Back and Forth “Boycotts” in the Time of Twittering Trump

Little Rock   LeBron James is a standup guy, and one heckuva ball player. The other day as the World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers traveled to play the New York Knicks, he claimed he wasn’t making a political statement, but exercising personal preference ,and declined to stay in a Trump branded hotel. Most of his teammates followed him, though they all came on the same bus to Madison Square Garden.

These Trumpster hotels, even ones where he is no longer getting any moola, like the one most of the Cavaliers declined to sleep in, are no doubt items of curiosity, as people try to get a grip on some kind of touchstones that might help understand the incoming president, but undoubtedly there will be many that decline to stay at his hotels, eat in his restaurants, or golf on his fairways, personal preferences and the American way of low-threshold silent, personal protests being common for many. On the other hand, ethicists and virtually all of the former Republican and Democratic ethics lawyers employed at the White House note that many, including foreign governments and corporations by the legions will flock to stay at Trump branded hotels, particularly the new hotel in Washington, DC, in hopes of currying even the least favor. To the degree such birds of a feather do come together, it is easy to imagine that these properties may become the playground and business watering and resting holes for countless minions of the right.

Whether it’s a real boycott or a LeBron-style “personal preference,” he and many others can now also add to that list resisting a Hardee’s roast beef or a Carl’s, Jr. burger, and start covering their eyes every time one of the new Secretary of Labor’s salaciously politically incorrect hottie commercials airs with one of his juicy offering. Forget about watching the fantasy matches of the World Wrestling Federation as well. Likely the list will grow.

Meanwhile, the hater-baiters over at are mad as always at the top of their lungs and calling for various corporate boycotts by their alt-right, mad dog website base. Corporate boycotts and rightwing conservatives? Yes, it doesn’t sound right, but that’s what Stephen Bannon’s boys are up to over at his old job, before he became the Trump whisperer as his chief strategist. Here’s the Breitbart beef. A bunch of straight-laced, big name, Brand A companies pulled their ads off of once their big brass and their public relations folks started coming to grip with the corporate risks of being identified with a racist, misogynist, hater outfit bundled under the umbrella of the alt-right. Though the Brietbarters would have you believe they are all about free enterprise, they don’t like it when it’s not going their way, so they have declared various boycotts to try and bully the ad money back into their pockets. Their current target is Kellogg’s. Not surprising with its big consumer footprint. They have big boycott signs on their website with pictures of boxes of cornflakes.

But what’s the message? GMO/s? Nutrition? Calories? Hardly! Whining about losing money, oh, no, they can’t go there with their base and disclose the real facts. Instead they drag up fake news attacks they have generated about the Kellogg Foundation and claims of the terrible grants it has made supposedly to George Soros and the Tides Foundation, based in San Francisco. Really, grants to Soros who has his own foundation from his mega-billions? And, Tides because they funded progressive environmental, community, and human rights causes for the last 40 years almost?

Executives at Kellogg’s are probably worried more about the latest weather report in Michigan than they are about any Brietbart bully boycott. And, sadly, as Trump continues to court his base, he probably cares less about LeBron’s personal preferences or any of the rest of our concerns, though his daughter’s brand and sales have reportedly been impacted in places like New York City.

Nonetheless, we all have to do what we can, and maybe boycotts are coming back as weapons for progressives, and even for conservatives who have usually shunned them.


Path to Power with Trump: Billions or Bullets

Artists in New York added their voices to the protests. Credit Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Little Rock     Wow! For all of us trying to keep up with the incoming Trump Administration every day is a roller-coaster ride. There are so many contradictions, I begin to wonder if even the biggest news outlets in the country are pushing real or fake news.

Pick a day, any day, and the point is easily proven.

In the last day or so we saw the following from the Trumpster:

· After more than a year of threatening to deport more than 11 million immigrants, Trump in his Time magazine, “Man of the Year” interview, said, essentially, oh, no, I’m going to figure out a way for the “dreamers,” about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children, to stay in the country. He says he’s going to make all of us proud and so on and so on. We can guess this might mean that he is not going to overturn President Obama’s executive order in this regard, but he hasn’t tweeted it yet, so we can’t be sure.
· All indications are he’s NOT going to divest from his holdings in his business, but simply turn them over to his two adult sons to manage. Meanwhile it seems possible that his daughter and son-in-law might be able to find a place to stay in Washington to help him out either in his new Trump Hotel or that other little place in DC where he might stay some weeknights…what’s it called, oh, yeah, The White House!
· With a head fake he meets with former big time climate change fighter and enviro, Vice President Al Gore, as does his daughter, leading some to think he might not stand in the way of saving the world from total destruction, and then turns around and appoints an Oklahoma Attorney General, climate denier, and a guy who lets oil companies draft his letters and then sends the missives out on AG stationery, to run the EPA, presumably into the ground or oblivion.
· Remember he had thought maybe Obama had made some good points in their visit about features of the Affordable Care Act, but then appointed a Georgia congressman and doctor advocate, who has been trying to systematically dismantle the act, to line his doctor buddies’ pockets.

On and on it goes like this. It seems there are only two things that can really help you pave clear paths to power on the Trumpster highway, being either a billionaire, or at least filthy rich, or being a general, no matter how good or whack.

Students of the presidency say that Trump already intends to put more generals in cabinet and high-level positions than any previous president. In fact, many of them – and a lot of us – worry now about civilian control of the military. It’s not really the same to say that there’s civilian control if a general running the Defense Department used to be the commander of another general elsewhere around the White House. What’s the count now? Defense, national security adviser, homeland security, and the beat goes on.

It goes without saying the richest-ever president who at least claims to be a billionaire, is also appointing a record number of his buddies who are also, no surprise, billionaires, or darned close to it as well. We now have billionaires in line to run education, who have never gone to public schools and hate them, to run treasury as boss and deputy, to run small business administration, and of course to run the commerce department.

I’m not sure any of these folks are going to have time to drain any swamps in DC, because they will be so busy flooding other swamps there and elsewhere around the country, and building barricades and bulwarks to keep it all however they like it.