Dread of The Trump Presidency is Weighing on Many American Families


Excerpt from: Los Angeles Times

Political commentary from David Horsey

I have never seen anything quite like the grief, dread, and despair being felt by the majority of American voters who did not vote for Donald Trump.

Back in 1980, there was disappointment among Democrats when Ronald Reagan won. In 2000, after the long Florida recount and the intrusion of the Supreme Court into the decision, there were plenty of upset people who thought Al Gore, not George W. Bush, deserved to be president. But the losing voters in those elections were not despondent. They were not breaking out in tears weeks later. They were not waking up each morning with feelings of dread about what was to come.

This time it is different and, in my experience, unique. This is not simply a case of Hillary Clinton supporters being bad losers. For most of those who feel traumatized by what happened on Nov. 8, this is not about the candidate who won the popular vote, yet lost the election. It is about the candidate who was picked as president by the electoral college on Monday. People are mourning because the fate of their country will now be in the hands of an intellectually disinterested, reckless, mendacious narcissist.

It is not just Democrats. There are plenty of conservatives and Republicans among those feeling depressed. Their party has been captured by a man who has no bedrock belief in any principle; a man whose only allegiance appears to be to himself.

David Frum, conservative Republican and ex-Bush speechwriter, has been very explicit about what he expects from the Trump White House: corruption and authoritarianism. In a series of tweets the day after the election, Frum predicted that Trump will engage in “massive self-enrichment” and, once the media and Democrats begin investigating and criticizing his actions, he will retaliate “by means fair or foul,” utilizing the powers of the presidency and aided and abetted by a compliant Republican Congress.

“Construction of the apparatus of revenge and repression will begin opportunistically and haphazardly,” Frum wrote. “It will accelerate methodically.”

No one — certainly no Republican — contemplated such a scenario when Reagan was elected, or when George H.W. Bush or his son took office. Nobody thought a victory by Sen. John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012 would have threatened democracy. This time that concern is widespread and far from irrational, given Trump’s words, actions and erratic, bullying temperament.

Those who are troubled by Trump’s ascendancy are almost equally distressed by the mindset of their fellow citizens who voted for him. It is understood that most Trump supporters are decent folks, many of whom have been left behind by changes in the global economy. But how can they believe some of the things they believe? In a post-election survey, the Public Policy Polling organization found that 67% of Trump voters think unemployment increased during Barack Obama’s presidency while only 20% know the opposite is actually true. Though the stock market skyrocketed to record heights during the Obama years, 60% of those who voted for Trump either do not know it or do not believe it. Forty percent of Trump voters also say their candidate won the popular vote, even though Clinton now leads in the count by nearly 3 million ballots. Perhaps that is why friendly crowds at his victory rallies continue to cheer when Trump makes the obviously false claim that he won the election in a landslide. They do not know better.

And then there are those among the Trump loyalists who buy into clearly insane ideas, like the fool who shot up a pizza shop in Washington, D.C., because he believed fake news stories that had identified the restaurant as the headquarters for a child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton. With that muddle-headed level of discernment rampant, it is no wonder Trump gets away with his unending stream of falsehoods.

There have been a number of commentaries written about the need for liberal “elites” to gain a better understanding of those who voted for Trump; the folks in the Rust Belt and rural America who feared for the future because they felt the country they knew was changing too dramatically and leaving them behind. Well, the fear is now on the other side, and not only among so-called elites. It is ordinary Americans of all classes and races who fear that, under Trump, environmental protections will be dismantled, limits on Wall Street greed will be removed, the rights of minorities and women will be undermined and American foreign policy will be run by dangerously unseasoned amateurs with a crush on Vladimir Putin. Such fears are not based on feelings or fake news stories; they are confirmed by the composition of Trump’s Cabinet.

In the presidential campaign, the fears of one group of citizens morphed into a powerful anger that Trump harnessed to propel himself to the White House. Now, another set of Americans — a significantly larger group — is feeling profoundly distressed. If their fears are borne out, their anger, too, will become a political force that could upend an election yet to come.

David.Horsey@latimes.com

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Declassify the Evidence of Russian Hacking!


Excerpt from: The Nation  

by The Nation, DECEMBER 21, 2016

The debate over possible intervention in the election should be based on publicly disclosed evidence, not unverifiable, anonymous leaks.

The revelations of a CIA assessment charging that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in order to help Donald Trump, and Trump’s contemptuous dismissal of the charge as “ridiculous,” have set off another round of ugly, divisive commentary regarding both the legitimacy of the election and Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

Yet the charges of Russian responsibility for the e-mail hacks of the Democratic National Committee and of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta have been repeated so often and so emphatically that it’s become easy to forget that they have yet to be conclusively proved.

While the CIA asserts that Russia interfered with the election in order to assist Trump, it is by no means clear that the nation’s other intelligence agencies agree on all of the details. What is clear is that WikiLeaks managed to obtain a trove of often embarrassing and self-serving e-mails written by DNC officials, Clinton campaign operatives, and media elites. But exactly how did it obtain them? Were they leaked, as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims, or were they deliberately stolen by Russian hackers? We still don’t know for sure. What we do know is that Podesta fell victim to a common (and obvious) spear-phishing ploy, and that the DNC’s system was penetrated by what is widely believed to be a group of Russian-speaking hackers associated with the Russian government. Yet the nature of that association is far from clear.

Even so, we find it troubling that these charges of Russian interference are serving to distract from the very real domestic challenges that threaten our democracy: growing voter suppression, the influence of corporate and dark-money PACs, gerrymandering, and an anachronistic Electoral College that, twice in the past 16 years, has undermined the preferences of American voters.

It is also troubling that the finger-pointing over the leaked e-mails has provided Clinton campaign operatives and surrogates with an excuse for deflecting criticism of the kind of campaign they ran. There’s a striking cognitive dissonance at work here: Liberals who have traditionally been wary of the national-security state and justifiably suspicious of its claims seem to have become its most vociferous supporters, at the very same time that former intelligence officials are urging caution. A former chief of Russian analysis at the CIA, writing in The National Interest, noted that while some of the facts “indeed support the judgment that the Russian government was behind the operations, each is also consistent with alternative explanations.” Another former CIA counterterrorism official told Newsweek, “My main concern is that we will rush to judgment. The analysis needs to be cohesive and done the right way.”

Yet even if it’s proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Russian government did try to interfere in the election, are we really to believe that the blue-collar workers who voted for Trump by the thousands in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (all states that President Obama won in 2008 and 2012) did so only because they were swayed by the contents of the DNC and Podesta e-mails? The Obama White House doesn’t seem to think so. Recall that following the election, it released a statement saying, “We stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people.”

Nevertheless, the current debate, such as it is, has been plagued by a disturbing trend—and it’s one that we’ve seen before: If you express doubts about whether the Russian government hacked the election, or question whether the hacking rose to the level of undermining our electoral system, or simply demand evidence for this tremendously significant allegation (some people making it allege “warfare” by a nuclear-armed country), you are labeled a Trump apologist, a Putin puppet, or both.

This isn’t so surprising, given that one of the motives behind the push to delegitimize Trump’s election is the perhaps well-grounded fear on the part of the foreign-policy establishment that he will seek to find common ground with Russia. As Robert Hunter, the former US ambassador to NATO, recently observed: “Allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. election campaign become a tool to limit, if not cripple, President Trump’s attempts to change the downward course of U.S. and Western relations with Russia.”

Yet McCarthyite allegations and smears only serve to prevent an urgently needed reevaluation of this country’s Russia policy. At a very minimum, we ought to seek evidence and proof before indulging in character assassination. Skepticism isn’t treason; instead, it’s essential to establishing the truth. Keep in mind that the CIA’s assessment hinges on whether the Republican National Committee was also hacked. As of this writing, this is still in dispute. Right now, all the evidence we have amounts to faith-based attribution. We need more.

At his year-end press conference, President Obama told journalists, “I want the report [on the alleged hacking] out, so that everybody can review it.” We welcome this step and call on the president to declassify the evidence against Russia as quickly as possible. The current debate over possible foreign intervention in a US presidential election should be based on publicly disclosed evidence, not on competing and unverifiable anonymous leaks from the intelligence community.

Further, we call on the president to convene an independent commission, composed of experienced Americans, to investigate the allegations of Russian hacking. Such a commission should review the classified intelligence that the CIA used to make its assessment and then formulate recommendations on how to strengthen our cyberdefenses to prevent future disruptions.

Let’s have some proof—and then let’s get on with the hard but necessary work of de-escalating the new Cold War, bearing in mind that it is neither pro-Trump nor pro-Putin, but simply sober realism, to argue that we need to partner with Russia on a host of issues, ranging from combating terrorism to promoting and enforcing nuclear nonproliferation. The need for cooperation, as we have seen, is particularly acute in the area of cybersecurity, where the United States and Russia have failed to sign a binding agreement. This is the moment to press for a global accord banning state-sponsored cyberattacks, whether on power grids or electoral systems.

The allegations of foreign intervention in the presidential election cut right to the heart of American democracy. But in addition to apportioning blame, we ought to see this as an opportune time to recall our own country’s long, often sordid history of doing to other nations what we have, thus far without evidence, accused the Russian government of doing to us. Not only have we interfered in foreign elections; in many countries around the world, we have fomented rebellions and coups, some of them resulting in dictatorships that have cost, by a very conservative estimate, hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. As Ariel Dorfman, a Chilean writer who survived the 1973 US-supported coup and resulting 17-year brutal military dictatorship in his own country, wrote in a New York Times op-ed: “If ever there was a time for America to look at itself in the mirror, if ever there was a time of reckoning and accountability, it is now.”

Tell Democrats: Skip The Inauguration of Hate


Excerpt from: CREDO Action

Democrats should skip the inauguration.

A racist, fascist bigot will take the oath of office as the 45th President of the United States on Jan. 20. Now more than ever, Democrats in Congress must step up and lead the resistance against the Trump regime.

There are countless reasons why Trump is unfit to serve as our president and commander in chief: He’s a racist who has already installed a white supremacist in one of the top positions in his White House, a misogynist who has bragged about sexual assault, and a bigot who plans to deport, surveille and harass millions of people because of their religion and skin color. We cannot let Democrats and the elite political establishment in Washington legitimize Trump’s platform of hate.

Democrats have a choice: They can either champion progressive values, stand up to Trump’s hate and refuse to attend the inauguration, or they can attend the inauguration, normalize Trump’s bigotry and stand idly by while he sets his dangerous agenda in motion. This is not the time for compromise or decorum.

Trump is appointing a leadership team whose values align with his dark and dangerous promises. His pick for attorney general was deemed too racist for a federal judgeship by members of his own party. His future national security adviser traffics in anti-Muslim bigotry. His nominee for treasury secretary is a Goldman Sachs executive, and his transition team is loaded with corporate lobbyists. At least three of his cabinet picks have been accused of domestic violence.1

Members of his crony cabinet are already making plans to destroy Medicare and attack Social Security. And in the first 100 days of his administration, Trump plans to deport millions of immigrants, roll back environmental protections, empower states to escalate attacks on reproductive healthcare and more.2 A true progressive response to the Trump administration will unconditionally resist his bigoted and racist policies without compromise.

Democrat Rep. Luis Gutierrez has already refused to legitimize Trump’s bigotry and hate by attending the inauguration:

“I cannot go to (the) inauguration of a man who’s going to appoint people to the Supreme Court and turn back the clock on women, and turn back the clock on immigrants, and the safety and freedom that we fought for them.”3

Other progressive lawmakers should follow his lead. We’re counting on all Democrats to do everything in their power to protect the life-saving federal programs Trump wants to strip away and the communities he’s going to attack. Speak out now. Urge Democratic leaders to send a clear message of resistance by refusing to attend the inauguration.

  • Go to the link below to sign the petition: Tell Democrats in Congress: Skip the inauguration of hate.

Thank you for speaking out,

Nicole Regalado, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

References:

Rachael Revesz, “Three people in Donald Trump’s administration have been accused of domestic violence,” The Independent, Dec. 9, 2016.
Larry Buchanan, Alicia Parlapiano and Karen Yourish, “How Hard (or Easy) It Will Be for Trump to Fulfill His 100-Day Plan,” The New York Times, Nov. 21, 2016.
Eugene Scott, “Illinois lawmaker vows to boycott inauguration over Trump’s ‘bigotry,’” CNN, Dec. 2, 2016.

© 2016 CREDO. All rights reserved.

Trump’s Cabinet Is a Coup Waiting to Happen


Excerpt from: The Nation
This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.

The president-elect’s main advisors are a clique of “warrior-generals” who may spell the end of the democratic experiment.

By William J. Astore DECEMBER 20, 2016

America has always had a love affair with its generals. It started at the founding of the republic with George Washington and continued with (among others) Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. These military men shared something in common: They were winning generals. Washington in the Revolution; Jackson in the War of 1812; Taylor in the Mexican-American War; Grant in the Civil War; and Ike, of course, in World War II. Americans have always loved a hero in uniform—when he wins.

Yet 21st-century America is witnessing a new and revolutionary moment: the elevation of losing generals to the highest offices in the land. Retired Marine Corps general James “Mad Dog” Mattis, known as a tough-talking “warrior-monk,” will soon be the nation’s secretary of defense. He’ll be joined by a real mad dog, retired Army lieutenant general Michael Flynn as President-elect Donald Trump’s national-security adviser. Leading the Department of Homeland Security will be recently retired general John Kelly, another no-nonsense Marine. And even though he wasn’t selected, retired Army general David Petraeus was seriously considered for secretary of state, further proof of Trump’s starry-eyed fascination with the brass of our losing wars. Generals who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan to anything but victory—pyrrhic ones don’t count—are again being empowered. This time, it’s as “civilian” advisers to Trump, a business tycoon whose military knowledge begins and ends with his invocation of two World War II generals, George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur, as his all-time favorite military leaders.

Let’s pause for a moment to consider those choices. Patton was a skilled commander of armored forces at the divisional and corps level, but lacked the political acumen and temperament to succeed at higher levels of command during World War II. MacArthur, notoriously vainglorious and—does this ring a bell?—completely narcissistic, was fired by President Harry Truman for insubordination during the Korean War. And yet these are the generals Trump professes to admire most. Not Omar Bradley, known as the GI’s general; not Dwight Eisenhower, the man who led the D-Day invasion in 1944; and not, most of all, George C. Marshall, a giant of a man and the architect of military victory in World War II, who did indeed make a remarkably smooth transition to civilian service both as secretary of state and defense after the war.

If Truman appointed Marshall, what’s wrong, one might ask, with Trump surrounding himself with retired generals? Consider two obvious problems. First, the president already has a team of uniformed generals to advise him: the Joint Chiefs of Staff. By selecting career military men like Mattis and Flynn as his senior civilian advisers on military matters, Trump is in essence creating a rival Joint Chiefs, his own tight circle of generals trained and acculturated to think about the world as primarily a realm of conflict and to favor military solutions to geopolitical problems. Second, though it’s getting ever harder to remember in increasingly militarized America, this nation was founded on the fundamental principle of civilian control over the military, a principle that will be seriously eroded if the president’s senior civilian advisers on defense-related matters are men who self-identify as warriors and warfighters.

Having taken off the uniform only a short time ago, career military men like Mattis, Flynn, and Kelly are not truly civilians. In fact, when they served, they weren’t even citizen-soldiers; quite the opposite, those in America’s post-Vietnam military self-identify as professional warriors. For Mattis and Kelly, it’s once a Marine, always a Marine (especially since each served 40-plus years in the Corps). Flynn occupies a spot all his own, since he specifically fancies himself as a warrior-crusader against Islam. These are the men who will soon occupy the highest civilian offices in America’s colossal national security state.

The bottom line is this: A republic—or should I say, former republic?—founded on civilian control of the military needs true civilians as a counterweight to militarism as well as military adventurism. Recently retired generals are anything but that; they’re not even speed bumps on the road to the next set of misbegotten military “adventures.” They are likely to be only one thing: enablers of and accelerants to military action. Their presence in the highest civilian positions represents nothing short of a de facto military coup in Washington, a coup that required no violence since the president-elect simply anointed and exalted them as America’s security saviors.

But here’s a question for you: If these men and their three- and four-star colleagues couldn’t win decisive military victories while in uniform, what makes Trump and the Washington establishment think they’ll do any better while wearing mufti?

OF HIGHLY GROOMED (AND FLAWED) GENERALS
Americans, who strongly admire their military, like to think that its most senior leaders rise on merit. This is not, however, the way the military promotion system actually works. Officers who reach the rank of general have usually been identified and sponsored at a young age, often when they are still company-grade officers in their mid-twenties. They are, in a word, groomed. Their careers are carefully “curated,” as a friend of mine (and colonel in the Air Force) reminded me recently. They’re placed on a fast track for early promotion and often given jobs in Washington at the Pentagon or as liaisons to Congress. Their sponsors and patrons, flying “top cover” for them, have found them worthy and they may indeed be talented and hard-charging. They are also judged to be “safe”—in the sense of being true believers in the professional military way of life.

As my colonel-friend put it, “There’s little room for innovation [in today’s military] because the next generation of GOs [general officers] has been incubating for ten years, learning all the talking points and preparing to venerate the sacred cows. It’s why when a truly innovative idea breaks through and the colonel behind it is publicly commended, there’s no answer to ‘Wow, he’s great. I wonder why he’s retiring as a colonel?’”

True mavericks in the military often stall out at that rank. By disrupting the status quo, they make powerful enemies. A sterling example is Colonel John Boyd. Arguably the finest strategist the US Air Force has produced in the last half-century, Boyd originated the OODA loop concept and fought hard against the brass for more maneuverable and affordable fighter jets like the F-16. Stymied within the ranks, he only gained influence after retirement as a Pentagon consultant.

Gen. officers, by the way, have come to resemble a self-replicating organism. The grooming process, favoring homogeneity as it does, is partly to blame. Disruptive creativity and a reputation for outspokenness can mark one as not being a “team player.” Political skills and conformity are valued more highly. It’s a mistake, then, to assume that America’s generals are the best and the brightest. “The curated and the calculating” is perhaps a more accurate description.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at Trump’s chosen threesome, starting with Gen. Mattis. He has his virtues: a distinguished career in the Marine Corps, a sensible stance against torture, a dedication to all ranks within the military. Yet like so many high-ranking military retirees—take Gen. Mark Welsh of the Air Force, for example—Mattis quickly cashed in on his career, reputation, and continuing influence via the military-industrial complex. Despite a six-figure pension, he joined corporate boards, notably that of military-industrial powerhouse Gen. Dynamics where he quickly earned or acquired nearly $1.5 million in salary and stock options. Mattis is also on the board at Theranos, a deeply troubled company that failed to deliver on promises to develop effective blood-testing technologies for the military.

And then, of course, there was his long military career, itself a distinctly mixed bag. As head of US Central Command under President Obama, for instance, his hawkish stance toward Iran led to his removal and forced retirement in 2013. Almost a decade earlier in 2004, the aggressive tactics he oversaw in Iraq as commanding general of the 1st Marine Division during the Battle of Fallujah have been characterized by some as war crimes. For Trump, however, none of this matters. Mattis, much like Gen. Patton (in the president-elect’s view), is a man who “plays no games.”

And Mattis seems like the voice of reason and moderation compared to Flynn, whose hatred of Islam is as virulent as it is transparent. Like Trump, Flynn is a fan of tweeting, perhaps his most infamous being “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” A brusque man convinced of his own rectitude, who has a reputation for not playing well with others, Flynn was forced from his position as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, after which he became a harsh critic of the Obama administration.

In his brief retirement, Flynn served as a paid lobbyist to a Turkish businessman with close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, while running a business consultancy that is due to profit by providing surveillance drones to patrol the US-Mexican border. Rising to prominence during the Trump campaign, he led the chant against Hillary Clinton (“Lock her up!”) at the Republican National Convention in July. (His son recently helped spread the false rumor that Clinton was involved in a child sex trafficking ring involving a Washington, D.C., pizzeria.) Flynn, who sees Islam as a political conspiracy rather than a legitimate religion, is an angry warrior, a dyed-in-the-wool crusader. That Trump sees such a figure as qualified to serve as the nation’s senior civilian security adviser speaks volumes about the president-elect and the crusading militarism that is likely to be forthcoming from his administration.

Serving in a supporting capacity to Flynn as chief of staff of the National Security Council (NSC) is yet another high-ranking military man (and early supporter of Trump’s presidential run), Army retired lieutenant general Keith Kellogg. Almost a generation older than Flynn, Kellogg served as chief operations officer for the ill-fated Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, which badly mismanaged the US military’s occupation of the country after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. Like most retired generals, Kellogg has profited from close links to defense-related industries, including CACI International, Oracle Corporation (Homeland Security Division), and Cubic, where he was senior vice president for ground combat programs. It’s hard to see fresh ideas coming from the NSC with long-serving military diehards like Flynn and Kellogg ruling the roost.

Gen. John Kelly, the last of the quartet and soon to be head of the Department of Homeland Security, is yet another long-serving Marine with a reputation for bluntness. He opposed efforts by the Obama administration to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, claiming that the remaining detainees were “all bad boys,” both guilty and dangerous. He also ran afoul of the administration by criticizing efforts to open combat positions to qualified servicewomen, claiming such efforts were “agenda-driven” and would lead to lower standards and decreased military combat effectiveness. Despite these views, or perhaps because of them, Kelly, who served as senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and has been well vetted by the system, is likely to be confirmed with little real debate.

OF COUPS AND CRUSADES
Collectively, the team of Mattis, Flynn, and Kelly could not be more symbolic of the ongoing process of subversion of civilian control of the military. With Trump holding their reins, these self-styled warriors will soon take charge of the highest civilian positions overseeing the military of the world’s sole superpower. Don’t think of this, however, as a “Seven Days in May” scenario in which a hard-headed general mounts a coup against an allegedly soft-hearted president. It’s far worse. Who needs a coup, when generals are essentially to be given free rein by a president-elect who fancies himself a military expert because, as a teenager, he spent a few years at a military-themed boarding school?

In all of this, Trump represents just the next (giant) step in an ongoing process. His warrior-steeds, his “dream team” of generals, highlight America’s striking 21st-century embrace of militarism. At the same time, the future of US foreign policy seems increasingly clear: more violent interventionism against what these men see as the existential threat of radical Islam. In the process, one radical idea will be pitted against another: American exceptionalism, armed to the teeth and empowered by war-lovers (some deeply involved in an evangelizing Christianity) against Islamic jihadist extremism. Rather than a “clash of civilizations,” it’s a clash of warring creeds, of what should essentially be seen as fundamentalist cults. Both embrace their own exceptionalism, both see themselves as righteous warriors, both represent ways of thinking steeped in patriarchy and saturated with violence, and both are remarkably resistant to any thought of compromise.

Put another way, under Trump’s team of “civilian” warrior-generals, it looks like the crusades may be back—with a vengeance. Yet for all the president-elect’s tough talk about winning, count on the next four years, like the last 15, being filled to the brim with military frustrations rather than victory. And fear a second possibility as well. Whatever else they do, Trump and his generals are likely to produce one historically stunning result: the withering away of what’s left of the American democratic experiment.

Companies Must Refuse To Build Trump’s Muslim Registry


Excerpt from: CREDO Action

The threat Donald Trump’s presidency poses to Muslims give technology companies a powerful choice to make: will they stand against Trump’s hate or provide the technology and data to enable it?

In November, “The Intercept” asked nine major technology companies if they would help Trump build a Muslim registry.1 After two weeks, only Twitter had responded with an unequivocal no.

That’s when CREDO partnered with our friends at Muslim Advocates, Color Of Change, MPower Change, Courage Campaign, Democracy for America and more than a dozen other progressive and civil rights groups representing more than 35 million people to demand that Google, Facebook, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Booz Allen Hamilton, SRA International and CGI do better.2

As a result of this public pressure, Google, Facebook, Apple, IBM and Microsoft have all now publicly stated they will not collaborate with Trump’s hate, and pressure is mounting on other companies like Oracle and Amazon to do the same. Now is the time to build on this amazing momentum and pressure other companies to join the public resistance to Trump.

Donald Trump’s toxic campaign threatened Muslims, immigrants, people of color, women and LGBTQ people. His staffing decisions to date show that he wants to build an administration that will use the power of the federal government to deliver on those threats.

The creation of a registry of all Muslims in the United States is one of Trump’s most chilling proposals. It harkens back to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and to the Bush-era National Security Entrance-Exit Registration System. Both programs used racist notions of who was a threat to national security in order to racially profile entire groups of people and subject them to government monitoring, surveillance and detention.

With millions of people in this country threatened by Trump, we can’t let corporations that could enable and facilitate Trump’s oppression play the middle. Though many technology companies publicly criticized Trump when he was a candidate, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, IBM and other tech companies’ leaders met with him last week.3 In advance of the meeting, Oracle CEO Safra Catz, who has also joined Trump’s transition team, was quoted saying “I plan to tell the president-elect that we are with him and are here to help in any way we can.”4 After the meeting, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said it was “very productive.”5 These leaders’ presence at Trump Tower, which was clearly meant to advance their corporate agendas, provided powerful legitimacy to Trump’s presidency and his hateful agenda.

Defending our safety and our core values as a country means disrupting and resisting Trump on every front. Technology firms have not only extraordinary power, but extraordinary reach into our personal lives.

Twitter, Apple, Google, Facebook and others have promised not to collaborate with Trump’s Muslim registry. Oracle, Amazon, Booz Allen Hamilton and others now have a clear choice: to stand against Trump or to stand with him. Can you join us in demanding they do the right thing?

  • The petition to technology companies reads:
    “Refuse to sell any goods, services, information or consulting of any kind to help build or facilitate a Muslim registry.”
  • Go to the link below to sign the petition:  https://act.credoaction.com/sign/no_muslim_registry?t=6&akid=20971.7785905.fTy8VC

Thanks for everything you do.

Heidi Hess, Senior Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Sam Biddle, “Of Nine Tech Companies, Only Twitter Says It Would Refuse to Help Trump Build a Muslim Registry,” The Intercept, Dec. 2, 2016.
Sam Biddle, “Following Intercept Report, 22 Organizations Urge Tech Firms to Reject Muslim Registry,” The Intercept, Dec. 12, 2016.
David Streitfeld, “‘I’m Here to Help,’ Trump Tells Tech Executives at Meeting,” New York Times, Dec. 14, 2016.
David Streitfeld, “When Trump Meets Tech Leaders, Jobs Will Be on the Agenda,” New York Times, Dec. 13, 2016.
David Streitfeld, “‘I’m Here to Help,’ Trump Tells Tech Executives at Meeting,” New York Times, Dec. 14, 2016.

© 2016 CREDO. All rights reserved.

The Electoral College Desecrates Democracy—Especially This Time


Excerpt from:The Nation TODAY 10:22 AM

Trump may be the president-elect. But he has no mandate.
By John Nichols
CA_electoral_college_protest_ap_img.jpg
Anti- Trump protesters demonstrate at the Capitol before members of the California Electoral College cast their vote in Sacramento. (AP Photo / Steve Yeater)

The Electoral College was created 229 years ago as a check and balance against popular sovereignty. And, with its formal endorsement of Donald Trump for the presidency, this absurd anachronism has once again completed its mission of desecrating democracy.

As of Monday afternoon, the actual vote count in the race for the presidency was: Democrat Hillary Clinton 65,844,594, Republican Donald Trump 62,979,616. That’s a 2,864,978 popular-vote victory. Yet, when the last of the electors from the 50 states and the District of Columbia had completed their quadrennial mission early Monday evening, the Electoral College vote was: Trump 304, Clinton 227.

So-called “faithless” electors split from Trump and Clinton, casting votes for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former secretary of state Colin Powell, Ohio Governor John Kasich, former congressman Ron Paul, and Native American elder (and Dakota Access Pipeline critic) Faith Spotted Eagle.

The Electoral College’a voting for Trump was accompanied by shouts of “Shame!” in states across the country. “These unprecedented protests made clear that Donald Trump lost the popular vote and has no real mandate,” explained the Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s Adam Green. “Today’s show of resistance reminded the political world that Trump does not represent the will of the people—and it will embolden Democrats to fight Trump as he sides with big international corporations at the expense of American workers.”

By most reasonable electoral measures, Clinton’s clear popular-vote victory should have made her president. But the Electoral College guards against reasonable measures. Because of decisions made more than two centuries ago by a small group of white men who were not enthusiastic about democracy, Trump’s Electoral College advantage trumps Clinton’s popular-vote win.

Trump gained an Electoral College majority, but that does not change the fact that 54 percent of voters rejected him.

It does not work that way in other countries. It does not work that way in contests in states across the United States, where the candidates who secure the most votes win governorships and mayoralties, seats in the US Senate and House of Representatives, and positions on city councils, county boards, village boards, town boards, school boards, and drainage commissions.

But it does work this way for president. As a result, American presidents can be “elected” without winning the most votes—or anything akin to a mandate.

Such is the case with Donald Trump.

Consider the numbers:

53.9 percent of Americans who cast ballots chose not to elect Donald Trump as their president. The vast majority of the anti-Trump votes went to Clinton, with the remainder going to candidates (such as Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein and independent Evan McMullin) who were harshly critical of Trump.

48.2 percent of Americans who cast ballots voted for Clinton for president, while just 46.1 percent voted for Trump. Clinton’s winning by a wider margin than John Kennedy in 1960, than Richard Nixon in 1968, than Jimmy Carter in 1976 or, of course, George W. Bush, the loser of the 2000 election who was awarded the presidency by the Electoral College.

Trump’s 46.1 percent of the popular vote is a full percentage point below the support attained by Republican Mitt Romney in 2012. It is also less than the popular-vote percentages for Gerald Ford in 1976, for Al Gore in 2000, or for John Kerry in 2004. In other words, this year’s “winner” suffered a bigger popular-vote defeat than a good many losers in recent presidential elections.

Trump won enough Electoral College votes to claim the presidency. But he fell far short of what might credibly be referred to the convincing victory he likes to suggest he has attained. In fact, as Nate Silver notes, Trump’s Electoral College advantage is “decidedly below-average.” “There have been 54 presidential elections since the ratification of the 12th Amendment in 1804,” explained Silver in November. “Of those 54 cases, Trump’s share of the electoral vote…ranks 44th.”

The point of going over the numbers is not to make Trump’s critics feel good. The “billionaire populist” is now, formally and certainly, the president-elect. But the numbers should strengthen the spines of those who intend to oppose a Trump presidency. They can reject his appointments, policies, and pronouncements with confidence that he lacks the popular support of most Americans.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has argued, correctly, that “Republicans are taking over Congress. They are taking over the White House. But Republicans do not have majority support in this country. The majority of voters supported Democratic Senate candidates over Republican ones, and the majority supported a Democratic presidential candidate over a Republican one.”

Warren is reminding her fellow Democrats that voters “didn’t send us here to whimper, whine, or grovel. They sent us here to say ‘no’ to efforts to sell Congress to the highest bidder. They sent us here to stand up for what’s right.”

The numbers support that argument. While Trump gained an Electoral College majority on Monday, that does not change the fact that most voters preferred someone else for the presidency.

Trump may be the president-elect. But he has no mandate.

Tell Congress: Immediately Investigate Trump’s Ties To Russia


Excerpt from: CREDO Action

On Wednesday night news broke that U.S. intelligence officials now believe Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the Russian interference in the presidential election.1 This report follows last week’s initial revelation of a secret CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win.2

Trump has also nominated Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson – who has a close relationship with Vladimir Putin and has negotiated oil deals with Russia worth hundreds of billions of dollars – as the next Secretary of State.3

The accumulating evidence is too serious to ignore. There is a very real possibility that Russia helped Trump steal this election from the American people. Some members of the Electoral College are already demanding a briefing on Trump’s ties to Russia before being called to vote on Dec. 19, and Republican politicians like Sen. Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan have now indicated that they will support an investigation and congressional probe into Russian interference in the U.S. election.4

While that’s important, we also need a much broader, immediate and public congressional investigation into the Trump administration’s troubling and inappropriate financial ties to the Russian government.

When Trump encouraged the Russian government to spy on the United States in July,5 members of the intelligence community – and more than 170,000 CREDO activists – called for him to be denied access to classified national security briefings. The people in power didn’t listen.

Republicans in Congress have been relentless in using their power to call sham committee hearings and squander millions of dollars in taxpayer money to set up and run special investigative committees to pursue their extreme right-wing agenda against Planned Parenthood, American Muslims and Hillary Clinton, among others. Now, it is time for them to address an actual controversy. Given the recent revelations about Russia’s interference in the U.S. election and the deep concern of the intelligence community and the American public about Trump’s ties to Russia, there is no excuse for not launching an investigation now.

Tell Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan: Launch an immediate and public investigation into the relationship between Donald Trump and the Russian government.

Republican leaders in Congress must investigate any and all potential Trump connections with Russia to try and recapture the integrity of our elections.Congress can’t wait any longer. They must investigate all outstanding concerns related to Trump conspiring with Russia, including:

The reported Russian cyberattacks on Democratic party infrastructure: Congress must look into the extent of Russian intelligence’s cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign and inquire whether those attacks seemed designed to influence the presidential election.

The reported financial connections between Trump and Russia. Trump’s debt load has increased from $350 million to $630 million in just the last year at a time when American banks are reluctant to extend Trump credit.6 In 2008, Trump’s son is claimed to have said, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”7 Congress must look into the extent to which Trump’s current debt, or his previous business partnerships, obligate him financially to Russian oligarchs aligned with Putin.

Trump advisors’ history of working with Putin-aligned politicians. Congress must investigate to what degree Trump’s current and past senior advisers, including Paul Manafort and Carter Page – who both have long histories of advising, and collecting enormous profit from, Putin-aligned politicians and oligarchs in Russia and Ukraine – had obligations or ties that might have posed a conflict of interest when they were advising Trump during his presidential campaign .8

Trump’s tax returns. Trump refuses to release his tax returns.9 Congress must investigate if there is any information in Trump’s tax returns that would indicate previously undisclosed financial ties to Russian interests in close alignment with Putin’s dictatorship.

Trump’s crony cabinet. Multiple members of or leading candidates for key positions in Trump’s crony cabinet have very disturbing ties to Russia. Most notable is Tillerson, who has a strong and intimate history of business dealings with Putin and other Russian government officials.

The Trump campaign’s reported meddling with the Republican platform on Ukraine. Congress should look into why – when Trump stayed away from most every aspect of the Republican Party platform – his campaign worked behind the scenes to make sure the party backed away from supporting Ukraine and putting the “official Republican party position on arms for Ukraine … at odds with almost all the party’s national security leaders.”10

Republican leaders in Congress are relentless in trying to designate themselves the guardians of our national security, even when their political gamesmanship demonizes and endangers Americans at home and abroad. It would be the height of hypocrisy for them to refuse to investigate the reported CIA intelligence that Russian government interfered with the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

The more of us who add our voices, the harder it will be for McConnell, Ryan and the other leaders in the Republican Party to sweep these reports under the rug and go on with politics as usual.

  • Go to the link below to tell Republican Congressional leaders to:
    “Launch an immediate and public investigation into all of Donald Trump and his cabinet’s inappropriate financial ties to the Russian government.”

Thank you for speaking out,

Tessa Levine, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

References

William M. Arkin, Ken Dilanian and Cynthia McFadden, “U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack,” NBC News, Dec. 15, 2016.
Mark Mazzetti and Eric Lichtblau, “C.I.A. Judgment on Russia Built on Swell of Evidence,” The New York Times, Dec. 11, 2016.
Thomas Grove, “Russia Welcomes Idea of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State,” The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 12, 2016.
Jennifer Steinhauer, “Senate and House Leaders Call for Inquiry of Russian Hacking in Election,” The New York Times, Dec. 12, 2016.
Peter Stone, David Smith, Ben Jacobs, Alec Luhn and Rupert Neate, “Donald Trump and Russia: a web that grows more tangled all the time,” The Guardian, July 30, 2016.
Josh Marshall, “Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really a Thing,” TalkingPointsMemo, July 23, 2016.
Tom Hamburger, Rosalind Helderman and Michael Birnbaum, “Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin.” The Washington Post, June 17, 2016.
Marshall, “Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really a Thing,,” TalkingPointsMemo, July 23, 2016 and Abigail Tracy, “Trump’s Confusing Answer on Crimea Raises Questions About His Campaign Chairman’s Alleged Ties to Russia,” VanityFair.com, August, 1, 2016.
Caitlin Macneal, “Manafort: Trump Still Not Going To Release His Tax Returns,” TalkingPointsMemo, July 27, 2016.
Rogin, “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine,” The Washington Post, July 18, 2016.

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