Thursday, December 8, 2016

"No You Can't" -- On Tone Policing, Recounts and Other Matters

Sometimes I go off on people, not necessarily nicely, either. The other day, a friend called me from California. He'd just read in the New York Times that Trump had "fired" Michael Flynn, Jr. from his transition team for spreading fake news stories about that pizza place in DC. Didn't I think that was a good thing? And then he read about Trump tweeting something about canceling the new Air  Force One from Boeing because it cost too much. Didn't I think that was a good thing? And then he said something about China and Trump, and wasn't that good, too?

"Gee," he said, "he [Trump] might not be so bad after all."

I went off on him, up one side and down the other. I told him  I didn't want to hear him defending Trump, that there were already too many on our supposed side doing that, just like they did with Baby Bush when he was installed in the presidency by the Supreme Court, and we know how that turned out, so let's not do it this time, m'kay?

We've been friends for close to forty years, so it's not like we haven't had knock down drag outs more than a few times over things we disagree about. I think we understand one another  well enough that it's OK to fiercely disagree with one another from time to time. But this time it really got under my skin -- because he did something I see way too much of.

He saw something in the newspaper (he gets hard copy NYT daily) and even though he was by no means a Trump supporter*, what he's read in the papers about him and seen in other news sources is convincing him that Trump just might be OK, because, according to what he's been seeing lately, Trump is trying to do the right things.

He "fired" Flynn, Jr. He denounced Boeing and the costs of Air Force One, he's standing up  China. The Trump regime won't be so bad after all. And he saved all those jobs in Indiana. How bad could it be?
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*Anecdote: He said he had a "feeling" election night and went to bed before the polls had even closed in California. He's met Hillary a number of times over the years, and met her once during this year's campaign. No, he didn't have to pay $150,000 or whatever she was charging for meet and greets, he gets into these things free (another story for another time). Anyway, he said this last time he saw her, he felt there was something off, he didn't know what. Maybe she was just tired. But what he said really came across to him was that she didn't care. Not any more. The "fire" had gone out. He said to himself, "Uh oh."

He said it was a sign to him that she might not win the election, even though every media outlet and poll except the Los Angeles Times was certain she had it in the bag. Her election was all but a done deal, and yet he had his doubts.

When he got up the morning after election night, he opened his paper and saw the headline and he said he felt sick to his stomach, but he wasn't surprised. Yep. That's what he sensed would happen, and sure enough. There it was in black and white.

He's spent the last several weeks going through the stages of grief, and I think when he called me about the Times stories the other day, he was reaching for "acceptance."
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Trump just couldn't  be so bad, the thinking goes, because the American People wouldn't elect a monster. We are a Good People, and even though our presidents are flawed, they ultimately reflect the Goodness of America and Americans by being elected.

Except the voters didn't elect him. A majority of voters chose someone else.  That's what happened. The narrative that got going on November 9, however, has been hammering the false notion that "WE", "America" or "the American people," or "the voters" elected him. No, an unverifiable and minuscule number of votes in a handful of states provided him with a sufficient margin in the Electoral College for him to be declared victor on election night by the media. The EC hasn't met. Consequently, every bit of Trump fluffing going on since election night is a matter of expectation and speculation. He is not officially "president-elect" because he hasn't been elected by the EC. Etc.

The point I try to make -- and it's uphill -- is that "WE" -- the voters, the American People, the Rabble -- did not elect this man. The voters' preference is clearly Not Trump. Hillary's popular vote lead is historic. Combined with the third party votes, the Not Trump vote is more than a majority of votes cast. When turned around, it looks like Trump does not get a majority by combining his votes with third party votes, but there was also a substantial Not Hillary vote, which I don't discount at all. So many people really wanted neither one of these candidates... Add in the people who either couldn't vote because of voter suppression efforts  or chose to sit this one out, and we've got a serious level of disenfranchisement and voter resistance on our hands.

Yet our media, cowards and toadies to power that they are, can barely acknowledge these simple truths. Good heavens, no. It might stir the Rabble to action if they do, and we can't have that.

The recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania are devolving fast, but that's OK with me because what's been revealed so far shows conclusively that the way elections and recounts were conducted in those states makes it essentially impossible to comprehensively verify the vote. It's particularly true in Pennsylvania where most votes are cast on DRE machines that have no audit trail or any other means of checking their accuracy or even providing a separate record of votes cast. It's all internal and unverifiable. So the request has been to do a forensic examination of the machines to determine whether they were tampered with. That is pending in court -- and given the Michigan court ordered halt to the recount there, I expect the court to halt the recount in Pennsylvania too as well as prohibit any examination of the machines.

In Michigan, where paper ballots are used, a rather remarkable election law states that if the number of ballots in the ballot box does not match the number of ballots given out in the record books, the votes in that precinct cannot be recounted. The original report stands.  Whut? This is crazy. But them's the Rules. The all-important Rules. And in any case, both state and federal courts have ordered a halt to the recount there on specious grounds. Ah yes, here we go again.

In Wisconsin, as I understand it, precincts were given the option of hand-counting paper ballots or running them through the scanners again. Some have chosen hand counts, others are repeating the election night scans on the same machines. That proves nothing and verifies nothing. But oh well. There are apparently some counties in Wisconsin that are notorious for vote padding and other chicanery, some of which cannot be detected easily. I'm not sure, but it wouldn't be surprising if they just repeat the scans and come up with the same padded results as they did initially. Uh, that's not really verifying the vote. But they have the choice, so...

There is a recount effort in Florida that will have to be decided by the courts, and another partial recount is going on in Nevada, all well and good. There are apparently routine precinct level recounts under way or completed in many jurisdictions.

We're once again privileged to witness what an incomprehensible muddle American elections are. Once again, the outrage will get ramped up and go almost nowhere.

It will be unlikely to go anywhere because the current chaos and arbitrary nature of electoral practice and law is beneficial for preserving the status quo of the Duopoly, kakistocracy, and keeping the interference of the Rabble in their Rulers' work to a minimum. The fact that courts are expected to interfere in elections is now institutionalized. Thanks Scalia!

Doing more than quietly grumbling about it is considered impolite and arrogant by the Tone Police. It's really funny. The Tone Police are practically self-parodies. "You shouldn't say that, it's rude. We can't be like them after all. We are better than that!" But then, I'm seeing a lot of self-parody online, especially among Trump Fluffers -- who seem to be losing their minds. When I point out that this is actually dangerous and people are getting hurt, some will likely be killed as the situation devolves into even greater chaos, the crazy increases.

After all, "What about Clintooooon!!!!"

Yeah, right. Nope, won't play that.

I started this post with the story of lighting into a good friend who was trying to come to grips with a potentially positive view of Trump in the White House. I don't want him to do that, but of course, my desire is not germane to what he does. I am not the boss of him. His objective, like mine, is to get through this chaos alive and in good enough shape to carry on. He can see a way forward by acknowledging that a Trump regime won't necessarily be all that bad. I say it will be worse than we can imagine.

This is the fundamental divide in the country. Many of us can recognize the clear signs of catastrophe that Trump and his toadies, cronies, and hench-people carry with them. This is no joking matter. It's on display 24/7 from all of them. They saying quite clearly that they are intent on a course of destruction, and they will not let anything stand in their way. Many of us say "Stand and fight."

Others internally recognize the same signals and signs and choose not to fight against the whirlwind that's gathering strength. Rather, they find something "good" in the Apocalypse, and would prefer to go with the flow, even as they're swept up into the Maelstrom. The operating concept being "You can't fight it, so go with it."

"No you can't." Now that was Hillary's opening gambit during the campaign. "No you can't. No you won't. Not on a bet." It's been internalized by her supporters and is the bedrock belief of the Tump partisans. "No you can't. But just watch while we  do what we want. You can't stop us. Suckers!"

So. Here we are. Chaos is increasing by the hour. Tone Police are working the refs to tamp down alarm and outrage and keep the Rabble divided and inactive. The political class and media are all in with the New Boss, currying favor, showing their bellies. Our Betters are either still in shock, or they're anticipating huge profits on their assets as an inflationary pre-Trump bubble strikes the Markets. Oh my oh my!

In fact, the passivity of Our Betters in this situation is one of its more striking aspects. They're almost all sitting on their hands, "letting it play out." Let the Rabble have their fun! They're so amusing, no?

Bah.

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