Category Archives: Democracy under attack

What if Trump won’t leave? Call it what it is, and be ready…

To stop a coup — take the Choose Democracy pledge, and be prepared for action!

Benicians Mary Susan Gast, Kathy Kerridge and Pat Toth-Smith have done great work recently alerting us to Daniel Hunter’s article* on the very real possibility that there may be an illegal power grab after the election on November 3.  Please scroll down to read the short piece by Choose Democracy, and click to sign the Choose Democracy pledge.  Here in Benicia, let’s prepare for the (unlikely, we hope) prospect of a coup.

We have reason to worry that this fall we may see an undemocratic power grab—a coup. [Check “coup-o-meter” for current events indicating a coup is more or less likely.]

We also know that the people can defend democracy.  Non-violent mass protests have stopped coups in other places and we have to be ready to do the same here.

Elections work because the public agrees to honor the results.  Similarly, coups work only if the public honors them.  When the public refuses to accept the coup as legitimate, coups fall apart.  Refusal looks like millions of people using nonviolent tools to delegitimize the coup by demonstrating, resisting orders, and shutting down the country until democracy prevails.

TAKE ACTION HERE

Go to Choose Democracy to sign this pledge:

  • We will vote.
  • We will refuse to accept election results until all the votes are counted.
  • We will nonviolently take to the streets if a coups is attempted
  • If we need to, we will shut down this country to protect the integrity of the democratic process

Consider attending a training workshop led by George Lakey (Oct 16, 21, 22, or 27) and making LOCAL preparations for the possibility of a coup.  Training sign-up at https://choosedemocracy.us/trainings/#.X4nDP2hKiUk.

*Read the article by Daniel Hunter, “10 Things You Need to Know to Stop A Coup” at  https://wagingnonviolence.org/2020/09/10-things-you-need-to-know-to-stop-a-coup/


*Daniel Hunter is the Global Trainings Manager at 350.org and a curriculum designer with Sunrise Movement. He has trained extensively from ethnic minorities in Burma, pastors in Sierra Leone, and independence activists in northeast India. He has written multiple books, including the “Climate Resistance Handbook” and “Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow.”

Democracy in danger… democracy in ACTION this Tuesday, 5:30pm!

By Roger Straw, December 16, 2019
Demand ACTION tonight, 5:30pm Tuesday 12/17/19. Find info on nearby events at impeach.org/event/impeach-and-remove-attend/search/

I have been struggling with deep discouragement over the unlikely prospect of a successful impeachment and removal of the president.  What’s to do?

Trump and his loyal House and Senate leaders have built an immovable blind base of support, promoted a blatant misinformation campaign, and fomented anger and civil unrest on behalf of a supposedly poor victim president.  Against all precedent and outside of any moral and constitutional bounds, Senator McConnell and the White House are coordinating a Senate impeachment trial that is predicted to be a quick acquittal or maybe even something less.

The hilarity of the morning Trump news hour has become deadly serious for me.  I can barely tune in to watch as the nation crumples under the threat of McConnell’s Senate control.

Discouragement is real, and our republic is surely in danger.  It seems at times like there’s nothing we can do.  Or can we?

We are, after all, THE PEOPLE.

The voices of America will be heard loud and clear on Tuesday evening, Dec 17, 2019, when “NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW” events take place in over 600 cities nationwide.

Please attend!  Rallies will be held this Tuesday evening (TODAY!) at 5:30pm in Walnut Creek, Napa, Fairfield, Sonoma, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Oakland, San Francisco…  Plug in your zip code for details at NeedToImpeach.


Here is information on a few of the events closest to Benicia:

“Nobody Is Above the Law” Rally in Walnut Creek

WHEN: Tuesday, December 17 at 5 p.m.
HOST(S): Ogie S.
WHERE
Intersection, Mt. Diablo Blvd. and Main St.
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Signups: 1085 attendees
Please join us for a “Nobody Is Above the Law” rally in downtown Walnut Creek at 5:00 PM this Tuesday, 12/17/19, the evening before the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the impeachment of Donald Trump. It is a crucial time to be visible and vocal about the imperative to take back our democracy!
Directions:

SIGN UP TO ATTEND


Nobody is Above the Law Impeachment Rally

WHEN: Tuesday, December 17 at 5:30 p.m.
HOST(S): Brigette H.
WHERE
Solano Government Center Sidewalk
Fairfield, CA 94533
Signups: 87 attendees
We need to show that there is massive public support for impeaching Trump for his crimes and abuses of power. That’s why the night before the House of Representatives takes a historic vote to impeach Trump, we’ll take to the streets to declare that Nobody Is Above the Law. Join us!
Directions:

SIGN UP TO ATTEND


NAPA Impeach and Remove at Veterans Park

WHEN: Tuesday, December 17 at 5:30 p.m.
HOST(S): Lisa S.
WHERE
Veterans Park
Napa, CA 94558
Signups: 332 attendees
The day BEFORE the Impeachment Vote (we believe the vote will be Wednesday, therefore, we are scheduling the Impeach and Remove Rally for Tuesday, December 17th) so we will rally at Veterans Park at 5:30 p.m. Get your posters ready now! Find one of your resistance T-shirts! Get your Rapid Response Backpack stocked! Spread the word! We’ll be gathering to support our democracy’s survival and freedom from the tyrant in the White House and fully supporting Impeachment in the House and Removal in the Senate! We are honoring our Constitution and those who resisted all the way!
Directions:

SIGN UP TO ATTEND


The President Is NOT a King!

WHEN: Tuesday, December 17 at 5:30 p.m.
HOST(S): Emily D.
WHERE
El Cerrito Plaza, All Four Corners on San Pablo Ave.
El Cerrito, CA 94530
Signups: 561 attendees
We need to show that there is massive public support for impeaching Trump for his crimes and abuse of power. That’s why the night before the House of Representatives takes a historic vote to impeach Trump, we’ll take to the streets to declare that Nobody Is Above the Law.
Directions: BART to El Cerrito Plaza station, then walk WEST to the corners of San Pablo Ave. and Carlson. NOTE: Please do NOT block any of the accessibility ramps on the corners, or impede pedestrians, traffic, or businesses. Thanks!

SIGN UP TO ATTEND!


Berkeley Says Impeach!

WHEN: Tuesday, December 17 at 5 p.m.
HOST(S): Barry C.
WHERE
Downtown Berkeley Center & Shattuck Streets
Berkeley, CA 94704
Signups: 11 attendees
Let’s take our stand for democracy and join this movement taking place all across the nation. We will gather in front of the Chase Bank on the southwest corner of Center and Shattuck. Bring signs, insults and dress warm!
Directions: If you come out of the downtown Berkeley BART you’ll see us.

SIGN UP TO ATTEND

Trump Is Not Well

Accepting the reality about the president’s disordered personality is important—even essential

The Atlantic, by Peter Wehner, Sept 9, 2019

JOSHUA ROBERTS / REUTERS

During the 2016 campaign, I received a phone call from an influential political journalist and author, who was soliciting my thoughts on Donald Trump. Trump’s rise in the Republican Party was still something of a shock, and he wanted to know the things I felt he should keep in mind as he went about the task of covering Trump.

At the top of my list: Talk to psychologists and psychiatrists about the state of Trump’s mental health, since I considered that to be the most important thing when it came to understanding him. It was Trump’s Rosetta stone.

I wasn’t shy about making the same case publicly. During a July 14, 2016, appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, for example, I responded to a pro-Trump caller who was upset that I opposed Trump despite my having been a Republican for my entire adult life and having served in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations and the George W. Bush White House.

“I don’t oppose Mr. Trump because I think he’s going to lose to Hillary Clinton,” I told Ben from Purcellville, Virginia. “I think he will, but as I said, he may well win. My opposition to him is based on something completely different, which is, first, I think he is temperamentally unfit to be president. I think he’s erratic, I think he’s unprincipled, I think he’s unstable, and I think that he has a personality disorder; I think he’s obsessive. And at the end of the day, having served in the White House for seven years in three administrations and worked for three presidents, one closely, and read a lot of history, I think the main requirement for president of the United States … is temperament, and disposition … whether you have wisdom and judgment and prudence.”

That statement has been validated.Donald Trump’s disordered personality—his unhealthy patterns of thinking, functioning, and behaving—has become the defining characteristic of his presidency. It manifests itself in multiple ways: his extreme narcissism; his addiction to lying about things large and small, including his finances and bullying and silencing those who could expose them; his detachment from reality, including denying things he said even when there is video evidence to the contrary; his affinity for conspiracy theories; his demand for total loyalty from others while showing none to others; and his self-aggrandizement and petty cheating.

It manifests itself in Trump’s impulsiveness and vindictiveness; his craving for adulation; his misogynypredatory sexual behavior, and sexualization of his daughters; his open admiration for brutal dictators; his remorselessness; and his lack of empathy and sympathy, including attacking a family whose son died while fighting for this countrymocking a reporter with a disability, and ridiculing a former POW. (When asked about Trump’s feelings for his fellow human beings, Trump’s mentor, the notorious lawyer Roy Cohn, reportedly said, “He pisses ice water.”)

The most recent example is the president’s bizarre fixation on falsely insisting that he was correct to warn that Alabama faced a major risk from Hurricane Dorian, to the point that he doctored a hurricane map with a black Sharpie to include the state as being in the path of the storm.

“He’s deteriorating in plain sight,” one Republican strategist who is in frequent contact with the White House told Business Insider on Friday. Asked why the president was obsessed with Alabama instead of the states that would actually be affected by the storm, the strategist said, “You should ask a psychiatrist about that; I’m not sure I’m qualified to comment.”

We have repeatedly heard versions of that sentiment over the course of Trump’s presidency. It’s said that speculating on Trump’s mental health is inappropriate and unwise, especially for those who are not formally trained in the field of psychiatry or psychology.

That’s true, up to a point. Yes, it is best to leave it to experts to determine whether Trump satisfies the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, some combination of both, or nothing at all.

But if a clinical diagnosis is beyond my own expertise, Trump’s psychological impairments are obvious to all who are not willfully blind. On a daily basis we see the president’s chaotic, unstable mind on display. Are we supposed to ignore that?

An analogy may be helpful here. If smoke is coming out from under the hood of your car, if you notice puddles of oil under it, if the engine is overheating and you smell burning oil, you don’t have to be a car mechanic to know that something is wrong with your car.

Accepting the reality about Trump’s disordered personality is important and even essential. For one thing, it will help us to better react to Trump’s freak show.Even now, almost a thousand days into his presidency, the latest Trump outrage elicits shock and disbelief in people. The reaction is, “Can you believe he said that and did this?”

To which my response is, “Why are you surprised?” It’s a shock only if the assumption is that we’re dealing with a psychologically normal human being. We’re not. Trump is profoundly compromised, acting just as you would imagine a person with a disordered personality would. Many Americans haven’t yet come to terms with the fact that we elected as president a man who is deeply damaged, an emotional misfit. But it would be helpful if they did.

Among other things, it would keep us feeling less startled and disoriented, less in a state of constant agitation, less susceptible to provocations. Donald Trump thrives on creating chaos, on gaslighting us, on creating antipathy among Americans, on keeping people on edge and off balance. He wants to dominate our every waking hour. We ought not grant him that power over us.

It might also take some of the edge off the hatred many people feel for Trump. Seeing him for what he is—a terribly damaged soul, a broken man, a person with a disordered mind—should not lessen our revulsion at how Trump mistreats others, at his cruelty and dehumanizing actions. Nor should it weaken our resolve to stand up to it. It does complicate the picture just a bit, though, eliciting some pity and sorrow for Trump.

But above all, accepting the truth about Trump’s mental state will cause us to take more seriously than we have our democratic duty, which is to prevent a psychologically and morally unfit person from becoming president.

The office is too powerful, and the consequences are too dangerous, to allow a person to become president who views morality only through the prism of whether an action advances his own narrow interests, his own distorted desires, his own twisted impulses. When an individual comes to believe his interests and those of the nation he leads are one and the same, it opens the door to all sorts of moral and constitutional devilry.

Whether or not his disorders are diagnosable, the president’s psychological flaws are all too apparent. They were alarming when he took the oath of office; they are worse now. Every day Donald Trump is president is a day of disgrace. And a day of danger.


PETER WEHNER is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He writes widely on political, cultural, religious, and national-security issues, and he is the author of The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.