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TBR News November 10, 2016

Nov 10 2016

A Compendium of Various Official Lies, Business Scandals, Small Murders, Frauds, and Other Gross Defects of Our Current Political, Business and Religious Moral Lepers.

“When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes… Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.”- Napoleon Bonaparte, 1815


“Corrupted by wealth and power, your government is like a restaurant with only one dish. They’ve got a set of Republican waiters on one side and a set of Democratic waiters on the other side. But no matter which set of waiters brings you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street kitchen”. – Huey Long


“I fired [General MacArthur] because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President. That’s the answer to that. I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail “- Harry S Truman


“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” -Thomas Jefferson.


“Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage”

– H.L. Mencken


 “For a quarter of a century the CIA has been repeatedly wrong about every major political and economic question entrusted to its analysis.” 

-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

The New York Times, 1991.


Don’t tell a lie! Some men I’ve known
Commit the most appalling acts,
Because they happen to be prone
To an economy of facts;
And if to lie is bad, no doubt
’Tis even worse to get found out!


My children, never, never steal!
To know their offspring is a thief
Will often make a father feel
Annoyed and cause a mother grief;
So never steal, but, when you do,
Be sure there’s no one watching you.


The Wicked flourish like the bay,
At Cards or Love they always win,
Good Fortune dogs their steps all day,
They fatten while the Good grow thin.
The Righteous Man has much to bear;

        The Bad becomes a Bullionaire!

The Voice of the White House  

Washington, D.C.  November 10, 2016: “Hubris could well be cited as one of the reasons why portions of the electorate are so furious that Clinton did not win the election. She did take the popular vote but only by a small margin, but Trump took the electoral vote and is now the President-elect. This election was a clear contest between the political establishment and an outsider and the outsider, mocked and insulted at every turn by the American media, nevertheless resonated with a very large number of the voters, many, if not most, of whom are disgusted with the dog and pony show that has been official Washington for many years. The frantic attempts on the part of the American, and some foreign, media to denigrate and trivialize Trump had a negative effect and so we can expect much breast-beating and whining on the Internet sites of the major print media. It should not be termed “print media” because the public no longer reads newspapers. They do read the Internet and on the Internet we found the extensive Wikilkeaks papers. These showed, very clearly, the amorality, viciousness and contempt expressed by the leaders of political institutions and the result was a rebellion against them and their attitudes of contempt for the taxpayers who support them.”

Trump victory jolts automakers, lifts Caterpillar, railroads

November 9, 2016

by Paul Lienert and Meredith Davis


The election of Republican Donald Trump as U.S. president put new pressure on automakers and other manufacturers that have come to depend on open trade with Mexico, and lifted shares of companies that could gain if the new administration boosts infrastructure spending and eases curbs on coal.

Investors are betting that some big U.S. manufacturers, such as mining and heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N), could benefit from possible changes in energy, climate and tax policies. The Obama administration has pursued emissions rules designed to discourage coal-fired power plants, while Trump has said he would revive the coal industry and roll back regulation.

Caterpillar shares were up nearly 7 percent on Wednesday on hopes that a Trump administration would reinvigorate coal mining and investment in infrastructure. A mining slump has depressed Caterpillar’s profits and forced rounds of layoffs.

“There is bountiful evidence that free trade, tax reform, infrastructure investment and smart regulation are critically important to manufacturers’ success,” Caterpillar said. Shares in farm and equipment maker Deere & Co (DE.N), truck makers Paccar Inc (PCAR.O) and Navistar International Corp (NAV.N) and major railroads also rose.

However, shares of U.S. automakers, which rely heavily on parts and vehicles made in Mexico to feed their U.S. manufacturing and sales operations, fell.

General Motors Co (GM.N) shares dropped 4.3 percent. The automaker said on Wednesday it was laying off 2,000 people and cutting a shift at a Lordstown, Ohio, factory that builds Chevrolet Cruze small cars and at a Lansing, Michigan, plant that builds slow-selling Cadillac sedans and Chevrolet Camaro sports cars.

Ford Motor Co (F.N) shares were down slightly, and electric luxury car maker Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) shed 4.25 percent.

Shares of big automotive parts makers that have shifted operations to Mexico were hit hard. Delphi Automotive Plc (DLPH.N) fell nearly 9 percent. Canada’s Magna International Inc (MG.TO), whose Mexican operations account for about 14 percent of sales, fell over 4 percent.

Trump made attacks on the outsourcing of American auto jobs to Mexico a recurrent theme in his campaign, a message that rallied blue-collar workers while threatening to upend the business assumptions behind billions of dollars in planned investment by the auto industry.


In announcing his campaign in June 2015, Trump vowed to block Ford from opening a new plant in Mexico and threatened to impose tariffs on cars it shipped back across the border.

But those moves would force U.S. consumers to pay higher prices for vehicles, said Charles Chesbrough, senior economist at the Detroit-based Original Equipment Suppliers Association trade group.

“(Trump’s) trade policies could add $5,000 or more to the price of a small car from Mexico,” Chesbrough said.

U.S. vehicle manufacturers and many of their suppliers have based billions of dollars of investment on relatively open trade with Mexico, China and other countries.

Ford in April announced plans to invest $1.6 billion to expand production of small cars in Mexico. Trump took aim at that move as well as GM’s plans to invest $5 billion there.

GM said in a statement on Wednesday that it “looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and the new Congress on policies that support a strong and competitive U.S. manufacturing base.”

Ford spokeswoman Christin Baker said: “We agree with Mr. Trump that it is really important to unite the country, and we look forward to working together to support economic growth and jobs.”

In September, Ford said it would shift small-car production from U.S. plants to lower-cost Mexico, drawing another rebuke from Trump.

“We shouldn’t allow it to happen,” Trump said.

The company said its decision to build new vehicles in Mexico would not cost U.S. jobs.

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford last month said he met with Trump to discuss criticism from the candidate but called the discussion “infuriating” and “frustrating.” Ford said his company employed more people at its U.S. plants than any other automaker.

Ford has not slowed investment outside the U.S. As ballots were cast in the United States on Tuesday, Bill Ford was in India to announce a $195 million investment in a new technical center near Chennai.

Between 1994 and 2013, the number of auto factory jobs dropped by a third in the United States and rose almost fivefold in Mexico as lower-wage production boomed.

Mexico now accounts for 20 percent of all vehicle production in North America and has attracted more than $24 billion in investment from the industry since 2010, according to Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research.

Based on current investment plans, Mexico’s auto production capacity will grow by another 50 percent over the next five years, said the center, which draws funding from the industry.

“Dismantling NAFTA at this point would be pretty hard to do,” said Kristin Dziczek, the center’s director of industry, labor and economics.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit and Meredith Davis in Chicago; Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Naomi Tajitsu in Tokyo; Writing by Joe White; Editing by Kevin Krolicki, Lisa Von Ahn and Meredith Mazzilli)


From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Volume 2016, Issue No. 92

November 10, 2016


The future of transparency in the Trump Administration is uncertain. It will ultimately be determined in practice as the new Administration embarks on its programs, determines its priorities, appoints its personnel, engages with Congress and confronts the public.

On his first full day in office, President Obama famously pledged to conduct the most transparent Administration in history. Though it was imperfectly executed and suffered some reversals, I think that pledge was fulfilled to an impressive extent. More government information was made more easily available to more people than ever before. The reported volume of new national security secrets created in the past two years dropped to historically low levels. Whole categories of information that had previously been off-limits — the size of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, the President’s Daily Brief, the size of the annual intelligence budget request, among others — were newly subject to declassification and disclosure during Obama’s tenure. If this was not the most transparent Administration in history, then which Administration was?

Donald Trump’s estimation of transparency already appears to be radically different. Although his Twitter persona during the campaign represented a degree of unfiltered candor that is almost alarming in a public official, it was unaccompanied by detailed policy proposals that might have informed the election. Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns as a presidential candidate was a startling repudiation of a longstanding norm of American governance. Worse, the fact that this refusal was not considered disqualifying by his supporters suggests that the norm is weaker than supposed. Far from being a given, the value of transparency itself may not be widely understood or shared by many Americans.

It’s not that Trump has promised transparency and failed to deliver. He has promised nothing of the kind. Hypocrisy on this point would actually be a step forward.

In what seems to be the first post-election reference to the FOIA by the Trump transition team, applicants for positions in the new Administration were advised that “One should assume that all of the information provided during this process is ultimately subject to public disclosure, if requested under the Freedom of Information Act.” (also noted by Russ Kick)

This is somewhat misleading, since various types of personal privacy information such as social security numbers would not be subject to FOIA. But perhaps it is a healthy sign that some awareness of the FOIA and its disclosure requirements is already present in the Trump camp.


In a deeply fractured political environment, the work of the Congressional Research Service may be even more valuable than ever. Non-partisan to a fault, CRS provides the same policy analysis to Republicans and Democrats, to problem-solvers and to nihilists. CRS reports can therefore help to establish a common framework for debate, and a shared vocabulary for discussion. They are at least a place to start a conversation.

One newly updated CRS report “examines Intelligence Community (IC) funding over the past several decades, with an emphasis on the period from 2007-2017.” See Intelligence Community Spending: Trends and Issues by Anne Daugherty Miles, November 8, 2016.

It was issued along with a new companion report on the structure and management of U.S. intelligence. See Intelligence Community Programs, Management, and Enduring Issues, also by Anne Miles, November 8, 2016.

Other new and updated Congressional Research Service reports include the following.

Internet Gambling: Policy Issues for Congress, November 7, 2016

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated November 8, 2016

Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress, updated November 8, 2016

FY2017 Defense Spending Under an Interim Continuing Resolution (CR): In Brief, updated November 7, 2016

Women in Congress, 1917-2016: Biographical and Committee Assignment Information, and Listings by State and Congress, updated November 7, 2016

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues, updated November 8, 2016

Youth Transitioning from Foster Care: Background and Federal Programs, updated November 8, 2016

What Is the Farm Bill?, updated November 8, 2016

When Does Sovereign Immunity Protect Property Owned by State Sponsors of Terrorism?, CRS Legal Sidebar, November 8, 2016


Two patent applications that had been subject to “secrecy orders” under the Invention Secrecy Act for years or decades were finally granted patents and publicly disclosed in 2016.

“Only two patents have been granted so far on cases in which the secrecy order was rescinded in FY16,” the US Patent and Trademark Office said this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.  They were among the 20 inventions whose secrecy orders were rescinded over the past year.

One of the patents concerns “a controllable barrier layer against electromagnetic radiation, to be used, inter alia, as a radome for a radar antenna for instance.” The inventor, Anders Grop of Sweden, filed the patent application in 2007 and it was granted on April 5, 2016 (patent number 9,306,290).

The other formerly secret invention that finally received a patent this year described “multi-charge munitions, incorporating hole-boring charge assemblies.” Detonation of the munitions is “suitable for defeating a concrete target.” That invention was originally filed in 1990 by Kevin Mark Powell and Edward Evans of the United Kingdom and was granted on October 25, 2016 (patent number 9,476,682).

The inventors could not immediately be contacted for comment. But judging from appearances, the decision to control the disclosure of these two inventions for a period of time and then to grant them a patent was consistent with the terms of the Invention Secrecy Act, and it had no obvious adverse impacts.

Trump message to Europe: ‘Era of free-loaderism is over’

November 10, 2016


America has a chance to have practical businessman approach with Trump instead of bullying and ideological approach of previous administrations, says former US diplomat, Jim Jatras.

America gripped by a second night of protests after Trump’s win

In New York, supporters of Hillary Clinton have flooded the streets to vent their anger over the Republican’s winning the presidency. And it’s not only in New York where crowds have been rallying against Trump.

More protests are expected in New York, as well as Boston, Oakland and Seattle. The crowds are rallying against Trump’s views on minorities, immigration and the current US administration.

They were also angry about his ambitious foreign policy pledges, from reforming NATO to healing ties with Russia.

RT: Trump made plenty of pledges during his campaign, from creating jobs and cutting taxes to reforming NATO. But he is a political newcomer. Will he be able to deliver on these?

Jim Jatras: I think he will be able to deliver all his promises, for a couple of reasons. There are a couple of challenges that I could outline, too. But there are two reasons I think he could deliver. One, he is approaching this in a pragmatic and non-ideological way. He is not a big visionary who is going to remake the whole world in our own image, regime change, all that stuff that has got the US into trouble under Obama, under Bush and so forth. The second thing is, I think he will take a businessman’s approach. He will be the Chairman of the Board and try to find the right people to do the right job and have limited, specific, attainable goals that he wants, rather than this continuous process of turning and making a big mess of things with no clear idea what the objectives are. The challenge is especially the foreign policy field. Can he find the people that agree with his gut-level instincts on these things who are not part of the problem, especially a lot of former Republican officials from earlier administrations who, frankly, a lot of them agree more with Hillary Clinton on these things than they do with Trump.

The plank that Trump walked the most and got a lot of support for is renegotiating the trade deals. Because there used to be a Clinton campaign slogan back in 1992 that goes, ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ And that is what this is really about. So, between all the name calling and having two of the most unpopular candidates ever running for office in the US. What is really happening in the US is the same that is happening over there in Italy with the populist Five Star movement, with Le Pen’s movement in France, with the AfD party in Germany, with the Freedom Party in Austria. What it is, it’s an anti-elite movement. Trends Journal publisher Gerald Celente told RT.


RT: Some European leaders have already expressed their concerns about Trump as President. The French leader, Francois Hollande, said it’s a time of uncertainly for relations between Europe and the US. What are your views on his reaction?

JJ: I take their uncertainty and their complaints in some cases and their whining as a compliment. Because what Mr. Trump is saying that the “era of free-loaderism is over.” And that we are going to look out for American interests first. I don’t think it is just in the crude terms are they paying their way in NATO, I think there is a subtext to that when you say we are going to get along with the Russians. If you guys, you European countries are so concerned about this “Russian threat,” why don’t you spend your own money? I think it is a left-handed way of saying “that threat is really not there, what is this all about?”

Norman Solomon, American journalist, media critic, former US Congressional candidate, told RT: “Trump has far-reaching promises but not far-reaching consistency. Particularly on foreign policy. Very erratic, not consistent and that remains to be seen. However, in his better statements his lack of belligerency towards Russia is certainly a positive possibility. Whether his foreign policy actually turns away from militarism is an open question.”


RT: Trump has pledged to mend relationships on the international arena including those with Russia. Will he be able to push anything like that past the Republican hawks in Congress?

JJ: He doesn’t need to push much through Congress. Let’s remember, under our system, which is not a parliamentary system, the president has very broad authority, especially in the conduct of foreign affairs, and I think he will take a very personalized approach to foreign leaders, especially strong leaders when he feels he has a mutual respect on which to build a relationship. He certainly will take this position with President Putin, with Prime Minister Netanyahu, even with the Mexican president; I think we will see that developing with President Xi of China. So, I think he is ready to look across the table, to look another leader in the eye and do some hard bargaining for mutual advantage which is frankly what we need. A practical approach rather than this kind of bullying and ideological approach we’ve seen for the few last administrations.

After Trump’s US upset, could France be next?

After Brexit and the victory of Republican Donald Trump, many in France wonder if the next stunning upset could be in their country. The presidential vote is just five months away and the far-right is polling strongly.

November 10, 2016

by Elizabeth Bryant


Marine Le Pen, head of France’s far-right National Front party, has been tweeting up a storm, morphing effortlessly from congratulating US President-elect Donald Trump even before US election results were announced to skewering her rivals at home.

“We can make possible that which was impossible; what the people want, the people can do,” was one of the far-right leader’s latest warnings to a French political mainstream that may be the next target of voter ire.

After the Brexit referendum for Britain to leave the European Union and the US elections, many wonder if the next stunning upset could be in France, where the presidential vote is just five months away and Le Pen has been polling strongly for months.

She is not the only one who may potentially gain ground. Politicians from far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon to center-right former-President Nicolas Sarkozy are all trying to tailor their political message to the outcome of the American campaign.

“It’s interesting to see how politicians here are turning Donald Trump’s victory into arguments that go in their direction,” said analyst Bruno Cautres, of Science Po’s Centre for Political Research, in Paris.

Lessons for France? 

The political angling comes after Trump’s win blindsided many European leaders, who have warily congratulated the Republican while placing conditions on how they intend to work with him.

“This American election opens a period of uncertainty,” said French President Francois Hollande, who later sent a letter that he was eager to start talks on key issues with a man he once described as sickening.

The unpopular Hollande also had no qualms about drawing parallels between the electorate’s mood in the United States and France.

“The French must be told that Trump is what the extreme right could do tomorrow in France,” Hollande is quoted as saying in last month’s tell-all book, “A President Shouldn’t Say That.”

But what Hollande sees as a warning sign has been embraced by National Front leader Le Pen.

“The election of Donald Trump is good news for our country,” she said at a press conference Wednesday, adding that she hoped it would lead to the death knell of a free trade agreement between the United States and Europe and to better relations with Russia.

Remembering 2002

In some ways, the scenario appears a throwback to earlier years, when Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, placed second in the first round of the 2002 presidential elections. The ingredients, then and now, were similar: voter discontent and a broad rejection of the status quo.

The elder Le Pen was soundly beaten in the second round of polling. In what was seen as a referendum against extremism, voters from the right and left cast ballots massively for incumbent Jacques Chirac. Today, his daughter’s statements are far less combative – and the National Front’s anti-immigration, anti-Europe rhetoric is resonating strongly among an angry electorate.

Other presidential campaigners are casting their own bait to a discontented public.

Socialist Party candidate Arnaud Montebourg, a former economy minister, is an ardent defender of a “Made in France” industry and wants to restructure the European Union, which he likened to a “failed company.”

Radical Left Front party leader Melenchon, also stumping in April’s vote, is even more virulently anti-EU, and has railed against “neo-liberal globalization.” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who lost the Democratic primaries to Hillary Clinton, “would have won” against Trump, said Melenchon, who has been compared to the US democrat.

Then there is Emmanuel Macron, another former economy minister, who is reveling in his quasi-outsider status despite having yet to declare his candidacy.

A first test of “Trump effect”

The blowback from the United States is perhaps being felt most immediately by the center-right, which holds primaries this month in France.

Sarkozy, who is trailing, is banking on a Trump-like upset and has warned about the dangers of believing the polls.

Like Brexit, Trump’s victory “expresses a desire for change,” said Sarkozy, who backed Democratic Party nominee Clinton during the US race, even as his own rhetoric on immigration and Islam has tilted increasingly right.

Still, analyst Cautres said “it will be difficult” for Sarkozy to sell his message of change given his insider status and criticism over his failed reforms as president.

For his part, conservative front-runner Alain Juppe is drawing very different conclusions from the US results, despite his widely seen position as the “establishment” candidate.

While acknowledging “two Frances” of winners and losers, at a Wednesday night rally, the former prime minister honed his campaign messages of moderation and reconciliation.

“I say ‘no’ to divisions and demagoguery that pit French against each other,” Juppe told supporters in Bordeaux in a not-so-veiled reference to Trump.

Science Po political scientist Etienne Schweisguth said Trump’s victory needs to be put in a broader context.

“Trump’s victory fits into the wider rejection in the West of globalization and its consequences,” Schweisguth said. “We saw it in the United States, and we’re seeing it in France with Marine Le Pen.”

But analyst Cautres said the parallels between French and US voters only go so far. To be sure, many French voters are eager for change and dissatisfaction with the democratic system is profound. He also doesn’t see voter dissatisfaction translating into a victory for Le Pen. For one, he said, the center-right will rally around the victor of the primaries and reject any alliance with the far-right.

“The effect for the National Front will be more communications than tangible,” he predicted of a Trump-driven bounce.

Uncertainty over National Front

“A Le Pen win appears excluded from this election,” agreed Schweisguth. “For a large chunk of the electorate, voting for her is out of the question.”

Yet on the streets of Paris, where most vote solidly left, some residents are not so sure.

“There are people here who think exactly the same as in the United States, and the US election vindicates their opinions,” said retired school teacher Maryse Pinheiro. “They won’t hesitate in voting for National Front.”

But another resident, Remy Hourcade, dismissed the prospects of a Le Pen presidency.

“That’s what people say, but I disagree,” he said, before adding, “I tend to be very optimistic.”

But he also acknowledged that his intuition hasn’t always been on target.

“I didn’t expect there would be Brexit and there was Brexit,” Hourcade added.  “I didn’t expect Trump, and there was Trump.”

Donald Trump’s Victory Was Built on Unique Coalition of White Voters

November 9, 2016

by Nicholas Confessore and Nate Cohn

New York Times

Donald J. Trump’s America flowered through the old union strongholds of the Midwest, along rivers and rail lines that once moved coal from southern Ohio and the hollows of West Virginia to the smelters of Pennsylvania.

It flowed south along the Mississippi River, through the rural Iowa counties that gave Barack Obama more votes than any Democrat in decades, and to the Northeast, through a corner of Connecticut and deep into Maine.

And it extended through the suburbs of Cleveland and Minneapolis, of Manchester, N.H., and the sprawl north of Tampa, Fla., where middle-class white voters chose Mr. Trump over Hillary Clinton.

One of the biggest upsets in American political history was built on a coalition of white voters unlike that of any other previous Republican candidate, according to election results and interviews with voters and demographic experts.

Mr. Trump’s coalition comprised not just staunchly conservative Republicans in the South and West. They were joined by millions of voters in the onetime heartlands of 20th-century liberal populism — the Upper and Lower Midwest — where white Americans without a college degree voted decisively to reject the more diverse, educated and cosmopolitan Democratic Party of the 21st century, making Republicans the country’s dominant political party at every level of government.

Mr. Trump spoke to their aspirations and fears more directly than any Republican candidate in decades, attacking illegal immigrants and Muslims and promising early Wednesday to return “the forgotten men and women of our country” to the symbolic and political forefront of American life. He electrified the country’s white majority and mustered its full strength against long-term demographic decay.

“A lot of stuff he’s talking about is just God-given common sense, which I think both parties have lost,” said Tom Kirkpatrick, 51, a Trump supporter who used to work in an industrial laundry plant and is now on disability. He stood near the Florida State Capitol on Tuesday, holding an American flag. “Let’s put him in. And if he doesn’t do what he says, I’ll help you vote him out.”

But Mr. Trump also won over millions of voters who had once flocked to President Obama’s promise of hope and change, and who on Tuesday saw in Mr. Trump their best chance to dampen the most painful blows of globalization and trade, to fight special interests, and to be heard and protected. Twelve percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters approved of Mr. Obama, according to the exit polls.

Mrs. Clinton won by a greater margin than Mr. Obama among affluent whites, particularly those living in the Democratic Party’s prosperous coastal strongholds: Washington and Boston, Seattle and New York. In Manhattan, where Mr. Trump lives and works — and where his fellow citizens mocked and jeered him as he voted on Tuesday — Mrs. Clinton won by a record margin, amassing 87 percent of the vote to Mr. Trump’s 10 percent. Around the country, she won a majority of voters over all, harvesting the country’s growing and densely packed big cities and a plurality of the suburbs.

But Mr. Trump won low-income white voters to the Republican ticket, reversing a partisan divide along class lines that is as old as the Democratic and Republican Parties — a replay of the “Brexit” vote in June, when the old bastions of England’s Labor-left voted decisively to leave the European Union. His breakthrough among white working-class voters in the North not only erased the Democratic advantage but reversed it, giving him a victory in the Electoral College while he lost the national popular vote.

Most strikingly, Mr. Trump won his biggest margins among middle-income white voters, according to exit polls, a revolt not only of the white working class but of the country’s vast white middle class. He did better than past Republicans in the sprawling suburbs along Florida’s central coasts, overwhelming Mrs. Clinton’s gains among Hispanic voters. He held down Mrs. Clinton’s margins in the Philadelphia suburbs, defying expectations that Mrs. Clinton would outperform Mr. Obama by a wide margin.

Magnified by the constitutional design of the Electoral College, and aided by Republican-led efforts to dampen black and Latino voting in states like North Carolina, Mr. Trump’s America proved the larger on Election Day. It smashed through the Democrats’ supposed electoral “blue wall” — the 18 states carried by Democrats in every election since 1992, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, plus the diverse and well-educated parts of the country that Mr. Obama attracted in his two races, like New Mexico, Nevada, Virginia and Colorado.

Starting Wednesday, you could walk from the Vermont border through Appalachian coal country to the outskirts of St. Louis without crossing a county Mr. Trump did not win decisively. You could head south through rural and suburban Georgia all the way to South Florida, or northwest through the Upper Midwest, or make a beeline for the West Coast, skirting only the rising Democratic communities of Colorado and the booming multicultural sprawl of Las Vegas before finally reaching Mrs. Clinton’s part of the country.

“It’s not that he was the most polished of politicians,” said Justin Channell, 36, of Brewer, Me., who works at a health insurance company. “I liked the message of the anti-establishment, that corruption in D.C. is so prevalent.”

Mrs. Clinton won the America of big, racially diverse cities and centers of the new economy, from Silicon Valley to the Silicon Slopes of Utah, where many traditionally Republican voters rejected Mr. Trump. But lining up for Mr. Trump was a parallel urban America of smaller cities — places like Scranton, Pa.; Youngstown, Ohio; and Dubuque, Iowa — that boomed during the industrial era, and are still connected by the arteries of the old American economy.

She had hoped for a surge of voting by Latinos, immigrants and African-Americans, a manifestation of the rising American electorate long predicted by liberal strategists and feared by the Republican elite in Washington. But exit polls suggest that Mr. Trump — despite his attacks on immigrants, Muslims and Mexicans, and his clumsy invocation of black neighborhoods mired in chaos and decay — did not fare worse among the African-American and Latino voters who showed up to the polls than Mitt Romney did four years ago.In Miami-Dade County, where Mr. Trump had more room to lose ground among Hispanic voters than anywhere else in the country, Mrs. Clinton inched up to only 64 percent from Mr. Obama’s 62 percent of the Hispanic vote. Turnout dropped considerably in black communities across the country, from the rural South to Cleveland, Milwaukee and Detroit.

By Wednesday, the notion of a Democratic electoral map advantage bolstered by rising Hispanic power seemed distant. Even if Mrs. Clinton had won Florida, Mr. Trump would have powered to victory through the new Republican heartland, in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, where Hispanic voters represent just a fraction of the electorate.

Nor was the growing Hispanic vote — and Mrs. Clinton’s strength among well-educated voters — enough to pull her especially close in either Arizona or Texas, the only two heavily Hispanic states that could have plausibly joined Florida to put her over the top.

Even where Democratic-leaning Hispanics are growing as a force, Mr. Trump’s supporters were waiting on Tuesday.

Anthony Brdar, 42, stood in front of his West Miami polling station, holding a handmade “Vote Trump” sign, and waved a T-shirt of Mr. Obama’s face made to look like the Joker. It called him a tyrant. An out-of-work lawyer who lives in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood in Miami, Mr. Brdar said he had never felt so compelled to vote.

“I feel our country is on the verge of becoming a third world country,” he said. “Our children are not going to have a future. We are not going to have a future.”

Alan Blinder, Jess Bidgood and Frances Robles contributed reporting.

 Commentary: The number one reason to fix U.S.-Russia relations

November 10, 2016

by Josh Cohen


Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia was ready to fully restore relations with the United States following the election of Donald Trump. But even so, when Trump assumes power on Jan. 20, he will inherit a Russian-American relationship in deep crisis.

While Washington and Moscow’s disagreements over Ukraine, Syria, NATO and Russian cyber hacking received the majority of attention during the presidential campaign, both Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton  ignored perhaps the greatest threat of all from the downturn in U.S.-Russian relations: the rise of nuclear tensions. And unless both Washington and Moscow take steps to reverse what one Russian analyst calls “a creeping crisis over the international arms control regime,” the risks of a nuclear confrontation somewhere in the world will increase dramatically.

While Russia’s current nuclear saber rattling – particularly its open threats to use nuclear weapons in a conflict – is dangerous and irresponsible, the breakdown in nuclear cooperation between the United States and Russia did not occur overnight. Rather, it’s a product of decisions made by both sides. The United States struck the first blow in 2002, when it withdrew from the landmark 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty prohibiting both sides from deploying nationwide missile defenses. Washington has also never ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans nuclear explosive testing worldwide, since originally negotiating it with Moscow almost 20 years ago.

According to the United States, Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which bans the two countries from developing or using nuclear and ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles that can travel between 310 and 3,400 miles. (Russia has made a similar claim about the United States.)

And while President Barack Obama is considering offering Russia a five-year extension of the 2010 New START Treaty even though it doesn’t expire until 2021, in the current political environment it’s unlikely a new treaty mandating further reductions in nuclear weapons could be negotiated after he leaves office.

The danger from the erosion in nuclear arms control is exacerbated by the fact that the American and Russian militaries are no longer in regular contact.   Without proper communication channels, even a small military incident in a place like the Baltic Sea or Syria could rapidly escalate into a full-scale conflict between the two sides – with the threat of a nuclear exchange lurking in the background.

The possibility of accidental nuclear exchanges should not be discounted, either. Substantial numbers of American and Russian nuclear missiles remain on so-called “hair trigger alert,” a security posture adopted by both sides during the Cold War to allow the launch of nuclear warheads within 15 minutes or less in order to show the other side that no advantage could be gained by a surprise first strike.

The problem with a hair trigger alert policy is that it increases the risk of mistakes. Many incidents involving nuclear near-misses related to technical or human error occurred during the Cold War – and this threat still exists. In 1995 Russian radar operators interpreted the launch of a Norwegian science rocket as a possible nuclear strike on Russia from an American Trident submarine, and in response Russian President Boris Yeltsin actually activated the keys on his “nuclear briefcase.” Likewise, in 2010 an American launch control center in Wyoming lost contact with 50 Minuteman III ICBMs under its control for nearly an hour.

Another consequence of this deteriorating commitment to arms control is that Washington and Moscow now have a harder time cajoling other countries into limiting their nuclear arsenals. Indeed, the Chinese military is already pushing to put its 250 nuclear missiles on hair trigger alert because it fears that an American first strike could destroy its nuclear arsenal and – in conjunction with Washington’s ballistic missile defense systems – eliminate China’s ability to retaliate. Some experts believe that without U.S.-Russian cooperation on arms control, the United States will have a harder time maintaining pressure on Iran to limit its nuclear program.

Less traditional nuclear arms control cooperation is also at risk. After Russia annexed Crimea the United States Department of Energy (DOE) suspended nuclear energy and cooperation work with Russia’s Rosatom, banning Russian scientists from visiting American nuclear labs and banning DOE scientists from attending meetings in Russia. Congress has also prohibited the signing of new contracts with Russian entities for nuclear security cooperation unless the Secretary of Energy signs a waiver allowing the contract to go forward.

Moscow, meanwhile, announced an end to non-proliferation projects in Russia, boycotted President Barack Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit and recently withdrew from a plutonium disposal agreement with the United States. (Russia claims the United States has not met its obligations under this agreement.)

While Russia has made great progress in securing its nuclear facilities since the breakup of the Soviet Union – including protecting its weapons-grade uranium and plutonium – dangerous gaps in the system remain. Now, as a result of the cut-off of communication between Russian and American scientists, a two-year information gap about Russian nuclear security exists. Nuclear security progress depends on scientist-to-scientist relationships, and curtailing these relationships is in neither side’s national interest.

Given the breakdown in U.S.-Russian relations and the existential disaster a nuclear incident could produce, it’s unfortunate that Trump has not yet explained how he would get nuclear cooperation with Moscow back on track. To take one example, would he support negotiating a follow-on agreement to New START, and if so, how would he get Moscow’s buy-in to do this? Likewise, even if a new treaty is not in place by the time New START expires, would he support the automatic maintenance of the existing treaty, which requires 18 on-site inspections per year at the sites of each side’s nuclear weapons? Finally, would he be willing to remove any American missiles from hair trigger alert status as a sign of good faith to induce Russia to do the same?

As part of its goal of reducing the risk that militants will obtain a nuclear weapon or nuclear material such as weapons-grade uranium, should the DOE restart cooperation with Rosatom, frozen after the Crimea annexation? In exchange, the United States could demand that Russia sign back on to the plutonium disposal agreement and agree to change it so that the United States can bury its excess plutonium underground.

Washington policymakers should understand that Russian-American nuclear cooperation is not a concession to Moscow, but a strong U.S. national security interest. As Clinton noted in the third presidential debate, there are about four minutes between the time that the president gives the order to use nuclear weapons and when the weapons are launched. Trump must find ways to reduce the risk of a catastrophic nuclear exchange – and getting U.S.-Russian collaboration back on track is the best way to do so.

(Josh Cohen is a former USAID project officer involved in managing economic reform projects in the former Soviet Union.)

Trump’s Stunning Victory:The Moment of His Life

In an enormous upset for the United States, Donald Trump scored a massive victory in the country’s presidential election on Wednesday. In the hour of his success, the president-elect showed a humbler side. But what does he have in store next?

November 9, 2016

by Veit Medick and Roland Nelles in New York


Is it a film? A reality show? A dream? It must have felt like it for Donald Trump when he stood on the stage of the Hilton Hotel in New York. At around 2:30 a.m., his supporters cheered him, his wife Melania and daughter Ivanka beamed at his side. Trump had become the president-elect of the world’s most powerful nation. It was a tight race, but he won.

“I look very much forward to being your president,” Trump said. Although he had been a loudmouth, a braggart and a demagogue during the campaign, he came across uncharacteristically humble and conciliatory in his victory speech. He also extended an olive branch, saying Republicans and Democrats must “come together as one united people.” Of course, they also may prove to be empty words. “I will be president for all Americans,” he said.

Trump, a political outsider, a man political pundits underestimated and even President Barack Obama made fun of, is experiencing the moment of his life. He showed them all, including the media professionals who had written him off and the Republican Party leaders who were unhappy to see him as their candidate. On Wednesday morning, he had prevailed. “Thank you very much, everyone,” he said.

Breaking with the Establishment

He proved to have astounding talent on the campaign trail. In contrast to his rivals, he recognized that his country was wrought with deep-seated uncertainty and difficult internal conflicts. He proved adept at harnessing this uncertainty, even if it meant demonstrating a lack of scruples, and breaking every rule — all the while creating a dynamic force that neither his party nor his opponent could seemingly contain. Trump’s crude populist message was that he wasn’t a part of the Washington establishment and that only he could restore order to the system. Trust me.

Trump has always had a strong talent for sensing public sentiment. As a real estate tycoon, he used a deft public relations strategy to turn his name into a brand synonymous with glamour, elegance and wealth. He has been a master at making headlines, knowing just how to steer media appearances in order to gain the maximum attention. His reality TV show “The Apprentice” was an enormous success among the white middle class.

Trump turned the rules of politics on their head. The fact that he has no political experience and has never been elected to public office still didn’t stop people from voting for him. In fact, they appear to have done so for precisely that reason.

With both the Senate and the House of Representatives under Republican control, Trump now has a very powerful mandate. This gives the billionaire the kind of latitude no American president has seen in years. He now largely has free rein when it comes to shaping his policies and determining who will fill the next open seats on the Supreme Court. That things could even come to this appeared unlikely for some time, given the fragility of Trump’s campaign and the fact that at times some people even speculated he could drop out of the race.

Blasts from the Past?

The Republican candidate stressed several times what he has in mind for his first weeks and months in office. First, he plans to assemble his administration. The first names for these posts are already circulating. Newt Gingrich, a leading Republican in the 1990s, has been named as a possible candidate for Secretary of State, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani could be in the running for Attorney General. Many expect Trump to reward those who stood close by him during the election.

But Trump will also have to deliver — at least in terms of his voters’ expectations, and it is hard to predict what that will actually mean for the country. The New Yorker dreams of dismantling many of the policies put into place by current President Barack Obama over the past eight years. He wants to eliminate Obama’s national healthcare system, potentially renegotiate the nuclear deal with Iran, limit global trade policies and also deport immigrants without proper documentation on a mass scale. “America first” is the motto of this new man at the helm of the United States.

But it is also clear that Trump will be governing a deeply divided country that is at a level of crisis not seen in years. Protests were already happening in New York and Washington early Wednesday morning. It’s possible that many Americans’ frustrations about the 70-year-old’s election victory will be visible elsewhere in the coming weeks. Half the country, after all, voted for his rival — and many did so purely to prevent him from coming into power. With any normal candidate, one would assume that he would at least try to find a way to give his opponents a voice.

What’s normal about Trump though? Nothing.

Trump’s victory exposes Obama’s inability to connect with white working class

November 10, 2016

by Greg Jaffe and Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post

For months, President Obama has been worrying both publicly and privately about the growing threats to American democracy. They included a broken and dysfunctional Republican Party, a balkanized media and an angry and suspicious electorate.

At the top of Obama’s list — the physical embodiment of those gathering and potentially existential threats — was Donald Trump, from whom Obama sat inches away from in the Oval Office Thursday.

The president had mocked Trump as a temperamentally unstable reality TV star who regularly demeaned women and minorities and was unfit and unworthy of the country’s highest office. Following their first-ever meeting Obama emphasized the need “to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face.”

Trump’s win raises difficult questions for Obama that he and his top advisers have only just begun to confront: What role, if any, did Obama, his policies and his approach to the presidency play in Trump’s winning the White House?

For more than a decade, Obama has forged a national political identity around the uplifting idea that Americans share a core set of liberal, democratic values that run deeper than the country’s racial, class and ideological divisions. Why did those divisions only seem to deepen over the course of Obama’s two terms in office?

“This has been a deeply dispiriting election year,” Obama recently told donors at a Democratic fundraising dinner in Ohio. “Sometimes you wonder, how did we get to the point where we have such rancor?”

Intentionally or not, some of the president’s actions likely contributed to that rancor. He was insulated by a White House bubble and a staff with fewer ties to those parts of America that were most alienated. His executive actions, essential to advancing his agenda in an era of gridlock, inflamed an electorate that was becoming increasingly partisan. Meanwhile a micro-targeted media strategy aimed certain demographic groups sometimes took precedence over speaking to the entire country.

Inside the West Wing, there were tears, sadness and a general feeling of disbelief that a significant number of voters who had backed Obama in 2008 and 2012 swung to support Trump’s sometimes dark, nativist and anti-immigrant vision for the country.

“I don’t have an explanation for that, to put it bluntly,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

Senior White House aides, meanwhile, rejected the idea that Obama bore responsibility for Trump’s victory or that the election was a referendum on the Obama presidency. “An election is a comparsion between two people, and two candidates on the ballot,” said White House communications director Jen Psaki.

But White House officials, including Obama, who had described a Trump victory as a near impossibility, were shocked by the depth of anger, fear and economic uncertainty that swept Trump into the White House.

Throughout his second term Obama spoke only fleetingly of the economic pain in the country caused by globalization, demographic changes and technological advances. And in his second term his major initiatives focused on allowing millions of illegal immigrants stay in the country and a sweeping trade deal in Asia, where he traveled frequently to tout benefits for Asian countries.

Often, he seemed to question the depth of the anger and division, noting that he was twice elected to the White House by “decent majorities.”“The fact of the matter is that in a big country like this, there are always going to be folks who are frustrated, don’t like the direction of the country, are concerned about the president,” Obama told NPR’s “Morning Edition” in December as Trump was gathering support. “Some of them may not like my policies; some of them may just not like how I walk or my big ears.”

In rare moments he suggested that his race, name and uprbinging may have helped inflame crazy conspiracy theories about him in some segments of the Republican party. “I may represent change that worries them,” he told NPR.

Obama didn’t completely ignore the struggles of rural, white America: His administration proposed more than $1 billion in spending to deal with the opioid and heroin crisis that has ravaged rural America and is contributing to an unprecedented rise in mortality rates among working-class white men and women. His first-term efforts to save the automobile industry benefited blue-collar Americans.

But on the campaign trail, Obama often seemed to minimize the problems of rural and white, blue-collar America. He focused instead on the 15 million jobs created during his second term and the country’s falling unemployment rate.

This summer, in his speech at the Democratic National Convention, Obama talked only fleetingly about the “pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures, men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families who now feel forgotten.” But he rarely visited those places and seemed not to connect with their fears about the future.

Senior White House officials in January described ambitious plans to have the president speak more directly to Americans who disagreed with him and his vision for the country. But those efforts were often sidetracked by higher priorities, such as the police shootings and protests this summer.

By early fall Obama shifted his focus to mobilizing young and minority voters, who were a key part of his coalition and had been slow to warm to the Clinton presidency. The president attacked Trump as ignorant, vain and cold-hearted. His mocking of the billionaire as better suited to the “Bachelorette!” or “Survivor” than the Oval Office sometimes made it seem as if he was also mocking Trump’s supporters.

Even Obama seemed to concede the failure of his efforts to ease the country’s growing anger and divisions. He rejected the idea that his policies hurt the white working class. “The truth is that every policy I’ve put forward would make a huge difference with the white working class and the black working class and the Latino working class,” Obama told HBO’s Bill Maher a few days before Trump’s victory.

But he conceded his broader failure in an era of “800 television stations” and thousands more websites to convince these voters that he understood their frustrations and that his policies were making a difference. “In this new age, what is the equivalent of getting into people’s living rooms and having a conversation?” Obama asked. “I have not always been able to do it as successfully here in the White House, partly because of this bubble that’s created around me.”

In some instances, Obama’s strategy for dealing with the polarization in the country and dysfunction in Congress may have made the problem worse. To drum up support for its policies, the Obama administration often sought out new media venues to mobilize small, loyal audiences. After his State of the Union address, for example. Obama sat for interviews with enthusiastic YouTube stars to talk about his agenda for 2016, the tax on tampons and why he preferred rapper Kendrick Lamar to Drake.

“When you reach out to nontraditional sources you are able to then touch and speak to people who are not already political news consumers,” said a senior White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal planning. “They are not watching Chris Matthews or Sean Hannity. In fact, they’ve never heard of either.”

To overcome a gridlocked Congress, Obama relied heavily on executive orders and actions to spur progress on immigration, climate change and gun control. The surge of high-profile executive moves boosted Obama’s popularity, but angered his opponents.

“It was all edicts—fiat government,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for lower immigration levels.

Despite Trump’s win, he will leave the White House with some of the highest approval ratings of his presidency. First lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden have garnered even more support in polls.

The president’s surging popularity convinced his top aides that the anger in the country was not directed at Obama and his policies but at an implacable Republican Party that had prioritized obstruction and gridlock over reason and compromise. Today, even the president’s staunchest backers concede that the theory might be wrong.

“It would be a mistake if the Democratic Party didn’t use this as a sobering moment of reflection on whether or not we are connecting, or if we’re trying to connect in an outdated manner,” said a second senior administration official who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly about the election. “That’s not a matter of tactics . . . that’s more whether we’re hearing and listening to what people are experiencing in the country.”

The president in private conversations with his staff has described the next 70 days, leading up to Trump’s inauguration, as a key test for the country and his presidency. One of his main jobs, alongside Trump, will be to heal the country.

“He recognizes it is going to [take] more than one speech in the Rose Garden,” the second senior administration official said.

In 2004, Obama burst onto the national political scene with an electrifying promise to unite the country. “There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America,” he vowed.

The bigger question, perhaps the central question of Obama’s 12 years on the national stage, is whether the country has become too big, too diverse and too unruly to be guided by one voice. This was the question Obama seemed to be asking this summer at a memorial service for five slain Dallas officers.

“Can we do this? Can we find the character, as Americans, to open our hearts to each other?” Obama asked. “I don’t know. I confess that sometimes I, too, experience doubt.”

David Nakamura contributed to this report.

 Mexico will not pay for Trump wall, but seeks cooperation

November 9, 2016

by Michael O’Boyle and Noe Torres


MEXICO CITY- Mexico said on Wednesday it would work with Donald Trump for the benefit of both nations after his surprise U.S. election win, but reiterated it would not pay for his planned border wall, which stirred up deep resentment during a fraught presidential campaign.

As Trump strode toward victory, the peso plunged 13 percent in its biggest fall since the Tequila Crisis devaluation 22 years ago, before paring losses to trade down 8.7 percent at 19.91 per dollar. Still, officials held back from taking action to support the peso despite it hitting lifetime lows overnight.

Trump’s threats to dump the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) agreement with Mexico and Canada, and to tax money sent home by migrants to pay for the controversial wall on the southern border, have made the peso particularly vulnerable to events in the U.S. presidential race.

“Very hard times are coming to Mexico,” said analyst Gabriela Siller of Mexican bank BASE.

Still, President Enrique Pena Nieto said he called to congratulate Trump, and had agreed to meet the New Yorker during the transition phase to discuss joint cooperation, which he hopes would strengthen the competitiveness of North America.

Welcoming Trump’s victory speech pledge to seek “common ground” and partnership with other countries, Pena Nieto said in a televised statement that Mexico shared the same vision.

“Dialogue to make agreements is still the best route for Mexico, and my government will seek opportunities that benefit both nations in this new phase of bilateral relations,” he said.Nevertheless, Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu reiterated that Mexico would not pay for Trump’s proposed wall. The vow to make Mexico pay for the barrier was a key feature of his stump speeches.

Ratings agency Fitch said Trump’s victory may add downside risks to Mexico’s economic growth, while Moody’s warned the government may not meet its goals of cutting its budget deficit if flows of trade or foreign investment wilt under Trump.


Both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s rating agencies put Mexico’s credit rating on a negative view earlier this year.

Gabriel Casillas, an economist at Banorte, predicted Trump’s victory will shave 0.3 percentage point from 2016 economic growth, and said the peso could suffer for months as the market tries to figure out what Trump could do in office.

“Because of the uncertainty of what Trump could do, consumers will postpone purchases, companies will postpone investments,” Casillas said, but added that he thought Trump’s actual policies will fall short of his rhetoric, not least because unwinding trade with Mexico is easier said than done.”I don’t think Trump will do a lot of the things he said he will do,” he said.

Others were more pessimistic.

Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note that the fallout from a Trump presidency would have “deep ramifications” for the equity market and that foreign investment could stall.

“Risks of a hard landing in Mexico have clearly risen,” the bank’s analysts said.

But for now the market pulled back from its initial panic. The peso recovered from its low after Trump took a measured tone in his victory speech and did not invoke any of his threats against Mexico, analysts said.

Mexico’s benchmark IPC stock index fell more than 3.0 percent initially, but pared losses and closed down 2.23 percent.

“The market has calmed down a bit and given the benefit of doubt to a more conciliatory Trump,” said Marco Oviedo, an economist at Barclays in Mexico City.

Mexican-based economists had expected a snap interest rate rise, but central bank Governor Agustin Carstens told a news conference on Wednesday morning the bank would take any necessary measures pending market conditions.

He said it would hold a monetary policy meeting as scheduled on Nov. 17, but did not announce any immediate steps to support the currency. Mexico has already raised its benchmark interest rate three times this year to support the peso.

Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade said authorities were monitoring the situation and would act if needed.

The central bank hiked its key interest rate in September by 50 basis points to 4.75 percent to anchor inflation expectations following the peso’s creeping depreciation.

Mexico has more than $175 billion in foreign reserves, and Carstens said last month he would consider using a $90 billion International Monetary Fund flexible credit line “in the event of an external shock.

(Additonal reporting by Jamie McGeever and Sujata Rao in London and Gabriel Stargardter and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

 Neo-Nazi stirrings

This is a commentary on an Internet site called ‘Sharkhunters’ and its owner, one Harry Cooper.

November 10, 2016

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

Mr. Harry Cooper

P.O.Box 1539

Hernando, Florida


This site, which reflects a very right-wing, neo-Nazi point of view and tries to connect these views with a history of German WWII submarines is, to be kind, bizarre.

Mr. Cooper constantly claims Hitler escaped from Germany at the end of World War II and settled in Argentina. He either went to that country by a U Boat or a plane so Cooper takes paying guests to various places in the Argentine where Hitler, Bormann and other top Nazis allegedly had homes and businesses and also to various former Nazi-prominent places in Germany.

Although working with the late right-wing neo-Nazi Willis Carto and a constant espouser of Hitlerian views, there are constantly recurring rumors from Chicago that Sharkhunters head, Harry Cooper, neo-Nazi and Hitler supporter though he might be, is actually Jewish and was a member of the Beth Israel Congregation in that city.

It would seem difficult to believe, considering the immense propaganda about the enormous German death camps, their huge gas chambers, the production in these mythic camps of lampshades, shrunken heads and boxes of hand soap, that any person of the Jewish faith would want to have any positive connection with the Third Reich.

However, where there is money to be made, conceptions can be modified.

Here is an example of the hype being posted in support of Mr. Cooper’s business:

“SOUTH AMERICA PLANE! – One of our South American S.E.I.G. Agents has found an elderly lady who remembers thing big plane landing on that remote estancia/ranch and she has much more information for us.  Cooper is going down there in February to speak with this lady.  We expect much more history to be revealed here.  We will keep you informed. this was our first book on the escape of Adolf Hitler and it was all the memories of Don Angel Alcazar de Velasco, the agent who worked in the Berlin Bunker for the last three months of the war – and he saw Hitler and Eva Braun forcibly drugged under orders of Martin Bormann and removed from the bunker long before the alleged suicide.  He met with Hitler in South American in 1952 and this is all corroborated.”

Perhaps Cooper’s most elaborate rewriting of history is his enthusiastically overwrought explanation of how Hitler did not commit suicide in the Berlin bunker, but in fact escaped and lived out the remainder of his life in South America. Cooper claims that the source material for Escape from the Bunker was a letter given to him by a Spanish-German double agent named “Don Angel Alcazar de Velasco,“ who, Cooper says, was personally involved in the operation to smuggle Hitler and Martin Bormann out of Berlin and into Argentina.

Published in 2010 with the support of the late Willis Carto, Escape from the Bunker also alleges that the FBI and other intelligence agencies were fully aware of Hitler’s escape, and were complicit in propagating the lie that Hitler had died during the war in an effort to bring closure to a country traumatized by war. Moreover, “Don Angel” supposedly bought up the possibility of Hitler having two surviving children, living “somewhere in Mexico”. In an interview with white supremacist radio host Jeff Rense, Cooper said he was looking for two individuals who might be those children.

Cooper is so attached to this conspiracy theory that he has conducted several “patrols” in Argentina, visiting locations which he is convinced are the sites where Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi officials lived after the war.

The Sharkhunters trip reports are cagey about where exactly these locations are, referring to the small German-influenced Argentinian village they visited only as “Stadt” (the German word for “city”).

The island that Cooper alleges held a “German nuclear research facility” remains unnamed, although Cooper claims this laboratory was so advanced that in the 1940s and 1950s its scientists accomplished so-called cold fusion — a feat yet to be accomplished by modern scientists.

Cooper and the Sharkhunters also visited an abandoned mansion, which they hint may be a former residence of Hitler himself!

A posting on Axis History Forum concerning Cooper

I researched Sharkhunters a few years ago and it was not really an organization – it was basically just Harry Cooper, his wife and his daughter and his daughter was just part time.

It was chartered in Florida as a FOR PROFIT corporation. At that time it was located in a trailer in Harry’s backyard. There was one other person listed if I remember correctly. Harry and his wife were the officers.

The Advisory Board is a complete sham.

I contacted some of them and found the following:

None of them knew or had ever met any of the others.

They never met as a group.

They were never consulted as a group.

They never provided any advice on Sharkhunter matters     as a group.

In short the Advisory Board did not function as an advisory board.

Their names simply make Sharkhunters look legitimate while most of the people themselves have almost nothing to do with Sharkhunters.

The Advisory Board had no authority or control over Sharkhunters or Harry Cooper at all yet Harry frequently told newcomers to Sharkhunters that he couldn’t do this or had to do that because of an Advisory Board decision.

I suspect that many of the ‘life memberships’ were simply given to these folks but I can’t prove it. In the case of one of the Advisory Board members I happened to know, I was told he simply joined Sharkhunters as a normal member years ago and got an e-mail from Harry a few years ago asking if he would serve on the Advisory Board. Before he could even reply to the e-mail he got another one from Harry congratulating him for becoming an Advisory Board member.    The last time I checked he had never met another active Advisory Board member nor had he ever been asked to make a decision on Sharkhunter matters as an Advisory Board member. His name on the Advisory Board list was apparently all Harry wanted.

In the case of Otto Kretschmer who was actually asked for his advice on occasion, Harry kept him listed on his Advisory Board on the Sharkhunters web site for long after he had died. When he was confronted with this he moved him to his past advisors list where he is still listed today. However Otto Kretschmer resigned from the Advisory Board in disgust on 5 July, 1998 and asked to have his name removed from the list of Advisory Board members.

To date I have come in contact with a number of former Sharkhunter members and not one of them had anything good to say about Sharkhunters or Harry Cooper.

The rag Harry calls the Sharkhunters KTB is basically a forum for Harry to rant about anything he dislikes. Anyone who challenges him or his statements is demonized in the KTB. You get Harry’s point of view and nothing else.

Many of the U-boat men he initially got to provide stories and information (for free) that he published in his KTB (not for free) will no longer have anything to do with him so he has switched to the SS and Russian submariners for new content. I expect he still publishes some of the old stories too of course.

Harry got to the U-boat men years ago when they were still being demonized by rehashed WWII propaganda and after years of Germany re-educating its population that everything that happened during WWII was evil etc. In short the U-boat men were “politically incorrect” even at home. He came across as a friend and they gave him their stories and signed photographs for free and he sold them for profit through Sharkhunters.

Many of these elderly gentlemen were, in my opinion, simply duped. Harry also has a travel agency that specializes in tours of Germany (for a price of course) and Harry was able to get some of the U-boat men to ride on the bus and show up for a meal with his tours or even act as a tour guide for a portion of a tour.

His web site features cheap mugs, mouse pads and video tapes of his tours as well as other junk and bogus conspiracy-theory books about Hitler escaping to Argentina etc. – all for profit.

All of this has provided Harry Cooper and his family a living and that is what Sharkhunters is all about as far as I can tell.

The claims of all the money he donates to the U-boat Archiv and the U-boat memorial in Germany are also suspect. Horst Bredow who founded, and still runs, the U-boot Archiv told me that not only had Harry never given him a penny, when his tours come to the Archiv they don’t leave donations either.

If you want an example of delusions of grandeur and an ego that just won’t quit see what Harry wrote about himself in his bio at: http://pths57.com/bio_htm_pages/cooper_harry.htm.

Sharkhunters is not what it seems to be. Talk to former members before getting involved with it.

The view from shell-shocked Silicon Valley

November 9, 2016

by Dave Lee

BBC News

If you can’t beat ‘em, leave ‘em.

Remarkably, that seemed to be the knee-jerk reaction of at least some of Silicon Valley’s elite in the wake of Donald Trump becoming president-elect on Tuesday.

“I am announcing and funding a legitimate campaign for California to become its own nation,” wrote Shervin Pishevar, a major investor in companies like Uber, AirBnB and Slack.

“I’m in and will partner with you on it,” replied Dave Morin, another major tech investor.

It’s been agreed, the new promised land should be called New California.

It’s the most patriotic thing we can do,” Mr Pishevar said.

The proposal – one that, let’s face it, is faintly ridiculous – represents peak panic in the wake of an election that has left much of Silicon Valley stunned and grasping for answers.

‘Open door’

There are two bubbles in this part of the world – one is about money, the other is about its world view.

On her disastrous night, Clinton got more votes in California than in any other part of the country. Here, the prospect of a Trump presidency wasn’t just unlikely, it was unthinkable.

Before the vote, openly supporting Mr Trump was seen by many as a crime worthy of losing your job.

When it emerged that Facebook board member and major investor Peter Thiel was donating more than $1m to the Trump campaign, many called for him to be sacked.

But just a few weeks on, Mr Thiel, a person who has made his vast fortune over long-term bets, proved to be the most astute man in the Valley once again.

“He has an awesomely difficult task, since it is long past time for us to face up to our country’s problems,” he said in a statement after Mr Trump’s win.

“We’re going to need all hands on deck.”

Coming to terms

Mr Thiel remains an outlier here. What we’ll likely see over the next few days is an industry and community slowly contemplating what life in Silicon Valley will mean under President Trump.

Chris Sacca, an early investor in Twitter, said technology companies should be open to the new leader.

“We in the tech community are willing to work with President-Elect Trump to help those Americans who need it most,” he tweeted. “The door is open.

“Very few people were as vocal in their opposition to Donald Trump as I was. But sitting on our hands for four years is a bad option.”

As I type, we’re yet to hear from the real key players: Apple, Facebook and Google.

Their message will be instrumental in setting the collective mood here.

Meanwhile, Twitter boss Jack Dorsey may be enjoying one silver lining: shares in the struggling network, still by far the best platform on a day like Tuesday, jumped 4% to its best pricing since October.






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