TOWOIT #43

February 28, 2017… Day 40

Radio alarm: Protests in Vancouver, B.C. today, as the new Trump hotel has its grand opening. It’s Vancouver’s second-tallest building now. The mayor of Vancouver called it “a beacon of racism.” The radio announcer said, “The U.S. consulate is warning Americans to stay away.”

This afternoon the financial markets, and the podcasters and the bloggers took a big quiet breath ahead of Trump’s much ballyhooed address to a joint session of Congress. There’s a thing I know about from Alaska, something some Alaska Natives still do, left over from Russian-America: The Forty Day party. Forty days after someone dies, you throw a party. 

Maxine Waters, after Katy Tur asked her if it is disrespectful for her to skip Trump’s address to Congress tonight:

“No, it is not. It is absolutely not. This is ceremonial. And in this ceremony people laugh, they smile, they shake hands, they hug each other, they honor the president. I’m not about any of that. I’m prepared to interact with the president only when he puts up his budget and his agenda that I’m going to have to fight. So let’s not talk about this ceremony in relation to real public policy. I don’t choose to go. I don’t choose to go. I don’t choose to honor him.”

Elizabeth Warren will be there, with Tiba Faraj, an Iraqi-American accounting student. Warren put her on the spot, asking her to talk about what she likes about America, and she responded charmingly like a cute, ordinary young accounting student who isn’t sure what to say on the spot. She said that she just wants to be like everybody else! They were also sitting oddly near each other on the couch which I decided in the end was also cute.

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This is representative of what I’m seeing on Twitter:

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Congresswomen are wearing white for the suffragettes. I love that there is a visible show of protest. And many of the representatives in the photographs I saw were black. They seem psyched about it, so good. I did learn last year that the suffragettes were racist and that wearing white for the suffragettes is a slap in the face to black women! And that it’s peak white feminism to celebrate suffragettes! So, I hope that on this, the last day of Black History Month, no one is feeling slapped in the face. It is certainly not my place to tell anyone they ought to. I’m sure Twitter will weigh in shortly.

My haphazard live-blogging of the speech:

Continue reading TOWOIT #43

TOWOIT #42

February 27, 2017…. Day 39

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Radio alarm: Someone from the National Review (a conservative publication) talking about the difference between liberal media bias (which he could happily rail on about at length, he said), and this ginned up “fake news” thing Donald Trump has been going on about lately. I can see why conservatives like to go on NPR even though it is perceived as leaning left. They’re almost always allowed to make their point peacefully and at length. Now that I’ve been watching more cable news programming on TV, I realize how interrupty it gets.

“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

— Donald Trump, today

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A dystopian-sounding tweet after a butane tanker crashed into two other cars and tipped over on the freeway just south of downtown Seattle today.

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I am here for all things C-Span. This morning, C-Span’s Washington Journal featured Jeff Mason, White House correspondent for Reuters. They were talking about the press’s relationship with the administration. The program basically consisted of real Americans calling in and saying enjoyably blunt and folksy and sometimes angry things, and then the host (John McArdle) and Jeff Mason responding by saying vague, milquetoasty things. BUT, if you saw the program without sound… all you would know is it was two very handsome bald men. I thought they had some chemistry too.

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John McArdle and Jeff Mason. Come on you two…. are you TRYING to get America to ship you?

These were the best screen shots I could get without falling completely down the rabbit hole. And obviously I don’t know if they are gay, I just find them really quite handsome and fun to talk about.

“The President always gets something.”

–Sean Spicer, with a little smirk on his face

The hand that rocks the cradle: A coworker told me rather gravely that since the election, his wife had swung from “hardcore Republican” to “totally liberal, like you.” He said all the moms in the neighborhood had. I asked if it was just the moms. He said, “well, you know–the guys are pulled a little to the center from the right, but the women are just waaaaayyy out to the left now.” 

George Bush went on the record today saying he believes that an independent press is important to curb “the addictive power of the presidency.” He also said we should have a full investigation into the Russia thing.

The budget talk today has been dark, dark, dark. 

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In the White House press briefing today, Sean Spicer stressed that recent anti-Semitism has been totally unacceptable. He also said, “Early reports out of Kansas are equally disturbing” (meaning the Indian-American men who were shot in a bar). People are still roundly criticizing the “day late and a dollar short” aspect of their recent words, but to me the administration seems like a robot learning to act human. No less chilling, but evolving in tone.

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From Reuters: The U.S. State Department on Monday issued and then deleted a congratulatory message for an Oscar win by a prominent Iranian director who criticized President Donald Trump’s travel ban as “inhumane.”

Breitbart: President Donald J. Trump told Breitbart News in an exclusive Oval Office interview that the “intent” of the New York Times in its negative coverage of him is “so evil and so bad” and that “they write lies.”

“So you’re confident in your assertion that there is no evidence that these three people have talked to Russian agents, even though you have not done your own investigation into it?”

–Reporter to Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee

Reporters’ questions today, to Representative Devin Nunes (Russia investigation), OMB Director Mick Mulvaney (budget stuff) and Sean Spicer (yikes):

Continue reading TOWOIT #42

TOWOIT #41

February 26, 2017…Day 38

Dozens of headstones broken in Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Within hours, Muslims were there helping again.

Last night at a Dana Gould stand-up show in Portland, OR. Dana Gould made a joke that Donald Trump is to the Presidency as Charles Manson is to murder. Someone in the audience threw a pint glass at him, but it landed wide. HIs response was to glance at the glass where it had landed and then say to the audience, “I have two words for you: Well Said.”

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This was in the NYT, citing “SAO” which I believe stands for senior administration officials. 
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A day in the life of Spicey
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More bad shit
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I am sorry we somehow arrived here, teenage girl named H. 

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s tweets are somewhat escalating, but also somewhat same ol’ same ol.

 

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The tone of the comments are changing, though. There are more likes on the flat-out critical posts, and there are many many more posts that sound like, “I am really rooting for you, I really want you to succeed — but I am just trying to give you some advice here that will help you.” Also, the marijuana thing is seriously upsetting to people. There are also more comments from supporters that are along the lines of, “We know you’re not guilty of anything, so why not just release your taxes and be investigated?”

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People are awful

Seeing all these hateful notes left on doors and car windshields, makes me think of something that happened to my family.

My dad was one of two doctors in town. The other one was a real son of a bitch. Black mail, handing out pain meds like candy, was the mayor for awhile and tried to do away with Martin Luther King day, called it Martin Luther Coon day. Drove a big car, and people said they were afraid for us kids to be walking down the shoulder of the road alone. Thought this guy would just take us out on a whim because he seemed capable of that. My 14-year old brother wrote a letter to the editor in protest about MLK Day and the mayor cornered him at a high school basketball game and said “Nice letter, kid. I hope your first wife is as black as the ace of spades.” So anyway, a sizable chunk of the town was loyal to or somehow beholden to THAT guy. My mom used to say, “I don’t want him to die, I just wish he would move to Mexico and never come back.”

A man came into our 8th grade health class to talk about living with HIV, and afterward he pulled me aside. He had been friends with my uncle, who’d died of AIDS four years earlier. This guy said he’d gone into that other doctor’s office when he first got to town, and he was told to “get the fuck out and never come back.” It was around that time that the bottles showed up. They were all Snapple bottles, with the lids on, and slips of paper inside that said “Doctor Wood has AIDS” meaning my dad, and “Doctor Wood is a fag.” My dad had kicked up quite a stir around that time when The Other Woman found out about Yet Another Woman, and had blown the lid off a whole small-town sex scandal. There was enough uncertainty that I thought, “Maybe he *is* HIV positive, for all I know.” My brother and I picked bottles up off the beach by our house. We thought we saw more out in the water, so we took the skiff out and collected the ones we could find.

The thing that struck me about it was that it was’t just kids. I saw three different types of handwriting on the slips of paper. It looked like a grown man, a grown woman, and a child. So somebody thought this was a good family activity.

Telling this story now, I think I’m a real idiot for being shocked that Trump won. People are awful.

TOWOIT #40

February 25, 2017… Day 37.

Waiting to hear about the DNC election. I have not gotten into this. From what I understand, from what I can tell, Tom Perez and Keith Ellison are both very progressive and would both be very good. I am personally for Keith Ellison because he seems to make the Bernie people happy, and I don’t think there’s enough daylight between him and Perez  to kick up a fuss. Let’s unite behind him if it makes those other guys happy. I am tired of proxy wars. I am tired of feeling like I’m being taken hostage. So in this case, I’ll just say “Let’s go with Keith.” I feel this on a personal, visceral level also — because when I’ve heard radio interviews with Keith Ellison, I find myself warming to him and wanting him to continue. When I hear radio interviews with Tom Perez, I find myself tuning out and thinking about other things. His voice is sandier, lower energy. It reminds me of the adage, “podcasting should burn calories.” If there’s one basic thing I learned from the 2016 election, it’s that we need people who can tell a story. Trump and Bernie both told a story. So, I think Keith Ellison tells a better story, vibrates on a better frequency. Honestly, my whole being just wants to unite behind a leader, and I want this over with, and I want it to be Keith Ellison. We Democrats will ALWAYS disagree with each other and bicker over the details because that is who we are as a people. I don’t expect that to end. I just want this DNC election to be over.

Yesterday at the lake, the sun had a little warmth to it but the wind was cold. A small knot of women in hijab, with their little kids, were trying to have a picnic. The wind was whipping their clothes around, and also interfering with their picnic items on the wooden table. Their kids were running around, jumping in puddles and muddying themselves. It was one of those days when the crows are just everywhere suddenly. Crows were all around in the trees above us, but also on the ground, just screaming and cawing hoarsely. Flapping around a bit menacingly, these big intelligent birds with unknowable motives. So many crows. And really cold wind! And then even the sun went behind a cloud, and the afternoon got colder and darker all the sudden. The whole scene just looked like a bad idea for a picnic. The women were just laughing, just letting their kids get filthy and wet, just enjoying each other and making the most of things. I think I would have admired them in better political climates too. But with all this stuff just thicker in the air we breathe now–I felt grateful to them and their fortitude. Thanks for showing me how to just have the picnic anyway. Thanks for being part of this city with me. 

Kurdish journalist Shifa Gardi died today from a roadside bomb. She was covering Mosul. I’ve been hearing and reading a lot more about Mosul lately, remembering that there’s a whole world out there besides us here in the U.S. If we can all agree that Isis is the absolute worst bunch of fuckers, then the Iraqi troops trying to liberate the Isis-held half of Mosul are the world’s heroes right now. And the people who have been living there in Isis-controlled Mosul have been living a dystopia that we only like to flirt with the idea of here in the U.S.

In the U.S., I know it’s annoying (infuriating?) to people of color to have to witness us (cis, het-passing, vaguely Christian-ish) white people go through a certain process since the election. It goes something like this: “I am tipping into something scary, that feels like the beginning of a new oppression, so now I know that I was freer before and I feel how lucky that freedom was. I can really understand that free feeling as a more tangible thing. But now I also know that other people didn’t have that freedom I felt. They had the oppression. All along. So my freedom that I took for granted wasn’t even real freedom, it was just this illusion that we were all free and everything was fine. Nothing was ever fine. If we aren’t free til everyone is free, then there was never freedom, there was only my own deep deep privilege. And I’m still benefiting from that privilege. Oh my God.” 

Well, that’s some of us anyway.

Evening updates: 

Continue reading TOWOIT #40

TOWOIT #39

February 24, 2017…. Day 36

Muhammad Ali Jr. detained in an airport in Florida. A Puerto Rican man (a citizen!) detained.

A lot happened again today.

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vandalism spotted in my staid, Republican workplace. Not sure what they were going for with the last word– perhaps they felt caught in the act?

Cracks & Caveats:

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Darrell Issa told Bill Maher that Jeff Sessions needs to recuse himself, and we need a special prosecutor.

Today the New York Times, L.A. Times, Politico, The Hill, New York Daily News, CNN, and the BBC were blocked from a press briefing with Sean Spicer. The Washington Post was present at the time. AP and TIME boycotted the meeting in solidarity. The Wall Street Journal and McClatchy said afterward that they hadn’t realized that it was happening until well into the meeting, or they would have boycotted, and they will boycott in the future.

From the transcript below, it does seem that the reporters in the room saw what happened from looking at their phones, well into the briefing. One reporter says in a question, “from this CNN chyron I’m seeing…” Sean tries to say, “Oh there just wasn’t enough room,” and the reporter replies, “but there’s plenty of room” and is then cut off by Sean. In this press gaggle, Sean Spicer emphatically and defensively confirms the Reince Priebus conversation with the deputy director of the FBI.

Sean Spicer selective press gaggle, without Sean Spicer:

Continue reading TOWOIT #39

TOWOIT #38

February 23, 2017… Day 35

“We are entering a space of total metaphysical and informational confusion.”

–Matthew Yglesias, Vox podcast In the Weeds

McCain made a secret trip to Syria.

Trump calls deportations a military operation. Sean Spicer tells the press, “he was using that word as an adjective.”

CNN headline: Steve Bannon attacked EU in private convo to Germany’s envoy to the U.S., even as Pence reaffirmed ties.

New travel ban executive order delayed until next week.

Washington Post headline: CPAC organizer denounces “alt-right” as “left-wing fascist group”

In House, Republicans burying Democratic measure to require disclosure of Trump’s conflicts of interest. The Republicans can just bury it in the Judiciary Committee, to spare themselves the embarrassment of publicly voting against it.

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Man kicked off flight to Houston for racist comments toward fellow passengers. As he left the plane he said to one of them “I’ll be back, but you’ll be GONE.”

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ICE agents examined the “papers” of everyone deplaning a domestic flight.

Miami Herald headline: You could be arrested in Arizona just for planning a protest.

Us Weekly: Could Donald Trump Get Impeached? Here’s How it Could Happen

Jeff Sessions kills Obama order to phase out use of private prisons.

Protests at Stonewall in NYC, for transgender civil rights.

Bannon at CPAC: He is seeking “deconstruction of the administrative state”

“I’m wondering if you could right-size my paranoia?”

–Tommy Vittor, Pod Save the World

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White House press briefing without Sean Spicer:

Continue reading TOWOIT #38

TOWOIT #37

February 22, 2017… Day 34

The Trump administration officially rescinds the Obama order that protected transgender students and allowed them to use whichever bathroom they were comfortable with. Word is that Betsy DeVos was against signing off on the change, but was steamrolled by both Sessions and Trump. Also that she was cut out of the conversation on the future of DACA, and is in general being marginalized as a weak woman.

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The press asked Sean Spicer about this issue, and also asked about whether cabinet members were tired of Trump micromanaging their hiring process.

We know Rex Tillerson didn’t get the second in command he wanted because of Trump. Headlines to the effect that alpha-male Rex Tillerson has been marginalized as Secretary of State and is looking for ways to “raise his media profile.” 

Pence went to that Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. He spoke and there were photos of him helping out with the clean up. The reactions are very mixed among liberals, with people wanting to approve, begrudgingly approve, warily approve, approve with qualifiers, be angry that he’s trying to take the photo op and look like a good guy, or just cynically say “looks like somebody is running for president against Trump.” 

CBS Headline: Dakota Pipeline Protesters Pray, Set Fires Ahead of Camp Closing.

Washington Post has been doing great work but writes a bad headline. The use of “female” as a standalone noun here seems unnecessary and dehumanizing. The fact that we are talking about Native Americans with their backs agains the wall just makes it that much more cringe-worthy. How about “woman” or “person”? Same number of letters.

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Badly done, WAPO

According to my role model, Rachel Maddow, Turns out that the Ukrainian oligarch guy in Vienna has been arrested on a SPANISH warrant, so Jeff Sessions has a reprieve on the whole “will he still prosecute for bribery” thing.

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Thank you, Maxine. I would not have wanted to miss that.

Kellyanne Conway’s recent absence from television noted. Last week we heard that a couple of shows didn’t want her anymore. She said herself that she was trying to be on TV less. And then today the scuttlebutt was that the administration didn’t want her to go on TV because she’d gone off message one too many times.

One hundred dorks in Minneapolis got “She Persisted” tattoos. 

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I prefer the hundreds of women who have got NC for Non-Compliant tattoos in the couple years since Bitch Planet came out.

President ignores large bombing in Pakistan, because the victims were brown Muslims. Underscoring the administration’s preference for white, Christian-ish victims. 

Republican Senator Susan Collins said she was open to demanding Trump’s tax returns as part of Russia investigation.

Republican congresspeople continued to have a bad time at town halls. Whether they attended, or whether a large room full of people shouted down a cardboard likeness.

A woman in my hometown is steamed because one of her senators is zipping through town but is only making time for a paid dinner. She made her complaint a post on Facebook and about six comments down, her landlord wrote “I’ll deduct the price of your ticket from next month’s rent. Just go!” 

Trappist-1 Solar System — NASA found seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a dim star 40 light years away! They could support life! The world let out a collective “holy moly” and it was just what we needed. Good to be reminded of how small we are and how big the universe is. Good to be amazed at what science can accomplish. The NASA press conference coincided with Sean Spicer’s daily White House press bitching.

White House press briefing without Sean Spicer:

Continue reading TOWOIT #37

TOWOIT #36

February 21, 2017… Day 33

Radio alarm: Praise for General McMaster from all directions. NPR is on the chopping block, so I’ll enjoy my Morning Edition while I can.

Tuesday morning. NBC says Trump has a perfect chance, right now, for a reset. Asks, “Can Trump enjoy a no-drama week?”

Trump visits the Smithsonian Museum of African American History this morning. While there, he tells the press that the recent anti-Semitism has been “horrible” and “painful” and is “going to stop.”

The Anne Frank Center was not amused. They called it a bandaid on the cancer of rising anti-Semitism. Proving they are as good with words as their namesake, they also said “Do not make us Jews settle for crumbs of condescension.” Sean Spicer said in his White House press briefing, that Trump has constantly condemned anti-Semitism, and that he, Spicer, wished that the Anne Frank Center had praised Trump for his leadership on this issue.

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Muslims and Jews in the U.S. are continuing their public overtures of kinship. Muslims quickly raised some money to help with the Jewish cemetery in St. Lousi that was vandalized.

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President Trump tweets that the angry people at Republican town halls are just “liberal protesters.” Republican congressman Justin Amash tweets back “They are our fellow Americans with legitimate concerns. We need to stop acting so fragile.”

On the radio, local former EPA employees tell KUOW they don’t have high hopes for Scott Pruitt’s reign at the agency.A couple hours later, Scott Pruitt greets EPA employees for the first time. I haven’t heard whether the 3,000 pages of emails between him and the oil & gas industry came out today as expected. In his address to the EPA he comes across as super friendly, folksy, and decent. Like other of Trump’s cabinet picks, he has none of the bombast of Trump. He knows how to dial it down, seem like a normal person, and seem humble. He starts off by quoting Paul Harvey.Then he says that we are living in a “toxic environment” (pun not intended?) and that everyone puts on their “political jerseys.” So apparently, he’s going to address how hated he is coming into the job. He says “general principles of civility, finding answers, listening to each other… I think these are things we should keep in mind.” Then he says, “regulations should keep things regular,” and “process matters.” It is now clear that he is centering everything on “those who are regulated” (a phrase he uses multiple times), and not what is being protected (a word he does not use). He says “We should avoid abuses that occur sometimes,” and he’s talking about regulations, not pollution. He says “federalism matters.” Then he drives it home that his guiding principles are “federalism, process, and rule of law.” Yikes, buddy. Then he  goes out with a John Muir quote (“people need beauty as well as bread” — still missing the point that the environment is worth protecting for its own sake). his final words are “I look forward to serving you in the future,” and now his niceness just seems sinister.

People are widely spooked by new DHS rules about rounding up immigrants and deporting them.ICE force will triple, Local police will be deputized, and people can be sent back to Mexico right away, and then later be formally deported by videoconference. When asked about it, Sean Spicer makes a shackle sandwich. He talks about ICE having formerly had “their hands cuffed behind their back” when it came to dealing with illegal immigrants. Then he talks about Trump visiting the slavery part of the African-American museum. Then quite soon after that, he talks about ICE being “in shackles” before this latest executive order.

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Vox article today

At one of my community organizing meetings, I brought up the topic of Seattle as a sanctuary city–and that maybe Seattle’s sense of itself as a sanctuary needed to be actively strengthened and reinforced. As a bulwark to whatever shifting political and fiscal winds are ahead. An older woman who retired from the King County sheriff’s office pooh-poohed me. She said I had no idea the levels of bureaucracy involved. She said there was no way, logistically or culturally, the local law enforcement would cooperate. She said there was no way the feds could make that happen. I just said “Thanks! I’m glad there’s something I can move lower on my list of things to freak out about!” And I meant it. A little bit later, she moved away from where I was sitting. As soon as she left, an elderly Japanese-American woman turned to me and said “Do you think neighbors will turn on neighbors?” That white woman hadn’t reassured her.

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This happened today.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think Glenn Thrush of the New York Times got a question at the briefing. Spicer shut him down pretty hard, choosing to take another follow-up from the tough Haley Jackson instead of letting Glenn speak. He passed it off as chivalry to Haley, but everyone in the room probably had flashbacks of Melissa McCarthy grabbing a super soaker.

“One of the beauties of history is that we don’t repeat itself” 

— Sean Spicer, February 21, 2017

On NBC: As a reporter asked Pence yesterday at a NATO news conference, “You’ve given your assurances today here in Brussels to European leaders that the U.S. is committed to working with Europe. President Trump says very different things. He has said that the EU is a vehicle for Germany, that the UK was smart to get out of the expected other countries to follow. Who should European leaders listen to, you or President Trump?” Pence’s answer: “The United States is expressing strong support for NATO even as we challenge NATO and challenge our allies to evolve to the new and widening challenges. And further meet their responsibilities.” But can you express strong support when an administration is saying different things?

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Another snarky C-Span user clip today, but this one is just accurately quoting a Member of Parliament

On Saturday, the New York Times had a story about Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, meeting with a foreign Putin-friendly politician and then delivering a sealed envelope to Michael Flynn personally. The Washington Post had a follow up story the next day. Both papers talked to Michael Cohen but he changed his story between the two articles. Rachel Maddow asked last night whether Jeff Sessions would follow through with the U.S. DOJ efforts to extradite a Ukrainian oligarch who is Paul Manafort’s business partner. Today a court in Vienna ruled that he could be extradited from Austria to the U.S. Now all eyes are on Jeff Sessions, who will not recuse himself from investigations into the Trump campaign and/or administration.

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This new Washington Post banner freaks me out a little.

Sweet, civil moment between strangers in the middle of a conservative vs. liberal argument on a Trump Facebook comment thread:

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White House press briefing without Sean Spicer:

Continue reading TOWOIT #36

TOWOIT #35

February 20, 2017…. Day 32

C-Span gives viewers the abilities to create their own clips on the website, chopping a longer segment into a few minutes and titling it. This seems to have been done responsibly since I became fixated on C-Span a month ago. I think C-Span is going to have to start paying more attention over long weekends, because someone made this clip, complete with Sweden-Switzerland confusion: 

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“Not My President’s Day” rallies were staged in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia and more than two dozen other cities across the nation in a spirited display of defiance against a president who has been in power for just one month. There were also protests outside parliament in the U.K. as they debated whether or not to invite Trump for an official state visit. They decided not to.

Trump named Lieut. Gen. H.R. McMaster (sorry I always get military titles slightly off, I don’t mean to be disrespectful) as his new national security advisor. McCain said it was a great pick and Ezra Klein at Vox called it “unalloyed good news.” We were treated to this weird video, taken at Mar-A-Lago. Here’s a still:

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Thousands of anti-Trump protesters outside Parliament. Parliament votes to not extend an invitation for an official state visit. During the debate before the vote, representatives had to pause in their speeches as the protesters outside drowned them out.

Rumor: Evan McMullen weighing primary challenge to Jason Chaffetz in Utah.

Muslims  on Twitter asking, “Why isn’t Trump responding to bomb threats to Jewish centers?” Hundreds of Jewish graves vandalized in St. Louis.

Sean Spicer says this:

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Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, dies in New York “unexpectedly.”

Milo Yiannopolous loses book deal, gets disinvited to conservative conference CPAC, and Breitbart is thinking about firing him. Video surfaced of him defending Man-boy love (13 year old boy, older man).

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Several anti-Trump twitter personalities fell into this trap:

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Seen by a friend in Philadelphia. All the replies on Twitter say “smells like a trap”

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In Chicago:

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In Brussels, Pence said that the U.S. strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in its commitment to its allies. (news reporters point out that Trump called NATO obsolete)

Meanwhile, Mattis in Iraq saying “we’re not going to take anyone’s oil”

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TOWOIT #34

February 19, 2017… Day 31

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This morning on Fox & Friends, Chris Wallace said Trump crossed a line when he called the mainstream media “an enemy of the people.” On his own show, Wallace said to Reince Priebus “You can’t tell the media what to do.”

Also on Fox (from Munich), McCain “defended the free press” and said that the way Trump is talking is “how dictatorships get started.” Chris Wallace backed him up on that statement too.

Lindsay Graham (also in Munich) said he was troubled by the fact that Trump wouldn’t acknowledge the Russian election meddling head on.

Twitter chased its tail round and round with jokes about Sweden… since Trump dropped “what happened in Sweden last night” into his Florida rally speech — and no one in Sweden knew what he was talking about.

People packed into Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center for a community program that both commemorated Japanese internment, and tied it to the problems we are facing today–particularly Islamophobia.

In Times Square, in NYC, people showed up for a rally Russell Simmons put on called “We are all Muslim.” Chelsea Clinton tweeted pics from the rally, saying it was her daughter Charlotte’s first.

Cutting through UW campus to get to light rail, I saw streams of Muslim families — men, women, young children — coming from an unknown building at the center of the campus. As I walked the path everyone coming the other direction was Muslims from a lot of different ethnicities and a lot of different styles of dress. There were family groups and people who seemed to have just met each other and were hitting it off. Everyone was smiling and talking with their hands  and laughing–it looked like a group that had just enjoyed a really good hit of community and empowerment. They were giving off this energy of strength and hope. Maybe it was some routine Sunday afternoon event, totally unrelated to #TheResistance (mildly ironic hashtag usage). But whatever it is, it felt good to be crossing its flow of traffic.

In the vestibule of one of the libraries, there was a simple display of informational posters–Poles who risked their lives to save Jews during WWII.

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TOWOIT #33

February 18, 2017… Day 30

I have company in town, was over-scheduled, and fell down a flight of stairs today (I’m ok). Nothing seems to have happened (at a glance or two) at the 2020 campaign rally in Florida, except that Trump got the adulation he was looking for.

Also, buzz reached my ears about McCain. People are hoping he will help somehow.

Dan Pfeiffer reminds us on Twitter: Trump’s base may stick with him to the bitter end. But also, Trump needed more than his base to win in 2016, and he will need them again in 2020 too.

I went to a graphic novel signing at a comic book store, and the event turned out to also be a protest concert. Songs by Billy Bragg, Bruce Springsteen, Woody Guthrie, Cat Stevens, Malvina Reynolds, Bad Religion, G.L.O.S.S. and Pete Seeger. And others I didn’t recognize.

TOWOIT #32

February 17, 2017… Day 29

AP reports on leaked DHS memo from January that floated the idea that 100,000 National Guard troops would be used to round up immigrants for deportation.

Later in the day, Business Insider published this:

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A rambling and peculiar profile of Mark Sanford in Politico. He’s a sitting Republican lawmaker who says he can come out against Trump because he’s already died politically and come back to life.

New York Times editorial board writes piece titled Bring on the Special Prosecutor.

New York Times piece from yesterday, saying a top aide of Ben Carson at HUD was escorted out by security because he had written something critical of Trump back in October.

CBS reports that not a single State Dept. official was in on meetings between Trump and Netanyahu — Jared Kushner the shadow Secretary of State.

Yesterday, Shep Smith spoke out on Fox News about Trump’s crazy press conference. He stood up for Jim Acosta at CNN. So naturally, today this:

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Fox News viewers are calling for his head.

Mitch McConnell gave a press conference today. When a reporter asked if he believed Trump’s statement that no one from his campaign talked to Russia prior to the election, McConnell said “I have no idea.” When a reporter asked if McConnell thought the press conference yesterday hurt or helped Trump’s credibility to lead, McConnell said “I don’t have any observations about that.” What McConnell did say was “I’m not a fan of daily tweets.” But, he said, he was a big fan of Trump’s agenda.

Ina rare display of activism, EPA employees reached out to their Senators and begged them not to confirm Scott Pruitt as head of EPA. 3000 pages of communications between Pruitt (as Oklahoma Attorney General) and the oil & gas industry is due out on Tuesday–after a judge ordered Pruitt to release them. He had with-held them for 3 years.

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What strange times we live in that I haven’t been able to get around to being upset about this development.

At the University of Washington, Nazi-recruitment posters appeared:

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This is lonely. John McCain in Munich:

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This is lonely. Second DREAMer has been detained by ICE:

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This is lonely. A woman and her baby walk through the snow  to be arrested by Canadian police:

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Fox News, supposedly NOT fake news, puts out poll numbers that Trump won’t like:

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And the Guardian trolls him for his “media accountability” survey.

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And here is today’s most amazing and nauseating thing– Trump declares the media “the enemy of the people.”

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“But the language he deployed on Friday is more typically used by presidents to refer to hostile foreign governments or terrorist organizations”
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These people are not my enemy

 

TOWOIT #31

February 16, 2017…. Day 28

Radio alarm: audio from the day before–Trump saying he was for a two state solution for Israel, or a one state solution, or whatever. Benjamin Netanyahu’s deep chuckles can be heard as Trump talks.

“He’s not wrong on everything. And just because he isn’t like us, roll with it. If there’s a little danger, what the hell, you’re not going to live forever anyway.”

— Charlie Munger, 93 year old white male billionaire with no children or grandchildren. Thanks a fucking lot Charlie.

Oh yeah, Charlie also said “young people should learn more and shop less” in regards to protesters. Republicans see everything in terms of consumerism and commerce, it seems. (Paid protesters.)

Senate Republicans moving much more readily than House Republicans in the direction of a deeper probe of the whole situation with Russia and Flynn. Lots of reminders though that Jeff Sessions, Jim Comey, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell are all running this show.

Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee send Jeff Sessions a letter saying he really needs to recuse himself from an investigation into a campaign and administration that he was part of (he has already said he will not recuse himself)

Scuttlebutt on Twitter, mostly drowned in the noise from Trump’s ghastly 77-minute press conference, that Paul Ryan’s staff kept members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus out of a meeting with ICE this afternoon.

VICE News reports that 200 House Republicans are skipping their customary town halls with constituents during the February recess.

Wall Street Journal reports that Jared Kushner went to speak with Time Warner executives about Donald Trump’s concerns over CNN.

Rear Admiral Harward has turned down the job that General Flynn just vacated. According to Jake Tapper, who talked to a friend of Harward, the Rear Admiral referred to the offer to work in the Trump White House a “shit sandwich”

At Washington State University in Pullman, WA, a group posted fliers telling students to turn in undocumented students to ICE.

Los Angeles Times headline: Factual leaks infuriate a president who tweets nonsense

The Atlantic headline: The nationalist right is coming for Reince Priebus

Trump sent out a detailed poll on “the dishonest media” to all his supporters today. Then asked for money for his campaign at the end.

I’m still processing the press conference, mentally and emotionally and literally, so more on that later. In the meantime, here are some snapshots from the Internet Day in Trump.

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Trump solo press conference, without Trump:

Continue reading TOWOIT #31

TOWOIT #30

February 15, 2017… Day 27

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A helluva day on C-Span (but no Spicey)

No White House Press Briefing today, because of Netanyahu’s visit. This was the third time Trump gave one of these joint conferences with foreign leaders, and each time he has only called on conservative news outlets. As he left the room, reporters yelled questions about whether the campaign had communicated with Russia, and he didn’t answer.

Last night’s campaign-Russia intercept news washed back and forth through news outlets and social media, but it felt like the story circled back to Flynn’s resignation and then settled into stories about what it means that the White House leaks like a sieve and intelligence agencies won’t share certain information with Trump for fear that he will pass it along to Russia. That news  broke in the Observer  a few days ago, and was picked up on more widely today.

Dan Rather also passed along an alarming and oddly sensational (for Dan, who 24 hours ago was still calling this situation a 5 or a 6 compared to Watergate’s 9) Rawstory.com article which cited high level intelligence officers saying of Trump “he will die behind bars.”

Bannon, in an interview with some journalist (I forget who now!) at the White House, pushed back against the idea that Priebus was in hot water. Then later they seem to have jointly telephoned The Hill to say how great everything was and how well they’re getting along.

A couple of major news shows including Morning Joe, said they won’t book Kellyanne Conway anymore because she’s a liar.

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Front page of Fox News website this afternoon. Nowhere near the attention given to the White House Russia woes.

Trump further mangled the messaging about Flynn’s retirement in his Bibi press conference, saying it was terribly unfair what the media did to a wonderful man liked Flynn. Jake Tapper said later on CNN, “You fired Flynn, the media didn’t fire him.”

Washington Post headline: Trump says Flynn was treated unfairly, a day after Spicer said Flynn was fired for lack of trust.

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When asked by an Israeli reporter about anti-semitic attacks and charges that he had catered to racism and xenophobia, Trump answered by first gloating in his electoral college victory at length, and then saying “I will say, there’s tremendous enthusiasm out there.” He then went on to pay lip service about how racism is bad and to rattle off some of the Jewish people he personally knew.

This Saturday, Trump is holding a rally in Orlanda, Florida. He referred to it as a campaign rally.

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Whoever wrote this sentence in Fortune really has no moral high ground when it comes to things looking increasingly like quicksand

Earlier in the day there was a tweet tirade about the failing, crooked media and how the real story is the leaks. Supporters on his Facebook page frothing at the mouth, lock everybody up, lock up Hillary, lock up the press, find the leakers and lock them up too. Everybody seems to want to live in Putin’s Russia. No one even seems to know what democracy is and how it functions in their life.

I honestly couldn’t keep track very well — between the House Dems, House Republicans, Senate Dems and Senate Republicans — who on what committee was calling or not calling for which kind of investigation. Independent, not independent, subpoena power. Echoes of what Rachel Maddow said last night–with Jeff Sessions as Attorney General (and adamant that the won’t recuse himself), with Jason Chaffetz heading the House Oversight Committee, with James Comey at the head of the FBI — this could all just get dropped down a deep well and called done.She said “We have the rule of law in this country. I’ve read all about it. But who’s going to make it reality against THIS administration, with THESE allegations?” She demonstrated how the rule of law also exists on paper in Russia. It just doesn’t exist in reality.

Yesterday, when Flynn’s resignation was known but the interception of calls between the campaign and Russia (from before the election) hadn’t come out yet, Rand Paul told reporters that he didn’t think it really made sense “for Republicans to be investigating Republicans

But then in the evening I saw this — so, I’m still confused.

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Yesterday, Republicans killed a bill that would have forced Trump to show his tax returns.

Republican Senator Bob Corker said on Morning Joe: “Is the White House going to have the ability to stabilize itself?” 

Top Senate Republicans ask Trump to withdraw Larry Puzder as nominee for Labor Secretary. Throughout the day, the number of confirmed “No” votes mounted among Republicans. By the end of the day, Larry Puzder had withdrawn his own name.

Intermittently reasonable Republican Susan Collins of Maine, said she would vote against Scott Pruitt for EPA.

Most interesting thing said by a known Republican at work today: “The intelligence community is sworn to protect the American public, and they are going to do it one way or another.”

Specific, hyper-local warnings zinged around social media today about where ICE were conducting raids, for instance: “Stay away from the Bothell Costco.” 

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These congresswomen spoke out against the ICE raids, the sloppy vagueness of both the raids and the executive order behind it, the murky definition of “criminal” and the detention of DREAMer Daniel Ramirez in Seattle. Pramila Jayapal was there (not pictured) and spoke as well. She’s a new congresswoman who until recently was a state legislator representing Seattle. I like this picture because of the women in standing in front and the women reporters sitting below asking questions. Almost everyone in the room was a woman. 

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Meanwhile, back in Seattle, councilwoman Kshama Savant called for people to come to a Free Daniel rally at the courthouse on Friday.

Tomorrow is a day without immigrants. It’s so brave for immigrants to strike. Restaurants in the D.C. area and around the country will be closing in sympathy. A women’s strike is scheduled for March 8.

This creepy thing is also happening in Oklahoma (see below), but I haven’t even been able to go there mentally or emotionally. There has been a host of insidious legislation introduced in the states and maybe I should be focusing on it more–it’s just impossible to get a handle on everything alarming that happens in one day.

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