Not Normal, Not Acceptable, Not Negotiable

by Kate Glasheen


We got to face some facts. That the masses are poor, that the masses belong to what you call the lower class, and when I talk about the masses, I’m talking about the white masses, I’m talking about the black masses, and the brown masses, and the yellow masses, too. We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. We say you don’t fight capitalism with no black capitalism; you fight capitalism with socialism. –Fred Hampton, Black Panther, assassinated this day in 1969, at the age of 21

Exactly that simple.

The fuckers won by dividing us for decades, starting with their own white supremacy identity politics in the 1960s.


(Link.)


Stick a fork in America; it’s done. The truths have been slowly leaking out and now the picture’s pretty clear.

There are many countries in the world that are governed by men who use their office to enrich themselves and their families. Before now, or at least for the last 200 years (since Andrew Jackson secretly profited off his own land grabs) the United States of America has not been a country like this. The modern American tradition has required political leaders to renounce any financial interest that might bias their decision. Donald Trump has abruptly demolished this tradition. And the Republican Party is happy to oblige.
The U.S. government’s imperviousness to the kind of deep corruption that infects kleptocratic states had a key vulnerability: It rested on two completely voluntary norms. The first, a requirement that presidential candidates publish their tax returns so that their financial interests are public, was already discarded during the campaign. After some feeble, initial protest, reporters stopped bringing up the subject, and Republicans stopped suggesting that Trump comply. The second is a requirement that presidents divest their wealth and place it in a blind trust, so that they cannot knowingly make any decision that might redound to their personal benefit. Trump has discarded this norm as well. The only remaining obstacle to Trump leveraging his power for personal gain is a Congress controlled by his own party.
Republicans have mostly dealt with Trump’s conflicts by ignoring them altogether. (Link.)

There is horror and anguish in the ranks of the Democratic Party these days. Pablo Picasso’s Guernica is probably the best known visual icon for horror and anguish.

(Link.)


Donald’s news sources; garbage in….

Garbage out:

It’s worth noting that BuzzFeed News’ analysis of Trump’s shared links suggests that when the president-elect does tweet a report from a mainstream publication, it is often to share positive news about himself or a report that supports his positions. Trump, for example, was quick to share a Slate story touting polling data on his own leadership qualities — he shared the story twice in two days — adding an “I agree!” endorsement. But beyond one other nonscientific online poll, Trump did not share any of the more than 4,400 Slate stories containing his name — many of them adversarial in their coverage — published on the site within the past year.

A start:

As Frances Lee puts it, “every time the president succeeds it hurts the minority party and every time the president fails it helps the minority party.” (Obviously, “minority party” formulation, is a little misleading in this context, but this makes the political benefits of obstructionism even more compelling.) Even if the social science didn’t show this, and McConnell hadn’t shown it, it should be fairly obvious anyway. The typical voter sees politics through the lens of the president. If the president is passing stuff with bipartisan collaboration, the president gets the credit. If there’s gridlock, the president gets blamed. * * [T]he optimal Democratic strategy is very straightforward: stop Republicans from passing as much stuff as possible and make sure Republicans fully own whatever crap Ryan and McConnell do pass. This would be the right strategy if Trump was popular. In fact, he’s an unpopular figure who, as Democrats should remind the public at every opportunity, was not chosen by the people. Just say no. The end. (Link.)



(Link.)

You want more?

Yesterday, Trump announced with great fanfare that he had brokered a deal to keep less than half of Carrier’s jobs in the USA, in exchange for a very generous tax-subsidy paid for by the Americans who — unlike Trump — pay taxes.
In other words, Trump has shown that companies that threaten to leave the USA will be allowed to do so with impunity, and will, furthermore, get paid to do so by the American taxpayer.
In a Washington Post editorial, Bernie Sanders points out that Trump could have used a stick rather than a worker-funded carrot to keep Carrier in the country — for example, by threatening to end its generous tax-subsidies, or by threatening to yank the billions the company receives as a military contractor. (Link.)

If Donald believed in facts and knowledge other than exceptional pandering, he’d know that this is not a means for creating jobs. He now needs to create approximately 2,501,200 jobs. Number’s gone up.

Prof. K.:

Start with the ridiculous nature of the whole thing: we’re talking, it now turns out, about 800 jobs in a nation with 145 million workers. Around 75,000 workers lose their jobs every working day. How does something that isn’t even rounding error in the overall jobs picture come to dominate a couple of news cycles?
Yet it did — with overwhelmingly positive coverage, at least on TV news. And that’s ominous in itself. It says that large parts of the news media, whose credulous Trump coverage and sniping at HRC helped bring us to where we are, will be even worse, even more poodle-like, now that this guy is in office.
Meanwhile, as Larry Summers says, the precedent — although tiny — is not good: it’s not just crony capitalism, it’s government as protection racket, where companies shape their strategies to appease politicians who will reward or punish based on how it affects their PR efforts and/or personal fortunes. That is, we’re looking at what may well be the beginning of a descent into banana republic governance.

Roy Edroso:

As for the Carrier deal, you know what? First and foremost I’m happy for those guys who will get to keep their jobs. It sucks that many of the Carrier employees are losing their jobs and no one seems to give a shit, and that the propaganda Trump is making of it is probably a model for his general kleptocracy cover, and (most of all) that nothing about him and his factota suggests there’ll be anything like a policy that would generate better-than-subsistence-wage jobs for those hinterland honkies who thought voting for him was gonna fix everything. But in this round of winners-and-losers at least somebody who isn’t a billionaire won something; also, we get to hear the hardcore wingnuts sputtering that it’s not real conservatism — and their Twitter followers snarling back at them.

By the way: Can someone lucid explain how having the nation led by the worst thieves and liars makes a nation great?

Alternate script:
“If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?”
“Since you’re so rich, why aren’t you smart?”
Another alternate script:
Capitalist: What’s that you say? You need some rope? I’d be happy to sell you some.
Worker: Thank you. Now stand closer to that tree.

(Link.)


China has lodged an official diplomatic protest with the U.S. following an alarming and unprecedented phone call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen. The ten-minute call, which occurred on Friday, is believed to be the first by a U.S. president or president-elect with a Taiwanese leader since at least 1979, when the U.S. re-opened diplomatic relations with China and broke them off with Taiwan. China considers the self-ruled Taiwan a breakaway province, and tensions between the Chinese and Taiwanese governments have worsened since Tsai, the leader of Taiwan’s pro-independence political party, was elected president in January. As many have pointed out, Trump’s call could have significant long-term ramifications for U.S.-Sino relations, as well as risk a dangerous and destabilizing escalation of the conflict between China and Taiwan. (Link.)

I would think that Trump’s given his and America’s balls to China in order to make deals is a bigger problem.

That said, the PRC won’t forget the slight. And they now really know what a fool Trump is.



Every time there is a changing of the guard in the White House — and especially if party control flips as well — those senior figures close to the new president have a very important choice to make. They can go into the new administration and seek to shape the course of national and global events, knowing they will have to put up with crazy working hours, tight ethics rules, backstabbing colleagues, ambitious and tireless youngsters, and accountability for real-life developments. Or they can stay out of the administration and trade on their relationship to POTUS by bloviating about the course of national and global events for big bucks.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich did not take long at all after the election of his buddy Donald Trump to choose the latter route. (Link.)

The Department of Labor is appealing the judge’s decision blocking the Obama administration’s expansion of overtime eligibility [likely to be dropped by the incoming administration]. That expansion would mean that millions of additional workers would be paid time and a half if they worked more than 40 hours a week, which means that a lot of people are now being kept from either extra time or extra money they should be getting.
[snip]
But the court case could be moot if Donald Trump decides he doesn’t think workers should get overtime. And Dave Jamieson points out that this is yet another conflict of interest for Trump, whose businesses would likely have to pay some workers more under the new threshold[.] (Link.)

Further impoverishment will help workers financially, making America great again.


The rhetoric of “school choice” is all about building a pipeline to send public dollars to private coffers — and Mike Pence’s Indiana is an example of how that pipeline can send public dollars to churches.
[snip]
“Out of the list of more than 300 schools, I could find only four that weren’t overtly religious and, of those, one was solely for students with Asperger’s syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders, and the other is an alternative school for at-risk students.”
[snip]
“A study by researchers at Notre Dame University published last year shows that in the first three years of the program, Indiana kids who left public schools to attend voucher schools saw their math scores decline in comparison with their peers who remained in regular public schools. The public school students saw improvements in their English skills, but the voucher kids’ results stayed flat.” (Link.)

Awesome separation of church and state. Also great to see where christian churches stand on that Thou shalt not steal thing — because that’s what this is: theft from taxpayers.


One Republican lobbyist said that in discussions about a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement, insurers are “painting a picture of the market that isn’t very pretty and Republican staffers are getting the picture.”
“They want to pump money back in to the insurers without appearing like they’re giving them a handout or bailing them out,” the lobbyist added. (Link.)

Preet Bharara said Wednesday that he’d agreed to stay on in his role as Manhattan U.S. Attorney at President-elect Donald Trump’s request.
Following a meeting with Trump inside Trump Tower, Bharara explained that he had been summoned by the President-elect to discuss remaining in his position and had made up his mind “to stay on.”

The reason Trump’s allowing him to remain can’t possibly be due to his failure to bring any meaningful prosecutions against Wall Street and his awesome work trying to eliminate, as it were, Democratic control in Albany.

In other words, if the US Attorney’s doing the Republicans’ work, why fire him?


Huge growth of the swamp here — the return of huge monopolies:

We’ve been discussing how despite all of the “populist” rhetoric on the Trump campaign trail, the President Elect has nominated several cozy telecom industry insiders to guide his telecom policy and select a new FCC boss. Both Jeffrey Eisenach and Mark Jamison have lobbied and worked for large ISPs, spending most of the last decade vehemently fighting against any and every consumer reform in telecom. Both have made it abundantly clear they not only want to roll back net neutrality and new broadband privacy rules passed under current boss Tom Wheeler, but they want to dismantle the FCC entirely.
With every indication that the government will be significantly more friendly to telecom giants in the new year, Wall Street has quickly gotten to work giddily daydreaming about mergers that were previously unthinkable in the space. Most commonly that involves predictions that Sprint will finally merge with T-Mobile (blocked under the current FCC because it would have reduced overall wireless competitors), or that Comcast and Charter will try to buy either Sprint or T-Mobile as part of a broader cable industry attempt to push into wireless.

For the young: Monopolies bring higher prices and a lack of competition or alternatives for consumers. Very awesome.


Turd-magnet checklist; still attracting only the worst:

I have written before about what a piece of work Trump National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, is. He’s way out on the fringe. His son, who is working on the transition with his father and serves as his chief of staff, is even worse.
Last night he was tweeting like a madman about this #Pizzagate conspiracy theory saying he believes it’s true that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta are running a pedophile ring out of the back of a pizza place. (As you’ve undoubtedly heard, a wingnut with a gun went into the pizza place to “investigate” and fired his weapon yesterday, luckily no one was hurt.) Flynn Sr has been saying that Hillary Clinton was involved with a child sex ring for weeks although it is a slightly different conspiracy than this particular one. It doesn’t specify that they are raping the children in this particular pizza parlor. (That’s right, the new National Security Adviser believes Hillary Clinton is a pedophile. For all we know the whole administration is that insane.) (Link.)

DON MCGAHN, SOON to be Donald Trump’s White House counsel, bears as much responsibility as any single person for turning America’s campaign finance system into something akin to a gigantic, clogged septic tank.
From 2008 to 2013, McGahn was one of the six members of the Federal Election Commission, the government agency in charge of civil enforcement of campaign finance laws. While there, he led a GOP campaign that essentially ground enforcement of election laws to a halt. (Link.)

Comrades are offended by this choice. But then again, this is an incredibly appropriate choice given that Trump’s entire career has been based in huge part on skating on the edge of legality, scamming the system. Now that he’s using his position as POTUS for rampant self-enrichment, McGahn is exactly what he needs.


Donald Trump has for the third time tweeted how angry he is about Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of him on “Saturday Night Live.” (Link.)

Let us now imagine how he’ll react when a foreign leader doesn’t agree to what he wants.

Of course, that’s fairly unlikely since he wants business deals with all major countries, so he’ll be going into negotiations willing to acquiesce. Ask not what you can do for America but tell me what you want me to do so I get do business in your country.

Whatever; Baldwin replies:

Release your tax returns and I’ll stop.
Ha

Never forget

That’s the track that’s riven me, speaking directly to the part of me that is terrified by the taking of the White House by a out-and-our fascist who is packing his cabinet with literal criminals — the part of me that’s spent a month working feverishly with other activists to figure out how we’re going to fight this monster and win our way through to something better.
It’s a track that mixes the Allan Ginsberg and Martin Luther King, that speaks of victory and defeat, that is about suffering losses without surrender, that is scathing on the subject of “allies” who decide that collaborating to protect themselves is more important than fighting to win, but still expect you to carry the struggle. (Link.)

Outside the growing swamp

The pipeline is largely complete except for the now-blocked segment underneath Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir. According to a news release, Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said her decision was based on the need to “explore alternate routes” for the pipeline’s crossing.
“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Darcy said. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.” (Link.)

Battle won. Not the war. Not yet, not ever.

Pipeline’s going get completed.

Maybe even through the res.


Jurors in a Charleston, South Carolina, courtroom said Friday they were deadlocked on whether to convict a white South Carolina police officer on trial for shooting an African-American man in the back. The video taken last year by a passerby was viewed online millions of times.

Even the people want cops to have a license to kill.

I get it, that cops benefit from the no time to think about what I professionally see as a threat defense.

But if they can walk on an open and shut case like this, there’s pretty much no need to prosecute one again — all close enough to hopeless to think of getting a conviction. At the least, cops can be reassured from this case that yes, they do have a license to kill as they please.


New commandment:

Thou shalt not covet a share of thy employer’s wealth.

Teamster general president James P. Hoffa managed to hang onto power in the recent international Teamster election — but barely.
He was challenged for general president by Fred Zuckerman and the Teamsters United reform slate. Along with his running mate Tim Sylvester, the former president of New York Local 804, Zuckerman spent the last two years crisscrossing the country meeting with thousands of rank-and-file Teamsters infuriated by sell-out contracts, bankrupt pensions, and cascading corruption scandals. (Link.)

The only functional unions are those that serve the employers at the workers’ expense.

And then there’s this:

Hoffa eked out a win by a mere six thousand votes out of 213,000 cast in the United States and Canada in the closest election in Teamsters’ history.

So query: Why are elections always so close? Makes no sense….



&c.

So.

Revisionist history doing what it does best: Correcting the mistakes of established histories.

In this case, the South were not rebelling from the North, but was an establishment that the Lincoln adminsitration and Republicans were out to render impotent and impoverished. In other words, the North were the rebels.

Yes, that is tragic to only allow the South to count slaves at 60 percent of a human when in fact the law did not even consider slaves human in any legal way! And this only allowed the Slave Power and their northern sympathizers to control nearly the entire federal government between 1789 and 1860! Why can’t you libs tell the whole story!!!!

Seen from that perspective — and I’m in no way defending the South — Lincoln’s election was radical, extreme, the Civil War understandable — a war to return things to the old normal. Like this year’s (but that was in no way a good thing).

And then there’s FDR’s manipulation and pressuring of Japan to force the latter to do something justifying war — that’s accepted among believers in facts how we actually got into the war.

The question for scoffers, the dismayed, the snowflakes, is: Given that foreign policy was heavily controlled by isolationists and the will of the people was needed for war, what alternative did FDR have? And no, staying out of the war was not acceptable.


The corporate media aren’t reporting this: People are willing to pay for journalism that reports important stories accurately. One example here.

Actually, not really a new story; people have been paying forever. It’s just the mainstream outlets they’re rejecting because, really, who wants to pay for shit? Or put this way: If you have to pay for corporate garbage, most people would pass. And do.


From the Dog Bites Man Department:

People are fools, for whatever reason. Here’s why.


Laughter: The best medicine, when affordable

Is America too “soft and feminine” for followers of Jesus?

Last week, though, Steven Mnuchin said something unexpected on CNBC, in his first interview after becoming Donald Trump’s choice for Treasury secretary. A friendly host invited Mnuchin to respond to the liberal charge that Trump’s tax cut was a sop to the rich. Mnuchin, a financier and former Goldman Sachs partner, refused — and made news instead.
“It’s not the case at all,” he said. “Any reductions we have in upper-income taxes will be offset by less deductions, so that there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class. There will be a big tax cut for the middle class, but any tax cuts we have for the upper class will be offset by less deductions that pay for it.”
This is now a clear standard by which any Trump tax cut should be judged.

Not The Onion, but The Times. Still a laugh.

Mnuchin’s comment defies all credibility. Good to see the Times taking it seriously.



The Onion or, say, Sarah Palin?

When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent. Meanwhile, the invisible hand that best orchestrates a free people’s free enterprise system gets amputated. Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail.