Interesting Counterpoint

12-2-16 Business Insider

Really good article discussing wage growth vs. GDP growth and another way to look at what Trump wants to do to help workers.

It is true that he is unique from most republicans I. That he wants to keep jobs here in the US. That is more of a democrat sentiment. 

The article links many of his policies together to explain why they may work. I don’t agree with some of the policies but I DO agree that what Dems have done up to this point didn’t help middle class workers enough. And that is what led to Trump winning this election.

Carrier Deal

12-2-16 Washington post 

In exchange for allowing United Technologies to continue to offshore more than 1,000 jobs, Trump will reportedly give the company tax and regulatory favors that the corporation has sought. Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to “pay a damn tax.” He was insisting on very steep tariffs for companies like Carrier that left the United States and wanted to sell their foreign-made products back in the United States. Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut. Wow! How’s that for standing up to corporate greed? How’s that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?

Trump has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States. Why? Because he has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives. Even corporations that weren’t thinking of offshoring jobs will most probably be reevaluating their stance this morning. And who would pay for the high cost for tax cuts that go to the richest businessmen in America? The working class of America.  

Let’s be clear. United Technologies is not going broke. Last year, it made a profit of $7.6 billion and received more than $6 billion in defense contracts. It has also received more than $50 million from the Export-Import Bank and very generous tax breaks. In 2014, United Technologies gave its former chief executive Louis Chenevert a golden parachute worth more than $172 million. Last year, the company’s five highest-paid executives made more than $50 million. The firm also spent $12 billion to inflate its stock price instead of using that money to invest in new plants and workers.

Conflicts of Interest

11-22-16 huffington Post

Trump is responding to the parade of stories detailing his immense portfolio of potential conflicts of interest. He met with his Indian business partners one week after winning the presidency. He continues to hold a government lease for his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., even though the lease declares that it cannot be held by a government official. Last week, the hotel held an event to pitch its luxury rooms to foreign diplomats as a way to ingratiate their countries with the president-elect. And there have been reports about Ivanka Trump’s appearance at the meeting with Abe and her talk with Macri.

Trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bank of China, which is owned by the government of China. The Constitution’s emoluments clause states that no government official shall receive favorable payment from a foreign government, foreign government-owned company or foreign official without the consent of Congress. Trump also rents space in his Trump Tower, where he is managing his transition, to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, another government-owned bank.

He also owes hundreds of millions of dollars to Deutsche Bank, a privately held German bank. While the emoluments clause does not apply to payments to Deutsche Bank, there is a major potential conflict because the bank is facing a multibillion-dollar settlement with the Department of Justice over its illegal mortgage practices. Trump will soon be selecting the top leadership of the Department of Justice. There are also questions over whether Deutsche Bank will be able to survive the hefty settlement without government support. Will Trump save his lender?

Similar potential conflicts exist at the National Labor Relations Board, which Trump will also soon be able to staff. The independent labor regulatory agency ruled on Nov. 3 that Trump’s Las Vegas hotel had violated its workers rights to organize a union when it refused to recognize their affirmative vote. Trump’s hires at the NLRB will likely be colored by his ownership of properties with unionizing workers.

WI redistricting ruled unconstitutional

11-21-16 Wisconsin State Journal

A panel of federal judges on Monday ruled that Wisconsin’s 2011 legislative redistricting plan, created by Republican leaders virtually in secret, is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

The new map secured a majority for Republicans by allocating votes in such a way that in any likely election scenario, the number of GOP seats wouldn’t drop below 50 percent.

“It is clear the drafters got what they intended to get,” Ripple wrote. “There is no question that Act 43 was designed to make it more difficult for Democrats, compared to Republicans, to translate their votes into seats.”

In 2012, Republicans got 48.6 percent of the statewide vote but won 60 seats in the 99-seat Assembly. In 2014, the party got 52 percent of the vote and won 63 Assembly seats. Democrats in 2012 received 51.4 percent of the vote but only won 39 Assembly seats, later winning just 36 seats when they received 48 percent of the vote in 2014.
“The evidence establishes, therefore, that even when Republicans are an electoral minority, their legislative power remains secure,” Ripple wrote.
The panel did not say what should happen as a result of its ruling. Instead, the court ordered both sides to file briefs on an appropriate remedy within 30 days, with response briefs to follow 15 days later. Both sides also must tell the court if they believe additional testimony is required before the court decides what happens next.

Key posts identified

11-18-16 New York Times 

Trump has chosen three hawkish loyalists for key posts.

They are Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Representative Mike Pompeo as C.I.A. director and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

All three are regarded as outliers from conventional Republican thinking, shunned in various ways for viewpoints that were seen as unacceptable or overly partisan.

Mr. Sessions, an Alabama conservative, was denied a federal judgeship by the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 because of racially charged comments.

“He’s one of the most strident anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-L.G.B.T. voices in the Senate,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president of People for the American Way, a liberal civil rights group in Washington.

Mr. Sessions, like Mr. Trump, has made tougher immigration policies a central priority. He has said President Obama’s Justice Department flouted the will of Congress by failing to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.
When many Republicans distanced themselves from Mr. Trump’s startling campaign proposal to ban Muslim immigration, Mr. Sessions said he was open to considering it in a Breitbart interview last December with Stephen K. Bannon.

As the nation’s top law enforcement officer, Mr. Sessions, and the political appointees under him, would hold wide discretion in shaping policies across the federal government and in overseeing the enforcement of federal laws at the F.B.I. and other agencies within the Justice Department.

His department would also play an important role in advising the White House on Supreme Court nominees and working to get them confirmed in the Senate. 

Mr. Pompeo a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has criticized President Obama’s decision to shut down the C.I.A.’s black-site prisons and require interrogators to abide by anti-torture laws.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Pompeo would become one of the most overtly partisan figures to take over the C.I.A. — a spy agency that, at least publicly, is supposed to operate above politics and avoid a direct role in policy making.

He has advocated a return to the bulk collection of Americans’ domestic calling records — which Congress restricted though legislation last year.

It appears that Mr. Pompeo’s role in the Benghazi inquiry was a significant factor in Mr. Trump’s decision to select him to lead the C.I.A. 

The select committee found no new evidence of wrongdoing by the Obama administration or Mrs. Clinton, but Mr. Pompeo and another Republican member of the committee, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, said they were convinced that there had been a cover-up. When the committee released its findings in June, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Jordan filed a 48-page addendum that said the attacks showed the State Department was “seemingly more concerned with politics and Secretary Clinton’s legacy than with protecting its people in Benghazi.”

Mr. Pompeo has close ties to Charles G. and David H. Koch, the billionaire conservatives who are among the most significant activists in financing Republican candidates nationwide. Their company, Koch Industries, and its employees have contributed $357,000 to Mr. Pompeo since 2009.


General Flynn was the angry voice of the national security establishment on the campaign trail. He describes Islam as a political ideology, not a religion, and has even called it a cancer.

General Flynn, 57, a registered Democrat, was Mr. Trump’s main national security adviser during his campaign. If he accepts Mr. Trump’s offer, as expected, he will be a critical gatekeeper for a president with little experience in military or foreign policy issues.

Mr. Trump and General Flynn both see themselves as brash outsiders who hustled their way to the big time. They both post on Twitter often about their own successes, and they have both at times crossed the line into outright Islamophobia.

They also both exhibit a loose relationship with facts: General Flynn, for instance, has said that Shariah, or Islamic law, is spreading in the United States (it is not). His dubious assertions are so common that when he ran the Defense Intelligence Agency, subordinates came up with a name for the phenomenon: They called them “Flynn facts.”

like Mr. Trump, he would enter the White House with significant baggage. The Flynn Intel Group, a consulting firm he founded after he was fired by President Obama as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has hazy business ties to Middle Eastern countries and has appeared to lobby for the Turkish government. General Flynn also took a paid speaking engagement last year with Russia Today, a television network funded by the Kremlin, and attended the network’s lavish anniversary party in Moscow, where he sat at Mr. Putin’s elbow.

Those potential conflicts of interest had led Mr. Trump’s transition team to worry that General Flynn might have difficulty winning confirmation for any post that, unlike the national security adviser role, requires congressional approval, such as director of the C.I.A. 

“He is a very talented information gatherer,” said Sarah Chayes of the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, who worked with General Flynn when he ran military intelligence in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2011.

“But his thinking process is not sufficiently analytical to test some streams against others and make sense of it, or draw consistent conclusions,” she said. “If you listen to him, in 10 minutes you’ll hear him contradict himself two or three times.”

Dems working with trump?

11-17-16 New York Times

As they try to recover from their stunning election defeat, Democrats may try a surprising strategy: aligning with Mr. Trump.

They will try to work with him on areas of common interest: infrastructure spending, child tax credits and dismantling trade agreements.

Those happen to be issues that divide Mr. Trump from his own party. It’s part of a strategy to try to win back working-class white voters.

Muslim registry

11-17-16 New York Times

[This isn’t happening yet but] a suggestion by Kris Kobach, a member of Mr. Trump’s transition team, has started worries that the new administration could reinstate a national registry for immigrants from countries where terrorist groups were active.

Mr. Kobach, who is Kansas’ secretary of state, was referring to the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, which he helped create while working at the Department of Justice. The program was first proposed in 2002 and significant portions of it suspended nine years later in 2011.

The policy came under heavy criticism while it was in effect and afterward. In a 2012 report, the Center for Immigrants’ Rights at the Pennsylvania State University’s law school called it a “tool that allowed the government to systematically target Arabs, Middle Easterners, Muslims, and South Asians” and a “clear example of discriminatory and arbitrary racial profiling.”

Though a reinstatement of that program would not be as broad or sweeping as the database of Muslim residents that Mr. Trump said during the Republican primaries that he would “certainly implement,” it set off a wave of criticism among many for whom it brought about the prospect of a wave of religious discrimination that could be an omen of worse to come.

Who’s advising trump 2

11-17-16 New York Times

Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Mr. Trump, has consulted with lawyers about the possibility of joining the new administration as soon as the president-elect takes office.

Mr. Kushner, 35, who was often described as a de facto campaign manager for Mr. Trump, had been planning to return to his private businesses after Election Day. But on the morning after Mr. Trump won, he began discussing a role in the White House, according to two people briefed on his discussions, who asked for anonymity to describe his thinking.

Among the reasons for Mr. Kushner’s interest is Mr. Trump urging him to join, according to one of the people briefed. Stephen K. Bannon, the chief strategist for the White House, and Reince Priebus, who was named chief of staff, support the idea.

It is still not certain that Mr. Kushner would take such a role, but if he does, he would start on Day 1. There are anti-nepotism rules that prohibit close relatives of the president from playing an active role in the government.

Who’s advising Trump

11-15-16 New York Times

For advice on building Mr. Trump’s national security team, his inner circle has been relying on three hawkish current and former American officials: Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California, who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; Peter Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman and former chairman of the Intelligence Committee; and Frank Gaffney, a Pentagon official during the Reagan administration and a founder of the Center for Security Policy.

Mr. Gaffney has long advanced baseless conspiracy theories, including that President Obama might be a closet Muslim. The Southern Poverty Law Center described him as “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, officials at key agencies including the Justice and Defense Departments said they had received no contact from the president-elect’s team.