TOWOIT #233: What Happened Day

September 12, 2017… Day 236

Today, they arrived: What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Unbelievable, by Katy Tur (who covered the Trump campaign for NBC).

In the under-the-radar, “actually-I’m-not-that-crazy-about-Bernie” corners of the leftwing Internet, there’s a buzz of energy surrounding the release of What Happened. What people don’t understand about the women and men who supported Hillary is that the book’s release has turbocharged their commitment to what they were already committed to and talking about. Most immediately, with everybody’s eyes on 2018, those topics are voting rights, voter enfranchisement, voter registration, and voter turnout. Because they are about that action.

I have a deliberate schedule to follow for the next year to maintain my work, classwork, writing, sanity and health. There’s sleep hygiene involved, there’s deliverable dates for finishing book chapters. There are final exams and there are important dates when the big boss is in town. There’s family stuff too. And a boyfriend. But now I know I need to work activism back in more than it has been, because when the election happened I considered every marginalized young person as my young person and I felt responsibility to do my best on their behalf. And I still have to do that.

I also know though, that I have to write like hell. Even when I’m tired and I don’t feel like it. Because I said yes to writing in order to run headlong in the direction of my innate abilities and inclinations. Activism and organizing are not in the direction of my innate abilities and inclinations. They’re the opposite, and I’m going to do some of that stuff anyway. But saying yes to writing will curb my time and energy for activism. So all writing has to be Hell Yes writing. There can be no dilly-dallying in this matter. No dawdling. No equivocating.

(this decaf Americano is having a dangerous placebo effect on me)

I have barely begun to look at either of these books, but I’m already energized.

Hillary Clinton’s and Katy Tur’s author’s notes start out similarly. In What Happened, Hillary writes, “This is my story of what happened.” In Unbelievable, Katy writes, “This is a true story. It is also my story, which makes it a work of memory.”

Flip to the beginning of the next section a few pages later, and Hillary writes, “Deep breath. Feel the air fill my lungs.” It is Trump’s inauguration day, January 20, 2017.

Flip a couple pages to the beginning of Katy’s next section, and she writes, “I’m about to throw up.” It’s late on election night — November 8, 2016 — and a fellow reporter has just told her that Trump is going to continue to do rallies. Victory rallies.

These women felt it in their bodies. That’s the way I felt it — a lot of us did. It was a body blow. We were holding our breaths, waiting for an abuser-figure to finally fade away after a long year of Trump on television, Trump on the radio, Trump invading our nightmares. And instead we knew he would be everywhere, in everything. For years. And not just on television. He would be fucking with our very worlds.

And that’s why I want to hear what Hillary Clinton and Katy Tur have to say about what happened last year.


April 29, 2017… Day 100


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As Jon Lovett said last night, if Trump’s term were a marathon, we haven’t even run 2 miles yet. Uggghh.

I’m glad the climate march was robust in Washington, D.C….

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… because it was real sad in Seattle.


Not just because the crowd was small. But because the crowd was subdued and because at least half the speakers seemed like guilting activists with bad and conflicting information. Come on. I hate that.

I was at the office early, trying to catch up stuff. I was planning to join the march but I thought there would be more of a milling around period at the start before the marching began. When I went to look down in the direction of the starting point, all I saw was eight people with signs slipping around the corner onto Fourth Avenue. I went over to the other side of the building and saw the tail end of the crowd, heading up the canyon between buildings. I’d already been alone way up in that building all morning, so it was a lonely feeling. My people were disappearing up the street and they just looked kind of sad. Collectively sad.

I went downstairs and fell in with the stragglers on the sidewalk. More stragglers joined us. People honked in support and yelled “Thanks for marching!” out the window at us. We eventually caught up with everyone, loosely pooled down at Westlake Center.

One thing I appreciated was that it was the first time in “the resistance” that I’ve seen a certain demographic rise to prominence: Old white guys. Old white guys, I rag on you all the time. But when you showed up today you showed up for all of us, so thank you.

And some old white guys in training:


But yeah, it feels a little depressing:

And then there’s this:


MEANWHILE, over in Trump world:

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Here are the questions the reporters asked Sean Spicer on the press gaggle en route to Atlanta on Air Force One yesterday:

  • Can you confirm that Senator Ted Cruz is on the plane?
  • What’s he doing?
  • Sean, what’s the status of the healthcare effort?
  • There’s no vote —
  • Sean, obviously, the President tomorrow night is holding this rally during the Correspondents’ Dinner. Is there any message he’s trying to send with those two things happening concurrently?
  • Can you give us an update on where things are with the spending plan? I know there was a bill for one week. But what about the long-term progress?
  • When we talked to him last night about South Korea, he mentioned the THAAD missile system. Is he going to ask the South Koreans to pay for that?
  • Can you give us an update on — there was a meeting yesterday about the Paris agreement, where things stand. What’s the state-of-play in the White House on that?
  • When will they do that?
  • Can you talk more about the NRA and the speech? About the NRA, about the forum, about his relationship with the NRA or about firearms policy, about guns? Anything?
  • Is he going to thank — that kind of speech, where he’s thanking —
  • Conceal and carry?
  • — his own views about guns? His sons are hunters.
  • Sean, what about the trip to Israel?  Is that something that you guys can firm up?
  • And what are the other options? Rome, Israel, Saudi?
  • (Inaudible) some things about FEMA director. Is that coming soon?



February 10, 2017… Day 22

Dizzying array of shit.

Chuck Cooper withdraws his name for solicitor general. Kellyanne Conway’s husband back in the running for that and also for another thing.

Trump talks to China, says he will respect One-China rule

Washington governor Jay Inslee vows “resistance everywhere” approach

Protesters physically blocked Betsy DeVos from entering public school in D.C.

MSNBC reports that White House has confirmed Flynn did talk to Russia about sanctions in December

Mrs. Abe is unescorted in Washington D.C. all day because Melania is AWOL… the awkward handshake and eye roll between DJT and Prime Minister Abe.

CNN: Trump to Dems: “Pocahontas is now the face of your party:”

Trump to Senators at the same lunch meeting yesterday: he went on about thousands of illegal voters being bussed from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, and that  Kelly Ayotte would have won her re-election bid otherwise. Afterward, an FEC commissioner called for Trump to reveal his evidence. She said it was too large and dramatic claim, and that she needed to see substantiation so that she could possibly start an investigation (basically calling his bluff).

On Air Force One today, Trump told reporters  that he knew nothing about the Flynn stuff (16 hours after Washington Post report), but he would look into it. Later Trump issued a statement saying Flynn has his full support.

Trump denies Tillerson his choice of deputy, Eliot Abrams, because Abrams criticized him during the campaign. An insider said it was about absolutely nothing except Trump’s own thin-skin and that Abrams would have been a strong choice for his governmental experience.

White House says it won’t appeal ruling on the travel ban executive order, and then says it will — I don’t know where that landed or will land.

The Stranger reports that every single Republican member of Congress from Washington State is hiding from his or her constituents. A Facebook friend posts a screen cap post from one of them. In it, she tells her constituents to stop reading the news, and “everything will be fine.”

CNN published a very circumspect article headlined “US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier” — taking pains to word everything carefully and say that the most salacious allegations had not been corroborated and that CNN had never reported on the most salacious allegations in the first place. Spicer was roundly lampooned on the Internet for calling back, still angry, and still unable to come up with something better than “fake news”!!


News of ICE raids in at least six states. 160 arrested in southern California. ICE first said reports of 100 arrests in California were exaggerated, then they said it was 160 arrests, but was just part of a normal surge. Reports on the ground at odds with reports from the government. Portland, OR panicking that ICE agents were using the public buses and trains to catch people (TRIMet responded to a tweet, saying that it was just a rumor). chicago tribune reports that a man was deported for tinting the windows of his car. Guadalupe Garcia was deported to Nogales for having used a fake social security number ten years ago in order to work at a water park. These are the crimes and criminals that are being targeted. Rumors of ICE going door to door. Rumors of ICE using people’s children to target them, descending on parents as they pick their children up from work.

I went to a presentation at the public library tonight on immigration and inclusion. It was a collection of short, personal talks by immigrants from all over–including advice from an ACLU lawyer about what to do if ICE comes to the door. The place was packed, lively, party atmosphere. Cookies and juice served. Unruly whooping and hollering for AGOWA Bob Ferguson. The library staffer at the beginning, said “We would like to begin this program by acknowledging that we are on Duwamish land.” She said, “Being inclusive and welcoming is an assignment the library takes very seriously.” Here were some other quotes from the evening that will stay with me:

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