LOL! This one has us in stitches…Like Occupy Democrats for more!
Posted by Occupy Democrats on Monday, July 31, 2017
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Bill Clinton and Barack Obama helped shift power away from the people towards corporations. It was this that created an opening for Donald Trump
Thursday 10 November 2016 07.00 EST Last modified on Friday 14 July 2017 14.20 EDT
What has happened in America should not be seen as a victory for hatefulness over decency. It is more accurately understood as a repudiation of the American power structure.
At the core of that structure are the political leaders of both parties, their political operatives, and fundraisers; the major media, centered in New York and Washington DC; the country’s biggest corporations, their top executives, and Washington lobbyists and trade associations; the biggest Wall Street banks, their top officers, traders, hedge-fund and private-equity managers, and their lackeys in Washington; and the wealthy individuals who invest directly in politics.
At the start of the 2016 election cycle, this power structure proclaimed Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush shoo-ins for the nominations of the Democratic and Republican parties. After all, both of these individuals had deep bases of funders, well-established networks of political insiders, experienced political advisers and all the political name recognition any candidate could possibly want.
It was the Democrats’ embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump
But a funny thing happened on the way to the White House. The presidency was won by Donald Trump, who made his fortune marketing office towers and casinos, and, more recently, starring in a popular reality-television program, and who has never held elective office or had anything to do with the Republican party. Hillary Clinton narrowly won the popular vote, but not enough of the states and their electors secure a victory.
Hillary Clinton’s defeat is all the more remarkable in that her campaign vastly outspent the Trump campaign on television and radio advertisements, and get-out-the-vote efforts. Moreover, her campaign had the support in the general election not of only the kingpins of the Democratic party but also many leading Republicans, including most of the politically active denizens of Wall Street and the top executives of America’s largest corporations, and even former Republican president George HW Bush. Her campaign team was run by seasoned professionals who knew the ropes. She had the visible and forceful backing of Barack Obama, whose popularity has soared in recent months, and his popular wife. And, of course, she had her husband.
Trump, by contrast, was shunned by the power structure. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate in 2012, actively worked against Trump’s nomination. Many senior Republicans refused to endorse him, or even give him their support. The Republican National Committee did not raise money for Trump to the extent it had for other Republican candidates for president.
There had been hints of the political earthquake to come. Trump had won the Republican primaries, after all. More tellingly, Clinton had been challenged in the Democratic primaries by the unlikeliest of candidates – a 74-year-old Jewish senator from Vermont who described himself as a democratic socialist and who was not even a Democrat. Bernie Sanders went on to win 22 states and 47% of the vote in those primaries. Sanders’ major theme was that the country’s political and economic system was rigged in favor of big corporations, Wall Street and the very wealthy.
How the 2016 US election night unfolded
The power structure of America wrote off Sanders as an aberration, and, until recently, didn’t take Trump seriously. A respected political insider recently told me most Americans were largely content with the status quo. “The economy is in good shape,” he said. “Most Americans are better off than they’ve been in years.”
Recent economic indicators may be up, but those indicators don’t reflect the insecurity most Americans continue to feel, nor the seeming arbitrariness and unfairness they experience. Nor do the major indicators show the linkages many Americans see between wealth and power, stagnant or declining real wages, soaring CEO pay, and the undermining of democracy by big money.
Median family income is lower now than it was 16 years ago, adjusted for inflation. Workers without college degrees – the old working class – have fallen furthest. Most economic gains, meanwhile, have gone to top. These gains have translated into political power to elicit bank bailouts, corporate subsidies, special tax loopholes, favorable trade deals and increasing market power without interference by anti-monopoly enforcement – all of which have further reduced wages and pulled up profits.
Donald Trump is moving to the White House, and liberals put him there
Wealth, power and crony capitalism fit together. Americans know a takeover has occurred, and they blame the establishment for it.
The Democratic party once represented the working class. But over the last three decades the party has been taken over by Washington-based fundraisers, bundlers, analysts, and pollsters who have focused instead on raising campaign money from corporate and Wall Street executives and getting votes from upper middle-class households in “swing” suburbs.
Democrats have occupied the White House for 16 of the last 24 years, and for four of those years had control of both houses of Congress. But in that time they failed to reverse the decline in working-class wages and economic security. Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama ardently pushed for free trade agreements without providing millions of blue-collar workers who thereby lost their jobs means of getting new ones that paid at least as well.
They stood by as corporations hammered trade unions, the backbone of the white working class – failing to reform labor laws to impose meaningful penalties on companies that violate them, or help workers form unions with simple up-or-down votes. Partly as a result, union membership sank from 22% of all workers when Bill Clinton was elected president to less than 12% today, and the working class lost bargaining leverage to get a share of the economy’s gains.
Bill Clinton and Obama also allowed antitrust enforcement to ossify – with the result that large corporations have grown far larger, and major industries more concentrated. The unsurprising result of this combination – more trade, declining unionization and more industry concentration – has been to shift political and economic power to big corporations and the wealthy, and to shaft the working class. This created an opening for Donald Trump’s authoritarian demagoguery, and his presidency.
Now Americans have rebelled by supporting someone who wants to fortify America against foreigners as well as foreign-made goods. The power structure understandably fears that Trump’s isolationism will stymie economic growth. But most Americans couldn’t care less about growth because for years they have received few of its benefits, while suffering most of its burdens in the forms of lost jobs and lower wages.
Trump won. Now we organize to block him, every step of the way
The power structure is shocked by the outcome of the 2016 election because it has cut itself off from the lives of most Americans. Perhaps it also doesn’t wish to understand, because that would mean acknowledging its role in enabling the presidency of Donald Trump.
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By MICHAEL D. SHEAR, GLENN THRUSH and MAGGIE HABERMANJULY 31, 2017
WASHINGTON — John F. Kelly, President Trump’s new chief of staff, firmly asserted his authority on his first day in the White House on Monday, telling aides he will impose military discipline on a free-for-all West Wing, and he underscored his intent by firing Anthony Scaramucci, the bombastic communications director, 10 days after he was hired.
Mr. Scaramucci was forced out of his post, with the blessing of the president and his family, just days after unloading a crude verbal tirade against other members of the president’s staff, including Reince Priebus, Mr. Kelly’s beleaguered predecessor, and Stephen K. Bannon, the chief White House strategist, in a conversation with a reporter for The New Yorker.
Mr. Trump recruited Mr. Scaramucci as a tough-talking alter ego who would ferociously fight for him the way others had not. But “the Mooch,” as he likes to be known, quickly went too far, even in the eyes of a president who delights in pushing the boundaries of political and social decorum. As Mr. Kelly, a former four-star Marine general, began his first day on the job, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, announced that Mr. Scaramucci was out.
“The president certainly felt that Anthony’s comments were inappropriate for a person in that position,” Ms. Sanders said. “He didn’t want to burden General Kelly, also, with that line of succession.”
In a post to Twitter just hours before the announcement, Mr. Trump insisted that there had been “No WH chaos!” Yet even as he sought to reassure supporters that all was well, several administration aides fretted that the impetuous president and the disciplined Marine were already on a collision course that could ultimately doom the unlikely partnership.
Mr. Kelly, the first former general to occupy the gatekeeper’s post since Alexander Haig played that role for President Richard M. Nixon during Watergate, is charged with quelling the chaos that has defined, distracted and often derailed Mr. Trump’s White House. But the president gave Mr. Priebus many of the same assurances of control, and then proceeded to undercut and ignore him — to the point where Mr. Priebus often positioned himself at the door of the Oval Office to find out whom the president was talking to.
In his brief time at the White House, Mr. Scaramucci seemed to epitomize its chaos. A wealthy New York financier, he burst onto the political scene with a memorable performance in the White House briefing room, where he portrayed himself as a major, new player who had been assured he would report directly to the president, without the interference of intermediaries like Mr. Priebus or Sean Spicer, the president’s first press secretary.
It was soon clear that Mr. Scaramucci would not be a fixture of the administration, but a transitory figure who created an opportunity for Mr. Trump, with his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, to undertake the far-reaching shake-up intended to purge the White House staff of leakers and aides viewed as not sufficiently loyal to his cause.
Mr. Spicer quit the day Mr. Scaramucci was hired; Mr. Priebus left shortly after the rant in which Mr. Scaramucci accused him of undermining the president through leaks of information to reporters.
Mr. Kelly, who was Mr. Trump’s first secretary of homeland security, arrives at a critical juncture, when the president is confronted with North Korea’s growing nuclear ambitions, Russia’s aggressive diplomatic moves and continuing fighting in Iraq and Syria. The new chief of staff will also be charged with reviving a stalled legislative agenda. Mr. Trump’s campaign promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ended in failure last week, and there has been little progress on other major goals like overhauling taxes or rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.
And despite his desire for discipline, it took only hours on Monday for Mr. Kelly to face his first White House leak, and it was about him. CNN reported that Mr. Kelly had been so upset about the president’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director in May that he called Mr. Comey to say he was considering resigning, an account that was confirmed by a former law enforcement official who was told of the conversation.
Mr. Kelly resisted the president’s entreaties to take over for Mr. Priebus during the past several weeks. After his appointment was announced on Friday, he met with Mr. Trump and demanded assurances that he would wield the usual sweeping authority over personnel, the flow of information and access to the Oval Office that chiefs of staff have traditionally been given.
In early morning staff meetings at the White House on Monday, Mr. Kelly made it clear that the president had agreed to let him impose more discipline over what had been an unruly and inefficient decision-making and communications process under Mr. Priebus, who had none of Mr. Kelly’s experience in government or the military.
President Trump with John F. Kelly, the new White House chief of staff, in the Oval Office on Monday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
Mr. Kelly also made it clear that everyone in the staff — including Mr. Bannon, Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner — would clear policy proposals, personnel recommendations and advice from outsiders through him.
“General Kelly has the full authority to operate within the White House, and all staff will report to him,” Ms. Sanders told reporters later. But she added that Mr. Trump would decide how that would work.
Mr. Scaramucci’s fall and Mr. Kelly’s rise highlighted the diminished but still important role in shaping the West Wing played by Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner, both of whom serve in the White House as senior advisers to the president.
Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner had hoped to persuade Mr. Trump to appoint Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser, as chief of staff, but later — when it became apparent that Mr. Trump had settled on hiring Mr. Kelly — they supported the choice of the general, according to people involved in the White House’s internal discussions.
While Mr. Kelly’s concerns were the decisive factor in Mr. Scaramucci’s departure, they said, it was clear that Mr. Trump had quickly soured on the wisecracking, Long Island-bred former hedge fund manager, and so had his family.
Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner had initially pushed the president to hire Mr. Scaramucci, seeing him as a way to force out Mr. Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman, and his allies in the West Wing, like Mr. Spicer.
Mr. Spicer resigned just hours after Mr. Scaramucci’s hiring was made public. And shortly after Mr. Scaramucci called Mr. Priebus a “paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac” — adding a more vulgar term to the beginning of the phrase — Mr. Priebus, too, offered his resignation.
Mr. Trump was initially pleased by Mr. Scaramucci’s harsh remarks, directed at Mr. Priebus as well as Mr. Bannon. But that view seemed to change as people around Mr. Trump told him that Mr. Scaramucci’s over-the-top performances were not well received.
In addition, Mr. Scaramucci seemed to be, at least for the moment, overshadowing him — a fact that Breitbart News, which Mr. Bannon used to run, pointed out in a headline describing Mr. Trump as second fiddle to his communications director.
Over the weekend, after speaking with his family and Mr. Kelly — who refused to even consider retaining Mr. Scaramucci — the president began to see the brash actions of his newly high-profile subordinate as a political liability, according to three people familiar with his thinking.
For the time being, the White House may leave the communications director post open, said a person close to the internal discussions about the job, though Mr. Kelly has the latitude from Mr. Trump to fill the post with someone from the Department of Homeland Security.
Two perennial candidates to fill the post are Kellyanne Conway, a White House senior adviser and the president’s former campaign manager, and Jason Miller, who held the communications post during the campaign. Mr. Trump has long wanted to bring Mr. Miller, who serves as an informal adviser, into the administration.
Mr. Kelly’s bond with the president is based on Mr. Trump’s affinity for generals, whom he views as can-do leaders, and a belief that Mr. Kelly is a “star” of the administration, delivering on the promise to secure the border and toughen immigration enforcement.
But the choice was also part of a bet that Mr. Kelly can tame a White House that has at times seemed out of control, even to those inside it. On Monday, after a day that included a cabinet meeting and a ceremony to present the Medal of Honor, Mr. Trump seemed eager for the normalcy that has so far eluded him.
At 6:19 p.m., he said on Twitter: “A great day at the White House!”
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