Trump miscellany

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Charles Blow's statement that no, we can't just get along refers to Trump's recent meeting with the publisher and staff of the New York Times:

He seemed to indicate that he wouldn't seek to prosecute Hillary Clinton. But he should never have said that he was going to do that in the first place.

He seemed to indicate that he wouldn't encourage the military to use torture. But he should never have said that he would do that in the first place.

He said that he would have an "open mind" on climate change. But that should always have been his position.

You don't get a pat on the back for ratcheting down from rabid after exploiting that very radicalism to your advantage. Unrepentant opportunism belies a staggering lack of character and caring that can't simply be vanquished from memory. You did real harm to this country and many of its citizens, and I will never -- never -- forget that.

His parting assessment is bluntly brutal:

You are an aberration and abomination who is willing to do and say anything -- no matter whom it aligns you with and whom it hurts -- to satisfy your ambitions.

Charles Sykes predicts that the Alt-Reality media is about to get worse:

As a #NeverTrumper, I had hoped that the election would prompt a moment of reckoning and introspection, not merely about conservative values but also the role of the conservative media. As someone who has spent much of his career promoting conservative values on my radio show, I was depending on it.

Clearly, that is not going to happen now. In fact, it's going to get a lot worse.

Trump's victory means that the most extreme and recklessly irresponsible voices on the right now feel emboldened and empowered. And more worrisome than that, they have an ally in the White House. [...]

It's possible that a Trump loss would have led to an exorcism of the worst elements of the conservative media. But they saw Trump's victory as their victory too. The newly weaponized conservative media genuinely believe that they have changed the paradigm of media coverage.

Alex Jones, Fox, and the other right-wing propaganda outlets have forged "the new alt-reality bubble"

This may suggest the role of the new right media--which includes talk radio, websites like Breitbart, the Drudge Report, and dozens of ScamPacs--is to keep dissenters in line. The media outlets function best when the dial is set at outrage and since they are too deeply invested to be outraged at any failures or reversals from Trump world, the anger will inevitably be focused on attacking the left and launching purges of the saboteurs and dissenters on the right.

Salon's look at the crony capitalism of Trump's con notes how "Republicans turned around and put Trump, the ultimate crony capitalist, into the Oval Office:"

To the surprise of exactly no one who paid attention during the campaign, the race had barely been called before the pile of xenophobic tangelo rinds was taking full advantage of his new position to work on business deals that will enrich himself, his family and any business owner wealthy enough to fly a private jet to New York and kiss his ring.

Part of Trump's pitch to Republican voters during the primary revolved around the idea that his wealth had come in part from his ruthless exploitation of this crony capitalist system. That his donations to politicians and cultivation of close relationships with them, for example, had helped him build his enormous business empire. Now, he told the voters, he was ready to fix this corrupt system, which had allowed a genius like him to conquer it and make it work for all Americans.

This is, to put it simply, utter bullshit. Even if you were inclined to believe it, everything Trump has done just in the two weeks since the election puts lie to it, from his staffing decisions for his administration to his continuing to conduct private business related to his empire, to his announced policies, like his infrastructure plan.

In fact, the infrastructure plan will likely go down as one of the biggest cons of the early Trump era.

Rebecca Gordon sees no new normal in the impending era, noting with dismay that "the terror that's shaken us the most is that, in the coming years, we might witness the final collapse of the rule of law in this country." Although "the past two administrations at least gave lip service to the rule of law," she continues, Trump is "a president-elect who has said he will simply ignore the law if it gets in his way:"

In a primary debate last March, he insisted that the military would follow any order he gave--whether to torture detainees or to "take out" the families of suspected terrorists. When debate moderator Bret Baier pointed out that soldiers are prohibited from obeying an illegal order, Trump answered, "They won't refuse. They're not gonna refuse me. Believe me. I'm a leader. I've always been a leader. I've never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they're going to do it." Apparently he got some advice about saying such things in public; the following day found him walking back the comments, acknowledging that "the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws." But it's pretty clear what he really thinks about the binding power of law.

There's so much to worry about with a Trump presidency.

She mentions the SPLC's counting 437 hate-crime incidents since the election, and makes a personal observation:

I've been remembering the times I've been yelled at, contemptuously addressed as "sir," or chased down the street by people who'd discerned that I'm a lesbian. Donald Trump has spent the last year telling people that their hatred is a good thing, and to feel free to express it with physical violence. It's no wonder some of us are a little scared.

The full-time faculty at my university has been working for months without a contract. We've had a change of administration, and the new regime is fighting hard against a demand for a very modest salary increase. To put the struggle into words, my colleagues have made buttons sporting a red circle and the words "new normal" with a red slash through it. I've been wearing one to show solidarity with my full-time colleagues. Since Donald Trump's election, I've taken to wearing it off campus as well. It seems like a particularly appropriate slogan these days for those of us who don't want the new normal to mean a return to a very old normal. Having it on makes me feel a bit braver and a bit more hopeful.

She concludes with a welcome bit of optimism that "Hope is the wall we can build, stone by stone, to fence in a future Trumpian autocracy."

NCRM discusses how the Secret Service will lease space in Trump Tower:

The U.S. Secret Service is expected to lease two full floors at New York City's Trump Tower to protect the incoming president and is family. One floor is currently empty, the second currently houses Trump's campaign HQ. The cost to taxpayers for the real estate rental will be $3 million each year, the New York Post reports. [...]

New York City taxpayers are reportedly paying more than $1 million a day to help secure what has become the Fifth Avenue fortress.

Oliver Willis notes that the Russian propaganda campaign "was behind fake news efforts designed to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, according to a Washington Post report:"

According to the paper, Independent researchers say the fake news flood was aided by "a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy."

WaPo's Craig Timberg concurs:

The flood of "fake news" this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

Russia's increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery -- including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human "trolls," and networks of websites and social-media accounts -- echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia. [...]

The tactics included penetrating the computers of election officials in several states and releasing troves of hacked emails that embarrassed Clinton in the final months of her campaign.

Additionally, "researchers used Internet analytics tools to trace the origins of particular tweets and mapped the connections among social-media accounts that consistently delivered synchronized messages:"

Identifying website codes sometimes revealed common ownership. In other cases, exact phrases or sentences were echoed by sites and social-media accounts in rapid succession, signaling membership in connected networks controlled by a single entity.

PropOrNot's monitoring report, which was provided to The Washington Post in advance of its public release, identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans. On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed more than 213 million times.

Some players in this online echo chamber were knowingly part of the propaganda campaign, the researchers concluded, while others were "useful idiots" -- a term born of the Cold War to describe people or institutions that unknowingly assisted Soviet Union propaganda efforts.

"The speed and coordination of these efforts," the piece concludes, "allowed Russian-backed phony news to outcompete traditional news organizations for audience:"

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied interfering in the U.S. election or hacking the accounts of election officials. "This is some sort of nonsense," Dmitry Peskov, press secretary for Putin, said last month when U.S. officials accused Russia of penetrating the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on November 25, 2016 9:35 AM.

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