Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Scattershooting Trump's first week as president-elect

-- It's been a bumpy ride for everybody.  Those on the Train and not.

Via Mother JonesNYT:

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition was in disarray on Tuesday, marked by firings, infighting and revelations that American allies were blindly dialing in to Trump Tower to try to reach the soon-to-be-leader of the free world.

One week after Trump scored an upset victory that took him by surprise, his team was improvising the most basic traditions of assuming power. That included working without official State Department briefing materials in his first conversations with foreign leaders.

Two officials who had been handling national security for the transition, former Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan and Matthew Freedman, a lobbyist who consults with corporations and foreign governments, were fired. Both were part of what officials described as a purge orchestrated by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser.

The dismissals followed the abrupt firing on Friday of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who was replaced as chief of the transition by Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Kushner, a transition official said, was systematically dismissing people like Rogers who had ties with Christie. As a federal prosecutor, Christie had sent Kushner’s father to jail.

Prominent American allies were in the meantime scrambling to figure out how and when to contact Trump. At times, they have been patched through to him in his luxury office tower with little warning, according to a Western diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail private conversations.

Amateur hour all day yesterday.  In the evening, Trump ditched his media contingent to go out to dinner with his family.  Their top-secret security clearances have been requested.  Though not officially, apparently.  'Conflicts of interest' being what they are.

Make sure your seat belts are securely fastened.

-- I wrote the day before the election that North Carolina was going to be pivotal, but as the returns came in solid red for Trump and Sen. Richard Burr, it just seemed like another prediction I missed.  Today, the outcomes there have regained importance.  For one thing, it looks like the incumbent Republican shitheel governor, Pat McCrory, has lost but still isn't conceding.  So that election may not be decided until after Turkey Day.

Early (morning one week ago), North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) declared victory over Gov. Pat McCrory (R), the embattled incumbent who has signed into law some of the most retrograde legislation in the country since his term began in 2013.

But McCrory refused to concede, saying the race was too close to call. Cooper was leading by slightly more than 4,300 votes on Wednesday. As of Friday, the state attorney general was ahead by more than 4,900 votes.

McCrory initially said the outcome of the race wouldn’t be clear until Nov. 18, once provisional and absentee ballots had been counted. But now it seems an answer might not be available until after Thanksgiving.

58,000 provisional and absentee ballots have yet to be counted. But most of the provisional ballots were cast in Democratic-leaning counties. Cooper won eight of the 10 counties with the most provisional ballots. McCrory was favored in two of those counties, and in several others not in the top 10, according to The News & Observer.

If the race is within 10,000 votes once all of the state’s ballots are tallied, then McCrory or Cooper can ask for a recount ― a procedure that likely wouldn’t happen until after Thanksgiving.

McCrory followed the Texas model during his one term in office.

Shortly after he took office in 2013, McCrory repealed the Racial Justice Act of 2009, which allowed inmates on death row to appeal death sentences that were sought or imposed on the basis of race. He reasoned that it “created a judicial loophole to avoid the death penalty and not a path to justice.” That July, McCrory ended unemployment benefits for tens of thousands of people and signed a bill mandating that abortion clinics meet the same standards as surgical centers.

McCrory signed one of the nation’s strictest voter ID requirements into law in August 2013. The law was struck down by a federal appeals court in July after three judges determined that GOP lawmakers had chosen to implement specific ID requirements ― as well as to reduce the number of early voting days and to change registration procedures ― in order to keep black voters from the polls.

In March, McCrory signed HB 2. The law prevented local governments from passing any anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people, and mandated that individuals can only use restrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. The bill, which is one of the most far-reaching in the country, has caused the state to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Weeks later, McCrory signed an executive order widening the law to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. The order did not reverse the bathroom portion of the bill.

McCrory also signed a bill in July that removed police camera footage from the public record

There's bound to be a place for McCrory in the Trump administration.  Two more things; first, North Carolina's legislature has a plan to subvert the will of the voters and maintain a conservative majority on the state's Supreme Court.

Even as Donald Trump won the state, North Carolina voters chose last week to elect a new liberal majority to the state supreme court. The new North Carolina Supreme Court would provide a check on the power of the GOP’s veto-proof super-majority in the state legislature. But the legislature has come up with a scheme that would add two seats to the court and allow Gov. Pat McCrory (R) to appoint two justices — maintaining the conservative majority.

And second: "Hi, America.  NC here.  We know what you're about to go through."

-- Hey Donkeys: here's another wake-up call.  Wrap up the pity party and get back to work.

Democrats have one final shot to flip a Senate seat -- but in order to pull off an upset, they need to quickly rally around the Louisiana candidate whose victory could be a bright spot in an otherwise dismal year. Public Service Commissioner – and jovial cattle farmer – Foster Campbell will face off against Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy, a twice-failed Senate candidate, in a Dec. 10 runoff.

On the surface, it might seem like a lost cause: A Democrat running a statewide campaign in Louisiana in the Year of Trump. On the contrary, though, Campbell has a legitimate shot to upset his opponent the same way Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards did in 2015. Yes, Louisiana has a Democratic governor. He's busy at the moment cleaning up the fiscal mess left by his predecessor, failed presidential candidate and Kenneth-the-Page avatar Bobby Jindal.

Edwards pulled off an upset in part because of Jindal's failures, and in part because he ran against David Vitter, a less-than-charismatic politician tainted by a bygone prostitution scandal. But Edwards prevailed not only as an anti-Jindal and anti-Vitter. As an Army veteran with family law enforcement ties and a calm demeanor, he was a strong candidate in his own right.

Campbell, too, is a good bet; he has a wicked sense of humor and speaks plainly. During a recent debate, he rebutted false allegations of ties to ex-KKK leader David Duke, saying, "I have nothing in common with David Duke other than we're probably breathing."


Electing Foster Campbell is the most immediate way to rebuke President-elect Trump. A Campbell victory would mean a 51-49 split in the Senate. This is the last best way to make a difference in 2016.
Campbell is a fighter. During his career, he's fought for ethics reform, lower energy rates for rural consumers, and for victims of domestic violence. Guided by a love of family and a deep-seated faith, he fights for the little man -- and woman.

Campbell is a man of the people; Kennedy is counting on the elite. This year alone, he was the beneficiary of $400,000 from a political action committee funded by one Chicago family.

With a Campbell upset, fifty-one to forty-nine means almost the same thing as it meant in 2001, when Jim Jeffords switched parties.  That could be a real earthquake once more if, say, Susan Collins of Maine were to be persuaded to cross over.  And/or maybe Rand Paul as an indy?

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