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Ted Rall's 3 rules for resisting Trump uses the example of France in 1940, and essentially asks if we want to be collaborators--or members of the Resistance:

Though it's premature to draw a direct comparison between Nazi Europe and Trump's America, it's never too early to start thinking about the ethics of resistance in a United States whose government whose repressiveness is likely to feel unacceptably severe to a significant portion of the population.

What is the correct way to behave after January 20th? Should one Keep Calm and Carry On?

"Like the French during World War II," he continues, "most Americans opposed to/afraid of Trump will muddle through some murky middle ground." Rall then suggests some rules:

Rule 1: Anything for survival.

"You're not required to starve to death over a principle."

Rule 2: Nothing for Trump.

"The one thing Trumpism offers is ideological clarity; at times like this, everyone has a dog in the fight, ostriching not allowed."

Rule 3: Ignorance is no excuse.

Rall states bluntly that:

You must hide the undocumented immigrant on the run. You cannot submit a bid to construct the Wall. You must, if you work for an insurance company, try to avoid enforcing rules that deny healthcare.

One of the things people overseas tell me they like about Americans is that we're happy-go-lucky. That has to change.

It's time to get serious.

AlterNet's 5 ways to resist Trump before the inauguration by Ilana Novick lists the old standards:

1. Call your representatives.

2. Start your own organizing group, focusing on lobbying elected officials.

3. Join an existing group.

4. Attend a January 15th Day of Action rally to protect health care.

5. Support journalists and freedom of the press.

There is plenty that we can do to spread light in these rapidly-darkening times; let's roll up our sleeves and get to work!

conventioneers

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In These Times issues a warning about a constitutional convention, arguing that right-wing activists "are dangerously close to convening the first state constitutional convention in U.S. history:"

They have already passed resolutions in 28 states, and after November's elections, Republicans will hold control of both chambers in 32 states, up from 30 before the election. Conservatives also dominate in Nebraska's officially nonpartisan, single-chamber legislature, giving them 33. This puts them "just one state shy of the 34 needed to propose an Article V convention and permanently take back our government," Daniel Horowitz wrote in the Conservative Review one week after the election.

"This is no fringe, unrealistic movement," writes Simon Davis-Cohen, "They came close to calling a convention in the 1980s, and in the 1990s Congress came one senate vote away from passing a balanced budget amendment:"

This would hamstring the federal government and prevent it from stimulating the economy and undertaking robust public programs--effectively institutionalizing austerity. [...]

Increased local democracy, in principle, should be a good thing. Millions of Americans of all stripes are fighting for local self-determination over education, corporate projects, employment laws and basic protections for health, safety and welfare. But the movement for a convention of states twists this demand into a gift for the rich.

resistance

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Tim Dickinson introduces Rolling Stone readers to the leaders of the Trump resistance:

Donald Trump is riding into office on a make-believe mandate: Despite a possible assist from Vladimir Putin, Trump lost the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes, and he's taking command of the Oval Office with the lowest favorability rating in modern memory: 37 percent.

"But even as the 45th president takes the oath of office," notes Dickinson, "a fierce resistance is rising to confront and constrain the Trump presidency:"

From the ACLU to the Sierra Club to Everytown for Gun Safety, civil society is girding for battle - reinforced by an unprecedented upwelling of activist support and donations.

Protectors of women's rights, gun-control advocates, LGBTQ activists, conservative splinter groups, defenders of civil liberties, and more are ready to resist--let's all join in!

We must fight so Republicans don't let us die, writes Mara Keisling at The Advocate. She refers to many potential avenues for eviscerating the ACA:

Excluding preexisting conditions. Excluding transition-related care. Lifetime limits for HIV care. Denying routine cancer screenings because you're the "wrong gender." Refusing care at a clinic or hospital because you're LGBT. Being poor but still ineligible for Medicaid.

"While the ACA will definitely be in effect in 2017," she continues, "its future beyond that is in doubt:"

Lawmakers could vote as soon as next week to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act, stripping away many of these gains. Congressional Republicans say they want to "repeal and replace" -- but what they're actually proposing is a repeal with no replacement in sight. [...]

This repeal could strip 30 million Americans -- mostly working families -- of health insurance. It would cause premiums to spike dramatically for millions more. Ordinary LGBT Americans would lose tax credits, Medicaid, or health care through their job, while insurance and drug companies and the wealthy would get huge tax breaks.

Plus, the GOP would also get to destroy one of Obama's accomplishments--and that's far more important to them than LGBT lives. Their voters, however, are worried about another type of pride. Karoli Kuns at Crooks and Liars explains some of the anti-ACA spite, writing that PA Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) "told a story of a couple who lives in Mount Joy, PA and currently benefit under the ACA:"

Tim Hollinger is on Medicare. His wife, Phyllis, is not yet eligible and is self-employed. Phyllis obtained coverage through the marketplace, and her premium is over $1,000 per month with a $2,700 deductible, which is over 23 percent of her net income.

Here's the thing: Phyllis gets a subsidy that covers 35 percent of that cost, helping to make it affordable. Because that is how the ACA works. The subsidy reduces the monthly cost to Phyllis so she isn't going broke trying to pay for health insurance.

Rep. Smucker went on to explain why he thinks it's a great idea to repeal the ACA for Tim and Phyllis.

"Phyllis receives a federal subsidy that covers 35% of that monthly cost. To Phyllis, that's not right," he explained. "To Phyllis, this is about her pride. and she's not asking for a lot."

C&L then drops the hammer:

No, Phyllis, you really are asking for a lot. If you don't want the subsidy, don't take it. That's an option, too. But because of your pride, you'd like for 30 million others who are able to have access to healthcare to lose it.

"Here's what I worry will happen to Phyllis Hollinger if the ACA is repealed," the piece concludes:

She will not be able to afford her health insurance and will be hoping against all hope that she doesn't get sick before she's eligible for Medicare. If she does get sick, she and her husband will be forced into medical bankruptcy because she will not have any safety net over her head. I do not want this to happen to her, but it's more or less inevitable if the ACA is repealed.

At least her pride will remain intact.

The Atlantic wonders if conservative politicians are more attractive:

Prior research indicates that good-looking political candidates win more votes, just one of the many ways attractive individuals seem to have it better in life. There is evidence to suggest that beautiful people are viewed by others as more likable, trustworthy and competent, and may be more likely to land job interviews and earn more money than less attractive people to name just a few advantages.

The study "The right look: Conservative politicians look better and voters reward it" gets into more detail, observing that "politicians on the right look more beautiful in Europe, the United States and Australia:"

Our explanation is that beautiful people earn more, which makes them less inclined to support redistribution. Our model of within-party competition predicts that voters use beauty as a cue for conservatism when they do not know much about candidates and that politicians on the right benefit ore from beauty in low-information elections. Evidence from real and experimental elections confirms both predictions.

The paper cites another study [Lenz, G.S., Lawson, C., 2011. Looking the part: television leads less informed citizens to vote based on candidates' appearance. Am. J. Polit. Sci. 55, 574-589) which "showed that the positive relationship between votes and an appealing appearance is most pronounced among voters with low political knowledge who also watch a lot of TV." That sounds a lot like the Fox audience!)

We study beauty premia in municipal and parliamentary elections. The former can be regarded as low-information and the latter as high information elections, where voters know little and reasonably much, respectively, about candidates. We show that in municipal elections, a beauty increase of one standard deviation attracts about 20% more votes for the average non-incumbent candidate on the right and about 8% more votes for the average non-incumbent candidate on the left. In the parliamentary election, the corresponding figure is about 14% for non-incumbent candidates on the left and right alike. This makes clear that voters both on the left and on the right respond to beauty in both types of elections, but that voters on the right are more responsive in a low-information setting.

Here's an interesting causal chain:

A simple economic explanation of the appearance gap in favor of the right is that beautiful people earn more money (Hamermesh and Biddle, 1994; Mobius and Rosenblat, 2006; Scholz and Sicinski, 2015), and the more people earn, the more they are inclined to oppose redistribution (Alesina and Giuliano, 2011) and, arguably, to support, get active in and represent parties to the right. A more general psychological explanation could be that good-looking people are more likely to perceive the world as a just place, since they are treated better than others (Langlois et al. 2000), achieve higher status (Anderson et al. 2001) and are happier (Hamermesh and Abrevaya, 2013) - and a frequent reason for people to sympathize with the left is a perception of the world as unfair. In line with this, it has been found that greater self-reported attractiveness is negatively related to a preference for egalitarianism, typically associated with the left: The more beautiful people consider themselves, the less they are in favor of redistribution (Price et al. 2011; Belmi and Neale, 2014).

Trump's fake news

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AlterNet's Kali Holloway writes about Trump's history with fake news, noting that "Fake news is the one thing Trump hasn't claimed to have invented that he actually deserves at least partial credit for inventing:"

He has been spreading fake news since it was just called "lies," and he's shown that winning the presidency will only increase his fake news output. Trump puts out so much misinformation he is a fake news factory unto himself, an artisan of lies, a curator of untruths. Real estate may be his job, but lying is his career, hobby and passion project.

Trump has put thousands of fake news stories out there, some enormous and others so small you wonder why he bothers.

Holloway lists 14 fake news stories that Trump has "created or promoted:" Lying about anti-Obama birtherism and anti-Hillary health scares, spreading rumors about JFK's assassination, demanding the death penalty for the (innocent) Central Park 5, inventing thousands of New Jersey Muslims cheering 9/11, proposing that Scalia was murdered, spreading "completely fabricated numbers for black murder rates," alleging millions of illegal voters, claiming that climate change is a Chinese hoax, promoting the nonexistent vaccine/autism link, suggesting that Cruz and Rubio weren't eligible to run, and blaming "professional protesters, incited by the media" for the demonstrations against him.

All that, and he hasn't even been sworn in yet!

The ACLU provides a hopeful note that dissent is a powerful antidote to propaganda:

Fifty-five years ago this January, the ACLU of Northern California was busy filling orders from across the country for copies of its recently produced film, "Operation Correction." The film was a response to a piece of Red Scare propaganda, "Operation Abolition," which was produced by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and depicted civil liberties activists in San Francisco as violent "communist agents" bent on destroying the fabric of America.

"College students from UC Berkeley and Stanford mobilized to protest the hearings and take a stand for freedom of speech and freedom of association," the piece continues,

Through manipulative editing and voiceover narration, HUAC's "Operation Abolition" used real news footage to portray the student activists as violent and dangerous "hardcore Communist agents" and "indoctrinated and trained dupes." [...]

While "Operation Abolition" was being viewed by millions of Americans at town halls and colleges across the country, the ACLU produced "Operation Correction." Our executive director at the time, Ernest Besig, narrated the exact same footage and explained the propagandistic tactics being used to mislead the public.

"People flocked to see it," the piece continues, and "Historians credit HUAC's 'Operation Abolition' with backfiring spectacularly:"

Young people across the country were shown the film at school, saw right through it, and decided they should make their way to Berkeley -- after all, that's where all the action was. Four years later, the UC Berkeley Free Speech Movement began.

Let's remember this moment in history as a lesson in the power of free speech and free thought. And let's remember it as proof that if we remain vigilant, lies can wither in the face of truth.

That worked against HUAC's lies, and it will work against Trump's as well.

Paine's heirs

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Let them call us rebels, writes Harvey Kaye--because we are the heirs of Thomas Paine. "As yet, we do not have our own pamphleteer for these soul-trying times," he writes, "But we still have Thomas Paine's ever-timely words:"

We do not yet have a writer who can as magnificently express our outrage that a man whose character Paine would deplore is about to become president after losing the popular ballot by nearly 3 million votes. We do not yet have a writer to encourage us to not only resist the ambitions of both the man who would be king and his Tory allies in Congress, but also to turn our outrage into a sustained struggle that will fulfill the promise of democracy. Nonetheless, we have the words that burned like fire in the breast of a man who believed that to be an American in his time meant being a radical.

Kaye suggests that we "Pick up Paine's writings and prepare for Inauguration Day by immersing yourself in them:"

Carry his works with you. Give copies to friends and family. Read them aloud just as yeomen and farmers and artisans and merchants did in the fields, workshops and taverns of 1776. Drink deeply from his Common Sense. Relish his attacks on kings and would-be monarchs. Delight in his belief that working people can govern themselves. Listen as he embraces America's ethnic and religious diversity. And note well his plans for establishing an inclusive, prosperous and expansive American democracy.

Until I find a better option--a doubtful proposition--I'm sticking with the Library of America edition of Paine's Collected Writings.

The whole picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words cliché is sometimes true, but here it's worth a thousand shaking heads:

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H/t to Daily Kos for both the hilarious meal above, and the dessert below:

20170111-obamacarenotaca.png

Comey

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Vox's team bluntly states that Comey cost Clinton the presidency:

Donald Trump has called his election a historic landslide, but it was anything but. Only two other presidents have been elected with smaller popular vote margins since records began in 1824. His edge in the Electoral College, while decisive, depends on less than 80,000 votes across three states (Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) out of more than 135 million cast nationwide. It was a very close election.

Despite this, conservatives "have scoffed at the claim that the [Comey] letter changed the outcome of the election, suggesting that it's a convenient excuse for a weak candidate who made some questionable strategic decisions:"

But the Comey effect was real, it was big, and it probably cost Clinton the election. Below, we present four pieces of evidence demonstrating that this is the case.

After detailing the historical uniqueness of Comey's letter, Vox notes that "Clinton's margin over Trump falls dramatically in national polls directly after the Comey letter and never recovers:"

It's worth noting that Comey also made headlines in July [...] every time Comey and emails were driving the news cycle, Clinton's national polling numbers took a significant hit."

"Democrats," writes Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, "didn't lose because their message was unpopular or because they're out of touch or because they're insufficiently centrist or insufficiently leftist:"

That just wasn't the problem. The Democratic message was fine; Democrats are perfectly well in touch with their constituencies; and they weren't perceived as too unwilling to shake things up. Even with eight years of Democratic rule acting as a headwind, Hillary Clinton's default performance was a substantial win.

The only reason it didn't happen is because James Comey basically decided to call her a liar and a crook--based on absolutely no new evidence and with everyone in the world advising him not to--with 12 days left in the election. That was something she couldn't overcome, and it has nothing to do with the basic Democratic message.

The US has a billion-dollar deficit on research about gun deaths, according to San Francisco's Dr. David Stark. He first cites "the Dickey Amendment, the annual rider first inserted into the 1996 federal congressional appropriations bill prohibiting the use of CDC funds 'to advocate or promote gun control.' Though not an outright ban, the measure has had a chilling effect on research." The article notes that "Stark wanted to measure the effects of the congressional restrictions on gun violence research in statistical terms:"

To do that, he built statistical models to predict how much funding and how many published articles would be expected based on the number of people who died from 30 top causes of death. Data came from the Compressed Mortality File on a database known as CDC Wonder (Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research), the Federal RePORTER funding database, and the MEDLINE publications database.

Stark's model assumed that the more Americans are killed by a given cause of death, the more the government will study that subject. Between 2004 and 2014, the United States saw about 350,000 deaths because of firearms, with a mortality rate of 10.4 deaths per 100,000 people. Based on how often people were dying from gunshots, Stark's formula predicted nearly $1.4 billion in gun violence research funding and 38,897 publications.

In reality, gun violence research received only $22.1 million in federal funding and generated just 1,738 scientific articles during the decade in question. That shortfall became the centerpiece of widely covered analysis that Stark published last week in the the Journal of the American Medical Association.

20170111-gundeaths.jpg

"Gun violence killed about as many individuals as sepsis," says the study, but "funding for gun violence research was about 0.7 percent of that for sepsis and publication volume about 4 percent."

voter suppression

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According to American Prospect, voter suppression works too well, as "Republican state lawmakers across the country have moved to suppress the franchise to maintain GOP political dominance" via simple strategies:

Turn voting into a bureaucratic nightmare by eliminating popular timesavers such as same-day registration and early voting. Require photo identification to vote, using IDs that many people don't have or cannot pay for. The harder it is to vote, especially for people juggling some combination of work, classes, and child or elder care, the fewer people will.

"Many of those new election laws," the piece continues, "were promulgated after the Supreme Court's 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder that invalidated provisions of the Voting Rights Act," including fourteen state restrictions since November:

The high court's Shelby County decision eviscerated the landmark law's "preclearance" provision, which required nine states and specific counties or townships in six other states to submit election law changes to the Justice Department for review. The preclearance process gave the federal government a tool to prevent blatantly discriminatory regulations from going into effect. (Now challenges to election laws must be fought as rearguard actions through state and federal courts.) The remaining teeth of the VRA rest on another provision that mandates that voting laws do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or certain languages. [...]

Voting rights are under siege in a way that hasn't been seen in more than a generation. But these coordinated attacks follow a historic pattern: Laws that expanded the franchise during Reconstruction and after the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act have typically been followed by state-level repression and federal indifference.

"The tactics used to ferret out alleged fraud almost exclusively affect minority groups, the young, and the elderly," the piece continues:

Regulations like photo identification are supposedly designed to prevent people from impersonating other voters, despite the fact that practically no one impersonates another person with the intent to vote in the United States. The misuse of alternatives to in-person voting, such as the fraudulent use of absentee ballots, is also rare. Other tactics, like consolidating polling places, are explained away by noting that these moves save money, despite long lines and other headaches such closures produce in the remaining polling stations.

"With the 2018 midterm elections on the horizon," the article intones ominously, "the next two years will be a crucial test for voting rights." The piece cites both the 1993 National Voter Registration Act and the 2002 Help America Vote Act as likely targets:

Only 37 percent of eligible voters made it to the polls in 2014, the lowest midterm turnout in 70 years. The average voter who sits out a midterm election does not make the connection between a party's control of the state legislature and the governor's office, and how those partisan officeholders will have the ability to craft new election laws and carve out state and federal legislative districts after the 2020 census. Yet in 2014, a Center for American Progress/NAACP-LDF/Southern Elections Foundation report found that the numbers of voters in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia that were affected by changes in early-voting and photo-ID laws far outstripped the margin of victory in those states' U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races.

"Republicans' determination to dismantle voting rights that were once presumed settled," the piece concludes, "will necessitate a response worthy of a new civil-rights movement."

unethical panel

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Well, it appears that GOP House members secretly gutted their ethics panel after all:

Remember how the House Republicans tried to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, only to back down under a torrent of criticism? Well, it turns out that Paul Ryan and friends actually succeeded in their mission to neuter the ethics panel after all. A little-noticed change to the House rules allows members to hide their records from any sort of scrutiny-even from someone conducting an ethics or criminal investigation.

The Center for Responsive Politics is all over this sleazy sleight-of-hand:

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is but the latest example of how the GOP wants to overflow the swamp. For all intents and purposes, this has the same effect as what the GOP initially tried to do in the open before seemingly being forced to back down. After all, if a lawmaker is suspected of taking shady donations (read: bribes), how can you know for sure if you can't review his or her records? And if you can't review records, how can you conduct a credible investigation?

"The Democrats won control of the House in 2006," the piece exclaims, "in part due to tying the GOP to the seemingly endless scandals surrounding Tom DeLay and others:"

In a clever move, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee declared that DeLay had turned the House into a "House of Scandal." Well, DCCC chairman Ben Lujan and his team may want to take a cue from their 2006 counterparts. After all, it's now clear that under Ryan, the 115th Congress is going to be a House of Corruption.

WaPo reminds us of Donald Trump Jr's 2008 remarks at a real estate conference:

Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.

According to several Financial Times articles, Trump was bailed out by Russian crime bosses. Human rights lawyer Scott Horton "examined the structure and history of several major Trump real estate projects from the last decade--the period after his seventh bankruptcy and the cancellation of all his bank lines of credit:"

The money to build these projects flowed almost entirely from Russian sources. In other words, after his business crashed, Trump was floated and made to appear to operate a successful business enterprise through the infusion of hundreds in millions of cash from dark Russian sources.

He was their man.

WaPo continues:

The second Financial Times article puts Trump at the middle of a money laundering scheme, in which his real estate deals were used to hide not just an infusion of capital from Russia and former Soviet states, but to launder hundreds of millions looted by oligarchs. All Trump had to do was close his eyes to the source of the money, and suddenly empty apartments were going for top dollar.

Why would Trump's organization make such a good means of laundering funds? Because real estate has an arbitrary value. Is that apartment worth $1 million? Two million? Why not $3 million for a buyer who really wants it? When the whole transaction is just one LLC with undisclosed ownership paying another LLC with undisclosed ownership, it's even neater than hiding the money in an offshore account. And while some businesses require due diligence in looking at the source of funds, real estate is a bit more ... flexible.

The piece concludes by observing that "The Trump Organization was a hollow shell and Trump was bankrupt, but Donald Trump the public figure was a "successful businessman," a screen behind which criminal activity could be carried out on a massive scale:"

To inflate the value of his portfolio, Trump had to do nothing other than look away as the dirty money poured in from one LLC to the next. Citizens in Russia, Kazakhstan, and other former Soviet states lost hundreds of millions, but Trump got a cut as looted funds flowed through offices and apartments in buildings that carried those critical gold letters.

Grow this, Mitch!

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Mitch McConnell made some obnoxious remarks on Face the Nation:

"Democrats are really frustrated that they lost the election. [...] I understand that. But we need to, sort of, grow up here and get past that."

Salon responded that we're not going to "get past it"--we're going to resist it:

McConnell's "grow up" remark is one we've heard quite often in social media and elsewhere from Trump Republicans and pundits alike who have completely failed to grasp why, specifically, Americans of many political dispositions are terrified right now.

We're not breaking any news when we observe that Donald Trump might be the most erratic, unpredictable, unqualified, misinformed politician ever to step into national politics, much less to be thrust into the highest office in the world. The threat here isn't necessarily Trump's policy agenda, though his promises on that front are harrowing: border walls, deportations of American citizens, blacklists, registries, abortion bans, prosecution of journalists, a nefarious alliance with Vladimir Putin and so forth. The fear and loathing with regard to Trump's publicly known agenda only covers a small fraction of the problem.

The piece then wonders "what sort of madness will burst forth when we least expect it:"

Sixty-two million Americans, through their poorly-considered, nihilistic votes, have stupidly chosen to shut down the containment grid, Ghostbusters-style, releasing untold horrors into the atmosphere. I challenge anyone to predict what those things will be. But knowing Trump's vindictiveness, his ignorance and his lack of core values, none of it can be good.

The Nation has supplied us with a lesson in surviving Trumpism from the McCarthy era. Ellen Schrecker reminds us that "political repression does require an enemy, otherwise the authorities will be unable to frighten the nation into accepting massive violations of people's rights:"

During the McCarthy era, the supposed threat to the USA was the international communist conspiracy; now it's Islamic extremists, racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, and left-wing professors. And they may be dealt with using methods J. Edgar Hoover embraced.

Newt Gingrich, for instance, has called for Congress to revive a World War II-style Un-American Activities Committee. Our president-to-be--who, it's worth noting, took advice from Joe McCarthy's sleazy amanuensis, Roy Cohn--has suggested depriving flag-burners of their citizenship. And, just last month, Turning Point USA, a right-wing student organization, posted a "Professor Watchlist" [see here] of one or two hundred (the numbers, like McCarthy's, keep changing) academics who "advance a radical agenda in lecture halls" and make life hard for the conservatives in their classes. Their abuses: criticizing the Republican party, the NRA, and the current Israeli regime.

McCarthyism, she reminds us, "silenced just about all serious criticism of the status quo" in "a two-stage procedure:"

First, the alleged subversives were identified--either by the media or by an official agency like the FBI or a congressional committee--and then they were punished, usually by being fired.

Although a few hundred people went to prison and two--Julius and Ethel Rosenberg -were executed, the main sanctions were economic. People lost their jobs and could rarely find new ones. That blacklisting was remarkably effective--and not just in the entertainment industry. Professors, steel workers, writers, attorneys, longshoremen, school teachers, and anyone else who got caught up in the anticommunist furor could end up out of work and unemployable.

"There was no need for violence," she continues, because "The threat of joblessness sufficed to stifle most dissent." Liberals, therefore, must be "prepared to fight back," and "we cannot drop our guard:"

To do so will allow the creation of an authoritarian regime that will stamp out dissent and create a far more repressive society than either Joe McCarthy or J. Edgar Hoover ever dreamed of.

Perennial agitator Michael Moore calls for 100 Days of Resistance to Trump: "Trump gets upset if there's 10 people outside Trump Tower," he reminds us, so "What's he going to think if there's 100,000 or 500,000 (at his inauguration)?"

"It's important that everybody go there. This will have an effect. We have to throw everything at this. This man is slightly unhinged, if I can say that, and he's a malignant narcissist. He's going to be very upset if there's a lot of people there."

Lest anyone doubt Moore, here's what he wrote last July:

"Add up the electoral votes cast by Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin," Moore wrote in July. "It's 64. All Trump needs to do to win is to carry, as he's expected to do, the swath of traditional red states from Idaho to Georgia (states that'll never vote for Hillary Clinton), and then he just needs these four rust belt states. He doesn't need Florida. He doesn't need Colorado or Virginia. Just Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And that will put him over the top. This is how it will happen in November."

Robert Reich identifies "two lines of resistance to Trump:" resistance to Trump's regressiveness, and resistance to Trump's tyranny. "Both resistances are critical," he concludes:

But the second has nothing to do with partisanship or the age-old fight between Republicans and Democrats over the reach or role of government.

Resistance to tyranny must not be seen in partisan terms. We need Republicans to join in resistance to Trump's tyranny. Conservative Republicans have traditionally been vigilant against tyranny, and they must be invited to the cause and become part of the coalition.


American conservatives aren't conservative, writes P.M. Carpenter in his conversation with historian Mark Lilla of Columbia University. "Conservatives and reactionaries are adversaries," writes Carpenter:

The conservative believes that change should happen slowly, but that it is inevitable. He might regret what has happened in history, but he is under no illusion that the past can be recovered or recreated; neither does he believe that society should be reconstructed according to some rational plan inspired by the past. The conservative thinks that while societies differ, human nature stays pretty much the same over time and that the problems of politics are perennial. The reactionary thinks that history has changed human nature and that action in history can restore it to what it should be.

"I would venture that by now it is axiomatic that American conservatism, rather than being adversarial to reactionaryism, is utterly inseparable from it," he continues:

Today's reactionaries call themselves conservatives and have bamboozled most Americans, left and middle and right, into believing that what they stand for is in reality true conservatism. That's a farce, but an accepted farce.

Speaking of farces, Trump's incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus admitted that Russians hacked the RNC as well as the DNC:

The part of the story that Trump and Priebus keep leaving out is that the RNC was also hacked by Russia. The New York Times reported that Russia also hacked the RNC, but chose not to release the data. The Republican talking point that the RNC didn't get hacked is a lie. The RNC got hacked, but the Russians only released the DNC hack, because they wanted Trump to win.

Priebus's messy answer when pushed was a sign of an incoming administration that has a ticking time bomb of a scandal on its hands, and no clue how to defuse it.

"A new declassified report," writes TPM, "says Russian President Vladimir Putin 'ordered' an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election:"

U.S. intelligence officials released the 25-page public version of the report Friday, after they briefed President-elect Donald Trump and top lawmakers on Capitol Hill from a longer, classified version.

The report says Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's long-standing desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for financial disclosures from several of Trump's cabinet nominees:

The Office of Government Ethics is raising alarm over the pace of confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump's nominees, saying Saturday that they have yet to receive required financial disclosures for some picks set to come before Congress next week.

OGE Director Walter Shaub observes that "I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process" while Trump's transition team blithely claims that "the transition process is currently running smoothly:"

"In the midst of a historic election where Americans voted to drain the swamp, it is disappointing some have chosen to politicize the process in order to distract from important issues facing our country," the Trump statement read. "This is a disservice to the country and is exactly why voters chose Donald J. Trump as their next president."

[Uh, no--voters did not choose Trump--unless one counts the Russian ones.]

Priebus asserts that that "Change was voted for and change we will get," and says of the OGE that "They have to get moving:"

"I mean, they have to move faster. And they have all the information. These are people that have been highly successful in their lives. They need to move quicker."


update (2:23pm):
ThinkProgress explains how Putin is greasing the way for the Exxon/Rosneft deal, and calls Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson a "puzzling choice for Secretary of State:"

I say "puzzling" because the long-serving Exxon employee (from age 23!) has no qualifications to be secretary of state -- other than a history negotiating major oil deals with countries like Putin's Russia, which in any sane world would actually disqualify him or at least force a recusal from all State Department dealings with Russia.

"You can certainly make a plausible case," the piece continues, "that Putin had plenty of motivation to interfere:"

He wanted to undermine the legitimacy of U.S. elections and a Clinton Presidency, he blamed Secretary Clinton for "inciting mass protests against his regime," and he was angry with the U.S. for the Panama Papers leaks. Those leaks showed a $2 billion trail of offshore accounts and deals that traced back to Putin and his cabal of kleptocrats, who, among other things, were getting rich "trading shares in Rosneft," Russia's state-owned (i.e. Putin run) oil monopoly.

But a half trillion dollars to line their pockets and prop up the Russian economy offers a much more tangible motivation for team Putin to get Trump elected. And it was Tillerson who had made the $500 billion oil deal with Putin that got blocked by sanctions. [in 2014]

ThinkProgress also notes that "if Trump and Tillerson [...] end the sanctions that are blocking the Exxon-Rossneft deal, it is going to look suspiciously like a half trillion dollar quid pro quo for Putin's help getting elected."


update 2 (6:01pm):
TruthDig has more details from OGE's director Walter Shaub:

OGE "has not received even initial draft financial disclosure reports for some of the nominee scheduled for hearings," which seemed to be an unprecedented failure on the part of the nominees as well as the Trump transition team.

The letter, which was penned in response to an update request from Warren and Schumer, casts doubt on whether the nominees will received a proper vetting, which is particularly concerning because of the many potential conflicts they hold.

Drum on deficits

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Kevin Drum quotes this WaPo piece about GOP concern for deficits:

In a dramatic reversal, many members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus said Thursday they are prepared later this month to support a budget measure that would explode the deficit and increase the public debt to more than $29.1 trillion by 2026, figures contained in the budget resolution itself.

20170106-deficits.jpg

"As always," continues Drum, "Republicans only care about deficits when a Democrat is president:"

This time around they didn't waste even two days before they made that crystal clear. I wonder how many times they can pull this bait-and-switch before the public and the press stops taking them seriously on their alleged horror of the spiraling national debt?

Republicans want to cut spending on the poor and cut taxes on the rich. That's it.

Robert Reich offers a resistance agenda for Trump's first 100 days:

Trump's First 100 Day agenda includes repealing environmental regulations, Obamacare, and the Dodd-Frank Act, giving the rich and big corporations a huge tax cut, and putting in place a cabinet that doesn't believe in the Voting Rights Act or public schools or Medicare or the Fair Housing Act.

Our 100 days of resistance begins a sustained and powerful opposition.

Reich suggests using "about an hour of your time each day" for activities ranging from writing letters to the editor and using social media to the following:

1. Get your senators and representatives to pledge to oppose Trump's agenda.

2. March and demonstrate.

8. Make the resistance visible with bumper stickers, lapel pins, wrist bands.

9. Push progressive causes at your state and local level

Here's the video:

Republicans are afraid of the Resistance, writes Lucas Grindley:

Conventional wisdom had said all that protesting in the streets these past two months wouldn't matter, because Donald Trump had won the presidency, and you all should just go home and "get on with your lives."

Now we have proof that protest matters. Tweeting and Facebooking matters. Calling your representative in Congress matters. All of it matters regarding whether Republicans are stopped from going on a spree of law-passing. Activism always did matter, no matter what the opposition tried to pretend.

"We complained," writes Grindley, "and Republicans got spooked and backed down Tuesday:"

Going into a negotiation, and that's what these first 100 days of Trump's administration will be, it's informative that one side backed down on its first effort. Republicans were tested by the faintest of protest, and they folded.

"What does this mean for repealing Obamacare?" wonders Grindley--or privatizing Medicare and the VA, or crippling Social Security?

The Resistance can protest in Republican districts, it can hold marches in Washington, it can flood the switchboards with calls, it can send letters or go to town hall meetings, and more.

Then the Republicans have to decide whether they're going to just keep right on driving, white knuckles on the wheel, pedal to the floor, no matter how many bodies they run over.

AlterNet's Steven Rosenfeld writes that some Trump Electors were illegitimately seated in the Electoral College:

More than 50 Electoral College members who voted for Donald Trump were ineligible to serve as presidential electors because they did not live in the congressional districts they represented or held elective office in states legally barring dual officeholders.

That stunning finding is among the conclusions of an extensive 1,000-plus page legal briefing prepared by a bipartisan nationwide legal team for members of Congress who are being urged to object to certifying the 2016 Electoral College results on Friday.

Americans Take Action's Ryan Clayton says that "Trump's ascension to the presidency is completely illegitimate:"

"It's not just Russians hacking our democracy. It's not just voter suppression at unprecedented levels. It is also [that] there are Republicans illegally casting ballots in the Electoral College, and in a sufficient number that the results of the Electoral College proceedings are illegitimate as well."

It smacks of desperation with only two weeks until Inauguration Day, but he seems undeterred:

"We have a list of 50 illegal electors," Clayton said. "That puts Donald Trump below the threshold that he needs to be elected president. Let's debate it in an open session. According to the Constitution, the Congress, if nobody wins on the first round of balloting, picks from the top three candidates. That will be Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Colin Powell."

Senate Dems won't challenge the EC, though:

The activists said several House members were willing to sponsor a formal challenge--as Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, D-OH, did in 2005, then opposing ratification of Ohio's 2004 Electoral College votes. [...]

Notwithstanding any last minute changes of heart or courageous impulses, it's not likely Democrats will make a parallel high-profile stance protesting Trump's election.

H/t to Taegan Goddard for linking to Factbase's work in compiling Trump's tweets, speeches, and policies into a nearly 2.5-million-word searchable word salad. They have plans for the future, which should be interesting:

"We are testing this concept right now with the President-elect, though we plan to expand to cover other world leaders and people of note."

obstructionism

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MSNBC's Steve Benen looks at McConnell's obstructionism about-face:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Rachel on the show this week that he's "absolutely" prepared to hold open the Supreme Court's vacancy, agreeing that Republicans effectively "stole" a high-court seat with their partisan blockade last year. [...] The comments did not escape the attention of his Republican counterpart.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed a pledge from his Democratic counterpart to block President-elect Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, insisting "the American people simply will not tolerate" such a move. [...]

"Apparently there's yet a new standard now, which is to not confirm a Supreme Court nominee at all," McConnell said, adding: "I think that's something the American people simply will not tolerate, and we'll be looking forward to receiving a Supreme Court nomination and moving forward on it."

Benen remarks that "if there's one thing the 2016 elections made abundantly clear, it's that most of the public couldn't care less about Supreme Court obstructionism:"

Senate Republicans, for 11 months, refused to even consider a moderate, compromise nominee - and GOP senators had little trouble keeping their majority.

His analysis is quite even-handed:

I've spent a fair amount of time looking for someone - in either party - who's been consistently principled on this, regardless of which party was in control at the time. I've never been able to find such an individual. There's plenty of hypocrisy to go around.

Queerty's look at conservative college students quotes Ben [a pseudonym], "a first-year student at Brandeis University:"

"I think it's a shame," he says. "A lot of people have negative preconceived notions about conservatives...we're intolerant, racist, homophobic."

"Gee, we can't imagine why," snarks Queerty:

After all, it's not like conservatives nominated (and elected) a man endorsed by the KKK and his stridently antigay running mate to the highest office in the land or anything. Oh, wait.

The observation that "Many conservatives on New England's campuses are feeling more marginalized and alienated than ever before" prompts this reaction:

Hmmm. Sounds a lot like the crap LGBTQ people and other minorities have had to put up with since, well, forever.

Ben comes from Chris Sweeney's Boston Magazine rant about how liberal professors are ruining college. "Exploring his conservative viewpoints," the piece notes, "is proving difficult to do on campus [which] makes Ben feel like an outsider:"

The way he sees it, coming out politically a step to the right is the fastest route to social isolation on campus and the surest way to invite ridicule from his professors. So he bites his tongue in class and retreats to his dorm room to read and listen to conservative commentary alone. "I think it's a shame," he tells me. "A lot of people have negative preconceived notions about conservatives...we're intolerant, racist, homophobic."

Sweeney writes that "Last spring, Samuel Abrams, a professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College, in New York, decided to run the numbers" on professorial political leanings:

From the start, he certainly expected liberal professors to outnumber conservatives, but his data--25 years' worth of statistics from the Higher Education Research Institute--told a far more startling tale: In the South and throughout the Great Plains, the ratio of liberal to conservative professors hovered around 3 to 1. On the liberal left coast, the ratio was 6 to 1. And then there was New England--which looked like William F. Buckley's worst nightmare--standing at 28 to 1. "It astonished me," says Abrams, whose research revealed that conservative professors weren't just rare; they were being pushed to the edge of extinction.

"At first," Sweeney writes, "even Abrams had a hard time believing the 28-to-1 ratio was accurate:"

He checked and rechecked his work, accounting for every variable he could think of--tenured versus untenured professors, age, income, type of college, the selectivity of the college, which departments the professors belonged to. Time and again, though, the results showed that geography was among the strongest determining factors when it came to the political diversity of professors. After Abrams took his findings public in the New York Times, academics were floored.

The NYT piece asks:

Why are New England professors so far left compared with the rest of the nation? That's a question for further research. My intuition is that inertia and history play a huge role here. Regions have traditions and cultures that can have powerful influences on thought.

"So how did our colleges and universities become such a liberal monoculture," one might ask, "and why is it so pronounced in New England?"

To this end, Abrams's research has fueled ample criticisms and theories. Nobel laureate and Times columnist Paul Krugman has argued that professors actually haven't become more liberal, but rather that the meaning of conservatism has changed and the Fox-ification and now Trump-ification of the Republican Party has pushed highly educated members of the right over to the left. Others contend that it's solely because conservatives don't go into academia. There is also the argument that political identities are social constructs that are far too complex and fickle to capture in a simple survey, as well as evidence indicating that the more highly educated a person is, the more liberal he or she tends to be.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

Trump's lies about Obamacare have largely gotten a free pass from the media, writes Politicus USA:

Media Matters for America provided 10 facts reporters should mention when they cover Obamacare, and none of them will be mentioned by Donald Trump or congressional Republicans, or indeed, by the mainstream media:

1. Passage Of The ACA Has Resulted In The Lowest Uninsured Rate In Recent History 2. The ACA Medicaid Expansion Provided Health Care Access For Millions Of The Most Vulnerable Americans 3. The ACA Tangibly Improved Women's Health Care Coverage 4. The ACA Helped America Take Huge Steps Toward LGBTQ Equality 5. Contrary To Popular Belief, The ACA Extended The Solvency Of Medicare By Over 10 Years 6. The ACA Reduced The Budget Deficit, Reined In Medical Costs, And Reduced Economic Inequality 7. The ACA Improved Health Care Access For Minority Communities. 8. The ACA Banned Discrimination Against Those With Pre-Existing Conditions 9. The ACA Provided Crucial Insurance To Young Adults 10. The ACA Resulted In The Biggest Expansion Of Mental Health Care Services In Decades

"These are just plain facts," Politicus writes, "and they are beyond dispute:"

Donald Trump made opposition to Obamacare central to his campaign, but as usual, his attacks are lacking a factual basis. When Donald Trump speaks of "poor coverage," it needs to be remembered that we're talking about an additional 20 million + who have coverage and didn't have it before.

Additionally, the media "overwhelmingly failed to ask any substantive questions about Trump's health care policies or the consequences of repealing the ACA," and "virtually ignored Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's resurrection of his Medicare privatization scheme:"

While cable and broadcast news tended to avoid robust discussions of the impact of health care policy, right-wing media filled the void with rampant misinformation. Since the ACA passed in 2010, conservative news outlets have consistently attacked the health law with complete fictions, claiming it will explode the budget, create death panels, bankrupt Medicare, end in a "death spiral," and facilitate a government takeover of the health care system.

Today, media outlets regularly provide Trump surrogates with free airtime to push misinformation and avoid substantive discussion.

five major shifts

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Tom Engelhardt discusses exceptionalism and writes that, on election night, "I simply couldn't accept that Donald Trump had won. Not him. Not in this country. Not possible. Not in a million years."

Mind you, during the campaign I had written about Trump repeatedly, always leaving open the possibility that, in the disturbed (and disturbing) America of 2016, he could indeed beat Hillary Clinton. That was a conclusion I lost when, in the final few weeks of the campaign, like so many others, I got hooked on the polls and the pundits who went with them. (Doh!)

In the wake of the election, however, it wasn't shock based on pollsters' errors that got to me. It was something else that only slowly dawned on me. Somewhere deep inside, I simply didn't believe that, of all countries on this planet, the United States could elect a narcissistic, celeb billionaire who was also, in the style of Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, a right-wing "populist" and incipient autocrat.

"So how did it happen here?" he asks. His answer identifies "at least five major shifts in American life and politics [that] helped lay the groundwork for the rise of Trumpism:"

* The Coming of a 1% Economy and the 1% Politics That Goes With It,

Without the arrival of casino capitalism on a massive scale (at which The Donald himself proved something of a bust), Trumpism would have been inconceivable. And if, in its Citizens United decision of 2010, the Supreme Court hadn't thrown open the political doors quite so welcomingly to that 1% crew, how likely was it that a billionaire celebrity would have run for president or become a favorite among the white working class?

* The Coming of Permanent War and an Ever More Militarized State and Society,

It's no coincidence that Trump and his generals are eager to pump up a supposedly "depleted" U.S. military with yet more funds or, given the history of these years, that he appointed so many retired generals from our losing wars to key "civilian" positions atop that military and the national security state. As with his billionaires, in a decisive fashion, Trump is stamping the real face of twenty-first-century America on Washington.

* The Rise of the National Security State,

* The Coming of the One-Party State, and

After all, the Republicans already control the House of Representatives (in more or less perpetuity, thanks to gerrymandering), the Senate, the White House, and assumedly in the years to come the Supreme Court. They also control a record 33 out of 50 governorships, have tied a record by taking 68 out of the 98 state legislative chambers, and have broken another by gaining control of 33 out of 50 full legislatures. [...] In many ways, the incipient collapse of the two-party system in a flood of 1% money cleared the path for Trump's victory.

* The Coming of the New Media Moment:

It may have seemed that Trump inaugurated our new media moment by becoming the first meister-elect of tweet and the shout-out master of that universe, but in reality he merely grasped the nature of our new, chaotic media moment and ran with it.

"Let's add a final point to the other five," he concludes:

Donald Trump will inherit a country that has been hollowed out by the new realities that made him a success and allowed him to sweep to what, to many experts, looked like an improbable victory.

Trump and tax cuts

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Steven Rattner's 2016 in charts piece notes "the strong economy that President Obama will be leaving him:"

Unemployment is down to 4.6 percent, the lowest since August 2007 and a stunning decline from the 7.8 percent when Mr. Obama took office. The economy has expanded by nearly 15 percent (adjusted for inflation), the stock market has nearly tripled, auto sales have notched records, the federal deficit has been cut by more than half and house prices nationally are above past peaks. Even real median incomes ended marginally higher.

20170104-obamahighnote.jpg

Rattner says this of Trump's tax-cut plan:

It includes a $6 trillion tax reduction over the next decade, vastly tilted toward business and the wealthy. An estimated 83 percent of the benefits would go to the top 20 percent of Americans and 51 percent to the top 1 percent by 2025. A middle-class taxpayer would receive an average tax benefit of $1,090; a typical member of the top 1 percent would get $317,100.

These huge tax giveaways -- along with Mr. Trump's promises to increase infrastructure spending and not touch Social Security and Medicare -- would blow up the deficit and add $4 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years over and above current projections. That's made particularly ironic by Mr. Trump's claim in a Washington Post interview that he would eliminate our current $19 trillion of debt over eight years through better trade deals and economic growth. [emphasis added]

Here's another chart, an indication of the fiscal damage that Trump intends to wreak:

20170104-trumptaxcuts.jpg

motion to impeach

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Digby asks, does impeachment begin now?

After a huge public outcry this week, even Trump questioned the timing of the new Congress' first initiative, which was to roll back certain ethics procedures. (He wasn't actually against the rollback, just thought it was premature.) There are also some encouraging signs that repealing the Affordable Care Act may not be quite as easy as Republicans had hoped, which could tangle them up with their followers all over again. If they can be similarly stopped or slowed from enacting the rest of their agenda, we might just get through this thing.

She also observes that "As long as congressional Republicans let him strut around taking credit for 'getting things done,' he'll be happy to sign anything they put in front of him:"

So what are Democrats to do with this? It's already going to be an overwhelming task to fight off Trump's worst nominees, battle back legislation that's coming from 20 different directions and expose the mountain of scandals that are quickly piling up. The Trump train wreck is already creating a chain reaction of one explosion after an other.

"Robert Kuttner wrote this provocative piece for the Huffington Post," notes digby, "advocating for a group of experts, preferably bipartisan, to begin seriously putting together the case for impeachment:"

Some people are reflexively opposed to making such a strong statement so early in the administration. But Trump is already committing impeachable offenses, and dealing with someone like this requires being well prepared to take advantage of any openings to stop him.

Along those lines, Doug Rossinow examines leftists and liberals in the political heartland and discusses "left-liberal relations in American politics:"

The World War II and Baby Boomer generations came to see these political entities as inherently discordant. Yet many today lament that, in theory, liberals and leftists ought to work for broad, common goals; otherwise no one would think that Ralph Nader's voters in 2000, or Jill Stein's in 2016, should have voted for the Democrat. We seem caught between obsolete models of progressive politics and a yearning for a progressive solidarity that is closer to fulfillment than we may realize.

"The left," Rossinow says, "has returned to prominence after an era in the wilderness of American politics:"

Today, opposition to war, capitalist exploitation, and white supremacy cut across both liberalism and the left. Now the left is often called progressivism, a notoriously ambiguous term. Much of it has reappeared inside the Democratic Party--a development overlooked by those who equate the left with minor parties or anti-systemic organizing. We have Bush and Sanders to thank for this reinvigoration of leftist politics inside the party system. [...]

Now President Trump looms. The coming years will offer plenty of fronts on which liberals and leftists may collaborate if they can manage it. Both groups may call themselves progressives, and for many--especially millennials--the old, rigid, Cold War-era distinction between liberal and left politics may fade. Leftist elements certainly won't pledge undying loyalty to the Democratic Party, but the basic political fact is that today's progressive politics, whether it succeeds or fails in securing its objectives, is already taking shape in that party and around its edges.

Rachel M. Cohen looks at Trump's war on public schools and observes that "The next few years may well bring about radical change to education:"

During a March primary debate, Trump said charters were "terrific" and affirmed they "work and they work very well." A few months later he traveled to a low-performing for-profit charter school in Cleveland to say he'd invest $20 billion in federal money to expand charters and private-school vouchers as president. His campaign has not outlined where the money would come from, but suggests it will be accomplished by "reprioritizing existing federal dollars."

Mike Pence, notes Cohen, "worked vigorously to expand charter schools and vouchers while serving as Indiana's governor."

Today, more than 30,000 Indiana students--including middle-class students--attend private and parochial schools with public funds, making it the largest single voucher program in the country. Pence also helped double the number of charter schools in his state; he increased their funding and gave charter operators access to low-interest state loans for facilities.

"The new backlash from conservatives against testing and the Common Core should not be interpreted as a rejection of a federal role," she continues, "The right loves it when Washington intervenes--if it serves the right's purposes:"

While there are limits to what Trump and DeVos could do to end the Common Core standards (they are state standards, after all), Trump's executive bully pulpit could certainly help embolden Common Core opponents on the local level.

Also notable is the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association effort to "overturn a 40-year-old ruling that required public employees represented by a union to pay fees to cover the union's bargaining and representation costs:"

Now that the Republican Senate has refused to hold a vote on Obama's appointment of Judge Merrick Garland, Trump will nominate a conservative Scalia successor to the Court. With a number of Friedrichs look-alike cases headed to the Supreme Court, it's a near certainty that a reconstituted majority of five conservative justices will strike down agency fees, which could considerably reduce the resources available to the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association--two of the nation's largest unions. Were that not trouble enough, the massive support that the AFT and NEA gave to Hillary Clinton's campaign is not likely to endear them to a president with a well-known penchant for revenge.
That's not all the damage he could do, though:
Conservatives have also proposed rolling back Obama administration reforms that federalized all new student loans and applied stricter regulations, particularly to for-profit institutions. If President Trump does ultimately re-privatize student loans, consumer protections would likely disappear, and the cost of borrowing would rise.

University leaders are also worrying about what a Trump administration could mean for research funding. The government is likely to cut back on investments on budgetary grounds, but also on ideological grounds, since universities tend to be seen as liberal enclaves.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, says bluntly that "If Donald Trump opts for privatization, destabilization, and austerity over supporting public education and the will of the people," she says, "well, there will be a huge fight."

Trump's propaganda effort against Obamacare includes misrepresenting Bill Clinton's remarks:

People must remember that ObamaCare just doesn't work, and it is not affordable - 116% increases (Arizona). Bill Clinton called it "CRAZY"

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017

What Clinton said, though, was drastically different:

The current system ... But the people that are getting killed in this deal are small businesspeople and individuals who make just a little too much to get any of these subsidies.

So you've got this crazy system where all of a sudden, 25 million more people have health care and then the people that are out there busting it ― sometimes 60 hours a week ― wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It's the craziest thing in the world.

So here's the simplest thing....let people buy into Medicare or Medicaid.

It's clear, the piece writes, that "Clinton was arguing for expanding health care access. He never called the ACA crazy."

Speaking of repealing Obamacare, digby wonders:

When Trump's own voters lose their health insurance will they be happy to sacrifice their own lives in order that their enemies will lose theirs? And by enemies, I mean me. And maybe you. Because that's what they're trying to do. They care more about cutting taxes for rich people than middle class people who don't get their insurance at work. [...]

Oh, and by the way, they don't think employers should be required to offer health insurance either. So, if they decide it's too expensive, it's really it's all about begging from your neighbors. After all, if you get sick when you aren't rich, it's really your fault right?

This is immoral. But then so are they.

In describing pushback on the delayed oversight killing, Kevin Drum quotes from the Washington Post:

The House GOP moved to withdraw changes made the day before to official rules that would rein in the Office of congressional Ethics. Instead, the House will study changes to the office with an August deadline.

"Oh please," he comments:

Trump didn't object to Republicans gutting the ethics office. He just thought they should do it later, when fewer people might notice. And that's what they're doing. They'll "study changes" and then gut the office in August, when everyone is on vacation.

Meanwhile, media outlets are falsely giving Trump credit for the reversal:

According to CNN, "President-elect Donald Trump dramatically strong-armed House Republicans into line Tuesday in his first Washington power play."

While it is true that Donald Trump criticized congressional Republicans, so did many other people.

And it is not true that he opposed gutting the OCE. His response this morning was only to say that while the OCE's existence was "unfair" to Republicans, that there were more important priorities to focus on.

We need to keep hammering on his unparalleled unpopularity, writes Eric Boehlert, who observes that "Trump's contrast with Obama in late 2008 is stunning:"

Obama entered 2009 with a 68 percent favorable rating. Today, Trump's favorable rating stands at an anemic 43 percent. And if history is any indication, that rating is almost certain to go down once the new president takes office.

Given the plurality of Americans who expect Trump to be a "poor" or "terrible" president, he wonders "what explains the press's passive, often genuflecting coverage of Trump since November?"

If Trump had just posted a 49-state, Reagan-esque landslide victory, I could more readily understand why the press would be acquiescing so regularly. But Trump just made history by losing the popular tally by nearly three million votes and remains, without question, the least popular president-elect since modern-day polling was invented.

Yet members of the press seem unduly intimidated by his presence, and have even rewarded him with chatter of an invisible "mandate." (He has none.)

Then he asks the big question:

Does anyone think that if Hillary Clinton had won in November while badly losing the popular vote to Trump, and then posted historically awful approval ratings during her transition, that story would not dominate Beltway coverage day after day, week after week?

And don't forget the press's entrenched fascination with Obama's public approval during his presidency, particularly the desire to depict "collapsing" support when, in fact, Obama's approval rating remained stubbornly stable for years.

There's a glaring Trump transition story hiding in plain sight: He's historically unpopular. The press ought to start telling that tale on a daily basis.

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