This will, in all likelihood, be my last post of the year (barring another Take a Break, if I have the time). As 2016 draws to a close, I’d like to first update you on some events for which Americans everywhere crossed their fingers, but didn’t dare hold their breath. They were right not to do so; hope is a very dangerous thing.
I’ll then move on to the embarrassment that is Peter King and the incompetent that is Ben Carson (and yes, incompetent can be a noun; I checked). I shall close with an update on Inauguration Day planning, in hopes that you will take the time that day to raise your voice against the militaristic, xenophobic regime Trump intends to install in the White House.
This may take a while, so you might want to get some snacks. I’ll wait.
Remember Those Recounts Jill Stein Demanded? Here’s What Happened.
The Wisconsin recount ended on Monday, with Stein gaining 66 votes and Trump gaining 131 votes. Stein had to pay $3.5 million before the recount would take place, and the money came in just barely under the wire. The deadline was November 29th at 4:30pm; confirmation of the wire transfer came in at 4:26pm.
In a rare moment, Trump actually said something a) accurate and b) respectful of American democracy at a victory rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday: “What did they spend: $3.5 million for 131 votes? That’s OK. Tells you how important every single vote in America is.”
(Of course, one wonders how he would have reacted had the recount resulted in more votes for Clinton. No, one doesn’t; he would have hemmed and hawed about how rigged the system is and how Clinton, Soros and others are financing his totally unjust persecution. After all, Clinton is such a nasty woman.)
In Michigan, the state’s Supreme Court shut down the recount after only three days. The state’s highest court ruled 3-2 to reject Stein’s appeal, days after the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that Stein was not eligible to pursue a recount. The Supreme Court’s ruling stated that Stein “failed to allege she’s been harmed or that her legal rights have been infringed in any way whatsoever.”
The elephant in the courtroom, around which the judge danced oh-so-gracefully, is that any time there is reasonable suspicion that election results have in any way been tampered with– whether deliberately or owing to faulty machinery or software– the legal rights of ALL Americans may have been infringed upon, including those of Jill Stein. That she could not prove this prior to the recount, and therefore the case was dismissed, is akin to telling someone who is suing someone else over potential large-scale theft that the case cannot be heard because “You don’t know that this person actually stole from you. You haven’t proven that they infringed on your right to keep your own money.”
Duh, of course I don’t know that they took it; I’m here to demand that you find out. That’s what courts are for; do your job, dumbass!
In Pennsylvania, Stein confronted a similar rejection of her appeal for a recount. “There is no credible evidence that any ‘hack’ occurred, and compelling evidence that Pennsylvania’s voting system was not in any way compromised,” wrote U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond. (Why is the word hack in quotation marks? What is this compelling evidence of which you speak, sir?)
The Washington Post and others have lauded Stein as having done the nation a tremendous public service. May they recall the praises they are presently singing if and when she ever runs for President again. May all Americans now better understand the true value of third parties, which is not only to present alternatives to Evil Dee and Evil Dumb every four years, but also to consistently challenge and, in so doing, protect America’s democracy.
December 19th, 2016: The Day The Electoral College Confirmed Its Irrelevance
While an unprecedented number of electors voted for a candidate other than that which won the popular vote in their state this year, the Electoral College failed in its duty to protect America from an unqualified and/or dangerous (in this case, both) president-elect assuming the highest office in our nation. Given that this is the only justifiable reason to keep the Electoral College in place, and it has proven itself useless, there is no longer any reason not to simply abolish the college and let the Popular Vote decide who becomes President in the future. Indeed, had the college been abolished prior to 2000, America would have been spared the indignities of both George W. Bush and Donald Trump.
A Hawaiian elector who was supposed to vote for Clinton instead voted for Bernie Sanders, while of the four Washington electors who defected from tradition, one voted for Native American elder and leader of the fight against the Keystone Pipeline Faith Spotted Eagle and the rest voted for Colin Powell.
Only two electors, both from Texas, had the cajones to dump Trump; one of these voted for Kasich while the other voted for Ron Paul.
Peter King: An Embarrassment to Our Nation
Peter King is now proposing a nationwide Muslim surveillance program not unlike that tried by the Demographics Unit of the CIA in the wake of 9/11– a unit which was disbanded in 2014 as the government realized that a) it failed to produce any actual intelligence and b) it was grossly discriminatory and overtly racist. William J. Bratton, who succeeded former New York Commissioner Raymond Kelly, has stated that there was “not one actionable piece of intelligence that came out of that unit.”
From the Huffington Post:
Officers in the since-disbanded Demographics Unit infiltrated Muslim student groups, kept track of Muslims who changed their last names, eavesdropped on conversations between Muslims, spied on Muslim-owned businesses, recorded imams’ sermons, and put undercover officers and informants inside mosques….After The Associated Press exposed the NYPD’s surveillance program in a series of Pulitzer-Prize winning reports in 2011, the department was forced to admit in court that the program had yielded exactly zero leads into criminal or terrorist activity.
That both Ted Cruz and Peter King have now called for a revival of an inherently racist program that had been proven more than once to yield no information whatsoever to protect the American people– while subjecting scores of Americans to harassment and invasion of privacy– is a national embarrassment. These archaic methods have no place in any modern, tolerant society, and their ambassadors have no place in American politics.
Trump has yet to formally endorse King’s proposal– but he hasn’t bothered to denounce it, either.
Ben Carson Understands Absolutely None of the History of the Department He Will Lead
Last year, Ben Carson, who is slated to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, claimed that the department was engaged in “social engineering” by developing programs which might allow super-poor people to live somewhere other than in super-poor neighborhoods (Heaven forbid!). In so doing, he completely ignores the history of housing assistance in this country, which has led to the very segregation which new initiatives by HUD seek to dismantle.
The Federal Housing Administration, which was created in 1934 and lasted until 1968, engaged in redlining as a matter of course, explicitly refusing to back loans to Black people “or even other people who lived near Black people.” (Similarly, in the Seventies, Trump regularly discriminated against Black housing applicants as President of Trump Management, violating the Fair Housing Act by having rental agents instructed to mark applications coming from people of color with a “c,” telling Black applicants there were no vacancies when there were, and other such travesties.)
That was social engineering. Efforts now underway to ensure that the cycle of generational poverty can be broken– by giving impoverished children a chance at a decent education and safe, cleanly environment in which to flourish– are efforts to restore the natural order, not adulterate it.
Efforts to Thwart Inauguration Day Protests are Underway, but We Will Not Be Silenced
Protest groups everywhere are freaking out as the National Park Service remains slow and stingy about issuing permits. Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said, “I think what a lot of people are missing is that this is a process and procedures that are established in the code of federal regulations and they are applied equally across the board, regardless of who had won.”
No one is missing this, Mr. Litterst. Anyone who has ever protested at Inauguration Day already knows of these procedures, and many of the groups planning protests in January are old hands at this, though there is a plethora of young blood expected to show up as well. But you don’t usually take this long or attempt to “ban” protest in so many key areas. You’re being overly cautious because of who won this year, and everyone knows it.
Protesters are undeterred. Here are just three of many groups planning events on or near Inauguration Day, in case you want to reach out and join in. I’ve only worked with the first one, so cannot vouch for the activities of the others. There are doubtlessly countless other demonstrations being planned nationwide that won’t necessarily culminate on the White House steps. Reach out to your local community via social media and stay tuned to local news reports for an opportunity near you.
Happy Holidays to all readers, and Good Riddance to 2016! You sucked.
Planning demos in Washington D.C., San Francisco, San Diego and other cities on Inauguration Day. They seem to be getting the most press coverage, so it should be easy to find out more, and they have satellite offices in many cities around the country.
Planning a demo in Washington D.C. on Inauguration Day. Perceived by the media as a “more radical” organization hoping to “shut the event down.” More info.
Planning a Women’s March on Jan 21, the day after Inauguration Day. More info.
All content © Saryta Rodríguez, 2016.