TOWOIT #243: Taking the Knee

September 25, 2017… Day 249

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(NBC’s Hallie Jackson to Sarah Huckabee Sanders today)

I just heard that Susan Collins is the third Republican no vote (along with McCain and Paul) on the latest attempt at repealing the ACA. This is a huge relief. I still hold out hope for Lisa Murkowski to declare herself a no, because I like to believe that Alaskan women are pragmatic and non-craven, even when they are Republicans. Not you, Sarah.

Puerto Rico is in bad shape and I’m keeping that in mind even as I join the collective groan/whoop/eyeroll/head-shake/knee-taking/soliloquizing/solidarity of the NFL and NBA and other sports organizations after Trump sniped wildly at them for his own racist purposes all weekend.

I am still in disbelief that this man is president. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s repeated vociferous defense of his comments on protesters (sons of bitches) is just as amazing.

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Questions they asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders about taking the knee today:

Continue reading TOWOIT #243: Taking the Knee

TOWOIT #189

July 28, 2017… Day 190

I don’t tend to bang the Hillary drum on this blog, but a year ago she accepted the nomination. And she’s getting smeared by Trump now. I don’t think she deserves that at all. It’s been giving me the feminist angries, as has so much else lately.

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So, let us focus on something positive and therapeutically celebrate women making a difference. Today, Representative Maxine Waters’s interrogation of Steve Mnuchin (from a few days ago) swept the inter webs and “reclaiming my time” became a thing. She kept cutting him off when he was rambling to eat up time. “Reclaiming my time… reclaiming myyy time…”

And then someone gave us this:

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Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan that managed to be both an extended hand of bipartisanship and an act of very dry, shady trolling. The far left called it pandering and caving. They never miss an opportunity to say Pelosi is too old and has to go.

The women of the Senate:

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And I know it might be a bit much to keep going on about Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins (when a squadron of Democratic women Senators, including Mazie Hirono, were also steadfast and resolute), but they give me so much hope. We need signs that we are standing on shared ground–that there are shared truths, accepted realities, acknowledged standards of compassion and decency. I need that right now.

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And then there are these women:

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For the whatabouters — does Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s utter unflappability and her willingness to stand up at the podium despite being large and average-looking (like most of us!) inspire me as a woman? YEAH. Kinda. But she has degraded and besmirched herself by working for the Trump White House so there’s no picture of her here.

But shout out to Scaramucci’s departing wife.

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Don’t blame me for needing sparks of light in the darkness as we tumble downhill into autocracy.

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In the Wall Street Journal

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Trump joked about police brutality not being such a bad thing, as he talked to a police department in New Jersey. It came across really racist and gross. And there was too much cheering, laughing and clapping in the audience of police officers. A couple officers were visible on camera looking disgusted. And a reporter in the room said it was much more awkward and less unanimous that it may have come across on camera.

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So the police department had to issue a tweet:

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And another one joined in:

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Some people pointed out that the police department were just mad that he used the regular whistle and not the dog whistle.

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Stephen Miller did a press gaggle on AirForce 1 — the same awkward flight that ended with a just-fired-by-tweet Priebus left alone on the tarmac. Anyway, so just imagine the chilling awkwardness of Stephen Miller, as he ended the gaggle this way:

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THE PRESIDENT WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED.

Here are the questions he was asked leading up to that:

  • So, today, in Geneva, the International Organization for Migration held a briefing and said that the impact of this “get tough” approach, without deterrent measures, is pushing migrants, pushing illegal immigrants into more dangerous routes and actually fueling the coffers of gangs and transnational organizations. And I’m wondering if you’re concerned about that as well, and if there are, sort of, initiatives that you’re going to be taking that deal with deterrence in that aspect, as well.
  • With all this focus on measures that the administration can do — take towards immigration, has the President gotten closer to a decision on DACA?
  • Nikki Haley I think is traveling here. What is her role in this? Is she going to be giving any remarks ahead of the President?  Or is she just here to, sort of, make a show about the U.N.’s role in migration?
  • Given the challenges of healthcare, trying to get legislation through, have you given any new thought to the strategy for how you’re going to get through funding for a wall, or money for new ICE agents, given that Democrats are united in opposition to that kind of legislation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOWOIT #172

July 11, 2017… Day 173

Each morning (most days), the White House Press Briefing used to appear on C-Span’s daily schedule of events around 7:30 or 8:00 my time — two or three hours before it was slated to begin. Now there’s no mention of it whatsoever beforehand. It’s just at some point later in the day, after the fact, after the audio embargo has been lifted, something like this will appear:

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From the (conservative) National Review:

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Breitbart London editor-in-chief:

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Questions they asked SHS today:

Continue reading TOWOIT #172

TOWOIT #171

July 10, 2017… Day 172

What do you think about the word “whistleblower”?

(April Ryan to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in a question about the “leakers” in the White House. Vox wrote a think piece suggesting that the leak was intentionally done by the administration, for unknown reasons. And therefore not really a leak. But who knows. I liked that April Ryan asked that question to their face.)

An actual link on today’s main C-Span.com schedule:

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Audio because no cameras in the briefing room again.

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From FiveThirtyEight, which is a pretty sober bunch of data wonks:

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The story is, not only did Don Jr. take Kushner and Manafort to a meeting with a Russian lawyer because she said she had dirt on Clinton… he actually received an email prior to that in which he was flatly told that the Russian government was running a campaign to interfere on Trump’s behalf to get him elected.

Republicans are looking straight into the camera and defending this. They are saying they would have done the same thing.

Meanwhile, in Axios, a right-leaning website:

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Fox News pretends like everything is normal today, but has a Freudian tweet.

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Trump made a dig at Chelsea Clinton this morning and she responded with her trademark cheery shade.

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Questions they asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders today in an off-camera briefing:

  • The President, today, tweeted that it would be unimaginable — he can’t imagine that Congress would go home from Washington in August, take the month off — if they haven’t dealt with the repeal and replace of Obamacare. If Congress does the unimaginable and goes for a month, is the President prepared to ensure that there are consequences for those vacationing lawmakers in 2018?
  • If I could ask on one more tweet. The President also tweeted this morning about Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton — said that she was giving away the country, I believe. At what point is the President going to put Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Bill Clinton in the rearview mirror? He won the election. He won it fair and square. When does he just let them go and look forward?
  • Sarah, first, just a quick clarification from the meeting with Putin in Germany:  Did the President say that he accepted Putin’s denial of any involvement in election interference, as Putin said in his press conference? Have you had a chance to ask the President about that?
  • But he didn’t accept that denial or did he?
  • And the question I wanted to ask was the reports on this meeting that took place at Trump Tower last June with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner. When did the President learn that that meeting had taken place?
  • Is he concerned about that — that the top leadership of his campaign would take a meeting with a Russian lawyer promising to give negative information?
  • Just to follow up on that. If this sort of meeting is normal and standard practice in the campaign, do you know if there were any other meetings that either Donald Trump Jr. or other representatives of the Trump campaign had with other Russian officials or any other foreign agent to collect information about Hillary?
  • Has anyone looked into whether there were any others?
  • Thanks, Sarah. I have a quick question about this cyber taskforce with Russia.  Yesterday the President tweeted about the cybersecurity unit being put together, and then then about 12 hours later said that it would never happen. What went down in those 12 hours that so drastically changed that situation?
  • Sarah, just to clarify: That idea is dead?
  • Okay. And I know you just said a minute ago you aren’t going to make any additional statement, but there’s a history and we have been asked by you and others at the podium to respect the statements you make there.  So, there’s a long history of blanket denials, during the transition and during times of this administration about nobody within the campaign having any meetings under any circumstances at all with Russian officials. And now one was disclosed this weekend. The original characterization of that meeting was amended within 24 hours when new information was placed before Don Jr.  How are we to take all of these blanket denials that occurred through the transition and now when it has been proven and recognized by the President’s attorney and Don Jr. that those blanket denials were not factual?
  • But that’s a different question than was asked at the time and different than the statements were about. The questions originally, as you know and I know, were about contacts, and those were blanket denials. And then when the contacts became confirmed, then it was, well they were infrequent. Well now we have a whole pattern of lots of different meetings that have to be confirmed later. And those original questions were not about collusion, Sarah.  They were just about contacts.
  • Sarah, back to yesterday morning’s tweets. Can you tell us what it was or what is or what was going to be a cybersecurity unit and how this was going to work? 
  • Thanks a lot, Sarah. After this two and a half hour meeting with President Putin that the President had in Germany, how would you describe the state of U.S. relations with Russia. Do you view Russia as a partner? Do you view them as an ally? Do you view them as an adversary?
  • And does the President trust President Putin? 
  • Can you please ask him that question?
  • Thank you, Sarah.  I have two questions. We know there was no note taker in the meeting, but did you make an audio recording of the meeting or did the Russians?
  • Can you ask?
  • And the second question is: Director Comey was under oath when he said that the memo that he gave to his friend did not include classified information, and the President tweeted this morning that he did leak classified information. Is he accusing Comey of perjury?
  • You believe he leaked classified information?
  • But the President stated flatly that he leaked classified information.
  • Sarah, I want to go back to a couple of questions. When you talk about the issue of Don Jr., you talk and you said “leaked.” What do you think about the word whistleblower?
  • You’re trying to say people who gave that information were leakers. What about the issue of whistleblower? What do you see whistleblower versus leaker?
  • Sarah, I just have one more question. So on the issue of collusion, are you saying there’s no collusion when it comes to the overall arch of the campaign?  But what about the individuals? What about individuals that could be suspects of collusion? Are you vouching just for everyone in total or individuals or what? 
  • So then when we go to different people, what do you say about that?  Don Jr.?  Anyone — the names that are coming up.
  • What about Flynn?  What about Flynn?
  • Thank you, Sarah. Two brief questions. When the President arrived for the G20 Summit, it was widely reported that the Putin regime was cracking down on the opposition candidate — Mr. Navalny at the time. This has been just the latest in a series of events in which human rights and dissent have been crushed in Russia. Was human rights raised at all by the President in his conversations with the Russian President?
  • The President did talk privately with Chancellor Merkel, we know. Days before he arrived there, her party, the Christian Democratic Union, made a much publicized change in its platform and dropped its reference to the United States as a friend and changed that to important ally. Was this something that came up in their meeting and did the President ask why she did that?
  • Two quick questions for you. Did President Trump discuss sanctions with Russian President Putin at the G20 Summit?
  • Did the President’s views on sanctions against the Russians change at all after his meeting with President Putin?
  • Thank you, Sarah. This latest meeting with the Russian lawyer. We not have three instances where — including with Ambassador Kislyak and a head of the Russia bank — where Jared Kushner seems to have met with Russians and not disclosed it during his security clearance check. Is the White House at all concerned about that and do you think it raises any questions about Kushner’s confidence or honesty?
  • His updated paperwork, not initially.
  • So I’m saying — his omission in the original of all these meetings with Russians, is there any concern about that?
  • One of the subjects President Macron wants to talk to the President about is the Paris climate accord. Is the President willing to negotiate his position on this?\

TOWOIT #170

July 9, 2017… Day 171

Ava goes first because she’s pithy and because there’s a new study that says women of color get short shrift on Twitter, and I quoted a shitload of white guys lower down in the round-up.

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You don’t even have to know the specific thing she’s quote-tweeting. This is just the feeling after G-20.

News alert today:

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When what they SHOULD be worrying about is the bears.

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This morning I was so worried right off the bat by tweets/headlines that I examined how much of my three-year plan was completely dependent on living in a free society. I was thinking about things like net neutrality, health care, death of middle class, and cultural crackdown on media and the arts. None of it felt outlandish or alarmist. Basically my three-year plan is completely pointless, undoable, unsafe, and foolish in Trump’s America. So I’ll keep checking in with that. It’s not giving up, it’s not personal, it’s just knowing the environment you’re working in. In the meantime, I did my first writing assignment for a political essay class I just started.

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Thinking Republicans were upset — the usual Never Trumpers, the Sometimes Critics, and even Marco Rubio (please take with deer-sized salt lick).

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But then there’s the rest of the Republicans.

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When the backdrop is so grim, anything that makes you feel like you’re not crazy is reassuring, even if it’s bad news. Any bad news that feels like it will push through to a breaking point that leads to airing out and sanity — that’s welcome. It’s a push toward honesty and having things out on the table. Knowing what we’re dealing with. Someday agreeing on basic facts again.

So that was this today:

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Poor Mosul has been through such hell, but there is this:

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And the Trumpsters can’t stop this country from becoming more Latin American and more Latin influenced. Not yet anyway. Song of the summer.

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McCain could be exaggerating to lull everyone into a false sense of security, but:

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Last word, from this gent:

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TOWOIT #163

July 2, 2017… Day 164

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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:

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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.

TOWOIT #100

April 26, 2017… Day 97

Obviously, should have started this string of consecutive posts on Nov. 9 instead of 3 days before the inauguration. Oh well. What’s done is done. TOWOIT is TOWOIT. I made a thing, and I call it TOWOIT.

Today there were rumors that Trump was backing out of NAFTA and then later he said “nah”

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All 100 Senators went to the White House to be briefed on the “grave” North Korea situation. People seemed genuinely confused about whether the briefing was for legitimate reasons or was  just going to turn into a pre-100-day photo op for Trump.

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Today Mnuchin and Cohn introduced the “tax reform plan” that Trump promised would come out today. It is just a high level, one-page wish list. There’s no plan there. They just say “I would never bet against Donald Trump” and “it’s going to be the biggest tax reform deal ever.” Ask them any questions at all and it just reverts immediately to “Well, we’ve got people talking to people on the hill about that…”

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“And do you think softwood lumber might get Michael Flynn’s name off the front pages?”

–White House reporter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross yesterday.

I’ve listened to yesterday’s White House Press Briefing four times now. I think it’s kind of a doozy. Here are the questions the reporters asked. The remarkable thing was how much Sean Spicer was smiling, laughing and sort of chuckle-talking like everyone in the room was preposterous except for him.Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 10.42.52 PM

  • Sean, does the White House believe that Lieutenant General Michael Flynn broke any laws in filling out his Standard Form-86 disclosure? And furthermore, why is the White House apparently stonewalling the committee on oversight and government reform on its request for some of the documents that should be in the White House’s possession on Mr. Flynn?
  • Well, in the letter that Marc Short — and I know that SF-86 was referred to the DIA, and apparently —
  • Well, I know — but they were referred to the DIA for the SF-86, and apparently they have gained access to that document. But there were other documents that should be in the White House’s possession that Marc Short, in the letter to the committee, said the White House can’t provide because of its sensitive nature.  It also said that there were no documents that were available prior to the 20th.
  • But I also ask the question: Does the White House believe that Lieutenant General Flynn might have broken the law when he filled out the SF-86?
  • So was it the sheer volume of it, or —
  • Sean, is it your position that during the transition, the Trump transition has no custodial possession of any of these documents that Flynn filled out as part of a process to become the President’s National Security Advisor? I mean, what you seem to be suggesting is an arms’ length relationship.
  • Okay.  So —
  • Right. I’m just trying to find out from your perspective, is there no obligation either from the transition or the White House to do anything more than you have done or has been done in this matter?
  • How about these calls made when he was working during the transition on behalf of a future President Trump? Aren’t those things that you should have some either responsibility or obligation to provide if you can?
  • Those calls were made on behalf of the Trump transition, were they not?
  • When he was in the — I mean —
  • Yes, but he was working for the transition. And I’m saying, is there any obligation you have —
  •  — the delivery of those documents?
  • But you’re acting as if you had no custodial responsibility of your own transition. That’s all I’m trying to —
  • He wasn’t making calls as a private citizen. He was making them as a future National Security Advisor.
  • Two weeks ago, when General Flynn’s attorney wrote to the Senate Intelligence Committee suggesting some sort of immunity deal for General Flynn, I asked you a question about whether the White House would be invoking executive privilege, and your response at that time was, no, we have no problem with General Flynn testifying, he’s free to do so, we won’t be invoking any type of privilege. Does that also apply to any documents that the White House may have related to General Flynn’s service, the short service as the National Security Advisor to the President, and the time in which he served in the transition period as an advisor to the President-elect?
  • What about prior to his service at the White House?
  • And the overall issue of privilege, would you be open to —
  • Sean, generally speaking, within the Trump administration, how important is it for the President that everyone working for this administration is honest on their security clearance forms?
  • Do you know if the President is aware of the comments that were made by the House Oversight Chairman today? And does he agree at all with the assertion that it seems as though General Flynn was not in compliance with the law?
  • Does the White House consider Mike Flynn’s payment from Russia today to be a payment from a foreign government?
  • YOUR White House, does THIS White House consider a payment from Russia today to be a payment from a foreign government?
  • If it was to happen today, do you consider that to be a payment from a foreign government?
  • If someone took money from Russia today — today —
  • To follow up on that, why didn’t he — why wasn’t he more closely vetted during the transition period?
  •  — the White House and the Trump transition team should have known about this before they were having him come to the White House.
  • I have two questions, but I want to follow up on that. So you’re saying that it’s a problem with the process of vetting — the vetting process, and not —
  • I do want ask you really quickly about the wall. Yesterday, President Trump reportedly said that he’s going to delay pushing the wall through. And so can you just clarify what the status of that is — what’s happening, when?
  • So it’s delayed for now?
  • So use that partial funding —
  • Can I ask a follow-up on healthcare? The President has threatened to withhold cost-sharing payments from insurance companies. So is that still the case?
  • So just to follow up on the two, three topics — the wall and on — first, on the wall, I just want to be clear — so is the President no longer insisting that there is money for the wall in this current appropriations bill?
  • So the President is not insisting that he has money for actual construction of the wall in this current bill?
  • And the actual construction can wait until the fall?
  • Before you start construction.
  • And on Michael Flynn, does the President feel that he was misled by General Flynn?
  • But does he now feel that he also wasn’t straight with him in the beginning during —
  • At the time he made that decision, he said he was the victim of a media witch hunt and said he was a good man that had been a victim of —
  • — a witch hunt.  Does he still feel that?  Or is —
  • Thank you, Sean. Two questions:  Last night the President said — and some have reported it — some pretty sensational charges about the Iran treaty.  We know he’s called it the worst agreement in history, and the worst he ever saw himself. But he also said that at the time of the treaty, the government in Iran was on the verge of collapsing. And that is something I don’t believe that has ever been reported before. He also said that the unfrozen assets — the billions were not used to fund terrorists, but they were in Swiss bank accounts.  Is this based on intelligence reports he’s received or other information?
  • I had a second question.
  • Okay. On General Flynn, anyone who is at his level and some levels below undergoes an investigation by the FBI with a final report. Was the President ever given a final security report by the FBI on General Flynn?
  • If you could just talk a little bit more about the overall efforts that the administration is making. We note the United Nations meetings yesterday. Now you’ve got an upcoming meeting with Congress. Are you as an administration trying to get a coalition together to build a stronger diplomatic case around actions against Pyongyang?
  • How would you characterize the administration’s overall strategy on the DPRK?
  •  — strategy on Wednesday when you have the meeting with the senators?
  • Will you be able to articulate that strategy and put a finer point on it for the senators?
  • Well, you —
  •  — it’s YOUR administration —
  •  — characterize it as you presenting your strategy to the U.S. Senate?
  • — the strategy will be articulated then?
  • So the senators should not expect —
  • Thanks, Sean. How long would you reasonably expect the government to take to be fully staffed with essential personnel to draft, negotiate, and implement complicated policies like tax reform, and put forward something that’s a little bit more meaty than just broad principles?
  • But what progress have agencies been able to make in carrying out the executive orders that the President has put forward? Because today is actually the deadline for the regulatory reform offices to be in place. How many of those are there?
  • Thanks, Sean. Staying on taxes for a minute, can you give us a sense — the President said he’s going to present this plan tomorrow. Can you give us a sense of what we’re going to see and when we’re going to see it?
  • Just a bit of color. The President, on Friday, when he announced that it was going to happen on Wednesday, aides here at the White House and over at Treasury seemed a little bit surprised to find out that this was coming as early as Wednesday. Can you tell us who inside the White House and at Treasury the President told he was going to announce this on Wednesday before he made the announcement?
  • The Secretary of Treasury actually said that the goal on tax reform is to spur growth of 3 percent of more, but already people are worried about deficits and that’s — Taxpayers For Common Sense put out a statement saying that growth — “Hogwash. Growth is the magic pixie dust policymakers throw on economic plans to make them appear fiscally sound when they are not.” What would you say to Republicans on Capitol Hill who are worried about this being a tax reform that would blow a hole in the deficit and the debt?

TOWOIT #78

April 4, 2017… Day 75

I don’t know if talking slow is a requirement for filibusters, but it’s 9:26 pm in Washington D.C. and Jeff Merkely is talking so slow. I guess it adds to the funereal atmosphere we’re enjoying in the United States Senate these days. I can’t listen to this.

Radio alarm: Finally, I hear a story about sanctuary cities that centers on the fact that it in most cases it is actually not even legal for local law enforcement to comply with “detainer requests” from federal immigration authorities. A couple stories later, there was a guest noting how warmly Donald Trump treated the military dictator of Egypt (Trump really didn’t have to say he was doing a “fantastic job”), as compared to his chillier treatment of, say, the chancellor of Germany.

By my count, there hasn’t been a State Department press briefing since March 23, but Rex Tillerson released this statement on North Korea firing a ballistic missile into the sea of Japan:

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Rex Tillerson did not have any comment on Assad gassing Syrian civilians, including children. Trump had this to say:

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Not a lot of words there in total, but he found room to blame Obama and call him weak. As was roundly pointed out on Twitter, Trump spent 2013 tweeting Obama that he should under no circumstances intervene in Syria.

Mark Cuban tweeted side-by-side photos of children suffering from the gas attack and the complainy, rambling, petty tweets Trump was making around the same time. I was going to post that tweet here but it was too sad to look at the kids.

There was no White House Press Briefing today, and Sean Spicer was missed. So I went to C-Span.com and entered in the number of views on the White House Press Briefing videos going back to last May.

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As you can see, there’s a big bump up in viewership after the inauguration. Sean Spicer really came in with a bang when he yelled at everyone about crowd size.

There was this one Josh Earnest briefing, on October 4, that had a Sean Spicer level of viewership. I put it on to see whether there was something special about it. There didn’t seem to be. But this was the first non-Spicer White House Press Briefing I’d seen (if you don’t count Allison Janney in The West Wing).

Some observations:

  • The room feels empty, with about 1/3 as many journalists there
  • It goes 2-3 times longer than a Sean Spicer briefing
  • Josh Earnest is SO calm, and speaks in nice sentences that makes sense.
  • The questions are still pretty tough and sometimes a little insulting to the Obama administration
  • April Ryan was there and she looked good
  • There didn’t seem to be anything particular about this press conference to attract so many viewers, but there were a lot of moments of foreshadowing like this one:

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Protesters in Fresno, California greeted Devin Nunes with the Russian national anthem blasting out of loudspeakers.

The woman I went to school with, Trinh Huynh, made the news yesterday after she was shot three times in the back in a crosswalk in Atlanta in broad daylight. She died at the hospital shortly afterward. News outlets looked at her Facebook and shared details from this post she made on January 28 about being a refugee.

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Everything is political. She loved to dance. They still don’t know why the shooter targeted her, but he’s been found and arrested. I will keep saying her name.

TOWOIT #67

March 24, 2017… Day 64

My day started with a picture of John Lewis holding a puppy. The way he is holding the puppy is tender, and the fact that he shared this photograph on Facebook is cute.

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Moved on to hearing a coworker tell another coworker that the way Trump said that “we’re done negotiating the health care bill” was “kind of AWESOME.” Jesus. Easily impressed.

“And, obviously, later today the House will be voting on the American Health Care Act.”

—Sean Spicer, today

Then the White House Press Briefing, in which reporters repeatedly pressed Sean Spicer to say whether or not Trump would take responsibility for the failure of the AHCA. At that point there was still expected to be a vote on the healthcare bill later that afternoon. Spicer dodged the questions in a way that suggested that perhaps Trump and his entire staff genuinely do not understand what leadership is. Sean Spicer actually said, “At the end of the day, this isn’t a dictatorship” as part of his answer to one reporter asking “Will the buck stop with the President?”

“At the end of the day, this isn’t a dictatorship.”

—Sean Spicer, today

Now I’m losing the order of things. I think next, the bill got pulled and the vote delayed indefinitely, maybe forever.

Devin Nunes canceled Tuesday’s open hearing with several witnesses including fired holdover AG Sally Yates. In response, Adam Schiff gave another fiery press conference. He manages to sort of smolder. He alway seems eminently reasonable. He gave a chronology of the week, and said that he figures Nunes was responding to pressure from the White House.

“We are so uncompetitive when it comes to our otherworldly competitors”

—Sean Spicer today

Listening to Rachel Maddow from last night: she outlines grim Russian state murders.

Bernie gets on the show and calls Democrats feeble. One tweet I saw about it said, “Bernie never has a plan to defeat Goliath that doesn’t seem to involve kicking David in the nuts.” You know what, Bernie? You call Democrats feeble in private. You say it to your friends. You write it in your diary. You don’t get on on live TV, at a crucial moment, when Trump is against the ropes, and say “Democrats are feeble.” Also, what are YOU really doing besides running your mouth (and holding TV events that involve reassuring the white working class that they are still more important to you than the non-white working class)?

Screwing up my courage to listen to Pod Save the World. The latest episode is on North Korea and its nukes. I’d kind of like to be able to sleep tonight.

Largely overlooked story today:

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Questions reporters asked Sean Spicer today:

Continue reading TOWOIT #67

TOWOIT #53

March 10, 2017…Day 50!!

The 2018 mid-term elections are NOT that far away. If you got engaged right now, you *might* not get married until the fall of 2018. That is, if you were fancy people, unlike my people who get married at the justice of the peace on short notice for insurance reasons, and take Folger coffee cans to crematoriums to retrieve family ashes.

GETTING IN AND OUT OF HERE: The band Soviet Soviet was supposed to play a live concert on air at KEXP this morning but they had to cancel that, along with SXSW and their whole American tour. As they tried to get into the country from Italy they were separated, interrogated for hours in small rooms, and had their phones taken away. They had all their papers in order, had carefully planned ahead. Their American record label had all its ducks in a row. After being questioned, they were handcuffed and taken to jail in a police car like criminals, made to spend the night in jail, and sent back to Italy. They weren’t given their phones or their belongings back until right before they got on the plane. They were humiliated and relieved to get away from the U.S. Meanwhile, Muhammad Ali’s son said he was detained at the airport AGAIN. An American-born American citizen. It’s not about a travel ban — it has nothing to do with an executive order (which doesn’t even go until effect until March 16). It’s just all around fuckery at the borders. Agents throwing their weight around and being huge dicks to everyone, and especially racist huge dicks to people of color and Muslims. Tonight the AP is reporting that a Wisconsin judge is blocking enforcement of the new executive order for a Syrian woman and her three year old daughter. I’m starting to feel like the wall will be built just as much to keep us in as to keep other people out.

Five states are now suing the Trump administration over the new executive order.

GREENWALD STILL STUCK IN MY CRAW: Why should I believe Glenn Greenwald over other people? I don’t know why he sticks in my craw so badly. Maybe because I think he’s smart, and a lot of people I admire — smart people with integrity — believe in him. So, I have to acknowledge that Glenn Greenwald might be right and the rest of us might be wrong. But I also remember three things 1) Glenn Greenwald is invested in the idea that the intelligence agencies are sinister, 2) Glenn Greenwald’s ego is invested in his own idea of himself as a contrarian, and 3) so many women of color, and black women in particular — community leaders, thought leaders, artists, thinkers, organizers, activists — declared MONTHS ago that they have had it with Glenn Greenwald and his way of looking at the world. And I don’t know why he would be right and they would be wrong.

SEATTLE FUCKERY: “Holocaust is Fake History” spray painted on Capitol Hill synagogue in Seattle. The esses are dollar signs .The synagogue is choosing to leave it exposed for now.

When is it, when a former President’s spillover ends and the new President stands on his own merit? When does that happen?

–April Ryan to Sean Spicer today.

WHERE’S THE BASELINE? I ONLY RECENTLY STARTED CARING THIS MUCH: I can’t tell what’s normal and what’s not normal, because I’m just paying attention for the first time. Dismissing 46 U.S. attorneys seems to be fairly normal. Except maybe when you don’t have their replacements lined up. Calling Dana Boente and Rosenstein personally to ask them to stay on seems a little strange — but I don’t know? The State Department asking the medical examiner not to release the cause of death of the Russian ambassador to the U.N. seems strange, but again — I don’t know? The world is so full of procedural ins and outs that we normally don’t need to pay attention to.

Speaking of not paying attention — on the radio this morning. NPR’s David Greene was asking David Urban, who was a former advisor to the Trump campaign, about the healthcare repeal and replace legislation. Greene was saying, was there something a bit odd or contentious or rushed about the way this bill was going through committees in the middle of the night?

URBAN: I think, look, we’re not there yet. You know, the old saying is you don’t want to watch sausage or legislation being made, and so avert your eyes, America.

GREENE: You’re telling Americans not to pay attention to this debate?

The White House Press Briefing was disturbingly jocular today. Lots of chuckles, laughing, jokes and banter. But most disturbing was when Sean Spicer said that Donald Trump said the economic data used to be fake but it’s real now (strong jobs numbers came out today). The reporters just laughed like “Oh Uncle Donald” and moved on. I listened to the press briefing this morning at work and it stuck with me all day. When I got home and looked at Twitter, I saw I wasn’t alone in that.

Questions the reporters asked Sean Spicer at the briefing today:

Continue reading TOWOIT #53

TOWOIT #41

February 26, 2017…Day 38

Dozens of headstones broken in Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Within hours, Muslims were there helping again.

Last night at a Dana Gould stand-up show in Portland, OR. Dana Gould made a joke that Donald Trump is to the Presidency as Charles Manson is to murder. Someone in the audience threw a pint glass at him, but it landed wide. HIs response was to glance at the glass where it had landed and then say to the audience, “I have two words for you: Well Said.”

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This was in the NYT, citing “SAO” which I believe stands for senior administration officials. 
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A day in the life of Spicey
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More bad shit
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I am sorry we somehow arrived here, teenage girl named H. 

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s tweets are somewhat escalating, but also somewhat same ol’ same ol.

 

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The tone of the comments are changing, though. There are more likes on the flat-out critical posts, and there are many many more posts that sound like, “I am really rooting for you, I really want you to succeed — but I am just trying to give you some advice here that will help you.” Also, the marijuana thing is seriously upsetting to people. There are also more comments from supporters that are along the lines of, “We know you’re not guilty of anything, so why not just release your taxes and be investigated?”

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