Sources said Trump was open to expanding his short list of secretary of State prospects.
Among the possibilities: Jon Huntsman, a former Republican Utah governor who also served as the ambassador to China and speaks Mandarin. \\ Chinese officials said they lodged a complaint with the U.S. and reiterated a commitment to seeking "reunification" with the island, which they consider a renegade province. After the phone conversation Friday, Trump tweeted that Tsai "CALLED ME." He also groused about the reaction to the call: "Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call." at 14:41
Austrian far-right candidate defeated in presidential election
Anti-immigration Freedom Party leader Norbert Hofer conceded defeat Sunday night to former Greens independent leader Alexander Van der Bellen at the end of Austria’s presidential election Sunday. This was a setback for the populist anti-establishment parties sweeping across Europe which hoped to capitalize on Donald Trump’s election in America and the Brexit vote in the UK. A projection based on 69 percent counted votes Sunday evening showed Van der Bellen with 53.3 percent and Hofer 46.7 percent. at 13:11
Obama TV: Is Obama Planning A "Fake News" Outlet Of His Own?
We're not exactly sure how adding yet another MSNBC substitute to the media arm of the democratic party will change anything in a meaningful way. While Obama continues to "rethink his storytelling," he and other democrats simply continue to prove that they've learned absolutely nothing from the 2016 election. The entire election was a rejection of "storytelling" in favor of action, it was a rejection of establishment politicians, like Obama, who have proven time and again that, while they're great at delivering emotional speeches on "Hope and Change," they are completely void of any substance beyond their rhetoric. at 10:17
The Burning Platform
We’re all watching closely to see if President Elect Trump has the skill to be president.
And while you watch, Trump and Pence are pulling off one of the most skillfully executed new CEO plays you will ever see. Remember what I taught you in the past year: Facts don’t matter. What matters is how you feel. And when you watch Trump and Pence fight and scratch to keep jobs in this country, it changes how you will feel about them for their entire term. This is a big win for Trump/Pence disguised as a small win. at 10:10
The Coming War on China
The current Secretary of Defense, Ashley Carter, a verbose provocateur, says US policy is to confront those “who see America’s dominance and want to take that away from us”. For all the attempts to detect a departure in foreign policy, this is almost certainly the view of Donald Trump, whose abuse of China during the election campaign included that of “rapist” of the American economy. On 2 December, in a direct provocation of China, President-elect Trump spoke to the President of Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province of the mainland. Armed with American missiles, Taiwan is an enduring flashpoint between Washington and Beijing. at 10:07
Plan Ahead: Some exotic options for disposing of my ashes in 2042
One website about the disposal of ashes offers 27 options: launching into space, using in firework displays, floating up into the atmosphere in helium balloons, making into diamonds, mixing in paint, turning into pencil fillings, pressing into vinyl records, and so on. Two stranger choices are using the ashes in a hourglass (‘Though the glass won’t be a reliable timepiece, it will be a beautiful item on the mantelpiece’), and putting them into bullets (‘Your body may be gone, but you don’t have to miss next year’s hunting trip’). KR: I kinda like the hourglass. Too soon to tell, right? at 09:12
Henry Kissinger asked what Trump means for the role of America in the world?
"This choice could establish a balance between our foreign policy and the attitudes in the country. There is an obvious discrepancy between public perception of US foreign policy and the elite’s perception of it. I think the figure of the new president is an opportunity to combine these two things. He has that possibility and it is up to him how he will use it." at 08:45
Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy
To say that a statement is politically correct hints at something insidious, namely, that the speaker is acting in bad faith. He or she has ulterior motives, and is hiding the truth in order to advance an agenda or to signal moral superiority. To say that someone is being ‘politically correct’ discredits them twice. First, they are wrong. Second, and more damningly, they know it. Trump claimed that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were willing to let ordinary Americans suffer because their first priority was political correctness. "They have put political correctness above common sense, above your safety, and above all else.” at 08:13
Down With Tyranny
Is France safe from the scourge of right-wing nationalism sweeping through the West.
Well... as safe as Americans were from Trump. Russia is certainly expected to do whatever they can to make sure Le Pen wins-- from money to whatever kind of stuff that worked for them with Trump. And would left-leaning voters actually vote for a really awful right-winger like Fillon to stop Le Pen if the run-off, as looks likely, is between them? Remember, he's a dull, anti-gay bigot who opposes women's choice and is vehemently anti-union. He bills himself as a disciple of Margaret Thatcher, a widely reviled figure in much of France. Looking at his platform, I can't help but think that despite this month's popularity polls, Le Pen's fascist siren song will crush him, especially if many on the left refuse to vote. If Hillary was the candidate of the status quo, Fillon is the candidate of the stats quo ante. at 05:08
Huxley said “fascism” meant no more than “something of which one ought to disapprove.”
When activists on the leftward end of today’s political spectrum insist that the current US government is a fascist regime, they thus mean exactly what their equivalents on the rightward end of the same spectrum mean when they call the current US government a socialist regime: “I hate you.” It’s a fine example of the way that political discourse nowadays has largely collapsed into verbal noises linked to heated emotional states that drowns out any more useful form of communication. The word “fascism” mostly functions as a snarl word —a content-free verbal noise that expresses angry emotions and nothing else.
Any fascist movement ALWAYS had these three organizational features
* a cult of charismatic leadership,
* a uniformed Party militia,
* the goal of totalitarianism.
Any fascist movement NEVER had these three features
* Conservatism - the hot-button one
Fascism and the Future, Weimar America
In the 1920's a good many of the people who liked to insist that Weimar Germany was a fascist state got to find out—in many cases, at the cost of their lives—that there really is a difference between a troubled, dysfunctional, and failing representative democracy and a totalitarian state, and that a movement that promises to overturn a broken status quo, and succeeds in doing so, is perfectly capable of making things much, much worse. at 13:42
Strauss and Howe wrote their prophetic tome, The Fourth Turning, two decades ago.
Their prognostications have played out exactly as they prophesied. They did not know which events or which people would catalyze this Fourth Turning. But they knew the mood change in the country would be driven by the predictable generational alignment which occurs every eighty years.
The catalyst spark which ignited this Fourth Turning was the 2008 financial crisis
Crisis of Trust (Sept 10, 2015)
Who might emerge as the Grey Champion
Crisis of Trust (2) (Sept 14, 2015)
Grey Champion Assumes Command (Nov 19, 2016)
Grey Champion Assumes Command (2) (Nov 20, 2016)
Economic distress is likely to be the driving force in next phase of this Crisis
Crisis of Trust (Sept 27, 2015) at 13:43
Things I am wish for after the Fourth Turning is over
* Individual freedom. As few rules and regulations as needed for a secure world
* Rule of law. The Constitutional and bill of rights will be respected.
* The right to privacy. Dismantle the surveillance state.
* Corporations will no longer be deemed persons under the law.
* At least four strong and competitive political parties
* Major reforms of House and Senate rules.
* A free, universal public education system. No government support for private schools.
* Basic universal medical coverage; single payer but with private coverage options
* Federal Reserve will be abolished. Currency will be issued by the Treasury.
* Tax estates (and trusts too) to prevent large inter-generational wealth transfers
* No government subsidies for biofuels
* No voting machines. Paper ballots, counted in public. "Ranked choice voting."
* More to follow. at 23:00
The Daily Bell
Until the Civil War, corporations in the US were almost non-existent. Entrepreneurship was at a high, people worked individually or in partnerships (often in agriculture) and the competitive marketplace was a determinant factor in people’s lives rather than the current, monstrous federal government. at 13:45
Another hoped for reform: "ranked choice voting" done by paper ballot. at 13:40
The Archdruid Report
Free trade is bad policy
Throughout history, it inevitably produces poverty and economic instability, not prosperity. at 13:35
Trump Transition: Positive outcomes, statements or appointments
* White House Abandons TPP
* U.S. declared that from now on it will fight against al-Qaeda in Syria.
* Trump is "fine" with the high court’s opinion legalizing same-sex marriage
* Mary Jo White to step down as S.E.C. Chief
* Putin and Trump talk by phone and agree to work toward normalization of ties
* Republicans postponed bringing back legislative earmarks (i.e, pork belly)
* US spy chief James Clapper resigns; lied under oath to Congress
* Initial high level appointments such as Bannon and Flynn are NOT neoconservatives
* Obama's immigrant amnesty plan is dead after DoJ decided to stay ongoing litigation
* Ross says administration to rely more on bilateral trade deals; not going to be protectionist.
Trump Transition: Negative outcomes, statements or appointments
* Trump wants to appoint justices who will change the Roe v. Wade ruling
* Sessions has argued for "emergency" surveillance policies which subvert due process
* Pompeo advocates unconstitutional spying programs and calls Snowden a traitor
* Trump appointed De Vos, a charter school advocate. Privatization is a bad policy.
* Trump evidently plans to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran.
* Reince Priebus tells Fox News that climate science denial is Trump’s ‘default position.’ at 23:05
What Should Trump Do?
1. Cut the corporate tax rate to 15% on all income over $100,000. No deductions for anything.
2. Cut the individual tax rate to 20% for all income over $100,000. No deductions for anything. Anybody who makes less than $100,000 will not pay income taxes and will not file.
3. Some form of a value-added tax (VAT) that would specifically pay for Social Security and healthcare. All the other parts of government are paid for from income and corporate taxes.
4. Get rid of Social Security taxes. Everybody a 6.2% raise and a 6.2% reduction of employment costs to businesses.
5. Jumpstart the economy with some kind of infrastructure program.
6. Roll back as many rules and regulations as possible.
7. Trump will have two immediate appointments to the Fed. Use them wisely.
8. Get trade reform right - some 11.5 million jobs are dependent upon exports
9. Be ready to deal with competitive pressures caused by a strong dollar.
The central advantage of the entirety of my proposals is that they offer a path to a finance the needs of the country and at the same time allow a balanced budget. at 23:30
Leave the Iran deal alone
It’s one of the outgoing administration’s few real foreign policy successes. at 04:23
NY Review of Books
Whatever its faults, the public school system is a hallmark of democracy, doors open to all.
It is an essential part of the common good. It must be improved for all who attend and paid for by all. Privatizing portions of it, as Trump wants, will undermine public support and will provide neither equity nor better education. at 01:32
Patrick J. Buchanan
I argue for an 18 percent VAT on all goods and services entering the US
Europeans have replaced tariffs on U.S. goods with a VAT on U.S. goods, while rebating the VAT on Europe’s exports to us. Why not write new tax and trade laws that bring us together, recreating the one nation and people we once were — and can be again? at 00:29
Regarding Trump's 29 proposals: I’ll start with the best:
7. Announce our official withdrawal from the TPP.
8. Renegotiate NAFTA into terms that protect the American worker.
5. Introduce an infrastructure package to modernize our country. at 00:25
Donald Trump’s 10-Point immigration plan
KR: What part of the plan would you change and why? at 00:20
Bannon is a key man in the White House.
Place your bets and don’t underestimate these people. If you’re a partisan Democrat first and don’t give a fuck about the working class and middle class, especially in flyover country, then Bannon needs to lose his fights, because if he wins them, Trump gets elected again. This is going to be a very interesting White House and administration, just because Trump does not have decided views on a lot of issues. Who wins the internal fights will determine the entire course of Trump’s presidency, and may well determine America’s (and the world’s) future for decades. at 08:33
Across the Curve
Comments by Mnuchin and Ross
* Mnuchin made clear the top two priorities will be tax reform and regulatory relief.
* Mnuchin emphasized that some of the Dodd-Frank framework might be kept
* Mnuchin talked about making financial regulation simpler
* Ross emphasized that the Administration is not going to be protectionist
* Mnuchin said that filling the two open Fed Board spots will be a high priority.
* Mnuchin noted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should leave government control at 08:00
In an interview of Gen. Mattis by Wolf Blitzer in 2013, Mattis uses the word "apartheid"
“So we’ve got to work on [peace talks] with a sense of urgency. I paid a military security price every day as a commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and [because of this] moderate Arabs couldn’t be with us because they couldn’t publicly support those who don’t show respect for Arab Palestinians.” at 04:02
NY Times - Thomas Ricks
Mattis: The General Who Should Lead the Pentagon
Usually, I’d oppose having a general as secretary of defense, because it could undermine our tradition of civilian control of the military. But these are not normal times. The incoming president appears to be a profoundly ignorant man who often seems to act on gut impulse or on what pleases the crowd. That is a dangerous combination to have in the White House. Having known General Mattis for many years, I am confident that he will be a restraint on Mr. Trump’s impulsiveness. I also think he will provide a strong counterweight to some of those around Mr. Trump who hold isolationist or pro-Putin views. at 03:43
2016 Post Mortem
Charles Hugh Smith
Six Narratives on the Ascendancy of Trump
Perhaps the masses have (finally!) reached the point where the pain of maintaining the status quo now exceeds that of breaking it. Let’s start with the conventional mainstream media “explanations”: at 13:30
George Friedman of Geopolitical Futures
A shift from the old liberal-conservative model to an internationalist-nationalist model.
Throughout Euro-American civilization, the political divide has ceased to be between the left and the right. The new dividing line is internationalist and nationalist. The debate is between those who regard what is now the old system of alliances, mutual responsibility, free trade and transcultural life as essential, and those who regard a globalist perspective as incapable of addressing the vast variability of nations, cultures and classes. at 09:03
Patrick J. Buchanan
Populist-Nationalist Tide Rolls On
Not only is the Cold War over, the post-Cold War is over. We are living in a changed and changing world. Regimes are falling. Old parties are dying, new parties rising. Old allegiances are fraying, and old allies drifting away. The forces of nationalism and populism have been unleashed all over the West and all over the world. There is no going back. at 06:45
How the Democrats could win again, if they wanted | Thomas Frank
The media and political establishments may hate Donald Trump, but they hate economic populism much more. If history is a guide, they will embrace any sophistry to ensure that the Democrats do not take the steps required to broaden their appeal to working-class voters. They will remind everyone that Clinton didn’t really lose. Alternately, they will blame Sanders for her loss. They will decide that working-class people cannot be reasoned with and so it is pointless to try. They will declare – are already declaring – that any Democratic effort to win over working-class voters is a capitulation to racism. Better to lose future elections than to compete for the votes of those who spurned their beloved Clinton. at 04:41
Best Predictions of Trump Victory at 23:26
The Archdruid Report
On Jan 20, 2016, the Archdruid predicted Trump would win at 13:32
Chris Hedges, written in March 2016
The Democrats are playing a very dangerous game by anointing Hillary Clinton.
She epitomizes the double-dealing of the college-educated elites, those who speak the feel-your-pain language of ordinary men and women, who hold up the bible of political correctness, while selling out the poor and the working class to corporate power. \\ There is only one way left to blunt the yearning for fascism coalescing around Trump. It is to build, as fast as possible, movements or parties that declare war on corporate power, engage in sustained acts of civil disobedience and seek to reintegrate the disenfranchised—the “losers”—back into the economy and political life of the country. This movement will never come out of the Democratic Party. If Clinton prevails in the general election Trump may disappear, but the fascist sentiments will expand. Another Trump, perhaps more vile, will be vomited up from the bowels of the decayed political system. at 03:40