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

Hillz Helicopters Spied on Me!

This morning it was announced that KT McFarland, a Fox News national security analyst [Ed. note: Fox News terminated McFarland's contract in the wake of the appointment] and Reagan administration official will serve as Donald Trump's Deputy National Security Advisor. Well, she also tried to run against Hillary Clinton when Clinton ran for reelection to the Senate in 2006. She lost the GOP primary to John Spencer. But along the way she ... well, I don't quite know what to call it. But in addition to a seemingly lifelong penchant for dubious self-promotion and resume inflation McFarland claimed that Clinton was so worried about her candidacy that she sent secret helicopters to spy on her house in the Hamptons and also cased her apartment Manhattan. "Hillary Clinton is really worried about me, and is so worried, in fact, that she had helicopters flying over my house in Southampton today taking pictures."

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Democrats Begin to Focus

In the first days after President-Elect Trump was elected, a lot of Democrats didn't even seem to know what was coming down the pike with Paul Ryan's plan to phase out Medicare and replace it with private insurance and vouchers. But that seems to be changing. Sen Joe Donnelly (D-IN) released this video statement on Monday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke to former TPMer Greg Sargent at The Washington Post about Medicare. Now Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has released a similar statement. Meanwhile Kellyanne Conway is signaling that Trump is on board with phasing out Medicare.

Meanwhile here are a group of Republican Members of Congress and Senators who appear to be wobbly on the Ryan Phaseout plan. We're very curious to hear more about their positions and whether they will state clearly whether they're for or against. Reps. Lance Leonard (NJ), Charlie Dent (PA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Pat Meehan(PA) and Sens. John Boozman (AR), Mike Rounds (SD), Marco Rubio (FL) and Shelley Moore Capito (WV). We will update you on others soon.

Under the Hood

Both Carrier and the Trump transition have confirmed that they are in talks about the fate of the Carrier air conditioner factory in Indianapolis which Carrier has said it plans to relocate to Mexico. This has sounds a lot like the Ford plant in Kentucky where Trump spun a minor but real change in one factory line into his saving a whole factory from being moved to Mexico. The factory was never slated to be moved to Mexico. But here's the backstory which is important to understand.

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A Word of Caution

There are countless reasons why people are upset about the results of the 2016 presidential election. The final tallies in the critical states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were extremely close. But we cannot help noticing that Green Presidential candidate Jill Stein's fundraising goals for recounts in these three states keeps rising as she brings in more money. The initial goal was for $2.5 million. That was bumped up to $4.5 million. Now it has been raised again to $7 million.

That's very fishy.

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Louisiana

We're assuming Republicans will have a 52-48 seat majority in the Senate next year. That's likely the case. But it's not a done deal yet. There's still one Senate race to be decided. It's the Senate runoff in Louisiana on December 10th. Louisiana is a pretty red state. And the most recent poll - albeit from a Republican polling firm - shows Republican John Kennedy with a big lead over Democrat Foster Campbell. But there are two big reasons why Democrats should move quickly to make a race of it.

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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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