Saturday, December 3, 2016

Written by Keith Shirey

Saturday, 3 December 2016
by Ray Charles
As background to this story, Donald Trump spoke with President Dutere two days ago and reportedly praised him on his extrajudicial killings of thousands. Too, within that time period Mr. Trump Mr. appeared to accept an invitation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit Pakistan, a country that Mr. Obama has steered clear of, largely over tensions between Washington and Islamabad over counterterrorism policy and nuclear proliferation.
Within the same 48-hour period, in an affront to China, President-elect Donald J. Trump spoke by telephone with Taiwan's president on Friday, a striking break with nearly four decades of diplomatic practice that could precipitate a major rift with China even before Mr. Trump takes office.
These 'phone calls were made unbeknownst to anyone in his transition team who had knowledge of the proper conduct of foreign policy or diplomacy. Inside sources say that Trump staffers were astonished by the recklessness and stupidity of the 3 telephone conversations.
Now to the story: Donald Trump has a financial empire with holdings in 20 foreign countries including a $150 million tower in Manila's financial district - a 57-story symbol of affluence. The building was built in partnership with a member of the Philippine government headed by Rodrigo Dutere, an unstable, mercurial leader. Mr. Duterte and has called for American troops to exit the country in two years' time. His antidrug crusade has resulted in the summary killings of thousands of suspected criminals without trial.
Meanwhile, in Uzbekistan, Gregor Zylogek who is one of the greatest purveyors of "fake news," stories that are false and often repeated on Facebook and other social media sites, created a story that Mr Dutere, for an unspecified reason, was very angry with Donald Trump and had ordered the Philippine army to occupy the Trump Manila building has well as sites of a dozen other Trump holdings in the country.
The fake news story was reported on Facebook and was read by President-Elect Trump, who trolls the Internet for news, and who took the phony story for being true. In response to the fake news story, Mr. Trump got Mr. Duterte on the 'phone and told him if he didn't remove the troops he would invade the island as soon as he was elected President of The United States.
According to the Manila press, in response, Mr Duterte told Mr. Trump that he had never told his troops to occupy Trump properties but since he was such an obvious ass he now would occupy them, and furthermore, he would form an alliance with China and allow that great power to extend its sphere of influence far beyond what it currently enjoyed. "If all the U.S. troops aren't gone by the time you're sworn in to be President I'll personally order their deaths," Manila press reported Duterete telling Trump.
This reporter was able to contact Gregor Zylogek in Uzbekistan and ask him what his response was to being responsible for an international crisis that could lead to war between U.S. and China.
Mr. Azlogek told me in response that, "Uzbekistan is so far away from the part of the world that the nuclear fallout won't come here."
Taking that into account, this reporter is leaving the U.S. to live in Uzbekistan and this will be my last story for the New York Times.


Written by Keith Shirey

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Thursday, 1 December 2016
image for Trump's Chief Says Hard Not To Throw Nazi Salure


BY Richard Armour
In an effort to explain the meaning of the term alt.right, Steve Bannon, the Trump White House Chief of Staff, explained the term. When Bannon headed, who championed the alt.right, it was a kind of cesspool for neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, misogynists, white supremacists, homophobes and the like. But Bannon said that the alt.right on Breitbart often "was just a bunch of guys letting off steam and having fun."
Recently, after a meeting of white nationalists inside the Ronald Reagan building in Washington, members threw Nazi salutes and shouted, "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!" In response, Bannon said that, while he would never throw the salute, "I do have to sometimes restrain my right arm from rising." He said the difference between die-hard alt.right fanatics and those who are softer, is whether they actually engage in the Nazi salute.
Bannon criticized the mass media for focusing on Trump's alt.right white racist supporters. "Sure, Donald spoke about Mexican rapists, Black President Barak Obama being illegitimate, and Muslims, who are darker skinned, being banned from America, but that is just the truth. "When you speak the truth you are not a racist," said Bannon.
"It's just like when you call women pigs, slobs, having faces ugly enough to stop trains, and fat losers. If it's the truth you're not a misogynist," stated Bannon.
My Breitbart site has been called a "front for white nationalists," Bannon said. "So what if it is. In America there's plenty of room for opposing views. If people don't believe in white racial superiority let them prove their case."

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Written by Keith Shirey
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Thursday, 1 December 2016
image for Trump Has Big Effect On Christmas Shopping
by New Correspondent Hillary Clinton
Christmas shopping is of course underway and many shoppers are taking into account future Trump Administration policies as they choose gifts.
Since Title X family planning programs and repeal of Obamacare, which provides the GOP will probably effectuate free birth control, the sale of condoms and gift certificates for IUD's has soared in 2016.
Anticipating the deregulation of the fossil fuel industry and the dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency, buying of water purifiers, cloth face as well as gas masks has soared. Reportedly, millions of cases of bottled water are also being given as gifts.
To family and friends who were influenced by Fox News to vote for Trump, free gift subscriptions to Free Speech TV and The Nation magazine are soaring. Too, yearlong gift bonuses are given to those who have proof that they view Thom Hartmann and Amy Goodman online.
Because of Trump's thin-skinned retribution against opponents and his access to the nuclear codes, the rich are buying gifts of reinforced concrete underground shelters for friends and relatives.
Since Trump will stop federal funding of projects to protect coastlines against rising tides do to global warming, compassionate families are giving gift certificates promising relatives the opportunity to move in with them lest their houses be flooded and they suffer a suffocating, horrible death by drowning.
In the future the Food and Drug Administration will face severe cutbacks and impure food and drugs will be on the market. People aware of this are giving mason jars and other equipment for friends and relatives who wish to be engaged in canning food. Some are giving copies of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" to show those who receive them why it will be necessary to buy meat from other countries due to the danger of dying when consuming U.S. meat products in the future during a Trump Administration.
Gift certificates for pharmaceuticals to be purchased in Canada or other civilized countries are increasingly popular.
Make Keith Shirey's day - give this story five thumbs-up (there's no need to register, the thumbs are just down there!)
The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016



                                TRUMP’S BILLIONAIRES CLUB

Ah yes, that great champion of the common man, billionaire mogul Donald Trump, whose foul mouth got him the Presidency, “cause he tells it like it is,” has surrounded himself with billionaires on his transition team.  Latest is Thiel, a PayPal cofounder and Facebook board member.  He joins Anthony Scaramucci, founder of SkyBridge Capital, Rebekah Mercer, hedge fund heiress and 3 other billionaires.

Hey, a billionaire feels comfortable around fellow billionaires! 
And the cabinet appointments!  Remember The Donald He railed against Wall Street, accusing it of having caused “tremendous problems for us” and vowing to stop it from ”getting away with murder.”

Well, The latest vulture capitalists to be nominated for cabinet posts are billionaire Wilbur Ross, for secretary of commerece,  who has made a fortune cobbling together dying companies Ross and is the chairman of the private equity firm WL Ross & Co. and for Treasurer Secretary, Steven Mnuchin,  a former partner at Goldman Sachs turned Hollywood producer who still has deep ties to Wall Street.

Another billionaire, Betsy DeVos, is his pick for education secretary. 

Other picks, while not billionaires, want to dismantle the EPA, privatize Social Security, repeal Obamacare, cut back on Medicare and Medicaid benefits, reigning in regulations on wall street and corporations. Perhaps, most horribly, regulations on carbon pollution should be severly cut back they say. It is a reactionaries dream team. 

As William D. Cohan has written in Vanity Fair, “The biggest mystery underlying the Trump phenomenon has been why more than 62 million Americans, many of whom have legitimate beefs about the newfangled digital economy, decided to vote for a billionaire who surrounds himself with other billionaires—many of whom profited off the same factors that undergirded their misery. Why in the world did they ever think that a billionaire reality-TV star who lives in a pink-marble mausoleum high above Fifth Avenue, has mansions in Palm Beach, Florida, and Bedford, New York, and flies around the country on his own private 757 would ever care one whit about them?” 


Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Trumping The New YorkTimes FROM BILL MOYERS BLOG

Fear and servility in midtown Manhattan.

President-elect Donald Trump waves to the crowd after leaving a meeting at The New York Times on Nov. 22. (Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

We have plunged into an emergency, and one reason is that journalists who are supposed to supply a picture of the world failed to do so. Not the only reason, but one reason, which is enough to prompt serious rumination.
wrote last week about journalists searching their souls, trying to figure out what they did wrong in this appalling campaign. Like the rest of us — nobody deserves a free pass in an endangered world — they’re obliged to think deeply about what to do better. Is it too impossibly high-minded and do-goody to insist that their reason for being is to offer the American people what they need to know in order to better choose their course? If that is in fact their mission, they have failed abjectly.

Almost half of the voters have just chosen to be led by a profoundly disturbed ignoramus who refuses to understand he has obligations to Americans who are not members of his family. For journalists who persist in believing their leaders are chosen intelligently, the crisis is apparent and urgent. But the so-called learning curve is getting an appallingly sluggish start. Journalists who should know better are busy complaining about their lack of access to the bullshitter-in-chief, as if access were the golden road to truth and not, often at least, a shortcut over a cliff.
According to the conventions of journalism, access is fundamental. But access runs two ways. Access to “newsmakers” can be purchased with what is known in professional parlance as “beat sweeteners” — softball stories and non-threatening meetings that allow sources access to the journalists who cover them, and by extension, to the public. But these are not ordinary times. While journalists persist in playing by old rules, the president-elect has a different plan. Nor is Donald Trump an unknown quantity. By now it should be painfully evident how he rewards sycophants — with a slap across the face.
For evidence, reader, please peruse the transcript of Trump’s on-again, off-again, back-on again meeting in a New York Times conference room last week. Read the whole thing. It’s not that long. Then consider the Times headline the next day: “Trump, in Interview, Moderates Views but Defies Conventions.” The lede: “President-elect Donald J. Trump on Tuesday tempered some of his most extreme campaign promises, dropping his vow to jail Hillary Clinton, expressing doubt about the value of torturing terrorism suspects and pledging to have an open mind about climate change.”
Nothing to worry about, then.
Other news organizations followed suit. “Trump brushed aside his campaign promises to jail Hillary Clinton … and denounced the neo-Nazi movement that is celebrating his victory,” CNN trumpeted, and followed with a subhead: “A new view on climate change?” Neither the Times gaggle nor CNN noted that Trump’s chief environmental adviser is an unregenerate paid-for fossil-fuel-happy hack. Trump did not use the “neo-Nazi” label — which would have been accurate — and insisted his campaign chief and very-far-right-hand man Steve Bannon’s Breitbart “News” is a “news organization” — and then came the man’s supreme compliment, “very successful,” later downgraded for no earthly reason to “pretty successful.”

It was Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet who asked Trump about the “alt-right” (read: neo-Nazi) “Hail Trump” rally that had just taken place in Washington. “First of all,” Trump said, “I don’t want to energize [racists.] I’m not looking to energize them. I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group.” And now the whiplash again: “Then, again, I don’t know if it’s reporting or whatever.” What the last sentence appears to mean is that Trump reserves the right to withdraw his vague “disavowal” if he and his lying legions later maintain that the reporting of Nazi salutes, etc., was a distortion perpetrated by the “liberal media.” Trump added: “If they are energized I want to look into it and find out why.” This is supposed to be reassuring. The Timesmen and -women did nothing to break the spell. Among the follow-up questions they did not ask: “You’re not sure they’re energized? Have you heard of the hate crimes? When will you report to us on what your researchers turn up?”
Trump practices the dark art of the perfunctory reassurance and gets rewarded with passing grades: He “moderates” and is “tempered.” He teases one executive (“is he a tough boss?”) and compliments another (“very powerful man”). The article, as opposed to the transcript, gives the strongman an unearned gift: a veneer of coherence. Is this a moment to break into laughter or screaming or crying — this spectacle of bad cop Trump sending good cop Trump out to meet with journalists whom he has described as “sleaze,” and presto! emerging  as a moderate who solicits the good opinion of Thomas Friedman.
I think I’ve been treated very rough…


When journalists sit down at a table with a man so fundamentally ignorant, self-seeking, unscrupulous and unreliable, a man who, when he doesn’t lie, characteristically emits bullshit — the now academically canonized term for propositions whose truth or falsity he doesn’t know or care to know — is it not evident that they must gird themselves at the first sign of flattery, to realize that his mission is to play them, to keep them off-balance?
Here were his first words to the Times group: “Well, I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special.” And then the lightning, bipolar pivot: “I think I’ve been treated very rough….”
“Failed” is one of Trump’s favorite adjectives for The Times. In his wholly amoral universe, “failed” is tantamount to “evil.”
And there was Friedman, sucking up to the billionaire by crooning about the splendor of his world-wonders on the way to asking about socially caused climate change, the existence of which Trump has frequently denied. This was not only shoddy questioning, it was a confession of weakness, which matters hugely, since the only human qualities that register in Trump World are strength and weakness. When you genuflect to the majesty of the man’s Pharaonic achievements, you show weakness, and so he proceeds to bullshit you. Thus on climate change: “I have an open mind to it. We’re going to look very carefully. It’s one issue that’s interesting because there are few things where there’s more division than climate change. You don’t tend to hear this, but there are people on the other side of that issue….I have a very open mind.”
Friedman’s response was a whimper: “But you have an open mind on this?” I suppose that is called nailing down news. It should be called: Giving Trump a gift by putting words in his mouth.
Trump was happy to play along: “I do have an open mind.” Instantly then, he switched the subject back to one of the science-deniers’ go-to canards: “And we’ve had storms always,” whereupon he lurched farther into ignorance and irrelevancy: “You know the hottest day ever was in 1890-something, 98. You know, you can make lots of cases for different views. I have a totally open mind.” The man does not know the difference between climate and weather. Was Friedman off-duty?
This is not an open mind; this is a sieve mind linked to a bank account.
Next, El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago was off to a riff about “clean air” and “crystal clean water” and “safety.” He was an inch away from a reprise of Gen. Jack D. Ripper’s memorable, Strangelovian warning against the Communist conspiracy “to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.” But not this time. His next lurch was to the “environmental awards” he’s received for his “very successful” golf courses. And there was this, on golf courses: “Some will be even better [as the sea level rises] because actually like [his Miami property] Doral is a little bit off … so it’ll be perfect….The ones that are near the water will be gone, but Doral will be in great shape.”
This is not an open mind, this is a sieve mind linked to a bank account.

Trump’s Doral gambit was reminiscent of his declaration after the June Brexit vote that his Scottish golf course, Turnberry, was now well-positioned to cash in on others’ misfortune: “When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly. For traveling and for other things, I think it very well could turn out to be a positive.” Friedman did not refer to Trump’s Turnberry Declaration. But not to leave any sycophantic note unsounded or untouched, he bade farewell with this penetrating observation: “I came here thinking you’d be awed and overwhelmed by this job, but I feel like you are getting very comfortable with it.” A few days later, the man whom Thomas Friedman found “very comfortable” let the world know, without a shred of evidence, that “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
How much more of this garbage must spew from Trump Tower before one of our crucial newspapers — one that Trump himself, in full-on ingratiation mode, termed “a world jewel” — calls a halt to tiptoeing around? I cannot help but think that this is more than a tactic to earn access; it is abject servility. It is, as Trump might put it, a show of pathetic weakness. At this late date, do the standard-bearers of “neither fear nor favor” fear that a shortfall in deference will inspire some Trump hack or Breitbart clone to denounce them as “biased”? Are they capable of embarrassment? Have they no shame?


Todd Gitlin is a professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Ph.D. program in communications at Columbia University. He is the author of 16 books, including several on journalism and politics. His next book is a novel, The Opposition. Follow him on Twitter: @toddgitlin.