TOWOIT #256: My Gal’s a Corker

October 24, 2017… Day 278

Sarah Huckabee Sanders held a press briefing today. She wore a pink blouse of a shinier, less structured fabric than usual. The neckline plunged a bit, showing some cleavage. I have not noticed her showing cleavage before and I do not like it when she opens herself up to sartorial criticism because then I feel honor-bound to defend her. I wondered if she felt self-conscious, or if maybe it had not seemed at home like the neckline plunged as much as it did indeed turn out to plunge.

Cleavage notwithstanding, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is like a giant damper pedal. Well, that’s not quite apt. But whereas Sean Spicer used to rattle and hum and spice things up by getting all zesty and testy, Sarah Sanders just takes all the energy and life in the room and absorbs it and keeps it. Everything falls quiet and slow. Just slow quiet lies in a deadened room.

Here are the questions they asked her today: 

Continue reading TOWOIT #256: My Gal’s a Corker

TOWOIT #254

October 19, 2017… Day 273

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John Kelly came to the White House Press Briefing today. It was sad on so many, many levels.

He walked everyone through what happens when someone dies in the armed services. He said this about the Congresswoman who was riding in the car with the widow and the mother in Florida:

It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life — the dignity of life — is sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well.

(“Women were sacred” was a really weird, WTF moment for me.)

He only took questions from reporters who knew someone who had died. Here are the three questions he took:

  • Well, thank you, General Kelly. First of all, we have a great deal of respect — Semper Fi — for everything that you’ve ever done. But if we could take this a bit further. Why were they in Niger? We were told they weren’t in armored vehicles and there was no air cover. So what are the specifics about this particular incident? And why were we there? And why are we there?
  • General, thank you for being here today and thank you for your service and for your family’s sacrifice. There has been some talk about the timetable of the release of the statement about the — I think at that point it was three soldiers who were killed in Niger. Can you walk us through the timetable of the release of that information? And what part did the fact that a beacon was pinging during that time have to do with the release of the statement? And were you concerned that divulging information early might jeopardize the soldiers’ attempt to be (inaudible)?
  • General, when you talk about Niger, sir, what does your intelligence tell you about the Russian connection with them? And the stories that are coming out now, they’re —

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TOWOIT #209: Juggalos vs. Proud Boys

August 17, 2017… Day 210

**Promotional Nepotism Break**

My dearly beloved, who is a good person, a booster, a staid friend, a man who works quietly behind the scenes, an all-around unsung hero and the person who always shows up with a big car to help people move… THAT guy has a modest little Kickstarter going for a nifty illustrated fan-zine that brings together several of the coolest independent comics artists on the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver,BC corridor. I would like for him to have big success. In return for how he handled (handles) my voluble and recurring post-election storms with kindness and true emotional support, I now must do all I can to put eyes on his Kickstarter so that his quirky, arty, toilet-themed, sumptuously illustrated movie review book will see the light of day. Here’s the link.

HERE’s one of the rewards (designed by Brandon Graham aka @royalboiler):

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*** And we now return to our regularly scheduled program, Nightmare World with Lil ***

 

This August 16, 1973 would also make a great enamel pin:

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All across the media and the Internet, people are talking like this is a real turning point for the Trump Administration. Not the kind they used to talk about, the pivot, but a kind from which there’s no turning back for Trump. His ghostwriter for Art of the Deal thinks Trump will resign by the end of the year.

But I’ll believe it when it happens. Too many unbelievable things already happened to get us here. Plus, last night Rachel Maddow made vague intimations of the first signs of something maybe going awry with the Mueller investigation. And there’s always the threat of a big distracting war. So I’m not holding my breath.

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I’m just waiting to see what happens when the Juggalos march on Washington and come across the Proud Boys next month.

Speaking of which, a warning just came into my Facebook timeline, all the way from Japan:

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Thank you and goodnight.

 

 

 

 

 

TOWOIT #168

July 7, 2017… Day 169

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Good news. Healthcare bill still not going well for Republicans.

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And Malala popped up to say hello to Twitter. It was her last day of high school.

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Questions from today’s press briefing by Tillerson and Mnuchin on the G20:

  • Mr. Secretary, Nick Waters from Bloomberg News. Can you tell us whether President Trump said whether there would be any consequences for Russia to the interference in the U.S. election? Did he spell out any specific consequences that Russia would face? And then also, on the Syria ceasefire, when does it begin? And what makes you think the ceasefire will succeed this time when past U.S.-Russian agreements on a ceasefire have failed?
  • Mr. Secretary, you spoke, when you were speaking of the ceasefire, about there being detailed information about who would enforce it. Can you give any more information on what conclusions were reached? And you spoke of the future leadership of Syria. Do you still believe that Assad has no role in their government?
  • Does the administration still believe that Assad has no role in the future government of Syria?
  • Thank you. Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times. On North Korea, did President Putin agree to do anything to help the U.S. to put more pressure on North Korea? And secondly, you seem to have reached somewhat of an impasse with China in terms of getting them to put more pressure on North Korea. How are you going to get them to go beyond what they’ve done already? And what is President Trump going to say to President Xi on that issue tomorrow?
  • And you haven’t given up hope?
  • Thank you. Mr. Secretary, I have issue — you just mentioned on the DPRK. We note China and Russia recently said — they asked North Korea to stop the — to freeze, actually, the nuclear activities, and also they asked the U.S. to stop the deployment of THAAD system. So did President Putin bring up his concern about the deployment of THAAD system? And also, what’s the expectation of President Trump on tomorrow’s meeting with President Xi Jinping, other than the DPRK issue? Thank you.
  • Margaret Talev with Bloomberg. Mr. Secretary, could you give us a roadmap? Did you agree on a next set of talks between the President and Mr. Putin? And I guess I have kind of like a fluffy, color question on general impressions. We thought this was a 30-minute meeting.  It ended up being 2 hours and 16 minutes. That’s a lot of time to watch those two leaders interact and also to just — whatever. Any insights on all those? Also, real quickly, any update on the dachas? Are they getting them back? And on Ukraine sanctions, any resolution or progress on those? Thanks.
  • Thank you very much. Mr. Secretary, can you say if the President was unequivocal in his view that Russia did interfere in the election? Did he offer to produce any evidence or to convince Mr. Putin?

TOWOIT #167

July 6, 2017… Day 168

Things are wild and bad so hug your loved ones, call your reps, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite. The bears in Alaska are irrationally hostile this year. Zuckerberg is in Alaska discovering things about the social safety net and tweeting. The North Koreans can hit Alaska now. The Russians used to own Alaska. Trump might give Alaska back when he talks to Putin this week.

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I want this to be true more than I believe it is true.

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TOWOIT #91

April 17… Day #88

Crawling toward Day 100. It used to seem like every day was 10 days. Now it’s down to about two days per day. When I found out Trump was going to win, the first thing I cried for was the fact that I didn’t want to see his face or hear his voice any more. I hadn’t realized how desperate I was for him to be shuffled out of my daily eyeshot and earshot. And in that moment, I didn’t think I could bear another day of Trump on national television, let alone Trump as President. Well, I’m fucking stronger now. We all are.

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Trump also didn’t seem to know or remember that Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un were different people.

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Four years ago, in tweets, Trump seemed to have a better handle on things.

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“You got a fly on your head.”

—John Roberts to Sean Spicer during today’s White House Press Briefing

Questions they asked Sean Spicer today at the WHPB:

Continue reading TOWOIT #91

TOWOIT #80

April 6, 2017… Day 77

Devin Nunes steps down from the Russian investigation. A week ago he said he couldn’t think of anyone better to lead the investigation than him.

The Republicans changed the Senate rule so that now a Supreme Court nominee can be confirmed with a simple majority.

According to the Daily Beast, Steve Bannon called Jared Kushner a cuck behind his back. So there’s that.

Washington Post headline: “The government is demanding to know who this Trump critic is. Twitter is suing to keep it a secret.”

The Susan Rice story is everywhere, and no amount of nuance by mainstream news outlets can stop them from helping the main obfuscating lie from spreading through people’s minds. Black woman did something wrong.

Fake news and how it starts. There are conspiracy theories about the shooting of Trinh Huynh in Atlanta. On Reddit, on blogs, and on a Russian language website. There is an alternative reality where ISIS took out the freeway bridge that burned, and Trinh knew too much about it.

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Now that The Intercept has weighed in as well, can we finally stop acting so pathetic and conciliatory toward Trump voters? 

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Update:

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TOWOIT #76

April 2, 2017… Day 73

It’s Sunday. It’s relatively quiet. Everyone’s still snacking on the leftovers of last week’s crazy. Either that or I’m just not paying as close attention today. The LA Times editorial board published the first part of a 4-part editorial about how mind-bindingly terrible Trump is as a president. Twitter seized on this line: “Nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck” Pointing out that a) we could have foreseen it and b) a lot of us were imagining scenarios worse than where we are today.

Chuck Schumer said there wouldn’t be 60 votes for Neil Gorsuch.

“Do you guys remember Obama? My heart hurts.”

—-D’Arcy Carder on the podcast Lovett or Leave It

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This is from “Newsbusters” whose tagline is about exposing liberal media bias. Note that they missed the cue on the epithet currently in use for Chuck Todd (Is it Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd or is it Near Panic Chuck Todd? This is so The Odyssey).

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TOWOIT #70

March 27, 2017… Day 67

Jared Kushner to head “SWAT team” that will reorganize government, privatizing some parts of it. Creepy on several levels. Was it really necessary to use the imagery of violent paramilitary home invasion to describe what’s going to be done to the government

Glenn Greenwald warns that the rules of engagement are changing in dangerous ways, and the military is allowing more civilians to be killed in its operations now. The fact that it’s Glenn Greenwald lends weight because he was already permanently livid (permalivid) at Obama. So if he says things have taken a sharp turn for the worse, he means it.

Washington Post headline: Trump administration weighs deeper involvement in Yemen war.

Bernie Sanders said he and other top progressives will introduce a Medicare for all bill.

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Adam Schiff calls for Devin Nunes to step down as chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Jeff Sessions says we must end sanctuary cities and steps will be taken to punish those cities financially.

A DREAMER in Portland was arrested at his house, although the ICE agents did not have a proper warrant signed by a judge.

Devin Nunes was on White House grounds the night before he called a press conference about information on the White House. Wait, what? I don’t even know. First we heard he disappeared from an Uber. Then we heard he met with *someone* on the White House grounds. What’s next?

I’m still catching up from being out of town and out of the loop. I’m gonna do the White House Press briefing questions and call it a night:

Continue reading TOWOIT #70

TOWOIT #69

March 26, 2017… Day 66

Spent the day in Salem, Corvallis, and Albany, Oregon with a friend.

Driving between Monmouth and Corvallis we see a handpainted Black Lives Matter sign on a fence outside a farm house. It’s black paint on white-painted boards, in the same style as a sign advertising a roadside fruit stand.

Standing in a Starbucks in Corvallis, I look at my phone and see the extent of the protests in Russia — all across Russia — and the arrest of opposition-leader Navalny. Tears prick in my eyes and my ribcage seems to tighten up around my lungs. It’s more real now. Russians don’t have first amendment protections. They have laws against protesting. Police told them to stay out of the streets or expect a crackdown. Navalny’s life is in his hands, as he continues his opposition to Putin. Tens of thousands turned out in 80 different cities across Russia. Navalny was arrested.

We wandered into a tasting room for a brewery in Albany. The place was mostly empty, but we gravitated toward two white men who were playing guitars and singing in harmony with each other. They sounded really beautiful, sad, tender, soulful. It was country music, with a dash of something that sounded like Old Crow Medicine Show. As I got closer, I saw the bumper stickers on one of the guitar cases. One sticker read “I DON’T BELIEVE THE LIBERAL MEDIA!!” and the other read, “AND YOUR CRY-BABY, WHINY-ASS OPINION WOULD BE…?” At least two-thirds of my own hometown is like this too. And I can’t pretend not to be grossed out by it now. It IS wrapped up with white supremacy and I’m fucking sick of it. Anyway, that guy needs a bumper sticker that reads “SINGS BEAUTIFUL SONGS, DOESN”T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS.”

 

 

TOWOIT #64

March 21, 2017… Day #61

Lisa Murkowski, a Republican Senator from Alaska: 

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Politico headline: Carbon tax debate exposed rift among Trump aides. (Spoiler alert: Gary Cohn, head of the National Economic Council, seems like a reasonable man who wants reasonable things to happen. Steve Bannon, not so much.) (parenthetical asides are my own).

It’s going around Twitter that Rex Tillerson didn’t want to be Secretary of State, but his wife told him that God wanted him to do it. This would explain why Tillerson is always quiet and low-energy and doesn’t care that the President is proposing cutting his department’s budget by 30%. His heart is not in it. And Mitch McConnell said cutting the State Department by that much was not gonna fly. So *someone* is looking out for Tillerson’s department. Meanwhile, good old Andrea Mitchell, shut out of the State Department plane because Tillerson says he doesn’t “need” media coverage, is flying separately and chasing Tillerson down all over the globe. Catching glimpses of him on his way to take naps.

To think of the sexist shredding Hillary would have endured if she talked about things like needing a good night’s sleep or being too fatigued to have dinner with the South Korean foreign minister.

Tillerson! We counted on you to be somewhat normal and awake! You’re letting us all the fuck down. I miss Mitt Romney. I believe he genuinely did feel called to serve.

In other news, Elizabeth Warren said maybe (just maybe) we shouldn’t be going forward with the confirmation process of Neil Gorsuch when the White House is being investigated by the FBI. Meanwhile, Gorsuch does his best to distance himself from Trump without speaking a perfect soundbite for the media.

Cosmopolitan headline: Ivanka Trump’s White House Gig Is an Insult to Working Women

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The Wall Street Journal editorial on Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of Obama wiretap: “the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle”

My most optimistic take on our current situation is that we are going to hobble out on the other side of it gravely battered and diminished, and having lost people along the way. We’ll have lost rights that were hard-won and may not be won back in our lifetimes. Our elections will be less free. Our institutions will be weakened and corrupted. Our standing in the world will have dropped considerably. Our populace will be even less literate and less able to think critically. That’s what I think when I’m feeling optimistic.

When I’m not feeling optimistic, I just think Trumpism reigns supreme until climate change swamps us, then it’s gameover as we descend into violent tribalism over remaining resources.

It’s been a pleasure being in this national emergency with all of you. Goodnight.

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Questions asked of Spicey today at the White House Press Briefing:

Continue reading TOWOIT #64

TOWOIT #56

March 13, 2017… Day 53

Today there was an Executive Order signed that called for reorganization, possibly elimination, of each and every federal agency. Yeah it sounds wild, but here’s a chunk of it:

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The CBO “scored” the Republicans’ repeal and replace bill and said that 14 million people fewer would have health insurance by 2018, and 24 million fewer would be insured by 2026. Leading up to today, Republicans have been trashing the non-partisan CBO because they weren’t expecting to like the report.

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Today at midnight was the deadline for the DOJ to send information to the House Intelligence Committee on the wiretapping allegation by the President. A couple hours ago, the DOJ sent a letter requesting more time.

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Fox News reporter who usually lobs softballs asks Sean Spicer, “Is it our job to be nice?”

I’m overwhelmed and Sean Spicer’s press briefing was a humdinger, so let’s cut to that: 

Continue reading TOWOIT #56