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November 29, 2016

Comments

Historically Trump's goals have been (a) make lots of money for Trump and (b) aggrandize the Trump brand. These may be in service of some inner narcissistic daemon, I'm not a shrink so I don't know. The salient behaviors are more than enough to contend with.

Basically I think Trump is going to do whatever flatters his vanity and makes him ever-larger craploads of money.

That worries me far less than the agendas of the people around him. Priebus is basically the interface to the institutional (R) party, I don't think he will be contributing all that much to basic policy-making. He's there to help keep the (R)'s from freaking the hell out.

The guys to watch are Bannon and Kushner.

Bannon seems wants to break everything and turn the US into some kind of national-socialist project. I don't know how big of a table he intends to set with that. I.e., I don't know if he's personally anti-black, anti-semitic, anti-whatever, or whether people who aren't European whites will be welcome in his great big plan for us all. I'm sure we'll find out.

Kushner is a puzzle to me, I don't know what he wants. Other than being close to money and power.

Good luck to all.

Tabula Rosa never had so true a meaning.

What will Trump actually do? We'll have to wait and see how he feels each day he wakes. Don't try to think beyond that because I honestly believe he doesn't.

Again, I would highly recommend the work of Sarah Kendzior, someone who did her doctoral work in Uzbekistan, and who has more recently been a journalist in St. Louis, MO. So far, her take has been very accurate, and her recommendations for resistance are worth studying.

Kendzior.

Everything she says here seems right on the money to me.

"Fascism is always made by disappointed people" said Hemingway, who knew whereof he spoke.

We are more or less looking it in the face right now.

Either that, or I've come unhinged again. Silly russell!

Good luck to all.

I was not a Hillary fan for the simple reason that nominating a NE urban corridor person -- governors from that region, VPs, Senators of long standing -- has been a disaster for the Democrats for 50 years. But I voted for her because there needed to be someone to put a check on the Congressional Republicans, who have lost their collective mind.

Trump's appointments so far suggest that he intends to give the Congressional Republicans their head. Himself, personally, he'll bask in the glow of the Presidency, watch the Trump real estate and branding empire grow, and sign the bills put in front of him. What I'm really not looking forward to is whatever happens when the Congressional Republicans decide that they're going to punish California.

It's going to be interesting to see a DOJ led by someone who likely thinks Reynolds v. Sims and Baker v. Carr were wrongly decided (not to mention Roe v. Wade) and the entirety of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

I'll reserve judgment on Herr Sessions' view of Brown v. Board and the Civil Rights Act.

I don't want the Trump administration and the Republicans in congress to break sh1t, but if they do, I hope the people who stayed home or voted reluctantly for Trump or voted 3rd party in protest wake the fnck and hand the Democrats at least the senate in 2 years. Probably wishful (sort of) thinking on my part.

I should add that I realize the math is bad for Democrats in 2 years, thus the wishful (sort of) thinking.

Here's something that may or may not be on the agenda. He could reverse himself or double down. Who the hell can tell which?

Sessions appears to belong to the long tradition of Dixiecrats who believe that, having lost the Civil War militarily, they should find a way to reverse the result by political means. At least in their own states, with spreading the effects to other states a plus.

not to mention Roe

Roe, hell.

They'll come after Griswold v. Connecticut, and the right to privacy.

The VRA is already in ruins; they hate Brown.

And Title IX

I don't know if I can stand to watch all this happen. And just when I retire, after paying in for a lifetime, they're reforming privatising destroying Medicare.

They'll take us back to the Lochner era if they can.

Keep the government's hands off my Medicare (Obama)! Remember that?

Overall, I think Ugh is pretty close. Trump's priorities remain proving himself by
a) making lots of money (so as to prove that he is as important as the Manhattan folks who look down on him),
b) spreading the Trump brand (just another way to prove that people think he is important), and
c) getting revenge on anyone who has opposed (or disrespected) him (so as to prove that he is too important to be trifled with).
All of it is really about his personal insecurities.
I think he has a few beliefs beyond that. But they are flexible, especially if they seem to conflict with the priorities in a specific case.

When it comes to bills that Congress sends him, I think he will veto a few now and then, just to remind Congressmen that he is important and has the power to do so. Most likely, he will pick bills authored by members who opposed him, thus getting revenge on them as well.

Ryan can probably get his Medicare privatization . . . provided he is willing to have someone else's name on the bill. Because, as a less than whole-hearted Trump supporter, he makes a great candidate for a revenge veto. On top of the fact that, as Speaker, he also makes a target for a "proof of importance" veto. I wonder if he realizes that?

Part of me thinks that Ryan doesn't really believe he can get Medicare privatization -- but it will make people think that block-granting Medicaid isn't so bad by comparison.

"On top of the fact that, as Speaker, he also makes a target for a "proof of importance" veto. I wonder if he realizes that?"

I am sure that almost everyone knows that a good suck up is more effective than a criticism when it comes to Trump. Bernie should get better at it, he could get lots of his agenda. Schumer has already started sucking up on infrastructure and a few other things, but he needs to stop pushing the idea that "these are Democratic policies" or Mitch will just kill those too.

Politicians are really bad at politics sometimes.

Part of me thinks that Ryan doesn't really believe he can get Medicare privatization

Voucherizing Medicare has been part of every budget Ryan has presented or been involved with for like the last 8 years.

[Ryan] also makes a target for a "proof of importance" veto drone strike.

And here we thought Trump would be an unmitigated disaster.

i think we're going to learn that Trump is exactly as bad as was predicted but in many more ways than anyone had bothered asking him about.

because being a celebrity game show host obviates the need to answer policy questions.

He clearly doesn't understand the added meaning his pronouncements have now that he's the president-elect of the United States. I assume over time, they'll come to have less meaning than is commensurate with his position, which I guess is both good and bad. In general, I'd like people to take our president(-elect) seriously, but not so much when his name is Donald Trump.

Voucherizing Medicare has been part of every budget Ryan has presented or been involved with for like the last 8 years.

But knew that there was no chance of passing it in any of those. Absent a veto backstop, at least three Republican Senators from retirement states, or upper Great Plains states where the base is aging and counting on Medicare as we know it, will refuse to go along -- but will accept a block-grant version of Medicaid (despite what it will do to their states' budgets in the middle term) in its place.

We, and the rest of the world, pretty much have to take Trump's Tweets seriously. After all, it seems like they are going to be his preferred method of communicating -- as opposed to something like a news conference.

They appear to be the only way we are going to have to get a read on what he is likely to do. There doesn't seem to be much of a policy agenda, especially internationally. So it's either follow the Tweets and guess, or guess blind . . . until there is an action to tell you what the intention was (assuming there was intention, of course).

So it's either follow the Tweets and guess, or guess blind . . . until there is an action to tell you what the intention was (assuming there was intention, of course).

But, over time, if they don't really give you a clue, you'll come to realize that there isn't much point in following them. They appear to be mostly scattershot expressions of fleeting whims.

Perhaps you won't come to ignore them entirely. But it's likely you won't give them the weight that you would to something our current president says.

Absent a veto backstop, at least three Republican Senators from retirement states, or upper Great Plains states where the base is aging and counting on Medicare as we know it, will refuse to go along

That may well be.

All of that said, there is no question in my mind that Ryan would love to see Medicare voucherized. And, that if he can find a way to make it happen, he will.

Whether he can make that happen or not is sort of a separate question.

I think Trump's Cabinet picks show that he has anagenda, or at least he is willing to swallow the agenda of the Congressional Repubicana whole.

It's Bannon that interests me. I can't get a fix on his agenda. He has called himself a populist, but supports deregulating Wall Street and tax cuts for the rich. He hates Ryan, hates the Republican party, says that they are unChristian crony capitalists (he's right about that) but here he is the man behind that unChristian crony capitalist Trump. He calls himself a Leninist adn says he wants to tear the government down. he has made openly racist statements ans has connections with white supremists. Is his long term goal white supremacy? I do wonder if we are in the Weimar Republic. Or is Bannon Rasputin to Trumps' Nicholas? (Nicholas in the sense of being a clueless family man who had no idea how to govern. It's a very limited comparison).

Bannon.

We, and the rest of the world, pretty much have to take Trump's Tweets seriously. After all, it seems like they are going to be his preferred method of communicating

I, for one, look forward to the massive catastrophe that results when someone manages to hack Trump's Twitter account.

Paul Ryan is a lying fraud.

Does "lying fraud" count as a double negative, he asks, no one in particular...

"dead lying fraud" is a triple hat trick.

Finally, a girl is no one

the egg whisked me away

Some good advice for journalists covering the bullshitter in chief...
https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2016/11/a-reflexive-liar-in-command-guidelines-for-the-media/508832/

Thanks, Nigel. I love James Fallows, but hadn't seen that one. I'm sending it to friends.

Thank you Russel. That was fascinating.

So...maybe the populism of Bannon is genuine? I do think that he could be successful if he does push a real job building program and fights off Medicare voucherism. I think most people won't notice or won;t care about rampant corruption, pollution, environmental degradation, global warming ans so on if the Trtump admin delivers lots of good paying construction jobs. The irony is that the By promoting a real jobs profram, he is promoting what the Democrats have always wanted. I don;t think his criticms of the Democratic party has much validity. I also donlt see how his populism jibes with deregualting wall street, cutting taxes fro rich people, decimating Medicaid and so on But I thin that is it quite likely that the Repubicn party will go for the job creation and that Trump will be able to build a base of popularity fro that unless he totally fucks up on some other issue ike a war or voucherizing Medicare. Bannon seems to be a very smart guy.

And I think Bannon matters more than Trump does.

Bannon is no doubt a smart guy. Building a stable and sustainable economy, which can provide people at all economic levels with rewarding and useful ways to make a living, is a goal worth pursuing.

Bannon is also too freaking friendly with Nazis for my taste, and does not appear to have a high regard for the institutions of republican self-governance.

So, on the whole, not a guy I like. Speaking for myself.

I agree that Trump's inner circle matters more than Trump himself. His vanity makes him open to manipulation.

I suspect Bannon's vision of AMerica is a lot like Alabama

People have all kinds of opinions about things and I'm really kind of fine with it. I don't expect everybody to think like me.

I draw the line at fucking fascists, Nazis, and white supremacists. Or, frankly, any kind of supremacist. We had that conversation 70 years ago.

If you think your skin color makes you smarter than anybody else, you've just proved yourself wrong. If you think the rest of us are going to put up with your bullshit, you've just doubled down on it.

Bannon can talk all he wants about how he is, personally, not into the white supremacy thing. I say lay down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

I don't trust the guy any further than I can throw him.

Trump's victory has given about a thousand kinds of asshole the idea that their moment has arrived. Their moment will never arrive.

There's a whole other issue, which is the autocratic kleptocracy thing. Trump and Putin seem to have some kind of mutual admiration society thing going, and it makes total sense to me. I suspect that Putin is Trump's model - nationalistic propaganda in the service of personal aggrandizement and kleptocratic crony corruption.

WTF do I know, I'm just some guy on the internet, but IMO that is the direction Trump is going to go in. Not out of ideology but out of instinct.

Bannon wants to break everything and usher in a regime of economic and social nationalism. Trump wants to make himself and his kids even filthy stinking rich-er than they already are, and he wants every head to turn his way when he walks into the room.

I don't know what Kushner is about at this point. I'm sure it'll become evident at some point.

These people are the freaking Borgias. We're elected the freaking Sopranos - the whole tribe, not just Tony - as POTUS.

Good luck to all.

here is a test case:

Trump's company currently holds a lease on the old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Ave in DC. That is the building that is currently the DC Trump hotel.

The contract on the lease states quite plainly that no elected official of the government of the US can be a party to a lease on that property, or can receive any benefit from a lease on that property.

When Trump is inaugurated on 1/20/2017, he will be an elected official of the United States. To say the least.

What's going to happen?

This is example 1 of about a million. Trump's tenure in office is going to be an unending parade of legal and constitutional cluster***ks.

This fits in with his picks for DOJ, HHS and Education:

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/trump-picks-el-chapo-to-run-d-e-a

OTOH, to the extent the GOP cares about the U.S. government and democracy beyond their access to power within that framework (and I have my doubts about how much there is there), they are playing a dangerous game with Trump, the justice system, his political advisers/cabinet appointments (a significant % of whom seem to be paranoid and/or believe in conspiracy theories), foreign policy, rampant corruption, and the national security state.

The GOP has been playing dangerous games for a long time. Trump is the effect, not the cause.

I suspect Bannon's vision of AMerica is a lot like Alabama

I said this very thing earlier this evening to some friends.

I draw the line at fucking fascists, Nazis, and white supremacists. Or, frankly, any kind of supremacist. We had that conversation 70 years ago.

This.

These people are the freaking Borgias.

Yep.

What I want to know is how are we organizing a resistance to this thing.

I wrote a few emails to some electors to vote for Hillary, and intend to continue to send one to every elector whose email address has been published. I imagine that's a waste of time, but wouldn't it be nice to nip this thing in the bud, and in a way that didn't involve the rest of the crew, like Pence and all. (Maybe the R Congress will step up and impeach Trump - unlikely - but even so, we've got the fascist agenda still intact.)

Next step (and started today by sending money) is to support Ralph Northam, Virginia's 2017 Democratic candidate for governor. Treading water if he wins, because our statehouse is bad news. (Also have to work on them, obv.)

Next thing is 2018 midterms. Hard slog, but we have to do our best.

Unfortunately, with this election stuff, what kind of elections will we have by then? I was a poll watcher (lawyer - protect the vote) for the Democrats in VA on election day, and was impressed by people's good will, and the integrity of the process. But they did make some mistakes. One voter was denied a provisional ballot who should have been issued one, and but for the intervention it would have happened again. This was not bad faith on anyone's part, so I do have a lot of confidence in the system - the polls are managed by volunteers - all good people. But Jeff Sessions is one scary man with regard to voter suppression, and Virginia passed some horrendous voter ID bills. Also, it was obvious that our voter registration system lost some people from the rolls.

How are we going to combat ordinary mistakes as well as willful voter suppression? It's going to be hard.

Trump's propaganda machine is colossal. Plus Putin is helping. (I contacted my Congresspeople today and complained that we haven't gotten the run down on the Putin thing. Why don't we know exactly what the Trump-Putin relationship is, and whether it's actionable? Freaking FBI? Obama needs to clear this up before inauguration day.)

Don't forget Foster Campbell in Louisiana. 10 days to go for that Senate seat. Massively uphill climb, but very worth it even if we just get closer than expected ("Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated" and all that).

It's the same over here in the UK: nobody ever thought that Brexit would succeed (including the chief Brexiteers, Gove and Johnson seemed genuinely shocked when the result came in) and now nobody has any clue about what to do.

This is actually pretty unprecedented in the recent history of advanced, long established democracies, at least as far as I remember. It has a very banana republic military coup feel to it. So we get reflexive populist bones thrown (immigrants! terrorism! the working man!) while power and money are rapidly consolidated in the hands of even fewer people than before.

Having to read the tea leaves from the president elect's twitter feed or clumsy staffer's notes exposed to the camera (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/nov/29/greg-clark-minister-dismisses-having-cake-and-eating-it-brexit-notes) is just further proof THAT THEY REALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING - slowly realizing this is scaring the @#$ out of me.

Don't forget Foster Campbell in Louisiana.

Right. Done!

These people are the freaking Borgias.

...but without the basic competence and tender humanitarianism.

...or the appreciation for the arts.

What would the Sistine Chapel look like, if The Donald had been in the pope's* place then?

*not a Borgia but also not a nice guy.

I think this is a really good, thoughtful piece:

http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2016/11/27/trump-realism-vs-moral-politics-choice-we-face/

...but without the basic competence and tender humanitarianism.

or their taste in art...

Why does watching the Trump Administration fumble around what should be a well-run organizational process make me think of the ancient Greeks and their notions of "hubris" and "nemesis."

GFtNC, reading that was interesting, but what I take from it more than anything is how far and fast the screw has turned for an awful lot of the pragmatic, realistic, incrementalist centerists. Two months ago, they were still lecturing us on the folly of ideological purity, the necessity of compromise, and the importance of setting aside one's principles. Now? Moral purity is a moral imperative and there can be nothing but unwavering, uncompromising resistance.

If they want to help, that's well and good. But their come-to-Jesus moment is still about power. They'd best not be so naive as to think their self-serving attitude will be forgotten, nor that they hold any of the moral authority they previously claimed and will unhesitatingly claim once more when they inevitably decide it's time to train their sights on the near enemy instead of the far.

Also really good, from hilzoy's twitter feed:

http://qz.com/846940/a-yale-history-professors-20-point-guide-to-defending-democracy-under-a-trump-presidency/

NV, I think different times require different behaviours. It's not always wrong to compromise, it's not always the slippery slope to tyranny. Life is not always (or even often) black and white, and behaving as if it is can also lead to terrible consequences. I believe that if you, and Marty, and McKT, and thousands or even millions like you had overcome your distaste for HRC and voted for her in order to defeat Trump, the world and certainly the USA would be a safer, saner place (albeit very far from perfect), and you could have gone on finding ways to bring about the change you wanted, and maybe you would have succeeded. But we will never know. And we must just hope that the seemingly inevitable disaster about to ensue takes down less of what we, and you, value, than looks possible or likely.

GftNC, thanks for the links. Masha Gessen is an incredibly important voice right now - this is the second piece in the NY Review of Books that's essential reading. And Timothy Snyder's list is one that I have saved to be a touchstone.

" believe that if you, and Marty, and McKT, and thousands or even millions like you had overcome your distaste for HRC and voted for her in order to defeat Trump..."

Depends on the state they live in. Clinton won the popular vote by a comfortable and last I heard, increasing margin.

I live in a safe state for Clinton and voted for her anyway, not because it made the slightest difference in terms of who won, but because in the seemingly unlikely event (which turned out to be the case) that she lost the electoral college people would still look at the popular vote and argue that Trump didn't have a mandate. This might matter a little bit. I knew that the press never ever bothers to look at votes for third party candidates except to add up the numbers and see if they made a difference for the two major candidates in some state. So if I wanted my infinitesimal contribution to count in the "mandate" argument, I had to give it to Clinton. Not that Stein was all that appealing anyway. Johnson was out for all sorts of reasons, though I did like the fact that he was unlikely to bomb places he had never heard of, which would make most of the planet safe from American explosives.

And NV is right about the moral purity angle. Morality is invoked or not invoked on grounds that make people cynical about politics in general. It'd be better if people focused on the rights and wrongs of issues rather than constantly calibrating what they say or get outraged about depending on the needs of some candidate and that's true even with Trump, who is so far shaping up to be a really horrible President in almost every way. I constantly recommend Daniel Larison on foreign policy precisely because he isn't in the least partisan. He has a very strong set of opinions on issues, and supports or criticizes people based on what they say on those issues. He praised Obama on Iran, condemned him on Yemen, condemned Clinton on no-fly zones in Syria. Needless to say, he is very critical of Trump's possible picks in the foreign policy field. To the extent that Trump had a fp position, it was all over the map. But his candidates for the various positions are mostly militarists. Larison has credibility because you know he simply calls things as he sees them, a behavior pattern that is not very common in the pundit class.

I just want to know if all the regular working folks who voted for Trump are going to cheer the deregulation and privatization that will only further concentrate the nation's wealth in fewer hands. Will they cheer military aggression that will kill and maim their young family members and friends? Will they enjoy they pollution they'll be exposed to, and the lack of access to the health care they'll need all the more because of it? Will they be happy to send their kids to sh1tty for-profit schools? Will they delight in the suppression of their wages and the destruction of the social programs they'll be even more reliant on?

Will they be so happy about kicking some ass in the ME and rounding up Mexicans and throwing more black people in jail and getting to keep the guns no one was going to take from them that they'll overlook how much sh1ttier their lives will have become? Or will they just blame the bad stuff on Obama somehow?

They'd best not be so naive as to think their self-serving attitude will be forgotten, nor that they hold any of the moral authority they previously claimed and will unhesitatingly claim once more when they inevitably decide it's time to train their sights on the near enemy instead of the far.

oh don't you worry. i won't forget.

Or will they just blame the bad stuff on Obama somehow?

ding.ding.ding.

Donald, for what it's worth, I think your decision in this election was made with integrity and made sense. NV has integrity too, but I'm not sure her decisions and attitudes always make perfect sense in the real world. Pundits have the luxury, if they choose to use it, to make impartial judgements on politicians' individual decisions, and one can respect those who do so and with whose judgements one agrees. Politicians are constantly having to make judgements balancing greater and lesser evils, and frequently cannot identify which is which until later. Some of these politicians are wiser than others, and some act in better faith than others, but none are morally pure because they are operating in a complicated, morally impure world. As voters, and politically aware people, we have to do that most difficult but important of things: discriminate. Which candidate will benefit the greatest number of people? Which candidate is likely to be in it for personal and class enrichment? Which candidate will do, to paraphrase the Hippocratic oath, least harm? In some elections, there's not much to choose between them. This was not such an election, and it is wrong to castigate the people who put forward this proposition as hypocritical when they discriminate between the need to compromise when harm can still be minimised, and the need to stand firm when harm has been enabled, is being threatened, and is advancing.

Or will they just blame the bad stuff on Obama somehow?

I think that will last for a couple years. But if things are really shtty four years from now, they could vote Dem (if they're allowed to vote), similar to what happened in 2008, although I hope things aren't that shtty again.

Just to point this out, Obama is still President, not a single thing has changed in America yet. Trump's picks mostly reflect standard Republican positions, school vouchers, enforcing immigration law, lessening fed power, replace ACA,etc.

Other than Bannon, which I believe is a short term appointment that won't merit replacement, and the potential stupidity of Petraeus, the picks look like a Republican Administration.

I'm not sure this reflects the end of the republic.

Sessions?

Maybe not the end of the republic, but not much that's going to benefit the people he was supposedly looking out for. A standard Republican administration, or possibly one that is even a bit further to the right, looks to serve the oligarchy.

He didn't run on the current establishment-Republican positions, which are even worse for working people than the ones in decades past. He ran on shaking up the establishment, ending crony capitalism, and taking on the "elites," among other things. That doesn't appear to be what is going to happen, does it?

he's shaking things up and draining the swamp by putting McConnell's wife, a Goldman exec, and the chairman of the Republican Party into his cabinet.

The National Security appointments (CIA, national security advisor and deputy) are those that David Addington, John Bolton, and Bejamin Netanyahu would pick. 2 of those 3 being republican I guess this is a GOP administration.

What about the Deputy National Security Advisor, Kathleen Mcfarland? Who would pick her?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/--93931

What about the Deputy National Security Advisor, Kathleen Mcfarland?

Putin.

Marty,

What do you think about the environmental area? Apparently this guy Ebell is a serious nut case on environmental issues, especially climate change.

The general silence on this topic that pervaded the campaign is astonishing.

And how in the world could Florida(!!) vote for a dentist like Trump?

It's good to know that the number of straight up anti-muslim bigots appointed by Trump represent regular old GOP SOP.

GFTNC,
yeah, Sessions is not good. He is a throwback Dixiecrat/Wallace Republican that I think is the worst choice Trump has made. I am hoping the breadth of his actual interest in the job is muted, but I will be donating to the aclu and the southern poverty law center anyway.

I also think the media is once again playing to Trump's strength, focusing on tweets and recounts and other trivia while making Sessions a one day story.

The only upside is the Democrats will get to question him and that might get more coverage.

BTW, McConnell wife and the Goldman exec were fine picks. Goldman has a long history of training Treasury Secretary's. Elaine is an experienced bureaucrat and a smart political move.

"Trump's picks mostly reflect standard Republican positions"

so, the whole anti-establishment, draining the swamp outsider thing was bogus?

we'll see what happens with Bannon and kushner. Bannon got him where he is, don't know if trump will be in a hurry to cut him loose.

I'm not sure how he gets around the nepotism issue with Kushner, maybe if he doesn't get paid the law doesn't apply.

we'll also see what "arm's length" looks like regarding the business. "my kids will run it" is not really a credible hands-off position, especially when son-in-law is a senior advisor.

But yes, a more or less generic (R) cabinet by modern standards. we should expect generic (R) results.

Marty, good for you. I looked into donating to the ACLU, but couldn't see if they accepted donations from non-US nationals - let me know if you ever find out. What about Kathleen "Hillary is spying on me with black helicopters" McFarland?

I also think the media is once again playing to Trump's strength, focusing on tweets and recounts and other trivia while making Sessions a one day story.

on this we agree 10000%.

What about the Deputy National Security Advisor, Kathleen Mcfarland?

Maybe she's securing Trump's bedroom windows....

I think that standard Republican policies do end the Republic as we know it by transforming us from a two-party representative government with too much influence from lobbyists to at a national level a one party kleptocracy.

Not enough attention is being giving to voter suppression laws.

I read the links on McFarland. She sounds like a nut, but the Putin piece she wrote ( linked in the haaretzpiece sapient linked) actually made some sense.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/09/10/putin-is-one-who-really-deserves-that-nobel-peace-prize.html

Not endorsing every word, of course. And otherwise she seems unhinged.

Flynn apparently wrote a book with famous Reagan era kook Michael Ledeen. My favorite food pundit Larison is disturbed by that and other things.

Girl from north country--I don't agree with some of that. I don't think that all the morally questionable decisions made by the US government can be blamed on the bad old complex world we live in. Some of our lousy foreign policy stances have more to do with internal US politics and the problem exists in both parties, though I agree that the Republicans are generally worse. And it seems easier sometimes simply to go along with a decision made by an ally. The Saudi war in Yemen was largely ignored inside the US including by the very same pundits who wanted us to bomb Assad for committing similar crimes. That is hypocrisy. It's how liberal hawks think. hell, it is how ideologues of all stripes think and Americans are no different from, oh, Russians who support Putin. Under those circumstances, where criticism inside the US is muted, the temptation for government officials is to take the path of least resistance and support the ally and hope not that many people notice. The official line was that the Saudis were just hitting civilians by accident, until the massive funeral bombing. That's hypocrisy too. I read that the British government also denied Saudi war crimes for awhile. No, that wasn't something forced on the British government by the cold cruel world.

Trump's selections so far suggest that he will probably be worse on Yemen. It might be good if it becomes a liberal cause and not just with some senators, but Trump is likely going to be bad on so many other issues it is unlikely to rise to the top of our concerns.

"Favorite food pundit" was my iPad's spellcheck/creative writing program at work.

http://billmoyers.com/story/farewell-america/#.WDxsikT8vUQ.twitter

I don't think that all the morally questionable decisions made by the US government can be blamed on the bad old complex world we live in.

That's hypocrisy too. I read that the British government also denied Saudi war crimes for awhile. No, that wasn't something forced on the British government by the cold cruel world.

Notwithstanding your sarcasm and condescension, I never said that all questionable decisions should be blamed on the complex world within which they are made, nor did I imply that "the cold cruel world" was forcing anybody to do anything. What I said was that the world is complex, there is often no good alternative but a choice of bad ones, and that politicians (some of whom but not all are certainly venal or even actively malevolent) operate in a quagmire which often makes the idea of a "pure" or "moral" choice of action absurd. And yet we must have politicians, and they must make choices to take, or avoid, action. And some of these politicians, when you examine their histories, are preferable to others, and in a worst-case scenario it is better to choose the least harmful.

GftNC, thanks for your voice here.

wonkie, that's a sad, but beautiful and inspiring piece by Bill Moyers. Being true to history is a worthy task.

GftNC, Ditto

It's far too easy, when just typing something on the Internet, to see everything thru a lens of how things should be, without regard to the realities of the world that we live in. In a perfect world, every decision would be given sufficient attention to make sure that it is correct. And with enough information in hand, at the time the decision is taken, to do so.

But that isn't real, however much we might prefer it to be. And there is no realistic prospect of it becoming so.

FWIW on KT,I think she's smart and a little weird. In her position I can see the first out weighing the second.

Ebell, idk, he agrees with some of my positions but in a job where too much certainty of position can be a negative. To say that some of the scientists are hyperbolic on the timing and extent of the impacts is a rational assessment based on probabilities and confidence levels.

To deny the reality of warming and some influence on that from fossil fuel use is silly.

I don't know which of those positions is his core position. And I've been busy working for a change so I really haven't had time to look at it.

Sessions is a terrible choice for the country, but let's not forget that he's probably Trump's best possible choice for his reelection campaign. Sessions has a long history of working towards minority disenfranchisement, by hook or by crook (going after a civil rights organizer who was trying to help elderly people vote, for example). And he's passionate about it.

Personally, I think one of the biggest questions for 2020 will be if the electorate actually becomes less white in line with demographic change or if the impact of voter suppression dominates. Absent a push for a national Voter ID law, my hunch is that the effect of voter suppression will be concentrated in swing states. That will lead to a bigger baseline disconnect between the electoral and popular votes, but I suppose that would help Trump make even more history (winning twice as a popular vote loser).

I don't know which of those positions is his core position.

His core position is to do nothing. He might conceal that behind the notion of, "Maybe in a couple of hundred year it will be an issue," but mostly he's on the energy industry payroll and wants to keep the paychecks coming.

We are facing a disaster. It's possible it won't be as bad as the worst forecasts, though it might be, but to ignore the risk is insanely irresponsible.

If Florida wants help, let's tell them the free market will solve their flooding problems, just like Scott, Rubio, and Trump promised.

Girl from north country--

I didn't mean to offend you, but at the same time I would be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated with your response. That obviously came through more than I intended.

Your earlier response to me was clearly intended to be gracious, but since you brought up the term " condescension", I found it condescending. Wj's agreement was as well. It's a standard one when America is accused of something, unless of course a Republican can be blamed. I don't take it personally any more,, being told the world is complex and people like me are naive well intentioned bubbleheads who don't understand reality, but to be blunt and not sarcastic, I think it is an empty evasion.. Yes, we should support the least bad realistic choice in an election, but that is not the point. The complex world argument is not valid in the case of Yemen. In fact, it is an excuse and as long as liberals ignore or justify a viciously criminal policy of support for war crimes we will continue to see such atrocities committed under Presidents of both parties. Trump will probably be worse. That is no justification for the silence of most American liberals on this subject and it is grating to see the contrast in people who profess outrage over Trump's support for Putin.

The reality is that politicians make decisions for all sorts of reasons and it is American or Western exceptionalism to imagine they always have the best intentions. And even if one thinks otherwise it is irrelevant. The Saudis are in crime against humanity territory and the Obama Administration supported them and the British government lied about it as well. Trump may well continue the policy or make it worse. It will be interesting to see how liberals respond then.

Criminal support for war crimes. Must edit rants before posting. Can't blame that on the iPad.

"don't take it personally". Okay, that was a straight up lie. Sometimes I like to exaggerate my maturity level.

I was not (at least consciously) trying to be condescending. But I do find that you appear to assume rather more information on the part of those making decisions on foreign policy than seems likely.

Take the case of Yemen. Today, we are aware of a variety of unacceptable behavior on the part of the Saudis there. But was it apparent, when the Saudis initially asked for our help? I rather doubt it.

Once operations are in progress, we are in a different situation than when our help was initially requested. That raises the threshold for action. Definitely not infinitely, but it does raise it.

Again, things in Yemen have, as you say, reached a point where action, specifically ceasing our participation, seems warranted. It is reasonable to fault our government for failing to do so. But that is not the same as faulting everyone involved since day one. Which is my perception (admittedly perhaps faulty) of your stance.

" I believe that if you, and Marty, and McKT, and thousands or even millions like you had overcome your distaste for HRC and voted for her in order to defeat Trump, the world and certainly the USA would be a safer, saner place (albeit very far from perfect),"

I did want to note that my distaste for HRC means that had she won I would be anticipating a world much worse for me and my kids, grandkids than I am now.

I feel exactly as frightened by an ascendancy of Democratic rule as you seem to with the current outcome.

There will be things I strongly disagree with in a Trump Presidency, But I am not frightened by the thrashing of the media about fascism etc.however. That's their way of trying to prove they were right in their bias. And it is dangerous to continue to whip up the opposition that way. They, and the Democrats, are spreading a message of hate everyday. It is frightening to think they could have been in charge.

The drumbeat that Trump won't really represent the people who elected him is also self serving. It is based on the same difference of opinion on policies and their expected outcome as all R/D debates. But so far he is hiring people to implement, in general, policies consistent with what his voters expect. Neither he nor his constituents may see the outcomes expected, but if that happens it isn't likely to be because he was duplicitous in his campaign rhetoric or that his expectation wasn't that they would create jobs and opportunity.

They, and the Democrats, are spreading a message of hate everyday

idiocy

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/10/us/post-election-hate-crimes-and-fears-trnd/

it isn't likely to be because he was duplicitous in his campaign rhetoric

ORLY?

how's the prosecution of Clinton going?

and the wall is now downgraded to some fence?

his 45% tariff on China?

From cleeks link

"The number of reported incidents declined almost every day from November 9, the day after the election, to November 18. But the incidents have been widespread, the SPLC said. "

Trump making good on is promise to drain the swamp.https://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/11/29/20486/donald-trump-offering-huge-perks-inauguration-donors

Wj, don't worry about the condescension. Frankly I think unpleasant tones of one sort or another are pretty hard to avoid when discussing war crimes. My side sees the Obama apologists as evasive at best, while the other side thinks we are being silly or childish?

The Saudis were behaving badly from the start-- I have been seeing complaints for most of the year and I think last year. I think this was predictable. The Saudis have a rotten human rights record at home -- were they likely to be better in Yemen? We could have made our support if we had to support them in this stupid war contingent on not bombing civilians. Instead we pretended it was their bad targeting. This lie became harder to put forth when they bomb a funeral and kill 140 people.

Also, the complex world explanation is self refuting. Precisely because the world is complex there are always a wide range of policy choices. The burden of proof must be on the side that says it is a good idea to give military support to an authoritarian regime which bombs civilians. You can't make the argument that critics must assume the US government is doing the best it can and we must prove that complicity in war crimes is the least bad choice. And it is also self refuting to say the world is complex and then assume that our guys are entirely well-intentioned and making the best decisions for the noblest reasons possible. What are the odds that is true? Politicians come under many pressures, some of them domestic. Liberals are suspicious of Trump and Putin. They ought to be suspicious of the Saudis and their connections to both parties.

I am busy the rest of the day, so further rants will be in hold.

"The number of reported incidents declined almost every day from November 9, the day after the election

which means... they didn't happen?

I lied. One more post.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/10/01/dispatches-britain-backtracks-justice-yemen

Note the date. Google human rights watch Yemen and scroll back through their files as far as you want. It was clear from the start what the Saudis were doing and the US and the Brits lied.

Trump said his solution to jobs leaving the US would be to impose big tax penalties on the companies. that was then.

now, he's giving them tax breaks for doing it.

because that's what his voters expect. picking winners and losers:

it's only bad when a Democrat does it, right "conservatives" ?

what I take away from marty's 5:56 is that we are divided not just by difference of opinion, but by profound differences in our understandings of plain and basic matters of fact.

to say nothing of profound differences in what we want or expect from public life and/or the people we choose to manage it on our behalf. or, what we want or expect from each other as fellow members of a common polity.

we don't believe the same things, we don't aspire to the same things, we don't think the same things are good or desirable, we don't find the same things to be true.

are we really one nation anymore? I'm not seeing the evidence for it.

I'm not sure how to go about unwinding that. the time, patience, and level of effort required are staggering.

given that we're still arguing about crap from 50, 100, or even 150 years ago, I don't see it happening.

my plans for the forseeable future are basically to do what I can to mitigate the damage. I don't see that common ground, or even the level of basic mutual trust that would be required to act in any kind of concerted way, are on offer.

as far as trump goes, specifically, my take on him is what it has been. he is not an appropriate person to hold the office he has won. that is regardless of his politics, it has to do with him, as an individual person. I expect his time in office to be a calamitous mess, and profoundly damaging to the nation.

best of luck to all.

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