You know, I’d like to take Charles M. Blow’s Thanksgiving Day post and blow the type up three times usual size and publish the whole thing. And then send it, framed, to all the sycophantic pundits out there who are into wait-and-see mode, pretending that we good Americans have a duty to respect the grifter in chief just elected to the highest office in the land by our antiquated, dilapidated, off-putting, overflowing-with-cash political system.
The president-elect is a crooked wheeler-dealer pretending to be a rebel against that system when he is, in fact, the inevitable consequence of that system’s intersection with the nation’s corrupt media-entertainment empire and the concentrated wealth that owns it. Unlike Ronald Reagan, who was a true-believer but nonetheless captive spokesman of the real economic powers-that-be, Donald Trump is the carnival barker unleashed, playing his public role with none of the brittle suavete of Reagan nor any convictions beyond self-admiration and growing his pile of moolah by any means available.
Trump makes some of those powers-that-be a bit fidgety with his reckless shooting from the lip, and his embrace of intellectual skinheads like Steve Bannon. But the agenda he has laid out in no way deviates from what leading profiteers seek in the years ahead. But they’ll stay blind to the massive collateral damage that will be done by this presidency together with this Congress, the soon-to-be worsened federal judiciary and the overwhelming number of state legislatures that now are under extremist control.
Even a long excerpt doesn’t do Blow’s column justice. But here’s one anyway from No, Trump, We Can’t Just Get Along, sparked by Trump’s interview with the high muckety-mucks where Blow works:
The very idea of sitting across the table from a demagogue who preyed on racial, ethnic and religious hostilities and treating him with decorum and social grace fills me with disgust, to the point of overflowing. Let me tell you here where I stand on your “I hope we can all get along” plea: Never.
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.
I don’t believe you care much at all about this country or your party or the American people. I believe that the only thing you care about is self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. Your strongest allegiance is to your own cupidity.
I also believe that much of your campaign was an act of psychological projection, as we are now learning that many of the things you slammed Clinton for are things of which you may actually be guilty. [...]
You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver.
I am not easily duped by dopes.
I have not only an ethical and professional duty to call out how obscene your very existence is at the top of American government; I have a moral obligation to do so.
NOTE: Somehow, the excerpts from 12 of the 13 pundit entries included in today’s APR were obliterated around 10:30 AM PT. For late readers, my apologies.
Here are links to what they wrote: Ruth Conniff, Barbara Kingsolver, Ruth Marcus, Elizabeth Grossman, Richard Wolffe, Christiane Amanpour, David Dayen, Jess Row, Kiera Butler, David Leonhardt, Ian Allen, The New York Times Editorial Board.
I am at work trying to repair the damage. Patience, please. (Finished!)
Ruth Marcus at The Washington Post posted her own righteous rant decyring Donald Trump’s calling Breitbart—once overseen by his chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon—“just a publication.” In her Breitbart isn’t ‘just a publication.’ It’s a pestilence, she writes:
We’re going to hear the word “normalize” a lot during the Trump administration, and the risk is going to be exactly that, underreacting. Trump says and does so many outrageous things that it will be tempting for us to tire of calling them, and him, out. The job of opinion writers — my job — is to not let Trump define outrageousness down.
So, Breitbart is racist. Two weeks after white supremacist Dylann Roof murderednine African Americans at a Charleston, S.C., church — after Trump’s choice for U.N. ambassador, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, called for the Confederate battle flag’s removal from the statehouse grounds — Breitbart ran an article under the headline, “Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage.” The Confederacy, the article argued, “was not a callous conspiracy to enforce slavery, but a patriotic and idealistic cause for which 490,000 men were killed, wounded or taken captive.” [...]
Breitbart is misogynist. “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy” was the headline on an article last December by one of the site’s most offensive writers, Milo Yiannopoulos. And what should the pill be replaced with? “Nothing. We need the kids if we’re to breed enough to keep the Muslim invaders at bay.”
The New York Times Editorial Board, reflecting on the interview its muckety-mucks conducted with Donald Trump this week, conclude in Questioning Donald Trump:
...it was alarming to confront how thinly thought through many of the president-elect’s stances actually are.
David Leonhardt at The New York Times writes—Trump Reassures the Media (For Now):
During the campaign, Trump referred to the reporters covering him as “scum” and said that he wanted to “open up” libel laws to make it easier to sue media companies for unfavorable coverage.
He is also part of a small group of wealthy Americans who have tried to intimidate journalists with lawsuits, as my colleague Emily Bazelon writes for The Times Magazine. “Once installed in the White House, Trump will have a wider array of tools at his disposal,” Bazelon writes, “and his record suggests that, more than his predecessors, he will try to use the press — and also control and subdue it.”
All of this is alarming. No matter how good or bad any individual piece of journalism or publication is, a free press is crucial to a functioning democracy. “Our liberty,” as Thomas Jefferson said, “cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.”
David Dayen at The Nation writes—Democrats: Revoking Trump’s Fast-Track Trade Authority Is Good Policy and Good Politics:
In their blueprint for progressive trade policy, Jared Bernstein and Lori Wallach called for fast track to be replaced, because it “has enabled wholesale corporate capture of the process and thus the morphing of ‘trade’ agreements away from a focus on trade.” Democrats ought to challenge Trump by asking him why he needs an authority he doesn’t plan to use, that only blocks public input from a process that can determine their economic future.
Paul Ryan supported fast track; Republicans offered up most of the votes for it. For Democrats looking for a way to reconnect with working-class Rust Belt voters who have lost jobs and livelihoods from corporate-written trade deals, this is an excellent way to draw distinctions. Withdrawing from the TPP does not go far enough, when a President Trump could merely tweak a few sections and bring it back for a guaranteed up-or-down vote. Talking about protecting American workers while reserving the right to sell them out later would make Trump just another politician who whispers sweet talk about populism to get elected.
There’s a real opportunity here. It would take just a one-page bill to repeal fast track, something Trump claims not to need. Which Democrat will write it?
Barbara Kingsolver at The Guardian writes Trump changed everything. Now everything counts:
If you’re among the majority of American voters who just voted against the party soon to control all three branches of our government, you’ve probably had a run of bad days. You felt this loss like a death in the family and coped with it as such: grieved with friends, comforted scared kids, got out the bottle of whisky, binge-watched Netflix. But we can’t hole up for four years waiting for something that’s gone. We just woke up in another country. [...]
How uncomfortable. We crave to believe our country is still safe for mainstream folks like us and the things we hold dear. Our civic momentum is to trust the famous checks and balances and resist any notion of a new era that will require a new kind of response. Anti-Trump demonstrations have already brought out a parental tone in the media, and Michael Moore is still being labeled a demagogue. Many Democrats look askance at Keith Ellison, the sudden shooting star of the party’s leadership, as too different, too progressive and feisty. Even if we agree with these people in spirit, our herd instinct recoils from extreme tactics and unconventional leaders on the grounds that they’ll never muster any real support.
That instinct is officially obsolete.
Richard Wolffe at The Guardian writes—Under Donald Trump, the US will no longer be the beacon of the free world:
As Trump tweeted earlier this week, “Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world. Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!” [...]
Now we don’t know if Donald Trump discussed his Buenos Aires investment with President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, but we do know that his daughter Ivanka – now running the family business – was on the call.
We don’t know if there was any suggestion that President Mauricio Macri could expect any benefits for himself or his country. Spokespeople for President Macri and President-elect Trump have denied reports about the mixing of Trump business and politics on the call.
But we do know that the long-stalled Buenos Aires project is now moving forward: news that emerged just three days after the call between Macri and Trump.
From a Nov. 22 speech by Christiane Amanpour to the Committee to Protect Journalists come the excerpts below, post at The Guardian—In this dangerous new world, journalism must protect itself:
I never in a million years thought I would be up here on stage appealing for the freedom and safety of American journalists at home. [...]
I actually hoped that once president-elect, all that that would change, and I still do.
But I was chilled when the first tweet after the election was about “professional protesters incited by the media”.
He walked back the part about the protesters but not the part about the media.
We are not there. But postcard from the world: this is how it goes with authoritarians like Sisi, Erdoğan, Putin, the Ayatollahs, Duterte, et al.
As all the international journalists we honor in this room tonight and every year know only too well:
First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating – until they suddenly find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives.
Then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prison – and then who knows?
If you are eating turkey today, you might want to avoid this one by Keira Butler at Mother Jones—Look How Much Bigger Thanksgiving Turkeys Are Today Than in the 1930s: She notes that turkeys ain’t what they used to be and cites Suzanne McMillan, senior director of the farm animal welfare campaign of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who says the change wasn't an accident:
Up until the the 1950s, turkeys found on Thanksgiving tables were essentially the same as their wild counterparts. But then, says McMillan, American poultry operations began to expand to meet Americans' growing demand for meat. Turkey farmers began to selectively breed birds for both size and speed of growth—especially in the breast, the most popular cut among American diners. The birds grew so fast that their frames could not support their weight, and as a result, many turkeys were bowlegged and could no longer stand upright. The male turkeys, or toms, got so big—as heavy as 50 pounds—that they could no longer manage to transfer semen to hens. Today, reproduction happens almost exclusively through artificial insemination. [...]
If all of this makes turkey sound unappetizing, consider the latest development: As of October 20, turkey slaughter facilities were allowed to speed up their lines from 51 to 55 birds per minute—while also reducing the number of federal inspectors, as my colleague Tom Philpott has reported.
Elizabeth Grossman at In These Times writes—Will Workplace Safety Survive a Trump Presidency?
How does Trump’s promise to reduce and eliminate regulations square with creating good, living-wage jobs? How will his presidency affect workplace health and safety? What will happen to the gains made during the Obama administration?
“Obviously the landscape has shifted dramatically and the position that we’re in and the challenges that we’re going to be facing are monumental. I don’t think there’s any question about that,” said Peg Seminario, safety and health director at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). [...]
Among the Obama administration policies that may be vulnerable, said Seminario, are the Department of Labor’s overtime rule, the proposed beryllium rule and the just-issued walking-working surfaces and fall protection rule. She’s also concerned about the fate of new rules requiring more thorough reporting of workplace injuriesand the right of nonunion workers to be accompanied by a representative or advocate during workplace inspections.
Ian Allen at The Nation writes— ‘Alt-Right’ Is Not a Thing. It’s White Supremacy:
“The edgy quality of ‘alt’ is also one of its strengths, in my opinion,” Richard B. Spencer, the charismatic head of a DC-based white-nationalist “think tank” called the National Policy Institute, explained to me. “It connotes grunge, electronica, punk rock, youth, and vitality—and not fuddy-duddy ‘conservatism.’ ” Spencer began using the term as early as 2008, before launching his webzine, Alternative Right, in 2010. “It was ‘Alt’—an attempt at a new beginning. ‘Alt Right,’ at its origins, was about a revolt against mainstream ‘conservatism,’ George W. Bush, and the neocons.”
But Spencer’s conservative “revolt” is primarily just racist dogma under a new name. His organization’s mission statement asserts simply–in the second of only two sentences–that they are “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of European people in the United States, and around the world.” Spencer’s Twitter account was among those recently suspended in the company’s long-overdue hate-monger purge. And, really, you know your rhetoric is disgusting when even Twitter can’t cope.
Ruth Conniff at The Progressive writes—Eight Things You Can Do to Uphold Progressive Values in the Coming Year:
1. Come out as a progressive! Join the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, become a card-carrying progressive [...[
2. Support Native Americans struggling to defend our water and land against the overpowering power of corporations and the police state: people are gathering blankets, flashlights, etc to take to the #NODAPL encampment at Standing Rock—donate, volunteer, help out!
3. Show solidarity with immigrants and Muslim Americans: no one is more horrified and frightened by the white supremacists in the Trump Administration than recent immigrants and Muslim Americans. If Trump makes good on his plan to register Muslims, Americans of every religious faith and background have pledged to register as Muslims, too. Show you care about immigrants, including the undocumented members of immigrant families who now fear a knock on the door more than ever. Many cities are creating sanctuaries to resist mass deportations. Join the movement and be ready to stick up for our immigrant neighbors—both by showing solidarity and friendship now, and by pledging to help out should someone need to be protected from government overreach.
4. Embrace a nasty woman! [...] 5. Make sure the world knows that black lives still matter [...] 6. Keep fighting for economic justice. [...] 7. Show some kindness. There is enough hatefulness in the world right now. We need to embody compassion—to be the change we want to see in our country and in the world. You don’t have to be doormat to model love, tolerance, and community values. Get involved in organizations fighting homelessness, food banks, and other service providers, build community, and set national politics aside to connect with your neighbors in helping make the world a better place. 8. Get out of your comfort zone [...]