Monthly Archives: January 2017

Trump again

The Atlantic: Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Already Harming American Science. “Iranian scientists have been a major boon to everything from Mars exploration to Ebola-fighting to advanced mathematics.” By Ed Yong.

Deutsche Welle: Germany will support those affected by US travel ban, says Merkel. “The German chancellor has vowed to do “everything” in support of those affected by controversial ban. A German opposition leader has threatened legal action, saying it could head to the European Court of Justice.”

Lying President and Staff

Bloomberg: Why Trump’s Staff Is Lying. By Tyler Cowen.

“One of the most striking features of the early Trump administration has been its political uses of lying. The big weekend story was the obviously false claim of Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, that Trump pulled in the largest inauguration crowds in American history. This raises the question of why a leader might find it advantageous to promote such lies from his subordinates.”

Link via Metafilter: Building a Cabinet.


Whoops, I almost missed my weblog anniversary. Seventeen years to the day! Last year I posted this collection of links to anniversary posts:

On this day in…
2005 (a day late)
2008 (16 days late)
2009 (six days late)
2011 (three days late)
2014 (eleven days late, though I posted in the meantime)
2015 (forgot the anniversary entirely, closest post was three days later)

Trump, Trump, Trump

German government still struggling to establish contacts with the new administration

Handelsblatt Global: Trump Team Leaves Germany Out in the Cold. “As Donald Trump officially enters office, the German government is still struggling to establish contacts with the new administration and distinguish campaign bluster from actual policy.” January 20, 2017.

“Ms. Merkel’s foreign policy advisor, Christoph Heusgen, has called for Germany and Europeans to have “strategic patience“ with the new U.S. administration, which is largely staffed by people who have little or no government experience.

Mr. Heusgen said his initial conversations with the Trump team gave him the impression that they have little understanding of the European Union and how it operates.

Ms. Merkel’s cabinet is resting its hopes on retired Marine Corps general James Mattis, Mr. Trump’s pick for secretary of defense, as a voice of reason within the new U.S. administration. Mr. Mattis is well connected in Europe and views NATO as an anchor of stability.”

In Violation of the Constitution?

New York Times: Foreign Payments to Trump Firms Violate Constitution, Suit Will Claim. By Eric Lipton and Adam Liptak. January 22, 2017.

“A team of prominent constitutional scholars, Supreme Court litigators and former White House ethics lawyers intends to file a lawsuit Monday morning alleging that President Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his hotels and other business operations to accept payments from foreign governments.

The lawsuit is among a barrage of legal actions against the Trump administration that have been initiated or are being planned by major liberal advocacy organizations. Such suits are among the few outlets they have to challenge the administration now that Republicans are in control of the government.”

Alternative Facts?!

The Guardian: I’ve reported on Putin – here are my tips for journalists dealing with Trump. “There’s been much hand-wringing about how the media should deal with the Trump administration. First of all: don’t get distracted.” By Alexey Kovalev. January 23, 2017.

“consider the Trump team’s proposition to move the press room out of the White House to a more spacious facility to accommodate the “off the chart“ interest in the new president. And to dilute the “elite“ DC press corps with bloggers and talk radio hosts: to anyone who’s ever seen the mad scramble for Putin’s attention inside that cavernous hall where his press conferences are held, the purpose is obvious.

The biggest threat to informing the public in Russia is not censorship, state pressure or fake news: it’s the chaff constantly thrown out to keep the media distracted. There are politicians in Russia that throughout their decades-long careers have done nothing but make statements aimed at raising outrage or suggesting deliberately absurd bills, with the sole reason of staying in the headlines. Putin himself and his spokesman Dmitry Peskov are famous for their tendency to brazenly deny the plainly obvious – only to make a rhetorical U-turn later, completely dumbfounding everyone.”

Drama and more drama

The Economist: A helluva handover: What Donald Trump’s appointments reveal about his incoming administration. “The drama of the transition is over. Now for the drama of government.” See the large version of the Trump Cabinet here.

“Mr Trump’s post-election behaviour has been every bit as belligerent as it was during the campaign. In his victory speech he said it was time to “bind the wounds of division“ ; he has ever since been insulting and threatening people on Twitter, at a rate of roughly one attack every two days. His targets have included Meryl Streep, Boeing, a union boss in Indiana, “so-called A-list celebrities“ who refused to perform at his inauguration, Toyota and the “distorted and inaccurate“ media, whose job it will be to hold his administration to account.
Mr Trump has named most of his senior team, including cabinet secretaries and top White House aides, and their Senate confirmation hearings are well under way.”

The Washington Post: Which Trump Cabinet nominees are still awaiting confirmation. “How the confirmation process works, How long confirmations might take”.

“Who Trump chooses to surround himself with greatly affects what his administration will accomplish. These top aides are just a slice of the 4,100 positions Trump’s transition team may need to find appointees for — people who will oversee day-to-day operations at the agencies that make up the executive branch of government.
The following list includes descriptions of each of Trump’s Cabinet picks and their nomination timelines.”