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Jared and Ivanka’s West Wing Vanishing Act | Vanity Fair
The White House, at the request of the president, was drawing a hard line with intransigent conservatives, who had already extracted concessions to remove the law’s provision mandating "essential benefits" like maternity care and prescription drug and mental health coverage, in an effort to reduce premiums. Trump had made the case to members of the Freedom Caucus for an hour in the Cabinet Room earlier on Thursday that if they didn’t vote for his bill, their own electoral fate would hang in the balance. (The threat was diminished by the fact that the Koch brothers have vowed to fund the election coffers of Republicans who vote against the bill.) He then invited to the White House members of the more moderate Tuesday Group, who had spent the afternoon plowing their way through an avalanche of policy details and seven boxes of pizza in Ryan’s office, for a final round of browbeating.
politics  america  elections2016 
march 2017 by kme
Donald Trump Finally Pays a Price for His False and Reckless Words - The New Yorker
What can’t be denied is that, yet again, the White House is in the soup. The President and his aides now know that words and truth do matter. Yet they continue to act as if they are oblivious. At a press conference with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, on Friday afternoon, a German reporter asked Trump, “Why do you keep saying things you know are not true?” Trump didn’t answer directly. When another German reporter asked Trump about the White House citing claims that the British government bugged him, he refused to take responsibility. “We said nothing,” he said. “All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make an opinion on it.” And, once again, Trump refused to back off the discredited claim that Obama bugged him. Looking at Merkel, whose phone the N.S.A. reportedly tapped for years, he said, jokingly, “At least we have something in common, perhaps.”
politics  elections2016  presidenttrump 
march 2017 by kme
The Trump Campaign Has Been Under Investigation Since July - The New Yorker
Last year, Comey was lambasted by Democrats for releasing information during the campaign about his agency’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server—for him, Monday’s hearing solved some problems while probably creating new ones. It demonstrated his independence and credibility at a moment when many wondered if he would be free to operate under the pressures imposed by Trump. But, because he also disclosed that the investigation of the Trump campaign began in July, Democrats will now want to know more about why he decided to inform voters about developments in the Clinton probe while keeping the Trump matter a secret.
presidenttrump  elections2016 
march 2017 by kme
Watching Trump’s Inauguration from the Cheap Seats - The New Yorker
Her husband said that he was happy Trump’s Presidency would allow him to speak his mind freely. “I almost got fired from my job for talking about Trump,” he said. “I was talking about Trump with a customer, and the person sitting next to me didn’t say a word. They just went and Yelped. They put me as a bigot, a misogynist, all these things.” His boss gave him a warning. “ ‘You can’t say nothing. Keep your opinions to yourself.’ And I told them that never in my twenty-five years of barbering have I ever not been able to talk about politics.” He continued, “I said, If you need me move on, I’ll move on. But I’m not going to change who I am.” The owner let him stay, but asked him to tone it down.

“People in Philadelphia are very sensitive to social issues,” Dukes said. “A lot of snowflakes,” he said, using a term that mocks progressives as fragile. I asked if he felt vindicated. He grinned and said, “I’m one of the happiest people in the world right now.”
america  elections2016 
january 2017 by kme
Obama hands off the presidency to Trump — and the burdens that go with it - The Washington Post [https://www.washingtonpost.com/]
There are also bequests that are handed down from one presidential staff aide to another. Waiting on Trump press secretary Sean Spicer’s desk from its previous occupant, Josh Earnest, was a stack of pens, a folio to hold his legal pad, a stapler — and a bag labeled “reusable wine carrier.”

Spicer might have appreciated the wine carrier more had it not been empty.
elections2016 
january 2017 by kme
The Stories We Tell Ourselves - NYTimes.com
While the values we take them to be expressing might be mistaken — or even abhorrent — to us, there are perhaps other aspects to their lives as well, other values those lives express, values that would become manifest to us if we listened to some of the stories they tell about themselves. If we are more complicated than we like to think, perhaps others are also more complicated than we would like to think. (And also more complicated than they would like to think.)
elections2016 
january 2017 by kme
Barack Obama’s Sanity-Affirming Press Conference - The New Yorker
“The Russians can’t change us or significantly weaken us. They are a smaller country. They are a weaker country,” Obama said. “But they can impact us if we lose track of who we are. They can impact us if we abandon our values.” A few minutes later, he added, “Our vulnerability to Russia or any other foreign power is directly related to how divided, partisan, dysfunctional our political process is.” This sounded like what Obama has also said, frequently, about terrorists; it’s worth saying.

One intriguing moment came when Obama, briefly, hesitated. It was toward the end of the hour-and-a-half session, not long before his I’m-out-of-here “Mele Kalikimaka” (“Merry Christmas” in Hawaiian). Obama was talking, one more time, about the distortion field of partisanship. “How is it that we have some voters or some elected officials who think that Michelle Obama’s healthy-eating initiative, school-nutrition program is a greater threat to democracy than, uh”—he paused, for about ten seconds, as if mentally scrolling through, and curating, a long list of choices—“you know, our government going after the press if they’re issuing a story they don’t like?” That seemed like a good one. “Right? I mean, that’s an issue that I think we’ve got to wrestle with—and we will.” Under President Trump, we certainly will.
elections2016  obama 
december 2016 by kme
CIA: Russian Hackers Aimed To Help Trump Win
"Donald Trump was clearly the candidate in the Presidential race least problematic for Mr. Putin's aggressive foreign policy agenda," says John Herbst, director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. "While it would be a stretch to say that Russian hacking gave Mr. Trump the election, it seems clear that it was designed to undermine Ms. Clinton and to enhance his chance of winning."
hacking  russia  elections2016 
december 2016 by kme
Trump, Mocking Claim That Russia Hacked Election, at Odds with G.O.P. - The New York Times
At this point in a transition, a president-elect is usually delving into intelligence he has never before seen, and learning about C.I.A. and National Security Agency abilities. But Mr. Trump, who has taken intelligence briefings only sporadically, is questioning not only analytic conclusions, but also their underlying facts.

“To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions — wow,” said Michael V. Hayden, who was the director of the N.S.A. and later the C.I.A. under President George W. Bush.
presidenttrump  elections2016  hacking 
december 2016 by kme
Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says - The New York Times
It is unclear how many files were stolen from the Republican committee; in some cases, investigators never get a clear picture. It is also far from clear that Russia’s original intent was to support Mr. Trump, and many intelligence officials — and former officials in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign — believe that the primary motive of the Russians was to simply disrupt the campaign and undercut confidence in the integrity of the vote.

Among those whose emails were posted was Peter W. Smith, who runs a venture capital firm in Chicago and has long been active in “opposition research” for the Republican Party. He said he was unaware that his emails had been hacked until he was called by a reporter on Thursday.

He said he believes that his material came from a hack of the Illinois Republican Party.

“I’m not upset at all,” he said. “I try in my communications, quite frankly, not to say anything that would be embarrassing if made public.”
elections2016  hacking 
december 2016 by kme
White House rebuts Trump vote fraud claim - BBC News
What matters is that by going on the offensive, he turns a story about the legitimacy of his narrow wins in key states into a muddled mess. As he has done in the past, he raises the volume in hopes of drowning out a negative story.

The irony is that, in this case, it seems a pointless undertaking. The Green Party-funded recounts will almost certainly fail to reveal electoral malfeasance. Mr Trump could have let them proceed without comment and avoided any controversy.

Then again, for this president-elect, controversy is like water to a fish. It surrounds and sustains him. Perhaps he can't function without it.
elections2016 
november 2016 by kme
DARRELL HUCKABY: Take a seat — history class is in session | Opinion | newtoncitizen.com
For the record, Abraham Lincoln did not get a majority of the popular vote in 1860, and Bill Clinton did not get a majority of the popular vote in 1992 or 1996.

“Oh, yes he did!” screamed one of my Facebook friends this week. “I know Lincoln got the most votes and so did Clinton.”

Most means plurality, y’all. A majority is 50 percent plus one. And while we are on the subject, we are not a democratic republic, either, no matter what the revisionist history books might claim. That’s just a term Andrew Jackson coined for political purposes in the 1820s and it stuck with some people. We are a republic. We have a federalist form of government where the power is supposed to be divided between the states and the central government and neither is subservient to the other. Both are supposed to get their powers directly from the people.

And by the way, the U.S. Constitution does not give any of us the right to have a say so in who becomes president of the United States. Oh, no, it doesn’t. That power is vested entirely in the Electoral College, and under the Constitution states still have the authority to decided how those electors are chosen. It wasn’t until 1842 that the last state started allowing the people to vote for those electors.

If we eliminated the Electoral College people in two-thirds of the states would be virtually disenfranchised when it came to presidential elections. All the time, money and effort would be spent wooing voters in California, New York and Florida.
elections2016  us  politics  explained 
november 2016 by kme
A look at Steve Bannon and his years at Harvard Business School - The Boston Globe
Several of his fellow students are shocked at the comments they now see attributed to Bannon, and those that come out on Breitbart, the conservative website that he runs. A May 2016 article called Bill Kristol, a longtime Republican and Weekly Standard editor, a “renegade Jew.” In July, an article said that if women did not want to be harassed online, they should log off.

Women, the article said, are “screwing up the Internet for men by invading every space we have online and ruining it with attention-seeking and a needy, demanding, touchy-feely form of modern feminism.”

“We call ourselves ‘the Fight Club.’ You don’t come to us for warm and fuzzy,” Bannon told The Washington Post in January. “We think of ourselves as virulently antiestablishment, particularly ‘anti’ the permanent political class. We say Paul Ryan was grown in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation.”
elections2016  breitbart 
november 2016 by kme
Did Trump's scorched-earth tactics mortally wound the media? - Columbia Journalism Review
Jay Rosen, who teaches journalism at New York University and whose blog PressThink.org has been a widely-cited resource on the fraught relationship between Trump and the press in 2016, sees the DC hotel debacle as a seminal moment. “That’s when people in the campaign press corp got disgusted not just with Trump’s mendacity and manipulation but at themselves for playing along with it. That turned the worm.”
elections2016  journalism  presidenttrump 
november 2016 by kme
If you’ve ever described people as ‘white working class,’ read this - The Washington Post
About 51 percent say that their lives would be no different if they had a four-year college degree, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation/CNN poll. Only 45 percent believed that a bachelor's degree would benefit them. In contrast, 73 percent of the black working class and 74 percent of Hispanic working class said they thought having a four-year college degree would make their lives better.
whiteamerica  middleclass  demographic  statistics  elections2016 
november 2016 by kme
‘White Nationalism,’ Explained - The New York Times [http://www.nytimes.com/]
Many of those voters would not think of themselves as white nationalists, and the cultural values and traditions they seek to protect are not necessarily explicitly racial. However, those traditions formed when national identity and culture were essentially synonymous with whiteness. So the impulse to protect them from social and demographic change is essentially an attempt to turn back the clock to a less-diverse time.

Mr. Trump’s criticism of immigrants and promise to “make America great again” may have tapped into those same cultural anxieties, fueling his success with older and less-educated white voters. (Over all, he won white voters by 21 percentage points.
race  america  elections2016  thegoodolddays  nationalism 
november 2016 by kme
‘The U.S. Doesn’t Look Like a Coherent Nation State’: Views From Germany - The Atlantic
The U.S. is a deeply divided country, just like most parts of the Western world in this day. The overall positive developments of integrating societies, cultures and economies did not reach a large chunk of people who have been forgotten. This is the case everywhere, from Los Angeles to Kaliningrad. There are many deep dividing lines, along cities and the countryside, among race, wealth, religion and education.

From here, the United States don’t look like a coherent nation state. I think it’s time to rethink the political system. Two parties cannot adequately represent the diversity of opinions and people. They just form a wide compromise that nobody is really happy with. To me it seems completely strange, how the loser of the popular vote regularly moves into the White House. At the time of its foundation, the United States had the most advanced political system of the world, but 300 years later, it requires a major overhaul.

And so I come to something—Climate Change—that has great significance to us and should have much more importance to citizens everywhere, including the U.S. of America. The fact that it didn’t come up in any of the three “presidential debates” just proves how far removed you people in America are from the realities in this world. Trump has clearly no idea what is happening on this planet. No other single issue is going to affect all of us on this scale. All other decisions need to be based on this fast approaching super-crisis.
germany  us  foreignrelations  elections2016 
november 2016 by kme
Carpe Diem, Mr. Trump: Forgive, Unite, Stand Strong | National Review
Another trope, as we are now witnessing, will be of the hysterical policy brand: Trump will cook the planet, put y’all back in chains, conduct war on women, traumatize students, destroy dreamers — all the boilerplate extremism designed to put Trump on the defensive so that he will settle for half an agenda and “reach out” to cement his respectability as a “listener” before the court of D.C. fixtures, the campuses, the foundations, the think tanks, the media, the social circles of Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

Not PC.
politics  presidenttrump  elections2016 
november 2016 by kme
Donald Trump Victory – Media Bias and Failure | National Review
As Mrs. Clinton robotically recited her mantra, “When they go low, we go high,” the Democrats hurled these practically unfounded charges of bigotry, sexual depravity, and lunacy at Trump, who appeared to a majority of Americans as a normal, if egocentric, alpha male with a beautiful wife. His failings were matters of style and attitude; hers were potentially indictable offenses, in a country where the prosecutors almost always win, regardless of guilt or innocence.
mediabias  elections2016 
november 2016 by kme
Donald Trump's Election: Don’t Blame the Electoral College | National Review
However—one thing about the Electoral College that is inarguable is that it delegitimizes the popular vote as a measurement of the candidates’ popularity. There is no basis for saying that Clinton was ultimately the more popular candidate because more people voted for her. Because the Electoral College means non-swing states are taken for granted, their constituents are more likely to take the outcome for granted, and not bother to vote.
politics  elections2016 
november 2016 by kme
America's Friendship With Europe Has Been Horribly Damaged - The Atlantic
The morning after Donald Trump’s victory, German Chancellor Angela Merkel released a cooly diffident pledge of cooperation to the new American president. The key passage:

Germany’s ties with the United States of America are deeper than with any country outside of the European Union.

Germany and America are bound by common values—democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of each and every person, regardless of their origin, skin color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or political views. It is based on these values that I wish to offer close cooperation, both with me personally and between our countries’ governments.

Notice here first the downgrading of the U.S.-German relationship to second place behind Germany’s EU partners. The longstanding brainteaser of German politics—which comes first, NATO or the EU?—has suddenly been answered by the Trump election, and against the United States.

Notice second the conditional quality of Merkel’s congratulation. Future cooperation with the United States government will be “based on these values,” opening the possibility that a deviation from such values will abridge or terminate cooperation.
germany  us  foreignrelations  elections2016 
november 2016 by kme
The Iconic Hillary Clinton - The Atlantic
As a presidential candidate, Clinton was vanquished. But as a feminist symbol, she’s certain to live on. Her supporters have already begun to use her as a convenient shorthand to represent the challenges of their own lives, seeing their struggles in hers. To them, she’s the women who withstand the painful misogyny of American society. She’s telling your daughter to raise her hand in class, even if the boys make fun of her. She’s pantsuits and she’s the more than 3 million members of the Facebook group Pantsuit Nation. She’s every qualified woman who had an unqualified man beat her out for a job. She’s the “I Voted” stickers on Susan B. Anthony’s grave. She’s the cracks in the glass ceiling that didn’t break. She’s what could’ve been. She’s the promise of what someday will be.
feminism  hillary  elections2016 
november 2016 by kme
5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win | MICHAEL MOORE
It’s one of the few places left in society where there are no security cameras, no listening devices, no spouses, no kids, no boss, no cops, there’s not even a friggin’ time limit. You can take as long as you need in there and no one can make you do anything. You can push the button and vote a straight party line, or you can write in Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. There are no rules. And because of that, and the anger that so many have toward a broken political system, millions are going to vote for Trump not because they agree with him, not because they like his bigotry or ego, but just because they can. Just because it will upset the apple cart and make mommy and daddy mad. And in the same way like when you’re standing on the edge of Niagara Falls and your mind wonders for a moment what would that feel like to go over that thing, a lot of people are going to love being in the position of puppetmaster and plunking down for Trump just to see what that might look like.

Coming back to the hotel after appearing on Bill Maher’s Republican Convention special this week on HBO, a man stopped me. “Mike,” he said, “we have to vote for Trump. We HAVE to shake things up.” That was it. That was enough for him. To “shake things up.” President Trump would indeed do just that, and a good chunk of the electorate would like to sit in the bleachers and watch that reality show.
presidenttrump  elections2016 
november 2016 by kme
Why Is America So Divided? - The Atlantic
Perhaps a lucky few Americans really can flee into what they regard as utopias. But for most, the impulse to withdraw, or to force the withdrawal of others, is rooted in a reluctance to face this reality: No matter who wins the election, or the next skirmish in the culture wars, most Americans must live together, and will live together, within these borders, with people whose actions or views are anathema to them.

Regrettably, nothing is more certain to trigger authoritarianism “than the likes of ‘multicultural education,’ bilingual policies, and nonassimilation,” Stenner writes. “Our showy celebration of, and absolute insistence upon, individual autonomy and unconstrained diversity pushes those by nature least equipped to live comfortably in a liberal democracy not to the limits of their tolerance, but to their intolerant extremes.” By contrast, she notes, “nothing inspires greater tolerance from the intolerant than an abundance of common and unifying beliefs, practices, rituals, institutions, and processes.”

If progressives balk at this prescription—if they resent the idea of parading sameness or of dialing down the type of multiculturalist rhetoric that’s been shown to provoke the intolerant—they might reflect on Stenner’s warning: Given that immutable attributes constrain a person’s ability to deal with differences, “well-meaning programs celebrating multiculturalism … might aggravate more than educate, might intensify rather than diminish, intolerance.”

The incentives to spread polarizing allegations would shrink if the right reversed one of its biggest strategic errors: retreating from shared institutions, especially in academia and the mainstream media, to create shadow alternatives. The high-water mark of the Reagan Revolution preceded the rise of right-wing talk radio, Fox News, and Breitbart.com; movement conservatism has declined in the new, fragmented information ecosystem. Meanwhile, the dearth of ideological diversity harms both the media and academia, which are less rigorous than they would otherwise be, less likely to grasp conservative principles, and less likely to unify people.

Reformers on the left and right alike must give up the fantasy that humans are blank slates who can be overwritten with ideal values, however discomfiting or disappointing the realization may be. As Stenner puts it, we can moralize all day about how we want ideal citizens to be, “but democracy is most secure, and tolerance is maximized, when we design systems to accommodate how people actually are.”
elections2016  politics  multiculturalism  intolerance  defeat 
november 2016 by kme
The New Yorker Endorses Hillary Clinton
In “Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic,” Reinhold Niebuhr wrote that there was no reason “to believe that Abraham Lincoln, the statesman and opportunist, was morally inferior to William Lloyd Garrison, the prophet. The moral achievement of statesmen must be judged in terms which take account of the limitations of human society which the statesman must, and the prophet need not, consider.” In this populist moment, the attractions of continuity hold little romance. And yet Clinton not only promises to be a vastly better President than her opponent; she has every chance of building on the successes and insights of a predecessor who will leave office with a remarkable record of progressive change and, in an often ugly time, as an exemplar of Presidential temper and dignity.
elections2016  politics 
november 2016 by kme
Jimmy Fallon Gives Hillary Clinton Softballs on ‘The Tonight Show’ | Variety
In what was the joke of the night, Fallon pulled out a paper bag that he claimed was full of stuff Trump left behind after his appearance on “The Tonight Show.” One was a portrait of Russian president Vladimir Putin in a heart-shaped frame; another was Pink Floyd’s album “The Wall.” (Clinton: “That’s as close as he’s going to get to the wall.”) The final object, Fallon allowed Clinton to pull out of the bag for herself. She came up with a mesh bag full of — “Softballs,” she declared with satisfaction. “That was my gift to him!” Fallon faux-protested. Then there was some crosstalk about how now Fallon was going to give the softballs to her, which culminated in Clinton launching into a story, possibly prepared, about how she used to play softball as a young person.
elections2016  politics  talkshows  softballs 
september 2016 by kme
One Nation Divisible
Americans aren’t as divided as their parties. On actual issues, as opposed to rhetoric, their positions overlap, according to a study by the ­Program for Public Consultation at the ­University of Maryland. It ­analyzed 14 surveys conducted from 2008 to 2013. Most Republicans took a ­position opposed to that of most Democrats on fewer than a fifth of the questions.
america  elections2016  inequality  fear  partisanship  politics  thewaythingswere 
september 2016 by kme
Fact-Check -- Top 20 Lies in Hillary's 'Alt-Right' Speech [http://www.breitbart.com/]
4. A man with a long history of racial discrimination. Trump has no history whatsoever of racial discrimination. At the Democratic National Convention last month, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley fled from the camera rather than cite one single example of anything Trump had said about black people, much less done. Clinton cited a handful of lawsuits by the Department of Justice — a department which recently tried suing Louisiana school districts for helping black students.
—see also: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/us/politics/donald-trump-housing-race.html

However, good point:
11. Just recently, Trump claimed President Obama founded ISIS. And then he repeated that nonsense over and over. This complaint might be taken seriously were it not a response to Clinton’s lie that Trump is the “recruiting sergeant” for ISIS. Trump’s claim that Obama (and Clinton) “founded” ISIS, by allowing a vacuum in Iraq, is an exaggeration of what happened, but Clinton’s claim that Americans are to blame for terror by criticizing Islam actually does the terrorists’ work for them.

16. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, Breitbart embraces “ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right.” That is simply a lie, as anyone who reads Breitbart even occasionally would know. And the Southern Poverty Law Center has no credibility left — certainly since a would-be mass shooter used the center’s guide to “hate” groups to target the Family Research Council merely for supporting traditional marriage.

18. Just yesterday, one of Britain’s most prominent right-wing leaders, Nigel Farage, who stoked anti-immigrant sentiments to win the referendum on leaving the European Union, campaigned with Donald Trump in Mississippi. Here Clinton repeats one of the most frequent — and self-defeating — delusions of the anti-Brexit campaign. (Farage has already responded.) The majority of British voters are not bigots; they simply chose sovereignty over foreign bureaucracy.
factcheck  dissentingopinions  elections2016  politics 
august 2016 by kme
Breitbart Rises From Outlier to Potent Voice in Campaign - The New York Times [http://www.nytimes.com/]
Not everyone affiliated with Breitbart is pleased with the site’s recent turn. Several longtime staff members quit earlier this year, saying that Mr. Bannon had turned a website founded on anti-authoritarian grounds into a de facto propaganda outlet for Mr. Trump.

“I don’t think it would be Andrew Breitbart’s proudest moment to be called the foundation for white supremacy on the internet,” Ben Shapiro, one of the editors who resigned, said on Friday.

Did Mr. Shapiro ever expect to see Breitbart, which began as a no-frills aggregator of wire stories, prominently featured in a speech by a major-party presidential candidate?

“It wouldn’t have surprised me if a Democratic presidential candidate did that,” Mr. Shapiro said. “I’m just surprised that she’s not wrong.”
elections2016  politics 
august 2016 by kme

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