Experts on authoritarianism say Trump’s presidency is getting even worse | Think Progress

Read Experts on authoritarianism say Trump’s presidency is getting even worse (ThinkProgress)
One scholar described Steve Bannon’s role in the administration as “pretty terrifying.”

Continue reading “Experts on authoritarianism say Trump’s presidency is getting even worse | Think Progress”

‘This was the worst call by far’: Trump badgered, bragged and abruptly ended phone call with Australian leader | The Washington Post

Read ‘This was the worst call by far’: Trump badgered, bragged and abruptly ended phone call with Australian leader by Philip Rucker (Washington Post)
Trump blasted Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, said U.S. officials.

(Video: AuBC via AP / Photo: AP and Bloomberg)

It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief — a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America’s staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week.

Instead, President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.

At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin — and that “this was the worst call by far.”

Trump’s behavior suggests that he is capable of subjecting world leaders, including close allies, to a version of the vitriol he frequently employs against political adversaries and news organizations in speeches and on Twitter.

President Trump speaks on the phone with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office on Jan. 28, 2017. (Pete Marovich/Pool photo via European Pressphoto Agency)

“This is the worst deal ever,” Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center.

Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admission of refugees, complained that he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.”

Trump returned to the topic late Wednesday night, writing in a message on Twitter: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”

U.S. officials said that Trump has behaved similarly in conversations with leaders of other countries, including Mexico. But his treatment of Turnbull was particularly striking because of the tight bond between the United States and Australia — countries that share intelligence, support one another diplomatically and have fought together in wars including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The characterizations provide insight into Trump’s temperament and approach to the diplomatic requirements of his job as the nation’s chief executive, a role in which he continues to employ both the uncompromising negotiating tactics he honed as a real estate developer and the bombastic style he exhibited as a reality television personality.

The depictions of Trump’s calls are also at odds with sanitized White House accounts. The official readout of his conversation with Turnbull, for example, said that the two had “emphasized the enduring strength and closeness of the U.S.-Australia relationship that is critical for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.”

A White House spokesman declined to comment. A senior administration official acknowledged that the conversation with Turnbull had been hostile and charged, but emphasized that most of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders — including the heads of Japan, Germany, France and Russia — have been productive and pleasant.

Trump also vented anger and touted his political accomplishments in a tense conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, officials said. The two have sparred for months over Trump’s vow to force Mexico to pay for construction of a border wall between the two countries, a conflict that prompted Peña ­Nieto to cancel a planned meeting with Trump.

Even in conversations marred by hostile exchanges, Trump manages to work in references to his election accomplishments. U.S. officials said that he used his calls with Turnbull and Peña Nieto to mention his election win or the size of the crowd at his inauguration.

One official said that it may be Trump’s way of “speaking about the mandate he has and why he has the backing for decisions he makes.” But Trump is also notoriously thin-skinned and has used platforms including social-media accounts, meetings with lawmakers and even a speech at CIA headquarters to depict his victory as an achievement of historic proportions, rather than a narrow outcome in which his opponent, Hillary Clinton, won the popular vote.

The friction with Turnbull reflected Trump’s anger over being bound by an agreement reached by the Obama administration to accept refugees from Australian detention sites even while Trump was issuing an executive order suspending such arrivals from elsewhere in the world.

The issue centers on a population of about 2,500 people who sought asylum in Australia but were diverted to facilities off that country’s coast at Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Deplorable conditions at those sites prompted intervention from the United Nations and a pledge from the United States to accept about half of those refugees, provided they passed U.S. security screening.

Many of the refugees came from Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia, countries listed in Trump’s order temporarily barring their citizens from entry to the United States. A special provision in the Trump order allows for exceptions to honor “a pre­existing international agreement,” a line that was inserted to cover the Australia deal.

But U.S. officials said that Trump continued to fume about the arrangement even after signing the order in a ceremony at the Pentagon.

“I don’t want these people,” Trump said. He repeatedly misstated the number of refugees called for in the agreement as 2,000 rather than 1,250, and told Turnbull that it was “my intention” to honor the agreement, a phrase designed to leave the U.S. president wiggle room to back out of the deal in the future, according to a senior U.S. official.

Before Trump tweeted about the agreement Wednesday night, the U.S. Embassy in Canberra had assured Australian reporters that the new administration intended to take the refugees.

“President Trump’s decision to honour the refugee agreement has not changed,” an embassy spokesman had told the reporters, according to an official in the Sydney consulate. “This was just reconfirmed to the State Department from the White House and on to this embassy at 1315 Canberra time.”

The time the embassy said it was informed the deal was going ahead was 9:15 p.m. in Washington, one hour and 40 minutes before Trump suggested in a tweet that it might not go ahead.

During the phone conversation Saturday, Turnbull told Trump that to honor the agreement, the United States would not have to accept all of the refugees but only to allow each through the normal vetting procedures. At that, Trump vowed to subject each refu­gee to “extreme vetting,” the senior U.S. official said.

Trump was also skeptical because he did not see a specific advantage the United States would gain by honoring the deal, officials said.

Trump’s position appears to reflect the transactional view he takes of relationships, even when it comes to diplomatic ties with long-standing allies. Australian troops have fought alongside U.S. forces for decades, and the country maintains close cooperation with Washington on trade and economic issues.

Australia is seen as such a trusted ally that it is one of only four countries that the United States includes in the “Five Eyes” arrangement for cooperation on espionage matters. Members share extensively what their intelligence services gather and generally refrain from spying on one another.

There also is a significant amount of tourism between the two countries.

Trump made the call to Turnbull about 5 p.m. Saturday from his desk in the Oval Office, where he was joined by chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, national security adviser Michael Flynn and White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

At one point, Turnbull suggested that the two leaders move on from their impasse over refugees to discuss the conflict in Syria and other pressing foreign issues. But Trump demurred and ended the call, making it far shorter than his conversations with Shinzo Abe of Japan, Angela Merkel of Germany, François Hollande of France or Putin.

“These conversations are conducted candidly, frankly, privately,” Turnbull said at a news conference Thursday in Australia. “If you see reports of them, I’m not going to add to them.”

A. Odysseus Patrick in Sydney, contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated and a reference to an AP report on the details of a phone conversation between President Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto removed because they could not be independently confirmed.

Source: ‘This was the worst call by far’: Trump badgered, bragged and abruptly ended phone call with Australian leader – The Washington Post

Don’t Cancel the Academy Awards Over Trump. Oscar Nominees, Try This Instead. | Slate

Read Don’t Cancel the Academy Awards Over Trump. Oscar Nominees, Try This Instead. (Slate Magazine)
With the news that that the latest disaster in Donald Trump’s Lizard Brain Jamboree will bar Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi from attending the Academy Awards (and Farhadi’s later decision to skip them whether he is allowed to come or not), the film community has been scrambling to find an effective response.

Continue reading “Don’t Cancel the Academy Awards Over Trump. Oscar Nominees, Try This Instead. | Slate”

How Authors and Publishers Can Increase Book Discovery | DBW

Read How Authors and Publishers Can Increase Book Discovery by Daniel Berkowitz (Digital Book World)
Chris Sim, founder and CEO of Kadaxis, spoke at Digital Book World about how indie authors and publishers can better use keywords to increase book sales.

Continue reading “How Authors and Publishers Can Increase Book Discovery | DBW”

The 86-Year-Old Breakout Star of Sundance | The Daily Beast

Read The 86-Year-Old Breakout Star of Sundance (The Daily Beast)
After six decades in showbiz—she made her film debut opposite James Dean—Lois Smith is finally getting her due as a grieving widow in the Sundance sci-fi drama ‘Marjorie Prime.’

Continue reading “The 86-Year-Old Breakout Star of Sundance | The Daily Beast”

Trial Balloon for a Coup? | Medium

Read Trial Balloon for a Coup? (Medium)
Analyzing the news of the past 24 hours

Analyzing the news of the past 24 hours

The theme of this morning’s news updates from Washington is additional clarity emerging, rather than meaningful changes in the field. But this clarity is enough to give us a sense of what we just saw happen, and why it happened the way it did.

I’ll separate what’s below into the raw news reports and analysis; you may also find these two pieces from yesterday (heavily referenced below) to be useful.

From “The Day After Tomorrow.” I resisted the temptation to use the analogous shot from “Planet of the Apes.”

Continue reading “Trial Balloon for a Coup? | Medium”

The Republican Fausts | The New York Times

Read The Republican Fausts (nytimes.com)
They struck a deal with the devil, Donald Trump, that comes at too high a price.
President Trump at a retreat last week in Philadelphia for congressional Republicans. Doug Mills/The New York Times

Many Republican members of Congress have made a Faustian bargain with Donald Trump. They don’t particularly admire him as a man, they don’t trust him as an administrator, they don’t agree with him on major issues, but they respect the grip he has on their voters, they hope he’ll sign their legislation and they certainly don’t want to be seen siding with the inflamed progressives or the hyperventilating media.

Continue reading “The Republican Fausts | The New York Times”

Trump’s voter fraud expert registered in 3 states | Associated Press

Read Trump's voter fraud expert registered in 3 states (AP News)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man who President Donald Trump has promoted as an authority on voter fraud was registered to vote in multiple states during the 2016 presidential election,

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man who President Donald Trump has promoted as an authority on voter fraud was registered to vote in multiple states during the 2016 presidential election, the Associated Press has learned.

Gregg Phillips, whose unsubstantiated claim that the election was marred by 3 million illegal votes was tweeted by the president, was listed on the rolls in Alabama, Texas and Mississippi, according to voting records and election officials in those states. He voted only in Alabama in November, records show. Continue reading “Trump’s voter fraud expert registered in 3 states | Associated Press”

Fitbit will lay off 110 employees amid challenges in wearable market | The Verge

Read Fitbit will lay off 110 employees amid challenges in wearable market (theverge.com)
Fitbit today released preliminary results for its upcoming fourth quarter earnings report, and the news isn’t good.

Continue reading “Fitbit will lay off 110 employees amid challenges in wearable market | The Verge”

IndieWebify.Me and the Knowledge Gap | DataHive Consulting

Read IndieWebify.Me and the Knowledge Gap by Lynne Baer (DataHive Consulting)

Last week, a friend asked me what I thought of IndieWebify.Me, a movement intended to allow people to publish on the web without relying on the tools and storage of the giant corporations that currently control the majority of the social web. I’m the kind of person who gladly supports her local independent bookstores and farmers’ markets and food purveyors, links to IndieBound.org instead of Amazon to buy books, and admires the ideals of Open Source Software. So, I’m biased towards an independent and open experience. Continue reading “IndieWebify.Me and the Knowledge Gap | DataHive Consulting”

Google Recalls Staff to U.S. After Trump Immigration Order | Bloomberg

Read Google Recalls Staff to U.S. After Trump Immigration Order (Bloomberg.com)
Alphabet Inc.’s Google delivered a sharp message to staff traveling overseas who may be impacted by a new executive order on immigration from President Donald Trump: Get back to the U.S. now.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google delivered a sharp message to staff traveling overseas who may be impacted by a new executive order on immigration from President Donald Trump: Get back to the U.S. now.

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai slammed Trump’s move in a note to employees Friday, telling them that more than 100 company staff are affected by the order. Continue reading “Google Recalls Staff to U.S. After Trump Immigration Order | Bloomberg”

Donald Trump’s First Twitter Background as President Was a Photo From the Inauguration of Barack Obama

Read Donald Trump’s First Twitter Background as President Was a Photo From the Inauguration of Barack Obama (Slate Magazine)
President Donald Trump officially took over the @POTUS Twitter account on Friday: The new Twitter background made me wonder: Whose inauguration is this ...

President Donald Trump officially took over the @POTUS Twitter account on Friday:

Donald-Trump-Potus-Twitter-background
Screengrab by the author

Continue reading “Donald Trump’s First Twitter Background as President Was a Photo From the Inauguration of Barack Obama”

How One 19-Year-Old Illinois Man Is Distorting National Polling Averages | The New York Times

Read How One 19-Year-Old Illinois Man Is Distorting National Polling Averages (nytimes.com)
The U.S.C./Los Angeles Times poll has consistently been an outlier, showing Donald Trump in the lead or near the lead.

Alone, he has been enough to put Mr. Trump in double digits of support among black voters. He can improve Mr. Trump’s margin by 1 point in the survey, even though he is one of around 3,000 panelists.

He is also the reason Mrs. Clinton took the lead in the U.S.C./LAT poll for the first time in a month on Wednesday. The poll includes only the last seven days of respondents, and he hasn’t taken the poll since Oct. 4. Mrs. Clinton surged once he was out of the sample for the first time in several weeks.

Continue reading “How One 19-Year-Old Illinois Man Is Distorting National Polling Averages | The New York Times”

Constance Wu Slams Casey Affleck’s Oscar Nom | Vulture

Read Constance Wu Is Disgusted by Casey Affleck’s Oscar Nomination: ‘Art Isn’t About Humanity, Right?’ (Vulture)
The Manchester by the Sea actor has been accused of sexual harassment.

Constance Wu Is Disgusted by Casey Affleck’s Oscar Nomination: ‘Art Isn’t About Humanity, Right?’

By

As anticipated, Casey Affleck received a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for Manchester by the Sea this morning. The news served as evidence to some that multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him and a related lawsuit have been successfully swept under the rug, at least in the Academy’s eyes (Affleck has previously denied all allegations against him, and settled the suits out of court for an undisclosed sum). Fresh Off the Boat actress Constance Wu, however, is not about to let the viewing public forget the accusations against Affleck, who is now being celebrated for his talent. “Men who sexually harass women 4 OSCAR! Bc good acting performance matters more than humanity, human integrity! Bc poor kid rly needs the help!,” the actress tweeted sardonically. Continue reading “Constance Wu Slams Casey Affleck’s Oscar Nom | Vulture”

In Discarded Women’s March Signs, Professors Saw a Chance to Save History | The Chronicle of Higher Education

Read In Discarded Women’s March Signs, Professors Saw a Chance to Save History (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Posters from the rally in Boston will be cataloged and archived.
Dwayne Desaulniers, AP Images

Signs line the fence surrounding Boston Common after the Boston Women’s March for America on Saturday. Some of those signs could end up in an archive at Northeastern U.

The signs were pink, blue, black, white. Some were hoisted with wooden sticks, and others were held in protesters’ hands. A few sparkled with glitter, and some had original designs, created on computers with the help of a few internet memes.

Still, at the Boston Women’s March for America on Saturday, hundreds of the signs criticizing President Trump’s campaign promises and administrative agenda ended up wrapped around the fence near Boston Common, laid down like a carpet covering the sidewalk. Continue reading “In Discarded Women’s March Signs, Professors Saw a Chance to Save History | The Chronicle of Higher Education”