Hot New Amenity

The U.S. Secret Service is the hot, new “amenity” at Trump Tower, where desperate brokers are trying to lure well-heeled clients into the building on Fifth Avenue that has served as President-elect Donald Trump’s home as well as his campaign and transition headquarters.

Less than a week after Trump was elected, prominent New York real estate agency Douglas Elliman blasted out an email with the subject: “Fifth Avenue Buyers Interested in Secret Service Protection?” to advertise a $2.1 million, 1,052-square-foot condo in the tower on 721 Fifth Avenue.
“The New Aminity [sic] – The United States Secret Service,” screamed the flier sent in an email on Nov. 13 for a one-bedroom apartment on the 31st floor, represented by brokers Ariel Sassoon and Devin Leahy.

“The Best Value in the Most Secure Building in Manhattan,” it stated.

On our dime, of course; whether the costs are $500,000 a day or $3 million a year to rent a floor in Manchurian President-elect’s gaudy, the cost of providing security for the buffoon will be footed by the taxpayers.

Hot New Amenity

La Résistance

I am a Republican presidential elector, one of the 538 people asked to choose officially the president of the United States. Since the election, people have asked me to change my vote based on policy disagreements with [Manchurian President-elect]. In some cases, they cite the popular vote difference. I do not think presidents-elect should be disqualified for policy disagreements. I do not think they should be disqualified because they won the Electoral College instead of the popular vote. However, now I am asked to cast a vote on Dec. 19 for someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office.

…George W. Bush is an imperfect man, but he led us through the tragic days following the attacks. His leadership showed that America was a great nation. That was also the last time I remember the nation united. I watch [Manchurian President-elect] fail to unite America and drive a wedge between us.

…The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence. Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.

…The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience. I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. I pray my fellow electors will do their job and join with me in discovering who that person should be.

Fifteen years ago, I swore an oath to defend my country and Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. On Dec. 19, I will do it again.

La Résistance

Bribe Hard

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—President-elect…drew a line in the sand on Friday as he warned that U.S. companies planning to ship jobs overseas will be slapped with enormous bribes.

“If you think you’re going to get away with sending jobs out of the U.S., think again,” (he) said. “You are about to be bribed, big league.”

He raised the cautionary example of Carrier Corporation, which this week decided to keep a few hundred jobs in the U.S. in exchange for a seven-million-dollar government incentive. “I warned those boys at Carrier: we can do this the easy way, or the hard way, where you get seven million dollars,” he said. “They backed down so fast—it was terrific.”

Bribe Hard

Au Courant

This week’s au courant links:

And finally, an explanation for what’s happening:

Au Courant

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Since, apparently, millions of you don’t know the difference. Unfortunately there’s no app for not giving a good fuck.
  2. Probably also ought to mirror in a country the U.S. can’t bend to their will.
  3. Phillips 66, who have financed 25% of the Dakota Access Pipeline project, is primarily owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s holding company. Buffett actively campaigned for Hillary Clinton this past presidential election, and has made large donations to Clinton, Obama, and other Democrats over the past several years.

Legalized Corruption

“[Manchurian President-elect] has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States,” Sanders wrote. “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.”

Vermont. Sen. Bernie Sanders

And this is just the start; the swoooooooooooshing noise you hear is your job leaving the country and being replaced by legalized corruption.

Legalized Corruption

Oil Wars

It appears our Manchurian President-elect has already managed to initiate the trade war he all but promised while campaigning: Get set for a rising tide of oil and gas prices:

OPEC clinched a deal to curtail oil supply, confounding skeptics as the need to clear a record global crude glut — and prove the group’s credibility — brought about its first cuts in eight years.

OPEC will reduce production by 1.2 million barrels a day to 32.5 million a day, two delegates said Wednesday during a ministerial meeting in Vienna, asking not to be identified as the decision isn’t yet public. Benchmark Brent crude rose 8 percent to $50.07 a barrel in London at 1:37 p.m. local time.

After weeks of often tense negotiations, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ three biggest producers — Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran — resolved differences over sharing the burden of cuts. Notably, it appears the Saudis accepted that Iran, as a special case, can raise production to about 3.9 million barrels a day. The agreement is also likely to include an additional reduction of about 600,000 barrels a day by non-OPEC countries.

“This should be a wake-up call for skeptics who have argued the death of OPEC,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd. “The group wants to push inventories down.”

The deal promises to revive the tattered finances of countries from Venezuela to Libya and restore flagging confidence in the producer bloc that controls 40 percent of the world’s oil. But the consequences will reverberate far beyond OPEC, giving a boost to U.S. shale drillers crippled by a two-year price rout and oil giants such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which have cut spending to the bone to weather the prolonged downturn.

Suddenly after eight years of stable (when not falling) oil/gas prices, OPEC looks at our Clown Prince, smirks and screws down production. This will immediately benefit countries like Iran, Venezuela, Libya and, yes, Russia. The Sauds, of course, will make billions. Anyone see a pattern?

In addition, as the Manchurian President-elect has reiterated time and again, he intends to boost drilling/fracking in the US by gutting the environment 1 rather than lower demand through alternative energy.

So how does all this benefit the US? Why, we get the satisfaction of accelerating global warming AND a an oil price war. 2 3

Wake up, people.

Oil Wars

Show 3 footnotes

  1. And now that the EPA administrators are playing down the water pollution issues of fracking that will be easier to do one the Manchurian President-elect takes office. If, indeed, the Clown Prince doesn’t kill that agency’s budget all together.
  2. We can hardly wait to see how the Manchurian Candidate-elect handles coal!
  3. Oops! And US shale producers will benefit, which of course means US insurance companies will also make money hand over fist due to all the new earthquake coverage policies they’ll write.

Au Courant

This week’s au courant links…

And finally, you’re one of us, or you’re one of them 1:

Au Courant

Show 1 footnote

  1. If you think this trivial, then somehow you missed —at a minimumsoftware in Toyota vehicles killing nearly 90 people. Not to mention the theft of millions. Oh, and undoubtedly elections.

Believe the Autocrat

Hitler NY TimesHowever well-intentioned, this talk assumes that (the autocrat) is prepared to find common ground with his many opponents, respect the institutions of government, and repudiate almost everything he has stood for during the campaign. In short, it is treating him as a “normal” politician…

But (the autocrat) is anything but a regular politician and this has been anything but a regular election…

He is probably the first candidate in history to win the presidency despite having been shown repeatedly by the national media to be a chronic liar, sexual predator, serial tax-avoider, and race-baiter who has attracted the likes of the Ku Klux Klan. Most important, (the autocrat) is the first candidate in memory who ran not for president but for autocrat — and won.

I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now:

  • Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization. This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable. Back in the 1930s, The New York Times assured its readers that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was all posture…
  • Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. […] Confronted with political volatility, the markets become suckers for calming rhetoric from authority figures. So do people. Panic can be neutralized by falsely reassuring words…
  • Rule #3: Institutions will not save you. It took Putin a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system; the judiciary collapsed unnoticed. The capture of institutions in Turkey has been carried out even faster, by a man once celebrated as the democrat to lead Turkey into the EU. Poland has in less than a year undone half of a quarter century’s accomplishments in building a constitutional democracy…
  • Rule #4: Be outraged. If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself…
  • Rule #5: Don’t make compromises. Like Ted Cruz, who made the journey from calling Trump “utterly amoral” and a “pathological liar” to endorsing him in late September to praising his win as an “amazing victory for the American worker,” Republican politicians have fallen into line. Conservative pundits who broke ranks during the campaign will return to the fold. Democrats in Congress will begin to make the case for cooperation, for the sake of getting anything done — or at least, they will say, minimizing the damage…

Believe the Autocrat