Tag Archives: Trump admin

What Trump HAS actually done since getting the job….

FiveThirtyEight spells out what the new President and his team HAVE done…

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In the whirlwind first weeks of President Trump’s administration, it often seemed as though he was trying to enact his entire agenda within his first 100 days in office. On Day 1, he moved to undo parts of the Affordable Care Act. Within his first week, he instituted a federal hiring freeze; issued orders on abortion, immigration and manufacturing; and took the first steps toward building his signature border wall. And on the one-week anniversary of his swearing in, he issued the first iteration of his ban on travel from certain Muslim-majority countries.

In retrospect, the travel ban looks like the high-water mark for the “shock and awe” phase of Trump’s presidency. The ban, of course, was quickly blocked by the courts, and from there his momentum stalled. In recent weeks, the narrative has reversed to the point that some pundits are suggesting Trump is already a failure — that Trump, as Josh Barro of Business Insider put it this week, is heading for a “do-nothing presidency.”

That may be wishful thinking on the part of Barro and other Trump critics, however. Yes, Trump has encountered a string of setbacks, perhaps most notably the embarrassing defeat of his effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. And yes, many key elements of his agenda — tax reform, infrastructure spending, a rethinking of U.S. trade policy — are still stuck at the starting gate, or in some cases seem to have been abandoned altogether. But Trump has found plenty of other ways to make his influence felt, often by reversing policies put in place by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The most obvious accomplishment — the one that even Trump’s sharpest critics acknowledge — is the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The vote was a key political win for a president in dire need of one. But its real significance is in the longer term. Gorsuch restored (and perhaps deepened, if he proves to have influence with Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom he once clerked) the court’s conservative majority. And at only 49, he could serve for decades. It’s too soon to say what effect the new justice could have on abortion or other contentious issues, but it’s safe to assume that Gorsuch’s confirmation will help ensure that Trump’s impact is felt long after he leaves office.

Outside of Gorsuch, Trump’s influence is subtler, but no less real. Take immigration: Courts may have blocked Trump’s travel ban, but they haven’t intervened to stop him from stepping up immigration enforcement and increasing deportations — including of immigrants who had been granted protected status by the Obama administration…..

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Breaking…Russian’s tried to cultivate moles in the Trump campaign…FBI

CNN is reporting that Russian assets tried to cultivate inside Trump people last year to spy for them…

Trump surrogate Carter Page’s name keeps popping up in the same sentence as Russian’s….(He joins Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort as people the FBI and Congressional investigators are looking at)

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The FBI gathered intelligence last summer that suggests Russian operatives tried to use Trump advisers, including Carter Page, to infiltrate the Trump campaign, according to US officials.

The new information adds to the emerging picture of how the Russians tried to influence the 2016 election, not only through email hacks and propaganda but also by trying to infiltrate the Trump orbit. The intelligence led to an investigation into the coordination of Trump’s campaign associates and the Russians.
These officials made clear they don’t know whether Page was aware the Russians may have been using him. Because of the way Russian spy services operate, Page could have unknowingly talked with Russian agents.
Page disputes the idea he has ever collected intelligence for the Russians, saying he helped the US intelligence community. “My assumption throughout the last 26 years I’ve been going there has always been that any Russian person might share information with the Russian government … as I have similarly done with the CIA, the FBI and other government agencies in the past.”
 But the intelligence suggests Russia tried to infiltrate the inner-workings of the Trump campaign by using backdoor channels to communicate with people in the Trump orbit, US officials say.
Page is one of several Trump advisers US and European intelligence found to be in contact with Russian officials and other Russians known to Western intelligence during the campaign, according to multiple US officials.
The scope and frequency of those contacts raised the interest of US intelligence agencies….

image of Carter Page….today.com

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North Korea show’s new missile’s…But does NOT do nuke bomb test…

With the US and China warning the North Korea’s to hold up….

They do their annual military parade for their young leader…..

But only show transport’s with casing’s for supposedly new intercontinental ballistic missile that could conceivably reach the American West Coast…

But there was NO additional testing of a nuclear device as was thought to be coming….

We’ll see how this plays out…

Both countries need to back down….

As the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, watched from a platform, long columns of goose-stepping soldiers, accompanied by a fleet of tanks, missiles and rocket tubes, marched through a large plaza in the capital, Pyongyang, that was named after Mr. Kim’s grandfather Kim Il-sung, the country’s founding president.

Saturday was the 105th anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s birth and the North’s most important holiday, called the Day of the Sun. The United States, China and other regional powers had feared that North Korea might mark the occasion by conducting its sixth nuclear test or by launching an intercontinental ballistic missile. The United States sent a naval strike group to the area in a show of force.

But no seismic tremor emanated on Saturday morning from the North’s nuclear test site, where recent satellite photographs have shown what appeared to be preparations for an underground detonation….

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Nearly 1,500 economists tout benefits of immigration in letter to Trump…

Candidates for US citizenship take the oath of allegiance to become US citizens during a Naturalization Ceremony for new US Citizens at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, November 17, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

They make America great

Nearly 1,500 economists sent a letter to Donald Trump and congressional leaders, praising the economic contributions of the immigrants he’s busy attacking and urging a legislative fix to our outdated immigration system so that undocumented communities can finally become a part of this nation on paper:

“[I]mmigration is one of America’s significant competitive advantages in the global economy,” the letter said. “With the proper and necessary safeguards in place, immigration represents an opportunity rather than a threat to our economy and to American workers.”

Among the economic benefits that immigration brings are entrepreneurs who start businesses, young workers who replace retiring Baby Boomers and people with diverse skill sets to keep American companies competitive and innovative in high-growth fields like STEM, the letter stated.

The letter follows a survey of nearly 300 economists by the National Association of Business Economics, which “found that a clear majority believed President Trump’s restrictive stance on immigration is a mistake.” They’re right. In Trump’s home state, “undocumented immigrants contribute about $40 billion a year to New York state’s gross domestic product.”

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Is Trump’s Admin beginning to follow the some of the Hillary Clinton playbook?

Politico makes THAT claim …..

If this sticks?

What will ALL those voters who voted AGAINST Clinton do?

Do they FINALLY understand that Donald Trump might be the head Republican right now?

But he sure has had and still does have vestige’s of Democrt in around him even till today…

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Observers have been waiting for more than a year for Donald Trump to stop acting like a beer hall bouncer and start acting more presidential. On Wednesday, that wish came true, as Baby Donald completed his transformation into a standard chief executive of the United States by espousing many of the hallmark policies one would have associated with President Hillary Clinton.

My Politico Playbook colleagues discerned Trump’s recent policy shift in their Thursday tipsheet. Previously, Trump said NATO was obsolete. Now, he salutes it, Clinton-style, as a “great alliance.” Previously, he lavished kisses on Vladimir Putin and Russia. Now Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have taken a Clintonesque stand against Russia, admitting to low levels of trust between the two nations. Then: No war in Syria. Now, Trump is bombing Syria with the sort of glee Clinton would have brought to the mission. And on and on it goes, with Trump adopting Clintonian stances on Chinese currency manipulation (doesn’t exist!) and the Export-Import Bank (for it).

Hillary Clinton’s presidency would have been a family affair, with Bill and Chelsea mobbing the White House with their advice; Trump has seated daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner at on his roundtable and acts on their guidance. Hillary Clinton would have recruited pros from Goldman Sachs; Trump has brushed the rafters of his administration a beaming gold with guys from Goldman. Hillary Clinton would have gone to war with the Republican Congress, vowing to campaign against them once they refused to pass her legislation; Trump has come close to realizing that goal, telling the leader of the troublesome House Freedom Caucus, “Mark, I’m coming after you.”….

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Republicans’s endure Town Hall beatdowns back home…

Away from the protections of Trump and House Speaker Ryan in the nations capital?

Republican lawmakers take it on the chin back home from energized  (Mostly liberal) crowds voicing there support for Obamacare, Immigration of some sort, and worries about a President who seems to be learning on the job on how to BE President…

 

Thus continuing to remind Republicans that there STILL is a  LOT of Americans AGAINST them and the guy who lives in the White House….

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) “endured a brutal face-to-face confrontation with angry constituents Thursday as liberal voters dominated a standing-room-only audience at a town-hall meeting in downtown Mesa,” the Arizona Republic reports.

“Even before he took the stage, the audience chanted ‘health care for all,’ showing their support for former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the health-care-reform law that Flake has opposed. Flake was battered with questions about that issue as well as President Trump’s proposed border wall; his resolution to stop an Obama administration-era rule on internet privacy; his opposition to taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood; and his support for eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees to secure the confirmation of Trump’s pick, Neil Gorsuch.”

“But the conversation kept coming back to health care.”

“An angry, overflow crowd of about 500… gave Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) an earful Wednesday about his positions on health care, immigration and climate change. Two hours later, an even larger, more vocal group did the same,” according to the Oregonian.

“The twin bill marked the nine-term Republican’s first town halls since he helped craft a controversial GOP health care bill that would have ended coverage for some 24 million Americans by 2026. He closely aligned himself with House Speaker Paul Ryan, the primary sponsor of the legislation, even though more than a third of his constituents in the sprawling 2nd Congressional District are covered by Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor.”

Above from Politicalwire....

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A snap shot of the White House room during the Syrian Airstrike….

The same room *  Obama & Co. sat for the Ben laden raid….

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Trump Admin Staffing up….

…Update from Politico….

Trump names Kan for DOT post: Trump has nominated Derek Kan, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to be undersecretary for policy at DOT. Kan, who currently works for the ride-hailing company Lyft in Los Angeles, would serve as Secretary Elaine Chao’s No. 3 at the department if confirmed. Kan worked for McConnell, who is Chao’s husband, as a policy adviser from 2008 to 2010. He currently serves on the Amtrak board of directors, a post to which the Senate confirmed him in December 2015.

Zinke taps two at Department of the Interior: Secretary Ryan Zinke has tapped two women for posts within the Interior Department, including a “beachhead” team member from the transition. Zinke named Katharine MacGregor as deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management. He’ll also appoint Aurelia Skipwith, co-founder of agricultural consulting firm AVC Global, as deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks.

New assistant secretary for international markets and development at Treasury: Trump plans to nominate financial services attorney Heath Tarbert. Tarbert heads the bank regulatory group at the law firm Allen & Overy and represents clients before federal regulatory agencies, including the SEC and the FDIC, according to his profile on the firm’s website. Before joining Allen & Overy in early 2014, he worked as a senior counsel and partner at the firm Weil Gotshal & Manges for about four years; served as special counsel to the Senate Banking Committee; and worked as associate counsel to President George W. Bush during the last six months of his presidency, at the start of the financial crisis.

Undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes at Treasury: The White House announced late Tuesday that it has nominated Sigal Mandelker for the post. She’s a former DOJ and DHS official and partner at the law firm of Proskauer. More here.

HHS staffs up: A slew of arrivals have landed at Health and Human Services in recent days. An HHS directory lists conservative health expert Jeffrey H. Anderson as director of HHS’ Office of Health Reform. Anderson worked as a speechwriter at HHS during the George W. Bush administration and most recently worked as a fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Additionally, John R. Graham, formerly senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, will be the principal deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation. John M. O’Brien, who was previously vice president of public policy at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, will be a deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation.

Quinn to USTR: White House trade adviser Andrew Quinn is being reassigned to the United States Trade Representative’s office, three administration officials told POLITICO. “The decision comes after Breitbart News and conservatives raised concerns about the White House’s decision to elevate Quinn, noting that he was the deputy chief negotiator of the TPP when he worked at USTR during the Obama administration. Trump is a strident opponent of the TPP and withdrew from the deal in January,” reports POLITICO’s Andrew Restuccia, Alex Isenstadt and Nahal Toosi….

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No mention of State Dept hirings, eh?

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Judge Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme’s….

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No surprise here…

The vote was 54-45….

The guy is only 49 years old….

He could be a judge for  decades….

We’ll have to see if he’s as hard right as Scalia….

Trump and the Republiocans finally get a win….

The Democrats get nothing …..

This was a done deal when Hillary Clinton lost….

Most American’s though,  won’t care about this…

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate on Friday to become the 113th justice of the Supreme Court, capping a political brawl that lasted for more than a year and tested constitutional norms inside the Capitol’s fraying upper chamber.

The development was a signal triumph for President Trump, whose campaign last year rested in large part on his pledge to appoint another committed conservative to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016. However rocky the first months of his administration may have been, Mr. Trump now has a lasting legacy: Judge Gorsuch, 49, could serve on the court for 30 years or more.

Vice President Mike Pence presided over the final vote Friday, a show of force for the White House on a day when his tie-breaking vote as president of the Senate was not necessary. The final tally was 54-45 in favor of confirmation.

The confirmation was also a vindication of the bare-knuckled strategy of Senate Republicans, who refused even to consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Merrick B. Garland, saying the choice of the next justice should belong to the next president…..

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LA Times…Conspiracy Theorist in Chief…Part V…

Part V of the LA Times Editorial Board’s critique of Donald Trump…

In Donald Trump’s America, the mere act of reporting news unflattering to the president is held up as evidence of bias. Journalists are slandered as “enemies of the people.”

Facts that contradict Trump’s version of reality are dismissed as “fake news.” Reporters and their news organizations are “pathetic,” “very dishonest,” “failing,” and even, in one memorable turn of phrase, “a pile of garbage.”

Trump is, of course, not the first American president to whine about the news media or try to influence coverage. President George W. Bush saw the press as elitist and “slick.” President Obama’s press operationtried to exclude Fox News reporters from interviews, blocked many officials from talking to journalists and, most troubling, prosecuted more national security whistle-blowers and leakers than all previous presidents combined.

But Trump being Trump, he has escalated the traditionally adversarial relationship in demagogic and potentially dangerous ways.

Most presidents, irritated as they may have been, have continued to acknowledge — at least publicly — that an independent press plays an essential role in American democracy. They’ve recognized that while no news organization is perfect, honest reporting holds leaders and institutions accountable; that’s why a free press was singled out for protection in the 1st Amendment and why outspoken, unfettered journalism is considered a hallmark of a free country.

Trump doesn’t seem to buy it. On his very first day in office, he called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth.”

Since then he has regularly condemned legitimate reporting as “fake news.” His administration has blocked mainstream news organizations, including The Times, from briefings and his secretary of State chose to travel to Asia without taking the press corps, breaking a longtime tradition.

This may seem like bizarre behavior from a man who consumes the news in print and on television so voraciously and who is in many ways a product of the media. He comes from reality TV, from talk radio with Howard Stern, from the gossip pages of the New York City tabloids, for whose columnists he was both a regular subject and a regular source.

But Trump’s strategy is pretty clear: By branding reporters as liars, he apparently hopes to discredit, disrupt or bully into silence anyone who challenges his version of reality. By undermining trust in news organizations and delegitimizing journalism and muddling the facts so that Americans no longer know who to believe, he can deny and distract and help push his administration’s far-fetched storyline.

It’s a cynical strategy, with some creepy overtones. For instance, when he calls journalists “enemies of the people,” Trump (whether he knows it or not) echoes Josef Stalin and other despots.

But it’s an effective strategy….

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Stephen Bannon has been REMOVED from the National Security Council…..

The Director of National Intelligence and Chair of the Joint Chief’s are back in ….

This has to be seen as a win for National Security Advisor McMasters and diminishes Bannon’s influence which was strong thru Mike Flynn, who has been dropped from the head of the agency under a investigative cloud.

Bannon still has ‘eyes’ in the NSC ….

President Trump has removed chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon from his role on the National Security Council (NSC), a senior White House official said Wednesday.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster made the decision, which Trump approved, the official said.

Bannon, who led Trump’s campaign in its final months, was elevated in January to a position on the NSC principals committee, in a shakeup of the council that drew widespread criticism that Trump was trying to politicize the council.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and director of national intelligence had their roles downgraded in the move.

The Joint Chiefs chairman and intelligence director are having their roles as “regular attendees” of the principals committee restored, according to a regulatory filing dated Tuesday. The director of the Central Intelligence Agency will also have a permanent role on the committee.

Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert also had his role on the council downgraded, but McMaster can delegate his authority to call meetings and set the agenda to him, according to the filing…..

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Some on the GOP Right feel that Bannon just took a hit from Trump’s Son -in – Law Kushner also…

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LA Times…Trump’s War on Journalism…Part IV

Part IV of the LA Times Editorial Board’s critique of Donald Trump…

In Donald Trump’s America, the mere act of reporting news unflattering to the president is held up as evidence of bias. Journalists are slandered as “enemies of the people.”

Facts that contradict Trump’s version of reality are dismissed as “fake news.” Reporters and their news organizations are “pathetic,” “very dishonest,” “failing,” and even, in one memorable turn of phrase, “a pile of garbage.”

Trump is, of course, not the first American president to whine about the news media or try to influence coverage. President George W. Bush saw the press as elitist and “slick.” President Obama’s press operationtried to exclude Fox News reporters from interviews, blocked many officials from talking to journalists and, most troubling, prosecuted more national security whistle-blowers and leakers than all previous presidents combined.

But Trump being Trump, he has escalated the traditionally adversarial relationship in demagogic and potentially dangerous ways.

Most presidents, irritated as they may have been, have continued to acknowledge — at least publicly — that an independent press plays an essential role in American democracy. They’ve recognized that while no news organization is perfect, honest reporting holds leaders and institutions accountable; that’s why a free press was singled out for protection in the 1st Amendment and why outspoken, unfettered journalism is considered a hallmark of a free country.

Trump doesn’t seem to buy it. On his very first day in office, he called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth.”

Since then he has regularly condemned legitimate reporting as “fake news.” His administration has blocked mainstream news organizations, including The Times, from briefings and his secretary of State chose to travel to Asia without taking the press corps, breaking a longtime tradition.

 

This may seem like bizarre behavior from a man who consumes the news in print and on television so voraciously and who is in many ways a product of the media. He comes from reality TV, from talk radio with Howard Stern, from the gossip pages of the New York City tabloids, for whose columnists he was both a regular subject and a regular source.

But Trump’s strategy is pretty clear: By branding reporters as liars, he apparently hopes to discredit, disrupt or bully into silence anyone who challenges his version of reality. By undermining trust in news organizations and delegitimizing journalism and muddling the facts so that Americans no longer know who to believe, he can deny and distract and help push his administration’s far-fetched storyline.

It’s a cynical strategy, with some creepy overtones. For instance, when he calls journalists “enemies of the people,” Trump (whether he knows it or not) echoes Josef Stalin and other despots.

But it’s an effective strategy. Such attacks are politically expedient at a moment when trust in the news media is as low as it’s ever been, according to Gallup. And they’re especially resonant with Trump’s supporters, many of whom see journalists as part of the swamp that needs to be drained…

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The guy who’s good at predicting President’s says Trump WILL be impeached…

We KNOW he is working HARD to let this happen…..

But….

How long do we gotta wait for Donald Trump to leave the stage?

Image result for “The Case for Impeachment”,

A professor who correctly predicted the result of every US presidential election since 1984 has claimed Donald Trump is certain to be impeached.

 Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University, uses a system of measures he calls “keys” to predict political outcomes and is now so convinced Mr Trump will face impeachment that he is writing a book on it.

The text, titled “The Case for Impeachment”, will be published in April by HarperCollins. It will include Professor Lichtman’s assessment of how Mr Trump could be impeached, based on analysis showing how his actions make him “uniquely vulnerable” to disciplinary proceedings.

 “Professor Lichtman has correctly predicted every Presidential election since 1984, including the election of 2016”, said a spokesperson for HarperCollins.

“Now, he focuses on the 45th President of the United States and his next forecast, that it is not a question of if President Trump will be impeached, but a question of when.”….

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LA Times …Trump’s Authoritarian Vision…Part III

Part III of the LA Times Editorial board’s  critique of Donald Trump….

Standing before the cheering throngs at the Republican National Convention last summer, Donald Trump bemoaned how special interests had rigged the country’s politics and its economy, leaving Americans victimized by unfair trade deals, incompetent bureaucrats and spineless leaders.

He swooped into politics, he declared, to subvert the powerful and rescue those who cannot defend themselves. “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”

To Trump’s faithful, those words were a rallying cry. But his critics heard something far more menacing in them: a dangerously authoritarian vision of the presidency — one that would crop up time and again as he talked about overruling generals, disregarding international law, ordering soldiers to commit war crimes, jailing his opponent.

Trump has no experience in politics; he’s never previously run for office or held a government position. So perhaps he was unaware that one of the hallmarks of the American system of government is that the president’s power to “fix” things unilaterally is constrained by an array of strong institutions — including the courts, the media, the permanent federal bureaucracy and Congress. Combined, they provide an essential defense against an imperial presidency.

Yet in his first weeks at the White House, President Trump has already sought to undermine many of those institutions. Those that have displayed the temerity to throw some hurdle in the way of a Trump objective have quickly felt the heat.

Consider Trump’s feud with the courts.

He has repeatedly questioned the impartiality and the motives of judges. For example, he attacked the jurists who ruled against his order excluding travelers from seven majority Muslim nations, calling one a “so-called judge” and later tweeting:

It’s nothing new for presidents to disagree with court decisions. But Trump’s direct, personal attacks on judges’ integrity and on the legitimacy of the judicial system itself — and his irresponsible suggestion that the judiciary should be blamed for future terrorist attacks — go farther. They aim to undermine public faith in the third branch of government.

The courts are the last line of defense for the Constitution and the rule of law; that’s what makes them such a powerful buffer against an authoritarian leader. The president of the United States should understand that and respect it.

Other institutions under attack include:

The electoral process. Faced with certified election results showing that Hillary Clinton outpolled him by nearly 3 million votes, Trump repeated the unsubstantiated — and likely crackpot — assertion that Clinton’s supporters had duped local polling places with millions of fraudulent votes. In a democracy, the right to vote is the one check that the people themselves hold against their leaders; sowing distrust in elections is the kind of thing leaders do when they don’t want their power checked.

The intelligence community. After reports emerged that the Central Intelligence Agency believed Russia had tried to help Trump win, the president-elect’s transition team responded: “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.” It was a snarky, dismissive, undermining response — and the administration has continued to belittle the intelligence community and question its motives since then, while also leaking stories about possibly paring and restructuring its ranks. It is bizarre to watch Trump continue to tussle publicly with this particular part of the government, whose leaders he himself has appointed, as if he were still an outsider candidate raging against the machine. It’s unnerving too, given the intelligence services’ crucial role in protecting the country against hidden risks, assisting the U.S. military and helping inform Trump’s decisions….

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LA Times…’Why Trump Lies’…Part II

Part II of the LA Times Editorial board’s  critique of Donald Trump….

Donald Trump did not invent the lie and is not even its master. Lies have oozed out of the White House for more than two centuries and out of politicians’ mouths — out of all people’s mouths — likely as long as there has been human speech.

But amid all those lies, told to ourselves and to one another in order to amass power, woo lovers, hurt enemies and shield ourselves against the often glaring discomfort of reality, humanity has always had an abiding respect for truth.

In the United States, born and periodically reborn out of the repeated recognition and rejection of the age-old lie that some people are meant to take dominion over others, truth is as vital a part of the civic, social and intellectual culture as justice and liberty. Our civilization is premised on the conviction that such a thing as truth exists, that it is knowable, that it is verifiable, that it exists independently of authority or popularity and that at some point — and preferably sooner rather than later — it will prevail.

Even American leaders who lie generally know the difference between their statements and the truth. Richard Nixon said “I am not a crook” but by that point must have seen that he was. Bill Clinton said “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” but knew that he did.

He targets the darkness, anger and insecurity that hide in each of us and harnesses them for his own purposes.”

The insult that Donald Trump brings to the equation is an apparent disregard for fact so profound as to suggest that he may not see much practical distinction between lies, if he believes they serve him, and the truth.

His approach succeeds because of his preternaturally deft grasp of his audience. Though he is neither terribly articulate nor a seasoned politician, he has a remarkable instinct for discerning which conspiracy theories in which quasi-news source, or which of his own inner musings, will turn into ratings gold. He targets the darkness, anger and insecurity that hide in each of us and harnesses them for his own purposes. If one of his lies doesn’t work — well, then he lies about that.

If we harbor latent racism or if we fear terror attacks by Muslim extremists, then he elevates a rumor into a public debate: Was Barack Obama born in Kenya, and is he therefore not really president?

If his own ego is threatened — if broadcast footage and photos show a smaller-sized crowd at his inauguration than he wanted — then he targets the news media, falsely charging outlets with disseminating “fake news” and insisting, against all evidence, that he has proved his case (“We caught them in a beauty,” he said).

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Trump polls above House GOP Speaker Paul Ryan back in Ryan’s Wisconsin and Nationally…

Trump , the real estate saleman, and entertainer,  has trumped Paul Ryan in his own state….

…One thing we’ve noticed, though, is that Ryan — and the Republican establishment that he represents — has consistently been viewed less positively than Trump himself, even before Trump secured the nomination. On a national level, more than half of Republicans told NBC and SurveyMonkey in May that they trusted Trump to lead the Republican Party more than they did Ryan. That wasn’t true in Wisconsin, it’s safe to assume, given that Ryan’s net favorability (those viewing him positively minus those viewing him negatively) among Republicans in his home state in early August was plus-72 to Trump’s plus-31.

But, as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel pointed out Tuesday, that has changed. Since the state’s primary, Wisconsin Republicans have grown more and more fond of the man who would become the leader of their party, and this month, for the first time, Trump’s approval ratings match Ryan’s. On net, Trump is viewed more positively…..

Nationally, the gulf is even wider at this point, according to a new CBS News poll.

On net, Trump has a plus-72 rating from Republicans. Ryan is at plus-32.

Again, Trump has been more popular with Republicans than Ryan has for a long time. But now that sentiment has spread even to Ryan’s home turf, that bastion of the Republican establishment, that Alamo of the traditional GOP.

The Trump takeover is complete….

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