The G7 and Singapore stuff has been so stupid and painful and full of moronic pageantry that I admit my brain just shut down a little over this last week. I’m meeting with Washington State Democrats tonight, i’m thinking about the midterms, I’m listening to political podcasts about the midterms and how to get out the vote. I haven’t abdicated my responsibility or my existential dread. I just can’t watch the towers go down in slow motion day after day.
This morning I flipped back through the news page on Whitehouse.gov to see if I had missed a press gaggle — I thought surely in all these days of flying around, there would have been a press gaggle. I had seen Sarah Huckabee Sanders looking dour and complicit on the edges of various Trumpian photographs from recent international events — but no, nothing. Nary a gaggle. Nothing on the docket yet for today either, but it’s early.
Trump himself gave press conferences in Quebec and Singapore, where he attacked the U.S. press. This falls in the zone of what I’ve been avoiding exposing myself to too much of. If I get up the gumption later, I’ll watch so I can identify which reporter asked which question in the transcript. In the meantime, here are the questions from the June 9 transcript: Continue reading TOWOIT #338: Attacking the U.S. press on foreign soil
Current mood: In a shared motel room in the dark, laptop open, earbuds in, listening to a new Pod Save America podcast of the guys live at a healthcare demonstration in D.C., just talking to people. They keep bumping into Democratic lawmakers just wandering through the crowd being part of things.
That was recorded yesterday, and is the soundtrack for my morning Twitter reading:
There have been some more disturbing local happenings lately. A Tukwila mother of 4 snatched by ICE. An Asian teenager shot by police, an ink pen in his hand. But I have been more reluctant to catalog these things after seeing a wedge of black Twitter doing a joking lament of Shaun King being a one-stop shop for black trauma. I’m not saying that’s fair to Shaun King (although I have plenty of criticism of my own to level at him for the way he wrote about HRC in 2016). But the point is, am *I* some kind of perverse bower bird collecting baubles for my bower? Am I serving any purpose? But then, if you don’t gather together and pin down some of these local incidents, you feel like you’re glossing over what’s happening to people.
Anyway, there’s been a flurry of inescapable (to me) chatter over the comic book artist Howard Chaykin and his series The Divided States of Hysteria. There’s been a drumbeat of response to the book’s treatment of trans people for weeks now. The cover of Issue #4 showed a hate crime against a person of color, and things are boiling over. Image issued an apology full of soothing pretzel talk about how this book is a cautionary tale, and it’s “revenge fiction.” They’re sorry that we’re too neurotic to tell that this book is on OUR side. The thing straight white comic book guys never realize is, we can gauge the ratio of a) fun you’re having drawing this shit to b) personal investment in the subject matter. When the ratio doesn’t come out right, then you’re just kind of a shit. Sorry. True story.
And to people who vaguely agree with the critics of Chaykin but think there is just too much outrage these days: Patience is worn to a nubbin and will be from here on out. It’s like this for me every day in my real life. I was putting up with sexist bullshit all day under President Barack Obama too. But now that we have DJT, I don’t have enough energy to exist in that guy’s U.S.A. *AND* deal with your sexist bullshit all day. So if I seem bitchy and irritable, well that’s just the way it’s going to continue to be. And my experience is Tip Of The Iceberg compared to women of color and others who have been living in an untenable bullshit reality always and who have even more pressure on them to “act nice.”
I’m having a big familyish 4th of July weekend, so I thought I’d better knock out some kind of TOWOIT entry early and get that out of away. Thanks for listening. Good luck out there. I hope in your personal “Was that fireworks or bullets?” game, it’s always fireworks. And I hope your dogs and cats have safe hidey-holes and sources of comfort during these bewildering days.
The vote on the Senate health care bill is delayed till after the July 4th recess. I haven’t really known what to do, but I made a couple phone calls today. You feel a bit redundant when your Democratic senators are already ON IT. But you can always say thank you. And I added my name to the finance committee’s tally of people asking for open hearings on the bill.
Trump had all the Republican senators up to the White House. Collins and Murkowski were on either side of him.
I started reading this book on local political history called Seattle Justice by Christopher Bayley. He’s a Republican, a retired prosecutor. I believe he is one of those old-style Republicans we are nostalgic for now. And apparently Seattle was quite the cesspool of corruption.
Highlight so far: Finding out that in 1926, Seattle actually elected a woman mayor named Bertha Landes. And I love it because my grandmothers were girls in Seattle in 1926, aged 15 and 4. Bertha Landes was planning to shut down the dancehalls that doubled as brothels. The women who worked in them appealed to her personally to keep them open — so she decided to just regulate them! The problem wasn’t so much the prostitution itself. It was the graft.
Sean Spicer was going to be on camera today, but they did a last minute switcheroo and it was Sarah Huckabee Sanders instead. Brian Karem has a lot more followers on Twitter today than he did 24 hours ago after he interrupted proceedings to stand up for the reporters in the room.
Recently, Breitbart News challenged the accuracy of a CNN story, and afterwards it was retracted, deleted and the editors responsible were fired, as well as — the network apologized for the story. The target of this — one of the targets of the story accepted the apology. The President went on Twitter this morning and repeated that CNN was fake news. Why isn’t their response good enough for the President?
Does the President actually expect —
Does the President actually expect us not to report on stories of a foreign country trying to influence the presidential election?
But, Sarah they can —
Sarah, that’s — come on. You’re inflaming everybody right here and right now with those words. This administration has done that as well. Why in the name of heavens — any one of us, right, are replaceable, and any one of us, if we don’t get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us. You have been elected to serve for four years at least. There’s no option other than that. We’re here to ask you questions, you’re here to provide the answers, and what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, see, once again, the President is right and everybody else out here is fake media. And everybody in this room is only trying to do their JOB.
Thank you, Sarah. I just — rapid fire because I don’t — we’ve had a bit of a long briefing here. With the — let me ask it this way — how would you describe the President’s mood on healthcare? Concerned, still encouraged? And what did you make of the CBO score, if you’ve talked to him about that? And then secondly, I want to ask you about the warning to Syria. What’s the message that the administration wants to convey, not just to the world community but also to the American people who see headlines like that and they wonder are we hurtling headlong into a major situation in that part of the world.
Syria, the warning to Syria. What’s your message to the international community and also to the American people who may be concerned when they read a headline like that they’re thinking, well, we may be hurtling toward a situation that involves the U.S. in that part of the world?
Can you explain — because you went on the record this morning — what the process was that led to that statement last night? Were members of the team at the State Department or the Defense Department taken aback by that statement, or were they fully involved? Can you give us an idea of how the process internally worked to deliberate that statement and then create the statement for public release?
Can you give us a timeline from the very beginning? Was that on yesterday or is it —
And on healthcare, you just said you accept or find valid the CBO numbers on the budget side. Is that true —
In its — assessment yesterday?
And for the purposes of the public looking at this, would this administration accept the budget and revenue numbers that were published yesterday as, generally speaking, valid and worth taking seriously?
wo things, one on Google and one on the economic forecast. So European officials have slapped Google with this $2.7 billion fine. Is the White House cool with European regulators hitting a U.S. company with a fine when our own Federal Trade Commission hasn’t accused them of anti-competitive behavior?
Okay, and also on the International Monetary Fund. So they lowered their forecast for U.S. economic growth down to 2.1 percent, which is lower than what the President has been — hope for. Can you share some reaction on what you think about this new IMF forecast?
Thank you. I appreciate it. If Syria is poised to launch another chemical weapons attack, isn’t that an acknowledgement that the airstrikes in April didn’t work, Sarah?
Why will a paper statement work, though, when airstrikes didn’t dissuade Bashar al-Assad?
And just to follow up very quickly, was there a principals’ meeting, a deputies’ meeting before that statement was issued by Sean Spicer last night?
Sarah, two questions, just like NBC. Given the news about CNN’s —
Given the news about CNN’s erroneous story about Anthony Scaramucci, does the White House believe there are other Russia-related stories from major outlets that have not been retracted and are just as false, including the February 14th story in The New York Times about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, which James Comey called into question, which many believe the CNN story was based upon?
On the CNN retraction, does the White House now believe the news media have an obligation to review stories on the Russian-Trump issue and retract questionably sourced stories on the topic?
Do you believe that the media should go back and look at anonymously sourced stories on Russia and Trump and maybe start a review process and retract where necessary?
Thank you, Sarah. Two healthcare questions. Okay, so you accept the budgetary calculations of the CBO, but not the projections on how many people would be insured. What about their projections on what would happen to premiums and deductibles? Is that something you accept or not accept?
Well, they also said that for people of certain incomes they would go way up. So you only accept them if they go down?
Okay, and then another question. The President promised that his healthcare plan would not have cuts to Medicaid. Does he believe that a family of four making $60,000 makes too much money to qualify for Medicaid? In other words, that that’s just too high an income to be getting Medicaid?
Does he believe — he said the House bill was too mean. Does he believe that the Senate bill is less mean, as mean, more mean? Like what does he think?