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  • #31
    Breitbart, Reveling in Trump’s Election, Gains a Voice in His White House
    NY TIMES MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM & JOHN HERRMAN NOV. 13, 2016

    There is talk of Breitbart bureaus opening in Paris, Berlin and Cairo, spots where the populist right is on the rise. A bigger newsroom is coming in Washington, the better to cover a president-elect whose candidacy it embraced.

    Mainstream news outlets are soul-searching in the wake of being shocked by Donald J. Trump’s election last week. But the team at Breitbart News, the right-wing opinion and news website that some critics have denounced as a hate site, is elated — and eager to expand on a victory that it views as a profound validation of its cause.

    “So much of the media mocked us, laughed at us, called us all sorts of names,” Alexander Marlow, the site’s editor in chief, said in an interview on Sunday. “And then for us to be seen as integral to the election of a president, despite all of that hatred, is something that we certainly enjoy, and savor.”

    Breitbart not only championed Mr. Trump; its chairman, Stephen K. Bannon, helped run his campaign. On Sunday, Mr. Trump named Mr. Bannon as his chief White House strategist and senior counselor, further closing the distance between Breitbart’s newsroom and the president-elect.

    Those who consider Mr. Trump, who has vilified the news media, a threat to the free press view Mr. Bannon’s appointment as more cause for alarm. Critics say Breitbart now has the potential to play an unprecedented role in a modern presidency, as a weaponized media adjunct for the White House.

    “It will be as close as we are ever going to have — hopefully — to a state-run media enterprise,” said Kurt Bardella, a former Breitbart spokesman who quit the site this year, saying it had turned into a de facto “super PAC” for Mr. Trump.

    Breitbart has been denounced as misogynist, racist and xenophobic, and it served as a clearinghouse for attacks on Mr. Trump’s adversaries, spreading unsubstantiated rumors about Hillary Clinton’s health and undermining its own reporter, Michelle Fields, after she accused Corey Lewandowski, then Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, of assaulting her.

    The site frequently boasts about knowing the pulse of its readers. News articles with evocative headlines, like “Paris Streets Turned into WARZONE by Violent Migrants,” are frequently followed by comments from readers about “the enemy within,” migrant “scum” and the “Jewish-controlled media.” Breitbart’s writers often vilify the Black Lives Matter movement, emphasizing what they say is a wave of “black-on-black crime.”

    But the site’s influence on social media, where more and more Americans now consume information, has been palpable. On election night, Breitbart’s Facebook page received the fourth-highest number of user interactions on the entire platform — beating Fox News, CNN and The New York Times.

    Mr. Marlow, the editor, praised Mr. Bannon on Sunday, saying, “Steve understands the voters, the American people, better than just about anyone.” But he rejected the premise that Breitbart could become an American version of Pravda.

    “Our loyalty is not going to be to Donald Trump; our loyalty is to our readers and to our values,” Mr. Marlow, 30, said. “That’s regardless of what role Steve has.”

    “If Trump runs his administration and honors the voters who voted him in, we’re all good,” Mr. Marlow added. “But if he is going to turn his back on those values and principles that drove his voters to the polls, we’re going to be highly critical. We’re not going to think twice about it.”

    For now, Breitbart is supporting the president-elect. Its post-Election Day coverage has been, if anything, emboldened: “Meltdown Continues: Wave of Fake ‘Hate Crimes’ Sweeps Social Media,” read a headline on its home page on Sunday, attempting to cast doubt on a wave of reports of intimidation and harassment by Trump supporters. “Anti-Democracy Crybabies March by Thousands Nationwide,” read another.

    The site’s expansion of political coverage comes at a time when other news outlets in Washington are concerned about staying relevant with readers — and girding for tensions with a president-elect who denounces reporters as dishonest, or worse.

    A spokesman for the White House Correspondents’ Association, which coordinates press coverage of the White House, declined to comment on Mr. Bannon’s appointment.

    Andrew Breitbart, the site’s founder, who died in 2012, “used to talk about the Democrat-media complex,” recalled Ben Shapiro, Breitbart’s former editor at large.

    “It’s hard to think of a more Republican-media complex than Breitbart and the Trump team,” Mr. Shapiro said. “I’ll be fascinated to see if there are any points of departure, any points of criticism at all.”

    Outlets like Fox News, which has a large Republican audience, insist that Breitbart is no competitor, saying that an online-only outlet with few known personalities can hardly compete with television networks that reach tens of millions of homes.

    Breitbart receives far fewer unique web visitors than Fox News’s digital sites, according to statistics from comScore. Still, its Facebook audience has more than doubled in the last year, and it frequently sets the agenda for social media users with their own mass followings. The site has spotlighted nationalist views and conspiracies once relegated to the right-wing fringe.

    Larry Solov, Breitbart’s chief executive, declined on Sunday to provide revenue figures for the site. Nor would he comment on whether Mr. Bannon, a former Goldman Sachs banker, retains a financial stake. (Mr. Solov is a part owner, along with Andrew Breitbart’s estate and the family of Robert Mercer, a wealthy Trump donor.)

    Speaking by telephone from Hearst Castle in California, which he was visiting for a postelection vacation, Mr. Solov said that his teams had been flooded with résumés from reporters and even some aspiring journalists with no experience, “who feel motivated and energized.”

    “We’ve built a community, and I really emphasize that,” Mr. Solov said. “People come to us because they feel they belong to something.”

    Mr. Marlow, the editor, said the site’s international expansion was tied to upcoming elections in France and Germany. He said that Breitbart planned to support the candidacy of Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party.

    “There’s an underserved readership” in Europe, Mr. Marlow said, before referring to the recent “Brexit” vote. “It’s the same readers who had been ignored in Britain and had been ignored in the United States.”

    On Sunday, with Mr. Bannon elevated to one of the country’s most powerful positions, the site took on a celebratory air. Linking to a story about Mr. Bannon’s new role, the @BreitbartNews Twitter account wrote, to its more than 400,000 followers: “What a time to be alive.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/bu...ite-house.html

    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

    Comment


    • #32
      With Ivanka's jewelry ad, Trump companies begin to seek to profit off election result
      THE WASHINGTON POST Drew Harwell (Washington Post) Nov 15, 2016

      One day after President-elect Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka spoke to "60 Minutes" about her father's rise to power, her jewelry line alerted journalists to a surprising fact: The First Daughter-elect's bracelet could be bought for $10,800.

      It was the first televised interview with the new commander-in-chief of a deeply anxious America. But it was also, for the Trump company, an undeniable promotional opportunity. The 18-karat Metropolis diamond bangle, a gold version of which also sold for $8,800, was Ivanka's "favorite bangle," an Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry vice president told journalists in a "style alert."

      The sales tactic marked one of the first moments since the election during which the Trump companies have sought to use Trump's presidential prominence to boost their private fortunes.

      But it may not be the last. Ethics advisers have increasingly voiced concerns over the unprecedented conflicts of interest that could arise from the soon-to-be First Family's empire of real estate, luxury goods and licensing deals.

      "This will keep a spotlight on the family business, on the members of the family, how they run the business and their interactions with the government," said Jan Witold Baran, a partner at Washington law firm Wiley Rein. "Family members can create problems all on their own."

      Officials said Friday that Trump would name his children to his presidential transition team, guaranteeing Ivanka and her siblings will likely have influential roles in deciding the players and policies of Trump's time in office.

      The presidential campaign was a ripe time for Trump corporate marketing. Ivanka Trump's fashion line advertised on Twitter encouraging shoppers to buy the dress she wore during her Republican National Convention speech.

      In the first months of Trump's campaign, revenue at his palatial Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, nearly doubled, and his book, "Crippled America," drew in millions of dollars in royalties, financial disclosure filings showed.

      But the promotional spots since Trump's electoral victory reveal the many potential entanglements that could influence the businessman's presidency.

      During the "60 Minutes" interview Sunday, Ivanka Trump sought to maintain her connection to the licensing and merchandising deals she had forged as a businesswoman in her father's image.

      When asked if she would assume a role in Trump's White House, Ivanka Trump said she would not, adding, "I'm going to be a daughter. But I've said throughout the campaign that I am very passionate about certain issues and I want to fight for them."

      "Wage equality, child care, these are things that are really important to me," added Ivanka, a Trump company executive vice president who also runs her own lines for clothing, shoes and handbags. "There are a lot of things that I feel really strongly about, but not in a formal administrative capacity."

      In a statement to The Post, Abigail Klem, president of the Ivanka Trump brand, said the notification about the bracelet “was sent by a well-intentioned marketing employee at one of our companies who was following customary protocol, and who, like many of us, is still making adjustments post-election. We are proactively discussing new policies and procedures with all of our partners going forward.”

      There is nothing illegal about the advertisements. Conflict-of-interest laws do not block a president from involving himself in matters that could boost his private companies' wealth or prominence.

      Trump has also resisted the tradition set by most presidents before him of selling or handing over his assets into a "blind trust" controlled by an independent manager. He said he intends to give control of his companies to Ivanka and his other children, an arrangement that ethics experts say does little to put distance between Trump's presidential decision-making and personal estate.

      Though some Trump companies have faced growing boycotts, Ivanka Trump's brands have seemingly gained a generous boost in attention during her father's campaign. The retail site ShopRunner said interest in the Ivanka Trump Collection had exploded in recent months.
      With Ivanka’s jewelry ad, Trump companies begin to seek profit off election result – Washington Post | World Incidents
      ==========================================
      I encourage all Trumpeteers to rub their nickles together and each order one of Ivanka's bangles for the holidays.

      FYI none of Ivanka's companies have anything that even remotely resembles a maternity leave benefit.

      æ, !

      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

      Comment


      • #33
        Clinton's lead in popular vote passes 1 million – media Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote over President-elect Donald Trump has surpassed 1 million, according to Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, according to POLITICO.
        UNIAN 16 Nov 2016

        As the final vote counts continue to trickle in a week after Election Day, Wasserman's tally found that Clinton had 61,963,234 votes to Trump's 60,961,185 as of Tuesday afternoon, POLITICO wrote. Wasserman tweeted that votes from Montgomery County, Maryland, pushed Clinton's lead over the 1-million mark, with the Democratic nominee receiving roughly 20,000 more votes, compared to about 3,000 for Trump. Votes are still being tabulated in California, Utah and Washington, according to Tracy Lewis, elections operations manager for the Associated Press. The result in Michigan remains too close to call. Trump, a Republican and a distinct underdog going into the election, won the Electoral College by a considerable margin, stunning Washington and both major-party establishments. While Clinton racked up large raw vote margins in blue states like California and came closer than Democrats traditionally do in states such as Arizona and Georgia, Trump managed to flip states in the Midwest like Wisconsin, carrying him to victory.

        Clinton's unexpected loss in the Electoral College has prompted some grumbling about the system among Democrats, who also lost the White House but won the popular vote in 2000. On Tuesday, California Sen. Barbara Boxer filed a longshot bill that would eliminate the Electoral College.

        Trump on Tuesday boasted on his Twitter account that he would have won the popular vote, too, had that been the focus of his campaign.

        "If the election were based on total popular vote I would have campaigned in N.Y. Florida and California and won even bigger and more easily," he wrote. "The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!"

        Read more on UNIAN: Clinton's lead in popular vote passes 1 million – media

        æ, !

        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

        Comment


        • #34
          Jared Kushner — Donald Trump’s son-in-law
          Janet Allon, AlterNet RAW STORY
          26 Aug 2016 at 07:13 ET

          A member of Donald Trump’s inner circle by virtue of being his daughter’s husband, Jared Kushner, the wealthy son of a New Jersey real state mogul, has managed to fly somewhat under the radar until recently. But last week, both the New Yorker and Esquire magazine published not terribly flattering profiles of the so-called golden boy, who is reported to be a major influence and key decision maker in the Trump inner circle.

          Here are seven of the most damning revelations about Ivanka’s hubby.

          1. Jared is a really good compartmentalizer. It runs in the family.

          In August 2004, Jared’s father, Charles Kushner, head of a multi-hundred-million-dollar real estate empire in New Jersey, pleaded guilty to 18 felony counts of tax fraud, election violations and witness tampering. Interestingly, future Trump toadie Chris Christie was the prosecutor who indicted him as New Jersey’s U.S. attorney, but we’ll get back to that.

          Charles Kushner set his sister’s husband up with a sex worker and filmed their interactions in an effort to blackmail her out of cooperating with a federal investigation. Such a nice family man.

          But it didn’t work. Kushner ended up being sentenced to two years in prison.

          Similarly, Jared Kushner, an observant Jew, seems to be able to convince himself that the fact that his father-in-law courts and hires white supremacists, who are by definition antisemitic, is A-OK. Nor does he seem troubled by Trump’s desired persecution of a group of people for their religion, Muslims. Kushner angered members of his own family by defending Trump’s tweet of Hillary Clinton against a backdrop of the Star of David and money by invoking his own relatives’ Holocaust experiences.

          2. Jared has long been a Trump admirer.

          And imitation is the best form of flattery. In an echo of Trump’s real estate career, at the tender age of 24 (right after dad was sent to prison), Kushner used his father’s real estate empire and money to break into the high-profile Manhattan real estate scene. As Vicky Ward writes in her Esquire profile of Kushner:

          “Much as Trump’s renovation of the Grand Hyatt hotel three decades earlier had carried his family’s real estate empire across the East River from Queens, Jared’s purchase of 666 Fifth Avenue, just three blocks from Trump’s own trophy skyscraper, was an unmissable sign of the Kushners’ arrival in Manhattan.”

          Some say Kushner’s admiration of Trump has morphed into a kind of hero worship. He has a stash of red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps in his office and is said to be in awe of the Trump campaign slogan, telling people, “It came right out of Trump’s head.”

          3. Much like the Donald, Jared isn’t as good a businessman as he claims to be.

          In fact, he does not even run his family’s business, according to Vicky Ward’s Esquire profile; his ex-con father does. Jared is more like a semi-attractive figurehead, at this point.

          4. Jared shows some of his father-in-law’s tendency to be vindictive about people he feels have crossed him.

          The Esquire profile opens with a lengthy anecdote about a vendetta Kushner pursued using the power of the newspaper he owns (the New York Observer), which his daddy bought for him. Some seven years after Kushner had a dispute with one of his real estate investors, he ordered a hit piece in the paper’s real estate section to settle the score. “There’s a guy named Richard Mack, and we’ve got to get this guy,” Kushner reportedly told Dan Geiger, the Observer’s real estate reporter.

          In fairness, Kushner may have inherited his score-settling streak from his dad, rather than modeling it on his then-future father-in-law.

          But some of Kushner’s resentments and animosities do overlap Trump’s; he blames the media for his father’s conviction, for instance. And, of course, he hates Chris Christie, reportedly fighting hard to deny him Trump’s veep nod. Still, while Jared prevailed in that fight, Trump and Christie are still pretty good pals, maybe thanks to the fact that Christie colluded with Trump to hugely reduce Trump’s tax bill as soon as Christie became governor, to the great detriment of New Jerseyans.

          5. As a media mogul, Jared wants to be just like Rupert, as in Murdoch.

          Kushner and Rupert Murdoch are really good pals, and Kushner has consulted Murdoch on how to run his little media property, the New York Observer. (Also, Ivanka and Murdoch’s ex-wife, Wendi Deng, are close enough to travel together.) Actually, Rupert and Wendi might have saved Jared and Ivanka’s relationship before they were married—it was on the rocks because the Orthodox Jewish Kushner family was against their son marrying a blonde shiksa. Jared and Ivanka broke up, but were invited to a party on Murdoch’s yacht and reunited.

          Murdoch had expressed admiration for Hillary Clinton when she was New York’s senator, but Kushner brought his pal over to the Trump side. Then again, it might have been Murdoch who awakened Kushner’s conservative side by sharing books by right-wingers like racist pseudo-social scientist Charles Murray and conservative economist Niall Ferguson.

          6. While in college at Harvard, Jared was developing properties in nearby Somerville on the side.

          Seriously, who does that in college? Kushner reportedly made $20 million in profit buying old buildings and converting them to condos.

          Then again, academia was likely not Kushner’s thing. He was a mediocre student in high school and yet somehow miraculously gained entrance to Harvard after his dad pledged $2.5 million to the school and called in a favor from New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who asked his friend Ted Kennedy to get Kushner in.

          7. Jared fancies himself a JFK type.

          Both he and his younger brother Josh have photographs of John F. Kennedy on prominent display in their offices. That might change. The family previously leaned Democratic; most of his father’s campaign contributions went to Democrats (like Lautenberg, and Clinton in her Senate run in 2000). But Charles recently threw a fundraiser for Trump at his Jersey Shore mansion, so he’s on board. Only Josh, reportedly a Democrat, is not planning on voting for Trump.

          Here are 7 damning revelations about Jared Kushner — Donald Trump’s son-in-law

          æ, !

          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

          Comment


          • #35
            The Trump shock - How worrying is the global market reaction to the American election?
            Nov 14th 2016, 17:38 by R.A. | WASHINGTON THE ECONOMIST

            IT HAS not yet been a week since Americans elected Donald Trump their next president, and already there is a lot to digest. While Mr Trump's initial personnel decisions deserve plenty of scrutiny, the global market reaction to the election also demands attention.

            This morning, the decline in bond prices that began last week continued. In America, the 10-year government bond yield rose above 2.26%, the highest level since the end of 2015, while the 30-year bond yield reached 3%. Treasuries are faring no worse than many other bonds, however. Yields are going up nearly everywhere, but emerging markets and the euro-area periphery are experiencing especially large moves. (It is, as my colleague Buttonwood quipped on Twitter, a "Trump tantrum".) What is happening here, and why?

            The conventional wisdom is that markets are pricing in an expected move toward expansionary policy in America. Mr Trump is expected to cut taxes dramatically, increasing the American budget deficit, while also spending more on infrastructure and defence. That boost is coming at a time when America's economy, while still operating short of potential, is nonetheless humming along as close to capacity as it has been in a decade. Unsurprisingly, inflation expectations are rising.

            One important question which needs answering is: through what channel are these expected shifts affecting markets more broadly? It is possible that markets reckon American reflation will boost global demand, leading to higher expectations for demand growth and inflation elsewhere. It is hard to be too confident in this story, however. Equities around the world are up a little since election day, but not wildly so. And while some commodities have done relatively well in recent days, like copper, most have slumped.

            While Mr Trump's plans might deliver an inflationary impulse, there is another force at work, the effects of which could swamp any American fiscal stimulus. The Federal Reserve, while it remains independent, is not going to tolerate a big rise in inflation. Markets are revising upward their expectations for rate increases over the next 18 months; at the moment they reckon that the fed funds rate will be 50 basis points higher than it currently is by the middle of 2017. A faster-than-expected pace of tightening in America typically sends shockwaves around the world economy. And indeed, the dollar is on a tear.

            At several points over the last few years, economists have found themselves worrying that monetary tightening in America and a rising dollar, coupled with a slowdown in trade growth and flat to falling commodity prices, could generate serious financial difficulties for emerging markets with lots of foreign-currency debt (public or private). The Fed has found itself forced to tighten more slowly than it would have preferred as market jitters threatened to feedback into the American economy, slowing its recovery. But a blowout stimulus push by Mr Trump could change this dynamic, leaving a Fed which remains determined not to tolerate much of an inflation overshoot with little choice but to raise rates multiple times. That, more than a turn toward protectionism, could pose a serious short-term threat to economies around the world. The Trump shock: How worrying is the global market reaction to the American election? | The Economist

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            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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            • #36
              Trump’s world - The new nationalism
              With his call to put “America First”, Donald Trump is the latest recruit to a dangerous nationalism
              Nov 19th 2016 THE ECONOMIST

              http://cdn.static-economist.com/site...9_LDD001_0.jpg
              WHEN Donald Trump vowed to “Make America Great Again!” he was echoing the campaign of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Back then voters sought renewal after the failures of the Carter presidency. This month they elected Mr Trump because he, too, promised them a “historic once-in-a-lifetime” change.

              But there is a difference. On the eve of the vote, Reagan described America as a shining “city on a hill”. Listing all that America could contribute to keep the world safe, he dreamed of a country that “is not turned inward, but outward—toward others”. Mr Trump, by contrast, has sworn to put America First. Demanding respect from a freeloading world that takes leaders in Washington for fools, he says he will “no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism”. Reagan’s America was optimistic: Mr Trump’s is angry.

              Welcome to the new nationalism. For the first time since the second world war, the great and rising powers are simultaneously in thrall to various sorts of chauvinism. Like Mr Trump, leaders of countries such as Russia, China and Turkey embrace a pessimistic view that foreign affairs are often a zero-sum game in which global interests compete with national ones. It is a big change that makes for a more dangerous world.

              My country right or left
              Nationalism is a slippery concept, which is why politicians find it so easy to manipulate. At its best, it unites the country around common values to accomplish things that people could never manage alone. This “civic nationalism” is conciliatory and forward-looking—the nationalism of the Peace Corps, say, or Canada’s inclusive patriotism or German support for the home team as hosts of the 2006 World Cup. Civic nationalism appeals to universal values, such as freedom and equality. It contrasts with “ethnic nationalism”, which is zero-sum, aggressive and nostalgic and which draws on race or history to set the nation apart. In its darkest hour in the first half of the 20th century ethnic nationalism led to war.

              Mr Trump’s populism is a blow to civic nationalism (see article). Nobody could doubt the patriotism of his post-war predecessors, yet every one of them endorsed America’s universal values and promoted them abroad. Even if a sense of exceptionalism stopped presidents signing up to outfits like the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), America has supported the rules-based order. By backing global institutions that staved off a dog-eat-dog world, the United States has made itself and the world safer and more prosperous.

              Mr Trump threatens to weaken that commitment even as ethnic nationalism is strengthening elsewhere. In Russia Vladimir Putin has shunned cosmopolitan liberal values for a distinctly Russian mix of Slavic tradition and Orthodox Christianity. In Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan has turned away from the European Union and from peace talks with the Kurdish minority, in favour of a strident, Islamic nationalism that is quick to detect insults and threats from abroad. In India Narendra Modi remains outward-looking and modernising, but he has ties to radical ethnic-nationalist Hindu groups that preach chauvinism and intolerance.

              Meanwhile, Chinese nationalism has become so angry and vengeful that the party struggles to control it. True, the country depends upon open markets, embraces some global institutions and wants to be close to America (see Banyan). But from the 1990s onwards schoolchildren have received a daily dose of “patriotic” education setting out the mission to erase a century of humiliating occupation. And, to count as properly Chinese you have in practice to belong to the Han people: everyone else is a second-class citizen.

              Even as ethnic nationalism has prospered, the world’s greatest experiment in “post-nationalism” has foundered. The architects of what was to become the EU believed that nationalism, which had dragged Europe into two ruinous world wars, would wither and die. The EU would transcend national rivalries with a series of nested identities in which you could be Catholic, Alsatian, French and European all at once.

              However, in large parts of the EU this never happened. The British have voted to leave and in former communist countries, such as Poland and Hungary, power has passed to xenophobic ultranationalists. There is even a small but growing threat that France might quit—and so destroy—the EU.

              The last time America turned inward was after the first world war and the consequences were calamitous. You do not have to foresee anything so dire to fear Mr Trump’s new nationalism today. At home it tends to produce intolerance and to feed doubts about the virtue and loyalties of minorities. It is no accident that allegations of anti-Semitism have infected the bloodstream of American politics for the first time in decades.

              Abroad, as other countries take their cue from a more inward-looking United States, regional and global problems will become harder to solve. The ICC’s annual assembly this week was overshadowed by the departure of three African countries. China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea are incompatible with UNCLOS. If Mr Trump enacts even a fraction of his mercantilist rhetoric, he risks neutering the World Trade Organisation. If he thinks that America’s allies are failing to pay for the security they receive, he has threatened to walk away from them. The result—especially for small countries that today are protected by global rules—will be a harsher and more unstable world.

              Isolationists unite
              Mr Trump needs to realise that his policies will unfold in the context of other countries’ jealous nationalism. Disengaging will not cut America off from the world so much as leave it vulnerable to the turmoil and strife that the new nationalism engenders. As global politics is poisoned, America will be impoverished and its own anger will grow, which risks trapping Mr Trump in a vicious circle of reprisals and hostility. It is not too late for him to abandon his dark vision. For the sake of his country and the world he urgently needs to reclaim the enlightened patriotism of the presidents who went before him. The new nationalism | The Economist
              --------------------
              Americans do not want the hard rocky path to reality, when Trump, a demagogue, offers the simple, easy painless path to an imaginary utopia.

              æ, !

              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

              Comment


              • #37
                Gallup poll shows Americans' satisfaction after election
                Nov 17th 2016 5:38AM

                A new Gallup poll shows that Americans are now less satisfied with the state of the U.S. than they were in the days before the election.

                While the rating had been at a recent high of 37%, it dropped to 27% in the days following Donald Trump's victory.

                Not surprisingly, Democrats reported the greatest declines.

                Prior to November 8, satisfaction among party members was polling as high as 62%.

                That number has since dropped to 34%.

                he outlook among Independents took a hit as well, falling from 34% to 27%.

                Republicans remained largely displeased, but were slightly less so after Election Day.

                Between November 1 and 6, 14% expressed contentment.

                That number rose to 17% in the survey conducted from November 9 to 13.

                The poll was conducted by phone and involved 1,019 randomly sampled adults.
                Gallup poll shows Americans' satisfaction after election* - AOL News
                Last edited by Hannia; 17th November 2016, 19:45.

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                Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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                • #38
                  The Trump administration - The tower of silence
                  Donald Trump appears to be unsure whether or not to govern as he campaigned
                  Nov 19th 2016 | WASHINGTON, DC THE ECONOMIST

                  AT THE close of “The Candidate”, an Oscar-winning movie released in 1972, the protagonist, played by Robert Redford, marks his surprise election to the Senate by turning to his campaign chief and asking: “What do we do now?” Donald Trump, the state of the president-elect’s transition effort suggests, has had a few such moments since his victory over Hillary Clinton on November 8th.

                  To assume control of an administrative machine that employs 4m people, he and his advisers must select, vet and hire around 4,100 people, over 1,000 of whom require confirmation by the Senate, and several hundred of whom—including his White House staff and the heads of around 100 federal departments and agencies—must be in place by the time of his inauguration on January 20th. Mr Trump’s immediate predecessors set a high bar for readiness. Mitt Romney, the losing candidate in 2012, assembled around 700 people to work on his transition—including “agency-review teams”, snooper squads ready to be deployed across the government so that Mr Romney could hit the ground running. Mr Trump, despite public assistance for the transition afforded to him and Mrs Clinton by Congress, and counsel from Romney campaign veterans, is less ready. On election day he had assembled a transition team of around 100, whose leadership he has since purged, throwing many of its existing preparations into disarray.

                  He replaced the former head of his transition team, Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, on November 11th with his vice-president elect, Governor Mike Pence. He also announced a new committee of senior transition advisers, including three of his adult children and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Further purges of people close to Mr Christie, including Mike Rogers, a former congressman, and Matthew Freedman, a lobbyist, both of whom were working on national security, have ensued. This is believed to be either because Mr Christie is dogged by an abuse-of-power scandal back home, or at the personal behest of Mr Kushner. One of Mr Trump’s closest advisers, the 35-year-old property heir is alleged to have an animus against Mr Christie who, as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey, was instrumental in sending his father, Charles Kushner, a property developer, to jail for making illegal campaign contributions and other crimes. Mr Pence has also launched a separate purge of some 20 corporate lobbyists assembled by Mr Christie, whose presence seemed at odds with Mr Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp” of government corruption.

                  Transitions are always chaotic; even Mr Romney’s would have been. And Mr Trump, who campaigned as an outsider with disdain for his fellow Republicans, started his with obvious disadvantages. Some are now being corrected; Mr Pence, for example, has the confidence of many of the mainstream Republican policy wonks Mr Trump will need to hire. Indeed, compared with many earlier transitions, his effort doesn’t look too bad. According to Max Stier of the Partnership for Public Service, a non-partisan NGO that advised the Trump and Clinton campaigns on their transition groundwork, both started it early and, by historical standards, made fair progress. So Mr Trump has time to get back on track. Yet his quirks, including a highly informal and personalised management style and seemingly little interest in the details of the vast, complicated system he has sworn to overhaul, are causing alarm.

                  Foreign governments have been getting to the president-elect through the switchboard at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where Mr Trump (above, with Reince Priebus), holed up with his family and aides, has been chatting to them, seemingly in random order, without the customary benefit of a State Department briefing. During a meeting with Barack Obama to discuss the presidency, on November 10th, he was reported by the Wall Street Journal to have been surprised at the extent of its scope. The president-elect’s Twitter habit is also causing disquiet. “Very organised process taking place as I decide cabinet and many other positions. I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!” he tweeted on November 15th, which seemed to recall his former life as a reality-TV star.

                  In the days after the election, some anti-Trump Republicans declared themselves willing to get off their high horse and serve. But some are already changing their mind. Eliot Cohen, a former national-security official for George W. Bush, tweeted on November 15th that he had “changed my recommendation” to muck in after being contacted by Trump transition officials, whom he called “angry, arrogant”.

                  As The Economist went to press, Mr Trump had made only two senior hires: Steve Bannon, his former campaign chief executive, as chief strategist, and Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, as his chief of staff. This seemed an obvious expression of Mr Trump’s Janus-faced political persona. Mr Bannon, a maverick, tear-up-the-system right-winger, and former boss of a news website, Breitbart News, known for its offensively chauvinistic headlines, reflects his bomb-throwing on the trail. Mr Priebus, a plain-vanilla conservative, whose embrace of Mr Trump arguably did more to get him elected, reflects the pragmatism of the successful businessman Mr Obama claimed to have encountered in his meeting with Mr Trump.

                  Some of Mr Trump’s post-election pronouncements reinforce that impression. He no longer means to eject 11m illegal immigrants and their offspring, as he once promised to. He says he will merely deport two or three million criminals among them (it is not clear there are so many). He also says he no longer plans to wall off America’s southern border; some parts of it, he says, will be fenced. Yet even if Mr Trump were to drop all his outrageous promises, which his appointment of Mr Bannon does not augur, he must still run a competent administration. And the state of his additional hiring plans does not seem to promise that.

                  Most of the people mooted for his main cabinet positions, including Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton as possibilities for secretary of state, Senator Jeff Sessions as a possible defence secretary and Myron Ebell as a possible Environmental Protection Agency boss, have in common loyalty to Mr Trump, reputations for being deeply divisive and little experience of running a federal agency. Since Senate confirmation can be obtained for cabinet posts by a simple majority, which the Republicans have, the Democrats could not block such appointments. But they might well try to delay them, which is within their power, and that would risk making a messy transition even worse.

                  Paradoxically, this also casts doubt on the seriousness of Mr Trump’s ambition to bring the disruptive change he promises. Even with a willingness to rewrite Mr Obama’s executive orders and the powers of a unified government, he would still need to win the confidence of the bureaucracy and, to some degree, the forbearance of Democrats to pull that off. This argues for at least some degree of bipartisanship and institutional care. Stocking his cabinet with Mr Giuliani, who has no diplomatic experience, Mr Bolton, who failed to get confirmed as Mr Bush’s ambassador to the UN by a Republican-controlled Senate, and Mr Ebell, a climate-change denier with no scientific background, would not provide much of either. The tower of silence | The Economist

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                  • #39
                    The Kremlin is in contact with Trump's team over Syria
                    UAWIRE ORG November 18, 2016 8:26:00 AM

                    Moscow has begun establishing contacts with the representatives of the team of the US president-elect, Donald Trump, over Syria, stated the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Mikhail Bogdanov, while speaking to journalists on Thursday, reported Russia's Interfax news agency.

                    "We are at a crucial point; the new team of the president-elect, Donald Trump, is taking over. We are beginning to establish contacts with people who will most likely be helping the new president," he stated.

                    "We are hoping that both outgoing and incoming Administration will understand that it is not possible to solve Syrian issue without Russia and will be ready to an open and sincere dialogue," stated the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

                    Earlier this week, Donald Trump and Russian President Putin had a telephone conversation during which they, among other things, reportedly discussed the issue of settlement in Syria.

                    At the time of the US election, the Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs stated that they were skeptical about Donald Trump’s statements regarding the possible cooperation between Russia and the United States in Syria.

                    "It is common to give certain promises in the heat of the presidential election. And even though they might be sincere, we should apply a 'correction factor' to them," said Ilya Rogachev, Director of the Department of New Challenges and Threats Issues of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. UAWire - The Kremlin is in contact with Trump’s team over Syria
                    Last edited by Hannia; 18th November 2016, 15:49.

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                    • #40
                      A Trump presidency must also be a laughing matter
                      Nov 17th 2016, 11:08 by E.W. THE ECONOMIST

                      http://cdn.static-economist.com/site..._BKP508_hr.jpg

                      COMEDIANS and politicians once delighted in the idea of a Trump presidency. Seth Meyers, host of “Late Night”, noted that “Trump owns the Miss USA Pageant, which is great for Republicans, because it will streamline their search for a vice president.” At the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Barack Obama joked that Donald Trump “certainly would bring some change to the White House,” as the screen flashed to an image of the “Trump White House Resort and Casino” replete with gold pillars and neon purple signs. Two years later, John Oliver urged Mr Trump to run: “Do it. Do it,” he said on the “Daily Show”. “I will personally write you a campaign check now, on behalf of this country, which does not want you to be president, but which badly wants you to run.”

                      Now the joke has mutated into reality. In the immediate aftermath of Mr Trump’s victory, laughter has proved difficult. Judd Apatow, a comedy behemoth involved in such films as “Anchorman”, “Knocked Up” and “Bridesmaids”, tweeted on election night: “One thing I do not want to watch right now—comedy about any of this. That’s how terrifying and disappointing this is.”

                      Many shows opted for anger or grief instead. “I don’t know if you’ve come to the right place for jokes tonight,” Trevor Noah, the host of the “Daily Show”, began (though he sneaked one in with a comment about “****ting [his] pants”). Kate McKinnon, dressed as Hillary Clinton, opened “Saturday Night Live” (“SNL”) with a performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. It was moving and fitting; it seemed to sum up the anguish of a stunned nation. Meanwhile, on “Last Week Tonight”, John Oliver unleashed liberal fury, with a video of people yelling “**** 2016” and the image of a giant “2016” sign going up in flames. He also turned activist, calling on his viewers to “stay here and fight” by donating to NGOs that defend the rights Mr Trump has threatened to attack.

                      In time, though, the moratorium on jokes will fade. The Trump administration will make plenty of laughable mistakes (which no politician can avoid, least of all a swaggering political novice). But satirising the Donald on late-night television is a slippery business: the fusion of entertainment and politics is part of what made his rise possible in the first place. Shows like “SNL” and Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” were criticised during the campaign for going too easy on the candidate. “SNL” had him host and take part in silly sketches; Mr Fallon affectionately ruffled his comb over. This briefly made him seem acceptable—even likable—rather than dangerous.

                      That was unfortunate. Comedy can be an important medium for political resistance. It is no coincidence that satire is heavily suppressed in Russia, North Korea and China. “The only worse thing for a dictator than being criticised is being laughed at,” a Russian journalist told Samantha Bee. In fact, there has been plenty of laughter at Mr Trump’s expense—like John Oliver’s campaign to “Make Donald Drumpf Again”, the most-viewed segment on his show. The name “Trump”, Mr Oliver pointed out, was changed by a “prescient ancestor” from “Drumpf”: “And ‘Drumpf’ is much less magical. It’s the sound produced when a morbidly obese pigeon flies into the window of a foreclosed Old Navy. It’s the sound of a bottle of store-brand root beer falling off the shelf in a gas station minimart.” Then came Alec Baldwin’s impressions on “SNL”. He lectured Ms McKinnon’s Clinton on the correct pronunciation of China (“It’s Gina”), and warned viewers that he was “going to be so good tonight…so calm and so presidential that all of you watching are going to cream your jeans.” It irritated Mr Trump to the extent that he called for “SNL” to be cancelled.

                      So why wasn’t it enough to sway voters? Jonathan Coe, an English writer, suggests that laughing at politicians has lost its edgy nature. “Anti-establishment comedy was a product of a more naive and deferential age,” he writes, “when to stand on a West End stage and make fun of the prime minister could be seen, briefly, as a radical act.” Now politicians are predictable targets: to poke fun at them is about as original as poking fun at mothers-in-law. The public’s laughter, instead of being subversive, is merely “an unthinking reflex…a tired Pavlovian reaction to situations that are too difficult or too depressing to think about clearly…a substitute for thought rather than its conduit”.

                      There is another reason comedy’s political power has faded. Satirists’ power to undermine the system depends on their position as outsiders, calling out the corruption and failures of the ruling class through laughter. But as Heather LaMarre of Temple University says, many political comedians are no longer the little guy picking on the big guy; they’re celebrities—part of the liberal urban elite.

                      This dynamic may shift once Mr Trump is inaugurated. Come January, Democrats will have little power in Washington. So, says Ms LaMarre, comedians, nearly all of them with hearts beating on the left, will start to look like outsiders again. If Mr Trump tries to censor or sue critics, as he has talked of doing, this will only heighten the effect. But comedians would be wise, Ms LaMarre says, to go after the politicians—not their voters. This may have been a fatal mistake during the 2016 campaign: comedians began making fun of Trump supporters, trying to shame Americans away from Mr Trump. This makes people push back, and it gave Mr Trump further evidence that comedians had joined the hated elite, while he, the billionaire son of a millionaire, was a fed-up outsider.

                      Comedians should look to the example of Jon Stewart. Though a paid-up member of the media elite during the George W. Bush years, he kept his status as a contrarian because he almost never went after supporters of Mr Bush, keeping his outrage for the administration and its policies, in defence of the people. This is as it should be. Juvenal, a Roman satirist, asked “Who will watch over the watchmen?” His implicit answer is the satirist. As Mr Trump and his cadre become the establishment they railed against, comedians will have the chance to inhabit their proper role. In his post-election monologue, Mr Myers put the Trump administration on notice: “We here at ‘Late Night’ will be watching you.”
                      In defence of comedy: A Trump presidency must also be a laughing matter | The Economist

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                      • #41
                        Trump Names CIA Director, National Security Adviser, And Attorney General
                        RADIO FREE EUROPE 11/18/2016

                        U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo listens as former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi in Washington, D.C., in October 2015.
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                        U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has moved to fill some of the top positions in his government by selecting a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, a national security adviser, and an attorney general.

                        Trump said in a statement he had chosen Representative Mike Pompeo (Republican-Kansas) to be CIA director, retired General Michael Flynn for the post of national security adviser, and Senator Jeff Sessions (Republican-Alabama) as the country's top prosecutor.

                        Pompeo and Sessions require confirmation by a majority vote in the Senate; Flynn does not.

                        Trump said Pompeo will be a "brilliant and unrelenting leader" as chief of the CIA.

                        Pompeo is a member of the Republican Party's conservative wing, the Tea Party, having been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010.

                        He graduated top of his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated from Harvard Law School before spending five years in the army.

                        Pompeo, 52, has been critical of the deal that the United States and five other world powers signed with Tehran to curb Iran's controversial nuclear program.

                        He said on November 15, after the passage of a bill extending sanctions on Iranian weapons programs, that he voted for the legislation to keep "Americans safe" and to stand "against Iranian aggression."

                        Trump said he was happy to have Flynn by his side to "defeat radical Islamic terrorism."

                        Flynn, 57, served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, a position he was nominated for by President Barack Obama.

                        He served in the military from 1981 to 2014, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, before retiring with the rank of lieutenant general.

                        Flynn graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College as well as the Naval War College.

                        He says he considers radical Islam the greatest threat to global stability and has been critical of the Obama administration's policies in fighting the Islamic State (IS) group.

                        Flynn has said Washington could work with Russia to fight IS and other Islamic extremists. His appearance at a dinner in Moscow -- sitting next to President Vladimir Putin -- honoring the state television station RT alarmed many who noted his previous accommodating views of Russia's role in Ukraine.

                        Mike Flynn's appearance (left) at a dinner in Moscow -- sitting next to President Vladimir Putin (right) -- honoring the state television station RT alarmed many who noted his previous accommodating views of Russia's role in Ukraine.

                        Trump said Sessions, his pick for attorney general, was "greatly admired by legal scholars" and possesses a "world-class legal mind."

                        Sessions, 69, has been a senator since 1996, running for the seat after serving as attorney general of his home state of Alabama.

                        One of the most conservative members of the Senate, Sessions upholds a tough line against illegal immigrants and on border security.

                        He failed to gain a federal judgeship in 1986 after allegations he had made racist comments to African-Americans while attorney general.

                        Sessions was the first U.S. senator to pledge his support to Trump as a Republican candidate for president and was considered by Trump as a vice-presidential candidate.

                        He served in the army reserve before getting his law degree from the University of Alabama.
                        With reporting by AP, Reuters, and The New York Times
                        Trump Names CIA Director, National Security Adviser, And Attorney General

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                        • #42
                          Donald Trump’s New York: The City of the ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ Set
                          NY TIMES JAMES BARRON NOV. 18, 2016

                          When he ventured out of Trump Tower for a meal with his family on Tuesday, President-elect Donald J. Trump went to the “21” Club, a former speakeasy on West 52nd Street where cast-iron lawn jockeys line the balcony above the front door. It is all of four blocks from Trump Tower.

                          But convenience was not necessarily the reason. The place is one of Mr. Trump’s regular hangouts. He has long had a favorite table there, one strategically placed for maximum visibility. His father was a regular, too, and has a plaque at what was his preferred table. “The Apprentice,” the reality television show that greatly elevated Mr. Trump’s celebrity, included a scene shot in the wine cellar.

                          The restaurant is a stop on the see-and-be-seen circuit that has helped define Mr. Trump’s New York City for more than 40 years. It is a circuit shaped not so much by discriminating taste as by celebrity culture — the right nightspots and parties, Broadway openings, red carpets, paparazzi with their cameras and flash guns.

                          In some ways, Mr. Trump’s New York is the city of the “Bonfire of the Vanities” set. In the 1970s, he spent late nights at Studio 54, the notorious disco for the rich and famous. More recently, when he treated Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, to pizza, he took her to a Famous Famiglia on Broadway, a chain restaurant where most pizza-savvy New Yorkers would be unlikely to dine.

                          Mr. Trump is a New York power broker, but he has tended to shun the kinds of places that power brokers are known to frequent.

                          He is not likely to be seen digging into a $26 omelet at the Loews Regency, the Park Avenue way station for the power-breakfast crowd. “He was never in that group, although he’s friends with many of the people who go there,” said Matt Rich, a publicist who worked for many years as a consultant for Mr. Trump’s Miss Universe pageant.

                          Nor will the next president of the United States be spotted pushing a fork into a $34 niçoise salad at Michael’s, the West 55th Street restaurant for power-lunch types “I don’t know that he’s ever crossed the threshold,” Mr. Rich said.

                          What Mr. Trump appreciates as much as anything is an entrance. “He’d go out to be seen for maximum impact,” said Jonathan Marder, a publicist with a long list of A-list connections. “Don’t expect him to find an out-of-the-way little restaurant, unless it’s some place he owns.”

                          Like many New Yorkers and visitors to the city, Mr. Trump enjoys Broadway, but he has yet to see one of the most highly regarded and popular shows of recent years — “Hamilton,” the hip-hop-infused take on the nation’s founding. President Obama has attended two Broadway performances of the musical.

                          Mr. Trump went to a different kind of show, “Kinky Boots,” in 2013, early in its run. He was photographed at “Come Fly Away” on Broadway in 2010, and he and his wife, Melania, were seen at “American Idiot,” also in 2010, to name just two Broadway openings he attended.

                          “They’re both New Yorkers, and he likes the razzle-dazzle,” said Daryl Roth, the lead producer of “Kinky Boots.” (Mr. Trump named her husband, the real estate developer Steven Roth, an economic adviser to his campaign in August. Mr. Roth was quoted in September as saying he had not spent time on the campaign.)

                          The composer Andrew Lloyd Webber said in a BBC interview this week that he had persuaded Mr. Trump not to attend the opening of “School of Rock” last December, as his presidential campaign was accelerating. The show’s publicists had already issued a news release naming him as one of the first-nighters expected to be there. The list also included the musicians Sting and Stevie Nicks; the actress Helen Mirren; and William J. Bratton, the city’s police commissioner at the time. The concern was that Mr. Trump’s presence would prove distracting.

                          In the days since he was elected president, with potential cabinet picks marching into Trump Tower every day, Mr. Trump is not getting out much. He really does not have to: Everything he needs is in his own building.

                          “This is not like a normal situation,” said the celebrity photographer Patrick McMullan. “Here you have a person who was a regular New Yorker and did New York things and now he is the president-elect, which at best is an interim thing. Can he be random and go to ‘21’? Yes. But as far as a gala tonight at the Plaza, I wouldn’t expect it. Perhaps before, he would have gone, but now it’s all different.”

                          But from images taken over the years by photographers like Mr. McMullan, Mr. Trump’s New York seems confined within a limited circle — places in Midtown Manhattan with which he is closely identified, like the Plaza Hotel, a property he once owned. And restaurants like “21.”

                          Shaker Naini, who has greeted guests at “21” for 40 years from his post by the front door, remembered Mr. Trump’s arrival on Tuesday, just as he remembered the first time he arrived, in the early 1980s.

                          On that occasion, Mr. Naini said, another regular made the introduction — Roy M. Cohn, a widely feared lawyer who represented Mr. Trump for more than a decade before his death from AIDS in 1986. Mr. Cohn “walked in the door and said, ‘This is Mr. Trump,’” Mr. Naini recalled. “We already knew his father. Table 53.”

                          Table 53, also a favorite of the singer Andy Williams and the actor Alan King, is in the “17 section.” The restaurant has sections for each of the three brownstones it occupies. The “17 section” is “what is known as the quieter side of the dining room,” said Avery A. Fletcher, the restaurant’s director of sales and marketing.

                          Donald Trump found his place in the “21 section,” across the room — “where,” Mr. Naini said, “he’d see everyone, and everyone would pass him.”

                          “It’s the movers and shakers,” he said. “The same crowd that’s here one day, the next day they’re at the Four Seasons or Le Cirque.”

                          But the Four Seasons restaurant closed in July, and Mr. Trump’s last appearance at Le Cirque was in October, when he attended a fund-raiser for his campaign.

                          Carlo Mantica, a chief executive of the company that owns Le Cirque and other restaurants, said that Mr. Trump was partial to the Dover sole, listed at $80 on the menu, and the pasta primavera, which, because of a tradition dating to the 1970s, is not listed at all. Those who know simply ask for it.

                          At the “21,” Table 11, Mr. Trump’s favorite, was too small for the president-elect’s party for dinner on Tuesday, and he was seated instead at Table 14. The restaurant’s website says that Table 14 was a favorite of Frank Sinatra, Mayor Edward I. Koch and Nancy Reagan. To that list, Mr. Naini added Presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon.

                          No one at the restaurant would say how far in advance the Trumps had made their reservation for that night. Mr. Naini said that Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, had arrived first. Like Mr. Trump’s father, Mr. Kushner’s father “was a regular, too,” Mr. Naini said.

                          Mr. Trump arrived a few minutes later with his wife; his daughter Tiffany; and two of his sons. Other diners said the president-elect had a burger with fries.

                          Mr. Naini said that as Mr. Trump left, the president-elect tapped him on the arm and said, “I left a tip for you guys on the bill.”

                          That raised an after-the-fact question: Did Mr. Trump get Mr. Naini’s vote?

                          Mr. Naini, in an interview on Thursday, would not say. “That’s a personal thing,” he said. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/ny...-set.html?_r=0

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                          • #43
                            Ivanka Trump’s Presence at Meeting With Japan’s Leader Raises Questions
                            NY TIMES ERIC LIPTON NOV. 18, 2016

                            WASHINGTON — The potential for conflicts of interest between President-elect Donald J. Trump and his family’s business ventures emerged again Thursday evening, when a photograph was distributed that showed his daughter Ivanka at a meeting between Mr. Trump and the prime minister of Japan.

                            News reporters were not allowed to attend the session, Mr. Trump’s first with a foreign head of state, and no summary was provided about what was discussed. A separate photograph was distributed — press photographers were not allowed to cover the event — showing that Jared Kushner, Ms. Trump’s husband, was present for at least part of the gathering.

                            Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan said after the meeting that he had a “very candid discussion” with Mr. Trump. He did not discuss who else attended the gathering or elaborate on the topics discussed.

                            Ms. Trump will be among the members of the president-elect’s family who will be placed in charge of Mr. Trump’s business enterprises, which include an international chain of hotels with operations in Latin America, Europe and North America.

                            She serves as vice president for development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization, and the company’s website says one of her “primary focuses has been to bring the Trump Hotel brand to global markets.”

                            She also owns a jewelry business, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, with the Trump Organization describing her as “one of the most recognized and influential young businesswomen today.”

                            After Mr. Trump’s transition office was asked by The New York Times about allowing Ms. Trump to attend the meeting with the Japanese prime minister, an individual close to the family, who said she did not have authorization to provide her name, hinted that Ms. Trump would not be attending meetings like this in the future.

                            “Mr. Trump has always encouraged Ivanka and his children to attend meetings with him,” the person close to the family said. “This meeting in question was very informal. However, they obviously need to adjust to the new realities at hand, which they will.”

                            This week, Ms. Trump’s jewelry company sent out a notice to reporters with a photograph of her wearing a $10,800 gold bangle bracelet that she had worn during an interview her family did with “60 Minutes,” trying to use the appearance as an opportunity to sell more items.

                            “Please find attached a style alert of Ivanka wearing her favorite bangle from the Metropolis Collection over the weekend on 60 Minutes,” Monica Marder, the vice president for sales at Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, said in the email.

                            Abigail Klem, the president of Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, apologized for the promotion of Ms. Trump’s bracelet after the “60 Minutes” interview, attributing it to “a well-intentioned marketing employee.” Ms. Klem added, “We are proactively discussing new policies and procedures with all of our partners going forward.”

                            Ms. Trump’s presence also disturbed some current and former State Department officials, including Moira Whelan, who left the department in July after serving as a deputy assistant secretary of state for public affairs.

                            Anyone present for such a conversation between two heads of state should, at a minimum, have security clearance, Ms. Whelan said, and should also be an expert in Japanese affairs.

                            “Meeting of two heads of state is never an informal occurrence,” Ms. Whelan said. “Even a casual mention or a nod of agreement or an assertion left unchallenged can be interpreted in different ways.”

                            Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight said that regardless of what was discussed at the meeting, it was inappropriate for Ms. Trump to be present at a private meeting among such a small group of people given that she is an executive at a corporation involved in international business development.

                            These early episodes demonstrate, Ms. Brian said, why Mr. Trump must put his assets into a blind trust, in which an independent party manages them, instead of turning them over to his children to manage, as Mr. Trump has proposed.

                            “You can’t have people with financial conflicts of interest mixing with White House business,” Ms. Brian said.

                            The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial on Friday, went so far as to urge Mr. Trump to sell off all his hotels, golf courses and other assets, and then take that cash and turn it over to a blind trust, as that would be the only way to avoid all possible conflicts. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/us...hinzo-abe.html

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                            • #44
                              Transition of Power - Trump will remake agency that ruled against his Vegas hotel
                              CNN MONEY Chris Isidore November 17, 2016: 4:15 PM ET

                              make sure to view video

                              Former W.H. ethics lawyers: This could be Trump's 'constitutional crisis'

                              A Las Vegas hotel owned by President-elect Donald Trump is locked in a battle with the federal agency charged with enforcing the nation's labor laws.

                              The problem: As President, Trump will soon appoint three of its five members.

                              The issue before the National Labor Relations Board is whether the Trump International Hotel must negotiate with Unite Here, a coalition of the Culinary Workers union and Bartenders union. The employees, in a 238 to 209 vote last year, said they want to be represented by the group.

                              Despite that, Trump's hotel management has refused to recognize the union, charging that employees were intimidated into voting Yes. The labor board heard the hotel's complaints and rejected them in a November 3 ruling.

                              All three members of the labor board -- two Democrats and one Republican -- ruled the hotel must recognize the union and negotiate with the union. Trump's attorneys have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the ruling.

                              Trump's Washington hotel could become ethical headache

                              The conflict is an example of the kinds of conflicts that could emerge when Trump's business interests cross paths with the federal government.

                              Trump has said he will turn over day-to-day management of the Trump Organization to his children. But ethics experts have sharply questioned whether such an arrangement will be enough to wall off the president from conflicts.

                              According to the Trump Organization's website, the hotel unit is run by Trump's sons Eric and Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka.

                              The NLRB is charged with interpreting and enforcing the nation's labor laws, overseeing union elections and ruling on complaints from either workers or management.

                              It is considered an independent agency, meaning the president can't fire its members. But he does appoint them, subject to Senate confirmation.

                              Presidents have historically appointed both Republicans and Democrats to the board in an act of bipartisanship. Of the three current members, Obama has named two Democrats and one Republican.

                              As president, Trump has the potential to put his signature on the NLRB in a big way.

                              He will get to fill two vacancies right away. And he will get to fill a third spot in December 2017, when the term of Republican Philip Miscimarra ends. The terms of the two current Democratic members expire in 2018 and 2019.

                              That means Trump may end up being able to fill all five spots on the board.

                              On top of that, Trump will be able to appoint a new NLRB general counsel in October 2017. The general counsel, a key player in the agency, brings cases to the board for consideration.

                              Unprecedented potential conflicts for President-elect Trump

                              The NLRB has been at the center of controversy throughout the Obama administration.

                              Republicans say it has done the bidding of organized labor, imposing unfair rules and legal interpretations that make it harder for employers to manage their workforces. Democrats say the NLRB is necessary to protect the rights of workers.

                              With the Republicans controlling the White House and the Senate for the first time in a decade, they are eager to have a more pro-business outlook on the board.

                              The unions in the Trump hotel case are worried about what Trump might do to interfere in this case, said Bethany Khan, spokesman for the Culinary Workers union.

                              "The question for us is: Will Donald Trump as president of the United States of America use the power he has to interfere -- given that he has a financial interest in the outcome of these matters," she said. She said it's not clear federal ethic rules allow Trump's NLRB appointees to rule on cases involving his business.

                              "The Culinary Union may challenge [those ruling] if this situation arises," she said.

                              Beyond concern about a potential conflict of interest in this case, the union is also worried about a more conservative NLRB.

                              "The new majority can be expected to be less generous in protection of workers' rights than the current NLRB," she said.

                              Neither Trump Hotel nor the presidential transition team responded to a request for comment on the potential conflict or interest in this case.
                              Trump will remake agency that ruled against his Vegas hotel - Nov. 17, 2016

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                              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

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                              • #45
                                The Trump Family Political Business - The left is already teeing this up as a daily target. Answer: liquidate.
                                THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Nov. 17, 2016

                                One reason 60 million voters elected Donald Trump is because he promised to change Washington’s culture of self-dealing, and if he wants to succeed he’s going to have to make a sacrifice and lead by example. Mr. Trump has so far indicated that he will keep his business empire but turn over management to his children, and therein lies political danger.

                                Mr. Trump has for decades run the Trump Organization and during the campaign said if he won the Presidency he’d turn over the keys to Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, all of whom are now serving on the Trump transition. A company spokesperson says the family business is “in the process of vetting various structures” and that the ultimate arrangement “will comply with all applicable rules and regulations.”

                                Some of Mr. Trump’s lawyers have called the plan a “blind trust,” which past Presidents have used to protect their assets from the appearance of conflicts-of-interest. But that set-up typically involves liquid assets like bonds and stocks, not buildings or a branding empire. Mr. Trump will know how any given decision will affect, say, the old post office property in Washington, D.C. that he’s leasing from the federal government (another conflict). By law blind trusts are overseen by an independent manager, not family members.

                                The President is exempt from federal conflict-of-interest laws, but Mr. Trump’s plan is already hitting political turbulence. Earlier this week Ivanka Trump’s jewelry company took heat for promoting a $10,800 diamond bangle that Ms. Trump donned during a family interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” The company chalked up the incident to an overeager marketing executive, but this is only the beginning of such media catcalls. By the way, Ms. Trump is married to Jared Kushner, who could be a useful adviser in the White House.

                                Mr. Trump’s best option is to liquidate his stake in the company. Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, ethics lawyers for George W. Bush and President Obama, respectively, have laid out a plan, which involves a leveraged buyout or an initial public offering.

                                Mr. Trump could put the cash proceeds in a true blind trust. The Trump children can keep the assets in their name, and he can transfer more to them as long as he pays a hefty gift tax. Finally, Mr. Trump should stipulate that he and his children will have no communication about family business matters.

                                The alternatives are fraught, perhaps even for the Trump Organization’s bottom line: Thanks to a Clinton Administration precedent, Presidents can face litigation in private matters—so the company will become a supermagnet for lawsuits. Rudy Giuliani lamented on television that divestment would put the Trump children “out of work,” but reorganizing the company may be better for business than unending scrutiny from the press. Progressive groups will soon be out of power and they are already shouting that the Trump family wants to profit from the Presidency.

                                The political damage to a new Administration could be extensive. If Mr. Trump doesn’t liquidate, he will be accused of a pecuniary motive any time he takes a policy position. For example, the House and Senate are eager to consider tax reform—and one sticking point will be the treatment of real estate, which will be of great interest to the Trump family business. Ditto for repealing the Dodd-Frank financial law, interest rates and so much more.

                                The conflicts span the globe, including a loan from the Bank of China and likely dealings with sovereign-wealth funds. Along the way Mr. Trump could expose himself to charges, however unfair, that he is violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits public officials from accepting gifts or payment from foreign governments.

                                Mixing money and politics could undermine his pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington. If a backlash allows Democrats to retake the House in 2018, Mr. Trump and his business colleagues would field subpoenas from the House Oversight Committee. Ranking minority member Elijah Cummings this week expressed his enthusiasm for such a project, and answering daily questions about this can’t be how Mr. Trump wants to spend his political capital.

                                ***

                                There is no question that a Trump business sale would be painful and perhaps costly. We also dislike the double standard of ethics rules that put special burdens on business folks who want to enter politics, even as public-interest lawyers can move in and out of government without a peep of protest. Unlike liberals, Republicans like to work in the private economy.

                                But this is the modern world of Washington. And remember that Hillary Clinton lost in part because the public didn’t want a President who mixed politics and personal gain at the State Department and Clinton Foundation. Millions of Americans have put their trust in Mr. Trump to succeed as President and improve their lives, not treat this as a four-year hiatus from his business. The presidential stakes are too high for Mr. Trump to let his family business become a daily political target.
                                The Trump Family Political Business - WSJ

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