Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!

TL;DR version: Russia won the 2016 election, Trump is not going to be impeached, Rudy Giuliani is an idiot.

Here’s the thing I don’t like about Rudy Giuliani:  He says stupid shit and expects us to agree with him. Sometimes it’s not even the stupid shit he says, it’s the way he says it, like he’s sooooo smart and we’re sooooo stupid and if we’d just sit back and smile, we’d realize he’s sooooo smart and then everything will be all right.

What Rudy fails to grasp in this situation – and in case you’re just coming out from under your rock, I’m talking about his discussion with CNN’s Jake Tapper about the Mueller Report that went something like this, and I’m paraphrasing a bit:

There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians… Any candidate in the world would take information… Who says it’s even illegal to get dirt on political enemies from foreign powers? I probably wouldn’t have done it, and I would have advised against it, but it ain’t illegal. Next question.

I’d like to take a moment to remind you that Rudy is Donald Trump’s lawyer, and of course Donald is the president of the USA.

OK let’s look at what’s in the Mueller Report real quick.  Mueller determined that Russian hackers, in some kind of officially sanctioned action, broke into Hillary Clinton’s email server(s) and extracted thousands of emails.  Most were boring shit like who was donating money and which staffer was tasked with picking up Hillary’s dry cleaning, but some of them had juicy stuff in them – discussions about political rivals, campaign plans, etc.  Stuff any political opponent would cut off his remaining testicle to get ahold of.

Said Russians, working on behalf of said Russian government, then provided these emails to various third parties, including Wikileaks and, apparently, the Trump campaign.

You can tell Rudy either was never a criminal attorney or if he was, he sucked at that job. It’s black-letter law that accepting the proceeds of a crime makes you guilty of receiving stolen property, itself a felony almost anywhere in the country.

There is no magic place in the world where hacking somebody’s email server isn’t a crime, so possessing email data retrieved in a hack is an actual, tangible crime.  Possessing it AND lying about possessing it compounds that, and then trying to cover up that you possessed it and lied about it is some logarithmic pile-on shitheap felonization of the political process.

Let’s step back a second though and say … ok, it’s not a crime to possess something stolen from somebody else.  We’ll just snap our fingers, but instead of wiping out half the life in the universe, we’ll make possessing stolen property not a crime anywhere in the world.

It’s still heavily, dearly and absolutely fucking immoral.

Compound that by KNOWING the stolen data came from an avowed enemy of the American people and you have a massive moral failure on the part of the Trump campaign.

Rudy is therefore wrong.  There may be nothing illegal about taking dirt on Hillary dug up by Russian hackers at the behest of the Russian government, but it certainly, surely and absolutely is WRONG to do so.  We all know this. You know we all know this.  Apparently the only person who doesn’t know this is Rudy Giuliani, a fucking New York lawyer.

People – well, Democrats – are now saying they’re going to impeach Donald.  No, they’re not.  They may start impeachment proceedings – that is the prerogative of the House of Representatives – but a “super majority” (i.e. 2/3rds) of BOTH CHAMBERS OF CONGRESS have to vote to convict in an impeachment proceeding, and we all know the Senate, filled as it is with boot-licking Republicans, is never going to support impeachment proceedings against Donald. It’s just not going to happen.  The Democrats calling for impeachment are delusional, and the ones on the sidelines not telling them to shut the fuck up are just as bad as the Republicans who will vote against impeachment just because their party says they have to.

Donald Trump is not going to be impeached.  Get over it. Move on.

The thing most people are glossing over here is the actual outcome of the 2016 presidential election.  You probably think Donald won and Hillary lost. In actuality, Russia won and the citizens of the United States lost.

White houseRussia is our enemy, of that there should be no equivocation.  They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in sowing discord, chaos, disharmony, hatred and divisiveness deeply into our society and they are reaping the rewards.

This has nothing to do with Donald’s suitability for office.  Whether he’s good at the job or not is immaterial.  The fact is Russia wanted him in office because they knew he would be more disruptive to the US than anything they could have actively done themselves.  Russia basically gained four years of unfettered access to the globe with little possibility of repercussions.  Then they’ll enjoy at least another 10 to 20 years of heightened influence as the US tries (and I’ll bet largely fails) to rebuild its reputation around the world.

I think deep down we know it, too, and because we hate losers so much, we’re now stuck in a downward spiral of self-loathing.  No empire lasts forever, and it truly sucks when you come to the realization that you live in one that’s dying.

gnashing of teeth, rending of hair: trump and the electoral college

There’s a lot of gnashing of teeth over this election, and it’s not likely to end any time soon. I’m hoping it won’t, because our whole system needs an overhaul. We need term limits, we need election reform, we need so much more.

Having said that, people are losing sight of why the Electoral College exists in the first place.

Think about Congress, the way it’s set up.

Members of the House of Representatives are allocated proportionally by population, and that allocation is readdressed every 10 years following the national census. Right now, the House has 435 members. Every state gets at least one rep, but the more populous your state is, the more reps you get. Wyoming has 1, California has 55. By its size and frequent turnover, the House is meant to represent the will of the people.

The Senate was originally meant to represent not the will of the people, but the interests of the States. Each state gets the same number of members – two each – and all laws passed (or repealed) must succeed in both parts of Congress. This was done explicitly to put a check on the power of the people, and if you know anything about our government, you know it’s filled with checks and balances intended to prevent any one component from holding too much power.

When they set up the election process, then, the Founding Fathers did so in such a way as to mimic the setup of Congress. The popular vote represents the will of the people. The electoral vote represents the interests of the states – to a certain extent. There was a huge debate by the Founding Fathers as to how the president should be selected. A good number of them wanted the president chosen by a popular vote; a similarly significant portion wanted Congress to select the president, which is similar to how England’s (and many other countries’) prime ministers are selected.

As with many things in our Constitution, the fighting led to a compromise, and that compromise was to include both things in the process. This compromise was fine at the outset of our representative republic, but it’s come under fire a lot lately. About 80% of Americans wanted to abolish the Electoral College in the late 1960s, and the desire to do so still polls in the 70% range on a regular basis.

In the 21st century, the Electoral College gives a voice to the people living in the flyover states. The United States is heavily urbanized, which puts a ton of people into a small number of states. Urban populations tend to skew left, while rural populations skew right. Because of this demographic distribution, the Democrats enjoy domination in most – if not all – of our urban areas like New York City and Los Angeles.

Clearly, it is possible to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote, and as a result, five times in our history as a nation we’ve seen electoral victories without a popular vote win. Two of them have happened in my lifetime; George Bush beat Al Gore in 2000, and of course we all know Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Clinton’s mistake, perhaps, was failing to make a serious appeal to those so-called flyover states. Wyoming has but 3 electoral votes, but you put Wyoming together with the other flyovers and you’ve got a large block of electoral votes. That made it straightforward for Trump – all he had to do was focus on the states that could have gone either way, make Clinton look bad there, and ride the media’s wave of publicity and horror right into the White House thanks to the Electoral College.

We in this country tend to have an messianic view of the Founding Fathers, but we should always remember that the majority of them (if not all of them) were members of the 18th century elite. They were overwhelmingly wealthy and owned – in some cases – considerable amounts of land. Every last one of them was white, and every last one of them was male.

I often talk about social contract theory and its importance in the development of the ideologies that led to the formation of the United States. One of the themes running through social contract theory in the 18th century was a hearty distrust and even fear of the masses – the mob, many social contract theoreticians felt, was too dangerous to be allowed to hold any real power.

It is for this reason that the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College – to put a check on the will of the people by creating an institution that can put the brakes on a close election and sway things in favor of the established elite if and when necessary. State governments (especially in the 18th century) were not made up of everymen, and they were not made up of any women or people of color. They were made up of the elite, and it’s where our entrenched oligarchy got its start.

As the tool of the will of the states, then, the Electoral College became the tool of the wealthy elite and enables the ongoing manipulation of election results by the entrenched oligarchical elite we have come to know and love. It functions on fear and loathing, not equality and justice.

You may think I’m crazy, and that’s fine, but when elections are as close as this one and the one in 2000, the wealthy elite of this country can rely on the Electoral College to do their will and overcome the will of the people. At its heart, the Electoral College shows the distrust of the masses that the Founding Fathers held close, and you should never forget that.

The next four years are going to be pretty great for straight, nominally Christian white men and pretty bad for basically everybody else. White women might think they’re safe – hey, Trump loves white people, right? – but we’ll see if his racial ideas outweigh his gender ideas. When the post-Trump anti-white-male backlash descends, however, we’ll see just how hard he grabbed our collective pussy and what kind of damage he managed to do while he was down there.

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