TOWOIT #28

February 13, 2017… Day 25

“Day Without Immigrants” Rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ten thousand people at least, according to MSNBC. No work, no school, and no buying.

200 African Muslims march in New York.

A federal judge blocks the travel ban for Virginia residents, saying “maximum power does not mean absolute power” (CNN)

Washington Post: Justice Department warned White House that Michael Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Politico headline: Reporters turn on each other over Trump. After president calls on two questioners who fail to ask about Flynn, reporters from other outlets call foul.

From the article: “By handpicking reporters, Trump manages to get through news conference without being asked about Flynn,” tweeted New York Times reporter Peter Baker. … Reporters covering Trump were already chafed by his decision to call on reporters for conservative-leaning outlets – Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post and Fox News – during last week’s briefing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Reporters were shouting questions at Trump about Flynn as he left the room. NPR’s Tamara Keith said a group of reporters were waiting in the hallway outside Sean Spicer’s office to try to ask him about Flynn when Trump just happened by. He wouldn’t answer the question about Flynn, saying there would be a statement later. He did say when asked that he had confidence in Reince Preibus. 

Later Spicer read a statement saying that Trump was evaluating the situation.

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Dossiers: For some reason it was in the STYLE section of the Washington Post tonight that Omarosa Manigault bullied and “physically intimidated” April Ryan just feet from the oval office and mentioned that there was a dossier on her. “She stood right in my face like she was going to hit me,” Ryan said. “I said, ‘You better back up.’ . . . She thought I would be bullied. I won’t be.”

More dossiers: Another news story detailed that a memo from Steve Bannon to aides was leaked—in which he asks them to investigate four senators, including Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

Russian dossiers: The musician Moby posts on social media that based on several conversations he’s had with well-placed acquaintances, he can safely say that the Russian dossier is true and that the hookers peeing story is just the tip of the iceberg.

While Trump swears Mnuchin in as Treasury Secretary, he says “Everything he touches turns to gold.”

Maxine Waters tells Joy Reid not to be fooled by Republican acceptance of Trump’s cabinet nominees. She said, “Keep your eyes on John McCain and Lindsey Graham” and called them patriotic. She called Jeff Sessions “a throwback.”

Washington Post headline: Upheaval is now standard operating procedure inside the White House.

Seen downtown:

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Overheard in the office kitchen:

  • White conservative guy: All these people complaining about Trump, they’re just whiny spoiled brats.
  • Non-white conservative Christian woman who hated Hillary too: Uh huh. But I mean… you have to admit that Trump is a HUGE liar, a serious liar.
  • White guy: That’s meaningless! All politicians lie!
  • Christian woman: [purses her lips and says nothing more]

I’ve been reading this book I was loaned by a Republican work friend, called Enhanced Interrogation. It’s written by a CIA psychologist named James Elmer Mitchell, who has waterboarded people. Its basically his rebuttal to the writings, arguments, and reporting that came out around the time of the McCain-Feinstein anti-torture legislation. I’ve tried to keep an open mind about the narrative, but was unnerved by this account of how detainee KSM (the psychopath who beheaded Daniel Pearl, among other terrible things) described radical Islam’s goals.

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The stuff of nightmares

Giving that quote from KSM the full weight of being a chapter-ending sentence seems really irresponsible. And even though Mitchell made disclaimers before including this paraphrasing of KSM’s thoughts–there’s a feeling that part of him enjoyed getting this out there, and doesn’t really mind if people use it to confirm their worst fears or persecute immigrants.

Evening update: CNN reports that it has two sources saying Michael Flynn has resigned his post.

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