Quick takes on two serious issues

“Hillary’s new emails. Bigger than Watergate. Huge.”trump-mad

Like everything else Donald Trump says, it’s not true. In fact it’s so “not true” that one of the original Watergate conspirators has written an op-ed piece saying just that. John Dean, who, with about fifty other Nixon aides, was convicted of criminal conduct, wants to set the record straight. You can find the piece—it’s all over the Internet today, but in short here’s what Dean wrote:

President Nixon abused presidential power by using illegal break-ins and burglaries, and electronic surveillance; by misusing agencies like the I.R.S., C.I.A. and F.B.I.; making political opponents into enemies and using the government to attack them; and then employing perjury and obstruction of justice to cover it all up. Nixon never apologized, and he went to his grave uttering the same meme: when the president does it, that means it is legal.

Hillary Clinton has apologized, and her only “crime” seems to have been the desire to maintain her Blackberry account. Not a wise decision, but hardy criminal, and nowhere close to an abuse of power.

Dean also drew some disturbing comparisons between the dark side of his boss, Nixon, and the dark side of Trump. According to Dean, Nixon fought to keep his dark side from public view, though it ultimately got him into trouble. Trump flies his dark side flag openly, daring us to object. The difference between the two, however, is that Nixon, beyond all his failings had a deep understanding of government. Trump does not.

“The election is rigged.”

trump-thumbs

It is, and the Republicans should know—they have been trying to rig them since at least 1982. That’s when they were caught hiring off-duty sheriffs and police officers to stand at polling places displaying their guns and armbands that said “National Ballot Security Task Force.” (I don’t know if there was a swastika on that armband, but it would have fit in nicely.)

Trump has reincarnated the NBSTF on a more informal basis for one purpose: to keep Black, Hispanic, and Latino citizens from voting—this despite a decree issued in New Jersey 34 years ago that specifically forbade this kind of activity. (If the Republican Party is found to be supporting Trump’s efforts to restrict voting, the decree will be extended another eight years. Barely a tap on the wrist when the stakes are this high.) And the man behind the New Jersey case in the eighties? Roger Stone—one of Trump’s top advisors.

Remember in 2013 when the Supreme Court struck down the Voting Rights Act because minority voting was no longer a problem? Remember how most of the enfranchised white voters (like me) gave it little thought—or maybe we boasted, how nice, discrimination is dead after all. Hurray for us! Before we congratulate ourselves any further, lets recount the ongoing skein of shootings over the last three years. Discrimination and bias are not dead; in fact, if we follow the news and listen to Trump’s platform, they’re doing quite well.

As for voting rights, because of that 2013 decision the Justice Department is assigning only a small fraction of the 32,000 federal election observers it deployed around the country in 2012. The Trump faction will be trying to rig the election by intimidation the day of and trickery beforehand. I don’t know enough about the powers of the presidency to know if an executive order can be issued to protect polling places from Trump’s abhorrent gestapo, but it would seem that protecting voting rights might be just cause.

If someone wants to petition the president to do that, I’ll sign on.

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