Wednesday, November 30, 2016

UK/Sweden "Ordered" to Cease and Desist

Earlier this year, a case was concluded at the UN, in which the body instructed the UK and Sweden to take immediate steps to ensure [Julian Assange] the WikiLeaks founder's liberty, protection and enjoyment of fundamental human rights [and to ...] "afford him monetary compensation."

The UK has appealed the ruling twice, with the UN rejecting its second appeal on Wednesday by pronouncing it "not admissible," Justice for Assange reported, adding that the decision marks the end to London's "attempt to overturn the ruling."

"Now that all appeals are exhausted, I expect that the UK and Sweden will comply with their international obligations and set me free," a statement by Assange read.

Frankly, I don't know what this means for him in reality.  I guess we'll see.  If it were an order to the U.S., I'm pretty sure we'd just thumb our noses at the UN.  And, this might be a hint:
Foreign Office Minister for the Americas, Sir Alan Duncan said: "Julian Assange is not, and has never been, arbitrarily detained in the UK and his continued presence in the Ecuadorean Embassy is entirely self-inflicted. We completely reject the opinion of the UN Working Group and are very disappointed that they will not review their deeply flawed and incorrect position.

"A European Arrest Warrant for an allegation of rape remains outstanding and the UK has a legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden.

I don't think he's going anywhere soon.


I'm not gonna make it.
Ivanka Trump’s 2009 self-help book, “The Trump Card,” opens with an unlikely sentence: “In business, as in life, nothing is ever handed to you.” Ivanka quickly adds caveats. “Yes, I’ve had the great good fortune to be born into a life of wealth and privilege, with a name to match,” she writes. “Yes, I’ve had every opportunity, every advantage. And yes, I’ve chosen to build my career on a foundation built by my father and grandfather.” Still, she insists, she and her brothers didn’t attain their positions in their father’s company “by any kind of birthright or foregone conclusion.”


[It's] a telling portrait of the Trump-family ethos, an attitude that appears quite unkind even when presented by Ivanka, its best salesman.


Ivanka, like her father, is concerned with personal profit. Her alignment with him on this matter is the basis of “The Trump Card,” in which she writes, in one section, “Gosh, I sound like my father, don’t I? But that’s what you get from this particular daddy’s girl.”


What can a woman born with a silver spoon in her mouth teach people who use plastic forks to eat salads at their desks? To answer this question, Ivanka employs an audacious strategy: all of her advantages have actually been handicaps, she says.


[S]he describes attending the élite prep school Choate Rosemary Hall as an opportunity “to look at the world from a whole new angle. Even if it meant living in a building named for someone else!”


When Ivanka was a kid, she got frustrated because she couldn’t set up a lemonade stand in Trump Tower. “We had no such advantages,” she writes, meaning, in this case, an ordinary home on an ordinary street. She and her brothers finally tried to sell lemonade at their summer place in Connecticut, but their neighborhood was so ritzy that there was no foot traffic. “As good fortune would have it, we had a bodyguard that summer,” she writes. They persuaded their bodyguard to buy lemonade, and then their driver, and then the maids, who “dug deep for their spare change.” The lesson, she says, is that the kids “made the best of a bad situation.”

  New Yorker
Holy shit! They made their poor servant-employees dig into their pockets to buy the spoiled brats' lemonade! Poor stalwart children, making the best of a bad situation. Tone deaf just got a new poster child.
In another early business story, she and her brothers made fake Native American arrowheads, buried them in the woods, dug them up while playing with their friends, and sold the arrowheads to their friends for five dollars each.
Innovative kids! My god. This is a positive anecdote?!
Her second book, “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success,” is slated for March, 2017.
Can't fucking wait.

Let's Look at the Positive Side of Global Warming

I should have been keeping track of some of the shit Bloomberg columnist Megan McArdle has been writing (for instance this article discussing a book she hasn't read, and where she writes "crime is better" since the 1970s), but I've been too distracted by the fact that she chooses to use this picture for her column:'s a McArdle that's sure to be a favorite.

Of course, there were plenty of people who offered her some suggestions in that thread.

And this:

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Well, This Is Disturbing

On second thought, maybe it's encouraging.
Most modern day presidents-elect have intelligence officials brief them nearly every day on the contents of the President's Daily Brief, the highest-level intelligence document produced in the United States.


President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday received only his third top-secret intelligence briefing since his election four weeks ago.

The relatively few briefings stand in contrast with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who is getting nearly daily briefings. That suggests that Trump is looking to Pence to have a key role in handling critical national security issues once the two are in office. It could also reflect some discomfort between Trump and the intelligence community.


During the campaign, Trump said he doesn't trust the intelligence community because "they've made such bad decisions."


Trump has named a former intelligence official, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, as his national security adviser. But Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has received only one briefing since the election, according to a person familiar with the briefings schedule.


A close Trump adviser, Kellyanne Conway, has insisted that Trump is engaged and utilizing information from multiple sources, including the briefings.

Oh swell. He's getting his national security updates from Alex Jones' Prison Planet.
While Trump is getting fewer briefings than what's been traditional, he's gotten more during the transition than President Richard Nixon.
And we all know how well that turned out.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

We're About to Find Out if They Really Were Just Racist

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Fill Up Your Tank NOW

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Cabinet of the People

Seriously, though, he doesn't know any working people. How could he put them in his cabinet?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Drain the Swamp, eh?

Steven Mnuchin, a hedge fund manager and former Goldman Sachs executive, is President-elect Donald Trump's choice for Treasury secretary, the New York Times and CBS News reported Tuesday.

  USA Today
How novel. A Goldman Sachs exec at Treasury.
Mnuchin has no government experience. He would be the third Treasury secretary from Goldman Sachs. Robert Rubin was President Bill Clinton's Treasury secretary, while Henry Paulson ran the department for President George W. Bush.
..but hey, do what you will anyway.

Project X

The NSA's partnership with AT&T is physically housed in an unusual building in New York.
THEY CALLED IT Project X. It was an unusually audacious, highly sensitive assignment: to build a massive skyscraper, capable of withstanding an atomic blast, in the middle of New York City. It would have no windows, 29 floors with three basement levels, and enough food to last 1,500 people two weeks in the event of a catastrophe.

  The Intercept
And then what? Do they start whittling down the population; perhaps using the culls as food?
But the building’s primary purpose would not be to protect humans from toxic radiation amid nuclear war. Rather, the fortified skyscraper would safeguard powerful computers, cables, and switchboards.
Screw the people.
[P]lans describe the structure as “a skyscraper to be inhabited by machines” and say that it was “designed to house long lines telephone equipment and to protect it and its operating personnel in the event of atomic attack.”


It would house one of the most important telecommunications hubs in the United States [...] operated by the New York Telephone Company, a subsidiary of AT&T.


[Completed in 1974,] it can be found in the heart of lower Manhattan at 33 Thomas Street, a vast gray tower of concrete and granite [known as the “Long Lines Building”].


Unlike the many neighboring residential and office buildings, it is impossible to get a glimpse inside 33 Thomas Street. True to the designers’ original plans, there are no windows and the building is not illuminated. At night it becomes a giant shadow, blending into the darkness, its large square vents emitting a distinct, dull hum.


An investigation by The Intercept indicates that the skyscraper is more than a mere nerve center for long-distance phone calls. It also appears to be one of the most important National Security Agency surveillance sites on U.S. soil [codenamed TITANPOINTE] — a covert monitoring hub that is used to tap into phone calls, faxes, and internet data.


The NSA’s documents do not state that it can “connect directly to” or “otherwise control” AT&T’s networks, but they do make clear that the agency has placed its own equipment inside TITANPOINTE to tap into phone calls and internet data. It may be the case that the secure room where the equipment is installed is overseen by AT&T’s own engineers or technicians who have a security clearance. One NSA document dated from March 2013 suggests such a relationship, noting that the “corporate sites” the agency collects data from “are often controlled by the partner, who filters the communications before sending to NSA.”


Historically, AT&T has always maintained close ties with the government. A good example of this came in June 1976, when a congressional subcommittee served AT&T with a subpoena demanding that it hand over information about its alleged role in unlawful FBI wiretapping of phone calls. President Gerald Ford personally intervened to block the subpoena, stating that AT&T “was and is an agent of the United States acting under contract with the Executive Branch.” Ford said the company was in a “unique position” with respect to telephone and other communication lines in the U.S., and therefore it had been “necessary for the Executive Branch to rely on its services to assist in acquiring certain information necessary to the national defense and foreign policy.”

Watch Project X, a short film by Henrik Moltke and Laura Poitras.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Resistance

A DECIDEDLY DESPONDENT contingent of city and county elected officials gathered at city hall in Austin, Texas, on November 17 for a press conference designed to address residents’ “safety concerns” following the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States.

In particular, the officials — including the city’s mayor, several city council members, and the newly elected district attorney and sheriff — sought to quell the concerns of the city’s sizable immigrant population, given the nasty, xenophobic rhetoric espoused by Trump and his surrogates. “My message,” said council member Greg Casar, “to the people who fear, justifiably, in their hearts what is to come, is that before they come for you, they have to come through me.”


Although there is no legal definition of what a sanctuary city is, the term is colloquially bestowed on cities or counties that have policies limiting or refusing local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration enforcement authorities.

In practice, that has generally meant refusing to cooperate with ICE detainer requests made under an Obama-era program called Secure Communities, or S-Comm, and its progeny, the newly named but largely unchanged Priority Enforcement Program.

  The Intercept
Of which, Austin is now one with this year's election of Sheriff Sally Hernandez.
If ICE gets a hit on a person thought to be in the country illegally, it issues a detainer request to the local jail, asking that the city or county hold the individual — even beyond the person’s term of incarceration or after a person has made bail — until ICE can come to pick them up.

Under S-Comm, ICE regularly asked for detainers on immigrants regardless of how minor their alleged crime.


Participation in S-Comm, which Trump has vowed to re-up in its original form, was instrumental in securing the record-setting 2.5 million deportations carried out during the first six years of Obama’s tenure, leading some advocates to dub the president “Deporter in Chief.”


Indeed, it’s not only S-Comm that Trump wants to bring back to life, but he is also a fan of the 287(g) program, which he has called a “popular” program that he would like to “expand and revitalize.”

Under that strategy, local law enforcement officers are actually deputized by the federal agency, and instead of merely granting a detainer request are tasked with ferreting out the immigration status of those in their custody.


The misuse of the 287(g) is one of the legacies of the infamous and recently ousted sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio.


Not only are the programs abusive, but in the case of S-Comm, unconstitutional — according to a string of recent court cases in which judges have found that the unlawful detention of a person absent probable cause is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.


“I think we’re in for a real fight this year,” said Bob Libal, executive director of the activist group Grassroots Leadership. “If there’s anything this election shows us it’s that you can get elected by appealing to the worst in people when it comes to immigration — the worst.” [...]

And good luck to Austin citizens who run afoul of the Trump administration. I'm concerned that the brave council member Greg Casar might not be large enough to block the path.

They're going to need the courts. Uh-oh.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Buckle Your Seatbelts

More election security experts have joined Jill Stein’s campaign to review the presidential vote in battleground states won by Donald Trump, as she sues Wisconsin to secure a full recount by hand of all its 3m ballots.


Stein argued that Wisconsin’s plan to allow automatic recounting “risks tainting the recount process” because the electronic scanning equipment involved may incorrectly tally the results and could have been attacked by foreign hackers.

And the Mad Tweeter will be up all night, every night.

He only has himself to blame. He's the one who kept squealing about a rigged election.

Stein, the Green party’s presidential election candidate, is working to secure full recounts in the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Trump surprised pollsters by narrowly beating Clinton on his way to a national victory in the electoral college.
Personally, I don't think there had to be any rigging for Hillary to lose even those states. The Democrats just can't accept it. I'm a bit surprised, however, that Jill Stein is carrying that water.
A petition from Stein requesting a recount was accepted by Wisconsin last Friday. Her efforts to obtain a recount in Pennsylvania met serious difficulties on Monday as it became clear she needed three voters in each of the state’s 9,163 voting precincts to request a recount on her behalf, and that deadlines to do so had passed in many precincts.

Wisconsin also told Stein on Monday that the recount, which was previously estimated to cost $1m, would actually cost $3.5m and that the funds must be produced by the end of Tuesday. Stein has raised more than $6m for the three-state recount effort using online crowdfunding.

Aaaaand...he's off.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


Donald Trump has chosen a prominent critic of Obamacare as his secretary of health and human services.

Of course.
Congressman Tom Price of Georgia, an orthopedic surgeon who has long been a leading congressional voice in opposition to Barack Obama’s healthcare reform legislation.
I didn't think much of it myself.
Last week, Price said that whatever Republicans do to replace Obama’s healthcare law will bear a “significant resemblance” to a 2015 measure that was vetoed by the president. That bill would have gutted some of the health care law’s main features: Medicaid expansion, subsidies to help middle-class Americans buy private policies, the tax penalties for individuals who refused to get coverage and several taxes to support coverage expansion.


Price insisted that Republicans can keep the protections for those with existing medical conditions without mandating that all individuals carry coverage or pay a penalty to support an expanded insurance pool.
And while you're at it, you can get rid of that penalty for Medicare applicants who didn't opt for private insurance drug coverage when they turned 65.
Price said Republicans want to address “the real cost drivers” of healthcare price spikes, which he said were not necessarily sicker patients, but a heavy regulatory burden, taxes and lawsuits against medical professionals.
Oh, brother. Deregulation has always helped the middle class, right?
In addition, Indiana health policy consultant Seema Verma [founder and CEO of a health policy consulting firm] was chosen to become administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Verma, an Indiana resident, is best known for her work on Medicaid issues and her close ties to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Oh swell.
Through her consulting firm SVC Inc., Verma has worked on other high-profile Medicaid expansion proposals for Republican governors. That includes Kentucky, where Republican Gov. Matt [...] Bevin's plan includes a work requirement as a condition of receiving benefits and lockout periods for failure to pay.
Wow. The rest of you will have a new Pence-influenced health care plan: prayer.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Happy Release Date, Barrett Brown

Brown's release is scheduled for today at 9am. He has to report to a halfway house by 4 o'clock.

In short, he has to make monthly payments on restitution of approximately $900,000, have his internet usage, his computers and storage media monitored at any time his probation officer might choose, release his provider to give information to the authorities, not use any other computers without permission or any security software that the authorities cannot penetrate. He has served four years in prison. If you need background, click here.

A concluding paragraph bears repeating:
One can’t help but infer that the US Department of Justice has become just another security contractor, working alongside the HBGarys and Stratfors on behalf of corporate bidders, with no sense at all for the justness of their actions; they are working to protect corporations and private security contractors and give them license to engage in disinformation campaigns against ordinary citizens and their advocacy groups. The mere fact that the FBI’s senior cybersecurity advisor has recently moved to Hunton and Williams shows just how incestuous this relationship has become. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is also using its power and force to trample on the rights of citizens like Barrett Brown who are trying to shed light on these nefarious relationships. In order to neutralize those who question or investigate the system, laws are being reinterpreted or extended or otherwise misappropriated in ways that are laughable—or would be if the consequences weren’t so dire.

  The Nation 


Monday, November 28, 2016

About That WaPo McCarthyite Article

Last week, a technology reporter for the Washington Post named Craig Timberg ran an incredible story. It has no analog that I can think of in modern times. Headlined "Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say," the piece promotes the work of a shadowy group that smears some 200 alternative news outlets as either knowing or unwitting agents of a foreign power, including popular sites like Truthdig and Naked Capitalism.

The thrust of Timberg's astonishingly lazy report is that a Russian intelligence operation of some kind was behind the publication of a "hurricane" of false news reports during the election season, in particular stories harmful to Hillary Clinton. The piece referenced those 200 websites as "routine peddlers of Russian propaganda."


The meat of the story relied on a report by unnamed analysts from a single mysterious "organization" called PropOrNot [...] a "group" that seems to have been in existence for just a few months.

It was PropOrNot's report that identified what it calls "the list" of 200 offending sites. Outlets as diverse as, and the Ron Paul Institute were described as either knowingly directed by Russian intelligence, or "useful idiots" who unwittingly did the bidding of foreign masters.

  Matt Taibbi/Rolling Stone
No vetting of PropOrNot - or even information about it - was offered by the Post. Nor was any evidence of its claims regarding Russian agency. Nor were the sources on the list contacted for comment.
[I]f you published material that meets their definition of being "useful" to the Russian state, you could be put on the "list," and "warrant further scrutiny."


"We're getting a lot of requests for comment and can get back to you today =)" PropOrNot told The Intercept. "We're over 30 people, organized into teams, and we cannot confirm or deny anyone's involvement." "They" never called The Intercept back.


[I]n its Twitter responses to criticism of its report, PropOrNot sounded not like a group of sophisticated military analysts, but like one teenager:

"Awww, wook at all the angwy Putinists, trying to change the subject - they're so vewwy angwy!!" it wrote on Saturday.

"Fascists. Straight up muthafuckin' fascists. That's what we're up against," it wrote last Tuesday, two days before Timberg's report.
Perhaps Timberg is a teenager himself? (Apologies to teenagers.)
[I]ts report was uncritically picked up by other outlets like USA Today and the Daily Beast. The "Russians did it" story was greedily devoured by a growing segment of blue-state America that is beginning to fall victim to the same conspiracist tendencies that became epidemic on the political right in the last few years.


All of this is an outgrowth of this horrible election season we just lived through.


Helping Beltway politicos mass-label a huge portion of dissenting media as "useful idiots" for foreign enemies in this sense is an extraordinarily self-destructive act. Maybe the Post doesn't care and thinks it's doing the right thing. In that case, at least do the damn work.

Are you ready?


Good Clarification

Standing Rock Camp Will Stay

The US Army Corps of Engineers will not forcibly remove Standing Rock activists from a disputed protest camp in North Dakota, according to a statement. It previously said the Oceti Sakowin camp would be closed on December 5.


It did warn, however, that “those who remain will be considered unauthorized and may be subject to citation under federal, state, or local laws.”


The Corps of Engineers has described the move as “necessary to protect the general public from the dangerous confrontations between demonstrators and law enforcement officials which have occurred near this area.”

There IS no general public in that area.
A “free speech zone” was set up south of the river intended for peaceful protest according to authorities.
How very American. To protest, you can have this one spot over here out of range of the action where you can hold signs and not cause anybody any discomfort or trouble.

I believe Free Speech Zones were created under the reign of George Bush II. It's unbelievable to me that there was not total outrage over the idea, but rather an acceptance and normalization by the US media. Free Speech Zones. Under the Constitution, the entirety of the United States is a free speech zone. The founding fathers are in tears.

Castro Is Dead and Communism/Socialism Doesn't Work

And poor people in America are poor because of their own lack of ambition and desire to get a free handout and it has nothing to do with the capitalist economy.

Let's Make Matters Worse

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sit Up Straight Donnie

Media institutions help set agendas and frame political debates each election cycle. But with Trump, they helped normalize and legitimize a candidate who never should’ve come close to attaining such power.


Even as Trump attacked the press — mocking and feuding with journalists, threatening to change libel laws, holding campaign events where reporters were corralled and roughed up — he still served major media outlets well. That’s because the news organizations covering Trump, particularly television stations, reaped incredible amounts of money from their election coverage. Cable news organizations’ expected haul this election season? A record-breaking $2.5 billion.


CBS CEO Leslie Moonves admitted earlier this year: “[Trump’s candidacy] may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” He went on to say: “The money’s rolling in and this is fun . . . this is going to be a very good year for us . . . bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”


One study calculated that, in 2015, Trump received 327 minutes of nightly broadcast network news coverage, compared with Hillary Clinton’s 121 minutes and Bernie Sanders’ 20 minutes. The New York Times reported that Trump garnered nearly $2 billion in free media coverage during his primary campaign. Other estimates place it closer to $3 billion.

  Jacobin Magazine
So, doesn't that mean the news organizations effectively lost money covering Trump?
Bereft of well-supported public outlets, the US media landscape stands out among liberal democracies for its acute commercialization.


Is this really the arrangement — one so beholden to brute market forces — that Americans wanted?
Apparently so.
Trump’s screen-to-screen exposure during the campaign season didn’t just reflect audience desires; rather, it served as bait for their attention.


Audience eyeballs are the coveted product that media deliver to advertisers. And to keep our attention, media must entertain us.


The history behind the “Trumpification of the media” exposes the underlying commercial logic that ultimately seeks to entertain, not inform.As cheap, mass-circulation newspapers commercialized and began to rely heavily on advertising revenue [in the mid-ninetenth century], sensationalistic reporting (or “yellow journalism”) proliferated [... relying] on advertising for roughly 80 percent of its revenues, much higher than its counterparts around the world.


The 1934 Communications Act codified the rules of [the] new medium [radio], and set up a permanent regulatory agency for telecommunications and broadcast media: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The FCC was tasked with granting licenses and ensuring that broadcasting stations served the public interest. But programming regulation was thorny terrain because the FCC was forbidden from practicing censorship. [...] Any FCC attempt to establish public interest standards was met with pushback from the commercial broadcast industry, which accused the agency of paternalism and attacking free speech.


In an environment barren of public alternatives and structural regulation, concentration set in. By the mid-1940s, four commercial networks dominated the industry.


Most broadcasters viewed their primary role as selling airtime to advertisers who developed programs and promoted their products. [...] Shows like soap operas — the term given to 1940s radio serials due to their frequent soap company sponsorship — granted sponsors free rein to air numerous commercials and even to influence programming.


The FCC rarely intervened. [...] The inveterate media reformer Everett Parker, recalling the FCC’s close ties to media corporations, quipped that prior to its formation, “four commissioners were vetted by AT&T and three by broadcasters.”
Isn't it always the way?
Over the past few decades, government typically has intervened to aid corporations’ interests, not the public interest. Policies girding potential alternatives like cable television and satellite communications put them under sway of the same commercial interests, and the Reagan administration jettisoned public interest protections like the Fairness Doctrine. The deregulatory zeal that characterized 1980s media policy largely continued under subsequent Republican and Democratic administrations.
Isn't it always the way?

Continue reading this article,and thank Bill Clinton for deregulation that led to massive mergers and consolidation so that now there are only a handful of media organizations controlling all that you see and hear.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

"Fake News"

If you haven't been deluged with the latest morality/red scare freaking out about "fake news" being a Russian plot to install Trump in the White House, don't bother checking it out. If you have, read this Fortune article taking down the Washington Post's story arguing for the Russian conspiracy. Here's how it ends:
Has the rise of fake news played into the hands of those who want to spread disinformation? Sure it has. But connecting hundreds of Twitter accounts into a dark web of Russian-controlled agents, along with any website that sits on some poorly thought-out blacklist, seems like the beginnings of a conspiracy theory, rather than a scientific analysis of the problem.

Also, the ramping up of Cold War 2.0.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

(Timely) UPDATE:



..but hey, do what you will anyway.

Jesus Effing Christ

Warning: Hard to watch.

The Last Legend

Fidel Castro has passed.


Yeah, right. I'm sure that's exactly what they're thinking: What would we do without the U.S.?

Friday, November 25, 2016

In Case You Missed It

John Ehrlichman, who served as President Richard Nixon’s domestic policy chief, laid bare the sinister use of his boss’ controversial [law and order, anti-drug] policy in a 1994 interview with journalist Dan Baum that the writer revisited in a new article for Harper’s magazine.

“You want to know what this was really all about,” Ehrlichman, who died in 1999, said in the interview after Baum asked him about Nixon’s harsh anti-drug policies.

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying,” Ehrlichman continued.

“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”


By 1973, about 300,000 people were being arrested every year under the law — the majority of whom were African-American.


The original 1994 interview with Ehrlichman was part of Baum’s research for his 1997 book, “Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure,” in which Baum laid bare decades of unsuccessful drug policy.

But the quotes never appeared in the book.

  NY Daily News

Meanwhile in Brazil

When will in hit Temer himself?

Oh, Yeah, a Turkey Was Pardoned

No, not Ed Snowden.

Yeah, just a little joke.  Actually, I'm all for pardoning Ed Snowden.  Not gonna happen.

WIIIAI reposted all her (?) Bush era Thanksgiving posts.  That's fun.  I highly recommend reading them all.  Here's a couple from 2007 and 2005, respectively:
The White House is having its annual Thanksgiving contest, in which the two turkeys to be spared the ax are named by the great American public. The choices offered by the White House this year are less creative than ever: Wing & Prayer, May & Flower, Gobbler & Rafter (Rafter?) (evidently a flock of turkeys is called a rafter), Wish & Bone, Truman & Sixty (the pardon-the-turkey thing was initiated by Truman 60 years ago, when I believe the turkeys were named Hiroshima & Nagasaki), or Jake & Tom. Surely we can do better. I declare this a CONTEST and open with my own entry: Water & Board.


Today, some American soldiers went to deliver candy and toys to the child patients in a hospital in Mahmoudiya, Iraq. You already know this story isn’t going to end well, don’t you? But let’s pause to wonder: how were they planning to spin the Thanksgiving tale for Iraqi consumption? Well, people fleeing their homes because of religious persecution, I guess Iraqis can relate to that. Puritanical religious fanatics whose goal is to stamp out every sign of free will and joy, especially among females, that might seem familiar too (Muqtada al-Sadr is of course Arabic for Cotton Mather, and I’m pretty sure somewhere in that new constitution is the phrase “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”). White guys with guns arriving from a foreign land and taking control of all the natural resources? Check.

So the Americans went to the hospital, and a suicide bomb attack killed 30 or 34 people. Shouted one survivor, in a question that is in no way a metaphor for the wider situation, “Why did the Americans come here? They must have known they would bring the killers with them.”


Ah, the good old days.  At least with Donald Trump we will once again have the possibility of some photo-worthy times ahead.

Sorry, I don't know what happened this year. I just assume a turkey was pardoned.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

You Have Been Warned

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

So What's Wrong with Charter Schools?

Other than my general objection to privatizing important aspects of government, one of which I firmly believe is the education of its citizens (caveat*), I couldn't actually point to any actual failures of a charter school system. So I had to spend a little more time to be able to offer a look at the privatization desires of Trump and his administration's Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

First of all, I needed to know how a charter school actually differs from a traditional public school.
Charter schools are publicly funded but not bound by many of the rules that constrain traditional public schools.

Charters, for example, can easily try new curriculums or teaching strategies, or choose to have a longer school day. They have more autonomy than traditional public schools in hiring and firing teachers, who have voted to form unions at only a handful of charters.


[C]harters are required to run [admission lotteries] when they have more applicants than seats.

Sounds good. Now, the reports.
Some schools are filled with students — say, the children of highly motivated parents — who would perform well in almost any setting. This could mislead us into thinking these schools provide an exemplary education, when the truth is they attract strong students.

This is so-called selection bias, the greatest challenge in evaluating the effectiveness of schools. Stuyvesant High School in New York City, to which entry is granted through a competitive exam, is filled with smart students who might succeed anywhere.


A consistent pattern has emerged from this research. In urban areas, where students are overwhelmingly low-achieving, poor and nonwhite, charter schools tend to do better than other public schools in improving student achievement. By contrast, outside of urban areas, where students tend to be white and middle class, charters do no better and sometimes do worse than public schools.

That's an interesting result. My immediate question is then why don't we study what changes are made in urban charter schools that make them work and that could be applied to urban public schools to make them work as well? there something in the idea of being accepted into a charter school that makes the students themselves perform better, or is it simply that the better students are the ones who are attracted to and apply to the charter schools? What if you're a poor student and don't feel like you have any hope of doing any better anywhere? Or what if you really don't even want to be in school? Are you likely to apply to and attend a charter school?
Despite ever mounting evidence to the contrary, corporate media and corporate-bought politicians continue to proclaim the superiority of charter schools. Meanwhile, “nearly 2,500 charter schools closed their doors from 2001 to 2013, leaving over a quarter million kids temporarily without a school.” The New Orleans school privatization experiment has clearly failed, as has Detroit. Yet, the charter myth persists, backed by big money and lies.


Corporate-controlled spokesgroups ALEC, US Chamber of Commerce, and Americans for Prosperity are drooling over school privatization and automated classrooms, with a formula described by The Nation: "Use standardized tests to declare dozens of poor schools ‘persistently failing’; put these under the control of a special unelected authority; and then have that authority replace the public schools with charters." But as aptly expressed by Jeff Bryant, "As a public school loses a percentage of its students to charters, the school can’t simply cut fixed costs for things like transportation and physical plant proportionally...So instead, the school cuts a program or support service."


Urban charter schools primarily enroll low-income minority students. That seems admirable upon first reflection, but selective admissions of the best students from ANY community will make an individual school look good.


Because of charters, Michigan cities have lost nearly half (46.5%) of their revenue over the past 10 years. Detroit, which is surpassed only by New Orleans in the number of charter students, half of the charter schools perform only as well as, or worse than, traditional public schools. A federal study found an "unreasonably high" number of charters among the lowest-rated public schools in the state.


In Louisiana, according to the Center for Popular Democracy, "charter schools have experienced millions in known losses from fraud and financial mismanagement so far, which is likely just the tip of the iceberg."


According to PR Watch, Florida "has one of the worst records in the nation when it comes to fraud and lack of charter school oversight." Texas has an unknown number of charters housed in churches. Nine charters in Washington remain open despite being declared unconstitutional by the state's Supreme Court.

Ohio might be worst of all. Since the 2006-07 school year, 37 percent of the state's charter schools receiving federal grants have either closed or never opened.


As for technology-based schools, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools admits that "The well-documented, disturbingly low performance by too many full-time virtual charter public schools should serve as a call to action to state leaders and authorizers across the country."


As private entities, they are unregulated and lacking in transparency, and, as concluded by the Center for Media and Democracy, they have become a "black hole" into which the federal government has dumped an outrageous $3.7 billion over two decades with little accountability to the public.


At present, there are almost no restrictions on opening a charter school, and existing schools are restrictive in their enrollment policies.

  Paul Buchheit @ Black Agenda Report
No problem. Those other kids that get left behind are needed in the military, right? It's a pretty slick system when you think about it. At least it was until drones got to be the weapon of choice and the country became too averse to sending foot soldiers into battle. That change could shake things up in a big way, leaving a lot of unemployable poor with no military option. I like how presidents Bush and Obama kept harping on the necessity of getting an education, particularly a college degree, without doing anything to make that possible. We may not even have begun to see the fallout from the twin decreases in student and soldier financing. (Do I need to say I'm not advocating increases in soldier financing?)

A Google search of "failure of charter schools" leads to lots of similar stories to the one by Paul Buchheit above. If you're a charter-school proponent, your immediate reaction may be to note that these are coming from "liberal" news sources. To which, I might then note, "conservative" news sources aren't likely going to offer stories on the failure of one of their pet projects.

And on the other hand, if you Google "success of charter schools" you get one positive article (Forbes - and the point of that article is "some charter schools appear to do very well, and on average charters do better at educating poor students and black students"). After that article, there are a few asking the question of whether charter schools are successful, and then suddenly the headlines become "the myth of the success of charter schools."  (Yes, I know, there are other ways to phrase Google searches to get other reports.  Be my guest.  Let me know what you find.)

I think it's also worth noting that the studies that show a slight degree of improved performance in charter schools sound like charters are, if not great, then okay. But, in fact, they should be doing a far better job than the public schools because they are stripping off the best students. As Paul Buchheit says in the article above, "selective admissions of the best students from ANY community will make an individual school look good."

This US News article (found with the "successful" Google search) was written by someone who has "analyzed and participated in charter schooling for two decades now as an analyst, researcher, board member of a growing charter school, board member of nonprofits that work with charter schools and as a public official."  The Author, Andrew Rotherham, "is a cofounder and partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit organization working to support educational innovation and improve educational outcomes for high-need students." It concludes:
Even conservative estimates of charter school growth indicate that within two decades 1 in 5 American students will attend a charter school and some defensible estimates put that figure at more than a third. The United States already has one public education system with wildly varying outcomes and widespread mediocrity – we don't need another one.

So for charters the best path forward lies in education's messy middle – pairing growth with effective public oversight and policies promoting quality and equity. That's happening enough in the charter sector to establish proof of concept but not enough for charter advocates to declare victory. A lot is riding on what happens now.

  Andrew J. Rotherham
Not exactly a glowing report.

*At last, here's my caveat to my asterisk at the beginning of this post:

No, I don't think public schools do a good job. And here's why: beyond the issue of bureaucratic incompetence, public schools are not meant to educate children in our culture so much as they are meant to churn out a continual supply of labor, soldiers and obedient citizens. (And you could argue they're even failing at that.) But I don't believe the answer is private schools. I think it's a different aim and more dollars. Unfortunately, I don't think there's public support for either of those things.

I also don't think we know what the answers are. What are the best goals to get to a future where the maximum number of people are well educated and live in relative peace and prosperity? Is that even a goal we want to achieve as a country? At any rate, it's a safe bet that it's a different number from the "optimum" number of a good business plan (devoid of humanitarian concerns), but I don't see any evidence that anyone is even managing that angle.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Take That

A Chicago politician who accused ‘aggressive squirrels’ of causing refuse chaos in the city suffered serious injuries after one of the furry rodents knocked him off his bike.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Petition to Reduce Manning's Sentence to Time Served

Six years.
Chelsea Manning has been incarcerated since May 2010, including in unlawful, unusually harsh solitary confinement for 11 months before her trial. She has spent the past six years helping others.

Chelsea has already served more time in prison than any individual in United States history who disclosed information in the public interest. Her disclosures harmed no one.

Sign the petition.


And maybe more!

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tear It All Down

In keeping with his appointments of people who would like to gut the government and privatize everything:
President-elect Donald Trump selected a charter school advocate and GOP donor from Michigan on Wednesday to be education secretary.

Betsy DeVos becomes the second woman chosen to fill a spot in Trump's Cabinet. Earlier Wednesday, Trump named South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations earlier in the day. Both Cabinet-level positions require Senate confirmation.


The DeVos family has been active in Republican politics for decades, especially as donors to GOP candidates and the Republican Party. DeVos' husband, Dick, is an heir to the Amway fortune and a former president of the company.


Hours before the DeVos pick was announced, conservative policy leader Frank Cannon, president of American Principles Project, called her "an establishment, pro-Common Core secretary of education."

"This would not qualify as 'draining the swamp,'" Cannon said, referencing Trump's campaign trail slogan.
  Fox News
Wow. The Republicans don't even want her?
In a statement to Fox News, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said DeVos "has no meaningful experience in the classroom or in our schools."
Like her new boss the president-elect, you mean, who has no experience, meaningful or not, in government?
“In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America."
I would have expected nothing less.
[Neurosurgeon] Ben Carson [...] has been offered the job of secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to a person familiar with the offer who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the deliberations publicly.
Ben Carson. He tried to run for president. And when the speculation was about Health and Human Services (a post he, a doctor, presumably was not offered) said he wouldn't want to "take a position [in the Trump administration] that would cripple the presidency" because he "feels he has no government experience."  So, I guess Housing and Urban Development is where he's going to get experience.
Carson has not yet accepted the offer, but he tweeted on Wednesday that "an announcement is forthcoming about my role in helping to make America great again."
"The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!" Trump wrote on Twitter in March.

  USA Today
So now, he wants to make her the UN ambassador.

 Lunatics. One and all.

P.S.  DeVos is Erik Prince's sister.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

While We Were Sleeping

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Irony Is Not Dead

Trump's Advisers & Cabinet

Jeremy Scahill talks to Democracy Now! about Trump's recent choices.


Will Trump Erase the "Progress" of the Obama Administration?

Glen Ford (co-founder of Black Agenda Report) talks about Obama's legacy and what the Trump administration might change.

Are the War Drums Quieter?

With so many people who call themselves liberals and leftists tearing their hair out in dread of a President Donald Trump, it is necessary to point out that the prospects of avoiding nuclear war are much better than they were the day before the election. Hillary Clinton was committed to imposing a “no fly zone” over Syria. [...] You’d think that would have made Clinton anathema to decent people. [...] [But b]ased on [Americans'] political behavior, they [...] support U.S. governments that have slaughtered millions since the end of World War Two. If you voted for Obama and Clinton, you gave your assent to continuing George Bush’s wars, allowing Obama to start two major wars of his own, in Libya and Syria, and to Hillary Clinton’s plans to roll the nuclear dice on the fate of humanity. The whole world knows that Americans are dangerous, to themselves and to others.


Donald Trump looks and talks like the ugly, racist, bullying American -- and he is exactly that, but he hasn’t killed anybody yet, and his public statements have been of a far more peaceful nature than the woman he beat at the polls. Trump says he wants to cooperate with the Syrians and the Russians to defeat ISIS. Trump also does not make distinctions between the various Islamic jihadist groups in Syria, unlike the Obama administration, which has directly and indirectly armed and funded all of the jihadist groups, and has spent much of the last several months trying to protect the al Nusra Front, the al Qaida affiliate in eastern Aleppo, from Russian bombing.


Hopefully, the Syrian government and its friends will be on the road to victory before Donald Trump’s presidency is decisively captured by the bipartisan War Party that runs the empire.


Assad thinks the notion of Trump bucking the War Party is “dubious.” He’s right. Half a million Syrians are dead because most Americans don’t much care who their government kills, as long as they’re not white.

  Glen Ford @ Black Agenda Report
And not even then if they're eastern European or Russian.

Hopefully, this is one thing he'll follow through on. But, I'm not optimistic about it....but hey, do what you will anyway.

After Obamacare: What Comes Next?

The promise to deliver affordable health care was a key campaign issue in 2007 and 2008. But while most Americans demanded a single payer system to replace the private insurance companies, and guarantee health care for everyone, the 44th president his corporate funded Democrats instead delivered Obamacare –- billions in tax dollars to insurance companies for policies with skimpy coverage and such high co-pays and deductibles that many families cannot afford to use their new health insurance. Worse still, Obamacare only provided these sketchy policies to about half the uninsured leaving the rest to the tender mercies of state governments which control Medicaid.


[E]ven though this is the fourth consecutive Republican dominated Congress, and Republican politicians hate Medicare For All just as much as their Democratic rivals, the popular mandate for single payer health care is very much alive.

A May 2016 Gallup Poll confirms that “...58% of U.S. adults favor the idea of replacing the law (Obamacare) with a federally funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all Americans.” [...] It’s worth noting that the Green Party’ candidates Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka were the only ones in this election calling for single payer health care.

A 2009 study by the National Nurses Union reveals that adoption of Medicare For All would create 2.6 million new jobs, from doctors and nurses to a host of health care professionals and technicians. That’s as many jobs as were lost in the 2007-2009 recession. It would inject $75 billion per year into the US economy, including $100 billion in wages alone. President Trump won in part because he told people he’d “bring back the jobs.” But steel mill jobs are imaginary, fictitious. Health care jobs are real.


Trump’s threat to dismantle Obamacare is an invitation for us to reopen the struggle for health care as a human right. And this time we know we’re struggling against Republicans AND Democrats.

  Bruce Dixon @ Black Agenda Report
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

So This Is How Trump Fixes Things

DONALD TRUMP, IMPLEMENTING what one news outlet called a “tough lobbying ban“, swept several registered lobbyists out of his transition team last week.


The junk food lobbyist overseeing the agency that is responsible for the federal school lunch program will be replaced — by a former junk food lobbyist.


Joel Leftwich, a congressional staffer who just last year worked as a senior lobbyist for PepsiCo, which not only makes soda products, but is also the maker of brands like Cheetos, Doritos, and Frito-Lay [...] previously helped his firm weaken nutritional standards from the agency he will now help shape.

Leftwich earned $354,041 from PepsiCo as the company’s senior lobbyist, according to his ethics disclosure, but left his lobbying position in 2015, qualifying him for a seat on the Trump transition this year.


The Koch Industries lobbyist who was overseeing transition efforts on energy and the environment will be replaced — by a former Koch Industries lobbyist who leads a think tank funded by Koch Industries.


[Thomas] Pyle is currently the president of the Institute for Energy Research, a think tank founded directly by Charles Koch, the chief executive of Koch Industries, and also funded by Koch-backed nonprofits. IER broadly supports more drilling and mining of fossil fuels, and regularly criticizes climate change scientists for daring to call for controls on pollution. Before joining IER, Pyle worked as a registered lobbyist for Koch Industries and served as the Koch Industries Director of Federal Affairs, a lobbying job, from 2001 through 2005.


Some may simply deregister and continue to go about their lobbying careers, a phenomenon that has accelerated since President Barack Obama implemented his own prohibitions on lobbyists in his administration.

Take, for example, Rebecca Rosen, a lobbyist with Devon Energy, a drilling company heavily involved in fracking, who is also advising the transition on energy issues. E&E News reported that Rosen deregistered as a lobbyist last week, suggesting “she intends to continue to work for the transition.” She may even continue her role in Devon’s government affairs team.


[Mike] Dougherty is the current president of the Secure Identity & Biometrics Association, a trade group that lobbies on behalf of private contractors for equipment used for screening at airports, border crossings, and other security-related venues. [...But] Dougherty is not a registered lobbyist, making him perfectly acceptable for the Trump transition.

  The Intercept

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sons of Bitches

There's no nice way of saying what the authorities are at Standing Rock.

Linda Black Elk, a member of the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council, was helping care for injured demonstrators. The council estimated that 300 people were treated for injuries, including 26 who were taken to area hospitals.

“All of a sudden there were these bright, blinding spotlights, so you could see each other, but you couldn’t see [the police],” she said. “Every once in awhile you could hear someone scream who had been hit by a rubber bullet.”


“What it was like was people walking through the dark of a winter North Dakota night, some of them so cold, and sprayed with water for so long, that their clothes were frozen to their body and crunching as they walked. "


Noah Morris was another medic at the scene. “They were just hosing people down with their water cannon that continued for the entirety of the four hours I was out there watching,” he said. He said that earlier in the week, the rivers and creeks nearby had started to crust over with ice. As he and his team flushed the eyes of people sprayed with tear gas, the water and milk of magnesia they used turned to black ice on the ground.


A 21-year-old woman from New York, Sophia Wilansky, underwent surgery Monday after her arm was severely injured by a concussion grenade, according to the council.


In a statement on Tuesday, her father, Wayne Wilansky, said she would need multiple surgeries to regain functional use of her arm and hand. “All of the muscle and soft tissue between her elbow and wrist were blown away,” he said.


In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, the sheriff’s department denied using concussion grenades and suggested the injury was caused by explosives allegedly used by protesters. The Medic and Healer Council responded, “These statements are refuted by Sophia’s testimony, by several eyewitnesses who watched police intentionally throw concussion grenades at unarmed people, by the lack of charring of flesh at the wound site, and by the grenade pieces that have been removed from her arm in surgery and will be saved for legal proceedings.”


“We are standing back in a state of disbelief,” said Jesse Lopez, a surgeon based in Kansas City, who has traveled to North Dakota multiple times to support the Medic and Healer Council. “I maybe could see pepper spray, maybe rubber bullets, maybe tear gas, but water cannons? That’s done to inflict deliberate, severe, life-threatening harm.”

  The Intercept

Some Good News

Not here, but still.
Turkey's government has withdrawn a controversial bill that could have overturned men's convictions for child sex assault, following an angry public backlash.

The controversial proposal sought to address whether all cases of marriage with people under the legal age of 18 should classify as "sexual assault".



[F]or one reporter, Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star, the race for the White House was singularly burdensome, turning him into a night owl.

At the end of each long day on the campaign trail, he would take a deep breath and launch into his second job: fact-checking the lies of Donald Trump.


After each of the three televised debates between Trump and Hillary Clinton, and in the final frantic days of the campaign, he pulled all-nighters before going straight back to his day job.

“Towards the end it was crazy,” Dale says. “The only thing that made it easier was that Trump repeated himself: we called him out for lying but he was so unresponsive he just kept saying the same things.”


From 15 September until 8 November, Dale recorded a total of 560 false Trump statements, an average of about 20 a day. As the sleep-deprived reporter staggered into election day, he reflected that if his nighttime activities had reached even a small percentage of the American electorate, and helped them understand the fundamental mendacity of a candidate seeking the most powerful job on the planet, then “it would have been worth it”.


53% of white women voted for Trump, according to exit polls.


[A]lmost one in three Hispanics backed him


[S]ome 61 million Americans were unfazed enough by the idea of a serial liar in the Oval Office to vote for him.


The Press Meeting

The New York Post has some quotes from the Trump/press meeting. I can see the media stars now: coming in with big smiles, then wilting like children.
“It was like a f−−−ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter.

“Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said, ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ ” the source said. “Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful, dishonest media who got it all wrong.’


“Trump didn’t say [NBC reporter] Katy Tur by name, but talked about an NBC female correspondent who got it wrong, then he referred to a horrible network correspondent who cried when Hillary lost who hosted a debate — which was Martha Raddatz, who was also in the room.”

The stunned reporters tried to get a word in edgewise to discuss access to a Trump administration.

“[‘CBS Good Morning’ co-host Gayle] King did not stand up, but asked some question, ‘How do you propose we the media work with you?’ Chuck Todd asked some pretty pointed questions. David Muir asked, ‘How are you going to cope living in DC while your family is in NYC?’ It was a horrible meeting.”

  NY Post
Obsequious chickenshits. And he'll drag them around by the nose for four years.
Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway told reporters the gathering went well.

“Excellent meetings with the top executives of the major networks,” she said during a gaggle in the lobby of Trump Tower. “Pretty unprecedented meeting we put together in two days.”
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Now He Wants to Dictate Other Countries' Appointments

Downing Street and the Foreign Office have brushed off a suggestion from the US president-elect, Donald Trump, that Nigel Farage would be a good ambassador to Washington, as MPs said the interim Ukip leader’s inflammatory views made him a poor candidate for a diplomatic post.


“Diplomats require diplomacy,” [Conservative MP Dan Poulter] told the Commons. “There should be no place for anyone who expresses inflammatory and what sometimes can be considered to be borderline racist views in representing this country in discussions with the United States.”

Well, see, Donald didn't consider that because we obviously don't have that restriction in the US.
Overnight, Trump tweeted that Farage’s appointment would be a popular choice, an unprecedented comment from an incoming US president in suggesting a foreign appointment to another world leader, especially given Farage’s opposition to the government.


No 10 declined to criticise Trump’s call for Farage to become the ambassador and stressed that it was “important to reiterate that the UK already has an incredibly strong and enduring relationship with the United States”.
Well, you did have.
Both Downing Street and the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, took pains to praise Darroch’s tenure in Washington in their responses to Trump’s tweet.


The prime minister’s spokesman said: “As far as the ambassador goes, there is no vacancy for that position. We have an excellent ambassador to the United States [Sir Kim Darroch] and he will continue his work.”
He might not be received well by the US President come February, however.
Johnson said the UK hoped to be influential as Trump took the reins at the White House. “I do think it is very important that on all sides of this House we should be as positive as we possibly can be about working with the incoming US administration,” he said. “It is of massive importance to our country and indeed to the world. And I suggest to the honourable member that he should judge that new administration by their actions in office which, of course, we hope to shape and influence.”
There's a lot to unpack in that statement.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.