Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Trump, Seeking to Fulfill Campaign Promise to ‘Put Coal Country Back to Work,’ Signs Legislation to End ‘Stream Protection Rule’

Donald Trump has been busy lifting environmental and financial regulations © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Donald Trump has been busy lifting environmental and financial regulations © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With great zeal, Donald Trump is dismantling environmental protections, regulations designed to mitigate climate change, and consumer financial protections intended to prevent another Great Recession that caused millions to lose their jobs, homes, retirement and college savings. With all the hullabaloo over Russian hacking of the election and Trump aides colluding with Russian operatives during the campaign, the firing of top National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who not only lied to VP Pence but also to federal authorities about his contact with Russia prior to the inauguration, the Trump Muslim/Travel Ban, and Trump’s attack on a free press, arguing that contrary to what is being reported, his new administration is a “fine tuned machine,” you likely have not heard about how Trump intends to make sure the machine is powered by dirty fuel and financed by deregulated banksters.

This from the White House pool press report by Adrian Carrasquillo, White House correspondent for BuzzFeed, at the signing of H.J. Res. 38:

The bill overturns the Department of Interior’s Stream Protection Rule, which was signed during the final month of the Obama administration, “addresses the impacts of surface coal mining operations on surface water, groundwater, and the productivity of mining operation sites,” according to the Congress.gov summary of the resolution.

“By eliminating this rule I am continuing to keep my promise to get rid of wasteful regulations that do nothing, absolutely nothing, but slow down the economy, hamstring companies, push jobs to other countries, which is happening all over, although I must say we’ve stopped it,” Trump said. “You’ve seen all the factories, all the plants, they’re moving back, they’re going back to a lot of places. So you know that right, fellas? They’re moving back fast — Ford, General Motors, Fiat, so many, very happy. Compliance costs for this rule would be over $50 million a year for the coal industry alone, it’s unnecessary.”

in the Roosevelt room and flanked by House Republicans on his left and miners from West Virginia in hard hats on his right, POTUS signed the resolution that he said would “eliminate another terrible job-killing rule saving many thousands of American jobs especially in the mines, which I’ve been promising you. The miners are a big deal, I’ve had support from some of these folks right from the very beginning and I won’t forget it. We went to West Virginia and we had 17, 18,000 people and they couldn’t get into that big arena.”

Trump thanked House Republican leadership including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop and Rep. Bill Johnson.

McConnell, McCarthy, and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin were behind the president as he spoke. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus stood off to the side watching the president’s remarks. Pool has asked for a full list of who was in attendance.

 

Trump told the miners the rule was a major threat to their jobs and said there was “a spirit of optimism rising across the country.”

“How about one of the miners saying a few words. I hear Rand all the time,” Trump joked of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul who was in the room.

Coal miner Michael Nelson, General Superintendent, of the Marion County Coal Company stepped to the microphone: “President Trump we thank you for everything you’ve done for us. Everything you’re doing for our industry is very much needed. I’ve been in this industry for 40 years and this is a very exciting time in our industry.”

Nelson said he worked for Marion County Coal Company in West Virginia and POTUS asked “How did I do in the area?” referencing the election. “Oh, you did great,” Nelson said to laughs in the room.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said “this is a lifeline to us, these miners they mine in West Virginia, it’s a source of pride for us as a state that we’ve been able to power this country, that we’ve had the opportunity to provide the energy to this country.”

Sen. Rand Paul said this is a big day for Kentucky and thanked Trump for getting rid of job-killing regulations. “I can promise you Eastern Kentucky voted 75% for Donald J. Trump,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the last eight years brought a “depression” to Eastern Kentucky. “Our folks are so excited to have a pro-coal president and we thank you so much for being on our side.”

A funny moment happened before the event concluded, Carrasquillo reported. POTUS got excited and invited the miners to the Oval Office and began to leave before having to be reminded that he had to actually sign the resolution first.

FULL LIST OF ATTENDEES:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito

Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Joe Manchin

Rep. Bill Johnson,

Rep. David McKinley

Rep. Evan Jenkins

Rep. Jim Jordan

Rep. Morgan Griffith

Rep. Rob Bishop

Rep. Alex Mooney

Rep. Jim Renacci

Rep. Doug Lamborn

Hal Quinn, President and CEO, National Mining Association

Matt Evans, Vice President, Boich Companies

Robert Murray, Chairman, President and CEO, Murray Energy Corporation

Ryan Murray, Vice President, Murray Energy Corporation

Casey Crooks, Superintendent, American Energy Corporation

Kevin Hughes, General Manager, Murray Energy Corporation

Scott Martin, General Superintendent, The Harrison County Coal Company

Robert Moore, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer, Murray Energy Corporation

John Hardison, General Manager, Anchor Longwall & Rebuld, Inc.

Eric Grimm, General Manager, The Marshall County Coal Company

Michael Carey, Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Murray Energy Corporation

Gary Broadbent, Senior Corporate Counsel and Director of Investor and Media Relations, Murray Energy Corporation

Michael Nelson, General Superintendent, The Marion County Coal Company

Here is the notice from the White House.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: PUTTING COAL COUNTRY BACK TO WORK

LETTING COAL COUNTRY WORK AGAINToday, President Donald J. Trump signed legislation (House Joint Resolution 38) to stop the costly “Stream Protection Rule” from further harming coal workers and the communities that depend on them.

  • H.J. Res. 38 blocks an overly burdensome regulation from harming the coal industry.

o   The regulation was expected to reduce coal production, leading to fewer coal jobs across the country.

o   The blocked regulation threatened the coal industry with millions of dollars in compliance costs.

o   Complying with the regulation would have put an unsustainable financial burden on small mines, most of which are in the Appalachian Basin.

  • The blocked regulation would have duplicated existing regulations already in place to protect Americans.

GIVING COAL COUNTRY RELIEF: Since 2009, the coal industry has declined, leaving workers and communities without a lifeline.

  • Since January 2009, the coal mining industry has lost over 36,000 jobs without any relief in sight.
  • From 2009 to 2015, coal production declined by over 177,000,000 tons across the country.
  • From 2009 to 2015, over 600 coal mines closed.

A PROMISE TO COAL WORKERS: Before President Trump’s inauguration, he promised coal workers he would support them and reverse the harmful actions of the past administration.

  • November 21, 2016, the Trump-Pence Transition Team pledged to “end the war on coal” and review harmful regulations created under the Obama Administration.
  • September 22, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump called out harmful coal regulations: “I will rescind the coal mining lease moratorium, the excessive Interior Department stream rule, and conduct a top-down review of all anti-coal regulations issued by the Obama Administration.”
  • August 8, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump pledged to the American people: “We will put our coal miners and steel workers back to work.”

GETTING GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE WAY: President Trump has been steadfast in his commitment to reducing the regulatory burden on all Americans, their pocketbooks, and their businesses.

  • President Trump has required that for every new Federal regulation, two existing regulations be eliminated.
  • President Trump has placed a moratorium on all new regulations by executive departments and agencies that are not compelled by Congress or public safety.
  • President Trump directed the Commerce Department to streamline Federal permitting processes for domestic manufacturing and to reduce regulatory burdens on domestic manufacturers.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order expediting the environmental review and approval processes for domestic infrastructure projects.
  • President Trump signed legislation to eliminate a costly regulation that threatened to put domestic extraction companies and their employees at an unfair disadvantage.
  • President Trump directed the Secretary of the Treasury to conduct a full review of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to ensure associated, burdensome regulations receive proper scrutiny.
  • President Trump ordered re-examination of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, to make certain that it does not harm Americans as they save for retirement.

 

Trump: Go Nuclear on SCOTUS Nominee Neil Gorsuch; Meets with Groups Who Advocated for Nominee

The US Supreme Court Building, Washington DC. Trump is insisting that Democrats swiftly confirm his nominee to fill Scalia’s seat, Neil Gorsuch, even though Republicans blocked any confirmation hearing for Obama’s nominee for nearly a year and threatened to refuse to consider any nominee if Hillary Clinton would have become President © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The US Supreme Court Building, Washington DC. Trump is insisting that Democrats swiftly confirm his nominee to fill Scalia’s seat, Neil Gorsuch, even though Republicans blocked any confirmation hearing for Obama’s nominee for nearly a year and threatened to refuse to consider any nominee if Hillary Clinton would have become President © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This is pool reporting from John Bennett at CQ Rollcall (cqrollcall.com), about Trump’s meeting on his nominee to Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch. Note the people in attendance, and how he is perfectly fine with the “nuclear option” – going to a 51 vote threshold instead of 60 (intended to get a more mainstream candidate for a lifetime appointment intended to make them independent of partisan politics):

POTUS entered the Roosevelt Room at 11:45 a.m., greeting guests from groups the White House worked with while selecting a SCOTUS nominee and will be working with to get Judge Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court. He shook hands with several attendees before urging them to sit around the large table.

The news first, to review last Pool report for those who might have missed it. In response to a question from Fox’s John Roberts, the president endorsed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell using the so-called “nuclear option” to get Gorsuch confirmed with 50 votes, rather than the 60 needed now to end debate and move to an up-or-down floor vote. Here is POTUS’s response:

“Yes, if we end up with the same gridlock we’ve had in Washington for longer than neight years, in all fairness to President Obama, a lot longer than eight years. If we end up with that gridlock I would say, ‘If you can, Mitch, go nuclear.’ Because that would would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was put up to that neglect. I would say it’s up to Mitch, but I would say, ‘Go for it.”

About six minutes before endorsing the “nuclear option,” POTUS began the session by holding Florida-based televangelist Paula White’s chair.

Of Gorsuch, Trump said he doesn’t “know how anyone can oppose him at all.”

“He’s a terrific person, by the way. I got to know him reasonably well. … He is just a spectacular man, and I think he’s going to be a spectacular [justice]. … He’s perfect in just about every way.”

POTUS said, nearly two weeks into the job, that defending the country is the office’s most important function. No. 2 would be selecting a Supreme Court nominee. Trump took a shot at President Obama, saying, ““We have problems that are a lot bigger than people understood. I was left something…with a lot of problems.” He vowed to “straighten them out very strongly.”

Trump predicted Senate Democrats will “look for the “almosts” in Gorsuch’s legal background, but he did not elaborate on any concerns he might have or a strategy to counter such a line of attack.

He called his nominee an “exceptionally qualified person from the standpoint of experience and education – Columbia University with honors, Harvard Law School with honors, Oxford at the highest level. … Great intellect.”

“We want to watch him go through an elegant process as opposed to a demeaning process. They’re very demeaning on the other side. They want to make him look as bad as possible. Of course, the media can very demeaning, as well. … I really think he’s a very dignified man, and I would like to see him go through a dignified process. I think he deserves that. And hopefully it will go quickly. And we will see what happens….

“I think there’s a certain dishonesty if they go against their vote from not very long ago. He did get a unanimous endorsement. … You can’t do it better, from an educational…from any standpoint. A great judge, he’ll be a great justice. I feel it’s very dishonest if they go back [on their previous votes].”

During the SCOTUS meeting, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus sat at the far end of the table with a stern facial expression, just as he did in the morning’s “listening session.” There was no senior adviser Jared Kushner in this meeting with SCOTUS groups, but White House counselor Kellyanne Conway sat a few seats to Trump’s right, near Priebus. Vice President Mike Pence stood to the left of the table in a dark suit, white shirt and bright red tie, his arms crossed at his chest for a few minutes.

Full list of attendees, per the White House:
Mr. Morton Blackwell, The Leadership Institute
Mr. Tom Collamore, U.S. Chamber of Commerce — attendance TBD
Ms. Marjorie Dannenfelser, Susan B. Anthony List
Ms. Juanita D. Duggan, National Federation of Independent Business
Mr. Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association
Mr. Leonard Leo, Federalist Society
Ms. Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America
Mr. Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Mr. David O’Steen, National Right to Life
Ms. Paula White, New Destiny Christian Center
Ms. Charmaine Yoest, American Values

Trump Muslim Travel Ban Will Hurt US Standing in World, National Security, Economy at Home

Trump’s Muslim ban barring travelers, students, businesspeople, immigrants, refugees from seven countries makes a mockery of all the Statue of Liberty stands for © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Trump’s Muslim ban barring travelers, students, businesspeople, immigrants, refugees from seven countries makes a mockery of all the Statue of Liberty stands for © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

In one stroke of his pen, Trump overturned and violated foundational American principles and values enshrined in the Constitution that bars favor or disfavor for any religion, that guarantees due process of law and that every person deserves equal justice under law. His ban on travel, immigration and refugee asylum goes against American history and heritage as a nation built by immigrants, many who came as refugees fleeing war and persecution. It ignores the many instances in American history when government violated its own principles, such as its original sins, the genocide of Native Americans and enslavement of Africans, going on to the Chinese Expulsion, the Japanese internment, the ramifications of turning back boatloads of Jews fleeing the Nazi Holocaust. Trump would like to go back to those bad ol’ days.

And he did it on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Note: Trump’s statement released on Friday failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism, clearly the imprint of White Nationalist Steve Bannon, Trump’s key advisor.)

Trump, through his dismissive foreign policy tweets concerning NATO, nuclear weapons, climate change, indeed his entire America First policy – reinforced by the new UN Ambassador Nikki Haley in a defiant, “You have our back or we’re taking names” threat; his trade war launched with Mexico which likely will spread to China and others, his stance to pull the US out of global climate action – will turn the US into a pariah among nations, opening the way for China to step up influence in Mexico (a Pacific nation), and Africa, and Russia in the Middle East and Eastern Europe (after all, who will stop Putin’s push to establish a new Soviet Empire?).

The immoral, unconstitutional, anti-American, and ultimately self-destructive impacts of Trump’s Muslim Ban will not make the United States safer, but rather feeds into radical Jihadists’ war cry against the Crusader West, not to mention the misery, anxiety it has imposed on thousands of immigrants and refugees who have already suffered the terror of war and the trauma of leaving homelands, sending them back into dangerous and desperate circumstance.

The callous disregard for the toll on humans because of the horrendous way the order was rolled out – making the first two weeks of the Obamacare roll out look like the 1969 moon landing – gives proof to the lie of Trump as a “businessman” rather than King of Debt who drove his businesses into the ground, while screwing the workers and contractors, and raises real terror than he will in fact run the country as he ran his businesses.

There has been superb reporting on the individuals caught in Trump’s limbo. But I want to focus on the economic and social impacts of undermining travel and tourism, reviving anti-Americanism abroad and undermining the appeal of the United States as a destination.

Trump, with an America First philosophy, says he wants to expand economy and jobs, lower the trade deficit, but his policies already are guaranteed to damage one of the nation’s most vigorous, reliable engines of economic growth, jobs and social mobility, lifting minorities and women into the middle class, not to mention international goodwill: international travel.

Indeed, tourism is part of trade. Travelers coming into the United States are an “import,” and the dollars spent here go a long way to reducing the trade deficit. How much? According to the US Travel Association, travel and tourism generates $2.1 trillion in economic output (2.7% of GDP) from domestic and international visitors (includes $927.9 billion in direct travel expenditures that spurred an additional $1.2 trillion in other industries through a ripple effect). Travel expenditures support 15 million jobs (8 million directly); account for $221.7 billion in wages, and generate $141.5 billion in tax revenues to federal, state and local governments, levels that increased significantly over the past eight years, helping to lift the nation out of the Great Recession.

Just as Trump unleashed his ban – catching up people who were already in transit, many after years of vetting, and even green card holders and legal residents who happened to be traveling outside US – I was at the Javits Center for the New York Times Travel Show, a stunning gathering of travel suppliers and representatives from around the world and people who sell travel and value travel.

I stopped at a booth of an operator who organizes trips to Iran (earlier, Iran was cited as one of the “hot” new destinations for Americans, along with Cuba). In response to Trump’s ban on all arrivals from Iran, Iran retaliated with a ban on Americans coming in (Iraq is now talking about expelling Americans, where we have some 5,000 troops, already primed to hate Americans after Trump told the CIA he would like a “second chance at getting Iraq’s Oil” after all, “to the victor belong the spoils.”).

Cuba is another destination that Americans have been flocking to since Obama normalized relations and eased travel restrictions – a way to succeed where 50 years of isolation have failed, to introduce a taste for democracy to Cubans living under a Communist dictatorship. Now that is up in the air.

“If [Trump] makes it look like Mexico is the enemy, people will stop traveling to the enemy,” Alejandro Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group said on a “State of the Travel Industry” panel. “That would hurt us badly, but it would also hurt the United States. Most importantly, it would hurt the humanity and the morals and the principles of the United States.”

Ninan Chacko, CEO of Travel Leaders Group, a travel agency company, noted that on a trip to Mexico recently, he found Mexicans who normally take ski vacations in Aspen and Vail are going to Vancouver, Canada, instead.

The 20% tariff that Trump proposes against Mexico (which would be paid for by American consumers, not Mexico), the second largest trading partner with the US which supports 6 million US jobs,  will likely be retaliated with a tariff on American goods, making them more expensive and unaffordable for Mexicans, whose economy will likely be devastated (already the currency is taking a hit), and further destabilizing the country.

Trump’s domestic and foreign policies have a singular theme: disruption and destabilization. And he doesn’t care who is killed or how many suffer. A bully takes pleasure out of terrorizing vulnerable people.

In just his first few days occupying the Oval Office, Trump has managed to overturn the goodwill, and foment anti-Americanism. A travel insurance company actually came out with an alert to travelers to be more aware. The headline: “What to Be Aware of When Traveling in the Apocalypse; APRIL Outlines Simple Precautions for Traveling in a Post-Trump World”

“It’s not our role to influence or pass judgment on the political process in America, but regardless of personal opinions on Trump’s presidency, travel counselors recall the anti-American sentiments prevalent during the George W. Bush administration. They are therefore cognizant of shifting perceptions of Americans internationally,” explained Jason Schreier, CEO of APRIL USA.

“Vacationing is a staple of American society and one of the primary ways Americans enrich themselves culturally. World events should not deter one from traveling, but vacationers need to be aware of their vulnerabilities and protect themselves accordingly.” Sad.

The value of international tourism goes beyond economic growth, jobs and tax receipts, though these are vitally important – but in essence literally brings peoples together. American travelers are unofficial ambassadors of American values and ideas, fostering good will. In the same vein, Americans who meet people face to face, where they are no longer “others” to be feared, but rather seen as human beings more similar than different. Travelers are the first line of diplomacy, the first line or promoting peace and cooperation.

President Obama understood this, which is why he encouraged young people to study, work and travel abroad and created mechanisms to help them find opportunities to do that; why he encouraged foreign students to attend our schools, to foster people-to-people exchanges, and why he eased restrictions on travel to Cuba.

Trump’s ill-conceived and executed travel & immigration ban is heinous (the chaoic, dysfunctional way it was rolled out – without even consulting his new Defense and Homeland Security Secretaries, without instruction to Customs and Border Patrol agents, making the roll out of Obamacare look like the 1969 Moon Landing), a violation of law (due process, religious freedom) and American values and morals. And though Trump justifies it as keeping Americans safe, it is not designed to do that – none of the 7 countries that are banned have ever been connected to terrorism on US soil, while the countries that have (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan) were not part of this ban. Not to mention that his wall along the Mexico border (where hysterical rightwing conspiracy theorists have said that ISIS has infiltrated) would do nothing to block the actual war-weary refugees that welcoming Canada has taken in.

Trump excuses his callous and grotesque policy as “extr-e-e-e-me vetting.” But these refugees already go through batteries of screening – at least 18 federal agencies – in an intensive process that takes years. And through all of this, Trump has not actually said what he would add to the process to make it more secure. The fact is, none of the refugees that have come through the process set out by the Obama Administration have had anything to do with terrorism in the US. What is happening in Europe, with the flood of hundreds of thousands of refugees that flowed through the continent, has nothing to do with what is happening in the US.

Trump’s America First foreign policies (trade, climate action, weakening NATO for example) are intended to isolate the United States, to put up our own Iron Curtain, our own Bamboo Curtain so that an autocrat can keep its people in darkness, ignorance, fear and insecurity and therefore malleable and controllable, which is what dictators and autocrats like Vladimir Putin of Russia, Kim Jong-un of North Korea, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, and the Iranian Ayotollahs.

“President Trump’s travel ban on Iranians is a gift to the Islamic republic and its hard-line rulers,” writes Hadi Ghaemi, founder and executive director of the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in the Washington Post. “It will not deter terrorism on U.S. soil. Not a single terrorist involved in the 9/11 attacks or other fatal terrorist attacks in the United States since then has been of Iranian origin. Instead, Trump’s policy is a collective punishment of a diverse and changing nationality, and will ironically serve the purposes of Iran’s hard-line rulers.”

As for terror, let’s compare the number of Americans killed on American soil as overt acts of radical jihadist terrorism (as opposed to domestic terrorism, such as anti-abortion, anti-Muslims) including the Boston Marathon, San Bernadino and Orlando: there have been 15 deaths since 9/11, compared to 445,000 killed by gun violence on US soil. Toddlers are more lethal than terrorists, killing one person a week.

As for the number of foreign infiltrators, immigrants or refugees who participated in terror attacks in the US? The Washington Post reporting on a study by nonpartisan think tank New America Foundation, of 400 individuals charged with or credibly involved in jihad-inspired activity in the U.S. since 9/11 2001, 197 were U.S.-born citizens, 82 were naturalized citizens, and 44 were permanent residents; just 11 were on a non-immigrant visa, 8 were illegal immigrants, and 12 had refugee status.

Indeed, the United Arab Emirates, Bahamas, France, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Germany are among the countries that issued travel advisories against travel to the US over concerns about epidemic gun violence, mass shootings, police violence, as well as anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT attitudes and the Zika virus.

Tina Müller, 54, of Berlin, was quoted in USA Today (“Overseas Travel Warnings about USA Mount”) saying she had no plans to visit the US anytime soon, “They need to get rid of their guns. It would solve a lot of their problems. We have racism and prejudice in Europe, but we don’t have mass shootings and violence on that level.”

Yet Trump bases an unconstitutional ban on refugees, immigrants, green card and visa holders on a slogan of “protecting the safety of Americans”. But if he cared that much for Americans’ health, welfare, national security and safety, he would be signing executive orders for sensible gun restrictions starting with “No Fly, No Buy,” and smart-guns, instead of proposing a “Guns Everywhere” policy; he would be expanding the public option instead of repealing the Affordable Care Act to save tens of thousands of premature, needless death and suffering, and spending money to create vaccines against Zika and Ebola; and he would be expanding trade instead of putting up barriers and launching trade wars, to uplift people around the world from deprivation and poverty rather than exacerbating destabilizing income inequality.

Trump has demonstrated that he intends to rule as he campaigned, by stoking fear and terror and insecurity. That may well serve another goal: keeping Americans insulated from the world so they are kept in darkness and ignorance and malleable to his policies.

That is not a recipe to “Make America Great Again,” nor keeping Americans safe. That is a recipe for widening violence and terror as well as economic insecurity. There will be a domino effect, through the global economy, just as the US mortgage crisis triggered a global meltdown, starting with retaliatory policies such as trade tariffs and travel bans.

The anti-globalism, anti-trade isolationism implicit in Trump’s populism is quite frightening. The undermining of global institutions which effectively prevented World War III – the United Nations, European Union, NATO, even the international cooperation in outer space – edges us closer to the existential apocalypse given the technological capacity in the control of a single person.

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© 2017 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at  www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Trump-Pence Campaign Leaders Launch ‘America First Policies’ Advocacy Group

Trump-Pence Campaign leaders have launched America First Policies to aggressively advocate for the policies and initiatives coming from the White House © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Trump-Pence Campaign leaders have launched America First Policies to aggressively advocate for the policies and initiatives coming from the White House © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Even as millions around the country and the world have been protesting the policies coming down from Donald Trump – the immigration and travel ban, global gag order on women’s health facilities, attacks on environment and climate action, attacking the media, threatening new voter suppression actions (the list goes on and on) – today a senior group of key Trump-Pence campaign, transition, and inauguration leaders announced the formation of America First Policies, a non-profit organization dedicating to advocating the initiatives and policies of the White House.

“As an issue advocacy organization, America First will be dedicated to empowering, educating, and mobilizing tens of millions of Americans who believe in policies that put America First,” the press release stated. “The organization will promote policy, support leaders, coalitions, and other organizations who back America First policies, and communicate directly to citizens – directly challenging the agenda of the liberal and biased media.”

America First Policies will be led by Nick Ayers, Rick Gates, Marty Obst and Brad Parscale – a team who worked closely throughout much of the campaign, transition, and inauguration and have tremendous experience in public policy, issue advocacy, fundraising, and political organization. In addition, David Bossie and Katrina Pierson will also be joining the newly formed entity. The group said it will not accept any donations from federally registered lobbyists.

“President Trump campaigned on a bold but basic concept: America First,” the team said in a joint statement. “This is a concept the American people both understand and support, but few in the media recognize and many politicians beholden to special interests will oppose. We will provide the counter balance. And while our funding will be significant – the most powerful thing this organization can do is harness the power and energy from everyday ordinary Americans, and give them a voice in this process. If their voices are heard, ‘America First’ policies championed by The White House will prevail.”

Lessons From the Historic Women’s March: How to Counter Trump

The Capitol Building still draped in flags for Donald Trump’s inauguration the day before, 750,000 crammed the National Mall to stand up for Women’s Rights and Human Rights © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Capitol Building still draped in flags for Donald Trump’s inauguration the day before, 750,000 crammed the National Mall to stand up for Women’s Rights and Human Rights © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

It’s already begun. The unraveling of eight years of progress under Obama. Contrast their first actions: Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Act so women can have a legal remedy for pay equity. Trump signed  an executive orders to dismantle Obamacare and to withhold funding from any NGO anywhere that funds abortions.

Donald Trump doesn’t care that more than twice as many people came out to protest his illegitimately gained presidency, his morals and his agenda than came out to support his inauguration (I was at both. I saw despite the lies that Trump is spewing.) His warped ego will probably take it as a matter of pride that more than 500,000 people descended on Washington from all over the country while millions more filled out gargantuan protests in NYC (400,000), Los Angeles (750,000), Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis – indeed, all across the US – plus cities in 50 countries including Paris, London, Sydney.

Nasty Canadian Women at the Women’s March on Washington © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Nasty Canadian Women at the Women’s March on Washington © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

They came out to declare: Women’s Rights are Human Rights, women are not chattel, a mere vessel (vassal) to harbor an embryo. And so women and their men and children were standing up for reproductive rights, access to health care, gun safety, climate action, immigration reform, criminal justice, pay equity, public education, voting rights, campaign finance  – all those things that together constitute “women’s issues”. Economic justice, climate justice, criminal justice, social justice, political justice, national security and peace in the world are all “women’s issues.”

“From the shores of Sydney, Australia to the tundra of Kodiak, Alaska we marched. Signs held high, our voices carried across Little Rock, Arkansas and Nashville, Tennessee, Phoenix, Arizona and Lansing, Michigan. Pink knit hats stretched as far as the eye could see in London, England, New York City, Los Angeles, California and Washington DC,” writes Heidi L. Sieck, Co-Founder/CEO,  #VOTEPROCHOICE.

We Can Do It © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
We Can Do It © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In fact, this was the single largest political demonstration day of protest in US history and most certainly the largest outpouring of opposition at the opening of a new administration. Trump, who lost the popular vote by 2.6 million and carried only 42% of The Women’s Vote, comes into the White House with the lowest favorability rating probably since Lincoln, and 20 points lower than the outgoing president, Barack Obama.

And if Trump would actually have listened to his own nonsensical, dystopian, bizarre inaugural speech, he would realize that the women, men and children who protested rightfully have the political power that Trump said no longer resided in Washington.

“January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again,” Trump intoned. “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now…. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.”

Scream so he hears you! Donald Trump turned a deaf ear to the protesters, making sure they couldn’t get near the White House. But the nearly million strong roared loud enough to shake the venerable buildings © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Scream so he hears you! Donald Trump turned a deaf ear to the protesters, making sure they couldn’t get near the White House. But the nearly million strong roared loud enough to shake the venerable buildings © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

And yet, Trump managed to turn a deaf ear to the roars from the Women’s March that literally shook buildings with its force (yet he had to see them because his motorcade drove through twice on his way to the CIA).

In his first 100 days, what Trump vows to do would undo the progress of 100 years, violating the will of the vast majority of Americans.

But here it is: Trump managed to resurrect a militant feminism that, frankly, was dormant during the election campaign when Hillary Clinton could have, should have (in fact did, were it not for the Electoral College), break that ultimate glass ceiling to run the White House. Women of all ages, all races and creeds, and men and children, marching together in solidarity. A man carried a sign saying “I can’t believe we’re still fighting for this”.

I’m With Her © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
I’m With Her © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Now what will those who marched do? What will happen? Will that energy and activism be sustained against the forces of disillusionment, frustration, paralyzing despair and self-preserving apathy? Or will they return home feeling vindicated and affirmed that their fears and concerns are real and they are not to be silenced? I think they will return empowered, invigorated with a mission, with a voice, a language to articulate grievances and a clarity of purpose. Indeed, the Women’s March organizers are posting 10 action items for the first 100 Days at womensmarch.com.

Also, there are ways and avenues and organizations to channel that rage and turn it into strategic, well articulated constructive action, in order to fight against the despair that will come when we aren’t able to immediately stop the steamroll of anti-democratic, regressive initiatives that come from the Trump/Republican camarilla.

Donald Trump may not care about the protests, feeling somehow above and immune in his bubble of sycophants. In a creepy way, he probably drew orgasmic delight that 4 million people around the world focused their attention on him, no matter that he was the target of their contempt, disdain and hatred.

Women’s Marchers in numbers hard to ignore by Congressmen, Senators, State Legislators© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Women’s Marchers in numbers hard to ignore by Congressmen, Senators, State Legislators© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

But Congressmen know. Senators know. State legislators know. And they should be quaking in the reverberation of the marchers. And that’s where the focus has to be. This is Day 1 of the 2017 campaign to take back state offices. This is Day One to take back the House and/or the Senate in 2018. Because taking just one house would cut Trump’s Presidency to 2 years instead of an excruciating 4.

That is, if he isn’t impeached first for his corrupt business practices and likely collusion with Russia (not likely with a Republican Congress that clearly doesn’t care about actual illegalities like blatant violations of emoluments clause of Constitution and conflicts of interest that go against the national interest). He is more likely to be removed by a military coup when he orders bombing civilians, repopulating Guantanamo with prisoners snatched up with bounties, reopening black sites in order to torture, or, as he told the CIA, getting a second chance at taking Iraq’s oil because, you know, he learned as a boy “to the victor belong the spoils.”

Marching Forward We Won’t Go Back © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Marching Forward We Won’t Go Back © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Individually, we feel powerless, but collectively we have power. And it starts with pressing our village and city mayors, town and county supervisors, state representatives, governors and Congressmen need to be bold – like the San Francisco and New York mayors vowing to repulse Trump’s attack on sanctuary cities, governors like Cuomo in New York State standing up for a climate action agenda and protecting women’s reproductive rights; generals vowing to reject an order to bomb civilians or torture terror suspects. It’s newspapers being willing to lose privileged “access” and risking lawsuits to publish investigations. It’s government workers with the courage to be whistleblowers.

By these measures, the simple act of voting would seem an easy way to counter Trumpism, yet a disgraceful number don’t even do this; people need to start early to get registered to vote and vote in every election, especially local and state elections and not just the presidential.

But all of this requires us to stay active. We have to resist being immobilized by despair (that’s their strategy) and take action. If it seems too overwhelming with everything being thrown at us, just pick one or two issues to stay on top.

How to counter Trump?

Just a smattering of the signs left by the 750,000 Women’s Marchers, wanting to leave a message for Washington policy makers © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Just a smattering of the signs left by the 750,000 Women’s Marchers, wanting to leave a message for Washington policy makers © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Conflicts of Interest: Support Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s legislation that would require Trump to disclose his business holdings and require him to disclose his tax forms. Investigate – after all, what is Government Oversight Committee for, beyond investigating Benghazi and Clinton’s emails? Sue for violations of the emoluments clause, for Trump Hotel in Washington violating the law that prevents an elected official from leasing property from the federal government. Impeach Trump and any of his lackeys for their self-serving, self-dealing conflicts of interest.  Boycott Trump’s business holdings and the corporations that enable him, including Trump Hotels and golf courses, “Celebrity Apprentice,” and Fox News.

Cabinet appointments: Democrats will be unable to stop Trump’s appointments, thanks to the hypocritical Republican lapdogs. But Senate Democrats have a duty to expose their self-interest conflicts, their ineptitude, their extraordinary lack of qualifications so that they will be put on notice that their actions will be scrutinized.

“Through cutting-edge reports, social media, newspapers, radio and TV, and much more, we’re going to highlight this rogues’ gallery’s history of law-breaking, how their corporate ties will corrupt policymaking, and how their reactionary views will harm everyday Americans.” says Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen (citizen.org).

Dissent is patriotic © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Dissent is patriotic © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

What should Senate, House Democrats do? Oppose with every tool and tactic they can the anti-Democratic principles, including using the Republican tactics against them like the filibuster, holds on nominations, lawsuits, articles of impeachment  (though McConnell and Ryan will likely take away the very tools they used to unprecedented degree). That isn’t the same thing as opposing for opposing sake, to make the president fail, as Republicans did even as Obama was trying to keep the country from economic collapse. But Democrats are obligated to fight back where the agenda destroys progress. What Democrats should not do? Try to appeal to the pseudo-populism and the mythical “poor” “underserved” “voiceless” white working class, as if they are the only “real Americans” who matter. And yes, they should sue the Trump Administration just as the Republicans sued Obama over DACA and Obamacare. If Republicans don’t offer any means to compromise or impact policy, Democrats should go nuclear.

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Support the Fourth Estate – the journalists who fulfill their function of investigating and being a watchdog on government and powerful interests. Be vigilant in calling out falsehoods, fake news and propaganda. That means that when the economy goes down, unemployment  goes up, tens of thousands die without access to health care and Trump and the Republicans blame Obama and the Democrats, that The Media hold them to account. Write letters to the editor, comments online. Alert news media to issues. Defend journalists who are doing their job. Cultivate social media networks to counter the right-wing propaganda machine. The success of the Women’s March to rally support solely through social media shows these networks have taken root.

Fight the rabidly regressive agenda that Trump/Republicans will steamroll through in the first 100 days. The more that Republicans refuse to accept compromise or allow Democrats to participate in forming policy, the more militant the opposition has to become. Boycott, strike, protest, rally. Use your body, your voice, your pen.

Respect Existence or Expect Resistance© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Respect Existence or Expect Resistance© 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Sue. Sue. Sue. “Presidents do not rule by fiat,” declared Mitch Bernard, Chief Operating Officer, for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Donald Trump may not simply undo international agreements, overrule enacted laws, or violate environmental regulations on his own say so. If — when — he ignores environmental laws, NRDC will meet him in court. And we’re gearing up to give him the fight of his life.”

The Trump/Republican strategy (copied from Karl Rove and the Bush/Cheney debacle) is to have so many outrages coming so fast, deflecting attention and paralyzing any action, and more significantly to normalize the destructive actions simply by being equivalent or (imagine) not as bad as the previous outrage.

Putin$ Puppet. © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Putin$ Puppet. © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“In the face of Trump’s parade of horribles,” says Robert Reich of MoveOn.org, “it would be easy (and understandable) for people to get numb, hunker down, and pray that they’ll make it through the next four years. But human history teaches us of the perils of complacency and fear in response to political extremism and violence.”

If it is too paralyzing because of all the issues that are infuriating to your core, pick one, two or a few to focus on – keep active and aware of what Trump and his collaborators in the Congress and the Cabinet are doing. Write, call, visit, rally at representatives’ offices. Speak up to family, friends and neighbors. Go to town halls and civic meetings. You cannot be a Silent Majority.

I’m With Mommy © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
I’m With Mommy © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Support key organizations – give what you can – because they will need money to lobby, sue, organize protests and petition campaigns, can offer language for legislation and expose facts about the impacts of overturning regulations allowing corporations to pollute the air and water; repealing the Affordable Care Act, (losing 3 million jobs, adding billions to the budget deficit, depriving 18 million newly insured people of access to health care, instead of saving 87,000 lives, seeing 36,000 die needlessly for lack of health care); of the public health, environmental, economic, international repercussions of rolling back climate action. (Caveat: Organizations can’t just seize on the latest outrage to fundraise without actually doing something.)

Some worthy organizations that have outlined effective strategies to beat back the forces of darkness include National Resources Defense Council (NRDC.org), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF.org), League of Conservation Voters (LCV.org), MoveOn.org, EmilysList.org, WomensMarch.com, PlannedParenthood.org, Public Citizen (citizen.org), just to list a few.

Standing up for women’s rights © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Standing up for women’s rights © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Together, we must resist the Trump Dynasty with everything we’ve got — starting with marches all over the country today,” declared Robert Weissman of Public Citizen. “It won’t be easy. We can be honest about that. The fights that matter most rarely are. But with all of our vigilance, all of our acumen, all of our strength, we can — we will — prevail over greed and hatred and corruption.”

______________________________

© 2017 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at  www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Belgian Billionaire Congratulates his Friend & Biz Partner Donald Trump, Comparing him to Putin, While Pitching Project

Donald Trump: never before has anyone attained the presidency with so little experience, expertise, or inclination to govern on behalf of the people, but so much self-interest. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Donald Trump: never before has anyone attained the presidency with so little experience, expertise, or inclination to govern on behalf of the people, but so much self-interest. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This letter from Mark Elie Klein, Belgian billionaire and real estate promoter, congratulating his friend and business partner, Donald J. Trump, and praising Vladimir Putin, while also pitching a new business venture, basically says it all about the incoming Trump administration and its extraordinary conflicts of interest. Trump campaigned saying he would be the voice of the forgotten (white) man? Are you kidding or just delusional? 

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, November 19, 2016 — President Donald Trump represents an opportunity for the United States and for the world. This is a man who has succeeded at everything he has done in his career, and who is going to restore lost greatness to the USA and to the American dream.

mark-elie-kleinPresident Donald Trump will get along well with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. Putin has solidified his control over Russia, and anyone who has watched the chess match over Syria and NSA leaks has a clear idea of the shifting of individual power dynamics towards Putin on the international scene. Putin has worked his way up through the ranks and built his charismatic appeal on what appears to be a simple formula: keeping his promises.

The Russian people sought a leader able to restore their honor and make their country great again; he has succeeding in establishing a vertical power structure and forging a dominant position on the continent.

The Russian people demanded vengeance after the terrorist attacks; he meted out punishment.

The Russian people called for control over their own economic interests; he re-established the state’s grip on oil, gas and other strategic sectors.

The Russian people wanted the country to regain its status as a great power; he has shown that he takes lessons from no one.

All negotiations depend on a position of strength. This position is occupied by Putin. Reconstruction of the Russian empire has been definitively validated.

Most Europeans I have spoken to would like to see Europe having its own version of Putin.

With the arrival of President Donald Trump, these two exceptional men will be the Presidents of a changing world.

For five years, my partners and I have been working to develop a new “SKY & SEA” concept: a ‘next generation’ building, spearheaded by cutting-edge technology in terms of ecology, economy, architecture, design and materials.

Eiffel built the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty in New York, and so on.

We will soon be announcing to the media that construction has begun on our “SKY & SEE” building.

This concept will be presented to President Putin with a view to offering him the only building of its kind in the world, in keeping with the greatness of his country, including a museum illustrating the history and culture of Russia. The site could receive an estimated seven million visitors per year, equivalent to the numbers visiting the Eiffel Tower. President Putin will certainly be delighted by this development, which could be named in his honor.

Similarly, the election of President Trump has inspired me to present a project to him which will also mark his Presidency. As a major property mogul, he will certainly appreciate our expertise, and we will propose to him that we advance this concept together.

In conclusion, the year 2017 will be marked by Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, as Presidents of a world they are going to change together.

Come and visit my website, denouncing in particular the injustices perpetrated by French politicians towards President Putin, who is coming to the rescue of powerless Europe in the Middle East conflict.

Stop criticizing President Trump, who has just been elected, when you do not even know his program. The voice of the people must be respected.

I have followed the path of Gerard Depardieu, as many others have done, and returned my French passport. The only reason I have not moved to Moscow is because the weather is too cold…

All those who share my ideas will find a warm welcome and exceptional hospitality at my first “KEY HOTELS & RESORTS” in the Dominican Republic.

Allow me to emphasize once again my support for Presidents Trump and Putin, who will undoubtedly work together to change our declining world.

–Mark Elie Klein

Home

What’s at Stake in this Election? Everything

Hillary Clinton at a rally following the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Long Island © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Hillary Clinton at a rally following the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Long Island © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

Most elections involve some measure of hysteria, assertions that they are “transformative,” “historic,” and “the election of our lifetime.” This election between Hillary Clinton, the most qualified candidate ever to seek the most powerful office on the planet and the first woman to ascend to the Presidency, and Donald Trump, the most unfit, is just such an election.

“We’ve never had such a stark contrast – of character, of vision. The stakes in this election could not be more clear,” First Lady Michelle Obama declared.

Their differences are not merely matters of degree, these two individuals are diametrically opposed in every conceivable way.

But even if Donald Trump weren’t the most temperamentally unfit, inexperienced, morally bankrupt and wrong-headed candidate to ever seek the presidency, I would still whole-heartedly endorse Hillary Clinton, beginning with her biography, her career, her values, and finally, her experience, her competence, her platform and agenda.

I could go down the list of the extraordinarily detailed policy plans she has presented – to address income inequality, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, climate action, education, college affordability, health care, drug prices, infrastructure development, research and development, women’s reproductive rights, gun violence prevention, voting rights,  workers rights, parental leave (I could go on and on and on). (Go to her website, hillaryclinton.com, for details.)

I am cheered that at last, a Presidential candidate really “gets it” – prioritizing issues that have never before been at the forefront precisely because she is a woman and understands what families are going through, what women are still going through, the struggle the middle class is going through. She knows the slings and arrows of being the first woman to have crashed through the barriers to become a major party’s nominee for President and (hopefully) and would be the first woman to hold the office in our history. She brings that sensibility, that understanding, that lifetime of triumphing over adversity as a true trailblazer for women’s equality, going back to her earliest years after Yale Law School, fighting against discrimination and the backlash in Arkansas until she dropped her “Rodham” name for a married name of “Clinton.”

And in the same way as I whole-heartedly supported Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, she has the skills, the big-picture vision, the pragmatism and the tools to actually get these done (assuming she isn’t blocked, obstructed, stymied and delegitimized by the Republicans as they already promise they will do as they did to Obama). I am excited about a pragmatic progressive as President.

But while Hillary Clinton has been specific in her long, long list of policy proposals, which indicate her sensibilities and priorities, Donald Trump, has been vague, offering pie-in-sky – promising on Day 1 to end criminal violence, restore law and order, defeat ISIS (the list goes on and on giving you the idea that Day 1 will be Biblical in length). To the extent he has been more detailed, he has been frankly, frightening.

His pronouncements of what he would do to the nation domestically (repeal Obamacare, rescind the Clean Power Plan, withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, shut down the EPA, overturn regulations, eliminate corporate taxes, round up millions of undocumented immigrants), would destroy millions of jobs, raise the national debt and plunge the US into another recession. But while what he would do domestically is chilling, his outrageous, erratic statements about military and foreign policy are horrifying.

His fawning over dictators, strongmen and tyrants like Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, while gushing in the admiration they express for him, and indeed, his close collaboration with Russian interests (including encouraging Russian espionage and interference in US elections) is unsettling, but his willful ignorance, naivete about his role as Commander-in-Chief should strike terror.

Trump has said he knows more than the generals, has touted using torture and killing family members of suspected terrorists. He has said he would not come to the support of NATO allies who don’t pay and would advocate nuclear weapons for Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea, and is cavalier about using nuclear weapons in Europe (“If you have weapons, why wouldn’t you use them?” “I would bomb the shit out of them.”). He tries to disguise is lack of an actual plan by saying he wants to keep it “secret” and he wants to be “unpredictable.”

Trump has demonstrated over and over that he is temperamentally, intellectually and morally unfit as commander-in-chief, and completely ignorant and inept in anything approaching foreign policy. His undisclosed but suspected business dealings, including Russian oligarchs and debt to the Chinese National Bank, coupled with his propensity to use his campaign to enrich his business, are warnings that he would run foreign policy for his own self-interest. Indeed, as a narcissist, he would conflate the national interest with his own.

Since declaring his candidacy, he has swept away decades that have slowly led to a cultural acceptance of diversity, reinvigorating racism, misogyny, religious bias. He’s made it okay to hate “others” and brought White Nationalists and Neo-Nazis unbelievably out of shadows and into the mainstream.

Trump has run as the “successful businessman,” the anti-politician, the outsider with the predictable outsider, non-politician slogan of bringing “change” to Washington and “draining the swamp”.  And during a campaign built upon one lie after another (75% of the time, according to fact checkers), the biggest lies are that he is a successful businessman, a philanthropist (he isn’t), and basically everything he has promised. Trump has basically boasted that he sees politics as a sales job – or more accurately, a Con Job – leaving a string of defaulted and defrauded investors, contractors, workers and customers. For him, getting sued and suing (3500 lawsuits, including pending ones concerning Trump University and an allegation of rape) are all par for the course – he thinks because he has more money than his adversary, he will win. (Not to mention his henchman, Roger Stone, who may well have been the connection between Russian hackers and Wikileaks, was a dirty trickster for Richard Nixon.)

He has stoked a strain of populism that is virulent, divisive, full of hatred and bigotry – because it has served his political purpose. He has shown contempt for the Bill of Rights protections of religious freedom, press freedom, freedom of speech and ignorance of the Constitution.

Consider who Trump, who has surrounded himself with bullies, misogynists, profligates, sexual predators, racists and corporatists, would appoint to key offices: Roger Ailes, Steve Bannon, Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Steve King, David Duke, Carl Icahn. And he has already provided a list of Supreme Court likely nominees, each and every one who would overturn Roe v Wade and continue down the anti-democratic path to oligarchy.

Finally, consider the fact that if Donald Trump wins the election, it means that the Senate and House will also remain in Republican hands, the Supreme Court will shift wildly further toward right wing extremism overturning civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights, criminal, economic and environmental justice for decades; all the committees will remain in control of Republicans who have been responsible for the stagnation, gridlock and dysfunction in government that is the source of national malaise.

“We can’t have a racist climate denier who lies about his personal fortune lead our country,” said Raúl Grijalva. “Our country needs a president who understands that issues like climate change, systemic racism and immigration reform are serious and demand a competent federal response.

“Donald Trump has nothing to offer but anger and grievance and blame. And so he – his closing argument asks, what do you have to lose? Well, I’m here to tell you: everything,” President Obama said at a campaign event in Miami Gardens, Florida. “Progress is on the ballot. Civility is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Equality is on the ballot. Our democracy is on the ballot.”
Quite literally, all the values that America is supposed to stand for are on the ballot.

It’s why this is not an election where out of pique against Hillary Clinton (recognizing a 30-year propaganda campaign waged, yes, by a right-wing conspiracy), voters either cast a ballot for the absolutely unvetted third party choices, Gary Johnson (whose outrageous comments suggest he broke his own promise not to smoke marijuana during the campaign), or Jill Stein (if the same level of scrutiny had been leveled, or the same standard of measure, would they get a vote?), or stay home. Staying home is exactly the objective of Donald Trump’s campaign, whose officials have declared that the only way Trump can win is to suppress the vote of three key groups: idealistic white idealists, young women and African-Americans.

On the other hand, if Hillary Clinton is elected, there will be comprehensive immigration reform, a further move toward universal access to health care and rationality in drug prices, continued push to climate action and environmental protection, tax reform that both promotes jobs creation and narrows income inequality, pay parity and paid parental leave, more access to child care, affordable college tuition, and a wide array of policies that promote the well being of families and working people, and the biggest investment in infrastructure since World War II.

“This is truly an unprecedented election,” First Lady Michelle Obama declared in Winston-Salem. “I don’t think we’ve ever had two candidates with such dramatically different visions of who we are and how we move forward as a nation. One candidate has a vision that’s grounded in hopelessness and despair, a vision of a country that is weak and divided, where our communities are in chaos, our fellow citizens a threat. This candidate calls on us to turn against each other, to build walls, to be afraid.

“And then there’s Hillary’s vision for this country, a vision of a nation that is powerful and vibrant and strong, big enough to have a place for all of us, a nation where we each have something very special to contribute, and where we are always stronger together.”
What’s at stake? The Supreme Court. Climate Action. Immigration Reform. Civil Rights. Criminal Justice Reform. Tax Reform. Economic Justice. Environmental Justice. Women’s Reproductive Rights. Women’s Rights. Voting Rights. Gun Violence Prevention. Diplomacy. Alliances. National Security.

And on January 20, 2017, if she is elected – as I pray she is – I hope she will take the oath of office as Hillary Rodham Clinton and forever be known as President Rodham-Clinton. She never gave up her individuality and her personhood because she was married, and her legacy should be in her own name, as well.

_________________________

© 2016 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Hillary for America Highlights Differences in Candidates’ Vision; Releases ‘Trump Effect’ Video

New Hillary for America video documents “The Trump Effect.”
New Hillary for America video documents “The Trump Effect.”

Hillary for America has released a new video on the “Trump Effect,” highlighting the differences between Hillary Clinton’s vision and approach and Donald Trump’s.

“Hillary Clinton believes in an America where everyone counts and everyone has a place. She’s spent her life acting on those beliefs, from her early work at the Children’s Defense Fund through a campaign that has consistently called out Trump’s division and hatred while offering a policy agenda that would bring people together and address the issues that keep us apart. Hillary has prioritized issues like immigration reform, endingLGBT discrimination and criminal justice reform.

“American voters face a choice of two different visions for America:  Donald Trump’sdark and divisive vision that could tear our country apart, or Hillary Clinton’s hopeful, inclusive vision that says we’re stronger together.

“Donald Trump set the tone of his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants and has continued using those kinds of insults and divisive comments through today. From Muslims to Gold Star families to a judge of Mexican heritage born in America to one of his own African American supporters just this past week, no one has been safe from Trump’s insults and lies.Trump has also built his political identity on conspiracy theories, starting with the racist lie that President Obama was not born in America and support from hate movements like the alt-right—whose leaders Trump has embraced.”

Clinton has been  campaigning in Nevada and Arizona where she highlighted Trump’s divisive agenda and the high stakes in this election by pointing to Trump’s long record of insults against communities of color. In Jan Brewer and Joe Arpaio’s backyard, Clinton will counter their attempts to silence Latinos by mobilizing the community to break with history and turn the state blue on November 8th.

Also today, Hillary For America is launching a new video showing how Trump words and actions have encouraged bullying and fear in schools across our country, something experts are calling the “Trump Effect.”  Children — members of the groups that Trump so frequently attacks — are speaking out about the harassment and threats they are facing because the Republican nominee has targeted who they are or how they pray.

WATCH: “The Trump Effect

“As millions of Americans continue to vote early, and with election day less than a week away, it’s worth taking a look back at Trump’s history of divisive and hateful rhetoric,” the campaign noted:

THE “TRUMP EFFECT”

  • Trump’s rhetoric has given rise to bullying and violence in schools and communities across America.
  • Adopted children in Wisconsin and New York worried they would be sent back to Africa.
  • A child in New Jersey worried he, his mother, and sibling would be separated from his father because they have a different skin color.
  • California school children have endured xenophobic taunts on the playground, including being told they were “born in a Taco Bell.”
  • Students broke out into chants like “build the wall”  when their sports teams competed against Latino students in ColoradoIndiana and Wisconsin. A fraternity in Louisiana constructed a wall made of sandbags “emblazoned with pro-Trump slogans.”
  • A teacher in Arizona allegedly told a student “I can’t wait until Trump is elected. He’s going to deport all you Muslims.”
  • A man and a woman were attacked in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. respectively by people who attributed their motivations to Donald Trump.

AFRICAN AMERICANS

  • Trump, for years, peddled a racist lie that President Obama was not born in the U.S.
  • Trump pointed at an attendee and called him “my African American” during a campaign rally.
  • Trump to African Americans and Hispanics: ‘You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?’
  • Trump retweeted “racially loaded” and “wildly inaccurate” statistics claiming Blacks were responsible for 81 percent of White homicides.
  • Trump blamed crime in majors cities on Hispanics and African Americans.
  • Trump claimed crime in Oakland and Ferguson was so bad that it was dangerous like Iraq and has continued to compare inner cities to war zones.
  • Trump to a Black Lives Matter protester: “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”
  • Trump paid for a racially provocative ad calling on New York lawmakers to reinstate the death penalty for five young African American men who were wrongfully accused of raping a woman.

IMMIGRANTS, LATINOS

  • Trump called Mexican immigrants “criminals” and “rapists.”
  • Trump said Mexican immigrants bring “tremendous infectious disease.”
  • Trump on Judge Gonzalo Curiel: “He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.”
  • Trump refused to stop using the term “anchor baby.”
  • Trump referred to some Hispanic immigrants as “bad hombres.”
  • Trump has said he would have a “deportation force” to go roundup and deportundocumented immigrants.
  • Trump would deport children born in America because he does not think their citizenship is valid.
  • Trump said Mexico was sending “The bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them.”
  • Trump’s campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, is currently on leave from his job as head of Breitbart News. Breitbart drove conspiratorial reporting about Chobani in retaliation for hiring immigrants and refugees, making the company’s founder the target of vicious social media attacks.

MUSLIMS

  • Trump called to ban an entire group of people based on their religion.
  • Trump on his proposed Muslim ban: “I’m not softening my stance at all … In fact, you could say it’s an expansion.”
  • Trump said “I’m looking now at territories. People were so upset when I used the word Muslim… Now, we have a religious, you know, everybody wants to be protected. And that’s great. And that’s the wonderful part of our Constitution. I view it differently. ”
  • Trump defended his Muslim ban by comparing it to Japanese internment camps. Not surprisingly, he said he might have supported internment camps.
  • Trump suggested he would create a database to track American Muslims.

VETERANS, SERVICE MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES

  • Trump repeatedly attacked a Muslim Gold Star family who lost their son in Iraq.
  • Trump claims that U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan would be alive if he had been president.
  • Trump calls our military “a disaster.”
  • Trump said “our military can’t beat ISIS.”
  • Trump said, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.”
  • Trump said the generals have been “reduced to rubble.”
  • Trump said John McCain was “not a war hero” because he was captured.
  • Trump suggested veterans experiencing PTSD aren’t “strong.”
  • Trump’s businesses have reportedly fired employees for their military service.
  • Trump scammed veterans through his sham Trump University.

DISABLED AMERICANS

  • Trump mocked a disabled reporter.
  • Trump reportedly called a deaf actress on the Apprentice “retarded.”
  • Trump referred to a paralyzed news commentator as a “guy that can’t buy a pair of pants.”
  • Trump faced a series of lawsuits for failing to comply with the ADA.
  • Trump repeatedly attempted to kick disabled veterans off of Fifth Avenue over two decades, calling the situation “deplorable.”

DISCRIMINATION IN TRUMP BUSINESSES

  • Trump was twice sued by the Department of Justice for discrimination in housing.
  • Trump employees marked applications from minorities with “C” for “Colored.”
  • The housing complex that was one of Trump’s first real estate deals faceddiscrimination charges.
  • Trump’s businesses lagged in minority hiring. Former employees who worked for Trump over several decades said they don’t remember a single black vice president-level executive at Trump Tower.

TRUMP AND HATE MOVEMENTS

  • Trump’s campaign shared an anti-Semitic image on his twitter that first appeared on white supremacist websites.
  • Trump has received an outpouring of support from hate movements like the alt-right.
  • White Supremacists used Trump’s candidacy as a recruiting tool.
  • White Supremacists and Klan members supported Trump, comparing his views to their views.
  • Former KKK Leader David Duke said Trump has “Made it OK to talk about these incredible concerns of European Americans today, because I think European Americans know they are the only group that can’t defend their own essential interests and their point of view.
  • Virginia KKK Leader Endorses Trump: ‘What He Believes In, We Believe In.’”
  • Trump on being supported by White Supremacists: “A lot of people like me.”

TRUMP ENCOURAGING VIOLENCE

  • Trump said to a protester “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya” and mourned “we’re not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days … They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.”
  • Trump offered to pay the legal fees of a supporter who attacked protester.
  • Trump claimed he could “shoot somebody” and not lose any votes.
  • Trump called to throw a protestor out into the cold without their coat.

Trump’s Own Words Show He is Unfit to be President, Commander-in-Chief

Donald Trump has advocated giving nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan, has expressed wonder why we can’t use nuclear weapons if we have them, and has described his strategy for dealing with foreign enemies is to be “unpredictable.” © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Donald Trump has advocated giving nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan, has expressed wonder why we can’t use nuclear weapons if we have them, and has described his strategy for dealing with foreign enemies is to be “unpredictable.” © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The newly disclosed possibly “pertinent” (or possibly not) Hillary Clinton emails, which are all part of the same single issue of using a private server and have nothing to do with deliberately handing classified information to enemy forces (does anybody really understand what the issue is all about), do nothing to reverse the clear and present danger that a Donald Trump presents if he becomes the “leader” of the Free World and the most powerful person on the planet, with unique control over nuclear weapons.

To remind you of this, the Hillary for America campaign provided a handy list of what The Donald has already said and done.

The comparison with Hillary Clinton’s experience, her steady hand, her maturity, her ability to see the long view, to balance complex competing constituencies, and her willingness to listen, learn and most importantly, admit and learn from mistakes, makes it clear:

The Choice is Clear: Trump is Unfit to be President and Commander-In-Chief

Americans deserve a president who’s ready on Day One to keep us safe. As a former Secretary of State and senator, Hillary Clinton brings vast experience to the Oval Office, having dealt with the key issues facing Americans around the world for decades. Traveling nearly a million miles as America’s top diplomat, Hillary has handled issues ranging from nuclear proliferation to military readiness, from women’s rights  to climate change, and is ready to lead from day one.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has proven himself again and again to be temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief.

Beyond his lack of understanding of foreign policy and unwillingness to learn, Donald Trump is a loose cannon with dangerous views on major global issues. Trump would encourage the spread of nuclear weapons around the world, has insulted our allies and praised several authoritarian dictators.  He even encouraged a foreign government to hack Americans, and since then has refused to acknowledge the U.S. Intelligence community’s conclusion that the Russian government has done just that.

Americans deserve a president who understands the challenging world in which we live, not one who is too erratic and uninformed to have control of nuclear weapons.

Throughout his career, and throughout this campaign, on subject after subject, Trump has proven he is unfit to be commander-in-chief. As we begin the final week of the presidential campaign, here is a look back at Trump’s dangerous record on matters of defense and foreign policy:

NUCLEAR WEAPONS

On nuclear weapons, Donald Trump has displayed a reckless disregard for fact and fails to understand the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Simply put, he doesn’t have the temperament to be trusted with the nuclear codes.

  • Trump has said he “loves war.”
  • Trump has embraced a reckless “shoot first” foreign policy.
  • Trump reportedly wondered why we can’t use nuclear weapons, if we have them.
  • Trump said he wanted to be “unpredictable” with nuclear weapons.
  • Trump exhibited ignorance on whether he would adopt a “no first use” doctrine.
  • Trump would allow countries like JapanSouth Korea and Saudi Arabia to acquire nuclear weapons.
  • Trump appeared to have no idea what the nuclear triad was.
  • On the prospect of nuclear war in Asia, Trump said, “good luck, enjoy yourself folks.”
  • Trump’s rhetoric pushed dozens former nuclear launch officers to sign a letter saying Trump “should not have his finger on the button.”

U.S. MILITARY AND VETERANS

Trump has repeatedly insulted our military, our veterans and their families. He has been disrespecting our veterans for decades, continually proving he’s unqualified and temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief.

U.S. INTELLIGENCE

Trump has disparaged the U.S. intelligence community – not only rejecting their conclusions, but questioning their motives.

  • When asked whether he trusts U.S. intelligence, Trump said “not so much.”
  • Trump invited a foreign government to commit cyber espionage in the U.S.
  • Trump maintains that we don’t know if Russia is behind recent hacks, despite being personally briefed by Republican Representative Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
  • Trump called the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia was behind that hack was “public relations, frankly” and repeatedly denied their conclusion.
  • Trump has been accused by a former acting CIA director of being “an unwitting agent of Putin.”

AMERICA’S ALLIES

For decades, America has held strong alliances across the world – including those with NATO countries. NATO has stood with the United States, for example, invoking Article 5 after 9/11 and collaborating to fight the war on terror today. But on the campaign trail, Donald Trump has outlined plans to cut off America’s allies.

  • Trump said he would be fine if NATO broke up.
  • Trump accused NATO countries of ripping off the United States, saying “either they have to pay up… or they have to get out. And if it breaks up NATO, it breaks up NATO.”
  • Trump said NATO “may be obsolete” and “doesn’t really help us.”
  • Trump said he might not defend NATO allies against Russian aggression.
  • Trump has extended his threats past NATO to countries like Japan and South Korea.

FOREIGN DICTATORS

Donald Trump seems to have an admiration for dictators from across the world. From Vladimir Putin to Saddam Hussein and beyond, Trump has repeatedly complimented foreign leaders known for their records of oppression and abuse..

  • Trump said North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un deserves “credit” for taking out his rivals and has “got to be pretty smart.”
  • Trump gave Saddam Hussein undue credit, saying “he did one thing well, he killed terrorists.”
  • Trump believes that, during the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese government showed “strength.”
  • Trump thinks Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Obama, “saying in terms of leadership, he’s getting an A and our president is not doing so well.” (But of course, his praise for Putin doesn’t stop there.)

FOREIGN BUSINESS ENTANGLEMENTS

Trump’s extensive foreign dealings would present significant conflicts of interest and endanger our national security. Trump refuses to disclose the full extent of his foreign business entanglements – but without knowing the details of them, how will Americans know whose interests Trump is putting first? What we do know is concerning.

  • Trump has extensive global financial dealings.
  • Trump admitted that if his business interests were threatened by another country’s government, he would retaliate with the power of the US government.
  • Trump has a record of business dealings with foreign governments – including Iran and China that we don’t know the extent of.
  • Trump has also had numerous foreign business partners we don’t know much about – including one that is allegedly linked to an international money laundering network.
  • Trump is in debt to foreign institutions for hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Trump’s foreign entanglements would pose unprecedented challenges for U.S. foreign policy and national security.

ISIS

Despite Trump’s claims that he has a “secret” plan to defeat ISIS, he has no real plan at all. And his rhetoric is dangerously playing into terrorists’ hands.

  • Trump would “ask [his] generals” – the very same generals he believes he knows more than – for a plan to defeat ISIS, since he doesn’t currently have any plan at all.
  • Trump would continue to promote Russia’s brutal bombing campaign in Syria that is targeting civilians instead of ISIS.
  • Trump has suggested he would allow Syria to become a “free zone for ISIS.”
  • Trump would ban Muslims from entering the U.S., a policy that feeds radical jihadist propaganda.
  • Trump would engage in torture in the fight against ISIS and kill the families of terrorists.

IRAN

Donald Trump’s approach to Iran is devoid of any substance. He has prefered to denigrate American leaders and spew lies when it comes to Iran — though he was willing to deal with Iran when it made him money.

NORTH KOREA

Trump doesn’t understand the threat North Korea poses. On the campaign trail, Trump has taken positions that would endanger the security of the  United States and our allies and embolden North Korea.

  • Trump would meet with Kim Jong-Un, despite his continued violations of  international obligations to abandon his nuclear and missile programs.
  • Trump would consider cutting off defense support to Japan and South Korea.
  • Trump would open to door to nuclear proliferation in the region. When asked whether it’s “fine” for Japan and South Korea to get nuclear weapons, Trump said, “Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen anyway.”
  • Trump joked about the prospect of nuclear war between Japan and North Korea, saying “good luck, enjoy yourself folks.”

RUSSIA

While Clinton has stood up to Russia, Trump panders to Putin. He has voiced support for policies and positions that align exactly with the Kremlin’s interests.

SYRIA

To date, Donald Trump has not laid out any real plans with respect to Syria or offered any indication that he takes the conflict and humanitarian disaster seriously.

  • Trump suggested Syria should be a “free zone for ISIS.”
  • Trump raised the possibility of sending 20,000 – 30,000 U.S. ground troops to Syria and Iraq.
  • Trump praised and encouraged Russia’s brutal bombing campaign in Syria, despite the climbing total civilian casualties and attacks on U.S.-backed forces.
  • Trump peddled lies about Syrian refugees.

How the 2016 Presidential Election May Well Be Stolen

The 2016 Presidential Election has underscored the need for urgent reform of the election process © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The 2016 Presidential Election has underscored the need for urgent reform of the election process © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

In only one respect, Donald Trump may well be right: there is great potential for 2016 to be a stolen election – but in his favor.

To the extent the election is stolen or rigged, this is how: voter suppression (outright intimidating voters at the polls as well as depressing turnout through a disinformation campaign), election fraud, hacking of election results, and intimidation at the polls. While in-person voter fraud is a phantom boogeyman, these are more likely and more lethal to a fair election.

“Let’s cancel the election and just give it to Trump” Donald Trump told a rally in Toledo, Ohio, once again charging the election is rigged and exhorting his minions to vote, then go to other voting places to “watch.”

“I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win,” Trump told supporters in Ohio in his first comments since the final debate, when he said he would withhold acceptance of election results, thereby threatening a peaceful transition of power. “I’ll keep you in suspense.”

Revving up his minions with charges of a “stolen election,” Trump has urged his most rabid supporters to racially profile people coming to the polls. And in this election, more states have open-carry, so one could conceivably imagine a couple of thugs standing with an assault rifle at the door. This makes the US look and feel more like a Banana Republic than the “beacon of democracy” we hold this nation to be. This is actually a violation of the consent decree imposed on the Republican National Committee stemming from voter intimidation tactics that resulted in Republican Tom Kean defeating Democrat Jim Florio for New Jersey Governor, but should also be a crime.

And afterwards, many of his minions, so convinced by Trump that the election would be stolen and that Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency and a danger to national security and the nation’s existence, are ready to mount violent revolution.

Can you imagine this is America? Former one-term Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh tweeting that if Trump loses on Nov. 8th, he will grab his musket on Nov. 9th? That you have schools closing or moving their students away from polling areas fearing violence?

“We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” a senior Trump campaign official boasted to Bloomberg/Businessweek, against three targeted groups: white liberals, young women and Black Americans – three groups key to a Clinton victory.

Key to this strategy is disinformation – lying, misrepresenting policies – and anything that reinforces the image created over decades by right-wingers that Clinton is dishonest and untrustworthy. In this, FBI James Comey went beyond the pale in resurrecting the email controversy from the unrelated investigation into Congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting. Trump is having a field day, conflating the vague suggestions of what, exactly? with a breach of national security.

Young voters who tend to move around a lot, rent and not own a home, and not register at a new location and college kids who registered during high school and then again at their campus – are intimidated not to vote because of intentional confusion over their right to vote. Students are also threatened with losing state aid, that they will be found in violation for failing to get a new drivers’ license, registration and insurance, etc. Republican operatives literally challenged Bard and Vassar students in upstate New York as they attempted to vote in 2009 and 2010.

Here’s another source of intimidation: actual extortion to scare off Clinton votes. The threat of armed insurrection if Clinton wins is as if to say, if you don’t want a revolution on your hands, you will not vote for Clinton.

And Republicans are already (even before election day!) threatening nonstop investigations leading toward impeachment if Hillary is elected, which also means a continued policy of obstruction and gridlock, as if to suggest, “We dare you to vote for Clinton.” Will voters actually vote for Trump thinking it as a means of relief? What a mistake, since right-wing Republican extremists would have a clear path to overturn every progressive policy put into place since before Theodore Roosevelt.

This will be the first Presidential Election since the rightwing Majority on the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, unleashing a hoard of regulations in states and localities explicitly (unabashedly in some cases like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and North Carolina) designed to suppress, obstruct, depress and disenfranchise voters who tend to vote for Democrats.

The pretext for this wave of regulations was the phantom bogey-man of Voter Fraud. While in-person voter fraud is rare (according to a Washington Post study, just 31 instances in 1 billion ballots cast from 2000 to 2014), those who argue for the dire need to “preserve the sanctity of the ballot,” can point to problems with the voting rolls. Some estimates put the number of dead people still registered as 2 million. Indeed, there may be irregularities with as many as 24 million registrations – the occasional Mickey Mouse among them – but that doesn’t mean Mickey Mouse is  voting. (What it does mean is that incredibly low turnout number – 60% for a Presidential election – may be artificial.)

There is no evidence that zombies are voting. No truth to the myth that black people are being bused in from other states to vote eight or nine times in inner cities as the hysterical former “America’s Mayor” Rudy Giuliani accused, or that illegal immigrants are registering, let alone actually casting a ballot, as Donald Trump has charged.

Some 2.9 million are registered in more than one location – but how many people are going to risk five years in jail to vote twice?

However, this is definitely a weakness in the system because, as of now, no one checks. So you can very possibly have someone still registered where they grew up and registered in their new location, voting in person and by absentee.

The absentee ballot is a significant weakness in the integrity of the voting system, but interestingly, none of the Republican-lead voter ID laws and other restrictions would address the problem of in-person voter fraud. So you have to question why that would be, if it is so, so terribly important to Republicans to protect “the integrity of the ballot.”

Still, using “in-person voter fraud” as a pretext, Republican-dominated legislatures have unleashed a whole series of regulations designed to suppress voting –imposing new voter ID requirements and making it difficult for some demographic groups to obtain necessary ID (gun permit is OK, college ID not OK), literally making it hard to reach offices to obtain the ID, limiting hours, and denying applications even after providing ample documentation, and ultimately not processing registrations in a timely fashion (as many as 100,000 in Georgia); shutting down polling places or not having an adequate number of voting machines on hand, so that people are forced to wait hours on line (as in Arizona); reducing the number of early voting days, which hurts young parents and wage earners (as in North Carolina).

These tactics disproportionately hurt women (whose names change frequently over the course of their life), young people who move around a lot and rent instead of owning a home, old people who don’t drive or have their original birth certificate, minorities, poor people, homeless people, hourly wage people who are disadvantaged when voter registration places and polling sites and hours are made hard to reach – voters who are deemed more likely to vote for Democrats.

It starts with gerrymandering districts – cracking and packing districts, drawn into contorted Rorschach shapes, to dilute the voting power of a targeted group – so that the candidate gets to choose voters rather than voters choosing their representative. And with Big Data-mining technology that have become available since 2010 – when Republicans made a concerted strategy to take over State houses in advance of redistricting– they are able to gerrymander districts with extraordinary precision never before known. That’s the election rigging that is most profound.

North Carolina State Representative David R. Lewis, chairman of the redistricting committee, openly admitted, “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats. So I drew this map in a way to help foster what I think is better for the country.”

Then there are other tactics, which are chalked up as if a game rather than a criminal violation of Equal Protection under the Constitution: destroying voter registrations, sending out notices of wrong election dates, times and places or threatening that anyone with outstanding parking ticket will be arrested for attempting to vote. Also, purging voting lists based on the similarity of names to felons or people registered in another district or some other bogus excuse (Ohio purged 144,000 voters from in its three biggest, Democratic-leaning counties – those containing the cities of Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati), without giving the voter a chance to protest. (See New York Times, Critics See Efforts by Counties and Towns to Purge Minority Voters From Rolls.)

Indeed, some states – where there is a high minority population – refuse to reinstate voting rights to people who have served prison sentences, and because of the systemic racism in arrests and incarceration, some 6 million African-Americans are permanently disenfranchised.

Hacking? If Russian-agent hackers could penetrate state voter databases – let alone the NSA, Office of Personnel Management, Colin Powell and the DNC – there is no reason why they couldn’t invade individual precinct tallies, or even impact where the local district totals are tabulated at the state level.

The argument that a national election can’t be hacked because it is too decentralized at the state and county level is not entirely true, because a president isn’t elected by a cumulative popular vote, but by electoral votes – it would only take manipulating results in key counties in key battleground states to swing the election, and if the election is tight in those places, no one would be the wiser. Indeed, experts have shown how easy it is to hack voting machines – going back to the 2000 election – and it is suspected that the 2004 Bush v Kerry election was stolen by shifting the tallies in Ohio. (Walden O’Dell, CEO of the Diebold voting machine company, had promised, ”I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president. Early voters in Florida have already complained they saw their votes switched, evoking the 2000 election.)

Some 14 states vote on machines that do not even provide a paper trail so cannot be audited, and in 43 states voting machines – purchased with federal funds after the Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA), itself a reaction to the disastrous 2000 election debacle – are more than 10 years old. One of them is Pennsylvania, a state that could prove pivotal this election, where Trump has centered his “stolen election” meme and is recruiting poll watchers into minority districts. (“You know what I mean.”)

The impacts of voter suppression tactics are already being seen in early voting patterns, as Eliza Newlin Carney reported in The Election is Rigged After All — Against African Americans.

All of this means that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic candidates need overwhelming, uncontestable majorities to make sure there cannot be the subtle irregularities.

Some polls are indicating just such a win, but even so, Trump acolytes are threatening revolution because they believe the polls are rigged and the election will be stolen.

Trump has fed into this, declaring that if he loses, it means that the election was stolen from him is strategic: In the first place, this is a guy whose entire life revolves around him being a “winner” – even failures (like multiple bankruptcies) are to him successes (since he manages to shift harm to others and reap benefits). Also, it sets him up as a martyr (he’s already compared himself to Jesus), to lead this phantom “movement” (“like nothing this nation has seen before,” he claims), in order to bolster his newest business/narcissistic (Trump TV) media enterprise. (He is likely the first candidate in  history to make a profit on a campaign, with his campaign “expenses” being revenue to the Trump Organization.)

But there is strategy, as well: Trump’s ploy in charging the system is rigged and inviting scorn saying he would not necessarily accept the results, thereby threatening a bedrock tradition preserving American democracy, the peaceful transition of power, is aimed at getting Democrats to insist the election cannot be rigged, and cower Hillary Clinton and Democrats from contesting elections that have in fact been manipulated, as in Florida 2000. He’s already planted seeds that Ruth Bader Ginsberg should recuse herself if a Bush v Gore redux comes to the Supreme Court, which would give Republicans a 4-3 majority to anoint Trump.

But elections can be stolen and have been stolen. Florida 2000 provided a manual for how it is done. (Just watch the movie, “Recount,” to see the GOP stole Florida in 2000, with complicity of Governor Jeb Bush, Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Truly chilling.)

And Trump, by challenging the accuracy of polls that predict Clinton the winner, is aimed to disguise an actual election rigging and voter suppression, so that Trump can emerge the winner despite polls that predict otherwise. Trump will simply say “I told you so.”

All of this should not discourage people from voting. On the contrary, people should be more determined than ever to exercise their right to vote, and a big margin is more important than ever to counteract a rigged election. That’s what happened in 2008 with Barack Obama’s election.

See next: 2016 Presidential Election Points to Needed Reform 

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© 2016 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin