Tuesday ReadsPosted: December 20, 2016
So . . . It’s Tuesday
As usual these days, the news is not good. tRump will be POTUS in one month, and it’s very hard to imagine how our country survives as a democratic republic. All I can do is cling to hope that something will prevent this monster from becoming Hitler 2.0. It also looks like instability is going to keep rising around the world, and that too is a reaction to tRump–either directly or indirectly.
I’m also dealing with my housing situation and I’m basically paralyzed with fear and anxiety. I can’t recall the last time I felt so overwhelmed. It was probably back when I was at the worst of my drinking. I’m trying my best to focus on one day at a time, but it’s not easy. I am going to move into the apartment I told you about, but the money I will have to live on is going to be more limited than it was for me where I am now. I’m feeling a lot of shame about being so poor. But I really have no choice about doing this. I will have to be very careful about what I spend on food. I’m feeling so emotional right now; I keep crying out of the blue. I guess it is the shock of having to move after all these years and not really knowing how I’m going to manage it.
Anyway, sorry to burden you all with my problems. Since I already shared what is happening, I felt I had to provide an update. I hope in time, I’ll be feeling a lot better about all this. This will be mostly a link dump, because I have to go sign my lease and deal with other stuff today.
The events that took place yesterday in Turkey and Germany are incredibly disturbing, because we will have an insane POTUS dealing with these kinds of attacks. And that follows on the incident with China a few days ago which was very likely a response to tRump’s foolish phone call with Taiwan and his ridiculous twitter comments. Here’s the latest.
The Washington Post: An assassination and a gunman’s final words put Turkey on edge.
MOSCOW — A team of Russian detectives arrived in Turkey on Tuesday to join the investigation into the slaying of Moscow’s ambassador by a Turkish police officer — an act portrayed by both countries as an effort to rupture a rapprochement between the two regional powers backing opposite sides in Syria’s civil war.
The attack Monday also touched off sweeps across Turkey as authorities hunted for clues in the life of the 22-year-old gunman, who decried the violence in Syria after pumping several bullets into the ambassador at a photo exhibit.
Russia is a key ally of Syria’s government while Turkey has been a stalwart backer of rebel factions, although both nations have worked together on a plan to evacuate civilians and opposition fighters from their last enclave in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo.
Officer Mevlut Mert Altintas gunned down Ambassador Andrei Karlov as the diplomat spoke before an exhibition of Russian photos at an art gallery in the Turkish capital of Ankara.
After killing the ambassador, Altintas, an officer with the riot police, denounced Russia’s role in the Syrian war, screaming: “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!” He was later killed in a gun battle with the police.
BERLIN — A migrant from Pakistan was identified Tuesday as a suspect in a truck attack on a crowded Christmas market in Germany’s capital, but police said it was still unclear if he was the main perpetrator.
The man was arrested not far from the scene of Monday night’s carnage, which left 12 people dead and wounded nearly 50 others.
He entered the country last year and had applied for asylum, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said, adding that other people may be involved.
The suspect in custody has denied responsibility.
Berlin police chief Klaus Kandt told reporters: “We are not sure if the suspect in custody is the right man … in fact, in my view it is still not certain whether he really was the driver.”
A temporary accommodation center for migrants was raided overnight by special operations police, but no further arrests were made.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has faced political pressure over open-arms policy for refugees, earlier said it would be “hard for us all to bear” if the perpetrator “was someone who sought protection and asylum.”
Of course tRump will see this as ammunition for his war against immigrants.
On the corruption front, tRump’s conflicts of interest get worse and more frightening by the day.
The Embassy of Kuwait allegedly cancelled a contract with a Washington, D.C. hotel days after the presidential election, citing political pressure to hold its National Day celebration at the Trump International Hotel instead.
A source tells ThinkProgress that the Kuwaiti embassy, which has regularly held the event at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, abruptly canceled its reservation after members of the Trump Organization pressured the ambassador to hold the event at the hotel owned by the president-elect. The source, who has direct knowledge of the arrangements between the hotels and the embassy, spoke to ThinkProgress on the condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak publicly. ThinkProgress was also able to review documentary evidence confirming the source’s account.
In the early fall, the Kuwaiti Embassy signed a contract with the Four Seasons. But after the election, members of the Trump Organization contacted the Ambassador of Kuwait, Salem Al-Sabah, and encouraged him to move his event to Trump’s D.C. hotel, the source said.
Kuwait has now signed a contract with the Trump International Hotel, the source said, adding that a representative with the embassy described the decision as political. Invitations to the event are typically sent out in January….
The apparent move by the Kuwaiti Embassy appears to be an effort to gain favor with president-elect through his business entanglements, and it appears to show Trump’s company leveraging his position as president-elect to extract payments from a foreign government. The latter, according to top legal experts, would be unconstitutional and could ultimately constitute an impeachable offense.
NPR Morning Edition: Trump’s Doral Golf Course Highlights His Conflicts Of Interest.
President-elect Donald Trump has financial stakes in hundreds of companies. But one line of business is particularly important to him: golf courses.
He owns more than a dozen courses, which provide the Trump Organization with major streams of revenue and bolster his “luxury” brand image.
But they also created conflicts of interest. As president, he will be able to steer environmental and labor policies that could boost the income from his golf courses.
Take Trump National Doral. It’s a huge luxury resort near Miami, and it provides a good example of how Trump’s role as president and as businessman will come into conflict….
But at Doral, and for clubs and golf courses around the country, new labor regulations promoted by the Obama administration are having an impact on how they do business. And many course owners aren’t happy.
Brad Steele explains why. He’s the general counsel with the National Club Association, a trade group that represents country clubs and golf courses. Steele says the recession was tough on golf courses, and the recovery hasn’t been easy. “The last eight years have been relatively difficult for… the private club industry,” he says.
Among the labor rules Steele and his members are most concerned about is one that greatly expands the number of workers eligible for overtime pay. It’s been criticized by business groups and Republicans in Congress, and was recently put on hold by a federal judge.
It’s a rule that Steele thinks will be targeted by the new administration. “We are excited that now there’ll be an administration that starts to look a little more … critically at the impact that these kinds of things can have on business,” he says.
Read the rest at the link.
And then there are the gobsmacking cabinet appointments.
Catherine Rampell at The Washington Post: Trump’s OMB pick seems poised to ignite a worldwide financial crisis.
Over the weekend, President-elect Donald Trump tapped Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to be his director of the Office of Management and Budget. This Cabinet-level post is responsible for producing the federal budget, overseeing and evaluating executive branch agencies and otherwise advising the president on fiscal matters. It’s a position with tremendous, far-reaching power, even if the public doesn’t pay much attention to it.
Which is why it’s so concerning that Trump chose Mulvaney, who seems poised to help Trump ignite another worldwide financial crisis.
Mulvaney was first elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the anti-government, tea party wave. A founding member of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, he is among Congress’s most committed fiscal hawks. He has repeatedly voted against his own party’s budget proposals because they were insufficiently conservative.
All this will presumably put him at odds with Trump’s plans to balloon federal deficits through a $7 trillion cut in individual and corporate income taxes, another half-trillion in infrastructure subsidies and other major spending expansions.
It’s unclear how Trump’s fiscally profligate platform meshes with Mulvaney’s preference for penny-pinching. He might push back on Trump’s most expensive ideas. Maybe he’ll employ accounting gimmicks and magic asterisks to force Trump’s numbers to add up. Trump’s campaign advisers have already been doing this, disingenuously claiming that his policies will pay for themselves through unrealistic economic growth.
Or maybe Mulvaney’s job will simply be to convince the rest of the Freedom Caucus to stay mum when deficits explode.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
More news, links only:
Talking Points Memo: GOP Rep’s Vision Of Post-ACA World: You Wait To Treat Your Kid’s Broken Arm.
Center for Public Integrity: Donald Trump’s sons behind nonprofit selling access to president-elect.
What stories are you following today?