Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Don't Forget It Happened

This news should not surprise you if you've been reading TPM over the last year. It's something I've discussed a number of times in different contexts. But we're now getting the first comprehensive studies showing that Russian propaganda campaigns played a major role in spawning and in other cases simply spreading "fake news" stories aimed at damaging Hillary Clinton and aiding Donald Trump.

This Washington Post piece does a nice job in explaining some of the patterns which have emerged.

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He Can't Help It If He's Lucky

From the WSJ ....

Just days after Donald Trump secured the White House, the real-estate mogul scored a legal victory in a decadelong trademark dispute over the right to use his name in China for certain services.

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And There's Another

Huffpo found another. During his November 9th congratulatory call with Turkish President Erdogan, Donald Trump talked up his Turkish business partner who now seems primed to be a key intermediary between the two heads of state. This new revelation follows the pattern I mentioned a couple days ago: we're only finding out about this because it bubbled up in the pres of the country in question. That's how we learned about Trump's transition meeting with his Indian business partners, his alleged discussion of building permits with the President of Argentina, the UK wind farms and Nigel Farage.

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We're Hiring

We're going to be putting out formal job listings probably just after Thanksgiving. But I want to put out the word now that we are currently looking to hire two newswriters in New York, one editor in New York and one reporter in DC. I am/we are particularly interested in hearing from people with interest in the editor and reporter positions. These are both critical slots for our expanding news gathering efforts going into next year. If you have experience relevant to these two positions and want to do big things next year, let us hear from you.

Must Reads on the Coming Privatization of Everything

You've heard that Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos is from the billionaire DeVos family, heirs of the Amway fortune. She's a big supporter of 'school choice', charter schools, vouchers, etc. But this doesn't quite capture who the DeVoses are. In terms of scale of wealth and intergenerational devotion to laissez-faire conservative ideology that are right up there with the Kochs - with activism ranging from breaking unions to opposing LGBT equality on basically every front. In fact, Betsy DeVos and her family are parts of the network of conservative donors the Kochs have assembled in recent years.

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About Those Russian Election Hacking Claims

There's a lot of chatter this morning about a group of election lawyers and cybersecurity experts who believe they've found evidence of or at least statistical anomalies suggesting that the voting results may have been hacked in the three critical states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Note that these are the three states where Clinton lost the election. Ohio, North Carolina and Florida were huge too. But Trump was always likely to win Ohio and North Carolina and Florida were always toss-ups, although Florida seemed pretty promising.

So here's my take.

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Conway Signals Trump Ready to Join Ryan on Medicare Phaseout

Kellyanne Conway got asked about Paul Ryan's Medicare Phaseout plan on the NewsHour last night. She started with vague comments about being "open to hearing" Ryan's ideas about alternatives to Medicare. (You can see her at length quotes here.) But the give away is in the precise language she uses. Note here with emphasis added: “In this case, he will go ahead and look at alternatives, Judy, as long as it does not interfere with what he has said, his commitment to keep the promises to those currently relying on them.”

"Currently" is the whole story here.

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Got Questions?

For the Thanksgiving edition of my podcast I'm answering your questions. Got a question? Send it to our main comments email at talk (at) talkingpointsmemo (dot) com - the election, TPM, the Trump administration, the Democrats, whatever you want. Put the subject line: Podcast Question. I'll be recording the next episode tomorrow. So get them in today and I'll do my best to answer.

This is How Dictators Talk

We're seeing yesterday and today that Donald Trump and his advisors are signaling that he doesn't plan to seek the prosecution of Hillary Clinton. "I don't want to hurt them," he told 60 Minutes earlier this month.

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More Details About That Trump/Macri Call

It turns out there's even more behind the story of last week's call between Donald Trump and Argentine President Mauricio Macri, separate from a report on Argentine television that Trump asked Macri for help getting approval for a planned Trump-branded office tower in Buenos Aires. Both parties denied Monday that the two leaders discussed the project on that call.

However, the Argentine press also reported that Macri was able to get through to the President-elect in the first place because Trump's partner in the Buenos Aires project facilitated their connection. That detail was surfaced last night by Susan Simpson, a lawyer who specializes in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and went on a tweetstorm about the Trump project in the capital.

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