What I’m Reading – January 29, 2017

  • Photos From the Protest at JFK Airport | Slate 012917
    On Saturday in New York, demonstrators converged at JFK International Airport to protest Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The crowd outside Terminal 4 of JFK chanted, “Let them in!” and “Refugees in, racists out!” Around dinner time, as the cold and wind kicked up, people began passing out handwarmers and pizza. On one of the worst days in recent memory, the people massed outside JFK showed the best side of New York City and affirmed my belief in the value of nonviolent public demonstration. Below is a selection of the photographs I took on Saturday night.—Lisa Larson-Walker
  • Trump’s Refugee Bonfire – WSJ 012917
    A blunderbuss order sows confusion and a defeat in court”: “President Trump seems determined to conduct a shock and awe campaign to fulfill his campaign promises as quickly as possible, while dealing with the consequences later. This may work for a pipeline approval, but the bonfire over his executive order on refugees shows that government by deliberate disruption can blow up in damaging ways. Mr. Trump campaigned on a promise of ‘extreme vetting’ for refugees from countries with a history of terrorism, and his focus on protecting Americans has popular support. But his refugee ban is so blunderbuss and broad, and so poorly explained and prepared for, that it has produced confusion and fear at airports, an immediate legal defeat, and political fury at home and abroad. Governing is more complicated than a campaign rally. …
    “Mr. Trump is right that the government needs shaking up, but the danger of moving too fast without careful preparation and competent execution is that he is building up formidable political forces in opposition. The danger isn’t so much that any single change could be swept away by bipartisan opposition, but that he will alienate the friends and allies at home and abroad he needs to succeed. Political disruption has its uses but not if it consumes your Presidency in the process.”
  • Politico Playbook 013017
    THE HARD PART FOR TRUMP — Opposition mounts as Congress returns to Washington — THE JUICE: Inside the Koch Brothers retreat — FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: DCCC raises 3 million in Jan. – POLITICO
  • Why Evangelicals Are Speaking Out Against Betsy DeVos – POLITICO Magazine 013017
    Laura Turner: Secondly, and perhaps more importantly to the evangelicals who oppose DeVos, is a sense that her educational philosophy leaves out the people Jesus called “the least of these.” This was the subject of a petition released by The Expectations Project, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C., advocacy group that encourages faith communities to get involved with low-income public school students. The petition is not directed at removing DeVos but enjoining her to “give moral priority” to the principle of caring for the most vulnerable children in the country’s education system, meaning under-resourced public school kids. “We have to ensure that all of God’s kids, particularly those who have been historically marginalized, have good schools,” the group’s founder, Nicole Baker Fulgham, told me. She is concerned that, if confirmed, DeVos could enact policies to a boost to students whose parents can afford private school, while holding poorer students behind. “As a person of faith, it’s impossible for me to believe that God only gave potential to certain groups of kids from certain cultures or whose parents had X amount of money,” Baker Fulgham says. “He gave potential to every person he created.”
    The most vulnerable children also include those with disabilities—a group to whom evangelicals have long paid special attention. Some evangelicals are concerned that DeVos’ strong advocacy for school choice will diminish the resources available to kids who, under IDEA, are guaranteed a “free and appropriate education.” Taking money that would otherwise go to a public school and giving it to a family in the form of a voucher would mean that those public schools, which are frequently already under-resourced, have fewer and fewer options to offer IDEA students.
  • Eliot A. Cohen Responds to Donald Trump’s First Week – The Atlantic 012917
    ELIOT A. COHEN: “Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity — substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have. It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. … For the community of conservative thinkers and experts, and more importantly, conservative politicians, this is a testing time. Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it.”
  • The Judicial Branch Grabs Back | Slate 012917
    Dahlia Lithwick: For those of you scoring at home, that’s four female judges and one male judge pushing back in a 12-hour span. Those four women aren’t pushing back because of their gender. It’s hard to imagine any judge reading this executive order, which was seemingly reviewed by Lionel Hutz at a bar in Springfield, without enjoining it. But it seems wonderfully fitting, just a week after the Women’s March on Washington, that the fight against Trump will be taken up by female lawyers, advocates, and jurists, and that they’ll be fighting alongside men.
  • President Trump’s First Defeat – POLITICO Magazine 012927
    Blake Hounshell: The immigration order creates an international mess—and a political embarrassment.
  • The Commander Stumbles Slate 012817
    Fred Kaplan: Many assumed that when the White House didn’t include a mention of Jews or anti-Semitism in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that it amounted to a mistake from a new administration. The Guardian, for example, noted that “the oversight by the White House comes as the Trump administration is still adjusting to the transition of power.” Not quite. Turns out, it was very much intentional.
    So, why did the White House fail to mention Jews in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement? “Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN.
  • Not the New Normal: How the Media Should Cover the Trump Presidency
    Join Slate for a conversation with top editors in New York about how the news media can and should proceed to cover the Trump presidency. The panel will discuss strategies they are implementing at their outlets, and how journalists and media companies at large can play a bigger role in making sure that fact prevails over fiction in the coming months and years.
    Profits from this event will benefit the Committee to Protect Journalists.
    Jacob Weisberg, Chairman of The Slate Group and host/creator of Trumpcast,
    and Julia Turner, Editor-in-Chief of Slate, will join in conversation with:
    Borja Echevarría, VP and Editor in Chief, Univision Digital
    David Remnick, Editor, The New Yorker
    Lydia Polgreen, Huffington Post
    CNN’s Brian Stelter will moderate
    NYU’s Jay Rosen will offer introductory remarks
  • Trumpcast
  • How can the media outwit President Trump? | Trumpcast 012727
    Jacob Weisberg talks to the press critic Jay Rosen about developing a strategy for journalists to cover the Trump administration.
  • In Venezuela, we couldn’t stop Chávez. Don’t make the same mistakes we did. – The Washington Post 012717
    Andrés Miguel Rondón : Donald Trump is an avowed capitalist; Hugo Chávez was a socialist with communist dreams. One builds skyscrapers, the other expropriated them. But politics is only one-half policy: The other, darker half is rhetoric. Sometimes the rhetoric takes over. Such has been our lot in Venezuela for the past two decades — and such is yours now, Americans. Because in one regard, Trump and Chávez are identical. They are both masters of populism.
    The recipe for populism is universal. Find a wound common to many, find someone to blame for it, and make up a good story to tell. Mix it all together. Tell the wounded you know how they feel. That you found the bad guys. Label them: the minorities, the politicians, the businessmen. Caricature them. As vermin, evil masterminds, haters and losers, you name it. Then paint yourself as the savior. Capture the people’s imagination. Forget about policies and plans, just enrapture them with a tale. One that starts with anger and ends in vengeance. A vengeance they can participate in.
    That’s how it becomes a movement. There’s something soothing in all that anger. Populism is built on the irresistible allure of simplicity. The narcotic of the simple answer to an intractable question. The problem is now made simple.
    The problem is you.
  • Trump Didn’t Mention Jews in Holocaust Statement Because Others “Suffered” Too | Slate 012817
    Many assumed that when the White House didn’t include a mention of Jews or anti-Semitism in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that it amounted to a mistake from a new administration. The Guardian, for example, noted that “the oversight by the White House comes as the Trump administration is still adjusting to the transition of power.” Not quite. Turns out, it was very much intentional.
    So, why did the White House fail to mention Jews in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement? “Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN.
  • Trump and Putin connect over Middle East and repairing relationship – POLITICO 012817
    President Donald Trump had a “positive call” with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, during which the two promised to cooperate on destroying ISIS in Syrian and repair U.S. and Russian relations.
    The discussion was part of a diplomatic effort to connect over the phone with foreign leaders from countries including Japan, Germany, France and Australia.
  • The Lawyers Showed Up | Slate 012817
    Dahlia Lithwick: For weeks, we have been wondering about the lawyers. What suits would they file? Would they have standing? Could they have any impact? Saturday, the lawyers showed up. Bigly. And happily, for America, the courts are still independent, and largely allergic to “alternative facts.” This is a country where the law matters and the Constitution endures. And it’s also a country in which hordes of lawyers just showed up at airports to defend detained travelers ensnared under Donald Trump’s lawless and unconstitutional Muslim ban.
  • 9 Trump moments over lunch with Theresa May – POLITICO
    Fresh from public displays of affection at their joint press conference early Friday afternoon, Donald Trump and Theresa May retired to the White House state banqueting room for lunch. Then it got really interesting.
    The defining image of the pair, walking hand-in-hand like the odd couple of world politics, came as they strolled along the White House colonnade on their way for grub — an all-American menu of blue cheese salad and beef ribs. [photo: President Trump Meets With British PM Theresa May At The White House: British Prime Minister Theresa May with U.S. President Donald Trump walk along The Colonnade at The White House | Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]
  • The Perils of Calling Trump a Liar  – POLITICO Magazine
  • The Atomic Origins of Climate Science – The New Yorker
  • The twilight of the liberal world order | Brookings Institution
    If history is any guide, the next four years are the critical inflection point. The rest of the world will take its cue from the early actions of the new administration. If the next president governs as he ran, which is to say if he pursues a course designed to secure only America’s narrow interests; focuses chiefly on international terrorism—the least of the challenges to the present world order; accommodates the ambitions of the great powers; ceases to regard international economic policy in terms of global order but only in terms of America’s bottom line narrowly construed; and generally ceases to place a high priority on reassuring allies and partners in the world’s principal strategic theaters—then the collapse of the world order, with all that entails, may not be far off.
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Trump’s Messaging Speaks to Your Inner 3-Year-Old

Donald Trump communicates as if he’s talking to 3-year-olds, according to marketing guru Kevin Roberts. Make America Great Again. Build the Wall. Drain the Swamp. Crooked Hilary. Lyin’ Ted. Trump has changed public discourse from “political, philosophical” language to “action language”everyone can get involved in.

Roberts doesn’t mention “Grab ‘Em by the Pussy” in his Bloomberg Surveillance interview. That fits on a ball cap, too. Preschoolers aren’t supposed to know such words, but you’d be surprised how many do. Especially with a role model like our 45th President.

Bloomberg Surveillance 012617: Kevin Roberts, founder at Red Rose Consulting, discusses the message of President Donald Trump and how he speaks directly to the American people. Robert Sinche, global strategist at Amherst Pierpont, joins the conversation on “Bloomberg Surveillance.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Roberts is author of 64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World (2016).

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Sources – January 24, 2017

Photo of Gina Miller plus Facebook logo

  • Gina Miller Says Facebook Is Failing To Deal With Abuse And Death Threats – BuzzFeed News 012416
    Gina Miller, the woman who led the legal case against the government’s process for exiting the European Union and won, has accused Facebook of failing to take “responsibility” to stop users inciting violence and making death threats against her.
    In an interview with BuzzFeed News on Tuesday after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Miller and her fellow campaigners, she said social media platforms were not doing enough to cooperate with police investigating “violent threats” against her, and said they had failed to “provide the police with what they need to track down these individuals”.
    Miller, who has faced calls for her to be hung, shot, and gang raped, said half of the abuse she has faced had come via social media, including on Facebook, but that the platforms were not doing enough to stop it.
  • Columbia University Reveals Details Of Its Ties With Slavery : The Two-Way : NPR 012417
    Thus began the entwined histories of slavery in America and the institution that would become Columbia University.
    Now, some of the details of that history are publicly available. Columbia is the latest major university to publish a preliminary report and put up a website with details about its historical ties to slavery.
    “From the outset, slavery was intertwined with the life of the college,” the preliminary report by Columbia professor Eric Foner states. “Of the ten men who served as presidents of King’s and Columbia between 1754 and the end of the Civil War, at least half owned slaves at one point in their lives. So did the first four treasurers.”
  • Polirico Playbook 012417
    SCOOPS: VALERIE JARRETT’S NEXT ACT and PEYTON MANNING to GOP retreat — TRUMP discusses imagined voter fraud at congressional meeting — BEHIND the RYAN/TRUMP huddle — SARA ARMSTRONG to be RNC COS – POLITICO
  • Mark Zuckerberg Says He’s Not Running For President – BuzzFeed News
  • The Legacy of Slavery and The Value of Black Life in America – The Takeaway – WNYC 012417
    For as long as America has existed, black life has been valued and devalued to varying degrees. It is what former First Lady Michelle Obama called attention to her in speech at the Democratic National Convention.
    “The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” said First Lady Obama.
    And it is the rallying call of the Black Lives Matter movement that emerged from our recent chronicling of racial violence in America.
    In a new book, “The Price for Their Pound of Flesh,” author Daina Ramey Berry puts a price tag on slavery, and explores how slaves were used as commodities through every stage of life in early America. Ramey Berry is also a professor of history at University of Texas at Austin.
  • For C.E.O.s, a New Concern: The Activist in Chief – NYTimes.com 012317
    Andrew Ross Sorkin: “For years, chief executive officers lived in fear they would become a target of the activist investor Carl Icahn. Now, they live in dread of a different and somewhat more unexpected kind of activist: President Donald J. Trump. …
    “As corporate executives around the globe try to understand the implications of the Trump administration on their businesses, they seem to be having an almost bipolar reaction: a euphoric sense that regulations and taxes could soon be lowered … yet a simultaneous anxiety that they could become a target of one of the president’s Twitter tirades, which could undo their businesses or possibly their careers.”
  • TPP goes down – POLITICO Morning Money 012417
    TPP GOES DOWN — No surprise here given President Donald Trump campaigned on it. But the official White House move to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (thus essentially killing it) still stung for the many former Obama administration officials who worked long and hard to craft it and address the (many) concerns raised by members of Congress and various industries.
  • Inside The Private Chatrooms Trump Supporters Are Using To Manipulate French Voters – BuzzFeed News
    BuzzFeed News was recently given access to a chatroom called “The Great Liberation Of France,” which is hosted on a Slack-like messaging platform called Discord.
    …Te large majority of the work being done in “The Great Liberation Of France” is based around creating fake Facebook and Twitter accounts to manipulate French social media users.

Facebook Screenshot via BuzzFeed. The head of this particular Discord group is a user that goes by @trumpwin2016.

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Sources – January 23, 2017

  • Is American Democracy Strong Enough for Trump? – POLITICO Magazine 012317
    Francis Fukuyama: As an American citizen, I have been rather appalled, like many others, at the rise of Donald Trump. I find it hard to imagine a personality less suited by temperament and background to be the leader of the world’s foremost democracy.
    On the other hand, as a political scientist, I am looking ahead to his presidency with great interest, since it will be a fascinating test of how strong American institutions are. Americans believe deeply in the legitimacy of their constitutional system, in large measure because its checks and balances were designed to provide safeguards against tyranny and the excessive concentration of executive power. But that system in many ways has never been challenged by a leader who sets out to undermine its existing norms and rules. So we are embarked in a great natural experiment that will show whether the United States is a nation of laws or a nation of men.
    … So I’m willing to let Trump govern without trying to obstruct every single initiative that comes from him. I don’t think his policies will work, and I believe the American people will see this very soon. However, the single most dangerous abuses of power are ones affecting the system’s future accountability. What the new generation of populist-nationalists like Putin, Chávez in Venezuela, Erdogan in Turkey, and Orbán in Hungary have done is to tilt the playing field to make sure they can never be removed from power in the future. That process has already been underway for some time in America, through Republican gerrymandering of congressional districts and the use of voter ID laws to disenfranchise potential Democratic voters. The moment that the field is so tilted that accountability becomes impossible is when the system shifts from being a real liberal democracy to being an electoral authoritarian one.
  • President Trump Declared His Inauguration A “National Day Of Patriotic Devotion” – BuzzFeed News
    In one of his first acts as president, Donald Trump declared the day of his inauguration to be “National Day of Patriotic Devotion.”
    President Trump signed the National Day of Patriotism proclamation — the text which was placed on the Federal Register’s website on Monday — in addition to formally nominating members of his cabinet and signing a law allowing James Mattis to become defense secretary.
    In the proclamation, Trump said he was designating Jan. 20, 2017, as “National Day of Patriotic Devotion “in order to strengthen our bonds to each other and to our country — and to renew the duties of Government to the people.”
  • Put on Your Big-Boy Pants, Journos – POLITICO Magazine 012317
    Jack Shafer: Extraordinary times—and we are living in an extraordinary time—do not necessarily call for extraordinary measures on the part of the press, as comforting as a full berserking might make many of us feel. The opening minutes of the Trump administration—the lies told by press secretary Sean Spicer about the size of the inauguration crowd, the president’s whopper at CIA headquarters claiming the media made up his feud with the agency, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway’s notion that “alternative facts” support Trump’s imaginary numbers—have stirred bladder-emptying panic among some in the press corps.
    But the Trump administration cannot by itself pollute the river of truth with its bogus tweets, its press conferences in which no questions are allowed, or by Conway jibber jabber. Extraordinary times like these call for normal measures: The meticulous, aggressive, and calm presentation of the news. One of our examples should be the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold. Fahrenthold could have assessed the Trump candidacy by filling Twitter with angry comments or by setting himself on fire. Instead, as everybody knows, he excavated the self-dealing garbage dump that was the Trump Foundation as if he were an archeologist and published a series of patient stories that resulted in a penalty against the foundation and its planned closure.
  • Sean Spicer and the ‘rodeo clown’ strategy – POLITICO 012317
    Patrick Reis: A quick briefing on rodeo clowns, for those unfamiliar: In bull riding, when a bucked rider finds himself in the path of a charging steer, the clowns are tasked with jumping into the arena and kicking up enough of a fuss to pull the bull their way. A clown might get upended, but the rider gets a clear path to safety.
    That is, as several astute media observers pointed out over the weekend, not all that far from what Sean Spicer attempted Saturday night. With mass protests taking aim at Trump’s presidency and the press taking notice, Spicer came out and, by haranguing reporters and coughing up 5 falsehoods in 5 minutes, did all he could to get to draw attention away from the marches.
  • For mourning Democrats, Michelle Obama offers hope – POLITICO 012317
    Madeline Conway: The former first lady’s superfans, still wishing she would run, hotly anticipate her next move.
  • POLITICO Playbook 012317
    TRUMP’s rocky start — TODAY’S SCANDAL, NOW: Will Trump ditch assigned seats in W.H. briefing — PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW with Paul Ryan Friday — POLITICO is 10 — B’DAY: Norah O’Donnell
  • Predicting Trump is like ‘sculpting fog’ – POLITICO MM 012317
    Here’s Cumberland Advisors David Kotok’s take on the current state of the market and concerns about the new White House: “I think a stock market correction is building. We see it in some of our math work. Trump is the cause in my opinion … It started in mid-December and we immediately raised a portion of a cash reserve. Our binary full volatility trading strategies have been 100 percent in cash since mid-December. Our core US model is 30 percent in cash right now.”
    “The more Trump sends a mixed message the worse this will get in my opinion. Look at the latest tax return fiasco. ‘I will release my return after the audit has become a Conway statement of ‘no’. The bottom line is credibility is destroyed with such behavior and never restored. The count of the crowd is another example … Right now reading this new president is like sculpting fog.”
  • Can History Prepare Us for the Trump Presidency? – POLITICO Magazine 012217
    The 45th president had already broken many norms when he took the oath of office: Donald Trump is the first commander in chief never to have served in public office or the military; he enters the White House with historically low favorability ratings; and he won an election despite losing the popular vote, after a campaign marked by scandal and unprecedented foreign meddling. But is the United States witnessing a truly unique moment with Trump’s arrival in the White House, or can history offer models for what 2017—and the four or eight years ahead—might look like? Politico Magazine asked historians to identify which moments in history most resemble this one, and what those moments can teach us about the presidency and the country today. Their answers ranged from the presidencies of Andrew Jackson (“wild and unpredictable”) to Abraham Lincoln (characterized by “geographical division”), from Andrew Johnson (an “outsider determined to bring insiders to heel”) to Richard Nixon (who brought to the White House “a deep distrust of government officials”). Still other historians, however, insisted the Trump presidency will be like nothing America has witnessed before.
  • Did a dictionary diss Trump team’s ‘alternative facts’? – POLITICO 012217
    Merriam-Webster poked at the Trump administration through its Twitter feed, appearing to take senior adviser Kellyanne Conway to task for saying that press secretary Sean Spicer was offering up “alternative facts” about the crowd size at the inauguration.
    “A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality,” the dictionary company said in a pinned tweet that linked to a Merriam-Webster posting about how lookups for the word “fact” spiked after Conway’s comment.
    Conway, counselor to Trump, told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday morning that Spicer was offering “alternative facts” when he told reporters Saturday night during an impromptu briefing that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” (Aerial footage and Metro ridership statistics show that attendance was down significantly from President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.)
    “Alternative facts are not facts,” Todd responded. “They’re falsehoods.”
  • Could Trump’s ‘alternative facts’ put lives at risk? – POLITICO 012217
    Isaac Dovere and Josh Dawsey: “‘Alternative facts” could kill, warn national security and other government veterans, and eventually could unravel the fabric of democracy and America’s standing in the world. This weekend, it was crowd size. By next week, it could be how many troops were killed, and who was responsible for the attack. Or how successful the American response was. Or whether there is an actual threat to homeland security that requires government action. Or even a dispute with a foreign government over a sensitive detail in negotiations.”
  • Trump struggles to shake his erratic campaign habits – POLITICO 012217
    Josh Dawsey: “That Donald Trump chose to spend the first 48 hours of his presidency feuding with the news media over crowd sizes, crowing about his win in front of a wall of killed CIA agents, spreading inaccurate information and firing off tweets didn’t shock his supporters or critics. But it showed two likely hallmarks of the Trump administration, according to interviews with people involved in and close to his government. First, his team will be very combative, even when the facts are not on their side, trusting that their political base dislikes the news media and will believe them no matter what. … [S]econd, when Trump grows angry, he will usually want the strongest response possible, unless he is told no, and that he will often govern or make decisions based off news coverage.”
  • ‘What Do You Do if a Red State Moves to You?’ – POLITICO Magazine 012217
    Michael Kruse: Many Americans woke up after the election to discover that they lived in Trump Country. In one corner of Wisconsin, shocked liberals can’t escape an uneasy feeling: They were the reason why.
  • Vladimir Putin Cold Open – SNL – YouTube 012117
    Russian President Vladimir Putin (Beck Bennett) and Olya Povlatsky (Kate McKinnon) assure Americans that everything will be fine under President Donald Trump.
  • How David Ricardo Became Wealthy and Wise | Foundation for Economic Education
    What was Ricardo’s “secret” for success in business? Shortly before his death, a friend asked how he had been able to accumulate such a large fortune when he was still a relatively young man. Ricardo said it was all a matter of taking advantage of profit opportunities, while not waiting too long to gain the positive return:
    “My whole art in getting rich lay in my always being contented with small profits; or, in other words, never holding on to the commodities or goods in my possession too long, when small profits could be had, in an ill-grounded expectation of realizing eventually a higher rate of profit. I had my eyes, for example, upon every new road, bank, or other joint stock concern, and, where I deemed the prospect of success to be a fair one, I was ever ready to buy a certain number of shares. These shares, from the nature of all new undertaking of a joint-stock character, seldom failed, after a short time, to rise in value beyond the point about which they would afterwards have a tendency to fluctuate. Before the full accomplishment of this rise, however, my shares were in most instances already disposed of to others, and the proceeds invested in a different manner.”
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Dancing on Kremlin Rooftops

Yep, they were dancing on Kremlin rooftops on Inauguration Day. You don’t need this disabled writer to tell you that. Just ask Putin.

And, yes, this is Fake News… a.k.a. satire.

SNL cold open 012117: Russian President Vladimir Putin (Beck Bennett) and Olya Povlatsky (Kate McKinnon) assure Americans that everything will be fine under President Donald Trump.

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Women Marchers to Trump: “We Don’t Want Your Tiny Hands!”

Normalize This, Donald Trump!

Here’s a longer remix by DJ Matt Bailer: “ATTENTION DJs, dance music lovers, Trump haters, Fiona Apple fans, HUMAN BEINGS, etc…. I DID A THING! A couple days ago Fiona Apple released a brief but effective one-minute anti-Trump pro-women chant with a piano line and a plodding beat that she recorded on her phone and posted to Soundcloud. I felt obligated to turn it into an aggressive thumper for the dancefloors this weekend and for as many weekends in the future as it’ll take for its message to be received. Please download it, share it, blast it, chant to it, dance to it, all of the above to it.”

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Skip the Better Angels, Let’s Invoke Dystopia

I didn’t listen live to Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address. I chose to stand with John Lewis, boycotting the historic moment by sitting with the beavers and kingfishers and Canada geese at Ellis Pond. After walking back to the village, I read a transcript of the speech before I heard any commentary or soundbites. What struck me first was Trump’s dark dystopian vision of America, invoking a landscape of “carnage” so he could promise to save us from it. It didn’t sound like the country I live in, and I didn’t feel like one of “the People” whom Trump addressed.

Ever the hyperbolic salesman, Trump needs to claim something is the biggest, the best, the most amazing something of all time. He may have pulled it off with this speech. It is the most dystopian – probably the first dystopian – inaugural address in U.S. Presidential history. Our job as citizens is making sure its darkness does not become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

For the record, here is the Washington Post transcript that I read, updated with applause lines and annotations. NPR and NYT and many others also have annotated transcripts.  “Annotation” here is a euphemism for “fact-checking”.

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Sources – January 19, 2017

Kellyanne Conway.

Marla Maples and Tiffany Trump receive free blowouts on Aug. 27, 2009, in London. [Slate/Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images]

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Attention Economy January 18, 2017

  • When Outside Art Became In: Obama’s Cultural Legacy – WNYC News – WNYC 011817
    In the spring of 2009, the White House held a poetry jam. Out walked a young man, sporting short hair and a sharp black suit. Looking like he was just out of college.
    “I’m actually working on a hiphop album,” he said. A concept album, he added, about the man he felt best embodied hiphop: Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.
    The crowd giggled, unconvinced. President Obama, just a few months into his first term, covered his mouth in an effort to suppress a smile.
    “You laugh! But it’s true!” insisted Lin-Manuel Miranda, before finally launching into song. This was six years before “Hamilton the Musical,” well before Miranda became a household name. He looked nervous.
    Outside, the U.S. economy was in free fall. The unemployment rate was about to hit ten percent. But if there was one place where the Obama administration was consistently ahead of the curve, it was in the cultural sphere: over eight years, the White House served as a staging ground for countless artists, intellectuals and activists, especially those from communities of color, especially cultural producers from New York, long exiled from Washington.
  • The Meaning of Michelle: A Homage to the First Lady – The Takeaway – WNYC 011817
    Author Veronica Chambers has compiled an homage of original essays from a diverse group of contributors, like filmmaker Ava DuVernay, chef Marcus Samuelsson, and WNYC’s Rebecca Carroll, in a book called “The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own.”
    Chambers is an author of numerous books, including the critically acclaimed memoir “Mama’s Girl.” Currently a JSK Fellow at Stanford University, she has also been a senior editor at The New York Times Magazine, Glamour, and Newsweek.
  • Inventing Downtown:Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965 – Grey Gallery
    Between the apex of Abstract Expressionism and the rise of Pop Art and Minimalism, the New York art scene was transformed by artist-run galleries. Inventing Downtown presents works from fourteen of these crucibles of experimentation, highlighting artists’ efforts to create new exhibition venues for innovative works of art—ranging from abstract and figurative painting, assemblage, sculpture, and works on paper to groundbreaking installations and performances.
  • Review: Remembering the Tenth Street Galleries – WNYC News – WNYC 011317
    Deborah Solomon: Can we ever go back to Tenth Street? Probably not. I refer not to a specific place but to a vanished era in New York’s cultural history, a romantic time when the art scene was still centered in Greenwich Village. This was in the mid-1950s, when rent was cheap and the concept of the art market had nothing to do with American art. The main art galleries, up on Fifty-seventh Street, favored pedigreed French landscapes and portraits. Desperate to show their work, New York artists began opening galleries in nothing-special spaces along Tenth Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues. The Tanager Gallery was across the street from the Brata; the Hansa was around the corner.
    Now we have an exhibition about exhibitions. “Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965,” at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, offers a piquant and all-important chronicle of the years before the art world became its current investment-crazed self. Curated by Melissa Rachleff, the show is an energetic and even exuberant mix of 200 works by nearly as many artists who belonged to some 14 galleries, all but one of which were located downtown. You can go through the show seeing it as a history of a defunct gallery scene; or you can see it instead an as alternative history of the painting and sculpture of the ‘50s and early ‘60s. Either way it will broaden your understanding of an era that tends to be packaged by our major museums as the story of Jackson Pollock & Company.
  • What Will the Trump Administration Mean for People With Disabilities?
    Julia Bascom: Naturally, at the top of the nightmare list is a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA is arguably second only to the Americans With Disabilities Act when it comes to game-changing disability rights law. No insurers would meaningfully cover us, so many disabled Americans historically had to live in poverty in order to qualify for Medicaid. By banning discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, the ACA made it possible for millions of Americans with disabilities to enroll in commercial insurance, afford needed medical care, move, and change jobs. I can vividly remember a health insurance broker sitting in our kitchen with my parents when I was a teenager and urging them to kick me off our insurance and put me on Medicaid (and into a life of enforced poverty) as soon as possible, to bring our premiums down and take the burden off my father’s small business. They didn’t, and under the ACA, that nightmare was relegated to the past where it belongs—unless, of course, Trump brings it back.
  • Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter on his magazine’s big ‘Trump bump’- POLITICO Media 011817
    If the two of them didn’t have all this history? “I actually think [the coverage] would be exactly the same,” Carter said. “He’s just the most unusual president we’ve ever had, at least in most of our lifetimes. It’s this constant outflow of either erroneous information, or negative information, or semi-truthful information, and the press reacts to that. Ignoring him completely is the only other way to go. If you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound.”
  • Why Donald Tump Is Giving John Dean Nightmares – The Atlantic
  • Finding Ruby
  • The New Trump Defamation Lawsuit Is Daring Trump to Incriminate Himself in Court

Posted in Attention Economy | Tagged | Comments Off on Attention Economy January 18, 2017

Sources – January 17, 2017

Summer Zervos with her lawyer, Gloria Allred, during a news conference on Tuesday announcing the filing of a lawsuit against President-elect Donald J. Trump. [NYT/ Credit Mike Blake/Reuters]

  • Ex-‘Apprentice’ contestant claiming groping, kissing by Trump sues him for defamation – POLITICO 011717
    A former contestant on President-elect Donald Trump’s TV show who claims he made unwanted sexual advances filed a defamation suit against him Tuesday for publicly denying her claims.
    “The Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos appeared alongside her attorney Gloria Allred in Los Angeles to announce the suit. In a brief statement, Zervos said she demanded in mid-November that Trump retract his public statements that she and more than a dozen other female accusers were fabricating allegations that he groped or kissed them.
  • Will President Obama pardon Edward Snowden? – POLITICO
    Josh Gerstein : Morison’s attire offers just one hint at his backstory. He sports a baseball cap commemorating his favorite ship: the U.S.S. Samuel Eliot Morison, a since-decommissioned frigate named for his grandfather, who’s widely regarded as the foremost Naval historian of all time. The elder Morison is depicted in a statue that sits on a grassy mall in Boston, just a few blocks from the city’s Public Gardens.
    The junior Morison is still cagey about the events that led to his arrest and indictment three decades ago, but is willing to acknowledge some error on his part.
  • For Trump, Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia – NYTimes.com
  • Barack Obama Belongs to the Ages | Vanity Fair
  • Trump Aide Partnered With Firm Run by Man With Alleged KGB Ties – Bloomberg 122316
    David Kocieniewski and Peter Robison: Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, partnered this year with a controversial technology company co-run by a man once convicted of trying to sell stolen biotech material to the Russian KGB espionage agency.
    Subu Kota, who pleaded guilty in 1996 to selling the material to an FBI agent posing as a Russian spy, is one of two board directors at the company, Boston-based Brainwave Science. During years of federal court proceedings, prosecutors presented evidence they said showed that between 1985 and 1990 Kota met repeatedly with a KGB agent and was part of a spy ring that made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling U.S. missile defense technology to Russian spies. Kota denied being part of a spy ring, reached a plea agreement in the biotech case and admitted to selling a sketch of a military helicopter to his co-defendant, who was later convicted of being a KGB operative.
    Flynn served more than three decades in the military and rose to become director of the Defense Intelligence Agency before he was fired by President Barack Obama in 2014 over policy disagreements. He formed a private consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, which has sought business with an array of cyber security firms and defense contractors. He began collaborating with Brainwave Science last spring.
  • Lie Detectors, Russian Spies, and an Expert in Kung Fu | Slate 011717
    Daniel Engber: This would seem to be the perfect story for the Age of Trump, encapsulating as it does a sad mélange of foreign intelligence, questionable business deals, and suspect science. But a closer look at the Brainwave scandal suggests an even deeper resonance with our present, post-factual predicament. It’s a story, after all, that layers lies on top of lies about lies: whether lies can be detected in a person’s brain waves; whether people have been telling lies about that method of detecting lies; whether other people have been telling lies about the telling of those lies; and, finally, inevitably—insanely—whether it means anything to “lie” at all, since according to the neuroscientist at the center of this mess, each one of us has the mental power to bend reality to our will.
  • The Alt-Right Comes to Washington – POLITICO Magazine 011717
    Ben Schreckinger : Lounging at the back of his tour bus in a parking lot behind the Springhill Suites, Milo Yiannopoulos, the flamboyant right-wing British provocateur known for his bleach-blond frosted tips and relentless campaign against Islam, munched on a whole cucumber protruding from a paper bowl of raw vegetables and made plans for a party. He had just been asked to host “DeploraBall,” an unofficial celebration planned for the presidential inauguration weekend. Yiannopoulos described his vision for the event: As guests entered the National Press Club, shirtless Mexican laborers would be building a physical wall around them. Instead of doves, Yiannopoulos would release 500 live frogs in honor of Pepe, the cartoon mascot of pro-Donald Trump internet trolls. The room would be lined with oil portraits in gilt frames, each depicting a celebrity who had vowed to leave the country in the event of Trump’s election. At the end of the night, the portraits would be thrown into a bonfire and burned. Yiannopoulos would send a bill for the party to the Mexican Embassy. } The party is unlikely to proceed in exactly that way, or really anything like it. But the ball is real—a month ahead of the inauguration, the organizers had already booked the room and sold all 1,000 tickets—and it marks a kind of gala debut of a new clique in Washington. | Known until recently as the “alt-right,” it is a dispersed movement that encompasses a range of right-wing figures who are mostly young, mostly addicted to provocation and mostly have made their names on the internet. On the less extreme end, they include economic nationalists and “Western chauvinists” like Yiannopoulos, who wants to purge Islam from the United States and Europe; the movement also encompasses overt white nationalists, committed fascists and proponents of a host of other ideologies that were thought to have died out in American politics not long after World War II. Over the course of Trump’s campaign, these ideas came back to life in chat rooms, on Twitter and on the fringes of the internet—driven by supporters united by their loathing of progressives and their feeling of alienation from the free market Republican Party as it defined itself before Trump’s takeover.
  • Trump to Europe: Drop Dead – POLITICO Magazine
  • Democratic Party rethink gets $20 million injection – POLITICO
  • The Roots of Trump’s Trade Rage – POLITICO Magazine
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