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