the only way out is through #18

February 3, 2017…. Day 15

One of the lawsuits against the immigration and refugee executive order said anyone with a valid visa could come into the country. So we found out today that visas were simply REVOKED. According to government lawyers, it was 100,000 visas. State department said 60,000 (NY Times). Sounds like they weren’t just suspended, they were canceled completely. 

Doing this but more comprehensively and less personally: Really good site called What the Fuck Just Happened Today — recommend it to everyone, either to supplement this or to avoid reading about my emotions altogether.

Girlpower: Elle joins TeenVogue in the ranks, as the magazine joins a ProPublica project on hate-crime reporting. I think Elle is also the first place I saw the “Dress Like a Woman” story yesterday (or one of the first places to pick it up — it suddenly seemed to come from everywhere).

#Dresslikeawoman hashtag — like the movies Moana and Hidden Figures, I wondered where this hashtag was in my youth. It could have counteracted some of the “you go in space, you get immediately killed” imprint I felt from seeing Christa McAuliffe’s picture and then watching the Challenger explode in real time in my small-town grade school classroom. This isn’t really an excuse. The truth is, I grew up in a town with a lot of tough women doing tough things with chutzpah. I was just personally wimpy.

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-7-10-01-am

I blew up at someone today who sauntered over to my cubicle and interrupted my concentration to say things like “boy, Trump had a great line-up at his meeting this morning! Jamie Dimon… yeah… rather have them taking care of things than a bunch of politicians.” After I started looking daggers at him and having steam coming out of my ears he uttered these deadly words: “Checks and balances” and that’s when I exploded and told him to “get the fuck away from me with that sanguine bullshit.” I don’t think he knows what sanguine means. We were fine soon after, when he said “I’m sorry I caused you so much rage in your heart” and I said “My heart is a sealed room full of flammable gas” and then we both laughed. Gotta get by (and we do like each other).

From the White House Press Briefing: The transcript is more innocuous than the reality. Here’s the transcript.

REPORTER: THE SECOND QUESTION. C.B.E. WHAT’S ON THE TABLE FOR THAT?

MR. SPICER: WE’RE NOT GETTING — I HAVE NOTHING TO ANNOUNCE ON THAT.

REPORTER: THE PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED –

MR. SPICER: I’VE UNDERSTOOD WE HEARD A LOT OF RUMORS. WHEN WE HAVE SOMETHING TO ANNOUNCE ON THAT, WE WILL DO IT. I DON’T THINK IT SHOULD BE ANY SURPRISE THAT THE PRESIDENT, WHEN IT COMES TO ROOTING OUT RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM, WHICH IS WHAT THAT INITIALLY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FOCUSED ON, HE’S GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT IS A MAJOR FOCUS OF HIS KEEPING THIS COUNTRY SAFE. SO I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING FURTHER FOR YOU ON THAT.

REPORTER: WHAT ABOUT EXCLUDING — THERE ARE REPORTS –

MR. SPICER: THERE ARE REPORTS. I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING FOR YOU. I JUST SAID I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING FOR YOU. I WILL BE VERY CLEAR THIS PRESIDENT’S COMMITMENT TO ROOTING OUT RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM IS SOMETHING THAT’S AT THE FOREFRONT OF HIS AGENDA AND I KNOW THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF REPORTS ABOUT WHERE THAT PROGRAM OR THAT EFFORT IS GOING TO LIE.

REPORTER: [INAUDIBLE]

MR. SPICER: I HAVE NOTHING ELSE. THANK YOU.

What I want to note from having watched this, is the following:

  1. Refresher: The CBE is an anti-extremism program that includes radical Islamic terrorism, but also includes things like white supremacist hate groups. A leaked memo said the White House wanted it to ONLY focus on radical Islamic terrorism and may even change the name to reflect that, making it feel like white supremacists and people who bomb abortion clinics have a big thumbs-up now.
  2. The reporter was April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks. She is a veteran black journalist. 
  3. I don’t know if C-Span did this with its transcript intentionally, but in the three bolded parts where she tried to ask a question and was shut down by Spicer, she actually said the phrase “White supremacists” very VERY clearly and audibly. And each time he said the words “Radical Islamic Terrorism” with the same emphasis back. So it felt like a weird mismatched call and response. The effect was chilling and is lost in the transcript.
  4. No words can compare to the look of withering disgust and displeasure on her face when he shut her down the last time. Thank you for being in that awful place, April. We appreciate you.

LGBT rally rescheduled because of the Super Bowl, after complaints on the FB invite. So much for sticking it to the man. As one friend said on FB, the Super Bowl on Fox is a great opportunity to boycott. She said “there is no normal while things are not normal.” It seems to me that for those of us who have lost our normal — we aren’t choosing our lack of normal. Our lack of normal chose us.

Joining the No Fucks To Give club: Chelsea Clinton has suddenly tweeting politically and very sardonically. She’s like in a contest with herself to say something as dry as she can in six words or less. It’s refreshingly undiplomatic.

GREAT END TO THE DAY: Networks go into breaking news mode as Bob Ferguson, attorney general of Washington has press conference, announces federal judge in Seattle granted temporary injunction against executive order. Broadest challenge to the executive order yet. CNN said the White House would probably try to get it overturned via an emergency ruling tonight.

White House press briefing without Sean Spicer:

Good afternoon. On behalf of the viewers of South Florida, thanks so much for this opportunity. You know, a lot of focus on foreign affairs this week, a new sanctions announced today against Iran, and of course Miami, as you know, is home to the largest Cuban-American community in the country. And during the campaign, President Trump talked about his discontent with the warming of U.S.-Cuba relations implemented by President Obama. And in the last days of his administration, he ended the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, leaving thousands of Cubans in limbo.So my question is twofold. A, has there been any contact between your administration and the Cuban government? And B, are there any plans to change the current policy right now?
Thank you, Sean. Today, the United States put new sanctions on Iran. Previously, this morning, the President had said that they were playing with fire. You said that appropriate actions would continue to be taken. Is this the full extent of the punishing actions that we’re seeing right now? And are military options still on the table in response to the administration saying that all options are on the table?
So it is possible that there are more actions coming, though?
Thanks a lot, Sean. I wanted to ask about one of the members that has been announced as being part of President Trump’s team — it’s Gina Haspel. Senator Ron Wyden has written to the President saying that her background makes her unsuitable to be the CIA Deputy Director. And what he was specifically referencing was her role in the enhanced interrogation program that the CIA had during the course of the Bush administration. Do you believe that this background is a disqualifier for that position?
Hey, Sean, thanks for taking the question. I know you’re looking forward to the Patriots coming down in a couple of months — a lot of people up here are hoping that happens as well. Getting to business, though, for more than two years, the number-one public health and safety threat facing this state is the heroin and opioid crisis. During the campaign, the President promised to be swift and aggressive when it came to this problem — stopping the flow of drugs coming across the border. Increasingly, though, the problem lies in synthetic fentanyl being cooked up in labs in the northeast. What is the administration doing on that front as well as the treatment aspect of addiction?And secondly, if I may, with the understanding it is a state issue, New Hampshire is poised to become a “right to work” state, but the vote is expected to be close. Given the administration’s favorable view of “right to work,” is it actively engaged in that effort? And if not, what is the general message from the White House?
Sean, I want to ask you about Dodd-Frank. Beyond the executive order that’s going to be signed here momentarily, is the administration planning on or working with Congress to overturn certain portions of the law itself that can be done with an executive order? If so, what might that be? What might that timeline be? And can you say if a full repeal of Dodd-Frank is actively being considered or not?
Sean, meeting with the Australian ambassador here yesterday with Chief of Staff Priebus and Steve Bannon — can you describe what that meeting was about? And did the administration make a commitment — which we heard from the State Department yesterday — that, in fact, all of those subject to the Obama administration agreement are still possible refugee re-settlers just with extreme vetting or some sort of process? What was communicated?And on the Iran sanctions, Adam Szubin is the Acting Treasury Secretary. He was, of course, in charge of sanctions at the Treasury Department before. Oftentimes these are a long time in development. Were these sanctions something that were kind of on his desk or have been identified, and that’s what made them so, if not easy, available to enact so rapidly?
Sean, your statement last night on settlements in Israel — has there been a shift in U.S. policy? While you said that you didn’t think that they were helpful to achieving peace, you also didn’t think that they were an impediment to peace, which would represent a departure from both Obama and Bush. And there was no reaffirmation of a two-state solution in that statement. So where are you on that?
Sean, back to the settlement thing. What is your position on settlements in terms of whether or not they — I mean, you said that they were not an impediment to peace, but you also don’t want them building new ones.
So where are you —
Two for you. Seventeen members of Congress requested that President Trump not interfere with the current way unemployment is calculated by the Department of Labor. Does the President intend to comply with their request? And a related question — how many of the 227,000 jobs added to the U.S. in January does the President attribute to his administration versus the Obama administration?
The government revealed in an Alexandria court case today that over 100,000 visas have now been revoked as part of the President’s travel ban. Does that include visa holders who are already in the United States? And will the government begin finding them and trying to deport them?
Six hours ago, the President tweeted that professional anarchists, thugs and paid protestors are proving the point of millions of people who voted to make America great again. Does the administration have any intention of investigating the groups who have been rioting at conservative or pro-Trump events?
Has the President seen the letter sent from Senator McCain yesterday? And if so, is he looking into arming the Ukrainians?
Ambassador Nikki Haley came out with a strong statement on Russia yesterday. Does the administration have plans to keep the sanctions against Russia in place, or do they have any intention of adding more sanctions?
Sean, thank you for doing this. Hello from a sunny and beautiful Phoenix. With the likely confirmation on the horizon with a new Veteran Affairs Secretary, there has been discussion regarding privatizing the VA. There’s also still concerns regarding wait times, even overall care and some reports regarding a suicide rate. What is the reform that the administration is seeking here? Also, will the administration protect whistleblowers?Second part of the question — we’ve seen protests here in Phoenix, as in the nationwide as well. When you talk about unity, what is the administration doing to bring more unity to the nation, and even more transparency? As here in Phoenix, we saw that secret meeting on the tarmac. How is the administration repairing all of this?
Sean, during the campaign, candidate Trump repeatedly said he was going to void the Iranian nuclear deal. Bottom line — is he going to do that, or is he going to let it stay?
Sean, thank you very much for taking questions from outside the elite media bubble there in D.C. My question is about immigration. Donald Trump made this the forefront of his campaign, the foundation of it, yet the DACA and DAPA programs still exist. And I learned from a member of Congress yesterday that the Trump administration is still issuing the work permits that (inaudible) individuals. one is, when are these programs going to be ended? And question two, when will they stop issuing work permits to these individuals?
Sean, yesterday the President described NAFTA as a catastrophe. We’ve heard about his concerns with Mexico, but I’m wondering if you can outline some of the irritants that he finds along the Canadian border, and if there’s any talk of a meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau.
Thanks, Sean. Russia’s foreign minister has pressed the administration for further details on the President’s plans to establish safe zones in Syria. The President has said to have discussed this yesterday with King Abdullah. When can we expect further details on that plan?
The President will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Abe next Friday. So what’s the main topic for the meeting? Will the President tell Japanese Prime Minister Abe that Japan should pay more and pick up all the expense (inaudible) in Japan?
Sean, you have referenced polls a couple of times from the podium, but a poll came out today. CBS says the President has a 40 percent approval rating. We’ve seen the approval rating drop during the transition period. He talked about polls a great deal during the campaign. A, what do you think that says about the way the American people are looking at these actions that he’s taking? And, B, what do you think it says about his pledge to unite the country on the eve of his election?
Sean, you mentioned the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Does the administration intend to keep Richard Cordray as the head of that agency?
You criticize the bureau broadly, but do you want to see it stay in place?
Okay, Sean, two things. One, you said something about President Trump talking on the Facebook Live that he was going to talk about Black History Month and issues pertaining to the African American community. When you first came, a couple days into the administration, I asked you about the agenda, the black agenda that he had possibly formulated or he was formulating as he came out maybe the day before with the issue of Chicago, or the day after — something around that time — Chicago and sending the Feds in if it doesn’t change. Has he now formulated a plan to deal with the black community, not just with issues of law and order? What is that —
Sean –Wait, I’m not finished. So he’s now formulating the agenda?
Okay. So the second question — CVE. What’s on the table for that?
You have nothing to announce, but people are concerned —
What about excluding people — there are reports about excluding white supremacists from —
Is there going to be any kind of target on the issues of white supremacy?
Sean, thank you. The President has been using some tough talk, tough language on Iran — “playing with fire.” Should Americans be ready for the possibility of military action with Iran? Is that on the table?
Thank you, Sean. On Monday, several published reports saying that it will be a tie in the Senate on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, and Mike Pence will have to cast a historic tie-breaking vote as Vice President. Should we be watching for any surprises? Has the Congressional Affairs Office perhaps gotten one more vote from the “no” camp into the “yes”? Or do you expect the Vice President to be on hand to confirm her?

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