NOVEMBER 2016: “THE SOUND OF FREEDOM”

161129212927-trump-romney-exlarge-16911.30 Scottie Nell Hughes, Trump spokesperson, on “The Diane Rehm Show”: “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore, of facts.”
11.20 ny.eater.com: Trump and Reince Priebus take Mitt Romney to dinner at Jean-Georges: “The flagship restaurant of Alsatian-born chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who officially became a US citizen two years ago — only serves prix fixe menus, starting at $138 for three courses. A tasting menu is $218. That’s a lot of money, but it’s not quite as expensive as some of New York’s other acclaimed tasting menu establishments. For their starter courses, Trump and his conservative wolfpack had young garlic soup with sautéed frogs legs, and diver scallops with caramelized cauliflower. Trump and Priebus had beef as their main courses, while Romney went rogue and got lamb. All three guys got chocolate cake for dessert. Judging by the menu online, it looks like they got a modified version of the three-course prix fixe with an extra round of starters at Jean Hyphen Georges.
11.29 Donald Trump on Twitter: Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!1
11.28 New York Post: Trump’s campaign-manager-turned-transition aide, Kellyanne Conway appeared on a series of morning talk shows to blast Romney over his intense past criticism of her boss, saying he was “nothing but awful” and questioning whether he even voted for Trump. “There was the ‘Never Trump’ movement and then there was Governor Mitt Romney,” Conway told ABC’s “This Week.” “He went out of his way to hurt Donald Trump.” On CNN’ s “State of the Union,” Conway said Trump supporters “felt betrayed” that Romney was under consideration, and she attacked his credentials, wondering if he’d “been around the globe doing something on behalf of the United States of which we’re unaware.” Conway also told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she was “just astonished at the breadth, the breathtaking volume and intensity of blow-back that I see,” citing social-media outrage and “particularly in private communications.”
11.28 Matt O’Brien in the Washington Post: whether it’s wages or taxes or entitlements, non-Trump Republicans want policies that mostly help those who don’t need much help. Ryan’s tax plan, of course, being another. It would give 99.6 percent of its total tax cuts to the top 1 percent of households. Populism this is not.
President-elect Donald Trump lists his administration’s priorities. Insofar as Trump campaigned as a different kind of Republican, one who would rebuild our infrastructure, wouldn’t touch Medicare, and would slap tariffs on companies that shipped jobs overseas, this sets up a potential showdown with his ostensible allies. Sure, Trump is on board with their big tax cut for the rich, but what about the rest of their agenda? Does he really want to get rid of Obamacare? Or voucherize Medicare? Or possibly privatize Social Security? And do they want to threaten a trade war against our own companies and other countries? In other words, will Trump change the Republican Party, or will the Republican Party change Trump?Nobody knows, not even them. But whatever happens, it seems doubtful that Trump will be able to get Democrats to help him pass his nontraditional Republican policies. Politics, after all, is zero sum. If you win an election, that means I’ve lost it. There’s no incentive for Democrats to make Trump a successful president, just like there wasn’t for Republicans with Obama. Not to mention that while Democrats might agree with some of Trump’s goals — among them, child care and infrastructure — they don’t agree with the way he wants to use tax breaks that would mostly benefit the rich and well-connected to achieve them. Which is to say that Trump might not have the leverage he thinks he does with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Ryan.
11.27 Fritz Weaver dies. On Shakespeare: ““When you play the great roles, you get spoiled and think you’ll have a whole career playing nothing but great roles, and of course you can’t,’’ he said. “You play a lot of junk most of the time. Television is junk, most of it. The old boy — he’s the one who makes the maximum challenge to the actor,’’ he said of Shakespeare. “That high charge on all the lines that he writes — you’ve got to measure up. You can’t just saunter into that stuff; you’ve got to bring your whole life into it.”
11.26 Fidel Castro dies
11.25 Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger in The Washington Post: “The muddy new world that Trump’s election may usher in — a world in which his stature as the U.S. president, the status of his private ventures across the globe and his relationships with foreign business partners and the leaders of their governments could all become intertwined. In that world, Trump could personally profit if his election gives a boost to his brand and results in its expansion overseas. His political rise could also enrich his overseas business partners — and, perhaps more significantly, enhance their statuses in their home countries and alter long-standing diplomatic traditions by establishing them as new conduits for public business.”
11.25 Greg Sargent in the Washington Post: “If you care about whether the Democratic Party can rebuild itself anytime soon out of the smoking wreckage left behind by the disastrous 2016 elections, something very important is happening a lot sooner than you think. There are more than three dozen gubernatorial races taking place in the next two years. And they could do a tremendous amount to set the party on the path out of the wilderness in the Age of Donald Trump — with potentially significant national ramifications that could stretch well into the next decade, for instance by having a substantial influence over the redistricting of House seats, which could help determine control of the Lower Chamber in the 2020s.
11.25 Eric Chenoweth in the Washinton Post: “Americans continue to look away from this election’s most alarming story: the successful effort by a hostile foreign power to manipulate public opinion before the vote. U.S. intelligence agencies determined that the Russian government actively interfered in our elections. Russian state propaganda gave little doubt that this was done to support Republican nominee Trump, who repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin and excused the Russian president’s foreign aggression and domestic repression. Most significantly, U.S. intelligence agencies have affirmed that the Russian government directedthe illegal hacking of private email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and prominent individuals. The emails were then released by WikiLeaks, which has benefited financially from a Russian state propaganda arm, used Russian operatives for security and made clear an intent to harm the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
11.24 Craig Timberg in The Washington Post: “The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House.”
11.24 James McAuley and Griff WitteIf in The Washington Post: “The three decades that followed World War II coincided with the longest period of growth in Europe’s history, voters today see neither leftist economic policies nor the E.U. itself as necessarily worth preserving. Britain voted to leave the bloc in June, and separatist movements have spread across the continent to France, the Netherlands and elsewhere. [Europe’s traditional left is in a death spiral. Even if you don’t like the left, this is a problem.]
To historians, the unlikely abandonment of this former European bedrock is partly a function of its own achievements. “It was a failure by success,” said Timothy Snyder, a historian of 20th-century Europe at Yale University. “Once the left becomes not revolutionary but transformative, and once that transformation succeeds, people start taking it for granted. Europeans take for granted that they will have public education, free health care and social services,” he said. “And the left doesn’t get votes on this anymore.”
The marginalization of Europe’s center-left parties has been consistent across the continent, although their paths to the political wilderness have varied.”
11.24 Zachary Price in the Washington Post: “President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to rescind many of President Obama’s executive actions, including above all Obama’s controversial immigration programs. That will largely be Trump’s prerogative, but there are constitutional limits on how much he can undo. In particular, the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause prevents the new administration from seeking deportation based on information that immigrants themselves provided in applications for Obama’s programs. Under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the administration provided work authorization and a promised reprieve from deportation to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived in the United States without authorization as young children and met certain other criteria. There is no question that Trump can cancel this program and even resume enforcement against its intended beneficiaries, however heartless that would be. Yet recent news reports suggest that many fear he could go further and use information from these immigrants’ own DACA applications to launch a deportation sweep that targets them. That is something he cannot do. DACA applicants provided extensive information about themselves — their names, addresses and eligibility for the program — based on the government’s assurance that the proffered information would be “protected from disclosure” to immigration enforcement officials. These immigrants effectively documented their own unauthorized presence in the United States. The Constitution protects their reliance on the government’s good faith in soliciting such damaging information.
11.23 Frank Bruni in the Times: “Winning the most powerful office in the world did nothing to diminish his epic ache for adoration or outsize need to tell everyone how much he deserves it. For Trump, bragging is like breathing: continuous, spontaneous. He wants nothing more than for his audience to be impressed. . . . And when his audience is a group of people, like us, who haven’t clapped the way he’d like? He sands down his edges. Modulates his voice. Bends. That was perhaps the most interesting part of the meeting, the one that makes his presidency such a question mark. Will he tilt in whatever direction, and toward whichever constituency, is the surest source of applause? Is our best hope for the best Trump to be so fantastically adulatory when he’s reasonable that he’s motivated to stay on that course, lest the adulation wane?”
11.23 The New York Times: “It was alarming to confront how thinly thought through many of the president-elect’s stances actually are.’’
11.23 Trump: “In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There’s never been a case like this.’’
11.22 David Brooks in the Times: “Whether it’s reforming immigration or trade policy, [Trump’s] governing challenge is going to be astoundingly hard and complicated. Surely this is not the moment to get swept up in our own moral superiority, but rather to understand the specificity of the proposals he comes up with and to offer concrete amendments and alternatives to address the same problems. . . . Surely a little universal humility is in order. Orthodox Republicans spent the last 30 years talking grandly about entrepreneurialism while the social fabric around their core voters disintegrated. Maybe a little government action would have helped? The Democratic Party is losing badly on the local, state and national levels. If you were a football team you’d be 2-8. Maybe you can do better than responding with the sentiment: Sadly, the country isn’t good enough for us. Those of us in the opinion class have been complaining that Trump voters are post-truth, that they don’t have a respect for expertise. Well, the experts created a school system that doesn’t produce skilled graduates. The experts designed Obamacare exchanges that are failing. Maybe those of us in the professional class need to win back some credibility the old-fashioned way, with effective reform. There will be plenty of time to be disgusted with Trump’s bigotry, narcissism and incompetence. It’s tempting to get so caught up in his outrage du jour that you never have to do any self-examination. But let’s be honest: It wouldn’t kill us Trump critics to take a break from our never-ending umbrage to engage in a little listening.’’
11.22 The Washington Post: “At least 111 Trump companies have done business in 18 countries and territories across South America, Asia and the Middle East.” Included in this are deals that were launched during Trump’s candidacy that are tied to a hotel project in Saudi Arabia, which Trump has vowed to protect militarily.’’
11.22 Ron Klain in the Washington Post: “Trump’s plan is not really an infrastructure plan. It’s a tax-cut plan for utility-industry and construction-sector investors, and a massive corporate welfare plan for contractors. The Trump plan doesn’t directly fund new roads, bridges, water systems or airports, as did Hillary Clinton’s 2016 infrastructure proposal. Instead, Trump’s plan provides tax breaks to private-sector investors who back profitable construction projects. These projects (such as electrical grid modernization or energy pipeline expansion) might already be planned or even underway. There’s no requirement that the tax breaks be used for incremental or otherwise expanded construction efforts; they could all go just to fatten the pockets of investors in previously planned projects. Moreover, as others have noted, desperately needed infrastructure projects that are not attractive to private investors — municipal water-system overhauls, repairs of existing roads, replacement of bridges that do not charge tolls — get no help from Trump’s plan. And contractors? Well, they get a “10 percent pretax profit margin,” according to the plan. Combined with Trump’s sweeping business tax break, this would represent a stunning $85 billion after-tax profit for contractors — underwritten by the taxpayers.’’
11.21 The New York Post: “Donald Trump scolded media big shots during an off-the-record Trump Tower sit down on Monday. “It was like a f−−−ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter. “Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said, ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ ” the source said. “The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing-down,” the source added. A second source confirmed the fireworks. “Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful, dishonest media who got it all wrong.’ He addressed everyone in the room, calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars,” the source said. “Trump didn’t say [NBC reporter] Katy Tur by name, but talked about an NBC female correspondent who got it wrong, then he referred to a horrible network correspondent who cried when Hillary lost who hosted a debate — which was Martha Raddatz, who was also in the room.”
11.20 A Message to students from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
After the harsh and ugly rhetoric of the campaign, many of you are concerned about what might happen next.
Let me be clear: This is the State of New York, not a state of fear. We will not tolerate hate or racism.
We have been and always will be a place where people of many backgrounds have come to seek freedom and opportunity. Almost all who live here can trace their roots to someplace else.
We cherish our diversity. We find strength in our differences. Whether you are gay or straight, Muslim or Christian or Jewish or Buddhist, rich or poor, black or white or Latino or Asian, man or woman, cisgender or transgender, we respect all people in the State of New York.
The Statue of Liberty is a proud symbol of American values, and she stands in our harbor. We feel a special responsibility to make her offer of refuge and hope a reality every day.
As long as you are here, you are New Yorkers. You are members of our community, and we will stand up for you.
The State of New York has strict laws against hate crimes and discrimination and we fully and firmly enforce them. It is illegal in this state to target, harass or discriminate against a person because of his or her race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation. We are a tolerant people, and cannot and will not let our freedoms be undermined.
New Yorkers feel a particular affection for young immigrants. For centuries, our state has thrived on the energy and ambition of the young people seeking to build their lives here. Your intelligence, your creativity, your idealism enriches us all. You are welcome here.
11.19 Dan Balz in the Washington Post: “Viewed through any conventional lens, President-elect Donald Trump’s candidacy was improbable from start to finish. Today, two things about his victory seem to be in sharper focus: one, that Trump’s victory might best be understood as the success of the country’s first independent president, and second, that the Trump coalition may be even more uniquely his than President Obama’s has turned out to be. Think again about how he prevailed. There are a handful of major events during a general election that give the nominees a chance to showcase themselves, their judgment and their vision. One is the selection of a running mate. Another is the staging of the conventions. A third is performance in the debates. Hillary Clinton did better than Trump on all three tests, though Trump’s team believes the debates did not fall so decisively in her favor. Then there are the other factors that go into producing a successful candidacy. These include resources, the operations and mechanics of campaigning, and the skill with which candidates avoid mistakes and deal with the unexpected setbacks. Clinton raised more money than Trump. She had a larger number of paid staffers on the ground in the battleground states. She ran more television ads by far. He created needless controversies throughout the general election, while her problems were far fewer. Only in the final days did he seem surer of himself. In other words, Trump came out the loser on virtually every aspect of how campaigns are usually evaluated. Yet today he is staffing his administration and Clinton is still absorbing the brutal shock of having lost a race she believed was hers.’’
11.19 The Atlantic: “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” That’s how Richard B. Spencer saluted more than 200 attendees on Saturday, gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., for the annual conference of the National Policy Institute, which describes itself as “an independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world.”Spencer has said his dream is “a new society, an ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans,” and has called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing.” For most of the day, a parade of speakers discussed their ideology in relatively anodyne terms, putting a presentable face on their agenda. But after dinner, when most journalists had already departed, Spencer rose and delivered a speech to his followers dripping with anti-Semitism, and leaving no doubt as to what he actually seeks. He referred to the mainstream media as “Lügenpresse,” a term he said he was borrowing from “the original German”; the Nazis used the word to attack their critics in the press. “America was until this past generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Spencer said. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.” The audience offered cheers, applause, and enthusiastic Nazi salutes.
a9c2c88618216ac09b99af2ef3d84a71711.18 Brandon Victor Dixon, after a performance of Hamilton, to Vice President-elect Pence: ““Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do,” Dixon said to further applause. “We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold ourAmerican values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for seeing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations.” As Dixon spoke, members of the audience booed Pence. “I nudged my kids and reminded them that’s what freedom sounds like,” Pence said. “The Theater must always be a safe and special place,” Trump tweeted. “The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”
11.18 Sharon Jones dies
11.17 James Kwak in The Baseline Scenario: There is a raging debate right now over the identity of the Democratic Party. I don’t to argue the specifics of that debate right now. But if we want to compete, we need more than a new, focus-grouped brand that can win 51% of the popular vote in a general election. We need an ideology that can mobilize millions of new voters and motivate thousands of people to run in races for school board, town council, state assembly, and state senate, all over the country. We need a long-term political movement, not a quadrennial scramble to demonize the other guy just enough so voters pick our guy.”
11.17 Greg Popovich: “As I said, it would be great if he [Trump] made some statements to all of the groups he disparaged, to bring us all together, and to allay fears, because there are a lot of fearful people, and for good reason. But rather than doing that, he inflamed it even more with that appointment [of Bannon]. It’s kind of ironic. I wonder sometimes if he made all those statements, he certainly whipped up the fear-mongering and emotion in that base. But it’s going to be ironic because now a lot of the things he told them he’s going to do he’s already started to walk back a little bit. It’s sort of like, did he use them all to get elected, and thus [to win] again? He’s pretty good at that. You can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth. It changes day to day, depending on the situation and what he needs at the moment.’’
11.17 Stephen Hawking: “We must … continue to go into space for the future of humanity. I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.’’
11.17 The Washington Post: “Celinda Lake, the renowned Democratic pollster, is very angry that her party failed to lay out an economic vision to contrast with Trump’s. . . . “Why would the Democrats stubbornly not have an economic message?” she said. “Sixty-seven white papers don’t make an economic message. Thirty-seven bills you’re going to introduce in the first 100 days do not make an economic message. What we as Democrats really have to deal with is the fact that we didn’t have an economic message. … Someone at a meeting I was just at said, ‘Well, this was the biggest con ever.’ Maybe. But one of the things we know in our business is that facts don’t matter. If the facts don’t fit the frame, people reject the facts – not the frame. … When we sound like we have a tin ear, we end up with Donald Trump as president.”
11.16 Eliot H. Cohen in the Washington Post: “In a normal transition to a normal administration, there’s always disorder. There are the presidential friends and second cousins, the flacks and the hangers-on who flame out in the first year or two. There are the bad choices — the abusive bosses, the angry ideologues and the sheer dullards. You accept the good with the bad and know that there will be stupid stuff going on, particularly at the beginning. Things shake out. Even if you are just blocking errors, it is a contribution. This time may be different. Trump was not a normal candidate, the transition is not a normal transition, and this will probably not be a normal administration. The president-elect is surrounding himself with mediocrities whose chief qualification seems to be unquestioning loyalty. He gets credit for becoming a statesman when he says something any newly elected president might say (“I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future”) — and then reverts to tweeting against demonstrators and the New York Times. By all accounts, his ignorance, and that of his entourage, about the executive branch is fathomless. It’s not even clear that he accepts that he should live in the White House rather than in his gilt-smeared penthouse in New York
11.15 Robert Kwak, the Baseline Scenario: “We progressives tend to be rather smug about the belief that our policies (infrastructure spending, social insurance, expanded family leave, universal pre-K, etc.) will do a better job helping poor people than typical conservative policies (cut taxes and regulations and let the invisible hand do its magic). Where we have generally failed is in convincing ordinary people, not policy wonks, that our vision will create a better society for them and their families—or perhaps that we have a vision at all.
This is hard to do, and I don’t have a simple answer for how to do it. But it is something that the right did extraordinarily well during their decades in the wilderness after World War II. It was an article of faith among Hayek, Friedman, Buckley, and the old conservative warriors that ideas mattered—that they could only gain political power by undermining the intellectual and political near-consensus around the New Deal. Part of their success lay in transforming their economic policy program—small government, low taxes, union-busting—into a powerful ideology that could appeal to people in all classes. Ronald Reagan’s message that government was the problem, and that the solution lay in unleashing the energy of the free American people, was and remains compelling even to people who have been the victims of Reaganite policies. More generally, the idea that markets are the best way to solve all problems has become so completely baked into contemporary discourse that it is no longer seen as an ideology. In the battle of ideas, progressives have been on the back foot ever since Reagan, which is probably one reason why we like to retreat to the realm of policy detail, where we can revel in our technocratic superiority. But somehow, as Rodrik points out, “they need to convince the electorate that it is their interests they have at heart – not those of bankers or of large corporations.” That could also take thirty-five years. But we have to begin somewhere.”
11.15 Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic: “If you accept the distinction between a problem and a crisis, then there is, I think, only one place where Obama can be fairly accused of leaving behind a crisis: the cauldron of pathologies known as Syria, Iraq, and ISIS. Ding him if you must, but a few reality checks are in order. Even allowing, for argument’s sake, that Obama mismanaged the situation in Syria and Iraq, he has had two meaningful successes. First, ISIS is on its heels. This fall, before a coalition assault on Mosul, ISIS had lost almost half its territory in Iraq and a quarter of its territory in Syria. Second, Obama has resisted being sucked into the conflict militarily. As a result, Iraq-Syria-ISIS is a major crisis for the region, but, unlike Vietnam in 1969 or Watergate in 1974 or inflation in 1981 or the Great Recession in 2009, it is not a major crisis for the United States. The score, then, is not quite zero crises. But it is about as close to zero as modern presidents come. Obama’s successor has a lot to thank him for.’’
11.14 Gwen Ifill dies
11.14 Stephanie Benton: “He said to tell you that was a beautiful piece of work.’’
11.13 Leon Russell dies

GOVERNOR CUOMO: “WE ARE SOUL SICK”

usa-new-york-daily-newsstrong>11.13 Governor Cuomo in the Daily News : Those of us who have spent time in politics know that losing is part of the experience. Still, Secretary Hillary Clinton’s defeat on Tuesday was a particularly difficult experience, heartbreaking and bewildering and indeed frightening all at once. I wanted to share some thoughts on how we must acquit ourselves in the days ahead.

As Clinton said, when Donald Trump takes office, we will owe him an open mind and a chance to lead. The fate of the ship always takes precedence over the identity of the captain, and we must loyally do our part to protect the ship.

The night he became commander-in-chief, Donald Trump said he wanted to be President of all Americans. Despite the divisiveness of the campaign, he has an opportunity to live up to that promise by acting first on issues where there is common ground with his opponents. He said he wants to govern on behalf of forgotten Americans, and any time he does that, he can count on both Democrats and Republicans to help him achieve success.

Trump also said that he wants to rebuild America’s infrastructure. In that effort, he will find New York a willing partner as the Tappan Zee Bridge, a new La Guardia Airport, a new cross-Hudson Tunnel, and a revitalized Penn Station continue to rise.

But while we honor America by honoring the results of the election, we will fight as fiercely as we can, at every opportunity that presents itself, to reject the hateful attitudes that pervaded throughout the 2016 campaign. We cannot unhear what we have heard. The voices of the Ku Klux Klan, white nationalism, authoritarianism, misogyny and xenophobia. A generally disdainful view of American ideals.

We all hoped that when we woke up on Nov. 9 the ugliness of this campaign season would finally be gone. But on the day after Election Day, a swastika and the words “make America white again” appeared, spray painted on a softball dugout in Wellsville — in our state of New York.

I cannot and will not pretend that these things are normal even if millions of Americans voted for a campaign either because of these values or in spite of them. I know there are millions more people like me — both Democrats and Republicans who reject them. As I said on other occasions, this election was for the soul of America, and that is why today so many of us feel as we do today; we are soul sick. But as we accept the results of the election, we do not accept these positions.

Americans fought these attitudes before the 2016 election, and we will fight them for as long as it takes to vanquish them. That is our mission, and our dedication to its success does not depend on the occupant of the White House. Americans pledge themselves to “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” One election does not erase that commitment.

We Democrats are not without resources. In Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, Democrats in Congress have leaders who are brilliant parliamentarians, and who will advance our causes even as they will provide a bulwark for our values. But let us also look to our state governments as places where progress can be made. One of the reasons why so many of the programs of President Roosevelt’s New Deal proved effective is that he had tried them out while he was governor of New York. Initiatives like Marriage Equality were enacted in New York and other states before they became the law of the land. Congress has refused to act on gun control, but we enacted a tough law in New York, and California, Nevada, and Washington strengthened their gun laws on Tuesday.

While the world struggles to come to consensus on how to combat climate change, we in New York have banned fracking and set a renewable energy standard requiring 50% of our electricity to come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030. This year in New York State, we enacted a $15-an-hour minimum wage, the nation’s best Paid Family Leave program, and dedicated more funding to education than ever before. And in this state, we accomplished these successes with a divided legislature: Democrats and Republicans coming together, proving you can be progressive and bipartisan. Indeed, there is more than one path to progress.

Soon enough we will see what proposals will find their way into the President-elect’s agenda. Already it seems almost every far-right Republican under the sun is seeing Trump’s electoral college victory a mandate to enact sweeping ideas and radical proposals, regardless of the pain that is inflicted and the turmoil that is caused. I have great faith that common sense will eventually prevail, and that our traditional American values of justice, liberty and equality will eventually rule the day. In the end, they always have.

Both Democrats and Republicans have fought for these values throughout our nation’s history — from the time when Abraham Lincoln declared we were a nation with malice toward none and charity for all, to when a young Senator from the State of Illinois said: There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The way has not always been easy, nor has the cost been cheap; but for whatever this moment demands of us, we are ready.

My father Mario Cuomo spent his entire life fighting against the death penalty, even when it wasn’t popular, even when it cost him the governorship, because he knew it was right. I will fight against the targeting of Muslims, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and for the rights of all Americans every day I hold office and every day after that.

For our values, for our rights, for our vision of America, for the people who depend on us, we will fight. And for that, we are unwilling to compromise.

“WE HAVE JUST THROWN A GOOD PART OF OUR POPULATION UNDER THE BUS”

11.13 Frank Bruni in the New York Times: “Obama’s presidency will end with Democrats in possession of 11 fewer Senate seats (depending on how you count), more than 60 fewer House seats, at least 14 fewer governorships and more than 900 fewer seats in state legislatures than when it began. That’s a staggering toll. While the 2016 race for governor in North Carolina remains undecided, the settled contests guarantee the G.O.P. the governor’s office in 33 states: its most bountiful harvest since 1922. If Democrats don’t quickly figure out how to sturdy themselves — a process larger than the selection of the right new party chairman — they could wind up in even worse shape. They’re defending more than twice the number of Senate seats in 2018 that Republicans are, a situation that gives the G.O.P. a shot at a filibuster-proof majority. Meantime, the perpetuation of Republican dominance at the state level through 2020 would grant the G.O.P. the upper hand in redrawing congressional districts after the next census.’’
11.13 David Remnick on CNN: “When I listen to Conrad Black describe Donald Trump, I think I’m hallucinating. When I hear him described as not a sexist, not a racist, not playing on white fears, not arousing hate, when he’s described in a kind of normalized way as someone in absolute possession of policy knowledge, as someone who somehow is in the acceptable range of rhetoric, I think I’m hallucinating. And I fear for our country and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to do so. And of course I accept the results of the election. Of course I do. At the same time, I also know that Vladimir Putin played a distinct role in this election, and that’s outrageous. And we’ve normalized it already. Less than a week after the election is over, suddenly Washington is going about its business talking about who’s going to get what jobs. You would think that Mitt Romney had won. It’s a hallucination, but I don’t think we can indulge that. And I think that if you are serious about serious opposition in this country, or serious journalism, or whatever your role is to play, the time is now.”


11.12 Melissa DeRosa: i love this
11.12 The Washington Post: “Clinton’s margin in Milwaukee, for instance, which boasts a heavily African American electorate that Democrats rely on to carry the state, far under¬performed that of Obama in 2012. Trump, meanwhile, earned a similar vote count as 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney. He won the state not because he out¬performed his predecessor but because Clinton under-performed hers. “You can test a whole set of arguments against Donald Trump and always the top attacks on him had to do with temperament,” said Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who worked on several down-ballot races in this cycle. “But you can have things that test well but don’t move people to vote. Obviously we don’t know if it would have been different if she had a more consistent economic message,” Greenberg added, “but I think it’s hard to win without it.” Clinton made a pledge to build “an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” a mantra in nearly every speech while promising to be rebuild the middle class and create more pathways into it. She outlined myriad plans and proposals that she said would help deliver new jobs and rebuild U.S. manufacturing. Yet, there was no simple or overarching message that tied it all together. As a rallying cry against economic injustice, a pledge to be “the small-business president,” for example, sounded bloodless. Even among minority voters disinclined to vote for Trump, that message fell short. “Pre-election research showed that among African Americans, their feelings of economic optimism were precipitously lower in this election than in 2012,” said Geoff Garin, a pollster for Priorities USA who conducted this research independently of the super PAC. “And their feeling that Clinton’s economic policies would help people like them were substantially lower. Those kinds of things affect people’s willingness to come out to vote.”
11.11 Leon Wieseltier in the Washington Post: “Isn’t it rich? The apostle of anger now hopes that we rise above anger. Having employed divisiveness as his primary instrument, the president-elect now implores us to put an end to our divisions. In the name of post-electoral comity, we are supposed to forget what we know. At this moment, therefore, it is important to affirm the reality, and the inevitability, and even the nobility, of some of our divisions. They are, some of them, based on fundamental distinctions of philosophy, on divergent conceptions of the individual and society, on incompatible ethical standpoints, on irreconcilable views of America and its responsibilities in the world. Vaporous homilies about working together — one of President Obama’s specialties, and behold his legacy — only confuse the situation. Where we can work together, let us work together — who is against infrastructure? The rehabilitation of compromise in a system of government designed for compromise would be a salutary development, though the unified Republican government makes it unlikely. Yet there is still the matter of first principles. There is no way to unite the view that one should deport the children of illegal immigrants with the view that one should not deport the children of illegal immigrants. This is what Martin Luther King Jr. meant when he deplored “the luxury of cooling off.” If the presidency of Donald Trump inspires anything, it should be a fierce spirit of opposition.’’
avaughn-gun11.11 Robert Vaughn dies
11.10 Warriors head coach Steve Kerr: “Maybe we should have seen it coming over the last 10 years, you look at society, what’s popular, people are getting paid millions of dollars to go on TV and scream at each other, whether it’s sports or politics or entertainment. I guess it was only a matter of time before it spilled into politics, but all of a sudden we’re faced with the reality of, the man that’s going to lead you has routinely used racist, misogynist, insulting words. That’s a tough one. It’s tough when you want there to be some respect and dignity, and there hasn’t been any. Then you walk into a room with your wife and daughter, who have basically been insulted by his comments, and they’re distraught. You walk in and see the faces of your players, most of them who have been insulted directly as minorities, it’s really shocking, it really is.”
Kerr said the Warriors discussed the matter as a team in the morning. “The whole process has left all of us I think feeling disgusted and disappointed. I thought the Jerry Springer Show was the Jerry Springer Show.”
11.10 Pistons coach Stan van Gundy: “I didn’t vote for (George W.) Bush, but he was a good, honorable man with whom I had political differences, so I didn’t vote for him. But for our country to be where we are now, who took a guy who — I don’t care what anyone says, I’m sure they have other reasons and maybe good reasons for voting for Donald Trump — but I don’t think anybody can deny this guy is openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic and ethnic-centric, and say, ‘That’s OK with us, we’re going to vote for him anyway.’“We have just thrown a good part of our population under the bus, and I have problems with thinking that this is where we are as a country. It’s tough on (the team), we noticed it coming in. Everybody was a little quiet, and I thought, ‘Well, maybe the game the other night.’ And so we talked about that, but then Aron Baynes said, ‘I don’t think that’s why everybody’s quiet. It’s last night.’ It’s just, we have said — and my daughters, the three of them — our society has said, ‘No, we think you should be second-class citizens. We want you to be second-class citizens. And we embrace a guy who is openly misogynistic as our leader.’ I don’t know how we get past that. Martin Luther King said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice.’ I would have believed in that for a long time, but not today. … What we have done to minorities … in this election is despicable. I’m having a hard time dealing with it. This isn’t your normal candidate. I don’t know even know if I have political differences with him. I don’t even know what are his politics. I don’t know, other than to build a wall and ‘I hate people of color, and women are to be treated as sex objects and as servants to men.’ I don’t know how you get past that. I don’t know how you walk into the booth and vote for that. I understand problems with the economy. I understand all the problems with Hillary Clinton, I do. But certain things in our country should disqualify you. And the fact that millions and millions of Americans don’t think that racism and sexism disqualifies you to be our leader, in our country … . We presume to tell other countries about human-rights abuses and everything else. We better never do that again, when our leaders talk to China or anybody else about human-rights abuses. We just elected an openly, brazen misogynist leader and we should keep our mouths shut and realize that we need to be learning maybe from the rest of the world, because we don’t got anything to teach anybody. It’s embarrassing. I have been ashamed of a lot of things that have happened in this country, but I can’t say I’ve ever been ashamed of our country until today. Until today. We all have to find our way to move forward, but that was — and I’m not even trying to make a political statement. To me, that’s beyond politics.
“You don’t get to come out and talk about people like that, and then lead our country and have millions of Americans embrace you. I’m having a hard time being with people. I’m going to walk into this arena tonight and realize that — especially in this state — most of these people voted for the guy. Like, (expletive), I don’t have any respect for that. I don’t. And then you read how he was embraced by conservative Christians. Evangelical Christians. I’m not a religious guy, but what the hell Bible are they reading? I’m dead serious. What Bible are you reading? And you’re supposed to be — it’s different. There are a lot of different groups we can be upset at. But you’re Christians. You’re supposed to be — at least you pride yourself on being the moral compass of our society. And you said, ‘Yeah, the guy can talk about women like that. I’m fine with that.’ He can disparage every ethnic group, and I’m fine with that. Look, I don’t get it. And I’m having a hard time taking it. I’m just glad that the people I’m with here — and I’ll include you guys, too — that I like. Because I’m going to have a hard time. I will say, one point of pride, I live in Oakland County, Michigan, and I was surprised, but Oakland County voted for Clinton. At least I can look around say, ‘We weren’t the ones putting that guy in office.’
“It’s incredible. I don’t know how you go about it, if you’re a person of color today or a Latino. Because white society just said to you, again — not like we haven’t forever — but again, and emphatically, that I don’t think you deserve equality. We don’t think you deserve respect. And the same with women. That’s what we say today, as a country. We should be ashamed for what we stand for as the United States today. That’s it for me. I don’t have anything to say about the game tonight.”
11.10 Alabama head football coach Nick Saban says he was unaware that Tuesday was Election Day as millions of other Americans voted to elect the next president of the United States. “It was so important to me that I didn’t even know it was happening,” Saban said. “We’re focused on other things here.”
11.9 EJ Dionne in the Washington Post: “Sixty-three percent said that Trump lacked “the temperament to serve effectively as president.” But 20 percent of those voters supported him anyway. And 61 percent said they did not think Trump was qualified to be president. But 18 percent of those voters were ready to elect an unqualified man as president. What the polls suggested was that a large number of Americans were prepared to throw a fit, regardless of the consequences. The contours of the vote were not all that different from those of the 2012 election, but Clinton ran slightly behind President Obama’s performance among key groups, small deteriorations in the Obama coalition that hurt her in key states. She won 89 percent of Democrats, down three points from Obama’s share. She won 80 percent of African American men, down seven points from Obama’s showing. These small shifts plus Trump’s working-class gains were enough to swing key states his way. After the Brexit vote in Britain, many voters woke up the next morning and wondered what they had done to their country. Judging from the doubts many of Trump’s supporters had about him, you wonder — depending on how this turns out — how many will wake up with the same feeling about what they did on Tuesday.”
11.9 David Remnick in The New Yorker: “The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.”
11.9 Mitch McConnell: “It’s always a mistake to misread your mandate. And frequently new majorities think it’s going to be forever. Nothing is forever in this country. We have an election every two years right on schedule. We have had since 1788. And so I don’t think we should act as if we’re going to be in the majority forever.”
11.9 T.A. Frank in VF.com: “We’ve seen a huge realignment that was carried out peacefully. In other countries, this happens too late and unfolds at gunpoint. Since 1865, the United States has resolved these things in a civilized manner—as it did in 1980, or in 1932. It happened again with this election. Millions of Americans feel trapped in a speeding car going the wrong way, seeing their way of life overturned with too much force and suddenness, and our establishment was saying, “Doesn’t this thing go any faster?” The tragedy was that only Donald Trump seemed to pick up on this. But he did, and voters rewarded him. The sooner good people get Trump’s message, the sooner Trump becomes superfluous. Let’s hope it’s soon.”
11.9 Maureen Dowd in the Times: ““As flawed a candidate as Trump was, he had his finger on the pulse,” [Dowd’s brother] Kevin said. “The polls were off because nobody wanted to admit that they were going to vote for him. But it’s a populist revolt and a lot of people believed in Trump’s message: too much regulation, too much government. The whole thing is a bunch of guys getting rich on Capitol Hill and not paying attention to the people who elected them. They stay in Congress a couple years, then move on to K Street and call on the same people who replaced them.”
11.9 Thomas Friedman in the Times: “As much as I knew that it was a possibility, the stark fact that a majority of Americans wanted radical, disruptive change so badly and simply did not care who the change agent was, what sort of role model he could be for our children, whether he really had any ability to execute on his plan — or even really had a plan to execute on — is profoundly disturbing. Before I lay out all my fears, is there any silver lining to be found in this vote? I’ve been searching for hours, and the only one I can find is this: I don’t think Trump was truly committed to a single word or policy he offered during the campaign, except one phrase: “I want to win.” But Donald Trump cannot be a winner unless he undergoes a radical change in personality and politics and becomes everything he was not in this campaign. He has to become a healer instead of a divider; a compulsive truth-teller rather than a compulsive liar; someone ready to study problems and make decisions based on evidence, not someone who just shoots from the hip; someone who tells people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear; and someone who appreciates that an interdependent world can thrive only on win-win relationships, not zero-sum ones. I can only hope that he does. Because if he doesn’t, all of you who voted for him — overlooking all of his obvious flaws — because you wanted radical, disruptive change, well, you’re going to get it.”
11.9 Roger Cohen in the Times: “Enough of elites; enough of experts; enough of the status quo; enough of the politically correct; enough of the liberal intelligentsia and cultural overlords with their predominant place in the media; enough of the financial wizards who brought the 2008 meltdown and stagnant incomes and jobs disappearing offshore. That, in essence, was Trump’s message. A New Yorker, he contrived to channel the frustrations of the heartland, a remarkable sleight of hand. Ohio and Wisconsin lurched into the Trump camp.This upset victory over Hillary Clinton, the representative par excellence of the American political establishment, amounted to Brexit in American form. Ever since Britain’s perverse, self-defeating vote last June to leave the European Union, it seemed plausible that the same anti-globalization, often xenophobic forces could carry Trump to victory.And so it proved. The disenfranchised, often living lives of great precariousness, arose and spoke. Clinton never quite seemed to understand their frustrations.”
11.9 Graydon Carter in Vanity Fair: “Do not tell me America is no longer a land of opportunity.’’
11.8 Rachel Maddow on MSNBC: “You’re awake by the way. You’re not having a terrible, terrible dream. And you haven’t died and gone to heaven. This is your life now, this is our election now, this is us, this is our country – it’s real.”

AND YET, IT HAPPENED

trumpwinsDespite attaining more than two million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.
In Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America, the Stanford philosopher Richard Rorty predicted that what he called the left would come to give “cultural politics preference over real politics”. This movement would contribute to a tidal wave of resentment, he wrote, that would ricochet back as the kind of rancor that the left had tried to eradicate. Rorty suggested that so long as “the proles can be distracted from their own despair by media-created pseudo-events, including the brief and bloody war, the super-rich will have little to fear”. But as democratic institutions began to fail, workers would begin to realize that governments were “not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or jobs from being exported”, Rorty wrote. They would also realize that the middle classes – themselves desperately afraid of being downsized – would not come to their rescue. “At that point,” Rorty wrote, “something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for – someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots.” Rorty said “nobody can predict” what such a strongman would do in office, but painted a bleak picture for minorities and liberal causes. “One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out,” he wrote. “Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. Intolerance and sadism would come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.”

NOVEMBER 2016 “THE CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES”

jamie-malanowski11.7 Talking Will Cushing at the Town of Lloyd NY Historical Society
11.7 Ron Brownstein in the Atlantic: “The best-case scenario is she holds enough working-class whites to defend the Rustbelt states Trump has targeted, and attracts enough college-educated whites and minorities to tip most of the Sunbelt battlegrounds. The worst-case scenario for her is that Trump’s blue-collar blitz narrowly pushes him past her in some of the Rustbelt states she needs, while she cannot advance quite enough among minority and college-educated white voters to overcome his non-college-educated, non-urban, religiously devout coalition in Sunbelt states like North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado, much less Arizona and Georgia. Transitioning between her party’s past and future, Hillary Clinton’s nightmare is that she might be caught awkwardly in between.
11.7 Greg Sargent in the Washington Post: Trump in one chart
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11.7 Jennifer Rubin in the Post: Reactionaries, as political theorists explain, suffer from false memory and the need to shut out current reality: “[The reactionary’s] story begins with a happy, well-ordered state where people who know their place live in harmony and submit to tradition and their God. Then alien ideas promoted by intellectuals—writers, journalists, professors—challenge this harmony and the will to maintain order weakens at the top. (The betrayal of elites is the linchpin of every reactionary story.) A false consciousness soon descends on the society as a whole as it willingly, even joyfully, heads for destruction. Only those who have preserved memories of the old ways see what is happening. Whether the society reverses direction or rushes to its doom depends entirely on their resistance. For Trump “a happy, well-ordered state” means women are docile, minorities do not compete for white males’ jobs and the United States stands apart from the world. This infatuation of the past is characteristic of the alt-right (who’d like to reverse 60 years, at least, of racial progress). It likewise reflects the vibe of white Christian evangelicals who resent no longer dominating the culture (hence the obsession with getting everyone to say “Merry Christmas”) and who have adjusted poorly to the rapid influx of non-whites. He perfectly encapsulates the sentiments of the anti-immigrant exclusionists who fear newcomers will deform America (i.e., move it away from its white, religious, Christian origins). The people who adore Trump are those who have lost status for the past few decades; his most ardent foes (professional women, minorities) those who have gained the most. Ironically, Trump keeps asking: What do you have to lose? The last 50 years, answer women and minorities. This is where the GOP is heading — backward. You see it in the party’s refusal to accept gay marriage, in its idolization of the smokestack industry of the 1950’s and in its condescension toward women. If they seem uninterested in finding concrete solutions to real problems it is because they do not wish to accept where we are; they engage in magical thinking to imagine going back. “Make America Great Again” is a reactionary plea for the present to become like the past. If the center-right is to maintain a viable political movement it will have to banish the reactionaries, flee from their party or stage an intervention. If there is to be a conservative renaissance it will need to come from the groups whom Trump has most alienated and who have the most to lose from his vision — millennials, women, minorities, the college-educated. Many Republicans figured this demographic and philosophical reckoning would come in a decade or so. Thanks to Trump, that process has been accelerated. With an electorate that much more closely resembles contemporary America than Trump’s America, this political collision is occurring before our eyes, in real time.”
11.7 EJ Dionne in The Washington Post: “The fact that Trump still has a chance of victory speaks to a profound distemper in the country. Our deep divides along lines of party, race, class, gender and region guarantee even a man as deeply flawed as Trump a firm foundation of support. And many of our fellow citizens, shaken by economic and social changes, are hurting so much that they have embraced the opportunity to use Trump as a way of expressing their rage. Trump’s rise challenges both sides of politics. The massive support for Trump among white working-class voters suggests that they do not find the economic promises of progressive politicians sufficiently persuasive or believable to entice them away from the riskiest vote they will ever cast in their lives. Liberals have much work to do.”
11.7 In Vanity Fair: “My belief is that Peter Thiel does not personally believe in Trump, but that he wants to create what I call the ‘burn it down party’,” investor Jason Calacanis told me. “Peter would like to see Trump win because it is the quickest way to break the two-party system and create Peter’s vision for America, which he is slowly unpacking.” That theory, no matter how dystopian, may have some credence. Thiel, wittingly or not, has been articulating a very particular vision of late. During a speech at the National Press Club, Thiel hit on some familiar territory. He noted that the tech industry is deeply out of touch with the impact that their financially successful products have on the rest of the country. (This is one area where I actually agree with Thiel: in the Valley, a majority of pointless app founders are often too able to convince themselves that they have somehow “made the world a better place.”) In general, as Adam Davidson recently explained in The New Yorker, Thiel articulated a vision of national despair and ruin centered around inequality, student debt, and the trade deficit. “The protagonists in his national drama are Trump voters,” Davidson writes. “The villains are élites in their coastal bubbles of Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., who do not intend to tolerate the views of half this country.”
90709511.7 Leonard Cohen dies
11.6 Matthew Dowd, ABC: I think she’s got about a 95 chance to win this election, and I think she’s going to have a higher margin than Barack Obama did in 2012. Higher margin. She’s going to win by more than 5 million votes. She’s going to win a higher percentage. And interestingly she’s going to have a more diverse coalition than Barack Obama even did when you take the final vote into consideration. Every piece of data points in that direction.”
11.4 Elon Musk, like many in Silicon Valley, has also become obsessed with the question of what will happen when artificial intelligence and advanced robotics combine to take human jobs. “People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things,” Musk told CNBC in an interview published Friday. But millions of people will also be out of work, made obsolete by robots that can do the same jobs at a lower labor cost. The solution, Musk muses, will be for the government to provide a universal basic income to everyone in the country, establishing a baseline wage as technology displaces human workers. “There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” Musk told CNBC. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”
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11.4 Charles Krauthammer in the Post: We are entering a period of unprecedented threat to the international order that has prevailed under American leadership since 1945. After eight years of President Obama’s retreat, the three major revisionist powers — Russia, China and Iran — see their chance to achieve regional dominance and diminish, if not expel, U.S. influence. At a time of such tectonic instability, even the most experienced head of state requires wisdom and delicacy to maintain equilibrium. Trump has neither. His joining of supreme ignorance to supreme arrogance, combined with a pathological sensitivity to any perceived slight, is a standing invitation to calamitous miscalculation. Two generations of Americans have grown up feeling that international stability is as natural as the air we breathe. It’s not. It depends on continual, calibrated tending. It depends on the delicate balancing of alliances and the careful signaling of enemies. It depends on avoiding self-inflicted trade wars and on recognizing the value of allies like Germany, Japan and South Korea as cornerstones of our own security rather than satrapies who are here to dispatch tribute to their imperial master in Washington. It took seven decades to build this open, free international order. It could be brought down in a single presidential term. That would be a high price to pay for the catharsis of kicking over a table.”
11.4 Two former allies of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were convicted on Friday for their roles in the “Bridgegate” lane closure scandal,
11.3 Chicago Cubs defeat Cleveland Indians 8-7 in extra innings to win their first World Series since 1908
11.3 Britain’s plan for getting out of the European Union was thrown into doubt Thursday as a senior court ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May will need to get Parliament’s approval before she acts.
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11.1 The Civil War Roundtable of Eastern Pennsylvania

GOOD BYE TO THE BUICK

img_2286For eight years, since my father died, we have had his 2000 Buick Century. I loved driving it. It was big and reliable and cheap to run, and despite its many shortcomings–unreliable fuel gauge, slow to react breaks, bad wipers–I took it wherever I could (locally). I couldn’t get into it without thinking of Dad. And now, with more than 185,000 miles on it, the car’s brakes are shot, and it is time to part ways. I am very sorry to see it go.

GO ARMY!

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On a gorgeous autumn afternoon, Paul Lindstrom and Ginny and I went to Michie Stadium at West Point for a football game between Army and Air Force. I loved the blazing colors and conspicuous enthusiasm. Cannons boomed on kickoffs, and when Army scored, cadets ran into the end zone and did push ups. And when either team scored a touchdown, its flag sprinted about the end zone, banners unfurled. Air Force won, 31-12.
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SPY AT 30

14900601_10154640003526462_5119168564283971936_nSpy turned thirty this year. Graydon Carter threw a party for the old gang at the Waverly, which I am sorry I missed. Working at the magazine remains my happiest professional experience; still ranks kind of high on my personal experiences as well. Daniel Carter took a couple pictures; Tom Phillips brought T-shirts (I hope I get one); and Susan Morrison shared brought the Wayne Newton recording of `Spy Way’ (lyrics by Joanne Gruber.) Graydon Carter added a nice valediction. “People are often amazed by how simply decent the staff at Spy was—and by decent, I mean fine people,” he said. “What a glorious, talented group and I am so immensely proud of being part of it. How lucky we were.” Yes we were.

Also last week, I discovered an interesting review of Spy‘s long and extensive coverage of Donald Trump. Appearing on a site called pando.com, the article by a journalist named Mark Ames really gets us–really, really get us. Says Ames:

SPY was vicious and funny and smart — a fortress/safe zone for all the legions of pissed off, overeducated college grads with literary ambitions and a long list of personal grudges to work off… and bridges to burn. What made each new issue of SPY thrilling to read was the vicious satire—the way they went too far, gratuitously vicious, beyond the point of repetitiveness, to hit some very deserving targets.

55ca4f568fbf768838dc8e19_donald-trump-spy-magazine-04SPY won my heart by relentlessly savaging what passed for the American literati in the Reagan Era: Bret Easton Ellis, Jay McInerney, Tama Janowitz — the triumvirate of the talentless, all that was loathsome, boring, affected and just plain wrong with American prose. . .

What affected me most about SPY’s satire was its recklessness and irresponsibility, at least by the stuff-shirt standards of American prose. And even by contemporary standards of what passes for “biting satire” in this country. One of the problems I’ve always had with Jon Stewart and Colbert is the sense you get that they don’t really want to drive the targets of their comedy to ruin and dance on their graves. There’s something a bit too self-consciously responsible about their comedy, however brilliant and talented—a humanitarian, liberal impulse that they can always be friends with the targets of their satire, if they can all make a show of laughing at themselves and not taking themselves too seriously.

You never got the sense that SPY took its targets lightly or saw its satire as all a big joke, ha-ha-ha, we’re all friends at the end of the day bullshit. SPY was serious about its hate, in spite of its somewhat precious prep school surface prose. SPY wanted its loathsome celebrity targets destroyed, not merely roasted. And those who fell were not nobly pitied or helped back up with a gentlemanly hand; SPY shamelessly gloated over their fallen celebrity corpses and dragged them through the magazine’s central squares and back alleyways for all to have a mean vicious laugh at.

Ames proceeds to enthusiastically cover all fifteen rounds of our Trump beat-down, but saves special favor for “the August 1990 issue, SPY’s greatest of all, featuring a bawling oversized Trump head on a child’s body in prep school uniform, with the headline: “WA-A-A-A-H! Little Donald—Unhappy at Last.” In this issue, “SPY managed to both gratuitously drive its satirical stake in Trump’s heart—then pull it out, twist it, drive it in again, and wiggle it around.” The “coup de grace: an eight-page spread of fake newspaper clippings from a time machine, tracing the sad decline and disgrace of Donald Trump from 1990 – 1996. Headlined “A Casino Too Far: Pages from the Donald J. Trump Scrapbook, 1990-96,” it stands as quite possibly the funniest and most savage eight pages of satire ever put to glossy print in this country.” Later, he calls it “the high-water mark for SPY, and for American satirical journalism.” Shucks, Mark–I’m glad you liked it.

OFF TO A GOOD START

imgres-1To Pixar and Beyond, the memoir by Pixar’s CFO Lawrence Levy that I worked on last (as Lawrence’s coach), has debuted to strong reviews. The New York Times said: “Mr. Levy’s ability to remain calm and clear-eyed in the face of singular personalities and business challenges translates into a crisp, even elegant, narrative. When tackling complex or controversial topics, he manages to illuminate the core concepts without oversimplification. In Mr. Levy’s hands, the enigmatic and sometimes ruthless Mr. Jobs emerges as a surprisingly sympathetic character, even as the deep tensions with Pixar’s staff are explored.” Fortune said: “This delightful book is about finance, creative genius, workplace harmony, and luck. (Levy never does explain exactly why Jobs chose him to be Pixar’s CFO.) That’s a lot for one volume by a first-time author with a legal and financial background covering exceedingly well-trod material. At the very end, Levy’s book takes a totally unexpected turn toward being about life itself, and I won’t spoil the ending for you. Life obviously is about more than business, but few books discuss both so well.” I really enjoyed working with Lawrence; his desire to excel made him an idea partner, and I’m happy to say the feelings were reciprocated. “Jamie’s unrelenting critical and heartfelt concern for every part of the book made for a potent if not humbling source of guidance,” he wrote in his acknowledgements. Thanks, Lawrence. Onward and upward!