One more thing

As the American Resistance builds, establishment media (who gave us Donald Trump in the first place) will attack us for being rude, vitriolic, smelly hippies. Rude would be if we sent every last one of them to the guillotines they richly deserve. I’d say a little profanity here and there is pretty fucking polite under the circumstances.



Long Read(s): Jared Kushner, the Half-Bright Prince

BettyC posted about some of Kushner’s most glaring conflicts earlier. As with every comic-book crime cartel magnate, there’s a varied if mostly banal JKush backstory. From the NYTimes article:

On the night of Nov. 16, a group of executives gathered in a private dining room of the restaurant La Chine at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The table was laden with Chinese delicacies and $2,100 bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild. At one end sat Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of the Waldorf’s owner, Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese financial behemoth with estimated assets of $285 billion and an ownership structure shrouded in mystery. Close by sat Jared Kushner, a major New York real estate investor whose father-in-law, Donald J. Trump, had just been elected president of the United States.

It was a mutually auspicious moment.

Mr. Wu and Mr. Kushner — who is married to Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and is one of his closest advisers — were nearing agreement on a joint venture in Manhattan: the redevelopment of 666 Fifth Avenue, the fading crown jewel of the Kushner family real-estate empire. Anbang, which has close ties to the Chinese state, has seen its aggressive efforts to buy up hotels in the United States slowed amid concerns raised by Obama administration officials who review foreign investments for national security risk.

Now, according to two people with knowledge of the get-together, Mr. Wu toasted Mr. Trump and declared his desire to meet the president-elect, whose ascension, he was sure, would be good for global business.

Unlike the Trump Organization, which has shifted its focus from acquisition to branding of the Trump name, the Kushner family business, led by Mr. Kushner, is a major real estate investor across the New York area and beyond. The company has participated in roughly $7 billion in acquisitions in the last decade, many of them backed by opaque foreign money, as well as financial institutions Mr. Kushner’s father-in-law will soon have a hand in regulating…

Important new cover story at NYMag by Andrew Rice, “The Young Trump – Jared Kushner is more like his father-in-law than anyone imagines”:

During the latter stages of the presidential race, when all the so-called smart people in politics and media were preparing to shunt Trump rudely from the stage, he relied on Kushner the most. “He prefers the soothing, whispery voice of his son-in-law,” the Times reported in a prematurely funereal dispatch on November 6. Two nights later, as Mr. Trump learned he would soon be President Trump, it was Kushner’s voice that was screening the calls to his suddenly all-important cell phone. When Trump paid his first postelection visit to the White House, Kushner accompanied him, taking photos of the Oval Office with his iPhone and strolling with President Obama’s chief of staff. Now he and Ivanka were preparing to move to Washington, where they reportedly are set to occupy a $5.6 million mansion with their three children. “I’m hoping that he’s our Valerie Jarrett,” says Kathy Wylde, the Partnership’s chief executive, “the last person to speak to the president on matters that are important to New York.”

Kushner’s influence appears to be one hard truth at the center of the transition’s chimerical swirl of intrigue. “I think the bottom line is he believes in Donald, and he believes in the opportunity to rethink the way our Executive branch conducts itself,” says Strauss Zelnick, a media investor who is close with Kushner and attended the Partnership event. Kushner has thrown himself into the role of recruiter, exploiting his network in the real-estate industry and finance. He’s gotten advice from everyone, even a rabbi he was close to at Harvard. Kushner’s business dealings, like Trump’s, involve numerous partners and lenders from around the globe, even immigrants investing via a controversial cash-for-visa program, and are likely to come under great scrutiny. He has spent much of the transition period trying to figure out how to remove himself from potential conflicts of interest. Trump seems unconcerned. Kushner flattered the Partnership audience by saying the president-elect was happy to be bringing so many billionaires to D.C., asking, “Who else to do you want to see cutting deals?”…
Read more



Early Morning Open Thread: This Crappy New Sci-Fi Dystopia Series Needs Better Scripters

Even the entities responsible for Star Wars Holiday Special are going, “Too cartoonish, dudes! You’re gonna lose your audience, dumb and uncritical as they are…”

Per the Washington Post:

A dozen or so technology executives filed into a conference room on the 25th floor of Trump Tower on Wednesday wearing suits not usually seen in Silicon Valley. Their combined net worth — at least $136 billion — was gilded even for the likes of Trump Tower. After months of acrimony that at times felt personal, they had come to make nice with President-elect Donald Trump.

And make nice they did…

But behind the cordiality was a sense of trepidation. While technology companies were among the most critical of Trump on the campaign trail, many understand that he will soon hold power over issues critical to them and their shareholders, including government contracts, high-skilled immigrant visas, Chinese imports and trade deals…

The infotech company with which Trump is most familiar didn’t get a seat:

But of course Peter Thiel did. Per the Post, again:

The president-elect also heaped praise on Facebook board and transition team member Peter Thiel, shaking his hand and calling him a “special guy.”

Trump made a point of saying that Thiel, who convened the meeting, nixed companies that were too small from attending. But one relatively small company with ties to Thiel made the cut: Palantir. Unlike the other companies in attendance, the data-mining start-up, which Thiel founded in 2004, is private and had revenue last year of less than $300 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. A large portion of Palantir’s business involves contracts with federal agencies, and the company is currently engaged in a lawsuit with the Department of Defense over the right to compete for more contracts…



North Carolina Legislative Coup Under Cover of Law is Underway

North Carolina’s GOP majority state legislature and its outgoing Republican Governor Pat McCrory are attempting to overturn McCrory’s loss through legislative shenanigans. Their intention is to so weaken the governorship and the now Democratic majority NC Supreme Court so that neither the incoming Governor or the new Democratic majority on North Carolina’s have any power or authority to actually exercise. Rick Hasen from Electablog has all the details.

As Hasen elaborates on his site:

While many people were worried about whether there would be a court-packing plan for the NC Supreme Court (about to have a majority of Democratic members)  in the special session on disaster relief that NC Governor Pat McCrory had called, it seems that NC GOP legislative leaders had a different trick up their sleeve: they have called a special session to start now at the end of the session called by the governor, and the plan seems to be to propose measures to cut the power of the incoming Democratic governor Roy Cooper.

Among the bills that have now been filed is one that would move from giving the state board of elections and county election boards a majority of seats for the sitting governor, to one which would make the sessions be evenly divided on a bipartisan basis.  So a partisan advantage was good enough when there was a Republican governor, but no longer.

In the meantime, NC Democrats are claiming that the call for the special session was itself unconstitutional, potentially rendering any bills from the session invalid.

And here’s the kicker: any lawsuit over these alleged rules will end up before the state Supreme Court with its new Democratic majority, unless the special session itself produces a court-packing plan, and if that happens the Court itself would have to resolve a key question about its own membership.

Democratic representative Darren Jackson on the special session: ““This is why people don’t trust us. This is why they hate us.”

Ow.

UPDATE:

It is much, much worse than it looks now that the bill is posted. The Democratic party appointees to the election board would chair in odd numbered years, and the Republican party appointees would chair in even numbered years (see page 4 of the bill), meaning that they would chair in each of the years in which there are legislative, congressional, and presidential elections.

The state supreme court would be limited in reviewing state constitutional and federal challenges, giving the power instead first to an en banc panel of intermediate appellate court judges (who of course are Republican majority) and limiting appeals as of right (see from pages 20 on in the bill).

If the bill passes in this form, I could see potential Voting Rights Act and federal constitutional challenges here, in part because the legislature would potentially be diluting minority voting power and making minority voters worse off, just at the time that their candidate of choice (Gov. Cooper) is poised to assume power.

The Reverend Dr. Barber and his Moral Monday’s movement is on the job and have already begun the response, including legal pushback if necessary.

This is obviously a fluid situation and will be a quickly moving story, so expect information to change as today turns into tomorrow, pressure is brought to bear, and the GOP majority in the North Carolina legislature have to bring their actions into the light of day.



Make Sure to Save the Date!

Oy vey…

 



Early Morning Open Thread: Want Some More Nightmare Fuel?


Read more



I’d rather be a free man in my grave

I couldn’t have said it better:

This is very good too:

You know what? I don’t even care if attacking Trump hurts liberals politically. I say fucking do it anyway, on general principle.

We heard the same shit in 2004, how if we didn’t very civilly and politely bow down before the cowboy king and his mandate, we’d be doomed to never another win election. The conservatives thought they had their thousand year Reich in 2004 and they think they have one now.

They were wrong then and they’re wrong now. And they’re wrong because we’re not going roll over and take it, no matter how much Ron Fournier thinks we should.