Trump Picks Defense Secretary, Retired Gen. Mattis

I haven't followed the news about Retired Gen. James Mattis. In reading he was chosen by Donald Trump to be Defense Secretary, I read a few things today.

  • He and Trump likely get on famously. They both make appalling comments. Mattis is famous for this quote:
  • “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys that slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil,” he said in 2005. “So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”

  • NBC reports on a former special services member who claims Mattis left his troop to die in Afghanistan. (The question apparently not whether he did, but whether he was justified in doing so. The incident was also referred to in a book, The Only Thing Worth Dying for.)
  • He serves on the board of a controversial blood-testing company.
  • Congress would have to pass a law before confirming him because he's only been retired from the military for 3 years.


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Trump: The Slippery Slope of Compromise

The New York Review of Books (Daily) has an article by Massa Green (a Russian author and journalist and staunch opponent of Putin -- see the review of her book Putin: Man Without a Face), titled Trump: The Choices We Face. Green's grandfather was a member and later a leader of the Bialystok Judenrat, the Nazi-appointed Jewish council that ran the ghetto. At first the council was tasked with things like bringing in food to the community and urging residents not to form resistance groups. By the end, the group was tasked with selecting members of the community for the Nazis to kill first.

The question she takes on:

Criminal regimes function in part by forcing the maximum number of subjects to participate in the atrocities. For nearly a century, individuals in various parts of the Western world have struggled with the question of how, and how much, we should engage politically and personally with governments that we find morally abhorrent.


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Thursday Open Thread

I'll be offline today, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Rudy Giuliani: Where Can He Do the Least Damage?

Donald Trump has narrowed the field of Secretary of State candidates to four (or five). While his spokesman didn't name them, one is believed to be Rudy Giuliani.

Rudy Giuliani has no foreign diplomatic credentials. He's taken money from numerous foreign governments.

He would be a terrible choice for Secretary of State. Here's a list of 10 things you should know about Rudy.

When Rudy left the Mayor's office, he did something unprecedented. He took all his papers with him. [More...]

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Kellogs Pulls Advertising from Breitbart News

Thank you Kelloggs!

Kelloggs Cereal has pulled its advertising from Breitbart News. The company says the website does not comport with its values.

“We regularly work with our media-buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that are not aligned with our values as a company,” said Kris Charles, a spokeswoman for Kellogg’s. “We recently reviewed the list of sites where our ads can be placed and decided to discontinue advertising on Breitbart.com. We are working to remove our ads from that site.”

Here is Kellogg's statement about diversity on its website. Here are the employee groups it created to foster diversity. Here are the the diversity numbers. Check out the awards it has won, just for 2016 and 2015. There's a lot, but they include the NAACP, Civil Rights Champion of Justice Award (2015), National Association of Female Executives (NAFE), "Top Company for Executive Women" (2015) and Human Rights Campaign, "2015 Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality" (2015.)

I already eat Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Raisin Bran, Crispix, and Corn Pops but I'm going to buy some more. Frosted Flakes is my favorite, but if that's too much sugar for you, Kelloggs also owns Special K and All Bran. And if it's not enough sugar, there's Famous Amos Cookies.

Breitbart is calling for a boycott of Kelloggs. To the contrary, #buyKelloggs. Here are some money saving coupons. Make yourself some rice krispie treats (only 3 ingredients, what could be easier?) [More...]

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Sarah Palin May be Secretary of Veteran Affairs

Trump is considering Sarah Palin for Secretary of Veteran Affairs. On Twitter, Palin seems to be open to the job -- or actively seeking it, depending on how one reads her fawning over Trump as Commander in Chief.

Since her biggest claim to fame is that you can see Russia from Alaska (or as Tina Fey translated, she can see Russia from her window) I'm surprised he didn't make her Secretary of State.

What qualifies her for this position? Absolutely nothing as far as I can tell.

As the Daily Mail says about Trump's cabinet picks: Trump isn't draining the swamp, he's diving into it

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Pakistan Publishes Readout of Telephone Call With Trump

Meet the Fantastics: Pakistan has published a readout of the Prime Minister's telephone conference with Donald Trump. (Via Buzzfeed).

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif called President-elect USA Donald Trump and felicitated him on his victory. President Trump said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif you have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. I am looking forward to see you soon. As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems. It will be an honor and I will personally do it. Feel free to call me any time even before 20th January that is before I assume my office.


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Trump's Business Announcement: Another Reality Show Trick

Update: These tweets by the Office of Government Ethics today are really funny. No one knows who posted them, but they are legit. When did Trump say he would totally divest himself of his businesses? He called it a "separation." The NY Times has more.

Donald Trump dropped a cliffhanger on Twitter this morning, reminding me of a reality show preview. He announced he would separate from his companies. How? He'll tell us in two weeks at a press conference.

Does anyone believe him? I think the only way for him to eliminate conflicts of interest is to sell his businesses to people outside his family, and put the proceeds in a blind trust. He'll never do that. [More..]

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Mitt Takes a Seat at the Devil's Table

Mitt Romney took a seat at the devil's table last night and not only dined with Donald Trump but lavishly praised him afterwards. (No link needed, it's on every news site.)

What a horrible menu. I would have thrown up during appetizers: "Young garlic soup" and scallops with "carmelized cauliflower" and a "caper raisin emulsion."

The restaurant is not in Trump Tower but another Trump Hotel nearby, on Central Park West. (It's two blocks north of Trump Tower and just west of the Plaza Hotel, which means Trump was driven there. It's one of the busiest intersections, if not the busiest, in Manhattan. I wonder how long traffic was shut down so he could ride rather than walk a few blocks to dinner.

For such a pricey restaurant, you would think they could afford to update their website and provide a newer menu than the one for 2015. They don't. [More...]

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Trump Picks More Washington Insiders For Cabinet Posts

UnPresident-Elect Donald Trump has named the wife of Republican Majority Leader and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, Elaine Chao, to head up the Department of Transportation. She was Labor Secretary under GW Bush.

For Health and Human Services, he picked a a six-term Republican congressman from Georgia, Tom Price.

Just more shuffling the deck chairs -- nothing change-y about it.

In another predictable trend, Trump reaffirmed his disregard for Supreme Court precedent in a tweet suggesting anyone who burns the flag, which is an act protected by the First Amendment, be subject to loss of citizenship or jail. Since he is powerless to enact any law, or change any court precedent, I assume this is an Apprentice-style grab for attention and deflection from the vote recounts. [More...]

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Monday Open Thread

Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Ohio State Stabbings

Earlier news reports of a shooter at Ohio State have been corrected. The assailant drove over the curb, intentionally hitting people with his car, and then got out and started stabbing people with a butcher knife. 8 or 9 people are hospitalized. The only gun used was the gun a police officer used to kill the suspect.

The dead suspect is a Somali-born student at Ohio State named Abdul Razak Ali Artan. He is a legal permanent resident who came to the U.S. in 2014 after living in Pakistan since 2007. In an interview in August, he said he was afraid for Muslims. [More...]

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UnPresident Cheeto Claims He Won Popular Vote

UnPresident-Elect Donald Cheeto claimed today he would have won the popular vote if voters hadn't cheated.


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Fidel Castro Has Died

Fidel Castro died Friday, November 25, 2016. He was 90 years old.

Raul Castro has pledged to step down in 2018. What then? The New York Times reports on how the power likely will pass -- to a lot of Raul's children. [More....]

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Clinton Campaign to Participate in Vote Audit and Recount

Clinton Campaign finance guy Mark Elias has issued a statement saying the campaign will participate in a vote audit and recount of Wisconsin, and of Michigan and PA if Jill Stein files the requests.

Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides. If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well.


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