Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Haaretz : @realDonaldTrump Reportedly Suggests Wave of anti-Semitic Incidents Could Be False Flags Perpetrated by Jews ....(again)

Reprinted from Haaretz Newspaper 
Image result for Cartoon  donald trump Anti Semitism denyer
Similar suggestions have been a theme on right-wing conspiracy theory websites and are being promoted aggressively by white supremacist David Duke on his Twitter account.

U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, February 27, 2017. Evan Vucci/AP

Three Nonsensical Claims Made While U.S. Jewry is Under Attack

Everything you need to know about the wave of threats terrorizing U.S. Jews

Informal Trump adviser implies wave of bomb threats against U.S. Jews linked to Democrats

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday indicated for the second time that he believes it is possible that the current wave of anti-Semitic incidents could be “false flags” – perpetrated by the left or by Jews themselves in order to make his administration and supporters look bad.

Trump spoke to a gathering of state attorneys general from across the country that included Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Shapiro told reporters in a conference call after the meeting that Trump suggested that the attacks could reflect something other than anti-Semitism, saying that “the reverse can be true” and “someone’s doing it to make others look bad,” according to Philly.com.

The suggestion that the wave of attacks are false flags meant to perpetuate the impression that they were being committed by Trump supporters has been a theme on right-wing conspiracy theory websites and is being promoted aggressively by white supremacist David Duke on his Twitter account. Trump supporter and informal adviser Anthony Scaramucci tweeted a similar suggestion on Tuesday.

At a press conference on February 16, Trump suggested a false flag conspiracy was being perpetrated by his “opponents” in order to bolster claims that his election and presidency was fueling racism and anti-Semitism. “You have some of the signs and some of that anger caused by the other side,” charged Trump. “They’ll do signs and drawing that are inappropriate. It won’t be my people. It will be people on the other side to anger people like you,” he said.

Shapiro told reporters in a teleconference call, that Trump promised to explain more in his address to Congress Tuesday night. "Hopefully he'll clarify a bit more about what he means about the reverse possibly being true," said Shapiro, who said that he and his colleagues found the president’s remarks “curious.”

According to another Philadelphia-based news website, a reporter asked Shapiro during the call whether Trump was indicating that he believed his camp was being falsely accused of perpetrating the crimes. The attorney general reportedly answered that he wasn’t exactly sure what Trump meant by his answer but “he used the word ‘reverse’ I would say two to three times in his comments” and “I don’t know why he said that.”

In response to the reports, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League told Buzzfeed: "We are astonished by what the President reportedly said. It is incumbent upon the White House to immediately clarify these remarks."

Monday, February 27, 2017

Way to Go #OyVeyDonaldTrump :The First 100 Lies: The Trump Team’s Flurry Of Falsehoods The president and his aides succeeded in reaching the mark in just 36 days.

To say that President Donald Trump has a casual relationship with the truth would be a gross understatement. He has repeatedly cited debunked conspiracy theories, pushed voter fraud myths, and embellished his record and accomplishments. The barrage of falsehoods has been so furious that journalists have taken to issuing instant fact-checks during press conferences and calling out false statements during cable news broadcasts.

All presidents lie, but lying so brazenly and so frequently about even silly factoids like his golf game has put Trump in his own category. His disregard for the truth is reflected in his top aides, who have inflated easily disproved figures like the attendance at his inauguration and even cited terror attacks that never happened.

The Huffington Post tracked the public remarks of Trump and his aides to compile a list of 100 incidents of egregious falsehoods. Still, it is likely the administration has made dozens of other misleading and exaggerated claims.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed the crowd on the National Mall was “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration.” (Jan. 21)

Trump falsely claimed that the crowd for his swearing-in stretched down the National Mall to the Washington Monument and totaled more than 1 million people. (Jan. 21)

As Trump fondly recalled his Inauguration Day, he said it stopped raining “immediately” when he began his speech. A light rain continued to fall throughout the address. (Jan. 21)

During his speech at CIA headquarters, Trump claimed the media made up his feud with the agency. In fact, he started it by comparing the intelligence community to “Nazi Germany.” (Jan. 21)

During his speech at CIA headquarters, Trump repeated the claim that he “didn’t want to go into Iraq.” He told Howard Stern in 2002 that he supported the Iraq War. (Jan. 21)

During his speech at CIA headquarters, Trump said he had the “all-time record in the history of Time Magazine. … I’ve been on it for 15 times this year.” Trump had been featured on the magazine a total of 11 times. (Jan. 21)

Trump claimed that his inauguration drew 11 million more viewers than Barack Obama’s in 2013. It didn’t, and viewership for Obama’s first inauguration, in 2009, was even higher. (Jan. 22)

Spicer said during his first press briefing that there has been a “dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years.” This is false. (Jan. 23)

While pushing back against the notion of a rift between the CIA and Trump, Spicer claimed the president had received a “five-minute standing ovation” at the agency’s headquarters. He did not. The attendees were also never asked to sit down. (Jan. 23)

Spicer claimed that “tens of millions of people” watched the inauguration online. In fact, about 4.6 million did. (Jan. 23)

Trump told CBN News that 84 percent Cuban-Americans voted for him. It’s not clear where Trump got that number. According to the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of Cuban-Americans in Florida voted for him. (Jan. 23)

While meeting with congressional leaders, Trump repeated a debunked claim that he only lost the national popular vote because of widespread voter fraud. (Jan. 24)

In remarks with business leaders at the White House, Trump said, “I’m a very big person when it comes to the environment. I have received awards on the environment.” There is no evidence that Trump has received such awards. (Jan. 24)

In signing an executive memo ordering the construction of the Keystone pipeline, Trump said the project would create 28,000 construction jobs. According to The Washington Post Fact Checker, the pipeline would create an estimated 16,000 jobs, most of which are not construction jobs. (Jan. 25)

Spicer said in a press briefing that Trump received more electoral votes than any Republican since Ronald Reagan. George H.W. Bush won 426 electoral votes in 1988, more than Trump’s 304. (Jan. 24)

In remarks he gave at the Homeland Security Department, Trump said Immigration and Customs Enforcement and border patrol agents “unanimously endorsed me for president.” That’s not true. (Jan. 25)

Spicer said during a press briefing that a draft executive order on CIA prisons was not a “White House document.” Citing three administration officials, The New York Times reported that the White House had circulated the draft order among national security staff members. (Jan. 25)

In an interview with ABC, Trump again claimed he “had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches.” False. (Jan. 25)

Trump claimed during an interview with ABC that the applause he received at CIA headquarters “was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl.” It wasn’t even a standing ovation. (Jan. 25)

In an interview with ABC, Trump attacked the Affordable Care Act and said there are “millions of people that now aren’t insured anymore.” Twenty million people have gained health coverage because of the law so far. The estimated 2 million people who did not qualify under the law received waivers that kept the plans going until the end of 2017. (Jan. 25)

At the GOP retreat in Philadelphia, Trump claimed he and the president of Mexico “agreed” to cancel their scheduled meeting. Enrique Peña Nieto said he had decided to cancel it. (Jan. 26)

At the GOP retreat in Philadelphia, Trump said the national homicide rate was “horribly increasing.” It is down significantly. (Jan. 26)

On Twitter, Trump repeated his false claim that 3 million votes were illegal during the election. (Jan. 27)

In an interview on “Good Morning America,” Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said Tiffany Trump, the president’s daughter, had told her she was “not registered to vote in two states.” A local election official confirmed to NBC News twice that the younger Trump indeed was. (Jan. 27)

Trump said he predicted the so-called “Brexit” when he was in Scotland the day before the vote. He was actually there the day after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. (Jan. 27)

Trump claimed The New York Times lost subscribers “because their readers even like me.” The Times experienced a sharp uptick in subscribers after Election Day. (Jan. 27)

Trump claimed two people were fatally shot in Chicago during Obama’s last speech as president. That didn’t happen. (Jan. 27)

Trump claimed that under previous administrations, “if you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible.” In fact, almost as many Christian refugees were admitted to the U.S. as Muslim refugees in fiscal year 2016. (Jan. 27)

Trump defended the swiftness of his immigration order on the grounds that terrorists would have rushed into the country if he had given the world a week’s notice. Even if terrorists wanted to infiltrate the refugee program or the visa program, they would have had to wait months or even years while being vetted to get into the country. (Jan. 30)

The White House maintained that Trump’s immigration order did not apply to green card holders and that was “the guidance from the beginning.” Initially, the White House said the order did include green card holders. (Jan. 30)

Trump said his immigration order was “similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” Obama’s policy slowed resettlement of refugees from Iraq, but did not keep them from entering the country. Moreover, it flagged the seven countries included in Trump’s order as places the U.S. considered dangerous to visit. (Jan. 30)

Spicer said that “by and large,” Trump has been “praised” for his statement commemorating the Holocaust. Every major Jewish organization, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, criticized it for omitting any specific references to the Jewish people or anti-Semitism. (Jan. 30)

A Trump administration official called the implementation of Trump’s travel ban a “massive success story.” Not true ― young children, elderly people and U.S. green card holders were detained for hours. Some were deported upon landing in the U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) even criticized the rollout as “confusing.” (Jan. 30)

Spicer equated White House adviser Steve Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council Principals Committee with Obama adviser David Axelrod attending meetings pertaining to foreign policy. Axelrod, however, never sat on the Principals Committee. (Jan. 30)

Spicer said people would have “flooded” into the country with advance notice of Trump’s immigration order. Not true. (Jan. 30)

Spicer insisted that only 109 travelers were detained because of Trump’s immigration order. More than 1,000 legal permanent residents had to get waivers before entering the U.S. An estimated 90,000 people in total were affected by the ban. (Jan. 30)

Trump tweeted the false claim that “only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning.” (Jan. 30)

Trump took credit for cutting $600 million from the F-35 program. But Lockheed Martin already had planned for the cost reductions for the next generation fighter plane. (Jan. 31)

Trump accused China of manipulating its currency by playing “the money market. They play the devaluation market, and we sit there like a bunch of dummies.” According to The Washington Post, the United States is no longer being hurt by China’s currency manipulation, and China is no longer devaluing its currency. (Jan. 31)

In defending the GOP’s blockade of Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Spicer said no president had ever nominated a justice “so late” in his term. It previously happened three times. (Jan. 31)

Spicer repeatedly insisted during a press conference that Trump’s executive order on immigration was “not a ban.” During a Q&A event the night before, however, Spicer himself referred to the order as a “ban.” So did the president. (Jan. 31)

White House officials denied reports that Trump told Peña Nieto that U.S. forces would handle the “bad hombres down there” if the Mexican authorities don’t. It confirmed the conversation the next day, maintaining the remark was meant to be “lighthearted.” (Jan. 31)

Trump claimed that Delta, protesters and the tears of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) were to blame for the problems over his travel ban. In fact, his administration was widely considered to blame for problems associated with its rollout. (Jan. 31)

Trump said the Obama administration “agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia.” The deal actually involved 1,250 refugees. (Feb. 1)

Trump said the U.S. “has the most generous immigration system in the world.” Not really. (Feb. 2)

Trump said the U.S. was giving Iran $150 billion for “nothing” under the Iranian nuclear deal. The money was already Iran’s to begin with, and the deal blocks Iran from building a nuclear bomb. (Feb. 2)

Spicer called a U.S. raid in Yemen “very, very well thought out and executed effort” and described it as a “successful operation by all standards.” U.S. military officials told Reuters the operation was approved “without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup preparations.” (Feb. 2)

Spicer said that Iran had attacked a U.S. naval vessel, as part of his argument defending the administration’s bellicose announcement that Iran is “on notice.” In fact, a suspected Houthi rebel ship attacked a Saudi vessel. (Feb. 2)

In his meeting with union leaders at the White House, Trump claimed he won union households. He actually only won white union households. (Feb. 2)

Conway cited the “Bowling Green massacre” to defend Trump’s travel ban. It never happened. (Feb. 3)

Conway said citing the nonexistent “Bowling Green massacre” to defend Trump’s immigration order was an accidental “slip.” But she had mentioned it twice prior to that interview. (Feb. 3)

Trump approvingly shared a story on his official Facebook page which claimed that Kuwait issued a visa ban for five Muslim-majority countries. Kuwait issued a statement categorically denying it. (Feb. 3)

Trump claimed people are “pouring in” after his immigration order was temporarily suspended. Travelers and refugees cannot simply rush into the U.S. without extensive and lengthy vetting. (Feb. 5)

After a judge halted his immigration ban, Trump claimed that “anyone, even with bad intentions, can now come into the U.S.” Not true. (Feb. 5)

Spicer said nationwide protests of Trump are not like protests the tea party held, and called them “a very paid AstroTurf-type movement.” Although Democrats have capitalized on the backlash against Trump by organizing, the massive rallies across dozens of cities across the country ― which in some cases have been spontaneous ― suggests they are part of an organic phenomenon. (Feb. 6)

During an interview with Fox News before the Super Bowl, Trump repeated his debunked claim of widespread voter fraud during the presidential election. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Republican and Democratic state officials have said so, as have Trump’s own campaign attorneys. (Feb. 6)

During an interview with Fox News before the Super Bowl, Trump repeated his false claim that he has “been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.” (Feb. 6)

Conway said she would not appear on CNN’s “State of the Union” because of “family” reasons. CNN, however, said the White House offered Conway as an alternative to Vice President Mike Pence and that the network had “passed” because of concerns about her “credibility.” (Feb. 6)

Spicer claimed CNN “retracted” its explanation of why it declined to take Conway for a Sunday show appearance. CNN said it never did so. (Feb. 6)

Trump cited attacks in Boston, Paris, Orlando, Florida, and Nice, France, as examples of terrorism the media has not covered adequately. “In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it,” he said at CENTCOM. Those attacks garnered wall-to-wall television coverage, as well as thousands of news articles in print and online. (Feb. 6)

The White House released a more expansive list of terrorist attacks it believed “did not receive adequate attention from Western media sources.” Again, the list includes attacks that were widely covered by the media. (Feb. 6)

Trump said sanctuary cities “breed crime.” FBI data indicates that crime in sanctuary cities is generally lower than in nonsanctuary cities. (Feb. 6)

Trump claimed The New York Times was “forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win.” The paper has not issued such an apology. (Feb. 6)

Trump claimed the murder rate is the highest it’s been in 47 years. The murder rate rose 10.8 percent across the United States in 2015, but it’s far lower than it was 30 to 40 years ago. (Feb. 7)

Spicer explained that the delay in repealing Obamacare was a result of the White House wanting to work with Congress. Unlike during the Obama administration, he asserted, the legislature ― not the White House ― was taking the lead on health care. Various congressional committees worked on drafting multiple versions of the bill that would become the Affordable Care Act ― a lengthy process that took over a year. (Feb. 7)

Trump accused Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) of misrepresenting “what Judge Neil Gorsuch told him” in response to the president’s attacks against the judiciary. Gorsuch called Trump’s tweets attacking federal judges “demoralizing.” A spokesman for Gorsuch confirmed the judge’s remarks. (Feb. 9)

Trump has repeatedly said he doesn’t watch CNN. But he had to in order to see and offer and opinion on the network’s interview with Blumenthal. (Feb. 9)

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has said that phone calls he made to Russia prior to Trump’s inauguration were not related to sanctions. According to a Washington Post report, however, Flynn held private discussions with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, before Trump took office, suggesting that sanctions against Moscow would be eased by the incoming administration. (Feb. 9)

Trump took credit for Ford’s decision not to open an auto factory in Mexico and instead expand its Michigan plant. The company said Trump was not responsible for its decision. (Feb. 9)

Trump told a room full of politicians that “thousands” of “illegal” voters had been driven into New Hampshire to cast ballots. There is no evidence of such a claim. (Feb. 11)

During an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” White House senior policy aide Stephen Miller falsely said the “issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics.” Again, not true. (Feb. 11)

Miller cited the “astonishing” statistic that 14 percent of noncitizens are registered to vote. The study the stat is based on has been highly contested. (Feb. 11)

Trump said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was “cut off” on CNN for “using the term fake news the describe the network.” The senator was joking and he was not cut off. (Feb. 12)

Trump accused the media of refusing to report on “big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road” in Florida. There were a few supporters, but they were vastly outnumbered by hundreds of protesters. (Feb. 12)

White House officials told reporters that Flynn decided on his own to resign. However, Spicer said during a press briefing that the president asked Flynn to resign. (Feb. 13)

Trump denied in a January interview that he or anyone on his campaign had any contact with Russia prior to the election. However, The New York Times and CNN both reported that Trump campaign officials and associates “had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials” before Nov. 8. (Feb. 15)

Spicer denied in a daily briefing that anyone on the Trump campaign had had any contact with Russian officials. (Feb. 15)

Trump complained he “inherited a mess” upon being elected to office. The stock market is experiencing record highs, the economy is stable and growing, and unemployment is low. (Feb. 16)

Trump disputed the notion that his administration is experiencing turmoil, telling reporters it is working like a “fine-tuned machine.” His poorly executed travel ban has been suspended by the courts, a Cabinet nominee was forced to withdraw his nomination, and Trump’s national security adviser resigned after less than four weeks on the job. (Feb. 16)

Trump said his 306 Electoral College votes was the biggest electoral votes victory since Ronald Reagan. Obama got 332 votes in 2012. (Feb. 16)

Trump said his first weeks in office “represented an unprecedented month of action.” Obama accomplished much more during his first weeks in office. (Feb. 16)

Defending himself from charges of hypocrisy on the matter of leaks ― which he frequently celebrated when they pertained to his campaign opposition but now denounces ― Trump said that WikiLeaks does not publicize “classified information.” It does, often anonymously. (Feb. 16)

Trump repeated his claim that Hillary Clinton gave 20 percent of American uranium to the Russians in a deal during her tenure as secretary of state. Not true. (Feb. 16)

Trump said drugs are “becoming cheaper than a candy bar.” They are not. (Feb. 16)

Trump said his administration had a “very smooth rollout of the travel ban.” His immigration caused chaos at the nation’s airports and has been suspended by the courts. (Feb. 16)

Trump said the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is in “chaos” and “turmoil.” It is not. (Feb. 16)

Flynn lied to FBI investigators in a Jan. 24 interview about whether he discussed sanctions with Russian officials prior to Trump’s inauguration, according to The Washington Post. (Feb. 16)

Trump falsely suggested at a Florida rally that Sweden had suffered a terror attack the night before his speech. It had not, and Trump was likely referring to a Fox News segment on crime in Sweden. (Feb. 18)

During his Florida rally, Trump repeated his false claim that the United States has already let in thousands of people who “there was no way to vet.” Refugees undergo the most rigorous vetting process of any immigrants admitted to the United States, often waiting upwards of two years to be cleared for entry. (Feb. 18)

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said in a “Fox News Sunday” interview that Trump “has accomplished more in the first 30 days than people can remember.” Obama accomplished much more during his first weeks in office. (Feb. 19)

Trump said during his campaign that he would only play golf with heads of state and business leaders, not friends and celebrities like Obama did. Trump has golfed with world leaders like Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Most recently, however, he hit the links with golf pro Rory McIlroy, International Sports Management’s Nick Mullen and his friend Rich Levine. (Feb. 19)

A White House spokesperson told reporters that Trump only played a “couple” of holes at his golf resort in Florida. A day later, as reports came out saying the president had played 18 holes with Mcllroy, the White House admitted he played “longer.” (Feb. 19)

Trump said the media is “trying to say large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!” Sweden’s crime rate has fallen in recent years, and experts there do not think its immigration policies are linked to crime. (Feb. 20)

Spicer said Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) asked for a meeting with Trump at the White House. John Weaver, a former campaign aide of the governor, said the president asked for the meeting. (Feb. 21)

Vice President Mike Pence called Obamacare a “job killer.” Overall, job growth has been steady since it was signed into law. And the number of unwilling part-time jobs has also gone down, contrary to GOP claims. (Feb. 22)

Trump claimed that he negotiated $1 billion in savings to develop two new Boeing Co. jets to serve as the next Air Force One. The Air Force can’t account for that number. (Feb. 22)

During a meeting with the nation’s CEOs at the White House, Trump claimed his new economic adviser Gary Cohn “paid $200 million in tax” to take a job at the White House. Cohn didn’t have to pay taxes, he had to sell more than $200 million of Goldman Sachs stock. (Feb. 23)

Trump claimed there were “six blocks” worth of people waiting to get into the Conservative Political Action Conference to see him. People filled only three overflow rooms. (Feb. 24)

At CPAC, Trump said that Obamacare covers “very few people.” Nearly 20 million people have gotten health insurance under the law. (Feb. 24)

At CPAC, Trump said companies like Intel were making business investments in the United States because of his election. The company planned their new investments before the election. (Feb. 24)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Donald Trump's biggest executive actions, explained. After entering office, President Trump began issuing a flurry of executive orders and presidential memorandums that have set a new course for US policy. Trade, security, energy, health care, immigration – there are few areas that Mr. Trump’s executive actions have not touched.

Image result for Cartoon Trump Executive order

Quantitatively, Trump does not stand out from the pack. The new president issued 18 public executive actions in his first 12 days in office: more than Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Reagan, but less than President Obama. Such memorandums date back to George Washington. But presidential scholars Gerhard Peters and John Woolley with the American Presidency Project say Trump's early actions feel different than years past because of "the chaotic and rapid pace of their implementation."

Not all executive actions are created equal. In many cases, congressional legislation and funding would be necessary to carry through the intent of presidential memorandums (which have the authority to govern the action of government agencies) and executive orders (which require the president to cite specific constitutional authority). But if Trump's actions become laws, this administration could become as transformative as President Reagan’s three decades ago.

1. Reverse Obamacare – Jan. 20, 2017

Shortly after his inauguration, Trump signed the Executive Order: Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It instructs the secretary of Health and Human Services and other agency leaders to waive, exempt, or delay any further implementation of ACA that would “impose a fiscal burden” on any state, individual, health insurer, or health-care provider.

At the top of his campaign agenda, this order is the first step to weaken Obamacare until Congress can repeal it. By directing agencies to interpret ACA legislation as loosely as possible, it may have a direct impact on ACA’s individual mandate, which requires Americans to pay a fee if they are uninsured. The mandate excludes Americans who can prove financial hardship, and with Trump’s executive order in place, the government may loosen the exemption qualifications. “The Trump executive order should be seen as more as a mission statement,” writes The New York Times, “and less as a monarchical edict that can instantly change the law.”

2. Federal hiring freeze – Jan. 23, 2017

The Presidential Memorandum: Hiring Freeze aims to shrink the size of the government, excluding the military. No government position declared vacant as of Jan. 22 may be filled and no new positions may be created, “except in limited circumstances,” until the director of the Office of Management and Budget creates a long-term plan for reducing the size of the federal workforce. OMB has 90 days to come up with that plan.

This memorandum is routine and “mostly symbolic” as it speaks to President Trump’s campaign promise to control the size of the federal government, says George Edwards III, a political scientist at Texas A&M University. President George W. Bush also instituted a hiring freeze shortly after he took office in 2001, but his freeze only applied to federal agencies without an appointed head.

“There’s less there than meets the eye” because the memorandum includes a lot of exceptions, including the military, which makes up more than one-third of government employees, and other national security agencies, such as the Secret Service, Paul Light, professor of public service at New York University, tells Politico. If the freeze stays in place for only the 90 days dictated in the memorandum, there will be minimal consequences.

3. Void Pacific trade deal – Jan. 23, 2017

In his Presidential Memorandum: Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement, Trump directed the US trade representative to withdraw the United States from the TPP and any subsequent negotiations. “Trade with other nations is, and always will be, of paramount importance to my administration and to me,” the president wrote, but he stressed that his administration will focus on country-to-country (bilateral) trade agreements rather than regional or multilateral ones.

Trump’s action on the TPP is symbolic, since the 12-nation deal was all but dead in Congress. Going forward, however, his trade rhetoric suggests he is preparing to reverse decades of GOP trade orthodoxy. GOP presidents have long argued that trade allows companies to source their products from the most cost-efficient places, reducing costs for consumers and strengthening the economy, which will create more jobs. That has happened, with employment at an all-time high, thanks to a burgeoning service sector. But manufacturing jobs have declined. By cutting back on free trade agreements like TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Trump aims to reverse that trend. Americans will pay for these moves through higher consumer prices.

“The Trump administration has focused much more on the flip side of the coin: that this will bring production into the US and create more jobs,” says Puneet Manchanda, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “But I’m not sure they have thought through the short-term pain that these moves will inflict on us as consumers.”

4. Defund foreign health groups counseling abortion – Jan. 23, 2017

The Presidential Memorandum: The Mexico City Policy prevents federal money from going to international organizations that perform abortions, lobby for legalization of abortion, or promote abortion. It reinstates the policy first put in place by President Reagan, which some human rights organizations label the “global gag rule.” Trump expanded the scope of the law by changing the application from family planning health services to all global health services, including HIV/AIDS clinics that had previously been exempted by George W. Bush.

“It wasn’t unexpected that they would reinstate the global gag rule, but the dramatic expansion of the scope of it is truly shocking,” Geeta Rao Gupta, senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation, told Slate. The move drew praise from antiabortion advocates. It “sends a strong signal about his administration’s pro-life priorities,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, in a statement.

5. Expedite energy pipelines – Jan. 24, 2017

Trump issued three actions – “Presidential Memorandum: Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline,” “Presidential Memorandum: Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline,” and “Executive Order: Expediting environmental reviews and approvals for high priority infrastructure projects” – to push through two of the most controversial energy projects of recent years. The first memorandum is a reaction to the US Army Corps of Engineers’ decision in December to deny an easement to finalize the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) after months of protests by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters. The second is an attempt to resurrect the Keystone oil pipeline between Canada and Nebraska, which President Obama canceled in 2015 after years of protests.

Like many of Trump’s memorandums and orders, the pipeline executive actions signal the direction of future policy rather than accomplish something right away. For example, his memorandum on Keystone XL invites TransCanada “to promptly re-submit” an application to the State Department to construct the pipeline. And the memorandum on the DAPL asks the corps to “review and approve in an expedited manner” the Dakota Access pipeline, while requesting the corps’ director to “rescind or modify” the environmental impact statement that prevented the completion of the final 10 percent of the pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

The executive order that expedites environmental reviews for “high priority infrastructure projects” will also help push forward the construction of DAPL and Keystone XL.

Trump also signed another memorandum – Construction of American Pipelines – that mandates that all new pipelines in the US, as well as repairs of existing pipelines, “use materials and equipment produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law.” That will apply to all the steel and iron needed for construction.

6. Strengthen US-Mexico border – Jan. 25, 2017

Along with authorizing the construction of a physical wall on the US-Mexico border,

“Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” ends the “catch-and-release” policy, hires 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents, and enacts federal-state partnerships to enforce federal immigration policies.

Some Republican legislators say Trump’s order is legal under the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which calls for 700 miles of barrier between the US and Mexico. The wall was never completed under the Secure Fence Act, so the Homeland Security secretary could interpret the act to apply to Trump’s proposed wall more than 10 years later. But even if this act validates Trump’s wall, the president will still need money from Congress. During the campaign, he promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, a statement that Mexico adamantly rejects. But with this order, Trump says the US will pay for the wall with federal funds only to be reimbursed by Mexico at a later date. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell estimates the wall would cost around $15 billion; others put it at $25 billion, a sum does not account for other expenses such as maintenance (which could cost as much as $750 million a year).

In 2006, President Bush officially ended “catch-and-release,” a protocol that allows immigrants caught with an illegal status to be set free while waiting for a hearing with an immigration judge. But the US continues the practice because it doesn’t have the necessary detention centers. Nearly 45,000 parents and children were apprehended near the border during the last three months of 2016, but detention centers only have 3,300 beds for immigrant families. Building them will take time and money. The increase of border patrol agents is also dependent on money from Congress.

7. Travel ban for immigrants, refugees – Jan. 27, 2017

Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States suspends visa issuance as well as immigration entry to “nationals of countries of particular concerns” for 90 days. The Trump administration applied this order to seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and Libya. The order also suspends all refugee admission to the US for 120 days and indefinitely denies entry to all Syrian refugees.

The legality of the executive order is open to debate. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, the US president has the right to suspend the entry of any immigrants he or she finds to “be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” But 13 years later, President Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which banned discrimination of immigrants because of their “race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.” More than three dozen lawsuits have been filed since Trump signed his order Jan. 27. And the attorneys general of at least five states – Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Washington – joined lawsuits challenging its constitutionality. The order does not explicitly bar immigrants from these seven countries because they are Muslim. But if courts decide that Trump’s executive order is meant to act as a Muslim ban – which some of Trump’s spokesmen have publicly suggested – then the order may violate the Constitution’s Establishment clause.

But presidents are granted sweeping powers over immigration. “I think the administration could win,” Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School, told CNN. “Courts tend to defer to whatever a president declares on immigration.”

8. Ethics pledge – Jan. 28, 2017

Executive Order: Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees mandates that every executive agency appointee after Jan. 20, 2017, sign and ethics pledge, which includes a five-year ban on officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government and a lifelong ban against White House officials becoming lobbyists for a foreign government.

The ethics pledge changes the timelines of Mr. Obama’s 2009 ethics pledge, which barred appointees from lobbying for two years after federal employment, prevented appointees from working for a lobbying group within the one year prior to his or her appointment, and prevented the appointee from working on anything related to their past lobbying interest for two years after beginning their job with the government. Although they now have to wait five years before working as a lobbyist, appointees can contact their former agencies within one year. Trump’s order also expands the definition of a lobbyist from strictly registered lobbyists to include those working or researching for an advocacy campaign or creating lobbying strategies.

Although both presidents have allowed ethics waivers for some officials, Trump’s order does not require the White House to disclose which appointees are granted waivers.

9. Reorganize national security apparatus – Jan. 28, 2017

Presidential Memorandum: Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council includes three main actions. It separates (again) the staffs of the NSC and HSC; it allows the president’s chief political strategist, Steve Bannon, to attend any NSC meeting as well as participate in the highly influential Principals Committee; and it denies the director of national intelligence (DNI), former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, permanent seats at the Principal Committee.

Since its inception in 1947, the NSC has been organized differently under each president. But Trump’s reorganizing of the NSC is “particularly significant,” Kelly Magsamen, NSC director for Iran under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, writes in the Atlantic. While Mr. Bannon – the former publisher of Breitbart, which publishes white nationalist, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic material – is highly controversial, to include any political operative in such discussions is highly unusual. “To place a purely political operative on the NSC – alongside actual Cabinet members with national-security responsibilities or expertise – is an unprecedented move with profound implications for how national-security policies are developed and executed,” she writes. “It may be likely that Trump would consult Steve Bannon regardless, but giving him a formal seat at the NSC sends a chilling message to men and women in uniform, to diplomats and intelligence professionals – that Bannon’s political advice matters as much as theirs.”

10. ISIS battle plan – Jan. 28.

Presidential Memorandum: Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria requests that the Defense Secretary James Mattis, submit a preliminary draft of “a new plan to defeat ISIS” within 30 days.

The plan should include recommended policy changes, potential ways to cut off ISIS’ funding, potential new coalition partners, and cyber strategies and public diplomacy. But the memorandum is not specific. The recommended policies included in the memo sound a lot like the previous administration’s approach, says the US Naval Institute. But as the Washington Post reports, it may include potentially deploying US forces closer to the front lines in Iraq and Syria or sending more advisers.

11. Reduce regulation – Jan. 30, 2017

For every new regulation, ax two others. That’s the mantra of Executive Order: Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, which also directs agency heads to ensure that new regulations don’t add to the total costs of regulations, unless advised otherwise by the director of the Office of Management and Budget. The order also imposes a regulatory budget beginning in fiscal year 2018, which will require agency heads to limit regulation costs as well as the number of regulations.

Republicans have long complained about over-regulation by governmental agencies. Both ideas – a regulatory budget and a 2-for-1 reduction in rules – have been considered before. Trump wants to “double down by mandating both at the same time.” The challenge will be actually implementing the order, since there’s no clear definition of what counts as a regulation or which agencies will be included in the order.

12. Financial deregulation – Feb. 3, 2017

In two executive actions – Executive Order: Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System and Presidential Memorandum: Fiduciary Duty Rule – Trump took on regulation in the financial industry. The first deals with loosening regulations of the financial system, including the far-reaching Dodd-Frank Act, which aims to prevent another meltdown. The second calls for an investigation into the impact of an investment-advice rule.

Repealing Dodd-Frank will be hard. Passed by Congress in 2010, the law would need a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate, where even Republicans have differing views on the need to help the financial industry. The industry argues that the law is costly and too onerous – a theme of Trump’s executive order, which doesn’t mention Dodd-Frank by name. It lays out a list of core principles, including fostering “vibrant financial markets” and rationalizing financial regulations. The order directs the Treasury secretary to consult with the heads of the regulatory agencies and report back in 120 days on any laws, treaties, regulations, and reporting requirements that run counter to the core principles.

The key will be what the regulatory agencies do, says Aaron Klein, policy director of the Center on Regulation and Markets at the Brookings Institution in Washington. Over time, the administration can change the regulators as their terms come up. “An administration determined to roll back financial regulation could implement a decent amount of their agenda,” he says, but it will take years.

The White House can have quicker success with the fiduciary rule, which requires brokers to put their clients’ interests before their own when offering advice on retirement. The industry claims the rule is too complex and will boost the cost of retirement advice. The presidential memorandum calls for the Labor Department to examine whether Americans are adversely affected in accessing retirement advice. Because the rule was implemented as an executive action from President Obama, Trump can reverse it – if it goes through the notice and comment process, emails Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America, which supports the rule. The acting Labor secretary said in a statement that implementation of the rule, scheduled for April 10, 2017, could be delayed as the department conducts its research. It could take a year before the rule is officially scrapped or amended, an industry source says.

13. Crime reduction – Feb. 9, 2017

Trump’s three executive orders – Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking, and Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers – are all aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and violent crime. They create a task force to reduce crime, aim to combat criminal groups that operate in more than one country, and call for more effective ways to prosecute those who attack police officers.

These orders represent standard Republican fare. For example, the crime-reduction task force echoes similar moves by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush to better coordinate the federal departments involved in fighting crime. The order aimed at transnational crime groups calls for enhanced information sharing among domestic and foreign law-enforcement agencies, a review of laws pertaining to international drug and human trafficking, and a report within 120 days on how bad the problem is.

Still, aspects of these orders have drawn criticism from the left and the right. For example, the order on preventing violence against police calls for legislation to define new federal crimes to protect law-enforcement officers – proposals that don’t sit well with some conservatives. “For the past 30 years, the Right has been sounding the alarm about the growth of government and the federalization of crime,” the libertarian Cato Institute points out. “Trump and [new Attorney General Jeff] Sessions seem not only uninterested, they seem intent on exacerbating the problem.” On the left, the American Civil Liberties Union says the president is aiming at the wrong problems, such as a crime rate already at or near historic lows, while ignoring police shootings of minorities.

Rikkki de Riiik by The Bard of Bat Yam, Poet Laureate of Zion

Stephen DaroriImage may contain: catImage may contain: people sitting, cat and indoorNo automatic alt text available.

You've torn the daily paper into a million shreds,
And tested the comfort Of all the chairs, sofas and beds.
Chased a zillion types of balls,
All over the floor.
Hiss, spat and cat call.
At all the feral cats and the dog next door,
And proved yourself so brave and bold.
For a tiny kitty cat only eight months old.
You're now a ginger little fluffy ball
Curled up tight asleep on the expensive rug in the hall.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Stephen Corbertshoutouts #OyVeyDonaldTrump," Donald Trump is apparently putting the “tater” in dictator"

Image result for Trump dictator cartoon

Donald Trump is apparently putting the “tater” in dictator. 
Stephen Colbert slammed President Trump on Monday’s “Late Show” for his recent tweet calling various news organizations “the enemy of the American People.”

Donald J. Trump 
The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!
”Sorry, ISIS,” said Colbert. “If you want to get on the list, you gotta publish photos of Trump’s inauguration crowd. Then he’ll be really, really angry at you.”
Colbert pointed out how Senator John McCain criticized the comments, saying that you need a “free and many times adversarial press” to preserve democracy. 
“Without it, I’m afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started,” said McCain.
That sounds bigly scary, but Colbert helped explain McCain’s comment.
“Just to be clear, he’s not saying Trump is a dictator. He’s saying getting rid of the free press is how dictators get started, OK? He’s not calling him a full dictator. He’s more bite-size. He’s a dictator-tot,” said Colbert.

Conservatism in the Era of Donald Trump. The need for reevaluation or perhaps not as#OyVeyDonaldTrump really wasn't their candidate at all

Image result for Conservatism Donald Trump cartoon
The Anxieties of Conservatism

The conservative movement is understandably in a state of anxiety. Donald Trump was not their candidate. The key issues of his campaign were not those in which the Right’s leading thinkers had invested their efforts. The major organs of conservative opinion distanced themselves from his candidacy, only allying with him tactically, and in many cases never abandoning the “Never Trump” rallying cry. They breathed a sigh of relief after the election brought many conventional Republicans to power along with Trump, and Trump’s cabinet selections have been largely reassuring to the Right. On the whole, conservative opposition to Trump has simply transformed into professions that conservatives will have to keep a close eye on the new administration’s policies in order to make sure that they do not depart too far from past Republican efforts.

But the sources of conservative anxiety are not about to go away. From his Inaugural Address onward, Trump has continued the argument of his presidential campaign—that prioritizing American economic and military security is of higher priority than ticking items off the movement conservative wish list. And if conservatives follow the path of judging the new administration simply on the basis of their past goals, they will be missing a generational opportunity to reshape American politics along newly cross-partisan lines. Such a cross-partisan position would be very different from the “centrism” that currently masks a set of uniformly neoliberal policies. The political upheavals of 2016 point to the possibility of another sort of centrism: a broad political constituency wanting a well-defined country able to offer its citizens security, a sound economy, and brighter future prospects. The basic character of such a cross-partisan political shift is not a secret—progressives should also want to protect American workers and distribute economic gains more broadly—even if its details remain up for negotiation.

At an intellectual level, however, many self-described conservatives remain within a framework originally designed for the Cold War and later updated, after its end, for what everyone assumed would be the safe triumph of global capitalism. They refuse to recognize that the political circumstances which gave rise to that platform, originally called “fusionism” to describe the linking of market liberals with traditional conservatives, no longer obtain. Instead the basic integrity of the American polity has been put under stress by economic policies justified in the name of global markets but unjustifiable in their effects on many local communities. American foreign policy seems confused in both its ends as well as its means. The moment is thus one of retrenchment along political lines that ordinary citizens want and need. This sentiment will not be going away soon. To adjust to it and guide it responsibly, thoughtful statesmen on both sides of the aisle will have to review the trajectory that got them here, for it also contains the path out.

Analysts and commentators now take for granted that the citizens who were ignored behind the Democratic Party’s former “Blue Wall” had experienced a plight that led them to vote for Trump. In the media, a shift of tone came about almost overnight, from doubt about whether ordinary Americans had really suffered from economic and political globalization in the last generation to regret that their certain suffering had caused them to cast such a desperate vote. But this sudden interest in the conditions of forgotten workers (and would-be workers) in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin has not yet translated into a different vision of what American conservatism should be—and, mutatis mutandis, progressivism. That’s because Cold War conservatism established a program whose preservation became more important than preserving the country. In his typically direct way Trump challenged not merely parts of the conservative program but its perspective: “Folks,” he said in April 2016, “I’m a conservative, but at this point, who cares?”

Preserving one’s country is not a uniquely partisan goal, even though the two parties see the country in different ways. When the basics are going well, the parties can return to the interminable debate about whose second-level goals are more pressing. The ordinary voters who delivered the election to Trump thought otherwise. Many but far from all considered themselves conservative. Instead the virtues of loyalty and patriotism propelled them to select an unlikely candidate whose aims they considered urgent. They wanted to preserve their country just as Britons did when they disregarded the stated positions of their parties in a transformational referendum. If conservatives cannot appreciate why this situation changed and why they were ill prepared to grasp it, then “conservatism” will deserve to wither on the vine.
Conservative Intellectuals and the (Old) New Majority

That today’s anxieties began life as yesterday’s confident new suggestions is a common occurrence in political history but one that is always difficult to face. When William F. Buckley Jr. started a project to unite market liberals opposed to New Deal institutions and patriotic Americans opposed to progressive social programs and cultural liberalism, the political movement it would lead did not yet exist. His long-term goal in founding National Review in 1955, as Lee Edwards noted recently in National Affairs, was “the development of a political movement.” Only later, first in 1964, did the conservative movement field a presidential candidate for the Republican Party.

Crafting a new majority was a political effort in search of intellectual justification. The effort to build that structure began, as Jason Stahl explains in his book Right Moves, during the postwar period of regnant liberal technocracy, and the new Republican constituency included interests and backgrounds more complicated than the stuff of intellectual debates. And, as Donald Critchlow wrote in 2013, “After much testing, the GOP responded to these broad [postwar] economic, social, and racial changes by becoming the party of low taxes, pro-business policies, strong national defense, preservation of family values (including regulation of social morality), and ultimately affirmation of equality of opportunity in opposition to preferential treatment based on race or gender. As a result,” he concluded, “an expanded white middle class drifted toward the GOP, first at the presidential level and eventually at state and local levels.” That middle class was to be the hoped-for new majority, the marriage of family-values women and their commercially successful husbands.

To unite the disparate groups of traditionalists and libertarians, Frank S. Meyer at National Review outlined the elements of an intellectual synthesis he described as fusionism. Meyer’s argument was straightforward, but it was intended as a temporary political alliance rather than as a distillation of the essence of “conservatism.” Since liberty was required for the exercise of virtue, Meyer argued, those committed to the defense of churches, families, and Western culture more broadly could join a liberty-centric political program. Since securing liberty was the final purpose of government, he could satisfy the libertarians as well. But that satisfaction only took the form of a practical agreement to work together on common political causes. On the intellectual level, the traditionalists did not accept Meyer’s starting point and the libertarians grew ever less interested in his calls to maintain liberty’s basis in virtue.

By the 1980s, politics had solved the tension that otherwise occupied conservative thinkers, by delivering a majority that neither market liberals nor social traditionalists had any hope of delivering on their own. “Fusionism” was simply the best available intellectual justification for the political alliance between social conservatives and economic classical liberals that had been achieved by Republican strategists. In the face of bristling opposition to market economies and traditional mores from the Western Left and from Soviet Communism, the fusion of free markets and sound morals seemed eminently sensible as a practical political strategy.

Beginning with the Reagan presidency, a new conservative intellectual and political apparatus began to trade upon the GOP’s finally successful postwar reorganization. The New Majority was receptive to conservative ideas, and conservative institutions began to propagate them widely. In addition, conservative think tanks were no longer mere participants in the marketplace of ideas but had become a new site of power themselves. Yet, at the same time, the debates internal to conservatism effectively stalled out. The fusion of the Republican business class with its reliable new Southern base had succeeded, and its success meant that the old intraconservative debates were politically neutralized, with the upper hand going to the think tanks and journals that had signed on to the fusionism then ascendant. With the Heritage Foundation at their head, the think tanks of the American Right rolled out fusionism not only as a component of understanding the (temporary) New Majority, but as the essence of conservatism itself—something few if any conservative thinkers had ever really held. More than anything else, fusionism became the term of art applied to the disparate postwar conservative intellectual movement. But since almost no conservative intellectuals accepted its terms, it was an ironic rather than a real descriptor.

The year 2015 saw the unlikely republication of Frank S. Meyer’s 1964 volume on fusionism, What Is Conservatism? To his credit, Jonah Goldberg in his foreword to the new edition rightly calls the book a “successful failure”: only Frank Meyer and Bill Buckley were fully committed to the fusionist enterprise. The book’s other writers lined up to point out the distinctiveness of their positions and, implicitly at least, to critique the fusionist project. Ironically, however, no one outside the journals and institutes of movement conservatism was likely ever to hear of fusionism. Ordinary voters do not vote on the basis of intellectual syntheses but rather on the basis of their perceived interests and the campaigns that match them.

Nevertheless, “National Review remains an essentially fusionist enterprise,” as Goldberg explained in a 2015 essay. Republicans have run and won elections on different iterations of the fusionist synthesis (along with the infusion of neoconservative ideas) for three decades. Reagan had cited Meyer as a definitive influence on his conservatism at the very outset of his administration. For today’s movement conservatives, the National Review consensus is no longer merely a prudent—if always intellectually tenuous—political compromise, but has come to define conservatism itself.

Yet the fusionist project had lost its constituency well before even Mitt Romney’s failed attempt to muster bored Republicans into giving him their votes. Movement conservatives’ anxieties over new challenges to fusionism are, therefore, not surprising, though they are misunderstood. Their apprehension arises not from new critiques of fusionism—for they are not new—but from the concern that the conditions which made fusionism a politically powerful synthesis no longer obtain.
The Conservatism of Things

In many ways, American conservatism has been a victim of its own success in creating civil society institutions to reflect and advance its fundamental commitments. Our political associations have been very effective in propagating their political agendas among a country-wide audience, much more effective than the (fewer) comparable associations in Europe, for example. But precisely because movement conservatism was so successful in building the architecture needed to carry forward the agenda of the post-Nixon GOP, it missed the moment at which its concerns separated from the base entirely. It is also no coincidence that the most vocal defenders of the fusionist status quo come from the professional political classes with the most to lose.

To borrow Marxist terminology, the conservative superstructure came about to articulate the disparate political elements of the GOP’s New Majority. The triumph of the U.S. at the end of the Cold War, however, marked the end of that Republican base as it had been understood and explained by the conservative superstructure. To be sure, the Republican base—in no small part excited by the new talk radio stars who reinforced them as a constituency—made several apparently dramatic political statements after the Cold War, in 1994, 2000, and 2010. But its relationship to the policies which had previously sparked economic growth and strengthened American security was already being frayed. After victories in three straight presidential elections from 1980 onward, the GOP had little to offer economically in the 1990s other than accession to new free trade agreements, tax cuts that were either irrelevant to most voters or totally implausible, cheerleading of the tech and housing bubbles, and cutting entitlements. In foreign policy, post–Cold War “conservative” efforts were reinvented under the guise of furthering the global democratic order that appeared to have won a decisive victory. Meanwhile, lip service continued to be paid to the religious Right, though it was offered with increasing reluctance.

Since Republican fusionism was a patchwork ideology all along, it is strange to see Trump’s political positions characterized as a grab-bag of populist proposals in contrast to what Washington Free Beacon editor Matthew Continetti recently called “the mainstream of the intellectual conservative movement.” If anything, it is the mainstream conservative platform that has devolved into a checklist of incongruent planks now that the underlying conditions which afforded it some coherence as a political strategy no longer apply.

Continetti describes Trump’s basic message—regaining control of our borders, renegotiating trade agreements to our advantage, and pursuing an American interests-based foreign policy—as “not the conservatism of ideas but of things.” Such a conservatism, he says, can be distinguished from consciously adopting the approach of Burke or Disraeli or Hayek. As a description of Trump’s own lack of interest in major political thinkers, Continetti’s description is perfectly apt. But the current situation is not one in which movement conservatism has ownership of “ideas” whereas Trump has a concern for “things.”

Articulating any political program requires appraising the political situation on the ground and coming up with appropriate strategies to preserve what is good in them and improve what is better. Of course, the need to maintain key features of the American regime means that certain things—the preservation of due process, for example—are a part of every American political program. But in 2016 Americans sensed that both parties were failing to guarantee basic aspects of sovereignty, security, and equality that the American polity was formed to preserve. Restoring each of these requires “ideas” as much as Cold War conservatism did.

The 2016 campaign demonstrated that the interests and strategies of well-established conservatism have passed their peak effectiveness. The present circumstances offer few points at which the expectations of Cold War or Nineties conservatives are even relevant. For fusionists, the political scene does not display a conflict between central planning and the spontaneous order described by Hayek. A form of market liberalism has essentially triumphed in the Western world and the countries of the Pacific Rim. Both Republicans and Democrats have simply been debating what form that market liberalism will take. Yet their common faith in global markets left both sides doubtful that trade agreements were instruments that required careful planning to preserve American economic and strategic advantages. At the same time, a form of social liberalism has carried the day in American culture at large. As Charles Murray showed, American elites and the lower and middle classes put together different combinations of religious belief and family practice. Economically stagnant regions with comparatively high religious belief ironically fare less well in standard markers of family stability. Whether we speak of changing family structures or simply the loss of belief in them, however, the phenomenon is real.

Meanwhile, to the extent that the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling determined the law of the land in June 2015, the culture wars are essentially over. But the fallout has not been as either the Right or the Left expected. For the well-established Right, the disappearance of the most divisive social question since Roe v. Wade—same-sex marriage—was supposed to be a palate-cleanser for Republicans used to paying obeisance to social conservatives. They could then turn back to pressing issues that Paul Ryan identified but which had no popular constituency: repealing Dodd-Frank and cutting entitlements. The Left meanwhile realized that its expectation of further progress implied that Obergefell could not be considered a sufficient victory, and so has pressed on with matters of concern to ever smaller groups.

Republicans and Democrats alike, in other words, hoped that Obergefell would beat a path back to their core issues. In public, the Republicans would lightly touch up the regulatory state and the Democrats would make war on the last vestiges of prejudice. Just out of public view, though, they would unite to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership and work further toward the endgame of comprehensive immigration reform. Without the candidacies of Sanders and Trump, the issues that actually concerned a vast but neglected segment of the American public would have been left to the side. All the while analysts were hoping that these candidates were simply exceptions, and that voters whose inarticulate views were now being voiced would go back to casting reluctant ballots for party-chosen favorites.
Rediscovering Civic Friendship

Since the election, a growing number of analysts have awoken to the realization that for many Americans things are not well. The conclusion of the culture wars has not brought the triumph of Republican economic wonkery and Democratic clientelism, but has instead uncovered the fact that many left-behind Americans had tuned out from the culture wars long ago. This time around, the culture war was finished before its conclusion was ratified by the Supreme Court: Obergefell tracked a shift in public mood and then solidified it. On the economic front, the Trump and Sanders campaigns signaled that the post-2008 recovery was much more anemic than the press indicated. After Joe Biden declared the “Recovery Summer” so long ago in 2010, the financial press largely followed the Obama administration’s interpretive cues. The plight of working-class Americans did not suddenly begin in late 2015. Yet in 2016 attempts to describe their plight deployed fatalistic terminology: the Atlanticwrote about “The Original Underclass,” and J. D. Vance wrote a plaintive Hillbilly Elegy (Harper, 2016) for parts of America that appeared to be doomed.

Those who voted for Trump were not only those in economic difficulties. In the cities and towns of America’s Midwest, everyone has an interest in seeing revitalization, not simply those who are less well off. This potential element of civic friendship escaped the notice of those who tarred Trump’s Inaugural Address as “divisive.” Instead he spoke of civic solidarity among all those with an interest in seeing their cities and regions prosper. Those in more prosperous coastal or large metropolitan areas have an interest in regional success, as well. Many Americans have vacated their home towns out of necessity, not out of choice.

The Court–Country split, commonly used to describe the division of early eighteenth-century Britain, has also made a reappearance in current analyses, beginning with Angelo Codevilla’s 2010 essay in the American Spectator. Katherine Cramer of the University of Wisconsin introduced a similar analogy (without referring to the British example) to describe Scott Walker’s 2012 ascent to the Wisconsin governorship. Her new book, The Politics of Resentment (University of Chicago Press, 2016), portrays Walker as a clever politician able to appeal to rural anxiety, even though she argues that Democratic policies would have served the rural poor better. While her argument rightly draws attention to the plight of rural areas, she also unintentionally explains Scott Walker’s failure at the national level. Though she is too optimistic that Democratic redistribution programs would make a decisive difference in the lives of the rural poor, she is right that the mainline Republican agenda, typified by Walker, had little to offer them. When given the alternative to choose a vulgar dealmaker who spoke directly to their concerns with solutions that seemed plausible, those voters went to Trump in droves.

Ross Douthat also resurrected the Court–Country analogy in a New York Times column of 2013. “There really is,” he wrote, “a kind of ‘court party’ in American politics, whose shared interests and assumptions—interventionist, corporatist, globalist—have stamped the last two presidencies.” But as he also noted, Bolingbroke’s original Country Party failed, and the modern Republican Party had not yet shown itself “interested in governing” in any convincing way. Douthat was referring to the Republicans’ tendency to wage grand struggles that it could never win, like the repeal of Obamacare under Obama, rather than advocating smart solutions that offered tangible improvements.

Though Douthat was surely right that a Republican Party “interested in governing” would have done better than the posture-striking party of 2008 and 2012, the 2016 election showed that Republicans were out of touch with a more fundamental dissatisfaction in the electorate. The new position of reform conservatism, articulated by Douthat and National Affairs editor Yuval Levin, has been a worthy effort to articulate what a moderate governing agenda would look like—for a Republican Party narrowly able to win over entrenched Democratic interests. But the moderate Burkean inspiration for moderate reform works when times are going moderately well, and only then. Our regime’s successful endurance made it difficult to see the growing pressures and stresses that had been building in the last few decades. Many reformist conservatives mischaracterized Trump’s support as a form of “nostalgia” for a long-lost time during which the rising tide lifted all boats. But this portrayal of Trump’s support made them inattentive to the effects of offshoring and financialization on the American economy. At the moment when ordinary Americans were simply feeling that matters ranging from markets to immigration to national security had gotten out of control, the reform conservatives could not frame a program matched to the situation.

What actually propelled the candidacies of Trump and Sanders was the sense among their voters, right or wrong, that the candidates were interested in them—not just in power or policies, much as those are necessary. Yet the signs that voters in the forgotten parts of America had been forgotten were written all over the mainstream economic press before Trump’s campaign. “Badly educated men in rich countries,” read an Economist headline in 2015, “have not adapted well to trade, technology or feminism.” “After 200 years,” runs a more recent Economist leader, “the machinery question is back.” “The new divide in rich countries,” claims yet another headline, “is not between left and right but between open and closed.” Another explains that “high-flying cities, and the successful firms they contain, are detaching from the rest of the economy.” “The Fed,” added the Wall Street Journal in August, “is a case study in how the conventional wisdom of the late 1990s on a wide range of economic issues, including trade, technology and central banking, has since slowly unraveled.” If all these things are true and have been true, it should not have been a surprise that candidates would be successful who tapped into voters’ anxieties. Even the smartest, post-Reaganite conservative policy thinking won’t inspire voters who want old-fashioned recognition.
The Loss and Reassertion of Political Control

Behind the most prominent headlines about the Trump and Sanders campaign lies the difficult economic reality chronicled a few pages deeper in the daily papers. While market liberalism has triumphed in and indeed constructed the developed world, the form that liberalism has taken is specific and not accidental. The capitalism we chose to make has been one driven by financialization—by the quest to put all land, labor, and capital in financially manageable and tradable form, and to promote that trading as our expertise. That effort has combined with the insistence on lessening borders’ effect on market activity, with the favor given to white collar labor over blue, and with a culturally ambitious Left that casts aspersions on traditional mores. We chose to soften the role of borders in the U.S. and Europe, to send working-class jobs abroad, and to make universities spend their prestige on battling privilege. We have chosen to favor those with the greatest flexibility to leave their home towns, to switch from manual to mental labor, and to relax about the importance of family structures, inherited religions, and other cultural tropes. This world is one of our making. It is not a fait accompli, it is not on track to conquer the rest of the world, and we are not out of decisions to make.

Even if Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump had not come along, the tendencies that are pressuring our established political arrangement would not have abated. Donald Trump was not responsible for the fact that the ability to out-earn one’s parents has dropped precipitously from 1970 to today. Those left behind as we built our current economy would eventually have found other vehicles for their distress, perhaps ones even more strident or more vulgar. The language of good governance, of constitutional sensibility, and of principled conservatism (or liberalism) is designed for the ordinary political world of constitutional settlement. Yet in constructing the economy we have now, we knew very well we were designing something that would be markedly different from what came before. We wrongly assumed, for a variety of reasons, that the new economy would proceed smoothly. Now that it obviously has not, our elites have no excuse to pursue the same strategies.

The elites who bought the “End of History” hypothesis have been the most shaken by Trumpism in the United States and “populist” movements elsewhere. Once they concluded that Trump would be an authoritarian and demagogue, they reasserted what they saw as the fundamental elements of a functioning commonwealth. But supporters of Trump and Sanders were doing exactly the same thing. Faced with a political process no longer responsive to or even aware of the stagnation of a middle class once ever improving, those voters grabbed for what they saw as the lost precondition of politics: political sovereignty. It is true that modern comforts are so great that a recession today would not be felt as the Great Depression in its time. But since modern society tells us we are sinking unless we are rising, merely treading water—trying harder and harder just to stay afloat—is an indignity. The social revolution and the spread of family dysfunction add failure to indignity. Sexual freedom itself has become a form of privilege for those who know enough to manage the consequences of their liberties in the freest but most controlled ways.

The construction of modern states has always involved both the assertion of sovereignty and the development of rational administration, from the days of Louis XIV through that of Jean-Claude Juncker. The U.S. and Europe have enjoyed so much success in establishing stable polities, however, that they have assumed the assertion of sovereignty was a thing of the past. Management and governance could replace rule and the struggle for power: such was the fond hope of those who built the structures of regional and global “governance.” By their own self-understanding, however, “management” and “governance” are designed to keep critical aspects of the economy, state administration, and security from being “politicized.” They are incapable of being experienced by citizens as a place of political activity where democratic citizenship matters. Insulating economic policy from “political” questions means that ordinary citizens increasingly lack any means of redress when management goes bad. The “political” level on which such management takes place, in the hands of transnational administrative bodies and arbitration panels, cannot be found on the political compass of ordinary life. Contrary to its purpose, depoliticization raises the political stakes of economics and security whenever their management does not go according to plan. When something has been precariously removed from political control, the reassertion of political control over it takes forceful forms. Empires have been built and then collapsed, borders have been drawn and redrawn, without any example having been given that borders will simply disappear after being forgotten.

Consider these words, seemingly characteristic of the 2016 primary campaign: “There is no substitute for making things, as long as Americans use computers, wear clothes, drive autos, build with steel, play video games—in short, do everything.… Debt, not wages, allowed Americans to continue to consume. The rest of the world, beginning with Europe, Japan, the Asian Tigers, and now China did not mind because U.S. demand was their growth machine. This cannot continue. But to return to making things will require new investment, labor, and trade policies.” Are these the words of a 2016 stump speech?

In fact they are the considered judgment of an eminent American historian. Judith Stein, a professor at the Graduate Center, CUNY, put the matter that way in her 2010 book Pivotal Decade, whose subtitle argues that the U.S. “traded factories for finance in the Seventies” and has been adjusting (or paying the consequences) ever since. In some cases, she suggests, our attention to tax rates and inflation indirectly promoted the shift away from production and toward the service economy, of which financial services are a part. More often than not, however, we decided that the service sector was the way of the future, that spending on education would produce higher incomes, and that improved financial services—easier access to credit, mortgages, and rising stock portfolios—would compensate for our declining productivity elsewhere. In the ninth year of a still questionable recovery (must we have merely a recovery?), we have to face directly the question of improving America’s productive economy without using automation or trade liberalization simply as excuses. The arc of history is not going where its predictors claimed, but rather back toward the nation-states, which have never really been left behind.
Obstacles to Realignment

Policymakers, economists, and political strategists know that even more trends lurk beneath the surface with uncertain consequences. Recent advances in automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics point in an uncertain direction. The advent of self-driving cars has already begun in some cities, and likely heralds a more contentious fight than the arrival of Uber did in the cities hostile to it. Many industries, such as the textile industry, remain resistant to automation. The only certainty is that blithe invocations of labor’s ability to regroup and take up another human task will not be a sufficient guide to the political difficulties that could result from automation. Simple promises to return jobs from overseas will be difficult to keep when the labor market at home and production methods abroad have both changed. Yet most political and intellectual leaders still have not shifted from a smug assurance about globalization’s inevitability toward practical thinking about the role we want labor, production, trade, and borders to play in the future.

The difficulty in shifting the range of opinion on these matters stems from several primary sources. Intellectually, what hampers sound decision-making is the belief that present trends, as we understand them, constitute a direction that we must follow and even encourage. Each party focuses on different trends, but both operate within a frequently historicist framework, wrongly assuming that events have reached a point at which political action is useless or even impossible. The regular dismissal of calls to restore broad participation in American manufacturing as “nostalgia” is a telling—but politically obfuscatory—symptom of this latent sense. While it is almost impossible for any political campaign not to trade in some nostalgic rhetoric, seeking to renew America’s manufacturing base or preserve her standing in international relations requir

es no nostalgia at all. Insistence that Americans resign themselves to stagnant economic growth, higher-than-reported consumer inflation, delayed adulthood, and scrambled job prospects is a political platform that convinces no one. What Americans ever voted to make their country one of banking executives on the one hand and Walmart clerks on the other?

Second, the relationship between party constituency and political platform has become obscured by the growth in civil society dedicated to political advocacy. When a political platform is successful in preserving and improving the conditions of a party constituency—as many aspects of Reagan’s agenda did in the 1980s—it’s only natural to take that platform as a permanent playbook. But that natural tendency has been exacerbated by ongoing donor support for legacy conservative think tanks that have reinforced that superstructure in ways that are now counterproductive. How to resolve this bind is no secret. Closer attention by politicians and strategists to the character and needs of their constituencies would likely result in different political proposals. Such an approach is obviously insufficient on its own for articulating what that agenda should be. But the preference given by the Right to postwar market thinkers has proven clearly insufficient in generating the virtues of prudence that would enable politicians to judge between doctrinaire neoliberalism and the political interests of their constituents.

For those interested in the possibility of a political realignment, the signs are all around, at home and abroad. In Europe on the morning of June 24, 2016, the continent awoke to the news that the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union. Writing in the Spectator the next day, Toby Young wondered whether the alignment of interests in the Leave campaign foretold a political reconfiguration in Britain. Leave was supported by Tory traditionalists and rank-and-file Labour voters. Remain was supported by the London-based Tory and Labour elite, as well as the City of London, Scotland, and Northern Irish counties on the Irish border. “One of the oddities of the referendum campaign,” Young pointed out, “was the emergence on the centre-right of an anti-Establishment alliance between a middle-class, educated elite” and the Euroskeptic working class. Between 2005 and 2015, he noted, support for Labour in the skilled working class dropped from 40 to 30 percent, while among the working class and the unemployed it dropped from 48 to 37 percent. If the British parties were reconfigured to reflect their current national constituencies, he suggested, we might find a national party of Tory traditionalists and Old Labour, a party of metropolitan liberals, one of libertarians, and one of the Far Left.

Elsewhere in Europe such reconfigurations are already in place or are on the horizon, often for disparate reasons. In Poland, the Law and Justice (PiS) party combines national solidarity interests and Christian democracy in its platform, reflecting both Polish traditionalism and social welfare principles essential for its constituency. In the currently scrambled French political scene, as Guillaume de Thieulloy recently explained it, one “could see the right-wing candidate promoting some center-left policies; the Socialist candidate promoting center-right policies; or the National Front candidate promoting far Left policies”—a shifting of line unusual by American standards. Though these countries have a different experience of national identity from our own, they face common threats from those constructing institutions of global governance that dismiss nation-states and borders in toto.

In the United States such a reconfiguration was a clear possibility throughout the 2016 election cycle. As early as August, Jeffrey Anderson in the Weekly Standard wrote that “essentially every issue favors Trump.” It’s not as though this reconfiguration surfaced only in 2016: it attempted to make itself known before. “Against all evidence,” complained David Frum in the January/February 2016 issue of the Atlantic, Republican donors and politicians “interpreted the Tea Party as a mass movement in favor of the agenda of the Wall Street Journal editorial page.” George Will was thus right to note in September that movement conservatism had become “an orphan in an indifferent world.”

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, conducted December 12–15, 2016, showed that the electorate had already become uninterested in political repetitions of orthodox conservatism of the sort that were found in Ted Cruz’s campaign. “When Trump supporters were asked why they voted for him,” the Wall Street Journal reported on December 20, only “1% said the most important reason was to advance traditional Republican policies. By contrast, more than one-quarter said the prime reason was to improve the economy, while 23% said it was to put America first rather than focusing on other countries. Some 21% said it was to defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.” Including the 18 percent who wanted to “change business as usual in Washington” and the 5 percent who voted in order to “take a tough approach on immigration,” 94 percent of Trump voters responded to the basic appeals of his campaign, in spite of a relentless effort by the Republican establishment to wage the campaign on the grounds of Republican orthodoxy.

Republican and many Democratic voters were voting on the basis of fundamentally conservative impulses. The desire to improve the economy, put America first, and take a firmer line on immigration all express “conservative” instincts in a more fundamental respect than that promoted by Cold War conservatives and their Nineties holdovers. The preservation of the American body politic and the conditions for its flourishing is not only not a given, but has been thoroughly damaged by the Right’s pursuit of global markets and military adventurism, and the Left’s alliance with urban progressive constituencies that lack real traction. Trump’s election showed that these elementary conservative instincts were shared by a significant portion of the electorate outside those who had voted for “orthodox” Republican candidates in recent elections. “In counties that are or were manufacturing-dependent,” the Wall Street Journal reported, “Trump did an average of 8.5 points better than prior nominees. Elsewhere his advantage was 6.2 points.” Three Pennsylvania counties flipped from voting Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, along with 10 in Ohio, 22 in Wisconsin, 12 in Michigan, and 31 in Iowa—including many like Luzerne in Pennsylvania, which swung by 25 points. That Trump accomplished swings of this degree even with the mainstream Republican intellectual elite set firmly against him indicates what is possible if statesmanlike Republicans and non-ideological Democrats close ranks.

Republican strategists flatter themselves when they assume that in the coming years they will be called upon to leaven the new “populism” with “conservatism,” for neither is an adequate or coherent description of the political position to which it points. During the 2016 primaries, most Republican intellectuals rejected “Trumpism” as something intrinsically at odds with what they mistakenly called conservatism. But the terms of analysis were simply asking to be recast. Trump’s voters wanted to conserve and restore the greatness they perceived had been unnecessarily lost through mistaken policies that were being justified in nonpolitical terms. Favoring open borders, unilateral free trade, and the establishment of unaccountable transnational political structures could not be done with reference to preserving the American polity. When large corporations consider themselves beyond the reach of national sovereignty, established conservatism’s failure to object signals that it is not a conservatism worthy of the name.
Toward the Radical Center

“Ever since” the Reagan presidency, as Lee Edwards recently wrote, “conservatives have sought another Reagan with his fusionist philosophy to carry out the objectives of a more limited constitutional government, an untrammeled free market, and a restoration of Judeo-Christian values in our society.” Both the neoconservatives and the reform conservatives sought to shake up Republican politics by offering different and related approaches. None other than David Brooks in a 1997 article in the Weekly Standard called for a new agenda of “national greatness” (echoing Thomas Pangle), an agenda aimed at improving the administration of a large national government and carrying out America’s civilizing mission abroad. During the second half of the Bush administration, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam launched the reform conservative movement designed to open up, through reforms of the regulatory state, a space for Americans to arrange their own affairs as they have always done, through the family and through praiseworthy organizations of civil society. Theirs has also been an effort to offer needed reforms beyond Reaganism—an effort whose importance has not diminished, but whose goals and scope are perhaps insufficient to attract a politically significant constituency.

What has passed as political centrism in recent years was a mixture of social liberalism (at least, limited resistance to social liberalism’s further advance) and economic globalization. This platform earned the name centrism only as a description of the overlapping portion of the Venn diagram of positions held by Washington-based policy experts and their coastal backers. Democrats offered participation in the further advance of progressive social arrangements for a constituency mixed of urban elites and legacy working-class voters. Republicans offered rhetorical objection to the progressive social agenda and deployed patriotic rhetoric in defense of economic policies primarily benefiting the business elite. The constituency supporting this form of centrism is small when considered geographically, and smaller than it seems even in the coastal regions dedicated to it. The forms of argument deployed to defend this centrism never appeal to the political interests of most Americans because their goals lie beyond the scope of national politics: borders must be erased for the sake of global humanitarianism and for the needs of global business.

But the interests of ordinary American Democrats and Republicans are markedly different from this supposedly centrist agenda. The expression of their interests looks radical only because the insistence on justifying policy proposals in terms of what is good for the nation and its constituent states is a departure from recent norms. Shifting away from checklist conservatism and identity-group progressivism will still not easily lead to agreement on an appropriate national policy agenda. The objections of old-line liberals against identity-group progressivism will not suddenly make them comfortable with the rhetoric of American greatness. And checklist conservatives will still present arguments against the economic rationality of proposals such as a border-adjusted value-added tax. But a Republican Party set simply on the implementation of tax reform, a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and gesture-based tweaks to American trade policy will lose badly in 2020. And if the next election leads to a victory of the Democratic candidate, it will not be because of the sudden relevance of coastal identity politics and celebrity progressivism.

The political realignment under way stems from a dislocation between constituency and platform on the left as well as the right. The implementation of global trade agreements, vacillation and weakness in defense of American interests abroad, policy preference for the service sector (whether financial or blue collar)—these efforts have put citizens at a disadvantage on both sides of the aisle. Yet a campaign message that had virtually no policy articulation from established think tanks swayed a decisive portion of the electorate. Enterprising politicians: seize the day. Policy professionals: refocus. The old platforms have already adjourned, sine die.