Lazy Saturday Reads: #tRump – Bull in a China Shop

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Good Afternoon!!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening with my brother’s family–they invited me for a birthday dinner and family movie. Unsurprisingly, while I wasn’t paying attention for a few hours the president-elect did massive damage to U.S. foreign policy, overturning decades-long policies on China. And it appears this wasn’t about policy but about enriching the #tRump family business.

Ann Gearan at The Washington Post: Trump speaks with Taiwanese president, a major break with decades of U.S. policy on China

President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with Taiwan’s president, a major departure from decades of U.S. policy in Asia and a breach of diplomatic protocol with ramifications for the incoming president’s relations with China.

The call is the first known contact between a U.S. president or president-elect with a Taiwanese leader since before the United States broke diplomatic relations with the island in 1979. China considers Taiwan a province, and news of the official outreach by Trump is likely to infuriate the regional military and economic power.

The exchange is one of a string of unorthodox conversations with foreign leaders that Trump has held since his election. It comes at a particularly tense time between China and Taiwan, which earlier this year elected a president, ­­­Tsai Ing-wen, who has not endorsed the notion of a unified China. Her election angered Beijing to the point of cutting off all official communication with the island government.

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It is not clear whether Trump intends a more formal shift in U.S. relations with Taiwan or China. On the call, Trump and Tsai congratulated each other on winning their elections, a statement from Trump’s transition office said….

A statement from the Taiwanese president’s office said the call lasted more than 10 minutes and included discussion of economic development and national security, and about “strengthening bilateral relations.”

Trump claimed the call was initiated by Taiwan’s president, but that was a lie, NBC News reports:

BEIJING — A phone call between Donald Trump and Taiwan’s leader that risks damaging relations between the U.S. and China was pre-arranged, a top Taiwanese official told NBC News on Saturday.

Trump — who lambasted China throughout the election campaign and promised to slap 45 percent tariffs on Chinese goods — tweeted that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen had called him.

“Maintaining good relations with the United States is as important as maintaining good relations across the Taiwan Strait,” Taiwanese presidential spokesman Alex Huang told NBC News. “Both are in line with Taiwan’s national interest.”

He added that the call had not been a surprise.

Apparently the call was carefully planned and scheduled by Trump staffers. It was also reported that bomb-thrower John Bolton was seen at Trump tower yesterday. Could he have helped instigate this?

After the media reported foreign policy experts’ heads exploding, Trump defensively tweeted again.

China was apparently on the phone with the White House right after the news broke, and they have now filed a complaint with the U.S. about this breach of diplomacy. The Guardian:

China has lodged “solemn representations” with the US over a call between the president-elect, Donald Trump, and Taiwan’s leader, Tsai Ing-wen.

Trump looked to have sparked a potentially damaging diplomatic row with Beijing on Friday after speaking to the Taiwanese president on the telephone….

The US closed its embassy in Taiwan – a democratically ruled island which Beijing regards as a breakaway province – in the late 1970s after the historic rapprochement between Beijing and Washington that stemmed from Richard Nixon’s 1972 trip to China.

Since then the US has adhered to the “One China” principle, which officially considers the independently governed island to be part of the same single Chinese nation as the mainland.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said in a statement on Saturday: “It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory. The government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China.”

Geng added: “This is a fact that is generally recognised by the international community.”

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#tRrump is a real bull in a china shop, so to speak. But what was his real goal in talking to Taiwan? Think Progress: Trump’s unusual phone call is great for his business, dangerous for America.

Trump is mixing his business with the presidency. Today was a stark illustration that the combination is extremely dangerous — to Americans and the world.

The Financial Times, citing three sources, reports that Trump called Tsai Ying-wen, the president of Taiwan, on Friday. The call is a symbolic breach of the United States’ “One China” policy, which recognizes Beijing as the only government and which has been in place since 1972.

The call will antagonize China and risks “opening up a major diplomatic dispute with China before he has even been inaugurated.”

The incident is raising eyebrows because the Trump Organization, in which Trump plans to maintain ownership as president, is actively seeking new business opportunities in Taiwan. The Shanghaiist reported on the Trump Organization’s interest last month:

A representative from the Trump Organization paid a visit to Taoyuan in September, expressing interest in the city’s Aerotropolis, a large-scale urban development project aimed at capitalizing on Taoyuan’s status as a transport hub for East Asia, Taiwan News reports.With the review process for the Aerotropolis still underway, Taoyuan’s mayor referred to the subject of the meeting as mere investment speculation. Other reports indicate that Eric Trump, the president-elect’s second son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, will be coming to Taoyuan later this year to discuss the potential business opportunity.

#tRump is trying to turn our country into a wholly owned subsidiary of the #tRump organization.

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In just the past couple of days, Trump has bumbled through bizarre phone calls with Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte. Do you supposed #tRump even knows that China, Pakistan and sworn enemy India have nukes?

The Atlantic: Lessons From Trump’s ‘Fantastic’ Phone Call to Pakistan.

This week, the U.S. president-elect spoke with the Pakistani prime minister and, according to the Pakistani government’s account of the conversation, delivered the following message: Everything is awesome. It was, arguably, the most surprising presidential phone call since George H.W. Bush got pranked by that pretend Iranian president.

Pakistan, Donald Trump reportedly told Nawaz Sharif, is a “fantastic” country full of “fantastic” people that he “would love” to visit as president. Sharif was described as “terrific.” Pakistanis “are one of the most intelligent people,” Trump allegedly added. “I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.” ….

Like their problems with India?

It’s unclear how accurate the Pakistani government’s record of the discussion is, though the language does have a Trumpian ring to it (Trump’s transition team released a much more subdued summary of the call). But what’s surprising about the account is how disconnected it is from the current state of affairs. Everything is not awesome in U.S.-Pakistan relations. The two countries are the bitterest of friends. They have long clashed over the haven that terrorist groups have found in Pakistan and over U.S. efforts, including drone strikes and the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, to kill those terrorists. Pakistan, a nation with a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons, is the archenemy of India, another nuclear-armed state and a critical U.S. ally. U.S. officials see Pakistan—with its weak political institutions and suspected government support for militant groups in Afghanistan and the contested territory of Kashmir—as an alarming source of regional instability. The suspicion is mutual: Just a fifth of Pakistanis have a favorable view of the United States. Trump himself has argued that Pakistan “is probably the most dangerous” country in the world, and that India needs to serve as “the check” to it.

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The reports also provoked a caustic response from the Indian government, which opposes U.S. mediation in its border dispute with Pakistan. “We look forward to the president-elect helping Pakistan address the most outstanding of its outstanding issues: terrorism,” a spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs said. And, ultimately, they forced Pakistani officials to backpedal after initially publicizing the conversation. “Our relationship with the United States is not about personalities—it is about institutions,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified. In other words, a brief, breezy conversation had real reverberations on the subcontinent.One lesson of the phone call is that words matter, especially in international relations where information is patchy, things get lost in translation, rhetoric is often interpreted as policy, and a government’s credibility is only as good as its word. (Think of all the people in the United States puzzling over what policies Trump will pursue as president; now imagine trying to do that from Islamabad or New Delhi.)

 

And now Pakistan is sending an envoy to meet with the #tRump bumblers. The Indian Express reports:

Pakistan has decided to send an envoy to the US to hold meetings with Donald Trump’s transition team, two days after a “productive” telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the President-elect. Pakistani Prime Minister’s special assistant for foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi will visit the US this weekend to meet officials of the Trump transition team.

Fatemi’s meeting with officials of Trump transition team was confirmed by Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US. “Besides meeting members of the transition team, Fatemi will meet officials of the outgoing Obama administration,” said Jilani.

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Huffington Post: Donald Trump Praises Philippines Deadly Drug War And Invites Leader To White House.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump praised Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte for his war on drugs that has left thousands dead, Duterte said on Saturday after the two held a phone conversation in which Trump also invited Duterte the White House.

“He was quite sensitive also to our worry about drugs. And he wishes me well … in my campaign and he said that … we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way,” Duterte said in a statement. Duterte has conducted a severe crackdown on drugs in the country, where police and vigilante groups have killed thousands.

Trump’s brief chat with the firebrand Philippine president follows a period of uncertainty about one of Washington’s most important Asian alliances, stoked by Duterte’s hostility towards President Barack Obama and repeated threats to sever decades-old defense ties.

The call lasted just over seven minutes, Duterte’s special advisor, Christopher Go, said in a text message to media, which gave few details. Trump’s transition team had no immediate comment.

So #tRump is on the record supporting mass murder now. Awesome.

Two more links to check out:

The New York Times: How Trump’s Calls to World Leaders Are Upsetting Decades of Diplomacy.

The Washington Post: Donald Trump keeps confirming fears about his diplomatic skills.

Isn’t there anyone who can do something about this monster before he destroys our country and/or blows up the world? We are so screwed.

What stories are you following today?


Friday Reads: The NAZI Kleptocracy Pogrom brought to you by the Oligarchs and Trump-Billies

squidbilly-confed-flagIs that header clickbaity enough?

Good!  Welcome to my basic economics history lesson on the relationship between privatization and the NAZI economics strategy of the 1930s as jetstreamed to the US in this century.  The lesson will be punctuated by the examples of absolute stupid Trump-Billy idiots that are about to find out that all markets do not necessary run better with billionaire corporate lackies in charge.  They are also finding out that extremely wealthy people are about to take over the White House and what ever economic security they ever had is headed for the pockets of the already obscenely wealthy.

Trump is not draining the swamp.  He’s making it radioactive.  One Trump-Billy woke up to that reality the day she found out that the new Treasury Secretary is the same dude that foreclosed on home sweet home.  Good decision making is not the hallmark of a Trump-Billy.

When Donald Trump named his Treasury secretary, Teena Colebrook felt her heart sink.

She had voted for the president-elect on the belief that he would knock the moneyed elites from their perch in Washington, D.C. And she knew Trump’s pick for Treasury Steven Mnuchin all too well.

OneWest, a bank formerly owned by a group of investors headed by Mnuchin, had foreclosed on her Los Angeles-area home in the aftermath of the Great Recession, stripping her of the two units she rented as a primary source of income.

“I just wish that I had not voted,” said Colebrook, 59. “I have no faith in our government anymore at all. They all promise you the world at the end of a stick and take it away once they get in.”

Less than a month after his presidential win, Trump’s populist appeal has started to clash with a Cabinet of billionaires and millionaires that he believes can energize economic growth.

The prospect of Mnuchin leading the Treasury Department drew plaudits from many in the financial sector. A former Goldman Sachs executive who pivoted in the early 2000s to hedge fund management and movie production, he seemed an ideal emissary to Wall Street.

When asked on Wednesday about his credentials to be Treasury secretary, Mnuchin emphasized his time running OneWest which not only foreclosed on Colebrook but also on thousands of others in the aftermath of the housing crisis caused by subprime mortgages.

“What I’ve really been focused on is being a regional banker for the last eight years,” Mnuchin said. “I know what it takes to make sure that we can make loans to small and midmarket companies and that’s going to be our big focus, making sure we scale back regulation so that we make sure the banks are lending.”

Yeah. We already know how well that went.  Too bad history is gonna repeat itself.squidbilly-vote

Let’s just stop for a moment of silence and think about what Hamilton really wanted the Electors of the Electoral college to do because stopping the ascent of a crazy person to the White House is exactly what needs to be done.  It’s also what Hamilton charged the Electors to do.  Electors should trump the Trumpbillies.  There are a few Electors that have this in mind.  This folks are from Washington state so it’s a very limited group.

The electors championing the Electoral College revolt say their effort is “in the spirit of” founding father Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, once wrote the Electoral College is necessary to ensure “the office of the President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

One of Washington state’s most prominent Trump supporters, state Sen. Doug Ericksen, rebuked the Electoral College dissenters, calling the effort “irrelevant” and its supporters within the electoral system “a very small fringe element.”

“I think that those people should get together with Jill Stein and go hand-count ballots in Michigan,” said the Republican from Ferndale, referring to the Green Party candidate’s ongoing recount efforts.

Ericksen was Trump’s deputy campaign director in the state.

“The election is over — Mr. Trump won,” Ericksen said. “So they can be crazy like Jill Stein and drag this out or they can do their job and follow the will of the people.”

The “Hamilton Electors” face an uphill battle.

squidbilly-jibber-jabberSo, what we’re beginning to see is more and more unwinding of a democratic America in both the big D and little D sense of the word.  I’m about to get to what should be the canary in the coal mine which is the translation of an economic strategy used by the NAZIs to transfer public assets to their enablers and supporters,  This always upsets your libertarian friends and all those rewriters of history that say that NAZIs hated capitalism.  Au contraire, they are the very founders of kleptocracy and crony capitalism.  The Trump-Billies need to realize that they put fascists in the White House.

… the first use of the word “privatization” (or “reprivatization”) in English occurred in the 1930s, in the context of explaining economic policy in the Third Reich. Indeed, the English word was formulated as a translation of the German word “Reprivatisierung,” which had itself been newly minted under the Third Reich.

So, we can discuss how totally awful voucher systems have been for schools and how expensive and inefficient private prisons, and private guards for embassies, and private food providers for the military have been. There is research out the wazoo on all of that.  

But privatization practice is often a disaster. An inefficient government monopoly is replaced by an even more inefficient private monopoly that is more expensive, wasteful and lacking in accountability or responsibility for serving the public good.

The selection of private contractors is often rife with the corruption of political sweetheart deals. The profit motive consistently trumps public interest And shareholders and executives benefit at public expense, while public services deteriorate.

We can also discussion how Bobby Jindal bankrupted Louisiana doing exactly what Trump and Pence rallied around last night.  A program of giving huge amounts of money to private industry that held a few jobs hostage and still wants its $7 billion defense contracts left alone.  The Indiana Carrier deal is a wonderful example of how to waste public funds and transfer the hard earned cashed of working and middle people into corporate profits.  Here’s a back of the envelop analysis from Paul Krugman via twitter.

Another metric: Trump would have to do one Carrier-sized deal a week for 30 years to save as many jobs as Obama’s auto bailout

But, before I go full throttle medieval on that, let me just point out that Voter Suppression laws in this country give Trump a very very very skinny electoral college win.  We’re on our way to getting more of them.  Here’s a back of the envelop analysis from my friend Lamar White, Jr.squidbilly-gays

Hillary Clinton now has a popular vote lead of 2.5 million.

Donald Trump won the electoral college, however, by less than 80,000 votes.

To put this into perspective, if Toledo were in Michigan and not Ohio, Clinton would be the next President, elected with the same popular vote margin as Obama in 2012.

A new study shows that Voter ID laws suppress minority and Democratic voters.  So, it’s working just as it was planned.  Here’s your 2016 reduction in turnout explanation.

Researchers from the University of California San Diego have created a new statistical model indicating that voter identification laws do what detractors claim — reduce turnout for minorities and those on the political left.

Overall, the researchers found, strict ID laws cause a reduction in Democratic turnout by 8.8 percentage points, compared to a reduction of 3.6 percentage points for Republicans.

The study focused on the 11 states with the strictest voter ID laws, generally requiring photo identification to cast a ballot. Researchers used a large voter survey database to compare turnout in those states to those in states with lesser or no ID requirements.

Several states have passed less strict ID laws. But in 17 states including California, New York and Illinois, a more traditional honor system still applies at the ballot box.

We also have some righteous calls to the White House asking the President to declassify the evidence that Russian influenced and hacked our election.  squidbilly-guns

Seven members of the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote to President Obamathis week asking him to declassify and make public “additional information concerning the Russian government and the U.S. election” that committee members apparently have learned about in confidential briefings. The president should take their advice.

Cynics might be tempted to view their letter — which was signed only by Democrats and an independent senator who caucuses with them — as a partisan ploy designed to buttress the argument that Donald Trump’s victory was rendered illegitimate by Russian meddling on his behalf.

But seeking information about possible Russian meddling in the election shouldn’t be a partisan issue. If the Russian government indeed attempted to influence, disrupt or subvert the outcome by stealing and publicizing the emails of senior Democratic officials or promoting the dissemination on social media of “fake news” damaging to Hillary Clinton, that should outrage Americans regardless of whom they supported on Nov. 8. The public has a right to know as much about any such operation as can be made public without compromising intelligence sources and methods.

squidbilliy-fineThen, there’s the Michigan AG who is trying to stop the recount there.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette wants the Michigan Supreme Court to halt a presidential recount in Michigan before it begins.

In a court action filed today, Schuette echoes arguments made for President-elect Donald Trump, arguing Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who received just over 1% of the vote in Michigan, is not an “aggrieved” candidate entitled to a recount, and there isn’t time to complete a recount, even if Stein was entitled to one.

“If allowed to proceed, the statewide hand recount could cost Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars and would put Michigan voters at risk of being disenfranchised in the electoral college,” Schuette, in a filing signed by Chief Legal Counsel Matthew Schneider, said in asking the Michigan Supreme Court for immediate consideration of his petition barring a recount.

Schuette, a Republican who is expected to run for governor in 2018, chaired the presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush before supporting Trump as the party nominee.

 So, all of this so we can have our public assets looted by the kleptocracy. The Carrier deal is probably the first sign that it’s about to get worse.  Especially given we were treated to a Trumpapalooza trying to convince folks in Indiana that $7 million dollars for less than 1000 jobs when more are still leaving the country is a damned fine deal.  It’s corporate welfare and its far more expensive than creating jobs for teachers, firefighters, and police.

Carrier’s announcement that it would indeed keep 1,000 jobs at its Indianapolis furnace factory (which Trump identified in a tweet as an air-conditioner factory) cited “very productive conversations” with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, but also mentioned Trump’s supposed “commitment to support the business community.”

That “support,” we later learned, came in the form of “incentives offered by the state (Indiana),” where Pence is still governor, by the way.

And here’s the man behind the curtain that the Wizard of Oz doesn’t want you paying attention to: Carrier isn’t staying because of its supposed secret negotiations with Trump and Pence, but because Indiana pols gave the company a tax break — a taxpayer-backed incentive that has a long and, at best, mixed history of success. (State officials have not revealed which tax incentive Carrier will get, though the Wall Street Journal reported that the deal will hand Carrier $7 million over 10 years; my email to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has still not been answered.)

Indiana’s own economic development people put out a report last year that reveals that since 2009, job growth among all private sector firms in the state is much stronger than job growth in firms that got what Indiana calls the Economic Development for a Growing Economy subsidy. In 2014 (the last year studied), firms getting the subsidy actually lost jobs and firms not getting the subsidy added jobs.

Plus, the benefits do not trickle down to the communities.  tumblr_lrx5njwnjn1qg4f0do6_r1_400

Economists who testified in Indiana last year offered state officials an analysisof how various tax incentive programs are doing in other states:

“The MEGA tax credit (that’s what Michigan calls its program) failed to have a discernible impact on employment in the manufacturing or wholesale sectors even though the credits are targeted to businesses in these sectors,” the report said.

“These grants (now referring to EDGE in Indiana) fail to have a discernible impact on manufacturing employment and that the Hoosier Business Investment credit fails to impact either employment measure.”

“The estimation results suggest that the tax incentives (speaking about Ohio now) failed to have a positive impact on employment by incentive recipients. In fact, the estimates suggest that the incentives may have dampened the employment growth of firms receiving the incentives in the first two years of an expansion.”

I find facts like this really interesting because they reveal the bottom line about corporate welfare: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. States give away millions of dollars a year on “corporate retention” deals. The loss to taxpayers is also millions of dollars a year.

Unlike giving money to corporations where money can roll off to out of state salaries, sources of materials, and stock and management dividends and bonuses,  spending money directly on things like state roads and state employees goes directly into the economy of the communities.  There’s a difference in the percentage of tax subsidies that basically does not benefit local communities at all.  Tax money spent directly in local economies building roads, schools, and hiring employees goes in much bigger magnitude into the pockets of the local businesses.  In other words, you can subsidize Hollywood a lot, but if it’s the salary of Tom Cruise, then it’s going to not stay in New Orleans.  It leaks back to where Tom Cruise spends his money.

More than a month after Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal “parked” his widely-panned proposal to repeal the state’s income tax, state policymakers now are returning to what should be a more straightforward tax reform issue. A new report (PDF) from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor critically evaluates the workings of the state’s film tax credit, which gives Louisiana-based film productions a tax credit to offset part of their expenses when they hire Louisiana workers or spend money on production expenses locally.

From a cost perspective alone, it makes sense to take a hard look at this provision: the state has spent over $1 billion on these Hollywood handouts in the past decade.

But the Auditor’s report is also a good reminder of just how little the state is getting in return for this massive outlay. The report estimates that after doling out almost $200 million in film tax breaks in 2010, the state enjoyed just $27 million in increased tax revenue from the film-related economic activity supposedly encouraged by this tax break.

This means a net loss to the state of about $170 million in just one year.

da03a79de8d1683f4690acd420a00939So, let me go back to the purpose of the NAZI economic strategy of “Reprivatisierung”.  You can read the journal article because it’s fascinating and it’s economic history so it’s not the wonkiest of economic analysis.

Privatization of large parts of the public sector was one of the defining policies of the last quarter of the twentieth century. Most scholars have understood privatization as the transfer of government-owned firms and assets to the private sector,2 as well as the delegation to the private sector of the delivery of services previously delivered by the public sector.3 Other scholars have adopted a much broader meaning of privatization, including (besides transfer of public assets and delegation of public services) deregulation, as well as the private funding of services previously delivered without charging the users.4 In any case, modern privatization has been usually accompanied by the removal of state direction and a reliance on the free market. Thus, privatization and market liberalization have usually gone together.

Privatizations in Chile and the UK, which began to be implemented in the 1970s and 1980s, are usually considered the first privatization policies in modern history.5 A few researchers have found earlier instances. Some economic analyses of privatization identify partial sales of state-owned firms implemented in Adenauer’s Germany in the late 1950s and early 1960s as the first large-scale priva-tization programme,6 and others argue that, although confined to just one sector, the denationalization of steel in the UK in the early 1950s should be considered the first privatization.7

None of the contemporary economic analyses of privatization takes into account an important, earlier case: the privatization policy implemented by the National Socialist (Nazi) Party in Germany. Nonetheless, there were a number of studies on German privatization in the mid- and late 1930s and in the early 1940s, when many academic analyses of Nazi economic policy discussed privatization policies in Germany.8 International interest was reflected in a change in the English language: in 1936 the German term ‘reprivatisierung’, and the associated concept, were brought into English in the term ‘reprivatization’, and soon the term ‘privatization’ began to be used in the literature.9 Surprisingly, modern literature on privatization, and recent literature on the twentieth-century German economy10 and the history of Germany’s publicly owned enterprises, all ignore this early privatization experience.11 Some authors occasionally mention the privatization of banks, but offer no further comment or analysis.12 Other works mention the sale of state ownership in Nazi Germany, but only to support the idea that the Nazi government opposed widespread state ownership of firms, and no analysis of these privatizations is undertaken.13

It is a fact that the Nazi government sold off public ownership in several state-owned firms in the mid-1930s. These firms belonged to a wide range of sectors; for example, steel, mining, banking, shipyard, ship-lines, and railways.

I think you’ll find these points most interesting.donald-trump-hat

But Germany was alone in developing a policy of privatization in the mid-1930s.Therefore a central question remains: why did the Nazi regime depart from mainstream policies regarding stateownership of firms? Why did Germany’s government transfer firms to the private sector while the other western countries did not?

Answering these questions requires an analysis of the objectives of Nazi privatization. While some of the analyses carried out in the 1930s and 1940s are valuable, their authors lacked the theories, concepts, and tools that are available to us today. Recent economic literature has shown the multiplicity of objectives usually targeted by privatization policies.28 In addition, modern theoretical developments have provided valuable insights into the motives of politicians in choosing between public ownership and privatization29 and the consequences of each option on political rent seeking, through either excess employment or corruption and financial support.30 The theoretical literature has provided interesting results concerning the use of privatization to obtain political support.31

In addition, international evidence shows that financial motivations have been important in recent privatization, although the relevance of sales receipts in motivating privatization has varied over time and between countries. By providing an analysis of privatization in Nazi Germany, this article seeks to fill a gap in the economic literature. The article extensively documents the course of privatization in the period from the Nazi takeover of government until 1937.32 These limits are sensible because all of the relevant reprivatization operations had been concluded before the end of 1937. Some of the privatization operations explained in this paper have not been previously noted in the literature (the sale of state-owned shares inVereinigte Oberschleschische Hüttenwerke AG and in Hansa Dampf, both in 1937).33 Analysing Nazi privatization using modern tools and concepts allows us to conclude that the objectives pursued by the Nazi government were multiple, with their aim of increasing political support being especially noteworthy. Besides this, an additional motivation can be seen in obtaining increased revenue for the German Treasury within a context of growing financial restrictions since 1934/5, mainly because of the armament programme.

So, you can read the finer details in the article which was published in a very prestigious journal.thumbnail_3393737515206910167

I’ve given you a lot to read and think on and I know you may not be able to wade through all of it.  But, I think you’ll see that I’m beginning to document exactly what the march to Fascism in America will look like.   We’re here.

Stay vigilant and defiant.

Don’t feed the Trump-Billies.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Thursday Reads

Blue Girl Reading, Auguste Macke

Blue Girl Reading, Auguste Macke

Good Morning!!

Today is my birthday. I don’t feel much like celebrating, but I’m being lazy so I don’t know when this post will go up.

The wildfires in Tennessee are a real disaster. I’m hoping our beloved ANonOMouse and her family are still safe.

NBC News: Seven Deaths Confirmed as Smokies Wildfires Spread in Tennessee.

Officials were continuing to assess the damage Thursday from a ferocious wildfire that erupted across Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park more than a week ago, killing at least seven people and gutting over 700 structures.

Drenching rain on Wednesday helped firefighters beat back the massive blaze, which still burned more than 15,650 acres and was about 10 percent contained, according to the Southern Area Incident Management Team, which assumed command of the fire.

Rescue operations have been slowed by mud and rockslides caused by the wet weather.

“The rain we received may have slowed this fire for a day or two at a critical time, but the threat from this fire is still there,” the team said.

While large swaths of the national park were ravaged, the wind-whipped flames also reached the neighboring Appalachian tourist meccas of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Maid reading in a library, Edouard John Mentha

Maid reading in a library, Edouard John Mentha

Efforts to pinpoint the cause of deadly wildfires that engulfed two popular tourist towns outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park and shut down one of the country’s most popular natural attractions focused Thursday on their devastating path through East Tennessee, where officials said at least seven people were dead and hundreds of buildings have burned.

Several people remained missing Thursday, and at least 53 people have been treated for injuries at hospitals, though their conditions were not known.

The fires are estimated to have damaged or destroyed more than 700 homes and businesses throughout Sevier County — nearly half of them in the city of Gatlinburg. Additionally, thousands of wooded acres have burned in the most-visited national park in America.

Park Superintendent Cassius Cash said that the first fires, spotted last week, were “likely to be human-caused.”

As people throughout Sevier County tried to return to their routines Thursday, some schools were still closed and access to Gatlinburg remained limited.

The story doesn’t give anymore information about the suspected causes of the fires.

Girl in grey, Louis le Brocquy

Girl in grey, Louis le Brocquy

In other non-political news, researchers have discovered that psilocybin could help people with anxiety and depression. AP via TPM: Studies: ‘Magic Mushroom’ Psychedelic Drug May Ease Anxiety, Depression.

The psychedelic drug in “magic mushrooms” can quickly and effectively help treat anxiety and depression in cancer patients, an effect that may last for months, two small studies show.

It worked for Dinah Bazer, who endured a terrifying hallucination that rid her of the fear that her ovarian cancer would return. And for Estalyn Walcoff, who says the drug experience led her to begin a comforting spiritual journey.

The work released Thursday is preliminary and experts say more definitive research must be done on the effects of the substance, called psilocybin (sih-loh-SY’-bihn).

But the record so far shows “very impressive results,” said Dr. Craig Blinderman, who directs the adult palliative care service at the Columbia University Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He didn’t participate in the work.

Psilocybin, also called shrooms, purple passion and little smoke, comes from certain kinds of mushrooms. It is illegal in the U.S., and if the federal government approves the treatment, it would be administered in clinics by specially trained staff, experts say….

Psychedelic drugs have looked promising in the past for treating distress in cancer patients. But studies of medical use of psychedelics stopped in the early 1970s after a regulatory crackdown on the drugs, following their widespread recreational use. It has slowly resumed in recent years.

Griffiths said it’s not clear whether psilocybin would work outside of cancer patients, although he suspects it might work in people facing other terminal conditions. Plans are also underway to study it in depression that resists standard treatment, he said.

Trumpworld News

Have you heard about the conversation #tRump had with the prime minster of Pakistan? Yes, the president-elect is still talkingto foreign leaders on his personal phone without benefit of intelligence briefings or background information from the State Department.

Chair Car, Edward Hopper

Chair Car, Edward Hopper

Time Magazine: Donald Trump’s Phone Conversation With the Leader of Pakistan Was Reckless and Bizarre.

There are few foreign policy topics quite as complicated as the relationship between India and Pakistan, South Asia’s nuclear-armed nemeses. Any world leader approaching the issue even obliquely must surely see the “Handle With Care” label from miles away, given the possibility of nuclear conflict.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, however, doesn’t seem to have read the memo, injecting a pronounced element of uncertainty about the position of the world’s only remaining superpower on this most complex of subjects in a call with the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

According to a readout of the conversation from the Pakistani authorities, he apparently agreed to visit the country and said he was “ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.” He reportedly added: “You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way.”

The hilarity of his hyperbole aside, Trump’s intervention could have serious consequences for both regional and global stability.

Do you suppose #tRump knows that both Pakistan and India have nukes and they hate each others’ guts? Anyway, read the rest at the link. Here’s the full readout of the call from Pakistan’s press information site. The Trump people don’t bother to provide any information about the god-emperor’s phone calls.

Girl Reading, Jacob Chapiro

Girl Reading, Jacob Chapiro

Yesterday the CIA head John Brennan tried to give #tRump some foreign policy suggestions via an interview with the BBC. The New York Times reports: C.I.A. Chief Warns Donald Trump Against Tearing Up Iran Nuclear Deal.

LONDON — The director of the C.I.A. has issued a stark warning to President-elect Donald J. Trump: Tearing up the Iran nuclear dealwould be “the height of folly” and “disastrous.”

During the election campaign, Mr. Trump railed against the deal, calling it a disaster and pledging to “dismantle” the historic accord, reached in 2015, in which Tehran agreed to limits on its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international oil and financial sanctions.

Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas, a Republican whom Mr. Trump has chosen to succeed John O. Brennan as head of the C.I.A., wrote in mid-November on Twitter, “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

But in an interview with the BBC that was published on its website on Wednesday, Mr. Brennan warned that scrapping the nuclear deal would undermine American foreign policy, embolden hard-liners in Iran and threaten to set off an arms race in the Middle East by encouraging other countries to develop nuclear weapons.

“First of all, for one administration to tear up an agreement that a previous administration made would be unprecedented,” Mr. Brennan said in the BBC interview, which the broadcaster said was the first by a C.I.A. director with the British news media. “I think it would be the height of folly if the next administration were to tear up that agreement.”

Mr. Trump has professed admiration for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, calling him a strong leader, and promised closer relations with Moscow, but Mr. Brennan, who was appointed by President Obama and will step down in January after four years, warned that the incoming administration needed to be skeptical about the Kremlin.

“I think President Trump and the new administration need to be wary of Russian promises,” he told the BBC, reiterating the widely held view that Russia had carried out hacking during the United States election and blaming Moscow for the deteriorating situation in Syria.

More at the link. #tRump supposedly reads the NYT; will he pay attention? Probably not.

Women reading, Robert Breyer

Women reading, Robert Breyer

Some analysis from Vox: CIA Director John Brennan tells the BBC that Trump’s ideas are terrible.

On Wednesday morning, the BBC published excerpts from an interview with CIA Director John Brennan, the first time a serving head of America’s best-known spy agency has sat down with the British media, according to the BBC. Brennan’s comments are, unmistakably, a shot at Donald Trump. He calls Trump’s proposal to scrap the Iran deal “disastrous,” warns that “the overwhelming majority of CIA officers” oppose Trump’s call to bring back torture of suspected terrorists, and says the famously Putin-sympathetic Trump should “beware Russian promises.”

Brennan is stepping down from the CIA leadership on January 20, so he’ll never have to deal with President Trump directly. That means he’s free to do something as brazen as trash the incoming president on one of the world’s most-watched TV channels.

If you take a deeper look at Brennan’s comments, you start to realize that he’s expressing criticisms of Trump policies that are widely held in the foreign policy community.

 Take his attack on Trump’s approach to the Iran deal, which Brennan calls “the height of folly.” He warns that doing so would allow Iran to simply restart its nuclear program.

This, as my colleague Zeeshan Aleem explains, is the consensus among even anti-deal experts and policymakers. That’s because of the way the deal is structured: Iran has already gotten the sanctions relief it was promised, but has yet to fully comply with the terms of the deal that dismantle its nuclear program. If Trump were to scrap the deal on day one, Iran would have everything it wanted without having to give up too much. It would have billions of new dollars as well, and a free hand to build a nuke without pesky international inspectors.

Brennan’s position on Russia is another good example. His argument is that the Obama administration’s negotiations with Russia have mostly failed to alter Moscow’s worst behavior — for example, its slaughtering of civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo and bombing of the moderate opposition looking to unseat Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.

Intelligence officials have been reduced to trying to communicate with a madman through the media. Please go over to Vox and read the rest.
Young lady reading, Mary Cassatt

Young lady reading, Mary Cassatt

You probably heard that #tRump drove someone at the Office of Government Ethics Office to nervous breakdown yesterday. Slate: Federal Ethics Agency Spent the Afternoon Sarcastically Praising Donald Trump.

The U.S. Office of Government Ethics, as its name suggests, interprets and advises federal officials on the ethics laws and rules designed to help keep them honest. “When government decisions are made free from conflicts of interest, the public can have greater confidence in the integrity of executive branch programs and operations,” its mission statement admirably declares. Given what likely awaits the agency in less than two months’ time, it understandably had some, um, thoughts on Donald Trump’s vague, predawn Twitter announcement that he will be “leaving his great business” to focus on the presidency….

Remarkably, those exclamation-filled tweets from a normally staid Twitter account don’t appear to be the result of a hack. “Like everyone else, we were excited this morning to read the President-elect’s twitter feed indicating he wants to be free of conflicts of interest,” agency spokesman Seth Jaffe said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. He added: “We don’t know the details of their plan, but we are willing and eager to help them with it.”

A few of the tweets (see the rest at Slate):

That’s it for me today. Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and enjoy the rest of your Thursday!


Wednesday Hump Day #tRump Day Cartoon Day


Yeah, what the hell…lets just dive in!

Luchovich is a master.

Here is the link for that top cartoon which Luckovich titled “Flammable.”

 

11/29 Mike Luckovich: Why not? | Mike Luckovich

 

11/27 Mike Luckovich: The list. | Mike Luckovich

11/23 Mike Luckovich: Ask not… | Mike Luckovich

 

On to Bagley…if you aren’t following his twitter feed, you should.

He is one of those political cartoonist who makes a statement with every word he tweets.

Bagley Cartoon: First, They Came for Your Medicare | The Salt Lake Tribune

 

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Bagley Cartoon: Protectors of the Sacred | The Salt Lake Tribune

 

 

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Bagley cartoon: Trump Triumphant | The Salt Lake Tribune

 

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Bagley cartoon: The Trump Transition | The Salt Lake Tribune

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Bagley cartoon: Fidel Farewell | The Salt Lake Tribune

 

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Did you all see the “official” photo from last night’s dinner date between tRump and Romney…I guess it was the one that tRump approved for publishing:

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I thought I would share another few screen grabs:

 

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From 2013 but still...

From 2013 but still…

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11/30/2016 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

11/30/2016 Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson -

11/30/2016 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson -

Crude Awakening: 11/29/2016 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - Crude Awakening

11/29/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

FREEDOM OF SPEECH: 11/30/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Twitter tirades: 11/29/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Twitter tirades

Skeleton Key: 11/30/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Skeleton Key

This is all I have for you today.

My mother has just been diagnosed with malignant ovarian cancer. We don’t know what stage it is in…or what treatment, if any…is available. As you can imagine things are fucking hell at home. She sees the specialist, a gynecologist oncologist on the 12th.

Anyway, going forward… my Wednesday threads will be a round-up of political cartoons. This has always been one of my favorite post to put up…they are quick and fun, and still substantial because I think political editorial cartoons are so essential in this political climate. Especially now that tRump is in and any chance of the media or press holding him accountable for his actions is out.

This is an open thread.


Tuesday Reads: Donald #tRump, The Ugly UnAmerican, Wants an Ugly America

Trump wants to ban photos of his double chin

Trump wants to ban photos of his double chin

Good Morning!!

Breaking news this morning: #tRump will be leading rallies again beginning on Thursday in Cincinnati. He will then go on to stage rallies in other “swing states.” He doesn’t want anyone to call it a “victory tour” either, so don’t do that or you might lose your citizenship or be thrown in jail.

Bloomberg reports:

President-elect Donald Trump will begin a “Thank You Tour” on Thursday in Cincinnati, replicating the arena events that powered his surprise campaign, three of his transition officials said.

The Republican has credited his rallies as a central component of his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. The events at times drew tens of thousands of people and were often broadcast live and in their entirety on cable news networks, affording him a practically unfiltered channel to voters.

His post-election tour may take him to “swing states we flipped over,” George Gigicos, Trump’s director of advance, told reporters on Nov. 17. Trump won Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida, all states President Barack Obama won twice.

In case you haven’t noticed, insane president-elect doesn’t like dissent–not one little bit! He either hasn’t heard about the first amendment to the Constitution or thinks it should be ignored. This morning he tweeted about it.

Last night, #tRump flew into a rage at CNN reporter Jeff Zeleny for saying on the air that there is no evidence of that voter fraud led to Hillary Clinton’s more than 2 million lead in the popular vote, and then retweeted several random twitter posts about it. One of them was from a 16-year-old boy, but he apparently likes #tRump; so #tRump thinks he’s an expert.

The president elect doesn’t think he needs intelligence briefings from the U.S. intelligence agencies, because he’s apparently getting his briefings from “foreign leaders”–most likely Vladimir Putin. He gets his “expert advice” on appointments from Fabio and Don King. He doesn’t give press conferences or talk to the media. The only thing we have is his tweets. Some folks think we should ignore them, but this madman is the president elect and his tweets are essentially press releases. They may be the only direct communications Americans get from #tRump for the next four years. They are also the best evidence we have that #tRump is literally insane.

Aaron Blake at The Washington Post: Why we can’t — and shouldn’t — ignore Donald Trump’s tweets.

With a trio of tweets Sunday alleging millions of fraudulent votes and “serious” fraud in three states, Trump effectively hijacked the news cycle for the next 24 hours with baseless conspiracy theories. A week prior, it was Trump’s tweets demanding an apology from the cast of “Hamilton” for disrespecting Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience the previous night.

It can all feel pretty small and sideshow-y at times. Some have a prescription: The media should resist the urge to cover Trump’s tweets as big news. Others even say we should ignore them altogether.

But both of those are fantasies. And we’d be doing readers a disservice if we tried either.

Undergirding the idea that Trump’s tweets shouldn’t be big news is the theory that he’s manipulating the media into focusing on small things to cover up less sexy but more important things — conflicts of interests and possible corruption, in particular.

I’m skeptical any such plan exists, given that Trump’s thin-skinned tweeting is pretty indiscriminate. But this idea has returned with a vengeance given the latest tweetstorm, and it’s likely to perk up again after Trump on Tuesday morning suggested revoking the citizenship or jailing of people who burn the American flag.

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I don’t buy that he’s following some Machiavellian theory of media distraction.  We’ve already seen that #tRump has virtually no self-control. He’s an childish man who has always been prone to temper tantrums. He’s not going to change. This dangerous man has been chosen by a minority of American voters have chosen to be the most powerful person in the world. More from Blake:

What we’re basically talking about here is treating Trump like a social media troll with an egg for an avatar who can be blocked or ignored and hopefully loses the will to keep harassing us.

But this is the president-elect of the United States. The job comes with the so-called bully pulpit, and what he says matters and will be the subject of debate no matter what the mainstream media does. Everything he says reverberates. It doesn’t matter if he says it on Twitter or at a news conference; either way it’s going to be consumed by tens of millions of people, and the media has an important role to play when it comes to fact-checking and providing context.

ProPublica senior reporting fellow Jessica Huseman nailed it in an interview with The Fix’s Callum Borchers on Monday.

“If he had said something similar in a press conference, no one would be concerned that journalists are getting distracted by his absurd language,” Huseman said. “But because it was a tweet, that’s somehow different? Unfortunately, this president-elect has decided to make Twitter his main means of communicating with the American public, and the American public listens deeply to things that he says on Twitter.”

Now, before I move on to other #tRump news, here’s a bizarre photo that Kellyanne Conway posted on Twitter yesterday.

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How would you caption this picture?

I have lots of links for you today.

Here’s one of the most frightening. The New York Times: How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red,’ by Amanda Taub.

Yascha Mounk is used to being the most pessimistic person in the room. Mr. Mounk, a lecturer in government at Harvard, has spent the past few years challenging one of the bedrock assumptions of Western politics: that once a country becomes a liberal democracy, it will stay that way.

His research suggests something quite different: that liberal democracies around the world may be at serious risk of decline.

Mr. Mounk’s interest in the topic began rather unusually. In 2014, he published a book, “Stranger in My Own Country.” It started as a memoir of his experiences growing up as a Jew in Germany, but became a broader investigation of how contemporary European nations were struggling to construct new, multicultural national identities.

He concluded that the effort was not going very well. A populist backlash was rising. But was that just a new kind of politics, or a symptom of something deeper?

To answer that question, Mr. Mounk teamed up with Roberto Stefan Foa, a political scientist at the University of Melbourne in Australia. They have since gathered and crunched data on the strength of liberal democracies.

Their conclusion, to be published in the January issue of the Journal of Democracy, is that democracies are not as secure as people may think. Right now, Mr. Mounk said in an interview, “the warning signs are flashing red.”

Read the rest at the link, but here’s disturbing chart from the piece showing how attitudes toward the need to live in a democracy have changed over time. Older people still care about democracy, younger people not so much.

democracy-chart

We haven’t heard that much about #tRump’s son-in-law lately; but, according to the Wall Street Journal, like he may have nearly as many conflicts of interest as #tRump.

The real-estate company controlled by Jared Kushner, President-elect Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has hundreds of millions of dollars in loans outstanding from domestic and foreign financial institutions, markets condominiums to wealthy U.S. and foreign buyers and has obtained development financing through a controversial U.S. program that sells green cards.

Those and other business activities could raise conflict-of-interest issues if Mr. Kushner is named to a staff position in the Trump administration. Executive branch employees are prohibited from participating in any matter in which there is “a close causal link” between that matter and a “real possibility” of a financial gain or loss, according to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Mr. Trump has floated the idea of Mr. Kushner taking a number of roles in his administration. But he also is considering not giving Mr. Kushner any staff position to sidestep the conflict issue, a person familiar with his thinking said Monday.

If Mr. Trump wanted to give Mr. Kushner an official role he also would have to comply with federal nepotism law. Even if Mr. Kushner were to serve in the new administration as an unpaid adviser, his potential influence on policy would invite scrutiny, legal experts said.

Much more at the WSJ. I got through the paywall somehow; I hope my link works.

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Jonathan Cohn at Huffington Post: Trump’s Pick For HHS Signals He Is Dead Serious About Repealing Obamacare

President-elect Donald Trump will name an ultraconservative surgeon, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), to run the Department of Health and Human Services.

The choice, which Trump’s transition team announced on Tuesday morning, would appear to signal Trump’s determination to proceed with a major overhaul of federal health care programs ― including not just Obamacare, which Republicans have sworn to repeal, but also Medicare and Medicaid.

Price, 62, practiced as an orthopedist for about two decades before winning election to the House of Representatives in 2005.

Once in Congress, Price gained notoriety for his right-wing views ― first as chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative lawmakers, and then as a founding member of the Tea Party Caucus. A constant in his career has been a hostility to government interference with the practice of medicine.

That may help explain why Price has emerged one of Washington’s most vocal and persistent critics of the Affordable Care Act. That law, which President Barack Obama signed in 2010, has helped more than 20 million people to get health insurance and made coverage available even to people with pre-existing medical conditions. It has also increased the underlying cost of insurance and raised taxes on the very wealthy.

In a prepared statement, Trump hailed Price as “a renowned physician” and “go-to expert on healthcare policy. … He is exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible healthcare to every American.”

Democrats reacted to the news harshly, noting Price’s history of criticizing major federal health programs ― as well as his strong opposition to abortion rights.

“Congressman Price has proven to be far out of the mainstream of what Americans want when it comes to Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the incoming minority leader. “Nominating Congressman Price to be the HHS secretary is akin to asking the fox to guard the hen house.”

Price is also a birther:

More reads, links only:

Think Progress: Trump’s lies have a purpose. They are an assault on democracy.

George Lakoff: A Minority President: Why the Polls Failed, And What the Majority Can Do.

Vox: What the alt-right actually wants from President Trump.

New York Times: Combative, Populist Steve Bannon Found His Man in Donald Trump.

Washington Post: What a President Trump means for foreign policy.

Jamelle Bouie at Slate: Keep Hope Alive. Demoralized Democrats have a road map for success in Trump’s America. It was written by Jesse Jackson.

Must Read! David Fahrenthold and Robert O’Harrow Jr. at The Washington Post: The mogul, in a 2007 deposition, had to face up to a series of falsehoods and exaggerations. And he did. Sort of.

Catherine Rampell at The Washington Post: In Trump’s economy, mammas should make sure their babies grow up to be con men.

Washington Post: Donald Trump’s political mandate is historically small.

Eric Boelert at Media Matters: Too Little, Too Late: Weeks After Election, Media See Trump’s Conflicts, Potential Self-Dealings, And Corruption.

Matthew Yglesias at Vox: The Trump conflicts of interest we can see are just the tip of the iceberg.


Monday Reads

Well, my computer is being quirky again so we’ll have to see how long it takes to get this up today.  I really need a new one badly but this year has just about done me in on all levels including financially.  Right now I’m on an old HP running VISTA that’s unbelievably slow.  Hopefully, the other one will come alive once it sits awhile which happens, usually. This is just another level of stress I do not need.

We keep having more mass shootings and violence. There was one here down in the nastiest part of Bourbon Street early Sunday morning. Ten people were shot with one young man dying of his injuries.

Ohio State University has just experienced another horrid attack by a Somali refugee who drove a car into a group of people then started stabbing people with a butcher knife.  This will undoubtedly get some kind of play from the white nationalists.  I’m just waiting for it.

Police confirm the suspect who drove a car into a crowd of people and began attacking them with a butcher knife on the campus of The Ohio State University is dead.

OSU president Michael Drake says the sole suspect drove a car into a group of people, got out and began to cut them with a butcher knife. A police officer arrived within a minute of the attack and shot and killed the attacker.

A police officer was on the scene within a minute and killed the assailant. “He engaged the suspect and eliminated the threat,” OSU Police Chief Craig Stone said.

NBC News reports the suspect in the attack was an 18-year-old student, a Somali refugee and legal permanent resident of the United States. The suspect’s name was not released and the motive was unknown, but officials said the attack was clearly deliberate and may have been planned in advance.

“This was done on purpose,” Stone said.

Mass murder/shooter Dylann Roof wants to defend himself against his outstanding hate crimes charges. Jury selection began in the trial with Roof representing himself.9koowjw

A federal judge has ruled that accused Emanuel AME Church shooter Dylann Roof can represent himself in his federal hate crimes trial, potentially allowing the self-avowed white supremacist to question the shooting survivors and nine victims’ family members if they are called to testify.

Roof made the last-minute request as jury selection in his death penalty trial was set to begin this morning. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel cautioned Roof against serving as his own attorney, noting his defense team’s considerable legal expertise, but ultimately granted the request. He noted that Roof has a constitutional right to represent himself.

“I do find defendant has the personal capacity to self-representation,” Gergel said. “I continue to believe it is strategically unwise, but it is a decision you have the right to make.”

Roof, garbed in a striped grey-and-white jail uniform, stood up front in the courtroom and answered the judge’s questions with “yes, sir” in a quiet, raspy voice. After Gergel’s ruling, he smiled slightly as he returned to his defense table but showed no other obvious emotion.

Roof then sat in the front-and-center seat as his lead lawyer, renowned capital defense attorney David Bruck, scooted over. Roof told the judge that he wanted the attorneys he’d just asked to be discharged sit at the table with him. They now will act as “stand-by counsel,” Gergel ruled.

At one point, Bruck stood to object to a potential juror after the court had moved on to consider others without Roof objecting. The judge admonished Bruck and told him to sit down and confer with Roof.

“Mr. Roof elected to self-represent,” Gergel said.

The first panel of 10 prospective jurors brought in Monday morning were all white and appeared to be middle-aged or older. Filling three rows in the audience, an all-black group of shooting survivors, families of the nine dead, and the pastor of Emanuel AME listened attentively with no outward reactions to news that Roof would be acting as his own attorney.

Trump supporters continue to terrorize and harass their neighbors 474c9df0fd622eea85904b4d6d4f2e0cand folks that just happen to have looks they don’t like.  We already talked about the appalling jerk on the Delta flight screaming Hillary Bitches at women passengers.  Here’s another nasty white woman harassing black store employees.

A shopper erupted in fury and claimed anti-white discrimination after she was asked to purchase a $1 reusable bag at a Chicago-area arts and crafts store.

Another customer began recording when she overheard the woman insulting the store’s black employees and shouting about Donald Trump, reported Patch.

“I voted for Trump — so there,” the woman shouted. “You want to kick me out for that? And look who won.”

The angry shopper claimed she had been discriminated against because she was white and had voted for Trump in the lengthy rant recorded Wednesday at Michael’s in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood.

The woman, who has not been identified, noticed other customers had pulled out their phones to record her harangue, which witnesses said went on for more than a half hour, and she angrily confronted the woman whose video went viral.

“I don’t know what you think you’re videoing, lady,” the woman says. “I was just discriminated against by two black women, and you being a white woman, you’re literally thinking that that’s okay? You standing there with your baby thinking that’s okay.”

The angry shopper accuses the other woman’s 2-year-old child of stealing and then records video of the mother and child before turning her wrath back on the store’s employees.

“You’re a liar, I don’t care, because I’m a consumer,” she shouts at an employee. “I’m a customer.”

The video is the latest in a series of white people justifying their obnoxious behavior and demanding special treatment because they voted for Trump.

 We continue to hear horrifying news about how central white nationalism will be to Trump Policies.  Cities are already deciding how to fight the policies that will punish them for their sanctuary status.  It appears both Trump and Bannon share the idea of white genetic superiority.  We’re beginning to see the tough struggles and fights that will beleaguer the country as Republicans try to trample the civil rights of so many of us.

 


Sunday Reads: Bring out your dead…bong. 

Good Afternoon.

I’ve decided to no longer capitalize trump’s name.

I even had to change the auto-correct on my phone…to stop it from switching “trump” to “Trump”.  Actually, yesterday I saw a hashtag that made me laugh. #tRump. Nuff said.

But if you think about it, my little protest is not singular in nature…

‘Dump Tower’ Is Just the Beginning Of Our New National Trolling Pastime

Before Trump, our national pastimes centered mainly around baseball and Instagram stalking our exes. But as the over-exposed meat bag trundles toward office, it’s time to rededicate our efforts to one oft-overlooked aspect of the resistance: Finding subtle ways to mock and needle him until he implodes with a wet pop, leaving nothing but a pair of gaudy cufflinks and a neglected Twitter account.

Trump’s skin is so thin it makes a baby’s eyelids seem like the callused palms of a cattle rancher. Probing him is satisfying because it provokes a response, which is why we have to spend the next four years doing it all the time. On Saturday, it was discovered that typing “Trump Tower” into Google Maps led you to…

 

 

DUMP TOWER! Immature? Sure! Ultimately pointless? Maybe not! Think of Trump’s ego like a giant balloon, full to the point of bursting. We, the American people, are each armed with our own tiny pins, with which we can and must prod that gas-filled balloon at every available opportunity.

Just a few more trump links, in dump fashion.

Trump is ignoring daily intelligence briefings, relying on ‘a number of sources’ instead

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Trump spent Thanksgiving asking: Mitt or Rudy? | New York Post

The president-elect held court on Thursday at his Palm Beach, Fla., Mar-a-Lago club at a large table with family members including wife Melania and sons Eric and Barron.

One witness told us Trump took a prime table next to the fireplace in the club’s living room, but spent a lot of time greeting members and asking who they think should be his top diplomat.

The spy said, “Donald was walking around asking everybody he could about who should be his secretary of state. There was a lot of criticism about Romney, and a lot of people like Rudy. There are also many people advocating for [former US ambassador to the UN] John Bolton.”

On Friday it was reported that Trump wants Romney to publicly apologize for criticizing him during the campaign in order to be considered for secretary of state.

Guests joining Trump for Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago included Christopher Nixon Cox, the grandson of Richard Nixon, who we are told is being lined up to be Trump’s ambassador to China. Also there was Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Newsmax Media Christopher Ruddy, boxing promoter Don King, interior designer William Eubanks and political consultant Mary Ourisman. Attracting almost as much attention as the president-elect was chiseled romance-novel hunk Fabio, who was seated at a table near Trump, and “was asked for pictures nearly as often as Trump himself.”

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The Coast Guard patrols the Mar-a-Lago Resort ahead of Donald Trump’s arrival for Thanksgiving.Photo: Getty Images

Meanwhile, security was intense. The witness told us that Ocean Boulevard outside Mar-a-Lago was sealed off, and all vehicles were diverted to a nearby parking lot to be fully searched and checked by sniffer dogs. Entering the club, all members had to pass through airport-style metal detectors and have their bags searched. Once inside, “Secret Service agents were swarming everywhere. But Trump seemed relaxed, like he was in his own living room and surrounded by family.”

Fabio?

More on that Romney apology: REPORT: Mitt Romney May Be Forced to Publicly Apologize to Trump in Exchange For Sec of State Bid | Mediaite

And one more…Trump is already handing the presidency to Pence – AMERICAblog News

Whether Donald Trump is already bored with being president, or simply overwhelmed, there are signs that Trump is already handing the presidency off to his incoming vice president Mike Pence.

Keep in mind that earlier this year Trump’s own son reportedly told the Kasich campaign that future president Trunp planned to hand off most of his presidency to his vice president.

And judging by Trump’s refusal to attend the critically-important daily intelligence briefings that the president, and incoming president, receive, it appears that Trump is on track to license the most important parts of the presidency to religious right activist Mike Pence.

Here’s the NYT, which first reported the story of Kasich being offered what amounts to as the entire presidency:

Take a look at the link for the rest.

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Now for links related to the trump presidency. (God, that is depressing.)

No More Mister Nice Blog: VENGEANCE AGAINST THE CLINTONS: TRUMP TREATS IT LIKE A BUSINESS PROPOSITION

The New York Postreports that despite earlier reports to the contrary, the incoming Trump administration supports an ongoing legal witch hunt against the Clintons after all — just not one conducted by the U.S. government:

Foreign governments will be encouraged to investigate the Clinton Foundation’s finances….

A source close to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team told The Post that the new administration plans to pressure the US ambassadors it will name to bring up the foundation with foreign governments — and suggest they probe its ­financial dealings.

Trump said last week that he would not order an investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server or her role in the foundation.

But Trump’s statement didn’t preclude the backroom moves to investigate the group.

“Haiti and Colombia will be key diplomatic posts for this ­because of all the money ­involved,” said the source.

Yeah, those are certainly the legal systems you want to turn to for investigations that are aboveboard and first-rate: Freedom House says of Haiti that “The judiciary is inefficient and weak, and is burdened by a lack of resources, a large backlog of cases, outdated legal codes, and poor facilities,” adding that “Bribery is rampant at all levels of the judicial system,” while in Colombia “The justice system remains compromised by corruption and extortion.”

 

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Remember the veteran who had his dinner taken away by the Chili’s manager? Check this shit out:

Army vet denied meal at Chili’s forced to vacate home after threats | Talk of the Town

The Army veteran who was denied a free meal on Veterans Day at Chili’s has temporarily vacated his home because of threats, reports the Dallas Morning News.

But the news isn’t all bad, the veteran has also received more than $6,000 in pledges from many Americans through a GoFundMe account. He has asked the money be used to support hungry veterans. And Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, extended a personal invitation to the veteran to games for the remainder of the season.

Ernest Walker began receiving threats after a television news outlet showed his address and phone number during a segment about the incident, said Walker’s attorney. The newspaper reports that Walker received phone calls from restricted numbers saying “I know where you live.” He also received threats on Facebook and is now filing a report with the Ovilla Police Department.

On Veterans Day, Walker went to a Chili’s Bar & Grill in Cedar Hill to enjoy the free burger deal offered to vets, but had his meal removed by a restaurant manager. The manager challenged his status as a veteran despite Walker having shown him the proper ID and papers. Walker then began filming his exchange with the manager and posted it on Facebook. After several days, the post went viral, Chili’s was inundated with complaints and the company apologized to Walker and placed the manager on leave.

Uh, the manager was egged on by a Trump supporter in a “Make America Great Hat” btw…

What Does Donald Trump’s Election Say About America? – The Atlantic

The election of Donald Trump to the presidency reveals the true character of America.

Calling Someone Racist Won’t Help Your Arguement — Science of Us

Americans, like other humans, live in bubbles: The place you live, the media you consume, and the experiences you have shape what you take to be the world. To get out of hers, Arlie Hochschild, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and a self-identified liberal progressive, headed to Lake Charles, Louisiana, for five years of field work, resulting in Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, a book that’s being called one of the best things you can read to understand the election.

In interviews with her subjects — a gospel singer, an oil-rig worker, “an obedient Christian wife” — Hochschild was careful to make them feel safe, allowing them to reveal to her what their views are, rather than prying it out of them. “I was acutely aware of the fragility of the ground rules I was trying to set, to promise them no judgments, so that they would be honest with me,” she tells Science of Us. They avoided the topic of race altogether, and when she did finally raise it to them, the immediate reply was, No – I’m not racist.

Her subjects’ sensitivity underscores a fact of political life that gets overlooked: If you want someone to listen to you, don’t offend them. Even if you think their views are deplorable.

“The word racist is one of the country’s most powerful triggers,” she says. It immediately puts people on the defensive, and political-science research suggests that shaming people isn’t the best way to convince them of your worldview. Her subjects assumed than anybody from the North would think of them as a racist — a bad, brutal person associated with slavery and the oppression of minorities. “They were allergic to the word,” she says. When conversations did arrive at race with her 40 in-depth subjects, she saw “every expression of every viewpoint.” One guy described himself as a “reformed bigot”: He used the N-word in the 1960s, when everyone around him was, but hadn’t used it since. While he has a Facebook page heroizing policemen, he also doesn’t tolerate racial slurs on it. His was “a mixed story,” she says, and “there are so many mixed stories if you don’t start with that word racist.”

Please read the rest at the link. I know that when I flat out call my husband a misogynist…the argument goes no where. (Even though that is exactly what he is.)img_1763

Women are preparing for Trump and Pence’s inevitable assault on reproductive rights.

Your Obstetrician (and Trump) Will See You Now – Ms. Magazine Blog

The Banned 400-Year-Old Shakespearean Speech Being Used For Refugee Rights Today | The Huffington Post

How Journalists Need to Begin Imagining the Unimaginable – ProPublica

Journalist Masha Gessen has spent years reporting on Vladimir Putin’s rule in Russia. She has written that the focus on Russian influence over now President-elect Donald Trump has been overstated and the result of a failure of imagination: the inability to imagine that the president would profoundly break with the norms of our country’s political discourse and practices.

A few days after Trump’s win, Gessen wrote about what citizens should be on the watch for with the incoming administration. ProPublica’s Eric Umansky and Jesse Eisinger sat down with Gessen to talk about how exactly journalists should be covering Trump.

Podcast at link.img_1851

Wife of Putin official performs in concentration camp ice dance | World news | The Guardian

Well, people died this week. Some of note:

The Guardian view on Fidel Castro: man of history | Editorial | World news | The Guardian

trump marked his death with a tweet:

castro-capture

I guess trump’s boyfriend didn’t appreciate it…

Vladimir Putin HUMILIATES Trump For Pathetic Response To Fidel Castro’s Death (TWEETS) – US Uncut

Obituaries for the past week. Fuck 2016:

‘Brady Bunch’ Mom Florence Henderson Has Died : The Two-Way : NPR

Ron Glass, ‘Barney Miller’ And ‘Firefly’ Actor, Dead At 71 | The Huffington Post

Fidel Castro’s death could ensure Obama’s opening to Cuba survives – LA Times

Continuing the link dump…

Electoral College must reject Trump unless he sells his business, top lawyers for Bush and Obama…

DNA DENIAL

Georgia man serves life despite
DNA implicating another killer

That is an article from February of 2016. But I just thought it would be as interesting read for you all.

As well as this one:

American Apartheid: A Georgia County Drove Out All Its Black Citizens in 1912 – The New York Times

img_1762Now for some regular general interest links…

Just Like Love, We Can Feel Friendships at First Sight — Science of Us

The Brilliant MI6 Spy Who Perfected the Art of the ‘Honey Trap’ | Atlas Obscura

A Breakthrough in C-Section History: Beatrice of Bourbon’s Survival in 1337 – The New York Times

This is an open thread.