May 2, 2017… Day 103
May 2, 2017… Day 103
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.
Trump also didn’t seem to know or remember that Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un were different people.
Four years ago, in tweets, Trump seemed to have a better handle on things.
—John Roberts to Sean Spicer during today’s White House Press Briefing
Questions they asked Sean Spicer today at the WHPB:
April 9, 2017…. Day 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.
Now that The Intercept has weighed in as well, can we finally stop acting so pathetic and conciliatory toward Trump voters?
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
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).
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.
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:
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.”
March 21, 2017… Day #61
Lisa Murkowski, a Republican Senator from Alaska:
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
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.
Questions asked of Spicey today at the White House Press Briefing:
March 14, 2017…. Day 54
Going to enter today’s reporter questions to Sean Spicer while I try to ignore the butterflies in my stomach over Rachel Maddow’s tease about tax returns on her show. (Starts in 29 minutes. I don’t have TV. Twitter will be my eyes and ears.)
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:
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.
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.
I’m overwhelmed and Sean Spicer’s press briefing was a humdinger, so let’s cut to that:
March 6, 2017… Day 46
This is going to be a blur. It’s Monday. A bunch of stuff happened. I can’t recount it all. Sean Spicer had an hour-long press gaggle off camera. His first audio-recorded press conference of any kind in seven days.
I went to Pramila Jayapal’s town hall after work and learned a bunch about how Congress works. Because I haven’t known what to do since the election, I try to just put my body places sometimes–marches, rallies, meetings. I also try to learn how things work, and sometimes those two things over lap like they did tonight. I learned what kind of things other people in the community are worried about, specifically. The place was packed with a big, vocal, boisterous crowd. It felt like church. It also felt like she was our gladiator. I remember criticism of her before the election. People said she wasn’t the real progressive in the race. She was faux-progressive, they said. Now she is this new congresswoman born unto these crazy times, and she seems to be rising to the challenge. I don’t think anyone is saying she’s not progressive enough now. Also, she talks like a regular person. I scribbled pages of handwritten notes throughout the town hall, so hopefully I will roust myself to backfill some highlights tomorrow (running on fumes).
Listened to Ana Marie Cox’s podcast interview with guest Ira Madison III. Ira is black, and he writes about film and television. It turns out I’ve been following him on Twitter for awhile. Ana Marie Cox is white. They seem to be friends in real life, and they had a long talk about race, inter-racial friendships, and what it’s like to be “the black friend.” Ira also touched on Get Out and “white liberal women,” and said something to the effect of how Hillary Clinton just needs to disappear forever, and reiterated a few times that 53% of white women voted for Trump. So this was no great reprieve for white women. But it was a good, warm conversation about uncomfortable things, and how it has to be ok to be called racist. It cannot be the end of the world. If you aren’t being called out for being racist now and again, you probably are too bottled up and not learning and not associating with anyone outside your own ethnicity bubble. And not having frank conversations about race.
I guess I just mention this to say, that it was somewhat cathartic after watching Get Out.
Khizr Khan, a citizen for 30 years, canceled a trip to Toronto. He said his travel privileges were “under review.”
Sean Spicer press gaggle, without Sean Spicer:
March 4, 2017… Day 44
Unhinged tweets early this morning from Trump. He says Obama wire-tapped his phone before the election. He also says mean stuff about Arnold Schwarzenegger as a TV personality.
I don’t even know what to make of all this anymore, but the day ended with an even more unhinged Roger Stone, admitting in a fit of pique that he had contact with Julian Assange. He quickly deleted the tweet. Roger Stone is an advisor of Donald Trump’s.
There were small pro-Trump protests around the country today. The Willamette Weekly reported on one in Lake Oswego (near Portland). There was a woman with a sign thanking Russia unironically, a man threw a sieg heil salute, and someone said to counter protesters, “You’re all n—–s and Jews!”
A Sikh man in Kent, WA was shot in his own driveway. The shooter yelled at him to get out of the country before shooting him.
I went to a Black Lives Matter protest that was allegedly co-opted by a “Block the Bunker” protest. Block the Bunker is the group protesting the new youth jail. There’s plenty of overlap between their interests and Black Lives Matter interests. Block the Bunker works closely with Kshama Sawant, Seattle’s socialist city council member. But they aren’t a black group. People started to flood out quickly from the rally point at Seattle Central Community College. Someone with the microphone said that the people leading the group out of the rally and into the march were not the leaders, it was a different group. They said, “They’re just trying to cause more trouble.” Then, confusingly, there were three ragtag white kids up there talking into megaphones, one after the other. One of them said, “We have to keep organizing, even if we have different factions.”
The Black Lives Matter guy said he was shoved aside in a physical altercation as Block the Bunker took over all their stuff and physically wrested the march away from them.
Tweeted photos from the sit-in at the end of the march show mostly white faces in the first rows of the ring of participants. A lot of the people in the center of the circle, holding the floor, were people of color, but almost none of them black. Someone tweeted, “We have to sit at the back of our own protests. Seattle is still racist.”
It already felt awkward to have so many white people there — most of whom came because they were specifically urged to come in searing “where have you been? We expect you to report to BLM in future” think pieces. So these earnest white people did show up in droves, which probably made black people feel even more co-opted when the march was co-opted by Block the Bunker.
Afterward, talked to a woman in a drink gathering in an Emerald City Comic Con hotel room, about how the adults in her family were amnestied by Reagan in the 1980s and what a difference it made in her life. They finally stopped moving around so much, her father and step-father were able to get better jobs than picking fruit and vegetables in the field. She had some stability for her middle school and high school years, and a little bit more of a normal American working class income–even though they were still poor. Now she is a researcher on diseases like cystic fibrosis, and she also runs a bike shop with her husband. She is a huge contributor to society in a lot of ways.
Comic book writers and artists coming down from Vancouver for ECCC told tales of the U.S. border. They had deleted Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps from their phones and deleted text conversations and photos. But still, one guy was told to sign into his Tinder account so that the officer could peruse his conversations there. I wouldn’t be surprised if people just stop coming to this country at all.
February 27, 2017…. Day 39
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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):
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.
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.”
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
White House press briefing without Sean Spicer:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: