90 Seconds

I begin with a rather disquieting item posted on Wikipedia:

Only the President can direct the use of nuclear weapons, including the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). While the President does have unilateral authority as commander-in-chief to order that nuclear weapons be used for any reason at any time, the actual procedures and technical systems in place for authorizing the execution of a launch order requires a secondary confirmation under a two-man rule, as the President’s order is subject to secondary confirmation by the Secretary of Defense. If the Secretary of Defense does not concur, then the President may in his sole discretion fire the Secretary. The Secretary of Defense has legal authority to approve the order, but cannot veto it.

What this means, as I understand it, is that the president has sole power to determine when and where to use nuclear weapons, since the Secretary of Defense cannot veto his decision to use the weapons. — which have heretofore been deterrents to war but which could possibly become the first strike in the next war. That is to say, in the event of an “emergency” the president can initiate the use of nuclear weapons with only a 90 second pause for reflection. It is clear that the president of the united states has immense power to initiate the use of nuclear weapons and thus to start a Third World War — which will almost certainly be the last war humans ever fight.  And given what we know about the character of the president-elect, there is much to consider. The following article in a recent Huffington Post makes the issue crystal clear:

The president of the United States has complete and unilateral control over 1,900 active nuclear weapons. Due to advances in modern technology, the most common protocols for authorizing American nuclear weapons allow for as little as 90 seconds of reflection by the one person alive with the power to use them. How on Earth are any of us safe, how are our loved ones safe, when that person is considered entirely unqualified by some of the most respected members of his own party, and has been assessed by hundreds if not thousands of psychological professionals as having incurable Narcissistic Personality and Sociopathic Personality Disorders?

The rhetorical question at the end of this quote should awaken any of those among us who wonder what might possibly happen if the current president-elect becomes our next president. The question is what, if anything, can be done? Roger Wolfson, in the above article, explains that the electoral college can still vote to elect Hillary Clinton president and he provides a link to a petition that readers might do well to consider signing as a way to assure that Donald Trump never gets his finger on the button to start a Third World War. Granted, this is a worst-case-scenario, but in light of this man’s erratic behavior and narcissistic personality, it is certainly not beyond the scope of possibility. I submit this for your thoughtful consideration as a possible course of action.


19 thoughts on “90 Seconds

  1. As Jill says, and you have often said, the idea of this man — so cavalier in his attitudes and comments about nuclear weapons and war itself — as commander-in-chief is frightening, and reason enough for no one to have voted for him. (How I wish the Clinton campaign had revived LBJ’s Goldwater “Daisy” ad.)

    The Electoral College petition is well-intended. If it were to come to pass, though, and electors chose Clinton, I am afraid the country would immediately be plunged into civil war. The Trumplets, so many of them armed, would respond in force and he’d use all the bullhorns he could find to egg them on.

    • It seems that at this point, the electors are trying to garner enough support for Kasich to simply take 37 votes away from Trump, thus bringing him below the 270 needed, and forcing the House to make the decision. Unfortunately, that would likely still end in a Trump presidency, but still … I would like to see it, as it would at the very least send a message.

      • I do wonder if the House would do that. They’ve seen enough of this man to be somewhat alarmed — even the neo-cons, I would think. It could be very interesting.

    • “Exciting”, as you say, or perhaps “interesting”, as in “May you live in interesting times”, which is intended as a curse. 🙂

  2. With respect to the Texas Elector, Mr. Suprun, who has openly declared he will not cast his Electoral College vote for Donald Trump and that he will vote for Secretary Clinton. I offer the following:

    Mr. Suprun has been and will no doubt continue to be trolled by Trump supporters, but he is acting upon sound constitutional principles.

    The Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, stipulates only that the Electors shall vote by ballot to elect a President. It does not stipulate how that vote must be cast. Some state laws stipulate that Electors must vote as the electorate in the state has voted, but the Constitution overrides the laws of any state.

    Rightly or wrongly from our contemporary view, the Framers wanted the Electoral College to:
    (1) serve as a check on the excesses of democratic “tumult and disorder”:
    (2) establish obstacles to “cabal, intrigue and corruption”;
    (3) prevent the possibility of foreign influences upon the ‘Chief Magistrate” of our our constitutional republic;
    (4) assure that persons with “talents for low intrigue and the little arts of popularity” would not become president in the place of those of “eminent degree and the requisite qualifications. (See The Federalist, No 68.)

    In other words, the Electoral College was established by the founders of this republic precisely to prevent people like Donald Trump from becoming President of the United States.

    This check on “the will of the people” (even though Trump did not receive a majority of votes cast and, therefore, cannot be said to represent the will of the people) is entirely consistent with the Framers’ establishment of a Senate, the members of which were chosen by state legislatures. The Senate was (1) to provide equal and direct influence of each State as a political entity, and (2) to act as a bulwark against the political excesses of a democratically-elected House of Representatives. (See The Federalist, No. 62.) This consistent with the Founders’ efforts to assure additional influence for states with fewer white citizens, i.e., the slave-holding states, among others, a function the Electoral College also serves very well.

    I am no great fan of the Electoral College, either for philosophical, historical, or functional reasons, yet in the absence of a constitutional amendment to abolish the College, it is what the U. S. Constitution provides for the election of Presidents.

    I would much prefer that we have direct nationwide democratic elections where the majority rules AND that we have a constitutional amendment that unambiguously guarantees every citizen the right to vote, the right to access to places and processes of voting, as well as a national holiday for national elections.

    No doubt, some will insist that the Constitution leaves matters of elections to the States. As a matter of tradition, and a highly selective reading of the Constitution, this is not untrue. However, this is what the Constitution actually stipulates:

    The Constitution of the United States
    SECTION. 4.
    “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.” [Original spelling maintained. JAS]

    As the Constitution clearly states, Congress already has the power to enact uniform national voting procedures, as it has, for example, in establishing November 5th as presidential election day nation wide. However, as long as we honor the principle of “State’s Rights” — historically a euphemism for oppressing persons of color by any means necessary — the likelihood that Congress will use its constitutional authority to enhance democratic voting by means of national election law is infinitesimal.

    At different times and places, politicians of both Democratic and Republican parties have feared open democratic voting and have worked to undermine it. Contemporary Republicans continue this time-honored practice in a well-coordinated, well-funded, and highly-effective manner. Indeed, their efforts to undermine the democratic franchise are likely to intensify as the demographic structure of this country threatens, in their estimation, to undermine the supremacy of white people.

    Always we do well to remember that the U.S. Constitution was written by wealthy, powerful, white males and it has been protected, preserved and defended by successive generations of the same classes of people — and the women who support them.

    I hope more Electors follow the principled example of Mr. Suprun.

    • Very well said, Jerry. I am aware of the Constitutional defense of the electoral college and have been critical of it in the past — as something of an anachronism. But at this point, it may possibly save us from a disaster.

  3. Erratum: November 5th is not election day, as such. Presidential Election Day is the “Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November” of the appropriate presidential election year. Thus, Election Day varies from November 2nd to November 8th as the years progress. My bad.

    It is instructive that this law was established by Congress in 1845 and did not require a constitutional amendment.

  4. We have a long history of standing up to tyrants in the United States. As the days pass not only is it clear that Trump has no interest in the job of president but that his ‘win’ may represent one of those rare moments when hard evidence suggests an actual conspiracy
    to steal the 2016 election. Much depends on whether the American people can shake off our media induced confusion and demand that our judicial system protect us and the world from a dangerous mistake. I think that there is enough evidence to cause the court to do something unprecedented: place the transition of power on hold while Congress conducts a complete investigation into the 2016 election and Russia’s attempt to subvert it.

      • This is not politics has usual.

        If the evidence provided by our own intelligence agencies are accurate the United States was hit by a psychological attack deigned to influence the outcome of our election.

        I think the goal is the destruction of our credibility as a world leader.

        My country gets a lot of things wrong but it’s still one of the best damned countries on Earth and
        will not accept a President who may have been chosen by the leader of an enemy nation.

        It’s been a long time since I’ve felt strongly enough about a principle to put my life on the line.

      • I’m just not sure the courts can initiate action. Must they not wait for an indictment to be brought to them? And in this case, who will bring that indictment??

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