17 Signs Of How Bad Press Treatment Will Be Under Trump

17 Signs Of How Bad Press Treatment Will Be Under Trump

IMAGE: Media Matters

THE NATIONAL MEMO

Yesterday’s press conference laid bare President-elect Donald Trump’s strategy for dealing with the press as president: He will seek to delegitimize news outlets that provide critical coverage, try to turn them against one another, reward sycophantic coverage from openly pro-Trump sources, and encourage others to follow in their lead. The candidate who waged an unprecedented war on the press will not be pivoting as president.

In one day we saw Trump publicly punish members of the press for critical reporting, threatening one outlet with “consequences” for its actions and calling on another to apologize; thank members of the press who behaved in a way he found appropriate; and take a question from an outlet tied to his top aide about what “reforms” he wants to see from the press. We saw Trump aides publicly humiliate and jeer at reporters. We saw one news outlet respond to Trump’s criticism by throwing another under the bus. We saw journalists treat the attacks on the press as a sideshow while praising Trump’s performance. And we saw a U.S. congressman call for a reporter’s firing for being “disrespectful” to the president-elect.

On Monday, CNN reported that top U.S. intelligence officials had presented information to President Obama and Trump that “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” The allegations were based on memos authored by a former British intelligence officer reportedly considered credible by the U.S. intelligence community. CNN obtained the memos and reported on, but did not publish, the documents because it had not been able to verify them. BuzzFeed subsequently published the memos, acknowledging that it had not verified them.

Trump sought to use yesterday’s press conference to conflate the two stories and employ them to shatter the credibility of the news outlets that published them. The result was a horrifying day for press freedom.

Here are some of the things that happened over the course of January 11:

  1. Sean Spicer, who will serve as White House press secretary, opened Trump’s press conference by attacking BuzzFeed as a “left-wing blog that was openly hostile to the president-elect’s campaign” and calling its decision to publish the memos “outrageous and highly irresponsible.” He then said that both CNN and BuzzFeed were engaging in a “sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks.”
  2. Before introducing Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence declared that there has been “a concerted effort by some in the mainstream media to delegitimize this election and to demean our incoming administration” and accused CNN and BuzzFeed of pushing “fake news” that he said “can only be attributed to media bias, an attempt to demean the president-elect and our incoming administration.”
  3. In his opening statement, Trump thanked members of the assembled press who “came out so strongly against that fake news and the fact that it was written about by primarily one group and one television station.”
  4. Asked about the story during the press conference, Trump said that BuzzFeed was “a failing pile of garbage” and is “going to suffer the consequences” for its actions. He also criticized CNN, which he said was “going out of their way to build it up” and “ought to apologize.”
  5. CNN’s Jim Acosta then sought to ask a question of Trump given that his outlet had been attacked. Trump lashed out at Acosta’s “terrible” news outlet and refused to let him ask a question, declaring, “You are fake news!”
  6. The assembled press responded to Trump’s attack on Acosta by doing nothing.
  7. A few minutes later, Trump turned to Matt Boyle of Breitbart.com, letting Boyle ask a question. Breitbart’s executive chairman is top Trump aide Stephen Bannon, who has bragged about turning the website into the “platform” for the so-called “alt-right,” a noxious collection of white nationalists, nativists, and misogynists.
  8. Boyle, who has provided Trump with sycophantic coverage for years and is effectively an agent of Trump’s house news organ, was the only journalist provided with a reserved seat at the presser.
  9. Boyle had this question for Trump: “This decision to publish fake news and all the problems that we’ve seen throughout the media over the course of the election, what reforms do you recommend for this industry here?”
  10. Trump responded that he didn’t support “reforms,” just reporters who have “some moral compass,” before again saying that some of the reporters sitting in front of him work for “fake news” outlets.
  11. The press conference reportedly ended with Acosta being heckled by Omarosa.
  12. Trump “filled the room with paid staffers who clapped and cheered as he blasted members of the media as purveyors of ‘fake news,’” as Politico reported.
  13. After the press conference, Acosta reported that Spicer had warned him that if he didn’t stop trying to ask Trump questions, he would be “thrown out of this press conference.”
  14. CNN responded to Trump’s attacks on the network by rushing to declare that it hadn’t done anything wrong, and that it was BuzzFeed that rightfully deserved Trump’s wrath. It is telling that when the network came under fire, its executives and journalists sought not just to defend themselves, but to point Trump toward a more palatable target.
  15. The Washington Post reported that Trump had a “decent press conference” in which, “remarkably, he offered kind words for news organizations.” (The Post’s headline was later changed, replacing “decent” with “aggressive.”)
  16. Politico’s influential Playbook reported, “Journalists didn’t like his attacks on them, but for most people who watched Trump yesterday, it was a pretty good performance.”
  17. Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) tweeted that Acosta “should be fired & prohibited from any press briefings” because he was “disrespectful to Trump.”

Trump will be sworn in as president in eight days. Things can still get much, much worse.

IMAGE: Media Matters

In one night, the GOP voted to take away these 6 essential health benefits

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, flanked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Barrasso CREDIT: AP Photo/Cliff Owen

THINK PROGRESS

Last night while you were sleeping, the Senate debated and ultimately passed a budget resolution that provides a pathway for Republicans to strip health care coverage away from 30 million Americans without having a single Democratic vote.

As the Senate debated the resolution that provides a blueprint to repeal the Affordable Care Act, both Republicans and Democrats had the opportunity to offer a flurry of rapid-fire amendments in a process known as “vote-a-rama.” While these votes are non-binding, the exercise provides an opportunity for senators to show where their colleagues stand on a number of key issues. And the results are not pretty.

Senate Republicans took several votes that showed they are not on your side. Last night, Republicans voted against amendments that would:

1. Protect people with pre-existing conditions

Republicans blocked an amendment that would have made it harder to take away coverage from Americans with preexisting medical conditions. 52 million people — about 1 in 4 non-elderly Americans — have preexisting conditions. These Americans are more likely to face significant health costs, and before the Affordable Care Act, were often denied coverage entirely. The amendment also would have protected coverage for people disabilities or chronic health conditions, and prevent plans from discriminating based on health. Republicans currently have no alternative plan to insure people with preexisting conditions. Only two Republicans — Maine’s Susan Collins and Nevada’s Dean Heller — voted for the amendment.

2. Let young adults stay on their parents’ plan

Republicans blocked an amendment by Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin that would have made it easier young people to stay on their parents’ health care plan until they are 26 — one of the most popular and effective provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Over 6 million young adults have gained health insurance since the law was implemented in 2010, and young Americans now report better physical and mental health. The provision is also overwhelmingly popular — 85 percent favor keeping young people on their parents’ insurance plans. Sens. Heller and Collins were the only two senators who bucked their party on this vote.

3. Maintain access to contraceptive coverage

Thanks to Obamacare, birth control is more affordable than ever. Spending on contraceptive health care has gone down by 20 percent since the Affordable Care Act took effect. An amendment by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sought to continue this momentum. Unsurprisingly, Republicans blocked the provision 49–49. Sens. Collins and Heller both voted with Democrats.

4. Ensure Medicaid expansion stays in place

Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act benefited 11 million low-income Americans in 2015 alone and has created thousands of jobs for direct care workers. An amendment by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) would have sought to continue Medicaid expansion, but it was blocked by Republicans — 48–50.

5. Protect children on Medicaid or CHIP

Republicans blocked an amendment offered by Senator Brown (D-OH) that would ensure children could keep their health coverage on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), both of which provide comprehensive health care services for children including key preventive and developmental care.

6. Protect veterans’ health care

Republicans blocked an amendment by Sen. Tester (D-MT) that would have made it harder to restrict veterans’ ability to access VA health care. While Democrats have sought to provide better funding and health care access at the VA, Donald Trump has proposed eliminating the agency altogether through privatization. A poll in 2015 found that almost two-thirds of survey respondents oppose plans to replace VA health care with a voucher system, an idea backed by many Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates.


Republicans say they want to replace Obamacare with something better. But in just one night’s votes, they indicated that they are not willing to take a stand to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions, women, children, veterans, young adults, people with disabilities, and struggling families can continue to access the affordable coverage they need going forward.

Melissa Boteach and Jeremy Slevin

Melissa Boteach is the Vice President of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), and Jeremy Slevin is the Associate Director of Advocacy for the same program. ThinkProgress is an editorially independent site housed at CAPAF.

Will Obama’s Offshore Drilling Ban Be Trumped?

Will Obama’s Offshore Drilling Ban Be Trumped?

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China September 5, 2016 | REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

THE NATIONAL MEMO

President Obama gave environmental advocates a Christmas present when he announced in late December that he was banning oil and gas drilling in huge swaths of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. This action “indefinitely” protects almost 120 million acres of ecologically important and highly sensitive marine environments from the risks of oil spills and other industrial impacts.

President Obama acted boldly to conserve important ecological resources and solidify his environmental legacy. But by making creative use of an obscure provision of a 1953 law, Obama ignited a legal and political firestorm.

Republicans and oil industry trade groups are threatening to challenge the ban in court or through legislation. They also contend that the Trump administration can act directly to reverse it. But a close reading of the law suggests that it could be difficult to undo Obama’s sweeping act.

The power to withdraw

Congress passed the law now known as the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act in 1953 to assert federal control over submerged lands that lie more then three miles offshore, beyond state coastal waters. Section 12(a) of the law authorizes the president to “withdraw from disposition any of the unleased lands of the outer Continental Shelf.”

Starting in 1960 with the Eisenhower administration, six presidents from both parties have used this power. Most withdrawals were time-limited, but some were long-term. For example, in 1990 President George H. W. Bush permanently banned oil and gas development in California’s Monterey Bay, which later became a national marine sanctuary.

Kelp forests in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary support many marine species. Chad King, NOAA/Flickr

President Obama used section 12(a) in 2014 to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay, one of the most productive wild salmon fisheries in the world. In 2015 he took the same step for approximately 9.8 million acres in the biologically rich Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

Obama’s latest action bars energy production in 115 million more acres of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas – an area known as the “Arctic Ring of Life” because of its importance to Inupiat Peoples who have lived there for millennia. The order also withdraws 3.8 million acres off the Atlantic Coast from Norfolk, Virginia to Canada, including several unique and largely unexplored coral canyons.

Why Obama acted

In a Presidential Memorandum on the Arctic withdrawals, Obama provided three reasons for his action. First, he asserted, these areas have irreplaceable value for marine mammals, other wildlife, wildlife habitat, scientific research and Alaska Native subsistence use. Second, they are extremely vulnerable to oil spills. Finally, drilling for oil and responding to spills in Arctic waters poses unique logistical, operational, safety and scientific challenges.

In ordering the Atlantic withdrawals, Obama cited his responsibility to “ensure that the unique resources associated with these canyons remain available for future generations.”

Market forces support Obama’s action. Royal Dutch Shell stopped drilling in the Chukchi Sea in 2015 after spending US$7 billion and drilling in what proved to be a dry hole. Since 2008 the Interior Department has canceled or withdrawn a number of sales in Alaskan waters due to low demand. Shell, ConocoPhillips, Statoil, Chevron, BP and Exxon have all to some degree abandoned offshore Arctic drilling.

The Beaufort and Chukchi seas are zones of the Arctic Ocean off the coast of northern Alaska. Mohonu/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

Low oil prices coupled with high drilling costs make business success in the region a risky prospect. Lloyd’s of London forecast this scenario in a 2012 report that called offshore drilling in the Arctic “a unique and hard-to-manage risk.”

What happens next?

Critics of President Obama’s action, including the state of Alaska and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, say they may challenge Obama’s order in court, in hopes that the Trump administration will opt not to defend it. But environmental groups, which hailed Obama’s action, will seek to intervene in any such lawsuit.

Moreover, to demonstrate that they have standing to sue, plaintiffs would have to show that they have suffered or face imminent injury; that this harm was caused by Obama’s action; and that it can be redressed by the court. Market conditions will make this very difficult.

The Energy Information Administration currently projects that crude oil prices, which averaged about $43 per barrel through 2016, will rise to only about $52 per barrel in 2017. Whether these areas will ever be commercially viable is an open question, especially since rapid changes are taking place in the electricity and transportation sectors, and other coastal areas are open for leasing in Alaska’s near-shore waters and the Gulf of Mexico.

 

The Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig Kulluk broke loose and ran aground near Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska as it was being towed to Seattle for winter maintenance in December 2012. This Coast Guard overflight video shows the harsh conditions along Alaska’s coast in winter.

Alternatively, Donald Trump could issue his own memorandum in office seeking to cancel Obama’s. However, section 12(a) does not provide any authority for presidents to revoke actions by their predecessors. It delegates authority to presidents to withdraw land unconditionally. Once they take this step, only Congress can undo it.

This issue has never been litigated. Opponents can be expected to argue that Obama’s use of section 12(a) in this manner is unconstitutional because it violates the so-called “nondelegation doctrine,” which basically holds that Congress cannot delegate legislative functions to the executive branch without articulating some “intelligible principles.”

However, one could argue that Obama’s action was based on an articulation of intelligible principles gleaned from the stated policies of the OCSLA, which recognizes that the “the outer Continental Shelf is a vital national resource reserve held by the Federal Government for the public.” The law expressly recognizes both the energy and environmental values of the OCS. Thus President Obama’s decision reflects a considered judgment that the national interest is best served by protecting the unique natural resources of these areas, while at the same time weaning the nation from its dangerous dependence on fossil fuels.

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012 after signing an agreement with Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft. The companies’ joint venture to develop energy resources in Russia’s Arctic waters has been blocked by U.S. sanctions on Russia since 2014. AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service

The section 12(a) authority is similar in some respects to the authority granted by the Antiquities Act, which authorizes the president to “reserve parcels of land as a part of [a] national monument.” Like the OCSLA, the Antiquities Act does not authorize subsequent presidents to undo the designations of their predecessors. Obama has also used this power extensively – most recently, last week when he designated two new national monuments in Utah and Nevada totaling 1.65 million acres.

Some laws do include language that allows such actions to be revoked. Examples include the Forest Service Organic Administration Act, under which most national forests were established, and the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which sets out policies for managing multiple-use public lands. The fact that Congress chose not to include revocation language in the OCSLA indicates that it did not intend to provide such power.

What can the new Congress do?

Under Article IV of the Constitution, Congress has plenary authority to dispose of federal property as it sees fit. This would include the authority to open these areas to leasing for energy development. Members of Alaska’s congressional delegation are considering introducing legislation to override Obama’s drilling ban. But Democrats could filibuster to block any such move, and Republicans – who will hold a 52-48 margin in the Senate – would need 60 votes to stop them.

On the other hand, Congress may be content to let President-elect Trump make the first move and see how it goes in court. If Trump attempts to reverse the withdrawal, environmental groups contesting his decision would face some of the same obstacles as an industry challenge to Obama’s action. It could be especially challenging for environmental groups to show that the claim is “ripe” for judicial review, at least until a post-Obama administration acts to actually open up these areas for leasing. That may not occur for some time, given the weak market for the oil in these regions.

In the meantime, this decision is a fitting capstone for a president who has done everything within his power to confront the existential threat of climate change and rationally move the nation and the world onto a safer and more sustainable path.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Is McConnell facing a mutiny in the lame duck? Over Russia?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and the Senate GOP leadership,listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 23, 2013, following a Republican strategy session. At left is Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Why? Because I said so dammit! | attribution: AP

DAILY KOS

This lame duck could be getting interesting in a hurry, and maybe not setting up to be not much to Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s liking. Lindsey Graham and John McCain have both already come out demanding a Select Committee on cyber terrorism, and have been joined by Democratic incoming Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and RI Democrat Jack Reed. This is not what McConnell wants, he wants an already existing Senate committee, already under his thumb to investigate the Russian hacking to sweep it under the rug. It will be harder for him to keep control of a Select committee.

But there is now more pressure on McConnell to start just such a committee, if not an independent “9-11” style commission. Politico is reporting that Republican Senator Corey Gardner from Colorado announced that he will introduce legislation for a Senate Select committee to investigate the Russian election hacking as well has other cyber hacking threats to the U.S. by North Korea and Iran.

Corey Gardner is the critical cog here. Right now the GOP controls the Senate 52-48, it would take three GOP Senators flipping their votes to get the bill passed. If the Democrats are unified about this, then if Graham and McCain are resolute, and you toss Gardner’s “yes” vote in there, the bill will pass.

This is quite a step as Corey Gardner is very close to McConnell. As Polico reports it;

Gardner, who is close with McConnell, took pains to cast his proposal as far broader than the Russian hacking of U.S. election officials. His hope is to introduce the bill with bipartisan cosponsors early next year.

“From North Korea’s hack of Sony Pictures to Iran’s attack on a New York dam, it’s evident that we are facing a growing cybersecurity challenge. The nature and complexity of recent cyber-attacks require a whole of government approach to cyberspace and the development of federal policy to mitigate the threat and protect everything from personal information to the security of our critical infrastructure,” Gardner said in a statement.

This is an early test for McConnell. Other GOP Senators have been making noises about backing a Select committee, without actually proposing anything. If he loses on this Select committee, it could be read as an early indication that there are at least some GOP Senators out there who are not quite ready to just roll over and play dead for the Trump agenda. It could also come as a warning shot to Trump and McConnell that some of Trump’s cabinet picks who may have somewhat less than smooth sailings through the nomination process. Keep an eye out on how this comes out, it could be an early indicator of just how radical the Senate is preparing to go.

By Murfster35

Democrats Need To Rebrand Their Economic Message

Democrats Need To Rebrand Their Economic Message

Chuck Schumer (D)

WASHINGTON — A brawl is about to break out among Democrats on Capitol Hill, and when it’s done, Democrats will say they’re going to be OK. They’re wrong.

They’ll return next year to face one of the biggest Republican majorities in the House of Representatives since the 1920s. They’ll have 48 out of the 100 Senate seats, but they have to defend 25 of those seats in two years. They lost the White House in a year when they were strongly favored to win.

And they still face a daunting challenge crafting, let alone communicating, an economic message. It’s widely agreed that the party was unable to find a vigorous, meaningful way of telling working-class voters it understood their concerns.

Those voters “see the party as wanting to advance everyone but them,” said Will Marshall, the president of the Progressive Policy Institute, a centrist group with Democratic leanings.

“We celebrate every time a barrier falls, but what Trump voters hear is ‘Nobody cares about me.’ You have to talk to these voters in a more emphatic way.”

Part of that strategy means getting away from a big-spending, liberal image. “A more centrist perspective is going to position them better,” said James Pfiffner, Virginia-based author of a dozen books on American government and politics.

That’s not what you’re going to hear starting Tuesday, as Congress returns to write a federal budget and House Democrats vote on whether to retain Nancy Pelosi as their leader or turn to Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio.

Republicans will have at least 238 seats in the House next year, while Democrats should have 194, a net gain of six seats. Three races are undecided, and all lean Republican.

Ryan’s challenge to Pelosi is the first time since she became the top House Democrat 14 years ago that she’s faced opposition.

Ryan reflects concern that the party’s dismal showing in the congressional and presidential elections is a loud, stark reminder it’s not bold or inclusive enough.

Ryan, said Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., “wants more voices in the conversation so that we can work together to craft our message and forge a winning strategy.”

That makes sense to many liberals, who cheered Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and his Democratic presidential campaign pledges to shake up the political system.

“The Democratic Party needs to project that we’ll really challenge power and the system, and not just have good policies within the system,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal activist group that’s not endorsing anyone.

Democrats have to remember, he said, “the main thing people are looking for is backbone in the Democratic Party.”

Pelosi, a wily political survivor, is seen as winning easily with accolades from unions and liberals.

Once that vote, scheduled for Wednesday, is done, Democrats will be talking big.

“Democrats don’t have a debate about seniors, diversity or women’s issues,” said Rep. Ann Kuster, D-N.H., who represents a swing district. While Democrats are unified over the role of government, “Republicans are about to go to war over deficits versus tax cuts,” she said.

“We’re not on life support. The party could be stronger, but it’s still strong,” said Dan Glickman, a former Wichita, Kan.-area congressman and secretary of agriculture in the Clinton administration.

Democrats offer several ways their congressional positions are solid:

—Popular vote. “We won the most votes,” said Bob Mulholland, a veteran California Democratic strategist. Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has 47.9 percent of the vote to President-elect Donald Trump’s 46.7 percent. His popular vote is the lowest for a White House winner since Bill Clinton 24 years ago.

—Demographics. Democrats running in House races won 67 percent of the Latino vote, 89 percent of the African-American vote and 56 percent of voters under 30, according to network exit polls. The Latino and young-voter percentages were up slightly from 2014, while the African-American number was about the same.

—History. Republicans won control of the House two years after Clinton won his first term. Democrats won control six years after George W. Bush won his first term, and Republicans regained control two years after Barack Obama’s 2008 victory. The GOP had a net gain of 64 House seats in 2010.

—Opposition. The party out of power doesn’t get the blame for governing if things go awry. Republicans have prospered from attacking President Obama’s economic and health care agendas. Now Democrats are in a position to be the critics and rail against the new president. They already are.

“He talked about being a populist. He talked about taking on special interests,” said Sanders. “Yet the initial indications that we are seeing is that not much of what he talked about … has much to do with where he is today.”

But the old problem remains: Democrats aren’t convincing enough working-class people that the party’s on their side.

“We needed to let the American people know what we believe,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democrats’ new leader in the Senate.

He cites the example of student debt as a missed opportunity. Sanders got overwhelming support from under-35 Democrats as he argued to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. Clinton and most congressional candidates argued for a modified version.

That confused people, perhaps contributing to the poorer Democratic showing among younger voters, he suggested.

The biggest danger for congressional Democrats is that Trump is successful and fashions a new Republican era, much as Ronald Reagan did through most of the 1980s.

“If his policy falters, they may regain seats in the midterms,” Robert Borosage, the president of the liberal Institute for America’s Future, said of the Democrats. “Yet they can win battles and still lose the war.”

Trump proposes stripping citizenship from political protesters

CREDIT: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

THINK PROGRESS

This is how autocracy happens.

Its a scene that is likely to prove quite familiar during a Trump presidency, Americans woke up Tuesday to discover that the incoming president took to Twitter to expose his ignorance of or disregard for the Constitution.

Criminalizing flag burning is unconstitutional, at least when the flag is burned as a political statement. As the Supreme Court explained in Texas v. Johnson, “if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” Moreover, there is no indication “either in the text of the Constitution or in our cases interpreting it . . . that a separate juridical category exists for the American flag alone.” If someone chooses to express a political message through flag burning, even if that message is contempt towards the United States, the Constitution protects that speech.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who Trump has held up as a model for his Supreme Court nominee, was in the majority in Johnson.

But even setting aside Trump’s unconstitutional call to criminalize flag burning, which became a staple of American conservative politics long before Trump emerged as a presidential candidate, Trump is calling for something even more extraordinary. He wants to strip citizenship — and with it, voting rights — from political dissidents. Federal law does permit Americans to lose their citizenship after “committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States,” but flag burning is a far cry from treason or armed rebellion. It is a political statement, and democracy depends on the free expression of political ideas.

The president-elect of the United States has proposed stripping a political protester’s very status as an American. In the process, he would take away that person’s ability to vote — and thus to vote for someone other than Donald Trump. Today, Trump proposes this consequence for a very specific category of speech that most Americans view as odious. But once a person’s voting rights can be made contingent upon their beliefs, or their silence, then elections become increasingly meaningless.

 

6 Despicable Things President-Elect Trump Has Done This Week

6 Despicable Things President-Elect Trump Has Done This Week

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump yells to members of the media from the steps of the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

THE NATIONAL MEMO

It has been one of the longest weeks in human history and the Trump presidency has not even begun yet. Any notion that reasonable, well-intentioned people should give him a chance—hey, maybe he was just kidding about all that hateful, bigotedstuff he spewed on the campaign trail—was immediately dispelled. One of his first official acts was to name the anti-Semitic mastermind of the racist “alt-right,” fake news website Breitbart, Steve Bannon, to chief propagandist and horse’s ass whisperer. The president-elect dodged the media, regained control of his Twitter account and proceeded to confirm all of our worst fears about him.

If it was not already clear, Trump plans to surround himself with sycophantic yes-men who share his racist views and will just as gleefully set about laying waste to civil liberties and justice as he will. Also, his unelected children will be playing major roles in the new White House, it appears, while also running his businesses.

“We won,” he and his team have told anyone who disagrees with them. They have every plan to claim all the spoils. Here is a partial list of the both the horrors and the mere affronts to decency Trump has visited upon us this week.

1. He tapped Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General.

Early loyalist Sessions has been rewarded for being one of the earliest lap dogs for Trump with one of the most powerful positions in the country, Attorney General. The two men share a deep love of racist policing, hatred of civil rights and desire to roll the clock back to approximately the 1950s. That would place us well before the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, Roe v. Wade and nationwide legalization of gay marriage. Sessions would also be perfectly positioned to undo some of the gains made during the Obama Administration to reverse the worst effects of the 1994 Omnibus Crime bill that rained mass incarceration down on vast portions of the black and Latino populations. The two share a hatred and demonization of marijuana. Sessions once hilariously joked that he liked the KKK until he heard they smoked weed. Another piece of common ground: they both hate immigrants, with Sessions saying in 2006 that no one from the Dominican Republic has anything of value to contribute to the United States.

Alabama Senator Sessions was deemed too openly racist to be a federal judge by Senate Republicans in 1986 after President Ronald Reagan nominated the then United States attorney from Alabama. Former colleagues gave devastating testimony about Sessions’ blatant racism. But Senate Republicans are not what they used to be.

There’s no evidence that the years have dimmed Sessions’ racist views, which are apparently right in line with his new boss man. On Friday, Sessions praised Trump’s demand for the death penalty for the Central Park Five in 1989. He said it shows that Trump has always been a “law and order” guy. The teenagers Trump demanded death for were fully exonerated by DNA evidence and shown to have been victims of police railroading. Despite all this inconvenient truth, Trump has continued to stand by his earlier bloodlust, and now the nation’s likely top prosecutor has praised him for it.

That is some very twisted law and order.

2. His surrogate floated the Muslim registry idea and justified it by citing one of the most shameful pieces of American history.

One of the more terrifying campaign ideas Trump floated was the idea of a registry for Muslims in this country. Undaunted by the very real comparison between this and the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany, the president-elect has made it clear that this awful breach of human rights, and act of outright religious persecution, is still very much a possibility.

A prominent Trump backer and spokesman for a major super PAC that backed him by the name of Carl Higbie laid out the legal justification for this atrocity on Wednesday to a horrified Megyn Kelly. His argument was that the mass internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was a “precedent” for Trump’s planned Muslim registry. Since it has a “precedent,” a kind of legalistic term that Higbie was just using to mean something like this happened before, the Muslim registry would therefore “hold constitutional muster,” Higbie argued.

Kelly tried in various ways to express her utter shock and dismay that Japanese internment camps were being used as some sort of positive example of how the United States should behave today.

Higbie may just be a Trump-loving supporter with no official role, but word is that the Muslim registry is definitely being considered. A day earlier, an actual member of Trump’s transition team, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, said Trump’s advisers were discussing whether to send him a formal proposal for a national registry of immigrants and visitors from Muslim countries. It’s happening.

Kobach, whose other claim to fame is crafting a law making it legal for police to profile Latinos, was said to be in line for the Attorney General position. Now he’ll have to wait for another plum position, like czar of immigration.

3. He tapped insanely Islamophobic retired General Michael Flynn for top national security post.

There is every indication that Trump has great respect for fellow hotheads, as long as they are sufficiently sycophantic and Islamophobic. Retired General Michael Flynn, Trump’s truly frightening pick for national security adviser, fits the bill perfectly.

Flynn served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was later tapped to lead the Defense Intelligence Agency. Obama subsequently fired him. It is unclear at what point he became the virulent Islamophobe with a shaky grasp on the truth, but that is who he is today. Ever since, he has been sounding the amped-up alarm about the threat posed by extremist Islamic groups and blaming Obama for “coddling” them to anyone who will listen. And Trump very obviously listens to him and in fact wants to keep on listening to him.

What President Trump will likely hear from Flynn are variants on his recent tweet, “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” He has also said in interviews that he considers Islam—yes, the whole religion—a cancer that has metastasized. Another thing Flynn likes to say is: “Lock her up,” referring to Hillary Clinton.

4. He invited his daughter to a meeting with the Japanese prime minister.

Way before his election, Trump had shattered every norm of someone aspiring to public office, using campaign press conferences to promote his hotels, refusing to release his tax returns, and ignoring the usual rules regarding conflicts of interest. Surprise, as president-elect, he’s still writing his own rules as he goes. Early in the week, he was said to be requesting security clearance for his kids and son-in-law.

He has promised to place his business holdings in a “blind trust” while he is president, and of course he always keeps his promises. The “blind trust” would also be run by his kids, so not really blind at all. Plus, his kids are part of the government now! They are part of the transition team!

As the week wore on, after confusing the hell out of the Japanese prime minister about when and where they would meet, Trump invited daughter Ivanka to attend. So far no word if she will be selling any of the items she wore to the meeting online.

5. He took credit for the fact that a Ford factory is not moving to Mexico when it was never going to move to Mexico.

On Thursday, the president-elect tweeted that he got a phone call “from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky—no Mexico.”

He tweeted this because had he sent a press release, the mainstream media just might have (no guarantees, but might have) looked into it and found out that Ford was never going to close the factory in question. To get even more granular, the company had considered moving one production line to Mexico, but the move would not have cost any Americans their jobs, and then it decided not to. Details, details.

But that did not prevent Trump from taking credit for it and calling it a win for him. And it did not prevent various fake newsoutlets from agreeing and perpetuating his false claim. And now he’ll say it a bunch more times, and the fake news outlets will say it a bunch more times and then it will become true.

That’s the way things work in the post-truth world.

6. He demanded an apology from the “Hamilton” cast.

On Friday night, our virulently homophobic VP-elect Mike Pence went to see the smash hit Broadway musical “Hamilton.” There, in addition to being entertained, he was also booed. At the end of the show, cast member Brandon Victor Dixon delivered the message to Pence that many Americans are truly afraid and worried that the new “administration will not protect us, defend us and uphold our inalienable rights.”

This rather mild, and completely true statement—millions of Americans really are worried!—was termed “harassment” by our new commander-in-chief in waiting on Twitter the next day. It was so rude, Trump said, and demanded an apology.

Without a trace of the bitter irony that surrounds us every day, Trump invoked the notion of a “safe space” in his tweets about the incident. “The theater must always be a safe and special place,” he said.

Let the boos continue to rain down upon both of these deplorable men and their cast of horribles, forever.

The growing smear campaign against Keith Ellison

CREDIT: AP Photo/Molly Riley

THINK PROGRESS

Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress , and now he’s being painted as a ‘radical’ with ‘ties to the Nation of Islam.’

With the Democrats in disarray following President-Elect Donald Trump’s surprise victory, the horse-race for the next Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair is tense, messy, and potentially crowded. Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison is one of the favorites — and conservatives are already trying to tear him down with false equivalencies and smear tactics.

One common thread to the complaints: Ellison’s religion. Ellison is the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, as well as the first Black congressman from Minnesota.

This tactic is hardly new. When Ellison was first seeking national office, Minnesota Republicans used his faith to attack him, alleging ties to the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan. Blatant Islamophobia erupted when, because he is Muslim, he requested to be sworn in on the Quran instead of the Bible.

At the time, Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode (R), who endorsed Trump in 2015, wrote a letter to his constituents claiming that “if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Quran.” (Goode endorsed Trump for President in Breitbart last year).

Ellison ultimately used a Quran owned by Thomas Jefferson. President Obama cited his swearing in an example of America’s religious tolerance in a 2009 speech in Cairo.

When the controversy first erupted in 2006, Ellison denied that he was ever a member of the Nation of Islam. He clarified that, while he had never joined the group, he had organized a Minnesota delegation to the 1995 Million Man March, at which the Nation’s leader Farrakhan spoke.

Ellison also apologized at the time for some positive articles he had written as a student in the late 1980s about Farrakhan, saying he hadn’t “adequately scrutinized the positions” of the movement’s leaders. He said then that he believed “they were and are anti-Semitic.”

Now, the same allegations are being floated on the right as a pre-emptive argument against his bid for DNC chair.

TruthRevolt, a conservative site founded by former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro and David Horowitz, branded Ellison a “Muslim Brotherhood Shill” and a “radical.” On Fox News, pundit Pete Hegseth called Ellison a “radical congressman.”

Fox News also published an article which painstakingly lays out the allegations against Ellison, titled “Who is Keith Ellison? Left-wing congressman with past ties to Nation of Islam wants DNC job.”

And in Commentary Magazine, Ellison was described as an example of the left’s “embrace of radicalism,” part of the democrats “big bet on fanaticism,” and “a former disciple of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.”

“Though he had since denounced Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism, Ellison has kept the torch of antipathy for Israel burning,” Noah Rothman writes.

In another article in Commentary, Editor John Podhoretz positions Ellison as the balance to Steve Bannon, Trump’s new Chief Strategist. Bannon was formerly the head of Breitbart and turned it into a “the platform the the alt-right.”

In the article, Podhoretz details some of the objections against Bannon, most notably his association with anti-Semitism.

“With Bannon in a senior role at the White House and the possible appointment of the radical congressman Keith Ellison as head of the Democratic National Committee, we could be seeing our political system devolving to its extremes,” he writes.

Ellison has been a Congressman from Minnesota since 2007, and is the co-chair of House’s progressive caucus. In his official bio, he says his priorities in Congress are “ building prosperity for working families, promoting peace, pursuing environmental sustainability, and advancing civil and human rights.”

In his official announcement on Monday, Ellison staked his case for DNC chair on advocacy for the working class:

“Democrats win when we harness the power of everyday people and fight for the issues they care about. It is not enough for Democrats to ask for voters’ support every two years. We must be with them through every lost paycheck, every tuition hike, and every time they are the victim of a hate crime. When voters know what Democrats stand for, we can improve the lives of all Americans.”

Ellison has been endorsed by outgoing Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV), incoming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Children are already being harassed in the name of our president-elect

THINK PROGRESS

Graffiti with the words “go back to Africa” and “Trump train” shows the effect of Trump’s rhetoric on schools.

Credit: Twitter

In the days following the election, students are already invoking the name of our president-elect while they spread white supremacist messages.

During lunch at Royal Oak Middle School in Royal Oak, Michigan, a group of students chanted “Build the wall! Build the wall!”

The superintendent said the school is addressing the issue.

“We are working with our students to help them understand the impact of their words and actions on others in their school community,” Royal Oak Schools superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin said in a statement to The Detroit News.

Shaun King, senior justice reporter for the Daily News said parents have reached out to him about incidents at York County Technical High School in York, Pennsylvania and tweeted a short video of white students chanting “white power” while holding a Trump sign.

There have also been incidents of racist graffiti invoking Trump. At Maple Grove Senior High School in Minnesota, someone left graffiti with the messages “go back to Africa” and “whites only” as well as “Trump train” and “make America great again.”

Barbara Olson, the Osseo Area Schools Community Relations Director, told KARE 11 that the school is investigating the incident to find out who is responsible for the graffiti and promised “swift” action.

“This incident is additional evidence of the pressing need in our schools, our community and our nation to find ways to talk about race constructively and respectfully,” Olson told the television station.

Of course, Trump’s Islamophobic, xenophobic, and racist rhetoric throughout the campaign already had a corrosive effect on students’ speech prior to his election win, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center and Teaching Tolerance report.

The survey, which solicited 5,000 comments from K-12 educators, found that more than one-third of the respondents said they saw a rise in anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant sentiment. At least 1,000 comments referred to Trump as a factor for why Islamophobic and racist rhetoric made its way into class discussion. SPLC notes that it was an unscientific survey of teachers may subscribe to their releases and are more likely to be concerned about these issues.

This behavior extends to teachers as well. A teacher in Arizona, Faye Myles, was the subject of an ACLU complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education after they allegedly singled out a Muslim refugee student. Myles said that she couldn’t wait for a Trump administration so that the student could get deported. The teacher also allegedly went as far as to say the student would become a terrorist.

Hillary Clinton Is Poised To Win In Florida

Image result for photo of lawrence o'donnell

GRONDA MORIN

(Yes our own Gronda!)

Last night (11/1/16), I was watching the MSNBC TV show, “The Last Word,” hosted by Lawrence O’Donnell.

During the show, it was shared that Moody Analytics, which has always accurately predicted presidential elections outcomes, has Hillary Clinton becoming the U.S. Madam President by 332 electoral votes on November 8.

There was also a guest, Tom Bornier of TargetSmart and William & Mary College, who is stating, that based on the pattern of Florida’s early voting, his company is forecasting that Hillary Clinton will win Florida on November 8 by 8 points.

clinton-good-face-shot-with-friends-and-foes-lead_960

Newsmax published what was said on “The Last Word” on 11/1/16 and here is what the report is claiming:

Here are the results:

Clinton 48 percent.

Trump 40 percent.

“Other polls have shown a tighter race, with election-watchers, including Fox News, moving Florida from leans Democrat to toss-up in recent days.”

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“But TargetSmart’s Tom Bonier told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Tuesday night his firm’s methodology is more accurate because his pollsters call a random sample of the actual 3.6 million voters who already have cast early ballots and ask them how they cast their ballots, as well as obtain demographic data about them.”

“We can construct a sample that’s perfectly representative of the people who’ve voted so far,” Bonier said.”

“Much of Clinton’s rise in support comes from registered Republicans who abandoned the party’s nominee Donald Trump, according to the poll.”

“Clinton has won 28 percent of registered Republicans, while Trump has been able to pick up only 6 percent or registered Democrats, he said.”

“Clinton’s 8 percent lead is a combination of early voters and those who identify as likely voters, but when counting only those who have already cast votes in person or by mail, Clinton leads 17 points, 55-38 percent.”

“Trump’s former rival for the GOP nomination, Sen. Marco Rubio, however is leading Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, according to the poll:

Rubio: 49 percent.

Murphy: 43 percent.

“Full results of the poll are to be released Wednesday. No margin of error is calculated because the poll used a combined internet/phone survey method.”

clinton win map new

 

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