Monthly Archives: December 2016

Richard Trumka’s warning for the new year

“…When democratic capitalism is managed in ways that fail to provide good jobs, working people will turn in desperation toward authoritarian solutions. This is the great lesson of the 20th century, and we face the threat once again today. In industrialized countries all over the world, working people have come to believe that the institutions of liberal democracy have failed to protect them against the ravages of globalization. The leaders who exploit those very real anxieties are interested in power, not helping working people.”

in Richard Trumka, “Don’t Let Trump Speak for Workers,” op ed in the New York Times, 12/27/16.

Democratic capitalism or authoritarianism… the AFL-CIO leader is right to lay out the stark choice. It is what Europe faced after the upheavals of World War I, and Europe did not respond well. Our country can do better today, but we must always pay attention to the lessons of  history… and the lessons of literature. Anyone who needs more clarity could never do better that to reread George Orwell’s Animal Farm or 1984.

Not so fast, Trump Foundation!

After planning to shut down his private charity (primarily financed by other people) after the revelation that foundation money was spent illegally, Trump probably thought he was making a good deal, trading his foundation for silence. But:

“Donald Trump cannot move ahead with his plan to dismantle his charitable foundation because state prosecutors are probing whether the president-elect personally benefited from its spending, the New York attorney general’s office said Tuesday” (Fox News, 12/27/16).

NY State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman continues to investigate wrongdoing by the foundation.

Rev. Barber on the Trumpet effect

…many of those voters—not all, but many—followed Trump because he was willing to trumpet their fury and affirm their sense, deeply rooted in this nation’s history of race and class, that a new world had conspired against their interests. Trump offered no answers to their fears. He merely said, “You are right to be afraid and very afraid. Obama is the bogeyman of coming diversity that will undo the world you grew up knowing, and I alone can save you.”

–Rev. William Barber, ” We are witnessing the birth pangs of a Third Reconstruction,” ThinkProgress, 12/15/16

An American Tragedy

At first, Democrats and Clinton supporters were so stunned that most were silent, probably taking a few days to see how the wind was blowing and whether Trump would start appearing to be a normal political persona. By November 11, outgoing Senator Harry Reid was hardly at a loss for words; see his full no-holds-barred statement, soon to disappear from the Senate site, here.

But no one summed up the disaster of November 8 as thoroughly and swiftly as David Remnick in “An American Tragedy,” The New Yorker, November 9, 2016. The predicted tumbling of markets has not yet happened as of the end of December, and good economic news continues its 8-year trend; we’ll see if that continues after January 20. The rest of what Remnick says is unmistakably on target, especially the right-on characterization, never to be thrown off: “Trump is vulgarity unbounded.”

The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.

There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other….

read more at The New Yorker

More on Trump and Putin

“Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance.”

from a report by a former US intelligence officer in “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump,” Mother Jones, Oct. 31, 2016. Worth reading in full, even 2 months later, as it could be part of the building “high crimes and misdemeanors” case.

Donald Trump raises specter of treason

\John Shattuck, who among other career accomplishments was assistant secretary of state and ambassador to the Czech Republic under Clinton), let the T-word out of the bag in”Donald Trump raises specter of treason,” Boston Globe, 12/16/16, beginning:

“A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump. He has brought it on himself by dismissing a bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a “ridiculous” political attack on the legitimacy of his election as president.

“Seventeen US national intelligence agencies have unanimously concluded that Russia engaged in cyberwarfare against the US presidential campaign. The lead agency, the CIA, has reached the further conclusion that Russia’s hacking was intended to influence the election in favor of Trump….”

Shattuck goes on to envisage why Trump has been denying the reality of Russian hacking:

1) To look good before the Electoral College vote.

2) To discredit US intelligence so he can impose his own “product.”

3) To go directly to the public in pushing his own narratives.

4) To cover up his and/or his campaign’s own knowledge or involvement in the advantageous (to him) hacking.

From our perspective today, it wasn’t #1, because his attitude hasn’t changed since the Electoral College met in each state. The other three explanations seem to hold together: #2 facilitates #3 (which he has been doing for a long time), and those two allow him to try to pull off #4. Of course, #4 will fail: no cat that big will stay in the bag.