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TBR News November 9, 2016

Nov 09 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 9, 2016: “The Trump victory ought not to have surprised anyone but it is obvious the American, and some European, media believed that Clinton would be elected with, as one prominent news source said, “with a 90% mandate!”

The media, controlled entirely by corporate entities, did and said as it was told and it was told that although Hillary was not a popular person, nevertheless, she was a known factor and her weaknesses were well known to those whose opinions really mattered. All of these entities overlooked the simple fact that the great mass of the American public was sick to death of the falseness, crooked behavior and general amorality of their government and that Trump addressed these attitudes in a very clear and specific manner. There are a number of very serious problems facing the United States today but these are never addressed by the media.

The first is the growing unemployment. Most of this is due entirely to manufacturing corporations moving their labor pool overseas for cheaper wages.

The second is the looming mortgage crisis. Over 75 million Americans who pay on their home, or business, mortgages will never get clear title to their property because their mortgages were taken by the big banks, stuffed into a financial sausage and sold off overseas. This means that no one, including the financial institutions, will ever be able to determine the actual holder of a mortgage.

The third is the enormous debt incurred by students in persuit of a college degree. A large number of for-profit humped up “univlersities” loaded their unsuspecting and trusting students with student loans. Thanks to former President Clinton, these loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy and the student will be hounded by collection agencies until the wring the last pennies from them.

The fourth issue are the 30 million illegal immigrants now camped in the United States, clogging the welfare rolls and willing to work for very low wages (thus displacing Americans).

The fifth issue is the rising sea level which will displace many millions of Americans as their homes become flooded and unlivable. The banks hold mortgages on these homes and will never forgive the mortages even if the home is under water. The displaced must find other places to live and the government cannot possibly find the money to assist them.

These issues are not addressed by the media, or the political structure in the United States and the general attitude is “not on my watch” and the secure knowledge that when the troubles become widely evident, they will have retired to some safe foreign country with any loot they might have acquired.”

Point and…

Trump’s Revolution

Now beware the counter-revolution

November 9, 2016

by Justin Raimondo

AntiWar

Donald Trump has done the unthinkable – unthinkable, that is, to the sneering elites: the “journalists” who have been spending their days snarking at Trump on Twitter, the DC mandarins who disdained him from the beginning, and the foreign policy “experts” who gasped in horror as he challenged the basic premises of the post-World War II international order. And he did it by overcoming a host of the most powerful enemies one could conjure: The Republican Establishment, the Democratic party machine, the Money Power, and a media united in their hatred of him.

That this is a revolution is a bit of an understatement: revolutions are usually national in scope. This is an earthquake that will shake the whole world.

The United States is a global empire, and from the Korean peninsula to the Baltic states, our protectorates are quavering in panic that the system they’ve depended on for over half a century is about to come down. During the election, America’s client states all but formally endorsed Hillary Clinton, and expressed their unmitigated horror at the prospect of a Trump presidency. After all, the GOP candidate pledged to make our allies start paying their own way, a possibility that naturally fills them with dread. And Trump committed the biggest heresy of all by not only openly questioning the continued existence of NATO, but also by asking “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get along with Russia?”

The Clinton campaign’s response was to do what no presidential candidate has done since the earliest days of the Republic: they accused Trump of being a Russian “puppet.” Former CIA director Mike Morrell, in endorsing Clinton, wrote that Trump is “an unconscious agent” of the Kremlin. In the hothouse atmosphere of Washington, D.C., this was not only acceptable: it was the conventional wisdom. Indeed, it no doubt still is. However, out in the real world, it fell flat: no normal American believed that for a minute. Endless articles appeared in the media, linking Trump to the Kremlin: a major piece of “evidence” for the “puppet” theory is that the Trump people pushed to keep a plank calling for arming Ukraine out of the Republican party platform. What the new McCarthyites didn’t understand, however, is that nobody cares about Ukraine, as polls consistently show.

The political class is reeling: how could this have happened?

We’ll doubtless be subjected to endless essays on the subject of who or what is to “blame” for Trump: FBI Director James Comey? The “alt right”? WikiLeaks? Putin?

Their problem is that these people live in a bubble: the conservative writer Mollie Hemingway tweeted the night of the election that “ I was at a small DC dinner several weeks ago where several people said they knew not a single Trump supporter. I was like, ‘I know 100s.’” This evokes the famous Pauline Kael quote, who is reputed to have responded to Richard Nixon’s 1972 landslide victory by saying: “I don’t know how Nixon won. I don’t know anybody who voted for him.” Actually, the acerbic film critic didn’t say that, exactly. What she really said was far more telling:

“I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

This puts it succinctly: the inhabitants of the “special world” of the political class — self-satisfied pundits, self-serving politicians, avaricious hedge fund managers, arrogant academics, less-than-thoughtful thinktankers, politically correct scolds, neoconservative warmongers – couldn’t imagine a world in which Donald Trump could win the White House. They laughed at him when he announced, they sneered at him even as he was winning the primaries, and they unleashed more venom than an army of rattlesnakes when he won the Republican nomination, even as they claimed he was headed for a Goldwater-like defeat. The American ruling class lives in a world entirely separate from that of their subjects: even as the peasants with pitchforks gathered in the shadow of the castle, they never saw the Trumpian revolution coming.

In short, they have no idea why he won because they live on a different planet than the rest of us. And yet the reason for his victory is very simple, and it’s no secret. He stated it clearly and succinctly in a remarkable television ad in the final days of the campaign.

Trump understands that, as I put it in my last column, “The main issue in the world today is globalism versus national sovereignty, and it is playing out in the politics of countries on every continent.” A transnational ruling elite, the types who flock to Davos every year, has arisen that believes it has the right to manipulate the peoples of the world like pawns on a chessboard. These lords of creation engage in “regime change” when a government they don’t like challenges their imperial prerogatives: they move entire populations around as if they were human dust – they manipulate currencies, “manage” the world economy — and woe to those who challenge their rule!

And the epicenter of this global ruling elite is located in Washington, D.C., with the White House as the inner sanctum of the whole rotten system. And now that Fortress of Power has been breached. Thus, the panic of the elites.

Trump rode into office promising that “we’ll get along with everybody” who wants peace with the United States, as he said in his victory speech. He campaigned on a platform of “America First” that his enemies derided as “isolationist” and which was, in reality, simply the foreign policy of the Founders of this country. While his stance on immigration provoked a lot of hostility, I would argue that the real reason for the sheer hatred directed at him by both parties is his foreign policy views – especially his radical condemnation of the Iraq war, in which he not only rightly denounced it as a disaster but also said that we were lied into that war. And he sent a message to the neoconservative authors of that war in his April foreign policy speech sponsored by The National Interest magazine. In outlining a new foreign policy vision for this country, he said:

“I will also look for talented experts with new approaches, and practical ideas, rather than surrounding myself with those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.’”

As I put it in my column on the subject: “Here he is openly telling the neocons, who have inveigled themselves into every administration since the days of Ronald Reagan, that they will be kicked to the curb if and when he takes the White House.”

Which brings me to an important point: we must hold Trump’s feet to the fire on this pledge. This is the task of those anti-interventionists who supported him – and there are many – as well as those who stood aside. Let our battle cry be heard: no more neocons!

Trump has said that NATO is “obsolete” – and let’s hold him to that evaluation, and its clear implications. The Soviet Union has been dead since 1989. It’s time to put NATO in mothballs.

Trump has said Japan and Korea must start providing for their own defense: let’s hold him to that one, too. It’s high time to pull US troops out of South Korea, where they are sitting ducks, and out of Japan as well. The Korean war is over: so is World War II. These  countries are wealthy, as Trump has repeatedly pointed out: let them defend themselves.

The Saudis depend on us for their defense: we send them weapons, we train their troops, while they fund terrorism and run one of the nastiest regimes on earth. They’re filthy rich, as Trump has remarked many times: it’s time to cut them loose, too.

In short, it’s time to pressure the new President to keep his promises. Because you can be sure, as the sun rises in the West, that the War Party will try to co-opt the new administration, and do everything in their power to make sure that they retain their hegemony over US foreign policy.

We can’t let that happen.

Trump is sincere, but he’s only one man – yes, he’s the President, but even the chief executive of the United States runs up against limitations; I’m talking about not only political limitations but also the power of the “deep State” – the permanent national security bureaucracy that guards it power and agenda jealously. President Trump cannot stand alone against these powerful forces: he needs a mass movement to stand behind him and, if necessary, push him in the right direction.

This is a great victory for our cause, and I can’t help but feel elated. Yet our job won’t get any easier: indeed, in many ways it will get harder. We are up against an enemy that will fight tooth and nail to retain its dominance, and who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. We must be as determined to stop them as they are to resist the revolutionary wave that is lapping at their feet.

Yes, the revolution has arrived. But this is no time for complacency. Quite the contrary: we must be prepared for the counter-revolutionary reaction that is already setting in. We must ready ourselves to fight – and win.

Counterpoint

 

Donald Trump’s victory is nothing short of a revolution

An era that stretches back to Roosevelt has come to an end. America’s lawmakers must resist falling into line, and challenge the new administration at every turn

November 9, 2016

by Richard Wolffe

The Guardian

We may as well call this what it is: a revolution.

Because nothing else comes close to capturing the political revolt – and the chaos that surely follows – from Donald Trump’s stunning victory in 2016.

We were all wrong. So badly wrong. The polls, the pundits, the press. The elites, the allies, the business leaders. Trump’s victory makes the upset of Brexit look like a quaint tiff over a round of golf.

America and its relationship to the world has fundamentally changed overnight. An era that stretches back to Franklin D Roosevelt just came to an abrupt and ugly end. Instead of being an expansive, outward-looking, globalist power, the United States has definitively turned inward, shutting its borders to Mexicans, Muslims and any number of other perceived enemies of Trump’s demagogic imagination.

At the same time, America itself has been redefined. The bond between its president and its constitution will be strained, if Trump pursues a fraction of what he so clearly promised through this extraordinary election.

His political enemies – notably Hillary Clinton – can expect prosecution led by an FBI that previously found no grounds for legal action over her private email server. The Trump Department of Justice will seek prison time for Clinton, and the only barrier to this punishment is the third and independent branch of government: the judiciary.

Trump promised a deportation force to round up hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of undocumented immigrants starting on his inauguration day in January. His transition to government will surely be dominated by plans to rip through the Latino communities of America’s largest cities. There will be no judicial restraint in these immigration cases.

Amid the political upheaval, we can expect massive economic dislocation. The financial markets will now be calculating the price of uncertainty in global trade flows as they contemplate Trump’s promises to impose huge tariffs on China, restrict international investment by US companies, and force an epic diplomatic breach with Mexico over his beloved wall.

Taken together, Trump’s victory ushers in the most tumultuous period of American history since the Great Depression and the start of world war two. It will challenge the core concepts of American identity and global security as we have known them for generations.

Overnight, Russia has moved from perennial rival to trusted friend, while Nato’s future is in peril. Allies can now expect to pay for their security umbrella, as the US military effectively turns into a mercenary force. Many countries may find cheaper options and break with the US entirely.

Without American assurances of peace, the delicate balance of power and deterrence may well shift decisively in the Middle East and Far East. We can expect a rush to nuclear proliferation as quickly as one major country – Saudi Arabia or Japan – decides to move ahead with an independent nuclear arsenal.

In Trump’s view, this kind of independence is a good thing. For anyone who grew up during the cold war, the threat of nuclear annihilation is a distant memory of what was once an ever present nightmare. For those born as the cold war came to an end, the fear of global destruction will be a new and life-changing experience.

For now, the political establishment in Washington needs to figure out quickly how to respond to this revolution. Republican leaders who shunned Trump will now stampede to his side, but they are unlikely to be forgiven by a man who harbors long and deep grudges. Democrats will be tempted to indulge in Trump-like politics that reflect his populist attacks on foreign forces, diverse communities and personal peeves.

These reactions will be monumental mistakes. The Trump administration needs to be challenged at every turn if Congress is to maintain its independence as a check and balance on executive power.

Democrats need to hold true to their principles of inclusion and diversity as an alternative to a presidency that will dominate the public discourse with hate-filled incitement.

Republicans need to decide if their future lies with the older, white voters who handed power to Trump, or the younger, diverse voters who inexplicably failed to turn out to decide their own future. Those older voters have shaped the present, but the younger voters will surely shape the future.

Revolutions rarely end where they begin. They unleash forces that have been hidden or ignored for years, and perhaps decades. They tear apart families and communities, civil society and private commerce. In a huge and complex country, this revolution may have unequal impact, leading to open conflict in some areas and little more than a shoulder shrug in others.

But, over time, the Trump revolution will be felt in every corner, as the tax base is decimated by a tax-avoiding president, and the deficit balloons out of control. There is no escape from an economic policy that will bankrupt the world’s largest economy, in the hands of a businessman with plenty of experience of bankruptcy.

With no self-discipline, no intellectual curiosity and a vengeful mindset, the Trump White House will make the Nixon years seem like the paragon of virtue they never were.

Eight years ago, as the first newspapers landed in the early hours of the morning, the New York Times proclaimed that Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States.

Those words seemed so stunningly improbable, after so many years of terrorism and wars. Voters had just elected the nation’s first African American president and his name still sounded like an unelectable mashup of two of America’s greatest enemies of the Bush era.

Today, America has managed to conjure up a combination of words that is even more improbable: President-elect Donald Trump.

Congratulations not celebrations: Countries who slammed Trump send best wishes

November 9, 2016

RT

Leaders around the world who previously spoke out against Donald Trump now face the unenviable task of swallowing their pride and issuing grudging congratulations to the president-elect to ensure continuing good relations with the US.

“I consider Donald Trump a man who invests a lot in a policy of fear,” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said back in April. Today Renzi, who openly supported Hillary Clinton, congratulated Trump on his victory. Speaking in Rome he said “I wish him well. The Italo-American friendship is solid,” according to Reuters.

Argentina’s Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra commented only days ago that Trump represented a “more closed, isolationist and xenophobic” model in his agenda.

These tough remarks were all but forgotten today when she congratulated Trump in a tweet reading, “Congratulations Donald Trump on being elected as the new president of the United States. The north American people have spoken at the polls. Congratulations to democracy and its institutions.”

In a possible last jab at Trump, Malcorra added another tweet congratulating Clinton, describing her as a “capable woman not being chosen to fulfill such an important responsibility.”

Ireland’s premier, Enda Kenny, may have some explaining to do when he makes his annual St Patrick’s Day visit to the White House next year. In June, when Trump was due to visit Ireland, Kenny claimed he would be “very happy” to meet the presidential candidates to outline why his views are considered racist.

Following Trump’s victory Kenny sent his congratulations to Trump. “I look forward to working with the new administration in the time ahead in the cause of international peace and security.” he said.

Ireland is a haven for major US companies including Google and Apple who avail of its low corporate tax rate. Kenny is sure to push to maintain this relationship, even managing to mention Vice-President-elect Mike Pence’s Irish heritage in his statement to Trump, describing him as “a proud Irish-American who spent many summers in Ireland as a child”.

German leader Angela Merkel may not have publically expressed her thoughts on Trump, but given that he accused her of “ruining Germany” we can only imagine how hard it was for her to pen today’s congratulatory words.

“I offer the future president of the United States, Donald Trump, close cooperation.” she said in a statement.

French President François Hollande has shown disgust for Trump before. Earlier this year he said his “excesses end up making you feel like you want to retch,” in the wake of Trump’s comments about the family of Hamayun Khan, a decorated Muslim-American soldier who died in the line of duty. Today Hollande warned that his victory “now opens a period of uncertainty.”

The French ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, reacted more strongly to news of Trump’s electoral victory by tweeting that “a world is collapsing before our eyes”. The post was later deleted.

Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted congratulations to the US on it’s decision, adding “Hope that Mexico and United States continue to tighten its ties of cooperation and mutual respect.”

Donald Trump Rode to Power in the Role of the Common Man

November 9, 2016

by Alexander Burns

The New York Times

Donald John Trump defied the skeptics who said he would never run, and the political veterans who scoffed at his slapdash campaign.

He attacked the norms of American politics, singling out groups for derision on the basis of race and religion and attacking the legitimacy of the political process.

He ignored conventions of common decency, employing casual vulgarity and raining personal humiliation on his political opponents and critics in the media.

And in the ultimate act of defiance, Mr. Trump emerged victorious, summoning a tidal wave of support from less educated whites displaced by changes in the economy and deeply resistant to the country’s shifting cultural and racial tones. In his triumph, Mr. Trump has delivered perhaps the greatest shock to the American political system in modern times and opened the door to an era of extraordinary political uncertainty at home and around the globe.

The slashing, freewheeling campaign that took him to the doorstep of the White House replicated a familiar pattern from Mr. Trump’s life, but on an Olympian scale.

The son of a wealthy real estate developer in Queens, Mr. Trump, 70, spent decades pursuing social acceptance in upscale Manhattan and seeking, at times desperately, to persuade the wider world to see him as a great man of affairs. But Mr. Trump was often met with scoffing disdain by wealthy elites and mainstream civic leaders, culminating in a mortifying roast by President Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011.

So Mr. Trump fashioned himself instead as a proudly garish champion of the common man — a person of unsophisticated tastes but distinctive popular appeal — and acted the part in extravagant fashion, first in the New York tabloids and then on national television. He became a pundit of sorts, fulminating against crime in New York City and international trade and Mr. Obama’s legitimacy as president, often in racially incendiary terms.

His candidacy unfolded in much the same way: as the rampage of an aggrieved outsider, aligned more with the cultural sensibilities of blue-collar whites than with his peers in society.

On the first day of his run — June 16, 2015 — Mr. Trump drew a direct parallel between his determined quest for success in New York and his entry into the political arena.

Addressing a crowd made up largely of reporters in the atrium of Trump Tower, Mr. Trump noted that political seers had predicted, “He’ll never run.” Seconds later, he mused that his father, Fred Trump, had urged him never to compete in “the big leagues” of Manhattan.

“‘We don’t know anything about that. Don’t do it,’” Mr. Trump quoted his father as saying. “I said, ‘I’ve got to go into Manhattan. I’ve got to build those big buildings. I’ve got to do it, Dad. I’ve got to do it.’”

Powered by that same grasping ambition, Mr. Trump’s candidacy was marked by countless missteps and grievous errors, from the crude and meandering speeches he delivered daily, to the allegations of sexual assault that appeared to cripple him in the final weeks of the race. No other presidential candidate in memory has given offense so freely and been so battered by scandal, and lived to fight on and win.

Amid all his innumerable blunders, however, Mr. Trump got one or two things right that mattered more than all the rest. On a visceral level, he grasped dynamics that the political leadership of both parties missed or ignored — most of all, the raw frustration of blue-collar and middle-class white voters who rallied to his candidacy with decisive force.

Mr. Trump rallied them less with policy promises than with gut-level pronouncements — against foreign trade, foreign wars and foreign workers. He left his Republican primary opponents agog at his dismissals of mainstream policy, and exposed a yawning breach between the program of tax cuts and fiscal austerity favored by traditional conservatives, and the preoccupations of the party’s rank and file.

Ridiculed by critics on the right and left, shunned by the most respected figures in American politics, including every living former president, Mr. Trump equated his own outcast status with the resentments of the white class.

Even the invective and incivility that appalled the traditional guardians of political discourse seemed only to forge a tighter bond between Mr. Trump and his inflamed following. He dismissed American social norms as mere “political correctness,” mocking the physical appearance of an opponent’s wife, savaging Hillary Clinton’s marriage and wielding stereotypes of racial minorities — all to the applause of his base.

In sum, Mr. Trump offered himself to the country as a tribune of white populist rage, and pledged at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to defend “the laid-off factory workers and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals.”

“These are the forgotten men and women of our country,” Mr. Trump said. “People who work hard but no longer have a voice.”

He pledged: “I am your voice.”

The message resonated especially in the Midwest, where a stunning victory in Ohio helped give Mr. Trump the Electoral College votes he needed to win. But his ultimate triumph was driven less by region than by race and class. His winning coalition consisted of restive whites and scarcely anyone else.

Mr. Trump’s winding path to the presidency began 10 miles east of the spot where he would build Trump Tower, in the wealthy Queens enclave of Jamaica Estates, where his father’s self-made real estate empire granted Mr. Trump an easy entry into the world of construction and development. He showed little interest in politics as a young man, obtaining deferments to avoid fighting in the Vietnam War but declining to participate in the protest movements of that era.

He found his way into the political arena by way of his commercial interests and social aspirations: Under the tutelage of Roy Cohn, the legendary and infamous former adviser to Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, Mr. Trump made himself a presence at fund-raising events and political conventions. As early as the 1980s, he insinuated himself into the company of leaders in both parties, giving money to Ronald Reagan as readily as to Mario M. Cuomo, the liberal governor of New York.

But while Mr. Trump earned headlines at that stage mainly for his romantic escapades and business failures — a lurid divorce from his first wife, Ivana, and a series of corporate bankruptcies — even then he gave hints of loftier political goals. In the run-up to the 1988 presidential campaign, he traveled to New Hampshire to give a speech warning of foreign threats to American economic power.

The next year, Mr. Trump stirred fierce controversy in New York by calling loudly for the institution of the death penalty, in the aftermath of a brutal assault and rape in Central Park, though the five young men charged with the crime were later exonerated.

Still, even as he began to campaign in the early presidential primary states, blasting Mexican migrants in acid language and demanding a shutdown of Muslim immigration into the United States, Mr. Trump never entirely shed his image as a boastful but ultimately benign showman.

Republicans of august political lineage, like Jeb Bush, derided him as “an entertainer,” and trusted, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, that voters would discard him as such in the end.

Democrats, too, who viewed Mr. Trump as plainly unelectable from the start, acknowledged at times that they might have been wrong to sneer at him early on.

Hillary Clinton, appearing on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Myers” last winter, noted that Mr. Trump had initially provoked “hysterical laughter,” before his call for a crackdown on Muslims.

“I no longer think he’s funny,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit

November 9 2016

by Glenn Greenwald

The Intercept

The parallels between the U.K.’s shocking approval of the Brexit referendum in June and the U.S.’ even more shocking election of Donald Trump as president last night are overwhelming. Elites (outside of populist right-wing circles) aggressively unified across ideological lines in opposition to both. Supporters of Brexit and Trump were continually maligned by the dominant media narrative (validly or otherwise) as primitive, stupid, racist, xenophobic, and irrational. In each case, journalists who spend all day chatting with one another on Twitter and congregating in exclusive social circles in national capitals — constantly re-affirming their own wisdom in an endless feedback loop — were certain of victory. Afterward, the elites whose entitlement to prevail was crushed devoted their energies to blaming everyone they could find except for themselves, while doubling down on their unbridled contempt for those who defied them, steadfastly refusing to examine what drove their insubordination.

The indisputable fact is that prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions of people. While elite circles gorged themselves on globalism, free trade, Wall Street casino-gambling, and endless wars (wars that enriched the perpetrators and sent the poorest and most marginalized to bear all their burdens), they completely ignored the victims of their gluttony, except when those victims piped up a bit too much — when they caused a ruckus — and were then scornfully condemned as troglodytes who were the deserved losers in the glorious, global game of meritocracy.

That message was heard loud and clear. The institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population — all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction — are now shocked that their dictates and decrees go unheeded. But human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They’re going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and a culture that they regard, not without reason, as being rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare.

After the Brexit vote, I wrote an article comprehensively detailing these dynamics, which I won’t repeat here but hope those interested will read. The title conveys the crux: “Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions.” That analysis was inspired by a short, incredibly insightful, and now-more-relevant-than-ever post-Brexit Facebook note by The Los Angeles Times’ Vincent Bevins, who wrote that “both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for 30 years”; in particular, “since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt.”

For those who tried to remove themselves from the self-affirming, vehemently pro-Clinton elite echo chamber of 2016, the warning signs that Brexit screechingly announced us were not hard to see. These two short passages from a Slate interview I gave in July — here and here — summarized those grave dangers: that opinion-making elites were so clustered, so incestuous, so far removed from the people who would decide this election, so contemptuous of them, that they were not only incapable of seeing the trends toward Trump but were unwittingly accelerating those trends with their own condescending, self-glorifying behavior.

Like most everyone else who saw the polling data and predictive models of the media’s self-proclaimed data experts, I long believed Clinton would win, but the reasons why she very well could lose were not hard to see. The warning lights were flashing in neon for a long time, but they were in seedy places that elites studiously avoid. The few people who purposely went to those places and listened, such as Chris Arnade, saw and heard them loud and clear. The ongoing failure to take heed of this intense but invisible resentment and suffering guarantees that it will fester and strengthen. This was the last paragraph of my July article on the Brexit fallout:

Instead of acknowledging and addressing the fundamental flaws within themselves, [elites] are devoting their energies to demonizing the victims of their corruption, all in order to delegitimize those grievances and thus relieve themselves of responsibility to meaningfully address them. That reaction only serves to bolster, if not vindicate, the animating perceptions that these elite institutions are hopelessly self-interested, toxic, and destructive and thus cannot be reformed but rather must be destroyed. That, in turn, only ensures there will be many more Brexits, and Trumps, in our collective future.

Beyond the Brexit analysis, there are three new points from last night’s results that I want to emphasize, as they are unique to the 2016 U.S. election and, more importantly, illustrate the elite pathologies that led to all of this:

(1) Democrats have already begun flailing around trying to blame anyone and everyone they can find — everyone except themselves — for last night’s crushing defeat of their party. You know the drearily predictable list of their scapegoats: Russia, WikiLeaks, James Comey, Jill Stein, Bernie Bros, The Media, news outlets (including, perhaps especially, the Intercept) which sinned by reporting negatively on Hillary Clinton. Anyone who thinks that what happened last night in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Michigan can be blamed on any of that is drowning in self-protective ignorance so deep that it’s impossible to express in words.

When a political party is demolished, the principle responsibility belongs to one entity: the party that got crushed. It’s the job of the party and the candidate, and nobody else, to persuade the citizenry to support them and find ways to do that. Last night, the Democrats failed, resoundingly, to do that, and any autopsy or liberal think piece or pro-Clinton-pundit commentary that does not start and finish with their own behavior is one that is inherently worthless.

Put simply, Democrats knowingly chose to nominate a deeply unpopular, extremely vulnerable, scandal-plagued candidate, who — for very good reason — was widely perceived to be a protector and beneficiary of all the worst components of status quo elite corruption. It’s astonishing that those of us who tried frantically to warn Democrats that nominating Hillary Clinton was a huge and scary gamble, that all empirical evidence showed that she could lose to anyone and that Bernie Sanders would be a much stronger candidate especially in this climate — are now the ones being blamed: by the very same people who insisted on ignoring all that data and nominating her anyway.

But that’s just basic blame-shifting and self-preservation. Far more significant is what this shows about the mentality of the Democratic Party. Just think about who they nominated: someone who — when she wasn’t dining with Saudi monarchs and being feted in Davos by tyrants who gave million-dollar checks — spent the last several years piggishly running around to Wall Street banks and major corporations cashing in with $250,000 fees for 45-minute secret speeches even though she had already become unimaginably rich with book advances while her husband already made tens of millions playing these same games. She did all that without the slightest apparent concern for how that would feed into all the perceptions and resentments of her and the Democratic Party as corrupt, status-quo-protecting, aristocratic tools of the rich and powerful: exactly the worst possible behavior for this post-2008-economic-crisis era of globalism and destroyed industries.

It goes without saying that Trump is a sociopathic con artist obsessed with personal enrichment: the opposite of a genuine warrior for the downtrodden. That’s too obvious to debate. But, just as Obama did so powerfully in 2008, he could credibly run as an enemy of the D.C. and Wall Street system that has steamrolled over so many people, while Hillary Clinton is its loyal guardian, its consummate beneficiary.

Trump vowed to destroy the system that elites love (for good reason) and the masses hate (for equally good reason), while Clinton vowed to more efficiently manage it. That, as Matt Stoller’s indispensable article in the Atlantic three weeks ago documented, is the conniving choice the Democratic Party made decades ago: to abandon populism and become the party of technocratically proficient, mildly benevolent mangers of elite power. Those are the cynical, self-interested seeds they planted, and now the crop has sprouted.

Of course there are fundamental differences between Obama’s version of “change” and Trump’s. But at a high level of generality — which is where these messages are often ingested — both were perceived as outside forces on a mission to tear down corrupt elite structures, while Clinton was perceived as devoted to their fortification. That is the choice made by Democrats — largely happy with status quo authorities, believing in their basic goodness — and any honest attempt by Democrats to find the prime author of last night’s debacle will begin with a large mirror.

(2) That racism, misogyny and xenophobia are pervasive in all sectors of America is indisputable from even a casual glance at its history, both distant and recent. There are reasons why all presidents until 2008 were white and all 45 elected presidents are men. There can be no doubt that those pathologies played a substantial role in last night’s outcome. But that fact answers very few questions, and begs many critical ones.

To begin with, one must confront the fact that not only was Barack Obama elected twice, but is poised to leave office as a highly popular president: now viewed more positively than Reagan. America wasn’t any less racist and xenophobic in 2008 and 2012 than it is now. Even stalwart Democrats fond of casually branding their opponents as bigots are acknowledging that a far more complicated analysis is required to understand last night’s results. As the New York Times’ Nate Cohn put it: “Clinton suffered her biggest losses in the places where Obama was strongest among white voters. It’s not a simple racism story.” Matt Yglesias acknowledged that Obama’s high approval rating is inconsistent with depictions of the U.S. as “county besotted with racism.”

People often talk about “racism/sexism/xenophobia” v. “economic suffering” as if they are totally distinct dichotomies. Of course there are substantial elements of both in Trump’s voting base, but the two categories are inextricably linked: the more economic suffering people endure, the angrier and more bitter they get, the easier it is to direct their anger to scapegoats. Economic suffering often fuels ugly bigotry. It is true that many Trump voters are relatively well-off and that many of the nation’s poorest voted for Clinton, but, as Michael Moore quite presciently warned, those portions of the country that have been most ravaged by free trade orgies and globalism — Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa — were filled with rage and “see [Trump] as a chance to be the human Molotov cocktail that they’d like to throw into the system to blow it up.” Those are the places that were decisive in Trump’s victory.

It long has been, and still is, a central American challenge to rid its society of these structural inequalities. But one way to ensure those scapegoating dynamics fester rather than erode is to continue to embrace a system that excludes and ignores a large portion of the population. Hillary Clinton was viewed, reasonably, as a stalwart devotee, beloved agent, and prime beneficiary of that system, and thus could not possibly be viewed as a credible actor against it.

(3) Over the last six decades, and particularly over the last fifteen years of the endless War on Terror, both political parties have joined to construct a frightening and unprecedentedly invasive and destructive system of authoritarian power, accompanied by the unbridled authority vested in the Executive Branch to use it. As a result, the president of the United States commands a vast nuclear arsenal that can destroy the planet many times over; the deadliest and most expensive military ever developed in human history; legal authorities that allow him to prosecute numerous secret wars at the same time, imprison people with no due process, and to target people (including U.S. citizens) for assassination with no oversight; domestic law enforcement agencies that are constructed to appear and to act as standing, para-militarized armies; a sprawling penal state that allows imprisonment far more easily than most western countries; and a system of electronic surveillance purposely designed to be ubiquitous and limitless, including on U.S. soil.

Those who have been warning of the grave dangers these powers pose have often been dismissed on the ground that the leaders who control this system are benevolent and well-intentioned. They have thus often resorted to the tactic of urging people to imagine what might happen if a president they regarded as less-then-benevolent one day gained control of it. That day has arrived. One hopes that this will at least provide the impetus to unite across ideological and partisan lines to finally impose meaningful limits on these powers that should never have been vested in the first place. That commitment should start now.

 

* * * * *

For many years, the U.S. — like the U.K. and other western nations — has embarked on a course that virtually guaranteed a collapse of elite authority and internal implosion. From the invasion of Iraq to the 2008 financial crisis to the all-consuming framework of prisons and endless wars, societal benefits have been directed almost exclusively to the very elite institutions most responsible for failure at the expense of everyone else.

It was only a matter of time before instability, backlash and disruption resulted. Both Brexit and Trump unmistakably signal its arrival. The only question is whether those two cataclysmic events will be the peak of this process, or just the beginning. And that, in turn, will be determined by whether their crucial lessons are learned — truly internalized — or ignored in favor of self-exonerating campaigns to blame everyone else.

Trump’s victory has enormous consequences for the Supreme Court

November 9, 2016

by Robert Barnes

The Washington Post

The political earthquake that hit Tuesday night has enormous consequences for the Supreme Court, swallowing up Judge Merrick Garland’s ill-fated nomination and dismantling Democratic hopes for a liberal majority on the high court for the first time in nearly a half-century.

In the short term, Republican Donald Trump’s victory means that at some point next year, the nine-member court will be restored to full capacity, once again with a majority of Republican-appointed justices.

Democratic attempts to filibuster Trump’s choice would likely lead Republicans to end that option for Supreme Court justices, just as Democrats did for other judicial nominations when their party controlled the Senate.

Trump’s upset victory likely changes the court’s docket as well: Court challenges to President Obama’s regulations regarding the Affordable Care Act and immigration, which have preoccupied the justices in recent terms, will likely disappear under a President Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress.

The long-term question will be Trump’s ultimate impact on the court’s membership, and whether he gets the chance to do more than choose the successor to Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.

Two of the court’s liberals, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, are 83 and 78, respectively. Moderate conservative Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is 80.

As long as those three stay, the court’s rulings on sensitive social issues — protecting abortion rights, affirmative action and gay rights, for instance — are secure.

“A lot of the big things are actually ones on which the court already has a so-called liberal majority,” Neal K. Katyal, the acting solicitor general under President Obama, said before the court’s term began last month.

Tuesday’s election assures that Kennedy will remain the court’s pivotal justice, for now. Trump has said he will draw his Supreme Court nominee from a list of 20 judges and one senator: Mike Lee of Utah. All appear to be more conservative than Kennedy, the court’s longest-serving justice.

Kennedy is the member of the current court most likely to be in the majority when the court splits 5 to 4 in its most controversial decisions. Most of the time, he sides with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the court’s other remaining conservatives: Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.But on some social issues, Kennedy sides with the liberals: Ginsburg, Breyer and Obama’s two choices for the court, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

He joined them and wrote the majority opinion finding that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry; in fact, Kennedy has written all of the court’s cases protecting gay rights.

Last term, he wrote the decision approving the limited use of race in college admission decisions, and voted to strike down a Texas law that the court said imposed unnecessary burdens on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.

But three of the five justices supporting those issues are the oldest on the court. Abortion rights advocates immediately sounded an alarm.

“President-elect Trump has publicly pledged to overturn Roe and promised punishment for the one in three American women who will have an abortion in her lifetime,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. She was referring to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision assuring a woman’s right to an abortion

Garland, a moderate liberal who is chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, would likely have replaced Kennedy as the justice in the middle. Obama nominated him last March in part because Republicans in the past have said he was the most likely Democratic nominee to win confirmation.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared on the night of Scalia’s death that Republicans would not act on any Obama nominee. The move brought charges that McConnell had politicized the process, but the gambit worked: It will now be a Republican president making the lifetime appointment to replace Scalia.

Trump has said his nominee will come from the list compiled with the help of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and the legal group, the Federalist Society. His nominee will be like Scalia in seeking to overturn Roe and be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Trump has said.

All eyes will now be on the court’s oldest members, Kennedy and Ginsburg. Replacing Kennedy with a more stalwart conservative would immediately impact the court’s dynamics. He has given no indication about how long he intends to serve on the court.

Ginsburg has said she will serve as long as she is up to the job. She would likely be loath to allow Trump to pick her successor; she caused an uproar this summer when in media interviews she called him a “faker” and said she feared for the court and the country if he were elected.

Ginsburg turned aside calls from some liberals that she retire years ago, so that Obama could name her replacement. She said it was unclear whether the Senate would confirm her successor. And she told The Washington Post that there was no rush: She felt it was likely that another Democrat would be elected after Obama.

Trump campaign manager does not rule out special prosecutor for Hillary Clinton – MSNBC

November 9, 2016

RT

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, speaking on MSNBC, said appointing a special prosecutor for Hillary Clinton can’t be ruled out, adding that discussion regarding the issue will happen “in due time.”

Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence are “looking to unify the country, but we haven’t discussed that in recent days, and I think that it’s all in due time,” campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told MSNBC in an interview, as quoted by Reuters.

Trump did not bring up the issue when speaking on the phone with Clinton overnight, the campaign manager added in a separate interview for ABC.

During his campaign, Trump said that if he wins, Clinton might end up with a special prosecutor looking into “her situation.”

“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. Because there have never been so many lies, so much deception,” he said at the October 10 debate.

Trump then also added that Clinton owed an apology for the “33,000 emails you deleted” and that she “would be in jail” if he becomes president.

The FBI has been looking into Clinton’s emails for a few months now, but their response has been “no charges.”

In late October, the agency said that they would take new, “appropriate investigative steps” into Clinton’s use of a private server during her time as US Secretary of State.

They received a search warrant to look through some 650,000 emails on ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop, which was apparently also used by his wife, Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin.

In July, the probe ended with no charges being made, as with the latest search: in the Sunday letter, FBI director James Comey wrote that the agency has “not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”

Israel PM Netanyahu, anchorwoman in public row

A text vilifying Israel’s media from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has been read on air by a television journalist. Ilana Dayan had just fronted a probe into the workings of the premier’s administration.

November 8, 2016

DW

Dayan used six minutes of airtime on Tuesday to read Netanyahu’s response to her report, while standing in front of his office, including his accusations that she was a part of Israel’s “extreme left” and had recycled “warped gossip and vicious lies.”

Netanyahu’s party Likud did not comment Tuesday on the slanging match.

Dayan’s initial investigative report – broadcast by privately owned Channel 2 television on Monday night – included claims that Netanyahu’s wife Sara  had vetted appointments and that a candidate for the spy agency Mossad was denied a job.

The would-be Mossad head had reportedly refused to guarantee his personal loyalty to Netanyahu, saying instead his loyalty lay with the Israeli nation.

Dayan’s report also included an allegation that an intended Netanyahu trip to Germany had to be cancelled at the request of his wife.

‘Orchestrated attack’

The lengthy written response from Netanyahu’s office accused Dayan of being part of an “orchestrated attack” intended to “topple” his government while questioning her professional integrity.

The Netanyahu-Dayan clash coincided with efforts to shut down Israel’s existing state broadcaster IBA and government wavering over a successor network, the new Public Broadcasting Corporation (PBC).

Already, 500 staff have been hired from the new channel, which is due to go on air next January. Almost half of those recruits were previously at the IBA.

The reform, ostensibly to revitalize public broadcasting, was launched in 2014. Netanyahu initially approved it.

But in recent months he has turned against the project, without publicly explaining why, while also quarrelling with his finance minister Moshe Kahlon, who stressed that substantial taxpayer funds had already been invested in the reform.

Kahlon’s centrist party Kulanu, holds 10 seats in Netanyahu’s 67-seat coalition, which has a thin majority in Israel’s 120-seat parliament.

Generations of Israelis have grown up with the IBA, including its leading television channel and eight radio stations in multiple languages.

New PBC ‘hijacked’

Last month, the chairman of Netanyahu’s coalition, David Bitan, said the premier had turned against the successor network because “the corporation has been hijacked by people whose agenda is leftist and anti-government.”

“What we see is an across the board attempt by Mr Netanyahu and his government to control all forms of media,” said Elad Man, legal adviser of the media watchdog organization the Seventh Eye.

“I don’t think we should even try to imagine what will happen to Israel as a society and a democracy if those attempts succeed,” said Man.

Press interviews rare

Reuters observed Tuesday that Netanyahu had largely avoided on the record interviews with the Israeli press – amid a feud with the leading newspaper group Yedioth Ahronoth – and opted instead for social media.

Israeli opposition figures on Tuesday, including Labor party leader, Ehud Barak, criticized Netanyahu sharply over his response to Dayan.

 

Netanyahu attacks Israeli media, singles out investigative journalist

November 8, 2016

by Maayan Lubell

Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered an unprecedented vilification of the Israeli media on Monday, accusing a leading television journalist of being part of a plot to bring down his right-wing government.

After declining to be interviewed by Channel Two anchorwoman Ilana Dayan for a piece investigating the workings of his administration and the role his wife plays in appointing officials, Netanyahu’s office sent a written statement.

Dayan read it in its entirety on air, taking six minutes to deliver the tirade against her as she stood in front of the prime minister’s office.

“It is time to peel the mask off the face of Ilana Dayan, who has shown once more that she has no professional integrity,” the statement said.

“Ilana Dayan is one of the leaders of an orchestrated attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, intended to topple the right-wing government and bring about the establishment of a left-wing government.”

The statement referred to popular disaffection with the media — a survey last year found two-thirds of Israelis believe the media is left-leaning — and reiterated the need for an overhaul of national broadcasting.

It said the public had lost trust in the main media organizations, which it said had abandoned all restraint in their propaganda against Netanyahu and his Likud government.

“Dayan’s show…demonstrates perfectly why the media industry needs reform. The prime minister is determined to open the market up to competition that will add a greater variety of opinions, as well as an efficient national broadcaster.”

The onslaught astonished commentators. While Netanyahu is known for his fractious relationship with the media, few expected such an angry and personalized assault.

It comes at a time when he and his close associates in the Likud party face criticism for their haphazard efforts to shut down the existing state broadcaster and set up a successor.

There has also been widespread coverage of allegations by housekeepers and other employees against Netanyahu’s wife, who is often portrayed as a demanding figure.

That has compounded a feud between Netanyahu and leading newspaper group Yedioth Ahronoth, which campaigned against him ahead of his reelection last year.

Netanyahu has made no secret of his dislike for Yedioth and its publisher, Noni Mozes, and has largely avoided on the record interviews with the Israeli press, preferring to distribute statements and videos by YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Critics now fear he is going after broadcast outlets.

“What we see is an across the board attempt by Mr Netanyahu and his government to control all forms of media,” said Elad Man, legal adviser of media watchdog the Seventh Eye.

“I don’t think we should even try to imagine what will happen to Israel as a society and a democracy if those attempts succeed.”

MEDIA MESS

In 2014, Netanyahu agreed to create a new public broadcast network, which says it will be ready to go on air in January. It has already hired 500 staff with plans to take on 150 more.

But now Netanyahu wants to pull the plug on the operation. He has not said why, but allies have talked about the soaring costs while the chairman of his coalition, David Bitan, said in October it was because of its bias against Netanyahu.

“The corporation has been hijacked by people whose agenda is leftist and anti-government,” Bitan told Channel Two, one of Israel’s leading commercial channels.

He later said he had checked the Facebook pages of some journalists working at the new broadcaster and found them critical of the government.

Netanyahu’s office did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

His volte-face over the network is now causing problems in his coalition. His finance minister says shutting down the broadcaster will cost far more than keeping it going and has threatened to withdraw his support.

He and Netanyahu agreed to set up a committee to tackle the issue, comprising officials from the finance ministry, the communications ministry and the prime minister’s office.

Netanyahu showed up to the first meeting. One source said he told them he “could not put up” with the new broadcaster, and another quoted him as saying: “I am willing to call an election over this.”

Netanyahu’s culture minister, close ally Miri Regev, was quoted in newspapers as telling a cabinet meeting: “What is the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation worth if we are not in control of it?”

The row has raised concerns about declining media freedom in Israel.

The country’s most widely read newspaper is a free sheet called Israel Today, owned by U.S. casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, that is relentlessly pro-Netanyahu. The prime minister also serves as communications minister, giving him regulatory powers over the sector.

Freedom House, an international media freedom group, this year downgraded Israel’s ranking to “partly free”. Some commentators have compared Israel unfavorably to Turkey and warned of a wider clampdown.

That seems unlikely given how outspoken much of the press remains. But President Reuven Rivlin saw fit to comment last week, telling parliament in remarks seen as critical of Netanyahu: “Anyone in favor of public broadcasting cannot turn it into a mouthpiece for commissars.”

To Yossi Verter, a political analyst for the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, the moves by Netanyahu and his point-man Bitan have dangerous echoes.

“Netanyahu’s emissary is on a death mission to destroy what’s left of Israeli media,” he wrote last week, describing Bitan’s conduct as akin to the 1950s hearings by U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy against Communists and “subversives”.

(Additional reporting by Lianne Back and Rami Amichay; editing by Luke Baker and Angus MacSwan)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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