Showing posts with label 2016. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2016. Show all posts

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Trump Base

The 2016 election saw a large swathe of working-class whites gravitate to Donald Trump. These people used to be reliable Democrats. And it is hard to argue the only source of support has been racism. There are serious economic anxieties.

The 2016 mandate was that the US was tired of playing the world's policeman. For one, it is too expensive. The US spends something like 700 billion dollars every year on defense. For a fraction of that amount, it could solve the housing crisis, the education crisis, and the health crisis. It could make a serious dent in its infrastructure woes.

Trump questioned NATO. And people were aghast. But he was only responding to his mandate. Perhaps NATO is indeed a Cold War relic. Whether that is the case or not, a lot of Americans seem to think it is too expensive.

Globalization worked. Trade has worked. A lower-middle-class American today can go to her local Walmart and purchase stuff that Queen Victoria of England could only have dreamed of at the height of British power. There have been immense rises in productivity.

I wholeheartedly supported the idea of Trump holding summit level talks with the North Korean leader. I support the same between Trump and the Supreme Leader of Iran. Why not? Trying to reason things out in person is the basic democratic impulse. It is the most human thing to do.

Or, hey, how about video conferencing?

It is important to take Trump out of the picture and see that something happened in 2016. The US as a country is trying to readjust. The US feels like its defense treaty with Germany and Japan are no longer sustainable. They cost too much money. And perhaps they do. New arrangements have to be sought.

Maybe we are looking at a scenario where Japan gets an army again.

Peace on the peninsula would help. North Korea wants a peace treaty. That peace treaty would guarantee that the US will not invade North Korea. That North Korea wants such an assurance speaks to the paranoia of the regime. But that peace treaty is a small price to pay for peace. Normalized relations between the two Koreas would have cascading influences. We will very likely see a Germany repeat. And Japan will have many fewer security concerns.

The 2016 mandate has to be seen as a call for a new world order where the US plays a less central, a less expensive role. Some of the things Trump wants on trade can only be achieved if the dollar is no longer the global currency. Perhaps it is time for something like Libra, a currency resting on the Bitcoin technology that is pegged to a basket of the five major currencies of the world.

Trump spotted the well of anger in 2016. I don't think he has the solutions. The solutions he offers are misguided at best.

Take intellectual property law as an example. It makes no sense for the US Congress to pass intellectual property law and then impose that on the rest of the world. The US Congress is not the Congress for the whole world. A global parliament needs to shape something like that.

There are a lot of people who are happy someone is finally standing up to China. There are a lot of people who are very happy someone is finally standing up to the US. Both powers should take note.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mueller Drops A Bomb

I think this leaves no room for Congress to not take this matter up. Mueller basically said, I have done all the homework, but it is beyond my jurisdiction to take the next step. Impeachment proceedings will begin. Will the Senate follow through on what the House might do? It depends on how the House conducts its business. If the House makes a clear case not just to Congress, but to the people at large, and sways public opinion, the Senate might follow the lead. If more than 60% of the American public ask for impeachment, it might happen.

If the House impeaches, but the Senate, on partisan lines, does not follow, what happens politically? Does that weaken or strengthen the president? I think that depends on how strong the public support for impeachment is. If it is in the above 60% range, and the Senate still does not follow through, the Republicans might lose the Senate in 2020.

Trump counts on his base to stay with him. How big is that base? And how firm? If during the impeachment noise it is still a 49.9-50.1 nation, then the whole thing might even strengthen Trump. That would defy logic. Mueller has made it absolutely clear that Russia did interfere. It was concerted, it was relentless, state actors were involved.

As for collusion, Trump said very publicly in 2016: "Russia, are you listening!" If he had said the same thing to the Russian ambassador in a private meeting, that would have been collusion, but if he says it publicly for all world to hear then that is not collusion? Does not make sense.

There is a whole another debate about the US track record of having interfered in other countries' elections over the decades. There have been cases of sabotaging elected governments who were deemed to be against US national interests. But that is a separate topic.

Or Trump could resign. That is a distinct possibility. The good thing about resigning would be Pence would pardon him.

This constitutional crisis is much bigger than anything going on with China, or Iran.

Mueller said, it's not on me, it's not on Congress. Nancy Pelosi is saying, it is not on Congress, it is on the American people.

Trump responds to Mueller, calls him 'a true never Trumper' "The whole thing is a scam. It's a giant presidential harassment," Trump said. "Russia did not help me get elected. You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn’t help me at all,” Trump said, adding that, if anything, Russia helped “the other side” get elected.

Trump attacks Mueller as a 'true never-Trumper' after admitting for first time that Russia helped elect him Responding to Trump's earlier tweet, George Conway, a conservative attorney, frequent Trump critic and husband of top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, made note of Trump "finally" admitting that Russia sought to boost his candidacy........ "Well, that’s what the investigation was about," Conway wrote. "The investigation found plenty of evidence that Russia did just that. It thus wasn’t a 'Witch Hunt' or 'Hoax.' So why did you repeatedly try to obstruct it?" ....... the special counsel detailed Russia's extensive efforts to boost Trump's candidacy and harm 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton through social media campaigns and by targeted email hacking and releases....... Trump also said he believed the special counsel was "certainly conflicted" because of a "business dispute" the president claimed he had with Mueller.

Trump blasts Mueller as 'highly conflicted,' calls impeachment a 'dirty, filthy, disgusting word' The president, in his tweet, also seemed to acknowledge that Russia helped him "get elected" through their interference in the 2016 election, though said he "had nothing to do" with it. Mueller said Wednesday "there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election," but said there was "insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy" involving the Trump campaign....... Later Thursday morning, Trump, departing the White House, repeated his criticism that the special counsel was "totally conflicted," and claimed that Mueller, who served as FBI director under the Bush and Obama administrations, wanted to be tapped to lead the bureau again during the Trump administration........ "He wanted to be FBI director," Trump said. "Mueller should have never been chosen--he wanted the FBI job and didn't get it and then was picked as special counsel."...... Mueller stated that: “The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse the president of wrongdoing.”...... But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., under pressure from her party, still seems cool to the idea...... “We want to do what’s right and what gets results,” Pelosi said Wednesday. “We’re legislating, we’re investigating and we’re litigating.” ...... But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., whose committee would lead any potential impeachment proceedings, said: “all options are on the table.”

'Start Here': Mueller finally speaks as calls to impeach Trump get louder

Mueller Counted on Institutions to Grapple With His Report. They Didn’t. Neither Congress nor the press did enough to tell the American people what they needed to know. ........ the statements definitively showed Attorney General William Barr’s previous comments on the matter to have been misleading. ........ The fact that this material is being treated as new when it has been available for weeks is indicative of a vast failure on the part of American institutions, which have not adequately grappled with the information conveyed in the Mueller report or presented it to the public with sufficient clarity. ........ Mueller described a “concerted attack on our political system” by the Russian government and emphasized the existence of “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election.” He reiterated that his office had not exonerated the president. He also said that “it is important that the office’s written work”—that is, the Mueller report—“speak for itself.” ....... Some publications reported uncritically on the president’s claims of “Complete and Total EXONERATION,” though Barr’s letter stated that Mueller had not exonerated Trump. The New York Times and The Washington Post both said a “cloud” had been lifted from over the White House. ...... Mueller’s tone was that of a teacher telling his students once again that they would know the answer if only they had done the reading....... If the attorney general had chosen to release Mueller’s summaries instead of choosing to protect the president by writing his own, perhaps Mueller’s message might have been easier for the public to understand and for the press to report. ...... And then there is Congress—perhaps the main target of Mueller’s entreaty to please just read the report. ....... Two notable exceptions here are Democratic Senator (and presidential candidate) Elizabeth Warren and Republican Representative Justin Amash—both of whom have made a point of reading the entire report and publicly discussing their conclusions. Both support impeachment.

The Wisest Remedy Is Not Impeachment Over to you, Nancy Pelosi. ..... Impeachment at this point is all but certain to end in Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, which is controlled by a Republican majority. ...... It will change only if new real-world facts materialize—either legal facts (evidence of other crimes) or political facts (a collapse in Trump’s support in the country)...... A Trump facing impeachment will rally reluctant Republicans to him, with the argument, so effective for Bill Clinton in the 1990s, Even if he did something wrong, it does not merit removal from office...... And an acquitted Trump will be an immunized Trump....... Impeachment now threatens to turn the 2020 election into a referendum on the Democrats’ methods in Congress, not Trump’s wrongdoing in the presidency, in the campaign, and in private life....... Trump outrages the sense of justice. It is understandable that many yearn for urgent and decisive action to cleanse the American system. But wise action is better than urgent action, and the best decision is one that leads to success.

Mueller Hands His Caseload To Congress, As Impeachment Calls Grow Louder
More Democrats call for impeachment after Mueller makes statement

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

A Tale Of Two Cities

'Unhinged': President Trump and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz trade insults over Puerto Rico relief "Pres Trump continues to embarrass himself & the Office he holds," she tweeted. "He is unhinged & thus lies about the $ received by PR.".... Resuming the argument Tuesday morning, Trump again claimed that "Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane," but it is not clear where he got that figure, and actual spending is not close to that. A FEMA report said it passed the $3 billion mark in public assistance to Puerto Rico in August........Ricardo Rossello, the governor of Puerto Rico, admonished Trump over his false claim of $91 billion......."Mr. President: STOP spreading misinformation!" he tweeted. "#PuertoRico has not received $91b (only 300M in permanent work). It's not 'us' vs 'them'. It's about Americans in need."
Trump claims Puerto Ricans ‘take from USA,’ criticizes hurricane relief funding President Donald Trump claimed Puerto Ricans “take from USA” in a series of tweets Tuesday, despite Puerto Rico being a U.S. territory and its more than 3 million residents are American citizens..... By comparison, $120 billion has been spent on damages from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Kushner Factor

Just as Trump’s unorthodox style allowed him to win the Republican nomination while spending far less than his more traditional opponents, Kushner’s lack of political experience became an advantage. Unschooled in traditional campaigning, he was able to look at the business of politics the way so many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have sized up other bloated industries.

Jared understood the online world in a way the traditional media folks didn’t. He managed to assemble a presidential campaign on a shoestring using new technology and won. That’s a big deal,” says Schmidt, the Google billionaire. “Remember all those articles about how they had no money, no people, organizational structure? Well, they won, and Jared ran it.”

There’s some aspects of the Democrat Party that didn’t speak to me, and there are some aspects of the Republican Party that didn’t speak to me. People in the political world try to put you into different buckets based on what exists. I think Trump’s creating his own bucket–a blend of what works and eliminating what doesn’t work.”

Sunday, November 20, 2016

NATO: A Rethink Is Possible

George W Bush, as a candidate, famously asked, "Why do we need an army?" Such first principles thinking is a good thing. Donald Trump, as a candidate, similarly asked, "Why can't we use nuclear weapons?" That is first principles thinking.

Donald Trump, the candidate, asked for a fundamental rethink on both Russia and NATO. A presidential campaign is a marketplace for ideas. The voters are the customers. 75% of Americans who don't have college degrees are saying they can't afford NATO. It is dollars and cents. In a government of the people, by the people, for the people, it is the people who make the final decision on how the tax money is to be spent.

Trump has been smart enough to see Russia and NATO are two sides of the same coin. NATO was created with the express intention of preventing Soviet troops from marching into Western Europe.

So when the threat is supposed to be gone, if the Soviet Union is no more, if the West won the Cold War, why is NATO still there? Somebody should have asked this question in 1991. Trump is asking now. Good for him. He had an idea and he took it to the people.

NATO was never designed to counter terrorism, and was never redesigned for it either. It is an old fashioned battle machine designed to fight wars with tanks and ground troops.

Trump’s point is if Russia can politically be turned into a Germany, a friend and an ally, then do we still need NATO?

That is a question he asked and lost the entire Republican security establishment in just asking.

There are many moving parts to the equation. The biggest moving part is Russia itself. But like Obama disagreed with Bush on Iraq Trump has disagreed with Obama, Bush II, Clinton, and Bush I on Russia. That is quite entrepreneurial.

He won the idea battle. The execution battle is ahead.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Giving Trump The Benefit Of Doubt

Or rather accepting the plain fact that not only is Donald Trump the president for the next four years his party seems to now be leading a one party state. The Democrats, for some reason, have been reduced to the municipal levels. It is a big city party. That is interesting because Trump is the ultimate big city person. He grew up in Queens which is the most diverse borough of the most diverse city on the planet. Trump and Giuliani are both liberal on social issues by upbringing. Although their current positions might be politically aligned to the voter base they sit on.

America's bipolar disorder is that one camp reduces the other to cartoons. Hillary is a cartoon. Trump is a cartoon.

The Trump version is that he is Hitler.

The truth might be more banal. America is more or less the same country it was a few weeks ago. It might be a country adjusting to the fact that it can not afford to be the sole superpower.

Trump totally intends to question NATO. To him it is about money. And that is a fundamental challenge to the post World War II, post Cold War order.

This election has been about readjusting.

There is an election result. And there is a mandate to read. Trump could end up mediocre to scandalous. In which case the pendulum will swing again in two years and he could lose control of both houses of Congress.

But with much of the federal money going to entitlement programs, defense and interest payments on the 20 trillion dollar debt, that leaves little room for anything else. It is underemployment in DC, not gridlock. There is not much wiggle room.

Trump could even prove transformative. He could spring forth a one time 15% tax on the wealth of the rich to pay off a big chunk of the national debt of 20 trillion dollars. He could do a fundamental rethink on NATO and turn Russia into a Germany, a total ally with which to massively downsize the nuclear arsenal and vastly reduce each other's defense budgets. He could impose term limits on Congress, max 10 years in the House and 12 in the Senate.

And suddenly gridlock season is over.

He might increase the democracy momentum in China and Arabia.

Liberals think conservatives are dumb people. That is why they are so unenlightened on the social issues. Conservatives think liberals are bookish, impractical clowns who could not make the trains run on time even if they wanted to. That is a bipolar disorder. It might have roots in the scant wiggle room mentioned above.

Teenagers With Poor Self Esteem?

Like a teenager with poor self-esteem, the American people had chosen the flashy and abusive boyfriend over the steady, boring one. We’ve had enough decency for one decade, the electorate decided. Give us chaos.

You should be worried, too. George W Bush, a man of comparative calm and measured intellect, started two foreign wars and cratered the world economy. Trump is far more reckless.

Trump Locking Horns With China And Arabia

On the campaign trail Donald Trump fearlessly locked horns with China and Arabia, the two parts of the world that stand in the way of a total spread of democracy, and in so doing Donald Trump has aligned himself with America's founding mission. Curious though that liberals claim he will end democracy in America itself!

Lies are sin. Slander is sin. The media and the political space could try better about not sinning. And elevate the political culture.

But free speech is sacrosanct.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

There Is Unfair, And Then There Is Politics

The FBI was unfair. Before that Trump. His saying sex crimes in the army was normal and the blame went to women who joined the army, that was meant an attack on Hillary, like him saying Jeb Bush was "low energy and a disgrace to his family," or calling Marco "Little Marco." Hillary's literal "collapse" can be traced to that precise attack. An attack like that can weaken your immune system if it captures your thought process. Her counter was feeble. Basket of deplorables?

The FBI attack was a naked sexist political attack. It totally changed the race.

But the real political story is that Hillary did not hit back hard and it cost her.

There are people who did not vote but who are now out protesting. Hillary did not turn the Trump and FBI political attacks into counter attacks but, three days after the election, came out saying the FBI was unfair to her. Still not saying what the FBI did was outright illegal.

Sexism aside, the presidential race is also designed to see how you respond to unforeseen situations by actors who absolutely don't care about fair. ISIS would not think twice about detonating a dirty bomb. You could not argue they would be unfair to do so. How would you deal with it?

Long story short, Trump is in for four years. That asks for strategy. Some Dems are saying partial, selective cooperation. Because this guy does not seem to get along with the Republican establishment either.

And then there are protesters. Inauguration day should be colorful. Talk about orange and Ukraine.

There are checks and balances. There's the street. There are global players like Germany and China. There's Canada, if the West Coast wants to secede. There are the Senate Democrats who can filibuster.

And there's the 2018 opportunity to take Congress.

And there's always 2020.

Trump has already talked down immigration and the wall. His deportation numbers now are more Obama like. And he has started to say "fence." The pivot many expected after the Republican primary elections is happening now.

Also, he does have some fresh ideas. If he could somehow end the Cold War with Russia once and for all, that would give him a big bang start.

If he could institute term limits for Congress, that would "drain the swamp," if he were to stick to his words on lobbyists.

And he has this idea of a one time 15% tax on the wealth of the rich to pay off a big chunk of the debt. If he were to do that for "the forgotten men and women," that would be a good thing.

This guy is in a position to do creative destruction to the Republican Party. The brand name remains, but it is like a whole new building inside.

Or he could give in to the base instincts of the Alt Right, the racism, sexism, anti semitism, deliver tax cuts for the rich to "the forgotten men and women" and start a trade war with China and we would all be in a Great Depression, greatly depressed. Then no matter who wins in 2020, when America finally wakes up it would wake up a Britain in 1952, a small island nation on which the sun never used to set.

Trump’s positions on trade and climate as stated on the campaign trail cedes the global stage to China on both. America's greatness perhaps never was small minded racism, sexism and anti semitism.

The Racist Ideology Is Obviously Troubling

Some of these guys who are now about to get into plum positions in the White House hold unapologetic racist views.

They, frankly, would like to go back to some era when America was the only country with skyscrapers. If you try too hard you might end up in an era with no smartphones. Such precision carries the Chinese threat.

They are a perfect match to the Chinese who were the leading country in the world in 1200. There are Chinese who do fantasize about going back to that era. They have a name for it, One Belt One Road.

For much of human history, except for the past 500 years, China and India were the leading economies on the planet.

But economies are not supposed to be ego massages! ("Mine is bigger than yours!") They are about families and livelihoods.

Unlike war economies are supposed to be win win propositions. The only valid ideology is the ideology of human equality.

Anti immigration has been the biggest unfair trade practice in the world. Goods and services can move around, money can move around, technology can move around, why not people?

Nobody really wants to deport Mexicans. The American economy will quite literally grind to an absolute halt if all Mexicans leave. They know that. The anti Mexican rhetoric is a tactic to keep the Mexicans working at below minimum wage. It is about cheap labor. At one point in American history there was similar anti Chinese rhetoric. They needed cheap labor to build railroads.

Racism is a tool of power. That is why it is strongest in places like the US Senate, Wall Street, and the liberal mecca Hollywood.  

This is a globalized world. America is not an island. Minus Mexico it is not even a continent.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

On Trade, Immigration And Climate

Trump might feel he now has a mandate, but his positions have not been endorsed by the world. In fact on each issue the world will oppose him every step of the way and the world will win. For one, truth is on their side. Two, America is not the power it was when Trump was a college kid. America after the Trump victory is like Britain after World War II. The empire is gone.

And the racist Alt Right ideology is anathema to the powers that oppose him on the big issues. Precisely when Europe and America need to make the extra effort to get along with the world there are voices that have taken to white supremacist thinking with renewed vigor. It is a grand losing proposition.

Europe will lock horns with Trump on climate. France has already threatened a carbon tax on all American imports should Trump walk away from the Paris Climate Agreement.

China has become the leading voice on the climate issue. Whichever country is the leading voice on climate change is the leader of the world. For there is no bigger issue the planet faces.

Should the trade war Trump has threatened with China materialize America, and perhaps the world, will experience a Great Depression when the central banks of the world are in no position to help out. 2008 and 2009 will feel like a picnic.

Brexit is easy to vote for but hard (read: impossible) to implement. The Brits are finding that out the hard way. The genie of globalization is out of the bottle. It can not be put back. Trump campaigned wanting to make America great again. But in actuality he might only hasten America's slide from its number one position in the world.

The Republicans have policy clarity only on issues that are all gut punches to the poor whites across America. "The poorly educated," as Donald Trump fondly calls them, might have been royally duped. They might lose not only Obamacare but also Medicare. Yes, costs have been rising under Obamacare, but they were rising even faster before Obamacare. And not even losing Medicare is as scary a proposition as a Great Depression.

Ends up racism is a really, really stupid ideology. Today it is self destructive to the whites. Racism is sin. Sexism is sin. God does not take kindly to either.

Trump’s fifth bankruptcy might be a country, not a company.    

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hillary Losing

Clinton need not have wholly ceded white working-class voters to Trump, who won them by a larger margin than Ronald Reagan in his 1984 landslide. Meanwhile, she failed to get young people and minorities—the too-aptly-named “Obama coalition”—excited about her candidacy. Both of those weaknesses, critics say, could be traced back to a message that emphasized social diversity over economic fairness.

her team’s focus on micro-messaging came at the expense of thematic unity. As another former Sanders adviser, Scott Goodsteinput it, “No amount of digital savvy will take you across the finish line if you don’t have a message that resonates.... The Clinton campaign too often chose gimmicks over real heartfelt messages.”

Clinton’s leisurely pace fed the perception that she thought she was marching to an inevitable coronation. Inevitability didn’t work out too well for Clinton in 2008, and it didn’t work this year, either.

Did The White ISIS Just Take Over The White House?

because race comes up, a lot. Sometimes, in the form of a kind of racial psuedo-science that advocates use to explain the dynamics of heterosexual relations. The age-old racist argument – that black men are “taking our women” – is made regularly. Racist slurs are chucked around casually. There seems to be a significant overlap with organised white supremacy.

Now they’re celebrating openly. They’re gleeful about some of the harshest policies Trump promised: mass deportations, defunding Planned Parenthood, the wall. They feel like they have scored a victory against feminism and multiculturalism. They’re glad that white men are, once again, in control. They were filled with fury at the thought they had been toppled from their rightful place at the top of the social hierarchy; this is vindication. 

When we fret about young people leaving western countries and going to fight with Isis, it’s common to focus on the role of the internet in their political radicalisation. It’s time we discussed the radicalisation of angry, young white men in a similar way. 

 a cohesive ideology of white supremacy and misogyny. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Trump: The Aftermath

Within months of reëlecting Nixon by the largest margin in history, Americans began to gather around the consensus that their President was a crook who had to go.

President Donald Trump should be given every chance to break his campaign promise to govern as an autocrat. 

Bipartisan congressional action on behalf of the public good sounds as quaint as antenna TV. The press is reviled, financially desperate, and undergoing a crisis of faith about the very efficacy of gathering facts. And public opinion? Strictly speaking, it no longer exists. “All right we are two nations,” John Dos Passos wrote, in his “U.S.A.” trilogy.

he crushed two party establishments and ended two dynasties. 

The Party’s leaders are all past the official retirement age, other than Obama, who has governed as the charismatic and enlightened head of an atrophying body.

The immediate obstacle in Trump’s way will be New York’s Charles Schumer and his minority caucus of forty-eight senators. During Obama’s Presidency, Republican senators exploited ancient rules in order to put up massive resistance. Filibusters and holds became routine ways of taking budgets hostage and blocking appointments. Democratic senators can slow, though not stop, pieces of the Republican agenda if they find the nerve to behave like their nihilistic opponents, further damaging the institution for short-term gain. It would be ugly, but the alternative seems like a sucker’s game.

Nearly seventy per cent of working-age Americans lack a bachelor’s degree. Many of them saw an establishment of politicians, professors, and corporations that has failed to offer, or even to seem very interested in, a vision of the modern world that provides them with a meaningful place of respect and worth.

Repealing Obamacare, which has provided coverage to twenty-two million people, including Jim’s family members; cutting safety-net programs; downgrading hard-won advances in civil liberties and civil rights—these things will make the lives of those left out only meaner and harder.

Trump, with his behavior toward women and others, would be an H.R. nightmare; in most offices, he wouldn’t last a month as an employee. 

Eliminating Obamacare isn’t going to stop the unnerving rise in families’ health-care costs; it will worsen it. There are only two ways to assure people that if they get cancer or diabetes (or pregnant) they can afford the care they need: a single-payer system or a heavily regulated private one, with the kind of mandates, exchanges, and subsidies that Obama signed into law. 

If the G.O.P. sticks to its “repeal and replace” pledge, it will probably end Obama’s exchanges and subsidies, and embrace large Medicaid grants to the states—laying the groundwork, ironically, for single-payer government coverage.

We watched him, in the second debate, prowling behind his opponent, back and forth with lowered head, belligerent and looming, while she moved within her legitimate space, returning to her lecturn after each response: tightly smiling, trying to be reasonable, trying to be impervious. It was an indecent mimicry of what has happened at some point to almost every woman. She becomes aware of something brutal hovering, on the periphery of her vision: if she is alone in the street, what should she do? I willed Mrs. Clinton to turn and give a name to what we could all see. I willed Mrs. Clinton to raise an arm like a goddess, and point to the place her rival came from, and send him back there, into his own space, like a whimpering dog.

They don’t think, she said, that Hillary can catch him now. I took off my watch to adjust it, unsure how many centuries to set it back. 

“What I don’t comprehend is, who voted for him?”

Mr. Trump has promised a world where white men and rich men run the world their way, greed fuelled by undaunted ignorance. He must make good on his promises, for his supporters will soon be hungry. 

Over time, though, the candidate’s rawness appealed to her, because she believed that he could shake up Washington. “After they’ve been in office, they become too slick,” she said. “I liked that unscripted aspect.”

This election has given me a renewed appreciation for chaos, confusion, and the limitlessly internal world of the individual. 

Trump’s descriptions and treatment of women didn’t seem to bother them. “I’m a strong enough woman,” Watson said. I often heard similar comments from female Trump supporters—in their eyes, it was a show of strength to ignore the candidate’s crudeness and transgressions, because only the weak would react with outrage.

It was hard to imagine a President entering office with less accountability. For supporters, this was central to his appeal—he owed nothing to the establishment. But he also owed nothing to the people who had voted for him. Supporters cherry-picked specific statements or qualities that appealed to them, but they didn’t attempt an assessment of the whole, because, given Trump’s lack of discipline, this was impossible. 

Unlike any nation in Europe, the United States holds whiteness as the unifying force. 

There are “people of color” everywhere, threatening to erase this long-understood definition of America. 

The confidence that you will not be watched in a department store, that you are the preferred customer in high-end restaurants—these social inflections, belonging to whiteness, are greedily relished.

So scary are the consequences of a collapse of white privilege that many Americans have flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength. These people are not so much angry as terrified, with the kind of terror that makes knees tremble.

the alligators are multiplying.”

Many of Trump’s transition-team members are the corporate insiders he vowed to disempower

The few remarks Trump made on these issues during the campaign reflected the fondest hopes of the oil, gas, and coal producers. He vowed to withdraw from the international climate treaty negotiated last year in Paris, remove regulations that curb carbon emissions, legalize oil drilling and mining on federal lands and in seas, approve the Keystone XL pipeline, and weaken the Environmental Protection Agency.

For policy and personnel advice regarding the Department of Energy, Trump is relying on Michael McKenna, the president of the lobbying firm MWR Strategies. McKenna’s clients include Koch Companies Public Sector, a division of Koch Industries. 

Myron Ebell, an outspoken climate-change skeptic, heads Trump’s transition team for the E.P.A. Ebell runs the energy-and-environmental program at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an anti-regulatory Washington think tank that hides its sources of financial support but has been funded by fossil-fuel companies, including Exxon-Mobil and Koch Industries. 

Many on the transition team are registered lobbyists who are deeply invested in the system Trump says he wants to change,” Potter said. “It looks like the lobbyists and special interests are already taking over.”

When General Dwight D. Eisenhower was preparing to take office, Harry Truman predicted, “Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.”

with both houses of Congress in Republican control, the greatest obstacle to the President’s use of power would be not the separation of powers but, more likely, the isolated actions of individuals in government. 

Schwarzenegger, who had never held public office, proved incapable of reorganizing government, defeating labor unions, capping state spending, or weakening teacher tenure. His relationship with the G.O.P. soured. In 2011, he left office with his public approval rating at near-historic lows. 

McConnell’s blockade prevented the creation of the first liberal majority since the Nixon Administration. 

Democrats have never mounted a successful filibuster against a Republican Supreme Court nominee, and McConnell would probably abolish the practice if they even tried. 

All of us used to be kids. All of us were, at some point, silenced by someone bigger and louder saying, “Wrong, wrong,” but meaning “It’s not what you’re doing that’s wrong—it’s who you are that’s wrong.”

Nasty talk didn’t start with Trump, but it was the province of people we all viewed as idiots—schoolyard mobs, certain drunks in bars, guys hollering out of moving cars.

If you ever doubted the power of poetry, ask yourself why, in any revolution, poets are often the first to be hauled out and shot

Littler than my cohort, I learned that a verbal bashing had a lingering power that a bloody nose could never compete with. When a boy named Bubba said, “Your mama’s a whore,” I shot back, “So what? Your nose is flat.”

The vicious language of this election has infected the whole country with enough anxiety and vitriol to launch a war. 

The hardest thing about democracy is the boring and irritating process of listening to people you don’t agree with, which is tolerable only when each side strives not to hurt the other’s feelings. 

Unlike most elections, Trump’s election is something different: it ends an era of American idealism, a high-mindedness of rhetoric, if not always of action, which has characterized most twentieth- and twenty-first-century American Presidencies

the white men who voted in very high numbers for Trump or to the majority of white women who did, too

Many Americans, having lost faith in a government that has failed to address widening inequality, and in the policymakers and academics and journalists who have barely noticed it, see Trump as their deliverer. They cast their votes with purpose. A lot of Trump voters I met during this election season compared Trump to Lincoln: an emancipator. What Trump can and cannot deliver, by way of policy, remains to be seen; my own doubts are grave. 

 “The real trouble with us was never our system or form of Government, or the principles underlying it; but the peculiar composition of our people, the relations existing between them and the compromising spirit which controlled the ruling power of the country.” For Douglass, the aftermath of the fight to end slavery was a lesson about the persistence of inequality: it had already begun to take a new form, in proposals to deny constitutional protections to Chinese immigrants. Hatred of the Chinese, especially by those who wanted to exploit their labor, was, Douglass argued, new wine in old bottles, slavery by another name. 

When my parents lived in the Soviet Union, having a Jewish-looking “physiognomy,” as it was called, proved a daily liability. Standing in line for eggs or milk or ham, one could feel the gaze of the shopkeeper running down one’s nose, along with the implied suggestion “Why don’t you move to Israel already?”

Social media in the era of Trump is essentially Leningrad, 1979. Trump supporters on Twitter have often pointed out my Jewishness.

The surprise of 2016—post-Brexit, post-Trump—is just how ably the Russians weaponize those lyrics, tweak them to “Whites will rise from their knees!” and megaphone them into so many ready ears in Eastern and Western Europe and, eventually, onto our own shores. 

We hated minorities, even though the neighborhoods many of us lived in were devoid of them. I didn’t attend public school, because my parents had seen one black kid on the playground of the excellent school I was zoned for, and so sent me to a wretched parochial school instead. 

The jump from Twitter racism to a black church set aflame on a warm Southern night is steady and predictable. Putin’s team has discovered that racism, misogyny, and anti-Semitism bind people closer than any other experiences. These carefully calibrated messages travel from Cyrillic and English keyboards to Breitbart ears and Trump’s mouth, sometimes in the space of hours. 

In the end, financial institutions got trillions of dollars’ worth of help to stay afloat, far more than the government spent on economic stimulus, unemployment benefits, or mortgage relief. 

The size and influence of the half-dozen or so largest financial institutions grew substantially, and almost no one who led them was visibly punished. 

Astonishingly, the main political beneficiary of all this energy was Donald Trump, a plutocrat with a long history of taking on too much debt, stiffing his business partners, and not paying taxes. 

Trump is almost certain to enact policies that will exacerbate those difficulties. He will undo as much as he can of efforts like the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, which returned some regulation to the financial system. He will cut taxes in ways that will increase inequality, and restrict trade in ways that will decrease prosperity. He will not reappoint Janet Yellen, the most unemployment-obsessed Federal Reserve chair in American history—after having subjected her to a barely veiled anti-Semitic attack, in a campaign ad that called her a tool of “global special interests.” It is yet another tragic consequence of the financial crisis that it has brought to power the politician most likely to create the next one.

His opening move—labelling Mexican immigrants rapists—immediately lost the left, and his demotion of John McCain, a former P.O.W., from hero to loser looked as if it would cost him the establishment right. But, after tussling with Megyn Kelly at the first G.O.P. debate, and suggesting that she had blood coming out of her “wherever,” he accomplished the unthinkable: he lost Fox News. How did this mango Mussolini expect to win the White House? Who was left to vote for him? Apparently, half the country.

 It was the Klan’s job to rescue white women from the black devils who were trying to rape them and create a mongrel race. The reality, of course, is that mixed-race Americans were largely the result of the cream being poured into the coffee, as it were, and not the other way around. 

Questioning Obama’s birthright, threatening to ban Muslims, painting entire immigrant groups as felons to be feared—these are not policy positions. They are incendiary words and images meant to ignite a movement. 

My girlfriends and I hugged one another, our eyes smeared and swollen. We hadn’t thought that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was specifically focussed on women, but we experienced her loss as a woman-specific disaster. The men in our lives seemed to feel the stab of it somewhat less.

fifty-three per cent of white women voted for a white-supremacist sexual predator

A sign floated above the crowd, flashing red, white, and blue in the reflection of police lights: “Why Don’t Sexual Assault Victims Come Forward? Because Sometimes We Make Their Attackers the Leader of the Free World.”

During the Obama Administration, in no small part because of the respect that the First Couple instilled for women and people of color, I had begun to feel, thrillingly, like a person. My freedom no longer seemed a miraculous historical accident; it was my birthright.

told me that she felt abandoned by the men in her family, who had voted for Trump

 “I’m afraid that a man will hurt me in public, and everyone around will think it’s O.K.,” she said. 

Beyond Trump’s extraordinary talent as a salesman, his singular dubious achievement has been to remain fully in character at all times. He has deliberately chosen to exist only as a persona, never as a person.

My two little sisters called me weeping this morning. 

my godchildren, who all year had been having nightmares that their parents would be deported

A few spoke about how frightened and betrayed they felt. Two of them wept. No easy task to take in the fact that half the voters—neighbors, friends, family—were willing to elect, to the nation’s highest office, a toxic misogynist, a racial demagogue who wants to make America great by destroying the civil-rights gains of the past fifty years.

Colonial power, patriarchal power, capitalist power must always and everywhere be battled, because they never, ever quit. We have to keep fighting, because otherwise there will be no future—all will be consumed. 

A Harvard Post Mortem

Manly dignity is a big deal for working-class men, and they’re not feeling that they have it. Trump promises a world free of political correctness and a return to an earlier era, when men were men and women knew their place. It’s comfort food for high-school-educated guys who could have been my father-in-law if they’d been born 30 years earlier. Today they feel like losers — or did until they met Trump.

The FBI And The KKK

The FBI might be the real KKK in America. The KKK, for the most part for most people, is a little toothless organization. The FBI I have seen decide a mayoral election in New York City and it just played the deciding hand in the presidential election. It intervened at the most strategic moment in the most naked way possible. It was as brazen as Putin's cyber interventions.

It is not just the Chinese state, the American state also is knee deep in citizen surveillance. It is not just the KGB that is an active ingredient in Russia's domestic politics. The FBI is the same thing in America. The citizens have to worry. And many would except most Americans are not only happy about the racist ways of the American state, they cling to racism like it were their only religion.

Every terrorist attack in America the FBI has "foiled" since 9/11 has been a terrorist "attack" that was hatched by the FBI itself, from beginning to end. A few attacks that did happen the FBI had absolutely no clue about. Granted a terrorist attack is a needle in a haystack size problem but the racial profiling of minority communities is not a harmless proposition. It is that precise racism that fuels extremist thinking in the first place.

When Comey attacked Donald Trump was quick to note, and the military is not going to accept a woman for Commander In Chief either.

Indira Gandhi led the Indian army to war and victories like no Indian prime minister before and after. It is a woman taking salutes in Britain and Germany. This pussy won't do attitude must be a peculiarly American phenomenon.

But then a democracy can not get ahead of its people and might as well not. Most women in America prefer to be a racist than be a woman who has gender equality. That is exhibited in their electoral behavior. It is on record.

Trump, Trade, Climate, The Wall, And Tax Cuts

The massive Ukraine like protests are a first in US presidential politics. The protestors are not even saying votes got stolen or anything like that. They are saying, this is not my president, I refuse to get on his time machine and go back in time.

But this guy is in for four years. The only good option is to abolish the electoral college, which I don't see happening, because you will need the cooperation of states that currently benefit from the current system.

Hillary did not go on a counter attack when the Comey attack came. But she is protesting now. That might be said of many Democrats who sat out the election. Many are getting riled up now.

The Democrats have been beat so badly there is nowhere to go but up. The Democratic Party is currently a big city municipal party.

The Wall was always a scam. It is not going to be built. It is a 25 billion dollar promise that reminds people of a certain university.

White women would rather be racist than have gender equality and liberals are deliriously happy in opposition. Those are two takeaways from this election. A country that was founded racist continues to be so.

But if Trump makes the move on trade he said he would, this country is looking at a recession in less than two years. Trade wars are the textbook pathway to a Great Depression. Only right now the Federal Reserve has literally zero room for maneuver. This is not the China of 30 years ago. Now the Chinese economy is larger than the American economy. American consumers depend on cheap Chinese stuff.

Just the dollar figure on the Trump Deportation Program is huuuge. It would be a logistical nightmare. And it is a bigger political nightmare than logistical.

But nothing will announce to the world that America is no longer the leader of the world, it is China now, like Trump walking away from the climate deal. The planet hardly has 10 years if it is not to hit the point of no return. The dangers of climate change are existential. New York City can expect many more dates with Sandy.

"The poorly educated" have done more than rob themselves of health insurance, and give the top 1%, the true establishment, massive tax cuts at their own expense. China is also losing large numbers of low paying factory jobs. It is like when handlooms got replaced by textile factories.

These are precarious times for the American democracy. And, no, the pollsters were not wrong. Hillary did get millions more votes than Trump.

The industrial Midwest feels the pain of change. But America should be looking at the fourth industrial revolution knocking on the door. Going back in time is not an option.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Iraq, Bush, Obama, Russia, Trump

Barack Obama ran for president fundamentally disagreeing with Bush on the Iraq war. Trump has similarly disagreed with Obama on the US Russia relations. He now is an election victor. If this means finally an end to the Russia US Cold War, that would be a good thing.

Irresponsible, Bigly

Trump looking at fast ways to quit global climate deal: source

I can't think of a faster way for America to relinquish its leadership position in the world than by walking away from the dire science of climate change.

A Spike In Hate Harassment

Post-election spate of hate crimes worse than post-9/11, experts say