Friday, December 02, 2016

Horrors! Disastrous Trump Upending US Relations with China Even Before He Takes Office

Bull in the China Shop 

Donald Trump Speaks To Taiwan's President, Reversing Decades Of U.S. Policy

China, the U.S. and most of the international community consider Taiwan to be a Chinese territory, not an independent nation.


President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone Friday with Tsai Ying-wen, the president of Taiwan. The call was the first in more than 30 years between an American president-elect and a leader of the semi-autonomous island.

According to a readout of the call from the Trump transition team, Tsai congratulated Trump on his victory, and the two discussed "the close economic, political, and security ties exists between Taiwan and the United States."

But the Trump team's description of the call belies the fact that the conversation has the potential to upset three decades of relations between the United States and its most important global trading partner.

China, the United States and most of the international community consider Taiwan to be a Chinese territory. But Taiwan, with its own elected government, constitution and military, considers itself an independent nation.

In recognition of China's claim to sovereignty over Taiwan, the U.S. cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979. Trump's call will likely enrage Beijing, and stands to damage U.S. relations with China before Trump even takes office.

"The Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action, of historic proportions,"  Evan Medeiros, a former Asia director at the White House national security council, told the Financial Times, which first reported the call Friday afternoon.

"Regardless if it was deliberate or accidental, this phone call will fundamentally change China's perceptions of Trump's strategic intentions for the negative. With this kind of move, Trump is setting a foundation of enduring mistrust and strategic competition for US-China relations," Medeiros said.

The call with Tsai is the latest in a string of conversations between Trump and foreign leaders that have left foreign policy experts and career diplomats shocked and concerned.

Earlier this week, Trump spoke with Pakistani president Nawaz Sharif and said he looked forward to visiting the country as president ― something President Barack Obama has deliberately avoided doing because of the complex, and sometimes duplicitous, security and intelligence relationship between the two countries. Trump also spoke with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, a despot and international pariah who has ruled the former Soviet republic since 1989.

On Friday, Trump also spoke to Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected president of the Philippines. Since taking office, Duterte has encouraged the extra-judicial murder of hundreds of people accused of dealing drugs, and he has suggested that journalists deserve to be assassinated.

In response to the alarm raised by Trump's phone calls, White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday delicately urged Trump to seek out advice from career diplomats at the State Department. "President Obama benefited enormously from the advice and expertise that's been shared by those who serve at the State Department," he told reporters at the daily press briefing.

"I'm confident that as President-elect Trump takes office, those same State Department employees will stand ready to offer him advice as he conducts the business of the United States overseas. Hopefully he'll take it."

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) was more direct with his criticism. "What has happened in the last 48 hours is not a shift. These are major pivots in foreign policy w/out any plan. That's how wars start," Murphy tweeted on Friday. "And if they aren't pivots - just radical temporary deviations - allies will walk if they have no clue what we stand for. Just as bad. It's probably time we get a Secretary of State nominee on board. Preferably with experience. Like, really really soon."


Bernie Sanders: Carrier Just Showed Corporations How to Beat Donald Trump

Carrier Just Showed Corporations How to Beat Donald Trump
Bernie Sanders's picture

by Bernie Sanders | December 2, 2016

Today, about 1,000 Carrier workers and their families should be rejoicing. But the rest of our nation's workers should be very nervous.

President-elect Donald Trump will reportedly announce a deal with United Technologies, the corporation that owns Carrier, that keeps less than 1,000 of the 2100 jobs in America that were previously scheduled to be transferred to Mexico. Let's be clear: It is not good enough to save some of these jobs. Trump made a promise that he would save all of these jobs, and we cannot rest until an ironclad contract is signed to ensure that all of these workers are able to continue working in Indiana without having their pay or benefits slashed.

In exchange for allowing United Technologies to continue to offshore more than 1,000 jobs, Trump will reportedly give the company tax and regulatory favors that the corporation has sought. Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to "pay a damn tax." He was insisting on very steep tariffs for companies like Carrier that left the United States and wanted to sell their foreign-made products back in the United States. Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut. Wow! How's that for standing up to corporate greed? How's that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?

In essence, United Technologies took Trump hostage and won. And that should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country.

Trump has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States. Why? Because he has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives. Even corporations that weren't thinking of offshoring jobs will most probably be re-evaluating their stance this morning. And who would pay for the high cost for tax cuts that go to the richest businessmen in America? The working class of America.

Let's be clear. United Technologies is not going broke. Last year, it made a profit of $7.6 billion and received more than $6 billion in defense contracts. It has also received more than $50 million from the Export-Import Bank and very generous tax breaks. In 2014, United Technologies gave its former chief executive Louis Chenevert a golden parachute worth more than $172 million. Last year, the company's five highest-paid executives made more than $50 million. The firm also spent $12 billion to inflate its stock price instead of using that money to invest in new plants and workers.

Does that sound like a company that deserves more corporate welfare from our government? Trump's Band-Aid solution is only making the problem of wealth inequality in America even worse.

I said I would work with Trump if he was serious about the promises he made to members of the working class. But after running a campaign pledging to be tough on corporate America, Trump has hypocritically decided to do the exact opposite. He wants to treat corporate irresponsibility with kid gloves. The problem with our rigged economy is not that our policies have been too tough on corporations; it's that we haven't been tough enough.

We need to re-instill an ethic of corporate patriotism. We need to send a very loud and clear message to corporate America: The era of outsourcing is over. Instead of offshoring jobs, the time has come for you to start bringing good-paying jobs back to America.

If United Technologies or any other company wants to keep outsourcing decent-paying American jobs, those companies must pay an outsourcing tax equal to the amount of money it expects to save by moving factories to Mexico or other low-wage countries. They should not receive federal contracts or other forms of corporate welfare. They must pay back all of the tax breaks and other corporate welfare they have received from the federal government. And they must not be allowed to reward their executives with stock options, bonuses or golden parachutes for outsourcing jobs to low-wage countries. I will soon be introducing the Outsourcing Prevention Act, which will address exactly that.

If Donald Trump won't stand up for America's working class, we must.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Romney and Trump--dining with the Devil

From: http://crooksandliars.com/2016/11/internet-reacts-trumpromney-dinner-photo

When Mitt Romney died dined with Trump and Reince Priebus in Manhattan, the internet couldn't get enough of this awkward photo between the two men. Apparently Mitt Romney really wants to be Secretary of State this bad.  One man made the photo in black and white, saying it looks like an old Twilight Zone episode in which a foolish man just made a deal with the Devil.  So TRUE!  Just look at Trump's face...he's oh-so-much relishing the revenge he is wreaking on Romney, making him grovel at Satan's feet.  

With Trump's election, I feel as if we are all in a nightmarish episode of Twilight Zone that just goes on and on and on!

Truthful essay by Jack Lessenberry: THE VOTERS REJECTED TRUMP

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/jack-lessenberry/70081/the-voters-rejected-trump

EXCERPT: 

Look at these figures and tell me with a straight face that the American people chose Donald Trump to be their president:

Hillary Clinton: 63,541,056 48.0%
Donald Trump: 61,864,015 46.7%

Other candidates: 7,034,595 5.3 %

Clinton clearly actually was the candidate we most wanted to be our next chief executive — despite all the unexpected blue-collar and rural voters who showed up in droves in places like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and — yes — Michigan.

We've got less than two months before the leadership of our nation is passed from an elegant grown-up to perhaps the most repellent case of arrested development on the planet.

So what do we do?

There are those who piously say that Trump "deserves a chance." But nobody can claim that after he named the notorious bigot and hate-monger Stephen Bannon chief strategist and senior counselor on Nov. 13.

That was followed by the appointment of Muslim-hating Michael Flynn as his national security adviser, and whack job conspiracy theorist Mike Pompeo as head of the CIA.

Flynn has said fear of Islam is rational; Pompeo thinks we need to hold more foreign suspects longer, and create a gigantic new spy database that coordinates phone records with "publicly available financial and lifestyle information."

We're really in trouble, and it's just beginning.

Again, so what do we do?

For rest of essay, go to: http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/jack-lessenberry/70081/the-voters-rejected-trump


GREAT IDEA from Keith Olbermann on how to fire President Trump

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/keith-olbermann-comes-up-with-a-surprisingly-easy-little-known-totally-constitutional-plan-to-fire-president-trump/

Keith Olbermann comes up with a surprisingly easy, little-known, totally constitutional plan to fire President Trump

Trump voters: John McCain won't let Trump's name be mentioned to him by the press

When one of the heroes of the Republican Party shows his disgust for Trump to the degree that he won't even allow Trump's name to be used in questions from the press, HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT?  For anyone except the racists who already have shown their prejudice in right wing hatred for Obama and praise for Trump, I would think there might be some cognitive dissonance going on right about now....especially for military members who recognize McCain as a genuine war hero (as most of us do).

John McCain Refuses To Talk About President-Elect Donald Trump

Maybe the Arizona senator thinks he can avoid answering questions about his party's standard-bearer forever.


WASHINGTON ― Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will not talk about Donald Trump and he wants reporters to inform their colleagues

He will not do it if he's asked about one of Trump's many tweets. He will not do it if he's asked about what Trump's priorities should be on North Korea. He just will not do it, he insisted. 

Surrounded by reporters on the Senate's first full day back from Thanksgiving break, McCain shut down every single question that included the name "Donald Trump." He only answered questions ― very briefly ― related to Trump when reporters began excluding the president-elect's name.

"I will not talk about Donald Trump. Now look, tell all your friends, OK?" McCain said to reporters Tuesday in the Capitol. "Ads were run against me because, time after time, I was asked in the elevator or down below or someplace, 'Are you still supporting Donald Trump?' Those ads were run against me because I kept being asked and asked and asked. I repeat again: Do not ask me about Donald Trump. I do not want to be rude to anyone, but I do not want to be asked about Donald Trump."

McCain, long considered a maverick, never gave Trump a strong endorsement and avoided questions about him in the months leading up to Election Day. He nevertheless managed to hold onto his Senate seat.

When The Huffington Post noted that Trump is now the Republican Party's president-elect ― the party McCain has belonged to his entire 30 years in the upper chamber ― the senator erupted.

"I have the right to answer anything that I want to answer and that I don't want to answer, too. I will not discuss President-elect Trump, OK?" McCain said, staring down this reporter. "And that is my right as a senator. I do not have an obligation, ma'am, to say, to answer any question I don't feel like answering, OK? I am responsible to the people of Arizona and they just re-elected me overwhelmingly. And I will not speak about Donald Trump. And I don't want to be asked again."

HuffPost took another crack at asking McCain what he thought about Trump's claims, but didn't mention the president-elect by name, instead asking what he thought about "comments" being made that there was election fraud.

"I don't pay any attention to it," McCain said. "I think the election has been decided, and I don't even think about it."

McCain was eager to talk about one of Trump's possible picks to lead the State Department, retired General David Petraeus. Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis was careful to not mention Trump's name when he posed the question to McCain moments after the senator's tirade. 

"I believe that someone who's been convicted of a misdemeanor and pays a penalty that then we all move forward in life," McCain said when asked about Petraeus' history of mishandling classified information. "I am a strong supporter of General Petraeus."

But say the name Donald Trump, and McCain won't answer.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Typical letter from a Trump supporter

Dear Trump Supporter Who Sent Me Hate Mail For Being A 'Stupid Jewish Faggot'

Click on the link and take a look at the letter sent to the Jewish man who was once a classmate of the letter writer in high school.  Evidently it's now OK to hate Jews, blacks, Muslims and anyone else who appears "different" from the ideal of being white, "Christian" (and ignorant).  Donald Trump is giving a pass to hatred, bigotry, racism and misogyny.  Let's see...who else can the white man hate?  Oh yes, Catholics should be included if we are going back to those "good old days" of across-the-board bigotry when loyal American Japanese families were put in prison camps. And, of course, native Americans.  And let's not forget gays who will he hounded once again by ignorant fools who call themselves Christians but follow none of the teachings of Christ. 

Those who voted for Trump are bringing back everything bad that we have striven to rid ourselves of since the terrible years of WWII.  These Trump supporters should be ashamed of themselves, but instead they are proud.  Sigh.  This is what we have returned to with Trump and Pence (and Bannon, a poor excuse for a human being) in the White House....God help us all.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Chris Hedges: Looking ahead to what the Barbarians will do to our country

Trump ushers in a very dark, bleak period of history for us all. Unless we all stand up NOW and protest Loudly, Strongly, Vocally, and Relentlessly, shouting out "NO!!!!" and taking action, following Bernie Sanders' lead, we can say a final goodbye to democracy in our country.  We need wonder no more how the Third Reich took over in Germany with the rise of the dictator Hitler.  Nazi Germany is returning in our own country with the rise of the dictator Trump with his white supremacist and KKK supporters--and his appointment of the bigoted racist Bannon to be an ADVISOR to him in the White House. If we don't protest NOW, marching in the streets by the millions and screaming out to Congress and the news organizations to hold this proven serial liar Trump responsible for his actions, we will watch the future spin out as predicted below.  We can't say we weren't warned!

Waiting for the Barbarians

Posted on Nov 27, 2016

By Chris Hedges

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

We await the crisis. It could be economic. It could be a terrorist attack within the United States. It could be widespread devastation caused by global warming. It could be nationwide unrest as the death spiral of the American empire intensifies. It could be another defeat in our endless and futile wars. The crisis is coming. And when it arrives it will be seized upon by the corporate state, nominally led by a clueless real estate developer, to impose martial law and formalize the end of American democracy.

When we look back on this sad, pathetic period in American history we will ask the questions all who have slid into despotism ask. Why were we asleep? How did we allow this to happen? Why didn't we see it coming? Why didn't we resist?

Why did we allow the corporate state to strip away the rights of poor people of color and force them to live in terror in mini-police states? Why did we build the world's largest system of mass incarceration? Did we not see that the rest of us would be next? Why did we agree that those defined by the state as terrorists could not only be deprived of their rights but be assassinated? Did we think the state would restrict itself to persecuting and murdering Muslims? Why did we remain silent as the state arrogated to itself the right to detain and prosecute people not for what they had done, or even for what they were planning to do, but for holding religious or political beliefs that the state deemed seditious? Why did we stand by and permit the state to torture? Did we not see that once rights became privileges the state would one day revoke them?

The failure of our capitalist democracy was collective. It was bred by ignorance, indifference, racism, bigotry and the seduction of mass propaganda. It was bred by elites, especially in the press, the courts and academia, who chose careerism over moral and intellectual courage. Our rights as citizens were taken from us one by one. There was hardly a word of protest.

Where were the lawyers, judges, law professors and law school deans who should have ferociously defended our rights to privacy, due process and habeas corpus? Why didn't they challenge Barack Obama's signing into law Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act? Section 1021 overturns the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibited the military from acting as a domestic police force. The section also permits the military to carry out extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers. 

Why didn't the legal profession fight against the Obama administration's misinterpretation of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Act as giving the executive branch the right to order the assassination of U.S. citizens? How did lawyers and judges allow the misuse of the Espionage Act to target and imprison whistleblowers? How did they permit the Supreme Court to define unlimited corporate contributions to electoral campaigns as a right to petition the government or a form of free speech? Why did they allow those branded as terrorists by the state, and allow poor people of color, to be locked for years in solitary confinement or special detention centers without fair trials? Why were they silent as the state built "black sites" around the globe, including in Chicago, to torture? Why did they permit the state to impose special administrative measures, known as SAMs, to prevent or severely restrict prisoners' communication with other prisoners, attorneys, family, the media and people outside the jails, crippling any possibility of an adequate defense? Did they not know where the erosion of the legal system would lead?

And where were all the economists pointing out the absurdity of the neoliberal ideology that told us that human society should be governed by the dictates of the market—that is, until the market collapsed in an orgy of fraud and corruption and needed the government to bail it out? Why did the political scientists chase after "value-free" data, carry out quantitative projects and seek an unachievable scientific clarity? Why didn't they and others warn us about the dire consequences of eroding democratic institutions? Why did they stand mute as money replaced the vote and lobbyists authored our laws? Where were they when constitutionally protected statements, beliefs and associations were criminalized? Why didn't they protest when dissidents, even those who broke no laws, were stripped of their rights and imprisoned without due process? Why did they continue to speak and write as if the fiction of our democracy was real? Why didn't they illuminate our constitutional crisis? Why did those in academia commit intellectual treason? They traded their intellectual integrity and autonomy for tenure, publishing contracts, lecture fees, research grants and coveted deanships or college presidencies.

Why did the press render the poor and the working poor invisible? Why did it walk away from its role as the investigator of corruption and abuse of power? Why did it become a courtier to the elites? Why did it measure the success of its broadcasts and publications solely by the profits produced? Why did it refuse to give a platform to critics of corporate capitalism and imperial war? Why did it serve as an echo chamber for the arms industry and Wall Street? Why did it hide behind the fiction of neutrality and objectivity? Why did it debase reporting to quoting establishment experts—most of whom lied—in order to stay within the narrow confines of opinion sanctioned by the power elites? Why did the press obscure the truth?

Where were the great moral and religious truth tellers? Why did they use the language of identity politics as a substitute for the language of social justice? Why did they refuse to condemn as heretics those on the Christian right, which fused the symbols of the state with those of the Christian religion? Why did they collaborate with the evil of corporate capitalism? Why did they retreat into churches and synagogues, establishing exclusive social clubs, rather than fight the injustice outside their doors? Why did they abandon the poor? Why did they replace prophetic demands for justice with cloying political correctness and personal piety?

The desiccation of our liberal institutions ensured the demise of our capitalist democracy. History has amply demonstrated what was to come next. The rot and political paralysis vomited up a con artist as president along with an array of half-wits, criminals and racist ideologues. They will manufacture scapegoats as their gross ineptitude and unachievable promises are exposed. They will fan the flames of white supremacy and racial and religious bigotry. They will use all the tools of legal and physical control handed to them by our system of "inverted totalitarianism" to crush even the most tepid forms of dissent.

The last constraints will be removed by a crisis. The crisis will be used to create a climate of fear. The pretense of democracy will end.

"A fascism of the future—an emergency response to some still unimagined crisis—need not resemble classical fascism perfectly in its outward signs and symbols," Robert Paxton writes in "The Anatomy of Fascism." "Some future movement that would 'give up free institutions' in order to perform the same functions of mass mobilization for the reunification, purification, and regeneration of some troubled group would undoubtedly call itself something else and draw on fresh symbols. That would not make it any less dangerous."

Our ruling mafia will use the crisis much as the Nazis did in 1933 when the Reichstag was burned. It will publish its own version of the "Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State." The U.S. Constitution will be in effect suspended. Personal freedom, including freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom to organize and freedom of assembly, will be abolished. Privacy will be formally eradicated. Search warrants will be unnecessary. America's emergency decrees will cement into place what largely exists now. When they come, the loss of freedoms will be openly acknowledged and made permanent.

Anyone who is not white or "loyal" will be attacked, first verbally and then physically. Everyone will be constantly watched. The prisons will swell. Militarized police will no longer be confined to operating in marginal communities. Lethal, indiscriminant force by the state will be common. The courts will condemn with little or no evidence. The press will utterly unplug itself from reality and speak to us as if we lived in a functioning democracy.  Academics will burrow deeper into their holes of obtuse jargon and quantitative irrelevance. The last remnants of our labor unions will be crushed. Religious institutions, as silent about the evils of corporate capitalism as Goldman Sachs, will take the safe route of spirituality and piety rather than social justice. The lawyers, courts and law schools will serve the law even when the law overturns our constitutional rights by judicial fiat and is a tool of naked repression. Hollywood and the rest of mass entertainment will churn out the usual tawdry fare of sexually explicit and violence-drenched spectacles. The military "virtues" of hypermasculinity and patriarchy will be celebrated.

There will be rebels. They will live in the shadows. They will be the renegade painters, sculptors, poets, writers, journalists, musicians, actors, dancers, organizers, activists, mystics, intellectuals and other outcasts who are willing to accept personal sacrifice. They will not surrender their integrity, creativity, independence and finally their souls. They will speak the truth. The state will have little tolerance of them. They will be poor. The wider society will be conditioned by mass propaganda to write them off as parasites or traitors. They will keep alive what is left of dignity and freedom. Perhaps one day they will rise up and triumph. But one does not live in poverty and on the margins of society because of the certainty of success. One lives like that because to collaborate with radical evil is to betray all that is good and beautiful. It is to become a captive. It is to give up the moral autonomy that makes us human. The rebels will be our hope.

WARNING! from Robert Reich: Demagogue Trump Is Already Controlling Media


The people who voted for him won't mind that he is controlling the media. By their votes for this crazy conman, they have shown they want a demagogue in control of our country. Trump is an uncontrollable loose cannon, and the Republicans, including his own Vice-President Pence, know it.  This bizarre narcissist, in his rage at Jill Stein's recount effort, is, by his own Tweeting words, already nullifying the election he won! It would all be humorous, if it weren't so tragically dangerous for us and the world. Robert Reich is our truth teller:

Trump's Seven Techniques to Control the Media

by Robert Reich | November 28, 2016 

— from Robert Reich's Blog

Democracy depends on a free and independent press, which is why all tyrants try to squelch it. They use seven techniques that, worryingly, President-elect Donald Trump already employs.

1. Berate the media. Last week, Trump summoned two-dozen TV news anchors and executives to the twenty-fifth floor of Trump Tower to berate them for their reporting about him during the election. For twenty minutes he railed at what he called their "outrageous" and "dishonest" coverage. According to an attendee, "Trump kept saying, 'we're in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong,'" and he called CNN a "network of liars." He accused NBC of using unflattering pictures of him, demanding to know why they didn't use "nicer" pictures.

Another person who attended the meeting said Trump "truly doesn't seem to understand the First Amendment. He thinks we are supposed to say what he says and that's it."

2. Blacklist critical media. During the campaign, Trump blacklisted news outlets whose coverage he didn't approve of. In June he pulled The Washington Post'scredentials. "Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post," read a post on Trump's Facebook page.

After the election Trump agreed to meet with the New York Times and then suddenly cancelled the meeting when he didn't like the terms, tweeting "Perhaps a new meeting will be set up with the @nytimes. In the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!" (He then reversed himself again and met with the Times.)

3. Turn the public against the media. Trump refers to journalists as "lying," "dishonest," "disgusting" and "scum." Referring to the journalists at his rallies, Trump said, "I hate some of these people," adding (presumably in response to allegations of Vladimir Putin's treatment of dissident journalists) "but I'd never kill 'em."

He questions the press's motives, claiming, for example, that The Washington Post wrote negative things about him because its publisher, Jeffrey Bezos, a founder of Amazon, "thinks I would go after him for antitrust." When the New York Timeswrote that his transition team was in disarray, Trump tweeted that the newspaper was "just upset that they looked like fools in their coverage of me" during the presidential campaign.

4. Condemn satirical or critical comments. Trump continues to condemn the coverage he's received from NBC's "Saturday Night Live." In response to Alex Baldwin's recent portrayal of him as overwhelmed by the prospect of being president, Trump tweeted that it was a "totally one-sided, biased show – nothing funny at all. Equal time for us?"

When Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who plays Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical "Hamilton," read from the stage a message to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience – expressing fears about the pending Trump administration for the "diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations" on the cast – Trump responded angrily. He tweeted that Pence had been "harassed," and insisted that the cast and producers of the show, "which I hear is highly overrated," apologize.

5. Threaten the media directly. Trump said he plans to change libel laws in the United States so that he can have an easier time suing news organizations. "One of the things I'm going to do if I win … I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money."

During the campaign, Trump specifically threatened to sue the Times for libel in response to an article that featured two women accusing him of touching them inappropriately years ago. Trump claimed the allegations were false, and his lawyer demanded that the newspaper retract the story and issue an apology. Trump also threatened legal action after the Times published and wrote about part of his 1995 tax return.

6. Limit media access. Trump hasn't had a news conference since July. He has blocked the media from traveling with him, or even knowing whom he's meeting with. His phone call with Vladimir Putin, which occurred shortly after the election, was first reported by the Kremlin.

This is highly unusual. In 2000, President-elect George W. Bush called a press conference three days after the Supreme Court determined the outcome of the election. In 2008, President-elect Obama also meet with the press three days after being elected.

7. Bypass the media and communicate with the public directly. The American public learns what Trump thinks through his tweets. Shortly after the election, Trump released a video message outlining some of the executive actions he plans to take on his first day in office.

Aids say Trump has also expressed interest in continuing to hold the large rallies that became a staple of his candidacy. They say he likes the instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provide.

The word "media" comes from "intermediate" between newsmakers and the public. Responsible media hold the powerful accountable by asking them hard questions and reporting on what they do. Apparently Trump wants to eliminate such intermediaries.

Historically, these seven techniques have been used by demagogues to erode the freedom and independence of the press. Even before he's sworn in, Trump seems intent on doing exactly this.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Trump Ornament for Your Christmas Tree from Better to Laugh than Cry Department

Only $243 -- Will give you some laughs along with lots of tears.  Sure to be on every right-wing Christmas tree, but beware of its strange powers....

http://www.scarymommy.com/the-reviews-on-trumps-make-america-great-again-ornament-are-your-new-favorite-thing/?utm_source=FBOnsite

Should be read by all: The Emperor Has No Clothes, but the Media Is Pretending and Normalizing Him

Already Happening: Media Normalization of Trumpism

His polls numbers will...improve. The international community will...come around. Melania and Ivanka will be...unorthodox but charming. Brace yourselves for a huge media fail.

11.26.16 

In the children's short story "The Emperor's New Clothes," by Hans Christian Andersen, what kept the fiction of the naked emperor's sartorial splendor alive was nothing in particular about the emperor. True, he was vain and plainly foolish; easily tricked by the false flattery of swindlers into paying a kingly sum for a cloak so fine and magical that only the wise and true could see it. But it was the people of the kingdom, including his trusted advisers, who maintained the absurd notion that he was splendidly clothed, because none – the emperor included – wanted to admit that they were so unworthy as to not see the bright colors and fine threads. 

Only the characteristic bluntness of a child, who proclaimed the emperor's nudity as he paraded through the streets humiliating himself and his kingdom, threatened to break the spell. But when the boy spoke out he was quickly rebuked by his father, who assured the gasping public that the child was clearly soft in the head. So powerful is the compulsion to normalize the powerful.

With Donald Trump about to ascend to the White House, the media risk being tamed by their devotion to access and the belligerencies of the notoriously vengeful resident of Trump Tower and his right-wing wrecking crew of a team. We face a singular test, both as a profession and as a country: will we allow ourselves to see what we see, or will we mentally drape the naked emperor in our midst?

Trump is beset by clear and alarming conflicts between his international business concerns and the national interest. In just the two weeks since the voters delivered him a narrow Electoral College victory, he has openly met with his Indian business partners; put his daughter on the phone with foreign leaders; dangled an unavailable ambassadorship to his UK political doppelganger Nigel Farage and simultaneously pushed Farage to help kill a wind farm project that would mar his Scottish golf course view. His leased D.C. hotel inside the old Post Office has become a prime destination for those seeking a way to curry favor with the incoming president by sliding their credit cards and at checkout time. 

Real questions are being raised about possible violations of the Constitution's emoluments clause, and there's more to come. Trump is battling Washington D.C. over taxes owed by the hotel, which he leases from the same federal government he will soon lead. The LPGA will in months host a golf tournament on a course branded with the president's name. Trump remains the subject of numerous lawsuits, ongoing questions about his self-dealing "charity," and an alleged IRS audit (he will soon appoint the head of the agency). He only recently (and allegedly) divested himself of a substantial investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline that he will soon have a hand in resolving through his command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And there are lingering questions as to whether he sexually harassed or assaulted women, and perhaps more to the point: how many.

And these are just a handful of the personal and legal quagmires he faces.

Add to that the alarming consensus of experts regarding extensive Russian interference in the U.S. election through the pumping of fake news and propaganda into the country's digital bloodstream, and the unprecedented intervention of the FBI within two weeks of the voting, and serious questions of basic legitimacy shroud the incoming president, who lost the popular vote by more than 2 million votes and counting. 

And despite Jill Stein's self-promotional foray into machine-rigging conspiracy theories, which happen to distract from real questions about voter disenfranchisement and suppression, Trump is likely to survive the three-state recount challenges. The Electoral College is unlikely to take the advice of legal scholars who have called on them to choose the person who got millions more votes to be the president.

Trump will, barring circumstances that are at this stage unforeseeable, be sworn in as the country's 45th president on January 20. 

The worst case scenario for the next four years is daunting: a country sinking into kleptocracy, with its natural resources, parks and lands carved up and sold off by Trump and his billionaire cabinet to the highest bidder with fat tax credits to boot; Medicare and other beloved social safety net programs dismantled along with Obamacare and its protections for 20 million people; a Justice Department sowing fear rather than confidence in communities of color; terrified immigrants and Muslims relying on Democratic mayors as their only shield; and an international community left horrified by an America that seems to have lost both its soul and its mind.

If that's what's coming, beware of the fictions that are sure to come with it; little lies that salve your discontent, but that obscure the realities that become more and more unpopular to speak of.

Donald Trump will enter office as the most unpopular incoming president since Gallup began keeping track with Harry Truman; and the only one to enter with a negative approval rating. For comparison, Barack Obama entered office with an approval rating of 68 percent and a +41 positive spread. George W. Bush, even after the disputed 2000 election, came in at 59 percent favorable. That was one point higher than Bill Clinton managed in 1992, and with just 36 percent viewing Obama unfavorably. Had Hillary Clinton been on her way to the White House, you would have been reminded of her negative approval ratings – which were not as bad as Trump's – every day. 

Instead, you may now be told that Trump's "improvement" from a historically dismal 34 percent favorability to an equally unprecedented 42 percent favorable, 55 percent unfavorable is "good news." 

Trump is reviled around the world. British television openly derided him as the "pussy grabber" when I visited there last week. He is the object of mockery and loathing. While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both inspired confidence across Europe, Trump did and does not. Under President Obama, America's image in the world improved dramatically, and he maintains high ratings at home and abroad. Much of the world looks on in horror on what America's undemocratic system has wrought, and they're clinging to Germany's Angela Merkel as the new leader of the West. 

You, however, may be told that the international community is coming around to Trump; a few foreign trips by him or his secretary of state and he'll be fine. You may be asked to believe that somehow and suddenly, an inner statesman who hasn't shown himself in 70 years will crawl out of Trump's enormous frame.

presented with the idea that his presence does not befoul the White House, when it does. The racially hostile views of Sessions, Kobach, Giuliani, and Trump himself may begin to fad into bland obscurity.


You may be asked, over the next four years, to accept things you never dreamed would be acceptable, and to turn a blind eye to vulgarity and hypocrisy and failure. You'll be sold the pageantry of presidential succession, along with lighthearted stories about Melania's New York shopping sprees or Ivanka's parenting tips. Long forgotten will be questions about the former's immigration lies or the fact that potentially any world leader has seen photographs of the first lady naked; or about the many times the latter has been the object of prurient commentary by her father. Religious leaders will grin and embrace the Trump presidency as if it was blessed by God almighty, even as they hover over bill signings designed to consign women and gays back to second class status and ignore the Biblical admonition  to see to the poor, the widow and the orphan.

You may be asked to look away; to pretend it's all good, as foreign interests feed Trump with flattery and graft. Russia's Vladimir Putin will likely be first in line to ooh and ahh at our emperor's brilliant new clothes; the better to have his way around the world.

To be sure, some media, traditional and not, will also present you with the unvarnished truth; there are good, solid journalists out there still doing the work. But traditional media are bending under the weight of fake news and meme culture. And the tug of normalization is powerful; even pleasing, when reality is unthinkable. The urge to look away, to pretend to see fine threads when the king comes strolling by, with his bare belly jutting out, can be irresistible.

For the good of the country, here's hoping enough people resist.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

MY GOD, WHAT HAVE WE DONE?


My God, what have we done?
by P.M. Carpenter | November 23, 2016

I'm still down, physically down (emotionally? — that's a given), and I haven't the energy to do much more than highlight a few of the disordered thoughts of America's imminent catastrophe, as captured in a NYT interview yesterday. ("I don't care about anything having to do with anything having to do with anything other than the country," eloquently said the sexual predator who just effectively lost a $25 million fraud case, as well as the popular vote, who has defrauded the IRS, who has encouraged domestic violence, who wants to "bomb the shit" out of civilians overseas, who has insulted every minority and assorted others, and who won't release his tax returns.)

The revealed workings, as it were, of DJT's shambolic mind are even more horrifying than they were a year ago, before American democracy decided to take an extended break from prudence and rationality. The following presidential "thinking" is what the electorate's holiday from conscience has earned them. It's so absurd, no interjected comments are necessary.

TRUMP: As far as the, you know, potential conflict of interests, though, I mean I know that from the standpoint, the law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can't have a conflict of interest. That's been reported very widely. Despite that, I don't want there to be a conflict of interest anyway. And the laws, the president can't. And I understand why the president can't have a conflict of interest now because everything a president does in some ways is like a conflict of interest…. [T]he president of the United States is allowed to have whatever conflicts he wants.

And there was this:

REPORTER: The Times [reported] in the past 24 hours about meeting with leaders of Brexit about wind farms …

TRUMP: About meeting with who?

REPORTER: Leaders of Brexit about wind farms that might interfere with the views of your golf course …

TRUMP: Was I involved with the wind farms recently? Or, not that I know of. I mean, I have a problem with wind …

REPORTER: But you brought it up in the meeting, didn't you?

TRUMP: Which meeting? I don't know. I might have.

REPORTER: With leaders of Brexit.

MANY VOICES: With Farage.

TRUMP: Oh, I see. I might have brought it up. But not having to do with me, just I mean, the wind is a very deceiving thing…. I don't think they work at all without subsidy, and that bothers me, and they kill all the birds.

And this:

REPORTER: What do you make of the website [that Steve Bannon] ran, Breitbart?

TRUMP: The which?

REPORTER: Breitbart.

TRUMP: Well, Breitbart's different. Breitbart covers things, I mean like The New York Times covers things.

And, this:

REPORTER: And on torture? Where are you — and waterboarding?

TRUMP: So, I met with General Mattis, who is a very respected guy. In fact, I met with a number of other generals, they say he's the finest there is. He is being seriously, seriously considered for secretary of defense, which is — I think it's time maybe, it's time for a general…. I met with him at length and I asked him that question. I said, what do you think of waterboarding? He said — I was surprised — he said, "I've never found it to be useful." He said, "I've always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture." And I was very impressed by that answer. I was surprised, because he's known as being like the toughest guy. And when he said that, I'm not saying it changed my [mind]. Look, we have people that are chopping off heads and drowning people in steel cages and we're not allowed to waterboard. But I'll tell you what, I was impressed by that answer. It certainly does not — it's not going to make the kind of a difference that maybe a lot of people think. If it's so important to the American people, I would go for it. I would be guided by that. But General Mattis found it to be very less important, much less important than I thought he would say.

***

Congratulations, America. Your singular achievement of 2016 has been to make James Buchanan look decisive, and George W. Bush look like a genius.

Trump is a MINORITY President - Don't Let ANYONE Forget It!


http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/george-lakoff/69991/a-minority-president-trump-why-the-polls-failed-and-what-the-majority-can-do

A Minority President Trump: Why the Polls Failed and What the Majority Can Do
by George Lakoff | November 23, 2016

1: The American Majority

Hillary Clinton won the majority of votes in this year's presidential election. More than TWO MILLION of them!

The loser, for the majority of voters, will now be a minority president-elect. Don't let anyone forget it. Keep referring to Trump as the minority president, Mr. Minority and the overall Loser. Constant repetition, with discussion in the media and over social media, questions the legitimacy of the minority president to ignore the values of the majority. The majority, at the very least, needs to keep its values in the public eye and view the minority president's action through majority American values.

The polls failed and the nation needs to know why. The pollsters and pundits have not given a satisfactory answer.

I will argue that the nature of mind is not a mere technical issue for the cognitive and brain sciences, but that it had everything to do with the outcome of the 2016 election — and the failure of the pollsters, the media, and Democrats to predict it. They were not alone. The public needs to understand better how the human mind works in general — but especially in politics. There is a lot to know. Let us go step by step.

2: The Mind

I am a cognitive scientist. I study the human mind. Our minds are neural minds. The mind is physical, constituted by the neural circuitry of our brains and bodies. Most thought is unconscious, since we don't have conscious access to our neural circuitry. Conscious thought is a small part of thought — estimates by neuroscientists vary between a general "most" to as much as 98%, with consciousness as the tip of the mental iceberg. We do know that people tend to make decisions unconsciously before becoming consciously aware of them. How the neural unconscious functions in decision-making is vitally important for politics.

3. Worldviews and Worldview Differences

Our fixed worldviews are made up of complex ideas carried our by relatively fixed neural circuitry. Our worldviews determine how we think the world operates, as well as how we think it should operate. In short, our worldviews are constituted by neural circuitry for what we understand as normal, and what we take as right and wrong.

There are, of course, radical differences in worldview, and we see those differences in politics, religion, culture, and so on.

Here is the crucial fact about worldview differences: We can only understand what our brain circuitry allows us to understand. If facts don't fit the worldviews in our brains, the facts may not even be noticed — or they may be puzzling, or ignored, or rejected outright, or if threatening, attacked. All of these happen in politics. A global warming denier does not say, "I am denying science." The facts just don't fit his worldview and don't make sense to him or her. In short, the neural system characterizing a dominant fixed worldview will act as a Neural Filter, letting in only what fits.

Consider some all too real examples.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Trump Can't Stop Tweeting His Anger of ANY kind of criticism


Trump's narcissistic thin skin and inability to overlook (or accept and take to heart!!!) criticism is a character flaw of immense proportions. It will cost him --and us-- dearly in his "deals" with other countries.  I only pray our country will survive his non-stewardship, as he tweets his nightly angst throughout his presidency, in our version of Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

Donald Trump just can't drop his beef with "Saturday Night Live."

The president-elect took time out from the important job of preparing for office to again blast the comedy sketch show over its portrayal of him.

Here's what Trump tweeted on Sunday morning:

While Trump did not directly refer to Baldwin's depiction of him in his latest outburst, the actor did reprise his role of Trump for the first time since the election on Saturday night's show.

It led some bewildered Twitter users to speculate whether Baldwin's impression of the incoming POTUS as being completely out of his depth touched a nerve. Others questioned why Trump, who actually hosted the show in November 2015, was commenting on it at all.