284 Comments

I really hesitated posting anything. The news from Kentucky just keeps getting worse. Senator McConnell will most likely retain his seat (once again I have NEVER voted for him) although his ads are full of lies. Our other senator says he has a medical degree; however, I really want to see his credentials after some of the remarks he has made about COVID. Now we have an officer suing Breonna Taylor's (say her name) boyfriend over standing his ground, legal in this state by the way. And this morning in my local paper, it seems that up to 2013, the training manuals for the Kentucky State Police contained quotes from Hitler. My head hurts. But here's the thing. Yes, 45 and Mitch and their ilk will try to game the system, but I think that many citizens have been awaken to them. I see young people like my college-age granddaughter in the streets demanding change. And, by the way, it was two young men who exposed the training manual of the state police through documents obtained through the Open Records Act. And before you jump on Kentucky, you may want to take a look at the training manuals of your own police forces. Are they encouraged to be guardians of the people or warriors fighting against the people? I see an upswing in voting. And as much I am tired of lockdowns and self quarantine, I have to admit it has been good for me. I have had to slow down, read more, think more, and do a lot of self- examination about my part in what is happening. And I really don't like to admit that I have been complacent and most of the time wringing my hands over how terrible it all is. No more. I am in the process of finding ways to be more involved. I have found two social justice groups that align with my faith (moderate to liberal) that have platforms I believe in economically and politically (again moderate to liberal). This old white woman refuses to let a few old white men destroy this country. And I thank Dr Richardson for helping to raise my awareness.

Expand full comment

Thanks, Rebecca. We old white women might be only armchair activists now, but we do what we can to seek justice, protect our democracy and save our planet, even if all we can do is contribute to organizations we believe can do that.

Expand full comment

America seems to pay more attention when old white women like us are able to manage to get up out of our armchairs and physically show up to protest. I have done as much as my circumstances allow to promote a blue wave and a Biden win but if, God forbid, he manages to game the system and win this old white lady plans to publicly protest for the first time in her life, despite multiple reasons for being high risk for covid, and current significant mobility impairments. As depressed and discouraged as I am right now I refuse to give up.

Expand full comment

Good for you, Karen! I'm at too high a risk to be out and about but will support whatever resistance actions there are in whatever ways I can.

Expand full comment

I'm an old white lady too. Although middle age goes to 85 now, I prefer Euro-American to white, and prefer woman to "lady", I plan to join the nonviolent resistance if Biden and Harris do not take office in January (or sooner!). There is a lot of organizing and communications one can do from an armchair these days. And, like I do to the doctor's office, I'll wear my M.I.T. shirt so they won't dismiss me or treat me like a senile old lady that no one needs to pay attention to. It works...

Expand full comment

I’m glad you have your M. I.T shirt! I am also treated differently when I wear my “Doctor of Nursing Practice” fleece from my alma mater, too!

Expand full comment

And, I also meant to say that it’s a sad social commentary that it takes some sort of identifier like that for older women to be treated with respect in our society. Ugh.

Expand full comment

Yes, rather maddening at times. Like when I was explaining my M.I.T. class ring to a friend. It is gold and has a beaver, the engineer of the animal world, on it so it is affectionately called a Brass Rat. The guy with us said "I didn't know spouses could get class rings too." After the work that I put into getting that ring you can imagine how big an insult that was to me. When people learn I went to M.I.T. many say "That's a hard school to get into, isn't it?" To which I reply "You should try getting out!"

Expand full comment

Great idea. I'll have to go digging for my alma mater shirt. (Or send away for a new one.)

Expand full comment

Thank you, both of you, Rebecca and Mim, for your optimism and your activism! We can turn the tide in America, with the help of young people and each other!!

Expand full comment

This "old white man" is proud as hell of y'all and believes likewise! We may have to get out there and protest with our walkers and in our wheelchairs, but g-ddammit, WE WILL!

Expand full comment

Yes!! I will, too!

Expand full comment

I'm in!

Expand full comment

Hello Mim. Not sure if I am spelling it correctly, but Heather was on Amorpour on PBS at 11:00pm.

Expand full comment

Thank you, LouAnn. I record Amanpour every day and saw that segment with Heather and Norm Ornstein. Amanpour is a good journalist and knew the right questions to ask these two scholars.

Expand full comment

Everyone has made a big deal out of "southern cops" versus northern cops, but the operative word is cops. They're all the same. The LAPD has been "reformed" six times in the 53 years I have lived here, but they're still the same scum who I met in the first "police riot" in Century city back in 1967. As long as the police continue to be what they have been since the first force was created - the armed guards of the ruling class - they will always be what they are.

Expand full comment

Thank you for this wonderful response!

Expand full comment

I have been so lucky to live in a free and prosperous country for so long—I still have trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that so many people could be complicit in the greedy, power-grabbing, inhumane behavior that this administration and the Republican leadership have demonstrated and perpetrated on their people. It happens in so many other countries around the world. I would read about it, feel a sadness for those people far away, and then move on. Now, people in other countries feel a sadness for us.

I’m preparing to read Nick Kristof’s column about relationships hurt by this divide. I think I am letting an old dear friend go, and it doesn’t feel like a choice as much as a necessity, and it’s very sad. But not as sad as children being taken from their parents and never reunited. Not as sad as children being sent back over the border without an adult to care for them!! Not as sad as democracy being ripped apart, shred by shred.

I wish Mitch McConnell could have been removed from office for refusing to hold hearings on President Obama’s judge and justice nominations. He is out of control. He belongs in the bin with the wax Donald.

Expand full comment

I’m letting go of friends who honestly think the virus is a global hoax; I’m letting the line out on relatives who think climate change is a hoax. I can’t support those relationships. (At least I’m not married to a Trumpeter as one of my young friends is; he is a classic young uneducated white guy. We have to improve public education.)❤️🤍💙

Expand full comment

Indeed! And ensure we include civics.

Expand full comment

Yes! And the history of BIPOC people from their perspectives. And civics civics civics. And Election Day should be a national holiday.

Expand full comment

And analytical thinking along with writing. I taught college-level writing for years, and what I was really teaching was how to delve deeply, coherently and cohesively into thought and evidence.

Expand full comment

A recent directive in my school district said students had their right to free speech but teachers were not allowed to bring their political opinions into the classroom. I don’t think giving facts is an opinion but I really don’t know any teachers that we’re doing anything political. Outside of high school history and current events. But they are restricted as well! It’s like as a kid the teachers were not allowed to cover Vietnam. Maybe we need the political people ruling over schools to allow political discussions. It’s crazy that we’re so limited on what needs to be taught.

Expand full comment

Yes..I decided to let go close friends that continue to support Trump at this late date..It is Just too much..knowing that they support such an amoral person who has jeopardized our democracy..

Expand full comment

When you look back a little in Euro-American history the two strains of the current fight for freedom have always existed. Look at the opening of the West, for instance, where the honest ordinary pioneer family battled constantly not only the forces of nature to survive but also the forces of massive speculative wealth creation which only sought to exploit nature for their own gain without caring about the consequences for others; the one seeking economic, social and political freedom with due respect for others and the other riding roughshod over anyone getting in the way in a quest for personal wealth and power.

Neither cared particularly for the genocide perpetrated upon the Native American population they were replacing nor for the equal right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" of the Afro-Americans and Hispanics. As much of this is but of recent "concern" in the public's mind? Trump and his orcs are hardly a surprise.

Expand full comment

I shouldn’t be surprised by how far people will go for power. Sometimes, I can see I am a Pollyanna and naive. I still want to believe in Dr King’s words -that the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice. And in Anne Frank’s trust that “in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” That so many people believe and follow these charlatans and grifters is still mind-boggling. Wax Trump in the bin is a hopeful sign!!

Expand full comment

We have to be realistic that there are evil people and always be vigilant, never naive and complacent

Expand full comment

The first to believe in the unidirectional, inevitable and unstoppable nature of life and history are those not at all interested in democracy or what you think. They are the extremist and dictators, be they arch-capitalists, fascists or communists or whatever xou want to call them. Freewill in a free land means we can decide to change direction whatever the ideologues would like.

Expand full comment

I think we can disagree though and still be moving toward justice. Right? There can be a second party that represents different ideals but is still fair and humane.

Expand full comment

All the difficulty lies then in what you mean by "justice" , "fair" and "humane" as even the definitions will differ as each group will have their own way of "using" the terms to the advantage of their point of view and objectives.

Expand full comment

I guess I’ve never known leaders to be so overtly evil, nor to blatantly break laws in America before Trump and McConnell.

Expand full comment

I think the ideals need to be the same; difference comes in the methods for reaching those ideals. The problem now is that Republicans have abandoned the ideals.

Expand full comment

I agree with the point that Heather has made several times: that in Democracy and especially representative democracy, we need at least two parties, so that there are always discussions and ideas in the air. There will be disagreements but as long as the parties agree on the ground rules, as it were, this is what makes for creative solutions to unanticipated problems or even for the day to day business of government. The problem we have in our country right now is that we have a self-selected group of people who are not participating in democracy and are refusing to observe the ground rules that we have set up over the decades, beginning well before our Constitution. We need the challenge of ideas that emerge from people operating from different perspectives: this is the strength of democracy. Ideas and solutions are tested in the discussion. I have worked with groups making decisions at various levels throughout my career, and have watched people with wildly varying starting points work through to solutions that the group as a whole could accept. This is by far and away the norm, not the exception. The exception occurs when one person or one group insists on the outcome of their choosing. We have a doozy right now. Fortunately, we also have a solution: our collective votes. And I happen to believe that this solution works. The kicker for us is that democracy is not something that happens automatically. We have to work at democracy, and we have to include as much as we can the rest of the people, even those we disagree with. None of us is going to ever get what we consider is the "perfect" solution, but then we get to try again. That is what makes our democracy an experiment, and not just a self-operating process.

Expand full comment

You are not alone. Here in France, a debate is only considered "finished" when the other accepts totally your point of view even at the individual level never mind the collective and the political! A very "conflictual" culture and nothing "Consensual" about it. We don't live in a democracy under your defintion or many others....and the President here has effectively all the powers that Trump would like and then some....should he choose to use them. Fortunately he doesn't often but the people really only have a contribution to make once every 5 years.

Expand full comment

Thank you!

Expand full comment

But doesn't history also show that the trajectory despite its swings back and forth between conservative and progressive periods civilization is "maturing" toward a more just society -- an upward spiral. Personally, I don't believe in that all people are flawed or evil from the original sin. I believe in the inherent good of people. Maybe that makes me naïve or gullible but I'd rather look for the good in people. But as a pragmatic optimist I am still aware of evil and the major flaws in our institutions and systems like greed driving capitalism. What I dream of is a world that strives for synergy is all our interactions and a world measured by a well-being index like Great Britain and New Zealand are already doing. Yes, it would replace the GDP.

Expand full comment

I love this!

Expand full comment

It would be nice but its a bit like the ironic saying about second marriages being the triumph of hope over experience. I think in history one can conclude "positively" as you say or negatively depending on the length of the time frame or cycle that you look at. One can also be somewhat biased by the chance to born at a "good" time and in a "good" place.

Expand full comment

Yes, as I wrote that I was debating about Ancient Greece as the birth of democracy. Then thinking about the Renaissance and the growth of trade routes established by the paths of pilgrims to see holy relics at the Gothic Cathedrals and an urban middle class growing up around the long term work opportunities of building these structures. Now I hope we are going to embark on a "good" period particular around progress around social justice. We have been privileged to live in relatively good times but we certainly are at a cusp point into a catastrophic free-fall to the end of the experiment with civilization or to an exciting period in the synergistic growth of social justice and sustainable development as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations as an example.

Expand full comment

Agree. Those are exactly the 2 people and 2 quotes that this Pollyanna has mentioned for the past 4 years. 🥰❤️🤍💙

Expand full comment

Nice trope: "honest ordinary pioneer families" vs "forces of massive speculative wealth creation". Not really so clear cut as that. Those settlers begged the national government to clear out the native peoples so they could have free land. Many helped do it. Others were happy to buy claim papers from the speculators. Veterans of earlier wars were paid with land concessions that had been set aside for Native people. Pretty much the same thing on different scales, and both Native people and people of African descent were shoved aside or used as needed.

Expand full comment

Too true. And frequently created incidents with local indians so that they could call in the army in order to have tthe supply contracts wwhile the land was being "cleared" .Money, money, money...what price human life?

Expand full comment

“We’re going to run through the tape. We go through the end of the year, and so does the President,” he said. “We’re going to fill the 7th Circuit. And I’m hoping we have time to fill the 1st Circuit as well.” “We’re going to clean the plate, clean all the district judges off as well,” he told Hewitt.

So, Mitch, are ya gonna start shooting existing judges, so that you can fill their seats, too? My God! I suppose we should be enured to these outrages by now, and I confess to a certain level of 'outrage fatigue', but this one takes the cake.

As I read through the list of outrages Heather listed just in today's letter, I wondered for the umpteenth time, "what will it take?" Is there any crime this man can commit, any evil he can perpetrate, that will get SOMEBODY with some level of authority, to reel him in? We tried the legal, sanctioned impeachment route, and Mitch shot that down with every Republican senator except Mitt blindly following his marching orders.

I suppose it's fitting that it's Halloween, because I've never been more terrified for the future in my life.

Expand full comment

Wanton power grab when they know the game is up. For amoral McConnell it’s always been about judges. He will be the catalyst for long delayed court reform and population based expansion of the supreme and district courts.

Expand full comment

Yes! I hope so! I hope the Democrats win the senate and make changes to ensure America never has to suffer a Trump or McConnell or a Barr ever again.

Expand full comment

I don’t know how that posted twice! Sorry.

Expand full comment

That happens from time to time, I've noticed. I've learned to just ignore it, and the system fixes it on its own.

Expand full comment

Sandra, McConnell couldn't possibly be a more despicable human being. I hate him with all my being.

Expand full comment

Yet...Kentuckians keep electing him...

Expand full comment

Marcy , baffling isn't it.

Expand full comment

No it isn't baffling. Nationally, at least 40% of voters will vote Republican next week for the same reasons: gullibility and ignorance of the facts. Those are the problems. Kentucky is just a symptom. No immediate solution is in sight for these twin menances.

Expand full comment

It is willful ignorance. They don't WANT to know the facts that might penetrate their bubble and give them clarity and comprehension.

Expand full comment

Jacob, it is in the sense that in the year 2020, there are still people who, for their own good , won't open their eyes to facts. I believe, i may be wrong with the figure, but McConnell has held that post for 36 years. For 36 years the people of Kentucky are willing to take a pipe to the head be one of the least educated, low income States in the Nation. I realize there will be alot of generational voting next week. But damn. You are right, there is no solution to this.

Expand full comment

Opening your eyes to facts requires thought and might even end up you changing something.....all that hard work? Nah, let's have a beer!

Expand full comment

Have been pondering this for a long time...any Kentuckians here who can enlighten?

Expand full comment

KY is still a rural state, even though the Louisville Metro area has more than 1 million population and Lexington, the second largest city, is heading toward half a million. My namesake, damn him, has been good at stoking the urban-rural divide in his favor, although he is himself from the Louisville area. Calling rural people ignorant fools, as so many in this space are doing, explains very little. These folks have different values AND interests from urban-state people, and their Electoral College weight is heavier.

Talking about "reforming" the Electoral College shows a special kind of ignorance of its own - ignorance of how difficult it is to ammend the Constitution. You need TWO THIRDS of BOTH Houses of Congress and THREE FOURTHS of the states to do that. Please stop wasting time with that kind of talk and think a little harder about what it will take to convince at least some rural people to change their minds. Now THAT's hard.

Expand full comment

Rural areas are woefully underserved by internet connection & cable. I live semi rural in Eastern WA where politics run red. What I had to pay to upgrade from Verizon wifi to CenturyLink was ridiculous. And it's stilln ot great internet speed. Still not sure why farmers think Republicans have their best interests. I think they just want the government to leave tthem alone, but agriculture isn't the lone farmer any more.

Expand full comment

Who called rural residents “ignorant fools”? My daughter and her family live n rural KY and I know lots about KY’s issues. What I want to know is how good ppl can keep electing Mitch, seemingly against their own interest. Further, I’m well aware of what it takes to amend the Constitution. The EC isn’t about KY; it’s about the unrepresentative result . Not sure how you conflated my question about KY with the EC. Finally, why don’t you tell ME what it takes to change rural residents’ minds?

Expand full comment

I’m not a Kentuckian. But isn’t one of the reasons McConnell still holds his seat because his wife is Secretary of Transportation and McConnell has used that connection to divert funds to Kentucky? Divert may not be the correct word here but I seem to recall reading some articles a few months ago about this very thing. His ability to secure funding for pet projects in his home state. I mean no offense here, and welcome a correction if I have this wrong.

Expand full comment

Even before that, Mitch pitched his Senate seniority to get stuff from KY as a reason to keep him around. His corruption the last few years also includes some investment in KY a company connected to Deripaska, a buddy of Putin and Manafort who had been on a sanctions list...

Expand full comment

Gerrymandering probably at play too.

Expand full comment

Apparently "Mass Murderer via Political Rally" doesn't even rate misdemeanor.

Expand full comment

Negligent homicide IS on the statute books. But the current AG hews to the policy line established before his time which says sitting Presidents cannot be indicted. There is NO law that states such a thing. Wonder when Congress will go there...

Expand full comment

The GOP is already trying to get GOP leaning judges who face either a retirement age or a time limited contract to resign so that Mitch and his cohorts at state level can fix the scalp of even more judgeships to their wagon and further hamstring any new administration.

Expand full comment

Clarence Thomas? To assure a tRump seat through the coming decades

Expand full comment

It wouldn't necessarily change what Biden will do to "rebalance" or "marginalise" the Court.

Expand full comment

😡

Expand full comment

“Never been more terrified for the future” is an apt statement and articulate my feelings as well. Where I felt a lift of optimism yesterday I feel dread today. The roller coaster has become a daily ride.

Expand full comment

This isn't snark - here's a serious question. Is PTSD considered a pre-existing condition? Because if it is, and the GOP succeeds in destroying the ACA, half the nation will be uninsurable.

Expand full comment

Anything is a pre-existing condition if you have it before the insurance starts - including if an insurer dumps you because of it, so any further insurance will never cover it.

Expand full comment

Me either. I think I am having a panic attack.

Expand full comment

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/10/30/halloween-blue-hunters-moon/

A ‘blue moon’ will grace the skies today - it is the second full moon of this calendar month. Of ccourse it is an omen that celestial energies are aligning for a blue wave among us mortals

Expand full comment

It is also man that has imposed his rythm of 12 months on nature's 13 seasons of the moon making a "blue moon" mathematically inevitable in most, if not all, years. The "ancients" and Native Americans would however agree that the full moon can have a significant impact both on nature and man indicating change. The impact in agriculture in terms of planting, tending and harvesting is increasingly recognized here in France particulary in the vineyards. The moon might be inviting us to toast, and share a bottle to celebrate, Biden's victory soon.

Expand full comment

In western civilization we use a solar calendar, the Gregorian calendar, rather than a lunar calendar which is used by a number of Eastern religions. Twelve lunar synodic months are 11 days short of the solar twelve month calendar so some years have 13 full moons, hence, a blue moon. Yes, let's toast the "blue" moon portending our return to democracy on Tuesday.

Expand full comment

Yesa Share and Celebrate!! Then in the following Last Moon, Reflect on all the Successes of the past 28 days. May there be MANY.

Expand full comment

YES!!!

Expand full comment

Just ask any elementary teacher. Full moon craziness is a thing!

Expand full comment

And the former O.B. nurse!

Expand full comment

Oh, thank you so much for alerting me to this sign from the heavens. ❤️🤍💙

Expand full comment

💙🌊

Expand full comment

I’m saving this article for posterity. Even though I follow each day’s events, your synopsis of the last 24 hours—all in one place, item after item—still comes as a shock.

Hopefully, voter turnout will continue at a brisk pace, and in a few days we can collectively throw the current president into Mme Tussaud’s dumpster.

Masks on, everyone—let’s DO THIS!

Expand full comment

"Never before in our history has a candidate openly planned to win an election by gaming the system, but here we are."

That's because Trump isn't running for re-election as much as he's running to stay out of jail.

"Doctors get paid more if the cause of death is listed as Covid."

Are we perhaps finally getting a hint of Trump's "better and cheaper" healthcare plan, containing a "Cause of Death" rate chart? Death by hangnail pays the most.

“They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

One of the three times in the last four+ years when Trump spoke the truth. (I can't recall the other two.) The last thing any Republican wants to encourage is a free, fair, honest election; not for president or dog catcher.

Find a way to smile every day. The harder that is to do, the more important it is that you do it.

Expand full comment

"Find a way to smile every day. The harder that is to do, the more important it is that you do it."

A fine motto, Ralph.

A corollary:

Seek joy every day, and enjoy joy, even in the littlest things.

Expand full comment

and protect your dog from a Trump dog-catcher!

Expand full comment

I keep wondering where the source might be for his statements about a higher price paid to docs for a death by Covid ruling? Did Medicare add a new DRG for it?

Expand full comment

His source is the same as where he gets all the other 'facts' he recites - he pulls them out of a certain part of his anatomy.

Expand full comment

That’s what I was thinking, but I wanted to be sure I hadn’t missed something. Thanks!

Expand full comment

I thought the same thing. No summoning of my delusional self enables me to fathom his lies. I've been in a constant state of panic attack. It's my new normal.

Expand full comment

Somewhere on the internet there is an article written by a doctor asserting this nonsense-my spouse read this a week or so ago-sorry I can’t find it to share the link.

Expand full comment

I just smiled at your last paragraph, Ralph. Thanks!

Expand full comment

Despite the whole fallacy of MAGA because America was not great for everyone in most of my lifetime, nor my parents’ lifetime, at least things were simpler for white folks when I came of age in 1963. It was U.S. against the Soviet Union and I joined the Air Force to fight the cold war & avoid the real war in Vietnam. The military was integrated as was most of the U.S. outside of the backward South. However, since high school I have learned that we are not a Democracy. The Electoral College has at least twice put an UNPOPULAR president in office and threatens to destroy the nation by doing it again. I have learned that we are an Oligarchy ruled by the obscenely rich, who buy our elected government and feeds lies to our naive & ignorant citizens.

I have also learned that not only has “Equal Justice Under the Law” inscribed on the Supreme Court building always been a blatant lie but since this presidency no one has even attempted to enforce the laws routinely broken by the president & his Repugnant enablers. The Emoluments clause, the Hatch Act, the CFR have all been openly violated with no consequences. (Yes, selling a brand of beans from the Oval Office is not legal). And now, not content with ignoring Federal laws, he is having an unauthorized late nite rally in Miami-Dade County that will violate our curfew and as usual our mask ordinance. There is no comment from Mayor Carlos Giménez a Repugnant Sucophant. Chaos seems to be the New Normal.

Expand full comment

Rob, I have moments when I wonder if our country is based entirely on lies and the reasons you give in this post are exactly why. The founders had high hopes and we keep parroting those ideals (such as “Equal justice under law” as you mention) but the reality of life in this country for most citizens just doesn’t live up to those high hopes and ideals. Granted, it has been better than in some others, but still. And the current levels of corruption are mind boggling. I am so discouraged by the very real possibility that trump may successfully game the system to win re-election that I am no longer able to participate in most discussions and I have been almost entirely avoiding social media and news - I just can’t take it any more. The most I can do is to read these letters because I feel like I am in a community of like- minded people. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and reminding me that I am not alone.

Expand full comment

I, too, Karen, am having a difficult time staying optimistic. I'm still reading articles and listening to some news but even the pro Biden news doesn't equate to a Biden win. I realize a Biden win won't solve all that needs fixing but it will at least energize me to continue on. I look forward to reading your comments here as long as Dr. R continues to write her letters!

Expand full comment

I was so in shock on the evening of Nov 8, 2016 seeing that the unqualified & dangerous aberration was ahead in the votes over a qualified and experienced government worker that I quit watching the news. My plan for Tuesday is not going online or watching TV, except to see whatever DVD binge I put in. I will deal with wherever our nation is heading on Wednesday.

Expand full comment

Personally, Rob, I have been wanting to re-watch "My Cousin Vinny" as well as "Seabiscuit" and a few others!

Expand full comment

Excellent choices!

Expand full comment

Karen, “I just can’t take it any more.”

I hear you. Guess I have a short fuse, as I opted out of the U. S. at age 24 In 1970. One-way passage on a freighter to Yokohama, still here.

Apropos of nothing, this morning my 74yr-old husband and I listened to :

Billy Joel - We Didn't Start the Fire - good memory trigger -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDPnsTRAvIM

Expand full comment

I am right there with you.

Expand full comment

The law breaking is ignored because the chief law-enforcer is one of his: the evil Bill Barr. But we cannot ignore the tireless and hard work of our Democrats, no matter how outnumbered they are. Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, Katie Porter, AOC, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker... They are doing what they can.

Expand full comment

The news continues to pummel us daily. I truly appreciate your thoughtful synopsis each day. Today, your last paragraph brought a huge dose of sunshine to my day. I hope we see many more such actions in the coming months. I'd like to see a calendar for 2022 with photos of Trumps's daily life in prison.

Expand full comment

I’m betting he will fly to UAE in early January, where there is no extradition, and he owns property, never to return to stand trial.

Expand full comment

Funny, Dan, but you know somehow he would profit off that calendar!

Expand full comment

Any profits should go to COVID victim’s families.

Expand full comment

This essay from Professor Richardson is a a sublime model of how to update and capture the swirl of presidential election flimflammery succinctly and with right-on touches of clarifying observations. That she has delivered these daily reports on the underbelly of the traveling circus with an excess of clowns that is the Trump campaign, and his administration on the whole, is a marvel of service to those many Americans who cherish facts and morality and charity and all the traditional virtues that mark leaders as leaders. Her commitment to all of us is edifying to the nth degree. God bless her.

Expand full comment

Yes! These articles and videos have helped me navigate these frightening and murky waters for months. I’m trying so hard to be diligent and educated about this political climate and she condenses the facts and puts them in a historical perspective for us. I am so grateful for her

Expand full comment

Heather thanks for the recap of another day this Administration has whitewashed this Nation with sewage. It is tiring that this new normal of bullshit from every angle of this Administration rains down on us every single day. The COVID-19 numbers are beyond appalling. My area is spiking beyond the figures when it was at it worse. I watched our local PBS show this evening with Academics of local Universities who all thought Biden SHOULD win, but Trump WILL game the system by directing this election into the hands of HIS Supreme Court. They made no bones about the fact that this is Trumps Supreme Court and not of the People. It was by far one of the most scathing panels made up of both Democrats and Republicans and not one supported Trump. Trump has painted his world to his liking and he does know how to work the system. Like it or not, he has worked the con all of his life. I am not going to let this election rule my head, Trump isn't allowed in. I give him a daily glance and that's more than he deserves. Life really isn't fair, and shit happens. Everyone just breath, stay safe, stay well and wear that god damn mask 😷. Remember, the tide clears the beach and new shells appear everyday. Someday, this will all go away. This image keeps me sane these days.

Expand full comment

Hi Linda-I hope you are doing OK.

Expand full comment

Carolyn, thank you so much for asking. I hope you are doing well. These are certainly trying times. I will be glad when the election is over and we can sort out the next chapter. Take care.

Expand full comment

You saved the best for last! Into the dumpster!!! Thank you, Dr. Richardson!

Expand full comment

Into the trash? Way to go, Madame Tussaud!

Expand full comment

Unfortunately it is just a display of Trump in a dumpster and the actual figure will be retuned after the election. It is well done, though, with a sign saying “You’re Fired”

Expand full comment

Into a dumpster!

Expand full comment

Yes! And the shot of the Obama statue smiling at the dumpster was the icing. So utterly perfect.

Expand full comment

I have to say it NOW . . .

Whatever the outcome, thank you !

I could not have made it this far along, with my sanity intact, without having been introduced to you by Ani DiFranco, over 6 months ago.

Thank you, and I LOVE YOU . . .

I’m not in love with you, but I am so grateful for your almost SUPER-HUMAN efforts to compile information, and inform a public that actually cares about this country, its history, and it’s F U T U R E . . .

I have VOTED, (what else can I do?), and I remain hopeful for the people of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, and all the rest of the population of this planet.

While I sense how modest you are, regardless of the outcome, this Tuesday, next Tuesday, or Tuesday, December 1, (who knows when?), but eventually, sooner, rather than later . . .

You are deserving of great praise ! ! !

HEATHER COX RICHARDSON

THANK YOU

THANK YOU

THANK YOU

Expand full comment

Morning, All! Dr. R's opening paragraph reminding us of the Electoral College determining who our next president will be distracted me from the rest of this excellent letter. So my question is: If Biden has a landslide victory -- (how big is landslide?) -- in a majority of the non-swing states, will we still be forced to settle for an EC selection of 45? Also, my understanding is even if there's a landslide popular vote for Biden in any swing state, the EC can still override that result in favor of 45. True?

Expand full comment

A candidate can win the popular election by any margin (2 million, 10 million, 20 million ...) and it makes no difference to the outcome if the other candidate reached 270 EC votes.

It is time to reform the Electoral College system, the system for the appointment of Supreme Court Justices to life terms, dark money in federal elections, the rampant arming of the public with weapons intended for mass murder... I believe we will need to amend the Constitution.

Expand full comment

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm tired of it always coming down to one or two "key states" (and one of them always seems to be crazy-ass Florida) to decide the fate of this country. I'm also tired of when the nation's important business will be taken care of (like taking up Covid relief) being decided by one despicable guy. We need to fix a couple things for sure.

Expand full comment

I've just finished reading an article in the Figaro newspaper here in France. It is centre-right in French terms and the biggest national paper in terms of circulation. They did a 4 page spread this weekend on the American elections and one article really caught my attention as it concerns us here particularly. The article laid out the economic difficulties of the Maine lobster fishermen and the way Trump has been trying to inveigle them into supporting him. The article was balanced but it wasn't that that hit me as it was illustrated by a photo of a lobster boat in Stonington harbour flying a political flag on which was written "TRUMP 2020.....F..CK YOUR FEELINGS" without omitting the "U" and I think that it sums up the attitude of the Trumpian Orcs and the difficulty of talking to them.....they don't care.

Expand full comment

Part of the whole Trumper culture - which not all Trumpers join, but it's very much there - is to despise and stick it to the others. Those who join that are bullies who want to dish it out without anything coming back at them, which is why Hillary Clinton was pilloried for her 'basket of deplorables' comment, which wasn't a sixtieth of the hate that had been sent at her.

Expand full comment

I live in crazy-ass Florida and I totally agree with you. And yes, they are crazy.

Expand full comment

Speaking as a born Floridian now living in NC, here's what the North Carolinians call them - "Floridiots". They got this nickname because in the 70s they were flocking to the NC mountains and paying way above market prices for a little piece of peace and quiet. Local landowners were thrilled, until the whole tone of the area began to change. Mostly, these were people who had migrated to Florida in the '50s and '60s, helped cause the over-build and other problems they then fled to NC to avoid.

Expand full comment

BTW, Annette, I distanced myself from the Floridiots because I actually fled my native state to get away from them! Little did I realize they were busy infiltrating the mountain region!

I realize one can find NIMBYs everywhere, which is part of the problem native North Carolinians have with the newcomers. It isn't just a matter of shunning outsiders, per se.

Expand full comment

My condolences, my friend.

Expand full comment

As amending the constitution would require states that benefit from the electoral college to give up that power, other solutions are needed. A blue Congress could repeal the the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, which ended true proportional representation in the House by limiting the total number of seats to that set after the census of 1910. That one action would add enough representatives to the House, and therefore electors to the electoral college, to give population a much larger and fairer voice in the choice of president and vice president. It would also be much closer to the original design in the constitution, for whatever that is worth. https://history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1901-1950/The-Permanent-Apportionment-Act-of-1929/#:~:text=Signed%20into%20law%20on%20June,seats%20after%20every%20decennial%20census.

Expand full comment

Thanks. We need as many viable solutions as we can get.

Expand full comment

Like "crazy-ass Florida"

Expand full comment

A random train of thought this morning.

I used to play dice-based role-playing games. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it's essentially a collaborative story-telling session in which individuals play certain stock characters (fighters, wizards, etc.) and they make up a story in real-time. There needs to be an arbiter, a "game master" who provides a prepackaged narrative context (e.g. evil undead lich-lord is taking over the world, you all must stop him) and then keeps the core of the tale on-track. These games use random rolls of dice to inject uncertainty into the story, which keeps the players engaged in improvising.

In my experience, these games generally degenerate into one of two end states.

In one state, all of the player characters become so powerful that they are (essentially) unstoppable, so they march through every scenario with a few standard tropes (fighter clears out the minions, wizard paralyzes the Bad Guy with a spell, cleric brings down Holy Fire from the Gods, everyone collects loot, then on to the next obstacle, rinse-and-repeat). This becomes extremely boring, and the group breaks up.

In the other, the group devolves into bickering disputes over the "rules," which are generally expressed as published probability tables for the random dice roles, modified by vague "extenuating circumstances," and the game master goes mad trying to arbitrate among players who are essentially arguing is-not/is-so. This becomes infinitely tedious, and the group breaks up.

I keep watching the dissolution of the United States, and these two end-state scenarios from role-playing games keep coming to mind. The only people playing the political game at this point are the over-powered players: no one else can even play, and if they try, they get used as "meat shields" by the more powerful players. Those who remain in the game are playing a tediously complex game of is-not/is-so, appealing every picayune rule to the Supreme Court in the role of game-master, while ignoring any rule they don't like.

The point here is that society is a game. A rather serious one. The core objective is to survive as a culture in a world that makes that problematic. There are rules, and there is improvisation within and around the rules. Circumstances change, and when that happens, the rules typically need to change; sometimes substantially.

The Electoral College is clearly one of those rules that needs to change. It was -- according to my understanding -- supposed to be something to prevent "the masses" from electing a bad president. It is now the means by which the vote can be biased to elect a bad president.

Expand full comment

That about sums it up.

Expand full comment

Bullseye, Joseph. This is how I imagine 45 thinks of society and the role he plays in it.

Expand full comment

Thanks, R Dooley. My initial question was pretty inartful. Put this way: Out of 150 million votes 100 million are for Biden. I'm not mathematically astute enough to run the "real" numbers. My point is having Republican electors deciding a Democrat popular win. If that is the reality, then yes, we have to reform the EC system, among the other issues you mentioned.

Expand full comment

Dear Lynell Abbott, please read the US Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, which states how the President is chosen. There is not a single word there about the popular vote, and this part of the Constitution has not been changed, even after a later ammendment mandated the direct election of Senators more than 100 years ago. That's where we are. The Dems know how this works as well as the Reps do. that's why it is fair to say that DT didn't "win" the election of 2016, but that Hillary C. and her team LOST it. Biden and his people are paying more attention to the (former) "Blue Wall" states for just this reason. IF they take MI, WI and PA back and hold all the other states won in 2016, DT will lose. But that is exactly why he and the Reps are trying to challenge mail-in ballots in just those states, and are also planning to do so everywhere else. That is what HCR meant by "gaming the system.

Expand full comment

Also read the link below. The number of seats in the House was intended by the constitution to be proportional to population. That intention was subverted by the Congress in 1929, when they passed a law limiting the size of the House no matter the size of the poplulation, which means that even the House (and the electors dependent on it) have not been representative of population as the Constitution intended for the last 90 years. That could be fixed by repealing the law in question. https://history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1901-1950/The-Permanent-Apportionment-Act-of-1929/#:~:text=Signed%20into%20law%20on%20June,seats%20after%20every%20decennial%20census.

Expand full comment

True enough. Sadly, I see no serious movement in that direction.

Expand full comment

Mitchell, I think I just figured out my sticking point: When people would keep talking about a landslide victory I took that to mean winning by a huge margin regardless of the EC votes, but now I see EC votes must come with the landslide. Thanks again for your help.

Expand full comment

Thank you, Mitchell, for taking the time to explain for me. I will read again Article 2 Section 1. Unfortunate for me that I get lost in the several scenarios I read/hear about.

Expand full comment

R Dooley, I think I figured out my sticking point: When people would keep talking about a landslide victory I took that to mean winning by a huge margin regardless of the EC votes, but now I see EC votes come with the landslide. Thank you, again.

Expand full comment

ME and NE split up their EC votes ... Maine gets 4 EC votes - two go to the statewide winner, and one to the winner in each of our (2) Congressional Districts.

Eliminating the EC entirely (esp by 2024’s election cycle) would be A Tall Order, but what if we could get a few “battleground states” to adopt the ME/NE model?

Expand full comment

Or, as a number of states have done, award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. Or appoint electors proportionally rather than winner take all. The problem is less the EC and more how states appoint electors.

Expand full comment

That’s similar to what Robert Reich proposes.

Expand full comment

That would help. In fact, getting all states to do it would be a great idea.

Expand full comment

My immediate thought is, can a supreme count judge be nominated and approved onto the court in an election year??

Expand full comment

Tradition, tradition, tradition and only tradition ...and not a very old, nor constantly respected one at that!

Expand full comment

Have you not been watching?

Expand full comment

Of course, being sarcastic! The system is rigged and Republicans will do anything in their power to win the election. Just like they denied Obama the Supreme Court pick only to usher in ACB one week before an election.

Expand full comment

I thought you were being funny!

Expand full comment

Alexander Hamilton said that the main purpose of the Electoral College was to make sure that no agent of a foreign government would ever become president. He wrote in Federalist, no. 68, that America was so spread out [When he wrote this, there were only 13 colonies.], it would be difficult for most citizens /voters to get to know a presidential candidate well enough to spot a spy or traitor. But the electors---having no other governmental duty, obligation, or responsibility---would catch one.

Hamilton wrote, "The most deadly adversaries" of America would probably "Make their approaches [to seize control of the United States] from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils." He also wrote, "How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy [president] of the Union." He wrote the framers of the Constitution "have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention."

The choice of president would not "depend on any preexisting bodies of men who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes." The Electoral College would be made up of "persons [selected] for the sole purpose of making the appointment," he wrote, "And they have excluded from eligibility to this trust, all those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the President in office. No senator, representative, or other person holding a place of trust or profit under the United States, can be of the numbers of the electors."

"The process of election [by the Electoral College] affords a moral certainty that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications," so wrote Hamilton.

I am certain that, especially in the elections of George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump, that Hamilton's body, or what's left of it, has rolled over in his grave at least a million times.

We can only hope that Biden wins in a land slide and takes Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin to boot so that Trump will not be able to the nasty deeds of his intention.

N.B., Much of the above is from the new book by Thom Hartmann, which is entitled, "The Hidden History of The War On Voting: Who Stole Your Vote---And How To Get It Back."

Expand full comment

Wow! A comprehensive and disturbing compendium. Thank you Heather. This review really raises for me one question that is not being addressed anywhere that I can find. Who, behind Trump, is driving this evil machine? Nationwide there is too much going on, and it is too coordinated and executed, to be from this narcissistic dope and the incompetent White House. The Koch brothers? The Federalist Society? Dark money from who? The wave of lawsuits, and the executive orders and changes to departmental regulations throughout the federal bureaucracy, are I think beyond the imagination and mental capacity of Trump to dictate or even imagine. Yet, they are ongoing. And I don’t think it will end when he’s gone. The fights will move to the courts, packed with Trump appointees, to maintain what he has achieved. And Moscow Mitch announced yesterday he will keep filling judge vacancies in November and December after the election even if they all lose and must leave in January. What are your thoughts on where the real power emanates from?

Expand full comment

All of the above — for years.

Expand full comment

True. They have had a "long view" and are executing their decades-long plans with scary precision.

Expand full comment

And where were the Dems, and where were WE all that time???

Expand full comment

Trying! And being blocked by Evil Mitch. I have resorted to Trumpian name calling. But Mitch McConnell is pure evil to me. Maybe he will kick the bucket on Nov 4 when he sees the Blue Tsunami results and save us from his greedy, fascist scheme.

Expand full comment

Excellent point and, I believe, spot on. Would love to hear something from Heather about this.

Expand full comment

Maybe others in the Senate will rise and stop him.

Expand full comment

Not until the composition of the Senate changes. The Rs in there now haven't done anything to date to stop McConnell. His goal is to get as many pliable judges as possible in place before the new Senate takes their seats. Too late then. I do suspect that one reason for the rush is that McConnell et al have a pretty good idea they are going to lose the Senate as well as the Presidency. If there were a way of reversing some of those appointment, it would be a good thing. Yes, it will take spine. No, I don't think it will destabelize the country. The fascist element doesn't have as much power as they think they do, and the best antidote to fascism is to stand up firmly and say NO.

Expand full comment

Nobody will stop him

Expand full comment

Maybe if there is a blue wave, some Republicans will discover their spines. Not likely, I know, but I will still hope.

Expand full comment

Ya right. Then it will be more partisan bickering. The country will hate that more and give rise to another authortarian and maybe this time a true fascist.

Expand full comment

Thank you for asking this question!

Expand full comment