……have a nice day?……
…..what is that sound?…………
…now aren’t you glad you clicked it?……..
…….now wasn’t that just another fun thing for the……………….back….of your …………………………..mind…………………w
…….now wasn’t that just another fun thing for the……………….back….of your …………………………..mind…………………w
It could be that Trump is simply staking out tough bargaining positions as a tactical matter, the approach to negotiations he has famously called “the art of the deal.” President Richard Nixon long ago developed the “madman theory,” the idea that he could frighten his adversaries into believing he was so volatile he might do something crazy if they failed to meet his demands—a tactic that Trump, whose reputation for volatility is firmly established, seems particularly well suited to employ.
The problem, however, is that negotiations sometimes fail, and adversaries are themselves often brazen and unpredictable. After all, Nixon’s madman theory—designed to force the North Vietnamese to compromise—did not work. Moreover, putting the theory into practice requires the capacity to act judiciously at the appropriate moment, something that Trump, as president, has yet to demonstrate. And whereas a failed business deal allows both parties to walk away unscathed if disappointed, a failed diplomatic gambit can lead to political instability, costly trade disputes, the proliferation of dangerous weapons, or even war. History is littered with examples of leaders who, like Trump, came to power fueled by a sense of national grievance and promises to force adversaries into submission, only to end up mired in a military, diplomatic, or economic conflict they would come
Will that happen to Trump? Nobody knows. But what if one could? What if, like Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Trump could meet a ghost from the future offering a vision of where his policies might lead by the end of his term before he decides on them at its start?
The problem is that negotiations sometimes fail, and adversaries are themselves often brazen and unpredictable.
It is possible that such a ghost would show him a version of the future in which his administration, after a turbulent start, moderated over time, proved more conventional than predicted, and even had some success in negotiating, as he has pledged, “better deals.” But there is a real risk that events will turn out far worse—a future in which Trump’s erratic style and confrontational policies destroy an already fragile world order and lead to open conflict—in the most likely cases, with Iran, China, or North Korea.
STUMBLING INTO WAR WITH IRAN
It is September 2017, and the White House is consumed with a debate about options for escalation with Iran. Another dozen Americans have been killed in an Iranian-sponsored attack on U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and the president is frustrated that previous air strikes in Iran failed to deter this sort of deadly aggression. He is tempted to retaliate much more aggressively this time but also knows that doing so risks involving U.S. troops even further in what is already a costly and unpopular war—the very sort of “mess” he had promised to avoid. Looking back, he now sees that this conflict probably became inevitable when he named his foreign policy team and first started to implement his new approach toward Iran.
Well before his election, of course, Trump had criticized the Iran nuclear agreement as “the worst deal ever negotiated” and promised to put a stop to Iran’s “aggressive push to destabilize and dominate” the Middle East. Some of his top advisers were deeply hostile to Iran and known to favor a more confrontational approach, including his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn; his CIA director, Mike Pompeo; his chief strategist, Steve Bannon; and his defense secretary, James Mattis. Some of Mattis’ former military colleagues said he had a 30-year-long obsession with Iran, noting, as one marine told Politico, “It’s almost like he wants to get even with them.”
During his campaign and first months in office, Trump whipped up anti-Iranian feelings and consistently misled the public about what the nuclear deal entailed. He falsely insisted that the United States “received absolutely nothing” from it, that it permitted Iran to eventually get the bomb, and that it gave $150 billion to Iran (apparently referring to a provision of the deal that allowed Iran to access some $50 billion of its own money that had been frozen in foreign accounts). Critics claimed that the rhetoric was reminiscent of the Bush administration’s exaggerations of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs in the run-up to the Iraq war. In February 2017, in response to an Iranian ballistic missile test, Flynn brashly declared that he was “officially putting Iran on notice.” Two days later, the administration announced a range of new sanctions on 25 Iranian individuals and companies involved in the ballistic missile program.
Trump whipped up anti-Iranian feelings and consistently misled the public about what the nuclear deal entailed.
Perhaps just as predictably, Iran dismissed the administration’s tough talk. It continued to test its missiles, insisting that neither the nuclear deal nor UN Security Council resolutions prohibited it from doing so. Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, even taunted Trump for his controversial immigration and travel ban, thanking him on Twitter for revealing the “true face” of the United States. Tehran also continued its policy of shipping arms to the Houthi rebels in Yemen and providing military assistance to Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, neither of which proved particularly costly to the Iranian treasury. U.S. efforts to get Russia to limit Iran’s role in Syria were ignored, adding to the White House’s frustration.
To the surprise of many, growing U.S. pressure on Iran did not immediately lead to the collapse of the nuclear deal. As soon as he took office, Trump ended the Obama administration’s practice of encouraging banks and international companies to ensure that Iran benefited economically from the deal. And he expressed support for congressional plans to sanction additional Iranian entities for terrorism or human rights violations, as top officials insisted was permitted by the nuclear deal. Iran complained that these “backdoor” sanctions would violate the agreement yet took no action. By March 2017, U.S. officials were concluding internally—and some of the administration’s supporters began to gloat—that Trump’s tougher approach was succeeding.
Different behavior on either side could have prevented relations from deteriorating. But ultimately, the deal could not be sustained. In the early summer of 2017, real signs of trouble started to emerge. Under pressure from hardline factions within Iran, which had their own interest in spiking the deal, Tehran had continued its provocative behavior, including the unjustified detention of dual U.S.-Iranian citizens, throughout the spring. In June, after completing a review of his Iran policy, Trump put Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations and announced that continued sanctions relief would be contingent on Iran’s release of all U.S. detainees and a return to negotiations to address the nuclear deal’s “flaws.” Instead of submitting to these demands, Iran responded with defiance. Its new president, a hard-liner who had defeated Hassan Rouhani in the May 2017 election, declared that in the face of U.S. “noncompliance,” Iran would resume certain prohibited nuclear activities, including testing advanced centrifuges and expanding its stockpile of low-enriched uranium. Washington was suddenly abuzz with talk of the need for a new effort to choke off Iran economically or even a preventive military strike.
The Trump administration had been confident that other countries would back its tougher approach and had warned allies and adversaries alike that they must choose between doing business with Iran and doing business with the United States. But the pressure did not work as planned. China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom all said that the deal had been working before the United States sought to renegotiate it, and they blamed Washington for precipitating the crisis. The EU even passed legislation making it illegal for European companies to cooperate with U.S. secondary sanctions. Trump fumed and vowed they would pay for their betrayal.
As the United States feuded with its closest partners, tensions with Iran escalated further. Frustrated by continued Iranian support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Pentagon stepped up patrols in the Strait of Hormuz and loosened the rules of engagement for U.S. forces. When an Iranian patrol boat aggressively approached a U.S. cruiser, in circumstances that are still disputed, the U.S. ship responded with deadly defensive force, killing 25 Iranian sailors.
The outrage in Iran bolstered support for the regime and led to widespread calls for revenge, which the country’s new president could not resist. Less than a week later, the Iranian-backed militia group Kataib Hezbollah killed six U.S. soldiers in Iraq. With the American public demanding retaliation, some called for diplomacy, recalling how, in January 2016, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke directly to defuse the situation after U.S. sailors drifted into Iranian waters. This time, the EU offered to mediate the crisis.
But the administration wanted nothing to do with what it considered the Obama administration’s humiliating appeasement of Iran. Instead, to teach Iran a lesson, Trump authorized a cruise missile strike on a known Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence headquarters, destroying three buildings and killing a dozen officers and an unknown number of civilians.
Trump’s advisers predicted that Iran would back down, but as nationalist fervor grew in Iran, Tehran escalated the conflict, calculating that the American public had no desire to spend more blood or treasure in the Middle East. Kataib Hezbollah and other Shiite militias in Iraq, some directed by Iran and others acting independently, launched further attacks on U.S. personnel. Tehran forced the weak government in Baghdad to demand the Americans’ departure from Iraq, which would deal a huge blow to the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, or ISIS.
As Washington reimposed the sanctions that had been suspended by the nuclear deal, Iran abandoned the limits on its enrichment of uranium, expelled the UN monitors, and announced that it was no longer bound by the agreement. With the CIA concluding that Iran was now back on the path to a nuclear weapons capability, Trump’s top advisers briefed the president in the Oval Office. Some counseled restraint, but others, led by Bannon and Mattis, insisted that the only credible option was to destroy the Iranian nuclear infrastructure with a massive preventive strike, while reinforcing the U.S. presence in Iraq to deal with the likely Iranian retaliation. Pompeo, a longstanding advocate of regime change in Iran, argued that such a strike might also lead to a popular uprising and the ousting of the supreme leader, an encouraging notion that Trump himself had heard think-tank experts endorse on television.
Once again, nervous allies stepped in and tried to broker a diplomatic solution. They tried to put the 2015 nuclear deal back in place, arguing that it now looked attractive by comparison. But it was too late. U.S. strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities in Arak, Fordow, Isfahan, Natanz, and Parchin led to retaliatory counterstrikes against U.S. forces in Iraq, U.S. retaliation against targets in Iran, terrorist attacks against Americans in Europe and the Middle East, and vows from Tehran to rebuild its nuclear program bigger and better than before. The president who had vowed to stop squandering American lives and resources in the Middle East now found himself wondering how he had ended up at war there.
It is October 2017, and experts are calling it the most dangerous confrontation between nuclear powers since the Cuban missile crisis. After a U.S.-Chinese trade war escalated well beyond what either side had predicted, a clash in the South China Sea has led to casualties on both sides and heavy exchanges of fire between the U.S. and Chinese navies. There are rumors that China has placed its nuclear forces on high alert. The conflict that so many long feared has begun.
Of the many foreign targets of Trump’s withering criticism during the campaign and the early months of his presidency, China topped the list. As a candidate, Trump repeatedly accused the country of destroying American jobs and stealing U.S. secrets. “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country,” he said. Bannon, who early in the administration set up a shadow national security council in the White House, had even predicted conflict with China. “We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to ten years,” he said in March 2016. “There’s no doubt about that.”
Not long after the election, Trump took a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, breaking with decades of diplomatic tradition and suggestinga potential change in the United States’ “one China” policy. It wasn’t clear whether the move was inadvertent or deliberate, but either way, Trump defended his approach and insisted that the policy was up for negotiation unless China made concessions on trade. “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea?” he tweeted. “I don’t think so!” In February 2017, after a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump announced that the United States would honor the “one China” policy after all. Asia experts were relieved, but it must have infuriated the president that so many thought he had backed down. “Trump lost his first fight with Xi and he will be looked at as a paper tiger,” Shi Yinhong, a professor at Renmin University of China, told The New York Times.
There were other early warning signs of the clashes to come. At his confirmation hearings for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson appeared to draw a new redline in the South China Sea, noting that China’s access to islands there “is not going to be allowed.” Some dismissed the statement as overblown rhetoric, but Beijing did not. The state-run China Daily warned that any attempt to enforce such a policy could lead to a “devastating confrontation,” and the Global Times said it could lead to “large-scale war.”
Then there were the disputes about trade. To head the new White House National Trade Council, Trump nominated Peter Navarro, the author of The Coming China Wars, Death by China, and other provocative books that describe U.S.-Chinese relations in zero-sum terms and argue for increased U.S. tariffs and trade sanctions. Like Bannon, Navarro regularly invoked the specter of military conflict with Beijing, and he argued that tougher economic measures were necessary not only to rectify the U.S.-Chinese trade balance but also to weaken China’s military power, which he claimed would inevitably be used against the United States. The early rhetoric worried many observers, but they took solace in the idea that neither side could afford a confrontation.
It was the decisions that followed that made war all but inevitable. In June 2017, when North Korea tested yet another long-range missile, which brought it closer to having the ability to strike the United States, Trump demanded that China check its small ally and announced “serious consequences” if it refused. China had no interest in promoting North Korea’s nuclear capacity, but it worried that completely isolating Pyongyang, as Trump was demanding, could cause the regime to collapse—sending millions of poor North Korean refugees streaming into China and leaving behind a united Korea ruled by Seoul, armed with North Korea’s nuclear weapons, and allied with Washington. China agreed to another UN Security Council statement condemning North Korea and extended a suspension of coal imports from the country but refused to take further action. Angry about Trump’s incessant criticism and confrontation over trade, Xi saw the United States as a greater danger to China than North Korea was and said he refused to be bullied by Washington.
At the same time, the U.S. current account deficit with China had swelled, driven in part by the growing U.S. budget deficits that resulted from Trump’s massive tax cuts. That, combined with Chinese intransigence over North Korea, convinced the White House that it was time to get tough. Outside experts, along with Trump’s own secretary of state and secretary of the treasury, cautioned against the risks of a dangerous escalation, but the president dismissed their hand-wringing and said that the days of letting China take advantage of Americans were over. In July, the administration formally branded China a “currency manipulator” (despite evidence that it had actually been spending its currency reserves to uphold the value of the yuan) and imposed a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports. To the delight of the crowd at a campaign-style rally in Florida, Trump announced that these new measures would remain in place until China boosted the value of its currency, bought more U.S. goods, and imposed tougher sanctions on North Korea.
The president’s more hawkish advisers assured him that China’s response would prove limited, given its dependence on exports and its massive holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds. But they underestimated the intense nationalism that the U.S. actions had stoked. Xi had to show strength, and he hit back.
All Trump wanted to do was get a better deal from China.
Within days, Xi announced that China was taking the United States to the World Trade Organization over the import tariff (a case he felt certain China would win) and imposed a 45 percent countertariff on U.S. imports. The Chinese believed that the reciprocal tariffs would hurt the United States more than China (since Americans bought far more Chinese goods than the other way around) and knew that the resulting inflation—especially for goods such as clothing, shoes, toys, and electronics—would hurt Trump’s blue-collar constituency. Even more important, they felt they were more willing to make sacrifices than the Americans were.
Xi also instructed China’s central bank to sell $100 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds, a move that immediately drove up U.S. interest rates and knocked 800 points off the Dow Jones industrial average in a single day. That China started using some of the cash resulting from the sales to buy large stakes in major U.S. companies at depressed prices only fueled a nationalist reaction in the United States. Trump tapped into it, calling for a new law to block Chinese investment.
With personal insults flying back and forth across the Pacific, Trump announced that if China did not start treating the United States fairly, Washington might reconsider the “one China” policy after all. Encouraged by Bannon, who argued privately that it was better to have the inevitable confrontation with China while the United States still enjoyed military superiority, Trump speculated publicly about inviting the president of Taiwan to the White House and selling new antimissile systems and submarines to the island.
China responded that any change in U.S. policy toward Taiwan would be met with an “overwhelming response,” which experts interpreted to mean at a minimum cutting off trade with Taiwan (which sends 30 percent of its exports to China) and at a maximum military strikes against targets on the island. With over one billion Chinese on the mainland passionately committed to the country’s nominal unity, few doubted that Beijing meant what it said. On October 1, China’s normally tepid National Day celebrations turned into a frightening display of anti-Americanism.
It was in this environment that an incident in the South China Sea led to the escalation so many had feared. The details remain murky, but it was triggered when a U.S. surveillance ship operating in disputed waters in heavy fog accidentally rammed a Chinese trawler that was harassing it. In the confusion that ensued, a People’s Liberation Army Navy frigate fired on the unarmed U.S. ship, a U.S. destroyer sank the Chinese frigate, and a Chinese torpedo struck and badly damaged the destroyer, killing three Americans.
A U.S. aircraft carrier task force is being rushed to the region, and China has deployed additional attack submarines there and begun aggressive overflights and patrols throughout the South China Sea. Tillerson is seeking to reach his Chinese counterpart, but officials in Beijing wonder whether he even speaks for the administration and fear Trump will accept nothing short of victory. Leaked U.S. intelligence estimates suggest that a large-scale conflict could quickly lead to hundreds of thousands of casualties, draw in neighboring states, and destroy trillions of dollars’ worth of economic output. But with nationalism raging in both countries, neither capital sees a way to back down. All Trump wanted to do was get a better deal from China.
THE NEXT KOREAN WAR
It is December 2018, and North Korea has just launched a heavy artillery barrage against targets in Seoul, killing thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands; it is too soon to say. U.S. and South Korean forces—now unified under U.S. command, according to the provisions of the Mutual Defense Treaty—have fired artillery and rockets at North Korea’s military positions and launched air strikes against its advanced air defense network. From a bunker somewhere near Pyongyang, the country’s erratic dictator, Kim Jong Un, has issued a statement promising to “burn Seoul and Tokyo to the ground”—a reference to North Korea’s stockpile of nuclear and chemical weapons—if the “imperialist” forces do not immediately cease their attacks.
Even Trump’s harshest critics acknowledge that the United States had no good choices in North Korea.
Washington had expected some sort of a North Korean response when it preemptively struck the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States, fulfilling Trump’s pledge to prevent Pyongyang from acquiring that ability. But few thought North Korea would go so far as to risk its own destruction by attacking South Korea. Now, Trump must decide whether to continue with the war and risk nuclear escalation—or accept what will be seen as a humiliating retreat. Some of his advisers are urging him to quickly finish the job, whereas others warn that doing so would cost the lives of too many of the 28,000 U.S. soldiers stationed on the peninsula, to say nothing of the ten million residents of Seoul. Assembled in the White House Situation Room, Trump and his aides ponder their terrible options.
How did it come to this? Even Trump’s harshest critics acknowledge that the United States had no good choices in North Korea. For more than 20 years, the paranoid, isolated regime in Pyongyang had developed its nuclear and missile capabilities and seemed impervious to incentives and disincentives alike. The so-called Agreed Framework, a 1994 deal to halt North Korea’s nuclear program, fell apart in 2003 when Pyongyang was caught violating it, leading the George W. Bush administration to abandon the deal in favor of tougher sanctions. Multiple rounds of talks since then produced little progress. By 2017, experts estimated that North Korea possessed more than a dozen nuclear warheads and was stockpiling the material for more. They also thought North Korea had missiles capable of delivering those warheads to targets throughout Asia and was testing missiles that could give it the capacity to strike the West Coast of the United States by 2023.
Early in the administration, numerous outside experts and former senior officials urged Trump to make North Korea a top priority. Accepting that total dismantlement of the country’s nuclear and missile programs was not a realistic nearterm goal, most called for negotiations that would offer a package of economic incentives and security assurances in exchange for a halt to further testing and development. A critical component, they argued, would be outreach to China, the only country that might be able to influence North Korea.
But the administration preferred a more confrontational approach. Even before Trump took office, when Kim blustered about developing the capacity to strike the United States with a nuclear weapon, Trump responded on Twitter: “It won’t happen!” On February 12, 2017, North Korea fired a test missile 310 miles into the Sea of Japan at the very moment Trump was meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago estate, in Florida. The next morning, Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, announced that the United States would soon be sending a signal to North Korea in the form of a major military buildup that would show “unquestioned military strength beyond anything anyone can imagine.” Later that month, Trump announced plans for a $54 billion increase in U.S. defense spending for 2018, with corresponding cuts in the budget for diplomacy. And in March 2017, Tillerson traveled to Asia and declared that “the political and diplomatic efforts of the past 20 years” had failed and that a “new approach” was needed.
In the ensuing months, critics urged the administration to accompany its military buildup with regional diplomacy, but Trump chose otherwise. He made clear that U.S. foreign policy had changed. Unlike what his predecessor had done with Iran, he said, he was not going to reward bad behavior. Instead, the administration announced in the summer of 2018 that North Korea was “officially on notice.” Although the White House agreed with critics that the best way to pressure North Korea was through China, it proved impossible to cooperate with Beijing while erecting tariffs and attacking it for “raping” the United States economically.
Thus did the problem grow during the administration’s first two years. North Korea continued to test missiles and develop fissile material. It occasionally incited South Korea, launching shells across the demilitarized zone and provoking some near misses at sea. The war of words between Pyongyang and Washington also escalated—advisers could not get the president to bite his tongue in response to Kim’s outrageous taunts—and Trump repeated in even more colorful language his Twitter warning that he would not allow Pyongyang to test a nuclear-capable missile that could reach the United States.
When the intelligence community picked up signs that Pyongyang was about to do so, the National Security Council met, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff briefed the president on his options. He could try to shoot down the test missile in flight, but shooting carried a high risk of missing, and even a successful intercept might provoke a military response. He could do nothing, but that would mean losing face and emboldening North Korea. Or he could destroy the test missile on its launch pad with a barrage of cruise missiles, blocking Pyongyang’s path to a nuclear deterrent, enforcing his redline, and sending a clear message to the rest of the world. Sources present at the meeting reported that when the president chose the third option, he said, “We have to start winning wars again.”
LEARNING FROM THE FUTURE
These frightening futures are far from inevitable. Indeed, for all the early bluster and promises of a dramatic break with the past, U.S. foreign policy may well turn out to be not as revolutionary or reckless as many fear. Trump has already demonstrated his ability to reverse course without compunction on a multitude of issues, from abortion to the Iraq war, and sound advice from some of his more seasoned advisers could moderate his potential for rash behavior.
On the other hand, given what we have seen so far of the president’s temperament, decision-making style, and foreign policy, these visions of what might lie ahead are hardly implausible: foreign policy disasters do happen. Imagine if a ghost from the future could have given world leaders in 1914 a glimpse of the cataclysm their policies would produce. Or if in 1965, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson could have seen what escalation in Vietnam would lead to a decade later. Or if in 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush could have been shown a preview of the results of the invasion of Iraq. In each case, unwise decisions, a flawed process, and wishful thinking did lead to a catastrophe that could have been, and often was, predicted in advance.
Maybe Trump is right that a massive military buildup, a reputation for unpredictability, a high-stakes negotiating style, and a refusal to compromise will convince other countries to make concessions that will make America safe, prosperous, and great again. But then again, maybe he’s wrong.
By Andy Borowitz March 7, 2017
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—At a press conference on Tuesday morning, Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told reporters that people who are pushed out of windows are “extremely lucky” because they get “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly through the air.”
“Ever since the dawn of civilization, mankind has been enchanted by the dream of flight,” Carson said. “People who get pushed out of windows get to realize that cherished dream.”
“That’s what makes America a great country,” he continued. “People are pushed out of windows every day here.”
Carson said that, while he had never personally been pushed out of a window, “it’s on my bucket list.”
On a subject more pertinent to his new job at hud, Carson said that people without housing “enjoy the rare satisfaction you can only experience by building your own dwelling out of cardboard.”
Andy Borowitz is a New York Times best-selling author and a comedian who has written for The New Yorker since 1998. He writes the Borowitz Report for newyorker.com.
……thanks and you’re welcome Andy…
BOSTON — If there’s a subtext to this year’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest gathering of scientists of the year, it’s anxiety for the future.
John Holdren, the top science adviser to President Barack Obama, who spoke at the conference, summed it up like this:
“I’m worried — based on early indications — that we can be in for a major shift in the culture around science and technology and its eminence in government. We appear to have a president now that resists facts that do not comport to his preferences. And that bodes ill on the Obama administration’s emphases on scientific integrity, transparency, and public access.”
Donald Trump has yet to select people for several top science jobs in the administration — such as NASA administrator, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and director of the National Institutes of Health.
But with the appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, he’s signaled that his administration will be making big changes to environmental regulation. One of the first bills he signed as president killed an Obama-era rule that made it harder for coal companies to dump waste in streams.
One of the names floated for Trump’s science adviser is Will Happer, a former Princeton physics professor who recently told ProPublica the science on global warming was “very, very shaky.” I asked Holdren if a science adviser whose opinions conflict with the scientific consensus on climate change is better than none at all. “Absolutely,” he told me. “Because somebody who knows about some domains of science and values science would still offer advice on those topics.”
“Happer is a distinguished physicist,” Holdren says. “He has views that I think are wildly wrong on climate change and immigration. And he’s not particularly diplomatic. But it would still be beneficial to have someone like Happer whispering in the president’s ear on the importance of basic research. …”
In the meantime, Holdren offered five points of advice for the hundreds of scientists assembled:
Number 1: Don’t be discouraged or intimidated.
Two: Keep doing your science … don’t change what you do or how you think about what you do or its importance.
Three: Besides your own science, become more broadly informed about science and scientific issues.
Four: Tithe at least 10 percent of your time to public service … including activism.
And last: We as a community need to think carefully about how to focus and utilize our activities to try to insure the continuation, momentum, and the integrity of science in this new era.
Scientists are becoming more politically engaged in the Trump era, and it shows here at AAAS. Later in the day, Harvard science historian Naomi Oreskes got a standing ovation after speaking on how scientists can — and should — be “sentinels” for the public, and shouldn’t fear a loss of credibility for getting more politically engaged.
Soon, Congress and the president will be making another set of decisions that are worrying for scientists — the 2018 fiscal year budget. Republicans want to cut taxes while possibly expanding defense and infrastructure spending. That is costly, and it may mean cutting back on discretionary spending, including scientific research and development.
Science funding often enjoys bipartisan consensus. But in this unsure era, researchers are extra anxious to make their voices heard.
…..thanks and you’re welcome VOX….
Press Says Transcript of Trump’s ABC Interview is ‘Bonkers’ and ‘F*cking Nuts’
By Hrafnkell Haraldsson on Thu, Jan 26th, 2017 at 8:57 am
“This was the stuff that it took Manafort team months to essentially duct-tape him from saying (violating int’l law)”
ABC News made quite a scoop last night when they scored a lie-filled one-on-one interview with Donald Trump in the White House. Trump was at his best, which means his worst, and the entire interview has to be seen to be believed.
If you – like many of us – can’t stand listening to Trump’s voice as he trolls the world with lies, you can always read the transcript to find gems like our earlier report on Trump’s lies about his wall, or this attack on the interviewer’s network:
The entire transcript can be viewed here. It makes good reading. By good, I mean illuminating. That doesn’t mean it’s not terrifying. And “Read the whole thing before he has it taken down,” warns writer/producer Amy Berg.
Keep in mind, this is a president who, as Trump’s Toronto Star fact checker Daniel Dale put it, believes “people who think plunder is illegal are ‘fools.’” It is statements like this that led Dale to tweet:
Here is another example:
At one point, Trump denied that he ever said there were millions of illegal voters. This prompted Muir to read the tweet in which Trump did say exactly that. Trump’s response was to ignore the facts. The response of Trumpists was to decry Muir as “anti-Trump.”
DAVID MUIR: … those people who are on the rolls voted, that there are millions of illegal votes?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I didn’t say there are millions. But I think there could very well be millions of people. That’s right.
DAVID MUIR: You tweeted though …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I also say this …
DAVID MUIR: … you tweeted, “If you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally, I won the popular vote.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: David, and I also say this, if I was going for the popular vote I would’ve won easily. But I would’ve been in California and New York. I wouldn’t have been in Maine. I wouldn’t have been in Iowa. I wouldn’t have been in Nebraska and all of those states that I had to win in order to win this. I would’ve been in New York, I would’ve been in California. I never even went there. You know, because facts.
The New York Times‘ Maggie Haberman was equally aghast:
Author and screenwriter JoJo Moyes tweeted, “Transcript of Trump’s interview last night. If I wrote this as fiction, my editor would send it back as unbelievable.”
As noted earlier, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler said, “This interview is so filled with inaccurate and misleading statements by Trump I don’t even know where to begin.” But then we shouldn’t expect anything less.
It is difficult not to see this granting of an interview with ABC News rather than Fox as a trial run of sorts, to see if ABC News would toe the line. In that, we have to suspect they failed, as Muir repeatedly brought Trump face to face with his own words and Trump repeatedly attacked the press and ABC News specifically.
Alternately, the interview may have been designed to make an object lesson of dissenters among the press, to show them exactly the kind of treatment they can expect for not repeating Trump’s lies without question.
THE ENTIRE FRIGGIN TRANSCRIPT STARTS HERE….
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, ABC News “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir interviewed President Donald Trump in the White House. The following is a transcript of the interview:
DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, it’s an honor to be here at the White House.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much, David.
DAVID MUIR: Let me ask you, has the magnitude of this job hit you yet?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It has periodically hit me. And it is a tremendous magnitude. And where you really see it is when you’re talking to the generals about problems in the world. And we do have problems in the world. Big problems. The business also hits because the — the size of it. The size.
I was with the Ford yesterday. And with General Motors yesterday. The top representatives, great people. And they’re gonna do some tremendous work in the United States. They’re gonna build plants back in the United States. But when you see the size, even as a businessman, the size of the investment that these big companies are gonna make, it hits you even in that regard. But we’re gonna bring jobs back to America, like I promised on the campaign trail.
DAVID MUIR: And we’re gonna get to it all right here.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good.
DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, I want to start — we’re five days in. And your campaign promises. I know today you plan on signing the order to build the wall.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Correct.
DAVID MUIR: Are you going to direct U.S. funds to pay for this wall? Will American taxpayers pay for the wall?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Ultimately it’ll come out of what’s happening with Mexico. We’re gonna be starting those negotiations relatively soon. And we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico which I will say …
DAVID MUIR: So, they’ll pay us back?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, absolutely, 100 percent.
DAVID MUIR: So, the American taxpayer will pay for the wall at first?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: All it is, is we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico. Now, I could wait a year and I could hold off the wall. But I wanna build the wall. We have to build the wall. We have to stop drugs from pouring in. We have to stop people from just pouring into our country. We have no idea where they’re from. And I campaigned on the wall. And it’s very important. But that wall will cost us nothing.
DAVID MUIR: But you talked — often about Mexico paying for the wall. And you, again, say they’ll pay us back. Mexico’s president said in recent days that Mexico absolutely will not pay, adding that, “It goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans.” He says …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: David, he has to say that. He has to say that. But I’m just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. And you have to understand what I’m doing is good for the United States. It’s also going to be good for Mexico.
We wanna have a very stable, very solid Mexico. Even more solid than it is right now. And they need it also. Lots of things are coming across Mexico that they don’t want. I think it’s going to be a good thing for both countries. And I think the relationship will be better than ever before.
You know, when we had a prisoner in Mexico, as you know, two years ago, that we were trying to get out. And Mexico was not helping us, I will tell you, those days are over. I think we’re gonna end up with a much better relationship with Mexico. We will have the wall and in a very serious form Mexico will pay for the wall.
DAVID MUIR: What are you gonna say to some of your supporters who might say, “Wait a minute, I thought Mexico was going to pay for this right at the start.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’d say very simply that they are going to pay for it. I never said they’re gonna pay from the start. I said Mexico will pay for the wall. But what I will tell my supporters is, “Would you like me to wait two years or three years before I make this deal?” Because we have to make a deal on NAFTA. We have to make a new trade deal with Mexico because we’re getting clobbered.
We have a $60-billion trade deficit. So, if you want, I can wait two years and then we can do it nice and easily. I wanna start the wall immediately. Every supporter I have — I have had so many people calling and tweeting and — and writing letters saying they’re so happy about it. I wanna start the wall. We will be reimbursed for the wall.
DAVID MUIR: When does construction begin?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: As soon as we can. As soon as we can physically do it. We’re …
DAVID MUIR: Within months?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would say in months. Yeah, I would say in months. Certainly planning is starting immediately.
DAVID MUIR: People feel …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ll be having some really good, really solid plans within a short period of time.
DAVID MUIR: When people learn of the news of this wall today there are gonna be a lot of people listening to this. And I wanna ask about undocumented immigrants who are here — in this country. Right now they’re protected as so-called dreamers — the children who were brought here, as you know, by their parents. Should they be worried — that they could be deported? And is there anything you can say to assure them right now that they’ll be allowed to stay?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: They shouldn’t be very worried. They are here illegally. They shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody. We’re going to have a very strong border. We’re gonna have a very solid border. Where you have great people that are here that have done a good job, they should be far less worried. We’ll be coming out with policy on that over the next period of four weeks.
DAVID MUIR: But Mr. President, will they be allowed to stay?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’m gonna tell you over the next four weeks. But I will tell you, we’re looking at this, the whole immigration situation, we’re looking at it with great heart. Now we have criminals that are here. We have really bad people that are here. Those people have to be worried ’cause they’re getting out. We’re gonna get them out. We’re gonna get ’em out fast. General Kelly is — I’ve given that as his number one priority.
DAVID MUIR: Senator Jeff Sessions, your pick for attorney general, as you know during his confirmation hearing said that ending DACA, this is President Obama’s policy protecting the dreamers — that, “Ending it certainly would be constitutional.” That you could end the protection of these dreamers. Is that a possibility?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re gonna be talking with — attorney general. He will soon be the attorney general. He’s done fantastically well. We’re all very proud of him. I thought he was treated very, very unfairly. He’s a brilliant man and he’s a very good man. He’ll do a fantastic job. I’ll be speaking to him as soon as he’s affirmed.
DAVID MUIR: So, it’s a possibility.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We will be talking to the attorney general.
DAVID MUIR: I wanna ask you about something you said this week right here at the White House. You brought in congressional leaders to the White House. You spoke at length about the presidential election with them — telling them that you lost the popular vote because of millions of illegal votes, 3 to 5 million illegal votes. That would be the biggest electoral fraud in American history. Where is the evidence of that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, let me tell you first of all, it was so misrepresented. That was supposed to be a confidential meeting. And you weren’t supposed to go out and talk to the press as soon as you — but the Democrats viewed it not as a confidential meeting.
DAVID MUIR: But you have tweeted …
DAVID MUIR: … about the millions of illegals …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sure. And I do — and I’m very …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: … and I mean it. But just so you — it was supposed to be a confidential meeting. They turned it into not a con… Number two, the conversation lasted for about a minute. They made it — somebody said it was, like, 25 percent of the … It wasn’t. It was hardly even discussed.
I said it. And I said it strongly because what’s going on with voter fraud is horrible. That’s number one. Number two, I would’ve won the popular vote if I was campaigning for the popular vote. I would’ve gone to California where I didn’t go at all. I would’ve gone to New York where I didn’t campaign at all.
I would’ve gone to a couple of places that I didn’t go to. And I would’ve won that much easier than winning the electoral college. But as you know, the electoral college is all that matters. It doesn’t make any difference. So, I would’ve won very, very easily. But it’s a different form of winning. You would campaign much differently. You would have a totally different campaign. So, but …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: … you’re just asking a question. I would’ve easily won the popular vote, much easier, in my opinion, than winning the electoral college. I ended up going to 19 different states. I went to the state of Maine four times for one. I needed one.
I went to M– I got it, by the way. But it turned out I didn’t need it because we ended up winning by a massive amount, 306. I needed 270. We got 306. You and everybody said, “There’s no way you get to 270.” I mean, your network said and almost everybody said, “There’s no way you can get to …” So, I went to Maine four times. I went to various places. And that’s the beauty of the electoral college. With that being said, if you look at voter registration, you look at the dead people that are registered to vote who vote, you look at people that are registered in two states, you look at all of these different things that are happening with registration. You take a look at those registration for — you’re gonna s– find — and we’re gonna do an investigation on it.
DAVID MUIR: But 3 to 5 million illegal votes?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’re gonna find out. But it could very well be that much. Absolutely.
DAVID MUIR: But …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: But we’re gonna find out.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: In fact, I heard one of the other side, they were saying it’s not 3 to 5. It’s not 3 to 5. I said, “Well, Mr. Trump is talking about registration, tell–” He said, “You know we don’t wanna talk about registration.” They don’t wanna talk about registration.
You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states. You have people registered in two states. They’re registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion. Now …
DAVID MUIR: But again …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’m doing an …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: … investigation. David, David, David …
DAVID MUIR: You’re now, you’re now president of the United States when you say …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Of course, and I want the voting process to be legitimate.
DAVID MUIR: But what I’m asking …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The people that …
DAVID MUIR: … what I’m asking that — when you say in your opinion millions of illegal votes, that is something that is extremely fundamental to our functioning democracy, a fair and free election.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sure. Sure. Sure.
DAVID MUIR: You say you’re gonna launch an investigation.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sure, done.
DAVID MUIR: What you have presented so far has been debunked. It’s been called …
DAVID MUIR: … false.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, it hasn’t. Take a look at the Pew reports.
DAVID MUIR: I called the author of the Pew report last night. And he told me that they found no evidence of voter …
DAVID MUIR: … fraud.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Really? Then why did he write the report?
DAVID MUIR: He said no evidence of voter fraud.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Excuse me, then why did he write the report?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: According to Pew report, then he’s — then he’s groveling again. You know, I always talk about the reporters that grovel when they wanna write something that you wanna hear but not necessarily millions of people wanna hear or have to hear.
DAVID MUIR: So, you’ve launched an investigation?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re gonna launch an investigation to find out. And then the next time — and I will say this, of those votes cast, none of ’em come to me. None of ’em come to me. They would all be for the other side. None of ’em come to me. But when you look at the people that are registered: dead, illegal and two states and some cases maybe three states — we have a lot to look into.
DAVID MUIR: House Speaker Paul Ryan has said, “I have seen no evidence. I have made this very, very clear.” Senator Lindsey Graham saying, “It’s the most inappropriate thing for a president to say without proof. He seems obsessed with the idea that he could not have possibly lost the popular vote without cheating and fraud.” I wanna ask you about something bigger here. Does it matter more now …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s nothing bigger. There’s nothing bigger.
DAVID MUIR: But it is important because …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Let me just tell you, you know what’s important, millions of people agree with me when I say that if you would’ve looked on one of the other networks and all of the people that were calling in they’re saying, “We agree with Mr. Trump. We agree.” They’re very smart people.
The people that voted for me — lots of people are saying they saw things happen. I heard stories also. But you’re not talking about millions. But it’s a small little segment. I will tell you, it’s a good thing that we’re doing because at the end we’re gonna have an idea as to what’s going on. Now, you’re telling me Pew report has all of a sudden changed. But you have other reports and you have other statements. You take a look at the registrations, how many dead people are there? Take a look at the registrations as to the other things that I already presented.
DAVID MUIR: And you’re saying …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And you’re gonna find …
DAVID MUIR: … those people who are on the rolls voted, that there are millions of illegal votes?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I didn’t say there are millions. But I think there could very well be millions of people. That’s right.
DAVID MUIR: You tweeted though …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I also say this …
DAVID MUIR: … you tweeted, “If you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally, I won the popular vote.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: David, and I also say this, if I was going for the popular vote I would’ve won easily. But I would’ve been in California and New York. I wouldn’t have been in Maine. I wouldn’t have been in Iowa. I wouldn’t have been in Nebraska and all of those states that I had to win in order to win this. I would’ve been in New York, I would’ve been in California. I never even went there.
DAVID MUIR: Let me just ask you, you did win. You’re the president. You’re sitting …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s true.
DAVID MUIR: … across from me right now.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s true.
DAVID MUIR: Do you think that your words matter more now?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, very much.
DAVID MUIR: Do you think that that talking about millions of illegal votes is dangerous to this country without presenting the evidence?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, not at all.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Not at all because many people feel the same way that I do. And …
DAVID MUIR: You don’t think it undermines your credibility if there’s no evidence?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, not at all because they didn’t come to me. Believe me. Those were Hillary votes. And if you look at it they all voted for Hillary. They all voted for Hillary. They didn’t vote for me. I don’t believe I got one. Okay, these are people that voted for Hillary Clinton. And if they didn’t vote, it would’ve been different in the popular.
Now, you have to understand I — I focused on those four or five states that I had to win. Maybe she didn’t. She should’ve gone to Michigan. She thought she had it in the bag. She should’ve gone to Wisconsin, she thought she had it because you’re talking about 38 years of, you know, Democrat wins. But they didn’t. I went to Michigan, I went to Wisconsin. I went to Pennsylvania all the time. I went to all of the states that are — Florida and North Carolina. That’s all I focused on.
DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, it does strike me though that we’re relitigating the presidential campaign, the election …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no. We’re looking at it for the next time. No, no, you have to understand, I had a tremendous victory, one of the great victories ever. In terms of counties I think the most ever or just about the most ever. When you look at a map it’s all red. Red meaning us, Republicans.
One of the greatest victories ever. But, again, I ran for the electoral college. I didn’t run for the popular vote. What I’m saying is if there are these problems that many people agree with me that there might be. Look, Barack Obama — if you look back — eight years ago when he first ran — he was running for office in Chicago for we needed Chicago vote.
And he was laughing at the system because he knew all of those votes were going to him. You look at Philadelphia, you look at what’s going on in Philadelphia. But take a look at the tape of Barack Obama who wrote me, by the way, a very beautiful letter in the drawer of the desk. Very beautiful. And I appreciate it. But look at what he said, it’s on tape. Look at what he said about voting in Chicago eight years ago. It’s not changed. It hasn’t changed, believe me. Chicago, look what’s going on in Chicago. It’s only gotten worse.
But he was smiling and laughing about the vote in Chicago. Now, once he became president he didn’t do that. All of a sudden it became this is the foundation of our country. So, here’s the point, you have a lot of stuff going on possibly. I say probably. But possibly. We’re gonna get to the bottom of it.
And then we’re gonna make sure it doesn’t happen again. If people are registered wrongly, if illegals are registered to vote, which they are, if dead people are registered to vote and voting, which they do. There are some. I don’t know how many. We’re gonna try finding that out and the other categories that we talk about, double states where they’re — registered in two states, we’re gonna get to the bottom of it because we have to stop it. Because I agree, so important. But the other side is trying to downplay this. Now, I’ll say this — I think that if that didn’t happen, first of all, would — would be a great thing if it didn’t happen. But I believe it did happen. And I believe a part of the vote would’ve been much different.
DAVID MUIR: And you believe millions of illegal votes …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’re gonna find out.
DAVID MUIR: Let me ask you this …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re gonna find out. And — and, by the way, when I say you’re gonna find out. You can never really find, you know, there are gonna be — no matter what numbers we come up with there are gonna be lots of people that did things that we’re not going to find out about. But we will find out because we need a better system where that can’t happen.
DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, I just have one more question on this. And it’s — it’s bigger picture. You took some heat after your visit to the CIA in front of that hallowed wall, 117 stars — of those lost at the CIA. You talked about other things. But you also talked about crowd size at the inauguration, about the size of your rallies, about covers on Time magazine. And I just wanna ask you when does all of that matter just a little less? When do you let it roll off your back now that you’re the president?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: OK, so I’m glad you asked. So, I went to the CIA, my first step. I have great respect for the people in intelligence and CIA. I’m — I don’t have a lot of respect for, in particular one of the leaders. But that’s okay. But I have a lot of respect for the people in the CIA.
That speech was a home run. That speech, if you look at Fox, OK, I’ll mention you — we see what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches. They showed the people applauding and screaming and — and they were all CIA. There was — somebody was asking Sean — “Well, were they Trump people that were put–” we don’t have Trump people. They were CIA people.
That location was given to me. Mike Pence went up before me, paid great homage to the wall. I then went up, paid great homage to the wall. I then spoke to the crowd. I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl and they said it was equal. I got a standing ovation. It lasted for a long period of time. What you do is take — take out your tape — you probably ran it live. I know when I do good speeches. I know when I do bad speeches. That speech was a total home run. They loved it. I could’ve …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: … gotten …
DAVID MUIR: You would give the same speech if you went back …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Absolutely.
DAVID MUIR: … in front of that wall?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: People loved it. They loved it. They gave me a standing ovation for a long period of time. They never even sat down, most of them, during the speech. There was love in the room. You and other networks covered it very inaccurately. I hate to say this to you and you probably won’t put it on but turn on Fox and see how it was covered. And see how people respond to that speech.
That speech was a good speech. And you and a couple of other networks tried to downplay that speech. And it was very, very unfortunate that you did. The people of the CIA loved the speech. If I was going to take a vote in that room, there were, like, 300, 350 people, over 1,000 wanted to be there but they couldn’t. They were all CIA people. I would say I would’ve gotten 350 to nothing in that room. That’s what the vote would’ve been. That speech was a big hit, a big success — success. And then I came back and I watched you on television and a couple of others.
DAVID MUIR: Not me personally.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And they tried to demean. Excuse me?
DAVID MUIR: Not me personally.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Not you personally but your network — and they tried to demean the speech. And I know when things are good or bad. A poll just came out on my inauguration speech which was extraordinary that people loved it. Loved and liked. And it was an extraordinary poll.
DAVID MUIR: I guess that’s what I’m getting at. You talked about the poll, the people loving your inaugural speech and the size of your …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, because you bring it up.
DAVID MUIR: I’m asking, well, on day one you …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, you just brought it up. I didn’t bring it up. I didn’t wanna — talk about the inauguration speech. But I think I did a very good job and people really liked it. You saw the poll. Just came out this morning. You bring it up. I didn’t bring it up.
DAVID MUIR: So, polls and crowd size and covers on Time, those still matter now that you’re here as president.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, you keep bringing it up. I had a massive amount of people here. They were showing pictures that were very unflattering, as unflattering — from certain angles — that were taken early and lots of other things. I’ll show you a picture later if you’d like of a massive crowd.
In terms of a total audience including television and everything else that you have we had supposedly the biggest crowd in history. The audience watching the show. And I think you would even agree to that. They say I had the biggest crowd in the history of inaugural speeches. I’m honored by that. But I didn’t bring it up. You just brought it up.
DAVID MUIR: See, I — I’m not interested in the inaugural crowd size. I think the American people can look at images side by side and decide for themselves. I am curious about the first full day here at the White House, choosing to send the press secretary out into the briefing room, summoning reporters to talk about the inaugural crowd size. Does that send a message to the American people that that’s — that’s more important than some of the very pressing issues?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Part of my whole victory was that the men and women of this country who have been forgotten will never be forgotten again. Part of that is when they try and demean me unfairly ’cause we had a massive crowd of people. We had a crowd — I looked over that sea of people and I said to myself, “Wow.”
And I’ve seen crowds before. Big, big crowds. That was some crowd. When I looked at the numbers that happened to come in from all of the various sources, we had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches. I said the men and women that I was talking to who came out and voted will never be forgotten again. Therefore I won’t allow you or other people like you to demean that crowd and to demean the people that came to Washington, D.C., from faraway places because they like me. But more importantly they like what I’m saying.
DAVID MUIR: I just wanna say I didn’t demean anyone who was in that crowd. We did coverage for hours …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I think you’re demeaning by talking the way you’re talking. I think you’re demeaning. And that’s why I think a lot of people turned on you and turned on a lot of other people. And that’s why you have a 17 percent approval rating, which is pretty bad.
DAVID MUIR: Mr. Trump, let’s talk about many of the things that have happened this week. Chicago. Last night you tweeted about the murder rate in Chicago saying, “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible carnage going on I will send in the feds.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.
DAVID MUIR: You will send in the feds? What do you mean by that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s carnage. You know, in my speech I got tremendous — from certain people the word carnage. It is carnage. It’s horrible carnage. This is Afghanistan — is not like what’s happening in Chicago. People are being shot left and right. Thousands of people over a period — over a short period of time.
This year, which has just started, is worse than last year, which was a catastrophe. They’re not doing the job. Now if they want help, I would love to help them. I will send in what we have to send in. Maybe they’re not gonna have to be so politically correct. Maybe they’re being overly political correct. Maybe there’s something going on. But you can’t have those killings going on in Chicago. Chicago is like a war zone. Chicago is worse than some of the people that you report in some of the places that you report about every night …
DAVID MUIR: So, I will send …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: … in the Middle East.
DAVID MUIR: … you mentioned federal assistance. There’s federal assistance and then there’s sending in the feds. I’m just curious would you take action on your own?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I want them to fix the problem. You can’t have thousands of people being shot in a city, in a country that I happen to be president of. Maybe it’s okay if somebody else is president. I want them to fix the problem. They have a problem that’s very easily fixable.
They’re gonna have to get tougher and stronger and smarter. But they gotta fix the problem. I don’t want to have thousands of people shot in a city where essentially I’m the president. I love Chicago. I know Chicago. And Chicago is a great city, can be a great city.
DAVID MUIR: And if they’re unable to fix it?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It can’t be a great city. Excuse me. It can’t be a great city if people are shot walking down the street for a loaf of bread. Can’t be a great city.
DAVID MUIR: And if they are unable to fix it, that’s when you would send in the feds?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, so far they have been unable. It’s been going on for years. And I wasn’t president. So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.
DAVID MUIR: Let me ask …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: They weren’t shot at the speech. But they were shot in the city of Chicago during his speech. What — what’s going on? So, all I’m saying is to the mayor who came up to my office recently — I say, “You have to smarten up and you have to toughen up because you can’t let that happen. That’s a war zone.”
DAVID MUIR: So, this is an “or else.” This is a warning?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I want them to straighten out the problem. It’s a big problem.
DAVID MUIR: Let me ask you about a new report that you were poised to lift a ban on so-called CIA black sites of prisons around the world that have been used in the past. Is that true?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’ll be talking about that in about two hours. So, you’ll be there and you’ll be able to see it for yourself.
DAVID MUIR: Are you gonna lift the ban?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You’re gonna see in about two hours.
DAVID MUIR: The last president, President Obama, said the U.S. does not torture. Will you say that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I have a general who I have great respect for, General Mattis, who said — I was a little surprised — who said he’s not a believer in torture. As you know, Mr. Pompeo was just approved, affirmed by the Senate. He’s a fantastic guy, he’s gonna be the head of the CIA.
And you have somebody fabulous as opposed to the character that just got out who didn’t — was not fabulous at all. And he will I think do a great job. And he is — you know, I haven’t gone into great detail. But I will tell you I have spoken to others in intelligence. And they are big believers in, as an example, waterboarding.
DAVID MUIR: You did tell me …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Because they say it does work. It does work.
DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, you …
DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, you told me during one of the debates that you would bring back waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would do …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would do — I wanna keep our country safe. I wanna keep our country safe.
DAVID MUIR: What does that mean?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: When they’re shooting — when they’re chopping off the heads of our people and other people, when they’re chopping off the heads of people because they happen to be a Christian in the Middle East, when ISIS is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since Medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding?
As far as I’m concerned we have to fight fire with fire. Now, with that being said I’m going with General Mattis. I’m going with my secretary because I think Pompeo’s gonna be phenomenal. I’m gonna go with what they say. But I have spoken as recently as 24 hours ago with people at the highest level of intelligence. And I asked them the question, “Does it work? Does torture work?” And the answer was, “Yes, absolutely.”
DAVID MUIR: You’re now the president. Do you want waterboarding?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t want people to chop off the citizens or anybody’s heads in the Middle East. Okay? Because they’re Christian or Muslim or anything else. I don’t want — look, you are old enough to have seen a time that was much different. You never saw heads chopped off until a few years ago.
Now they chop ’em off and they put ’em on camera and they send ’em all over the world. So we have that and we’re not allowed to do anything. We’re not playing on an even field. I will say this, I will rely on Pompeo and Mattis and my group. And if they don’t wanna do, that’s fine. If they do wanna do, then I will work for that end.
I wanna do everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally. But do I feel it works? Absolutely I feel it works. Have I spoken to people at the top levels and people that have seen it work? I haven’t seen it work. But I think it works. Have I spoken to people that feel strongly about it? Absolutely.
DAVID MUIR: So, you’d be okay with it as …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I wanna keep …
DAVID MUIR: … president?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: … no, I wanna — I will rely on General Mattis. And I’m gonna rely on those two people and others. And if they don’t wanna do it, it’s 100 percent okay with me. Do I think it works? Absolutely.
DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, I wanna ask you about refugees. You’re about to sign a sweeping executive action to suspend immigration to this country.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.
DAVID MUIR: Who are we talking about? Is this the Muslim ban?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re talking about — no it’s not the Muslim ban. But it’s countries that have tremendous terror. It’s countries that we’re going to be spelling out in a little while in the same speech. And it’s countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems. Our country has enough problems without allowing people to come in who, in many cases or in some cases, are looking to do tremendous destruction.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You look at what’s happening …
DAVID MUIR: Which countries are we talking about?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: … you’ll be hearing about it in two hours because I have a whole list. You’ll be very thrilled. You’re looking at people that come in, in many cases, in some cases with evil intentions. I don’t want that. They’re ISIS. They’re coming under false pretense. I don’t want that.
I’m gonna be the president of a safe country. We have enough problems. Now I’ll absolutely do safe zones in Syria for the people. I think that Europe has made a tremendous mistake by allowing these millions of people to go into Germany and various other countries. And all you have to do is take a look. It’s — it’s a disaster what’s happening over there.
I don’t want that to happen here. Now with that being said, President Obama and Hillary Clinton have, and Kerry have allowed tens of thousands of people into our country. The FBI is now investigating more people than ever before having to do with terror. They — and it’s from the group of people that came in. So look, look, our country has a lot of problems. Believe me. I know what the problems are even better than you do. They’re deep problems, they’re serious problems. We don’t need more.
DAVID MUIR: Let me ask you about some of the countries that won’t be on the list, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia. Why are we going to allow people to come into this country …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You’re going to see — you’re going to see. We’re going to have extreme vetting in all cases. And I mean extreme. And we’re not letting people in if we think there’s even a little chance of some problem.
DAVID MUIR: Are you at all …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are excluding certain countries. But for other countries we’re gonna have extreme vetting. It’s going to be very hard to come in. Right now it’s very easy to come in. It’s gonna be very, very hard. I don’t want terror in this country. You look at what happened in San Bernardino. You look at what happened all over. You look at what happened in the World Trade Center. Okay, I mean, take that as an example.
DAVID MUIR: Are you at all …
DAVID MUIR: … concerned — are you at all concerned it’s going to cause more anger among Muslims …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Anger?
DAVID MUIR: … the world?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?
DAVID MUIR: You don’t think it’ll …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Look, David …
DAVID MUIR: … exacerbate the problem?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: … David, I mean, I know you’re a sophisticated guy. The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What? You think this is gonna cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. All of this has happened. We went into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out.
The world is a total mess. Take a look at what’s happening with Aleppo. Take a look what’s happening in Mosul. Take a look what’s going on in the Middle East. And people are fleeing and they’re going into Europe and all over the place. The world is a mess, David.
DAVID MUIR: You brought up Iraq and something you said that could affect American troops in recent days. You said, “We should’ve kept the oil but okay maybe we’ll have another chance.” What did you mean by that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we should’ve kept the oil when we got out. And, you know, it’s very interesting, had we taken the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS because they fuel themselves with the oil. That’s where they got the money. They got the money from leaving — when we left, we left Iraq, which wasn’t a government. It’s not a government now.
And by the way, and I said something else, if we go in and do this. You have two nations, Iraq and Iran. And they were essentially the same military strength. And they’d fight for decades and decades. They’d fight forever. And they’d keep fighting and it would go — it was just a way of life. We got in, we decapitated one of those nations, Iraq. I said, “Iran is taking over Iraq.” That’s essentially what happened.
DAVID MUIR: So, you believe we can go in and take the oil.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We should have taken the oil. You wouldn’t have ISIS if we took the oil. Now I wasn’t talking about it from the standpoint of ISIS because the way we got out was horrible. We created a vacuum and ISIS formed. But had we taken the oil something else would’ve very good happened. They would not have been able to fuel their rather unbelievable drive to destroy large portions of the world.
DAVID MUIR: You’ve heard the critics who say that would break all international law, taking the oil. But I wanna get to the words …
DAVID MUIR: … that you …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wait, wait, can you believe that? Who are the critics who say that? Fools.
DAVID MUIR: Let, let me …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t call them critics. I call them fools.
DAVID MUIR: … let me talk about your words …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We should’ve kept — excuse me. We should’ve taken the oil. And if we took the oil you wouldn’t have ISIS. And we would have had wealth. We have spent right now $6 trillion in the Middle East. And our country is falling apart.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Our roads — excuse me. Our roads, our bridges, our schools, it’s falling apart. We have spent as of one month ago $6 trillion in the Middle East. And in our country we can’t afford to build a school in Brooklyn or we can’t afford to build a school in Los Angeles. And we can’t afford to fix up our inner cities. We can’t afford to do anything. Look, it’s time. It’s been our longest war. We’ve been in there for 15, 16 years. Nobody even knows what the date is because they don’t really know when did we start. But it’s time. It’s time.
DAVID MUIR: What got my attention, Mr. President, was when you said, “Maybe we’ll have another chance.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, don’t let it get your attention too much because we’ll see what happens. I mean, we’re gonna see what happens. You know, I told you and I told everybody else that wants to talk when it comes to the military I don’t wanna discuss things.
I wanna let — I wanna let the action take place before the talk takes place. I watched in Mosul when a number of months ago generals and politicians would get up and say, “We’re going into Mosul in four months.” Then they’d say, “We’re going in in three months, two months, one month. We’re going in next week.”
Okay, and I kept saying to myself, “Gee, why do they have to keep talking about going in?” All right, so now they go in and it is tough because they’re giving the enemy all this time to prepare. I don’t wanna do a lot of talking on the military. I wanna talk after it’s finished, not before it starts.
DAVID MUIR: Let me ask you, Mr. President, about another promise involving Obamacare to repeal it. And you told The Washington Post that your plan to replace Obamacare will include insurance for everybody. That sounds an awful lot like universal coverage.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s going to be — what my plan is is that I wanna take care of everybody. I’m not gonna leave the lower 20 percent that can’t afford insurance. Just so you understand people talk about Obamacare. And I told the Republicans this, the best thing we could do is nothing for two years, let it explode. And then we’ll go in and we’ll do a new plan and — and the Democrats will vote for it. Believe me.
Because this year you’ll have 150 percent increases. Last year in Arizona 116 perecent increase, Minnesota 60 some-odd percent increase. And I told them, except for one problem, I wanna get it fixed. The best thing I could do as the leader of this country– but as wanting to get something approved with support of the Democrats, if I didn’t do anything for two years they’d be begging me to do something. But I don’t wanna do that. So just so you unders– Obamacare is a disaster.
It’s too expensive. It’s horrible health care. It doesn’t cover what you have to cover. It’s a disaster. You know it and I know it. And I said to the Republican folks– and they’re terrific folks, Mitch and Paul Ryan, I said, “Look, if you go fast — and I’m okay in doing it because it’s the right thing to do. We wanna get good coverage at much less cost.” I said, “If you go fast we then own Obamacare. They’re gonna put it on us. And Obamacare is a disaster waiting to explode. If you sit back and let it explode it’s gonna be much easier.” That’s the thing to do. But the right thing to do is to get something done now.
DAVID MUIR: But you …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So I wanna make sure that nobody’s dying on the streets when I’m president. Nobody’s gonna be dying on the streets. We will unleash something that’s gonna be terrific. And remember this, before Obamacare you had a lot of people that were very, very happy with their health care.
And now those people in many cases don’t even have health care. They don’t even have anything that’s acceptable to them. Remember this, keep your doctor, keep your plan, 100 percent. Remember the $5 billion website? Remember the website fiasco. I mean, you do admit that I think, right? The website fiasco.
Obamacare is a disaster. We are going to come up with a new plan ideally not an amended plan because right now if you look at the pages they’re this high. We’re gonna come up with a new plan that’s going to be better health care for more people at a lesser cost.
DAVID MUIR: Last question because I know you’re gonna show me around the White House. Last question on this. You’ve seen the estimate that 18 million Americans could lose their health insurance if Obamacare is repealed and there is no replacement. Can you assure those Americans watching this right now that they will not lose their health insurance or end up with anything less?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So nobody ever deducts all the people that have already lost their health insurance that liked it. You had millions of people that liked their health insurance and their health care and their doctor and where they went. You had millions of people that now aren’t insured anymore.
DAVID MUIR: I’m just asking about the people …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no.
DAVID MUIR: … who are nervous and watching …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We …
DAVID MUIR: … you for reassurance.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: … here’s what I can assure you, we are going to have a better plan, much better health care, much better service treatment, a plan where you can have access to the doctor that you want and the plan that you want. We’re gonna have a much better health care plan at much less money.
And remember Obamacare is ready to explode. And you interviewed me a couple of years ago. I said ’17 — right now, this year, “’17 is going to be a disaster.” I’m very good at this stuff. “’17 is going to be a disaster cost-wise for Obamacare. It’s going to explode in ’17.”
And why not? Obama’s a smart guy. So let it all come do because that’s what’s happening. It’s all coming do in ’17. We’re gonna have an explosion. And to do it right, sit back, let it explode and let the Democrats come begging us to help them because it’s on them. But I don’t wanna do that. I wanna give great health care at a much lower cost.
DAVID MUIR: So, no one who has this health insurance through Obamacare will lose it or end up …
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You know, when you …
DAVID MUIR: … with anything less?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: … say no one I think no one. Ideally, in the real world, you’re talking about millions of people. Will no one. And then, you know, knowing ABC, you’ll have this one person on television saying how they were hurt. Okay. We want no one. We want the answer to be no one.
But I will say millions of people will be happy. Right now you have millions and millions and millions of people that are unhappy. It’s too expensive and it’s no good. And the governor of Minnesota who unfortunately had a very, very sad incident yesterday ’cause he’s a very nice guy but — a couple of months ago he said that the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable.
He’s a staunch Democrat. Very strong Democrat. He said it’s no longer affordable. He made that statement. And Bill Clinton on the campaign trail — and he probably had a bad night that night when he went home — but he said, “Obamacare is crazy. It’s crazy.” And you know what, they were both right.
DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *
Watch Video Original Interview
……unless there’s some last minute hail Mary that gets us out of this nightmare…..this friggin nightmare is going to go from bad to worse…..maybe way worse…..depending on who you are……angry white guys are probably going to do just fine….for awhile…. since it’s their ilk that is making that last gasping sound….. fading from influence….way too slowly…..
As 2017 dawns and the Republicans prepare to take control of both houses of Congress and the White House, a life or death matter looms for millions of Americans who currently have health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare: The GOP says it’s full steam ahead on repeal of the ACA. Why are they so damn eager to eliminate healthcare for tens of millions? Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman says the GOP’s motive goes beyond their free market zeal.
For years, Republicans have been hoping and praying for a predicted Obamacare death spiral, but it has yet to materialize, and now the GOP faces a much more terrifying prospect:
“Despite higher premiums, enrollments in the exchanges are running ahead of their levels a year ago. Meanwhile, analysts are reporting substantial financial improvement for insurers: The premium hikes are doing the job, ending their losses.”
Should the Republicans let the program continue to grow and expand, becoming more popular and financially stable with each passing day, it would be even more difficult for them to rip coverage away from millions of Americans who have decent, affordable heath insurance.
“Republican congressional leaders like Paul Ryan nonetheless seem eager to push ahead with repeal. In fact, they seem to be in a great rush, probably because they’re afraid that if they don’t unravel health reform in the very first weeks of the Trump era, rank-and-file members of Congress will start hearing from constituents who really, really don’t want to lose their insurance.”
At a much deeper level, the real reason the GOP hates the Affordable Care Act so much can be distilled down to two main points:
The ACA is paid for in part by higher taxes on wealthy Americans. Now that the GOP is in control, they are going to do everything they can to give their rich contributors as many tax cuts as they can.
Republicans don’t think the government should play any role in improving the lives of average Americans. It doesn’t fit into their Ayn Rand theory of Objectivism. The GOP thinks that if you don’t have decent healthcare, it’s all your fault.
Krugman concludes his analysis with this reminder:
“When the number of uninsured Americans skyrockets on their watch, they’ll claim that it’s not their fault. Like everything, it’s the fault of liberal elites.”
And it’s our job to call them out for their lies.
Nobel Prize winning economist
In a column yesterday, Pat Buchanan warned that if Donald Trump loses the election in November, America could experience a revolution.
Buchanan, citing Trump’s recent suggestion that the election could be “rigged,” said that if Hillary Clinton defeats Trump, “would that not suggest there is something fraudulent about American democracy, something rotten in the state?”
“[T]he Republican electorate should tell its discredited and rejected ruling class: If we cannot get rid of you at the ballot box, then tell us how, peacefully and democratically, we can be rid of you?” he continued. “You want Trump out? How do we get you out? The Czechs had their Prague Spring. The Tunisians and Egyptians their Arab Spring. When do we have our American Spring?”
Buchanan then quoted John F. Kennedy’s remarks on U.S.-Latin American relations: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
“I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged,” Donald Trump told voters in Ohio and Sean Hannity on Fox News. And that hit a nerve.
“Dangerous,” “toxic,” came the recoil from the media.
Trump is threatening to “delegitimize” the election results of 2016.
Well, if that is what Trump is trying to do, he has no small point. For consider what 2016 promised and what it appears about to deliver.
This longest of election cycles has rightly been called the Year of the Outsider. It was a year that saw a mighty surge of economic populism and patriotism, a year when a 74-year-old socialist senator set primaries ablaze with mammoth crowds that dwarfed those of Hillary Clinton.
It was the year that a non-politician, Donald Trump, swept Republican primaries in an historic turnout, with his nearest rival an ostracized maverick in his own Republican caucus, Sen. Ted Cruz.
More than a dozen Republican rivals, described as the strongest GOP field since 1980, were sent packing. This was the year Americans rose up to pull down the establishment in a peaceful storming of the American Bastille.
But if it ends with a Clintonite restoration and a ratification of the same old Beltway policies, would that not suggest there is something fraudulent about American democracy, something rotten in the state?
Specifically, the Republican electorate should tell its discredited and rejected ruling class: If we cannot get rid of you at the ballot box, then tell us how, peacefully and democratically, we can be rid of you?
You want Trump out? How do we get you out?
The Czechs had their Prague Spring. The Tunisians and Egyptians their Arab Spring. When do we have our American Spring?
And if, as the polls show we might, we get Clinton – and TPP, and amnesty, and endless migrations of Third World peoples who consume more tax dollars than they generate, and who will soon swamp the Republicans’ coalition – what was 2016 all about?
Would this really be what a majority of Americans voted for in this most exciting of presidential races?
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable,” said John F. Kennedy.
“I’ll say something at a rally and I look out and see all these TV cameras taking every word down,” Trump told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. “No one in politics has ever been subjected to this kind of treatment.”
“It’s unbelievable and, frankly, very unethical,” he added.
At a rally in Florida, the candidate lashed out at a TV cameraman whom he caught in the act of recording his words for broadcasting purposes.
“Look at him over there, picking up everything I’m saying, folks,” Trump shouted. “Get him out of here.”
In his interview with Fox, Trump hinted that he might drop out of this fall’s televised Presidential debates if the media continues its practice of reporting the things he says.
“I’ve always said that I would be willing to debate if I’m treated fairly,” Trump told Hannity. “But if the media keeps recording everything I say, word for word, and then playing it back so that everyone in the country hears exactly what I said, I would consider that very, very unfair.”
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I gave it to you straight last summer when I told you that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. And now I have even more awful, depressing news for you: Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ‘cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: “PRESIDENT TRUMP.”
Never in my life have I wanted to be proven wrong more than I do right now.
I can see what you’re doing right now. You’re shaking your head wildly – “No, Mike, this won’t happen!” Unfortunately, you are living in a bubble that comes with an adjoining echo chamber where you and your friends are convinced the American people are not going to elect an idiot for president. You alternate between being appalled at him and laughing at him because of his latest crazy comment or his embarrassingly narcissistic stance on everything because everything is about him. And then you listen to Hillary and you behold our very first female president, someone the world respects, someone who is whip-smart and cares about kids, who will continue the Obama legacy because that is what the American people clearly want! Yes! Four more years of this!
You need to exit that bubble right now. You need to stop living in denial and face the truth which you know deep down is very, very real. Trying to soothe yourself with the facts – “77% of the electorate are women, people of color, young adults under 35 and Trump cant win a majority of any of them!” – or logic – “people aren’t going to vote for a buffoon or against their own best interests!” – is your brain’s way of trying to protect you from trauma. Like when you hear a loud noise on the street and you think, “oh, a tire just blew out,” or, “wow, who’s playing with firecrackers?” because you don’t want to think you just heard someone being shot with a gun. It’s the same reason why all the initial news and eyewitness reports on 9/11 said “a small plane accidentally flew into the World Trade Center.” We want to – we need to –hope for the best because, frankly, life is already a shit show and it’s hard enough struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck. We can’t handle much more bad news. So our mental state goes to default when something scary is actually, truly happening. The first people plowed down by the truck in Nice spent their final moments on earth waving at the driver whom they thought had simply lost control of his truck, trying to tell him that he jumped the curb: “Watch out!,” they shouted. “There are people on the sidewalk!”
Well, folks, this isn’t an accident. It is happening. And if you believe Hillary Clinton is going to beat Trump with facts and smarts and logic, then you obviously missed the past year of 56 primaries and caucuses where 16 Republican candidates tried that and every kitchen sink they could throw at Trump and nothing could stop his juggernaut. As of today, as things stand now, I believe this is going to happen – and in order to deal with it, I need you first to acknowledge it, and then maybe, just maybe, we can find a way out of the mess we’re in.
Don’t get me wrong. I have great hope for the country I live in. Things are better. The left has won the cultural wars. Gays and lesbians can get married. A majority of Americans now take the liberal position on just about every polling question posed to them: Equal pay for women – check. Abortion should be legal – check. Stronger environmental laws – check. More gun control – check. Legalize marijuana – check. A huge shift has taken place – just ask the socialist who won 22 states this year. And there is no doubt in my mind that if people could vote from their couch at home on their X-box or PlayStation, Hillary would win in a landslide.
But that is not how it works in America. People have to leave the house and get in line to vote. And if they live in poor, Black or Hispanic neighborhoods, they not only have a longer line to wait in, everything is being done to literally stop them from casting a ballot. So in most elections it’s hard to get even 50% to turn out to vote. And therein lies the problem for November – who is going to have the most motivated, most inspired voters show up to vote? You know the answer to this question. Who’s the candidate with the most rabid supporters? Whose crazed fans are going to be up at 5 AM on Election Day, kicking ass all day long, all the way until the last polling place has closed, making sure every Tom, Dick and Harry (and Bob and Joe and Billy Bob and Billy Joe and Billy Bob Joe) has cast his ballot? That’s right. That’s the high level of danger we’re in. And don’t fool yourself — no amount of compelling Hillary TV ads, or outfacting him in the debates or Libertarians siphoning votes away from Trump is going to stop his mojo.
Here are the 5 reasons Trump is going to win:
From Green Bay to Pittsburgh, this, my friends, is the middle of England – broken, depressed, struggling, the smokestacks strewn across the countryside with the carcass of what we use to call the Middle Class. Angry, embittered working (and nonworking) people who were lied to by the trickle-down of Reagan and abandoned by Democrats who still try to talk a good line but are really just looking forward to rub one out with a lobbyist from Goldman Sachs who’ll write them nice big check before leaving the room. What happened in the UK with Brexit is going to happen here. Elmer Gantry shows up looking like Boris Johnson and just says whatever shit he can make up to convince the masses that this is their chance! To stick to ALL of them, all who wrecked their American Dream! And now The Outsider, Donald Trump, has arrived to clean house! You don’t have to agree with him! You don’t even have to like him! He is your personal Molotov cocktail to throw right into the center of the bastards who did this to you! SEND A MESSAGE! TRUMP IS YOUR MESSENGER!
And this is where the math comes in. In 2012, Mitt Romney lost by 64 electoral votes. Add up the electoral votes cast by Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It’s 64. All Trump needs to do to win is to carry, as he’s expected to do, the swath of traditional red states from Idaho to Georgia (states that’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton), and then he just needs these four rust belt states. He doesn’t need Florida. He doesn’t need Colorado or Virginia. Just Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And that will put him over the top. This is how it will happen in November.
That’s a small peek into the mind of the Endangered White Male. There is a sense that the power has slipped out of their hands, that their way of doing things is no longer how things are done. This monster, the “Feminazi,”the thing that as Trump says, “bleeds through her eyes or wherever she bleeds,” has conquered us — and now, after having had to endure eight years of a black man telling us what to do, we’re supposed to just sit back and take eight years of a woman bossing us around? After that it’ll be eight years of the gays in the White House! Then the transgenders! You can see where this is going. By then animals will have been granted human rights and a fuckin’ hamster is going to be running the country. This has to stop!
Let’s face it: Our biggest problem here isn’t Trump – it’s Hillary. She is hugely unpopular — nearly 70% of all voters think she is untrustworthy and dishonest. She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected. That’s why she fights against gays getting married one moment, and the next she’s officiating a gay marriage. Young women are among her biggest detractors, which has to hurt considering it’s the sacrifices and the battles that Hillary and other women of her generation endured so that this younger generation would never have to be told by the Barbara Bushes of the world that they should just shut up and go bake some cookies. But the kids don’t like her, and not a day goes by that a millennial doesn’t tell me they aren’t voting for her. No Democrat, and certainly no independent, is waking up on November 8th excited to run out and vote for Hillary the way they did the day Obama became president or when Bernie was on the primary ballot. The enthusiasm just isn’t there. And because this election is going to come down to just one thing — who drags the most people out of the house and gets them to the polls — Trump right now is in the catbird seat.
Coming back to the hotel after appearing on Bill Maher’s Republican Convention special this week on HBO, a man stopped me. “Mike,” he said, “we have to vote for Trump. We HAVE to shake things up.” That was it. That was enough for him. To “shake things up.” President Trump would indeed do just that, and a good chunk of the electorate would like to sit in the bleachers and watch that reality show.
(Next week I will post my thoughts on Trump’s Achilles Heel and how I think he can be beat.)
The Republican convention……..Melania Trump’s excruciating blunder …..Jul 19th 2016….. BY J.A. Cleveland at The Economist ….
IT HAD been billed as the high point of the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland—a speech by Donald Trump’s beautiful, Slovenian-born wife, Melania, on July 18th, in which she was expected to paint the presumptive Republican candidate in a new and softer light. Mr Trump’s advisers have described that rebranding exercise as their big objective in Cleveland; Paul Manafort, the campaign’s manager, says the four-day coronation of Mr Trump as the Republican nominee will show a “very personal” side to him. Interviewed on her way to deliver the speech, Mrs Trump claimed to have written it herself, “with a [sic] little help as possible”.
She did not, in fact, say anything terribly new or personal about her husband. Introduced by the man himself—after Mr Trump, emerging from a light-filled backdrop, to the sound of “We Are the Champions”, had made a memorable first appearance at his coronation—Mrs Trump delivered a familiar panegyric. She praised her husband as an “amazing leader” whose “achievements speak for themselves”.
She offered no clue on how Mr Trump might differ in private from the thunderous braggart he has made for public consumption. Neither did she say anything to support his claim that she is one of his most astute political advisers. Mrs Trump offered instead an anodyne portrait of wifely devotion—with no acknowledgement of the potentially humanising strains or peculiarities inherent, it might be assumed, in her match to a difficult man a quarter of a century older than her.
In any event, her speech went down well with the Republican crowd. Mrs Trump is thought to be a nice person. And her speech was, at least, a pleasant change of tone from the noisy, ill-tempered events of earlier that day. The afternoon had been dominated by a row between the convention’s organisers and a group of delegates from Virginia and elsewhere, whose effort to register their dissent against Mr Trump had been ridden over roughshod.
The evening of speeches that followed was then filled with windy harangues against Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump’s presumptive Democratic rival, offered by an assortment of B-list actors—including Scott Baio, a television star of the 1980s—former soldiers and Rudy Giuliani. It was noisy, nasty and, with the exception of Mr Giuliani, who delivered a powerful, foam-flecked denunciation of Mrs Clinton, often low-grade speaking. Mrs Trump’s speech, by comparison, was at least peaceful.
But then things went badly wrong for her, her husband, and what is already shaping up to be a strange, modestly provisioned and poorly attended convention, from which most of the party’s luminaries are absent. Two passages of Mrs Trump’s speech, it emerged, had been lifted, more or less exactly in places, from Michelle Obama’s address to the Democratic convention in 2008.
“Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do,” Mrs Obama said in a speech richly praised at the time by, among others, Mr Trump.
“From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect,” said Mrs Trump.
“And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation,” Mrs Obama’s speech continued. “Because we want our children—and all children in this nation—to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Or as Mrs Trump put this: “That is a lesson I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lesson on to the many generations to follow, because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Mrs Trump is not her husband. So her apparent plagiarism is not about to kill his campaign—as happened, for example, to Joe Biden’s fledgling presidential run in 1988, after he was shown to have unwittingly ripped off speeches by both Robert Kennedy and Neil Kinnock, the then leader of the British Labour Party. Yet Mrs Trump’s blunder is still worse than embarrassing.
It points to the inadequacy of Mr Trump’s campaign effort, which is lagging behind that of Mrs Clinton, his presumptive rival in November, in cash and organisation by any measure. Late last month, Mr Trump was trying to roll out a national campaign with less than a hundred employees; meanwhile, he sought to preserve the close-knit, deeply loyal and scattily amateurish spirit of the skeletal operation he constructed during the primaries. That one of his speechwriters appears to have ripped off Mrs Obama suggests he might wish to buck up that idea. That this error or idiocy was not picked up in the weeks-long editing process that followed is remarkable.
Worse, the scandal raises an obvious question about the straight-shooting honesty of Mr Trump’s campaign that is one of his main boasts. Plainly, Mrs Trump was trying to reinforce just that impression by claiming, falsely, to have written the speech herself. She now looks a phony, which makes Mr Trump look like a phony, too.
He would now seem to have two ways of dealing with the fallout. He could admit the error and fire the errant speechwriter. Or Mr Trump, who almost never admits to possessing any weakness, may choose to ignore the blunder and simply blame the media for making an unnecessary fuss. His spokesman, in a statement released shortly after the foul-up was noticed, suggested Mr Trump preferred the second path.
“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” it ran. That contained at least an admission that Mrs Trump was wrong to have claimed authorship of the speech. But America’s media, long bullied and abused by Mr Trump, and now delighting in his embarrassment, are going to want to see more of a climb-down than that.
“Maybe [this is] the funniest fuck up in the history of political conventions,” tweeted the conservative commentator David Frum. It really was.
IT WAS a troubling exchange. On live television Faisal Islam, the political editor of SkyNews, was recounting a conversation with a pro-Brexit Conservative MP. “I said to him: ‘Where’s the plan? Can we see the Brexit plan now?’ [The MP replied:] ‘There is no plan. The Leave campaign don’t have a post-Brexit plan…Number 10 should have had a plan.’” The camera cut to Anna Botting, the anchor, horror chasing across her face. For a couple of seconds they were both silent, as the point sunk in. “Don’t know what to say to that, actually,” she replied, looking down at the desk. Then she cut to a commercial break.
Sixty hours have gone by since a puffy-eyed David Cameron appeared outside 10 Downing Street and announced his resignation. The pound has tumbled. Investment decisions have been suspended; already firms talk of moving operations overseas. Britain’s EU commissioner has resigned. Sensitive political acts—the Chilcot report’s publication, decisions on a new London airport runway and the renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent—are looming. European leaders are shuttling about the continent meeting and discussing what to do next. Those more sympathetic to Britain are looking for signs from London of how they can usefully influence discussions. At home mounting evidence suggests a spike in racist and xenophobic attacks on immigrants. Scotland is heading for another independence referendum. Northern Ireland’s peace settlement may hang by a thread.
But at the top of British politics, a vacuum yawns wide. The phones are ringing, but no one is picking up.
Mr Cameron has said nothing since Friday morning. George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, has been silent. (This afternoon I texted several of his advisers to ask whether he would make a statement before the markets open tomorrow. As I write this I have received no replies.) The prime minister’s loyalist allies in Westminster and in the media are largely mute.
Apart from ashen-faced, mumbled statements from the Vote Leave headquarters on Friday, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have also ducked the limelight; Mr Johnson is meeting friends and allies today, June 26th, at his house near Oxford in what are believed to be talks about his impending leadership bid. Neither seems to have the foggiest as to what should happen next. Today Mr Gove’s wife committed to Facebook the hope that “clever people” might offer to “lend their advice and expertise.” And Mr Johnson’s sister, Rachel, tweeted: “Everyone keeps saying ‘we are where we are’ but nobody seems to have the slightest clue where that is.”
Ordinarily the opposition might take advantage of the vacuum: calling on the government to act, offering its own proposals, venturing a framework. But Labour has turned in on itself, a parade of shadow ministers resigning this afternoon in what seems to be a concerted coup attempt against Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s useless leader. In a meeting tomorrow Tom Watson, the party’s deputy leader, is expected to call on Mr Corbyn to quit. Of the need for stability and leadership following Thursday’s vote the party has little to say.
No one seems capable of stepping forward and offering reassurance. The Leavers, who disagreed on what Brexit should look like, do not think it is their responsibility to set out a path. They reckon that falls to Number 10 (where they have appeared in public, it has mostly been to discard the very pledges on which they won the referendum). Number 10, however, seems to have done little planning for this eventuality. It seems transfixed by the unfolding chaos; reluctant to formulate answers to the Brexiteers’ unanswered questions. As Mr Cameron reportedly told aides on June 24th when explaining his decision to resign: “Why should I do all the hard shit?”
This could go on for a while. The Conservative leadership contest will last until at least early October, perhaps longer. It may be almost as long until Labour has a new chief, and even then he or she may be a caretaker. The new prime minister could call a general election. It might be more than half a year until Britain has a leader capable of addressing the myriad crises now engulfing it.
The country does not have that kind of time. Despite arguments for patience from continental Anglophiles, including Angela Merkel, the insistence that Britain immediately invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, launching exit negotiations that can last no longer than two years, is hardening. Soon it may be a consensus. Britain could be thrust into talks under a lame-duck leader with no clear notion of what Brexit should look like or mandate to negotiate. All against a background of intensifying economic turmoil and increasingly ugly divides on Britain’s streets. The country is sailing into a storm. And no one is at the wheel.
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Well….we’ll have to let that simmer for now …….SCOTUS is making news today…..and the first one comes out of Texas……where they can’t pass on any opportunity to control women’s bodies……. and will somebody PLEASE explain to me who voted for Louie Gohmert!
….sorry……this is serious…..
…from The New York Times
WASHINGTON — “The Supreme Court on Monday struck down parts of a restrictive Texas law that could have reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state to about 10 from what was once a high of roughly 40.
The 5-to-3 decision was the court’s most sweeping statement on abortion rights since Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. It applied a skeptical and exacting version of that decision’s “undue burden” standard to find that the restrictions in Texas went too far.
The decision on Monday means that similar restrictions in other states are most likely also unconstitutional, and it imperils many other kinds of restrictions on abortion.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented.
The decision concerned two parts of a Texas law that imposed strict requirements on abortion providers. It was passed by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature and signed into law in July 2013 by Rick Perry, the governor at the time.”
…….ya….MR OOPS…… kinda miss him……..NOT EVEN A LITTLE!…………..
……Orlando, Florida ……..
Swiped from The Economist.……THE MURDER in the early hours of June 12th of at least 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, apparently by a 29-year-old American-born Muslim wielding an assault rifle and handgun, was swiftly and loudly seized upon by political partisans as a vindication of everything that they already believe about Muslims, the fight against terrorism and the exceptional prevalence of private gun ownership in America.
The slaughter—the deadliest mass shooting in American history and the worst terrorist attack since September 2001—will not lead to tougher federal gun controls. It will not pave the way for even the most modest step advocated by Barack Obama and other gun-safety advocates each time that the country endures a fresh massacre by firearm: namely, more consistent screening of gun buyers against existing watch-lists of those with serious criminal histories or severe mental illness. If public horror were ever going to have pressured Congress to pass new legislation making it harder for dangerous people to own powerful weapons, it would have done so after the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings of December 2012 when a deranged young man murdered 20 small children in cold blood, as well as six adult members of staff.
Instead, the Florida massacre prompted a shouting-match, liable to change no minds but only to harden hearts. As so often recently, the most strident voice belonged to Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, who has openly mused in the past about how previous terror attacks in Paris and in San Bernardino, California boosted his campaign. On Sunday—at about the same time as police began counting bodies in the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, steeling themselves to ignore the constantly ringing mobile telephones of the dead, as loved-ones desperately sought news—Mr Trump took to Twitter to report that he was being praised for his foresight in having said that radical Islamists pose a threat to the West. Mr Trump wrote: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”
Elaborating on his theme in a later statement, Mr Trump sharply criticised both Mr Obama and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, for not using the words “radical Islam” when they denounced the Orlando massacre. Mr Trump called on Mr Obama to resign over his choice of words and added: “If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘Radical Islam’ she should get out of this race for the Presidency.” Though the property developer’s campaign statement did not repeat his call for a temporary entry ban on Muslims, he did cast Muslim immigration as an unstoppable menace. “Hillary Clinton wants to dramatically increase admissions from the Middle East, bringing in many hundreds of thousands during a first term—and we will have no way to screen them, pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalising,” he said.
There are several ways to explain the horrible slaughter that the gunman, Omar Saddiqui Mateen, from Fort Pierce, about 120 miles southeast of Orlando, was able to carry out before being shot dead by police when they broke into the club with an armoured vehicle. One way is to note that he appears to have been able to purchase an AR-15 military-style rifle legally, and that to note that that style of high-powered rifle has been the killing-machine of choice for several mass shooters.
He was able to buy the rifle and a handgun even though, according to FBI press briefings, he had been interviewed by agents in 2013 after making statements praising radical Islamic propaganda, and then again in 2014 by agents probing his ties with an American who travelled to the Middle East to become a suicide bomber. Both times the interviews were inconclusive, FBI agents told reporters in Florida, adding that the killer was not under investigation at the time of Sunday’s shooting.
Though more details will emerge in further days, it is the case that such high-powered weapons are unusually common in America, when compared to other large, rich countries. Though no central database exists, there are thought to be almost as many guns in private hands, or about 300m, as there are Americans. After previous mass shootings, applications for new gun permits and gun sales have risen sharply, as gun-owners hear dire warnings that the government is coming to disarm them.
It is also the case that Republicans in Congress have moved to block Democratic proposals to block gun sales to people on federal no-fly lists for those suspected of terror links, citing the rights of those who may be on such lists by mistake. It is not yet known whether the Orlando killer was on any such list.
Another way to explain the slaughter in Orlando is to ponder the hatred in the shooter’s heart, and its apparent links to religious extremism. The killer is reported to have called the 911 emergency telephone line and declared his allegiance to the fanatics of Islamic State. His father, who is from Afghanistan, told NBC television that his son had recently seen two men kissing in Miami, and “got very angry”.
It is surely reasonable to suggest that two different sorts of problem help to explain how one man could carry out such evil in Orlando: on the one hand, the menace posed by radical Islam and on the other, the easy availability of very powerful guns. It is predictable that Mr Trump and other Republicans only want to talk about the former cause and not the latter. After terrorist shootings in Paris and in San Bernardino, indeed, Mr Trump carefully adopted a favoured talking point of the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups, and said that innocents died in such places as the Bataclan Theatre in Paris precisely because they were not armed. In a recent speech to NRA members, Mr Trump (without evidence) accused Mrs Clinton of wanting to abolish the Second Amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms, and promised to abolish “gun-free zones.”
The cheers for Mr Trump are more than predictable, they are depressing and alarming. For, to be clear, in turning his back on any suggestion of limiting the availability of powerful guns that make it possibly to kill a lot of people rapidly, Mr Trump is rejecting a practical policy that has been actually tried in developed Western democracies, from Australia to Japan or Britain, and which has worked.
A brief note here about pesky facts. One of the favourite ploys of pro-gun lobbyists in America is to claim that Australia and Britain have been plagued with violent crime since each of those countries endured a big gun massacre and responded by tightening gun laws dramatically. The pro-gun lobby’s numbers do not add up. Australia outlawed assault rifles, semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns. Australia has not had another mass shooting since its laws changed in 1996, and a University of Sydney study shows that firearm homicide rates fell 7.5% per year after the introduction of the new laws, with no offsetting rise in other homicides. Australian robbery and break-in rates have also fallen since 1996.
As for Britain, the number of violent assaults in America is comparable to those of other western countries, yet murders are much more common. Guns are used in two-thirds of all murders. Americans are five times as likely to be murdered as Britons but over 40 times as likely to be murdered with a gun.
Worse, Mr Trump is not just dismissing out of hand a policy—gun control—that has been used with success in other countries. Instead he is urging Americans to make him president so he can try a vague, detail-free policy to keep the country safe by somehow closing the country to dangerous Muslims: a policy that has been tried with success by precisely no country, anywhere.
Does Mr Trump really believe, for instance, that uttering the magic words “radical Islam” would make terrorism go away? If he thinks that America should go around saying that it is at war with radical Islam, does he think that would make it easier to recruit Muslim allies at home and abroad, and if not, how does he propose to beat Muslim extremism without their help? What does he mean when he says that America has “no way” to screen Muslim immigrants or to stop the second generation from radicalising? Is he proposing to expel American-born Muslims such as the Orlando killer?
In any context, Mr Trump’s fairground-huckster approach to politics would be alarming. After an event as horrible as the slaughter in Orlando, it is also a disgrace.
link to story http://goo.gl/GJJYnw
Neither Trump’s immigration ban nor Clinton’s no-fly-no-guns plan would have prevented Orlando shooting by an American not on no-fly list.