1. Hj Hornbeck says

    Elliot Cohen has expanded on his tweet.

    This friend was someone I liked and admired, and still do. It was a momentary eruption of temper, and we have since patched up our relationship. I surmise that he has been furious for some time, knowing that supporting Trump has been distinctly unpopular in his normal circles. He is in the midst of a transition team that was never well-prepared to begin with and is now torn by acrimony, resignations and palace coups. And then there are the pent-up resentments against a liberal intellectual and media establishment that scorned his ilk for years.

    I sympathize, but the episode has caused me to change my mind about recommending that conservatives serve in the administration, albeit with a firm view in their minds of what would cause them to quit. …

    One bad boss can be endured. A gaggle of them will poison all decision-making. They will turn on each other. No band of brothers this: rather the permanent campaign as waged by triumphalist rabble-rousers and demagogues, abetted by people out of their depth and unfit for the jobs they will hold, gripped by grievance, resentment and lurking insecurity. Their mistakes — because there will be mistakes — will be exceptional.

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @500 (previous thread):
    It must sting Trump to be so heavily indebted to Obama…
    QFT … and also, to take the “Apprentice” role he lambasted in his “reality” show. [*spit* errr rather ] “unscripted” show.
    I applaud Obama for mentoring this ‘cheeto turd’

    when we amend USConst to detail electoral process*, why not include a clause in the 22nd that allows more than 2 terms for POTUS “only if” interrupted by an absent term? IE Moot the clause “cannot be elected more than twice”, while swapping it with “can serve no more than two consecutive terms” (including the bolding)
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    * currently vague; left for states to determine how their electors will vote.
    Why not federally mandate proportional representation (similar to Maine), forbidding monolithic block votes?
    (even if doesn’t conceptually “fix” the current result retroactively, may make future results more acceptable.)

  3. says

    “Trump can now loot millions of dollars from the Secret Service with no disclosure”:

    When he’s president, Donald Trump will fly on Air Force One. Which means the Boeing 757 that Trump owns through a holding company will be free for use by Ivanka, Melania, Eric, Donald Jr., or whomever else. And if Trump requests Secret Service protection for those people, he will probably get it. And when Secret Service agents fly alongside a protectee, they use their budget to pay airfare. Which in the case of a flight on the Trump jet would mean paying Trump for the seats on his plane.

    In other words, by asking for Secret Service protection for family members who fly on his plane, Donald Trump can directly funnel taxpayer money into his own pocket….

  4. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 5:
    like how he charged hotel fares and rent from his campaign staff while they were using office space in his buildings and hotels. Effectively paying himself rent for his office space. Moving it from one pocket to another; writing it off as tax free expenses and tax free income. Double dipping.

  5. says

    “Portland Mayor-Elect Says He’ll Shield Immigrants From Deportation”:

    Portland Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler announced Tuesday that Portland will remain a sanctuary city, regardless of the consequences.

    “We’re saying that we’re willing to sacrifice those dollars and we are willing to live with whatever consequences may come our way,” Wheeler said. “But we will not sacrifice or take one step backwards from upholding the values that have been long standing in our community.”

    Mayors in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia have reaffirmed that they too will remain safe places for immigrants during the Trump administration….

  6. says

    SC @9, Rachel Maddow interviewed Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis. She too said that she will resist the Trump administration if it tries to persecute immigrants.

    Trump’s threat to stop all federal funding to “sanctuary cities” will hurt a lot of people. It will hurt immigrants, obviously, but it will also hurt all of the residents of those cities.

    Cities that may be affected:
    San Francisco
    San Jose
    Los Angeles
    Santa Fe
    New York
    Washington D.C.

    In related news, Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American elected to a state legislature, was interviewed by Rachel Maddow. Omar talked about how much she disliked hearing Donald Trump diss her community. Trump painted the Somali community in Minnesota with a broad brush, connecting all of them with “radical Islamic terrorists.”

  7. says

    Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote a letter to Trump in which she called him out for breaking his campaign promises. Excerpt below:

    During your campaign for President of the United States, you railed against “powerful special interests” that have “rigged our political and economic system for their exclusive benefit.” You excoriated trade deals that you described as “mortal threat[s] to American manufacturing” and “disaster[s] …. pushed by special interests.” You promised that you would “not be controlled by the donors, special interests and lobbyists who have corrupted our politics and politicians for far too long,” and that you would “drain the swamp” in Washington D.C. And you won election largely on the strength of these promises. […]

    Within days of your election, you have elevated a slew of Wall Street bankers, industry insiders, and special interest lobbyists to your transition team. Even more are rumored to be named as potential cabinet members.

    Based on public reports, your transition team and your potential cabinet include over twenty Wall Street elites, industry insiders, and lobbyists making decisions that could have huge implications for their clients or employers. They include, among many others, a former Goldman Sachs executive who is rumored to be a Treasury Secretary pick; a paid consultant for Verizon who is making key decisions on your administration’s Federal Communication Commission; a “top lobbyist” whose firm lobbied on behalf of issues related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership who is shaping your Labor Department; and a climate-change- denying, oil industry-paid think tank fellow who is leading your environmental team’s transition. […]

    The entire letter is worth reading. Warren names names, including David Malpass, Paul Atkins, Steve Mnuchin, Lewis Eisenberg, Michael Torrey, Jeff Eisenach, Michael Korbey, Mike McKenna, David Bernhardt, Myron Ebell, etc., etc. A lot of lobbyists, bankers connected to the 2007-2008 recession, climate-change deniers connected to Murray Energy and ExxonMobil, etc. etc.

  8. says

    One of Trump’s policy advisors, Kris Kobach, recommends the establishment of a national registry for Muslim immigrants. Reuters link

    Kobach also wants to get started on the border wall building before Trump is even sworn in:

    […] Kobach said the immigration advisers were also looking at how the Homeland Security Department could move rapidly on border wall construction without approval from Congress by reappropriating existing funds in the current budget. He acknowledged “that future fiscal years will require additional appropriations.”

    […] the new administration could push ahead rapidly on construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall without seeking immediate congressional approval.

    Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped write tough immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere, said in an interview that Trump’s policy advisers had also discussed drafting a proposal for his consideration to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries. […]

    Kobach told Reuters last Friday that the immigration group had discussed drafting executive orders for the president-elect’s review “so that Trump and the Department of Homeland Security hit the ground running.”

    To implement Trump’s call for “extreme vetting” of some Muslim immigrants, Kobach said the immigration policy group could recommend the reinstatement of a national registry of immigrants and visitors who enter the United States on visas from countries where extremist organizations are active. […]

  9. says

    Following the purge of Christie and of Christie’s hires from Trump’s team, Trump brought on Frank Gaffney as national security advisor (as SC mentioned up-thread).

    Here are a few things to remember about Frank Gaffney:

    – He claims that Obama banned Christians from immigrating to the USA (you may have heard Trump spouting similar nonsense).
    – He thinks that a lot of leftwing groups, including Black Lives Matter, are connected to Islamic extremists.
    – Gaffney thinks that criminal justice reform is a cover for a program to advance jihad.
    – He believes that Bono, the lead singer for U2 is in league with or being used by Islamists.
    – Gaffney claims that Tim Kaine is connected to or involved with the Muslim Brotherhood.
    – He thinks that Twitter promotes Sharia law.
    – He conducts bogus “surveys” and then publishes the reports as if they were factual.
    – He doesn’t like a Missile Defense Agency logo which he thinks is evidence of “official U.S. submission to Islam.”
    – He pushed for an investigation of Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin as part of an overall campaign to rid the Obama Administration of supposed Islamist enemies who had infiltrated the government.

    Gaffney is a conspiracy-hawking nutjob. One of his more recent forays into politics involved organizing rallies against the nuclear deal with Iran.

  10. says

    Wonkette thinks that we should all stop sulking right now, and that we should go to websites where we can give Foster Campbell some money and increase his chances of being elected as a Senator from Louisiana.

    Or, if you like, go to Louisiana and volunteer to work for Foster Campbell’s campaign. There’s a run-off election taking place!

    We need one more Democratic senator!

    […] So go give Foster Campbell money. (Foster Campbell campaign link.)

    You will do this because, if Campbell wins, the Republicans will only have a 51-49 majority in the Senate, which gives Dems just a little bit more power to push back on Donald Trump’s worst plans. It means it won’t be as much of a stretch to try to form majority coalitions with Republican senators who are occasionally decent on specific issues, like John McCain with Russia or Rand Paul opposing Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton for secretary of State. If 49 Democrats can pull a McCain and a Susan Collins across the aisle to oppose Trump erecting a statue of Vladimir Putin on top of the White House, we might be able to at least mitigate Trump’s damage, is what we mean. […]blockquote>

  11. says

    Seth Meyers took a closer look at the giant mess in which the Trump transition team finds itself.

    The segment quotes another pundit:” Bannon is going to be number one in this White House. He will eat Priebus for lunch.”

    The video is 6:28 minutes long.

  12. says

    As expected, Senator Chuck Schumer was elected as the next leader of Democrats in the Senate. He added Senator Bernie Sanders to his leadership team, which also includes Senators Patty Murray, Tammy Baldwin, Joe Manchin and Richard Durbin.

  13. says

    How did Steve Bannon turn Trump into his puppet? David Fahrenthold and Frances Sellers of the Washington Post took at look at the Bannon/Trump relationship.

    Soon after terrorist attacks killed 130 people in Paris last year, Donald Trump faced sharp criticism for saying the United States had “no choice” but to close down some mosques.

    Two days later, Trump called in to a radio show run by a friendly political operative who offered a suggestion.

    Was it possible, asked the host, Stephen K. Bannon, that Trump hadn’t really meant that mosques should be closed?

    “Were you actually saying, you need a [New York City police] intelligence unit to get a network of informants?” Bannon asked. He continued: “I guess what I’m saying is, you’re not prepared to allow an enemy within . . . to try to tear down this country?”

    Trump — presented with a less controversial but entirely different idea than what he’d actually said — agreed. […]

    The entire article is well worth reading. The snippet above doesn’t really do justice to the many examples the journalists present of Bannon manipulating Trump. Here’s an example of Bannon flattering Trump:

    […] When Trump came on the air, the first thing Bannon wanted to talk about was how well Trump was doing in his campaign — and how Bannon had noticed it before other people did.

    “I said, ‘This guy, people are leaning forward in these audiences when he’s talking,’ ” Bannon said, recalling earlier conversations about Trump’s run. “And we were mocked and ridiculed.” […]

    “We had 20,000 in Dallas. . . . And 35,000 in Alabama, and 20,000 in Oklahoma,” Trump said, talking about his rallies. “We’ve had a lot of fun talking about very negative subjects. Because everything is negative with the country, Steve, I mean, there’s nothing good happening.” […]

    Bannon led Trump by the nose when it came to discussing NATO:

    […] In his questions, Bannon often began with praise for Trump. Asking about foreign affairs, for instance, Bannon praised Trump’s capacity for dealmaking.

    “It’s complicated,” Bannon said. “That’s your calling card.”

    “I love complicated,” Trump responded. “I thrive on complicated.”

    The flattery often came before a leading question.

    Last December, Bannon told Trump that, “I know you’re a student of military history.” Then, he laid out a case for questioning the U.S. alliance with Turkey, a member of NATO since the 1950s.

    Wasn’t it true, Bannon asked, that the situation was a bit like the web of treaties that connected European countries before World War I?

    “People were locked into these treaties. . . . It led to the beginning of the bloodiest century in mankind’s history,” Bannon said. He said that Turkey had changed since it joined NATO, turning to Islamism under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. What if Turkey was drawn into a broader conflict in Syria, perhaps with Russia?

    “This is not something, Steve, that you want to end up in World War III over,” Trump said.

    Climate change was another topic on which Bannon was the puppeteer and Trump danced.

    Some of Trump’s negative remarks about Paul Ryan came out of Trump’s mouth via ventriloquist Bannon.

  14. says

    More on Steve Bannon:

    “I’m a Leninist,” Steve Bannon told a writer […] in early 2014. “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

    […] Trump, in his first personnel decisions as President-elect, named Bannon as his chief strategist and senior counselor […]

    The press release from the Trump transition staff said that Bannon and Priebus would be “equal partners.” This is a signal to Washington that Bannon will be the most powerful person in Trump’s White House. […]

    The key to influence in any White House is simply to establish oneself as the President’s most important adviser. This seems to be the role that Bannon has created for himself.

    Bannon, who is sixty-two, has spent his relatively short political career incubating the nationalist right that roared to life in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and gathered strength through the Obama years. […]

    Under Bannon, Breitbart, which was read by Republicans across the political spectrum, allowed this so-called alt-right movement to enter the mainstream conservative conversation. The site published a tag on “black crime.” Bannon sent reporters to the Mexican border to cover immigration from the perspective of American citizens who felt victimized by undocumented immigrants. Breitbart writers used traditional tropes of anti-Semitism, attacking international bankers and globalists. “We’re the platform for the alt-right,” Bannon told Sarah Posner, of Mother Jones, in July, weeks before he became the chairman of Trump’s campaign. […]

    By the fall of 2015, the site had become a Trump propaganda machine: “Trumpbart News” to its critics. […]

    Bannon injected Trump’s speeches with language about global élites and bankers. Clinton “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty,” Trump said in an October speech that was so disturbing in its coded anti-Semitism that the Anti-Defamation League spoke out against it. Trump’s final TV ad of the campaign combined excerpts from the speech, decrying “those who control the levers of power in Washington,” with images of George Soros, Janet Yellen, and Lloyd Blankfein, all of whom are Jewish. […]

    When Bannon has been asked about these racist and anti-Semitic appeals, he has insisted, implausibly, that he favors nationalism, not white nationalism. […]

    New Yorker link

  15. says

    Two Republican senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have called for an investigation into the Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee. Good idea. A bit late, but still a good idea.

    In related news, the National Security Agency. Adm. Michael Rogers, head of the NSA and the U.S. Cyber Command, spoke at a Wall Street Journal forum on Tuesday:

    […] “There shouldn’t be any doubts in anybody’s mind: This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” Rogers said. “This was a conscious effort by a nation state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

    The “nation state” is Russia.

  16. says

    Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo is watching the developing story about Medicare closely.

    The most recent (2015) version of the Medicare Phase Out plan comes from Rep. Tom Price (R-GA). He’s now being considered to be Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which would oversee phasing out Medicare. […]

    Price met with Trump today.

    More on the same subject, Link.

  17. says

    In her first public appearance since her concession speech, Hillary Clinton will speak tonight at the Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds Celebration in Washington, D.C. It will be interesting to see what she has to say.

    In other news, Republican doofus and Congress critter, Peter King, called college-age students who are protesting against Trump “morons.” Rudy Giuliani called them “thugs.” Several Republicans have called them whining babies, or something similar.

  18. says

    Joshua Foust – “This Is Not Normal”:

    …The one thing authoritarians want you to do is to accept that their conduct is normal, even when it is not. They do not want you to yearn for a freer, less oppressive and less corrupt time, and they do not want you to think it odd when, say, a government agency is purged or a bunch of protesters are arrested and vanish into the prisons without ever seeing trial. They want you to think it is normal when the President is openly selling your interests out to a foreign power, or when he is using the levers of government to materially enrich and empower his family. The presumption of normality during abnormal times is one of the most powerful weapons the authoritarian has, and that is why it is so important to recognize how profoundly abnormal Donald J. Trump will be as president. So I assembled a list….

    …The point is that this is not normal: it is abnormal. It is a series of giant warning sirens about something fundamentally going wrong with our country. It has nothing to do with right or left, with Republican or Democrat — huge numbers of Republican voters are appalled by what Trump represents.

    The only response I can think of for this: refuse. Refuse to accept this. Refuse to make it normal. Refuse to let him and his cronies redefine how the country works. Refuse to let our country be stolen from us. Only by refusing to let this feel normal can we hope to reverse it.

    So: I refuse. Will you join me?

    The list, which includes links, is very good (I’ll scowl and shake my head angrily at the reference to the “tyrannical government of Venezuela,” but other than that…).

  19. says

    Ryan Lizza:

    …[W]hat we’ve learned so far about the least-experienced President-elect in history is as troubling and ominous as his critics have feared. The Greeks have a word for the emerging Trump Administration: kakistocracy. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as a “government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.” Webster’s is simpler: “government by the worst people.”

  20. says

    SC @27, I wish we could remove Trump’s name from everything.

    In part because Paul Ryan is more organized and actually puts his plans on paper, Trump is starting to crib from Ryan’s work. In his slippery, unethical slide toward meeting Ryan’s goals, Trump is echoing the way that Ryan talks about Medicare and Medicaid.

    Here is what it says on Trump’s new .gov website: that he is going to “modernize Medicare” and that he is going to make more “flexibility” possible in the Medicaid program. Beware. Trump is working up to talking about privatizing Medicaid and phasing out Medicare.

    Huff Po link.

  21. says

    China issued a clarifying statement about global warming: no, it is not a Chinese hoax.

    Trump tweeted in November of 2012: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

    China’s vice foreign minister, Liu Zhenmin, told reporters: “If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s.”

    China has been warning Trump not to pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal. China is beginning to curb it’s development of coal-fired power plants. The Chinese government has taken a more active role in international climate talks.

  22. says

    Here is what it says on Trump’s new .gov website: that he is going to “modernize Medicare” and that he is going to make more “flexibility” possible in the Medicaid program. Beware. Trump is working up to talking about privatizing Medicaid and phasing out Medicare.

    When referring to needed social services, “modernize,” “flexibility,” and “choice” are glaring red flags.

  23. Hj Hornbeck says

    One day before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s first meeting with a foreign leader, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japanese officials said they had not finalized when or where in New York it would take place, who would be invited, or in some cases whom to call for answers. […]

    Japanese and U.S. officials said on Wednesday the State Department had not been involved in planning the meeting, leaving the logistical and protocol details that normally would be settled far in advance still to be determined.

    “There has been a lot of confusion,” said one Japanese official. […]

    State Department spokesman John Kirby said that to his knowledge, Trump’s transition team had not been in contact with the department either to discuss the transition of government or to seek information ahead of his meetings with foreign leaders.

    Whoopsies, looks like the Trump administration dropped another ball while they were playing with knives.

  24. Hj Hornbeck says

    There’s some important historical context for Lynna, OM’s comment at 512. It’s tempting to assume Trump appointed Kobach out of loyalty, and that he doesn’t necessarily endorse Kobach’s plans for registering Muslims. Resist that temptation.

    Donald Trump “would certainly implement” a database system tracking Muslims in the United States, the Republican front-runner told NBC News on Thursday night.

    “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely,” Trump said in Newton, Iowa, in between campaign town halls. “There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases,” he added. “We should have a lot of systems.” When asked whether Muslims would be legally obligated to sign into the database, Trump responded, “They have to be — they have to be.” …

    Trump was repeatedly asked to explain how his idea was different [from similar Nazi plans]. Four times, he responded: “You tell me.” He also ignored a question of whether there would be consequences for Muslims who do not register into the hypothetical database. …

    Trump tied his reasoning for the database to the need to identify who is in the country legally. “It would stop people from coming in illegally,” Trump said. “We have to stop people from coming into our country illegally.”

  25. Hj Hornbeck says

    Sounds like Trump’s team is serious about reviving the idea of camps.

    Carl Higbie, the head of Trump-supporting PAC Great America, showed up on Fox News Wednesday to discuss the proposed registry, which would be a part of Trump’s “extreme vetting” of immigrants from Muslim countries. In Higbie’s brief appearance, shot from what I can only assume is the pits of Hell, he lays out pretty clearly that this proposed Muslim registry wouldn’t be quite like the internment camps, but might be kind of like them, maybe.

  26. says

    “‘This is our moment’: Trump’s win emboldens activist behind effort to ‘make rape legal’”:

    The spokesperson for a group which advocates for “legal” rape praised the election of Donald Trump for legitimizing the “masculine behaviours that were previously labelled sexist and misogynist.”

    In a post on his website, self-styled “pick up artist” Daryush “Roosh V” Valizadeh suggested that Trump’s election had made it acceptable to call women “fat pigs.”

    According to Valizadeh, Trump does not need to take any specific actions to fortify the rights of men because his “presence automatically legitimizes masculine behaviors that were previously labeled sexist and misogynist.”

    “This is our moment. The door is opening for a renaissance of masculinity where men can take pride in being men, and the best part of it is that we don’t need to wait for Trump to do anything,” he proclaimed. “His victory is more than enough for us to apply our own individual strength in seizing the bull’s horns where we can come out of the politically incorrect closet and assert our beliefs and behaviors.”

  27. says

    “‘This is our moment’: Trump’s win emboldens activist behind effort to ‘make rape legal’”:

    The spokesperson for a group which advocates for “legal” rape praised the election of Donald Trump for legitimizing the “masculine behaviours that were previously labelled sexist and misogynist.”

    In a post on his website, self-styled “pick up artist” [redacted] suggested that Trump’s election had made it acceptable to call women “fat pigs.”

    According to [redacted], Trump does not need to take any specific actions to fortify the rights of men because his “presence automatically legitimizes masculine behaviors that were previously labeled sexist and misogynist.”

    “This is our moment. The door is opening for a renaissance of masculinity where men can take pride in being men, and the best part of it is that we don’t need to wait for Trump to do anything,” he proclaimed. “His victory is more than enough for us to apply our own individual strength in seizing the bull’s horns where we can come out of the politically incorrect closet and assert our beliefs and behaviors.”

  28. says

    “Trump transition appears to have flouted internal ethics rule on lobbyists”:

    Donald Trump’s transition team appears to have deviated from its own ethics rule barring lobbyists whose work for Trump would overlap with any matters on which they lobbied in the previous year.

    According to a copy of Trump for America Inc.’s Code of Ethical Conduct obtained by POLITICO, a member of the transition team must pledge to “disqualify myself from involvement in any particular transition matter if I have engaged in regulated lobbying activities with respect to such matter, as defined by the Lobbying Disclosure Act, within the previous 12 months.”

    But at least eight transition team members have done work that appears to flout that internal rule, Senate records show….

  29. says

    David Cole – “The Way to Stop Trump”:

    …Whether Trump will actually try to implement these promises, and more importantly, whether he will succeed if he does try, lies as much in our hands as in his. If Americans let him, Trump may well do all that he promised—and more….

    …But if we now and for the next four years insist that he honor our most fundamental constitutional values, including equality, human dignity, fair process, privacy, and the rule of law, and if we organize and advocate in defense of those principles, he can and will be contained. It won’t happen overnight. There will be many protracted struggles. The important thing to bear in mind is that if we fight, we can prevail.

    Much of what Trump has proposed is patently illegal. Torture violates the Constitution, international law, and the Geneva Conventions. Deporting or singling out Muslims for discriminatory treatment violates the freedom of religion. Congress cannot expand libel, whose contours are determined by the First Amendment. The right to terminate a pregnancy remains protected by the Constitution, and the Supreme Court strongly reaffirmed that right just last year. A bipartisan Congress ended the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone metadata in 2015, after a court of appeals ruled the program illegal. And the terms of our climate change treaty preclude backing out for four years.

    There is no way to guarantee that Trump will not try to implement at least some of his campaign promises. …But as the fate of the Bush administration’s counter-terror measures illustrates, even when the executive seems most invincible, he can be checked. Doing so will take an engaged citizenry, a persistent civil society, a vigilant media, brave insiders, and judges and other government officials who take seriously their responsibility to uphold the Constitution. (I look forward to taking part in this effort myself, as I become the National Legal Director of the ACLU in January, a few days before Trump takes office.)

    We live in a constitutional democracy, one that is expressly designed to check the impulses of dangerous men. It will do so if and only if we insist on it.

    (Donating to the Center for Constitutional Rights would be a good idea right about now.)

  30. quotetheunquote says

    I know. He’s a disgrace.
    (He got 10% of the vote in Manhattan. 10%.)

    Well, to me, that figures – New Yorkers really know him.

    And people in Iowa, Indiana, Pennsylvania, etc. really don’t (and have apparently had their fingers stuffed in their ears for the past 12 months, saying “La-la-LA” we’re not LISTening!)

  31. says

    Joy Reid – “President-Elect Donald Trump Gets to Work Betraying His Backers”:

    I should probably get out of the predictions business, having so misjudged the country before the recent election. But I will hazard two more. The first: Donald Trump will turn on his supporters. The second: The Democrats will turn on theirs, too.

    Working-class voters who thought they’d elected a populist hero will soon find out that men who live in golden penthouses are rarely populists, and even more rarely heroic….

    But it isn’t just Trump who is poised to betray those who voted for him….

    Even Bernie Sanders couldn’t rush fast enough to get on the Trump side of the line, declaring himself a member of the white working class (his and his wife’s three homes and high six-figure income aside) and cautioning Democrats—who belong to a party of which he is still not a member—to start focusing on these voters too….

    Bernie is not alone. Think pieces are already being written admonishing Dems to throw black and brown, LGBT, Muslim and Hispanic voters and progressive women under the bus in favor of the never-ending chase for the Pabst Blue Ribbon vote….

    The message to African-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, LGBT people (well, mostly Trans folks, since Trump has declared his movement can live with “the gays”) and women, who stand in the crosshairs of the coming “retail authoritarian” presidency, is that you’re on your own. Your party will not come to your aid. They’ll be too busy trying to ride the Trump train, or to least avoid being tied to the tracks and run over by it in the next election.

    In the end, the lessons of American history, from Reconstruction to the Fusion movement of the late 19th century; that an openness to the aspirations of racial, ethnic and religious minorities will always produce a fierce backlash among the country’s majority population and cost the party dearly, have proven thrice true in the modern era—in the bloody political aftermath of Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton and now Barack Obama. All three marched the country forward on race, culture and economics, only to cede federal and state governmental power for years to the Republican right, which quickly proceeded, each time, to reward the rich and the powerful on the backs of their working class supporters who just wanted to feel like winners again.

    In a sense, who can blame the Democrats for running away? But run they will. Count on it.

  32. Hj Hornbeck says

    Funny you should mention that, SC. Kurt Eichenwald fired this off to Twitter:

    The con revealed, part 7: Trump advisors have told the Japanese government not to take anything Trump said on the campaign trail literally.

    He didn’t cite any sources, but some digging managed to bring up this:

    Abe adviser Katsuyuki Kawai told Reuters he had spoken to several Trump advisers and lawmakers since arriving in Washington on Monday to prepare the meeting and had been told “we don’t have to take each word that Mr. Trump said publicly literally”.

  33. says

    SC @50: “When are we going to have the courage to speak in terms other than the economy …” That was a good speech, one with a foundation in ethics.

    Hj Hornbeck @49: We still don’t know which of the things Trump said during the campaign to take literally. His selection of advisors seems to point toward taking everything he said literally. Also, regarding what was said to the adviser from Japan, what will keep Trump and his team from telling representatives from various countries a completely different set of proposals or policies? There is no solid ground.

  34. says

    quotetheunquote @47, maybe they were “listening” to all the fake news stories posted on Facebook. CBS News link.

    […] People who got their election news on Facebook might have been looking at more fake stories than real ones.

    […] the fake clickbait headlines hooked users more often than real headlines […] headlines like “WikiLeaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS,” or “Hillary is Disqualified from Holding Any Federal Office.”

    […] during the last three months of the presidential campaign, of the top 20 fake election-related articles on Facebook, all but three were all anti-Clinton or pro-Trump. And Facebook users engaged with them using a share, a like or a comment more than 8.7 million times. […]

    The ACLU is in the “fight of our lives,” gearing up to defend civil liberties during a Trump administration. The video is 5:27 minutes long. The ACLU can use some help.

    Here is just one of the kinds of things the ACLU will be fighting:

    […] A Republican Washington state senator who supported Donald Trump is proposing a bill that would slap an “economic terrorism” label on protest activities already prohibited by law and dramatically intensify their penalties.

    The proposed bill would allow police to charge protesters who “block transportation and commerce, cause property damage, threaten jobs and put public safety at risk” with a class C felony. […]

    Talking Points Memo link

  35. says

    “Bankers celebrate dawn of Trump era: A populist candidate who railed against shady financial interests on the trail is putting together an administration that looks like an investment banker’s dream”:

    …Evidence of Wall Street’s improved prospects is everywhere.

    The Dodd-Frank financial reform law that bedeviled the industry for years and cost banks untold billions could soon get burned to the ground. Bank stocks are soaring. Trump is going around Manhattan promising to lower rich people’s taxes. And industry critics led by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — long in ascendance — are seeing their populist power deflate.

    The anti-banker culture of Washington has been turned on its head in an instant. And the industry* can barely believe its good fortune….

    * Banking isn’t actually an industry.

  36. says

    I see that the last part of my comment 52 repeated information SC had posted earlier. It happens.

    In other news, here is an excerpt from the speech Hillary Clinton gave yesterday:

    […] “I know many of you are deeply disappointed about the results of the election—I am too, more than I can ever express […]

    I know that over the past week a lot of people have asked themselves whether America was the country we thought it was. The divisions laid bare by this election run deep, but please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. Our children are worth it. […]

    Stay engaged on every level. We need you, America needs you—your energy, your ambition, your talent. That’s how we get through this. […]

  37. says

    Speaking in Berlin, President Obama mentioned the negative effect of misinformation and fake news:

    […] Because in an age where there’s so much active misinformation, and it’s packaged very well, and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television, where some overzealousness on the part of a U.S. official is equated with constant and severe repression elsewhere, if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect. We won’t know what to fight for. And we can lose so much of what we’ve gained in terms of the kind of democratic freedoms and market-based economies and prosperity that we’ve come to take for granted. […]

  38. Hj Hornbeck says

    Lynna, OM@51:

    Also, regarding what was said to the adviser from Japan, what will keep Trump and his team from telling representatives from various countries a completely different set of proposals or policies? There is no solid ground.

    Exactly. The dunces advising Trump would have been better off saying “don’t trust us, we’ll reject any agreement we sign on to if it becomes inconvenient for us.” If Trump is happy to dish out falsehoods to an electorate which could hold him accountable, why should world leaders who don’t have the same levers trust him to be truthful?

    A lot of treaties are built on mutual trust, so this could turn the US into a rogue state. No country will want to enter an agreement with you, preferring instead to band together to limit the damage you’re causing.

  39. says

    About the prevalence of fake news:

    […] The Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey interviewed Paul Horner, a “38-year-old impresario of a Facebook fake-news empire.” Horner described the rise of fake news in 2016 and said the Trump campaign even helped push it:

    You’ve been writing fake news for a while now — you’re kind of like the OG Facebook news hoaxer. Well, I’d call it hoaxing or fake news. You’d call it parody or satire. How is that scene different now than it was three or five years ago? Why did something like your story about Obama invalidating the election results (almost 250,000 Facebook shares, as of this writing) go so viral?

    Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    You mentioned Trump, and you’ve probably heard the argument, or the concern, that fake news somehow helped him get elected. What do you make of that?

    My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.

    Why? I mean — why would you even write that?

    Just ’cause his supporters were under the belief that people were getting paid to protest at their rallies, and that’s just insane. I’ve gone to Trump protests — trust me, no one needs to get paid to protest Trump. I just wanted to make fun of that insane belief, but it took off. They actually believed it.

    I thought they’d fact-check it, and it’d make them look worse. I mean that’s how this always works: Someone posts something I write, then they find out it’s false, then they look like idiots. But Trump supporters — they just keep running with it! They never fact-check anything! Now he’s in the White House. Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it. […].

    Media Matters link.

  40. says

    “Megyn Kelly: Fox News Had to Explain to Trump Lawyer Why It Would Be Bad if I Were Killed”:

    …The Trump campaign stoked the flames of the Kelly hate, the Fox News host told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview on Wednesday, to the point that one of the top executives at Fox News had to explain to one of Trump’s top employees why if she “gets killed” it might be bad for their campaign.

    “Michael Cohen, who is Trump’s top lawyer and executive vice president with the Trump Organization had retweeted ‘let’s gut her,’ about me,” Kelly said. “At a time when the threat level was very high, which he knew. And Bill Shine, an executive vice president of Fox, called him up to say, ‘You got to stop this. We understand you are angry but she’s got three kids and is walking around New York.’ ”

    “And he didn’t much care,” Kelly continued. “And what Bill Shine said to Michael Cohen was, ‘Let me put it to you in terms you can understand: If Megyn Kelly gets killed it is not going help your candidate.’ ”

  41. says

    Letter to Trump from the Campaign Legal Center and a coalition of groups (authored by Trevor Potter):

    The potential for conflicts of interest in this administration are unprecedented. For the last 40 years, every President has taken appropriate steps to address potential conflicts of interest arising from their financial portfolio, usually through divestment or the establishment of blind trusts.

    The Trump Organization is a multi-billion dollar company with business interests around the world. Setting up a proper blind trust is a critical requirement to avoid conflicts of interest. Having Trump’s children run his business – while serving on his transition team – would not be [sic] meet this requirement.

    Should President-elect Trump turn over the management of his business interests to his three adult children while retaining ownership, those conflicts will not go away. In fact, such an arrangement could endanger the President-elect. As owner of the business, he would remain legally liable for any violations of the law by his businesses.

    Assets he has with foreign entities raise their own special set of questions and might be better handled with divestment. The best option for the President-elect is to enter into a genuine blind trust with control of the company in the hands of an independent Trustee with whom he and his family have had no business dealings. Failing that, he should sell his business to his children and establish a firewall regarding discussions of those interests during his Presidency.

  42. says

    Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ):

    Given everything we know about Donald Trump — and everything we don’t know — I was alarmed by the words of senior leaders from both the progressive and centrist wings of the party regarding their openness to working with Donald Trump on infrastructure.

    Under ordinary circumstances, we would welcome a plan to invest in infrastructure — even if that plan came from the other side of the aisle. Especially if it came from the other side of the aisle!

    But Donald Trump is not an ordinary politician. He is a con artist. He has refused to give the American people reason to believe that he is not in this to enrich himself. In fact, he has bucked tradition by maintaining his family’s interest in a private corporation.

    And, unfortunately, his infrastructure plan is really a privatization scheme, rife with graft and corruption, whose real purpose is to enrich the Trump family and his supporters. He is not reaching out. He is reaching his hand into America’s pockets, just as he has his whole career. And we must not let him do it.

  43. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Bernie Sanders was elected as part of the democratic senate leadership. His role will be to build the base outside of Washington, DC, and to craft a new economic message for the party.

    Senator Bernie Sanders, a former Democratic presidential candidate, said on Thursday he will help rebuild party support outside of Washington and craft a new economic message for all Americans.
    Sanders, who will become outreach chair on the Senate Democrats leadership team, will try to engage Americans who feel disconnected from the political process. Sanders is an Independent from Vermont but tends to vote with Democrats.
    “The real action to transform America won’t take place on Capitol Hill, it will be in the grassroots America among millions struggling economically and young people,” Sanders said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
    Democrat Charles Schumer of New York, elected the Senate’s new minority leader on Wednesday, said Sanders will join his 10-member leadership team. He wants to harness Sanders’ popularity with young and working class voters during the hard-fought primary battle with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton….
    Sanders, who will also become the ranking Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee, said he will make sure the panel represents the needs of working families, not billionaires.
    One problem for the Democrats is while they make the point that the economy is better off today than it was eight years ago, it has not improved for the middle class for decades, he said.
    “What the Democrats I think too often have ignored is that for the last forty years … the middle class of this country has been shrinking,” Sanders told the breakfast, saying that real wages have gone down while income inequality has risen….

  44. says

    SC @60, Yes, that’s exactly what I thought when I looked into the details of Trump’s plan for infrastructure projects. Moreover, because it is essentially a privatization scheme for basic infrastructure it also will benefit low-income communities LESS than a non-private scheme.

    SC @61, Clinton did not really ignore economic issues, nor the shrinking middle class. She simply could not get coverage, could not get airtime for her proposals. Very little pundit discussion, very little coverage of actual proposals, and lots of fake news saying the opposite. I wish Sanders success.

    Well, it looks like Trump’s team has found a way to accede to his request to continue to pontificate in front of large crowds. Trump is going on a “victory tour.”

    George Gigicos, the Trump campaign’s advance team director, said the campaign is working on the president-elect’s first trip.

    “We’re working on a victory tour now. It will happen in the next couple of weeks,” Gigicos told reporters at Trump Tower.

    Asked where Trump would go, he responded: “Obviously to the states that we won and the swing states we flipped over.”

  45. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    When I hear about Trump planning to invest in infrastructure, the first thought that comes to mind is that Hitler built the autobahns.

  46. says

    Excerpts from the joint statement released by President Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel:

    […] Our countries share a joint responsibility to protect and preserve our way of life. It is in this spirit that we are working hard to ensure that international law and norms are respected around the globe – which remains a prerequisite for stability and prosperity. Our countries are committed to collective defense within the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) because we want to preserve the security of the Euro-Atlantic area as a whole. […]

    Our deep respect for human dignity compels us to provide humanitarian relief and aid for millions of refugees worldwide, because we know it is our treatment of those most vulnerable that determines the true strength of our values. And U.S.-German partnership was essential to achieving a global agreement in Paris that offers the world a framework for protecting our planet. […]

    On this firm basis of shared values, German-American economic relations are flourishing. Europe and the United States form the largest economic zone in the world, accounting for one third of global trade and almost half of the global gross domestic product. Strong German-American economic relations form an unshakeable core of this zone. Since 2015, the United States has become Germany’s most important trading partner with a trade volume of 173 billion euros, and conversely, Germany has become a cornerstone of U.S. economic relations with the European Union. […]

    Today we find ourselves at a crossroads. We owe it to our industries and our peoples — indeed, to the global community — to broaden and deepen our cooperation.

    Sounds like a message directed at Donald Trump and at other rightwing leaders (Le Pen, etc.)

  47. says


    TPM has a running list of congress members’ positions on Paul Ryan’s plan to get rid of Medicare. Even the ones they record as opposed, as they note, haven’t issued public statements – much less a joint statement – stating their unequivocal opposition to this plan. They were reached by TPM readers who asked them the question. Many, many more haven’t even responded to questions about their position. This has to change, and quickly, and civil society organizations have to get on the move and have a plan for fighting this.

    Democratic Senators and Representatives – Stop trying to demonstrate your bipartisanship, which under these circumstances amounts to collaboration, by talking about helping with Trump’s infrastructure privatization scam. All you can do now is be the most effective opposition possible, and one place you need to start is obstructing Ryan’s efforts, which are not supported by the public.

  48. says

    Whoops. In comment 62, I meant to reference Nerd’s post @61.

    In other news, Sarah Cliff read seven Republican Obamacare replacement plans, and then she summarized what she learned:

    […] On one end of the spectrum, you see plans from President-elect Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with virtually nothing. On the other end of the spectrum, there are plans from conservative think tanks that go as far as to keep the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and continue to give low-income Americans the most generous insurance subsidies.

    If we can say one thing about most Republican plans, it is this: They are better for younger, healthy people and worse for older, sicker people. In general, conservative replacement plans offer less financial help to those who would use a lot of insurance. […]

    Economic analyses estimate that these plans reduce the number of Americans with insurance coverage.

    The actual amount varies significantly, from 3 million to 21 million, depending on which option Republicans pick. They will near certainly provide more coverage than Americans had before Obamacare, but also less than what exists currently under the health law. […]

    Better Way [Paul Ryan’s plan] would overhaul both the individual market and Medicaid. Economists with the Center for Health and Economy worked with the speaker’s office to model the effects of the proposal, and estimate it would lead to 4 million Americans losing coverage.

    Outside economists say these estimates might be too optimistic, and, especially because of changes to Medicaid, Better Way could leave additional millions more uninsured than the CHE numbers suggest.

    Better Way restricts — but doesn’t entirely ban — use of preexisting conditions in determining coverage

    […] Better Way plan would let insurers charge sick people more if they did not maintain “continuous coverage.” […]

    Better Way […] would invest $25 billion in a high-risk pool to cover those with preexisting conditions who are unable to afford coverage on the marketplace. [no details]

    Better Way makes insurance better for people who are young and healthy. It makes insurance worse for people who are old and sick. […]

    Better Way […] eliminates the essential health benefits package, which mandated that all insurers cover a set of 10 different types of care including maternity services and pediatric care. Better Way would allow insurers to cut whatever benefits they no longer want to cover — a move that will likely benefit healthy people, who generally want less robust coverage.

    […] premiums for a 64-year-old would rise from $8,500 to $10,600.

    [Younger] Enrollees will pay less but also get less. […]

  49. says

    Fake news is spread online not just by people, but also by bots.

    […] According to a new memo compiling data from the election by a team of researchers including Oxford University Professor Philip Howard, automated pro-Trump activity outnumbered automated pro-Hillary Clinton activity by a 5:1 ratio by Election Day. And many of those auto-Trumpkins were busy spewing lies and fake news: that Democrats could vote on a different day than Republicans; that Clinton had a stroke during the final week of the election; and that an FBI agent associated with her email investigation was involved in a murder-suicide.

    “The use of automated accounts was deliberate and strategic throughout the election, most clearly with pro-Trump campaigners and programmers who carefully adjusted the timing of content production during the debates, strategically colonized pro-Clinton hashtags, and then disabled automated activities after Election Day,” wrote Howard; Bence Kollanyi, a Ph.D. candidate at Corvinus University of Budapest; and Samuel Woolley, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington. […]

    The Daily Beast link

  50. says

    Good article by Matt Yglesias – “We have 100 days to stop Donald Trump from systemically corrupting our institutions: The transition period is our last best chance to save the republic”*:

    …I don’t want to live in a world where personal loyalty to Donald Trump is the sine qua non of every policy decision. And my guess is that if they think about it, neither do Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz or Lisa Murkowski or any number of other Republicans from outside the Trumposphere who will be inevitably ground down if he is able to make his will prevail.

    Above all, senators from both parties who know in their hearts that we are living through a dangerous moment need to avoid falling prey to wishful thinking. Because Trump is a vengeful and irrational man, picking a fight with him over an SEC commissioner or an assistant attorney general feels unpleasant, and many would simply rather duck the issue. But that vengeful and irrational nature is precisely why the fights must be picked and must be picked now.

    * I disagree with him about Trump not feeling shame. I think he’s drowning in shame, every day of his life. But this is not the ordinary shame that can be brought to bear in politics. I’ll have more to say about this soon.

  51. says

    SC @72, Bernie thinks that, deep down, other people (even Trump) are like him. Bernie thinks they want fairness.

    Trump will not “take on corporate America.” The feints in that direction that came from Trump during his campaign were just window dressing. Trump’s recent meetings with all the people Elizabeth Warren called out in her letter to Trump (see comment 11) show that he is in bed with the very interests that Bernie wishes to regulate and/or fight.

    Trump ditched his press followers and went out to eat in NYC at a restaurant where the cheapest entree was a $36.00 burger. At that restaurant, Trump promised the fat cats that he would lower their taxes. Trump is a sort of more vulgar, less polished Jamie Dimon. Matt Taibbi on Jamie Dimon.

    Trump does not have any “left-leaning stands.” Trump is a con man.

    Trump has a tax plan that will further enrich the already rich.

  52. Hj Hornbeck says

    Like so many world leaders, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wanted to reach out to President-elect Donald Trump but couldn’t get through to him. Finally he succeeded — by contacting one of Trump’s golfer buddies.

    Joe Hockey, the Australian ambassador to the United States, had to reach out to championship golfer Greg Norman in order to obtain Trump’s personal cell phone number, BuzzFeed reported Thursday. Norman, an Australian, is reported to have a warm friendship with Trump, which made it possible for him to provide Turnbull with the necessary digits to congratulate the president-elect.

    Trump’s 15 minute conversation with Turnbull over an unsecured connection isn’t the first time that world leaders have had to go to unusual lengths to reach out to him. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that several world leaders have to cold call Trump in order to get in touch with him. The first two to successfully do so were President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, both of whom got through to him on the Wednesday after his election.

    Trump responded to the article with the type of belligerent tweets that have become characteristic of his approach to public relations since starting his campaign.

    On the plus side, it’ll be hella easy to prank call the President in light of this. And I suppose we could set up a betting pool on how long it takes 4Chan to trick Trump into nuking someone, though it’s going to be tough to collect your winnings.

  53. says

    This is a followup, of sorts, to comment 73.

    Writing for The New Yorker, John Cassidy made some telling points about Trump’s tax plan:

    Larry Summers, the former Treasury Secretary, appeared Wednesday morning on CNBC, and he laid into Donald Trump’s economic program. Trump’s proposed tax cuts don’t make sense, Summers said, because they would target very high earners, meaning that a lot of the money they free up could end up being saved, rather than spent.

    And Trump’s infrastructure plans are questionable, Summers argued, because in at least one version of the plans, they depend largely on private financing. The problem, Summers said, is that pension funds and other big investors won’t invest in essential tasks like repairing the nation’s roads, bridges, and airports, because projects like those don’t produce any revenues. So where would the financing for them come from?

    […] Trump’s proposed tax cuts would greatly accentuate inequality. (“To those who hath, it shall be given,” Martin Wolf, of the Financial Times, quipped this week.) And if those tax cuts aren’t matched by spending cuts, they will run up the budget deficit and increase the country’s already large debt burden. But if the tax cuts instead prompt cutbacks in non-discretionary spending, particularly government investments in education and scientific research, they will undermine economic growth over the long term. Trump’s protectionist impulses, meanwhile, almost certainly won’t bring back lost manufacturing jobs, but they could spark a damaging trade war. […]

    […] Trump, like Ronald Reagan before him, is adopting a bastard form of Keynesianism. […] When President Obama proposed more infrastructure spending, his requests went nowhere. […]

    The hypocrisy of the Republican Party now potentially embracing a kind of crypto-Keynesian program knows no bounds. […]

    Moody’s said in a report issued in June. “By the end of his presidency, there are close to 3.5 million fewer jobs and the unemployment rate rises to as high as 7%, compared with below 5% today.” Moody’s also considered a second scenario, “Trump Lite,” in which his tax cuts were reduced from $9.5 trillion to $3.5 trillion over ten years. Even in this case, the analysis predicted a deep recession beginning in 2018. By 2020, the report said, the unemployment rate would be 8.9 per cent. […]

    So much for helping the working man.

  54. says

    This is a followup to comments 57 and 69.

    Both Eric Trump and Don Jr. retweeted many fake news stories. Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway also retweeted fake news. They later deleted those retweets, but not before they had gone out to their millions of followers who would have thought the news stories were true. And those followers also retweeted the fake news stories.

  55. says

    Such an embarrassment:

    Donald Trump has reportedly left civil servants amused and befuddled by extending an unusual and un presidential invitation to Theresa May.

    Downing Street refused to deny a leaked transcript in which the president-elect told the British prime minister: “If you travel to the US you should let me know.”

  56. says

    SC @72, Bernie thinks that, deep down, other people (even Trump) are like him. Bernie thinks they want fairness.

    It’s astounding. If looking at Trump’s entire life didn’t convince him, if reading the reports of Trump’s character and activities and backers that came out during the campaign didn’t convince him, if seeing Trump campaigning in the most dishonest manner in the history of US politics didn’t convince him, then he’s determined not to see the facts.

    As I said on another thread yesterday:

    What Trump has done is take longstanding, legitimate, systemic arguments about trade deals from the Left, blot out their systemic nature in order to deradicalize and personalize them, and then repackage them in racist and nationalist terms. It’s not a new tactic of the far Right, and people on the Left have to be very careful to avoid playing along with it.

    I mean, FFS, it’s not like we don’t have a historical precedent. The Nazis did this. They’d never been in power, and so could promise everything to everyone while campaigning, including that they would be nationalist socialists.

    The difference now is that a) we’ve seen this before and have history to learn from (and the rhetorical similarities are plain) and b) Trump isn’t remotely as smart or as good a liar as Hitler, and has a long and documented personal history. That an intelligent man like Sanders, who isn’t new to politics, could give this horseshit even the least bit of credence is just shocking and unacceptable.

    And that’s aside from his marginalizing the ongoing terrorizing of so many people. From the Wikipedia entry on Sanders, who had family members murdered in the Holocaust:

    Sanders became interested in politics at an early age: “A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including 6 million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important.”

    That is, in fact, true. Get it the fuck together, Bernie.

  57. consciousness razor says

    SC @72, Bernie thinks that, deep down, other people (even Trump) are like him. Bernie thinks they want fairness.

    It’s astounding. If looking at Trump’s entire life didn’t convince him, if reading the reports of Trump’s character and activities and backers that came out during the campaign didn’t convince him, if seeing Trump campaigning in the most dishonest manner in the history of US politics didn’t convince him, then he’s determined not to see the facts.

    I don’t know if Sanders is that naive, but I don’t really get what he’s doing. Trump was almost certainly lying about a great number of campaign promises that would do any good. He’s not liberal/progressive and was only saying certain things to manipulate voters and manipulate the media into branding him as a “populist” and an “outsider.” Sanders knows this, I’m fairly sure, so he may be calling Trump’s bluff.

    Still, I don’t like how Sanders is approaching this at all. Don’t accept Trump’s dishonest (and totally inconsistent) promises to increase the federal minimum wage to $10, for example. Keep it at $15, Bernie. You already raised the bar there, Clinton and co. went along with it during their campaign, and you should not be calling a lower amount now when you know he doesn’t have a hand. (Sorry, I’ll try to stop the poker analogy.)

    You know Trump actually wants to get rid of the federal minimum wage altogether, to let the states do anything they want. That’s what Republicans in Congress would like, and Trump will probably attempt to do so with them. He will not be siding with Democrats on anything, most likely.

    You know that plan will not work, because even if he somehow brought in higher-paying jobs so that people magically won’t be in minimum wage jobs anymore, it is unfair and harmful for our society for any people to be paid so little for their work, even those who don’t benefit from Trump’s magic tricks.

    So you don’t just accept any old small number that Trump happens to spit out of his idiot mouth, which he doesn’t even mean. That’s not a promise you want him to keep, because you know it will probably take many years to increase it again if anything like that were passed. You, Bernie, have already said what you think is appropriate and should stick with that, unless there’s any reason to think it’s not good policy. But Trump and his Republican bootlickers don’t give reasons. They’ll just shout and insult and crank out bullshit laws without your support, because they won’t need your support.

    So why isn’t he saying that to people, instead of handing “journalists” an opportunity to cook up bullshit stories like this?

  58. says

    Sanders knows this, I’m fairly sure, so he may be calling Trump’s bluff.

    I thought that at first, but I’ve started to doubt it. I could be wrong.

    Anyway, I believe his responsibility is to show people how fascists glom onto socialist critiques and programs and give them an entirely different meaning in context. Instead (if this really is his strategy), by specifying some policies that could conceivably, if looked at with tunnel vision, be seen as congruent with his positions, he erases that difference. When he says “If Mr. Trump has the guts to stand up to those corporations he will have an ally with me,” he implies that “standing up to corporations” means the same thing for fascists as it does for socialists. Of course, Trump won’t “stand up to corporations,” and never intended to. But Sanders needs to be very clear that any moves Trump makes in this direction are in the service of very, very different goals, and to always keep the larger context of Trumpism as a far-Right movement at the forefront.

  59. says

    “Michael Flynn, key Trump aide, sat in on intel briefings — while advising foreign clients”:

    Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has reportedly been offered the role of national security adviser in Donald Trump’s White House, began receiving classified national security briefings last summer while he was also running a private consulting firm that offered “all-source intelligence support” to international clients.

    Flynn’s relationship with his overseas clients is coming in for new scrutiny amid recent disclosures that two months ago, during the height of the presidential campaign, his consulting firm, the Flynn Intel Group, registered to lobby for a Dutch company owned by a wealthy Turkish businessman close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

    Robert Kelley, the chief counsel to the Flynn Intel Group, read a statement from Flynn to Yahoo News on Thursday, promising that “if I return to government service, my relationship with my company will be severed, in accordance with the policy announced by President-elect Trump.”

    But critics today dismissed Flynn’s pledge as “Too little, too late,” given that he began sitting in on U.S. intelligence briefings for Trump in August while working for foreign clients….

    One retired military officer who has advised both Republican and Democratic presidents said of the allegations about Flynn: “If this is true, it’s a disqualifying conflict of interest — if not by ethics laws, certainly in the spirit of conflict of interest, not to mention security regulations. We should be deeply concerned about his ethical judgment, but more specifically how can he possibly provide unbiased advice to the POTUS about Turkey and Russia, when he’s taken money from both.”

  60. says

    “Michael Flynn’s son and chief of staff pushed conspiracy theories, obscene memes online”:

    The son of top Donald Trump adviser and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn regularly shares conspiracy theories, expletive-filled posts, and racially insensitive sentiments on Twitter and Facebook, a CNN KFile review of his social media presence reveals.

    Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, shared stories alleging top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had a connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, pushed a conspiracy theory that Sen. Marco Rubio was a closeted homosexual who abused cocaine, and repeatedly used expletives to attack Trump’s political opponents….

  61. consciousness razor says

    I thought that at first, but I’ve started to doubt it. I could be wrong.

    You may very well be right. I can’t really make any sense of it, but that may be what he thinks he’s doing. He ought to be reminding people, explicitly and unequivocally, that Trump’s a fascist liar and bullshitter who will do us no good at all. The word “ally” doesn’t belong anywhere in a statement like that, except maybe to warn that our country’s allies are going to hate us. That shit is just plain absurd. But it does fall in line with some of the bizarre comments made by Obama and Clinton (and others, I suppose) right after election day. I don’t understand the point of any of it — maybe they think they need to appear gracious in defeat or something, but this is a whole other level of nonsense.

    Seriously, Bernie. Don’t tell people that Trump has your agenda, and you want to work with him on it. He absolutely does not have any concern whatsoever for your agenda or anyone’s but his own, if he even knows what it is. Some might actually believe it — talking heads will happily eat it up — and one thing you’re not going to do is swindle Trump into doing anything progressive or constructive, by telling him he agrees with you and/or made some kind of promise. He has no sense of honesty or responsibility or fairness or decency. He only wants to rip shit up and bark at people while doing it. That’s his whole deal.

  62. says

    consciousness razor:

    …He ought to be reminding people, explicitly and unequivocally, that Trump’s a fascist liar and bullshitter who will do us no good at all. The word “ally” doesn’t belong anywhere in a statement like that, except maybe to warn that our country’s allies are going to hate us….

    Seriously, Bernie. Don’t tell people that Trump has your agenda, and you want to work with him on it. He absolutely does not have any concern whatsoever for your agenda or anyone’s but his own, if he even knows what it is. Some might actually believe it — talking heads will happily eat it up — and one thing you’re not going to do is swindle Trump into doing anything progressive or constructive, by telling him he agrees with you and/or made some kind of promise. He has no sense of honesty or responsibility or fairness or decency….

    Yes. This, exactly.


    Islamophobic nut and Putin fanboy Michael Flynn has now been officially named as National Security Advisor. It’s striking that Trump and his coterie, who publicly obsess over American supremacy, appear to be such quislings of a regime that has a fraction of the military power of the US and an economy smaller than California’s.

  63. says

    In July, Flynn tweeted: “In next 24 hours, I dare Arab & Persian world “leaders” to step up to the plate and declare their Islamic ideology sick and must B healed.”

    His appointment should go over well.

  64. says

    “Who is Jeff Sessions?”:

    On Friday, the New York Times reported that President-Elect Donald Trump tapped Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general in his new administration. Sessions himself put out a statement boasting that Trump was “unbelievably impressed” with his “phenomenal record” as Alabama’s attorney general and U.S. attorney.

    Yet the last time Sessions was up for a federal post, a judgeship in 1986, his history of racist remarks and vocal support for white supremacist groups tanked his confirmation.

    Sessions — the first senator to jump on board the Trump Train — has also spent more than two decades in Congress blocking immigration reform, trying to roll back marriage equality, holding up the confirmation of the Supreme Court’s first Latina Justice, repeatedly voting to gut funding for food stamps, and sponsoring bills to give the government more surveillance power….

    Part of his approach to drug policy is to send the message that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

    He’s the personification of backlash.

  65. says

    “This isn’t just a photo of Ivanka Trump. It’s a middle finger to democracy.”:

    …In his first meeting with an head of state, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump invited his daughter Ivanka — who will likely serve as acting CEO of his companies — to participate.

    Trump could have kept Ivanka’s participation private. Instead, his team handed out a photo featuring Ivanka.

    Nepotism laws prohibit Ivanka from taking a formal role in the White House. But Trump is choosing to send a clear signal to Japan and the world — when you deal with Ivanka, you are dealing with someone who has my ear as president….

  66. militantagnostic says

    The TLDR of Salty’s link @88

    Give them No Fucking Quarter you can expect none from them.

  67. says

    ACLU Statement on Potential Sessions and Pompeo Nominations:

    In response to reports that Sen. Jeff Sessions will be nominated for the position of Attorney General and Rep. Mike Pompeo for director of the Central Intelligence Agency, ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero made the following statement:

    “As a matter of organizational policy, the American Civil Liberties Union does not take a position supporting or opposing presidential or judicial nominations. We do, however, educate the American people and the Congress about nominees’ records and past positions.

    “Sen. Sessions has called the ACLU un-American and communist, assertions we flatly reject. His positions on LGBT rights, capital punishment, abortion rights, and presidential authority in times of war have been contested by the ACLU and other civil rights organizations. As the nation’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, the attorney general is charged with protecting the rights of all Americans. In his confirmation hearings, senators, the media, and the American public should closely examine his stances on these key issues to ensure we can have confidence in his ability to uphold the Constitution and our laws on behalf of all Americans.

    “Congressman Pompeo’s positions on bulk surveillance and Guantanamo Bay also raise serious civil liberties concerns about privacy and due process. These positions and others merit serious public scrutiny through a confirmation process. His positions on mass surveillance have been rejected by federal courts and have been the subject of several lawsuits filed by the ACLU, including ACLU v. Clapper.”

  68. says

    In reference to SC’s link in comment 83: I see that our president-elect is still lying on Twitter. We should expect this to continue while he is president.

    Trump tweeted: “Just got a call from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky – no Mexico.”

    Bill Ford may be Trump’s friend (and maybe not, see quoted text below), and he may be keeping a Lincoln plant in Kentucky, but Ford never, ever planned to move that plant to Mexico. And, for good measure, Ford told Trump that there were no plans to move the plant to Mexico weeks ago.

    Trump is taking credit for changing the course of an action that was never going to take place. We need new descriptive words for this kind of lying.

    […] “We are everything that he should be celebrating about this country,” Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said on the sidelines of an industry event near Detroit on Thursday. “We pulled ourselves up with our bootstraps. We paid back our borrowings. We are very healthy again. We’ve been adding jobs in the U.S. And we’re the largest manufacturer of cars and trucks in the U.S.”

    Ford, who is Henry Ford’s great-grandson, added that “investments we are making in the U.S. are enormous.” Trump’s “basic premise is wrong. For over 100 years we’ve been in markets all over the world making vehicles. We’ve made vehicles in Mexico for a long time,” Ford said.

    The automaker made a commitment in November to invest $9 billion in U.S. plants and create or retain more than 8,500 jobs as part of a new four-year contract with the UAW. Of that, $4.8 billion goes to 11 facilities in Michigan. […]

  69. says

    Johathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, is pushing back against Trump:

    […] There recently have been reports that the new Administration plans to force Muslim-Americans to register for some sort of master government list.

    Look, Islamic extremism is a threat to us all. But as Jews, we know what it means to be registered and tagged, held out as different from our fellow citizens.

    As Jews, we know the righteous and just response. All of us have heard the story of the Danish king who said if his country’s Jews had to wear a gold star … all of Denmark would too.

    So I pledge to you right here and now, because I care about the fight against anti-Semitism, that if one day in these United States, if one day Muslim-Americans will be forced to register their identities, then that is the day that this proud Jew will register as a Muslim.

    Because fighting prejudice against the marginalized is not just the fight of those minorities. It’s our fight. Just as the fight against anti-Semitism is not only the fight of us Jews. It’s everyone’s fight.

  70. says

    As this thread reveals, Trump’s lie about Ford and how it’s spread are truly disturbing. But note also the highlighted sentence in the Reuters article. Ford wasn’t planning to close any US plants “and likely could not do so under the terms of the current United Auto Workers contract that expires in 2019.” So even if they want to, they couldn’t close US plants because of the contract negotiated with the fucking union. Not some sleazy self-proclaimed savior. Workers’ decades of organizing, supported by an administration that’s relatively (in US terms) favorable to labor rights, which Trump routinely violates. The UAW endorsed Clinton for President, noting in their announcement that:

    all candidates regardless of political party were sent questionnaires and none of the Republicans responded, including Donald Trump. Trump also had made public comments about wanting UAW member jobs to move to nonunion, low-paying states to compete with Mexican wages. “Mr. Trump clearly does not support the economic security of UAW families,” said Williams.

    So Trump continues to outright lie to the public. He didn’t deign even to respond to the auto workers’ union or listen to their concerns when campaigning, though he’s giddy to deal with the Ford CEO. And he takes credit for a contract negotiated under Obama by organized workers. This is as clear a sign as ever of what and who he’s about.

  71. says

    Followup to SC’s comment 97.

    More on Jeff Sessions: He opposed the Violence against Women Act. He opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

    Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III also opposed efforts to remove the Confederate flag from display on state property. He also stated publicly that he does not think “grab them by the [P-Word]” should be characterized as sexual assault.

    Sessions is like Trump in other ways. He is not fit to hold higher office.

  72. says

    A followup to SC’s comments up-thread about General Michael Flynn:

    […] Sarah Chayes, who worked with Flynn during his tenure running military intelligence in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2011, told The New York Times that “his thinking process is not sufficiently analytical to test some streams against others and make sense of it, or draw consistent conclusions.” […]

    Sounds like Flynn thinks, or fails to think, just like Trump.

    Flynn’s son uses Alex Jone’s “InfoWars” as a source for posting all manner of synaptic sludge. The younger Flynn, who serves as his father’s chief of staff, is also a fan of the alt-right:

    […] The younger Flynn appears to be a fan of the alt-right, a loosely defined online community of white nationalists, men’s right activists and conspiracy theorists. He frequently retweets posts from prominent members of the alt-right […]


  73. says

    What Trump said during the primary campaign:

    I don’t settle cases. I don’t do it because that’s why I don’t get sued very often, because I don’t settle, unlike a lot of other people. You know what, let’s see what happens in court.
    The phony lawsuit against Trump U could have been easily settled by me but I want to go to court. 98% approval rating by students. Easy win
    I should have easily won the Trump University case on summary judgement but have a judge, Gonzalo Curiel, who is totally biased against me.

    Guess what Trump is going to do in the Trump University lawsuit. He is getting ready to settle.

    It looks like Trump may be on the hook to repay about $25 million to students he defrauded, but he gets an to sign a settlement agreement that does not admit to any wrongdoing.

  74. says

    Homeopathy is not going to disappear, and lots of bogus pushers of homeopathic remedies will continue to make money, but at least the Federal Trade Commission is now asking for scientific evidence of health claims before the products are sold in the USA.

    […] The FTC’s policy statement explains that the agency will now ask that the makers of homeopathic drugs present reliable scientific evidence for their health claims if they want to sell them to consumers on the US market.

    Mustering that evidence is likely to be difficult given that homeopathy is a pseudoscience. […]

  75. Hj Hornbeck says

    This is how far we’ve gone down the rabbit hole: Don Lemon is acting like a proper reporter.

    “The facts are, Mr. Trump was outspoken and talking about how he was going to make America great again. He was outspoken and talking about how he wanted to bring jobs back,” Denard said. “When it comes to Ford, Mr. Ford, Trump was very factual and talking about, how he was not going to allow that to happen under his watch, meaning leave the American soil and go across the border to Mexico.”

    Sellers seemed as if he didn’t believe what he was hearing. “But they weren’t going to,” he said.

    “It doesn’t matter,” Denard said, before continuing what he was saying.

    Host Don Lemon pushed back. “Paris, are you sure it doesn’t matter?”

    “It’s not about the truth. It’s about raising awareness,” he insisted.

    Lemon pushed back again. “You’re saying the truth doesn’t matter? He’s taking a victory lap, Paris. Let’s be honest and you’re sitting here on international television and telling people the truth doesn’t matter?”

    Also, a citation for Lynna’s story.

    [Trump] has never expressed regret for the the students who have come forward in the media and through their lawyers to tell of how they were pressured to max out their credit cards, or cash in their 401Ks to pay for seminars that they say imparted no actual value.

    “It was a con,” 32-year-old ex-Marine Ryan Maddings told The Daily Beast in June. “Those stupid principles have led me to borrow $700,000 of other people’s money and lose it all. I’m still paying off some of that debt to this day.”

    Maddings and other students says they were coerced into filling out positive evaluations. But for Trump, the glowing reviews, filled out while instructors looked on, prove Trump University was a success. So much so, in fact, that the president-elect has vowed to reopen Trump University after he moves into the White House.

    “After the litigation is disposed of and the case won, I have instructed my execs to open Trump U(?), so much interest in it! I will be pres,” Trump Tweeted in June.

  76. says

    Wonkette is pretty psyched that Rachel Maddow loves the Wonkette website:

    […] It happened toward the end of the show, as she set up her interview with Louisiana Senate candidate Foster Campbell, a cattle-ranching Democrat who wears Wrangler jeans on his butt. […]

    If you’ll remember, Louisiana’s run-off election is December 10, and if Campbell were to win, Republicans would only hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, which means it would be easier for Democrats to pull a couple of sane Republicans over to their side, were President Trump to seek congressional authorization to nuke Sweden for making fun of his hair with a funny accent, for example. (HAVE YOU GIVEN DOLLARS TO FOSTER CAMPBELL YET? YOU NEED TO DO THAT, BECAUSE THIS IS IMPORTANT.)

    So! Watch the video, where our BFF Rachel called Wonkette “the best website in the world,” and proceeded to read A WHOLE PARAGRAPH we wrote, with our brain:

    You will do this because, if Campbell wins, the Republicans will only have a 51-49 majority in the Senate, which gives Dems just a little bit more power to push back on Donald Trump’s worst plans. It means it won’t be as much of a stretch to try to form majority coalitions with Republican senators who are occasionally decent on specific issues, like John McCain with Russia or Rand Paul opposing Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton for secretary of State. If 49 Democrats can pull a McCain and a Susan Collins across the aisle to oppose Trump erecting a statue of Vladimir Putin on top of the White House, we might be able to at least mitigate Trump’s damage, is what we mean.


  77. Hj Hornbeck says

    In the meantime, Kurt Eichenwald reports

    Japanese offended today. Trump letting his non-gov daughter attend meeting with Japanese PM considered a tremendous breach of protocol.

    Countries w/ important but complex protocol rules: Japan, China, Saudi Arabia. If Trump lumbers around w/o consulting experts, will be bad.

    (Eichenwald was also the source of my previous two stories. He’s covered Trump for a few decades, and has a pretty good idea of how he operates, so I recommend following him. Eichenwald tries hard to be centrist, which annoys me but is handy for Twitter arguments.)

  78. says

    Wonkette’s take on the recent appointments by Trump:

    […] Donald Trump has so far failed to nominate any non-white-supremacist sentient being to any part of his cabinet. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a gigantic racist, is Trump’s pick to be the attorney general in charge of protecting people’s civil rights. (CALL YOUR SENATORS.) Michael Flynn, a disgraced, retired general who had to be fired by the Obama administration, and who loves Russia SO MUCH, will be Trump’s national security advisor, a post that does not require Senate confirmation, probably because Flynn is too awful to get confirmed by a Republican Senate. Then there’s Steve Bannon […]

    Trump’s pick to head the CIA is interesting, in the same way canker sores are interesting. It is Kansas congresshick Mike Pompeo! And not everybody is quite as terrified by this pick as they are by all the others. According to the New York Times, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff called him “bright and hardworking.” And he should know, because they worked together on the endless, fruitless, fucking bullshit BENGHAZZZZZIIZIZIIIZII!!!!!11!!!1!!!!!!!!!1! investigation. […]

    Pompeo was fun that day! He just KNEW he had finded a thing when he interrogated Hillary about whether Ambassador Chris Stevens had her phone number, or her Snapchat, or her AOL Instant Messenger screen name, or whether he had even ever been over to her house for a lesbian sleepover with Huma Abedin. VERDICT: He had not! But you know who did? Mike Pompeo knew who did, and it was Hillary’s friend Sidney Blumenthal, CASE CLOSED! […]

    When smug South Carolina congress […] Rep. Trey Gowdy released the results of the committee’s Benghazi investigation (the one millionth investigation of Benghazi), it was clear that the committee came up with NO NEW INFORMATION about what happened that fateful night in 2012. But Mike Pompeo and Rep. Jim Jordan were still rootin-tootin’ mad, and released their own 48-page addendum, just to let America know they pretty much think Hillary is an evil C-word.

    So, will the CIA actually continue to do actual CIA work under Pompeo, or will Mike Pompeo instead devote all its resources to finally figuring out what happened in Benghazi? […]

    I’m posting this because I’m fed up with reading other news sources (I’m talking to you, New York Times) that characterize Pompeo as “hardworking” or in other neutral-to-positive ways. No. Just no. Pompey is a Benghazi conspiracy theorist nutjob.

  79. Hj Hornbeck says

    I mean really, annoyance is a small price to pay for stuff like this.

    If the Trump Administration really starts a Muslim registry, I am converting to Islam and signing up. I urge everyone else to do the same.

  80. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Although I have never been a member of the Muslim faith, I look forward to going down to the courthouse and registering as a Muslim if they put out a registry. I hope I will not be the only atheist there.

  81. says

    Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote has topped 1.5 million … and there are still votes left to count.

    In other news, this letter from a doctor who provides abortion services is well worth reading in its entirety:

    […] One week ago I received a chilling letter from Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the most ferociously anti-abortion member of Congress, who chairs the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives.

    The letter demanded that I submit a wide variety of documents, including patient medical records in cases of gestations greater than 22 weeks. I have until Nov. 21 to comply.

    The panel is looking for evidence that I am selling “baby body parts.” It has the power of subpoena and can cite me for contempt of Congress if I don’t comply by the deadline.

    It is frightening. It is a witch hunt.

    I am a physician helping patients, and I am being treated like a criminal. […]

  82. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Hj Hornbeck,
    Wow, I posted that before refreshing–so I hadn’t seen Eichenwald’s tweet.

    Lights shine brighter in the darkness.

  83. says

    This is a followup to comments 98 and 100.

    Here are some of the mainstream media outlets that ran Trump’s fake story about preventing Ford from moving production to Mexico:

    Reuters, with the headline “Trump says Ford not moving U.S. plant to Mexico.”

    ABC News, with the headline “Donald Trump takes credit for keeping a Kentucky Ford plant from moving to Mexico.”

    Washington Examiner, with the headline “How Donald Trump got ford to not outsource jobs to Mexico.”

    Bloomberg, with the headline “Trump says Ford Called to say it’s keeping SUV plant in Kentucky.”

    Louisville Business First, with the headline “Trump says he worked hard to keep Ford plant in Kentucky.”

    The Louisville Courier-Journal, with the headline “Trump: Ford plant to stay in Kentucky.”

    NPR, The New York Times, and others posted more correct headlines (though sometimes after they failed in their first attempt at accurate news).

    NPR headline: “Trump takes credit for saving a U.S. Ford plant that wasn’t planning to move.”

    NY Times headline: “Donald Trump takes credit for helping to save a Ford plant that wasn’t closing.”

  84. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Given that El Maximum Presidente is providing so much fodder for anyone wanting to oppose him, I really wish the Dems and the press had the collective cojones (of either gender) to take advantage.

  85. says

    Another stellar appointment by Trump (/sarcasm): Micke Huckabee has been selected to be U.S. ambassador to Israel.

    […] Huckabee, an ordained Baptist preacher and electric bass player, will become the tip of Trump’s spear as he seeks to shake up U.S. foreign relations in the Middle East, beginning with relocating America’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    ‘That’s going to happen,’ the transition official said. ‘Governor Huckabee is going to see it through.’ […]

    Arab nations near Israel oppose the idea of making Jerusalem a center of power for the Jewish state. Many of them deny Israel’s right to exist at all, and most see Jerusalem as a holy city for Muslims. […]

  86. militantagnostic says

    I remember that relocating the Canadian Embassy to Jerusalem was considered to be one of then Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark’s dumber ideas and earned him much ridicule at the time. The oilfield service sector was not amused however as this was a sure way to piss off the Middle Eastern oil producing countries. In the current context moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem will be a great recruiting tool for ISIL.

  87. says

    This is a followup to comment 109.

    Representative Mike Pompeo tweeted that he looks forward to “rolling back” the nuclear deal with Iran. Not sure how he thinks he can do that as Trump’s appointee to head the CIA, but it doesn’t sound good.

    Both Pompeo and Senator Jeff Sessions (Attorney General appointee) hold hard-line anti-immigrant views. Sessions tends to add anti-civil-rights views for everyone but white males to his anti-immigrant views. Not sure about Pompeo. Both men are strongly anti-Muslim in disconcerting, broad-brush ways, so we can assume that Pompeo would support curtailing civil rights for Muslims.

  88. says

    Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for Attorney General, prosecuted black civil rights activists for voter fraud. Sessions was wrong. He did not have a case. But he managed to cause a lot of activists, and a lot of innocent voters, a lot of trouble and expense.

    […] The trial was held in Selma, of all places. The jury of seven blacks and five whites deliberated for less than three hours before returning a not-guilty verdict on all counts.

  89. says

    Hillary Clinton’s winning margin in the popular vote is bigger than the margin was for John Kennedy or for Richard Nixon. And Clinton’s margin is still growing.

  90. Hj Hornbeck says

    Steve Bannon’s a shy guy, for some strange reason, so it’s a treat to hear him interviewed.

    “Darkness is good,” says Bannon, who amid the suits surrounding him at Trump Tower, looks like a graduate student in his T-shirt, open button-down and tatty blue blazer — albeit a 62-year-old graduate student. “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they” — I believe by “they” he means liberals and the media, already promoting calls for his ouster — “get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”

    Ok, so he thinks he’s Darth Vader. That’s…. nice.

    I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist,” he tells me. “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver” — by “we” he means the Trump White House — “we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. That’s what the Democrats missed. They were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It’s not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about.” […]

    “Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement,” he says. “It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.”

    Emphasis mine. He’s going to toss a trillion dollars around “and see if it sticks?!” He’s like Bernie Sander’s racist son, who’s heard a bit of populist theory at the dinner table and thinks he can smart the old man. Or maybe Sander’s grandpa instead; who invests heavily in “ship yards and iron works” nowadays?

    At that moment, as we talk, there’s a knock on the door of Bannon’s office, a temporary, impersonal, middle-level executive space with a hodgepodge of chairs for constant impromptu meetings. Sen. Ted Cruz, once the Republican firebrand, now quite a small and unassuming figure, has been waiting patiently for a chat and Bannon excuses himself for a short while.

    The hell?! Ted Cruz seeks advice from Bannon? Or is he begging for scraps? Whatever the case, I think I understand why Bannon doesn’t give many interviews.

  91. Hj Hornbeck says

    Damn, thwarted by the lack of an “edit” button. That should read:

    Emphasis mine. He’s going to toss a trillion dollars around “and see if it sticks?!” He’s like Bernie Sander’s racist son, who’s heard a bit of populist economic theory at the dinner table and thinks he can outsmart the old man. Or maybe Sander’s grandpa instead; who invests heavily in “ship yards and iron works” nowadays?

  92. militantagnostic says

    I am sure Halliburton (and other American oilfield service companies) will be pleased about pissing of the Middle East oil producing countries by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem /sarc. I expect it won’t happen.

  93. says

    So I went to a Muslim-organized interfaith event today. (If someone had told me a few years ago that that’s where I’d find myself in November of 2016, I would have laughed at them, but here we are.) I suspect I was the only atheist, and it featured the usual superstitious goddiness, but I don’t think people would have cared much if they knew I was an atheist or even a voice against faith.

    Two things occur to me. First, Muslim organizations, the NAACP, and Jewish organizations are forming bonds of solidarity, while AIPAC is silent and Israeli government representatives are saying they look forward to working with the Trump team. Who targeted groups can and can’t depend on is becoming clearer by the minute.

    Second, we atheists-secularists can’t just applaud and publicize what others are doing – we have to be part of this coalition-building and activism. All the more so because of the bigoted atheist shitheels who’ve come to the fore in recent years. They don’t represent us.

  94. Hj Hornbeck says

    Since it keeps coming up, here’s Dave Wasserman’s spreadsheet of counted votes, which I think is updated daily. The current vote margin is 1,439,123 votes more for Clinton, with more still reporting in.

    Speaking of vote counts and Brietbart, they had an article up claiming Trump won the popular vote by 7.5 million. Their reasoning?

    This suggests that Leahy is using some definition of “heartland” that both incorporates most of the country but also excludes places Clinton won. If you look only at counties that Trump won, Trump leads — as you’d expect — by over 17 million votes. But in counties she won, Clinton leads by more. Clinton gets 42.2 million votes in states that she lost and trails Trump by 1.9 million there. But in states she won she gets 19.7 million votes, leading Trump by 3 million.

    As it turns out, what Leahy’s doing is simply taking 52 counties where Clinton did well and eliminating them from the equation. Those 52 “elite” counties are mostly those that clumsily dot their way across his map above. All of this is totally arbitrary, of course. Everything that isn’t one of those “elite” counties is the “heartland,” an area that Leahy figures includes Long Island, Maine, Detroit and Charleston, S.C.

    You know. The heartland.

  95. says

    The Ghost of Christmas Future:

    Turkey now has handily outstripped China as the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, according to figures compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    The jailings are the most obvious example of an effort to muzzle not just the free press, but free speech generally. More than 3,000 Turks have faced charges of insulting the president,…

    In addition to the jailings here, some 150 news outlets have been shuttered, ranging from TV stations to online enterprises, according to Erol Onderoglu, the Turkish representative for Reporters Without Borders. But probably the most corrosive long-term effect of the crackdown has been a highly effective government push for businessmen who are loyal to it to take over ownership of many of the remaining outlets, turning them into avid cheerleaders for Mr. Erdogan and his policies.

    “What’s left, they are all basically Pravda,” said Gulsin Harman, who left her job as a foreign editor at Milliyet, a once independent newspaper that is now owned by an Erdogan crony.

    “There is no more critical journalism, 90 percent of the free press is destroyed directly or indirectly,” Mr. Onderoglu said. “Investigative journalism is considered treason. Journalism has been stolen by the government.”

    Some of the most virulent attacks on independent-minded journalists have come from journalists in the pro-Erdogan press who are known by their colleagues as “hit men.” First they attack the target by name, then personally lobby with intimidated media owners or the government to have the person fired or jailed.

    Mr. Kucuk said it would not be necessary for Turkey’s remaining big newspapers to be shut down, as so many other outlets have been, because they had been brought to heel. The foundation that owns Cumhuriyet, he predicted, would soon be taken over by a group of hard-liners more friendly to the president….

  96. ChasCPeterson says

    Seen the guy who’s heading up the transition over at EPA?
    The Environmental Protection Agency?
    That’s really bad.

  97. Hj Hornbeck says

    Hmph, I’m learning a lot about Steve Bannon today.

    I want to talk about wealth creation and what wealth creation really can achieve and maybe take it in a slightly different direction, because I believe the world, and particularly the Judeo-Christian west, is in a crisis. And it’s really the organizing principle of how we built Breitbart News to really be a platform to bring news and information to people throughout the world. Principally in the west, but we’re expanding internationally to let people understand the depths of this crisis, and it is a crisis both of capitalism but really of the underpinnings of the Judeo-Christian west in our beliefs. […]

    One thing I want to make sure of, if you look at the leaders of capitalism at that time, when capitalism was I believe at its highest flower and spreading its benefits to most of mankind, almost all of those capitalists were strong believers in the Judeo-Christian West. They were either active participants in the Jewish faith, they were active participants in the Christians’ faith, and they took their beliefs, and the underpinnings of their beliefs was manifested in the work they did. And I think that’s incredibly important and something that would really become unmoored. I can see this on Wall Street today — I can see this with the securitization of everything is that, everything is looked at as a securitization opportunity. People are looked at as commodities. I don’t believe that our forefathers had that same belief.

    Loony Christian? That’s a new one to me, though not surprising in hindsight. He goes on at length about the threat of Islam, too, but it was this part that caught my eye:

    The 2008 crisis, I think the financial crisis — which, by the way, I don’t think we’ve come through — is really driven I believe by the greed, much of it driven by the greed of the investment banks. My old firm, Goldman Sachs — traditionally the best banks are leveraged 8:1. When we had the financial crisis in 2008, the investment banks were leveraged 35:1. Those rules had specifically been changed by a guy named Hank Paulson. He was secretary of Treasury. As chairman of Goldman Sachs, he had gone to Washington years before and asked for those changes. That made the banks not really investment banks, but made them hedge funds — and highly susceptible to changes in liquidity. And so the crisis of 2008 was, quite frankly, really never recovered from in the United States. It’s one of the reasons last quarter you saw 2.9% negative growth in a quarter. So the United States economy is in very, very tough shape.

    And one of the reasons is that we’ve never really gone and dug down and sorted through the problems of 2008. Particularly the fact — think about it — not one criminal charge has ever been brought to any bank executive associated with 2008 crisis. And in fact, it gets worse. No bonuses and none of their equity was taken. So part of the prime drivers of the wealth that they took in the 15 years leading up to the crisis was not hit at all, and I think that’s one of the fuels of this populist revolt that we’re seeing as the tea party. So I think there are many, many measures, particularly about getting the banks on better footing, making them address all the liquid assets they have. I think you need a real clean-up of the banks balance sheets.

    …. Wow, he really is the Bernie Sanders of the alt-right!

  98. raven says

    …. Wow, he really is the Bernie Sanders of the alt-right!

    He is just a nut. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in a while.

    1. He is right about the 2008 financial crisis. But the banks have been cleaned up and they are doing OK. That was the trillion dollar bailout and the rules put in place afterwards.

    2. I don’t think Trump et al. will touch Wall Street, the banks, or Big Business. They have a huge amount of power and influence and are part of the elite oligarchy. In fact, he will likely throw in with them at some point big time.

    They will go after women, Moslems, gays, and nonwhites. They don’t have much power and influence.
    Why beat up on somebody bigger than you when you can beat up on someone much smaller than you?

  99. raven says

    I’ve been watching this disaster with no expectations.
    How should I know what is going to happen in Crazyland, when Trump has no idea what he will do.

    It really looks like pure nihilism in the common sense of the word.
    He and his loon team will simply wreck the USA.
    For no other reason than they can.

    It’s just vandalism on a continental scale.

  100. raven says

    Bush set us back a generation without even trying.
    All Obama did was fix his disasters.
    Trump will set us back at least another generation. Because he is trying.

    As a Boomer, I don’t have another generation to wait for a recovery.
    And what is so magic about recovery anyway. We may never recover as long as the voters keep electing amoral, incompetent leaders because they hate the right ethnic groups.

    It’s quite possible, the USA is doing a Japan. Japan was the up and coming economic power of the late 20th century. Then they hit the wall. And they never got up again. They are stuck going nowhere.
    We might be doing the same thing.

  101. raven says

    I see Darth Ryan and the clowns are attacking Social Security and Medicare again. Both are wildly popular, wildly successful, self funding programs.
    It won’t happen.
    The old people who vote often, would make sure they never win another election.

    They know this.
    What they can do is grandfather current recipients into the plans.
    And disadvantage the younger generations who aren’t currently getting Social Security and Medicare.
    In other words, screw over their kids.
    In Crazyland USA, it might work.
    Hopefully, by the time the kids find out old age means living in the park and eating cat food, I’ll be dead.

  102. Hj Hornbeck says

    This isn’t surprising, but

    This Bannon Facebook page joined a group that has provided a platform for extremism and racism. The Vigilant Patriots page on Facebook pushes a vicious mix of agitprop and conspiracy theory. It has published calls to arrest, impeach, and execute Obama. A 2012 post declared that Obama must be arrested as a “terrorist” for “Treason, Espionage, Sedition and Fraud” and derided him as “an Illegal Commander-in-Chief.” A long anti-Obama rant from a member in 2011 called for hanging the “traitor.” A different member referred to Obama as “the muzzie usurping lying POS traitor.” (“Muzzie” is a derogatory term for a Muslim.) A group member in 2013 said Obama “must be tried, convicted, and executed as a traitor.” One member railed, Obama “still occupies the office because white members of Congress are too afraid of being branded racist to file Articles of Impeachment against him. It’s time to stop the charade. He is destroying America. Black, White, Green, Brown, or Purple, the man is a traitor. IMPEACHMENT NOW!”

  103. Hj Hornbeck says

    The future US President, folks.

    The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!

    Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing.This should not happen!

    I always figured the people railing against “safe spaces” were actually arguing “I don’t want YOU to have a safe space,” so it’s nice to get some confirmation.

  104. says

    “What a Trump America Can Learn from a Berlusconi Italy”:

    …Perhaps our most important lesson…is that of not giving the president the benefit of the doubt. Social-media sniping aside, Americans have a tendency to want to see the best in their leaders, to see them succeed. Europeans, and Italians above all, have learned better. In the mid-1960s, the Italian writer Luigi Barzini opened his best-selling book “The Italians” with these words: “At this point, being honest with oneself is the highest form of patriotism.” Fifty years later, this still rings true….

  105. says

    SC @ 133, Sharon Jones singing “This Land” is one of the all time greats.

    SC @130, shades of Breitbart News and its ilk taking over the press realm. Turkey is a lesson writ large and in real time. Horror.

    Hj Hornbeck @140, Political rallies should also be safe places. What the hell is Trump on about? The cast of Hamilton went out of its way to be NOT rude.

    raven @138, I fear you are right. Ryan is trying to slip these cuts of good programs past the old people by saying, “not you, just the next generation, and the generations after that.” The truth is that Medicaid helps a lot of people who are not old, and Ryan is taking aim at that program too.

    Another factor here is that Republican legislators are desperate for Trump to succeed, and for that they need lots of money. They will be gutting a lot of good programs in order to give Trump what he wants (like taking money out of Homeland Security to build a wall). As was noted up-thread, Steve Bannon wants to be the Darth Vader that keeps Republicans in power for 50 years by making sure that Trump creates jobs. Who knows what we’ll have to pay in the short term and in the long term for Trump’s twisted goals.

  106. says

    Rachel Maddow talks about the disaster that is retired Lt. General Michael Flynn as national security advisor, and why Flynn is not suited for the job. The video is 7:28 minutes long.

    Rachel Maddow discusses the truly despicable past actions and politics of Mike Pompeo (including Pompeo’s “vote for an American” campaign against a darker skinned opponent in Kansas.) Maddow also makes the point that Pompeo is “The congressman from Koch Industries.” (See comment 97 from SC, and comments 109 and 118 from me for more on Mike Pompeo.)

    Rachel Maddow talks with Ari Berman (senior writer for The Nation) about Jeff Sessions. The video is 9:31 minutes long. (See comments 93, 97, 101, 109 and 120 for more on Sessions.)

    I know that many readers of this thread watch The Rachel Maddow show. They don’t need these links. But we also have readers who don’t watch Maddow. The links may serve those readers.

  107. raven says

    Another factor here is that Republican legislators are desperate for Trump to succeed, and for that they need lots of money.

    Good point.

    They don’t have the money.
    1. They either have to raise taxes. Or:
    2. Borrow it by increasing the deficits. Which goes on the National Debt.

    They aren’t going to raise taxes. In fact, they are planning tax cuts.

    So deficit spending it is. How much deficit spending can they do until something happens? Inflation, a recession, something. It’s known if you just print money you end up with inflation and the dollar will be devalued to the New North American Peso.
    Someone might know how much is too much but I don’t.

    PS: As anyone who watched knows, the GOP blocked Obama’s Infrastructure plan for 8 years. And now they are going to implement it.
    They really were just harming the USA for their own political aims. This isn’t treason but it is the same idea.

  108. raven says

    They will be gutting a lot of good programs in order to give Trump what he wants (like taking money out of Homeland Security to build a wall).

    LOL. I thought Mexico was going to pay for that wall.

    I’m sure Trump will do most of what he said, no matter how stupid it is.
    But the Great Mexican Wall isn’t going to be built.

    They will put up some more fencing for show but a lot of the border is already fenced. And the Border Patrol doesn’t even have the humanpower to patrol what they’ve already put up. Without patrolling, walls don’t work.

  109. says

    Josh Marshall posted a thoughtful piece about Jeff Sessions. Here’s an excerpt:

    Over the last eight years, the Obama Justice Department has been an aggressive defender of voting rights. Under Jeff Sessions, the federal government will unquestionably abandon that battle and join sides with GOP controlled states to further limit voting rights. They will most likely also use the power of the DOJ to attack voting rights in states where Democrats are in power. They will almost certainly reorient the DOJ’s focus to trumped up voter fraud investigations. […]

    The entire article is worth reading.

  110. says

    It’s a bit late, but Mark Zuckerberg announced that he will fix the fake news problem on Facebook.

    See comments 52, 55, 57, 69 and 76 for previous discussions of fake news.

    A lot of you have asked what we’re doing about misinformation, so I wanted to give an update.

    The bottom line is: we take misinformation seriously. […] We’ve made significant progress, but there is more work to be done.

    Historically, we have relied on our community to help us understand what is fake and what is not. Anyone on Facebook can report any link as false, and we use signals from those reports along with a number of others — like people sharing links to myth-busting sites such as Snopes — to understand which stories we can confidently classify as misinformation. Similar to clickbait, spam and scams, we penalize this content in News Feed so it’s much less likely to spread.

    […] We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible. We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or to mistakenly restrict accurate content. […]

    I want to outline some of the projects we already have underway:
    – Stronger detection. The most important thing we can do is improve our ability to classify misinformation. This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.
    – Easy reporting. Making it much easier for people to report stories as fake will help us catch more misinformation faster.
    – Third party verification. There are many respected fact checking organizations and, while we have reached out to some, we plan to learn from many more.
    – Warnings. We are exploring labeling stories that have been flagged as false by third parties or our community, and showing warnings when people read or share them.
    – Related articles quality. We are raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed.
    – Disrupting fake news economics. A lot of misinformation is driven by financially motivated spam. We’re looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies like the one we announced earlier this week, and better ad farm detection. […]

  111. says

    Followup to comments 60, 62, 63.

    […] Ronald […] Klain said Trump’s proposal is neither a jobs nor infrastructure plan.

    “Instead, Trump’s plan provides tax breaks to private-sector investors who back profitable construction projects,” he said. […]

    “Because the plan subsidizes investors, not projects; because it funds tax breaks, not bridges; because there’s no requirement that the projects be otherwise unfunded, there is simply no guarantee that the plan will produce any net new hiring,” he added. […]

    Klain maintained that the infrastructure plan would add to the deficit, while helping investors and not workers. […]

    Klain was the Obama administration’s Ebola response coordinator and served as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff.

    The Hill link

  112. says

    Other people are not happy with Trump’s criticism of the Hamilton cast (see comment 140 for previous discussion):

    Model Chrissy Teigen briefly made her Twitter account publicly visible Saturday to air her anger at President-elect Donald Trump for seeking an apology from the cast of “Hamilton.”

    “Look who wants a f–king safe space now,” she tweeted. “The very thing him and his supporters make fun of as liberal political correctness. God, what a POS.” […]

  113. says

    Regarding Trump’s recent appointments, Former Representative John Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, tweeted:

    Forget the basket. The truly deplorable ones end up in the cabinet.

    Regarding Trump’s claim to be representing working people, the leader of United Kingdom’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said:

    The fake anti-elitism of rich white men like Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. It’s farcical at one level, but in reality it’s no joke.

    We can see the choice taken by politicians on the hard Right — to whip up division against migrants, Muslims, Mexicans, women, LGBT people, people with disabilities. […]

    Politicians and political parties have a choice in this age of understandable cynicism. Do we play on people’s fears and anxieties? Or do we take what might be the more difficult approach: to restore hope?

    “Unlike the next occupant in the White House, we will defend and extend our environmental protections and do everything we can to tackle climate change.


  114. says

    “For foreign diplomats, Trump hotel is place to be”:

    About 100 foreign diplomats, from Brazil to Turkey, gathered at the Trump International Hotel this week to sip Trump-branded champagne, dine on sliders and hear a sales pitch about the U.S. president-elect’s newest hotel.

    The event for the diplomatic community, held one week after the election, was in the Lincoln Library, a junior ballroom with 16-foot ceilings and velvet drapes that is also available for rent.

    Some attendees won raffle prizes — among them overnight stays at other Trump properties around the world — allowing them to become better acquainted with the business holdings of the new commander in chief.

    Back when many expected Trump to lose the election, speculation was rife that business would suffer at the hotels, condos and golf courses that bear his name. Now, those venues offer the prospect of something else: a chance to curry favor or access with the next president….

  115. says

    Nancy Pelosi had a few things to say, things that reflect reality (my emphasis):

    […] Bringing Steve Bannon into the White House is an alarming signal that President-elect Trump remains committed to the hateful and divisive vision that defined his campaign. There must be no sugarcoating the reality that a white nationalist has been named chief strategist for the Trump Administration. […]

    Days after naming a white nationalist [Steve Bannon] as his Chief Strategist, the President-elect has chosen an Attorney General with a long record of racially offensive statements, discriminatory goals, and contempt for voting rights. As Attorney General, Jeff Sessions would have dangerous new authority to attack civil rights, LGBT rights, and the rights of immigrants and people of color.

    […] In fact, in recent years, Senator Sessions’ conduct toward Latino and immigrant families has only grown more disconcerting.

    […] Congressman Mike Pompeo, a leading cheerleader of the Benghazi witch hunt, is now being asked to fill one of the most serious and sober national security positions there is. Democrats have grave concerns with these men being selected to offices with such sweeping consequences for the rights and security of the American people.


  116. says

    Josh Marshall commented on Trump’s deceptive infrastructure spending plan:

    […] There won’t be any infrastructure spending. There will be a mix of tax giveaways and corporate welfare to incentivize private sector infrastructure spending. And there is good reason to think that most of those giveaways will simply be pocketed for spending that was already happening. In other words, big giveaways, more budget busting without even getting the benefit of new stuff or spurring demand.

    Start with Ron Klain’s article in The Washington Post and Paul Krugman’s in The New York Times. This is a mix of privatization and tax giveaways which in all likelihood will not even lead to building much of any new stuff.

  117. says

    SC @153, that just disgusts me. Foreign diplomats have adjusted to the kakistocracy quickly. Trump and his kids are running the presidency of the U.S. as if it were a marketing campaign for the Trump Organization.

    Furthermore, the whole “diplomats flocking to Trump hotels” things is being handled so tastelessly by the Trumps. The attendees have to listen to a sales pitch about the hotel!? There are raffle prizes?

  118. says

    This is a followup to comments 153 and 156.

    Joy Reid produced a great segment on the ways in which Trump mixes business with politics, with emphasis on the hotel in D.C. The video is 9:44 minutes long.

    Reid was joined by excellent guests for the discussion: Kurt Eichenwald, E.J. Dionne, Catherine Rampell.

  119. says

    High school teachers need lesson plans when it comes to dealing with Donald Trump’s election. Faker Shah is responding. She is a high school social studies teacher in San Francisco. She belongs to a teachers’ union, and that union is distributing the lesson plan. Shah said:

    I think a lot of people were lost for words, wondering, ‘What do we say? What do we do?

    We’re calling him out. If he’s our president, I have the right to hold him accountable and ask him to take a stance that is anti-hate and anti-racist.

    We can uplift ourselves (and) fight oppression here at school even if we cannot control the rest of the country. […]

    ABC News link

    There are some links to the “lesson plan” that do not seem to work properly. Hopefully, those links will soon be fixed.

  120. says

    More harsh rhetoric from those downstream of Trump’s outflow:

    A federal judge presiding over a naturalization ceremony in San Antonio, Texas told the group present Thursday that if they don’t like President-elect Donald Trump, they can “go to another country,” […]

    Judge John Primomo [said], “I can assure you that whether you voted for him or you did not vote for him, if you are a citizen of the United States, he is your president. He will be your president and if you do not like that, you need to go to another country.”

    He also went on to criticize anti-Trump protestors and those who kneel during the National Anthem as a protest, according to the station.

    “I detest that, because you can protest things that happen in this country; you have every right to,” Judge Primomo said. “You don’t do that by offending national symbols like the national anthem and the flag of the United States.” […]

    The judge later claimed that he did not vote for Trump. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I do know that the judge sounds like a doofus.

  121. raven says

    @Lynna 155

    This is a mix of privatization and tax giveaways which in all likelihood will not even lead to building much of any new stuff.

    I tried to parse what Krugman said in the NYT’s.

    It makes no sense.
    1. Corporations get an 82% tax credit.
    This only works if they pay taxes.
    Most corporations don’t pay much tax!!!
    If they can carry the credit forward, they will never pay any tax again!!!

    2. In practice, they own an asset for 18% equity.
    And keep the revenue stream forever.

    3. This is sort of what governments do. They issue bonds. And pay those bonds off with a revenue stream. That revenue stream can be taxes, tolls for bridges and roads, water bills for water companies, sewer bills for sewage treatment projects, garbage bills for landfills, and so on.

    It’s basically privatising public services. And that works sometimes and fails often.

  122. raven says

    High school teachers need lesson plans when it comes to dealing with Donald Trump’s election. Faker Shah is responding.

    They sure will.

    1. The majority of public school students are now…nonwhite.
    They are all going to be targets for discrimination and hate.

    2. The Trumpists have this idea that they can keep America white. I’d say the main driver was the coming demographic transition where the US goes majority nonwhite in 2043.
    That majority of shool kids will inevitably be a majority of adults.

    It’s unstoppable.
    Unless the Trumpists want to genocide a few tens of millions of people and deport a few tens of millions more.

    For fans of the fact driven life.

    US School Enrollment Hits Majority-Minority Milestone – Education Week

    Aug 19, 2014 – The school’s enrollment shifted to a majority of nonwhite students last … America’s public schools are on the cusp of a new demographic era.

  123. says

    Alt-right doofuses celebrated today in Washington, D.C.

    Just down the street from the Trump Hotel and six blocks from President-elect Donald Trump’s soon-to-be White House, the alt-right movement gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue and declared victory […].

    “Donald Trump’s campaign was the first step towards identity politics in the United States,” cheered Richard Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute, an arm of the alt-right, at an afternoon press conference. […]

    Spencer and several other leaders of the movement said they expected Trump’s successful campaign to usher in a new era of populism, hardline immigration policy and a foreign policy that deemphasizes NATO and rebuilds strong ties with Russia.

    Spencer, who cheered the selection of anti-immigration hardliner Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general in Trump’s administration, said the alt-right plans to routinely issue policy papers on subjects like immigration and foreign policy, […]

    “I think, moving forward, the alt-right can, as an intellectual vanguard, complete Trump,” he continued. […]

    The meeting attendees — an overwhelmingly white and male audience, with many sporting closely cropped faux hawk-like haircuts, […] gathered in the atrium were an engaged group, often booing journalists asking questions. Outside, the scene was more rambunctious […]Tila Tequila, a reality TV personality who was listed by event organizers as a guest, posted a picture of herself on Twitter engaged in a Nazi-style salute. […]

    […] reporters were greeted by a “Make America Great Again” hat perched on the press sign-in table. […]

    Spencer doubled down on his defense of Trump’s comments, recorded by Access Hollywood, on which the president-elect could be heard bragging about sexual assault.

    “Yes, women, deep down, do want to be taken by a strong man,” Spencer said, though added he wasn’t advocating harassment. “I’ve looked at a lot of romance novels women read. I’ve noticed a distinct pattern.”

    Spencer, who was swarmed by reporters when the event finished, wrapped up his introductory remarks with an admonition: “The alt-right is here, the alt-right is not going anywhere, the alt-right is going to change the world. And you all need to pay attention to this.”

  124. says

    Richard Wolffe, writing for The Guardian posits that Michael Flynn will be a disaster as national security advisor:

    […] Flynn is a conspiracy theorist and Islamophobe who hangs around the darker corners of the white nationalist internet. He also lost his last job in the intelligence services, I suspect because he can’t manage his way out of a paper bag. […]

    The president’s national security adviser plays a unique role inside the West Wing. Unlike almost every other corner of the presidency, national security is unquestionably controlled exclusively by the commander-in-chief.

    Short of declaring war and obtaining a defense budget, the president needs nobody else’s say-so to unleash the world’s most powerful military, intelligence services and diplomatic corps.

    […] Flynn has falsely claimed that Shariah law is spreading across the United States and that the nation is in the midst of a world war with radical Islamists. “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,” he tweeted earlier this year.

    Flynn previously ran the Defense Intelligence Agency but lost his job after two years because of clashes with officials. […]

    Flynn appears very comfortable with the current Russian regime, working with Russia Today, the Kremlin’s propaganda TV network. He apparently received classified intelligence briefings while running a lobbying firm for foreign clients. He seems to favor working with Russia to combat Islamist terrorists while turning a blind eye to Russia’s designs on Ukraine and its support for the Assad regime in Syria. […]

    After eight years of recovery from the catastrophe of George W Bush’s national security decisions, we are now staring at the prospect of an even more impetuous set of decision-makers. Trump and Flynn make Bush and Cheney look like tenured professors of military history. […]

    The opportunity for Flynn to cherry pick intelligence is almost limitless. With his public hatred of Islam and his desire to wage a war of religion, the case for military action will be simple inside the Trump West Wing.

    It may be time to concede that one of the biggest winners of this election is the twisted and murderous worldview distilled by Osama bin Laden. […] Trump and Flynn believe we are engaged in a war with Islam, just as al-Qaida and Isis believe they are engaged in a war with Christianity and Judaism.

    […] now the sickness has given us Trump and Flynn to escalate a religious-fueled war that is unwinnable..

  125. says

    Tila Tequila, a reality TV personality who was listed by event organizers as a guest, posted a picture of herself on Twitter engaged in a Nazi-style salute.

    For those not familiar with her Tequila is of Vietnamese descent and was born in Singapore. She apparently doesn’t get that the alt-right crowd would no more want her and her family to have been allowed to immigrate to the US than any other non-white person.

  126. says

    “Donald Trump meets Indian partners, hails PM Modi’s work”:

    US president-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s work when he took time out from planning the transition to his presidency in January to meet with his Indian business partners.

    “He (Donald Trump) was praising Modiji as always and added that he is doing a great job,” Sagar Chordia, director of Panchshil Realty, told ET by phone from New York. Trump, he added, expects to strengthen and expand US’ relationship with India.

    Trump met Atul Chordia, Sagar Chordia and Kalpesh Mehta at Trump Tower, New York on Tuesday noon (US time). The discussion revolved around Indian economy and Modi. Trump’s family, including daughter Ivanka and sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr, was also present. Mehta is managing partner of Tribeca Developers, Trump’s India representative responsible for supporting the brand in the country….

  127. Hj Hornbeck says

    Following up with SC’s story @153, we have:

    In an exclusive exchange with ThinkProgress, Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor who previously served as chief ethics counsel to President George W. Bush, says that Trump’s efforts to do business with these diplomats is at odds with a provision of the Constitution intended to prevent foreign states from effectively buying influence with federal officials.

    The Constitution’s “Emoluments Clause,” provides that “no person holding any office of profit or trust under” the United States “shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

    The diplomats’ efforts in seek Trump’s favor by staying in his hotel “looks like a gift,” Painter told ThinkProgress in an email, and thus is the very kind of favor the Constitution seeks to prevent.

    Looks like we have our grounds for impeachment, two months before Trump takes office.

  128. says

    […] “but the measures preventing other federal employees from profiting from their positions do not apply to the president.”

    “but the measures preventing other federal employees from profiting from their positions do not apply to the president.”


    Wonkette link.

  129. Hj Hornbeck says

    Kurt Eichenwald made a good point on Twitter re: Trump’s India ties. Here’s an older article he wrote, to set the stage.

    Through the Pune deal, the Trump Organization has developed close ties to India’s Nationalist Congress Party—a centrist political organization that stands for democratic secularism and is led by Sharad Pawar, an ally of the Chordia family that owns Panchshil—but that would be of little help in this investigation. Political power in India rests largely with the ruling Hindu nationlist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress, a secular nationalist party that led controlled the central government for nearly 50 years. (However, Trump is very popular with the Hindu Sena, a far-right radical nationalist group that sees his anti-Muslim stance as a sign he would take an aggressive stand against Pakistan. When Trump turned 70 in June, members of that organization threw a birthday party for the man they called “the savior of humanity.”)

    Even as Trump was on the campaign trail, the Trump Organization struck another deal in India that drew the Republican nominee closer to another political group there. In April, the company inked an agreement with Ireo, a private real estate equity business based in the Indian city of Gurgaon. The company, which has more than 500 investors in the fund that will be paying the Trump Organization, is headed by Madhukar Tulsi, a prominent real estate executive in India. In 2010, Tulsi’s home and the offices of Ireo were raided as part of a sweeping corruption inquiry related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi. According to one Indian business executive, government investigators believed that Ireo had close ties with a prominent Indian politician—Sudhanshu Mittal, then a senior member of the BJP—who was suspected in playing a role in rerouting money earned from Commonwealth Games contracts through tax havens into Ireo’s real estate projects.

    This is a problem, because Pakistan and India have been engaged in an especially cold war for the last few decades. Hostilities have been stalemated for some time, but Trump’s ties to India, combined with his anti-Muslim rhetoric, send a clear signal that the US will side with India should things flare back up. This could tip the balance of power and trigger an escalation of tensions. There could already be signs of this happening, in fact.

    Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has publicly called for India to renounce its pledge to never mount a nuclear “first strike.” Speaking last Thursday at a New Delhi book launch, Parrikar argued that the “No First Use” policy India has adhered to since proclaiming itself a nuclear-weapons state in 1998 is tantamount to “giving away strength.” Arguing that “surprise” and “unpredictability” are essential elements of military strategy, Parrikar asked rhetorically, “Why should I bind myself?”

    Oh, and did I forget to mention both India and Pakistan have nukes? That’s right, there’s a chance that Trump’s business holdings could be the first domino in a chain that leads to nuclear war.

  130. Hj Hornbeck says

    While I’m piling on the nightmares, did I mention there’s a climate change angle too?

    Today Pakistan and India are locked in a bitter water conflict. Though diplomatic exertions have prevented a major escalation, both countries are entangled in legal battles as more dams and power projects come up in Kashmir. In Kashmir itself, politicians and civil society groups of all hues have been demanding a review of IWT, which has been labeled “detrimental” to the region’s economy. […]

    The treaty allocates entire rivers and tributaries, instead of water volume, and has remained relatively intact for over 50 years. However, the IWT’s long-term effectiveness is uncertain in light of Pakistan-India tensions over Kashmir. There is doubt whether IWT can address India’s mounting use of the waters for hydroelectricity and Pakistan’s growing need of the same waters for agriculture. […]

    The Indus supports about 90 percent of Pakistan’s agriculture. Scientists say a number of glaciers in the area are rapidly receding due to climate change. The large-scale human intervention in the form of unorganized pilgrimages and mindless tourism too is upping the temperatures, resulting in the fast melting of glaciers.

    “The stream flows emanating from the region has significantly decreased. It is pertinent to mention here that the IWT [Indus Water Treaty] did not have any clause on climate change impacts on stream flows,” Romshoo says.

    If an emboldened India keeps damming up water in Kashimir, selling the resulting electricity back to the locals at an inflated price, and triggers widespread water shortages in Pakistan, the latter could feel they have no choice but to go to war. Since they’re much smaller than India, they’d even the playing field with nukes. India would respond in kind, but thanks to Trump the United States might fire back too.

    Who know what horrors would be unleashed then.

  131. Hj Hornbeck says

    I just stumbled on a good explanation for why Pence deserved to be boo’d by the Hamilton cast.

    AIDS hit Broadway hard; the Reagan administration’s cruel negligence toward the crisis resulted in the deaths of some of Broadway’s brightest lights in the 1980s. Eventually, Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton took action to stop the spread of AIDS and save the lives of HIV-positive people.

    But when Pence ran for Congress in 2000, he ran on a platform of reversing these life-saving advances. As his “Guide to Renewing the American Dream” explained, Pence had serious concerns about the Ryan White CARE Act, a vital federal program that helped provide medication and treatment to low-income and uninsured AIDS patients. “Congress,” Pence wrote, “should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars [are] no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.”

    Pence, in other words, insisted that no federal funds should go to AIDS organizations that accept homosexuality. Instead, he argued: “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” Put simply, Pence wanted to redirect critical HIV funding from AIDS treatment programs to ex-gay conversion therapy—i.e., torture.

    That also puts a fresh light on the Indiana HIV crisis.

  132. Hj Hornbeck says

    Here’s a great open letter, but with an unfortunate name.

    In this new era of anti-science and misinformation, we as women scientists re-affirm our commitment to build a more inclusive society and scientific enterprise. We reject the hateful rhetoric that was given a voice during the U.S. presidential election and which targeted minority groups, women, LGBTQIA, immigrants, and people with disabilities, and attempted to discredit the role of science in our society. Many of us feel personally threatened by this divisive and destructive rhetoric and have turned to each other for understanding, strength, and a path forward. We are members of racial, ethnic, and religious minority groups. We are immigrants. We are people with disabilities. We are LBGTQIA. We are scientists. We are women.

    Despite being called “500 Women Scientists,” there are 4,540 signatories to that letter as I type this.

  133. Hj Hornbeck says

    Another petition:

    We are attorneys whose political views span the ideological spectrum. We write to ask that you call upon President-Elect Trump to rescind his appointment of Stephen Bannon as White House Chief Strategist. […]

    Mr. Bannon has demonstrated his opposition to the stable, democratic form of government that our profession embraces and strives to maintain. His words could not be more clear: “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too . . . I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” This contempt for our longstanding governmental institutions has no place in a crucial leadership position.

    Good news: this has 11,000 signatures so far. Bad news: the submission form is an open Google Form, so an unknown number of those aren’t attorneys.

  134. raven says

    Xpost from Dispatches
    How bad will the Trump Disaster be?
    AFAICT, no matter how bad you think it is, it will be worse.

    Greed and corruption will be open, celebrated, and nothing will happen to anyone. The GOP and the corporations will simply steal and loot anything they can.

    There are reasons for saying the above.

    1. The GOP and Big Business treat the government like a pinata. Hit it with a stick and clouds of free money shower out of it.
    2. Trump’s trillion dollar infrastructure plan is a fraud. They plan to privatise everything.
    The companies won’t pay much for their projects with an 82% tax credit. And own revenue producing assets forever.
    This is simply a government giveaway.
    3. Trump himself is simply using his elected position to further the profits of his companies.
    He may well just run his businesses out of the White house.
    4. And of course, the ever popular oil, gas, and coal leases will be handed out like cookies to GOP donors like the Koch brothers.

    Why not. Power can easily be used to make money. That is what it is for, in their world.

    PS This is what happened under the Reagan administration, which was one financial scandal after another. With the peak being the Savings and Loan bank disaster.

  135. raven says

    The outlines of the Trump administration are becoming clearer.
    1. It will be greed, corruption, and looting on a massive scale.
    2. They will rev up the economy any way they can. No regulations, easy money, deficit spending, negative interest rates, money printing.
    And at some point a large bubble will break, leaving the taxpayers holding the bag.
    3. There may be a big honking war some where.
    War is good for business. Ask Halliburton how that works.

    It will be a series of slow motion train wrecks.
    It’s worth watching. So you can get out of the way.
    We missed most of the Bush train wrecks by panicking before rather than afterwards.

  136. says

    Good news:

    […] The number of first-time unemployment claims fell this week to the lowest amount since 1973. Considering that the population and the labor force are more than 50 percent higher than they were in the 1970s, that’s even more impressive. The number of Americans filing continuing unemployment claims likewise dropped to a 16-year low. […]


    Credit goes to President Obama, not to Trump.

  137. says

    Ogvorbis @178, that was great. Simple and effective. Trump’s philosophy seems to be “bully your way into the front row, and then ignore everyone else.”

    Regarding the many Trump tweets about Hamilton: people focused on that stupidity/pettiness and gave less attention to his $25 million fraud case (and less attention to his leveraging of the presidency to achieve his business goals ).

  138. says

    Reince Priebus confirmed some of Trump’s broad-brush immigration plans:

    […] “There are some people within that particular religion that we do fear,” Priebus said of Islam. “We don’t believe in religious tests and that we are not blanketly judging an entire religion, but, in fact, we will try to pinpoint the problems and temporarily suspend those areas from coming into the United States until a better vetting system is in place.”

    For countries where trouble might be festering, he said: “We’re going to temporarily suspend immigration from that country, or region, until a better vetting system is put in place.”

  139. Hj Hornbeck says

    More arrogance on display:

    Future First Lady Melania Trump and son Barron will not be moving to the White House after Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, The Post has learned.

    The president-elect’s 46-year-old wife and their 10-year-old son are staying put at the family’s glitzy Trump Tower penthouse so that Barron can continue attending his Upper West Side private school, sources told The Post. […]

    Strict security measures around Trump Tower will remain in place, with two of the five lanes on Fifth Avenue between West 56th and 57th streets closed because of barriers, said officials at a joint NYPD, Secret Service and City Hall news conference Friday.

    Following the presidential election, the area around Trump Tower has turned into a traffic nightmare, with West 56th Street closed to traffic between Fifth and Madison avenues, and shoppers having to go through a security cordon and subject to bag checks.

    Barron and Melania will each have an unknown number of Secret Service agents assigned to them in addition to a driver and armored vehicle to take Barron to school, Reese said. An advance team of agents will swoop down on the school each morning to make sure it’s safe, he added.

    And all this will be paid for by your taxes.

  140. says

    Of course the First Lady and whatever minor children there might be don’t spend every waking moment with the President. But Melania and son living full time in New York sounds like an increased security risk. Of course it’s unclear how much time Trump may actually spend living in the White House.

  141. says

    Oh, dear, reality strikes in Clay County, Kentucky. 86% of the voters in that county voted for Trump. However, about 60% of Clay County’s residents have another thing to worry about: they are all covered by Medicaid when it comes to health care.

    Now these good citizens are worried that a Trump administration might take away their medical coverage. You think?

    No doubt those Trump voters also voted to keep Republican anti-Obamacare doofuses in Congress. The Medicaid eligibility they depend on is part of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare in Kentucky. Republican doofuses at the state level in Kentucky are also anti-Obamacare, and Trump’s election may help them to roll back the Medicaid expansion.

  142. says

    Josh Marshall is staying on top of the issue of Medicare. He notes how central phasing out Medicare is to Trump’s Republican supporters like Paul Ryan, and Marshall knows this is a battleground on which Democrats can win.

    […] Donald Trump won the presidency promising to defend the economic interests of ordinary people from the ‘crooked’ elite on Wall Street and in Washington. Whether or not he believes or believed that he has rapidly allied himself with the Paul Ryan privatizers who want to eviscerate the federal programs which are the bedrock of the American middle class. Social Security and Medicare are at the top of that list. If you look at the faces in the crowds at Trump’s most poisonous speeches I guarantee that you that very few of those people thought they were voting to lose their Medicare.

    Getting rid of or gutting Medicare is incredibly unpopular. It can only be accomplished by a mixture of bamboozlement, scare tactics and unified party government which will allow the GOP to push the change through regardless of public opinion. Saving Medicare or giving everything in the effort to do so is a tailor-made way for Democrats to cut across the Trump-Clinton divide and undermine the idea that Trump or the GOP have the interests of the middle class or really anyone but libertarians and the extremely wealthy at heart.

    I’ll summarize my point. Medicare is hugely important for everyone, for the reasons I noted above. But it should become a central focus even if those who don’t see it as the most important issue because it is an issue where Democrats can score a win and in doing so they will empower the opposition to defeat the Trump GOP on other critical fronts. Critically, it is a cross-cutting issue. They will either drive a wedge between Trump and the GOP or undermine for many voters who supported Trump the belief that he cares about the needs of people like them.

  143. Hj Hornbeck says

    Nobody’s posted this yet? Ah well, allow me.

    Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. has confirmed that he visited with President-elect Donald Trump in New York City.

    Falwell tells local media that he and Trump met Thursday at Trump Tower to discuss the U.S. Department of Education and Falwell’s potential role. He wouldn’t confirm or deny whether he was being vetted as secretary of education, but says he will “definitely play a role” in the administration.

  144. Hj Hornbeck says

    An article on Trump’s recent meetings had an interesting detail:

    Somebody close to Trump must understand this isn’t a good look:

    Photos of Trump with Real Estate Partners from India are disappearing from view. No worries. We grabbed them.

    — Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) November 20, 2016

    … Just as those pictures of Indian businessmen meeting with Trump and the three Trump scions were published and then withdrawn, so too was the picture of Ivanka at the meeting with the Japanese premier. If one were a a cynic one might even think they meant for them to be seen around the world, which they were, before the family was forced to take this operation behind closed doors.

    Instead, I think it’s more likely Trump’s team realised the photos were proof of unethical dealings, and did their usual cleanup job.

  145. Hj Hornbeck says

    And all this “transition team” news might be part of a hustle:

    President-elect Donald J. Trump has turned the vital, but normally inscrutable, process of forming a government into a Trump-branded, made-for-television spectacle, parading his finalists for top administration positions this weekend before reporters and the world.

    The two days unfolded like a pageant, with the many would-be officials striding up the circular driveway at Trump National Golf Club here, meeting Mr. Trump below three glass chandeliers at the entrance and shaking hands while facing the cameras. To build suspense, Mr. Trump offered teasing hints about coming announcements.

    This isn’t too surprising, Trump tried hard to use his presidential campaign as free advertising for his business. It looks like these tactics will extend into his presidency, too.

  146. says

    Hillary Clinton’s national popular vote lead is now 1.677 million votes.

    In other news, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines named Joes E.B. Antonio as an envoy to Washington for trade, investment and economic affairs. Mr. Antonio is Trump’s business partner in Manila. Antonio is building a Trump Tower in Manila.

  147. says

    More input from white nationalists, input that confirms that some voters used “white identity” as their main reason to vote for Trump:

    Jared Taylor, the editor of the white nationalist journal American Renaissance, believes African Americans are a threat to American society. “When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears,” he wrote in 2005. He believes the chief goal of immigration policy should be “to keep the country majority-white.” He is a leading figure in the alt-right, the racist online movement that vocally backed the Trump campaign. […]

    “I have never believed that Donald Trump is a secret race realist. I think that he has just normal reactions, healthy reactions,” Taylor said, using one of his preferred terms (“race realist”) for attitudes most of us would just call “racist.”

    […] Trump won because of, not in spite of, his overt appeals to white racial grievances and identity. […]

    During our conversation, something struck me (beyond the difficulty of listening to his hate-filled words): There was a clarity to Taylor’s analysis of the election. […]

    Taylor […] sees racism as a positive good. So he’s willing to say what a lot of white political analysts won’t: that in this election, white voters were actively attracted to Trump as a result of his racism.

    “I think this election is significant because whites, for the first time, have behaved like everybody else,” Taylor said. “They have voted for a man in whom they see a reflection of their interests as a group.” […]

  148. says

    Trump is using his position as president-elect to pressure officials in Argentina to let him complete a building in Buenos Aires.

    […] For a number of years, Trump and his Argentine partners have been trying to build a major office building in Buenos Aires. The project has been held up by a series of complications tied to financing, importation of building materials and various permitting requirements.

    According to a report out of Argentina, when Argentine President Mauricio Macri called President-Elect Trump to congratulate him on his election, Trump asked Macri to deal with the permitting issues that are currently holding up the project.

    This comes from one of Argentina’s most prominent journalists, Jorge Lanata, in a recent TV appearance. Lanata is quoted here in La Nacion, one of Argentina’s most prestigious dailies. Said Lanata: “Macri called him. This still hasn’t emerged but Trump asked for them to authorize a building he’s constructing in Buenos Aires, it wasn’t just a geopolitical chat.” […]

    Separately, Trump’s business partner on the project, Felipe Yaryura, was there on election night at the Trump celebration in New York City.

    Why aren’t we hearing about this in the American press?

    Well, remember, no one knew anything about the visit from Trump’s Indian business partners until it appeared in the Indian press either. It seems like this is likely happening on many fronts. It’s just being hidden from the American press. We only hear about it when it bubbles to the surface in the countries where Trump is pushing his business deals.

  149. says


    The Rojavan Kurds are still central to the campaign to liberate Raqqa. As the article notes, this isn’t their priority – they would prefer to move westward, but Turkey has succeeded so far in blocking that. The situation is unsustainable, but they just boldly opened a university in Qamishlo.

    Meanwhile, in Turkey, the Interior Minister has declared that co-mayorship in Kurdish municipalities is a crime:

    Turkey’s Minister of Interior Affairs on Saturday ruled that co-mayorship of a man and woman practiced at Kurdish municipalities was a crime.

    In a directive sent to governors, Minister Suleyman Soylu said the practice of co-mayorship constituted a crime punishable by up to two years of imprisonment according to the Turkish criminal law.

    Both pro-Kurdish parties of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) impose the requirement of having one man and one woman as the head of all national, local, and municipal posts, with the aim of advancing gender egalitarianism in political life….

    The number of Kurdish co-mayors removed from their posts rose to 54 on Thursday with the arrest and imprisonment of Halis Coskun ve Memnune Soylemez of the Malazgirt district of the Mus Province.

    41 Kurdish mayors have been put in prison according to the HDP whose co-leaders Selahatttin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, and eight other lawmakers were put in prison earlier this month.

    The US election doesn’t bode well for the Kurds in Syria or in Turkey. Flynn, who cheered the coup in Turkey in July, has changed his tune since his firm’s links to the Turkish government (as I described @ #81 above) have grown. And authoritarians will always tend to join with other authoritarians.

  150. says

    The latest outrage:

    In a conference call with reporters on Monday morning, Donald Trump spokesman Jason Miller said that legal counsel are “comfortable” with all the meetings the President-elect has held to date, including those with his business partners….

    Presumably they were also comfortable with Trump’s “university” and “foundation.”

  151. Hj Hornbeck says


    His lawyer’s opinion shouldn’t count for anything. They’re paid to represent him, any advice they give is nonbinding, and they’re not allowed to say anything that would jeopardise their client in the legal arena.

    Meanwhile, it should come as no surprise that the press put on a show for Trump.

    In a sit down on Sunday with Fox News colleague Howard Kurtz, [Megyn] Kelly was asked about a passage in her book which claims that media and political journalists tipped Trump off ahead of time about upcoming tough questions in a interview. She indicated more than one network practiced this. Kelly suggests the journalists were trying to preserve their fair and impartial reputation, but, in reality, the interviews were just “acting,” as she characterized it.

    Trump himself hinted at this, in fact.

    Back in June, Trump appeared in an interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. Trump accidentally revealed in the segment that he received a question before hand.

    “I just had it checked because I heard this was going to be a question,” Trump responded to O’Reilly. “I don’t know, I just have a good source. Somebody said this could be a question.”

  152. says

    This is a followup to comments 163 and 191.

    Good news, of a sort. A restaurant in Washington, D.C. apologized for hosting the National Policy Institute. Note that the white nationalists booked the restaurant sneakily, using another name.

    […] A statement posted on the Facebook page of Maggiano’s Little Italy said that a banquet for NPI was booked “last minute” on Friday under a different name for its location in the Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Friendship Heights.

    The statement continued that Maggiano’s was “not aware” of the group’s real name or what it represented, and that the restaurant would donate its profits from Friday, $10,000, to the Anti-Defamation League.

    On Saturday, at the end of the NPI’s conference at the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown D.C., the New York Times reported that some attendees raised their hands in Nazi salutes and cheered “Heil the people! Heil victory!”

    “This expression of support of Hitler is extremely offensive to us, as our restaurant is home to Teammates and Guests of every race, religion and cultural background,” Maggiano’s statement read.

    A day earlier, midway through a dinner at the Italian-American restaurant, more than 30 protestors swarmed the restaurant and attempted to reach the NPI gathering on the second floor, according to the Washington Post. They were stopped by restaurant staff and eventually continued their protest outside. […]

  153. says

    This is a followup to comment 193.

    Marco denied the business part of the conversation with Trump. He has a vested interest in doing so.

    More background on the Trump connection to Argentina:

    […] Macri’s father Franco had dealings with Trump in the early 1980s when the elder Macri (a construction tycoon) tried to break into the New York real estate business. Indeed, things got so intense between Franco Macri and Trump that when Mauricio (the current President) was kidnapped and thrown into a coffin by unknown kidnappers, Franco Macri at first thought Trump was responsible for the kidnapping.

    Yes, I’m not kidding about this.

    To be clear, the kidnappers were later captured and there is no evidence whatsoever that Trump was involved in anyway. But Franco Macri’s suspicion is a good measure of how heated things became between the two men when Trump essentially booted Franco Macri out of New York.

  154. says

    Trump supporter Curt Shilling has a new radio show which is hosted by Breitbart. On his show, Schilling says some startling things, including stating his approval for the use of torture:

    Major League Baseball pitcher turned conservative talk radio host and potential Massachusetts Republican Senate candidate Curt Schilling recently launched an online radio program through Breitbart [In] Friday’s episode [Schilling railed] against liberals for creating “a country full of gigantic pussies” and speaking in a “wussified” version of “Ebonics.” He also defended the use of torture, saying that he’d support going so far as to “cut off the ballsack of a terrorist.”

    […] Schilling […] declared that he would “throat-punch the next person I hear the word ‘micro-aggressions’ from.”

    He added that “the left has made this entirely new language that is bordering on Ebonics for ‘micro-aggressions’ and ‘safe spaces’ and it’s so, and it is wussified. And here’s the thing. We went away from a world where being a man and taking care and providing for your family or being a woman and being a stay-at-home mom and raising your children has become a negative.” […]

    He [Yiannopolous, the interviewer] added that he believed that Trump’s election would allow America to again become “by far the greatest country in the history of human civilization.” […]

    “I mean, waterboarding,” he [Schilling] said. “Give me a break. I don’t care what you do. And maybe that makes me, maybe that is part of my imperfect Christianity, but if you have to cut off the ballsack of a terrorist to save thousands of American lives, you know what, I hate the fact that you go there but you have to protect and save—and that might be a little strong, cutting off the ballsack….if you have to kick someone in the bollock to get those things.”

    Right Wing Watch link

    In the past, Schilling equated Black Lives Matter with Nazis and the KKK. Steve Bannon’s Breitbart is giving people like Schilling a bigger platform to disseminate views like that.

  155. says

    “Pat McCrory Lost the North Carolina Governorship. Now He’s Trying to Steal It.”:

    North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, champion of the country’s most notorious anti-LGBTQ law, lost his bid for re-election on Nov. 8—at last count, by 7,448 votes. Yet nearly two weeks later, McCrory still refuses to concede. Instead, he and his legal team are baselessly alleging that the results were tainted by fraud, petitioning election boards to review the results and determine their validity. McCrory is not so obtuse as to think he can actually overtake his opponent, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, in raw votes. His strategy is more insidious: He seems intent on delaying the formal declaration of a winner—and delegitimizing the voting process—in order to let the Republican-dominated legislature ignore the true result and re-install McCrory as governor for another four years.

    …North Carolina Republicans no longer care much about the will of the voters. Instead of accepting the results of the election, Republicans are attempting to entrench their power through a series of unethical, underhanded, and constitutionally dubious maneuvers. Their corrupt disregard for basic governing norms—their blatant preference for raw power over democratic legitimacy—should alarm us all. What’s happening in North Carolina is not mere politics. It is a perversion of democracy.

  156. says

    Here is a statement released by Trump’s transition team:

    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT… Civil Rights & Law Enforcement Groups Are Strongly Supporting Sen. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.

    There’s just one tiny little thing wrong with this statement, none of the groups listed are civil rights groups. And some are not even “groups,” but rather individuals.

    Here are some of the people listed as supporting Jeff Sessions:
    – former Attorney General under George W. Bush, Larry Thompson
    – National Review columnist Peter Kirsanow
    – former Attorney General John Ashcroft
    – Leah Durant, founder of the Black American Leadership Alliance

    Leah Durant represents an anti-immigration, nationalist group with a misleading name. She is also a self-described “vaccine lawyer.”

  157. says

    As Lisa Rein wrote in the Washington Post, Donald Trump plans to erode a lot of protections and benefits on which government workers depend.

    […] plans to take on the government bureaucracy they have long railed against, by eroding job protections and grinding down benefits that federal workers have received for a generation.

    Hiring freezes, an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, a ban on union business on the government’s dime and less generous pensions […]

    The project aligns with Bannon’s long-stated warnings about the corrupting influence of government and a capital city rampant with “crony capitalism.” [Bannon is assumed to be the Trump lackey that will spearhead this program.]

    Breitbart headlines also provide a possible insight into his views, with federal employees described as overpaid, too numerous and a “privileged class.”

    “Number of Government Employees Now Surpasses Manufacturing Jobs by 9,977,000,” the website proclaimed in November. There are 2.1 million federal civilian employees. […]

    Chaffetz said he plans to push through wholesale changes to the generous retirement benefits that federal workers receive, by shifting to a market-driven, 401(k)-style plan for new employees. […]

    “We have a Republican president who will help us drive this to the finish line,” Chaffetz said. […]

  158. says

    His lawyer’s opinion shouldn’t count for anything. They’re paid to represent him, any advice they give is nonbinding, and they’re not allowed to say anything that would jeopardise their client in the legal arena.

    Of course. What’s outrageous is that we’ve already reached the point where his spokespeople feel comfortable suggesting that the views of his legal counsel are in any way meaningful or respectable. Ethicists from across the spectrum have called for a halt to these obvious conflicts and corrupt acts, but Trump’s people say it’s all OK, so move along, nothing to see here. If they sought independent counsel as other presidents have done, they’d of course be told that this is all ridiculously corrupt and intolerable, but there isn’t even an attempt to pretend to care what anyone else thinks or democratic transparency and accountability demand.

  159. says

    “President-elect Trump reportedly asked foreign leader to approve permits for high-rise”

    …Though the situation presented by Trump’s appeal for a regulatory exemption may be unique, the Emoluments Clause is written very broadly — prohibiting gifts “of any kind whatever.”…

    Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe agrees. “If this report is accurate,” Tribe told ThinkProgress, “it’s both alarming and disgraceful and clearly implicates the principles at the core of the Emoluments Clause.”

    Though Tribe notes that “some scholars have made serious arguments to the effect that this Clause contains a loophole for the highest official in our Government,” Tribe finds those arguments unpersuasive. “In my view, the language of the Clause literally covers financial benefits foreign powers might bestow on the American President, and the anti-corruption and anti-divided-loyalty purposes of the Clause apply even more clearly to the President than to any less august officer.”…

  160. says

    “Federal court strikes down GOP-drawn maps”:

    Two weeks after a stunning election defeat, Wisconsin Democrats won an equally surprising legal victory Monday as a federal court struck down legislative maps drawn by Republicans in 2011.

    A panel of federal judges ruled 2-1 that the redistricting maps were “intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters throughout the (10-year) period by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats.” Depending on the outcome of a likely appeal, the case could have national implications since it includes a new method of determining whether legislative maps amount to discrimination against voters of a particular party.

    “We find that the discriminatory effect is not explained by the political geography of Wisconsin nor is it justified by a legitimate state interest. Consequently, Act 43 constitutes an unconstitutional political gerrymander,” the decision reads….

  161. says

    SC @207, Kellyanne Conway also said that we should stop focusing on anything troubling and start focusing on the “sacrifices” Trump has made to run for president.

  162. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    SC @207, Kellyanne Conway also said that we should stop focusing on anything troubling and start focusing on the “sacrifices” Trump has made to run for president.

    When those sacrifices include a four-year irrevocable blind trust of all the Trumpfarts assets, I will listen to him. Until the funds are out of his control/influence, fuck off KC.

  163. says

    Protecting President-elect Donald Trump and his family is costing New York City more than $1 million a day, according to three city officials.

    $1 million. A day. Imagine what that could provide for schools, housing, medical services,…

    SC @207, Kellyanne Conway also said that we should stop focusing on anything troubling and start focusing on the “sacrifices” Trump has made to run for president.

    An interesting aspect of this is that it’s probably coming from Trump, complaining about all of the boring stuff he has to do now that aren’t receiving adulation from fans. People expect him to take responsibility for things (even things he doesn’t profit from)! They want substance! He can’t do whatever he wants whenever he wants! There’s even criticism and resistance!

    He’s probably never done a single selfless thing in his entire life, and has no civic spirit or concern for other people’s welfare. Four years must look like an eternity of “sacrifice.”

  164. says

    I don’t know if this story is accurate or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. The media has to stop trying to treat this as a normal relationship in any way. You’re not going to get real access, and any access you do get will be on his terms and to serve his ends, as you should well know by now. He’s emotionally incapable of tolerating serious questioning or criticism, and considers his vindictiveness an essential and admirable aspect of his character. He and his henchmen have harassed and threatened those who’ve said or written critical things. He’s a documented libel bully. He lies constantly, about anything and everything. He’s profoundly ignorant and unable to answer the vast majority of substantive questions. He hasn’t held a press conference since July. He’s already hiding meetings from you and excluding you from them. He wants to manipulate you, abuse you, or manipulate you by abusing you (as he did throughout the campaign). He will never consider your coverage fair or honest unless it’s praising him. He has no respect for free speech or the press (or constitutional guarantees thereof), and would happily use the instruments of the government to punish or silence critical or demanding voices. You have to treat him as a “hostile witness” from the start, forget about “access,” and go full on investigative, hard-hitting journalism. You have to start reporting seriously on his statements and actions that show contempt for free speech, and emphasize the danger this poses. You don’t have to tag along on every step of his “victory tour,” much less accept limiting conditions to be allowed to do so. You have to get on top of what you need to do to defend your institution before it’s too late.

  165. says

    Lynna@201 that nonsense makes me wonder how Schilling treated his non-white teammates. Major League Baseball probably couldn’t exist in its current form without the large number of Latin American players used these days, and we’ve seen an increasing number of Taiwanese, Japanese, and South Korean players as well.

  166. Hj Hornbeck says

    Trump’s workload just went up a bit.

    The FEC determined that Trump’s campaign accepted about 1,100 donations — totaling approximately $1.3 million — that may be in violation of various campaign finance laws, CNN said Monday.

    The commission sent Timothy Jost, the campaign’s treasurer, a letter Sunday seeking clarification of last month’s financial filings.

    The FEC’s message focused on two main concerns: whether Trump’s campaign accepted contributions from organizations not properly registered with the commission and whether donors giving to the Republican’s campaign exceeded legal donation limits.

  167. Hj Hornbeck says

    Oh what the heck, might as well link this in here. From The Atlantic:

    For most of the day, a parade of speakers discussed their ideology in relatively anodyne terms, putting a presentable face on their agenda. But after dinner, when most journalists had already departed, Spencer rose and delivered a speech to his followers dripping with anti-Semitism, and leaving no doubt as to what he actually seeks. He referred to the mainstream media as “Lügenpresse,” a term he said he was borrowing from “the original German”; the Nazis used the word to attack their critics in the press.

    “America was until this past generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Spencer said. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

    The audience offered cheers, applause, and enthusiastic Nazi salutes.

  168. says

    The NYT reports that in his meeting with Nigel Farage after the election, Trump “encouraged Mr. Farage and his entourage to oppose the kind of offshore wind farms that Mr. Trump believes will mar the pristine view from one of his two Scottish golf courses, according to one person present.”* In the responses, someone linked to this 2014 article about Trump’s comparing wind farms to the Pan Am 103 bombing:

    “Wind farms are a disaster for Scotland, like Pan Am 103. They make people sick with the continuous noise. They’re an abomination and are only sustained with government subsidy. Scotland is in the middle of a revolution against wind farms. People don’t want them near their homes, ruining property values.” All 259 passengers and crew on board Pan Am Flight 103 and 11 residents of Lockerbie were killed when the Boeing 747 plunged from the skies over Dumfries and Galloway on 21 December, 1988, when the plane was destroyed by a terrorist bomb.

    For added disgust, recall Eichenwald’s September article about Trump’s global business entanglements:

    …Some of the most disturbing international dealings by the Trump Organization involved Trump’s attempts to woo Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi. The United States had labeled Qaddafi as a sponsor of terrorism for decades; President Ronald Reagan even launched a military attack on him in 1986 after the National Security Agency intercepted communications that showed Qaddafi was behind the bombing of a German discotheque that killed two Americans. He was also linked to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 people, in 1988.

    But for the Trump Organization, Qaddafi was not a murdering terrorist; he was a prospect who might bring the company financing and the opportunity to build a resort on the Mediterranean coast of Libya. According to an Arab financier and a former businessman from the North African country, Trump made entreaties to Qaddafi and other members of his government, beginning in 2008, in which he sought deals that would bring cash to the Trump Organization from a sovereign wealth fund called the Libyan Investment Authority. The following year, Trump offered to lease his estate in Westchester County, New York, to Qaddafi; he took Qaddafi’s money but, after local protests, forbade him from staying at his property. (Trump kept the cash.) “I made a lot of money with Qaddafi,’’ Trump said recently about the Westchester escapade. “He paid me a fortune.”…

    * As an aside, I’ve never understood this. Eye of the beholder and all that, but I think wind farms are quite beautiful.

  169. says

    The media should convey, in their reporting of this story, how terrifying these pronouncements are. It was terrifying when Trump suggested he’d pursue the investigation and incarceration of Clinton (and appoint Supreme Court justices who would “look into it” or whatever), and it’s also terrifying when he now appears to be announcing that he will not do so. He doesn’t understand anything about our system of government – it’s highly unlikely that he could pass a basic civics test – and also believes a strong president is a dictator who can take over independent agencies to serve his corrupt interests. This rhetoric can’t be tolerated.

  170. says

    timgueguen @219, I don’t know if this applies to Curt or not, but I’ve seen a lot of people get worse as they get older when it comes to obsessing night and day over rightwing politics, fighting liberals, etc. It seems like they may have developed a stance as a fighter of sorts when they were younger and then needed to keep their adrenaline up as they aged.

    To me, it smacks of displaced aggression, and it may manifest itself in intellectual or verbal forms as a replacement for whatever they have lost.

    That’s not an excuse, of course, but I do wonder if people like Curt Schilling engaged in another task that demanded most of their attention would they then drop things like rightwing radio shows?

    Also a good question: when, if ever, did Curt Schilling learn how to think, how to discriminate between right and wrong? Did he ever learn about gray areas?

  171. says

    SC @217, when I saw that video I thought that, once again, Trump is a coward. He is afraid to take questions from the press. He is more comfortable as an entertainer in front of a camera.

    As for what he said in that video, it did not match in any way shape or form what he said on the campaign trail. It was full of WTF? moments. I dont think he wrote the script.

    If only he would condemn white supremacists (and the hate crimes that have spiked since his becoming president elect) as vociferously and as often as he did the “lock her up” chants at his rallies. He has a “victory tour” coming up, maybe he will use those rallies to get his audiences to shout “no more racism!” Not holding my breath.

  172. says

    SC @223, I agreed with what Steve Benen had to say about Trump claiming an imaginary authority to more-or-less pardon Hillary Clinton:

    […] First, there is no case against Hillary Clinton and there’s no credible evidence to suggest she should be prosecuted for anything. The Clinton Foundation broke no laws, and though voters were led to believe email-server management was the single most important issue facing the nation in 2016, clumsy I.T. practices are not a federal crime. To assume that Trump is prepared to give Clinton a pass for criminal wrongdoing is bonkers – because there’s no criminal wrongdoing to pursue.

    Second, the notion that Trump believes he has some personal discretion over who is and isn’t prosecuted is ridiculous. Presidents have considerable power, but it’s not up to the person in the Oval Office to dictate who’ll face criminal charges. That’s just not how the American justice system works.

    In other words, Trump is apparently inclined to scale back his campaign promises about Clinton’s incarceration, but to the extent that our legal process still matters, it’s not really up to him. The Justice Department is responsible for evaluating evidence and pursuing federal charges as appropriate. To think that it’s the president’s call is to misunderstand how the process is supposed to function.

    It was a scandal of sorts during the campaign that Trump saw himself as some kind of unhinged strongman, threatening to lock up those who stood in the way of his pursuit of power, in large part because he was claiming a legal authority that did not exist. Today’s news may seem reassuring – Trump won’t keep a ridiculous campaign promise – but look just below the surface and you’ll see that it’s actually a continuation of the scandal because Trump is still acting as if he has a power that remains imaginary.


  173. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, we now have two diplomatic meetings where Trump family members listened in:

    Argentine President Mauricio Macri says he spoke with President-elect Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka during his recent phone call to America’s new leader. “In the call, I also talked with his daughter,” Macri told The Asashi Shimbun in an interview published Monday. “I have known her since her infant days.”

    Questions have swirled about how the president-elect will handle his business empire as he takes office. He’s said his children will run things in a “blind trust,” but because they are also serving on his transition team it’s unclear how that separation would work. Ivanka Trump was also photographed alongside her father during a meeting between the president-elect and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week.

  174. Hj Hornbeck says

    It’s a good thing no-one brought up Trump’s meeting with the New York Times

    While Republican presidential candidates are notorious for not getting along with the media, President-elect Donald Trump has been a special snowflake, even by GOP standards.

    This was particularly evident on Tuesday he took to Twitter to announce a planned meeting with The New York Times was canceled. Here’s what Trump had to say, in a 6 a.m. tweetstorm.

    I cancelled today’s meeting with the failing @nytimes when the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment. Not nice

    … According to a statement by Eileen M. Murphy, the New York Times’ senior vice president for communications, Trump was actually the one who tried to change the rules of the meeting, insisting that an on-the-record segment, on which both sides had previously agreed, be canceled.

    “We were unaware that the meeting was canceled until we saw the president-elect’s tweet this morning,” Murphy said. “We did not change the ground rules at all and made no attempt to. They tried to yesterday — asking for only a private meeting and no on-the-record segment, which we refused to agree to. In the end, we concluded with them that we would go back to the original plan of a small off-the-record session and a larger on-the-record session with reporters and columnists.”

    …. because he’s changed his mind.

    The president-elect has reversed course, saying he will meet with The New York Times, three hours after announcing via Twitter that he would not be taking questions from some of the newspaper’s editors and reporters. … The meeting will be mostly on the record, unlike his meeting with television news executives on Monday.

    I’m surprised Trump was never a gymnast, he can pivot with astonishing speed.

  175. says


    Today’s news may seem reassuring – Trump won’t keep a ridiculous campaign promise – but look just below the surface and you’ll see that it’s actually a continuation of the scandal because Trump is still acting as if he has a power that remains imaginary.

    Yes, and it goes beyond that. It’s all part of painting these agencies – the Justice Department and FBI, the IRS, etc. – as inherently politicized, biased, and corrupt already so as to justify and normalize attempts to make the imaginary real: to co-opt them in pursuit of Trump’s and the Republicans’ agenda. Trump has no scruples and wouldn’t hesitate for a second to try to do this.

  176. says

    “The War on the Poor: Donald Trump’s win opens the door to Paul Ryan’s vision for America”:

    …Ryan has spent the better part of a decade crafting a coherent, sweeping agenda to reform and slash the American safety net. His agenda of slicing and dicing programs targeting America’s poor isn’t the agenda Trump ran on. But it’s one to which he’ll default. He’s already endorsed Ryan’s plans on Medicaid and has attacked food stamps at length. His vice president, Mike Pence, is a longtime friend and congressional ally of Ryan’s who if anything has argued for larger cuts than the ones Ryan wants.

    “I’ve been working on these issues since 1972,” Robert Greenstein, the founder and president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Washington’s leading advocate for poor and low-income Americans, says. “This is by far the gravest threat to the safety net, and to low-income people, that I’ve seen in my close to half a century of working on these issues. I think there’s a potential in the first seven months, by the August recess, for Congress to pass policies that do more to increase poverty and hardship and widen inequality than we’ve seen in half a century.”

    Ryan’s proposals would repudiate the federal government’s 50-year guarantee of medical care and food to America’s poorest residents, a promise generated by Lyndon B. Johnson when he made food stamps permanent in 1964 and created Medicaid in 1965….

    The consequences of this for America’s poor will be absolutely massive. It’s hard to estimate now exactly how many will be pushed into poverty, but the number is surely in the millions. The already poor will make do with fewer resources. The social compact between America and its most vulnerable citizens will be broken….

  177. says

    SC @231. Good points. Trump seems to think that, as president, he can tell everyone what to do: the FBI, the Justice Department, the IRS, the Supreme Court, the mayors of sanctuary cities, and on and on.

    The meetings with leaders in the media (see comments 215 and 230) seem to be orchestrated as Trump’s opportunity to excoriate everyone he thinks did not drop to their knees enough when covering the campaign. I heard other reports that Trump took up most of the time lecturing and deriding the attendees during his first meeting with media personnel. He would, no doubt, like to do the same to the New York Times representatives.

    One reporter called it a “ceremonial butt chewing.”

    Here is how rightwing media saw it:
    “Trump Slams Media Elite, Face to Face,” from the Drudge Report
    “Trump Eats Press,” from Breitbart News.

    More from Trump (of course there’s more):

    Perhaps a new meeting will be set up with the @nytimes. In the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!
    The failing @nytimes just announced that complaints about them are at a 15 year high. I can fully understand that – but why announce?

    We have a thin-skinned fool for an upcoming president.

  178. Hj Hornbeck says

    Re: that off-the-record media meeting, here’s a second opinion:

    In the presence of television executives and anchors, Trump whined about everything from NBC News reporter Katy Tur’s coverage of him to a photograph the news network has used that shows him with a double chin. Why didn’t they use “nicer” pictures?

    For more than twenty minutes, Trump railed about “outrageous” and “dishonest” coverage. When he was asked about the sort of “fake news” that now clogs social media, Trump replied that it was the networks that were guilty of spreading fake news. The “worst,” he said, were CNN (“liars!”) and NBC. […]

    The over-all impression of the meeting from the attendees I spoke with was that Trump showed no signs of having been sobered or changed by his elevation to the country’s highest office. Rather, said one, “He is the same kind of blustering, bluffing blowhard as he was during the campaign.”

    Another participant at the meeting said that Trump’s behavior was “totally inappropriate” and “fucking outrageous.” The television people thought that they were being summoned to ask questions; Trump has not held a press conference since late July. Instead, they were subjected to a stream of insults and complaints—and not everyone absorbed it with pleasure.

    “I have to tell you, I am emotionally fucking pissed,” another participant said. “How can this not influence coverage? I am being totally honest with you. Toward the end of the campaign, it got to a point where I thought that the coverage was all about [Trump’s] flaws and problems. And that’s legit. But, I thought, O.K., let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. After the meeting today, though—and I am being human with you here—I think, Fuck him! I know I am being emotional about it. And I know I will get over it in a couple of days after Thanksgiving. But I really am offended. This was unprecedented. Outrageous!”

    I bring it up because Glenn Greenwald has weighed in, too.

    The pretext these media stars offer for such meetings is unpersuasive in the extreme. “Oh, we need,” they claim, “to negotiate access and how we’re going to work together, and this discussion can be productive only if everyone is confident that it won’t be reported.” But why do media organizations need to have cooperative access agreements with politicians? Just report on and investigate what he says and does. Don’t agree to ground rules that limit or subvert your ability to report aggressively. Don’t turn yourselves into vassals in order to be granted access to the royal court. [….]

    And, as was completely predictable, some of the TV stars immediately breached the off-the-record commitment they made — not by bravely reporting what occurred but by slinking around in the dark to anonymously whisper and gossip about what Trump said to them. Which is worse: agreeing to an off-the-record meeting with Trump, or then unethically violating the agreement by disclosing exactly what you promised in advance you would not disclose? (This is not the first time journalists have dubiously promised Trump off-the-record privileges and then violated their own commitments.)

    I honestly wonder what Greenwald is smoking; when someone with this much power acts problematically during an off-the-record meeting, I think you’ve got a duty to whistleblow. According to one anonymous source, Trump had called the meeting and presumably had asked for it to be off-the-record; had some of the media refused those terms, Trump would have met with those who did agree, and had they all rejected the terms Trump presumably would have canceled it as he (briefly) did to the New York Times. Greenwald’s insistence on refusing off-the-record meetings is absurd on the face of it.

  179. says

    “Donald Trump Personally Blasts the Press”:

    The fantasy of the normalization of Donald Trump—the idea that a demagogic candidate would somehow be transformed into a statesman of poise and deliberation after his Election Day victory—should now be a distant memory, an illusion shattered.

    First came the obsessive Twitter rants directed at “Hamilton” and “Saturday Night Live.” Then came Monday’s astonishing aria of invective and resentment aimed at the media, delivered in a conference room on the twenty-fifth floor of Trump Tower. In the presence of television executives and anchors, Trump whined about everything from NBC News reporter Katy Tur’s coverage of him to a photograph the news network has used that shows him with a double chin. Why didn’t they use “nicer” pictures?

    For more than twenty minutes, Trump railed about “outrageous” and “dishonest” coverage. When he was asked about the sort of “fake news” that now clogs social media, Trump replied that it was the networks that were guilty of spreading fake news. The “worst,” he said, were CNN (“liars!”) and NBC….

  180. says

    From Josh Marshall, another take on Trump’s meeting with major network media executives:

    […] Trump wasn’t a on rage bender. He didn’t yell. His face wasn’t red. It was more razzing and taunting than an angry tirade. This wasn’t a different Trump, rising to or chastened by the realities of the presidential office. It was exactly the same Trump we’ve seen for the last 18 months and perhaps the last 40 years: I won. You lost. Now I call the shots. You’re all liars and dishonest and it’s terrible. So you need to fall in line.

    The key thing that came out to me from multiple conversations is one basic message from Trump. To Trump, the fact that most of the news media missed his surprise win (thinking until early election night that Clinton was a strong favorite to win) means that all their pre-election coverage is therefore discredited. It was bad and it was wrong. To be clear, not the horse race or polling coverage which certainly took a real hit – but all the non-horse race reporting. And because all their coverage is discredited – Katy Tur’s, CNN’s, everybody’s – that the news media owes him an apology moving forward.

    Yeah, that sounds like an example of the way Trump thinks … or fails to think clearly.

    What I also picked up was that through all the insults, demands for apologies and calling out individuals, Trump was still in his accustomed mode of looking for praise, approbation, friends.

    That also sounds so, so Trumpish.

    At a basic level, Trump clearly doesn’t understand what the news business does or what the first amendment is. This is obvious from what we’ve seen on the campaign trail, Trump’s insistence in at least threatening frivolous legal action against every story he doesn’t like.

    Whether Trump acts on his belief that the press needs to apologize to him isn’t clear. But that’s where he is.

  181. says

    This is a followup to SC’s comment 203

    More bullshit from right-wingers in North Carolina:

    A conservative group in North Carolina filed a lawsuit Monday against the North Carolina state Board of Elections seeking to delay its certification of the 2016 elections until it has gone through the lengthy process of verifying the addresses of voters who registered to vote on the same day they voted. […]

    Voters in North Carolina were allowed to register and vote on the same day during the early voting period up until Nov. 5. County election officials must verify the address of same-day registrants by sending a notice to the address listed on the registration form, according to the complaint. […] County election officials must wait at least 15 days after sending a notice to determine that the post office will not return the notice and all in all, the process can take up to 30 days, according to the complaint. […]

    In the complaint, the Civitas Center claims that there is “a higher rate of SDR applicants failing the mail verification process as compared to the ordinary registration process.” […]

    The North Carolina state legislature in 2013 passed a voter ID law that eliminated same-day voter registration. But a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down the law in July, forcing the state to reinstate same-day registration.


  182. says

    Think Progress will no longer describe racists as “alt-right.”

    […] The weekend before Thanksgiving, [Richard] Spencer keynoted an NPI conference in Washington, D.C. Over the course of his speech, he approvingly quoted Nazi propaganda, said that the United States is meant to be a “white country,” and suggested that many political commentators are “soulless golem” controlled by Jewish media interests.

    That, in a nutshell, is the face of the so-called alt-right. As Spencer himself has said, the core of alt-right ideology is the preservation of “white identity.”

    So you might wonder what, if anything, distinguishes the alt-right from more hidebound racist movements such as the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. The answer is very little, except for a bit of savvy branding and a fondness for ironic Twitter memes. Spencer and his ilk are essentially standard-issue white supremacists who discovered a clever way to make themselves appear more innocuous — even a little hip.

    The ploy worked. News outlets such as CNN and the New York Times, always a little shy when it comes to identifying racism by its true name, have taken to using “alt-right” in headlines instead. The term is flexible enough that Steve Bannon, a top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, can boast that he turned Breitbart News into “a platform for the alt-right” while simultaneously denying any association with white nationalist movements. […]

    A reporter’s job is to describe the world as it is, with clarity and accuracy. Use of the term “alt-right,” by concealing overt racism, makes that job harder.

    With that in mind, ThinkProgress will no longer treat “alt-right” as an accurate descriptor of either a movement or its members. We will only use the name when quoting others. When appending our own description to men like Spencer and groups like NPI, we will use terms we consider more accurate, such as “white nationalist” or “white supremacist.” […]

    We won’t do racists’ public relations work for them. Nor should other news outlets.

  183. says

    Greenwald’s insistence on refusing off-the-record meetings is absurd on the face of it.

    I actually agree with Greenwald on this. I think they should do what I suggested @ #215. Trying to meet with him privately in the hopes that he’ll deal in good faith is foolish (as what happened at the meeting showed) and smacks of acquiescence. He’s going to trash them, their profession, and the First Amendment regardless of how much ground they cede or what agreements they make, and he’ll go back on his word without a moment’s hesitation. He’s a threat to the free press. They should forget about trying to have a decent working relationship with this sociopath and just do their damn job.

  184. says

    Some Trump supporters are not happy to hear that Trump has, apparently, decided not to send Hillary Clinton to jail (he couldn’t anyway, but that’s beside the point).

    […] Breitbart News, the alt-right news organization formerly run by Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, headlined the lead story on its home page “BROKEN PROMISE.”

    And Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog agency that sued to get more of Clinton’s State Department emails released, urged Trump on Tuesday to “commit his administration” to investigating Clinton, while promising to continue its own litigation and investigations to help uncover possible scandals.

    For Trump to refuse to do so “would be a betrayal of his promise to the American people to ‘drain the swamp’ of out-of-control corruption in Washington, DC,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton warned in a statement. “President-elect Trump should focus on healing the broken justice system, affirm the rule of law and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Clinton scandals.” […]


  185. raven says

    The consequences of this for America’s poor will be absolutely massive.

    If they do this, people will die.
    It’s that simple.

    Without food, shelter, and medical care that is what happens.
    We are already seeing falling lifespans among some segments of the population. And minorities already have shorter lifespans.

    The crime rate and prison bill will also go up.
    That is what happens when you have an underclass of desperate people.

    A foolproof strategy to produce a dystopia.

  186. says

    Seth Meyers took a closer look at Trump’s fight with the cast of “Hamilton.”

    Scroll down for video. It is 11:24 minutes long. Meyers also covered the conflict between Trump’s business empire and his transition to president.

  187. says

    raven @243, and after Republicans create a dystopia, they will blame government/liberals/Obama … and then they’ll proceed to create an even more dystopian world within the USA.

    From Dan Diamond, a summary of Trump’s tweets since becoming president elect:
    – Blasting media: 12
    – Blasting ‘Hamilton’: 4
    – Blasting people committing hate crimes in his name: 0

    In other news, Mike Pence, as governor of Indiana, which he still is, just appointed a judge who has never practiced law before.

    […] Amy Jorgensen, 46, does have a law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law, but has previously stated that she has never actually used it. Rather, she has run a bunch of Sylvan Learning Center franchises. For real, like, that was not a weird joke or anything. OH, and by sheer coincidence, we are sure, she also happens to be the chair of the St. John Republican Party. […]

  188. says

    This is a followup to Hj Hornbeck’s comment 228.

    For how long are Trump’s supporters going to hang onto the delusion that he won in a “landslide”?

    Kellyanne Conway […] was so impressed with her boss’ margin of victory, she recently declared, “This election was not close. It was not a squeaker.” A day later, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus […] declared Trump’s victory a “landslide.”

    Last week, Corey Lewandowski […] claimed with a straight face that the Republican president-elect “won the election campaign by the largest majority since Ronald Reagan in 1984” — which isn’t even close to being true.

    […] Trump won 306 electoral votes, which is roughly 57% of the total. That’s more than enough to win, but it’s not especially close to the electoral totals earned by Barack Obama (in 2008 and 2012), Bill Clinton (in 1992 and 1996), or George H. W. Bush (in 1988).

    […] Hillary Clinton’s popular vote lead surged above 1.72 million on Sunday night, with millions of votes still to count. At 1.3 percentage points, she has built a lead not seen in a losing campaign since Rutherford B. Hayes’s bitterly disputed election of 1876.

    […] As a matter of percentages, Clinton’s current popular-vote advantage is greater than that of seven candidates who won the presidency, including Kennedy and Nixon. […]

    Clinton may end up with a popular-vote margin of roughly 2.5 million votes, pushing Trump well below the share of the popular vote than Mitt Romney received.

    Remember, we’re not just talking about raw vote totals, which can be misleading: as the country grows, more people vote. The fact that Clinton received more votes than any American in history whose name isn’t Barack Obama is a nice piece of trivia, but little more.

    The more salient point is that Clinton is the most successful popular-vote candidate in percentage terms of any candidate who didn’t win. […] the fact that a couple million more Americans chose Clinton to be their president is highly relevant to Trump’s legitimacy.

    […] Let’s not pretend, however, that Trump is riding a wave of popular support into the White House – because he isn’t. Let’s also not pretend that if Trump lost the election but won the popular vote by 2.5 million that the political world would spend little time discussing anything else during the transition process.

    And finally, let’s not pretend that Democrats should head into 2017 with their heads down and their tail between their legs, reeling after a public rejection. They lost, but they also won more votes, and have every reason to act accordingly.


  189. Chris J says


    Welp, we know Trump’s MO. He uses other people’s money to donate to charities belonging to people he hopes to influence or placate, bribing in all but technicality while gaining a tax write-off for himself. A big donation to a charity headed by a guy involved in the Clinton e-mail investigation? Pretty easy line to draw there.

  190. says

    So the on-the-record NYT meeting went ahead. Here are the tweets (long story short: unsurprisingly, he’s still an ignorant, corrupt, narcissistic clown).

    The most relevant, in my opinion:

    Trump on his businesses/conflict q’s: “The law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.

    Trump says “in theory” he could continue signing checks at his company, but he is “phasing that out now” and giving to his kids.

    “In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There’s never been a case like this,”he says of his tangles

    “I’d assumed that you’d have to set up some type of trust or whatever and you don’t,” Trump says.But he adds “I would like to do something.”

    If the country didn’t want to be looted and have its foreign policy dictated by a kleptocratic president, it shouldn’t have made it possible! He will never stop on his own.

  191. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Drumph tweeted:

    “I’d assumed that you’d have to set up some type of trust or whatever and you don’t,” Trump says.But he adds “I would like to do something.”

    As if many haven’t been telling him to put his assets in a Blind Trust, which he claims he did by puttng his kids as trustees. Brushing away the definition of “blind trust” being that family members can’t manage a Blind Trust.
    So as expected he demands to be told to do exactly what he has tried to slip out of by playing semantics games..

  192. Hj Hornbeck says

    Remember that never-ending anti-choice witch hunt that the House has been funding? It just got a big budget boost.

    To recap: The Administration Committee last Wednesday approved a resolution for the new $800,000 during a markup that lasted less than ten minutes. A senior House Democratic aide expects the resolution to advance directly to the House floor for consideration the week after Thanksgiving.

    Before last Wednesday, Democrats said they were largely in the dark about the source of any additional funds. The select panel previously drew its $790,000 from the $1 million the Administration Committee sets aside each Congress to supplement House operating budgets. In doing so, the panel tapped nearly 80 percent of the House’s available supplemental funding—including 98 percent of the funds that were available for 2016. […]

    After the House, in all likelihood, passes the resolution in a party-line vote, the $800,000 will come from previously appropriated funds, three sources told Rewire. Sean Moran, staff director for the Administration Committee’s Republicans, indicated in an interview following the markup that the funds would come from existing accounts. A committee spokesperson confirmed this via email.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the witch hunt will continue.

    The funds are expected to backfill panel expenses. But [Rep. Marsha] Blackburn, a member of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, continues to forge ahead even though the investigation is supposedly nearing an end. She recently demanded information from an abortion provider who, in turn, protested that congressional GOP harassment endangers the lives of women, their families, and health-care workers.

  193. Hj Hornbeck says

    It’ll also be interesting to see how the media reacts to his “denunciation” of white supremacists, since as usual it comes wrapped with a lie.

    Faced with a spike in hate crimes timed with Trump’s campaign and election, the goal of his team has been to avoid talking about the violence and racism, even as modern-day Nazis went to Washington and perform Hitler salutes in the name of the president-elect. And the Trump campaign was quick to point out that, yes, it had denounced racism plenty of times! […]

    Even Kushner’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, told Forbes something similar in a story published Tuesday: “Trump has disavowed their support 25 times. He’s renounced hatred, he’s renounced bigotry, and he’s renounced racism. I don’t know if he could ever denounce them enough for some people.” […]

    We followed up, asking Lanza when, specifically, Trump denounced racism. We haven’t heard a reply.

    Before Tuesday the closest that Trump came to addressing racist acts that have been carried out in his name appears to have been on Nov. 13 when he spoke to “60 Minutes.” Then Trump said he had not been aware of but one or two things about threats and told those who were intimidating minorities to “Stop it!” […]

    That’s pretty much it for Trump’s denouncing racism, before Tuesday’s halfhearted remark.

  194. says

    “Activists Urge Clinton Campaign to Challenge Election Results in 3 Swing States”:

    Hillary Clinton is being urged by a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Donald Trump, New York has learned. The group, which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked. The group is so far not speaking on the record about their findings and is focused on lobbying the Clinton team in private….

  195. raven says

    raven #243
    The consequences of this (abolishing the social safety net) for America’s poor will be absolutely massive.

    If they do this, people will die.
    It’s that simple.

    A whole lot of people will die.
    It’s already happening.
    1. Several groups are dying younger. Older rural wite females and middle aged low education white males.
    2. This isn’t supposed to happen. It hasn’t happened in a century.
    3. Reasons aren’t clear but it is thought to be due to lack of access to medical care and drug and alcohol abuse.

    4. Falling lifespans are a sign of a society in stress. It dropped markedly when the USSR broke up, for one example. Cthulhu knows how far it dropped in Syrian and Iraq.
    So is electing someone like…Donald Trump.

    If they carry through on their plans, you will see American average lifespans steadily decreasing. And you will know some of those dying younger. It might even be…you.

  196. raven says

    The Trump administration is coming into focus.
    He is hiring the worst of what our society has produced.
    And he, the GOP, and Big Business will loot America and the US government. A kleptocacracy.

    1. Bush set us back a generation. We still haven’t really recovered from the Great Recession. And he wasn’t even trying to wreck the USA.

    2. Trump will set us back at least another generation. Because he is trying.

    3. It won’t matter too much to me. I won’t live longer than another generation.

    But what is so magic about 20 years? Nothing.
    We are on trend to never really recover.
    The USA will just be another mediocre nation with a lot of nukes and a lot of social problems.
    I’ll resist any way I can but am not going to wait up late for anything like the late 20th century.

  197. Hj Hornbeck says

    All the talk of doing a recount just got serious.

    In an op-ed in USA Today, Stark and MIT cryptographer Ron Rivest, both advisors on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, argue that there are good reasons to conduct a “risk-limiting” audit of the presidential election.

    Among them is the conclusion of the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency that Russian hackers attacked the Democratic National Committee and U.S. voter registration databases.

    Rivest is more than just a cryptographer (you’re probably using his work each time that lock icon appears in your web browser), he’s also devoted significant time to studying voting systems. His proposal would validate the results with minimal work, and would be a good way to rule out Russian interference in critical swing states.

  198. bassmike says

    As pointed out on @232 Trump is trying to get the UK government to make Farage the Ambassador to the US. Surely this is, at the very least, a huge diplomatic Faux Pas and at the worst a breach of international neutrality. As far as I can tell no previous president has ever made such a request.

    We need to continually reiterate: THIS IS NOT NORMAL!

    It is a school bully put in charge of governing the school.

    My forlorn hope is that the press start to do their job and report honestly. All we’re going to get from the Trump camp is lies and more lies.

  199. says

    The man who murdered Jo Cox has been sentenced to life in prison:

    The 53-year-old shot and stabbed to death the mother-of-two in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on 16 June, a week before the EU referendum vote.

    [The man] shouted “Britain First” in the attack, but the judge said the true “patriot” was Mrs Cox, not [him].

    Prosecutors said [he] was motivated by hate and his crimes were “nothing less than acts of terrorism”.

    [His] inspiration was not love of country but admiration for Nazism, the judge said, which was a betrayal of our parents’ generation’s huge sacrifices during World War II….

  200. says

    Another elitist Democratic plan to hurt working people has been foiled:

    In a blow to the Obama administration’s labor-law plans, a federal court has blocked the start of a rule that would have made an estimated 4 million more American workers eligible for overtime pay heading into the holiday season.

    As a result of Tuesday’s ruling, overtime changes set to take effect Dec. 1 are now unlikely be in play before vast power shifts to a Donald Trump administration, which has spoken out against Obama-backed government regulation and generally aligns with the business groups that stridently opposed the overtime rule….

  201. says

    Steve Benen provided some details when it comes to Trump’s latest dancing around the issue of torture. Trump said:

    So, I met with [retired General James Mattis], who is a very respected guy…. I met with him at length and I asked him that question. I said,”‘What do you think of waterboarding?” He said – I was surprised – he said, “I’ve never found it to be useful.” He said, “I’ve always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture.”

    And I was very impressed by that answer. I was surprised, because he’s known as being like the toughest guy. And when he said that, I’m not saying it changed my [mind]. Look, we have people that are chopping off heads and drowning people in steel cages and we’re not allowed to waterboard. But I’ll tell you what, I was impressed by that answer. It certainly does not – it’s not going to make the kind of a difference that maybe a lot of people think. If it’s so important to the American people, I would go for it. I would be guided by that. But General Mattis found it to be very less important, much less important than I thought he would say. I thought he would say – you know he’s known as Mad Dog Mattis, right? Mad Dog for a reason. I thought he’d say “It’s phenomenal, don’t lose it.” He actually said, “No, give me some cigarettes and some drinks, and we’ll do better.”

    Benen added analysis, including this reminder:

    Trump argued during the GOP primaries that he wanted to torture suspected terrorists even “if it doesn’t work” in producing valuable intelligence, because “they deserve it anyway.”

    Trump said, torture is “not going to make the kind of a difference that maybe a lot of people think.” WTF? A lot of people don’t think that. Experts don’t think that. You, Trump, think that because you are an ill-informed doofus who never reads a credible source.

  202. says

    Adding Tommy Hilfiger to my boycott list.

    (Which will have little practical effect, since I only ever bought TH things at Marshalls, which I’m already boycotting for selling Ivanka Trump merchandise. What with being a vegan, BDS, GrabYourWallet, and now avoiding collaborationist designers, I’ll be spending very little :).

    By the way, someone gave me a lottery ticket yesterday and I won $100 – as soon as I cash it in, I’m donating some to help veterans protect the protectors at Standing Rock.)

  203. says

    Elizabeth Warren and Elijah Cummings are calling on the GAO to investigate the Trump transition:

    Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is calling for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate what she says are conflicts of interest in the presidential transition process. Warren, along with fellow Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings, sent a letter Wednesday to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro asking for the examination of President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition….

    The whole letter, for which a link is provided at the end of the article, is worth reading.)

  204. says

    “Turkish dictator fires 15,000 more public workers, shuts down 375 more NGOs and 9 more news outlets”:

    Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues his massive, authoritarian purge of his country’s public institutions, news media and civil society groups with a fresh wave of public-sector firings, bringing the total number of jettisoned public servants to 100,000.

    Erdogan also shut down more civil society groups and independent news agencies (129 in total)….

  205. says

    “Trump adviser received salary from charity while steering Breitbart News”:

    Donald Trump’s chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon accepted $376,000 in pay over four years for working 30 hours a week at a tiny tax-exempt charity in Tallahassee while also serving as the hands-on executive chairman of Breitbart News Network.

    During the same four-year period, the charity paid about $1.3 million in salaries to two other journalists who said they put in 40 hours a week there while also working for the politically conservative news outlet, according to publicly available documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

    The salary payments are one part of a close relationship between the nonprofit Government Accountability Institute, a conservative investigative research organization, and for-profit Breitbart News.

    The ties between the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) and Breitbart call into question the assertions the institute made in filings to the IRS that it is an independent, nonpartisan operation, according to philanthropic specialists and former IRS officials.

    …[F]rom its inception, the institute has been closely tied through personnel and donations to a network of nonprofit organizations that have pushed a conservative agenda, in part through highly critical reports about Clinton and the Obama administration, according to IRS filings from multiple organizations. The institute received nearly $4 million in donations between 2012 and 2014 from two conservative charities — Donors Trust and the Mercer Family Foundation.

    Under federal code, tax-exempt groups known as 501(c)3 public charities must “not participate in, or intervene in [including the publishing or distributing of statements], any political campaign on behalf of [or in opposition to] any candidate for public office.”

    The institute is small…

    But it paid its leaders well….

  206. Hj Hornbeck says

    Drain the swamp.”

    the Heritage Foundation has emerged as one of the most influential forces shaping President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, embedding the veteran Washington group into the operation of a candidate who ran loudly against the Beltway. […]

    Heritage is “absolutely the fulcrum, and essential to staffing the administration with people who reflect Trump’s commitments across the board,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of Susan B. Anthony List, a prominent group that opposes abortion rights. “I can say it’s been a source of great confidence during the election to know that principled people were planning for a Trump administration.”

    Three sources from different conservative groups said that Heritage employees have been soliciting, stockpiling and vetting résumés for months with an eye on stacking Trump’s administration with conservative appointees across the government. One source described the efforts as a “shadow transition team” and “an effort to have the right kind of people in there.”

  207. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Seems Drumph is identifying all the chinks (flaws) in the system. That previous “men of honor” kindly disregared and avoided exploiting. Drumph thinks it best to “test a system to failure” to eliminate all its flaws (after he exploits them first).
    Like the emollient clause, apparently failed to include the POTUS distinctly. By claiming that “federal officers”, are the people who report to the POTUS, not the POTUS specifically.
    Also, this bit about using WH only part-time for his residence, letting charge rent from the Secret Service who will have to station some guards in the NYtower. He can pocket $1M per year from rent, making it easy to forego the pocket change salary of a POTUS. I call that a flaw in the system, don’t you????
    the list goes on…
    flaws in the system.
    useful idiot,

  208. says

    Merry effing christmas. For $149.00 you can buy a christmas ornament that looks like a Trump “Make America Great Again” hat. The ornament is is described as being made of brass and finished in 14 karat gold.

    If you buy the ornament, most of the proceeds go to the “Trump campaign.”

    Link, with photo of said ugly ornament.

    Not going on my list.

  209. says

    Trump plans to gut NASA’s climate research division. He believes the rightwing conspiracy theories that say the research done by NASA is “heavily politicized” according to Trump advisor, Bob Walker.

    […] The news that the funding would be hitting the chopping block prompted dire concern from other scientific researchers, who say NASA’s earth science research brings important innovations to the larger climatologist community […] Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, called the move to gut the funding “a major setback if not devastating.”

    Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, said that without NASA’s involvement in the field, “not only the US but the entire world would be taking a hard hit when it comes to understanding the behavior of our climate and the threats posed by human-caused climate change.”

    “It would be a blatantly political move, and would indicate the president-elect’s willingness to pander to the very same lobbyists and corporate interest groups he derided throughout the campaign,” […]


    Several pundits have excitedly reported that, in his interview with the NYT, Trump acknowledged that human activities play some role in global warming. To hell with what Trump says. Cutting funding for climate research is what he will do.

  210. says

    Alex Jones is spreading a new conspiracy theory. He says that Kanye West was forcibly hospitalized because he made comments supportive of Donald Trump.

    Alex Jones insisted yesterday that Kanye West, who was reportedly hospitalized for exhaustion on Monday, was forcibly committed due to his remarks that had he voted in the presidential election, he would have backed Donald Trump.

    [Jones] said West was “arrested for being Trump while black,” suggesting that the musician’s hospitalization was part of a larger conspiracy, possibly led by the Illuminati, to imprison and institutionalize Trump voters.

    “They’re going to drug his ass up until he does what he’s told,” Jones said, warning that they might “kill his ass.”

    Jones then blamed the whole thing on West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, urging him to leave her “big ass ugly butt, looks like a buffalo butt, a giant ass elephant butt” and bashing Caitlyn Jenner as “that weird tranny daddy, I’m not against trannies, but that’s an ugly ass tranny.”

    Jones then took out his semi-automatic rifle—“that’s what we’re all about, bitch, we’re not slaves, get out the way”—to show that he is prepared if anyone tries to institutionalize him for backing Trump.

    “We’re laughing, he’s in jail, grabbed and put on a gurney because he said he supported Trump,” he said of West. “Nobody’s safe folks. These tyrants are coming and they’re going to stage a false flag. They are so pissed Trump is ready to cut taxes.” […]


    Alex Jones is the guy Trump previously praised as having an “amazing” reputation. I guess that’s one way to put it. Trump also appeared more than once on Jones’ show.

  211. says

    Alex Jones has a new conspiracy theory to flog. He thinks Kanye West was forcibly hospitalized for making pro-Trump remarks.

    Alex Jones insisted yesterday that Kanye West, who was reportedly hospitalized for exhaustion on Monday, was forcibly committed due to his remarks that had he voted in the presidential election, he would have backed Donald Trump.

    [Jones] said West was “arrested for being Trump while black,” suggesting that the musician’s hospitalization was part of a larger conspiracy, possibly led by the Illuminati, to imprison and institutionalize Trump voters.

    “They’re going to drug his ass up until he does what he’s told,” Jones said, warning that they might “kill his ass.”

    Jones then blamed the whole thing on West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, urging him to leave her “big ass ugly butt, looks like a buffalo butt, a giant ass elephant butt” and bashing Caitlyn Jenner […]

    Jones then took out his semi-automatic rifle—“that’s what we’re all about, [B-Word], we’re not slaves, get out the way”—to show that he is prepared if anyone tries to institutionalize him for backing Trump.

    “We’re laughing, he’s in jail, grabbed and put on a gurney because he said he supported Trump,” he said of West. “Nobody’s safe folks. These tyrants are coming and they’re going to stage a false flag. They are so pissed Trump is ready to cut taxes.” […]

    Trump, who has praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation and has appeared multiple times on his program, reportedly called Jones after the election to thank him for his support and pledge to return to his show.

  212. says

    Fox News is spreading fake news … again.

    The story about university professors offering students extra credit for attending anti-Trump rallies has been debunked, but that debunking doesn’t even slow Fox News down.

    […] In a run-down of the day’s headlines, Nauert [Fox reporter Heather Nauert] repeated a distorted claim that “extra credit is being offered to students” at the University of Pittsburgh for attending “an anti-president-elect protest.”

    Nauert was referencing a forwarded email from a university faculty member which incorrectly encouraged professors to offer extra credit for students attending a National Day of Action protest (which is not explicitly an anti-Trump event, but rather appears to be focused on economic and racial justice, climate change, and other progressive causes).

    Nauert failed to mention that the University of Pittsburgh has since clarified that the email was written by a student and forwarded with incorrect information, and that “the school does not allow this practice.”


  213. says

    Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote has now topped two million.

    Clinton has garnered 64,223,958 votes, compared to Trump’s 62,206,395 votes.

    2,017,563 million difference.

  214. says

    This appointment by Trump does not auger well for out public school system:

    President-elect Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he plans to nominate school-choice activist, philanthropist and Republican mega-donor Betsy DeVos to lead the Education Department.

    DeVos, 58, chairs the American Federation for Children, an advocacy group that has aggressively pushed to expand charter schools and school voucher programs that provide families with public money to spend on private school tuition. […]


  215. Hj Hornbeck says

    Damn, Russia isn’t wasting any time. Via Kurt Eichenwald:

    Things going ugly very fast. Putin’s deploying missiles in Kaliningrad “in response 2 NATO aggression.” Moscow can strike Germany from there

  216. Hj Hornbeck says

    Huh, looks like Eichenwald is behind the curve. I also spotted this scary bit:

    Russia has long expressed displeasure with the idea of a US missile defence system in Europe, and on Monday, Putin even raised the possibility that it could carry out preventive strikes against such infrastructure.

    “When a country becomes a Nato member, it’s very difficult for it to resist pressure from such a big country leading Nato, the US. And then you can get whatever they want there: missile defence systems, or new bases, and, if required, new missile systems.

    “What should we do? Well in this case we should take counter measures, to use our missile systems to hit those targets that have started to threaten us. The situation is worrying,” said Putin, during an interview in a documentary film about Ukraine directed by Oliver Stone and broadcast on Russian television on Monday.

  217. says

    “New Details Show Flynn Contract May Have Broken Foreign Agent Law”:

    The lobbying firm run by Donald Trump’s pick for National Security Advisor made a deal with a Turkish-owned Dutch company that was acting on behalf of an undisclosed Middle East energy company — an arrangement experts say could violate US government filing rules.

    The arrangement has raised concerns of ethics watchdogs who say it is in possible violation of federal FARA rules designed to make transparent the influence of foreign players and money in US policy.

    “It should be reported under FARA, which requires lobbyists for foreign interests to lay out an almost a biographical story about where the money is from, who the client is and include whether it’s on behalf of any third-party interest,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, which advocates reform of Washington lobbying rules. “It would be a violation of FARA reporting rules to conceal where the original money is coming from. Foreign interests cannot simply hire a third party and then evade disclosure.”…

  218. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Betty DeVos has some, um, interesting connections.

    DeVos, a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, and her husband Dick DeVos, an heir to the Amway direct-sales fortune, co-founded the Windquest Group, which invests in technology and manufacturing. They have poured millions of dollars into lobbying for voucher programs across the country.
    DeVos’s brother is Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, one of the most profitable private security firms during the Iraq War.

  219. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Correction to my 282: it’s Betsy DeVos.

    My deepest apologies to Betty, wherever she may be.

  220. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    By the way, one nugget that hints at a possible motive for Trump’s nomination of Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador (which I assume will not be a very highly regarded position in a Trump administration):

    If confirmed, Ms. Haley would step down as governor and be replaced by the state’s lieutenant governor, Henry McMaster, who was an early and vocal supporter of Mr. Trump.

    So, kick your enemy upstairs and let your friend rise.

  221. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    James Means. You will know this name.

    James Means.

    You will know this name. Tragically, it now belongs in the ever-increasing roll call of unarmed black victims of racial violence.

    On this past Monday evening, outside of a Dollar General Store in Charleston, West Virginia, 15-year-old James Means, was shot and killed by William Ronald Pulliam, 62, police said.

    Means, like Emmett Till and Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin before him, did nothing to ever even warrant a confrontation from Pulliam. Witnesses claim that what set Pulliam off was that Means accidentally bumped into him while entering the store.
    After Pulliam’s arrest on Tuesday morning, police said that he expressed no remorse whatsoever for killing the teen, but simply said, The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the street.


  222. Hj Hornbeck says

    Some follow-up on the Argentina situation, first mentioned in Lynna’a comment at 693:

    Three days after the phone call between Trump and Macri on Nov.14, Trump’s associates at Buenos Aires firm YY Development Group announced that the construction project would go ahead, in an interview with La Nación (link in Spanish). The tower’s construction had reportedly been held up for years, for various reasons, with YY Development actively restarting construction permit requests when pro-business Macri took over from statist former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Jan. 2016.

    What a coincidence!

  223. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Update to SC’s #254 about a potential recount. It appears Jill Stein and the Green Party may be attempting to get it to happen.

    Green Party nominee Jill Stein put out a fundraising appeal in order to launch a recount of the vote in three key swing states that went to Donald Trump — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — despite her party having won only 1 percent of the vote.
    The Green Party did not single out any specific evidence of fraud, nor does it need proof of irregularities to call for a recount. Instead, Stein said, “After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable. These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified. We deserve elections we can trust.”
    A small but vocal group of scientists and activists have emerged in recent days advocating for a recount on the basis of Trump’s wholly unexpected win and concerns about Russian involvement in the election. They note that only a small minority of public polls predicted Trump’s success, and though public polls have been wrong before the magnitude of their error this cycle was unprecedented.
    They also point to evidence Russian hackers infiltrated the Democratic National Committee and potentially a top adviser to Hillary Clinton’s campaign as evidence of both ability and willingness. Hackers compromised voter records in Illinois and attempted to breach voting systems in a handful of other states prior to the election.
    Clinton’s campaign officials have not commented on Stein’s efforts, which hinge on the Green Party’s ability to pay for a recount.
    Stein tells supporters she needs to raise “over $2 million by this Friday, 4 p.m. central” in order to put her plan to action. The deadline to file for a recount in Wisconsin is Friday, while the deadlines for Pennsylvania and Michigan are next week. Recounts are costly to conduct, and each state requires various fees depending on the size of the vote lead and how expansive the recount is.

  224. says

    This is a good jab at Mike Pence:

    A New York legislator has introduced a bill that would ban the practice of conversion therapy for LGBT people in Erie County […]

    The proposal made headlines Wednesday for its acronym: PENCE, in a purposeful reference to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who has supported the practice designed to “change” its subjects from gay to straight.

    Erie County legislator Patrick Burke proposed the Prevention of Emotional Neglect and Childhood Endangerment bill, which would ban the practice of conversion therapy locally. […]

    During his 2000 congressional campaign, Pence’s website stated that “resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” […]

    “Mike Pence is probably going to have the most power of any vice president in the history of our country and he has openly advocated for conversion therapy,” […] it’s a serious issue of abuse of children flatly, whether they are gay or not, it’s abuse […]”


  225. says

    Bernie Sanders is reintroducing his infrastructure bill (I linked to a suggestion for him to do so @ #168 above). This article and comment thread offer some valuable perspective on federal infrastructure spending. While I think the criticism’s of the Trump plan (such as it is) are on point, in my view its recommendations go too far, especially because it doesn’t discuss the sorts of infrastructure that would be the focus of Sanders’ plan.

  226. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The DeVos family of [SC]Amway pyramid scheme has been a thorn in far right side of Michigan politics for years. Same as the Oberweis family here in Illinois. Both are Heinlein’s “well meaning” fools. They think they are well meaning, but they are total fools, and their agenda stinks worse than a skunk convention attacked by rabid badgers.

  227. says

    More from today:

    When President-elect Donald Trump spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Nov. 9, he mentioned one of his Turkish business partners as a “close friend” and passed on his remarks that he is “your great admirer.”

    The twinned Trump Towers bear the president-elect’s name in Istanbul. Dogan Holding, a massive media and real estate conglomerate in Turkey, owns the conjoined buildings and pays the Trump Organization to license the Trump name and brand. It can now rely on that name and brand to be sitting in the Oval Office and singing its praises to President Erdogan.

    In his call with the Turkish leader, Trump passed on praise for Erdogan from Mehmet Ali Yalcindag, son-in-law of Dogan Holding owner Aydin Dogan and former president of the Dogan Media Group….

  228. says

    Also from today:

    The data company that helped push Donald Trump to victory is now hoping it will win two lucrative contracts to boost White House policy messaging and to expand sales for the Trump Organization.

    Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm that uses personality profiling, claims Steve Bannon as a board member, who will soon officially be Mr Trump’s chief strategist.

    The firm is backed by billionaire investor Robert Mercer, whose daughter Rebekah sits on the 16-person Trump transition team.

  229. says

    “Trump to Accept Inauguration Funds From Corporations and Big Donors”:

    President-elect Donald J. Trump will allow corporations and wealthy individuals to make large donations to fund the activities surrounding his inauguration, complicating his promise to eliminate special interests from influencing his government.

    All told, Mr. Trump hopes to raise roughly $65 million to $75 million to fund the parade, balls and other festivities surrounding his swearing-in as president, according to several people involved in the planning efforts.

    Such a fund-raising total, if it materializes, would easily surpass the $43 million Mr. Obama’s team raised for his 2013 inauguration and the $53 million, a record, that it raised for his first inauguration in 2009.

    “You can’t have a more ideal opportunity to buy influence and ingratiate yourself with a new administration than by giving a huge contribution to pay for their inauguration,” Mr. Wertheimer said….

    (The article contains some unchallenged Trump-spin, and “complicating his promise to eliminate special interests from influencing his government” is a decontextualized understatement.)

  230. says

    Rachel Maddow looked back 140 years to find an election in which the popular vote margin diverged as much as this election’s popular vote differs from the electoral college vote.

    Maddow finds that odd case in 1800s in which one party traded the presidency for the right of the southern states to do what they liked without the army enforcing civil rights. The Confederacy rose again.

    That’s not what we have now. Clinton’s popular vote margin is unprecedented.

  231. says

    Apparently Trump has received only two of the daily classified intelligence briefings for which he was approved after he became president-elect. Why?

    Trump refuses the briefings. He doesn’t have time?

    Mike Pence does make time for more of the briefings.

    Maybe Trump doesn’t like the intrusion of reality.


  232. says

    Update to SC’s comment 294.

    Stein has raised enough money for a recount in Wisconsin.

    […] Donations totaled at least $2.7 million in less than one day, according to a fundraising page on her web site.

    “Congratulations on meeting the recount costs for Wisconsin. Raising money to pay for the first round so quickly is a miraculous feat and a tribute to the power of grassroots organizing,” her campaign said.

    “Now that we have nearly completed funding Wisconsin’s recount (which is due on Friday), we can begin to tackle the funding for Michigan’s recount (due Monday) and Pennsylvania’s recount (due Wednesday).” […]

  233. says

    I love this quote:

    Trump himself is a noted critic of the Electoral College who called it “a disaster for a democracy” in 2012, and he told New York Times reporters Tuesday he would “rather do the popular vote” and was “never a fan of the Electoral College until now.”

    “The popular vote would have been a lot easier,” Trump said, “but it’s a whole different campaign. I would have been in California, I would have been in Texas, Florida and New York, and we wouldn’t have gone anywhere else. Which is, I mean I’d rather do the popular vote.

    Because he cares about you deeply and sincerely, people of the heartland.

  234. says

    “Trump’s team of gazillionaires”:

    …Put together, Trump’s Cabinet and administration could be worth as much as $35 billion, a staggering agglomeration of wealth unprecedented in American history.

    The median household income in the U.S.? About $55,000.

    Trump’s glittering roster of millionaires and billionaires risks undermining the fundamental basis of his campaign before the Manhattan magnate even takes the oath of office….

  235. says

    “Trump’s Kleptocracy Is So Astounding It Already Feels Like Old News”:

    …Americans couldn’t fathom what Trump had apparently promised: the presidency as an adjunct of his real-estate and branding business. The developing world is filled with ruling families that use the state to amass huge and usually secretive fortunes. Such an arrangement has been heretofore unimaginable in the United States. And yet the surreal has quickly become real.

    Trump’s brazen use of his office for personal enrichment signals something even more worrisome than four or more years of kleptocratic government. It reveals how willing the new administration is to obliterate governing norms and how little stands in his way. An expectation that elected presidents must forswear any financial holdings that could conceivably affect their judgment has been an unquestioned point of bipartisan consensus for decades….

    But a norm is not a rule, a point Trump has leaned on. “The law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest,” he told the New York Times….

    The abuses that have leaked out so far (some through the foreign media, since American reporters were not informed of Trump’s conversations) provide a glimpse into what could easily be a bottomless pit of corruption…. Once introduced into a political ecosystem, corruption in government tends to spread rapidly. It can infect foreign-policy-making, where overseas partners will seek favors from Trump’s administration, and domestically, where Trump and his allies could form a self-enriching circle that wields state power to exclude both economic competitors and political ones. Astonishingly, the president-­elect has treated the sanctity of government as a nonissue. In a recent tweet, he pronounced the question of his own enrichment through power to have been settled by the voters (or at least the Electoral College). “Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world,” he wrote. “Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!” He is not even claiming innocence — he is placing the question itself off-limits.

    The question going forward is what other norms Trump can destroy….

    …He has already dismantled the twin guardrails against presidential kleptocracy, tax disclosure and personal divestment, in quick succession. It is a chillingly impressive achievement for a man still two months away from assuming the powers of office.

  236. Hj Hornbeck says

    SC’s #814 needs to be underlined and put in blinking lights:

    “@damiranz: DonaldTrump: Pls don’t run for president. If you do and win, the rest of the world would be screwed” So true, (except friends)!

    4:01 PM – 23 Aug 2014 from New Jersey, USA

    So in 2014, Trump (jokingly?) predicted what would happen if he became president.

  237. says

    SC @312, “overwhelmingly” is right. There were very few holdouts on that vote. Everyone sees what Erdogan is doing. He is a dictator.

    In other news, Hillary Clinton supporters left a lot of “thank you” signs near her home in New York. The colorful, homemade signs bore messages like “We are thankful for Hillary an American hero.”

    “You are loved,” said another.

    Clinton responded on Twitter by posting a photo of the signs and writing, “I was greeted by this heartwarming display on the corner of my street today. Thank you for all who did this. Happy Thanksgiving.”

    Aww, sweetness and light.

  238. says

    “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say”:

    The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

    Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of Web sites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.

    PropOrNot’s monitoring report, which was provided to The Washington Post in advance of its public release, identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans. On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed more than 213 million times.

    Some players in this online echo chamber were knowingly part of the propaganda campaign, the researchers concluded, while others were “useful idiots” — a term born of the Cold War to describe people or institutions that unknowingly assisted the propaganda efforts of the Soviet Union….

  239. says

    It’s gross how some of these articles talk about refugees as objects and problems and imply the Europe isn’t involved in creating the conditions they’re fleeing:

    “Migrant crisis: Turkey threatens EU with new surge”:

    Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that he will let hundreds of thousands of migrants travel on to Europe if pushed by the EU.

    He was reacting to a non-binding vote by the European Parliament to freeze talks on EU membership for Turkey.

    “Listen to me: these border gates will be opened if you go any further,” he warned the EU on Friday.

    If the European Parliament hoped its vote to freeze accession talks with Turkey would prompt President Erdogan to row back on his policies, today came the answer.

    It is Turkey’s trump card: the key role it played in stemming the migrant flow under a deal with the EU to return failed asylum seekers here. And an increasingly combative Mr Erdogan seems ready to play it….

  240. Hj Hornbeck says

    Just a reminder that Trump may crack down on smut.

    Trump signed a pledge drafted by the anti-porn organization Enough Is Enough to “aggressively enforce” federal obscenity laws. He also said he’d likely appoint an attorney general who would make “the prosecution of such laws a top priority.” Now that conservative senator Jeff Sessions has been offered the job, members of the porn industry are starting to wonder what happens if Washington makes good on that promise.

    “This should create concern for the adult industry,” First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza told Xbiz, an adult entertainment news site. Industry attorney Karen Tynan went even further, saying “Jeff Sessions is a redneck in the traditional sense, and I can use that term as I am a Southerner.”

    “He’s got some extreme far-right views on everything from fiscal spending to obscenity,” she added. “We need to watch him carefully these next few months… I’m concerned for my clients.”

    I wonder if that’ll cause 4channers to change their minds about the guy, should it come to pass.

  241. says

    “The Disruptive Career of Michael Flynn, Trump’s National-Security Adviser”:

    Flynn broke rules he thought were stupid. He once told me about a period he spent assigned to a C.I.A. station in Iraq, when he would sometimes sneak out of the compound without the “insane” required approval from C.I.A. headquarters, in Langley, Virginia. He had technicians secretly install an Internet connection in his Pentagon office, even though it was forbidden. There was also the time he gave classified information to NATO allies without approval, an incident which prompted an investigation, and a warning from superiors.

  242. Hj Hornbeck says

    Has anyone mentioned this conflict of interest yet?

    President-elect Donald Trump holds stock in the company building the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline, and pipeline opponents warn that Trump’s investments could affect any decision he makes on the $3.8 billion project as president.

    Trump’s 2016 federal disclosure forms show he owned between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. That’s down from between $500,000 and $1 million a year earlier.

    Trump also owns between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66, which has a one-quarter share of Dakota Access.

  243. says

    “Donald Trump and the Rise of Alt-Reality Media”:

    …Trump’s victory means that the most extreme and recklessly irresponsible voices on the right now feel emboldened and empowered. And more worrisome than that, they have an ally in the White House. For years, Rush Limbaugh has gibed about what he calls the “state-controlled media”—the fawning liberal news outlets that Limbaugh has long decried for their lack of critical coverage of President Obama—but we may be about to see what one actually looks like—an alt-reality news outlet operating from within 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The new media will not only provide propaganda cover for the administration, but also direct the fire of a loose confederation of conservative outlets against critics and dissenters. Already, Fox’s Sean Hannity has urged Trump to freeze out the mainstream media and talk directly to the nation.

    The “fake news” that we are now obsessing over is only the latest leading indicator of the perils of our new post-truth media/political world. Indeed, what we learned this year was that the walls are down, the gatekeepers dismissed, the norms and standards of journalism and fact-based discourse trashed.

    In the past, the White House has had to be concerned about a more or less adversarial media, but we now have a president who will be able to call upon a passionately loyal alternative media to attack his enemies and provide air cover in adversity. Hannity made his role in this alternative media clear when he recommended that Trump fundamentally alter the White House’s relationship with the independent media. “So until members of the media come clean about colluding with the Clinton campaign and admit that they knowingly broke every ethical standard they are supposed to uphold,” he said, “they should not have the privilege, they should not have the responsibility of covering the president on behalf of you, the American people.” This from someone who gave regular advice to the Trump campaign.

    …Before the election, critics of Trump were accused of trying to elect Clinton. But the narrative has already evolved. If conservatives continue to criticize Trump now, Shaw writes, “you are working to defeat the GOP agenda and advance the Democrats and the Social Justice Warriors.” And he sets out the terms of the purges to come: “And if that’s the case you are no longer momentarily estranged friends. You are, to borrow the title of a truly awful Julia Roberts movie, sleeping with the enemy.”[Emphasis in original.]

  244. says

    “Electoral College must reject Trump unless he sells his business, top lawyers for Bush and Obama say”:

    Members of the Electoral College should not make Donald Trump the next president unless his sells his companies and puts the proceeds in a blind trust, according to the top ethics lawyers for the last two presidents.

    Richard Painter, Chief Ethics Counsel for George W. Bush, and Norman Eisen, Chief Ethics Counsel for Barack Obama, believe that if Trump continues retain ownership over his sprawling business interests by the time the electors meet on December 19, they should reject Trump.

    …Tribe notes that the Electoral College was “originally conceived by Framers like Alexander Hamilton as a vital safeguard against the assumption of the Presidency by an ‘unfit character’ or one incapable of serving faithfully to ‘execute the Office of President of the United States [and] preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.’”

    “[T]o vote for Trump in the absence of such complete divestment… would represent an abdication of the solemn duties of the 538 Electors,” Tribe said.

    Eisen views the current situation as dire. If Trump is permitted to be sworn in as president without selling his companies, he says, the country is facing a “wholesale oligarchic kleptocracy of a kind that we have never seen before in our history.”

  245. says

    How surprising:

    …Flynn, who was in Japan [in October] on the invitation of a U.S. company for which he serves as an adviser, also held talks with a number of other senior Japanese government officials and politicians….

    In his meetings, Flynn is said to have claimed Trump’s controversial campaign-trail remarks were merely part of the rhetoric needed to secure an election win, according to informed sources. His actual policies after taking office would be different from what he said to galvanize his support base, Flynn predicted….

  246. says

    This is a followup to the “Awww, sweetness and light” comment 316.

    Turns out it was a six-year-old boy who spearheaded the display of multiple Hillary-love signs for Thanksgiving:

    […] “Liam said there ‘should be lots and lots of signs,’ because ‘she’s probably even sadder than me,’ ” his mother recounted in a note to friends inviting them to participate in Liam’s project. “[…] he wants to go back and leave lots of signs on Thanksgiving – to say ‘thank you,’ show support, love and encouragement. If anyone else wants to help by making a sign for his little project, let me know!” […]


  247. Hj Hornbeck says

    No wonder Trump wants to spend a decent amount of time living back home:

    According to a report from The New York Post on Thursday, the Secret Service is in talks with the Trump Organization about renting two vacant floors of the 68-story Trump Tower. In order to protect the president-elect and his family, they will need to work with the NYPD to operate a command post containing more than 250 agents and police officers. Those two floors could cost more than $3 million each year. […]

    Because Trump Tower has experienced a nearly 40 percent drop in sales and rentals over the past year (a fate that it has shared with other Trump properties since the start of Donald Trump’s controversial presidential campaign), the Secret Service location could make up for any possible shortfall in the president-elect’s pockets.

  248. says

    The U.S. taxpayer spent about $7 million to protect Trump and his family during their Thanksgiving extravanza at Mar-a-Lago.

    In other news, Russian propaganda efforts included about 200 websites, thousands of botnets, lots of human trolls, etc. etc. to push fake news into the U.S. election cycle.

    […] The coverage was overwhelmingly favorable to Donald Trump, and some of the most notable examples of fake news garnering major traffic online centered on Hillary Clinton’s health, protesters that were allegedly paid to interrupt Trump events, and fears about vote tampering.

    “The way that this propaganda apparatus supported Trump was equivalent to some massive amount of a media buy,” said the executive director of PropOrNot, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with the Post. “It was like Russia was running a super PAC for Trump’s campaign.”

    Russia is also believed to be behind widespread hacks of Democratic organizations and individuals, including the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, whose emails were published by WikiLeaks. […]

    The Hill link

    Putin successfully hacked the U.S. election.

  249. says

    “Jo Cox’s murder was followed by 50,000 tweets celebrating her death”:

    More than 50,000 abusive and offensive tweets were sent celebrating Labour MP Jo Cox’s murder and lauding her killer…as a “hero” or “patriot” in the month following her death, prompting calls for the government to do more to tackle hate speech online.

    According to researchers on the social media site, the tweets were sent from at least 25,000 individuals and have been interpreted by hate crime campaigners as a sign of an emboldened extreme rightwing support base.

    The report argues that social media companies must sign up to a duty of care and conduct as well as recommending the creation of an archive of online hate incidents. It also calls for more social media training to be carried out in schools and recommends improved responses to online hate from social media companies.

    Lowles added: “It is time for the authorities to take greater note of these ideologues of hate, and time too for social media companies – and Twitter in particular – to up their game when it comes to providing a safe platform for expression. Free speech does not equal hate speech, which can have very real consequences and impact in communities in the UK.”

  250. says

    Donald Trump may have trouble finding musicians to play for the inaugural ball. Here’s what Elton John had to say about a rumor that he was going to play an inaugural gig:

    I’ve met Donald Trump, he was very nice to me, it’s nothing personal, his political views are his own, mine are very different, I’m not a Republican in a million years. Why not ask Ted fucking Nugent? Or one of those fucking country stars? They’ll do it for you.

    Elton does have that “not politically correct” thing down.

    People on Twitter are having a good time suggesting bands at #TrumpInauguralBands:

    Earth, Wind, and You’re Fired
    Notorious B.I.G.O.T
    Fool And The Gang
    Trumpford & Sons
    Pollute Earth, Wind & Fire

    Trump will probably also have trouble arranging for an inaugural poet to speak. the curse U.S. Poet Laureate is Juan Felipe Herrera.

  251. says

    Jill Stein filed the recount petition in Wisconsin yesterday ahead of the deadline. This article has a link to the petition itself, which is extremely interesting, especially J. Alex Halderman’s affadavit and the associated evidence.

  252. says

    Black Friday just gets blacker and blacker, and not in a good way. Some shoppers brought guns and shot other shoppers. In New Mexico, shoppers harassed a Muslim woman wearing a hijab. In the some-good-news category, other shoppers and store clerks rushed to protect the Muslim woman.

    Link to local news KRQE coverage about harassment of Muslim woman.

    Daily News coverage of four people shot on black Friday. The shootings occurred in Nevada (Walmart), New Jersey (Macy’s), Tennessee (mall).

  253. consciousness razor says

    in the article linked by SC in #334:

    Amid questions from some quarters about how the money would be used, the site said: “If we raise more than what’s needed, the surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.”

    So… that’s kinda vague and a little troubling. The Greens first asked for $100k short of what was apparently needed ($2.1M for WI+MI+PA, without factoring in legal fees), when they certainly didn’t have enough funding of their own to splurge on something like this. No idea why they waited over a week to start doing this. But once they did, it was quickly raised to $4.5M and then a nice round $7M, because … well … legal fees, which they had to know about, but more accurately because they wanted people to believe that they were close to the Green’s fundraising goal even when that wasn’t true.

    Then we’re informed the surplus will go to some “efforts” and “reform” unrelated to the recount which was ostensibly being funded. I don’t like it that their goal was only gradually revealed, after a significant portion of the money was already obtained, since it turns out not to be only about getting a recount. Do they have a system in place for offering refunds, and even if they do, why would they do it like this to begin with?

    A choice quote:

    “I really wish Jill Stein had not waited until after the election to be so concerned about a few thousand votes tipping the election to Trump,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior policy adviser to Barack Obama.

  254. says

    Followup, of sorts, to comment 336.

    The Clinton campaign has decided to join the Green Party’s push to get a recount in Wisconsin. They’ll also join any efforts (if they materialize) to push for a recount in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

    […] Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.

    If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well. We do so fully aware that the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states — Michigan — well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount. […]

    The campaign is grateful to all those who have expended time and effort to investigate various claims of abnormalities and irregularities. While that effort has not, in our view, resulted in evidence of manipulation of results, now that a recount is underway, we believe we have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported.

    Link to Marc Erik Elias at Medium

  255. says

    So… that’s kinda vague and a little troubling. The Greens first asked for $100k short of what was apparently needed ($2.1M for WI+MI+PA, without factoring in legal fees), when they certainly didn’t have enough funding of their own to splurge on something like this. No idea why they waited over a week to start doing this. But once they did, it was quickly raised to $4.5M and then a nice round $7M, because … well … legal fees, which they had to know about, but more accurately because they wanted people to believe that they were close to the Green’s fundraising goal even when that wasn’t true.

    Then we’re informed the surplus will go to some “efforts” and “reform” unrelated to the recount which was ostensibly being funded. I don’t like it that their goal was only gradually revealed, after a significant portion of the money was already obtained, since it turns out not to be only about getting a recount. Do they have a system in place for offering refunds, and even if they do, why would they do it like this to begin with?

    Those are all valid and concerning points, and I trust Stein quite little in general. But an alternative reading – being as generous as possible to Stein – is also possible. I read what I think was the first version of the donation page, and if I recall correctly it said that if they didn’t raise sufficient funds for any of the recounts the donations would go to election integrity reform efforts. So it’s possible they had no idea how much they would raise, and when they realized they might actually raise excess funds changed the language to state that the excess would go toward those efforts. Stein isn’t especially competent, so she might actually not have been aware of the associated legal costs involved (if those are in fact correct estimates) until the process got started, which would result in the increased request (even when the site had the bar going to $4.5 million, the text read that they now expected the total cost to be $6-7 million). The delay could result from the fact that it was only reported this past week that the computer and elections security experts had contacted the Clinton campaign and urged them to call for a recount. It’s one of those experts – Halderman – whose affidavit is provided in the recount petition, so presumably Stein read the reports and contacted Halderman and the others, who provided information that gave ample justification to petition for a recount (and information that should certainly receive more widespread attention regardless of the outcome of the recount). Perhaps Stein is also feeling guilty about her role in the election, and realizing at some level how she’s been used by Putin. She did promise to file the petitions for which she’d raised sufficient funds, and did follow through on the first third of that promise yesterday.

    I honestly don’t know which account is closer to the truth, or whether it’s some combination of both.

  256. says

    Operation Rescue is a radical anti-abortion organization. The head of the organization, Troy Newman, once said that killing abortion doctors is “justifiable defensive action.” As you might expect, Operation Rescue is happy, happy, happy with Trump’s selection of Senator Jeff Sessions as the next attorney general.

    Operation Rescue stands ready to assist the new Attorney General with any potential prosecutions of Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses for a multitude of felonies committed over the past several years under the protection of the Obama Administration. […]

    “Planned Parenthood’s days of running amok over the laws of the land are nearly over,” said Newman. “A new sheriff is coming to town and the era of old corrupt politicians who have shielded Planned Parenthood from the consequences of their illegal behavior is about to come to an end. Our message to Planned Parenthood today is: You are no longer above the law.”

    Right Wing Watch link

  257. Hj Hornbeck says

    The calls for a vote recount are strange. For one, there’s no evidence of voting irregularities. Besides the Clinton campaign, quoted above, Five Thirty Eight also looked into it.

    We found no apparent correlation between voting method and outcome in six of the eight states, and a thin possible link between voting method and results in Wisconsin and Texas. However, the two states showed opposite results: The use of any machine voting in a county was associated with a 5.6-percentage-point reduction in Democratic two-party vote share in Wisconsin but a 2.7-point increase in Texas, both of which were statistically significant. Even if we focus only on Wisconsin, the effect disappears when we weight our results by population. More than 75 percent of Wisconsin’s population lives in the 23 most populous counties, which don’t appear to show any evidence for an effect driven by voting systems. To have effectively manipulated the statewide vote total, hackers probably would have needed to target some of these larger counties. When we included all counties but weighted the regression by the number of people living in each county, the statistical significance of the opposite effects in Wisconsin and Texas both evaporated.

    Even if the borderline significant result for Wisconsin didn’t vanish when weighting by population, it would be doubtful, for a few reasons. You’re more likely to find a significant result when you make multiple tests, as we did by looking at eight states with and without weighting by population. Also, different places in Wisconsin and Texas use different kinds of voting machines; presumably if someone really did figure out how to hack certain machines, we’d see different results depending on which type of machines were used in a county, but we don’t. And Nate Cohn of The New York Times found that when he added another control variable to race and education — density of the population — the effect of paper ballots vanished.

    A recount can clear the air over rumors of vote rigging, but it can also undermine confidence in the electoral system by suggesting it can’t be trusted in the first place.

    Our effort to recount votes in those states is not intended to help Hillary Clinton. These recounts are part of an election integrity movement to attempt to shine a light on just how untrustworthy the U.S. election system is.

    Just before that, the petition stated that “election integrity experts” were calling for recounts because of “statistical anomalies.” Which anomalies? I haven’t read of any expert reporting any, instead the call for recounts has more to do with getting states into the habit of doing verification.

    We use two main kinds of paper systems in different parts of the U.S. Either voters fill out a ballot paper that gets scanned into a computer for counting (optical scan voting), or they vote on a computer that counts the vote and prints a record on a piece of paper (called a voter-verifiable paper audit trail). Either way, the paper creates a record of the vote that can’t be later modified by any bugs, misconfiguration, or malicious software that might have infected the machines. […]

    There’s just one problem, and it might come as a surprise even to many security experts: no state is planning to actually check the paper in a way that would reliably detect that the computer-based outcome was wrong. About half the states have no laws that require a manual examination of paper ballots, and most other states perform only superficial spot checks. If nobody looks at the paper, it might as well not be there. A clever attacker would exploit this. […]

    Examining the physical evidence in these states — even if it finds nothing amiss — will help allay doubt and give voters justified confidence that the results are accurate. It will also set a precedent for routinely examining paper ballots, which will provide an important deterrent against cyberattacks on future elections.

    I really have to wonder what Jill Stein is smoking, because she appears to be trying to undermine confidence in the US voting system.

  258. says

    Trump’s predictable response to Jill Stein’s recount efforts:

    […] “This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing,” Trump said in a statement.

    Citing concerns that voting systems have been compromised, Stein filed for a recount in Wisconsin on Friday afternoon, and has been fundraising off her vow to do the same in Pennsylvania and Michigan — all states in which Trump won or is leading. […]


  259. says

    I agree with Joy Reid about this article – a lot to argue with, but the basic point has much to recommend it:

    Indeed, all of what Republicans would be doing, and all of what the Cave-ocrats do not do, comes down to a simple proposition: Republicans are in constant political war, because they want power, and want to consolidate power, and want to make it impossible to dislodge them from power.

    For Republicans a lost 2016 election would never be “over”.

    Democrats do not. Thus, Democrats do not go to the mat, they do not realize that showing they will fight, and fight hard, even if they lose, is what people need to see before they can begin to have any faith that they mean what they say.

  260. says

    Here is a predictable responses from one of Trump’s aides to Jill Stein’s recount efforts:

    […] “What a pack of sore losers,” Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former campaign manager and a top adviser on his transition team, told Bloomberg.

    “After asking Mr. Trump and his team a million times on the trail, ‘Will HE accept the election results?’ it turns out Team Hillary and their new BFF Jill Stein can’t accept reality,” Conway added. […]

    “Rather than adhere to the tradition of graciously conceding and wishing the winner well, they’ve opted to waste millions of dollars and dismiss the democratic process,” Conway said. “The people have spoken. Time to listen up.”

  261. says

    Five Thirty Eight also looked into it…

    The Halderman affidavit doesn’t focus on the different voting methods, though, although it does request a verification of the paper backups. It focuses on absentee ballots, in Wisconsin at least. Whatever anyone thinks of Stein, Halderman is a leading expert, and he’s been sounding the alarm about the vulnerability of the system since long before this election. He’s not claiming there was manipulation, but that the evidence is sufficient to file for a recount. All of the evidence of Russian interference in this election means all the more reason to investigate as thoroughly as possible, regardless of what it shows concerning the numbers.

  262. consciousness razor says

    I read what I think was the first version of the donation page, and if I recall correctly it said that if they didn’t raise sufficient funds for any of the recounts the donations would go to election integrity reform efforts. So it’s possible they had no idea how much they would raise, and when they realized they might actually raise excess funds changed the language to state that the excess would go toward those efforts.

    That’s fair enough. I didn’t know there was any such language originally and should’ve considered that possibility. If people sign on for that, then no problem.

    However, they did apparently have time to calculate how much they’d need just for the recount, find some potential pro bono lawyers, etc. And at any point, they could stop collecting once some definite goal is reached. They have to keep taking more money just because they can find people who will give it to them.

    The most obvious reason these “efforts and reforms” are bundled with the recount is because they wouldn’t get much for the former, if that fundraising had been done separately. The big splashy item which gets people running for their wallets is the (very very minimal) chance to ruin things for Trump, not some vague “efforts and reforms” which are barely even reported and I still don’t know anything about. I don’t exactly have a problem with using the surplus for stuff like that — better than paying for hookers and blow, or whatever else they might do with the cash — but the whole process looks just plain suspicious.

    Perhaps Stein is also feeling guilty about her role in the election,

    This bit looks way too charitable. I doubt it a whole lot. She could’ve withdrawn months ago, whenever Trump was nominated for instance. But that would have required telling her supporters not to waste time/money/votes on her and to back Clinton instead, because the only thing she could do is play the role of a spoiler for a major-party candidate, which is the last thing a third-party candidate like her wants to admit. This is just how her party works and will continue to work every time their candidates run and lose. I don’t think there’s any intention of changing that. So it’s a fake kind of guilty feeling, if she’s having it at all, which isn’t aimed at doing anything constructive about the problem.

    Instead, you see these strange, unprovoked, seemingly-altruistic gestures for a recount which will certainly change nothing about the Green party’s chance of winning anything … as if to distract people from the fact that all of Stein’s votes in those same three states would’ve helped Clinton immensely in the electoral count. The blame for that has to go somewhere, and it can’t be the Green party which does no wrong, so let’s absolve ourselves by hunting for a possible conspiracy in the voting machines. I mean, who knows, they may not be acting so cynically, but there are so many alarm bells ringing here that it’s very hard to dismiss them all.

  263. says

    The Halderman affidavit doesn’t focus on the different voting methods, though, although it does request a verification of the paper backups. It focuses on absentee ballots,

    That was misstated – it does focus on the machines, but the part about an increase in absentee ballots (which, if true, would seem to constitute an anomaly) doesn’t appear to have been publicized prior to the publication of the Stein petition.

  264. says

    However, they did apparently have time to calculate how much they’d need just for the recount, find some potential pro bono lawyers, etc. And at any point, they could stop collecting once some definite goal is reached. They have to keep taking more money just because they can find people who will give it to them.

    I agree. As I said, the most generous reading would chalk it up to incompetence, which in Stein’s case is probably equally as plausible as bad faith.

    This bit looks way too charitable. I doubt it a whole lot.

    I agree that it’s the least believable aspect of an argument in her defense,* especially because not only did she continue to campaign but participated in spreading the dishonest propaganda about Clinton (and continues to bash her in this context as well). As I said just after the election, I blame Stein in part for the results – or what appear to be the results :) – and am extremely angry about her actions throughout the campaign, which I criticized here before the election.

    (Regardless of her motives, whatever they might be, I haven’t seen any reasons for rejecting Halderman’s argument.)

    * Again, to be totally clear: I don’t know which version or combination corresponds better with reality. I’ve just seen a number of hostile pieces in the past few days asserting that the whole thing is just a big scam, and I’m not sure I find that wholly plausible, especially since she did file for the first recount as promised and has announced that the PA recount is also now funded.

  265. consciousness razor says

    or what appear to be the results :)

    Heh, I love it. Ever the optimist. My best hope now is that Trump’s electors will come to their senses on Dec. 19, when the real election results come in. My stress levels have been through the roof, but that would make everything since Nov 8 so totally worth it.

    (Regardless of her motives, whatever they might be, I haven’t seen any reasons for rejecting Halderman’s argument.)

    Sure, neither have I. Any time there’s a close call like this, I’d like recounts and other verification methods to be automatic and paid for by the state (since we give them the power to run elections and fucking it up is not a valid option). But it would be good if we had the right to vote in the first place … this is ultimately a pointless exercise in all presidential elections as long as the EC exists, since even a changed result due to a recount need not sway any electors who actually have the right to vote.

    It’s absurd that anybody needs to do any fundraising for this. If poor people were targeted and no one with some money were interested in paying, then what? That’s good enough for it to be a fair election with some integrity?

  266. says

    Here’s a critical piece about the WaPo story cited @ #319 above, which also slams PropOrNot. This is all making me sigh. It’s good and necessary for the Intercept (and anyone else) to present critical views of these reports and groups. But the language in this piece is ridiculously and unnecessarily hyperbolic and nasty when it should be measured and evidence-based. It’s also strange in that it was posted today, several hours after the PropOrNot report – linked to above @ #339 – referenced in the WaPo story was published (and which the WaPo article clearly stated they had been provided in advance of Friday’s publication). It claims to know nothing about PON’s methods or evidence, but these are described in detail in the report. I have problems with the report (some of which weren’t even raised in the Intercept article), but this really isn’t the way to go. Mixing legitimate questions, criticisms, and concerns with such exaggerated and accusatory language and failing to attempt to address the substantive case made only serves to undermine and distract from legitimate points. TI would do better to engage with PON and their concrete claims (as well as evidence of their motives) than to keep repeating the charge that they’re “anonymous cowards” who simply want to smear leftwing sites as Kremlin propagandists.

  267. consciousness razor says

    Jill Stein says things:

    Why would Hillary Clinton—who conceded the election to Donald Trump—want #Recount2016? You cannot be on-again, off-again about democracy.

    after saying other things:

    Election integrity cannot be led by a party w/o integrity, just as a revolution cannot happen in a counterrevolutionary party. #Recount2016

    and now this:

    Clinton + Trump: Want democracy? Enact proportional representation voting systems for legislative offices—from the local to federal levels.

    That will surely make your non-democratic “election” system for a single non-legislative office better. Want to keep running for that office, Stein?

  268. says

    Good response.

    My best hope now is that Trump’s electors will come to their senses on Dec. 19, when the real election results come in. My stress levels have been through the roof, but that would make everything since Nov 8 so totally worth it.

    I know. In addition to everything that was known about him and his profound unfitness prior to the election, Trump’s since provided more than enough evidence since of his brazen, shameless kleptocratism. It would also be interesting if before the EC vote or the inauguration, some country’s intelligence services leaked incontrovertible evidence of Trump working with the Kremlin, the alleged kompromat material so many people have argued exists, or the alleged abortion-related evidence.

    But it would be good if we had the right to vote in the first place … this is ultimately a pointless exercise in all presidential elections as long as the EC exists, since even a changed result due to a recount need not sway any electors who actually have the right to vote.

    It’s absurd that anybody needs to do any fundraising for this. If poor people were targeted and no one with some money were interested in paying, then what? That’s good enough for it to be a fair election with some integrity?

    Agree 100%. It should be publicly funded and done as a matter of course.

  269. says

    “3 California mosques threatened in letter praising Trump”:

    Local Islamic leaders are asking for increased police protection after at least three California mosques received a letter that threatens Muslims and praises President-Elect Donald Trump.

    Over the past several days, Islamic centers in Long Beach, Claremont and San Jose all received the same photocopy of a handwritten letter addressed to “the Children of Satan.” The letter calls Muslims “vile,” “filthy” and “evil.” It then states that Trump – who, during his campaign, proposed making Muslims register and blocking people of faith from entering the country – is going to “cleanse America.”

    “He’s going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews,” the letter reads. “You Muslims would be wise to pack your bags and get out of Dodge.”…

  270. consciousness razor says

    Here’s the good doctor Stein again:

    Clinton + Trump: Want democracy? Help enact Ranked Choice Voting for single-seat offices like president and other chief executive positions.

    Almost forgot those -or- didn’t have room in the last tweet. Pick your favorite.

    It’ll be nice when we have a “democracy” with ranked choice voting for president, except with no actual right to vote for president. But you see, non-voting could be ranked, for your democratic pleasure. Doesn’t that sound nice?

    “Other chief executive positions”?? Talking about state governors, I guess? Does she understand that this sort of thing would be enacted 50 separate times for the states, and that national political figures couldn’t constitutionally do anything about that? Clinton doesn’t even have a fucking office, for fuck’s sake. If she doesn’t get it then why is she talking, and if she does then why she is talking to them?

  271. says

    Daily reminder of what a terrible human being Trump is – “In Scotland, Trump Built a Wall. Then He Sent Residents the Bill.”:

    …As many Americans are trying to figure out what kind of president they have just elected, the people of Balmedie, a small village outside the once oil-rich city of Aberdeen, say they have a pretty good idea. In the 10 years since Mr. Trump first visited, vowing to build “the world’s greatest golf course” on an environmentally protected site featuring 4,000-year-old sand dunes, they have seen him lash out at anyone standing in his way. They say they watched him win public support for his golf course with grand promises, then watched him break them one by one.

    “If America wants to know what is coming, it should study what happened here. It’s predictive,” said Martin Ford, a local government representative. “I have just seen him do in America, on a grander scale, precisely what he did here. He suckered the people and he suckered the politicians until he got what he wanted, and then he went back on pretty much everything he promised.”…

  272. says

    I just watched the segment from today’s AM Joy about the recount effort, featuring Greg Palast and some others. It was…frustrating. Everyone was at pains to dismiss any suggestion of hacking as a distracting conspiracy theory in order to focus on voter disenfranchisement, like it had to be one or the other and they were somehow mutually exclusive. It was another case of what keeps happening of late – many people aren’t content to focus on a particular issue themselves, but feel they need to proclaim that other issues are bogus or pointless distractions and demand that others stop focusing on them (this is often combined with straw-man claims that people talking about other issues are making giant arguments, like that every single piece of fake news comes straight from the Kremlin). It’s not impossible that multiple things were at work and all require attention and investigation.

    Maybe the most irritating aspect of the segment was that Reid didn’t ask, and none of the guests volunteered, whether the recounts will also get at the problems they see as central, which I would think people might consider important.

  273. says

    Wow – I missed this at the time:

    The New York Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have made exclusive agreements with a conservative author for early access to his opposition research on Hillary Clinton, a move that has confounded members of the Clinton campaign and some reporters, the On Media blog has confirmed.

    “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” will debut on May 5. But the Times, the Post and Fox have already made arrangements with author Peter Schweizer to pursue some of the material included in his book, which seeks to draw connections between Clinton Foundation donations and speaking fees and Hillary Clinton’s actions as secretary of state. Schweizer is the president of the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative research group, and previously served as an adviser to Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin….

  274. raven says

    Paul Ryan is cosmically stupid.

    Politico today

    The Agenda
    Can Paul Ryan actually privatize Medicare?
    Thanks to Trump, Ryan finally has the chance to make huge policy changes. Now comes the hard part.

    ” He’s a devotee of supply-side economics and a deficit hawk intent on reforming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which are responsible for the majority of federal spending. They are the linchpins of the safety net, but Ryan considers them too expensive. “

    They are going after Social Security and Medicare again.
    1. Social Security and Medicare don’t cost the government anything.
    They are self funding.
    The taxpayers get money. That they paid into in the first place.

    2. Supply side economics is a fraud and fails whenever they try it. Which is well known.

    Oh well, the GOP always wants the worst for everyone. And if the voters vote for that, they can’t complain when old age means living in the park and eating cat food.

  275. says

    SC @364, oh, no. They are going to elevate Peter Schweitzer again? Spreading the lies.

    SC @365, right. As I’ve said many times, Paul Ryan may be more dangerous than Trump.

    SC @366, that is a good segment. In general, Joy Reid did a great job this morning. Kendzior was right, “Trump first,” and not “America first.” That’s the simplest and most correct way to describe it.

    Meanwhile, Fox News is discovering that deficit spending is good … as long as it is Trump doing it and not Obama. Media Matters link/

  276. says

    Walmart is acting criminally. They stole wages from many workers. In good news, a jury awarded California truckers $54 million in a wage suit against Walmart.

    AP News link

    Wal-Mart intentionally failed to pay hundreds of truck drivers in California the minimum wage for duties such as inspecting and washing their vehicles, a federal jury decided Wednesday, awarding the workers more than $54 million in damages and opening up the retail giant to additional penalties. […]

    Walmart plans to appeal.

  277. says

    Holy shit this comment from Conway. (For the record, Clinton isn’t “joining” the recount. Her campaign is participating in the recount petitioned for by Stein to help ensure that it’s conducted properly and well, and the Trump campaign could do the same.) Their response to this recount effort is incredibly telling as well as moderately suspicious.

  278. says

    SC @369, the depth of Conway’s and Trump’s ignorance is astounding. “Trump has been ‘gracious’ by not prosecuting Clinton while recount underway” … really? Sheesh. As David Corn pointed out, presidents do not prosecute, and neither do presidents-elect.

    The very idea of Trump being “gracious” in these circumstances blows all my circuits.

    Trump is labeling Hillary Clinton as a hypocrite in regards to the recount effort. As SC noted, Clinton and her team did not actually “join” the recount, but will participate to the extent needed to make sure it is done well. Stein made the point that she had invited everyone, including Trump, to participate. Trump and his team are just playing this for maximum drama.

  279. says

    “Shootout raises fears over Russian ties to Hungary’s far right: Evidence emerges of Moscow’s efforts to cultivate extremists”:

    …While Russian support for far-right groups in Europe has been widely rumoured, the recent events in Hungary have brought to light new evidence of Moscow’s long-running attempts to cultivate far-right extremists.

    A person familiar with the links between Russia and the far right said the MNA — founded in 1989 and one of about a dozen extremist far-right groups in Hungary — was attracted to Russian intelligence by Moscow’s anti-western, anti-globalisation ideology and the uncertain prospect of financial support.

    For Russia’s part, its interest in cultivating groups like the MNA fits into a wider pattern of courting extremist elements as long-term assets, said Andras Dezso, a journalist who has investigated Hungary’s far-right movements. “It’s not about classical espionage, but rather manipulation of the press, the public and the political system,” he said, arguing that groups like the MNA can be used to destabilise politics. “The Russians are using totally different weapons to create an alternative reality. They want to disorient people, to make them feel unsafe.”

  280. Hj Hornbeck says

    I bring Twitter threads. Nate Silver reacted to the latest recount news, and his opinion hasn’t changed since last time. The key bits:

    This is turning me in favor of the recount. The peaceful-transition-of-power playbook doesn’t usually include taunting your opponents.

    Donald Trump: The Democrats, when they incorrectly thought they were going to win, asked that the election night tabulation be accepted. Not so anymore!

    To be clear, the recount is **very** unlikely to overturn the results, unless there’s been massive, coordinated manipulation of results. (2/

    So it’s not really a “recount”. Not about a few votes here and there. It’s more like an audit or an investigation into possible fraud. (3/

    Someone else over at Five Thirty Eight posted an article about recounts, too.

    Recounts typically don’t swing enough votes to change the winner. Out of 4,687 statewide general elections between 2000 and 2015, just 27 were followed by recounts, according to data compiled by FairVote, a nonpartisan group that researches elections and promotes electoral reform. Just three of those 27 recounts resulted in a change in the outcome, all leading to wins for Democrats: Al Franken’s win in Minnesota’s 2008 U.S. Senate race, Thomas M. Salmon’s win in Vermont’s 2006 auditor election and Christine Gregoire’s win in Washington’s 2004 gubernatorial race.

    Recounts also typically don’t change the margin by an amount that would be large enough to affect the result of this year’s presidential election. The mean swing between the top two candidates in the 27 recounts was 282 votes, with a median of 219. The biggest swing came in Florida’s 2000 presidential election recount, when Al Gore cut 1,247 votes off George W. Bush’s lead, ultimately not enough to flip the state to his column. In each state Trump won or leads in, his advantage is more than 10,000 votes, according to counts to far. Some statewide races that have undergone recounts have far fewer votes than the closest states in the 2016 presidential race, but even in percentage terms, the average swing was 0.2 percentage points, which could be enough to flip Michigan but not any other states (and therefore not the Electoral College; even with Michigan, Clinton would be 22 electoral votes short of the 270 needed to win).

    On a similar topic, ProPublica had a project called ElectionLand to monitor the election in real-time. Something like 1,100 people were involved, including 400 reporters on the… actually, I’ll just let them tell the tale.

    We had 1,100 people monitoring the vote on Election Day. We saw no evidence the election was “rigged” no matter what Stein or Trump say.

    Electionland had huge amounts of data. 600 ppl monitored social media. We had @LawyersComm call logs. We had 120,000 people texting us. /2

    We had 400 partner reporters across the country, including three of the largest news organizations in the U.S. /3

    We had voting experts in the room with us and election sources all over the country. /4

    But we saw no reason to doubt the results. There ? was ? no ? widespread ? voter ? fraud. /6

    All claims that election machines were rigged were because of poorly calibrated machines or user error. /8

    They carry on from there, and link to key posts.

  281. Hj Hornbeck says

    This story is a bit old, but I haven’t seen it mentioned here, so

    A Las Vegas hotel owned by President-elect Donald Trump is locked in a battle with the federal agency charged with enforcing the nation’s labor laws.

    The problem: As President, Trump will soon appoint three of its five members.

    The issue before the National Labor Relations Board is whether the Trump International Hotel must negotiate with Unite Here, a coalition of the Culinary Workers union and Bartenders union. The employees, in a 238 to 209 vote last year, said they want to be represented by the group.

  282. Hj Hornbeck says

    SC @963:

    I continue to be perplexed by the lack of interest in and dismissal of Putin’s global maneuvers among people on the Left. It’s very strange.

    I’m with you there. Similar things happened during the Cold War, and the US tried to influence the Iraqi elections via propaganda roughly a decade ago. We have at least two years’ worth of stories of Russia engaging in a variety of disinformation campaigns and hacking escapades, we have Russians on the ground calling out propaganda and press censorship. These are attested by multiple sources, most of which are off the record but some claimants are public. Hell, even right-wing rags have run excellent stories detailing how Russia spreads its propaganda.

    The claim that Russia tried to influence the US elections is banal, not extraordinary. But apparently that’s moot because mumble mumble emails DNC corrupt mumble.

  283. says

    SC @375, Trump claiming “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally” is so ridiculous. He has no foundation whatsoever for making that claim.

    Bryan Fischer of the American Family Radio organization made that full-of-crap, totally bonkers claim … and he also had no foundation for it. There is no evidence anywhere of millions of “illegal aliens” voting.

    You look at the margin in the popular vote that Hillary Clinton has. It’s somewhere north of a million—they’re still counting—but let’s say she wins the popular vote by a million votes. It very well could be that what tipped the balance to Hillary Clinton were three million illegal aliens that simply had no right to vote, let alone even to be in this country.

    Maybe if Trump would make the time to hear his daily briefing he would hear some real news and not just the false crap spouted by Bryan Fischer, (or posted by some dunderhead named Gregg Phillips from True the Vote). Trump is a hopeless case.

    And now that blustering buffoon is claiming “Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!” He is claiming voter fraud in three states that voted against him? And he adds on a claim of media bias?

    Trump is probably getting his news, as is his won’t, from conspiracy nutters. Or, as is also his won’t, he is a compulsive liar. Either way, he has once again proven himself unfit to be president.

  284. Hj Hornbeck says

    Huh. The people who were suspicious of Jill Stein’s motives may have been right.

    George Martin, a member of the Wisconsin Green Party’s coordinating council, said Friday Stein will submit appropriate paperwork for a recount in Wisconsin by the deadline.

    If there is extra money in the donation fund — or if Stein’s petition fails to pass muster with the election commissions in any of the states — Martin promised that the money will be used to fund the Green party’s local “campaign schools,” meant to groom local candidates for public service. “As a national party, our commitment is to build at the local level,” Martin said. “That’s where these dollars and excess dollars will go.”

    On her website, however, Stein’s donation page says that any extra dollars not devoted to the recount will “go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.”

  285. says

    Here is a link to the transcript for the full interview of Donald Trump conducted by the New York Times. Read it and weep.

    Excerpt in which Donald Trump lies his ass off about wind energy:

    […] First of all, we don’t make the windmills in the United States. They’re made in Germany and Japan.

    They’re made out of massive amounts of steel, which goes into the atmosphere, whether it’s in our country or not, it goes into the atmosphere. The windmills kill birds and the windmills need massive subsidies. In other words, we’re subsidizing wind mills all over this country. I mean, for the most part they don’t work. I don’t think they work at all without subsidy, and that bothers me, and they kill all the birds.

    You go to a windmill, you know in California they have the, what is it? The golden eagle? And they’re like, if you shoot a golden eagle, they go to jail for five years and yet they kill them by, they actually have to get permits that they’re only allowed to kill 30 or something in one year. The windmills are devastating to the bird population, O.K.

    With that being said, there’s a place for them. But they do need subsidy. So, if I talk negatively. I’ve been saying the same thing for years about you know, the wind industry. I wouldn’t want to subsidize it. Some environmentalists agree with me very much because of all of the things I just said, including the birds, and some don’t. But it’s hard to explain. I don’t care about anything having to do with anything having to do with anything other than the country. […]

    Partial debunking:

    Smallwood [Shawn Smallwood, California’s leading ornithologist for the study of raptors and wind turbines] says about 100 eagles die each year due to impacts with the spinning blades on windmills.

    “Mr. Trump could not have arrived at his number (hundreds and hundreds) from any reliable source, unless he is referring to all eagles killed by industrial-scale wind turbines since they were installed in the early 1980s,” Smallwood said. “Cumulatively over time, there have been hundreds of eagles killed, probably about 2,000.”


    And there’s this: More of America’s wind turbines are actually being built in America

    U.S.-built wind turbines are also being sold overseas.

  286. says

    Bryan Fischer of the American Family Radio organization made that full-of-crap, totally bonkers claim … and he also had no foundation for it.

    It originated with Alex Jones (for anyone who doesn’t know, he’s claimed Clinton and Obama are demons and that the Sandy Hook shooting was a false flag operation using child actors).

    I’m with you there. Similar things happened during the Cold War, and the US tried to influence the Iraqi elections via propaganda roughly a decade ago. We have at least two years’ worth of stories of Russia engaging in a variety of disinformation campaigns and hacking escapades, we have Russians on the ground calling out propaganda and press censorship. These are attested by multiple sources, most of which are off the record but some claimants are public. Hell, even right-wing rags have run excellent stories detailing how Russia spreads its propaganda.

    Ugh, that post and thread.

    1) Honestly, maybe a quarter to a third of my blog over the past several years has addressed these exact sorts of actions by the US government – as well as the Israeli government, the Saudi government, and other US allies as well as corporations and professional organizations – over decades. (Hell, one of the first things the CIA did after it was formed was work to fix the Italian elections in 1948, at which they were successful.) People like me arguing that this is going on are simply drawing reasonable conclusions based on the current evidence seen in the context of the history of multiple governments doing this.

    2) The fact that the US has long done it and continues to do it around the world shouldn’t lead anyone to dismiss the possibility or significance of Russia doing it now. The second simply doesn’t follow from the first.

    3) The difference from the Cold War is that, while the Soviet Union used many of the same tactics, Communism was never very popular in the US. It never had a chance – even without Soviet efforts – of becoming an established force here. The rightwing, racist, nationalist, authoritarian style of politics promoted by Russia today, in contrast, has deep roots here and in Europe. On top of that, the movements the Obama administration has aided and promoted in Latin America and elsewhere over the last eight years – even at the cost of basic respect for democracy – are also rightwing, which has been, as I’ve argued many times, both an immoral and a stupid strategy. That makes Russia’s manipulations all the more dangerous, in that they enter a world in which the Right is ascendant. Downplaying, denying, or ignoring those manipulations, under these circumstances, harms efforts to build global leftwing coalitions that can oppose the forces at work. There’s no reason to reject the importance of one rightwing force because it ostensibly opposes another. (And Putin’s government doesn’t even have the advantage the Soviet Union did at first – it doesn’t even pretend to offer a leftwing alternative, just a rightwing competitor.) Now that they’ve successfully helped elect* an unstable rightwing puppet in the US who will join them in promoting the far-Right in the US and Europe, we face a crisis situation. The Left needs to snap the hell out of it and recognize the forces arrayed against us globally. FFS. I’m absolutely flummoxed by the frivolous attitude toward the fact (or probability, if you prefer) that Putin worked successfully to get a far-Right ally/tool in office in the US through massive interference in our elections.

    4) Mano links to the same Greenwald piece I discussed above @ #353, quoting the same claim that the WaPo article doesn’t discuss the methods used by PON. But again, the WaPo article explicitly refer to the PON report to be posted online the next day. It was posted before these critical pieces were written, so they had full opportunity to read it and to engage with its substance. There are plenty of criticisms that could be made of the report and methods, but pretending the report doesn’t exist isn’t helpful.

    5) Dunc says in response to one of your comments: “that doesn’t mean that we can just automatically assume that any news story which in some way serves to advance Russian interests is propaganda. Firstly, some things which serve Russians interests are nevertheless true, and secondly, Russia are certainly not the only power employing propaganda here.” This is convoluted, but the individual points are wrong. I haven’t seen anyone claiming that “we can just automatically assume that any news story which in some way serves to advance Russian interests is propaganda.” That’s a straw man, and serves no useful purpose. Yes, some things that serve Russian interests are nevertheless true, but a) that’s not a valid reason to dismiss a massive propaganda and likely hacking operation, and b) that means we have to be extra careful about how we read and present information – we have to snap out of thinking that the US is the only effective state manipulator of information in its (supposed) interests. “The US and its allies do it, too!” is absolutely true and at the same time in no way detracts from the importance of the Russian operations.

    6) Constantly referring to this as a new Red Scare and describing any claim that a leftwing site passed on or cited Russian propaganda as a smear or blacklisting just works to bury any real concerns. The PON site could well be a sort of disinformation outfit (of course, by the logic of its critics – which is the same as my own – if what they say is propaganda, that doesn’t make it necessarily false). That doesn’t mean that we on the Left, who’ve long grown accustomed to focusing on the US and its allies, are immune from Russian propaganda. If nothing else, paying attention to these propaganda and manipulation efforts can help us to be more self-aware, more careful about not allowing our legitimate criticisms of the US government to play into the hands of other forces that are equally (if not more) hostile to our values and goals. By all means, as I said above, we should question and criticize the methods, claims, rhetoric, and possible motives of the PON people, but we should try to do it in a manner that’s less defensive and, well, shouty.

  287. says

    This is a followup to comment 383.

    Info Wars is pushing the claim that “more than three million” votes were cast by non-citizens in the recent presidential election.

    […] While elections officials and fact-checking websites have adamantly denied that any such widespread voter fraud occurred, one national news site has pushed this myth: conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars.

    A widely-shared November 14 article from the site that alleged that “Trump may have won the popular vote” claims that “more than three million” votes were cast by non-citizens. As PolitiFact documented, the story is based off tweets from Gregg Phillips, a GOP operative who claims to be the founder of, a voter fraud reporting app. It also cites a report from, though no such report exists.

    Phillips told PolitiFact he was still analyzing and verifying data and refused to offer any additional information about how he arrived at the three million figure.

    Elections experts have concluded that there is almost no evidence for this sort of fraud […]

    Talking Points Memo link

    California’s Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, responded to Trump’s claim and to the claims of other unreliable rightwing doofuses:

    It appears that Mr. Trump is troubled by the fact that a growing majority of Americans did not vote for him. His unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd. His reckless tweets are inappropriate and unbecoming of a President-elect.

  288. says

    This is a followup to comments 383 and 387.

    Clinton campaign attorney Marc Elias tweeted:

    We are getting attacked for participating in a recount that we didn’t ask for by the man who won election but thinks there was massive fraud

  289. says

    SC, thank you for comment 386, and for this very cogent analysis:

    […] Now that they’ve successfully helped elect* an unstable rightwing puppet in the US who will join them in promoting the far-Right in the US and Europe, we face a crisis situation. The Left needs to snap the hell out of it and recognize the forces arrayed against us globally. FFS. I’m absolutely flummoxed by the frivolous attitude toward the fact (or probability, if you prefer) that Putin worked successfully to get a far-Right ally/tool in office in the US through massive interference in our elections. […]

  290. says

    “The People Chose Hillary Clinton. Now We Need To Stop Donald Trump From Trashing Our Democracy”:

    …Three simple points. He was not the choice of the people; he prevailed with the help of a foreign power, a power to which he will clearly be indebted; and he tells us straight up that he will do as he pleases with his business and that he is above the law.

    The Democrats ought to be able to stand up and oppose that—not in the name of party, but in the name of country. The press ought to, too—not in the name of “liberalism,” but in the name of the values we purport to defend. We are in a crisis. The next few weeks will show us who’s up to recognizing and acting on it.

  291. says

    “Texas Elector Resigns: Trump Is Not Qualified And I Cannot Vote For Him.”

    True, he’s resigning for patriarchal and Christian (but I repeat myself) reasons, and he’s in many ways a walking advertisement for the end of the electoral college, and he genuinely believes that “There is no doubt that Trump has said and done things that are too depraved to be repeated here, but so has Hillary Clinton,” which is ludicrous. However, his Christian code at least allows him to recognize that Trump is indecent, unfit, and dangerous and his conscience won’t let him vote for him.

  292. says

    The Associated Press calls a duck a duck:

    “Alt-right” (quotation marks, hyphen and lower case) may be used in quotes or modified as in the “self-described” or “so-called alt-right” in stories discussing what the movement says about itself.

    Avoid using the term generically and without definition, however, because it is not well known and the term may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience. In the past we have called such beliefs racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.

    Those are good guidelines. Fortunately many newspapers and magazines already use the style guidelines of the Associated Press. Maybe we will see less normalizing of the term “alt-right,” and less kowtowing to white supremacists who want to redefine themselves as not offensive.

  293. says

    Hillary Clinton now has a 2,235,663 popular vote lead over Donald Trump.

    In other news, The New York Times unearthed some more details concerning Steve Bannon:

    […] Ms. Jones, the film colleague, said that in their years working together, Mr. Bannon occasionally talked about the genetic superiority of some people and once mused about the desirability of limiting the vote to property owners.

    “I said, ‘That would exclude a lot of African-Americans,’” Ms. Jones recalled. “He said, ‘Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.’ I said, ‘But what about Wendy?’” referring to Mr. Bannon’s executive assistant. “He said, ‘She’s different. She’s family.’” […]

  294. Hj Hornbeck says

    Hey, how long has it been since we Pharyngulated a poll? I ask because

    Breitbart is now running an  online poll to allow its readers to determine “Who should be Donald Trump’s secretary of state?”

    “You, the Breitbart reader, were instrumental in Trump’s election victory and the continuing rise of America’s nationalist-populist movement,” the site says in an accompanying write-up. “We want to know who you would prefer to serve as the country’s chief diplomat.”

    Over 141,000 votes have thus far been cast since the poll opened on Friday. As of this writing, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani leads his nearest competitors (former CIA director David Petraeus and former UN ambassador John Bolton) by 17 and 11 points, respectively.

    And yes, at least one person on that list has emailed their supporters to ask them to vote.

    sigh, at least Trump is trying to encourage more civic engagment from 4chan…

  295. says

    This is a very good piece by Jamelle Bouie. Two additions: We have to address the familial and cultural roots of authoritarianism and “the process of deranged self-construction” that are at the heart of the Right in the US and elsewhere.* That can’t be done through political or economic policies alone. Second, as I said just after the election, we need to create links of solidarity with people across borders, which would also include opposing and resisting not just Republican but much Democratic foreign policy. This is especially important since the Right is once again increasingly a global(ist!) movement.

    * Really – authoritarian parenting is an explicit movement geared toward obtaining these results.

  296. Hj Hornbeck says

    There may be a reason for that Breitbart poll, after all.

    Rep. Chris Collins has joined the chorus of pro-Donald Trump Republicans preemptively denouncing Mitt Romney’s potential selection as President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state. …

    Collins’ animus toward Romney was shared by former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who told said Sunday, “I’m all for party unity, but I’m not sure we have to pay for that with the secretary of state position. I’m hearing from people who say, ‘Hey, my parents died penniless but I gave $216 to Donald Trump’s campaign and I would feel betrayed [if Romney is nominated].’”

    The article also mentions opposition from Mike Huckabee, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and (wait for it) Steve Bannon. Another one I’d read suggested Vladimir Putin may be opposed, too.

    Not everyone on Team Trump is convinced that the attacks on Romney are coming from an idealistic place. Alongside reports that Vice President-elect Mike Pence is pushing for Romney’s nomination, Republican political commentator Ana Navarro (who has been a staunch critic of Trump) offered the following speculation on Twitter:

    U think she’s 2nd guessing Trump? Acting rogue? Attacks on Romney not a solo act- Gingrich, Huckabee. Trump coordinated payback/humbling.

    Trump seems to be taking the disagreement in his usual way.

    The criticism [by Conway] has reportedly irked Trump. According to CNBC, Conway is “going rogue” with her comments Sunday. “Instead of driving Donald Trump’s message, she’s pushing her own agenda,” a source was quoted as saying. Conway has responded to reports that the Trump campaign is furious with her by denouncing them as “sexist.”

    The transition’s going well, I see.

  297. says

    “House Dems Press Chaffetz For Oversight Of Trump’s Business Conflicts”:

    All 17 Democrats on the House Oversight Committee called on committee chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to review President-elect Donald Trump’s business ties Monday, two weeks after ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) made his original request for such a review.

    “Although you have stated publicly that you will hold Mr. Trump to the same standards as President Obama and Secretary Clinton, you have not responded to Ranking Member Cummings’ letter, and you have not taken steps to conduct basic oversight of these unprecedented challenges,” a letter from the Democrats reads.

    The latest letter from committee Democrats, which is many pages longer than Cummings’ original request, cites “troubling new revelations about Mr. Trump’s actions” that it asserts make congressional oversight “even more urgent.”

    “We also ask that the Committee formally request that Mr. Trump provide the Oversight Committee with copies of his tax returns,” the letter concludes….

    While he’s at it, perhaps Chaffetz could investigate how his turning back toward Trump (in explicit betrayal of his own daughter) was timed so perfectly just before Comey’s first letter.

  298. says

    Hj Hornbeck @398, I never thought I’d see the day when Romney was the best choice.

    SC @397, good luck getting Chaffetz to do anything he should do now that he has sided with Trump. I doubt the Democrats will be successful with the oversight request, even though the request is so obviously reasonable.

    In other news, the White House press secretary confirmed today that there is no evidence to back up Trump’s claim that 3 million non-citizens voted for Hillary Clinton. The press secretary did so without mentioning Trump’s name (or Clinton’s for that matter).

    Steve Benen took on Trump’s lies. An excerpt:

    […] He’s lying. Trump didn’t win the Electoral College in a “landslide.” Millions of Americans did not vote illegally. There is no evidence of “serious voter fraud” in Virginia, New Hampshire, and California. The president-elect just made all of this up, hoping his followers will simply accept fiction as fact.

    * These are self-defeating lies. […] There is no sane incentive for the prevailing candidate to question the legitimacy of the election, falsely claiming that millions of illegal ballots were cast. Whether he realizes this or not, Trump is effectively endorsing progressive calls for audits and recounts, though his self-interest suggests he should be doing the opposite.

    * This is the dumbest possible way to talk about the popular vote. […] Trump wants Americans to believe he actually won the popular vote – making the metric more important, not less – thanks to imaginary evidence he cannot and will not produce.

    * […] Trump is still Trump. He still loves bizarre conspiracy theories that don’t make sense. He still disregards facts he finds inconvenient. He still lies in lazy and easily discredited ways. He still lacks discipline and self-restraint. He still lacks the temperament of an adult. […]

    * […] Don’t be too surprised if yesterday’s nonsensical tweets were intended to help lay the groundwork for placing new hurdles between Americans and their democracy.

    * He’s delegitimizing the elections and the democratic system simultaneously. […] Will the media be alone in this challenge? Or will members of BOTH parties decide that what’s happening to two key institutions – the press and the vote – is worth fighting for?”

  299. says

    Steve Benen points out that people who voted for Trump, and Republicans in general, do not know what “populism” means.

    […] One of these days, conservatives are going to have to come to terms with the fact that they have no idea what “populism” means.

    Indeed, not long after Moore’s [Stephen Moore, a conservative economist advising Donald Trump] remarks, the Republican president-elect, leading the newly transformed “populist working-class party,” indicated a variety of far-right billionaires would join his cabinet, including vulture capitalist Wilbur Ross for the Department of Commerce.

    Which was right around the time Republicans celebrated a court ruling blocking President Obama’s policy expanding access to overtime pay for millions of working-class Americans.

    Which was right around the time the Associated Press reported – about a month too late – that Trump’s tax plan would actually raise taxes on many middle-class Americans while delivering a windfall to those at the top.

    This. Is. Not. Populism. […]

    Trump is a rhetorical populist, not an actual populist.

    […] actual populism is based on policies and proposals that advance the interests of working people. Real populists […] fight for opportunities for those without, not those who are already members of the elite.

    “Trump has converted the GOP into a populist working-class party”? Please. Since Election Day, it’s become increasingly clear that Trump’s team, priorities, and agenda represent the exact opposite.

  300. says

    This piece includes the full letter the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee sent to Chaffetz, calling him out on his dereliction and demanding he fulfill his constitutional responsibilities. It’s good to have the corruption documented before the public and in a way Chaffetz can’t claim he was unaware of.

  301. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Oh what a tangled web…. The Washington Post has an an extensive profile of Jared Kushner. There’s lots of damning evidence (and it touches both parties). A few, um, highlights:

    In 1997, when Kushner was just 16, then-President Bill Clinton made a stop at the corporate headquarters of the family business, lavishing praise on the Kushners during a speech. To mark the moment, the Kushners gave Clinton a shofar — a ram’s-horn musical instrument used in Jewish religious ceremonies.

    A year later, as Jared Kushner was starting to fill out college applications, his father pledged $2.5 million to Harvard, to be paid in $250,000 yearly installments, according to a book, “The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges,” by journalist Daniel Golden. Jared’s test scores were below Ivy League standards, Golden wrote, citing an unnamed official at the yeshiva high school in northern New Jersey that Jared attended. But he had powerful people vouch for him.

    Then-Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) made a call to the Harvard admissions staff on Kushner’s behalf — at the urging of a Democratic senator from New Jersey, Frank Lautenberg, who had received more than $100,000 in donations from Charles Kushner, according to the book.

    Jared Kushner was admitted.

    Kushner also made a business decision that would give him a toehold in the world of New Jersey politics that Christie was about to inhabit. He bought a successful political gossip website called that was run by an anonymous blogger. Later, when Christie was running for governor in 2009, he suggested that Kushner was using the website to damage him.

    “It’s a Kushner-owned enterprise,” Christie said. “And I don’t think I’ll be getting Charles Kushner’s family’s vote come November.”

    Christie became governor of New Jersey. He was an early favorite for the Republican presidential nomination this year until Trump’s remarkable ascent. Christie dropped out and supported Trump, putting him in a position to get a key role in a Trump administration. But Kushner now was in a position to influence the fate of the man who had put his father behind bars.

    Speculation has swirled that Kushner helped convince Trump not to pick Christie to be his vice president. Friends said privately that Kushner was smart enough not to have made his argument a personal one. The residual damage from a Christie scandal that became known as Bridgegate was enough reason, they said.

    At it turned out, the anonymous blogger whose website Kushner had acquired was at the center of the scandal. The Christie administration had recruited David Wildstein away from Kushner’s website for a job as an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an agency that runs the region’s bridges and airports.

    Wildstein and two other Christie aides were convicted this year of closing lanes to the George Washington Bridge in an act of political revenge. The mayor of a town at the foot of the bridge had not endorsed Christie, and the lane closures choked the town with crippling traffic.

    Back on Dec. 7, 2013, the day after Wildstein resigned from the Port Authority amid growing evidence that he had ordered the lane closures, Kushner got in touch with him. In an email obtained by The Post, Kushner drew a parallel between Wildstein and his father, who had also resigned as a Port Authority commissioner in 2003 as questions began to percolate about Kushner’s campaign contributions.

    “Just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and wishing the best. For what it’s worth, I thought the move you pulled was kind of badass,” Kushner wrote.

    Lots of other juicy stuff there.

  302. Hj Hornbeck says

    Michigan was called at long last, and Trump had a lead of 10,704 votes out of 4.5 million. The Trump team celebrated this in their usual way.

    306. Landslide. Blowout. Historic.

    — Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) November 28, 2016

    But in a historical context, Trump’s Electoral College performance is decidedly below-average. So it’s a bit Orwellian to call it a “landslide” or a “blowout.” There have been 54 presidential elections since the ratification of the 12th Amendment in 1804. (Before that, presidential electors cast two votes each, making it hard to compare them to present-day elections.) Of those 54 cases, Trump’s share of the electoral vote — assuming there are no faithless electors or results overturned by recounts — ranks 44th.

  303. Hj Hornbeck says

    If anyone’s facing people who are incredulous that Russia is spreading false news stories, this cross-post from Singham’s blog might help.


    Ordinary claims require ordinary evidence. I’m not seeing anything that would rise to that level.

    Soooo you don’t see stuff like this?

    The planting of false stories is nothing new; the Soviet Union devoted considerable resources to that during the ideological battles of the Cold War. Now, though, disinformation is regarded as an important aspect of Russian military doctrine, and it is being directed at political debates in target countries with far greater sophistication and volume than in the past.
    The flow of misleading and inaccurate stories is so strong that both NATO and the European Union have established special offices to identify and refute disinformation, particularly claims emanating from Russia. ….
    The Kremlin uses both conventional media — Sputnik, a news agency, and RT, a television outlet — and covert channels, as in Sweden, that are almost always untraceable.
    Russia exploits both approaches in a comprehensive assault, Wilhelm Unge, a spokesman for the Swedish Security Service, said this year when presenting the agency’s annual report. “We mean everything from internet trolls to propaganda and misinformation spread by media companies like RT and Sputnik,” he said.

    Or this?

    The turning point is generally agreed to have occurred in 2008, when Russia provoked the Georgian government into an attempt to recover its lost province of Ossetia and promptly responded with an invasion and occupation of parts of Georgia. RT gave Putin cover with a jingoistic campaign that denounced the Georgians as genocidal. That campaign in turn now looks like a dry run for RT’s reporting and commentary on the Ukrainian crisis, which depicted the Kiev government as bloodthirsty neo-fascists intent on ethnic cleansing etc. — while depicting actual bloodthirsty neo-fascists (and Russian soldiers) in eastern Ukraine as peace-minded democrats.
    If that were all, RT would be as ineffective as Radio Moscow used to be. Simple ideological abuse alerts people that they are being manipulated. But as Peter Pomerantsev explains in his forthcoming book on modern Russia, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, what makes RT more insidious is that it has most of the external features of legitimate western journalism:

    Russia Today began to look and sound like any 24/7 news channel: the thumping music before the news flash, the earnest pretty newscasters, the jock-like sports broadcasters. British and American twentysomethings straight out of university would be offered generous compensation packages, where in London or Washington they would have been expected to work for free. Of course they all wondered whether RT would turn out to be a propaganda channel. ‘Well, it’s all about expressing the Russian point of view,’ they would say, a little uncertainly.

    Or this?

    In 2013 the head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Valery Gerasimov, claimed that it was now possible to defeat enemies through a “combination of political, economic, information, technological, and ecological campaigns”. This was part of a vision of war which lay not in the realm of physical contact but in what Russian theorists described as the “psychosphere”. These wars of the future would be fought not on the battlefield but in the minds of men.
    Disinformation and psychological operations are as old as the Trojan horse. But what distinguished the Kremlin’s approach from that of its western rivals was this new stress on the “psychosphere” as the theatre of conflict. The information operation was no longer auxiliary to some physical struggle or military invasion: now it had become an end in itself. Indeed, as the Russian encyclopedia for its practitioners concluded: “Information war … is in many places replacing standard war.”

  304. Hj Hornbeck says

    @realdonaldtrump: Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
    3:55 AM – 29 Nov 2016

    Four more years of this, I guess?

  305. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 412:
    [I refuse to quote]
    Has he ever READ the Constitution? Can he read paper or only tweets? Does he know the power the POTUS is allowed.
    Yeah, many agree “nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag.”
    must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail ! is comment needing anger management.

  306. says

    Representatives of the SPLC and other what I suppose should now be called social defense organizations are doing a press conference on “civil rights, racism, and hate incidents” right now at the National Press Club, which is being covered live on C-SPAN 3. They’re in the Q&A section now. The SPLC has two new reports: “Ten Days After: Harassment and Intimidation in the Aftermath of the Election” and “The Trump Effect: The Impact of The 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation’s Schools.” From the latter:

    In the first days after the 2016 presidential election, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project administered an online survey to K–12 educators from across the country. Over 10,000 teachers, counselors, administrators and others who work in schools have responded. The survey data indicate that the results of the election are having a profoundly negative impact on schools and students. Ninety percent of educators report that school climate has been negatively affected, and most of them believe it will have a long-lasting impact. A full 80 percent describe heightened anxiety and concern on the part of students worried about the impact of the election on themselves and their families.

    Also on the upswing: verbal harassment, the use of slurs and derogatory language, and disturbing incidents involving swastikas, Nazi salutes and Confederate flags.

    The dynamics and incidents these educators reported are nothing short of a crisis and should be treated as such. We end the report with a series of recommendations that school leaders and administrators should take immediately. These include making public statements that set expectations, establishing protocols to identify students who are being targeted or whose emotional needs have changed, doubling down on anti-bullying strategies and being alert to signs of a hostile environment. Most importantly, every school should have a crisis plan to respond to hate and bias incidents.

    These are only the initial steps. What new steps will be needed depends entirely on how the rapidly changing political environment (and new federal policies) affect fragile school cultures. At minimum, all schools will need to work to rebuild community; many will need to deal with even more serious threats. The kinds of disruption we describe in this report have long-lasting impacts; school leaders must be ready to respond….

    Update: In the time it took me to post this, it ended. I’ll get the link to the recording when it’s available on the C-SPAN site.

  307. says

    Cross posted from the “How Bad are Trump’s Advisors” thread.

    Trump also made a dubious pick for deputy national security advisor. He chose KT McFarland, who, as Rachel Maddow pointed out, once ran against Hillary Clinton for Senator for the state of New York.

    During that campaign, McFarland released to the press a resumé that was so inflated and obviously false that it was a source for comedy.

    Maddow’s segment starts with the failures of other prospective Clinton opponents. Then Maddow moves on to McFarland, an “an Upper East Side society matron with no campaign experience.”

    McFarland was illegally registered to vote from two different addresses at the same time. She voted from South Hampton and from Manhattan. Her sole qualification for office seems to be that she is rich.

    Despite being personally wealthy, McFarland used campaign donations to pay for golf outings with Rudy Giuliani at the exclusive Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. [illegal] Her excuse was “ignorance.”

    Her resumé included claims that she was the highest ranking woman in the Pentagon during the Reagan administration. She was not. Two women held higher ranks.

    She also claimed to be the first female professional staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She was not. Two women attained the title of professional staff member before she did.

    She also claimed that she had written Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” speech. She did not. President Reagan and his national security advisors wrote that speech.

    At one point, even the NY state Republican Party asked McFarland to drop out of the race. She did not. She lost the primary for the senate by 22 points.

    Her next gig was as a contributor on Fox News. Okay, that and her being rich are what got her the nod from Trump.

    That’s the person Trump chose for Deputy National Security Advisor. And Trump can make that appointment without a Senate confirmation. No confirmation needed.

    Read more:

    Maddow discussed this inappropriate appointment by Trump with Michael Beschloss. Beschloss used an example from the 1960s to point out what an important role national security advisors play.

  308. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    More on Trump and flag burning.

    Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller defended his boss’s position during an appearance on CNN.

    Flag burning should be illegal, he said repeatedly on the CNN’s “New Day.”

    Kevin McCarthy blowing the dog whistle:

    We have a First Amendment right, but where I come from, you honor the flag, McCarthy said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” If someone wanted to show their First Amendment right, I’d be afraid for their safety, but we’ll protect our First Amendment.

    Scalia was one of the justices in the majority that declared the flag burning law unconstitutional (twice, in 1989 and 1990), but this is what he said at the time:

    If it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag, Scalia said an event last year. But, he said: I am not king.

  309. Saad says

    Hj Hornbeck, #412

    @realdonaldtrump: Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
    3:55 AM – 29 Nov 2016

    Four more years of this, I guess?

    Hey, us progressives should be happy. Whatever it took to keep evil Hillary out of office.

    /s af

  310. says

    Word is that Trump saw a show about flag-burning on TV. Yes, the timing of Trump’s tweet matches fairly closely a segment on Fox News that showed students burning the flag. The segment that aired on Fox explains it all for me.

    Trump is not brilliant. He is not trying to distract us, nor to distract the media (though he succeeds at both). He just knee-jerk-reacting to what he sees on TV. Trump is a doofus with no impulse control.

    Also, he has no fucking idea when it comes to citizenship. He can’t revoke it. He can’t even understand it.

  311. says

    Chris Hayes followed the birth of the current voter-fraud conspiracy theory “from some random guy’s Twitter feed” to Trump:

    Election officials around the country are of course still counting ballots as we speak and in the three weeks since Election Day, Hillary Clinton’s popular vote margin has quietly grown to more than 2 million votes or about 1.7 percent. Still not finished counting. And that is not small, by historical standards. Adding up to a pretty extraordinary mismatch between the popular vote and the Electoral College. One unseen in 140 years.

    So Donald Trump, a man who measures success and ratings and poll numbers, seems to have opted to go with another set of facts entirely. Which brings us back to his tweet yesterday. “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” That as I said is simply not true. There is no evidence to back up Trump’s claim.

    Washington Post’s Phillip Bump traced its origins back to a Texas conservative named Greg Phillips who tweeted three days after the election, “completed analysis of database of 180 million voter registrations. Number of non-citizen votes exceeds 3 million. Consulting legal team.” Huh. A fervent voter fraud activist, Phillips has yet to share any of his data. Nevertheless, his tweets got picked up by InfoWars. That’s the website run by conspiracy theorist and fervent Trump ally Alex Jones, a 9/11 truther who believes that was an inside job and who also believes the Sandy Hook massacre was staged.

    From there, it went to the top of the Drudge Report. Even Drudge, we will note, was skeptical enough to label it a claim. Claim. Not a statement, of established fact. Good for Drudge. Now think about that trajectory for a second from some random guy’s Twitter feed to a pronouncement by the soon to be most powerful person in the world.

  312. says

    “The Trump conflicts of interest we can see are just the tip of the iceberg: The true possibility of corruption is essentially unlimited.”:

    …To put it even more plainly: We have absolutely no idea what Trump owns, who his business partners are, who is paying him, or whom he owes money to….

    And thanks to his failure to do any kind of meaningful financial transparency, the basic reality is we’re not really sure what he owns and we won’t be sure how his family’s investment portfolio shifts over the years. The truly scary thing, in other words, isn’t the conflicts of interest we can see. It’s all the conflicts — and, conceivably, bribes, insider trading, and other illicit activity — that we can’t see.

    Banks will…know that when Trump’s kids come calling looking for real estate loans, the prudent thing to do is offer them a generous interest rate. Ability to secure access to financing on favorable terms is often the difference between profit and loss in the real estate industry, so the Trump Organization’s financial fortunes will hinge on the organization receiving favors from banks. That means every decision Trump’s administration makes with regard to financial regulation is essentially a conflict of interest.

    The cure is simple: Trump must sell

    There is no really good way out of this mess. The fact of the matter is that a man with a multimillion-dollar fortune that’s tied up in opaque real estate and brand licensing deals shouldn’t have received a major party’s nomination for president. One of the major roles political parties play in maintaining and sustaining democratic institutions is that they are supposed to provide the voters with broadly suitable candidates for office, who can then stand as representatives for various social and ideological groups.

    With all that water under the bridge, the only viable solution is for Trump to sell his companies and then put the financial proceeds into either a real blind trust or diversified index funds….

  313. says

    “House Majority Leader: Repeal Obamacare First Then Replace Later”:

    House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill that his preference is for the new Congress to move immediately to repeal Obamacare, and then deal with passing a replacement plan later.

    “My personal belief and nothing has been decided yet. I would [move through] and repeal and then go to work on replacing,” McCarthy said. “I think once it is repealed you will have, hopefully, fewer people playing politics.”

  314. says

    David Corn’s response to Trump’s stupid tweet about flag burning:

    Today’s choice for outrage:
    A. A stupid tweet about flag burning that makes Trump sound fascistic.
    B. Privatizing Medicare.
    C. Both.

    Wonkette’s explanation:

    […] he [Trump] is both a dumb, unhinged, thin-skinned jackass with the self-control of a toddler who is currently pooping, and also a reality TV showman who wants to be the architect of his own media coverage, driving the story with the luxurious production values and brilliance ONLY HE POSSESSES.

    But it doesn’t matter. The point is that if we spend the next few years obsessing over every wayward tweet, it might be easy to miss the stories of Trump actually working to dismantle our American system, and we don’t want to do that, now do we?

    So just unfollow him. We promise, if he tweets something awful, you’ll hear about it. Also, can you imagine how shriveled up his Down Theres would get if he suddenly started hemorrhaging Twitter followers? LOLOL HILARIOUS!

    So just go #UnfollowDonaldTrump, will ya? DO IT FOR AMERICA! AND TO MAKE HIM FEEL SAD IN HIS PANTS! FUCK YEAH!

    OK, that’s all, post over, WONKETTE OUT.

    Wonkette link

  315. says

    “Donald Trump Is Coming for Your Medicare: The selection of Tom Price to head HHS brings the president-elect into alignment with Speaker Paul Ryan.”:

    For those who thought Donald Trump, someone who spent two years on the campaign trail promising to protect programs like Medicare, might consider keeping that promise, let today’s news disabuse you of that notion. The selection of Georgia Congressman Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary offers the clearest signal yet that Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are perfectly aligned, and ready to make Medicare phase-out the signature proposal of his presidency.

    [T]he Price pick should leave no doubt: Donald Trump is coming for your Medicare. This is not a drill. His allies in the cabinet and on Capitol Hill mean to roll back the Great Society. They have been meticulously laying out the plan for close to a decade. None of Trump’s statements over the past year mean as much as installing Tom Price at HHS.

     So what can liberals do in response? Using reconciliation means that Republicans can accomplish this entirely on their own. The only question is whether Democrats will make the idea so toxic that they threaten the job security of anyone in Washington who goes along with it….

     Democrats can take up the fight immediately, in the special elections that will arise as Trump fills out his cabinet. CIA Director nominee Mike Pompeo’s seat in Kansas and Price’s in Georgia are pretty red, but seniors typically represent the largest voting bloc in these low-turnout races. In 2011, the last time Ryan made a serious push to privatize Medicare, Kathy Hochul won a right-leaning seat in upstate New York by making the race entirely about social insurance. This can be replicated, proving the concept that trying to dismantle programs Americans have paid into their entire working lives is political suicide.

  316. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Trump is “draining the swamp” at Treasury by naming Elaine Chao secretary.

    A partial resume:

    Former deputy secretary of transportation
    Secretary of Labor under Bush
    Heritage Foundation fellow
    Fox News contributor

    And of course she’s married to Mitch McConnell.

    But hey, she brings diversity!

  317. says

    In today’s kleptocracy news:

    The Kingdom of Bahrain will observe its 45th national day at President-elect Donald Trump’s new Washington, D.C., hotel.

    Bahrain will hold a reception next Wednesday at Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, according to an invitation from the country’s embassy obtained by POLITICO on Tuesday.

  318. Pierce R. Butler says

    Here’s another piece pointing out WaPo‘s journalistic malpractice in puffing “PropOrNot” and its rectally-extracted claims.

    And another.

    Plus a cute little no-comment-needed snarkage from an FTBlogger on the “PropOrNot” “leader”‘s call for anonymity to protect himself from “legions” of ace hackers.

  319. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says


    Homeland Security Secretary

    Joe Arpaio Departing sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz
    David A. Clarke Jr. Milwaukee County sheriff
    Rudolph W. Giuliani Former mayor of New York
    John F. Kelly A retired four-star Marine general whose son was killed in combat in Afghanistan
    Kris Kobach Kansas secretary of state and a top adviser to Mr. Trump on his hard-line immigration policies
    Michael McCaul Representative from Texas and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee

    My bet is on Joe, given his ‘stellar reputation’ (said through gritted teeth).
    Guiliani a close second, given his prominence at the RNC.
    To explain: this was inspired by a sarcastic parody tweet (by @midnight hardwick) that ‘Dan Quayle was just seen going into Trump Tower to visit the elect to teach grammar’. *chuckle*
    Wondering which cabinet positions are still open (in case Dan really did go into Trump Tower), I dove into the google. and google’s top suggestion, when I had only gotten as far as “trump”, in process of typing “trump’s cabinet” was [trump’s cabinet]. spooky.
    Browsing the list, I was not too shocked to see Arpaio under consideration. of course he wants to make the cabinet a total basket of clusterfuck.

  320. KG says

    Burka ban backed by Dutch MPs for public places. THe ban, if confirmed by the Senate, will ban the burka and niqab, along with other face-coverings, in schools, hospitals and public transport. It is backed by – get this – the Labour-Liberal coalition government. The opposition Muslim-hating “Freedom Party”, which leads in opinion polls (an election is due in March) wants a ban in all public places. When will lackwits like the “Labour-Liberal coalition” MPs learn that you can’t defeat fascism by passing fascist measures?

    Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruling Liberal-Labour coalition described the bill as “religious-neutral”.

    Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his ruling coalition are, to put it politely, lying scum.

  321. KG says

    Further to #432.
    There are according to the linked article between 100 and 400 women in the Netherlands who wear the niqab. Evidently, then, this is rightly considered a matter of utmost national importance, fully justifying the time spent on passing this law and the resources that will be required to enforce it.

  322. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @422:

    ban the burka […] in schools, hospitals and public transport. [vs] a ban in all public places.

    I see. Attempt at compromise. /s
    fine example of what NOT to do with our Drumph. Compromise is a form of nomalization [sic], of which he does not deserve in the least.

  323. says

    This is interesting, and it is a tactic will help in two ways:
    1. Protecting the protestors
    2. Garnering more national media coverage

    As many as 2,000 veterans planned to gather next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have for months clashed with the police over the construction of an oil pipeline, organizers said.

    The effort, called Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, is planned as a nonviolent intervention to defend the demonstrators from what the group calls “assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force.”

    The veterans’ plan coincides with an announcement on Tuesday by law enforcement officials that they would begin blocking supplies, including food, from entering the main protest camp after a mandatory evacuation order from the governor. But protesters have vowed to stay put. […]

    NY Times link

  324. says

    Fleeing to Canada, sort of:

    The Internet Archive, a nonprofit that saves copies of old web pages, is creating a backup of its database in Canada, in response to the election of Donald Trump.

    “On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change,” the organization wrote in a blogpost explaining the move. “It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change.”

    The Internet Archive is responsible for services like the Wayback Machine, a tool that allows users to access cached versions of websites long after they are pulled from the internet, and Open Library, which offers free access to millions of e-books.

    The move will cost millions, according to the Internet Archive, which is soliciting donations.

    In their post, the Internet Archive justified its decision to backup its data in Canada, claiming that Trump could threaten an open internet. […]

    The Hill link

  325. says

    In the category of “selling the office of the president to high rollers,” Trump’s inaugural committee is selling inauguration packages for the low, low price of $1,000,000. Get yours now.

    Donald Trump’s inaugural committee is offering huge perks — prime tickets, luxurious lodging, access to the president-elect himself — in exchange for six- and seven-figure contributions from individual and corporate contributors.

    Donors in the “$1,000,000+” category will receive four tickets to a “leadership luncheon” billed as an “exclusive inaugural event” for donors in that category and featuring “select Cabinet appointees and House and Senate leadership to honor our most generous inaugural supporters,” according to a brochure obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.

    They’ll also get four tickets to a dinner with Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, and eight tickets to a “ladies luncheon” billed as “an opportunity to meet the ladies of the first families.” In addition, they’ll receive tickets to a series of other dinners and receptions featuring Trump, Pence and other officials, and eight “premier access” tickets to a black-tie inaugural ball attended by the president, vice president and their wives. […]

  326. says

    Kevin Drum, writing for Mother Jones, presented a hilarious (and simultaneously horrifying) roundup of Trump’s freakout over the popular vote win by Clinton, Trump’s flip-out over CNN’s coverage of his claim about vote fraud, about CNN in general (Bad reporter), and somehow about racist thugs on CNN (as confirmed by Trump supporters who don’t like news hosts who non-white).

  327. says

    Here’s another piece pointing out WaPo‘s journalistic malpractice in puffing “PropOrNot” and its rectally-extracted claims.

    And another.

    The first of those is pretty much the same as the ones discussed above. Taibbi’s in RS is better, but shares several of the same problems as the others, including hyperbolic language (“the vast majority of reporters would have needed to see something a lot more concrete than a half-assed theoretical paper from such a dicey source before denouncing 200 news organizations as traitors”); suggesting that PON is the single source of all of these claims, when in reality they and supporting evidence have appeared in numerous publications;* and, most importantly, apparently not engaging with the report referred to in the WaPo article. He doesn’t provide a link to it. I know it was available to him, since his article was published on the 26th and the report was published at midnight on the 25th. It is somewhat hard to find, but not that hard if you’re looking for it. Again, here it is.

    Critics have offered good reasons to engage with PON skeptically (and there are others I haven’t seen mentioned, such as their reference to sites featuring “anti-GMO paranoia”). But we need to engage with what PON has actually presented. Could be one guy posing as a network. Could be a front for the State Department.** Could be correct and able to show convincing evidence concerning some organizations and wrong about others. Could be that in many cases it comes down to interpretation (and thinking about this could be useful for many writers). People have to be explicit about what specifically they take issue with – and I don’t believe “that’s a crazy conspiracy theory I dismiss out of hand” is a valid objection – in order for this to be a productive discussion.

    * The Timberg piece has its issues, but a major part of the problem is that since it focuses so much on PON it decontextualizes it, sidelining all of the other evidence of a sophisticated Russian program of propaganda and media manipulation.

    ** This is another inconsistency. So many of these critical articles suggest that WaPo or PON are tools of US intelligence, NATO, or whatever, but seem to find it preposterous that anyone would claim similar effective manipulation on the part of the Kremlin, which is frankly bizarre.

  328. says

    This is interesting, and it is a tactic will help in two ways:
    1. Protecting the protestors
    2. Garnering more national media coverage

    I mentioned a few days ago (@ #265 above) that I was planning to donate, and I did earlier today. There’s a link to the GoFundMe page here. The campaign is trending, with donations rolling in. It’s a great effort.

  329. Hj Hornbeck says

    SC @939:

    But we need to engage with what PON has actually presented. Could be one guy posing as a network. Could be a front for the State Department.** Could be correct and able to show convincing evidence concerning some organizations and wrong about others. Could be that in many cases it comes down to interpretation (and thinking about this could be useful for many writers). People have to be explicit about what specifically they take issue with – and I don’t believe “that’s a crazy conspiracy theory I dismiss out of hand” is a valid objection – in order for this to be a productive discussion.

    “What you say and what evidence you bring to bear is more important than who says it.” Wasn’t that one of the guiding principles of skepticism? shrug.

    It’s not like PropOrNot are alone in calling this, either. War on the Rocks came to the same conclusion back on November 6th.

    We have been tracking Russian online information operations since 2014, when our interest was piqued by strange activity we observed studying online dimensions of jihadism and the Syrian civil war. When experts published content criticizing the Russian-supported Bashar al Assad regime, organized hordes of trolls would appear to attack the authors on Twitter and Facebook. Examining the troll social networks revealed dozens of accounts presenting themselves as attractive young women eager to talk politics with Americans, including some working in the national security sector. These “honeypot” social media accounts were linked to other accounts used by the Syrian Electronic Army hacker operation. All three elements were working together: the trolls to sow doubt, the honeypots to win trust, and the hackers (we believe) to exploit clicks on dubious links sent out by the first two.

    The Syrian network did not stand alone. Beyond it lurked closely interconnected networks tied to Syria’s allies, Iran and Russia. Many of these networks were aimed at U.S. political dissenters and domestic extremist movements, including militia groups, white nationalists, and anarchists.

    Today, that network is still hard at work, running at peak capacity to destroy Americans’ confidence in their system of government. We’ve monitored more than 7,000 social media accounts over the last 30 months and at times engaged directly with them. Trump isn’t the end of Russia’s social media and hacking campaign against America, but merely the beginning. Here is what we’ve learned.

    And some searching brings up an in-depth dissection of two fake stories created in Russia, dating to 2015.

    The trail of the media breadcrumbs seem to be as follows: Rossiya Segodnya commissioned a survey to test support or opposition to the admissions of Georgia and the Ukraine into the EU, the ISIS question was secondary. On August 18th Russia Today ran the story with the headline: “15% of French people back ISIS militants, poll finds.” Over the following week the Russia Today story was reposted, in particular the summary infographic (above) propagated around the internet, mostly on French sites. A Tinyeye search for the URL of the image for the infographic shows some of the sites who ran it.

    The Vox story ran a week later. In an email exchange Max Fisher (author of the Vox post) said he thought he saw the data in Tweet. The Vox story combined two surveys (the one by ICM and one by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion), sources were cited (including that Rossiya Segodnya commissioned the survey) and they included an infographic from Russia Today. With the headline — “One in six French people say they support ISIS” — the story started to circulate on social media, in particular on Twitter. […]

    You can see in the network map above a view of how the headline and Tweet spread — from Vox, to Max’s network, to Ezra Klein’s network and beyond. Note how effectively this moved to several, connected but unrelated clusters or networks of people. This image is a network finger print of an effective media hack. Concurrent with this amplification across networks derivative articles start getting authored and the part human, part algorithmic machine we have created of click rich re-syndication starts up.

    The following day the Washington Post ran an article saying “this makes no sense” but it’s was too late — once these headlines move around the web, with sharable rich headlines the truth rarely catches up.

  330. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, I should credit a Bloomberg View piece by Leonid Bershidsky for directing me to that analysis on Medium.

    When it comes to contaminating the Russian- and Ukrainian-language news flows, the unofficial propaganda armies of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict have already progressed well beyond these simple findings. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of links to supposedly legitimate sites teeming with tweetable “news stories” about the latest Russian or Ukrainian atrocities, fake Western reports on the war in eastern Ukraine and other such fare. After months of dealing with this, I no longer even click on the links (unless they are especially comic), but I see hundreds of people reposting them as though they were credible. And with the Moscow’s propaganda machine using increasingly sophisticated tactics — as documented by the site, which battles Russian troll and bot armies on Ukraine’s behalf — I still fear I may be taken in one day.

    In the two cases documented by Betaworks, the Kremlin trolls — who work in special factories and are paid per story — have simply attempted to treat Western audiences to English-language versions of their domestic fare. If that doesn’t occur more often, that’s because the Kremlin propaganda machine is more concerned with keeping President Vladimir Putin’s domestic support from eroding than with muddying Western news streams. But when the war in Ukraine quiets down, Putin’s war on the West will not. Western journalists will need to practice distinguishing between real news and misinformation that very closely resembles it.

  331. says

    This is a long excerpt (I hope that’s OK – I recommend reading the whole thing) from WaPo editor Marty Baron’s speech last night when he received the Hitchens Prize (setting that aside…):*

    …We will have a new president soon. He was elected after waging an outright assault on the press. Animosity toward the media was a centerpiece of his campaign. He described the press as “disgusting,” “scum,” “lowlifes.” He called journalists the “lowest form of humanity.” That apparently wasn’t enough. So he called us “the lowest form of life.” In the final weeks of the campaign he labeled us “the enemies.”

    It is no wonder that some members of our staff at The Washington Post and at other news organizations received vile insults and threats of personal harm so worrisome that extra security was required. It is no wonder that one Internet venue known for hate and misogyny and white nationalism posted the home addresses of media executives, clearly inviting vandalism or worse. Thankfully, nothing that I know of happened to anyone. Then there was the yearlong anti-Semitic targeting of journalists on Twitter.

    Donald Trump said he wanted to “open up” libel laws. And he proposed to harass unfriendly media outlets by suing them, driving up their legal expenses with a goal of weakening them financially.

    With respect to The Washington Post, he ordered our press credentials revoked during the campaign, barring us from routine press access to him and his events, because our coverage didn’t meet with his approval. Even before we were subjected to his months-long blacklist, Donald Trump falsely alleged that our owner, Jeff Bezos, was orchestrating that coverage. And he openly hinted that, if he became president, he would retaliate.

    Jeff Bezos himself addressed this perfectly at one point—on several occasions actually.

    “We want a society,” he said, “where any of us, any individual in this country, any institution in this country, if they choose to, can scrutinize, examine, and criticize an elected official, especially a candidate for the highest office in the most powerful country on earth. . . .

    “We have fundamental laws and . . . we have Constitutional rights in this country to free speech. But that’s not the whole reason that it works here. We also have cultural norms that support that, where you don’t have to be afraid of retaliation. And those cultural norms are at least as important as the Constitution.”

    Getting elected didn’t change anything. After his election—in the midst of protests against him—Donald Trump resorted to Twitter to accuse the media of inciting violence when, of course, there had been no incitement whatsoever by anyone.

    The other night, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour eloquently explained the gravity of such deliberately false accusations emanating from a future head of state. She was speaking when she was honored by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    “Postcard from the world,” she said, “This is how it goes with authoritarians like Sisi, Erdoğan, Putin, the Ayatollahs, Duterte, et al . . . First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating—until they suddenly find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives. Then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prison—and then who knows?”

    When the press is under attack, we cannot always count on our nation’s institutions to safeguard our freedoms—not even the courts.

    At times throughout our history, they have shamefully failed to do so—whether it was the Sedition Act of 1798 under President John Adams, harshly repressive Sedition and Espionage Acts under Woodrow Wilson in the context of World War I, or the McCarthy Era that still serves to remind us of what comes of a dishonest and reckless search for enemies.

    The ultimate defense of press freedom lies in our daily work.

    Many journalists wonder with considerable weariness what it is going to be like for us during the next four—perhaps eight—years. Will we be incessantly harassed and vilified? Will the new administration seize on opportunities to try intimidating us? Will we face obstruction at every turn?

    If so, what do we do?

    The answer, I believe, is pretty simple. Just do our job. Do it as it’s supposed to be done.

    Every day as I walk into our newsroom, I confront a wall that articulates a set of principles that were established in 1933 by a new owner for The Post, Eugene Meyer, whose family went on to publish The Post for 80 years.

    The principles begin like this: “The first mission of a newspaper is to tell the truth as nearly as the truth may be ascertained.”

    The public expects that of us. If we fail to pursue the truth and to tell it unflinchingly—because we’re fearful that we’ll be unpopular, or because powerful interests (including the White House and the Congress) will assail us, or because we worry about financial repercussions to advertising or subscriptions—the public will not forgive us.

    Nor, in my view, should they.

    After the release of the movie Spotlight, I was often asked how we at The Boston Globe were willing to take on the most powerful institution in New England and among the most powerful in the world, the Catholic Church.

    The question really mystifies me—especially when it comes from journalists or those who hope to enter the profession. Because holding the most powerful to account is what we are supposed to do.

    If we do not do that, then what exactly is the purpose of journalism?

    God forbid we take on the weaker institutions, the weaker individuals, while letting the strongest ones off the hook only because they can forcefully fight back….

    * I’m too lazy to do all of the italicizing.

  332. Pierce R. Butler says

    SC … @ # 439 – Pls note that the Alternet (1st link, # 430) story starts off with a link to Propornot.

    Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article (2nd link, # 430) links to Propornot’s Twit feed & “List” piece in the 4th & 5th ‘grafs, respectively.

    … suggesting that PON is the single source of all of these claims, when in reality they and supporting evidence have appeared in numerous publications…

    How many of whom picked it up from PON’s promotion? If repetition is your criterion, pls look up Curveball and Judith Miller, or “FBI agent investigating Clinton emails dead in murder-suicide”.

    Could be … Could be … Could be …

    Professional journalist, and/or their editors, who settle for such shaky sources really have no business working for the South Succotash Weekly, never mind the Washington gawdamn Post.

    So many of these critical articles suggest …

    Pls try to deal with the material at hand, rather than forming a stereotype and arguing with it. We all know that everything that reaches the Net gets exaggerated, contradicted, &/or hijacked within hours, on a slow day. The question remains as to what, if anything, actually goes on. My take: clearly the Russian government wages a wide-ranging social-media propaganda operation; likewise, though often more clumsily, so does Babylon-on-the-Potomac. This specimen seems from the rather hamfisted branch of the clade.

    Hj Hornbeck @ # 442: … War on the Rocks …

    Hadn’t heard of them, did a little search. Found bits and pieces, but hardly any citations, or even critiques, by other sources; apparently one of their lead writers hails from the WaPo, and they operate out of Alabama. Again, at best, a new and minor voice: such can be found promoting every point of view.

    Once more, I do not deny that we have a new era of social-media-propaganda from multiple dishonest sources in which to rejoice. Likewise, the US really did host networks of Stalin’s spies as the Cold War spun up: that doesn’t mean the John Birch Society was justified in all they said, or that each anti-commie witchhunt headline was true. proPORNot (given their juvenile responses to criticisms, no way they could have missed that in picking their name) comes across as Dan Smoot wannabes, and way over their pointy little heads at even that.

  333. Hj Hornbeck says

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz has gone oddly quiet.

    Even after the election, Chaffetz said he had a “duty and obligation” to continue investigating the former secretary of State. However, he claimed his committee would investigate President-elect Trump with equal fervor. “I am optimistic that a Trump administration would actually be cooperative,” Chaffetz said. “The Obama administration has given us the stiff arm every single step of the way. I think a new administration would actually work with us to quickly get to the truth, learn what we need to learn and then fix it.” […]

    On Monday, the 17 Democratic members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a letter calling on Chaffetz to “begin reviewing [Trump’s] financial arrangements in order to identify and protect against conflicts of interest.” Two weeks ago, Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the committee’s ranking Democrat, made a similar request.

    And it’s not just Democrats. The Salt Lake Tribune said Chaffetz should investigate Trump, and a Republican who sits on the committee has called out the president-elect for his business conflicts …

    Yet Chaffetz has responded to each of these requests with complete silence.

  334. says

    SC … @ # 439 – Pls note that the Alternet (1st link, # 430) story starts off with a link to Propornot.

    Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article (2nd link, # 430) links to Propornot’s Twit feed & “List” piece in the 4th & 5th ‘grafs, respectively.

    I didn’t say they didn’t link to PON. I said they didn’t link to or engage with the report cited in the WaPo article. I then linked to it myself, for the second time on this thread. Now you’ve also refused to acknowledge or engage with it. I find this incredibly annoying. Maybe the third time’s a charm.

    How many of whom picked it up from PON’s promotion?

    Few if any. FFS, a number of them are cited and linked to in the PON report, and were written before PON appeared. Hornbeck linked to and quoted from a couple of others above. This isn’t some wild claim that just came out of the blue in the past few months.

    Pls try to deal with the material at hand, rather than forming a stereotype and arguing with it.

    What the hell? Saying that the articles critical of the WaPo piece and PON which I linked to and discussed here, then Mano linked to and discussed, then you linked to here (I think five in total) have suggested that isn’t a stereotype – it’s simply a fact. You’re now suggesting it yourself: “This specimen seems from the rather hamfisted branch of the clade.” It’s something everyone should consider, and it might well be true; I haven’t suggested otherwise.

    My point was that the argument that “some things which serve Russians interests are nevertheless true” (an argument with which I agree) applies equally well to US government propaganda, so dismissing claims out of hand as US propaganda is inconsistent, as is the refusal to seriously consider the existence or scope of the Russian propaganda program while suggesting that claims about it are US state propaganda.

    My take: clearly the Russian government wages a wide-ranging social-media propaganda operation; likewise, though often more clumsily, so does Babylon-on-the-Potomac.

    If you’re acknowledging the existence and effectiveness of the Russian operation, I don’t see what your point is. Bringing this operation and how it functions to people’s attention is the purpose of the numerous articles on the subject. I know you haven’t been regularly participating in this thread, but I posted about this at some length above @ #386.

    At this point I’m not sure who or what you’re actually arguing with, but if you’re not going to discuss the PON report or other cited articles I’m not inclined to continue the discussion.

    (Incidentally, I’m reading Marc Wortman’s 1941: Fighting the Shadow War: A Divided America in a World at War. It is extremely relevant.)

  335. says

    Steve Benen took a look at Trump’s appointees so far. Here are some unavoidable conclusions:

    1. Wealth matters. […] Trump’s cabinet is already stacked with billionaires (DeVos and Ross) and millionaires (Mnuchin and Chao). […]

    2. Experience doesn’t matter. […] no governing experience, no experience in the subject area they’ll oversee, no experience managing a large agency, or all of the above. […]

    3. The swamp apparently doesn’t need draining. […] Elaine Chao, for example, is probably the single most qualified nominee on Trump’s roster, but she’s also a classic Washington insider and corporate board member. […]

    4. Let’s all drop the “populist” nonsense. […] The president-elect is choosing wealthy far-right donors and far-right insiders for his cabinet because … wait for it … the populist shtick was never real.

    Here is Trump’s administration so far:
    Vice President: Gov. Mike Pence
    Chief of Staff: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
    Chief Strategist: Steve Bannon
    Attorney General: Sen. Jeff Sessions
    Housing and Urban Development Secretary: Ben Carson (probably)
    Ambassador to the United Nations: Gov. Nikki Haley
    Education Secretary: Betsy DeVos
    Health and Human Services Secretary: Rep. Tom Price
    Transportation Secretary: Elaine Chao
    Treasury Secretary: Steven Mnuchin
    Commerce Secretary: Wilbur Ross
    Trump’s children and son-in-law, with their fingers in every pie

    To Benen’s list, I would add that culture wars do matter.

  336. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says