:

    Russian propaganda machine behind fake news

  7. It had to be Stein…and some day it will be clear why…
    the three states that she committed: WI, MI and PA will be audited and recounted…is been confirmed…and the money will be there…

    Of the three, PA is the most challenging because there are not paper ballots…

    The possibility of changing these 3 swing states in Hillary’s favor is quite significant.

    EC votes on those threes states combined are 46.

    Hillary has 232, plus 46 = 278

    Tramp has 306, minus 46= 260

    That the audit and recount action is worth ALL the effort…you bet you…

    If Stein pays her campaign debt and gets nation wide free shelter for stray puppies and kitties and whatever I hear she wants the money for, let it be.

    The good thing is that Stein rose to the occasion and I commend her for doing so. At this point in time there is more at stake in our country with a future in the hands of white nationalist/supremacists.

    I’m hoping to hear that AZ and maybe FL will get also the audit and recount. I’ve been pushing for it.

    • True. Glad Stein took it on. If it happens there is a bit of money left over after all is said and done, then it wouldn’t be a bad thing for her to choose where it goes. But if we were to vote on it, I would vote for spay/neuter clinics for the population at large. If stupid didn’t reproduce, we would have a better world and less likelihood of a future situation such as this.

  8. *dons freshly folded, outrageously chic chapeau de Reynolds Wrap*

    Given her apparent friendliness with Putin, I wonder–maybe Putin’s real goal isn’t so much to put Pumpkinhead in the White House, as simply to sow chaos? If (big if) this does somehow flip enough EVs to HRC, the fanatics among the Trump Chumps might riot. :/

  9. Check this at:

    After “Winning”, Unhinged Trump Now Says the Election was Fraudulent

  10. Also check this:

    Framing Trump

    November 28, 2016 by still4hill

  11. Details about Pennsylvania election recount: How does it work?

  12. Let’s take a look at Florida…

    The total votes reported: 9,122,861

    Tramp got (?) 112,911 more votes than Hillary

    112,911 over 9,122,861 = 0.0123 or 1.23%

    It’s just a hair over the margin for a recount request…

    Shouldn’t Florida be recounted?… I say yes.

    In a state of more than 9 million registered voters, a so-call win by 112,911 more votes by Trump “the trinket” requires an audit and recount.

    • Her early vote lead was so insurmountable he would have had to had to win 68% of the remaining votes. I call balogney! But we have to pay millions of dollars and jump through hoops and fetch 3 American eagle eggs to have free and fair elections in this country. In other countries when the exit polls show a different result we call that fraud! We don’t accept it as legitimate. Here? Oh no problem Donald, here’s the keys to the whitehouse!

  13. Definitely Florida should be recounted. Was it not the state in which Hillary’s initial lead going into election day was mathematically insurmountable?

    • There is intent for the Stein action to audit and recount other beyond the three MI, WI and PA; though money would be there…I think deadlines are becoming an issue to other states like Florida…

  14. It appears Wisconsin increased the recount fee from $1.1 million to $3.5 million AND is refusing to do a recount by hand.


  15. This just seems wrong all the way around. WI and MI were so close there should be an automatic recount. Who decided 2,000 was the trigger for an automatic recount in WI and how long ago? Has the population grown since then? If so, that number should have grown also… blah blah… It just seems wrong to pay the state a ridiculous amount of money for something they should be doing automatically. Seems like it just might encourage election fraud in the future by making it known to all just how expensive and difficult it is to challenge results. Stein was encouraged to go for the recount by experts who say there is evidence there could be something wrong. The system as it is does not encourage states to safeguard the voting system adequately, imo… and there is no incentive to do so when the states do not have to pay for the recount… geeze, I can ramble on and on and it really doesn’t mean a thing because it is what it is… it sucks!

    • Oh, and if my rant is stupid it is perfectly okay… I’m spayed/neutered.

      • Oh no it’s not stupid and you’re right! It’s ridiculous. Also think it’s just a bad joke that a few hundred “electors” hold the fate of our lives in their hands. It’s not as if they are Nobel prize winning, accomplished humanitarians ready to save the country! Have you seen some of these electors? It’s like the guy who does my taxes with a soup stain on his shirt and some hillbillies from Appalachia. Too harsh? Nah just harsh enough

        • Seagrl: definitely reinforces the notion that electors are irrelevant now, merely rubber stamps for their states’ popular vote.

  16. I saw this comment today in response to Gail Collin’s op-ed in the New York Times and thought of how true it is.

    But the point of the American system of democracy is that in the end, you often have to take the responsibility for choosing the better of two … options. And if Gore had been elected, we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. Case closed.” And I believe that if Clinton had been elected in 2008 (the more qualified candidate even then), we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today with Trump. Case closed.

  17. One of the writers I admire is Kaye Boyle, a WWII war correspondent and overall fine essayist. In the book I am providing a link for, she has a story on a the trial of a Nazi war criminal in Frankfurt.

    In the piece, Boyle explained that everyday Germans believed the results of the trial even though they had not trusted the results of the trials at Nuremberg. That was because, relative to ordinary citizens, the people involved in the Nuremberg events were remote – the way senators and presidents are remote to us – people who live in a realm regular people will never enter. Meanwhile, the trial in Frankfurt was local. The regular citizens of Frankfurt were able to trust what they were hearing because they could literally verify events by talking to neighbors. All of this mattered because, by the end of the war, regular Germans trusted nothing learned from official sources if they could not verify it personally.


  18. Also, I would like to share this in case it is useful to anyone.

    It is a primer on how to deal with someone with a raging case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    It is hard-nosed stuff from someone who sounds like he went through tons of aggravation to learn these lessons.

    It is easy for anyone normal to be disoriented and thrown off track by this kind of personality. I am finding that the tips this guy provides are good rules that may help normal people stay clear-headed and reality-based when obliged to deal with a personality like Trump’s.

    View story at Medium.com

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