Comments

  1. microraptor says

    Something that I saw pointed out on another forum but haven’t seen too many other places regarding Trump’s private security team: private security forces that are beholden to the leader rather than the government as a whole are hallmarks of banana republic dictatorships.

  2. says

    Trump’s pick for Budget Director is Tea Partier and Republican doofus Mick Mulvaney. Paul Ryan will be glad to see Mulvaney leave the House. He’s too extreme for most Republican leaders.

    Here’s an excerpt from Mother Jones’ coverage of a speech Mulvaney gave to the John Birch Society six months ago:

    […] In the speech, Mulvaney blasted the Federal Reserve, saying its actions have “effectively devalued the dollar” and “choke[d] off economic growth.” He praised bitcoin as a currency that is “not manipulatable by any government.”

    He told his audience, “You all put out some really good stuff and it’s always interesting,” and he said he was “looking forward to reading The Shadows of Power,” a 1988 book by James Perloff with the subtitle “The Council on Foreign Relations and the American Decline.” The book advances conspiracy theories about the New York-based think tank, alleging that it advocates “the creation of a world government.”

  3. says

    Barack Obama set some more people free. He pardoned 78 prisoners and he commuted the sentences of 153 people.

    […] In total, Obama has pardoned 148 people and granted 1,176 commutations for federal inmates under the clemency initiative that he and former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. launched two years ago. Obama plans to issue more commutations before he leaves office, White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston said. […]

    “I am elated at the news about my client, Corey Jacobs, receiving clemency from President Obama today,” Jacobs’s attorney, Brittany K. Byrd, said Monday. “Corey has more than paid his debt to society by serving over 17 years of a life-without-parole sentence as a nonviolent drug offender. Life in prison without the possibility of parole screams that a person is beyond hope, beyond redemption. And in Corey’s case, it is a punishment that absolutely did not fit the crime. The president’s mercy and belief in redemption literally saved Corey’s life.” […]/blockquote>

    Trump cannot undo the good President Obama did today. Of course, Trump can fail to continue any kind of justice system reform, but for now we can indulge in a mini-celebration.

  4. says

    Alex Jones claims that the CIA is trying to assassinate Donald Trump.

    So that’s really stupid … but lots of major rightwing media sources have picked up the conspiracy theory anyway.

    Salon link

  5. says

    “Lawyer: ‘Appalled’ by FBI warrant that shook Clinton”:

    …The letter confirms news reports in late October that the FBI had detected “non-content header information” suggesting correspondence with accounts involved in its already-completed investigation of Clinton’s private email server. The FBI request concludes there is “probable cause to believe” that the laptop contained “evidence, contraband, fruits and/or items illegally possessed,” without providing specifics.

    “I see nothing at all in the search warrant application that would give rise to probable cause, nothing that would make anyone suspect that there was anything on the laptop beyond what the FBI had already searched and determined not to be evidence of a crime, nothing to suggest that there would be anything other than routine correspondence between” Clinton and Abedin, Schoenberg said in an email to USA TODAY. It remains unknown “why they thought they might find evidence of a crime, why they felt it necessary to inform Congress, and why they even sought this search warrant,” he said. “I am appalled.” The FBI’s Manhattan office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

    Abedin’s lawyers have also been requesting permission to review the warrant, which they say their client never saw and hadn’t or even been alerted to, preventing them from responding publicly in the final days of the campaign. Two days before the election, Comey confirmed there was no new information.

    At the same time, Comey was in possession of evidence showing Russia was hacking into the Democratic Party apparatus, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., accused him of holding back “explosive” information about Russian interference. The retiring senator said Comey may have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits “activity directed towards the success or failure” of a candidate.

    Schoenberg said more information needs to be made public before the matter is put to rest. “The FBI agent’s name has not been disclosed, but I think that it may be appropriate to find out his/her name and determine what the motivations were, since it must have been obvious to the FBI that there was no real probable cause to believe they would find evidence of a crime,” he said in a follow-up email. “It was very wrong for Director Comey to give that impression.”…

    (The last sentence of the article is terrible: “Schoenberg is a lawyer who gained notoriety by reclaiming Jewish-owned art seized by the Nazis and former president of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.” First, he gained some celebrity and possibly acclaim – not notoriety. There’s a movie about it. Second, it makes it sound like the art was seized by the former president of the LA Holocaust Museum.)

  6. says

    Steve Benen took a closer look at Michael Flynn’s connection to Austria’s far-right “Freedom Party.” There’s also an additional connection with Putin.

    The leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, founded by ex-Nazis after World War II, made two notable trips after the country’s recent elections. […] one trip was to Moscow, where the party’s leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, signed a “cooperation agreement” with Vladimir Putin’s political party.

    The other trip was to Trump Tower in New York, where Strache met with Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s choice to be the next White House National Security Advisor.

    The Huffington Post highlighted the unsettling nature of these connections.

    Although the Times story focused on the Russia pact, the Flynn-Strache meeting is at least as significant. Austrians’ support for far-right parties has increased significantly over the past 15 years. Strache’s Freedom Party received 35 percent of the vote in this year’s parliamentary elections and narrowly lost the race for Austria’s ceremonial presidency earlier this month.

    “This is not just any opposition party: It is one with Nazi sympathies,” said Daniel Serwer, a former state department official who’s now a professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “Nor is Flynn any national security adviser. He is a documented conspiracy propagator….”

    […] Flynn has peddled bizarre conspiracy theories; he shared classified information with foreign officials without permission; his ties to Russia haven’t been explained in any real detail; and he was on the Turkish government’s payroll while serving as a top adviser to the Trump campaign without ever publicly disclosing that fact.

    And now Flynn is chatting with the head of a far-right Austrian party who’s forged a new partnership with Putin’s political party. […]

  7. says

    Donald Trump and the National Enquirer … still in bed together.

    […] near the end of the fight for the Republican presidential nomination, the National Enquirer tabloid ran an odd story suggesting Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the JFK assassination. Donald Trump quickly embraced the story, touting the National Enquirer’s track record for accuracy.

    In July, literally the day after Trump accepted the GOP nomination, he continued to talk about the National Enquirer’s report, insisting the tabloid “should be very respected” and deserves “Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting.”

    All of this came to mind yesterday when the National Enquirer’s latest cover started making the rounds. In the upper-left corner, there’s an anti-Clinton story; in the upper-right corner, there’s an anti-Obama story; but the bulk of the cover is devoted to celebrating the president-elect.

    The main headline, in all caps, reads, “Trump Takes Charge.” It’s followed by a series of bullet points, including:

    * “Success in just 36 days!”

    * “Saved jobs from going to Mexico”

    * “Slapped down arrogant China”

    * “Tearing up dangerous U.S.-Iran nuke deal!”

    * “Peace between Israel and its enemies!”

    * “Apple’s 4.5 million jobs coming home!”

    None of this should be seen as satire, by the way. This is the actual cover. Each of these claims is highly dubious, but people who pass by supermarket aisles may not know that. […]

    Link

    What kind of man thinks the CIA and most journalists are lying, but trusts sensationalist tabloids like the National Enquirer?

  8. says

    Wonkette covered the unveiling of the warrant that was used to sniff for dirt on Hillary Clinton in Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Summary: the warrant was a load of bullshit.

    […] a judge ordered unsealed the warrant FBI Director James Comey obtained for the purpose of digging through Anthony Weiner’s boner laptop a week and a half before the election, so the FBI could investigate whether it contained the #smokinggun Hillary Clinton emails that would prove, once and for all that … um, we still don’t quite know what the rogue Hillary-hating sleeper cell in the FBI thought it was going to prove. SOMETHING SINISTER. Anyway, that warrant was a bunch of crap, according to Randy Schoenberg, the lawyer who filed the FOIA request to have it unsealed:

    Under the Fourth Amendment, search and seizure can only be granted when proof of probable cause of criminal findings has been documented.

    The letter confirms news reports in late October that the FBI had detected “non-content header information” suggesting correspondence with accounts involved in its already-completed investigation of Clinton’s private email server. The FBI request concludes there is “probable cause to believe” that the laptop contained “evidence, contraband, fruits and/or items illegally possessed,” without providing specifics.

    “I see nothing at all in the search warrant application that would give rise to probable cause, nothing that would make anyone suspect that there was anything on the laptop beyond what the FBI had already searched and determined not to be evidence of a crime, nothing to suggest that there would be anything other than routine correspondence between” Clinton and Abedin, Schoenberg said in an email to USA TODAY. It remains unknown “why they thought they might find evidence of a crime, why they felt it necessary to inform Congress, and why they even sought this search warrant,” he said. “I am appalled.”

    […]

    As USA Today (which did a REALLY GOOD JOB presenting the facts of the election in its article on this!) reports, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon basically had the same reaction to the warrant, calling it “as utterly unjustified as we suspected at the time.” Haha, we bet FBI Director James Comey thinks it was totally justified, because have you noticed that the president-elect’s name is not Hillary Clinton? A patriot, Comey is not. Shall we look at the warrant? […]

    Screen shot of warrant can be viewed at the link.

    More important things to remember:

    The thing about how the FBI actually found these emails WEEKS before, and didn’t do jack-diddly about them until 11 days before the election.

    The way Huma Abedin has been like, “Yeah, the FBI never even made an attempt to show ME the warrant, nor did they contact me during that whole month after they found these allegedly important emails.”

    And finally the thing abut how when Comey fired off his letter to Congress, he didn’t even have his warrant yet — that came two days later — and it kinda seemed like, “Oh yeah, guess we’ll actually have to go through with this, instead of just laying a turd on Hillary’s campaign the last week of the election like we planned to do.”

    Those are important things we should all remember, about the historical event where the FBI, led by a Trump supporter, stole the election for Donald Trump. (ALLEGEDLY WE GUESS.)

    Oh well, we’re sure Comey’s FBI sincerely believed this last minute email “scandal” was very important, in the depths of their hearts, and we’re also super certain there was a good reason they all neglected to lift a goddamn finger to investigate the ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, you know, the stuff we knew way before the election, but nobody wanted to pay attention to because it wasn’t as exciting as a 69-year-old woman’s private email server.

    You bet.

  9. says

    An update on the “Trump University” lawsuit:

    A federal judge has given preliminary approval to a $25 million deal to settle fraud lawsuits over President-elect Donald Trump’s Trump University real estate seminar program.

    U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel issued an order Tuesday evening giving an initial sign-off on the settlement…. Trump University must produce the $25 million to fund the settlement by Jan. 18. If it doesn’t do so, Trump himself has to come up with the money.

    Politico link

    At least in one way, in one instance, Trump will have to pay for using his bombastic celebrity to con people.

    The case against Trump University showed that Trump lied, exaggerated, promised results he could not deliver, and made claims not backed up by evidence. Does this remind you of his campaign for the presidency?

    From the New York Times, regarding Trump’s claim that he would he would have won the lawsuit if he had decided to fight instead of settle:

    Mr. Trump’s confident assertion clashes with the evidence gathered by prosecutors and plaintiffs’ lawyers in the case. Those documents include dozens of sworn statements by students and instructors, some of whom described the program as a scheme to cheat customers out of thousands of dollars, and sales playbooks that called for tapping into “the roller coaster of emotions” to get students to sign up.

    In court, the president-elect would have contended with the personal and potentially damaging testimony of aggrieved students. One recounted in a legal filing that he had faced “strong pressure” to sign up for more expensive mentoring, including a push to increase his credit limit to pay for a $25,000 course. Another said his already difficult financial situation deteriorated further as a result of the program, leaving him “insolvent.” A third simply called it a “scam.”

  10. says

    An update on Hillary Clinton’s popular vote win:

    All of the states have now confirmed their vote tallies. Clinton won the popular vote by 2.86 million votes. That gives Clinton 48.2% of the vote; and Trump has 46.1%. Votes for other candidates total 5.7%.

    Trump is whining, but I’m not going to bother repeating his combination of whining and braggadocio.

  11. says

    An update on Merrick Garland:

    It became official when the Senate wrapped up its post-election “lame duck session” last week: Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland is returning to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia without his nomination being confirmed, rejected, or withdrawn.

    Yes, if you go back 150 years there was another SCOTUS nominee, Henry Stanbery, who was denied any official Senate action and yet did not withdraw. […].

    NY Magazine link

  12. says

    Trump answered a few questions today from the press. Well, “answered” may not be entirely accurate. Trump embarrassed himself. Here’s an example:

    Reporter: “Your comments about the truck attack in Berlin being against Christians, do think that this might….”

    Trump: “Say it again?

    Reporter: “The attack in Berlin being an attack on Christians….”

    Trump: “Who said that? When was that said?”

    Reporter: I believe you said it in a press release….”

    Yes. That press release came out yesterday. The text said, in part, “ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.” The press release was attributed to Trump himself.

    Once again, we are left wondering if Trump’s short-term memory has completely malfunctioned.

  13. says

    Ken Ham lit up his Noah’s Ark theme park in rainbow colors. Why? Apparently Ken thinks LBGT people stole the rainbow symbol from God (and from Noah, I guess), so Ken is taking it back.

    In Ken’s mind this whole rainbow light theme is also a “special Christmas event.” Here is an excerpt of Ken’s statement:

    Our special Christmas event at the Ark Encounter […]

    The sign of this covenant was the rainbow. Even today the rainbow represents the “everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth” (Genesis 9:16).

    The rainbow stands as a poignant reminder that God keeps His promises. Despite the wickedness in the world, God has not sent another global Flood to destroy all flesh. […]

    In recent times the rainbow (albeit with some different colors) has come to represent something far different. To many people it means freedom, love, pride, a new era, and, specifically, the LGBTQ movement. Indeed when the US Supreme Court legalized gay “marriage” last year, the White House was lit up in rainbow colors … […]

    But the rainbow itself wasn’t designed to be a symbol of freedom, love, pride, or the LGBTQ movement. God created this beautiful, colorful phenomenon and designated it as a sign of His covenant with Noah and his descendants forever.

    Sadly, people ignore what God intended the rainbow to represent and proudly wave rainbow-colored flags in defiance of God’s command and design for marriage. Because of this, many Christians shy away from using the rainbow colors. But the rainbow was a symbol of God’s promises before the LGBTQ movement—and will continue to be after that movement has ended. As Christians, we need to take the rainbow back and teach our young people its true meaning.

  14. Hj Hornbeck says

    Yet more disquieting news of shady money and norm-breaking, this time involving the top donor group to Trump.

    America Comes First PAC was created in early August. But for the next three months, it disclosed nothing about how much it raised, who its donors were or how it was spending its money.

    That eventually prompted a warning from federal regulators. “It is important that you file this report immediately,” read an October 31 letter from the Federal Election Commission.

    But Election Day came and went — and still nothing.

    As federal regulators continued to wait for the required disclosures, the group posted a photo two days after the election showing Trump meeting with America Comes First secretary David Schamens.

  15. says

    Trump has four billionaires on his team: Wilbur Ross, Betsy DeVos, Linda McMahon, and the Trumpster himself.

    That’s not enough. Trump added another billionaire, Carl Icahn:

    Donald Trump has named billionaire investor Carl Icahn, a frequent critic of some Obama administration rules and a major fossil fuel investor, a special advisor on regulation, the president-elect’s transition team announced Wednesday.

    Trump’s team said in a statement that the activist investor will aid him in an “individual capacity” rather than as a federal employee or special government employee.

    NBC News link.

    You know what that means, right? Icahn “will not be serving as a federal employee or a Special Government Employee and will not have any specific duties,” as the press release from team Trump said. Result: Icahn will not be subject to reporting requirements, he will not have to divest (nor even pretend to divest or separate himself from his business interests), and Trump can ask him to do anything since his duties are not defined.

    Icahn will help choose the next chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission. That chairman will affect Icahn’s investments. Icahn will help to choose the next Environmental Protection Agency administrator. That will give Icahn a change to weaken regulations that affect his oil refinery.

    Icahn has $20 billion in investments to protect, so he is, I’m sure, happy to steer Trump around by the nose to get what he wants.

  16. says

    Kellyanne Conway is here to stay. She will continue to smile while spouting all kinds of nonsense at a very high rate for the next four years.

    Trump picked her to be “Counselor to the President.”

    To add insult to injury, team Trump is crediting Conway with breaking glass ceilings for women.
    NBC News link.

    From Trump:

    She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message. I am pleased that she will be part of my senior team in the West Wing.

    From whomever wrote this part of the press release (Conway herself?):

    President-elect Trump’s victory on November 8th also shattered the glass ceiling for women. Conway is the first female campaign manager of either major party to win a presidential general election.

    Conway was Trump’s campaign manager for three months.

    Donna Brasile managed Al Gore’s campaign, but could not stop the courts from taking the win away from Gore.

    Congratulations Kellyanne. You are now more solidly aligned with the guy who stocked his cabinet with mostly white men, and who bragged about assaulting women.

  17. says

    Ted Cruz is up to no good in the Senate. He is introducing a bill that limits civil rights for LGBT Americans.

    [The First Amendment Defense Act] would prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: “(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

    NBC News link.

    Translation: any private business has a right to deny service to gay Americans. The customer may not even be gay. The business can just say that they think the customer might be unmarried and still having sex (gay or not), etc.

    Ted Cruz is un-American.

  18. lotharloo says

    To add insult to injury, team Trump is crediting Conway with breaking glass ceilings for women.

    To be honest, I think that’s really the only silver lining to the story and it is one of the very very times Trump makes a fair point (broken clock and all). Not many campaign managers could work with Trump. In fact, the fact that he won has almost everything to do with her, how she controlled his idiotic tweets towards the end of the campaign and managed to keep him more or less on the message. Just think of her as a gorilla-whisperer. It is not an easy job to be the campaign manager of such a buffoon. So yeah, as much as I hate Trump, I can at least acknowledge that Kellyanne did a very competent job.

  19. says

    Remember the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, which was created after 9/11? President Obama is officially dismantling that system. It hasn’t been used since 2011, and destroying the system will make it harder for Trump to establish a Muslim registry.

    The Hill link.

    […] President-elect Trump has suggested he was open to reviving the program and has even floated a wider national registry of all Muslims and potentially barring people from countries with a history of Islamist extremism from entering the country.

    The Department of Homeland Security submitted a rule change for dismantling of the program, writing that it no longer helps security. The changes will take effect Friday.

    “D.H.S. ceased use of NSEERS more than five years ago, after it was determined the program was redundant, inefficient and provided no increase in security,” Neema Hakim, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement. […]

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

    FADA would prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates [ . ]

    oops @25 beat me tuit.
    So they want to extend 1st Amendment to include discrimination as a form of “free speech” ? ??
    Just wait till a Catholic refuses to serve an Episcopalian, or a Mormon refuses a Scientologist, etc etc ad infinitum.
    And saying laws against discrimination to protect “public service” are themselves discriminatory acts.
    They seem to be using all 99 sides of their mouth here. 1st by calling it a paradoxical name of “First Amendment Defense Act”
    *cough*
    with a full house both filled with goppers, this will sail through unedited.
    *retch*

  21. says

    Vox coverage of Obama’s dismantling of NSEERS. (Followup to comment 27.)

    For nine years, from 2002 to 2011, a version of one of Donald Trump’s most extreme proposals was standard US government policy: requiring certain people in the US on visas from Muslim-majority countries to register with the government.

    President Barack Obama suspended the program in 2011 — after years of complaints by civil rights groups that the program targeted Muslims and wasn’t effective in preventing terrorism. But it had never been fully dismantled — it was still sitting around for the Trump administration to dust off.

    Until now.

    On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security published a regulation that would totally get rid of the National Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) — forcing the Trump administration to take the time to create something new, and giving civil rights groups an opportunity to stop them. […]

    A good way to resist Trump … or to at least slow him down.

  22. says

    lotharloo @26, I agree. Kellyanne is/was a competent campaign manager (Trump is still in campaign mode).

    Kudos to her for her management of the Orange Blustering Buffoon.

    However, she did lie … a lot. I think she probably even lied to Trump. Whatever it took to get the job done.

    As for the shattering of the glass ceiling … that is a stretch. Valerie Jarrett is a successful woman who is a senior advisor to President Obama. (Director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.) Jarrett has one daughter.

  23. says

    Trump’s head-scratching tweet from today:

    The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes

  24. says

    The NYT seems to have decided they’re not even going to try to reverse course on their dreadful reporting of the Clinton email “scandal” or the FBI’s actions during the election. From the title of this article – “Clinton Backers Cry Foul Over What F.B.I. Considers Common Procedure” – to its disingenuous framing to all that it leaves out (the question of whether, given the completed investigation, agents honestly believed they had, or honestly showed in the warrant that they had, reasonable cause to believe that this search would turn up new evidence that would alter the original conclusions; that not just the public announcement but the request for the warrant within several weeks, much less several days, prior to the election is not at all “common procedure” and is actively discouraged by long-established protocol, and could easily have waited until after the election; the question of how long the agents had knowledge of these emails before they decided to pursue the warrant so close to election day; their failure to provide Abedin with the warrant despite this being required by law; the matter of Comey’s refusing in September to back efforts to alert people to the Russian interference because he claimed it could interfere with the election; Comey’s history of not following established protocol throughout this case; the question of what happened with the pre-election NYT story claiming the FBI had opened an investigation of Manafort but closed it after turning up nothing; the question of the agents’ motives and possible connections to the Trump campaign and congressional Republicans;…).

  25. says

    SC @32, some worker bees (editors?) at the NYT seem to get their jollies by hating and/or denigrating Hillary Clinton. Despicable. Also, that headline would get them a failing grade in a college-level journalism course.

    I think the NYT uncritically accepted FBI explanations before, and they are still doing the same thing.

    In fake war-on-Christmas news, a Jewish family in Pennsylvania left the area in fear for their lives after they were falsely accused of being the reason that a Christmas-themed production was cancelled in a local school. Breitbart News and other rightwing media outlets pushed the false story.

    […] a report on Lancaster Online says a Jewish family blamed for complaining about the Charles Dickens play has left the county in fear for their safety, after reader comments on the story.

    The report has reached national media outlets including Fox News and Breitbart News Network.

    Lancaster Online news link

  26. says

    [facepalming moment coming up]

    Trump picked Sean Spicer to be his press secretary. Hope hicks will be the director of strategic communications. Jason Miller is the new director of communications, and Dan Scavino is the new social media director.

    A team of doofuses.

    Here is Sean Spicer melting down: Crooks and Liars link to Spicer ranting and being stupid about intelligence reports regarding Russian hacks.

    […] Spicer continually dismissed U.S. intelligence agencies as well as the NY Times and Washington Post, that have been saying Russia hacked it’s way through our election process.

    Spicer said the newspapers were ‘reprehensible” for writing those articles. He also swears certain intelligence agencies are pushing a personal agenda. […]

    Spicer said, “If (US Intelligence communities are) so certain it happened, why won’t they go on the record and say it? I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make any sense.”

    Smerconish said, “I’m casting doubt on whether Sean Spicer can definitively know the answer to the question of the extent of the Russian hack and my frustration is at the idea that until this thing is fully developed already President-elect Trump is saying, ‘Move on folks there’s nothing to see here.”

    “I’m also troubled by the idea that my President-elect is already throwing under the bus the Intelligence community with whom he’s going to have to work on life and death matters,” he said.

    Smerconish also asked, “”Why aren’t we as Americans upset about the fact that a foreign hostile actor apparently put his thumb on the scale in our election and why doesn’t Donald Trump want to get to the bottom of that as he takes office.”

    Spicer replied that he and Trump were upset about foreign governments influencing our election process, but then questioned the veracity of US Intelligence services. […]

    The video is 9:49 minutes long.

    Here is some background on Hope Hicks:

    […] Hicks, a 27-year-old with no prior political experience, breeds fascination amongst reporters. She found her way to the Donald’s side by way of a P.R. and modeling gig for his daughter Ivanka’s clothing line. An eye-blink later, she’s helping her boss chastise the Pope, smear a female reporter, and avoid all substantive discussion with the press. […]

    It’s not hard to imagine how a woman who comes off as agreeable, vulnerable, and always flawlessly turned-out—a trifecta of traditional femininity—has succeeded in the retrograde world that is Trump’s sphere of influence. But there’s something uncomfortable about saying so aloud.[…]

    P.R., for Hicks, involves listening dutifully while her boss rants about which reporters are “banned” for covering him critically, and even—in a surreal reversal—looking on in silence while he fields a reporter’s questions about her life. In this way, Hicks exemplifies not only what Trump expects of women, but also what he demands from all his American subjects: that we keep our mouths shut, and smile, and don’t appear to think too hard about anything he’s saying.

    Slate link

  27. says

    SC @34, North Carolina Republicans also proved they are willing to stab Democrats in the back. They are happy to renege on any deals that are made with Democrats.

    Democrats negotiated with Republicans. Republicans did not keep to their end of the bargain.

  28. says

    This worries me.

    […] Donald Trump’s transition team asked on Wednesday for the State Department to hand over all information regarding “gender-related staffing, programming, and funding,” according to a report in the Washington Post.

    It’s unclear why Trump’s team would specifically want information about the department’s bipartisan supported international efforts to promote women’s equality and prevent violence against women. Perhaps the incoming administration wants to bolster these programs. Or perhaps it is looking to cut them. Considering the team’s similar recent request of the Energy Department surrounding climate change officials, it should be incredibly worrying to say the least.

    The notice from the Trump transition team, as reported by the Post, demanded that all information about programs that “promote gender equality, such as ending gender-based violence, promoting women’s participation in economic and political spheres, entrepreneurship, etc.” be handed over by Wednesday. The request asked that the information provided “should note positions whose primary functions are to promote such issues.” […]

    Slate link

    The State Department fulfilled the request.

    […] One senior State Department official said that because the Trump team’s request did not ask for names, only positions of staffers who work on gender and women’s issues, the State Department felt compelled to cooperate.

    “It’s not clear to us what the intent is behind this request,” the official said. “The Trump team could be looking to advance gender issues and make it a priority — or you could look at it as a witch hunt.”

    Despite that ambiguity, fears spread quickly Wednesday throughout State Department headquarters that the incoming Trump administration might use this information to single out both political appointees and career officials who worked on these programs.

    “These types of requests send a cold chill through the Department and career diplomats dedicated to their work and service to the country,” a different State Department official told me. “It’s devastating to morale.”

  29. says

    Somebody should be assigned the task of reminding Donald Trump on a daily basis that he is not yet the president. Maybe he would need to be reminded hourly.

    He stuck his nose into the issue of a United Nations resolution on Israeli settlements. The unconfirmed reporting on the U.N. resolution is that the U.S. planned to abstain. Trump instructed President Obama to veto the resolution.

    […] In what appeared to be a full-court press on the topic, Trump used email, Twitter and Facebook to demand that the resolution be vetoed. Trump’s decision to make his stance known was striking in that, in theory, such matters are supposed to be left to the president still in charge to avoid sending mixed signals on U.S. foreign policy, […]

    “As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations,” Trump said in his emailed statement. “This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

    Trump’s statement came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter in the middle of the night in Israel to urge the United States to veto the measure. […]

    The Israeli Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a question about whether Netanyahu or his aides had reached out to Trump; Trump aides also did not immediately respond to the same question. […]

    “These stunts at the UN serve only one purpose—to defame and delegitimize the democratic State of Israel,” he [House Speaker Paul Ryan] said. “This resolution will undermine peace and mutual cooperation by pushing the parties further away from direct negotiations. The administration should veto it.” […]

    “It is ridiculous that the United Nations Security Council would even consider wasting its time condemning Israel for building on its own sovereign territory,” the [Sen. Ted Cruz] said in a statement.

    […] it was not clear how Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., would vote Thursday. Her office declined to offer guidance, and it’s possible that the U.S. is negotiating the wording behind the scenes, or trying to prevent the measure from coming to a vote.

    […] Trump aides had warned the president not to make any major foreign policy moves during the transition period. […]

    Politico link

  30. says

    “Cybersecurity firm finds evidence that Russian military unit was behind DNC hack”:

    A cybersecurity firm has uncovered strong proof of the tie between the group that hacked the Democratic National Committee and Russia’s military intelligence arm — the primary agency behind the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election.

    The firm CrowdStrike linked malware used in the DNC intrusion to malware used to hack and track an Android phone app used by the Ukrainian army in its battle against pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine from late 2014 through 2016.

    While CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate the intrusions and whose findings are described in a new report, had always suspected that one of the two hacker groups that struck the DNC was the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, it had only medium confidence.

    Now, said CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch, “we have high confidence” it was a unit of the GRU. CrowdStrike had dubbed that unit “Fancy Bear.”

    “The GRU is used for both tactical intelligence collection in the battlefield in support of Russian military operations and also strategic active measures or psychological warfare overseas,” said Alperovitch, who is an expert on Russia and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “The fact that they would be tracking and helping the Russian military kill Ukrainian army personnel in eastern Ukraine and also intervening in the U.S. election is quite chilling.”…

  31. says

    Donald Trump will inherit an economy that the Obama administration improved greatly.

    The U.S. economy grew faster than initially thought in the third quarter, notching its best performance in two years, amid solid consumer spending and a jump in soybean exports.

    CNBC link.

    Gross domestic product increased at a 3.5 percent annual rate instead of the previously reported 3.2 percent pace, the Commerce Department said in its third GDP estimate on Thursday.

    Growth was the strongest since the third quarter of 2014 and followed the second quarter’s anemic 1.4 percent pace. [….]

  32. says

    Cross posted from the “Comes to its senses” thread.

    microraptor @41, Yes, Trump certainly did not agree with the unconvincing softening that Kellyanne Conway attempted on Maddow’s show (comment 39). Trump just wants to keep the country “safe and secure.” Not buying it.
    Maddow Link</a<

    So Trump told Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe, “Let there be an arms race!” We have elected a man who is going to get us all killed. Talking Points Memo link.

    “Let it be an arms race,” Brzezinski said Trump had told her. ”We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

    Video available at the link.

    Read more: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2016/12/22/comes-to-its-senses/#ixzz4TgGl9WUo

  33. says

    Sean Spicer, Trump’s pick for the White House press secretary position, also tried to clarify Trump’s terrifying statements about nuclear weapons. Spicer said that Trump was responding to other countries talking about expanding their own nuclear capabilities.

    “It was in response to a lot of countries. Russia, China and others are talking about expanding their nuclear capability,” Spicer said on Fox News.

    “We’re not going to sit back and watch other nations threaten our safety,” Spicer said on NBC’s “Today.”

    Still not clear. We still don’t know what Trump is proposing nor what he will do.

    And Kellyanne Conway’s claim that Trump just wants to keep us safe and secure is ludicrous.

  34. says

    I would just like to point out that Trump cannot use his expanded nuclear arsenal to fight ISIS.

    Talk about a reversal of bipartisan policy! As David Corn put it:

    […] Trump seemed to be reversing decades of bipartisan policy aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons around the world. For decades, the United States has worked with Russia, the other major nuclear power, to reduce both nations’ nuclear arsenals. Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have each negotiated treaties with Russia reducing nuclear stockpiles. Today, the United States and Russia each possess about 7,000 nuclear weapons, and there continue to be efforts to shrink these stockpiles.

    Yet with a single tweet, Trump suggested he would move in the opposite direction and expand the US nuclear arsenal. To what end? Trump did not follow up with any other thoughts. But many experts contend that nuclear weapons will not bring greater security to the United States, given that the greatest risks these days come from nonstate actors, crises in the Middle East, and cyberwarfare. […]

    The Trump team’s response did not make the situation any better. Spokesman Jason Miller issued a statement saying Trump was referring to “the threat of nuclear proliferation and the critical need to prevent it—particularly to and among terrorist organizations and unstable and rogue regimes.”

    Uh, no, he wasn’t. And, still, this was an illogical point. Adding more nukes to the US stockpile will hardly stop terrorists or rogue regimes from seeking to acquire nuclear weapons. Miller was replying with a non sequitur. […]

  35. Hj Hornbeck says

    There’s some interesting shifts happening in the world of standup comedy, post-election.

    Keith Lowell Jensen, a Sacramento-based stand-up, can relate to that feeling of constant anxiety. He said he was so paralyzed by fear and depression in the days after the election that he made excuses not to perform. It was odd, then, when he heard the suggestion from online commenters that he ought to be cheering for a Trump victory, at least for the sake of his profession.

    “The idea that it has somehow made our jobs easier is hilarious to me,” he told me. “And sure, it’s fun to lampoon and satirize things in public life that are absurd, but not something that’s cripplingly depressing. It’s like if someone says, ‘Good thing cancer’s still around — you’ve got all that great cancer material!’”

    For Kate Willett, an L.A. comedian who has appeared on Vice’s Flophouse and Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, Trump’s election isn’t just bad for comedy — it’s also bad for her health. “Saying that comedians would be happy that Trump’s president, I don’t think that’s an accurate thing because we’re contractors,” she said. “We rely on Obamacare for our health insurance, and most of us are not super high-income.”

    There’s also signs of a chilling effect.

    As the year went on, I noticed a swell of discomfort and anger, especially directed toward women, gays, and people of color. When asked for improv suggestions, the simpletons in the audience went from yelling “Dildo! Gynecologist! Proctologist!” to “Whores! Harambe! Ferguson!” […]

    The vitriol in the audience intensified as the months passed; in the form of a man dragging his wife out of the theater while yelling “fucking liberals can go to hell!” a man calling me a faggot while I was exiting the stage, a man yelling “don’t clap for him” while I was in full drag, and a man yelling shit about me being Asian.

    And then there was the incident that made me decide to quit Second City, and to take a step back from performing altogether. A man screamed that he was “sitting too close to a Mexican.”

    Something that was happening to our nation was being reflected in our audiences. The idiots were transforming into pointed, angry mobs. This was way beyond heckling at a comedy club. It was hate speech, sanctioned by the biggest, most tremendous idiot of them all.

  36. Hj Hornbeck says

    Looking for more evidence Trump is vain and shallow? He factors in how a candidate looks and what feelings they trigger for his cabinet appointments.

    Given Trump’s own background as a master brander and showman who ran beauty pageants as a sideline, it was probably inevitable that he would be looking beyond their résumés for a certain aesthetic in his supporting players.

    “Presentation is very important because you’re representing America not only on the national stage but also the international stage, depending on the position,” said Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller. […]

    “He likes people who present themselves very well, and he’s very impressed when somebody has a background of being good on television because he thinks it’s a very important medium for public policy,” said Chris Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a longtime friend of Trump. “Don’t forget, he’s a showbiz guy. He was at the pinnacle of showbiz, and he thinks about showbiz. He sees this as a business that relates to the public.”

    “The look might not necessarily be somebody who should be on the cover of GQ magazine or Vanity Fair,” Ruddy said. “It’s more about the look and the demeanor and the swagger.”

    As Trump formally announced his vice presidential pick in July, he said that Mike Pence’s economic record as Indiana governor was “the primary reason I wanted Mike, other than he looks very good, other than he’s got an incredible family, incredible wife and family.”

  37. Hj Hornbeck says

    Interesting. I’d heard someone blame Comey’s last-minute letter on a meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton back in June, but they didn’t lay out much of a case. This article does.

    “If she thought [the letter] violated department policy or was otherwise a bad idea, she could have ordered him not to send the letter,” said Goldsmith, who noted that soon after the letter was released, Justice officials proceeded to criticize Comey when Lynch had the power all along to stop him. “It was an astonishing failure of leadership and eschewal of responsibility, especially if Lynch really thought what Comey did was wrong.”

    A former senior FBI official who worked closely with Comey for several years said that Comey’s sense of obligation to Congress was the key factor driving his decision. He had testified under oath months earlier that the Clinton investigation was closed. But another factor that day was that Lynch’s credibility had been compromised months earlier in Phoenix.

    “Anybody who’s ever worked with Jim Comey knows that he has an independent spirit,” the official said. “But he still very much believes in the chain of command. If he has a boss who’s asking him to do something that’s in the scope of the law and reason, he’s going to follow it. He would have followed protocol. Had the issue with Loretta Lynch on the tarmac not happened, things would be different. People forget that.”

  38. says

    The New York Times covered Trump’s comments about nuclear weapons.

    […] The president-elect escalated his comments about nuclear weapons […]

    “Let it be an arms race,” Mr. Trump said, according to Ms. Brzezinski, who described her conversation with the president-elect on the morning news program moments later. Mr. Trump added: “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

    A few hours after those comments, Mr. Trump released a letter he said he received on Dec. 15 from President Vladimir V. Putin in which the Russian leader offered holiday greetings and urged a “constructive and pragmatic manner” among leaders in both countries. […]

    In his statement, Mr. Trump called it “a very nice letter” and said “his thoughts are so correct. I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path.”

    Mr. Trump did not elaborate on what he meant by an “alternate path.” But despite his praise of Mr. Putin’s letter, the president-elect’s comments on Friday about nuclear weapons appear to reflect a willingness on his part to restart the costly and dangerous Cold War-era weapons competition between the United States and the old Soviet Union. Both nations have sought for decades to reverse that buildup of huge nuclear arsenals. […]

    Asked if Mr. Trump’s post on Twitter was a response to Mr. Putin’s speech to the military, Mr. Spicer said, “I think it’s putting every nation on notice that the United States is going to reassert its position in the globe.”

    Mr. Spicer added: “Other countries need to understand that if they expand their nuclear capabilities, this president is not going to sit back, he’s going to act.”

    After Mr. Trump’s comments to Ms. Brzezinski, Mr. Spicer appeared on NBC’s “Today” program and said the president-elect was trying to avoid an arms race by signaling to the Russians and other adversaries that he was willing to match any nuclear expansion they might try.

    When Matt Lauer, the show’s co-host, suggested that matching an adversary’s expansion was the definition of an arms race, Mr. Spicer insisted that would not happen while Mr. Trump was president.

    “There’s not going to be,” Mr. Spicer said. “Because he’s going to ensure that other countries get the message that he’s not going to sit back and allow that. And what’s going to happen is, they will come to their senses and we will all be just fine.” […]

  39. Hj Hornbeck says

    Time for another “buyer’s remorse article,” now about Planned Parenthood.

    In focus groups in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Wisconsin, Trump voters reacted candidly to the news that Republicans in Congress will try to pass a bill stripping the family planning provider of $400 million in Medicaid funds as early as January, and that Trump has said he would sign it.

    “The guy I voted for, I’d be disappointed if he signed it,” said one middle-aged man in Milwaukee. “He’s making sure the Congress is on his side, but he doesn’t care about all us people who voted for him.”

    Republicans in Congress have been promising to defund the family planning provider for years ― even threatening to shut down the federal government over the issue ― because some of Planned Parenthood’s clinics offer abortion services. Now that Republicans control both chambers, and Trump is on his way in, the GOP has a shot to actually make good on its promise.

    But defunding Planned Parenthood is not going to be a popular move. According to a Politico poll conducted a week before the election, 58 percent of voters ― and slightly more than half of all Trump voters ― oppose stripping reimbursements from the nation’s largest family planning provider.

    I have to point out that the focus group studies were commissioned by Planned Parenthood, though.

  40. says

    From Think Progress:

    […] Trump’s position represents a break from the nonproliferation efforts the United States has led for decades. […] international nonproliferation agreements reduced the number of operational warheads in the world from a high of 64,452 in 1986 to 10,315 in 2015. The president-elect’s statements suggest that downward trend will come to an end.

    Friday is far from the first time Trump said reckless things about nuclear weapons. During an interview last March with Chris Matthews, Trump said he was open to using nukes if the situation called for it and questioned why we’d make them if we never intended to use them. During a Fox News interview the next day, Trump wouldn’t even rule out the possibility of using nukes in Europe.

    “Europe is a big place,” Trump said. “I’m not going to take cards off the table. We have nuclear capability.”

    During a Fox News Sunday interview in April, Trump said he wasn’t concerned about a nuclear arms race on the Korean peninsula, because “it’s not like, gee whiz, nobody has them.”[…]

    It’s not even the first time one of the Morning Joe hosts has broken concerning news about Trump and his position on nukes. In August, Scarborough told his audience that “several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump, and three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times, he asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, we can’t we use them?’… Three times, in an hour briefing, ‘Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?’” […]

    “He’s inconsistent,” Hayden [NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden] added. “And when you’re the head of a global super power, inconsistency, unpredictability, those are dangerous things. They frighten your friends and they tempt your enemies. And so, I would be very concerned.”

    In response to a subsequent question about what steps might stand in the way of Trump using nukes if he becomes president, Hayden said, “The system is designed for speed and decisiveness. It’s not designed to debate the decision.”

  41. says

    Pressure is mounting for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to back out of the promise to perform at Trump’s inauguration:

    Thousands of people are backing a petition urging the Mormon Tabernacle Choir not to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

    The Change.org petition has accumulated more than 6,500 signatures since it was created Thursday.

    “We, as signers of this petition, believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ [LDS] decision to allow the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to perform at the upcoming presidential inauguration of Donald Trump DOES NOT reflect the values of Mormonism and does not represent its diverse 15+ million members worldwide,” the petition states. […]

    The Hill link

  42. says

    As usual, we see that Trump keeps vulgar and stupid company. The co-chair of Trump’s New York campaign, Carl Paladino, issued a “wish list” for 2017. Excerpts from his list:

    1. Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford. He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.

    2. Michelle Obama. I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla. […]

    https://twitter.com/WKBW/status/812327104666812417

  43. says

    Republican-controlled North Carolina is no longer a democracy:

    […] Andrew Reynolds and a team of researchers from the Electoral Integrity Project, which monitors elections in more than 150 countries to quantify how free and fair they are, published an op-ed in the News & Observer on Thursday night in which he argues that North Carolina can no longer be described as a democracy. […]

    Think Progress link

  44. microraptor says

    I don’t see why Mormons would have any issues with the Tabernacle Choir performing for Trump.

    I mean, it’s not like they had any issues voting for him.

  45. says

    What the heck is Trump planning to do with the lists of names he is requesting? Weird.

    President-elect Donald Trump has once again asked for a list of names of government officials—this time, his team is looking for staffers who work on programs that counter violent extremism.

    Reuters reports that Trump’s team requested lists from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. The specified programs involve those tasked with preventing violence by such extremists, including those recruited by militant Islamist groups. It is not clear why Trump’s team requested the names.

    “They’re picking a few issues to ask for people’s names,” an unnamed government official told Reuters. Many have expressed concern that Trump is looking for names of staffers on issues that will be pushed aside—or even cut—by the new administration.

    Trump has asked for the names of staffers working on climate change issues in the Department of Energy. He has also requested a list from the State Department identifying which workers focus on gender equality and ending violence against women.

    The Daily Beast link

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

    spooky Tweet:
    Trump Inauguration tweeted a memorial to William Henry Harrison, who served as POTUS the record setting shortness of 32 days, which established firmly the succession of the VP to replace a deceased Pres. Setting the “Tyler Precedent” (which Trump, I’m sure reads as “Tyler President”)
    http://occupydemocrats.com/2016/12/24/why-did-trumps-inauguration-twitter-just-shout-out-americas-shortest-serving-president/
    My vibe tells me he is hinting at firmly establishing that Pence will assume the office when Trump quickly abandons the ship of state to relish a longterm vacation, bigly. with yuuge retirement benefits, bigly.
    Me vibe thinks Trump wants that record from Harrison, so day 30 after inauguration he’ll jump ship to grab that pussy record away from Harrison.
    *brrr* *shivers*
    as bad as Trump is, Pence is worse, so I guess I’ll stick with ‘lesser of two evils’

  47. Arnie says

    slithey tove, if you look down the @TrumpInaugural twitter feed, you’ll see that tweet was only one in a series about earlier presidents, so no reason to draw any conclusions from it (this was also pointed out in a comment on the page you linked to).

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

    re @58:
    yeah, got it. thanks for pointing it out as I should have. I knew my imagination was inflating it out of proportion. I was just describing my initial reaction before investigating further (why I kept “vibing”) . I just needed to blow off a little steam. Everything from Trump camp gives me the heebie jeebies.

  49. says

    slithey tove @59, I know what you mean. The news related to Trump is often just one bad thing after another.

    The New York Times added a new feature to their national news coverage. It is called “This Week in Hate.”

    This Week in Hate tracks hate crimes and harassment around the country since the election of Donald Trump. The Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups are keeping detailed counts of harassment and abuse. We will regularly present a selection of incidents to show the scope of the problem. […]

    Excerpts from the November 29 “This Week in Hate”:

    • In the last week, three mosques in California and one in Georgia have received letters threatening that Donald Trump “is going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.” The letters were signed “Americans for a Better Way.” […]

    • At a Smith’s supermarket in Albuquerque, N.M., on Nov. 23, a woman began shouting Islamophobic abuse at a shopper wearing a hijab. Employees removed the shouting woman from the store, but she waited in the parking lot for the woman in the hijab to emerge. Eventually, employees escorted the woman in the hijab to her car.

    Excerpts from the December 6 “This Week in Hate”:

    • On Saturday, a Muslim police officer and her teenage son were accosted in Brooklyn by a man who yelled “go back to your country”and shoved the boy. The officer had received a medal in 2014 for saving a baby from a fire. A man has been charged with a hate crime in the case.

    • A mosque in Providence and one in Wayland, Mass. received letters saying Donald Trump is “going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.” The same message was sent in November to several other mosques. […]

    An excerpt from the latest “This Week in Hate”:

    The FBI is reportedly reviewing the spate of harassing emails and tweets that have slammed residents of the small town of Whitefish, Mont., after the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer put out a cyberhit on several members of the Jewish community there last week.

    The call to “take action” against Jews in the small ski resort town was issued after Whitefish resident and property owner Sherry Spencer, mother of prominent white nationalist figure Richard Spencer, told the local ABC News affiliate earlier this month that mounting backlash over her son’s controversial political views had forced her to consider selling her property downtown. According to Spencer, pressure from Whitefish real estate agent Tanya Gersh and members of the local human rights group Love Lives Here caused her “financial harm.”

    From the message left at a church in Grand Rapids, Michigan:

    […] I hope Trump gets ya. Trump Trump Trump. Trump Trump Trump. Trump’s gonna get your asses out of here and throw you over the wall. You dirty rotten scumbags. Hillary is a scumbag bitch. too bad waaa waaa. Hillary lost. Hillary lost. Trump’s gonna getcha and throw you over the wall.

  50. says

    slithey tove @59, I know what you mean. The news related to Trump is often just one bad thing after another.

    The New York Times added a new feature to their national news coverage. It is called “This Week in Hate.”

    This Week in Hate tracks hate crimes and harassment around the country since the election of Donald Trump. The Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups are keeping detailed counts of harassment and abuse. We will regularly present a selection of incidents to show the scope of the problem. […]

    Excerpts from the November 29 “This Week in Hate”:

    • In the last week, three mosques in California and one in Georgia have received letters threatening that Donald Trump “is going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.” The letters were signed “Americans for a Better Way.” […]

    • At a Smith’s supermarket in Albuquerque, N.M., on Nov. 23, a woman began shouting Islamophobic abuse at a shopper wearing a hijab. Employees removed the shouting woman from the store, but she waited in the parking lot for the woman in the hijab to emerge. Eventually, employees escorted the woman in the hijab to her car.

    Excerpts from the December 6 “This Week in Hate”:

    • On Saturday, a Muslim police officer and her teenage son were accosted in Brooklyn by a man who yelled “go back to your country”and shoved the boy. The officer had received a medal in 2014 for saving a baby from a fire. A man has been charged with a hate crime in the case.

    • A mosque in Providence and one in Wayland, Mass. received letters saying Donald Trump is “going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.” The same message was sent in November to several other mosques. […]

    An excerpt from the latest “This Week in Hate”:

    The FBI is reportedly reviewing the spate of harassing emails and tweets that have slammed residents of the small town of Whitefish, Mont., after the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer put out a cyberhit on several members of the Jewish community there last week.

    The call to “take action” against Jews in the small ski resort town was issued after Whitefish resident and property owner Sherry Spencer, mother of prominent white nationalist figure Richard Spencer, told the local ABC News affiliate earlier this month that mounting backlash over her son’s controversial political views had forced her to consider selling her property downtown. According to Spencer, pressure from Whitefish real estate agent Tanya Gersh and members of the local human rights group Love Lives Here caused her “financial harm.”

    From the message left at a church in Grand Rapids, Michigan:

    […] I hope Trump gets ya. Trump Trump Trump. Trump Trump Trump. Trump’s gonna get your asses out of here and throw you over the wall. You dirty rotten scumbags. Hillary is a scumbag [B-word]. too bad waaa waaa. Hillary lost. Hillary lost. Trump’s gonna getcha and throw you over the wall.

  51. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Trump has decided he can’t have his *charitable* foundation investigated, and is dissolving it.

    President-elect Donald Trump said Saturday he will dissolve his charitable foundation amid efforts to eliminate any conflicts of interest before he takes office next month.
    The revelation comes as the New York attorney general’s office investigates the foundation following media reports that foundation spending went to benefit Trump’s campaign.

    Democrats say it isn’t enough. He needs to sell/put all his assets in a blind trusts.

    9:25 p.m.
    The Democratic National Committee is criticizing President-elect Donald Trump for not doing more to address potential conflicts of interest as he prepares to assume the presidency.
    Trump said Saturday that he will dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation amid efforts to eliminate any conflicts of interest.
    In a response, the Democratic National Committee is dismissing Trump’s move as “a wilted fig leaf to cover up his remaining conflicts of interest and his pitiful record of charitable giving.”
    The statement from Democratic Party spokesman Eric Walker also says that closing a charity “is no substitute for divesting from his for-profit business and putting the assets in a blind trust.” The party says doing that is “the only way to guarantee separation between the Trump administration and the Trump business.”

  52. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It appears there might be snag about Trump dissolving his *snicker* foundation.

    The plan may quickly run into a snag, however.
    “The Trump Foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete,” New York Attorney General spokesperson Amy Spitalnick said in a statement released Saturday.
    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office ordered the Donald J. Trump Foundation to “immediately cease soliciting contributions” in October, after a report that the charity lacked the proper authorization to seek public donations.

    No doubt the NYAG will find something dubious.

  53. microraptor says

    Nerd of Redhead @62:

    They might not find anything, given Trump’s apparently long history of shredding documents that were part of investigations.

  54. says

    Nerd @62, I predicted that Trump would shutter his “charitable” foundation when questions first arose, (unethical practices surfaced almost immediately).

    This new development provides us with a nice moment of schadenfreude. The investigation has to be completed before Trump can shut that particular scam down. It’s a good thing that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman started the investigation prior to the decision to end the scam.

    It requires no predictive power at all to say that we’ll be seeing more shocking details soon.

    In other news, Jason Miller is stepping away from the Trump team. He is not going to take the White House Communications Director job. This sudden change comes after A.J. Delgado, one of Trump’s bizarre surrogates, aimed some derogatory tweets at Miller. The tweets referenced a supposed affair.

    After POLITICO reporters received an anonymous email about the alleged affair, Delgado disclosed details of the relationship to senior officials in emails Thursday, the people close to the transition said. The nature of their relationship had been known to people involved in the Trump campaign and transition for “a number of months,” one source said.

  55. says

    If you live in Whitefish, Montana, beware. Neo-Nazi’s are planning an armed march to take place there during the second week in January.

    […] In a recent blog post that features Hilter’s face as its banner image, Andrew Anglin, publisher of the white supremacist website [Daily Stormer], announced he’s planning an armed march in the town for the second week of January — days before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

    “Montana has extremely liberal open carry laws, so my lawyer is telling me we can easily march through the center of the town carrying high-powered rifles,” Anglin wrote, adding that he plans to be there personally. “Currently, my guys say we are going to be able to put together about 200 people to participate in the march, which will be against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who supports either. We will be busing in skinheads from the Bay Area.”

    Anglin has organized a harassment campaign against Jews in Whitefish because a building owned by Spencer’s mother has been targeted for protests by people upset by her son’s hateful views, which were on full display last month during a white nationalist conference in Washington, D.C. During his speech at the conference, Spencer made a Nazi salute and yelled, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” […]

  56. says

    Whoops. Forgot the link for the quoted text in comment 66:
    https://thinkprogress.org/daily-stormer-armed-march-whitefish-richard-spencer-mother-c24e046d7973#.yxbv5nz8v

    […] “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.” […]

    Though Angelin urges his followers to avoid threats of violence, a co-director of the Montana Human Rights Network told the New York Times that the group has received numerous threatening messages, including one that said, “All of you deserve a bullet through your skull. Choke on a shotgun and die. All of you would be of greater worth to society as human fertilizer than citizens.” […]

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

    The RNC wishes a happy Christmas [*puke*]
    [I will embed my comments in bold]

    WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus and Co-Chair Sharon Day released the following statement celebrating Christmas:

    “Merry Christmas to all! Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this [NB] Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King aka Trump. We hope Americans celebrating Christmas today will enjoy a day of festivities and a renewed closeness with family and friends.being their last for the next 4 years

    “Even as we celebrate, we must also remember those among us who are less fortunate. Many on this day are without hope, and need the kindness and compassion of those around them. It is our prayer we will rise to meet the material, emotional, and spiritual needs of individuals all around us, and what better day is there to love our fellow man than today?

    “As we open presents, enjoy Christmas dinner, and celebrate our own family traditions, we are mindful of our men and women in uniform disregard the people they are slaughtering. Many are stationed around the world today protecting our freedoms by slaughtering the people at which we aimed them, and cannot be with their own spouses, children, parents, and siblings. boo hoo We express the deepest gratitude for service that takes them away from celebrating with loved ones, and we ought to remember them in our thoughts and prayers don’t recall them home, only in memory and prayers not just on Christmas Day, but the whole year round.”in perpetuity

    source:https://gop.com/rnc-message-celebrating-christmas-2016/?

  58. says

    slithey tove @68, WTF? That reads like satire, even without your additions.

    In other bad news, here are a few details that illuminate the perfidy of Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Service, Tom Price:

    […] Price, a former orthopedic surgeon and six-term House member from suburban Atlanta, has proposed policies that are more conservative than those of many House Republican colleagues. His vision for health reform hinges on eliminating much of the federal government’s role in favor of a free-market framework built on privatization, state flexibility and changes to the tax code. The vast majority of the 20 million people now covered under Obamacare would have far less robust coverage — if they got anything at all. […]

    A close ally of Speaker Paul Ryan and his successor as House Budget Committee chairman, Price also supports privatizing Medicare so that seniors would receive fixed dollar amounts to buy coverage — an approach that Democrats lambaste as a voucher system that would gut a 50-year-old social contract and shift a growing share of health care costs onto seniors. Republicans argue the changes are needed to keep Medicare from going bankrupt. Trump’s transition spokesman did not return calls Tuesday about whether the president-elect now shares his nominee’s views on Medicare.

    Price also wants to limit federal Medicaid spending to give states a lump sum, or block grant, and more control over how they could use it — a dream of conservative Republicans for years and a nightmare for advocates for the poor who fear many would lose coverage. Trump has endorsed block grants. […]

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/tom-price-radically-conservative-healthcare-vision-231965

    If states have control of Medicaid funding, many of those states will defund Planned Parenthood. They are also likely to place unrealistic limits on spending for long-term care.

    If Republicans privatize Medicare, we will see higher medical bills for Medicare recipients, and less regulation or oversight when it comes to quality of care.

  59. Saad says

    The sensitive mediocre businessman and proponent of sexual assault is now saying his immigration ban will be based not on religion but on country of origin.

    Kellyanne Conway, President-elect Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and newly named White House aide, said Thursday the new administration would not pursue a ban on Muslims solely based on their religion.

    Asked repeatedly if an individual’s religious affiliation would trigger heightened scrutiny, Conway said, “No.”
    Instead, Trump will focus more on the country of origin, Conway said.
    “You’re going back to over a year ago in what he said about the (Muslim) ban versus what he said later about it, when he made it much more specific and talked about countries where we know that they’ve got a higher propensity of training and exporting terrorists,” she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo during an interview on “New Day,” after he prodded her to share more details.

    Liberals be like: See? He’s not anti-Muslim.

  60. says

    Saad @70, so Kellyanne Conway thinks it is unfair for journalists to go back a whole year to repeat what Trump said about the Muslim ban? I mean, a year! Ancient freaking history, right?

    Trump himself seems to think it is unfair to refer to what he said the day before yesterday.

    Actually, Trump and his surrogates have said so many contradictory things about banning Muslims, or immigrants, or people from certain countries, or “extreme vetting,” that we still don’t know what the Trump administration will try to do. News media people keep asking because the answer is not clear. And Kellyanne Conway didn’t really make it clear.

    Last I heard from Rachel Maddow, the text of the Muslim ban was still up on Trump’s website.

    The question of banning immigrants from countries with a record of terrorism remains to be answered. Do we have a list? No. Are we banning immigrants from Belgium, from France, from Germany, etc.?

  61. says

    This is a followup to comment 69.

    Tom Price, Trump’s nominee to lead HHS, has other ethical/legal problems.

    President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to run the Health and Human Services Department traded more than $300,000 in shares of health-related companies over the past four years while sponsoring and advocating legislation that potentially could affect those companies’ stocks.

    Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, bought and sold stock in about 40 health-care, pharmaceutical and biomedical companies since 2012, including a dozen in the current congressional session, according to a Wall Street Journal review of hundreds of pages of stock trades he filed with Congress. […]

    Wall Street Journal link.

    As Steve Benen noted, the details are hard to ignore:

    […] Price’s investment in an Australian biomedical firm, Innate Immunotherapeutics, whose largest shareholder is Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), a Price colleague and a leading member of Donald Trump’s transition team. In August, Collins bought four million shares in the company, and two days later, Price bought between $50,000 and $100,000 in the same company.

    A few months later, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which boosted investment in medical research, and sent Innate Immuno’s stock higher, more than doubling in value since Price’s investment.

    Richard Painter, an ethics lawyer in the Bush/Cheney administration, told Roll Call members of Congress should avoid actively investing in industries they oversee.

    “Good judgment would be to stay out of health care stocks if you are on a health-care related committee,” Painter said. “Stay out of energy stocks if you are on an energy committee. Stay out of defense stocks if you are on Armed Services.”

    Price, who’s benefited greatly from generous contributions from the health care industry, evidently feels differently.

    Naturally, as Kellyanne Conway told Rachel on Thursday’s show, Price’s investment strategies will be of great interest to Senate Democrats when his confirmation process begins in the new year, but I’m curious if Trump’s transition team (a) knew about this and didn’t care; or (b) never bothered to do any serious vetting of Price’s background, looking for potential pitfalls. […]

    Oh, yeah, like I trust the Trump team’s vetting process. They haven’t done a good job so far. Rachel Maddow’s interview with Kellyanne Conway revealed that, for example, she knew nothing about General Flynn tweeting to distribute the fake news that Hillary Clinton was involved in sex crimes with children.

    U decide – NYPD Blows Whistle on New Hillary Emails: Money Laundering, Sex Crimes w Children, etc…MUST READ!

  62. Greta Samsa says

    Lynna, OM; #71
    I think it’s because he doesn’t believe in video tape (or microphones, for that matter), and we ought to respect this.

    I suppose we’ll need to bar immigration from the United States, as well, as most of our terrorists began there.

  63. says

    This is a followup to Nerd’s comment 62

    Trump lied again about the Trump Foundation. He tweeted last night that “all” of the money raised by the foundation was “given to charity.” It wasn’t.

    In a later tweet he claimed that “100%” of the millions he raised went to “wonderful charities.” It didn’t.

    In its filings, even the foundation admitted to violating a legal prohibition against self-dealing. That’s from Trump Foundation official documents.

    And we know from journalists researching the foundation that Trump used foundation money to purchase portraits of himself. He used foundation money to settle lawsuits. He used foundation money to support conservative political candidates and organizations.

    As Steve Benen put it:

    […] what’s alarming about Trump’s latest deception is how brazen it is. The president-elect knows his claims are false, and he must realize that anyone with a passing familiarity with current events knows it, too. But Trump just doesn’t care about getting caught lying, in part because his followers don’t care, in part because he’s counting on news organizations to push back against his lies with kid gloves, and in part because he assumes much of the public will reject any evidence published by journalists. […]

    We are in for four more years of this brazen lying.

  64. says

    John Pavlovitz, a pastor who works in Raleigh, North Carolina, wrote an open letter to Hillary Clinton. It’s good. Here are some excerpts:

    […] You were prepared and balanced and cool under pressure.

    You knew what you were talking about at every turn.

    You saw the big picture, and you knew the countless small details that your opponent could never be bothered with.

    You endured a relentless flood of misinformation by continually, plainly speaking your truth.

    You had your character assassinated over and over—and in response you simply showed that character.

    You shouldered the kind of expectations that no man aspiring to the position has ever had to contend with.

    You had to be both strong and sensitive, tough and warm, fierce and likable—and you were.

    You never talked in nonsensical sound bites, never ranted like a lunatic at your detractors, never viciously attacked citizens on social media—and you never stooped to the inhumanity of your opponent. […]

    Despite the unprecedented viciousness hurled at you, you never responded in kind; you just kept on being decent, intelligent, thoughtful—Presidential. You alone had the experience and the temperament and the maturity to do the job of leading this country. That should have been enough. I’m sorry that it wasn’t. […]

    I know you’re a warrior and that you’re going to be fine, but I also know that you’re human and that this year must have taken a greater toll on you than anyone. I hope you realize that it wasn’t in vain; that you really have won (and not just the popular vote). […]

    So for all that you gave and suffered and endured,
    for how you taught and cared and labored,
    for the way you inspired and challenged and led,
    for being the very best of this country and for this country—

    Thank you, Hillary.

    http://johnpavlovitz.com/2016/12/22/thank-you-hillary/

  65. Saad says

    Lynna, #71

    Saad @70, so Kellyanne Conway thinks it is unfair for journalists to go back a whole year to repeat what Trump said about the Muslim ban? I mean, a year! Ancient freaking history, right?

    Yup. Not to mention that saying I’m banning people from specific countries and not the religion is pointless when you pick countries that are 90 something percent Muslim. It’s basic bigot code language to not sound so bigoted.

  66. says

    Trump says something stupid, and insults a broad array of international diplomats and workers:

    The United Nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!

  67. says

    Remember when Trump told us, repeatedly, that the Washington Post was a failing newspaper? No, it is not failing. In fact, it is thriving and expanding. This is such good news.

    […] “We’re adding dozens of journalists,” Fred Ryan, the Post’s publisher and CEO, told me late last week. Ryan, in a recent memo, said the Post was “profitable and growing.” […] according to sources, we can figure that the Post newsroom will grow by more than 60 jobs — or 8 percent — an astounding number in this day and age. […]

    The Post newsroom will number more than 750, third among the national newspaper-based press and moving it closer to the Times, with which it increasingly competes for high-end talent. The Times complement stands at about 1,307, the company says. […]

    […] there’s the addition of a “rapid-response” investigative team of about a half dozen, which will work alongside the Post’s existing investigative team of more than a dozen. […] the Post believes, as Ryan noted, that its investigative and deeper enterprise stories are good for the brand and the business. While the Post can’t yet draw a direct line between the investigative work and subscriber conversion, for instance, the link may be even more fundamental.

    “Investigative reporting is central to our DNA,” says Ryan. “Readers expect it.”

    In short, Ryan and Bezos believe that old-fashioned journalism — increasingly delivered via a fleet of digital means, from smartphone apps to the Kindle to Facebook Instant Articles — sells.

    The Post has seen a 75 percent increase in new subscribers since the first of the year and says it has doubled digital subscription revenue over the year. […]

    As the yearlong presidential campaign got stranger and stranger, the Post, along with the Times, rose to meet the challenge. Both sent a small legion of investigative reporters after the stories of the week, from Donald Trump’s foundation self-dealing and on-tape sexual braggadocio (both expertly tracked by Post reporter David Fahrenthold, who just won the company’s inaugural Ben Bradlee Prize) to pieces on Hillary’s Clinton email woes and own foundation issues. […]

    Politico link.

  68. blf says

    Somewhat similar to @79, Progressive causes see ‘unprecedented’ upswing in donations after US election: “Nonprofits such as Planned Parenthood and ACLU saw more fundraising as they approached end-of-year drives, with many donating instead of gift-giving”. One example, “Planned Parenthood has received more than 300,000 donations in the six weeks since the election, 40 times its normal rate. Around half the donors were millennials and 70% had never given to the family planning organization before”. And an important point:

    While famous national organizations are seeing a surge, Carol Tracy, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Women’s Law Project advocacy group, urged people to seek out local causes too.

    “State-based organizations are where all the action is. Everything is local in the end, and if it’s not working at that level then this election result is what we end up with,” she said.

  69. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Finally, the woman who called Michelle Obama a racist epithet has been fired.

    A West Virginia nonprofit group has fired its director after she wrote a Facebook post referring to first lady Michelle Obama as an “ape in heels.”
    Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office said Tuesday that Pamela Ramsey Taylor, executive director of the Clay County Development Corp., was removed following an agreement with the nonprofit’s board of directors.
    Taylor’s racist social media comments were not directly mentioned as the reason.
    However, Tomblin spokeswoman Jessica Tice says the state requested “specific assurances” the nonprofit is following anti-discrimination policies and has been assured Taylor is gone as director.
    She says another agency will manage it for six months while the nonprofit makes any changes needed for compliance as a state contractor.
    The nonprofit provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County.

  70. blf says

    The Grauniad seems to be running an (irregular?) series / column, “Burst Your Bubble”, summarizing various rightwing articles, arguing “It’s easy for progressive readers to remain insulated in a liberal bubble but voices on the right have insights about the incipient Trump era too” (from the first edition). To-date the choices of articles / individuals to summarize haven’t been the obvious loonies, but thoughtful articles by presumably sane people.

    And here is the second edition (which may also be the latest?). This could be, if it continues, an interesting series / column to keep an eye on.

  71. blf says

    A follow-up / reminder about Tom Price (see, e.g., @72), the cranky quack nominated for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): As Orac has pointed out, he is a member of an überquack group, the impressively-named Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), caricatured as “Glenn Beck with an MD”.

    The AAPS is anti-vaccine and claims vaccination causes autism; is anti-evidence based medicine (EBM); engages in HIV/AIDS denialism; blames immigrants for crime and disease; wants to eliminate ACA (Obmamcare), Medicare, Medicaid, and(?) taxes; and on and on and on, including rejecting the concept of scientific consensus.

    AAPS is very much a libertoonian worshipping collection of nutters. As Orac puts it:

    [T]he cornerstone of the AAPS [is] fetishization above all else of the individual doctor’s judgment and hostility to any restriction on physician autonomy, or, as I like to characterize it, anything that smacks of “telling doctors what to do.” Truly AAPS worships “brave maverick doctors” and castigates doctors following EBM as going with the herd. […]

    […]

    Tom Price probably doesn’t buy into all the quackery of the AAPS, but my reading thus far leads me to believe that he fully embraces the and Ayn Rand-worshiping wingnuttery the organization. I do feel obligated to state here, though, that, although I do believe he’s a very bad choice for DHHS, fortunately thus far I have found no evidence that he is antivaccine and have even heard rumblings that antivaccinationists are not happy with this choice for DHHS. […] However, you can learn a lot about a person by the people with whom he associates and the groups he joins and supports. By joining the AAPS, Price has shown that he is clearly attracted to a pre-Medicare vision of a golden era of absolute physician autonomy with minimal or no government interference or programs like Medicare, as well as a hostility towards evidence that conflicts with that vision. There is no arguing this, as these are beliefs that are baked into the DNA of the AAPS; they are central to the organization. Attraction to such beliefs is not a good trait for a Secretary of HHS to be attracted to, and I haven’t even really gotten into Price’s fundamentalist antiabortion beliefs, and his implacable opposition to gun control. […]

    And, of course, true to form, earlier this month, The crank medical organization to which HHS nominee Dr Tom Price belongs lays down a heaping helping of antivaccine pseudoscience (Orac’s titles are as long as his articles!).

  72. blf says

    Backfiring Le Penazi stunt, French rightwing mayor creates ‘rue de Brexit’ in honour of British vote:

    But street chosen by the Front National mayor of Beaucaire, Julien Sanchez, is circular road to nowhere

    A rightwing French mayor has named a street in his town “rue de Brexit”, but the joke quickly rebounded on him when it emerged that the thoroughfare in question was a circular road to nowhere.

    […]

    The town council selected for the honour a previously unnamed street located near the rue Robert Schuman and avenue Jean Monnet — both named after founding fathers of the EU.

    […]

    French tweets were split between approval and denunciation, with critics lamenting the use of jargon for a street name, “and an Anglicism to boot”. Some noted gleefully that the street itself is a circular road to nowhere through a rather bleak part of town.

    Others commented that the street’s situation between Schuman and Monnet meant that it was leading from Europe back to Europe again.

    […]

    Beaucaire, roughly halfway between Nîmes and Avignon, is not a million kilometres away, albeit I’ve never been there. That is also Le Penazi territory.

    Rue de Brexit is not (yet) known to Generalissimo Google Maps.

  73. microraptor says

    Lynna @77:

    You know, one thing I’ve really noticed with Trump’s insults is just how limited his vocabulary seems to be. Some people are rude and offensive but they at least have a wide repertoire when it comes to insults. Trump, on the other hand, has about a half dozen words that he uses all the time and virtually nothing else.

  74. blf says

    microraptor@85, You might enjoy this, TRUMP GENERATOR — GENERATE PERSONALIZED INSULTING TWEETS (shouting in the original, which somehow seems appropriate). I tried it with “A. Republican” and got “Dummy A. Republican.”

    From Donald Trump Insult Generator:

    Because the Republican presidential candidate hasn’t gotten around to mocking everyone in the world just yet

    Perhaps no presidential candidate in history has wielded the put-down quite like Donald Trump. John McCain’s a “dummy.” John Kasich is “desperate.” Rick Perry “needs new glasses.” Karl Rove is “a total loser.” Lindsey Graham, Trump said Tuesday as he announced the South Carolina Senator’s cell phone number on live television, is a “stiff. What a stiff.”

    The list goes on [Warning: contains auto-play video!].

    Feeling left out that Trump hasn’t gotten around to insulting you or your friends? Here’s an app for that. Built on the real-live insults taken from the would-be President’s Twitter feed, @RealDonaldTrump, the generator below provides a Trump insult for everyone.

  75. says

    microraptor @85, I’ve noticed that too. Trump is not even creative or original with his insults.

    Most of his insults lead right back to him anyway. He is projecting his own flaws most of the time.

    Trump used “pay for play” to describe the Clinton Foundation, and to describe Hillary Clinton’s relationship with donors. Politico’s recent article points out that “the extent to which donors are stocking Trump’s administration is unparalleled in modern presidential history.” Pay for play, Trump style.

    More than a third of the almost 200 people who have met with President-elect Donald Trump since his election last month, including those interviewing for administration jobs, gave large amounts of money to support his campaign and other Republicans this election cycle.

    Together the 73 donors contributed $1.7 million to Trump and groups supporting him, according to a POLITICO analysis of Federal Election Commission records, and $57.3 million to the rest of the party, averaging more than $800,000 per donor.

    Donors also represent 39 percent of the 119 people Trump reportedly considered for high-level government posts, and 38 percent of those he eventually picked, according to the analysis, which counted candidates named by the transition and in news reports. […]

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/donald-trump-donors-rewards-232974

  76. blf says

    ‘Negligible’ link between executive pay and firm’s performance, says study:

    […]
    The link between executive pay and company performance is negligible, according to a study that will fuel arguments for reform of corporate wage packets.

    The chief executives of Britain’s leading 350 companies each took home a median pay package of £1.9m in 2014, a rise of 82% on 13 years ago, research commissioned by the UK arm of the CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, found.

    But the rise was not mirrored in the fortunes of their employers, with return on invested capital — the report’s preferred measure of performance — up by less than 1%.

    The authors of the report said: “Our findings suggest a material disconnect between pay and fundamental value generation.”

    Presumably unsurprisingly, most of the frankly obscene growth in the studied executive pay is due to so-called “performance-related bonuses”, which tend to use quite dubious metrics / definitions of “performance”, plus odd methods of calculating said bonus.

    The report warned that measures typically used by companies to calculate performance, such as total shareholder return and earning per share growth, placed too much emphasis on “short-term” results. The CFA UK chief executive, Will Goodhart, said: “Too few of today’s popular approaches {…} genuinely align senior executives’ pay with the economic value that they create.”

    Stefan Stern, the director of the High Pay Centre, welcomed the report, saying companies placed too much emphasis on suspect measures of performance.

    “It’s very hard to measure performance intelligently because share prices move for all sorts of reasons beyond the control of the chief executive or senior management,” he said.

    “{Excess pay} is an error based on a false premise that you can construct some sophisticated formula that will link performance to pay. […]

    Although this is in the UK, it would not surprise me if the results, broadly speaking, also apply to USAppropriate.

  77. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Although this is in the UK, it would not surprise me if the results, broadly speaking, also apply to USAppropriate.

    Gee, when the smallest unit (~30M) of a conglomerate(2B) supplies the majority of a the profits, and the CEO gets a bonus….?

  78. says

    Mind the gap.

    The reality gap persists. 74% of Trump voters think that the number of Americans with health insurance either stayed the same or declined during the Obama administration.

    The Economist/YouGov poll asked: “Do you think that the proportion of persons without insurance has increased or decreased over the past five years?”

    Trump voters got the answer wrong 74% of the time.

    As Steve Benen put it:

    […] a national Public Policy Polling survey [found] Trump voters believing all sorts of wrong things, on issues ranging from unemployment (Trump voters believe it went up under Obama, which is the opposite of the truth), to the stock market (Trump voters believe it went down under Obama, which is the opposite of the truth), to the popular vote (Trump voters believe it went in the Republican’s favor, which is the opposite of the truth). […]

  79. says

    In this Rachel Maddow segment, hosted by Ari Melber, Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione talks about the fact that Trump will be able to launch nuclear weapons in four minutes.

    Melber begins the segment with a summary of the nuclear arms buildup, and the more recent efforts to reduce the need for nuclear weapons, and to reduce nuclear proliferation around the world. The video is 10:26 minutes long.

    On an All In segment, Chris Hayes talks about nuclear weapons and Trump’s recent comments (including this: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”) The frightening conclusion is that Trump could trigger an utter catastrophe.

    Chris Hayes discusses the issue with Charles Pierce, writer for Esquire, and Charlie does not disappoint. He is right on when it comes to the seriousness of the situation. (Also, Charlie wore an awesome holiday sweater.)

    Decisions made during times of crisis are often based on the predictability of one’s opponent(s). Trump is unpredictable. The video is 6:08 minutes long.

  80. says

    Trump is being … well, trumpish toward President Obama:

    Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition—NOT!

    He also said the the Obama administration is treating Israel with “total disdain and disrespect,” which is not true.

  81. Saad says

    Lynna, #93

    I can’t believe that temperament and immaturity wasn’t even enough to convince his racist voters he’s not president material.

  82. says

    Unholy crap from the “alt-right”:

    […] The “alt-right” [doofuses] organizing the great big Trump Inaugural fucktussle/lovefest called the “DeploraBall” […] have finally found a venue willing to host them, but now the organizers are fighting with each other over exactly how openly Nazi-ish the celebration of their Aryan Jesus should be. […]

    The fight heated up this week when DeploraBall organizer and one-man conspiracy-theory factory Mike Cernovich told another “alt-right” Twitter star (as if that were a thing) “@BakedAlaska” he may as well stay away from the event if @BakedAlaska insisted on throwing out Hitler salutes for Trump. @BakedAlaska promptly took the fight to Twitter, so everyone could start hating Cernovich […]

    @BakedAlaska also called Cernovich a “cuck” and then the Daily Stormer did, too, and worse! According to those fine examples of humanity, Cernovich was in fact part of the “cuck/kike contingent of the Trump movement” who were too chicken to openly embrace white supremacism, and was totally ruining the DeploraBall by limiting it to “Alt-Light figures attempting to kike-over the Alt-Right by making it non-racist and accepting of Jews.” […]

    Cernovich also made much of the fact that Milo Yianoppoulos would be attending, which made @BakedAlaska mad because who even cares if it’s just dumb Milo and not one of the Trumps, And Then Milo said @BakedAlaska had violated his nondisclosure agreement by talking about the planning at all. […]

    Wonkette link

  83. blf says

    Re @92(teh trum-prat and teh bomb), I know I’ve pointed this out before, so apologies for the repeat, but the point which most concerns me is that, at the end of January, all-but-one of the known nuclear weapons states will be controlled by authoritarians: USA (teh trum-prat), Big China, Russia, Pakistan, India, Israel, and the UK (May). The one exception will be France, which also looks set to go authoritarian four months later (possibly full facist if the Le Penazis win). That means, come June, the world’s entire nuclear weapons stockpile will be controlled by paranoid bigoted conspiracy-minded nutters, intolerant of disagreement, dissent, and even of discussion.

  84. blf says

    Create your own 2017 with our wonky news generator:

    Nobody could have predicted how odd 2016 was going to be — so let’s see what next year’s going to look like with our highly scientific predictions

    January
    […]
    ○ Donald Trump withdraws from the presidency on the morning of the inauguration.
    ○ Lightning strikes as soon as Donald Trump begins his inaugural address.
    ○ Barack Obama locks himself in the Oval Office and refuses to leave.
    ○ Dogs can talk now.

    February
    […]
    ○ All living musicians who ever had a number one album die on exactly the same day.
    ○ Nigel Farage grows his moustache back, starts going by the name Rodriguez.
    […]

    March
    ○ Article 50 is triggered, and the pound devalues so quickly that people start trading paracetamol for currency.
    […]
    ○ Mike Pence travels to France and proposes banning ‘la’ in favour of the more masculine ‘le’.
    ○ Katie Hopkins writes a column saying that only foreign people go to the toilet.

    April
    ○ Thanks to a miracle of cloning technology, all five guests on Question Time are Nigel Farage.
    ○ Donald Trump begins a press conference by saying “They say that Chinese people eat babies. I don’t know. I don’t know”.
    […]

    And so on… It’s quite humorous, if a bit UK-centric, and some of the comments are also quite funny. I think my favourite might be for December: “Mike Pence bans Christmas, claiming that tinsel is ‘too fruity’.”

  85. says

    Donald Trump confirmed yesterday that his veterans’ health “plan” is a joke

    Matt Yglesias, writing for Vox, really offers the best analysis of Trump’s non-plan when it comes to healthcare for vets.

    One of Donald Trump’s major themes on the 2016 campaign trail was the need to improve the health care offerings afforded to America’s veterans. We’re going to “take care of our veterans like they have never been taken care of before” was a fairly typical stump speech line, […]

    This was typically laced with references to the spring 2014 VA scandal and devoid of references to the bipartisan reform legislation that passed in the wake of the scandal. Trump didn’t particularly have a policy critique of the Obama administration and never so much as mentioned any of Hillary Clinton’s policy ideas on the issue — the pitch he was making was, broadly, that Democrats didn’t respect or care about veterans as much as he did.

    Wednesday he held meetings at his Florida estate with private sector health care leaders to discuss ways to improve things, […]

    The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, provided no details about how the plans would work, how much they would cost, or the possibility of unintended consequences from privatizing part of the V.A.’s sprawling medical system.

    […] Whether it was taking care of vets or respecting cops or reopening coal mines or getting Americans jobs in steel mills, wherever there was a stereotypically male occupational category, Trump was there to rhetorically elevate its social status.

    He did not actually have a specific criticism of the veterans’ health care status quo or a specific plan to improve it, and I think Americans in the relevant parts of the country will soon find that he doesn’t have a plan to bring back coal mining or labor-intensive forms of domestic steel production either.

    […] Voting for the guy who praises steel and coal and cops and veterans rather than the woman talking about reducing student debt is at least as much a matter of identity politics as it is a matter of policy. After all, anyone interested enough in the details of veterans’ health policy or energy policy could have figured out pretty quickly that there was no substance to Trump’s plans. […]

    The problem with non-plans like this: people like Paul Ryan will turn this into a plan to privatize healthcare for veterans. Vet organizations have said again and again that they do not want to privative their healthcare.

  86. says

    Writing for The Maddow Blog, Steve Benen summarized Trump’s response to the fact that Russia interfered with a U.S. election. Benen’s summary includes Trump’s latest eyebrow-raising word salad about computers (so complicated, dontcha know).

    Seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia intervened in the American presidential election, […] the president-elect and his transition team have come up with all kinds of various reactions.

    Some of the more notable responses include Trump’s mockery of U.S. intelligence officials, his attempts to blame different countries for the cyber attack, his assertion that the hack may not have happened at all, and his team’s insistence that questions themselves shouldn’t be asked because they undermine Trump’s legitimacy.

    […] the president-elect yesterday rolled out a new line yesterday during an impromptu Q&A with reporters, which was probably the most hilarious to date.

    Someone asked Trump about several senators, most notably Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), pushing for a thorough investigation into the Russia scandal. The president-elect responded by noting – twice – that he ran against Graham in the GOP presidential primaries, as if that were relevant.

    In a follow-up, Trump was asked about possible economic sanctions against Russia in general. He replied:

    I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole, you know, age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure we have the kind the security that we need.

    […] Obviously, Trump’s answer is the worst kind of word salad, but let’s not miss the bigger picture here: the president-elect is signaling weakness to the world. Trump, presented with evidence that a foreign adversary attacked the United States, doesn’t seem to care in the slightest, and instead of responding, his plan is to simply move on, thankful that the alleged Russian espionage was in his favor.

  87. says

    You can tell that Republicans plan to go after safety-net programs once Trump is in office. One way you can tell is by paying attention to what Paul Ryan says, and another way to tell is by noting how many times, Trump, the Trump team, Breitbart, and Fox News try to pump up distrust of social safety-net programs.

    For example, here’s an excerpt from a Fox News report:

    Food stamp fraud is at an all-time high, with cases this year including a state lawmaker and even a millionaire.

    According to the USDA, $70 million of taxpayer money was wasted in 2016 due to food stamp fraud.

    No, food stamp fraud is not at an all time high. Fox used figures from 2013 to show that approximately $70 million of food-stamp funds was used that year by people who should not have received assistance.

    The food stamp program ( federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) spends about $71 billion per year. That $70 million amounts to a “fraud” rate of 0.09%. The SNAP safety net is 99.91% effective, which is phenomenal for a government program.

    Fox and Breitbart both failed to note that more people signed up for food stamps during the recession, but that the overall trend during the Obama administration is that fraud in social safety net programs is less common. Fraud has declined in recent years.

    What are we to make of this? Republicans want to slash SNAP funds, so they are working hard to discredit the program first.

    Fox News link

    Breitbart link

    Ari Melber on the food stamp fraud farce from rightwing media. The video is 7:38 minutes long.

  88. says

    This is a followup to comments 92 and 97.

    George Takei responded to some of Trump’s irresponsible comments about nuclear weapons.

    Three days before Christmas, President-elect Trump tweeted (yes, tweeted) that the U.S. “must greatly strengthen and enhance its nuclear capability” until the world “comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

    […] Prior presidents generally undertook any shift in nuclear policy with care, and with the advice of experts in arms control and proliferation who have made keeping us safe their life’s mission. After all, when a single person has the power to rain down nuclear fire across the world, caution might not only be warranted, but expected.

    Trump’s language seemed to imply a new arms race. […] Trump soon doubled down on his nuclear gambit in a follow-up interview: “Let it be an arms race,” he told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski. And with that, the future became quite unclear—and many times more dangerous.

    I can’t help but feel Mr. Trump treats brinksmanship as some game. It’s hard to believe he needs reminding, but nuclear weapons are not toys, […] I am among a dwindling number still around who remember the first time atomic weapons were used—at that time to end a terrible world war. I had family in Hiroshima when the Enola Gay dropped its deadly payload, obliterating the entire city in an instant. My aunt on my mother’s side was among the over one hundred thousand dead, along with my baby cousin, who was found cradled in her arms […]

    It has been many decades since the specter of nuclear weapons, an arms race, or proliferation held center stage in America. […] The Soviet Union and the United States pointed their weapons like guns to each other’s heads, knowing that pulling the trigger meant both sides perished in flames and radiation.

    But what both sides had then, which seems terrifyingly lacking now, was at least a genuine sense of the seriousness of the circumstances. Nuclear armament—and disarmament—was by agreement a delicate dance. […]

    So it is with ever-increasing alarm that we must acknowledge that a man, who apparently lacks the self-control to keep his fingers from tweeting, now literally has those same fingers on the nuclear button.

    […] Does Donald Trump understand the true horror of what he can unleash in an instant?

    In the city of Hiroshima, there is a group of survivors called the hibakusha. They have dedicated their lives to ensuring no one on this earth again suffers the fate of their city. During his recent visit to Japan, President Obama stopped in Hiroshima as a historic first, a sitting president acknowledging the great suffering of its inhabitants. He spoke of a nuclear-free world, where nations that hold weapons remain the only members of that deadly club, and where each works to ratchet down its arsenals and bring about disarmament through mutual steps and aligned goals.

    The sudden reversal by Mr. Trump not only walks us back from this vision; it replaces it with a threat of further escalation and instability. Paired with his equally cavalier talk about proliferation—suggesting that nations such as Saudi Arabia and Japan should acquire nuclear weapons—we are perilously close to uncorking the genie from the bottle for good. […]

    Trump might do well to pay his own visit to Hiroshima, where the hibakusha keep alive the terrible legacy of atomic warfare, precisely so that we might not blunder down a ruinous path. It is not enough that our president-elect think twice before he tweets about nuclear weapons […] he must come to see nuclear bombs not as fearsome weapons to be revered, but as the literal dead end they are.

    Link

  89. says

    The Obama administration announced today that sanctions against Russia will be put in place in various ways as retaliation for the hacking campaign that affected the presidential election. Most of the sanctions that were announced are economic.

    The Federal Security Service (FSB), and the GRU (Russia’s military intelligence operation) will be targets of sanctions. Six individuals are also targeted.

    It is likely that covert actions will include some form of cyber attack. “These actions are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities. We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized.”

    The Hill link

  90. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Kind of an addendum to Lynna’s #101.
    Some actions that the SSA Disability program is taking in cases where lawyers used fraudulent documents in disability ability applications, is effecting those who are truly disabled.

    For more than a year, Dye’s family and hundreds of others in the coalfields of Kentucky and West Virginia have been fighting the federal government to keep their Social Security Disability checks. They have one thing in common: They hired attorney Eric C. Conn, a flamboyant master marketer who billed himself “Mr. Social Security.” For years he clogged the highways with neon yellow billboards promising to help people get what they deserved from the government.
    Dye thought they could trust him.
    Now federal officials allege he funneled $600 million in fraudulent claims to this impoverished pocket of Appalachia, and the government has turned off the spigot. It suspended disability payments to hundreds of Conn’s former clients, propelling them into an unprecedented, year-long battle with the federal government. They must prove once again that they deserved disability years ago.
    If they lose, their checks stop and they are billed for tens of thousands of dollars they received over the years, money the government now believes they never deserved.
    The government has good reason to ferret out disability fraud. Critics call it a secret welfare program that morphed over the decades from serving the truly disabled to aiding the unemployable: the uneducated, the frail, the unfortunates who live in places where a rotting economy relies on back-breaking labor. Burgeoning claims — in Floyd County, Kentucky, 15 percent are on disability — have pushed the disability fund to the brink of insolvency.
    The government has squeezed other programs for the poor, leaving many in these crumbling corners of blue-collar America with few good options. The mass suspensions laid bare their absolute dependence on disability.

    I’ve always been suspicious of lawyers who advertise on TV about disability claims.
    (The Redhead has a real disability, but she doesn’t qualify for SSA Disability. She didn’t work enough over the years to qualify, as she needed a minimum number of quarters, and only had worked about half what was required.)
    Some of these folks voted for Trump and rethug senators and congresscritters. Yes, they will get change. But they won’t benefit from it. I expect the Trump folks to make it even harder on demonstrating disability.

  91. says

    Nerd @105. Yikes. It sounds like the feds should be more discriminating in this case: block the fraud, but maintain the funds for truly disabled people.

    In a followup to comment 104, I should have noted that the U.S. is also expelling 35 Russian diplomats. The Russians are still claiming that the charge of hacking is a “lie.”

  92. says

    Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, is working to deny climate change by altering the way it is described on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.

    […] The website used to explain that “Earth’s climate is changing. Human activities that increase heat-trapping (‘greenhouse’) gases are the main cause,” and went on to discuss how climate change might affect Wisconsin directly — longer summers, shorter winters, changes in precipitation patterns.

    Instead, the webpage now reads: “As it has done throughout the centuries, the earth is going through a change. The reasons for this change at this particular time in the earth’s long history are being debated and researched by academic entities outside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.” […]

    This isn’t the first time the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which is led by climate change-denying Gov. Scott Walker (R), has deleted information regarding climate change under Walker’s tenure.

    According to the Associated Press, the Department of Natural Resources also deleted information compiled by former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle’s (D) global warming task force, and a guide on how to teach about climate change. […]

    Think Progress link

  93. says

    Trump falsely claims he created thousands of new jobs, and news outlets lap it up

    […] “Because of what’s happening and the spirit and the hope,” President-elect Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday, “I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they’re going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States.”

    And just in case there’s any doubt about who deserves credit for these jobs, Trump was happy to take it. “I just spoke with the head person,” Trump claimed, “he said because of me they’re doing 5,000 jobs in this country.”

    There’s just one problem. It’s not true. Or, at least, the suggestion that Trump is responsible for new, previously unannounced jobs is not true. The jobs are coming to the United States, but they are coming as part of a series of investments that were first announced in mid-October.

    Sprint’s parent company, SoftBank, said in October that it would partner with a Saudi sovereign wealth fund to invest about $100 billion in the tech sector. On December 6, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son told Trump the company would use some of these funds to bring 50,000 jobs to the United States. […]

    SoftBank confirmed to the tech news site Engadget that the 5,000 jobs Trump took credit for on Wednesday are “part of the 50,000 jobs that Masa previously announced.” […]

    Yet, despite the fact that the 5,000 jobs Trump took credit for on Wednesday were already announced earlier this month and are part of a series of investments that were themselves announced in mid-October, numerous headlines presented Trump’s claim as fact. […]

    The article closes with many examples of headlines that laud Trump without saying that he lied. The misleading headlines are from USA Today, CNN, the Washington Post, etc.

    When Trump lies, say so in the headline, and in the lede.

  94. blf says

    In @108 it is claimed “Trump falsely claims he created thousands of new jobs, and news outlets lap it up” (emboldening mine). GODSDAMNIT, STOP REPEATING OVER-GENERALIZATIONS. In this case, a more-correct claim is “some news outlets lap it up”. An example of one which calls out teh trum-prat’s lying, Donald Trump claims credit for creating 8,000 jobs, despite conflicting timeline: “The president-elect says Sprint will repatriate 5,000 jobs and OneWeb will be hiring 3,000 people — a move that was in fact announced 10 days ago”.

    I realize the over-generalization is from the source, but it is presented with any indication that it is taken verbatim, and the “USA Today, CNN … etc” in the commentary following implies the over-generalization is correct. This rubbish, this repeating of demonstrably false implications, is similar to the shite teh trum-prat does: Take something some people believe and bellow it out as-if it’s a universal trvth. A fact. It’s not. STOP IT. Damnit.

  95. Hj Hornbeck says

    This Joint Analysis Report (JAR) is the result of analytic efforts between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This document provides technical details regarding the tools and infrastructure used by the Russian civilian and military intelligence Services (RIS) to compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. Government, political, and private sector entities. The U.S. Government is referring to this malicious cyber activity by RIS as GRIZZLY STEPPE.

    Previous JARs have not attributed malicious cyber activity to specific countries or threat actors. However, public attribution of these activities to RIS is supported by technical indicators from the U.S. Intelligence Community, DHS, FBI, the private sector, and other entities. This determination expands upon the Joint Statement released October 7, 2016, from the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security.

    A new hacking report dropped. It’s nothing new, unless you’re a sysadmin.

  96. says

    One member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is resigning as a protest against the planned performance at Trump’s inauguration.

    http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/4762845-155/singer-resigns-from-mormon-tabernacle-choir

    About 215 of the 360 singers are expected to make the trip to Washington D.C. The word from Mormon leaders is that the performance is voluntary.

    Jan Chamberlain posted her protest letter:

    […] I have reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul.

    I’ve tried to tell myself that by not going to the inauguration, that I would be able to stay in Choir for all the other good reasons. […]

    But it’s no use. I simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events. I could never look myself in the mirror again with self respect. […] looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and facism by singing for this man. […]

    Tyranny is now on our doorstep; it has been sneaking its way into our lives through stealth. […]

    When I first auditioned and entered Choir, it was to follow deep personal impressions, and to honor my late father, who was among the best of men. Now I must leave Choir for the same reasons. My father (who was an expert airforce bomber) hated tyranny and was extremely distraught over the holocaust. […]

    Evil people prosper when good people stand by and do nothing. We must continue our love and support for the refugees and the oppressed by fighting against these great evils. […]

    Much love to you all. I wish you all blessings and happiness.

    My heart is shattered and broken…………. but my conscience is clear. And THAT, really is all that matters.
    Respectfully, Jan Chamberlin

  97. says

    Rudy Giuliani is really upset about President Obama’s sanctions against Russia. (see Hornbeck’s comment 110, and my comment 104 for some background information related to yesterday’s announcement.)

    Oddly, Giuliani also said President Obama’s actions should have been taken earlier (“ten months ago”), that the sanctions were inadequate, (“petty little actions”), and that Obama had taken action to “create more problems for a future president.” Bit of a mixed message there. An excerpt from Giuliani’s statement:

    There’s no question that the intelligence that President Obama has been getting has either been incompetent or politicized.

    I would urge President Trump, when he becomes President Trump, to have his own intelligence people do their own report, let’s find out who did it, and let’s bang them back really hard.

    Talking Points Memo link.

    Bad advice, in my opinion.

    Meanwhile Putin has announced that he will not retaliate. My feeling is that:
    • Putin already got what he wanted with the hacking, so he can afford to appear magnanimous.
    • Putin earns political points in Russia and political points with Trump by not retaliating.
    •. Putin shows disrespect for President Obama by saying that he will talk to Trump about the issue when Trump is president.
    • Putin cannot be trusted when he says he won’t retaliate. He can retaliate later. He can retaliate covertly. Propping up Trump is a form of retaliation.

    Putin’s statement:

    Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible “kitchen” diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration. We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone.

  98. says

    Right Wing Watch took a closer look at some of the “faith leaders” who will be on Trump’s inaugural podium.

    […] “Paula White has spent her life taking money from gullible people in the name of religion,” writes Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff, who adds:

    Think of Paula White’s ministry as the church version of Trump University. […] Prosperity-gospel preachers teach that God wants people to be rich, and that he makes them wealthy as a sign of his blessing and favor; the richer you are, the more God loves you…These preachers also teach that the way to become wealthy is—you guessed it!—by giving them money. If you make a “seed offering”—and the bigger the better—then preachers like White say the Lord will repay your generosity with bounteous riches. […]

    While promoting his 2006 book “Why We Want You To Be Rich,” Trump appeared on Paula White’s television show, where he told White that God “blessed” wealthy people like himself with “a certain something” and a good brain and that in order to succeed in business, “God has to have blessed you with a good mind or, at least, a business mind.” […]

    Franklin Graham, son of the iconic evangelist Billy Graham, is a more intensely anti-gay right-wing version of his father, and reflects the continuing spiral of America’s right wing into anti-Muslim conspiracy-theory paranoia.

    Like Trump, Graham is a fan of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, praising Putin’s anti-gay policies and defending his support for the Assad regime in Syria. […]

    Following the election, Graham addressed a Trump victory rally and claimed that Trump had been elected thanks to God’s intervention.

    In April Graham called the separation of church and state “a lie that the enemy uses to try to keep your mouth shut” and declared, “There’s no difference between secularism and communism. They’re both godless. […]

    In a podcast with Fox News’ Todd Starnes in March, Graham said, “I want the school boards of America in the hands of evangelical Christians within the next four to six years.” […]

    Samuel Rodriguez, who heads the National Christian Hispanic Leadership Conference and is a regular speaker at Religious Right gatherings, has fostered a media image as a nonpartisan moderate while simultaneously urging Hispanic voters to support right-wing candidates and Religious Right causes […] he said it would be “morally reprehensible” for Christians to vote for a candidate who supports Planned Parenthood, saying they would need to repent. […]

    Rodriguez said the promotion of marriage equality is “an attempt to silence the church of Jesus Christ.” […]

    New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan […] has said since the election he looks forward to the appointment of Supreme Court justices “who will reform the injustice and travesty of Roe v. Wade.”

    Dolan hosted the meetings at which the 2009 Manhattan Declaration was created, and he was among its original signers. The declaration is a manifesto for Christian conservatives who declare that when it comes to opposition to abortion and marriage equality, “no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence.” Regarding marriage specifically it says, “No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage.” […]

  99. says

    Kellyanne Conway is spinning the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia as being more about Trump than about Russia:

    I will tell you that even those who are sympathetic to President Obama on most issues are saying that part of the reason he did this today was to quote “box in” President-elect Trump. That would be very unfortunate if politics were the motivating factor here. We can’t help but think that’s often true.

    Conway is not the only Trump surrogate pushing the idea that the package of sanctions are really aimed at Trump.

    […] Trump’s team has said regularly that discussion of Russian cyberattacks by Democrats and the mainstream media are little more than efforts to delegitimize the incoming administration before it even arrives. […]

    “I don’t think they will have much impact at all,” [John] Bolton said of the sanctions. “The Russians have walked all over the Obama administration for eight years. It’s really been a pathetic performance. So what this last burst of activity has to do is hard to say. I do think it’s intended to try and box the Trump administration in. I think it will fail. This is simply an executive order. If President Trump decides to reverse it, it’s easy enough to do.”

    Politico link

    Some analysts characterized Putin’s statement about not retaliating a way of running out the clock on the Obama administration.

  100. says

    The Trump team is thinking about not having regular press conferences during which members of the press can direct questions to the president of the U.S.:

    […] maybe we do some town hall, you know, Facebook town halls. Maybe we go out and solicit input from Twitter. I don’t, I mean, the answer is we’re looking at a lot of things.

    That’s Trump team member Sean Spicer speaking. Spicer added, “Business as usual is over.”

    Spicer also said that Trump is “not afraid of anybody in the media.” So, why would you add that, Sean? Methinks you doth protest too much.

    Trump hasn’t held a regular press conference since July, an indication that he is afraid. (I’m not counting Trump standing next to grinning-like-he-is-on-drugs Don King and saying a couple of strange things about Russia to whomever is within earshot.)

  101. says

    Oh, FFS. Some Trump supporters seem to be really intent on preserving rape culture.

    […] Incoming Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) suggested that the incoming Donald Trump administration reverse a set of President Obama-era guidelines aimed at combatting campus sexual assault, saying it wastes money and that it denies protection to the “often-innocent accused,” […]

    […] a call to reverse the April 2011 guidance document from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights which set the course and provided standards for how universities should handle sexual harassment and sexual violence complaints. […]

    “The Title IX guidance document on sexual assault and campus rapes has pressured colleges to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, and to create vast campus bureaucracies which drain tuition revenue, to investigate allegations of sexual assault (primarily date rapes, the incidence of which may be overestimated), and virtually dictates one-size-fits-all procedures which provide less protection to the accused, and deny the often-innocent accused basic due process rights,” it reads. “As a result, many complainants are discouraged from reporting rapes to the local law enforcement.” […]

    Sofie Karasek, director of education at End Rape on Campus, however, condemned Meadows’ characterization of sexual assault on campus, according to USA Today.

    “There is a huge amount of evidence that campus sexual assault is a problem,” she said, adding that Meadows’ claim that universities spend “hundreds of millions of dollars” due to the Department of Education’s guidance was “a mischaracterization at best and just plain false at worst.”

    Talking Points Memo link

  102. says

    This is a followup to comment 113, in which we looked at some of the rightwing religious “leaders” that would be featured at Trump’s inauguration.

    Other religious leaders and rightwing bloggers are splitting hairs, and are quite incensed about Trump allowing “heretics” to pray at the inauguration. Dissension in the ranks. Take, for example, conservative blogger and radio host Erick Erickson:

    […] Erickson found an old video somewhere in the bowels of the internet in which White [Paula White] appears to say that all humans are “begotten” of God, just like Jesus Christ. Based on that, Erickson went into high-dudgeon mode over the possibility that Donald Trump, a man literally no one considers to be a devout Christian, might give incorrect spiritual guidance to the American people:

    “The President of the United States putting a heretic on stage who claims to believe in Jesus, but does not really believe in Jesus, risks leading others astray,” Erickson wrote on his personal blog. “Trump letting this heretic pray in Jesus’s name should offend every Bible believing Christian.”

    Lots of people are worried that Trump’s inexperience and bombastic behavior might lead to diplomatic disasters. Erickson is worried that Trump will literally send Americans to hell. […]

    Salon link

  103. says

    Trump is cashing in … again. His club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, usually throws a New Year’s Eve party for which people buy tickets. That’s fine for a private citizen, but Trump is now the president-elect.

    Trump is still selling tickets to a New Year’s Eve party at which attendees will have access to him. Trump, his wife, and a least one of his children will be there.

    800 people bought tickets — the party is sold out.

    Link

  104. says

    The Republican power grab in North Carolina just ran into a legal snag. See comment 54 for background on this issue.

    […] A North Carolina judge is temporarily blocking a new Republican-backed law that strips the incoming Democratic governor of his control over election boards just before he takes office.

    Wake County Superior Court Judge Don Stephens ruled Friday that the risk to free and fair elections justified stopping the law from taking effect this weekend until it could be reviewed more closely. Stephens plans to review the law Thursday.

    Gov.-elect. Roy Cooper sued on Friday to block the law, passed two weeks ago. It ends the control governors exert over statewide and county election boards. The lawsuit says the Republican-led General Assembly’s action is unconstitutional because it violates separation of powers by giving legislators too much control over how election laws are administered. […]

    Associated Press link

  105. says

    Yes, Trump will go on as he began. It’s going to be this bad. Here is Trump’s “Happy New Year” tweet:

    Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!

  106. says

    Not attending Trump’s New Year’s party, Quincy Jones:

    A spokesman for Quincy Jones said on Friday that he will not be attending a New Year’s celebration at president-elect Donald Trump’s Florida estate Mar-a-Lago, after reporters were told that Jones would be in attendance on a daily transition call.

    Jones’s spokesman, Arnold Robinson, said that he wouldn’t be going, and didn’t know where Trump’s team got the information. Incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Jones and actor Sylvester Stallone would in attendance at the bash.

    Link

    Occasionally, the Trump team does fail when it tries to create its own reality.

  107. says

    It is not the same as moving to Canada, but it does get you out of the USA and into Canada for several years. University students in the USA are applying to Canadian colleges in droves.

    […] The University of Toronto, for one, reported a 70 percent rise in U.S. applications compared to last year, while McMaster University saw a 34 percent increase, according to the Associated Press.

    At the same time, many Canadian colleges have ramped up their recruiting efforts following Trump’s shocking victory. One student interviewed by the AP, Lara Godoff, said she completely scrapped any notion of staying in the U.S. after the election results came in. “If we live in a country where so many people could elect Donald Trump, then that’s not a country I want to live in,” she was quoted saying.

    Some recruiters at U.S. universities also say Trump’s win has deterred prospective foreign students from studying in the U.S. “I think everybody in international education is a little uneasy, in part because some of the rhetoric in the campaign frightened people overseas,” Stephen Dunnett, the University at Buffalo’s vice provost for international education, was cited saying in the report.

    Link

  108. says

    The Washington Post raised the question of “darker suspicions” related to Trump’s relationship with Putin. My guess is that Trump owes Russian banks a lot of money and he can’t afford to pay off the loans. We’ll see, (maybe we’ll see, maybe we’ll never know).

    […] “Mr. Trump has been frank about his desire to improve relations with Russia, but he seems blissfully untroubled by the reasons for the deterioration in relations, including Russia’s instigation of an armed uprising in Ukraine, its seizure of Crimea, its efforts to divide Europe and the crushing of democracy and human rights at home,” the Post wrote.

    “Why is Mr. Trump so dismissive of Russia’s dangerous behavior? Some say it is his lack of experience in foreign policy, or an oft-stated admiration for strongmen, or naivete about Russian intentions. But darker suspicions persist.”

    The editorial concluded by connecting the president-elect’s “odd behavior” toward Russia with his lack of transparency when it comes to his business empire.

    “Are there loans or deals with Russian businesses or the state that were concealed during the campaign? Are there hidden communications with Mr. Putin or his representatives?” The newspaper speculated.

    “We would be thrilled to see all the doubts dispelled, but Mr. Trump’s odd behavior in the face of a clear threat from Russia, matched by Mr. Putin’s evident enthusiasm for the president-elect, cannot be easily explained.”

    Link

  109. says

    Oh, Sean Spicer, you are so irritating. Spicer is Trump’s choice for press secretary. It’s difficult for members of the press to interview Spicer. He tends to rant about “punishing” Hillary Clinton:

    […] Spicer was asked if President-elect Trump accepts the conclusion of seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia was responsible for the hacks that sought to damage Clinton’s bid for the presidency.

    “Why aren’t we talking about the other influences on the election? Why aren’t we talking about Hillary Clinton getting debate questions ahead of time?” Spicer said in response.

    “No one is asking those questions. The fact is that everyone wants to make Donald Trump admit to certain things. When do we talk about the other side, which is what did Hillary Clinton do to influence the election? Is she being punished?” […]

    Think Progress link. Video is also available at the link.

    You will note that Spicer does not answer the question about the hacks for which Russia was responsible.

    The supposed debate-question-preparation hint from Donna Brazile was part of the Russian-hacked information that was released by Wikileaks. The issue was covered in the media extensively, and was raised by Trump repeatedly.

  110. says

    This is a followup of sorts to comment 124.

    Trump is still pushing the meme that we should not trust the hacking assessment from U.S. Intelligence agencies, while simultaneously claiming that he, Trump, is some kind of expert. At the New Year’s Eve party at Mar-A-Lago, Trump said:

    I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.

    Later, Trump want on to say that confidential material should be written down and then delivered by courier, that computers can’t be trusted.

  111. microraptor says

    Every time Trump opens his mouth, I’m reminded of a line from a comic book I follow:

    “They’re not your people, they’re not your anything. They’re ordinary citizens who went insane and put you in charge. Any day they’ll wake up, realize what they’ve done, and kill themselves. Suicide by face-palm”.

  112. says

    Cross posted from the “Nixon lied …” thread.

    It is not just Republican presidents who have been awful, and who have done more awful things than one would expect from politicians in general. Retrograde forces in our society were aided and abetted by absolutely awful Congress critters.

    As Steve Benen noted, misdeeds based in Congress have been dominant for some time. Looking only at recent history, we can judge the awfulness of the 109th through the 113th Congress.

    […] I think [the most recent Congress, 114th, is] easily among the worst, but it has some tough competition. Its immediate predecessor, the 113th Congress, was even less productive and shut down the government for no apparent reason.

    My vote for worst ever still goes to the 112th Congress, though, not just because it was the least productive on record, but also because it was the Congress in which Republicans created the first-ever debt-ceiling hostage crisis. […] this was the first time elected lawmakers threatened to push the country into default, on purpose, unless their demands were met. […]

    It was, to my mind, one of the worst things a major party has done in Congress since the Civil War. The 114th Congress, thankfully, managed to avoid shutdowns and debt-ceiling crises.

    But let’s not set the bar too low. The aforementioned list of this Congress’ failures is compelling evidence of a hapless and embarrassing institution.

    Regular readers may recall my mentioning a 2006 piece Matt Taibbi wrote for Rolling Stone about the Republican-led 109th Congress, which he described at the time as the “Worst Congress Ever.”

    “These were the years,” Taibbi wrote, “when the U.S. parliament became a historical punch line,” The article included this classic quote from Jonathan Turley: “The 109th Congress is so bad that it makes you wonder if democracy is a failed experiment.”

    Every Congress since the 2010 midterms has been worse.

    As journalist Catherine Rampell noted:

    While most of the United States has been distracted by the circus of the presidential campaign, Congress has regressed further into childishness, proving itself lazier, more incompetent and more obstructionist then even its fiercest critics could have imagined.

    Here are just a few of the failures attributable to the Republican-dominated 114th Congress, which, technically speaking, ended today. (And keep in mind that this was the Congress during which Republicans were supposed to show us all how well they could govern when they had a majority in both houses.)

    * A capable, compromise Supreme Court nominee was ignored – no hearing, no floor debate, no vote […]

    * […] Since the Republican wave in the 2010 midterms, we’ve had three congresses: the 112th. 113th, and 114th. In terms of bills passed into law, these three rank 1st, 2nd, and 3rd as the least productive congresses since clerks started keeping track in the 1940s.

    * Instead of legislating, lawmakers launched lengthy, expensive, and ultimately pointless witch hunts on manufactured pseudo “scandals” such as Benghazi and the IRS. […]

    * According to the Congressional Research Service, this Congress saw the lowest confirmation rate for civilian nominees in modern American history.

    * […] Congress […] deliberately ignored the budget plan submitted by the White House, without so much as a hearing.

    * After boasting that they’d pass 12 appropriations bills through “regular order,” House and Senate leaders failed spectacularly to do what they said they’d do.

    * This Republican-led Congress gave itself the lightest work schedule of any Congress in six decades. […]

    Think about all that time off that you, the taxpayer, funded. Washington Post link.

    Republicans cannot govern. When they try, they damage almost every system and every citizen. See Sam Brownback’s “experiment” in Kansas for a state-level example. Link. Brownback is now advising Trump on economic matters, and is suggesting that Trump follow the Kansas model on a nationwide basis. Wall Street Journal link.

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

    Lynn’s @ 124,

    Stop the presses! Hillary actually tried to influence the outcome of the election?

    It’s a scandal, I tell ya.

  114. says

    Compare this to Trump’s New Year’s tweet (in comment 120). President Obama tweeted yesterday:

    It’s been the privilege of my life to serve as your President. I look forward to standing with you as a citizen. Happy New Year everybody.

    For your convenience, here’s Trump’s like-an-intemperate-child tweet:

    Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!

    One Democratic senator, Chris Murphy, joked about Trump’s greeting:

    This is the exact same tweet my nephew sent when he won middle school class treasurer. Word for word. Uncanny.

  115. says

    Wonkette covered the fact that many Americans celebrated the arrival of the new year by firing their guns into the air:

    There are LOTS of ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Some people enjoy just having a quiet dinner at home with loved ones, some like to go to raucous parties and clubs, some like avoiding other humans altogether and watching the Twilight Zone marathon, some like to stand outside all day wearing Depends in order to watch the ball drop in Times Square.

    There are no bathroom facilities in the celebration “pen” in Manhattan, and many people stand there for ten hours.

    Some, however, like to ring in the New Year a little more, um, violently, I guess would be the word — with “celebratory gunfire.” […]

    It is apparently a very popular thing to do in the South — Dallas police reported that they had more than 1000 emergency calls about celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve, both before and after the ball drop.

    The problem with this way of celebrating, as opposed to the others — other than the fact that it is actually illegal pretty much everywhere and thus not actually a constitutional right — is that this way sometimes kills or maims people, […]

    In Alabama, over the weekend, 34-year-old Fidel Rodriguez Canchola decided to ring in the New Year by shooting his gun into the ground a few times. Unfortunately, a 5-year-old girl got in the way of that, and she is now dead, and he is now in jail on a charge of criminally negligent homicide. […]

    In Texas, State Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez (D-Weslaco) is in the hospital after being injured by the bullet of a gun shot into the air for celebratory purposes. Rep. Martinez was just celebrating with his family, minding his own business, hugging his wife, when the stray bullet came down and got him in the back of the head. Luckily it just cracked his skull and didn’t hurt his brain, […]

    The charming commentariat at Breitbart, naturally, was chock full of glee over the fact that Martinez is a Democrat.

    Tell me that god doesn’t have a sense of humor. Not to worry, he was a Democr4at that was shot in the safest place a Democrat could be shot, in the head.

    […]

    In Tampa, Florida, two people were injured as a result of celebratory gunfire, and police are still looking for the people responsible.

    In Georgia, one woman’s home was showered with bullets from celebratory gunfire. . […]

    I snipped the details of even more details of close calls and of injuries. “Across Kansas City, another metro mom knows the feeling. Jamie Moore came home to find a bullet hole in her ceiling and a bullet fallen right next to her 4-year-old daughter’s favorite spot to play.”

  116. Hj Hornbeck says

    If there’s a silver lining, it’s that Trump is but one cog in the US government. A critical cog, true, but so long as the existing checks remain in other branches of government there’ll be-

    The move to effectively kill the Office of Congressional Ethics was not made public until late Monday, when Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced that the House Republican Conference had approved the change. There was no advance notice or debate on the measure.

    … The House Republicans’ move would take away both power and independence from an investigative body, and give lawmakers more control over internal inquiries.

    It also came on the eve of a historic shift in power in Washington, where Republicans control both houses of Congress and where a wealthy businessman with myriad potential conflicts of interest is preparing to move into the White House.

    uh oh.

    In place of the office, Republicans would create a new Office of Congressional Complaint Review that would report to the House Ethics Committee, which has been accused of ignoring credible allegations of wrongdoing by lawmakers.

    “Poor way to begin draining the swamp,” Tom Fitton, president of the conservative group Judicial Watch, said on Twitter. He added, “Swamp wins with help of @SpeakerRyan, @RepGoodlatte.”

    Yeah, sorry America. You’re well and truly screwed, in the bad meaning of that term.

  117. says

    Oh, please. This headline is not accurate: “Trump slaps GOP for weakening ethics watchdog.” Link.

    No, he didn’t. He slapped them for putting their attention on the Independent Ethics Watchdog as their first priority, when he wanted them to reform healthcare and taxes first. Furthermore, Trump apparently agrees that the Independent Ethics Watchdog should be changed, “as unfair as it is.”

    So, no, Trump does not care if Congress weakens the ethics watchdog. He only cares if it is the first thing they do. I would not be surprised if Trump’s objection is more to the optics, (it looks bad, and is a contradiction to “drain the swamp”), than to actual policy.

    Trump’s tweet:

    With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it ……..may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS

    The hashtag stands for “Drain the Swamp.”

  118. says

    This is a followup to comments 118 and 121.

    People who attended Trump’s New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago paid a $500 entry fee per person.

    Trump gave a short political speech at the party, but claimed the whole thing was just a social affair.

    Vox link.

    It is estimated that Trump took in about half a million dollars that night. Even after expenses are deducted, that’s a healthy chunk of change.

    In effect, Trump sold access to himself.

  119. says

    About 98% of Chevy Cruzes are built in the USA. Trump may not know this. He sent General Motors stock plunging by 3% in a few hours this morning when he tweeted:

    General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!

    The reply from General Motors:

    General Motors manufacturers the Chevrolet Cruze sedan in Lordstown, Ohio. All Chevrolet Cruze sedans sold in the U.S. are built in GM’s assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. GM builds the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback for global markets in Mexico, with a small number sold in the U.S.

    Actual numbers: GM reports about 190,000 sales of the Cruze in 2016; of that 190,000, about 4,500 were made in Mexico.

    I think it is likely that Trump fell victim to confirmation bias, and he tweet-raged about the Cruze without looking more closely at the details.

    More GM news that is based in reality.

  120. says

    More coverage of Trump’s New Year’s Eve bash at Mar-a-Lago:

    […] Palm Beach Daily News got its hands on video of Donald Trump giving a rambling 10-minute speech to 800 guests at his $500-per-plate New Year’s Eve black tie gala at Mar-a-Lago, the president-elect’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida.

    The video shows Trump, on mic, promising guests that, “The taxes are coming down, regulations are coming off, we’re going to get rid of Obamacare,” while, to his left, Joseph “Joey No Socks” Cinque — founder and chairman of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences and known associate of Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, claps and fist-pumps. To Trump’s right, another man in a tuxedo holds an ornamental brass eagle.

    In 1989, “Joey No Socks” was convicted of felony possession of stolen artwork worth upwards of $100,000. Now, Cinque, through his Academy, gives out Star Diamond awards to upscale hotels — including several of Trump’s. The Associated Press found that roughly half of the Academy’s trustees are Trump-affiliated, but Trump in May denied knowing Cinque: “If a guy’s going to give you an award, you take it. You don’t tend to look up his whole life story.” […]

    Salon link

    Filling in for Chris Hayes on “All In,” Ari Melber covered Trump’s conflict of interest. The video segments include fact checking that is well done:

    http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/trump-sells-access-on-nye-at-500-per-ticket-846129731978

    http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/trump-s-crony-capitalism-846131779876

  121. Hj Hornbeck says

    I’m surprised no-one’s brought up Sarah Kendzior. Her Twitter feed is currently a treasure trove of Trump details. For example:

    1988 WaPo article: Trump was sought out by Soviets in 1986, invited to USSR in Jan 1987, flew to USSR in July 1987. [article]

    Shortly after his visit to Moscow in July 1987, Trump took out full page newspaper ads harshly condemning US policy [article]

    After visiting the USSR in 1987, Trump began proclaiming that Russia and the US use their nuke threat together

    Trump 1987:
    Jan: Invited to USSR
    July: Goes to USSR
    Sept: Takes out anti-US ads
    Oct: Makes anti-US speech
    [Month?]: Plans Russia nuke deal

    The incriminating thing about Trump and Russia in the 1980s isn’t that he went there. Many US citizens did. FFS Mr. Rogers went to the USSR.

    Mr Rogers didn’t then try to shape nuclear policy, make corrupt business deals with oligarchs, and kiss the ass of an authoritarian despot

    Looks like Trump’s been a Useful Idiot to the Kremlin for many decades.

  122. Hj Hornbeck says

    Though, to be fair, he appears to have had an obsession with nukes for at least a few years earlier, November 1984 to be precise.

    This morning, Trump has a new idea. He wants to talk about the threat of nuclear war. He wants to talk about how the United States should negotiate with the Soviets.

    He wants to be the negotiator.

    He says he has never acted on his nuclear concern. But he says that his good friend Roy Cohn, the flamboyant Republican lawyer, has told him this interview is a perfect time to start.

    “Some people have an ability to negotiate,” he says. “It’s an art you’re basically born with. You either have it or you don’t.”

    He would know what to ask the Russians for, he says. But he would rather not tip his hand publicly. “In the event anything happens with respect to me, I wouldn’t want to make my opinions public,” he says. “I’d rather keep those thoughts to myself or save them for whoever else is chosen . . .

    “It’s something that somebody should do that knows how to negotiate and not the kind of representatives that I have seen in the past.”

    He could learn about missiles, quickly, he says.

    “It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles . . . I think I know most of it anyway. You’re talking about just getting updated on a situation . . . You know who really wants me to do this? Roy . . . I’d do it in a second.”

  123. says

    Hornbeck @137 and 138: That proves once again that Trump has always been easily manipulated by Russia, and that he has always overestimated his abilities while simultaneously underestimating the complexities of foreign policy.

    In other news: first, House Republicans voted 119 to 74 to gut their ethics rules (see comment 133). They did this behind closed doors. Next, people found out. People told them what a stupid and unethical move that was. Today they backed down. They scrapped the proposed changes.

    My question is: why didn’t they realize that the move was stupid, unethical, and politically damaging in the first place?

    The agreement to scrap the plan was unanimous. Translation: “Never mind what we almost did on the first day, please forget that we screwed up this badly.”

    As Steve Benen noted, this quick turn of events may be good news of a sort:

    […] Most of the time, Trump seems immune to shame and public pressure, but this morning is a reminder that congressional Republicans occasionally care about public humiliation. Had there not been a public backlash, there’s little doubt the rules gambit would have been approved by the House GOP majority.[…]

    Maybe we can shame House Republicans into not removing regulations on the financial industry; into not destroying healthcare systems; into not privatizing Medicaid; into not privatizing a lot of the public education system; and into not privatizing healthcare for Veterans. Maybe.

    Public backlash works on Congress, even when it fails when directed at Trump.

  124. microraptor says

    I don’t trust this sudden reversal. I’m betting that Republicans are just waiting until there’s something else to occupy the public’s attention before trying again.

  125. Hj Hornbeck says

    via Sarah Kendzior:

    ‏@CornellWBrooks (Cornell Wm. Brooks)

    The @NAACP & @AlabamaNAACP are occupying the Mobile office of @jeffsessions–untill he withdraws as a AG nominee or we’re arrested.@tvonetv
    Retweets: 3,776; Likes: 5,877
    9:44 AM – 3 Jan 2017

  126. says

    The U.S. is not doing well when it comes to equal representation of women in the 115th Congress. Women comprise 19% of Congress. Ninety-eight other countries have a higher percentage of women in their governing bodies.

    https://twitter.com/brianklaas/status/816248233668317184?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

    73% of the women in Congress are Democrats (that’s 76 out of 104 women).

    Also, Republican women, always too few, have lost even more power by losing seats on committees and other leadership posts. NY Times link.

  127. says

    Donald Trump said that the Office of Congressional Ethics was “unfair.” A lot Republicans said something similar when they tried to destroy it.

    However, those claims are not really fact-based.

    […] Leo Wise was amazed. Named the first director of the OCE in 2008, Wise says that perhaps the most important thing to know about the agency is not its broad, sweeping powers to protect House ethics but how little it can actually do.

    “This is a fact-gathering operation. All it does it gather facts,” says Wise, who served as director from 2008 to 2010. “The idea that [the members are] being abused by this doesn’t make any sense.”

    Unlike other similar agencies, the OCE can’t issue sanctions. It can’t force members of the House to testify or turn over evidence and documents. Congressional members ultimately retain authority over its decisions. The OCE can’t even say if it thinks a member of the House did something wrong.

    What the OCE can do is much simpler: issue fact-based reports through investigations conducted by the attorneys on its staff. (The investigations are authorized and approved by an eight-member board of directors, mostly composed of former legislators.) Unlike a stalemated partisan body, the OCE is a bipartisan and independent commission that acts free of political interference.

    That this power alone looked threatening to Congress tells us something about the potential for ethics violations on the Hill — and the extent to which some GOP members may oppose good-government safeguards. (Moreover, even though Republicans backtracked today, they also left the possibility of returning to rolling back the OCE in the future.) […]

    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/1/3/14154332/office-of-congressional-ethics

    Trump’s advisor, Kellyanne Conway, also made the claim that members of Congress are being (or have been) abused by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

  128. Hj Hornbeck says

    Obama’s been spending some time with Trump, acting as something of a mentor. So, several months into the transition, you’d think he’d have a better idea of how Trump would handle nuclear weapons, and update his election rhetoric appropriately.

    Asked Tuesday about the president-elect’s tweeting Monday about North Korea’s apparently burgeoning nuclear capacity, White House press secretary Josh Earnest noted that Obama had repeatedly raised his concerns about Trump’s capacity for nuclear security during the 2016 campaign. When pressed about whether Obama has confidence in Trump’s abilities now, Earnest instead spoke of the confidence the outgoing president has in the career, non-political members of the intelligence community, military and State Department who are “ultimately responsible for implementing policies.” […]

    As for whether there’s been any change over the last two months what Earnest characterized as Obama’s “rather profound concerns” about Trump, given what he’s heard in private discussions with the president-elect that have included covering the North Korean situation, he said no.

    “My assessment would be that his opinions have not changed, but the time and place for presenting those opinions has come and gone, and we’re focused on a transition,” Earnest said.

    The rhetoric hasn’t changed, Obama is instead ignoring the situation and hoping it’ll go away.

  129. says

    Wonkette covered the news that Megyn Kelly will be leaving Fox News to join NBC:

    […] As many anticipated, Megyn Kelly, Wherever-Bleeder, Esq., will be leaving her perch at Fox News to go to a different perch at NBC News, […]. Many had been speculating that, after a year and a half of being Donald Trump’s Public Enemy No. 1, working for a network that simultaneously considered her its star, but also made sexxxy nice time with Trump, she might want something new. Oh, and there was that thing where she helped oust former Fox chief Roger Ailes, just by admitting that yeah, he tried to grab her by the [P-Word] (or whatever he did), just like he did with all the ladies. […]

    From the New York Times:

    […] The NBC News chairman, Andrew Lack, wooed Ms. Kelly away from Fox News by offering her a triple role in which she will host her own daytime news and discussion program, anchor an in-­depth Sunday night news show and take regular part in the network’s special political programming and other big-­event coverage. […]

    Excerpts from comments by rightwing nutters celebrating the idea of a Kelly-free Fox News:

    “Thanks goodness you’re leaving. Now I can keep my TV on FNC all evening like I used to before you were put in the 9PM slot. First Trump gets elected, now she’s leaving….like just keeps getting better!!”

    “Megyn, I’ve been a loyal fan all 12 years. I defended you fiercely through the Trump fiasco. Unfortunately I will no longer watch you on NBC. They have proven time and time again to present their political news with a 100% liberal bias. I will not tolerate that. I want my political news straight down the middle which is why I only watched Greta, O’Reilly and you. I’m giving Tucker a chance. Good luck from a former viewer.”

    That “straight down the middle” assessment of Bill O’Reilly made me laugh.

  130. says

    It sounds like senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are backing down when it comes to an independent investigation of Russian Hacking. They are letting Mitch McConnell have his way … for now:

    “We’re just going to move with the individual committees and see how that works. If it doesn’t work, we’ll regroup,” Graham said in an interview.

    McCain said he’d spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about the matter. McConnell prefers to use the Intelligence Committee to spearhead the cyber investigation, and McCain said their discussions had done little to move the GOP leader.

    “He said he doesn’t think we need it,” McCain said.

    Politico link

    McConnell is the same guy who nixed the public release of info about the hacking earlier in 2016, before the presidential election.

  131. says

    Trump indulged in meaningless posturing and bloviating on foreign policy issues related to North Korea today. He did that via Twitter:

    North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!

    China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won’t help with North Korea. Nice!

    China responded by basically putting Trump in a time-out, while also introducing some fact-checking of the orange blustering man-child:

    During a press briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang responded to Trump’s tweets by saying that China’s attempts to solve North Korea’s nuclear weapons issue “are clear for all to see.” He cited as examples China’s calling of a six-nation convention to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear program and support for United Nations sanctions against the rogue state. When it came to the question of whether Trump should use his Twitter account to make important foreign policy statements, Geng merely commented that, “We don’t pay attention to the features of foreign leaders’ behavior. We focus more on their policies.”

    Wall Street Journal link

    By the way, North Korea did not specify “capable of reaching parts of the U.S,” though they did announce a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, with the timing of the test also not specified.

  132. says

    Trump continues to carry on a twitter war with U.S. Intelligence agencies. And he manages to fit at least one lie into every tweet:

    The “Intelligenc”‘ briefing on so-called “Russian hacking” was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!

    Trump is using scare quotes around the words intelligence and Russian hacking.

    Trump can receive a daily briefing if he chooses.

    It looks like Trump and/or his transition team decided not to fit a briefing into the Tuesday schedule.

    Reality:

    […] the briefing wasn’t delayed. NBC News’ report added that a senior U.S. intelligence official with direct knowledge of the situation said last night that “the heads of the NSA, CIA, FBI and the director of national intelligence were always scheduled to meet with Trump on Friday.”

    NBC News link.

  133. says

    Not all, just some of the illegal and/or unethical stuff that Trump’s nominee to run the Treasury Department, Steven Mnuchin has done:

    OneWest rushed delinquent homeowners out of their homes by violating notice and waiting period statutes, illegally backdated key documents, and effectively gamed foreclosure auctions. […]

    OneWest also was the sole bank that refused to settle with banking regulators over errors in dealing with homeowners during the housing crisis. […]

    The consistent violations of California foreclosure processes outlined in the memo would indicate that Mnuchin’s bank didn’t merely act callously, but did so with blatant disregard for the law.

    According to the memo, OneWest also obstructed the investigation by ordering third parties to refuse to comply with state subpoenas. […]

    The Intercept link to an article by David Dayen. The article is based on a memo obtained by The Intercept.

  134. says

    A followup to comment 149.

    Trump does not believe U.S. Intelligence agencies, but he does believe Julian Assange:

    Julian Assange said “a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta” – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!

    And to clarify the whole issue of Trump being briefed:

    […] The meeting was never scheduled for Tuesday, as even Obama has yet to receive the full-fledged briefing on the Russian hacking, one US official said.

    And a US intelligence official told CNN that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was never scheduled to be in New York City, where Trump is, on Tuesday — and was perplexed about the “delay” Trump claimed was taking place.

    Trump on Tuesday did receive a classified intelligence briefing — the Presidential Daily Briefing — which Trump has elected to receive only sporadically. But it did not dive deeply into the Russian hacking.

    US officials briefed on the matter said Clapper, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, FBI Director James Comey and CIA Director John Brennan are scheduled to attend the meeting with Trump providing him details on the Russian hacking. […]

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/03/politics/donald-trump-intelligence-briefing-russian-hack-delay/

  135. says

    What the heck? Some Republicans in Congress are proposing a bill that would prevent the Supreme Court from citing Obamacare cases it has adjudicated in the past.

    Rep. Steve King (R-IA) hates Obamacare so much that he doesn’t even want the Supreme Court to cite its own major Obamacare cases in future opinions, according to a bill he introduced Tuesday.

    The bill itself list the names of major lawsuits the Affordable Care Act has faced at the Supreme Court and bars them “from citation for the purpose of precedence in all future cases.”

    […] “By prohibiting the Supreme Court from citing ObamaCare cases, we will be truly eradicating this unconstitutional policy from all three branches of government so that the repeal will be complete.”

    The bill claims that “Under Article 3, Section 2” Congress is allowed to “to provide exceptions and regulations for Supreme Court consideration of cases and controversies.” […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/steve-king-obamacare-supreme-court

  136. says

    I watched the press conference/speeches given by Republicans this morning. Paul Ryan and Mike Pence were featured. They harped endlessly on how horrible Obamacare is.

    Their game plan seems to be a propaganda campaign to make Obamacare sound even more disastrous and evil than Trump did during his presidential campaign. According to the Republicans, there are few, if any, redeeming features of the Affordable Care Act.

    Oddly, the Republicans also harped on the need to protect people already using Obamacare. That is a tacit admission that Obamacare is working well for some people. Republicans did not provide any details. They don’t really have a plan, though they also claimed to have a plan.

    Trump, meanwhile, is tweeting a warning of sorts that Republicans need to make sure that Democrats “own” the “ObamaCare disaster.”

    The ACA has problems, but sign ups for 2016 were the best so far. The ACA inched up a bit in popularity during the last few months. About 1/4 of Americans want the ACA repealed. Republicans are really off in LaLa Land on this.

    This morning’s Republican speakers repeatedly reminded us that the ACA is awful, just awful. Yes, there are some ACA markets with too few insurance companies offering coverage, and with that lack of competition, a rise in prices.

    I think Republicans will make a big show of repealing Obamacare, but they will make the repeal effective a few years from now. Their excuse for the delay will be that they need time to craft an effective transition from Obamacare to Trumpcare. They will never come up with an effective transition. The uncertainty in the interim years will wreak havoc in the insurance market. More things will go wrong with Obamacare as a result. The Republicans will blame Obamacare and the Democrats for the disaster they create.

    From Health Affairs Blog:

    […] This is the so-called “repeal and delay” option. They have also pledged to replace the law in separate legislation, or a series of bills, that would come later, although it is not clear what the replacement would look like or when it would pass.

    We do not support this approach to repealing and replacing the ACA because it carries too much risk of unnecessary disruption to the existing insurance arrangements upon which many people are now relying to finance their health services, and because it is unlikely to produce a coherent reform of health care in the United States. The most likely end result of “repeal and delay” would be less secure insurance for many Americans, procrastination by political leaders who will delay taking any proactive steps as long as possible, and ultimately no discernible movement toward a real marketplace for either insurance or medical services. […]

    […] the budget reconciliation process comes with strict rules about what provisions can be included in the legislation. Only provisions that directly change taxes or entitlement spending can be included in such bills, which means H.R. 3762 could not repeal large sections of the ACA that are more regulatory than budgetary in nature. A partial repeal bill passed using reconciliation could put an end date on funding for the premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies provided in the ACA, and reduce the federal government’s payments to states that have adopted the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. It could also terminate the taxes that partially financed the legislation when it was enacted in 2010. […]

    What a reconciliation bill cannot do is eliminate, or amend, the ACA’s rules regarding regulation of insurance. […] Consequently, a partial repeal of the ACA will necessarily result in an untenable situation in the marketplace […]

    Without rapid action to stabilize the exchange markets, we are likely to see more insurers dropping out and another round of sharply increasing premiums. […]

  137. says

    Another nomination from Trump that will put a Wall Street guy in charge:

    […] nomination of Jay Clayton, a Wall Street lawyer who has represented titans such as Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns, to head the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. […]

    Clayton the latest in a line of Wall Street heavy hitters and billionaires Trump has nominated to his Cabinet, […]

    Link

  138. says

    Doctors are against the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare before they have a fully-developed plan to replace it:

    The largest group of doctors in the country [American Medical Association] is cautioning Republican leaders to come up with a real plan to replace Obamacare before forging ahead with repeal.

    On Tuesday, Republicans took the first step toward rolling back the law, introducing a budget resolution that will allow Congress to sidestep a Democratic filibuster and dismantle key parts of Obamacare.

    Republican leaders have signaled they plan to use this budget process to produce legislation by January 27 […]

    […] they’ll throw the insurance industry into chaos by repealing Obamacare now and figuring out how to replace it later.[…]

    “Policymakers should lay out for the American people, in reasonable detail, what will replace current policies,” the letter reads. “Patients and other stakeholders should be able to clearly compare current policy to new proposals so they can make informed decisions about whether it represents a step forward in the ongoing process of health reform.” […]

    The AMA, hardly known for its progressive policy positions, isn’t the only major conservative-leaning group cautioning against the GOP’s “repeal and delay” approach. […]

    Link

  139. says

    A Republican congresswoman, Marsha Blackburn, took to Twitter looking for a thumbs-up regarding her support for the plan to repeal Obamacare. She did not get the result she wanted.

    […] The Tennessee Republican—and member of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team—asked the Twitter masses to take a poll on whether they like the law. Turns out Blackburn’s followers are pretty big fans of the Affordable Care Act, with 84 percent of the 7,968 votes opposing a repeal of Obamacare. […]

    That online poll is not scientific, but Blackburn has a lot of conservative followers, and what you see in response to her inquiry is that many of her followers think the repeal plan is bull.

    Mother Jones link

  140. says

    Republicans introduced a measure that will make it easier to give away federal lands without receiving or even considering compensation to the public that owns those lands.

    Washington Post link

    […] Many Republicans, including House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), have been pushing to hand over large areas of federal land to state and local authorities, on the grounds that they will be more responsive to the concerns of local residents. […]

    Democrats argue that these lands should be managed on behalf of all Americans, not just those living nearby, and warn that cash-strapped state and local officials might sell these parcels to developers.

    […] Under current Congressional Budget Office accounting rules, any transfer of federal land that generates revenue for the U.S. Treasury — whether through energy extraction, logging, grazing or other activities — has a cost. If lawmakers wanted to give land generating receipts to a given state, local government or tribe, they would have to account for that loss in expected cash flow. […]

    […] language in the new rules package that would overturn that requirment, saying any such transfers “shall not be considered as providing new budget authority, decreasing revenues, increasing mandatory spending, or increasing outlays.”

    Rep. Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, sent a letter Tuesday to fellow Democrats urging them to oppose the rules package on the basis of that proposal.

    “The House Republican plan to give away America’s public lands for free is outrageous and absurd,” Grijalva said in a statement. “This proposed rule change would make it easier to implement this plan by allowing the Congress to give away every single piece of property we own, for free, and pretend we have lost nothing of any value. Not only is this fiscally irresponsible, but it is also a flagrant attack on places and resources valued and beloved by the American people.” […]

    The immediate impact of the rules change is that lawmakers cannot raise a budgetary point of order if a land transfer bill comes to the floor. […]

    Sneakily, the provision is part of a “rules package” on which the House voted on the first day they were in session, yesterday.

  141. says

    Followup to comment 146.

    So, yeah, McCain and Graham acquiesced to McConnell’s demand that no special committee would be formed to investigate Russian hacking. McConnell said that, instead of a special committee, regular Senate committees would investigate.

    How is that going so far? The doofuses are investigating President Obama’s response to the hacking instead of the hacking itself.

    The GOP-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee will dig into the Obama administration’s response to Russian hacking.

    The committee—overseen by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)—will hold a closed-door briefing with administration officials on Thursday.

    Victoria Nuland, an assistant secretary of State, Gentry Smith, the director of the State Department’s foreign missions office, and Danny Toler, a deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security will brief lawmakers, according to a notice from the committee. [..]

    In addition to the Foreign Relations Committee, the Armed Services and Intelligence committees are expected to investigate allegations that Russia meddled in the White House race.

    The Hill link

  142. Hj Hornbeck says

    @realDonaldTrump (Donald J. Trump)
    Julian Assange said “a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta” – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!

    ‏@pwnallthethings (Pwn All The Things)
    Could have hacked? Sure. Did hack? No. Let me go through why not.
    4:25 AM – 4 Jan 2017

    So begins a great Twitter thread that breaks down precisely why it’s probable a major organization hacked the DNC, and not some 14 year old.

  143. says

    Remember Right Side Broadcasting Network? Beginning about mid-summer 2016, RSBN was a sort of precursor to Trump TV. RSBN broadcast Trump rallies unedited, and they produced the pre- and post-debate shows that were streamed live on Trump’s Facebook page.

    Well, that infamous “news” network now says it will participate in Trump’s White House press briefings, and that it plans to broadcast 24/7 soon.

    RSBN has hired new staff, including Joe Biggs, a notorious misogynist and conspiracy theory nutter.

    […] he is going to “be filming a PRO 2nd Amendment show for Right Side Broadcasting! It will cover all things 2A. From CHL [concealed handgun licenses], safety, veterans issues […]

    Biggs previously worked as a reporter for Alex Jones’ conspiracy theory website Infowars.com. He has pushed numerous conspiracy theories, including about pizzagate, the false claim that Hillary Clinton’s campaign trafficked children through a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. During one Infowars video, Biggs claimed that Clinton has surrounded herself with “evil people” and suggested that hacked Wikileaks emails revealed “an undercover pedophile ring” run by the Clintons. […]

    Biggs has repeatedly tweeted his approval of date rape and sexual violence. He tweeted to someone, “I like to reason with her (reason=chloroform) and then just drink a lot of beer and release.” […] He also tweeted, “Every girl at this bar wants to fuck me. They don’t know it yet because the drugs haven’t kicked in.” He addressed a “slut” by tweeting: “put my dick in your Mouth or I’ll put it in your ass and lube it with tobasco.” He tweeted […]

    Biggs summed up his idealized relationship with women when he wrote, “What Happened to the Good ole days when women just fucked your brains out and made you dinner” […] He also addressed a “[B-Word]” who cheated on him: “Cheat on me [B-Word]. But remember. I have many sex tapes and photos of your nasty ass In action. I might accidentally load them here.”

    Biggs has also written incendiary anti-LGBTQ tweets. […]

    Media Matters link

  144. says

    Hornbeck @155, there’s no real room for Trump’s doubt.

    In other news, more proof (as if we needed it) that the wage gap between workers and executives is obscene. This time, we’re looking at earnings in the United Kingdom:

    When workers in the UK sat down for lunch on Wednesday, on average they had earned roughly around £150, or $185, so far this year. But by the time of that same meal, top British executives had already raked in more than £28,200, or $35,000 — surpassing the amount of money those workers expect to earn over the course of all of 2017. […]

    http://www.vox.com/world/2017/1/4/14165372/uk-inequality-ceo-worker

  145. says

    This is a followup of sorts to comment 157.

    Another sneaky rules change passed by Republicans gives staffers on the Hill the authority to question private citizens under oath. If a GOP-dominated Congressional committee wants to question you, busy elected officials can send their staffers to do the questioning instead of doing it themselves.

    Committee staff can also compel you or any American to appear before the committee and answer questions. This is called “Staff Deposition Authority.” If this sounds invasive and intimidating, that’s because it is.

    More detail on the implications of this rule change:

    […] “Freely handing out the power to compel any American to appear, sit in a room, and answer staff’s invasive questions on the record — without members even being required to be present — is truly unprecedented, unwarranted, and offensive,” she said. […]

    Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, said, “This rules change represents a shocking continuation and expansion of House Republicans’ abusing of congressional processes to intimidate private citizens just as they did with the Select Committee to Attack Women’s Health.”

    Bloomberg link

  146. says

    In 2016 a new record was set for domestic auto sales. U.S. companies sold more new cars and trucks than ever before. They beat the previous record set in 2015. Just one more sign that actions taken by President Obama in 2009 have worked out really well when it comes to the American auto industry.

    Washington Post link to “U.S. automakers sell more new cars and trucks than ever before — again.”

    Here’s some of what Republicans said at the time:

    Rep. John Boehner (R-OH): “Does anyone really believe that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington can successfully steer a multi-national corporation to economic viability?” [6/1/09]

    Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL): “It’s basically going to be a government-owned, government-run company…. It’s the road toward socialism.” [5/29/09]

    Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC): “Now the government has forced taxpayers to buy these failing companies without any plausible plan for profitability. Does anyone think the same government that plans to double the national debt in five years will turn GM around in the same time?” [6/2/09]

    Rep. Tom Price (R-GA): “Unfortunately, this is just another sad chapter in President Obama’s eager campaign to interject his administration in the private sector’s business dealings.” [6/2/09]

    Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ): When government gets involved in a company, “the disaster that follows is predictable.” [7/22/09]

    Think Progress link

    See comment 135 to view some of what Trump has been saying about the auto industry. Like the Republicans in 2009, Trump is voicing opinions that are wrong, ignorant, and arrogant.

    Let’s give Obama credit where it is due.

  147. says

    Jeff Sessions tried to get away with faking his civil rights record as part of the history he provided to Congress in preparation for the confirmation process.

    Trump picked Sessions for Attorney General, and the Trump team instructed Republicans to talk about the positive aspects of Sessions’ civil rights record. There are no positive aspects. The legal work he is claiming was done by others.

    Rachel Maddow expertly debunked the false claims made by Sessions. Her interview subject was Gerry Hebert, executive director of the Campaign Legal Center, and a guy who worked directly with Sessions during the period for which false claims have been made. The video is 7:29 minutes long.

  148. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, plenty of interesting details on Russian hacking are dropping right now.

    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was joined by Adm. Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Marcel J. Lettre, undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, to answer questions at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Russian theft and leaks of thousands of emails before the November election.

    “We assess that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized the recent election-focused data thefts and disclosures, based on the scope and sensitivity of the targets,” they wrote in joint remarks submitted for the hearing. […]

    The hearing, the first on the hacking since the November election, comes a day before Trump is to get a top-level briefing on the issue from Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Director Adm. Mike Rogers at Trump’s office in New York. The intelligence officials also will brief Trump on the broader review that President Obama recently requested on Russian and Chinese hacks during the 2008, 2012 and 2016 U.S. elections and what was learned from those intrusions.

    The classified report is finished and likely will be given to Obama on Thursday. Obama ordered it completed before he leaves office on Jan. 20 to ensure a full record is available, aides have said. […]

    The full House and the full Senate will be briefed on a classified version of the review next week, Clapper said. After those briefings, a declassified version will be made public, he said. […]

    “I intend to push the envelope as much as we can in the unclassified version because I think the public should know as much about this as possible,” Clapper said. “There are some fragile sources and methods.”

  149. Hj Hornbeck says

    Politicized,” eh?

    “The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world [is] becoming completely politicized,” an individual close to Trump’s transition operation said.

    Ok, so the best way to get rid of political bias is to restructure the top, and encourage a bipartisan approach.

    “They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring agencies and how they interact.” Trump is targeting the CIA and the DNI as he publicly wars with the U.S. intelligence community over its conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

    But the FBI is being left alone? Yeah, that’s not a restructuring, that’s a purge of dissenters.

  150. Hj Hornbeck says

    During the election, people were wondering why no-one posted racy behind-the-scenes footage from Celebrity Apprentice. At least one producer claimed this footage of Trump existed. One possible explanation: Mark Burnett, the main producer on that show, has ties to Putin.

    For Burnett, 40, the day has been a typical, tightly scheduled torrent of interviews and production meetings, culminating in a cell-phone strategy session in the car with his lawyer and manager, Conrad Riggs. After the conversation, Burnett tells me, half-crowing and half-cowed, “Putin is involved.” Yes, that Putin. Burnett has been negotiating with Russian officials for months over “Destination Mir,” but recent reports on how the space station is about to fall out of the sky have, to say the least, complicated his plans. Still, he believes the show can be pulled off, perhaps using a deal the Russians have in place with the new International Space Station or, if that falls through, maybe settling for the less-thrilling option of simply shooting the contestant into orbit for a couple of weeks. Openly contemptuous of even a bit of negative thinking, Burnett looks at it this way: “I think ‘Mir’ is going to be hard only as a political thing. The show will be easy. I really want to do a space show. And, typically, I’m quite good at making things happen.”

    That was from 2001. In 2015:

    The reality TV superproducer behind the TLC hit Sarah Palin’s Alaska — along with NBC stalwart The Voice, CBS’ Survivor and ABC’s Shark Tank, among others — has his eye on a series that would go inside the world of global government leaders. First on his wish list: Russia’s Vladimir Putin. If all goes as he hopes, others, including Cuba’s Fidel Castro, would follow.

    “I want this to be a series of shows from the eyes of leaders of nations about their countries,” Burnett, 54, tells THR, “not through the lens of a news organization.” […]

    Seeing Russia through its controversial president’s eyes has Burnett so excited, he already has reached out to Putin, 62, a noted outdoorsman and former KGB officer. He says he emphasized his show would be devoid of armies and politics; rather, it would focus on “the humans, the nature, the animals of the nation.”

    But there’s another, more prosaic explanation: Burnett approves of Trump, and the feeling’s mutual.

    President-elect Donald J. Trump kicked around ideas for his inauguration in his office at Trump Tower on Tuesday with two of his oldest friends, Mark Burnett and Thomas Barrack Jr.

    The ideas spilled out from Mr. Burnett, a well-regarded showman best known for producing “The Apprentice”: a parade up Fifth Avenue, a helicopter ride to Washington from New York that could hold the attention of millions of people expected to watch from around the world. […]

    Despite the modest nature of the events under consideration, Mr. Barrack said Mr. Burnett was actively involved in producing the inauguration week festivities. He will have a large team to work with, as the committee’s staff in Washington is expected to swell to more than 300 people by Inauguration Day.

    “Mark is a genius, and the president-elect loves him,” Mr. Barrack said. Referring to the Tuesday meeting, he said, “This was about throwing stuff out if you are thinking in the frame of mind of what a global audience would see.”

  151. says

    This morning, the Senate held a hearing on Russian hacking. Here are some key moments, as summarized by Politico:

    […] highlights from the hearing [include] testimony from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers:

    […] Clapper said the intelligence community has no way to gauge how the hacking may have affected the electorate’s choices. “Whether or not that constitutes an act of war I think is a very heavy policy call that I don’t believe the intelligence community should make,” Clapper said. “But it’s certainly — would carry, in my view, great gravity.”

    McCain said […] “The goal of this review, as I understand it, is not to question the outcome of the presidential election, nor should it be,” he said. “As both President Obama and President-elect Trump have said, our nation must move forward. But we must do so with full knowledge of the fact.”

    […] McCain asked Clapper to confirm that Assange was responsible for publishing the names of people who work for U.S. intelligence and questioned whether “there’s any credibility we should attach to this individual.” Clapper responded, “Not in my view.” And Rogers said, “I second those comments.”

    Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill accused Trump of putting “Assange on a pedestal” compared with the U.S. intelligence community and the military, saying, “I think it should bring about a hue and cry.” The Missouri senator added: “No matter whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, there should be howls. […]”

    Asked by McCaskill about Trump’s “trashing” of the intelligence community, Clapper hinted that the president-elect’s rhetoric has crossed from skepticism into “disparagement.” He told her: I think there is an important distinction here between healthy skepticism, which policymakers, to include policymaker No. 1, should always have for intelligence. But I think there’s a difference between skepticism and disparagement.”

    Clapper affirmed that the intelligence community “will ascribe a motivation” for why Russian President Vladimir Putin directed cyberattacks against the U.S. when it releases its report to Congress and the public early next week. […]

    Clapper denied involvement in a possible plan by Trump to rearrange the nation’s intelligence agencies. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Trump and his advisers are considering “a plan that would restructure and pare back the nation’s top spy agency.” Top committee Democrat Jack Reed asked: “Have you at all, as the experts in this field, been engaged in any of these discussions, deliberations, advice?” Clapper responded: “No, we have not.”

    Before the hearing began, Clapper, Rogers and Defense Undersecretary for Intelligence Marcel Lettre issued a joint statement calling Russia “a full-scope cyber actor that poses a major threat to U.S. Government, military, diplomatic, commercial, and critical infrastructure and key resource networks” — and warning that the Kremlin will continue its aggression in cyberspace.

    They added: “We assess that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized the recent election-focused data thefts and disclosures, based on the scope and sensitivity of the targets,” language that tacitly points the finger at Putin. […]

    I listened to part of the hearing. Clapper repeated at least twice that the assessment the intelligence community released on October 7 is backed up now even more robustly.

    Another comment from Clapper:

    This was a multi-faceted campaign. So the hacking was only one part of it, and it also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.

    In other words, Clapper confirmed that Russia helped propagate and spread fake news.

  152. raven says

    So why did Trump win?
    I know barrels of photons have been spent on this and the alleged causes are legion.
    I’ve been waiting for some data. Numbers. Facts.
    And here is one.

    Oregonlive Douglas Perry 1/52017
    Trump’s margin over Clinton among whites without a college education was an astonishing 40 points, dramatically higher than the norm. To find out why, political scientists Matthew MacWilliams, Tatishe Nteta and Brian Schaffner used a national YouGov survey conducted during the final week of October to measure attitudes on racism and sexism, zeroing in on questions about, for example, whether women are seeking “special favors” in hiring policies and whether white Americans or various ethnic groups are getting “more than they deserve.” The study’s conclusion:

    “We find that while economic dissatisfaction was part of the story, racism and sexism were much more important and can explain about two-thirds of the education gap among whites in the 2016 presidential vote.”

    It was racism and sexism. Followed by economic inequality.

  153. raven says

    I’ve been saying for a while that the two drivers of the Trump disaster were:
    1. Racism. Demographic transition of 2043 to nonwhite majority.
    2. 40 years of growing economic inequality.

    My economics reason was slightly wrong as I thought that was most important because it made sense.

    So, the typical Trump voter voted so they could yell racial and religious slurs at the kid handing them their Big Mac or coffee.
    Which is cosmically stupid. They could do that anyway without destroying the USA.

    The USA might have become too stupid on average to last much longer as anything other than a Banana republic.

  154. Hj Hornbeck says

    No surprise here.

    House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that Republicans will move to strip all federal funding for Planned Parenthood as part of the process they are using early this year to dismantle Obamacare. Ryan made the announcement during a news conference on Capitol Hill. […]

    The vast majority of federal money that Planned Parenthood does receive funds preventive health care, birth control, pregnancy tests, breast cancer screening and other womens health care services. Democrats also point out that much of the money the group received is through the Medicaid program, which reimburses health care clinics that provide care to those covered by the federal program.

    Under the “Hyde amendment” that is attached to annual funding bills, no federal money is allowed to go to programs that include abortion services, unless they are needed to preserve the life of the mother or are caused by rape.

  155. Hj Hornbeck says

    Kurt Eichenwald again:

    I spent three years investigating Snowden’s story for my book, How America Lost Its Secrets: Snowden, the Man and the Theft. I went to the places in Hawaii and Japan where Snowden worked for the NSA, the places he staged his anti-surveillance “crypto-parties” in Honolulu, and to Moscow, where I interviewed former Russian intelligence officers, Kremlin insiders and the lawyer who serves as Snowden’s intermediary there. Aside from Oliver Stone—who paid this lawyer $1 million, supposedly for the rights to his novel—I am the only American journalist to interview him face-to-face. What I learned, bit by bit, from my many months of investigation, was that the key parts of Snowden’s story, although endlessly repeated in the media as fact, do not check out.

  156. says

    raven @171 and 172, I felt the racism and sexism from the voters in my neighborhood. I too bought the “economic” explanation as being paramount. I think we would all prefer to believe that. I had evidence in front of my eyes of relatively well-off middle class working white people voting for Trump, but I pushed that aside.

    It’s good to have the numbers. Now we know what we’re dealing with.

    In other news, here is a WTF moment courtesy of Trump and Omarosa Manigault. Omarosa had this to say:

    Traditionally, African-Americans have been Democrat, and I think the Democrats have taken advantage and taken for granted the African-American vote.

    You are seeing a huge movement of African-Americans moving to the Republican Party.

    Reality check: Trump’s support among black voters was 8%. That’s two percent better than Mitt Romney’s 6% in 2012, but I wouldn’t call that “a huge movement.” George Bush got 11% of the black vote in 2004.

    Also, I think the rightwing meme that Democrats have taken the African-American vote for granted is overblown.

  157. says

    Remember when Trump told us that the National Enquirer “should be very respected,” and that the tabloid newspaper deserves “Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting”?

    We can see why Trump thinks that way when we look at recent headlines that graced the front pages of the tabloid:

    “OBAMA IGNITES BIGGEST CRISIS IN 54 YEARS: How Trump will fix spy showdown”

    “LYING OBAMAS DESTROYED! […] Proof Obama was not born in the U.S.”

    “TRUMP TAKING CHARGE, SUCCESS IN JUST 36 DAYS”

    “TRUMP WILL SAVE 25 MILLION JOBS!”

    “TRUMP WAS RIGHT, MUSLIM SPIES IN OBAMA’S CIA”

    There were also cover headlines claiming that Hillary Clinton is “going to jail” and that she is a “corrupt, racist criminal.”

  158. says

    Paul Ryan is so naive.

    I think he [Trump] has not received his Russia briefing yet. I believe that’s scheduled for Friday. So hopefully, he’ll get up to speed on what, you know, has been happening and what Russia has or has not done. And he’ll be better informed on that.

    No, I don’t think so. Facts and information don’t matter to Trump. That’s why he is planning to “restructure” the U.S. intelligence agencies, and why he puts “intelligence” in scare quotes in his tweets. They are not agreeing with him. He hates that. (See Hornbeck’s comment 168.)

  159. says

    On the financial disclosure forms that Trump filed with the FEC, he said he owed $315 million to ten different entities. Whoops. New reporting shows that Trump left out about $1.5 billion of the debt he owes.

    […] A report this afternoon from the Wall Street Journal, however, revealed that Trump’s disclosure was the tip of the iceberg. The FEC required Trump only to report debt from entities he fully controls. The disclosure left out “more than $1.5 billion lent to partnerships that are 30%-owned by him.” That debt has been securitized and is owed to at least 150 financial entities.

    These financial institutions include many firms that are under the scrutiny of the federal agencies that Trump will soon control. Wells Fargo, for example, which services over $900 million in loans connected to Trump, “is currently facing scrutiny from federal regulators surrounding its fraudulent sales practices and other issues.”

    Trump will soon appoint the top regulators who will be responsible for scrutinizing the bank’s conduct. […]

    Think Progress link

  160. says

    Following up HJ Hornbeck’s post @169 one of the regulars on the Mark Burnett produced Shark Tank series is Canadian businessman Kevin O’Leary. O’Leary at the moment is part of a “Will he or won’t he?” scenario for Canadian’s Conservative Party. The Conservatives are currently involved in a leadership campaign, and O’Leary has for a good while now been considered a potential candidate. O’Leary hasn’t announced his intentions one way or another, but polling indicates he’d end up being the front runner amongst Conservative supporters if he did. He’s often compared to Trump, although his behaviour has been far more restrained(which isn’t exactly hard), and it’s questionable how much chance he’d really have running against Justin Trudeau.

    As for Trump and the National Enquirer its current chief exec, David Pecker, is a good buddy of Trump’s. American Media Inc, which owns the Enquirer, also owns the Globe and the National Examiner. The Globe has regularly produced anti-Obama headline stories.

  161. Hj Hornbeck says

    More for the “Trump is a vindictive asshole” file.

    President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition staff has issued a blanket edict requiring politically appointed ambassadors to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day, according to several American diplomats familiar with the plan, breaking with decades of precedent by declining to provide even the briefest of grace periods.

    The mandate — issued “without exceptions,” according to a terse State Department cable sent on Dec. 23, diplomats who saw it said — threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain. In the past, administrations of both parties have often granted extensions on a case-by-case basis to allow a handful of ambassadors, particularly those with school-age children, to remain in place for weeks or months. […]

    The directive has nonetheless upended the personal lives of many ambassadors, who are scrambling to secure living arrangements and acquire visas allowing them to remain in their countries so their children can remain in school, the diplomats said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly on the matter.

    In Costa Rica, Ambassador Stafford Fitzgerald Haney is hunting for a house or an apartment as his family — which includes four school-age children and his wife, who has been battling breast cancer — struggles to figure out how to avoid a move back to the United States with five months left in the school year, according to the diplomats. […]

    Derek Shearer, a professor of diplomacy at Occidental College who is a former United States ambassador to Finland, said it was difficult to see a rationale for the decision. “It feels like there’s an element just of spite and payback in it,” he said. “I don’t see a higher policy motive.”

    It’s worth emphasizing that if Trump’s team sticks to the strict January 20th deadline, the US will not have diplomats and ambassadors to represent them for months. US citizens in other nations will have no-one to represent them, and other countries will have no formal process to raise issues with the US government.

    It’ll be a complete shit-show.

  162. Hj Hornbeck says

    Corruption? What corruption?

    On September 13, 2013, the Florida Attorney General’s office announced that it was considering taking legal action against Trump University, amid allegations that the real-estate investment school had defrauded its student body.

    Four days later, Donald Trump’s personal charity (illegally) donated $25,000 to a political group aligned with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s reelection campaign. Shortly thereafter, the Sunshine State’s chief prosecutor decided that there were “insufficient grounds” to proceed with a probe of the mogul’s school. […]

    On Thursday — less than two months after Trump won a presidential election on a promise to “drain the swamp” of D.C. corruption — his transition team told Bloomberg that Pam Bondi will take a job in the new White House.

  163. Hj Hornbeck says

    One strange thing that came up during the election was an incident where Trump seemed to get his information from Sputnik, a propaganda arm of the Kremlin. I spotted some interesting timings, Kurt Eichenwald got some stories out of it, but the thread died out pretty quick.

    So this Twitter thread caught my attention.

    @chessninja (Mig Greengard)

    It’s handy that you can get most of Trump’s tweets a day in advance by browsing the Kremlin-friendly Russian web. True during campaign, too.

    It’s clear he has no idea about any of these things, & he’s getting his talking points from somewhere. Nearly always match the Kremlin line.

    I spend way too much time on Russian news for work, and it’s creepy how the Kremlin-coordinated talking points are Trump tweets in 24 hrs.

    Read (don’t really) Russia Today & Sputnik for a few days and time their talking points re hacking, NATO, CIA, Hillary, Obama with Trump’s.

    I don’t mean actual intel, but the spin in reply to it. The denials & obfuscation the Kremlin specializes in, regurgitated in 140 by Trump.

    I don’t even think it’s some sly device. It’s that Kremlin propaganda & Trump share the same position on nearly everything for some reason. […]

    This last one of Trump’s just reminded me because literally 12hr ago a Russian site was on about investigators “not examining the servers.”

    Trump’s words were:

    So how and why are they so sure about hacking if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers? What is going on?
    4:40 PM – 5 Jan 2017

    I can’t find the matching Russian source, though, and worse The Washington Examiner seems to be the earliest to air the story. Anyone want to do some research?

  164. Hj Hornbeck says

    One:

    In an interview that aired Tuesday on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Assange was asked if WikiLeaks’ source of the hacked material was “Russia or anyone associated with Russia.”

    “Our source is not a state party. So the answer — for our interactions — is no,” Assange told anchor Sean Hannity from his quarters at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has lived under diplomatic protection since 2012.

    Two:

    US intelligence has identified the go-betweens the Russians used to provide stolen emails to WikiLeaks, according to US officials familiar with the classified intelligence report that was presented to President Barack Obama on Thursday. […]

    US intelligence has received new information following the election that gave agencies increased confidence that Russia carried out the hack and did so, in part, to help Trump win. Included in that new information were intercepted conversations of Russian officials expressing happiness at Trump’s win. Another official described some of the messages as congratulatory.

    Officials said this was just one of multiple indicators to give them high confidence of both Russian involvement and Russian intentions. Officials reiterated that there is no single intercepted communication that qualifies as a “smoking gun” on Russia’s intention to benefit Trump’s candidacy or to claim credit for doing so.

    Three:

    CNN reporting US intel found info from Russians given to Wikileaks through cutouts. Which I reported months ago.

  165. says

    CNN reporting US intel found info from Russians given to Wikileaks through cutouts. Which I reported months ago.

    Honestly. No one was suggesting Assange received the stolen documents from like a kremlin.ru email. His “for our interactions” insertion is priceless.

  166. says

    I can’t find the matching Russian source, though, and worse The Washington Examiner seems to be the earliest to air the story. Anyone want to do some research?

    I read the thread and some of the comments and responses earlier (there’s actually more to the thread if you read down a bit in the comments, which is confusing). The main point seemed to be not that the original story came from Russian propaganda – in this case, it was Buzzfeed or similar – but that the particular line of spin or obfuscation in response to various reports is shared by Russian propaganda and Trump, and the former seems to come first. In response to requests, the tweeter or someone provided a link or screenshot I think from RT, but it was Russian RT so I couldn’t read it. It would be interesting if someone could go through a number of examples more systematically to assess if there’s a pattern.

  167. says

    SC @188 and Hornbeck @186, Sean Hannity let Assange get away with that slippery language.

    As far as Trump and his team repeatedly arguing, as Paul Ryan did, that what they are “”rightfully concerned about is partisans are trying to use the Russian hacking incident to … call into question the legitimacy of his victory” — all that repetition (some of it shouted by Sean Spicer) reveals that they themselves think that the Russian hacking does, in fact, call Trump’s victory into question.

    In other news, Trump is not done thumping Ohio Governor John Kasich. You would think that, by now, Trump would have better things to do. But, no, Trump finds revenge so satisfying that he allows it to distract him from whatever else he should be doing.

    On Friday [today], Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich will face off in their latest proxy battle for the hearts and minds of Ohio Republicans — and the president-elect himself on Thursday entered the fray.

    Trump supporter Jane Timken, a Cincinnati native and Walnut Hills High School graduate, is challenging Kasich-backed incumbent Matt Borges for the Ohio Republican Party’s top spot.

    On Thursday, Trump himself called several Southwest Ohioans who have a vote in the race for chairperson, pushing for Timken’s election. […]

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/05/donald-trump-versus-john-kasich-fight-ohio-gop-future/96124990/

    One Ohioan Republican said:

    This is the leader-of-the-free-world-to-be, and you would think of all the appointments that he’s doing and all the people he’s filling his cabinet with and getting ready for the inauguration, why would he take the time out to call me?

    […] Mother Jones’ David Corn reported a few months ago, “Revenge – it’s a big part of Trump’s life…. Why all the insults, bullying, and grudge matches? There is a reason. Trump fervently believes in retaliation…. [He] has said numerous times that he is driven by revenge and that it is a basic tool to use in business. He is obsessed with payback. In speeches and public talks, Trump has repeatedly expressed his fondness for retribution.”

  168. says

    The last job report that will come from the Obama administration came out today. It is good news. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 156,000 jobs were added in December. The unemployment rate is 4.7%. Average hourly earnings went up.

    In total, the Obama administration policies resulted in 2.15 million new jobs in 2016 alone. A record was set when December became the 75th consecutive month of positive job growth.

    Republicans claimed that a combination of new regulations, higher taxes and Obamacare would tank the economy. They were very wrong. However, the Trump administration is still poised to reverse all of Obama’s policies, and they are doing so under the mistaken impression that they will thereby jumpstart the economy. [facepalm]

  169. says

    In other news, Trump is not done thumping Ohio Governor John Kasich.

    During the “Gang of Eight” briefing, Trump was tweeting insults of Arnold Schwarzenegger over…Apprentice ratings. Evidently he hasn’t gotten over the fact that Schwarzenegger supported Kasich and Clinton. Set aside the fact that the ratings weren’t much lower than those for his last premiere (and the decline could reflect people’s interest in avoiding anything connected to Trump), or that he’s bashing a show for which he’s still (bizarrely) a producer (and which was created by the guy who’s managing his inauguration), this is, well, as nuts as anything else he does. Utterly unfit for office in every conceivable way. He should be hosting a reality TV show. Impeach him and send him back there.

  170. says

    SC, the Schwarzenegger version of Apprentice is even more sexist than the Trump version (hard to imagine, I know). I don’t doubt that the show has lost viewers thanks to Trump’s obnoxiousness, and that it lost viewers because women are more and more turned off by the sexist framework.

    In other news, dishonest and obnoxious Trump tweets:

    The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!

  171. says

    This is a followup to comments 185 and 186.

    Trump is pre-butting the meeting he has today with the heads of U.S. Intelligence. Before the meeting, Trump told the New York Times:

    China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names. How come nobody even talks about that? This [investigation into Russian hacking] is a political witch hunt.

    They [the Democrats] are very embarrassed about it. To some extent, it’s a witch hunt. They just focus on this.

  172. says

    Saad @196, no superlative is too huge for The Donald.

    More on “the Great Wall”:

    […] the AP reports that Trump’s “wall” will actually involve “fencing and other technology along the southern border.”

    U.S. taxpayers footing the bill for “fencing and other technology” falls far short of the promise Trump repeatedly made during his campaign, when one of his signature pledges was that Mexico would pay the entire cost of a roughly $10 billion “great wall.” (One study concluded building a physical wall along the southern border would actually cost as much as $40 billion, which might explain why Trump’s “wall” is looking more of a high-tech fence these days.)

    During the speech in which he launched his candidacy in June 2015, Trump said, “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me — and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” […]

    Think Progress link

    Okay, Great Doofus, we have marked your bait-and-switch words. Those words sound similar to the hyperbole you used to sell Trump University to gullible people.

  173. says

    The Brutal (and Fact-Checked) Numbers on Killing Obamacare

    […] More than 23 million people could lose coverage. And the superrich will get a $197,000 tax cut. […]

    At a rally in July, Trump noted the efficacy of attacks on the Affordable Care Act: “One of the things that gets constantly…the biggest applause is a repeal and replacement of Obamacare.”

    […] there’s little doubt that they [Republicans] will still make a show of upholding their promise to chip away at, if not totally repeal, Obamacare.

    […] According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, every major part of the Affordable Care Act is exceedingly popular except for one—the imposition of fines for not having health coverage. This might explain why some Trump voters are reacting with alarm now that they realize some kind of ACA repeal looks likely.

    If Obamacare is fully repealed, most Americans will see a modest tax cut, while tens of millions will face a loss of coverage or become uninsurable. And thousands could die from lack of access to medical care. […]

    More at the link.

  174. says

    Me first! Me first! … so says Trump.

    Donald Trump requested on Friday that the House and Senate investigate leaks to the media regarding the Obama administration’s evidence of Russian influence in the U.S. elections.

    “I am asking the chairs of the House and Senate committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it,” the president-elect tweeted Friday morning. […]

    Daily Beast link

  175. says

    The Trump hotel in D.C. (Old Post Office) sells some wines by the spoonful. The most expensive costs $140.00 for one spoonful.

    Wonkette link

    The hotel has also raised prices for cocktails. when it opened in September, patrons paid $16-$24 for a cocktail. Now the cheapest is $24, and the most expensive is $100. A bottle of Bud Light is $8.

  176. says

    While Trump is having trouble lining up A-list talent for his inaugural, President Obama has no problem when it comes to A-list celebrities who want to appear at his farewell party.

    […] The show business luminaries expected to send the 44th president off in style include Beyonce, Bradley Cooper, George Lucas, J. J. Abrams, Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, David Letterman, Chance the Rapper, and Usher […]

    Despite what Trump says, (“[…] but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!”), I think President Obama’s farewell party is going to hurt Trump’s feelings … hugely.

  177. says

    I think that Trump and his team know that their cabinet nominees are a bunch of dunderheads. Part of their strategy to get the dunderheads confirmed is to schedule so many confirmation hearings on one day that no one nominee gets the attention he deserves.
    Washington Post link

    THE BIG IDEA: By scheduling six confirmation hearings for the same day, the Senate GOP is working to prevent any one Donald Trump nominee from dominating a news cycle. The gambit is very likely to succeed.

    It’s no coincidence that Republican committee chairmen scheduled hearings for some of the president-elect’s most controversial and polarizing nominees next Wednesday.

    Trump, after putting it off repeatedly, will also finally have his first press conference since the election at the same time. And Mitch McConnell plans a budget vote-o-rama, including votes related to the repeal of Obamacare. This will further distract the press and the public. […]

  178. says

    This is a followup to Hornbeck’s comment 173.

    This is NOT democracy in action.

    […] Planned Parenthood volunteers lined up today at Speaker Ryan’s office to deliver the signatures of 87,000 men and women who stand with Planned Parenthood. Instead of accepting the petition delivery and moving on with his day, Paul Ryan instead dispatched a team of security. […]

    Ryan’s office did not accept the petition.
    Link

    You can call House Speaker Paul Ryan to tell him that you support planned parenthood. Phone: (202) 225-0600

  179. says

    Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown made a statement against confirming Jeff Sessions as Attorney General:

    I have serious concerns that Senator Sessions’ record on civil rights is at direct odds with the task of promoting justice and equality for all, and I cannot support his nomination. Now, more than ever, we need leaders who can bring Americans together to improve police-community relations, ensure that all Americans have access to the ballot, and reform our criminal justice system.

  180. says

    Representatives objected to the EC certification and called for a senator to join them. Ryan rolled his eyes. Biden shut them down. Biden certifying as I type this, but he’s being interrupted by protests from the gallery.

  181. KG says

    Hj Hornbeck@174,

    Your link goes to a story by Edward Jay Epstein, not Kurt Eichenwald.

    It has some interesting angles. Epstein admits that Snowden’s actions did result in some good – a national “conversation” on surveillance, and some (minor, I’d say) changes to the “Patriot Act”. But Epstein seems to be just fine with US government agencies having the capability to track everythnig Americans do:

    Snowden did us all a huge favor by disclosing that the government was vacuuming in phone billing records and internet activities.

    There is, however, an important distinction to be made. In popular culture, surveillance is often associated with the sinister measures taken by a totalitarian government to suppress dissidence. But what Snowden exposed was not a rogue operation; it was programs authorized by the president and Congress, and approved by 15 federal judges. If one accepts that the nation’s security remains a legitimate function of government, the issue is not if there should be surveillance; it must rather be what the proper use of surveillance is.

    So that’s all right then! After all, we can be confident that no totalitarian regime will ever gain control in the USA, can’t we?

    Epstein also seems to be fine with American spying on the leaders of (supposedly) friendly states:

    For example, the explosive revelation that the NSA targeted the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel was released in September. In June 2015, NSA documents stolen by Snowden on WikiLeaks caused further trouble by revealing that the phones of three presidents of France—Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande—had also been targeted. These embarrassing revelations—made long after Snowden claimed he had no more documents—put Obama in a very bad spot with America’s European allies.

    So the problem wasn’t that the private conversations of the leaders of Germany and France were hacked into by their supposed ally – it’s that naughty Snowden revealed that fact!

  182. Hj Hornbeck says

    Oh, Julian Assange WikiLeaks. They have some ideas!

    @WLTaskForce (WikiLeaks Task Force)

    We are thinking of making an online database with all “verified” twitter accounts & their family/job/financial/housing relationships.
    10:03 AM – 6 Jan 2017

    We are looking for clear discrete (father/shareholding/party membership) variables that can be put into our AI software. Other suggestions?
    10:08 AM – 6 Jan 2017

    As you can imagine, given their history, this suggestion didn’t go over well. Then things went downhill from there…

    ‏@BethElderkin (Beth Elderkin)

    Wiki leaks falsely ID’s someone while trying to demonstrate why a mass dox list isn’t a terrible waste of their time.
    12:02 PM – 6 Jan 2017

  183. says

    KG @210, Republicans are making a similar argument about the Russian hacks: they did us a all a huge favor by revealing the truth about the Democratic Party.

    Leaving aside the fact that the revelations of mundane political party business were not earth-shaking, and that they did not reveal evil done by Hillary Clinton, that argument is an all-too-convenient way of distracting from the main issue: Russia interfered with an election in the U.S.

    And Russia is interfering in elections in other countries.

  184. says

    This is a followup to comment 200.

    Steve Benen summed up the situation nicely:

    […] It’s a curious posture. Trump doesn’t want Congress to investigate a foreign adversary subverting American democracy on his behalf, but he does want Congress to investigate a news organization — in this case, NBC News — reporting details he doesn’t like.

    Of course, during his time as a presidential candidate, Trump thought leaks were great … just so long as they benefited his campaign. At one point, the Republican literally encouraged Russia to leak stolen Hillary Clinton emails to news organizations, reminding Russian officials they would “probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” […]

    Link

  185. Hj Hornbeck says

    KG @2210:

    Your link goes to a story by Edward Jay Epstein, not Kurt Eichenwald.

    Dang, my bad. Eichenwald promoted two stories on Newsweek as if they were his own. He’s written about Snowden in the past, and also takes a dim view of him, but I wrong in thinking he wrote those two.

    Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of Epstein’s claims. With the DNC, we have multiple intelligence orgs and private companies as sources, plus a bit of published details; with Snowden, all we have are the CIA, a CIA contractor, and Snowden himself. If Snowden over-shared with hostile governments, the evidence wouldn’t be public. Some research might get me off the fence, but right now I’m staying firmly planted there.

  186. Hj Hornbeck says

    Interesting. Trump’s seen the report, and his response… hasn’t really changed.

    President-elect Donald Trump today said he received his briefing from intelligence officials on the suspected interference of Russian and other foreign entities in U.S. elections, calling it “a constructive meeting.”

    “While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines. There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful,” Trump said in a statement released after the session.

    “Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks.”

    To that end, Trump said he will appoint a team to give him a plan within 90 days of assuming the presidency. He also said he has “tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation.”

    Ooo, he’s appointing a team. Stop the presses for that one; the rest, I’ve heard him say before.

  187. says

    This is a followup to comment 216.

    An excerpt from the report:

    […] Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary [Hillary] Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.

    We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. […]

    While the conclusions in the report are all reflected in the classified assessment, the declassified report does not and cannot include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence and sources and methods. […]

  188. says

    Trump issued a statement after he received the briefing on Russian hacking. That statement included claims that he, in no way, can back up.

    For example, he claimed that the cyberattacks had “absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.”

    Another example: “There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful.”

  189. says

    President Obama wrote an article for The New England Journal of Medicine, “Repealing the ACA without a Replacement — The Risks to American Health Care.” Excerpts below:

    […] What the past 8 years have taught us is that health care reform requires an evidence-based, careful approach, […] That is why Republicans’ plan to repeal the ACA with no plan to replace and improve it is so reckless. Rather than jeopardize financial security and access to care for tens of millions of Americans, policymakers should develop a plan to build on what works before they unravel what is in place.

    […] Increased coverage is translating into improved access to medical care — as well as greater financial security and better health. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans still get their health care through sources that predate the law, such as a job or Medicare, and are benefiting from improved consumer protections, such as free preventive services.

    […] reforms in the ACA have helped slow health care cost growth to a fraction of historical rates while improving quality for patients. […]

    Informed by the lessons we’ve learned during my presidency, I have put forward ideas in my budgets and a July 2016 article to address ongoing challenges — such as a lack of choice in some health insurance markets, premiums that remain unaffordable for some families, and high prescription-drug costs.

    For example, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices could both reduce seniors’ spending and give private payers greater leverage. […]persistent partisan resistance to the ACA has made small as well as significant improvements extremely difficult. […]

    This approach of “repeal first and replace later” is, simply put, irresponsible — and could slowly bleed the health care system that all of us depend on. [snipped examples of how the “bleed” would occur.]

    Given that Republicans have yet to craft a replacement plan, and that unforeseen events might overtake their planned agenda, there might never be a second vote on a plan to replace the ACA if it is repealed. […] A recent Urban Institute analysis estimated that a likely repeal bill would not only reverse recent gains in insurance coverage, but leave us with more uninsured and uncompensated care than when we started. […]

    Link

  190. says

    The 114th Congress ended this week, and with it went the confirmation chances of more than 80 qualified men and women nominated to government positions at all levels. On this Going Nowhere list are Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland and many others whose names had been put forward for less-exalted positions. I was one of them. […]

    Washington Post link

    Interesting story.

  191. militantagnostic says

    SC @209
    Your link now returns “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!”

    Somebody did some cleanup?

  192. says

    Rachel Maddow discussed the fact that Trump is trying to intimidate NBC by threatening to have Congressional committees investigate leaks to NBC.

    Maddow interviews Congressman Adam Schiff, ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, who notes that Trump got some details wrong in his threatening tweet, (Trump proved once again that he doesn’t know how the federal government works), and that he is focusing not on the major problem but on petty issues for which he thinks he needs to seek revenge. The video is 7:25 long.

  193. says

    This is a followup to comment 220.

    I flagged two lies in Trump’s statement that was issued after he met with the heads of U.S. Intelligence to be briefed on Russian hacking.

    Rachel Maddow flagged those same two lies. She did a great job of pointing out why the two lies are indeed lies, and why it is especially troubling to see Trump lying in these circumstances.

    Maddow does outrage well. The video is well done. It provides background as well as the current state of affairs, and Maddow references the intelligence report we now have. 6:55 minutes long.

  194. says

    Three companies that worked on Trump’s hotel in Washington D.C. have filed claims totaling $5 million against the Trump Organization, saying they were not paid for work they did.

    Tim Miller filed a lien for $2.1 million:

    […] Tim Miller, the executive vice president of AES Electrical, which filed the lien three days before Christmas, told the Post [Washington Post] dozens of employees were working 12-hour days for weeks in order to meet a hard opening date for the hotel’s opening in September 2016. […]

    “We’re not in this for any sort of political reasons,” Miller told the Post. “We have no ax to grind, political or otherwise. We’re a business. We have 700 employees that we pay every week. We have bills. We are effectively financing this work, and we don’t think it’s right. That’s really it.” […]

    Two other companies filed claims:

    A regional plumbing firm, Joseph J. Magnolia Inc., and a construction company, A&D Construction, have also claimed Trump has not paid them $2.98 million and $79,700 respectively for work on the hotel.

    Yesterday, while filling in for Chris Hayes on “All In,” Joy Reid made the point that Trump lied when he said the hotel was finished ahead of schedule and under budget. It opened a year late, and over budget. Reid pointed out that if you refuse to pay $5 million that is owed to workers, it might be easier to come in under budget.

  195. says

    Democrats held a press conference in which they spoke out against the GOP plan to defund Planned Parenthood. Cory Booker was especially effective. Link, scroll down for the video.

    Excerpt from the partial transcript:

    […] I don’t have a message for fellow Republican elected, because they’re not depending on Planned Parenthood in their neighborhoods. They’re well paid comfortable people. I have a message for every American, Democrat, and Republican who rely on these services or know people that do, or have the kind of heart to care enough to stand up for the women that receive these services. […]

    Republicans now think they’re elected with a mandate to do these kind of things. […]

    We see that they will listen if enough people stand up and fight!

    […] We didn’t elect anybody to rip out the key preventive services to make it harder to be someone struggling in this country to get basic healthcare services, that I believe in women, that I believe fundamentally in this country and that institutions like this make a stronger, better, more intelligent, more compassionate, more loving.

    And so frankly, what I’m going to be doing — every single day now leading the group reconciliations — is trying to wake up the conscience of other folks, trying to call to people to protest, to fight, to stand up. Because this cannot be allowed to happen. Too many people will suffer. The consequences will be felt by all. […]

  196. says

    Because Trump is still claiming that Mexico will pay for the “Great Wall,” (or will repay American taxpayers for it), former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox Quesada, has weighed in again:

    TRUMP, when will you understand that I am not paying for that fucken wall. Be clear with US tax payers. They will pay for it.

    Trump may ask whoever he wants, but still neither myself nor Mexico are going to pay for his racist monument. Another promise he can’t keep.

  197. says

    Writing for The New Yorker, David Remnick made some good points about Trump, Putin and Russian hacking:

    […] On the morning of November 9th, […] Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the Russian Duma’s foreign-affairs committee, announced to the parliament, “Three minutes ago, Hillary Clinton conceded defeat in the American Presidential elections. And just this second Donald Trump began his speech as President-elect.” The Duma members cheered and applauded. […]

    Dmitri Kiselyov, […] gloated over Trump’s victory […] Trump was an “alpha male”—and one who showed mercy to his vanquished rival. “Trump could have put the blonde in prison, as he’d threatened in the televised debates,” Kiselyov said on his show. “On the other hand, it’s nothing new. Trump has left blond women satisfied all his life.” Kiselyov further praised Trump because the concepts of democracy and human rights “are not in his lexicon.” […]

    Even as Trump seemed to shift his view of the source of the D.N.C. hack, he did not concede that the operation had helped his campaign. The declassified report, however, said that the C.I.A., F.B.I., and N.S.A. had uniformly “high confidence” that Putin ordered the operation in order to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.” […]

    […] one can readily concede that Trump won his Electoral College victory for a variety of reasons, including the disaffection of the white working class in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio; the F.B.I. director’s two letters, late in the campaign, about Clinton’s e-mail server; and Clinton’s deficiencies and tactical errors as a candidate.

    And yet how is it possible, if these intelligence reports are true, to count the 2016 Presidential election as unsullied? […]

    […] analysts added that Putin is undoubtedly cheered that Rex Tillerson, Trump’s appointment to head the State Department, was likely to leave behind American “sanctimony” about human rights and democracy and, following the pattern of his career at ExxonMobil, to concentrate on purely “transactional politics.” […]

    “I try to be careful about superlatives,” Talbott [Strobe Talbott, who was Bill Clinton’s closest adviser on Russia] said, “but I cannot think, going back to the Soviet Union or since, that there’s been a Moscow-Kremlin-instigated gambit that was so spectacularly successful as what they have done with our democracy. All of those assets that they tried to use on us over the years were far less by comparison; this was like winning seventeen jackpots all at once.”

  198. says

    Trump had more praise for Russia this morning:

    Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only “stupid” people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We…..

    have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and….

    both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!

    The text above is from Trump’s Twitter feed.

    […] according to one Obama Administration official, “our allies are absolutely terrified and completely bewildered.” […]

    The text above is from The New Yorker article referenced in comment 230.

  199. says

    This is a followup to comment 204.

    Other people are concerned about the hearings schedule related to Trump’s choices for Cabinet posts:

    Senate Republicans’ confirmation hearings schedule for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet choices is of “great concern” to the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics and may leave some of his selections with “potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues,” the director of the agency wrote to Senate leaders on Friday. […]

    […] since the Trump transition team did not pre-clear any of its selections for Cabinet positions with OGE before announcing them over the past two months, not all of the nominees have undergone their ethics review that helps Cabinet secretaries avoid conflicts of interest.

    ”[…] Shaub [ OGE Director Walter Shaub] said he was unaware of any occasion that hearings went forward before an ethics review. Democrats say that several nominees, including Education Department choice Betsy DeVos and Department of Homeland Security selection John Kelly, have not yet completed their ethics reviews ahead of their Wednesday […] Democrats want the DeVos hearing delayed. […]

    Link

    Democrats also want to delay the confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions, who handed in woefully incomplete (and in some cases inaccurate) paperwork.

  200. says

    Vox’s Ezra Klein and Sarah Kliff interviewed President Obama. The asked questions related to the future of Obamacare. Vox link. The video is 1:11:00 long, and very thorough.

    The audience was comprised of people from a Facebook community of people who are Obamacare enrollees.

  201. Hj Hornbeck says

    This thread’s a bit old, but it has some great tidbits. To share one near the end:

    That’s how I got started down this line of inquiry: I noticed on the DAY AFTER THE ELECTION that the MAGA botnets were gone. Gone. Poof.

    I didn’t think to make copies of my block lists beforehand because I didn’t understand botnets. I thought even “trolls” were real people.

    Like all vocal Clinton supporters, I was targeted hard over the last year. I blocked hundreds, perhaps thousands, of MAGA accounts.

    When I noticed the MAGA silence the day after the election, I checked my block list. Only a few dozen of those accounts remained.

    When I realized those accounts had been a weapon of either the Trump campaign itself or a supporting entity (i.e. Russia), I began digging.

    A lot of the MAGA/grandma/veteran/Christian/IStandWithIsrael accounts? Botnets. A lot of the Bernie Bro/NeverHillary accounts? Botnets.

    Many Americans on social media during this election thought we were fighting with each other when we were really being targeted by psy-ops.

  202. Hj Hornbeck says

    I’m surprised the REINS Act hasn’t come up yet.

    REINS dictates that a “major rule shall not take effect unless the Congress enacts a joint resolution of approval” and won’t become law if Congress does not pass that resolution by “70 session days or legislative days, as applicable.”

    It’s been floated several times by Republicans over the years, and always smacked down.

    “This radical departure from the longstanding separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative branches would delay and, in many cases, thwart implementation of statutory mandates and execution of duly-enacted laws, create business uncertainty, undermine much-needed protections of the American public, and cause unnecessary confusion,” OMB wrote in July 2015.

    “By replacing this well-established framework with a blanket requirement of Congressional approval, H.R. 427 would throw all major regulations into a months-long limbo, fostering uncertainty and impeding business investment that is vital to economic growth.”

    It’s passed Congress, Trump’s pledged to sign it, but it needs to get 60 votes in the Senate to pass.

  203. says

    Mitch McConnell had a long list of requirements for President Obama’s nominees. On that list:

    […] The FBI background check is complete and submitted to the committee in time for review and prior to a hearing being noticed.

    The Office of Government Ethics letter is complete and submitted to the committee in time for review and prior to a committee hearing.

    Financial disclosure statements (and tax returns for applicable committees) are complete […]

    All committee questionnaires are complete and have been returned to the committee. A reasonable opportunity for follow-up questions has been afforded committee members, and nominees have answered, with sufficient time for review prior to a committee vote. […]

    Link

    Those requirements, and more, were all fulfilled by Obama’s nominees. None of those requirements are complete for Trump’s nominees. Some half-assed submissions have been made. Some inaccurate submissions, containing lies or misleading information have been made. None are complete.

    See comment 232 for additional information.

    Meanwhile, Trump’s spokespeople are complaining that Republican nominees are not being treated fairly — after all, Obama’s nominees were all confirmed in a timely manner.

  204. says

    Here is a longer, more detailed look at the objections raised by the Office of Government Ethics.

    […] OGE director Walter Shaub Jr. told top Senate Democrats in a Saturday letter that the stacked hearing schedule has left his office unable to complete ethics reviews on several nominees, which he called a matter of “great concern.” […]

    “I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process,” he wrote.

    The Senate will hold hearings for a number of Trump’s cabinet appointees next week, with six scheduled for Wednesday alone. Both billionaire charter school advocate Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for education secretary, and Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, his choice for secretary of state, have hearings on Wednesday. These particularly controversial nominees have complex business ties, further complicating vetting efforts.

    Schumer said that the OGE letter proved that Senate Republicans were trying to “jam through” nominees.

    “The Office of Government Ethics letter makes crystal-clear that the transition team’s collusion with Senate Republicans to jam through these Cabinet nominees before they’ve been thoroughly vetted is unprecedented,” he said in a Saturday statement obtained by ABC News.

    The Democratic National Committee asked GOP lawmakers to delay some of the hearings, writing in a Saturday statement that Senate Republicans would do so unless “they are concerned about what will be exposed” in a full ethics review.

    You can read the full text of Schaub’s letter at the link.

  205. says

    Joy Reid discusses Trump’s possible links with organized crime. The mob links are interesting. As usual, we find that Trump has lied and has contradicted himself many times.

    David Corn and Scott Dworkin join the conversation.

    The video is 11:20 minutes long, but a portion of the middle section is devoted to an update on the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport.

  206. says

    During his campaign, Trump mentioned the emails posted on WikiLeaks, (and stolen by Russian hackers), 164 times. Yes, 164 mentions by Trump, and that does not include the mentions by his surrogates and by Fox News or other rightwing media personalities. Kellyanne Conway thinks that is not only okay, but that it didn’t make a difference in the election.

    […] On CNN’s State of the Union host Jake Tapper played some of those 164 Trump Wikileaks citations for Conway and asked her “How can you say that the hacking had no impact on the election, when Mr. Trump kept invoking Wikileaks which was printing, publishing things that the Russians had hacked?”

    Conway responded by saying “it had an effect on his debate answer and it had an effect on the Clinton campaign,” before again repeating some of the “embarrassing” things the stolen emails revealed. But she then quickly shifted gears, claiming that the “alleged attacks and aspirations to interfere with our democracy failed.”

    Her reasoning: “Donald Trump won because of things having nothing to do with the hacks.” Pressed on why the campaign invoked Wikileaks if it wasn’t “to change public impressions of Hillary Clinton,” Conway shot back that Trump “didn’t need Wikileaks to convince the American people that they didn’t like her, didn’t trust her, didn’t find her to be honest. […]

    Think Progress link. Video available at the link.

    Trump himself also claimed that the publication of stolen emails had no effect on the election.

  207. says

    This is a followup to comments 236 and 237.

    McConnell refuses to delay the hearings.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday rebuffed Democratic calls to slow down rapid confirmation of Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks, even after a nonpartisan federal watchdog raised “great” concerns about moving ahead with hearings for nominees without their ethics reviews completed. […]

    “[…] We confirmed seven Cabinet appointments the day President Obama was sworn in. We didn’t like most of them either. But he won the election. So all of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustrations.”

    McConnell added: “We need to sort of grow up here and get past that.” […]

    The extensive background check processes and document reviews for Trump’s Cabinet picks are at varying levels of completion. […]

    Politico link

  208. says

    This is a followup to comment 239.

    Writing for The Daily Beast, Joy Reid made some good points regarding Trump’s encouragement of and use of Russian-hacked emails:

    […] Trump seemed only capable of focusing on reasserting the legitimacy of his election, clinging to the lack of a finding that Russians hacked into actual voting machines. But that was never the point.

    The point was that Russia deployed cybercriminals, who fed stolen emails to Wikileaks, and deployed trolls who spread made up, damaging news stories, including through the Russian propaganda arm RT and through American conspiracy theory peddlers like Infowars and random sites online, specifically to help him.

    And while he is not portrayed as an accomplice to the Russian operation in the intelligence report, the fact is, Trump actively pitched and sold the products of the Russian hackers and trolls and Wikileaks. He did so every day of the campaign, sometimes even going beyond the content and exaggerating it to his own benefit.

    It’s left unsaid in the intelligence report, but the truth is, the Russian operation could not have succeeded without the help of Donald J. Trump. He alone among the Republican primary candidates, during the period of active hacking and email theft, was willing – no, eager – to use the looted material for the benefit of his campaign. […]

    But this bizarre coda to the campaign leaves still more questions, which should not cease being asked once the Kremlin’s candidate, whose victory touched off raucous cheers in the Russian Duma, takes the oath of office on January 20th. […]

  209. says

    On “AM Joy,” Joy Reid and a panel to journalists talked about the mistakes the media makes repeatedly when they cover what Trump says and tweets.

    Reid debunks the claims (trumpeted in many headlines) that Trump’s “johnny come lately” tweet was responsible for Republicans backing off their plan to gut the ethics committee. From there, Reid leads a more general discussion about the mistakes made by media.

    It’s no longer true, for example, that whatever a president-elect says is newsworthy, or generally accurate. In fact, the opposite is true. In addition, Trump regularly contradicts his own aides who go on TV and say what they have presumably learned from Trump.

    Media outlets repeated the claims that Trump saved more than a 1000 jobs at Carrier in Indiana. Some of these outlets later walked the headlines back when what Trump said turned out to be not true. By then, it’s too late. Trump’s claims are embedded in the brains of too many of the nation’s citizens.

    The video is 11:20 minutes long. Link

  210. says

    “We seem to have lost contact” with the Trump team, says the government agency in charge of overseeing ethics in the federal government. Say, what, now?

    […] [The agency] has struggled to contact members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team since Election Day.

    In emails obtained by MSNBC, Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Director Walter Shaub wrote that his agency’s attempts at outreach to the incoming administration have been met with silence.

    “We seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election,” Shaub said. […]

    Raw Story link

  211. says

    Here is a longer, more detailed look at the objections raised by the Office of Government Ethics….

    No one should lose sight of the fact that we’re now faced with an absurdly corrupt, illegal, secretive, and unconstitutional presidency.

    Trump lied in his campaign financial statements. He won’t release his taxes. He won’t divest from his businesses, as his family continues to aggressively seek to profit from his position. He won’t reveal his debts to foreign entities or governments. He’s only recently settled a fraud case about his bogus “university.” His bullshit foundation is still under investigation by the New York Attorney General. Among multiple other corrupt acts, his foundation donated to a secretary of state in Florida who was in a position to investigate/prosecute his bogus “university.” After she refused to investigate, she was invited to speak at the RNC and now has been given a position in his administration. Administration appointments include other rich donors, supporters, and plutocrats. His nominees, even those who claimed Democratic picks were disqualified if they allegedly made the slightest error in their paperwork, have failed to complete their records or do so remotely accurately, He has connections to numerous criminals, and has repeatedly lied about them. He’s confessed to assaulting women, and threatened women who’ve come forward. He’s openly, and proudly, admitted to lying for his own advantage and for revenge. He’s invited a hostile foreign power – with which he appears to have an ongoing relationship – to steal US government records, and exploited and celebrated files stolen by them to his advantage. He’s denied the intelligence consensus about the foreign influence campaign in the election, and disparaged the intelligence community while cheerleading Putin. He’s threatened journalists. He’s called for policies – killing suspected terrorists’ families, looting, torture, extrajudicial murder, jailing political opponents, stop and frisk, a religious test for immigration and citizenship, executive use of the Supreme Court, revocation of citizenship for dissent, stifling of protest, cruel and unusual punishment,… – that are blatantly unconstitutional. He’s nominated theocrats to cabinet positions. He’s praised autocrats as strong leaders, contrasting them with elected democrats. He’s refused to publicly address his relationship with Putin and the other Russian kleptocrats. He promotes an ideology of inequality. His party wants to do away with ethics oversight and the VRA. Many of his party’s electoral college voters were questionable. His campaign was marked by irregularities….

    Trump and his party pose a threat to the country and the world. We need to stand up to them in the name of democracy, freedom, equality, solidarity, honesty, compassion, and all of the values the US has claimed abstractly for decades.

  212. Hj Hornbeck says

    Here’s a story to keep an eye on.

    Assuming a variety of fake online identities, including that of a female solicitor in England, [Steven] Wessel gushed in emails, phone calls and Twitter messages about (made-up) extramarital affairs with the likes of the late Lee Atwater, showered marks with gift cards to the swanky Mandarin Oriental, and invited them to go pheasant-hunting in Scotland — all in an apparent attempt to glean more about the operatives and their intentions regarding Trump. That was until federal prosecutors learned of the activity and a judge revoked Wessel’s bail in April, sending him to prison to begin serving a 55-month sentence ahead of schedule.

    In a campaign season marked by the mind-bending, the — until now unreported —caper of Wessel’s months-long “catfishing” of operatives Rick Wilson, Liz Mair and Cheri Jacobus ranks among more bizarre episodes. It could get more bizarre still. The targets of the scheme do not believe that Wessel, described by his own lawyer as mentally ill, was acting alone. This month Jacobus, who said she believes Wessel was working in concert with allies of Trump, renewed her efforts to get the FBI to investigate the scheme.

    I figured Trump’s first course of action was to “purify” the Republican party, by muzzling or punting out people who would oppose him. This fits right in with that pattern. And the author isn’t kidding when they say it could get more bizarre:

    ‏@CheriJacobus (Cheri Jacobus)

    1.@reince pay attention. My email was hacked just as POLITICO was calling team Trump to inform them this was coming
    6:13 AM – 8 Jan 2017

    2. the universe of ppl who knew the article was coming was very small. After team Trump was informed, I was hacked, BEFORE it was published.
    6:16 AM – 8 Jan 2017

  213. Hj Hornbeck says

    Trump’s connections to US organized crime have been hinted at, but this is the first suggestion I’ve seen that he’s involved with Russian organized crime:

    Kicking off with the below tweet – see whole thread – it’s time to have an official CI Tweetstorm on this issue. /1

    Trump Org’s secret ties to Russian OC are well known in certain circles, including some IC folks. But MSM has been (mostly) derelict. /2

    MSM has been reluctant to seriously explore Trump’s Kremlin ties because Don loves suing everyone. And his Russia mafia pals kill people. /3

    Moreover, actually grasping what the Trump Org does — which Don works hard at anyone getting a look at — requires a lot of knowledge. /4

    You need to understand real estate finance, and Russian organized crime AND Russian intelligence…if you do, the picture is quite clear. /5

    It goes on from there.

  214. says

    Kellyanne Conway just might get a hypocrite of the year award. She objected Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech for a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes, saying that Streep was “inciting people’s worst instincts.”

    “She [Streep] sounds like 2014. The election is over. She lost. Everybody in that audience, with very few exceptions, was of a single, myopic mind as to how they wanted the election to go and how they expected the election to go. They lost and I really wish she would have stood up last night and said ‘look, I didn’t like the election results, but he’s our president and we’re going to support him.'”

    Conway accused Streep of “inciting people’s worst instincts” with her Sunday night speech. That time would have been put to better use, Trump’s incoming counselor said, by searching for common ground with the incoming administration, something Conway suggested the president-elect “has actually done from moment one.”

    “But this is Hollywood. I think where there is self-pity, a lot more self-awareness would do them some charm. Talking about how vilified poor Hollywood is, in their gazillion dollar gowns. Can I borrow a couple of those for the inaugural, please?”

    Trump himself weighed in:

    Trump himself shot back at Streep as well, taking to Twitter to label her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood” and a “Hillary flunky who lost big.” As he has in the past, Trump disputed the notion that he had mocked the reporter […]

    What did Streep actually say?

    […] There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good, there was nothing good about it, but it was effective and it did its job.

    It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back.

    It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life. This instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in the public … by someone powerful, it filters down into everyone’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same.

    When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. […]

  215. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, apparently laws are something you’re supposed to overcome?

    ‏@mawilner (Michael Wilner)

    Jared Kushner will be named a senior adviser to the president, overcoming anti-nepotism laws, a senior transition official tells NBC.
    9:48 AM – 9 Jan 2017

  216. Hj Hornbeck says

    In more ominous news,

    According to an official within the Department of Energy, this past Friday, the President-elect’s team instructed the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration and his deputy to clean out their desks when Trump takes office on January 20th.

    The NNSA is the $12 billion-a-year agency that “maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.” It’s unclear when the two officials will be replaced.

    Traditionally, all political appointees of an outgoing presidential administration turn in resignation letters effective on noon of inauguration day, January 20. But appointees in key positions—like the people who make sure our nukes work—are often asked to stay on in their roles until a replacement can be found and confirmed by the Senate, helping ensure a smooth transition and allowing our government to continue functioning. In fact, for the entirety of Obama’s first term and into part of his second, the NNSA Administrator remained a Bush appointee.

    Trump, however, appears determined to immediately push out everyone who was appointed by Obama, regardless of whether or not he has anyone in line for the job. Or, as our source put it: “It’s a shocking disregard for process and continuity of government.”

  217. says

    Hornbeck @246, Russian crime bosses bailed Trump out from one of his bankruptcy situations.

    […] Among the powerful facts that DNI missed were a series of very deep studies published in the [Financial Times] that examined the structure and history of several major Trump real estate projects from the last decade—the period after his seventh bankruptcy and the cancellation of all his bank lines of credit. …

    The money to build these projects flowed almost entirely from Russian sources. In other words, after his business crashed, Trump was floated and made to appear to operate a successful business enterprise through the infusion of hundreds in millions of cash from dark Russian sources.

    He was their man. […]

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C1vHUNPXUAEKZWP.jpg

    Daily Kos link

    […] Mr Millian [head of the Russian American Chamber of Commerce in the US at the time of Trump Jr.’s “money pouring in from Russia” claim] insists his RACC has nothing to do with the Russian government. He says it is funded by payments from its commercial members alone.

    Most of the board members are obscure entities and nearly half of their telephone numbers went unanswered when called by the Financial Times. An FT reporter found no trace of the Chamber of Commerce at the Wall Street address listed on its website.

    Details include the fact that businesses acting as a front for GRU were part of the deal. Details are also given to describe money laundering schemes in which purchases of apartments and condos in Trump properties are used to launder money from Russian crime oligarchs.

    […] The Trump Organization was a hollow shell and Trump was bankrupt, but Donald Trump the public figure was a “successful businessman,” a screen behind which criminal activity could be carried out on a massive scale. Throwing his name at every scheme in existence wasn’t a strategy, it was a fire sale on Trump’s respectability. Steaks? Water? Vodka? Fake real estate school? You pony up the cash, and Trump will slap his name on it. Because by the early 2000s, Trump wasn’t just broke, he had nothing left to pawn. He wasn’t a successful businessman, but he still played one on TV. His image had more value than his real estate portfolio.

    But the apartments and buildings where Trump held some degree of ownership could be turned into value again. All it took was partnering with foreign crime bosses looking for a place to stash their cash. To inflate the value of his portfolio, Trump had to do nothing other than look away as the dirty money poured in from one LLC to the next. Citizens in Russia, Kazakhstan, and other former Soviet states lost hundreds of millions, but Trump got a cut as looted funds flowed through offices and apartments in buildings that carried those critical gold letters.

    Horton’s evaluation of this material in coordination with the declassified DNI report is that Trump actively worked with and for Russian interests.

    What these exposes showed, is that Trump pursued the projects hand in glove with Russian mobsters who worked closely with Putin’s Kremlin …

    But based on the information in the Financial Times report, it appears that there are actually two possible answers. Trump may have been actively involved with and working for Russian sources. He might also have simply played the role of useful idiot, displaying his readiness to feign ignorance about any deal … so long as it generated some funds to float his sinking boat. […]

  218. says

    Trump is trying to take credit for another auto industry expansion. Some media outlets, like the Associated Press, give him that credit: “Fiat Chrysler ups the ante as automakers respond to Trump.”

    Wrong, AP, dead wrong. In fact, here is a more realistic presentation of the facts from Think Progress, and from Fiat themselves:

    On Sunday, FCA US, the parent company of Fiat and Chrysler, announced that it will spend $1 billion to expand plants in Michigan and Ohio and create 2,000 more jobs in the U.S. The move, as the company made clear in its press release, is simply the next phase in an expansion plan it announced last year and comes on top of billions of previous investments that created thousands of jobs.

    “This plan was in the works back in 2015,” Jodi Tinson, a spokeswoman for FCA, told ThinkProgress. […]

    When asked directly if it was true that politics and the election had no influence on the announcement, she said, “Correct.”

    But that didn’t stop President-elect Donald Trump from tweeting about it without that context. “It’s finally happening,” he said, describing FCA’s plans as well as Ford’s recent announcement that it would invest in a Michigan plant. “Thank you Ford & Fiat C!” he tweeted. […]

    […] there was therefore unmet demand for larger vehicles than the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. It committed to expanding faster in the U.S. and to “[realigning] installed capacity to produce more pickups and Jeeps by end of 2017 to match shift in demand.” […] [snipped description of July actions taken by Fiat] .

  219. says

    Media Matters chronicled all of Trump’s lies related to mocking New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski.

    There are layers of lies. All of them are obvious. This subject is newly relevant thanks to Trump’s dismissal of Meryl Streep’s comments. (See comment 247).

    On November 25, 2015, during a speech before thousands of supporters in South Carolina, Donald Trump mocked the disability of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski.

    This is not a controversial statement, or one up for debate. It is a reflection of reality.

    Here’s the video. [see Media Matters link for the video.] The despicable attack came as Trump was attempting to rebut Kovaleski’s work debunking Trump’s false claim that he saw “thousands” of Americans cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center. You can see Trump holding his right hand at an angle while flailing about in cruel mimicry of Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, which limits the functioning of his joints.

    Following criticism of his vicious attack on Kovaleski, Trump claimed he had not been mocking the reporter’s disability. He lied. Part of his defense was that he had never met Kovaleski and didn’t know what he looked like. [snipped referrals to proof that Trump had met Kovaleski more than once.]

    This is not in question. So why is The New York Times itself helping Trump redefine reality?

    During a speech at The Golden Globes on Sunday, Meryl Streep criticized the “instinct to humiliate” on display during Trump’s attack on Kovaleski. The Times’ Patrick Healy called Trump up for his reaction, then authored an article depicting the exchange as a she said/he said: Streep had called attention to a speech in which Trump was “seeming to mock” its reporter and Trump had “flatly denied” the claim. [Times text snipped]

    The Times knows better. When Trump first attacked Kovaleski in July 2015, the paper responded, “We’re outraged that he would ridicule the physical appearance of one of our reporters.”

    This is what Trump and his allies do. When Trump says something that exposes a real vulnerability, they outright lie about what he said and why. Trump lies habitually, so unwinding the rationale behind any particular falsehood is difficult. […]

  220. Hj Hornbeck says

    Weird, I thought we’d covered this before, but apparently not.

    ExxonMobil did business with Iran, Syria and Sudan through a European subsidiary while President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of State was a top executive of the oil giant and those countries were under U.S. sanctions as state sponsors of terrorism, Securities and Exchange Commission filings show.

  221. Hj Hornbeck says

    Sure have! The delay is for two reasons:

    1. I’ve been running around trying to prep for three hours of teaching that starts in 10 minutes (nopressurenopressurenopressure…).
    2. Your task has to be the toughest I’ve faced yet! Whenever it pops back into my head, I start hyperventilating and have to reach for a paper bag.

    Don’t worry, I have extensive experience with handling these sorts of problems, albeit from some time ago. In the next day or two I’ll brush the rust off, get coding and churn out a result.

  222. says

    Coding? You don’t have to do any coding.

    And teaching? It’s so easy. You should see how soft my hands are. Like the down of angels, they are.

  223. Hj Hornbeck says

    PZM @259:
    Sorry, it’s is too big a job for anything else. And wow, does teaching moisturize your hands?! Mine are only good at reducing my sandpaper budget, thanks to this dry mountain air. My career path is set!

    Back on the thread topic, though, we have Kellyanne Conway at the apex of her craft:

    “It’s curious and a little bit humorous that Democrats would talk about anything bipartisan … given how they have vowed to obstruct everything we do,” she said, saying there already was “a great deal of information out there” about the hacking. “I do find it to be very ironic that the uptick and the hue-and-cry of ‘investigation’ and ‘information’ has occurred after the election results are in. …

    “The fact is, the Democrats became super-duper interested in this entire issue after the election did not go the way they, quote, wanted and the way they expected.”

  224. says

    Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah who is the head of the House Oversight Committee plans to continue his investigation of Hillary Clinton:

    […] The election may be over, but the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will continue its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use at the State Department, Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz told reporters Monday.

    “This was never a political targeting from the beginning. Just because there’s a political election doesn’t mean it goes away. So of course I’m going to continue to pursue that,” Chaffetz said.

    BuzzFeed link

    As Steve Benen put it:

    […] This continues to be a bad idea. Clinton, a private citizen who hasn’t held public office in nearly five years, didn’t actually commit any crimes and the State Department has already changed its practices. Clumsy I.T. practices from several years ago may have inexplicably become one of the nation’s most important issues in the presidential campaign, and the political world’s preoccupation with this may have helped put an unqualified television personality in the Oval Office, but it’s difficult to make a substantive case to keep the issue alive in 2017.

    Besides, shouldn’t the House Oversight Committee be preparing to conduct oversight of the administration that’s actually in office? […]

    Democrats asked the Oversight Committee to investigate Trump’s conflicts of interest. Chaffetz refused.

  225. says

    Jeff Sessions is sitting through a confirmation hearing today. (Trump wants Sessions to be Attorney General.) So far, Republicans have thrown him softballs during the hearing. In particular, Sessions has been crafty when it comes to explaining how all the Republican-sponsored bills he voted for were better than the Democratic-sponsored bills he voted against, especially those dealing with voting rights or LGBT protections.

    It’s enough to drive one mad.

    As expected, the icing was applied to this rotten cake when Sessions and his fellow Republicans turned his hearing into an attack on Hillary Clinton.

    Asked about statements made during the presidential campaign, Jefferson Beauregard Weaselton Ratface Sessions III admitted that he might have said a few things that could, just maybe be taken the wrong way, and thought that, maybe, he ought to recuse himself when they drag Hillary Clinton in for her political show trial.

    Which then served as an excuse for a five-minute discourse on how no one was above the law and Clinton was awful, and surely the chains will come out and puddles are developing under Republican senators from all the salivating.

    Sessions’ previous statements included the idea that FBI Director James Comey didn’t do enough, and that the whole Clinton email thing needed another do over, because there was a “cloud” over Comey’s investigation.

    So prepare for the all-new, fact-free investigation. Because if there’s anything the FBI and Congress haven’t spent enough time discussing, it’s Hillary Clinton’s email.

    Link

    See comment 261 for more on the continuing persecution of Hillary Clinton.

  226. says

    Just one example of Jeff Sessions spinning like a top as he attempts to lie his way through his confirmation hearing:

    In 1985, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), then a U.S. Attorney in Alabama, led the prosecution of three African American civil rights activists, accusing them of committing voter fraud by forging absentee ballots they collected through a registration drive. The case has since become a notorious example of Republican-led efforts to suppress votes in the name of “voter fraud.”

    But during the first day of his confirmation hearing Tuesday, Sessions described the litigation as a “voting rights case.”

    “The voter fraud case my office prosecuted was in response to pleas from African-American, incumbent elected officials who claimed the absentee ballot process involved a situation in which ballots cast for them were stolen, altered and cast for their opponents,” Sessions said. “The prosecution sought to protect the integrity of the ballot, not the black voting. It was a voting rights case.” […]

    The three civil rights activists that Sessions prosecuted were acquitted by a jury, but not before the Alabama prosecutor caused them and their families significant distress. Evelyn Turner, one of the people prosecuted, told the New York Times recently that because of Sessions, she faced decades in prison.

    “It was hell,” she said. “We had always helped people with voting, for ages, and they trusted us. Why would you mess with someone’s ballot, if you knew it wasn’t what they wanted? We weren’t fools.”

    It wasn’t the last time Sessions would attempt to suppress black voters. As Alabama attorney general, he opposed two lawsuits that both attempted to use the VRA to improve the racial makeup of judges in Alabama. Alabama is almost one-third black, but only three African American judges have ever sat on a federal bench in the state. […]

    Think Progress link

  227. Hj Hornbeck says

    And in case you were short of nightmare fuel.

    An internet troll, who was once called “the most hated man on the internet” and is banned from Twitter, is recommending candidates to serve in the Trump administration.

    Charles “Chuck” Johnson, a controversial blogger and conservative online personality, has been pushing for various political appointees to serve under Donald Trump, according to multiple sources close to the President-elect’s transition team. While Johnson does not have a formal position, FORBES has learned that he is working behind the scenes with members of the transition team’s executive committee, including billionaire Trump donor Peter Thiel, to recommend, vet and give something of a seal of approval to potential nominees from the so-called “alt-right.”

  228. KG says

    Hj Hornbeck@246,

    I would not place too much reliance on John Schindler, whose tweets you link to. He is, basically, a right-wing shill for the surveillance state. He also, oddly, writes for an outlet published by Jared Kushner. For a flavour of his views, see for example here, here, and here.

  229. Hj Hornbeck says

    Nice to have more confirmation of this:

    James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said Tuesday that Russian hackers successfully hacked some Republican groups and campaigns, though officials said the Russians chose to disclose much less of that material compared to the volume of disclosures made about Democrats’ emails.

    I didn’t realize Comey would be on the hot seat today, but here he is.

    FBI Director James Comey declined Tuesday to say whether there was contact between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the presidential race, or whether the FBI was investigating the issue.

    Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said he could not comment publicly on the possibility of open investigations — a comment that raised some eyebrows among Democrats and led to a biting response from Sen. Angus King (I-Maine): “The irony of your making that statement here, I cannot avoid, but I’ll move on.” […]

    Comey was pressed on the issue by Sen. Ron Wyden who pointed to past statements by a senior Russian diplomat that there were contacts between Moscow and the Trump campaign. The Oregon Democrat urged Comey to provide an unclassified response on the issue before Inauguration Day.

    “I think the American people have a right to know this,” Wyden said. “And if there is a delay in declassifying this information and releasing it to the American people, and it doesn’t happen before January 20th, I’m not sure it’s going to happen.”

    Comey indicated he likely would not be able to say anything publicly before then.

  230. says

    An excerpt from Al Franken’s questioning of Jeff Sessions:

    Sessions: I don’t know, Mr. Rich. Perhaps he handled a case that I never worked with. He goes on to say —
    Franken: One of the cases —
    Sessions: No, you raised this question.
    Franken: One of the cases that you listed was a case that Mr. Rich handled. If you don’t know him, it’s hard for me to believe that you personally handled it.

    Sessions was trying to prove that he supported or handled civil rights cases that he did not support nor handle.
    Link

  231. says

    Donald Trump claimed that his inaugural was such a hot ticket that D.C. shops were sold out of inaugural gowns. “All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It’s hard to find a great dress for this inauguration.”

    Uh, no. Trump lies about everything. He couldn’t stop himself from lying about dress shops in Washington D.C.? He should have known that this was an easily checkable claim.

    “We have not gotten a huge influx of traffic specifically related to shopping for inaugural dresses,” Anastasia Thomas, an employee at Betsy Fisher, a D.C. women’s wear shop, said.

    In fact, Peter Marx, owner of Saks Jandel, a D.C. area boutique, told PEOPLE that there have been fewer people seeking inaugural gowns.

    “There’s never been less demand for inaugural ballgowns in my 38 years,” Marx told PEOPLE.

    People Magazine link

    Trump has also taken to Twitter to plead, rather desperately I think, for his followers to attend the inauguration.

    Trump claims that the number of attendees will set an all time record. An estimated 1.8 million people attended President Obama’s inauguration in 2008. That was a record.

  232. says

    Regarding the pleas of the Trump team for musicians to perform at the inauguration:

    Hahahahaha, I was just asked by a booking agent if I would consider djing at one of the inaugural balls for #trump… Hahahahaha, wait, Hahahaha, really? I guess I’d DJ at an inaugural ball if as payment #trump released his tax returns. Also I would probably play public enemy and stockhausen remixes to entertain the republicans. I’m still laughing. Hahahaha. So #trump what do you think, I DJ for you and you release your tax returns? [from Moby]

    From Charlotte Church:

    @realDonaldTrump Your staff have asked me to sing at your inauguration, a simple Internet search would show I think you’re a tyrant. Bye????

  233. says

    Would you brag about this? Alex Jones did.

    Radio host Alex Jones recently appeared on a Russian television program where he was feted by pro-Kremlin commentators as a “hero” who exposed “the war crimes of Hillary Clinton” and “told the truth while everyone else lied” during the 2016 presidential campaign. The station’s editorial director, who has been nicknamed “Putin’s Rasputin,” also described Donald Trump’s electoral win to Jones as “when you and him and all of us won.”

    Jones, a prominent conspiracy theorist and one of President-elect Donald Trump’s key media allies, appeared on a late December broadcast of Tsargrad TV’s Our Point of View. In a segment on his show about the appearance, Jones bragged about the alleged influence of the Tsargrad TV program, claiming it was “Vladimir Putin’s favorite TV show” and “it’s private media — a couple of these guys are Putin advisers, I mean, top Putin advisers.”

    Foreign Policy wrote in October 2015 that the recently launched Tsargrad TV aims “to put a conservative yet modern spin on global news.” Founder Konstantin Malofeev is a Russian tycoon who is “one of Putin’s loudest ideological supporters.” The magazine reported that “while some oligarchs who tried to get involved in TV in the early 2000s were exiled or jailed under Putin’s new regime, Malofeev is so far enjoying carte blanche with his channel, which he boasts is even more patriotic than the Kremlin’s own state-run TV stations.” […]

    Link

  234. says

    Robert Kennedy Jr. is infamous for claiming that some vaccines may cause autism. Trump just picked Kennedy to “chair a commission on vaccination safety and scientific integrity.”

    What could possibly go wrong?

    What Trump said in March 2014:

    Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases!

    Link

  235. says

    Senators Orrin Hatch and Attorney-General-designate Jess Sessions are coming after your porn:

    […] Sessions said he’d consider re-establishing the Obscenity Task Force in the Justice Department, originally established in 2005 during the Bush administration, for the purpose of going after all the dirty dirty. He confirmed that he would enforce obscenity laws, and also said he didn’t realize the porn-loving Democrats had gotten rid of the task force in the first place. […]

    Wonkette link

    Hatch is from Utah, the porn-suscribing capital of the USA, going by percentage of population that pays to access porn online. Hatch is also mormon. An interest in reducing access to porn has been voiced by mormon leaders for years now. Recently, mormon leaders renewed their anti-porn attacks.

  236. says

    Sessions said he’d consider re-establishing the Obscenity Task Force in the Justice Department, originally established in 2005 during the Bush administration, for the purpose of going after all the dirty dirty.

    Surprisingly this wasn’t brought up.

  237. says

    Robert Kennedy Jr. is infamous for claiming that some vaccines may cause autism. Trump just picked Kennedy to “chair a commission on vaccination safety and scientific integrity.”

    They had some pinhead on MSNBC saying that it needed to be clarified that Kennedy wasn’t against the idea of vaccines but the mercury blah blah blah and this was a “family-friendly” policy from Trump. It’s like a nightmare. Is he going to dismiss the whole CDC next? He’s also telling the Republicans they should repeal the ACA within weeks. He’s going for maximum devastation.

  238. Hj Hornbeck says

    I’ve heard rumours of this via Twitter, whispered by journalists, but this is the first time I’ve seen a mainstream outlet report on it.

    Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

    The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump. […]

    The two-page synopsis also included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, according to two national security officials.

    I wonder how long it’ll be before someone in the intelligence community starts leaking documents…

  239. Hj Hornbeck says

    Adding on to the above, I wonder if this was Kurt Eichenwald’s source?

    CNN has reviewed a 35-page compilation of the memos, from which the two-page synopsis was drawn. The memos originated as opposition research, first commissioned by anti-Trump Republicans, and later by Democrats. At this point, CNN is not reporting on details of the memos, as it has not independently corroborated the specific allegations. But, in preparing this story, CNN has spoken to multiple high ranking intelligence, administration, congressional and law enforcement officials, as well as foreign officials and others in the private sector with direct knowledge of the memos.

    Some of the memos were circulating as far back as last summer. What has changed since then is that US intelligence agencies have now checked out the former British intelligence operative and his vast network throughout Europe and find him and his sources to be credible enough to include some of the information in the presentations to the President and President-elect a few days ago.

  240. says

    “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him”:

    Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

    The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

    The two-page synopsis also included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, according to two national security officials.

    Sources tell CNN that these same allegations about communications between the Trump campaign and the Russians, mentioned in classified briefings for congressional leaders last year, prompted then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to send a letter to FBI Director Comey in October, in which he wrote, “It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States.”…

  241. Hj Hornbeck says

    BULLET POINT THREE, people. I was going to type it out in full, but I’m not sure it’s safe for life. Trigger warnings for sex and perversion.

  242. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, credit where credit is due.

    The dossier, which is a collection of memos written over a period of months, includes specific, unverified and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians. CNN reported Tuesday that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President Barack Obama and Trump.

    Now BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.

  243. Hj Hornbeck says

    True, that’s far more worrying. Unfortunately, people are attracted to stories and love a good scandal, so it’s more likely those will stick in everyone’s mind. I’ll settle for seeing the #peeotus hashtag trend on Twitter, and Al Capone being convicted on tax evasion.

  244. Hj Hornbeck says

    Naturally, there’s a Trump tweet for that.

    ‏@realDonaldTrump (Donald J. Trump)

    Remember the golden rule of negotiating: He who has the gold makes the rules.

    Retweets: 2,551; Likes: 1,580
    9:12 AM – 21 Mar 2013

    … This has not been a productive day for me.

  245. Hj Hornbeck says

    Alas, #GoldenShowers seems to be winning at the moment.

    ‏@HannahCranston (Hannah Cranston)

    My confidence in our country and future is officially piss poor… #GoldenShowers
    Retweets: 50; Likes: 149
    4:12 PM – 10 Jan 2017

    But it’s important to keep some perspective.

    @kurteichenwald (Kurt Eichenwald)

    Whats weird — reporters went nowhere on Russia pre-election. Now they are going further than my foreign intel sources say is true.
    Retweets: 132; Likes: 351
    4:19 PM – 10 Jan 2017

    … wait, isn’t Trump due to give a press conference today? Whoops, Forbes says its tomorrow.

    Two months after his election night victory, President elect Donald Trump will hold his first press conference tomorrow 11 a.m. Eastern time from his New York City White House also known as Trump Tower. Its been almost 6 months since he last answered reporters questions in a formal setting although he does answer questions/makes comments on the fly now and then. Of course, that does not take into account his very active presence on Twitter.

    This should be interesting.

  246. says

    In his farewell address President Obama went high while all the new from the Trump camp went low.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/president-obama-the-legacy/president-obama-cap-long-goodbye-farewell-speech-n705381

    Excerpt:

    For all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.

    Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.

    If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose.

  247. says

    Another excerpt from Obama’s speech:

    There have been moments throughout our history that threatened that solidarity. In the beginning of this century, it’s been one of those times. A shrinking world, growing inequality, demographic change and the specter of terrorism. These forces haven’t just tested our security and our prosperity, but are testing our democracy as well.

    How we meet these challenges to our democracy will determine our ability to educate our kids and create good jobs and protect our homeland. In other words, it will determine our future. […]

    If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle-class and an undeserving minority then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves. […]

    Democracy can buckle when it gives in to fear. So just as we as citizens must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are. […] That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans who are just as patriotic as we are.

    Our constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift, but it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We the people give it power. We the people give it meaning with our participation and with the choices that we make.

    […] change only happens when ordinary people get involved and they get engaged and they come together to demand it. […]

  248. says

    Let’s look at one example of how Trump went low today. This is his reaction to the documents alleging that Russian operatives have “compromising” information on him, and that Trump surrogates were in touch with Russian operatives throughout the campaign, etc.:

    FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!

  249. says

    This is true, though I believe the probability that the Kremlin has something on him either financial or personally compromising is rather high, and really the only explanation for his statements and actions, and that his campaign was very likely in contact with the Russian regime.

  250. says

    Thanks, SC, for linking to that reasonable assessment (comment 299).

    Trump seems to be fairly sure that everyone will believe the gossip. He is expressing lots of rage about it, and he has lots of people to blame:

    Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is ‘A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.’ Very unfair!

    “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!

    Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?

    In tweet number 1, Trump misquoted the Kremlin. Still, close enough I suppose.

    In tweet two, Trump lied. He does have deals and loans connected to Russia. Washington Post link to “Here’s what we know about Donald Trump and his ties to Russia.”

    As for tweet three, does Trump think that Nazi intelligence officers leaked information in order to harm the head of state? What is going on in his head?

    Release your taxes, doofus. We don’t believe you.

  251. says

    “Soft sensuality,” … you’ve got to be kidding me.

    Trump’s top inauguration planner is promising “soft sensuality” instead of a “circus-like celebration.”

    Maybe he has been getting advice from Russians?

    What we’ve done instead of trying to surround him with what people consider A-listers is we are going to surround him with the soft sensuality of the place.

    It’s a much more poetic cadence than having a circus-like celebration that’s a coronation. That’s the way this president-elect wanted it. I think it will be contributive. It will be beautiful. The cadence of it is going to be, “Let me get back to work.”

    That’s Tom Barrack speaking. He is the head of Trump’s inaugural committee.

  252. says

    Following up on comment 302, here’s one more quote from Tom Barrack:

    We’re fortunate in that we have the greatest celebrity in the world, which is the president-elect.

  253. says

    CNN published the news about the allegations that Russian government officials had compromising information that could be used to blackmail Trump. One of Trump’s revenge tactics showed up today when Trump attacked CNN and refused to let a CNN reporter ask a question during a press conference.

    “Could you give us a chance, you’re attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?” CNN’s Jim Acosta asked him.

    “Don’t be rude. I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump responded. “You are fake news.”

    CNN’s response:

    CNN’s decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than Buzzfeed’s decision to publish unsubstantiated memos. The Trump team knows this.

    They are using Buzzfeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations. We are fully confident in our reporting. It represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, informing the people of the inner workings of their government; in this case briefing materials prepared for president Obama and president-elect trump last week.

    We made it clear that we were not publishing any of the details of the 35-page document because we have not corroborated the report’s allegations. Given that members of the trump transition team have so vocally criticized our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate.

  254. says

    At the press conference today, Trump finally agreed that it was Russia behind the hacks. However, he immediately followed up with some word salad that obscured the statement:

    “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” he said in a press conference.

    “But we also get hacked by other countries and other people and I can say that, you know, when we lost 22 million names and everything else that was hacked recently, they didn’t make a big deal out of that,” Trump added, referring to a hack by the Chinese government of millions of files in the Office of Personnel Management.

    He said it would be “very important” to develop a “hacking defense.”

    Asked about taking punitive actions against Russia for interfering in the U.S. election, Trump said “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability. Because we have a horrible relationship with Russia.”

  255. Hj Hornbeck says

    This Twitter thread summarizes the press conference. Some highlights:

    Asked if he saw two-page synopsis during the briefing, Trump claims he’s not allowed to talk about it because the meeting was classified.

    Trump cites PUTIN as saying the 35 pages were false.

    “Look at what was learned from the hacking” Trump justifying breach of US sovereignty because it served him politically.

    “The conflicts of interests laws simply do not apply to the President or the Vice President.” – Trump’s attorney

    SCOTUS: “I’ll be making the decision on who will be put up for Justice…within about two weeks.”

    Trump doubles down on “it’s something Nazi Germany would do and did do” re intelligence community supposedly “leaking” 35 pages to Buzzfeed.

    CNN @Acosta asking for a question “since you’re attacking our organization” and is being talked down by Trump who says “you are fake news”.

    Trump ONCE AGAIN attacking the IC for alleged “leaking” of the reports.

    TRUMP DID NOT ANSWER QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER ANYONE FROM HIS CAMPAIGN WAS IN COMMUNICATION WITH RUSSIA. Avoided it altogether.

    Trump ends “press conference” and walks away from the podium.

  256. says

    About that border wall, Trump is Trump:

    Donald Trump said at a news conference Wednesday [today] that he would not wait until he received assurances of reimbursement from Mexico before he began building his much-ballyhooed border wall.

    “I could wait about a year and a half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which will start immediately after we get to office, but I don’t want to wait,” Trump said.

    “Mike Pence is leading an effort to get final approvals through various agencies and through Congress for the wall to begin,” he continued. “I don’t feel like waiting a year or year and a half. We’re going to start building. Mexico in some form, and there are many different forms, will reimburse us and they will reimburse us for the cost of the wall.”

    “Whether it’s a tax or whether it’s a payment, probably less likely that it’s a payment, but it will happen,” he said, recalling that huge crowds at his campaign rallies had demanded that Mexico pay for the wall.

    Talking Points Memo link

    If you watched the press conference, you know that Trump spent an inordinate amount of time recalling, in detail, the chants of “build the wall” and “Mexico” at his rallies. Those moments were obviously high points for him. And somehow, in his mind, those chants from his “huge” crowds are sufficient reason to build a wall and to start construction now.

  257. Hj Hornbeck says

    Looks like the GOP blinked; four Trump nominees have had their confirmations delayed.

    Just as the first of the president-elect’s Cabinet nominees sat for his first day of testimony on Tuesday, several Senate committees announced that the confirmation hearings of Trump nominees who have failed to return completed critical questionaries and disclosures would be pushed back — some after the inauguration.

  258. tomh says

    @ #306

    “The conflicts of interests laws simply do not apply to the President or the Vice President.” – Trump’s attorney

    There is no dispute over this, it’s simply true.

  259. Hj Hornbeck says

    Kurt Eichenwald has an update.

    Prior to the November presidential vote, Newsweek published an article revealing the scope, intent, mechanisms and global impact of Russia’s interference with the American election, based largely on information from European intelligence services. Given the recent release of declassified government documents confirming large portions of the original article, we are combining new reporting with extensive information from the first Newsweek piece that has yet to be declassified and has been described by individuals from and connected to several foreign intelligence services who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Here’s an embarrassing part.

    Large portions of the documents, which were assembled by political operatives attempting to thwart Trump’s march to the White House, could not be confirmed by Newsweek or other outlets. However, a Western European official who currently works for an intelligence agency said that the Kremlin had assembled a dossier of information about Trump during his visits to Moscow years ago, which included video and audio recordings. Newsweek could not determine if there was anything compromising in those records.

    While there was widespread agreement among Western European and American intelligence agencies about the Russian effort—it was the British who first alerted the United States to its scope—there remain subtle disagreements regarding its intent.

    Looks like the USIC were collectively asleep at the wheel.

  260. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, bear in mind that some of this information is coming from more than one source.

    2. The ex-British intelligence officer, who compielled this whilst working on research for the opposition, is NOT the only source for this.

    3. BBC heard from “member” of US intelligence that the head of East European intelligence service told him Russia had “kompromat” on Trump.

    4. The BBC has heard from US intelligence – “there is more than one tape, in more than one place, with video and audio as well.”

  261. Hj Hornbeck says

    Dear lord.

    @PeterAlexander (Peter Alexander)

    NEW: The law firm representing Trump during today’s news conference won Russia Law Firm of the Year award in 2016. RETWEETS: 3,544; LIKES: 2,561
    10:03 AM – 11 Jan 2017

    By this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump uses Russian toothpaste.

  262. KG says

    Right – Nazi intelligence was well known for leaking potentially compromising material about Hitler. – SC@310

    Well, someone leaked the information that he’d “on-ly got, one, ball!

  263. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Hitler, he had just one big ball;
    Goering had two, but very small;
    Himmler’s were rather sim’lar;
    And Goebbels had no balls at all.

    Sung to the Colonel Bogey March–and it was this version the prisoners were supposed to be singing while entering the POW camp in Bridge Over the River Kwai. This was changed to whistling when the censors balked.

  264. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Hj Hornbeck: “By this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump uses Russian toothpaste.”

    If he uses Russian toilet paper–that’s dedication.

  265. says

    Trump and his team weaseled their way around Trump’s supposed admission that Russia did the hacking:

    Reince Priebus said earlier that Trump is “not denying that entities in Russia were behind this particular campaign.”

    This morning, Trump said, “I think it’s Russia.”

    Later this morning, Trump said, “You know what, it could have been others also.”

    Later still, Trump indulged in excusing the hacking: “We talk about the hacking and hacking’s bad and it shouldn’t be done. But look at the things that were hacked, look at what was learned from that hacking.”

    Later still, Trump blamed the victim: “The Democratic National Committee was totally open to be hacked. They did a very poor job.”

  266. says

    The lawyer from the law firm that received the “Russia Law Firm of the Year Award” made up a lot of stuff when presenting Trump’s supposed solution to conflict of interest problems today.

    Here is a partial summary of what was said, and what it really means:

    Trump’s team formally announced at the press conference that he is relinquishing his management of the Trump Organization to his sons and that an ethics adviser will be appointed to its management team to review all new transactions.

    But he also will not divest or create a completely blind trust – the solutions overwhelmingly endorsed by ethics experts to eliminate the risk that the president’s assets could become ripe for corruption and influence-peddling.

    NBC News link

    As for the lawyer’s claim that Don Jr. and Eric won’t discuss Trump Organization business with their father, that is, basically, “Trust us.” Bull.

    From Steve Benen:

    […] NBC talked to an ethics expert who described the arrangement as untenable.

    “This does not address the emoluments clause concerns, this does not address the conflict concerns,” Kathleen Clark, an ethics specialist at University of Washington law school, said. “This is using the language of ethics without addressing the actual ethics concerns.”

    MSNBC’s Ari Melber, an attorney who tweeted throughout this morning’s press conference, added, “Trump’s plan reads more like a management structure to keep Trump in charge of his company, not a conflicts structure for independence.”

    […] In the final moments of the press conference, Trump said his sons will run his business operation, “I hope at the end of eight years, I’ll come back and say, oh, you did a good job. Otherwise, if they do a bad job, I’ll say, ‘You’re fired.’”

    In other words, it sounds like he’ll have quite a bit of interest in how his family runs his business – which is pretty much the opposite of an independent operation.

    We still need a better way to insulate the President-elect from conflicts of interest, and we need to know not only what Trump claims as assets, but what he owes, and to whom he owes money.

    Trump literally confirmed to us that he has been discussing business deals during the transition process:

    “I turned down seven deals with one big player – great player – last week because I thought it could be perceived as a conflict of interest.” […] For emphasis, Trump added a moment later that the deals he recently turned down were worth “probably a billion dollars.”

  267. says

    More experts weigh in on Trump’s big show of avoiding conflicts of interest while not actually avoiding conflicts of interest:

    […] Norm Eisen, Chief Ethics Counsel for Barack Obama and Richard Painter, Chief Ethics Counsel for George W. Bush released a joint statement:

    Tragically, the Trump plan to deal with his business conflicts announced today falls short in every respect. Mr. Trump did not make a clean break with his business ownership interests as his predecessors for four decades have done; did not establish a blind trust or the equivalent as bipartisan experts and OGE called for; entrusted trust responsibility in his family and a current employee, rather than in an independent trustee; did not screen all “emoluments …of any kind whatever,” as required by the constitution, but only some revenues, and only from his hotels; and offered an inadequate and scantily-detailed ethics wall. Mr. Trump’s ill-advised course will precipitate scandal and corruption.

    Larry Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, told ThinkProgress that the announcement is “a totally fraudulent runaround.” Tribe added that the structure was “cleverly designed to dazzle and deceive, but it solves none of the serious ethical or legal issues. And his lawyer would flunk constitutional law at any halfway decent law school.”

    Here are the most important aspects of Trump’s plan, which Dillon announced at today’s press conference.

    […] Trump announced plans to step away from “leadership and management” of his businesses, but he says he will retain full ownership.

    […] His lawyer described this as a “trust” but didn’t provide basic details like identifying the trustees and the beneficiaries.

    […] It is Trump’s ownership interest, however, that creates the conflict. Trump will still be able to personally profit from decisions he makes as president and, as his lawyer acknowledged, he knows what his assets are and how he could financially benefit from official acts.

    […]He will receive regular statements on the profits and losses of the entire company, Dillon said.

    […] Trump’s trust is neither blind nor independent. His two sons, who also serve on his transition team and speak regularly with their father, will run it.

    “What I’m going to be doing is my two sons, who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They are not going to discuss it with me,” Trump said. [blatant bullshit]

    […] Trump Organization will pursue “new deals,” despite Trump’s promises […] the Trump Organization would continue to pursue new deals domestically.

    “New domestic deals will be allowed, but they will go through a vigorous vetting process,” said Dillon.

    […] Trump’s representative said the Trump Organization would not pursue new foreign deals, but has not released any information about what foreign deals are ongoing or announce any plans to unwind existing foreign engagements.

    […] Activities of the Trump Organization will be approved by an ethics adviser that Trump employs, not an independent third party.

    The activities of the Trump Organization, including new domestic deals, will be “approved” by an unnamed “ethics adviser” who is employed by the Trump Organization. […]

    Trump will also employ a Chief Compliance Council. These new positions seem to be geared toward rubber-stamping the activities of the Trump Organization, rather than truly providing independent oversight.

    […] Trump plans to continue to accept payments from foreign governments but will donate “profits” from foreign governments to the federal treasury. “This way, it is the American people who will profit,” Dillon said.

    This means Trump will simply be keeping most payments. Only a small percentage of the revenue, if any, will be “profit.” Trump also famously deducts previous loses against current profits, making any contribution to the treasury unlikely. […]

    Think Progress link

    Apologies for the exceptionally long post, but this issue is complex and the details should be reviewed.

  268. says

    This is a followup to comments 304 and 306.

    There’s more to the story that Trump is punishing CNN’s Jim Acosta for publishing the story about Russian influence over Trump:

    JIM ACOSTA: Well, Wolf, at the beginning of that news conference Donald Trump indicated that he was not going to call on me or call on CNN. He sort of pointed at me at one point and then waved his hand as if, “you’re not going to get a question.”

    And then as the news conference went on, as you heard, he was attacking this news organization repeatedly, and I felt it was only fair that if our news organization is going to be attacked, that we get a chance to ask a follow up question about what Donald Trump was talking about.

    […] my colleague, Cecilia Vega over at ABC, did ask a question that I was going to ask, which is, “Did Donald Trump have any contacts who were in contact with the Russians in the context of this campaign?”

    She actually did not get an answer on that question, I don’t know if you noticed that at the podium. But as he was going to the elevators, we were all asking him again to answer that question and he said no, that nobody associated with him or his campaign was in contact with any of the Russians during the context of that campaign. […]

    I should also tell you that at one point during this news conference — just in the interest of full disclosure and so everbody knows what’s going on and what was happening in the room — after I asked, and I guess you might say demanded that we have a question, Sean Spicer, the incoming press secretary, did say to me that if I were to do that again, I was going to be thrown out of this press conference. […]

    Media Matters link.

    So Sean Spicer is going to threaten to throw journalists he doesn’t like out of press conferences?

  269. says

    Trump is not a bright man, but he’s a good manipulator. In the spring, he was weakening the Republican Party by singling out certain politicians and isolating them while praising others. That’s what he’s now doing with the media: trying to single out and isolate BuzzFeed and CNN while contrasting them to WaPo, etc. Too many journalists are going along (even saying stupid things like “If Trump’s team shows one claim in the dossier to be false it discredits the whole thing, all future allegations along these lines, and the media that report them”). Don’t do it. Stand together and stand strong.

  270. says

    I wonder if Trump’s Nazi comments might have something to do with information that could conceivably come out about comments or…actions of his that relate to Nazis. It’s wild speculation, sure…

  271. says

    By the way, you just know Trump’s insistence on his lack of debt means he has a fuckton of debt. Same with his sad bragging about how people have now discovered how vast his empire is.

  272. says

    Setting aside Cooper’s opinions about BuzzFeed… Kellyanne Conway is terrifying not just for her lack of ethics and despicable political actions but for her assault on logic. She’s the embodiment of every logical fallacy. I’m imagining people trying to teach students how to develop and defend reasoned arguments and having to contend with how effective she is politically.

    Yesterday, Justin Trudeau named Chrystia Freeland, from a Ukrainian family and a critic of Putin, as Canadian Foreign Minister.

  273. says

    Regarding the statement from Clapper (link in SC’s comment 335): to a lesser degree, Trump is also manipulating Clapper.

    Trump compared the intelligence officers to Nazis, and he all but blamed them for leaking the gossip part of the dossier. And this is not the only day on which Trump has gone after the intelligence community as if he were at war with them. I understand Clapper’s need to correct Trump as far as the leak goes (no, it was not the intelligence community who leaked the dossier to media outlets), but why does he have to repeat that Trump again expressed his appreciation for the all of the people working in the intelligence agencies?

    Clapper apparently had a fairly nice, cordial conversation with Trump. That’s what Trump does. He disparages people and organizations in a public way, and he does so repeatedly. Then he says a few nice things to the same people or organizations and they roll over for Trump to scratch their bellies.

    Trump is getting away with a lot.

    Trump’s disparagement of the media has already taken a huge toll. The kingpin behind one of the biggest fake news stories of all time, Birtherism, that guy is now the arbiter of what is fake news and what is real. Trump is already a dictator.

    Kellyanne Conway probably had Trumpian tendencies already, but now she comes off as someone who drinks the kool-aid daily. She is helping Trump to destroy the free press. And she is teaching people like Jeff Sessions to be post-truth, post-factual doofuses who make shit up while smiling a lot.

    This whole Trump show is totally out of control.

  274. KG says

    The ex-MI6 officer who prepared the “Tricklegate” memos has been named. Christopher Steele is now in hiding, reportedly fearing for his life. His source was an FSB contact, and he put them together at the request of an anti-Trump Republican PAC during the primaires. Of course this doesn’t tell us whether the information in the memos is true, but it does seem certain 4chan had nothing to do with them.

  275. KG says

    Something I haven’t seen commented on, although I’m sure it must have been somewhere. It seems very likely that intelligence agencies that normally collaborate with their US counterparts will be very reluctant to pass on information in the way they normally do, with the prospect of Trump and his pro-Russian associates getting to learn of it. While US agencies of course have enormous capabilities of their own, their access to information for semi-subordinate foreign agencies must add considerably to their reach.

  276. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    I feel like we have entered a political thriller authored by Kafka. Surreality is the flavour of the day.

    From RawStory :

    en Donald Trump berated and attacked CNN’s Jim Acosta at his first press conference in 168 days, several attendees clapped and cheered in support of his tirade on “fake news.”

    As it turns out, several of those attendees were actually paid staffers, who joined the news conference to provide moral support to the president-elect, Politico reports.

    So the guy who claims that CNN is fake news is putting paid staffers in a news conference audience to cheer him on? I would ask what colour the sky is in Trump’s world, but I suspect the answer would be, “Plaid.” His combination of vindictive childish attacks and non-stop lying are frightening (and I would put this (the paid audience) under both).

    I know this is minor. This is piddly shit. But my experience has always been that if someone lies about minor, inconsequential, piddly shit things, they will lie about everything.

  277. says

    Something I haven’t seen commented on, although I’m sure it must have been somewhere. It seems very likely that intelligence agencies that normally collaborate with their US counterparts will be very reluctant to pass on information in the way they normally do, with the prospect of Trump and his pro-Russian associates getting to learn of it.

    Minutes after reading your comment, I came across this. I remember linking to Eichenwald’s major piece about Russian interference in the fall. It briefly discussed how Western European intelligence services had started to approach Trump very differently from how they’ve traditionally approached potential US leaders. How reasonable and prudent that is becomes more evident by the hour.

  278. tomh says

    @ # 342

    Except that there is no Constitutional crisis. Aside from the fact that depending on an obscure Constitutional clause, one which has never been litigated so never actually defined, and whose only remedy is impeachment, is the very definition of grasping at straws, conflicts-of-interest are in the eye of the beholder. And the eyes of this right wing Congress are completely glazed over.

  279. says

    “Intelligence sources vouch for credibility of Russia dossier author”:

    …In the rush to trample all over the dossier and its contents, one key question remained. Why had America’s intelligence agencies felt it necessary to provide a compendium of the claims to Barack Obama and Trump himself?

    And the answer to that lies in the credibility of its apparent author, the ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele, the quality of the sources he has and the quality of the people prepared to vouch for him.

    In these respects, the 53-year-old was in credit. Former colleagues of Steele describe him as “very credible” – a sober, cautious and meticulous professional with a formidable record.

    One former Foreign Office official who has known Steele for 25 years and considers him a friend said: “The idea his work is fake or a cowboy operation is false, completely untrue. Chris is an experienced and highly regarded professional. He’s not the sort of person who will simply pass on gossip.”

    The official added: “If he puts something in a report, he believes there’s sufficient credibility in it for it to be worth considering. Chris is a very straight guy. He could not have survived in the job he was in if he had been prone to flights of fancy or doing things in an ill-considered way.”

    That is the way the CIA and the FBI, not to mention the British government, regarded him, too. It’s not hard to see why….

  280. says

    SC @341, Trump hears what he wants to hear, and/or he spins whatever he hears until it matches his preconceived notions. Clapper would be wise to adopt a procedure that Trump’s lawyers use: always have at least two people from your office attend any conversation or meeting with Trump. That way, when Trump lies about (or forgets) what was said, you have backup.

    Trump’s lawyers had to meet with him in pairs because he lies so much

    Meanwhile, Trump is touting the L.L. Bean company. He wants you to go spend some money there because Linda Bean donated a ton of money to a political action committee that supports Trump. In fact, she donated more than Federal Election Commission rules allow, but don’t let that little bit of illegality deter you from buying stuff from L.L. Bean.

    There’s backlash to Trump cheerleading for L.L. Bean, so much backlash that L.L. Bean issued a statement:

    Like most large families, the more than 50 family member-owners of the business hold views and embrace causes across the political spectrum.

    With this in mind, we are deeply troubled by the portrayal of L.L.Bean as a supporter of any political agenda. L.L.Bean does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters, or make political contributions. Simply put, we stay out of politics.

    Trump tweeted his love:

    Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean. @LBPerfectMaine

    BTW, “LBPerfectMaine” is an “outdoor walk-up window at the L.L. Bean flagship store sells lobster rolls & chowder.” That is Linda Bean’s separate company. She owns it.

    Linda Bean donated $60,000 to Making America Great Again. The legal limit for individual contributions is $5,000. Making America Great Again is planning to become a super PAC (instead of an LLC) so that it can accept unlimited funds.

    If every donation to help Trump resulted in backlash and boycotts, that would be a good thing.

  281. says

    What are interns for anyway? Legislators in the South Dakota state Senate seem to think the power discrepancies between interns and Senators are no reason to stop having sex.

    A legislative panel in the South Dakota state Senate struck down a proposed rule change that would have explicitly banned state senators from engaging in sexual acts with interns […]

    The primary sponsor for the rule, Sen. Stace Nelson (R), told the paper that the change was necessary because state lawmakers have previously engaged in sexual harassment and sexual contact with interns and high school pages. […]

    There are existing rules against sexual harassment, but that is not enough. There have been trials and accusations in the past. “The facts are, this body went through a very public and ugly trial about a decade ago. There’s been events in history that indicate these rules should have been put in stone and they haven’t.”

    The state legislature’s Rule 1A-4 states “sexual harassment prohibited. All members are responsible for ensuring that the workplace is free from sexual harassment. […]

    Talking Points Memo link

    I hope the Senate’s Joint Legislative Procedure Committee receives a deluge of backlash for that 9-5 vote.

  282. says

    Taking more direct aim at the press … some Republicans are backing up Trump’s bullying of members of the media:

    The CNN reporter who was disruptive to the press briefing, & disrespectful to Trump-should be fired & prohibited from any press briefings.

    That’s Representative Randy Weber of Texas calling for Jim Acosta to be fired.

  283. says

    In addition to winning the Russia Law Firm of the Year award in 2016, the firm that represented Trump at his “trust me, I have no conflicts of interest” press conference also represents Bayrock, the organization Trump worked with when he laundered Russian funds through his real estate holdings.

    Link

    […] The Trump company sold condos to Russian investors, and the senior Trump received $95 million for a Palm Beach mansion in 2008 from Russian oligarch ­Dmitry Rybolovlev, more than twice the $41 million of Trump’s original purchase price, according to property records. […]

    Washington Post link

  284. says

    @ # 342

    Except that there is no Constitutional crisis. Aside from the fact that depending on an obscure Constitutional clause, one which has never been litigated so never actually defined, and whose only remedy is impeachment, is the very definition of grasping at straws, conflicts-of-interest are in the eye of the beholder. And the eyes of this right wing Congress are completely glazed over.

    I think “taken for granted” is more apt than “obscure.” And to the extent that’s it’s been more obscure of late, it’s because it hasn’t been tested/flouted as it is now. As the article about the press conference I link to in #327 above shows, it was an important, foundational principle. And as Shaub’s remarks I linked to above make very clear, judicial opinion has been that presidents are held to the same (if not higher) standards as lower government officials. It’s basic to our system of government. As Norm Eisen discussed on MSNBC (unfortunately, I’m not able to find the video online), the president is also subject to a variety of ethics rules that could come into play. He seemed quite confident that there were feasible remedies in addition to impeachment, such as through the courts. I’m substantially more confident in the assessments of Eisen, Painter, Shaub, and Lawrence Tribe than I am of Trump’s claims.

  285. says

    A boycott of Trump’s inauguration:

    […] Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee today announced that she will not attend the inauguration of Donald J. Trump on Friday, January 20, 2017.

    “Inaugurations are celebratory events, a time to welcome the peaceful transition of power and honor the new administration. On January 20th, I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House. […]

    “After the election, many hoped the president-elect would turn toward unifying our country. Instead he has shown us that he will utilize the same tools of division he employed on the campaign trail as our nation’s Commander-in-Chief. We need look no further than the team he is assembling to find signals that the era of Trump will be one of chaos and devastation for our communities. […]

    “To make matters worse, after the intelligence community reported Russian interference in our election, Donald Trump frequently and forcefully defended Vladimir Putin. He insulted senior intelligence officials in order to preserve his reputation and disguise the truth. […]

    “Donald Trump has proven that his administration will normalize the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party. On Inauguration Day, I will not be celebrating. I will be organizing and preparing for resistance.”

    https://lee.house.gov/news/press-releases/congresswoman-barbara-lee-to-boycott-inauguration-of-donald-trump

  286. says

    If every donation to help Trump resulted in backlash and boycotts, that would be a good thing.

    In this case, I don’t think a boycott is warranted. She’s one member of a large family of owners. A boycott of LBPerfectMaine makes sense, though.

  287. says

    Conservative Jennifer Rubin in WaPo:

    …“What Donald J. Trump has done today is contrary to the most fundamental law of the United States of America, and that is our Constitution,” Eisen stated flatly. “The president-elect has nine days to fix this problem,” Painter warned. Bribery prosecutions can proceed under federal law, and Congress through its impeachment power is the ultimate enforcer of the emoluments clause.

    Ironically, for someone who ran on changing the way Washington does business, Trump has distinguished himself as the sole example of a president unprepared to comply with bipartisan ethical norms and the text of the Constitution. The question for Republicans is now whether they want to collaborate in an egregious violation of the Constitution and in an arrangement that will inevitably call into question virtually every regulatory action, policy decision and personnel pick the administration makes. (Any senator with judicial aspirations should register complaints loudly and clearly; consent to an unconstitutional arrangement should be a disqualifier for any future judicial post.)…

  288. Hj Hornbeck says

    Speak of the devil, and a Twitter thread shall appear.

    First #Trump advisor Bannon has his media arm attack Merkel, now Le Pen is @ Trump Tower ahead of #France Prez. This will have consequences.

    Europe may be at loggerheads but French and German security apparatus will (and should) perceive this as an attack on Atlantic alliance.

    The PEOTUS is sponsoring extremist, far-right movements, and interfering in elections. That’s an affront to FR and GER very sovereignty.

    In light of RUS revelations, the conversation in Berlin, Paris, London is essentially: are Trump and Putin colluding to undermine our govts?

    That’s a seismic, paradigmatic shift in post-WWII geopolitics. It might implode NATO, even Five Eyes alliance w the U.K., CAN, NZ, and AUS.

    This amounts to the US essentially exiting the international order it built to side w a new-imperialist, ultra-nationalist regime in Moscow.

    US’ lone superpower status was always a bit uncomfortable for “middle powers” like FR, GER, even CAN. But it was a benign leviathan.

    They wanted a more “even” partnership, ala Obama. But this changes everything. This can’t but be perceived as an utter betrayal, rightly so.

    And it again puts into stark relief today’s news: US intelligence has already signaled to key allies to not trust the incoming admin.

    Meaning, US citizens are now being governed by a “rogue regime” in eyes of the security apparatus of the democratic world. Think about that.

  289. Hj Hornbeck says

    More on Chris Steele and his report.

    When dossier was circulating privately, persistent refrain from intel-types was that it *seemed* like it was written by someone legitimate.

    No one knew origin, but if it was a fake, it was a really excellent fake. That made it harder to dismiss offhand.

    Knowing Chris Steele is behind it only bolsters that. He’s a real deal person, well-known, and with credibility in the community.

    Steele involvement means that, while facts haven’t been corroborated, many insiders’ initial gut instincts have been confirmed as true.

  290. Hj Hornbeck says

    SC @2343: It’s worth pulling out some details.

    Redditors were pointing out contradictions in what he said about a cache of Russian documents he claimed to have, there’s some solid speculation that he’s no longer in control of the WikiLeaks private key, several users pointed out Assange’s flip-flop over Russia at the end of 2010… it goes on and on. Most interestingly, WikiLeaks offers cash bounties for specific leaks, like TPP documents, but offered no bounty for Trump’s tax returns.

  291. says

    I saw this tweet before and didn’t know what to think, but now it’s being reported elsewhere – that C-SPAN was apparently replaced earlier today for about 10 minutes with RT programming. The statement from C-SPAN: “This afternoon the online feed for C-SPAN was briefly interrupted by RT programming. We are currently investigating and troubleshooting this occurrence. As RT is one of the networks we regularly monitor, we are operating under the assumption that it was an internal routing issue. If that changes we will certainly let you know.” So that’s strange.

  292. says

    SC @ 358, Columbia should rescind her diploma. That’s entirely too much plagiarism for it to have been a mistake of just sloppiness. Trump sure knows how to pick ethically-challenged people for his team.

    SC @355,

    In this case, I don’t think a boycott is warranted. She’s one member of a large family of owners. A boycott of LBPerfectMaine makes sense, though.

    Agreed.

  293. says

    Remember what Trump said during the campaign about Goldman Sachs owning and completely controlling Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz?

    Trump just added another Goldman Sachs person to his team. Dian Powell, a Goldman Sachs partner will work with Trump, his daughter Ivanka, and Jared Kushner on “entrepreneurship, economic growth and the empowerment of women.”

    Other Trump team members who have Goldman Sachs backgrounds:
    1. Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary
    2. Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief White House strategist
    3. Gary Cohn, directors of Trump’s National Economic Council, (Cohn is the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs
    4. Jay Clayton, Securities and Exchange Commission
    5. Antony Scaramucci, “confidant” to the President

    With Dina Powell, we now have six Goldman Sachs head-honcho-types taking positions of power.

    This all makes me think that maybe Trump was lying when he claimed he would take on Wall Street if he was elected.

    “Is Cruz honest?” Trump said in January 2016. “He is in bed w/ Wall St. and is funded by Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs owns [Cruz], he will do anything they demand. Not much of a reformer!”

  294. says

    The Women’s March organizers have released their platform. The march is on January 21st, the day after the election. Two reminders of note: First, the march is organized and led by women, but all are welcome to participate. Second, “Women’s Marches” would probably be more accurate, since there will be sister marches across the US and in other countries as well. You can get information about the DC march and the other marches here.

  295. says

    I’ll be attending the March in Washington DC, and hope to produce a guest post for FTB or the Orbit afterwards. I don’t have a phone plan in the US, so I can’t update throughout the day, but will when I return to Baltimore. Hopefully, this will not include arrest time.

  296. says

    Another autocratic ruler expresses admiration for the way that Trump bullies journalists:

    […] Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan [speaking] to local administrators in the Turkish capital of Ankara, said that when Trump shouted down CNN’s Jim Acosta, he had put the reporter “in his place.”

    Erdogan’s enthusiasm for cracking down on a free press has made Turkey into the world’s leader in jailing the media, with 81 journalists currently behind bars. The world’s second largest jailer is China with 38. […]

    Think Progress link

  297. says

    I’ll be attending the March in Washington DC, and hope to produce a guest post for FTB or the Orbit afterwards. I don’t have a phone plan in the US, so I can’t update throughout the day, but will when I return to Baltimore. Hopefully, this will not include arrest time.

    That’s great! I can’t get to DC due to animal-care commitments, but will be at my local march. Look forward to reading your post.

    From Rep. Ted Lieu’s statement in response to the classified report on Russian hacking/influence campaign (emphasis added):

    …I believe Trump is actively misleading Americans when he says the Russians did not attempt to help his election chances and denigrate Secretary Clinton’s electability. Cyber espionage against American political organizations and cyber intrusions into our electoral boards are not partisan issues, they are American issues. I call on every Member of Congress who has been briefed on or read the classified report to tell Trump that he needs to tell the truth to the American people. At stake is not just our national security, but the very fabric of our democracy.

  298. Hj Hornbeck says

    If you think the Kremlin is only trying to influence the American far-right, you might want to read this.

    For her efforts in burnishing Kremlin conspiracy theories for American audiences, Stein was awarded not simply with an invitation to the 2015 RT gala, but RT even hosted her party’s 2016 presidential debate—a move Stein hailed as a “step towards real democracy.” RT also covered “live updates” from Stein’s reactions to the debates between Clinton and Trump, a decision Stein further praised. This mutual affection is, naturally, of a piece with RT’s broader modus operandi in the U.S.

    As I helped catalog at the Columbia Journalism School, RT, rather than focus solely on puffing up GOP candidates, expends more effort in targeting America’s far-left fellow-travelers. There’s a reason, after all, that Kremlin-funded Sputnik hosts podcasts by Americans who claim “progressive” viewpoints—at least when it comes to altering the exclusively domestic landscape in America. Nor are these fake news outlets tilling fallow soil.

  299. says

    More reports on contacts between Flynn and the Russian ambassador, which it seems go beyond the flurry of calls around the sanctions/expulsions: “According to the AP, the Obama administration is aware of these frequent contacts between Flynn and the ambassador.” The fact of the contacts themselves is suspicious, but if any intelligence service has evidence of the content of these calls,…

  300. Hj Hornbeck says

    Hmmm. There was a classified briefing on Russian hacking and the FBI today.

    “I was nonjudgmental until the last 15 minutes. I no longer have that confidence in [James Comey],” Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), ranking member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said as he left the meeting in the Capitol. “Some of the things that were revealed in this classified briefing — my confidence has been shook.”

    Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, delivered a similar condemnation. “I’m extremely concerned — extremely,” he said.

    “I’ll just — I’m very angry,” echoed Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.).[…]

    Yet there’s also a powerful sense among the Democrats that, while their faith in Comey has plummeted, they’d rather have him atop the FBI than roll the dice to see who Trump would tap as a replacement.

    “Do I have confidence in him? Not really. But I think he’s probably going to be better than the guy they’d put in,” said one Democrat, who spoke only anonymously to discuss a sensitive topic. “It’s like a rock and a hard place, but I think that’s pretty much where a lot of people are.”

  301. says

    Oh, FFS.

    President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t yet been sworn into office, but he’s already looking ahead to 2020. Trump’s team announced Thursday that he’ll be keeping alive his presidential campaign committee, Donald J. Trump for President Inc.

    Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, Michael Glassner, will lead the group, along with Arizona deputy treasurer Sean Dollman and John Pence. The latter is Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s nephew.

    The group will focus on fundraising and building data for Trump’s possible re-election in 2020 and will coordinate closely with the Republican National Committee.

    Boston Globe link

  302. says

    Trump continues to wage the past campaign. On Twitter today he wrote that Hillary Clinton “should never have been allowed to run” because she is “guilty as hell.” No, she is not.

    In other news, a New York Times analysis concluded that Trump’s cabinet is more white and more male than any other president’s first-term cabinet in about four decades.

  303. Hj Hornbeck says

    I’ve said Trump is engaged in a “purge,” and the more I read the less hyperbolic that sounds.

    The head of the D.C. National Guard, Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, said Friday that he has been ordered removed from his command effective Jan. 20, 12:01 p.m., just as Donald Trump is sworn in as president. […]

    “The timing is extremely unusual,” Schwartz said in an interview Friday morning, confirming a memo announcing his ouster that was obtained by The Washington Post. During the inauguration, Schwartz would command not only the members of the D.C. guard but also an additional 5,000 unarmed troops sent in from across the country to help. He also would oversee military air support protecting the nation’s capital during the inauguration.

    “My troops will be on the street,” Schwartz, 65, said. “I’ll see them off but I won’t be able to welcome them back to the armory.” He said that he would “never plan to leave a mission in the middle of a battle.”

  304. says

    If you think the Kremlin is only trying to influence the American far-right, you might want to read this.

    I don’t care for that article. It’s completely unsophisticated in its presentation of the US Left, showing no respect for or appreciation of anti-imperialism, Occupy, or other leftwing movements. In fact, it puts “anti-imperialist” in scare-quotes and refers to people as “Occupy-besotted” and so forth. The US has been a capitalist-imperialist power for decades, and many of the US government’s actions, including Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s, have been horrendous and criminal, especially when it comes to foreign policy. It’s no less valid and necessary for people to call attention to and protest these policies and actions than it was for people to fight for Civil Rights or to protest the war in Vietnam. Sometimes these critiques and protests will resemble the propaganda of those who don’t share our interests or values, unavoidably.

    I’ve argued many times this year against Stein and WikiLeaks supporters, and all those who continued to bash Clinton when the only alternative was Trump/Putin. I do believe we need to be aware of these influence campaigns and how they might subtly shift our focus and shape our framing of issues. But I don’t think it’s helpful, while calling out Putin’s co-option of some segments of the Left, to suggest that the Left as a whole should feel responsible for the election because we opposed imperialist and criminal foreign policy, racial injustice, massive inequality and corporate power in our own country, which to this point has been the most powerful on earth.

    To me it’s kind of like domestic opposition to British or French imperialism in the 1930s – yes, it could be exploited by Nazi agents and propagandists, but that wouldn’t have been a reason not to do it, especially because only domestic activism in relatively democratic countries can affect things. But when the immediate danger to democracy, equality, sovereignty, and freedom is fascist regimes, we need to stand together, including with centrists and those on the Right who share these basic commitments and including against deluded leftists who can’t see that things have changed or are so set in their habits that they continue the same practices even as these aid different forces in the new reality.

  305. microraptor says

    So I’m curious: in the event that the investigation of the Russian hacking/influence shows clear evidence that Russia’s actions did change the outcome, what then?

  306. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    I find myself, when looking at the impending Trump regime, noticing small things — sending staffers to his press conference as cheerleaders, for example. I’m not ignoring the big stuff, but, when I come across people who will lie and cheat and obsess over piddly shit details, they are the same people who are involved up to their eyebrows in really big and offensive shit.

    So this one caught my eye. A company got a contract to supply porta-potties for the inagural events. This company is called “Don’s Johns”, a really creative name.* And the owner has his company name on the porta-potties. And The Donald has objected.

    Workers preparing for the Jan. 20 event have taped over the name of the company — “Don’s Johns” — that has long supplied portable restrooms for major outdoor events in the nation’s capital.

    Virginia-based Don’s Johns calls itself the Washington area’s top provider of portable toilet rentals. But the name apparently strikes too close to home for inaugural organizers. — from the New York Daily News

    And the inaugural organizers did not even have the decency or the professionalism to tell the company what they were doing.

    Robert Weghorst, chief operating officer for Don’s Johns, said he did not know the logos were covered up until the AP reported on it, lighting up his company switchboard and “blowing up” its social media accounts.

    “We don’t know why it’s being done. We didn’t tell someone to do it,” he said in a telephone interview Friday. “We’re proud to have our name on the units.”

    Don’s Johns has provided portable toilets for many large events in Washington, including the 2009 and 2013 inauguration ceremonies for President Obama, Weghorst said. No logos were taped over during those events, he said.

    What a bunch of assholes. Led, and inspired, by the AssCheato himself. He and his cabal of criminals don’t object to shit, they object to a name that, in a very roundabout way, and viewed throught a lense of paranoia that would have made Nixon blush, connects The Donald to shit.

    This is not an isolated incident. The Donald does not object to criminal or unethical activity that helps him. He does object to anyone connecting his name to anything unsavoury or unpalatable (which is odd, considering he did slap his name on Trump Steaks). His knee-jerk reaction is to demean and attack individuals, and to cover up anything bad.

    This does not bode well for his Presidency. I think (well, I hope) that his behaviour gets so egregiously bad that even the GOP starts to notice.**

    ———-

    * Over the years, as I have travelled to various all hazard incidents (forest fires, hurricanes, 9/11, etc), I have seen lots of porta-potties. And some of these companies have very creative names: “Honey Dippers”, “Wizards of Ooze”, “Willy Make It”, and, from NEPA, “Gotta Go Potties.” “Don’s Johns” fits in wonderfully.

    ** This will happen at about the same time that giant winged porkypines fly out of my arsehole. Backwards. While singing “Hang on, Sloopy” in twelve-part Gregorian harmony.

  307. says

    “Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months”:

    Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who investigated Donald Trump’s alleged Kremlin links, was so worried by what he was discovering that at the end he was working without pay, The Independent has learned.

    …Mr Steele became increasingly frustrated that the FBI was failing to take action on the intelligence from others as well as him. He came to believe there was a cover-up, that a cabal within the Bureau blocked a thorough inquiry into Mr Trump, focusing instead on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

    It is believed that a colleague of Mr Steele in Washington, Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who runs the firm Fusion GPS, felt the same way and, at the end also continued with the Trump case without being paid….

    Much more in the article.

    In unsurprising news, Trump isn’t committed to sanctions on Russia.

  308. says

    Pettiness, lack of character, and poor impulse control strike again: “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to……mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!”

  309. says

    SC @401, Evan McMullin is looking more and more like a reasonable politician, and more like a man whose brain works. Such a big contrast with Trump.

    Trump’s ill-favored tweet (comment 399) will not deter John Lewis. Hopefully, that tweet will come with considerable backlash for Trump. His favorability rating is already a 37%. I hope it goes lower.

  310. says

    SC @394, oh, FFS. I am so tired of Trump’s “many people say” construction. He uses that all the time when he is often the only one saying something that goes against general consensus, or against the vast majority of experts. That “many people say” phrase is one of Trump’s favorite ways of lying.

    Ogvorbis @397, I’m with you on this. It’s often the little things, like those cheerleaders payed to attend a press conference, that reveal the true nature of Trump and his fiefdom. BTW, I want to hear “Hang on, Sloopy” in twelve-part Gregorian harmony.

    In another revealing story about Trump’s toxic character, Rachel Maddow covered the way that Trump is trying to get the taxpayers of South Carolina to clean up a toxic pollution mess left by his son, Don Jr.

    There’s a conflict-of-interest or potential-misuse-of-presidential-power story also connected to the toxic shit left in SC by Don Jr.

  311. says

    Trump’s ignorant approach to the Taiwan/China issue has negative effects.

    This is an article by Barnett Rubin, an expert on Afghanistan, Central and South Asia. He served in the Obama administration:

    I was in Beijing discussing ideas for U.S.-China cooperation in Afghanistan on December 14, 2016, […] Three days earlier Donald Trump had announced he would [question and reopen discussions of the "One China" policy]. [The spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs office warned], “the healthy, stable development of China-US relations is out of the question, and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait will be seriously impacted” [if Trump questions the policy].

    In private my Chinese interlocutors explained that China could work with the U.S. on areas of common interest such as Afghanistan despite conflicts over the South China Sea, North Korea, or trade, but that questioning the unity of China would end all cooperation. If Trump carried out such a policy as president, they claimed, China could not rule out taking Taiwan by force. […]

    Talking Points Memo link

  312. says

    This is a followup to comments 101, 104, 114, 379, and 398 regarding sanctions against Russia, and Trump having signaled again that he may drop the sanctions against Russia:

    “If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” [Trump said.]

    Trump told the publication he would keep sanctions put in place in December—imposed in response to Russian cyber attacks and interference in the 2016 election—“at least for a period of time […]” [note the lack of detail]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-signals-open-to-lifting-russian-sanctions

  313. says

    CaitieCat and others mentioned the protests that will take place around Trump’s inauguration. That’s coming up so soon, Friday to be precise.

    I thought I would provide a list of some of the protests that have been organized so far.

    Two are taking place today, the 14th:
    – March for Immigrants and Refugees, which was organized by the We Are Here to Stay campaign, and which are taking place in Tucson, Albuquerque, Chicago, Houston, and other cities.
    – We Shall Not Be Moved March on Washington, which was organized by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. The protest focused on “Protecting the civil rights of citizens and the voting rights of people that have been excluded, providing health care for all Americans […],”

    Two more protests are taking place tomorrow, January 15:
    – Writers Resist Rallies, which was organized by poet Erin Belieu. The protests are taking place all over, with more than 75 planned, including: Portland, Omaha, Seattle, London and Hong Kong. The main event is in New York City, on the steps to the New York Public Library. The focus is defending the First Amendment
    – Our First Stand: Save Health Care, which was organized by Bernie Sanders, other Democratic Senators, and some health care groups. Events are being held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Massachusetts, Boston, etc. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey will head the protest in Massachusetts.

    Two more protests are being held on January 19:
    – Reclaim Our Schools Day of Action, which is organized by teachers unions and education groups. See National Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools. The focus is to defend schools from Donald Trump and his calls to dismantle the public education system, and to object to Trump’s secretary of education pick, Betsy Devos.
    – Busboys and Poets Peace Ball, which is a “gathering to celebrate the accomplishments and successes of the past four years” at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Attendees include celebrities, authors, and organizers such as Solange, Alice Walker, Amy Goodman and Alicia Garza. Think Progress link

    Two more protests are being held on January 20:
    – #InaugurateTheResistance, a protest that begins at 7:00 AM at D.C.’s Freedom Plaza. Separately a different group will distribute free marijuana to support legislation easing regulations on the drug’s use.
    – Student Walkouts, organized by different groups on college campuses across the nation, including Students for a Democratic Society.

    January 21
    The biggest protest may be the Women’s March scheduled for January 21. About 200,000 people are expected to attend. This is the day after the inauguration. The main even will be in D.C., but women’s marches are also scheduled in many cities. See the list here, (281 locations so far).

  314. says

    One entertainer that had been scheduled to perform at Trump’s inauguration has changed her mind:

    Singer Jennifer Holliday has pulled out of performing at Donald Trump’s inauguration and apologized to LGBT fans over what she called a “lapse of judgment” […] The Grammy award-winning singer released an open letter on Saturday apologizing for being “uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans.” “[…] my only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I will not perform for the welcome concert or for any of the inauguration festivities!” she wrote.

  315. says

    Regarding the “All talk, talk, talk – no action or results” part of Trump’s obnoxious tweets dissing John Lewis, consider this: Lewis was arrested 45 times while he fought for voting rights and to end segregation. 45 times.

    That’s a lot of action. Meanwhile, Trump was dodging the draft during the same period of time.

  316. says

    Regarding the “[…] district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested)” part of Trump’s obnoxious tweets dissing John Lewis, consider this: Lewis represents some nice parts of Atlanta, including College Park. Congressman Lewis represents a variety of constituents, with a variety of income levels. Trump just highlighted his own racism and his outdated notions about slums and black people … again.

  317. says

    Hmmm, rather unsurprisingly one can gain a lot of insight into Trump’s personality by playing a round of golf with him.

    This is an excerpt from an article by David Owen, writing for The New Yorker:

    […] Golf publications periodically rate golf courses […] and Trump’s relationship with such ratings is complex. He complained to me that golf publications never rank his courses high enough, because the people who do the rating hold a grudge against him, but he also said that he never allows raters to play his courses, because they would just get in the way of the members. […] “Because, unlike other clubs, every one of my membership lists is perfect. And when you start adding hundreds of raters who want to play golf . . .” Nevertheless, when someone from a golf publication does write something positive, after somehow having managed to slip past the perimeter, Trump quotes it endlessly (and, inevitably, magnifies it).

    In my own article, I did write nice things about Trump’s courses. But Trump, nevertheless, was upset. […]. I was in the city on a reporting assignment unrelated to golf, and had the surreal experience of being chewed out by a future President of the United States while standing among the gravestones in the burial ground next to Trinity Church. He wasn’t upset that one of the article’s illustrations had been of a golf ball wearing a turf toupee that looked a lot like his deeply mysterious hair, or that I’d mentioned his asking two little girls at Mar-a-Lago if they wanted to be supermodels when they grew up, […] or that I’d written that he’d introduced one of his club’s members to me not by name but as “the richest guy in Germany.” He was upset that I hadn’t written that he’d shot 71—a very good golf score, one stroke under par.

    I hadn’t written that because he hadn’t shot 71. We hadn’t been playing for score, and we had given each other putts and taken other friendly liberties—as golfers inevitably do when they’re just fooling around. I said something to that effect in the politest way I could think of, but he wasn’t mollified. […] He wanted the number, and the fact that I hadn’t published the number proved that I was just like all the other biased reporters, who, because we’re all part of the anti-Trump media conspiracy, never give him as much credit as he deserves for being awesome. Such is his now familiar habit of acting like a sore loser even when he’s won. […]

    As Ogvorbis noted up-thread, it’s the little things that tell you a lot.

  318. says

    SC @412, well that’s one result of Trump’s ill-conceived tweet: now there are even fewer people willing to attend his inauguration.

    I like this too: “I’m just not a big Trump fan… I respectfully decline to freeze my ass out there in the cold”

    I noticed that some Democrats say that they will attend the Women’s March the day after the inauguration. It’ll be great to see that.

  319. says

    This is a followup to comment 405. More coverage of the toxic waste removal on a Trump property in South Carolina:

    […] concerning toxic waste removal that Trump and Trump Jr are trying to stiff taxpayers with, not to mention fraud due to denials on applications that have claimed that Trump has nothing to do with the past ownership of the property. Hard to maintain when it’s your son and you assumed the foreclosed property.

    […] He [Trump] cannot afford scrutiny given the way he models businesses so as to fail and walk away from debt after stripping assets, he engineers defaults and bankruptcies, changes loans and deals after the fact, makes IRS claims that are fraudulently incorrect, steals from contractors, banks, and investors, not to mention customers and consumers.

    This one puts the state of South Carolina between a rock and the President Of The United States, it will not go away, and can get much much worse if Trump attempts shenanigans to make it go away. Any attempts to use his power will result in charges that are worse than it already is, and anyone in his administration that is involved will be in the frying pan as well. […]

    The heart of this seems to be the toxic waste disposal matter. As it stands the court has granted the foreclosure actions in such a way that Trump evaded responsibility for the toxic cleanup, and according to SC law as long as the current owner (Donald Trump) had no connection to the previous and default owner (Trump Junior), the state is left on the hook for the cleanup. The building can be bought from Trump in the foreclosure sale, Trump is first lien holder (thereby burning the other lienholders). Trump Junior is apparently defaulting on something like $3.5 million, no telling what The Donald paid for this bad loan, but he will be first in line for the amount of the first loan, and he has no motivation to see that it sells for any more than that. […]

    South Carolina will be forced to protect the citizens of the state, this is going to have far too much visibility not to go after the fraud, Junior’s default, Senior’s complicity. Then there’s the cleanup evasion, the state is sitting on hard evidence of false claims, and the court went along with discharging debt and foreclosure based on lies.

    This is hard charges time, slam dunk indictments. If those come down, and I can’t see how the state can refuse to go there, […]. The eyes of the nation will be on this. My right wing Donald supporter neighbor is disgusted, he says Trump deserves to be in jail, he is now much more open to what Trump supporters should have been considering all along about everything that came up. […]

    Link

  320. microraptor says

    I’ve noticed that whenever someone like Senator Lewis says something unflattering about Trump, Trump’s fans will race to defend his petty counterattacks with “[the other person] started it first!” Apparently they think that an excuse that isn’t justifiable when you’re four is perfectly justifiable when you’re President.

  321. A. Noyd says

    Lynna (#406)

    This is an article by Barnett Rubin, an expert on Afghanistan, Central and South Asia. He served in the Obama administration:

    Someone should explain it to him this way:
    “Donny, it’s like your hair, all right? Anyone with eyes can see it’s completely fake. But they don’t often say it to your face because you’re prone to temper tantrums when confronted with unpleasant truths about yourself. So just like we’ve got to pretend there’s anything still growing from the top of your head, you’ve got to pretend like the One China policy is anything other than a political fiction.”

  322. A. Noyd says

    Whoops, was supposed to be

    Trump’s ignorant approach to the Taiwan/China issue has negative effects.

    in the blockquote.

  323. says

    “New feds could be fired for ‘no cause at all’ by Trump under planned legislation”:

    Feds should put on their body armor now.

    A range of Republican proposals on federal hiring, firing and retiring will have them under fire during the Trump administration. One flying under the radar poses a fundamental threat to the purpose of the civil service. It would essentially dispose of federal employee due process rights.

    Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) considers his bill “a tool for … President [-elect Donald] Trump to use in draining the swamp.” In the process, it would eviscerate civil service protections for all new federal employees. His deceptively named “Promote Accountability and Government Efficiency Act” says staffers hired one year after enactment or later “shall be hired on an at-will basis.”

    Rokita’s bill makes the meaning of at-will status clear: “Such an employee may be removed or suspended, without notice or right to appeal, from service by the head of the agency at which such employee is employed for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all.”

    Think about that.

    Political appointees could fire civil servants for “no cause at all.”

    That’s dangerous….

  324. says

    “CIA director warns Trump to watch what he says, be careful on Russia”:

    Outgoing CIA Director John Brennan on Sunday issued a stern parting rebuke to Republican Donald Trump days before he assumes the U.S. presidency, advising him not to absolve Russia for its recent actions and warning him to watch what he says.

    Brennan’s comments, in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” laid bare the simmering tensions between the president-elect and the intelligence community he has criticized and is on the verge of commanding.

    The CIA director said Trump needs to be mindful about his off-the-cuff remarks once he takes the oath of office on Friday, alluding to his penchant for making broad pronouncements on Twitter….

  325. says

    One bit of good news to come out of Trump’s ignorant attack on Congressman John Lewis: Amazon sold out of John Lewis’ biography.

    The more people learn about John Lewis, the better.

    In other news, Mike Pence is defending Trump for dissing John Lewis. The disrespect shown by Trump included insults to black communities in general. Pence repeated some of that, and he specifically defended the “all-talk, no-action” statement:

    What Donald Trump was talking about there was literally generations of failed policies coming out of Washington, D.C. that have failed too many families and too many cities across the country.

    I will tell you Donald Trump is a man who is profoundly impatient with failure, and you saw in the campaign, he went to major cities in this country and said, “We’re going to bring safety to our streets, we’re going to bring school choice to our children, we’re going to bring jobs and opportunities to our cities.” You remember that great line, “What the heck do you have to lose?” He is committed to being president of all of the people of this country and to bringing jobs and prosperity in ways that the failed liberal policies of the past several generations have not.

  326. says

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weighed in on the Trump-Lewis feud with this headline on the front page of its Sunday edition: ATLANTA TO TRUMP: WRONG

    […] The accompanying front-page article reacts to Trump’s criticism of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), after the incoming president said Saturday the longtime congressman does nothing for his district, which Trump said is in “horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested).”

    “The district that Trump described as in ‘horrible shape’ includes Emory University and Morehouse College, as well as Spelman College and Georgia Tech. The Coca-Cola headquarters is just one of that district’s many, high-profile corporate residents,” the AJC article declares.

    “Lewis represents Midtown’s shiny residential high-rises and the pricey Intown neighborhoods filled with renovated homes, the Beltline and Ponce City Market.”
    The newspaper quoted several local politicians, including Kasim Reed, Atlanta’s mayor, in a rejection of Trump’s comments.

    “That PEOTUS Trump would attack Congressman Lewis on MLK Day weekend for ‘all talk … no action’ when he bled to actually ‘Make America Great’ is why far less than half the country supports him at the dawn of his presidency,” Reed told the paper.

    The article also cited crime statistics that show Atlanta ranked 14th in crime among cities in the United States. […]

    The Hill link

    AJC link

  327. says

    The latest from Trump: “Thank you to Bob Woodward who said, ‘That is a garbage document…it never should have been presented…Trump’s right to be upset (angry)…about that…Those Intelligence chiefs made a mistake here, & when people make mistakes, they should APOLOGIZE’. Media should also apologize.”

  328. says

    “‘Outgoing CIA Chief, John Brennan, blasts Pres-Elect Trump on Russia threat. Does not fully understand’. Oh really, couldn’t do…much worse – just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes. Not good! Was this the leaker of Fake News?”

    So this should be interesting.

  329. says

    Aaaaaaaaaaargh!

    I wanted to recommend this global upcoming-elections guide as a potentially somewhat useful (if superficial and flawed in many respects) tool. And then I got to Honduras, when I stopped reading:

    President Juan Orlando Hernández’s conservative National Party will attempt to maintain its hold on power in 2017, with Hernández controversially pledging to run for a second term after the country’s highest court struck down a provision that barred a president from seeking re-election. Opposition parties are crying foul, particularly in light of how leftist former President Manuel Zelaya’s attempts to extend his stay in office were met with a military coup that removed him from power in 2009.

    THIS IS A LIE.
    THIS IS A LIE.
    THIS IS A LIE.

    It’s utter bullshit. How could such a toxic fucking lie, accompanied by a complete lack of any contextual information about US and Canadian interference and National Party corruption and violence, appear in Daily Kos? Outrageous. All the more outrageous since this blatant lie provided the bogus rationale for the coup, and then the coupists proceeded to do exactly what they claimed was so unacceptable that it had precipitated the coup.

    The US Left can’t continue to be this ignorant. We need to have solidarity with, and listen to, and learn from, the Left in other countries. We need to be attuned to capitalism as a global force and the fascism it’s propelling.

  330. Hj Hornbeck says

    Some interesting stats:

    Number of parking permits applied for by buses attending Donald Trump’s inauguration: 200.
    Permit applications for the Women’s March on Washington the next day: 1,200+.
    Permits issued for Obama’s 2009 inauguration: 3,000+.

    Admittedly,

    RFK Stadium is the main city-run parking option for charter buses over that weekend. Bus drivers can still find their own parking outside RFK, so these numbers do not necessarily reflect all of the buses that will be headed to the District for inauguration or the Women’s March.

    … but it’s hard not to draw some inferences from those numbers.

  331. says

    Steve Benen provided a helpful summary of Trump’s interview with two European newspapers. The interview took place yesterday.

    […] Trump sat down with two European newspapers for an interview in which he dismissed NATO as “obsolete”; criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel for assisting Syrian refugees (whom Trump referred to as “illegals”); said the United States “should be ready to trust” Russian President Vladimir Putin; and endorsed the further unraveling of the European Union.

    Not to put too fine a point on this, but if the Kremlin had literally written a script and handed it to Trump to read during the interview, it would’ve sounded exactly like this. […]

  332. says

    Josh Marshall wrote an essay for Talking Points Memo that is well worth reading. He focused on the relationship of a free press to Donald Trump. Here is an excerpt:

    […] As soon as you realize that the Trump wants to profit from the presidency and that the Republicans are focused and helping him do so, all the questions become easier to answer and the path forward more clear. His threats against the press are the same. He’s threatening to take away things the press doesn’t truly need in order to instill a relationship of dominance.

    There’s nothing more undignified and enervating than fretting about whether the President-Elect will brand real news ‘fake news’ or worrying whether his more authoritarian supporters can be convinced to believe – pleaded with, instructed to, prevailed upon – actual factual information. The answer to attacks on journalism is always more journalism. And the truth is that Trump’s threats are cheap stunts and bluffs, threatening to take away things journalists don’t need.

  333. says

    Trump is promising a healthcare plan that Republicans cannot deliver:

    […] “We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

    [People] “can expect to have great health care. It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.” […]

    Even the few details Trump provided about his plan — “lower numbers, much lower deductibles,” […] cut against many of the GOP proposals that have been put forward over the years that have offered skimpier plans with higher out-of-pocket costs.

    “[…] they’ll be beautifully covered. I don’t want single-payer. What I do want is to be able to take care of people.” [Contradiction alarm goes off. Cost alarm goes off. Bloviating Blather alarm goes off.]

    […]

    Link

  334. says

    Donald Trump put up a Facebook post offering free tickets to anyone who wants to attend his inauguration. Why doesn’t he just pay audience members? That would be more his style.

    Some responses to his invitation:

    Thanks for the invite but I’m getting my eyeballs scooped out with a spiky ice cream scoop and no anesthesia that day. So…Kinda have something better to do.
    ———————–
    A president shouldn’t have to appeal and beg people to come. Donald, you have tired the Nation before taking office. Just hire people to act as fill ins and clappers!
    ——————-
    I must send my regrets. Today we were here in Phoenix protesting the repeal of ACA, we are 63 and 73 years old. First time we have ever protested.
    Next Saturday we will be here at the Women’s March, supporting Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, Women’s Health Care Rights, LGBT Rights, etc.
    —————–
    Release your tax returns, give us our healthcare back (or at least replace it, as promised), stop degrading the free press, and threatening our First Amendment, release your holdings and assets, come clean about your Putin connection, call off your right-wing dogs, and I’ll get 50 people to come with me.

  335. says

    27 congressional Democrats have announced that they will not attend Trump’s inauguration. Trump’s dissing of John Lewis seems to have ramped up anti-Trump sentiments.

    Reince Priebus continues to repeat one of his favorite lies, that Trump “won in an electoral landslide.” Priebus said that again yesterday. Here’s how PBS debunked that lie:

    […] while Trump and his top aides have described his Electoral College margin as a “landslide” and a “blowout,” these claims are simply not true. When compared to the previous 57 elections, Trump barely eked out a win, securing 57 percent of the Electoral College vote. […]

    Even Abraham Lincoln won a greater percentage of electoral votes (with 59.4 percent) than Trump in the 1860 election, when the country was on the brink of the Civil War.

    In fact, Trump ranks 46th out of 58 in terms of winning the electoral vote — a spot far down on the list, sandwiched between Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy’s narrow 1960 win. […]

    PBS link

  336. says

    Trump tweeted in November 2012:

    We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!

    Time to follow Trump’s advice?

    Here’s an update on the Women’s March:

    […] Christopher Geldart, the District of Columbia’s homeland security director, thinks the march will draw more than that. Some 1,800 buses have registered to park in the city on Jan. 21, which would mean nearly 100,000 people coming in just by bus, Geldart said. Amtrak trains into and out of the city are also fully booked on that day, Geldart said.

    “Usually when I look at things like that, that tells me we’ve got a pretty substantial crowd coming in. That leads me to believe we’re definitely above the 200,000-person mark,” Geldart said. […]

    Chicago Tribune link

  337. KG says

    Lynna@408,

    There will also be protests against Trumplethinskin’s inauguration in the UK. I don’t expect they’ll be very large, but quite a number of cities have them planned. I’ll be marching from the main rail station in Edinburgh to the American consulate there.

  338. says

    Josh Marshall provided some background and details concerning the Trump/Putin plan to dissolve the European Union and NATO. Steve Bannon plays a big role, and so does Nigel Garage.

    […] Trump has a plan to break up the European Union. Trump and his key advisor Steve Bannon (former Breitbart chief) believe they can promise an advantageous trade agreement with the United Kingdom, thus strengthening the UK’s position in its negotiations over exiting the EU. With such a deal in place with the UK, they believe they can slice apart the EU by offering the same model deal to individual EU states. Steve Bannon discussed all of this at length […]

    One point that was clear in Green’s discussions with Bannon and Nigel Farage is that Trump wants to empower Farage as its interlocutor with the United Kingdom. Given Farage’s fringe status in the UK, on its face that seems crazy. But that is the plan.[…]

    Two days ago, the United States out-going Ambassador to the EU gave a press conference in which he opened up about Farage’s apparently guiding role in the Trump world and what he’s hearing from EU Member states.

    From the The Financial Times

    Donald Trump’s transition team have called EU leaders to ask “what country is to leave next” with a tone suggesting the union “is falling apart” this year, according to the outgoing US ambassador to the bloc. […]

    “The perceived sense is that 2017 is the year in which the EU is going to fall apart. […].”

    Today in a new interview with the Germany’s Bild and the Times of London Trump expanded on these goals dramatically. Trump leveled a series of attacks on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, suggesting he’d like to see her defeated for reelection and saying she’d hurt Germany by letting “all these illegals” into the country. Trump also called NATO “obsolete”, predicted other countries would soon leave the EU, and characterized the EU itself as “basically a vehicle for Germany.” […]

    Trump and Bannon clearly want to create a nativist world order based on the US, Russia and states that want to align with them. […]

  339. says

    Trump proves once again that he is a liar. He promised “no new foreign deals” for the Trump Organization, but he is planning a YUUGE expansion of a golf course in Scotland.

    The Guardian link

    […] The Trump Organization will press ahead with multimillion-dollar plans to expand one of the president-elect’s golf resorts in Scotland, despite its apparent pledge to halt new investments overseas. […]

    And here are the weasels spinning their way out of the lie:

    “Implementing future phasing of existing properties does not constitute a new transaction so we intend to proceed,” a Trump Organization spokeswoman told the Guardian.

    The “expansion” amounts to a doubling of the current business.

    The expansion plans could see the resort grow substantially, with a new 450-room five-star hotel, timeshare complex and private housing estate. [and another 18-hole course!]

    […] Richard Painter, a former White House chief ethics adviser to George W Bush, said this extra investment was a “perfect example” of the clear conflicts of interest between Trump’s newfound power as president and his family’s business interests.

    “He’s using language which is ambiguous. It clearly illustrates that around the world, he will just simply expand around the various holdings and as they continue to expand, the conflicts of interest expand,” Painter said. […]

  340. numerobis says

    In France, the presidential competition is between the conservative François Fillon and the racist Marine LePen. The incumbent (a “socialist” who implemented austerity) is so unpopular he’s not even running.

    And… suddenly there’s a young, pretty, “anti-establishment” candidate. His policies sound to me like those of Justin Trudeau: look pretty, make some substantial moves for social justice, and be an economic centrist. The press is on the