Saturday, December 31, 2016

Another Putin Deadender

We had Rep. Yoho the other day.

Trent Franks, you're up.

With this in mind, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), a far-right Donald Trump ally for most of 2016, appeared on MSNBC earlier today and echoed Putin’s talking point:

“I’m all for doing what’s necessary to protect the election here, but there’s no suggestion that Russia hacked into our voting systems or anything like that. If anything, whatever they may have done, was to try to use information in a way that may have affected something that they believe was in their best interest.

“But the bottom line, if they succeeded – if Russia succeeded – in giving the American people information that was accurate, then they merely did what the media should have done.” 

Who are you going to believe Vlad Putin or your lyin' eyes 17 U.S. intelligence agencies?

A couple of follow-up questions for the congressman:

1. If Mexico had broken into RNC computers and Paul Manafort’s email to steal materials, embarrass Republicans, and help put Hillary Clinton in the White House, would Trent Franks have a cavalier attitude about international espionage?

2. If Franks’ own system were targeted in a cyber-attack during his re-election campaign, and his foes published genuine materials stolen from his computer to help elect his opponent, would he be equally quick to declare that the “bottom line” is that the hackers gave voters “information that was accurate”?

Would Trump be so quick to want to sweep this under the rug if it was equally obvious the Russians had worked to elect Hillary Clinton? 

How Do You Square This Circle

I've been wondering for sometime how Trump is both going to get along with his BFF Vlad and also be tough on those nasty Iranians. 

If Trump follows through on his vow to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal, he won't find a receptive audience in Moscow. Putin's government brokered the deal with the U.S., Iran and other world powers and has no intention of slapping sanctions back on Iran.


Tina Fey for Emperor in 2020

This is the most incredible article pointing out why we leftists must run Fey not just for president, but for emperor.

Against immense odds, Bonaparte and Fey evolved into revolutionary leaders in their respective arenas, yet never felt fully satisfied with their glories. 

Just go read it all. It's just eerie. 


Trump Party Begins in Argyle

If you were wondering where the party of Trump would begin look no further. It's in Argyle.

Kelly Eustis of Argyle announced he is launching donaldFWD, an independent national political action committee to promote the policies of President-elect Donald Trump and to support like-minded candidates in 2018 congressional races. 

I'm just going to go with the comment I left at the PS site.

As a Democrat, I can't support this effort strongly enough.

Before I forget, let me point out that he lost by almost 3 million votes and his disapproval is higher than any president-elect in recent memory. Moving on.

Trump has no policies to promote. Please name a few. The wall that Mexico is going to pay for. The one with the big, beautiful door. The 11 million people he's going to deport. The Muslim registry. The 35% or bigger tariff on goods from China and Mexico. Throwing 20 million people off their health insurance. That includes me, BTW. Crony capitalism (thanks for that assessment, Grizzly Mama) like the carrier deal. Sucking up to Vlad Putin.

Trump was a Democrat most of his life. He has no principles either political or moral. I'd be glad to see as many Republicans as possible tie themselves to him. He had coattails in the last election that carried a lot of GOPers into office. He gave Elise a good boost to 63%. I have to admit that. I don't see it as a good long-term play, tho.  

And I'll give the closing statement to Walter Sobchak. 

Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

Friday, December 30, 2016

End on a Positive Note

Thanks E. J. Dionne. This feels better after "We're screwed."

“Hope,” he argued, “is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.”

It is this spirit that began to take hold almost immediately after Trump’s election. Americans in large numbers, particularly the young, quickly realized that the coming months and years will require new and creative forms of political witness and organization.

Bring it on home.

It is also useful that Republicans will be put through a series of tests. If they fail to apply to Trump the same ethical standards they demanded of Hillary Clinton, voters will notice. The Republicans’ claims to fiscal prudence will be exposed as fiction if they follow through on pledges to combine large tax cuts, mostly for the rich, with big increases in military spending.

For the past six years, Republicans have been able to pass radical budgets through the House to satisfy their ideological enthusiasts, knowing their policies would never become law. They claim to be pleased that they can now enact their full agenda on shrinking Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs. But as their plans move closer to reality, voters — including Trump’s supporters — will start counting the costs. In large numbers, they will find them too high.

Lastly, it’s hard to imagine a president more likely to inspire Obama Nostalgia than Donald Trump.

Three weeks to go. Sharpen up those pitchforks. 

Patient, Heal Thyself

I'm really afraid we're screwed on health-care no matter what. And I do try to be so positive.

American health-care spending, measured in trillions of dollars, boggles the mind. Last year, we spent $3.2 trillion on health care -- a number so large that it can be difficult to grasp its scale.

I really believe that we have to take more responsibility for our own health. Feel like Paul Ryan saying that. We're just chasing our tails otherwise. 

"Few public health dollars focus on lifestyle conditions that ultimately contribute to the majority of chronic illnesses seen today," Emanuel wrote. Low back and neck pain, for example, ranked low on the list of public health expenditures with $140 million in public health funding, but high on the list of health-care spending. Tobacco control received $340 million in public health spending, but smoking contributes to several diseases that drive health-care spending.

Money spent on educating people to adopt healthier lifestyles might be better spent. Less meat, less dairy, less sugar, less fat. Of course, the government now subsidizes many of those same things. That's why we're screwed.

President Tweety Ain't Gonna Like It

He's not really so keen on being satirized. That's unfortunate since he seems to be a walking caricature.

Throughout the 2016 presidential election, Oliver and other comedians like Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, and Samantha Bee offered respite to millions of Americans from an especially fraught political season.

President-elect Trump, however, doesn’t seem to be a fan of political satire. He recently tweeted that Alec Baldwin’s bombastic, puffy-lipped impersonation of him on Saturday Night Live was “unwatchable,” and that Vanity Fair’s editor has “no talent” after the magazine published a comedic review of Trump Grill calling the restaurant – and its owner – “a cheap version of rich.”

So, while you may think it's going to be a long 4 years for you. It's going to be a long 4 years for Trump, too. 

He has threatened to “open up” libel laws during his campaign, criticized leading publications for publishing content he disagrees with, and has yet to hold a press conference since his victory in November.

Yeah, good luck with "opening up" the libel laws. Man up, Twitter King.

“We need satire when we don’t have good journalism,” adds Baym. “They fill the same function of information and critique. ‘Speaking truth to power’ is a cliche but there is great power to it – it’s why free speech is the First Amendment. A democracy needs this open expression.”

And an outside voice holding Trump accountable is especially necessary now, says Amber Day, an expert on political satire at Bryant University in Rhode Island.

“There is the danger of reporting on President Trump the way that the press reports,” says Dr. Day. “It would normalize his policies in a way they should not be normalized. Satirists point out things that aren’t normal.”

Any chance we could have the satire and good journalism?

Baym agrees. And, he adds, the more Trump tries to suppress criticism, the more satirists will do their job and send barbs his direction.

Let the slings and arrows fly!

Eulogy For Carrie Fisher

I wasn't a fan of Star Wars or Carrie Fisher so much. Mary Ann Evans was. Really enjoyed this tribute she wrote and I am going to take a look at some of Ms. Fisher's writings now.

She was a princess, a senator and a general, and her unflinching competence inspired rebel soldiers, starry-eyed dreamers and scruffy-looking smugglers to trust her with their lives. Swashbuckling Jedi did her bidding.

Congressman Dead-Ender on Russian Hacking

Can't believe this guy isn't on Putin's payroll. Obama is doing some fine trolling on his way out of office. He now has congresspeople jumping into bed with the Russians. 

"I'm not defending Russia. Trust me."

No, I don't trust you congressman. I don't trust anyone who has to ask me to trust them. It's rule number one in bullshit detection.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Quote of the Day:"100% of the money goes to wonderful charities"

Here's an article by David Fahrenthold discussing the wonderful charities Trump's money went to. Can't see why he wanted to shut it down. The foundation is doing God's work.

Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire's for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents. 

If God was red with horns and long pointy tail.

In one case, from 2007, Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Florida, resulting from a dispute over the height of a flagpole.

In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines – if Trump's club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans. Instead, Trump sent a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded almost entirely by other people's money, according to tax records.

So, he not only used money from the foundation to send to a veteran's charity, but got a discount of $20,000.

In another case, court papers say one of Trump's golf courses in New York agreed to settle a lawsuit by making a donation to the plaintiff's chosen charity. A $158,000 donation was made by the Trump Foundation, according to tax records.

The actual fine isn't listed in this case. Oh wait, here it is

In 2010, a man named Martin Greenberg won a hole-in-one contest at one at one of Trump’s golf courses in Westchester County, New York during a charity tournament. On the 13th hole, he hit a hole-in-one, according to the Washington Post, winning a $1 million prize. The rules stipulated that the ball had to travel 150 yards, but the golf course said the hole was short of that, and he won nothing, according to the Post. Greenberg sued. The golf course agreed to settle the case that would have required it to make a donation to a charity, but instead, the Trump Foundation donated $158,000 to a foundation in Greenberg’s name, the report said.

As I always say, Trump isn't only a crook, he's a petty crook. With that in mind, back to the Fahrenthold article.

The other expenditures involved smaller amounts. In 2013, Trump used $5,000 from the foundation to buy advertisements touting his chain of hotels in programs for three events organized by a District of Columbia preservation group. And in 2014, Trump spent $10,000 of the foundation's money for a portrait of himself bought at a charity fundraiser.

Or, rather, another portrait of himself.

Several years earlier, Trump had used $20,000 from the Trump Foundation to buy a different, six foot-tall portrait.

Uh, narcissistic, petty crook. 

"I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I've never encountered anything so brazen," said Jeffrey Tenenbaum, who advises charities at the Venable law firm in Washington. After The Washington Post described the details of these Trump Foundation gifts, Tenenbaum described them as "really shocking."

"If he's using other people's money – run through his foundation – to satisfy his personal obligations, then that's about as blatant an example of self-dealing [as] I've seen in a while," Tenenbaum said.

Well, Trump is the best brazen, narcissistic crook. What's the Trump campaign have to say?

The Trump campaign released a statement about this story late Tuesday that said it was "peppered with inaccuracies and omissions," though the statement cited none and the campaign has still not responded to repeated requests for comment.

Yes, just bullshit. And let's not forget the bribe donation to Pam Bondi.

In 2013, for instance, the foundation gave $25,000 to a political group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R). That gift was made about the same time that Bondi's office was considering whether to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University. It didn't.

You know, I actually had forgotten about the signed Tebow helmet.

In 2012, for instance, Trump spent $12,000 of the foundation's money to buy a football helmet signed by then-NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.

This is going to be the most corrupt presidency ever.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

In Our New York Deplorable Basket

Couldn't let this pass. Carl Paladino has been deplorable since day one.

President-elect Donald Trump's transition team on Friday disavowed comments made by Trump's New York campaign co-chair Carl Paladino wishing that first lady Michelle Obama would "return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla."

That statement, along with Paladino's hope that President Barack Obama dies of mad cow disease after "being caught having relations with" a cow, sparked outrage on Friday from community members in Paladino's home city of Buffalo and across the state, who charged that the comments are racist, among other things.

Trump himself was too busy tweeting about restarting the arms race or attacking SNL or staring at his reflection to comment. 

Meet My Future Gulagmate

I think Pat Bagley is a prime candidate for the Trump Gulags. If The Donnie got upset with someone showing a photo of his extra chins, he's really not going to like this stunningly accurate depiction of his flabs of steel. 

Because I'm Sick of Writing About Trump

     I'd like to respond to a letter of Dr. Harvey's that ran awhile back. He mostly focused on tobacco use. But he did say, "Chronic diseases account for seven out of every 10 deaths annually in the U.S. and more than 85 percent of health-care costs." The behavior change I'd like to suggest is one that folks might be more receptive to after the holidays; in the resolution season. Give veganism a chance.
     I could play on your guilt over how badly animals that feed you are treated. Some may be swayed by that, and if you want to explore it, there's plenty to see online. In case the suffering of other sentient beings is not enough: be selfish. Eliminate meat and dairy because it's a good way to help avoid diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and on and on. And you'll look better because you'll lose weight. Let me recommend a wonderful documentary and website, "Forks Over Knives."
     But wait, wait; that's not all. You'll not only be saving the lives of innocent animals, and maybe your own, but also the planet. The damage done to the Earth by the meat industry exceeds that of all transportation in the country. Watch "Cowspiracy," too.
     Eating meat is boring. When you discover how many fruits, grains and vegetables there are you'll realize what you've been missing. Even if you stick to garden burgers and tofu dogs, they're much better than they used to be. "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of the Earth (especially soybeans), and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you." Amen.

I didn't really respond to much of his letter other than the quote. Here's the link anyway. Thanks Doc, for giving me something to riff on.  

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christians in Name Only

Not that I agree with Russell Moore on much of anything. But, when you're right, you're right.

While deeply conservative on traditionally religious issues such as abortion, gay marriage and religious freedom, Moore was one of the few prominent evangelicals this election season to remain an outspoken critic of Donald Trump throughout the presidential campaign. He challenged the candidate on issues that seemed fairly obvious to any practicing Christian (the serial lying, immoral business practices, questionable sexual ethics, etc.) in surprising contrast to many others on the religious right who ignored or even made excuses for the candidate’s behavior.

The cognitive dissonance that's going to have to take place within the heads of any true Christian over the next 4 years will make their eyes spin like Linda Blair's. 

The criticism being leveled at Moore by his religious counterparts says more about what the evangelical establishment mistakenly values today than it does about anything that Moore has done wrong. And it misunderstands the true role that Christians could — and should — play in the public square under a president who is likely to be dismissive of their cause.

These Christians leveling criticism at him might want to take a look at the Sanhedrin

Really, what the majority of Moore’s statements have in common (apart from being, well, correct — at least according to traditional, values-first Christian teaching) is that they might offend those being criticized, the president-elect included. That, in turn, might result in — gasp — a loss of political power.

Yes, reportedly Trump actually attended a Christmas eve service. Hallelujah! 

But where Christian leaders should be seeking influence, especially in a rapidly secularizing society in which their views seem ever more countercultural, is in trying to remain a respected moral voice worth engaging with — not by setting aside their most distinctive values in a grab for shifting political power. The most persuasive religious leaders will be those who, like Russell Moore, remain distinguishable from everyone else. Attacking the most principled among themselves is an attack on Christians’ best chance for survival in the public square.



Wanted to mention this as well

“Currently, my guys say we are going to be able to put together about 200 people to participate in the march, which will be against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who supports either.

I don't expect to see the prez elect Tweeting about that anytime soon. He seems more interested in Jewish settlements in Palestinian areas than in Montana.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Pride Goeth Before the Fall

And I've experienced bubbles.

The final consumer sentiment reading from the University of Michigan for 2016 came in just below a 13-year high.

And it’s all about Donald Trump.

Consumer sentiment hit a 98.2 in December according to the UMich survey, the highest since January 2004.

Today's LOL

For years, Donald Trump has used a powerful tool when dealing with bankers: his personal guarantee.

No, really. Someone wrote that

Trump’s attorney general will inherit an investigation of Deutsche Bank related to stock trades for rich clients in Russia -- where Trump says he plans to improve relations -- and may have to deal with a possible multibillion-dollar penalty to the bank related to mortgage-bond investigations .

Not the Russians again.

Deutsche Bank also lends to Trump’s extended family, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Weeks before the election, the bank refinanced most of the $370 million of debt against retail spaces Kushner’s company owns in midtown Manhattan.

Three hundred million here. Three hundred seventy million there. It adds up.

Trump’s dealings with Wall Street stretch back decades to his attempt to build an Atlantic City casino empire. That badly timed push forced him to renegotiate with creditors when he couldn’t pay back billions of dollars in loans. His major backers in that era included Citbank, Chase Manhattan Bank and Bankers Trust -- a bank that was acquired by Deutsche Bank in 1999 -- and the debacle left a trail of angry lenders.

Probably fewer than the trail of angry voters there'll be in 4 years.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Run For Office

Nice site courtesy of TPM.

Have you ever thought about running for office, or know someone who should? You've come to the right place for the tools, skills, and knowledge you'll need.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Et Tu, Fox News

Courtesy of TPM:

Rules for Trump Dissidents

"A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda"

One Page Summary
Here’s the quick and dirty summary of this document. While this page summarizes top-level takeaways, the full document describes how to actually carry out these activities.

Ch. 1:  How grassroots advocacy worked to stop Obama. We examine lessons from the Tea Party’s rise and recommend two key strategic components:

  1. A local strategy targeting individual Members of Congress (MoCs).

2.                   A defensive approach purely focused on stopping Trump from implementing an agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.

Ch. 2: How your MoC thinks, and how to use that to save democracy. Reelection, reelection, reelection. MoCs want their constituents to think well of them and they want good, local press. They hate surprises, wasted time, and most of all, bad press that makes them look weak, unlikable, and vulnerable. You will use these interests to make them listen and act.

Ch. 3: Identify or organize your local group. Is there an existing local group or network you can join? Or do you need to start your own? We suggest steps to help mobilize your fellow constituents locally and start organizing for action.

Ch. 4: Four local advocacy tactics that actually work. Most of you have 3 MoCs--two Senators and one Representative. Whether you like it or not, they are your voice in Washington. Your job is to make sure they are, in fact, speaking for you. We’ve identified four key opportunity areas to pressure MoCs that just a handful of local constituents can use to great effect. For each of these always record encounters on video, prepare questions ahead of time, coordinate with your group, and report back to local media:
  1. Townhalls: MoCs regularly hold public in-district events to show that they are listening to constituents. Make them listen to you, and report out when they don’t.

2.                   Non-townhall events. MoCs love cutting ribbons and kissing babies back home. Don’t let them get photo-ops without questions about racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.

3.                   District office sit-ins/meetings. Every MoC has one or several district offices. Go there. Demand a meeting with the MoC. Report to the world if they refuse to listen.

4.                   Coordinated calls. Calls are a light lift but can have impact. Organize your local group to barrage your MoCs at an opportune moment and on a specific issue.

Wish I had a Democratic Rep to pass it on to.

Michael "Loose Lips" Flynn

The trouble with living in glass houses and all that.

A secret U.S. military investigation in 2010 determined that Michael T. Flynn, the retired Army general tapped to serve as national security adviser in the Trump White House, “inappropriately shared” classified information with foreign military officers in Afghanistan, newly released documents show.


The episode marked the second time in a year that Flynn had drawn official complaints for his handling of classified material.

Former U.S. officials said that Flynn had disclosed sensitive information to Pakistan in late 2009 or early 2010 about secret U.S. intelligence capabilities being used to monitor the Haqqani network, an insurgent group accused of repeated attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan. 

But it's OK if you're not Hillary Clinton. Maybe it's a magnitude thing.

Also, Robert Bateman at Esquire:

The depth of hubris this demonstrates from the man likely to be the next National Security Advisor is stunning. Intelligence officers and planning officers (as I once was) are unusually careful about what they say in a room filled with officers from other countries. Even if those countries are part of the ABCA relationship, one does not just toss out classified information—particularly that marked Top Secret or beyond.

Trump's people are going to make Dubya's administration look genius.

Future of Aleppo

Mostly just want to link to this for my own selfish future reference. From time to time I make the effort to figure out who's who and who's fighting whom.

With the fall of Aleppo, more than 80,000 mainstream rebels across Syria are at a strategic crossroads, facing three broad choices: go underground, join multinational operations against the Islamic State, or fight on under the ranks of hardline jihadist groups.

There is a quiz. I got 12 out 20 showing how little I know about it. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Oops for the Head of the Department of Energy

Is it a cabinet or a clown car? Notice which one got the link.

Donald Trump has chosen former Texas governor Rick (Oops) Perry to head the US Department of Energy, a transition official said, putting him in charge of the agency he proposed eliminating during his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Yes the video is at the link. 

The Daily Dissent

I had to call the post something. First up, John Cassidy at the New Yorker. BTW, I'll be looking forward to spending time with all these folks in the Trump-branded gulags to come. He points out something I've wondered about.

For any would-be authoritarian strongman, a lesson of history is that you can’t do it by yourself. To accumulate power and vanquish your opponents, you need powerful elements of the state—such as the police, the armed forces, senior politicians, and the judiciary—to go along with your designs, or at least to stand aside as you do as you will. 

So, does it make sense to piss off all the intelligence agencies? Yeah, Cassidy doesn't think so either. 

Trump made an enemy of the intelligence community. Many intelligence professionals had already been suspicious of him—because of his disregard for facts, and because of his embrace of the retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the National Security Adviser designate, whom some people in Washington regard as a conspiracy theorist. But this latest episode was something far more direct and personal. Never before has a President or President-elect spoken so dismissively of the C.I.A.

I suppose not to mention that Russia and Communism have been our enemies and the target of these agencies for the last 70 years and now Trump is being led by the nose by Putin. 

Appearing on “CBS This Morning,” Kellyanne Conway sidestepped the question of whether her boss accepts as fact that Russian hackers targeted U.S. political institutions and individuals, but declared that “absolutely, he trusts the intelligence community.” Seeking to shift the goalposts, Conway also said, “We don’t want foreign interference in our politics, but we also don’t want politics to interfere with our intelligence. That is what is happening now.”

Accusing them of being politicized is no better than calling them incompetent. Michael Hayden would agree.

How will this affect the new president’s relationship with the intelligence community?

A lot. And not well.

First is the question of how the incoming administration values intelligence. On Sunday, the president-elect again rejected the Russian role, adding that he was smart enough that he didn’t want or need a daily briefing.

This creates more than hurt feelings. The intelligence community makes great sacrifices, and CIA directors send people into harm’s way to learn things otherwise unavailable. And directors have seen stars carved on the agency’s memorial wall because of it. If what is gained is not used or wanted or is labeled as suspect or corrupt — by what moral authority does a director put his people at risk?

This is going to be must see TV.

More immediately, what will CIA Director-designate Mike Pompeo say during his confirmation hearings about this? He is not yet director, so he can fairly deflect any questions on the substance of this debate, for now. But every TV set at Langley will be turned on during his confirmation hearings, and his most important audience will not be the senators on the dais. His future workforce will be looking for clues about his willingness to defend them against charges of incompetence and politicization simply for saying what their craft tells them to be true.

Not you too, Michael Gerson.

Trump's blanket attack on the intelligence community for incompetence - as though he was still going after "Little Marco" or "Lying Ted" - is an insanely dangerous antic that materially undermines American security. Given the extraordinary range of threats faced by America - Chinese provocations in the South China Sea, Russian attempts to dominate neighboring countries, North Korea's progress toward nuclear-tipped missiles that could reach California - a mutual trust between the president and American intelligence services is essential. That relationship has already been seriously damaged.

No Comrade, I Don't Support the Яepublican Party

Love when a HHH writes to the Post Star. I was worried that Trump's unpopularity and the increasing evidence that he's Putin's Puppet would dissuade them. Not to worry, there are fellow travelers still out there.

You say that President-elect Trump will never be your president. The fact is, he is the country’s president. 

Da! That he is. For how long, who knows. If I was a Republican Senator I'd be preparing articles of impeachment the minute he takes his hand from what is sure to be a smoldering Bible. 

When your President Obama won two times as our country’s elected leader, we didn’t dream of doing any of these things. We sucked it up and tried harder the next time. We never asked for a costly, foolish recount, even though it would have shown a forgery was committed.

No, you only went around blathering about his not being born in this country and being a Muslim not a Christian and making racist photoshops and on and on. As Charles Pierce would say on that last part "assumes facts not in evidence."

I am in agreement with Don Sage when he says real Americans support Trump’s victory. Real Americans would jail Hillary for all her corruption to our great country. All you non-supporters are not true Americans. You don’t have to stay in America. If you choose to stay, be a real American and grow up.

I don't use the term humorless harpy of hate loosely. I am a true American and being a true American means protesting when a con man becomes president. And I may not be alone.

If the recent historical pattern holds, Trump's initial job approval rating after he takes office could be in the low 40% range. To date, the lowest initial job approval rating in Gallup's records is 51%, held by both Ronald Reagan in 1981 and George H.W. Bush in 1989.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Washington Post Stands Corrected

I love the lead-in. And here I've been running around all day thinking it was number 7.

Correction: An earlier version of this column stated incorrectly that Donald Trump's electoral college victory was the seventh largest of the past 10 presidential elections. It ranked eighth of the past 10 elections. This version has been updated.

I remember a sense of dread after Reagan was elected in 1980. It was nothing compared to this. 

The CIA’s finding that Vladimir Putin’s Russia actively intervened in our election to help Donald Trump explains why many of us are not simply disappointed or unhappy that Trump won. We are genuinely alarmed. And Trump’s cavalier response to these fears only deepens them.

When The Post revealed the CIA’s conclusions about Russia, Trump’s response was to insult the CIA, tell a lie about the size of his victory and act as if an election still very fresh in our minds were some sort of historical event dating back to the Pilgrims.

I wouldn't count on this, Rep. Schiff.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, was genuinely disturbed over how a pampered and privileged man so readily threw our intelligence officers under the bus to make a political point. “Perhaps, once he has taken office,” Schiff said, “Mr. Trump will go to CIA and look at the rows of memorial stars in the lobby — each representing a fallen officer — and reflect on his disparagement of the intelligence community’s work.”

That's not how sociopaths roll.

Is it paranoid to want to know whether Tillerson’s ties to Putin are why he is at the top of Trump’s list to be our top diplomat? Is it out of line to wonder, given Trump’s lack of transparency about his finances, what role Russia has played in his business empire? After all, his son Donald Trump Jr. said in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets” and added: “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Now more than ever, we need to know exactly what he was talking about.

Relics of a Bygone Age

Non Sequitur

OK, So I'm Speaking Up

My congresswoman recently gave an interview to an upstate paper. She had a habit of running away during the campaign when asked any tough questions. So, I'll submit mine in the form of a letter to the editor.

    I'm responding to the interview of Congresswoman Stefanik by the Watertown Daily Times. I agree that General James Mattis may be a good choice for Secretary of Defense. Reportedly, he has convinced President-elect Trump that torture is not an effective means of obtaining information. That's certainly to his credit. There is the issue of his requiring a waiver of the National Security Act to be confirmed, though. A better option might be his becoming National Security Adviser where he wouldn't need Senate approval.
   I wish Mr. Block had asked about Mike Flynn who is currently slotted for that role. This man has tweeted: "U decide - NYPD Blows Whistle on New Hillary Emails: Money Laundering, Sex Crimes w Children, etc...MUST READ!" Recently a gunman fired off a round as he was "investigating" a pizzeria linked to this nonsense. Mr. Flynn also supports fake news in Moscow. Last year, he sat next to Vladimir Putin at a celebration for Russia Today. That's a propaganda arm of the Kremlin.

     I'd like to know if Ms. Stefanik feels this man has the necessary judgment to advise the president on national security issues. I can't see that he has respect for truth or journalism in any country. As an independent voice in Congress, I'd like to see her working to overturn this selection. The district she represents is not one that is approving of conspiracy theorists or supporters of propaganda outlets for the president of Russia.

I'm looking forward to the first person I get to ask the question: "What would you if it was equally obvious that the Russians had helped Hillary to win?"

Good Advice and a Goodbye

Starting with the good advice from Charles Blow. Good advice from me is to at least try not to punch the next person saying "we need to give Trump a chance." Peace, yes; Trump no.

Nothing is safe or sacrosanct in Donald Trump’s developing governance team, and America had better start being alarmed about it and moving to actively oppose it.

The time for voting has elapsed, but the time for being vocal has emerged.

That sounds familiar. Oh yes Evan McMullin was giving that advice, too. 

You may have been on the losing side of this year’s election, but you are on the right side of history. In the final tally, courage will always defeat fear; love will always conquer hate; the beautiful diversity of America, and indeed all of humanity, will always outshine the darkness of racial enmity.

This is the reason I write, to remind people of honor and courage; to tell them that their cause isn’t lost, that their destiny is victory.

I always try to stay on the side of the angels. What does a founder have to say? That's always important. 

In a 1780 letter written to a fellow revolutionary considering “retiring into private life,” staunch abolitionist Samuel Adams — a man strongly opposed to slavery and therefore one of my favorite founders — wrote:

“If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experiencd Patriots to prevent its Ruin. There may be more Danger of this, than some, even of our well disposd Citizens may imagine. If the People should grant their Suffrages to Men, only because they conceive them to have been Friends to the Country, without Regard to the necessary Qualifications for the Places they are to fill, the Administration of Government will become a mere Farce, and our pub-lick Affairs will never be put on the Footing of solid Security.”

America needs you … now. Speak up.

And now the goodbye to someone who spoke up and spoke well. It seems I frequently don't know of someone until I see their obituary. It's bittersweet. 

West Virginia statesman and author Ken Hechler, whose seven-decade career included stints in the Truman White House and Congress, has died. He was 102.

There's so much that's good, just go read it all. I'd like to think he and John Glenn are tipping a few cold ones now. 

Hechler served nine terms in Congress, where he championed civil rights legislation and fought for coal mine safety, strip mine regulations and black lung compensation. He later served four terms as West Virginia’s secretary of state, becoming a common sight driving around Charleston in his trademark red Jeep.

There's much more. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dealing With Trump's Lies

Pics or it didn't happen!

President-elect Trump what evidence do you have that Russia was not involved in the hacking? What evidence is there that you are a smart person?

Nowhere To Go But Up

Actually, he still has 40% to lose.

Pew just published approval ratings for the last five presidents during their transition periods, with approval a) for explaining their policies and plans and b) for their cabinet choices. They are Bush 65/59, Clinton 62/64, Bush 50/58, Obama 72/71. For Trump they are 41/40.

What are they going to be a year and a half from now when lots of Republicans want to get re-elected? Elise Stefanik got 63% this time around riding Trump's coattails. We'll see how that works out in 2018.

He's picking a cabinet made of plutocrats campaign donors, a few conventional rightwing nominees and appointees but lots of people who are manifestly unqualified for their posts. And all this comes with public approval ratings which would be near the danger zone at any point in a president's term.

It's going to be an interesting 4 years. Oh wait, Trump said 8 years. Of course, the guy who predicted his win says he'll be impeached by his own party. I can see that. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Lord, I'm Linking to Jen Rubin

Well, rip off the band-aid. Here it is.

President-elect Donald Trump has — and has had for some time — a good list of qualified and confirmable nominees for secretary of state. In that group we would include Mitt Romney, John Bolton and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). 

Best we could hope for anyway.

Among the worst, the most preposterous, contenders is ExxonMobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson. How did he even get on Trump’s list? One theory is that Trump recently met with former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and former defense secretary Robert Gates, two principals in the RiceHadleyGates consulting firm that reportedly had been hired by Exxon. Another is that Trump and national security adviser-designee Mike Flynn’s Russia-toadying is at work here.

Rubin is starting to sound like a liberal. Truly a scary thing.

The only person who would like this nomination would be — you guessed it — Putin.

I can hear myself saying that. 

Tune In and Stay Tuned In

Margaret Sullivan has suggested that some have dropped out from following the news because of the bleak results of the recent election. Couldn't if I wanted. Need my fix.

They don’t want to hear the latest upsetting developments: For example, the president-elect has nominated for national security adviser a general who pushes conspiracy theories, and a climate change denier to head the EPA. And, separate from the news itself, many people don’t trust the media to be an impartial messenger.

How can anyone ignore stuff like that? It's better than fiction and so great to live in interesting times.

Evan McMullin, the former CIA operative who ran for president this year as an independent, has some good advice. He sees the president-elect as dangerous — with some of the same authoritarian behaviors as the dictatorial strongmen whose reigns he saw in his posts around the world.

Good? It's great! McMullin has 10 wonderful suggestions at the link. 

Be very vocal in every forum available to us when we observe Trump's violations of our rights and our democracy. Write, speak, act.

That's number 4 and my personal favorite, but it was hard to just choose one. 

Since You Put It That Way

He is a fascist.

I mean “fascist” in the more clinical sense. For close to a year, and especially since his election as president, people have been trying to figure out Trump’s political principles: What does he stand for, how will he act as president? 

I had been thinking of him as someone who had no political principles and certainly no moral ones. 

Trump actually does have a recognizable agenda that explains how he simultaneously can pander to big business generally while “strong-arming” (the words of a Post editorial Friday) an air conditioning manufacturer to save a few hundred jobs for a while. Or how he can make nice with the authoritarian Vladimir Putin while making bellicose foreign policy noises in general. Or how he can blithely upset with a phone call the absurdly delicate balance of our relations with China and Taiwan. All this seemingly erratic behavior can be explained — if not justified — by thinking of Trump as a fascist. Not in the sense of an all-purpose bad guy, but in the sense of somebody who sincerely believes that the toxic combination of strong government and strong corporations should run the nation and the world.

I hope Kinsley is wrong. 

Trump to the Rescue

In a month and a half or so. I was in a hurry to get it started. Since, President Obama has indicated he wants to look into the Russian hacking as thoroughly as possible, no hurry after all. But, the link is this.

The fight is the first sign of an emerging strategy for Democrats who are looking to force their Republican counterparts to respond to Trump’s campaign promises. Forcing the coal-country fight into the government spending debate allowed Democrats to publicly shame Republicans — although it’s unclear where Trump stands on the measure.

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer told reporters Thursday that the issue could easily unite Democrats and Trump.

I suppose that's possible. 

“I hope our new president-elect, who talked and got to know the miners, will speak out,” Schumer said. “We don’t care about partisanship.”

That's not and I'm good with it. You go, Chuck!

The Latest Man From Goldman

Looks like Trump found another Goldman Sachs executive in the swamp. What to do? Put him in charge of the National Economic Council.

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name a top Goldman Sachs executive, Gary Cohn, to lead the National Economic Council, handing the Wall Street veteran significant sway over his administration's economic policy.

The council includes the heads of various departments and agencies and works within the administration to coordinate economic policy. As director, Cohn would be in position to advise Trump as he attempts to fulfill some of his chief campaign promises, including lowering corporate taxes and rethinking U.S. trade policy.

Apparently he is dyslexic. Kudos to him for making it so far despite the disability. It may help in understanding Trumponomics.

A Little Good News for the Planet

Things could be better and always worse.

Scott Pruitt, the nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, is just one man who, if confirmed by the Senate, will be steering a very, very large ship – one with more than 15,000 employees spread throughout the country.

That fact points to a reality facing the EPA and other federal agencies: The person at the top can do some steering, but the ship tends to have some persistent momentum of its own.

Thank God for bureaucrats. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Seth on Carrier Deal

Good for him and the media who are looking closely at this. There seems to be a lot of that looking closely at Trump's bullshit lately. Of course, they did during the campaign for all the good it did.

No, Glenn Beck, No

Don't make me agree with you.

Beck said he was troubled by both Trump’s controversial phone call with the president of Taiwan — and the Republicans who have supported it.

“I can’t believe the conservatives are picking a fight with China, like Taiwan, and then not expecting there to be significant ramifications,” Beck said. “Donald Trump should know better.”

There was a lot to disagree with, too. I'm impressed that Beck is maintaining the whole never Trump status. I look forward to his increasing insanity as the next four years go on.

And Dana Rohrbacher is still a dick.

Trump Not So Well Liked So Far

Pew results. Not good. I'm starting to talk like him.

Nearly a month after Donald Trump’s election as president, the public views his transition to the White House less positively than those of past presidents-elect. And while expectations for Trump’s presidency have improved since before his victory, about as many Americans say Trump will be a poor or terrible president as a good or great one.

Put me down for terrible. Go to the link, tho. Lots and lots of good stuff.

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

Three letters in the Post Star today. Two were wonderful. Tillie Merrill:

This letter is for all those Trump lovers who keep saying get over it, you lost, we won. Please don’t tell me to get over anything. It’s your privilege to admire who you want, but don’t tell me how I should feel because it is my privilege to dislike whom I wish. This is my country also and not a school yard game where you say, ha ha we won.

He will never in my lifetime be regarded as my president of my country. So gloat, gloat, gloat and rejoice all you want and have a wonderful four years with your idol who is an egotistical, bigoted nobody who found out that money can buy you anything, even a country.

Just remember, nothing buys forever for him or any of us. We all end up the same way eventually whether you are a poor man or a rich man. So gloaters, get over that.

I’ve been inspired by the courage, wisdom, dignity of native water-protectors at Standing Rock, facing brutal police power and chilling weather. When 2,000 veterans joined them as protective buffer, my heart felt uplifted. When the Army Corp of Engineers stopped the Dakota Access Pipeline, 

I felt joy that truth won over corporate power.

When I heard Evan McMullin, conservative candidate for president, speak of danger to democracy in pronouncements of “I, alone,” threats to free press, denial of inalienable human rights based on gender, religion, ethnicity, “religious freedom” used to defend discrimination, I appreciated his naming what threatens our Constitution, as I’ve appreciated The Post-Star’s unbiased clear thoughtful reflection.

Trump has given power to “swampy predators” he condemned: CEOs of big banks, Exxon Mobil, coal, pharmaceutical and insurance companies, profiteers of foreclosures. He bragged about removing regulations diminishing corporate profits. I want regulations: restraining banks and Wall Street from immoral greed, protecting air, water, earth, food, workers’ safety, farm animals. He’s chosen people who’d defund and privatize public schools, national parks, veterans’ hospitals, Social Security, Medicare. I want our common good.

I thought of an old Union song, “Which side are you on?” We know suffering when water is toxic, poisoned by mercury and iron, pipes leak, oil trains crash, oil spills, pesticides contaminate. We want children inhabiting a healthy bountiful planet? Renewable energy provides good jobs, good wages.

When Spanish conquistadors searched for gold, they arrogantly dismissed knowledge of native peoples who knew the earth – what plants fed and healed, where water could be found. We need that knowledge.
Bottom of Form

What do we choose, democracy enshrined in our Constitution or arrogant power? Reason and facts or sound bytes and fake news? The earth and its incredible diversity or insatiable greed threatening earth and life? What respects “sanctity of life,” protecting the sacred?

And then there's Don Sage:

I'm not going to besmirch my blog with the whole letter. He does tell us that he spent 2 and a half years in Vietnam. I admire him for that or sympathize or something. He ends his letter with:

 I encourage more folks to stand up and demand the jailing of that traitor Clinton and removal of all corrupt Clinton supporters from all public service.

I'm thinking he doesn't see the irony of fighting Communism in Southeast Asia for 2 and a half years, then coming back here and pushing for purges of select groups in government. 

On another topic: I was passing by a TV with Fox News on today. I know how Alice felt now. Judith Miller was on some show decrying fake news. Really. 

Elise Loves Her Some Generals

My congresswoman is all in favor of General Mattis getting approved. Damn the rules.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik was effusive in her praise of retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Defense.

She called the general one of the finest officers of this generation.

“When you look at the threats we face, Mattis is uniquely qualified to lead in this time,” she said during an interview with the Watertown Daily Times. 

My comment at the posting.

I'm not that concerned about General Mattis. He seems relatively sane, having talked Mr. Trump down on "waterboarding will make America great again." Still, I believe the rule was likely put in place for a reason. I don't know what Rep. Throneberry has to do with it. The House doesn't vote on Cabinet members, I don't believe. I wish Mr. Block had asked our Congresswoman's opinion on Trump's National Conspiracy Adviser. No, not Alex Jones. He's unofficial. I'm sure if he'd asked she would've given an independent, mavericky answer and not run away. Maybe. Congresswoman Stefanik what do you think of this guy? Is he one of the finest officers of the generation, too? 

The retired three-star U.S. Army general and his 33-year-old son — who serves as his father’s chief of staff — have used their social media accounts to promote numerous baseless claims, including that members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign were implicated in a child prostitution ring. The Flynns’ involvement in spreading this toxic allegation seemed mainly to serve as a disheartening example of the public’s susceptibility to ma­nipu­la­tion in the digital age, until a gunman arrived in northwest Washington on Sunday carrying an assault weapon and, according to authorities, planning to investigate the fictitious crime. 

Next reporter that gets a chance, ask that one for me, would you?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

U Decide

View From the Bubble

I didn't realize that I had voted for Hillary Clinton because I was living in a bubble. Apparently so, and only those outside it can see the genius of a man like Trump who appreciates what it's like to live in the real world. I thought it was because I could recognize a con man when I see one.

The most irritating media trope to emerge in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election is the idea that it was a rebuke to “condescending” liberals who live in our own “bubbles.” Steve Schmidt gave us a preview on MSNBC even before the race for the White House was decided. “The people who are for Trump are not embarrassed to be for Trump. This is a fiction of New York City,” the former Republican political consultant told us early on election night.

I'm actually happy to not watch any TV. It's a blessing to miss all the crap like that. 

Is it really so condescending that we should vote for the candidate who would keep in place the footholds and safety nets that helped us? Or does the real condescension come from the likes of those who would infantilize white working class voters, making out that they cannot help but vote against their own interests if they even suspect that someone, somewhere is looking down on them?

I feel very bad for the people who have made the poor decision to vote against their own self-interests in this election. If that makes me condescending, so be it.

Folks, you're being sold down the river. I feel for you because selling you down the river is not good for the country. It never was. It is not immigrants who are selling you down the river. It is not minorities who are selling you down the river. It is not LGBTQ folks who are selling you down the river. Please remember all of that when you wake up pissed that you're, you know, down the river. If you look around the table and can't figure out who the mark is…

Twit's Tweet of the Day

I really hope he's going to have less time to tweet once he takes office. Chuck Jones hopes so, too.

Trump tweeted, "Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!" 

But, tweets are like potato chips.

And about an hour later, Trump tweeted, "If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues."

And from the victim of America's Cyber Bully in Chief:

During the interview with Burnett, Jones took aim at Trump's claim of saving 1,100 Carrier jobs.

"When Carrier announced the close-down the whole facility in February, they announced at that point in time the research and development jobs, about 350 of them, were going to remain here in Indianapolis," Jones said. "Then when Mr. Trump got involved, what the actual number of jobs saved is 730 bargaining unit jobs, the workers, the union members. And another 70 office, supervisory, clerical workers from management. And what they are doing is counting in 350-some-odd more that were never leaving this country at all. And I think he's did a lot of negotiations, and I have likewise. And if you are dealing with people's livelihoods, you sure in the world ought to know what the numbers are."

And in an interview with CNNMoney earlier that day, Jones was more pointed. "He's lying his a-- off," he said about Trump's claim of saving 1,100 jobs. "That's not just my feeling. The numbers prove he's lying his a-- off. It's a damn shame when you come in and make a false statement like that."

"Trump said no companies would be allowed to go to Mexico," Jones said. "There are more than 300 people over there at Rexnord. He needs to deliver for them as well."

Well played, Mr. Jones. It's amazing how much information you can provide when you use a form of communication that allows more than 140 characters. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pope Frank on Fake News

Thank you, Charles Pierce, for this.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think the Pope just told the likes of Roger Stone, Alex Jones, and the Breitbart folks to eat shit.

And he did it in Latin.

Putin is Not the Only Happy Commie

I wonder if Vlad had any idea how huge a favor he was doing for the Chinese in influencing this election.

Devising a wise strategy for challenging China’s ascendancy in Asia is arguably the top foreign policy task for a new president. But if Trump planned to take a tougher stance, this was a haphazard way to do it. The president-elect instead stumbled into a pre-inaugural foreign flap, insulting Beijing and causing it to lose face, without having a clear, well-articulated plan for what he seeks to accomplish.

Let's see. What's worse, his economic policy or his foreign policy. In this case, they are of a piece. 

Trump’s fulminations about China come just as his plan to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership is undermining the United States’ standing with allies in Asia. Trump, in effect, is ceding economic ground to China at the very moment he claims to be taking a harder line. Is this a cool, calculating strategy from the dealmaker? It looks to me more like a hot mess.

How much more damage can he do before he even takes office? 

This jousting over Taiwan wouldn’t be so worrisome if other aspects of the U.S.-Asia policy were intact. But Trump’s pledge to tear up the TPP in his first days in office has sent the other 11 nations that signed the pact scrambling for cover — with some talking of making new deals with a Beijing that is eager to fill the void.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the United States’ most important Asian ally, said last month that TPP members would consider joining a rival, Chinese-led trade agreement known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP. “There’s no doubt that there would be a pivot to the RCEP if the TPP doesn’t go forward,” Abe said. Peru and Australia, two other TPP signatories, also indicated they might join the RCEP.

“If you want to stand up to China, the last thing you should do is walk away from TPP,” said Michael Froman in an interview. He’s the U.S. trade representative Trump blasted during the campaign as an incompetent negotiator.

Yes, he's standing up to China. Whatever the hell that means. 

Greater For Some Anyway

Some of the Republicans in Congress are not down with 35% tariffs.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday refused to endorse Donald Trump’s proposal to slap tariffs on American companies that move jobs overseas — signaling that the President-elect could have trouble getting a protectionist trade agenda through Congress.

My thoughts are that if Trump is not cowed by Boeing, he's not going to back down from Kevin McCarthy or even Paul Ryan. I, personally, welcome paying an extra 35% on any imported goods. But then, I'm more patriotic than folks like David McIntosh

“Thirty-five percent tariffs would be devastating to consumers and businesses,” David McIntosh, the president of Club for Growth, a free-market, small-government advocacy group. “The majority leader is right to caution against protectionism and to urge a robust debate on free markets and trade.”

If I was a traitor for my inadequate cheering for the Iraq War, you sir are a traitor now. Want to send out kudos to Paul Ryan on some Olympic-level subject changing. 

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), meanwhile, at a news conference Tuesday, defended Trump’s tariff idea — by changing the subject. “It’s consistent with our goal to make American businesses and American products more competitive in a global economy,” Ryan said, “and we believe the best way to achieve that goal is through comprehensive tax reform.”

Ryan also, again, promoted his “Better Way” policy agenda as a blueprint for upcoming legislation. The blueprint hews to conservative principles and largely steers clear of Trump’s campaign agenda, but it tackles some subjects such as entitlement reform, an issue on which Trump has been cautious.

I know magic acts may have gone out of style. Ryan managed to throw a kerchief over tariffs, pull it away, and presto, tax reform. Reading this gave me the notion that we've elected a second President Buchanan. It's Patrick this time, tho. 

In case paying those tariffs don't give you enough patriotic fervor, consider that you could be coughing up an extra 50% for fruits, vegetables and dairy

Trump’s deportation promises, if fulfilled, would ripple far beyond the lives of illegal immigrants. Deportations would affect vast swaths of the economy — with a particularly dramatic impact on agriculture.

As a result, Americans could see the cost of some fruits and vegetables soar.

That should bring back the Victory Garden, if only to survive Trump's presidency. 

In fact, to keep costs under control, Americans may end up being forced to buy more groceries from abroad, undermining Trump's effort to boost American industry.

Having a hard time getting a handle on Trumponomics. 

As a result, many farms hire from the established, resident labor pools in their area, where workers are typically foreign-born and may lack legal status. Branson says that any increase in labor prices might spell the end of the U.S. cherry business.

“I’d be out. I’m small. It would kill small farmers — we would all be out,” she said. “I wonder what even big farms would do if that happened.”

As I often say, nice job Vlad Putin. How easy it was to destroy our country just by releasing hacked e-mails. 

Making America Great Already

One deal at a time. What a shitstorm it's going to be when he's actually in the office. So, skipping over the threats to Boeing and his sale of $40 million in stock. I do wonder how many enemies he wants to make in corporate America, tho. This:

By Tuesday afternoon, Trump had taken a new turn, announcing that a Japanese telecommunications firm, SoftBank, had agreed to invest $50 billion in U.S. start-ups, a move he tweeted that the company would never have done “had we [Trump] not won the election!” 

Thank you, WashPo, for calling that bullshit.

The deal, however, is not new. The money will come from a $100 billion joint investment fund that Son established in October using money from partners, including Saudi Arabia’s state-owned investment fund.

SoftBank has invested in the United States in the past, including paying $22 billion in 2013 for a 80 percent share of Sprint. The firm also led a $1 billion investment round last year in San Francisco-based online lender Social Finance.

And apparently, Sarah Palin is not the only person labeling Trump's brand of capitalism: crony. 

Keith Hennessey, director of the National Economic Council under Bush, warned about the impact of Trump’s approach to business and trade, which he said could do “long-run economic harm to the U.S.”

“When a politician rewards his business friends and punishes his business enemies it’s called crony capitalism,” Hennessey wrote in a blog on his personal website Monday.

“It creates incentives for other business leaders to spend their time and money trying to get similar political access with elected officials,” Hennessey added. “And a firm leader now knows it can initiate a negotiation with the Trump Administration simply by threatening to outsource jobs.”

Greg Mankiw's uses a term that I've considered apropos: central planning. If Obama was a socialist, I believe Trump is embracing his inner communist. 

Beyond using the power of the presidency to intimidate in unpredictable and unfair ways, no individual could efficiently manage the economy, company by company, said Mankiw, who indicated before the election that he did not plan to vote for Trump.

“When a chief exec is making individual calls to individual companies, he’s in some sense acting like a central planner,” Mankiw said. “We have a lot of history under communism that suggests it doesn’t work well in practice, and that’s the direction you’re heading in as the president starts to weigh in on individual business decisions.”

The WashPo was not content with one article calling bushwa on Trump's super powerful deal-making.

Although Trump claimed credit for the investment, Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, argued that much of the $50 billion may have already been destined for U.S. technology companies. 

I'm sure Masayoshi Son is more than willing to let Trump spin the deal anyway he wants.

Jeff Kagan, an Atlanta-based telecom industry analyst, said Son could be courting Trump to improve the chances of the merger, but he also described Son as an ambitious entrepreneur who was likely looking for further opportunities.

"Maybe he sees there’s a different possibility for a Sprint and T-Mobile partnership. But that’s only one slice of the pie. I don’t think Masayoshi Son is that small of a thinker," said Kagan. "He sees opportunities, based on what we’ve all seen happen in the last few weeks. And he wants to be a player."

Who knows? They might have found time to talk about some investments in Trump Hotels or some such?