ON THE RECORD. . .

For the ninth time, President Obama has been chosen as the most admired man of the year in and for the twenty-first time, Hillary Clinton has been chosen as the most admired woman. -- Gallup’s poll of most admired men and women,

Nearly half of all Donald Trump voters believe a widely debunked conspiracy theory claiming that Hillary Clinton is involved in a child sex ring run out of a popular Washington, D.C. pizzeria. -- Economist/YouGov survey

For the past week, everybody has been asking again why Obama hates Israel. The answer is simple really: I think Obama is Muslim. " -- Conservative talk radio host and former congressman Joe Walsh ✔@WalshFreedom

1.  Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford.  He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her. 2.  Michelle Obama.  I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla. -- Carl Paladino, a former candidate for governor of New York and a political ally of President-elect Donald J. Trump, on what he wants for 2017

“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!” — Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

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“There's no question that the intelligence that President Obama has been getting has either been incompetent or politicized. I would urge President Trump, when he becomes President Trump, to have his own intelligence people do their own report, let’s find out who did it, and let's bang them back really hard," -- Donald Trump ally Rudy Giuliani critiicizing the sanctions President Barack Obama placed against Russia

“As a street-fighting carnival strongman, Trump operates the Chicago way. You pull a knife, he pulls a gun. You send one of his to the hospital, he sends one of yours to the morgue. And whenever an accusation was flung at him, he hit back twice as hard — with his little hands.” -- Britain’s most prescient satirist Charlie Brooker

“What both administrations fail to realize is that the West is already at war, whether it wants to be or not. It may not be a war we recognize, but it is a war. This war seeks, at home and abroad, to erode our values, our democracy, and our institutional strength; to dilute our ability to sort fact from fiction, or moral right from wrong; and to convince us to make decisions against our own best interests.” -- Molly K. McKew in Politico

“You are among the few people that understand how f*cked up this guy is. He is a complete f*cking psycho, but most people don’t know that.” -- Trump biographer Harry Hurt III to David Cay Johnston, recounting his meeting with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago. 1/02/17

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The Republicans have made impossible promises on Obamacare — providing more coverage than Obamacare without anybody having to pay for it — and they are figuring out that the path they take from that promise leads into a political quagmire. -- Jonathan Chait


IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. The Borowitz Report): Kremlin Names Trump Employee Of The Month
2. The DAILY GRILL
3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
4. Mark Fiore cartoons :
5. Belief in conspiracies largely depends on political identity
6. Sessions Omits Decades of Records for Hearings
7. New Congress Poised to Unravel Obama Policies
8. President Obama reflects on important achievements of the past eight years 
9. Late Nite Jokes
10. Gallup Poll: Many in U.S. Skeptical Trump Can Handle Presidential Duties
11. Russia’s New Favorite Jihadis: The Taliban 

OPINION

1. Paul Krugman: Snatching Health Care Away From Millions
2. Fareed Zakaria: America’s democracy has become illiberal
3. Justin Davidson: Donald Trump’s War Against Facts
4. Washington Post Editorial: Trump refuses to face reality about Russia
5. Joy-Ann Reid: A-List’s Trump Snub Hits Him Where It Hurts
6. John Nichols: A Resolution for 2017: Keep Reminding Trump That He Has No Mandate
7. Nicholas Kristof: Lessons From the Media’s The last year has not been the news media’s finest
8. Jonathan Chait: Repeal and Delay Is Forever 
9. JRick Perlstein: He’s Making a List -Trump is more paranoid and dangerous than Nixon
10. Robert Seymour: We’ll miss you, President Obama
11. Paul Krugman: America Becomes a Stan

FYI  

1. The Borowitz Report): Kremlin Names Trump Employee Of The Month

Capping an extraordinary year for the former television host, the Kremlin has named Donald J. Trump its Employee of the Month for December.

“No one has worked more tirelessly for the glory of the Fatherland than Donald Trump,” the Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an official statement. “He has set a high bar for all Kremlin employees, and for that, we salute him.”

To mark the honor, Trump’s name will be added to a plaque that hangs in the hallway outside the Kremlin’s H.R. office.

According to Kremlin sources, Trump faced tough competition in the Employee of the Month voting, besting both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ExxonMobil’s C.E.O., Rex Tillerson.

Speaking to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate, in Florida, Trump called the award “a tremendous honor, just tremendous.”

“Obama was President for eight years and he didn’t win this a single month,” he said. “Loser.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report

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2. The DAILY GRILL

Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division, have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.” --- Donald Trump, reading his prepared remarks from the teleprompter. 11/10/16

VERSUS

Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love! -- Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump 12/31/16

 

On Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump made a huge announcement: because of his presidency, Sprint has decided to bring back or create 5,000 jobs in the United States, while satellite startup OneWeb will create another 3,000.

VERSUS

The claim, however, was false. Those jobs are part of a $50 billion investment from SoftBank, which owns 80 percent of Sprint and has made a large investment in OneWeb, that was previously announced as part of a deal with a Saudi investment fund before Trump won the presidency. Meanwhile, not all of the jobs promised by Sprint will be at the company itself, but instead at contractors.

 

The DJT Foundation, unlike most foundations, never paid fees, rent, salaries or any expenses. 100% of money goes to wonderful charities! -- Donald J. Trump @‏realDonaldTrump

VERSUS

Backstory on Trump Foundation. It appeared to violate laws by buying portraits of him, paying to settle his business's lawsuits. -- David Fahrenthold

3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)

The Media Debunked Trump’s Outrageous Statements On The Economy In 2016 (Watch on YouTube at https://youtu.be/jRh0lEHRfIY}

• Trump, Who Has A “Literal Golden Throne,” Claimed He Is A “Blue-Collar Worker”

• Trump Made “Ridiculous” Claim That Unemployment Is At 42 Percent

• Trump Offered “Reckless, Dangerous, Clueless” And “Chaotic” Proposals To Default On The National Debt

• Trump Claimed The Fed -- “One Of The Least Political Institutions In Washington” -- Kept Interest Rates Low For Political Reasons

• Trump’s “Magical Mystery Tour Of Math” To Pay Off The Federal Debt In 8 Years “Does Not Add Up”

• Trump Claimed Tax Cuts Pay For Themselves Even Though It “Makes No Sense” In Practice

• Trump Rebranded “Sheer Lunacy” Of Original Tax Giveaway To The Rich As “Working- And Middle-Class Tax Relief”.  http://mediamatters.org/research/2016/12/29/8-times-media-debunked-trump-s-outrageous-statements-economy-2016/214876

4. Mark Fiore cartoons

Ode to the Pundits: https://vimeo.com/197354946

The Trump Who Stole America: https://vimeo.com/196673020

5. Belief in conspiracies largely depends on political identity

Sometimes it seems that Americans will believe anything.  And what we know as true or not true these days can depend on our political point of view.  But there are many of us who are willing to give at least some credence to the possibility that a claim might be true.  

At least that seems to be the case in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll.  One of the most notorious internet rumors of the 2016 presidential campaign, that there was a pedophile ring in the Clinton campaign, with code words embedded in the hacked emails of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, is seen as “probably” or “definitely” true by more than a third of American adults.  The poll was conducted after an armed North Carolina man tried to “self-investigate” the claim by going to the District of Columbia pizza restaurant that was alleged to be the center of the ring earlier this month and found nothing.  But even afterwards only 29% are sure the allegation is “definitely” not true.

Once a story is believed, it also seems to stay believed.  Donald Trump may have proclaimed that President Obama was born in the United States (having doubted that for years), but half of his supporters still think that it is at least probably true that the President was born in Kenya.  And in the U.S. as a whole, a majority believes that in 2003, when the United States invaded Iraq, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that the U.S. never found. 

Trump voters and Clinton voters also look differently at two Election Day conspiracy theories: that Russia actually hacked the votes to change the election results, and that there were, as Donald Trump suggested, there were “millions of people who voted illegally.” https://today.yougov.com/news/2016/12/27/belief-conspiracies-largely-depends-political-iden/

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6. Sessions Omits Decades of Records for Hearings

“President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is withholding decades’ worth of records from his career ahead of his Senate confirmation hearings early next month, according to an exhaustive report issued by progressive advocacy groups,.

“He left out major details from his years as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, from 1981 to 1993; as attorney general of Alabama, from 1995 to 1997; and as a first-term U.S. senator, from 1997 to 2002. The gaps encompass the time, for example, when Sessions was nominated to be a federal judge in 1986 ― and then rejected after being deemed too racist.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jeff-sessions-attorney-general_us_586680bce4b0eb58648909c8?section=us_politics

7. New Congress Poised to Unravel Obama Policies

“The most powerful and ambitious Republican-led Congress in 20 years convened on Tuesday, with plans to leave its mark on virtually every facet of American life — refashioning the country’s social safety net, wiping out scores of labor and environmental regulations and unraveling some of the most significant policy prescriptions put forward by the Obama administration. 1/01/16 .http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/01/us/politics/with-new-congress-poised-to-convene-obamas-policies-are-in-peril.html

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8. President Obama reflects on important achievements of the past eight years

• As we look ahead to the future, I wanted to take a moment to look back on the remarkable progress that you made possible these past 8 years.

• From realizing marriage equality to removing barriers to opportunity, we've made history in our work to reaffirm that all are created equal.

• We brought home more of our troops & strengthened U.S. leadership—leading with diplomacy & partnering with nations to meet global problems.

• We traded foreign oil for clean energy, we doubled fuel efficiency standards, & we acted on a global scale to save the one planet we've got.

• After decades of rising health care costs, today nearly every American now has access to the financial security of affordable health care.

• Facing the worst financial crisis in 80 years, you delivered the longest streak of job growth in our history.

• A ban on drilling in Arctic waters helps protect the planet we share. Proud to take this step with @JustinTrudeau & the Arctic communities.

• The Justice for All bill is a bipartisan step in making our criminal justice system fairer, smarter, and more effective. Proud to sign it.

• In signing the Cures Act into law, we're one step closer to breakthroughs on the greatest health challenges of our time. Today's a good day.

• Great to see so many investors come together to work towards a clean energy future. It's a smart investment and it's good for the planet. -- President Obama ✔@POTUS

9. Late Nite Jokes

"Bill O'Reilly said last night that liberals want to eliminate the Electoral College because they want power taken away from the white establishment. Bill, you don't have to say, 'White establishment.' It's redundant. That's like saying ATM machine. The 'M' means machine." –Seth Meyers

"Yesterday, Donald Trump officially became the president-elect after 538 electors from the Electoral College cast their votes — and immediately after, Donald Trump claimed that 3 million of them voted illegally." –Jimmy Fallon

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"Donald Trump is saying 'Merry Christmas' instead of 'Happy Holidays.' Donald Trump said he's a fan of Jesus because 'I like guys who inherit their dad's business and then think they're God.'" –Conan O'Brien

"Donald Trump said that after the election, he didn't call Bill Clinton, but instead, 'Bill Clinton called me.' Bill Clinton said, 'Actually, I was calling for Melania and he answered the phone.'" –Conan O'Brien

"President Barack Obama just held the final news conference of his presidency and at the end, Obama wished everyone a Mele Kalikimaka, which is the Hawaiian greeting for Merry Christmas. Mele Kalikimaka is also what Donald Trump tweeted when he was just trying to spell Merry Christmas." –Jimmy Fallon

"So far Donald Trump's cabinet picks have a net worth of over $14 billion. So hopefully, Trump's plan to balance the budget involves calling a meeting and then just passing the hat around." –Conan O'Brien

"The Electoral College met today to cast their ballots for president and vice president. It's the first college Donald Trump has gotten into without a letter from his father." –Seth Meyers

"John McCain criticized President Obama yesterday and said he 'has no strategy and no policy' on dealing with Russia's recent hackings. Oh, he has a strategy all right — it's called running out the clock." –Seth Meyers

"The price of gold increased today after falling to its lowest level in almost a year. Which can only mean one thing — Trump is remodeling his bathroom." –Seth Meyers

10. Gallup Poll: Many in U.S. Skeptical Trump Can Handle Presidential Duties

As Donald Trump prepares to take the presidential oath on Jan. 20, less than half of Americans are confident in his ability to handle an international crisis (46%), to use military force wisely (47%) or to prevent major scandals in his administration (44%). At least seven in 10 Americans were confident in Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in these areas before they took office. http://www.gallup.com/poll/201158/skeptical-trump-handle-presidential-duties.aspx?utm_source=twitterbutton&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=sharing

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11. Russia’s New Favorite Jihadis: The Taliban

More than 15 years into America’s war in Afghanistan, the Russian government is openly advocating on behalf of the Taliban.

Last week, Moscow hosted Chinese and Pakistani emissaries to discuss the war. Tellingly, no Afghan officials were invited. However, the trio of nations urged the world to be “flexible” in dealing with the Taliban, which remains the Afghan government’s most dangerous foe. Russia even argued that the Taliban is a necessary bulwark in the war against the so-called Islamic State.

For its part, the American military sees Moscow’s embrace of the Taliban as yet another move intended to undermine NATO, which fights the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State every day. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/03/russia-s-new-favorite-jihadis-the-taliban.html

OPINION  

1. Paul Krugman: Snatching Health Care Away From Millions

Why do the Republicans hate health reform? Some of the answer is that Obamacare was paid for in part with taxes on the wealthy, who will reap a huge windfall if it’s repealed, even as many middle-income families face tax hikes.

More broadly, Obamacare must die precisely because it’s working, showing that government action really can improve people’s lives — a truth they don’t want anyone to know.

How will Republicans try to contain the political fallout if they go ahead with repeal, and tens of millions lose access to health care? No doubt they’ll try to distract the public — and the all-too-compliant news media — with shiny objects of various kinds.

But surely a central aspect of their damage control will be an attempt to push a false narrative about Obamacare’s past. Health reform, they’ll claim, was always a failure, and it was already collapsing on the eve of the G.O.P. takeover. When the number of uninsured Americans skyrockets on their watch, they’ll claim that it’s not their fault — like everything, it’s the fault of liberal elites.

So let’s refute that narrative in advance. Obamacare has, in fact, been a big success — imperfect, yes, but it has greatly improved (and saved) many lives. And all indications are that this success is sustainable, that the teething problems of health reform weren’t fatal and were well on their way to being solved at the end of 2016.

If, as seems all too likely, a health care debacle is imminent, blame must be placed where it belongs: on Donald Trump and the people who put him over the top. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/30/opinion/snatching-health-care-away-from-millions.html

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2. Fareed Zakaria: America’s democracy has become illiberal

The two prevailing dynamics in U.S. society over the past few decades have been toward greater democratic openness and market efficiency. Congressional decision-making has gone from a closed, hierarchical system to an open and freewheeling one. Political parties have lost their internal strength and are now merely vessels for whoever wins the primaries. Guilds and other professional associations have lost nearly all moral authority and have become highly competitive and insecure organizations, whose members do not — and probably cannot — afford to act in ways that serve the public interest. In the media — the only industry protected explicitly in the Constitution — a tradition of public interest ownership and management aspired to educate the public. Today’s media have drifted from this tradition.

I recognize that this is a romantic view of the role of these elites and hierarchical structures. Parts of the media were partisan and scandal-hungry from the start. Lawyers often acted in their own narrow interests; accountants regularly conspired in frauds. And those smoke-filled rooms with party bosses often made terrible decisions.

But we are now getting to see what American democracy looks like without any real buffers in the way of sheer populism and demagoguery. The parties have collapsed, Congress has caved, professional groups are largely toothless, the media have been rendered irrelevant. When I wrote a book about “illiberal democracy” in 2003, I noted that in polls, Americans showed greatest respect for the three most undemocratic institutions in the country: the Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve and the armed forces. Today, the first two have lost much of their luster, and only the latter remains broadly admired.

What we are left with today is an open, meritocratic, competitive society in which everyone is an entrepreneur, from a congressman to an accountant, always hustling for personal advantage. But who and what remain to nourish and preserve the common good, civic life and liberal democracy? https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/america-is-becoming-a-land-of-less-liberty/2016/12/29/2a91744c-ce09-11e6-a747-d03044780a02_story.html?utm_term=.aea3a6a9400f&wpisrc=nl_most-draw5&wpmm=1

3. Justin Davidson: Donald Trump’s War Against Facts

By the time Donald Trump becomes president in a few, desperately shortening weeks, he will already have made falsehood a U.S. goal. Trump does not lie to cover up the truth; he lies to deny the possibility that such a thing even exists. His feints and reversals are the essence of his belief system; he espouses a philosophy of bullshit. Until now, those habitual falsehoods have been the idiosyncrasies of a private citizen with no real responsibility toward anyone but himself. Once he takes the oath, his style becomes policy. We will have to get used to a president who dismisses the intelligence apparatus he commands, who denies events that took place on live television, who does not care whether he is caught in an obvious contradiction. We will have to learn to read a leader who treats truth as one option among many. When he issues a howler from the Oval Office, and his minions faithfully repeat it, that won’t be propaganda, but showbiz.

The term propaganda comes from the Latin phrase denoting a 17-century committee of cardinals charged with spreading — propagating — the faith. The word has an overtone of menace: This is what to believe; accept it, or else. It also implies the existence of an overarching philosophy, a consistent way of accounting for (or willfully distorting) facts. The authoritarian rulers to whom Trump-haters reflexively compare him, primarily Mussolini and Hitler, caged their people within a rigid version of the world. Those who expressed unsanctioned opinions chose to dash themselves against those ideological bars, usually with lethal consequences.

Trump, on the other hand, has stripped his public utterances of coherence, let alone ideology. His rhetoric is shot through with the language of coercion, but he always seems to be winking while he makes his flamboyant threats. (His more unhinged followers may act on them, however.) Instead of riling up crowds by preaching faith, or nationalist zeal, or dialectical materialism, he relies on his instincts as an entertainer. His highest value is not fanaticism, but sheer excitement and suspense. He fears only that we look away — and by getting elected president, he has ensured that we can’t. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/12/donald-trumps-war-against-facts.html

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4. Washington Post Editorial: Trump refuses to face reality about Russia

Mr. Trump has been frank about his desire to improve relations with Russia, but he seems blissfully untroubled by the reasons for the deterioration in relations, including Russia’s instigation of an armed uprising in Ukraine, its seizure of Crimea, its efforts to divide Europe and the crushing of democracy and human rights at home.

Why is Mr. Trump so dismissive of Russia’s dangerous behavior? Some say it is his lack of experience in foreign policy, or an oft-stated admiration for strongmen, or naivete about Russian intentions. But darker suspicions persist. Mr. Trump has steadfastly refused to be transparent about his multibillion-dollar business empire. Are there loans or deals with Russian businesses or the state that were concealed during the campaign? Are there hidden communications with Mr. Putin or his representatives? We would be thrilled to see all the doubts dispelled, but Mr. Trump’s odd behavior in the face of a clear threat from Russia, matched by Mr. Putin’s evident enthusiasm for the president-elect, cannot be easily explained. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-refuses-to-face-reality-about-russia/2016/12/30/5a69d692-ceb7-11e6-a747-d03044780a02_story.html

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5. Joy-Ann Reid: A-List’s Trump Snub Hits Him Where It Hurts

So far, the reaction of the creative community, from Broadway to Los Angeles and from hip-hop to Radio City Music Hall, has been to say a resounding “no” to Trump. It’s not a dismissal born purely of partisanship, but rather a rejection of the entire underlying ethos of his divisive, revanchist campaign. Maintaining a unified front against authoritarianism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny is no laughing matter, no matter how much Trump’s apologists try to snide it off on cable TV.

Ultimately, denying Trump and Trumpism the cultural cosign they crave is an important statement. It does what so far, the collective media have been unable or unwilling to do: rejecting the normalization of the utterly abnormal. It tells not just the country, but the world, that Trumpism may have a hold on our politics, but it doesn’t have a hold on us. America’s ascendant majority will not so easily slink off into that good night, and will not quietly ingest what Trump has foisted on the electorate.

He and his bilious, Russophile Twitter and comment-section trolls, his apologist surrogates and his zombified, partisan enablers on Capitol Hill will have to do their dirty work — including the horrors of disappointment and lost healthcare and social safety net programs soon to be visited on Trump’s own working class supporters — without the shield of popular cultural will. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/01/a-list-s-trump-snub-hits-him-where-it-hurts.html

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6. John Nichols: A Resolution for 2017: Keep Reminding Trump That He Has No Mandate

The Speaker of the House claims Trump “earned a mandate” for a “go big, go bold” agenda, while Trump “counselor” Kellyanne Conway is not just claiming a mandate but griping that critics of the billionaire are “attempting to foment a permanent opposition that is corrosive to our constitutional democracy.”

Fifty-four percent of Americans voted for someone other than Donald Trump. He has earned no political honeymoon.

“The left is trying to delegitimize his election,” grumbles Conway. “They’re trying to deny him what he just earned.”

Ryan and Conway should brush up on their math. Trump earned 2.9 million fewer votes than his Democratic rival. The Republican earned just 46.1 percent of the popular vote. Only a narrowElectoral College advantage made his president-elect.

By any reasonable measure, Trump, Ryan and their allies lack the broad popular approval that Obama and congressional Democrats had on January 20, 2009. Yet, while Ryan and his compatriots resolved in 2009 to oppose a president and a Congress that enjoyed a mandate, they now demand acquiescence to a president and a Congress that lack a mandate.

It is absurd to claim that this administration and this Congress enjoy enthusiastic popular support. They don’t. https://www.thenation.com/article/a-resolution-for-2017-keep-reminding-trump-that-he-has-no-mandate/

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7. Nicholas Kristof: Lessons From the Media’s The last year has not been the news media’s finest

Would it matter if the mainstream media did a better job? Or do we live in a post-truth age in which we are so distrusted that our investigations will be dismissed, if they are seen at all? I’m not sure, but we must at least try.

We will soon have as commander in chief the most evasive, ignorant and puerile national politician I’ve ever met, and while there are many factors behind his election, I think we in the media contributed by skimping on due diligence.

The lesson learned? As 2017 dawns, let’s focus on what matters. Not celebrity, but substance: Will millions of Americans lose health insurance? What will happen to the 21 percent of American children living in poverty? Will Syrians be endlessly slaughtered, and will South Sudan collapse into genocide? Will there be a trade war? A real war?

For too much of 2016, we in the news media — with many stellar exceptions — sometimes were mindless mutts that barked at everything. Partly because of that lapse, the country today needs a robust fourth estate more than ever. We should be infused with a renewed sense of mission. So, for a New Year’s resolution, let’s try harder to be watchdogs, not lap dogs. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/opinion/sunday/lessons-from-the-medias-failures-in-its-year-with-trump.html?_r=0

8. Jonathan Chait: Repeal and Delay Is Forever

The Republican Party has used health care to its advantage for the last seven years by following the same strategy: advocating an alternative plan that does not and cannot exist. During this entire time, President Obama has held power. This has afforded them the luxury of posturing against the status quo — and, indeed, doing everything in their power, at both the federal and the state level, to make it worse. Republicans could denounce the messy negotiations in Congress, and then the messy reality of American health care, while promising that giving them power would let them start over and design a new reform that would protect everybody without having any objectionable features. After the election unexpectedly put them in full control of government, I predicted they would follow a “repeal and delay” plan, because it is the only way to keep the lie going. The closer they get to taking action, the more clear it becomes to Republicans that their own propaganda has trapped them and given them no escape. Railing against Obamacare was easy, but the responsibilities of power have taken all the fun out of denying medical care to the poor and sick.

From the standpoint of the most ideologically committed elements of the conservative base, destroying Obamacare was always the most salient pledge. Republican rhetoric treated the law as an existential threat to American freedom — the worst thing since slavery, as incoming Trump cabinet member Ben Carson put it. But from the standpoint of the electorate as a whole, the pledge to replace it with “something terrific,” as Trump put it, mattered just as much. A large number of Trump voters who get coverage through Obamacare “simply felt Trump couldn’t repeal a law that had done so much good for them,” reports Sarah Kliff, who spoke with many of them. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/01/repeal-and-delay-is-forever.html?mid=twitter_dailyintelligencer

9. Rick Perlstein: He’s Making a List -Trump is more paranoid and dangerous than Nixon.

Donald Trump and Richard Nixon have at least one thing in common: They are the two most paranoid and vindictive men ever to win the presidency. Both came to power armed with enemies lists, vowing to seek revenge against those who stood in their way. Both roamed the mansions of power late at night, raving against every perceived slight. Both were caught on tape describing the ways they enjoyed bending others to their will.

But Nixon, unlike Trump, was an introspective man. In one particularly fascinating moment of self-reflection following his resignation, he described to a former aide the habits that had enabled him to rise to the top of Washington’s greasy pole. When you’re on your way, he explained, it pays to be crazy.

“In your own mind you have nothing to lose, so you take plenty of chances,” Nixon said. “It is then you understand, for the first time, that you have the advantage—because your competitors can’t risk what they have already.” That’s an insight that Trump put to good use during the Republican primaries, when he was willing to place high-stakes bets that his more experienced rivals were unwilling or unable to match.

What Nixon was describing sounds like nothing so much as a seasoned heroin addict chasing the next high: It takes bigger and bigger doses to get there, until too much is not nearly enough. And a little thing like being elected the leader of the free world isn’t nearly enough to jolt a man like Nixon or Trump into rehab. January 2, 2017 .https://newrepublic.com/article/138911/hes-making-list-trump-paranoid-dangerous-nixon

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10. Robert Seymour: We’ll miss you, President Obama

Obama’s election led many to conclude that at last our country was rising above racism, but almost immediately it became abundantly clear that this was not the case. Instead, it brought to the surface an awareness of widespread hatred of our new President because he was black. In Congress there was an attempt to block everything he attempted to do. Although there has been strong denial that race had anything to do with the hostility, the evidence to the contrary has been compelling.

Despite the efforts to make him fail, his legacy is astonishing beginning with the stimulus that has led to a steady increase in employment month after month. He saved the automobile industry. He got rid of “Don’t ask; don’t tell.” He helped wind down the war with Iraq. He supported same-sex marriage. He relied on diplomacy in dealing with Iran. He opened access to Cuba. Twenty-five million Americans have healthcare because of him.

I am very optimistic for the future. The South I recall as a child is fading fast. I remember going to the Greenwood, S.C., railway station at night and seeing large groups of black people boarding the Silver Meteor heading North for more freedom and a better life. Today there is a reverse migration of African-Americans returning to their roots all across Dixie.

We are blessed to have many blacks entering the political arena and providing excellent leadership.

Indeed, I would wager that if Obama had the option of running for a third term as president, he could win.

His approval rating is 56 percent.

President Obama has made America great again! http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article123974154.html#storylink=cpy

11. Paul Krugman: America Becomes a Stan

In a direct sense, Mr. Trump’s elevation was made possible by the F.B.I.’s blatant intervention in the election, Russian subversion, and the supine news media that obligingly played up fake scandals while burying real ones on the back pages.

But this debacle didn’t come out of nowhere. We’ve been on the road to stan-ism for a long time: an increasingly radical G.O.P., willing to do anything to gain and hold power, has been undermining our political culture for decades.

People tend to forget how much of the 2016 playbook had already been used in earlier years. Remember, the Clinton administration was besieged by constant accusations of corruption, dutifully hyped as major stories by the news media; not one of these alleged scandals turned out to involve any actual wrongdoing. Not incidentally, James Comey, the F.B.I. director whose intervention almost surely swung the election, had previously worked for the Whitewater committee, which spent seven years obsessively investigating a failed land deal.

People also tend to forget just how bad the administration of George W. Bush really was, and not just because it led America to war on false pretenses. There was also an upsurge in cronyism, with many key posts going to people with dubious qualifications but close political and/or business ties to top officials. Indeed, America botched the occupation of Iraq in part thanks to profiteering by politically connected businesses.

The only question now is whether the rot has gone so deep that nothing can stop America’s transformation into Trumpistan. One thing is for sure: It’s destructive as well as foolish to ignore the uncomfortable risk, and simply assume that it will all be O.K. It won’t. http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/opinion/america-becomes-a-stan.html

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