216 thoughts on “ACLU’s letter to Trump

    1. I know you didn’t mean it that way, but I suspect many of his defenders will call this letter liberal bias given the fact he hasn’t even been inaugurated yet. The fact is that this, and the demonstrations in the streets which they similarly characterized, are entirely based on what he has said he will do, as opposed to republicans paranoid fears when Obama was elected, that he will “take our guns”.

      1. Reports are already coming in that the man doesn’t want to be stuck in the White House without access to his multifarious penthouse perks. I guess he thought he could hang out in Trump Tower 4 days a week, play golf for 2 days, and then swing by the Oval Office to chat with the goon squad about retrograde agendas. He can’t be bothered with diplomacy, you see.

        1. I’ll lay long odds that Trump’s time away from the White House will exceed even Dubya’s record spent as his soi-disant “ranch” in Crawford.

          I’ll also bet he adjudges Camp David “a disaster.”

            1. Let’s hope, anyway, that he doesn’t take mankind over the brink of existential annihilation, the way he did the USFL with that fakakta lawsuit of his.

              1. I had completely forgotten about that. Forget about appealing to the public’s sense of decency (mostly because it doesn’t exist) and go staright for the Trump hates football. He IS credited with hastening the demise of the USFL afterall. Let’s see him carry Texas, Georgia and Alabama with “Trump tried to ruin football with a lawsuit” hanging around his neck.
                Just kidding.
                But only slightly.

        2. I think thats a bit unfair

          … however, he’s already spent a whole hour with Nigel Farage – even before Theresa May got to meet him.

  1. Should we write to the heads of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences and ask them to be vocal about defending science?

    1. You’d probably get some wishy-washy excuse about being apolitical. It’d use the same reasoning as they use to suck up to religion.

      1. Let The Sucking Up begin because this — what you, Ms Hastie, state — is exactly correct.

        We are already seeing (on social media sites) this so Labial Purse – Puckering by organizations, personalities and sections of society that we Left –o’ – the – Left, up until last Tuesday night, had “trusted” to actually .be. our bastions of liberties and justices.

        Of Ms Emily (Dickinson): “My friends are my estate.”

        Well, I wagered that there would, indeed, .be. an Emperor POTUS Trumpus simply for one reason and for one reason only:

        because I have witnessed and self – experienced The Trust that, over the past four decades, I have placed in my own and very personal “Estate” of Homo sapiens has, time and time and time and time again and from personal physicians to federal and academic employers and colleagues to wee county courtroom state district judges, let alone, highest appellate ones, chew me The Hell Up and spit me Utterly All of the Way Out.


        1. “Let the Sucking Up” AND
          … … the “Normalization”
          of his, his Boys’, and
          the Girls Who Love Them All’s behaviors
          … … begin.

          cuz THAT is precisely THE very definition of
          “coming together,” of “reconciling,” of “forgiving,” of “unifying around.”

          This ? This will not, for me, be happening.

      2. They’re not legal and activist organisations though like ACLU is – they would only get targeted for running campaigns that would further hamper their work

      3. In terms of PR I think you’re probably right, they’ll be wishy-washy. But AAAS’ annual budget breakdowns don’t pull any punches or try to curry favor. If the GOP or Trump cuts science spending, it’ll show up in AAAS’ 2017 analysis.

        They’re already covering the 2017 budget analysis, in fact, though obviously things are more up in the air now than they were before the election. Congress was expected to pass a bunch of continuing resolutions (CRs). However the GOP members of the current Congress may now decide that they’d rather wait until after January 20, and pass a conservative budget, rather than pass CRs now.

    2. If that’s not their purview or they’re not comfortable picking up the mantle, then someone needs to do it. Everything I’ve read says that there is effectively NO relationship between the President Elect’s transition team and the scientific community en masse.

  2. For what it’s worth, you have at least one British supporter who is prepared to protest(albeit peacefully, so as not to give an ascendant right-wing any excuse).

    I note the immediate, craven attitude towards Trump taken up by our Conservative government, and the utter shamelessness of Boris Johnson; a man who played to the crowd when he thought Trump wouldn’t win but who is now refusing to associate with Trump-sceptical European politicians, presumably so as not to upset the delicate temperament of the suddenly-powerful, orange micro-dexter himself.

    For years my attitude to the right, or at least the centre-right, has been softening – partly because of people like Douglas Murray who have often shown more class than the entire illiberal-left combined, and partly because of the constant stream of far-left hypocrisy and ethical cowardice exemplified by Greenwald, Corbyn, et al.

    Well, I’m thoroughly depressed to see the same shifty, sly apologetics that the illiberal-left have mastered over the last decade coming from the lips of people who have apparently just been posing as principled ‘classical liberals’ all these years. To listen to Douglas Murray equivocate over Trump this morning was so depressing, as was the pathetic backtracking of Conservative politicians on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions?.

    The reasoned, principled scepticism that many centre-right figures have demonstrated when attacking low-hanging fruit like spoiled Harvard students and left-wing apologists for conservative Islam has just vanished in a puff of smoke. All it took was the ascendance of a major figure on ‘their side’ and they are weaseling, what-about-ing, umming and aahing and wriggling like eels. I don’t think genuine liberals have had this few allies for a very long time.

    1. Well said. I for one will be standing up to him from my wee corner of the world.

      I can’t believe how so many are prepared to respect this racist, sexist, xenophobic, misogynistic, egotistical, vindictive, conspiracy theorist just because he’s about to be president.

      He hasn’t had a personality transplant overnight people. He’s still whining on Twitter that those protesting against him are being “unfair” and promulgating the conspiracy theory that they’re paid by the media. FFS!

      1. He is the president elect of the USA. He is the nominal leader of the free world. Statesmen and politicians of the world are obliged to show respect to him. Otherwise, they are no good at their jobs.

        BTW, I was surprise to read on this blogs commenters taking 1:1 the respect to Obama demonstrated by foreign politicians. I hope they’ll soon realize I’ve been right when they see exactly the same respect shown to Trump.

        1. I think you’re wrong.

          They are obliged to (and will) show the required level of public respect to Trump as POTUS, just as they did for Dubya.

          Obama, OTOH, they could genuinely respect as a truly intelligent guy. No effort involved.


          1. If you are a foreign head a state, you do not give a damn whether the US president is intelligent. You seek in him reliability. Obama, with his appeasing speeches to the enemies of the West, and all those lines that he drew and then recanted, could hardly be regarded as reliable.
            On another post here these days, there was a discussion that normal people cannot help liking Obama, but some are so hostile to his policies that cannot separate the man from his policies. For me, the normal thing is to judge the man from his deeds. He leaves the world in fire, and people are supposed to like him because of his small talk.

            1. Well, if you regard someone as more ‘reliable’ because he threatens to drop bombs everywhere and invades Iraq because God and Dick Cheney told him to do it, I guess that’s a meaning of the word ‘reliable’ I hadn’t previously considered.

              Obama inherited the massive fuckups of Dubya.


              1. Bush Jr. was, as we say, off the road.
                Nevertheless, he gave the impression that we valued the contribution of his allies. Today’s American leaders just turn around and say that if something happens to us, it is our problem.

              2. Today’s American leaders just turn around and say that if something happens to us, it is our problem.

                Its true that under Obama, Ukraine (and other FSU troubles) basically was ‘Europe’s problem.’ But under Trump, Ukraine and FSU troubles basically become My Good Friend Putin’s Generous Outreach Effort problem. I fail to see how the latter is better than the former.

        2. The people backtracking over him are not in the main politicians – they are centre-right and right-wing writers and thinkers who’ve spent years going after low-hanging fruit on the loony left; stupid, spoiled students, identity politics deranging the general cultural discourse, apologists for extremism as long as it comes from minorities, academics living in their own far-left bubble – these are important issues, and this website has gone after them with complete justification, and I’m pretty certain that they were contributory factors in Trump’s election, but now that an actual inchoate dictator has taken charge of the world’s superpower the moral and intellectual scrupulousness these right-wingers have used in scorning the perfidies of the left has suddenly vanished, like a popped soap bubble.

          Hearing Douglas Murray, in particular, reacting to the election of Donald Trump – a man who if he were on the left Murray would rightly label one of the worst human beings on earth – with the most insipid, spineless apologetics…that was so dispiriting.

          It’s very easy for the right to point out that feminists ganging up with Islamists on women like Maryam Namazie is a piece of stunning hypocrisy. It’s very easy for the right to go after the dangers of left-wing identity politics. It’s apparently not so easy for these same ‘moderate, reasonable’ right-wingers to do the same when they are confronted by a far, far nastier and more dangerous form of populist identity politics emanating from their own side.

          This kind of apologetics has quite suddenly popped up on the centre-right for the simple reason that for a long time they were the underdogs – at least in the cultural and societal sphere – and their opponents held the power(and were frequently running riot with it), but in the space of about five months there has been a monumental shift in public and political discourse towards their side. Now they are on the defensive, and they’re defending the kind of politics they’ve spent years attacking when it’s instantiated on the left in far milder forms.

          As for the politicians; they certainly have a job to do in maintaining cordial relations with America. I don’t see anything wrong in remaining cordial with Trump’s administration. What angers me is the small pocket of shameless, principle-free populists who have swivelled 180 degrees in the space of twenty-four hours.
          The sight of, for example, Boris Johnson – who has been trying to regain some popularity with the people who used to like him by repeatedly speaking about how appalling Trump is – engaging in pro-Trump, anti-EU posturing in the most gutless, obsequious way is depressing in the extreme. Politicians who have been wearing their haughtiest expressions and decrying Trump as a demagogue and a buffoon for the last twelve months are suddenly admonishing the media for ‘exaggerating’ Trump’s excesses, and ‘insulting’ or(their new favourite phrase) ‘talking down to’ the American/British public. Every reasoned concern over the unprecedented awfulness of Trump, or indeed Brexit since they’re so intimately connected, is dismissed as ‘whingeing’ or ‘doing the country down'(another tabloid media favourite).

          For a long time now, as the left has controlled the cultural discourse and liberal values have been regnant in western societies much of the apparently decent right has been able to ‘speak truth to power’ in criticising liberal left follies and hypocrisies – it depresses me how quickly they cloak themselves in the garb of their opponents as soon as the tables turn…and it wouldn’t depress me half as much if I didn’t have a good deal of respect for some of these figures in the first place.

          Shallow dogmatists being shallow dogmatists I can take – intelligent, reasoned, ‘classical liberals’ suddenly turning out to be perfect hypocrites is much more of a betrayal.

          1. I agree with much of what you have written.
            Boris Johnson himself hardly qualifies for the control group of a psychiatric study. It has been thoughtless of him to be so dismissive of Trump before the elections. Now, the 180 degree turn is understandable. Especially if Britain is hoping to reach a favorable trade agreement with the USA, while EU is basically threatening to starve the country.

        3. Trump deserves no respect simply because he has won the election. Trump is still Trump, and would likely always be Trump. there is no magic attached to POTUS that would transform him from the misogynist, xenophobic, sexist, racist man that he has always been. He is stepping into the oval offica as the lunatic that he was when he started the campaign, with all due respect, Trump deserves no respect.

  3. Pretty sure President Trump will not find this intimidating. Pretty sure this saber-rattling before the Inauguration is to solidify the ACLU’s base. And raise money.

      1. Trump is a man used to using the courts and litigation as tools to beat his opponents into submission through his ability to outspend them. It’s a fair assumption that he will use the Justice Department in the same way while appointing judges who are likely to side with him. His war chest is now practically infinite and he is either ignorant of how to wield power ethically or simply has no f’s to give when it comes to getting what it wants. The congress will probably not care if he starts blowing billions to defend the laws he will sign from legal challenges.

        It’s not cynicism to wonder how effective the traditional tools we use to oppose the government will be under his term as president.

        1. “Pretty sure solidifying the base and raising money are helpful strategies right now.”

          I was going to say the same thing, but I do think SA Gould expressed those sentiments in a rather cynical way, as though they are wanting to raise money for their own personal benefit.

    1. Pretty sure you’re right.

      And it seemed to me the letter was addressed more to the public, than it was to Mr Trump. If I was writing to Mr Trump I would have expressed it more diplomatically and less like an ultimatum.

      (Note, I generally support the ACLU and its aims, I just think they got the wrong tone here. Presuming, of course, the letter was intended primarily for Mr Trump, which I doubt).


    2. I have a feeling this will set him off. Publicly chastising (and he will see it as chastising) a narcissist like that makes them fly into a rage. What follows will be interesting.

          1. Speaking of fun, we just had a earthquake here in the Shaky Isles. A series of them, in fact, they started quite promisingly with a 7.5 near Culverden, then a 6.1 north of Kaikoura, then three near Seddon, they were heading quite promisingly towards Wellington (the capital) but they’ve turned back and are heading for Christchurch. Which has already had more than its ration of earthquakes thank you very much.

            And all this the day after you … people elected Donald Trump.

            I *said* it would destabilise the globe, didn’t I? But did you USAnians listen? (Mumble mumble grump grump…)


  4. I should report that in the opinion page of the paper I was reading today below the heading: This is the man we elected president

    It goes on to say many are saying that now is the time to be conciliatory, to come together.
    He still has demeaned women in the crudest terms, he has mocked the disabled, viciously attacked anyone who dared to question him on anything and encourage violence against them. He still has cheated and bullied people he has done business with.

    This is not my opinion, it’s all out there on video and audio tape and in the public record. To those who ignored all this and voted for him anyway, please tell me how I explain our new president to my grand kids.

    1. Reply to Randall Schenck:
      I might add we also need an explanation from all the people who decided to sit the election out. A candidate does not have to be a paragon of virtue that inspires you with deep love and loyalty. They just have to be reasonably competent and rational. Hillary Clinton met that requirements in spades. With her in office, imperfect as she may have been, we could have consolidated the progress we made. Unfortunately too many people fell prey to the best voter suppression tactic in the arsenal: make people so disgusted they stay home. This is why Democrats loose elections. So, yeah. How do I tell my students why you sat this one out. You didn’t vote; you didn’t campaign.

      Democracy demands a lot from citizens. Yes, you have to vote. But you have to do more. Candidates do not elect themselves. They depend on an army of volunteers working to get people registered, to explain issues, to counter false advertising, to canvass, to be cheerleaders when everyone is sick and tired of the elections that drag on and on and on.

      Having lost the election, we now have to keep working. What task will you take on today? What is your plan? To quote PCC, “We should be holding the same views, and supporting the retention of our cherished civil liberties” Yes we should, but it will take a lot more than being, “ready to demonstrate in public” Please stop sitting out.

      1. I agree with you. But I also must point out that part of the story is different. Right here in my home town, Milwaukee, where the Republican voter ID laws took affect for the first time. I had the intended affect of reducing votes exactly as intended.

        Ari Berman, writing for The Nation, notes that in this state “300,000 registered voters, according to a federal court, lacked strict forms of voter ID” and that voter turnout “decreased 13 percent in Milwaukee, where 70 percent of the state’s African-American population lives.”

        1. Voter suppression is accomplished in many ways and varies from place to place. In my state I was not aware there were no polling places on reservations until two tribes brought suit this July. They won and the county had to provide polling locations on the reservation for the first time. When other tribes, that had not gone to court, asked for local polling places, the Secretary of State refused. I certainly will follow up on this issue. Maybe your state has similar problems. Voter suppression might be a task individuals could adopt and work on between now that 2018.

          If voter ID’s are a cause of low turnout — well, you have two years to make sure every one of your voters has a valid ID.

          The point I was trying to make was – Don’t sit out. Pick an issue, make a plan and get to work.

          1. The problem is that the State makes it very hard to get one if you are poor and don’t drive. This year the courts had to intervene when it was found that the DMV was providing false information, false in a way that reduced the ability of likely-Democrat voters far more than (R) voters. It is targeted and it produces the expected results.

    2. “It goes on to say many are saying that now is the time to be conciliatory, to come together.”

      I hear Fox News (obviously), and CNN for the most part, striking a similar tone. MSNBC which is close to the HuffPo of television news is the only network that isn’t being conciliatory for the reasons you mentioned. While I’ve often had my issues with MSNBC I now feel as though we’ve been taken over by a right wing dictatorship, and they are the only television News organization speaking for the people in exile, against the state run media.

      1. I wanted to add, that when Trump tweeted “Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” The media he mostly had in mind was MSNBC.

      2. I’ve taken my shots at MSNBC over the years, and I never found much need to follow them, since their talking point were often my own.

        But I watched a fair amount of its coverage over the course of this election season, dating back to before the first primaries, and I’ve got to say, I was duly impressed. With its evening line-up, anyway, which is what I tuned in to, mainly.

        I’ve long been enamored of Rachel Maddow, but the others aren’t bad either: Chris Hayes may look like the nerd whose lunch money got taken away from him in junior high, but he’s a tough, smart, well-prepared interviewer. And Lawrence O’Donnell is the nice, liberal uncle you always wished you had (even if he’s only a couple years older than I). Like Hayes, he too can deliver a solid blow coming out of a clinch.

        Think I’ll stick with them during our time in exile.

    3. I peruse various major internet news sources, and have recently been pausing to look at several opinion columns that were all telling us to just shut, sit down, and make nice to the people who voted him in. Their summary: Trump won b/c he appealed to the many disaffected blue collar and white collar workers who were downsized in trade deals, and who were sick of establishment politics. Their summary: Those who voted for Trump are mostly not racist and misogynist. They had grievances they felt were not being heard, and they voted to have their voices heard, nomatterwhut.
      My view? I am still not ready to make nice. Although their grievances are legit, I do not see how that justifies voting for this horribly flawed human being from the 19th century. They are setting fire to the house that needed a renovation.

  5. I’m sure he’s backtracking as we speak. Not. Like he cares about legal action and protesters. Once he has the Supreme Court sorted he’s fireproof. Years of legal battling up the chain of seniority until the Supreme judges throw it out. Always assuming they last that long before the new McArthy commission comes for them in the night.

    1. Once he has the Supreme Court sorted he’s fireproof.

      On the assumption that lower courts permit him to appeal to higher courts, instead of just saying “case found against you ; rectify your actions and/ or pay penalties”.
      Oh hang on – you have popularly elected judges there? At all levels? So does that lead to a principle that you can always appeal to a higher court, instead of having to get permission to appeal?

    2. I’m not so sure Trump will have such an easy time of it with our courts, including SCOTUS.

      Scalia’s replacement will merely return the Court to the status quo ante, since any new nominee can hardly be to Nino’s right.

      I strongly suspect that Justice Anthony Kennedy and CJ John Roberts are appalled by Donald Trump. (Justice Alito may be as well; I wouldn’t deign to speculate on what’s on the mind of Clarence Thomas.) Roberts and Kennedy have high regard for the institutional and historical role of the Supreme Court, and for maintaining the Court’s traditional dignity. As to SCOTUS, the gravest danger is that the 83-year-old R-B-G, the 78-year-old Stephen Breyer, or the 80-year-old Kennedy may not remain on the bench for another four years, giving Trump the opportunity to make one or more additional appointments.

      As to our lower federal judges, 16 of the past 24-years’ worth of lifetime appointees were made by Clinton and Obama. Among the remaining Republican appointees on the federal bench, I’m confident there are also many principled conservatives who are similarly appalled by the specter of a Trump presidency, and who will not see their role as being tools of whatever passes for Trumpian “policy.”

      1. True. Judges tend to look poorly on those who boast that they can control the rulings because they can control the courts because they can pick judges who will rule the right way, the way they’re supposed to. Or else.


      2. Right you are. R-B-G has probably upped her vitamin supplements since this election. But there is a distinct possibility that the three eldest justices will be replaced, and the current vacancy filled, by the pres. elect, especially if this is a 2-term thing, in which event all the precedent cited by the ACLU could be eviscerated. It happened under Hitler, it happened under Mussolini – the courts did what they were told to do. It can happen here.

  6. The power of the ACLU comes from winning court cases. How to they do that now that Trump will control every federal judgeship in the US, and be able to fill the hundreds of vacancies the Republicans created by their obstruction tactics.

    The ACLU might as well turn out the lights and go home.

    I might add the ACLU just lost an important case in Nevada – the NV Supreme court said the money laundering scheme that gives tax money to parents so they can provide religious education for their children at tax payer expense is perfectly constitutional. Voucher schemes are probably a classic case of ignoring the camel’s nose. With Ben Carson we now have the entire camel in the tent.

  7. What is the ACLU’s argument for saying it would be illegal to deport illegal immigrants/aliens? I am genuinely ignorant.

    1. Stated or framed in your words it probably is not. But Physically capturing and removing 11 million people from the country would likely include some illegality and it would be damn impossible to do. Even a large mouth such as Trump might find it difficult?

      1. This would not be possible without a huge staff (Geheim Stadts Polizei, anyone?), concentration camps, razor wire, guns, kicked in doors, weeping children and women (and men) (not to mention un-harvested crops).

        That would play really well on TV news.

        But then again, Trump has pledged to suppress the media, so maybe there won’t be any film footage.

    2. It is my understanding that SCOTUS has ruled that aliens, even illegal ones, have equal protection. They can be deported, but only with case-by-case due process. You can’t just round them up.

  8. “We should be holding the same views, and supporting the retention of our cherished civil liberties.”

    I agree, even to the extent of including the 2nd Amendment in the “cherished” category.

    1. I kind of wish, instead of cherishing, we had judges who actually knew how to properly interpret the 2nd. And if they cannot do that, to make appropriate adjustment based on some of the changes over the last 225 years. I am all for your civil liberties as long as they include some sanity.

    2. Oh, I wouldn’t worry about the 2A for the time being; its pretty secure. Hell, it’s cossetted away in its very own safe-space, swaddled in a terrycloth robe, its feet up on a hassock, drinking hot toddies and watching puppy videos.

      Not sure how safe that should make the rest of of feel. 🙂

      1. I think your analysis of the second amendment’s secure position is dead on. It was, even before Trump’s election.

        People should also notice the effect threatening gun rights generally has: Sales of firearms and ammunition go up; a large number of single issue voters elect otherwise unthinkable candidates.

        There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 million guns in the United States. An approach like Australia or England took will not work here.

        What will work? People on the gun rights side are more than willing to support public gun safety education campaigns. An intelligent approach to keeping guns away from criminals, terrorists, and the mentally unstable would also be welcomed by most.

        1. “An intelligent approach to keeping guns away from criminals, terrorists, and the mentally unstable would also be welcomed by most [people on the gun rights side].”

          I wish this were true. It certainly is not of the GOP or the NRA.

          They have both said they want people on the terrorist listings to be able to buy guns.

          The NRA stance is: No restrictions.

    3. Excellent point. Now is a good time to reflect on our own views. If we have little respect for the the liberty of others, what can we expect in return.

      If we cheered the expansion of Presidential power under Obama, what’s the principled argument against Trump doing the same.

      The country will work a lot better if people would be loyal to the Constitution all the time, instead of only when it suits them personally.

      1. The problem with your definition of loyalty is very likely different than mine. If that includes slobbering all over the second amendment based on the last interpretation of the supreme robes you can count me out. Free country as you like to say includes my freedom to not agree with you. You operate, far as I can see on your interpretation of what suits you and that works for everyone else as well. That includes your so-called expanded power of Obama.

        1. Do you seriously deny Mr Schenk that posters on this site generally cheered and advocated executive orders and executive power these past 8 years? I can point you to recent threads where the use of executive orders to fill the suprem court vacancy was advocated. Carl’s question then is simple, and you did not address it. If your reading of the constitution allows widely expansive executive power under Obamacare, how can it not allow the same under Trump?

          1. George W. Bush entered more executive orders while president than did Barack Obama, 291 to 242, as did every other two-term president (and several one-term presidents) during the last century. (See here.)

            President Obama got more aggressive in using executive orders late in his term of office, owing to the Republican congress’s refusal to act on any of his proposed legislation.

            If the Democrats in congress find a way similarly to stymie … (oh, god, I can barely type this) … President Trump’s legislative agenda, those of us who supported Obama will have no grounds to complain.

          2. You seem to be addressing me although I cannot guess why? I said nothing about executive orders or the Affordable Care Act. Do you deny that many other presidents initiated far more executive orders than Obama? Do you deny the republican congress has blocked a ton of good legislation from getting done over the past 8 years? The last time I checked the very conservative supreme court can review any executive order it wishes to review. I don’t think what your opinion might be of any specific order is relevant or of any concern to me. My comments above were more about this loyalty to the constitution stuff that he clearly mentioned above and that is about as subjective as it gets. Who determines this loyalty and who defines the specific piece of the constitution you should be loyal to. It is a silly argument. I am not running for office and there is no oath to take here. Not that I have not taken them before…how about you?

  9. It doesn’t help that this guy is a supposed billionaire who has the greasy power of payola (especially considering how much money he saved running his sensationalist-fueled campaign).

    Con first, payoffs second. Griftopia has its orange Übermensch. Just ask Pam Bondi.

  10. The defeatism on display here is as troubling as Trump’s election itself. Grow a spine.

    The Constitution is still in place.

    1. I don’t see this move as defeatism. It’s prudence. And, it just might have an effect on Trump, giving him pause before overstepping his constitutional bounds. It certainly reminds me that there are ways of playing defense.

      1. My comment was not aimed at the ACLU action, which I applaud, but at the whiners commenting on this site like it’s the end of the world and there is nothing to be done.

        1. I’m not sure it’s whining exactly. It is a depressing situation we find ourselves in. Each of us deals with it in our own way. It’s true though that at some point you do have to settle down, stop wringing the hands, and start dealing with the situation constructively.

            1. Thanks for that, PCCE . . . I am appalled at the way that we are eating our own over this horrific state of affairs. The bigots love that we would rather nit pick one another than unite to oppose bigotry in any way possible. And, we must remember that there are state and federal judges who are waiting for the ACLU and other civil libertarians to bring actions to enforce the constitution and defeat the right.

        2. Nothing to be done? Predicting lamentable consequences of this election seems a completely solid bet to me.

          I for one, will be donating to the ACLU.

          And: I have never been as politically motivated as I am now. I will be much more active in future.

    2. I’ve said from early on that the Republic can survive a Trump presidency — IF the nuclear biscuit can be kept out of his grubby, short-fingered mitts. (Maybe Ivanka and WH staff can stash it wherever they kept his twitter machine hidden during the campaign’s final week.)

      1. That IF is also what concerns me most.

        I re-watched one of my favorite movies last night – Mississippi Burning with Gene Hackman and Willem Defoe. It gives a glimpse of what some parts of the country were like as rently as 1964. We have come a long way, and we won’t be going back.

        It’s worth watching to help with the “sky is falling” complex many seem to hold. While you do, bear in mind that the heroes of the story are operating within a powerful organization constructed by an authoritarian racist.

        1. I like Mississippi Burning a lot. (I’m an Alan Parker fan, especially of The Commitments and Angel Heart.) Gene Hackman is great as the peckerwood FBI agent, as is Frances McDormand as the redneck deputy’s wife. Dafoe as the Bobby-Kennedy-acolyte agent, too.

          I have childhood memories of the national news coverage when Chaney, Goodman, and Schwener disappeared.

        2. I wonder if many FBI agents are as dismayed as I am by their boss fucking around (either by intent or clumsiness) with the election?


          1. The Trump cadres in the FBI’s New York office are no doubt satisfied with the election’s outcome.

            James Comey is, I believe, an honest public servant. But he’s overly absorbed with his personal reputation for integrity — which is what led to his clumsy handling of the Hillary email investigation.

            In the end, though, the Clintons have nobody to blame for this but themselves — Hillary with her private server (designed to keep her email beyond the reach of public-records laws), of course; but, even more proximately, Bill with his barging onto Attorney General Lynch’s plane last July. But for that absolutely asinine move, FBI director Comey would’ve barely registered on the public radar in this election.

            1. Comey executed his search in earnest, but after his completely unbiased team reviewed thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of Hillary/Huma emails, all they discovered was a small daguerreotype of Mike Huckabee in extremis.

    3. re “The Constitution is still in place” — Yeah, in place on 12 November y2016, Ms Cady’s 201st birthday, it so is.

      With >80% of your Nation’s electorate believing this very exact day that its Constitution guarandamntees gender equality. Mr Carl, does it ?

      From Mr Dante Alighieri’s “Comedy,” I reiterate thus, “The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.”



      1. You would need to specify what you mean by “gender equality.” If you mean Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex Then yes, that is guaranteed by the Constitution in my opinion.

        The only thing wrong with that statement as an amendment to the Constitution could be fixed by appending This shall not be construed as denying these rights existed before passage of the amendment.

        1. Please let us know when you have studied the entirety of Ms Arquette’s petition … … at where she has already thoroughly, Mr Carl, delineated what you require “specified.”

          A wee excerpt thereof, “what one of our most influential Supreme Court justices said on the matter of sex discrimination:
          ‘Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.’
—Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia”


    4. Trump has promised to wipe his ass on the constitution, basically.

      You think that the GOP congress will reign him in? Good luck with that. They are rubbing their hands and chuckling in anticipation.

      1. In all the hand-wringing about Trump, relatively little has been said about the Republican Party suddenly being yugely empowered, just days after everyone was saying it’d signed its death warrant. Beyond chilling.

  11. Here’s a collection of historians giving their guesses on how Trump’s presidential win will be viewed in the future. A very astute perspective is this one:

    T.J. Stiles, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America and The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt:

    With a longer perspective, I believe historians will see this election as an earthquake on a 150-year-old fault line. On Feb. 19, 1866, President Andrew Johnson vetoed an extension of the Freedmen’s Bureau, a pioneering federal agency that assisted emancipated African Americans. He declared that Congress had never done so much for “our own people,” meaning white people, and defined federal assistance as, in essence, a hand-out to blacks who wouldn’t support themselves. Just four months later, on June 18, Congress sent the Fourteenth Amendment to the states. When ratified in 1868, it erased racial limits on citizenship from the Constitution and authorized federal protection of the rights of individuals. Here was the making of a fundamental political divide that lasts to the present day: On one side, a colorblind definition of citizenship and an endorsement of federal power to aid individuals; on the other, an explicitly racial definition of American identity and a belief that federal aid for individuals is illegitimate, framing it as a bounty for undeserving non-whites. That hardly explains everything about this complicated election, but it’s a historical continuity that will appear more obvious in the decades to come.

    1. The fault line existed from the beginning of the formation of our country. Our forefathers chose not to address the issues then that still face us, and most avoided it every subsequent time it raised its’ ugly head. Had President Lincoln not been assassinated, his treatment of the South and blacks would not have followed the path taken by President Johnson, and our post-Civil War history might not have been so racist and bloody. We continue to pay the price for their squeamishness, and our young people are now paying the price for all of them, and us. They are inheriting a hopelessly blighted land.

      Don’t hold out such great hope for the protection of the Constitution. It has been interpreted and re-interpreted over and over again. (Corporations are persons?) Money, corporations and lobbyists have been modifying the political landscape of the U.S. at all levels from local to federal for at least the last forty years. And, much has been done to limit certain citizens abilities to vote. No wonder some feel hopeless and have given up.

      Nonetheless, those of us who can must continue to support the ACLU and other brave groups who try to protect our rights. We may despair for awhile, but must not give in totally to despair. We must not give up. We owe our kids.

    2. Pardon my snickers. A man telling us not only, with confidence too, what will happen in the future but the also what a more distant future will say of it. I presume these sages predicted Trump’s win, and cleaned up on the prediction markets as well?

  12. I have my doubts that this will have any effect on Trump. I get the strong impression that Trump thinks of the presidency as being king, that his will is the law.

    With the ego he has displayed, this may just make him dig and and refuse to move his position. We will see.

    1. “I get the strong impression that Trump thinks of the presidency as being king …”

      You may be right about that. Melania has announced she’ll be eschewing the title “First Lady” in favor of “Queen Consort.”

      And the Donald is personally designing a coat-of-arms for the White House stationary and china. His royal motto: “carpe pudendum!

      1. You think Trump is sophisticated enough for Latin, and won’t just use the vernacular he’s already on record with?

    2. We need to remind ourselves that Trump is entering a world (politics) in which he has no experience, other than donating for advantage/leverage. He’s a businessman with a self-promoted reputation for ruthlessness and “winning”.

      It’s likely that in his mind he interprets what just happened as him succeeding in putting a competitor out of business. He is now CEO of America, he may feel. When competing businesses fail, they go away, they disappear. Trump is now faced with the realization that although he “won” the sales promotion trophy, most of his competitor’s customers are not just going to jump over and buy from him, in fact they’re not very interested in what he’s been selling at all.

      Will he adopt a business model of trying to appeal to the widest possible customer base? In political terms, that is pretty much the de facto mission of a POTUS. The jury is still out for now.

      1. Great analysis. I would also add that many who “bought” the Trump product did so out of even greater aversion to the alternative.

        1. And the dilemma we need to navigate now is that his most ardent customers, those who bought large quantities of his product, actively DO NOT want him selling anything to the other side.

          Interesting times ahead.

      2. My main concern is Trump bringing this business-negotiating approach to foreign affairs, especially in his role as commander-in-chief of US armed forces.

        It’s one thing to engage in brinkmanship in dealing with a concrete-haulers’ strike, or to lure a guest star onto Celebrity Apprentice; it’s another when used as a ploy to get Germany to pony up its NATO dues while Putin has Russian T-90 battle tanks lined up in the Fulda Gap.

        1. My prediction is that he’ll remain docile and conciliatory until his confusion and mind-boggling lack of political expertise can longer contain his ephemerally-suppressed stentorian beast. He’ll lay low for a while because he’s, ironically, an apprentice on a much larger stage. However, once his orientation and “training” period ends, who knows what we’ll be dealing with? Either way, Trump’s venomous tag team (pro-establishment kooks) will relentlessly remind us that kakistocracy and plutocracy are neither exclusive in principle nor practice.

      3. As Sam Harris put it in his most recent podcast (I paraphrase):

        We are all stuck in the economy cabin of an airliner
        The pilots have died
        The fuel level is zero
        The runaway in in sight
        A man who has never flown a plane before (and has never shown an interest in airplanes before) is striding towards the cockpit and will the controls

        *** Let’s hope he can perform an emergency landing ***

        1. Then it should also be said that Trump executed the other (arguably) more qualified pilots, and expects whoever is left on the plane, to fly it. And, as someone who didn’t need, or may not want job, he has the only parachute.

    1. Are you thinking of a number between 1 and 3?

      The ACLU at the national level does not interpret the second amendment correctly in my view, but they at least have a principled argument for their position.

      Some of the state chapters have argued for second amendment rights in the past, and the Nevada chapter is a full blown supporter of an individual’s right to own and use guns.

    2. Dan, that’s not enough. If you have a position against the ACLU, you should make it explicit. What are we supposed to do with your chip shot?

  13. I guess this might be a good place to insert this…
    Change,org has a petition up to try to “turn” electoral college voters from Trump, which is legal in 20-25 states. http://bit.ly/2eOHINL
    It is probably a fool’s errand since the slate of electoral voters are going to be hand-picked repub supporters in states that repubs won. But it made me feel better to sign my name to it.

    You might want to read a level-headed assessment at Vox as to why you shouldn’t sign this petition, and what could happen if it were successful. http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/11/13588048/electoral-college-petition-clinton-trump

        1. Well now, what a weird and bizarre voting system you folks have. Maybe – on the same principle as the Trump voters who were just saying ‘fuck the system’ – *everybody* should sign that petition with a view to wrecking the electoral college farce. Somebody remind me again what would be wrong with just counting the total votes…?


            1. Changing the rules just ‘because we lost’ is obviously bad.

              Changing the rules because, in their current form, they have major and obvious defects, is entirely justified.


              1. I understood the petition to advocate changing the rules as they apply to this past election.

                Constitutional changes as to how things work in the future is a completely different matter.

              2. I understood the petition to advocate changing the rules as they apply to this past election.

                Constitutional changes as to how things work in the future is a completely different matter.

              3. @Carl:
                I’ve just read the petition. It doesn’t advocate changing the law. It advocates exploiting a loophole to overturn the result of the election.

                It currently has over 3 million signatures, an awful lot of people seem to think rigging an election is better than losing. Makes me even sadder than Trump winning.

          1. The origin of the Electoral College had something to do with mistrust of the broader electorate. The founders were, of course, Britishers who were thinking along the lines that maybe aristocracy had it’s place. Also, the story goes, the slave owning states were worried the more citified states would always control their fate. The EC would remix and lend a hand to the smaller population states. Perhaps the thing should be reconsidered. If you look at the election red/blue map at the county level, you can see that the dems took only the tiny land areas surrounding cities. Trump took everything else.

            1. Like the composition of the US Senate and the infamous “three-fifths” rule, the electoral college was part of the anti-democratic sop given the slave states to keep them from bolting the union during the Constitutional Convention.

              1. One of the primary reasons for the Electoral system was to prevent a demagogue like Trump from being elected President. The way it originally worked was that the people by districts chose their electors from among themselves, and for the sole purpose of temporarily being an elector. The electors could not be office holders, and they voted their conscience. The system has evolved quite a distance from the original design.

                The Constitution is loaded with features aimed at raining in the majority and preventing impulsive mob actions. The framers were primarily concerned with preserving rights, and they feared both government power and pure democracy. The Constitution was meant to hold these forces in check.

              2. Yeah, and it’s done a pretty good job of it, too, mainly. But from time to time, it needs a bit of amending, which is why it has an Article V.

                Under the constitution as originally written, for example, U.S. senators were appointed by a state’s governor. Then, a century and a quarter after the Constitution’s ratification, the nation adopted the 17th Amendment providing for the popular election of senators.

                That was a step forward for democratic, majoritarian rule. It’s time we took another to align our selection of the president with the principle of “one person, one vote.” (Or do you have a valid justification for why the ballot of a voter in Wyoming counts for over three times the value of a voter in California in electing our president?)

              3. As RickFlick pointed out, on a county level Trump won nearly everything. The Clinton vote was mostly restricted to a tiny geographical area surrounding cities. The red/blue map is truly astonishing at this level.

                I see a problem with a slim majority of urban dwellers having so much power over vast swaths of America that they have no knowledge of or interest in. The “Wyoming paradox” doesn’t bother me. To misquote Jefferson, “Country people weren’t born wearing saddles, and city people booted, spurred, and ready to ride them.”

              4. Those electoral maps really caught my eye, too. Some pundits cast the election in terms of a coastal states/interior states dichotomy. But what I saw was, in nearly every state, blue chunks corresponding to urban areas and college towns surrounded like islands by a vast, sparsely populated red rural sea.

                Why isn’t it just as valid a concern that Hicksville USA gets an out-sized voice in the selection of the president who presides over our teeming urban cityscapes (about which the former are likely to have an equivalently low level of interest and understanding)?

                Your approach almost hearkens back to the old, repudiated claim that one’s voting franchise should be proportionate to one’s land ownership.

              5. Ken Kukek writes:
                Why isn’t it just as valid a concern that Hicksville USA gets an out-sized voice in the selection of the president who presides over our teeming urban cityscapes (about which the former are likely to have an equivalently low level of interest and understanding)?

                Being a fellow Mencken fan, I can sympathize with the case laid out in The Husbandman.

                “Just as valid” is in the eye of the beholder. There are points in favor of both popular and geographical representation. Federalism was intended to smooth out those differences. If the Presidency hadn’t become so much more powerful, it wouldn’t be such an issue.

              6. “One of the primary reasons for the Electoral system was to prevent a demagogue like Trump from being elected President.”

                Like they say… “How’s that working out for us?”

                The gods of Irony are well pleased.

              7. GBJames writes:
                they say… “How’s that working out for us?”

                The gods of Irony are well pleased.

                The system has failed to avert Trump because of the changes since its original design. That move toward more democracy produced the demagogue. I may be wrong that wise apolitical citizens chosen by their neighbors and voting their conscience would have rejected Trump, but I don’t think so.

          2. I don’t think the subornation of faithless electors is a genie Major Nelson should let out of the bottle.

            I agree we should abandon the electoral college. But we should do it by amending the constitution, not by “wrecking” the system.

            1. By ‘wrecking’ the Electoral College system I basically meant, demonstrating how pointless and unserviceable it is, at which point a better system would have to be devised.

              I say it’s ‘unserviceable’ because it leads to great emphasis on the ‘swing states’ to the virtual exclusion of the rest. And because it’s got a built-in destabilising effect whereby 51% of the vote gets *all* of a state’s electoral college votes, which is daft.


              1. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, already subdivide their electoral votes (partially) by congressional district.

                But I agree with your goal; it’s your means I reject.

                There may come a time when the operation of government becomes so odious that good people can no longer take part, when they must put their bodies upon the gears and wheels of the machine. This isn’t it (yet).

            2. Even the ongoing movement where states will individually pledge all electors to the popular vote winner is constitutional. An amendment would be a cleaner way to accomplish the purpose.

              I for one want to keep the electoral college. Not the primary reason, but a close finish on the national level with a full blown recount would be a nightmare.

            3. “But we should do it by amending the constitution, not by “wrecking” the system.”

              Ain’t never gonna happen when the conservative states outnumber the liberal ones by such a huge majority.

              1. The Republic’s made do with the electoral college since the election of 1789. I don’t think much material to the EC’s functioning has changed since then.

                Still, I think we could do better, by more closely approximating the goal of one person/one vote — though I think you’re right that it’s not about to change in the current political climate. But I’m confident in the power of a right idea to get itself accepted in the marketplace of ideas, even when that marketplace is comprised of of the obdurate electorate of the American polity. 🙂

              2. ” I think we could do better, by more closely approximating the goal of one person/one vote”

                I think that is necessary.

                Because every now and then you get cases where the Pres is elected with fewer votes than his opponent, and this certainly fuels the perception that there’s something crooked with the system. And motivates such measures as this petition (which I agree is not the way to do it).


              3. “…Because every now and then you get cases where the Pres is elected with fewer votes than his opponent…”

                Yeah, like twice in the past 16 years, both at the expense of Democrats, both throwing the job to trainwrecks (though Trump makes Dubya look like Lincoln).

              4. I dunno; the idea of Shrub as Lincoln is pretty funny in its own right. 🙂

                Damn, I miss Molly Ivins right now. 🙁

      1. It is with deep regret that I have to completely agree with you on this. While it might protect things I value in the short term, such a partisan subversion of the spirit of the rule of law, while technically feasible, is long term poison.

    1. Amongst the other bizarrenesses of your USAnian system is the practice of electing ordinary judges on party lines.

      As this post http://loweringthebar.net/2016/11/lawyer-indicted-wins.html
      from Lowering the Bar makes clear –
      “Crawford was not only seeking a judgeship at the time, she had already won the Democratic primary by then and (this being Chicago) was running unopposed in the general election.”

      Coming from an environment (NZ) where the judiciary is supposed to be absolutely impartial and divorced from politics, that seems really strange to me.


      1. That’s why federal judges in the US are appointed for life. This insulates them from the political process and popular whim.

        The separate and parallel systems of justice in our 50 states use varying methods to select judges — in some, judges are also appointed; in others, they are elected; other states use a hybrid system wherein judges are appointed subject to periodic public votes on whether they should be retained on the bench.

        1. I would not want to be the defendant in a highly-publicised case if the judge had an election coming up…

          (That said, I do recognise that all systems have had some awful judges, it just seems to me that being dependent on popularity to keep their job is more likely to prejudice fair justice than encourage it)


    1. Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. …Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. …They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world.

      1. Nothing concentrates the mind like the prospect of hanging, as Samuel Johnson is said to have said.

        And as I’m somewhat surer Rahmbo actually said, never let such a crises go to waste.

        1. The GOP understands crisis triage. They’ll turn the Federal Reserve into a bailout mechanism for the rich as they did with TARP. And I, foolish enough to think that credit default swaps would never make a comeback.

          I tremble for my country when I reflect that Trump is just.

      2. “They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world.”

        Until Trump suppresses the media. Look at every comment of his: It’s the media’s fault. Solution: Suppress the media.

        I will not be surprised when the newspapers he doesn’t like start to be “investigated” by the FBI and other Federal agencies.

        1. True, neither Hitler nor Mussolini lasted long. That may have had something to do with the fact that we developed the A Bomb before Germany did. This time the maleficent dictator already has the A-Bomb, and more. I don’t think Paine had that in mind.

  14. From Politico:
    “Steve Bannon, a Breitbart News executive and leader of the so-called “alt-right” movement, will serve as Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor.”

  15. In local events, here in “nice” Minnesota, we have received a notice from my son’s school principal. Read it and weep:

    We have unfortuantely had a number of reports from students and parents indciating some students are using both inappropriate, and at times, discriminatory language, when speaking about the election. At times, the language students are choosing to use to express their belief about the election mirrors language used by President-Elect Trump. For example, we’ve had instances in which students are telling other students they’re going to be deported, that a wall is going to be built to keep them out, and that the new president “doesn’t like them.”

    For a pretty white (gegernally) Minnesota, our district has a substantial population of immigrants, especially from East Asia and South Asia. (Many of these children are the sons and daughters of my coworkers.) I am pretty sure they are being targeted.

    I am thoroughly disgusted by this; but not a bit surprised.

    And, as I posted on my FB feed: Why (the hell) isn’t Trump publicly condemning this and telling people to stop it?

      1. I just read the transcript. I can’t give him any credit here. It was a half hearted comment, conditioned on “if it happening” language. And he blamed it on the media.

      2. Crocodile tears, Donald.

        After spending over a year whipping people into a racist frenzy, now you are agin’ it. Right.

        “If it — if it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.'”

        If it helps? What a tool.

        “”I think it’s horrible if that’s happening. I think it’s built up by the press because, frankly, they’ll take every single little incident that they can find in this country, which could’ve been there before.”

        Not exactly taking responsibility is he?

        Just to remind people: Almost all this stuff has Trump tagged to it, often in writing.


        The kids at my son’s school made no bones about it.

        Trump not only gave permission for this, it was his strategy for winning the election. He cannot duck responsibility.

  16. Another of my FB posts:

    Trump supporters before the election: “There’s gonna be armed rebellion if Trump doesn’t win!”

    Trump supporters after the election: “The nerve of these people, peacefully protesting!”

  17. John Oliver’s last show of the season is well worth watching. He points out that blogging and posting on FB are not really very effective ways to deal with the election of an “internet troll” to be the next president of the US. He suggests supporting and donating to organizations likely to make a difference to our future. Here is Oliver’s list.

    Planned Parenthood – plannedparenthood.org
    Center for Reproductive Rights – reproductiverights.org

    Global warming:
    National Resources Defense Council – NRDC.ORG

    International Refugee Assistance Project – REFUGEERIGHTS.ORG

    NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund – NAACPLDF.ORG
    Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund – MALDEF.ORG

    Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth – thetrevorproject.org

    For investigative reporting – ProPublica.org

    Please consider donating.

      1. Yes, of course. I’m thinking there are many more where these came from. I’d just recommend before giving checking into ones you don’t know are legitimate and effective.

      2. HRC (Human Rights Campaign. LGBTQ)

        NOW (National Organization for Women)

        NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League)

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