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Old 11th November 2016, 21:06
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Old 11th November 2016, 21:15
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Thoughts for the Horrified
NY TIMES Paul Krugman NOV. 11, 2016

So what do we do now? By “we” I mean all those left, center and even right who saw Donald Trump as the worst man ever to run for president and assumed that a strong majority of our fellow citizens would agree.

I’m not talking about rethinking political strategy. There will be a time for that — God knows it’s clear that almost everyone on the center-left, myself included, was clueless about what actually works in persuading voters. For now, however, I’m talking about personal attitude and behavior in the face of this terrible shock.

First of all, remember that elections determine who gets the power, not who offers the truth. The Trump campaign was unprecedented in its dishonesty; the fact that the lies didn’t exact a political price, that they even resonated with a large bloc of voters, doesn’t make them any less false. No, our inner cities aren’t war zones with record crime. No, we aren’t the highest-taxed nation in the world. No, climate change isn’t a hoax promoted by the Chinese.

So if you’re tempted to concede that the alt-right’s vision of the world might have some truth to it, don’t. Lies are lies, no matter how much power backs them up.

And once we’re talking about intellectual honesty, everyone needs to face up to the unpleasant reality that a Trump administration will do immense damage to America and the world. Of course I could be wrong; maybe the man in office will be completely different from the man we’ve seen so far. But it’s unlikely.

Unfortunately, we’re not just talking about four bad years. Tuesday’s fallout will last for decades, maybe generations.

I particularly worry about climate change. We were at a crucial point, having just reached a global agreement on emissions and having a clear policy path toward moving America to a much greater reliance on renewable energy. Now it will probably fall apart, and the damage may well be irreversible.

The political damage will extend far into the future, too. The odds are that some terrible people will become Supreme Court justices. States will feel empowered to engage in even more voter suppression than they did this year. At worst, we could see a slightly covert form of Jim Crow become the norm all across America.

And you have to wonder about civil liberties, too. The White House will soon be occupied by a man with obvious authoritarian instincts, and Congress controlled by a party that has shown no inclination to stand up against him. How bad will it get? Nobody knows.

What about the short term? My own first instinct was to say that Trumponomics would quickly provoke an immediate economic crisis, but after a few hours’ reflection I decided that this was probably wrong. I’ll write more about this in the coming weeks, but a best guess is that there will be no immediate comeuppance.

Trumpist policies won’t help the people who voted for Donald Trump — in fact, his supporters will end up much worse off. But this story will probably unfold gradually. Political opponents of the new regime certainly shouldn’t count on any near-term moment of obvious vindication.

So where does this leave us? What, as concerned and horrified citizens, should we do?

One natural response would be quietism, turning one’s back on politics. It’s definitely tempting to conclude that the world is going to hell, but that there’s nothing you can do about it, so why not just make your own garden grow? I myself spent a large part of the Day After avoiding the news, doing personal things, basically taking a vacation in my own head.

But that is, in the end, no way for citizens of a democracy — which we still are, one hopes — to live. I’m not saying that we should all volunteer to die on the barricades; I don’t think it’s going to come to that, although I wish I was sure. But I don’t see how you can hang on to your own self-respect unless you’re willing to stand up for the truth and fundamental American values.

Will that stand eventually succeed? No guarantees. Americans, no matter how secular, tend to think of themselves as citizens of a nation with a special divine providence, one that may take wrong turns but always finds its way back, one in which justice always prevails in the end.

Yet it doesn’t have to be true. Maybe the historic channels of reform — speech and writing that changes minds, political activism that eventually changes who has power — are no longer effective. Maybe America isn’t special, it’s just another republic that had its day, but is in the process of devolving into a corrupt nation ruled by strongmen.

But I’m not ready to accept that this is inevitable — because accepting it as inevitable would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The road back to what America should be is going to be longer and harder than any of us expected, and we might not make it. But we have to try.
Paul Krugman, American Economist, received Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2008.

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Old 11th November 2016, 22:13
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Trump’s Economic Prescription. First: Do Harm.
NY TIMES Steven Rattner NOV. 11, 2016

Donald J. Trump is positioned to achieve the most radical reshaping of economic policy since Ronald Reagan. Even under Reagan, Republicans never controlled both houses of Congress.

Since Mr. Trump has yet to provide many specifics, I can’t thoroughly assess the overall impact of his plan. But at the least, if he follows through on his ideas, we could face higher prices on imported goods, rising interest rates, substantial inflation and a further shift of wealth to the upper classes.

For starters, Mr. Trump has promised an immediate attack on trade deals, at least with countries he views as manipulators. Presidents have significant authority to act unilaterally in this area, and Mr. Trump has insisted he would put 35 percent tariffs on imports from Mexico and 45 percent on those from China.

Trade, which has been proved to stimulate economic growth both here and abroad, has already been slowing, and Mr. Trump is determined to slow it further in an effort to protect blue-collar manufacturing workers, many of them his supporters.

Mr. Trump’s tariffs would raise the prices of imported goods sharply, cutting the purchasing power of every American. Lower-income Americans — including Mr. Trump’s core supporters — would be hurt the most because they disproportionately buy less expensive imported items. For China, and particularly Mexico, the economic costs would be significant, which is why at one point on Wednesday the Mexican peso had plunged by more than 13 percent.

While some manufacturing jobs might come back as a result of the tariffs, a greater number of domestic jobs would most likely be lost because Americans would have less spending power. A recent study by the nonpartisan Peterson Institute for International Economics estimated that, rather than bringing jobs back to the United States, Mr. Trump’s tariffs could result in a trade war that would cost our economy five million jobs and possibly lead to a recession.

The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s plan is a huge $5.8 trillion tax cut unaccompanied by specificity around what expenses would be cut to pay for it. (Indeed, the president-elect has proposed more spending on defense and infrastructure.)

As soon as Mr. Trump’s ascendancy became clear on Tuesday night, interest rates on Treasuries began to rise. Usually, an unexpected event causes a flight to the safety of government debt, pushing yields down. That the opposite occurred reflects fears that the deficit might balloon out of control.

Mr. Trump has promised to keep Medicare and Social Security benefits unchanged, a commitment at odds with Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s own economic proposals. As a fiscal conservative, Mr. Ryan is unlikely to accept large tax cuts unaccompanied by major spending reductions. That could lead to the evisceration of many of the discretionary federal programs — think education or research and development — critical to putting our economy on a stronger footing.

To be sure, a tax cut on its own would give Americans more cash to spend. But according to the Tax Policy Center, by 2025, 51 percent of Mr. Trump’s reductions would go to the top 1 percent, who both least need it and would be least likely to spend it.


Then there’s the regulatory arena, where Mr. Trump also has a free hand to act unilaterally. And act he has promised to do, starting with a moratorium on new rules not required by Congress and a reversal of many executive orders.

If Mr. Trump sticks to his pledge, it will be open season on regulations, as businesses go after their most disliked provisions and agencies. Industrial companies will take aim at the Environmental Protection Agency. Financial institutions, including the big banks, will push to repeal Dodd-Frank. That’s just for starters.

Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Ryan are united in opposition to the Affordable Care Act, potentially ending the free or subsidized coverage that 20 million Americans are now receiving. Those Americans would be facing higher costs or loss of coverage.

Some of the efforts at dismantling government may face hurdles in the Senate, where 60 votes are required to break filibusters, more than the Republicans will have. But under a process known as “reconciliation,” matters relating to taxes and spending — and potentially the repeal of Obamacare — can be passed by a simple majority of 51.

Last, Mr. Trump’s signal issue was immigration, where he promised stricter standards, deportation of undocumented workers, a potential moratorium on the entry of new Muslim immigrants and a wall along the Mexican border.

Immigrants, including undocumented workers, play an important role in our economy, doing jobs that many native-born Americans won’t and paying taxes. The conservative American Action Forum calculated that his deportation plan would cost $400 billion to $600 billion and, because there are not enough citizens and legal residents to fill the demand, the plan would shrink the labor force and reduce gross domestic product by $1.6 trillion.

It’s hard to know whether the conflicting forces unleashed by Mr. Trump will create a recession. For the moment, at least, the stock market is betting no. But in addition to higher interest rates, financial markets are signaling higher inflation rates.

This much is certain: Mr. Trump’s proposals would confer vast monetary gains on wealthy Americans while leaving middle- and working-class Americans — his electoral base — further behind. For his supporters, the irony of a Trump victory is that they may end up even less well off.

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Old 12th November 2016, 04:01
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Trump team’s revenge - Some of the president-elect’s allies are seeking payback against Republicans who didn’t support his campaign.
POLITICO K.Vogel & B.Schreckinger 11/11/16, 4:51 PM CET

Donald Trump has 70 days to build a government and figure out how to run it, but some of his allies are spending the early days of his transition plotting revenge against those they believe slighted Trump — and them.

Since Trump’s shocking upset victory in Tuesday’s presidential election, several people who worked on his team have discussed ways to punish Republicans who were hostile to the New York billionaire’s anti-establishment campaign, including blocking them from administration or transition posts, or lucrative consulting work, according to a handful of people involved in the conversations.

They say that Republicans who opposed — or were seen as insufficiently supportive of — Trump have had their entreaties rejected by people around the president-elect, some of whom have expressed wonderment that former bitter critics are now asking for jobs, lobbying leads and even inauguration tickets.

“My phone is ringing off the hook with people who were on the outs asking how they can get into Trump world,” said one operative who worked with Trump’s campaign. “I’m telling them there is no f—ing way they’re getting inside.”

Even before Trump shocked the political world on Tuesday, one leading Republican policy adviser recalled being told second-hand that he was “non-grata” within Trump Tower for his outspoken criticism of the real estate showman-turned-candidate.

And the website seen as the unofficial news organ of Trump World, Breitbart News — which was co-founded by Trump’s campaign chairman and possible White House chief of staff Steve Bannon — has signaled that it intends to continue its crusade against House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump clashed throughout the campaign with Ryan, whose support for Trump wavered between non-existent and tepid, though the president-elect and House Speaker have presented a united frontsince the election, praising one another after a Thursday meeting on Capitol Hill.

A source close to Trump stressed that the president-elect’s team is willing to work with Republicans who backed Trump’s rivals in the GOP primary, and even those who occasionally called out Trump — but added that some crossed a line.

“It’s one thing not to have been for him or to have had a disagreement, but if you went out of your way to be an *******, then we’re not going to helpful,” the source said.

The source suggested that Trump’s political operation would steer business away from Republicans who were involved in the #NeverTrump effort to block Trump from the GOP nomination. Comparing one of the effort’s leading operatives to a Hollywood actor who threatened to leave the country if Trump was elected, the source said “Katie Packer should see if Bryan Cranston has an extra room in Canada.”

Packer responded by cracking that she “fully expected to be rounded up and sent to a detention camp so if that’s the best they’ve got, then that’s a relief!” More seriously, she suggested that “if Trump allows sentiments like that to go unchecked,” it will undermine his claim during his victory speech early Wednesday that he wants to unite the country after the divisive election.

Tactically, the desire for revenge among some Trump allies could run headlong into the stark reality that the president-elect now faces. His transition team is scrambling to recruit thousands of people to fill administration positions — posts that require expertise of the sort that is prevalent among the Republican professional class.

But many in that orbit kept their distance from Trump and some have signaled they’re still unwilling to work for him, which limits the pool from which he can draw, even without proactively excluding others. Meanwhile, many in Trump’s relatively small group of loyalists lack relevant high-level government experience or relationships with veteran policy or political professionals.

To be sure, it’s common for incoming presidents to steer plum administration or political gigs to their supporters, and away from those who opposed them.

But, while new administrations typically mete out revenge and rewards in subtle ways, Trump’s style is anything but subtle.

He has openly litigated grievances against a range of perceived enemies — from business rivals to journalists to politicians — for all manner of perceived slights.

Some of Trump’s advisers have been urging him to cool his penchant for retaliation, and one told POLITICO he seems receptive.

But some of Trump’s closest confidants also are known for aggressively prosecuting their own rivalries. That includes Bannon, who in December 2015 emailed a Breitbart editor about working to oust Ryan from the speakership, as well as former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who is being discussed as a possible chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Bannon did not respond to a request for comment, while Lewandowski rejected the suggestion that he was interested in punishing former rivals, and said he has not discussed any job with Trump.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller disputed the notion that either the president-elect or anyone in a decision-making role on his team was prosecuting grudges.

“None of this is true,” Miller said, arguing that this publication was in fact prosecuting its own grudge by “making up stories to fit their agenda.”

A different campaign source elaborated “there is not and never will be a blacklist. Trump is focused on talent like any CEO. The swamp games won’t apply in his administration.” The source added, though, that Trump “is known for loyalty and you can expect his supporters to be eager to be a part of his team.”

And, in fact, one person who feuded bitterly during the campaign with Trump was assured Thursday morning by a top Trump aide that the president-elect had no interest in pursuing the vendetta.

Yet, it’s clear that some of Trump’s supporters and staff feel that retribution is warranted against parts of the GOP establishment that cast Trump and his supporters as a cancer on the party from the beginning of the race.

Talk about revenge began percolating among Trump supporters at his victory party on Tuesday night at the Midtown Manhattan Hilton. Former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault, one of Trump’s leading surrogates, told a reporter that Trump’s team was grateful that “our enemies are making themselves clear so that when we get in to the White House, we know where we stand.” She added “Mr. Trump has a long memory and we’re keeping a list.”

And in recent days, a handful of operatives who worked for Trump suggested that any discrimination against prior opponents was fair game because during the campaign, Trump’s team members were the ones being called names (including “Trumptard”) and threatened with blacklisting by establishment Republicans.

“The people who worked on the campaign, and the convention too, put a lot on the line,” said one operative who worked on the convention. “We were told this would be a black mark on our careers we couldn’t come back from. We were scorned. The establishment was going to remember. For some people that was a big professional risk—never mind the personal relationships it strained. People who worked on the campaign or convention damn well deserve the first look if they want it.”
Trump team’s revenge – POLITICO

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Old 12th November 2016, 15:40
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INVISIBLE HAND OF BUSINESS - What Ukraine’s corrupt oligarchy can teach us about a President Trump
QUARTZ Max de Haldevang 11/12/2016

President-elect Donald Trump looks set to enter the White House with arguably the biggest array of conflicts of interest of any US president.

For just one example, take the case of Deutsche Bank. Trump’s lender of last resort has loaned him $364 million in mortgages in the past few years, according to The Intercept, plus $2.5 billion to his affiliated businesses and a further $1 billion in loan guarantees. And how are Deutsche’s current relations with Washington? Oh yeah, the government fined the bank $14 billion in September, according to the Wall Street Journal, to settle a series of investigations into the bank’s use of mortgage-backed securities during the financial crisis.

It’s not just a matter of managing his old friends, but his assets themselves. Unlike most other senior officials, the president and vice president have no legal obligation to put their assets in a blind trust. Trump has promised to do so, but there’s a wee problem there: the blind trust, he says, will be run by his children. At the head is likely to be his daughter Ivanka, who, along with her husband Jared Kushner, was one of Trump’s lead advisers throughout the campaign. Can we really expect Trump and his favorite child to never discuss the business on which they have spent years working together? Is it really a “blind” trust if you can work out what’s going on just by hearing a loose word from your daughter? Norman Ornstein, a political scientist and senior fellow at the nonpartisan American Enterprise Institute think tank, isn’t convinced.

“The idea that Trump will place his business holdings in the hands of his children is to me just frightening,” Ornstein wrote in an email. “There will be times when an action taken on behalf of the US can enrich Trump Enterprises, even as it hurts other American interests. What will he do?”

We contacted the Trump campaign to ask, but they didn’t reply to an emailed request for comment as of publication.

For answers to how this might play out, there’s a recent global precedent in Ukraine. Oligarch Petro Poroshenko was elected president there in 2014 while similarly promising to hide his assets from his sight and sell his main business, Roshen Confectionary Corporation, as soon as he could. However, he is yet to sell off Roshen, and his blind trust is currently run by the corporation’s long-time CEO Vyacheslav Moskalevsky, says Anders Aslund, a leading Ukraine expert and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank. “It’s a completely hopeless situation,” he says.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has been using the situation to manipulate the Ukrainian leader, Aslund claims. Aslund’s sources in Ukraine tell him the two have discussed Poroshenko’s businesses in private conversations: “Poroshenko is kept very much in line by the Kremlin,” he says. In October, Putin even tauntingly mentioned a factory Poroshenko owns in Russia, telling a conference that “there are some problems with the non-payment of VAT.”

Poroshenko was elected on an anti-corruption platform that prided itself on hiring foreign experts to clean up the country, but this year his administration has seen embarrassing, high profile resignations by officials frustrated with corruption slowing down their attempts at reform. In February, Poroshenko’s Lithuanian-born technocratic economy minister resigned over the entrenched graft he was facing, health minister Alexander Kvitashvili stepped down in July, and the bombastic former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili quit as governor of one of Ukraine’s most important regions in November. Announcing his resignation, Saakashvili pointedly asked his onetime friend Poroshenko, “How much can you lie and cheat?”

In the midst of all that, the Panama Papers made public on May 9 revealed that, while war raged in eastern Ukraine only three months after Poroshenko was elected in 2014, he was quietly setting up a secret offshore company in the British Virgin Islands.

So, what lessons can we take for Trump’s presidency? First, we need complete transparency, beginning with Trump releasing his tax returns and announcing any assets he may not have declared on his FEC and SEC filings. Second, his assets should be put in a blind trust run by a third party to block off exactly the distractions Poroshenko faced while his country was at war. That’s not an unprecedented demand: Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and both Bushes did so.

Trump is involved in businesses in over 500 companies, in countries like China, the UAE and Saudi Arabia—all of which have very complex relations with the US. There’s also strong evidence that he has at least received financing from Russian investors, according to the Washington Post, and he has tried a number of times to invest in property there. Putin is unlikely to be able to bully Trump the way he allegedly does Poroshenko, but Aslund says “there is a straightforward bribery risk” when the future president ends up in diplomatic negotiations with countries where he has assets, or where his children running his business are trying to invest. And Putin, a wily former KGB agent, is likely to pull every lever he has at his disposal to try to manipulate Trump.

In addition, there’s little to stop Trump’s children leveraging his name to do deals with reprehensible regimes, as former Federal Election commission chair Trevor Potter has pointed out. “We are faced with the possibility that a son or daughter of the president will turn up in Moscow or Uzbekistan or somewhere else negotiating a deal on a new property that will bear the name of the president, and the full knowledge that the president really is an owner of the company. That presents problems of a dimension we have never seen before,” Potter said in September, according to the Post.

The final message to take from Ukraine is the value of civil society, says Taras Kuzio, a senior fellow at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. Ukrainians have learned to hold their elites to account where the justice system has failed, and have overturned two corrupt governments in revolutions over the last 12 years. They keep themselves intensely well-informed on politics: “You ask any taxi driver in Kyiv, who stole what, where, and when and he’ll tell you,” Kuzio says. “American civil society could learn a lot from Ukraine because they’ve had to deal with Trump-like characters a lot longer than America has had to; people lie to them all the time. Trump is a liar, he thinks he’s unaccountable, he can do what he wants—these are Ukraine’s elites since 1991.”

If American citizens, NGOs, journalists and communities fail to step up, the outcome could get bleaker and bleaker, says Ornstein: “What now? The word kleptocracy comes to mind,” he wrote.
To see how Trump's business conflicts of interest will play out in his presidency, look at Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko — Quartz

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Old 12th November 2016, 15:59
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SWAMP THING - Donald Trump’s transition team is assembling like a super-lobbyist Voltron
QUARTZ Editorial Staff 11/11/2016

Donald Trump has assembled a team of advisors to help him staff his administration and plot policy going forward. Many members of the team working on economic policy are lobbyists, despite Trump’s repeated promises to “drain the swamp” if elected.

These advisors will assemble the ranks of officials who will attempt to make Trump’s campaign vision, however blurry, a policy reality. But the president-elect lacks the deep network of experts that often accompany a candidate to office, so he is filling the vacuum with a who’s-who of corporate attorneys and bankers. In the process, these advocates will put themselves in the best position to have access to officials when they are doing government business.

“He is going to need some people to help guide him through the swamp—how do you get in and how you get out?” Trent Lott, the former Mississippi Senator and powerful lobbyist, told the New York Times. “We are prepared to help do that.”

Trump’s transition-team advisor for the Department of the Treasury policy is David Malpass, who also worked for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush before spending 15 years with Bear Stearns. He was the investment bank’s chief economist before its near-collapse in 2008 led to a firesale to JPMorgan and signalled the start of the financial crisis. Trump’s headline economic pledges—namely, to double annual US GDP growth to 4% or more—are common conservative fodder. Malpass wrote a chapter in a 2012 book on this very issue, The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs, claiming that “fast growth isn’t rocket science.” All it takes is a strong dollar backed by higher interest rates, lower taxes, lighter regulations, and a limit on debt. Simple!

A name in the frame for Treasury secretary is Steven Mnuchin, the Trump campaign’s chief fundraiser. Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs—as did his father, a prominent Goldman partner—with key roles in the investment bank’s mortgage operations, before starting a hedge fund with backing from George Soros. As it happens, Goldman and Soros were both called out in Trump’s final campaign ad as part of the “global special interests” out of touch with common people.

— Jason Karaian

Donald Trump has picked Jeffrey Eisenach, a veteran foe of federal technology regulation, to lead his telecom transition team. A former economist at the Federal Trade Commissions and advisor in Ronald Reagan’s White House, Eisenach has fiercely attacked the FCC’s attempts to enforce net neutrality through the Federal Communications Commission. Net neutrality rules give all websites and services equal access to internet distribution, and are expected to be rolled back under Trump, who has called them a “top-down power grab” to “target the conservative media” and equated them (inaccurately) with the Fairness Doctrine. The FCC may also doom another of Obama’s signature tech initiatives, to expand broadband outside American cities.

Trump has not formulated a full technology policy platform, but the campaign did in October ask industry advocacy groups representing companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter to recommend federal agency appointments, and regulations they’d like to see removed, according to Politico. The meeting also came with a fundraising pitch.

– Michael J. Coren

Labor relations
The man filling seats at the Department of Labor is J. Steven Hart, a high-profile Washington lobbyist who previously worked in the Reagan administration. An Oklahoma native with ties to former Rep. Tom DeLay, Stevens has lobbied for Coca-Cola and Pfizer. “Hart is the man corporations call when they’re having trouble with labor unions,” according to Washingtonian magazine. Trump clashed with labor unions as a businessman, and he may attempt to roll back some of gains working people made under Obama, such as a lower income threshold for receiving overtime.

—Oliver Staley

Food policy
Trump has recruited veteran Capitol Hill lobbyist Michael K. Torrey to shepherd the transition of the US Department of Agriculture and its portfolio, including farm subsidies, the food stamp program, the Farm Bill, school meals, nutrition labeling rules, and more.

Torrey, who has been described as an even-keeled moderate by colleagues in other lobbying firms, has represented the interests of Big Soda in an array of areas, including food stamps policy, the government’s Dietary Guidelines, and food package labeling issues, financial disclosures show. Trump has yet to speak specifically about his food and agriculture policy ambitions, which he rarely addressed during the campaign.

— Chase Purdy

The environment
The person in charge of staffing up the Environmental Protection Agency is Myron Ebell, currently the director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a libertarian DC think tank that is a nonprofit but largely funded by industry. The organization opposes most of Obama’s policies and “questions global warming alarmism.” It also “opposes energy-rationing policies, including the Kyoto Protocol, cap-and-trade legislation, and EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions,” as well as “all government mandates and subsidies for conventional and alternative energy technologies.”

Ebell also chairs the “Cooler Heads Coalition,” which is financed by CEI, and whose stated mission is “dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis.” In 1998, Ebell worked with oil giant Exxon to develop a communications strategy designed to “undercut the ‘prevailing scientific wisdom’” and force uncertainty to “become part of the ‘conventional wisdom.’”

— Elijah Wolfson

Trump’s transition website outlines a list of goodies for the fossil fuel industry, including reopening oil-drilling leasing on public lands and waters, and issuing more coal-mining permits. To get people in place to execute this plan, Trump has turned to Mike McKenna, a lobbyist at his own shop, MWR Strategies, where in 2016 McKenna has made at least $390,000 advocating on behalf of companies like Dow Chemical and Koch Industries. Trump also tapped David Bernhardt, a former Bush administration official who now represents large energy companies at the nation’s second-largest lobbying firm.

— Tim Fernholz

At least one of Trump’s transition planners isn’t a creature of Washington. He appointed the former CEO of Nucor Steel, Dan DiMicco, to handle staffing for the office of the US Trade Representative. DiMicco has been an outspoken critic of US trade policy, particularly with China, and became a Trump advisor earlier this year. “Trump clearly sees it and he will work to put an end to China’s ‘Mercantilist Trade War’! A War it has been waging against us for nearly 2 decades! A war in which we have yet to show up to fight! Trump gets it!” DiMicco wrote on his blog earlier this year. “He will do this by negotiating from a position of strength, not condescending weakness.”

— Tim Fernholz

Who are Donald Trump's presidential advisors? — Quartz

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Old 13th November 2016, 04:45
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America and the world - The piecemaker
For seven decades America has been the guarantor of global order. It may now become a force for instability
Nov 12th 2016 THE ECONOMIST


WHEN Donald Trump started to assemble his national-security team, he asked his advisers: “Do you know what constant pour is?” At least one of the generals present confessed that he did not. Well, explained Mr Trump, it is the process whereby the concrete foundations of buildings cannot be allowed to set before being filled; cement mixers must be lined up for many blocks at the ready. The lesson was: the generals may know a lot of fancy jargon, but so does he.

It was quintessential Trump: prickly yet boastful. The assertion that the world is complicated is but a con-trick to befuddle honest Americans who wonder why their country seems less feared by enemies and less respected by allies. In his telling, America’s problems are simple, self-inflicted and reversible. It is hard to think of a president-elect less versed in the workings of the world than Mr Trump; or of one more willing to upturn the global order shaped by America in the seven decades since the end of the second world war.

Mr Trump has described his foreign policy in only the vaguest terms, preferring such bumper-sticker slogans as “America First” to detailed plans. To the extent that it can be divined, his programme involves threatening to slap tariffs on imports from China and Mexico; demanding that allies like Japan and the Europeans pay more for their defence; and being nicer to strongmen like Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. A good president, like a real-estate mogul, must be “prepared to walk” away from a bad deal; and it helps if he is unpredictable. Richard Nixon may have resorted to the madman theory of diplomacy to frighten enemies during the cold war. But Mr Trump’s politics of deliberate uncertainty is terrifying America’s friends and partners: no trade treaty, international institution or alliance is sacrosanct.

America’s allies, though mostly horrified, are scrambling to congratulate him in the hope of limiting the damage he might cause. Other demagogues who denounce elites and the liberal, multilateral, rules-based order are elated. Florian Philippot, an adviser to Marine Le Pen, leader of the xenophobic National Front (FN) in France, exulted on Twitter: “Their world is falling apart. Ours is being built.”

The one area of foreign policy about which Mr Trump’s views are clear and consistent is trade. He has grumbled about it since the 1980s, when he would appear on TV and claim that Japan was robbing America blind (by selling Americans reliable cars at reasonable prices). On the campaign trail, he has redoubled his anti-trade tirades. Whether addressing grey-haired ex-factory hands in Ohio or greeting reporters at his brass-plated skyscraper in Manhattan, he has denounced incompetent and corrupt elites for shipping jobs abroad. China is “killing us”, Mr Trump told The Economist last year. “The money that they took out of the United States is the greatest theft in the history of our country.” (In fact, the money in question was willingly paid for Chinese products.)


Depending on the week, Mr Trump’s remedies have included a promise to declare China a currency manipulator, and threats to slap tariffs of 5%, 10% or even 45% on imports to close America’s trade deficit (see chart 1). He has vowed to tweak the tax code and browbeat the bosses of such giant firms as Ford, Apple and Boeing until they make more of their products at home. >>>>>>>>>>>>

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Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp
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