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Don't Miss This

Don't miss this story. The Koch Brothers political network had a lot more to do with securing Donald Trump's election than most people realize. And they're now directing pretty much the entire policy agenda of the new administration.

And Now a Denial from Macri!

A short while ago we flagged that one of Argentina's top journalists reported that Donald Trump asked Argentine President Macri to help work out some permitting issues holding up a building Trump is trying to build in Buenos Aires. This came during Macri's call to Trump congratulating him on his election as President of the United States. Now President Macri is denying that they discussed the problems with Trump's building project.

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Cashing in BIGLY in Argentina!

Over the weekend, there were a flurry of stories about how Donald Trump and his family are already using the presidency to leverage his overseas businesses as well as his new DC hotel. Well, now there's more. This time in Argentina.

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White Supremacists, Nazis Convene in DC

Over the weekend, the white supremacists (the self-labeled 'alt-right') who run the 'National Policy Institute' met in Washington to celebrate Trump's victory and stake their claim to a role in Washington and the new government. Steve Bannon, the incoming White House counselor said earlier that he had made Breitbart "the platform for the alt-right." He owns these folks. After a prettied up day when most journalists were there, leader Richard Spencer gave an explicitly Nazi speech. Here are some pictures from inside the event - after the jump.

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Hillary Clinton's national popular vote lead now stands at 1.677 million votes or a 1.3 percentage point margin.

The Cash-In Begins

Let's review the stories of the last two days. Trump's DC hotel is soliciting foreign diplomatic delegations to switch their business to the incoming President's new hotel. On Tuesday Trump took a break from transition work to meet with his Indian business partners about expanding the Trump Organization's business in India now that he's president. Trump included his adult children in the meeting - the ones who will run his 'blind trust'. The news didn't reach the American press until it was reporting in an Indian paper. Now we learn that Trump's Philippines business partner Jose E. B. Antonio has been named the Philippines new trade envoy to the United States.

Medicare For The Win

If you know this site you know that social insurance is a big thing for me. Our public debate is so stunted on this front that you may not even know what I'm talking about. You may know them as 'entitlements', a term which is technically accurate but is usually used by those wanting to prune government spending. In any case, I'm talking particularly about Social Security and Medicare. I've been writing a lot about the latter in recent days for a very specific reason: Medicare is a hugely important and hugely successful social insurance program for tens of millions of Americans and Republicans aim to repeal it in about six to eight months using a mix of bamboozlement, word play and lies. When I say tens of millions I am speaking of current beneficiaries. But assuming the program is not abolished the overwhelming majority of us will be beneficiaries in the future. Less appreciated is the way Medicare protects money that goes to buying homes and raising children from being spent on the health care of indigent, bankrupted parents. These intergenerstional benefits are under-appreciated but profound. If Medicare is abolished in 2017 it will be a calamity.

But the politics of Medicare are also highly relevant to this political moment.

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The 18th Century Office

We are going to learn so many things in the next four years, or however long the Trump presidency lasts. The question is how painful the education will be. One thing we are now in the process of learning, at a new level, is the 18th century nature of the American presidency.

It is not unique but it is a profound outlier in modern democratic states.

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This Is Trouble

US Constitution: Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8.

"No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state."

The US President is prohibited from accepting gifts or money from foreign governments. But Trump's new hotel, just a few blocks from the White House, just held an event last week pitching foreign diplomatic delegations on moving their business to Trump's hotel.

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